Right now, the best idea I can think of is to keep abreast of the news regarding pet food recalls.
Go to Google News and type in pet food recall (and possibly the brand you feed and want to monitor) and click “Search News”. Check out http://www.lifestylepets.org/dog-food-recalls/
The search results are usually presented by relevance, but you can request that the most recent stories be presented first. (Google constantly updates with just-posted news stories.) These options are toward the upper right of the screen.
Please check frequently for updates, read critically and from multiple sources, and please share the info with friends, neighbors and co-workers.
May your pets be well-fed and healthy.
Dog trade cards are a fun collectible and a great choice for a new collector. They are inexpensive, numerous, readily available, and take up little space.
Trade cards commonly advertised tobacco products, but also candy, coffee and tea, soap, toothpaste, medicines, and even thread (as in the J&P Coats Thread trading card below).
Some people collect complete sets such as these:
- Companies, like John Player & Sons, and Gallaher, Ltd. issued numbered sets of cards, each featuring a breed illustration and profile.
- The Berlin Morning Post (der Berliner Morgenpost) issued a collectible print each week in 1960 of various breeds.
Other collections could reflect:
- a breed
- a time period
- a country
- the product advertised
- cards that are printed on unusual media, such as silk, playing cards, cigar bands, and even film transparencies.
You can’t go wrong if you remember the old rule, collect what you love.
Most cards are vintage, but some are more recent. My trade cards range from the 1890s to the 1990s. Ask whether the card you’re interested in is an original, or a reprint. Some popular cards, such as the Player and Gallaher sets were reprinted; reprints should be less expensive.
The Corgi and Newfoundland cards above were both premiums with tobacco products. The Corgi card was printed in the UK in 1979. The card back gives breed details, while the front features a charming drawing of a Corgi.
The 94-year old Newfoundland card is unusual; it was printed on silk. This card shows a prominant Newfoundland of that era on the front, and pedigree, show, and ownership details on the back.
If you’ve been thinking about adding a dog to your family, why not start your research with Pet Finder? You can browse their research library, and even view adoptable animals in your area.
If you are not yet ready to bring home a new friend, you can sponsor an animal being cared for by a rescue organization, or make a contribution to your local shelter.
If your own sweetheart is an animal lover, a contribution or sponsorship in his or her name would certainly sweeten their day. Tuck a card announcing this special gift into that box of candy or bouquet of flowers.
I can’t think of a better Valentine!
It’s the dog world’s answer to the Super Bowl, and the second oldest sporting event in the United States. It’s two wonderful days when the world seems to focus on dogs.
Having a Westminster Party at home or with your dog club?
- Print scorecards for your guests.
- Mix up a batch of “Puppy Chow” for your guests. Serve in a (clean) dog bowl.
- Don’t forget the dog biscuits for four-legged friends at the party!
- Put on your own pre-game show by watching last year’s Westminster breed judging clips on your computer. (Click the heading “Videos”)
Watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the USA Network (or set your Tivo).
- On Monday, February 12th, the line-up will be the Working, Terrier, Toy, and Non-Sporting groups.
- On Tuesday, February 13th, the line-up will be the Sporting, Hound, and Herding groups, and Best in Show.
Watch for features on dogs away from the ring, such as Westminster’s Angel on a Leash dog therapy program, and profiles of people in the fancy.
Stay in and stay warm; curl up on the couch with your favorite furry friend and enjoy.
After my recent injury, long walks are difficult, I can’t quite bend over to pick up a toy, and my shoulder isn’t ready to throw a ball. So, Dash is bursting with unspent energy.
In desperation, I bought a Chuckit (a 26 inch long plastic arm with which you can pick up and throw tennis balls). It is wonderful! I wish I’d bought one sooner. With the Chuckit, I can pick up a tennis ball without bending, and throw it across the yard with little effort or stress. It’s even surprisingly easy to use in my non-dominant hand. This would be a useful and inexpensive gift for anyone who has trouble playing fetch with their dog.
As I write this, my tired dog is sleeping at my feet, rather than bouncing off the walls!
Inexpensive software downloads for your PDA abound.
If you have a Palm PDA, visit Palm Gear and search under the keywords dog and pets. There are programs to organize your dog’s information, and keep veterinary, show and training records. You’ll find games, eBooks, and AKC breed standards for a dozen breeds. There is even a program that simulates clicker sounds, just in case your dog ate your clicker.
Here is a sampling of programs:
- HandyClic Virtual Dog Trainer 1.0 (free)
- PetPal – Dog & Cat Info Organizer (free)
- AKC Dog Pocket Breed Standards (free)
- Good Dog PDA Journal 1.2 (shareware benefits dog rescue)
A Google search will reveal software downloads, such as DataDog: PDA software for the canine sports enthusiast.
Are you busily loading music, games, and video onto a shiny new iPod, PDA, or computer? Why not add some dog-related information and entertainment? Here are some free audio downloads:
- Dogcast radio offers downloads of more than 30 UK-based canine podcasts. You’ll find everything from interviews with well-known experts to topics for kids. Check the subject or episode indices.
- Pet World Radio features interviews with a wide variety of “dog people” from Jean Donaldson to Betty White, and topics like Canine Freestyle and coping with summer heat.
- K9 Cast with Walter and Tara offers more than 60 podcasts covering a variety of canine topics. Search the archives at the upper right of their blog.
A number of dog-related audio books are available for purchase from sites like Amazon.com and Audible.com. An audio version of the classic Don’t Shoot the Dog is available on Karen Pryor’s ClickerTraining.com (as well as dog training eBooks which can be read on your PDA or computer.)
Why not find a good audio book and listen to it the next time you’re on the road to a dog show!
Everyone’s talking about getting organized. It’s that time of year. Why not organize your dog’s records?
You may need to access your dog’s records for:
- Veterinary consults
- Kennels, petsitters
- Training classes
- Events (You’ll need basic info to register, and often proof of vaccination.)
- Disaster preparedness
- Travel outside the country
- If your dog is lost or you need proof of ownership
- If you are a breeder, detailed information is appreciated by new owners.
Choose the format that best fits your style. Records can be kept:
- Digitally, on your computer or PDA. Disadvantages; accessibility, power-outages, and not having a hard-copy when you need one. However, having a digital backup of paper records is a great idea.
- In a binder with originals, certificates, and registration papers tucked safely in a file. Disadvantages: paper in binders can tear loose or become dog-eared. Consider page protectors or heavy-weight paper and hole punch reinforcements. You may want to protect your information by using a zip-up binder, or making a pouch to keep it in.
- Loose in file folders or in a portable file pocket.
- In an index card file. Disadvantages: Limited to written information; this format is too small for photocopies.
- In a “My Dog” recordkeeping book (usually found at bookstores) Disadvantages: you cannot add pages to a bound book. Tucking records in the pages is not secure.
- Wireless electric dog fence I.D. tags for when Fido runs away.
I decided to keep Dash’s information in a binder that I can easily take with me. This method has worked very well for us. Here’s how we did it:
- I bought an inexpensive binder with clear pockets on the front, back and spine, and a package of clear, archival-quality page protectors.
- I printed a title sheet for the binder and slipped it under the clear front pocket.
- When I want to add information to Dash’s binder, I slide it into a page protector and place that in the binder. No hole punching necessary!
- I filled out our downloadable dog data sheets, saved them on my computer and PDA, and printed a copy for his book. I can update and reprint Dash’s data whenever I need to.
Here’s to an easy, organized New Year!
Getting ready for the New Year? Why not put together your own calendar of fun dog events in your area? You’ll find events you and your dog can participate in, and others where you can just sit back and enjoy the show.
To find events:
- Local dog clubs or individuals may maintain websites that focus on your area. These can be goldmines. Search for the keywords “dogs”, “events” and “your city” in your favorite search engine.
- Read your local paper
- Contact local dog clubs
- Ask trainers and students at training facilities
- Inquire at animal shelters
- Check for flyers in local dog-related businesses. Talk to the staff.
- Is there a local venue that often hosts dog events? Ask for their event listing.
- Check with the AKC for conformation, obedience, rally, tracking, and agility.
- Are you interested in a particular dog sport? Check the parent organization’s event calendar. Find the organization by querying your favorite search engine with the name of the sport (i.e. “agility”, “schutzhund”, or “flyball”) and “organizations”.
- If you have a breed you’re interested in, check with their parent club for local activities. Often these wonderful events are not widely-publicized. Some examples are:
- Australian Shepherd Club of America herding trials
- Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America carting competitions
- Newfoundland Dog Club of America water rescue tests
Some non-dog events in your town are great to take dogs to. In St. Louis, many locals and their dogs happily make a day of the Great Forest Park Balloon Race. If you’d like to take your dog to such an event, be sure to add it to your calendar.
Finally, keep your calendar where you’ll be most likely to update and refer to it. Use the type of calendar that is easiest for you; paper, online, or your PDA.
May you enjoy 2007 with your dog. Happy New Year!