Page 1



Take me with you!

S T.


{ FREE }

New — N O. 26 — BRING ON 2020!

celebrating fresh beginnings


FIRST COAST FORCE-FREE TRAINERS A Division of Central Florida Force-Free Veterinary Behavior & Trainers Network

WHO ARE WE? First Coast Force Free Trainers was created to help veterinarians and pet owners in the Northeast Florida region choose credentialed and skilled training professionals that are committed to never using fear, force or pain to teach or modify behavior.


WHAT CAN WE OFFER YOU? We offer private in-home training and group classes for everything from puppy skills, home manners and obedience, Canine Good Citizen, therapy dog training, as well as behavior help for fear, anxiety, and aggression.





(904) 930-0331

Private In-home — Obedience, All Behavior Modification, Canine Good Citizen

(904) 236-3780

Private In-home Obedience, All Behavior Modification



(904) 327-2173

(301) 906-6349

JACKSONVILLE PAWSITIVE TRAINING, INC. 12 years Experience — Group Classes

Obedience, Canine Good Citizen, ABC Mentor Trainer

FOUR PAWS TRAINING Private In-home Obedience, Mild Behavior Modification


We do not use shock collars (e-collars), prong collars, choke collars, nor any other type of coercion, fear, intimidation, or pain to “educate” an animal. Pain and coercion do not accelerate learning, but rather delay it, nor do they truly change behavior. Our training approach is positive, family-friendly, and rewards-based. This means that we reward the dog for performing the correct behavior, which clearly helps the dog see what is expected, and we redirect unwanted behavior. Positive does not mean permissive. It does mean that we teach, not threaten, with a fair approach so that dogs truly will enjoy learning and form a trusting bond with their owners.


Unleash Jacksonville | 3

New Year New Start Gypsy is trying to visit as Brunello is learning to not many No Dog Poop signs look at us with those cute as possible to further her puppy dog eyes whenever reading skills in 2020. we eat dinner... (yes I give in a lot).

Poundcake is going to hit the gym more often! Aw heck, he just wants to eat more beef sticks!

Petuna wants to stop sneaking onto the bed in the middle of the night and talking up half of it by morning. Desi wants to learn how to fold laundry. Mickey wants to be a big brave boy and get his nails trimmed.

Dj and Tucker want to learn to share more. Lucy’s goal for the new year is to learn how to clean the dishes and load them in the dishwasher. SuzieQ is going to learn to be brave and let me give her a haircut.

#walkaboutRocket wants to find the right home.

Angel wants to be in Sports Illustrated Swimdog edition.

Zoe’s New Year’s Resolution is to be a better kisser.

Marlin has resolved that in 2020 he will Mack is finally learn how to going to use a couch. learn the We have no idea meaning of what happened ‘personal here. space’ in the new year.




PUBLISHER: Woof Creative Marketing, Inc. Atlantic Beach, FL Amy Olivieri | Director of Sales | Barklie Jayne Needs a Job | Lulu Intern | Blue Is Badass (Adopt me!) CONTRIBUTORS Ashley Scruggs Tracee Sule Jessie Miller Connie Cannaday Steve Rodriguez Carissa Vaughn Jerr Blinkster Kate Godfrey Michelle Trainor Davi Miller (w/Rebecca Miller) ADVERTISING We distribute to over 80 veterinarian offices from St. Augustine to Amelia Island and many other dog-friendly places all over Jacksonville. If you want to reach Jacksonville’s dog lovers, raise your hand ... and then contact us. SUBSCRIBE See your cute mail person more often! Subscribe to Unleash Jacksonville


T he

New N ew Issue


I’m drifting off into another glorious nap sesh, self-gloating about how another year’s rolled by and I’ve gotten away with not having a job. Not only that, but I didn’t really have to experience anything “new” this year, which is sweet. Get up, go outside, drop a stinky dookie, come back inside, eat as fast as I can, then naaaap. Every. Single. Day. Very predictable, very comfortable—perfect for me, as some might say I’m an “anxious dog” with “issues,” but I don’t like labels and that feels a bit judgy. I hear two-leggers like to try new things, because it can make them better two-leggers. That’s cool, I guess. I hear my mom say, “be better” quite often (a lot of the time it’s under her breath, not to rat her out or anything). I think she gets frustrated when she sees bad stuff happening or people doing things they shouldn’t, especially when it comes to animals. She says you can be better by learning new things and resolving to try harder next time. Admittedly, I don’t feel like doing either of those things—learning or resolving—but I think that’s because I’m pretty perfect as is. In the NEW issue, YOU can learn some easy things you can resolve to do in the new year that will help you do better when it comes to animals, if you want that. Sometimes people just don’t know they’re not doing the right thing. When in doubt, I always, predictably, suggest a nap. Happy 2020! Love and treats, Lulu (Insta@getajoblulu) Unleash Jacksonville magazine is available FREE at distribution points. NOTE: Unleash Jacksonville is for entertainment + information purposes only. We do not take responsibility for the content of our contributors, and ask that you always seek professional help when necessary.


My Love is Copper / Ashley Scruggs

“What do you think he’s thinking?”

I remember asking my mother as we stared across the room to the newest member of my household. Deep, copper eyes stared blankly back at us. The member in question was the five-year-old dog I got from rescue. He had been at my house for days, and had decided to become a permanent fixture on the floor in the hallway off the living room. From this vantage point, he could see most of the house while being tucked out of the way from the main thoroughfare. I knew, as an Akita, his breed could characteristically be aloof, and I knew he needed time to adjust. However, as the days went by, he seemed content to be the hall’s watchful warden. And, thinking he would come around on his own time, I was content to let him be. I didn’t know it at the time, but giving him his space was one of the best things I could have done for him. So, the warden continued to watch, and I watched the warden. Hindsight can be a great thing, but during some of his first months at my house, I admit sometimes wondered what I’d gotten myself into. He wasn’t my first dog, but he was my first rescue. He was also the first older dog I’d ever brought home. It didn’t take him long to get into a routine and grow accustomed to the rules of the house once he realized the basics of food and shelter were no longer an issue. What took the longest was his opinion of his new family. Every dog is different and will react to situations differently, 6 | New

but he took a good couple years to completely realize I was trustworthy. Consistent care and routine showed him my devotion, and our love for each other grew unconditionally together. The calculating watcher eventually showed me a personality as deep as his copper eyes. Six years later, he’s become the self-proclaimed warden of the entire house. He upgraded from laying on the floor to settling for the comfiest places to rest. He no longer stays sedentary but follows me everywhere, and I cannot imagine my life without him. For anyone considering or in the process of introducing an older dog into your home, I encourage you to be patient and understanding. If you can research the breed, knowing specific characteristics and traits can also help to understand them further. The older ones tend to be cautious and hesitant. They don’t have the same curiosity for things like puppies, so giving them toys isn’t necessarily a priority right away. They’ll mostly need structure and consistency. Give them routine and time. And, more time. As much time as it takes. Just don’t give up on them. As I’ve found, I couldn’t ask for a more appreciative, devoted, and irreplaceable furry family member, whom I adoringly named Copper because of those deep, watchful eyes. •

Unleash Jacksonville | 7


Prim’s new puppy PHOTOS BY WOOF CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY We love getting messages from proud parents— especially ones that just adopted a dog—like this one from Taylor Hazlehurst:

Uh ... no no no. We don’t want to feature one of the photos ... we want to interview her, do a photoshoot, and put her and her new puppy on the cover!

Prim is my 4 year old daughter. She picks up every single issue of Unleash Jacksonville at Bold Bean San Marco and loves reading it. Prim wanted me to let you know about her newly adopted puppy—she was hoping that you might feature a photo in your magazine.

Unleash: What is your puppy’s name? Prim: Local U: Why Local? P: We had a family meeting and we all had different ideas. We chose local because we mostly shop and eat local, and we like to support all the small local businesses. My dad has a local business called Fish Bird Surf (instagram @ fishbirdsurf)—he shapes surfboards. U: Do you have other pets? P: Ziggy—he’s a big weimaraner dog. U: How did you come to find out you were adopting? P: Mom said we were going on an adventure! I didn’t know until we pulled up to the Jacksonville Humane Society. U: What did you think when you first saw Local? P: She was really black.

8 | New

U: How did you come to choose her? P: We met her before we went inside the building. A family was returning her because she had popped her stitches from surgery and they didn’t like that. U: Where does she sleep? P: She sleeps with me, but she moves around a lot. U: What does she eat? P: Dog Food. I feed her 2 scoops. U: What’s her favorite thing about you? P: She likes to play bite me. I think she likes the way I taste. U: What’s her favorite thing to do? P: She likes to dig and go for walks.

Prim + her brother Pier love Local!

U: What does she do when you’re at school? P: She goes to work with mom and is really really good. U: Is there anything else that we need to know? P: Yes! My mom and dad put a little hook next to the door down low so I can reach Local’s leash. Final word from mom: Local is the snuggliest, sleepiest little one. She is so much calmer than most puppies I know. She loves to just hang out on the couch, take long naps, and then go explore the back yard. She’s a little curious explorer and we love her so much! Thank you for adopting from The Jacksonville Humane Society, Prim! Tell us about your great kiddo! /

Unleash Jacksonville | 9


We adopted these TWO lovebugs from Ana’s Angels!

I adopted, baby Sage! She was a parvo patient where I work and she needed a new home. I’d say she is fitting in perfectly.

I adopted D-itty this year! She is a cutie and busy busy all the time.


We adopted Bossk from The London Sanctuary. He’s the best snuggle bug, butt wiggler, and super adorable! Bella found her forever home in 2019 thanks to Fur Sisters.

This is Buddie; adopted in July from Animal Care and Protective Services (ACPS). He’s a very good boy!! 10 | New

Bruce Wayne came home July 12, from Animal Care and Protective Services (ACPS). He’s verrry loved. I don’t know what I’d do without him!

Chonker came home from Central Florida Humane Society and Paige came from ACPS.

Dobby was adopted in April this year from Beagle Freedom Project. Dobby was a victim of pound seizure and was sold to a laboratory where he used in animal testing trials. Now he is living his best life!

Ivar came to our family from Florida English Bulldog Rescue.


Rey was adopted Feb. 2, 2019 from Wags and Whiskers Pet Rescue in St. Augustine.

Jackson was surrendered to ACPS and was taken in by Fawns Small Dog Rescue Lizzie, while he mended from a formally known leg amputation. He helped as Lippy, came my heart heal from losing from ACPS. my Emma and I helped him I love her so mend too. much!

2019 WAS THE YEAR i CAME Levi came to us from Pit Sisters as a baby in July!

We adopted Indy from Animal Care & Protective Services (ACPS) in August. He’s the cuddliest dog ever! We love him so much! Our dog Trapper passed away in April and he has helped mend our hearts!

My Senior, Lammie Gidget adopted from Safe Pet Rescue.

Miss Vivien Leigh was an ACPS Dog, Who was pulled by Kamp Kritter, then found her way to my group of Wayward Hounds. She is perfect.

Mama came home in 2019 from Geezer Dog Rescue

Snortie was originally in Alachua County Animal Control. Benjen from Helping Hounds Project.

Sweet Rico Suave Vega — Lilly came sweetest boy ever. He to me from found me when I visited Pit Sisters. the shelter in October. WE LOVE HIM!

Monte found us at the ACPS mega adoption.

Mia was saved from an abuse case, partnership between Safe animal shelter and Ana’s Angels.

Isabel from ACPS has filled our home and our hearts.

Isaiah (aka Mini Me) on the left snoozing with his older (bigger) brother Andy— adopted from The London Sanctuary. Sir Cornwall, aka Cornball, from The London Sanctuary was a happy foster fail!

Unleash Jacksonville | 13



Remi … our foster fail from Fur Sisters this May.

Rowan, adopted in June from ACPS, is the smartest dog I’ve adopted so far.

Old man Walter from Nassau County Animal Services. He is so appreciative of the smallest things.

Dorothy was a medical foster. After a couple months I bottle fed and we decided she adopted this belonged with us. beauty, Gypsy!

We rescued several dogs from a back yard breeder that passed away. Piper and Mama Cocoa needed the most medical care so we kept them.

14 | New

We adopted Jenny through The London Sanctuary! Both of these boys were foster fails this year, they’ve grown up together and have the sweetest bond!!!


Puppy Power!


/ Tracee Sule, CPDT-KA, Zoomeez Dog Training, LLC

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting and busy time for a family! While we snuggle and coo over a little bundle of fur and wrinkles, we have visions of that “perfect dog” as an adult, laying at our feet quietly while we relax at home, happily greeting our guests, walking politely with us through our neighborhood and joining us on all our family adventures. But how do we get to that point? How do we start our puppy on the right path with the best chance of being a confident, friendly adult dog? The most important time for this begins and ends early. Science teaches us that the “sensitive period”—the optimal time for puppies to create happy, safe impressions of everything in their world—is in their first three months of life. What does this mean for a new puppy family? Besides housetraining, your most important job is helping puppy feel good about their world and all the things in it: Cars, other animals, kids, babies, men, women, people in hats, garbage cans, vacuum cleaners, fireworks, thunder, statues, balloons, bicycles… the list is long! And since St. most puppies go Marys River, home with their family at eight weeks, you only Bryceville FL have four weeks to fit it all in! 16 | New

“Because the first three months are the period when sociability outweighs fear, this is the primary window of opportunity for puppies to adapt to new people, animals, and experiences. Incomplete or improper socialization during this important time can increase the risk of behavioral problems later in life, including fear, avoidance, and/or aggression. Behavioral problems are the greatest threat to the owner-dog bond. In fact, behavioral problems are the number one cause of relinquishment to shelters. Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.” American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists, Position Statement on Puppy Socialization Where to Go Focus on safe areas like your home, in the yard, around your neighborhood, at your vet’s office, in the car, on the patio at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop. I don’t recommend taking puppies under three months old to dog parks, mainly due to the higher concentration of other dogs and their waste, it just can’t Hanna Park, be kept clean enough. If you go to popular Atlantic Beach department stores do not put puppy on the

floor since that also may not be clean enough. Instead, keep them in the shopping cart on a blanket or bed. What to Do Bring water, a bowl, and waste bags, of course, but also a lot of small, soft, smelly treats, diced to the size of a pencil eraser, or a squeeze tube of something soft that they can lick, like peanut butter or canned puppy food. Every time puppy sees, hears or experiences something new, praise them with “happy talk” and give them a treat. Pay attention to your puppy’s body language—if you see fearful signs like lip licking, yawning, moving away, trying to run away or hide, barking or vocalizing, and especially if puppy stops taking treats, they could be too scared or overwhelmed. This means you need to end— or at least change—the experience until puppy can relax and take treats again. Never scold or correct a puppy for showing fear—listen to their body language with your eyes and help them learn that they are safe with you.

How Often In my private training, I encourage clients to get puppies out on some sort of socialization adventure at least once a day and out on “field trips” to stores, the vet, a relative’s house, at least three times per week. If you see anything other than a relaxed puppy with a loose, open jaw “smile,” wiggly body and wagging tail when on these adventures, change the experience. Seek Help If your puppy acts fearful consistently and/ or will not take treats when trying to socialize, tries to run away or hide, growls or snaps at new people, when being touched, over food or toys, then it is time to seek help from a qualified force-free trainer or a licensed Veterinary Behaviorist. This sort of behavior in a puppy under three months of age is not normal and will need assessment and intervention. • For more information: / /

Unleash Jacksonville | 17


New Beginnings / Jessie Miller, Epic Outreach

Anything new is exciting, but when something is so new we aren’t sure what we are doing, it can be a scary thing and sometimes we can get misguided. I’ve learned to listen to my inner compass to help guide me when I step off into a new adventure. Tator is an LGD, so ... what exactly is an LGD? I didn’t know either and thus began the journey of researching, networking, and learning all I could about this new category of dog called a Livestock Guardian Dog. In a digital age, there’s a plethora of information right at our fingertips with people who have lots of different experiences willing to share with anyone who will listen. All the info and all the feedback can be overwhelming, but learning to navigate it can lead to making a very informed decision and in this case, save a life! LGD’s are dogs who, for the most part, are bred and raised with a job to guard the “stock” (animals on a farm left in their care), and protect them from any predators. LGD’s take time to train and learn to not harm the animals under their watch. One EPIC Farm rescues farm animals to be a part of the Humane Education work being done by EPIC Outreach. As the founder and director of the nonprofit and farm, I was seeking a way to protect the farm while also saving a life, as an LGD was needed to keep the new farm animals safe from lurking wildlife. I was guided by many sites that I visited to get a puppy as a first time LGD owner, but as an avid rescuer, adopting an LGD was at the top of my list. When I consulted with various, more educated folk in the arena of LGD’s, it wasn’t recommended to 18 | New

take on a dog from a shelter environment with no known history. But truth be known, I don’t always beat to the drum of others, so I gathered what information made sense to me and did a ton more research than I think anyone should ever do. In my search I happened to stumble upon Tator at a local animal control facility. At first, I was a little shy of taking a chance on him, but after seeing his demeanor and applying my own years of dog behavior knowledge, I could sense that this dog was a true LGD—at least he fit the criteria found on several sites and matched the info shared by a few trusted sources. I had no way of knowing exactly how he would fit into our farm dynamics, but I had an inkling after meeting him in person. Sometimes you have to do the foot work, gather the information, and then take a chance and trust that inner compass that will almost certainly point us in the right direction when we logically can’t make sense of something. Here is this dog that is an LGD breed, an unclaimed stray with no known history, and I am to trust him with the animals I have taken in to provide a safe haven for on the rescue farm? It didn’t make any sense, but I have learned to hone in and TRUST the intuition guidance, and boy am I glad I did! I am glad I went against what others said because Tator has been more than a blessing to the farm, he has changed our experience on the farm, and he is an absolute joy to have and be around. In this new decade, take a chance on something new, and if you do the research and follow your inner guide, I promise it’ll all work out exactly the way it is supposed to! Cheers to New Beginnings. •

Unleash Jacksonville | 19

20 | Heart

Unleash Jacksonville | 21


i used to work in a store that sold puppies ... I can remember how excited I was

/ Anonymous

when I got a job at a pet store. Like most, I thought it would be so fun—playing with puppies all day! It didn’t take long to realize it’s not fun at all, but extremely heartbreaking. Almost every single puppy that came through the store suffered from a respiratory illness at least once while it was there. Many came in already sick from being on a truck with hundreds of other puppies in filthy conditions with little food or fresh water until they got to their destination. These tiny beings would have so much poop stuck to their little behinds and all of the lighter colored ones would have urine stains. We were taught to tell people about the loving responsible breeders that we were getting our puppies from. We never saw the actual parents of these pups, and even when we got them locally they would usually be covered in fleas and full of worms at the very least. There was the man who would bring tiny sick pups to us covered in burns from the generator outside his trailer. The couple who brought in Chihuahuas that had deformed legs that we’d send back and tell her not to breed them and we knew she would if she didn’t sell them. Then there was the mange that would flare up so bad from these babies being so stressed that their eyes would swell shut, and the smell of parvovirus that would make us all scared to go home and touch our own dogs before we scrubbed ourselves. I know this first hand, because I’ve experienced 22 | New

it behind the scenes—pet stores don’t make a profit off of well-bred dogs and that’s the bottom line. They get cheap puppies they can mark up and market as designer breeds because purebred dogs that are registered and have health testing done aren’t cheap. One little pup was returned to us because she needed a surgery for something that was missed when she went to the vet for her health certificate. The family couldn’t afford it and the store owner wouldn’t help pay for it but happily gave them another puppy because that was much cheaper and easier. I can remember we all wanted to steal her while she sat waiting for the company that she was purchased from to come pick her up. She was surely either euthanized or used to breed instead of living a healthy life with a loving family. That wasn’t the only instance that happened, just the first I had to see. My heart broke for every one that sat in those little containers and didn’t get a home right away—months of not getting to run and play and be loved by a family. I didn’t want to think about what the parents of all these dogs were enduring because it had to be so much worse. We’ve seen the hoarding cases over and over on the news. It’s easy to justify buying the cute puppy from the store when they all just need a home though, right? •

Be Better / Amy Olivieri

<<< I appreciate the former puppy store employee writing that article. Many places make their employees sign a non-disclosure agreement so they’re afraid to tell people what they’ve seen, but it’s important to have all the correct information when making decisions. I’m sure you’re a lovely person who regularly crouches down to pet dogs, and doesn’t knowingly want to support any kind of cycle of suffering. You might not yet know that responsible breeders would never sell their puppies to stores or to the first person who shows up with cash—they have a process to keep their puppies healthy and safe. But ... NOW YOU KNOW, my dear. Too often, a kind person like yourself unwittingly ends up buying a puppy mill pup. True, it’s hard to tell the difference, as they’re the same level of cute as other puppies, and when the store clerk tells you it came from a “good” place (and may have papers to make it look like they do)—why wouldn’t you believe them? According to the Humane Society of the United States “Most pet stores do not disclose the true origins of their puppies, instead using deceptive sales pitches about ‘USDA licensed’ or ‘professional’ breeders.” I, of course, always encourage people to adopt—it’s the best! You can find pure-bred dogs and puppies in shelters and rescues, but maybe you don’t really need a purebred? There are major benefits to having a mixed breed. If you’ve checked shelters and rescue groups (see and still haven’t found the right pup, you should ask for referrals from your veterinarian, or contact local breed clubs. Always always visit where the puppy is born and raised. Personally go to a breeder’s facility before committing to a puppy—don’t rely on website or emailed photographs. Take the time now to find the right breeder and you’ll thank yourself for the rest of your dog’s life. What happens if you go ahead and buy that store puppy? Several things: You create a demand for more. You become part of an inhumane cycle of greed. Many other dogs suffer in puppy mills across the United States and in hands of backyard breeders. We have to speak with our wallets—this is NOT OKAY. Please think beyond the cute factor, be strong, and be better. Walk away. • Download The Humane Society’s “How to Identify a Responsible Breeder” Guide:

Unleash Jacksonville | 23



Ditch the Retractable / Connie Cannaday, The London Sanctuary May 18, 2019, is a day that will be marked in my mind forever. Very early that morning, I got a call that no rescuer or pet owner would ever want to receive—a puppy under our care was found deceased on the side of the road. She’d gone missing from a sleepover with a potential adopter not 24 hours prior, and we’d been looking for her until late in the night. There’d been not so much as a sighting of this sweet girl since the first hour she disappeared. I was absolutely crushed. I’d certainly hoped to be bringing her back with us to The London Sanctuary that day, just not in this way. My husband and I went to Jacksonville to retrieve her little body.

I didn’t like these leashes prior to this happening, but I didn’t do enough to educate the potential adopters, or this wouldn’t have happened. I want to be very careful in how I say this, because under no circumstances do I want the family to feel any more guilt than they already do. If you aren’t entrenched in animal welfare, the dangers are not common knowledge—many people still use retractables. And, for whatever reason, they are still sold in stores. I’ve even used them before I knew better. But I’ve made it my mission to help educate people about the dangers—to both humans and dogs—that can happen as a result of using these leashes.

Cuts, burns, or amputations of human fingers are In rescue you experience quite a bit of loss, but very common dangers. Yes, I said common, and I this was quite devastating. She was a beautiful, said amputations. There’s even warning label on healthy, 5-month-old puppy who’d left on most of these about that very thing. Additionally, an adoption trial one Saturday, and a week innocent bystanders can also become injured if later, when we should have been finalizing her the dog suddenly sees something and gets the adoption, we were picking To honor Cassandra, The London Sanctuary has rolled out her up to take a program to provide community members with durable to the vet for regular leashes in exchange for their retractable ones. cremation. Cassandra was born leash entangled with a person, in my home and lived which can happen easily when a with us for over five dog extends and you don’t have months. Now she was control—retractable leashes give gone forever, and the you very little control, despite what reason was frustratingly you might think. simple—a leash that failed.

A brand new retractable leash that failed. I’m sure many families have used these without issue, but this time, this one failed. 24 | New

Some of the dangers to your dog can include: Injuries to legs (entanglement), injuries to backs and necks similar to whiplash when the human has to react quickly to a dog that has become

hard to control. Dogs have been hit by cars after extending the leash too far. In Cassandra’s case, the leash fully extended and snapped, even though it was rated for her small size. Much of the problem is the lack of control these leashed offer— trainers do not recommend them for this very reason—the lack of control over your dog is just not safe. To honor Cassandra, The London Sanctuary has rolled out a program to provide community members with durable regular leashes in exchange for their retractable ones. For this, we will have partnered with Max and Neo (, who has donated the first batch, as well Brook from Troop 451 who experienced her own injury from one of these leashes. We’re making this resolution easy on you! Stop by any of the exchange locations and let’s give your pup a new leash on life for 2020! •

Exchange your retractable leash for FREE at the following locations: arlington Jax Biker Gear 1301-4 Monument Road (44.36 mi) Jacksonville, 32225 atlantic beach American Well & Irrigation, Inc. 1651 Mayport Rd Atlantic Beach, 32233 bryceville All Paws Pet Boarding and Day Care 8356 US Highway 301 Bryceville, 32009 jax beach Beach Bark 2185 3rd Street South Jacksonville Beach, 32250

lakewood/mandarin Central Bark Jacksonville 5614 San Jose Boulevard Jacksonville, 32207 middleburg Homemade Hounds Bed & Biscuit 3450 County Rd 220 Middleburg, 32068 nas jax Accu-Air Cooling Services 8544 Alicanta Ave. Jacksonville, 32244 westside Star Nails and Hair 4819 San Juan Avenue Jacksonville, 32210

julington creek/fruit cove Jen Kespohl, Round Table Realty 1637 Race Track Road Jacksonville, 32259

Unleash Jacksonville | 25


Finding a new home

THAT’LL MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY / Steve Rodriguez, Realtor®

Some have fur. Some have scales. Some have feathers. One thing that our pets

fence. If the home doesn’t already have one, you must check with the HOA up front to make sure it’s okay do have in common—they’re a part of our family. So to build one. They may require permission and use of specific building materials. when it comes to buying a new home, we have to When pets are young they may not have a problem keep their needs in mind! going up and down the stairs but as they age, a flight As a realtor and huge animal lover, it’s one of my of stairs may be too much to handle. Think about goals to make sure you find a home that will suit your present and future needs when it comes to your the needs of everyone in your family. I’ve compiled family’s new home. a few tips for home buyers looking for a new home Notice the Neighborhood. While driving through to help accommodate their pets: the neighborhood, look for other pets. If you don’t Follow the Rules. Check with the homeowners notice many people with dogs, you may get a association—some don’t allow pets. If they do, they feeling that your dog isn’t welcome. Does the may limit the number of pets you can have, or the neighborhood have sidewalks? Is it safe for you way you can keep pets in your home. For instance, and your dog to go for walks in the neighborhood? dogs may only be allowed on the ground level in a Check the proximity of dog-friendly parks close condominium. Exotic pets such as snakes and reptiles to the home. Are you within walking distance or may not be allowed at all. The HOA rules are outlined a short drive to a dog-friendly park? A little bit of in the community’s covenant and restrictions. thought and research will go a long way in creating a happy home for you and your pet(s)! • Think about size and space. If you have a large dog or several cats, you want to make sure they have enough room to run around. Make sure there’s an adequate amount of space for pet beds, dishes, and crates. You don’t want to be constantly tripping over your pet because there isn’t enough space in your home. If you’re wanting a yard where your pets can roam freely, you’ll need a

Are you a pet owner who’s ready to buy a new home? Contact Steve to get your home buying process started. Steve is known for being Jacksonville’s dog-friendly Realtor. You’ll often find one of his two pups in the office at Davidson Realty in Jacksonville Beach. Steve is active in the dog community and knows all the great dog-friendly parks, restaurants and hangouts around Jacksonville! Steve Rodriguez, Realtor®, Davidson Realty, Inc. / 904.401.4671

Want to know why

efforts aren’t producing results, you’re probably right. Few dogs actually walk at a pace that generates the elevated heart rate needed for sustained aerobic activity. On average, people walk their dogs at the rate of 25 minutes per mile. That is a slow stroll with frequent pauses (every 30-50 seconds!) to allow their Resolution: dog to smell an interesting object Motivation vs. Muttivation or mark territory. We’re here to Motivation isn’t enough. shed pounds, people, and sniffing Some days you just won’t feel the bushes doesn’t burn calories! like working out. This is why While it is good to let your dog dogs are the best workout smell around on your walks, you’ll partners—they won’t wake up hung over and need to do additional exercise if you want to see a they never cancel on you! If you make exercise a difference in your fitness. routine, your dog will be begging you to exercise more than 80% of New Years Resolutions fail? Clearly it’s because they don’t include your dog! This year, we challenge you to ditch those old boring resolutions set a “Ruff”olution to workout with your dog! Here’s why.

Workout with


with them.

Do it for your dog Believe it or not, your dog may need to shed the pounds more than you do! According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention 55.8% of our dogs are overweight or obese. That’s more than half! This is a serious problem because obesity in pets can lead to diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, and reduced life expectancy. As pet owners, we love our dogs more than anything. Let’s improve their quality of life by making the commitment to help them shed those unwanted pounds. Why walking isn’t enough We’re not saying that adding walks to your daily routine isn’t beneficial. But if you feel like your

Take a class January is National Train Your Dog Month. Try something new like taking a class with your dog! K9 Fit Club classes are a fun and exhilarating way to get both you and your dog into tail-wagging shape. You’ll burn calories and increase muscle tone, all while bonding with your best friend. Your dog will be there pushing and encouraging you every step of the way to achieving your fitness goals! K9 Fit Club classes are both physically and mentally stimulating for your dog, tiring them out 30% faster. Classes are available for all human and canine fitness levels. We’ll show you that working out with your dog isn’t so ruff! • /

Unleash Jacksonville | 27

New Resolve


Create a

CRUELTY FREE Beauty Routine

/ Carissa Vaughn, Phi Eco Salon Hello my fellow conscious beauties. The new year is upon us and we all know what means. It’s resolution time. A resolution is an opportunity to reflect on where the previous year has brought us and how to use those lessons to create growth for our future. Many of us vow to lose weight, quit smoking, or reevaluate our financial situation. While these are wonderful and necessary goals for our selves and those around us, I am asking you to consider adding one more resolution to your list this year. One that will create impact far beyond just your personal self. I believe our country has gotten to this place of “if it doesn’t have a voice, it doesn’t matter,” and if you are a reader of this wonderful publication, then you know this is a morbid belief system. However, the product companies, research and development companies, and even our own government would have you believe differently. They try to sweep the issue of animal cruelty under the rug by using words like “made using cruelty-free products” to try to

convince us as consumers that their products fall in line with our morals. If these companies and our government aren’t going to strive for change then it is up to us to demand it even more. We are stronger together and with this strength, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves in what we are buying and how that purchase impacts all beings. When more than 100 million animals are being killed annually due to testing for products that are never even used, and testing on animals has not been proven to produce valid results, we must ask the question why are we still doing it? As a salon owner I take the responsibility of purchasing and using only cruelty-free products very seriously. I also know that it’s not in everyone’s budget to purchase salon exclusive hair cafe products. So I’ve complied a list of both professional products and in-store beauty products that are certified cruelty free by PETA:

Know Your Labels:

A.G Aussie Arbonne Herbal Essence Aveda Burt’s bees Davines Trader Joe’s Kevin Murphy Crabtree and Lane Bumble and Bumble Dr. Bronners Deva Curl Food lion Kenra Manic Panic J Beverly Hills Lush Loma Surface Amika


The ingredients/components and final product have not been tested on animals


Only some ingredients are cruelty free


No animal by products, not cruelty free


is still tested on animals Anything certified by the European Standard must be cruelty free Anything made in China must be tested on animals



If this article has touched you, then you have felt the call and I ask you to rise sister, rise! • Carissa Vaughn is the owner of Phi Eco Salon in Jax Beach /

Buster is my BOY! He’s my

sidekick—he goes everywhere with me. It’s always been just easier for Buster to jump into the back of the truck when we go places. It’s cleaner, too. I don’t want dog hair in my purty F150. He always did whine a bit, because he wanted to be with me in the cab, but he also loves the wind in his jowls.

leash, but according to the American Humane Society, many dogs have been strangled when tossed or bumped over the side of the truck and been left helplessly dangling.



Here’s another concern of mine, living in Florida—the galldang heat! The floor of a truck bed can become VERY hot, I’ve seen Buster dancing around back there, but figured his paws were like shoes. They’re NOT! He could get horribly burned and we’d have to take him to the emergency room. I’d feel like a real bad dad. I can’t stand to see Buster in pain.

But, listen guys, I was driving over the intercoastal a couple weeks back behind a truck with a dog in the bed and I saw something I can’t unsee—I’m a big hairy man and it made me ball like a baby. The truck had to swerve suddenly and the black lab skittered across the truck One last reason that I’m bed, over the side and onto resolving to keep Buster in the the bridge. The truck wasn’t cab with me from now on—as if even going to stop because / Jerr Blinkster I needed another—I have a lead the driver didn’t realize they’d foot. That’s right. I like to drive just unwittingly killed their dog. real fast. A truck traveling at high rates of speed After I saw that, I did a little research and learned can kick up small pebbles and other road debris, something staggering—according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it’s estimated that which could strike my boy, Buster. He could lose around 100,000 dogs every year are fatally injured one of his big brown eyes or worse. That would just by jumping or falling from a pickup truck’s cargo about kill me. area. Yikes man. Buster could become startled, see Buster is a dog, but he’s also my best sidekick. The something tempting, like a squirrel or a hamburger, last thing I want is to see is him hurt just because I and jump out of my truck! He could be injured didn’t want a little dirt in my sweet F150. You got a by the fall or struck by oncoming vehicles (and truck, too? Save everyone a bit of heartbreak and potentially cause an accident and injuries to other drivers). I thought about just tethering him with a make this resolution with me. •

Dogs • Cats • Birds • Turtles • Fish • Rabbits Jaki is the absolute best pet sitter I’ve ever had. My 3 dogs love with her so much they even sleep with her! I truly don’t know what I’d do without Jaki.

Family owned & operated with over 15 years of experience!


Schedule online!


Unleash Jacksonville | 29



Reinforce the


/ Kate Godfrey, Comprehensive Canine Training

In 2020, I’d like to change the misconception some may have that

positive reinforcement/force-free training is a free-for-all for the dog with no boundaries that relies on bribery. This could not be further from the truth. Positive reinforcement dog training is based on rewarding the behavior you do want. The aim is to make training quick, effective, and pleasant for both parties. It’s simple—rewarded behavior continues— you get more of what you reinforce. Part of good training relies on setting the scene up so the dog is highly likely to be successful, instead of putting the dog in a situation in which it’s over threshold, not likely to learn what you want, and ultimately setting them up for failure and punishment. We control so many aspects of our dog’s world, that preventing unwanted behavior and setting the dog up to succeed is usually rather simple. This is called management—prevent the dog from rehearsing the undesirable behavior by controlling the environment. Positive reinforcement training isn’t all about rewards. There are boundaries and consequences for making the wrong choice, but these consequences need not be painful 30 | New

or scary. A consequence can be positive, as a means for the dog to gain access to what it wants, or negative in the loss of the opportunity to gain access to what it wants. All good relationships are built on trust. Trust is earned, it’s not given. By training with positive reinforcement, the dog is taught to trust the handler rather than fear the handler. We give the dog a choice by teaching the appropriate behavior from the start, rather than waiting for them to screw up and implement a punishment that is painful or scary. Rather than going on and on about what you don’t want the dog to do, answer this question: “What do I want the dog to do instead?” This gives you the power and the opportunity to get what you want. If you can’t determine what it is you’d like the dog to do, imagine how frustrated the dog must be. With this shift in mindset, you start seeing the opportunities to reinforce the dog for the behaviors you like and ways to prevent the unwanted behavior from occurring. When you start reinforcing the behavior you want, you can expect the dog to start offering more of it. • /

Unleash Jacksonville | 31


New Adopt who me

/ Interview by

A dog needs time to decompress, and it can take more than three months for a dog of any age to acclimate to a new home.

Cecil is such a goof and is up for adoption!

Many of us begin to find a new furry best friend by falling in love with an online photo. But adding a new dog to your family is a big decision that takes time and planning. Before you swipe right there’s a few things you should know! I was fortunate to speak with Chelsea Fisher, one of the gals behind the scenes at Dogtown, St. Augustine. If you’ve never heard of the Dogtown Adoption Dogs, you’re not alone! What started out for this daycare/boarding facility as a project of trying to re-home a few strays and owner surrenders has quickly escalated into a much larger rescue operation. They’re now taking in dogs from shelters who are scheduled to be euthanized or face uncertain futures. The dogs, who are available for adoption, get to spend their days being socialized and loved by staff at the doggie resort until they find their furever homes. Chelsea … what tips do you have for people who want to add a dog to their family? Don’t rush into it! Make sure you have the available time and patience, especially if you have young children. Whether it’s a puppy, an adult dog, or a senior dog, in a new environment it’s like having another child. You’ll have to teach them routines. There may be some accidents. If you’re struggling, that’s ok! 32 | New

What if a family really wants a puppy? Puppies are great! All dogs have to start somewhere. The great thing about puppies is that they’re so cute and you can train them the way you want … but it takes several months to a year for their real personalities and quirks come out. If you’re getting a puppy, make sure you have the active lifestyle needed for their endless energy and time to train them. What is the process when someone wants to adopt? The first question we ask is: What type of dog are you looking for? NOT: What do they look like? We want people to find the best fit for their family. We do not do same day adoptions! We have the family meet the dog before filling out an application. If there’s another dog in the family, we offer complimentary daycare so we can see how the dogs interact on neutral territory. Our home visits (sleepovers) last about a week, so we can make sure everyone is completely comfortable before making the decision to make the adoption permanent. What’s the one thing you wish more people knew about adoption? That’s a really tough question! We have a lot of people who get frustrated with how long the process takes. We’re worried about quality over speed. We want to make sure that every dog is where they need to be and where they’re happiest. We want as little change as possible for the dogs. They’ve already been through a lot.

dog. dis?

Michelle Trainor

Is there an average of how long dogs spend with you? We make sure all our dogs are completely healthy and ready to go before going into a home. Dogs from shelters may need to be spayed and neutered or need medical treatments. On average, dogs may spend 70-100 days with us. Our puppies go fast! Our senior dogs are unfortunately here for a long time because people overlook them. You’ve personally adopted an adult dog. What’s great about that? I knew exactly what I was getting! I knew his personality and how he was with other dogs. I knew how he was with people. I really lucked out! He’s an extremely laid-back guy. He still has fun and loves toys and treats, but the terrible twos are over. What you see is what you get! That’s what I love about adopting adult and senior dogs!

Adopt me Lenny has a BIG heart and is ready for a family. Tell me about a couple of your underdogs—you know, the ones that really get overlooked! Lenny is a 2-3 year old mixed breed with a big forehead, but an even bigger heart! He’s great with everyone! He’s neutered and potty trained. He’s a fantastic dog, but we’ve had no interest in him yet. Cecil is such a goof! He’s a 4-5 year old pup that loves people, toys, and treats! He has so much love to give to anyone that would pay him any attention. He was living in a truck with no air conditioning before his owner surrendered him. Cecil really needs a home with some space where he can decompress. He’s not good with other dogs right now, but that could change. How do people find out more about the Dogtown Adoption Dogs? You can follow us on social media! Facebook @DogtownStAug or Instagram @dogtownstaugustineadoptions

Unleash Jacksonville | 33


Davi’s / Davi Miller

( With help by mom, Rebecca, only spelling the big words )

It’s that time of year again—time to sit down (perhaps with a bowl of warm chicken broth and a biscuit) and start thinking of the things I’d like to do differently in the new year. We’re talking setting goals and making resolutions. And not just one or two—I’ve created a long list of things I want to achieve! While I’m pretty perfect as is, I do have some things that I think would take this Davi to next level. I will observe boundaries at the dog park: Instead of rushing the gate, I will wait patiently and let dogs enter safely - no one likes to be ambushed. I will also accept that not every dog wants to play with me or be sniffed. I have been growled at a few times, which is disappointing, not to mention scary, but I must learn my limits. I will not torment lizards: I really don’t get why they are so afraid of me. I am not planning on eating them for goodness sakes. I will stress less and nap more: As a dog, you’d think I would have a laid-back life. I do, but even I get stressed sometimes. There’s the mailman! The garbage truck is here! The neighborhood cats are lurking, waiting to steal my food and my soul! I face ots of daily stress—I am always on high alert and ready to confront whatever waylaid me. I resolve to just let it go and get more sleep. I will not roll in stinky stuff: Just because I like the way it smells, doesn’t mean others enjoy the stench. Besides, reeking of death usually requires a bath, so there’s that. (I don’t resolve to take more baths.) 34 | New

Photo: Rebecca Miller

New Year Resolutions

I will (try) not to eat dog park poop: I’m doing this one for my mom, she thinks it’s nasty—she goes through the roof every time she sees me devour a pile. I don’t personally get this one, but I love her and hate to see her so upset. So, I will begrudgingly try to change my coprophagia habit. I will introduce myself in more appropriate ways: I will resist acting tough and barking at other dogs when I’m leashed. That goes for skateboarders, too! Who knows, a friend could be waiting behind that stranger’s snout. I will not freak out every time my mom leaves the house: I must remind myself that she is coming back. She always comes back. I must stop acting like it’s the end of the world—the worry is giving me a gray snout. I will come when I am called: Sometimes though, there is something more important going on that makes this very hard to do. I will kick bad habits: I’ve got begging down to a science, but it’s just rude. I promise to reserve begging for worthwhile things, like long walks and fried eggs. I will love unconditionally: By declaring my love for my mom and my friends, openly and completely every day, I can make the world a better place—this is the easiest resolution of all. As for my cat friends, they gave me a crazy look when I asked about their resolutions. They said they are perfect the way they are and see no reason to change. Whatever. Happy new year everyone! •

Unleash Jacksonville | 35

Choose to ADOPT in 2020! Looking for an adventure buddy? Or someone to watch movies with? Here ya go... Adopt one of these free-agent sidekicks today!

New Year, New Love!

Adoption fees vary and sidekicks are worth every penny.


Clyde the Shoplifter

✓ Dogs ✓ Cats ✓ Older Kids

✓ Dogs ✓ Cats ✓ All Kids

AGE: 3-4 years | ENERGY: Medium ABOUT: Clyde is a silly hound, goofy, sweet, and lovable. He is snuggly with people and other dogs, but also doesn’t mind cats either. He is very playful and is looking for a home with other dogs and/or kids. The London Sanctuary Check out all the fantastic hounds:

AGE: 3 yrs ENERGY: Medium ABOUT: Bauble is super affectionate, sweet and listens. She is housebroken, has a lot of energy as far as wanting to run outside and loves to play with other medium-to-large dogs. Super super loving and adorable!

ed Bond r e x o B Pair

Nala + Higgins AGE: Nala 6 yrs, Higgins 7 yrs ENERGY: Average

ABOUT: Higgins and Nala are a bonded boxer duo! Higgins enjoys being Nala’s shadow and the two are rarely far apart. The two enjoy playing tug-of-war, fetch, walks and rollerblading with their foster dad. Higgins never forgets to bring his teddy on his walks! They enjoy car rides and kisses, and both of them are, as their foster dad puts it, “velcro love monsters.” Boxer Aid and Rescue Coalition See more beautiful boxers:


✓ Dogs ? Cats ✓ Older Kids AGE: 6 yrs ENERGY: Medium ABOUT: Julian is a love and cuddle bug! He’s a sweet big boy who just craves attention. He’s very loving, loves to cuddle, and soaks up attention. Julian doesn’t realize he’s over 70 pounds ... he thinks he is a lap dog, so he’d be best with older kids. CONTACT FOSTER MOM SHANNA FOR MORE INFO ON THIS HAPPY BOY!

I’m on Facebook! Follow/share @ Julian’s Journey


✓ Dogs ? Cats



✗ Dogs ✗ Cats ✓ Older Kids

AGE: 2 yrs AGE: 3 yrs | ENERGY: Low-Med ENERGY: Chill inside, ABOUT: Abbott is a very sweet and playful outside loving boy who adult-only home that is ABOUT: Blue is a sweetheart quiet with little “traffic” until he is settled. who’s been through a lot after being He’s timid, as he lived all his life on a paralyzed at 7 months. He loves to chain and is afraid of new things. Once he cuddle, and can walk some now! loves you, he is a velcro dog and wants He needs a special adopter who to be wherever you are! He’s a low-key doesn’t have any other animals. boy who does love to play with other See fun videos, watch his dogs! Children tend to frighten Abbott.

Nassau Humane Society Check out all the great dogs at



✓ Dogs ✓ Cats ✓ Older Kids

AGE: 4.5 yrs | ENERGY: Med ABOUT: Coco came from a home with multiple dogs and is very sweet, however he is a resource guarder. He will need an experienced dog owner to work with him and provide a consistent routine. No small children, tolerates cats.

progress, and message to meet Blue: Facebook @BluesMiracle

Pet Peace of Mind CWhitney@

Sally + Smokey

✓ Dogs ? Cats ✓ Kids

✓ Dogs ? Cats ✓ Older Kids


✓ Dogs ✗ Cats ✓ All Kids

ed Bond Pug Pair

AGE: 2 yrs ENERGY: Med ABOUT: Luna is a big ol’ goofball! She likes to roll around in the grass and bounce around like she has hydraulics. She is a sweet, affectionate girl and happy to be snuggling on the couch with her humans or even playing fetch and tug-o-war. She likes to go for car rides and walks down nature trails. She has so much love to give and would love to find her furever home! Animal Care & Protective Services

AGE: 11 yrs ENERGY:: Low ABOUT: These adorable bonded sibling pugs are laid back and love napping. They’re very polite, always asking before jumping on the sofa. They love snuggling together and are a delight to have around. Smokey is in good health overall, except that he is blind. This doesn’t slow him down; however, a quiet single story home will be ideal for him. Sally’s in very good health. She does need eye drops daily for dry eye, but it is no problem to give them.

Pug Rescue of Florida See more sweet pugs:

AGE: 5 yrs | ENERGY: Low-Med ABOUT: Rocket has his favorite playtime—water! On the beach, in kiddie pools, sprinklers, and kayaking! He even loves baths! He loves everyone he meets. He’s happiest just being with his person, being part of their activities and their hearts.

Rocket needs his adventure buddy! S.A.F.E. Pet Rescue

Check out all the adoptables: Unleash Jacksonville | 37

Unleash Jacksonville | 39

40 | New