Remember, all the green text transports you to linked websites!
That's right, June has arrived, and with it comes the exciting first day of summer - June 21 this year. Interestingly, the first day of summer this year is also Go Skateboarding Day
, which we just learned about here at The Acres. It was founded in 2003, and if you're a skateboarder or have ever wanted to learn, we encourage you to check out the day's site by clicking on the link in green above. Skateboarding might just be how you choose to get or stay in shape for Men's Health Month
, which is also observed every June. Just be sure to wear a helmet, since June marks National Safety Month
in the United States too. And as if there weren't enough to keep you busy on Friday, June 21, this year it's also Take Your Dog To Work Day
, which, being breeders of working dogs, we think should take top priority for just about everyone! (Check out the second video at "An Awesome Place & A Great Campaign"
in our December 2012 DogBlog
, and "Bring-Your-Dog-To-Work-Day... EVERY DAY
" in our March 2012 DogBlog
for fun, related stories!) Still need something to do? Well, head out to your local blues club to celebrate Black Music Month
, or head out to one of the many parades and celebrations during LGBT Pride Month
, in honor and remembrance of the Stonewall Riots of 1969
Long before the dog- and action-packed June 21, however, is a more ominous day, arriving on the first of the month. June 1 marks the official start to the Atlantic hurricane season, the beastliest storms of which we've written about before, as at the end of our August 2012 DogBlog
. Natural disasters are always terrifying to us, and to our pets, and having a plan in place that includes your four-legged friends is a must. We were reminded of that and of how service dogs like the Australian labradoodles we raise at Aussie Doodle Acres
are often called upon for their special talents, just this past month in the aftermath of the devastating tornado that flattened Moore, Oklahoma. We begin this month's DogBlog with that story.
The destruction and death left behind in the wake of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado
are unbelievable to all of us. And while the people living in or near Tornado Alley are better prepared than most to weather these incredible storms and to rebuild what they've lost, they have still lost, and suffered, and despaired. As for animals, they fall into three groups when natural disasters of this magnitude tear through our lives. There are the pets lucky enough to be kept out of harm's way and close to their families, that help to comfort their frightened human counterparts and give them hope and even smiles in the aftermath. There are those that run away and are lost to their owners, as well as those that lose their lives in the chaos. And in the third group, once the threat itself passes and the dust settles enough to begin the search and rescue, there are the dogs that act as first responders to sniff out survivors, both human and animal alike, and to locate and recover the dead. Click on the image above to read about the specially trained K9s and their uniformed handlers, some of the most important teams on the ground after the Moore tornado passed, and read here about the amazing organization that made them possible: The Search Dog Foundation
Yahoo! News | PUP's Brian Valente & Finn
| HSUS |
Certainly the valiant search and rescue dogs in Oklahoma would qualify for a spot in the running in one of our favorite annual contests. Each year the Humane Society of the United States hosts the Pets of Valor Award, honoring the bonds between big-hearted humans and their adopted or rescued animals, and in particular highlighting an animal that "exhibited an extraordinary sense of courage or resolve by heroically helping a person in need." As breeders and lovers of service and therapy dogs, we at Aussie Doodle Acres hold a special place for dogs that help people in any capacity. If you want to read about the cream of this year's crop, though, click on the photo strip at right and meet the 2013 Pets of Valor award finalists: Rocky, Mabeline, Lilly, Chilly, and Taz (not pictured). To learn more about the award itself, including how you can nominate your own deserving dog (or cat), click on the logo at far right.
In this era of rampant terrorist threats, both foreign and domestic, and with every person and organization operating at a heightened level of awareness and suspicion, we have grown used to the extensive and time-consuming security checkpoints throughout our nation's airports. We barely notice when a handler passes us in the terminal on the heels of a bomb sniffing dog, just as we've long since been accustomed to seeing drug sniffing dogs at the airport, at our international borders, and in the news (how about this interesting recent twist in Washington State
). What we might not be so used to seeing are service and therapy dogs like the ones in the PUP program. These dogs are the kind that inspired us to get into the business, and if we're lucky, maybe one day we can devote all our time to traveling around the world spreading unconditional canine love to jet-setters everywhere. Click on the image to read about Pets Unstressing Passengers, and check out the specifics at Los Angeles International
and Miami International
airports. If you meet any of these friendly fur balls during your summer travels, say "Hi" from all of us here at The Acres!
Dogs = More Bacteria Shutterstock
But wait! It's not all bad! In fact, new research from scientists at North Carolina State University and the University of Colorado confirms not only the greater diversity of bacteria in homes with dogs, but the surprising benefits that exposure to more bacteria brings. Click the image to read more.
Dogs = allergy resistance UCB | lifewithdogs.tv
I know, it sounds counter-intuitive. But as you may have gleaned from the previous segment on bacteria, it has been known for some time that exposure to allergens, and in particular exposure in our early years, tends to reduce our overall sensitivity to those allergens. Follow the image above to read new evidence of this phenomenon.
Dogs = heart health? American Heart Association
Ok, to be fair, evidence suggests a reduction in heart disease risk for owners of any pets, not just dogs. Want to learn more? Follow the eager pup above to the full story.
- What? No time to make your own frozen doggie treats? Check out FreezyPups!!
And we leave you this month with a bit of frivolity for summer. But it's in keeping with what's important to us here at the Acres. In this case, we've found a great puppy product that also does good things for the environment... by reducing waste in a seemingly completely unrelated industry. Click the image at left, and be amazed as we were by what they're doing at Astral, and how your pooch will benefit. The Astrobed is our new favorite product. See you next month!
It's hard to believe May is already here! We're looking forward to Cinco de Mayo
, and of course we have big plans to shower our mothers with love this Mother's Day
(May 12th). We also just learned about World Fair Trade Day
, on May 11th this year, and plan to take advantage of Fair Trade USA's awesome website
for responsible, sustainable gift ideas - including these fair trade flowers
! May is also National Military Appreciation Month, crowned by Memorial Day
on the 27th, and we've included a great piece in honor of our service members later in this post. Finally, May is the national Awareness Month for Skin Cancer
, Brain Tumors, and Mental Health, as well as National Bike Month, featuring Bike-To-Work Week
(May 13-17) and Bike-To-Work Day
. With such a national focus on health, we couldn't help but follow suit and start this month's post with several interesting and important articles that will help you keep your favorite canine healthy and happy. Enjoy!
To Your Dog's Health!
© Dmitriy Kapitonenko / Fotolia
First things first. If you're an avid animal lover as we are here at Aussie Doodle Acres
, you know the importance of spaying and neutering your dog (or cat) to prevent overpopulation and reduce the likelihood and frequency of euthanasia in shelters. What you may not know is how the medical procedure of sterilization otherwise affects your pet's health. A recently published research study spanning 20 years and over 40,000 dogs has concluded that canines that are spayed or neutered live longer, on average, by about 1.5 years. With longer life, however, these animals also experience a change in the liklihood of contracting certain diseases, including cancer. Click the image at left to read the full Science Daily article, and learn about this interesting and unfortunate trade-off that occurs in sterilized pets.
It has become common knowledge in recent years that America has a problem with its weight. The widespread awareness of this was bolstered in part through the success of films like Fast Food Nation
and Supersize Me
, as well as the popular television series, The Biggest Loser
. Obesity has become increasingly common, with more than a third of the United States adult population now categorized as obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
. But American adults aren't the only ones tipping the scales in frightening numbers. With an increase of more than ten percent over the last 30 years, obesity has been passed down to greater numbers of America's children, too. And yes, even our pets are not left out of this tragic trend. According to the results of the 2012 National Pet Obesity Survey
, more than half of all dogs and cats in the United States are now obese or overweight. There seems to be a new bit of good news on the pet obesity front, though, recently published in the Journal of Animal Science
. University of Illinois professor Kelly Swanson and his colleagues have been studying how food and environmental factors have affected animals at the genetic level since they became domesticated, and how this has resulted in an overall shift in pet weight. Read the Science Daily article on their findings and on nutrigenomics
, the relatively new field that may hold the keys to eventually preventing pet obesity at its source... or so we hope.
Worried About Your Pooch's "Pooch"? Read On!
Of course, as in humans, your pet's diet plays a huge role in his or her health, and in maintaining a healthy weight. Aside from making it a priority to buy high-quality pet food that is mostly protein and free of fillers, you can contribute to your furry friend's optimum health with all natural treats made from sweet potatoes, or by making your own treats, like these chips
that you both can enjoy. And according to the article you'll read when you click on the image above, you should add sardines to your pet's diet, and to yours! With a dash of turmeric. Bon appétit!
Equally important to the health of your four-legged buddy, just as it is to your own health, is exercise. One of the best ways for your pet to get a sufficient amount of cardio-vascular activity each day is by playing with toys! As you'll learn in the Humane Society
article linked to the image above, the right types of toys are essential to the overall health of your pet, especially if that pet is left alone at home for hours at a time. Toys can also be a great way for you and your best friend to interact in meaningful ways. Read the full article to learn about recommended toys and activities to keep your best friend happy and healthy while you both have fun!
dogster.com | FitBark
Of course, when we're trying to monitor our own health, or follow a new diet, we generally have a bit more information to work with than we do if we try the same with our pet. That's mainly because we're not with our pets twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the way we unavoidably are with ourselves. Well, now there's a fun new product for all the gadget lovers and health enthusiasts out there who need a better way to monitor their dog's activities. It's called FitBark
, and may just become your new best friend to help your current best friend be the healthiest he or she can be. Click the image for more information, including how to pre-order yours through FitBark's Kickstarter
Helping Our Troops... One Pet At A Time
As promised, in honor of all the armed service members who are the reason May is National Military Appreciation Month, and all the fallen heroes that make Memorial Day a sad necessity, we bring you one of our favorite kinds of stories. People helping people, by helping their animals. The Department of Defense (DoD)
may be ultimately responsible for these service members' deployment orders, but it's the new DoD - Dogs On Deployment
- that is helping ensure that deployed service members' pets are well cared for in their temporary absence. Click the image to read the Dogster.com article about this incredible organization and to see pictures of animals currently in need of boarding. And check out the DoD website
to learn even more, including how you can volunteer, create your own account, or become a supporting business.
Fashionistas Help Rebuild Boston
The day after the Boston Marathon bombings
, Kathy Palmer opened her pet boutique to the masses, human and canine alike. The people of Boston who entered The Fish and Bone
that day shared stories and disbelief and tears, while Kathy shared her safe space and free-flowing dog treats. Inspired by the strength of her city's inhabitants, Kathy worked with her fellow business owners to produce the powerful garment you see modeled on the pooch in the image at right. Click on the image to read the full article, including Kathy's connection to One Fund Boston
, which has raised nearly twenty-eight million dollars for those directly affected by the bombings. Maybe humanity hasn't gone to the dogs quite yet. Not in a bad way, at least. See you next month!
How happy are we that Spring is here again! Granted, we may not be looking forward to getting pranked on April Fool's
, and April 15
is only fun if you're expecting a refund. But for the most part, Spring is an exciting time in the northern hemisphere. (Spring is great where our dogs come from
too, but right now it's winter there.) The return of the sun and with it fields of fragrant flowers... the scent of love in each passing breeze... certainly the animals sense this, and we humans (animals as well!) feel it too. The coming month brings us a host of important days... Earth Day
(April 22), Arbor Day
(April 26 this year)... and World Health Day
, which inspired several of the articles chosen for this month's post. As we leave behind the month of March, which saw the Supreme Court in the headlines as they heard oral arguments
centered around the debate over marriage equality and the constitutionality of DOMA,
we segue into this month's post with a different Supreme Court decision related to another infamous day in April
... and from there we ease you into each subsequent article with a similar, can-you-find-the-common-theme transition... see if you can spot them all, and enjoy!
On an annually historic election day Tuesday just last year, successful voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington
resulted in the decriminalization of marijuana for recreational use in those states. And on a recent Tuesday this March, the highest court in the land cast their vote on a loosely related issue, in the shadow of the historic and far more highly publicized oral arguments surrounding marriage equality and DOMA. The opinion in Florida v. Jardines
passed down on March 26 by the Supreme Court involved marijuana cultivation, and limits the use of drug-sniffing dogs in certain circumstances related to citizens' protections under the Fourth Amendment. It just goes to show, even with their incredible talents, service dogs' reins aren't outside SCOTUS's jurisdictional pull. Click the image to read the full article, and find out which five Justices, including several seemingly unlikely candidates, came down in favor of restricting these K-9 super sniffers and their law enforcement handlers.
Monika Wisniewska / Fotolia
Wouldn't you know it. Just as the highest court in the land rules that the amazing sniffing talents of our four-legged friends have to be restricted, scientists discover the key to improving dogs' ability to smell. With a one million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, researchers from Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine and Auburn University found a diet that helps support optimum olfactory performance in dogs. (Would you believe it calls for more fat?!) As if that weren't enough good news, through a refined testing method the researchers also gathered strong evidence that the overall accuracy of trained sniffing dogs is significantly higher than previously thought. Click the image for all the details about this remarkable breakthrough that will improve the life-saving performance of bomb sniffing-dogs, even if their drug-sniffing counterparts aren't always allowed to show off their newly heightened talents since the recent Supreme Court opinion.
If you know WHO (...get it? Need another Clue
?) originally made this day internationally recognized, then you must know that April 7 is World Health Day
. True, this day is generally associated with people. But at Aussie Doodle Acres
we're constantly interacting with and monitoring the health of our dogs, so we couldn't help relating this day to them. In 2013, the theme of World Health Day will be hypertension
, a chronic medical condition that affects the four-pawed just as it does their owners. And while a diet higher in fat may improve a trained bomb- or drug-sniffing dog's track record, chances are it won't be so good for your canine buddy if she suffers from a chronic health problem such as hypertension. Luckily, the helpful health-conscious folks at Modern Dog magazine pulled together all the details you'll need this April 7 to insure that your furry friend is on track to a long, happy life. Click the image for tips to manage everything from allergies to arthritis to diabetes... Happy World Health Day!
Buckle Up, Bowser
MSN Autos Exhaust Notes
Making sure your pooch is eating a well-balanced diet, and one specific to his particular needs or her unique health issues, will certainly help insure you get to spend many more happy years together. But there are obviously other factors contributing to, or threatening, your best friend's health. If you ever drive your dog to the park, to the vet, to the groomer, to a play date, then you'll definitely
want to read this article from MSN. In response to the apparent lack of effective car safety harnesses for pets, and no crash test data related specifically to animals, Lindsey Wolko founded the non-profit Center for Pet Safety
. With a goal of standardizing animal safety equipment across the board, the Center is certainly an organization we at the Acres will be following closely. Click the image, and read about Lindsey's goals, the related fight encapsulated in the legislative bill sponsored by Grace Spencer, and which major auto company has signed on to help this worthy cause.
PETA's Heroic Mutt Award
Watching out for the safety of our favorite four-legged friends is something we do almost without thinking, as pet owners. But less obvious, perhaps, is how instinctively animals
watch out for our
safety. At Aussie Doodle Acres, our focus is on a special class of dogs
for whom service is a way of life, dogs who act as therapists to their human counterparts... working dogs who keep our soldiers and law enforcement safe, giving selflessly in ways that go beyond the rigorous playtime most of us expect of the beasts that sleep at our feet each night. It's easy to forget that, without thinking, even your dog or ours will surprise us just by following its instincts, its best inner nature. Such was the case with Mole, hamming it up for the camera here, who saved the life of a human stranger purely on instinct. Click on the image to read the amazing story, and see how this beautiful animal who saved a human life was honored by one of the most important human organizations
saving the lives of beautiful animals.
Hall of Fame Therapy Dog
Her name is Lily. Lily is thirteen years old. Lily is a gorgeous 13-year-old terrier, and Lily is a therapy dog. In addition to sharing a name with one of our founding canine matrons, Lily is the epitome of what we strive for in every one of our Australian labradoodles
here at the Acres. Even at the near-elderly age of 13, and somewhat physically limited now, Lily continues to do everything she can to put smiles on the faces of humans young and old... and she doesn't disappoint. Click on the image to read about Lily, her owner Marcia Solomon, and which Hall of Fame Lily was recently inducted into because of her incredible and ceaseless courage, talent, and selflessness. Lily is a prime example of why we started Aussie Doodle Acres, and we hope she brings you the same inspiration in your own endeavors.
Service dogs are still dogs. They love to run and jump and play. They love to lick our faces and bark at birds. They eat and sleep, and some of them, like the military service dog assigned to Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, protect. They save lives, or do their best to.
In the land down under where our breed
originates, ANZAC Day
memorializes the Australian and New Zealand service members who fought at Galipoli during World War I. While there may not have been any service dogs in the ranks of ANZAC back then, there certainly are now - just as there are among our own military forces stationed around the globe.
In the case of Tumilson, a life was lost. And Hawkeye, Tumilson's faithful canine protector, mourned his loss alongside the rest of Tumilson's human family. In fact, Hawkeye refused to leave Jon's side, even in death, and this incredible example of animal compassion gained the labrador more than fame, more than notoriety. The story of Hawkeye and Tumilson
inspired the popular TV show NCIS to devote an episode to service members and their service dogs everywhere - the undeniably important work they do to keep us all safe, and the unbelievable bond they form that never, ever breaks. Thanks to NCIS for shining a spotlight on these heroes. Read about it with a click of the heart-melting image at left, and give thanks as we do to the service men, women, and dogs who give everything they have every day of their lives to keep all of us here at home safe and sound.
Getting To Know Your Dog... Better
The story of Jon Tumilson and Hawkeye clearly demonstrates the close bond that can, and almost always does, arise between man (or woman) and man's (or woman's) best friend. You as dog owners, and we here at the Acres
as dog owners and breeders and trainers, know this all too well from personal experience. We sometimes feel like the connection we establish with our dogs is so strong and uncanny that they really understand us, really know us - and vice versa.
Well, forgive the reference to our earlier article in this post, but buckle your seatbelts. The brilliant scientists at Dognition have developed a fine-tuned system to not only pinpoint your dog's individual strengths, but to help you understand your pup better
, interact more effectively, and bring even more joy and fulfillment to both you and your furry friend every day. You can read what the Huffington Post has to say about Dognition
, and click on the screenshot at right to visit the website and read about the science for yourself. We wish you and your beast the best, always. See you next month!
1. The season marking the end of winter in the northern hemisphere, associated with rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth.
The first day of spring is just around the corner once again, along with the verdant St. Patrick's Day, the flora and fauna of Easter, and The Acres' anniversary! Nearly two years ago, Aussie Doodle Acres was formed with the goal of bringing one of the world's newest, most intelligent and remarkable canine breeds to the forefront of the service and therapy movement. As we look forward and start our third year on the heels of three successful litters of beautiful beasts, we reinvigorate our focus on training these already talented dogs, and reconnect to the thing that got us started in the first place - our passionate commitment to helping others, and our fascination with how animals can facilitate that goal in so many incredible ways.For those looking forward to March simply for sporting reasons, check out how your canine buddy can help you show your NCAA pride in the midst of the Madness; or see the awesome story (and video!) of one minor league baseball team's newly adopted mascot before the start of spring training. But the real focus this month is on helping those in need and honoring those deserving, both human and animal alike. We hope you enjoy, and find something helpful along the way.
Animals helping people...
Erin Burnett | sciencedaily.com
At The Acres, therapy dogs are in our wheelhouse. Raising and training animals to improve the lives of humans with specific needs is what we do, so we're always on the lookout for new ways our animals can help. It seems the home of our lovely Australian labradoodle breed is also the origin of new research into the positive effects of animals on autistic children. Childhood can be difficult enough without added challenges. For those with autism spectrum disorders
, however, socializing with others is often a daunting prospect. But scientists at the University of Queensland have observed that introducing an animal into the mix may be just what the doctor ordered. Click on the photo to read about their encouraging findings.
The month of March was originally named after the ancient god of war, Mars. As breeders of service animals, we know all too well that dogs are no strangers to war. Looking ahead to the imminent end of our country's involvement in Afghanistan, we're happy to see that humans aren't the only ones being retired from that war. Slick, pictured at right, served two tours in Afghanistan, totaling one year, and has now retired from military service having saved the lives of countless human companions with his keen bomb sniffing snout. But at just 5 years old, Slick isn't ready to end his service career just yet. Follow the link in Slick's photo to read the full article and watch the video of the training he's receiving for his next assignment.
People helping animals...
A large part of making sure our service animals are prepared to do their best work is giving them every advantage possible. We feed them food made from the purest, healthiest ingredients that match their ancestral dietary needs... we make sure they get plenty of exercise and time to socialize with humans and other dogs alike. This month, we thought we'd share a few ways you can give back to your pet to say thanks, and to ensure your best friend will be around as long as you are. Try this!
Don't stop once you've found the best no-filler, all natural dog food for your four-legged pals. With the help of Dr. Deva Khalsa, a leader in holistic veterinary medicine, commit to adding years and joy to your canine's life through nutrition and disease prevention. Click the image to see Dr. Khalsa's website and purchase her book, Natural Dog
. Your pup will thank you!
Kevin Moloney | HSUS
Sure, it may sound silly at first. "You want me to do what? Massage my dog?" But as surely as we know that massage can be healing and therapeutic when we've had a long day at work or are suffering from muscle tightness and pain, a growing number of "alternative" veterinarians have no doubt of its benefits for our pets. Click the photo and read all about what they do, and how you can do it too.
Brush your canine's canines!
We all know we should do it, but how many of us really do? Not nearly enough, it seems. Maybe we think it's too difficult. Maybe we don't think it's that important. Whatever the reason, we're wrong. And maybe after reading this informative article
and the infographic below, you'll add Fido's teeth to your morning routine.
People helping people with animals...
In the aftermath of the national economic meltdown, and battling our way to come back through the slow recovery, the reality of how close each of us may be to the possibility of unemployment, wage reduction, and even outright poverty, has hit close to home. Or it has hit home, and sent us reeling. But of those hit hardest, those left with the least to work with in tough times, the pet owners have yet another challenge... how to keep their furry best friends around when they have barely or not enough to feed themselves. For humans, one option is the federally funded food stamps program. But until recently, struggling families were most often forced to abandon their pets as an additional expense, leaving them to wander free as strays or committing them to almost certain death in overcrowded shelters. Enter Mark Okon, and his brilliant Pet Food Stamps
program. Watch the video and read the Huffington Post article
to celebrate with us the innovative and remarkable endeavor that Mark started. Share this resource with anyone you might know who can potentially benefit from his efforts. He inspired us, and we hope his honorable work will have the same effect on you.
People honoring animals...
Facebook Military Working Dogs
As we touched on near the top of this post, and as we've blogged about before (see DogBlog Oct 2012
, Apr 2012
, and Jan 2012
), service (or "working") dogs have become an integral part of our military establishment. With their intelligence, keen senses and responsiveness to highly specific training, canines are able to perform a wide range of tasks that help ensure more human soldiers return home safely each year. For the first time since service dogs were introduced into the ranks over 70 years ago, our nation has seen fit to establish a national monument to these courageous members of our armed forces. This coming October, the U.S. Military Working Dogs Monument
will come to rest at its permanent home at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Until then, it is touring the country as a reminder and testament, honoring the four-legged protectors of our two-legged brethren in uniform. Click on the image to read the full article, view the slideshow of images celebrating these amazing animals and their handlers, and see a video of one dog who lost a leg so his best (human) friends wouldn't have to.
People honoring people who honor animals...
We leave you this month with an invitation. Well, actually, we're sharing an invitation extended by the Humane Society of the United States, to their annual Genesis Awards
. These awards honor those in the media and public spotlight who help to raise awareness of important animal-related issues each year. From those in the news media to silver screen celebrities, the Genesis Awards keep tabs all year and pay homage each spring to these heroes. This year's gala will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on March 23. Get your tickets now before they sell out, and help support those who support such a great cause all year long. See you next month!
It's the end of January - we made it through the first month of 2013 and we're halfway through winter. In a few days, we'll put our trust in a burrowing, hibernating rodent
to tell us how much longer the winter will really last. But in the meantime, like it or not, it's still cold and wet outside here in the northern hemisphere, and we at The Acres are still tethered to our comfort foods and grateful for our pack of warm, furry labradoodles. Speaking of food, we love it! And with February about to begin, we decided what better themes for our blog this month than food and love. Happy Valentine's Day
(a little early) from all of us here in dog land. We bring you a post replete with things we adore, including food, philanthropy, and tips to make anyone a better dog owner. Be sure to explore the links (in green), as we've hidden some unexpected additional content this month. Like what's hidden in this Super Bowl
link (since that's also in a few days). And remember, if the object of your affection is looking for the perfect canine companion, one of our beautiful Australian labradoodles
might make the perfect gift! (Though you should tell him or her first!) You can Contact Us
any time to schedule your matchmaking meeting at Aussie Doodle Acres
. Enjoy the blog!
A Few Things We Love
Did we mention FOOD?
People food goes to the dogs
Chance Agrella | freerangestock.com
Tell the truth. When you were a kid, every icky unwanted vegetable was secretly scraped down to the family dog drooling eagerly below the table. You were his go-to, his real best friend. But if your parents caught you, boy were you in for it! Whether it was to discourage begging, or because "you shouldn't feed people food to Fido," you knew it was a no-no
. But guess what? Turns out not all people food is bad for dogs. Click the image above and find out which ten foods you'll want your dog to beg for, courtesy of Modern Dog Magazine. These nutrient-rich human foods will improve your dog's health and likely add years to her life. Take that
Supplements too? Really?
As if people foods aren't enough, Modern Dog Magazine would have us believe that a K9 juice bar complete with "boosts" isn't far off. The list of strange green sea plants, spices, healthy bacteria and other natural supplements that we add to our smoothies and salads appears to be just as good for our four-legged friends as for us. With the potential to brighten her coat, improve his brain function, stave off the spread of cancer
, and prevent vitamin deficiencies, food supplements like spirulina and nutritional yeast should be staples in your pooch pantry. Click on the image for the full list, and learn why these ten powerhouses are the perfect way to show your dog a little extra love.
The ASPCA Pet Safety Pack
We love the ASPCA, for obvious reasons, not the least of which is their dedication to keeping our animals safe. Everyone who owns an animal should have the two simple items in the ASPCA Pet Safety Pack, which the organization provides free of charge. One of the items is increasingly important as our planet continues to be besieged by natural disasters in greater numbers and of greater magnitude each year. The other item is a necessity in instances of animal poisoning... an important topic that we thought should be added to our segment on food. We hope each of our readers will take a moment to review the following resources, as a refresher course or first introduction to what foods and flora can be poisonous, even deadly, to our pets.
We LOVE Love!
Moving in together
shutterstock | dogster.com
The decision to move in with your significant other can be both exciting and stressful. It is a big step in any relationship, and comes with changes in daily routines, comfort zones, and independence that require time and patience to adapt to. So if it is potentially a difficult time for two people who have spent plenty of time together and love each other deeply, just imagine what it must be like for two animals. If they've never met, and are suddenly forced to share limited space together when they've each been accustomed to being top dog among their human housemates, integrating households may come with serious difficulties. Click the image above, and check out this additional article
to learn what you can do in the weeks leading up to the move so your pets will enjoy living together as much as you and your mate do. They deserve it, and you'll be grateful you made the extra effort!
Who doesn't love a wedding?!
shutterstock | dogster.com
It doesn't matter if you've already moved in together and integrated your pets along with your morning routines, or you've yet to take that step (in which case, see Moving in Together just to the left). Either way, you've found the love of your life and the date has been set for you to tie the knot. You're both animal lovers, you dress your pets up for Halloween and throw them birthday parties and buy them Christmas presents. So naturally you'll make them a part of your big day, and why not?! Well, hold on. Having dogs at your wedding sounds like a great idea until you find yours buried face first in the cake, or chasing your in-laws down the lawn. You'll want to take adequate steps beforehand to ensure your "best friend" doesn't turn the happiest day of your life into a terrible nightmare. Click on the happy couple above for some insightful tips to make your pet-friendly wedding a great success.
Loving One Another - Human & Animal Alike - Through Service
Here at The Acres, we are blessed to raise some of the smartest, most affectionate dogs we've encountered. We do it for our love of the dogs, obviously, but equally for our love of service. We raise therapy dogs, and dogs who will go on to lives of service, and companion dogs... and every one improves the lives of all who cross his or her path. We watch this happen every day, and it makes us proud.
Similarly, we hold a wondrous gratitude and great appreciation toward organizations and projects that seek to achieve similar goals, seek to pair animals and humans in innovative ways to the maximum benefit of all involved. Time and time again, the Humane Society proves its dedication to these honorable objectives, and this month we share with you two of their current partnerships that we would urge you to consider joining in: one that allows you to help give back directly to animals in need, and another that pays you and helps animals at the same time. We love that! Check out both programs below, and show your commitment to service this year.
And You Know We Love Animals Serving Animals!
We leave you this month with two of our most favorite things, our greatest loves! Animals helping animals, and a great, heartwarming story. When we stumbled across this article, it brought so much joy to us for so many reasons: our concern for endangered species and the environment in general, our knowledge of the incredible nature of dogs and all they can do, and finding out each day that they are somehow more amazing than we knew. We hope you love this story as much as we do. Click on the image for the Huff Post article, and learn more about the amazing Maremma dogs
(pictured) that star in this wonderful story. See you next month!
15% discount EXTENDED through January 31, 2013! *
That's right, 2012 is all wrapped up and behind us, and it's time to buckle our seat belts and cruise into 2013! Can you believe it?! Here at The Acres, we're looking forward to the new year, and to sharing new dogs and new blogs with all of you. True, it's still December... but in a few days we enter the month of January, which in addition to being the start of the new year, will bring us Inauguration Day
(four more years!) and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
. (Interestingly, we'll celebrate these two momentous occasions on the same day this year, which seems fitting since this particular inauguration wouldn't be possible without the incredible work of Dr. King.) We'll all be making our New Year's resolutions (see button below for one great option!), and celebrating National Thank You Month, which for us means thanking all of you for supporting us in our first three years. (Check out some of our favorite blog posts from 2011
.) And given that our breed of choice is the Australian labradoodle, we may just celebrate Australia Day
on January 26th! For now, though, we've got lots to share with you to round out 2012 and start 2013 on the right paw.... Enjoy!!
Brrrrrrrr! Winter Is Here!
Even though January is generally the warmest month and the beginning of summer in Australia where our brilliant breed originated, here in the northern hemisphere it is usually the coldest month of the year. Winter brings new challenges for pet owners and their four-legged friends, so we wanted to bring you a few helpful articles with tips for winter pet safety, grooming, and travel.
Life With Dogs
Just because it's winter doesn't mean your best friend will be locked up tight in the house. Nature calls, as do fun winter outings with snowball fights. But winter brings the added dangers of lakes and rivers covered in often very thin layers of ice. Click on the photo above to read the full Life With Dogs article about Lance Eicher and Bart the dog, and how to prevent scenes like this from happening to you this winter.
When winter comes around, dog owners often become confused about the best practices for grooming their fluffy friends. Do I leave his coat long to keep him warm? Should I stop bathing him when it's so cold? Surely fleas can't survive in the snow, right? Click the adorable bernese above for answers to these questions and more.
Traveling is as much a part of the winter holiday season as cold weather. But for those who like to travel with their pets, there are a few additional concerns to be mindful of. Click the image above for five great winter travel tips to ensure that your animal buddy enjoys the trip as much as you do!
Therapy Dogs Bring Love To Newtown
"...so precious and so loving unconditionally..."
An Awesome Place & A Great Campaign
| || |
Here in Southern California, we are lucky to have many state parks where natural animal habitat is preserved. We also have amazing animal sanctuaries like Lions, Tigers & Bears
(which we knew about) and this place that we just discovered. Watch the video to learn about the wonderful work being done by the Fund for Animals
at their Wild Animals Refuge here in Ramona, CA.
At Aussie Doodle Acres
, we raise dogs as companions, but also as therapy and assistance dogs... so we know just how much a playful pup can lighten up people's spirits. Though we aren't endorsing the brand, we certainly like what Beneful has done with their Puppies At Play
campaign. Check out the fun video at right, and read the full Huffington Post article here
New Year Brings Changes At Westminster Dog Show
Though they still haven't changed their stance on recognizing the Australian labradoodle, the WKC has decided on two new breeds that will
be up for Best in Show this year. Find out which two breeds, pictured here, will be joining the competition on February 11 & 12, along with details of the exciting new venue expansion in the full article here
Play A Game & Help Animals!
We leave you this month (and year!) with a fun game for animal lovers. It's fun because it features incredibly cool animals and you can play it on Facebook, and we love it because it also lets you help real animals in the real world at the same time! Similar to WeTopia
, this game is one of the best new things we've come across this year. Visit the main Joy Kingdom site
or Joy Kingdom on Facebook
to start playing today, or read about it first on Ellen's show
. Enjoy, and have a safe and happy New Year!!
*15% discount (through January 31, 2013) valid only upon receipt of $500 deposit and signed contract.
Not valid with any other offers or discounts.
15% discount EXTENDED through January 31, 2o13! *
Hello, dog lovers, and from all of us here at Aussie Doodle Acres
, happy holidays! So much has happened this past month... a tense election
, a devastating superstorm
, and a national dog show
, to name a few. But with Thanksgiving under our belts (along with perhaps a few extra pounds), we're looking forward to more festive holiday fun, and time spent with our families and warm furry friends as the year comes to a close. (BTW, if you're worried about the impending Mayan-calendar-end-of-the-world on the winter solstice this December 21, check out what NASA has to say on the subject
.) Among our gifts to you this month are a few fabulous fur-friendly holiday shopping resources (including a giveaway!), a sprinkling of heart health gifts you can give your favorite four-legged furball, two dashes of tail-wagging tech, and enough heartwarming tales (tails?) for all your cold winter nights... Plus a stately surprise! So stoke up the fire and settle in for our happy, howly, holiday extravaganza.... Enjoy!!
Sandy's Heroic Dogs
Amanda Bicknell | FEMA
Before we get to the holiday festivities, we wanted to take a moment to send our thoughts and prayers to all those whose holiday season has been complicated, compromised, or simply crushed by the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. With countless homes and other structures demolished, infrastructure and beloved landmarks destroyed, and thousands of families still displaced or grieving the loss of loved ones, we are especially grateful this season for all we have - and we send best wishes for a speedy recovery to all those affected. In our constant search for new service dog news, and as a follow-up to our last post
, this month we share with you the talented dogs involved in the search and rescue efforts associated with Sandy and other catastrophic events. Click on the image to read the Huffington Post article about "Dogs Of Courage". And for even more information on the amazing world of these brave canines, as well as ways you can help, visit the Search Dog Foundation
The Acres Brings Pet-Friendly Shopping To You!
Humane Society Holiday Gift Center
Having trouble finding your favorite football jersey - for your dog? Or maybe you're looking for the perfect puppy pendant for your better half. Ornaments, jewelry, decorative items, funny knick knacks, apparel for you and your pets, and more! All organized in helpful categories, including "Gifts under $50" to make shopping for your favorite animal lover easier this season! Click the HSUS logo and start filling those stockings! Plus, get this year's keepsake ornament
(or send one to a friend) as a thank you for your donation to this awesome organization.
ASPCA & we-care.com
What do you get when one of the most respected animal welfare organizations teams up with a do-gooder like we-care.com? Another great reason to go shopping! For every purchase you make through their joint site, or using their handy app, we-care.com will donate a portion of the sale to the ASPCA at no extra cost to you. So download the ASPCA|we-care.com app
today (it's tail-wagging tech item #1 this month; you'll find item #2 here
), or visit the website by clicking on the image above, and start making a difference with every gift you check off your holiday shopping list.
Green Pet Gifts LLC
In addition to being avid animal lovers, and dedicated proponents of the wonders and benefits of service and therapy dogs (that's why we do all this!), we at Aussie Doodle Acres are also strongly committed to making every aspect of life for ourselves and our canines as natural and "green" as possible. You can imagine our excitement then, when we happened upon the little gem that is Green Pet Gifts
. If you aren't immediately convinced when you visit the home page of their site (just click on the image at left), then check out their Green Commitment page
, and then add them to your Nice List this holiday season. We'll certainly be keeping them at the top of the pile for our gift-giving needs this December and throughout the coming year!
Need A Reason To Own A Dog?
Well, you're in luck. John Homans, Executive Editor of New York Magazine, has 8 of them. Reasons, that is, not dogs. Well actually, I guess we don't really know how many dogs he has. But we think you'll love the reasons, the adorable pictures, and possibly his book, What's A Dog For?
Click on the image for the full article, courtesy of Huffington Post, and enjoy!
Want To Know How To Help?
Once again, we've got you covered. Rather, the ASPCA has you covered. Volunteer, donate to the ASPCA's thrift store, or just shop at it via their website... With four options to choose from, you're sure to find a great way to help our animal friends during the holiday season. Click on the image to read the article and learn how you can give back this year.
Health for the Holidays
So, remember when we mentioned those few extra holiday pounds at the top of this month's post? It turns out that humans aren't the only ones affected by obesity. Recent studies have found that obesity in dogs can lead to the same health problems as in their human best friends. Click on the image to learn about canine metabolic syndrome, and how a regimen of exercise can restore your pet's overall health.
Leave it to the Japanese to invent a cutting-edge human fitness meets GPS high-tech pedometer collar for dogs. What does it do? Well, in a nutshell (a roasted chestnut shell?), it provides constant monitoring of your dog's exercise regimen and heart health, in an effort to prevent canine obesity (which can lead to metabolic syndrome - sound familiar?). Click the image for the first article on this marvel, and check out Wandant article 2 here
Fruit For Dogs
As you all likely knew even before you made it to this point in our blog post, shedding those unwanted pounds and avoiding nasty health problems is achieved through not just exercise, but a healthy diet. The same is true for your dog. Click on the image, though, to find out which fruits are ok, and which aren't, for Fido.
Tails To Warm Your Heart
Click on an image for the full story
Beagle Freedom Project
Fiona & Janet
Life With Dogs
LaNola Kathleen Stone
And Bo, Still In The White House... Your Holiday Surprise
*15% discount (through January 31, 2013) valid only upon receipt of $500 deposit and signed contract.
Not valid with any other offers or discounts.
Before moving to the title topics this month, we'd like to take a moment for those touched by Hurricane Sandy
's wrath. As we write these words, nearly 100 million people (and their pets) are without power in the northeastern states; thousands have lost their homes; some have lost their lives.
In its wake, Sandy has left rubble, flooding, widespread devastation... tens of billions of dollars in damage to our national infrastructure and immeasurable human damage. We at the Acres have relatives, loved ones - both human and canine - residing in and directly affected by this catastrophic event, and our hearts and thoughts go out to them and all their northeast neighbors forced to rebuild in the coming weeks. For our part, we're providing links to helpful information and several important disaster relief efforts. We hope you will show your support as we have:
© Jacquelyn Pyun/The HSUS
Though not directly related to funding disaster relief in the aftermath of Sandy, we found another great (and easy) way to see that the Humane Society gets the funding it needs - and it's free! Just visit the HSUS site and take their funny Pet Personality Quiz
to find out what your favorite pet's personality type is. It only takes a couple minutes, and for every completed quiz, Pet Plan Pet Insurance will donate $1 to the Humane Society. It couldn't be any easier than that, so get to it!
Sandy has created another
potential disaster as well, aside from the obvious physical devastation and emotional toll across the eastern seaboard --- namely, the unexpected and thorough disruption of the 2012 presidential election. Most states have constitutional provisions for emergency situations like this, but the decisions generally lie with each state, and there are no guarantees. With Sandy having already forced premature closure of early voting in numerous states, and upending campaign trail schedules on both sides, the likelihood of a zero effect on voter turnout and final results is questionable at best. It is frightful, in ways far more real than today's Halloween spooks, to imagine the possibility of yet another compromised electoral outcome. But once your vote is cast, all you can do is REMIND
everyone you know, and even those you don't, to VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!!! If they're animal lovers, then perhaps the tale (tail?) of Seamus (see our July 2012 post
), or the celebration of Bo Obama's birthday
(click for the video retrospective) will compel them to cast their ballots as soon as human(e)ly possible...
Huff Post (via Buzzfeed)
In the meantime, how about a little humor to lighten the mood and release some of the tension surrounding this election cycle? We couldn't help but share this funny, dog-related take on the election... In fact, this Brooklyn, NY pet store is letting you take the presidential election into your own hands, giving you the choice to get down and dirty and "smear" either of the candidates with their clever line of "Smear Campaign Poop Bags".
We hope that even in the aftermath of "Frankenstorm" Sandy, this New York business is thriving. Click on the photo for the details from Huff Post, and enjoy the bonus "30 Funniest Mitt Romney Parodies" video slideshow just after the article.
4 Paws 4 Patriots (via lifewithdogs.tv)
As humans, it may be tough for us to fully grasp the importance of our military veterans unless we know one personally. We see the news of the troops returning from Afghanistan, and feel a certain happiness at that news. But unless we are at the docks or on the airfield waiting to welcome our own loved one home, we may not feel that deep connection to the work our service men and women do for this country.
Dogs, on the other hand, don't need to know all the details to unleash their special brand of healing, joyful love on each and every veteran lucky enough to have one. And thanks to irreplaceable organizations like 4 Paws 4 Pets
, veterans like local retired Marine Nathan Peck enjoy the canine companionship of incredible service dogs like Cali (pictured). Click on the photo to learn just how influential these unconditionally loving animals are in the lives of our nations returning heroes.
WJLA | Huff Post
In a rather new twist to the story of veterans and their canine companions, meet Bolt (pictured). Bolt was once a skittish stray dog in Afghanistan, roaming the desert with his sister Xena in search of food scraps and a little compassion. Roughly a year ago, former Marine Shaun Duling arrived on the scene, newly transplanted to Afghanistan and stationed with the German Army. Shaun took the lonely Bolt under his wing, and the two quickly became inseparable. That is, until the military separated them... but not for long. Click the photo to read the touching story of their reunion, and the incredible lengths this veteran took to see that he would never again be separated from this unlikely and wonderful best friend. Happy Veterans Day!
We leave you this month with a few tidbits in honor of the fast-approaching Thanksgiving holiday. We here at the Acres are so grateful to the many canines (and other animals) in our lives, and we strive each day to share their joy and love with all of you. Thank you for your support, and to all of you who have learned first-hand how wonderful the addition of a beautiful animal to the family can be. And to anyone still missing that perfect canine companion, visit our Available Now
page to find your match, or Contact Us
for more information.
Now, on to how you can show your thanks to your pets, all year round... Enjoy!
55 ways to say thanks...
Courtesy of Wayne Pacelle's blog
at the Humane Society, here are fifty-five ways to thank the beasts in our lives, & the humans who help them!
Lost dog? Forget the paper fliers in this digital age... Get the Lost Petz app! (Click image for more information.)
The opposite of thanks would be giving your pet the flu this year. Don't do it! Read more here...
Happy autumn from Aussie Doodle Acres
! Leaves changing color, kids going back to school, football in full swing, and of course Halloween! Like last year, we've found a great site providing Halloween safety tips for pet owners. (If you still need an adorable pup to dress up, Contact Us
to get your very own multigenerational Australian labradoodle, and check out our adorable 4-month olds on the Available Now
page.) We've also got pics from the Southern California Doodle Romp we attended earlier this month, some more pet tech for you, and a Facebook page we like about one of our presidential candidates.
But October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month
, so we start out our DogBlog with three stories about dogs and and their influence in the fight to eradicate cancer.
Dogs (& other pets) help fight breast cancer
When we think of fighting breast cancer, typically we think about people with breast cancer. Women in our families, female colleagues and friends. We fundraise and volunteer and march for them. We pray for them. Less well known, however, is that our pets can fall victim to breast cancer too. At the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, an incredible program leads the pack in this field of study, taking in stray cancer-afflicted dogs and studying their disease while providing them a home. Click on the ribbon to read the full article, which also includes some good preventative advice to keep your 4-legged best friend healthy.
Killing cancer with pox
Photo by LB Stauffer
Who would have thought that doctors would ever intentionally infect someone with a disease. But what if the introduction of that disease, in this case a pox called myxoma
that only affects rabbits, will kill off a worse disease - namely, cancer? That's just what veterinarian and professor Amy MacNeill has been studying, in dogs, at the University of Illinois. Click on Amy's photo to read about the exciting results of her research, promising for animals and humans alike, as well as the "win-win" for the dogs involved in the study.
Mushrooms as cancer therapy
Packed with vitamins and minerals, lean protein, antioxidants; helpful in keeping cholesterol levels in check; these are just a few of the miraculous traits of the myriad types of edible fungi we call, simply, mushrooms. But it seems one particular variety, the coriolus versicolor
or Yunzhi mushroom, can extend the lives of dogs with a rare but aggressive cancer called hemangiosarcoma
. Click the image to read the full story.
More dog tech!
As 21st century animal lovers, we're also avid tech lovers, and we get excited about fun new tech tools that make life with (and for) our favorite four-legged friends safer, easier, and just plain more fun! New gadgets thrill us, like the Loc8tor
and Tagg GPS
that we brought you in our November 2011 post
, and FinderCodes
in July 2012
. This month it's the amazing Dog Caller
that got our attention. We also can't get enough of all the well-designed mobile apps targeted at animal owners and lovers (see the first list we shared in our May 2012 post
), and we've found some more this month! Click on the image for the list of great pet-related apps, courtesy of appadvice.com. Enjoy!!
The Malibu Doodle Romp was a great success - the pictures prove it!
Every year, owners, breeders, and lovers of labradoodles and golden doodles come together in Malibu for the Southern California Doodle Romp. This year, proceeds benefitted the Doodle Rescue Collective, Inc.
, and we attended for the first time. We hope you enjoy a few pics we took while we romped around the woods!
Click on any image, then the arrows, to see larger versions with captions
For the one-year anniversary of our first Labor Day DogBlog post
, and in the spirit of labor and service and a day that couldn't be more fundamental to our cause at the Acres, in the spirit that our working dogs and all service dogs across the globe embrace so unquestioningly, we again bring you a post full of labor-themed (read: service-themed) articles. Service is what got us started - it's how we first met the amazing Australian labradoodle. And along with their dynamic spirits and boisterous, loving playfulness, it's what keeps us going strong.
Before we jump into all the "work" talk, though, we wanted to tell you about a few cool canine events you'll certainly want to know about and share with your fellow dog-lovers. We hope you enjoy this month's selections, and remember to Contact Us
when you're ready to have an amazing Australian labradoodle in your own family!
11th Annual Southern California Doodle Romp
Saturday, September 8, 2012 - Malibu, California
This promises to be lots of fun with lots of doodles - and we'll be there
Click on the image to find out how you can attend too!!
2012 BarkWorld ExpoOctober 25-27, 2012 - The Westin Buckhead - Atlanta, Georgia
"National Social Petworking (TM) Conference"
Dog News Daily 2013 Golden Collar AwardsSunday, February 17, 2013 - Televised
A week before the human stars take to the red carpet at the Oscars, watch these canine stars strut their stuff like never before!
A Hard-Working, Life-Saving Service Dog
Dogster | Sonja Ohldag
If you're here at the Aussie Doodle Acres
DogBlog, surely you're an animal lover. And I'm sure like most people you love animals for their playfulness, unconditional love, and companionship. But I think it may be less well-known - and often not adequately appreciated - just how hard-working animals can be, how hard they will labor to help us, to keep us safe... and in some cases to save our very lives, literally. In honor of Labor Day, and of the amazing, incredibly hard-working, brilliant service dogs across this beautiful country and around the world, we bring you a touching and important story of one life-saving canine - Jolanda - and the family that loves and depends on her. It is also a brutally honest reflection on the stigma placed upon those who depend on service animals to get through life, and upon the animals themselves. Click on the image to read the full Dogster
article about this unbelievably talented seizure-assistance service dog. And be sure to have a box of tissues ready.
Abandoned Pit Bull Turned Anti-Terrorist, On His Way To Kenya!
MSN Now | WITN.com
Pit bulls are in the news far too often for the wrong reasons, and we think it's sad that a few mistreated animals acting out have given the breed such a bad rap. These beautiful dogs are just as capable of love as any breed, and as we found out in this encouraging article, they are just as capable of entering the workforce as dependable service dogs. Click on the image of this adorable pup to read the tale of the man who, despite the pit bull's ill reputation, rescued this gem from the warehouse where he had been tied up and abandoned, and helped him become one of the most talented bomb sniffing dogs ever.
Bring Your Pets To Work (Redux)
Andrew John Williams | Inc.com
Back in March we brought you a story
about the benefits of bringing your dog to the office. Now we revisit that topic with this article about the potential legal pitfalls of pets at work, and the best ways to safeguard yourself, and your company, from a lawsuit. Click on the image to read the full Inc.com story.
Easing Back Into School & Work
Summer is all about vacations, right! And everyone dreads Labor Day, the signal that school will soon be back in session, and work must resume. The end of any vacation is often stressful for our pets too, though, and this article gives some great tips to ease your four-legged friends back into their routines.
Isaac Reminds Us, You Can Never Be Too Prepared
In the wake of another Gulf hurricane's devastation, we thought it best to veer off the topic of labor just long enough to remind every pet owner of the importance of having a working - and tested - disaster preparedness plan. We may not be able to anticipate when our lives will be disrupted by a hurricane or an earthquake, by tornadoes or floods or just an extended power outage; but we can certainly prepare ahead of time to ensure the safety of our families - including our beloved pets. Please take a moment to review the helpful advice in this Life With Dogs piece. And if you don't have a disaster plan yet, gather your loved ones and make one today!