Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's Dog House Repairs Month!

July is National Dog House Repairs Month.  Now, I admit I don't know much about dog houses.  I stay in Mom and Dad's house.  I have a bed downstairs that I use during the day, and I night I sleep in the big bed with Mom and Dad.  But I know that some dogs do have dog houses.  I have seen them when Mom and I go for walks or drives.  And I have to admit that some of them look like they could use a bit of work!

Our house has a pet door so I can come and go as I need.  So when it's hot out like it is now, I can stay in the nice air-conditioned house.  When it's raining, I can go out just long enough to tend to business, then come right back in.  And when it's cold and snowy, I can warm up by the fire after a trip outside. 

Outdoor dogs need the same.  (Okay, maybe not the fire).  But they do nee a place where they can stay cool in the heat of the summer, dry when it's raining, and warm when it's icy and cold.  That means it should be waterproof and insulated.  And big enough for some bedding in the winter with enough space for your dog to stretch out or stand up and turn around without being cramped.

Now is the time for all owners of outdoor dogs to inspect their dogs' houses and make any necessary repairs.  You wouldn't let other members of your family sleep in rundown, leaky, cold houses would you?

If you're not sure what to look for, here are some tips.

Look for any wood that is worn or chewed and replace it.  Never use pressure treated wood.  This wood contains arsenic which is poisonous. 

Check for nails and screws that are sticking out.  These could cause an injury.

See if the bedding needs to be replaced.  Don't use blankets or rugs.  These can get wet when it rains or freeze in the winter.  Use wood chips, straw, or even newspaper.

Check the roof for leaks.  If it has been raining as much as it has here, that's easy.  If not, use a garden hose and spray the roof.  Then look for leaks.

Make sure the roof extends at least 8 inches past the doorway to keep rain and snow from blowing inside the house during a storm.

Take a walk around the outside of your dog's house.  Is the location suitable?  Is it located near shade for the summer?  Is the surrounding area safe and clean?  If there are problems, remember - dog houses are portable.  So move it if necessary.

I love being able to spend most of my time with Mom and Dad.  But I know that not every pet owner is able to keep their dogs in the house.  So celebrate National Dog House Repairs Month and make sure your best friend has a house that says he is family too!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Mobilize to End Extinction of the World’s Most Vulnerable Species

The 229 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced a bold new effort focused on saving species from extinction and restoring them to healthy sized populations in the wild. SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction will deepen the already substantial science and conservation work on endangered species occurring at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums by engaging the 180 million annual aquarium and zoo visitors and partners across the world to protect habitat, decrease threats, and restore populations to sustainable levels. 

 “At its core, SAFE represents a new and unique opportunity to combat the extinction crisis and save vital species,” said Jim Maddy, President and CEO of AZA. “With thousands of scientists and conservationists--more than any other single conservation organization--750,000 animals in their care, and more access to the public to the tune of 180 million visitors annually, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are poised to make a tremendous difference.”

The leadership of the AZA-accredited zoo and aquarium community has worked intensively over the past two years, reviewing the science to identify more than 100 species that are facing serious threats. These species are critical to maintaining overall ecosystems, and zoos and aquariums have unique scientific expertise and resources to improve their conservation status. In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 key species from that list: African Penguin, Asian Elephants, Black Rhinoceros, Cheetahs,   Gorillas, Sea Turtles, Sharks and Rays, Vaquita, Western pond turtles, and Whooping Cranes.

Every year for at least the next decade, 10 or more species will be added to SAFE based on the most current science and the availability of resources. 
For more than 100 years, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have been leaders in species survival and are already working to restore more than 30 species to healthy wild populations, including the American bison, the California condor, the black footed ferret and a number of aquatic species. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums collaboratively manage more than 450 Species Survival Plan® programs, as well as are investing more than $160 million each year in field conservation work in more than 100 countries across the globe. The worsening and accelerating extinction crisis, which many scientists refer to as the “Sixth Extinction,” challenged AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to significantly increase their efforts.

“In many cases, the science and conservation community knows what must be done to save these species and many independently managed efforts have been initiated to tackle one or more areas of focus at a time,” said Dennis Pate, AZA Board Chair and Executive Director and CEO of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.  “We will convene all partners working on saving the AZA SAFE species, who will collaboratively identify and prioritize the essential conservation actions needed. We will then provide the resources and mobilize our 180 million visitors to help save these species and restore them to sustainable populations in the wild.”

“For years, we have worked closely with AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, but SAFE is really a game changer for us,” said Dr. Stephen van der Spuy, Executive Director at SANCCOB, the South African non-profit that is leading the effort to protect African penguins and other sea birds in South Africa. “By strategically focusing the work of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, by bringing new resources, and by engaging the millions of zoo and aquarium visitors in saving African penguins, we’re confident that SAFE can help make a real impact at saving these birds from extinction.” 
This bold, comprehensive approach is already attracting significant support. Initially, SAFE launched with a $1 million challenge grant from noted conservationists Mark and Kimbra Walter. Since then, the challenge has been successfully matched and their gift has continued to generate additional philanthropic interest and investment in this critical initiative
SAFE has also drawn significant corporate support from ALEX AND ANI, FishFlops® and Frito-Lay North America. ALEX AND ANI, the Rhode Island based eco-conscious lifestyle brand, created a penguin charm as part of their award-winning CHARITY BY DESIGN® program, and it has already become a top seller, generating funds that support conservation work at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. In the same spirit of giving back, 17-year-old entrepreneur Madison Nicole Robinson, creator of the popular children’s line of shoes FishFlops®, is creating a special line of flip flops and slippers to benefit SAFE, with a portion of her sales going directly to SAFE conservation projects. As an AZA partner, Frito-Lay North America is rallying families’ support for SAFE with a commitment to match every dollar donated to the cause through, up to a maximum of $100,000, through June 15, 2015. In addition to matching donations made through the site, Frito-Lay will donate $1 for each social share, per person, per day, of an endangered animal fact made through the site in an effort to encourage families to spread awareness about the important cause. Donations for social shares will also count towards Frito-Lay’s maximum $100,000 donation.

"Fun is at the heart of everything we do and it’s what we hope to inspire with our variety packs of snacks,” said Ryan Matiyow, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay. “Through our partnership with AZA, we’re able to bring families around their shared passion for animals and to support a cause that will help ensure families can experience the wonder of wildlife for generations to come.”

About AZA
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and seven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

About SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction
SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We're Ready. Are You?

It's been raining here a lot lately.  Mom says it's one of the wettest springs we've ever had.  And there is more rain coming this weekend!  But it's not as bad here as it has been in other areas.  Mom's sister and her cats live in Texas where there have been floods.  Of course she is ready in case it gets bad enough that she has to leave.  But Mom was worried about the cats.  Were they ready too?

That is a question that every pet owner needs to ask.  Are you ready to take care of everyone, including your pets, in the event of an emergency?  Mom has an emergency kit for her and Dad.  She calls it her "go bag."  I sneaked a peek in it the other day and was upset when I didn't see any supplies in it for me and the other pets.  But then Mom explained that we have our own go bags - one for the dogs and one for the cats.  I feel better now.  Mom is ready!

But are you ready?  Just in case you're not sure, Mom and I are providing the list of what's in my "go bag."  The contents are based on recommendations by the American Humane Association and have everything I need to be safe in an emergency. 

  1. My food
  2. Water
  3. My leash and collar
  4. My bowls
  5. Photos.  Photos of me and photos of me and Mom
  6. My vet records and shot card
  7. My carrier (actually my bag is stored inside my carrier!)
  8. A first aid kit
  9. Contact list of pet-friendly hotels, veterinarians, American Red Cross, American Humane Association and out-of-town friends/family
  10. Irene and Lady are older dogs and need medication so we also have their pills in the bag.
  11. One of my favorite toys
  12. Rope
  13. Pooper Scooper and disposal bags

Additional links to help keep animals safe before, during and after a disaster can be found on American Humane Association’s website.  Mom and I urge every pet owner to prepare before problems arise to keep your entire family, including the fur babies, safe and healthy.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I'm A Great Outdoors Dog!

It's summer and that means Mom and Dad will be spending more time outdoors.  Hiking, fishing, canoeing - they love being outside.  And sometimes I get to go with them!

I love being outdoors with my Mom and Dad!  They make sure that I have everything I need to be safe and comfortable while spending time with them. 

Of course, I can't go everywhere with them.  I go out in the boat with them or over on "the hill."  And some of the state parks will let me visit.  But not all outdoor destinations allow dogs.  And the ones that do have rules - which usually means they have to wear the leash when I am with them.  I really don't mind.  Bob taught me long ago that having Mom on a leash is a good thing!  That way she can't wander off and get lost!  Most parks and campgrounds will say on their website whether or not they allow dogs, so check before you go.  If you need a list of places that do allow dogs, there are lots of sites on the internet.  My favorite is  They make it easy to find dog-friendly campgrounds, beaches, and attractions.

Of course, the outdoors if home to all kinds of nasty things.  Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, snakes - yuck!  We live in the country so Mom already keeps me protected from all of these things.  I get medicine every month to keep the fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes away.  I don't think there is a medicine for snakes but the cats and Dad do a good job of making sure they don't bite me.  And if Mom finds one it's all over!  She does not like snakes - especially near the house!  But if you are not an outdoor dog, make sure you get nasty pest medicine before you go.  And maybe take a cat - or my Mom - along to watch out for snakes!

Whenever we go on an outdoor adventure, Mom always packs my backpack.  She makes sure I have food and water, a pooper scooper and disposal bags, my tags (even though I'm chipped, we all have tags too!), my toy, and even my hat and some sunscreen. (Yes, dogs can get sunburned too).  I'm kind of small so Mom does not make me carry my own backpack.  She normally puts mine in with hers.  If we are going to be gone overnight or longer, she also brings my brush and my blankie - all the comforts of home!

Thanks to Mom knowing how to make my time outdoors safe and comfortable, I am a great outdoors dog.  You can teach your Mom and Dad how to do the same things my Mom does.  Then you and your family can share awesome outdoor adventures together too!