Archives for February, 2013

Following Atticus – book review

Hi Everyone,

I am a big fan of Best Friends Animal Society as I think they do exceptional work on behalf of abandoned and abused animals. One of their newsletters reviewed the book Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan.

Simply put, I loved this book. It is the true story of Tom Ryan, a writer and reporter living in Newburyport, Massachusetts, who, on an inexplicable whim, adopts a miniature schnauzer he named Maxwell Garrison Gillis. He and Max became inseparable, and Max soon was a well-known and well-loved resident of Newburyport. Max was an older dog when he came into Tom’s life, and after about a year together, Max began having seizures. Tom made the painful decision to have Max put down. Tom was stunned by the outpouring of support and sympathy of the townspeople over Max’s passing, and he also recognized the door that had been opened in his own heart.

So, in walked a puppy into Tom’s life. As Tom had been profoundly taken with Max, he decided upon another miniature schnauzer, whom he named Atticus Maxwell Finch. He and Atticus set about an adventure to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot mountain peaks. It doesn’t sound like much of a challenge, until you add in the factors of climbing them all twice in one winter, plus Tom was overweight and out of shape, plus Atticus is a small, 20-pound dog of a breed not known for climbing mountains.

This book is more than just the recording of their journey. Tom Ryan portrays the physical demands and the financial consequences of this undertaking, but also the emotional and spiritual evolution he experienced along the way. The book is titled Following Atticus for a reason: Tom trusts and allows Atticus to be Atticus, and literally follows Atticus up and down the mountains, and gains such a respect, love, and devotion for the little dog that touched my heart immensely.

Sending my love to you and your dogs,


In full disclosure, if you choose to purchase Following Atticus through any of the links I have provided, I will receive an affiliate commission from

Feb 11, 2013 | Comments are off | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Home Health Care for Dogs, Stray Dog

4 Tips For A Pet-Friendly Super Bowl – from Tails Magazine

Hi Everybody,

Since this is Super Bowl weekend, and since Rick and I are each HUGE football fans (Roxie and Gypsy not so much), I thought this article from Tails Magazine was quite timely:

4 Tips For A Pet-Friendly Super Bowl

With all the food, fun, and football on Super Bowl Sunday, it can be surprisingly easy to neglect your furry friend. But just because it’s the game of the century doesn’t mean your pet can suddenly fend for himself. Petco has some tips for making the balance work:

Super Sunday typically equals several hours logged jumping up and down on the couch, shouting at the television, and consuming mass amounts of waistline expanding substances that lead to a serious calorie overdose, all while a befuddled pet looks on. Pets aren’t passing judgment as they watch the party’s outrageous antics. They are simply imploring you with their eyes to take care of their special physical, mental, social, and emotional needs.

Since not everyone speaks dog, cat, fish, hamster, or the like, esteemed animal behaviorist, Dr. Debra Horwitz, and “America’s Veterinarian,” Dr. Marty Becker, have partnered with Petco to translate for your pet and share these four tips to avoid neglecting your pet on game day.

TIP #1: By recording halftime and taking a quick trip to the dog park you can take care of your pet’s physical and social needs and still see all the highlights. For those worried about missing the second half of the game, opt for an activity closer to home—like a walk around the block or a rousing game of fetch in the yard.

TIP #2: Fans will consume some 11 million pounds of chips and 450 million chicken wings on game day, which makes this America’s second biggest food consuming day of the year behind Thanksgiving. Guests may be tempted to sneak these fattening foods to pets, but people food can be harmful, particularly chicken wings, which pets can choke on. Do pets a favor and offer healthy, pet-specific treats so they can share in the big game spread without the risk of getting sick.

TIP #3: When the action gets intense and you’re on the edge of your seat, take a moment to pet your furry friend. Giving a pet some love strengthens the human animal bond, provides for a pet’s emotional health needs, and studies show it has even greater benefits for people. The hormone oxytocin kicks into high gear when petting an animal, helping to reduce blood pressure and decrease cortisol, a hormone related to stress and anxiety. Even stopping to watch fish swim will make a difference in your mood. And if your team is on the losing end, therapists have been prescribing pets for years as a way to deal with depression.

TIP #4: Create a quiet place. Loud party voices and booming music can make pets anxious. Even well-socialized animals are likely to be pushed beyond their limits. To take care of pet’s mental health, make sure pets have a restful room or area to which they can retreat. And if you’re getting particularly worked up, it may be good for you to have a timeout from the game too!



Here is the link to the original article:

4 Tips For A Pet-Friendly Super Bowl

Whether you like football or not, I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Until next time,


Feb 01, 2013 | Comments are off | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Home Health Care for Dogs, Homemade Dog Food