Posts from: September 2014

Single in the City and Want a Dog?
10 Things to Consider Before Taking the Plunge

Very excited to share the following article that was published on Huffington Post’s Blog yesterday!


You’ve been told that dogs can cure all of you’re singleton problems. Like helping you attract that cute blonde you met in the dog park. Or saving you from choking on that doughnut hole so you don’t die alone in your apartment.

However, raising Fido in an urban environment is a lot different than in suburbia. No backyards. Apartment policies. Busy schedules. But you can make it work.

Here’s a few guidelines to consider before you make the big jump to doggieland:

1. The Commitment: The average life of a dog is about 10-15 years (or roughly 90 in dog years). So basically, you’re committing to raising a dog until their old age. That’s a long time. If you’re a commitment-phobe, you may want to get a goldfish instead.

2. The Budget: According to Bloomberg, the cost of raising a dog in places like NYC is more expensive than raising a kid elsewhere. That comes to about $14k to $16k a year as you’ll need to account for food, a dog walker (make sure you vet them out first), overnight stays at the doggie hotel, training classes, grooming, vet visits and of course, all those fun puppy toys/accessories. Can you hack it?


3. The Time: Do you travel a lot? Do you work from home? Do you regularly come home at 2 a.m.? Whatever the case, make sure you have enough built-in time in your schedule to be in your dog’s life. Otherwise, the nanny will see their first steps, not you.

4. The Rules: Does your apartment building allow dog ownership? If so, what breed do they permit? (Some building managers only allow cats and small dogs.) Definitely check with them first and/or look for an apartment that does. Also, don’t forget to account for that crotchety old neighbor who hates every animal in existence.

5. The Park: Your dog is going to need to run around. A lot. And your apartment is only so big, so that isn’t gonna cut it. I definitely recommend finding a park that’s 10 minutes or less walking/driving distance from your place of residence if possible. The closer the park, the easier it is for you to commit to taking them regularly.


6. The Overnight: If you need to dash out of town for a last-minute meeting, make sure there’s a pet hotel nearby so you’re able to drop Buddy off before you hit the road. And don’t forget to read legit review sites like Yelp or DogVacay before you leave your BFF with complete strangers.

7. The Kids: You may not have kids now (or maybe you do), but be sure to account for the fact that your dog is going to be a part of whatever lies in the future ahead. If that’s important to you, consider investing in kid-loving breeds like Labs, Retrievers, Beagles, Collies and Terriers.


8. The Allergies: Some people are allergic to pet dander. Or pet saliva. If you’re the type who mostly sneezes during shedding season, consider getting a dog that’s hypoallergenic like Poodles or Yorkshire Terriers.

9. The Mess: Like it or not, even the most well-behaved pups get into mischief. They also shed, roll around in dirt and eat bugs. Oh and poop (every day). If you have no problem cleaning up after them on a daily/hourly basis, you’ll do just fine.


10. The Payoff: Owning a dog will enhance your life in so many ways. They get you outside, boost your mood, make you more social and teach you how to to take care of someone other than yourself. Plus, they’ll always be around to save you from choking on that doughnut hole.

‘Nough said.

image-05.jpgMe and my amazing super-hound Lucie Fischer. (Photography by Amanda Jones Photography)



categories: General

A Labor Day Salute to Six Hard Working Dogs

Every Labor Day, we like to celebrate the working canine!  Dogs have been working it for thousands of years and have been a key part of fire, police and military units as well as trusted aids to the blind.  Dogs have been man’s best friend in both times of war and peace, in health and in illness and increasingly, they’re being trained to help their human friends in truly innovative ways.  Last year, we highlighted some of these amazing pooches, who assisted cancer patients, provided therapy to soldiers with PTSD and bravely helped with bomb detection as part of the investigation after the Boston Marathon bombing.
This Labor Day, we salute a group of six extraordinary dogs who use their skills in some very surprising ways.
Dog walks in owner’s place in graduation
Joshua Kelly, a student at Idaho State University working towards a degree in geology, had battled epilepsy his entire life.  His trusted black pit pull, Cletus, was an important buddy, who accompanied him on a two-mile walk and bus ride each day to classes.  When Joshua passed away due to complications from his illness in February, it was Cletus who took the the stage on graduation day to receive Joshua’s bachelor of science diploma.   Here’s the Idaho Falls ABC affiliate’s account of Cletusgraduation walk for his owner here:
JJ, the Mastocytosis-sniffing Rescue Dog
JJ is a shelter dog from North Carolina who was rescued by a local Eyes Ears Nose & Paws organization and trained as a service dog.
240x240_96fb179caa6d3e86b0d2af12530306b350aeac17JJ is now an American Humane Society Hero Dog Award nominee for his heroic work with KK, a 5 year old girl living with a rare disorder called Mastocytosis, and often suffers from sometimes life-threatening reactions to anything from the weather or exercize.  JJ’s amazing sense of smell can help detect her reactions and this super pooche’s monitoring skills were enlisted by doctors to accompany them in the operating room when KK needed surgery.  Thanks to JJ, this little girl can attend school and live a more nor

mal life.

Roscoe, the dog that gets her owner’s Alzheimer’s-stricken father to speak
A New Mexico man, Charles Sasser, had been suffering with Alzheimer’s disease began to lose his speech and had trouble forming complete sentences.  But the family’s beloved dog, Roscoe, always a comfort, actually got Mr. Sasser to speak.  This video shows one of the extraordinary encounters. (The Telegraph).
Kai, the accelerant-sniffing dog
Another American Human Society hero award nominee and shelter rescue success story is Kai, a black lab who was trained by the SKai-1.jpgan Antonio, Texas Fire Department (after being retrieved from an Illinois shelter).  A State Farm Arson Dog program trainer took Kai on as a pupil and since then, she has assisted with more than 200 fire investigations and also teaches school children about fire safety as a Fire Department ambassador.
Coulter, the dog that teaches kids to read
Peggy Bennett, a first grade teacher in Minnesota, has a terrific helper in the classroom: Coulter, the Shepard.  She uses flash cards with Coulter, who has learned to respond to the printed commands, like “paw,” “sit,” and “down.”  Coulter then follows the commands on the cards.  Bennett has Coulter in the classroom to connect with the students and to inspire all kids in the classroom to practice their reading and to instill good habits.  
Patella, the dog that spent 60 days in the Philippines doing disaster response
Patella is a gorgeous black Labrador who can “be a bit of a goofball,” but she’s also one of five dogs honored this year with a Canine Excellence Award by the American Kennel Club

Patella is a veteran of numerous disaster relief missions — she has a knack for finding humans — in Colorado, including last year’s terrible Lower North Fork Fire.  She made three missions to the Phillippines after the November typhoon to help rescue some of the missing.  Her extraordinary dexterity means she can navigate through rubble and even climb up and down ladders. And, it seems Patella is passing her skills down to new generations; one of her recent pups is being trained to follow in her mother’s footstepss.
We’re so fortunate to have these talented canines on our side and working hard to make our society safer, smarter and healthier.

categories: General