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?

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?


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


When you want a new pet, do you buy or rent?

My dog Susie says

To reduce stress: rent a pet?

I’ve been hearing a lot about how owning a pet can reduce life’s daily stress levels. I saw a university study recently that said if you take your dog to work, it will lower your stress level by at least 11%. I don’t know how exactly they measure it, but it makes sense to me. How many co-workers show uninhibited love and respect for you at your job? How many listen to your every word and follow most of your commands? How many dogs have asked you for a loan or to “go get their coffee”? I rest my case.

Now for those people who aren’t sure about adding a pet to your lifestyle, there is another option to consider. When you buy a car you can either “own” or “lease” it. Well, now you can lease a pet. I kid you not. These Rent-A-Pet services are available throughout the nation via new companies that target dog and cat lovers. My advice is don’t rent one of each at the same time or your stress level will go up!

Because of the lousy economy many owners have had to give up their pets because they can’t afford them. Sad. The benefits of these rental programs are that the dogs, which mostly come from animal shelters, get a chance to spend time running and walking outside in parks or the countryside. To keep these rented dogs from becoming lost, they are outfitted with a GPS location device from the Rent-A-Pet companies. Great idea even for permanent pets… so owners, you should look into this as well. One important point: The fees for renting the cats and dogs are zero. Free!

A couple of months ago I first “barked” about the military dogs who have served overseas and how much they meant to the troops they served with. These extraordinary dogs’ primary job is bomb sniffing. Talk about stress! Anyway, I mentioned a particular German Shepherd named Sergeant Rex who served three combat tours in Iraq. His Marine handler was a lady soldier named Megan Leavey. Wow, I didn’t realize there are women Marines fighting for all of us over there. Good for us girls!

Corporal Leavey was injured when a bomb went off hurting her and Rex. She was eventually returned to the U.S. after recuperating , but Rex was left in Iraq to continue his dangerous job. That was over six years ago. Megan tried for years to adopt Rex but to no avail. She went on TV and other media, but nothing happened until New York Senator Charles Schumer started a petition to allow Rex and Megan to rejoin each other. After 22,000 people signed the petition, the Marines relented and allowed Sergeant Rex and Corporal Megan Leavey to reunite for good at home in America. One veteran Marine said about Rex, “He’s a combat-wounded marine and the person who’ll understand him the best is another combat-wounded marine.”

So stress is everywhere and it makes sense to try and reduce it by adopting, nurturing and loving animals like dogs and cats. It seems to be mutually beneficial for humans and animals. Who could ask for more?

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. Dogs and cats may be better than many children. They don’t ask for money, eat less, much easier to raise, don’t drive, come home when called, don’t do drugs, don’t drink, don’t wear your clothes, don’t go to expensive colleges, and if they get pregnant, and if you chose…. you can always give the results to your friends.

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

For additional information on Sandy Steele : http://sandysteele.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

“Mitt and Barack come to my party”…April Fools

My dog Susie says

Party like it’s 1999.”

My big Mommy, Sandy, informed me that since I’m a rescue dog and don’t know exactly when I was born, she decided that April 1 would be a great day for it. So “April Fools” everyone! I like it. Anyway, now we have to get down to the details of my very first birthday party.

First we have to make a guest list. All the neighborhood dogs will be invited except that horny poodle up the street. And the cats…what to do? Mom says we should invite them so we don’t discriminate against anybody. O.K. That’s fine as long as they don’t scratch-up my presents or hiss at my cake. 

My friends from out of town will be invited, especially Uggie. I hope his head hasn’t grown too big since he starred in the Oscar winning Best-Picture “Silent Movie.” I’ll text his agent right away. I hope the other dogs I’m inviting from back there that I met on the Santa Monica beach, can fly back here on Uggie’s jet. 

Sandy decided if the weather’s nice we’ll have the party outside in our fenced back yard. I guess it makes for a much easier clean-up after the party’s over. Also the fence keeps the squirrels from stealing our treats. Speaking of a menu, I’m hoping she fixes a liver pate as the appetizer. The main course should be chopped up filet mignon with a mushroom sauce. Dessert could be a fresh fruit bowl with sugar-free whipped cream. Of course the fruit would be sliced into small pieces so nobody chokes. The cats with smaller throats might have to watch out however.

Next is the entertainment. I would like some doggie-disco music playing while the humans throw Frisbees and tennis balls for us to catch. Maybe my big mommy can also bury a big juicy steak bone somewhere in the yard. Sort of an Easter egg hunt for pooches. At the end of the evening all of us could tear apart a Pinata which resembles the postman. Just kidding. We’re lovers not fighters.

Sandy said that we definitely won’t be doing the following things: Have candles on the cake. No plastic spoons or forks anywhere. No toys from China. No open doors into the house allowing for possible doggie bad behavior.  Nobody marking each others territory. Now I understand that last request, but Mom… really!

It sounds like my first birthday celebration should be a lot of fun for everyone. Mom said she’s going to take  bunches of pictures of the party, so I can look back years later and see just how cute I was…. when I celebrated my first birthday.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. If you believe for one second that dogs can’t count, put three treats in your pocket, give out two and see what happens.

For more My dog Susie says go to http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com 

Info on Sandy Steele can be found at: 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


        “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



Puppy vs. Super Bowl

My dog Susie says 

Giants against Puppies 

This years Super Bowl was between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots football teams. Now every year my Daddy, Richard, has a few friends over to watch these guys beat each other up, while they enjoy pizza and beer. It sort of reminds me of the Romans and the Christians in the Coliseum, except hopefully nobody gets killed. Anyway, my big mommy Sandy and I and the neighborhood pets go into her bedroom and turn on my favorite sporting event of the year: The Puppy Bowl.  

While dad’s friends hoot and holler and drink and eat, we all quietly enjoy the peacefulness and silly antics of young dogs frolicking and competing with each other for a couple of hours. Even the cats enjoy the action. This year’s puppy athleticism was exciting to watch. Here’s a brief recap of both contests. 

First of all, the Puppy Bowl production values can’t be beat! Even with their meager budget the puppy team led the way in play by play “color” commentary: there was coverage from the Sky Box by Meep the Bird tweeting every on-field move; and, as a bonus, the bravery of “team” hamsters high-up in the blimp with an aerial view and narration of the action below. Puppy team spirit was enhanced by the bunny “Kiss Cam” to spice things up (Jumbo-tron is soooo passe) and, of course, the Cuddly and Cute Kitten halftime show. The sexy kittens really outdid themselves this year. Their cuteness was really jacked up with the flash stage and props. 

As for the actual game, while the first quarter had a slow start, Aberdeen the Heeler Shepherd and Hunter the Pit Bull mix saved the game with 4 touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Adding to the overall excitement, Hollie the Border Collie mix let her enthusiasm boil over into a few fights towards the end and accrued a few penalties but wasn’t ejected from the game. I’m a Border Collie myself, but I’m a lover not a fighter! 

Of course, the field was “fouled” once or twice but the guilty pup only received a five yard penalty. The game itself was raucous and action-packed at every turn. I was panting just trying to follow the tackles, nipping, pooping, instant replays and all the sideline and aerial camera work! Thank goodness for half-time so I could dash over to my water bowl to cool down. I wonder what really happened in the puppy team locker room? What did the coach say? Who is the coach anyway? 

The kick-off for the Super Bowl was boring to me but the game was exciting according to Daddy and his buddies yelling and slapping each others hands. Half of the room was for the New York Giants and the other half for the New England Patriots. After seeing both quarterbacks I like the Patriots because their quarterback is really handsome. I looked at the game when my Puppy Bowl had a commercial or was at half-time. At the end of the first half of the Super bowl, one team was ahead by a point. But the best thing about this years game: The half-time show featuring Madonna. Big Mommy loves Madonna’s music and actually met her once. Daddy has met her numerous times also, but doesn’t mention it too much. Maybe he prefers Lady Gaga. 

This was the first time I’ve ever watched a music concert and it was sure exciting with all the people on stage running and jumping around while they were singing. They also seemed to flash a lot. Anyway, since this was my first concert, I had to rely on Mom’s approval which she readily gave. 

The rest of the game seemed to go back and forth with one team leading and then the other until the very last play. The New York giants won and the crowd went wild. The MVP (most valuable player) was a quarterback named Eli Manning who was cute, but not as cute as the guy for New England. The MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) in a hotly contested vote was a Chihuahua named Fumble. He also lives in New York. Is that a coincidence or a conspiracy? Hmmmmm. 

Now comes the real question: which game was the most entertaining? 

After numerous debates the girls won. The Puppy Bowl was voted most enjoyable because: 

1. Puppies are much cuter than 300 lb. football players. 2. Dogs don’t spit and hit each other. 3. Dogs don’t jump up and down congratulating themselves on every play. 4. Dogs are willing to share the ball. 5. When a dog gets hurt the other dogs will lick them. The human players sometimes kick a player when he’s down. 6. Lastly, for the dogs, cats, pigs and parrots the game is just a game. For the players it’s just a business. 

Catch you later, 

Susie and Sandy 

P.S. Researches have recently discovered that some dogs can comprehend a vocabulary of 2,000 words, whereas some cats can only understand up to 50 words. No one ever asks how many words a football player can comprehend. 

To see more of Susie’s blogs go to: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

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