Monday, December 30, 2013

Love dogs in books? 4 Things Writers Keep in Mind When Putting a Dog in the Story (Guest post!)

(post written by Susan Meier)

Barbara Wallace, Shirley Jump and Jackie Braun and I had a blast writing THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER. We all agreed that Charlie, the Jack Russell Terrier, was the cutest thing in the world. And he gave the story a layer of emotion we knew wouldn’t have existed without our wonderful boy!

But we also learned a few things about putting a dog in a story.

My biggest take away was that an author who wants to put a pet in a book needs to give the dog a job!

Readers who love dogs know they aren’t merely cute window dressing. Lassie and Old Yeller were stars. In real life, dogs are beloved family members. They have personalities. They’re smart. And they are definitely part of the action! The story for THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER didn’t gel until we realized that cute and lovable Charlie couldn’t just walk from story to story. He had to play a part. And what’s more fun than a pup who realizes the people he’s with belong together forever as friends and lovers – life partners. Dogs are intuitive. Dogs are love wrapped in fur. Making Charlie a matchmaker was a perfect fit for both him and the story!

Barbara Wallace’s advice is to make sure the dog fits your “human” character.

“As in real life, when choosing a dog, you need to select a breed and personality that meshes with your characters’ personalities and lifestyles. Would your dark, brooding hero own a Chocolate Lab or German Shepherd? Depends upon his backstory and current situation. I once wrote a proposal in which my workaholic heroine had a dog who kept breaking out of her apartment. My editor rightly pointed out that a workaholic, city-dwelling career woman most likely wouldn’t make the commitment a pet requires. Likewise, a jet-setter or commitment phobic billionaire. The exception to this rule, of course, is if the dog exists to purposely create turmoil in your characters’ lives. Again, though, make sure there’s a realistic reason for the dog to exist. In Billionaire’s Matchmaker, Charlie’s crazy temperament works because 1) Nicholas Bonaparte didn’t select him personally, and 2) his crazy behavior is well explained by the fourth novella. (Hint: It has to do with Nicholas’ backstory.)”

Shirley Jump believes we all need to do our research!

“Not all writers own the types of dogs they put in their stories. That means the writer need to do some research—and real-world research is awesome for writing dogs into stories. Certain types of dogs are more hyper than others, some are more standoffish, some are quiet and shy. If you want a dog to do a trick in your book, then be sure it’s something that kind of dog can do or would do. My dog, for example, is a Havanese, and that breed refuses to play fetch. Having a Havanese do something like that wouldn’t work in a book. Know what makes a dog tick—does the breed you are featuring like to have his head scratched or his belly rubbed? Is he more likely to chase a squirrel or lay by the fireplace? If you don’t own that breed, visit a friend or a local animal shelter and grab some interactive time! Make notes of the type of bark the dog has, how the fur feels, what the dog looks like when he runs, sits, jumps, etc. The more realism you can add, the more of a character the dog will become.”

Jackie Braun’s advice is to not let the dog take over the story!

“When a pet is an integral part of the story, writers have to take care not to let it take over. Dogs and cats, not to mention puppies and kittens, can be adorable. But readers, even those who are pet lovers, want to know what’s going on between your hero and heroine. Adding in a little four-legged diversion is fine, especially if it helps set the tone or aids in moving the story forward. But including cute pets in a scene for no discernible reason can become annoying. Even more problematic, it can throw off the pacing.

So, if you’re not sure whether the pet is adding to a scene or stealing it, ask yourself this question: What does the pet do to enhance this scene? If the answer is nothing, then leave it out or at least marginalize it to a passing reference.”

We had a great time writing THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER. We all fell in love with fictional Charlie. We think you will too, mostly because we were true to the breed, gave the dog a job, chose a dog that fit our characters and story and – much as we loved Charlie – we didn’t let him take over the story!

We’d love to hear your take on dogs in stories!

Jen's note: Entangled Publishing sent me The Billionaire's Matchmaker to read (FTC disclosure: I was not otherwise compensated for this post), and the collaborating authors of that work put this collaborative post together for your pleasure! If this post has piqued your interest in reading The Billionaire's Matchmaker, you can get it here on Amazon:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Doberman Assistance Network end of year donations

Two lovely benefactors have offered to match donations the Doberman Assistance Network receives through the end of the year, up to $1000!  This donation is tax-deductible, and can be made either online (via Paypal on the DAN website) or via mail at this address:

Doberman Assistance Network, Inc.
c/o Heidi Merriman
3852 La Colina Road
El Sobrante, CA 94803

No amount is too small, especially with the caseload the Doberman Assistance Network handles. The Dobermans thank you!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesday's Tails: Freda has found a home, others still looking!

Good news!  Freda, who I posted about back in September, and mentioned again in November? Well, Freda has gone home for the holidays! A member on Doberman Talk posted in the rescue section that they brought home two (!) seniors from Doberman Rescue Unlimited, and Freda was one of the names mentioned. I thought "Hmmm, that sounds familiar" and "Hmm, she looks familiar" and I was right! Congratulations to Freda and her new family!

Monday, December 23, 2013

A collection of mostly unrelated thoughts, some dog included

So, as it turns out, to get a fortuneteller's license in my town, you have to not only take some test they come up with (which I'd do just to see it, really, if it didn't cost too much) and also be bonded for something like $5000. Which I don't know what costs the individual, having never been bonded. So that's a wash. But when I go to renew Elka's license, I'll ask if you still need the fortuneteller's license if you're going to be doing strictly for fun fortunetelling online. Or will that blow my cover? Hrm. I don't want to be breaking the law with illicit fortunetelling, to be sure.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Product Review: EzyDog Cujo Leash

Back in October, I was approached by EzyDog to check out one of their products, the Cujo leash. Intrigued by the design and always willing to try new things I said "yes please!" and "send one on over!"

I chose the 25 inch Cujo shock absorbing leash, as that is (in the product description) the recommended length for medium to large sized dogs. I also chose red, because that's Elka's color!

(picture from EzyDog Cujo product page)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Make Santa Pay 2013!

Special Needs Dobermans' mysterious benefactor has again resurfaced.

Donations made to Special Needs Dobermans between December 15 (today) and December 31 will be matched dollar for dollar, so long as the words "Make Santa Pay!" are included in the donation communication.

Share this far and wide! Special Needs Dobermans helps many, many dobermans throughout the year. They are not for profit, and everything they can, they give to the dogs.

Help Ice find a home for the holidays!

Ice is a natural eared, 14 month old blue girl who's currently courtesy-listed through Gulf Coast Doberman Rescue. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Update on the Doberman Assistance Network Christmas Raffle

As you might assume, the Doberman Assistance Network Christmas Raffle has many more prizes now. You might be surprised by the quality and quantify of prizes, though! Remember, it's only $5 per ticket, payable by check, info in the photo immediately after this sentence.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday December 11 2013

So, Cartoonize My Pet is a really fun website, if you wondered. And, since Elka was accused at least once of being a reindeer already, I thought she'd be happier I put horns on cartoon her rather than real her.

You see the resemblance, right?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cheyenne, in Texas, looking for a home

This pretty girl is Cheyenne, though I guess her original name was "Soda", because she knows that one. Either name is kind of fun, isn't it?

Cheyenne is 3 1/2, and is currently in Texas with Doberman Rescue North Texas. She has natural ears and a docked tail. Cheyenne can be shy, but it sweet with people, and jogs well on a leash. She would do best in an only dog home. You can read more about her on the Doberman Rescue North Texas web site, under available Dobermans, or view her Petango page here.

If you are interested in adopting Cheyenne, or any of the available Dobermans through Doberman Rescue North Texas, you can view their online adoption application here, and view their adoption contract here. If you have any questions about Doberman Rescue North Texas, you can see a phone number and other information on their Contact Us page.

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's that time of year again! Doberman Assistance Network Christmas raffle!

Every year, the Doberman Assistance Network does a raffle. Tickets are $5 each, payable by check or money order. The prizes...well, it's Twelve Days of Christmas Style. So, on the first day of the DAN Christmas Raffle (yesterday), the following image is what the "prize pack" was:

"TWO gorgeous Red ceramic cookie jars for your favorite four legged elves....filled to the brim with quality healthy treats....PLUS:::: a stunning leather collar studded with solid brass emblems...measures 26 inches and fits neck sizes from 18 to 24"

Good luck if you enter! Even if you don't, spread the word. DAN helps Dobermans, it's the whole point, and it's a shame just how many of them need helping.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dog Lover Holiday Ideas

It's Cyber Monday or as I like to call it, ALMOST CHRISTMAS SO BUY STUFF, so I might as well get on the bandwagon. I figured I'd "showcase" some items that benefit dog rescue.

First up is Christy Cole Rescue jewelry on Etsy. She donates 100% of the profits to dog rescue. She has Doberman themed stuff! Other breeds too. And the prices are reasonable, not something you see every time.

(picture from Christy Cole Rescue Etsy store)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Special Needs Dobermans Senior of the Week: Angel

Angel is an 8 year old Doberman with Distinguished Doberman Rescue, Inc. She was surrendered to rescue after her family had a baby and felt they did not have enough time for her. Poor girl! As a part of the Senior Doberman Project, Special Needs Dobermans has selected her as their senior of the week.

(picture from Ddrinc web site)

Angel is a healthy 8 year old with no special needs other than being, well, 8. She's very attached to her foster dad, likes cuddling on the couch, and loves eating (sound like any dogs you know?). She's all right with other dogs, and less tolerant of puppies. She's fine with kids, though DDRinc suggests 10 and up would probably be best (this is something I've noticed a lot with Doberman rescue, and believe it has to do with their size and chance of boisterousness. Elka steps on us all the time without meaning to). 

You can either donate to help with Angel's care, through SND or Distinguished Doberman Rescue inc, or if you think Angel sounds like a great match for you, she's looking for a forever home! She's currently in Pittsburgh, PA, and information about adopting through Ddr, inc. is here on their web site.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Intersex Aggression in Dobermans

A big huge flag in the Doberman community is when a male puppy is sold to people with another male dog in the household already. Why?

Well, the stories say that Dobermans can be same sex aggressive. Two males, two females, there is a chance that when the second dog reaches sexual maturity (or both dogs, if you're making the equally dubious choice to raise them together), there is a chance that the dogs will become aggressive to members of the same sex and want to fight.

This is problematic, as we do not typically want dogs to fight. Not unless you're a scumbag.

Monday, November 18, 2013

More Doberman rescue followups: Sandy and Mordecai

In keeping with trying not to just "drive by" the adoptable dogs I've posted about, I'm going back through my older posts and seeing if they're still available for adoption, or if they've found homes. Last week, I had the great news that Jasmine had found a home.

Virginia is no longer listed at the Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester Springs, PA. I'm going to assume she's been adopted, so congratulations to Virginia! Blitz, who was with DDR, inc. is also no longer listed. Of course, they still have plenty of adoptable Dobermans. Tommy is no longer at the Lycoming County SPCA and Bankston was "transferred to a breed specific Doberman rescue", and though it doesn't list which one, that's a golden ticket!

This week, I'm sorry to say that little Mordecai is still waiting to be adopted. He's with Doberman Rescue Minnesota and is nine months old now. How quickly they grow up! He still has his adorable "zipper" nose, is crate trained, potty trained, has great manners...what's not to like? It really surprises me that this puppyboy is growing up in rescue, rather than having been adopted already.

Oh yeah, and he loves to swim!

Remember Sandy, the lovely senior girl with Illinois Doberman Rescue? She's still there, and still needs a home. You can visit her IDR page if you're interested in adopting her, or if you'd like to help out by sponsoring her in some way.

So, a lot of question marks, but I'm just going to be optimistic about those dogs. My hat is off to people who work on the front lines of dog rescue, pulling dogs from shelters, doing transport, fostering. I'm just here reporting, and it still hurts my heart sometimes.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Doberman Ornaments fundraiser benefits Doberman Assistance Network

Yeah, yeah. Not Thanksgiving yet. Etc. But, if every store ever can do it, I guess I can do it for the Dobermans.

These here customizable Christmas ornaments (order deadline is December 9, USA orders only) give a portion of each sale to help the Doberman Assistance Network. They have no shortage of cases and Dobermans they're trying to help, and a little bit of holiday cheer goes a long way, n'est-ce pas?

And look! Each ornament you order will not only be totally adorable, but a creation unto itself. So many choices.

So, the nitty gritty of ordering (LOOK AT ALL THE CHOICES!):

  • Each ornaments costs $25.00 and is personalized with your Doberman's name on it.
  • Shipping for 1st class mail is $4.00 and for each additional ornament add $1.00 for shipping.
  • Please submit and submit your order via Paypal - D.A.N.'s email address is for Paypal is
  • You can also mail in a check to the following addressoberman Assistance network C/O Heidi Merriman 3852 La Colina Road, El Sobrante, CA 94803
  • We will need your name, e-mail address and shipping address.
  • Orders need to be submitted by December 9th, 2013 (sorry USA only).
  • Please let us know color of Dobie and bulb and Dobie's name.

Dogster and Dentastix contest

I was super excited to see a photo contest on the Dogster (entries are through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), in conjunction with Dentastix. I'm okay with Dentastix; they might not be the bestest ingredients, but Elka likes them, they seem to work, we can all have junk once in awhile.

So then I toddled over to read the contest rules and found this gem:

License to Use Entries: By submitting an Entry, each entrant agrees and hereby grants to Sponsor and its successors, licensees and assigns an unlimited, perpetual, irrevocable, assignable, royalty-free, fully paid-up license to reproduce, distribute, perform, create derivative works of, edit, alter, display, exhibit, combine with other materials, exploit and otherwise use the Entry, and all elements embodied therein, in any manner and in any and all media now known or hereafter devised throughout the universe for any purpose whatsoever, without compensation or notification to, or permission from, entrant or any third party and hereby waives any moral rights in the Entry.

My picture is my picture. My dog is my dog. Why should I release rights in perpetuity for something I've created of something I love a great deal to somebody to do what they want with it?  I understand that, in general, rights like these are so they can make those creepy "dog with human teeth" advertisements. But seriously, even if you don't win, even if you just enter, you are giving these rights to Dentastix (and Pedigree, by extension, it would seem) and its successors royalty free and across the universe however they want for ever and ever amen. And they're not responsible for third-party usage of submitted entries. And you're not allowed to watermark them, because identifying information, yadda yadda. 

In my Why I Watermark my Pictures post, "protection against misrepresentation" was one of the reasons I gave. I would be just sick if a contest entry of mine, given in good faith, became a stock image for Dentastix/Pedigree/whoever to trot out any time they wanted a vicious or dangerous dog picture, or even to just advertise a product I dislike and wouldn't support. Maybe I'm paranoid, maybe I'm thinking too much about it, whatever. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Some Tuesday Tails Doberman rescue followups

Remember Jasmine? Well, after the bad news with Remmy and Sweetheart, I thought I'd go back through my Tuesday Tails posts and see what the news was on everybody. Jasmine is listed as Adopted on the Illinois Doberman Rescue site now! Congrats to Jasmine! I hope she and her new family spend many happy years together.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tarot Hound

Browsing on Etsy, as one does, I found Laika the Psychic Dog, who does one card Tarot readings (via Rare & Pretty). Or did do them; by the time of this posting, she has evidently given up prognosticating. Given that one of the Trick Dog tricks is 'picking a card', I'm sort of kicking myself for having not come up with this before. Doberman Tarot Card Reader would have been a pretty cool thing, but i don't want to step on anybody's toes. One also needs an actual Fortunteteller's License to prognosticate in my town, an interesting detail which involves a test of some form that the city clerk would be required to provide. Depending on how much that cost, it might be worth it, just for a lark. Maybe not. But Elka wouldn't be able to take the test (though it would be hard to prove a Clever Hans style fallacy in this situation as well. Part of the point of pulling cards blind is, well, you're blind.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Help dogs in Detroit get a Thanksgiving Dinner!

Until December 24, the "likes" The Da Vinci Foundation gets on this Facebook post equal an Iams Woof Delights dinner for a homeless dog in Detroit.

I'm actually a little unclear whether you have to "like" the bulldog picture specifically, or just liking The DaVinci Foundation's Facebook page will do it. I liked both, to be on the safe side. Two clicks, a small thing.

I had not heard of The DaVinci Foundation before, but if they're operating in Detroit, their mission to find homes for the homeless is a tall order. In August, the estimate was that there were 50,000 stray dogs in Detroit, and that's a lot of lives to be saved. Detroit has been making headway with its number of abandoned buildings, however, with many having been demolished or auctioned to new owner who will now hopefully make use of them, and this may help shrink the stray dogs problem. There are also plans to have a tremendous urban farm in Detroit, an idea that intrigues and sort of delights me. It's possible that the people who are making such strides in repurposing abandoned urban space will also be able to help make strides with the stray and abandoned dog population.

We can hope, right?

Friday, November 8, 2013

NaNoWriMo update

I know some of you are fellow writers, even if you aren't fellow "WriMos".

As of today, I'm at 15,005 words. My first three days went like gangbusters, with me reaching 10k by Sunday night. I'd had the foresight to take a couple of days off of work in a row...revolutionary, I know. One of my coworkers, when I reported my wordcount, even asked me if I started early.

No dogs in this story, which has happened in the past couple. The Last Song involved no dogs (which is far better for the dogs, I assure you). My current NaNoWriMo project is untitled. Literally, the file on my computer is Asbury Park 1979 (which is three years before I was born, for those of you who only Internet know me, but it was a date that ended up appealing for the "mood" I was going for.

Mentally, Jersey Shore summers of that "era" evoke a kind of golden haze for me, which might be why I lean towards that style when editing my pictures for blogging purposes. I guess it's how a lot of the photographs I've seen end up looking, whether they looked that way at the time or not. In the course of writing this, and trying to fill in the spots on my mental map, I've found wacky things like a Flickr stream in which the author seems to have taken more than 5000 pictures of grocery, drug, and convenience stores in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware area. And labelled what the stores were when they were built, when they changed, that kind of thing (when they knew the info).

But I can't cast aspersions on niche interests, obviously. I'm writing this on a dog blog. And people with niche interests like that fill in the tiny blanks that would otherwise drive me nuts. Sometimes, just knowing one detail is wrong can derail me for the time it takes me to go down the Internet rabbit hole and find something close enough.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Treat Review: Orijen Freeze-Dried Food

Courtesy of, we have sampled Orijen's new(ish) freeze-dried food offering and would like to tell you about it!

First of all, for a dog of Elka's size, the amount of Orijen's freeze-dried food would not be feasible to feed her regularly. She would need 6 or 7 (I think) of the little "food pucks", and there are only so many per bag. As a travel food, or something to keep in an emergency "go bag", it would be a great solution. However, since I wasn't planning to get Princess accustomed to food gravy of this quality, I confess I just broke it up and used it for treats.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Peach is the Senior of the Week

Illinois Doberman Rescue picked this Peach in Georgia. She was on a euthanasia list because she was too old, but this 10 year old (estimate) girl still has life and love in her! Special Needs Dobermans has selected her as their senior of the week.

(photo from IDR page)

Life has been full of changes for Peach lately. First of all, she ended up in the shelter (owner surrender? Stray?). Then, she had a road trip from Georgia to Illinois (this isn't how the song goes at all). She was apparently a dream in the car, and is now settling in.

Peach is up for adoption, but you can also donate to her care through either the Special Needs Dobermans site (there's a PayPal link at the bottom of the page, where it says Sponsor this Senior!) or through the Illinois Doberman Rescue site (where they have a variety of things listed, from heartworm meds to boarding to food).

(picture from IDR page)

Peach is listed as "no cats", and they aren't sure yet how she is with kids. She was good in the car, and is interested in toys, especially an antler that she's been given.

I'm glad IDR pulled this girl, so she can live the rest of her days with people, and not in the shelter environment. If you can help Peach out, or know somebody who would love to have a Senior in their lives, follow the links for more info. You can also email OrphanDobe AT Ameritech DOT net

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sad updates on Sweetheart and Remmy

So many calls for help, or donations, or adoption seem to be one-offs. I've done it myself, I know, and I hope to remedy that (and when I do, I sincerely hope that it'll be with happy endings)

Sweetheart  is no longer with us. A couple of days ago, she stopped wanting to eat, and it was very difficult to entice her. They tested her for Addison's Disease, and that came back negative. Whatever the cause, Sweetheart was in "complete and irreversible renal failure", and her foster folks were not going to make her suffer anymore. I'm glad she was loved, and not alone, and had that life for however short a time.

And on to Remmy.

(Picture from DOBER,inc Facebook page)

I didn't mean to be prophetic on Monday when I posted about "It's All in How You Raise Them" and how not all dogs can be saved. Definitely a time I would love to be wrong, in fact. But, earlier in the week, and out of the blue, Remmy lashed out and injured his foster mom. Dreaming of Better Endings Rescue, inc. and a very experienced trainer put their heads together, and decided that with unknown triggers and unstable reactions like that (especially in contrast with his usual sweet, brilliant, and biddable personality), Remmy could not safely be adopted out. It was a very, very hard decision, but Remmy has been euthanized. Best wishes to his foster mom and her swift recovery (I don't know details on her injury, nor would I feel right posting them here).

Also from their Facebook page (a direct quote):
We do understand that for a number of reasons, most rescues do not make these types of announcements to the public, but we feel very strongly that NO dog deserves to disappear quietly as if he never existed. Every life is precious and we want to honor that. Honesty is something that we have always felt was so important because you, our supporters, deserve it. For these reasons, we felt it only fair to let all of you know what happened.
And I respect this decision, which is one reason I'm updating here as well. Sad as it is, "What happened to Remmy?" is a question that, on the face of it at least, I know the answer to. 

So hold your loved ones close, and remember these dogs who have passed. They knew love and life without fear for the time they had in good hands.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday October 30 2013

Yeah, the heat's on now. I held out as long as I could. And I don't get tired of Doberball pictures. Really I don't!

Monday, October 28, 2013

"It's All in How You Raise Them"

I'm sure you've heard many a breed advocate utter this phrase: It's all in how you raise them. Meaning, vicious dogs are made, not born.

As an obvious Doberman advocate, you might be a little confused when you read my answer: That isn't necessarily true.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

An Announcement

All right. Due to my typical personal fall slow down (it's cold here now! [well, getting there] And did a rainy/snowy thing I did not like), I'm going to change my update schedule. I maintained Monday through Friday for awhile there, sometimes with Sunday thrown in, sometimes extra Tuesdays, etc. But I fell behind at some point, and have kind of done Monday through Wednesday, which strikes me as less than effective, with all of those empty days yawning before me.

So. I'm going to try switching to a Monday - Wednesday - Friday schedule, the same as I do with my writing blog. In a way, this is cheating, as we know Wednesday is Wordless, so I will make effort to maintain a Tuesday Tails contribution as well, and perhaps a Tasty Tuesday as applies (see, blog hops make things easy and motivating!)

But, especially with NaNoWriMo looming, I don't want y'all to think I'm totally ditching you. Because I'm not. I'm just writing a lot, and reading, and trying to get housework done and pay attention to this dog 'o mine and oh yeah, work. That working thing.

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's that time of year again (....almost)

So, seeing as how it's almost the end of October (finally!), I've been thinking about National Novel Writing Month.

As happens to me very often, I had an idea at the beginning of the month  (an urban fantasy novel about an occult biker gang, to put it in a nutshell). I started planning it out a bit, did some reading, started watching Sons of Anarchy again (I'm only partway through season 2, no spoilers please!), that kind of thing. So I was ready, right? Then I looked up and it was only October 16. So.

Now I'm thinking of writing something that takes place at the Jersey Shore, where I'm from (surprise, right? Writing about a place I know). But of course there are ten days left before November. So. I still don't really know. And I may or may not have already started the other novel (also urban fantasy), which may or may not be cheating if I use it (it is).

So I need to lay in some toys/treats for Elka to occupy herself with so I can shoehorn some writing time in evenings after work. Remembering to freeze Kongs will help. Getting a couple new squeaky toys will help, as they only last so long. It's funny, Elka didn't used to like squeaky toys, but she sure does now! I can just watch her play with one, and they are an enforced "No, you play with that yourself" toy.

Any of you novelling this year? How does your dog occupy him or her self when you write?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sweetheart update

Good news! (and isn't it nice to hear that?)

Sweetheart is no longer hospitalized, and is safe in foster care. She's up to 36 pounds and had a solid poop! (only parents and dog people obsess so much over poop, I swear).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Practically Human, But Better

By now, you've probably heard or even read the article "Dogs are people, too" in the New York Times (in the opinion section, despite the usages of Science™ to carry out the experiment. That's telling, n'est-ce pas?) If you haven't, in a nutshell, the neuroscientist on the case, Gregory Berns, trained (with positive methods and help from a dog trainer) a team of 12 dogs to voluntarily go into an MRI, wearing a pair of noise blocking headphones, and stay there perfectly still for the duration of a brain scan wherein they confirmed brain activity that is indicative of canine emotions.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blog the Change October 15 2013

Today, for Blog the Change, I want to talk about the Doberman Assistance Network.

DAN was founded in 2007 and went into business in 2008, "when people from the Doberman community realized the need and came together to assist this intelligent, affectionate, and often misunderstood breed" (from the DAN site). I didn't realize it was such a young organization, actually. They try to accept owner surrenders. They work with breed specific rescues, and they work to pull Dobermans from shelters and organize transport to get the dogs to safety.

I love the Doberman breed, and I feel like this is "my" breed. In a way, even as a writer, it's hard to articulate how important this kind of work is. There are so many dogs who need help. There are so many breeds who need champions, big and small. The way people treat dogs, casually, like puppy factories or toys or garbage. And then the people who care about the breed pick up the pieces.

Most recently, I posted about Sweetheart (the picture of her is graphic and very sad, be warned), a dog who was taken in as a stray in Charlotte, NC. The update on her is that she is Heartworm negative, and accepting food. Maybe she just needs love and groceries, and DAN can provide that, until she's well enough to go to a home.

But that's just the most recent DAN case I've blogged about. There are any number of them who aren't quite so touch and go, who don't necessarily make it onto Facebook. There are dogs pulled from kill shelters with time running out. There were dogs who had nowhere else to go, when their breeder who passed away. I hear people say "It's just a dog" when they hear impassioned please for help, and when they hear outrage at the treatment of dogs. And yes, they are "just" dogs. Which means it's up to us, as humans, to watch out for them. To be responsible for them, and help them, and make sure they aren't cold and afraid and hungry.

If you're interested in sponsoring a dog (Nola and her litter are still listed on their site), you can visit the DAN site. They don't currently have anything in eBay (and remember the lovely collar my aunt won the bidding for?) but they do have a lovely 2014 Doberman rescue calendar. They also have an Amazon wishlist and a store with DAN merchandise.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dogs make their own fun

There's no telling what toys Elka will like and play with, and what toys she'll hate.

The Unbreakoball is a great example. It certainly hasn't broken, because she hates it. Hilariously.

She likes squeaky toys now, though. When she was little, she seemed to think she was hurting them, perhaps because of the way we taught her bite inhibition (the yelp 'n' stop playing approach).

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Donations for Sweetheart through Doberman Assistance Network (Warning, graphic picture)

Sweetheart is a Doberman that is estimated to be 2 years old. She was brought in as a stray in Charlotte, NC and is currently in emergency care.

She weighs 29 pounds.

Somebody has offered to match donations to Sweetheart, through the Doberman Assistance Network, up to $300 until Midnight on Sunday, October 12. Donations can be made via Paypal, just make sure to put "Sweetheart" in the Special Instructions box. There's a PayPal "Donate" button both on the DAN home page and also a link to it from their Facebook page.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Never Stop Training

Yesterday, Patricia McConnell posted "Gotta Love That Recall" on her blog, and while I read and recommend her as often as I can, I also noticed the specific phrase which I've poached for the title of this post: Never stop training.

I'd been thinking about this lately, in fact, when a certain long nosed miss started nosing up to peoples' plates in a manner she had not otherwise displayed. I may or may not have been mostly unbothered by this, for it was rarely, if ever, my plate she was getting too close to. This is Elka, who I can leave in the car with McDonald's or other takeout and she will not touch is. Elka, who has been in a room with a coffee table full of nachos and dip and even pigs in a blanket and not touched a thing. Elka, who dropped a turkey sandwich she had in her mouth when I said "drop it", and left along a dropped tupperware of taco meat when I said "leave it".

(forgive the old picture, I don't have a new one of her lurking in the "safe range" of food that is not hers)