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Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Yin Yang Yum Dog puzzle

 Is it worth the money?

Right before my move from Pennsylvania to Minnesota this past summer I had the privilege to acquire an 8 week old Newfoundland /Golden mix puppy which Peter fondly named Brody. Crazy you ask? You betcha!  But I have never been of sound mind anyway!

  The test of packing up one’s home of twenty years within a month then taking the 18 hour journey across the states in one day proved to be bittersweet.  We were embarking on a new adventure but also leaving good friends and family behind.  Then came the unpacking and putting away our old junk into the new home  and it was a task I did not really have time to think long about. The majority of our boxes went from the moving truck into the garage to make unpacking  the truck move a bit faster.   After all, we had plenty of time to unpack those boxes right?  Wrong! With the Minnesota cold air soon to be bestowed upon us we needed to get things out of the garage to make room for the cars.    

Cold weather also means Brody who is now six months old, but still very much a puppy, cannot stay outside all day as he would like too, to check out, dig up, and eat every clay filled frozen piece of dirt with a little grass mixed in. That grass root vegetable source is very important to him!

So with much to do myself I did have to figure out how to keep him occupied at times. Tearing up boxes only lasts so long before you get tired of picking up pieces of cardboard strewn in every room.

 I have to admit, I love to give my dogs something that stimulates the mind especially when normal training can’t be done several times a day on a daily basis. I like the idea that someone came along to invent a product for a dog because this tells me they do realize that the family dog is not just for the outside dog house anymore! There are things one can do to keep busy a fussy needy pup that can stimulate its mind at the same time. When the mind is stimulated the dog gets a bit more tired and we know that a tired dog is a good dog!

In moving, I lost my hometown doggie support group but  I was lucky enough to move into a home that had a puppy the same age as mine living right next door!  This works well for late afternoons and the weekends, but the neighbor does have to work.  Far be it from me to tell her to take a day off so the pups can play, though I am sure she would agree to do so if there weren’t a pesky mortgage to pay!

Enter a trip to Petco where we, Peter and I, found the Yin Yang Yum dog puzzle. I have to admit it seemed like a good purchase at the time. There were hidden compartments to put the dog’s treats or food in and the dog had to open these compartments in order to get the reward.

  When I first gave Brody this puzzle I used a high value reward so the smell would come through very clearly.  Upon first examination of this contraption Brody was interested because of the food inside   however he did give up a few times, walking away from the puzzle to see if mom or dad had that same treat in their pocket.  We did, but refused to give it to him and redirected him back to the puzzle to watch him struggle with it a little while longer.  Finally he was able to get the puzzle apart and retrieve his reward. The first go around lasted a little while, the second and third rounds went fairly quickly and by the fourth time he had the puzzle opened and emptied in about 2 minutes 30 seconds.  That was that.  From that point on he knew exactly how to get his treats out. 

As I stated above, I like my dogs to use their minds but if I am busy I would like their entertainment to last a little longer than 2 minutes.  I find that my homemade Gatorade bottle does the same as far as mind stimulation but also keeps the dog engaged a lot longer.   

So if I compare this puzzle for mind stimulation it would rate fairly high but rating it as to keeping the dog active for any period of time it rates fairly low.  

Yin Yang Yum

The product: Plastic, large and small chambers. Two round removable parts for the dog to take out to get to the first two chambers.  Sides that slide open to get to the remaining chambers.

Price: $14.99 at PetCo

Pros: Your dog has to use its mind to get to the chambers holding the food. It is entertaining and mind stimulating.

1) Once the dog figures out how to use the Yin Yang puzzle the dog can virtually get in and eat everything in a short time.

2) There are two loose pieces which can get lost or chewed on. If the pieces are lost or destroyed then the first chamber is open leaving the dog to only have to paw at the side to get to the inside chambers.

Time: It does not last long once the dog has figured it out so you have to constantly refill it.
The inside chambers: You are limited to what you can put inside them. The chambers are small so don’t hold larger biscuits, even small biscuits have to be broken in half.

The Yin Yang Yum ~VS ~ the Large Gatorade Bottle

I stated to feed Brody his meals in a large Gatorade bottle when I needed him out of my hair for a bit. This worked out well which is why I invested in the Yin Yang puzzle to begin with.

Large Gatorade Bottle

1)  The price! Buy a large 2 liter bottle of Gatorade, drink it, and use the bottle for a puzzle toy. 

2) You can put a lot more food and treats inside the bottle so playing with it can last  from 20 minutes to a half hour or more. A dog’s full meal can be placed inside.

3) The dog has to use its mind to get the food out but also the mind is used to figure out how to grasp the bottle and remove it from tight places such as underneath a table or couch.  


It does make a mess until the dog eats the food.

It can get stuck under furniture which may require you help the dog.

The dog will continue to eye every Gatorade bottle you ever hold in your hand until it is empty!

Your home becomes a plastic recycle bin!

 Either of them can become a hazard if the dog is not supervised as eating non food items such as plastic can cause a blockage of the intestines.  Sharp pieces can actually pierce a hole in the intestinal tract causing serious illness.

As always never leave any item with a dog unsupervised.

Brody started eating his meal out of the Gatorade bottle a couple of months ago when I started back to work at my computer in the basement.  He has gotten to the point where while in the basement he will only eat his kibble from the bottle, however upstairs in the kitchen he will eat out of a dog bowl. I sometimes wonder what I am creating here! All I can say is he is happy to toss the bottle all around the basement floor, and doing  this uses his mind, fills his belly and tires his body which makes it a good thing!  To make it a bit harder to get the food out so it lasts even longer rather than break up every biscuit I put one or two full ones in there which blocks the entrance of the  bottle neck which makes it harder to get the food out. The other night Brody worked on the bottle for a long time and in the end with the one long biscuit remaining he brought the bottle to me to take the biscuit out for him! How could I refuse? 

To me the Gatorade bottle is similar to the box of the very large expensive toy you just bought your kids. They'd rather play in the box!

To see video of the Yin Yang Yum in use click here

To see video of the Gatorade Bottle Addiction click here


Friday, November 22, 2013

Canada: Recall on True Raw Choice Pet Treats

There is a recall on True Raw Choice Pet Treats
Date of recall : Nov 20, 2013

Reason: Salmonella

Products Involved:  True Raw Choice Dehydrated  in Bulk 

Chicken feet       Lot number 214733
Duck Feet          Lot number 228870
Duck Wrings      Lot number 213825
Chicken Breast   Lot number 154339
Lamb Trachea    Lot number 225215   

for information on  health risks view the Canada site here

To report an incident click here 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bailey's Recall Expands on its Dog treats

The November 1 2013 recall of  Bailey's Treats has been expanded.   Georgia's Department of Agriculture has  asked for an expanded recall due to possible salmonella.  If you read the last blog article you will know what to look for but if you missed it click here 

You can contact Bailey's  for a full refund  by contacting them  by phone 770-881-1525 or by going to their site and they have a Face book page.

FDA report click here

If you wish to make a complaint to the FDA click here  

being recalled are Lots 

Jun 2 2013 chicken treat
Jun 3 2013 Chicken breast treats
Jun 4 2013 100% Chicken treat
Jun 15 2013 100% Chicken Treat
Jul 6 2013 100% chicken treat
Jul 11 2013 Teriyaki Chicken Treats

You all know my feeling about jerky treats so no need for me to cuss in this session! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Bailey's Choice Recalls Chicken Jerkey Treats

Surprised?  Ha! Neither am I!  The recall is due to a salmonella problem and although the site says it is not dangerous to your pet I would strongly disagree depending on the pet. Salmonella causes diarrhea , sometimes bloody, vomiting, fever, cramping and lack of appetite so if you are sporting a young pup, an elderly dog or a small breed which can get hypoglycemia from not eating for a few days and continuous vomiting then I say it is a potential problem. Hey call me fickle. What they want to do is warn humans because it will also affect you and if your dear great ,great aunt Tilly  gets sick and dies  you can sue the crap out of them!   

Should you want to make  a report  to the FDA  click here

The Bailey company will give you a full refund for any treats you have and you can contact them here 770-881-0526 
The Bailey home page is here   and to the right is their Face Book page in which you can get more information. 

Taken from Bailey's Choice Face book page
Bailey's Choice is issuing a voluntary recall of our chicken jerky treats that have two lot dates: June 5, 2013 and October 8, 2013. These two lots tested positive for salmonella. We have had no reports of anyone or any pet becoming sick. These treats will not harm your dog, dogs digestive systems are designed for eating raw food. It is more dangerous to humans. As with all raw foods, after handling jerky products, we recommend washing your hands thoroughly. We are working with the GA Dept of Agriculture closely to recall the effected lots. We will have more details here as they become available.
74Like ·  · 

I would love it if everyone would call and say they had these treats which would cost the company billions of dollars in refunds which may send a message to stop selling this shit to unsuspecting consumers! Sorry but I am mad as hell and not going to take it much longer! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


 In the overnight hours since I published my previous blog article (link here )  on jerky treats, more news has come in.  As of 20 hours ago the the FDA has reported 600 deaths of family pets and at least 3,600 illnesses caused by the Jerky Treats that are made in China ,yet the FDA is stumped on what is causing this.  Could this be another melamine type scandal? And does it frighten you as much as it does me that with all the testing the FDA cannot yet come to a conclusion?

US pet owners have been warned for years about chicken jerky treats, pig ears, pig snouts and bully sticks  yet so many are still purchasing these products and I suspect until they are taken off the shelves altogether unsuspecting victims will continue to buy them.

Aside from the most recent look into these products by the FDA we should be very leery of any pet products made in China or anywhere outside the USA.  

Also, though all of these items  are said to be "digestible" by companies they are not! They do not break down in the system and if large pieces of such items are swallowed, you run the risk of obstruction. Raw hides are also a cause for obstruction so if you give these you need to be sure you are watching the dog as they chew on them especially if they are aggressive chewers and you should take it away when it gets too small or you see the dog is taking off to  large of a piece.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

FDA Digging Deeper into Jerky Treats

this pic was grabbed from
the net. It is not indicative
of the products that were tested.

It has been long known to some dog owners that chicken, pork, & beef Jerky Treats for dogs has been a problem and caused much illness and death. Though it would be remiss of me to think
that there are not still a few new dog owners out there that are not aware of the harm these products  can cause.  Right now Jerky Treats are being investigated even deeper  by the FDA and the FDA could use your help.

 If by chance you gave your pooch some jerky treats,  keep the package! If your pooch gets sick within a day or two of eating the treats take the dog to the vet for testing.  Mention to your Vet the jerky treats during your visit and ask  your Vet if  he/she would want to take some samples  of either blood , tissue, or urine to be tested  by the FDA.  It's free, the FDA is willing to cover the cost.  It could help get this product off the market!

Though Bully Sticks are not mentioned in this FDA investigation they too cause illness and this person would not recommend you give them to your dog. They are nothing more than dried uncooked penises  from slaughtered bulls and  steer. Since they are uncooked I can only imagine the bacteria attached to them.  Of 26 bully sticks that were tested from 26 different manufacturers at  least 8  contained bacterial contamination some showed E Coli and others came back as methicillin resistant  Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).   These contaminants can also cause illness to the humans handling them. There are safer ways to entertain your dog and use it's mind over giving bully sticks or jerky treats.  

We are a country of imports folks and the countries we are importing from do not have the same standards and regulations  that the US has.  And no offense but dogs are treated by the law as property so a lot of things harmful to them get tossed by the wayside because of that.  The biggest problems come from China, but I suspect problems can come from anywhere in which  rules and regulations are not put in place  and the goods are cheap!

At this link you can read the new FDA report.  Jump on board and lets wipe out treats coming from other countries. Countries I  might add that sometimes  kill dogs for human consumption!

Also this came in after I posted this article. Click Link here      This portal will take you directly to where you need to be to report an illness

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Recall! Joeys Jerky treats

"Here you come again" as Dolly Pardon sang out in her 1977  hit song! Some of you may be too young to remember that one.

Well Salmonella is back in Joey's Chicken Jerky treats. Many of you have by now learned your lesson with all the recalls over the years on all jerky treats, but there are still some unsuspecting victims out there who are first time dog owners that need to know the hazards about the jerky treats, not just Joey's but all jerky  treats as year after year there are recalls due to salmonella, and the same goes for pig ears and snouts.

In dogs salmonella can cause diarrhea (sometimes bloody) vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy , abdominal pain/cramping, and fever. And of course let me repeat that if you have a multiple dog home some dogs can be carriers and not show symptoms of this at all while other dogs in the home will be showing illness.

As for humans many of the same symptoms apply, I have had this and you do get flu like symptoms , vomiting , diarrhea, cramping and for the elderly and very young it is essential that you see your doctor as it hits this population pretty hard.
 Humans can get salmonella from touching the treats and not washing their hands afterward.

      Here is the link to report a pet food/treat  complaint

save any receipts or bar code of the product for a refund and then toss the bag in the trash!

This recall is voluntary , however 21 people in Merrimack and Hills Borough Counties in NH have been identified as having the same strain of salmonella, but no deaths have occurred. 

Here is the information from the New Hampshire Dept of health. you can find contact numbers at the bottom of the page

Monday, September 2, 2013

Nestle: Purina One Recall

Purina one is recalling its dog food beyOnd Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley adult dry food due to potential Salmonella.

Bag size 3.5 lbs - Best By date Oct.24 , 2014  - UPC code 17800 12679

Salmonella in dogs can cause diarrhea sometimes bloody, vomiting , fever, lethargy , abdominal pain & lack of appetite in dogs.

Keep in mind if you own multiple dogs that some may not show symptoms but can be carriers. 

 In Humans: 

Contact by touching food and not washing hands. Particularly dangerous for children and elderly.

Flu like symptoms, vomiting , diarrhea, stomach cramping, fever. 
On the more serious side:

  Arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

8-14-13 Proctor & Gamble Pet Food Recall

Due to possible Salmonella poisoning Proctor & Gamble is recalling pet foods sold in the US although no salmonella outbreaks have been reported.

Keep in mind that  salmonella can spread to humans that touch the food and do not wash their hands. The young and elderly are particularly vulnerable to this. Watch for vomiting , diarrhea, fever, nausea, muscle pain and general flu like symptoms. More serious would be arterial infections, endocarditis (inflammation of he inner layer of the heart), arthritis, eye irritation, and urinary tract infections.

Pets will suffer vomiting ,diarrhea (sometimes bloody) decrease in appetite, lethargy, fever and abdominal pain.

Normal dog temperature is between 100.5  & 102.5 taken rectally.

 Eukanuba and Iams dry food (cat and dog) affected.

Contact  Procter & Gamble Relations at 800. 208 .0172

 For more information on specific lot numbers and food recalled   click here

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pet Treat Recall : Dogswell & Catswell

 The maker of Dogswell and Catswell has made a voluntary recall of  dog and cat treats due to findings of trace amounts of antibiotic  by the NY State Department  Of Agriculture and Markets. 

This antibiotic is allowed in some countries but not been approved in pet foods within the US .


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Boom of July 4th Celebrations

A little Melatonin  can go a long way!

I had originally posted this in 2009 but have since updated with more information.

Ah, the Fourth of July, the gathering of family and friends, the barbeque's, people blowing off their finger tips with illegal bottle rockets, the town fireworks display, and the drinks! Those were the days of fun and relaxation, the days before the family dogs came to live with us! Did you ever notice it only takes one dog to act like a complete lunatic to set off the whole pack? There’s not enough Prozac in the world for them or me on July 4TH!

BTFD I used to love the fourth of July, we’d bring our visiting New York family to Shamokin, or “smokin’ shmokin” as we New Yorker’s call it, a place that has no money for town revitalization, but boy can they put on a grand pyrotechnics display! We’d park on the street, put on our 3D glasses, strap on a thermos of drinks, and open a bag of snacks. The moon roof would glide open, the seats would recline and we were ready to watch the show. Pure delectable pleasure! Ah yes, those were the days!

At present, beginning on June 1st and up to July 4th (as well as sometime there after) is a total nightmare! Seemingly fireworks can be set off at any time in the neighborhood without warning and clearly by neighbors that are not dog owners, or if they are, then they sedate them heavily before they begin! It only takes one pyrotechnics blast in the neighborhood for my brood to be set off for a continuous two hour barkfest. Once they hear the snap, crackle, pop, and sizzle of a firecracker I know it’s going to be a long, long, night.

It’s about this time of year that I wish I had gone to school to become a veterinarian because surely I would have seven medically loaded needles laid out neatly on the kitchen counter ready to knock them all out. Sweet dreams guys! But alas, when I was in school, unless you were a persistent person, the future for girls was geared to being a good secretary, a good housekeeper or a good cook and we all know where I fall in the cooking category! After my first day in culinary class when asked to touch raw meat, I said, "Adios Amigos!"

July 4Th could be somewhat bearable if there were a specific time frame that we could lall ive by, at least give us time to prepare for the upheaval, the time to tether the dogs so they are not jumping out the window, and the time to mentally prepare ourselves for what is about to come! How about starting the blasting after 9 pm and ending by 11 pm, especially on a weeknight. I'm thinking there must be some rule in place already, but if there is, it is not enforced. Let’s face it, calling the cops on your neighbors, well, that’s just not neighborly, and so we endure and just when we think it’s over, Boom, another goes off.

Enter Rescue Remedy the first big chatter among dog owners, an herb that was supposed to calm dogs from such anxieties. Rescue Remedy came in the form of drops to put in the water or in a spray to squirt on the tongue. I chose the spray since it was only the main instigator, Bentley, that I was trying to calm down at the time. The cost in an herbal store was a whopping $15.00 for a 0.35 oz bottle, but I was desperate. Armed with this in hand I couldn’t wait for the next storm or fireworks blast ‘cuz I was ready to spay Crazy Bentley’s tongue with this miracle product!

Well, that didn’t go so well, I was only able to get three out of the four recommended sprays on the tongue as Bentley paced back and forth in his usual neurotic state and it made no difference in him at all. Each time thereafter that I reached for the bottle just before a storm, Bentley got wise and my squirts started to end up on other parts of his body, like his ears, jowls, or eyes, which might explain why he started walking around like he was blind for a few days!

A couple years later along comes Melatonin, supposedly an over the counter wonder herbal delight to help dogs with thunderstorm phobia, fire works, and other anxieties.
Ah, could this be? A cure to the Fourth of July nightmare? A cure for Thunderstorm phobia?
I highly doubted it, but again, why not try it? So I got on line to Puritans Pride and as usual they had their 3 for 1 sale going on so I ordered 3 bottles and by the next week I was rolling in 360 tablets of Melatonin heaven!

When using Melatonin I suggest you use it not only on the day of the fireworks but days before to get it into their system. It did help the dogs to be a little more calm  and to calm down a bit sooner when the fireworks were over.

So this July 4th you may want to invest in a small bottle if your dog is bothered by fireworks and if it doesn't work for your dog, you can always use it for your insomnia!

Here is information on Melatonin. Always speak to your vet before trying any over the counter medication.

Melatonin and dosing information click here

You can read more on melatonin as well as other methods used for phobias here

Another over the counter medicine popular to use because it makes the dog drowsy is Benadryl. You can read about dosing by clicking here:

You may want to try the Thunder Shirt as well. You can find them in most pet stores.
Thunder shirt: click here

Some people will crank up the TV, turn on the AC and put cotton in the dogs ears to muffle the booming levels.

Monday, June 24, 2013

RECALL! Did I tell ya? Surely this is a no brainer!

Oh my, a  week or two has gone by since Inova has recalled their food for salmonella so it was just a matter of time before more recalls would be heading your way!

 Abady dog food, frozen, is being recalled for salmonella.

Salmonella can cause vomiting , diarrhea sometimes bloody, fever, lethargy,  dehydration and of course if you have more than one dog in the home keep in mind they can all have salmonella but some are just carriers and may display no symptoms.

Salmonella can be spread  to humans who touch the dog food and do not wash their hands or utensils, counter tops, etc.  This is particularly worrisome in the elderly and very young children but also those whose immune system is already compromised .

 I have had and I can tell you it ain't no picnic! 

read all about the recall by clicking here

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Here we go again! Dog & Cat food recall!

Isn't there a song with that lyric in it?  Yes you guessed it another recall for salmonella. My guess would be it won't be the last!  

In dogs, salmonella as you know can cause diarrhea (sometimes bloody), vomiting, fever, lethargy and can this can be transferred to humans. If the human touches the food then does not wash prepping areas or their hands then the family can become ill.  What you may not know is that some dogs can exhibit the symptoms while other dogs are seemingly just carriers without symptoms so if you live among a pack and some are ill and some are not don’t discount a salmonella outbreak.

Keep an eye on the elderly and young children if they  have contact with pets.

I will be watching for the next recall and let you know as soon as it comes in. Getting kind of hard to title these salmonella recalls!

You can find the information on this link but I have done a copy paste from the FDA site so you can give a quick glance.

The affected products are:

Innova Dry dog and cat food and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
EVO dry dog, cat and ferret food and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
California Natural dry dog and cat foods and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Healthwise dry dog and cat foods All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Karma dry dog foods All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Mother Nature biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC's, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Consumers who have purchased the specific dry pet foods listed should discard them.
For further information or a product replacement or refund call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM CST).
About Natura Pet Products
Natura Pet Products is recognized as a trusted name behind natural and holistic pet foods and treats. Founded more than 20 years ago by John and Ann Rademakers and Peter Atkins, Natura is dedicated to providing the best natural nutrition. Natura is committed to making premium pet foods and treats based on nutritional science and high-quality ingredients, combined with trusted manufacturing processes, for complete pet health. Lines include: Innova®, California Natural®, EVO®, HealthWise®, Mother Nature® and Karma®. To learn more about Natura Pet Products visit www.NaturaPet.com1.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

ASPCA Names Potential Puppy Mills In Your Area

Forrest Gump: Saint Bernard, Pet City (Pet store) Danville PA
 Puppy mill dog, Cost 450.00 many health problems

Maxie: Chow- Lab Mix
Brookhaven pet Store, Long Island NY
Not a purebred or designer dog. no health problems
Cost 75.00

Before I go on I need to explain the caption of the picture above. Maxie my Chow /Lab mix did come from a pet store, but there was a sign clearly stating  that this is a mix, being sold for a friend of the owner, and the dog had vet checks and a spay program all for only 75.00!  So I can't exactly lump all dogs that come from a pet store into one, but I will say that I have never seen such a purchase in a pet store since Maxie unless it was an adopt -o- thon going on at a pet/ farm store.  Maxie seems to be the exception to the rule, but wouldn't it be nice if more pet stores did this on a regualar basis and took back the customers who boycott them for selling pure bred dogs from puppy mills?   

Well good news! There is a way to check if your dog came from a puppy mill although by now many of you know that any dog (purebred and registered)  from a pet store is from a puppy mill but that does not stop back yard breeders who breed only for money in deplorable conditions and who are USDA licensed, or puppy brokers who sell the pups for puppy mills, or added into the mix are online puppy sites with great pictures of a lovely field where puppies play all day ,  as well as one of the newest scams they are creating which is to call themselves a “Sanctuary” or  non profit rescue.

Greed keeps people doing dishonest things and as long as there are people there is greed and dishonesty especially in the puppy market business which can rake in thousands of dollars many times over in one year for one unscrupulous breeder.

Think about dogs that are popular in movie premiers such as 101 Dalmatians or Beethoven. When such movies come out the breed in the movie becomes vastly bred and overbred by everyone!  Each pup can bring in 600.00 and up. Put that to an average litter of 7 pups and that’s over four thousand dollars in one breeding. Then times that by a variety of breeds all of which are giving birth in one month, so 5 different breeds having 7 puppies one litter one month, 21,000.00!    Can anyone say mortgage payment, expensive car, in- ground pool?    

These puppies are usually given a first round of shots but rarely are  seen by a vet after a first check up and some are never seen by a vet as anyone can buy shots online for a dog and administer them so cost is minimal. Most dogs will come with a set of worms that you will need to take care of and since the breeder dogs are not well kept there is little overhead.  Buy some lumber, some wire,  stack the cages to use less of the precious lawn and make the  cages overcrowded with several dogs sharing one space, toss some food on the floor maybe fill a water dish once in the AM and you’re good to go!   .
 If you have ever seen the show hoarders, times that scene by 10 and put dogs in place of cats or garbage, yeah, it’s that bad!

The ASPCA has a site where you can type in the USDA  License #, or you can type in the place  or person from where you purchased your pup and see if they came from a puppy mill.  While there are many things the ASPCA does that I disagree with, and I am sure you have heard me rant about that before,  this is one thing they are doing right.  The public has a right to know where their pups come from.

On the site although the ASPCA says to make adoption your first option I would surmise  like anything else, many purebred dogs put into shelters are actually puppy mill dogs whose health has declined and the owner can’t afford the cost anymore or they are of poor temperament and untrustworthy. So I don’t actually agree with adoption meaning you are getting a breed of good standing.  No owner turning in a purebred dog is going to tell the shelter that the dog is unhealthy or has bad temperament.        

This site also helps consumers to recognize online scams which are running rampant right now. You can find many web sites of  out of state listings that will ship you a pup or will meet you at a half way point in the state so you don’t see how the pups are really kept.

The ASPCA site also offers you the privilege to look up stores in your area which offer adoptions and stores that sell puppies and they tell you not to buy from that store.

I typed in the Danville Zip code and got the list below and yes I have heard of a store or two which have sold puppies that were of ill health right from the get go!  The list had pages and pages of listings, to numerous for me to post here  so if you live in PA  check out the direct link   to surrounding pet stores and pet supply stores by  Clicking here

 If the store you are searching for is not in the ASPCA data base then they direct you to the  USDA site for the data on inspection reports and upon that page comes the below message which can seem intimidating because recently the government admitted to gathering access to our  Verizon phone records, so of course the warning below  was something to think about. But hey, if you use the internet they are already following you!   

Taken directly from the site:

 You are accessing a U.S. Government information system, which includes (1) this computer, (2) this computer network, (3) all computers connected to this network, and (4) all devices and storage media attached to this network or to a computer on this network. This information system is provided for U.S. Government-authorized use only.
  • Unauthorized or improper use of this system may result in disciplinary action, as well as civil and criminal penalties.
  • By using this information system, you understand and consent to the following:
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    • Any communications or data transiting or stored on this information system may be disclosed or used for any lawful government purpose.
    • Your consent is final and irrevocable. You may not rely on any statements or informal policies purporting to provide you with any expectation of privacy regarding communications on this system, whether oral or written, by your supervisor or any other official, except USDA’s Chief Information Officer.

To visit the ASPCA Site click here

For more on Puppy Brokers and feedback from the general public warning you against certain breeders read my article here 

Until next time, Happy Training!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

~Steeler of Hearts Feb, 4, 2003~ May 25, 2013 ~

When I think back ten years to when the pups were small, my 7 little Newfie babies, I remember how hard it was for me to let them go to their new homes. After setting up appointments for the new owners to swing by and pick up their new pup, I sometimes had to hide in the bedroom and let Peter take over because I could not handle letting them go. 
Things have not changed much in ten years. I still have a hard time letting go, especially when letting go means forever.

Steeler was the first pup at six weeks to be picked out by a new owner so he was named weeks before he ever left my basement by the family who wanted him. His name prior to that was Blue because of the color hair scrunchie that sported his neck until he could fit into a collar. 

Three years after living with his new family, I got a call that he was headed for the dog pound  for his bad behaviors. Thankfully, one of the owners loved him enough to bring him  back to me, and for that I am very thankful. Although   I must admit that at times the thanks were also mixed with hair pulling dilemmas!

When Steeler was dropped  off to me by his owner, I had three of my Newfs, Steeler’s mom Abby, dad Bentley, and sister Emma in their pen for safety sake to introduce them. They went nuts barking at him as I held his  lead.  Then suddenly, Abby took a whiff of the air and let out two distinctive barks which stopped the other two immediately from barking at him.  It was as if Abby recognized Steeler as one of her own. Within minutes Bentley and Emma started barking again with any movement  that Steeler made, and once more Abby quieted them with those two distinctive barks.  I was amazed and wondered what she was telling everyone and I thought that maybe, just maybe, everything would work out just fine.

 I was wrong!  Steeler fought or tried to fight with every dog in the house.  The only ones who held their own or frightened him off before he had a chance to do harm, were his siblings, Emma and Chance.

  Casey, Bentley and Abby  avoided Steeler like the plague during those first few weeks, but it all changed one summer day when  Steeler had again lashed out at Abby and she let out a wail.   Unknown to Steeler, Chance was lying on the deck by my side, and Chance was a mama’s boy!  This attack on Abby was the straw that broke the camel's back for Chance. He had seen enough, and so, he ran to Abby’s side, gave her a good sniffing over, then proceeded to run after Steeler, jump onto his back and ride him like a cowboy on a bucking bronco! All four of Chance’s feet were off the ground and his full body weight lay upon Steeler’s back as he gripped Steeler by the neck. Steeler though, was not giving in.  As this horrible fight ensued before my eyes, I thought, this will be the day that Steeler dies! 
Suddenly Steeler collapsed to the ground with Chance still on his back, still clutching his neck strongly within his mouth.

 When such a dog fight ensues, it is human nature to want to break it apart, scream at the dogs, or start hitting the aggressor. But in fact when we do this, the fight lasts longer and is more severe, so I quietly waited for its end.

Steeler lay motionless and I did indeed think he was dead or dying. Chance finally got off of him and came to my side, where I quickly ushered him onto the deck and locked the gate so I could go check on Steeler.  Amazingly both Steeler and Chance had not one bite mark on them, although Steeler was missing a bit of hair from the neck, so it was all bravado and challenge.

 Chance was not out for a kill, though if he wanted to I suspect he could have. Chance’s  intent was to knock Steeler down a few notches. This was certainly accomplished as Steeler would not go near any of the dogs in that manner ever again.    In fact for the rest of their time together in this home, Steeler would   not go near anyone, dog or human, when Chance was in the vicinity as seen in my video here.  Observations of a Newfoundland family

From that point  there was  peace in the household, but Steeler's obedience training was still severely lacking, as trying to get Steeler to walk on a lead from the back door to the garage was a nightmare that yielded my body scrapped and black and blue around the wrists, shins, knees and hands. He would start off walking  fine and then just bolt pulling me to the ground. It took six months of continuous daily training,  and thousands of hot dog slivers just to get him to heel!

Over time I was able to teach Steeler many manners, and he taught me something that I had never had to deal with in my home before which was unruly dog behavior, but even more than that he taught me not to give up. If I had given up on him and just sent him to one of the many people who called wanting to buy him upon his return, I would have passed along a problem that may have had him headed once again to the dog pound. That would not have been fair to him. It was not his fault he was this way. 

Steeler and I did not give up on each other and by not giving up he was able to finally succeed at becoming a fine therapy dog, a county mascot alongside Chance in animal response, and he  helped to raise money for breast cancer awareness. The bumps along the road only made me more determined not to let him down.

Not all of his silly behaviors were eliminated, but I learned how to keep him safe from himself and I prepared for these little things.  Like knowing to check all widow locks before leaving the house as  one of his tricks was to open a window and jump out. He did check every window in the house to see if the safety locks were on because every window would be opened an inch when I got home!   

  The more that I took him out on therapy visits the better behaved and more serene he became at home.   The more challenges we met and conquered, the more trusting and attached we became. The more times he went out with Chance on non scheduled Therapy  Dog visits,  the more they both learned from each other. These visits included taking them  Christmas shopping with us and making sure to have them stand for a few minutes  alongside the Salvation Bell ringers to aide the general public in seeing their own good qualities which got a little more cash dropped  in SALVO donation pot, as well,  we visited schools to bring about awareness of preparing one's pets for disasters.

Steeler, like all dogs had his own personality and antics.  He loved people, especially children, he liked games such as: let me hide mom’s socks in my slobbery wet jowls and she’ll give me a cookie to drop them.  He loved the vacuum and came running when we turned it on, and when he was ready to go out in the morning, he would stick his big head under the bed covers lifting them off of me and then proceeded to poke me with his big nose. If you met Steeler, you would not easily forget him, he would lean into you until your bodies melted together and then raise his head high to get a neck rub.  If you could get past the  drool you were sure to encounter, he would be your friend for life just for a neck rub.

I am human; therefore I am flawed, so I am thankful that God’s creatures teach me on a daily basis how to be just a little less flawed and a lot more understanding with a twist of patience.

Like Chance’s passing and those before and after him, this will take much time for me to get over.  On the morning of Steeler’s death I went to my mom’s apartment to prepare her meds and get things ready for her day and I told her what had happened in the early morning hours as she slept right down the hall from where Steeler took his last breath.  She gasped, as Steeler was a daily part of her life, but her gasp was not for Steeler, it was for me, as she said, “Steeler is fine, it is you who is not.”   And I could not agree more.  I know Steeler is fine, but I am human and therefore I am flawed so my agony comes not from the fact he has gone to a better place, but from my heart that aches and still wants him here with me.

Rest in peace Ste-Ste, you came so far and you accomplished much! 
Video memory here   

Saturday, May 18, 2013

ARMSTRONG, What Does Lifetime Mean Anyway?

the up close and personal shot. the edges of planks
are peeling, the inside of the planks have white specks
where it is wearing away
the crack in the hall where it
all started!
the area in question
near the fridge and doorway

Hallway, 3 copious drooling dogs sleeping , Sure they turn a white door brown but the floor is still fine, no cupping, wearing off of the edges of planks, no white spots!

you own an  ARMSTRONG FLOOR 



I have to admit I am always on the lookout for sturdy and interesting dog products. I have always owned dogs and many dogs at once and I suspect I always will.  Big ones, small ones, medium ones, dry mouths, wet mouths, and droolers.

   I pick out my paint with an eggshell coating and my wallpaper so that it is easily washable. When I had the outside  of my home redone I made sure that all the windows had no decorative bars that would hamper any window washing inside or out  and the siding was an easy washable vinyl. 

My yard was put together with dogs in mind. My deck was made large enough to accommodate humans and dogs alike with a separation gate if I needed to put the dogs in their part of the yard. A nice privacy fence divides the property, the front half for humans the back half for dogs. And another gate blocks off the pool.

For when I was not home the sheds were well insulated and built with windows that could accommodate air conditioners and for those times when AC was not enough, I hooked up a misting hose in the pen and set it to go off three times a day so the dogs could stay cool or just play. For the most part they were in the sheds chilling to the AC.

I purchased  the king of dog blow dryers to dry them quickly after baths or for those rainy days. For their lounging comfort I grabbed every preschool 4 foot nap time mat that was headed for the preschool garbage heaven because it had a  little tear in it which made it unsuitable for young humans but very suitable for dogs to use as their beds. Sometimes I layered them three high for their achy bones.

During mud season if you drop by unannounced you will find that the throw carpets are turned upside down so as not the leave dirty foot prints on the carpet itself and  the larger carpets are covered with tarp. Let’s face it, I do not wish to do continuous washing of a white carpet during the spring and fall mud season.   A tarp is so much easier to remove when you are expecting company!

Am I a dog nut? Can I be compared to the crazy cat ladies of the world? Yes!  My dogs have always been trained and well mannered. As well, some were therapy dogs and they gave of themselves freely to others just for a smile.  Who am I to try and block their comfort among the family? 
  I am no one without the heart and soul of a dog beside me.

So, Where am I going with this?         

Back in 1998 it was decided that new flooring was needed in my kitchen and attached hallway. So off to the flooring store we went.  I told the salesman that I had several dogs when he tried to show me vinyl flooring rolls, or squares, or rugs, and rug squares, and a bunch of other stuff .

“Oh no!” I said. “That just won’t do, that is not accommodating to dog paws! The vinyl will dent, the caret will pull and tiles can crack if something drops on them.”

From there he lead me to several other types of flooring of which I can’t remember but they ranged in color and style, much of it dark flooring and I again expressed the amount of dogs I had and the floor must be strong enough to withhold such traffic.   

Suddenly hubby and I were brought to the laminate flooring section.

“Is this Pergo?” I asked intriguingly. “I have heard a lot of good things about Pergo.”

“No.” The salesman said. “It is like Pergo but a little less expensive. We don’t carry Pergo flooring, but this is made by Armstrong Flooring and is just as good as Pergo. And it has a lifetime guarantee!”

Hmm. I thought, just as good as Pergo? Lifetime guarantee? This could be the one.

“Will it hold up to dogs?” I asked. “And kids, I forgot to mention I do have kids!”

“Oh yes!” The salesman replied. “This is just as tough as Pergo and if there’s any problem with it just call Armstrong, it is warranted for as long as you own your home.”

That was it, I was sold! All that needed to be done now was pick out the color. The salesman again showed me dark colors because I have dogs. 

I don’t think he gets the whole dark color floor and mud drying on it thing!  

“Lighter colors do better with dog paws.” I suggested.

And so it was born, an Armstrong oak laminate floor to brighten my kitchen too have and too hold till death do us part. A lifetime actually, for as long as I owned the house.  

Enter the year 2000. Two years after the purchase of the Armstrong guaranteed for a lifetime flooring.

I awaken to the sweet smell of coffee dripping into my pot and start heading to the kitchen to snag quite a lot.  But wait, what before my wandering eyes should appear? A very long crack, a separation of the flooring in the hallway I fear!

Ah, I should call right away about this fault, but dad’s diagnosis of cancer has us all too distraught.

That crack in the floor was forgotten as our lives went on, and mother moved in with us so she would not be alone.
My home improvement receipts were moved from space to space as we tried to squeeze mom into this place. 

Enter 2011:  A new job for hubby might land us in Jersey so packing begins and the house goes topsy turvy. By now the floor crack has spread to the kitchen but I got no time for moanin’ and bitchin’! 

Ugh, another box marked bills to be shredded, a day’s event that’s always dreaded. I opened the box to find envelopes entwined and among held the golden receipt of a lifetime!

Thus began my phone tag with Armstrong and Lowes, which sold and installed the flooring I chose. 

Enter 2012:  Hubby’s job went bust before it got started and our house is still packed but off the market.

Okay serious business here!

I drove to Lowes with the flooring receipt and pictures in hand and Armstrong's  lifetime guarantee to get the ball rolling.  The Armstrong Company set up an appointment for an inspector to look at the problem. Five weeks after that appointment was completed I put in a call to see what was going on.

I was surprised that a huge company like Armstrong could not contact me with this information when they had gotten it within a week or so after the inspection was completed. 

While I know nothing lasts forever, I think when a company is going to have someone sell a product for them, and have the salesman tell the customer this lasts for as long as you own the home, they should specify the limits.  Like when you put this flooring in a kitchen, a laundry room,  bathroom or den, where there are bound to be fluid spills, that this will cause the  flooring to cup and become warn or  damaged, then you are not covered!  Especially when underneath this flooring is laid a thick piece of plastic like material which might not really allow any fluids to pass through it or be evaporated into the air thereby creating a constant puddle. So if your kids use the water and ice machine on your fridge and your Armstrong floor starts cupping, surely don’t blame the kids because you know how well they pick up after themselves! Ah hahahahahahahaha and ha!

Let us not forget those large breed dogs either, you know, the ones with the “copious drooling!”   

It is safe to assume that this inspector had to go home and look up Newfoundland dog as the two dogs that he saw in my family room were certainly not drooling nor are they copious droolers, in fact these particular two are smaller females and only drool when you hold food in front of them. They are not capable of   copious drooling!  I wonder if he would have made that same assumption if he saw my Saint Bernard, Forrest Gump standing there. Even though Forrest was a dry mouth saint he probably would have blamed him too!  I guess he had to come up with something, but copious drooling! Really?

Another thing that made no sense if the inspector is basing this theory on the dogs is that they have the run of the house except when there is company, so would not their copious drool affect the hallway that leads into the kitchen as well? Yet the hallway aside from the long crater that opened up not long after the floor was installed  is fine! There is  no spilling going on in the hallway only copious drooling!  Yet from the inspectors theory of the dogs being problematic, you would think that the hallway would have the same wear and tear as the kitchen! 

  And, OMG! What if he saw my 91 year old mother! He must think her incontinent at her age!  Can a 91 year old have copious urination?



I give this product a  4 paws down not only due to wear ability if you have children or dogs, but also in customer service. This does not mean they were not polite when turning the claim down, this means they give no concern or forethought to telling the public that x, y, or z can happen if you  have a family and thus the guarantee  is over!  So unless your name is Felix Unger,  that fastidious character from the 1970’s TV series “The Odd Couple” you haven’t a shot in hell after spending your hard earned money on this product to have it corrected.  Well you might have a shot in hell if you live where there are no kitchens, baths, dens, children or dogs!  

Seriously though folks this is not a product I would consider putting down if you want it to look nice for a long period of time. I would not trust the company guarantee for the reasons above.  Your best bet is tile or stone which is sealed. This particular laminate is just a cheap imitation of a wood floor and the company does not back up their product.

 As for Lowes, I give then a 2 paws up.  The salesmen knew I wanted a product that would hold up and he should have been better equipped to give guidance. I am not a contractor so I would not have the specifics of this product.  That being said, once Lowes found out that Armstrong did not stand behind their product, Lowes offered me a 30% discount on any flooring I decided to put down in the kitchen. I thought that was nice and very customer friendly.   Unfortunately due to the economy, money was not gathering enough moss around here to have a new floor put in the kitchen so for now I am stuck with this eyesore.  

Share this so other big dog lovers that have copious drool  don't make the same mistake I did. 

I am on a lot of Newfoundland social media sites and I will share as well, and if you are questioning if I am just a disgruntled customer I would tell you to look at my posting again stating that 'the dogs have the run of the house and the hallway is the first thing they hit when coming into the house and the first cool floor to lay on' so  why aside from just one crack down the middle is the hallway which is connected to the kitchen  not being affected by my dogs copious drool?   I'll tell you why, because we don't walk down the hallway carrying drinks that could be spilled! This is a kitchen issue only so far!  

Link to Armstrong Laminate flooring if you are not aware of what laminate flooring is and want to avoid it.

 Hallway = Dog= drool
Yet it is still intact! No wear, no tear!