Category Archives: guest post

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

Mad over Maltese

Mad over Maltese


These tiny fluff balls will make you laugh out loud and drive you crazy. Best friend and protective- pampering parent, you will have to switch roles and shift gears with these sprightly creatures before blinking an eyelid.

“The tiniest dog Nature has ever produced –

Her coat of long hair, whiter than ermine,

Her movements exquisitely graceful and

Matchless elegance of appearance.”

(Vol. II, Canto 43, Orlando Furioso)

These lines were written by the Renaissance poet Ludovico Aristo. This popular dog has been a muse for many great artists. Its striking good looks and adorable behavior patterns have earned it many fans, and look at the irony, make us drool over it.

So every time I take my Chad for a walk, (Chad is my tiny rockstar, my Maltese by the way) I get dozens of ‘awwws’ and ‘oohs’ and “Oh my God! He is so cute!” So by the end of the walk I am exasperated at my invisible status beside him and he is well, high up in the clouds with all that lavish praise and compliments.

They all just go mad over the Maltese. So what is it about these tiny dogs that simply charms everybody?

Drop-Dead Good Looks

Silky mane and coat that looks straight out of a salon, the bright, round, button eyes and nose, and the bushy tail that keeps wagging. One cannot help but fall in love with a Maltese. Its good looks definitely earn it many doggie points.

The Maltese hair grows quite long and looks glamorous. But to maintain it and prevent the hair from getting matted requires regular bathing, grooming and trimming of the beautiful white coat and the head hair.

It is the show Maltese usually who have long and really well-groomed hair. Fancy hairstyles with bows and ribbons notch up their star quotient.

But make no mistakes. The pet Maltese with the short white or ivory mane and coat is just as adored. With the hair trimmed shorter, these toy dogs are slightly easier to maintain than the long-haired ones and oozes cuteness in their short hairstyles and droopy, bright eyes.

Small is SO Cute

Great things come in small packages. This dog definitely seems quite great to people for its tiny size. One of the biggest advantages of the Maltese is its tiny measurements. Weighing around four to five pounds and with a height of six to nine inches, these dogs can easily fit into a small apartment or a house with a small yard.

Don’t be surprised to find your Maltese hidden under the couch or in you washing basket, or on your white sofa (they might seem a little difficult to spot there though). Mine almost blends in with my white rug. I have to always be so careful not to step on it accidentally.

With all its cuteness and silliness packed in the small size, these dogs also tend to be very fragile because of their size. So with kids or other bigger dogs around ensure that your Maltese is not stepped upon, sat upon, hit hard or given a good shake by the bigger dogs as any of that can seriously injure this tiny breed.

Hilarious and Affectionate

A word of warning- Maltese are probably one of the toughest breeds to train and housebreak. However once you do, they are the most loyal, devoted and affectionate dogs you will find who will actually be your best companion.

Some of the things that my Maltese does is hilarious. I call them his attention-grabbing tactics. Maltese love to be pampered and feel very ignored if you do not talk to them or leave them alone for a couple of hours.

You will see them barking and whining and chewing everything in sight right from your rug to your footwear so yes it is funny, but beware, you do want your favorite clothes dug up and chewed upon.

Give the Maltese some attention and you will see it turn into the ultimate charmer it is, what with trying to do somersaults and licking your ears and even breaking into a tiny dance with its tail bouncing behind it!

And when you are down and low it will actually stand right by your side, doing everything it can to make you feel better. That is how caring and affectionate these tiny pooches can be. They are also great with children and guests, but will require some initial and intensive training for that. Otherwise they might snap and bark at anything and anyone new.

Fashionable and Feisty

Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 10.14.06 PM

A dog that understands fashion, it’s got to be a Maltese. These dogs are extremely fashion-conscious and honestly, I believe quite aware of their stunning looks.

A Maltese loves to be dressed up. Pick up cute plaid shirts and nice military jackets for your handsome Maltese or make your groovy girl look enchanting in polka dot dresses and princess skirts.

With that lustrous mane and coat, accessories can definitely not take a back seat. Ribbons, top knots, side-ponytail, hair-bows and hair clips make them look super-cute and stylish.

On a easy hair day, just brush your Maltese hair well and put a smart baseball cap or cute baby hat and step out with you fashionable and feisty toy dog.

Do watch its vanity issues though when it gets all that attention and more!

The Royal Lineage

Now did you know that the Maltese is called the “aristocrat of the canine world?” If you are a Maltese owner, you got to know that the Maltese has been around for a while now and boasts of quite an enviable lineage.

Worshiped by the ancient Egyptians and believed to have curative properties the Maltese was fondly called ‘the comforter’ in ancient Egypt (for its warm and affectionate nature). It was placed on the pillows of kings and queen when they were ailing to restore their health.

Doted on and loved by British queens they were the favorite pets, the lap dogs of the wealthy and traveled along with them everywhere and were served the choicest of foods. Another trivia, Maltese loves traveling. In America they first appeared as participants in the sophisticated Westminster Kennel Club shows. Thus we know their dignity, their elegance ultimately comes from their royal lineage.

The smallest and probably one of the most loved breeds of dog, the Maltese will win your hearts with its refined looks and cute tactics no matter how well-armed you are to resist it and you won’t be able to help but go mad over Maltese.

Author Bio:
Brian Zeng is a community manager and web presence strategist for Dog Love It, the best doggy supply store ever! He loves shopping for his lovable collie, whose name is Julie.

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5 Pet Projects to Bring the Family Together

Simple, constructive activities to make pets happier

PhotoSpin Visual Metaphors Objects © 2001 PhotoSpin

If your family is starting to get a little stir-crazy as summer winds on, it’s a good idea to find constructive ways to keep everybody occupied. If you’re looking for a fun project, why not do something for the furry and feathered friends in your life?

1. Build a cozy doghouse

Even if your dog spends most of his or her time inside, a nice snug doghouse can give them a welcome retreat that feels safe and secure. Doghouses are a snap to build with proper instructions essentially it’s just a wooden box but make sure your materials are appropriate. Pressure-treated wood is often treated with toxic chemicals, and steer clear of paint if your dog is prone to nervous licking. Also, be wary of using too much padding; dogs are perfectly comfortable without it, and it can be a haven for fleas and ticks.

The most important concern for your doghouse is temperature if you live in a hot climate, look for a more open, well-ventilated design, and use tin roofing to deflect sunlight. If it’s chilly, dark shingles will help soak up warmth and thicker walls will help insulate the interior. This is mainly a project for parents and older kids who can use tools safely.

2. Make bird feeders

Bird feeders, on the other hand, are a fantastic creative project even for toddlers. Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 3 tbsp corn syrup
  • æ cup flour
  • 1 tbsp agar agar (a gelatin substitute)
  • ? cup water

Mix to create the base of your bird feeder; then have kids knead in 4 cups of bird seed (take your time; this step is messy and a lot of fun). Coat a pie pan or cookie sheet with cooking spray, and then spread your feeder goop evenly. Kids can use cookie cutters or a plastic stylus to create designs for their feeders, and when they’re done, use a drinking straw to poke a hole in each one. Depending on the thickness, they should dry overnight then you can run a string through the hole you poked, and hang them up outside.

3. Install a pet door

This is another project for older kids, but its quite simple if you have the right tools. Stencil out a square of the appropriate size for your pet with a pencil and ruler, and then use a jigsaw to carve out your stencil. At the most basic, you can cover the exposed edges of the door with a simple rubber liner, and then attach a vinyl flap to the exterior with a door hinge. When you first install the doggy door, you never know who else you’ll let into the house, so use baby gates near the door for the first couple days, to limit the risk from raccoons and other wild animals.

4. Make pet toys

This is a great project for younger kids. For a sturdy, braided tug-of-war toy, a parent or older child can cut up strips of denim or old towels. Then, the whole family can braid the fabric into the desired shapes. They don’t last forever, but it’s a great way to put old scrap fabric to use.

Old socks can be used to create all kinds of toys. Stick a crumpled plastic water bottle inside one and tie it off to create a crackling toy that is satisfyingly noisy and crunchy. A sock soaked in beef broth and frozen can make a tasty (but messy) treat let your pet take it outside to beat the heat.

5. Build an armoire aviary

It can be tough to find a cage or aviary that is both attractive for you, and comfy for your pet and many common cage designs can make birds feel exposed and vulnerable (and cranky). Find an attractive dresser or armoire at your local thrift shop, and knock out the cabinets and rollers to hollow out the interior. (You can leave some interior struts to allow your birds to perch.) You can use a jigsaw to carve additional openings in the sides and back of the armoire. Then, use chicken wire to cover the openings in the dresser, and you’ve got a classy, personalized aviary that will better mimic the feeling of a home in the shady protection of a tree.


Mike Freiberg is a staff writer for HomeDaddys, a resource for stay-at-home dads, work-at-home dads, and everything in between. He’s a handyman, an amateur astronomer, and a tech junkie, who loves being home with his two kids. He lives in Austin.

Posted in DIY for pets, guest post | 3 Comments