Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Winter Health for Dogs

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,

As 2016 Draws to A Close...

Happy Holidays and heartfelt thanks for your support this past year.

I cannot say this enough: “Philanthropy makes the heart grow!”

I have been blessed with wonderful rescue dogs throughout my life. Sadly, we lost our darling, light of our life, Bichon boy, Finnigan, on September 25th of this year.  He was just shy of 18 years old when we said goodbye to him.  We adopted him on November 7th, 2009, at the ripe old age of 11, and never dreamed we’d have this sweet, gentle happy soul, with us this long.  We are thankful for every day we had together and miss him with all our hearts. We gave our precious boy almost seven years of an affectionate, playful and loving home with us and miss him terribly.

Lily and Tilly are still with us and turned seven and eight this year! We are blessed with so much dog love in our house. Please know that you will never regret adopting an older dog and encourage everyone to open your heart and go for it. You will not be disappointed. They have so much love to give and years of life to share with you. ‘Tis the season to make a donation to a rescue organization near and dear to your heart.

It’s so important to support organizations that save dogs from kill shelters and abusive or neglectful homes and work to help rehabilitate them so they can be adopted by loving, caring families. All dogs deserve to live out their lives in a safe environment with love and affection. This year we have added Dhana Metta Rescue Society to our list of charities to support. Many of these groups, such as Paws for Hope, also work tirelessly to stop the retail sale of animals in pet stores, all of which come from puppy mills.

Shelters and groups do such wonderful, heartwarming work and are in need of your help. Donations of dog food, blankets and towels are always needed and if you can find it in your heart, and your wallet, to make a cash donation, it will be gratefully accepted.

If you are looking for an organization to support and want a recommendation, please call or e-mail us for further information and suggestions.  We have several organizations listed on our Community Links page on our website.

Happy holidays -- give your doggies a big hug and kiss and tell them how much you love them every day.

Tammy Preast -- Alpha Dog
Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

SANTA PAWS 2016 — Looking Back at Another Great Event!

As always, Santa Paws Comes to Town was a lot of fun. It was wonderfully heart-warming to see familiar faces come back year after year because they love our seasonal display and the quality of our photos, plus our totally pawsh doggy and cat gift bags, chockfull of goodies thanks to Tisol Pet Supply & Nutrition, Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care, Modern Dog magazine and The Sequoia Restaurant Group. Siegel’s Bagels provided lots of scrumptious goodies for the humans to enjoy along with their hot mulled cider and RubyC and her amazing team at Modern Romance Photography once again did a fabulous job with their on-site photography and printing of the photos.

Our amazing volunteers went above and beyond the call of duty, taking great care of the hundreds of dogs, numerous cats, and five bunnies that came through to help us celebrate the true meaning of the holiday this season...GIVING! Our own adorable rescue Bichon gals, Tilly and Lily, made it out for a visit with Santa Paws again this year and helped us donate over $2,000 to Dhana Metta Rescue after the event.

The 16 raffle prize winners were:

  • Tisol Dog Gift Baskets:
  • Ailsa Brown & Penny the Yorkie, Brussels Griffon, Bichon Mix
  • Selma Smith & Bart the Yorkie  
  • Cherry Yeung & Ginger the ShihTzu  
  • Ruth Huber & Walter the Bassett Hound
  • Randy Jarvis & Ginger the Cockapoo
  • Michelle Mansinho & Monster the Bulldog & Sarah the Retriever
  • Shirley Earle & Molly the Golden Retriever 
  • Cole Machlachlan & Daisy the Pitbull
  • Christina Barbossa & Quintin the Pointer & Lilith the Saluki

Tisol Cat Gift Baskets:

  • Jenn Cutnam & kitty
  • Dave & Deb Eithier & Zoey
  • Kate Rattray & kitty
  • Jenn Lundgren & Mirch & Chance

Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Prize Winners:

  • Raquel Marek & Maggie the Multipoo won the $240 small dog basket, donated courtesy of Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services
  • Teisha Focker & Max the Goldendoodle won the $270 large dog basket, donated courtesy of Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services 
  • Vancouver Canucks Tickets Prize Winner:
  • Mike Beck was the lucky winner of the Vancouver Canucks vs Arizona Coyotes Hockey Game tickets, generously donated by R.B. Logging Corporation.

See all the fun on our Love on a Leash Facebook page where you’ll see all the photos by Modern Romance who just knocked it right out of the park once again. They are an award-winning, full-time photo and video studio based in Vancouver, BC. “A team of passionate photographers and videographers; we shoot in photojournalist style with a traditional touch and love to capture anything from pets to weddings.”

Ruby is a photographer who loves dogs. Cedric loves them too, along with all kinds of other animals, and bugs. Both are avid scuba divers who love the aquatic flora and fauna. Having trained with military dogs, worked at a pet store, and volunteered for animal-welfare activities, they then embarked on the exciting and fulfilling world of pets and animal photography.

They not only have the patience to work with animals, but also an understanding of how to develop a connection with them, capturing their special moments in a good light.

Together with their devoted team, keen instincts, and an impeccable eye(s) for detail, they will ensure that you and your beloved pets look fabulous.

Monday, December 26, 2016

DID YOU KNOW… Size Matters?

If you have a small dog, you should know that more than a 50% size difference in dogs can lead to serious issues with “predatory drift” which is an instinctive situation in which a small dog suddenly seems like prey to a larger dog.  And, as is too awful to imagine, the results can be disastrous. We’ve all heard the stories.

An excellent, reputable daycare, pet sitter or dog walker will always avoid such problems by setting up separate play spaces and grouping similarly sized dogs so that all sizes and play styles are safe.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Santa PAWS is Coming to Town!

On November 26th and 27th Vancouver animal lovers can share in the true spirit of Christmas with their pets as they visit Santa and enjoy all the treats of a holiday wonderland.

Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services, Vancouver's premier overnight dog care company, along with Tisol Pet Supply & Nutrition, are presenting a canine friendly dog fundraiser. Santa Paws is Coming to Town on Saturday and Sunday, November 26th and 27th from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Tisol Pet Supply & Nutrition Store on Grandview Highway in Vancouver. 

Vancouver Pet photographer, RubyC, has graciously donated her time and will be on hand taking professional portraits of beloved pets with Santa Claus himself, amid a winter wonderland backdrop, complete with festive holiday décor and a pooch friendly Santa on his red and gold throne. 

Both days will feature delectable holiday baked goods courtesy of Siegel’s Bagels along with hot mulled cider for the humans and lots of doggy treats and socialization for the pooches while raising funds and awareness for local animal organization: Dhana Metta Rescue Society.

Proceeds from this pooch friendly holiday celebration will be donated to Dhana Metta Rescue Society to help create a brighter future for abandoned, abused, injured & homeless animals. This group works tirelessly to help find homes for these pets and to provide medical assistance to animals in need, helping to ensure these pets are able to live out their lives in a happy, loving, safe environment that all animals deserve.

This year’s event will feature a professional holiday-themed Santa photo station with thanks to RubyC Photography and a fabulous raffle, goodies to sip and savor, and special gift bags for the first 50 dogs photographed each day. 

We are excited about this 4th annual event which is sure to be a success at Tisol Pet Nutrition & Supply Store ~ 3033 Grandview Highway in Vancouver, B.C.’s leading pet supply company with 9 locations.

Santa Photos will be available at $20 per photo (+ gst).  Dogs are welcome, naturally, but must be under the control of their owner at all times.  The first 50 photos purchased each day will receive a Love on a Leash/Tisol Gift Bag including the latest copy of Modern Dog Magazine, treats and special goodies, with 25 special bags, each day, receiving a $25 gift card redeemable at Season's in the Park or The Teahouse in Stanley Park Restaurants, courtesy of The Sequoia Restaurant Group.
Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services is Vancouver's premier in-home overnight dog care company and has a history of hosting successful dog-friendly events.  With community support & sponsorship, we are pleased to have helped give back to the pet-loving community by raising and donating much needed funds for animal charities. 

We hope to see Vancouver's enthusiastic dog loving population out to support this 2 day fun-filled, dog friendly "mix and mingle" all for a great cause...dogs!

Tammy Preast~Alpha Dog 

Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services ~ 778-552-1301 ~

Tisol Pet Supply & Nutrition ~ 604-436-3001 ~

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Story of Finnigan Preast-Campbell

Finnigan Preast-Campbell
(November 11th, 1998-September 25th, 2016)

Where to start?

We said goodbye to our beloved little Bichon Frise, boy, Finnigan today, just 47 days before he would have turned 18. It seemed somehow fitting to say goodbye today because it was St. Francis of Assisi’s annual Blessing of the Animals at St Wesley’s United Church. We‘ve attended many times over the years, but last year felt extra special because he was so old and the minister was so loving and compassionate to him, and to me, when I started to cry. I knew then that our days together were numbered.

And I guess I already knew that the day we adopted him, on November 7th, 2009 just two days before his 11th birthday.  We never dreamed he’d be with us for 7 years or how much happiness, sunshine & light he’d bring us once he got healthy, felt safe & secure, and loved by us.

His name was Fingili, which is Persian for love. Obviously someone had loved him for some of his life, but he was in sad, neglected shape when we came upon him.  Grossly overweight, he’d just had many decayed teeth removed and was a drooling mess. He’d also had numerous pre-cancerous moles taken off so he was full of shaved spots and stitches. His soft fur was bedraggled looking and he just seemed so in need of some love. And love him we did.
We had a 14 year old Bichon gal named Casey at that time. Adding a Finnigan to the family seemed apropos. He loved her, she tolerated him. At first he was so overweight he could barely keep up with her, but as the days passed, and we continued to walk and build up his stamina, the pounds melted away and he became a healthy 16 pound guy. For two wonderful years we were blessed with the Mr. Dressup duo of Casey and Finnigan. They were good company for each other…he irritated her as his playful, happy little man personality bloomed, but she put up with him and his attempts to engage her in play. She had no interest in him and his tiny squeaky toys, but he tried nevertheless. 

When we lost Casey at Christmas in 2011, Finnigan was 13 years old. We were all so lost without her. She was the alpha and he lost his walking buddy. It didn’t take long for us to realize we needed another gal and just two months later, on February 7th, 2012, a 9 year old Bichon gal named Pixie came from Chicago to join our family.  Pixie and Finnigan became a strong bonded pair and he bloomed with a new gal in the family. We all did.

These two were great friends and became the eyes and ears for one another as Pixie lost her hearing shortly after she came to us and Finnigan started to lose his eyesight around that time, too. They spent their days walking with me each morning to my neighborhood café for my daily latte, curled up on the red chair in the window waiting for us to come home, enjoying the warm, sunny winters in Palm Springs, riding on the backs of our bikes in their little seats, and boating beautiful B.C. during the summers aboard our boat, the aptly named “FInnigan’s Wake”. We had so many adventures together.
When you adopt seniors you know your days together might be compromised by their age and health but none of us were prepared to say goodbye to Pixie just three short years later, on February 26th, 2015, from cancer. I believe this was even harder on Finnigan than us, because his companion who he walked with, whose lead he followed to “show him the way” was gone. It was devastating. Here we were, trying to prepare ourselves for the fact that our senior guy, who was 16.5 years old at the time, was likely getting close to the end of his life, and instead, we lose our younger gal who was just 12. Clearly Finnigan wasn’t ready to go anywhere without us!
We found out, about a year ago, that his back legs were developing major atrophy when he started to stumble a lot when he walked. His heart was very healthy, but his legs were becoming weaker. Still, we all soldiered on, just slower and for shorter distances. His eyesight was poor then, but he could still see mostly just light and dark and shadows. Although he’d slowed down through 2015, he was still happy, quite healthy, and just the sweetest, cuddliest, little monkey you could imagine. It was a sad day for us last year when his eyesight became poor enough that we noticed he couldn’t play with his toys anymore.

With those little back legs becoming weaker, and his eyesight becoming ever less, the crazy thing is that he could still go up the stairs in our house each morning, part of his daily routine, until the end of February this year! After that time, he would attempt to come up, and when he couldn’t complete what he was determined to do, he’d bark at us until we came and carried him up. We were all trained!
Of course this story leaves out so many endearing details about his life, his likes, his amazingly happy personality. How we’d make a “gun” with our fingers and shout bang at him and he’d fall over onto his side, but how he could never play dead because he was just too happy and excited for the treat awaiting him when he pulled off his trick, so he’d really just fall over and pop right back up. How he’d beg for food by sitting up on his butt and frantically wave his paws at us, in perfect unison, and then let out an ear piercing shriek if he was not rewarded with a tidbit or two. Or how he’d try to hang way out the window when we were in the car because he LOVED the wind in his face. Or how he always slept on one of the pillows above our heads and every morning, really, really early, he’d crawl under the covers and curl up against my husband’s body and sleep tucked into him. Or how he’d jump up on the dining room chairs when we were eating, plop his butt down on the chair and place his paws on the table, awaiting what he thought should be his own suppertime… or how he’d climb up on the furniture and drape his arm over the armrest while more or less sitting upright as if to say, “Yes, I appreciate the furniture and all the comforts it has to offer.” Or how happy he was to be in his little seat on the back of our bikes as we rode around town. Or how he’d bring his teeny squeaky toys over to us again and again to play with him. Or how he’d try to crawl into Casey or Pixie’s bed with them and make them furious, because he wanted a snuggle, even though they weren’t interested in snuggling with him. Or how excited he’d get when daddy came home every night and he’d greet him at the door with a lick and then tear into the kitchen because he knew it also meant suppertime. Or how he’d let us do anything to him – dress him up in silly costumes – whatever we wanted to do, he was up for it  because he was just that kinda’ easy going little man. So many memories that I can’t even mention them all here.

So here we are. Over a year and a half later after saying goodbye to our beloved Pixie, and now he’s letting us know that he’s tired. His hind legs get weaker as the days go by, his appetite has decreased over the past month (and eating was his favorite thing on the planet. We could tell the time of day by Finnigan’s meal clock!) and he sleeps most of the time. Some nights he can be unsettled and restless for several hours during the evening.  Even with all of that progressing, he is still a happy, sweet little guy. So soft & fluffy. He still looks like a little bear cub & not the old man that he is, until you notice that his big brown eyes have turned a milky blue as his cataracts have advanced.  Our little man loves to have his chin scratched and to have his ears massaged. He is less sure of himself in the house these days, so doesn’t really like being on the furniture anymore, but when he’s sleepy he still loves a good pillow nest on the bed. When our two Bichon gals, Tilly and Lily, bark with excitement and happiness when we come home, he wakes up and comes to the door to bark with excitement and happiness, too, even if we’re not sure that he really has a clue about what’s going on.

If we are lucky enough, most days he still happily greets us with a bit of a tail wag and a lick on the hand or all over our faces, just like he used to do every morning when he woke up on our bed, and every time we came home. I still walk through the door every day, look for him and say, “Hey little buddy.” He responds to that by stumbling over, with his funny gaited walk, and letting us cuddle him. Then he wants his treat!

There wasn’t a person who met Finnigan that didn’t fall in love with him…friends, relatives, neighbors, his facebook peeps…he was known as the little guy with the smile.  There are too many “Finnigan Fans” to mention them all, but you know who you are!

What can I say to help people move forward and adopt a senior? You will not be disappointed if you do. Your days with them may be shorter than if you adopt a younger dog, but every one of those days will be so full of love and sunshine that you can’t imagine not having them in your life! Please remember that life is not measured by the number of breaths that we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

My darling boy, Finnigan, each day with you was a gift. You have been a precious bundle of fluff that made our lives happier & fuller with you in it, and made us better people by teaching us that unconditional love comes to us in all ages. We are thankful that we adopted you, but more thankful that you adopted us.

Your heart is pure and your soul is free. We will always love you and never forget you.  I expect that your Bichon sisters, Casey and Pixie, will be waiting for you and that some day we will all meet again.  R.I.P. Mr. Man, our special guy Mr. Figgliggy.

Goodnight little Prince.

Love you forever,  Mommy and Daddy David