A question we get a lot at Happy Dog Phoenix deals with finding a good place in metro Phoenix to take your dog to stay while you are away.
It’s an important question to ask since the Better Business Bureau that serves metro Phoenix says that concerns about places that offer dog boarding is at the top of their complaint list.
Dog boarding is also a timely question right now because if you are thinking of going away for the holidays, get going on checking places out. The good ones fill up fast and you want to make sure you have time to do an onsite visit sans dog before signing up.
Our book has a checklist of things to ask your prospective dog boarder but we didn’t offer a list of places because one shift in management can instantaneously change the quality of services. And when it comes to your dog, you want the best possible care.
We do have to plug one place, though: Melinda’s Pampered Pets of Ahwatukee. We took a CPR and first aid course there and was thoroughly impressed by Melinda’s professionalism and caring. If Melinda is in charge, things will be done correctly.
This just in from the sports desk: Michael Vick, who is having a bad year with the Philadelphia Eagles as quarterback is mentioned as a quarterback possibility for the Arizona Cardinals, who are having an even worse season.
How do I feel about this?
Vick served two years in prison sentence for financing a dog-fighting ring, where pit bulls were drowned, strangled, hung, shot, or electrocuted for not winning fights. Of course, dog rings don’t just terrorize pit bulls; the “sport’’ literally chews up and spits out smaller dogs used for training.
But Vick served his time. Got an NFL job back. President Obama praised the Philadelphia Eagles for giving him a second chance. Heck, Vick even has the blessings of a humane society for now having a new dog.
I have made huge mistakes in my life. And I have been amazingly forgiven by people I have hurt. So I understand the power of fresh starts. Without them, I would be lost.
But I have a hard time giving someone like Michael Vick a second chance.
Human beings are given the strength, talents and privilege to protect the vulnerable and in my book, that includes animals. And I think there’s an unfixable flaw in the wiring of someone like Vick who profited from dogs being brutalized and killed.
Instead of supporting a team that hires someone like Michael Vick, I would rather contribute money to a rescue fund or at least buy Sports Illustrated writer Jim Gorant’s excellent “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption”. Those alternatives seem like a much better investment in humanity.
Am I being unreasonable about this? Let me know.
It was Thanksgiving morning and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve trail at 32nd and Lincoln was crowded with regulars as well as out-of-towners enjoying our wonderful Arizona blue skies.
But then we heard the coyotes howling. Not mournful howling but urgent sounds of aggression. Then we heard a dog yelping and more sounds of scuffling.
And then silence.
And all the people who had dogs with them instinctively grabbed their leashes a little tighter because we all knew what had just happened. A dog had either been killed or hurt by a coyote pack. There is nothing like the silence that follows the sounds of coyotes attacking. It’s a silence that settles on the trail’s mountains and valleys and muffles the collective joy of being on the trail.
More importantly, it’s a reminder that when we go hiking, we are basically invading others’ territories. And it is incredibly irresponsible to let your dog off the leash in that situation. Your dog relies on you for your good judgment and letting them go off leash in coyote territory shows a shameful lack of common sense.
Sorry for going off on this but that sound of silence on the trail is still with me.
It’s the holidays and we are all insanely busy and who doesn’t want some extra help in the kitchen?
Does that mean it is cool to let the dog pre-rinse your dishes?
After scouring the web, I didn’t find any advice against having the dog lick off the plates before they go into the dishwasher. And I found plenty of testimonials of people who do it. And I know from personal experience (not naming any names, Jenie) of friends who do it.
Dr. Charles Gerba, germ expert extraordinaire at the University of Arizona, says dogs’ mouths are filled with germs but not necessarily bad germs.
And God knows, the dogs are certainly willing to do their part to lick the plates clean.
It may be a good idea to make sure whatever food scraps are left over are OK for the dog to slurp down: no onions, garlic, grapes or raisins or chocolate,
But what about your guests? How would they feel seeing the dog lick the plate, realizing they may get that same plate when they swing by the next day for T-day leftovers?
It may mean you have fewer guests for dinner next year but the guests who are there really like dogs.
It’s prime hiking time now for Arizona people and their dogs. Just this morning the trail in one of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves had plenty of dogs and their human hiking buddies.
It also seems to be prime season for bees, with a lot of reports of people and animals being injured by swarming bees.
What to do if your dog gets stung?
If it is one sting – don’t worry so much. If the sting happens inside your dog’s mouth or throat, better get it checked out by the vet, though. Getting stung in those places can be dangerous since the sting can cause swelling and affect your dog’s breathing.
Keep an eye out for overall allergic reactions as well such as:
- General weakness
- Difficulty breathing
- A large amount of swelling extending away from the sting site
Dr. Billy Griswold of Priority Pet Hospital in Gilbert reports the worst case of dogs vs. bees came when several show dogs were tied up in a back yard with no way to escape when a swarm of bees attacked them. Just like in cases of dogs getting stung by scorpions, it is always the smaller dog who is the most affected by venom.
Be careful out there!
No wish to alarm you but you have 41, yes, 41, days until Christmas. And if your to-do list includes sending out Christmas cards with your favorite family member (the dog) on them, you had best get going.
Speaking from personal experience, the dog can turn diva on you if she knows that you are facing a deadline. Apparently, the Beagles Union Local 602 prohibits any kind of Christmas photography, including visits with the PetSmart Santa. Sigh.
Not to worry. Our friend Tom Boggan of Thomas Boggan Photography offers some great hints on getting your dog to strike a pose:
- Be prepared: The great candid moments come when you never have a camera around? Cell hone cameras are becoming higher quality and are usually immediately available. Just make sure you get close and shoot in an area with lots of light to get the best image from the smaller sensor and lower quality lens.
- Posed pictures: If you want to take a posed picture of your dog outside, think carefully about the background. It’s also a good idea to use an area that the dog is familiar with. Going to a new site may be interesting to the dog but may overstimulate them.
- Avoid other distractions: It may be a good idea to have an assistant who can hold the leash and stay out of the picture. Your assistant can also work the squeaky toy to attract the dog’s attention.
These and other great tips are available in our book Happy Dog Phoenix, which makes an excellent Christmas gift, BTW. Order here and we will take care of sending it — one less thing for you to do!
The weather here in Phoenix is now just wonderful and thankfully, there are a lot of great dog events coming up.
But first, vote.
Then you can hang out with the dog. On Thursday night, there’s a great talk about hiking with dogs at the Paradise Valley REI. On Sunday, you can put all that hiking knowledge to good use with the Tails on Trails, Maricopa County’s awesome program of guided hikes for your dogs, with beginner and advanced levels. The first hike is at Usery Pass in Mesa.
Coming up there’s the first-ever Dogs’ Day in the Garden at the Desert Botanical Garden in east Phoenix.
For a more complete list of events, check out our calendar.
See you at the polls!
Photo is from a very appropriate slideshow Dogs Who are Over the Election
So, the Beagle and I were strolling in central Phoenix this morning. She was sniffing along and I was absent-mindedly thinking about what I was going to blog about, when we both got what we wanted.
By the Arizona State Fairgrounds, someone had thrown out a bag of turkey-drumstick bones. And they had thoughtfully torn the bag slightly, allowing for easy Beagle access. She was delighted; there was about two dozen large turkey femurs just ready for the gnawing. It was like Halloween for her; for me, it was like Horrortown.
I am trying to grab as many of the turkey bones away from her, each bone coated with grease, saliva and God Knows What. She is scampering between my legs picking up other bones, greasy turkey debris and God Knows What.
Hope someone got us for YouTube. Especially the part when I discovered ants crawling up my greasy arm.
Cooked bones are not great for dogs. They can splinter off and cause all kinds of trouble for the dog’s throat, stomach, intestines and other parts.
So just stay safe and stay clear of big sacks of giant turkey bones.
You know what the lamest Halloweed costume is ever? It’s the ghost-created-from-sheet-with-eyeholes-cut-out.
And that’s what the Beagle is going as this year.
Oh, we’ve tried putting her in devil horns, pirate patches and dracula fangs. Which lasts all of five seconds.
And we’ve tried shinnying her into a costume. I believe only a combination of Vaseline and SuperGlue would make the costume fit and stick.
I believe all these Halloween mishaps are her way of telling me “Hey, food-provider. Back off with the idiotic costumes. I’m great the way I am.”
Oh well, here are some pictures of good dogs:
Over the past week, I have got to enjoy the company of the Beagle and two other dogs. It’s called dogsitting and friends suffer through it for friends all the time.
The dogs are having a blast, however, and it reminds me how much dogs love to be in packs. But I don’t think their love of packs has a damn thing to do with their wolf ancestry. Their love of being in pack boils down to two words: Plausible deniability.
Who knocked over the bathroom trash basket? Who knocked over the guest bathroom trash basket? How about the one in the master bath? Who keeps dropping the super-absorbent towels into the water bowl and sucking up all of the water from the other two dogs? Who has been digging in the yard and why is my shoe torn up?
Larry, Curly and Moe, I mean, the dogs, are having a terrific time, romping through the house and rolling around in blamelessness. And me, I am realizing that three dog translates into about nine times the work. Call it Stooge math.
“Why soitanly! Nyuck nyuck!”