Taking a little vacation….

My dog Susie says

My vacation from “barking”

My Big Mommy grew up in Europe where they take every August off for an extended vacation. So, I decided to follow in her footsteps and take a break from barking about my adventures, politics, animal issues, celebrities or anything else that really bugs me for the next month. This is my last blog until after Labor Day, and I really hope everybody has a wonderful and robust rest of the summer!

I’ll leave you with a few tips on feeding your dog healthy foods in addition to their usual “dog food”. Remember that dogs, just like humans are omnivores, which means we like meat and plants.

      1. Fresh Fruits are fine if it’s apples, bananas (contrary to rumors), oranges or watermelon. Be sure to remove the seeds for easier digestion.

      1. Meats should be lean only and thoroughly cooked leaving the bones suitable for treats.     (But never never chicken bones)

                                3.    Cooked rice is a great food and inexpensive as well. I recommend brown rice only.

                                 4.    Vegetables are great treats including carrot sticks, green beans and cucumber slices.

Because I travel so much with my Big Mommy and Daddy, I thought I’d leave you with some tips on helping your pet survive his stay in a “Doggie Motel” if you don’t take them with you. 

                                             1.    Find a boarding facility that you’re comfortable with and that your friends have recommended.

        1. Take your dog there a few times for a few minutes before you actually leave them there. This allows them to acclimate themselves to their new temporary home. Give them a treat.

        1. Walk them around the grounds allowing them to smell their new surroundings. Give them a treat!

                                             4.   After returning from your vacation when you pick up your pet from the doggie motel give them a treat, but try not to make a big deal out of reuniting with them. It’s hard I know, but it really helps your dog if it seems normal, and that you just left a few hours ago. Everyone, of course, will be very happy to see each other.

Lastly, for all of you that feel like you might need a little more inspiration in your life watch the video below entitled, “Doggy Dancing.”  I watch this with Big Mommy at least a couple of times every few months when we need a few laughs!  Also, the canine star of the video looks exactly like moi!

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=-0jNC_w1tSw&feature=player_embedded

Catch you later in a month or so…

Susie and Sandy

P.S. “Dogs are not our whole lives but they make our lives whole.”

To see previous “My dog Susie says” barks go to: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For information on Sandy Steele’s books, blogs and skin care products go to:  http://sandysteele.com

The Case of Sherlock Holmes and the Danes.

My dog Susie says

Sherlock Holmes to the rescue?

For all of you humans who watch all the crime shows on TV like CSI, this is a canine mystery of deplorable desecration. I call it the “Case of who left the Poo?” Believe it or not many human owners of dogs that live in communities like apartments are facing an indescribable assault on their senses. All because of dogs leaving dog poo and their owners not cleaning it up. It’s become such an epidemic that a company located not too far from me in Knoxville, Tennessee, decided to solve it. How you say? By linking an individual dog’s DNA to its dog doo doo.

The company, “Poo Prints,” has clients in 28 states as well as numerous countries around the world. I never realized this was such a large problem because I live near forests and oceans where any old place will doo doo. However, I always make sure I cover it and don’t leave my waste anywhere a human might step in it. I’m completely “Green” when it comes to the environment! So how exactly does this malodorous mystery get solved?

First, the apartment, condominium or homeowner association mandates that if you own a dog, you must submit to management a sample of waste or saliva to be analyzed by Poo Prints. Then if any doggie doo is discovered uncollected by an offending owner, it is sent on for DNA matching. When the culprit is identified the owner receives a fine of between $150 to $1,000 for the first offense. Most communities that utilize this high-tech detection system report that in about six weeks after implementation, the “Poo Pile Problem” is completely gone…forever! Isn’t science wonderful?

And since I’ve been barking about Englishman Sherlock Holmes deductive abilities, I discovered a heartwarming loving example of dogs helping dogs in England.

A great Dane named Lily hardly seemed deterred by her total blindness. The question is how and why? While still a pup, her eyelashes somehow grew into her eyeballs, causing irreparable damage and a medical need to remove both eyes. But with the help of her devoted four legged pal Madison, another Great Dane, she has continued to enjoy her life. Both Danes were homeless and kept in an animal shelter until recently, when they were rescued by a caring couple. Both dogs exhibit a joi de vie that many humans would do well to emulate. Madison and Lily became very close, always enjoying the others company, going about their daily routines as a tight twosome. Vocal in play, affectionate at rest, they even curl up together when ready to go to sleep.

With her lack of sight, Lily’s other senses sharpened. Although rarely apart, Lily can always sense when Madison is not nearby and uses a unique bark to search for her. At night the two sleep together in what can only be called a “spooning” position. Madison gently leads Lily around by her leash during the day to the amazement of onlookers.

Both Lily and Madison formed their bond while living together in one of the United Kingdom’s  eighteen “Dogs Trust Re-homing Centers,” a network of rescue centers which care for around 16,000 stray and abandoned dogs every year. The story ends extremely happily for Lily and Madison, who now live with Anne and Len Williams, a loving family who fell in love with these dogs after reading their story in London’s Daily Mail. Great parents for Great Danes!

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. Humans can learn a bunch by watching how totally disadvantaged animals help each other, whether they happen to be people or dogs!

To read more Susie says barks: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com 

Information on Sandy Steele; http://sandysteele.com

A Bicoastal Border Collie

My dog Susie says

Leaving on a jet plane…

Our family, including moi of course, is getting ready to fly out west for an extended stay. I love the beaches of Southern California and all the cool dogs and some cats I meet out there. The only thing I hate about the trip is the flying. I’m too big for a seat and must be caged down in the “hold” of the big beast. It really sucks, but this year my Big Mommy Sandy is going to try something new. She’s going to give me a natural pill with something called melatonin in it to make me sleep. I Google melatonin and discovered that it’s found in foods like turkey which makes you sleepy after eating it. Hey, why not just stuff me with turkey?

Being a Border Collie and one of the smartest breeds of dogs, if I do say so myself, allows me to try and figure out all sorts of things I hear and see. It’s been proven that Border Collies understand at least 200 words, but Mommy thinks I understand at least 2,000 including cuss words. Boy, if I could only talk.

Arriving in L.A.  It seems the pill worked. I don’t remember anything except weird dreams about apes taking over the world in the future. I’ve been watching too much Scipio channel. Speaking of science, did you know that while we dogs hear really great, we don’t see colors so well. In fact, we don’t see red, orange or green hardly at all. Red looks like brown to us and green looks like yellow-gray. So why are most pet toys colored red, orange or green? Throw a red ball into a lush green grassy yard and it’s hard for us to see it. We operate by smell. Also, we don’t see as far as humans do. But we do recognize movement up to 3,000 feet. I’m sure glad squirrels are gray.

On our way to the beach, Mommy decides to drag Daddy and me to some kind of spa in Beverly Hills that offers therapies for pets. I didn’t realize that I needed to go to a shrink, but she says this is a kind of day-spa for dogs. All-righty then. After filling out some forms a pretty lady shows my Big Mommy what is available for pets. First, is something called acupuncture which uses needles to sooth pain. That seems crazy to me, because my paws have met with sharp things before. I’m going to pass on this!

This place also offers homeopathy medicines if you’re sick. Well I’m not sick, at least not in my body, maybe my dog head. I think I’ll skip this too. Next is something called aromatherapy using oils and scents to ward off fleas and sooth nerves. The only thing I’m nervous about is this place, so net to this crazy stuff. The last therapy available is hydrotherapy which is basically warm water in a pool with jets spraying you all over. Mommy now insists that I do this whether I’m crazy about it or not. I reluctantly agree to allow myself to become a wet dog and be totally cleaned and massaged all over with pressurized water. However, as soon as we get to the beach, what do you think I’m going to do in all of that warm sand? Can you spell, “buried in sand up to my long neck?” Now that’s what I call really relaxing!

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. If you can be cheerful even though you may be in pain, eat basically the same food every day without complaining, conquer tension and anxiety without drugs, smile when you’re blamed unjustly, never lie or cheat, then you are definitely the family dog.

To see more barks from Susie go to:  http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For info on Sandy Steele : http://sandysteele.com

IF YOU ENJOY SUSIE’S BLOG, WE’D APPRECIATE IT A BUNCH, IF YOU’D TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

Has TV gone to the dogs

My dog Susie says

Springtime in the South”

My Daddy and Big Mommy love the springtime in Georgia. There are all kinds of beautiful flowering bushes and trees everywhere. Pink azaleas, white dogwoods, tulips of every color, honeysuckle bushes in bright orange, purple irises, blue hydrangea, yellow daffodils, violet geraniums, pink petunias, lavender daises, golden sunflowers, red roses, and more than fifty other species of flowering plants. They say that the reason for so many types of beautiful plants is the climate and the special soil found here. The smells and aromas I can’t even describe to a human, except to say… this place is like a garden of Eden especially for a scent-loving canine.

Now Mom, Dad and I spend half the year in California and the other half in the mountains of North Georgia. Dad especially likes the springtime in Georgia because that means he gets to attend the Masters Golf Tournament held each April. The very first time he went, he was awestruck at the natural beauty of the course. He discovered that the Master’s creator Bobby Jones had actually built the golf course on an old plant nursery. Daddy considers it the most beautiful man-made course in America. His favorite golf site for natural beauty is Pebble Beach in Northern California, which he considers one of the most beautiful places in all of the world. And speaking of California…

While we were back in Los Angeles a few months ago, my Big Mommy found a neat television program to help  working parents who have animals at home. And… let’s not debate who works harder, stay at home or working moms…please. Anyway, some smart people in San Diego came up with a brilliant idea for entertaining home-alone pets: DogTV. It’s TV programing shot from the “low” viewpoint of us dogs. Also, the colors are altered so animals can more easily recognize them and the sound effects and music are written especially for dogs.

You see, a dog’s eyes see mostly in blue and yellow colors, but not much red or green (bet you didn’t know that). The programming won’t have loud noises, commercials or high pitched sounds either, which really annoy us. And if you’re wondering what we dogs can see on these new high definition TV’s, we can see everything especially other dogs and their different breeds. In fact, studies have shown that puppies who watch video images of other dogs are more “socialized” than those that don’t. Individual programming segments show “stimulation” with dogs running, playing and even surfing, and end with “relaxation” themes of sleeping dogs in natural settings accompanied with doggy lullabies.

For all the 46 million homeowners with dogs, you don’t have to feel guilty anymore about leaving us alone while you’re gone. For just a few bucks a month on cable, DogTV will entertain and educate us without any commercials, explosions or sirens to frighten us. And that’s a very good thing!  What do you think?

Catch
you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. How many dogs or cats does it take to change a light bulb?

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: The sun is out, and the day is young. We’ve got our whole lives ahead of us. Who cares about a silly light bulb?

ROTTWEILER: Make me!

JACK RUSSELL TERRIER: I’ll just pop one in while I bounce off the walls and ceiling.

GREYHOUND: It doesn’t move. So who cares?

BLACK LAB: Please let me change it..please, please.

BOXER: Who cares? I like playing with my toys in the dark.

BORDER COLLIE: Just one. And I’ll replace the wiring if it’s not perfect.

CAT: You’re kidding..right?

To read more “Susie says” barks: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For more info on Sandy Steele: http://sandysteele.com

For information of DogTV go to http:www.dogtv.com

What do divorces and pet detectives have in common?

My dog Susie says

Fighting like cats and dogs.

A long-time friend of my mom and dad from L.A. recently got divorced. Unfortunately, since the divorce the ex-couple has fought much more over their beagle Sammy than their kids. In fact, divorce issues over pets has become big business. Two brand new occupations now exist, in part, because of these human breakups: “Pet Consultant” and “Pet Detectives.” And I’m not talking about Jim Carrey!

It seems that in most divorce cases, the pet goes with the child. However, what’s a judge to rule when the pet is the child? There are attorneys who specialize just in pet custody cases. Leave it to the lawyers to get ahead of the pack. Also, the pet consultant can be utilized as an expert to help everyone settle their disagreements. People are not embarrassed anymore, as in the past, to fight for custody of a pet. Couples are actually writing in their pre-nups what to do with their pets if they break-up. I wonder if that applies to goldfish?

So a divorced couple usually means shared custody of their animals. In the case of dogs, I wonder if the sharing means more treats! For couples now living in separate cities, it sure means more travel including airplanes. I sure hope my big mommy and daddy don’t get divorced because I’d really hate to fly in that airplane dungeon. Maybe they would agree to fly me first-class? Just kidding…. I’m going to make sure that I entertain both of them so much, they’ll never leave each other. Now what exactly is a pet detective and how did it start?

The pet detective occupation started with finding lost dogs and cats. With the advent of the rising divorce rate, it’s grown exponentially to help lawyers and ex-spouses determine how a pet is being treated by the other person when they have custody. It seems that a few years ago, an estranged wife decided to have her husband’s German Shepherds euthanized while he was out of town. That should be illegal! Hopefully, that won’t happen again.

The pet detective business has become so popular around the country that professional people like nurses, accountants, and businessmen and businesswomen are doing it full-time. Some pet detectives have actually trained their own dogs to find missing or lost pets. One woman in Maine, Liza Nazarenko, has a 90% success rate for finding lost animals. She became a professional pet detective because she had lost her beloved Yellow Lab, Cappuccino. She looked everywhere, posted pictures, and asked for assistance from countless people, but to no avail. Cappuccino was eventually discovered deceased two months later and less than a mile away from her home. Very sad, but Liza turned a negative into a positive experience by helping others find their beloved pets.

Hey, I think I could get the neighborhood dogs to form a group to help find missing pets. We’ve got a Boxer, Dachshund, Border Collie, Irish Setter, Black Lab, Golden Retriever, Bulldog, Cocker Spaniel, and two German Shepherds. How about naming our dog detective group, the “Sherlock Shepherds”? What do you think?

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. Author Tom Clancy once told me, “A trial lawyer is exactly like an attack dog, only without a conscience.”

For more barks from Susie go to:  http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For info on Sandy Steele: http://sandysteele.com

Are pets worth the trouble?

My dog Susie says…

Are pets more “pain” than pleasure?

Since I’m just a dog and the writer of this blog, I probably seem slightly prejudiced on this question. However, I’m going to keep my analysis as unbiased and based on facts…as I can. A few months ago I wrote a ‘bark’ about the health benefits of owning a dog from the prospective of Americans. Let’s look at some of the comments from other places around the globe. 

England’s young royals, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton were recently photographed walking with their black Cocker Spaniel puppy named Lupo. Doctors and medical experts around Europe immediately forecast an increase in longevity for the couple. Dog owners enjoy longer and more positive lifespans because of reduced blood pressure and obesity resulting in robust cardiovascular fitness.  Score one point for pet pleasure.

Let’s talk about the mental side of all of this. It seems that owning a pet, like a dog, also greatly enhances one’s self-esteem while reducing depression. So while walking a dog helps in the physical side, owning a pet can facilitate the development of social contacts leading to a more optimistic view of your personal life and where it’s heading. This is way better than Zanex. Score another point for pets. 

German’s studies showed that pet owners spent 32% less time in hospitals than non-pet owners and saved over $5 billion in health care costs. Australian studies proved that pet owners went to the doctor 12% less and saved over $3 billion annually in health care expenditures. Even in China studies have shown that having a pet in the home greatly reduced doctor visits and sick days at work. Chinese women even refer to their dogs as son or daughter… a surrogate for their missing children who have moved out. Taking care of their pets helps alleviate their loneliness. “And pets don’t talk back and are nonjudgmental listeners” according to many Chinese mothers. Score point three for pets in the pleasure column.

I asked my Big Mommy, Sandy, if she could help with the negative side of the question. I wondered how much the average pet owner spent on their pets. It seems that the “average” owner spends about $300- $500/year for medical expenses like checkups at the Vet, vaccinations, pills etc. Food and treats costs another $250-$500 a year for a dog. She doesn’t have any idea what a cat or goldfish might cost. So it looks like an average pet-owner (dog) probably spends up to $1,000 more per year than a non-owner. So score one point for “pain”. If your pet has to have an operation then score two more point for “pain” both mentally and monetarily. 

It looks like a tie between pain and pleasure. However, studies for children with autism showed dramatic improvement when a dog was present in their home. Military dogs have not only saved soldiers during war for generations, but also aided returning warriors who have been physically disabled or mentally traumatized. Canines are also being used to reduce pain and suffering for humans at hospitals, psychiatric venues, prisons, schools and nursing homes. I could go on and on but it seems to me that the benefits of owning pets are overwhelmingly positive. Whatever a pet may cost in money, it’s returned a hundred fold in health and happiness.

Catch you later, 

Susie & Sandy

P.S. “Whoever coined the phrase you can’t buy happiness with money, never owned a puppy or kitten.”

For more “Susie says” barks go to:  http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com 

For info on Sandy Steele go to:  http://sandysteele.com

Great Advice for your Loved ones

MY DOG SUSIE SAYS,

        “Take care of your pets and they’ll take care of you”

The list below by Dr. Kay is so complete I asked Sandy to pass it along…

   10 Things Responsible Pet Owners Do.

By Dr. Nancy Kay, via Vetstreet
February has been proclaimed “Responsible Pet Owners Month,” but what does the word responsible mean when applied to how we care for our beloved pets? No doubt, there are as many definitions as there are breeds of dogs and colors of cats.
Here is my personal top 10 list of “essential responsibilities,” all of which have been gleaned from three decades of work as a small-animal veterinarian.
1) Believe in “Till Death Do Us Part” When you adopt a pet, you are committing to care for the animal for its entire life. Now, we all know that life has a way of changing unexpectedly. Should your ability to care for your pet change, or if your pet has the potential to live for many decades (such as a parrot or tortoise), your responsibility should be to carefully plan who will be the next care provider for your pet.
2) Know It’s “For Better or Worse” Just as in human relationships, commitment to a pet is to provide love and care “for better or for worse.” Undoubtedly, there will be struggles – delayed house training, separation anxiety, destroyed furniture, chronic health issues (no doubt, you can add to this list). When opening your home and your heart to an animal, be willing and prepared to invest the time, energy and financial resources necessary to successfully manage any rough spots. Such challenges are a normal part of life. The silver lining is that they help us appreciate and enjoy the smooth times so much more.
3) Guarantee Food and Shelter Perhaps the most obvious responsibility on this list, provision of the basic necessities of life, is an important one. Water and nutritious food are a must, as is protection from the elements. Here is where I will present my plug for providing shelter within the home. Given the choice, I firmly believe that the vast majority of dogs and cats would prefer to be housed indoors, living side-by-side with their favorite humans. From their perspective, a bed in the garage or a doghouse in the backyard is invariably a second choice.
4) Provide Emotional Nutrition The kitty who persistently meows at an unanswered door and the dog who is chained to a tree in the yard are both in heartbreaking inhumane situations. The need for emotional nourishment is just as great (if not greater) than the need for what is in the food bowl. Every animal’s emotional needs are different, but every animal deserves to have their emotional needs fulfilled. Your responsibility is to recognize and fill such needs (overfilling is perfectly acceptable!).
5) Commit to Preventive Health Care There is a rather long “to do” list when it comes to proactively preserving your pet’s health. Protection from harm, balanced nutrition, exercise and annual checkups are a good start to any list. I encourage you to work with your veterinarian to create your own “to do” list for your pets.
6) Practice Responsible Parenting If I possessed a magic wand, I would personally like to see all the homeless animals in this country placed in loving homes before any more dogs or cats are bred. Without that magic wand in hand, my best bet is to appeal to you to do whatever it takes to prevent your pet from reproducing. If you are not convinced this is an important issue, I encourage you to visit your local animal shelter or Petfinder.com to see for yourself how many pets are currently homeless.
7) Ensure Your Pet’s Safe Return Should the unthinkable happen and your pet becomes lost, the likelihood of a happy ending is greatly enhanced if he or she has been micro-chipped (and the microchip registry has your current contact information). Another critical safeguard is a collar sporting a current identification tag.
8) Create a Model Citizen Behavioral issues are the number-one reason dogs and cats are relinquished to shelters and other humane organizations. Re-homing such animals is a huge challenge, and the unfortunate end result is often euthanasia. Do the work early on to create a model citizen by participating in training classes or one-on-one work with a trainer. You and your pet will both benefit.
9) Advocate for Your Pet’s Health Whether selecting a vaccination protocol or making a life-or-death decision, your active involvement as a medical advocate for your pet is imperative. You may not have realized it, but at the time of adoption, you accepted “power of attorney” to make medical decisions on your pet’s behalf. Yes, your veterinarian’s recommendations are important, and he or she is an important member of your pet’s health care team, but you are “team captain” because no one knows your pet as well as you do.
10) Plan for End-of-Life Care Unfortunately, sick or aged animals rarely simply pass away peacefully and comfortably in their sleep. In most cases, it is incumbent upon their human family members to decide upon and create an end of life for the pet (whether via euthanasia or hospice care) that is managed humanely. If you share your life with pets, you will undoubtedly find yourself faced with this all-important responsibility, and it is up to you to make sure your animal is as comfortable, free of pain, and well-loved as possible.
This is Dr. Kay’s top 10 list of essential pet care responsibilities. What would you add to the list?

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. Susie says these are a few things we can learn from our dogs:    1. Never pass up a fun joy ride.  2. When your loved one comes home, run and jump up in pure joy, every single time. 3. When you’re happy, show it by dancing around and wagging your entire body. 4. When your loved one is sad, be silent, sit close by and kiss and nuzzle them gently. 5. Enjoy the wind in your face and the simple pleasure of a long walk with a loved one. 

To see more of  “My dog Susie says” go to: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For more info on Sandy Steele go to:  http://sandysteele.com