Category Archives: dogs

How to Tell if You’re a Hopeless Pet Lover

By Linda Cole

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have a pet around. Not even when I went to college. Yep, I snuck my kitten in to be my dorm roommate. I admit to being a hopeless pet lover; it’s a label I’m happy to wear since I can’t seem to get all of the dog and cat hair brushed off my clothes. When a pet has captured our heart, the only thing we can do is look for those telltale signs that show how hopeless of a pet lover we’ve become. Take this fun quiz to see just how hopeless!

1. The color coded pie chart you made for household expenses (red), entertainment (blue), food (yellow) and pet expenses (green)…
A. Has way more green on it than any other color.
B. Was eaten by the dog, who mistook it for homework.
C. Has become the cat’s favorite place to sit since you canceled the newspaper to cut back on household expenses.

2. After you’ve met the new neighbors, you…
A. Can remember the names of their pets, but not the names of their kids.
B. Joke after they leave about their dog’s fancy collar and coat while adjusting your dog’s biker vest and Doggles.
C. Wonder if their pie chart looks like yours.

3. People know you have a dog just by looking inside your vehicle because…
A. All of the windows are “decorated” with nose prints and paw prints.
B. Chew toys, tennis balls, dog treats, leashes, water bowls and “dog doody pick up bags” litter the backseat.
C. You have to remove the blanket covering the passenger seat before allowing someone to sit there.

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Meet the Pets of CANIDAE Staff Members

By Julia Williams

Two animal loving friends, John Gordon and Scott Whipple, started the CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company in 1996. These “ordinary guys” and their families founded CANIDAE with a desire and a plan to make the finest natural pet food products possible. Today, the company is still family owned and operated, and still very much committed to providing dogs, cats and horses with premium quality pet food. It stands to reason, then, that everyone who works at CANIDAE is also an animal lover. Many employees even bring their dogs to work with them – because any task becomes infinitely more enjoyable with a canine friend by your side! We thought you might enjoy getting to know some of the “Pets of the CANIDAE staff,” so here they are:

Greg Henley: Max, 4 year old Maltese
What do you love most about your pet?  I love everything about him – he loves me unconditionally.
Does your pet have any quirks?  He is grouchy in the morning – don’t try to get him out of bed before he is ready.
What are your pet’s favorite activities?  He loves to play with his rope tug toy.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Playful
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “More canned food and TidNips please!!”



Kristine Matsuura: Hailey, 3 year old yellow Labrador

What do you love most about your pet? She is the sister I never had.
Does your pet have any quirks? She is a Princess and all the toys are hers.
What are your pet’s favorite activities? Going jogging with me, and going with me wherever I go.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Princess
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “May the bag never go empty!”

Diane Matsuura: Breezie, 6 year old yellow Labrador

What do you love most about your pet? She gives the best hugs.
Does your pet have any quirks? She hogs the bed or couch.
What are your pet’s favorite activities? She loves Splash Dogs Dock Diving.  Right now she is on maternity leave from sports and is home taking care of 6 puppies.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Mushy
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “The best food ever!”

Scott Whipple: Koda, 1 year old Yorkshire terrier

What do you love most about your pet? She cuddles with me on the couch.
Does your pet have any quirks? She doesn’t like baths and brushing.
What are your pet’s favorite activities? She loves to chase squirrels and lizards in the back yard.
What one word best describes your pet’s personality? Cuddly
If your pet could talk, what would they say about their CANIDAE food? “Treats are my favorite!”

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Two Acts of Loyalty after Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami

By Linda Cole

Natural disasters can happen in the blink of an eye, and people and animals caught in nature’s fury have their lives changed in a matter of minutes. Even with all the destruction, life goes on as stories of survival emerge from the rubble. Japan’s earthquake and tsunami devastated so many lives, but some were saved because of the devotion of dogs.

As an animal lover, when natural disasters happen I worry about the pets that are caught up in something they don’t understand. Pets that suddenly find themselves wandering through debris and shivering through cold nights with no shelter, food or clean water and no comforting voice from the ones they love.

Since the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, videos and stories of survival have been popping up on Facebook. One video in particular captured my attention. It shows two dogs left homeless by the devastation. One dog is injured and his friend stands guard over him in a true display of loyalty. When this video began to appear, the person posting it left a comment saying, “This is a hard video to watch. It’s heartbreaking.” So I passed it by not wanting to watch something I knew would make me cry. But it stuck with me as the days passed and I kept thinking about the dogs and wondering what their fate was.

The video was shot by a Japanese reporter and his cameraman surveying the destructive power of the tsunami in an area called Arahama. A dog approached but stayed a comfortable distance away from them. He gave a bark as if saying, “That’s close enough,” and went back to another dog lying in the background in front of a large metal barrel resting on its side. It’s obvious the dog was protecting his injured friend. Both dogs were muddy, wet, cold and probably hungry. No one knows how long they had been together, but it’s believed they knew each other. The uninjured dog wore a collar, so he was at least someone’s pet. The good news is, both dogs were rescued. The dog guarding his friend was taken to a shelter, and the injured dog was taken to a vet where he is being cared for.

One story of survival that has stayed with me recounted a 12 year old Shih Tzu named Babu and her owner, 83 year old Tami Akanuma, who rode out the earthquake in their home. Babu is not a dog who enjoys walks, but on the day of the earthquake, she insisted on going for a walk when the lights in the house began to flicker. Once outside, instead of following Tami, Babu yanked on her leash and went in the opposite direction towards a nearby hill. Each time Tami stopped to rest, Babu would urge her to keep moving by pulling on her leash to get Tami to move faster. Babu finally relaxed and stopped pulling, and Tami was amazed to have discovered they had walked a little over half a mile in just a few minutes. As she turned around to look down the hill, the tsunami crashed through her coastal town and Tami’s home was destroyed, along with everything else in the area.

Those of us who are close to our pets aren’t surprised by these two stories of devotion, but they are nonetheless humbling because they remind us how the strong bond we’ve built with our pets goes both ways. Even between two dogs.

I do think animals have an ability to predict the weather to a certain extent, and I’m sure Babu sensed the tsunami. She could have raced outside and left Tami behind – but she didn’t. Babu knew her job was to lead Tami to higher ground because of the impending danger she sensed. The uninjured dog in the first story could have taken off on his own to find shelter and food – but he didn’t. His devotion kept him by the side of his injured friend. Loyalty and love run deep once a bond and trust has been formed, and not even an earthquake’s destruction nor a tsunami could break their bond.

This isn’t a feel bad story. It’s a reminder to love your pet each and every day, and never take them for granted. It’s a reminder to “see” stray cats or dogs who are trying to survive the best they can because they could be someone’s lost pet. It’s a reminder to treat every animal with respect and realize how precious they all are. It’s a reminder to give the people and pets you love an extra hug. Life and security should never be taken for granted, because both can be changed in the blink of an eye.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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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.

Would You Like to Own the World’s Ugliest Dog?


By Julia Williams

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is one of the oldest, and most often repeated, sayings, and nowhere is it more evident than at the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. This internationally acclaimed contest is held every summer at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California. I lived in Petaluma for ten years and attended the event many times. It was a lot of fun, but it was also interesting to see just how much the owners (and the fairgoers) adored these hideously homely dogs.

To be crowned the winner of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, you must indeed be Ugly with a capital U – and these dogs definitely are! Many of these ugly dogs are hairless with odd tufts of hair here and there (often referred to as “Einstein hair”) and they usually have toothless grins or tongues that hang outside their mouths – in short, these ugly dogs have faces only a mother could love.

It got me to wondering, aside from this well-known contest whose past winners have achieved instant canine celebrity status, what the appeal is in owning an ugly dog. Some of these dogs are so ugly they make you laugh. And some are so ugly they make you shudder! In a society that values beauty so much, it’s fascinating to see ugly animals so revered. Can you imagine the uproar that would ensue if we humans held a “World’s Ugliest Person” contest? I have to laugh at this double standard; it’s not only okay to call a dog ugly, but we revel in their ugliness.

Do the owners of these ugly dogs love them even more because they’re so ugly, or do they fall in love with the dog’s “inner beauty” and become oblivious to the outside package? I don’t know. What I do know is that the World’s Ugliest Dog contest is immensely popular with pet owners and the general public alike. Contestants come from all over the U.S., from as far away as Florida. Animal Planet sponsors the contest and has broadcast the proceedings for the last several years. The World’s Ugliest Dog winner gets a $1,000 prize, a trophy, doggie bling (collars, leashes, bowls and toys) and worldwide fame, complete with talk show appearances, videos, glossy magazine write-ups, a professional photo shoot and a modeling contract with House of Dog. Whew!

This year marks the 22nd annual World’s Ugliest Dog contest, and judging by the entries posted on the official website, there is no shortage of homely dogs hoping to be crowned the King of Ugly (or Queen) and take home all of those fabulous prizes. Past World’s Ugliest Dog winner Rascal is back for another go at the title, and his family says “To us, Rascal is the most handsome being to ever live, and is a loving family member, but it’s in fun when he is called ugly.” And then there’s Handsome Hector, whose motto is “eat like a pig, look like a rat and lounge like a bloated seal!” You can see all of the ugly dogs vying for this year’s title of World’s Ugliest Dog here.

Call me shallow, but I’m just not sure I could ever fall in love with an ugly dog, or an ugly cat for that matter. Inner beauty notwithstanding, I just really prefer my pets to have hair…and teeth…and tongues that stay inside their mouths instead of lolling lopsidedly out one side like a drunken sailor. Then again, maybe I just haven’t met the right ugly dog, the one who’s “so ugly he’s cute.” Since there are so many other pet lovers willing to overlook the ugly canines of the world, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Would you – could you? – love the World’s Ugliest Dog?

Photos courtesy of the World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest, Sonoma-Marin Fair, Petaluma, California

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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.

The Benefits of Pets for Teenagers


By Suzanne Alicie

Everyone has heard of the positive benefits of pets for the elderly, but what other demographic can you think of that may need some unconditional love and understanding? Why, teenagers of course! They often feel misunderstood, unloved and just plain dumped on as they are caught between being children and being adults. Teenagers are trapped between being responsible for their decisions and having to ask permission for the things they want to do. Pets are a very positive interaction for troubled teens, providing love and emotional support as well as teaching responsibility.

My oldest son is now 16. Just after he turned 13, he went through my divorce and the destruction of all that was stable and safe in his life. We were both thrown into turmoil. Anger and depression were affecting my son’s choices, and he made quite a few bad decisions.

He began misbehaving at school, dabbling in drugs and just generally choosing to be around people who were a bad influence. I felt like I was losing my son. The sweet boy who smiled and laughed so easily was becoming an angry and out of control teenager who more often wore a scowl. He stopped communicating with me, and I was at a loss as to what to do. Punishments and talking didn’t seem to help; everything I said went in one ear and out the other.

We found a place to live with a friend, and lo and behold there was a dog. Not only that, but a dog that was shy and a bit insecure, and more often than not could be found hiding under a bed. This dog was Bear. This wonderful patchwork dog that didn’t seem to fit in anywhere and lived on the fringes of the family became part of my son’s salvation.

My son instantly began working with Bear to get her to be more sociable, even when he wanted nothing to do with other people himself. He took on the responsibilities of taking care of her, and before I knew it everywhere my son was there was Bear. They formed an intense friendship, he talked to her and he petted her, and Bear? Well she listened to him, she didn’t judge and she loved him no matter what. She absorbed the love that the troubled teenager had to give but couldn’t find a way to express to people.

The boy and the dog formed their own unit of support and love that was a doorway to my son learning to express his emotions. Because of Bear’s nervousness, my son learned to express anger without yelling or throwing things; he learned to keep his composure because of his love for this dog. It was a friendship that helped him see the future instead of the destruction in the past. In many ways Bear helped save my sanity by being a source of unconditional love and understanding for my teenage son.

To this day, there is no one that Bear loves more than her boy. She is protective of him and always full of love and excitement when he comes into the room. She loves to sit beside him or try to get all 50 pounds of her into his lap to be petted. Not only did Bear transform my son, he also transformed her into a real family dog that loves her people and interacts with us all regularly. She still prefers to sleep under the bed, but if a hand is placed near the floor she will scoot over and lick it before going back to sleep.

In several cities across the United States there are programs for troubled youth that incorporate caring for pets into their programs. Teachers Pet, AAT and many other programs provide animals for teens to interact with in order to learn responsibility. In these programs you will find cats, dogs and even horses. Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers and amazingly, those lazy teenagers who don’t ever want to do anything but listen to music and hang with their friends have proven to be the most dedicated and loving of shelter volunteers. Many troubled teens go on to be dedicated to animals in their adult lives as well, continuing to volunteer and do things to make the world a better place for their animal friends.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

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.