Monday, June 30, 2014

Your Dogs And Fireworks

What can you do to help prevent your dog from running away from fireworks.

The Fourth of July is right around the corner and if you haven't noticed, more and more warnings are going up about how this is the scariest holiday of the year for dogs and that more dogs are lost on this holiday than any other day.

The Humane Society says that July fifth is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters.

PET MD suggests keeping your pets indoors until the fifth. Don't take your dog to a fireworks display. Keep identifying tags on your pet and have them microchipped (Tags and collars can get ripped off). Don't use fireworks around your pets.

If you think about it, the sky is exploding and flashing for no reason.  And when an animal isn't desensitized enough to oddball events around him/her, it can be a devastating emotional experience.  And unlike humans who can reason through something that startles them, sometimes animals just RUN!  Their fight or flight mode kicks in and doesn't shut off until they feel safe or run out of energy.

And that flight mode is pure adrenaline, with no logic attached. They don't run for cover all the time.  They don't get to a safe spot... they just run, run and run some more.  They run with no intelligence or logic attached.  During earthquakes dogs bolt from their homes and run like mad. Then they get lost or killed when they get hit on the highways.

If you think your fence will keep them in the back yard, you will probably be statistically correct.  Yet if your dog has never attempted to leap over your six-foot tall fence, most mid-sized to large dogs just might amaze you what they can truly be physically capable of.

Don't take the chance.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Always Check The Shelter For Yourself

Dogs in Shelters (Ph Cr: Jesse Groppi/Sandbox )

I just came across a very scary account of a man who lost his dog and because of his nature of not trusting the system, it turns out his own due diligence was his own reward.

Here's the gist of it... Sometimes it pays to check on the pound and verify what they've told you because if the wrong person does not care about the job or the lives under their care, this could have been a pretty shitty ending for one dog's life.

And to imagine this pup, lost, alone and scared in this strange animal prison where no one he loves is there to get him, is a terrible thought.  It's rather unacceptable he the pup got where he got, and if he had not been found, we presume the pup would have been put to death for no good reason.

VERY UNACCEPTABLE Orange County Humane Society! (they serve Costa Mesa and Newport Beach animal control.)

This is an edited rendition of my peer's post about his journey of trying to discover if rumors of his dog being captured by Animal Control were true.


A friendly person calls me last night and tells me that they saw Animal Control attempting to capture <Fido>. <The names have been changed to protect the innocent.>

I call animal control and they say that it might not have been a successful capture.  The only dog catch yesterday (at the time of this event) was in a different location in COSTA MESA Humane Society.

I check the Humane Society website which indicated that only two dogs were brought in yesterday. The closest match was a German Shepherd (<Fido> has shepherd in her, but looks like a black lab).

I call the Humane Society to check on the shepherd catch.

They said the German Shepherd looks like one and had no collar or chip.

I ask if they had a black dog with a white chest with a collar but no tag and micro-chipped come in yesterday or today.

They said no and reminded me that their site is accurate and no dog matching my description has been brought in.

I GO down to the Humane Society anyway. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dispelling The Myth About Dogs and Ice Water

(Now that's a lot of water!)
There have been some well meaning folks running around and forwarding an article or premise that ice water is dangerous for dogs.  This particular piece going around on Facebook has actually been out there since 2007 and I'd like to take a moment to chat about this misnomer.

The warning itself, says that giving an over heated dog ice water is a bad thing for your pup and can cause fatal bloat (acute gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)) from the chilly water resource.

But this well meaning warning is nothing but a myth.

I've seen the warning refuted by various sources that ice water does not cause bloat.  The actual warning that's being distributed by folks may have had two independent events occur, the ingestion of ice water and bloat, but there has been no concrete evidence that the two conditions are related.

There is a concern for giving a distressed dog too much water or they're drinking it too quickly.  That's where bloat can come from...  too much, too fast.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Mountain View, CA is testing an Off-Leash "Parks" pilot program that will last for one year, starting June 23rd, 2014.  The program will be a test that involves allowing dogs to be off-leash, in certain parks...  with some caveats.


When I first heard about Mountain View testing the idea of new Off-Leash parks, I was getting pretty excited.  Excited because our very own town of Menlo Park seems to be getting more aggressive in enforcing leash rules and this new idea seemed like a long lost form of hope.

I even laughed pretty hard when some opponents to the Mountain View idea claimed that having different breeds of dogs loose in the same space is a bad thing.  Seriously?  Apparently they're grumpy, non dog-owning opponents who do not know squat about dogs.  But that's just my opinion.

(I get leash laws.  They help protect against some of the "idiots" that need to keep their dogs on leash next to busy streets or when their dogs run around and pee on or steal my stuff.)

Then I saw an article on the Daily Post talking about the new Mountain View Off-Leash parks and their rules.


(Why yes occifer, he is on a leash.)

Dogs will be allowed off-leash in "Designated Sections" of the following parks...

-Bubb Park,
-Cooper Park,
-Eagle Park,
-McKelvey Park,
-Whisman Park*,
-Cuesta Park* and
-Cuesta Annex!

Hours for dogs being off-leash are...

-Between the hours of 6am and 10am,
-In designated areas.


*Parks with Additional (BETTER) Exceptions...

-Whisman Park
--- Additional hours of 5pm to sundown on Weekdays.

-Cuesta Park
--- Off-leash from 6am to after sundown,

-Cuesta Annex
--- Seven days a week
--- 6am to 10am.


Signs will be posted in the affected parks reflecting this new situation in this pilot program.  And I'm betting if carried our properly by dog owners, could be a great success and wonderful addition to any dog owner's lives.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Belmont's Water Dog Lake Park - A Mini Review

Disc Dog Vader checks out a lake

The Vader's World team decided to check out Water Dog Lake Park in Belmont.

First things first... using Google Maps to find where to go to get into the park seemed off a bit if you want the most direct route to the dog lake itself.  The shortest route, which is about half a mile from one of the entrances is on Lyall Way just before Lake Road.  And it's an uphill walk, but it's not a horrible incline.

Word on the street is that though there are many options for parking around the location, keep your eyes on the parking restrictions in some locations.

To be honest, Water Dog Lake Park is a pretty big place, with many dog walking hiking options.

It's called a heavily wooded park, and there was plenty of shade on the short route we took.

Yes, signs say dogs allowed, on leash.  But once we got to the lake, well, there were plenty of dogs swimming around, so we weren't alone in enjoying the place.  Everyone there was fun and friendly.

More pics from the day are over on Vader's Flickr Album.

{ Google Maps to Water Dog Lake }

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Vader's Day At the 2014 Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash

Disc Dog Vader at the 2014 Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash

Saturday (6-7-14) was fun, where we took part of a freestyle demonstration for the Sacramento SPCA benefit, as part of a demonstration team with the Disc Dogs of the Golden Gate, an awesome club-member run Northern CA disc dog club.

Disc Dog Vader freestyle at the 2014 Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash

The day in Sacramento was predicted to be hot (105!) but we got our performances in early before the heat set in.  Bruce and I had 2 fun demonstrations, as he tossed discs and I jumped through the air snagging them out of their flight paths!

2014 Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash

There were lots of canine friends and even a police K-9 demonstration.

Police Dog Demo at the 2014 Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash

You can check out quite a few more pics at either my FLICKR album or my FACEBOOK page album.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Vader Will Be Where This Saturday, 6-7-14?

Vader Will Be Where This Saturday, 6-7-14?

So where will Vader be this upcoming Saturday, June 7thTeam Vader will be showing up in Sacramento with the Disc Dogs of the Golden Gate demo team for a few fun demonstrations during at the 2014 Doggy Dash event in Sacramento, CA.

We'll be a small part of the demonstration team putting on a show at 8:30am and 10:00am.

What's the Doggy Dash?  No, it's not a dog race.It's an event put on by the Sacramento SPCA and is known...

"As the greatest annual fundraising event for the Sacramento SPCA, it is a celebration of people coming together to raise much-needed funds that provide the Sacramento SPCA the means to care for more than 11,000 each year."

They have a great day planned out, from the opening 2k walk in the morning at 9am, a Sacramento PD K9 Unit demonstration, and lots of contest events, like "Most enthusiastic wag," to "Best Tricks," and other cool contests.

If you're pondering coming out to check out the freestyle demonstration, keep in mind that there's a heat advisory in effect for Saturday at the time this article was written. Bring plenty of water, plus bring extra water, and hats, and did I mention water?


{ .youtube. }

{ sspca doggy dash information },{ weather forecast }

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cocoa Mulch: Is It Dangerous? The Fears and the Truth

Cocoa Mulch, not as dangerous as it used to be

When we (Bruce, Amy and Vader) first heard of chocolate flavored (Cocoa) Mulch, our initial reaction was that this apparent toxic food seemed like a stupid idea to market.  Stupid, considering how dangerous chocolate can be for dogs and cats.

And we hung with that premise for a while, keeping our eyes peeled for the like on front lawns and what not. Then the other day I started seeing Facebook posts about how one person's animal ate some mulch, then died the next day.

That truly is a scary story for animal owners, and well meaning folks are sharing this tale of whoa with as many folks as they can, to get the word out.

But I caution those with good intent, that they should always double check with or other such rumor control websites to make sure that what they're sharing is accurate.  Because if it isn't accurate, well, it can be disappointing on many levels, despite the good intent.

So when we saw the warning about the Cocoa Mulch, I checked out Snopes and I'm glad we did.

The original concerns originated back in 2003, but the concerns, would appear to be outdated worries.

YES, "Cocoa beans contain the stimulants caffeine and theobromine. Dogs are highly sensitive to these chemicals, called methylxanthines."

And yes, the Cocoa Mulch is sold by mainstream stores.

But there's a statement from Home Depot that caught my eye:

Monday, June 2, 2014



If you recall, we put out a piece on places you can go hiking with your dog in the Bay Area. Today we (Bruce, Amy and Vader) tackled the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve located in Portola Valley, CA. (Towns with the name Valley in them are confusing.)

Windy Hill is a one thousand, three hundred and thirty-five acre piece of land and has just over twelve miles of trails.

And we took on a five mile hike that included an eight hundred foot elevation climb in roughly two and a half miles.   There are a few switch backs but there were also quite a few straight shots at quick altitude changes.  Well, not so quick when you're crawling up these hills.


At the bottom of the hike, everyone is funneled through one entrance gate at the parking lot we chose, off of Portola Valley Rd.  If yo have a leash reactive dog, you have to take a tiny bit of precaution at the entrance.

The first half mile you might not want to linger too long.  The black flies will spot you and claim you as theirs!  If you keep on the move, you'll be fine. (This hike was in June.  Are black flies seasonal?)

The beginning trail isn't too harshly inclined, but as you get going, it will get steeper.

You do have an 800 foot elevation to tackle.  At least on the route we tackled, which skirted the north side of the park as it climbed towards Skyline Dr.. Yes, I just said that.  I can get to Skyline Dr via this park.

As you get higher (and I thought "The Dish" hills were a nice vantage point!) the views start to become spectacular and worthy as I took a liberal number of breaks to "stop" and "admire" the view.  Which is code for catch my dang breath. (If you have a camera, it lends credence to the "admiring" part of the rest stops.)

There's lots of shade in the first half, and there's a little bit of shade well placed here and there on the way up.


We brought lots of water, as should you.  We ended up giving a bottle to a group of hikers who were on their final legs of a huge hike.  They weren't looking that hot.

Even though I joke and make it sound tough, it's something you can do at your own pace and you should be fine. And proud when you realize what you just tackled.

There's a bathroom at the parking lot. Which, by the way, the parking lot seemed big enough.