Christmas Miracle Puppers Update

Hands down, the best part of fostering dog families is how much cuteness fills our lives with all these puppies running around!

Through a little bit of determination and persistence, I have reached a tentative truce with Mama Carol.  She is letting me handle the pups, just as long as we don’t hurt any of them.  We discussed the terms of this agreement at length, she would get worked up at the thought of me touching her babies, but after a few hundred treats and a bit of patience, she finally agreed 🙂

The product of our cease-fire is our ability to share these adorable little babies with you!  A few have even started to open their eyes.

And, as if that wasn’t enough cute for the weekend, I also took a quick video that should melt even the blackest grinch hearts(after all, this is a Christmas miracle themed family)

We have names!

In a totally absurd decision, our readers voted for a Christmas movie theme for our newest foster family.  (I’ve demanded a recount, but I still lost).  After getting everyone’s sexes and markings lined up in the video below(I messed up and counted one of the girls twice, if anyone is keeping score)


we now have names!

Our beautiful Mama is officially named "Carol" :)
Our beautiful Mama is officially named “Carol” 🙂

and the babies…..

Dog Fighting-Criminology, Psychology, Mental Health(Study)

I came across an open access study that examined the epidemic of dog-fighting in the United States and around the world.  Since the article is open access, we have included the full text below.  This is very good information for anyone who would like to understand and put an end to dog fighting across the globe.


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Mars Petcare and WALTHAM Host Symposium in Chicago Oct. 18-21

Experts Convene to Address Unique Science Behind Pet Nutrition and Behavior

CREDIT: Mars Petcare

This week, the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition, part of Mars, Incorporated, and a leading scientific authority and research center for the nutrition and health of companion animals, will bring together hundreds of global thought leaders in pet nutrition at its WALTHAM™ International Nutritional Sciences Symposium (WINSS).

WINSS is one of the largest open international meetings dedicated to original research in pet nutrition. This conference brings together academics, experts representing veterinary associations and other stakeholders in the pet care industry. The symposium will address a variety of topics ranging from the importance of maintaining healthy weight in young pets to promoting healthy growth in pets and how pet nutrition needs have evolved over time.

“WINSS provides a platform for scientists in pet nutrition to connect and collaborate on their findings,” said Richard Butterwick, Global Nutrition Advisor at WALTHAM. “The science behind animal nutrition is paramount to finding ways to continue to develop better, healthier food options and give context to many animal behaviors.”

To bring this research to life, WALTHAM provides science and expertise to support Mars Petcare brands. Sharing scientific findings and demonstrating thought leadership in the area of pet nutrition is a key role WALTHAM plays in supporting the Mars Petcare vision for creating A Better World for Pets® and helps inform ways Mars Petcare can best support pets and their owners.

For more information about the work Mars Petcare does to improve the lives of pets and people, visit

Listening to what Mama Dog is Saying

I took this video the other day while working with our new foster family, specifically the mom. Depending on the dog’s personality, it is sometimes difficult to care for the family and build a relationship based on trust with the moma the same time

By definition, we have to get all up in her business to do the things necessary to ensure her and her puppies stay healthy.  Things like cleaning, making sure the puppies are eating, making sure the pups don’t get stuck in blankets, etc are a big part of the whelping process.

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This mom(name coming very soon) presented an interesting case study that I think provides some really good insight into how dogs will handle stress and how they learn to manipulate their environment.

It didn’t occur to me straight away what was going on.  We haven’t let the little lady around her or the puppies yet, and, in order to explain why, I showed her this video.  While I was watching with her, I realized that I knew what the mama was trying to accomplish with her behavior.

What do you see when you watch her behavior? One of my goals with this blog is to help people, who really care about dogs, to be able to understand their behavior at a higher level, I think this is a fantastic opportunity to start a discussion about interpreting what our dogs are telling us, so I’m going to go ahead and post this and add a section later with my thoughts.

A little history that should help:

-Mama was very skiddish at the shelter.  She didn’t like having anyone near her babies

-We suspect that she was surrendered by her previous owner due to an accidental pregnancy and the ensuing protective behavior that accompanied having her puppies.

[su_spoiler title=”My thoughts/opinions” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]Some of the comments were spot on. She is, obviously, interested in protecting her babies, but, and this is a big but, she isn’t doing so aggressively.

I believe that she used the barking that you see later in the video as a tool to accomplish her goal. Which was for whatever she was barking at to leave her alone. Once I realized this, I knew that this had been reinforced ALOT at animal services. So, in order to reassociate a person(me in this case), I decided to do something different.

I began to associate my presence with good things(treats). A few commenters mentioned their concern that I was reinforcing the barking, but, in my humble opinion, not giving her what she wanted(me to leave) but still having a reward associated with my presence was the best course of action. Right after this video was over, I decided that I just needed to “be” there for awhile, allow her to mellow out, and leave on my terms instead of hers. Since then, we have already taken some big steps in our relationship. She now lets me come into the enclosure with her, fix blankets, and I’m actually getting but wiggles every now and again!

Thanks everyone who commented below![/su_spoiler]


Florida Animal Shelter Takes in 73 Purebred Great Danes

Source: Alaqua Animal Refuge

Alaqua Animal Refuge, a no-kill animal shelter located in Northwest Florida, has taken custody of 73 Great Danes that were recently involved in a large-scale breeding operation. The Refuge was contacted by concerned family members of a “puppy mill” owner in declining health, after it was discovered he had abandoned the facility, no longer able to care for the animals.

“This was an enormous undertaking in every sense of the word, but we knew we had to help,” said Laurie Hood, Alaqua founder. “It’s one of the reasons the Refuge was founded. And for the most part, these gentle giants were healthy. All the dogs were fed and cared for. They were loved.”

The Refuge immediately assessed the living conditions while staff and volunteers began taking the animals off property for immediate medical attention. Alaqua first took a litter of 13 puppies, the dogs with special needs, and those that were pregnant.

“In the non-profit’s nine-year history, it has only had one Great Dane up for adoption,” said Hood. “Coincidentally, the woman who adopted that particular animal has been a great resource in the rescue and care of these 73 Great Danes. Soon after that adoption, she relocated to Florida to become engaged in Alaqua’s mission of giving animals a second chance of life.”

News and photos of these adorable animals receiving care at the Refuge were shared on social media and word spread like wildfire. The newspaper that first reported the story had over three million views to the online article posted on its Facebook page. Over 500 applications were submitted over a two-day period from adoptive humans all over the United States. Applications are still pouring in; however, at this time no additional applications are being accepted.

“It completely blew up our Facebook page, our telephones, and it actually shorted out our website for small amount of time,” said Hood. “We truly believe that the love and passion for these beautiful animals are the reason for the overwhelming response. People genuinely care and want to help them.”

Hood says that all of the animals are very calm, sweet, and are just in need of a great home to provide the care and love they so desperately need, and deserve.

Although Great Danes are one of the best-natured dogs of all breeds, they are not for everyone. Great Danes can weigh up to 200 pounds, and some can stand at least 7-8 feet tall. Great Danes are indoor dogs; highly people oriented; and in need of plenty of room and training. These regal animals are a breed that requires much special attention with regard to diet, medical needs, and companionship.

Alaqua is taking its time to make sure each of these Great Danes goes to the right home for the owner, and for the dog. Each application is being carefully vetted against criteria set forth by Alaqua’s veterinarian team as well as breed specialists. Because of the special needs required for owning and caring for a Great Dane, home visits will also be conducted for these dogs, which is something that isn’t customary for the Refuge.

The Great Dane adoption effort comes at a time when the Refuge is looking to expand in order to meet the needs of the community. In a typical month, it costs about $80,000 to operate the Refuge, which is entirely dependent on private donations and fundraising events, and that is without the added expense of such a big group like the Great Danes.

The Refuge desperately needs help with medical care costs, as expenses are tremendous for dogs of this size. Currently the dogs are eating over 150 pounds of food a day, and still need to be micro-chipped, spayed, and neutered before being placed in homes. They are also being given other medical care such as heartworm treatment, rabies and other shots necessary before adoption.

Any and all donations are appreciated, as each one adds up to help care for the animals. Donations can be made on the Refuge website at:

About Alaqua Animal Refuge

Alaqua Animal Refuge is a no-kill animal sanctuary and adoption center located in Freeport, Florida. A member of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, Alaqua believes that every abused, neglected and homeless animal deserves a second chance. This private, non-profit animal sanctuary is committed to serving the Emerald Coast of Florida as the premier no-kill refuge, providing protection, shelter and care to animals in need. It is a full-service animal adoption center providing peaceful, proactive animal welfare advocacy through educational outreach and community programs.

The dream and vision for Alaqua Animal Refuge has been to grow the shelter and expand its scope of animal welfare services to the community and beyond. Plans are underway currently to expand and relocate the Refuge from 10 acres to 100 acres of donated land.

This new facility will allow Alaqua to help more abandonment cases like the Great Danes and additional cruelty cases with expanded on-site services and programs. Alaqua’s ultimate goal is to become a destination for animal welfare advocates throughout the country and a model for the future of animal refuges.

More than 250 animals can be found at the Refuge at any given time, including dogs, cats, horses, bunnies, birds, goats, pigs, and even emus. On average, 100 animals are adopted every month from this unique shelter and adoption center. For many animals, Alaqua serves as a true sanctuary where they can live out their life being care for and loved. Since its inception in 2007, the Refuge has placed more than 12,000 animals of all kinds, and has grown to become a recognized leader in animal welfare and animal cruelty prevention. For more information, visit

13 Common Items that Could Kill your Pet(and are probably in Your Kitchen)

They say knowledge is power.  This is especially true when we are “dog-proofing” our homes.  Sometimes, products, that are perfectly safe for human consumption, can cause extreme illness or even death in our canine companions.  The 13 products below(including some peanut butters) are specifically targeted as the most dangerous by the American Veterinary Medical Association 

28 Shirt Designs Every Dog Person Should Own

Dog people are a special breed(pun absolutely intended). We love our furkids and we don’t care who knows about it. Most of us would much rather hang out alone with our dogs than in public with people! So when I came across these shirts that put all of those(and more) characteristics into snarky, cute, or otherwise comical designs, I had to share.

Some of my personal favorites are related to Bully breeds, but the site has plenty of other breeds to choose from!


New iPhone App That Helps You Take Better Selfies With Your Dog

delfie-screen-shot-feedThe selfie craze is not going away anytime soon. Yet, anyone with a dog and a mobile phone knows how hard it is to take the perfect “delfie” (selfie with your dog). Dogs have no natural reason to look at your phone, they’re usually looking someplace else, and hey, there goes a squirrel!

After a month-long North American soft-launch, Delfie, LLC, sister company to the popular online community Dudes With Dogs®, announces the global launch of DELFIE™, the new iPhone app that helps you TAKE BETTER SELFIES WITH YOUR DOG™. The app’s target user base is everyone with an iPhone and a dog (and those who love them!). Download your copy at

“I’ve always encouraged my online community members to take “delfies” because I think it’s the most tangible way of showing your love for your dog and connecting with other dog lovers. But then I realized how hard it is to take a good delfie! Some have tried to solve the problem with phone attachments, but who wants to carry a tennis ball in their jeans or pepperoni in their purse? I knew I could solve it with software, while making it fun and social,” says Delfie, LLC founderChris Rolczynski.

CAPTURE. DELFIE works by pairing fun, dog-sensitive sounds with your phone’s camera function. Surprise your dog using one of our 28 native sounds like Squeaky toy, Mad squirrel, and Rocket, or record your own sounds, like your dog’s name or favorite toy. You can even borrow your friends’ sounds!delfie-screen-shot-camera

SHARE. Edit and post your delfies on DELFIE’s in-app network and easily share them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

CONNECT. More than just a fun photo app, DELFIE’s also a social network for dog lovers. Meet other Dog Dads and Dog Moms in your town and around the world. Search for your favorite breeds, ask for advice, and celebrate the joys and sometimes sorrows of dog parenting with others just like you.

DOWNLOAD. In a world of mostly freemium apps, DELFIE is launching using a different approach. The app is available for a flat $1.99on the App Store, with no advertising, hidden costs, in-app purchases, or subscriptions. The app is now available in every country. An Android version is planned for the future.

GIVE. The company is also utilizing a unique and charitable launch strategy by donating a portion of the proceeds from each app install that results from any of the following short download links. Please use and share the download link associated with your favorite charity below, and together, let’s raise money for at-risk animals.

delfie-screen-shot-post American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals    Animal Welfare Institute    Best Friends Animal Society    Humane Society International    The Humane Society of the United States    PetFinder    PetSmart Charities    World Wildlife Fund

FEATURES. DELFIE’s key features include the following:

HearLook™. Patent-pending sound feature with 28 native sounds designed to get your dog’s attention. Reported to also work on cats and babies!
Record your own sounds. Does your dog respond best to you? Then record your dog’s name or favorite sound to use with the camera.
Borrow sounds. Listen to others’ sounds on their profile, and if you like what you hear, then borrow it for your dog!delfie-screen-shot-sounds
Easy to Use. Use the “short shot” technique to play a sound once or the “long shot” technique to loop the sound.
Photo editing. Essential tools like crop, filter, and sharpen along with fun ones like frames, stickers, splash, and meme.
In-app social network. Post your delfies on DELFIE’s in-app network to connect with other dog lovers in your town or around the world.
Online sharing. Easily share your delfies on other popular social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Search. Use search terms, names, or locations to view posts of your favorite dog breeds, people, and places.

Meet the new Foster Family

Our Mama dog had a bit of a stomach ache overnight and ended up spitting up on her blanket.  This happens from time to time and isn’t a big deal.  But, it is difficult to change out bedding when she doesn’t trust us yet!  It’s doubly difficult when we have to accomplish the task AND make sure we don’t take any big steps backward in gaining her trust.

I told K2 that I would figure it out(so she didn’t worry).  My plan was to lure her into a kennel with peanut butter treats and, once she was secured, change out the bedding, sex all the puppies, and get some good pictures.

Well, after a ton of coaxing, a conversation about my intentions with her puppies, and more treats thanimg_6233 I care to admit, she finally got into a kennel after about 45 minutes! (I know, I know, I have the patience of a saint :P)

Once she was in there, I started talking her through what I was going to do.  “Mama, listen…I’m going to move your babies so I can get this nasty blanket out of here, Ok?”, “I’m not going to hurt a hair on their heads, I’m only going to move them for a second”

Obviously, she looked at me like I had horns growing out of my head. But I continued.  Once all the puppies were moved, blanket was out, and a new blanket was in, I informed her of the next few steps I was going to take.

“Mama, I’m going to pick one baby up at a time, take a quick picture, and then put them back down”, “Still not going to hurt them, ok?”.

Well, to me, it looked like she was on board with the plan.  But, as soon as she saw one of her babies in my hand, she was howling for me to “put him down right now, you strange human man”, which I, of course, did.

That scenario repeated six more times for the rest of her kids, each time she was saying something to the effect of “get your grimy, five-fingered, paws off my puppies or I will bite your face off”.  Which is understandable, she has only known me for a day so far.

But I managed to get the sexes of all the puppers:

I got done as quick as I could, so that Mom’s stress levels didn’t get too bad, so I think we have 4 boys and 3 girls. After I got done and let her out of the kennel, the light was just too perfect to not get one more picture of her before I left.


We are also still looking for names for the family.  We are holding a poll here, but if you have an idea for a better theme, we would love to hear it!