Noticeable Results: Critical Care for Animal Angels, Inc. Donation Report

Critical Care for Animal Angels (CCAA)

Critical Care for Animal Angels (CCAA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer-based organization dedicated to rescuing primarily homeless, injured or sick dogs from high-kill shelters in Georgia. They operate through a network of foster homes in the Middle Georgia area and their efforts are funded by tax-deductible contributions from kind-hearted people and organizations who care just as much as they do about making a difference.

Halo is proud to partner with and to achieve noticeable results for shelter pets together.

Here’s what CCAA had to say about a recent Halo Pets donation:

Critical Care for Animal Angels (CCAA) “Brutus came to us emaciated and shredded after being used as a bait dog in Fort Valley Georgia. Once we got him cleaned and stitched up, we immediately started trying to put weight on him. Now, his wounds are healed, his weight is perfect and his coat is beautiful. He is now healthy enough to withstand heartworm treatment and training to be adopted.”


Thank you Critical Care for Animal Angels, Inc. for making a noticeable difference for pets in your community.

When you choose Halo pet food, made from natural, whole food ingredients, your pet won’t be the only one with a radiant coat, clear eyes and renewed energy. Halo feeds it forward, donating over 1.5 million meals annually. As always, Halo will donate a bowl to a shelter every time YOU buy.


Halo Pets

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Weekend Warriors: 6 Ideas for Rewarding Kids with Active Playtime

Now that the school year is fully in progress (it has been six weeks since Essley started preschool and she is smitten with it, by the way), the weather is cooling off, and it’s getting dark earlier, it’s been a little more challenging to make sure Essley is spending enough time playing outside. It’s really important to us to encourage her to be active, but with available outdoor time becoming increasingly scarce during the week, we’ve had to get creative. One thing we’ve found to be incredibly successful (and fun for all of us!) is to reward Essley with weekend adventures to which she can look forward all week – all involving places that allow her to free-play outside. In exchange for doing a great job at school and participating in her other lessons during the week, she gets to do something exciting on the weekends that involves active outdoor time. (It’s a win win for all of us!) Today I’m going to share some of our favorite ways to keep the kids healthy and thriving all year long by planning creative weekend activities that work throughout the seasons and despite busy schedules during the week.

1. Visit a pumpkin farm or apple orchard. This is a favorite of ours (as you can see from all the pictures in this post!), and such a great way to organically encourage outdoor play by taking advantage of a seasonal activity. We hit up a fall-themed place like this almost every weekend in October, and Essley looks forward to it all week. She loves exploring and running around, so it’s an automatic physical activity that is enjoyable for all of us.

2. Go on a leaf hunt. This is actually something that was suggested by Essley’s school, and we’ve had so much fun with it. They have a sensory table in their classroom and the teachers encouraged the students to find and bring in leaves for it. It’s an easy (and free!) way for the whole family to participate in an active outdoor adventure together. It could also easily be modified for different times of the year (in the winter look for sticks or rocks to use in building in a snowman, in the spring look for budding flowers and snap photos of them, etc.). If you have a big yard, you can also take this a step further and rake lead piles to jump in. The best!

3. Have a simple fall (or even winter) picnic. This is another favorite of ours. There’s no need to pack an elaborate lunch like you might do in the summertime either – just bundle up, throw a big blanket in a bag along with some healthy snacks (we like apples, string cheese, and CLIF Kid Zbars) and water, and head out for your favorite park, forest preserve, or outdoor place of play. CLIF Kid Zbars are a particularly great choice because they’re made with organic ingredients, they’re non-GMO, they contain all sort of important nutrients for active kids, they have no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or synthetic preservatives, and they come in flavors kids love. We also feel good buying them because we like what they stand for. CLIF Kid is dedicated to reclaiming play all year long, by encouraging boys and girls everywhere to get back outside, push their boundaries and feed their adventures. Pretty great, right? (You guys have to watch this awesome video they put together too.)

4. Go day camping. We’ve done this at forest preserves and nature areas but you can just as easily do it in your backyard. Spend an afternoon together as a family collecting sticks for a campfire (and use it to make hot cider!), having a camp-themed sing-a-long (bonus active points for incorporating a dance party), and playing outdoor games. If you’re not as into the camping theme, just make it an outdoor daytime party instead.

5. Run. Fall is the season of races. My husband usually runs the Chicago Marathon this month (this year he did a half marathon instead with another coming up in a few weeks), and I love to have fun with shorter fall races like 5Ks and turkey trots. Essley gets so excited about these races, so we’ll go for short runs as a family with Emmett in the jogging stroller and Essley running along side us. Usually these are just to the park and back, but it’s great motivation for her to pretend we’re running real races like daddy does. If your kids are a little older, sign up for an actual race! There are endless options this time of year for types of races, distances, etc. And what kid doesn’t like to get a medal?

6. Go on a hike. Depending on where you live, summer hiking can be miserably hot, so take advantage of cooler temperatures during the school year and go on a family hike. When I was growing up, my dad would call these “nature walks” and my sister and I thought they were the greatest of adventures. We’d bring boxes and collect cool rocks and other goodies we’ve find along the way, and just run, play, and explore.

I hope these ideas help inspire you to participate in fun outdoor playtime adventures with your kids during the school year. We’ve found that treating them as rewards for their hard work during the week is especially encouraging (and they genuinely feel like rewards for our work weeks too!).  I’d love to hear about any activities (with or without little ones) that you enjoy in the fall (and beyond) that promote being physically active as well.

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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My Favorite Fall Posts

DIY Tutorial: Chic Painted Fall Pumpkins // Bubby and Bean

10 Great Halloween DIY Projects via Bubby and Bean

Fall Picnic Ideas (via Bubby and Bean)

The Perfect Fall Corn Chowder (via Bubby and Bean)

10 Great Creative Carved Pumpkin Ideas (via Bubby and Bean)

Aside from our annual year-end round-ups, we very rarely re-share posts around here. But the other night I got lost looking back through the archives and felt inspired by some of the autumn-themed content from past years. So today I’m sharing some of my all-time favorite fall posts with you guys. Just click on the images or text links above to see each of the posts in full. I hope they inspire you as well!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Fido + Fluffy’s Freebie Friday Goes Wading

In just a few days, I’m off to New York City for a quick trip–so first it was time for a doggie day trip! The temperatures remain in the 90s here so we decided it was time for another…

[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]


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Bag dog

A wire-haired dachshund puppy with his own transportation.

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Spaniel meets thylacine

thylacine meets spaniel

I’ve seen this photo several times, but every time I’ve seen it, the left-hand side was always cut off.

Now that I see the full photo, you can see what was going here.

Someone wanted to introduce his spaniel (an English springer, by my estimation) to a captive thylacine.

I guess this would be the equivalent of a human meeting a Klingon or a Vulcan for the first time.

“You’re similar, but you’re not the same!”




Natural History

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What Does it Look Like When a Dog Vomits?

Dog sleeping

This is a quick “Vomit 101” so you can be aware and prepared for what happens when a dog throws up. (If you have my book The Dog Bible: Everything You Dog Wants You to Know then you probably don’t panic if your dog throws up because you can check for reassurance about the warning signs around vomiting that requires medical intervention).

In my next blogs I‘ll cover the signs of serious kinds of vomiting – those that mean you need to make an appointment with the veterinarian for the following day or those that mean beat feet right to an animal emergency center.

This is a simple description of the progression of normal vomiting for those who have not yet had the delightful experience of that moment when a dog is about to upchuck.

1) Sometimes vomiting is preceded (and actually stimulated) by your dog eating a lot of of grass if he has access to it – or even trying to eat a decorative houseplant. Often something is bothering his stomach and his instinct is to further irritate his stomach with plant matter to trigger the vomiting mechanism.

2) He may be drooling saliva.

3) The dog sits down in an upright sitting position, perhaps more rigid than his usual sitting posture, and his sides start heaving.

4) Often there can be saliva coming out of his mouth.

5) I can swear that at this “preparatory stage” of puking my own dogs look nauseated, with their lips sort of pulled back.

6) There can be a “washing machine” sort of sound from their stomachs as they are heaving their sides like a bellows – with increasing vigor.

7) And then all at once Oopsie Daisy! There’s a pile of puke on the floor (in my house when the mood strikes the dogs to throw up they always seem to prefer to get it on a nice carpet).

8) Sometimes everything in their stomachs will come up, or if their stomach is empty then they will bring up a foamy greenish-yellow liquid that is stomach bile.

It’s actually quite natural for dogs to vomit if their stomachs are irritated. In the vomit you may see the grass they might have ingested as part of the “need to throw up” instinct, or bits of something they were chewing on that became irritating (pieces of bone, stick, or rawhide).

You should pick up the water bowl and not offer any food for about an hour, just to make sure his stomach has settled down.

Generally speaking, if your dog throws up once and then goes his merry way, he has thrown up something that was irritating his stomach he’ll feel better pretty much right away. Once throw up, the drama is over! This kind of vomiting is not a cause for alarm because the dog’s body has gotten rid of the problem and solved it.

Stay tuned next week for signs and symptoms of vomiting that requires medical attention.



Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.

Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.

Halo Pets

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I know a reputable pilot who has flown many dogs a…

I know a reputable pilot who has flown many dogs around the country to get them to safe places. His insurance does not allow him to fly outside the US. He is willing to make arrangements to take dogs should this become necessary, as long as someone can get them over the US border. Hopefully this will not be necessary, but in case it becomes so you can message me and I'll put you in touch with him.

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The black fox of Bassingbourn

bassingbourn black fox

The animal above was an anomalous black fox that was photographed near the village of Bassingbourn in South Cambridgeshire.  The photographer, John Moore, spotted the fox running in the fields near his home and snapped some photos.  It was late March in 2012, and it was a true rare find.

Foxes that are any color other than the typical red are extremely uncommon in the UK, so when these photos were published, speculation about where it came from were rampant. One theory was that it was one of the Belyaev “domesticated” foxes, which were then being sold as pets. Another suggestion was that it was a fur farm escapee. The problem with that theory is that fur farms had been banned in England and Wales since the year 2000, and those last remaining fur farms were mink producers, not fox producers.

Just a few days after John Moore took the photos, the black fox was found dead on the highway. Its body was sent to Anglia Ruskin University for genetic testing to determine why this particular fox was black.

Genetic testing revealed something quite unusual about it.  The vixen was found to have two genetic mutations related to fur color that were similar to those found in raccoon dogs.

Raccoon dogs are very closely related to foxes, and in Russia, they are commonly bred in fur farms that also contain (silver) red foxes and (blue) arctic foxes. Because of the similarity between this fox’s fur color genes and those of a raccoon dog, it was given as evidence that this animal was a Belyaev fox that had been turned loose.

It would make some sense. After all, this vixen was estimated to have been 18 months old, and she was apparently so unwise around roads that she soon met her demise on the highway. Further, her coat was much thicker than a typical English red fox. Maybe someone with more money than sense had ordered up one of these famed “domesticated” foxes, and soon realized they aren’t that awesome to have as pets.

And the poor thing got turned loose to live with the wild English foxes, which is about as a humane thing to do as turning out a cocker spaniel into Alaska to go live with the wolves.

So this logic is easy enough to follow.

The issue that seems to be ignored in all of the discussion about what this fox was is whether it is actually possible for a raccoon dog to hybridize with a red fox.

Ignore what you’ve read in various texts about raccoon dogs. They are actually quite close related to the true foxes. Genome-wide analyses have revealed that they are close enough to the other Vulpini to be classified with them.

They are quite unusual as wild dogs go. They can “hibernate,” which means they just sort of go to sleep during the worst of the winter (but it’s not really “true hibernation.”) They also have masks, and rather superficially resemble actual raccoons. It was not unusual for taxonomists to classify them as a sort of Old World raccoon species. We now know they are actual dogs, but the idea of them being sort of dog-like procyonids certainly captured more than a few imaginations.

So the notion that these animals could hybridize with red foxes would seem far-fetched.

But maybe they have.

The Soviet Union was really interested in fur. Historically, Russia has been a nation of fur-wearers. Furs drove them east and north into new territories, and when fur farms became a possibility, improving fur stains became an important goal. This goal went on in earnest during the Stalin years, and Belyaev, a Mendelian, was driven from his initial research post to accommodate Lysenkoist methodologies. He went to a research facility in Novosibirsk,  where he conducted his experiments on silver foxes.

The Soviet ideology believed that nature could be bent to serve mankind. Socialism in one country meant quite a bit of scarcity, even in the largest country in the world, and it was hoped that the new Soviet science could use native flora and fauna to produce abundance. This abundance would soon provision their citizens, and the Marxist ideal of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” would be possible. Then this ideal would spread to other countries of the world, leading us to a new socialist future and then full-on communism.

It never really worked out, and we all know of the ecological catastrophes that happened as a result of these plans, including the introduction of raccoon dogs to Eastern Europe.

But they made some sense with in the logic of that system.

And if some enterprising Soviet fur farmer wanted to try something different, he might try crossing his silver foxes with raccoon dogs. Maybe he did in the years following the war, when scarcity was the rule, and getting new blood for foxes and raccoon dogs would have been an ordeal.

But this still doesn’t answer the question.

The fact that someone might try crossing the two species is interesting enough, but the question is whether one can produce viable offspring. And the next question whether any of the offspring would be fertile.

I have yet to find the answer to those questions, except that I am aware that red and arctic fox hybrids are sterile.

And those two species are much more closely related to each other than raccoon dogs are to red foxes.

So maybe the black fox of Bassingbourn really wasn’t a hybrid or of distant hybrid ancestry. The similarities in her genotype could have simply been the result of the fact that both red foxes and raccoon dogs share a common ancestor. This fox simply retained a few genes that she held in common with the raccoon dog.

I think that this is a bit better explanation, but the British press took the suggestion that she might have been a hybrid a bit too far. Virtually every mention of this fox online or in print says that she was a hybrid.

I wish, though, that more research had been performed this fox. If she really were the result of a hybridization on a Russian fur farm, it would be possible to detect this hybridization with more analysis of her genome.

The fact that she had just been killed when her body was donated to science meant that lots of different tests could have been performed.

If she really had been derived from hybridization between these two species, this would have been a major discovery.

I don’t think anyone would have expected it.

But Occam’s razor tells me that she wasn’t derived from hybrids.

As much as I’d like her to be, my educated guess is she wasn’t.

And the British press had a lot of fun with it.











Natural History

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Possibly the sweetest wedding photo ever

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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