Your dog’s nemesis


The Dog hates the mail carrier.

Is it the shorts? The pinched-off little vehicle? The Clipper Coupon magazine?

Whatever it is, our mail carrier – and it doesn’t matter which one—really sets off the normally mellow dog.

And while it is easy to be snarky about the carrier’s shorts and sensible shoes, it is pretty easy to figure out what is going on here.

The carrier comes to the house; the dog barks, barks, barks. And just keeps barking and the carrier leaves. In your pooch’s mind, she has won. Barking herself almost hoarse means the intruder has been scared off until the next day. Once again, the dog has earned her keep and maybe an extra peanut butter chew.

Well, at least the dog is happy with this scenario. It’s amazing annoying to everyone else of course but as long as you keep her inside and away from an actual encounter with the carrier, there is no actual harm.

In 2013, Phoenix was ranked 11th in the country for dog bites of postal workers, with 32 attacks. If you are worried that your dog may go from barker to biter, here are a couple of tips:

  • If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog into a separate room and close the door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.
  • Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.

So let’s be safe out there, everyone! Including that  little noisy dog at her post

Keeping safe when it is still summer

john liu

Via Flickr – by John Liu

Well, realistically speaking, we are halfway in the summer season in metro Phoenix. Let’s be honest, the thermometer doesn’t budge until October in Phoenix. Guest blogger Vee Cecil does a great job in reminding us to keep safe out there.

You may be thinking about how to squeeze in another vacation before you have to get back to the daily grind of the rest of the year. And if you have a pet, you may be among the 53 percent of pet owners, who according to, bring their pets along with them when they travel.

While traveling with the family is certainly enjoyable for you and your pet, it’s important to remember that they are vulnerable to many other dangers once they leave the safety of your home. Here’s some advice on how to keep your four-legged family members safe when you travel:         

At the pool. Many dogs love to swim and it truly is great exercise for them. That said if your vacation destination allows dogs to swim, it’s important to use caution when they’re in an unfamiliar pool.

First, be sure your pet knows how to get out of the pool. On his first swim, train him to find the stairs. Second, be sure the pool’s chemicals and other cleaning supplies are kept where you pet can’t get to them. This list of pool chemicals shows what chemicals are needed to clean a pool and how they’re used. It also gives a good indication of just how toxic they are. If your dog comes into contact with these chemicals or ingests them it can be very dangerous. You’ll also want to make sure the chemical levels in the pool aren’t so high that they harm your pet. Be on the look out for red eyes, which can be an indication of over-chlorination, and rinse your pet off with fresh water when he’s done swimming.

At the beach. Dogs enjoy a day at the beach as much as humans, but if you’re bringing yours along with you be sure to take a few precautions. provides several great tips about beach safety for dogs. For example, it stresses the importance of always keeping an eye on your dog. It would only take a split second for you to lose track of them on a crowded beach. And be aware of the dangers associated with swimming in the ocean. If your dog isn’t a good swimmer, it’s best to not let them go in too far, to have them wear a doggie swim vest, and to be on the lookout for ocean creatures, such as jellyfish and stingrays.

On the trails. If you’ll be camping or hiking in the great outdoors with your dog in tow, it’s important to know how to keep them and other hikers safe on the trails. Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) offers some do’s and don’ts for hiking with your dog. AMC notes that the weather should always be a consideration. If it’s hot and humid, don’t over do it. Choose an easier trail, and preferably one that ends with a pond or lake where your dog can cool off. Another great tip: keep your leash handy. AMC explains that you’ll want to have your dog on a leash when you encounter other hikers or if you happen to run into a loose dog on the trail.

At the dog park. If you’re opting for a staycation, there are still plenty of opportunities to get out and about and play with your dog. For example, you might try one of these dog parks in Phoenix. Just be sure to follow dog park safety and etiquette as set out by the ASPCA. In this article on dog parks, in addition to other helpful information, the organization advises that upon arrival you always check to make sure fencing and gates are secure, make sure there’s plenty of shade and access to fresh water, and always, always watch your dog so that you can quickly step in if their play with another dog takes a bad turn.

There’s no reason every member of the family (even the furry ones!) can’t enjoy a great vacation. If you do plan to bring your dog with you on your end-of-summer travels, just be sure to take the necessary steps to keep them out of harm’s way.

 Vee Cecil is passionate about wellness. She often studies the topic and shares her findings on her recently-launched blog. She is also a Kentucky-based wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor.


Ay Chihuahua!

chihuahua betterAh, the Chihuahua, such a misunderstood dog. Yappy, snappy, reminds us of a boss with a Napoleonic complex. And to be completely honest, I have not always appreciated Chihuahuas. But in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo and all things Mexican, let’s look at ten really good reasons to love a Chihuahua:

  1. They are built for speed. Check out Chandler’s annual Chihuahua races.
  2. They are built for desert climates. They love being warm and burrowing under covers and sleeping flush up against you.
  3. If you buy one big ol’ bag of dog food, it can last a year if you have a Chihuahua
  4. At two to six pounds, the Chihuahua is the smallest breed in the world. No upper body strength? No problem. You can still carry your Chihuahua around.
  5. Learning how to spell Chihuahua correctly boosts your IQ
  6. Chihuahuas are one of the oldest registered breeds in America; they were recognized in 1904.
  7. Chihuahuas, or dogs just like them, are believed to date back to 5th century AD. They were breed as the forerunner of the doorbell.
  8. They seem to be OK with wearing funny hats
  9. What we see as incredible unfriendliness bordering on psychosis is just a Chihuahua protecting their person.
  10. Just like with any other dog, a Chihuahua’s behavior depends on how he was raised and the experiences he has encountered.

Scottsdale Trails

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Wanting to get a head start on your New Year’s resolution of hiking with the hound?

Try a trail that’s good for you and your buddy.

Frequently, a dog’s fitness mirrors their person’s fitness. So if you have been a sofa spud, chances are your dog’s physique reflects that. If you’re active, your dog is probably active as well.

To be on the safe side, on your first hikes, go on outings that you know you and your dog can easily tackle. Look for trails that are relatively smooth and boulder-free. Trails that are wide and that have plenty of stopping spots with shade are good as well. And try for the trails that have minimal encounters with mountain bikes and horses, until at least you know for certain how your dog will react to them.

In north Scottsdale, why not check out Brown’s Ranch or the aptly named Lost Dog Wash trail. And check out our dog-friendly Scottsdale restaurants for well-deserved breakfasts for both of you.

Just remember, keep your dogs on their leashes and bring along a lot of water and some poop bags.

Happy trails to you and Fido!

New Beagle

art 200
Meet the new Beagle (not really the) same as the old Beagle.

After being in not-so-terrific shape for a while, HoneyBun passed away in early November and it took me only a couple days to realize that the house (and me) needed a dog.

I called Arizona Beagle Rescue and they had Artie ready and willing to check out a prospective new home. I can’t stress enough how great it was to work with a rescue group to find a new dog.  These are kind-hearted people who are dedicated to finding good homes for their dogs. They are selective when it comes to making matches; they want a good fit for canine and human alike.

I told them what kind of beagle I was looking for: sweet, active yet mellow. And the New Beagle, Artie, fits that bill exactly. If only AZBR did human match-making! That’s how good they are at pairing up creatures.

After seven years with HoneyBun, I thought I knew what to expect with having a dog and especially having a beagle. Love of food? Check. Obsession to sniff? Check. Situational good hearing? Check.

But in some ways, Artie is very much different than HoneyBun. Returning to the same breed seems to me to be the best of both worlds: you are comforted by the familiarity of the breed’s tendencies and you are amazed at their individual quirks that we all, dog and human, alike have. Every day has certainly been a new day with Artie.

For all my friends who have lost a cherished pet and haven’t yet adopted – you know who you are — I hope this story helps nudge you a little bit to adopting that new dog. After all, our story has had a happy ending and yours can too.


RIP HoneyBun

honeybun - a happy dog HoneyBun, inspiration of Happy Dog Phoenix, passed away Sunday. She was 16 and had been in declining health. Here are just some of the lessons I learned from this wonderful dog:

  1. There are some things worth getting up for at 4 a.m.
  2. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
  3. Eating a bag of dry Soba noodles and drinking a lot of water will give you the physique of a Sumo wrestler.
  4. Don’t spend time on things that don’t matter. Just walk away.
  5. Naps. Naps. Naps.
  6. Investigate every crack, crevice, shopping bag and shrub. Something good is bound to be there.
  7. Get excited to see your pals.
  8. Just go for it.
  9. You say it’s cat poop. I say it is delicious. It pays to think for yourself.
  10. Grow old gracefully and enjoy every last morsel.

Downtown Dogs

short leash Your dog, faithful and loyal creature that she is, is still rooting for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The rest of us are wondering if we can just default on the season and wave the white flag of surrender. But you can make your dog happy by taking her to a baseball Sunday afternoon at the ol’ ballpark. The Arizona Diamondbacks is having Bark in the Park, where you can bring your dog in and watch the ballgame at Chase Field. It is a lot of fun and having the dogs there may be the only way the D’backs can salvage anything out of this season. You can salvage the outing by stopping by Short Leash Hot Dogs Sit and Stay while you and the dog are in downtown Phoenix. Short Leash Hot Dogs offers hot dogs so superior to ballpark franks it is not even funny. There’s no mystery meat, no wimpy stale buns or condiments that come out of gallon drums. My personal fave is the Igby, a hot dog topped with coleslaw and bbq sauce and blue cheese, wrapped in warm flatbread. Yum yum yum yum yum. Is this place dog friendly? The Igby is named after the owner’s dog.  As is the Oliver. Many of their concoctions are named after dogs and Short Leash runs a dog of the week contest so your little cutie can have a hot dog named after her. No matter what the Diamondbacks do on the baseball field, you and the dog will both win at Short Leash—have fun tomorrow! Hot dogs not your thing – check out our other recommendations for dog friendly downtown Phoenix

Million-dollar idea


You have wrassled the dog into the car and out of the car. You’ve avoided the big dogs and the angry dogs in the waiting room (looking at you, snippy Yorkshire).

You’ve waited for the diagnosis, going back and forth between worrying about the dog, worrying about paying for it and feeling bad that you are worried about the money as well as the dog.

Have I mentioned that you have taken time off work and you are worrying about The Boss (not the Springsteen kind)

And then you have to schlep the dog back to the car.

And even though, it’s 9 a.m. and you are not a functional alcoholic, you are thinking, God, a drink would be lovely now.

And that’s where my awesome money-making idea comes into play.

Frozen margarita stands outside of vet offices.


Something for the dog; something for you.

Not a really heavy drink but just a suggestion of alcohol to make you take a breath and realize it will all be OK. Nothing that will impair your driving at all.

And say, there are some kind of city rules that prohibit this. Well, why not have a bar set up in the vet’s office. Or at least margarita pops. Or flasks. Or rum balls. Just something.

I share this idea with you first before I race to the U.S. Patent Office, the Arizona Corporation Commission and other pertinent authorities.

But I will be back when I launch my IPO and am looking for investors – get in on the ground floor now before I expand into pediatricians offices, which will be just as lucrative as the vets.

You know this is a good idea.

Pool Party!


partners betterWant to be the greatest dog person ever?

Organize a pool party for your dog. What a cool way for your dog and his closest buds to spend a hot Phoenix summer day – without creating a shambles at your house.

The Partners Dog Aquatic Center in Cave Creek will rent out their dog swimming pool for parties and gatherings. It’s ideal for dog clubs or rescue groups that are looking for a totally dog-friendly event.

Your dog can’t swim? Good thing to know before he gets into the pool!

Partners also offers classes with the understanding that very few dogs can’t learn how to swim. Even bigger breeds such as Great Danes and Dobermans can get the motions down with proper training.

Partners insists on dogs being able to swim before getting into their pool; they also don’t want to see anyone forcing a dog into the pool either.

The dog aquatic center also offers drop-in social swims for dogs on Saturday mornings—call ahead to register. It is also home to a Dock Dogs group, where dogs take a flying leap off of a dock and compete in areas such as length of jump.

Dog pool party –swimsuit optional!


Splish, Splash

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Where is a good place to take your dog in Phoenix during the summer?

Um, even closer to the AC?

If it’s 110, leave the dog at home but if it is a little cooler than that and you both are suffering from cabin (condo) fever, we have a couple suggestions.

Why not head out early and try a splash pad – those lovely little oases where water sprays up and helps cool you down? They’re like community sprinklers.

One shopping center, Arizona Center in downtown Phoenix, even bills itself as dog friendly.

You may have to take your chances at other splash pads. If you dog loves water AND kids, it could be a match made in heaven. Or better yet go down early as possible. Chances are it is easier for you wrangle your Weimaraner into the car and get there than it will be for some parent with a passel of kids. Get there before the munchkin hoard arrives.

Here are some of the Valley’s best splash pads:

  • Kierland Commons Splash Pad
  • The Splash Pad at Scottsdale Quarter
  • Tempe Beach Splash Playground
  • Tempe Marketplace Splash Pad
  • Kidsplash Fountain at Desert Ridge Marketplace
  • Westgate City Center Fountain Park
  • Splash Park at Rio Vista Community Park in Peoria
  • Adventure Park Splash Pad at Anthem Community Park


Later this week: Possibly the coolest water park for dogs ever