“Dog Town”, Another Barking Great Read

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

covers_dogtown_hp

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.

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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!

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

Apple & Oat Puppy Bites

I have many different talents and skills, but I must be honest an admit that being a culinary genius does not rank amongst them. Don’t get me wrong, with a lot of practice and hard work I can now confidently whip up a meal for a group of dinner guests without the threat of poisonings or having the house burn down (mostly), but being in the kitchen doesn’t come naturally so I’m usually weary. This changes however when my taste testers are my canine kids.

In their eyes everything I whip up is absolutely delicious and truly gourmet! This means that I love finding new treat recipes for them, and regularly use them as rewards for training and good behaviour.

We’ve run out of treats, and my cupboards closely represent those of Old Mother Hubbard, so I searched for treats that were simple in terms of ingredients and skill level. That’s when I came across this great recipe from Two Little Cavaliers for Apple and Cinnamon Treats.

These were quick, easy and they passed the all important taste test!

Apple & Oat Pup Bites

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Oatmeal
  • 1 Cup Apple Sauce
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 2 Large Eggs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 180C (about 350F)
  • Combine oats, apple sauce and cinnamon
  • Add eggs to the mixture and combine until sticky and smooth
  • Scoop into molds, or drop a teaspoon full onto greased and oiled baking sheet and flatten slightly (this is what I did)
  • Bake in oven for +/- 25 minutes
  • Allow to cool
  • Give some to the dogs to test, and store the rest in an airtight container

… and of course the pictorial recipe review:

ingredients

Combine

Mix Egge

bake

result

Dogtails’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Training, Nutrition, Food, FUN

Tool(s) Used: Your kitchen and baking skills

Cost: Low

Ease of Implementation: Easy

Effectiveness Rating: 5/5 I wasn’t very sure if the dogs would like the apple and cinnamon taste as it’s a new one to them, but I’m happy to report that they all gobbled them up!

…. and don’t worry, I learnt my lesson from last time so these were introduced sloooowly and carefully to avoid any major tummy upsets! 🙂

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Do you ever make your own homemade treats for the dogs? If so, what do you make?

Introducing Rocky Rockstar and Bella the Beautiful…

Our family has grown once again! It seems like just the other day that my only dog was Phoebe and that because of her extreme fear of other dogs I couldn’t even consider allowing the canine family to grow… And then came Cooper crashing into our lives… and now we have two more (unplanned) additions to the family!

“I say, thirteen is too many dogs for good mental health. Five is pretty much the limit. More than five dogs and you forfeit your right to call yourself entirely sane.
Even if the dogs are small.”

– E. Lockheart “The Boyfriend List”

I’ll post more on the blog about these two new cutie-pie’s, but in a nutshell, the way they got here was through a long series of re-homing events. These two had originally been my Boyfriends first dogs that he got as puppies in 2005 and 2010 respectively when he lived in another city for work. They then moved back into the family home with him when he moved back into town, and then stayed there when he moved again last year as his niece and nephew loved them and they had free reign in the large house. But as they were about to move again in October new homes were found for them with family members as the new place they had to move into doesn’t allow pets, and I was too concerned about Phoebe and the cats accepting new dogs (not to mention the sheer amount of animals that would be in the home!). All was going according to plan until literally the day of the move when the new homes for them fell through.

What to do now?!

We knew that with no other good homes available we would have to take them in, and if they didn’t adjust we would deal with it either through training, or finding a new home with trusted families. Only time would tell how the household would adjust.

We’re a few weeks into the new arrangement, and I can report that all the pets were a bit rattled in the beginning but are now adjusting wonderfully. There are obviously a few hiccups we need to address (which I’ll post about soon!), but overall, the newly extended family has been mostly successful!

So there’s the back story, and here’s the part you’ve been waiting for… the introduction to the new additions! <***drumroll please!***>

Rocky Rockstar (Chihuahua, 10 years old):

rocky

…and Bella the Beautiful (Pekingese x Jack Russell, 5 years old):

Bella 2

For those regular readers trying to keep track of the animals in our household, here’s a quick (updated) recap:

Dogs:

  • Fabulous Phoebe
  • Super Duper Cooper
  • Rocky Rockstar
  • Bella the Beautiful

Cats:

  • Angel
  • Cleo
  • Katz

So now we’re an ever-growing, big, happy family of all species!

In this entry there’s no usual “Effectiveness Rating” because we’re still finding our feet, but I’ll update with all the trials, tribulations and successes as they occur in the future. Be sure to pop in to check on any new developments!

Blogtober Day 13: Try a new food. Is it nice?

Regular readers will remember the Blogtober Dog Blog Challenge that I did during October. It was lots of fun, but very time consuming – if you look closely there are a few days that I missed out on posting, but I committed to completing the challenge, so they will come slowly but surely!

The one I’m catching up on today is where Phoebe and Cooper try a new food. Full disclosure: I actually did do this one on the 13th of October, I just didn’t post it because I wanted to do a post on the actual recipe and baking process. I realise that it could’ve come later, but nonetheless, it’s here now, so let’s see what Phoebe and Cooper thought of the Peanut Butter Biscuits…

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Cooper says:

Is it nice?! Oh boy, Oh boy! They’re delicious!! I can’t get enough of them!

I even tried my best to brave the kitchen counter obstacles that Mom laid out to try and get more of them, but I was foiled at the last minute. 😦 Guess I’ll just have to wait patiently for Mom to give me more later on…

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Phoebe says:

Wonderful! Peanut butter is my favourite thing in the world, and to now have them in the form of biscuits?! Amazing! My mom can get me to do anything (even ignore other dogs when we go on walks!) when those treats are out!

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

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You can see the full recipe and instructions for these yummy biscuits by clicking here. And you can check out the full 31 Day Dog Blogtober Challenge here

Phoebe & Cooper’s Peanut Butter Biscuit Deliciousness

Treat time! I’ve previously experimented with baking homemade Liver Biscuits for Phoebe when my Mom came to visit last year, and boy, were they a hit! In fact, they were such a success that I decided that it was time to try my hand at baking once again, but this time I wanted to try a sweet treat to see if I could continue bringing smiles onto the faces of my happy, food-driven dogs.

I scoured the internet and found so many different recipes, and most seem to have the same basic ingredients, and also matched my (very low) baking skill levels. I finally decided to try out a basic recipe for Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits.

***Spoiler Alert***

They were a huge resounding success! Not only were they easy and quick to make, but they were also a firm favourite for both Cooper and Phoebe! If you’re looking for something fun to do for your dog and a way to pass an empty hour, then this is what you should get cracking on doing! They are also low fuss and easy to make if you have kids in the house and want them to do a fun, indoor activity.

But enough of the talk, let’s get on with the recipe and instructions:

Phoebe & Cooper’s Peanut Butter Biscuit Deliciousness

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (low salt)
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 180C (about 350F)
  • Combine Flour and Baking Powder in a large bowl
  • In a separate bowl combine milk and peanut butter until smooth
  • Slowly mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients in a bowl until mixed to a “dough-y” consistency
  • Lightly flour a surface
  • Roll dough on flour surface and knead until soft
  • Use cookie cutters to make shapes and place on greased oven pan
  • Bake in oven for +/-15 minutes
  • Once baked through place on cooling rack to cool,
  • Give one to the dogs for the all important “taste test”, then place in containers for storage

See? Easy peasy! Here’s a few pictures of the process:

dog biscuits dry ingredients

dog biscuits wet ingredients

dog biscuits mix

Dog biscuits dough

Dog biscuits enjoy

These will last in an air-tight container for about 2 weeks, but can also be sealed and frozen in the deep freeze for up to 3 months.

Remember to reward your kitchen helpers!

Remember to reward your kitchen helpers!

…  these also make great gifts not only for your own dogs, but for friends with furbabies too!

Phoebe & Cooper’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Training, Nutrition, Food, FUN

Tool(s) Used: Your kitchen and baking skills

Cost: Low

Ease of Implementation: Easy

Effectiveness Rating: 5/5. Phoebe and Cooper absolutely loved these, and I will definitely be making them again soon. I recommend doubling the recipe though so you can freeze some as well to give out when going on walks, doing training, or just to spoil the dogs after a long day!

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Have you got any suggestions for any other easy dog treats I can make? 

 

Blogtober Day 31: It’s Halloween! What are you wearing?

“You’re just spooked. It’s Halloween; we’re all kind of spooked. That’s just the way it is.”

– Matthew Leeth

It’s that trick or treating time of year! We don’t really need to do the “trick” part of the celebrations, but the “treat” part is a must! We’re a bit undecided as to which costumes are best, why don’t you let us know which ones you like most?

Look 1: Devilishly Mischievous Matching Costumes

Devil Halloween Dogs

Look 2 : Ready for a bewitching fiesta!

dog halloween

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Thanks to everyone who followed, liked and commented on the ’31 Day Dog Blogtober Challenge!’ We hope to see you around here again soon!