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Motion to dismiss filed in alleged Madison cockfighting case

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 Comments

The jury trial of Jorge Iglesias (charged with illegal cockfighting in Madison) originally scheduled for November 2, 2009 was cancelled. The defense motioned the court to dismiss the case due to “selective and discriminatory prosecution.”

A hearing on the motion to dismiss is scheduled for January 20, 2010. It appears that Jorge Iglesias will also be obtaining new counsel before that time.

For a full report of the accusations against Jorge Iglesias, please see:
*Jury Trial scheduled in Madison cockfighting case
*Hearing Scheduled for tomorrow in alleged case of Madison cockfighting

Tell Your Representatives to Pass the HAPPY Act for Pet Care Tax Deductions Now

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 Comments

From Change.org:

Targeting: The U.S. House
Started by: Stephanie Feldstein

To some people, a tax deduction for pet care may not seem very important compared to many of the other issues our federal government is dealing with these days. But for 71.4 million American households that own pets, and for the 3-4 million animals euthanized in shelters each year, it's a question of life and death.


Our struggling economy has seen a spike in animals being relinquished to shelters when owners can no longer afford their care. Veterinary offices, like most other businesses, have also seen a drop in client visits, which means that many animals may not be getting the care they need. If people knew the money they spent on their pets could be coming back to them at the end of the year, it might help them keep their four-legged family members, and to keep up with their care. A pet care tax deduction could save pets' lives and reduce the societal costs of sheltering homeless animals.

Don't let the HAPPY Act (Humanity and Pets Partnership through the Years) fall off Congress' agenda - write your representative today!

Photo credit: eva101

CLICK HERE TO TELL YOUR REPS TO VOTE "YES" ON THE HAPPY ACT!

Season of Suppers Campaign running until 12/31

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 Comments

From the Dane County Humane Society:

It’s time to help our Kibble on Wheels friends!


During these challenging economic times, Independent Living, Inc. wants to assist as many low-income, frail, older and disabled adults and their companion animals as possible. We’ve learned the items listed below are what they most need and want. Our Kibble on Wheels program was begun to reduce food sharing between older adults and their companion animals. Season of Suppers, sponsored by Banfield Pet Hospitals, has allowed us to expand the program and with your help, we can provide a variety of items and supplies to make life happier for older adults and their animal friends.

Our clients have expressed the need for the following items:

*Canned Dog and Cat food
*Cat Litter
*Toys
*Treats
*Rabbit and Gerbil food
*Bird food
 
Items can be dropped off at:

*Either Banfield Pet Hospital (located inside PetSmart) at 2216 E. Springs Drive, Madison WI or 8210
  Plaza Dr, Madison WI
*Independent Living at 815 Forward Drive, Madison WI M-F 8:00am to 4:30pm
 
This is a great activity to get friends, family and other pet lovers together and hold a collection drive. For more details, contact us at (608) 274-7900 or volunteer@indepenliving.com.

Kibble on Wheels is made possible by Independent Living’s partnerships with Mounds Pet Food Warehouse, Dane County Humane Society and Banfield Pet Hospitals.

Independent Living Inc. is a non-profit, multi-service agency that assists people with disabilities and older adults, enabling them to live with dignity and independence while maintaining health and well-being.

Submissions needed for Pet of the Week!

Monday, December 21, 2009 Comments

Mad About Pets is happy to announce a new feature: Pet of the Week! Every week I will be selecting and featuring a different pet photo and story submitted by readers. If you would like your pet featured, please email me the following information at pets@mad-about-pets.com :

*A high-quality photo of your pet
*Your name and location (city/state)
*Your pet's name and age
*Your pet's species and primary breed (if known)
*A short blurb about your pet (where you got him/her, any unique tricks or skills, why your pet is special to you, etc.)

On a regular basis, I will be randomly selecting a featured pet from Pet of the Week and their owner will receive a fun gift from the Mad About Pets shop!

So start sending in those pictures ASAP :)

Yummy Recipe for Cockatiel Treats!

Friday, December 18, 2009 Comments

Cockatiel Treats

*1/4 cup each:

     - Crushed dried peas
     - Apricots
     - Nuts
     - Crushed bananas (Dried or fresh)

*3 Tbs Seed
*3 Tbs Pellets
*1 egg and shell (best if shell is dried and not damp)
*1/4 cup + 1 Tbs Applesauce ( I use 100% natural)
*3 Tbs crunchy Peanut butter
 
Mix dry ingredients in order. You can add anything else that your bird loves. It should mix very easy. I crushed everything, but you can according to your bird size. Fold in the applesause and peanut butter. It should end up like a paste.
 
Cook in a square pan, (easier to cut later than a circle pan), at 350 F for 30 min. It smells bad when cooking, but the birds love it.
 
Thanks to Debra at BirdsnWays for this recipe!

How to set up a freshwater aquarium

Thursday, December 17, 2009 Comments

If you're looking to set up a fishbowl for your new goldfish or just need a refresher on aquarium care, here is a great how-to video from Dr.'s Foster and Smith. It includes lots of useful info on cleaning and general care for freshwater fish. Enjoy!




CLICK HERE for all the latest fish and aquarium products at Drs. Foster & Smith

Congratulations!

Comments

Congratulations to Cheryl from Bronston, KY for winning the Pet Organizer!

Many thanks to all the entrants, and I hope you'll continue to visit Mad About Pets.

Enter to win a Pet Organizer!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 Comments

Just in time for the holidays, Mad About Pets is holding a giveaway! Up for grabs is a super-cool Pet Organizer, courtesy of Knock Knock Gifts. This organizer (a $26 value)is literally everything you need to keep all your pet's important info at your fingertips. It includes emergency contact info, vital pet stats, tracks vet visits, and so much more! You'll never need to worry about giving enough directions when you leave your pet for vacation, or about forgetting important details during emergency vet visits.

So how do you win? There are two simple ways to enter:

**Become a fan of Mad About Pets on Facebook and post this message to the wall: "I want to win the Pet Organizer!"

**Retweet this message on Twitter @MadAboutPets. Just use the tweet icon above this post and make sure you include @MadAboutPets in your retweet (that way I can count your entry!)

Enter one or both ways!! Contest deadline is Sunday, December 13, 2009. I will randomly select a winner from all wall posts and retweets received.

Make sure you check out Knock Knock Gifts for more info on the Pet Organizer and other great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. They have tons of creative, funny and functional gifts for friends, family, and even co-workers (my personal favorite is the "All out of..." pad, currently adorning my fridge!)

Pins for Pets- fun bowling fundraiser for DCHS on December 6!

Friday, November 20, 2009 Comments

Do your kids love to bowl? Does your family want a fun way to support the Dane County Humane Society? Then sign your children up (age 7 and older) for the Pins for Pets fundraiser being held at multiple Badgerland Bowling Centers throughout Dane County on December 6! Just collect a minimum of $50.00 in sponsorships from friends and family and receive:


-a T-shirt
-3 games of bowling
-Pizza and beverages
-a chance to win great prizes!

Those with the three highest sponsorships at each location and the top bowlers in each age group will win prizes! The kid who raises the most overall money in sponsorships will win a Nintendo Wii. All proceeds go directly to helping the many homeless animals at Dane County Humane Society. The event will take place from 12:00pm-3:00pm.

Registration is due Monday, November 23, 2009  Tuesday, December 1, 2009 so make sure you sign up ASAP! To register contact Cory Neeley at 608) 838-0413 ext. 118 or cneeley@giveshelter.org .

Click here for more information, to download a pledge sheet, and for participating bowling centers.

Alexander's Vegie Thins Dog Biscuit Treats

Comments

Here is a great recipe for VEGAN dog treats! Enjoy! :)

I N G R E D I E N T S

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cups dry milk powder
2 tablespoons dry milk powder (+ more)
1 vegetable cube -- or packet
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons boiling water (+ more)
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar not packed
1/4 cups carrots, shredded or -ground
1/2 egg or egg substitute

Additional small flour for dusting.

I N S T R U C T I O N S

Preheat oven 300 F.

Dissolve veggie cube or packet in the boiling water.Mix dry ingredients; mix wet ingredients separately, except egg. Pour wet ingredients into dry; mix lightly. Add a well in the center and add the egg. Mix.
 
Place dough on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle a little flour on top. Roll out to not more than 1/8". To avoid dough sticking to rolling pin, sprinkle a little flour on top of dough. The key is not to use too much flour. They will puff up otherwise.
 
Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes., turn them over and bake another 10 minutes.
 
Cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container
 
(Recipe by Sherilyn Schamber, from gourmetsleuth.com)

Support Madison Mutts through Wishbones for Pets fundraiser/good drive

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Comments

Madison, WI, October 17, 2009 -- When Tami Lewis, the owner of Gotta Go Out, LLC, wanted a way to celebrate her local pet sitting company's anniversary and give back to the Madison area pet community, she decided to participate in a national pet goods/fund raiser called Wishbones for Pets. What she didn't know was which local adoption or rescue group to help. Then she met Tony.


Tony is a whippet mix that was being fostered by her clients Lauren and Michael Wojtasiak. He had come from an overflowing shelter in Illinois. "We found out that he was heartworm positive before he came and that the poor guy had been attacked by dogs before making his way to us", says Lauren. Madison Mutts spent money treating Tony's heartworms, but it was well worth it for Tony. After some basic training, medical care, and a good foster home with Michael and Lauren, he turned out to be the perfect family dog. Tony was adopted by a wonderful mom and her two sons and they have reported that he has brought such joy to their lives.

As a pet sitter who loves all pets, Tony stole Tami's heart and she decided that Madison Mutts would be the rescue group she wanted to help by hosting the Wishbones for Pets program in Madison. Wishbones for Pets began in 2004 by Janet Depathy, a professional pet sitter in Plymouth, MA. It is the first pet sitter related charity open to all professional pet sitters in North America, and runs annually from mid-October through the week after Thanksgiving. The pet sitter asks local businesses to sponsor drop off bins for pet goods donations or coin jars in their store or office. Since 2004, hundreds of pet sitters across the United States and Canada have participated in the program.

Madison Mutts is a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on volunteers and donations. Every donation helps them continue their much needed work. The Wishbones for Pets program runs until November 29th and the following businesses are sponsoring donation bins for dog goods or coin jars for cash donations.


 For more information about the work of Madison Mutts, visit www.madisonmutts.org. To see a list of local drop locations, to sponsor a bin or coin jar, or to get more information on Gotta Go Out's hosted Wishbone for Pets drive in Madison, visit http://www.ggout.com/.

Related Post: Mad About Pets' interview with Gotta Go Out, LLC owner Tami Lewis

Local Business Spotlight: Rover Makeovers

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 Comments

Rover Makeovers is one of Dane County's premier pet grooming businesses. Based out of Cambridge, WI, it is a full service spa sure to please even the most discerning of pets (and of course their owners!) Mad About Pets is pleased to provide you this exclusive interview with owner Julie Anderson:

What animal(s) does/does your business cater to, and what kinds of products/services do you offer?

We cater to both dogs and cats, but we see a lot more dogs. We offer trendy or traditional pet grooming with a gentle touch. We will soon be offering touches of color or the bling of Swarovski crystals to your pet. We use spa line products & give blueberry facials and paw treatments. We also offer beautiful & unique pet photography at the location of your choice. And introducing "Spoiled Rotten Rover", a small line of unique gifts for for dogs & the humans who love them. We are proud to carry Fido-Vite, a natural food supplement to help keep your dog healthy from the inside out.

What made you decide to start up your business (how did your business come about?)

I have had a love affair with dogs since I was a little girl. Unfortunately , allergies kept me from owning a dog for many years. Thankfully, I out grew those allergies. I had gone to school for commercial art & photography in the 70"s. I became a groomer 19 years ago in Illinois. After 12 years there, I moved back to Wisconsin & eventually to Cambridge where I found the perfect little spot, right on Main St. to open Rover Makeovers.

How are you different from other groomers in the Madison area?

I am different because I understand dogs & their behavior. They seem to know right from the start that I am someone they can trust. I keep it calm by not having a shop full of barking unhappy dogs. They are rarely kenneled & wait by the front door or in the front window on a bed for their "taxi" to pick them up. We are not a "daycare". It is rare that a dog has to spend the whole day in our shop. Most are picked up when they are finished unless requested by the owner to pick up after work. I also am pretty good at what I do & will suggest for you a stye that I think would make your dog look best. Not to mention, I have the very best homemade doggie jerky around! Everyone gets a reward after their grooming!

What is your favorite aspect of your business?

Being able to spend the day with various dogs and "sculpt" them in to works of living art.

How can customers contact you for more information or with questions?

By phone at 608-445-0755 or email at mydogsdig@gmail.com, visit one of my websites http://www.rmpetportraits.com/ or http://www.rovermakeovers.com/, or just stop in at 150 W Main St, Cambridge, WI 53523

Happy Halloween (...but keep the chocolate away from Fido or Fifi!)

Friday, October 30, 2009 Comments

Halloween is a time of ghosts, goblins, and all things spooky. It's also a time where we can eat as much free chocolate as we want without needing to feel guilty! However, Halloween can quickly turn into a nightmare for you and your pet if they ingest chocolate.


Chocolate is toxic to dogs, cats, and most other pets. It contains a chemical called theobromine which, in large enough quantities, is toxic and even fatal to pets. Before you let your dog or cat convince you to offer up a taste of your Snickers bar, make sure you read up on chocolate toxicity to get all the facts. Here are some great articles to get you started.

Trick-or-Treat with the big cats this Saturday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 Comments


Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue will be open for trick-or-treating this Saturday, October 31 from 3:00pm-6:00pm. All 27 big cats will be "handing out" candy to visitors. There is no admission fee, though donations of any size are appreciated.

Where: Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue, 305 Pine St, Rock Springs WI

When: Saturday, October 31, 2009 from 3:00pm-6:00pm

For more info: Visit WI Big Cat Rescue online

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Attention Kids: 2nd Annual APPA National Children’s Pet Poetry Contest!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 Comments

For the second year, The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is holding a pet poetry contest for gradeschool children grades 3-5. Participants are invited to write a poem about their favorite pet and why they love them. Entries can be submitted online or by mail to Pets Add Life, 45 Winter Street, Reno, NV 89503. All entries must be received by January 15, 2010.

Two winners from each grade level will be selected to receive a supply of pet products. Their classroom will also receive a $1000 scholarship to help further pet-related education.

The clock is ticking, so kids....happy writing! Check out the website for all the contest details.

Help the Dane County Humane Society win big!

Monday, October 19, 2009 Comments

We all know how much the Dane County Humane Society does to help homeless pets in the greater Madison area. Now, help give back by making them a winner in the Animal Rescue Site $100,000 Shelter Challenge!

You may vote once per day until December 20, 2009. Make sure to tell all your friends to vote (retweet this if you can!) and bookmark this post so you can remember to vote every single day. Through the Shelter Challenge, the Dane County Humane Society has a chance to win up to a $20,000 grand prize; weekly awards of $1000 can also be won.

Please help support your local Humane Society by voting every day! It's quick, easy, and will help infinitely to care for homeless pets in our area.

Click the banner to vote!


Jury trial scheduled in Madison cockfighting case

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 Comments

A final pre-trial is scheduled for tomorrow, October 15, 2009, in the matter of a Madison man accused of holding cockfights. Jorge L. Iglesias was charged on June 26, 2009 with 13 felony counts of instigating animal fights.

Jorge Iglesias entered a plea of not guilty on all charges during his June initial appearance hearing. A jury trial is scheduled for November 3, 2009 in the Dane County Circuit Court.

Related story: Hearing scheduled for tomorrow in alleged case of Madison cockfighting (detailed story)

Wisconsin Dog Fair coming to Madison on November 8

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 Comments

If you have a dog (or just plain love dogs!), you'll feel right at home at the Wisconsin Dog Fair. Held on November 8, 2009 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, the event features vendors, exhibitors, raffles and more. Over 150 different dog breeds will also be available for viewing.


Where: Alliant Energy Center, Madison WI

When: Sunday, November 8, 2009 from 10:00am-5:00pm

For More Info: Visit the websites for Alliant Energy Center or Badger Kennel Club

Laika's angry mass.

Monday, October 12, 2009 Comments

On Saturday night I took my hedgehog Laika out of her cage for her evening playtime. I noticed that she had a very strange lump on her back leg right at the quill line. It hadn't been there the day before, so I had my husband rush Laika and I to the emergency vet at about 8:00 at night.

The vet's first impression was the same as mine: it's probably an ingrown, infected quill. He decided to aspirate the lump. If it was filled with liquid, it should shrink quite easily. Unfortunately, the aspiration proved it was not filled with liquid but rather solid tissue.

The veterinarian viewed a sample of the lump under a microscope and found that the tissue appears to be made up of "round cells", which indicate a tumor. I decided to send the sample to the university for testing. A tumor like this can either be a benign mass that is easily removed or a sign of a serious cancer like lymphoma (unfortunately hedgehogs are prone to some cancers.)

I should find out the university's results later today. For now, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that my sweet little hedgie girl will only have a minor removal surgery to endure.

Enjoy Barktoberfest this Sunday in Cambridge!

Friday, October 9, 2009 Comments

It's pretty obvious that autumn is already here, so enjoy it this Sunday in Cambridge at the third annual Barktoberfest! Bring your favorite pooch out to enjoy tons of vendors, demos, and activities for the whole family. Just some of the many activities include:

* Doggy Costume Contest
* "Smooch-a-Pooch" kissing booth (fundraiser for homeless pets)
* Lion's Club food stand with traditional Octoberfest treats
* Demos including Flyball and 4-H Team Obedience Training
* "Yappy Hour" from 3-5 at Mill on Main
* Shelter From the Storm adoptable dog meet-and-greet
* ...and much, much more!

    Where: downtown Veterans Park, Cambridge, WI
    When:  Sunday, October 11, 2009 from 9:00am-4:00 pm (Rain date 10/18)
    For more info: visit the website or call Julie at (608) 445-0755

    Barktoberfest is sponsored by Rover Makeovers.

    Tinker's story.

    Thursday, October 8, 2009 Comments

     In the Fall of 2002, my husband (then boyfriend) and I moved to Madison, WI for college. Having grown up with cats my entire life, our new apartment seemed dull without a furry little friend to meet me after a long day of classes. One day, we decided to check out the stores in the vicinity of our local mall, and we noticed a nearby PetSmart. I told my husband that if there were cats there, I would like to look into adopting one. Somewhat opposed to the idea, my husband said, "If there are cats, we can look at them, but we’ll only get one if his name is Gabe." Thinking he had laid the whole cat issue to rest with such a one-in-a-million demand, we went to have a look inside.

    Much to his dismay, there were indeed cats for adoption at PetSmart. We approached the cages only to discover that most of the cats were having an afternoon snooze. There was, however, one cat pawing frantically at the cage. My husband squinted to look at the name tag, and as luck would have it, the tag amazingly said "Gabe." True to his word, my husband hailed the attention of a store employee who got Gabe out of the cage for me to hold. When she placed him in my arms, he hissed and scratched my arm to the point of drawing blood. We both decided that, fate or not, Gabe would not be coming home with us after all.

    A little dejected, I turned around to leave the adoption area. As I was about to walk out, the store clerk grabbed my hand. "Did you meet Tinker?" she excitedly asked. She opened up the cage directly to the left of Gabe's and handed me a soft, beautiful and purring Siamese mix. She had radiant blue eyes, tabby striped paws and calico ears. Her markings were completely original; almost funny, as though she had been crudely designed from the markings of ten different exotic cats.

    I held Tinker in my arms for nearly 15 minutes as the store clerk told us all about her past. She was a stray from Delavan, WI where she was found wandering the streets. She had no way to fend for herself or find substantial food, as her owners had declawed all 4 of her paws. She suffered from severe ear mites when she found herself at the Lakeland Animal Shelter, but they were all taken care of by the shelter vet. One look at my husband, and I knew he felt the same as I did: Tinker was coming home with us.

    When we picked Tinker up from the adoption center a week later, we immediately took her to the vet's office for a check-up. All of the vet techs absolutely adored Tinker and couldn't help but give her treat after treat. When they attempted to hear her heartbeat through the stethoscope, they were unsuccessful as her loud purr was too overwhelming (she never ceased purring when amongst company). The veterinarian came in to examine Tinker and remarked about the strange way her eyes seemed to dart back and forth as though she were reading an invisible script. He suspected that perhaps she had an inner ear infection, but this was not the case. He left the room and returned a few minutes later with a thick medical book in his hands. Reading from the book, he explained to us that Tinker had a condition common in Oriental cat breeds called Congenital Nystagmus. The condition caused no issues for her and did not compromise her vision in any way; her eyes simply darted back and forth comically. Her nystagmus proved to be just another unique feature of her already unique appearance. At this point, we expected nothing less from our little anomaly.

    We took Tinker home, where she immediately settled herself in. Within an hour, she was sleeping in my lap. She also slept in bed with us that same night, beginning the nightly occurrence of Tinker sharing a pillow with me and often snoring directly into my ear (I’d often wake up some nights with her paw in my mouth). She continued to charm us and visitors to our home for the next six months as the only cat; the Queen of the Household, a task she took very seriously.
    Those six months later we encountered another misunderstood Siamese mix at a local shelter. His name was Shamrock, and he was scared and thin from months of being generally mishandled by well-meaning folks that didn’t necessarily understand the gentle and emotional temperament of the Siamese breed. Though Tinker was content as an only cat, we couldn't bear to see Shamrock at the shelter. From the moment Shamrock came home with us, he would be known as "Gabe."

    Tinker and Gabe did not have an easy acclimation, to say the least. For Gabe, it was love at first sight. For Tinker, Gabe was simply a pest that needed to be eradicated. He would touch noses with her; she would bite and tackle him. So it went for several months, during which Gabe took to stress-licking his fur to cope with the rejection. My husband and I resigned ourselves to the fact that Tinker and Gabe may never be friends, but simply co-exist as neutral roommates (Gabe's fur grew back as he also resigned himself to this fact). Therefore, it was incredibly surprising when the day finally came that Tinker decided to jump up onto the couch to lay by him. It must have surprised Gabe too, because he let out a confused meow and ran from the room! After a few more unsuccessful attempts by Tinker, Gabe recognized that she was burying the hatchet and allowed her to lay by him. They became fast friends from that point on.

    Gabe and Tinker were inseparable from fall of 2003 until the beginning of 2009, when Tinker was diagnosed with renal failure. Her disease was advancing more quickly than we could control, and the veterinarian did not have optimistic expectations for her long-term survival. When Tinker came home from the vet's office after we received the news, Gabe uncharacteristically hid upstairs for nearly a week. If Tinker approached him, he would avert his eyes and slink away. He knew something was wrong; terribly wrong. She slowly regained her strength and Gabe slowly warmed back up to her. Things went back to normal for a few months, as we tried to push the severity of Tinker's illness from our minds.

    In April of 2009, Tinker took a turn for the worst. She stopped eating solid food and would lay unmoving in one spot for hours at a time. Her once-silky coat became dull, and her eyes had lost the bright, glimmer of joy that they always held. As unprepared as we were, my husband and I knew it was time to say goodbye. Through a steady stream of tears and sobbing, I held Tinker in my arms while the veterinarian mercifully put her to sleep. As her body lost strength and went limp, I whispered in her ear how sorry I was and how much I loved her. I really hope she knew.
    Tinker was a beautiful, loving and wonderful friend to me, but she was also so much more. She represented my first foray into adulthood. She was there when I ventured into the big city on my own. When I began college. When I got married, started my career and bought my first home. When everything around me was changing, I could always count on Tinker to ground me; to remind me of the constants in life. She was my life preserver, my confidant, my pillow and my rock. When I lost her, I felt like the most important phase of my life had come to an end. However, I also knew that in moments of such sorrow, one needed to move on in order to stay afloat.

    Nowadays, when I come home from a nasty day at work, I’m still met by Gabe, who is still as loving, vocal and gentle as ever. And whenever I’m feeling down and wish that Tinker was around for me to hold, I can look at photographs and instantly remember what it was like to hold her at the PetSmart for the first time. To look into her eyes and know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we were going to make each other’s lives better.

    And we did. We both did.

    (Thanks to my wonderful husband for helping me put the finishing touches on this essay. Tinker, we both miss you so much.)

    "Roy and Kitty": a tale about friendship by local author

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009 Comments

         Teach your kids a lesson about friendship with the delightful children's book Roy and Kitty. The book features over 40 full-color photographs (every page is full-color!) following the main characters Roy (a dog) and Kitty (a cat) as they form a very unlikely friendship. The story is told from the animals' perspective and in their own words. Young readers will enjoy the easy reading and adorable photos, as will pet-lovers of any age.


         Roy and Kitty is written by Dane County author Bill Vancil. His previous work includes Don't Fear the Big Dogs, inspired by his battle with prostate cancer. Vancil  is also the editor for My Dog Magazine and owns the webdesign company Vancil Creative in Cross Plains, WI.

    Learn how to keep indoor cats happy October 11 in Madison

    Monday, October 5, 2009 Comments


    Keeping an indoor cat enriched is not as simple as providing food and a clean litterbox. It takes consistent interaction and mental stimulation to keep indoor cats truly happy. Join Dr. Tony Buffington on October 11, 2009 from 11:00am-1:00pm to learn more about this topic, part of the speaker's Indoor Cat Initiative.

    Dr. Buffington will speak for one hour, followed by social time and a question & answer session.

    When: Sunday, October 11, 2009 from 11:00am-1:00pm

    Where: Dane County Humane Society, 5132 Voges Road
    Madison, WI 53718

    For more info: Visit DCHS online or call (608) 838 - 0413

    Take your pet wherever you go with a photo handbag

    Thursday, October 1, 2009 Comments

    Ever wish you could bring your favorite pet with you wherever you go? Though that’s still not a possibility for most people, there is a way to have the next best thing: a photo handbag! If you’re like me (or most women), you don’t go anywhere without your handbag. It’s more or less your traveling studio apartment. It carries your wallet, your keys, your checkbook, your makeup…the list goes on an on. Since your handbag goes everywhere you do, why not make it a unique way to show off your pet?


    Photo handbags available through SnapTotes are fun and practical. They are available in many different styles, from diaper bags to classy clutches. Depending on the style you choose, your bag can be customized with different trim, various fabric styles, color choices, and much more. You can even choose to have your photo display on both sides of the bag for some designs.

    Adding a photo to the bag is easy. SnapTotes has a simple uploading tool to choose a photo right from your computer. If your favorite photo isn’t available digitally, you also have the option of mailing a hard copy in to the company. The way your photo displays on the handbag is totally up to you; you can zoom in, zoom out, adjust the placement, etc. SnapTotes even has a tool that allows you to create a collage of multiple photos if you just can’t choose a favorite.


    A customized photo handbag is a great gift idea for pet lovers (I know I’d love to be given one!) It’s a gift that is not only practical, but totally personal. SnapTotes also offers photo pillows in addition to their wide selection of handbags. A photo pillow is a thoughtful gift idea for college students leaving home, frequent business travelers, and anyone else who could use a little reminder of their beloved pet. There is also a men's collection which includes messenger bags, photo wallets, and more.

    Visit SnapTotes online for more information. Use discount code couptote09 for 15% off any order over $50, or use code greatbags for 10% off an order of any size.

    Business Spotlight: Gotta Go Out, LLC

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 Comments

    Gotta Go Out, LLC is one of Madison's premier pet sitting services. Principal Owner Tami Lewis provided this exclusive interview with Mad About Pets, to help better acquaint pet owners in Dane County with the history of Gotta Go Out, LLC and the services offered:

    What animals does your business cater to?

    Cats, Dogs, Fish, Birds (including parrots), Lizards, Horses, Chickens, Hamsters, etc. Pretty much any pet, as long as they don’t require live feedings during the visit and they are in our service area of Central, West, or South Madison; Fitchburg; Middleton; Monona; or Verona.


    What made you decide to start up your business (how did your business come about?)

    After working 20 plus years in corporate America and using pet sitting services to take care of my own pets, I decided to follow my passion for pets and start my own pet sitting business.

    Please describe your facility or accommodations, and any special training or accolades you or your staff possess.

    Gotta Go Out, LLC is bonded and insured and a member of Pet Sitters International (PSI). I (Tami Lewis) have been trained in pet first aid through the American Red Cross and am an accredited pet sitter through PSI. I am well versed in caring for pets from cats and dogs to rodents, reptiles, parrots, and horses. I have cared for geriatric pets, provided hospice services, provided puppy training, and medicated pets when needed.

    How are you different from other animal boarding/sitting services in the Madison area?

    I spent some time and money getting accredited by Pet Sitters International, the largest pet sitting organization in the world. I also set the business up as an LLC from the beginning and bought Liability insurance and got bonded. I currently have 100% satisfied customers and I go out of my way to keep my reputation extremely high. I have experience providing hospice care to pets ill with cancer as well as administering medications, so I offer services to human clients with their terminally ill and geriatric pets.

    How can customers contact you for more information or with questions?

    For general information about Gotta Go Out’s services and pricing, the website is a good resource. They can see it at http://www.ggout.com/. If they wish to ask questions or get more information, they can contact me at (608) 316-2021 or tlewis@ggout.com.

    LinkReferral: Great traffic tool for pet bloggers and other niche writers

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009 Comments

    Whether you have a blog about your own pets, pet care, pet news, pet adoption, or anything else pet-related, you’ve probably realized that creating traffic and buzz as a niche blogger is easier said than done. This is just a quick post to lend a helping hand to fellow pet bloggers.

    If you search Google for tools to help increase traffic and hits, you’ll encounter more or less a lot of scams, pay-per-click offers, and link farms. Trust me on this one—I’ve tried just about all of them! The only tool I’ve really found that stands out for bloggers like me is LinkReferral. It’s free, it’s easy, and best of all…it’s not a scam. Yay!

    LinkReferral is a simple concept. You add your blog or website to their listing in whichever category fits you best (for me, that’s “Home/Life” with subcategory “Pets.”) From there, you earn better placement in the directory by completing simple tasks: review other sites, post on the forum, visit other registered sites in the directory, or add a site to your favorites listing. By doing these simple tasks, you are participating in the network and increasing your rank in the directory. Better rank=more traffic.

    Besides getting more visitors to your site, LinkReferral is a great way to network with other bloggers. While visiting sites in the directory, you’ll discover lots of similar blogs or websites to enjoy and frequent. Finding similar blogs and commenting on them is a great way to network and possibly exchange site links. Plus, you’re helping your LinkReferral ranking just by visiting these other sites. No more random Googling to find similar websites!

    To me, the best thing about LinkReferral is the reviews. Other users can review your blog or website on items like navigation, content, load time, etc. Honest reviews by other bloggers are not easy to come by, but with LinkReferral they come free with the territory. I’ve really enjoyed seeing what users think of my site, and ways that I can improve it.

    I’ll get off my soapbox now and get back to my regular scheduled content, but I really just wanted to share how useful I’ve found LinkReferral to be and how useful I believe it can be for other pet-bloggers (and any other kind of blogger!)  Free networking, reviews, and traffic—what’s not to like? :)

    Recipe: "Milk Bone" Dog Treats

    Friday, September 25, 2009 Comments

    Ingredients:
    3/4 cup hot water
    1/3 cup margarine
    1/2 cup powdered milk
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 egg, beaten
    3 cups whole wheat flour

    *Variation: increase margarine to 1/2 cup and add 2 teaspoons sugar

    Instructions:
    In large bowl pour hot water over the margarine. Stir in powdered milk, salt, and egg. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Knead for a few minutes to form stiff dough. Pat or roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into bone shapes. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool. They will dry out quite hard.

    Makes about 1 1/4 pounds of biscuits. Costs around 30 cents per pound.

    The Bucky Book: Save and be charitable at the same time!

    Comments

    Many Madison residents are already familiar with the Bucky Book and the savings it offers. For those not familiar, the Bucky Book is a coupon book which offers money-saving vouchers for many local businesses. Unlike other coupon books which target a broad region of the state, the Bucky Book is geared specifically towards Dane County businesses. As a result, more of the coupons are useable and buyers can save a lot more!

    What some may not realize is that by purchasing a Bucky Book online, $12 of the overall $35 price tag can be donated to whatever charity the buyer chooses. When ordering online, simply designate the charity of choice and $12 will be donated directly to that charity! The Bucky Book is a great way to help local charities, all while saving hundreds of dollars on products and services at local businesses already frequented by most Madisonians.

    The Bucky Book contains 2-for-1 and 50% off offers for 300+ local merchants, as well as over 50 coupons for absolutely free items and services! An added bonus to this year's edition is online access to even more coupons and offers, as well as special deals sent to buyers (with online access) on their birthday or anniversary. In addition, the book comes with a free gift of over $70 in coupons good-as-cash with 16 participating businesses.

    The Bucky Book can also be used as a fundraising opportunity for schools, groups, etc.

    For more info: Participating businesses, Buy Bucky Book online, More Bucky Book Info

    Strategies for coping with pet allergies

    Thursday, September 24, 2009 Comments


    It is estimated that up to 30% of the human population is allergic to household pets. Though the only way to completely treat pet allergies is to remove the pet from the home, there are many strategies that can be employed to lessen the effects of pet allergies and avoid parting ways with the offending pet. Here are just a few of the ways to cope with pet allergies:

    1. Vacuum and dust often. The more often you clean, the less pet hair you have to deal with. Though it's not the actual hair that causes allergies, the allergy-causing dander does remain on hair and skin flakes that are shed by the animal.

    2. Eliminate cloth window coverings. Cloth drapes and blinds are a magnet for pet dander. Wherever possible, use plastic, vinyl or metal blinds. They can be easily dusted and will not collect as many allergens as cloth drapery.

    3. Designate a "pet free" room. Allergy sufferers should have at least one room in the home that is totally "pet free." Often the bedroom is the best place to have such a room. The door should remain closed at all times, and the pet should not be allowed to enter the room at any time.

    4. Purchase allergy-reducing pillow cases and bed covers. Allergy-reducing pillowcases and mattress covers do not accumulate allergens the way normal fabric covers would. The fabric is impermeable, so it aids with pet allergies and the often-accompanying dust mite allergy. Wash these covers on a weekly basis.

    5. Use hardwood wherever possible. Carpet collects animal hair as fast as your pet can shed it. Even with thorough vacuuming pet hair can still remain embedded. Hardwood floors are much easier to clean and do not collect hair as carpet does. The next time the carpet needs replacing, consider hardwood as an alternative.

    6. Use filters everywhere. Purchase allergy-reducing furnace filters and change them once per month. Purchase a vacuum with a HEPA filter to eliminate airborne allergens. Run a HEPA air purifier at all times to reduce airborne allergens. Wherever an allergy-reducing filter can be used, use it!

    7. Bathe your pet. Though your pet may not appreciate it, bathing them once a week can wash away much of the loose hair and dead skin cells that harbors dander. If bathing is out of the question, there are also allergy-reducing wipes that can be used to wipe the pet's fur and theoretically lessen the dander.

    8. Consider immunotherapy. If your pet allergy is medically diagnosed and interferes with daily life, talk to your allergist about immunotherapy (or allergy shots.) This is a process that typically takes several years to complete. A small amount of the allergen is injected into the allergy sufferer; the dosage is increased as time goes on. Eventually, the person will be immune to the allergen or at least suffer a less severe reaction.

    9. Take an antihistamine daily. Many antihistamines that previously required a prescription are now availble over the counter. Claritin and Zyrtec are two of the more popular brands. They are also available in generic form as Loratadine (Claritin) or Cetirizine (Zyrtec.) If one brand does not work, try another. Taking an antihistamine daily rather than on an as-needed basis can help prevent allergy symptoms rather than just treating the symptoms as they occur.

    10. Purchase a central air cleaner. Forced-air heating and cooling can essentially blow allergens out of the vents and all over your house. A central air cleaning unit (such as April Aire) can be purchased to clean the air before it is circulated. If this is not possible to purchase, an alternative is to place a breathable cover (such as cheesecloth) over the vent to trap particles.

    Before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle, make an appointment with an allergist to be tested for specific allergies. Though it may seem like your pet is the culprit, you may actually be allergic to something entirely different. A visit to the allergist will allow you to pinpoint your specific allergy triggers. Your allergist can also provide you with other options for controlling pet allergies if your pet does prove to be the guilty party.

    Pet loss resources available in Madison

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009 Comments

    As little as we want to think of it, all pet owners will one day be faced with the emotional pain of losing a pet. Fortunately, residents in Dane County do not have to face this sad time alone. From making tough medical decisions to the post-loss planning, there are many resources available to make losing a pet a little easier on all involved.

    Personal and Wellness Support Services (PAWWS) at the UW-Madison Veterinary School has compiled an excellent list of resources easily accessible on their website. It includes links to cremation services, support groups, grief hotlines, and much more.

    The list can be found online here.

    Joint Public Hearing scheduled for September 23 in Madison for Dog Breeders Licensure Bill

    Monday, September 21, 2009 Comments


    A public hearing is scheduled for September 23, 2009 at 10:00 am at the State Capitol regarding AB-250/SB-208, the Smith-Kreitlow Commercial Dog Breeders Licensure Bill. Members of the public are encouraged to attend this meeting.

    In short, bill AB-250 will help to eliminate puppy mills in the state of Wisconsin. It will put into place strict rules for dog breeders and shelters, and make their facilities subject to inspection by the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. It will also put laws into place regarding standards of care for animals covered by the bill.

    The bill is still in committee in both the State Assembly and Senate. Attending the meeting on the 23rd will be members of committees who are reviewing the bill, as well as any members of the public who wish to attend.

    What: Public Hearing on the Smith-Kreitlow Commercial Dog Breeders Licensure Bill (AB-250/SB-208)
    When: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 10:00 am
    Where: State Capitol, Room 412 East, Madison WI

    For more info: The Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project, Inc.

    Bob Barker promotes animal rights awareness with new book

    Comments


    "Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered." Fans of the popular game show The Price is Right have heard this call-to-action spoken by Bob Barker (and new host Drew Carey) since 1979. Though Bob Barker retired from hosting the game show in 2007, he has publicly continued his animal advocacy crusade with his new book Priceless Memories.

    Released in April of 2009, Priceless Memories is a collection of stories from Barker’s early years living through the Great Depression as well as from his 50-plus years of television experience. Fans of The Price is Right will enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at production of the show and Bob Barker’s memories of hosting various game shows like Truth or Consquences. Animal advocates will enjoy the fact that all proceeds from sales of the book go to DJ&T Foundation, founded in 1994 by Barker to help pay for spay and neuter programs.

    Also featured in the book are Bob Barker’s recollections of favorite contestants and celebrity guests. Most importantly, he discusses his beliefs on animal rights, including his controversial decision to no longer allow fur coats as prizes on The Price is Right or to be worn at beauty pageants he hosted.

    For more info: Priceless Memories on Amazon.com

    Recipe: Super Simple Chunky Peanut Dog Treats

    Friday, September 18, 2009 Comments

    (Note: Natural peanut butter does not contain hydrogenated oil or sugar so it makes a more healthful treat for your dog.)

    Ingredients:
    2 cups whole wheat flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 cup chunky natural peanut butter
    1 cup non fat milk

    Instructions:
    Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. In large bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Use another bowl and combine the peanut butter and milk.Add the milk and peanut butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.On floured surface, turn out the knead. Roll out to 1/4" thick. Cut out using cookie cutters. Place on baking sheets and bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Place on racks to cool then store in airtight containers.

    The WizDog makes indoor potty training easy and convenient

    Comments


    Everyone knows that cats use a litterbox to “do their business”, but many dog owners don’t realize that their pet can be trained to do the same. Though paper-training a new puppy is common practice, it can be a pain to clean up and the smell is often difficult to control (not to mention newspapers on the floor don’t entirely prevent urine from coming in contact with the bare floor.)

    Owners who are fed up with the old methods of potty training their dog now have a new option: the WizDog! The WizDog is a simple, yet ingenious, product that makes the challenge of training dogs to eliminate indoors an attainable goal for dogs of all ages and sizes. Basically, the WizDog is a litterbox without the litter. It consists of a shallow pan containing either a pee pad or newspaper lining, and a grate on top which allows urine to pass through to the pan but solid waste to stay put.

    The design is conceived with both owners and dogs in mind. Dogs prefer to eliminate in one spot (as evidenced by the concentrated “urine burns” in the front yard of many dog owners.) The WizDog allows dogs to have their own personal potty spot indoors, making it convenient for those times where the owner isn’t around to let the dog out or the weather outdoors is not conducive to a potty break. Since the grate system allows liquid waste to pass through to the pan, the dog does not have to stand in a puddle of its own urine as with traditional paper training (no more wet pawprints on the floor!) Clean-up of solid waste is simple, as it stays on top of the grate. The smooth surface of the grate makes it easy to simply flip the grate over and dispose of the mess.

    Unlike cats, dogs do not cover their waste. Instead they prefer to kick it away. As a result, litter is not a practical solution for potty training a dog as they will likely kick it all over the room by doing what comes naturally to them. Many dogs have also been known to ingest pelleted litter or shred newspapers and pee pads. The WizDog’s grate system eliminates these problems as the dog does not come in contact with anything but the smooth grate.

    The WizDog was designed for small to medium sized dogs, but the design can easily accommodate larger breeds by placing two WizDog systems side by side. The product is durable enough to hold up to 200 pounds, so even the largest breed of dog can be trained to use the WizDog.

    Owners who would like to give the system a try but are unsure how to begin training their dog to use it can be comforted knowing that the system comes with instructions for training. The WizDog website also contains a helpful FAQ section that answers many of the common questions and concerns regarding the product. In the rare case that a dog cannot be trained to use the WizDog, there is a 30-day money back guarantee offered by the manufacturer. With the purchase of a WizDog system, the manufacturer will also include a helpful book on general dog training principals.

    Reptile Expo to be held September 20 in Madison

    Thursday, September 17, 2009 Comments

    If you love reptiles, make sure you come out this Sunday for the Wisconsin Reptile Expo! Held at the VFW on Cottage Grove Rd, the event features vendors of snakes, reptiles and related supplies.


    An admission fee of $5.00 will be charged for adults. Kids under 12 get in for a reduced fee of $2.00.
    What: Wisconsin Reptile Expo

    Where: VFP Post 7591, 301 Cottage Grove Rd, Madison, WI

    When: Sunday, September 20, 2009 from 10:00 am-4:00 pm

    For more info: Email swreptile@aol.com or visit the event's website

    November date added for Baby-Ready Pets Class at DCHS in Madison

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 Comments


    Due to the overwhelming success of the first few Baby-Ready Pets Classes held by the Dane County Humane Society, another date has been scheduled for November 19, 2009. If you missed out on the other dates or are just learning about this awesome program, now you have another chance to sign up!

    Held at the Goodman Community Center in Madison on November 19 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM, participants in the Baby-Ready Pets Class will learn about issues faced when blending children and pets in the same household such as behavioral changes, proper introduction of pets to a new baby, and pet-related diseases.

    For more info or to register: contact the DCHS Shelter Educator at esteinwehe@giveshelter.org or call (608) 838-0413 ext. 115. You may also visit the DCHS website for more information on this class and the shelter.

    The Painful Truth: 10 Reasons Not to Declaw

    Saturday, September 12, 2009 Comments

    Though it is still common practice in the United States to declaw pet cats, many owners have begun to disapprove of this procedure for valid and important reasons. Before making the decision to declaw, here are just ten (of the many) facts to consider.

    1. Declawing is illegal in most countries around the world, especially European nations. Several US cities have also proposed outlawing the procedure.

    2. Cat claws are not toenails; they are actually an extension of the toe bone. Removing the claw is the equivalent of amputating a human finger at the first joint.

    3. Declawed cats are more likely to bite, as their first method of defense (scratching) is now gone. They are also more likely to be withdrawn or fearful of humans because of their lack of defense.

    4. Anectodal evidence states that declawed cats are more prone to litterbox avoidance issues. Since declawing is painful, the cat may associate the pain with the litterbox and therefore avoid it.

    5. Cats walk on the tips of their toes. By removing the first joint, the cat's gait is altered. An altered gait can lead to arthritic joints, joint deterioration, balance issues, and even a "sway back."

    6. Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. It allows them to stretch, tone their agile bodies, and mark their territory through pheremones located on the paws. With positive reinforcement, cats would much rather scratch a material like sisal rope or cardboard than your favorite loveseat.

    7. Even after the amputated toes have healed, many cats continue to experience pain and sensitivity in the paws for the rest of their lives.

    8. If accidental cat scratches are a concern, vinyl nail caps are available for purchase. They are easy to apply and the pretty colors make cats look extra fancy.

    9. Veterinarians do not alway remove enough of the claw-forming bone during the surgery. This bone can continue to grow, causing a painful, deformed claw (invisible to the naked eye) to re-grow within the cat's foot. The claw will occassionally break through the skin; if not, it will need surgical repair.

    10. Declawing is a major medical procedure. As such, there is always the risk of infection, bleeding, swelling and other complications. The surgery does not benefit the cat in any way; therefore, these risks are entirely avoidable by choosing not to declaw.

    For more info:
    -Photos of the procedure (graphic)
    -Article on declawing from Dr. Michael W. Fox,
    -Declawing links database
    -Technical facts about declawing
    -Sophie's Story: Declawing gone wrong

    Business Spotlight: bad dog frida

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009 Comments

    bad dog frida, located in the popular Atwood shopping neighborhood, is a truly unique pet care store. Full of bright colors and whimsy, bad dog frida is everything you'd hope for in a Madison pet boutique. Mad About Pets was very happy to learn more about this fun business through an interview with the owner of bad dog frida:

    What animal(s) does/do your store cater to, and what kinds of products/services do you offer?

    We cater to dogs primarily but also to cats. While our cat selection is smaller the items we choose are favorites among many! Some of the products that we offer for both dogs & cats are:

    * high quality healthy food and treats
    * health supplements
    * durable toys including "smart toys"
    * eco-friendly beds
    * unique collars/leashes
    * whimsical t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats for humans
    * artwork - much of it local
    * books on health and training

    Services that we offer are referrals and reference materials for people looking to provide holistic care for their animals. For example, we have had a lot of experience and success with treating our own animals through acupuncture and herbs and can provide lots of information. We also hold monthly educational workshops on a variety of topics.

    What made you decide to start up your business (how did your business come about?)

    I have had a vision of starting a store like this for years. My passion has always been animals - I've worked at a Humane Society in Seattle for years and then managed a vet clinic in Madison before opening the store. Our goal in opening our store was to provide unique items for people who feel about their animals the way that we do - but also to be a community resource. Supporting rescue groups and humane societies is also a part of our mission.

    How is your business unique/different from others in the Madison area?

    I believe we are different because of the experiences and knowledge we have had and can share with people. From behavior to health we have learned so much in our own lives and continue to educate ourselves both for the benefit of our own animals and for our customers. Our customers continuously tell us they appreciate that when they come to the store they know they can talk to us (the owners) and that we care...and remember their situation. That continuity is important and valued with our customers.

    We also hold many events, including a monthly (usually free) educational workshop. We have had some great topics and speakers, including Patricia McConnell.

    Our support of rescue groups and humane societies is also somewhat unique. In addition to holding Meet & Greet events in our store to promote adoptable animals, we also feature a different group each quarter. During that quarter the group is featured on our website and in our store, we have a collection jar out for customers to contribute to, and then at the end of the quarter we provide a check from bad dog frida. The donation is typically around $850. Fifty dollars or so is usually from the collection jar and the remaining amount is from us.

    We have recently started Re-Dog, a resale store-within-a-store! We purchase gently used, clean items from people and then put them out for sale the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month. Items are priced very low - a great way for people to get a deal on items and for things to be recycled and kept out of landfills!

    In regards to our products we carefully screen everything before we will carry it. We won't sell anything that we would not give to our own animals - whether to eat or to play with. We look for local and eco-friendly items and are proud to support local artists and give them another venue to show off their work.

    What kinds of special events, classes, etc (if any) do you host at your business?

    In addition to the workshops and meet & greet events listed above we also hold a fun monthly social event called Coffee Hound Hour. It is held the 1st Saturday of every month from 9:30-10:30 am. We provide coffee, dog treats and people treats and it's a fun activity for dogs to meet other dogs (on leash), and for people to meet other dog loving people! In addition all treats are 10% off during the hour. We also are proud to participate in MMOCA's Gallery Night event as another way to support artists.

    For more info: Visit bad dog frida at 2094 Atwood Ave, Madison WI 53704 or on the web, call (608) 442-6868, or email bark@baddogfrida.com

    The FURminator: Is it truly a miracle brush?

    Friday, September 4, 2009 Comments

    If you have pets, you're probably very familiar with the struggle of keeping the hair off of your furniture, your bed, and your cupboards. Having two cats, this has been a never-ending battle in our household. We vacuum, we dust, and we brush the cats...yet the cat hair still finds a way to accumulate at an alarming rate.

    When it comes to brushes, we have tried everything (and I mean everything!) Shedding blades, nubbed vinyl mitts, combs, slicker brushes--you name it, we've bought it. In the end, all have ultimately failed to provide satisfying results. Fortunately, our male Siamese has a sleek coat which requires little maintenance. But then...there's Tinker. Tinker is a Siamese mix with a coat that lies somewhere between a rabbit and a sheep. Though smooth to the touch, her undercoat is thick, dense, cottony and endless.

    On one of my many trips to the pet supply store to size up new brushes, I came across a product called the FURminator. The display claimed that this brush was better than any other, and that I would be amazed with the results. At a price tag of $30, I was incredibly skeptical. An associate saw me eyeing the display and excitedly shared her own story with me. She said that she bought the FURminator for her Golden Retriever, and the amount of loose, shedding hair that can be removed with the brush is unbelievable. Still skeptical, her story nudged me into curiosity. I shelled out the $30 for the brush, fully aware that my husband would likely have my head for spending that much money on a cat brush.

    As soon as I got home, I set my sights on my first victim: Tinker. Fortunately, Tinker loves a good brushing. Bracing my self for the impending disappointment I was certain would follow, I started brushing. My jaw nearly dropped when I made the first pass of the brush. The FURminator was literally removing bails of loose fur. I continued along, removing enough loose hair to knit a small sweater (if only I was that resourceful.) Tinker appeared as amazed as I was to see the mound of fur that was accumulating on the floor next to her. By the time I was done, Tinker's coat was sleek, soft and noticeably less bulky.

    Needless to say, my husband was not pleased that I spent $30 on a brush. However, the prospect of no longer having tumbleweeds of cat fur drifting across the living room seemed to quell his displeasure. Now when my husband and I talk of brushing the cats, we affectionately refer to it as "bailing the cats."

    So is the FURminator worth the price? Absolutely! You can toss all your other brushes and combs out the window, because this is the only brush you will ever need. Even if the cost makes you cringe (as it certainly did with me), the results will quickly convince you that the FURminator was worth every penny. Now you just need to figure out what you're going to do with all the fur.

    For more info: The FURminator for cats, dogs and horses.

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