Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I am still learning about dog food

I am still learning about dog food. Yes, I was a dog food virgin...I knew very little about dog nutrition and all that technical stuff. When the dog food recall of 2007 hit, I wasn't as shocked as I should have been, based on what I didn't know. What I did know is that even our food isn't as safe as it used to be. Too bad anyone (anything) had to die because of unsafe practices by OTHER PEOPLE!

I am still learning about dog food. There are so many products on the market today. How does the average consumer buy something good for his/her dog? The first thing to learn is that all dog foods are not the same. Just because it has a "pretty" name doesn't mean it's at all healthy for your dog. One of the most popular major chain-store dog foods with the beautiful packaging and healthy-sounding name is actually one of the worst foods on the market. I would never have known if I had not read a label.

I am still learning about dog food. Dogs are classified as herbivores...they eat meat and grasses. (Cats = carnivores...that's an easy one.) But, dogs' systems don't always like corn, wheat, or soy. They can have allergic reactions to these ingredients. Many companies put these ingredients in their dog foods as filler...it's a way to give the consumer more "bang for the buck." One of the biggest culprits is a well-respected "prescription" dog food. They put these fillers in their food and then a trusted pet professional (i.e. vet) sells the food. Then the dog has an allergic reaction and the dog has to go back to said professional for treatment. Thus, the vicious cycle begins. Don't get the wrong, those "trusted professionals" aren't in the scheme directly, but it helps that said company donates a lot of money to certain schools...

I am still learning about dog food. Can I tell you if kibble is better than canned, raw better than cooked? At this point, I can suggest what I know and go on. If a dog has an allergy, but it isn't known to what, we narrow focus and take out foods that may cause the allergy and see what happens. I care about what we put into our animals, just as I care what we put into our own bodies. I can only imagine what kind of damage we may be doing...to us and to our pets.

I'm preparing to get certified in pet nutrition. I hope it helps. I'm actually looking forward to it. I want to know so I can pass that information along to customers, friends, and family...yes, even an old-school family of dog showers who only knew that they needed a high-protein dog food. We've come a long way, baby.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

These cats need warm weather and sunshine!

Our two youngest cats, Nala and Little Man, are siblings and partners in crime. We took them in (or rather they came to us) when the neighbors brought the two kittens home for their kids and then promptly turned them outside to fend for themselves. Little Man made his appearance to us first. He just sauntered into our yard and said "hello." Pretty soon, he was in the house, hanging with the indoor cats, who, by now are used to new faces. He just made himself at home.

Little Man even taught us how to let him outside. Yes, he taught us. We've always had a string of jingle bells hanging from our door...guess it goes back to my years of living alone and having those bells there in case anyone would try to break in. Well, the first day Little Man (also affectionately known as Duder) strolled through the house, he walked up to the door and sat down. I watched him look up at the door knob, think for a minute, then stand on his hind legs and hit those bells with a front paw. It was all very deliberate. I thought it was a fluke, but I said, "Do you want to go out?" in this silly voice we often use to talk to animals and I opened the door. He stepped right out.

The next time he came in, my husband was witness to the same thing...I said to him, "Did you see that?" He did that yesterday too! We were still skeptical. In the meantime, I was working outside one day and I saw a dark body crouched in the neighbor's yard, watching my every move. I was pretty sure this was the sister I had heard about from the neighbor-kid, who had come by a couple times to talk to us and he told us his parents got cats for him and his sister...a boy for her and a girl for him. They called them Mouser and Emily.

I continued to work, but I kept my eye on "Emily." After a couple more days of Little Man coming around, she finally approached the house and pretty soon, she was taking up residence here as well. Immediately, I knew we had to take care of some important business before something got out of control. First, we had Duder neutered...always a good start. Soon after, Nala was spayed and officially they became out cats.

Now back to this jingling of the bells. Not only did Little Man teach us about the bells, he taught his sister as well. Both of them ring the bells...A LOT! It's been cold, snowy, nasty, and yucky, and all these youngins want to do is hunt mice.

It begins around 5 a.m...just after my husband leaves for work. My alarm is set for 6 a.m., but I'm always up before that, thanks to our cats. It can be pretty annoying, but I can't help but think about how Duder trained us well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What a great book! What a great cause!

I was contacted recently by Joanne Wannan, author of a fabulous new book called "New Lives: Stories of rescued Dogs Helping, Healing and Giving Hope." The book is about 18 awesome and amazing dogs who were rescues from high-kill shelters, abusive situations, or the streets, and are now working in animal therapy and as service dogs.

Wannan is having a contest to inspire and encourage animal lovers everywhere. She has launched the contest on her blog http://www.inspiringrescuestories.com/get-signed-up/. The contest offers some huge incentives for people to create a short video explaining their pet adoption or rescue story. She has over $1,000 in prizes, including a $25 gift certificate from Busch Pet Products!

In addition to all the great things you can win, Wannan is also donating 15% of the profits of her book sales through the end of March 2010 to the shelter or organization the winner chooses!

Do something good and get something good! Always a GOOD thing!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hello new friends!

Hello to all my new friends! Thanks for joining in on this true experiment in my life...owning and running a pet business. I watched my parents do it for many years (and they still are)...they own a boarding kennel. A very nice boarding kennel that I would like to own someday. In the meantime, I'm "settling" for my online pet supply store. I say settling, but it's been a crazy ride and I don't want to get off! I love finding new products that I go Ga Ga over and when my customers do too, then I'm on the right track!

I am learning new things each and every day. I will say this to anyone who decides to jump into this world as I have...TRUST YOUR GUT! Don't second guess yourself. You know your goal and you know how to achieve it. It takes time and patience (of which I have zip, zilch, zippo), but just when I am down, something happens to bring me back up again! Such is the life of a small business owner.

I love what I do and I hope it shows in my site, my posts, and my life. I wouldn't have traded all the money in the world for my upbringing. Dogs (and all pets) bring such happiness and enrichment to our lives...why would you eve want to be without a pet? The photo above is my parents house dog, Wendy. She is the true last of their line of Busch Beagles that they bred, raised and showed for 40+ years. She's 14, losing her hearing, her rear is weak, and she's become bossy, but we all still love her! The top picture was taken last fall. The bottom photo was taken several years (and several couches) ago. I think she knew she was the boss then too...can you tell?

Again, welcome to The Dog Blog (cats welcome) blog...I hope you will enjoy your visit!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Let's try a FREEBIE and see what happens!

I've struggled with finding ways to promote my business and get more followers on this blog. I'm certainly not as consistent as I'd like to be, but with time comes experience, right?

I did just apply for a grant through Intuit's Love A Local Business program...cross your fingers! My fans and friends really stepped up to the plate for me. They said some nice things and I don't want to let them down!

If you haven't checked out the great items I have on my website, you simply must. I have so many unusual and cool things for pets. It amazes me on a daily basis the creativity and originality of designers who have decided they can do better. The quality is superb, the workmanship amazing...made in the USA at it's best!

So, to get you folks to see what all the fuss is about, I'm giving away a $15 gift certificate to get you started! Look around the site, see what you like. Email me with questions! That's all it's all about! I think you will see that I've found some fantastic items that you never knew existed! So much fun!

IT'S SO EASY TO ENTER! Become a follower of my blog before February 28, 2010...that's it! Winner will be chosen from followers list on March 1, 2010. Winner will be announced on this blog that evening. SO EASY!

HURRY! Don't miss out on getting your pooch or kitty some cool stuff from Busch Pet Products!