Happy Halloween

German Shepherd and pumpkin

Photo by Audrey Albertini

Halloween greetings from me and Dante!  It’s a beautiful day here on the North Coast of California – perfect for all of the trick-or-treaters that we’ll be getting tonight.  Hope your Halloween is filled with good fun 🙂

Just a reminder that my contest is ending tonight at 11:00 pm.  There’s still time to enter, so if you would like a chance to win a pair of my dog mugs, click this link and fill out the form http://upvir.al/39453/SGOctoberDraw

Best witches (ha ha),

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Dante the Dizzy Dog

Dante the German Shepherd

Dante – October 18, 2017

The title of this post might be more amusing than the circumstances that led to writing of this post.  You may know from my blog, Facebook, or Instagram that my German Shepherd just turned 13 at the end of August.  This was quite a momentous occasion for me because our last German Shepherd, Boomer, didn’t quite make it to his 10th birthday before degenerative myelopathy made his life miserable and we had to put him down.  Dante is now a very slow walker and naps frequently but still seems content to be with us.  I’m definitely in the icing-on-the-cake phase with him.

I recently went for a two week trip with my mother to Portugal.  It was hard leaving Dante but the rest of my family was here, and my dad flew up from San Diego just to be there for his grand-dog, who he loves.  I was gone a week when I got a text from my husband to call him.  When I did, I got the news that Dante couldn’t get up.  He was able to get up and walk Sunday morning but by early Sunday afternoon, he couldn’t. By the time I called my husband around 1pm Monday, it had been 24 hours since he’d gotten up.  It appeared he had a stroke because of the way he was acting (heavy breathing, and glancing strangely at everything, head tilted) and the fact he couldn’t get up.  This was huge shock to me because I had texted on Sunday morning (California time) and all was well.  Now, all was not well.  None of us wanted Dante to suffer, so the horrible decision was made to have a vet friend come at 5 pm that evening (1am in Portugal) to put him down.

You can only imagine how I felt being so far away from my best boy.  I just couldn’t believe it. I had planned to be there for him in the end, just like I was for Boomer.  Luckily my 14 year old daughter was home from school that day and I was able to face-time all afternoon and into the evening and be a part of what was happening there, even if Dante may not have known it.

My dad was able to get Dante outside during the afternoon by holding up Dante’s back end.  It was a beautiful sunny day and Dante rested on the grass smelling the breeze and taking in all the love from my three kids, dad, and husband.  It was very teary, sweet, strange, and horrible.   At one point Dante actually got up, and I wondered what that was all about.  Then, at 5 pm, the vet arrived and we all felt sick.  Upon seeing strangers walk into the yard, Dante got up to check them out.  Almost immediately the vet said, “this looks like vestibular disease“.  “V” what?  He explained it was a condition affecting balance, like vertigo, the effects of which would lessen over the coming days.  We were all so shocked.  Here we were prepared to say goodbye to him and now it seemed we didn’t have to.  It honestly took me an hour to process this.  I went to bed at 2am feeling a whole lot better.  The rest of my trip was a mixed bag because I was in beautiful Portugal with my mother and all I wanted to do was go home.

You’ll be happy to know that 2 weeks after his episode, Dante is walking like he was before – slowly, but still walking.  I know our time together has to come to an end eventually, and I wait for that sign from him that he’s ready to go.  But for now, I am treasuring his lovely presence and his big brown eyes.  And he’s back out in the studio helping me make my dog breed pottery – by which I mean that he’s supervising my progress from his studio bed….in between naps.

Since Dante’s episode with vestibular disease, I’ve learned of two people I know well who’s pets have had this same condition, and one them had it around the same time as Dante.  So it must not be that uncommon but it was sure a new one on me.

Wishing you and your pets much health and love.

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Bernese Mountain Dog – Dog of the Month

I’ve been wanting to add the Bernese Mountain Dog to my list of dog breeds for quite a while.  I’m always struck by how beautiful these dogs are – their coloring is rich and coat so luscious. I had the privilege, years ago, to make friends with a Bernese Mountain Dog.  He was friendly and sweet, probably the most relaxed dog I’ve ever met.

The Bernese Mountain Dog originated in the mountains of Switzerland, mainly around the city of Berne.  It was kept mostly as a farm dog – a companion animal and watchdog for the farmer and his family.  It was also used to pull carts to deliver the products of farmers who could not afford  a draft horse, or whose farms were too small to require one.   Today, Bernese Mountain Dogs are still companion animals and farm dogs, are used as therapy dogs, and they compete in draft competitions,  tracking, obedience, and even agility.

I will post a picture of my Bernese Mountain Dog design when I get it finished.  I must admit that I’ve fallen slightly behind with my dog breed art and have not yet completed last month’s artwork for the Shiba Inu, though I’m very close.  There are just so many fun things to work on in my business…it’s wonderful to have this type of problem 🙂

 

 

 

10 Adorable Pictures of Dogs and Bunnies

Easter is on its way and that got me thinking about bunnies, and how if my German Shepherd, Dante, and the Easter Bunny ever met up in our backyard, the Easter Bunny might never come back.   But here are some dogs that get along beautifully with bunnies, as I suspect Dante would if properly introduced.

1.  Corgi and Bunny

Corgi and Bunny

Source: Nadya Kulagina Photography 500px.com

2. Pomeranian and Bunny

Pomeranian and Bunny

Souce: Instagram @chiara.nalon

3.  Golden Retriever and Bunny

Source:  Dailybunny.org

4.  Shiba Inu and Bunny Instagram

Shiba Inu and Rabbit

Source: Instagram @microcoffeesafari

5. Sheltie and Bunny

Sheltie-and-Rabbit

Source: Daan Franken, Flickr

6. German Shepherd with Bunnies

German Shepherd and Bunnies

Source: forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk

7.  Australian Shepherd and Bunny

Australian Shepherd and Rabbit

Source: Instagram @happy_aussie

8.  Boston Terrier and Bunny Litter

9.  Saint Bernard and Bunny

Saint Bernard and Bunny

Source: Warren Photographic

10. Bull Dog and Bunny

Bulldong and Bunny

Source: Instagram @francis_langlais

I hope you’ve enjoyed the cuteness.  Have a great day!

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Shiba Inu – Dog Of The Month

Shiba Inu - Dog of the Month at Shepherds Grove

I chose the Shiba Inu for my Dog of the Month because it’s just so “foxy” and adorable.  I have a friend who has a Shiba, and I am taken with just how intelligent and dignified her dog is – she’s not one to really frolic or roll over for a belly rub, but she is inquisitive and kind.    As always, when I choose a dog to work on, I get to learn a little more about the breed.

The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the Spitz dog breeds in Japan and is considered the oldest breed, according to the AKC.  They’re agile and compact and have very keen senses, which made them excellent hunting dogs that could easily navigate the steep hills in the mountainous regions of Japan from whence the originated.  The Shiba ancestors that were brought down from the mountains to more populated areas in Japan were courser looking and larger boned than today’s very elegant Shibas.  WWII brought near extinction of the breed and there were three bloodlines remaining.  It is from these bloodlines that the modern Shiba has evolved.

Well, I can’t wait to have Shiba Inu gifts among my dog lover pottery.  I’ll post my finished design when I get it done.

Warmest regards,

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Spring Cleaning Your Dog’s Belongings

German Shepherd Spring Cleaning

Dante’s Thoughts on Spring Cleaning – “Is this really necessary, Mom?”

I’m feeling that urge to clean so it must be Spring Cleaning time.  Funny how the urge only comes around once a year.  Anyhow, we’ve had such a rainy winter and spring (so far) here in Eureka, and Dante’s carried a lot of the yard inside on his paws and legs, even though I wipe him down after every outing.  Time to deep clean some things, and, as I found out by doing a little research, I should be doing some of these things more often.
  1. Dog Bowl.  I do wash Dante’s bowl, but perhaps not as often or as thoroughly as is recommended.  The NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) found dog bowls to be one of the top 10 germiest locations in a house, according to their 2011 study.  I guess I can understand why the a dog’s bowl might be so germ hotbed, but maybe it aids in our overall germ resistance and so isn’t as bad as they make it out to be?  Or maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better for not washing Dante’s bowl as well as I should.  Their suggestion is daily sanitizing in the dishwasher or washing by hand using soapy water.  If hand washing the bowls,  you should do a weekly soaking of the bowl in 1:50 mixture of bleach and water for 10 minutes and rinse well.  Hmmm…who knew?
  2. Bedding.  Luckily this is fairly easy, especially if you pick a sunny day.  Bedding can be vacuumed to remove excess hair, or shaken outside.  Thankfully most beds have zip off covers that can be removed and washed – just unzip and toss in your machine.  If you’re really into deep cleaning, use the disinfect cycle on your washing machine.   I put my covers in the dryer on low and remove when they feel just a little damp and then air dry them the rest of the way so there’s no shrinking.  But if it’s a nice sunny day, and you can wait, hang them up and dry them outside.  While the covers are washing and drying (and if it’s sunny) put the pad inserts outside to bathe in the fresh air.  Once everything is completely dry, reassemble and go take a nap on your dog’s bed before he messes it up again.  How often to wash?  Once a month would be ideal to keep them nice and is not too frequent as to make you crazy.
  3. Toys.  Dante’s favorite toys are the soft ones with squeakers – these last 1-3 days before they’ve been disemboweled of stuffing and squeaker so that all that remains are floppy lifeless rags that he likes even more.  There’s not much to wash here, so I eventually just discard them after a few weeks.  But for those of you whose dog’s cherish their stuffies such that they remain intact, these can be washed in your machine in cool water and dried on low heat. You can put them inside a pillow case for washing and drying if you’re worried about the fabric pilling or decorative features falling off.  However, since the toy has probably spent a lot of time in your dog’s mouth, I doubt you have this level of concern, but hey, I thought I’d mention it.  I would suggest using unscented, or at least less soap than you would for your clothing, and no fabric softener, so that your dog doesn’t grab his freshly cleaned toy in his mouth, spit it out, and then give you that “what the heck is this?” look.  As for hard toys, wash in a small amount of dish washing liquid and water, or put through the dishwasher like I always did with my kids chewy toys.  You can also use half water half vinegar and rinse well.  How often?  I suppose you could go nuts and wash weekly,  but really it’s up to you and your tolerance.  It’s just fine if you wash them only they look dirty or when you’re expecting small children in your home who may handle them.  Maybe for you (and me for sure), just every Spring!

In closing, I hope that Spring inspires you, whether or not there’s any cleaning involved!

 

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10 Great Pictures of Dogs and Daffodils

I love Daffodils – they’re such a jolly flower.  Before they all disappear, I thought I would pay tribute to them with 10 great pictures of “Dogs and Daffodils”.

1. Newfoundland and Daffodils

 

2. Corgi and Daffodils

One happy dog

 

3. Shelties and Daffodils

 

4. German Shepherd and Daffodils

 

5. Pug and Daffodils

 

6. Greyhound and Daffodils

 

7. Golden Retriever and Daffodils

Source: Reddit/pogiepika

 

8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Daffodils

 

9. Chihuahua and Daffodils

Chihuahua and Daffodils

Source: Instagram @fotografriedje

 

10.  Australian Shepherd and Daffodils

 

Warmest Regards,

 

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10 Healthy Dog Treat Recipes For Fall

 

Dante with sweetgum leaf

Dante versus the Sweetgum leaf – http://www.shepherds-grove.com

Fall is all around us – celebrate it by making some seasonal treats for your dog. Here are some simple dog treat recipes that take advantage of the Fall bounty.  And the great news is, that because these treats are home made with real ingredients, you can snack along with your four-legged friend, should you feel so inclined.

1.  Sweet Potato Apple Dog Treats

Sweet Potato Apple Dog Treats

Sweet Potato Apple Dog Treats from wholefoodsmarket.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Apple Carrot Dog Biscuits

Apple Carrot Dog Biscuit Recipe

Apple Carrot Dog Biscuit Recipe from reluctantentertainer.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Sweet Potato Dog Chew Treats

sweet potato dog chew

Sweet Potato Dog Chew Treat Recipe from 17Apart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Pumpkin Apple Jerky

Pumpkin Apple Jerky from mydogsbreakfast.com

Pumpkin Apple Jerky from mydogsbreakfast.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Izzy’s Apple-Ceddar Dog Biscuits

Apple Cheddar Dog Biscuits

Izzy’s Apple Cheddar Dog Biscuits from http://www.marthastewart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. 3- Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Treats.

3 ingredient pumpkin treat

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Treat from http://www.kevinandamanda.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  Super Simple Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Simple Sweet Potato Dog Treat

Simple Sweet Potato Dog Treat Recipe from allrecipes.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Harvest Pumpkin Ball Dog Treats.

Harvest Pumpkin Ball Dog Treats

Harvest Pumpkin Ball Dog Treats from food.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.  Apple Crunch Pupcakes

Apple Crunch Pupcakes

Apple Crunch Pupcakes from blog.candiquick.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Venison Dog Jerky.  You may have venison from the recent deer season that you’d like to share with your pup.

Venison Dog Jerky

Venison Dog Jerky Recipe from greatvenisoncooking.com.

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Golden Retriever Rescue of Houston’s Red, White, and Golden Celebration!

https://i1.wp.com/q.b5z.net/i/u/10102270/i/events/logo.jpg

For all of those in and around Houston who love Golden Retrievers and a good time, The Golden Retriever Rescue of Houston is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, July 7, 2010 from 4pm to 10pm at Blanco’s Bar and Grill (3406 West Alabama St., near Buffalo Speedway).

Enjoy BBQ, cool beverages, and great music by; CJ’s Gound, Still Spinning, 23rd Soul Street.  There will be silent and live auctions (including items from Shepherds Grove).

Tickets are available at the door and the price includes a BBQ dinner plus 2 drink tickets.  Adults $35 and Children $15.  You can bring your well behaved Golden for free! (though all dogs must remain outdoors)

Golden Retriever Rescue of Houston (GRRH) was founded June 20h03 and is a non-profit 501(c)(3). They are an all-volunteer group dedicated to the rescue and placement of Golden Retrievers in the greater Houston, Texas area. They do not have a physical location but rather fulfill their mission with the help of volunteer foster homes.  They work very hard to find homes for the many homeless Goldens and their work includes rehabilitating Goldens with physical or psychological needs. 

Heart felt thanks to all of those working on behalf of animal welfare – your kind deeds to not go unnoticed.

Animal Safehouse Program from Rancho Coastal Humane Society, San Diego, CA

I just wanted to spread the word about a great program started by Ranch Coastal Humane Society, Encinitas, CA.  They have now made the Animal Safehouse Program available to any agency that would like to start one in their area.
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5R5S_Abuse_IMG_1540.jpg

A San Diego Safety Net Now Spreading Across the Country

“The words ‘Safe’ and ‘House’ should be synonymous,” says Rancho Coastal Humane Society President Jim Silveira. “But abusers come as husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, children, and roommates. Rancho Coastal Humane Society created the Animal Safehouse Program in 1997. This month, we’re launching ASP on a national level. By providing a safety net for the animal victims of domestic abuse we’re giving human victims an escape route.”

Through ASP the victims of domestic violence can leave knowing that their pets will be cared for. When possible the pets are reunited with their owners. When that’s not possible, the pets are matched with new families through the pet adoption program at Rancho Coastal Humane Society.

The Animal Safehouse Program started by Rancho Coastal Humane Society is, literally, saving lives. When human victims enter shelters their dogs or cats can be cared for in the private homes of ASP volunteers. Silveira says, “For the first time since the first beating, the victims realize that they can escape without leaving their pets to pay the price.”

Do the animal victims of domestic violence recover? Silveira says they do. “When the pets arrive they’ve been beaten, abused, neglected, or starved. Once they realize they’re safe their tails wag. The happy purrs begin. Usually all it takes is someone who cares. Someone who will love them and tend to their needs without having to endure another beating.”

Silveira concludes, “When we take these animals into our homes we are making the same commitments that we make to the humans in our lives. We agree to provide for them and protect them. But when domestic violence threatens to harm this fiber of society, Animal Safehouse is here to help. And now Rancho Coastal Humane Society is spreading the ASP safety net across the country.”

For more information about the Animal Safehouse Program created by Rancho Coastal Humane Society or to learn how you can help start an ASP program anywhere in the United States log on to www.sdpets.org, call 760-753-6413, or visit RCHS at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas, CA.

Read more: San Diego Pets Magazine – Animal Safehouse Program