Category Archives: guest post

10 Reasons To Run With Your Dog


Hey there! Emma the GBGV here from to howl about the benefits of humans running with their dogs. Dogs love to run, and actually, people love to run too if you watch young people, but somewhere along the way many decide they dislike running. Nevertheless, if you run, or want to start running, make sure and take your dog along with you.

As always, before starting any new exercise program, please consult with your doctor and your veterinarian. Keep in mind what breed of dog you have. My Kuvasz sister Katie ran as far as fifteen miles with Mom, but my sister Bailie and I run three to six. If you have a pug, running may be out because of their nose/breathing situation. Use common sense when deciding on your canine running partner. Start your pup out on shorter runs like a mile or two and let them work up to longer runs, just as humans do to keep them from getting injured and to build their stamina.

Why run with your dog? I have ten great reasons listed below:

  1. FUN! Dogs love fun and we love to run. Our enthusiasm will help you enjoy running as well.
  2. Cardio. Running is a great cardio workout for you and your dog. You will both benefit from getting that heart rate up and pumping.
  3. Bonding. As with any sport you do with your dog, it helps the two of you bond. It will be something you both learn to do together as a team and look forward to doing.
  4. Security. Most criminal types will avoid dogs. Why attack a person running with a dog when there are plenty of others running alone. Even a smaller, normally friendly dog may surprise you and suddenly become a guard dog if the need should arise.
  5. No excuses. Human running partners always find excuses not to run – too hot, too cold, something suddenly came up, etc. Dogs never have an excuse not to run unless they are sick or injured.
  6. Mental stimulation. Running together gets the mind going. The dog needs to pay attention to you and your signals, you need to keep an eye on what your canine running partner is up to, thus keeping your minds busy. The boredom disappears and you no longer have time to think about how much longer or why you shouldn’t keep running.
  7. Hill and speed drill trainer. Dogs love hills and they love speed drills, the things many runners dread. If you let your dog be your leader, he will show you how to maintain your pace uphill and how to sprint between lamp posts or telephone poles for speed drills. It becomes a small competition between the two of you rather than something you dread.
  8. Motivation. Dogs don’t start whining about the run being too long or needing to run slower. We are like energizer bunnies and we want to keep on running until we get home. You will naturally want to please your dog which means you keep on running too.
  9. No unnecessary chatter. Dogs don’t talk your ears off about stupid stuff while you run. As a matter of fact, we rarely say a woof. You can talk to us the entire run or say nothing, we don’t care.
  10. FUN! Did I mention fun? Give it a try. Actually, try running with your pup for a few weeks so you have time to get a routine going. I almost guarantee you, you will both love it and be running partners for life!
Posted in dogs, guest post | 9 Comments

Overcoming Pet Winter Woes

Dog and grey cat on the windowLike humans, pets can experience winder doldrums. Even those living in warmer weather regions are still affected by seasonal changes, which can be especially tough on dogs and cats–particularly those that are used to spending time outdoors.

Beyond the obvious challenge of pets getting less exercise during the winter months, dogs and cats often experience less emotional stimulation during this period and can suffer a variety of adversities, including excessive weight gain, irritability, anxiety and even clinical depression. This can lead to a variety of unsavory behaviors and dissatisfaction for all involved. The more outdoor-oriented the pet, the higher probability that these and other problems will present and persist through the season.

Fortunately, there are a few simple things pet owners can do to physically engage and psychologically stimulate their pets and make everyone happier during the long, cold winter months. FETCH! Pet Care CEO, Paul Mann, offers these suggestions:

Indoor & Outdoor Exercise

Most dog breeds need to go outside 2-3 times a day, not only to relieve themselves, but also to get some form of exercise and sensory stimulation.  Dogs are more likely to go outside in nearly any kind of weather and often love a romp in the snow.  Taking your dog outdoors will trigger its natural play instincts. Running, jumping and chasing are natural ways to energize your pet, burn calories and boost metabolism.  If you’re not up to the task amid Mother Nature, consider hiring a professional dog walker to happily take on the duty.  Indoors, tried-and-true games like fetch, tug-of-war and wrestling can also serve as a great workout that also stimulates a pet’s appetite.

Cats also love to pounce and play, and if they’re stuck in the house you can easily brighten their day with 10-15 minutes of play each day. String, laser pointers, objects on strings and other enticing toys dragged around get your cat into chase mode, keep her busy and burning energy. Find or install a perch by a window where your cat can watch the birds. For those cats that pine to be outdoors, the marketplace has an abundance of outdoor enclosures that also allows cats to run, roam and prance freely in the invigorating fresh air. Of course, moderate the time spent in these enclosures based on the winter weather conditions.

For both dogs and cats, keep a set of toys and laser pointer handy for an energized and sustained play session, either indoors or out, at least once daily. When outdoor play just isn’t an option, there are a number of motorized animal treadmills on the market today that are entirely enjoyable and effective for exercising both Fido and Felix.

Counting Calories

If your dog or cat doesn’t get outdoors as much in the winter as they normally do, it likely doesn’t need to eat as much food. Reducing food and calorie intake generally means less weight gain and more energy.  If you often give your pets treats, consider hiding them inside toys, such as freezing kibble inside a “Kong,” to give them prolonged busy work.

As with humans, weight maintenance is all about portion control. Feed your pet using a designated measuring cup so that you know exactly how much food they’re consuming each day. If you still aren’t getting the desired results, call the pet food company for dietary recommendations to ensure you aren’t over-feeding—especially as seasonal dietary requirements change when a pet becomes less active. Automated pet feeding systems are also helpful. These tech tools utilize a wireless tag attached to a pet’s collar to regulate and monitor one or more pet’s food intake to ensure the pet isn’t eating too much or too little at once or throughout the day—also keeping multiple pets away from each other’s food.

Let There Be Light

Pets react to illumination just like humans do.  Their energy level increases when the light is brighter. According to Animal Behavior College, “The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals found that approximately 40 percent of dog owners saw a considerable downturn in their pet’s moods during the winter months” and that related symptoms in pets “typically manifest as behavioral changes such as inappropriate soiling, aggression, lethargy and separation anxiety.” The report notes that “Light is intimately tied to the functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands, and can stimulate the body to release hormones that have an uplifting effect on mood.” If it’s too cold to go out, simply open the drapes and let the natural light in, turn up your indoor lights, and consider replacing bulbs with the full spectrum or daylight variety to better simulate a daytime environment. A company called Pawsitive Lighting, has even developed a light box to help conquer those wintertime blues.

Animal-Rousing Aromas

Scented toys can really engage an animal’s interests and natural stalking instincts, also keeping them occupied and mentally focused as they try to find the source of the smell.  Luckily dogs respond to a variety of smells and there are seemingly infinite availability of toys that engage canine olfaction—alone and in combination with other senses that can be concurrently engaged.  A game of hide and seek can go a long way with your pooch!

For cats that respond well to catnip, there are catnip and other “play sprays” that can be squirted onto indoor climbing structures, cardboard boxes, and scratching posts.  A multi-story cat climber or “tree” with strategically placed low-cal treats or scented play toys can readily get kitty jumping from level to level and its heart pumping in kind.

With just a little planning, you can help ensure your pet’s winter season remains happy and healthy, with a great quality of life for everyone in the household.

Paul Mann is the Founder and CEO of Fetch! Pet Care—the nation’s largest and most trusted franchisor for professional pet sitting, dog walking, and pet fitness/exercise services—serving thousands of pets and pet parents throughout the United States from coast to coast. He may be reached online at:


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How Pets Can Improve Your Health

Peaceful coexistenceExpert cites scientifically-proven therapeutic, physical and emotional health benefits of loving and caring for a pet

Pet ownership runs far deeper than simply caring for a possession. Yes, the sheer responsibility of caring for a pet has notable benefits in and of itself. But, pets also become bona fide family members with which we establish genuine relationships—incomparable emotional bonds that can have extraordinarily positive physical and psychological impacts on humans.

Below, Paul Mann, Founder and CEO of FETCH! Pet Care, spotlights many of the well-proven therapeutic and health benefits of pets, as reported on

  • The average domestic pet, such as a dog, cat—even a goldfish—can provide many therapeutic and health benefits. Pets can ease loneliness, reduce stress, promote social interaction, encourage exercise and playfulness, and provide unconditional love and affection. Caring for a pet may even help you live longer.
  • The American Heart Association has linked the ownership of pets, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity.

Studies have also found that:

  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
  • People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
  • Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
  • Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.

While people with dogs often experience the greatest health benefits, a pet doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and lower pulse rate.

For children, pets provide many emotional and physical benefits, including:

  • Children who grow up with pets not only have less risk of allergies and asthma.
  • Many also learn responsibility, compassion, and empathy from having pets.
  • The mere presence of pets at home can help provide a sense of security in children. Having an ever-present dog or cat, for example, can help ease separation anxiety in children when mom and dad aren’t around.
  • Studies have also shown that pets can help calm hyperactive or overly aggressive kids.
  • Playing with a pet can even be a doorway to learning for a child. It can stimulate a child’s imagination and curiosity. The rewards of training a dog to perform a new trick, for example, can teach kids the importance of perseverance.

For older individuals, pets can play an important role in healthy aging by:


  • Helping you find meaning and joy in life. As you age, you’ll lose things that previously occupied your time and gave your life purpose. You may retire from your career or your children may move far away. Caring for a pet can bring pleasure and help boost your morale and optimism. Taking care of an animal can also provide a sense of self-worth. Choosing to adopt an animal from a shelter, especially an older dog or cat, can add to the sense of fulfillment, knowing that you’ve provided a home to a pet that may otherwise have been euthanized.
  • Staying connected. Maintaining a social network isn’t always easy as you grow older. Retirement, illness, death, and moves can take away close friends and family members. And making new friends can get harder. Dogs especially are a great way for seniors to spark up conversations and meet new people.
  • Boosting vitality. You can overcome many of the physical challenges associated with aging by taking good care of yourself. Pets encourage playfulness, laughter, and exercise, which can help boost your immune system and increase your energy.

“With such a vast number of benefits associated with pet ownership, how wonderful it would be for every home in America to have a domestic animal to take care of and love…and to be loved by,” notes Mann. “While schedules can make it difficult for some to bear the responsibility of a pet, resources such as professional in-home pet walkers and sitters are available to ensure Fido and Felix not only receive food, water and outdoor time, but also love, affection and even physical fitness when the owner is away for extended periods. Such services make it feasible for individuals and families to own pets, and enjoy the copious physical and emotional benefits related thereto, when they otherwise could not.”

Authors Lawrence Robinson, Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

Paul Mann is the Founder and CEO of Fetch! Pet Care—the nation’s largest and most trusted franchisor for professional pet sitting, dog walking, and pet fitness/exercise services—serving thousands of pets and pet parents throughout the United States from coast to coast. He may be reached online at:

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Is fostering the answer? We think it is.

Millie at shelterNEW JERSEY – Animal shelters are full, they have no space, they often have no money, and they have a small amount of dedicated volunteers. Animals in the tri-state area are euthanized daily, rescue groups are unable to save as many lives as they wish, and animals spend years in boarding kennels while awaiting adopters to fall in love with them. Many of these boarding animals are forgotten. There is an estimated 3-4million pets euthanized each year in US animal shelters. That’s 10,000 per day on average. There must be a way to curb at least some of this. There is. Fostering.

There is a strong lack of homes willing to open their doors to fostering a shelter pet. Maybe it’s because they assume that a shelter animal is “broken”, or that they think they would never be able to give the animal up to an adopter, it would break their heart. The former could not be further from the truth. And the latter is selfish. Imagine the heart exploding with happiness that the beautiful pet you have supported and loved, has found forever love with a great family. Look at tail wag.

Many shelter animals are down on their luck, and need a second chance. They have lived in homes before, they have lived with children, other pets, and life was great! But perhaps their human passed away, or maybe they fell on hard times and just couldn’t afford pet care any longer. And now Muffy or Fluffy or Spike or Spot is sitting in a cage wondering what on earth happened. Sure, there are some shelter pets who sadly have never felt love, or the affection of a human before. Some were abused or neglected. But all of them still have hope, they wag their tails, they purr. One thing they all have in common is the dangerous waiting game. Will they get sick in the shelter? Will they go crazy if they are there too long? Will they gain bad behaviors because they are not receiving the natural love, attention and comforts that a home should provide? Will they make it out alive at all?

How the animals end up in the shelter in the first place is a societal problem that we alone cannot fix. But if people opened their homes to shelter pets we could save a bunch of lives and help animals transition into forever homes much more easily. That at least would be a start till our society puts a higher value on the lives and existence of our furry friends, till the law stands up for our 4-legged buddies, till shelters are no longer overflowing with the unwanted.

Fostering is a wonderful experience. As a foster parent, you can set certain guidelines with the rescue group as to what type of animal you prefer. A certain breed, age, sex, temperament, that you think will fit into your home. If you work full time and already have a dog, you can always request a dog-friendly foster pet who is house-trained. You will have the full support of the rescue group. But you must also give them full support in return. You must make a minimum time commitment (some rescues require 3 months, some 6 months). Your job as a foster is to guide the pet into being the best it can be, to get it ready for a forever home. That could involve teaching a dog to stay off the couch or walk better on leash, or teaching a cat to welcome other pets or to play, or simply to teach trust and love.

For an adopter, it makes the process a little easier. There is less guessing. We are certainly not suggesting that potential adopters should shy away from shelters when making adoption decisions. We LOVE shelters and wish more people would consider adopting a pet direct from a shelter, instead of using it only as a dumping ground. But for some, they need to know more specifics that a shelter often times cannot provide. When a pet lives in a foster home, it has a better chance of showing it’s personality, of displaying more natural behaviors. An adoptee can be told if that pet likes children, what commands it knows, how it acts in a dog park, what it’s favorite game or past time is, how it is with car travel, what it acts like when strangers enter the home, whether it needs a home with adults only, etc. Some of these traits can be noted by a shelter, but to many the transition from shelter directly to home is one that results in many adopters returning pets.

A pet needs time to decompress, to learn trust, to “get over” the shelter experience. This may be easy for some pets, and not so easy for others. A patient and loving foster home can help them through this process. Each rescue group is different with the type of support it offers it fosters. Some pay for all medical bills, some even pay for food. But all are ready with any help and advice they can provide. The rescue will promote the pet on social media and it’s website, as well as on sites such as If appropriate, the pet would also be part of adoption events where the general public can visit the pet. It is always helpful if the foster also promotes the pet to their contacts. They are the best ambassador for that pet.

One example of a wonderful dog that would flourish in a foster home is Millie. She was on the kill list in NYC and was pulled by A Pathway to Hope Rescue, after Rock & Rawhide advocated for her life. A great dog with so much potential, she is currently staying at A Hotel for Dogs in Middletown NJ, a doggie day care facility. She spent 2.5 months in the shelter, and now almost 1 month at the Hotel, where she is doing great. But it is time for Millie to find a home! 2 years old, sweet, affectionate, listens to commands, obedient, healthy, loves to play, walks great on leash, and loves the car. Yet she’s just one of hundreds, actually one of thousands of dogs in boarding today. Lucky enough to have their lives saved. Unlucky enough that they are still in limbo….waiting.

Consider fostering. Consider adopting. Consider volunteering at your local animal shelter or rescue group. And always, hug your pets a little tighter, knowing they are the very lucky ones.

About Rock & Rawhide
Rock & Rawhide aims to increase adoptions and quality of life for dogs and cats in shelters, by providing distraction therapy and noise/stress reduction through the donations of toys, tough chew items, Kongs, Nylabones, bones, rawhides, blankets and more. If a dog is chewing, it’s not barking! If a cat is playing, it’s not meowing! Less noise = less stress. In turn, dogs and cats can pass their evaluations at shelters, and show more of their personality, making them more adoptable. We collect items through regular donations, music gigs, visual art shows, culinary events, DJ events, drop box programs, and more.

About A Pathway to Hope Rescue
A Pathway to Hope is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and adoption of abandoned dogs and cats, with a special focus on south to north rescue of northern breed dogs, the rescue of stray cats, and community outreach to further the cause of rescue.

About Hotel For Dogs
Dedicated to providing your dog with only the very best in lodging, play, and love. An owner-operated facility, staffed by hard-working, energetic dog lovers. It’s not enough for us to simply provide your dog with a little space while you’re away. We want them wagging their tails, making new friends, and singing doggy farewells when you come to pick them up – because we’re dog owners too and we know how hard it is to leave them.

Posted in guest post, people helping animals | 2 Comments

Dog-Owner Conversations May Be Possible in Near Future

If you are honest, you probably have to admit that on at least one or two occasions, you found yourself wishing your dog could speak. Although true canine lovers become quite adept at understanding what type of bark indicates which need or want, let’s face it, it would be much easier if our pets could simply communicate their thoughts with different words, just like we do. For example, wouldn’t it be great if your pooch could say “okay, I’m tired of this game now, let’s play something else,” or “my bed is getting lumpy, do you think it’s time for a new doggie mattress?”


Although your first thought may be that reading the mind of your pooch is something that only exists within the confines of a science fiction movie, this may not necessarily be true. A campaign was recently launched by the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery to raise funds for the purpose of designing a specific device that the organization refers to as “No More Woof.” It is believed that this device may have the ability to translate the thoughts of your puppy or dog into English words that you can easily understand.
As you might suspect, the device is still in its developmental stage, and it is not yet known whether it will work exactly the way its creators have anticipated. However, the concept is scientifically sound and initial tests showed substantial promise. If successful, the invention will revolutionize communication between dog and man forever.

At first appearance, No More Woof resembles a standard headset that one would see in an accessory pack for various electronic products. It fits comfortably on to the dog’s head, provided he or she will tolerate it, and it is through this headset that the device will ideally pick up the animal’s brain waves. This is accomplished through sensors that are placed in the headset, and initial testing shows that they can translate certain thought patterns, such as “I am hungry” or “I am tired” from barks to English. Additional testing has shown that the device can also tell when a dog is curious about another person and wondering whether or not the stranger should be trusted.

An EEG is technically what is used to make the aforementioned translations, and then a loudspeaker is put in place through which the animal’s thought patterns are spelled out into English words.
Maria De La Croix, the leader of the Swedish group that is undertaking the project, stated that their reasons for wanting to develop the device were purely practical. Those involved are not interested in simply creating a gadget for the sake of novelty, but rather their common goal is owner-pet communication, which would ultimately revolutionize the relationship between man and dog.

However, it is important to understand that the device is still in its inception stage, and therefore there is not yet any definitive proof that it will work exactly as anticipated. In other words, it is
technically a working prototype. As with any new invention, there may be snags that will have to be addressed along the way, but the preliminary evidence is promising. Numerous dog owners eagerly await the finished product, and many of them are probably hoping that thoughts such as “please let me out or there is going to be a mess on your rug,” will be among one the thought patterns that the device will be able to effectively translate. Because preliminary tests have offered positive results, dog lovers all around the world have every reason to believe that one day they may be able to understand and respond to what their pooch is thinking.

Guest author Melissa Turner, for catchFred, “The Go-To Place for All Things Dogs. Dedicated to the health, happiness, and well-being of man’s best friend.”

Posted in dogs, guest post, Pet Tech | 1 Comment