Category Archives: Diane Matsuura

Father’s Day 2014 – a Celebration of the Men We Love

By Diane Matsuura, guest blogger

Father’s Day is a day to celebrate fatherhood.  This is the day where we can express our love and gratitude to the fathers in our lives.  As an adult, I can look back with fondness on my memories of who my father was and what he meant to me with the perspective of a grown woman, with a family of her own, rather than the perception I had when I was a child.

I have always loved animals. I have never doubted that, never wavered in that love. Growing up, there was always a dog and a couple of cats in the family.  I guess I just took our pets for granted, that they were always there, and I never really thought about how that came to be.

Recently, I was conversing with one of my Labradors who was in the car with me. I was driving home from work on the, as usual, traffic congested freeway (yes, I do talk to my dogs while I’m driving), and the thought popped into my head, “Where did my love of animals come from?”  The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was my father who brought home our first family pet.

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A Cat for Mayor? In Harmony, California it’s Possible!

Freddy

By Diane Matsuura, CANIDAE Customer Service

There is a tiny town located on the California Coast off Highway 1 just south of Cambria, steeped in history and now little more than a bump in the road, but packed with charm and artistic flair. What once was a thriving dairy community in the early 1900s is now a bohemian artist community boasting a population of 18, which probably includes the local wildlife and a town cat. This is where the story gets interesting, as how many towns can boast they elected a cat for Mayor?

A large orange tabby striped Maine Coon cat named Freddy Cheenie Alfredo, Freddy for short, was a much loved and cherished town mascot. He lived his entire “nine lives” in Harmony, passing at a ripe old age of 22 years. Freddy loved to greet visitors to Harmony and could always be found lounging in a patch of sun in the gardens or in a shop window. Shoppers could buy a T-shirt or other Harmony souvenirs with his likeness.

The story goes that because of his celebrity status, Freddy decided to run for Mayor of Harmony (though this is a bit unclear). He ran unopposed in the election and won in a landslide victory. Freddy served as Mayor until his passing in 1995. His final napping site can be found behind the old creamery building where the local residents lovingly maintain a touching memorial in his honor.

Gatacita

However, in typical Harmony artistic fashion, a new, absolutely gorgeous black and white female kitty named Gatacita has taken over the role of “mascot cat” for Harmony. She has oodles of charm and purrsonality, and takes her role seriously as the official greeter to the fair town of Harmony. While this kitty likes to nap in the gardens Freddy was so fond of, she will also follow you from shop to shop and sit with you at your table while you rest or picnic.

With not a shy bone in her svelte feline body, Gatacita is extremely photogenic and loves having her photo taken. Gatacita wasn’t born in Harmony like Freddy was, but she was adopted by the entire town when her first owner passed away and she had nowhere else to go. She is much loved by the residents and visitors alike, and rumor has it she is planning to run for Mayor of Harmony in the next election, following in the pawsteps of the famous Freddy!

On your next road trip up or down the coast of California, stop by the unique town of Harmony and visit with Gatacita.  Dogs are welcome in Harmony too, but a hand-lettered sign reminds guests that dogs must be leashed. Cats on the other hand, may run free!

Read more articles by Diane Matsuura

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How My Dog Taylor Got Painted

By Diane Matsuura, CANIDAE Customer Service

This is the true story on how my Labrador Retriever, Taylor, got her portrait painted, but first I need give you a little bit of background information.  My very good girlfriend of 20 plus years, Trudy Soneson, is an artist.  She creates lovely paintings in oils.  I am a photographer.  I can photograph anything but I can’t paint, even walls with a roller, without making a mess.  I have always been in awe of those who can create art by drawing and painting. I digress, so let’s get back to the story. Taylor always loved to curl up in our patio chairs like a person to take a nap, and one evening she was curled up in her favorite chair in her favorite position watching us while we were eating dinner. Trudy and Eric (her husband) were our dinner guests that evening. 

Trudy, the artist she is, was inspired and said, “Take her picture and I’ll paint her.”  Jumping at the chance to have a portrait painted of my dog, I quickly snapped the photo through the patio door.  The photo didn’t turn out so well, seeing that the screen was also in the way, the glass was dirty with paw prints and it was getting dark.  However, Trudy’s finished painting of Taylor was so perfect and did justice to my beloved dog in a way that my photo never could.  Several years later Taylor passed away, and to have this perfect memory of her on that evening, preserved forever on canvas, means more to me than words can ever express.

I decided to write an article about Trudy – how and why she paints pet portraits – and share her thoughts with our readers here at the Responsible Pet Ownership blog. So here it is – her interview with me conducted at the CANIDAE office.

Question: How do you start a portrait, and do you need anything special?
Trudy: I want a clear photo of the pet with a good natural light source that emphasizes the bone structure and fur, especially around the face and eyes.  It’s very important to see the eyes because the eyes show the character of the pet more than anything else.  Multiple angles and positions are very helpful.

Q: How long does it take you to paint a portrait?
T: As a client you will need to be patient. Painting the portrait takes time. I like to have the client view the unfinished portrait during different stages. You want the client to be happy. They know their pet the best. For example, how they hold their ears, tail, etc., and it’s easier to make changes in the painting in the early stages.

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How I Feed My Pets

By Diane Matsuura, CANIDAE Customer Service Rep

Every day, many customer service conversations at CANIDAE revolve around dogs and cats: what to feed, how to feed, how much to feed, how to get a picky eater to eat, etc. A question I am frequently asked is “What formula of CANIDAE/FELIDAE do you feed your dogs/cats?” I currently share my home with three Labrador Retrievers and three cats. I have fed every formula that CANIDAE makes at one time or another to my pets, and they have all thrived on each variety. One of the great advantages the CANIDAE Natural Pet Food line offers is a wide range of formula choices to suit most dogs and cats. One formula isn’t necessarily better than another, but just a different choice.  All products are made with the same high quality ingredients and balanced nutrition.

I thought I would share what works for me and my pet family. Anyone owned by cats knows that if a cat doesn’t like a particular food, no matter how much we want them to eat a certain brand or formula, you can’t make them eat it. That being said, most cats really like the taste of FELIDAE.  I keep one bowl filled up with the FELIDAE Cat and Kitten formula, and one filled with the Grain Free pureSEA. The next month, I will offer the Chicken and Rice and the Grain Free pureELEMENTS.

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Breed Profile: New Guinea Singing Dog


By Ruthie Bently

I became aware of a newer “rare breed” of dog recently, when I was asked to write about the New Guinea Singing Dog for this blog. CANIDAE has actually been supporting several New Guinea Singing Dogs at the Tautphaus Zoo in Idaho Falls, Idaho for almost two years now. These dogs came to the zoo from their original owner who was unable to care for them because they were not fully domesticated.

Prior to CANIDAE sponsoring their exhibit, these handsome dogs were being fed any dog food the local grocery store donated. Now, CANIDAE team members Chris Milliken and Diane Matsuura make sure they are fed with the finest all natural nutrition available. CANIDAE is very happy to help these “threatened” dogs that have a unique voice, and this is their first opportunity to sponsor a zoo exhibit.

Although several kennel clubs recognize them, the New Guinea Singing Dog is not one I would suggest owning. According to the United Kennel Club (UKC) they should be 17 inches high (43 cm) and weigh 25 pounds (11 kg). They have a double coat, which ranges from red to brown, and some dogs have a mask. Their life expectancy is between fifteen and twenty years of age. Their group affiliation in the UKC is the Sighthounds and Pariah Dogs Group, and they are considered a rare breed. They can also be registered with the American Rare Breed Association, in the Spitz and Primitive Group, as a dog breed.

The New Guinea Singing Dog (aka NGSD) was brought to the island of New Guinea about 6,000 years ago by stone age aborigines. They had been isolated until about fifty years ago, and little is known about them. They are a primitive breed of dog, although they were tame enough to accompany prehistoric man on hunts. The NGSD predate the dingo by 2,000 years, but like the dingo it is believed they come from the subspecies of Indian wolf. Sir Edward Halistrom discovered them in 1957, and took the first pair from Papua-New Guinea to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. They were named for him (Canis hallstromi) and were reclassified in 1969 as a domestic dog breed, in the same subspecies as the dingo.

New Guinea Singing Dogs have not been studied in the wild. Because many consider them feral dogs, little is known about their social organization, behavior or history in the wild. When glimpsed in the wild, they have been seen singly or in pairs, never in a pack. Most of the NGSD in North America are descended from the original pair from the Taronga Zoo. Five others were taken to the Domestic Animal Institute in Keil, Germany from the Irian Java, and one was seen by a British climbing expedition below Mount Trikora in 1991. They have their own conservation group, and their status is “threatened.”

They are called Singing Dogs because of their voice. While they are able to howl like a wolf, they can modulate the pitch of their howls. They also trill, which has been compared to a sound made by the Asiatic Wild Dog. They do not repeatedly bark, but have a vocal range that includes whines, yelps and howls of a single note, which show a quality of synchronization. They blend their vocal tones and the howl can be spurred if the dog is excited or disturbed.

While it is said they can be loyal and affectionate dogs, they do have their detriments and I would not suggest having one as a family pet. They are still considered a wild animal by many, as they have strong roaming and predatory instincts, and will escape fenced areas. Training sessions can become difficult if prey is detected because of their drive to hunt, and they use not only their scent and sight but their hearing as well to find prey. Because of their incredible flexibility, they can get through any opening large enough to fit their head through. They explore their environment constantly and utilize all five senses.

New Guinea Singing Dogs are extremely intelligent and can become bored easily. They are a very active breed that needs lots of attention and exercise. If not properly trained they can be destructive. While they can develop a strong bond with a human they will become upset when separated. They have catlike qualities and show more independence than a more domesticated dog, so don’t expect them to come when you call. They need to be well-socialized early to tolerate humans and can be shy and aloof around strangers. They can also be dog aggressive, especially to their own sex, and there are reports of their misunderstanding another dog’s attempt to play with them.

Because New Guinea Singing Dogs live as long as they do, I would consider very carefully before owning one. Twenty years is a long time to live with a semi-domesticated dog that could become a handful very quickly.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

About the CANIDAE Customer Support Team


By Diane Matsuura and Beth Morgan

We’re not “JUST” Customer Service here at CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods, we’re more than that. At CANIDAE, Customer Service has always been a top priority for us. We have a small staff of caring individuals, real people, who are passionate about pet food and pets. Among us, we have a wealth of pet care and nutrition experience to draw upon, and we are nice people too (maybe we’re biased, but it’s true).

At CANIDAE, we aren’t an answering service or receptionist who answers the phones and transfers calls to someone more qualified, as many companies do. We are a small, personable and caring company, and we make every effort to talk to every client in person, by email and via the new online chat feature. Yes, sometimes you will have to leave a message on our phone system, but that just means that we are on the line helping another valued customer and we will call you back as soon as possible.

A customer service representative at CANIDAE wears many hats. We have to know our entire product line from top to bottom and be able to answer any nutrition and ingredient questions you may have about our products. We can assist you with coupon requests, frequent buyer and breeder program information, store locations and send you a free sample. We can also connect you with your local CANIDAE Sales staff and wholesale order department or distributor. We also offer retail sales support. Sometimes we have to be detectives and help you figure out what formula would be best for your pet. Occasionally the answer may be CANIDAE is not the right food for your pet, and we will be honest and tell you so. But what we try to be the most is a friend, someone to listen to your problems with your pets, share happy memories and experiences with, share your excitement of adopting a new pet, or sharing your sorrow over one who has passed away, and someone who really understands how important your pet is to you and your family.

There are a few things that you can do to make your experience with CANIDAE more productive and helpful. If you have a concern about one of our products, please make sure you have all the date and batch code information handy when you call. All products come marked with this information either on the bag or box, either front or back, or on the bottom of the can. We also love to hear from our customers who love our products, too. Send us a photo of your pet and a testimonial letter about why you and your pets love CANIDAE and we’ll post it on our website. We welcome helpful suggestions about our products and how they might be improved. It was customer suggestions that led us to offer an improved bag design that uses a Velcro closure, and encouraged us to formulate pet foods made without any grain.

What our jobs at CANIDAE Customer Service mean to us is the chance to talk to so many diverse people about their pets, from not only the United States and Canada, but many other countries as well, whereever CANIDAE is sold. Each of our callers is a new opportunity for us to grow as a Customer Service representative and as a person. You introduce us to new breeds, interesting questions and descriptions about where you live, your families and the pets that share your life. Our job is rewarding, sometimes frustrating, but always fascinating and never boring. Call us anytime 8:00am to 4:30pm PST. We love to hear from you, and thank you for choosing CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods for your pets.

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.