Sigh. Again. With the belated post....really?!?! Sorry guys, you'll have to love me through it. Apparently any time I announce I am going to feature another item from the gift basket, I have something going on that delays me from blogging...but this something is very exciting. More on that on Sunday.
Anyways, back to the subject at hand: Unusual colorations.
I've told you all about White German Shepherds (and have some news coming up on that front as well), but do you know how many different colors are possible within the German Shepherd's genes? Not all of them are show friendly, and some are discouraged, but these are also possible:
As you can see from the chart, there are many different mutations, diluted coloration, and masking genes within the German Shepherd Dog breed that don't adhere to the typical coloration options you see--I cannot speak to the health of any of these colorations besides what I've seen in Arie, though I can say that you should never breed a dog just for coloration--there's so much more that goes into that than just a pretty coat.
Though White German Shepherds are starting to become more prominent because of their recent positive press with movies and starlets, they are still considered a rare breed (they're even included in the American Rare Breed Association) and a rare coat coloration for the GSD.
Today I am tired, and toying with the terms of the A to Z Challenge...and the letter T. One of the principles of the challenge is to keep your posts short and sweet so that more of your peers can enjoy them without too much of a time sacrifice. In the spirit of this aspect of the challenge, and the letter T, I have ten "T" terms that I'm going to describe in ten words each:
Training is an essential for all pet parents--no excuses.
If your dog is food motivated, treats help with training.
Focus on basic obedience, but you can also teach tricks.
Tweet with us and follow us at @masdemoore on Twitter.
We're trying to teach Arie to "speak" and eventually talk.
We have a special basket for Arie's collection of toys .
Wagging tails are the best greeting when you come home.
Time is elusive when you're trying to complete blog challenges.
Blog and sharing tools are a new writer's best friends.
Three days after mentioning them, I gave Arie flea treatment.
That is all. Stay tuned for tomorrow...when you may hinthint hinthint get another reveal at a prize for our giveaway basket.
S brings us to Single Volunteers Atlanta, and the reason why R was delayed.
I have just recently joined the newly founded group, Single Volunteers Atlanta. This is the Atlanta chapter of the nation-wide organization, Single Volunteers, which brings singles that want to help their community together to meet other people who also want to make a difference. It's a way to make friends and meet people from all backgrounds that share your passion for making a difference. So far, the Atlanta Chapter is off to a good start, already participating in two events, the second of which is one after my own heart: The Atlanta Pet Parade.
SVA has many animals lovers as members. Though the club will help in many ways with all interests, whether it's helping the elderly, children, to build new homes, etc, we also will do several animal-oriented events throughout this year. Our first animal-centered event was today--The Atlanta Pet Parade. We had to sign up a little late to help, and were left with the 5:45 AM spot. ...that's right. 5:45 AM. With determination in our hearts, we stood up to the challenge and accepted (coffee in hand of course).
Yesterday's post was delayed as I went straight from work to a fellow volunteer's home, as she happens to live much closer to Atlantic Station, the site of the event. I didn't want to be a rude house guest and blog while at someone else's home, hence the delay for the lovely letter R. :) To make up for my faltering in my challenges, I hope you will enjoy a few of the photos I was able to grab while setting up for the Pet Parade...and the sweet depictions of Bear, the Parade's Grand Marshall.
With the early morning time slot, SVA was responsible for helping to unload tables, tents, chairs, and more from various trucks to help the Atlanta Human Society set up for the Pet Parade. Afterwards, various rescue groups and pet businesses shuffled in to set up their things, including the German Shepherd Dog Rescue of Georgia. You can see the two beautiful GSD's they brought with them in our Facebook album.
Now it's time to learn about Bear. Bear stole my heart the second he got out of a truck. Bear does not have use of his back legs--I didn't get the story on how this happened, but did get to meet his pet parents, who help with the Atlanta Humane Society. Bear can scoot around on grass, and lounge on his pillow on his own.
When Bear needs to get on the move, he has a special cart/chair/appliance that helps him get around, wheelchair style.
Though he moves in a way that differs from other dogs, don't underestimate this little guy. Bear can book it when he needs to, and really knows how to blaze a trail--He also gets to show off his skills as the Grand Marshall of the pet parade, leading the way.
The Pet Parade was a blast, and after setting up the SVA team was able to grab some brunch and head for our beds. With caffeine still in hand to keep me going, I'm able to be functional enough to write this for you all before crashing again for a good night's rest. If you're in the Atlanta area, love pets, are single, and want to make a difference, shoot me an email about Single Volunteer's Atlanta, or drop a comment on our Facebook page. I'd love to hear from you!
I'm a day behind on my R post, but if you wait about a half hour after this is posted, all will be explained in my S post. Bear with me as we double down on the posting today!
R is something I'd like to keep short and sweet, and is all about reading your fellow bloggers' posts.
For me, blogging is about a community. Some people blog for personal creativity, to have an outlet, or just to have a private place to share their thoughts, and if so, often keep their blogs privatized away from the eyes of others beyond themselves or a select few. I get this. Completely. However, Life with Arie is about finding and making the most of a community of people who love animals as much as I do, and who "get" that aspect of my life. It's about trading know-how and knowledge, stories of loss, happiness, regret, training woes, successes, and hilarity that inevitably arise when you have pets in your life. It's about sharing that passion for animals and making a difference for them in this word.
I would never have this community if all I did was write. I also have to read.
If you're trying to develop a strong blogging community, you have to interact with others. While search engines and exploratory writers will eventually find you through search and random clicks, you also need to find them, and strike up a conversation. Relationships require give and take on both sides--even online ones.
I often try to link to other bloggers through blog awards, my blogroll, and in posts where they come up in my mind to increase the conversation in our awesome blogging community, ever welcoming new faces. I also try to read at least one other blog a day, and I try to read at least one new blog every week or two so that I'm meeting others on a regular basis and things don't get to clique-y.
How are you reaching out to other bloggers? How often do you read posts by others? Which blog is your favorite new find?
I've mentioned before that I work in Social Media and online content... which means that I'm a bit of an internet snob when new technology hits the public and people don't take time to learn about it. Have you seen those boxes of random design around town that say scan me? They're called QR Codes. You are supposed to scan them using a program on your smart phone with your phone's camera--the code functions like a link to get you a website easily. This means that they need to be stationary, well placed, and accessible. They can be both the most helpful things when they're well placed, and dumbest things when they're not. I've been pretty video happy, so let's continue that streak with this from Scott Stratten, one of the big names in Social:
Stratten does a great job of pointing out the awful choices people make regarding QR codes and their placement--there's even an entire website devoted to this failure called WTF QR Codes, showcasing various images of the abuse and misuse of these marketing tools. With these codes becoming the bane of marketing and one of the industry's chief facepalm moments, you can imagine my dismay when I started seeing QR Codes pop up everywhere in the pet industry, including on dog tags. Really, how can you truly get a good scan of a QR Code while it's on a dog? Then, a series of events brought me to appreciate these tags for the help that they could do.
While walking my roommate's dog, a little stray dog happened upon us a few months ago; I relayed the story here. The little guy was lost, and it took us over a day to find that a phone number had been scribbled on the inside of his collar (it was in dark blue ink on a blue collar...I found him in the rain, and the ink didn't show up against its similar background until the collar was dry). A little while later, Groupon ran a special with PetHub, an online company that helps you relocate lost pets, and Red Dingo, who makes adorable pet tags--on these QR Code pet tags.
If the little stray pup had had a QR Code on his collar, I could have taken the collar off (solves the movement issue) to scan it. Their databases not only contain the usual name and contact information for you, but also any emergency medical needs or concerns your pet may have. They also provide a picture and physical description for someone in case your pet were to lose their collar and the person only found the tag attached to the collar, with no dog. The system proved to be extremely intriguing, so we took the plunge and bought the Groupon.
The coolest thing about the special was that it came with a Gold Membership, which includes:
I must say that this awesome system has completely won me over the pet QR code side--though I still don't like seeing a QR Code on a banana (yes that has happened). Have you guys signed up for PetHub? What do you think about the system? What are your thoughts on QR Codes?
The letter P brings us several amazingly fun topics...and it makes me happy.
Let's kick things off with......Pinterest, the web obsession. I will not only eventually have to go to rehab for caffeine, but probably Pinterest as well. I know most of you are probably already pinning wonders, but trust me--Pinterest isn't for everyone, so I totally get it if you're not. Pin obsessed or pin resistant, I think you'll still like my two pet-centric boards. I have one for Life with Arie and one I started with Examiner, about heroic dogs! The first one should make you smile, the second should make you tear up with happiness. I hope you enjoy both--feel free to repin and comment like a madwoman, dog, or man. :) If you're on Pinterest and care to share, put a link to yourself in the comments!
Now onto Pet First Aid Awareness Month.
Have you noticed a few trends with pet safety in my posts lately? I've talked about icy concerns, what household items could be poisonous for your pets, and in my last post about medications and pets. From ears and nails to car harnesses and beyond, many of my April posts have tried to focus on health and medical care for your pets to Pet First Aid Awareness Month. Pet first aid is so important, because you never really know when you're going to need it. When Arie was a pup she burned her paws on hot pavement (BAD mom for walking her in the late afternoon during a hot Georgia Summer) and we had to clean her paws with iodine, then coat them in Neosporin, then wrap them loosely with gauze, and put baby socks on them....oh yes. I bought baby socks to keep my dog from pulling on the gauze.
Socks and all, the knowledge was good to know in case I ever need to pass it on to someone who had a similar situation. I want to continue to learn more about Pet First Aid, and I especially want to take a Pet CPR class. What kind of first aid advice do you have to offer? Have you taken a CPR class? Let's pool our knowledge, pet fans!
Next on our P list is the Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month. This topic breaks my heart. I've seen so many stories lately about horrible things done to animals...there was even a puppy in my hometown that someone poured acid on...on purpose. Freddy, as he has been called, survived the incident and has been described as your typical loving puppy, though he has and still is living through some terrible pain. He was only six weeks old and three and half lbs when a good Samaritan found him with his burns and rushed him to a friend at Animal Control to see if someone could save him. He is expected, however, to make a full recovery. I found a link to the story with very tiny images for those of you, who, like me, can't stand to look at such pain. If you want to help the rescue that is helping Freddy, and other severely abused animals in South Carolina, you can find them here. One thing we can do to help stop the abuse of animals is to ensure that people who abuse animals, like sex offenders, are registered for their crimes and prevented from adopting animals in the future just to cause them harm. You can learn more about that from Pet-Abuse.com.
Now, I don't want to leave anyone in the dumps after such a serious moment...so instead we're going to talk about other dumps. (you chuckled...you know you did.) That's right. Poop. And prizes.
...I hinted that I would reveal one of the prizes for the giveaway basket in May on one of my social channels in my post yesterday or the day before. I failed. Instead, I'm revealing one today, and it's just the tip of the iceberg for the basket of awesomeness that awaits one lucky winner. It's...
Poopie bags!!! While not the most exciting or most enticing element of the epic giveaway basket, these little items are amazingly handy when you need them. The bone shaped holder can latch onto your leash, keys, purse, book bag, belt loop, etc. making baggies super convenient, and the rainbow of bags offers up 48 plastic baggies for you. Besides, let's face it--If you're going to be picking up poop, using a blue/yellow/green/or pink bag just makes it a little less nasty. Keep your eyes peeled for more giveaway surprises, and don't forget to share your first aid tips!
Over the counter medications are convenient for people, as they relieve symptoms without a prescription when you need something in a pinch. I don't like to take medications, but I do frequently get migraines and have an OTC migraine medicine that is a lifesaver...but I digress.
When I was younger, I remember my mom being told to give our little mixed breed, Daisy, half of a Benadryl when she had an allergic reaction to ant bites. Her at home medicine cabinet remedy isn't the only one I've heard of either. Louis C.K., the hilariously subversive comic, was on Conan recently. He talked about an incident where he saved his dog's life with hydrogen peroxide...in the hilarious manner that you can only get from Louis C.K. (NOTE: He is going to call the dog dumb. He is going to talk about the measures he has to go to get her to drink the hydrogen peroxide. Take it with a grain of salt and humor, people).
Mom's home remedy and Louis C.K.'s life-saver aren't alone. Some sites, like Yahoo or WebMD say that giving your pet certain over the counter medications like Aspirin is okay, while others, like one vet's website, say that aspirin is lethal in any dose. There is so much conflicting information out there that I doubt I would ever give Arie anything without being directly told to by a vet in the moment of need, just to be on the safe side.
Have you ever given your pet OTC medications usually meant for people? Were you told to by a vet, friend, or your intuition? Tell me about it in a comment here, or on Life with Arie's Facebook page.
7VF682NSRNUU (ignore this...having to do yet another Technorati claim)
The next letter of the alphabet brings us to N, for nail trimming.
Nail trimming. Who knew such a simple act could be so intimidating? This seemingly innocuous act that I had been doing my entire life to all of my fingers and toes was all of a sudden very foreboding when it came time to try it on an animal--Like many pet parents, I was terrified of hitting the quick and hurting them.
We had pets for years before I adopted my own, but never had the struggles of nail trimming; our dogs and cats were outdoor animals and our house was off of a gravel driveway that served as its own nail trimmer of sorts. After I found my cats and adopted them, I had to learn the ways of a nail trimmer; with them being indoor cats, their nails were going to need trimming at some point, as the act is very important for their health. After a while, the cats and I realized it wasn't that big of a deal and adjusted to at home nail trimming. When I got Arie, the same fear ensued, as her massive paws were more intimidating that a feline's, and her nails were of a different texture. She's due for a trim now, so I can show you what I mean:
My friends who are new to pets have asked me before how to trim their pets' nails. The easiest way for you?
This easy three-step plan is not your most affordable option, but it does put a lot less pressure on you. On the other hand, you could:
If you're pet is comfortable with you clipping their nails, go ahead with option two. If you have a young pet, be sure to play with their paws a lot, as this gets them used to you handling their feet, and makes trimming nails much, much easier later on in life. When you've got your clippers and you're ready to trim, I suggest watching a video before you get started--It helps give you a visual and get your ready for the task at hand. I'm a little partial to this one, probably because it opens with a White German Shepherd Dog:
For the cat people out there, this was pretty good, even if a little awkward:
Do you trim your pets' nails at home or do you go to the groomer's or vet's office to get it done? Why did you choose your method?
Today has been an absolutely wonderful day. I slept in late. I got to go to a wonderful fundraiser. I met a new neighbor...who loves dogs. Awesome day? Check. Now for the details.
Today was the Stylin' for Sheppies event with the German Shepherd Dog Rescue of Georgia. this event was a total blast, complete with adorable German Shepherd Dogs, a great fundraiser principle, and two companies putting themselves out there to help a great rescue group. Stylin' for Sheppies was offering $5 for a manicure, $10 for an adult haircut, and $5 for a kid's haircut from a local salon ,with all proceeds going towards the rescue. Very cool. The salon is also right beside of a Firehouse Subs, which offered a discount to all participants. Also very cool.
Kelly, from Sew Alluring, who is not only my blog friend but also a bestie and a neighbor, went with me to get our nails did. Oh yes, that is one phrase where I don't mind abusing grammar. :) Unfortunately, when we got there, only one of the stylists who had offered her time was present (and she was amazing, handling all the haircuts solo), but the one for manicures was MIA. Boo on her. Still, hooray for rescue. As neither of us was in need of a cut, we instead planned to go on our merry, after donations to the rescue and meeting the gorgeous sheps they had with them.
All of the shepherds present were loving and friendly, showcasing the true family friendly nature of this breed. As usual, the puppy stole the show, but rightfully so. Riley is going to be a small shepherd, as her paws were nothing like Arie's gargantu-paws at her age, and she has an amazing disposition. It was hard for me to get a picture of her, as anytime I got close, she ran right up to me to love on me. So cute! We did get one nice though, and she became the focal point of my event recap on Examiner.
After the event, my roommate and I went for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant that's part of the Monterrey's chain. Success number two of the day? Finding out that they have the exact quesadilla that I LOVED back home, but that I haven't been able to find at a Monterrey's in Georgia. Score. After lunch, we headed back home where I grabbed a cider (the hard kind), my lap top, and headed out to the porch to enjoy the sunshine.
While typing away, someone strolled past with a little schnauzer who alerted me to his presence with lots of barking. After a few minutes, he chilled out, his owner gave a quick apology, and a conversation begun. I have a normal neighbor. For reals. For those of you who know me well, you know that my neighbors have been an issue in my new apartment community--They are very nosy, and like to call to complain to the office about EVERYTHING. Like when Arie reacts to their dog...who is also leash reactive. Go figure. This neighbor was friendly, congenial, funny, and had similar tales of woes with neighbors and their nosiness. She also loves dogs. Woot!
Today has been one of those days that you just chalk up to a wonderful weekend--and exactly what I needed for my Sunday. How was your day?
Let's kick this post off with an announcement! We are officially half way through our A to Z challenge!!!! M is the 13th letter of the alphabet, and our halfway point to letter, Z, numero 26. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement as we make our way through this daily challenge, for loving me through the daily emails and appearances in your reader or your Triberr feed, and for the continued comments. You're awesome! As a big thanks, I'd like to announce that we will be doing the second Life with Arie giveaway at the end of the challenge! I've worked to put together a super special gift basket for pet lovers everywhere, so stay tuned for more details. I'll be revealing some of the special items included in the giveaway in posts throughout the rest of the month. Now, onto the alphabet...
M is for military dogs, and dogs in similar fields.
As the proud owner of a German Shepherd Dog, even if her coloration is often viewed as a fault, I have a special place in my heart for military and service dogs, as GSD's make up a significant number of their population. These dogs are true heroes, and are truly amazing. One of our first posts on Life with Arie was actually about dogs in the military, and discusses the bonds that soldiers have with their dogs, and the debate over dogs as property or as soldiers themselves. One of our more recent posts discussed the plight of Sergeant Rex, a military dog whose former handler was fighting to bring him home with her after he was deemed unfit for service. I'm happy to give you an update, though it's a little belated: Sergeant Rex can officially become a couch potato and house dog with his handler, Megan Leavey. Check out The Elka Almanac for the details.
One thing that I've skipped over some in my talk of military dogs is the discussion of other dogs of armed service, such as K-9 officers. I've had the good fortune to get to know the great Shugart family behind a local business here in Georgia, Deceased Pet Care. Sounds morbid, I know, but this establishment is amazing. Atlanta is a very densely populated area, surrounded by outer areas that feature everything from suburbs to farmland. While I don't like to think about Arie going over the rainbow bridge, when she does, I won't be able to create a place for her under the shade tree in my back yard, like we did with my childhood companion, Patches. Deceased Pet Care handles pet cremation from your beloved house cat to your gentle horse, as well as a beautiful, respectful, and comforting cemetery for pets that allows pet parents to visit their loved ones long after their gone. They also handle almost all of the K-9 units after their passing, whether still active duty or retired and enjoying their time at home.
They feature a page on their website devoted to dogs from the police departments in the area, with a K-9 fund to help the public get involved in honoring these furry heroes, a biography written for each dog to show off their achievements and to honor their memory, and a respectful final resting place for these unsung (until now) heroes. If you've got a spare moment (and maybe some Kleenex) you should read their wonderful stories. Working with Deceased Pet Care has really opened my eyes to the dogs serving my area, and I feel like I know them all a bit better.
Lately we've had a lot of heroic pet stories on the brain, so we'd love to hear yours. Share a link or a story in the comments section with your favorite tales of tails doing amazing things.