Some cool dog smile images:

dog smile

Image by | Ray Chang |
Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Do dogs smile?
dog smile

Image by Elysio Soares
My chow does! Of course they don’t, I guess LOL. But it resembles a smile so much that I can’t get tired of admiring her…

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Adopt the net: Transitioning a rescue pet into a new home

We, the collective animal loving internet, have done a great job of telling people to “Adopt, Don’t Shop.” We do it so much that people say it without thinking, assume without asking, and demand without discourse. Now, don’t get me wrong: I absolutely support the concept, and this is why I am here writing a post today in honor of Petside’s Pet Net Adoption Week. It’s why I’ve adopted lots of pets over the years. But this is only half the equation.

We tell people they should adopt, and why they should adopt, and then do nothing to support people during the transition. Here’s the reality: pets do get returned to shelters and the rescues, usually for reasons that could have been avoided with a little owner education and preparation. In the rush to get pets out into homes, we sometimes neglect to make sure those homes are ready and willing to take on the challenges, which are rewarding beyond measure once you get past them- as long as you know they are coming.

1. Be honest with adopters about the pet’s behavioral issues that need to be worked on.

Nuke, the 10 year old coonhound I adopted from UC Davis, was a moderately neurotic agoraphobic hound dog who had never been housetrained. Translation: I left him outside when I was gone, as the well meaning person at the school had recommended, only to have him howl inconsolably because he was scared of being outdoors. I got a notice from the neighbors within 36 hours.

6 months, three adopted pets: for a vet student, pretty typical.

I wouldn’t say crate training an elderly, set in his ways dog was an easy task, but I did it, only because I had access to professionals who reassured me that with patience, it was possible. He never did learn to sit on command, but he ended up housetrained, and we had three lovely years together before he passed away.

Koa has terrible separation anxiety that leads her to howl like a banshee- one currently in a state of torture- when she is left alone. It’s why she was returned to the rescue twice. Unfortunately I didn’t know this until I got home and reviewed the paperwork in detail and found the note from the previous owner. Luckily, I can keep her inside where she doesn’t bother anyone, and I have Thundershirts and all that good stuff.

We make do. But some people couldn’t in that situation, and it’s better to give them fair warning and let them find the right pet for them than to make them return a pet later, which is stressful for everyone- and might even turn them off rescue entirely. Some people can’t handle a cat who sprays or a dog who doesn’t like other dogs, and that is part and parcel of having a pet, yes, but this is also a great opportunity for us: all pets have their quirks. The difference between a puppy and a senior is that with the senior, those quirks are known ahead of time, and for that I am grateful.

2. Put all dogs, no matter the age, in an obedience class.

Some rescue dogs will have had oodles of training. Most haven’t. Regardless of their age or training status, a basic adult obedience course is the perfect way for new owners and pets to get to know one another better, work through their kinks under the care of a professional, and most importantly, develop a clear understanding of each other’s place in the developing relationship.

Nuke was a sweet dog, but in 8 weeks he never did learn how to sit. He just wouldn’t do it. He wasn’t motivated by anything. Needless to say, he never learned down, either. No matter. We had a structured hour each week to work on his socialization, his manners, and for him to learn to trust me. It was worth every dime.

3. Remind new owners to be patient.

I have yet to take a rescued pet home and NOT have a day when I seriously regretted it. It happens. The dog eats something expensive. The cat has diarrhea in your shoe. You discover your new pet hates all men with grey beards and baseball caps, which just happens to be 85% of your neighborhood. The key is to acknowledge that these bumps are normal and expected and to provide support for owners to work through them, rather than just give up.

Here’s the good news: that regret is always gone within a few days, once I have a plan in place for dealing with whatever it is that was frustrating me. And the only regret I have now is that my husband won’t let me go our and adopt just one more.

This post is part of’s 5th Pet Net Adoption Event. Petside will be donating $ 5000 to a shelter in one lucky community in honor of the event- click the link for details! Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post.

 Pet Net Contributor

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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How To Select A Quality Stuart Water Damage Company

Anyone property owner in south Florida knows how incredibly awful flood or water damage can be for a property’s value and structural integrity. It is crucial if you have sustained flood damage to hire a water removal Stuart, Florida company to immediately come and help you in your cleanup process so that you do not [...]

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Latest Dental Bone News

Stem Cells Save Teeth
NeoStem has been awarded a two-year grant totaling $ 1,221,854 for "Repair of Bone Defects with Human Autologous Pluripotent Very Small Embryonic-Like Stem Cells (VSEL)" from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR),
Read more on Genetic Engineering News

Impurities set back implant surgery
To fix the implant tightly into the gum, dentists would drill a hole in the bone, plant the implant which looks like screw and wait for a few months until it take firm hold there through osseointegration, or the integration between the implant and the
Read more on Dentistry IQ

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Let’s Do Something about James Saks’ Service Dog!

It’s often said that rather than simply complaining about things online, one should do something. I try to take this advice and I want you to also. Let’s do something about Mr. Sak being forced (illegally) to give up his service dog.

Below is a widget from ChipIn. It will accept a donation of any amount and deposit in my PayPal account. On January 21st I will send all other money to Animal Farm Foundation, which is already trying to help the retired police office and war veteran keep his service dog. I have set a goal of $ 2000. That’s 100 people giving $ 20 each. I think we can do that, don’t you?

Why do I think you should donate some money to this cause? Well, not just because it’s a lot more effective than liking a Facebook status or resharing that awesome anti-Millan Esquire article from 2006 for the 20th time.

Aurelia IA’s government has shown themselves to be shining examples of the bullies that perpetuate BSL. Is there a better example of bullying than taking away a service dog from a retiree? This is one of the battles we need to win if BSL is ever to be eliminated in the U.S. Put down the like button, open your wallet, and put your money where your snarky comment would be.

If you use a blog, you can easily embed this widget on it. If you have Facebook account, use the button below to share this post.

The cowardly bullies in Aurelia may have already ruined Mr. Saks’ Christmas, but we can do our best to fix his New Year!

Make a small donation and then spread the word: let’s help this man get his dog back and put a nail in the coffin of BSL.

Let’s Do Something about James Saks’ Service Dog! is a post from: Dog Spelled Forward

Dog Spelled Forward Website and Blog

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I am grateful

Normally, I’d be spending today running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Thanksgiving is MY holiday, the one I normally host at my house. My mom gets Easter, my mother in law gets Christmas, but this is the one I take  because I love going overboard on things like caramelized squash bisque and focaccia sage stuffing and pretty much every kind of turkey shaped serving dish one can own.

Well, all the turkey shaped serving dishes are currently in a storage facility and I barely have enough room in the apartment for us, nevermind the rest of the family. So my mom is taking an extra holiday for me this year, and despite my protests of “I can help! I can bring mandarin-orange cranberry sauce!” she insists that she has it covered.

And I realized today, actually, I am really grateful for that. Because I have had a lot going on and I actually don’t relish the idea of going to the grocery store until at least Friday. My fridge has two containers of leftovers, some fruit, and that’s about it. And I am grateful that this apartment complex has, if not the greatest parking arrangements, good proximity to some excellent take out.

I am grateful I have a family who is low key about holidays and doesn’t mind being flexible. I am grateful I don’t have that one crazy relative who always shows up and ruins the afternoon by drinking too much port and ranting about sports/politics/religion/you.

I am grateful I got to spend the year getting to know even more of you. I love my online friends. I’m also grateful for the traveling I’ve gotten to do because of the blog, and the perspective it’s given me to remember that there are problems, and then there are problems, and those you do not wish to have.

I am grateful all my family members and pets are still alive and well, even the betta. Because the pain of loss is always amplified over the holidays, and watching so many people with recent losses trying to get through the day with pain etched on every feature, I realize I am fortunate that this year is not yet my turn.

Finally, I am grateful that I wasn’t home when my husband realized someone left the screen door open so Apollo got outside into the apartment complex this afternoon, and I am REALLY grateful that Apollo ran about 15 feet away and then sat under a bush until someone came to collect him. Because this could have been an entirely different post.

Be safe, and have a great Thanksgiving!


Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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2 Million Dogs Funds Bone Cancer Study

Bone cancer is a curious thing.  Fairly rare in humans.   Fairly common in large breed dogs.  And even though we share no evolutionary link with our canine counterparts, it looks the same, spreads the same so what’s up? 
I wasn’t able to discover any answers before I lost Malcolm to this aggressive form of cancer back in 2006 and walking across 16 states to find out why didn’t give me any greater insights.  
So I’m pleased to announce that 2 Million Dogs is donating $ 20,000 to Broad Institute for an osteosarcoma study.  I’m sure many of you, like myself, have never heard of Broad before and I highly recommend that you learn more about them.   
They’re a collaboration between MIT, Harvard, Mass Gen, and Dana Farber, and they’re also the folks behind mapping the canine genome. I’ve toured their facilities in Cambridge and let me tell you, it’s state of the art.   Broad is a game changer in genomics research and comparative biology and this is what appeals to me most as what we are trying to accomplish at 2 Million Dogs has never been done before.  
I could not be more pleased with funding a study there and I want to thank the Board of 2 Million Dogs and our fearless leader, Ginger Morgan.  We set the bar high this year and 2013 is going to be even bigger.  And a shout out to all of the city organizers and sponsors, also fearless leaders, who make this all possible.  
“There’s nothing like a dream to create the future” Victor Hugo

2 Dogs 2,000 Miles

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Awkward Massage is Awkward

So I made it back safe and sound from lovely Granda. The Technical Animal Rescue course was absolutely amazing and a fantastic program for anyone who is interested in animal rescue- but before I go into the water rescue, the ropes course, or all the exciting things World Vets is up to in Nicaragua, I promised Sarah I would share the story of the world’s most awkward massage so my stories are going to be in reverse chronological order.

The last day on our trip was a free day, to wind up loose ends, to take in any sights we missed, or just get packed. A group of us decided to spend the afternoon at the Mombacho Beach Club, a lovely little pool attached to the Choco Museum in Granda (okay, perhaps being part of a chocolate museum did create some impetus to go there.) As we were walking through the lobby, we noticed a little sign advertising the spa services. “A massage,” we thought to ourselves, “would be just the thing after a long week of rescuing stuffed dogs from the brink of death.”

Aside from being pretty inexpensive, the spa offerings at the Choco Museum included a strange but intriguing sounding Choco Therapy, where one would be covered from head to toe in melted chocolate, scrubbed with sugar, and left to solidify into a hollow choco bunny. Unable to bring myself to indulge in such a messy sounding waste of perfectly good chocolate, Sarah and I decided to opt for the regular massage while my new friend Jen went for the gourmet version.

We made our way down to the spa cabanas at our appointed time, and there was some discussion as the staff seemed unsure of which person was to go into which room. The fact that the staff spoke little English and we spoke little Spanish added to the drama, but soon I found myself alone outside Cabana Uno facing a man in a white coat.

“Do I go here?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said- well, he said “Si”, and then he said something along the lines of “I need your voucher,” which we paid for at the front desk. I held it out to him.

“I need your voucher,” he repeated, and I got confused, because I thought that was what I was handing to him.

“Voucher. Si,” I said, holding it up.

“The voucher,” he repeated, sounding annoyed.

“But this is all I have,” I said, which of course he did not understand because I said it in English. I raised it up further. He stared at me blankly. We went through this a few more times, and then it hit me when I realized he wasn’t making any motion to take or inspect the voucher in any way that perhaps I was missing something important.

He was wearing sunglasses. My eyes moved to the left, noticing a cane dangling from his wrist.

“Ah, the voucher,” I said, pressing it into his hand, feeling like the biggest ass in the universe. He took it, sighing to himself I’m sure, and gestured me inside the room. I saw a massage table, towels, the usual massage type stuff. He gestured and said something I didn’t understand, and stepped outside.

I’ve had a few massages in my day; the usual routine is to get down to your skivvies, lay on your stomach, and pull the sheet up to your waist. There were a few changes in this routine:

1. Since I had planned on an afternoon at the pool but not for a massage, I just had a wet bathing suit on with nothing to change into. It’s not unusual or unheard of to have a massage in the buff since the masseuse keeps your bits and pieces covered with a sheet, but I never have done that. I’ll admit for a prude like me I was already a little less than perfectly comfortable with the situation.

2. There was no sheet. Instead, a small hand towel lay on the massage table.

So I had no choice in the matter but to lay down on the table, drape the small piece of toweling over my derriere, and hope for the best. A moment later, my masseuse felt his way back in and we got underway.

Having a massage while completely naked by a blind man who doesn’t speak a lick of the same language that you do is not an experience I recommend for the faint of heart. One, my usual method of communication with someone who doesn’t speak the same language- mime- is completely useless. Two, he had the added challenge of trying to demonstrate what I needed to do- move up, turn over, etc- with no language and hoping he didn’t grab the wrong protruding part by mistake. A task, by the by, he performed admirably given the circumstances.

I tried to look this relaxed, I really did. Fortunately no one saw the expression on my face the duration of the hour.

Generally when one gets a massage, the purpose of the towel is to cover your exposed parts from a professional eye. Since that was a moot point, my masseuse was pretty much using the towel as a barrier to navigate his way around. This meant I spent half the time with the towel either around my shoulders or down by my knees while I tried to relax with the entirely awful sensation of breezes where I would prefer not to have breezes. It was only made worse by the completely unfounded yet persistent voice in the back of my head whispering, “What if he really isn’t blind?” while I lay prone with a hand towel over my face and clavicles.

Having convinced myself that I wasn’t part of some elaborate scheme to manufacture low quality videos for the backwaters of the internet, I had just begun to relax when we entered the reflexology portion of the massage. This is where you are on your back and the masseuse manipulates your joints through a full range of motion.

I dare you to lay down on your bed, butt naked, and throw your leg over your head. Then bend your knee and work your hips through a full range of motion. Make sure to enjoy the breeze. It’s mildly awkward. Now imagine a stranger of the opposite sex standing over you while you’re doing this. Don’t worry, he or she has a blindfold on so it’s TOTALLY not awkward at all.

OK, I lied. It’s still incredibly awkward. This may in fact be the first time I’ve left a massage more stressed than I was before I began, a fact compounded by the fact that neither I nor the professional had any way to improve the circumstances. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. This guy was completely professional and a more than adequate masseuse. I’m sure if I had done due diligence and learned more than “si”, “muy bueno” and “uno momento” it would have been an easier hour.

As I left, I heard “Pssssst!” from behind the bushes, and turned to see Jen, covered head to toe in chocolate. Apparently when you are done with the choco therapy experience, they pretty much turn you loose to do what you will with yourself, which means in order to remove the chocolate you need to find your way to the shower facilities, which are on the opposite side of the pool from the spa cabanas. So we strolled past the poolchairs while lounging tourists chuckled and Jen informed me that at least her chocolate application professional was sighted, which given the circumstances of having molten chocolate slathered on your face is probably for the best.

So I don’t want to turn you off to the spa services in Nicaragua, should you decide to pursue them. They are excellent. Just make sure to pack a Spanish-English dictionary and, should you find yourself face to face with Marcos, extra undies and a large beach towel.


Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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LOTR – Deleted Scenes – Mouth Of Sauron

One of the LOTR deleted scenes SUBSCRIBE!!!!

Mouth & MacNeal hit the number 1 spot in the USA with this song.

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