Thursday, September 29, 2011

An Event for Healing & Health

“So many people say that the Universe gives us what we ask for,” holistic vet Dr. Peter Dobias said recently on his Facebook group. “Ok then, what I am asking for is a deeper understanding of why cancer happens in areas that are related to congested or inflamed spinal segments.”

To that end, the Dr. Dobias Healing Foundation will be hosting a special evening to help raise funds for holistic animal health and cancer research to be held October 15th.

Full details are included in the poster at left (clicking it will enlarge the view) or can be obtained at Dr. Dobias’ web site. You can book tickets by calling Leslie Kennedy at 604-220-5346.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Count Down to “Rock Star Party”

As I write this, our big fundraiser, Party With Your Pooch, is one week away! This will be, as one of our favourite puggles said recently, an event worthy of a “rock star.” And while I wouldn’t have put it that way myself, I get the connection: it’s going to be a glamorous and fun night with elegant nibbles, beautiful wines and a world class venue at a party you’re welcome and invited to bring your dog to. A night to remember!

While ticket sales have been brisk, at press time, there are still some available. To avoid disappointment, please reserve yours now. And if you need one last reason to make the commitment for a very good cause, here it is: we’ve put together a fantastic set of prizes as well as a gorgeous gift bag the value of which will easily (easily!) offset the cost of the ticket.

The first 100 tickets sold (and there are still some of these available as I write) will receive a gift bag that includes loads of doggy goodies as well as a $25 gift card redeemable at either The Teahouse Restaurant in Stanley Park or Seasons at Queen Elizabeth Park.

Paws for Style!

Date: September 27th, 2011
Time: 6-9 PM
or 778-552-1301
Note: Tickets are by advance purchase only.

Where: The Waterfall Building
1540 West 2nd Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. (at the entrance to Granville Island)

A special note: We’re delighted to let you know that the stunning Cougar’s Crag Dog Friendly B&B on Vancouver Island has donated a two night stay -- a $400 value -- as our grand prize of the evening. It really is going to be a night to remember!

Another special note: Don’t have a dog? That’s okay! We’ll welcome humans without dogs, too!

And yet another special note: Want to see the event page on Facebook? It’s here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Love Behind Love on a Leash: Penny Adam Leggo & Christy Adam

This month’s love showcases the dynamic duo sister team of Penny and Christy Adam who operate the entire dog walking division of Love on a Leash... rain and shine!

Penny Adam Leggo – Dog Walker Extraordinaire

Penny has worked closely with animals since 1996, including eight years at the S.P.C.A. Animal Hospital and seven years as a professional dog walker. This has helped Penny fine tune her knowledge of animal behaviors, health, and well being.

Penny has worked extensively throughout the animal world – from specialty pet stores to grooming and everything else in between. These positions have improved her knowledge of pet products, animal nutrition, grooming and care of dogs as well as other pets.

Penny is a certified dog trainer and recently updated her first aid skills to include Levels I and II of Dogsafe Canine First Aid. Penny also completed extensive training to help further improve her skills and knowledge in dealing with a variety of different situations regarding dog handling & behaviors that may require some special work to ensure that owners and their dogs are happy, healthy, well-adjusted and well-behaved!

Over the years Penny has owned and loved a variety of different pets including dogs and cats plus other small animals. She gets tremendous enjoyment working with dogs. “These loveable pooches help keep a smile on my face and deliver new challenges each day,” Penny says. “I believe that dogs truly enrich people’s lives so much with their unconditional love.”

We have to agree – there is no substitute for your dog’s love and the amount of love Penny gets from her doggy clients each day along her route shows she is indeed dog’s best friend!

This Spring, Penny adopted Rupert, a senior Bichon Frise, who had been left in a kill shelter in L.A., and was in need of a loving and caring home. Having lost her own senior boy, Ziggy, in February 2011, Rupert is helping fill the void Ziggy left in Penny’s heart. And Penny’s heart is indeed very big as she also adopted a newborn kitten this winter, too!

Christy Adam
“Love of pets is in the family,” said Christy when she joined her sister, Penny, dog walking at Love on a Leash! Christy’s love for dogs goes way back to when she was just a little girl. She has been active in the pet industry throughout her life -- working with pet shops and volunteering at the SPCA Hospital from 1996. Along with her sister, she has a passion for animals and has continued to learn about dog behaviors. Christy has come to love and adore the furry buddies she sees every day very, very much! In her non-dog time, Christy is a Certified Massage Practitioner.

Recipe Corner: Gobble Gobble Turkey Bars for Your Canine Pal

Thanksgiving is a time for many things, but richness and indulgence tend to be among them. And why should we have all the fun? Your best friend deserves a bit of indulgence, too! They’re lucky, though, those best friends of ours. While humans can get to indulging a bit indiscriminately, our canine pals have us looking out for them. We can ensure that even the most luxurious goodies are rich in healthful goodness as well as flavor.

Turkey Bars
1 lb. ground Turkey
2 eggs
1 ½ cups Parmesan cheese grated
1 TBSP. crushed garlic
3 cups Oatmeal
Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl combine turkey, eggs, cheese and garlic. Hand mix, then add the oatmeal. Mix well, using your hands, to ensure oatmeal is well blended into the meat mixture. Press down by hand into an 11” x 17” deep-sided baking pan. (Not a cookie sheet type pan.)

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Cut into bars.

Your dog will love you for these!

Note: The Pilgrim Boy costume pictured above is from The Pet Boutique who have, among other things, a whole line of Thanksgiving dog clothes. While Casey and Finnegan have not yet had the pleasure, there are certainly some sweet options!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Robyn C. Hill and Best Pals Portraits

It’s true: there is no shortage of pet portrait artists out there and many of them do work that is quite good. In fact, throughout the history of art, this has always been the case. Some of the finest works of art in the world resonate against both the artist’s and the viewer’s love of animals.

Now all of that said, as with anything art-related, an element of subjectivity is required when looking at the work in question and as soon as I looked at Robyn C. Hill’s, my heart responded. Hill’s portraits seem to me to include a richness and a depth that you don’t see every day.

Hill tells me that she’s “professionally trained and certified in the Visual Arts. I’ve been producing beloved portraits for friends and family outside of my gallery career for many years and due to their reception and my own love of animals, I am now offering my talents to others.”

Hill says clients can anticipate one-on-one collaboration with the artist. She communicates with the client throughout the creation process, sending photos and updates so that they can watch the handmade artwork evolve into a timeless and unique treasure.

You can visit Hill on the Web here.

Travel: A Beautiful Vancouver Island Dog Friendly B&B

We really love Cougar’s Crag Dog Friendly Extreme B&B. The property and house are gorgeous. Fifteen acres of West Coast splendour and the house is the perfect blend of luxury and edge of nature. (Can you say “split level level with a turbo tub”? I knew you could!) And get this: not only is your pet welcome, if you want, the lovely and friendly owners will watch your best friend while you take in the local sights or indulge in some of the local extreme sport opportunities.

“We can watch Fido while you take in the sights,” says owner Steve Schweighofer. “After all, he's our guest, too. And, when your best four-legged friend accompanies you to the sandy beaches or muddy trails, we have the mudroom facilities where he can be washed down -- before he jumps into bed with you.”

It’s an awesome place to spend a weekend with your pooch and they are great people and dog lovers.

Schweighofer says that they have been operating “a dog-welcoming bed and breakfast for the past seven years and have had literally hundreds of dogs of all breeds stay here with their owners.” Not only that, but dog lovers make up the largest portion of their clientele. “Eighty-five per cent of our customers are dog owners and we don’t restrict by breed or size, don’t charge extra or ask for a deposit, and offer free dog-sitting if the guests want to participate in non-dog friendly activities such as ziplining, whale watching or visiting a museum.”

Not only is the property gorgeous, it’s well-located and they offer close access to the hundreds of parks and trails of southern Vancouver Island. “ Ideal for dogs and active owners,” says Schweighofer. “As well, we’re only 30 minutes from downtown Victoria and 15 minutes from Sooke which makes weekend getaways easy. We operate 365 days a year on a reservation basis, and can book up four to six weeks in advance.”

And they truly seem to love their canine clients and their owners. “Our experience has been extremely positive,” Schweighofer says. “We’ve never had a bad dog here either from damage or aggression -- and we can’t say that about children. Dog owners, themselves, simply make the best guests as there is a certain mindset attained from owning and caring for an animal that positively affects people’s behaviour towards others. We even have guests who live in pet-restricted conditions and come specifically because we are dog-friendly, just so that they can have that interaction the rest of us take for granted.”

Between the owner’s generous and loving attitude and the gorgeous house and surroundings, it’s difficult to think of a better place for pets and their owners to get away for a few restful and restorative days.

You can visit Cougar’s Crag on the Web here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Warming Up Your Life: Adopting a Senior Dog

Autumn is a big time for dog adoptions. As such I felt compelled to share information on the benefits of adopting an adult dog. The benefits of adopting an older pet far outweigh the possible reasons not to.

Shelters and rescue groups are full to the brink with older dogs waiting their forever home. From personal experience I can tell you that adopting an older dog -- even a senior dog -- is well worth it and it’s a terrific feeling to know that, in many cases, you will be saving the animal’s life.

While puppies are cute and adorable they are also lots of work. They look at the world with new eyes and act silly as they explore and play. But time, training, and working with any personality or behavior issues can be difficult if you already have a busy life.

When looking to bring a new pet into the house, consider adopting an adult dog. Many adult dogs are surrendered to shelters and rescue groups due to reasons of financial instability, moving, or allergies. Most of these dogs are great, loving pets and just need a new forever home.

Here are 10 reasons to adopt an adult dog:
1. What you see is what you get. They are full grown, their personality is developed, and the type of grooming they need is apparent. If you’re looking for a dog that has certain physical requirements and personality, it’s easier to see that in an adult dog.

2. Easy to train. You can teach an old dog new tricks...if you want to! Older dogs focus better than puppies and are much calmer. Many of them may even know basic commands such as sit, stay, and come.

3. Fewer messes. Many adult dogs are housebroken or very good at holding it till you take them out. If they aren’t completely housebroken many pick it up fast. Also, since adult dogs are past the teething stage, they tend to not chew on unacceptable objects or have been trained to not eat shoes or destroy furniture.

4. Super loving. Adult dogs that have been in homes want nothing more than to be in another one. They may be uncertain and shy at first but many people who have adopted adult dogs talk about how amazingly loving and affectionate their adopted dog is and how bonded they became almost instantly. Dogs are pack animals and are looking for YOU to lead and love them.

5. Settle in fast. Dogs that have lived with a family or grown up in a house have learned the ins and outs of reading humans, knowing what sounds are typical in a house. They won’t be as jumpy as a puppy learning all these things.

6. Not a 24/7 dog. Puppies require constant monitoring and puppy-proofing of your house. And may not be acceptable to take along to other people’s homes. Adult dogs have generally already learned to not chew on the electric cords, will usually nap if you’re busy making food or reading a book, etc. Some adult dogs that have been crate-trained will even put themselves to bed when they are tired.

7. Saving a life. Older dogs are usually overlooked in shelters. Adopting an older dog saves them from growing old in the shelter or being euthanized depending on the shelter policies. Shelters can be tough on dogs who are used to living in a home.

8. Won’t be as overwhelmed. Adult dogs aren’t as bouncy and loopy as puppies. If you’re an older adult looking for a furry friend, an older dog can be the right match in terms of energy level, play level, and will be happy just to be around you.

9. Easy Living. Adult dogs won’t be as hyper. They will still enjoy exercise and exploring the world but won’t drag you down the block like a young dog might. They won’t need to run miles a day.

10. They’re adorable too! Older dogs can be silly and cute. Their muzzle with some white fur coming in, big stretches when they wake up from naps, and other personality quirks can make you smile and laugh.

Trust me when I tell you, based on my own experience of adopting senior dogs, you will not regret adopting an older dog. Within hours of coming into your life you will love them like they had always been yours from the very start.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Love on a Leash loves... Kol’s Notes!

Editor’s note: Kol’s Notes is one dog’s blog sharing information on canine nutrition, delicious dog treat recipes, product reviews, giveaways, pet friendly events and how to give back to the canine community at large. I’ve been finding the blog to be such an inspiration that I wanted to share it with you. Here then is a note from Jodi Chick, owner of the irrepressible and outspoken Kolchak Puggle, the spokesdog of Kol’s Notes. Jodi tells us about the journey that led to this super blog. -- Tammy

I still remember that spring. A rescue from a less than ideal situation, Felix was the first dog I had in many years, since I was nothing more than a toddler. He arrived with no luggage, looking and smelling like a hobo and yet, when he jumped out of that crate and licked my face, I was instantly in love. Snuggling up with him in bed that night was like cuddling a bag of hot garbage juice, only furrier, but there was nowhere in the world I would rather have been than cuddling with MY dog.

I bought a ton of treats, the food the store clerk recommended and more toys than most kids on our block have and settled into life with Felix. Watching the news and learning that pets were dying and that more than 5300 products were being recalled, I felt like the bottom had dropped out of my world. Felix had lived with us for less than three weeks.

Confession: I am a rehabilitated “junk food feeder”.

That day in March, I looked on in terror as every single dog product in my home hit the recall list. Sure, our bags were from different code dates, but the fear was there: What if I had killed him before I even really had him? I vowed then and there that I could and would do better for my dog.

We brought Kolchak, our puggle, home that summer and let me tell you, we felt smug and happy, when we started him off right away on the “good stuff.” BOL! Oh, I had oh so much to learn! We quickly discovered that even on the vet-recommended, so called “high quality” prescription food that both dogs were eating, Felix has a hot mess. Frequent ear infections, backed up anal glands, big time bathroom issues and the itchies. Oh. My. Dog. That boy itchy. All hours, day and night, no matter what we tried. Felix had an itch to scratch and he wasn’t afraid to scratch himself raw. None of our vet’s solutions seemed to work and with my promise to Felix in mind, I waded into the world of holistic, natural health and cooking for my dogs.

Relearning All I Never Knew
The things I didn’t know about my dogs were overwhelming. What should they be eating? Were grains good, like some companies suggest or should they be eating grain-free? Could they digest dairy? And just why was bacon not considered to be the ultimate in fabulous dog treats?

Last year, I sent myself back to school and began studying canine nutrition via correspondence and reading everything I could find on canine nutrition and natural ways to improve my dog’s health. In my studies and cooking for my dogs, I discovered my passion and my purpose: Kolchak’s Kitchen. My dream and my goal: to develop my own dog food and treats, home-made and crafted to my standards, and to share what I have learned, helping to improve the lives of other junk food dogs. Right now, it’s only an idea and a vision for the future, but I have a dream and a plan to someday build Kolchak’s Kitchen up from a small home bakery catering to friends into a place where dogs and their people can confidently go for some good food from some good friends, because all dogs deserve the good life.

Kol’s Notes was an experiment that took on a life of its own.

At the urging of friends, this spring, Kolchak, Felix and I embarked on a new adventure together and we waded into the Blogosphere. In just over six months, we are amazed by all the things we have learned from my fellow bloggers and all the things I can still discover with Kol and Fe to guide me. Written from the perspective of the irrepressible and outspoken Kolchak Puggle, Kol's Notes is one dog’s blog sharing information on canine nutrition, delicious dog treat recipes, product reviews, pet friendly events and how to give back to the canine community at large. We hope you’ll join Kol for a few stories, a few snacks and a lot of laughs as he celebrates good food, good friends and the good life.

Jodi Chick
Kol’s Notes

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We Introduce: Arbutus West Animal Clinic

Editor’s note: In the coming months, we’re going to be introducing veterinarians and vet clinics who have come highly recommended by our clients. This isn’t meant as an endorsement by Love on a Leash or PADs, but it strikes us that in order to make strong decisions regarding medical care for our pets, it’s good to have recommendations and it’s helpful to have lots of information at your fingertips.

Here, then, is the first in what we expect will be an ongoing series. In their own words, we’d like to introduce Arbutus West Animal Clinic in this month’s PADS newsletter.
Arbutus West Animal Clinic has been serving the Vancouver pet community for over 20 years and we pride ourselves on being a “friendly neighbourhood clinic, with a difference”. Traditionally the difference has been the warm family atmosphere and the extent of our practice cover “unusual” pets like ferrets, chinchillas, rabbits, rats and other small mammals. Since taking over leadership of the clinic in 2010, Dr. Uri Burstyn has built on this tradition of innovation, compassion and patient-first care by focusing on client service, education and cutting edge, evidence-based medicine.
We are still the clinic where people come by just to say hello and put their pooch on the scale, but thanks to considerable investment in new equipment, staff training and Dr. Burstyn’s uncompromising approach to quality of care, we can now provide medical care and surgical procedures that are rarely found in general practice. We pride ourselves with being able to deliver care and patient outcomes on par with teaching and specialty hospitals.

The latest addition to our clinic is something that you will not find anywhere else in the lower mainland: a full minimally invasive surgery (MIS) suite. MIS, done through 0.5-1 cm incisions, is used for 95% of surgeries in human hospitals, and we are excited to be able to routinely offer it to our clients. MIS procedures are safer, have fewer complications, and cause far less pain than conventional open surgery. Most patients can go home the same day with almost no post-operative care required, and the difference in comfort is amazing!

We are currently doing spays and retained testicle neuters using this approach, which means that female dogs no longer have to undergo a full laparotomy and 2 week recovery after their de-sexing. We can also perform gastropexy (tack the stomach) on large breed dogs such as Great Danes, Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and other dogs prone to getting GDV or twisted stomach. Previously it was hard to justify doing surgery on a healthy male dog as a preventative measure (it is considered standard of care to perform a gastropexy while spaying the females), but now there’s no reason not to gastropexy the stomach in males and prevent this deadly surgical emergency from happening.

Almost any procedure can be done with a MIS approach. What many doctors are excited about, is the ability to do a biopsy of any internal organ without causing undue pain or distress. Liver, pancreas, bladder, tumour and intestinal biopsies are often the best way to diagnose a condition for optimal management, but traditionally open surgery was required to collect them, and many owners were reluctant to put their pet through the stress and recovery of diagnostic surgery even if there was real benefit to the biopsy.

It is impossible to differentiate between IBD and low grade lymphoma without biopsy, and clinicians are frequently forced to guess which to treat. This no longer the case! Whether curing a chronic pancreatitis by finding and removing the pancreatic abscess causing it, or finding a foreign body lodged in the wall of the intestine too small to be picked-up on ultrasound, MIS offers solutions to previously incurable problems. Now, we can get the diagnosis, and the dog or cat can go home with a 1 cm incision; less trauma than a scratch from a nail!

There are many more applications to MIS techniques that we are only starting to discover. We are already removing bladder stones from dogs with recurrent oxalate stones, scoping ears for chronic middle ear disease, and doing nasal scopes to diagnose cancer, remove foreign bodies, and resect polyps.

For a complete list of services offered and a bio of our doctors and staff, please visit Arbutus West Animal Clinic on the Web. You can also find us on Facebook.

The Time for Heroes

It’s no surprise that, every year around this time, we spend a lot of time thinking about heroes in general and the selfless individuals who risked life and limb immediately following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 in particular.

What many of us don’t know is that a number of those individuals were highly trained canines, like Harley shown here with his handler, Rob Cima, at Ground Zero. As Dogtime tells us:
Thirteen of those heroes came from the Search Dog Foundation (SDF) in Ojai, California. Search dogs are invaluable in such missions, as their powerful sense of smell can lead rescue workers directly to trapped or immobilized victims. The World Trade Center site was still smoldering when SDF Retriever Harley and his handler, Rob Cima, arrived. The two worked as part of a team covering “100 square blocks from Ground Zero, with debris piled eleven stories high.”
In some cases, they were unwanted pets, recruited from pounds and shelters.
These “throw-away” animals -- once abandoned and unwanted -- are now part of life-saving search and rescue teams. They’ve proven their indispensability not only in 9/11 efforts, but in Haiti and Japan and with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And true to its aim, Melville’s foundation has been saving lives without breeding or adding to the current population of animals. According to Janet Reineck, director of development for SDF, "Many of [the recruited dogs] are 24 hours away from euthanasia.”

Friday, September 9, 2011

PaperQueen Goes to the Dogs

We are seriously crazy about PaperQueen, the “stylish online stationary boutique” brewed up by talented West Vancouverite, Annabel Mackay St. John.

“Lives can leave us,” Annabel writes on the PaperQueen website, “and we really do need to tell those we love that we love them and those that we miss that they are missed. I always knew that my business needed a tag line but could never come up with one until recently. I was trying to make it sound so important or hip when really it was staring at me right in the face all along. Write, receive, respond, remember. It’s that simple.”

It’s also that gorgeous. Gorgeous enough, in fact, that this Canadian company has been making ripples with Neiman Marcus, People Magazine, LouLou, Elle and many, many others.

Most recently, I was thrilled when Annabel created my likeness for the upcoming Party With Your Pooch fundraiser poster. It’s possible, though, to visit the PaperQueen website and get instant gratification for your meaningful note. Just a few clicks and you’ll be using PaperQueen’s creations to bring your own visions to life. There’s a reason that PaperQueen Fine Stationary and Design was named the 2011 winner of the Business of the Year by the West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.

You go, Annabel! And we go, also… even more stylishly than we might have done.