Pottio Boxes for dogs on the go

Daisy checks out Pottio Box as a place to pee
Everywhere in metro Phoenix these days developers are building apartments or condos. And many, many dogs are living in these high rises.  So the big question becomes what to do when Poochie needs a patch of grass to use as her bathroom and you are eight stories up? Where does the dog pee?

Enter the Pottio Box – please don’t confuse it with a Bark Box!

What’s a Pottio Box?

Stephen Brandt got the idea of providing grass potty boxes and delivering fresh grass to replenish them after seeing a definite need for relief among people and their dogs.

The former forest-fire fighter hotshot moved to Ahwatukee more than a year ago. He quickly noticed how people in metro Phoenix love their dogs. He also noticed how stressed these folks were as they raced home to take their dogs out for a good walk and a pee.

Why does my dog want to pee on the grass?

And for many dogs, peeing on rocks just isn’t the way they want to ummm, go.

Dogs’ upbringing plays a large role in whether they select grass, gravel, concrete or your pajamas as their place to pee. Doggos start figuring out a preference as early as eight weeks old, says, Daily Dog Discoveries.

Brandt believes his grass boxes are better for dogs than synthetic grass because they eliminate the need for chemicals. The grass boxes also pose less risk for the environment as well, he says.

Pottio boxes come in three sizes, the largest being 27 inches by 42 inches.

And Brandt delivers throughout the Valley, with Tempe being one of his largest service areas.

pottio box for when your dog has to pee

Pottio boxes’ grass doesn’t really have to be watered. Some dogs don’t want to get near mud, Brandt says. And most people don’t want mud tracked through the house.

Under normal use, the grass will eventually get saturated and will need to be thrown away after one to two weeks  (that will vary by frequency of use and size and number of dogs). Just heave-ho the grass pad into the garbage

The Pottio Box can help with the urine side of the equation. But you still need to pick up the dog poop – there’s no magic box for that!

Editors note: We don’t own stock in Pottio Box; nor are we using their products or being paid by them o write this. We just thought they were an interesting local business with a unique service!

Humane Voters of Arizona and dog laws

This post is going to be a little political.

You can stop reading now. Right now. Turn back. I warned you.

All about Humane Voters of Arizona

Ok, disclaimer out of the way. Humane Voters of Arizona acts as a watchdog for state legislation involving all types of animals. If you want to learn about state laws and how they affect your dog, follow this group.

faux service dogs is one of Arizona laws regarding dogs
When it comes to dogs, the Arizona state legislature does a lot. Last year, they banned faux service dogs; in 2017, they passed Good Samaritan laws to legally protect people who break a car window to rescue a dog or kid.

This year, legislators want to fine people $100 if they drive with an animal on their laps, according to Arizona Sonora News.

Humane Voters of Arizona keeps tabs on that legislation like that by tracking bills and voting records of legislators. They also survey brand-new candidates on their views.

Just as importantly, HVA keeps an eye out for bills that could harm animals or erode existing protections.

New attempt at animal abuse laws

This year, they will be working with others to create a special Class 5 felony penalty for those who abuse animals.

Animal-rights champions and law enforcement both want to make animal abuse a felony instead of a misdemeanor. If an animal abuser was charged with a Class 5 felony, he could get mandatory counseling.

Animal lovers believe this could help reduce acts of animal cruelty. Law enforcement believe it could help prevent violence against humans.

Saying animal abuse is often comes before assaults, domestic violence and homicide, groups like the National Sheriff’s Association supports the move. It cites a landmark academic study that showed animal abusers were five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people.

The bill failed in last year’s legislature. It was opposed by the Arizona Cattleman’s Association that argued the language  was so broad that it could be used to charge ranchers with felonies if they kill dogs who chase their cattle.

What else is cooking at the legislature

This session, HVA also will look out for efforts to limit the citizen-initiative process. Unlike other states, Arizona allows citizens to propose legislation. Arizona voters have several times successfully used the process to protect animals. In 1994, voters banned leg-hold traps; in 1998, they outlawed cockfighting and in 2006, they voted down gestational crates for pigs.

Lawmakers fought against all of those animal protections but voters passed them overwhelmingly, says Karen Michaels of the HVA.

dog in hot car law

How things are improving for animals

Michaels started in animal-related legislation in the late 1980s/early’90s as she became concerned about the link between poorly treated farm animals and safe food for humans.

When it comes to animal rights, people are changing their minds, says Michaels.

More legislators vote bipartisan when it comes to protecting animal rights.

They aren’t so much wrapped in being a Republican or Democrat but just want to do the right thing for animals, especially companion animals like dogs.

Michaels said she knew things were changing when she saw staunch conservative Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) share a podium with Tucson Democratic legislator Steve Farley to support particular animal legislation.

“I thought, this is great. Now we are getting somewhere.”

Wow, Democrats and Republicans working together – it’s like dogs and cats living together!

 

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Resolution: Taking the dog

Welcome to the official Do-over Day!

Jan. 17 is earmarked as the Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day, a day that gives you time to re-consider your resolutions, minus the holiday fairy dust in your eyes, and to zero in on what you really want to accomplish in 2019.

If the resolutions that you made when you were full of champagne and holiday spirits now strike you as unrealistic, may we suggest something a little more down-to-earth- — how about a resolution of taking the dog with you to more places?

Where to take the dog

There are events; dog-friendly restaurants; dog-friendly stores. Or dog parks. Or hiking trails. The Valley offers plenty of places for you and the pooch to hang out.

But how does taking the dog with me help me with my resolutions of losing weight, saving money, and finding true love?, you ask.

Simple.

Getting off the sofa and outside for a walk with the dog is a lovely step in getting in more exercise for you and the hound. Also, if you are walking the dog or at the dog park, that means you can’t be parked in front of the refrigerator scarfing down your third serving of lasagna.

How to make taking the dog fun

Speaking of lasagna, there are plenty of restaurants in metro Phoenix who are OK with having dogs on the patio. And there are some wonderful ones that really roll out the red carpet. Here are some quick tips on how to make dining with the dog a good experience:

  • Plan ahead: Call ahead to find out if the restaurant really wants your dog; also make sure the dog has had plenty of food and water before you get there.
  • Bring stuff: The restaurant may not have water bowls so please bring yur own. Also, a blankie/pad and a non-squeaky toy may help distract and calm the dog.
  • Know when to bail: Some dogs just aren’t ready for the dining scene. Realize that and know you may have to leave. Fast.

As far as the resolution of finding true love: There’s always the true love at the other end of the leash. Your dog will love you when you get her out of the house more. And as far as true love of the same-species, well, your dog is the best wingman possible. Your dog, well-trained or not, will certainly draw attention to you. And you may just get the attention of a fellow dog lover – who sounds just like your kind of person.

As for the saving-money, you and the dog are on your own on that one!

Baking holiday treats for the dog

baking for dogs means delicious treats
Once again, it is one of my favorite dog time of the year — baking holiday treats for dogs!

I love baking for dogs for so, so many reasons

Why do baking for dogs?

First, it’s for the dogs. And for the most part, they like food, so they aren’t too terribly picky, unlike Aunt Shirley, who is a real fusspot when it comes to the type of cheese used for the mac and cheese and the vinegar used in the salad dressing and the origins of the apples used in the pie.

Nope, chances are the dog is going to enjoy as is. The amount of baking powder doesn’t have to be exact; the cookie shapes not precise. The dog will just love them –and we love them just a little bit more for their non-judgey ways.

Second, you know what’s in your treats. How many times this year have you read about dog treats or dog food being recalled? When you bake for your dog, you choose what goes in the grocery cart. Organic honey? Sure.  Applesauce with no extra sugar? Check.

This year, I decided to experiment in baking with carob – which is like a cousin to chocolate. Chocolate is super dangerous to dogs but carob is free of theobromine and caffeine so it won’t harm your canine pal. Carob is also low in fat and high in fiber making it a healthy alternative to chocolate, according to our friends at the ASPCA (which runs a great poison hotline for canines).

baking for dogs means delicious treats
Baking for humans, too

Homemade dog treats also can be a great way to show appreciation to the humans around you. Most of my peeps have enough stuff. They don’t want more stuff. So that leaves experiences and consumables as gift-giving choices. But so many people are now on specific eating plans (paleo, keto, low-carb, high-fat, high-sugar (just kidding — the last one is my diet this time of year as I flit from dessert to dessert!). But your family/friends/colleagues/neighbors have a dog, chances are the dog isn’t on a diet so much – at least someone in the house can enjoy a little baked goodie.

baked goods for dog

And for personal reasons

And lastly, it’s for sentimental reasons. Once your get past the tricky math of tripling and quadrupling the recipe, baking can be pretty mindless. The repetition of kneading the dough and cutting out cookies allows me time to think about the dogs who I am baking for and the dogs who left us in 2018.

This was a difficult year for many of us who had to say good-bye to our cherished friends. Amid the flour measuring and cookie cooling,  I reminisced about those dogs and thought about the new dogs who have entered our lives in 2018 — remembering the beloved and gratitude for new  – isn’t that a big part of the holidays?

And without further Hallmark-like thoughts, here are the recipes I used for this season’s doggie treats:

Enjoy! And happy, happy baking and gift-giving!

Thanks for the Gotcha Day

artie gotcha day
Thanksgiving ranks up there with Halloween and Easter as a terrific holiday. And after the kindness of Arizona Beagle Rescue, it’s a little more special because it’s also Artie’s Gotcha Day.

Four years ago, I had just gotten over the heartbreak of losing a dog to a long illness when I contacted Arizona Beagle Rescue looking for another dog. I grieved the loss of HoneyBun and wasn’t sure I was ready for another dog.

“You know, we have a dog who is being fostered and the volunteers need to go to back East for Thanksgiving,’’ they told me. “Why don’t you just take this dog until they get back?”

Of course, we all knew what was going on – if I loved the dog (which they knew I would), then she would stay at my house for good.

Not exactly love at first sight

We all make snap judgments and the first time I met Artie, I wasn’t so sure she was the dog for me.

She slobbered so much and shed so much – so much dog hair coming off of one dog! Her tongue hung out because of a misshapen jaw.

She was nervous and understandably so. She had been at the Maricopa County pound in Tempe, which is such a heartbreaking place – it is so loud, so Spartan and so sad. My eyes tear up just thinking about how overwhelmed Artie must have been there with all of that noise and cold, concrete floors.

And she had problems with her teeth, so she must have been in pain as well. Arizona Beagle Rescue volunteers found her, paid for her dental bills and placed her with some terrific foster parents.

You know if I had just met her, I wouldn’t have necessarily picked her as the dog to take home.

Just another reason why I am thankful for Arizona Beagle Rescue: I trusted them and they led me to her.

What made for a great Gotcha Day

Despite what she had been through, Artie effortlessly rode in the car. She just sat in her seat and looked out the window with a thoughtful politeness about her.

We got home and she explored as we settled in. I quickly learned that she knew all about doggie doors and how to claim her spot on the sofa. On the very first night, she hopped into bed with me. The next morning, worried that she may have to pee, I tried to shake her loose from her position on the comforter. She just looked at me. Her eyes seemed to say “Woman, please. I’m in a good spot here and I’m not budging.’’

artie belly rubI fixed her green beans so she keep on her diet.

And I could tell she liked the creature comforts of my house but I just wasn’t sure….. Then while I was working on my laptop, she cantered over, plopped down and proceeded to roll on her back, wiggling on the hardwood floors. With her goofy tongue hanging out, she looked like she was smiling and emitting joy.

I know, I know, a dog lying down exposing his belly is a sign of submission. But I could tell she had a sparkle in her eye and that at that moment, she was happy. And she was home.

And then it dawned on me — here I thought I was choosing a dog but in reality, she had picked me. She’s the one who “got me.’’

Happy Gotcha Day to everyone who has ever helped a dog find a forever home. We are thankful to you all!

 

 

 

 

 

Fertilizer blues and the dog

artie trying to sample fertilizer on winter grass
Ah, fall in Phoenix. Can you smell the Pumpkin Spice Latte? Actually, in our neighborhood (and possibly yours) the smell of fall comes more from the fertilizer on people’s new winter lawns and less from brewing coffee. And that winter grass means all kinds of problems for my dog when we go on our daily walks.

In our neighborhood, many people over-seed their Bermuda grass with perennial ryegrass which grows lush and deep during the winter. Yes, those lawns do take a lot of water to maintain but geez, they look so nice!

But for my dog (and possibly yours), over-seeding time seems like an early Halloween, especially if your dog likes to eat poop. (No judgment here: dogs eat poop because well, they just do.) Think about it: Like Halloween, over-seeding time comes in the fall; one of the best parts is going house to house for “treats’’ and there can be a stomachache at the end. Sounds like over-seeding in my hood!

Protecting your dog from poop and pigeons

So this time of year, my neighbors mow their grass really low and clear out dead and unhealthy Bermuda grass with de-thatchers. The optimum time to over-seed in Arizona is right now, the first two weeks of October, or when the evening temperatures consistently stay below 65.

After the scalping, my hard-working neighbors throw grass seed over their now-naked yards.

Then problems begin. Pigeons flock into the yards to eat the grass seed; some OD on the stuff, and become sluggish and easier for dogs to bring down. (The previous beagle could bring down a pigeon and basically eat it in one gulp; the Current Beagle is a little more finicky.) But still the dog is now fixated on those plump, slow-moving pigeons. She tries to chase down every single one of them.

Compounding the problem is that after the pigeon-stuffing grass seed goes down, fertilizer is piled up high on the lawns. Most gardeners use a starter fertilizer that is a 6-20-20 (6-percent nitrogen, 20-percent phosphorus, 20-percent potassium) or 15-15-15 (15 percent each of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) mix.

Whatever the chemical composition is, it spells deliciousness for the Beagle, who is always willing to sample some new delicacy that could involve poop of any kind, regardless of which animal it came from. So, invariably, we bound into the neighbor’s newly fertilized yard. The string-and-tinfoil concoctions that neighbors put up to scare away pigeons are no match my determined beagle. Poop, pigeons, here we come!

Fertilizer: gross but is it dangerous?

Turns out the Beagle isn’t alone. Dogs eating fertilizer is pretty common, reports the Animal Poison Control Center run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In fact, calls about pets eating lawn and garden products were among its top 10 toxin calls in 2007.

Some dogs will tear open fertilizer bags to eat every last morsel. Most fertilizer ingestions cause mild GI upset and are not a huge concern, according to ASPCA. But the dogs who chow down on the whole bag can get bloated or experience some muscle stiffness or soreness after ingestion.

So, bottom line: the fertilizer may be dangerous and it is definitely kinda gross.

Happy Fall everyone; watch out for the poop and pigeons!

 

 

Walking the dog safely at night

 

how to keep your dog safe at night
Feel that nip in the Phoenix air? Now that the rains are over (at least for a while), it’s a perfect time to take the dog for a walk at night. As it gets cooler, though, it also is getting darker earlier. How do you keep the dog safe when you are walking at night?

And not to sound too grandmotherly but… traffic in my area has really picked up. I live in central Phoenix where there is about a jillion condos being built, creating more traffic all the time. And some of our new neighbors drive really fast. (Wow, that was the most grandmotherly paragraph I have ever written!)

Equipment for a safe walk

So being the loving pet person that I am, I decided I am going to be a little safer when it comes to walking the dog. I always have her on a leash – she’s a Beagle, for goodness sake!

I bought this leash because it was supposed to be reflective. But really, I am not sure how you are supposed to check there in the store. But I suppose you could go shopping at night, buy the “reflective’’  item, take it to a dark corner of the parking lot and see how truly glow-in-the-dark it really is. But I didn’t. And now I have a leash that is so-so when it comes to being seen at night. I do like the leash, though, it is nice and study but it seems to blend in with the night as much as the last one did.

I’m not really crazy about having a light attached to the dog because I worry that it will bother her eyes.

As it gets cooler, I guess I can start wearing a neon-colored light jacket to wear while I walk the dog. The neighbors, the ones who are driving slowly enough, will appreciate me wearing something other than grungy grey! Or  I could outline the dog’s bones in nontoxic glow-in-the-dark paint and get a jump on Halloween.

I’m still on the hunt for a leash that is more reflective and will keep you updated on that. But in the meantime, here are some other things to keep in mind as you and Poochie take a stroll:

  • Walk against traffic so you can see what’s coming.
  • Ditch the headphones when walking your dog at night. You need to be able to hear what’s going on around you!
  • Stay on the sidewalk along well-lit roads, and avoid shortcuts through dark lots or alleyways.
  • Take the cellphone with you: You never know when you will need to call home and the built-in flashlight can be used as a backup light source.

Let’s be careful out there!

Signed, Grandma

 

Keeping the new car clean

how to keep car clean with dog
Well, I never thought it would happen – I got a new-to-me car! And now the big question: How do I keep it clean and still have my best friend (aka the dog) ride shotgun with me?

First, a confession:

Pigpen in the car

When it comes to the car, I am a slob of the highest order. There’s hiking gear, a tennis bag and swimming stuff in the trunk. I believe in recycling, so there are plastic bags that need to go back to the grocery store. There’s aluminum cans for the lady in the neighborhood who collects them. And I eat in the car – and the dog has loved that because there is always a crumb or chunk of something left behind for her to graze on. And there’s coffee stains and God-knows-what stains. It’s disgusting.

And there’s dog hair. So much dog hair. Literally a forest of little, spiky white short dog hairs are stuck in the fabric car seats and won’t let go.

It was permanently filthy but what the heck, it ran. Until one day it didn’t.

But no more

And enter the new car.

And by the power of Armor-all, I will keep this one clean.

Tomorrow is a test day, I’m taking Artie to the vet for some routine maintenance (for her, not the car). I haven’t had time to get all the seat covers and floor mats that I have been fantasizing about. So I am going to rig a bed- sheet-and bungee-cord contraption to fit over the seat and floor until I can get the slipcovers of my dreams.

(The dog riding shotgun is not the best possible thing – instead she should be crated in the back or strapped in on the backseat. But her in the passenger seat next to me makes me a more focused driver — that’s my rationalization and I’m sticking to it)

Tips on keeping car clean with a dog

In writing the latest version of Happy Dog Phoenix, I interviewed a Sedona auto detailer about how to get dog hair out of the car. He suggested some great tips (the book is available in late October).

But I am looking for ways to prevent the dog hair from even coming in and taking hold – and the new car even shows the hair I bring in by the seat of my pants. Who knew a human being could be a dog-hair carrier!

There are some tips I could find about preventing dog hair in the car:

  • Brush the dog before the trip
  • Brush yourself off — I now carry around a lint roller so much it feels like my second hand!
  • Choose easy-to-wipe leather seats
  • Contain the dog to one spot in the vehicle.

If you know of any others, please let me know.

Oh, no eating in the new car!

Winner — Dog Days Summer Challenge

Ta-dah!

The first-ever Happy Dog Phoenix Summer Challenge has a winner: Gail Horton.

As you may remember, the objective of the challenge was to submit up to seven suggestions on how to keep your dog cool during the summer. Gail came out of the gate strong on this one, suggesting six keep-cool ideas in just one day – including playing “Hide the Kibble’’ and “Hide and Seek’’

And she had the photos to back up her ideas.
dogs kayaking in phoenix summer

How we selected a Dog Days Summertime Challenge

But there was an element of luck in this as well. I tallied up the names of everyone who had submitted a summer cool-down idea. Way more than 30 suggestions – so an idea a day for a month! Sprinklers, stand-up paddling, shopping, mobile gyms, frozen treats and some serious napping were among the ideas. And then I wrote out each submission on a slip of paper and then randomly smeared one slip with peanut butter and then threw the slips in the air and let Artie the dog find the peanut-butter slip.

Sounds like work but it was kind of fun on a still-hot Sunday afternoon.

So, we have our winner and Gail will be getting a gift card for $120 that she can use at a local store.

Keeping cool in the summer

I loved seeing your photos and hearing your ideas of keeping the dog cool and happy during what I think was a pretty bad summer. There were those couple stinkin’ hot days in July and while I love the rain, this year’s humidity (and the high temps that came with it) really took it out of me. That’s why I loved the contest so – it felt like we were all in this together, dealing with the heat and taking care of our dogs together — it was a great feeling of camaraderie!

So, stay tuned – our Halloween costume challenge will be here before we know it! Or if you have any other contest ideas — please let me know.

And stay cool everyone!

 

Five Ways for Photo Fun with the Dog

Here’s a great indoor activity to do with the dog when it is so hot outside: photo shoot! And with a lot of great new apps, you don’t have to bother the dog with a lot of different attempts at being creative. She can resume her position guarding her spot on the sofa and you can create some different looks just by fiddling a little bit with the phone.

If you want some great tips on how to photograph your dog

So cuddle up with the dog, break out your phone and have some chill time as you two avoid the heat and turn her into a little star:

Barkcam

There’s an app – of course, there is – for sounds that will get your dog’s attention so that she looks at the camera. I tried Barkcam and it worked fine but frankly, I can get her attention pretty well as it as and I am a little worried about having the high-pitched sound going off and annoying the crap out of her if I mistakenly use the app.

Woofie

Again a nifty little way to get your dog’s attention as you try to take a photo of her. Woofie is a pet-treat dispenser that clips onto your phone/camera.

My Talking Pet

My Talking Pet costs $4.99 for my Iphone and I think it is totally worth it to make the dog talk. You can have the dog sound husky-like, ala Barry White or you can have her sound high-pitched like Mickey Mouse. Or add sunglasses, sombrero or text to the video. So much fun!

Christmas in July

It’s not too early to start thinking about the holidays. Either the cards you want to send out or the personalized gifts that you would like to give this season. Set up that photo studio and get this task done! Looking for inspiration?

Stamps or shoesfun with dog photos

And what to put on those cards that you send out five months from now? Dog stamps! Put her photo out there so that everyone from the mail carrier to Aunt Sue sees her lovely mug. Don’t use stamps anymore? How about shoes? You can make flip flops with your dog’s photo.