Phoenix and Friends Shirt Campaign


Phoenix needs surgery

A new shirt campaign to raise funds for Phoenix and her friends.

High quality short sleeve tees, long sleeve tees, sweatshirts, in adult and youth sizes and in a rainbow of colors. Something for every dog lover!
Order from the printer and the shirt is shipped directly to you. This campaign runs for 2 weeks from Feb 22 until midnight March 7th.
Orders ship March 16 with deliveries between March 17th and March 26th.
Don’t delay, go check it out now!
Piney Mountain Foster Care is a GuideStar Gold Seal rated 501(c)(3) Public Charity.
All proceeds go to caring for the dogs, not salaries or benefits for people.

Making Broccoli-Beef Stew for Phoenix

I’ve been working on a book for some time now.  It’s called Cooking for Your Dog, not exactly an inspired title, and that will probably change before it goes to print.  Marie will come up with something catchier.

The book is, as the mundane title says, about cooking food for your dog.  But it’s not just recipes.  It’s chock full of information on canine nutrition and the various ways they differ from people in what they can and cannot eat and why.  I’ve been researching it for a long time because it takes a lot of effort to validate information that is found on the internet.  In case you haven’t discovered it yet, you can’t trust everything on the internet to be accurate or even true.  Such is the case here.  Companies that make kibble sponsor “studies” that slam canned food.  Canned food producers disseminate info, through side channels, that tells how dangerous raw diet is and how much healthier a canned diet is.  You get the idea: everyone has an agenda and you can’t always tell who sponsored a particular study, or if it was truly unbiased.  I asked Dr. Sandra Conard Manes DVM for help in sifting through the hype and getting at the “meat” of this issue.

I’ve got a few details to finish up, but it’s mostly written.  I just need to test the recipes.

Getting Phoenix to eat enough to gain the weight she needs to gain has been a challenge since she does not like kibble, and gets bored with canned food.  Besides, good quality canned dog food is expensive.  I came to the realization that if I’m going to be spending over $40.00 per week on canned food for one dog, I could be testing the recipes and probably saving some money as well.

So here is documentation of my first recipe test and what I learned as I went.

Broccoli-Beef Doggie Stew


  • 2 cups Beef cut into 1/4″ cubes.  We used a roast, but you can use whatever cut you want.
  • 1½ cups of chopped broccoli
  • 1 large sweet potato (needs to yield 2 cups when mashed)
  • ½ cup barley
  • 4 cups liquid (including beef broth)
  • 1000 mg calcium citrate

Steam the veggies until soft.  Don’t boil them.  Then mash or puree to release the nutrients, a dog’s gut does not break down cellulose like ours do, so they can’t get at the nutrients of many plants, especially leafy plants.  Use some of the beef broth for thinning the puree so it renders down smoothly.

Cube up your beef.  Cut it into small pieces that won’t choke your dog (they are not known for diligently chewing their food) and will be easily digested.  Trim away excess fat.  Too much meat fat causes pancreatitis in dogs.

Boil up the barley according to package directions.  You may have to do some math here — or just make a larger amount and save the excess in the fridge for the next batch.  Use the beef broth to cook the barley.  If you need to drain off excess liquid after cooking, use a strainer and bowl to capture the liquid, don’t pour it down the drain.  That has good stuff in it, don’t waste it.

Add the calcium citrate.  You can use vitamin C capsules for this.  If they are the gel-caps, pull them apart and add the powder.  If a tablet, crush it/them in a pull crusher or between two large, nested spoons.  Calcium is important to your dog’s diet.  A wild dog gets calcium by eating the bones of its prey.  If you have a great butcher shop near by, you can get beef ground with bones in, just for dogs.  If not, add calcium citrate or dietary bone meal to the recipes.  Do not use the bone meal you find in the store’s gardening section.

The result is going to be stiff.  Add beef broth – barley water to thin to a pleasing consistency.  Go ahead and give it a taste, everything you’ve used is human grade food so just because you’re calling it dog food doesn’t mean you can’t try a bit.  I can definitely taste the sweet potato, the broccoli is more subtle.  That’s a good thing as far as dogs go.

Okay, pack that into an air-tight container and store it in the fridge.  If you have any liquid left, save that too, you’ll need it for thinning in days to come: it will stiffen up as it sits.

How Much To Feed?

This was the hardest question to find a good answer for, and I’m going to give it to you for free!  But first, some preamble.

If you are accustomed to feeding your dog canned food, you are probably thinking that the slightly over 3 pounds of stew this recipe produces won’t last but a day.  Less if you have a large dog.  Because you’re used to feeding your dog 3 to 8 cans of food per day.  That’s because commercial dog food is notoriously low on nutrient and high on fillers.  The cheaper the brand, the more true this is.  The top brands (see contain less bulk, but cost $2.00 to $3.00 per can.

My book goes into how to arrange for a balanced diet.  This one recipe will not do it.  You’ll need to vary ingredients to achieve nutritional balance over the long haul.  A general rule of thumb to use with any of the recipes in my book is to figure 2% to 3% of your dog’s ideal body weight in home-made food per day.  Note that I said “ideal body weight” and “per DAY” not per meal.

Let’s do a couple of examples.

This stew, as I made it, weighs 10 ounces per cup.  Let’s write that on a sticky-note and pop it right up here where we can see it while we work this stuff out.


YUM, warm beef stew!

Phoenix needs to weigh 55 pounds.  She is well under that right now, but that’s what we’re working toward so that’s what we use as a feeding basis.  And since we want her to gain weight, I’ll use the 3% figure.  3% of 55 pounds is 1.65 pounds or 26.4 ounces, of food per day.   She gets fed 3 times a day, so we divide that into thirds, and she needs just under 9 ounces.  (check the sticky note) Not quite a cup of stew per feeding.

As she closes in on her ideal weight we can cut back to the 2% figure or 5.9 ounces (call it 6 oz) of stew per feeding (check the sticky note) or about 2/3 cup.

Blondie Bear

Blondie Bear should weigh 80 pounds.  She usually runs heavier, so we’ll use the 2% figure.

2% of 80 pounds is 1.6 pounds.  Let’s convert that to ounces now: 1.6 x 16 = 25.6 ounces needed per day.

25.6 divided into two meals per day is 12.8 oz. per meal.  Let’s call it 13.  (check the sticky note) That’s 1 1/3 cups per meal.

That’s equivalent to what she gets fed in kibble.  The canned food we’ve been using says to feed one can per 15 pounds per day.  That’s 2 3/4 cans per meal.  That’s a lot of food!

Dr. Manes agrees with other evaluators who say that even the best dog kibble is essentially junk food.  It has to be cooked at such high temperatures to produce shelf-stable dry nuggets that most of the nutrient contend is killed off in the process.  A top brand of kibble is better than a cheap brand of kibble, but kibble is still kibble.

If I really want to do this right, I should just start making my own dog food for the whole pack.  I’d only need 8 pounds of home made food per day — that’s three times the batch I made today.

Every day.  (sigh)

Camden Tangelock: Notes on a foster dog

The Humane Society of Jefferson County nick-named this guy “Dreadlocks” because of his twisted, knotted fur.

Hopefully he’ll be able to be groomed one day soon and the moniker won’t fit any more.

Last Updated: Feb. 16, 2020

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Feb. 06, 2020
  • Breed: Poodle Mix
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: Puppy, Young Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight: @ 20 Pounds
  • Spayed/Neutered: Unknown
  • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Temperament: Wants to interact, but cannot be handled.
  • Departure date: Undetermined returning to H.S.J.C.


Camden was one of several dogs pulled from a hoarding situation in Green county that ended up at the Humane Society of Jefferson County.  He is not at all aggressive but is terrified of being touched, so he cannot be handled — or groomed.  He needs a low-stress environment to just chill out and learn to trust.

Camden’s Progress Summary:

Detailed notes on this foster dog’s progress are posted below the summary.

Relational Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: Yes
  • Preferred style of play:
  • Is affectionate: No
  • Is good with:
    . Men: No
    . Women: No
    . Children: No
    . Cats: No Yes
  • Jumps up on people: No
  • Mouths: Will bite if handled.
  • Walks well on a leash: No Yes

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters his crate: Yes
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: Yes
  • Understands going outside to potty: No Yes
  • Alerts me of need to go outside: No Yes
  • Is destructive of bedding and/or toys: No Yes
  • Refrains from kitchen counter cruising: No Yes
  • Stays off people furniture: No Yes


  • Comes when called: No
  • Sits on command: No
  • Down / Off: N/A
  • Shake / Paw: No
  • Kennels on command: No


  • DA2PP: 01/18/2020 (HSJC)
    . Booster:
  • Bordatella: 01/18/2020 (HSJC)
  • Wormed: Dates | Product | Dose | By
    .    01/18/2020 | Strongid | ??? | HSJC
  • Rabies: 01/18/2020 (???)
  • Spay/Neuter: date (by) NEEDED
  • Heartworm Test: date, result (by) NEEDED
  • Flea/Tick preventative:
    . date, product, dose
  • Heartworm preventative:
    . date, product, dose
  • NOTES:
    . I’m told he has bad teeth and needs a soft kibble or he won’t eat.


Kibbles & Bits: (supplied by HSJC as Camdens preferred food).


In chronological order, newest at the bottom. Some pictures are linked to a more detailed Doggy Tale about that update, click those to open the related story.

Camden says he’s a BEAR, he wants to hibernate in his den.

Progress Updates

Progress notes are listed below, in chronological order, newest at the bottom.

Feb 6

Camden has just arrived, so we don’t know much yet.  However he tolerated riding around in a transport box without fussing and crying.  I checked on him frequently.  During the transport and after being released into his kennel he seemed guardedly interested in Marie and me.  Not shrinking away and cowering in a corner.  That’s a good place to start with him.

Feb 12

Camden has lost his fear of me to the point he tends to be underfoot a lot while I’m in his room doing “housekeeping”.  He will come right up and take bits of cheeseburger (sliders) from my fingers, but won’t let me pet him yet.  Working on it … we’re getting there.

Feb 16

Cammie is making some progress with his fearfulness.  He won’t quite let me touch him, but he will take treats from my fingers and will come over and sniff my hand.

During this cold, I set up an old transport box that’s missing its door inside the garage/lumber-shed/kennel.  It’s on a sheet of Styrofoam to insulate it from the cold concrete slab and held in place against the doorway through the wall with concrete blocks. I draped a blanket over the box leaving the louvers on one side open, put lots of blankets inside it, and set up a propane furnace to blow warm air through the open louvers.  That gave him a warm place to go when it got down to 24° at night.

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White Oak Lumber for Canine Comfort

900+ B.F. of white oak lumber

We have @ 900 Board Feet of rough, flat sawn white oak lumber for sale.

  • 8 and 10 foot lengths,
  • various widths,
  • mostly 5/4,
  • some 9/4.
  • Sticker-stacked indoors and air dried since Dec 2007.

The hardwood Store: lists rough, white oak, in 300+BF quantities as $3.45/B.F.  I’ll take $1,800.00 for the whole stack. That’s about $2.00 per B.F.  Can you pass up that bargain?

The building this lumber is in is being converted to a dog kennel for Piney Mountain Foster Care.  We need the space to build kennels, and all of the money will go toward materials for those kennels.

if you need some good white oak, give Doug a yell:

Phoenix: Notes on a foster dog

Phoenix is so named because everyone who knows her believes that although she may have been found

in the ashes of her life, she WILL rise again.

Last Updated: Feb 29, 2020

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Jan. 15, 2020
  • Breed: Shepherd/Grey Hound  mix
  • Sex: Female
  • Age: Puppy, Young Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight: 34 Pounds at intake
    .              37.1 lbs Feb 3rd
  • .              39.1 lbs Feb 27
  • Spayed/Neutered: Not Yet
  • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Temperament: Sweet, calm, affectionate, goofy
  • Departure date: Undetermined  Headed for A.R.N.N.E.


Phoenix was spotted running loose behind Food City West in Newport and Animal Control was called in to catch her.  She was scrawny, wormy, and extremely frightened, but not at all aggressive.  She spent 25 days at Animal Control before PMFC pulled her on behalf of ARNNE.  During that time she ate very little and was scared and depressed despite the NAC staff’s attempts to comfort her and provide an enticing diet.

Phoenix’s Progress Summary:

Detailed notes on this foster dog’s progress are posted below the summary.

Relational Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: Yes
  • Preferred style of play:
  • Is affectionate: Yes
  • Is good with:
    . Men: Yes
    . Women: Yes
    . Children: No Yes
    . Cats: Yes (no reaction to cats at NAC)
  • Jumps up on people: No
  • Mouths: No
  • Walks well on a leash: Yes

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters her crate: Yes
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: Yes
  • Understands going outside to potty: Yes
  • Alerts me of need to go outside: Yes
  • Is destructive of bedding and/or toys: No
  • Refrains from kitchen counter cruising: Yes
  • Stays off people furniture: Yes, so far.


  • Comes when called: Yes
  • Sits on command: No
  • Down / Off: N/A
  • Shake / Paw: No
  • Kennels on command: Yes


  • DA2PP: 12/23/19 (NAC)
    . Booster: 02/03/2020 (Cedarwood)
  • Bordatella: 01/16/2020 (PMFC)
  • Wormed: Dates | Product | Dose | By
    . 12/20/2019 Pyrantel 3 cc NAC
    . 01/14/2020 Proziquantel ?? NAC
    . 01/14-16/2020 Panacur 8 ml NAC/PMFC
  • Rabies: 02/03/2020 (Cedarwood)
  • Spay/Neuter: date (by)
  • Heartworm Test: 01/14/2020, Neg (Cedarwood)
  • Flea/Tick preventative:
    . date, product, dose
  • Heartworm preventative:
    . 01/16/2020, Ivermectin solution, 0.4 ml
    . 02/17/2020, Ivermectin solution, 0.4 ml
  • NOTES:


We’ve switched her from canned dog stew to home-made stew using recipes from my upcoming book.  Right now she’s eating the Skinny Dog Stew made with chicken, potatoes and cheese (and spinach) the chicken fat, potatoes and cheese help her put on weight faster.


A heavy shirt to help keep her warm

A custom made hoodie does even better.

Happily resting in her “room” indoors.

Wandering the yard now.

Ready to go for a jog.

She’s a house dog now.

Progress Updates

Progress notes are listed below, in chronological order, newest at the bottom.

Jan 18

I’ve let Phoenix settle in for the past few days.  She is well behaved.  Rarely barks at all.  She acts like she’s been a house dog before.  She’s scrawny, so it’s hard  to keep her warm in the January days, so we’ve gone through a couple of iterations of outer wear for her.  She loves her hoodie!

She sleeps inside in a crate at night and on the colder days.  When it’s warmer she has a futon with a thick felt blanket atop it to lounge on.  She needs to put on weight, but she eats so little that’s going to be hard.

Jan 24

Phoenix very much prefers to be indoors in her cushy crate where it is warm and dry and there is no wind.  Because she is SO thin, she does not tolerate cold at all.

When she does come outside, on nice afternoons: some have been up in the 50 degree range, she gets a futon as a bed and a warm wool blanket to lay on.  I hang a brood lamp above to provide warmth as well.

On those nice afternoons, Phoenix does like to wander the yard.  Now that her depression is dissipating she is eating better.  That gives her strength to go out walking around.

YUM, warm beef stew!

She is a picky eater.  She won’t touch kibble yet, and the canned food has to be stew.  In order to get her to eat the pate’ style dog food I have to chunk it up and add beef or chicken broth — effectively making it stew.  And it has to be warm, she won’t eat cold stew.  But then neither would I.  So I warm it before I take it out to her.

She’s up to 21 cans of stew per week.

When she first arrived, I was doing well to get her to eat one can a day.  She’s up to finishing three cans per day now.  It’s hard to tell if she’s gained any weight just by looking at her, I need to take her to Cedarwood and put her on a scale.  But her energy level is up and she’s developing a delightful, quirky personality.  She has quite the sense of humor. 

I have yet to hear her bark, but she is communicative through head tosses and mouth movements.  She lets me know when she needs to go out, and when she’s ready to go back in.  Her eye’s are brighter and she desires affection more now that she feeling better.  Starvation does tend to take the fun out of life.

Jan 27

Normally Phoenix makes a quick trip outside to potty then wants back inside where it’s warm.  But since I put a heated pad in her bed she is enjoying being outside much more.

I think maybe she is Shepherd mixed with some Grey Hound.  Now that she’s developing a personality again, some of her mannerisms are decidedly Gra-Hooond.

Jan 29

Phoenix is a skinny gal who has been gradually increasing her food intake. She does not like kibble, so I feed her wet food. She prefers stew. Especially beef stew.

She is to where she will polish off a can at each of her three daily meals. Time to increase her portion to help her gain weight. I thought I’d try mixing 1/2 cup of kibble into her stew before I warm it up for her. It must be warm when I take it to her or she’ll leave it and go back to her heated bed.

She took a couple of bites then reared her head up and stared at the contents of her bowl for several moments. Turning her head she looked over her shoulder at me with a definite “What do you think you’re trying to pull here, bub?” look.

After a while she began to eat again, slowly. It took her quite a while to finish. When I collected her bowl, there in the bottom was almost 1/2 cup of kibbles that had been sucked clean and spit back out!

Okay, you win: no more kibbles!

Jan 30

We had a nice, warm, sunny afternoon today. The perfect chance to strip that hoodie off of Phoenix and launder it. She said, “I don’t LIKE being naked!” and was relieved when I brought her red hoodie back out to her.

Jan 31

Today I let her out of her kennel to use the yard while I went in the house to warm up her lunch. Previously she never moved faster than a leisurely walk, but when she saw me coming down the path with her bowl of warm salmon mush she trotted over and did a little happy dance. It made my heart SO happy to see her acting like a dog again.

Feb 2

Her level of activity and animation are WAY up the last few days (see video in Gallery above).  This is great to see.

Feb 3

Phoenix went to Cedarwood for her physical and an estimate on the cost for getting her in good shape again.  She did well, and everyone commented on how much better she looks now and how much more animated she is.  Phoenix was friendly with the other people in the waiting room and the Shepherd pup who was waiting with us.

She rode well with me in the truck, and was highly conversant the whole way.  She’s so funny!

Feb 16

I love this dog!  She is so funny.  I have yet to hear her bark, but she talks to me all the time with mouth movements, head shakes, and bouncing on her front legs.

She is gaining weight and I’d like to have the blood panel done on her as soon as we can afford it to see if she is a candidate for surgery.  If she’s got weak kidneys or heart anesthesia could kill her, so we need to know that first.

Phoenix loves attention and walks well on a leash.  She sleeps in a crate inside the heated bunkhouse, and is eager to go inside at 9:00 PM.

She can’t hold her bladder longer than from 9:00 PM to 4:30 AM, so I go out to walk her and put her back in her box until breakfast time at 5:30.  If it’s warm enough, she comes out to her kennel to eat, if not she eats inside and I’ll bring her out when it warms up.

She needs walking every 2 hours during the day or she will be needing a blanket change and crate scrubbing.

Feb 18

I tried making some home-made stew as an alternative to canned food for Phoenix.  Will she like it?

Feb 20

Phoenix was getting lonely sleeping in the bunkhouse alone at night, so I brought her (and her crate) into the house.  She’s doing REALLY well.   When she came in Phoenix immediately claimed this bed as “hers”.  That will be contested, but for now that claim holds.

The whole PMFC gang came to say “Hi”, but Blondie Bear settled in to keep Phoenix company.  Blonde Dogs must stick together.

She is SO sweet, gentle, and unassuming.  In the evening I put her hoodie back on her and took her outside. She wandered off into the yard, I went back inside.  She was gone for the longest time, so I went out to call her in because it was cold.  When I called her she came BOUNDING back through the snow like a gazelle, “Oh! You’re letting me come back in!?”  It’s hard to say what this girl has been through, but she doesn’t expect much from people.

Feb 25

That was GOOD! May I have more?

I’ve switched Phoenix to new stew recipe that uses potatoes, cheese, and chicken fat to help her gain weight.  She LOVES it!

We’ve also launched a new fund-raising campaign to get the funds we need to pay for the vet care she needs.  I’m having no luck at all with grants.  Gonna have to do it the old fashioned way.

Skinny Dog Stew: chicken, potato, cheese, spinach, oats.

Phoenix is doing fabulously as a house dog.  She has mostly stayed in the den, but has recently started coming out to wander a little.  She does like to dine in the kitchen with the others, I have to stand guard to keep Josephine from trying to horn in on Phoenix’s meal.  They all want some of THAT!

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PMFC is a 501(c)(3) Charity

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Why Parvo Virus Is Such A Resilient Killer

When I worked at the Humane Society of Jefferson County I was taught to be fanatical about not allowing visitors to touch the dogs, especially new arrivals.  We  earned many annoyed glares from people who could not understand why they couldn’t interact with the cute doggos.  Especially the puppies: who could resist poking your fingers into the crate and allowing them to lick you fingers?

We were frequently told, “I haven’t been around any sick dogs.”  to which a co-worker of mine developed the response, “Have you been to a grocery store or Wal-Mart?  If you pushed a shopping cart in there you may have picked up parvo virus from someone who pushed that cart before you did.  It is that easy to pick it up and bring it in here.  And if you do, that cute puppy could die a horrible death in a couple of days.  So, please, don’t touch the dogs.”  And she was right: it is that easy.

Even though we vaccinated all dogs against parvo, bordatella, and kennel cough upon entry to our facility, it takes 21 days for a vaccine to develop full immunity in its host.  Before then, especially early on, that dog is still susceptible.

Graphic attributed to

How Parvo Spreads Infographic

Parvo virus is a contact-spread disease, not air borne, but the virus is so resilient that it can live on surfaces, in dirt or concrete, or in carpeting and upholstery for very long periods.  It can withstand extreme temperatures.  It can be killed, but not by regular household cleaners.  (Cleaners that kill parvo)  And as mentioned above, you don’t have to have direct contact with an infected dog to pick it up and spread it around.

You could step in the feces or vomit of an infected dog and bring it into your home.  Your dog could contract the virus from a public water source shared by other dogs.  An infected dog could rub its nose or drool on a chair.  This may dry, but if you sit on that chair, you could still pick up the virus on the seat of your pants and transfer it to your car, and the furniture in your home.  Keeping the virus out of your home and away from your dog may be impossible.  So the best defense is to vaccinate your dog.

If your dog contracts parvo virus it has a good chance — 80% — of survival if it is caught and treated early.  The common form of parvo is the intestinal form, which is characterized by vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lack of appetite (anorexia). (More)  If untreated or let go too long, parvo has a 90% mortality rate.  If you see any of these indications in your dog, see your vet as soon as possible!

And if you go window shopping at a local kennel or shelter, please don’t get grumpy if the staff asks you, “Please don’t touch the dogs.”

Piney Mountain Foster Care, Inc. Earned a 2019 Gold Seal of Transparency

Piney Mountain Foster Care, Inc. just earned a 2019 Gold Seal by providing information on our Nonprofit Profile at GuideStar.  Now our community members as well as 10+ million GuideStar users can find in-depth information about our goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.  We’re shining a spotlight on the difference we help make in the world.

Plus, we’ve provided fresh information to 200+ charitable websites and applications that use GuideStar data, such as AmazonSmile, Facebook, and Network for Good.

What do you think?  Check out our profile at our Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar.  GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.  Foundation Center and GuideStar have joined forces to become a new nonprofit called Candid.  Learn more at

Canine Decompression: What It Is and Why It’s Important

As of this writing (Sept 15,2019) my wife and I have fostered 95 dogs. Some were here for only a week, some for nearly a year.  Of those 95 dogs there have been 12 to 15 people who contacted me wanting to know why the dog they got from me is not behaving as advertised: getting aggressive, peeing in the house, and generally acting out.  Of the cases where I was able to ask questions of them – and got honest answers – I found that this family almost always did just what they should not do with a new dog.  This is to toss the new dog into the midst of the family and proceed to lavish love and permissiveness on them, thinking that this will make the dog feel welcomed and loved, so it will (of course) show it’s love for them by being well behaved and obedient. This almost never works.  There are several reasons for this:

  • Dogs are not short, furry people who walk on all fours.  Their psychology differs from ours in several key ways.
  • Entering a new home with new people and new dog siblings can be a scary proposition.  Your new family member needs a little time to get his bearings.
  • If arrival at your place was preceded by a many-hours-long rescue ride, she will probably be quite stressed and maybe a little nauseated.
  • Once she is settled, he will need to decide where he fits into the social order of your home.  It’s up to you to help him do that.

What Is Decompression?

Decompression is a combination of acclimatization and recovery. An uncomfortable experience: a rescue run or incarceration in a shelter, will take a little time to get over. Recovery refers more to physical well being.  It is a necessary step in helping your new family member (adopted or foster) settle successfully into your home.

How Is Decompression Done?

I strongly recommend using a crate in a quiet part of your home.  Not in isolation – unless that turns out to be needed, just not in the center of your traffic flow.

Some people view crating a dog as cruelty.  When done properly it is not.  When done properly a dog will view his crate as his “room”, his personal space and a safe place to go when he’s feeling stressed.  A crate should never be used as punishment.

By crating the newcomer, you can safely introduce the rest of your pack (four-legged and two legged) with reduced discomfort for the new dog and in perfect safety for you.

Make the crate as comfortable as possible with a cushion or blankets, add a couple of toys, and a bowl of water.  Make sure the crate is located for easy access to an exterior door for regular walking. And check on the newbie often, preferably not en masse. Do this gently and softly.  If she wants to come out and cuddle with you, fine.  If not, then sit on the floor a short distance away and talk to her.

Feed him in his crate to start with. He will feel safer in there.  Have ONE person do the feedings for the first week or so.  This helps to establish who the top dog is, even if it’s a person.  Whoever is going to be responsible for this dog needs to do these initial feedings, and needs to spend the most time with him.

Once you know all the other family pets will be tolerant of the newbie, she may come out to explore the house under supervision.

Like people, dogs have differing personalities.  How much time it takes to fit into a new home will vary from dog to dog, but generally speaking, give it at least a couple of days – longer if the new dog seems nervous or frightened.  The former home may have had dogs, cats, and children just like your home, but they were different dogs, cats, and children.  And a different home.  It’s a different lay-out, different smells and sounds.  Everything here is new to this dog.  Give her time to adjust and accept the changes.

The Worst Things You Can Do

Sudden Immersion Do not toss the new dog into the middle of your family without decompression time.  Imagine if you were abducted from your life, everyone you know and care about, and suddenly found yourself among strangers in a strange place who act as though you should be just fine with it all.  Even in a shelter, dogs form bonds with their caretakers.  They know the dogs in the kennels near them. They know the smells and sounds of the place, they may not like it, but it’s what they know.  Being swept away to a new life, even a life of luxury, is change and change takes time to adjust to.

Mobbed by Clowns  Keep initial “getting to know you” sessions short and positive.  Limit the number of visitors (human and otherwise).  Mobbing the newcomer, especially if you’re all giggling and squealing with delight, will most likely be frightening.

Alone and Ignored  On the other hand being lonely and ignored is counter productive.

Reward Bad Behavior  If you rush in and release the dog every time she paws on the crate door or cries, you are teaching her that these bad behaviors are the means to freedom.  If you think it likely that she needs to go out to potty, get her to calm down before you open the door.  Reward the good behavior.

Let Him Make the Rules  If you allow the new dog to set his own boundaries you are telling him that he is the boss and you are subservient.  That is a horrible idea, for this will lead to aggressive behavior as he tries to fill the roll of pack leader that you set up for him.  Establish your house pet rules then stick to them. Everyone in the house needs to adhere to the same rules.  If Dad says “No dogs on the sofa” but Mom lets the dog sit with her while dad is gone, she’s confusing the dog and setting him up for failure.  Your dog will be only as reliable as you are consistent with his training.

Award Unearned Privilege  You will not bribe a dog into good behavior by offering treats or privilege.  That’s one of the differences between dogs and people.  Provide your dog with treats and privilege only as it is earned through the choices they make.  When good choices yield a good thing (treat or privilege), good behavior is reinforced.  When bad behavior results in the same rewards, bad behavior is reinforced.


Give your new house guest a safe, comfortable place to stay while she adapts to her new environment.  Be patient, let her progress at her speed.  Reward only good behavior.  Be her new pack leader.  Do this and you will have a rewarding relationship with your new dog.

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Dogwood Days – Canines & Classics

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020,
10:00 am to 4:30 pm

A community event to be held on the spacious grounds of
Liberty Church of Cosby 3541 Cosby Hwy,

If you’re not familiar with Liberty, they are located sort of across the road from Carvers Orchard and have a large open, flat space (about 4 acres out front) of grassy field between the building and the road.  There is plenty of parking, and a handicapped accessible building.

What Is Offered:

1957 Buick Roadmaster
  • Cruise In: An informal car/motorcycle show, open to the public, no registration fee, there will be a Crowd Favorite award.  If you have a classic, a hot rod, a custom car, or snazzy motorcycle come join in the fun.  We would like you to register just so we know how many vehicles to plan on.  E-mail with your name and what you will be driving to the show.
  • Quilt show: No details yet, but we are resolute there will be one.
  • Smoked meat BBQ: Dennis and Stacey Dekker have agreed to provide their excellent smoked pork butt, pulled barbecue along with chips and a drink.  Food and seating will be under the portico on the south side of the building.
  • Kettle Corn:  Old fashioned kettle corn made on site by “Pap” Sledge.
  • Adoption Event: The Friends Animal Shelter in Newport has accepted our invitation to do an adoption event/fund raiser.  Come meet these great folks and learn about what they do – and consider taking home a new family member.  I mean a dog or cat, not the staff.
  • Music: This could be live band, or a DJ, or a radio station remote broadcast, or an old man with a kazoo and a bull horn.  We don’t know how yet, but there will be music.
  • Movies: The Liberty Arts Fellowship will be showing the short films that have been produced by John Rush and his accomplices over the years.  Come grab some popcorn and enjoy the flicks.
  • Event Shirt: Donna Gregg is providing custom artwork for use on the front of an event tee shirt, which will have sponsor names on the back. Local businesses will be asked to be sponsors.
  • Related Vendors: Space will be allotted to other local groups: preference will be given to local non-profits and community organizations and would be an opportunity to inform the public, recruit volunteers, do fund raising.  We do not intend to make this a craft fair, but vendors may sell items related to their services as a fund raiser.  We are planning to rent one huge tent for all the vendors, so just bring your tables and materials. There will be a minimal registration fee to help defray the cost of the tent.  Those who participating include:
    * Options Pregnancy Center
    * Sunset Gap Community Center
    * Newport Garden Club
    * Christian Motorcycle Association
    * Smoky Mountain Home Health & Hospice
    * Isaiah 117 House

PMFC’s fund raising will be in the form of tee shirt sales, vendor registration fees, and the popularity contest among the car show and the quilt show. We will exchange real money for play money that will be put in jars placed by each car and quilt to vote for that participant as the visitor’s favorite. People may vote as many times as they like. Prizes will be presented to the winners.

We will be needing volunteers to help set up, tear down, and to keep things rolling during the event.  This is expected to be done by three separate crews so no one has to be there all day.  If you are interested, comment below or e-mail Doug.  There will be perks!

The Canine Book Nook

Read any good dog books lately?  That could be a book about a dog, or a book about training dogs, or a book about cooking for your dog, or a book written by a dog.

If you’ve found a good dog related book, leave a recommendation below (as a reply).  Leaving a link to where you can buy the book is fine.  If you’d like to do a book review, we’d be happy to publish it.  We are particularly seeking dog related book reviews written by kids.

We’re working out some exciting things for the future of this page, so check back once in a while.

This page is sponsored by our friends at Our Place, 115 Cricket Hollow Rd, Cosby TN.  Be sure to check out their dog books corner.  And have a cup of their excellent coffee while you browse their bazillions of books as well as the eclectic mix of gifts and goodies.

Please Note: if you are new to our web site, our anti-spam guard dog will hold up posting of your very first comment.  Once you are given the thumbs up, all future comments will post right away.  You do not need to register to comment.