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Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

Happy Labor Day weekend!

In Just for Fun, Pet Pic of the Day on August 29, 2008 at 8:17 pm

We hope you spend it digging in the sand and playing on the beach. Or, at the very least, relaxing with your furry, four-legged friends.

Photo of “Miles Digging” by flickr user photosbytiff


Greatest American Dog—Episode 8

In Greatest American Dog on August 29, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Bill and Star… you’re in a better place now. As much as I wanted the duo to win, at least they’re home and with their family now. Star is still one of the greatest American dogs in my heart—even if she can’t zipline. Guess she isn’t a flying orange star after all…

The drama this week didn’t come from Bill and Star, but from JD and Galaxy. Galaxy performed flawlessly (as usual) during the best in show challenge, but afterwards was limping. JD got someone to come in and look at Galaxy’s leg. She said it was a strained muscle and she should be fine. That’s not what next week’s previews showed—there’s a chance Galaxy’s injury could send her home. As much as JD cares about his dog, I’m sure he’d be crushed to leave the competition he thought he had in the bag. What a crazy plot twist that would be!

This episode also showed even more contradictions on behalf of the judges. Every week they stress not stressing your dog and this week they decide it’d be a good idea to have an elephant charge at the dogs.

Who wouldn’t want to run if a 9,000-pound animal was coming towards them? Once again, it makes me wonder what qualifies a dog as the “greatest” and how these ridiculous challenges exhibit that. And are we looking for the best dog or the best dog trainer?

This show seems to get worse and worse each week, yet I can’t stop watching…

South American pooch saves baby’s life

In Animal News on August 25, 2008 at 6:26 pm

This is a sweet story out of Argentina of a mama dog who takes in an abandoned newborn human baby with her own pups, ultimately saving the infant’s life.

Pet Pic of the Day

In Pet Pic of the Day on August 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm

“Molly and Becca” by flickr user dogsbylori

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Greatest American Dog—Episode 7

In Greatest American Dog, PUPPIES! on August 21, 2008 at 7:05 pm

PUPPIES! That about sums up this week’s episode. Each week the challenges seem to get worse and worse. I think the challenge writers were experiencing some writers’ block and solved it the way all problems should be solved—with lots and lots of cute PUPPIES!

Cute overload!

Cute overload!

Even the dog bone challenge seemed kind of bizarre. The theme for this week was rescue. Maybe Beth Joy misunderstood because she kept talking about how Bella is a rescue dog. Here at Tails we are all about rescue dogs, but Beth Joy makes it seem all rescue dogs have “issues” and are hard to train. Doesn’t make you want to go out and adopt one. Yes, there are dogs that came from rough situations and have “issues” to get over, but there are also so many loving dogs that just want a home. I wonder if all the other dogs in the competition came from breeders or pet stores? But I digress…

With Beth Joy and Bella gone (finally) I wondered who was going to bring the drama to the show in the future. I think this week’s episode gave us the answer—the judges! A fight erupted between the two female judges over training methods. I’m a big fan of Victoria Stilwell and her show, It’s Me or the Dog. I tend to agree with her when it comes to training questions. One thing I couldn’t help notice was that she kept mentioning how things are done “in this country”. Isn’t she from the UK?…

What method of training do you think is best—treats/positive reinforcement or the dominance-submission method?

I got a little nervous seeing Bill and Star in the final three for the first time. Star didn’t do her best work, but then again, the challenge seemed kind of bogus. The dogs had to lead three puppies through a maze. If I understand it correctly, each dog led three different puppies. I think a lot depended on the puppies, whether they were the type that wanted to hang out and play or wanted to follow the leader. Yes, Leroy is a herding dog so maybe this comes naturally to him, but it just seemed like the puppies were chasing him for fun. I guess all that matters is Bill and Star are still in the game. I’m so glad they won the dog bone challenge and Bill was able to speak to his wife. What a precious moment.

Next week’s challenge? Doggy zip line. Help.

Dog gets tongue stuck in toy, must be amputated

In Health and Safety on August 21, 2008 at 5:34 pm

There’s nothing worse than an animal in pain, especially when that pain is inflicted by something that’s supposed to bring your pet joy—his toy.

The pimple ball Chai got his tongue stuck in

The pimple ball Chai got his tongue stuck in

Chai, a 10-year-old Lab mix, was playing with a Four Paws pimple ball with bell, when his tongue got stuck in the hole in the ball. He had to be taken to the vet to have the ball removed because his tongue was so swollen. Eventually his tongue had to be amputated, making it very difficult for him to eat and drink.

Chai with his swollen tongue, before it was amputated

Chai with his swollen tongue, before it was amputated

Chai’s parent documented the poor dog’s story on a blog. (Warning, there are some graphic photos). You can watch videos of Chai adjusting to eating and drinking without a tongue as well as find out more information about boycotting the company.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane,it’s a …speedy Chihuahua!

In Animal News, Just for Fun on August 21, 2008 at 5:07 pm

Back when my Chihuahua had a few less years (and pounds) under his collar, I used to think he was the fastest Chi around. I made the mistake of giving him his first bath outside. As soon as we were through he hopped out of the tub and took off. I like to think I’m a fast runner, but the only way I was able to catch him was when he stopped by a tree to relieve himself. He now gets all his baths inside.

Though I’m sure all Chihuahua guardians think their little guy is as fast as a bullet, 15 regional champions are set to go head to head in the Petco Unleashed 4th Annual National Chihuahua Races. The finals will take place in San Diego on Sunday, Aug. 31.

Maybe watching the race will convince my chubby chi to get off the couch and get back in shape!

You can find out more about the competition and read about all 15 regional champs here.

Image courtesy PetcoNews.com

Image courtesy PetcoNews.com

Pet Pic of the Day

In Pet Pic of the Day on August 20, 2008 at 5:51 pm

“Sisters” by flickr user hertoginhelena

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Today’s top story

In Animal News, Just for Fun on August 20, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Yoda the Cat of Downers Grove, IL.

Adventures in Dog Sitting

In Just for Fun on August 19, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Ever since I started working at Tails I’ve wanted to adopt a dog. Though my big Chihuahua, Squirt, will always be my dog, he lives 300 miles away with my parents now (and isn’t willing to part with them to come live with me in Chicago).

“You need to kidnap Squirt and bring him here,” a coworker once told me. “He can hang out at the Tails office.”

Squirt (all 16 pounds) relaxing on his pillow

Squirt (all 16 pounds) relaxing on his pillow

“You need to get a corgi,” my old roommate told me (because she’s seen me get unusually excited whenever I see one).

Who wouldn't want to adopt this little guy?

Who wouldn't want to adopt this little guy?

“There’s no way you could handle a dog,” my boyfriend said. “Do you realize how much responsibility that is? It’s like having a kid.”

With all these words of advice in mind, I decided to accept an offer to dog sit for the weekend. A former Tails editor hooked me up with the couple she used to dog and house sit for.

At Tails pet magazine we don’t just advocate adoption, we also advocate responsible guardianship—it’s also not good for a dog to get adopted then end up back at the shelter because the adopter wasn’t prepared for the dog.

After work Thursday I went to the condo and let my children-for-the-weekend out of their crates. Boris and Natasha are rescued Boston Terriers, likely mother and son.





They are the happiest BTs I have ever met. As soon as they saw me their eyes lit up and they bounced out of their crates, jumping happily all over me. It was time for my first dog sitting challenge: the walk.

Both use harnesses, which seemed easy to put on. Over the head, put the arm through, snap. I harnessed them up, grabbed the poop bags, and we were off. We were barely off the stairs when Natasha stopped moving. She wasn’t giving me the “I’m not moving until you let me go one more block” face (now familiar), it was more a “Do you know anything about walking dogs?” face. Her harness was hanging off her neck. I had put it on upside down. Carefully restraining Boris, I was able to remove the harness and put it on correctly. Mission accomplished.

Boris and Natasha’s parents left me instructions for the weekend, letting me know when to feed and walk them—and how far. This is where the dogs took advantage of me I believe. The instructions said to go for a walk around the block. On our Friday evening walk we came to the end of the block and I tugged at their leashes. Neither of them budged. This is when I became accustomed to the “I’m not moving until you let me go one (or several) more blocks” face. So, like a substitute teacher who gets talked into extra recess because “that’s what they always do” I let Botasha talk me into a ridiculously long walk. We went down a block, up the other, and before we knew it, we were on a main street, lined with outdoor seating restaurants. Uh oh. Boris barreled down the sidewalk, Natasha trailing after him. He stuck his face in diner’s laps. He jumped up on a waitress. The first chance I got I pulled them down a side road. I avoided that restaurant street the rest of the weekend.

Walking two dogs at once sure was a challenge, but it wasn’t what made me hesitate about getting my own dog. I enjoy sleeping in a little on the weekends. But at 7:30 am on Sunday I heard whimpering. “We have no concept of time, let’s go for a walk!!” whimpering. So I dragged myself out of bed and joined the other pet parents on the ritual it’s-too-early weekend morning walk.

I walked them, played with them, got out of bed for them, but there was one thing about my dog sitting adventure that made me feel like a true pet parent—I cared about them. When I put them in their crates to go out for the afternoon, the whole time I was gone I worried about them. Did they have enough water? Were they sleeping? Did they miss their parents? Did they have to go to the bathroom? In three short days those little guys grew on me. Now I know why we use the term “pet parent” instead of owner.

I look forward to next time, and in the meantime, catching up on my sleep.