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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Photo With Santa!

My friend Peggy at PetSmart in Buckhead where Snap-2IT was taking photos with Santa. Peggy is very special as she has a non-profit shelter for dogs in Monticello, Georgia, Atlanta Canine Adoption Project.

My last two dogs came from Peggy on New Year's Eve and the following week.

Silly Rascal was my New Year's Date. Peggy delivered her to my doorstep on New Year's Eve Day. Then a week later I adopted Miss April In Paris. The two gals love to kiss on each other since they have been able to stay together!

Merry Christmas Peggy! Keep up the good work! Just remember, my house is full.

I think I'll forward this link to her now! A snuggly dog makes a great date for New Year's Eve. I always say better to kiss a dog than a dog of a date!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Feeding your Pet Like a Human = Risk of Poisoning by Guest Blogger Julee Russo

But Mommy, that food looks so good. Slurp! I'd like a tasty sample.  WRONG!

A perfect article at Christmas time when we tend to overlook our usual dog feeding habits.

Bella: Follow Her And Julee Russo on Twitter at jbarkrusso!
Our quest blogger tonight is Julee Russo, who I met through my friend Eliza, publisher of the SilverAndGrace Newsletter for women, in Canada!

Julee's short bio gets right to the chase. A gal after my own heart! Julee writes, A dog lover who focuses on living life and savoring every moment without messing up the next :)

Let's see what dangers are lurking around tempting our furry friends:

In Julee's words:

As pet owners we all love our pets. We dress them up in cute outfits, name them after our favorite celebrity or TV character and even treat them as if they were our own children. It’s inevitable that people get attached to their animal and treat it as if it’s part of the family. This means feeding your pet human food, many foods are healthy for our pets (cottage cheese/yogurt) but Pet poisoning is a serious risk without the right knowledge.

Here are some human foods that are bad for your furry friends.

1. Chocolate and Caffeine
While we all love a nice cup of coffee or some amazing chocolate, it’s actually dangerous for pets. Eating too much of this can be toxic, causing your pet to vomit, have diarrhea, start panting and experience intense thirst. Dark chocolate is actually worse for your pet than milk chocolate. But it’s best to stay away from chocolate and caffeine altogether.

2. Alcohol
It should be a given not to give animals alcohol. But be aware that there are quite a bit of foods that contain alcohol. If your pet consumes this, it will experience some vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing and can slip into a coma or even die.

3. Macadamia Nuts & Walnuts
These nuts can be found in stores, salads, cookies, and candies. These nuts are considered to be pretty harmful to your pets. The nuts can make your dog weak, can cause vomiting and possibly tremors and hypothermia.

4. Grapes
The exact ingredient that’s bad for your animal is unknown. It is a fact, though, that grapes can cause kidney failure in animals.

5. Raw Meat and Eggs
Salmonella and E. coli can be found in raw meat and eggs. This is very harmful to your pets. Eating raw eggs causes your pet’s skin and coat to have multiple issues. On top of these items, raw bones can be really dangerous for your pet if swallowed. Bone consumption can cause him or her to die or have severe injuries if it damages the bone splinter or gets stuck in the digestive tract.

6. Xylitol
Xylitol is mostly found in gum, toothpaste and candy. Too much consumption can cause your pet to experience live failure from the amount of insulin in Xylitol. Having too much insulin can cause your pet to have low sugar levels, resulting in seizures.

7. Onions and Garlic
Garlic isn’t just bad for vampires--it’s also bad for your pets. Garlic and onions are more dangerous for dogs than cats, if your animal eats a lot of it. Having small amounts won’t be too toxic for your pet, but don’t give them significant portions.

8. Salt
If your pet eats too much salt, they can experience a lot of thirst and urination. The sodium ion can even be poisonous for your pets. If your pet begins to vomit, have diarrhea, seizures or tremors, your pet may have had too much salt. It’s important to take them to a vet because ignoring it could lead to death.

While it’s always fun to dress pets in clothes and treat them as part of the family, it’s important to keep something in mind. They’re animals. Animals might be able to wear clothing like humans, but they can’t eat all our foods.

Thanks Julee for some great information so we can keep our loved pets safe this holiday! Look for more infor from Julee in our future issues.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Award From Psychology Degree Online Schools

Dogs Are The Sunshine Of My Life

I went through my e-mails deleting old messages and realized I had missed this particular one. My blog was awarded a badge as an essential resource for widows by Psychology Degree, an online web that helps people decide on careers in psychology. I was added to their list of blogs for widows/widowers.

I then came back and looked at my blog and had to smile. So many dog faces staring back at me! But then love is a great healing tool and dogs give unconditional love. I have that times six with my silly pack of hounds.

I do have an odd little blog on being a widow. But I think that my love of dogs, my heart open to life around me and my faith to move forward is certainly sprawled all over these posts. The same energy can be found in my book, The Unfaithful Widow! You can check it out on my web

Thank you, Psychology Degree for including me. Maybe someone will link to my blog that needs a warm hug and a sweet kiss and will be inspired to go to their local shelter to adopt a dog. As much as we are lost when a loved one is gone, there are lost dogs that can help mend a broken heart.

I am honored to be included in your list! Thank you!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My First Attempt At Making A YouTube Video With My New Flip Camera

It's raining cats and dogs and the dogs are nestled in their quilts. I just opened my new flip camera and did a test run with my dogs. They were totally unimpressed. When I get this down to a science get ready for some dog stars to emerge!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Rich Rewards Of Fostering Dogs, Patti Foy, Part 2 of 2

Tonight we finish our discussion with Patti Foy on how to foster a dog. (Part one can be seen right below this post). Patti's information on fostering a dog is great.

I am not sure how many people think of going this route, but it is a wonderful way to help a dog in need, while you open your heart to the love of an animal who will have a real life again because of you.)

Thanks Patti for the time you took to share this information with all of us! Barbara

The Least You Need to Know

There's a lot of skill and knowledge you can develop as you gain experience with fostering, and that will come with time. But really it's pretty straight-forward. At the very least, here's what I suggest:

You are agreeing to provide a safe environment with food, shelter, exercise, and some amount of socializing, so make sure you can do that. It's important that you and your family are all in agreement on this.

Mostly though? They just need lots of love.

It's not required but it does help if you already have some experience with dogs.

Also, an eagerness to learn more about them and how to work with them is a big plus. This makes it a much richer experience for everyone involved.

The shelter will help you find a good fit between your situation and the right dog.

There are lots of things to consider when making a match, but for example, you don't want a puppy if you can't be up during the night sometimes. You don't want a dog that intimidates you or is known to be unpredictable if you are not an experienced dog handler. Use your common sense to make sure you are not putting yourself or your family -- or the dog, for that matter -- in harm's way.

Note that some shelters provide more assistance and training than others.

The reality is, most rescue groups and many shelters are run by volunteers. They are overworked and not always as organized as they would like. You may or may not get much help from them about what to expect or how to handle tricky situations. This isn't ideal, but it's sometimes the reality.

Still, they are your first resource and if nothing else they can help you get answers and guidance.

If You Want to Know More

Information's pretty easy to come by nowadays with the internet so accessible. Here are a few of the better websites I found that provide great information if you want to look into being a foster parent.

Informative article on what's required, what to expect, and how to find a dog to foster. Includes videos!

How to successfully foster dogs and puppies - This is a helpful article about some of the details, with 5 links to similar articles at the bottom.

Short article with some good tips about finding a rescue group or shelter to foster for, preparing to foster, and then working with that organization.

Comprehensive Foster Dog Manual (PDF) from the Seattle Animal Shelter. 49 excellent pages. It's specific to the Seattle shelter but most of it can be applied anywhere.

And don't forget to ask your local shelter for information too. The bigger ones, especially, can be a wealth of information.

Begin Where You Are

So as you see, there's actually a lot you can know about fostering, but the good news is you don't have to know it all to begin.

Fostering is a lot like life in that it's a process of discovery. You may be more talented at helping dogs than you imagine, even if you have no experience. Just as with anything, we start with small steps and learn as we go.

If you have even an inkling you might like to do this, there's no reason at all not to proceed and see if you can find a good match. And if you are able to give it a try, I just know you'll be glad you did.

If you have any fostering stories, we'd all love to hear them. Or do you have questions? Tips or pointers? Please do share!

BIO: Patti Foy is a blogger at where she writes about discovering our true selves and shining our light, along with offering her services that can help us do that. She lives a simple, natural life in the high desert of New Mexico with her husband and two dogs, where she enjoys writing and being connected to nature and animals.

On a personal note; my favorite rescue is Animal Action Rescue Atlanta, they have a great selection of dogs and are always looking for foster 'moms".

 Fostering may be just the anwer you've been looking for. Do a great dead, give a great dog a home!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Rich Rewards of Fostering Dogs: Patti Foy Part 1 of 2

 Part 1 of 2: Come back tomorrow and visit with Patti!
Patti Foy, Author
 Patti Foy is a blogger at Light Spirited Being where she writes about discovering our true selves and shining our light, along with offering her services that can help us do that. She lives a simple, natural life in the high desert of New Mexico with her husband and two dogs, where she enjoys writing and being connected to nature and animals.

I asked Patti to talk about fostering dogs. I am a keeper type, if a dog comes in my house it stays. But fostering dogs is a wonderful way to share your love and help a dog find its forever home. Read below and see if fostering might be just the ticket for you! Barbara

The Rich Rewards Of Fostering Dogs (Part 1 of 2)

Are you aware that just around the corner from you are a zillion little opportunities to enrich your life? Okay, maybe not a zillion. But however many dogs are in your neighborhood shelter? That many.

My life, for one, has been deeply enriched by the wonderful experience of fostering rescue dogs.

Seven years ago, we unexpectedly lost our 6-year old lab to cancer. We were all so sad, our remaining dog included. My husband and I knew we would want another dog at some point, yet we weren't ready to even consider adopting so soon. Our pain was still raw and we needed more time.

I was almost sick with grief, and as it turned out, fostering proved to be a most potent medicine. It gave me a deep sense of purposefulness along with spontaneous bursts of joy and laughter, which I needed then, almost as much as I needed air. And although it did have its challenges, I'm positive it played a significant role in my ultimate healing.

I'd been involved with a local rescue group, which I had helped found, and as luck would have it, they called one day to see if we might be able to foster a pup for them. We'd never fostered before and weren't so sure how it would work out, but after some thought, we decided to give it a try.
Kelsey, our first foster

And from that point on, we were hooked.

We spent that whole next year fostering dogs, about 10 in all. One of them was one we found ourselves, abandoned and terrified. (We live in a remote rural area where people from the city bring dogs to dump them.) She was a young black and white pointer with pink markings around her nose, whom we called Rosie. She was the sweetest thing, and so exhausted that first day that she kept falling asleep even while standing up.


The only reason we stopped fostering is because we finally adopted another dog (a 4-year old lab mix, from the shelter) and no longer had the extra space to do a foster dog justice.

But I often think that when the powers that be are smiling upon me just right, I will be blessed enough to get to foster again.

The Rewards of Fostering

It was my experience that the entire fostering process was rewarding and the dogs themselves were such a joy. Here are just a few of the rewards you can expect:

You're likely saving the dog's life. This is extremely satisfying.
If dogs aren't socialized and able to fit seamlessly into a family, they just don't get adopted (or they get returned to the shelter) and are too commonly euthenized. You provide that priceless TLC that helps them adapt to a new home.       
You get to help that dog be happy for awhile.
Most of the dogs in shelters are traumatized. Any bits of love you have to spare are not only appreciated but returned ten-fold.
You get to experience that dog's unique personality.
This is just plain fun. They're such characters and enormously uplifting.
Your heart will be opened.
It just happens -- guaranteed. And when you have an open heart, you can love more deeply and more fully. And not just the dog, but everyone and anyone in your life, even yourself. It helps your natural kindness and compassion blossom, and it feels wonderful!
It's healing, for you and the dog.         
I think the benefits to the dog go without saying. But like with me, if you or a family member have been through something that's left you broken, the fostering experience can go a long way toward helping you feel whole again.
You are helping train the dog and that helps in its placement.
Even though a lot of training is straightforward, the dog has a much better chance of being adopted and to a wider range of adopters if it's already trained at least in the basics such as being house-broken, staying put through the night, not pulling on the leash, etc.
You get to know the dog and your input helps in finding a matching home. 
Knowing what the dog's capable of as well as its personality is a surprisingly big help in matching it to the right owner(s) and helping guarantee they will keep it.
You get to see the dog go to a permanent home.
It may take a little while but invariably that dog will get adopted. It's a red letter day and you will barely be able to keep your feet on the ground. A happy day, all around.
It's temporary. 
Unlike adopting, it doesn't require a 10-25 year long commitment. It's usually anywhere from a week to a few months, sometimes longer. And then if you want another, there's no shortage.
The Challenges of Fostering

I personally think the rewards far outweigh the challenges, but it helps to know ahead of time that it's not a complete cake-walk. Here are a few things to be aware of.

You need to make a commitment and work through issues.
These dogs need as little disruption as possible, so you want to foster one you know you can keep until it's placed. Work with the shelter to find a good match for you.

It can be disruptive and time-consuming.
Even at its best, fostering's going to make a few waves in your typical daily schedule. It's very satisfying but it does require some adjustment.

Sometimes foster dogs need to be taken to the vet, and they almost always need training of some sort. Even when the dog is healthy, well-behaved, and non-demanding, you'll still want to spend quite a bit of time with them.

There's a chance that some of your things may get damaged.
Usually dogs learn amazingly quickly and you'll both benefit by whatever training you can provide. In the meantime, though, it's common for something or another to get damaged. Chewed hoses, dug up flower beds, pee'd upon carpets.

In most of my cases, there was none of this, but it's always best to expect it might happen.

There may be issues between/among "family members".
You do what you can up-front to make sure everyone will get along (people and other pets included) but every now and then there's a surprise. This is why everyone needs to be on board ahead of time. Be prepared to get creative.

It's temporary.
This is listed under the positives too, but it's a double-edged sword. Letting go can sometimes be hard. Still, it's a bittersweet sorrow, and so worth it.

Come back tomorrow eve for Part 2 of Patti's article!