The phrase “Trick OR Treat” implies that you’d better give a treat or else someone will do a trick on you. That’s usually a negative consequence,EXCEPT when it comes to dogs. Dogs excel at tricks and they are good tricks for the most part. Not counting the counter surfing trick,or the shoe chewing trick or the hiding my car keys trick,most dogs do entertaining tricks that we are conditioned to reward for. Sure,that’s how we get more tricks. “Will Trick for Treats” is the motto of most dogs I know.
At Halloween time,please go easy on the treats,otherwise you will be buying a holiday gym membership for your dog instead of a stocking full of toys.
Here’s the Top 10 reasons why dogs love Howl-O-ween.
Dogs LOVE to howl with their outside voices.
Au Natural dogs can laugh at all the ones forced to dress up.
Owners drag them to party after party – full of treats!!
If they eat too many treats,they won’t be able to fit into their costumes anymore (sad puppy look –smirk –sad,sad puppy eyes)
Grazing opportunities increase ten-fold for bowls of goodies left at snout level.
Chances of finding appetizers on coffee table increase with start of holiday party season.
Candy!! Do I smell candy?
OK,I’ve been eating carrots,apples,and grain-free biscuits all year,now gimme that brat!
They look good in orange,especially brown dogs.
Extra long walks so their owners can walk off their sugar highs.
Drink and treat responsibly with your dogs and Happy Halloween!
Would this headline make the Colbert Report or the Daily Show? Would Fox News give pause in the midst of all the market roller coaster reporting? Would they send John Oliver out to give a snarky interview to investigate whether dogs suffer from bereavement when a beloved toy goes missing? He would scoff and say something about how American dogs need to toughen up and deal with life’s losses. However,after seeing the sad puppy eyes,he might admit that dogs are suffering too in this economy – doghouses under water,stay-cations in the backyard,treat deprivation,increased stress from having to deal with economically shell-shocked owners,and as that cute little commercial shows… there’s no safe place to bury your bones anymore.
Recently,the much loved,much worn soft frisbee that belongs to our year old Golden Irish,Quigley,went missing. It was so much a part of his daily existence,from 6 am wake up until the last potty run of the night that he was almost unrecognizable without it clutched in his mouth. We looked everywhere for it. Despite a giant collection of toys he shares with the other dogs,his Frisbee GPS was always on and he could locate it in a minute if he sensed someone was available to play. He was visibly sad and at a loss when it came time to play. The other balls just didn’t have the same appeal. It couldn’t have just disappeared into thin air,we reasoned. We searched in every nook and cranny he could possibly have dropped it,discovering some new areas to add to our vacuuming list along the way.
Recent storms made me think that it was carried away like Dorothy’s house in a Kansas tornado. I spied over the wall at our chronically absent but impeccably landscaped neighbor’s yard. No sign of the soft,pink 8” saucer of love. Then,by chance,I discovered it floating in the pool skimmer drain trap. I was delighted to see it but unprepared for the level of joy when Quigley spied it too. Without hesitation,he snatched it up and immediately went into a frenzy of legs and paws and much head shaking,to the point where he lost his balance and fell into the deep end of the pool. This was like a little “Snap out of it” slap but only for a second. Bounding out of the pool,he proceeded to do the dog equivalent of a ‘happy dance’ and then viciously shook it,as if to say “You bad Frisbee,where have you been?”. It reminded me of the time my daughter recklessly sped down a bike path,crashing into the bushes. Her dad,watching helplessly,was both mad at her poor judgment and tremendously relieved that she was OK.
Quigley,ready for action!
So excited,can't wait for the toss.
If you Google dog addition to toys,you will find hundreds of testimonials of dogs who drag around the same toy for years,have specific preferences for certain toys,and sometimes the bizarre and funny lengths dogs will go to keep their BTF (Best Toy Forever) close to them. They spend a lot of time on their own and it’s natural to think that they would bond with something that doesn’t go to work,leave them for hours -unless it’s lost –or make them do silly tricks for treats. It’s the equivalent of having that favorite Barbie or G.I. Joe when you are little. And we all know that dogs never really grow up.
Life is good again
We could have,and almost did replace the frisbee. It wouldn’t have been the same but would have been accepted in time as it sailed through the air to his waiting catcher’s mitt of a mouth. The worn edges,frayed areas from his teeth,and good doggie smell – all would have been missed and noted. He took his prodigal frisbee to bed with him,sleeping with it tucked under his paws. In the morning all was well with the soft pink disc flying across the yard at 6 am. Like comfort food,a favorite toy soothes the psyche and restores a dog’s faith in man.
My earlier blog on telephone etiquette apparently fell on deaf ears in the dog world. Lots of barking and carrying on while on the phone several times this week. Not from me…the dogs. I’ve also had to stifle a giggle as my customers were dealing with barking too.
It’s been so hot out,I really can’t blame them. Dogs across America are experiencing severe cabin fever as the temperatures soar. This leads to chaos and anarchy in their napping schedule – you can only sleep so much before the urge to chase a ball takes over.
To take out their frustration,I’ve noticed an increase in interest in toys that have long sat at the bottom of their toy bins. The squeakier the toy, the more it holds their interest. To make their point, they like to share the ‘squeak’ with me in my office,especially when I am on the phone. This can be detracting when you are trying to appear professional and mature.
Would a potential investor think less of your management team if they knew that a squeaky pacifier is necessary to satisfy an oral fixation for your Director of Security? Could you suppress sheer embarrassment by asking “Pardon me,but could you repeat that? The squeaking drowned out your last sentence.” How many of you have flailed your arms in the air in a desperate attempt to make them stop while trying to carry on a normal conversation? Do dogs understand arm flailing? No,to them it says “Oh boy,she’s getting ready to throw this for me”.
Don’t try to get into a tug of war in trying to remove the offending object – it will just bring it closer to your phone. Instead,here are a couple of suggestions:
- Ban all squeaky toys from the office (Yeah,good luck with this)
- Keep a supply of treats within reach. Toss treat across the office and scoop up the squeaker he goes for it.
- Close your office door when taking important calls – scratching on the door,while more expensive to repair,is less noisy than squeaky toys
- Preface all calls with “Your call is important to us but we may experience some auditory difficulties.
- Ignore it and state “Squeaking,what squeaking?”
Feel free to share about your own Squeak-a-holics here or on our facebook page.
This is directed at the dogs,since most people have reasonably good telephone etiquette,unless you’ve ever attempted to resolve a problem with a large company’s customer support line. Do they call it a HOTline because it makes you see RED!!!!! when you are just trying to get resolution for your issue? Sorry,I digress. . . painful flashbacks.
To all Dogs: if you share an office with your owner,there are a few things to keep in mind. When he/she is on the phone, here is a list of DO’s and DON’Ts:
DO ease up on the water consumption while a call is in process. You never know how long it might last and you may feel the urge to break into the ‘tinkle dance’, accompanied by whining and yipping. While the advent of cell phones may make your predicament more workable,your owner MAY be immersed in taking notes or negotiating a big contract that could guarantee you bones for life. You don’t want to blow the deal.
DO be courteous when the doorbell rings to the ears on the other end of the phone and to the poor delivery person outside. Who knows,it might be your neighborhood Girl Scout and then, as they say, “No cookies for you!”. I know Fed Ex trucks just get your hackles up but stick a sock in your mouth and chase your tail until the adrenalin subsides.
DON’T get into fights with your housemates. It is never ideal but no time is worse than when your owner is on the phone. To the receiver,the sounds of gnashing teeth,growls,and faux-vicious barking makes him/her look like a cousin of Michael Vicks or a bad manager who can’t control his/her employees. Apologies aside,phone impressions are lasting.
DON’T think that because your owner is on the phone, their 6th sense will not kick in (or if it is a Mom,the eyes in the back of her head always open) and they will know if you are even THINKING of snitching schwag or tchotchke from their Promotional items bin. A certain Rottweiler was recently caught sneaking out of my office with toys meant to go overseas to military dogs stationed in Afghanistan. The boxes weren’t sealed yet and he mistakenly thought,while I was on the phone,that they were gifts for him. So they were sent on pre-slobbered,with reluctant Love from Dax.
And finally,DO continue to lay at their feet,looking sleepy and adorable. Nothing like a good head scratch while your owner chats away. Be alert to “Thank you for calling”,or “I’ll talk to you later”,as a warning that the head scratching will be over soon. When the phone does ring,consider it an opportunity to sidle up and get some extra attention. Soon,you’ll be so conditioned that the Fed Ex driver could park right in the office and you wouldn’t even bat an eyelash. Opportunity might knock for some,but it can Ring!! for you!
Next time we’ll cover: Squeaky toys in the workplace.
This is a first in a multi-part series called Dogs Under the Desk –taking your dog to work.
Thousands of people take advantage of the unique opportunity to take their dog to work with them. Until now,very little has been written about office dog etiquette. Can your dog work with you all day and then come home and still want to lick your face? We will cover the highs and lows of sharing an office with your dog in our continuing series.
According to this author and her 3 Busy Dogs,the secret is having a clear understanding that pet parental bliss doesn’t always translate into career bliss. You have to go into it with your eyes open and your scents on high alert,indicates the youngest 3BD, Quigley with his many entertaining facial gestures. It may be cool to hang out with Mom/Dad all day but you’ve got to realize there will be challenges and necessary boundaries.
Show your dog your office and explain which areas are off limits,which papers cannot be chewed,who’s cube he cannot enter,and where he can park himself without tripping anyone up. Knowing when to stop or take a break is very important. If it’s just you and your dog,you might create a cord-free area under your desk because that’s where they always end up. Get used to tucking your feet under you unless he is a willing to be a foot rest.
Explain to your dog that you will be getting up and down many times and that doesn’t mean he has to jump up and follow you EVERYWHERE.
Dogs get restless and they need to know how to speak up when they have to go out,or when the urge to catch a Frisbee is climbing to DefCon 5.
At the end of the day,we turn work off for dinner,says this author. Dinnertime is sacred and dogs are very keyed into their nightly routine,followed by play or a walk. If they have been entertained all day by people at the office,they might be more forgiving if you have to work a little late. But if it’s just hanging with you,you’d better be ready to scoop some kibble because their internal clock is more accurate than anything you’ve got on your desk.
The key is not to lose sight of your personal relationship when mixing it with a working one. Signs that you might be getting too focused on your work are: incessant whining,a slight tugging feeling on your shirt,a callous paw scraping across your leg,outright barking,and guilt-inducing facial expressions (we’re talking about the dog in this case).
Here are some things you can do to maintain a successful relationship:
- Maintain your Master-Dog relationship. Letting him take over the office will not transition well at home.
- Don’t play the blame game. If he pees on your carpet,perhaps you didn’t look up from your computer or phone in time to see his tinkle dance.
- Analyze the pros and cons of taking your dog to work. If you work at home,forget it – you’re stuck with each other.
- Make your time together special. Throwing a Frisbee while chatting on you iphone doesn’t say “I’m here for you”. You don’t want your “Good dog!!” to sound hollow and insincere.
- Remember that you chose your career and he’s being the supportive of you. If he gets a little bored,remind him that there are many dogs sitting in shelters that don’t have it half as good as he does.
- Give him a good head rub and belly scratch every day!
Next time we’ll cover telephone etiquette for dogs.
Now,at the end of a long day this dog deserves a beer! Bowser Beer of course. For those of you out there looking for a job,changing careers,or just getting over yet another rejection letter…. Take heart! Here’s how one seemingly useless,never-amount-to-anything shelter dog is making an impact on an entire population of endangered killer whales.
Too hyper for a family,rejected as a drug dog,terrified of water,Tucker’s prospects of a happy life outside of a shelter seemed dim. But Dr. Sam Wasser and his graduate assistant Katherine Ayres of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington,saw a glass half full in him. They made lemonade out of his ‘lemons’. His energy was channeled to finding whale scat,informally known as whale poop,his fear of water assured them that he wouldn’t get too distracted by water play,and with his renowned sense of smell and natural playfulness they trained him to track a scent and be rewarded with his favorite ball. His ball is his currency and he’s cashing in and earning his ‘salary’. For the full story and pictures check out this slideshow ,and the above links. It’s a heartwarming story.
Is Tucker is a metaphor for a segment of our population who are finding themselves without a career direction or feeling of belonging? While Tucker didn’t go to any job fairs,or submit an application to get where he is now,his skills were recognized and enhanced by some very out-of-the box thinking researchers. Don’t we need more people to think like that —not to see a glass half empty in someone out of work,but to realize the experience and innate ability this person could bring to a job? Those job searching should take a hard look at their skills and brainstorm on how they could use them in various ways. Entrepreneurs are great examples of this –they may recognize it in themselves and hire themselves to do something completely different than what they have done in the past. They realize that the same skills that worked for one career can be applied to a different one. I offer myself as an example:degree in Biomedical Engineering,now making dog beer. Who knew?
So the next time you are at a cocktail party and someone asks,“So,what do you do?”,at least you don’t have to say “I track poop”. But surely,you can think of something equally creative. Like Tucker,take it and run with it.
Jake grew up beside the warm waters of the Gulf coast. He loved nothing more than a good run on the beach in the morning to start his day. When the oil spill occurred he was happy to donate his shorn locks to help the clean up – it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal. Until one day he found himself sitting in a strange,scary place that was a far cry from his warm,cozy home. Jake had been abandoned by the only family he had ever known. Jake is not a Brown Heron or a sea turtle,but another innocent victim of the oil spill.
Hundreds of dogs like Jake are being dropped off at Gulf Coast shelters because their owners can no longer afford to care for them. To give up a beloved family pet at a time when that very pet can provide comfort and be a buffer to despair,is truly heartbreaking. Dogs live for their families –how devastating is it to them to lose everything they know and love?
The Louisiana SPCA and other organizations have been actively trying to provide assistance through programs such as The Gulf Coast Companion Relief Program to Louisiana pet owners in the fishing industry. It’s a start,but where is BP in all of this? Have any payouts been earmarked for pet related issues? Perhaps pets should be allowed to file claims for assistance. After all,there are a lot of working dogs who are now out of a job because their owners aren’t fishing. One day you are getting 3 squares and chasing birds and the next the whole family is crying in your fur as they leave you at the shelter. Ken Feinberg – are you listening?
After Katrina struck,many pets were put in shelters. Later,when the owners had relocated or found a stable housing solution,they could not reclaim their pets because they had been adopted out. It’s like losing a child and knowing he’s out there somewhere. Will the same thing occur again? At the bleakest of times no one should have to make the Sophie’s Choice of giving up their pets. Hopefully more organizations can provide interim relief so that no dog goes hungry or has to be relinquished.
Right now,organizations are dependent on private donations . . . so check them and please give.
Today’s blog was just going to feature a wonderful organization called Lost Our Home Pet Foundation. Founded by Jodi Polanski,a Phoenix mortgage lender,it’s made up of real estate professionals who rescue pets abandoned or left behind due to the many foreclosures. Imagine being hit with financial hardships putting you in a situation where you have to leave your pet – sometimes with just a teary note and other times with outright abandonment. Thanks to this foundation,people have a place to take their pets when they have no other choice.
This all-volunteer organization has many real estate professionals and others contributing in a variety of ways – from construction projects,to fostering/adopting,to using their social media skills to get the word out. Since realtors are out in the neighborhoods,who better to be on the lookout for abandoned pets.
But as we have seen in the news today,dogs can lose their homes in other ways, i.e. the Alaskan dog who led troopers through pitch black country roads to his burning house. He was very determined to help save his house.
It’s a heartwarming story with a happy ending in that he will have a home to return to. Dogs are as attached to their homes as we are,so when they lose them it’s devastating to them too. Home means comfort,stability,a place to sleep,get a good meal,and of course love and companionship. Having no sense of time,imagine how scary and confusing it is to be left in an empty house or turned over to complete strangers. Luckily,Lost Our Home has a loyal group of trainers and foster parents to help ease this transition.
Kudos to the Arizona Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) for recently holding a raffle and raising several thousand dollars for this foundation. It’s so simple and a great way to show support to their realtor base.
So here’s a Bowser Beer Bark Out to any company involved with home selling,building,furnishing,etc. Raise some funds,get involved,or adopt a dog . . . what a great cause to tie your name to. Just think – you can actually provide a home for a deserving individual without dealing with short sales,mortgage modifications,or loan sharks. And dogs don’t care what your credit score is!
When I first heard of this program,I thought it was named after a woman benefactor. I mean,who names their dog ‘Agnes’? Then I saw her face and it just seemed to fit.
According to the poster seen here to the left:
Agnes was the beloved companion of a client at the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. She symbolized the friendship and love that animals can provide for their owners. The Agnes Fund was created in order for others to experience the same joys of the human-to-animal bond. Southwest Center has teamed together with the Arizona Humane Society to help cover cost of pet health care that is not affordable for their clients.
Questions or Donations call Thomas at 602-307-5330 x 2224
According to Thomas,Client and Community Resources Coordinator for the Southeast Center for HIV/AIDS,the fund is very low and many dogs are going without care and proper nutrition because their owners are unable to provide for them due to circumstances in their own life. The Humane Society generously steps in to provide shelter,medical care,and food for these animals,but they cannot do it without adequate funding.
With Pride Fests going on all over the country,hopefully people will remember those who are not able to celebrate as easily,and the pets they live with. Dogs provide immeasurable comfort and companionship, so imagine how cruel it would be to have to be separated from the ones you give comfort to,just when they need it the most. If you have a program in your community like this,check it out or else consider contributing to Agnes’fund.
A recent article in the NY Times asked “Can animals be gay?” It raised many questions and pointed out that there is still a lot we don’t understand about animal behavior. Interestingly,much of the observed behavior portrayed how the same sex animals worked together and were committed to each other. But many of the reviewers dismissed the article,discounting a lot of ongoing scientific study.
Until around the mid 20th century,the term ‘gay’ meant “joyful”,“happy”,“bright and showy”. You don’t hear that much anymore because it’s taken on a different meaning. But joyful,happy,and sometimes even bright and showy certainly describes a lot of dogs I know.
Well,who says dogs aren’t gay?
Mornings at our house,there’s no better word to describe Muggsy – recharged from sleep,he’s overjoyed with life,racing around ,chasing sunbeams . . . ‘gay’ is a great word to describe his puppy exuberance. A ratty old sock toy, the smell of toast,getting his family out of bed – all makes him happy. . . he’s just a happy dog.
If you really want to know about being gay and happy (no,it’s not redundant) check out to the Phoenix Pride Festival this weekend. This 2 day event brings the LGBT community together for a weekend of camaraderie and celebration. It’s the 30th annual event with over 30,000 people expected to attend and lots of entertainment. A good many of the attendees are sure to be dog lovers and Bowser Beer will be there so that their dogs can,as the Flintstones used to say,“have a gay old time” and celebrate life with their owners. Predicted to be sunny and hot,what better way to quench their thirst than with a nice,cold brew. Hey Ellen,bring your doggies and get some new dance moves!
Muggsy is quite happy to put on pink glasses with rhinestones and a leopard skin headband. Mom’s got a treat in her hand and she’s telling him he’s SUCH a good dog!
Who says dogs aren’t gay?
PS. We will be selling t-shirts with this image at the event. Portions of the sales will go towards a local program that helps care for pets with owners who have HIV/AIDS. If really popular we will be offering it on our soon-to-be launched online store.