Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.
Q&A with Miki Chan of SpaGo Dog
March 6 2013
From a corporate office to a mobile dog-grooming van may seem like a demotion, but for Miki Chan, San Francisco Bay Area owner/operator of SpaGo Dog and former insuranceindustry underwriter, it was a huge step up. For 15+ years, Chan devoted her time to the demands of her job. Then one day, her supervisor, who previously had worked for AIG for 25 years and lost most of his net worth when it collapsed, advised her to do what she loved. Taking his advice to heart, she began to plan a way to return to her dog-grooming roots.
Chan had grown up with dogs, and when she was in college earning a degree in computer science with a minor in business, had a part-time job with a groomer, and loved it. So she went back to grooming school, got certified and worked for others to update her skills. Her financial background and marketing insights led her to believe that people would support a grooming salon that came to them. Plus, she didn’t like putting dogs in cages, as happens in most brick-andmortar operations. A mobile set-up would be quiet, personal, relaxing and clean—spa-like, you might say.
Chan finds working with dogs to be joyful, and is gratified that she’s been able to help them by sharing information with their owners on brushing, dental care, and health issues that the grooming process can reveal, such as lumps, skin tags, ear infections and so on.
Besides the sheer pleasure of working with dogs, she’s also glad that she no longer has to deal with office politics, plead for time off or spend endless hours for the benefit of corporate shareholders. We asked if she had any tips for others considering a career change, particularly self-employment, and she shared a few with us. Before jumping, Chan recommends that people be sure they can support their preferred lifestyle (whatever that might be) without their previous paycheck. She also points out that knowing your target audience is crucial, as are time-management and customer-service skills. And being knowledgeable about what you’re doing is key to building trust.
The insurance world’s loss has been the dog world’s gain, and we’d bet the planet’s happiness quotient has gone up a few points as well.
Do you find that people are comfortable with the concept of a mobile groomer?
What’s a typical grooming session like?
When it comes to nail trimming, black nails can be really difficult. What do you advise?
What kinds of things do you see most often?
February 28 2013
The missing socks caper has been solved. This morning I was catching up on Spring weeding, when I spied a strange blue object peeking out from under the wet soil. Much to my delight it turned out to be one, of the many, socks that have gone missing recently. This one actually disappeared earlier in the morning as I was dressing for the dog walk—but came up minus one “Falke” hiking sock (a sturdy brand from Germany). I thought that the culprit could be our little Charlie who, for a while, would sneak off with a sock and hide it in dog-bed cushions, or, at times, would simply sleep cuddled up with one. How sweet is that? So I looked in all the usual spots but came up with nada. Taking his finds outside and burying them is a new feat for my precious Terrier. Hopefully further weeding will unearth more socks, and, who knows, what else.
Beyond bones and balls, have your dogs ever buried stolen treasures? Would love to hear your stories! The photo, by the way, is a re-enactment that Charlie enjoyed posing for especially since I rewarded him by letting him carry the purloined sock back into the house.
February 27 2013
If you go to dog parks, I am sure you have run into this problem—people who give your dog treats without first asking your permission. I had a run-in this morning over such an offering.
The park that we go to is around 25 acres, with ridges and swales, easy for a dog to be nearby but be hidden from your view. Being able to spot my dogs even though they are off sniffing or playing with others, is important to me. What I don’t like is for well-intentioned humans to provide “incentives,” in the forms of treats, as I am trying to call to my dogs and instill reliable recalls. This morning that is exactly what happened, with the same person who has been “treating” Kit for some time now. This time I was close enough to her to ask her politely to please not treat my dog. Her reaction? She blew up at me, and wouldn’t let me finish explaining how important it is for Kit not to run to her when she sees her (or even hears her dogs), knowing that she will get a treat, and that only enforces a behavior (running off sometimes at a great distance) that I am trying hard to redirect. The “treater” seemed insulted that I brought this up.
A long time ago, when I was new to the whole dog-walking scene—years before I helped to establish the off leash area we were at this morning—I was one of those “treat” ladies. I loved that dogs seem to respond to me … and my homemade liver treats! Who doesn’t enjoy having a group of dogs sitting around you, waiting politely for a reward? But even then, I would first ask permission. I realize that I overplayed that a bit and realize now that there is a whole host of reasons not to feed someone else’s dog including how it might impact training, health, diet, etc.
Obviously there are exceptions as well. When we first got our under-socialized, fearful pups from a Southern shelter, I would ask others at the park to treat them, even providing them with treats. This helped ease the pups’ fear of humans. It also quickly made them into little roly-polies, so I would substitute kibble for treats and kept track of how many they got as “treats,” subtracted that from their regular meals.
To treat or not to treat other dogs—let me hear what you think.
Treats that pack a punch
February 22 2013
What dog doesn’t love peanut butter? Granola Peanut-Butter Crunchies are a good way to satisfy that craving and add nutritious foods to the mix. (The smell is irresistible, too.) The crunchies can be broken into smaller bits; on our park outings, I put just a couple in my pocket to treat all three of my dogs. Whole or broken up, they pack of punch of flavor. Homemade peanut butter is great, but store-bought is also fine (see this easy peanut-butter recipe). I used a blend of almond/coconut milk to add even more flavor, and for dogs who might be lactose intolerant.
Substitutions: Grated veggies suchas carrots or zucchini can be used instead of the fruit.
Preheat oven to 325°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, or butter and dust with fl our.
Grind all the seeds slightly in a food processor or blender. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Heat the coconut oil and honey long enough to soften. Beat an egg in a small bowl. Put the peanut butter (best at room temperature) into a food processor, add the almond milk or yogurt and process; add the egg, oil and honey, process again.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing with a wooden spoon. The mixture should hold together well enough to be easily shaped into balls; if it seems too wet, add some whole-wheat fl our. Shape into 1½-inch balls and place on the baking sheet; they can be spaced closely. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
(Optional: halfway through, turn each granola ball over so they brown evenly.) Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight jar. These treats can also be frozen.
Makes about 3 dozen
Another jerky recall hits home
February 20 2013
There has been another large-scale recall of pet treats, including jerky. But this time it isn’t products manufactured in China, rather it affects treats made at a Kasel Associated Industries facility in Denver, Colorado. The products may be contaminated with Salmonella, both animals and humans are at risk. The treats have been distributed widely from April 20 to September 19, 2012. We are trying to find out why it took them so long to identify this threat, although this is a voluntary recall.
A number of brands have been affected by this recall, including the new “No Junk… More Jump” BIXBI out of Boulder, Colorado. I am disappointed to learn this because I have been giving my dogs their Hip & Joint Chicken Breast Jerky (100% USA Sourced), not knowing that it was manufactured along with other brands, including treats for Petco. Luckily for my dogs, the lot/expiration date does not seem to be among those in this recall.
The recall covers the brands, Boots & Barkley, BIXBI, Nature’s Deli, Colorado Naturals, Petco, and Best Bully Stick items. Lot numbers as shown in 1 Year Best By Date Table and 2 Year Best By Date Table, which follows.
Consumers who have purchased any listed products are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Kasel Associated Industries at 800.218.4417 Monday thru Friday from 7am to 5pm MDT.
UPDATE: We just read about another recall involving chicken jerky, this one involves Nurti-Vet's Chicken Jerky Treats distributed nationwide through online sales and in retail stores from April 2012 through February 2013 with Best By Dates ranging from April 20, 2014, through October 3, 2014.For a more complete listing, see the FDA site.
2 Year Best By Date UPC Lot/Best By Date 085239043165 Boots&Barkley American Beef Bully Stick 12″ 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239403495 Boots&Barkley American Smoked Beef Femur Bone 3″ 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043103 Boots&Barkley American Flossie 6-8″ 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239403440 Boots&Barkley American Pig Ear Strips 8oz 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043202 Boots&Barkley American Chicken Stuffed Beef Femur Bone 6″ 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043110 Boots&Barkley American Braided Bully Stick 5″ 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043325 Boots&Barkley American Chicken Jerky 16oz 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 085239043400 Boots&Barkley American Chicken Jerky 8oz 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 490830400086 Boots&Barkley American Variety Pack 32oz 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 647263899196 Boots&Barkley American Beef Ribs 2ct 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 647263899172 Boots&Barkley American Beef Knuckle 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 647263899158 Boots&Barkley American Pig Ears 12ct 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 647263899189 Boots&Barkley American Beef Bully Sticks 6ct 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 647263899165 Boots&Barkley American Pork Femur 20APR2014 DEN-03OCT2014 DEN 681131857246 Roasted Pig Ear Dog Treats 28oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 800443092903 25 PK Natural Pig Ears 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 800443092910 12 PK Natural Pig Ears 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 800443092927 12 PK Smoked Pig Ears 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 800443092934 7 PK Natural Pig Ears 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 800443092941 7 PK Smoked Pig Ears 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263800291 16oz Chicken Chips 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263900151 16oz Salmon Jerky 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263800178 4oz Chicken Jerky 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263510176 4oz Lamb Jerky 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263900175 4 oz Salmon Jerky 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263801175 4oz Beef Jerky 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263800291 16oz Chicken Jerky 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 647263700157 16oz Pork Jerky 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018021 BIXBI Skin & Coat Beef Liver Jerky 5oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018045 BIXBI Skin & Coat Lamb Jerky 5oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018007 BIXBI Skin & Coat Chicken Breast Jerky Treats 5oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018069 BIXBI Skin & Coat Pork Jerky 5oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018144 BIXBI Hip And Joint Pork Jerky 5oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018120 BIXBI Hip And Joint Lamb Jerky 5oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018083 BIXBI Hip And Joint Chicken Breast Jerky 5oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN 091037018106 BIXBI Hip And Joint Beef Liver Jerky 5oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Bulk TDBBS, Inc Buffalo Hearts Sliced 3 lbs 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Bulk TDBBS, Inc Knee Caps 25 Ct 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown TDBBS, Inc Pork Jerky Strips 16oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown TDBBS, Inc Chicken Jerky 16oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown TDBBS, Inc Turkey Cubes 4.5oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Bulk TDBBS, Inc Pig Snouts 25ct 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Bulk TDBBS, Inc Beef Lobster Tails 1ct 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown TDBBS, Inc Turkey Jerky Sticks 6ct 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown TDBBS, Inc Hearts of Lamb 4oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN Unknown TDBBS, Inc Lamb Jerky 4oz 04202014 DEN-10032014 DEN
1 Year Best By Date UPC Lot/Best By Date 647263800215 Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky 3lbs 04202013 DEN-10032013 DEN 647263800208 Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky 2.5lbs 04202013 DEN-10032013 DEN
The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures
February 13 2013
This enthralling book might change the way we perceive other species who share the planet with us. Animal Wise is a spinoff of a 2008 article the author wrote for National Geographic about how animals think.
As you read through Morell’s conversations with some of the top researchers in the biological sciences, you cannot help but feel slightly envious. How fortunate she was to have had an assignment that took her to (among other places) Kenya, Venezuela, Australia, England and Japan, and to spend time with scientists and their animals, plus learn about their field studies firsthand. We’re lucky that Morell is such an able and enthusiastic storyteller and can deftly interpret complicated theses and theories for us.
She explores what these researchers have discovered about the mental and emotional lives of animals ranging from ants and trout to parrots, elephants, dogs and many others. She went in search of the “minds of animals to better grasp how the other creatures around us perceive and understand the world.” Not, as others have done, to see how unique the human mind is, which we learn is not all that much.
The book opens with the smallest subjects, rock ants who use complicated social communication skills to teach other ants. Next up are fish, who also learn from one another. Amazingly, parrots each have their own names, and have “conversations” with flock friends. And, yes, rats laugh; elephants mourn; and fish, alas, feel pain (in fact, trout have 22 pain receptor cells on their heads alone). Morrell shares these findings, and many others, with a journalistic sense of having a front-row seat, and it makes for a compelling read.
February 8 2013
Whether you use it for baking treats, making pills more enticing, making a cool frozen treat*, Kong snuffing, or simply letting your dog lick a dab off your finger—dogs love their peanut butter. What better way to ensure that this delicious food is safe and nutritious than to make it yourself? It couldn’t be simpler to do.
Small Batch PB
Process until the PB is the desired consistency. It is important to note that PB goes through different stages: starting with a crushed “blob,” then to a paste with the consistency of a pie dough, and to a thicker paste before it finally becomes a creamy "butter." It can take around 3 minutes for the oils to be released so the "paste" can become a butter. When I first made PB I wasn’t aware of all the stages, so stopped at “thicker paste” which made it difficult to spread, even though the dogs didn't seem to mind! But only a minute or two more processing time results in a perfectly creamy peanut butter. Lesson here is to keep processing. If your blender or food processor gets too warm, turn it off, and let it cool, and continue processing. It seems like almost magic once you get to that buttery stage.
For crunchy style PB, chop up ¼ cup or so of peanuts, then using a spatula, add to the finished processed PB.
Use a cup of peanut butter, 1/2 mashed banana, mix with a little water. Put into ice cube trays (silicone ones work well). Freeze for a few hours. Dogs love these delicious lickings.
February 8 2013
Not that we need a holiday to remind us how much we cherish our dogs, but with St. Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s a good thing to ponder. Our newest dog, terrier-mix Charlie, whom we adopted about a year ago, has a lot going for him. As many of you may recall, we got him shortly after our 18-year-old terrier-mix Lenny died. I had grown quite attached to the sine qua non terrier nature and thought that young Charles had the same qualities as his predecessor—loyal to the core with an astute “on-ness.” But unlike Len, he also came with an overriding desire to “go to ground.” From his first night with us, sleeping next to me under the covers has been his preferred spot in the universe. It surprised me at first (plus, I feared he would suffocate!), but I quickly grew accustomed to our sleeping arrangement—it’s so endearing, and so him. The night starts with Charlie snuggled along my midsection, but by morning, he’s down at my feet (still under wraps). Does your dog sleep with you? In what fashion? Also, what do you find especially endearing about your dog?
Welcome to our new readers! The Winter ’12 issue was so popular that we sold out in mid-December, so this may be your first taste of The Bark. We kick off 2013 by putting the lid on winter and leaping into spring with zest. Julie Hecht helps us understand what all that barking is about; behaviorist Karen London explains why dogs have a fondness for novelty; and Rebecca Wallick talks to Ted Kerasote about his new book, Pukka’s Promise, in which he gives his prescription for longer-lived dogs. While we’re in agreement with much of what Ted says, we do take exception to a few of his positions, particularly his stance on spay/neuter. But debate is good, right?
John Woestendiek investigates the merging of human and veterinary medicine and the benefits that accrue to both species. We also look at the intersections between dogs and technology; as one amazing example, Emily Anthes interviews an orthopedic vet who creates prosthetic limbs. Plus, I whipped up a delectable treat recipe to share with you; there’s another episode of Lee Harrington’s “Chloe Chronicles,” in which Chloe has a marrowbone mishap (that’s also happened to our dog Lola, so definitely something to look out for); and Twig Mowatt reveals how forward-thinking shelters are making adoptions more accessible.
The Endpiece from none other than E. B. White, author of the classic Charlotte’s Web (among many others), is our valentine to you. In this timeless essay, which White wrote during WWII, he talks about his vegetable garden, urban chicken-raising and his irrepressible dog, all topics that are once again in vogue (though dogs have never gone out, thank goodness).
Now, another request. As some of you know, The Bark got its start 16 years ago as a newsletter, part of a campaign for off-leash dog parks that resulted in the establishment of a 17-acre OLA in Berkeley. We quickly expanded our publishing vision and today, Bark is the leading dog culture magazine in, yes, the world. But the subject of dog parks is still dear to my heart, and I’m itching to get back to it. Later this year, we hope to publish a comprehensive dog-park update, and I’d love to hear from you; please share your expertise, opinions and ideas. What do you think works best about the parks you visit, and what needs the most improvement—basically, what are the ingredients of a perfect dog park? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the conversation online at thebark.com/dogpark.
Finally, like many other magazines, we’ve been battling the skyrocketing costs of printing, postage, paper and even ink. So, in order to continue giving you a high-quality product and keep subscription rates the same, we’ve decided to print four issues instead of five this year. These will be supplemented with two very special extra digital editions, which, along with our current digital versions, will be free to subscribers. The digital issues have a lot more bells and whistles than their print cousins, and are easy to navigate too. As a reminder to those of you who prefer your magazines digital-only, we now offer that subscription option as well. So, whatever platform you choose—paper, laptop, tablet or smartphone—Bark will be there for you.
No matter how we come to you, our goal is the same: we want the time you spend with us to be engaging, informative and fun. Most of all, we aim to give you tools that will help you enhance your relationships with your dogs, so you can be there for them.
— Claudia Kawczynska
January 2 2013
Patti Page died on New Year’s Day at the age of 85. She was a pop singer in the 1950s (and beyond) and recorded modern classics like “Tennessee Waltz” and “How Much is That Doggie in the Window,” both of which became No. 1 hits. In 1999, after 51 years of performing, she won her first Grammy award and was planning on attending this year’s Grammy ceremony on Feb. 9 to accept a well-earned lifetime achievement award.
Patti Page reprised “How Much is That Doggie…” recently for the Humane Society of the United States for their Stop Puppy Mills campaign, this new version is much closer to our hearts, “Can You See That Doggie in the Shelter?”
December 30 2012
This year the Tournament of the Roses Parade (Jan. 1) will be showcasing a float with a theme near and dear to our hearts—“Follow The Stars—Adopt a Pet!” Be sure to watch this on New Year’s day, the float will appear in parade order 42. The float, sponsored by the Beverly Hills Pet Care Foundation is sure to be the parade’s favorite.
The pet float hopes to raise awareness of the millions of pets that are euthanized each year, and all the float’ s human participants have adopted pets and have dedicated themselves to improving the homeless pet problem.
Shelter animals from the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services, such as this one-year old Maltese mix, Bo Jangles, will ride on the float. The shelter animals will be joined by others like Uggie, the imitable Jack Russell Terrier dog actor from the Academy award winning film, The Artist—he had been rescued from the pound by animal trainer, Omar Von Muller. So he makes the perfect “spokesman” for this event.
Better still after the parade, The Pet Care Foundation will be sponsoring an event for animal shelters and pet rescue groups. The adoptable dogs on the float will all come for Los Angeles Animal Services and will be up for adoption immediately following the parade.
If you are in the area, do think of adopting a pet that day (or any day!), and definitely lend your cheers and tweets as the float drives by.
And for now, check out the coverage of the float prep from KTLA5
Copyright © 1997-2017 The Bark, Inc. Dog Is My Co-Pilot® is a registered trademark of The Bark, Inc