A-CHOO! Natural Care Tips for Your Pet's Seasonal Allergies

Kate Reed - Tuesday, May 01, 2012

This is a post from our copywriter Erin, who lives in Austin with her boyfriend Harold and their one-year-old chocolate lab, Railay.

A-CHOO! That’s the same sound that Railay and I have been making for the last few weeks! Are you also sneezing your way through spring? Seasonal allergies caused by ragweed, grass and tree pollen are no fun for you or your pet. That’s rights – your pup may suffer from the same seasonal hay fever that you do each spring. Unlike humans who suffer from watery eyes, head congestion and runny noses, seasonal allergies traditionally make dogs itch.

 

Pet seasonal allergies are caused by the same allergens that affect us. You pet’s immune system may respond to the presence of ragweed, tree or grass pollen – setting of an allergic reaction. In humans, the presence of histamine triggers watery eyes, runny noses and head congestion. In dogs, this chemical triggers an allergic response that includes itchy skin, rash and even hair loss. Yikes!

Does your pet need help with his allergies? Untreated hay fever can lead to painful itching, scratching, and biting of the skin, which may also cause a secondary skin infection. Yikes! For severe allergies, a visit to your veterinary dermatologist may be your best bet to find instant relief for your pup.

Unfortunately, a veterinary dermatologist visit can be expense, as can follow-up allergen testing and treatment. At-home care can help make allergies more manageable, providing affordable and natural relief for your pup. These tips have made a difference for Railay’s allergies, and they may help your pup’s hay fever, too!

Tip #1: Monitor pollen counts. No, I don’t spend my days on weather.com checking the pollen forecast. But a little pre-planning does help Railay (and myself) avoid spending time outside during high-count pollen periods. When it’s warm or humid, pollen can hang in the air all day. Try to take your pup out in the early morning or early evening to avoid the worst pollen. A day of heavy rain can help wash pollen out from the air.

Tip #2: Bathe your pet regularly. Railay has never been a huge fan of baths (those sad eyes say it all in the photo below!), but a regular bathing can help remove pollen and other allergens from her fur. Natural dog wipes work great, too! They’re a quick and easy way to wipe pollen off her fur and paws following a long walk.

 

Tip #3: Dust and vacuum regularly. Dusting and vacuuming helps control dust mites, which may also be triggering your pet’s allergies. Plus, if your dog likes to cuddle in bed with you like Railay does with me, wash your bed sheets each week. You and your pup will appreciate a pollen-free home.

Tip #4: Use oatmeal and natural extracts to sooth itchy skin. Oatmeal, peppermint and chamomile can help provide immediate relief for itchy skin. I use an all-natural puppy shampoo formula that includes oatmeal. You can do the same at home by adding ½ cup of ground oatmeal to a warm bath. Just wait for the oatmeal to dissolve and then bathe away. A few drops of peppermint oil may also help soothe any red patches on your pet’s skin.

Does your pet suffer from allergies? What natural at-home care do you use to provide soothing relief?

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What Inspires You?

Kate Reed - Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This is a post from our copywriter Erin, who lives in Austin with her boyfriend Harold and their one-year-old chocolate lab, Railay.

Springtime is a season of rebirth, renewal and inspiration.

I love watching my dog Railay explore the new scents of spring – from flowers to fresh cut grass, Railay is in puppy heaven sniffing out new smells. It’s hard not to be inspired by the beauty of these blooming flowers!

 

Kate, the creative visionary behind Baxter & Birdie, has been busy this spring, too! Kate sat down with us today and shared her springtime inspirations – along with some of the exciting things happening at Baxter & Birdie.

Kate, last month Baxter & Birdie launched two new laminated collar designs, new laminated leashes, and webbed collars. Tell us, what inspired your new designs?
Inspiration is all around us! I’m continually inspired by natural beauty – from springtime flowers to a starry night sky. When I search for new fabrics, I think about how the colors and patterns will stand out and bring beauty to others’ lives.

Watching my daughter gaze at the night sky with our pup, Marley, inspired our latest collars, Wishes and Astrid. There was so much beauty and innocence in that moment, so I searched for a fabric that captured my daughter “wishing on a star.” We invited Baxter & Birdie’s Facebook fans to name the collar, and our fan Charlotte suggested “Wishes” – it fit perfectly!

What is your favorite part of the creative process?
I love hunting for vibrant and fun patterns that are also eco-friendly. Sometimes I find a pattern that I love, but it’s not recycled or organic. So I set out to find something similar in the overstock or organic marketplace. Finding the right patterns are like a treasure hunt.

What’s your no-fail instant pick-me up?
Anything by Journey that makes me belt out the lyrics and smile! When I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed, a great song, time with my daughter, and some puppy love from Marley is just the pick-me up I need.

Baxter and Birdie is just four months old, and already your eco-friendly products have been featured on the cover of ‘Bark’ magazine and recognized by Daily Candy. What does this mean to you?
Seeing our collar on the cover of ‘The Bark’ was amazing! It’s a humbling moment to pass a newsstand and see your product on the cover of a magazine. At the same time, I’m also proud to play a small role in helping people embrace eco-friendly pet products.

Starting a small business is a huge challenge, but despite the sleeplessness nights and financial risks, it’s incredibly rewarding to stay true to my values. There’s a good reason that Ghandi’s quote – “We must be the change we wish to see in the world” – is so famous. I truly believe that each person holds the power to make a difference, starting with the small choices we make every day. Our pet products bring new life to unwanted materials and reduce waste — while also feeding one shelter animal in need for one week.

Kate's commitment to supporting shelter animals in need through eco-friendly pet products inspires me every day! Tell us – what inspires you?

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Lessons Our Dogs Teach Us

Kate Reed - Tuesday, April 03, 2012

This is a post from our copywriter Erin, who lives in Austin with her boyfriend Harold and their 11-month-old chocolate lab, Railay.

Yesterday, we posted about the little life lessons our dogs teach us everyday. When we’re in a rush to walk the dog, get the kids ready in the morning and race to work (all without our morning caffeine!) it’s easy to miss these moments. I, for one, am guilty of wishing that Railay would do a lot less “stopping and smelling the roses” and a lot more power walking when I’m in hurry!

Here are a few of our favorite “little life lessons” from our pups.

Try as hard as you can…

Sometimes when I take Railay for a walk, she’ll chase a squirrel straight up a tree. Even though there’s no way she can catch the squirrel, she still gives it her all – barking up a storm, jumping and clawing. Yes, it’s an impossible task. And yes, she looks a bit ridiculous. But she never looks daunted!

…and know when it’s time to gracefully walk away.

After a minute or two of furious barking, Railay accepts that she’s done her best and today just isn’t her day to get that squirrel. She retreats and resumes her walk, just as happy as can be. There’s something to be said for walking away with grace when an intractable person or situation leaves you frustrated.

Stay curious.

Railay stops to sniff every patch of grass, inspect the sign poles and explore the flower beds. Sure, she’s sniffed the same grass, poles and flowers before. But hey, something might be different today! The happiness she finds in small pleasures is a daily reminder to love and explore the world.

Love the moment.

A belly rub. A game of fetch. A new cardboard box to destroy. The little things bring Railay lots of joy – and are a great reminder to love the moment. Yes, Railay is lucky because she never has to worry about paying bills, satisfying clients or dealing with family stress. But if we spent a few more minutes each day just enjoying the moment, rather than stressing over the future, we’d all be a lot happier!

Forgive generously.

For all the abuse, starvation or neglect that so many shelter pups have endured, they are still capable of forgiving, wagging their tails, and showering their forever families with unconditional love. In February, we posted a story about Travis, an eight-month old Border Collie mix who was on the kill list at the Town Lake Animal Shelter in Austin, Texas. Travis suffered from terrible skin infections, causing him to lose nearly all the hair on his body. Even worse, Travis had been hit by a car and was in need of surgery. Abandoned, Travis' future looked grim. Thanks to the amazing work of Austin Dog Rescue, Travis received the care he needed – and today is the perfect, fun-loving addition to his adopted family’s home. Does Travis spend his days bitter over his early abuse and pain? Nope! He’s too busy loving life, chasing squirrels and playing fetch.

Has your pup helped you “slow down” and appreciate the little moments in life?

Does your pup’s wagging tail teach you the value of loyalty and unconditional love? Tell us, what lesson has your dog taught you? Share your story for a chance to win a FREE collar in our Hump Day Giveaway!

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Remembering to Take a Break: Life Lessons from Our Dogs

Kate Reed - Monday, April 02, 2012

This is a post from our copywriter Erin, who lives in Austin with her boyfriend Harold and their 11-month-old chocolate lab, Railay. 

As a freelance writer, I have a tendency to work a lot… seven days a week, actually. Since I work from home, there’s no “office” to leave or regular hours to keep. I love the flexibility of my schedule, but with a constant barrage of client emails (and the fact that my desk is literally in my bedroom), it can be difficult to ever truly “leave work at the office” and power off for the night.

Have you ever been so plugged in with work that you couldn’t ‘disconnect’?

This weekend, my chocolate lab Railay reminded me that sometimes we all just need to slow down and take a break.

I have a hard time saying “no” to freelance projects – especially from clients that I love! And so I found myself up at 6am on Saturday morning, incoherently typing away as the words blurred before me on my laptop screen. Six hours later, I was still at my desk, despite Railay’s best attempts to distract me. Usually Railay sleeps at my feet while I work. But this Saturday, she could sense the beautiful weather and sunshine outside. She kept bringing me her favorite water toy as if to say, “Take me swimming, Mom!” Finally, she brought me the car keys. It was a sign.


“This sure beats working at your desk, Mom!”

Two hours later, Railay and I returned home from our excursion at Red Bud Isle, an amazing off-leash dog park in the middle of Austin’s Town Lake. Railay was exhausted. I was invigorated. I had been so intent on meeting client deadlines that I’d lost myself in my writing – and not in a good way. Time spent hiking and playing with Railay was just what I needed to refocus my mind. I got more accomplished in the hour after I got home than I had in my six hours of frantic and unproductive typing earlier that morning.

How does your pup remind you to slow down and smell the proverbial roses?

Railay slows down to smell every rose bush, stop sign, fire hydrant and patch of grass that she passes! She’s a constant reminder to savor the small, magical moments in each of my days.

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Can Fido Come, Too? Our Favorite Pet-Friendly Destinations Across the US

Kate Reed - Monday, March 26, 2012

Let’s face it: dinner, a night out or a stroll along the beach is always more fun when our pups can come, too! These are five of our all-time favorite spots for off-leash fun with our pups. What’s your favorite dog-friendly hangout?

#1: Edmonds Marina Beach, 25 minutes north of Seattle, WA


Sunset + Dogs on the beach = Heaven

What dog doesn’t like splashing in the waves and running along the sand? When the tide goes out, you and your pup can enjoy miles of leash-free open beach, complete with plenty of driftwood for retrieving games. Work up an appetite from all that playtime? Just hop the ferry over to Kingston to grab lunch or an ice cream snack with your pup.

#2: The Tin Shed Garden Café, Portland, OR


I can smell the delicious food from here!

There’s a good reason (okay, a LOT of them!) that Portland is consistently voted America’s #1 dog-friendly city. From the off-leash parks to the pet-friendly cafes, pups are welcome just about everywhere. Our favorite place is the Tin Shed Garden Café. The food is made from fresh, local and all-natural ingredients, and dogs are treated just as well as their human companions! Every dog gets his own water dish, and there are plenty of outdoor blankets to cozy up with in case you (or your pup) get chilly while sitting outside in the garden – how cool is that?

#3: Barton Springs, Austin, TX


Taking the plunge at Barton Creek

Last summer, Austin residents and their pups suffered through 40+ days of 100-degree heat. Fortunately, dogs and their owners could cool off together at Barton Springs, the 1,000-ft long spring fed natural pool. While the enclosed pool is “humans only”, just outside the gate is a long stretch of dog-friendly swimming space. Take a plunge with your pup or stretch out along the banks for a little sun bathing.

#4: King Family Vineyards, Crozet, VA


All that’s missing is a picnic and your pup!

This beautiful vineyard nestled at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains boasts wide open acreage that’s perfect for a dog-friendly picnic and wine tasting. On a hot summer’s day, nothing beats a chilled bottle of Viognier while your pup plays by your feet.

#5: Runyon Canyon Park, Hollywood Hills, CA


Happy Trails (and wagging tails)!

Where else can you and your dog bump elbows (er, sniff butts) with famous Hollywood stars and their pups? Featuring an abundance of hiking trails and a 90-acre off-leash dog park, Runyon Canyon Park is ground zero for off-leash fun in Southern California.

Tell us, what is your favorite pet-friendly place in your community? Let us know by Wednesday night, and you’ll be entered to win a free collar for our Wednesday Hump Day Giveaway!

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Bluebonnets, Hiking and Other Weekend Discoveries

Kate Reed - Sunday, March 25, 2012

This is a post from our copywriter Erin, who lives in Austin with her boyfriend Harold and their 10-month-old chocolate lab, Railay. 

Happy Monday, y’all! Yes, that first day back in the office after an amazing weekend is always a bit painful. Fortunately for me, I work from home, so at least I can ease back into my workweek routine with a puppy at my feet! In fact, this morning my 10-month-old chocolate lab pup Railay is in her usual spot underneath my desk keeping me company.

I live in Austin, and March is hands down my absolute favorite time in Texas! The weather is warm without being scorching (low 80's with plenty of blue sky), humidity is still low, and all of the beautiful Texas wildflowers are in bloom:

Thanks, bombay2austin on Flickr for this amazing shot of Bluebonnet fields near Austin!

No weekend is complete without taking Railay on a hike along the Barton Creek Greenbelt:


We call her our little "freshwater otter" because she just LOVES to swim and play fetch in the water:


Even though we've lived in Austin for almost a year now, Harold and I are still discovering new and exciting places to go with Railay. Austin is a super dog-friendly city, and we love all the restaurant patios that welcome people and their pups – not to mention all the great off-leash dog parks!

We visited Snack Bar this Sunday while on the Austin Eats South Congress food tour. In the heart of SoCo, aka “eclectic Austin”, Snack Bar serves international tapas made from locally sourced, organic ingredients. Best of all, there's a great little patio (complete with a fire pit… if Austin ever gets chilly at night) to enjoy your meal with your best dog friend. We'll definitely be back!

Here's Harold getting a little love from our pup. Railay says, “Take me to Snack Bar, Dad!”

What did you and your pup do together this weekend? Did you discover any hidden gems in your community?


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Spring Has Sprung! Is Your Pet Safe from Ticks and Fleas?

Kate Reed - Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Warmer weather means plenty of outdoor time for you and your pooch. And while it’s fun to play outside, a simple game of fetch could have serious health consequences if your pup is not adequately protected from fleas and ticks.

Fleas and ticks are more than just a pesky nuisance. In addition to transmitting disease, (Bubonic Plaque, anyone?) fleas are also the top allergen that affects dogs each year, leading to painful itching, scratching and secondary skin infections. Ticks carry a variety of serious illnesses, including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. And a shorter, warmer winter in many parts of the country means that ticks are back with a vengeance this spring.

Many pet owners are worried about harmful side effects from medicated flea and tick prevention. Pouring toxic chemicals onto your pets skin is not exactly eco-friendly (or healthy for your pooch). If you’d prefer not to use sprays, pills or injections, a combination of vigilance and natural treatments can still be effective preventives. 

Follow these tips to keep your pets flea-free and active all spring and summer long!


1. Check your pet. Keep fleas and ticks from entering your home by regularly checking your dog. Have your pooch stand over a white towel and run a fine toothcomb through your pup’s fur. If any fleas are present, they’ll fall right off and appear as black specs on the towel. Ticks will continue to cling to your pup’s fur, however, so you’ll need to remove any with sterilized tweezers.

2. Repel fleas and ticks with essential oils. Mother Nature’s essential oils like citronella, tea tree and wintergreen are a gentle, non-toxic way to repel unwelcome critters. After a bath, add a drop of lavender, lemon, peppermint or citronella to your pup’s skin right behind the neck. Lavender, as well as lemon and geranium, is also an effective tick repellant.

3. Make your own herbal flea powder. Combine equal parts powdered eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, fennel, yellow dock and pennyroyal into a salt shaker. Run your hand backwards through your pup’s fur, sparingly shaking on the powder. Don’t miss the neck or belly! Let your pooch run outside afterwards so any unwanted critters fall off in the yard and not in your home.

4. Choose low-toxic sprays. Sprays and powders containing pyrethrins or natural pyrethrum are the least toxic repellant to use on pets. Read labels carefully!

5. Vacuum, bathe, repeat. When it comes to battling bugs, it’s all about vigilance! Regularly vacuuming carpets and rugs, bathing your pooch, and washing linens is the best way to keep fleas and ticks out of your home. Before you vacuum, sprinkle baking soda on the carpets to help soak up any unpleasant doggy odors.

Tell us, what’s your eco-friendly secret for keeping your pooch flea and tick-free?

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From Kill List to Forever Family: Foster Dog Parents Give Pups in Need a Second Chance at Life

Kate Reed - Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Travis, an eight-month old Border Collie mix, was on the kill list at the Town Lake Animal Shelter in Austin, Texas. Travis suffered from terrible skin infections, causing him to lose nearly all the hair on his body. Even worse, Travis had been hit by a car and was in need of FHO (Femoral Head Ostectomy) surgery. Suffering, in pain and on the kill list, Travis’ future looked grim. Then, Austin Dog Rescue (ADR) stepped in and gave Travis a second-chance at life. Thanks to ADR’s dog foster program, Travis receive much needed veterinary attention. His infections healed, his hair grew back, and his surgery was a success! Today, Travis is the perfect addition to adopted mother Laurie Molter’s family. (He's "Mr. Smiles" in the center of the family photo with Santa Paws below!)

Travis – like hundreds of other pups – got a second chance at life thanks to dog rescue groups that pair pups in need with foster families. Groups like Austin Dog Rescue save dogs from high-kill shelters, uniting them with foster families until they can be successfully matched with a forever home. Foster families serve an important role in the dogs’ socialization, and for younger pups, also help with crate training and potty training.

This week, Baxter and Biride is proud to recognize the hard work of Rebecca Brannian, the owner of Austin Dogtown Boarding & Daycare and Laurie Molter, the General Manager of Dogtown for their commitment to fostering animals in need through Austin Dog Rescue. Together, in conjunction with Dogtown, these two amazing women have fostered over 50 pups in need! Becca and Laurie kindly took time away from their busy schedules to chat with Baxter & Birdie about what it’s like to be a dog foster parent – and how you can get involved, too!

How did you first get involved with Austin Dog Rescue?
Becca: When I decided to start a dog business years ago, one of my goals was always to find a way to "give back" once I had the infrastructure in place to do so.  I was lucky enough to have some wonderful clients when I first opened who were on the board of Austin Dog Rescue and introduced me to their program. We first started fostering in the fall of 2008. Not only were we lucky to become involved with ADR because of the great work they do, but it is also how I met Laurie, who was on the board and serving at the Director of Adoptions at the time. Laurie joined the Dogtown team in 2009 and is now an irreplaceable part of the Dogtown family! 

Why does fostering makes a difference for a dog's adoption?
Becca and Laurie: Fostering plays a huge part of the adoption success for ADR – the foster families are able to get to know the dog in a home or playgroup environment and see the dogs in a number of different situations. The dogs get more comfortable in the “real world” outside of a shelter. Spending time outside the shelter also allows foster families to learn more about the dog’s personality, and what type of family would be a good match for the dog. Foster parents are not looking to adopt the dog out as quickly as possible, but rather to find the right, FOREVER, home for the dog.

What is the most difficult part of fostering dogs?
Becca and Laurie: Fostering is really one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever done! Saying goodbye to the dog is difficult, but so TOTALLY worth it when you see them happy in their forever home. It is difficult when dogs are ‘returned’ from adopters for whatever reason (usually not a “good” one in our eyes) – but the fact that ADR has a lifetime guarantee is just another reason we love them. ADR is 100% committed to finding forever happiness for the dogs they save!

What advice would you give pet owners who are interested in fostering a pet for the first time?
Becca and Laurie: It is something you have to be committed to—but not something you should be afraid of! You will not want to adopt every dog you foster, although it can be tempting! (We've both adopted some of our foster pups, which are affectionately known as 'foster failures'.) When you are fostering, it is important to set rules and boundaries for your foster dogs to follow, just like you would your own dogs—and remember to help them experience as many new things as possible, including walks, trips to the coffee shop, etc. New experiences will help their “adoptability”! Also, take LOTS of pictures. A great ‘bio’ and pictures can do wonders in finding homes for dogs in need!

Can you share a few foster success stories?
Becca and Laurie: We are so lucky to have SO many! Here are just a few of our happy endings:

Max: Max was a six-month-old border collie who was super shut down. He was the first shy dog Laurie ever fostered and she began researching everything she could about how to help shy dogs come out of their shell. It took a week for him to even want to come out of his crate and want any sort of attention from the humans in the family. Having other dogs around helped his bravery, and after lots of training and confidence building from Laurie & her pack, he really blossomed into a great dog. He was adopted by a wonderful couple in Colorado who have two other dogs, lots of open land and lake to play in! They bring the dogs in their RV to Austin for vacation once or twice a year and we still keep in touch- it was a the PERFECT match for Max!

Pearl: Pearl, a one-year-old heeler mix, was brought into Town Lake Animal shelter with a severely embedded chain in her neck; Animal Control speculated that the chain had been around her neck for over six months! ADR rescued her from the kill list, and Laurie fostered her. Pearl was a precious love from the minute she walked into the house with us! Seeing how quickly the wound healed and witnessing Pearl’s emotionally resiliency is a true testament to how much dogs love us. Within a month, a family applied Pearl to bring her home forever! Today she lives with a wonderful couple and their super sweet Doberman.

Liberty (now Libby): Liberty was an extremely nervous and shy two-year-old pup when we first met her. Staying at Dogtown helped bring her out of her shell, and we loved watching her gain confidence each day she spent playing with the other pups and enjoying all the fun at Dogtown! One of our amazing clients was looking for a companion for their dog Hershey and through our Facebook page they saw Liberty. They met her at our Dogtown Open House and decided to adopt her. Libby LOVES her new family. It is so cute to watch her get excited to see her parents when they pick her up from daycare or boarding.

Do you know someone that’s made a difference for animals in your community?

Send us a message with the details – we’d love to recognize their hard work giving shelter animals a second chance at a forever home!

Austin Dog Rescue is a foster home based organization that saves dogs from shelters that were picked up as strays or abandoned by their family and left with no hope of a better life. ADR believes that life is precious and the dogs they save deserve no less than a second chance at finding a loving, caring home. The foster caregivers and other volunteers are the catalyst behind giving them that chance.

Austin Dogtown is a new breed of daycare, boarding and grooming for furry friends, where a dog can be a dog! Dogtown’s indoor/outdoor facility offers over 5,000 sq ft of doggie-dedicated space in the heart of South Austin. Becca, Laurie and the entire Dogtown crew are passionate about giving back to the community, and work closely with ADR to foster pups in need.

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Pet Adoption Stories Warm Our Hearts!

Kate Reed - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In honor of Valentine's Day earlier this month, we asked our loyal Baxter & Birdie customers to share their pet adoption stories! We want to thank each and every one of you for choosing to be a forever home to a shelter animal in need. Grab a box of tissues and enjoy these happy endings!

Shelby C.:
Last December our house was robbed, our rescue cat Sherwin passed away, and we held my husband's grandfather's memorial services all within a week. No doubt there was a great deal of stress and sadness in our home. Our other rescue cat, Charlie, was going through withdrawals and was almost wailing; we knew that she was depressed and stressed as well. We impulsively adopted a puppy that we found on Petfinder, and might I say that it was the best impulsive action I have ever made! We named our adopted puppy Asher, which is Hebrew for Happy/Blessing. Asher has been a source of joy and hope in our home.

Last Fall, I got involved with the local low-cost spay/neuter clinic at our shelter. There was such a huge need for fosters families. After talking it over with my husband, we decided to become a foster family. We carefully decided on a dog that wasn't a puppy, was good with dogs and cats, and needed a second chance. Her name was Daisy Mae Fatbottom. This 3-year old Bassett/Beagle mix was shy, skinny, scared and had a litter before coming into the shelter. She needed that second chance! We have not adopted Daisy and she is still our foster, but ultimately this story is about her and Asher. Since coming to our house in late October, Daisy has learned to be an inside dog, to play with toys – and most importantly – she has learned how to be happy. She is not the scared dog we brought into our home but a new, happy dog. She loves to see us, cuddle with our cats and begs to sit in our laps. Daisy is an amazing and resilient dog!

Unfortunately, Daisy was also diagnosed with heartworms. According to shelter policies, the shelter is unable to help with the costs to heal her. So we have taken this on ourselves to get her better. We love Daisy and know that she is a wonderful dog with so much love to share! We hope that after her treatment she will find the "furever home" for which she has been searching so long – she deserves it! In the photo above, Daisy is wearing her brand new Baxter & Birdie collar!

Kristina S.:
I adopted Hershey a little over a year ago, but it was an adoption that almost didn't happen! I knew I wanted to adopt, but I was picky and had a set of "rules". I wanted a large dog. I wanted a FEMALE dog. I wanted a dog that was house trained. I didn't want anything too like a "terrier". What did I end up with? A 12-lb male MinPin mix who didn't even know "sit", much less not to potty in the house!

Sometimes we don't end up with exactly what we're looking for, but this can be lucky for both the owner and the dog! We love our little Hershey and I can totally call myself a "small dog person" now! He had a rough start, but I am determined that he will have the best life possible from here on out. So keep an open mind and heart, friends!

Kristin B.:
Three
years ago, my husband worked as a beer delivery guy for Budweiser. On one of his routes in Suffolk, Virginia, he heard some noises from the alley near the door to one of the bars on his delivery route. The noise turned out to be a box filled with newborn puppies! My husband rode around with the box for the rest of his shift and then took the puppies to the SPCA. He had recently been thinking about getting a dog, so of course he picked out his favorite to "rescue" and take home. Sam’s been my baby, too, for the past eight years, and I swear what they say about rescued dogs "knowing" that they've been rescued is so true! She is so loyal, loving and affectionate, and hasn't lost any of her spunk. The best part of our rescue story? My husband found our Sam on Valentine's Day, so every year we celebrate her birthday on February 14!

Monica A.:
Jax (see photo on the right) was surrendered to the Humane Society when his owner was deployed to Iraq. Jax waited there for two longweeks until I happened in one evening. It was love at first sight! We adopted Jax three years ago last week, and I cannot imagine a better dog for our family. We are grateful every day for our wonderful companion and the laughter Jax brings to our lives, and the lives of everyone he meets.

Tami:
I adopted a minpin chihuahua mix 11 years ago. They had poured acid on her and they dug 25 babies out of her. When I got her, she still had on the special collar so she wouldn't scratch. She weighted only 9lbs and was so skittish. Now she knows that she is loved and has been a loving, loyal companion. I would always adopt – it just makes sense!

Beth T.:
I had always dreamed of adding a lab to our family. Unfortunately, I was stationed in Japan for nine years, and adopting would not have been the responsible thing to do as housing was VERY small and the yards are almost non-existent. As soon as we were stationed back in Virginia I started my search. I found my match on the Peninsula SPCA website. He was an owner surrender, and you could tell his heart hurt to be left behind. His heart is now forever full of our love and devotion, as are our hearts! We named him Kuma, which is Japanese for Bear. Kuma has attended many training classes and is now a registered therapy dog, but mostly just a bundle of love and kisses! WE HEART KUMA!!!!!! Kuma is the cover dog for the Peninsula SPCA calendar this year!

Cheryk M.:
I was browsing Facebook and saw pictures of a litter of pups, which a friend’s roommate was fostering. These pups were the prettiest brindle color, and so wrinkly! They had been taken from the shelter due to kennel cough, and were being nursed back to health. I was enjoying the photos, when the lone male in the litter caught my eye. He was so adorable. I can’t explain why, but that was the first moment where I experienced love at first sight. I had to have him! I kept in close touch, waiting for the litter to be cleared and sent back for adoption. The day finally came, and because I had to work, I had a friend adopt him the very day they were released. I drove 2.5 hours to hold him, and to bring him home for the first and last time. We have been together since December 12th, 2010. Italics is my little dude! I was the lucky one that day.

Leah P.:
As newlyweds, my husband and I knew that the first addition we wanted to have in our family would be a four legged one. :) Once our duty station changed from Rhode Island to Mississippi, and I knew a deployment was nearing, I started to check the local Humane Society website daily (okay, more than daily!) After falling in love with a dog there, but being unable to adopt her because of health complications she had, we were heartbroken and decided to give it a break.

Shortly after, when browsing the Internet, we found an adorable nine week old lab/boxer mix up for adoption from the SPCA of Livingston. I called the foster mom to get information, but we didn't want to get our hopes up for fear of disappointment again. The foster mom gave us lots of information and warned us that if we did come visit, "We should be prepared to bring her home with us!" We started making plans and a list of things to buy, but said we would just go visit her... no commitment. After a shopping spree at PetSmart due to excitement we said, "Who are we kidding, of course we're going to bring her home!" We drove two hours to meet her, and when the foster mom opened up her car, we locked eyes with the sweetest little pup and we knew we had found the newest member of our family! She is now four months old and we couldn't imagine life without our Luda!

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Culinary Canine Recipe: Blitz’s Pork Loin Medallions & Truffles

Kate Reed - Wednesday, February 15, 2012

As featured on the Martha Stewart show and The Culinary Canine, Kit Feldman and Sabina Pierce are generously sharing Chef Harry Schwartz’s recipe for Pork Loin Medallions with Baxter & Birdie. Harry is the Culinary and Creative Director of the Heritage Trail Winery and Café in Lisbon, Connecticut. Our pups can't wait to try this!


Chef Harry
Schwartz, his wife Laurie and their dog Blitz on the Martha Stewart show 

Ingredients:
Quick cook oats enough to make 1/4 cup cooked oatmeal
3 pork loin medallions, 2 ounces each
1 tsp canola oil
6 baby carrots
2 cups low or no-salt vegetable broth

Directions:

1. Cook the oats with boiling water only and allow to cool.

2. Brush the pork medallions with the canola oil. Grill the pork over medium high heat until medium well done. Remove from grill and cool.

3. Poach the baby carrots in the vegetable broth until tender. Drain and cool the carrots, reserving a small amount of the broth. Puree the carrots with just enough of the broth to make a sauce-like texture.

4. With a sharp knife, cut the pork into small bits.

5. Roll 1/4 cup of oatmeal into small truffle like balls. Spread the carrot puree artfully on a white dinner plate. Arrange the pork in a mound in the center of the puree. Dot the plate with oatmeal truffles around the mound of pork on the puree.
 

For more tasty recipes like Salmon Cakes, Muttloaf and Lamb Tartare, be sure to pick up a copy of The Culinary Canine and check out Baxter & Birdie's interview with writer Kit Feldman and photographer Sabina Pierce!

 

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