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As pet parents of two mixed breed rescue dogs, we sometimes lament the lack of cute pet products that tout our favorite breed: rescue.
Last year, two Cincinnati dog lovers and entrepreneurs got together and launched Project Blue Collar, an initiative that focuses on the positive side of adoption. Carole Feeny and Kristin Waters met in 2010 at the gym and quickly learned of each other’s interest in animal welfare. “Although we worked with different rescues (Carole with a foster-based rescue and I at a no-kill shelter), we started networking dogs together and helped each other out at different times when our respective groups were full,” recalls Kristin.
From her experience at the rescue, Carole knew that rescue dogs undergo a wonderful transformation on the road to adoption, a change that the general public often misses due to massive advertising campaigns that “engender our pity with tragic images of animals in need and leave us thinking of them as damaged goods. While these marketing campaigns are successful at raising funds they are not helping rescuers show the positive qualities of adoptable animals. This realization prompted me to think of a way to promote the value of the rescue dog and get them to be the marketers of their own movement. Thus, Project Blue Collar was born.”
Carole and Kristin quickly came together on this project they named Project Blue Collar – Support the Underdog™. The blue collar, modeled on popular silicone cause bracelets that signify a wearer’s affinity for a movement, identifies the dog’s background and its transformation from a homeless animal to a cherished family member.
As with a cause bracelet, the blue collar serves as a conversation starter. “We hear story after story about people asking about the Blue Collar on their dogs,” explains Kristin. “That’s the whole purpose: To create conversations and inspire others to learn about the joy of adopting a rescue dog. When 10,000 dogs are needlessly killed each day in our nation’s shelters, we need to educate people about the value of rescue dogs, and then change will begin to happen – one dog at a time.”
Carole, the company’s president, says when the conversation begins, it gives the pet parent a chance to share their pet’s story. “The story of rooting for the underdog to transform into a superhero is a compelling theme in our culture. Our movement translates the power of that possibility to orphaned animals. We believe that by growing this movement one grassroot at a time, we will create a groundswell of change and impact the course of animal welfare in the future.”
And Project Blue Collar isn’t only for mixed breeds like our Irie and Tiki but for all rescues. Explains Carole, “Whether a purebred or a mixed breed, rescues are rescues and people who have adopted them are proud. Our Blue Collar gives people a way to display their pride and tell their story. Their enthusiasm inspires and educates others to follow their example.”
Photo courtesy Project Blue Collar
This article originally appeared on Pet360.com.
by Carol Bryant
From rich and luxurious dog homes to hosting extravagant parties, these are dog parents who stop at no expense to go above and beyond for their dogs. Some might say this is going a bit overboard and some might say these pet parents are lavishing their dogs too much. Many of us, on the contrary, will react with a smile and a “way to go.” Money means nothing to dogs, as they just want to be by our side and walking through life with us. However, there are folks who indulge for their dogs and we celebrate with them.
Meet people who take their passion for dogs to a whole other level when splurging on their doggie darlings.
“We bought a lake house because of our children. We then bought a new 20′ pontoon boat and named it It’s a Dog’s Life,”Jerry Grodesky says.
Jerry’s children are his dogs, and he considers these girls his family. “Every cruise is like the first,” he says. “When we grab the orange boat bag to head to the pontoon, they are unstoppable from there.” Samantha, a Brittany Spaniel, and Lilly, a Min Pin mix, are always ready to set sail.
Dog in a Land of Enchantment
Jill Lane of Albuquerque, New Mexico, knows a thing or two about going above and beyond for her dog. Her sidekick, Travelin’ Jack (yep, that makes them Jack and Jill), is New Mexico’s esteemed pet travel reporter. This Olde English Bulldog shares his tales of travel on his very own dog blog.
Travelin’ Jack is New Mexico’s only dog to ever win an award for his work in pet travel as well as New Mexico’s ONLY award winning dog-author. He also proudly carries the title as New Mexico’s first ever Dog-Governor, so Jill Lane knows a thing or two about rolling out the red carpet for her pooch.
Home Away From Home
June and Mike Myers decided to do some traveling when they retired and take their dogs along for the ride. Many of us dream of the day when we can take to the open road with a canine pal by our side. The Myers family went one step further.
They did not want to leave their two Cocker Spaniels, Ziggy and Buster, in hotel rooms when they traveled, so in 2009 they bought a 38-foot class A diesel motorhome for the dogs as their second home. “Mike (my husband) even built a set of stairs for the bed and a removable footboard for it so we didn’t have to worry about them rolling off the bed at night,” June shares.
Hop on the Bus, Gus
“Our world revolves around Gus,” Angela Williams of Ringgold, Georgia beams. “Most every decision we make, we have him in mind.” Doggie devotion seems to be a common thread these days.
The Williamses purchased a truck so their pooch could ride in comfort with them. He has a birthday party every year, with a recent addition being a chicken-flavored bubble machine at his party.
Williams admits, “I tell people all the time, if I knew that Gus had one day to live, and someone offered me a million dollars for him, I would turn down the money and take my one last day with him.”
Coco Chanel Bella need not worry about a wardrobe malfunction; her mom, Christine Aiello of Massapequa, New York, has a backup plan.
“When I first got my dog I said I would never dress her up. That didn’t last,” Aiello admits.
She became a clothes fanatic after purchasing a winter sweater for her little darling. “Most people spend time on Facebook to socialize with other people. I spend most of my time on Facebook looking for outfits to buy her from the designers on there or entering her into contests.”
Coco has her own closet full of dresses, sweaters, raincoats, boots, bows, sweatshirts, t-shirts, snoods, collars, leashes, necklaces and more.
Barktender, I’ll Have a Cold One
Amy Lee knows a thing or two about breweries. Scratch that—it’s her dog, Sumo, who knows about sudsy drinks on tap.
“As a beer loving family, Sumo has been to over 8 breweries throughout California from Mammoth Mountain to Russian River to Santa Cruz,” Lee reports. “In order to capture all of these memories, I have created a photo blog devoted to his adventures.”
A typical day in the life of Suma, a San Francisco Shiba, goes something like this: Morning walk in Alamo Square, stop by a local café to chat with baristas, attend cage-free doggie daycare while his mom goes to work or perhaps go into the offices of TravelNerd.com with Amy Lee. Dinner consists of boiled shim Mary’s Organic Air Chilled Chicken from Whole Foods in addition to freeze dried Stella and Chewy’s Surf ‘N Turf dinner.
Some of us think they want to tag along with Sumo for the day!
When Patty Stanton adopted 9-year-old Frankie from a shelter, she knew that four years later there was only one thing to do: Give the 13-year-old pooch a traditional Bar(k) Mitzvah celebration.
“After a traditional Jewish brunch of lox, bagels, cream cheese, and plenty of dog treats, the ceremony began,” Stanton recalls. “Attended by dog-loving friends and family, we made it a heart-warming benefit for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.”
The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow
Morgan Avila of Lynbrook, New York, knows that tomorrow is only a day away, since her dog, Mr. America, has graced the stage for the part of Sandy in two seasons of Annie the musical.
Since Avila travels up and down the east coast for shows and appearances with her big pooch, she bought him his very own truck. Mr. America will need those wheels to take him to practice for a part in the forthcoming adaptation of Oliver Twist.
High Kicks for a Small Pooch
When your dog mom is a former Rockette, life will be anything but ordinary for a New York doggie socialite. Puccini is the pint-sized performer of Leslie Riddle. The duo call home the 37th floor of a high rise in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen district in New York City.
“He has three little beds around his apartment that he loves to lounge on when not attending parties, fundraisers, taking walks around the city or playing with his friends,” Riddle muses.
Chico and the Mom
Last but not least is Stella Panzarino of Brooklyn, New York. She and her 11-year-old Papillon, Chico, are quite the celebrities of the New York doggie set.
“There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my dog. Clothes, birthday parties, red carpet events, fundraisers, best man at doggies weddings—these are all the norm,” she says. “I talk to him all the time and by the look in his eyes, the tilt of his head and the actions he takes or doesn’t take, I know that we are communicating and that we understand each other. “
We speak the language of dog, too, Stella!
What is the most extravagant thing you have done for your dog? Bark in the comments below!
This article originally appeared on Pet360.com.
Spring in finally here, although it doesn’t feel that way in many states. Off and on, off and on – it often seems like a tease!
Regardless of the weather, our dogs are ready to run. It’s time to get stocked up on springtime gear to make sure your pup has plenty to do and is properly protected.
See what Pet360 has handpicked this year in their Spring Essentials category!
One very special chocolate company, though, puts a sweet new twist on that popular expression of love. Rescue Chocolate, a company based in Brooklyn, sells vegan, kosher, and handcrafted candies using organic and fairly traded chocolate. Best of all, Rescue Chocolate’s profits go entirely to animal rescue organizations.
“We work with a different animal rescue group every month, as our featured partner,” explains founder/owner Sarah Gross. The company also teams with other groups on an ongoing basis, selling chocolate at below-wholesale prices for the groups to sell at adoption events or auctions.
The company is the culmination of a lifelong dream that combines two passions: chocolate and animals. “Helping animals has been a long-standing passion of mine. Back in middle school, I used to volunteer at my local animal shelter where I grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana. Around the same time, I became a vegetarian and then a vegan, because I didn’t want to eat animals or animal byproducts,” recalls the chocolatier. “My interest in gourmet dark chocolate has been a more recent passion. A few years ago I was on a mission to buy (and eat!) all the exotic dark chocolate bars I could find. I also worked at a raw chocolate company where I developed a best-selling flavor. So one morning in December 2009, I had just finished eating a chocolate bar for breakfast (doesn’t everyone?!) and was out walking my dog in the park, when I got the inspiration to combine my two passions into one business.”
The inspiration to combine those loves into Rescue Chocolate was nudged along by Gross’ 5-year-old rescued pit bull named Mocha. “I don’t know much about the early months of her life, but I can surmise that they were horrific. A good Samaritan found her wandering the streets emaciated. Her ears were severely cropped, and she had recently had a litter of puppies. Most likely, she had been in the clutches of dogfighters who then abandoned her when they realized that she is a lover instead of a fighter.”
Today sweet Mocha serves as cover girl for Rescue Chocolate, reminding the public that “Pit Bulls will reflect back what they receive from their human companions, whether that is love and affection or the opposite.” On this Valentine’s Day, hopefully this rescued beauty will inspire lovers to not only enjoy tasty chocolates but to also fund a cause that helps lost, abandoned, and abused dogs and cats find the love they deserve.
Has your dog chewed through shoes, furniture, and well… everything? Give him the gift of a chew toy that will last more than five minutes.
First of all, the filling in this toy tastes like bacon. So you know your dog will love the Better Than Gnawin’ Ultimate Interactive Dog Chew Toy. As for keeping her busy? The outer holder is designed to make it tough for her to get to all that bacony goodness. We’re talking an hour of gnawin’ at a time here. Try it! ($22.95 at Pet360.com)
It’s all about tear-resistant rubber when it comes to Ruff Dawg The Bones Family Dog Toys. These bones are all-rubber, mint-flavored, and come in great colors and sizes. Stock up on this chew-happy basic. (Starting at $4.95 at Pet360.com)
The Hyper Pet Hyper Gnaws Big Sick Dog Toy is like a stick on steroids. A rugged interactive toy for your chewer, this plush squeaky toy for dogs is great for you to play with together. It’s made with ballistic material and synthetic suede, floats in water, and has a tennis ball at the center of the stick. ($6.06 at Pet360.com)
The Kong Rubber Dog Chew Toy is an active-dog classic. Stuff this sturdy cone-shaped toy with your dog’s favorite treats and he’ll be able to play on his own! We even recommend it to prevent understimulation, boredom, and anxiety. (Starting at $6.45 at Pet360.com)
Multiple layers of nylon plus multiple squeakers make this a toy with added excitement. Even the tugging ends of the Mammoth Squeaky Freaks Ball Double Sided Nylon Dog Toy have squeakers! ($8.45 at Pet360.com)
For dogs who need to burn off lots of energy; this laser beam is extra powerful and great for chasing. The SpotBrites 2 in 1 Laser Pet Toy, Exerciser and LED Flashlight also includes a flashlight that you can use for nighttime walks. ($3.95 at Pet360.com)
Savory flavor, satisfying design, and a unique material that’s made for powerful chewers make the Nylabone DuraChew Bacon Flavored Dog Bone Chew Toy a dream-come-true for dogs that need a lot of enrichment… and bacon flavor. (Starting at $2.41 at Pet360.com)
Ideal for its simplicity, the Dog is Good Nylon Bone Dog Toy is made of durable nylon and includes a squeaker. It’s easy-to-clean, which is perfect since you’re dog will want to fetch, tug and gnaw away on this bone. ($10.95 at Pet360.com)
If it’s your first dog or your fifteenth there are some innovative new dog supplies every dog owner can use to make Fido’s life, as well as their own, more comfortable.
Dog crates are an essential part of every dog owner’s life. It’s likely the place where your dog spends a lot of their time when you’re at work and where they go when they need a little time away. But what to do when you’re visiting? Port-A-Crate makes travel easy for small and medium dogs with their line of collapsible, ultra-storable, portable crates that range from 15 inches to 31 inches high. For larger dogs Midwest has a similar answer, with their Life Stages travel and training crate’s fold and carry crate design. And there is no longer a need to have an unsightly wire cage in your house, either. Cratewear now produces a line of personalized crate pads and covers, to help your dog’s crate blend into your household as well as feel more comfortable for your favorite pal.
There have been a lot of innovations in dog safety in the last few years, particularly in the area of vehicular safety seating. From auto insurance that covers your pets to safety harnesses, you can rest assured that your dog will be safe in the car. Travelin’ Dog makes a full line of harnesses that work with your car’s seatbelts for small to medium dogs, and booster seats with harnesses for smaller dogs. For larger dogs SolVit makes hammock style seat cover that will keep your pet safely in place while he or she rides in the car, as well as protect your car seats.
Grooming your dog, too, has taken new steps. For finicky dogs who don’t like the scrape of a comb KONG has created the ZoomGroom, a rubber comb which attracts loose hair, dead skin, and dander, whisking them away while giving your pooch a nice massage. For a deeper clean Furminator has created a deShedder shampoo and conditioner line.
Dog training has become easier too, with two exciting new products that help make it easier. Innotek has created the Free Spirit No Bark Collar that helps encourage your dog to not bark with corrective stimulation that is triggered only by the dog’s bark. Dog obedience training is easier now too, with PetSafe’s collarless remote that enables you to train your dog with sound.
To make feeding your pet easier PetSafe has made the 5-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder. This automatic feeding bowl can contain up to five meals and releases them at a set time, giving you the ability to feed your pet for up to five days without having to think about it. You no longer have to worry about refilling your dog’s water bowl with the Drinkwell Pet Fountain, which purifies and recalculates water in the bowl, acting as a constant fresh water fountain for your pet.
Next time you wish you there were an easier way to travel with your dog or feed your pet, check out what’s new in the pet store. You may be surprised to find that someone has created just the gadget you need to make both your life and your pet’s easier.
Rawhide is a very popular dog toy; what dog wouldn’t love processed cattle skin? It provides dogs with a very satisfying chewing experience. However, what most dog-owners don’t realize is that rawhide may not be the safest toy to purchase. More and more vets are discouraging pet owners from giving rawhide to their dog due to its many dangers.
Rawhide is what it sounds like, raw dried out animal hide that is usually bull or cow. These hides are obtained from slaughter houses and have no nutritional value. Rawhide’s original use was for Native Americans in their construction of boats, making it very strong and durable but not easy to digest. Because of this, ingesting rawhide can cause gastric irritation in dogs.
Something else pet owners don’t realize is that rawhide is usually made in other countries where it can be contaminated with potentially harmful ingredients such as arsenic which is often used as a preservative. Some rawhide toys contain antibiotics, lead, or insecticides that could adversely affect your dog’s digestive system.
Safer options for chewing include large, fresh, meaty bones that you can get from your local butcher. Be sure to supervise your dog when offering these to make sure the bone doesn’t splinter. Also, some companies make hard, bone-shaped treats from food sources, such as soy, rice flour, and potato starch, and these are completely digestible.
By offering your dog alternatives to rawhide, you not only prevent them from choking on them or contracting a stomach virus, but you give them a chance to play for the rest of their long healthy life. You never know, by giving them a choice they may forget about your furniture, your shoes, and your kids’ toys.
Doggyspace is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who love dogs. People use Doggyspace to keep up with friends, upload funny dog videos, and to give their dogs their own cyber place.