Pup Culture May/June Home and Garden Issue

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PUP CULTURE May/June 2013 | www.pupculturemagazine.com













IT CAN HAPPEN SOONER THAN YOU THINK . 50% of all pets born are accidents. Spaying or neutering your pet at 4 months can prevent those accidents and help save millions of dogs and cats from being killed in shelters each year. PREVENT MORE. FIX AT MONTH FOUR.














TTOUCH Face Wrap for Mouthy Dogs


GROOMING Managing Shedding


TRAVEL & LEISURE K9 Geocaching


HEALTH & WELLNESS Chemical-Free Cleaning


DOG AS ART Garden Party


BEHAVIOR & TRAINING Moving Your Dog To A New Home

JOHN KASSIR And His Furry Sidekicks


AUTHOR ALLIE LARKIN and Her Canine Muses




MAKE THE CHANGE FOR DOGS THIS SPRING How to Be the Change and Make Fido Proud



36 32 40

44 44

RESCUE Gabe the Hero Dog: From Humble Stray to Noble Hero











57 8

DOGGIE DELICACIES: Blueberry Muffins


PRODUCT GUIDE: Designer Dog Beds for Trendy Pups



46 PRODUCT GUIDE: Gifts for the Home Every Dog Lover Needs 48

MAKE YOUR OWN: Dog-Friendly Herb Garden




PRODUCT REVIEW: Soggy Doggy Doormat


PRODUCT REVIEW: Sniff Pet Candle


THE PUP CULTURE LIST: Ten Common Household Toxins


PUP PERSONALS www.pupculturemagazine.com | 3




Celebrating Canine Culture

Greetings Readers! Welcome to the Home & Garden Issue of Pup Culture Magazine. Spring is here, the flowers are blooming and our dogs are excited to get out and enjoy the sunshine. In this issue, we have articles aimed at providing you with some great ideas for a happy, healthy environment for both you and your pup. Planning on planting a garden this year? Our article on dog-friendly landscaping on page 36 will help you to choose plants that not only look beautiful, but are safe for Fido. While you’re at it, check out our article on page 48 for instructions on how to make your own dog-friendly herb garden.

Publisher Avant-Bark Media Editor-in-Chief Gabriella Martinez Contributing Editor Michelle Macirella Design & Production Monica Cevallos Gabriella Martinez Photo Editor Michelle Macirella

We are pleased to introduce you to actor and comedian John Kassir, who plays one-half of the two-headed giant in the recent film, Jack the Giant Slayer. John lives with two funny and adorable Border Collies, Duncan and Fig. You can meet them on page 26.

Managing Editor MaryAnn Aquilino

We are also happy to honor a truly incredible dog, Gabe, the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog. Read his story on page 44.

Copy Editor Julie Wilner

And what is more adorable than a group of pugs? How about a group of pugs in top hats and tutus? Be sure to check out Dog As Art on page 42. In this issue Photo Editor, Michelle Macirella, presents “Garden Party.”

Contributing Writers MaryAnn Aquilino Carol Bryant Laura Kinsey Dolph Carol Giotto Kristina N. Lotz Michelle Macirella Gabriella Martinez Kim Mayes Debra Thesing Elaine Webster

We’re always on the lookout for unique stories about dogs, their owners and community programs. So feel free to let us know about a great story you think we should cover or feature. Don’t forget to get social with us on Facebook, Twitter and our website at www.pupculturemagazine.com to stay current with more great articles, information and giveaways exclusive to the web. Our bi-monthly online subscription is free, so be sure to sign-up on our mailing list through the website to be the first to have the magazine delivered right to your inbox.


Contributing Photographers Sharon Hardy, Sweet Potato Pet Photography Jessica Luce, Jessica Luce Pet Photography Michelle Macirella, Luminaria Photography Advertising Inquires:


email advertising@pupculturemagazine.com

Copyright 2013 by Avant-Bark Media. All rights reserved. No part of publication may be reproduced by any means, electronic or mechanical, including the internet or photocopying without the written permission of the publisher. PUP CULTURE Magazine and its logotype are the trademarks of Avant-Bark Media. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, images, photographs, or other materials. By accepting and publishing advertising, the publisher in no way recommends, guarantees or endorses the quality of services or products within those advertisements.

PUP CULTURE May/June 2013 | www.pupculturemagazine.com


The information contained in this on-line magazine is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Pup Culture Magazine and Avant-Bark Media, and while every effort is made to provide information which is both current and correct, Pup Culture Magazine and Avant-Bark Media make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the online magazine or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained within the on-line magazine for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.













Actor and Comedian John Kassir and his dogs, Duncan and Fig. Photography by Sharon Hardy


In no event will Pup Culture Magazine and Avant-Bark Media be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this on-line magazine.

Contributors Gabriella Martinez, Editor-In-Chief

MaryAnn Aquilino, Contributing Writer

Gabriella is a marketing professional and owner of A Barkers Dozen Gourmet Dog Treats. Her intricately decorated treats have been featured in various publications such as People Pets, Dog Tipper and local papers. She is a graduate from Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelors of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Printing and Publishing, Photographic Arts and Sciences, Marketing and Psychology. A life-long animal lover, she currently lives with her 3 dogs and 6 cats.

After 25 years in the corporate world, MaryAnn decided to do what she loved— work with dogs. She studied everything she could about dog training, worked with a several great trainers, and has had success with training dogs in people’s homes. She is also a certified groomer and loves what she does—much less stress and doggy kisses every day; What’s not to like?! She always loved to write and has done so for local newspapers, websites, and now for a great magazine, Pup Culture! One her greatest joys is to be able to help people and their dogs, either through training, grooming, writing, or a combination of the three.

Michelle Macirella, Photo Editor Michelle Macirella is the Owner/Photographer of Luminaria Photography in Rochester, NY. In addition to being a photographer, Michelle was also a professional theatrical Stage Manager and Production Secretary on Academy & Emmy Award winning film and television productions such as A Beautiful Mind and Ed. She has been a contributing writer and photographer for several publications including Lake Affect Magazine and Rochester Woman Magazine, and is a member of Professional Photographers of America. One of Michelle’s specialties is commercial pet photography and pet portraits. She is a lover of all things dog, especially her own Tibetan Spaniel mix, Bear, who brightens her life every day.

Monica Cevallos, Design & Production

Monica is an avid animal lover and design and illustration fancier, who 8 years ago merged these three loves together to form Sniff Design Studio™, an award-winning graphic design studio that caters to the pet industry. She holds degrees in Fine Art, Graphic Design and Print Production from San Fransico State University and Platt College of Design. She is also the proud mother of Willamina & Maxamillion (A.K.A.) Mina and Max, two darling yet little devil dachshunds.

Debra Thesing, Contributing Writer (Make Your Own) Debra Thesing works in the legal field by day and all things Pug the rest of her waking hours! She is the owner of Pugpossessed - a little shop not just for Pugs. She and her husband are owned by 6 Pugs, 3 of whom are rescues. She is actively involved with rescue and travels near and far meeting up with online friends and going to Pug events and fundraisers.

Rebecca Astheimer, Contributing Writer Throughout her college career, Rebecca was a columnist for her University’s newspaper, and spent her free weekends volunteering at local animal shelters. She is a graduate of Hoftstra University and lives in Rochester, NY with her beloved Cardigan Corgi, Scooter.

Kim Mayes, Behavior & Training Kim Mayes is an AKC CGC and Puppy STAR Evaluator, a SARA Therapy & Service Animal Trainer/Evaluator and a Certified Trick Dog Instructor. Kim is also Team Leader for Rockin’ Dawgs All-Star Pro Performance Dog Team and enjoys competing in many dog sports, however, her passion lies with trick training, animal acting and canine freestyle. Kim resides in Titusville, Florida with her 3 Siberian Huskies (Seppala, Nali and Abbey) and her English Bulldog (Riddick). Her dogs have received multiple titles over the years and have gone to do work in books, training videos and print ads. Her dog ‘Seppala’ was the 1st dog in the country to receive the title of Trick Dog Champion and her rescued English Bulldog ‘Riddick’ has been the 1st, and so far the only, dog of his breed to achieve the same title.

Jessica Luce, Contributing Photographer Jessica graduated from Portfolio Center’s post-graduate program for Commercial Photography and knew before she even got her hands on the diploma that dog photography is what she’s meant to do! Her sincere love for dogs of all breeds combined with her creative passion for photography birthed a career that she wouldn’t dare trade for anything else. Jessica is an Atlanta, Georgia native and you can find her photographing family pets and for rescue groups throughout Atlanta and its suburbs..

Sophie Garamond, Contributing Photographer Sophie Gamand is a French photographer and an imagery consultant in New York City. After several years as chief editor of a major French photo magazine, in 2011 she created Striking Paws Photography, a photo business dedicated to animal photography. Sophie is fascinated by the contemporary dynamics of the relationship between pets and their owners. She is currently working on several art series involving dogs, and volunteers for The Sato Project, a non-profit rescuing dogs in Puerto Rico. Her work has been featured in newspapers, magazines and TV worldwide.

Carol Giotto, Contributing Writer (TTouch)

Sharon Hardy, Contributing Photographer

Carol was first certified as a Tellington TTouch Practitioner in 2001. She is actively involved with Therapy Dogs International; she is the current director of TDI Chapter #216 and she and her two therapy dogs (Jonah and Lottie Mae) visit various libraries and nursing homes in the Rochester Area. Carol is also a founding member and Treasurer of Veterans PetReach, Inc., a local charitable organization whose mission is to foster, train and place a carefully selected shelter or rescue animal with a Veteran who can benefit from the presence of a companion animal. Carol is also actively involved in fundraising activities for the Rochester City Animal Shelter (Rochester Animal Services). She lives with her husband, English Mastiffs and a cat.

Sharon Hardy is the owner & photographer of Sweet Potato Pet Photos in Los Angeles. She especially loves capturing that special bond between pets and their humans. Before working as a full-time pet photographer, she worked in the TV industry for 14 years, mostly with Conan O’Brien, and studied film & television at New York University. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and awesome rescue pug, Chubs

Julie Wilner, Copy Editor

Julie Wilner is a former newspaper copy editor who now works as a clinical social worker for the Veterans Administration. As part of the post-traumatic stress disorder treatment team, she regularly witnesses the therapeutic benefit of dogs, both trained and untrained as service animals. Once a week, Julie’s dog, Brisket, accompanies her to work and is a favorite of both veterans and staff, even though his focus is often on foraging for treats.

Linda Dow Hayes, Contributing Photographer Linda Dow Hayes is a portrait photographer living and working in Upstate New York. Born and raised in New Hampshire, she has fond memories of time spent with her first family dog, Susie and her stepdog Rasputin. She enjoys spending time with her family attending sporting events and concerts as well as hiking and relaxing at home. Along with her English Springer Spaniel, KC (short for Katherine Claire-which her family decided was far too proper of a name for daily use), she has a cat, Maybelline, and 2 Japanese Fighting Fish, Gypsy and Mayor McFish, as members of her family.

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MAY 18th Run to the Rescue Edgerton, WI

MAY 18th

Dog Days at the Bentonville Farmers Market

MAY 19th

Milwaukee Pug Fest Franklin, WI

Bentonville, AR

9AM – 10AM

A family-orientated and dog-friendly 5k Fun Run/1 mile walk in rural Rock County. Proceeds from this event will benefit Friends of Noah rescue and our affiliated community service programs. After the run/walk, stick around for the K9 Community Carnival, an outdoor carnival-style event with plenty of activities for everyone (including dogs!).

For More Information: runtotherescuerace.org

7AM – 1PM

Sponsored by VetIQ, Dog Days at the Bentonville Farmers Market will include a dog parade at 9:00, k9 celebrities, special dog vendors, local shelters, and activities for your pup! Please stay tuned for more info on the parade, prizes will be awarded!

For More Information:

downtownbentonville.org/events/ farmers-market

JUNE 2nd

JUNE 20th

Birmingham, AL

Phoenix, AZ

Million Dog March

10AM – 2PM

Phoenix Pet Expo

For More Information: milwaukeepugfest.com

Want Your Pet Related Event Listed?


Join with dogs and their guardians at McLaren Park for the Million Dog March, a fabulously large dog walk and festival of fun and games. We will try to break the Guinness World Record for largest dog walk ever. The route is three miles on park trails that are paved and dirt, with beautiful views.

The Dog Days of Kenmore is a fun, free event for canines and their people; a celebration of dogs and the enjoyment and interest they bring to our lives! The excitement includes dog sports, contests with prizes, education and training, vendors, rescue groups,treats for humans and canines, and much more!

For More Information: facebook.com/milliondogmarchsf

For More Information: www.dogdayswny.com


9:45AM – 4PM

Attracting more than 1,700 pugs, pug mixes and other “smushie-faced breeds” with their owners in tow, the Fest’s attractions include pug races, a talent and costume contests, exhibits, demonstrations, vendors, silent auctions, and services such as an animal communicator, pet portraits and nail trimming.

Enter your pet event details at pupculturemagazine.com/events

or email: info@pupculturemagazine.com


Blueberry Muffins DOG-APPROVED

Photo by Michelle Macirella


n 2 1/2 cups of oat flour n 3/4 cup rolled oats n 3/4 cup organic honey n 1 cup of fresh blueberries n 1/4 cup applesauce n 2 tsp baking soda n 1 tsp vanilla n 1 egg

DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 400째F (200째C). 2. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners. 3. Combine all ingredients except the blueberries into a large bowl. 4. Fold in blueberries. 5. Fill muffin cups. 6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 7. Let cool and feed to hungry puppies.




What is TTouch ? The Tellington TTouch or TTouch was developed by Linda Tellington Jones. TTouch is made up of ground work (or the confidence course), body work and leash work. TTouch can be used to address a number of behavior issues as well as to benefit general well-being. To find out more about TTouch or to find a practitioner in your area visit



Written by Carol Giotto


re you dreading the summer season because you have a dog that barks at everything? If so, using a face wrap on your dog may be helpful. A face wrap is a piece of elastic that you put around your dogs neck and snout. It is not meant to be tight or restrictive like a muzzle. The wrap is used to create body awareness. A face wrap is also very helpful as preparation for putting a head collar on your dog. It’s important to be in a safe position while working with your dog. Stand or crouch facing the same direction as your dog. Place yourself next to him at his shoulder. If you are crouched, make sure you are in a position that you can stand up quickly and easily if needed (don’t be sitting cross legged on the floor). If your dog is a jumper, you can help to keep him in place by slipping your thumb over his collar under his throat. If you are working with an aggressive dog, you’d be best served by contacting a registered TTouch practitioner to get some one-on-one training. Before you put the wrap on, do some circle TTouches on your dogs face and muzzle (see the June/July 2012 issue). You will need your circles to be small and very light. You can also do some long strokes on the muzzle. Start up near his nose and work your way back along his mouth. 10 | PUPCULTURE MAY/JUNE

Try the face wrap for the first time when your dog is not barking because it will be easier for him to accept. To put the face wrap on: 1. Take a piece of elastic, find the midpoint, and place that point on the top of your dog’s nose and drape over the side. (Try to match the color of the elastic to your dog’s coat. Use wider elastic for larger dogs and thinner elastic for smaller dogs.)


2. Take the ends and cross them under your dog’s chin. 3. Bring the ends around the back of his neck and tie a knot.


4. The wrap should be loose enough that the dog can easily open his mouth but be in contact with his skin. Make sure the wrap is not sliding into his eyes. As with all TTouch work, watch your dogs reaction. If it is bothering him, slip it off his nose and let it hang around his neck (Do not leave him unattended with a wrap on). He may also use his paw to pull it off or rub it on the ground to try to remove it. If so, leave it hanging around his neck for a few minutes and then slip it back on his nose. Continue to do body work to keep him relaxed.n



Most pet store puppies coMe froM puppy Mills.

Take the pledge not to buy anything in pet stores that sell puppies.

m o c . s ie p p u P e r o t S No Pet


Managing Shedding Written By MaryAnn Aquilino

Dogs shed. Some do it once in awhile; others are

shedding machines. The common belief is that dogs who don’t shed much have hair rather than fur. Not true; all dogs have hair. The reason some dogs shed more than others depends on hair growth cycles. There are four cycles: anagen is when new hair grows; catagen is when it slows to a halt; telogen is a resting phase; and exogen is when the hair falls out. Dogs have some hair in each of these cycles at the same time. How much a dog sheds depends on how much of its hair is in which cycle. Some dogs are low shedding because the majority of their hair follicles are in the anagen cycle most of the time. These long-haired breeds, such as the Yorkie, Shih-Tzu and Poodle, typically do not have insulating undercoats (or double coats). Short-haired dogs, such as Huskies and Labradors, have hair with short anagen cycles and their undercoats are more abundant. Dogs shed their winter coats in the spring and summer coats in in the fall to allow new winter coats to come in. Double-coated dogs, such as the Great Pyrenees, German Shepherd and Newfoundland, shed (or “blow coat”) profusely during these two seasons. If your dog is an indoor dog, she may appear to shed small amounts year-round because she’s not exposed to the extreme temperature and light changes that trigger seasonal shedding. Some dogs leave hair wherever they go; others shed within their coats so you’ll only see how much they’re shedding by brushing them. The best way to reduce the mess of shedding is to remove a dog’s loose hair using the tool best suited for his hair, e.g., slicker brush, undercoat rake, dematter, shedding comb, furminator or metal comb. Some dogs need to be groomed once or twice a week, while others should be groomed daily. If your dog needs a lot of grooming, don’t despair; it’s a great way of bonding with your canine companion. There are other things you can do to help control excessive shedding. Feeding your dog a high-quality food with ample protein helps; your dog’s coat reflects his diet. Fish oil supplements also promote a healthy coat. And dogs who are scratching due to allergies or fleas will also shed more. Your veterinarian can help you determine the cause and the remedy.


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K9 GEOCACHING E Written and Photographed By Kristina N. Lotz

xercising your dog every day can become monotonous. No matter how much you love your four-legged friend, walking past the same house, tree, or piece of beach for the umpteenth time can be boring for both of you. I have three dogs, and I have to walk one of them separately from the others, so I walk a lot. To mix it up, I take my dogs to a store, but you can only walk through the garden center so many times without buying anything before they start giving you dirty looks. Since I am more motivated to walk my dogs if I have a destination, I started to look for somewhere to go. A friend of mine frequently does geocaching and posts pictures of her outings on Facebook. Although she doesn’t have a dog, it looked like fun and I figured most of the places she went my dogs could go, too. However, I had no idea what geocaching was, so I had to do some research. Geocaching (“geo” meaning earth and “cache” meaning a storage place) involves using a GPS or smartphone to find box hidden by someone else. Once you find it, you take something from the box, replace it with something else and sign the log. Then you can go online at geocaching.com and join the geocaching community by posting information about boxes you found or hid. To get started go to geocaching.com and sign up for free. The site explains how the game works. Enter the location you


want to hunt in and you’ll get a list of nearby boxes and all the information you need to find them: distance from your location, difficulty level, terrain, size, date last found, hints and, of course, coordinates. Enter the coordinates into your GPS. If you have a smartphone, there’s a free geocaching app. For my first attempt, I chose a geocache within walking distance of my front door that was a level 1 difficulty; it was located near my town hall. Using my smartphone app, I followed a map that kept track of where I was in relation to the box, making it easy to stay on course. Once I reached my destination, I used the hint to find the box, which had been hidden high up on the town hall sign and I signed the log. This particular box was tiny, so the item I wanted to leave (a small toy Sheltie) was too big. Instead I left a California state quarter in exchange for an older quarter that was in the box. The nice thing about geocaching is you don’t have to go very far to find boxes. When I searched, there were three within walking distance of my house, and dozens of others just a short drive away. Although the website does not specifically say if a location is petfriendly, most of the descriptions give you enough information to figure it out. Many are in public areas, such as parks, so the dog will need to be on a leash. Happy hunting!n



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FOR TRENDY PUPS Indoors or out, your dog just HAS to have a comfy, stylish place to while away the day. These are some of our favorites! — Laura Kinsey



1. We love the plushy shape, exclusive print, and luxe linen-cotton blend fabrics on the Urbanest Pet Bed. What a statement piece! $190 each. lovethybeast.com 2. Completely adorable, even down to the denim-wrapped hard candy detail on the top of this bassinette style dog bed. $128 each. louisdog.com


3. If you’re gonna hang poolside, you might as well do it right. These are comfy, but more importantly, resistant to water, mold, and mildew. Trellis patio cushion starts at $120. bowsers.com 4. The Igloo Dog Bed might be the most stylish dog accessory we’ve ever seen, but more importantly, it cocoons your dog in pure comfort. Like he needed another reason to take a nap, right? $227 each. us.mungoandmaud.com 5. The award winning Outdoor Dog Chaise Lounger is a stylish dog bed that perfect for any deck or poolside patio. It’s made of waterproof plastic rattan material and includes a comfortable 3” thick outdoor cushion. $224.99 each. therefinedcanine.com 6. Ever use one of those great neck pillows that are filled with buckwheat? Well, now your dog can have one, too. Or, go the traditional route with Ecofriendly poly fill. Either way, your dog will be loving life on a Ziggy bed. Starting at $120, they are made with love in Louisiana. seescoutsleep.com 7. If you’re a sucker for stripes, vintage detailing and earthy hemp fabrics then the Vintage Stripe Envelope Dog Bed might be your match made in heaven. Starts at $100. harrybarker.com


We’re Going

INTERACTIVE! PUPCULTURE August/September 2012 | www.pupculturemagazine.com











Starting September 2013 Digital issues will include: Videos, Slideshows, Audio clips and more!

Stay tuned for more info and checkout pupculturemagazine.com for updates on how to signup for a subscription.



Chemical Free

clean i n g FOR A HAPPY, HEALTHY HOME AND DOG Written by MaryAnn Aquilino

umerous harmful ingredients are in the products we use to clean our homes, including our pets’ bowls, bedding and toys . And just because a product is labeled “green” doesn’t mean it’s safe. Happily, you can get your home clean using common household ingredients that are easy to use, less expensive, and safer than chemically-laden manufactured products.


White vinegar is one of the most versatile, healthiest, and safest cleaning products you can find and cleans just about anything. It’s antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial and kills mold. It will eliminate dirt, soap scum, hard-water deposit, numerous surfaces, and neutralizes odors. If you don’t like the smell (which will dissipate), you can add a little fresh lemon juice to a mix of three parts water to one part vinegar. For areas where you want a bit of abrasion, such as shower stalls, add baking soda, another great cleaning product. To clean wood or other types of floors, mix one cup of white vinegar with one gallon of water. You don’t need to rinse, but be careful not to saturate the wood flooring. If you want a shine on your non-wood flooring, you can use club soda as a polish. To make a chemical-free furniture polish, add between 1/2 cup to 1 cup lemon juice to one cup olive oil in a spray bottle; shake well before using. Baking soda will clean stained counters and sinks; just sprinkle some on a damp sponge, scrub and rinse. For tougher stains, make a paste of baking soda and water and let it stand for a few minutes before scrubbing. To clear a clogged drain, use a 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar; cover the drain until the clog dissolves and flush with hot water.

Steam cleaning is another an excellent way to clean your home safely and effectively, although you will have to invest in a steam cleaner. To clean rugs, you can use a steam cleaner without adding a cleanser, or you can fill the detergent dispenser with white vinegar. Pretreat stains by sprinkling baking soda over the stain and spraying it with a one-to-one mixture of white vinegar and water; work the solution into the stain and leave until dry (Baking soda in large amounts can be harmful to pets, so to be safe, cover the treated area from curious pets). After it’s dry, vacuum the area and steam clean it with a one-to-one ratio of hot water and white vinegar. If you don’t have a steam cleaner, vacuum the area very well, spray plain water on the area and blot with a towel. Vacuum again to remove residue. Cleaning items your dog uses regularly, such as beds, toys and bowls, is just as easy. Plastic toys can be cleaned by soaking them for at least 30 minutes in equal parts hot water and white vinegar. Scrub well, then rinse with fresh water and let air dry. Many toys, such as rope chews and stuffed animals, can be cleaned in the microwave or dishwasher. Wet the toy and microwave it for a minute (more or less time, depending on your wattage). Be careful when removing, as it can get hot. Or put the toys in the dishwasher with no detergent; the hot water will sanitize them almost as good as the microwave. Dog bowls can also go in the dishwasher; if you use detergent, rinse them again with hot water to remove any residue. Dog beds and blankets can be cleaned in the washing machine with a solution of white vinegar, but you should run an extra rinse cycle at the end to ensure all of the residue is removed.

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and Her Canine Muses Written and Photographed by Michelle Macirella

In love with her best friend Janie’s fiancée, Savannah “Van” Leone, in her Halloween orange bridesmaid dress, dutifully stands next to Janie at her wedding. Afterwards she drowns her feelings in Kool Aidvodka cocktails and ordering a German Shepherd over the internet. When the puppy arrives, Van’s regret over her drunken purchase starts to fade as she begins to form a friendship with the pup that will change her life in ways she never imagined.

If this sounds like the plot of a good book, it is.

And Allie Larkin is the talented author. Allie lives with her husband, her dog Stella and a mean, three-legged cat in Rochester, New York. She is not only a talented writer of books, but also of blog posts, personal timelines and short stories. Allie says she didn’t intend to write a book with a dog as one of the main characters, and in fact, she had not intended to write a book at all. Stay started out as a short story in college in 2002. It wasn’t until several years later, despite her insistence that it was still just a short story at 80,000 words (around eight times the average length) that her writing group helped her realize she was actually writing a book. The book was Allie’s debut novel and became an international bestseller. The addition of Joe, the German Shepherd was inspired by Allie’s first dog Argo – also a German Shepherd. She had reached a crossroads while writing and wasn’t sure what Van’s character was going to do next or where the story was going, until she was out raking leaves in her backyard with Argo one day and thought, “That’s what she needs. She needs a dog.” When Allie was growing up, she desperately wanted a dog but couldn’t have one. She had an enormous imaginary fluffy, black dog named Star instead. When she and her husband adopted Argo at five months old, it was her first dog ever. And like most dog owners, she had her heart broken when he passed away last December at the age of nine from cancer. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through,” she says. “Argo was a very confident, www.pupculturemagazine.com | 21

happy dog. He was so happy… just playing Frisbee with him was a gorgeous thing.” A few years after they had adopted Argo, Allie and her husband started to think about getting another dog, and the place where they boarded him had a match in mind. The company had noticed the owner of another German Shepherd, who also boarded there, was struggling to take care of her dog. They asked the Larkins if they would consider taking her if the owner agreed. Stella, as she was renamed by the Larkins, was a little wary of people, but she took to them almost instantly. “I met her and she backed away a little bit and then I crouched down and she came over and licked my chin immediately. And she just loved Argo,” Allie says. Argo, on the other hand, had to adjust a little at first to his new playmate. Stella would take his toys and try to annoy him; he liked her, but she also made him nervous. Allie says, “He was like, ‘Hey, this is fun!’ at first, but then was like, ‘Wait, she’s not going home?’” The transition was also challenging for Allie and her husband. Based on their experience with Argo, the Larkins thought they understood German Shepherds pretty well until they got Stella. Besides her antics with Argo, Stella would also jump all over the furniture, chew the coffee table and was generally out of control. Allie relates a story about one Thanksgiving when she burned her hand making an extra turkey for the dogs and had to drive herself 32 | PUPCULTURE MAY/JUNE 22 DEC/JAN

to the emergency room because her husband was working. “I came home and I sat in my car and was like, I don’t want to go back in that house. That’s how crazy she was,” she says. Allie and her husband didn’t know if they would be able to keep Stella, but they couldn’t live with the idea of giving her back. “We thought, If we gave her back to her old owner and she ends up at the pound, she’s not going to make it,” she says. So instead, they decided not to give up on her. They did research, hired a trainer and worked with her. Allie says, “I read every single dog book… in the library. And I really had to work on myself. I really had to just try to be confident around her even when I felt like I wasn’t.” Allie continues, “I think a lot of people don’t get that about their dog and that’s where problems come in. You have to respect what they’re doing and how they’re wired and then things work better.” Eventually Argo and Stella started to get along and ultimately became best friends. “It was a rocky start, but after the first year, Argo and Stella melded into a funny little team. Argo taught Stella how to be a dog,” Allie writes in a blog post on her website (allielarkinwrites.com). And when Argo got sick Stella was right by his side. At the hospital, “Stella stayed completely, almost forcefully, calm,” Allie writes. “Argo’s eyes were dull from morphine, but they brightened when we brought her in. He stopped his nervous, druggy whining and finally, finally relaxed.”

Allie, her husband and Stella spent hours with Argo in his little kennel at the hospital. “Argo slept with his head on Stella. Stella kept placing her paw on top of his,” Allie writes. “She didn’t care about all the commotion around us or the beeping IV machine. She didn’t flinch at loud noises or bark at other dogs. She comforted him like it was her only purpose and she knew exactly what to do. It was a privilege to watch her care for him and to be a part of it. It is an honor to be a part of this pack.” For people looking to add a German Shepherd to their family, Allie offers some advice. “You have to learn about them specifically; you can’t just learn about dogs,” she says. “They’re

books. In her new book, Why Can’t I Be You, there are a couple of dogs who play minor characters. She has also incorporated a dog related profession for the character of Fish, a love interest for the main character Jenny. “I think dog people have a certain amount of trustworthiness to them. And the way he [Fish] was taking care of his father and the way that he trained Chip and what he does for a living says so much about him,” she says. “He’s someone who left medical school to train guide dogs. So all that lets you know he’s a good guy.” On the subject of why she chose that particular profession of

“She comforted

him like it was her only purpose and she knew exactly what to do.”

awesome, but you have to respect how they’re awesome. And you have to have an understanding of how their brain is working, so that you know how to deal with them. They are really smart and they need to be respected.” She also says, “You kind of have to figure out what they’re trying to do. That can help you figure out what’s best for them. Like, a lot of things that wouldn’t stress a Lab out are going to stress out a German Shepherd. When they have a bad rap for being crazy or out of control I think a lot of it is because they feel out of control and if you can give them ways to make them feel more in control then you’ll be happier and have a happier family.” Argo and Stella have provided inspiration for Allie when creating the canine characters she has included in both of her

training guide dogs for his character Allie says, “I like being able to highlight service dogs a little because they are amazing. Sometimes we see someone walking around with a service dog, but I don’t think we have this idea of just how much they do and how specialized they are and the training behind it.” Why Can’t I Be You came out this past February and is a story about Jenny, who suffers devastating news at the airport on her way to a work conference. Feeling vulnerable and alone, Jenny makes a split decision to assume the identity of Jessie Morgan when she is mistaken for her at a class reunion being held at the same hotel. The journey that follows will end up changing her life. Sound like a plot to a good Allie Larkin book? It is.

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Dixie Maggie Mae


Molly Moogie











Next issue’s theme is: “I LOVE MY DOG” Want your pup featured in the NEXT issue of Pup Culture? Send your favorite photo of your dog (or a photo of you and your dog) to: readerphotos@ pupculturemagazine.com


or hashtag #PupCultureMag on Instagram or Twitter.

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Written By Gabriella Martinez | Photography by Sharon HARDY To say actor John Kassir is talented would be an understatement. As a voice actor and comedian, John has had his range of notable roles. He is best known for the voices of iconic characters such as Meeko from Disney’s Pocahontas, Buster Bunny from Tiny Toon Adventures, and the Cryptkeeper from Tales from the Crypt. Most recently, John is playing one half of the two-headed giant, Fallon (along with actor Bill Nighy) in the Warner Brothers movie, Jack the Giant Slayer, which opened March of this year. John resides in California with his two rescue Border Collies, seven-year-old Duncan, and three-year-old Fig who consistently entertain him on a daily basis.

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Jack the Giant Slayer is based on an old legend from London titled Jack the Giant Killer (which is what the children’s fable, Jack and the Beanstalk was based on). The story takes place in medieval times and is about a young man who unwittingly opens the gateway that allows the legendary giants back onto earth. “In the story, it’s been 500 years and people aren’t even sure whether the giants actually exist or whether they are just legend at this point. And through some underhanded little things that happened through Stanley Tucci’s human villain character, a portal is opened where these giants are and the princess of the land winds up being kidnapped by the giants and Jack has to go after her and unwittingly make way for the giants to make their way down to earth,” John said. John plays Fallon the giant’s smaller head, described by him as the, “intuitive radar of the two.” The character was created using image capture technology in which both John and Bill Nighy had to act in tandem. “We had pretty much the entire Avatar team doing all the special effects,” John said. “I had to move with Bill and the way Bill moves and mirror his movements and then act separately with my head and right arm—it was kind of bizarre.” While John’s character has no vocal cords, he has his own language of sounds, gurgles and other weird, moist utterances that come out of his mouth-- all of which John had to create. “In looking at it on the page, you really have no idea how many


dimensions you can bring to a character like that, but to our surprise and with the help of all the wonderful effects and hard work between Bill and myself and a great rapport, we were able to make a character that was not only scary and creepy, but also at times the funniest character of the movie and at times he even had touching moments within the character. So, it’s actually a very cool character. I’m very excited about it,” John said. From the time he was a young boy, John loved to perform, regularly creating circuses in his basement. It was no surprise when John went on to study acting in high school and eventually earned his degree in theatre at Towson University. After graduating, he moved to New York to pursue his acting career. During his time in New York, like any actor starting out, John struggled to earn a living. “I used to street perform in front of the Metropolitan Museum on the weekends to make a living,” John said. “It was like I had my own amphitheater.” Eventually, John landed a role in the off-broadway musical about standup comics titled, Three Guys Naked from the Waist Down. “While I was doing that show, some talent scouts from Star Search saw me and asked me to be on their show. I told them I wasn’t really a standup comedian and then they told me I could win $100,000 and I went, ‘Okay, let me tell you about my

stand-up career!’,” John said. From there he went on to compete and win Star Search as a standup comedian launching him into the television industry. But John also has another lifelong passion—his dogs. “Since I was a little kid, I’ve always loved dogs,” John said. Like most dog owners, John seemed to jump at the opportunity to talk about his dogs, Duncan and Fig, two extremely funny Border Collies who bring constant joy into his life. Pup Culture: Tell us about your dogs. John Kassir: I already had my first Border Collie, Elvis, who had a great life here in Topanga with me; I went through some of the best times of my life with him. And I got him a companion later, Gracie, who was black and white. She had a half white face and half black face and she was just the funniest, dopiest dog ever; I loved her. When Elvis passed away of age, I wanted to get a new companion for Gracie and found Duncan at the Border Collie rescue. I was lucky enough to get him because they were very particular about who they would give him to—you had to have had Border Collies or been around Border Collies, have a good place for them to exercise and all that. I think I competed with like 60 other people to get him. I am very lucky to have him, he’s a brilliant dog. Then, when Gracie died of age, I wanted to get a puppy. So, going online looking through the different Border Collie Rescues, I found another red and white that looked like she could be related to Duncan (other than he is very tall for his breed and she is very short for her breed). And she’s a beautiful little dog named Fig. They immediately bonded and they just have a great relationship. They keep each other active for hours upon hours—which is great because it doesn’t matter how much exercise and mental stimulation I give them, it’s not as much as they can give each other. It’s pretty incredible. PC: Any fun stories about Duncan and Fig you want to share? JK: I remember Fig couldn’t have been more than a few months old and she was tiny and Duncan was 45lbs, a pretty good sized Border Collie and I remember them playing tug of war with this ring. I’m sitting on the couch watching TV and I see his [Duncan’s] butt appear from behind the couch and he’s pulling her in those little kind of pull jerks with the ring in his mouth and she’s lying down with her arms tucked along the side of her like a seal. He’s pulling her along and she’s holding on to it and I just laughed. And then maybe two weeks later, all of a sudden I see her little butt www.pupculturemagazine.com | 29


come out and she’s dragging him and i don’t think she weighed 10-15 lbs at the time, not even, and she was dragging him across the floor, doing the same thing—those kind of things just crack me up, my dogs just have so much personality. PC: Fig is such a unique name, how did you come up with it? JK: Fig just looked like the color of when you open up one of those beautiful, fresh figs and it has kind of the reddish pink, brownish red color inside and she was that color. She just looked like a plump little fig when I got her. My father has always had a fig tree and he’s really into having figs and stuff like that and I guess that was all part of it, but it fits her really well. PC: Do you have a favorite thing to do with them? JK: They love playing soccer believe it or not. I have a soccer ball that I let a lot of the air out of it, so they can grab it easy with their mouths ... and they LOVE it! They love playing keepaway with me—I can try and dribble it around and they try to take it away from me. Then I’ll send them out and Fig will go out and

both actors and when we are sitting there rehearsing and you’re doing a scene, if it gets heated or the conversation gets serious or that kind of thing—he’ll go ring the bell like, ‘You guys are too intense for me right now, I need to go out.’ … And also they do get into things. They decide that they didn’t like how long you weren’t at home and you come home and they’ve pushed up the furniture to the middle of the room or rolled up the rugs (literally rolled up the rugs) --they have even chewed up one or two of them. So you know, it takes a lot of patience [chuckles]. So definitely patience. Definitely to enjoy the simple things in life -- I mean just spending time with dogs is just an amazing thing. Especially with what I do for business, it’s so often people will try to feed you that “your life has to be fantastical all the time” and really that’s not the way that I like to live. And dogs have taught me to have a centered, peaceful life. PC: If your dogs could talk what would they say? JK: I mean they’re such great dogs, they’re so grateful, and they’re so sweet and they’re sooo affectionate, I’m sure they would say, ‘I love you’ and I’m sure they will say, ‘Dude, calm

“Life’s Good, but life’s better with a dog.” she’ll stand like she’s the goalie and Duncan will play between me and Fig. He’ll try to play defense and get the ball away from me and I’ll kick it and she’ll catch it in the air. She’s really good at it. They are pretty amazing and they just love it. I put my foot on the ball and roll it left and right and left and right so Duncan can get it and so he’s learned to do that, and he puts his foot on the ball and I go to kick it and he moves it out of the way. Who was it that moves the ball when Charlie Brown used to kick it and he would fall on his butt? [Laughs] He’s done that to me a number of times! Yeah, he’s really funny that way. PC: What’s the biggest lesson your dogs have taught you? JK: Well, you definitely have to learn patience with all dogs, but Border Collies push you because they demand stuff of you. They are so intelligent, especially Duncan, he figures things out. He’s definitely a problem solver. Like if I don’t give him what he wants, he’ll find another way to get it, communicate that he wants it. I taught them to ring this bell on the door when they want to go out and Fig doesn’t use it much, but Duncan does (Fig will just kinda come wack you with her paw like, “Come on, I want to go out”). Duncan rings the bell, but then he learned to use it for other reasons. They are so sensitive. My girlfriend and I are

down. You’re being too intense for me’ and I would be like, ‘I’m too intense for you?’ and they would be like, ‘What? I’m a dog. What do you want from me?’ PC: If you could describe your relationship with your dogs in one or a few words, what would that be. JK: It’s very syncratic. You know we have a synchronicity between us and its beautiful and I love it. We have great communication—I’d call it great unspoken communication. PC: What is your favorite thing about dogs in general? JK: I guess it is that unspoken communication, non-judgmental relationship. Fig’s looking at me like, ‘Come on man.’ She just rolled her eyes at me just now. [Laughs] PC: How have they changed your life? JK: Pretty much the same way as what I have learned from them. Pretty much the same qualities -- slowing down, enjoying the simple things in life... Life’s good, but life’s better with a dog. www.pupculturemagazine.com | 35 31

Garden Party


Dog as


Photography By Michelle Macirella Fashions By Pug Possessed

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D O G - F R I E N D LY

LANDSCAPING Written By Kristina N. Lotz | Photo by Michelle Macirella

Whether you are moving into a new home or fixing up your current one, creating nice landscaping that is both fun and easy to maintain can be tough. Faced with thousands of choices, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget about Fido. Even if you are not planning a backyard “for the dog,” every plant in your backyard should be safe for your pet, in case of accidental ingestion. Surprisingly, many of today’s most popular landscaping plants are actually toxic to pets. Below is a list of the most popular plants that are dangerous, as well as some choices that are safe for your best friend.




Azaleas, also known as Rhododendrons, have vibrant and colorful flowers and are often used for bedding or potted plants. According to Dr. Kathy Wentworth, DVM at North Tustin Vetrinary Clinic in Tustin, CA, “Clinical signs are vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, inappetance, weakness, depression and seizures.” American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) warns that just a few leaves are enough to cause major problems. Other toxic bushes include Holly, Oleander, Boxwood, and Mistletoe.

Grass Palm is the only ornamental grass that is known to be poisonous to pets. According to the ASPCA®, signs are “Vomiting (occasionally with blood), depression, anorexia, [and] hypersalivation.”

FLOWERS Lilies are popular because of their beautiful flowers and lovely fragrance. However, most varieites are deadly to pets. Dr. Wentworth says ingestion can result in “vomiting, inappetance and lethargy. The toxins in lilies can cause acute kidney failure.” Lilies are also very popular in bouquets, so if you are bring them into your home, be sure the vase is out of reach. Other popular but toxic flowers include Morning Glory, Clematis, Daffodils, Iris, and Tulips.

PALMS Many varieties of palm trees are poisonous, including the Sago Palm (also poisonous to people!), Fern Palm, and the Austrailian Ivy Palm. Signs vary depending on the specific plant, but can including liver failure, jaundice, vomiting, seizures, and death.

TREES Cherry trees are popular because of their beautiful pink blossoms, but they are also toxic to dogs. The ASPCA® warns ingestion can cause “vomiting, diarrhea, a lack of oxygen in the blood (cyanosis), decreased heart rate, respiratory congestion, seizures, and coma—and could ultimately lead to respiratory failure and death.” Other trees to be cautious about are the apple, birch, and red maple.



Magnolia or Fuchsia bushes have beautiful flowers and are safe for your pets.

If you are looking for a tropical plant that’s safe, try the Bamboo Palm, Christmas Palm, Windmill Palm, or the Majesty Palm.

FLOWERS Several beautiful flowering plants are safe, including Roses, Confederate (Star) Jasmine, and the beautiful Nasturtium, which is actually edible even for people.

GRASSES You have lots of options here, as most ornamental and lawn varieties are safe. Choose wheat grass if you want a grass that is actually healthy for your pets to eat—it has enzymes that aid in digestion as well as vitamins and minerals that pets need.

TREES Some popular trees are safe for pets including Willows, Magnolias, Cottonwoods, and the Royal Empress. The Royal Empress can grow up to 20 feet in one growing season and has beautiful, fragrant blooms. Want a more complete list of toxic and nontoxic plants? Visit the The ASPCA® website.


If you suspect that your dog might have ingested a poisonous plant or you are unsure if a plant is poisonous, contact the Pet Poison Control Hotline.


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oving to a new home can be exciting, but it is almost always stressful. While you are hustling and bustling trying to get everything done, keep in mind that your pet doesn’t know what’s going on and will likely pick up on your anxiety. Once in their new homes, many dogs adjust quickly, others take a bit of time, and yet others react as though their world has been turned upside down. Here are some tips to make your pet’s transition a little easier for both of you.


It is common after a move for dogs to revert to old bad habits— barking excessively, ignoring commands—so you may have to go back to the basics. If barking is the problem, try and figure out the reason. Is your dog barking at new sounds, barking when left alone in a strange place, or is she feeling more protective? In most cases, the problem will abate when your dog becomes more familiar with the house. Bone up on the “quiet” command and try to relieve as much stress as possible.

Start by setting up “comfort zones.” If possible, go to the new house before the dog arrives and set up her crate and/or dog beds, play areas, eating station, etc. Place some things that smell like you in each of these areas. The sleeping area should be especially welcoming. One of the products I use to create a soothing environment is the Comfort Zone with D.A.P. Diffuser, a plug-in that releases a scent that mimic the pheromones a mother dog emits.

Major changes also make many dogs falter in their response to basic commands. Help them get over the hump by having fun practices each day, and then take them around town to practice in a new, distracting environment.

When your dog arrives at her new home, take time to give her a tour that highlights the comfort zones. Spend time playing and hanging out with your pooch in these areas so she learns to relax in them a bit faster.


If potty training is the issue, act as though you are training an eight-week-old puppy. Use tight schedules, go out the same door each time, and take her out on a leash and in the yard and give her a treat when she goes. Some dogs will show symptoms of severe stress and anxiety after a move. In that case, you should consult a trainer/ behaviorist so he or she can assist you before significant behavioral problems ensue.

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Are you one of those people who wants to help dogs in need and often times, like me, feels helpless? Seeing the sad photos of homeless dogs scrolling across Facebook you make a donation, try to do what you can to help and wonder what you could possibly do that would make a difference – where you could actually “be the change” you want to see in the world? Ever wish there was a conference held every year that you could participate in to help save dogs’ lives? ou are not alone. I have felt that way time and again. I’ve wished someone would actually teach me how to help animals and give me a plan for what I could do to make a difference, all while continuing to balance a full-time job, family, and blog. Certainly there have to be experts out there, somewhere, who can teach people like me, that have an interest in saving lives and changing the way animals are treated. Experts who could show me in a way that is actionable, doable, easy to understand and relatable. Many folks want to help but have no idea how.


Finally, someone has stepped up to “Be the Change for Pets” and that someone is BlogPaws. Since hosting the first-ever pet blogging and social media conference in 2010, BlogPaws has quickly grown to the largest event of its kind in North America. Along the way, they launched the Be the Change for Pets movement, survived several natural disasters, and hosted the only live, red carpet awards ceremony for pet social media achievements — the Nose-to-Nose Awards. They’ve also changed lives, like mine, and inspired me to change my career and give

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back to animals. I’ve always had the passion, but I never exactly knew what to do on a regular basis to actually say more than, “Well, I donated money, so that has to help, right?” (and it does, but like the saying goes, “feed a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime). So for three days in Virginia, people are invited to bring their pet (if they want to) and learn how to make a difference in the lives of pets everywhere. Here are some sample conference topics and ways to get involved.

Pet Rescue Fundraising for the 21st Century In this session, Allen Kimble, Jr. and Vinny the Pug will talk about the popular fundraiser models being used by pet rescues. Donation-based fundraisers are obsolete in today’s economy, yet they are used almost exclusively by pet rescues.

MAKE SOME NOISE: How to Connect All Your Social Media & Get the World Buzzing About You Have you heard of Eldad Hagar? Maybe you’ve seen him on Anderson Cooper’s show or in national headlines. Eldad Hagar, is an animal rescuer and co-founder of Hope For Paws Animal Rescue in Los Angeles, California. After he resisted to join the social media world for many years, he finally decided to give it a try. By doing so, he helped to change the lives of countless animals and people. In a two-year-period, Eldad exposed more than 50 million people to his rescue stories and videos through the use of the Internet, television, newspapers and magazines. His experiences inspired people from all over the world to take action and participate in saving the lives of abused, sick, and homeless animals everywhere.

How to Get Involved BlogPaws conferences take place over three days’ time and the cost to attend is $199. Beyond learning how to help rescue animals, you can learn how to start a new career, escalate an


existing one, and get face-to-face and “nose-to-nose” with key pet industry influencers. Attending the conferences has taught me how to fundraise $14,000 for pet rescues in three years. I am currently in the process of coordinating a fun fundraiser in the form of a dog wedding, the proceeds of which will go to Life’s Little Paws, a Cocker Spaniel rescue group. I have learned so much at BlogPaws about fundraising, how to get the media to take notice and how to get people to come together, all in the name of dog! For people who are unsure how they can afford to get to Virigina for the conference, I tell them that for $199 you get: 7 meals, a petfriendly environment (so your pet doesn’t have to stay behind), a top-notch hotel, all sessions on site in one place, and the opportunity to network and have a lot of fun! I tell them, “How can you not afford to come?” The first year I went to BlogPaws, I scraped every single dollar I could to make the trip from Pennsylvania to Ohio, where the conference was held. I am so grateful I did. My career changed, and I now am empowered, educated, inspired, saving and changing lives, and being a part of the change.

What to Do Next If you have questions or want to get involved, send me an email and/or join the free BlogPaws community. There are other similar courses out there, but they aren’t as affordable or as extensive as BlogPaws. Sometimes we need to sacrifice something to get ahead. The $199 I spent back then is still paying off in my life today, time and again. Learn more and get the scoop here: BlogPaws 2013 Conference

P.S. BlogPaws walks the walk and talks the talk: In the past four conferences, they’ve donated over $45,000 in products, goods, and cash to shelters and rescues in need.



Photography / New York




FROM HUMBLE STRAY TO NOBLE HERO Written by Gabriella Martinez Photos Provided


n November 2005, when Gabe, the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog of the Year, was brought to the Harris Animal Shelter in Houston, Texas his future was uncertain. Like many rescued dogs, Gabe was on borrowed


Lucky indeed. According to Dina, when Gabe arrived at the shelter at only a year and a half old, their rescue was already full—they didn’t have enough foster homes. However, when they got the call from Animal Control to go look at both him and another Lab, instead of turning them down, STLRR volunteer, Miranda Tolar decided to go anyway. “When she went to go look at him, she found two wonderful yellow Labs,” Dina explained. “She couldn’t just leave them both at the shelter, so she pulled both of them even though we didn’t have space for them.”

Due to limited space and a lack of a traditional adoption program, a staggering amount of abandoned, lost or stray dogs who end up at the Harris Animal Shelter only have a small window of time to find their owners or an available rescue before they are euthanized. “They only give them Both Gabe and the other Lab 72 hours. If they are not picked up spent some time boarded at a vet’s With a dog like HIM, it didn’t in 72 hours, they are put down,” take long to identify him as office while they were spayed/ explains Dina Barron, former neutered and received up-to-date a star” —Dan Kay President of the Southeast Texas vaccinations. While the other Lab Labrador Retriever Rescue (STLRR) and the facilitator of Gabe’s was adopted shortly after his rescue by STLRR, Gabe was brought rescue. to the home of Patsy Martin, a field trial trainer from Montana, who agreed to take on a few fosters while spending her summer The grim reality is, there are usually 20-30 purebred Labrador in Texas. “It was perfect for him,” explained Dina. “When I drove Retrievers in the Houston area that are put down every week. him out there, he was on the front seat, to the middle seat, to Gabe was fortunate since he was brought in with two other dogs the back seat and back and forth and back and forth in the car and was the only one of the three who made it out of the shelter ... he was always the kind of dog who needed something to do alive. “He [Gabe] was very lucky we found him,” said Dina. and some direction.” Once Patsy began working with Gabe, she


told Dina that Gabe would not work well in a traditional home environment; he needed a job to do. “He was very sweet and gave lots of kisses, but he wanted to do something,” said Dina. It was then that Dina decided to contact Dan and Peggy Kay, owners of Kay Resources, Inc. - a security company. Dan was also a retired Houston canine officer and, at the time, their company specialized in training rescue dogs for drug and bomb detection. Dan and Peggy took Gabe into their training program for a few weeks before bringing him to Lackland Air Force Base for a twoweek evaluation by the military. “With a dog like him, it didn’t take long to identify him as a star,” Dan recalled. Gabe was accepted into the military and went through a four to eight month training process, followed by final training with his handler, Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles “Chuck” Shuck in 2006. “You get to the school and they give you two plastic keys with the dog’s name and kennel number on it … so, I went down to the kennel with my two tags and Gabe was the first dog that I came upon and I already knew ‘That’s my dog’ … meeting Gabe, we just bonded from that first day,” Chuck recalled. Shortly after that first introduction, both Gabe and Chuck were deployed to Iraq, where they completed over 210 combat missions and found 26 explosives and weapons over the course of three years. “For the three years that me and Gabe served together as partners, we were only separated for one day,” Chuck said. In May of 2008, Gabe was named the American Kennel Club Heroic Dog of the Year and by the time he retired in 2009, he had acquired three Army Commendation Medals, an Army Achievement medal, 50 Coins of Excellence and was officially adopted by Chuck.

According to Chuck, Gabe’s win opened up many doors for them to spread their message. They were also able to throw the first pitch at the Dodgers game and participated in the Rose Bowl Parade this past January. However, explained Chuck, “Our favorite thing was going and speaking with the kids.” Sadly, on February 13, 2013, at the age of 10, Gabe passed away from cancer, leaving behind a legacy that will forever inspire others. “I don’t know if Gabe ever knew about his fame. I just think he knew that he was getting his picture taken a lot and got to travel with dad a lot and live in hotels,” Chuck said. Chuck is committed to continuing Gabe’s work by staying involved with some of the organizations he and Gabe had worked with, such as the American Humane Association and the US War Dogs Association. Chuck does say there is a lesson to be learned from Gabe’s life. “Gabe had such a remarkable story and upbringing and where he came from, it’s just one of those things that people can relate to. You can be down on your luck like Gabe, a pound puppy, but work hard and bam — your life just explodes,” Chuck said. Gabe was truly a remarkable dog and even in death, he continues to inspire. However, the world would have never known the amazing dog that he was if it weren’t for the hard work and dedication from numerous volunteers to pull him out of that Texas shelter in 2005. Those few people were in and out of Gabe’s life quickly, never to see him again, but they were essential in guaranteeing his future. From a humble stray to a noble hero, it’s only appropriate that Gabe would become instrumental in saving the lives of others— an homage to those who worked tirelessly to save his. n

After his retirement in 2009, Gabe and Chuck spent their time visiting wounded soldiers in hospitals, talking to students at various schools about the importance of hard work, respect and education, and advocating for animals in shelters and in the military. In 2011, Chuck nominated Gabe for the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards. He unfortunately lost, but was re-nominated in 2012 and won. Chuck attributes their success to Gabe’s fans, whom he lovingly refers to as, Gabe Nation. “Gabe Nation, they can move mountains,” said Chuck.

www.pupculturemagazine.com | 45

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7 8 1. Keep your dog’s stuff in cheeky order with these dog silhouette hooks—perfect for hanging Rover’s collection of leashes, sweaters, and travel bags on the wall, $34 each. ballarddesigns.com 2. This illustrated bedding set will help your kiddo learn (almost) all the different dog breeds out there, starts at $14. landofnod.com 3. It looks like a luxury throw, but it acts like a tough tarp. Plus, it goes anywhere and protects anything from muddy paws, dog hair, dog slobber, and more, $99. cryptonathome.com 4. Imagining a home in which an animal chair awaits you at the entrance, indulges you in the living room or grows with your family throughout the years. Whether used to accentuate home decor or purely as a functional chair, it will surely offer a unique experience in your everyday lifestyle, $551.30. 28.biaugust.com 5. A dog treat tin with rustic charm? Look no further. Starts at $19. napastyle.com 6. Keep your pup’s toys from finding a permanent living situation on your floors by centrally locating them in a chic woven basket, $54.95. crateandbarrel.com


7. These whimsical flower sculptures are perfect for events, from garden parties to charity pet fashion shows. We like the dog-shaped styles best, of course! Prices vary. tablearteventdesigns.com 8. Pet decor can be hit or miss, but these block-printed and appiqued throw pillows are a total score. UK-based artist Diane Watson can also create a pet portrait pillow from an emailed photo, starting at $40. etsy.com/shop/florencev4 9. Designate your dog’s area with these cute paw-print decals, $15. wallsneedlove.com

www.pupculturemagazine.com | 47

Make Your Own

Dog-Friendly Herb Garden Written By Debra Thesing

Looking for natural ways to treat day-to-day ailments? A windowsill or small container herb garden can help you provide fresh, natural remedies for both you and your dog. However, if you are going to introduce a new herb (or any new food ingredients) to your dog, introduce only one new item at a time and wait a few days before introducing the next new item. Keep a lookout for allergic reactions—they can range from runny eyes and nose, sneezing, itching, swelling, diarrhea or vomiting. Remember to consult with your vet if you can’t find good information regarding a particular herb and if your dog is on any medication to be sure the herb will not interfere. WHEATGRASS Wheatgrass has the ability to boost the immune system. Add a clump of cut wheatgrass to a “shake” for your dog. GINGER ROOT Ginger Root soothes upset stomachs and also eases nausea symptoms like car sickness! It also helps with food absorption and boosts blood circulation. PARSLEY Parsley is a natural astringent with deodorizing and cleansing properties. It leaves breath clean and fresh. It also helps the body pass toxins.

CALENDULA (POT MARIGOLD) Calendula has been used for thousands of years in herbal preparations. It has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The flower petals can be applied directly to a wound or made into a tea and used as an antiseptic wash. For bleeding gums use a cotton swab to generously apply tincture of Calendula on the inflamed gums. ALOE VERA Great for healing wounds. Use the natural gel in the leaves for minor scraps and skin irritations.

CILANTRO Cilantro has germicidal properties that help inhibit bacteria growth within the mouth. Add to dog food or finely chop up and add salmon oil. PEPPERMINT Useful for indigestion and nausea. Just go to the store, buy the plant, and place it in rich, moist soil, that’s it. Your pet can eat the leaves of the peppermint herb, which does well in both sun and shade. Cut the springs back regularly to encourage healthy growth.

Ginger Root Tea For Your Dog Dice 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger root and steep in a mug of hot water. Allow the tea to cool thoroughly and offer 2 teaspoons per 10 pounds of body weight as needed for gastrointestinal distress. To enhance the experience, sweeten the tea with a touch of honey. Pour any leftover tea into an ice cube tray and freeze the doses for future use.


Happy Endings A Destination Pets Helping People Protecting Animals



o those who dwell outside the five boroughs, most New York City apartments can seem horribly cramped and, depending on how much natural light you need, can be downright depressing. But the real question is, “What does the dog think?” Because I’ve heard it said over and over, and you probably have too — to keep a dog if you live in an apartment “just isn’t fair to the dog.” Well let me weigh in on that theory, and ask you to consider the following reasons why the city can be a great place for a dog to live despite their lack of spacious accommodations: •

There is literally no shortage of places to walk, run, and play with your dog. For example, according to the City of New York Parks & Recreation website, there are 132 dog parks spread throughout the city, the majority of which include off-leash areas.

Your dog will never be bored. New York City is filled with dog boutiques, doggie spas, doggie daycares, doggie hotels, dog-friendly hotels (not the same thing), dog walkers and trainers, dog shelter organizations, and dog Meetup groups. A quick search on Meetup.com yielded 108 different dog Meetup groups within a 10-mile radius of my Brooklyn address, some with more than a thousand members.

You can’t go outside without tripping over someone who owns or used to own a dog. That means you can’t get away with treating your dog like he’s anything less than royalty because someone will yell at you. I have


personally reprimanded a man for dragging his dog down the street as she was trying to relieve herself, and I’ve stopped people to ask them if they know their dog is limping. •

Dogs only know what they’re familiar with. My Hugo is a city dog. He likes grass, but he doesn’t realize he can pee on it. If I want him to do any business, we have to find some pavement. I seriously doubt he is pining away for a yard to pee in.

Dogs get VIP treatment. I know a lady who had her dog certified as a therapy dog so that she can accompany her everywhere. Besides escorting her into the local pharmacy, this dog has flown first class and walked through the Louvre in Paris. In New York City, this lady is not really unique — in fact, I’m pretty sure this is just considered normal pet parent behavior here. And most dogs don’t have to be certified to gain special access. Many businesses, whether they are dog-friendly or not, will let dogs follow their owners inside if they’re well behaved.n

Laura Kinsey is the owner of Sam & Tasha, a small line of dog dresses, coats and accessories sold nationwide. Obsessed with design in all it’s forms since receiving a Christmas present of furniture templates and tracing paper as a kid, she worked for ten years as an interior designer before studying Textile Development at The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. This led to a pet fashion design class, and the rest is history. Laura lives in Brooklyn, New York with her 10 lb. Maltese rescue dog and occasional muse, Hugo.

To see party examples click here.

Yes. It’s for the Dog. (now look who’s begging) www.abarkersdozen.com


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Written by Elaine Webster


hance is a white, curly-haired Havanese mix with a zest for life. When I first arrive at his home, he jumps onto my lap, lies on his back and waits for belly rubs. While I cradle his head, his little body hangs in my arms like a ragdoll and he falls asleep. Taking care of him leads to mini-adventures throughout the day. In the morning, I let him out in the backyard and he waits on the deck, his adorable face convincing me to join him. I give in to his charm and we take a walk in the woods behind the pond. Chance sniffs everything along the way and loves to stop at the pond to watch the frogs jump off the lily pads. Chance also tends to think of the yard, which is full of flowers and bushes, as one big hiding place for all his tennis balls. When another dog comes over to play, they hunt the tennis balls he has hidden, and as soon as one dog finds a ball, the other gives chase trying to snatch it away. However, Chance has learned to outsmart his playmates by hiding behind a tree. When the unsuspecting dog runs past, he jumps out and scares him. The ball is dropped and Chance runs triumphantly away with it. Although the yard is large and fun to play in, Chance also loves to walk around the neighborhood. This brings out his perky side, but also his stubborness. Leading the way, he happily sniffs every tree along the route until it is time to go home, at which point his feet slow down and appear to be stuck in quicksand. His head hangs low and he puts on an extra sad face in hopes of changing my mind. If he does move it’s in slow motion and he also develops a sudden deafness to any command I give him. Occasionally he fools others into carrying him home with these antics. When back in his own yard, however, he snaps out of it and resumes looking for tennis balls and brings me sticks so we can play fetch.


Going back into the house means it is time to play tug-of-war with his toys which are stashed everywhere. The term “toy” means many things to Chance: a rubber bone, a stuffed animal, socks found around the house or a stolen glove or slipper. Taking care of Chance brings me great joy. He is a bundle of love and happiness, and his exuberance for life makes my day. So I was thrilled when I was invited to join him and his owner last summer on an overnight trip to the Thousand Islands. Chance was so excited to meet new people and smell his way around the little town of Clayton. When we stopped at an outdoor restaurant for dinner, they made an exception to the “no dogs allowed” policy and let him sit under the table with us. He went to sleep and we enjoyed our meal while watching an amazing sunset. When we went back to the motel for the night, we got out his little soft bed and set it up for him on a nearby chair. I assumed he would sleep in his bed, but after the lights were turned off, he inched his way onto my bed and curled up next to me instead. I smiled and put my arm around him, as if hugging a stuffed animal, and we both fell fast asleep.n Elaine Webster is the author of three books: Seeking Balance, Grandma’s in the Basement and Dawn Dancing and is currently working on her next book. Besides an author, Elaine has also been a pre-school teacher and artist. One of her biggest passions, however, is animals, and she is the owner of Elaine’s Pet Sitting: The Furry Godmother for Your Pets in Rochester, NY. Elaine has been a pet sitter for 20 years and loves getting to know and taking care of so many different dogs and cats.

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Kim Mayes is an AKC, CGC & Puppy STAR Evaluator, a SARA Therapy & Service Animal Trainer/Evaluator & a Certified Trick Dog Instructor in the Titusville, FL area.

: n o i t s e u Q , every e morning th in p u y on Especiall le gets me ? d r o e o g d n n e lo to sleep -old Gold I get him a 7-month n , a c g o w d o y H M 5am. around 5:1 morning, nds. the weeke Zamiara - Thomas r, NY Rocheste ulture,

C Dear Pup

Hi there! Let me 1st start by saying that your question is shared by many puppy owners and a good deal of my own students! However, at 7 months old we really need to start backing up that early-rising goldendoodle of yours or the habit might start sticking around for good! The first thing we need to do is change the evening schedule a little bit. Have a heavier exercise session at night time so your goldendoodle sleeps a little harder. Also, limit his water intake throughout the evening and pick up the water bowl a couple of hours earlier than you usually do so he does not have access to it right before bed. As always, make sure he has a good ‘end of the night’ walk so he has ample time to eliminate. In the morning, you will have to back up the wake up call in very short time increments. I usually start with about 15 minutes at a time. So tomorrow morning, when he wants to raise the roof at 5:15, invest in some earplugs or bury your head in the pillow until 5:30. Then promptly give him a cue, such as “I’m up!”, “Rise and Shine” or just the sound of your alarm clock going off and immediately let him outside to eliminate. When he is comfortable with 5:30, push him back to 5:45 and so on until you get to the time frame you are comfortable with. It might take a little time, but with consistency it will pay off. Now the bad news. Dogs really don’t understand the concept of ‘weekends’ so be ready for an early wake up call every day of the week!The plus—I haven’t had to set an alarm clock in over 10 years at my house! Have a question for our panel of experts? Email info@pupculturemagazine.com for a chance to get some expert advice in our next issue!


Good Luck!

Kim Mayes



Certified Professional Groomer

BOOK WITH ME AT: HAPPY TAILS GROOMING 3180 Latta Road (Located in Ricci’s Restaurant Plaza) Rochester, NY 14612



SOGGY DOGGY DOORMAT Written by Julie Wilner | Photo Provided Soggy Doggy Doormat sells three products made of microfiber chenille: doormats (26x36” or 36x60”), placemats (18x24”) and dog towels (31x14” with hand pockets). Each is billed as being superabsorbent, quick drying, machine washable, and “velvety” soft. I tested the doormat, which comes in dark chocolate, caramel, beige and blue (26x36” only). The doormat comes with or without an outline of a bone in the center and has a rubber backing. It is supposed to allow a door to open over it, but I didn’t find that to be the case, even on my hardwoods. This was a real drawback because the mat had to be placed a good distance from the door or the shag got caught. Another issue was that my super excited, I-deserve-a-treat-for-slogging-through-the-mud dog didn’t remain on the mat. No doubt other dogs are better contained. I’m happy to report, however, that the doormat lived up to its promise in other respects. My floors were free of paw prints even after a walk on a wet, muddy day. I also tried the mat on the backseat of my car, and it trapped dirt much better than the beach towel I’ve been using. And since the mat is indeed comfy soft, I imagine it would work well on the bottom of a crate. I should note that the mat I tested was dark brown and hid dirt well. I’m not sure how the lighter colors would look after several days of use. (The placemats only come in beige; the towels come in marine blue and beige.) Soggy Doggy products can be found at various retailers or online at soggydoggydoormat.com. The doormat retails online for $39.99 ($84.99 for the extra large), the “slopmat” is $21.99, and the “super shammy” towel is $19.99. Standard shipping is $8.95. The website notes that the company will take returns only if unopened and it will not pay for return shipping.


Enjoy a 20% OFF coupon at soggydoggydoormat.com when you use coupon code PUP20.



SNIFF PET CANDLES Written by Julie Wilner | Photo Provided Sniff Pet Candles are a blend of soy, palm oil and beeswax and come in six scents: three are designed to evoke happy pet feelings and three are intended to address your dog’s farts, fleas and sleep issues. I tried a set of five votives; each had a pleasant smell that wasn’t overpowering or cloying. “A Day in the Hamptons” and “Splendor in the Grass” are meant to remind you of summer romps on the beach or in the park. “Field of Dreams” is formulated to help your dog relax and hit the hay. Sniff says “Fart & Away” will not only remove the offending odor but “ease the cause of your dog’s unpleasant condition.” (Although they don’t explain how). And “Friends to the Rescue” promises to keep “little critters at bay.” A sixth scent, “Remember Me” is supposed to help you recall your “treasured friend.” My dog doesn’t happen to smell like wild rose and sandalwood, let alone frankincense and myrrh, so it’s just as well I didn’t try this one. Although I imagine the combination of those scents could provoke happy memories for some and memories of a beloved dog are usually in that category. The company insists that all its candles “promote your dog’s optimum health and well-being,” despite the fact that there is no evidence that dogs benefit from scented candles. (Its website offers only a brief article about dogs’ strong sense of smell.) Sniff Pet Candles also lists, “Aromatherapy is a natural & safe alternative for pet care,” as one of the reasons why you should choose their product. They make these statements throughout their website not only without evidence, but without warnings or recommended usage. And the use of essential oils with animals (or people), while sometimes beneficial, can also be harmful if used incorrectly or in excess. They also say their candles are “100% green,” again without evidence; both soybeans and palm oil can be unsustainable products depending on the source. And although the company laudably helps to support rescue organizations and shelters with its donations, it does not say what portion of its proceeds goes to these groups. Pets are big business in the country; the industry is estimated to generate $55 billion this year. Pet owners are being sold all sorts of luxury items with vaunted claims about their effects on our pets’ well-being. I think maybe it’s time to sniff around. Sniff Pet Candles are $38 for a full-size candle and $48 for a set of five votives and are available at retailers nationwide or at sniffpetcandles.com, Shipping is $10.

www.pupculturemagazine.com | 57


Written by MaryAnn Aquilino

Chocolate, in any form (including cocoa mulch), is toxic because it contains theobromine and caffeine. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death.

Antifreeze, usually stored in the garage, has a sweet taste that attracts dogs and is deadly even in small quantities. Look for antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, rather than ethylene glycol, because it is safer if ingested.

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Ibuprofen can lead to heart failure, liver failure, kidney disease, seizures and death. Acetaminophen can cause severe liver damage and damage to red blood cells.


Chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, and formaldehyde, found in everyday products such as all-purpose cleaners, dish and laundry detergents, wipes, glass and toilet-bowl cleaners, are especially toxic to pets.

Pesticides are often fatal; dogs can also die from eating rodents that have been poisoned. Insecticides, including pyrethroid-based and organophosphate insecticides (OPs) such as tetrachlorvinphos, in over-thecounter flea treatments, are also toxic.



De-icing products containing chemicals such as Sodium chloride, Potassium chloride, Magnesium chloride, Calcium carbonate or calcium magnesium acetate can not only be irritating to your dogs’ paws, they can cause seizures, degenerative or neurological problems, and even death.

Lawn and garden products, including fertilizer, blood and bone meal, plant food, and slug and snail bait can be fatal to pets. Many contain metaldehyde, disulfoton or other organophosphates (OPs).



Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and acute renal failure. Even small amounts of either grapes or raisins can cause a problem.

Sugar free gum, candy, low-carb cookies and other products containing Xylitol can be rapidly harmful and cause symptoms from vomiting to seizures to liver failure. Even small amounts can be fatal.



Poisonous household plants including lillies, bittersweet, mistletoe, and many others. For a full list of poisonous plans see our December 2013 issue.





We can’t buy

your love But we can sure come close to it!



Special Needs

Good w/ Dogs

Good w/ Cats

Good w/ Kids


Photography By Jessica Luce

Fulton Animal Services of Atlanta, Gerorgia is proud to introduce Smoke, their most eligible bachelorette. If you feel a spark and would like to make a “love connection” with Smoke, please contact the Fulton Animal Services at 404.613.0358 or visit their website at www.fultonanimalservices.com to arrange a date. SWEET, LOVABLE GIRL FULL OF CHARACTER, LOOKING FOR A NEW FAMILY AND A BETTER LIFE.

SMOKE My name is Smoke. If you are looking for a wellmannered, super sweet companion then I’m your girl! I tend to be picky about the company I keep, so I would do best as your one and only. I love fetch, chew toys and eat treats. I have a birth effect in one eye, but I don’t let that stop me. It just adds to my character. If you think I might be your soul-mate, hit up my digits ;-)





ADOPTED 4.27.13

ADOPTED 4.28.13

ADOPTED 5.4.13


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