Monday, December 10, 2012

Smell This Contest Winner!

It was a BIG day at Smell This! Aromatherapy headquarters when Biggie and his mom, Kerry Schoncite, visited on Saturday to pick up the Scratch'n'Sniff Smell This! Aromatherapy Dog Products Prize package. It was the grand prize of the Smell This! contest we ran back in the autumn.

Special thanks to Arline and Smell This! for their generous donation and to Jodi over at Kol's Notes who joined forces with us at Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care to spread the word and encourage our dog loving followers to enter our giveaway.

More fun contests and giveaways to follow. Happy holidays!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter Health for Dogs

by Dr. Donna Spector

Does your dog love the winter wonderland or would he rather cuddle up on the couch under a cozy blanket? Either way, you must be prepared to protect him when he ventures out into the elements.

Don't over-feed your dog during the winter. Although dogs are in need of an extra layer during the winter season…make sure it comes from a coat, and not fat. Be attentive to your dog's activity level and adjust his calories accordingly. Always feed your dog a high quality natural dog food to insure a healthy coat and good energy for the cold winter months.
Keep your dog hydrated. Dogs can dehydrate just as quickly in the winter as summer. Many dogs eat snow, but it is not an adequate substitute for fresh water. If your dog has a water bowl outdoors, check it often and break ice that may form on top.
Let's talk temperature! If it is too cold for you to stand at the door without your coat, it is probably too cold for your dog to be out without a coat. Some dog breeds have dense undercoats that help protect them against cold temperatures, but most dogs should have a coat to help them deal with Jack Frost. Coats are not just about fashion, they are also functional! Coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet or tail…don't keep your dog out too long in freezing temperatures.
Provide extra bedding and warmth for your dog. Limit your dog's time outdoors on cold days and provide warm indoor shelter. Place your dog's bed in a warm spot; away from drafts, cold tile or uncarpeted floors.
Protect your dog from burns. Dogs will often seek heat during the cold winter weather by snuggling too close to heating sources. Avoid space heaters and lamps and place baseboard radiator covers to avoid unnecessary burns. Fireplaces also pose a major threat and a pet-proof system should be used to keep your heat-seeking pal out of harms way!
Groom your dog. A clean, well-groomed coat will keep your dog properly insulated. This is especially important if your dog lives outdoors. Choose natural, detergent-free grooming products that will not strip your dog's skin and coat of essential oils that help protect them against the winter elements. After bathing, dry your dog adequately before allowing him outdoors.
Protect your dog's feet. Dogs walk through snow, slush, salt and chemicals. Although doggie booties sound corny, they can prevent painful injuries. Or clean your dog's feet every time he comes into the house. Use warm water and clean between the toes to remove all debris and salt. Apply a small amount of a natural salve every day to keep pads from cracking. Avoid using any chemical ice-melting compounds or rock salt on your sidewalks or driveways that your dog may contact.
Avoid toxin exposure. With winter comes antifreeze which is sweet in taste and dogs will readily lick or drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic and a small amount can be fatal for dogs. Keep your dog out of the garage and off the driveway where they may encounter antifreeze or other harmful chemicals.
Dogs should NEVER be left in cars unattended, no matter what season. Freezing cold temperatures are the main concern during winter. If the car is left running during the winter (especially in a garage), carbon monoxide poisoning is a threat.
Special medical needs. Cold weather can aggravate existing medical conditions in dogs, particularly arthritis. Maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog, but be mindful of slippery surfaces and make sure your dog has a warm soft resting area to recuperate after activity. Try the addition of a natural glucosamine supplement to lubricate the joints. Contact your vet if you detect any unusual symptoms in your dog. Never use over the counter medication without the advice of your veterinarian.

 Paying special attention to your dog's well-being during the winter season will insure that you both enjoy the Winter Wonderland to its fullest. ◊

Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM, is a renowned, board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist, an active AVMA and AVHMA member, and leading speaker and writer on pet health and nutrition. She is widely recognized for her role as consulting veterinarian to HALO, Purely for Pets and her TV appearances with Halo co-owner Ellen DeGeneres. Dr. Donna performs medical, nutrition and weight loss consultations for dogs and cats through her web-based veterinary consulting service,

Holiday Dog Cookie Recipe

“Now the furry little apple of your eye will have yet another reason to love you.”  From Cooking the Three Dog Bakery Way Cookbook, by Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye, Broadway Books, New York.

Apples and whole oats are sweetened with a touch of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon and will definitely get your pooch’s full ears-up attention. They make a great reward for your pup just for being so darn cute!

Salivatin’ Cinnamon Apple Nips

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick rolled oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup cored and diced apple

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease two baking sheets with nonstick vegetable spray.

Stir together the flour, oats, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, stir together the oil and honey until well blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring to combine.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir to form a smooth dough.  Fold in the apples.

Drop the dough by the rounded teaspoonful, 1-1/2 inches apart, on the baking sheets.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.

Cool to room temperature before serving.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months.  (Thaw before serving.)

Tips From A Professional Pet Sitter

It’s the season when we dog sitters become inundated with last minute requests for pet sitting. The holidays are rapidly approaching, which often leads to last minute vacation plans and a sudden need to have your precious pooch cared for in a more hands-on and loving manner then a kennel environment or large care facility provides.

Please keep pet sitting requirements in mind when you are making your vacation plans. I highly recommend you book peak vacation times (Christmas, Spring Break, Easter, Long Weekends, etc.) as far in advance as possible to ensure your favorite sitter is available to care for your pooch!

Before you go away on your next business trip or family vacation, remember to speak to your family vet and forward an “Absent Owner Consent” form or ensure you have filled out the one we keep on file at Love on a Leash. In the event of an emergency your wishes will be met and your pet will have proper care administered as quickly as possible.

The following list helps ensure your dog receives the best of care while you are away:

  • Ensure all your dog’s daily requirements will be met – food, fresh water, medication, health issues, walks, playtime, kisses & hugs.
  • Inform your family vet you are away and who your pet sitter will be.
  • Discuss your pet’s current health concerns with your vet and your wishes regarding the care of your pet while you are away. 
  • Ensure your pet-sitter has the following information: your contact information, vet contact details, pet emergency preferences, and adequate supply of medications & full disclosure of your dog’s health history and concerns, behavioral issues, plus financial information for emergencies.

Remember that all pet sitters are not the same. Ask for references and credentials. Ideally your pet sitter should be licensed with the city they are working in, as well as bonded and insured. Your pet sitter should be certified in pet first aid and belong to a professional organization such as Pet Sitter’s International or the All Canadian Pet Sitters Network and your sitter should have a web site posting information and rates in a professional and concise manner.

As an accredited pet sitter, I can tell you that we take our job seriously and will do everything in our power to ensure your dog’s stay with us is as comfortable, safe, fun and loving as possible for your dog.

At Love on a Leash we truly adore our doggy clients and they love us right back! We are so very proud of the testimonials we so often receive from our clients. I’d like to share a few of them with you here:

From Jacqui Kempton (owned by weimaraner, Bowen):
I met Tammy and her sister Shelly about three years ago now when I was searching for a special place to leave my dog for two weeks. It is difficult to find dog care that will truly reflect a proper family home environment. After searching we found Love on a Leash and have been grateful ever since. As you may well know, weimaraners can be fairly needy and it takes a special person to understand them, once again Love on a Leash knew exactly what to do and what not to do.
 Their ability to understand and care for dogs is of the highest calibre. They accommodate Bowen’s raw diet with great ease, it is something they understand and appreciate. I would highly recommend Love on a Leash to anyone looking for quality dog care in a warm, comfortable environment. Bowen is a very special part of our family and we would not leave him with just anyone. 
You’ll be in amazing hands with sisters, Tammy and Shelly!

From Gina (owned by The Weiners, Katsu & Enoki)
I first met Tammy through a wonderful dog-friendly event that Love on a Leash was hosting, benefiting a registered pet charity that I support. When I needed care for my beloved dogs, she was the first one I called. Soon after, we set up an initial meet and greet. I was extremely pleased with her level of professionalism and the questions she asked regarding my dogs’ care.
Tammy provided me with several caregiver options, and I chose the one who I felt was the best fit. It was clear that if I changed my mind on my choice of caregiver after the meeting, that it would not be a problem. I was extremely pleased with my caregiver choice and it was clear that my dogs would bond with her quickly. 
My first stay with Love on a Leash was in September of 2011 and I’ve had several stays was in 2012. They will absolutely be my number one choice for care again in the future. My dogs came home tired, happy and calm. I even received fun photos and updates while I was away. Tammy and her team go above and beyond to ensure the experience is a positive one. I do not hesitate to recommend Love on a Leash. In fact, I recommend them all the time! 
I am the first to say that I am an attached owner and was extremely leery to leave my dogs with anyone I did not know. This is amplified by the fact that my dogs have specific needs and issues that caregivers need to be mindful of (sensitive backs, inability to walk up/down stairs, strict dietary requirements). My attitude towards leaving them has changed entirely, now that I have found Tammy and her wonderful team. I also regularly hire one of her local dog walkers, who my dogs absolutely adore. 
Since discovering Love on a Leash, I have no worries or guilt about going on vacation and leaving my precious ones behind. I know they will be loved and cared for in the same manner I love and care for them. They are the Holy Grail of pet sitters!
If you’d like to see more testimonials from our clients, you can see them on our web site.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Adopting a Senior Dog

Finnigan is one of the senior Bichons that
have added so much joy to my life. He’s
seen here getting into the holiday spirit.
For a lot of people, the positives about opening you heart and your home to a senior dog far outweigh the negatives. 

In the first place, when you choose to give a senior dog their final and forever home, you just feel good. How can you not? You know you’ve done a good thing even before you see the love grow in their hearts and feel the peace that comes over them in the first few weeks and months with you after they’ve settled in. 

How difficult it must be for senior dogs cast upon the world! I’ve thought about that a lot. And how very confusing. Though I know I’d have to go a long way to find the science to back this claim up, after having adopted several senior canines over the years, I know it to be true: senior dogs are wise and grateful. When you give them a good home, they know and love you for it all the more.

When Animal Fair’s Wendy Diamond adopted a Coton de Tulear and discovered the joys of sharing her life with a canine of a certain age, Animal Fair did a terrific piece on it. You can see that here, meanwhile here are their thoughts on why a senior dog is perfect to adopt:
The following tips are why senior animals are perfect to adopt!
1. The average shelter dog is medium-to-large, adolescent and usually have had little to no training. These dogs are overlooked at the shelter because they are past the adorable puppy stage, but still have plenty of puppy energy that needs an outlet! 
2. Taking a senior dog to the park might take on a slower pace, but socialization and temperament evaluation is still absolutely necessary to determine whether the dog is good with different types of people and other animals.
3. Basic medical care is a must, dispensing medication and taking your new dog to the vet for a once over (or twice over)!
4. Lots of love, playtime and attention will do your senior dog a world of good! And the seasoned seniors are more than aware that they got a second chance, and will reciprocate in kind.
5. Prospective adopters should ask their local shelter if they have any animals presently in a foster home setting, in need of adoption. Foster dogs are placed in a loving and supportive home, and prepared for permanent adoption! All final adoptions will take place at the shelter.

From my own perspective, adopting a senior pet is extremely rewarding and I have done so three times now with the Bichons I have known and loved. Open your heart, don’t worry about quantity, just simply enjoy the quality of the days you have together. You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For the Love of Cats!

In this world there are cat people. And there are dog people. But there are also some who love and have both in their lives.

We have always been very leash specific here at Love on a Leash. That is, we love both cats and dogs, but we’re only set up to care for our leash-bound friends.

We are knowledgeable about dogs. We are experienced. And with dogs, we know just what we’re doing. But cats? Well, cats are a different animal altogether! They’re beautiful, sure. And they can make swell pets. But the care they need is just as specialized as what is required by dogs. Just as specialized, but different.

With the holidays approaching, we’re beginning to get calls from people going away during the season: either to warmer climes or to spend time with family in other places. When people ask about care for their dog’s feline friends, we’ve been recommending Lori Levitt's company, Feline Friends Cat Care.

Lori is insured and bonded, vet endorsed and has a passion for the kitties. She has over 20 years experience and all of the clients we've referred her to love her.

You can call Lori directly 604-559-4570 or visit her web site at

Monday, November 5, 2012

Loki’s Christmas Wish: Help for Shelter Pets

As the holidays approach, it’s important to think about how we can help others. It’s never difficult to find worthwhile charities to give to, but I have to admit to having a few favorites, and Loki’s Christmas Wish Fund is one of those.

The Fund was started in 2008 by HugABull director Kristen Neratini, with the aim of brightening the holidays for animals in the shelter system.

The initiative was started in memory of Loki, a puppy neglected and abandoned before coming to HugABull. At five months of age, around Christmas 2005, he was adopted by Kristen and his future looked bright. He excelled at obedience, obtained his Canine Good Neighbour certificate, and Kristen knew she had found her “heart dog.”

Sadly, only three years later, Loki passed away due to health issues. Kristen and her husband decided to mark his too-short life with a donation campaign around the holidays, to help the shelter dogs who don’t find a home around Christmas. Donations are collected and distributed to all dog breeds -- and cats too!

Since 2008, 27 local animal shelters and rescue groups have benefitted from Loki's Christmas Wish and they look forward to seeing that number increase.

Loki’s Christmas Wish is run in partnership with HugABull Advocacy & Rescue Society.

Shelters are always stressful, but around the holidays adoptions are slower, shelters are short-staffed, and cold weather means less exercise and stimulation for the animals. A delivery of food, treats, bedding, and other supplies goes a long way to brightening their days, and the donations are used well into the following year.

Loki’s Christmas Wish Fund welcomes the donation of many items for dogs and cats. A detailed list is on their web site. And, of course, cash donations are always welcome, too.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dealing With the Loss of A Pet: You Don’t Have to Deal With It Alone!

Sadly, just about about anyone who has ever shared their life with a dog knows what it is to lose one. I think the worst thing about our pet friends is that our span is so much longer than theirs. And though we treasure them and love them, eventually we are left alone. It’s a sad reality, but it can be very, very difficult to deal with.

One of the things that can make dealing with the loss of a pet even more difficult is the fact that a lot of people just don’t get the depth of loss and despair that losing an animal friend can cause. Though they may be trying to be kind, people sometimes make it worse. Someone telling you to get over it or -- perhaps worse -- get a new pet to help you cope with the loss of the old one can just make a grieving pet owner feel all the more alone and isolated.

It was this kind of emotion that holistic counsellor Melanie Yearow, a pet owner herself, responded to when started doing counseling to help people deal with the loss of their pets.

“The loss of a companion animal may be one of the most devastating experiences in one’s life,” Yearow says. “It is not uncommon for this loss to surpass the pain involved in losing a human being.”

It became important to her to let pet owners know they didn’t have to go through this alone. On her web site, Yearow outlines the services she offers grieving pet owners:

  • Creating a safe nonjudgmental place where you can express your deepest feelings and thoughts.
  • Helping you cope with and work through the difficult and, at times, intense feelings of shock, anger, guilt, sadness, and depression that often arise when a beloved pet becomes ill, dies, or is lost.
  • Helping you understand and come to terms with the pain and guilt you may be feeling around anticipating having or having had your pet euthanized. Although euthanasia is an utmost act of love and kindness that ends your pet’s suffering, it may be the most heart wrenching decision you will ever make.
  • Working with you around any issues of unresolved grief from your past that may surface when your pet dies.
  • Helping guide you through to the other side of your loss, where you will once again be able to think of your companion and the special relationship you shared with peace and happiness.
  • Discussing with you the timing of and what to expect when getting another pet.

Yearow’s office is on Vancouver’s west side. Call her at 604-730-5002 or visit her web site for more details.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Enter to Win: A Smell This Gift Basket!

When I tried the Smell This! Aromatherapy Pet Line of doggy beauty products on my own pampered pooches, Pixie and Finnigan, I loved the products and I kind of think they did, too! The whole Smell This! line is infused with botanicals, our absolute fave being the lavender, but you’ll likely find your own favorites, as well.

I loved the whole line so much that I asked Arline, the owner of Smell This!, if she'd like to do a contest with us and she was thrilled to offer up a basket of their products.

The gift basket has a retail value of $180 and includes Scratch N' Sniff's London Dog Pawfume Spray, All Natural Insect Repellant, Pooch & Kitty Wash, Rxxxxxx Antiseptic & Healing Balm, Furrtastioc Shine & Detangler Spray and Chewy’s Dry Shampoo.

Enter to win by posting a comment on this blog post or on our Facebook page stating why you’d love this gorgeous basket a great smells for your canine pal.

Arline Trividic created Scratch N Sniff out of her own love for animals. When the production company for the movie, Marmaduke, called to order Smell This! SWAT Natural Insect Repellant, she thought it was for the crew. Instead, it was for the main cast, which was made up of dogs.

Trividic recalls, “The poor dogs were being bitten alive and my chemical-free insect repellant was their savior! I love animals as much as I love humans and this project was my inspiration to create the “Scratch N Sniff” line.”

Celebrity fans of the pet line include Fiona Forbes of Urban Rush (the dry shampoo is named after Forbes’ dog, Chewy), Real Housewives of Vancouver’s Mary Zilba, Top 40 Under 40 Entrepreneur and Steve Nash Fitness Club spokesperson Mashiah Vaughn and CBC host, George Strombolopolous. Retail prices range from $20-$35 CDN and can be purchased at Sale proceeds of the dry shampoo “Chewy” are going Forbes’ pet charity, the SPCA.

Remember: enter by November 30, 2012 by telling us here or on our Facebook page about why you’d like to win this fantastic prize.

The winner will be announced on December 1.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Growloween with Three Dog Bakery

Nobody does holidays like Three Dog Bakery. That’s why, it seems, without fail, come special celebration times, we here at Love on a Leash give this outfit a big shout. And here we are again.

This time out, the holiday in question is Halloween -- or, more accurately, Growloween.  And Three Dog Bakery is doing it up right with the three Cs: Cookies, Costumes and Car Seat Covers.

The fun gets underway in Port Moody on October 20th from 12 to 2 pm. The following weekend, join in the fun in Vancouver on October 27th.

When: Saturday October 20
Where: Suter Brook Village (11-201 Morrissey Rd, Port Moody)

When: Saturday October 27 2011
Where: Point Grey Village (4548 West 10th Ave, Vancouver)

For more details visit

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin: Superfood for your Pooch!

Tis the season of the pumpkin and pretty soon jack o’ lanterns will be a common sight in neighbourhoods and fields in the Fraser Valley and in Delta will be so covered with the orange globes, it will be impossible to keep from smiling! As much as I love pumpkin season, one thing that may surprise you to learn is that pumpkin season for your dog should probably be all year round.

Pumpkin is so good for your pooch in so many ways. It is the perfect natural remedy for an upset tummy, plus it is loaded with antioxidents and fiber without the calorie content, so it helps keep your dog’s tummy full.  I mixed it into my Casey’s food for years to keep her full and satisfied especially when she was on a bit of a diet!

In so many ways, pumpkin is like a miracle food. It’s low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol and is also a good source of Vitamin E, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and is a very good source of dietary fiber.

In case all this pumpkin talk has you thinking about it: pumpkin is good for you, too! Some people even consider it to be a superfood and all the things that make it good for your canine pal make it a great addition to the human diet, as well. Along with a whole lot of other great pluses, pumpkin in your diet can help keep you hydrated and prevent the damage that can lead to wrinkles and even skin cancer.

For many people, the easiest way to use pumpkin is to buy canned at the supermarket. If you go that route, make sure you choose plain canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling: the latter is filled with sugar, salt and other ingredients that aren’t that terrific for your dog or you!

Photo note: Pumpkin carving patterns like the one of the Jack Russel terrier shown above are available from Spookmaster.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gala Will Help Senior Pets!

It looks like the sixth annual Wishes for Whiskers gala is going to be another amazing event in support of SAINTS, which is an end-of-life sanctuary for senior and special needs animals that have nowhere else to go. The gala will take place at 6pm on September 15th at Pitt Meadows Golf Course.

“Come support and celebrate this unique and amazing multi-species animal sanctuary," the organization writes. “All proceeds from this event will directly benefit the SAINTS special needs and senior animals by going towards outstanding vet bills. So far this year SAINTS has spent over $60,000 in veterinary care.”

This special evening is being hosted by the Fleas Knees founder and media personality, Mary Jo Dionne. For more information and tickets e-mail or visit the event Facebook page.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Coming October 20th, 2012: BEYOND THE MYTH: A Film about Breed Discrimination

Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services is pleased to be a sponsor of the screening of Beyond the Myth. This is a film about breed specific legislation and it has always seemed to us to be a topic that deserves our sharp attention.

HugABull and the Paws for Hope Foundation are bringing Beyond the Myth to Vancouver next month. The film explores the contributing factors behind the public's generalized fear of pit bull-type dogs and examines the conflict existing between advocates and opponents of breed specific legislation. This award-winning documentary about BSL and its effects on dogs and their families has drawn attention and acclaim globally.

Join us on October 20th for a screening of this important film, followed by a panel discussion where breed experts, researchers, and animal control experts share their own experiences and thoughts.

Here is a bit more about the film:

Beyond the Myth: A Film about Breed Discrimination

Unfairly known as violent killers, Pit Bulls have suffered from the stigma of negative media coverage that has lead to city-wide bans across the country. This breed-specific legislation has torn pets away from families, and killed thousands of innocent dogs in cities like Denver, Miami, Cincinnati, and San Francisco.

The film investigates the myths associated with these breeds, challenges the idea that they are inherently vicious, and presents eye-opening research regarding the media’s role in influencing people’s opinion on dog attacks. Stripping away the preconceptions to show the loving companions they can be, Beyond the Myth is an important, must see film for all dog lovers.

Tickets to the Vancouver event are available at:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Don’t Turn Your Pal into A Hot Dog!

Even though the weather has cooled slightly on the Lower Mainland, your car can still be a deathtrap to your beloved pooch.

Though your canine pal clearly loves to go for a ride, you don’t want him to get more than he bargained for! And while our dogs are capable of many things, rational thought isn’t one of them: that needs to be up to us. Whenever possible, leave your dog home when you’re out and about and might have to leave him in the car for a while. It takes an astonishingly short time for your car to heat up, even with the windows rolled down. Don’t take a chance: leave fido home or in care!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vacation Time for Us!

Though we’re seldom out of contact for significant amounts of time, the Love on a Leash offices will be closed from August 20th until the 30th of the month. We won’t be returning e-mail or telephone messages or handling any bookings until August 31st.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and we look forward to seeing you again in the fall!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eldad Hagar at Vancouver Meet and Greet to Benefit Paws for Hope

Eldad Hagar is doing inspiring rescue work which is often captured on video and shared with the world. These videos show the extent to which he will go to save a stray, abandoned, injured and often very fearful animal. The goal of sharing these videos is to show people that if you look past the filth and fear and give the discarded creatures a second chance, you will be amazed by the transformation that can happen.

While Eldad has been doing this life saving work for years, it was the rescue video of Fiona that captured the world.  Fiona, a blind, matted and flea infested Bichon was living next to a dumpster when Eldad rescued her and gave her a second chance at life and of sight.

The event will take place at the Waldorf Hotel, 1489 E. Hastings on September 2, 2012 from 5-8pm in the Leetag Room. Entry is by donation with a minimum donation of $10. For more information, call 604-657-4183 or visit the web site.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Never Say “Diet” Cheese Treats for Your Dog

Dogs love cheese. Always and without question. But the reality is, too much cheese is no better for your dog than it is for you! Dogs love these richly flavored cheese-based treats, but don’t seem to utter a single growl at their recede calorie contents. A guilt-free treat your pup will really enjoy!

Never Say “Diet” Cheese Treats for Your Dog

1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup green beans, cooked and mashed
3 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix shredded cheddar cheese with flour. Add skim milk, butter and beef broth. Knead dough until firm and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into appropriate shapes and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Makes 30 cookies.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pet Friendly Vacation Accommodations

Thinking of crossing the border this summer and looking for a great vacation rental that is PET FRIENDLY?  Go to: for a fabulous selection of pet friendly homes just waiting to make your vacation extra special for the entire family!

The Love Behind Love on a Leash: Gillian Dunn

Gillian loves dogs of all breeds and has recently come into starting up a doggie business of her own called “Dunn’s Doggies.” As an independent dog-walker, Gillian runs and operates Dunn’s Doggie with the help of her sidekick, her black Labrador, Lucie. LOAL clients will note that Gillian recently took over for Penny’s Pampered Pets. In addition, she is a Love on a Leash-recommended dog walker.

Gillian resides in Kitsilano, where a portion of her clients are located, but also has clients in various parts of the city. Gillian believes in beginning a relationship with a new client in advance of your dog’s first outing. When you contact her, she will set up a meet and greet with you and your pooch (at no charge, of course). At the meeting, she’ll get to know your dog while asking you all the necessary questions. The idea is to get to know your dog before the walks.

Dogs love Gillian, something new clients often are able to spot right away. But it’s good to know that she is also Canine and CPR certified (via DogSafe), making her someone good to have around -- and around your dog! -- in the case of an emergency.

Gillian has been a dog lover her whole life. She has had a wide variety of pets, but maintains that dogs will always be her favorite! Her fondest memories include playing with and taking care of dogs belonging to friends and family, while wanting one of her own.

You can contact Gillian by phone at 778-846-8830 or at via e-mail.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Happy Canine Smile

The patient. What a cutie!
Though no one argues the value of a good, clear smile, we don’t always translate that to our pets. Fortunately, there are people out there who do, among them Corinne Henderson, president and owner of DentaPet.

Before. Those choppers
clearly need attention!
“Our mission,” Henderson says, “is to provide professional, safe, well-priced, non-anesthesia teeth cleaning treatment in maintaining pet’s overall oral health and happiness.”

DentaPet’s certified hygienists are registered with the B.C. Government Oral Health Association and Veterinarian approved and they provide non-invasive oral hygiene service for dogs and cats.

Henderson offers some thoughts:

After. Nothing like a clear,
bright smile!
A pet can bring a lifetime of joy, love, and treasured moments. With those happy moments also comes special responsibility to care for the needs of your animal friend. At Dentapet, we provide compassionate oral care at the very highest level in all of the Vancouver area. We strive for a warm and friendly relationship with you and your pet. Dentapet takes great pride in treating your pet like a member of our family.
Since animals can't tell you when they have dental or oral disease, regular oral examinations are recommended. At DentaPet we offer options on how to treat these issues safely and effortless.

• Book free 15 min consult
Truly looking good!
• DentaPet can be mobile, but there would be an additional fee for travel
• Teeth cleaning: dependant on the condition of animal’s mouth
• Book two or more pets / $10.00 off ( not applicable with other promotions or coupons)
• Nails $10.00

Our goal is to help improve the comfort and quality of our patients’ lives.

Please visit our web site, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to call me at 604-971-1388.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Karen Moe Photography: Fine Art Dog Portraits

In 2008, Karen Moe published the book, Dog, that features her photographic series, “Perros: Dogs of Central Havana.” While photographing every dog she saw in one week in Havana, Karen discovered both her emotional and aesthetic passion for dogs.

Her love of dogs as both individuals and members of families and her artistic and philosophical commitment to both animal and human relationships gives Karen the privilege of creating unique portraits that both exemplify and complement her clients’ extraordinary lives.

Karen’s skills and insights as an artist grace these photographic experiences as works of art. These philosophies and practices are at the center of Karen Moe’s Fine Art Dog Photography. Karen has been focusing on fine art dog photography since the fall. She captures canine images that are artful enough to hang on a dog lover’s walls, she says, and also stays busy offering headshots of dogs looking to break into careers in film.

Karen Moe is hosting Uncommon Vision this coming weekend (June 8-10) at the ARC showcasing multiple artists in our midst on Vancouver's Eastside. The ARC, one of the only live/work artists' buldings in vancouver, has been providing provocative “Uncommon” group art exhibitions since 2003.  It’s a great way to see some truly local art.

In celebration of “All Things Dog” Karen will host afternoon tea and offer 15 minute Dog Portrait Mini-Shoots on Saturday, June 9th from 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Karen's “doggy portrait sittings” will cost $30 and owners can choose a 5" x 7" print from one of five shots taken that day. $5 from the $30 fee will be donated to one of four animal protection agencies that Karen supports:  The SPCA, The Wilderness Committee, Liberation B.C. or the B.C. Health Coalition.  You get to choose which one you wish the $5 goes to!

Part of the ARC's Uncommon Vision
June 8 - 9 - 10, 2012
Fri & Sat: Opening Reception + Night Gallery 7pm -12am
Sat & Sun: Day Gallery + Open Studios 12pm- 5pm
ARC Gallery: 1701 Powell Street @ Commercial

For more information, you can contact Karen via e-mail at or call  604-787-1806.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Canine Communicator Breaks Dog Language Barrier

We’ve all heard about Dog Whisperers. In fact, our resident Fairy Dogmother, Shelly, at Love on a Leash in the Country is a Dog Whisperer. Shelley has the innate ability to understand canine psychology and the whys and hows of what your dog is acting and reacting to. Because of this, Shelly works with many of our special needs doggy clients to help them through their anxieties, phobias and bad behaviors when they come stay with her. She also works with owners to learn -- and sometimes unlearn -- their own behaviors so they can better understand and work with their dog so their dog becomes more balanced, relaxed and feels secure in the family.

As much as I love and respond to Shelly’s special gifts at understanding to and relating with our canine pals, there is another way. Dale McCarthy is an animal communicator. Her gift is, I think, more difficult to pin down than Shelly’s. But I’ve seen it in action and have been no less impressed.

To me, Dale is one part Dr. Doolittle and one part Dog Whisperer in that she can actually hear your dog’s thoughts. She doesn’t train your dog or work through any psychological issues but, if you are wondering if your dog is in pain, if you are asking yourself if it is time to let your geriatric pooch go to the other side or find yourself wondering what your dog may be thinking, Dale’s gift seems honestly able to help.

I’ve been so deeply impressed that I asked Dale to share some of what she does with our readers. Dale writes:
Want to know what your pet is thinking? 
Are you trying to make the tough decision of when to let them go? 
Quite often, we wish we could talk with our pets to find out what they are thinking, discuss health issues, deal with behaviour problems or to make the difficult decision of when it is time to let them leave this world. 
Animals are constantly communicating with us but we usually just notice the wagging tails, meowing and the usual cat or dog behaviours. There is way more they are telling us but just that we don’t recognize or understand.  Sometimes you probably do feel that your pet is talking to you -- and it is! So trust your instincts in that you really do know what is going on with your pet.  
But if you want to get more confirmation on what you think or want to know more, then having an Animal Communicator do a session for you and your pet is a great way to find out what you’d like to know! 
I am fortunate to have the intuitive gift of being able to communicate with animals through conversations of words and visuals which can be shared with their owners. The pet will provide me with information as to their personality traits, what any issues may be and even when they are ready to pass on. This ability to converse, interpret and relay information will answer any questions or concerns you might have about your pet.  
You can contact Dale through her web site, or by calling her at 778-330-6936.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

K9 Kamp and the Desire to Deter the Muffin Top

Luckily my pooches and I don’t need K9 Kamp at this time as we are super active, but I know what it's like to have a dog who looks like a tank. For years, my darling Casey was affectionately called “The Chunk” as she was, shall we say (ahem) solid!

So I know what it is when a donut or three -- or too many great canine cookies! -- add more jiggle to your wiggle than is desired for optimum health or peace of mind and I can appreciate how a support group of dogs and owners can really help spur one another on to get up and move.

I wholeheartedly support Jodi and Kolchak’s initiative to work off their muffin tops and encourage anyone who feels the need to get on board for health and prizes. I know Jodi is getting a lot of support for this program and it makes me so happy to know that what she’s creating will be potentially powerful for so many people and dogs.

You can get full details here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

10 Things Casey Taught Me

I’ve been lucky to have shared my life with many pets over the years. Looking back, I know they were all very generous with their gifts and they taught me many things. Like a lot of people, though, I felt especially blessed and connected by one dog in particular. For me, that was my beloved Bichon Frise Casey Jane who I had to say good-bye to in December of 2011. The thought of that still gives me pain. 

Over the years, though, there was much, much more joy in my life from Casey than any other thing. That is, she brought joy and love to me in abundance but, looking back, she brought more, as well. Can I quantify those things? No, of course not. But if I think about her gifts I can boil it down, at least a little bit.

Here, then, are the 10 Things Casey Taught Me: the things I have to hold on to every single day. The gifts she shared that, ultimately, changed my life. And now I’ll share those gifts with you.

The Ten Things Casey Taught Me

1. Forget About Multitasking
Look at your dog when she’s got a job to do. She’s doing it whole-heartedly, isn’t she? She’s in the moment and on the ball. There are studies that show that when you multitask your productivity goes down. I don’t think Casey actually knew that, but something in her bones did, just the same.

2. Walk Every Single Day
Even when you don’t feel like it. Walking continues to be the safest and easiest ways to burn calories and help you lose weight, fight depression, keep your bones strong, your heart going and your mind sharp.

3. Live in the Moment
Though I think, in a way, that this goes with multitasking, it’s a strong enough point to draw a line under. In a Harvard university study called “A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind,” psychologists concluded that people are happiest when doing things that keep the mind focused, such as sex or exercise. So live in the now!

4. Wag Your Tail
It’s true: I do not have a tail. Nor, probably, do you. But Casey taught me to try and be happy for the small things and to approach life gratefully. Back to the studies: it’s been shown that people who keep gratitude journals have better attitudes, exercise more and have fewer physical complaints.

5. Get More Than Your Eight Glasses
When dogs are thirsty and need replenishing, they go straight for the good stuff: water from the tap! When you’re playing -- and even just plain living -- it’s important to your health and your heart to stay hydrated. It helps keep you looking good, too.

6. Show Your Love
Dogs don’t ever play coy. When they love you, you know it. It turns out that showing your love is important for people, too and couples that let each other see their love are more connected and secure.

7. Don’t Forget to Groom
When we take care of ourselves and take the time to look good, we feel better. And Casey didn’t just make that up: there’s a strong link between personal hygiene and self-esteem. And everyone knows a shiny coat is a good indication of health.

8. Don’t Sit in the Sun
You wouldn’t think that dogs would know about UV rays and such but next time you’re out and stop for a break, watch your dog: they’re most likely going to head for the shade. And though sunscreen in the summer is a must, adding the protection of a big ’ol tree won’t hurt, either.

9. Give in to the Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit. Most of us? Not so much. Yet people tend to thrive more when they get really in tune with their body clock. Everything you do in this regard can help you achieve more -- and more restful -- sleep.

10. Learn to Read Body Language
Dogs are experts at non-verbal communication. A stretch, a sniff or a snuggle all reveal deeply different things. It’s not that we humans don’t have body language -- we’re stretching and scratching and making eye contact all the time. It’s just that most of us aren’t terribly good at reading it and volumes of potentially valuable communication goes to waste.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

At Love on a Leash, we’re obviously most deeply concerned about dog care. Dogs are both our business and our passion. But it’s not because we don’t appreciate cats. Also, a lot of our friends and clients have cats and sometimes have no place to turn. So when I connected with Lori of Feline Friends Cat Care it struck me that this was a person whose passion for pets was equal to mine… just focused on the feline end of things!

So without further ado I’d like to introduce you to Lori and her fantastic catcentric services, in her own words:

Hi. My name is Lori and I have been asked by Tammy from Love On A Leash to tell you about my kitty sitting service. Tammy has indicated to me that many of her clients also have kitties who require excellent care while you are away. I can be that kitty care person. I specialize in kitty care in the Kitsilano and surrounding Vancouver areas.

With over 20 years experience working with kitties at the Meow-Aid Cat Shelter, taking courses in Cat Care at the BCSPCA, and caring for nine of my own kitties (both healthy and special needs), I am a responsible, reliable cat lover who will provide...

  • A safe, loving environment for your kitty or multi-cat household
  • Lots of affection, petting and play
  • Daily visits as per your kitty's needs (feeding; a pristine litter box)
  • Care for your special needs kitty (i.e., subcutaneous fluids; pilling; diabetic shots)
  • Other tasks such as collecting mail and watering plants...

Prices: $20.00 per day per household (1 hour visit per day)
References available from a veterinarian, cat households, and, of course Love On A Leash'
Please e-mail me to talk further about your kitty's needs.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May Special from Off-Leash Photography

One of the things that make me feel very lucky is the fact that my darling dogs have been photographed by what I consider to be some of the top photographers in the land. As a result, I have many wonderful photographs of my dogs from over the years. Looking at them all, I know that I’ve had more great photos than is probably my share!

Now all of that said, some of my very favourite photos were taken by Angie Wojciechowska of Off-Leash Photography in Vancouver. In fact, the photos she did for me of Casey and Finnigan last fall right after Casey was really sick are some of the most cherished photos of them that I have. So, naturally, when Angie told me she was running a special for the balance of May, I wanted to rush to tell you about it while there was still some of the month left and you might have a chance to book Angie’s services.

The offer is exclusive to Love on a Leash’s readers and clients, so make sure you tell Angie where you saw it when you book! She’s offering 1/2 off a photo session. A full session is usually $300, but for the balance of May, it is only $150. which includes your pet’s sitting and three high resolution files. Angie says that other options are available, including her fantastic coffeetable-style photo books, that look terrific in this link but are even more beautiful and moving in person.

To see more of Angie’s work, you can see an article we did about her last year, here. You can visit Angie’s web site here, or call 604-618-2236 to book a sitting for your pet.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

National Pet Week: Give Your Dog A Bone?

Okay, so if I’m very honest, in my heart and in my house, it’s National Pet Week all the time. And, truly, if you’re reading this, you probably think so, too. But I also like the idea of seven whole days set aside to give special thoughts to our dear household companions. The animals who share our lives and, perhaps most especially, those pets who have not been able to gain the sort of security that our own beloved companions enjoy.

According to the National Pet Week web site, “The goals of National Pet Week are to promote responsible pet ownership, celebrate the human-animal bond, and promote public awareness of veterinary medicine.” Which I guess is open enough to interpretation that you can do what you like with the occasion, provided you do something positive! Here are some ideas:

  • Take your best friend for a walk!
  • Learn more about your pet and what he requires to be both healthy and happy.
  • Have a peek at local pet-related charities and give to one whose message resonates with you.
  • Think about what you can do for less fortunate pets in your area: even if it’s something very small. (Every bit helps!)
  • Give your canine pal a scratch or a tickle and think about all the things she does for you!

And, most importantly, enjoy your pets every single day of the year!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Love Behind Love on a Leash: Carol Whitehead

For much of the last fifteen years, Carol Whitehead has spent her days and nights in the presence of dogs. She derives joy from their expression of love and affection every time they greet their human companions and is in admiration of their ability to welcome each new day with enthusiasm and wonder. Carol values how their living in the now reminds her to approach each day with some excitement about what may unfold. Carol has a lifetime of experience with dogs having worked in the industry either dog sitting or managing doggy businesses both on the retail scene and in the canine food industry and believes a day without a dog is like a day without sunshine. Dogs bring so much joy and laughter to Carol’s life that she tries to interact with every dog whose path she crosses. In fact, Carol would consider herself lucky to be a “loved” dog in another life!

Meet Carol and the rest of the Love on a Leash team here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Best Trips with Your Best Friend: Crystal Lodge, Whistler, B.C.

Whistler’s Crystal Lodge is pleased to be one of the few dog friendly hotels in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia. Known world wide as a ski resort, at non-skiing times of the year Whistler is the perfect place for a vacation with your dog with ample opportunities to get out and hike enjoy the mountain. When you book your room, for an extra $20 (per dog, per night) your dog will enjoy his own dog bed, a welcome biscuit, dog blanket, drying towel & doggie bag. Whistler does have the best places to hang out during the day and be seen: the Village is full of doggy friends, and there is always the Valley Trail and many fabulous extended hiking trails nearby.

Shops are dog friendly and numerous patios make it easy to enjoy the town square environment while sipping your cappuccino or enjoying a delectable meal on the patio. Our picks for a great meal? Try Araxi or Player’s Chophouse Whistler. Player’s offers the more casual dining of the two but features delicious ribs and steaks: hearty fare that sticks to your ribs after a day out in the fresh air!

From Vancouver you can be in Whistler in about an hour and a half. A perfect weekend getaway for you and your dog.

Monday, April 30, 2012

When Letting Go is the Only Decision You Can Make

The most difficult decision I ever made was to let Casey go last December.  Quite simply, it broke my heart, but it was the best and most humane decision for her, even if it was horrific for me.

With the help of my amazing family and kind and compassionate vet, we said goodbye to my beautiful, fluffy baby girl on Dec. 19th, 2011. I had vowed never to let her suffer, never to let her become infirm or pathetic or listless or just simply alive just to keep her in my life. It was tough and I cry ever day because I still miss her something fierce. But even that is better than watching her become more vacant and uninterested in everything around her, like eating or playing or going out for a simple walk down the street.

I cherish all the beautiful fun memories I have in my head and in my heart of our 13 and a half years we had together. R.I.P. Casey Jane.

As difficult as all of this was for me, I know I’m not alone in the things I’m feeling. That’s the difficult part of loving a dog: their spans are simply not long enough and, sadly, there’s a good chance that one day, you’ll have similar decisions to make. The upside is that there really is help out there. For instance, I found this article to be both soothing and practical and it may be able to offer help to those of you faced with this awful decision. When the time comes, think about it: are you keeping your pet alive for your own benefit or do they have real quality of life as these precious babies deserve?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flea & Tick Alert: this Season May Be A Bad One!

Spring is springing. And while we don’t yet have the warmth we’d like for this time of year, it’s heading this way! And then what happens? Flea and tick season.

This is an engraving of a flea

 from Robert Hooke’s 1665 
Micrographia. Goes to show you: 
some things never change!
You may have already heard that veterinarians are predicting that we will have an extremely bad flea and tick season this year. Why these predictions? Because across the country we experienced warmer than usual weather this winter. Not here in Vancouver of course, but over a lot of North America the typical winter freeze never happened. This means that fleas and ticks will emerge from their dormant life cycles much, much sooner.

This is not good news of course, especially when you consider that even just one flea can lead to a full flea infestation in no time at all. Did you know that an adult flea can lay 15 to 20 eggs per day and over 500 in her lifetime. At this rate one flea in your home can become a full-fledged flea infestation -- imagine fleas on your pet, in your carpets, sofas, clothing and even your bed... totally unacceptable and totally gross!

The only way to protect your pet is to treat them with a flea and tick preventative medication. I also know that many people are against flea prevention or medications because of the chemicals involved and while I appreciate that sentiment, I don’t take the chance that my dogs won’t get fleas and I do treat them. Both my Bichons are highly allergic to flea bites and the resulting biting and scratching themselves raw is not an alternative I can accept.

There are natural remedies out there and I would love to hear back from our readers about any of these that really work. I do bathe both my dogs with organic shampoos that are full of essential oils like lavender and citronella that are supposed to help repel fleas and they smell wonderful.

Is your pet on any type of flea medication yet? If not, please do not let your precious pet go another day without protection! A single flea can bite your pet more than 400 times: whether you go the medication or naturopathic route, act today and give your dog the protection they deserve from this nasty predator.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gardeners Beware: Don’t Let Beauty Hurt the Beloved Beast!

Who doesn’t love a beautiful garden? All those wonderful sights and smells and for those who love to get their hands dirty, hours spent gardening can be almost as fun as those spent walking their dog. But, all that beauty and outdoorsy activity aside, beware! Though gardens may be healthful and beautiful to us, they can present a very real health hazard to your pet.

As with all things regarding your pet, safety must begin with you. When choosing your plantings, take a little extra time to be certain you’re not selecting plants that can be harmful -- even poisonous! -- to your pet. Not sure what those plants are? The list is startlingly extensive and includes some that are very common in these region including the bulbs of Amaryllis, Autumn Crocus, Daffodil, Day Lily, Gladiolas, Hyacinth, Iris, Lily of the Valley, Narcissus and Tulips.

Growing in the garden itself, beware Cyclamen, Hydrangea, Poinsettia, Charming Diffenbachia, Christmas Rose, Flamingo Plant, Foxglove, Morning Glory, Nightshade, Onion, Tomato Plant, Tropic Snow Dumbcane and though you probably don’t have it growing in your garden, Marijuana is poisonous to dogs, as well.

For a very good working list of plants toxic and non-toxic to dogs and other animals, check this one at the ASPCA web site.

While it’s important to choose pet-safe plants for the areas your animals will spend time, don’t stop there. While many lawn chemicals are actually not harmful to pets, remember to stay aware while choosing them: better to be certain now than sorry later. And don't forget other things like fertilizer, snail bait and other items you might use in your garden.

With a little care you will make sure that the little oasis you’re creating in your yard will be safe and enjoyable for your canine friends as well as your human ones!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Walking the Walk: LOAL Pooch Walking Brigade Will Face Changing of the Guard

After several wonderful years referring our Love on a Leash clients to Penny’s Pampered Pets for dog walking, we’re sad to share with you that both Penny and her sister Christy will be leaving the industry to pursue various other interests as of April 27th.

Not only are we sad, we know that the many canine pals that Penny has made at the end of a leash will be, as well. For her part, Penny will miss them, too. “This has not been an easy decision to make,” Penny says. “I will greatly miss caring for all of the four-legged furry little ones I have grown to love over my past 12 years as a dog walker.” She adds that she is hoping to continue with overnight dog care thru Love on a Leash in order to continue seeing some familiar faces. Penny says that she and Christy anticipate missing all of her clients, as well as “the sweet little faces we have grown to love over the past few years.”

While it’s difficult to express how very much we’ll miss both Penny and Christy, we wish them well with all of their future endeavors. We’ve been sworn to secrecy, so we won’t divulge what’s at the bottom of this move, but we can’t help but share that Penny’s decision comes from a very happy place and we send her love and good wishes, as we know you will, as well.

The silver lining for us is that the very passionate and loving Gillian Dunn has stepped up to try to fill what we know are hard to follow shoes. You can read more about Gillian on the Meet the Team page on the Love on a Leash web site, but let me just say that Gillian has all of the passion, smarts and knowledge you’d expect from the person you trust to walk your best friend. Gillian's direct contact information for dog walking is available on our website.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

You and Your Dog at Easter

If you’re looking for a super fun Easter activity that you can share with your dog, here’s a great possibility for those in the Vancouver area: Three Dog Bakery is sponsoring an Easter Begg Hunt at Suter Brook Village in Port Moody. The hunt begins right at noon on Saturday, April 7th so those who wish to participate are being asked to come no later than 11:45 that morning. A modest $5. registration fee will give you and your pooch the chance to sniff out over 2000 dog-appropriate Easter treats. For more information, you can call 604-469-3647.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Letter from Palm Springs: Welcome to Our Family, Pixie! & A Dog-Friendly Oasis in the Desert

As many of you know, my 16-year-old Bichon gal, Casey Jane, passed away on December 19th, 2011. It was a very painful decision for me and one that I was not ready for, even though my gal was. It was very peaceful for her and although my heart shattered into a million pieces that day, nearly four months later it is very slowly starting to heal.

This leads me to my next topic: the introduction of Pixie to our little family. After Casey was gone, our home felt very empty with just Finnigan all by his lonesome, but I wasn’t ready to get another dog right away. At that time I felt like I was replacing Casey and couldn’t bear the thought of forgetting her.

As the weeks went by I realized that nothing would ever make me forget her and although I was broken-hearted, we had room in our home and our hearts to love another little Bichon Frise in need. Thus began my search for another “mature” Bichon gal to join our family. We put in an application with Small Paws Bichon Rescue and waited...

On February 7th, 9-year-old, Pixie flew all the way from Chicago, by herself, direct to Palm Springs where we were waiting to bring her home to her new life. It was very emotional for me to meet this Bichon girl for the first time. She was sweet and friendly and even after hour upon hour in a crate all by herself, her tail was wagging. We opened the door and out she popped, happy as could be!

Pixie became part of the family from the moment she arrived and has also started to steal a piece of my heart. I still cry over the loss of my Casey, sometimes every day, but Pixie is helping me heal and has become a wonderful companion to our boy, Finnigan who was lonely and anxious without Casey.

We are fortunate to spend our winters in Palm Springs which is extremely dog-friendly. Dogs are allowed in many restaurants which is wonderful. There are many events that are dog-friendly with the purpose of raising funds for causes from animal adoptions to guide dog services.

This past few weeks saw Pixie and Finnigan attend two such wonderful events with me:

The first was “Yappy Hour,” on the patio of the delightful Aqua Pazza Restaurant in Rancho Mirage. Leslie Kennedy, editor of B.C’s Pet Connection Magazine and her little dog, Baby Jazz, were our companions for the afternoon. Yappy Hour’s theme for March was The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party raising funds for the organization “Loving all Animals.”

Loving all Animal’s president, Lindi Biggi, works tirelessly encouraging people to adopt animals in order to decrease the number of homeless animal companions languishing in shelters. Sadly, thousands of adoptable animals are euthanized in local shelters here in the Palm Springs area alone. The mission of Loving all Animals is simple: To bring the beautiful shelter dogs and cats out of the shelters and into loving homes!

The afternoon was a delight for the people and dogs attending. An afternoon of socializing on a gorgeous patio, sipping wine and nibbling on great eats with your best pal at your feet, plus wonderful raffle prizes and fun gifts for the winners of the best “hat” contest.

Loving all Animals hosts “Yappy Hour” on the third Thursday of every month. We will be sure to attend and support April’s Yappy Hour at Augusta Restaurant on El Paseo Drive before heading home to Vancouver. Go to for further information as well as upcoming events on this amazing organization.

The second event we attended was the Grand Opening of Cold Nose Warm Heart, a fabulous gift store for pet lovers, which opened their second location on El Paseo. A portion of all purchases from their March 17th opening were generously donated to several animal rescue organizations. Naturally I had to buy these adorable his’n’hers sailor tees for the kidlets!

March 17th also marks the start of Fashion Week on El Paseo and Cold Nose Warm Heart got into the spirit of it all by sponsoring “Le Chien ~ A Celebration of Dogs and Fashion” under the big white tent. Pooch pampering, kibbles and champagne, runway fashion and special performances by stunt dog trainer and author Kyra Sundance were the big draws here.

The Grand Opening, within their lovely dog-friendly new store, saw Pixie, Finnigan and I entertained by glass artist, Janice Osborne, creating beautiful fused glass pet sculptures, animal communicator Terri Steuben, and chatting in great depth with author Maggie Espinosa about her book The Privileged Pooch: Luxury Travel with your Pet in Southern California. Maggie and her Bichon dog Marcel, personally signed a copy of their book for us. The Privileged Pooch is chock-full of tips on where to stay with your dog, as well as great dog-friendly places to eat and shop and fun things to do throughout Southern California. This little book will be part of all our future travel plans. You can follow Maggie and her dog Marcel at

Pixie, Finnigan and I do appreciate how truly dog-friendly it is here in warm, sunny Palm Springs and hope that some of our archaic rules and bylaws back home in Vancouver can be updated to allow our pets to accompany us on the many restaurant patios throughout our fair city.

The Three Biggest Puppy Training Mistakes

Getting a puppy is a big responsibility. It’s up to you to bring him up right, all the way from a tiny little ball of fur into a loving and well-behaved adult dog. This means taking care of them, raising them right, and making sure they are healthy and happy. That’s why the biggest worry we hear when someone is planning on getting a puppy is “What if I make a mistake?”

If you ask yourself this question, let all of us at Love on a Leash congratulate you: you are already taking a huge step towards being a good dog owner! If you care enough to worry about making mistakes, then you are on the road to doing the right thing. It shows that you really care about raising your new family member in the right way. The more you know about your puppy, the better you will be able to deal with any situation that comes your way. And the better behaved pooch you will have down the road.

To help you have a well-adjusted, social and well-behaved dog, following are three common mistakes that we see puppy owners make:

Beginning the potty training in the home.

Many dog owners start potty training their puppies in the home using pads and newspapers. This is sometimes necessary while the pup is still too young to go outside, but if at all possible, all bathroom training should be done outdoors rather than anywhere inside your home. Why? Because your puppy will not carry the training information outdoors into a new environment. Many pet owners assume that once their puppy grows up he will begin to go outside on his own. This is NOT the case! If you teach your dog to go inside the house, he will go inside the house -- and more than likely, all over your house -- forever! Train your puppy to go outdoors where you will expect him to go when he’s older, and he will learn faster and easier.

You might have heard about crate training. This is a very humane, safe, and effective way to train your dog and reduce potty accidents. Dogs do not like to potty inside their personal space which is what a crate represents to them: a safe haven, that is all their own. Remember that a dog who has been taught to use the indoors as his bathroom will be socially unacceptable in other people’s homes and probably won’t be much fun to live with, either.

Letting your puppy do things you won’t want him to do as an adult.

This one can be hard to do because puppies are so adorable. Anything they do is cute, from biting your hand or pant leg to pouncing on people. But think it through: an adult dog biting and pouncing on people is not fun, especially if it’s a large breed. This is often the result when dogs are allowed to display unwanted behaviors when they are puppies. No matter how cute their gnawing on your finger may be, you need to step back and tell your pup “no.” If you don’t want your dog to sleep on your bed, sit on the furniture or bark at passing cars, don’t let him do it when he’s little. Your puppy will carry into adulthood everything you teach him now, so make sure you set clear boundaries.

Changing your puppy's food the day you get him home.
Many new puppy owners experience dismay when their puppy displays signs of sickness on their first days home. More often than not, the puppy is feeling sick because it was fed a new food. If you want to avoid this mistake, ask the previous owner of your puppy what kind of food he is feeding the puppy, and make sure to have the same kind of food on hand at least for the first while. If you want to switch your puppy’s food to something else, you will need to do so gradually or your puppy may feel sick, will likely throw up or end up with a nasty case of diarrhea which is no fun for anyone.

To change the brand of dog food your puppy (or adult dog) eats, first feed him only the old food. Then begin mixing more and more of the new food in with the old food until only the new food is left. If your dog does get diarrhea that does not clear up after a few days, change the food again as no dog, either puppy or adult, should have runny stool ever. It is a clear indication that what you are feeding is not agreeing with their digestive system.

In the end, just remember: you can’t be prepared for everything, however knowing the biggest blunders pet owners make is the best way to avoid them. Keep asking questions, and keep being a great dog owner.

We at Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care have years of experience as dog owners and have taken many classes in canine psychology, dog behavior and training, as well as canine nutrition and canine first aid. We strive to help our clients ensure their dogs are happy and healthy not only in our care, but when they return home to you, too!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dogs and People: What is the Age Comparison?

If your dog is five years old, that means he is the same physiologic age as a 35-year-old person, right? Well, actually not. The theory that every year in a dog’s life is the same as seven years in ours is commonly known but unfortunately not very accurate.

For example, a one-year-old beagle has passed puberty. A seven-year-old child likely has not. A seven-year-old Mastiff is considered geriatric, but a 49-year-old person is not.

For a more accurate comparison between physiologic age of dogs, follow this formula:

A one-year-old small or medium-sized dog is about 15 human years old. When the dog reaches two, he is the equivalent of a 24-year-old person. After that, each year is about four human years. This means that a nine-year-old dog is about the same as a 52-year-old person.

Large and giant breed dogs initially age slower but then age quickly. At one year of age, he is about the same physiologically as a 12-year-old child. After that, each year follows the standard seven human years.

Life expectancy in dogs depends on many things. Just as in humans, no one can predict how long an individual person or pet may live. Smaller dogs typically live longer than large breed dogs. Dogs under 20 pounds live to be around 15-18 years of age. Giant breed dogs have the shortest life span, ranging from 6-9 years.

The average canine life span is around 12 years but differs from breed to breed. By the time most dogs reach seven years of age, they are entering their senior years. For giant breed dogs, five years old is considered the beginning of old age. The record for the longest canine life span is 29 years.