Here’s the latest in the ASPCA’s anti-puppy mill campaign — a video that reminds those considering going to a pet store to purchase a puppy for Christmas of the unjoyous kind of place that dog likely came from.
“Our goal with this video is to educate consumers in a very compelling way about the connection between pet store puppies and puppy mills, with hopes of reaching millions,” the ASPCA said.
The video, entitled Puppies Are Not Toys, is part of the ASPCA’s No Pet Store Puppies campaign.
It’s timed for Christmas because polls show Americans plan to spend more than $2.5 million on pets over the holidays — the vast majority of that on pets they already have.
The ASPCA is suggesting that consumers avoid buying anything from pet stores that sell puppies because “some of that $2.5 billion in revenue may be supporting the puppy mill industry.”
It cited polls showing about 60 percent of consumers would still consider shopping at a store that also sells puppies.
As an alternative, it suggested shoppers consider giving gifts that make a difference in the lives of animals in need, such as those from its own online store.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: american society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, aspca, campaign, christmas, dogs, gifts, no pet store puppies, pet stores, pets, public service announcement, puppy mills, stuffed, toys, video
It’s a children’s story, centered around an aging boxer named Snort and the two children who love him.
But it’s a tale that applies to any grieving pet owner, serving to remind us, when that sad and difficult time comes, not to dwell on what you have lost but to celebrate the dog you got to have, and reflect on all he taught you.
In reasoned tones, and without relying once on that old fallback, ”The Rainbow Bridge,” it tells the story of a family that loses their dog, works through their grief and honors him in healthy and respectful ways.
The book centers on a boxer named Snort, and the two children, Savy and Sunne, who worry when he gets too sick to chase his ball.
Savy’s parents explain that Snort will need to leave their family because it’s the only way that Snort’s pain will go away.
Savy accepts that, but isn’t so sure how she will cope without her best friend.
In “Snort’s Special Gift,” Savy and her family explore different ways to grieve for and remember a beloved pet — from planting a tree in his memory to crafting tributes, like the one Savy composes in his honor.
In the end, Savy discovers that all the gifts Snort shared with her in life will, like his memory, always be there.
The author of the book, Suzann Yue, lives with her two adopted children and husband in Medina, Minnesota , where she coaches martial arts and is a photographer. She has won eight world karate championship titles, and started a karate school specializing in training children with attention deficit disorders.
The remarkable illustrations were done by Lin Wang, who received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Guangzhou Academy and a Masters degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and children.
(For all our news and reviews of dog books, visit our “Good Dog Reads“ page.)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beaver pond books, book, books, books on dogs, childrens book, death, dogs, gift, gifts, good dog reads, grief, grieving, lin wang, loss, mourning, pets, review, savy, snort, snorts special gift, sunne, suzann yue
Revised, reconfigured and ready to get you all the way through 2013, the “Travels with Ace” calendar is back on sale for a limited time.
A heavy-duty, 18-month wall calendar, it’s illustrated with photos from our year-long, 27,000-mile trip across America — from the coast of Maine, where Ace was the first dog in America to see the sunrise one day in October, to the shores of Monterey, where Ace hopped up for a closer look at a bust of John Steinbeck — the author who inspired our journey.
You can buy it and get more information here, or by clicking on that ad to the left.
Fifty percent of profits from the sale of the calendar go to Rolling Dog Farm, a sanctuary for deaf, blind and disabled animals in New Hampshire (and also one of the stops on our trip).
We’ve added photos of one stop that we didn’t include the first time around — the Coon Dog Cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
The rest of the calendar is packed with images from some of our other stops:
@Salvation Mountain in California, where Leonard Knight has fashioned and painted a mountain in honor of God.
@Niagara Falls, where Ace — ohmigod! — almost disappeared.
@The Lodge, a gentleman’s club in Dallas, where we met one of Michael Vick’s former dogs, and where Ace briefly took the stage.
@Various points south, like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, where we kept running into kudzu dogs.
@The mountains of North Carolina, where we went in search of the elusive — and sometimes not so elusive — white squirrel.
@Rolling Dog Farm, where we reconnected with some old friends.
@John Steinbeck’s former home in Sag Harbor, N.Y., where we began retracing the route the author took in “Travels with Charley.”
@A marina in Baltimore, where we lived on a sailboat for a week, which Ace mostly liked.
Initial sales of the calendar raised $400 for Rolling Dog Farm.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, alabama, america, animals, arizona, baltimore, bandera, calendar, calendars, california, coast, coon dog cemetery, dallas texas, dog, dogs, fathers day, following, gentleman's club, gift, gifts, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, lancaster, maine, monterey, new hamsphire, niagara falls, north carolina, ohmidog!, oregon, path, pets, photography, photos, road trip, rolling dog farm, route, salinas, strip clubs, the lodge, trail, travel, travels with ace, travels with charley, trip, tucson, wall calendar, white squirrels, winslow
Otie, a Maine Coon mix, and Geo, a female domestic shorthair, have hit it off so well inside the shelter’s new communal cat area that they will be wed on Valentine’s Day.
Also to be united in wedlock on the special day are two dogs who arrived at the shelter together, and who staff feel no one should tear asunder.
The shelter will require both cats be adopted by the same family. And both dogs, too. They could do that without a marriage license, but it wouldn’t be nearly as romantic.
Otie, about four and a half years old, arrived at the shelter in March, surrendered by owners who were moving away. Geo, about a year and a half old, arrived the same month after being found wandering.
Both cats, shelter officials say, had shy personalities and were prone to staying in the back of their cages when potential adopters came around, thereby lessening their chances to be adopted.
But recent renovations at the shelter included adding a new communal cat area, where felines could stay in a homelike environment, rather than in cages lining the wall.
Otie and Geo were moved to the communal room with three other cats.
“It wasn’t long before the two found each other and became fast friends,” Wendy Goldbland, director of marketing and public relations for the humane society, wrote in an article for Patch.com:
”Now at any given time, you’ll see the two sleeping on the same bed together, grooming together, or lounging on the same windowsill together. They have become inseparable. The two timid felines have even begun coming out of their shells, giving each other the courage to be more outgoing.”
The wedding will take place with all the trimmings. Among those who have donated their services for the event are Cantor Ellen Schwab, who will officiate the ceremony; Flowers & Fancies, which is providing the floral necessities; and a wedding cake provided by the Bark! store in Pikesville.. (You can see a list of all involved on our “Doggie Doings” page.)
Baltimore Humane Society is now offering a “2 Fur 1 Special” on cats, but in the case of Otie and Geo, a caring member of the community has offered to sponsor their adoption fees if they’re adopted together.
The wedding ceremonies are just one of ways Baltimore Humane Society is celebrating Valentines day.
It’s also inviting you — as an alternative to that box of chocolates — to give your loved one a gift that keeps on giving by becoming a Homeless Pet Sponsor. You have your choice of sponsoring, in the name of your loved one, a dog, cat, or rabbit. With each sponsorship you receive a photo, thank you note, and your name displayed on the animal’s space for the time period you select. Rabbit sponsorships are $20a week or $80 a month, cats are $25 a week or $100 a month. Dogs are $50 a week or $200 a month.
And if you’ve still got love to spare, it suggests checking out the shelter’s Lonely Hearts Club, whose members are the shelter’s longest-term residents. Throughout February, those who take home a member of the club get half off the adoption fee, and three free personal training sessions.
(Photos by Mary Swift)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animal shelters, animals, baltimore humane society, bonded, cat wedding, cats, ceremony, dog wedding, dogs, geo, gifts, homeless pets, lonely hearts club, love, marriage, otie, pets, shelters, sponsor, sponsorships, valentine, valentine's, valentines day, weddings
His first mistake? He brings Bo with him to buy Bo’s gifts, thus spoiling any surprise that might have come Christmas morning.
His second one: letting the news media tag along, thereby assuring, in addition to chaos, that — even if Bo somehow didn’t already see the gifts – he could read about them in the news, or on his favorite blog.
The only saving grace is that the news media hasn’t seemed to have gotten the doggie gifts straight. Some say Obama bought his Portuguese water dog a rubber chew toy and treats, some say a bone and some treats, some say a toy and “another item.”
The only thing they agree on is that Obama purchased two items from a PetSmart in Alexandria yesterday, and that he paid $41 for them.
Which brings us to his third mistake — overpaying. Forty-one dollars, for what appeared in one photograph to be a rawhide chew and a bag of treats?
As the president made his purchase, Bo played with a puppy named Cinnamon, according to the Associated Press, and Obama interrupted Bo’s persistent sniffing of the female poodle, saying, “OK, Bo, don’t get too personal.” (Though I think with a name like Cinnamon, you’re asking for it.)
But back to Christmas. Ace and I had decided not to exchange gifts this year. We’d opted to tighten our belts/collars and refrain from the joyous tradition in light of the fact that WE HAVE NO DAMN MONEY.
Instead, as we did while on the road last year, when we gave everyone already broken in gifts, we will celebrate frugally and quietly. It was my mother who suggested the family hold on to their dough and not exchange gifts this season, but she didn’t mean it, and nobody listened to her anyway.
She sent my brother $100 for Christmas. Meanwhile, my brother, unable to find the perfect gift, sent her money for Christmas — also $100 dollars.
It makes one wonder why bother, when the only one making a profit is the post office. Then again, it’s good to help out the needy around Christmas time.
All my immediate relatives will be getting from me this year is the Travels with Ace calendar, which benefits — in addition to the post office, Paypal, and the online printing company that made it — Rolling Dog Farm in New Hampshire.
So far, we’ve sent along $400 to the sanctuary for blind, deaf and disabled animals.
So that fills us with Christmas cheer. As does a handsome check my mother gave me last night as my Christmas present, even though we’re not exchanging them this year.
I am to go out and buy myself something. If I play my cards right (read: Walmart), it should be enough to cover a small gift for her, a pair of “dress pants” for me (just to make her happy), perhaps a winter jacket and the vet bill for Ace’s recent urine test.
(Those tests, like the previous ones on his blood, were all negative, which leads me to suggest that — like those lawyers who promise not to charge you unless they win your case – veterinarians and human doctors should swallow the cost of any tests they order that don’t turn up something. Don’t get bent out of shape, veterinarians, I’m mostly joking. Ace, by the way, continues to be fine.)
With the check from my mother, I think there may even be enough to get Ace a little something — certainly not $41 worth – for Christmas … even though we agreed not to exchange gifts this year.
(Top photo: By Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, belt tightening, bo, bone, calendar, cheer, chew toy, christmas, commercialism, cutting back, dog, economy, exchanging, gifts, holiday, money, mother, obama, petsmart, presents, president, travels with ace, treats
Which is surprising, considering how loud, garish, and exclamation point-filled it is.
Likely, there are two reasons I’ve been taken by surprise: First, I don’t have a proper wall calendar, on which I can write down important dates. Second, up until the last couple of days — even though it has been around since at least 2005 — I’d never heard of it.
In case you’re as uninformed as I was, Cyber Monday is basically Black Friday online, with Internet retailers offering alleged discounts on purchases made through their websites.
After three days of shopping ’til you drop (apparently Black Friday also includes Saturday and Sunday), yet another day is set aside for you to spend some more in the comfort of your home.
Normally, I couldn’t care less about Cyber Monday. But with the announcement of our new 2012 (and half of 2013) “Travels with Ace” calendar — now available at a website near you — I would like to hop aboard the bandwagon and take advantage of any spending frenzy that’s out there.
So, for one day only — what the heck, let’s make it a week; no, let’s go crazy and say a full month (while supplies last) — our sister website (TravelswithAce.com) will be taking orders for the calendar at full price. That’s right, full price, allowing you to spend the money that you, thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, have saved elsewhere.
What, you were expecting a bargain? Alas, we shant be slashing prices — for several reasons.
First off, the calendar is raising money for Rolling Dog Farm, with 50 percent of all profits going to the non-profit organization that cares for blind, deaf and disabled animals in New Hampshire.
Second, I put it together through a website that will remain nameless – unless you order a calendar, in which case it will have their name plastered on it somewere — and as I was doing so, the price kept going up. When I called to see if I could get an additional discount given my volume purchase, and given it was a partly philanthropic effort, I was told no — that the current “sale” price was the best they could offer. Because the website pointed out the sale price was expiring that day, I placed my order. Guess what happened the next day? The price went down, a little. In other words, I paid too much for them.
Third, it’s an 18-month calendar. That’s six, SIX! extra bonus months. It’s also a limited edition, and each copy will be hand signed. My first real foray into Internet marketing ( if you haven’t already figured that out), the ”Travels with Ace” Calendar features some of the more memorable moments from the year Ace and I spent traveling the U.S. It also features 30 or so of our old dog friends back in Baltimore.
For every purchase of a “Travels with Ace” calendar, customers can buy as many additional copies as they want at FULL price.
(Normally, this is where the small print would go, but I don’t know how to make small print. Besides, it hurts my eyes.)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, calendar, click til you're sick, cyber monday, dogs, fundraiser, gifts, internet, marketing, online, pets, profits, road trip, rolling dog farm, sales, shop til you drop, travels with ace, travels with ace calendar
Christmas, as we all know, isn’t about receiving. It’s about regifting.
At least it is for me this year.
Having spent the last seven months on the road with Ace, and being temporarily shacked up in a trailer park in the desert, I decided that all the gifts I give my family members in Arizona will be items that I have tested and gently broken in.
Because “used” is such a harsh word.
I don’t feel guilty about this at all — for several reasons. For one, my father announced he and his wife are not giving, and don’t want to receive, presents this year. They live on a fixed income. I live on a broken one. So it works out just fine.
Then, too, as you regular readers know, part of Travels with Ace is seeing how cheaply we can pull off our time on the road — an attempt to spend no more money than we were while living in a rented house in Baltimore. We’ve managed, mostly, to do that, and I don’t want to allow the crass commercial side of Christmas to set back all we have achieved in that regard.
As far as the receiving side, facing the long journey back east in my already overstuffed car, any new items for me, at least those that aren’t cash, or are bigger than a breadbox, would be problematic — except for maybe a nice warm sweater, or perhaps some gloves.
In my view, though gifts aren’t what Christmas is all about, a totally giftless Christmas would be wrong. So I don’t intend to comply fully with my father’s no-gifts edict. Instead, I will put my own spin on it.
He and his wife, and my brother and his partner, who all live in the Phoenix area, will be receiving items from me that — while they have made my weeks in Petite Acres, a trailer park in Cave Creek, more comfortable – were purchased with them, at least partially, in mind.
True, they are items that I can’t or don’t want to haul back to Baltimore; and, yes, they are items that, for a brief period, served my purposes. But far more important than that is the spirit of giving in which I will bestow them, once I’m done with them.
One red chiminea.
(Not to be confused with a chimichanga, this is a big clay pot with a smokestack — available at most local Western-Mexican-Indian gift shops in the area — in which you can build an outdoor fire. I am not merely “using” the chiminea to keep myself from being cold at night, and add a warm glow to my dirt yard. I am lovingly breaking it in — seasoning it and tempering it, if you will — before I deliver it to my brother on Christmas day. Though Ace has been tempted to pee on it, because it resembles a fire hydrant, I am pretty sure he hasn’t.)
Two big coffee mugs — one red, one blue.
(What better symbolizes the warmth of the season than a brightly-colored coffee mug, filled with the steaming hot beverage of your choice? The fact that only one coffee mug came with my trailer, and was usually dirty, was not the main reason I bought these for my father and his wife. Rather, it was a well-thought out gift purchase, based on their desire not to have things that take up much space, and a mental note I made during a visit to their house that, while they had coffee mugs, they had no sizeable, gayly colored ones.)
(Even more gayly colored and festive, this gift purchase, I reasoned, would help keep my father and his wife warm at night, and would be ideal for snuggling under while watching a little TV, and they do have a little TV. That Ace and I tested it out — that it may have a few dog hairs on it and smell like cigarette smoke by the time I give it to them — are but small concerns when one looks at the bigger picture and true meaning of Christmas.)
Two bags of Cave Creek Coffee holiday blend.
(The Cave Creek Coffee Company was having a buy-one-get-one-half-price sale on their holiday blend. So I bought two and got two for half price. I would like to make it clear that the ones I’m giving as gifts to my father and brother are those for which I paid fully, while I’m hanging on to the half-price ones — allowing me to test it, making sure the blend is both savory and festive.)
So, you see, while they may have briefly fulfilled my modest needs, these gifts, I’m sure you understand, are not really “used,” or even “pre-owned” — for I don’t look at my relationship with them as that of owner-and-item.
Rather, my time with them has been fleeting – just enough to allow me to share in their joy before passing that joy on to others, at once “paying it forward” and ensuring that said items are indeed quality merchandise that will go on to bring my family members countless years of happiness.
So when I sit outside as the sun sets, under a festive Indian blanket, drinking Cave Creek holiday blend from a brightly colored coffee mug and keeping my feet toasty in the warm glow of a chiminea, I am thinking not of myself, but of how much pleasure my purchases will, eventually, bring my family members.
Yes, I’m quite a guy.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, cave creek coffee company, chiminea, christmas, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, etiquette, exchange, gifts, giving, holiday, indian blanket, meaning of christmas, mugs, petite acres, pets, pre-owned, presents, regift, regifting, road trip, season, spirit, trailer park, travel, travels with ace, used, warm
Unlike many a website, we don’t accept money — however much we might need it — for sneaking advertising links into our editorial matter. We don’t assault you with pop-ups. We don’t run advertising in disguise. All our ads are on our leftside rail (<—— ) over there. Blame it on my journalism background. I’m ethical, darn it.
That doesn’t mean we won’t write about or mention our advertisers, or other companies, when circumstances merit it — either as a news item or, as in this case, when thanks are due.
For every stop we’ve made as part of our continuing “Dog’s Country” tour, K-9 Kraving, Baltimore-based maker of raw diet dog food, has shipped a package of treats to our hosts — to those individuals who offered us lodging and to the shelters, sanctuaries and rescues we’ve reported on.
It’s my way of saying thank you, without actually paying for it.
What makes it even cooler, is that it was K-9 Kraving’s idea. I did offer to, in exchange, run their advertisement for free for the duration of my trip, but, as it turns out, they’re spending far more than that shipping a collection of treats to those place I’ve stopped.
So, from St. Bernard’s Parish in Louisiana, where the oil spill has led to an influx of shelter dogs, to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where I spent two days as a volunteer, to Utopia Animal Rescue, Kinky Friedman’s Texas-based sanctuary (home of the dog shown above), shipments of K-9 Kraving treats have arrived.
Those individuals with dogs who have taken me in — including Judith Pannebaker in Bandera, Texas, Jen Walker in Albuquerque, and my brother in Phoenix — have also received treat packages, in thanks for their hospitality to ohmidog!
So now it’s my turn to thank K-9 Kraving, whose raw diet dog food was Ace’s food of choice — back when we had a freezer.
Now, as many of you know, we’re on the road, and have been for 50 days. Likely, as we’ve found we can travel for about the same amount of money we survived on back in Baltimore, while still doing our blog and seeking jobs, we’ll continue for a few months more – taking the pulse of America, its dogs, and its dog-friendliness in a journey made possible by my 401K, unemployment insurance and K-9 Kraving and all my other advertisers.
So thanks to them all. Now get back over there to the leftside rail, where you belong.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 15th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, advertisers, advertising, baltimore, best friends, dog food, dog's country, dogscountry, gifts, k-9 kraving, ohmidog!, raw diet, road trip, sponsors, st. bernard's parish, travel, traveling with dogs, treats, utopia animal rescue, visits
The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) is having a party Saturday — and it’s a chance to get your pet a gift and support hundreds more who need homes.
A Pet Junkie Party will take place in the Conference Room at BARCS, starting at 4 .m. tomorrow (Saturday). BARCS is located at 301 Stockholm Street in Batimore, near M&T Bank Stadium.
Pet Junkie representative Denise Smallman-Chilcoat will be selling dog and cat toys, pet-themed home decor items, jewelry, T-shirts and more, with 35 percent of sales going to BARCS.
For those unable to make it to the party, Pet Junkie will donate 35 percent of online sales to BARCS.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, bling, cats, denise smallman-chilcoat, doggie, dogs, fundraiser, gifts, jewerly, online, party, pet junkie, pet products, pets, sales, t-shirts, toys
The Alioto family is still hoping for the safe return of Max, a four-month-old puppy that was apparently taken during a burglary of their Baltimore home.
The house, in the city’s Gardenville neighborhood, was broken into two days before Christmas, and thieves took electronic equipment, video games, several Christmas presents and the family’s new mixed breed puppy, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Keith Alioto, 41, of the 5700 block of Belle Vista Ave., said he, his wife and six children left the house about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and returned about 11 p.m. to find the house had been broken into through a rear window.
The dog is mostly black with brown and white chest and paws. He wasn’t wearing a collar. Alioto said fliers with a photo of the missing dog have been distributed throughout the area.
Update: For this story’s happy ending, view the comments.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 28th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baltimore, burglary, christmas, crime, dog, gardenville, gifts, keith alioto, lost, max, missing, mixed breed, puppy, stolen, taken