Your Dog’s Poop Tells a Tale

Originally published Oct. 26, 2017

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Talking about your canine friends excrement may not be a glamorous topic, but there are some things that all dog owners should be aware of and watching for. Yes, that’s right: you need to be looking at your dog’s poop.

Why Examine Your Dog’s Poop

With dogs, as with people, what is excreted can give clues to problems that are building inside. Watching for signs of trouble as you clean up after your dog can give you warning well before severe symptoms set in. Here’s what to look for:

NOTE: To be as effective as possible I have included photos. To be as inoffensive as possible, I have made the on-page photos very small. Click the photos to view them full size — or skip that if you’re squeamish.

Universal K9 Turns Pit Bull Death Row Into 2nd Chance

Originally published Sept. 18, 2017
Universal K9

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Universal K9 is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in San Antonio TX and Richmond VA that pulls dogs from kill shelters and rescues and trains them to work with police officers as narcotics dogs, pursuit & take-down dogs, or as dual-purpose dogs.

They also train dogs to work as business drug/explosives/weapons search dogs. These are useful in airports, jails, schools, oil fields, warehouses, trucking companies, and similar.

They have a special program for veterans on the GI Bill to attend a two week Dual Purpose Handlers course. All students who complete the course are eligible to receive a FREE single purpose narcotics or explosive dog.

Universal K9 Favors Pit Bulls

Canine Fostering: What It Is and How It Works

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Originally published August 3, 2017

Before I get started, let me just say that what I’m about to say will also apply to fostering other animals: cats, rabbits, horses, guinea pigs, whatever you have a heart for will have organizations trying to save. I’m involved in canine fostering, have been for a long time, so that’s the soap box I’ll stand on to pontificate, educate, and encourage others to get involved.

What Is Canine Fostering?

fostering, rescue, canine, dog, JosephineFostering is the short term care of an animal you don’t own. Programs vary: some will provide everything you could need: equipment, bedding, food, medications, everything. Some provide only veterinary care. Most are somewhere in between these. Before joining a fostering program ask what is provided to you and what you need to cover. Get it in writing.  Also ask if they have written procedures that you can study to see how they do what they do, and who is responsible for what within the organization.  Any organization that is not organized is going to be difficult to get along with.

Purposes of Fostering

There are four main flavors, or purposes, of fostering programs:

The Phases of Canine Rescue

canine rescue

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I have on occasion heard dog owners proudly state, “Oh, yes: we rescued  this dog. She was going to die in a shelter.” Sometimes this statement is perfectly true: they went to a kill shelter, adopted a high-risk dog, and trained her: thus rescuing her. Many other times people adopt a dog from a canine rescue agency. In this case, the story is far more complex — and interesting. While the adopter may claim to have rescued the dog, that credit must be shared with many who played a part along the way.

Where Canine Rescue Begins

Canine rescue almost always begins with someone being a jerk.

Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats Recipe

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Originally published June 19, 2017 by Grit Magazine Online

When it’s summer time and the heat of summer is upon us once again, your fur-friends will appreciate this treat.  They don’t like the heat any more than you do, so as a special treat on those hot days, try making up a batch of these frozen yogurt dog treats.

Makes 30-40 Cubes or around 12 Dixie cups


4 cups yogurt, plain
½ cup creamy peanut butter (Xylitol free of course!)
2 tablespoons honey
1 ripe banana, mashed
Pkg thin chew stick treats (optional)


frozen yogurt dog treats
Dixie cup version

Melt the peanut butter in a microwave for about 30 seconds.

Place all of the ingredients into a blender, mixer or food processor and mix until smooth.

Pour into ice cube trays or Dixie cups – depending on size of dog(s).  Add a piece of chew stick to use as a handle.  Freeze until firm.

Pop out of the tray (you may need a table knife if using an ice cube tray) or peal the paper cup away and let your dog enjoy this frozen yogurt dog treat!

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Beagle Tender

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Marie was up before 4:00 this morning: low blood sugar. Her ministrations in the kitchen roused Buddy Beagle (who was at that time sleeping in a crate in the kitchen) and of course he wanted to be up with Marie. He adores Marie. His vocalizations roused Josephine who decided to turn it into play time. Before the Beagles may play they must go outside to pee. Marie was not up to beagle herding yet, so I got up to help with that. It was time for me to be up anyway.

When they got back in and Marie was ready to head back to bed, Josie decided she’d rather sleep some more too. So Buddy joined me in the den while I tried to study. After a while, since I was not willing to devote myself entirely to scratching his head (I was scratching, but also trying to read my Bible) he wandered off.

A half-hour later I went out to the kitchen for another mug of coffee and found Buddy curled up in his crate snoozing away.

He did raise his head as I approached, “Is it time for breakfast?”

“No. Not breakfast time yet. Not for another hour.”

“Oh.” and put his head back down.

He’s a good boy.

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Great Leaping LunaFish!

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When I clean Luna’s kennel I put her on a 20 foot steel cable tether to keep her from going over a fence while I’m busy cleaning and not able to watch her closely.Today there was something up in the woods above our house that had all the dogs revved up.  Especially Luna.  She was leaping like a hooked game fish.  The picture angle makes it look like she’s standing on the timbers, but she’s not.  I marked her starting position for this standing leap.

When I was done cleaning kennels things had calmed down so I took Luna out for her potty run.  She won’t “go” in the play yard, she has to be in the trees.  This seems to be something drilled into her by her former family, “Do not defile the children’s play yard.”

We encountered what it was that had them excited: a grey and white, stump-tailed cat with a permanent “so what are you going to do about it” expression on his face (he or she is one of a burgeoning number of feral cats in our area) was crouching in the leaves not 8 feet from where we were walking.  Had it not moved, I think Luna would have missed it entirely, but it spooked when I looked at it and it went a ways up a tree then leapt off deeper into the woods, Luna took off after it and took my arm with her.

I got her back to her kennel using just the one remaining arm and am now in the process of gluing the missing arm back on.  Man that hurts.

Notation for her resume: NOT cat friendly.  I don’t now that she would have hurt it, but she definitely chases cats.

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Validation of Why We Do Canine Foster Care

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As of January 2017 we have fostered 38 dogs in 4½ years. That’s not an astounding number: I know many people who foster several times our annual average. Sometimes they have 6 or 8 dogs at a time, we generally have two or three (plus our two). But we take in the hard cases. We get the heartworm positive dogs that need to be nursed through a long treatment and recovery period. We take in those with “behavioral issues” and turn unmanageable hooligans into adoptable companions. It is trying work. Not all have been major challenges (most are simply large dogs who were never trained to behave) but there have been a few.

Flip, Flop, Flip

You may have noticed that you have received several notices that the Luna page has been published.  That is not wonky software this time, it’s me trying to make things better.  Let me explain.

When we first started posting information about the foster dogs, it was to Facebook.  I started with one FB page for Cochise, and he posted updates on all the foster dogs.  But that quickly became unworkable as people tried to filter through the posts looking for info on ONE dog.  FB filters stuff and does not show everyone all that is available.  Then I built each dog an FB page of their own so people who were interested in that dog could go find photos and short stories.  That worked okay.  But it was a lot of work, and each time we started a new dog it took a lot of time to make people aware that this dog/page was available and build traffic to it.  And … there ARE actually a few people out there who do not do Facebook!

So I started a blog as a section under my web site.  Again I posted one page per dog and added stuff to it as things developed.  That actually worked better than Facebook.  The only down side was that I could only publish a dog page once, so only one notice could go out to subscribers — I could not notify subscribers of updates.

So I started adding separate posts with updates and Doggy Tales, which notify readers when published.  Each of these linked back to the dog’s main page, so interested parties could go check out the dogs details.  The problem came when someone wanted full details on a dog, but did not want to sift through a dozen articles on a tag list to get them.  They preferred the “everything on one page” format.  (sigh)

Also, having the foster care blog as a section of my personal/professional blog made it difficult to send people direct links to specific pages and posts.  That involves DNS addressing issues, and I won’t go into that.  But a stand-alone blog for Piney Mountain Foster would solve that problem.  So I built one, and am now in the process of moving all content over to the new home and (this is the time consuming part) checking and fixing links and photos that still want to point back at the old location and will disappear when I delete those old locations.  I do not want half the site going blank all of a sudden!

The new installation of my e-mail subscriber notice sending utility DOES have the ability to let me re-publish things, so a notice is sent when I UPDATE a page – if I want it to.

Given that ability, I am going back to keeping almost all of the content on each dog in one place.  Yes, the page gets long on some dogs because they’ve been here a long time or because a lot has happened, but it is easy to find by rescues who are considering accepting one of our dogs.  Long doggy tales are spun off to a separate post, but I include a summary blurb on the main page with a link to the full Doggy Tale.

Therefore, if you see an e-mail notice that the same page has been published a couple of times this week, it’s not a melt-down but something new I’m trying.  If that proves too annoying to you: my subscribers, please do not unsubscribe, but let me know.  I’ll add updates to pages as they happen but only send out notices once a week.  Just let me know your preference.  Thanks!


Luna and Housing Trials

Luna has been something of an enigma since her arrival.  On the one hand, she has been single-minded in her attempts to escape.  She came here because NAC had no place they could humanely confine her.  Once she got here she set about dismantling her kennel.  I finally had to armor plate the inside of her “room” to prevent her getting purchase on the  safety mesh or chain-link with her claws and shredding the former and distorting the latter.  Before I got that done, she actually bent the panel clamps and pulled the door panel into her kennel!

Safety mesh on lower half prevents “chewing” chain link.

Mesh shredded, she yanked a panel loose!

Her neighbors, Da Boyz, are SHOCKED by the carnage!

I armor plated the inside to prevent further destruction.

While all this was going on, i was taking her out for leash walks four times a day.  The other dogs are released to run and play in our fenced yard, but Luna’s determination to escape causes me to worry that she will just go over a wall as soon as I’m not watching.  A theory that was verified the first time I put her on a tether so I could clean her kennel.  She wriggled out of her harness and I caught her trying to hop over the wall by our back porch.  Luna is a big girl and Animal Control learned that she could climb out of their 6′ high kennels.  I have a steel net over the top of mine to discourage that.