Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: One Look Says It All

Noelle (now Nell) en route to her new home! Yippee!
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Click on the image below to see more photos
from the participating Wordless Wednesday blogs.

Monday, July 29, 2013

July Adoptions!

Congratulations to all six dogs who were adopted this month!

Click on the image to view a larger version.

Zoomie is a one-year-old basset hound mix with ears made out of silk (or so it seems). Zoomie was a stray who ended up in the pound before she entered TAGS foster care. In her foster home, Zoomie showed just how happy she was to have a second chance by being very affectionate and playful with everyone she met, so it's no surprise that she caught the eye of a family looking for a new furry friend.

Frances is a three-year-old boxer mix who was found as a stray. She had some cuts and scrapes on her when she first entered TAGS foster care, but despite what happened in her past, she is an affectionate, loving and easygoing gal!

Maddie is about eight years old. This Australian shepherd mix came to TAGS from a shelter in the United States, where she was in danger of being put to sleep due to lack of space. Maddie is a fantastic family pet who loves other dogs, children and attention, but she ended up at a shelter because her previous family thought she was too old. Luckily, a new family has welcomed Maddie into their home, and she couldn't be happier!

Noelle, now named Nell, is a rat terrier mix who is approximately 1.5 years old. Nell loves to run and play, especially with other dogs. Nell came to TAGS from a shelter in the United States just before Christmas, so compared to the other dogs adopted this month, she has been waiting the longest for the right family to come along. This energetic gal charms people with her adorable face and silly antics.

Xavier is just under a year old. This Jack Russell terrier mix is very smart and loves to play with other dogs and people. Xavier was in a pound before being rescued by TAGS, and even though he was very scared there, he completely came out of his shell when he was given a chance to be a dog again.

Chester is a copper-coloured Corgi/Cardigan mix who is approximately one year old. Chester lived in a shelter in Tennessee before entering TAGS foster care. Chester is a happy, playful and outgoing guy who loves attention. He likes to cuddle with people and dogs, but he could do without catsthey are scary!

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Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word about the great pets we have available for adoption. Sharing photos from our Facebook page, retweeting our tweets and using old-fashioned word-of-mouth can make all the difference for some of these dogs! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

5 Tips to Help Cool Down Your Dog

Written by Lindsey Sjouwerman, Marketing Coordinator, Speedpro Imaging

We survive the heat, so why can’t they? The fact is that heat is extremely detrimental to a dog’s healthyoung or old. It's not the heat per se that will affect a young dog; it is more likely the overexertion due to puppy power. As for old dogs, it’s temperature: the heat gets harder and harder to handle as one ages, even for humans.
Mumford the Great Dane stays cool in a Cool Coat
(available through

As pet owners, we need to be well prepared and informed about how our animals respond to the heat. Each dog is different and requires unique attention. Below I share some of the tricks that have kept my dogs cool in the summer and that ensure they stay hydrated.

1. This is by far the funniest to watchentertainment for you and a refreshing game for your pooch. Freeze a bowl of water with some of their favourite toys inside. The toys create a desire to lick the ice until they're free.

2. Dog pools are a great way to cool down and have some splashing good fun—for young or old. The pools are shallow enough that dogs can lie down and rest their heads on the ledge.

3. Trim excess hairespecially if your furry friends are seriously hairy. Some dog breeds aren’t supposed to be shaved, so do your research. A haircut will be glorious for your four-legged friend!
4. Cool eats. There are some fruits and vegetables dogs can safely eat and that can be served cold. My pooch absolutely loves apples. The more the betterhe eats the whole thing, seeds and all. Feeding dogs cold fruits and veggies helps cool them down internally, while also giving them some energy if they haven’t eaten because of the intense heat.

5. Cooling blankets are another great idea for all dogs, especially for dogs that have skin issueslike hot spots. Cooling blankets are dampened wraps that you put on your dog. Although the fabric is damp, the dog doesn't get wet. They work by evaporation, bringing down the external temperature of the dog, often by 15-20 degrees. Check out the website to learn how a Cool Coat is effective for your dog.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Suzy Q and the Flowers

Suzy Q is a shy dog who is up for adoption from The Animal Guardian Society! Click on the photo to see more info about her.

Click on the image below to see more photos from the participating Wordless Wednesday blogs.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Featured Adoptable Dog: Izzy

Izzy arrived at The Animal Guardian Society in February from a Port Perry pound. We don't know much about her background from before that. All we know is that this long-legged puppy was very shy at first. She was intimidated by everyone except her foster mom. Eventually, she came out of her shell, showing her sweet, goofy side.

Izzy's Hobbies
Izzy at PetSmart, looking for adopters
Izzy is easily amused. Her elation at finding in her backyard a water bottle with a little bit of water in it was immeasurable. She was rolling it, biting it, then rolling it againfor about two hours! In the end, she went back in the house, exhausted like a kid after a big playdate. She also considers it her duty to carry big tree branches in her mouth during her walks.

The beagle in her is definitely apparent, as she likes to chase squirrels. And due to Izzy's long legs, paired with a high energy level, her foster mom says that Izzy would be very talented at agility if her new owners decided to try that.

Izzy sometimes pulls on her walks but is showing improvement every time, thanks to her foster mom's tireless efforts.

Sweet baby girl sleeping.
Izzy loves other dogs and is becoming more and more social with them. She goes up to other dogs during her walks to get to know them. She also has experience with cats, and she doesn't mind them at all. Izzy is very popular among children, and she lets them overload her with love like a cool pop star. We would still recommend that she be in a family with older kids due to her jumping habits.

And speaking of that, Izzy loves to jump! She could jump over a four-foot fence without any problem. If you are interested in Izzy, you must have a fence that is maybe even higher than five feet and secure at the bottom, too. 

While she is a wonderful, lovable dog, Izzy has a little baggage, too. She still sometimes barks at men, but she is friendly toward men she already knows. She also suffers from separation anxiety, but as soon as she gets into her crate, she relaxes. The person who accepts both Izzy's goofy, fun side and her troubles will surely have a remarkable relationship with a loyal companion. 
"Okay. Now where is my dinner?"

Overall, her foster mom recommends that Izzy would do best in
... a physically active household
... a home with a high fence
... a home with another dog

If you think Izzy may be the dog for you, don't hesitate to fill out an adoption application form so you can meet her! More details about her can be found on our website.

If you want to see more photos of Izzy, click here to explore our Pinterest or Instagram photos!
Adopt Izzy!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Famous Pets From Movies: Did You Know? (Part I)

This is part one of our miniseries about famous dogs, where we share fun facts from the extraordinary lives of famous pets—behind-the-scenes, heartwarming details and much more to follow.

Homeward Bound (1993)

Did you know ...

... that they used four American bulldogs and four golden retrievers in the movie?

... that they used eight Himalayan cats for the role of Sassy?

... that the animals had seven months of prep time before filming?

This is Saccone's Buckshot Boogie, the great-grandson of Rattler, a.k.a. Chance!
Photo credit: Kellie Saccone

... that the cats were trained to run toward a buzzer? This is how they filmed the scenes in which Sassy had to run up to a dog or toward the camera.

... that the registered name of one of the "Chance" dogs was Sure-Grip Rattler? He became a flammable- liquid sniffer dog for the fire department and also worked in protection and hog catching. He had many offspring after the movie, especially on the West Coast.

... that Blitz, another dog who played Chance, played in Cheaper by the Dozen afterwards and was adopted at age 10 and lived five more happy years?

... that 90% of the role of Shadow was played by two golden retrievers: Ben and Molly? They were both therapy dogs, and Ben was also the Delta Society's 1993 spokesdog. Ben also appeared in several other movies like Maybe Baby, Purely Belter and Made in Hong Kong.

This is Buckshot, Chance's great-grandson, bowling in the Three Guns Kennel

Air Bud (1997)

Did you know ...

... that Air Bud's Buddy was found as a stray in the Sierra Nevada mountains?

... that he also appeared in the television sitcom Full House for six seasons?

Buddy's right hind leg had to be amputated due to cancer appearing near his joints. He died in his sleep due to complications. He was about 10 years old when he died, loved by millions for his great talent in sports. He fathered nine puppies.

Benji (6 movies from 1974-2000)
Benji in 1977

Did you know ...

... that Benji's real name was Higgins? He was found at the Burbank Animal Shelter as a puppy by Frank Inn, a trainer.

... that Higgins also starred in Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres and Mooch Goes to Hollywood?

... that Higgins was almost nominated for an acting Academy Award? So many people were praising him for his ability to express different facial expressions in his movies that people seriously considered adding him to the list of nominees.

... that Higgins's daughter, Benjean was also starring in some of the Benji movies? They looked so much alike that people couldn't tell them apart and even magazines published covers with the wrong dog.

... that after Higgins's death at age 17, his owner, Frank Inn, asked that Higgins's ashes be put next to him in the coffin when he dies. In 2002, they carried out his request.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Don't Stop!

"Ahhhh yes, don't stop, human!"

This dog right here is Chester. He is available for adoption through the TAGS program. Are you thinking of adopting? Click here for pets available for adoption from TAGS. We might just have the perfect companion for you! Like what you see in Chester? Click here to fill out an application to meet him! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Joys of Walking Your Dog

The Dog Daily: Health Care

By Liz Palika for The Dog Daily
Many dog owners seem to feel that walking their dog is something that must be done; a chore that goes along with dog ownership. But walking your dog doesn't have to be a choreit can be so much more. When you're out walking your dog, you are spending time together, interacting with each other, and sharing the sights and sounds of the world around you.

The Joys of Walking Your DogThe time spent walking your dog is also a great time to refresh training skills. Obviously, walking your dog is no fun if she is dragging you down the street, so teaching her to walk nicely on the leash is a good skill to emphasize. Have a few treats in one pocket, or if your dog isn't really motivated by treats, take a favorite small toy. When your dog begins to surge forward on the leash (before she is pulling hard), show her the treat or toy, tell her "Sweetie, watch me!" and make a 180-degree turn. Use the treat or toy to make sure she turns with you, and praise her, "Good girl! Super!" Give her the treat or let her play with her toy for a few moments. After a few surprising turns, she will begin to keep an eye on you when you're out walking. When she does, praise her.

Walking your dog is a wonderful time to meet and greet your neighbors. To protect your neighbors from your dog's enthusiastic greetings and dirty paws, teach your dog to sit when people greet her by holding her collar with one hand and tucking her hips under her with the other hand. Don't let your neighbors pet her while she's misbehaving; that would reward her bad behavior. However, once she's sitting (even if you have to help her do it), your neighbors can greet her and make a fuss over her.

You can also give your dog a job to do while walking. You might be amazed at how much satisfaction your dog will get from something as simply as carrying some of your junk mail home from the mailbox! Put a rubber band or two around several pieces of junk mail or advertisements, making the mail into a tube shape. Hand it to your dog and tell her, "Take it!" and encourage her to follow you with it. Praise her, "Good girl to take it! Super!" Begin by having her carry it just a few steps and make a big deal over her efforts. With praise and encouragement, she will be able to carry it longer, or even to carry a small bag home from the grocery store.

Walking your dog is so much more than just a chore. While walking your dog you are outside in the fresh air, you're getting some exercise, you're meeting people and you're practicing your dog's social and training skills. All these things are wonderful ways to strengthen your relationship with your dog.

Liz Palika

Friday, July 12, 2013

One Furry Reason to Foster Dogs

Here is a touching story from one of our foster volunteers, Chris Stones. It's amazing how the smallest things can mean the world to some of our rescue dogs.

Suzy Q is up for adoption! Photo: Heather
Last night Sheila and I were in bed watching TV as we normally do when Suzy Q suddenly decided to jump up on the bed and join us. That is a normal occurrence with Fred and Mia, our other two dogs, but for Suzy it was huge. She has suffered a tremendous trauma at some time in her life that has left her timid, scared and very wary of just about anything that walks on two legs, especially men. As foster parents, we are responsible for reintroducing Suzy Q to the real world and helping her forget the past and change her behaviour so she can once again enjoy the company of other dogs and people.

When we first got her, she took 15 minutes just to come out of her crate. She now roams freely about our home and plays with Fred and Mia constantly, and her trust factor with people improves every day.

Her jumping on the bed last night was like having your own child take their first step. It was like that moment when you are introduced to a small baby and they hang on to your finger for dear life. It was at that moment both Sheila and I realized that while we had seen small improvements every day, Suzy Q, while still timid and shy, trusts us and others. Now the task of rehabilitation can really start.

Suzy Q
I believe most of us would like to belong to something bigger—to give back to the universe even if just in a small way. This is our first foster, and while we will be very sad when Suzy Q is adopted, we will also be so proud of the strides she has made toward  being a balanced little dog. Her confidence, her trust factor, her personality, her playfulness get stronger every day, and we know it is partly because we have taken the time to care, taken the time to share our home and taken the time to share our own little pack of humans and animals with another animal that needed help to realize her full potential. When we uplift anything, another person, a child, an animal, or when we help anything that shares this planet with us, we give back to the universe around us, and what we get back is immeasurable.

I almost cried a little when Suzy Q jumped on the bed last night. I was so proud of her. She overcame her fear, ignored her gut feeling and took a chance. Imagine if that is all any of us did, to help another to overcome fear and take a chance . . . what an amazing world this would be.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Sprung from the Pound!

Dexter's mug shot.
(not to scale)
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This is a blog hop.

Check out the other participating blogs as well by clicking on the image below.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Interesting Facts About Whiskers

  • Whiskers are not the same as fur or hair. They are thicker at the base than fur and get thinner as they extend. They feel harder than fur, and the base can feel almost as strong as the point of a safety pin (but not as sharp).
  • Whiskers are sensory in nature and are rooted much deeper than normal hair. They can sense distance and space, and they feel through vibration. 
  • Whiskers can be hard to see depending on dog's or cat's markings, but once they’re spotted, it’s amazing how many whiskers you will notice! And they don’t just come out around the nose, but also above the eyes and under the chin.

    My purrbaby Milo showing off her whiskers.
    She has way more than you might think at first glance! 
  • Cats and dogs use their whiskers to feel their way around the world. When trying to fit into small spaces, cats determine if their body will fit based on whether their whiskers fit. That’s why when your cat has a cone around her head after a vet visit, she might act very disoriented or use the walls to get around. She can’t “see” the same without her whiskers! 
  • Interestingly, mother cats use this knowledge to their advantage when their kittens are small. While grooming, a mother cat will often nibble the whiskers of her babies until they are very short to keep them from wandering away from her. It has also been reported that cats who live together have done this to one another as an expression of dominance. 
  • Despite what the mama cats may do, you should never trim or pluck your dog's or cat’s whiskers. Whiskers will fall out sometimes, but this occurs naturally, like shedding. Cutting or plucking out whiskers before they are ready to fall out not only will cause your pet to become disoriented (and probably stressed) for a few days but can also cause infection. There are many medical problems that could arise if whiskers are plucked, such as the exposed nerve mound becoming infected.

    Noelle has long whiskers that blend into her face.
    (Noelle is available for adoption.)
  • Dogs and cats with reduced vision are especially dependent on their whiskers, which guide them through the world in much the same way that humans with vision impairment have reported that their hearing skills have improved with the diminishment of the other sense.
  • Be careful at the groomer's! Some groomers are in the practice of trimming the whiskers of dogs to make their face look “neat and tidy.” When dropping your dog off for a day at the spa, be sure to mention that you do not want his whiskers touched. Hopefully, the groomer will be surprised you even mentioned it, as he or she didn’t plan on doing that anyway, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Pooped Pooches!

(photo courtesy of Blossum & Chappie's mom, Courtney.)

Siblings Blossum and Chappie take a well-deserved
rest on the pause table after their agility class.
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This is a blog hop.

Check out the other participating blogs as well by clicking on the image below.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Iggy's Happy Tail

Casey Liut, Iggy's new mom, answered our questions about how Iggy is fitting in since his adoption in March.

Why Iggy?
I have always had a love for shepherds as I had one growing up. My husband has always had a love for Rottis, so when we read about the  shep/Rotti cross, it perked our interest. After we read his bio, we became really excitedhe sounded like such a laid-back giant goofball! He had also been living with a cat, which was a bonus for us as we already have three cats in the house. When we finally got to meet him and see just what a happy-go-lucky, playful dog he was, we were in love! 
Iggy is a great photo model!
We also knew we didn't want to do the "puppy stage" but wanted a younger dog that could keep up with our busy lifestyle. Iggy's bio suggested he was the perfect fit.

How is he fitting in?
He has fit in quite well. He has always been very respectful of our cats (we have two senior citizens). Iggy does get bullied by our youngest catthe cat will block Iggy from going upstairs or will drink from Iggy's water dish and not allow him near it until he is finished. Iggy is quite content to be the low man on the totem pole and will just cry if the cat is blocking him, so we know to go and move the cat.

Did he make friends with the members of the household and/or neighbourhood?
He has made many friends! He gets along with our friend's border collie, Tobey, as they are the same age. The two of them rip around my friend's farm for hours. They go over horse jumps together and continue chasing each other even in the house! Iggy gets groomed by my stepsister and he has made lots of friends at her shop and gets along with everyone he meets. He is quite loved by his aunties and grandparents and is spoiled rotten every time he is with them. My stepsister's dog and he play well together. He mostly plays, and she tries to herd him, but he doesn't care!

What's his favourite place in the house?
I think his favourite place is our living room couch. Every afternoon I come home, and this is where he can be found. He is also quite fond of our bedroom and will lie on the bed at night and watch TV with us.

What is his favourite toy?
Iggy's all-time favourite toy is his red dog that his foster mom left with him. Although any new toy becomes the instant flavour of the day, he always goes back to this toy, especially at 10:30 at night when he tries to convince you that you do indeed want to play with him and not go to bed!

I will say he does appear to have a favourite outdoor toyhis Wubba Kong. He loves this one most as it has a very distinctive and loud squeak,  and he loves playing fetch with it! It is a more "obnoxious" toy, so it doesn't come inside the house, as it is also generally slobbery by the time he's done!

How is his walking?
Iggy has much improved with walking on the leash and goes for two to three walks a day. I did a lot of work with him on the umbilical training and going through the kids' playgroundhe picked up quite quickly to follow, as he didn't know what way we were going and enjoys jumping objects and even going down the slide! I think we will be trying out some agility in the near future! He has also become a great running partner when we can runstays right beside me and does not try to cut me off! We are starting to wean him off his Gentle Leader (which he quite detests!) and walking with a collar.
Iggy is focusing on a treat

Did he pick up any funny habits?
Iggy does like to watch the squirrels and even the birds as they fly overhead, but his ultimate favourite animal to chase is bunnies. You even mention the word "bunna," and he's on guard looking for one! He does try to sneak up on them, not realizing they can see the 80 lb dog. But he tries really hard to be quiet and stealthy! I doubt he wants to hurt the "bunnas"he mostly just likes the fact that they are fun to chase.

Iggy will steal wood from the woodpile to play with at times. I suppose he figures we have created a giant stickpile just for him.

As I said, he is not a fan of his Gentle Leader, likely because it works. He will stick his nose straight in the air when you put it on him. He makes a face that is hard to describe, but you can tell he is not happy about it. Almost like he finds it humiliating to wear it! But once outside, all is forgotten!

Iggy is big on conversation. He used to back-talk a lot! He seems to have gotten over that, though. He still does like to chat, especially about his breakfast! He has learned to speak on command. As well, he is learning to use his "inside voice" and to "ask nicely," and he does change his volume and tone when you tell him this!

Iggy has just figured out the "roll over" command and now does it with every other possible trick for a treat. There is always a "comment" from Iggy when lying down, and then he will roll over on his own.

His favourite games are fetch and tug-of-war. He will play both for hours at a time! He even helps my nephew practise his lacrosse defencemy nephew gets his stick to cover the ball on the ground and then tries to keep Iggy off the ball. Quite the challenge for him, but Iggy is happy to practise with him!

He is quite the water doghe has been in my parents' pool several times! He enjoys my friend's pond every time we are at her farm (no matter how hard we try to keep him out, he always sneaks a swim in). He has no problems jumping right in and going under water. He has also enjoyed the lake at the cottage, as there is a long sandbar, and he can stroll in and touch the ground for some distance.

Iggy fits right in.
Do you have any other funny stories to share?
Iggy seems to love walking through the park in the afternoon and seeing all the kids running around. I am sure he would love nothing more than to have me let him off the leash to run with them. We came across  a toddler yesterday who was a bit unsure of Iggy but wanted to pet him. I had Iggy lie down, and the child was happy to come up and pet Iggy's back (Iggy just lay there). The baby then took the leash from my hand and started to walk away, and Iggy was more than happy to follow him! I held on to the other end just in case!

When we were packing to leave for a holiday, we were outside loading the trailer, and Iggy suddenly appeared on the steps looking very upset and guilty. I was just thinking, Hey how did he get out? Then we realized, he went right through the screen door! We couldn't be mad at him, though. We instantly realized that with his history of being left behind, it was no wonder he went through the screen. He was likely worried he would be left behind again. Poor guy! We just let him hang out in the trailer while we packed. He enjoyed a nice vacation with Grandma and Grandpa while we were away and went to work with Grandpa every day and played with another dog, Jake. Iggy was so tired at the end of the day, Grandpa had to help him into the truck a few times!

He is also a huge fan of belly rubs and getting his grooms. He actually jumps back on the grooming tablesomething my stepsister tells me no other dog (except for hers) ever does!

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