“Dog Town”, Another Barking Great Read

DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Redemption Stefan Bechtel


The BlurbA national rescue organization with more than 200,000 members, DogTown is the area where dogs live at the nation’s largest companion animal sanctuary run by Best Friends Animal Society. This informative, inspiring book presents representative stories of dogs considered unadoptable by other shelters. They come from many backgrounds: some were abandoned; some prowled the streets as strays; others suffer from mysterious illnesses, serious injuries, or antisocial behaviors that discourage potential adopters. But good fortune led them to Best Friends and the dedicated people devoted to helping them recover and find welcoming homes.

These compelling, winningly illustrated true stories, each uniquely moving and inspirational, draw upon the experience of veterinarians, trainers, and volunteers to probe a range of tough, touching cases that evoke both the joy and the occasional but inevitable heartbreak that accompanies this work. Each chapter follows a dog from the first day at Dogtown until he ultimately finds (or doesn’t find) a permanent new home, focusing both on the relationship between the dog and the Dogtown staff and on the latest discoveries about animal health and behavior. We learn how dogs process information, how trauma affects their behavior, and how people can help them overcome their problems. In the end, we come to see that there are no “bad dogs” and that with patience, care, and compassion, people can help dogs to heal.

What I Thought:

Sometimes I avoid dog books because I become upset when reading of an animal’s suffering and the cruel things people can do to them. However, I’m happy to report that this isn’t one of those books that focus’ on the suffering – it rather focus’s on the dog’s recovery and it’s “happily ever after”. It is filled with life affirming moments both from the actions of the wonderful staff and the dogs themselves. Even when dealing with a death there is great solace that the dog found its way to a place where it could experience happiness, comfort and a fulfilled life.

After reading this I too want to pack up and head to DogTown to not only help out in caring for the animals, but to also meet the amazing, dedicated people who care for them.


Phoebe’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Rescue Dogs, Various Behavioural Issues

Tool(s) Used: Book Resource

Cost: I got the kindle edition from amazon.com for $5.79

Ease of Implementation: Not applicable. Though there were some really great tips in the book, these are aimed more at dog owners and inspiring them when things are tough, as opposed to a “how-to” guide.

Phoebe’s Effectiveness Rating: 5/5. Effective mainly because it inspired me to carry on and realise that there honestly is a light at the end of the tunnel and that with time and effort I just know we’ll get there – she’s already made so much progress!


Have you read the Dogtown book, or seen the TV series? What do you think of it?


2014 in review for ‘The Dogtails’

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 560 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Quick ‘n Easy Summertime Frozen Beefy Broth Iceys

Ah, Summer! Here in South Africa the summer temperatures can easily average between 30°C (85°F) to 35°C (90°F). In this weather it’s important that the whole family stays cool and hydrated. Many people forget to take extra precautions for their furry friends, but it’s important to remember that they don’t have the ability to just stroll over to the refrigerator for ice-cold water, or to put the air conditioner on when they start to feel the heat. Last year I got Phoebe a small pool to cool down in, but this was only one of the many ways to stop her from overheating.

One of the simplest and easiest treats to give your dog is a frozen flavoured ice-cube. These can be put in their water bowls, or just given by hand so that they can merrily lick away the flavour while keeping busy and staying cool. This can get messy, so be sure to only give these outdoors!

There are a huge number of liquid and solid foods you can freeze for your dog, but in this post I’ve done the easiest of them all – frozen beef broth. You literally let the liquid cool, pour into ice trays and pop in the freezer until the time that you’ll be using them. A word of advice though, keep the dog treat ice trays separate or clearly marked, because the last thing you’ll want is a beefy flavour in the next refreshing iced tea you make for yourself! 🙂

The broth cools down on the counter as I prepare a delicious summertime stuffed kong!

The broth cools down on the counter as I prepare a delicious summertime stuffed kong!

Phoebe & Cooper’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Heat, Hydration, Boredom

Tool(s) Used: Ice tray, broth and a freezer

Cost: Low.

Ease of Implementation: Easy

Effectiveness Rating: 5/5. These meaty ice water treats are a hit with the pooches in the heat. If you’re pressed for time, these are perfect, otherwise you can always get more creative with the ice tray fillings!


Keeping the parasites at bay

Summer is fast approaching here in the Southern Hemisphere, which means more activities and time spent outdoors with the furkids. But it’s important to remember that it’s not just us humans who “come out and play” in the warm weather.. all kinds of critters come out in this time, and it’s our job to try to protect our pets from those ones that can harm them.

As with all problems in life, the motto “Prevention is better than Cure” is especially important when dealing with ticks, fleas and the like. Out of habit, I happen to always use Frontline to protect my dogs, but I’m aware that there are many similar products out there, though I am not familiar with them. I have been told that you should occasionally mix up and change the brand you use to prevent “tolerance” from building in the pests making the treatment less effective. But what brand to choose?

While I was considering it I received the perfect newsletter from the online pet store Petlovers.co.za that gave this great graphic summary of which products are available and what they each do.

A really great summary of the various preventative tick and flea treatments available

A really great summary of the various preventative tick and flea treatments available

I highly recommend that you check out the site and sign up for their newsletters. I love that their newsletters aren’t just annoying sales pitches, but that they are also always informative on one or more pet care issue. They have great prices, friendly staff and deliveries are always fast.

… And no, I am in no way affiliated to them, and receive no benefit from this post – I just want to share a site that I think deserves a boost in patronage! 🙂

Phoebe and Cooper’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Pests and parasites

Tool(s) Used: Frontline preventative tick and flea solution (or similar)

Cost: Medium

Ease of Implementation: Easy

Phoebe & Cooper’s Effectiveness Rating: 5/5. Phoebe and Cooper are both flea free (and so are the cats!), so this definitely works. Though your household will not be immune to the occasional infestation over the years, this will be more due to environmental factors that allow the populations to thrive. Put this on your pets regularly to avoid major infestation and harm


Which types of tick and flea preventative items do you use for your pets?