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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kendra Hartmann Sindi Somers Martin Jones Westlin

GUEST WRITERS Judith Pierce Karen Hamlet K.R. Johnson Mark Carlson Dr. Stefanie Schwartz COVER ART Some Like It Shot Photography


Dear Friends,

meeting e joy. From u tr a en be e months have it ne ss in g th ki tchen to w The past ni ne TV s e hi th in g be in okin g G uy gr ad u at io n, al Sam the Co m ni -a en ce be am 's s er vi ag az in e has Pa w s' it iv e Te Di ego Pe ts M an S ily. of m r fa d my d Ed ito xt fo r me an Publish er an ne e th r te moment af ards of one amaz ing und with ho ro ar ye ts even giving their city has pet d individuals an Our classy ns tio za ni no doubt nteer orga panions. Its m co selfless volu al im an r ld is ours. elfare of ou y in the w or all for the w nit u m m co t test pe that the grea week of t the first ou be ill w sue on a Our next is from there ue in nt co 12 and ts Magazine February 20 San Diego Pe at e W . le du on and monthly sche holiday seas y pp ha a u h yo e new year. want to wis you all in th ng ei se to d look forwar Casey, Linda, Buddy & Noodles Casey Dean

Alison Giese Casey Dean Karen Hamlet

CARTOONIST Barbara Fuscsick Puppy Paws Productions

ADVERTISING Casey Dean (619) 573-5615

Marjorie “Kirby” (858) 775-4432 San Diego Pets Magazine is published by Dean Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 601081, San Diego, Ca 92160-1081. No part of this publication may be duplicated or reprinted without express consent from the publisher. Editors reserve the right to edit all content. Submissions are welcome, and may be edited for content and clarity. Please forward all unsolicited material to the editor. Views and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to approve or accept advertising orders and content. All contents are copyrighted 2011. All rights reserved.

/SanDiegoPets San Diego Pets Magazine P.o. BoX 601081 San Diego, ca 92160-1081 (619) 573-5615 SanDiegoPetSMagazine.coM Our next issue will be out February 2012! | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012


Chopper and Spike: an unlikely union turned perfect partnership Just like in the world of humans, dogs have friends and acquaintances. And just like us, they gravitate toward those with similar interests and hobbies. That’s how Spike and Chopper came to be buds: a shared interest in doing good and helping others. B y K E N D R A H A RT M A N N | S A N D I E G O P E T S


pike and Chopper, however, are not the most likely of friends. Spike, a tiny papillon who was abused for much of his early life, is quiet and small and enjoys spending an afternoon curled up on his human mother’s lap. At the other end of the spectrum is two-year-old Boston terrier Chopper, whose idea of a good


time is riding high on his remote-controlled Harley Davidson. Yet Spike and Chopper have one very important thing in common: they are members of an elite group of San Diego canines that use their talent and good looks for charity — a club that seems to thrive here in Southern California.



Spike and Chopper first met almost exactly one year ago, when Mark Shaffer, Chopper’s human father and fellow Harley rider, noticed a post on Spike’s Facebook page that made mention of a tiny wagon. In possession of a small wagon himself, he decided to get in touch with Spike and his owner, Jocelyn Taylor, on the chance they’d go for a joint Harley/wagon towing adventure. Taylor, it turned out, was more than game, and the group met up at the 2010 Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade for a trial run. Chopper, as usual, helmed the bike while Spike rode in the wagon, both resplendent in their signature sunglasses. Taylor and Shaffer figured they’d give the arrangement a try, and if Spike jumped out or otherwise rejected the wagon, they’d just walk alongside each other in the parade.

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The accomplishments of Chopper and Spike’s combined efforts can be easily spotted in the smiles of those they spend even a moment with.

Neither dog so much as hinted at resistance to the arrangement — Spike, in fact, loved his wagon so much that after the parade was over and Taylor and Shaffer were packing things up, Taylor looked around for Spike only to find him sitting back in it, waiting for another round. The pair were a smash hit — so much so, they’ve been invited back this year as Grand Marshals. But this is only the latest in Spike and Chopper’s individual stories. Each has, in fact, built up a legacy in his own right, long before their united debut in a motorcycle/wagon motorcade. Chopper, as those who are familiar with him know, is not the first Harleyriding dog in San Diego. His predecessor, Bandit, was Shaffer’s first Boston terrier who developed a love for the open road when he was just a couple of months old. Bandit launched the idea of the biker dog that gives back and established quite a legacy — big boots for Chopper to fill. Shaffer first decided Bandit could do more than just look good on a bike when he started to notice the attentiongrabbing potential of his biker buddy. “We started gaining a lot of notoriety,” he said. “I never really thought a lot about charity work, but it sort of evolved. I started seeing the good it was doing, and I really wanted to do more.” And do more he did. Shaffer started

chopper’s story:




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making appearances with his dog anywhere he thought they could help: San Diego Hospice, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, the San Diego VA Medical Center and Rady Children’s Hospital, among others. He knew the value of the fundraising potential for those places, but it was the stories from the people he visited that drove his desire to do more. “One time, after we had been to the hospice, I heard from a nurse that worked there,” he said. “She told me one of the guys we visited had been there for weeks, and when Bandit rode into his room, she said it was the first time she had seen him smile.” Another time, Shaffer recalled, a mother wrote him a letter shortly after he visited the Children’s Hospital in Orange County. “She said her son forgot he was in pain while we were there,” he said. Chopper now continues Bandit’s work as a certified therapy dog, specializing, Shaffer said, in “making a positive difference, even if it just means bringing a smile to people’s faces.” Chopper travels (often in a makeshift sidecar fashioned from a saddlebag on Shaffer’s Harley) to all of Bandit’s former locations — and more — bringing cheer and charity to those in need. He supports a variety of causes, including the San Diego



police and firefighters, Wounded Warriors, Helen Woodward Animal Center, the San Diego Humane Society, and rescue groups and shelters all over Southern California. His born-to-bewild reputation precedes him — he’s even been invited to appear at charity events involving members of Guns N’ Roses and FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.” Chopper, for his part, doesn’t seem to mind all the attention. “Once he’s in costume, he knows he’s in character and he loves it,” Shaffer said. “I just figure, why not bring happiness to people who need it?” Spike’s beginning was not a smooth one. Sold to someone along with another papillon for the purpose of becoming a show dog, Spike had the misfortune of being a runt. While most papillons grow to about 8 to 10 pounds, Spike, Taylor said, “tops out at 5 pounds after a full meal.” Spike, therefore, was “worthless” in the eyes of his first owner. “To this day, it still angers me,” Taylor said. “I don’t think anyone is worthless. We all have a purpose and we’re all here for a reason.” Spike’s apparent uselessness brought the wrath of his first owner, and when Taylor finally entered the picture, Spike was emaciated, covered in filth and his teeth were almost entirely rotten. “He couldn’t eat and was just beaten to pieces,” Taylor said. “He was a broken dog.” Taylor eventually discovered that Spike also had a heart condition. After

Spike’s story:

a particularly alarming trip to the vet, Taylor was told he probably had about six to eight months to live. That was several years ago. Spike has since become the mascot of Taylor’s charitable initiatives, her to “little catalyst for creating happy endings.” One of those initiatives is Operation Pet Pals, an effort to provide comfort to those who don’t get it elsewhere. Taylor conceived of the idea when visiting her mother, who was suffering from dementia, in an assisted living home. “I noticed the people in those homes tended to be very lonely,” she said. Taylor started bringing small stuffed animals to some of the residents and received a lot of positive feedback. “You might think, ‘What’s this adult going to do with a stuffed animal? But a lot of them were reverting back to childhood in their minds, and they get a lot of comfort out of [the toys],” she said. “They give them names and carry them around. It becomes a companion for them, and if you’ve got dementia and you talk to your stuffed dog, who cares if it gives you comfort?” Spike has become the face of the initiative, which recently went public online, in the hopes, Taylor said, that people across the country “will be inspired to do something similar.” Spike, like Chopper, also lends his

celebrity to various causes and organizations, like rescues and shelters and, in particular, Taylor’s effort to encourage people to “adopt, don’t shop” when looking for a new pet. Taylor, much like Shaffer with Chopper, hopes she and Spike can, if nothing else, brighten someone’s day. “Even if we’re doing just a simple, small thing, it’s something,” she said. “And if you can put together a whole bunch of little somethings, it becomes huge.”

To learn more about Chopper, visit or

To learn more about Spike or to donate new or gently used stuffed dogs or cats to Operation Pet Pals, visit, or

More photos and video online at | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012




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The perfect place for a pet project B y K E N D R A H A RT M A N N | S A N D I E G O P E T S

simple search of “pet stores” in San Diego on returns 218 results, which may seem like a lot or a little, depending on your point of view. The number only takes on real meaning when you compare it to other large U.S. cities. Take New York City, for example. The same search returns 434 pet-related businesses, almost exactly twice as many — in a city with more than six times the population of San Diego. Los Angeles proper, whose population is about three times that of America’s Finest, shows 226 pet stores, while Chicago — about twice the size of San Diego — has 167. Yes, it’s no secret that San Diego loves its pets — and its pet industry. The fact that pet owners make no bones about the way they love to dote on their furry friends — and how much they’ll spend to prove that — gives rise to a specific and unique niche for business owners. Here, for example, you can head out

Yes, it’s no secret that San Diego loves its pets — and its pet industry.

for a personal training session with your dog (complete with doggy training — of the obedience and fitness kind) before taking a trip to the dog salon for some primping and the dog boutique for some new apparel. By this time, it’s lunch so head over to the market for some organic dog treats before finding your inner canine chi at a yoga class for dogs and their human companions followed by a session with your holistic pet healer to take care of those aches and pains. If you’re really in the mood for some pampering, you can end the evening at a five-star hotel (but only one of the ones that provides gourmet room service for pets). And when you return home, of course, there’s no need to worry about cleaning up — because you paid someone to

come by and poop scoop the yard while you were out. San Diego’s pet industry has taken on a life of its own, and many pet-related business owners in the area have a good idea why. Most of them cite a few common themes for why San Diego is a pet-owner’s paradise — weather generally being the highest on their list. “Other people who have tried to start a business like mine in other parts of the country can only do it seasonally,” said Dawn Celapino, owner of Leash Your Fitness, a personal training business that incorporates human and canine fitness and obedience into a joint dog/owner workout. “If you try to do this somewhere cold, you can only do it in the summer, and if you try to do it somewhere like Phoenix, you can only do it in the winter.” San Diego weather is obviously a draw for tourists and transplants, but it can’t be the only reason the local pet in-


The images above show how the Some Like It Shot Photography team compile several photos into a final masterpiece. The cover image of this issue of Photos courtesy of Some Like It Shot Photography San Diego Pets Magazine is another example of thier fine work. | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012




dustry enjoys a perpetual boom. Though services like Celapino’s benefit from the outdoor activity-friendly climate, there are plenty of businesses that don’t need sunny days to operate. Alisha McGraw, who specializes in pet photography through her business Some Like It Shot, agreed weather definitely has a hand in drawing pet owners to San Diego. She admitted, however, weather couldn’t be the only factor. McGraw has lived in several different cities, some — like Los Angeles — with similar climates to San Diego. And none of them, she said, could claim a pet culture like ours. “Here, there are dog beaches everywhere,” she said. “In LA, the closest dog beach we could find was in Long Beach — not an easy, short car ride away.” Celapino, in turn, pointed out that pets in San Diego get the royal treatment — more so, perhaps, than in other cities. Where she grew up in Pennsylvania, she said, there was a clear delineation between what was suitable for a dog and what was suitable for a human. Not so in San Diego. “Here,” she said, “the dogs in my classes lay on mats like their owners. They don’t even have to touch the grass.” McGraw and Celapino are classic examples of how San Diego engenders the pet industry, making it a no-brainer for those leaning toward a pet-related business. Like Celapino — who was strictly a human personal trainer until she realized how many people were taking their dogs for a walk and then heading to the gym, instead of combining both workouts — McGraw didn’t set out with the purpose of creating fine art pet photography. Several years ago, she was photographing dogs for a boxer rescue shelter’s website when she realized she had a talent. The natural progression led to taking photos for owners who would pay for a visual memoir of their pet. Other less-conventional businesses flourish here, too. Take Linda Troup’s

To learn more about Leash Your Fitness visit them online at

business, Touch N Paws. Born out of a need to find an alternative way to treat her French bulldog’s spinal and nervous system ailments, the holistic healing business was founded after Troup heard about the Tellington T-Touch, a healing method designed to relieve pain by bringing the animal into “physical, mental and emotional balance.”

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Troup has expanded her business to incorporate Reiki, aromatherapy and therapeutic massage and has helped animals locally and remotely, some as far away as Australia (“I don’t know why, but I’m still amazed when it works,” she said of the alternative healing methods). San Diego, Troup said, is the perfect place to open pet owners’ minds to things like holistic healing. “The thing I’ve noticed is that San Diegans are very in tune with taking care of their pets,” she said. “Their pets needs are going to get met, one way or another. They’re not just animals, they’re family members. People here are very loving and giving to them, and that’s very good for pet-related businesses.” | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012


Behavior Bytes

Stefanie Schwartz,

DVM, MSc, DACVB Veterinary Behavior Medicine

We have a number of important events coming up this holiday season. We are giving our daughter’s engagement party, Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas Eve celebrations at our home. The problem is that we have 4 shy cats, 1 Chihuahua and 2 big Retriever mixed breed dogs. Do you have any advice? Thanks, Party Palace

Dear Dr. Schwartz,

Well, first of all congratulations! There sure are a lot of good things going on in your lives right now. Typically, the busier we get the less attention our pets get. This happens despite our best intentions; sometimes life just gets in the way of caring for the ones we love. Honestly, the soundest advice I can give you is to keep your life as simple as possible and keep your pets out of the party madness if you can. The best thing to do would be to board them all at your veterinarian’s or at a boarding kennel you trust the day before each event, picking them up the day after. This will free you up to focus on planning your events and enjoying them, too. We don’t want you or a guest to trip over any of the pets during the festivities; someone might unintentionally let any of the cats or dogs out the door and into the night. Some people aren’t pet people and you probably want to be accommodating to your guests. You wouldn’t want any of your visitors to get bitten or scratched by a startled pet, and you wouldn’t want the cats or Chihuahua to get injured by those who are not used to living with small pets. Also, you don’t want your kitties getting into the dip, or your dogs stealing food from holiday plates. Ultimately, I think it will be worth boarding them for 1 or 2 nights. Keep your stress level down and focus on the fun.

Dear Party Palace,

I’m glad that your children are old enough to appreciate the care and devotion your new puppy will need. Children should be on their way to being responsible before a pet is introduced; so many parents think they will be teaching their children responsibility by getting a pet. The family pet is always the responsibility of the adults, not the children. It’s always important to give your children basic instruction on gentle handling of any pet, and to monitor them when a young pet is first introduced. Supervise your children as your pet matures to ensure that their relationships remain healthy and that everyone is safe. During the holidays, be careful of small toys, ribbons and bows, tinsel, food and anything that might be irresistible to young pets who are prone to ingesting things they really shouldn’t! Pet proof your home before your puppy arrives and instruct your children to keep their rooms tidy and their doors closed to minimize accidents. Keep your puppy in a safe place when you cannot be there to monitor him, such as a puppy pen or large crate in the kitchen area, or even a playpen in the den. Your puppy should sleep near you at night in a dog bed or crate so that she will feel safe. For additional details, please visit; on the Quickfix page there are helpful handouts you can download for a small fee (it goes to supporting the website) on basic obedience and house training and more. Congratulations on your new addition and Happy Holidays everyone!

Dear Puppy on the Way,

Your pets might not like being away from home, but sometimes that’s the best place for them. Another option would be to secure the cats in a locked room, or crated in a quiet part of the house. This will keep them safe and minimize their stress with so many strangers in their home. The same can be done for the dogs (although this is not the time to start crating them if they are not used to it, of course). Prepare your dogs with a long walk before each event begins and then get them settled in with a special treat to enjoy during their confinement. Check on your pets when you have a moment to make sure all is well, but be careful not to let them escape! Holidays are a stressful time. Event planning is busy and fun, but stressful nonetheless. Brief separation from your pets may not be fun for any of you, but it will prevent them from getting into trouble. Sometimes short term discomfort is worth long term contentment! So relax and enjoy! We are planning to get a puppy around the holidays. It’s not our ideal time frame with so much going on, but our kids (ages 13, 8, and 6) have been begging us for a pet for a while and we couldn’t take their nagging anymore. Do you have any tips to keep our newest family member safe? Puppy on the Way

Dear Dr. Schwartz,


Dr. Stefanie Schwartz is a board certified veterinary behaviorist based in Southern California. She sees patients at California Veterinary Specialists in Carlsbad and at The Veterinary Neurology Center in Tustin, CA. For more information, please call (949) 342-6644 or visit | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012


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Think twice before gifting an animal for the holidays


s we enter the holiday season, feelings of joy and goodwill often prompt us to want to give heartwarming gifts like cute, cuddly and innocent pets. However, live animals are not appropriate gifts. They require love and commitment during their entire lifespan. It may seem like a good idea, but before giving a pet as a gift, please consider that there may be negative consequences. After the nostalgia wears off in a few weeks, when the person realizes how much time, attention and money an animal requires, they may end up resenting you. Time and expenses are usually not considered by the gift giver or the recipient, and, as a result, these animals are often abandoned, neglected or end up in shelters when the holidays are over. This is why it is especially important for parents to think twice before gifting a pet to children. Pets require adult care and commitment. Do not get your child a pet unless you are ready to take on the commitment. If you still have the desire to gift a pet, why not wrap a stuffed animal in a box with a message? Your friend or loved one can then decide whether they want the living version of their present. For a child, you might consider including books about the proper care and feeding of a new family pet. It would be wise to have many pointed discussions with your child about the new responsibilities they will assume once a new pet joins the family. Then, make the choice of a new pet a family event with the strengthened commitment to provide the love and attention your living creature will need. By following these guidelines, you will help stem the growing tide of abandoned and neglected animals after the holidays. Article and photos by Karen Hamlet,



After losing her owner and canine companion in the same week, 10-year old Sheba, a husky mix, was relinquished to the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. These combined losses of close companions caused Sheba to become extremely depressed and thus uninterested in leaving her habitat or interacting with people. In an effort to cheer her up, Sheba was introduced to another senior, Ranger, a 12-year old shepherd mix. That was the first time Sheba stood up and wagged her tail. She made great progress with Ranger’s support and it quickly became clear that the two could not be separated! They found love in each other and now all these sweet seniors needed was a family to love and cherish both of them. Their dreams came true during November’s “Adopt a Senior Pet” adoption campaign. A lovely couple saw Sheba and Ranger on KUSI so they paid a visit to the San Diego Humane Society that very day. It only took moments to fall in love with the bonded pair, so the couple happily adopted them. Now Sheba and Ranger have a caring home with lots of space to play, take long naps and receive plenty of love for their golden years!

Senior Animals Create a Life Changing Bond

About the San Diego Humane Society & SPCA Serving San Diego County since 1880, the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA’s scope of social responsibility goes beyond adopting animals. The Humane Society offers San Diegans a wide range of programs and services that strengthen the humananimal bond, prevent cruelty/neglect, provide medical care and educate the community on the humane treatment of animals. | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012



A Home for the Holidays f you’ve ever considered a rabbit for your family, consider opening your heart and your home to a rabbit who’s been rescued from a past life of neglect. Rescued dogs and cats are well known as “rescue pets,” but domestic rabbits are the third most relinquished animal to shelters and humane societies. In San Diego, nearly every shelter in the county has a rabbit adoption program. Rabbits come to them from owners giving them up, found stray on the streets, or from confiscation due to lack of care. In our area alone, there are well over 300 rabbits looking for new homes on any given day. San Diego House Rabbit Society, our local rabbit rescue organization is promoting a “Home for the Holidays” program throughout the month of December. Adoption fees have been greatly reduced to $40 for a single rabbit, and $60 for a bonded pair. Adopters must be 21 years of age or older, and complete an adoption application and screening. The Society adopts only to homes where the rabbits are kept as indoor family companions. Adoption is a great option for rabbit companions as one of the first things they need is to be spayed or neutered. Altering your pet rabbit makes him or her a much better companion, enabling litter box training, reducing hormonal tendencies such as digging, chewing, and spraying urine, and calms their personality. Altering your rabbit also prevents reproductive cancers, which is a great concern in rabbits over the age of three years old. However, this is a costly procedure, running an average of $300 or more in San Diego County. By adopting from a shelter or rescue organization, your rabbit companion will already have been spayed or neutered, litter box trained, be put on a healthy diet, and been checked out by a veterinarian that specializes in rabbit care. With local adoption fees running from $20 to $50, you’ve achieved a significant savings, while getting a family-ready pet. Rabbits make great family companions for the right people. They flourish 18

in a home where they can be their “rabbity” selves. When provided with a roomy living area, plenty of out-ofcage (or pen) play time of three to four hours a day, they can run and play and show off their normal rabbit behaviors. Rabbits also thrive on routine. They are much like small children who need to know what to expect and what is expected of them, in order to live an orderly life. When adopting from a rescue or shelter, great care is taken to match the right rabbit with the right adopter. You can learn more about which might be the best match for you, by visiting rabbit information sites such as or There, you’ll find advice on proper housing, diet, normal rabbit behaviors, and see rabbits available for adoption. After learning about rabbits and their care, we hope you’ll consider offering a “Home for the Holidays” to a needy rabbit who just needs a loving family to call their own.


Mr. Love Buns found his new home after being rescued from a hoarding situation.



f you’ve been wanting a companion pet but don’t feel you have the room for a cat or dog, or your housing complex does not allow them, consider a smaller pet to keep you company. Smaller pets can be mice, gerbils, hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, or rabbits. Many smaller pets make great companions. Rats love attention; hamsters are great for people who tend to be “night owls,” and guinea pigs sing lovely songs consisting of chirps, rumbles, and chattering; they are a delight to listen to. Rabbits can learn tricks and train their humans, and chinchillas are hysterical to watch, as they fly through the room, jumping from the tops of cages to furniture. The first step in adopting a smaller pet is to learn about its care, in advance of bringing one home. There are many websites that can give you great advice: For rats, try an excellent site from New Zealand. Guinea pig advice can be found at For mice, try Care guides for each of these species can be found at Guinea pigs make great pets for families with children, with parents as the chief caregivers. Guinea pigs are also known as cavies. They can live up to nine years, with five to seven years being the average. As with any pet, you must be prepared to keep and care for your guinea pig throughout its entire lifetime. The fun aspect of guineas is watching them putter about, making little nests in their bedding, and singing

Wooly Bear was recently rescued and is available for adoption through Wee Companions.


Keegan and his rat, Blizzard, enjoy hanging out together.

their sweet little guinea songs. Guinea pigs are strict vegetarians and eat fresh vegetables, hay and fortified pelleted foods. Pigs are adopted or housed in same-sex pairs, as spaying or neutering surgeries are too risky. Breeding guinea pigs is not recommended, as it’s very risky for the mothers. The gestation period is about 70 days and pigs can give birth to one to four babies. The mortality rate for pregnant guineas is about 20% with one in five dying during the birthing process. Hamsters have long been thought as good pets for kids, but that’s rarely the case. Nocturnal animals, hamsters sleep throughout the day and are active at night; just the opposite of your children. Hamsters are very delicate animals, therefore not a good choice for children who may have trouble holding them securely. For individuals whose schedules include late evenings, these tiny animals can provide hours of entertainment. The Humane Society of the U.S. provides a great video on their care at Be sure to provide them with the right housing, and many play things to keep them occupied and well exercised. Rats can be controversial as pets,

with many parents cringing at the thought. But they are great for kids because they love attention! Rats want to hang out with their humans and be held, a lot. This is perfect for children who really want that hands-on interaction with their pet. Rats live an average of two to three years, with the rare exception living up to five. They are very social and should be adopted in samesex pairs so they will have a friend. They need your attention too; rats should get out-of-cage time of at least one to two hours per day. Rats are inexpensive to adopt, but their medical care can be pricey. They have a tendency toward growing tumors; regular vet checkups are a must. Rabbits are a popular family companion and come in many breeds, colors and sizes. They run from a tiny 2½ pounds, up to 16 pounds or more. They are often sold and advertised as “dwarf breeds” by pet stores, only to grow to six or seven pounds. Their average lifespan is 8 to 12 years. Rabbits are extremely social and enjoy the companion ship of their own species and interaction with humans. They have very individual personalities so it’s very important to adopt a rabbit whose personality is a good match for you. Learn about rabbit care and behavior at Smaller animals are available for adoption through local shelters and rescue groups, including Information on the care, housing, and adoption of these precious little creatures is on their website.

Tickleish Guinea Pig | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012



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the cat’s meow Five tips for training your human


i everyone—this is Coco, KR’s cat. I finally got control of the keyboard, having distracted KR enough that she’s forgotten to turn off the computer before she went to bed (mwa-ha-haaa)! This last column of 2011 contains valuable information for cats only. I, Queen of All Catdom, offer my top tips for training your humans for the new year. By KR JOHNSON | SAN DIEGO PETS

the inSiStent MeoW. Humans are verbal. Even though we cats prefer nonverbal communication, we must lower ourselves to meow at them so they will know when it’s time to feed us, pet us, let us into the backyard, play with us and provide the other attentions we require in exchange for our magnificent presence in their lives. Be sure to use different tones for each behavior so they can tell by the sound what it is you want from them. Bonus: You are teaching them the art of real listening. the arMPit SnUggle. If your human ignores your noises, then more aggressive tactics are needed. For this to

work, get your motor running on high (humans find the sound of purring soothing, so it helps to get their attention) and simply dig your nose into the armpit and nuzzle hard. The colder and wetter your nose, the better. Repeat as needed. It will certainly gain your human’s attention and has a 94 percent return rate on a massage.

the artfUl Poke. When verbal communication isn’t effective, I find it useful to unsheathe one claw (only one; we want to be noticed, not to carve our person like a turkey). Ever so gently, hook it into the shirt your person is wearing. My person, KR, will always tune into me and give me her full at-

tention when I use this technique. It works because, no matter how many times she asks me not to poke her, I just purr louder, poke again and enjoy the resulting pets and scritches under my chin.

the SUrPriSe attack. If your human is watching a movie, this technique is quite effective in getting them down on the floor to play. First, stealthily remove yourself from the room. I especially recommend going upstairs, if you have an upstairs. Then, launch your attack. Tail straight up and frizzed, race through the house, attacking your toys, scratching posts, any papers lying around, feet and then racing around from room to room. Fly upstairs and back downstairs, jump up behind your human on the couch and produce a long, drawnout mmmrrrroowwwww! KR always laughs and gets down on the floor to play with me after these sessions, but if you happen to have a human with a less developed sense of humor, use this with caution. We want to educate them, not send them into an early grave.

the foot Weave. (Caution: This must be used only by cats agile enough to spring out of the way. Do not attempt if your springiness is on the fritz.) When your person exercises, you have the purrfect opportunity for you to distract them and reassure yourself of your total dominance in the home. Place yourself on the floor right in the path of their moving feet. This forces them to move around you. Keep staring up at your person with the most pathetically lonely face you can muster. Every once in a while, utter a “mah” or a “mroo” just to tug at their heartstrings and make them pause the DVD player to pet you. For those of you with advanced skills, try this: As soon as the DVD player is paused and your person is reaching for you, run away. See how many times in one session you can get your person to turn off the DVD player. Send me an email on how you did, and the winner will get a free bag of organic catnip!

Those are my best tips. Use them wisely, and you will soon have the humans in your household in tiptop shape for serving your every whim.

KR Johnson is the author of the laughout-loud book, The Eleventh Sense, available on—San Diego Pets readers can request an autographed copy by going to KR’s site at and sending her an email. 20




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Zen and the Art of Tail-wagging ome people wear their heart on their sleeve. Dogs wear theirs on their butt. A dog’s tail is a flag, an indicator of the dog’s mood and intention. When they’re scared or guilty it’s tucked between their legs; if they’re sad, it droops. Excited dog tails twitch and happy dogs wag theirs. I don’t know what the tail of an aggressive dog does. I’m too busy avoiding the teeth. If people had tails, there would be fewer bar fights, domestic violence and war. My dog Musket is a Yellow Labrador, a breed known for being friendly he is also a Guide Dog. Musket has a certain something which sets him apart from the rest of the pack. With very beautiful expressive eyes and that Labrador smile he is very popular. But on the other hand, or should I say ‘end’ is his tail. He has a heavy tail and could batter down condemned buildings with it. But Musket has no idea what his butt is doing. Musket’s tail broadcasts his emotions; happy, sad, guilty, nervous, excited or sick. When he sees a friend or family member his tail wags so hard it creates a breeze. I might tie a fan on it for hot days. His all-time love, the holder of his heart is my wife Jane. Musket snores like a longshoreman sleeping off a hangover in Singapore, but when Jane comes in his tail knows it before he does. Just the end. Twitch, twitch. “Where’s my Musket?” Jane asks. His tail goes active, rapidly patting the floor. Whapwhapwhap. “There’s my Musket!” Then the pile driver. Wham! Wham! Wham! Then he wakes, slobbering her with loving kisses. He’s furry Prozac without the side effects. My co-workers adore him. His tail against the metal of my filing cabinet sounds like Rosie the Riveter making a B-17.

Nothing a ball-peen hammer and some Bondo won’t fix. When Jane comes by the office to visit, Musket knows it right away. ZOOM! He’s like a Tomcat on a carrier catapult, propelled by his madly thrashing tail. I don’t try to stop him. I’m blind, not insane. I like my arm right where it is. Musket’s tail makes me laugh. And he likes it when I am happy. It’s a perfect circle of cause and effect, harmonious and unbroken. Sort of Zen-like. Paws be with you.



Mark carlSon, 51 lives in San Diego with his wife Jane and his Guide dog Musket. A docent at the San Diego Air & Space Museum and aviation historian, Mark writes for several national aviation magazines. He is a featured speaker for many local adult education programs. His first book, ‘Confessions of a Guide Dog – The Blonde Leading the Blind’ is a humorous memoir about the adventures of life with Musket. It is available in through, and You can reach Mark and Musket through | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012



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iB Pet is playing a good game of catch with human health trends

Russ Blauert has two golden retrievers, two cats and a bunch of chickens and fish. And since he’s the co-owner of IB Pet, it’s a cinch those animals are in the best of hands. IB Pet, after all, brands itself a full-service store—the Imperial Beach facility stocks foods from a variety of companies and places emphasis on healthful, raw-diet components. It offers free-range and organic treats as well as obedience classes; now, it even has a pet food delivery service that covers San Diego County. Blauert, a New Mexico native who runs the store with his wife Lori, is following a pet-wellness trend that he said has been growing for many years—the perception of the benefits from healthful living. “California’s at the forefront of it,” Blauert explained. “As people focus more on their health, the pet is going to get their health focused on more as well.”

While that philosophy is true, it’s also lagged behind its human counterpart for close to a generation. Human health practitioners have embraced holistic medicine for 30 years and more, making an enormous dent in mainstream traditions—yet only now does the pet industry seem to be catching on. There’s a reason for that, Blauert explained. “In the past,” Blauert said, “the food companies didn’t think the consumer would spend as much money on their pet’s health as they’re willing to do. The consumers are showing a willingness to take care of their animals, and in turn, the companies are bringing out more and more good products.” The American Pet Products Association estimates that owners will spend nearly $51 billion on pet food and services in 2011, a 5 percent increase over the $48.3 billon from the previous year. Blauert cites a similar statistic that stems from personal experience. “My parents,” he said, “had a pet 20 years ago, when the premium dog food trade was 5 percent of what it is now.” IB Pet is doing its part to include the area’s animals in the health-intensive uptick. Blauert said the philosophy behind the trend is simple: If your pet is truly one of the family, it oughta be fed accordingly. IB Pet is located in Imperial Beach’s Silver Strand Plaza, 600 Palm Ave., Suite 127. The number is 619-822-1610. For more information, see or


A key to healthier – & happier – pets

By Chris Simmons, RPh Anyone that has ever had to medicate a pet already knows: most of them don’t care for it. Try to give a pill to a cat, in particular, and you’re off to the Kitty Rodeo! But all types of pets present their own challenges, to the point that 75% of treatment failures in veterinary medicine are due to noncompliance by the animal. There is, however, a solution available through pharmaceutical compounding. Compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications, where pharmacists make by hand all the medicines that doctors prescribe. And it’s particularly effective for animal patients. There are two main ways compounding can help pet owners follow veterinarians’ orders: customization and delivery methods. Many times, there are simply not manufactured drugs available to treat specific types of animals, and choices of flavoring are

List your Business, call (619) 573-5615 for rates.

Home Buddies by Camp BowWow

347 Barkers Place

Dog Beach Dog Wash

The Most Creative Collection of Dog-Friendly Products Imaginable!

Do-It-Yourself•Service•Accessories 4933 Voltaire St., San Diego, CA 92107 (619) 523-1700

Dog Walking, Pet Sitting & Dog Training Bonded and Insured (619) 889-7767

EasyTurf A Field Turf Company Request a FREE DESIGN consultation 2750 La Mirada Dr, Vista, CA 92081 1-800-550-7270

The Clean Power of Nature Unscented pharmaceutical-grade salmon oil for your pets.

Fuzzy Wolf Canine Training Academy

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Company


California Veterinary Specialists 2310 Faraday Ave., Carlsbad, CA 92008, (760) 431-2273 • 7 days 24 hrs.

County of San Diego Department of Animal Services (619) 767-2675 •


compounded Medicine:

Cert. Trainer Program, Group & Private Pet Parent training. (831) 979-0303


Iceland Pure

Leashes and Love Serving San Diego and surrounding areas

(619) 296-4928

limited in bulk products. So, medicines can be customized with this in mind. Also, the way medicine is given can make a big difference: Beside pills, there are several dosage forms available to help deliver medications to pets. For instance, medicine that normally comes in a tablet can instead be made into an oral liquid or even sometimes put into a transdermal cream that carries the medicine right through the skin. Other dosage forms include making tasty medicated treats and oral pastes or gels. Flavor is key: it if tastes good, they’ll eat it! And pharmacists that compound for pets will have numerous flavors available to use. At the end of the day, whichever method results in a pet receiving all of the prescribed medication – at the correct time intervals – is the right solution. So if your pet needs medicine, and you know to expect resistance, you might ask your vet: “Is this a situation where compounding can help?” Chris Simmons is a pharmacist and serves as Vice President of Creative Development at Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA). He has worked in pharmaceutical compounding for nearly 20 years and has been on staff at PCCA for more than a decade, providing educational and consultative support to compounding pharmacists throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia. To find a compounding pharmacy near you, go to For more:


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Show, Best Costumed Duo, Best Pet Costume and Cutest Critter. The parade is set to begin at 3 p.m. at Gaslamp Hilton Park, at the corner of 4th Avenue and K Street. Competitors must check in two hours before parade time. For an entry form and further information, see

home 4 the holidays sets 1.5 million adoption goal

gaslamp holiday Pet Parade, Sun Dec. 11

Chopper the Biker Dog is only 2 years old, but he’s handling his schedule like a seasoned executive. In fact, he’s already a veteran of the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade and costume contest, taking Best of Show last year—and this time, the Gaslamp Quarter Association has seen fit to sit up and take notice. Chopper and his companion Spike Taylor have been named grand marshals of the fourth annual pet parade, set for Sunday, Dec. 11 in downtown San Diego’s famed Gaslamp Quarter. Pets and their owners will dress up in their favorite costumes for a promenade through the neighborhood, vying for prizes and titles, including Best of

Helen Woodward Animal Center is hoping its 13th annual pet adoption drive will be its luckiest. Iams Home 4 the Holidays is running through Jan. 3, with the goal of finding homes for 1.5 million orphaned pets. Iams and HWC are teaming up with more than 3,500 animal organizations worldwide to encourage pet adoption. Iams is also donating 5 million meals to animals at adoption and rescue centers through its Bags 4 Bowls program. The Helen Woodward Animal Center, headquartered in Rancho Santa Fe, founded the program in 1999 with just 14 San Diego County animal shelters. Since then, the program has found homes for nearly 6 million orphaned animals, including 1.1 million in 2010. The center provides services for nearly 60,000 people and thousands of animals annually through adoptions and educational and therapy programs. For more information on the adoption program and the Helen Woodward Center, visit or call 858-756-4117.

BUSINESS LISTINGS Leash Your Fitness Fitness class for you and your DOG. Classes / events throughtout San Diego. 619-822-3296

PoopPac Dog Walkers Case

SD House Rabbit Society

BAG IT – PAC IT – TRASH IT! Enjoy your walk in style No Odor - No Mess - It Works!

(858) 356-4286

The Screen Machine Lu Meyer, Obedience Academy K-9 Family Matters, Only the best will do! Trusted, Experienced, Award Winning Obedience Training. (760) 436-3571

Puptown Doggie Daycare 205 16th Street. San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 234-5778

National Cat Protection Society A shelter whose mission is dedicated to the protection and welfare of cats. 9031 Birch St. • Spring Valley (619) 469-8771 •

1-800-700-TIGER (84437) Pet Proof Screen Guaranteed! Patio, Swing & French Doors, Window Screens

Shelter Dogs To Dream Dogs San Diego Humane Society & SPCA (619) 299-7012

Learning With Love Dog Training Animal Behavioral Specialist (619) 813-1252, | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012



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rescue, adoption and Service organizations a Passion for Paws (akita rescue) (818) 925-4827 Baja Dog rescue (619) 407-9372 Bat rescue (619) 225-9453 Boxers n Birds (all breeds rescue and adoption) Like us on Facebook. 3308 Mission Ave. Oceanside, CA 92058. (760) 433-3763 x224 cat adoption Service (760) 550-2287 chihuahua rescue of San Diego german Shorthaired Pointer rescue (760) 726-4813 greyhound connection (619) 286-4739 independent therapy Dogs, inc. A non-profit therapy dog organization providing therapy dog visits for anyone who would like one. e-mail: it’s the Pits Specializing in the Bully Breeds (858) 484-0985 list Srv 4 therapy Dog teams A listing service/electronic bulletin board. operation greyhound (619) 588-6611 Paws of coronado (619) 522-7371 Pit Bull rescue of San Diego (858) 693-7331 rescue house (760) 591-1211 San Diego house rabbit Society (858) 356-4286 S.D. turtle & tortoise Society (619) 593-2123 Second chance Dog rescue (619) 721-DOGS (3647) Westie rescue of california (619) 579-6395 24

emergency hospitals Bonita/chUla viSta Pet emergency & Specialtycenter of South county (619) 591-4802 885 Canarios Court, #108, Chula Vista, CA 91910

carlSBaD california veterinary Specialists (760) 431-2273 2310 Faraday Ave., Carlsbad, CA 92008, 7 days 24 hrs.

encinitaS vca north coast veterinary & emergency (760) 632-1072 414 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas, CA 92024,

eSconDiDo animal Urgent care of escondido (760) 738-9600 2430-A S. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025, 7 Days 24 hrs.

kearny MeSa/claireMont animal er of San Diego (858) 569-0600 5610 Kearny Mesa Road, San Diego, CA 92111 M-F 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Sat. Sun. 24 hrs.

la MeSa Pet emergency & Specialty center (619) 462-4800 5232 Jackson Drive #105, La Mesa, CA 91942, 7 Days 24 hrs.

MiSSion valley vca emergency animal hospital & referral center (619) 229-2400 2317 Hotel Circle South, San Diego, CA 92108,7 Days 24 hrs.

MUrrieta california veterinary Specialists (951) 600-9803 25100 Hancock Ave. #116, Murrieta, CA 92562, 7 days 24 hrs.

PoWay animal emergency clinic (858) 748-7387 12775 Poway Road, Poway, CA 92064 M-F 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Sat. Sun. 24 hrs.

San MarcoS veterinary Specialty hospital (760) 466-0600 2055 Montiel Road, Suite 104, San Marcos, CA 92069

Sorrento valley veterinary Specialty hospital (858) 875-7500 10435 Sorrento Valley Road., San Diego, CA 92121 7 Days 24 hrs.


animal Shelters & humane Societies accePt StrayS & have aDoPtion Bay Park/MiSSion valley county animal Services 5480 Gaines St., CA 92110 (619) 767-2675 Hours: Tues-Sat 9:30am to 5:30pm

Bonita county animal Services 5821 Sweetwater Road, CA 91902 (619) 767-2675 Hours: Tues-Sat 9:30am to 5:30pm

caMP PenDleton camp Pendleton animal Shelter 4th St. Area 25 Bldg. 25132 CA 92054 (760) 725-8120

carlSBaD county animal Services 2481 Palomar Airport Road, CA 92011 (619) 767-2675 Hours: Tues-Sat 9:30am to 5:30pm

chUla viSta city of chula vista animal Shelter 130 Beyer Way, CA 91911 (619) 691-5123 Hours: M-F 10am to 5pm Sat. 10am to 4pm

coronaDo animal control facility 700 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118 (619) 522-7371 Hours: 7 days 8:30am to 4:30am

el caJon city of el cajon animal Shelter 1275 N. Marshall Ave., CA 92020 (619) 441-1580 Hours: Tues-Sat 10am to 5:30pm

eSconDiDo escondido humane Society 3450 E. Valley Parkway, CA 92027 (760) 888-2275 Hours: 7 days 10am to 5pm

oceanSiDe San Diego humane Society-north (for dogs) 2905 San Luis Rey Road, CA 92058 (619) 299-7012 Hours: 7 days 10am-4pm San Diego humane Society-north (for cats) 572 Airport Road, CA 92058 (619) 299-7012 Hours: 7 days 10am-4pm

accePt oWner relinqUiSheD aniMalS Bay Park/MiSSion valley San Diego humane Society-San Diego campus 5500 Gaines Street, CA 92110 (619) 299-7012 Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-6pm Sat-Sun 11am-5pm

el caJon friends of cats 15587 Olde Highway 80, CA, 92021 (619) 561-0361 Hours: Tues-Sun 10am to 4pm

encinitaS rancho coastal humane Society 389 Requeza Street, CA 92024 (760) 753-6413 Hours: 11am -5pm every day except Tues. 11:30am-5pm

rancho Santa fe helen Woodward animal center 6461 El Apajo Road, CA 92067 (858) 756-4117 Hours: 7 days 11am to 6pm

SPring valley national cat Protection Society 9031 Birch Street, CA 91977 (619) 469-8771 Hours: Tue.-Sat. Noon to 5pm

eMergency veterinary care aSSiStance aaha helPing PetS fUnD (866) 443-5738 Provides financial assistance to AAHA accredited veterinary practices for emergency and non-elective care of pets. face foUnDation • (858) 450-3223 Financial assistance for critical and emergency veterinary care for life threatening conditions. laBraDor harBor Financial aid for private citizens and nonprofit rescue organizations to help fund veterinary care, behavior intervention and other health related needs of Labrador Retrievers.

Capturing the Soul of Your Pet in Print.

vaccinationS and general veterinary care San Diego coUnty aniMal ServiceS • (619) 767-2675 Pet netWork

provided for Oceanside and Vista residents only the first Sunday of each month from 13 p.m. This program’s daily services include behavior and training advice and referrals for pet friendly housing and available veterinary financial aid programs. vetco clinicS • 1-877-838-7468

reD rover relief • (760) 744-5300 Clinics provide low cost vaccinations, blood tests, de-wormers, microchipping.

Low cost vaccinations provided at Petco stores throughout San Diego County. • (916) 429-2457

St. vincent De PaUl village

ServiceS for PetS of the hoMeleSS

Financial assistance for good samaritans, veterinarians and pet owners for animals in need of urgent veterinary care. An online application form is available on their website. the Pet fUnD Financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need veterinary care. If emailing put “The Pet Fund” in the subject heading of the email.

1501 Imperial Avenue The third Sunday of each month veterinarian care is provided on a first come, first serve basis beginning at 11a.m. Space is limited to the first 15 people who sign up.

San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, North Campus, 572 Airport Rd., Oceanside (760) 757-4357 ext. 2237 A vaccination clinic and animal food bank is

The Total Dog, Swim & Gym

Sophie Bella's Studio

TouchNpaws & MakeNscents

Star Grooming on Fifth National resource listing of services for homeless people with companion animals.

BUSINESS LISTINGS 3060 Industry St., Ste. 108 Oceanside, CA • 760-721-1DOG (1364)

Professional Pet Stylist 1845 Fifth Ave (Between Elm & Fir) (619) 571-1795

PetS of the hoMeleSS

Training Puppies and Adult Dogs “From the Moment They Arrive Home!” (760) 613-3175

Professional Photography Call Us for Your Holiday Photos 858-717-6200

Provides pet food for the homeless in the downtown area approximately twice per month and has other resource information for homeless people and pets.

ProJect k.e.P.P.t - keePing PeoPle anD PetS together

List your Business, call (619) 573-5615 for rates.

Silva’s Dog Training

get reaDy! get Pet! go!

Comfort * Wellness * Mobility Serving the North County area (Mira Mesa up)

(619) 405-4144 •

TTouch for dogs, cats and rabbits By certified practitioner Mary E. Cannon 858-361-8038

VetDepot Discount Pet Meds & Supplies • Save up to 60% on all leading brands including: Frontline, Cosequin, Greenies & Heartgard Start @, then click on Pet Business Directory. From there you can search for businesses by zip code, type or by name. If your a business owner, Claim your listing now. It’s simple, quick and FREE.

Scan with your smart phone, or visit SanDiego | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012



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Full event listing are available online. You can also add your own events for free!

Sunny & angel Save christmas (helen Woodward center)

annual holiday Wine & food Pet festival

lions tigers & Bears holiday Party

Experience the magical story of when Sunny & Angel help Santa Claus save Christmas. December 3, 4, 10 & 11, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Seaport Marina Village Embarcadero Park. 50 plus exhibits and displays. See ad page 6. Friday, December 9, 2011, 1-8 p.m. Sat, December 10, 2011, 10 a.m-4 p.m.

This holiday party is a great way to make your holiday shopping fun & meaningful. Saturday, December 10, 2011, 1-4 p.m.

la Jolla christmas Parade The 54th Annual La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival on Girard Avenue. Sunday, December 4, 2011, 2 p.m.

give a rabbit a home for the holidays (SDhrS) Reduced fees in December! $40 single, $60 bonded pair. Open your heart & home to rescue a rabbit. (858) 356-4286 Sundays, December 4 & 18, 2011

all-Breed adoption event Saturday, December 10, 2011, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Hosted by Eastlake Veterinary Clinic in the front parking lot of the Clinic which is located in the Von’s shopping center in Eastlake. To register your organization in this event or if you have questions, please contact Eastlake Vet Clinic at (619) 482-9100. RSVP by Nov 25, to reserve space for your organization.

San Diego house rabbit Society holiday Party

cupcakes for critters

Vegetarian potluck, bunnies welcome. Saturday, December 10, 2011, 4-8 p.m.

Cupcake decorating demonstrations, cupcake coloring contest (for kids). More info online. Thursday, December 8, 2011


4th annual gaslamp holiday Pet Parade and Pet expo $10 to enter the parade. 50% off entrance fee if you go to the downtown Ace Hardware. Read more on page 4 & 23. (619) 233-5227 Sunday, December 11, 2011, 1-5 p.m. (The parade starts promptly at 3 p.m.)

intro to k9 nose Work® A sport nearly any dog or human can do! January 28, 2012

Next issue of San Diego Pets Magazine will be availible February 2012

You will find more events posted online:



5 d H B | DECEMBER 2011— JANUARY 2012


San Diego Pets Magazine, December 2011  
San Diego Pets Magazine, December 2011  

We interview Chopper the Biker Dog and his little buddy Spike Taylor. San Diego, the Perfect Place for a Pet Project. Behavior Bytes. Pet Pr...