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Dog's Life: Travel
Dog-Friendly Travel Along Oregon Coast
Have Dog, Will Travel
The Oregon Coast

If dog heaven were a place on earth, it would look a lot like the Oregon coast. All 363 miles of beach are publicly accessible and only a few are closed to dogs. Endless trails through lush forests offer a respite from the wind and salty sea. Hotels vie for the privilege of pampering you and your dog with complimentary chew toys, cozy beds and fireplaces.

Best Dog Beaches
At Cannon Beach, there is always a perfect stick within reach, and the whole town is bunny-scented. Dogs and owners alike love visiting because the city follows Ocean Shore rules, which state that while leashes are not specifically required, physical control must be maintained. Cape Meares and Pacific City are good options for solitude seekers.

Dog-Friendly Accommodations
For a romantic splurge, check in at the elegant Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria. Dog beds are provided for canine guests as well as baskets overflowing with healthy dog treats and other thoughtful extras. Pets love taking in the sights, sounds and smells of birds, sea lions, fish and boats on the Columbia River from balconies jutting out from each room, while their owners enjoy a good Pinot Noir by the fire. Alternately, experience the ultimate in modern design at the Coast Cabins in Manzanita. The owners left the city and moved to Manzanita for their Weimaraner, Cameron. They know how to live and how to treat a dog like royalty.

Surfsand Resort, the Ocean Lodge and the Inn at Cannon Beach are noteworthy family-friendly places in Cannon Beach that celebrate your pet’s arrival with a welcome basket. Warm pet washes with towels are available throughout the properties for sandy dogs. Jacuzzis and fireplaces are provided for humans.

Great news for glampers: 15 yurts and four cabins in 13 Oregon State Park campgrounds along the coast opened up to pets in 2012. Visit Oregon Parks and Recreation Department online for a list of pet-friendly yurts and cabins and to make reservations.

Dog Events Worth a Trip
The Doggie Olympic Games in Long Beach, Wash., across the river from Astoria, are held June 15–16. Competitive events open to your pet include the Luciano Pavarotti Commemorative Sing-Off, the Peanut Butter Lick and the Rip Van Winkle Sleep-Off. Manzanita’s Muttzanita is a lot of fun, with a Chuckit toss, mutt massages and a pet parade (August 18). Surfsand Resort’s 15th Annual Dog Show in Cannon Beach is on October 20. Categories include Best Tail Wag and So Ugly You’re Cute.

Travel Kit for a Smooth Visit
Pack a flashlight, towel, blanket, food, water, leash, first aid kit (remember hydrogen peroxide, Pepto Bismol and tweezers), lint roller and pet bags.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Eco-gear for Earth-loving dogs
Kit's Corner
baxterandbirdie.com, Dublin Dogs, Found My Animal, Katcha Bilek studio, krebsrec

Chic, Green and Giving
Making good on their green mission, Baxter & Birdie produces pet collars, leashes and accessories made only from factory scraps and overstocked fabrics. Each collar is laminated to resist rips, moisture and mud. Whenever possible, they’re even organic. If creating recycled dog gear weren’t enough, Baxter & Birdie runs the “Buy One, Feed One” campaign, feeding one shelter animal in need for a week with every purchase. (Cover dog Charlie is modeling B&B’s Suki in the Mar/May 2012 issue!)
$34.99
baxterandbirdie.com

Save a Bottle
The Dublin Dogs line of eco-conscious gear includes collars made from 1.5 recycled plastic water bottles and waterbased inks. Available in five bright and stylish collections—including Courage (proceeds from this line benefits Chase Away K9 Cancer).
$24–$28
dublindog.com

Adopted Dogs Only
The newest release from Found My Animal, an attractive orange leash, is designed in the “official” color for rescues; now you can give your adopted dog something all her own. Thirty percent of the proceeds from each leash purchase through the Found My Animal website goes to their dog-rescue support fund.
$42–$48
foundmyanimal.com/shop

Treads to Threads
Giving new meaning to the term “upcycle,” the artists at the Katcha Bilek studio in the UK have created waterproof dog collars made out of bike tires. Available in skinny, medium and wide, and in either slick and chunky tread, we’re fans of these because they clean up well and look sharp at the dog park.
$20
Katcha Bilek shop on etsy.com

New Leash on Life
The team at Krebs Recycle fashions leashes from durable, pre- and postconsumerrecycled nylon climbing rope. There are no carbon-intensive recycling processes to turn the rope into something else— they take the original rope and simply make it into a leash. Leashes are available in four sizes.
$12.95–$15.99
krebsrecycle.com

Dog's Life: Home & Garden
Top Tips for Spring Cleaning
From our readers

The entrants in a recent Bark contest had some incredible cleaning tips, and we want to share them with you. The reigning champion of reader cleaning solutions was vinegar, and we agree—it’s versatile, it’s green and it works. But take a look at a few other DIY tricks to kick your spring cleaning up a notch.

Throw a few feet of cheap nylon netting in the dryer with your clothes and bedding. It grabs all of the pet hair. Shake it out and reuse it.
—Andria Head, Bremerton, Wash.

A great way to recycle dog hair is composting— I put some in my worm box.
—Tima Priess, Ester, Alaska

Add a few drops of organic essential oil (lavender, peppermint, vanilla) to a cotton ball and suck it up with the vacuum. The cotton ball will give the carpet and room a nice, soothing smell with each vacuum.
—Irma Aguirre, San Francisco, Calif.

When my front-load washer gets stinky from retained moisture, I add one cup of baking soda with the next load of wash. It reduces that smell, helps brighten the wash and is more environmentally safe than the major detergent brands.
—Nyla Wright, Bellingham, Wash.

I recycle shredded newspaper and office paper by soaking it for a few days. Then I form bricks, let it dry and use it for our woodburning stove. Free heat!
—Abby Smith, Arbor Vitae, Wis.

I take all my old shirts and tear them into different size rags—some for windows, some for floors, some for dusting. I also save grease from the deep fryer, soak the rags and light my grill or fire.
—Sharon Phillips, Ashford, Ala.

Wear rubber gloves and run your hands over the furniture. The fur comes right up.
—Janice Mitchell, Maryland Heights, Mo.

The best way to remove dog fur from many furniture fabrics is to wet your hands and rub them along the furniture. Continue re-wetting your hands as they dry and removing the accumulated fur. It’s a snap.
—Barbara Morgan, Tucson, Ariz.

When your dog pulls the stuffing out of her toy, don’t throw it away. Put it out in the yard for nesting material for birds and small animals.
—Linda DeCelles, Rowley, Mass.

Place your silverware in a dish lined with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Add two tablespoons of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt. Pour hot water over and let soak for a minimum of 30 minutes. Wipe clean.
—Nikki King, Federal Way, Wash.

For cleaning “gunk” from the walls and mirrors of our rental, we found that diluted white vinegar works great. —Veronica Adrover, Modesto, Calif.

Dog's Life: Work of Dogs
Dogs Bring Relief to Soldiers
Operation Stress Control
Captain Cecilia Najera of the U.S. Army

Forty-eight to 72 hours after a critical event occurs in a war zone — a soldier is killed in an explosion, for example — the U.S. Army’s Combat Operational Stress Control (COSC) unit offers what it calls traumatic event management to help the affected unit cope with the loss. “We debrief and talk about what they experienced,” says Capt. Cecilia Najera, an occupational therapist. “We reinforce [the fact] that the symptoms and feelings they are having are normal reactions to something that is abnormal.”

During one such gathering, in Tikrit, Iraq, the soldiers sat in a circle around Boe, a black Labrador and one of the first army dogs to be deployed specifically to provide troops with emotional support. Some of the men and women wanted to talk about the incident. Others, trying to get a handle on their feelings, just wanted to listen. A few found it easier to talk when they were petting the dog.

“It was somber,” Najera remembers. But then, in the middle of the circle, Boe broke the gloomy atmosphere with an abrupt movement. “She tried to catch a fly,” Najera says, “and everyone laughed. She definitely offered a bit of a distraction and helped lighten the mood.”

Sgt. 1st Class Boe was arguably one of the hardest-working and most popular soldiers at the base during her deployment. In a place where both the emotional and the physical climates are harsh, Boe became de facto family for many of the soldiers. She got them talking when they were inclined to shut down, and frolicking when they needed to relax. She allowed them to express themselves emotionally and demonstrate affection (which she reciprocated) in an environment where warmth and tenderness were in exceedingly short supply.

The program was launched in 2007, and Boe and another black Lab, Budge, became the army’s first COSC dogs, helping service members deal with combat anxieties, homefront issues and sleep disorders. They were donated to the army by America’s VetDogs, a sister organization of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. The foundation has a history of working with the military, back to post–World War II days, when they provided guide dogs for vision-impaired veterans.

There is nothing new about dogs working with soldiers — they are well established and valuable in areas of detection and security. But it wasn’t until folks from the army’s COSC unit approached VetDogs about sending therapy dogs to Iraq that the nonprofit organization began training its canines for a very different purpose.

“These dogs have to have impeccable behavior,” says Wells Jones, CEO of VetDogs and the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. “We’re giving them that behavior, plus preparation for all kinds of people and circumstances.” He acknowledges that, seeking a similar emotional connection, military units have been known to adopt local dogs. But those dogs, few of whom have been inoculated, can bring disease onto a base. Most importantly, the army has a rule against it. General Order 1-A says that soldiers are forbidden to adopt, care for or even feed any domestic or wild animals in the war zone.

Trainers choose COSC dogs, whose jobs fall under the umbrella of animalassisted therapy, based on temperament. It’s critical that they do not react negatively to loud noises, and that they follow their handler’s commands despite distractions ranging from mortar rounds to a soldier bearing a tempting treat. Training includes exposure to groundrumbling noises (rifle ranges) and exotic transportation (helicopters).

With security in mind, VetDogs chose Boe and Budge in part for their color — black. “We were thinking that they’d be less visible at night,” Jones says. “But since then, our preference has changed and we’d prefer them on the lighter side because of the strong sunlight and the fur’s ability to reflect.”

Before a dog is sent overseas, army handlers spend time training at the VetDogs campus on Long Island, N.Y., and at army bases. Although one person becomes the dog’s primary handler, three others are also trained to ensure that 11th-hour staffing changes won’t affect the dog’s care. On top of that, 40 to 50 people in each unit receive one day of basic instruction in dog care — for instance, do not feed the dog MREs (the army’s infamous Meals Ready-to- Eat, which may, in some cases, be less palatable than kibble). When the dog is fully trained, he or she travels on official army orders to the war zone.

Opening Doors to Mental Health
“I didn’t know what to expect with Boe,” Najera says. “It was my first deployment, and I had no clue how I’d use the dog.” As part of COSC’s prevention team, Najera facilitated outreach and classes in areas such as coping skills and suicide prevention. Boe, constantly at Najera’s side, made her purpose clear in no time.

“There’s still a mental-health stigma,” Najera says. “When you say, ‘Hi, I’m from Stress Control,’ people tend to run the other way. But I found that having a dog opened up doors. Instead of having to [make the] approach, people approached me.” She says it also gave soldiers something neutral to talk about, especially if they had pets at home. Before they knew it, they would be talking about personal aspects of their lives and even — on occasion — their feelings.

Najera found that she and Boe were always working. Not only were they available to men and women dealing with combat trauma or news of tragedy back home, but soldiers would also approach the pair at the dining facility or while they were running on the track (part of the old Iraqi Air Force base where they were staying). Najera created a program for a couple of overweight soldiers to run with Boe, and the dog even participated in a 5K on the base. The four-legged competitor still managed to boost morale, even after beating a few human racers. On Boe’s fourth birthday, the Army Dixie band played, and the dining facility staff made a cake and a piñata. “It was a party for her, but it was really for our community,” Najera says. “It just showed how much people really enjoyed having a dog.”

Boe wasn’t immune to the high-stress environment. After all, she was charged with comforting many of the 16,000 people living on a base that was active 24 hours a day. “I think the dogs experience compassion fatigue too,” Najera says. “When soldiers tell us what they’re going through, it becomes stressful for us, because we’re absorbing the stresses. I think it was the same for the dogs.” Eventually, a forced nap was scheduled into Boe’s day.

In Mosul, at Forward Operating Base Marez, Budge lived at a smaller facility but still had his work cut out for him: consoling troops at a trailer-based clinic and going for walkabouts to visit units. The base was mortared multiple time a day, and though Budge raised his ears at the sound, he didn’t panic. He even had a chance to save a life, donating blood to a military police dog who was injured along with his handler in a shooting.

Like Boe, Budge was a superstar and champion icebreaker, garnering invitations (to unit social gatherings, for instance) that a mental-health provider might never get otherwise. “We couldn’t go anywhere without someone calling his name,” recalls his handler, Staff Sgt. Syreeta Reid, an occupational therapy assistant. “They didn’t remember my name, but they always knew I was the one with Budge.” Sometimes Reid set up play dates between Budge and the soldiers: Frisbee or fetch on a field where an Iraqi soccer team once played.

In both countries, the weather is unforgiving and the physical conditions are challenging, and the dogs — just like other soldiers — are deployed with proper gear. They have booties to protect their paws from the hot ground and Doggles to protect their eyes from blowing sand. They have cooling jackets for daytime and, in Afghanistan, warm vests for night. Reid says she inspected Budge’s paws daily to make sure they weren’t cracked, and used cream to keep them hydrated. The mercury rose to 135 degrees some days, and those were indoor days for Budge.

On days with multiple soldier visits, Budge would inevitably receive too many treats. Reid says one of the hardest things was dispelling the myth that food equals love. The fact was, Budge was getting a little, well, pudgy. Reid pled with his fans to limit the treats, but eventually resorted to serving him smaller meals to control his weight.

Homecoming
Boe and Budge were deployed for 18 months, returning to the U.S. in April 2009. Jones says that people remember working dogs not returning from Vietnam, but “these dogs travel on orders,” he says, “so they all come home.” Upon their return, they go to VetDogs for evaluation and retraining for their next army assignment. Most of the former COSC dogs have been redeployed to occupational or physical therapy clinics at U.S. bases.

Studies are currently underway at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, next to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, to help understand exactly how the dogs are helping soldiers. Anecdotal evidence shows that the presence of an animal helps soldiers sleep and lowers their anxiety.

But just like any other area of military medicine, it’s critical to have research to show the effectiveness of the therapy dog program, which — with training, transportation, gear and care — isn’t cheap. In the meantime, the deployments continue, even though the dogs haven’t yet been formally added to the COSC unit’s personnel roster.

Today, three dogs are serving in Afghanistan (Apollo, Timmy and Zeke). Two dogs (Butch and Zack) returned from Iraq in December and are temporarily back at VetDogs before they are redeployed to Afghanistan. After retraining, Boe and Budge were sent to Ft. Gordon’s Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Georgia. Budge died in 2010 from lymphoma, and Boe is now working at Georgia’s Ft. Benning, lending a paw to the healing of wounded soldiers. It’s hard to know if Boe is happy to be back in her home country because she takes such pleasure in working and helping people, regardless of who owns the turf. Being deployed might not be such a bad life for a dog. “These dogs are doing something they love to do,” Jones says. “They love to be with people. So it’s not the same circumstance as soldiers, who are away from their families. The dogs are with their family.”

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dog Walking Services
Three companies to watch
Building a Better Dog Walker

Swifto
The recently launched Swifto aims to provide busy New Yorkers with experienced and responsive dog-walking assistance. The fledgling web-based service connects people to a fiveborough- wide squad of handpicked, independent dog walkers. Unlike similar services that rely mostly on location to make recommendations, Swifto uses an algorithm that also factors in dogs’ specific needs and challenges and walkers’ past jobs, skills and ratings. In addition to helping broker long-term dog-walking relationships, Swifto’s other handy service is a “quick match” for clients in a bind. The company promises that within 60 minutes of a customer request, a walker will be in touch to sort out details and—with the customer’s go-ahead—have the dog’s leash in hand. Walks are $20 for one dog for 30 minutes and $5 for an additional dog; for $10 more, the dog gets a full hour walk.
swifto.com

Pet Check Technology
As in so many spheres, technology is making dog walking more transparent —no more wondering if, when and where your dog got her constitutional. Pet Check Technology launched the first dog-walking software and mobile app in 2001, which provides a homebased barcode that walkers scan to signal the start and the end of a walk. In addition, people can track each jaunt online using real-time GPS and email updates.

“Our hope is, of course, that customers will begin to request this service, so they can have peace of mind that their dog is being properly walked and/or exercised,” says Doug Simon, founder of Pet Check Technology. The Pet Check Technology software is also designed to function as a business- management tool for professional dog walkers, and includes scheduling and billing applications. Membership starts at $29.99 per month.
petchecktechnology.com

Jogs for Dogs
When he started Jogs for Dogs in 2007, founder Brendan Fahey imagined a fairly traditional dog-walking service, with a twist: the walkers would be runners. But he soon learned that this small adjustment to his Seattle-based business had big implications. Runners can only take one or two dogs at a time, and two hours of pounding the pavement is most runners’ daily max. It wasn’t, as they say in the business world, scalable.

After a few years, Fahey got out of the time-intensive business of managing a small army of bonded, insured runners—mostly University of Washington students—and, last May, launched JogsForDogs.com, a matchmaking website that brings dog-loving runners together with dogs who need runs.

In the new paradigm, a dog is most likely to be paired with an avid runner and dog-lover who works in an unrelated field. “It’s about connecting people with dogs and people who love dogs,” Fahey says. “It’s more like hiring a babysitter than a nanny.” Joggers set their own prices and dog owners do their own interviewing and reference-checking. Currently, Jogs for Dogs has runners in 22 states and eight other countries, including Canada, the UK, Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, Slovenia and New Zealand.
jogsfordogs.com

Culture: DogPatch
Daily Life Clock
Home Works: Best picks of domestic design
dailylifeclock.com

“They live in their hometown”

This eyecatching and inventive clock by Korean designer, Dongjin Byeon, does not employ numbers and hands to show time, instead, the figures of an elderly woman, her granddaughter and a fast-moving, dog represent hours, minutes and seconds respectively.

The figures move through the scenes of daily life that are arranged around the circumference to indicate hours. For example, when the grandmother sits on a bench, it is about 7:00 am/pm with the assumption that she would take a rest on a bench looking at the sunrise/sunset. According to Byeon, his clock also “suggests the daily patterns of our lives but it also implies our aspiration for a simple life."

13x12x2 inches
powder-coated stainless steel
$150
dailylifeclock.com

Wellness: Healthy Living
Bringing Dog Services to Your Door
A growing number of pet professionals are making house calls

Most of us are accustomed to taking our dogs for services, or handling routine maintenance tasks ourselves. But increasingly, daunting medical needs, complicated schedules and plain old compassion-based issues are creating a demand for a more retro approach: house calls.

Pat and Bob Engeman of Long Island, N.Y., doted on Riley, their small Shih Tzu/Maltese mix. When Riley was diagnosed with incurable transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), or bladder cancer, in 2009, they were determined to give him the best quality of life they could provide during the time he had left. However, the realities of what Riley needed on a daily basis were overwhelming.

“We had to give so many injections,” says Pat Engeman. “It was too emotional for us. We were afraid to do it wrong. He needed three a day when he first got home from the hospital. My husband was running home at lunchtime, then I would wait for him to come home after work. I thought, ‘This is crazy — someone should be able to come to the house.’”

After checking out options, Pat connected with Pet Home Health Agency, based in New York City. Owner Charlene Overcash had created the unique service when she realized that she could combine her love of pets with her long-time experience as a home-healthcare nurse. Today, her clients range from busy young professionals who can’t stay home to care for their convalescent pets to the elderly who are physically unable to tend to their pets’ medical needs. Further, Overcash provides veterinarians with a full report of each visit as well as assurance that their patients are receiving appropriate post-surgical treatment and/or rehabilitation.

Overcash herself made the hour-long drive to the Engemans’ Long Island home to demonstrate proper techniques and to give the couple an emotional boost. After a few visits, a vet technician who also lived on Long Island was entrusted with Riley’s care. Slowly, as the Engemans grew more confident about caring for him, the professionals were able to reduce the number of visits, which also saved the Engemans money. Thanks to his in-home care, Riley made it to his 10th birthday in January 2010 (he was peacefully put to sleep in April 2010).

The Engemans were touched that Overcash and Rose, Riley’s main vet tech, stopped by with cookies and flowers after Riley’s passing. “People probably scratched their heads over why we put so much money into this dog even though we knew he wouldn’t survive. Overcash and Rose just take that extra step and personalize everything. They know he’s not just a dog. He had a good extra nine months.”

Heeding the Need
While in-home pet services are more popular than ever, small-animal veterinarian Christine Foster had to wrestle with the state of Virginia when she first proposed Companion Paws Mobile Veterinary Service 16 years ago. There were many fine animal hospitals in her area, but no one offered a full-service mobile vet option because state regulations required the surgery suite to be separate from the exam room.

As part of a traditional veterinary practice, she recognized that it was a struggle for many pet owners to come to the office. Elderly clients could not drive, parents of small children found it difficult to get everyone in the car for a trip to the vet, and people who owned multiple pets had to make multiple visits. Also, when it came to euthanasia, many people balked at bringing their beloved companion into a sterile office and sharing such a personal event with a lobby full of strangers.

“Now, when I do euthanasia, they just feel so much more comfortable because they’re home with their pet,” says Foster. “Many times their pet will be on a blanket in front of the fireplace with the whole family gathered around. They share pictures and say goodbye. Then I do the euthanasia. We talk afterward and they get to a point of feeling better about making that decision. It’s very peaceful to be allowed the dignity of saying goodbye to a pet at home.”

Foster has also noticed that some people are more comfortable talking to her in their home than in an exam room. They share stories, and sometimes the details clue her in to things that are affecting the animal.

“Seeing puppies in their new homes is a perfect example of being able to really help a client get a good start,” says Foster. “For example, people tend to over- or underestimate the size of the crate they need for their dog. Usually, it’s too big to be a good housebreaking tool or too small for an adult dog to be comfortable in for any length of time. With their dog right there, I can show them how to better size the crate. I can also see the placement of the crate and help them learn how to use it as a positive place by making it the dog’s ‘den,’ a happy and secure place to go, and not a punishment.”

She also demonstrates a variety of training techniques — among them, how to teach a puppy to give up chewing on that slipper in exchange for a more appropriate toy. “Typically, I sit right on the floor, which makes dogs more comfortable and lets puppies act like themselves,” says Foster. “The client can watch me, and I think that helps reinforce the recommendations better than just talking about them in an office.”

Healthy pets and people were also on Mary Glenn-Rhodes’ mind when she founded Mary’s House Cleaning Service in Tucson, Ariz., 20 years ago. After she survived cancer and a stroke, her doctor advised her to find a low-stress career. A neighbor suggested that she clean houses, but she didn’t take it seriously until she realized that there was a customer base who desperately needed her: those who lived with companion animals. Not only could they use help keeping up with the fur, dirt and accidents, they needed someone who loved animals, too.

Before her staff comes in with cleaning equipment, Glenn-Rhodes makes it a point to meet the pets, talk to them and give them treats. She feels it’s very important not to barge in on animals, but rather, to give them a chance to adjust to the change in routine and new people in their home. After a few visits, she says, dogs typically get excited as soon as her truck pulls up.

She has also created her own natural, pet-safe cleaning products using essential oils, which she feels are calming for both companion animals and their people. “I bring longevity to my clients’ pets because of what I use,” says Glenn- Rhodes. When a client loses a beloved pet, Glenn-Rhodes admits that she cries. She understands that pets are members of the family and is often asked to care for them when the client needs to be out of town.

Solving Mysteries
It’s hard to live with dogs and not wonder about what affects their health and motivates their behavior. Sheila Saraceno and Kay Weber, both based in the Chicago area, could be thought of as sleuths who go to great lengths to help their clients find out the answers to these questions.

Saraceno opened Wagging Tails, a food, treat and toy delivery service, more than a year ago after being laid off from her job of 30 years. She first became interested in canine diet and its role in behavior and overall health when her late Golden Retriever, Casper, was plagued with mysterious gastrointestinal (GI) ailments. Searching for ways to help him motivated her to learn more about good canine nutrition.

After they lost Casper to bloat when he was five, she and her husband got another Golden Retriever, Timber, who also developed GI issues. “We took what we learned for Casper and applied it to Timber, but it wasn’t enough,” Saraceno recalls. “We kept learning, researching, adding holistic doctors to my list of remedies, and got him on the road to good health.

“A lot of dogs have GI issues and people don’t even recognize that they have them. Some think it’s okay for their dog’s stool to look like soft-serve all the time,” says Saraceno. “I educate people, give them the info they need to make good decisions, give them choices based on their circumstances and budget. Education is the key.”

Dogs suffering from age-related issues make up the largest part of her client base. As part of her service, she takes time to find products that will help improve the dogs’ quality of life and keep them free of pain. Others like the convenience factor of home delivery for everything from flea/tick preventatives and quality food and treats to toys and other must-have canine accessories. She says customers keep coming back because she cares about what happens to their dogs after they receive their home orders.

“When you go into a bigbox store to pick up dog food, no one ever questions what you do,” says Saraceno. “Someone at the counter will ask if you found everything you were looking for, but no one asks, ‘Does your dog like this food? Is he shedding excessively? How do his stools look?’ I talk about that all day long with my clients. I don’t want to just sell them food, I want to know how their dogs are doing.”

Animal behaviorist Kay Weber, who owns Kay-9 Petiquette, was also inspired by her dogs to make a career change. The former mechanical engineer was devastated when a friend decided to euthanize her three-yearold Labrador Retriever, Chelsea, after harsh training techniques used in the world of competitive obedience caused her to be dog-aggressive. Weber contacted renowned animal behaviorist and author (and Bark columnist) Patricia McConnell, PhD, for hwelp with Chelsea, but her friend declined to follow through.

When Weber’s Lab, Baker, presented with some ADD-like behavior, she again sought McConnell’s counsel, and with her help, Baker was transformed into a well-adjusted adult dog. Impressed, Weber went back to school and earned a master’s degree in psychology with a specialization in learning theory/animal behavior.

When Weber first goes to her client’s home, she observes and evaluates both the dog and the people. Ideally, all family members are present so they can share as much information about the problem behavior(s) as possible and learn how to be consistent in making changes.

“The dog is the easy part,” says Weber. “Trying to get the people to understand what’s going on, why it’s happening and how we can make it better is the hard part. Behavior modification is often common sense, but you need someone to guide you.”

Though some are looking for a “magic-wand” fix — wave the wand and make it better — she finds that most clients are sincerely concerned, and turn to her because their pet’s problem behavior and affects family life. Another thing she wants to know is how committed the family is to the dog. “When we make a plan, I ask them, ‘Is this realistic? What’s going to work for you and your family?’” says Weber. “I want the family to be happy with the dog, and I want the dog to be happy in the home.”

Only the Finest
In the high-maintenance world of canine conformation and performance sports, it’s not unusual for owners to hire inhome pet professionals. But a dog doesn’t have to be a beribboned winner to inspire special treatment.

Nail trimming or buffing is just one of the popular services offered by Beverly Hills groomer Steve Ogden, who owns The Spa Dog. He says that people who are stressed about cutting their dog’s nails inadvertently create stress in the dog, too, making for an unpleasant experience all around. Assisted by his Chihuahua, Golly Gee, he helps the client’s dog relax in the grooming truck, then methodically trims one nail at a time, offering a treat in exchange for each successful trim.

“I’m more about the relationship with the dog and the relationship with the client,” says Ogden, “Your energy has to be centered — LA is stressful. If you’re calm and centered and focused on what you’re doing, the dog will calm down.”

Typically “Hollywood,” some dogs put on an Oscar-quality performance when their people are present, but as soon as they get into the grooming truck, they’re ready for hair and makeup, so to speak. And if they’re still acting like little divas, Golly Gee sets them straight. “She barks if they hesitate to get into the van or the bath,” says Ogden. “Every dog needs a job, and she makes my job so much more fun. Clients love her.”

His client roster reads like a page out of People magazine: Christina Aguilera, Nicole Richie, Candice Bergen and Jaclyn Smith, among others.  But Ogden says you don’t have to be a celebrity to use his services. He believes groomers are the first line of defense in preventative health care. Many times, people are not aware of their dog’s hot spot or a foxtail between their pads until Ogden points it out. He says clients appreciate having help in watching out for their pet.

Mobile animal masseuse Kerran Ascoli also addresses dogs’ physical and mental quality of life. Owner of Spirit Animal Massage  in Rhode Island, she often travels to southern Massachusetts and eastern Connecticut for her clients. When she began studying massage and Reiki energy healing, she practiced on her Katrina rescue, a Shepherd/Chow mix named Cocoa. After Cocoa succumbed to cancer earlier this year, Ascoli rescued another dog, a three-legged Shepherd/ Corgi mix she named Sammie. Massage and Reiki have been especially helpful in keeping Sammie in balance.

Ascoli started her mobile massage service because she finds that animals are more comfortable in their own surroundings. Instead of using a massage table, she encourages the dog to relax on the floor. If the dog prefers to stand rather than lie down, she will accommodate that.

Scooby, a 13-year-old Golden Retriever with hip dysplasia and arthritis, is one of her regular clients. Unlike those who think canine massage is frivolous, Scooby’s owner recognizes that Ascoli’s work has all the benefits of human massage.

“I see him once a week. Now he can walk better, he’s less stiff and it’s a better quality of life for him,” said Ascoli.

While most people think of a pooperscooper service as a convenience, Dirty Work owner Cara Brown of Atlanta says she and her staff have also alerted clients to their dog’s need for medical attention.

“A few years ago, we found fresh blood in a dog’s stool,” says Brown. “Blood is one of those things you don’t mess around with. The client took the dog to the vet right away. Luckily, it was just some sort of tear in the lining of the intestines. But they may not have known about it if we hadn’t come over.”

On other visits, Brown and her staff have been told that the dog has swallowed something — anything from a diamond ring to money — and asked to keep an eye out to make sure it passes. “One dog swallowed a stuffed toy and when it came out, it looked like a face on the poop,” says Brown with a chuckle.

As one who lives with three rescued mixed-breeds, Brown understands that her employees bond with her clients and their dogs. In order to facilitate that relationship, each scooper has a regular client roster. Dirty Work attends to residential and commercial properties, including assisted-living facilities where elderly owners can’t pick up after their dogs. Most clients receive weekly visits, although occasionally, young mothers whose toddlers who have developed a fascination with poop request more frequent service.

There When You Need Them
Opening your home to a pet professional can be difficult, as they see both you and your pets at your most personal. But in addition to providing a convenient product or service, they tend to bond with the family and can provide much-needed emotional and social support.

“It is about trust,” says Ogden. “People and their dogs have a very intimate relationship, and I’m right in the middle of it.”

Perhaps that trust is most needed toward the end of a beloved pet’s life, when those who don’t understand that bond often underestimate the pain involved in caring for a sick or dying pet.

The complications of modern life help us appreciate the simplicity of canine companionship. Our dogs are always there for us, whether we come home late from work or are distracted by other responsibilities. An in-home pet professional can afford us more quality time with our cherished pets and in some cases, provide that extra care and attention that our dogs so generously share with us.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
The Pack Is Back [Updated]
Plus, readers write about their multi-dog households
Left to right: Lola, Charlie, Holly (foreground)

At the end of last year, Cameron, Lola and I drove north to visit Shana Laursen of Greyhound Friends for Life at her remarkable, 1,000-acre facility in Auburn, Calif., where she cares for both Greyhound and mixed-breed rescues. We had been looking for small, male Terrier to “complete” our family of three female dogs, and saw a photo of a little brindled stray, a Jack Russell Terrier mix, being fostered by Shana, and we were admittedly smitten. We wondered as we made the trip to see our prospective new dog: would he disrupt the delicate balance among our three dogs? What a pleasant surprise when this small, oh-so-sweet, plucky boy pranced center-stage with confidence, like he’d been among us all his life, completing our family so perfectly. All was definitely right in their world—they were once again a pack of four.

Have you noticed that we’re not alone in this scenario? Your friends at the dog park now have two, three or perhaps more dogs, often in a variety of types and sizes. These modern-day packs share a home, people and time together.

Historically, multi-dog households are nothing new. Working dogs have long helped with chores (herding, hunting, hauling, guarding), while “pet” dogs pulled indoor duty, cuddling with younger humans and keeping the pantry varmint-free. For the most part, harmony prevailed. Recently, our four-dog family suffered a loss, and we were down to three, all females. Then we adopted Charlie. As the youngest, and a latecomer with a relatively unknown provenance, he could easily have been a boat-rocker.

Imagine our relief when we discovered that it was quite the reverse. Everything got calmer, tension was defused, the two sibling sisters stopped bickering. There were no fights over bones or other prized trophies, such as everyone’s favorite plush turtle; they even made room on the couch for the new boy. What gives? All our fears of jealousy, rivalry and snarling mayhem gave way to a “go team” attitude. The pack was back!

Curious, I questioned Bark behaviorists to see if this blissful state of multi-dog living had been studied. Could it be that four (or more) really is better than one, two or three?

Karen London noted that even though she wasn’t aware of any research on “the number of dogs and decreased tensions/difficulties,” she has observed that “in households with big groups (five, six, seven), there is sometimes less competition over resources and some increased social flow compared with households of two or three dogs.”

Patricia McConnell, seconded that, and added, “Sometimes more is good. There does indeed seem to be a kind of social inhibition once you get a certain number of dogs together ... but, again, what that number is depends on many things, including the personalities of the dogs.” Both cautioned that it doesn’t always work out so smoothly. McConnell says, “I have had clients who had two or three dogs who got along great until they got ‘that new dog,’ and then everything went south.” As London pointed out, “It’s all different if even one dog in the group is seriously aggressive toward other dogs.”

Barbara Smuts observed that “there seem to be at least three different ways in which a particular dog can enhance multi-dog dynamics: with a calm but very strong and firm leadership; a gentle but decisive intervention when tensions mount; or a ‘good energy,’ cheering everyone up.” She also noted that what I might want to pay attention to in my pack are tendencies to “reconcile” or “console” after a tense episode.

“In recent studies of one captive wolf pack and a group of dogs, individuals showed strong tendencies to make-up after a conflict, and I’ve noticed this in my pack, even when the conflict is very minor and occurs during play,” Smuts explained. “One of the two contestants will approach and nudge the muzzle of the other or lick the mouth. It can be very quick and subtle, but if you watch for it, you may see it happening. In addition, in the dog study, if the two animals involved in the conflict did not reconcile quickly, a third party not involved in the conflict frequently approached the ‘victim’ or ‘loser’ in a friendly way soon afterwards, as if trying to console. Both reconciliation and consolation are well-documented in nonhuman primates, and it’s not surprising that they occur in canines as well. In primates it’s been shown that reconciliation reduces anxiety.”

As for my team, I think that young, frisky Charlie added just the right combination of playfulness and silliness, cheering up everyone, acting as consoling peacemaker and soothing family dynamics.

I would love to hear about your multi-dog household, and what you’ve observed. Share your experiences with me at editor@thebark.com or simply add your comments. We have already heard from many of you, would love to hear your stories too.

Dog's Life: Work of Dogs
Top Dog-Friendly Companies
Happy workers, smiling dogs

With approximately 20% of US companies now having a dog-friendly policy and more studies showing the benefits of these policies, there are many worthy and innovative businesses that deserve recognition for welcoming dogs. In recognition of Bring Your Dog to Work Day (June 22) The Bark editors have compiled some notable, dog-friendly businesses.

Autodesk (San Rafael, California)
This was one of the first software companies who initiated this trend. Recognition of the benefits of dogs in their workplace is even written into their corporate bylaws. About 5 percent of the company’s nearly 7,000 employees take advantage of this benefit. Other perks include offering a dog insurance group plan and dog training classes scheduled during lunchtime. According to Michael Oldenburg, Autodesk spokesman, “Having a pet also encourages employees to take breaks during the day that they may not take if they didn’t have a pet.”

Bissell (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
This is a vacuum cleaning company that is seriously committed to animal causes with their Bissell Pet Foundation to promote pet adoption and animal welfare with the goal of awarding more than $250,000 in grants annually. CEO Mark Bissell and his wife, Cathy, have three Labs and fully 72 percent of their employees are pet owners. Not only are workers encouraged to bring their dogs to the office, but the company actually constructed an animal-friendly space called The Bissell Pet Spot, complete with indoor kennels, a bathing station and outdoor play area. 

Ben & Jerry’s (South Burlington, Vermont)
In 2000, a volunteer group of staff members created the official pet policy in a proactive, team effort. “It spelled out the need to respect people who are scared of dogs or are allergic,” says Lisa Wernhoff. “No dogs in any conference room, lunch room, or bathrooms; no dogs hanging outside your little cubicle, in the aisles, or public spaces. It spelled out where dogs could go potty. We didn’t want people complaining, and tried to head off any problems.” Public relations spokesman Sean Greenwood says that there are 110 human employees and approximately 15 to 20 dogs at the company’s corporate headquarters.

Replacements, Ltd. (Greensboro, North Carolina)
For more than 15 years, Replacements, Ltd., a service-retail tableware company, has maintained a dog friendly attitude even in spite the curious noses and wagging tails among fragile items like the crystal, china and other collectibles for which this company is known. But Vice-President of Human Resources Jeanine Falcon says that it’s allowed speaks to CEO’s Bob Page’s generous philosophy. Today, even customers may bring well-behaved dogs into the showroom.

Their formal pet policy requires each dog to be current on vaccinations, on a six-foot leash at all times, and polite to people and other dogs. They emphasize that “your pet’s behavior is your responsibility,” they also stress good training.

Printing for Less (Livingston, Montana)
This company is the nation’s first commercial online printer. Almost from its start it allowed dogs, the first being Jessie, belonging to the founder, Andrew Field. Many more followed, with around 15% of their workers now taking advantage of this policy. Their headquarters was designed to be dog-friendly, with concrete floors and trails around the building, that includes a waterfalls and pond system that the dogs love to swim in. All dogs have to be “interviewed” and abide by their official dog policy including that they cannot be aggressive or disruptive, and need to be housebroken. People must sign a waiver of responsibility too. They have a three strikes and you’re out rule in effect. As Field has noted, when people come in for interviews and see all the dogs, they know it is a dog-friendly environment, so if they aren’t comfortable with that, they might consider working elsewhere.

Clif Bar (Emeryville, California)
This organic energy snack company and their staff are heavily focused on environmentalism and spending time outside, so many have dogs. Luckily, those pups can join their owners at work, a policy that sprang organically from the company’s culture. (They even negotiated a group vet insurance deal.) On a busy day, there might be as many as 20 dogs running around the 260-person office, which means lunch breaks are filled with walks to the nearby park and fetch sessions in the auditorium.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (New York, New York)
Could the secret behind this long-running television show’s success lie with it’s open-dog-door policy? Read Bark’s exclusive profile of the dogs of The Daily Show and learn why we deemed it the Best Place to Work … if you love dogs or are a dog!

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Daycare Tips
Ten things to look for when selecting your dog’s daycare facility

1. Cleanliness. There should be minimal offensive odor and immediate clean-up of accidents, and the other dogs should be healthy-looking.

2. Playtime provided for the majority of the day. While a two-hour “naptime” is common, during the rest of the day, your dog should have time to play with staff members and other dogs.

3. Proof of current vaccinations. Distemper, parvo, rabies and bordatella vaccinations and/or titers should be required.

4. Adequate supervision. Staff members should be physically in the rooms with the dogs at all times; supervising through a window or a gate is not enough.

5. Safe staffing levels. A good daycare facility maintains an approximate staffing goal of one person for every 10 to 15 dogs.

6. Assessment of a dog’s suitability for the daycare environment. An incoming dog should be tested to ensure that she enjoys the company of other dogs, and should be acclimated to the group slowly and safely. She should be placed in a group of dogs with play styles and energy levels similar to her own.

7. Safety arrangements. Small dogs and large dogs should be segregated.

8. Size of the facility appropriate for the number of dogs. Ideally, each dog needs approximately 70 to 100 square feet of space for safe off-leash play.

9. A staff with experience and knowledge in animal group behavior. Look for staff members who attend seminars, belong to daycare groups such as the American Boarding Kennel Association daycare division, or have experience working with dogs in groups.

10. Appropriate control measures. Avoid daycares where the staff controls the dogs by routinely punishing or physically manipulating them. These control measures include interrupting the dogs by calling them away from a potential conflict, giving short (2-3 minute) time out periods, or redirecting the dogs to more appropriate behaviors.
 

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