Spokesdog's Canine Couch

A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich

Spokesdog’s Book Review; Beautiful Old Dogs

November 13th, 2013 at 11:50 am by Diane Rich
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A Loving Tribute to our Senior Best Friends

Edited by David Tabatsky Photographs by Garry Gross

c photo Diane Rich 2013

When I was asked to review this book there was something about the title that made me anxious to get to it.  The title is short, sweet, simple and says it all.

Have you noticed some grey hair on your dog’s muzzle?  Does it seem your dog is growing more lumps on a monthly basis?  Have you noticed your dog is napping more?  There is no way for humans or animals to beat the aging process although humans trying to fake out the mirror may pay for a little nip or tuck here and there.  Dogs seem to take aging in stride as they are not consumed with our vanity.

And it is said that old friends are the best.  I absolutely agree.   It is comforting to know someone’s history and they yours as the information and knowledge is out there.  Good friends accept, tolerate and love the other person in spite of their warts. Dogs love us whether we are young or in our golden years and sharing a dog’s gifts to their last breath is a privilege.

Many people want a wiggly, happy go lucky, uneducated puppy to mold into the perfect dog.  So if a dog lover decides to adopt a dog and visits the local shelter or rescue many of the wonderful, sweet middle aged or senior dogs are overlooked.  Some older dogs when out of the sterile environment of a shelter may surprise you with energy and a light your love will put back into their eyes.

It is easy math to calculate the years a senior dog may have left and some people cannot bear the thought of only sharing a short time with this new addition.  On the other hand, people may fail to realize that an older dog that is housetrained and enjoys a walk and a nap can be a joy and may not be as high maintenance as a young, needy dog.  Many young dogs find their way to a shelter as they are too much for a busy family.

After Gary Gross retired from the world of fashion photography which included photographing many celebrities, he became a dog trainer in New York and combined his passion of training dogs with his passion of photography.  He gravitated toward older and senior dogs.  Gary died in 2010.

This book is a compilation of 44 color photographs that without words seem to connect the reader to the soul and beauty of these senior canines.  Writers such as Dean Koontz (I have read most of his books), Doris Day, Marlo Thomas and others contributed humorous and uplifting articles that accompany the photos.

The author, David Tabatsky is a writer, teacher and performing artist in the New York area.  David collected Grosse’s photographs, essays and short pieces to create this book.  What a tribute to a talented, dog loving photographer.

This book was a delight to read and the photographs will warm your heart.

There may be a rescue in your area that only takes in senior dogs and could be worth a look.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Gone to the Dogs

November 7th, 2013 at 8:35 am by Diane Rich
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Kirkland Art Center

 Date:  Saturday, November 9, 2013 (All day) to Saturday, January 11, 2014 (All day)

Reception date:  Friday, November 8, 2013 – 6:00pm

Hours open:  Tuesday – Friday: 11am – 6pm Saturdays: 11am – 5pm Closed Sundays and Mondays

Gallery Curator:  Donna Lindeman Porter

The Kirkland Arts Center Gallery is going to the dogs- literally! In an exhibition dedicated to the other community members of our town, artists explore the relationship with human’s best friend, as well as the political, social, and sometimes comical undertones of “going to the dogs”.

Join us at the Opening Reception on November 8th, 6 – 8:30pm to view work from over 40 artists, enjoy food and drinks, and meet some special guests in the Seattle Humane Society’s MaxMobile!
Featured Artists:

Adrienne Sherman
Barry Moser
Betz Bernhard
Bob Neir
Carla Dimitriou
Carol Dillon
Carol Ross
Casey McGlynn
Charlie Spitzack
Cheryll Leo-Gwin
Don Maghee
Donna Lindeman Porter
Dorothy Bonneau
E. D’Ete
Ed Fotheringham
Francis Barlow
Gaylen Hanson
Jennifer Gavlin
Jody Wilson
Joe Max Emminger
Joey Chiarello
John A. Brickey
John Lysak
Julie Austin
Karen Kosoglad
Kelly Lyles
Kiyoshi Saito
Larry Calkins
Lorri Falterman
Lynn DiNino
Meg Murch
Mia Park
Michael Rainwater
Myron E. Lewis
Nikolai Sazhin
Patti Warashina
Peter Pere
Rachel Denny
Randy Clark (aka Fish Boy)
Regnor Reinholdtsen
Renatta Simpson
Renée Sintenis
Sheryl Sirotnik
Terry Turrell
Thomas Hubbard
Wuon-Gean Ho

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC



Adopt a Senior Pet Month at Seattle Humane Society

November 4th, 2013 at 6:20 pm by Diane Rich
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Grey (or gray if you please) IS the new black!!

c Diane Rich 2013

Are you ready for a mature relationship? Adopt a senior pet at Seattle Humane Society and find out for yourself why senior pets are the best! All month long, adoption fees are waived on cats 7 years and older (normally $25), and dogs 7 years and older are $50.At some shelters, dogs and cats over the age of three are not considered “adoptable,” but at the Seattle Humane Society, we know that older pets make amazing companions.

Top 5 Reasons to Adopt a Mature Pet:

1. MELLOW PERSONALITY You know exactly who you are adopting because his or her personality is formed Plus, these great dogs and cats tend to have just the right level of playfulness for busy families.

2. ALREADY HOUSE-TRAINED Most mature pets have already learned many of life’s lessons –including potty lessons!

3. MAKE THEMSELVES AT HOME Older companion animals seem to acclimate more quickly to new settings.

4. HAVE A LOT OF LOVE TO GIVE Many of our adopters say that senior dogs and cats really seem to appreciate it when they are adopted and bond to their new family more readily than younger ones.

5. YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG (OR CAT) NEW TRICKS! With older pets, you don’t have to spend time teaching them all the basics – they already know them! Instead, have fun teaching them new tricks!

Visit the Seattle Humane Society at 13212 SE Eastgate Way in Bellevue to meet your perfect pet today or see our adoptable pets online at seattlehumane.org.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Book Review; Devoted

November 4th, 2013 at 8:39 am by Diane Rich
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Written By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

c Diane Rich 2013

From the back of the book, “ Devoted fills your heart with 38 true life tales that prove the strongest bonds are measured not by words but by tail wags, barks and nose nuzzles.”

There seems to be an increase in the number of books about our beloved pets that document true tales or shall we say wagging tails about what our amazing dogs bring into our lives.   Many dog parents prefer their pet over being around people which may be why books about dogs have grown in popularity.

I initially thought this was just another dog book that would offer sweet, warm and fuzzy stories.   After reading it I found it to be much more. The author shares stories of dogs who are rescued and who rescue in return.

Each story includes a beautiful photo of just the dog and or the dog with their person.  The author includes the dog’s name and state where the dog and family reside and overview on the breed.  Walsh gives a back story on each dog in such a way that the reader cannot help feeling compassion and of course a connection.  Throughout the book the author offers general fun facts about dogs which may come from National Geographic’s library.

Walsh’s heartwarming stories about the human animal bond include a variety of breeds including rescued Pit Bulls, mixed breeds, a Great Dane, Goldens and a Westie.  The author tells of a rescued Doberman used as bait forced to be a sparing dog  for fighting dogs. To ensure the safety of the fighting dogs the low-lifes filed down the Dobermans teeth.  He was lucky to make his way to a loving, forever home.  There are a variety of breeds featured throughout the book.

This book is a quick, enjoyable, read and I recommend that you hold the book in one hand and pet your dog with the other. On the back cover the author asks “who’s taking care of whom?”    What do you think?

The beautiful photo on the cover of a chocolate Lab was by David du Chemin

Devoted is published by the National Geographic Society a scientific and educational nonprofit I respect.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Book Review; Dog Park Design, Development and Operation

November 2nd, 2013 at 7:47 am by Diane Rich
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Written by Marilynn R. Glasser

c Diane Rich 2013

Dog lovers in Seattle are lucky as there are quite a number of designated off leash dog parks in our area.  Some parks are fenced and some parks offer more of an open concept for dogs that are trained to a level they won’t run off.  Some of our parks are small and some boast acres of romping room.  What I have noticed over the past 10 years is that some residential developers have set aside some real estate and fenced off an area for the resident’s own dog park. Sweet.

Glasser’s book zeros in on critical issues dog lovers in any community interested in creating a dog park should review and consider.   The author helps the reader navigate the stages of park development, helps identify essential and optional components of a dog park, waste management, fencing and funding. The author offers tips on signage which should post rules, etiquette, safety concerns.   She also includes information on landscaping and even a how to with regard to the grand opening.  She doesn’t stop there as she offers suggestions for ongoing evaluation to ensure things continue on a positive path.

c Diane Rich 2013    This particular park’s signage lists great dog park rules including a no smoking sign

What may be helpful to those dog lovers who either don’t have a community dog park or have to travel too far to enjoy one and want a dog park in their community,  are Glasser’s tips in one of the chapters she titled,  Making the Case.   NIMBY (not in my ack yard) can be just one obstacle from neighbors bordering a potential park site.  Their concerns include parking overflow, barking, the smell and of course safety concerns should dogs not be controlled by owners upon entering or leaving the park.   Your city council and park board will either be your ali or won’t get on board due to concerns about money, maintenance, safety and limited time to dedicate to this cause.

dog park medina 2 dog max rule
c Diane Rich 2013   This particular dog park’s signage states maximum number of dogs per handler to address the dog walkers who bring multiple dogs to parks.

It all starts with the concept and then recruiting dedicated volunteers to stay energized and motivated as it can be a long road.   I can relate to this book as I was personally involved over 10 years ago with a small group of dog parents looking to create a dog park in our city.  After a few years of “making our case” to the city who at that time were not interested, this little group lost their motivation.   A couple years later, another group emerged with new energy.  We took our case, several times, to the parks department and city council with facts, figures, a plan for stewardship.  This park like many newer dog parks around the country would be funded through private donations.    The park finally came to fruition.

If you are a dog lover and your community does not yet have a dog park, this is an excellent,  well written book I believe you will find helpful.

You can purchase a paperback copy of the book on www.amazon.com  and on the publisher’s website, HumanKinetics.com.   Ebook and Kindle version are also available

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

FDA Warns Pet Owners to Stay Away from Jerky Treats

October 29th, 2013 at 3:34 pm by Diane Rich
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jerky treat 10-13
Photo is not being used in any way to implicate that this particular product has contributed to the current health related issues pets are experiencing with jerky treats.  Read below some information pertaining to labels that read “made in USA.”

Jerky treats are being blamed for almost 600 animal deaths and thousands of pet illnesses nationwide.

According to the FDA, since 2007 what seems to be the common link with the animal deaths and illness is that the majority of the animals consumed jerky treats mostly imported from China.  However the problem remains a mystery.

The FDA is investigating chicken, sweet potato, dried fruit and duck jerky treats produced out of China. Most of the cases have been dogs of all breeds and sizes along with 10 cats that have been affected by something they ate.  The animals that get sick have been diagnosed with gastrointestinal and kidney problems.  About 135 cases of Fanconi syndrome, a specific kind of kidney disease has been reported however all these reported cases have not been specifically linked back to jerky treats.

Kandal Harr, a Veterinary clinical pathologist has been tracking the problem.  Harr says the specific compound responsible for the illness continues to elude experts and that the intoxicant is something unusual in North America.

Most of us remember the nationwide recall of food made by Menu foods due to tainted Melamine from plastic packaging.  1950 cats died and 2200 dogs died due mostly to kidney failure.  This recall included some of the biggest names in pet food

Although no specific brands are being implicated in this most recent illness there have been several voluntary recalls from the following brands;  Nestle Purina PetCare Co, Waggin’ Train, Canyon Creek Ranch,  Milo’s Kitchen, Costco, Publix

The FDA has sent an open letter to Veterinarians to track and send detailed info about any animals sickened by jerky treats.  The FDA is requesting the Vets send urine samples and results of blood tests for analysis to their agency.

Tips: 1. Do not feed jerky to your pet 2. Read ingredients of commercially made products and check where product is made. However, even if the label states, Made in the U.S. A. be mindful that pet food companies are not required to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products.

Some signs of illness listed below can be symptomatic of other illnesses or disease.

The following tips are what Vets suggest you look for with regard to poisoning due to jerky treats :

1.Verify the color of your dog’s gums
A dog’s gums should resemble the dog’s skin and appear pink, black, or spotted. Discolored gums can indicate serious illness. Check your dog’s gums by lifting the upper lip and pressing above a canine tooth      with your thumb. Release your thumb then watch for a color change where you pressed. The gum color should change from white to pink within two seconds.

2. Observe your dog’s balance
If your dog is staggering, disoriented, or dizzy, these signs might indicate dog poisoning symptoms. Do not rely on a cold, warm, or wet dog nose to recognize poisoning in dogs.

3. Examine your dog’s bodily functions to check for irregularities
Signs that your dog has ingested something poisonous include persistent vomiting or watery, loose, yellow, green or black stools. Stools should be firm and brown while urine should be yellow or clear.

4. Listen to your dog’s lungs for signs of respiratory distress
Shallow breathing, heavy panting, or a light, persistent cough could indicate pain.

5. Take your dog’s temperature with a thermometer designed for animals
Taking the temperature is the best way to recognize poisoning in dogs.  An ideal temperature for dogs is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 Celsius).  If you are not comfy with taking your dog’s temp or the dog doesn’t take kindly to this procedure, ask someone to hold the dog’s head while you place and hold the thermometer.

6. Watch for signs of sudden appetite loss
 If your dog stops eating suddenly, it could be a sign of toxic substance ingestion or as stated above other health related problems. It could also be a sign if your dog swallowed an object that could not be passed.  Call your vet if your dog displays a lack of appetite for more than 24 hours.

7. Check your home and yard for potential dog poisons
These potential poisons include rodent bait, anti-freeze, dead animals, mushrooms, or yard chemicals. Keep an eye out for upturned boxes, damaged prescription bottles, spilled liquids, or disturbed household chemicals.

If  you suspect your dog ingested a poisonous product, check the back label of the packaging for warning disclaimers. Most products with toxic ingredients will list a company telephone number that customers can call for ways to recognize poisoning in dogs.

If you can call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. There may be a fee so have a credit card handy.

8. Write down your dog’s symptoms in detail
Note when the symptoms started, their frequency, severity and any actions you are taking to alleviate them.

9. Call your veterinarian
Describe the symptoms and possible causes of the accidental poisoning. Ask if the symptoms warrant an immediate visit to the clinic. And if symptoms persist despite your veterinarian’s initial assessment, take your dog to a clinic immediately.

10. Locate your nearest 24 hour emergency facility
Many adverse health conditions occur after hours or on weekends when your Vet clinic is closed.  You may want to just do a drive by at some point so you know how long it takes to get there.

Wishing any pet well that fell victim to this latest pet food related issue

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

How to Report a Pet Food Complaint

October 25th, 2013 at 10:14 am by Diane Rich
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Clinical Signs of Illness

The information below is taken from FDA’s website.  The link to their site is: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm

c Diane Rich 2013

The new rules will be open for public comment for 120 days, and would be adopted as law within 60 days after the comment period closes. They would apply to all domestic and imported animal food, including pet food, pet treats, animal feed, and the raw ingredients that make those products.

That means, for instance, that the producers of chicken, corn and sweet potato jerky treats made in China and blamed for the deaths of 600 pets and illnesses in about 3,600, will have to meet strict new requirements before their products can be sold, officials said.

FDA has always had rules in place that prohibit adulterants in pet food. That’s why the agency has issued company-initiated recalls for salmonella-tainted bird food, for instance, or dog food contaminated with aflatoxin, a naturally occurring mold by-product.

But, until now, there’s been no requirement that companies analyze the potential food safety hazards of their products or that they follow current good manufacturing practices, or CGMPs, that specifically address animal food.

You can report complaints about a pet food product electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal  or you can call your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

Please have as much of the following information available when submitting your complaint:

Consumers often transfer dry pet food into other containers for easier handling.  If possible, please save the original packaging until the pet food has been consumed.  The packaging contains IMPORTANT information often needed to identify the variety of pet food, the manufacturing plant, and the production date.  

  • Exact name of the      product and product description (as stated on the product label)
  • Type of container      (e.g. box, bag, can, pouch, etc.)
  • Product intended to be      refrigerated, frozen, or stored at room temperature
  • Lot number – This      number is often hard to find and difficult to read.  It is stamped      onto the product packaging and typically includes a combination of letters      and numbers, and is always in close proximity to the best by/before or      expiration date (if the product has a best by/before or expiration      date).  The lot number is very important as it helps us determined      the manufacturing plant as well as the production date.
  • Best by, best before      or expiration date
  • UPC code (also known      as the bar code)
  • Net weight
  • Purchase date and      exact location where purchased.
  • Results of any      laboratory testing performed on the pet food product
  • How the food was stored, prepared, and      handled

Description of the problem with the product.  Examples include:

  • Foul odor, off color
  • Swollen can or pouch, leaking container
  • Foreign object found in the product.

If you think your pet has become sick or injured as a result of consuming a pet food product also provide information about your pet, including:

  • Species (dog, cat, rabbit, fish, bird, other)
  • Age, weight, breed, pregnant, spayed/neutered
  • Previous health status of pet
  • Any pre-existing conditions your pet has
  • Whether you give your  pet any other foods, treats, dietary supplements or drugs
  • How much of the suspected product your pet normally consumes
  • How much of the “suspect” product was consumed from the package?
  • How much of the product you still have
  • Clinical signs exhibited by your pet (such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy)
  • How soon after consuming the product the clinical signs appeared
  • Your veterinarian’s  contact information, diagnosis and medical records for your pet
  • Results of any diagnostic laboratory testing performed on your pet
  • How many pets consuming the product exhibited clinical symptoms
  • Whether any pets that consumed the product are not affected
  • Whether your pet spends time outdoors unsupervised
  • Why you suspect the pet food caused the illness

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC


FDA Announcing Proposed Rule of Food Safety for Animals

October 25th, 2013 at 9:50 am by Diane Rich
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New Safety Guidelines
October 25, 2013

I have taken the text from the FDA’s website. Here is a link to the site.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing a proposed rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) aimed at strengthening the safety of food for animals, including pet food and animal feed. This proposed rule would help ensure the safety of food for animals, as well as help prevent foodborne illness in humans and animals. This rule is part of the effort mandated by Congress to modernize the food safety system and focuses on preventing food safety problems, rather than relying primarily on responding to problems after they occur. The proposed rule works in concert with standards proposed in July 2013 for imported foods and the accreditation of third party auditors for foreign food facilities.

Under the proposed rule for preventive controls for food for animals, facilities manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding animal food, both domestically and abroad, would be required to put into place procedures to minimize or prevent hazards reasonable likely to occur, as well as to follow new current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs).

The proposed rule for preventive controls for food for animals will publish in the Federal Register on October 29, 2013. Comments on this proposed rule are due by 120 days from the publication date.

The FDA will hold three public meetings on the Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Animal Food Facilities. The first meeting will be held on November 21, 2013 at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, MD. The second meeting will be on November 25, 2013 at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago. The third meeting will be held on December 6 at the John E. Moss Federal Building in Sacramento, CA. For more information, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm247568.htm1.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

What Is It About Dogs?

October 24th, 2013 at 9:37 am by Diane Rich
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They Put Their Own Special Stamp on our Heart

c Diane Rich 2013

There really is something magical about our beloved canines.   I am sharing 10 reminders I feel they bring into our lives.   Please feel free to contribute what your dog has brought into your life.

yogi kiki bentley chase waiting for dinner 7-11
c Diane Rich 2013

What is it about Dogs:

  1. Dogs want a connection with us. Not all dogs are lapdog material but they usually want to be close. This closeness offers a comfort that makes our heart smile
  2. Dogs bring out the “kid” in us as every day . When they wake up they  are ready to go.
  3. Dogs help bring out a level of responsibility in both children and adults as dogs need us to take care of their basic necessities and give them love
  4. Dogs help us stay fit. As they need exercise many pet parents go on a daily walks, get back into jogging or enjoy a weekend hike

c Diane Rich 2013

5. Dogs can be an icebreaker in social settings for shy people
6. Dogs help promote good health as petting a dog lowers our blood pressure and in turn lowers their blood pressure
7. Dogs seize the day. Carpe ‘diem, and teach us how to take time off from a computer or smart phone and enjoy the moment
8. Dogs teach us how to enjoy the simple things.  If you have the opportunity to hike in the woods with your dog you can  enjoy watching your dog relish in the scents of all that nature has to offer
9. Dogs can put a smile on our faces when they unabashedly find joy playing with other dogs
10. Dogs can teach us to stretch in the morning, take a nap in the afternoon, and not waste time rehashing what happened yesterday

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

Caring for Your Pets in Your Estate Plan

October 22nd, 2013 at 7:20 am by Diane Rich
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Seattle Humane Society logo
You're Invited to Estate Planning for Your Pets
Caring for Your Pets in Your Estate Plan
Your will most likely states who gets your house, your car and your belongings… but have you considered who will take care of your pet?Attend a free session on October 29 to learn about designating a pet caretaker, establishing a pet trust and Seattle Humane’s Pet Guardian Program. Our Pet Guardian Program will be there for your beloved pets when you can no longer care for them due to disability or death.

Bring a photo with you of your pet dressed for Halloween and enter it in our Pet Photo Contest. First, second and third place winners will be selected at each session.

Attend a Free Session:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:30-3:00 p.m. or 7:00-8:30 p.m. Seattle Humane Society Auditorium (Driveway B)

RSVP Today:

To RSVP or for more information, contact Scott Fraser, Major Gifts Officer, at (425) 649-7551 or scott@seattlehumane.org.

Speaking Woof,
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

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About Diane Rich

I have been training dogs and their people for over 25 years. I work with pups from 7 weeks old to senior plus dogs and offer basic obedience to advanced off leash training both privately and group classes. Other services include behavior consultations to help both ends of the leash with everything from aggression, puppy/dog manners and public manners to separation anxiety. As a "real world" dog trainer, I take training out of the classroom or home when both the pet and family are ready, and take training to the street. I also offer pet therapy training classes preparing both the handler and dog for their therapy test and future service as a therapy team. I also coordinate several pet therapy programs in the Seattle area. My complete bio, description of services, class dates and on line class registration is listed on my website at www.spokesdog.com.

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