Archive for October, 2012

Not So Wordless Wednesday – Remembering My Dog Sephi

October 31, 2012

My Beloved Sephi

-Persephone – April 1, 2001 to November 2, 2011
-AKA Sephi, Sephi-Doodle, Boo Boo, Brat Dog, Devil Dog (she chewed up all my bibles when she was a pup), April Fool (notice her birthdate)
-Theme Song – Flight of the Valkyries, add words to the canon – “Sephi-Doodle, Sephi-Doodle, Sephi-Doodle! Doodle Head.” (I’ve got to make some sort of video for her with this.)
-Most Recognizable Physical Traits – Black spots on her tongue, big German Shepherd ears, Sephi always wore a bandana from age 1 1/2 to her very last day.
-Most Prominent Personality Traits – Aloof, well-behaved, lazy – she did love her walks but couldn’t handle walks that were too long, dog aggressive (especially in her final years), loved chasing squirrels and rabbits but was wary of cats.

This is one of my most favorite pictures of Sephi.

It has been nearly one year since I lost my beloved dog Sephi. I still think of her often, mostly with the joy of remembrance but sometimes with sadness. I still have photos of her around the house and on my refrigerator. My husband and I still occasionally say, “I love you more than Sephi loves food.” I would still have some photos of Sephi on my phone if I hadn’t bought a new phone this year. And it wasn’t until this October when I finally changed my profile pictures from Sephi, Maya, and I to Maya, Pierson, and I.

I miss those big Shepherd ears.

The Bargain
Sephi was a great dog. I could tell you stories about her all day, if you let me. But two things made her stand out as a special dog. The first one is that she helped me through my divorce and helped me adjust to my new life. Sephi was a puppy when she was given to me by my ex, then my husband, as a way of saying sorry for his infidelity. My life was falling apart but Sephi was there for me. My husband left me, but I got Sephi in exchange. What a bargain! 🙂

The Intruder
The second special story about Sephi was the day she protected me from an intruder. I came home in the middle of the day sick. In my muddled state, I forgot to lock my apartment door. Sephi didn’t usually bark when people came to the door. And she never barked at maintenance when they came in to fix something when I wasn’t home. But Sephi barked like mad that day when a stranger tried to come in. I barely heard a man’s voice through all her barking. By the time I got up to see what was going on, the man was gone. I was so proud of Sephi, who had never taken the initiative to be aggressive towards another person before.

Sephi loved to ride in the car.

I said two stories about Sephi, right? Well, I forgot about our trip to Oregon. I drove from Kansas to Oregon to visit family there. It was just Sephi and I on that long long trip. Sephi didn’t do anything heroic but she did make me feel safer, especially when my car broke down in not-so-Bliss, Idaho.

Sephi loved snow.

Yes, Sephi was a very special dog. I miss her terribly and am getting tears in my eyes right now as I write this. But she had a good life, and I had a better life because of her. I miss you Sephi. ❤•.✿.•❤

Like Maya, Sephi was a model for many of my products.

If you want to read more about Sephi, simply put Sephi in the search field of this blog and in the search field of our other blog,

See Sephi’s cute spotted tongue?

As an artist, I never drew a picture of Sephi when she was alive. But now that she is gone, I feel the need. Here is a rough sketch from the photo above. I will show the finished piece when it is done.

Here is a cute drawing that someone else did of my Sephi.

Cats Take Over the American Dog Blog

October 27, 2012

Color: Ginger Mackerel Tabby

In return for my support of the Humane Society of the United States, I get this great magazine called AllAnimals. The November/December 2012 issue I recently received has a lot of noteworthy articles, but one I found fun and interesting was the one about cat coat colors. What defines a tortoiseshell or classic tabby? Or a seal point or tuxedo? If you work at an animal shelter, you may find that you describe most cats as tabbies or calicos. But there is a lot more to it than that. Knowing the specific terms for their coat colorings can help the cats at your shelter be more distinctive and, therefore, special.

Color: Silver Mackerel Tabby

For example, did you know that there are five basic tabby patterns? Mackerel, which is the typical striped pattern; classic, which has stripes but a swirl pattern on the cat’s sides; patched, which is a tabby with patches of red; ticked, where each hair has bands of color which give the cat coat color a flecked look; and spotted, where the stripes are more like spots. How much more interesting would an adoptable cat be if it was named a classic marmalade tabby or spotted chocolate tabby instead of just orange or brown tabby?

Color: Brown Patched Tabby

Also consider calicos. Oftentimes, a shelter will call all cats with two colors plus white as just plain calico. But there is more to it. A calico with distinct solid black and red spots on white is a calico. But sometimes the colors are diluted so that they are gray and cream instead. And sometimes the tabby pattern of those patches shows through. When the tabby pattern shows through, you can call them torbies instead. Some examples of how you can get creative with describing a calico include silver classic torbie or brown mackerel torbie. If a brown/black and orange or blue and cream mottled cat has little or no white, they are called tortoiseshell or tortie. You can have a blue-cream tortoiseshell or a black and orange tortoiseshell.

Color: Blue Tortoiseshell

Cats with a solid color plus white can be called tuxedo, van, or harlequin. With color variations you can have blue tuxedo, ginger van, or silver tabby harlequin. Don’t forget the point colors which come from a temperature-sensitive albino gene. These colors are often (but not always) seen in Siamese cats. The points of color on the face, ears, feet, and tail come in a variety of colors, not just black or brown. You can have a flame point, seal point, cream point, blue point, or even a seal lynx point.

Color: Seal Point

Fun, right? There is a lot more than that. This magazine only covers a tip of the iceberg. If you rescue cats or work at an animal shelter, take the time to learn the different ways you can describe a cat’s coat color. Put it this way, if you were looking to adopt a cat, would you be more interested in the cat described as a brown tabby or the cat described as a chocolate mackerel tabby? Show people how extraordinary your cats are by giving them exceptional descriptions.

Color: Red Ticked Tabby. This is an Abyssinian cat breed but ticked can be seen in a regular domestic short hair breed too. A Silver Ticked Tabby, for example, may still have stripes on his feet and tail but his sides are flecked.

While many criticize the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for not actively rescuing and adopting out animals, they provide a great benefit for the welfare of animals. For anyone who has had to face our legal system in order to fight against unfair animal legislation (such as BSL) or fight for justice against animal cruelty, you know how much of an uphill battle that seems to be. While I support local animal shelters and rescue groups, I also support the HSUS so they can fight the legal battles. Check out their website HERE and subscribe to this great AllAnimals magazine.

Color: Brown Mackerel Tabby Calico

Pet Travel Photo Contest – Enter to Win

October 24, 2012

Our other blog, Pet Auto Safety Blog, is having a pet travel photo contest. Details on how to enter to win a $25 gift card are HERE. Basically, send us a photo of your pet on vacation. It doesn’t have to be a long vacation. It could be as simple as a day trip such as in the first two photos below. In these first two photos, my dog Sephi met her play-date, Sunny, at the Shawnee Mission dog park. Sunny was a Golden Retriever and this was his first trip to a dog park. Sephi showed him the ropes. The third photo is of Sephi and my sister’s dog Mocha. Every year for the holidays my family and I pack up the car, drive from Kansas to Texas, and spend time with family. Of course, family includes the dogs. (And the dogs ride safe with their dog seat belts.) In this third photo, Sephi and Mocha are enjoying their holiday by playing together with this stuffed dog toy.

The Shawnee Mission dog park has a lake for swimming. Sephi wants to show Sunny how it’s done but she doesn’t want to do more than get her feet wet.

Sephi and Sunny explore the wooded area of the Shawnee Mission dog park.

Sephi and Mocha tear up a dog toy together. Sephi obviously has the advantage.

These are examples of the types of photos you can enter into our pet travel photo contest. Remember to visit our Pet Auto Safety Blog for more information!

Showing Off My Pet Portraits Artwork

October 20, 2012

I’ve been busy with my pet portraits artwork lately. I have three art pieces in progress which I would like to complete before I get more orders for the holidays. No hurry, though. I don’t want to rush them. These are all very special.

The first step is completing a rough sketch. In the rough sketch, I start out with basic shapes and slowly start adding detail. Sounds easy, right? Especially when you look at the simple rough sketch of my dog Sephi below. But what makes it difficult is that this wasn’t my first rough sketch. Oftentimes, I do a rough sketch but when I look at it I can tell that it is not proportioned properly. So I have to start over again. It took three sketches before I got this one of Sephi to where I felt it was proportioned properly. If you look closely, you can see the circle I drew of her head and the lines through her face that I made so I could properly place the eyes and nose.

After I get a rough sketch to where I think it looks proportioned right, I start adding detail. The next two sketches are final sketches. They are not the final artwork pieces, just the final sketches. These final sketches will be used to begin the final artwork pieces in color.

This is the final sketch of Zeppelin. She is aptly named. In her rough sketch, the first shape I drew was the shape of a zeppelin. 😀 The hardest thing about drawing Zeppelin was her feet. Drawing the feet of any animal is more difficult for me than any other part.

This other final sketch is of Lily. Lily will be drawn along with her friend horse Charm. I have completed a rough sketch of Charm, but the nose was too long so I have to start over. I will post the final sketch of Charm at a later date. And I will also show you the final pieces when these are all ready. 🙂

Interested in having me do pet portraits of your dog, cat, horse, or bird? Visit my website and email me at Be sure to put pet portraits in the RE section so that I know it is not spam.

Nearly Wordless Wednesday – Celebration for Rumpy Dog’s Gotcha Day

October 17, 2012

Who is Rumpy, What is Gotcha Day, and How are We Celebrating?

If you haven’t seen the Rumpy Dog Blog, you have got to check it out. Rumpy is an adorable Malamute and his Gotcha Day is the day he found his forever home. Since he was a stray, we don’t know his birthday so his Gotcha Day is the day that is celebrated. For his Gotcha Day, Rumpy would like for us to talk about the importance of spaying/neutering your pet.

As cute as my dogs Maya & Pierson are, it just isn’t a good idea to breed them. There are so many adorable dogs out there without homes or who are being bred in a bad way. Stop the madness and spay or neuter your pet. I know he or she is probably as adorable as Rumpy and my four-legged children, but you wouldn’t want them to go without a home. Spread the word and visit the Rumpy Dog Blog for more information.

I’m neutered and I am still one very happy dog. I don’t even need neuticles!

Maya Sleeping Soundly

I’m spayed and proud of it.

The Sad Day My Dog Contracted Bloat

October 13, 2012

Guest Post from Joanne for her Westie dog named Dougie

Joanne – I am writing this to heighten all dog owners awareness about dog bloat.  Bloat in dogs is the second biggest killer after cancer.  When it happened to my much loved dog Dougie, I was ignorant and totally unaware of what was happening to my poor dog.  Due to my lack of awareness, my dog suffered more than he ever should have….

Every morning when I get up my dog greets me, when I go into the kitchen, with his favourite toy in his mouth – hoodie bear!  It is what he lays at my feet, day in day out – his greatest treasure – that he knows I love, as I exclaim what a good boy he is and fuss over him reaching for his treat tin.  2 years ago, one morning this didn’t happen – he didn’t even get out of his basket.  Worried, I went over and felt his nose which was warm.  I talked to him, he wasn’t much interested, he just kept turning around in his basket restlessly but his breathing was normal.

I had my coffee, I was alone, as my husband had gone to work.  I kept talking to Dougie and he got up a few times and wretched but either nothing came out or just foamy white –  he had done this before, so I wasn’t overly concerned.  I remember thinking what he had eaten the night before and knew he had been given a largish lamb bone with quite a lot of meat on it.  Suddenly I had an awful thought, usually the bone lay discarded on the floor but it was nowhere to be seen.  I started to search for it frantically and went through about 20 mins anguish until I found it buried deep in his basket!  Strangely this almost set my mind at rest and I just put it down to a tummy upset, whilst keeping him under close supervision.  I gave him water which he lapped up eagerly and I thought this was a good sign, it wasn’t though.

During the next few hours he started trying to be sick increasingly more often and paced around the room, settling here or there, then getting up again.  I got really worried again and started to look for the vet’s number for advice.  Whilst I was actually on the phone to the vet’s nurse, Dougie started whining, collapsed and started to crawl all hunched up to get behind the sofa – a place he had never ever previously bothered with.  It was happening in front of my eyes as I described it on the phone, by this time I was frantic and starting to panic badly, with all sorts of fear going through my mind.  The nurse put a vet on the phone at once and he told me to come IMMEDIATELY.

I put down the phone and rushed to Dougie, dragging him out from behind the sofa where he was hunched – there was a trail of blood on the floor which had come from him and he was slumped, whining acutely now.

My car was in the garage for service and I quickly googled taxi numbers and had to make 3-4 phone calls before I could find a taxi to come quick enough who was also prepared to take a dog, a very unwell dog at that.  I was in a terrible blind panic between phoning and trying to keep Dougie warm and next to me.  I was in tears and not coping well at all.  I finally found a taxi and wrapped Dougie in a blanket and headed outside and into the car.

Dougie was crying a lot and very distressed, I just held him close and talked to him all the 2 mile journey to the vets, which seemed to last forever.  I was oblivious of the taxi driver and on arrival at the vets, I just leapt out of the car and gave him far too much money.

The vet was waiting and immediately took Dougie from me and asked me to wait outside.  I didn’t think there was much chance now and just started to pray.  About 40 minutes later the vet came out and asked me to come into his consulting room, Dougie wasn’t there.  I thought I knew what was coming…so started to sob whilst he told me Dougie was sedated, on a drip and needed to be kept under very close supervision for the next 24 hrs.  He told me it was bloat and Dougie would have died probably died within the next 20 minutes if he hadn’t been attended to.

My dog lived thankfully.  If I had been aware of the main symptoms of bloat, I for sure, would have taken him to the vets sooner.

Drink Better Bowl in Blue
Drink better anti-gulp dog bowl

I have had to make quite a few changes in Dougie’s eating and drinking habits since he contracted bloat, as his digestion process had failed – this is essentially what happens when a dog bloats.  A dog who has already had bloat is more at risk of it happening again.  Gulping food or water can cause bloat.  Drinking large amounts of water either before or after eating can trigger it too.  As part of our routine to prevent or minimise the risk of bloat we use slow feeder bowls drink better and eat better by Alpha Paws.

My Dougie is 10 now, a senior boy and I love him even more than when he was a pup!

(Guest post from Joanne in the UK)

Nearly Wordless Wednesday – Photos from Dogtoberfest

October 10, 2012

Sadly, I did not take many photos at Dogtoberfest this year. I was distracted. I was initially distracted by Maya and Pierson. I know Pierson doesn’t care for other dogs much but he did so well at The Dog House around other dogs that I decided to see how he would do at Dogtoberfest. It did not go well at all. He tried to go after every single dog that went by. This, in turn, made Maya go crazy too. So I had my husband take Pierson home. After that, Maya calmed down. The second thing I was distracted by was the cool weather. I was freezing! Thankfully, we still had a lot of visitors to Dogtoberfest despite the cold.

Lots of visitors, and this is just near the entrance of the event.

I met a lot of people and a lot of dogs. But dumb me didn’t think to take pictures of all the cute dogs until I saw the biggest dog I have ever seen… this Irish Wolfhound. He was twice as tall as my Maya! And so sweet.

You can’t really tell how big the Irish Wolfhound is in this picture but standing, he stands twice as tall as my Maya in the foreground.

Since I didn’t get that many photos, I asked Jim Sovanski with Sovanski Photography, who also had a booth at Dogtoberfest, if he would lend me some of the photos he took. So here you go!

The beautiful Collie is all dressed up for Dogtoberfest.

Look at Titan, the beautiful Mastiff. He had fun at Dogtoberfest too.


It wasn’t just people checking out all the pet vendors at Dogtoberfest, it was the dogs too.

People didn’t just go to Dogtoberfest to shop for pet stuff, they went to watch dog agility, disc dogs, pet trick and costume contests, and to meet other dogs. Some dogs, but not this one, were there for adoption.


If I’m not mistaken, these cute guys are named Stomp and McKenzie. Adorable, right?

All-in-all, it was a great day. The day eventually warmed up and everyone was great. And Maya helped me with a short presentation on why keeping your pet safe in the car is so important. Do you have any fun pet events in your home town?

For more photos from Dogtoberfest, check out our Pet Auto Safety Blog and also join the Wordless Wednesday blog hop.

By the way, if you liked Jim Sovanski’s Photography, check out what else he does:

Get a collage of your pet from Sovanski Photography.

Two Events I Want to Share – Photo Contest & Dogtoberfest

October 6, 2012

Pet Vacation Photo Contest – Win a $25 Gift Card

Have you gone somewhere fun with your dog? My dog Smokey and I went on a lot of vacations with me. I was really into hiking back then (about 15-20 years ago) and so was Smokey. He had his own back pack and everything. Our two best trips were our 3-day hike around Georgetown Lake in Texas and our week-long trip to Arizona. If you’ve had a fun vacation with your dog go visit our other blog, Pet Auto Safety Blog, for more details on how you can win a $25 gift card.

Smokey and I at Georgetown Lake

Dogtoberfest – Lawrence, KS

Pet Auto Safety will be at the Dogtoberfest here in Lawrence, Kansas tomorrow (October 7th). If you are in the Kansas City area, consider coming to Southpark, located on Massachusetts street in downtown Lawrence. The event is from 10am to 3pm. There will not only be vendors like myself, there will also be a lot of activities. Check out the disc dogs in action, have your dog try out an agility course, kids make crafts, adults answer dog trivia questions, everyone can win prizes.

My Labrador Maya had a blast at Dogtoberfest last year. Here are some photos:

Maya at Dogtoberfest 2011 wearing her dress from Bow Wow Wow Gifts and playing with another dog.

Me at my booth.

The beautiful park where Dogtoberfest was held.

Teaching My Dogs the Rollover Dog Trick

October 3, 2012

Usually Wednesday is reserved for Wordless Wednesday. But I couldn’t help but to share my dog Pierson’s new trick. If you’re not interested in reading today, just check out this cute video of my dogs showing off. 🙂

Sephi knew how to do the rollover dog trick but I never taught it to Maya. But when Pierson came along with his great need to learn new things, I started teaching them both to rollover. I started on Saturday, Sept 8th. Pierson had it down by the 11th. Maya was doing okay but not like Pierson. Here is how I did it.

The Command, The Motion, and The Bribe
Both Maya and Pierson already know how to play dead so rollover was a two-step process. I gave them the down command. Then I gave the hand signal for play dead. However, instead of saying ‘play dead’ I said ‘rollover’. I had a treat in hand and led them around to do the rollover. As soon as they were all the way around, I told them they were good dogs and gave them the treat. I did this one-dog-at-a-time, of course. While I had one dog sit and stay, I went to the other dog and worked on the rollover trick.

Training Sessions
When I first started on Saturday, I spent about 2 minutes with each dog. I managed to get them each to do two successful rollovers, then stopped. Always end training on a positive note. I didn’t keep training until they got bored. And if I had two successful tries, I didn’t want to keep going and give them the opportunity to not do the trick.

Sunday, we did a 2 minute session for each dog in the morning and again in the afternoon. Same for Monday and Tuesday. Two short training sessions twice a day is all it takes. Don’t try to cram in longer training times. You can spend 5-10 minutes at the most depending on your dog’s enthusiasm and success. If your dog loses interest or is not performing the trick right, have him do something he does know well then stop on a positive note.

Some Dogs Just Won’t Do It
Pierson had the trick down by Tuesday. That is just four days! He is such a smart boy and certainly makes it seem easy to teach the rollover dog trick. I can’t promise it will be that easy for you and your dog. Every dog is different and some dogs just don’t feel comfortable doing the rollover trick. I do the trick outside because the ground is softer than my hardwood floors and so doesn’t hurt their back. Some dogs, like Maya, may take longer because the rollover is not a natural motion like sitting is. And some dogs won’t do it because perhaps they feel that exposing their belly makes them vulnerable.

If you want to teach your dog the rollover dog trick, take note of his behavior regarding the trick. Is he enthusiastic about it or is he reluctant? If he is reluctant, you may want to work on the issue of why he is before you teach this trick. Training should be fun for both you and your dog. You don’t want to force him to do something he is not comfortable doing.