Archive for September, 2012

Friday tip of the day – Pet hair on furniture

Guests coming over?  Get rid of unwanted fur by rubbing your slightly dampened hand or a sponge over your upholstery.  The moisture will cause the fur to collect and roll up, enabling you to pick it off easier.

September 28, 2012 at 1:58 am Leave a comment

National Dog Week: Why?

This article was taken from
The Atlantic Highlands Harold
NJ’s first Electronic Newspaper since 1999
Written by Anne Mikolay
Tuesday, 25th of September 2012
Columns – The Armchair Critic

Anne Mikolay

                                                               September 24th to September 30th, 2012 is National Dog Week.

Really? Who knew there was a special week commemorating dogs? National Dog Week…why?

Started in 1928 as a public service educational campaign to improve canine care, the initial National Dog Week program outlined seven major objectives:

  1.   A good home for every dog.
  2.   Elimination of strays.
  3.   Better informed dog owners.
  4.   Consideration for dogs and all animals.
  5.   Emphasis of the dog’s use as companion and protector.
  6.   Fair laws for dog and dog owners.
  7.   Respect for the rights of non-dog owners.

Despite the lack of social media as we know it today, 1928’s outreach program survived through the years. In fact, 2012 marks the 84th anniversary of National Dog Week. Again, why?

It’s no secret I am an animal lover. You might even call me the “crazy lady” who talks to animals. Uh…no…they don’t talk back…at least not in the traditional sense. But I can honestly say I have learned a great deal about love and humanity from my dogs.

My ten year old chihuahua, Tiny, is a puppy mill rescue with anxiety/health issues stemming from the abuse she suffered during her early life. Tiny is a beautiful dog, shy, reserved, frightened.   Only a fellow animal lover will understand when I say I look into Tiny’s eyes and see her wounded soul. Someone in her past hurt her deeply. Thus, Tiny taught me not everyone respects or honors life. She also showed me the healing power of love. Though Tiny remains a dog “with issues”, she knows she is loved and cherished here, protected and well taken care of.

My three year old chihuahua, Teddy, absolutely celebrates life. I wish I could greet the day with as much joy as he does! He stops and smells the roses – and everything else in his path – plays with the zest of a puppy, puts his paws around my neck and hugs me. Teddy has an endearing habit I like to call “praying”. On a sunny day, he leaps into my arms, closes his eyes and raises his face toward the sun. I imagine he is thanking his Creator for another new day. Go ahead…snicker…but I stand by my belief my dogs, and all animals, are   connected to God in a very special way. It’s no accident the word “animal” comes from the Latin word animale, derived from anima, meaning vital breath of the soul.

For my fellow dog lovers, as well as for those who have never been fortunate enough to experience the unique relationship between humans and dogs, I offer the following words of wisdom for your thoughtful consideration:

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Will Rogers

“A dog is almost human, and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such.” John Holmes

“Man is troubled by what might be called the Dog Wish, a strange and involved compulsion to be as happy and carefree as a dog.” James Thurber

“Nobody can fully understand the meaning of love unless he’s owned a dog. A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes.”Gene Hill

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.” Milan Kundera

National Dog Week…why?

Because “He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” Unknown

I couldn’t have said it any better Anne!  And now you know why I have become a Pet Nanny!

September 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

Pet Sitting in the Phinney Ridge area of Seattle

After leaving Wenatchee and the horrible smoke from all the surrounding forest fires I was so thankful to arrive in Seattle to settle in for the next couple of weeks to pet sit.  This is the first time sitting for these two delightful pups.  Charlie is a mellow cocker spaniel with a sweet, laid back personality who tolerates Clarence, a rambunctious 6 month old Yorkie.

Charlie is patiently waiting for me to throw the ball

Clarence says “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!”

It’s such a hoot watching that little character running circles around me and Charlie, chasing after the ball and getting into all kinds of mischief!

I met Heather and LJ for dinner one night.  LJ had a terrible cold, you can see it in his eyes, but he’s a real trooper and we had a nice visit.  I take advantage every chance I get to see my little fella.

LJ likes playing with his spinach more than he likes eating it!

I’m so happy to see my little boy!

On Friday I went to the Phinney Farmers Market.  It is quite small but they had a good variety of stuff including a huge selection of organic meats, lots of fruits & vegetables and even music.  I loved the bread display at one booth!

Bread at the Farmers Market

Nice display of vegetables

And since I was in the neighborhood I had to finally try a burger at the famous Red Mill Burgers on N. 67th St.  I’ve been in the area several times and have driven by but never stopped.  There always seemed to be a line out the door and this time was no exception.

Red Mill Burgers on N. 67th St

This is quite a hustling, bustling place!  There was standing room only and shoulder to shoulder people ordering their food and picking up their orders at the counter.  I have to say for as busy as they were, and as small a grill they have, and only one cashier they are really fast and efficient! The orders are taken at one end of the tiny counter where the cash register is and they are picked up on a pile of trays at the other end.

An order ready to be picked up

Red Mill Burgers was voted as “One of the 20 hamburgers you must eat before you die” from the Oprah show and voted “The best burgers in Seattle” by the Seattle Weekly for 10 years in a row.  Not only are they famous for their fire roasted Anaheim peppers on their burgers but also their huge stack of bacon.

Mile high pile of bacon on the grill

I opted to get neither.  I got a Garden burger deluxe.  It came with lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion and basil mayonnaise.  I have to say it was a REALLY good burger!  Next time I think I’ll try one with the pepper!

September 25, 2012 at 1:05 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – Important Things You Should Know Before Bringing a Cat Home

Cats make great companions. Not only do they look good, they also keep mice away and have built-in motors. That’s pretty cool.

But there’s more to owning a cat than having a cute, soft, purring companion. Before you get one, there are a few things you should think about, and a few things that are just plain good to know.

PetMD shares 10 tips for cat owners:

1. Cats are indeed independent by nature, but they’re not quite able to take care of themselves. Before you adopt, make sure that your lifestyle can make room for a feline. How busy you are and the amount of time you spend at home will dictate the kind of cat you should get — very busy people may find it difficult to find the time for a cat that needs a lot of grooming and attention, especially the highly intelligent and active cats. But, there are cats that are ideal for the working lifestyle. Do your research.

2. What if your circumstances change after the adoption? Or if you work long hours and still want a friendly face to greet you at the door at the end of the day? Adopting a buddy for the cat to play with can be an excellent solution.

3. Do you have any allergies? If you do suffer from severe allergic reactions, consider testing yourself for feline allergies before bringing a cat home. Then again, some people with allergies might adapt to their own pet, but still be allergic to other cats. A safe bet is to choose a cat with low allergens. Consult your vet, books, or animal shelter employees for suggestions.

4. Before you bring your cat home, take it for a checkup and immunizations. Also, schedule it in to be neutered as soon as age permits. This can mean the difference between a healthy and happy cat, and a miserable cat trying to claw its way through the windows or spraying your furniture.

5. Get a good litter box and quality litter. Covered boxes can allow you and your cat more privacy, and clumping litter is easier to maintain. Keep the box clean, for the comfort of your cat and your nose. Also, make sure you buy well-balanced, age-appropriate food for your cat. Ask your vet or the representatives at your local pet store for some advice.

6. Cats love to play. Toy mice, string, feathers, and even empty boxes make for great amusement. Playthings needn’t be expensive (they can even be homemade), just make sure there’s enough to keep your cat happy, active, and mentally occupied.

7. If you don’t want your sofa shredded, or your new Louis Vuitton bag ruined, invest in a scratching post.

8. Catnip, and those little freeze-dried chicken nuggets are excellent tools for cat bribery and training.

9. Get pet insurance. We hope you won’t need it, but like they always say, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

10. If it’s a kitten you’re bringing home, make sure you start a grooming routine early. Bathing, brushing, and trimming claws will be an event to look forward to, rather than something to dread.

And there you have it. These are just a few of the things to keep in mind when you get yourself a new companion. Another important consideration: Cats often live for around 20 years, so you and your furry feline friend will be together for a long time.

Article from PetMD website

September 21, 2012 at 1:38 am Leave a comment

Dog stands guard over deceased owner’s grave for six years

By Eric Pfeiffer, Yahoo! News 9-13-2012

Capitan keeps watch over Miguel Guzman’s grave (La Voz)

An extremely dedicated dog has continued to show its loyalty, keeping watch on its owner’s grave six years after he passed away.

Capitan, a German shepherd, reportedly ran away from home after its owner, Miguel Guzman, died in 2006. A week later, the Guzman family found the dog sitting by his grave in central Argentina.

Miguel Guzman adopted Capitan in 2005 as a gift for his teenage son, Damian. And for the past six years, Capitan has continued to stand guard at Miguel’s grave. The family says the dog rarely leaves the site.

“We searched for him, but he had vanished,” widow Veronica Guzman told “We thought he must have got run over and died.

‘The following Sunday we went to the cemetery, and Damian recognized his pet. Capitan came up to us, barking and wailing as if he were crying.”

Adding to the unusual circumstances, Veronica says the family never brought Capitan to the cemetary before he was discovered there.

“It is a mystery how he managed to find the place,” she said.

Cemetery director Hector Baccega says he and his staff have begun feeding and taking care of Capitan.

“He turned up here one day, all on his own, and started wandering all around the cemetery until he eventually found the tomb of his master,” Baccega said.

“During the day he sometimes has a walk around the cemetery, but always rushes back to the grave. And every day, at six o’clock sharp, he lies down on top of the grave, stays there all night.”

But the Guzman family hasn’t abandoned Capitan. Damian says the family has tried to bring Capitan home several times but that he always returns to the cemetery on his own.

“I think he’s going to be there until he dies, too. He’s looking after my dad,” he said.

September 19, 2012 at 1:02 am Leave a comment

The Day Our Valley Went Gray – The Wenatchee Complex Fire

Photo take by DZ Photography

I left Wenatchee for Seattle yesterday and am now sitting in the dining room with bright sunshine coming in the large picture windows.  Oh how I’m enjoying this after so many days of burning eyes, sore throat, and a thick fog of smoke surrounding the Wenatchee valley.

Photo taken from photo gallery

Last Saturday, September 8th, lightning struck several places around the valley causing around 50 fires.  Since the fires started mainly around Number 1 Canyon, the fire was named the Canyons Fire.  Because of the high winds, hot weather and dry conditions the fires escalated quite fast.

Photo posted on Facebook

Sun setting behind the Canyons Fire

And before we knew it, there were fires surrounding the valley.  As soon as one fire was contained another escalated and merged with another fire.  By Tuesday, Sept. 11th, the Canyons Fire merged with the Twin Peaks fire west of Wenatchee and now there were over 1000 acres burning.  Now the fire is named the Wenatchee Complex Fire.  Updates started coming in on evacuation notices.  For days everyone was on alert not knowing if they would have to evacuate their homes or not as the fires came closer and closer to the residential areas.  There was a Level 2 evacuation notice just up the road from where I was pet-sitting.

Photo taken by Landon Michaelson,

Thanks to the hard work of all the firefighters that converged in Wenatchee, as of now, there has been only one out-building destroyed and no one has been injured because of this fire.

Fire Fighters camp at Confluence Park

Photo from

Under a fog of heavy smoke, fire fighter crews get ready for a night of sleep.

Sign CMI employees placed on their office building overlooking Confluence Park

Finally the winds died down.  This helped the fires from spreading as fast but unfortunately it caused a new problem.  The entire Wenatchee Valley was covered in smoke.

Our beautiful Wenatchee Valley was now a smokey, ashy, unhealthy basin.  Health warnings started coming in.  Anyone with respiratory problems were to stay indoors.  After school sports programs were cancelled.  Even Cashmere school was released early because of the smoke pollution.  I was pet-sitting two very energetic dogs who need their exercise but I was worried not to run them too much because of the unhealthy air conditions.

Gus & Maggie

Smoke covered Wenatchee Valley

By Wednesday, Sept. 12th, 124 homes were under Level 3 Evacuation notice.  As the firefighters diligently worked on containing the fires, the smoke in the valley increasingly got worse and the air quality was in the “hazardous” zone.

Looking down the street in Wenatchee

The sun was an eery orange and red color.

And that’s when you could even see the sun through the haze.  At times the smoke was so heavy you couldn’t even get any sunlight at all.

Sun behind a cloud of smoke

As of now it sounds like the smoke is finally thinning out around Wenatchee a bit but is still at a dangerous level.  There are still several fires in the foothills and it seems like there’s no end in sight.  Like I said, I was able to leave the valley to get some fresh air and sunshine but many of my family members and friends are still there so I’m hoping that these terrible fires will soon be extinguished.

September 16, 2012 at 6:59 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – Skip the Bath

The next time your dog needs a home bath, skip the tub and consider the shower.  “Showers are less messy, use less water, and are often less stressful for both owner and dog,” says Kim Knap, rehabilitation specialist at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, Ill.  “A shower also allows an easier full rinse of soap residue.”
Detachable shower heads can make showering easy, quick, and thorough.  Odds are you’ll have less cleanup, as well.  Keep the water on a gentle stream for your dog.  “Showering will be less stressful for dogs afraid to have most of their body immersed in a tub or nervous when they can’t see the bottom of the tub,” Knap says.  “A shower stall with a door can be ideal, allowing both dog and owner to stand and move freely, and eliminating the need for the owner to try to prevent the dog from jumping out of a tub.”
Cover the drain with a mesh-type screen to prevent dog hair clogs and facilitate cleanup.  And remember to wait to open the shower door until your dog has done her obligatory after-shower shaking!

From the June 2012 issue of Dog Fancy magazine and written by Lynn M. Hayner

September 14, 2012 at 8:21 am 1 comment

A Fiery Week in Wenatchee

The Canyons fire near Wenatchee. Taken by Landon Michaelson from Badger Mountain.

Wow, what a week this has been!  I’ve been pet sitting in the Wenatchee area this week.  Three adorable dogs and one sweet little cat.


Maggie & Gus

Sweet little Alex

All was going well.  Saturday I decided to go to the Farmers Market to pick up some things and to visit my cousin.

Wenatchee Farmers Market

Me with my cousin Bruce

It was a beautiful day and I had a great visit.  But by Saturday night everything changed.  A huge lightning storm came out of knowwhere and starting several fires around the Wenatchee Valley.  With the hot, dry, windy conditions, it seemed like as fast as one fire was put out another became out of control.  Some of the bigger fires were merging.  This is a picture I took while driving from the store back to the house on Sunday evening just as the sun was setting behind the rising smoke from one of the fires.

By Monday morning the whole valley was engulfed in smoke.  The schools cancelled their after school sports because of the heavy smoke and the newscasters are warning people with breathing problems to stay indoors.

This afternoon I could see smoke rising just behind the ridge from the back yard of the house where I’m pet sitting.

It is my sister’s birthday today and I figured the fire was still several miles away so I went to the restaurant to help celebrate Bonnie’s birthday with her.

Bonnies birthday dinner

While driving home I saw that the fire behind the ridge had grown and was really visible from the road now, yikes!

When I got to the house I watched the orange glow of fire on the top of the mountain just behind the house.  Thank goodness there’s a river and lots of green trees between me and the bottom of the hill.  I heard on the news that Sleepy Hollow Road was on Level 2 Evacuation (get ready to evacuate).  Sleepy Hollow Road is just down the road from where I’m at, but it’s on the other side of the river.

I’ve been here for a couple of hours now and I can only see a dull orange glow at the top of the hill now.  The wind has calmed down and the temperature is falling thank goodness.  Hopefully by tomorrow most of this will be under control.

September 12, 2012 at 4:46 am Leave a comment

Friday Tip of the Day – What’s going on inside your pet’s head, part 2

This is a continuation of last Friday’s post, What’s going on inside your pet’s head, part 1.  It’s taken from the PARADE  section of the Wenatchee World and written by Marilyn vos Savant.

6.  Why do dogs sniff around so much before deciding where to pee?
“Before there was Facebook, there were telephone poles,” jokes Stephen Zawistowski, Ph.D., science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  Canines’ highly acute sense of smell enables them to gather all sorts of information from the scents of other dogs’ urine, including which dogs passed by, how long ago they visited, even whether they were male or female.  “It’s like a news feed; your dog is just taking his time to read everything that happened before he got there,” Zawistowski explains.

7.  Why do cats hate getting wet?
They don’t.  Well, at least not all of them – some breeds of cats like Turkish Vans, will actively seek out water.  What they do hate are unplanned soakings:  slipping into a pool or being squirted with a garden hose or disciplined with a spray bottle.  If you have a kitten and want to teach him not to fear a bath, Exkstein recommends the following technique:  Place the kitten in a dry sink on a nonskid mat for several minutes with some treats.  Repeat this for a few days.  Then slowly add a bit of water to the sink each day.  “Eventually, your cat will come to associate water and bath time with rewards, rather than punishment,” says Eckstein.

8.  Do pets have any sense of time?
Animals, like humans, have internal body clocks that are sensitive to the time of day.  They also can accurately measure intervals between events; if a rat receives a reward for sticking its head in a feeder one minute after hearing a tone, it will start poking its head in more frequently as the 60-second mark approaches.  “The more controversial question is whether they have a sense of time that extends well into the past and  into the future,” says Bill Roberts, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology at Western University in Ontario.  For years, experts assumed that animals were stuck in the here and now, but Roberts, who studies animal cognition, says that recent research shows that pets may possess at least a limited mental timeline.
In one of the most famous studies, researchers from the University of Cambridge and UC Davis allowed scrub jays to hide wax worms and peanuts in different locations and then permitted the birds to retrieve the treats either four hours or five days later.  The birds prefer worms, so it was no surprise that after the four-hour delay, the jays sought them out before the peanuts.  But worms don’t last as long as peanuts, and so after five days – at which point the worms were well past expiration date – the jays sought out the peanuts before the worms.  This suggested that the jays had a sense of when the food had been cached.

9.  Why do dogs pant? (And what about cats?)
Panting is a way for dogs to cool off.  (It can also be a sign of excitement.)  Both cats and dogs have sweat glands on the pads of their paws, but these aren’t enough to effectively cool their entire bodies.  Panting, which brings quick gusts of air over dogs’ moist tongues, is much more effective.  Overheated cats will pant, too – they’re just less likely to spend a scorching afternoon chasing squirrels.

10.  Are onions and chocolate really poisonous to pets?
Yes – but for different reasons, and to varying degrees, says veterinarian Ahna Brutlag, assistant director of veterinary services at the Pet Poison Hotline.

September 7, 2012 at 6:12 am Leave a comment