Category Archives: Tamara McRill

Wag-Worthy Dog Benefit Ideas

By Tamara McRill

Who doesn’t love a rollicking good time that ends with a huge doggie smile – all to benefit a good cause? As dog lovers, we are often a part of charitable canine organizations or wish we could help raise funds for specific doggy needs. Yet it can be hard to come up with fun ways to get people to participate.

Here is a list of dog benefit ideas that you can whip out the next time your favorite shelter, pet charity or dog in need deserves a little organized help. Each of these has activities that are dog-themed and/or allows dogs to participate. Otherwise, how could we call them wag-worthy?

Dog Walks/5k Run Events 

Many cities across the country have these events, and a 5k walk or run might work in your town, too. One way to raise money through this event is to get your participants to take pledges for distance increments or if they finish the race. You could even have a box for people to donate needed items. One way to spice up this event is to have runners come in costume – and their dogs, too! You can either pick a theme or let it be anything goes.

Make sure you train your dog for the event, just like you wouldn’t go run a marathon without being an experienced runner. Although dogs may seem ready-made to tackle a long run, they can also get hurt or become ill if they don’t build up their endurance. Also, be sure you train by actually running with your dog, so they are used to your rhythm.

Mini Pet Fairs 

What better way to spark up a fun atmosphere of charitable giving than with a fair? You can have games for the dogs, like “find the stuffed animal” or agility contests. Have supporting companies set up booths as vendors. Pet fairs can also feature adoptions.

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Do Dogs Fall in Love Like in the Movies?

By Tamara McRill

Remember that romantic kiss scene in Lady and the Tramp? You know the one…where they are eating a big plate of spaghetti and unknowingly slurping away at the same noodle, until their snouts meet in a smooch. Then Tramp noses the last meatball across the plate to Lady.

Aww. So adorable, right? Not to kill the cuteness factor, but have you ever wondered whether dogs can really fall head-over-paws in love like that?

Doggy love is a hard topic to find solid research on, maybe because it’s hard to qualify the emotion separate from simple affection. A lot of scientists seem to just flat out not believe in it.

Anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Social Lives of Dogs, believes that dogs can fall in love. In her book, she tells the story of Sundog and Bean, two dogs that met each other by chance and only had the pleasure of each other’s company for a brief period of time. Bean’s owner was a builder and they were off as soon as the job was finished.

Sundog would still faithfully wait to hear the sound of the vehicle Bean’s owner drove, but to no avail. He stopped eating and slept more often. Even bringing in another female dog didn’t interest him. As for Bean, her owner believed she was yearning for Sundog, even to the extent that she would run away, looking for him.

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What is Dog Water Therapy?

By Tamara McRill

Who can resist the joyous tongue-lolling grin dogs get when they play in water? Not me… and I’m guessing that as a pet lover, not you either! Turns out this canine fun – in the form of dog water therapy – can also help the health of our pets.

Sounds like a great match, so let’s explore just what dog water therapy is, what you can expect and how it can help with pet rehabilitation.

Splish Splash

Well, it’s sort of like taking a bath. Dog water therapy – also known as canine hydrotherapy – is most commonly performed in a small heated pool. A dog’s muscles are similar to ours, in that they can benefit from the warmth of heated water. Most hydrotherapy pools are also treated with a chemical such as chlorine.

Most therapy center pools have either a ramp for dogs to get in and out of the pool, a hoist to lift your dog out, or both. If your dog has difficulty walking, be sure to ask about this at centers you are checking out.

Some pools also have jets to spray underwater, which is great for building strength. Also something to ask about, if it meets your dog’s medical needs. Always be sure to consult with your veterinarian before starting any type of therapy for your dog and to get your vet’s recommendations on what types of pool features are best for your pet’s treatment.

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No Yard? 5 Ways to Still Exercise Your Dog

By Tamara McRill

While a big backyard can be wonderful for excising our dogs, a lot of pet owners just don’t have that luxury. That’s something I learned when we downsized from two lots of running space to a teeny tiny yard.

Luckily, I was able to find several solutions that worked for us, as well as some that would also work for any pet owner who has more pent-up dog energy than grass square footage.

1. Leash Up and Head Out

It might be an obvious solution, but taking your dog to a place where they can exercise certainly solves the problem. If you don’t have access to a dog park or are unable to walk your dog for long distances, then consider a friend’s yard. We make use of a neighbor’s fenced-in backyard on occasion, so my Wuppy can get in some of the free running he’s used to.

2. Hire Help

Sometimes time is an added problem, along with little yard space. If you ever run into a situation where you just get too busy to take your dog out to walk or play, then consider hiring a dog walker or taking them to a doggie daycare. That way, your dog gets all the exercise they need and deserve, and you don’t have to feel guilty about being so busy. Plus, you get to spend your spare time snuggling with your pet!

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Patriotic Dog Crafts for July 4th

By Tamara McRill

What could be more natural than pairing dogs with a day dedicated to independence, patriotism and love of our country? After all, our furry friends are the epitome of freedom, loyalty and love. At least that’s how my mind works, and so my patriotic canine crafting theme for the Fourth of July was born. These easy crafts range from dog-themed to actually for the dogs, with a little in between.

Uncle Sam Dog Hat

This was my favorite project, because it produced such adorable pictures and inspired the final craft. I started with one of those dollar store cloth hats, but you could easily make one from construction paper. Just be sure to have a camera and dog treats handy – I used CANIDAE Chicken and Rice TidNips™ to reward Wuppy for sitting pretty.

Supplies: Uncle Sam hat, white snow batting or cotton balls, glue gun, glue sticks, and 1 ½ foot of string or elastic.

1. Pull off enough batting to make two sections of pouf white “hair” to hang around your dog’s ears.

2. With the glue gun, glue each section to the inside brim of your hat, so it hangs down like hair, one section on the left and one on the right. Allow glue time to dry.

3. Pull off another section of batting, enough to make a goatee. Hot glue the goatee to the center of your string or elastic. Let the glue dry, then tie the goatee on your dog’s head.

4. OPTIONAL: You can also glue the string or elastic to the hat, like a chin strap, if you want your pet to wear the hat for more time than just picture taking. Loop it around from your dog’s head to chin, to measure the right length.

Firecracker Dog Treat Favors

Since I was handing out treats to get Dusty and Wuppy to pose for pictures, I decided they needed their own rocket favor containers. They were entirely too willing to pose with this craft!

Supplies: toilet paper or paper towel roll, small section each of red and blue poster board or scrapbook paper, white printer paper, scissors, tape, glue gun, 3 inches of string, and markers or paint.

1. Wrap the white paper around your toilet paper roll and tape it where the paper meets. Trim the excess paper off the top of the tube with scissors.

2. Decorate covered roll with markers or paint and write your dog’s name on it.

3. Take one of your poster boards or scrapbook paper and cut a half circle that is 3 ⅓ inches on the flat side. This is going to be the firecracker’s pointed cap.

4. Fold the half circle perfectly in half, tip-to-tip. Tape it where the flat bottom now meets in two sections.

5. Put a bead of glue along the top edge of your toilet paper roll and set the newly made point cap on top, with the point facing up.

6. For the feet: Cut out three or four identical feet from your poster board or scrapbook paper, for your firecracker or rocket to stand on. These should be an inch across at the top and taper where they will stand at the bottom.

7. Tape the string to the inside top corner of one of the legs, if you want a firecracker. You can skip this step if you want a rocket.

8. Cut 3 or 4 slits (depending on how many legs you made) evenly up the bottom of your tube.

9. Insert legs, with the narrowest point facing down.

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Millionaires Prefer Dogs to Cats; Should They Reconsider?

By Tamara McRill

As it turns out, the pet most likely to be shedding fur in the lap of luxury may not fit very well on a human lap at all. A recent survey done by the Spectrem Group shows that millionaires overwhelmingly pick dogs as their pet of choice: 58% own dogs, while only 37% are cat owners.

That’s a big difference in pet ownership from the rest of the country. Humane Society statistics show that 39 percent of U.S. households own dogs, while 33 percent own cats. But those households actually own more cats total than dogs: 8.2 million more cats, to be exact. This is because feline households are more likely to have two cats, while canine households are more likely to have only one dog.

So why do millionaires prefer dogs over cats? Are they missing out on something the rest of the country gets about cats?

Looking for Love and Loyalty

One of the theories floating around is that millionaires might prefer the unconditional love and loyalty dogs give them. A love that is unattached to their ginormous bank balance. That is something you’ll certainly get in spades from most dogs.

But here’s a secret most cat owners could tell these millionaires: cats love deeply and faithfully too. Now I don’t know if it takes longer for a cat to become deeply attached to its human, since I have always been a very hands-on pet owner. I do know, from having many cats in my youth, that kitties can love just as fiercely as dogs. Maybe it does come down to having the time to play and bond.

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