Bathing Beauty

Let’s face it: as a dog I can get pretty darn smelly.  Sometimes I even offend myself! It’s not our fault- our fur traps some odors and certain bacteria unique to dog skin has the “corn chips” effect.  Plus, some dogs (myself included) really love rolling in dirt any chance we get so we can embarrass our moms!

Mom is picky about ingredients and wants to make sure anything she washes me with won’t irritate my skin or dry out my naturally-occurring oils.  We’ve been using Burt’s Bees 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner most of the time she’s had me.  It has worked well for me.  I like the way it smells and it doesn’t make my skin itchy.  I especially like that it’s a 2-in-1. That means I can get out of the tub faster!

Today Mom tried something new from Reliq Pets:

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Reliq uses some fancy minerals to dissolve odor molecules.  Don’t aske me how it works; I’m a dog, not a scientist!  Mom was saving this for a day when I was especially smelly; I guess today was that day! We’re both pretty happy with it.  It lathered really well so I felt like I was at the doggie spa.  The Jasmine scent was soothing without being overly-floral. It rinsed off really easily too.  I really don’t like shampoo that takes forever to rinse out- I’ve got more important things to do like chew on my toys or chase Sebastian! After I dried off my fur was nice and soft- fluffy but not poofy, and smelled great! And since I was such a good girl in the bath I get one of my special banana treats.  Anyway, I give Reliq my puppy-paw seal of approval.

This week’s Desert Paws NM Adoptable Highlight is Sammie:

Sammie is a super-sweet girl who enjoys the companionship of humans over other animals.  She would love a home where she gets belly rubs, is treated like a lap dog, and receives all the attention she deserves.  Sammie is incredibly polite, knows how to shake paws, and is eager to please.  She’s a bit of a kiss monster too! You can find out more about Sammie at Desert Paws NM.

Next week I’ll tell you all about Mom’s adventures in brushing my teeth! Gotta keep that pearly-white and fresh smile!

National Pet Memorial Day Sept. 11, 2016

Very nicely written post from fellow blogger Real Life With Pets. Mom remembers her much-loved childhood pets: Baxter, Jenny, and Sampo. She says it was hard to let go so doing something special for them helps. Fostering in your pet’s name when you aren’t ready to make a full-time commitment again is a really good start. And make sure you take tons of pictures of your beautiful pets while they are at their best so you can always look back and remember how blessed you were to have them in your lives.

RealLifeWithPets.com

Losing a pet is heartbreaking for many of us. We are emotionally bonded and the loss is comparable to the loss of a human loved one. Dogs can live 13-16 years typically (depending on the breed mix and other factors of course). Cats can live even longer — 16-21 years. These relationships are longer than many marriages these days!

Some people are self-conscious, question their sanity, are even ashamed that their feelings are so strong. But when grieving for a pet, we should not be ashamed. If someone doesn’t understand the loss, if they’ve never had the pleasure of having a loving relationship with a pet, the time will hopefully come when they have that opportunity and join the  ranks of forever fur family. So many, these days, though, DO seem to have an understanding of how important an animal in one’s life is……..and how devastating it is to lose…

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It’s All About Food!

I’ll just come right out and say it.  I LOVE food! I will eat anything and everything that comes my way.  That doesn’t mean everything I eat agrees with me and Mom has done a lot of work and research to find out what food is best and what will keep me healthy and living a long happy life.

When I first came to my new forever home I was pretty skinny.  You could see my ribs and my arms were pretty bony.  I didn’t have a lot of energy and I had a hard time going potty.  I was eating regular dry kibble and at first Mom just stuck with that.  She didn’t know any better, but she started to think I needed something else.  I would wolf down my food as fast as possible and when my bowl was empty I would pick it up and carry it around in my mouth to let Mom know I wasn’t satisfied.  Mom realized she had to make some changes.

After gobbling down that dry dog chow I had some tummy troubles and some bathroom problems.  I had a hard time going to the bathroom where and when I was supposed to.  Mom could tell I just didn’t feel good.  She knew it wasn’t just a matter of how much she fed it, but what she fed me that would make a difference.  So she started reading books and doing research online.  The reoccurring theme she found was that a lot of dogs don’t digest gluten or most grains very well.  She also found that wet food was frequently more easily digested than dry kibble.  Then one day at the store she was walking through the Pet Food aisle and this seemed to jump out at her:
Mom liked that it was Human Grade food and that it was grain free.  Aside from not digesting grains being hard to digest Mom found out that a lot of grains can contribute to joint inflammation.  Since I’m part Dachshund and part Basset Hound I’ll be prone to arthritis later in life.  Mom wants to prevent that as long as she can and knows what she feeds me can play a role in how soon my joints start to wear out.

So I’ve been eating Honest Kitchen ever since and I really love it.  It tastes great and it keeps me full and satisfied because it’s REAL food, not fillers.  Mom does a few other things to keep me healthy.  Here’s what she mixes in my food on a regular basis:

 

Omega-3 Oil keeps my fur soft and shiny.  It’s also really good for my joints.

Nutritional Yeast makes my food taste like cheese and gives me important B-Vitamins and Minerals.  The whole family eats it too! Mom puts it on her pasta (which is really confusing to me) and foster kitty Sebastian loves it sprinkled on his food.

You know how dogs like to eat grass when our tummy hurts? Well Wheat Grass helps keep my tummy happy.  Mom mixes it in my food and I don’t feel like I need to eat grass anymore.  Mom likes it too! She mixes it in water and drinks it in the morning.

One more thing I get that’s more of a treat is this:

Turmeric will help keep my joints nice and happy for years to come.  And this particular blend has some calming herbs that helped soothe my separation anxiety.  It’s not an all-the-time thing, but I get it as a sweet treat with smashed bananas! I even heard Mom say that for my birthday next year I can have it with Coconut Milk Ice Cream! Yum! It contains two herbs Lemon Balm and Holy Basil that are excellent for calming anxiety and stress.  Mom gave it to me on a regular basis when I first got here and it helped a lot.  Now I mostly get this once a week or if Mom has to go out of town for a few days.  Just a warning that there are 2 herbs that should only be used sparingly in this because they act as a laxative in large quantities.  Mom gives me 1/3 of the suggested dose.

Some people might feel that adding supplements to their pet’s diet is unnecessary.  That may be true for a lot of pets that have never had digestive problems and are eating real food.  However, a lot of rescued pets have gone through some kind of trauma- physical and/or emotional.  It’s hard to know what happened in your new pet’s life before they came to you.  They may have suffered from starvation or were undernourished.  They may have suffered physical abuse and lived their life in fear before you found them.  Whatever they went through earlier in life may have lasting consequences on their digestion or their behavior.  Good food and a few supplements can be helpful.

Okay, that’s enough about food for now.  I’ll have Mom write down some Autumn-themed recipes to share with you all soon.  Hint: most will include one of my favorite foods: PUMPKIN! Please send me a note and tell me all about your favorite foods!

This week’s adoptable feature is Moose.  Doesn’t he look like a good boy? That’s because he is! He’s in the same training class that Mom is going to and he is Teacher’s Pet.  He sits and watches the instructor and absorbs everything she says.  He is really polite and despite his size rather gentle.  He loves playing with toys too! You can see more about Moose or apply to adopt him at Desert Paws NM

 

 

***** Disclaimer: CookieBear is not a nutritionist and neither is her Mom. CookieBear just enjoys sharing with the world the things she likes and the things we think will keep her healthy.  Always check with your vet when starting your pet on a different diet or adding supplements to their daily regime.

 

 

Desert Paws Offers a Regional Program as a Model for Nation-Wide Spay & Neuter Initiatives

What a fantastic article about the organization that rescued me! The people at Desert Paws NM work really hard and it’s nice to see them recognized for all that they do to help animals.

Nationaldogweekbook's Blog

Pueblo_deCochiti Desert Landscape of Pueblo de Cochiti

A colleague in the animal advocacy community once declared, “We can’t rescue ourselves out of this mess,” when discussing the seemingly never-ending problem of pet overpopulation. For many, Spay and Neuter initiatives are regarded as the most humane form of rescue and advocacy. If we can stem the tide of unwanted pets, we can offer better care for those animals that will inevitably find themselves unhomed despite our best efforts.

At the BlogPaws conference in Phoenix Arizona in June, this topic seemed to “find” me as I became aware of how groups in different parts of the nation addressed these issue. BlogPaws represents the largest community of pet-professionals, advocates and writers in the world, with the common goal to improve the lives of companion animals. We sometimes, forget, however, that different regions of the nation face unique challenges when advocating for our companion animals.

At BlogPaws…

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Let’s Talk Training

CookieBear is back! Sebastian really enjoyed getting to speak his mind last week and he appreciated the comments and likes.  He will return soon for a new segment we are working on together: Movie Reviews!

This week I want to talk about training.  This will be an ongoing topic as I believe it is really important to your pet’s well-being and safety.  It also improves your relationship with your pet.  Training isn’t something that happens overnight and, this may surprise some people, but dogs don’t usually come to you already trained.  We’re just like human babies: you have to show us where to go to the bathroom, what to eat, how to behave, etc.  Mom thinks if more time was devoted to training pets there would be a lot fewer homeless animals and shelters would not be full of dogs that someone gave up on.  I have to say I agree with her.  I’m pretty sure someone had me as their “pet” before Desert Paws found me, but they gave up on me for some reason (I was only a baby so I can’t remember).  That’s OK because I found the right forever home but not all dogs are so lucky.  Soooo . . . . for anyone deciding to get a pet please look into how you’re going to train them.  For anyone thinking about surrendering a pet because of “behavioral” issues please consider training first.  You’d be surprised at how easily and quickly those behavioral issues can go away with the right training done consistently.

There are a lot of different ways to train dogs and I don’t think any one technique is the right way.  The key is to find out what your dog responds to and then stick with it.  Consistency is the most important factor in training your dog.  It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time.  Once you learn the skills incorporate them into your daily life with your pet.  Here are some things that worked for me & Mom:

Mom is naturally curious and likes to read up on things.  The first thing she found helpful after she adopted me was this book:

This book helped Mom a lot because it didn’t just talk about how to train a dog.  It went into detail about how our minds work and what motivates us based on our instincts.  Cool, huh? It talks about how there are 3 main drives behind dog behavior: Prey, Pack, and Defensive.  There’s even a quiz to help you figure out your dog’s main drive.  Mom found out that my main drive is Pack.  I love to be with my Pack.  That’s good news for Mom because it means I want to be with her (Dad too) and that I have good listening skills.  My secondary drive turns out to be Prey, which means I need games and playtime that will satisfy that need (like fetch or searching out treats in the house) so I will be less likely to chase Sebastian or any animals I see outside.  I appreciate the fact that Mom took the time to learn how my brain works and how to speak my language.  If you’re working on training a dog and you don’t feel like you’re making progress ask yourself if you understand them before you ask if they understand you.

The book used very approachable language so Mom could read through it quickly and get back to paying attention to me, which is of course more important than sticking her head in a book!

Mom also was very fortunate because the organization that rescued me, Desert Paws NM, set her up with training classes in Albuquerque at Acoma Training Center.  That’s where Mom got a lot of hands-on experience and really learned everything she needed for my own safety as well as basic obedience.  I also learned a lot and became a much more self-assured confident doggie!  Now I don’t get so nervous every time I meet a new dog at the park (except for the really big dogs sometimes because I’m just a little shorty).  Mom likes the class so much she’s helping some of the Desert Paws NM rescue dogs do training there so they will already have a lot of skills by the time they are adopted.

Another great training resource that’s FREE is YouTube.  There are lots of training channels, but Mom & I like Zak George’s Dog Training rEvolution best so far.  It’s approachable and easy to follow.  The videos are short and only cover one topic at a time.  They are great for a novice or anyone needing a refresher on training.

The last thing I want to say about training this week is that it’s more important than just making your dog sit and come to you when you want.  Training can save your pet’s life.  You can train your dog not to pick dangerous things like chocolate or aspirin up from the floor.  You can train your dog not to jump out of your car and into traffic.  You can train your dog not to jump on a child, or bark at someone and scare them.  It’s so important to get the foundations down as soon as possible and then continue training on a consistent basis.  I’ll go into more detail on specific training topics in the weeks to come.

Now let’s move on to this week’s adoption spotlight at Desert Paws NM!

This week I want to introduce you to a pair of really fantastic ladies: Hope and Lillie.  These two are bonded and Desert Paws wants to keep them together.  They went through the training course at Acoma Training Center and learned a lot of skills.  These ladies are also famous: a movie was even made about them.  Watch their story here:

hope and lillie

Learn about these fun-loving ladies at Desert Paws NM.

One more thing before I sign off.  Desert Paws NM is funded 100% by donations.  If you happen to shop on Amazon.com please click the Shop At Amazon link at the top of my homepage.  Every time you shop through this link a portion of your purchase will be donated to Desert Paws NM.  You can make regular purchases- there is no added cost to you.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to comment with a topic you would like to read about next time.

 

 

 

From the Desk of Sebastian

Yawn, stretch, meooowwwww.  I suppose I can take a moment out of my day of napping to contribute to CookieBear’s blog.  My name is Sebastian and I am a foster cat.  The wonderful people at Desert Paws NM have taken care of me for awhile.  They found me as a stray and have been taking care of me ever since by placing me in foster homes.  People are always asking them how they can help support Desert Paws’ mission.  The #1 thing you can do is open your home up to rescues and foster them until they find their forever homes.  If fosters didn’t take me in I would have to either continue being a stray cat, which is incredibly dangerous, or I would have to live in one of those crowded boxes at a shelter, which is incredibly stressful.  Instead, I get to live in a comfy house where I interact with humans, sleep in a warm bed, get delicious food and treats, and even occasionally play with the human’s crazy dog.  This leads me to the next commonly-asked question about helping rescues: shouldn’t the foster parents go ahead and adopt the animal if it’s comfortable in the house? Well, not necessarily.  First, if a foster parent adopts the foster animal that may mean they will no longer be able to foster other rescues.  Since foster families don’t grow on cat trees, we need as many foster homes available as possible.  Second, just because the animal is comfortable in the foster home, doesn’t mean it’s the puuuuuurrrrrrrrfect forever home.  Take me for example.  I am very comfortable in this temporary foster home.  I definitely have my needs taken care of and the foster family treats me as part of their family.  However, I know there’s a perfect forever family waiting for me somewhere.  Not that I don’t like my foster family, I just know there’s a family out there that will love me even more and I will love them in return.

Enough about that and more about me! I am about 4 years old, and well, I’m just simply gorgeous.  Did you check out my beautiful fur? And how about those eyes?

sebastian1 sebastian pretty

I’m super-sweet too! My favorite activity is cuddling in the warmest lap of the house.  And if you’re sick or hurt I will sit and purr with you until you feel better.  Did you know that cats can speed up recovery when your sick? Or that they can help people recover from sadness or depression?

I really like having conversations with my foster mom.  Just knowing she’s listening helps. I think she tries to understand my language, even when I’m hungry and overly-sassy.  I help her sing too (she has a terrible voice so I try to meow louder so she won’t feel bad about being off-key).  See what a great helper I am?

CookieBear and I didn’t always get along.  I didn’t really like dogs very much when I came to this house.  But CookieBear’s mom wanted to give it a try.  She had a lot of patience and slowly introduced us to each other.  For awhile I had an entire room all to myself, but once we were acquainted with each other I got free reign of the house.  CookieBear was a young pup when I first came to the house and she had a ton of puppy energy.  She wanted to play with me a lot more than I wanted to play.  Eventually she started to understand that and she leaves me alone when I’m not interested in playing.  But when I do want to play we have an awful lot of fun.  I chase her around the house- she loves it and sometimes she gets so excited she slides across the hardwood floors.  It makes my foster mom laugh a lot.  And now that I’ve been fostered with a dog in the house I can be adopted to a family with a dog.  Before being fostered in this house that wasn’t really an option.  See, there’s another great thing about fostering: it prepares us fosters for what happens next when we’re adopted!

Sometimes I overhear my foster mom talking about how people give up their pets because they “couldn’t” be trained.  I think that if a dog like CookieBear can be trained to respect a kitty cat like me, most pets can be trained.  It takes patience and perseverance.  Just remember that your pets don’t give up on you- please don’t give up on them! If you’re having a hard time training a pet on your own reach out for help.  There are lots of pet trainers that will work with you.  You can even find classes and tutorials online.  Please do the research before you consider dumping a pet.  CookieBear will have a lot more to say about this next week.

This week’s Desert Paws NM adoptable highlight: 3 Cats Bhindi, Ozzy and Olly.  Bhindi is a beautiful surrogate mamma cat to the young brothers Ozzy and Olly.  To adopt or foster visit DesertPawsNM (you can also see more about me there!)

Thanks for reading! Please share with your friends so we can spread the word about the importance of fostering rescue animals.

Sebastian signing off.  Next week CookieBear will be back to discuss the importance of training.