Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 23 is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day!

No, this isn't likely to be listed on your Hallmark calendar, banks and offices will NOT close, and mail WILL be delivered. There won't be any parades, special cards, or bone-shaped candies in colorful bone-shaped boxes or wrapped in pastel-colored cellophane. And it won't inspire family get-togethers or calls from out-of-town relatives and friends. It won't be the main news topic on CNN, not even a mention on your local TV stations.

There are no colored eggs to hide (though you could make a game of it by hiding a few biscuits around your house for your dog to discover), no hams or turkeys to buy, no loud firecrackers, no colorful costumes or knocking on doors, no candles to light or dreidels to spin, and no trees to decorate or stockings to hang. No shopping. No stress. Nevertheless, February 23rd is a holiday for our canine friends, and it is truly one of the easiest holidays to celebrate. So...

May I eat them now, Mom?

Woof, woof, hooray--Happy International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day! Go to your cupboards, get out the Mother Hubbard's (Mother Hubbard's dog biscuits, that is), and have a party with your pooch! The day may not have any special significance for you, but your dog will appreciate your efforts on his behalf. 

Here's a little quiz to test your knowledge about one of a canine's favorite treats. You'll find the answers at the end of this article.

1. What were the earliest known dog treats?

2. Who was the first person to make dog biscuits in the USA?

3. When were the first bone-shaped biscuits made? By whom?

4. After NABISCO bought Bennett's company in 1931, the name of Bennett's Maltoid Biscuits was changed to the name they are still known by today. What is it?

5. Why are dog biscuits and other dog treats an effective training tool?

Aww, there's only one left!

My dog, Mindy, loves Mother Hubbard treats in various flavors, but her number one favorite treat is Frosty Paws--a dog-alternative to a Skippy cup ice cream treat. When given her Frosty Paw, she carries it to her favorite spot in the living room, lays down, her half-closed eyes glaze over, her tongue makes contact with the tasty frozen treat, and she's in another world--her own private bliss.

Frosty Paws = Bliss

So, to Mindy and all our canine friends, a very happy International Dog Biscuit Day! What are you doing to celebrate with your dog?

Want to make some homemade treats for your favorite canine(s)? Check out this recipe from Martha Stewart-- http://www.marthastewart.com/article/homemade-dog-biscuits

Answers to Quiz:

1. In Roman times, people gave their dogs very stale, dry pieces of bread, called "dog's bread."

2. James Spratt, from Cincinnati, Ohio, got the idea while on business in England in 1860. He was the first to obtain a patent for dog biscuits.

3. In 1907 by F. H. Bennett, to try to improve sales of his dog biscuits.

4. Milk Bones

5. Because most dogs are motivated by food, though some prefer a favorite toy as a reward, or just a good old-fashioned tummy rub.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome to "PetWise Online"!

For twenty years, I have been writing a "PetWise" column about pets and pet issues as part of the newsletter for the largest housing complex in Vermont. Our population is the equivalent of some of the small towns in Vermont (and larger than a few); and our pet policy, which I helped to write, has been used as the model for other housing complexes here and in other areas of the country. Now, it feels like the time is right to launch an online version of "PetWise."

I am pleased to present author Nadine M. Rosin as my guest for this first issue of "PetWise Online." Nadine is the author of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood, a heart-warming book about her journey from new pet parent, through her dog Buttons' cancer diagnosis at age eight, to an outcome that astounded her veterinarian when Buttons not only survived, but lived until the week before her nineteenth birthday. I've read her book, and it is a testament to the wonderful human-animal bond, and the lengths to which we are willing to go to do the best for those we love--whether they have two legs or four. I want to thank Nadine for being my guest. Her article and book exemplify the theme of the month--love--in its truest sense. ~ Donna B. Russell


"Love is in the Air" by Nadine M. Rosin

It's February, and love is in the air! Can you FEEL it? If you've ever watched a cat lolling in the sun, or seen a dog with its head out the window of a moving car, then you know that for our pets, love is ALWAYS in the air. And not just on Valentine's Day or during the Christmas season, but every day of the year--24/7.

Their mantras are ones of enjoyment, play, adoration, and as they embody the best of our humanity--often better than we ourselves do--I believe we have much to learn from them. Unlike most of us, our four-legged apostles remember that beyond the actions of others or outside circumstances, regardless of the state of the economy or worldly events, life is supposed to be fun, and savored, and appreciated--it is supposed to be lived with delight in this very moment wherever we are.

I have had the honor of living with several dogs throughout my life. Two of them, I consider my heart dogs; our souls connected beyond space and time and physical death.

They continue to teach me every day the lessons of joy, living in the Now, and appreciating whatever is. All I have to do is think of them to consider that, in any relationship, how I treat other people is far more important than how anything (like my hair or my house) looks. I keep them alive--those furry bodhisattvas* of mine--by remembering that a smile from the heart can go almost as far as an enthusiastic tail wag.

My second heart-dog, Buttons, is the subject of my book, The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood. It is the story of how we saved each other's lives. In short--I helped her body heal itself of cancer. She helped my heart heal itself of fear. Both of us used an entirely holistic approach.

February is Buttons' birthday month. It is also the anniversary of her body's death. I will always miss her physical presence, but her love can never die. I am so deeply appreciative to continue Buttons' healing legacy by helping other pet parents, through my personal consultations, prevent their own pets from developing cancer or other degenerative diseases.

I want every pet parent and their animals to have at least as many happy and healthy years together as Buttons and I did (one week shy of nineteen) and will continue helping that happen at every opportunity. In the meantime, I encourage you to please take a cue from your pets and have a VERY happy Valentine's Day--EVERY day.

[This article © 2011 Nadine M. Rosin and printed here on "PetWise Online" with written permission from the author.]

*bodhisattva: a compassionate being who refrains from entering paradise in order to help others.

Nadine M. Rosin is the author of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood (available Amazon.com), the true story of how she helped her 8-year old dog heal from cancer holistically and go on to thrive cancer-free for an additional eleven years to the age of nineteen.

Nadine is now a certified holistic pets, toxic-free lifestyle 
consultant who, through one-on-one phone consultations, helps pet parents stack the odds against their pets ever developing a degenerative disease like cancer. Information on both and her blog at http://www.TheHealingArtOfPetParenthood.com

Website of the Month

If you enjoyed the featured article by author Nadine M. Rosin, you might enjoy stopping by her website, listed at the end of the article, or by her blog: http://petparenthood.blogspot.com/). If you do, tell her you heard about her through "PetWise Online." Enjoy!

February Safety Tip

With winter upon us, here's a reminder that antifreeze, with its enticing sweet taste, can be harmful, even deadly, to both animals and young children. But did you know there is a safer alternative? Antifreeze made with propylene glycol is reported to be three times LESS toxic than antifreeze made with ethylene glycol. While this may be a safer alternative, the ASPCA cautions that it is still toxic if ingested in large quantities. So, the next time you buy antifreeze, read the label opt for the safer alternative, and be sure to keep it securely stored where children and pets won't have access to it.