Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gidget: (Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

Every year for Christmas, my family designs a calendar for my sister featuring her Shih-Poo, Gidget.  It's always a blast figuring out different poses and accessories for each month.  This was for the month of November...Gidget's face was just so precious in this photo, I blew it up and put it on a canvas for my sister.  I'm a sucker for an adorable doggie underbite :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

5 Things to Know About Exercising Your Arthritic Dog

Riley is 8 years old, and it's clear that his tolerance for long walks isn't what it used to be.  Though a diagnosis for arthritis has not yet been given, the way his back legs stiffen and bother him after more than a few blocks definitely concerns me.  He is clearly feeling some discomfort in his joints...yet he still needs to get a good amount of daily exercise.

Since I've dealt with several arthritic dogs in rescue, I have often asked myself the question:  How can I exercise a dog suffering from pain related to arthritis?

Senior dogs still need daily exercise!  (from here)

1.  Make sure all exercise is done on a soft surface.  Hard pavement and concrete can be rough on an older pup's joints.  If possible, walks and playtime should be done on grass or another soft surface.

2.  Try swimming...  While swimming is great exercise for all dogs, it's especially good for seniors.  It is relatively low-impact and keeps their joints and muscles moving without being painful.  Swimming can also be very relaxing and therapeutic for your dog!

3.  ...Or low-intensity games.  Keep up the short walks if that's what your dog is used to, by all means, but if your older pet isn't up for a walk, consider playing some fun indoor games.  Try hide and seek, fetch, or "find it" using treats or pieces of kibble.

4.  Consider weight management.  Even a few extra pounds can be extremely painful on your dog's inflamed joints.  Exercising your senior dog and keeping him at a normal weight is a necessity, as any extra weight puts more pressure on those joints.

5.  Give him a doggie massage!  Pet massages are becoming more and more popular, and they are especially beneficial to those with arthritis.  Not only does massage help your dog feel loved and pampered, it can also help with discomfort, poor circulation, and flexibility.

Source:  Vet Street 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Best Buds

This goofy Pyr pup - who is a regular at doggie day care - is totally in love with my husband!  Don't they make a cute pair?!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What I've Learned from Boarding Dogs

Warning:  This post is full of extremely cute photos.  When viewed in one sitting, these photos may cause ear-to-ear grinning, an overwhelming urge to "awww...", even spontaneous combustion from Cuteness Overload.  Please proceed with caution and prepare to smile.

I never expected to love this job so much.  Sure, I thought it would be fun - anyplace that pays you to spend time with animals is bound to be!  But I didn't know I would end up enjoying being at work just as much as being at home or with family.  I didn't know that although there certainly is quite a bit of poop-scooping, drool-mopping, and ear-plugging....there is also a happiness I have found in boarding dogs that I have never quite felt before.

I didn't know that these dogs would soon come to win my heart.

Instead of cold metal and cement, our boarding facility has suite-like rooms with cameras in each one.  There is no smell except a hint of Windex, and we give our pups baths in a whirlpool tub.  And rather than sitting behind bars alone all day, we play matchmaker, figuring out which dogs play well with others; the dogs run around and play to their heart's content.  These dogs have taught me that although time alone can be fun, life is always better when you have a friend.

They have taught me the importance of play, of taking time out of every day to just enjoy yourself.

Also, naps.  Naps are important, too. ;)

I have learned many things about many different breeds, and I've also learned that there are quite a few breed stereotypes that have some truth to them:  Beagles can often be found scavenging for food, Great Pyrenees can - it's true! - be quite stubborn, and little white dogs, yes, are sometimes rather yippy...but oh my gosh, are they cute:


Our doggie guests have taught me that a puppy kiss can cure nearly any ailment, and that no matter how fun a vacation is, you should still always be excited to return home.  I've learned that the shyest dogs who require a little time and patience are often the sweetest and the most cuddly.

And - though I've known this for a while now - I've learned that dogs are perhaps the most loyal, loving, and comforting companions a person can have.  I'm so thankful for all of our amazing guests;  I truly love them like they're my own <3

Which one of these dogs do you think is the most adorable? ;)  Hard to choose, right?!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

There's Nothing Like a Dog: (Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

"I have found that when you are deeply troubled,
there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship
of a dog that you can get from no other source."
- Doris Day

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tuesday's Tails: Adopt a New Best Friend

Was one of your New Year's resolutions to adopt a new best friend?!  You're in luck, because this sweet dog (along with many others at the sanctuary) is ready to come home with you...and his adoption fee is waived for an approved applicant!  Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is featuring this special promotion for the whole month of January; find an adoptable animal from a selected group of pets, and it could come home with you for free.

Norman is 3 years old, and he's got one of those adorable old-man faces I can never resist!  He is part Bassett Hound (those front paws!) and part Terrier (that scruffy beard!), and he loves attention.  Though Norman is wary of strangers at first, he warms up quickly and is soon full of tail-wags and excitement!  This boy is also full of energy and loves walks and games of fetch.  

Since Norman doesn't care for other animals, he is part of the "Single and Loving It" program at Best Friends, which is why his adoption fee is waived this month.  But if you know anyone who currently has no pets and is looking for love, point them in Norman's direction!  

Seneca, on the other hand, is not part of this month's promotion, but I just couldn't help but include her - can you blame me?!  Look at those eyes!!  She is a very unique blend of Australian Cattle Dog and Cocker Spaniel.  A sweet senior, Seneca loves just about everyone she comes across...with the exception of cats.  Though she has a few medical issues - sensitive skin and joint pain - her gentle soul and gorgeous looks will surely make up for that.  If you're interested in this beautiful older gal (or sweet little Norman!), please contact Best Friends.  

Don't forget - when it comes to adoptable pets, sharing is caring! <3

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I'm Taking the 5th Annual Pet Blogger Challenge!

It's January 10th, and most of you will know what that means - it's time for the annual pet blogger challenge!  This fun community event gives us all an opportunity to get to know our fellow bloggers a bit better, as well as to to inspire others by sharing some background info about our blogs and how far we've come.  Please feel free to click the links below to read more wonderful animal-related blogs, and join in if you'd like!

1.  How long have you been blogging?  (And for first-timers, what is your blog about?)
I have been writing Second Chances since last spring.  It hasn't quite been a year yet, but we're getting close!  I started the blog primarily to share information and news about animals in need, but it's expanded somewhat to include funny stories and photos - mostly of my dog, Riley!

2.  Tell us one thing that you accomplished during 2014 that made you proud.
This isn't exactly blog-related, but getting published in the October issue of Dog Fancy magazine was definitely a big deal for me!  It was a short article on the very last page of the issue, but we were super pumped to see my name (and Riley's!) in print.

3.  What lessons have you learned this year that could help us all with our own blogs?
Make connections and be friendly.  The Internet can be a not-so-friendly place sometimes, and it's nice to have found a little niche where everyone is incredibly kind and encouraging.  I have also learned that the best way to get people to come to your blog is by going to read their blog.  If you enjoyed an article...tell them!  Better yet, shoot them an email and tell them why it stood out to you - it can really make a difference and even help begin a new friendship!

4.  What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog?
As I mentioned above, visiting other blogs, commenting on posts, and sharing great articles are easy ways to bring traffic to your own site.  I also like to tweet my fellow bloggers or share things with them on Google+.  Guest posts can also be incredibly helpful.  If you're doing a product review, tagging the company on Facebook or Twitter when sharing your post can also bring new readers to your blog.

We got lots of new readers when we reviewed Travels with Casey!

5.  What was your most popular blog post this year?  Did it surprise you?  
My most popular blog post was a Tuesday's Tails post that featured two elderly adoptables:  Beau and Chachi.  I was in love with these two and shared their story multiple times.  The fact that this was the most popular isn't too surprising to me - I was very close to their situation and so was able to share some personal details that made the post more intimate.  What's more, I am so glad that it ended up being my most popular post, because Beau and Chachi finally found their forever home - perhaps, in part, due to your shares, who knows?!  A close second was my post titled "The Angels Who Save Animals".  I wrote it as a tribute to shelter employees who change lives - canine, feline, and human!

6.  What was your favorite blog post to write this year?
I don't know that I have one specific favorite, but one of them was definitely my letter to Riley's former mama - it was fun to write and, surprisingly, brought up a lot of emotions for me!  I also loved writing the posts that give people tips on how to give back to local animal shelters and rescues; two that come to mind are my list of great gifts that give back and a list of ways to show some love to animals in need.  Plus, I always enjoy writing the Tuesday's Tails features!

7.  Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?
No; I don't do many product reviews, and I have yet to do a giveaway.  Though a giveaway is definitely in the works for the next month or two, I will continue to do only a couple of product reviews a year.  There are lots of products that I just don't feel would be all that relevant to people wanting to read about animal rescue, and I never want my readers to feel that I am just shilling things I don't really believe in.

8.  What's your best piece of advice for other bloggers?
Believe in what you are writing.  Enjoy what you're writing.  If you don't, it comes through in your writing and will be quite obvious to your audience.  So far, I have loved blogging...and if, for whatever reason, I wasn't enjoying myself anymore, I would stop - or at least take a break.  Having passion for what you are writing about is key to becoming a great blogger.

If you don't love what you do...why do it?  (Print from here; quote by Sylvia Plath)

9.  What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?
Honestly, I just want to continue making a difference.  I want people to read my blog and be inspired to adopt, volunteer, or donate.  I also want to make people smile by sharing funny Riley stories or cute photos of my shelter/doggie hotel dogs.  Basically, I'd love to just continue what I've been doing - only bigger and better!!

10.  If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you're having with your blog, what would it be?
Hmm.  I don't have anything particular in mind, but of course, all advice is very much appreciated!  I just really enjoy connecting with other bloggers and like-minded people in the rescue community, and I'd love to continue doing that - any tips on meeting more people?  I can't wait for BlogPaws for this very reason! :)

As always, thank you to my amazing readers. <3  

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Is Your Pet Affected by a Full Moon?

Surely you've heard the superstition.  During a particularly crazy day at the vet, one of the assistants might mutter, "Is there a full moon?  These dogs are acting nuts!"  Or maybe you've even said it yourself, after your cat knocked over the goldfish bowl.  What do you think about this myth?  Is there really a correlation between a full moon and animal behavior?

For centuries, people have blamed strange or odd behavior - human and animal - on the moon.  It was said that cats yowled more, dogs howled, and humans acted in peculiar ways.  The term "lunatic" even comes from the Latin "luna", meaning "moon".

There aren't too many studies out there that research a possible correlation between lunar cycles and animal behavior.  However, one did mention that emergency vet visits were about 25% higher during a full moon.  More animal bites happened, more pets having seizures, more accidents.  It could be argued that there is simply more light outside to see animals in need.  But what do you think?

Riley, mid-transformation! ;)

Last week was a full moon, and while I've always kind of rolled my eyes at the superstition, I did notice...something...in the dogs' behavior at our boarding facility.  An older dog who had stayed with us plenty of times before with no issues tore up two of his dog beds and howled through the night.  And a sweet pittie mix - who had been totally well-behaved during her week-long stay - ripped her bed into mere piles of fluff on her very last night - which, incidentally, happened to be the exact night of the full moon.  The energy just seemed a bit...off...in the building for several days.

Now, this could easily be explained away:  perhaps a new dog was staying at our facility whose scent got the other dogs all riled up?  But on that same night, Riley got into some mischief of his own.  I woke up the next morning to find an empty baggie on the floor of our bedroom, right next to a pile of fluff from Riley's brand new toy.  Every year, my grandma makes her own AMAZING beef jerky that she gives to each of us in our Christmas stocking - we always look forward to it; it is good.  In the night, Riley must have decided he wanted a midnight snack, climbed up to the dining room table, and snatched that delicious-smelling baggie of jerky.  Not only that, but he had torn up his toy!

What do you think?  Is there something to the full moon myth?  How do your pets react to a full moon?

(Information from here and here)

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Best Christmas Gift + Adoptable Animals

Rather than giving each other the usual cologne/perfume or jewelry this year for Christmas, Jared and I decided to make our gifts more personal and meaningful.  For us, this obviously meant a lot of dog-centric items!  I loved each and every one of the presents I received, but my favorite was this:

Jared drove Riley and I to the local PetCo and told me, "Fill up the cart with whatever you'd like, and we'll donate it all to PAWS."  (PAWS Humane Society is a local shelter with amazing employees and not nearly enough financial support.)  So we had a blast loading up the cart with bags of treats, plenty of sturdy dog toys, and metal food and water bowls.  When we told the cashier what we were doing, he even gave us a special coupon booklet so we could purchase more for less!

We also picked a new toy up for Riley because, well, he's the most spoiled dog in the world.  He had it destroyed by the end of the night...sigh.  #NaughtyDogProblems

When we went to PAWS to give them our donations, of course we spent some time with the adoptable animals!  Each and every cat and dog in the shelter seemed loving and sweet, but there were two in particular that I fell in love with.

Meet Betty!

Betty is a snuggly lovebug of a kitty who is 1 1/2 years old.  Since she is so friendly and gets along with all people and animals, she is one of the "roamers" at the shelter - she gets to greet guests when they enter the lobby!  Betty is still very much a kitten, so she loves to play...but she might love cuddling even more - she snuggled right up under Jared's chin and immediately started to purr!  Sadly, this petite cat has been at PAWS for nearly a full year, so her adoption fee has been reduced to only $50.  I can't imagine who wouldn't want to adopt her - I was tempted to take her home myself!

Meet Barbie!

Barbie is a 2-year-old Italian Greyhound mix who was thought to be dumped by an owner just outside of PAWS one day.  She is well-behaved and VERY friendly, and she has the wiggliest butt/tail I've ever seen!  She is said to be a bit shy, but not so much with us - we ended up with lots of puppy drool on us from all her kisses!  Barbie loves other dogs and cats and would do well in just about any home...she isn't much of a barker, but still has a lot of puppy-like behaviors and playfulness.  Bafflingly, this beautiful and unusual gal has been at PAWS since October - I can't believe she wasn't adopted right away!

If you're interested in adopting Barbie or Betty, please contact the PAWS Humane Society.  In the meantime, share share share these sweethearts with your friends - let's find these two beautiful babies their forever homes! <3