Into the wilderness

When I started down this venture in 2008, there was an active blogging community that covered dogs. I was an idiot in those days and a far worse writer.

You got hits by being a pugilist. I punched. I got punched in return.

And it was okay.

But then the major blogging networks that held this fractious community together “went corporate, and all the organic aspects of this community died.

What we were left with just competition and vitriolic bellicosity.

I kept this up for as long as I could, but then I either grew up or just got tired of all the bullshit. It’s probably the latter.

I have yet to find a community in the real dog world that isn’t petty and dogmatic. Probably the only exception to this is my own Facebook group that is associated with this blog, but that is like the Island of Misfit Toys, where they are led by the ultimate broken jack-in-the-box (me).

I am never, ever going to be a super dog trainer. I don’t have the skills, and I’m not going to pretend that I have those skills anymore. I’ve tried to learn them. I just don’t have it.

It’s the toughest thing in the world for me to admit that I cannot do something.

Not everyone can read historical documents or peer-reviewed articles either.

That’s what I tell myself.

You may have noticed that the scope of this blog has changed a lot in the past few months. I am trying to find my voice again, and I think I do better as a story teller than what my grandpa called a cross between a prostitute and an encyclopedia: “a fucking know-it-all.”

I may lose readers if they don’t see the latest story about a dog bite or something stupid that a TV dog trainer did.

That’s okay.

There still are places where you can read that stuff.

It’s just not me.

I’ve lost a lot of friends over the years. I don’t think anyone from that community still talks to me or links to me from the early days.

I have a few readers who have stayed with me for the long haul. They’ve seen my various evolutionary epochs.

And I now am the point where it I don’t think I will ever go back.

The conflict that exist because of the problems of the modern dog fancy have been solved in the grand scheme of things. In North America, the main multi-breed registries are essentially ignored. In Europe, there is just so much public pressure for reform that it will happen. It will happen as the older generations die off.

In the mean time, a lot of damage is going to be done, but because the people who are okay with the damage are so certain about their views, it is a waste of time deal with them.

Allow the attrition of the generations to take care of this problem.

I find myself falling into an anhedonic state when it comes to these issues.

But I also know the rightful place for me is in the wilderness.

The battles of dog people will go on.

I’m checking out.







Natural History

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Madonna Leaves the Dog Film Festival in New York City to go… Home!

Madonna - Mayor's Alliance

The 2nd Annual Dog Film Festival, held at Symphony Space in New York City on October 15, was a howling success in many ways.

I returned home happy, but exhausted, and then I received the fantastic news that Madonna, a 22-month-old rescued Pit Bull, found her new forever home at the Festival.

Our beneficiary partner, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, a nonprofit group that works with more than 150 rescue groups and shelters, invited Posh Pets Rescue to bring adoptable dogs in the Petco Foundation adoption van.

The dogs greeted patrons on the sidewalk outside of the theater all day long, wagging their tails hopefully and longing to be adopted. That’s where Tina and her family met Madonna, the gray and white stray who melted their hearts.

Tina emailed me to say, “My family and I had an amazing experience at the Dog Film Festival. Thank you for being such a great host. After going through the proper adoption process, Madonna has been ours since Friday!

Thank you, Tina and family for sharing this news. Moments like this make all of the hard work worth it.

As you can see in the photo, Madonna’s new people got to enjoy the fun Dog Person t-shirts that Bayer and K9 Advantix II gave out to attendees at all four film programs.

And thank you Halo Pets, the Dog Film Festival Founding Sponsor that has been giving 10,000 bowls of pet food to our beneficiary partners in different locations. In New York, it was the Posh Pets hospice sanctuary that will be enjoying 2,000 lbs. Of Halo’s premium pet food. The Dog Film Festival and Tina and her family affirm my faith in all of the animal welfare organizations that work together to help homeless animals together with the people whose lives they complete, guiding us all toward a better world.



Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.

Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.

Halo Pets

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Links I Love, Right Now

I just realized I haven’t done a Links I Love post since the beginning of July. Most of the “free time” (because we all have so much of that, right?) I spent online in the months that followed was admittedly researching Emmett’s illness, and those late night nursing sessions I used to spend aimlessly perusing the internet have become shorter and less frequent as little dude has gotten older. The time change this week though, while creating a darkness that begins at 4:30 which is basically this summer girl’s own personal hell, has messed with the kids enough that they’re falling asleep earlier at night. That also means that Emmett now wakes up ready for the day at 5:30 AM, but it allows me a little more down time at night to cram in Netflix with Robbie and (finally getting to the point here) come across pieces of awesomeness like you will see below. Here are these week’s favorites links and finds:

IKEA can basically do no wrong in my book, but their Winter Holiday collection (seen in image above) is above and beyond. I want it all.

Destiny’s Child reunited for the Mannequin Challenge and it was glorious.

For those who, like me, are having a hard time emotionally with the election results, this post on how to take action, donate, and help from Man Repeller made me feel like I could actually do something positive rather than just sit here in a pile of doughnuts ugly crying.

While there are times that I feel like Essley’s behavior is borderline teenager (so. much. attitude.), my kids technically have a while to go before they get there. So I guess that gives me some time to prepare (and cross my fingers that they aren’t as rebellious as their parents were). I found this article on what’s going on inside the teen brain incredibly interesting.

This pullover. Need.

We’ve been doing a Friendsgiving celebration with a big group of pals for 4 years now, and I’m so looking forward to this year (coming up on Thursday!). Ours aren’t quite as pretty as Elsie and Emma’s, but I still love looking at theirs each year for inspiration.

15 hilarious examples that show why letter spacing is important.

Any of you who have children (or know a child) who suffers from or has suffered from seizures will be able to relate on some level to this beautiful piece written by my friend Lauren about her daughter Nora’s seizure journey. One of the seizure types Nora has had to face is the same one with which Emmett was diagnosed (and also one of the most, if not the most, damaging and catastrophic), Infantile Spasms. Awareness and understanding are so important. Please read if you can.

These luxurious red velvet jeans from Madewell are EVERYTHING.

You guys, there is a Ned Flanders-inspired heavy metal band called Okilly Dokilly and they just released their first music video. Brilliant.

I need to make this pumpkin pie green smoothie immediately.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your Friday and your weekend, friends! See you Monday.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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This is Shar-pei looking at the camera very intently at the recent Fete de la Branda in Gorbio village.

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Prosperous Pet Business Online Conference

Ready to take your pet business to the next level?

PetsitUSA is sponsoring the upcoming online pet business conference!

It’s a virtual event and you can attend from wherever you are in the world…and it’s at no cost to you.

Many top pet business experts will be speaking including Victoria Stilwell, Ian Dunbar, Beth Stultz from Pet Sitters International and many more speakers at the upcoming Prosperous Pet Business Online Conference hosted by Kristin Morrison.

The goal of the conference is to inspire pet business owners to break through problems, get unstuck, and move forward on business goals. In short, to empower you to fulfill your dream of working with pets for a living.

Kristin’s conference has a unique format. It’s no charge (woo-hoo!), international (cool!), and comprised of a series of informative interviews with all sorts of experts in the business and pet field. And the conference is online so you can attend regardless of where you are in the world.

You’re sure to take a gem away from each of these informal chats, each one built around the theme of making more money while experiencing more ease and more freedom (nice!).

All the details you need are here: Prosperous Pet Business Online Conference.

Hope to see you there!

PetsitUSA Blog

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Warren Eckstein’s Holiday Food Alert

Holiday Dangers for Pet

Would you know what to do if you walked into the room and found your dog or cat choking? If you are like the majority of pet owners, you’d probably panic and perhaps scramble to locate your vet’s phone number.

While you should always keep your vet’s number (and the number of the nearest 24-hour emergency clinic) prominently displayed by your phone, a choking pet needs your immediate attention. Minutes can actually make the difference as to whether your pet lives or dies.

So if your pet is choking, remain calm, open your pet’s mouth and check for any foreign objects. Remember, a frightened.or distressed pet may bite or scratch. Personally, when one of my pets is in trouble, I really don’t care about a bite or a scratch! To minimize the risk, place your fingers on your pet’s palate – this will prevent him from biting down.

Once you’ve removed any foreign objects and your pet still appears to be in distress, use the Heimlich Maneuver. This same “hug of life” which works for humans by forcing air to dislodge obstructions in the throat or larynx can be used on dogs and cats.

If your pet is small or has collapsed:

  1. Place your pet on his side on a hard surface (i.e. the floor or a table).
  2. Place both hands just behind the last rib and press down quickly and firmly.* Release immediately and repeat rapidly several times. Try to direct the force of your hands slightly forward – this will make your efforts more effective.
  3. Have someone open your pet’s mouth wide and attempt to retrieve the foreign object as it is forced out of your pet’s throat.

If your pet is large and is able to stand:

  1. Straddle your pet, placing him between your legs.
  2. If someone is with you, have them help keep your pet’s mouth open.
  3. Place both hands under your pet, again below the last rib, and lift with quick thrusts upward and forward several times. Continue until the airway is clear.

THE FINAL STEP – Once your pet is breathing normally, even if he seems fine, get him to the vet. Remember, the Heimlich Maneuver is a form of first aid – the immediate care given to a pet until proper medical care arrives.

Ideally, prevention is preferable to having to employ the Heimlich Maneuver. That’s why I do not advocate giving our cats and dogs turkey, chicken, beef, pork or lamb bones – they can splinter and get caught in our pets’ tiny throats. The same warning goes for decorating holiday trees with tinsel. However, we can’t forsee every danger to our pets, so it’s important you take the time now to review the steps I’ve outlined. By doing so, you just may save yourpet’s life!

*Obviously, you would not use the same amount of pressure on a cat or Yorkshire Terrier as you would for a Great Dane. If you are unsure how much pressure to apply, check with your vet and review the procedure with him before an emergency arises.

How to perform pet cpr

Warren-Eckstein-cats-fbWarren Eckstein, host of The Pet Show, is an internationally known pet and animal expert. Warren has devoted over thirty years to teaching both pets and their people to live happily together through his unique “Hugs and Kisses” approach to animal behavior, care and training. 

Warren has worked with more than 40,000 pets including those of many well-known celebrities. David Letterman, Cheryl Tiegs, Lily Tomlin, Geraldine Ferraro, Al Pacino, Rodney Dangerfield, and Phylicia Rashad are just a few of many whom Warren has helped with pet problems.

Halo Pets

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I hope this just does not push through. As it is,…

I hope this just does not push through. As it is, there is enough violence against animals that must first be addressed rather than this ridiculous breed ban.

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Get Ready for Holiday Baking: Save 40% on Cookie Cutters!

As we count down to the holidays, don’t forget dog-shaped cookies (and ornaments) made with cookie cutters! This week only, ALL our cookie cutters on our PawZaar Cookie Cutter Collection page…

[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]


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An ER Euthanizes a Beloved Pet. This is What You Should Know:

There are certain calls to news editors that prove irresistible.

I imagine in this day and age of ratings and clicks mattering more than actual investigative reporting, nothing makes editors salivate more than the tale of a devastated family and the greedy, lazy, and/or incompetent veterinarian responsible for the death of a pet.

It neatly checks all the boxes modern day news websites are looking for: sad family. Adorable pet. Terrible situation. Having fulfilled these requirements, the media happily narrates the story with appropriate gravitas and murmurings of “tragic, Jane, back to you for the weather” and then they go on with their lives while the veterinarian in question now is left with the angry mob to deal with. Who cares? It got a ton of clicks!

Savaging a veterinarian who cannot legally or ethically defend themselves in public has become so common and so rote now that it doesn’t even surprise me any more. The latest happened in Greenville South Carolina, but the same old formula has been circulating for years. I should know; it happened to me too.

I understand- truly, I do– the devastation of a client who has lost a beloved pet. I understand that grief does funny things and it often becomes easier to turn guilt into anger, to blame someone else for all the things you could have done better. Better this than to say to yourself, “I played a role in this pet’s death too.”

Used under Creative Commons license by Alodor at

Used under Creative Commons license by Alodor at

But I do blame the media for swallowing these stories as presented, regurgitating them to the public as if they were an absolute truth without bothering to even try to get another side to the story. They are part of the reason veterinarians burn out and leave the field, develop addictions, or worse. Because here’s the truth:

As the Vet in Question, You Can’t Win

When someone has lost their pet under sad circumstances and goes to the media, as the professional involved, you are in a terrible situation. We are not supposed to discuss our patients in a public setting. Pointing out that a grieving owner has some responsibility for what transpired is, even when it’s true, awfully callous. There’s just no winning.

As a member of the public, it’s easy to feel outrage when you are presented with a one-sided story, but I’m begging you as someone who has been there, before you jump on the social media bandwagon and pillory yet another professional trying to do their job, to consider that there is probably another side to the story.

I Wish He Had a Chance

In this recent case in South Carolina, a Pomeranian with no ID and no microchip presented with breathing difficulties to an emergency hospital; he was considered a stray, brought in by a Good Samaritan. The pet was euthanized. This is what we know. The hospital declined to comment, as is standard practice.

All any of us have to go on is the owner’s story. My comments, as an emergency veterinarian who’s been in similar situations, follow.

“Bridges says Meeka had a history of tracheal problems that were easily managed with ibuprofen and Benadryl, and believes the vet misdiagnosed her dog’s condition.

Ibuprofen is not prescribed in veterinary medicine*. If the pet was being treated with that, his condition- whatever it was, as ‘slipped trachea’ is not a condition- was never accurately diagnosed or managed. In fact, ibuprofen toxicity is itself a common reason for ER visits.

In an emergency situation where a good Samaritan brings in a pet with breathing difficulty (a true emergency), you are between a rock and a hard place as simple stabilization, never mind diagnostics, runs into the hundreds of dollars or more right out the gate. When you don’t have authorization from the owner and the pet is at risk of dying, you have to make very tough calls.

The family says Meeka was euthanized just a few hours later.

“You can’t be in that profession and not even have a second thought that this that could be a four year old’s puppy that you’re killing,” said Bridges.

This is true. I imagine they did wonder about the pet’s family, and they still made that call. That lets you know how sick the pet was. I can’t speak for the veterinarian in this case, but I’ve been there and when it was me, this is what I have thought:

This is devastating. This poor dog. I wish I knew who he belonged to so I could talk to them. I hope there isn’t a little kid at home wondering if he is OK. I wish he had a chance. I wish he were not panicking while trying to breathe. I wish I had another choice.

The records also show that the Samaritan couldn’t pay for Meeka to have an emergency tracheotomy, and without the funds, he was euthanized.”

He must have been extremely sick. We don’t recommend tracheotomies or euthanize on presentation for a mild soft cough. According to the records shared by the owner, the pet was blue and couldn’t breathe without oxygen- conditions that, in emergency medicine, are as dire as it gets.

If there’s any way to keep the pet safe and comfortable long enough to find the family, of course we will. We want our patients to live too.

My heart is with the Bridges family, who is understandably devastated about Meeka’s death. I don’t blame them for looking for answers. Grieving people do that. I blame the reporter Brookley Cromer, may her stilettos always encounter dog poop, and the team at WISTV, for their laziness in amplifying a grieving family’s questions into implications of guilt instead of presenting the real, nuanced situation. Remember, a collar with tags would have resulted in a different ending.

I wish the Bridges family peace. I wish the staff at Animal Emergency Clinic a bottle of wine. It’s just sad all around.


*The news article has been updated to remove the name of the medication, but that is what was stated by the owner.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Want to Be a Good Dog Neighbor? Throw a Bark Party!

This post is sponsored by State Farm®.


Having good neighbors, as we all know, can be a roll of the dice.

Our first week in our new home, we waved to people passing by, but no one said much. I wondered how we were ever going to get to know anyone. Later that week, my often-shy daughter barreled out the front door and down the driveway when she spotted a girl about her age walking her Golden Retriever down the street. “I have a Golden too!” my daughter said, and it was the start of a beautiful friendship.

Over time, I got to know many of my neighbors: Rooney’s mom, Grizzly’s dad, Barkley’s twin boys- wonderful people, the whole lot, and the fact that they are also dog owners is a happy bonus as well as the reason I met them in the first place. Our friendships formed starting with our common interest in pets, but those friendships have also extended beyond just the dog park. Which begs the question: is my dog helping me become a better neighbor, or am I just imagining things?

Are Pet Owners Better Neighbors?

Earlier this year, State Farm released The State of Neighbors Survey to understand what is happening in our neighborhoods. I learned, for example, that I fall in the third of people who are embarrassed that we don’t know all our neighbor’s names (though I can for sure tell you who their dogs are.) I also learned that it’s not just my imagination: pet owners really are more active in their neighborhoods.



I’m sure we can all come up with our own personalized list of neighborly characteristics: doesn’t practice the tuba at 10 pm, doesn’t use your wifi without asking. One thing is clear from the State Farm survey: people long to be connected to their community and their neighbors. And clearly, pet owners do that very well. So yes, while finding good neighbors can be a roll of the dice, having a pet in your corner can help even out the odds.

We live in a day and age where people feel increasingly disconnected to what, or who, is around them. Pets help bring us back into the circle. So what’s the easiest way to get a group of like-minded folks from the hood to come together and have some fun? A Neighborhood Bark Party, of course! Gather your supplies, find a place to gather, and plan for some fun. To help make it even easier, here’s a checklist to help you plan your own Bark Party:



To help you get started, we’re giving away a Bark Party gift basket to get your party off on the right foot!


To enter, just comment below with your name and how your dog has helped you be a good neighbor- entries are collected using the Rafflecopter app below so be sure to enter there!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms: US only, one entry per person. Contest ends midnight PST, 11/16/16. Winner will be chosen at random and notified via email. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, an alternate will be selected. Good luck!
This post is sponsored by State Farm®.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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