Thursday, September 30, 2010


It’s bad enough that we as adults have to deal with the death of a beloved pet or have to face the decision to have them put them to sleep, but helping a child deal with it makes it a whole lot harder.

I’m dealing with this right now. I mentor a teenage girl who is problematic and emotionally immature to begin with. She comes from an abusive background and was taken away from her mother and doesn’t know her father. For the last several years she was raised by her beloved grandparents. Both of them died last year and in their will they left her their old dog, "Baby Doll." No she’s not a German Shepherd, but nevertheless loved just the same. This girl has this very old dog and a much younger one as well. To make a long story short, just recently "Baby Doll" was diagnosed with cancer and she hasn’t been doing well this past week. She’s been to the vet and has an appointment to be put to sleep this Monday.

As I said this girl has many problems to begin with and especially has an abandonment issue. On top of it she is in a special needs class in high school where she is bullied and picked on. I correspond with her every single day (and I never met her, nor does she live in my state), but she’s attached herself to me and I try to be there and help her the best that I can. She has been very challenging to say the least. But now she’s has been handed another blow and that is dealing soon with another loss, her beloved grandmother’s dog. The only love this child knew was the love of her grandparents and now losing their dog is just about too much for her.

So she’s asking me a million and one questions to help her understand about the process of putting an animal to sleep and wondering if "Baby Doll" will go to Heaven. Oh if only I had a magic wand and could make the pains of the world go away……but alas, that’s not ever going to happen.

So having to prepare her for Monday and the “putting to sleep” of "Baby Doll" is one of my more challenging things that I have to deal with especially because she’s there and I’m here. She will be confused and even frightened by seeing the lifeless body of her dog after the euthanasia is performed. She told me that she’s decided to stay with her when they put her to sleep. I don’t know if she’ll be strong enough for this, but she was with her grandmother when she died as well and she’s still carrying the weight of that around her shoulders all the time. I know God put this girl in my life for a reason, but "Oh Lord, this one keeps me on my knees!"

It is best to be honest with a child about his terminally ill pet and the decision to euthanize him. Just realize that they are an appropriate level of details that should be related to the child depending upon his age. Very young children need to know that this is final and that their pet isn’t going to wake up or come back home with them.

To say that the pet "went away" or is "in heaven" without offering any other details can also confuse children. Older children need to know the reasons why this decision is being made, and why it is humane for the suffering animal.

To be or not to be present at the actual euthanasia is a question many adults wrestle with. This is a personal decision, and one that should be discussed with your veterinarian. When children are involved, some veterinarians do not allow children under the age of 5 to be present for the actual euthanasia. Some feel that very young children have a hard enough time understanding the concept of death and that witnessing the event does not make it easier to understand or cope. Even kids up to the teenager years can have a difficult time understanding the reasons why and the emotions involved with the act of euthanasia.

It is important to realize that when the humans (adults and children) are upset, the pet is, too. While difficult, it is important that the humans try to lend support and comfort to their animal friend in this last time of need. Seeing their humans upset may upset the pet, too.

Children may take a longer time to grieve and get over the loss of a pet than adults do. They may get depressed, act out or be gloomy which is normal and with time should go away. There are warning signs of severe or prolonged grief which need to be addressed depending upon the child’s age, relationship with the pet, emotional maturity, circumstances involved with the death, etc. Some of the signs of grief in children may include: not interested in usual activities, withdrawing from friends and family, eating considerably less than usual, reverting to pre-potty training or bed wetting, afraid of being alone or going to sleep, nightmares, and preoccupied with thoughts of death.

It is important that the child not be belittled for grieving the loss of his pet. It is not the wise parent that makes little of the loss of a pet by saying, “Oh he was old anyway, or we’ll get a new one tomorrow dismissing the child’s relationships with his pet. It does not matter how insignificant the pet was to adult. If the pet was important to the child, then the parent needs to recognize that and accept the child’s feelings and emotions.

To help the child have some kind of closure, a parent may want to have a ceremony for the pet like a burial or memorial service in the backyard. Perhaps the pet can have a gravestone where he is buried. Maybe he can be buried under a special tree. Maybe the child can decorate the urn of the pet’s ashes. Perhaps he would like to draw a special picture of his pet. Buy some balloons and put little notes of love to the animal inside and blow the balloons up and let the child release them in the air as if he were sending a message to his pet in Heaven.

Should you buy a new pet for your child? It’s normally not a wise thing right after the loss of one pet. One pet cannot replace another. The child needs to go through the grieving process, say his goodbyes, let go and then start to heal before he thinks of getting another pet. Normally he’s ready for another one, when he starts talking about having a new pet.

So soon "Baby Doll" will join the other beloved pets in "Dog Heaven" and we here on earth are left to grieve and miss them and wonder why until the good Lord sees fit for us all to be reunited once again!

From the book: "WHEN CHILDREN GRIEVE" - It would be a pity if this interesting, humane, and practical book were read only by parents of recently bereaved children--for two reasons. First, the book is about grief in a broad sense. Its lessons apply not only to the child whose pet, aunt, or parent has died, but also to the child whose parents have divorced, who has suffered a debilitating injury, or who has experienced other forms of traumatic loss. Second, let's face it: every child will suffer a loss at some point, so it behooves parents to be prepared in advance. As the authors say, "our task as parents is to prepare our children to deal with the experiences they will have."

My rating: Acknowledging and accepting the child length of grieving: (4)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I’ve gathered some ideas to help make your life a little bit easier when you’re looking for solutions to some of your pet questions.

Just because summer is now officially over (boo hoo) doesn’t mean that ticks and fleas are still not looking for tasty drops of your or your dogs blood to help sustain them through the cooler months. Nope these tiny, itty bitty “yuckies” are not going away just yet. If you plan on hiking with your dogs, still wear lighter colored clothes to make ticks stand out. Spray your clothes with a product like Repel’s Permanone which has a chemical called permethrin. You can also use a product containing oil of lemon eucalyptus such as Repel Lemon eucalyptus Insect Repellent to use on your skin. I spray my dog’s everyday with a mixture of Lavender Essence and water to help repel these and other “buggy” creatures.

The fleas are still biting so try dabbing a drop or two of lemon essential oil (like lemon balm or lemongrass) on the back of your dogs’ neck and on his rump. The citrus oil contains a powerful chemical called linalool that is toxic to fleas but not to dogs. The fleas should move on.

For the persistent little buggers (fleas) that reside in your house, here’s a trick that seems to work. Salt… is the perfect de-bugger. Just sprinkle a liberal dusting on rugs and carpets, banish pets from the room for a few hours, and then vacuum thoroughly. Repeat twice a week as needed. Salt dehydrates flea larvae that hatch from eggs deposited deep in carpeting, arresting the insects’ life cycle.

Has your dog put his nose where it doesn’t belong and got tangled with a skunk? Here are a couple of remedies to help your dog smell like a rose once again! Rub a can or two worth of beer into his coat, then rinse with water and bathe him with doggy shampoo to remove any beer scent. Beer’s yeast cultures will penetrate the skunk sprays’ water resistant oils so the brew’s carbonic acid can dissolve them. Plus, the alcohol will kill odor causing bacteria, resulting in a fresh smelling dog once again. Then you can sit down and enjoy the rest of the “six pack” of beer knowing that all is well with your dog once again.

Another idea for a skunk smelling dog is to mix ¼ cup of baking soda, 1 tsp. of liquid soap and 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide. Work it into the pet’s fur, then rinse. Caution – keep the mixture away from his eyes! Hydrogen peroxide neutralizes the sulfur compounds in a skunk’s spray to render them odorless, while the other ingredients leave fur smelling clean.

Got a dog that hates going for rides in the car because he gets sick all the time? All dogs love cookies, but give him one gingersnap cookie 10 minutes before you leave the house. If the trip will be a longer time, give him another cookie while en route. The ginger in the cookie will stimulate the flow of his digestive enzymes to help settle his stomach, so you both can get to the destination without an incident.

We all know that German Shepherds are notorious for shedding their fur all year long. They leave their calling card where ever they go from room to room. My house dog Amber has little area rugs that I put out for her to lay on. Well she also thinks that that is her invitation to lie on my bath rug as well. I hate that when she does that. The last thing I want to do when I come out of the shower is to step on a hairy bath rug. So I found an excellent and quick way to pick up the loose dog hair lying on my bath rug without using the vacuum cleaner that tries to eat the rug. I use my “squeegee” type “thing a ma gig” that I use to wipe away the excess water on the walls of my shower. I just take it and run it across the rug and like magic it gathers any of the loose hair so I can easily pick it up and throw it in the trash. Simple and it works!

Does your dog need to go on a diet? If cutting back his food consumption is leaving your dog begging for more, there are a couple of things that you can do. Try adding some vegetables like string beans or carrots to his daily meal. This way you won’t be adding very many calories and he’ll feel fuller. Also recommended by a vet, to slim him down while satisfying his appetite, gradually substitute 1/3 of his usual food portion with canned PURE pumpkin. The low-cal addition is high in fiber, which will prevent hunger pangs.

I hope you can use some or all of these tips to make living with your dogs just a little bit easier and without breaking the bank.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


If you can afford to go the German Shepherd Dog National Specialty show in the beautiful state of Utah in a couple of weeks, be thankful.

Some may complain that this years National received a small entry because among other things the area of the country that it’s being held at. Utah is a photographers and a sightseer’s delight to the eye. If you’re lucky to be in God’s country, be thankful!

If you can afford it or think it’s reasonable to pay $15 - $40 to watch the streaming video of the National this year, then be thankful.

If you can afford to feed your dog natural holistic dog food rather than road kill advertised as dog food, then be thankful.

If you can afford to drive a car that holds two or three dog crates instead of having to let your dogs ride loose in the back seat, then be thankful.

If your dog won his futurity/maturity show and was chosen to represent your area, then instead of complaining about the location of the National show, remember he beat other people’s dogs that wish they were in your shoes this year. Who knows, you might be bringing home the next Futurity/Maturity Victor/Victrix, so be thankful!

If you got one of the top dog handlers in the country to consent to handle your dog at the National this year, instead of complaining how expensive he is, remember many other people wanted him too and he chose your dog to show so be very thankful.

The next time your dog loses to an “inferior” dog, remember he might not have won today, but most of the time he does. It was just the “inferior” dogs’ day today. Your dog is still the top winning dog, so be thankful.

Some of you can read this blog. Some of you belong to many different dog e-mail lists. Many of you can look up all the health information you want about our breed right here on the internet. But what about all those that can’t because they can’t afford a computer or they don’t have high speed internet service or any service at all where they live. So many of you have access to the information highway, be thankful.

Some of you enjoy the comforts of your home, your car, your vacations and having a good meal in your stomachs. Not that you are any more hard working or dedicated than your neighbor who lost his job six months ago after working for his company for 30 years. You sleep well at night, while he suffers from anxiety with the mortgage company knocking on his door with an eviction notice. Be thankful.

When that mortgage company knocks on your neighbor’s door, realize that he is trying to figure out how he’s going to continue taking care of his family and coming to the realization that his families beloved eight year old dog may be making an appearance at the local animal shelter soon. Your dog lies contently by your side. Be thankful.

Every litter born that is healthy and strong and has no complications for the mother dog is a miracle in itself. No super stars. No strong contenders for Best in Show. Not this time. Not this litter. Another German Shepherd puppy rests peacefully tonight because you cared enough to find them their wonderful, loving forever homes. Be thankful.

Your dog may never win a blue ribbon or win a Best in Trial trophy. Heck he may never do any winning at all. But every time an unfamiliar car pulls into the driveway and he rushes to the window with teeth bared ready to defend you with his life, be thankful.

A gazillion German Shepherds will die in kill shelters this year. Faces with quizzical eyes peer out of the cramped cages wondering why the man that they normally love and protect is not doing the same for them. Hug your dog today and be thankful.

Every congratulations, every “well done”, every pat on the back, every well wishes received, all deserves a “Thank you” from you. It’s your day. It’s your time. Enjoy it but be thankful.

From the book: CHOOSING GRATITUDE: YOUR JOURNEY TO JOY - Gratitude is a choice. If we fail to chose it, by default we choose ingratitude. And once allowed into the heart, ingratitude does not come by itself but with a lot of other seedy companions that only succeed in stealing joy. To not choose gratitude - daily and deliberately - is more costly than we usually realize. And when we do choose a lifestyle of heartfelt, humble gratitude, we are mindful of the benefits received from our gracious Savior and those He has placed around us. By intentionally thanking God and others, bitterness and entitlement are replaced with joy and the humble realization of just how undeserving we really are.

My rating: Thankfulness: (4)

Monday, September 27, 2010


According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s standard for the German Shepherd Dog, these are the disqualifications for our breed:


Cropped or hanging ears
Dogs with noses not predominantly black
Undershot jaw
Docked tail
White dogs
And dog that attempts to bite the judge

Surprisingly enough, all of these disqualifications (except the last one) are all physical things. That just about blows my love of the movement of this breed right out of the water. Many of you that know me, know that I’m a movement nut. Okay I admit it; I’m crazy for a good moving dog. But it’s not a disqualification if your dog isn’t a good moving dog. You just don’t show him under a judge that is “nutty” like me!

So the next time you hear someone say something about someone’s dog that can’t move out of their own way, carry a copy of the breed standard with you to show them. If he can’t move, that’s not a disqualification.

Oh there are other things in the breed that are considered serious or undesirable traits. To view them, go on the German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s website and look at the breed standard.

Some of the other things that I dislike about some dogs that are not disqualifications are: light protruding round shaped eyes. There is just something so unattractive to me about a homely face on a German Shepherd and in my opinion ones that have eyes that look like this, well lets just say he’s not going to win any beauty contest. Top that off with ears that stick out like a donkey, well you get the picture.

Missing teeth doesn’t bother me as much as a very overshot jaw or one that is undershot. Any missing teeth other than first premolars are a serious fault. I wonder why they need all those teeth anyway – 42 teeth, 20 upper and 22 lower. I wonder why it’s considered a serious fault.

I’ll tell you one structural fault that I truly dislike and that’s a bad back. Now a bad back can mean many different things to different people. It could mean that the dog is roach backed, shows a dip behind the withers, soft back, swayed back, running downhill into the shoulders, etc. The only thing that I want to see moving on the dog when he gaits is his four legs. I love looking at an iron back and a dog that carries a great top line in motion. You won’t see this dog moving with a soft back that moves every which way or a dip in his back. You won’t see the dog running downhill in motion making him look like his rear is running into his shoulders.

Then there’s the croup. A certain popular dog in recent times was notorious for producing flat croups. I remember watching his stud dog presentation at a National one year. It was a huge class, but the majority of them all had this same unattractive flat croup.

How about the front of the dog and the lack of a good shoulder? Does this bother you? I love a good front on a dog. Nothing is so unappealing to me than when I see a dog reaching from the elbow. And nothing is so shocking to me to see people show pictures of their dogs moving like this and saying what a great mover he is!

Besides a dog trying to bite a judge, there are other undesirable temperament problems. A dog that shies away from the judge, backs up, belly crawls on the ground, tucks his tail, his eyes looking as if he’s ready to bolt and say “Let me out of here”, one that growls or shows is teeth……all undesirable traits.
And how about the pigment of the dog? Ideally rich, dark colors are what we all hope to achieve when we produce litters of puppies. This is not always the case. We have lines in the breed that consistently produce washed out colors in their dogs. Of course it’s not a disqualification, but stand him next to a dog that’s richly pigmented, and then it becomes even more noticeable.

So what fault bothers you most? Is it locked hocks, kicking up in the rear with no follow through? Perhaps it’s a lack of length of coat. Or maybe you don’t like a German Shepherd that acts like a Golden Retriever in personality……loving on everyone he meets. What is it that you just can’t live with in this breed? And I’m not talking about health and genetics here. I’m just talking about the breed standard.

My rating: Disqualifications and faults of the breed: (1 - 4)

Friday, September 24, 2010


I apologize to those who inquired about what happened to my blog yesterday. Well yours truly was gone from morning until early evening. When I got home, I had 579 e-mails. Yikes! What a bunch of correspondence for me to shift through. Lot’s of deletions as well. I was saddened when I read the news of a great lady in the breed that passed away, Peggy Douglas. She was a very beloved and respected woman for a very long time in this breed. I never heard people say a bad word about her.

Just the night before, I read of a young champion dog only about two years old that had been hit and killed by a vehicle while chasing a wild animal. I believe it was a bear. I’m sorry I don’t remember this young dog’s name as I didn’t save the e-mail, but I felt a pang in my heart just the same. It’s sad enough that our beloved dogs don’t live long enough but to have one taken like this that was by all rights still a puppy, well that’s just too unfair.

My heartfelt condolences to the families of Peggy Douglas and of the young champion dog. They join the elite group of German Shepherd residents in Heaven that welcome them with open arms. I read on one of the lists this morning that someone wrote that Peggy would now be joining LaMar Kuhns, one of her favorite handlers and they would probably be putting on a dog show up in Heaven. So with that thought in mind, I thought I would include the very first story that I ever wrote for my German Shepherd friends when I first came on the Show List. It was probably the article that I received the most e-mails about. It was written to honor another beloved handler that had just passed away, Henry Dancosse.


Saint Peter opens the Pearly White Gates of Heaven to see a young handsome male dog standing outside. “Hey fellow,” he says to the friendly German Shepherd youngster, “Come in, come in. We were told you were on your way.” But all he gets from the beautiful dog is a bark and a wag of his tail. He keeps turning around and looking down through the soft billowy white clouds as though he’s waiting for something (or someone). “Well boy, either you’re coming in or your not, but I can’t stand here all day with you. Besides no germs are allowed to pass through these doors and if I hold them open too long, that’s just what’s going to happen.” The dog doesn’t budge, but just keeps looking the other way. “Alright boy, suit yourself then” and with that Saint Peter closes the big heavy doors. The young dog finally lies down and sleeps through the night.

By the dawns early light, the dog is wakened by a feminine voice. “Alright now boy, I’m told you were waiting for me to join you.” With that, the dog jumps up and down and starts to bark with joyful anticipation. The lady appears out of the clouds and walks toward the dog. “So you’re the young champion that just had to go chasing after that bear, well now, you and I are in this together. What do you say we knock on these doors to see if anyone’s home?” Before she can knock on the door, the Pearly White Gates begin to open. Out walks Saint Peter who is smiling and says to the lady, “Welcome Peggy, we’ve been waiting for you and it appears that this dog has as well. He wouldn’t come through last night. Now he has a companion.” With that the two of them walk through the gates. Saint Peter tells them that they will both be very comfortable here because today they’re putting on one of “those earthly dog show” events. “Right this way, he tells them. Seats are limited, so you better go grab yourself one over there.”

Barbara J. Galasso

Today the tunnel of light was opened and shone on another German Shepherd great.....Henry Dancosse. But before he was allowed to enter this tunnel of light he was approached by Saint Francis, patron Saint of animals. He told Henry that God saw fit to take some of earth's German Shepherd Dog people these last few months for his own purposes. God told him that it looked like people on earth were having so much fun showing his dogs, that he decided it was time to put on the first ever National German Shepherd Dog Specialty show in Heaven because, "I'm tired of all you earthly people bickering about where to have the next National!" He told Henry that in order for him to enter Heaven that he would have to pass a test first. Now there were so many great dogs of the breed that had passed away over the years, and that he being a German Shepherd Dog handler, would get his choice of all the top dogs that were in Heaven. But he told him to choose wisely, for although Ernie Loeb was there too in Heaven, this would not be his assignment this day. No, it would be God who would be the judge of this event.

Henry was excited. Just think he said to himself, "I get to choose from all the greats that have passed away. Wow, Lance, Paladen, Rosemary, Manhattan, Hawkeye, Hammer, Andretti, Nestle's Crunch. Who do I choose, who do I choose?” Just at that moment an old familiar voice called out to him. He said, "Henry dar...ling, don't even think of taking Lance in. That's who I'll will be showing. He may have been Jimmy's dog on earth, but up here, he belongs to me. Besides, everyone knows up here as they did on earth that no one knows how to stack a dog like me,” LaMar said as he throws his hands up in the air.

"Now boys, boys, stop your bickering Charlie Chester says. Don't pay attention to him Henry. He and I were out partying too much last night, so he doesn't know what he's talking about. At this rate, if we keep this up, we might both find ourselves back in purgatory."

Just then an announcement comes over the loud speaker by another familiar voice. "Ladies and gentlemen gather up your dogs and bring them to the rings and they better be in top "Naked Care" condition" a laughing voice says. "Well, I'll be darned", Henry thinks to himself, Len Steen is still making announcements and still cracking the jokes."

"OK then LaMar you can take in Lance, I'll take in Manhattan. God should be impressed with him. He broke all records on earth. As this thought lingers in his mind, he feels a tug on his pant leg and hears a small little voice whisper, “Hey mister, I know you have a choice of which dog to show, but I was wondering if you would please take my little guy in. I know he's not much to look at with his long coat, down ears, overshot bite, and he kind of elbows coming at you, but he has a big heart and he'll really try to win for you." Henry looks at the child and remembers what he tried to practice while on earth. "To thine own self be true.” He knew he always did try to help the little guy. "Yup, I'll take your little guy in for you,” he tells her.

All the greats strut into the ring. Age certainly didn't change these guys. LaMar and Lance..........what a team. (Jimmy Moses eat your heart out). And in walks Henry with his down eared, long coated Shepherd. God asks them to move their dogs around the ring and Henry's dog hits the end of the lead and the two of them float around the ring like there was no one else there but them. No double handling was needed or allowed in Heaven. The dog’s ears stood straight up, his coat smoothed out. God points to Henry and the crowd of angels and Saints roar.

When God approaches Henry to congratulate him on his win, he says, “You did well my son. You passed the test.” He tells him, “You see as you were on earth so you are here too in Heaven. You never let the little guy down. You stood for what you believed were true to yourself. A gentleman there, a gentleman here. We don't have any trophies in heaven Henry; we just have ways of earning your "wings".

So we won’t say any goodbyes to Peggy and this young champion because after all, we’ll be seeing them again. For those who have lived and loved, they never die. Besides they’ll be too busy with the dog shows in Heaven. Hey Peggy, save us a front roll seat, will you?!

My rating: Living a good life so you’re missed like crazy: (4)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I’ve been interested in this subject for awhile. I know how important therapeutic touch can be for us humans. It would only stand to reason that it would be important to our companion animals as well. Just look how good our dog feels when we pet and stroke them. Some of them live for the time that we give them affection and attention. It’s what they thrive on.

Having been trained as an esthetician I know the importance of massage to make a client feel relaxed and comforted. It helps reduce their blood pressure and for the hour or so that they are receiving this relaxing massage, they can literally tune the world out of their thoughts. I personally feel if people got massages, the world would be a better place to live. No I’m serious. We run around with tight muscles in our neck and shoulders where all the tensions and stress of the day accumulates. Every worry that you have will eventually present its ticket to your body in the form of tight muscles, headaches, stomach problems and gastro-intestinal illnesses. I strongly believe along with other environmental health triggers that the mind/body connection helps determine how we feel. Well the same thing can be said for our dogs. Of course they’re not carrying the world upon their shoulders, but they do get stressed just the same.

I remember the first time I ever received a professional massage was when I was in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel. I had planned on getting the massage and then going to the swimming pool. When I was finished receiving the massage, I was so weak and relaxed that all I could think of doing was going back to my room and sleeping. The swimming pool was the last thing on my mind. Just see how wonderful our world would be if everyone got a massage!

The Tellington T Touch system was developed by Linda Tellington Jones, PhD who is an internationally recognized animal expert. The Tellintong T Touch system is a method based on circular movements of the fingers and hands all over the body. The intent of the TTouch is to activate the function of the cells and awaken cellular intelligence - a little like "turning on the electric lights of the body."

The TTouch is done on the entire body, and each circular TTouch is complete within itself. Therefore it is not necessary to understand anatomy to be successful in speeding up the healing of injuries or ailments, or changing undesirable habits or behavior.

This method based on cooperation and respect offers a positive approach to training, can improve performance and health and presents solutions to common behavioral and physical problems. It also helps establish a deeper rapport between humans and animals through increased understanding and more effective communication.

Using a combination of specific touches lifts, and movement exercises, TTouch helps to release tension and increase body awareness. This allows the animal to be handled without provoking typical fear responses. The animal can then more easily learn new and more appropriate behaviors. By using the TTouch and a variety of other tools, like the Confidence Course, you can assist the animal in experiencing self-confidence in previously frightening situations. Even the most difficult problems are often eliminated. You can also learn how to apply the Tellington TTouch to assist with recovery from illness or injury, or just enhance the quality of your animal's life.

The Tellington TTouch can help in cases of:
• Excessive Barking & Chewing
• Leash Pulling
• Jumping Up
• Aggressive Behavior
• Extreme Fear & Shyness
• Resistance to Grooming
• Excitability & Nervousness
• Car Sickness
• Problems Associated With Aging

I confess I’m not familiar with the techniques of the Tellington T Touch, but with the massages that I give my dogs, they’re not complaining. Some dogs even love it when you massage their toes. After all the feet carries the weight of the body. With one of my dogs, all I have to do is touch her and she collapses at my feet ready for me to work my “magic” on her. Sometimes I feel like telling her she’s a lot younger and healthier than me and I should be the one laying down getting the massage. But somehow I don’t think she understands me and if she did, she wouldn’t want to relinquish her position of receiving the massage anyway!

From the book: GETTING IN T TOUCH WITH YOUR DOG - Animal bodywork expert Linda Tellington-Jones's latest offering is Getting in Touch with Your Dog: A Gentle Approach to Influencing Behavior, Health, and Performance. Tellington developed the Tellington Touch Method (TTouch) throughout her 40-year career working with animals. Here, she offers a way to effectively influence dogs' behavior and character, as well as their ability to learn. The guide enforces mutual respect between dog and owner, stressing a relationship based on appreciation and friendship rather than dominance and submission. By using a specific combination of Touches (there are 22 altogether) and performing exercises, Tellington insists dogs' performance, health and behavior can improve.

My rating: dog massage: (4)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Several months ago I wrote about the different social networks out there on the internet. Like many of you, I belong to a few of them myself. Some I like better than others but I suppose they all serve their purpose. As I’ve said earlier, I don’t get the big thrill with “Twitter.” I barely use it. Anyway, I wanted to re-visit this subject again only this time paying more attention to the social network giant, “Facebook.”

When I first signed up for this group, I didn’t think too much of it and barely used it. In fact, I didn’t even really like it that much. There were weeks that I seldom went onto the website. I sat back and wondered how long I would continue with my account. Well time went by and I started to check it out some more and now, it’s one of my guilty pleasures.

There are many reasons one would chose to go on “Facebook” but not always for the obvious reasons. It is a great social network to almost instantly connect with your friends or acquaintances. There’s not too much waiting for information with this site. As far as the dogs are concerned, the reason why I like “Facebook” so much is that I’m seeing pictures of dogs that I’ve never seen before. New litters, stud dogs, show win pictures. It’s become a German Shepherd Dog super highway. It is a great marketing and promotional tool. Some of the pictures I’m seeing are incredible. In my opinion, if you don’t use this site to promote your dogs, you’re missing out on a lot of free publicity.

I admit I use “Facebook” for more things than looking at all the pretty pictures of people’s dogs. There are all sorts of groups that you can join up with on many varied subjects that you might be interested in. Being a writer, I just joined a writing group. I love saving money with coupons and I have saved a fortune with being on “Facebook.” I’m signed up with some companies that I like and I get all their latest information or promotions sent to me. I’m connected with my favorite subjects and some of my favorite people. There are many rescue groups on here as well as breeders and exhibitors. I get to view lots of fun videos that people post. Some funny, some informative and some I chose not to watch (abuse of animals to make us aware of what’s going on). Reading about it is hard enough most of the time. Watching it is too much for me because I carry these types of things.

There are down sides to being on “Facebook” as well, but then again, there are downsides to belonging to many different social networks. Reports of scams and hackers coming on “Facebook” are always a concern to its members. That being said, just visiting websites on the internet, can also introduce you to some unsavory situations as well. I’ve encountered a couple of scams on “Facebook” already. In fact, just a couple of nights ago, I ran into this problem. I got an e-mail from my cousin telling me to look at a video that she thought was very funny. When I clicked on it, it said before I could view the video, they wanted me to answer a few questions first (none of it was personal questions), but it made me suspicious and I clicked back out of it. Come to find out my cousin never sent this to me, but whoever did wanted me to believe that she did. So yes, you need to be careful when using these social networks because there are millions of people on these sites. Proceeding with caution is always advisable.

“Facebook” is a great place to hook up with people that you haven’t seen or heard from for years. There are many German Shepherd people on here. I didn’t realize just what a large number of German Shepherd enthusiasts there are out there. I do think it’s a great place to promote our breed for those that are interested in learning more about them. Again, use caution when dealing with people that you don’t know that may be inquiring about your puppies or breeding dogs. It’s a nice way to bring people to you, but like in any other way of advertising, make sure you get references from people.

Is “Facebook” for everyone? No, it isn’t. There are those that resist change and like things just the way they are. There are those that are shy or are very private. Then this is not the place to be. For them “Facebook” makes them too uncomfortable. I admit I normally don’t like change in too many things if I’m enjoying things as they are. Sometimes it takes me a little longer to be convinced about something new. Then once I try it, I wonder what took me so long.

With the economic climate that we live in, people are looking for a way to reach out and connect with other people. Having friends can be a good thing. People are looking for less expensive ways to advertise their dogs and when something is free and it reaches so many people, well resisting the temptation to join up becomes a little harder. “Facebook” won’t appeal to everyone, but for those that it does, they’re having fun, they're networking, they’re reaching out…………..until the “next big thing” comes along on the information highway!

From the book: HOW TO TALK TO ANYONE: 92 LITTLE TRICKS FOR BIG SUCCESS IN RELATIONSHIPS - Leil Lowndes' How to Talk to Anyone offers101 time-tested hints, tips, and techniques for confidently communicating with others. A bestselling author and renowned communications consultant, Lowndes focuses on ice-breaking skills and communication techniques that are proven successful when making a positive first impression, establishing instant rapport and credibility, and more.

Packed with basic, no-nonsense advice and solid research evidence about which techniques work best in which areas, How to Talk to Anyone show readers how to:

* Make small talk not so small
* Use body language to captivate an audience
* Look like you know what you're talking about--even when you don't

My rating: "Facebook" - (1 - 4)

Monday, September 20, 2010


Well looks like we are saying “goodbye” to the summer and “hello” to the fall. There is nothing like showing a dog at the fall shows. The weather is perfect for it, cool and crisp. The dogs feel good and the owners feel good. So out come the grooming supplies once again. Are your supplies in tip top shape or has some of them seen their better days? I was talking to a breeder friend yesterday who shows her dogs year round and we were talking about supplies. She loves the Chris Christensen Systems products. When I did a review on brushes before, I included this company’s line of products. Today I decided to devote a whole article on what they offer as it’s been a name well known in the dog world for years of offering top quality dog brushes.


Other than the primary function of brushing or styling hair, hair brushing serves several other important purposes; cleaning and massaging the skin, and stimulating the release of beneficial oil called sebum. Sebum is released by the sebaceous gland at the base of the hair follicle as a result of the gentle hair tugging action caused by brushing. Brushing the hair cleans the hair shaft, follicle, and skin by removing trapped scale, dirt, and oils. Brushing also distributes the Sebum, coating, lubricating, and protecting the hair shaft resulting in a healthy glow or sheen and more flexible hair. Because sebum protects and moisturizes, regular brushing results in hair that is healthier, more manageable, and easier to style. All of Chris Christensen Systems brushes are well balanced and easy to use. Handles are designed to ensure comfortable grip and use.

I’ve always known that this company made some of the best dog grooming brushes on the market, but I didn’t realize that they make some other grooming supplies as well. Here are some of the products that they make.

Oval Pin Brush - Large - A top quality pin brush. The finest quality pin brush that money can buy. Use 20mm for short coats; 27mm for medium to long coats; 35mm for long thick full coats. Ground and polished tips are the smoothest available and will not push into cushion. The supple, relaxed pin cushion is set in a light-weight solid wood body with an easy grip handle.

Thick N Thicker Volume Response Foaming Protein adds astonishing volume to any coat type. Replenishes protein and creates volume by implanting a high volume of low molecular weight proteins. The dense compact foam base allows easy distribution through the coat. Naturally volumizes thin, skimpy coats while repairing and protecting coat hairs. Strengthens weakened hair shafts and repairs split ends.

Buttercomb - 6 inches - Solid brass core with round core top to reduce friction and eliminate unnecessary breakage. Exceptionally smooth teeth glide through the coat like butter to reduce combing time by 50 percent! Steel teeth with a highly finished tips and high quality nickel chrome finish. This heavy dog grooming comb features1.25 inch long staggered teeth with a 6 inch total comb length.

Beautifully handcrafted Beech wood slicker brush with high grade steel pins for less coat damage. Ultra-soft, extra flexible cushion with base of one fourth inch foam. Shape and contours of the handle do all the work for you instead of wrist being at a constant angle. Less stress for groomer and animal.

Miracle Air is a natural but powerful way to completely eliminate odors. It can be sprayed directly on your dog, cat, puppy or kitten, around food and even on baby diapers. Chris Christensen Miracle Air is food grade. Miracle Air breaks apart odor molecules on contact. It is not a cover up. It eliminates all odors from pets, urine and fecal matter, cigarette smoke, cooking odors, body odors, diesel and gasoline.

These are just some of the products this well respected company carries.

My rating: Chris Christensen Systems dog grooming supplies: (4)

Friday, September 17, 2010


I own books of quotations and I save and treasure quotations that I find on the internet. Some people have the best imaginations and the wonderful thing is long after their gone, their words remain. So it’s Friday and the beginning of another week-end, so I’m keeping this blog light today. Here are some quotations I’ve found and how they can relate to dogs.

Oh this is a good one for all those gossip loving, finger pointing, and “I’m better than you” types of characters in the breed!

When you bad mouth someone else’s’ dog and then say “Just kidding”……When you withhold information that could help a newbie in the breed by saying, “I don’t know”….. When someone tells you they don’t like your puppies and you say, “I don’t care” (when you really do)……When someone hurts you by telling you your dog is nothing but a pet and you shouldn’t be showing him and you say, “It’s OK” (when it really isn’t)…..there’s always a little truth behind these words!

Coming into this breed thinking that you know everything there is to know in the breed, set’s you up for disappointment. Having high expectations and suffering many disappointments along the way is to be expected in anything that is worthwhile. Being in the breeding and showing of dogs is not an easy thing to do, but it’s oh so worth it when you succeed at what you attempt to do in this breed.

You might have suffered many loses in the breed, you might see clubs folding, but now’s not the time to give up. You haven’t come this far to throw it all away.

You’ve lost puppies; you’ve had to put young dogs to sleep because they were too ill, you’ve spent thousands of dollars taking care of sick animals. You’ve rescued dogs that no one else wants. You’ve spent your own hard earned money taking care of them. You’ve been talked about, abused and used, but you’re still here…alive and kicking and yes stronger than ever!

OF ALL THE ANIMALS, MAN IS THE ONLY ONE THAT IS CRUEL. HE IS THE ONLY ONE THAT INFLICTS PAIN FOR THE PLEASURE OF DOING IT. – Mark Twain from “The Lowest Animal.” – From dogs that are killed in shelters, to the experimentation of laboratory animals, to the torture and senseless killings at the hands of those with “superior intelligence” over the beasts of the land!

There’s no need to explain this one as anyone that has ever loved a dog before will know the enrichment that one brings to your life but on the other hand the total and complete devastation losing one brings to your heart and you’re never the same again.

Some people take their victories with grace and gratitude and we are happy for them. Others gloat, adopt a “better than you” type of attitude and we resent them for it. Then there are those others that each failure in the breed is like a personal assault against them and they wonder if they have the strength to carry on.

And here’s one for us humans which I try to practice in my own life!

Have a great week-end everyone!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Sometime last year, I wrote about pet insurance. Recently a pet insurance company contacted me by the name of EMBRACE PET INSURANCE. After looking over their policy, I agreed to let them advertise on my blog. See their ad on this blog in the purple box for more information. I will touch on a few things about this company here.

From TOP CONSUMER REVIEWS: They gave this company five stars! When we began our examination of Embrace Pet Insurance, we quickly became impressed with the level of pet insurance they provide. Embrace sets the standard for all pet insurance companies by providing excellent, cost-effective service that meets the needs of most dogs or cats in all 50 states.

Overall, Embrace provides excellent pet insurance tailored to meet your specific needs. Premiums are competitively priced and allow for convenient monthly payments. We found a multitude of positive reviews on Embrace as well as numerous reports of hassle-free claim payments. If you're looking for affordable pet insurance for your loved one, Embrace earns our top recommendation.

What Is Dog Insurance?

Dog insurance helps protect your dog from large, unexpected veterinary bills. Modern veterinary care can be very expensive. For example, a trip to the veterinary ER could easily cost $1,000. Dog insurance pays a large portion of your veterinary bills so you never have to decide between digging deep into savings to treat your dog or putting him down.

What Does Dog Insurance Cover?

Dog insurance will reimburse you for costs associated with diagnostics, surgery, hospitalization, cancer and chemotherapy treatment, and even alternative and homeopathic therapies. You can visit any veterinarian you like and there are no networks. Read about what Embrace's dog insurance covers but remember that no plan covers your dog for conditions that are pre-existing.

How Does Dog Insurance Work?

It's very simple to use your insurance. Usually you:
• Visit any veterinary hospital, there are no networks
• Pay for treatment
• Submit a claim form with your itemized invoice
• Receive your claim refund in 10 to 15 business days

What If I Have a Purebred Dog?

Purebred dogs are more susceptible to genetic and breed-specific health issues such as hip dysplasia, cherry eye, or luxating patella. Many of these conditions can be debilitating or life-threatening and can cost thousands of dollars to diagnose and treat as well. In these cases having insurance for your dog lets you focus on his care without worrying about the cost.

Choosing a Dog Insurance Plan

If buying dog insurance is the right thing to do, how do you choose a plan? You should know that Embrace Pet Insurance is one of the few companies that cover genetic and breed-specific conditions. This way, you're not stuck guessing what conditions might be covered.

Also find out if the plan you're looking at has per-incident or lifetime limits. Some companies use benefit schedules that can drastically limit the amount of your reimbursement. Embrace Pet Insurance has no per-incident limits and does not use a benefit schedule. Instead we pay based on your actual veterinary bill so you get more back.

How Much Does Dog Insurance Cost?

Dog insurance costs on average around $27 per month although the premium varies by the breed and age of your dog, and depends on the amount of coverage you choose. You can keep your premiums low by opting for a major medical dog insurance plan with a high deductible. This keeps your premium affordable without sacrificing coverage.

Don't forget, you can get discounts on your dog's health insurance if your dog is altered, micro chipped, or if you have a multiple-pet policy.

When is the Best Time to Buy Insurance for my Dog?

The best time to buy your dog insurance is when your dog is a young and healthy puppy, before any conditions might develop. It's important to have the insurance before you actually need it because pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.

What Embrace Covers

Embrace plans cover all the basics that you expect: accidents, illnesses, diagnostic tests, surgery, and more. Embrace also covers:

• Genetic & breed-specific Conditions
• Wellness & Routine Care
• Cancer Treatment
• Chronic Conditions
• Alternative Therapies & Rehab

Check out their website here on this blog to check out those things that they don’t cover.

My rating: Embrace Pet Insurance: (4)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The more that I think I know about the breed, the more I realize that I don’t. This is just one of the things that I didn’t know that the German Shepherd Dog can be affected by. I never even heard of this disease before.

German Shepherd Dog Keratitis [pannus], medical name: keratitis superficialis vasulosa pannosa pigmentosa chronica, is a chronic inflammation of the corneal surface and, in most cases, of the conjunctiva of the eye. The reason it is called German Shepherd Dog Keratitis is because the disease is found predominantly in German Shepherds and is only rarely seen in other breeds.

Pannus is a condition where your dogs’ immune system attacks the cornea. Symptoms include changes in color and the appearance of red blood vessels. While there is no cure for the syndrome, it can be controlled for the life of your dog. Failure to treat the condition can result in blindness.

It is normally seen in dogs between the ages of three and five. It first appears in the outer regions of the cornea and, in almost all cases, affects both eyes simultaneously.

The cornea is a membrane that covers the colored part and white part of the eye. Canine keratitis is a syndrome where the cornea becomes inflamed and discolored (corneal pigmentation). Pannus causes tissue to accumulate on the surface of the eye and cholesterol to form inside the cornea.

The cause of Pannus is not well understood, but several factors are involved. The breed incidence suggests a heritable predisposition. Additionally, UV (ultraviolet) radiation plays an important role as an inciting and propagating factor. Dogs living at high altitudes and low altitudes are more severely affected. Also, autoimmune factors and possibly genetics play a part.

Initially, redness and brown pigment may be seen in the conjunctiva (white tissue of the eye). White infiltrates made up of inflammatory cells then invade the clear cornea. Next blood vessels invade the cornea. Finally pink connective tissue grows into the cornea and later becomes brown. In a small number of cases, two other symptoms may occur either alone or together. A thickening, redness, de-pigmentation and lumpiness of the third eyelid may occur. This is called a plasmoma. The other condition which may occur is chronic, erosive ulceration of the lower eyelid near the inner and outer corners of the eye. Pannus is uncomfortable to the dog. When treated adequately, your dog can be free of this irritation even though the corneas may not clear up completely.

What is the treatment for Pannus? Despite intensive research efforts, no permanent cure exists for this disease. However, in the vast majority of cases, the diseases progress can be halted and the problem kept stable. In other cases, Pannus may be reversed and the corneas will clear. This is most probable if therapy is instituted early during the disease. The inflammatory cell infiltrate and blood vessel invasion are generally reversible with therapy. The connective tissue infiltration and pigment deposits are often not reversible once they have occurred.

There are four types of therapy:

1. Corticosteroid (cortisone) therapy. This is the main line of defense against progression of the disease and in most cases is effective. If the pannus is severe, cortisone may be administered by injections under the white of the eye. In all cases drops containing cortisone must be applied to the eye many times a day. Treatment must be kept up for the rest of the pet¹s life. Even short periods of interrupted treatment, i.e., 2-to-4 weeks, may cause severe relapse with worsening of the patient's vision. The main side-effect of prolonged corticosteroid therapy is the adverse effect on corneal wound healing. Microscopic wounds of the outer layer of the cornea often occur. In a normal eye the cornea heals rapidly. If corticosteroid medications are being applied, minor wounds worsen leading to serious corneal ulceration. The main sign seen in patients with ulceration is pain. Therefore, should any patient on cortisone therapy show signs of pain, such as holding the eye shut or pawing at the eye, it is important that the medication be stopped and the doctor consulted immediately.

2. Cyclosporine is a new medication in the war on pannus. It does work on pannus and doesn't have the side effects of corticosteroids. Unfortunately, cyclosporine doesn't work as quickly and it is usually necessary to continue it twice daily for the rest of the patient¹s life. Often, we will initially prescribe corticosteroids to be used in addition to the cyclosporine. When used together, greater improvements are seen without the side effects associated with high levels of corticosteroids.

3. Surgery may be used when medication does not completely clear the pannus from the cornea. A 'peeling' of the cornea may be required to restore vision in eyes that are severely scarred and pigmented. Unfortunately, treatment is required following surgery to prevent the pannus from recurring as the cornea heals. This method is only used if medication doesn't work.

4. Beta-irradiation may be used when medication and surgery prove insufficient. This will not be recommended unless all else fails.

Although Pannus can be a condition that requires life long treatment, with the correct diagnosis and early treatment, the dog's vision can be maintained.

From the top rated book: "THE 5-MINUTE VETERINARY CONSULT: Be ready to face the rush of common and not-so-common animal disorders with the Third Edition of 5-Minute Veterinary Consult: Canine and Feline. It's your complete, quick-reference resource, offering authoritative coverage and timely answers to your questions pertaining to canine and feline health. You'll also have the insights of more than 300 top veterinary specialists at your fingertips, plus complete coverage of more than 700 specific disorders.

My rating: Learning and educating yourself on the diseases of the German Shepherd Dog: (4)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Pyometra is the medical term used to describe an infected uterus. This infection can be open (draining pus from the vagina) or closed (pus is contained in the uterus by a closed cervix). In the past, pyometra was considered to be simply a uterine infection. Today it is now known as a hormonal abnormality and a secondary bacterial infection may or may not be present. This disease mainly affects the middle aged female dog that has not been spayed. Pyometra follows a heat cycle in which fertilization did not occur. Many times within two to four months after the cycle, the female starts showing signs of the disease. In the simplest terms, it is an infection in the uterus.

The two main hormones produced by the ovaries are estrogen and progesterone. An excessive quantity of progesterone, or the uterus becoming oversensitive to it, causes pyometra. In either case, cysts form in the lining of the uterus. These cysts contain numerous secretory cells, and large quantities of fluids are produced and released into the interior of the uterus. This fluid, along with a thickening of the walls of the uterus, brings about a dramatic increase in the overall size of this organ.

How do bacteria get into the uterus? The cervix is the gateway to the uterus. It remains tightly closed except during estrus. When it is open, bacteria that are normally found in the vagina can enter the uterus rather easily. If the uterus is normal, the environment is adverse to bacterial survival. When the uterine wall is thickened and cystic, perfect conditions exist for bacterial growth. When these abnormal conditions exist, the muscles of the uterus cannot contract properly. This means that bacteria that enter the uterus cannot be expelled.

What are some of the signs of a dog that has pyometra? The clinical signs depend on whether or not the cervix is open. If it is open, pus will drain from the uterus through the vagina to the outside. It is often noted on the skin or hair under the tail or on bedding and furniture where the dog has laid. Fever, lethargy, anorexia, and depression may or may not be present.

As the body attempts to flush out the build-up of waste products through the kidneys, the animal will drink excessive quantities of water (polydipsia) and urinate large amounts frequently (polyuria). She will lick at her vaginal area while the cervix is still open and the uterus is discharging a white fluid. She may run a low-grade fever and if blood work is done, she will show an elevated white blood cell count. As the uterus increases in size and weight, the dog shows weakness in the rear legs, often to the point where she cannot rise without help. As the dog enters kidney failure, she stops eating and becomes very lethargic.

If the cervix is closed, pus that forms is not able to drain to the outside. It collects in the uterus causing distention of the abdomen. The bacteria release toxins which are absorbed into circulation. These dogs often become severely ill very rapidly. They are anorectic, very listless, and very depressed. Vomiting or diarrhea may be present.

Toxins from the bacteria affect the kidneys ability to retain fluid. Increased urine production occurs, and the dog drinks an excess of water. This occurs in both open- and closed-cervix pyometra.

Dogs that are seen early in the disease may have a slight vaginal discharge and show no other signs of illness. Most dogs with pyometra are not seen until later in the illness. A very ill female dog that is drinking an increased amount of water and has not been spayed is always suspected of having pyometra. This is especially true if there is a vaginal discharge or an enlarged abdomen.

Since toxicity may develop very quickly in dogs with pyometra, it needs to be treated promptly. Dogs will receive intravenous fluids, usually for several days, and antibiotics. In most cases, the preferred treatment is a complete ovariohysterectomy (spay). This removes the ovaries, oviducts, uterus, and all associated blood vessels. These animals can be a surgical challenge because of their poor overall condition. In some females valued for breeding, prostaglandin and antibiotic therapy may be tried instead of surgery. The prostaglandin is given for 5-7 days and causes the uterus to contract and expel the fluid. In mild cases, when the cervix is still open and the fluid is draining, the success rate is excellent. This therapy should only be used in dogs 6 years of age or younger, who are in stable condition, and have an open cervix. Prostaglandins can have side effects, especially after the first dose, including restlessness, panting, vomiting, increased heart rate, fever, and defecation.

The infection is not only life threatening on its own, but it can also cause kidney failure through bacterial toxins. If treated quickly with surgery and antibiotics, approximately 90 percent of dogs affected with pyometra will survive.

If an owner decides not to have surgery on their pet, the other option is medical management. This method of treatment involves the injection of hormones, called prostaglandins, to change the environment in the uterus. Antibiotics are also given. Medical treatment of pyometra is not recommended.

It takes two days for the hormone injections to take effect, during which the pet could die of infection or kidney failure. There is also a high incidence of recurrence of pyometra with medical management. Furthermore, not all pets respond to this therapy and require life-saving surgery after this therapy has failed.

So obviously the best treatment for this disease is to have your dog spayed.

My rating: Spaying bitches not used for breeding: (4)

Monday, September 13, 2010


How many of you play the lottery? How many of you ever won a lottery? Do you buy yourself a ticket every week and dream of what you would do with all that money once you had it in your hands? Oh I bet many of your dreams would center on your dogs. So what would you do differently than you do now if you won the lottery? Would your lifestyle change all that much or would you save your money for a rainy day?

Well let’s take a look at some of the things that you could do if you were blessed as the next big winner of the lottery.

You could build your dream home with your dogs in mind. Would you build a kennel for your dogs? Maybe you would extend the kennel runs that you already have. Would you attach the kennel runs to a part of your house or would you have a separate kennel building away from the house? Would you invest in new dog houses or kennel roofs? How about new flooring for the kennel runs?

And what kind of house would you build? Would it all be on one floor? Would you have a trophy room displaying all of your dog’s show win pictures and awards? Would this room be where you would bring potential puppy buyers? Perhaps from this room, you would have a mud room leading to a breeze way that would be attached to your kennels.

Would you have a special whelping and puppy room to welcome your new litters to the world? Would your newborns be whelped in the newest “state of the art” whelping box? You would have all of your whelping supplies in this room. You would also make sure that you had a telephone in this room so you could be in contact with your vet during delivery.

Would you have a special grooming room for the dogs? You might have a big bath tub and grooming tables with special blow dryers. You would have shelves with grooming products lined up for easy use. There would be nail clippers, scissors, brushes and combs and every coat enhancing shampoo and conditioner imaginable. There would be all different leashes and collars depending upon what you needed them for.

Would your dog’s diet change? Would you feed him the best holistic food on the market or would you start feeding him a raw diet. If you don’t like getting your hands dirty and bloody from raw feeding, don’t worry, that’s what you have a new maid for.

Would you use ceramic tiles on your kitchen floor and would your whole house be built with wood floors throughout your home? Would you own an industrial strength vacuum cleaner to help keep those floors free of the gift of the German Shepherd Dog’s undercoat?

What kind of car would you drive? Would you buy yourself a brand new SUV or a van or would you really splurge and go out and buy yourself a brand new motor home? Who knows, maybe you’d buy one of each. After all you would have plenty of room in your three car garage. You’ll have to leave your brand new boat outside though. That’s alright, you can keep it covered.

Would you take a look at your dogs and re-evaluate your breeding and showing stock? If money wasn’t a problem, would you go out and look to buy yourself the next “superstar?” Would you hire the best handler in the country and start a show campaign with your newest member to your kennel? Would you put more ads in the Review? Would you advertise in all of the show win magazines?

Would you book a hotel for the American and Canadian Nationals a year in advance to ensure you got the best room possible? Would you also make sure that you reserved a front roll seat to the shows so you got an “up close and personal” view of every dog that was entered?

Would you set aside a certain amount of money for German Shepherd Dog rescues efforts to take care to find the best homes possible for the “forgotten” ones? Would you donate to shelters to make sure the animals got food and medical attention? Would you quit your job now that you are a “gazillionaire” so you can devote some volunteer time to the shelters in your community?

Would you remember the homeless, the poor, the sick and the dying? Would you change your will? Or perhaps you would stay just the way you are so your “come out of the woodwork” no good for nothing relatives don’t notice anything different is going on.

So you just won the lottery. What would you do with your gazillions?

Friday, September 10, 2010


Thank God it’s Friday and where the heck did the week go anyway? This is the weekend of the Canadian National Specialty show and a lot of my friends are up there enjoying that right now. Everyone seems to have fun at this show. Good luck to all the exhibitors! One of my friends and her husband take their motor home up there every year. I always wanted to travel cross country in a motor home and just take my time and take in the sights along the high way. Oh well, maybe one day when I get rich and famous!

Speaking of rich and famous……I’m going to make this plea this coming week on a couple of lists that I belong to. I just put it on my Facebook page yesterday afternoon. I need your help, so I’m networking it here as well. I wonder if any of you can give me advice or lead me in the right direction. Recently I wrote an idea for a television reality show. I’ve had it copyrighted with the Copyright Office and also have a registration number from “The Writer’s Guild of America.” Because of my research on the internet, I was led to believe that MTV accepts unsolicited material so I wrote them a letter with my concept for the show. When I didn’t hear back from them, I called them and they told me they no longer accept unsolicited material and in fact haven’t done so for the last two years. They advised me to get an entertainment lawyer or agent. I contacted a lawyer that I know lives in California (non-entertainment) and he was kind enough to inquire about this for me. He was told the same thing that studios don’t accept unsolicited material. So what I need is an agent or an entertainment lawyer. Do any of you guys know anyone that fits this description…….friend, family member, associate, friend of a friend, distant relative……..anyone at all that can guide me in the right direction? No scratch that…….anyone who can get me into a production company??? PLEASE WRITE TO ME PRIVATELY at: Mucho thanks!

Now back to the doggy stuff. A couple of days ago I asked my readers what state did they think should be the official state of the German Shepherd Dog. Naturally I got answers from people who thought that the state that they lived in should be declared the official state of the German Shepherd. I heard from those from New York, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, etc. Oh and even someone wrote to me saying British Columbia, Canada should be the winner! The most responses came from New York. Two people wrote to me to tell me that New York tried to make this their official dog after the 9/11 incident but for some reason it hasn’t passed yet so one of the ladies that wrote to me just wrote a letter to her state Senator to inquire about it. She told me when she hears from him, she’ll let me know. Speaking of 9/11, this is a story that I wrote all those years ago concerning that horrific event in our countries history. Have a great week-end everyone!

Barbara J. Galasso

From a distance you could hear the steady humming of a jet that grows increasingly louder as it speeds ever faster towards its target. Closer now; the humming is replaced with a roar. Deafening, crashing, and crushing… time to prepare. Just a blank expression; not even recognition of ones surroundings. Jet fuel leaking, angry black smoke rising, red hot fire spreading. Steel beams collapsing, walls surrender, little Joey’s framed picture falls to the floor, a telephone rings from a forgotten desk in the corner of the office. Voices scream, crying and shouting. “Get out, get out” is the last words some hear as the voice succumbs to the dead of silence. The falling, the awful falling. The walls cave in; the floors disappear as the majestic ladies tumble to the ground, floor by floor, stairwell by stairwell.

Thick black choking smoke. Flames dance across the bleak landscape. Debris, so much debris. Crushed stone, twisted cables, a set of keys, a wedding band, and a scrap of paper with a note saying “Don’t forget 2:00 meeting today.” A cell phone rings among the trappings of the fallen buildings. A German Shepherd rescue dog lays exhausted by the feet of the dirt covered fireman who sits in shocked bewilderment among the rubble that was once known as the majestic ladies.

In other parts of the country, two more jets are racing towards their destiny and a place in the history books. No survivors, all victims have succumbed to their fate in a lone field or the side of a building. The majestic ladies are not alone in their heroic defeat.

Oh America, your innocent, your brave cry out for justice. Hear them shout from the top of a snow capped mountain, or your painted valleys awash with a tapestry of colors, or through the deep crevices that reverberate through your canyons. Hear them in the whisper of a gentle breeze that caresses a lone tree top that sits in a barren meadow. With each new dawn that starts the day and when dusk follows her lead, those who have gone before us prepare for their day of reckoning. They can no longer be silenced by the deafening thunder of a jet. The souls of the past beg to be remembered. Peace escapes them as they search for America to be vindicated.

The flags will be flown at half mast today as the breeze catches the fabric with her stars and stripes that ripple ever so gently across the clear blue sky. Wave high, wave proudly Old Glory, as we’ll never forget what you stand for and represent. The majestic ladies stand ever tall in our hearts. And if one walks past ground zero late at night and you listen long and hard enough, you may still hear the echoes of life begging to be remembered. One may think they can still hear the telephone ringing, faxes sending, copying machines copying, ideas exchanged at the board meeting… going on as usual. “Hey Jane, what did you do over the week-end?” someone asks. “No dear, I won’t forget to pick up a container of milk on my way home tonight,” another softly whispers in to the phone. A secretary types her boss’s presentation papers for the meeting early this afternoon. She accidentally types in the wrong number. She goes back and corrects it. She changes the 0 to a 1. “There now, that looks better,” she compliments herself. Her boss comes over to her desk and reminds her, “Don’t forget, I need to get out of here by 3:00 this afternoon. It’s my son’s birthday and I promised my wife I’d get home before rush hour traffic.” The secretary nods her head up and down in acknowledgment of his request. She makes a mental note to herself; “Today is not a good day to ask for that much needed raise. Tomorrow” she tells herself. “I’ll do it the very first thing in the morning.” She turns back to her paper she’s typing and dates it September 11, 2001. “Gee, I’d like to get out of here early myself,” she chuckles. The majestic ladies hear her. She’s about to make history.


My rating: Thank God it's Friday: (4)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Oh wow, looks like my owners are packing up the van with dog crates and supplies, water and food dishes as well. I see luggage and lawn chairs being put in the van also. I can’t wait. My tail is wagging faster and faster. I’m turning around in circles now. My eyes are wide open with delighted anticipation. They brush by me and say to me, “Buck get out of my way and go lay down someplace will you?”

Go lay down, what are they crazy? I can’t lay down with all this excitement around me. I know where we’re going. We’re going to a dog show and we’re even going to stay in one of those fancy hotels that allow me to stay in the room with my owners. I can’t wait to share one of those big old king size beds with my masters. And if I’m really good, my owners will bring me some left over steak from one of those fancy restaurants that they always seem to find no matter what city we go to. Yup life is good being a show dog.

But wait what is this that I see? Why is my owner going over to the kennel and getting that young male dog out of his run? What’s that about and where does he think he’s going? I see him jumping up and down now as they put a collar around his neck that I would like to bite right about now. They know better than to bring him into MY house. Then where is he going to? I press my cold nosy nose against the window pane watching where they’re taking him. What’s this? They’re putting him in the van in MY dog crate. Just where does he think that he’s going to? Just wait until I get out there and get into that van and give him a piece of my mind. Hey, why are they closing the door? I haven’t been put in there yet. They probably forgot that I’m waiting for them inside the house.

I see they give a piece of paper, some keys and a handshake to the kennel helper. They get into the van and I watch them drive down the driveway. Surely they’ll turn back for me once they realize that they forgot to put me in the van. I wait and I whine and I sit staring out that window but the familiar van that I love to go for rides in doesn’t come back to get me.

The kennel help comes into the house now and sees me looking out the kitchen window. I don’t go over to greet him right away because I know once my owners realize the mistake they made; they’ll be back for me. I let out some cries and the kennel guy comes over and pats me on the head and says, “That’s alright fella’, come away from the window now and I’ll get a treat for you.” He tries to coax me with one of those dog biscuits made to look like a real bone. I never liked them very much anyway and like it even less now as he tries to make “nice, nice” to me because he knows like I know, I’ve been replaced.

Sure I’m old and gray and walk with a more cautioned step now because of that darn arthritis in my rear legs. Am I supposed to make apologies for what the passing of time has done to my less than youthful body? Have they forgotten all the trophies that my younger body brought home to grace the shelves in their family room? Have they forgotten all the lovely ladies that I “entertained” and helped fill their bank accounts so they could put that swimming pool in the back yard? Come to think of it, I haven’t entertained any lovely ladies in awhile now because that young Bronco that they just put in the van has seen to it that I haven’t. Have I been replaced?

I’ve decided I don’t feel like eating the food that my kennel help offers me. It’s not made with love like my master makes it for me. The long week end goes by and there’s something in the air. I can just tell these things. I run over to the big kitchen window and I wait patiently for the van to appear. Here it comes up the driveway now. I start to cry and turn in circles in happy anticipation for my owners to come in and apologize for their obvious mistake a few days ago. I hear the key in the door turn and in they walk. But for some reason my enthusiasm for them has changed from one of excitement to one of temperamental disdain. They’re not going to get away with this so easy. No sir!

Oh here she comes over to me saying, “Where’s my baby? Where’s my big boy?” The nerve of her to act like nothing even happened. I turn my head away from her for a moment as I watch my other owner take “HIM” out of the van and put him back in the kennel where he belongs. Good thing too, because I was ready to rock and roll with him……arthritis and all!

She continues to muss on me scratching my ears and trying to rub my tummy acting like nothing ever happened. The kennel boy tells her I barely ate a morsel since they left. “Oh Buck is that true?” she asks me, like I have a human vocabulary to answer her back with. She gives me some more loving even though I’m still slow to warm up to her. Then the kennel help says the words that I want to but can’t. He tells her, “I think old Buck feels like he’s been replaced.” With that she turns and hugs me tight and says, “Never, no one could ever replace you Buck. No matter how many dogs I have, no one could ever replace you.” With that, I give her a big kiss, roll over on the floor and allow her to scratch my belly and plan my revenge on that young “wanna be” the next time I see him.

Moral of the story: Our old guys know when the playing field has changed and they can no longer do what they once did. But even though their body ages, their hearts remain forever young as long as they feel that they haven’t been replaced.

From the book: "CARING FOR YOUR AGING DOG"..........Today, veterinarians know more about small-animal geriatrics than ever before—making it possible for dogs to live longer, better lives. But science and technology alone aren’t enough: we have to do our part, too. And this thorough guide to the older dog teaches us how. It introduces the basics of caring for a senior pet; examines issues of genetics, environment, and nutrition; presents a “prevention primer” for forestalling disease and old-age conditions; and explains how to recognize vital signs of change, from cloudy eyes to achy joints. Most important, it offers comforting advice on what to do when your beloved pet does get sick, and how to deal with both the financial and emotional costs. Throughout, dog owners tell their inspiring personal stories.

My rating: Letting the older dog know he's still very much loved and valued: (4)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Last week I read an article about how some states now have an official dog that represents their state. You know like each state has a flower that’s connected to it or if you are one of those people that like to read other peoples license plates, the license plate will tell you what that state is known for. For instance, Florida is the “sunshine state.” You know that kind of thing. I noticed that no state has made claim to the wonderful German Shepherd Dog yet. So it got me to thinking, which state should the German Shepherd represent and why. Oh I know there are those of you that are saying that the German Shepherd is a dog for all reasons and therefore, should be the official dog of the United States of America! Hey I just made that up and it sounds good to me!

So what state do you think the German Shepherd Dog should represent and why? So far these are the dogs that now represent other states.

Maryland: Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Pennsylvania: Great Dane

Virginia: American Foxhound

Louisiana: Catahoula Leopard Dog

Massachusetts: Boston Terrier

Wisconsin: American Water Spaniel

South Carolina: Boykin Spaniel

North Carolina: Plott Hound

Texas: Blue Lacy

Alaska: Alaskan Malamute

Well because I come from and live in New York, my vote for the German Shepherd Dog is right here in the “empire state.” Why? Well because there’s already a great number of this breed protecting New York by working on the police force, patrolling the subways and sniffing out bombs and narcotics in the airports. They were there on that terrible day that New York City was attacked and the Great Towers tumbled to the ground. Because this breed is used for rescue work and to tackle and bring down predators, I can’t think of a better place for them to do it than right here in New York City. They protect our homeland and security. In my opinion, no better place to do it than in New York! So yup, my vote is that the German Shepherd should be this states official dog!

So tell me, do you think that your state should be the official state of the German Shepherd Dog and why is that? Or maybe you think another state would be better represented by the German Shepherd. Let me know and I will report the results here.

My rating: German Shepherd as the official dog of the United States: (4)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Mother and her puppies are doing well. She’s eating her food right on schedule and you’ve increased it because of all the hungry little mouths she has to feed. You’ve kept a close eye on the puppies to make sure that they are all doing well and are nursing on their mother. You should note that when you observe the puppies while they are sleeping you will notice that their little bodies jerk quite often while they’re sleeping. This is normal and your puppies are healthy so no need to worry. They should feel warm to the touch. It’s the puppy that isn’t moving very much and feels cooler to the touch that you should have a concern with. Call your vet if you notice anything that doesn’t seem right. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

The first couple of weeks, you won’t need to do too much of anything besides change the newspapers in the whelping box and wash the towels or blanket. The mother is very capable of taking care of her babies at this stage. She licks and cleans them to help stimulate their need to defecate and urinate before they can do this on their own.

Normally you will see the puppies eyes begin to open around 10 – 14 days old. At this tender age, the best they can see is shadows. They will have a bluish looking tint to their eyes. By 3 weeks, most puppies are beginning to try to stand and walk although they are shaky at best. It’s comical to watch them as they fall like drunken sailors back onto the floor of the whelping box. They will try to play with their litter mates and you will see a pattern developing as the alpha puppy is determined among the litter.

It is also at this young age that the puppy will have been introduced to a mushy type food. Many breeders will first introduce the puppy to meat by putting a small amount of chop meat on her finger and put it in the puppy’s mouth. The funny faces that they make can give you a chuckle but no more so than when you place the puppies around their dinner bowel and watch them slide head and body first into their food. It’s not unusual that most of them will be wearing more of their food than eating it. But give it time, and they’ll get the hang of it. Then you can gradually add dry food to your puppy’s gruel like mixture which can consist of baby rice cereal, ground meat, puppy milk like replacement supplement that’s loaded with vitamins, etc. Most puppies will be fed four times a day with solid food while still being nursed by their mother.

Many times a breeder will take the puppies to different parts of the house at 4 – 5 weeks of age to get them familiar with different sounds and objects. Up to this time, I like to have a radio playing in the room where the puppies whelping box is so they are already familiar with different sounds. I love to put them on a rug and watch them taking their first steps in unfamiliar territory. By five weeks I’ve already picked my best puppies because at this age, I’ve get my first glimpse of their movement as they do their little puppy gaits across the rug. It amazes me how much a puppy at this age has already developed considering that five weeks ago they were still in their mother’s tummies!

Most mothers will still allow their pups to nurse for a little while, but the puppies at this age show their mother no respect and can be very rough on her by biting and scratching her already tender body. You may see the mother discipline them as well by gently but firmly biting them to let them know that she has had enough of their rough housing. As time goes by she’ll nurse them less and less but will still want to play with and discipline them. This bonding is necessary for their mental and emotional health. They learn from their mother who normally enjoys teaching her offspring.

In a couple of weeks, the puppies will receive their first inoculations. Most of the time you will have to bring a litter of puppies into your vets. If you’re lucky, you may have a vet that makes a house call. However, many breeders give their puppies their own shots that they’ve ordered from a veterinarian supply catalog. They will also have received their first worming mediation.

These initial weeks of a puppies life is crucial for their health and their mental and emotional growth. You don’t just breed a litter of puppies and leave them in a dog run. It is very important that they are played with and socialized. They should come into the kitchen where pots and pans are rattling or dropped on the floor intentionally to watch their reaction and recovery time from their initial “shock” of the intruding object. This is when you observe do your puppies come to investigate what it was that made all that noise? Do they sniff at the invading intruder lying on the middle of the floor or do they run and hide behind a chair? Do your puppies like people? Are they friendly towards strangers, or are they suspicious and cower in a corner somewhere unwilling to come and make friends? This is all an indication of the pups character and future personality.

This is also a good time to introduce them to being handled and groomed. Gently brushing them and combing their fur gets them used to being handled. Put them on a grooming table and most of the time they will stiffen up because they may be frightened. But once they get used to it, most puppies are cooperative. This is also the time that you can introduce them to their first bath. Oh they’re going to kick and splash and try to get out of the sink or tub but they’re German Shepherds and they learn very quickly.

Alright so your puppies are now eating solid food, they’ve had their initial puppy shots, they’ve been wormed, they’ve been handled and groomed and played with and socialized. You’ve enjoyed them, (but the parties over) and it’s time to find them their loving “forever” homes. Let’s hope that you have already received some deposits on these puppies when they were first born or you had a waiting list when you bred this litter. No litter (in my opinion) should be bred unless you have homes for them to go to. You’ve also probably advertised your litter and are hopefully receiving inquiries about them.

Your first concern as a breeder should be to find the very best homes that you can for your puppies. You’ve screened your potential buyers by asking them the right questions like what are their plans for your puppy? Do you have a fenced in yard? Do you have references? Who is the vet that you plan to take care of your dog? Do you work a full time job? Where will the people stay if you do? How will he be taken care of when you’re not home? Do you have other animals and how will they take onto the puppy? Do you have children and do they know how to treat a puppy? Do you know how to train a dog? Will you take him to obedience classes?

You will give the new owner a health guarantee on the puppy. You will tell them that they are to have the puppy neutered if they are not sold as a show or breeding animal. You will take the puppy back at whatever age it is if they can no longer keep him. You will give them a list of shots and worming and dates that they received them. You will tell them what food you recommend that they feed him. You might even give them some food for his first few days in his new home. You will ask them to get in touch with you with any concerns and ask that they give you an update on the puppy periodically. You will tell them that you might drop in on them occasionally just to see how things are going.

Now most of your puppies are sold into loving homes, but there still remains a few that were not so lucky. These are the puppies that no one seems to favor. Did you think of this BEFORE you bred the litter? Are you prepared to hold onto puppies after 8 – 10 weeks old knowing that the older they get, the less desirable they are to the pet market? Most pet people like to buy young puppies. Many a time a breeder will find themselves with puppies that are now over six months old? Do you have the space to hold onto them and the finances to feed them? This is all part of being a breeder……preparing yourself for the unexpected. Or how about the person that buys the 8 – 10 week old puppy and was never prepared for all the chewing, scratching, biting and destructive behavior of the little darling? Are you prepared when that person calls you first thing in the morning whining and complaining that they need to return the puppy to you and want their money back?

This folks is all part of being a breeder! So the next time you get an “urge” to breed Daisy to Duke, stop and think before you do it. Leave it to the breeder that knows what they’re doing because even the best of them can find themselves in situations that they didn’t plan for. It is not all about the cute, fluffy little butterballs that you see in the pictures that you just want to reach out and grab. It’s about the daily taking care of and meeting the needs of a very needy animal. Treat him right, raise him with love and care and he should give you 10 – 13 years of devoted and unconditional love that will leave paw prints on your heart forever!

KONG Extreme Kong Dog Toy, Extra Large, Black.........

* Stuff with KONG Treats and Ziggies
* Recommended for power chewers
* Keeps dogs busy and help deter misbehavior
* Made in the USA of nontoxic, extremely durable natural rubber
* Measures 5-inches long, for dogs 60 to 90 pounds

My rating: Dog breeding: (1 - 4)