Monthly Archives: January 2013

How to Make a Dog Snow Sculpture

By Tamara McRill

What snowman would be complete without his own snowdog? It seems only fair to provide them with a little frosty canine companionship. At least that’s what I always thought in college, when I would leave little snow families, including pet snow sculptures, all over the campus.

I graduated to making bigger dog snow sculptures when I had a yard to call my own again. It can be really cute introducing your pet to their frozen doppelganger!  I’ve had dogs get excited, bark at, lick and rub up against these snowdogs.

Thinking my fellow dog lovers and CANIDAE RPO readers would also like to have a go at a dog snow sculpture, I thought I’d share how to build one:

Lying Down Snowdog

Although there is a little more sculpting involved in making a sculpture of a dog lounging in the snow, it’s actually a little bit easier than building a standing dog. This is because the base of your sculpture rests entirely on the ground. Here are the steps for the body, hind legs and tail:

1. Make a mound of snow, slightly curved in the back, as long and wide as you want your snowdog to be.

2. The mound should be shaped and packed down to be narrower at the front, which would be the neck, and wider where it curves in a bit at the back, which would be the dog’s hind end. Make sure the center bulges out just a teensy bit, to represent the belly.

3.  For the hind legs, start with a thin packed roll of snow about half the length of the body.

4. Place this roll alongside the back end of your snowdog, sticking out an inch or two from the back.

5. Above the back leg, pack on a half circle of extra snow to form the upper thigh. You’ll want this to look connected to the back of the leg, but defined with a groove from the rest of the leg and top of the dog body.

6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 on the other side of your snow sculpture to make the other back leg.

7. The tail should start wider at the base of the hind end. You can either make a roll of snow or just shape it by packing snow on the ground. It should curve around the front and end in a point.

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12 Unforgettable Pets of 2012

Grumpy Cat

By Linda Cole

If you spend time on Facebook or like to search the web for cute pets, you’ve likely seen Grumpy Cat with the sour puss frown and Boo, the super cute Pomeranian. It seems we can’t get enough of these adorable pets. Below are some of my favorite pets that were “all the rage” in 2012. If you have a favorite that I didn’t mention, please let me know!

Grumpy Cat, aka Tardar Sauce (Tard for short), has an adorable scowl that makes it hard not to smile when you see her. Bryan Bundesen was visiting his sister Tabatha in Arizona last fall when he snapped the now famous frown of her 8 month old cat. Tardar Sauce was given her name by Tabatha’s daughter, who noticed the kitten had speckles in her fur that reminded her of tartar sauce. She misspelled it but the name stuck. Grumpy Cat really isn’t grumpy at all! She’s a sweetheart, and loves to play. Tard isn’t going away anytime soon. There’s a children’s book series, and a line of stuffed animals being discussed for 2013. Tard’s official Grumpy Cat Facebook page has almost 315,000 fans.

Chopper the Biker Dog

Chopper the Biker Dog is one cool dude that rides around on his custom made motorcycle. He has his very own handmade biker leather jacket and sunglasses, but this Boston Terrier is about as mellow as a dog can be, and thoroughly enjoys his job as a therapy dog. His goal in life is to make a difference in people’s lives. Chopper lives in San Diego, CA with his owner Mark Shaffer. His Facebook page currently has almost 20,000 fans.

Hank the Cat is a Maine Coon cat that decided it was time for a feline to toss a hairball…um… his hat in the political ring, running for the open US Senate seat in Virginia. A true grassroots campaign pushing a simple message, “It’s OK to vote the humans out.” Hank netted over 7,000 write-in votes and also raised $60,000 for animal rescue organizations. Will Hank run again in 2014 or 2016? According to his campaign manager, Hank retired from politics, but Hank is staying mum on any future plans, sidestepping reporters’ questions.


Venus the Amazing Chimera Cat is a beautiful tortoiseshell kitty with the most striking physical appearance. Her face is two colors perfectly split down the middle, the right side is black, and the left side is orange. Plus, one eye is green and the other is blue! Some people say this unusual looking feline is just a photoshop trick, but Venus is definitely a real kitty, and she even went on TV to prove it! Venus was a stray cat found wandering around on a dairy farm in North Carolina. She has 92,000 Facebook fans.

Henri, Le Chat Noir (Henri the Existential Cat) wants the world to feel his tortured soul living with humans and other pets, as told to us in a black & white YouTube video that went viral in 2012 with almost 6,700,000 views to date. Henri 2: Paw de Deux netted Henri’s owner, William Braden, top spot at the Internet Cat Video Film Festival. Not bad for a shelter cat turned actor. (There are five videos to date, and all are exceptional!). Henri’s real name is Henry, and in real life he’s an easygoing, laidback kitty that loves to purr. And his online contempt is, well, just good acting, as he tells it.

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Have You Ever Fallen in Love with a Pet at First Sight?


By Julia Williams

Of all the great mysteries of life, “love at first sight” is one of the most puzzling. If you’ve ever experienced this phenomenon – whether with a person or a pet – you know it defies rational explanation. Nothing about love at first sight makes sense to our logical human minds. There’s no scientific evidence for how it can happen, and it’s nearly impossible to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it themselves. I’ve experienced it twice: once with a person many years ago, and more recently with a beautiful kitten named Kimber.

The best description I can give is that there is a very strong “pull” combined with intense emotion and a feeling that you’ve known them forever. You also know without question that you love them. You might not understand how or why you could love them given that you just met, but you absolutely know you do.

I’ve loved many pets deeply throughout my life, but I’d never fallen in love with one at first sight. It happened while I was casually reading the Facebook posts of friends, acquaintances and pet rescue groups. I certainly wasn’t looking for a cat to adopt; in fact, that was probably the furthest thing from my mind. Yet all of a sudden, there she was – the most beautiful, long-haired calico kitten I’d ever seen.

So what, right? It’s not like I don’t see dozens of beautiful cats every day on Facebook, all in need of a good home. I don’t linger, because although I have room in my heart for a thousand cats, my small home is full with three. I definitely didn’t “need” another cat, especially one that just happened to be 1,300 miles away!

But I couldn’t look away. I stared at the photo of this lovely little kitten, and I was smitten. I didn’t know a thing about her other than her name. I guessed that she was about three months old, and she had the sweetest, wisest, gentlest face. I knew without a doubt that I loved her, and wanted her to join my family. I didn’t know how I’d make it work, but I knew I would do everything humanly possible to see that it did.

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Biography of Eddie, the Dog from Frasier

By Langley Cornwell

Being an animal lover, my favorite character in quite a few television shows and movies is often of the four-legged variety. This was certainly the case with the long running TV show Frasier, which aired from September 16, 1993 to May 13, 2004. In my opinion Eddie, a feisty Jack Russell terrier, stole the show. Niles, Frasier’s brother, ran a close second.

Eddie’s real name was Moose and he was born in Florida on Christmas Eve, 1990. He was the youngest and the biggest puppy in the litter and, once he went to his forever home, his antics proved to be too much for his original owners to handle.

Moose was surrendered by his owners because he was so mischievous. He had a habit of getting into trouble; he chased cats and climbed trees. He dug and barked and destroyed things. He was always escaping, running away and ruining property. One time he got out and chased a neighbor’s horses, which caused quite a stir. Another time, he got out and killed a neighbor’s cat. That was the last straw.

Luckily for this overly energetic Jack Russell terrier, he ended up with Mathilde Halberg, a Los Angeles dog trainer who worked for a show-business animal company. She rescued him in the early 1990s, saving him from the pound or worse. That’s when Moose’s luck changed.

With training and a focused outlet for his energetic natural drives, Moose started to calm down. After only six months of training, he was cast on Frasier as retired policeman Marty Crane’s dog.

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Safety Tips for Pets Who Love Heaters and Fireplaces

By Tamara McRill

When I was growing up, the merry crackling of a fire always seemed to entice my pets to curl up near the hearth and take a nap. Now that I’m older and, sadly, without a fireplace, I’ve noticed that my dogs are just as attracted to heaters on a cold winter day. Snuggling next to the heat can be comforting for pets, but it can also be dangerous.

That doesn’t mean we have to ban our furry friends from one of their favorite winter pastimes. All we need to do is make sure safety precautions are taken, so sitting near a fire or heater can be enjoyed without any disastrous results. Here are some tips to consider:

Fire and Fur Don’t Mix

For obvious reasons, we need to take precautions to make sure our cats and dogs don’t get singed by errant embers. Fireplaces will need a fireguard screen to make sure any popping flames don’t shoot out too far. This will also prevent wagging tails from entering flame territory.

Dampers and Detectors

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly to pets and humans, not to mention it can cause health issues from exposure. This is especially a concern if you have a gas fireplace. If your damper is closed, then all of the carbon monoxide comes back into the room and your pet, being the closest, will be the first one affected.

In addition to making sure your fireplace damper is properly adjusted, you should also place carbon monoxide detectors near the fireplace and throughout your home. This is so important to check every time you turn on your gas fireplace. Especially given that a gas fireplace burns so cleanly that you likely won’t even notice if the damper is open or not.

Regular fireplaces should also be adequately vented, so smoke and carcinogens don’t get in your cat or dog’s lungs. It’s a good idea to keep any heat vents near your fireplace closed when it is lit, so nothing is spread through the home heating system. Also be sure to check the batteries on smoke alarms, to make sure they are in working order.

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Dog Breed Profile: the Elegant Pharaoh Hound

By Suzanne Alicie

We’ve looked at many different dog breeds here on the CANIDAE Responsible Pet Ownership blog. This is a learning experience for those of us who write the posts as well as our readers. Today I have the pleasure of sharing what I’ve learned about the Pharaoh Hound. While this breed is known as a Maltese hunting dog, those interested in the breed have concluded that it originated in Egypt. When the Phoenicians settled on Malta it is believed they brought the breed with them. The Pharaoh Hound is one of the oldest domesticated dogs, recorded since around 3000 B.C. They were first brought to the United States in 1967, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1983.

Upon first glance, the Pharaoh Hound appears similar to a Greyhound but the differences are notable. They have a fine, short coat that doesn’t stand away from the skin; coat colors come in shades of red that range from tan to a deep chestnut. White markings on the chest, toes, tip of the tail, center of the forehead and the bridge of the muzzle are common to this breed. Pharaoh Hound’s are born with blue eyes that change to a light gold or amber color. One unique trait of the Pharaoh Hound is that it blushes when excited – the nose and ears turn a deep rose color.

This breed is elegant while maintaining a powerful and athletic shape. Typically perceived as a medium sized dog, the Pharaoh Hound stands between 21 and 25 inches at the withers and typically weighs between 40 and 60 pounds, with the males being somewhat larger than the females.

When it comes to personality, the Pharaoh Hound is very intelligent, eager to learn and please, playful and active with its family and other dogs that it knows. However, it can be quite aloof or reserved with strangers, and defensive with strange dogs. This independent and strong minded breed is also known to be stubborn, so proper training is important.

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