Canine Corner is for “everything dog.” It covers anything and everything dog-related, from the light-hearted and funny to the serious and sentimental issues. Read all kinds of information about dogs in general, see some really cute and really funny dog pictures, or be entertained by funny dog stories! Canine Corner will also cover recent news items about dogs and dog welfare issues.

Archive for the ‘Canine Corner’ Category

Get Creative with Your Canines this Halloween with Walmart’s Big Heart Pet Brands

Posted on October 19th, 2014

Premier Pet Brands Offer Fun Variety of Seasonal Ideas for Treat-Gifting Plus Howlin’ Halloween Instagram Photo Contest


Disclosure: Post sponsored by Lunchbox, but all opinions herein are those of the Administrator of this blog, JL Smith. never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews.

Are you one of those dedicated dog-lovers who spend time making homemade puppy freezer pops to give to family and neighborhood dogs? Do you make your own dog food? Do you keep a dog treat bag in your car or purse just in case…? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then Walmart’s Big Heart Brands have a real treat in store for you – and the pooches in your life — this howlin’ Halloween season!

Halloween Treat- and Gift-Giving for Dogs: Make the Ultimate Treat Basket

Gift-giving is always enjoyable; the feeling of watching someone’s face as they open your gift is priceless. Well it’s the same sentimentality with gift-giving for dogs! Right? They hop up and down, smile, and get all animated when they know they’re getting something… So why not make up some Halloween doggie gift bags for the whimsical waggily-tails in your life?

With Big Heart Pet Brands, like Milk-Bone™, Pup-Peroni® and Milo’s Kitchen®, it’s really quite simple – and it’s a fun, creative way to show your love, appreciation and friendship. (Bonus:  being the random treat-giver in the neighborhood gets you in any dog’s good graces, too!) There are so many choices at; you can mix and match to make your Halloween doggie goodie bags more varietal!

Tips and Tricks for a Safe Halloween with Dogs

Everyone knows that dogs are part of the family. Walmart and Big Heart Pet Brands feel the same way as we do! This is particularly true on the famous All-Hallows Eve; after all, in years past, how many dogs have you seen romping around the neighborhood with the kids, dressed to the nines, politely protecting their people? But as much as our canine companions love to shadow us in costume and get goodies, there are dangers lurking that all dog-owners should be aware of. So let’s discuss this imperative part of the fall holiday: dog safety on Halloween.

  1. Tricks, But No Treats : Yes, we all love our dogs and their tricks, but they absolutely cannot have any human Halloween treats. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is extremely dangerous for dogs. Candy or sweets with xylitol, the artificial sweetener, also can cause serious issues for Fido.
  2. Doggie Dress-Up: Dog Halloween costumes are not recommended unless you know that your dog likes to wear them. For pets that prefer to go au naturale, suiting them up may cause undue stress. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, move or bark.
  3. Pumpkin Fun: Of course it’s great to carve and showcase pumpkins, but be extra careful with those candles that go inside to light them. Dogs can easily knock them over and cause a fire, or they can drag a costume piece near it, or even get burned or singed from sniffing it.

Instagram Halloween Dog Photo Contest!

Treat The Pups Banner 7

Who doesn’t love doggie dress-up? Well it’s time to show off your most delightful doggie Halloween pictures and enter for a chance to win a $5,000 prize! Big Heart Pet Brands is having a one-of-a-kind dog costume contest on Instagram, and I highly encourage you to enter, and to browse the hilarious photos already in the running! Simply use the hashtag #TreatThePups to enter the Tricked Out Costume Contest!

For more howlin’ good fun this Halloween, and to see an awesome video on making Halloween treat bags/gifts for pooches, check out the Big Heart Pet Brands dog treat bags video!

BlogPaws 2014 Kicks Off (and Kicks Arse) in Lake Las Vegas!

Posted on May 9th, 2014

It’s offficially here – theeee best pet blogging and social media conference in the whole world, BlogPaws.

Lake LVWith a variety of attendees, both veteran blogging mavens and newbie social media mavericks; an assortment of awesome keynote speakers, including HABRI (Human Animal Bond Research Initiative); a plethora of pets (including a Capybara and Jack the Pom {pictured in sunglasses); plus a hot desert setting in Lake Las Vegas, things really couldn’t get any more enticing…

Session topics range from WordPress Tips and Tricks to SEO for Beginners to Monetization to Copyright Rules/Legal Issues we face as bloggers to Building a Business out of your Blog.

You really can’t go wrong here folks. I’m talkin’ about some serious learning and some equally intense networking opportunities — both with other pet bloggers and with fantastic sponsors like Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Weruva, PetSmart Charities, BISSELL and Petfinder. WHOA Nelly!

Jack the Pom stylin' in his personalized sunglasses! Only at BlogPaws...!

Jack the Pom stylin’ in his personalized sunglasses! Only at BlogPaws…!

As a six-conference veteran I can tell you honestly that the Founders of BlogPaws do NOT mess around when putting this behemoth baby of a conference together for us. After all, BlogPaws is the ‘top dog’ of pet communities! It’s an inclusive, global community of pet enthusiasts who write about and support pets via social media, plain and  simple. But it’s so much more than that to those of use who hold it close to our hearts. It’s connecting brands with pet parents and it’s connecting pet parents with each other, 24/7/365. It means making new friends, catching up with those people you’ve only “met” on Facebook or a dog blog, getting to hang with cool sponsors and and perhaps foster a new relationship – a product review possibly…. and so much more.

We were lucky enough to hear from Eldad Hagar, one of my new heroes, yesterday. Eldad runs an extremely dedicated, reputable and small animal rescue organization in California called Hope for Paws. He has single-handedly saved HUNDREDS of dogs from deserts, massive industrial trash heaps and more. An angel of a human being, Eldad’s stories can be seen on Facebook and YouTube. (Grab your Kleenex but please know that these stories all end happy!)

Stay tuned for more updates from BlogPaws 2014 in Lake Las Vegas, NV! And don’t forget, you can register now for BlogPaws 2015 in Nashville at!

Griffin, the Rescue Pit Bull; How a Former Fighting Pittie Rehabilitated and Loved Again

Posted on May 6th, 2014

Today I’m sharing the very important story of a beloved friend of mine, Andee, who, along with her dear husband Brandon, took in an abandoned Pit Bull and gave and gave and gave until there was nothing more to give… This is an important story, I will say it again. It’s a story of rescue, a story of redemption, a story of love, and a story of suffering and sacrifice. It’s also an excellent example of the bond that can quickly form between humans and their animals.

So why is this story important? Because it shows not only a human being’s spectacular level of caring and compassion, but also because it demonstrates how a so-called “bully breed” (an American Pit Bull Terrier) can be reformed, renewed and, overall, a superb family dog. It also shows something deeper, an issue that we often don’t want to address… What happens if a dog cannot be rehabbed? What happens if the risks of owning a dog like this just outweigh the benefits? What happens when you’ve spent thousands of dollars, tons of man hours, and countless tears and the dog is still not “normal” per se?

These issues are all explored in “Griffin, the Rescue Pit Bull…” I hope you all can appreciate this story as much as I do. Please leave me your feelings in the comments section.


Griffin’s story began in August of 2011. A good friend of ours, Monique, contacted us about a dog her co-worker found on the streets of Carlsbad, CA. Her co-worker saw him and pulled over, opened the door, and Griff jumped right in. He was unaltered, underweight, and had a chain around his neck. All the rescuers quickly saw how sweet and silly this precious dog was right away.

By law he had to spend five days in the shelter. Brandon, my husband, and I agreed we would take him if he wasn’t claimed. I called each day to see if he was still there. Five days quickly passed and no one came to pick him up. The poor boy was dumped and left to fend for himself. We took Ellee, our female AmStaff/American Bulldog/Chesapeake Bay Retriever rescue, to the shelter to meet him. They seemed to hit it off. They played together, peed on each other’s pee and sniffed together. We signed the papers, paid the fee and went home. We picked him up on September 1, 2011 at the vet where he was neutered. We were so excited, but figured we must be a bit nuts considering that we had a move planned – a big one. We would be permanently transplanting ourselves and our four-leggers from California to Colorado in a little over a month.

We named him, this sweet Pittie, “Griffin” with the help of my Mom. The name fit his personality perfectly — he ended up being a big ol’ goofball of a dog.

Upon arrival home (still in California), we quickly realized that Griff didn’t know what a bed was, he didn’t recognize a full bowl of water, and he did not understand the concept of a consistent meal. He scarfed his food down so fast and would drink the entire bowl of water as if it would disappear if he did not consume it quickly. He had huge calluses on his elbows; obviously from sleeping on concrete. His front legs had difficulty performing, it seemed as if there was trouble with them holding him up correctly; they would even shake and splay out to the side after just a short walk.

That aside, Griff immediately began guarding his food from Ellee. We thought, “Okay we can break him of this. No problem…”

Then we noticed he’d attack her over space…

Griff and Ellee

Griff and Ellee

So we thought, again, “Okay, any dog can be rehabilitated.” Cesar Milan has shown us this… I mean, other than the food and space issues, the two dogs played together well and seemed totally compatible.

After only a few days of having him, Griffin came down with pneumonia. We fed him food and water through a syringe, took him to the vet for daily nebulization, and nebulized him at home with the hot shower running in the closed bathroom. We didn’t think he’d survive. He was down to a measly 55 pounds (a dog of his size should be 75). He could barely walk and his breathing was terrible. However, sure enough, with our perseverance, he slowly got better and soon enough was fully recovered.

Once recovered, we started to leash-train Griff. My goodness, was this a task! We started by working on his sensitivity to touch on the neck. He would jump every time touched there, no matter how gentle and/or slow the touch was. He was also sensitive to the touch on a certain spot on his side. He could be sound asleep on the couch and if you accidentally touched the spot on his side he would quickly awaken and jump down. I felt terrible every time this happened. He did slightly overcome these sensitivities, but never did so fully. Griffin did eventually adjust to being in the house and sleeping on a bed. He loved beds, he loved his crate, and he especially loved the couch! :)

Here we are only a month later getting ready for our move. We have learned how to manage Griffin’s issues to keep a happy home. So we went ahead and made the move to Colorado. Griffin and Ellee both loved the new backyard and the snow from the blizzard that welcomed us. Oh boy, did Griff love the snow! He loved to run in snow, eat snow and just be out in the snow. Seeing him take such pleasure in something made our hearts so happy!

As time went by, Griffin became more and more of a resource guarder. Poor Ellee lost half of her ear because of this…

We experienced our first “ugly dog attack” when Brandon took Griffin on a walk one evening. A neighbor had his dog in the front yard off-leash. The dog ran up in an aggressive manner to Brandon and Griffin. Griff went into automatic defense mode. He held on to the dog’s neck and tried to shake him. Brandon was able to break it up, but not before the other dog bit him (Brandon) in the leg. Both dogs were fine. We were traumatized and so was Griffin.

This led us to hire trainer number one. She helped with basic obedience and creating a stronger bond between us. We learned what signs to look for. Things also became more manageable between him and Ellee.

He still had his issues and fear of everything outside of the house; outside of his bubble we had created. He was excited to go on walks, but would keep his tail between his legs and head down the entire
time. Our hearts broke. We wanted so badly for him to relax and enjoy walks. Seeing a dog in constant fear is devastating. Humans did this to him. We did not know anything about his background, but we were sure someone either trained him to fight or just flat out abused him. We knew he had never been in a house and we knew he was not fed adequately. He did not know love before us. It was painfully obvious.

We started sessions with trainer number two. Rhea was recommended by our vet since she knew Rhea had rehabilitated many “bully breeds” and placed them in homes. Dogs deemed unadoptable now become the perfect family pet. She was at the Longmont Shelter so every Saturday we made the hour’s drive to and from. Here Griff worked with other dogs. He never learned how to be amongst them without attacking no matter what Rhea did. He would shake and stick to our side. We did notice he was much better with Ellee at home. The trainer did tell us Resource Guarding (diagnosed by her) was extremely difficult to break if you can break it at all. We stopped going after about six sessions since he was not progressing.

We decided to go camping in a remote area one day. Griffin stayed in the tent most of the first night. We awoke early the next day and decided to go on a hike. We walked past some other campers setting up their tent. They had three dogs with them. All three started to run up to us when the owner of two called them back to her. The third did not listen to his owner. He went straight up to Griffin and would not leave him alone even with us blocking him and his owner calling him. Griffin was terrified and the other dog knew this. After a few minutes Griff turned and latched onto the dog. He started shaking him. The dog was screaming. Brandon lifted Griffin’s hind legs to prevent the shaking. He would not let go. Finally after what felt like a lifetime, Griffin let go. The other dog popped up and ran to the owner. Miraculously, the dog was not injured. The people, surprisingly, apologized for not having control over their dog. I stayed back and explained Griffin’s situation. They were very understating; a rarity. We went back to camp completely devastated. Griffin went in to the tent and stayed there the rest of the day. He was depressed. We knew he did not like attacking. He was just so terrified due to whatever happened to him in his previous life; he couldn’t just let go and trust us completely.

Andee, Brandon and Sweet Griff

Andee, Brandon and Sweet Griff

We then hired trainer number three; he told us he was the “Cesar Milan of Colorado.” He trained under the man who taught Cesar everything he knew… Naturally, we thought we had found our answer.

This trainer taught us confidence training. We worked with Griffin every day. We continued sessions with this trainer for about four months. In the beginning he said Griffin would work with his pack of dogs but the last several sessions felt as if we were paying him to walk Griffin. Eventually I asked him if Griff could now work with his pack. Griffin needed to learn how to be around other dogs without going into automatic defense. I never heard back from the trainer. This man emailed me weekly to ask how things were going with Griffin and when we should book our next training session. I did not receive email, a phone call, or a text after I asked him about working with his dogs. This told me he did not have the courage to tell us he could not fix Griffin.

Another fear of Griffin’s was children. We had friends in town last summer. Griffin stayed in the backyard, his bedroom (yes, my dogs had their own bedroom) or in our bedroom. We were not about to test him with our friends’ children. He was outside one morning, and we had the blinds closed. Our friends’ youngest, who was one-year-old at the time, crawled over and pulled the blinds back. Griffin was lying in front of the slider door. He saw Ben and attacked the slider door without hesitation. We believe he associated children with dogs.

We now knew we could never have him around children.

We continued to work with Griffin, keep a very managed home, and a strict schedule. We continued to tell ourselves he would get better with age and time — until the last two situations occurred…

My brother recently had a baby and the new family came over one Sunday afternoon. Griffin was in his crate in the other room. Brandon had Kallen, our nephew, in his arms. Once everyone was settled, I let Griffin out and he was quite calm. He sniffed the car seat, said hello to everyone and then plopped down in front of the fireplace. All was great until Kallen started fussing. Griffin jumped up and flew across the room to Brandon and started growling at the baby. I immediately placed myself in between Griffin and Brandon. I grabbed Griffin and took him to his crate. Brandon and I stayed calm so we did not scare my brother and his girlfriend. Brandon and I just looked at each other and did not have to say a word about what we were thinking.

The last situation happened a week before we put him down. We set out on our daily walk. Once we were in the park we noticed a man in front of us was walking very slowly with his older dog. We hung back. Once he got far enough ahead we continued. I went first with Ellee; Brandon followed with Griffin. The man stopped in a grassy area and watched us walk by. Griffin then slid behind Brandon and lunged at the dog. Part of his leash came off when Brandon grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground. The man did not move during this whole fiasco. Once Griffin got up and walked back towards me the man slowly continued on. He did not say a word. He did not change facial expressions. As Griff walked back towards me my heart sank as he found refuge in my arms. I fixed his leash, stood up, and looked at Brandon with tear-filled eyes.

We knew the time had come to say goodbye. We knew Griffin was too damaged by his previous owner, or should I say monster. We knew it was not fair to keep him in this fear-filled world. We knew it was not realistic for us to keep living in a bubble.

Brandon set up a time to talk to trainer number two, Rhea. We trusted and respected her. She explained that in a dog’s life you want quality over quantity, i.e., you do not want to keep them around when they’re just living miserably. She told us we had given him the best two-and-a-half years possible. He knew love now, which he did not know before. But Griffin was not going to heal. His wounds were too deep. Despite what we see on The Dog Whisperer, not all dogs can be rehabilitated. She said she knew how much we loved him. We have gone above and beyond in trying to rehabilitate him. Rhea said it was time to put him down. We were simply out of options.

Brandon and I both bawled our eyes out in disbelief that it had come to this. That it had come to losing him.

The phone call with Rhea was on a Friday. We spent the weekend feeding him spectacular meals, loving on him, walking him, talking about all his goofiness and what he did for us. How he helped us grow. We talked about how we each experienced a love that we never knew existed. How he rehabilitated Brandon (which is too personal of an issue to explain here). Neither of us has ever cried so hard and so much in our entire lives. We could not eat. We could not sleep.

Monday arrived. I called our vet, Dr. Walters, and left a message for her to call me back. She too rescues bully breeds. She goes one step further and finds fosters for dogs and cares for dogs until she can find their forever home. You will often find a dog up for adoption roaming the vet office along with the resident kitty. She called me back later that evening. The first thing she said to me was, “I 100% support your decision.” She went on to say she knew this day could come and that we had exhausted all options. She once had a rescue that she too had to euthanize. We talked for a while, well, I tried to talk through my dry heaving. We set up a time for the following day to say goodbye. She made sure we had two hours with no one else in the office other than her, her co-worker and vet tech. They all knew Griffin very well and loved him as much as we did.

Griff and Brandon

Griff and Brandon

Tuesday arrived. We kept our routine. He snuggled with me in bed, we got up, he ate, we went on a walk, and then we loaded him up in the car with his blanket. I have no idea where the strength came from, but I was strong. Griffin simply went to sleep that day. As he left this painful world, an overwhelming sense of peace overcame me as I pet him through the last breath. Brandon held his head and told him how great he was. He said, “Thank you for all you taught me, I love you so much.” When Dr. Walters looked up at us and said he was gone she rushed out of the room. I guess she did not want us to see her cry which I did anyway when I went back to use the restroom before we left. I gave Griffin one last kiss, said I love you and left.

When we walked out of the office we noticed it was snowing. Great big fluffy snowflakes were falling from the sky. Snow was not predicted that day. I know in my heart it was Griffin telling us he was at peace. The same type of snow, unpredicted, happened again exactly one week later to the hour of his passing.

We are left behind – broken into pieces. We’re angry with the person who did this to him. To us. Our lives will never be the same. A void will go with us no matter where we are or what we are doing. A gaping hole is permanently ensconced in our hearts. Griffin’s singing, talking, laying on his back with his legs straight up in the air, his morning cuddles in our bed, his loving eyes, his huge hugs, and so much more are missed on a daily basis.

We miss his shadow. His motivation to never miss a walk. He taught us that love exists even in anger, frustration and fear. He showed us there is a reason for the pain in this life. The pain is to make us better people, to teach us what needs to be fixed in this world.

But through the pain love always conquers… Love always prevails.

Griffin is and always will be our little big boy.

Balanced Nutrition is Key to a Healthy Pet Diet

Posted on November 27th, 2013

Have you heard the phrase “a little will do a little good; a lot will do a lot of good?Hills Image 1 Post 5

Has this phrase ever been true for you? What about your pet?

It’s scary to think about what would happen if we didn’t get enough of a basic need for life such as water, or if we got too much of a basic need for life such as sodium. That’s why I’m going to talk with you about why “balance” is the ideal approach to a nutritious diet.

The best approach to just about everything in life is “balance” – work/life balance, and a balanced diet. Nutrients are essential to health for us and for our pets. We can control our diet choices, but our pets rely on us to choose for them.

So, what is precisely balanced nutrition and why is it so important?

Let’s look at key nutrients that your pet’s body needs to maintain good health and energy. Those nutrients are protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Sounds, reasonable, right? But, what if any one of these nutrients is too high or too low (a little will do a little good; a lot will do a lot of good)?

Protein is a vital nutrient that helps support lean muscle tissue for adult pets. For growing puppies and kittens, protein nourishes growing muscle tissue. If a pet’s diet is too low in protein this could lead to poor growth. If a pet’s diet is too high in protein, this could increase the workload of the liver and kidneys to get rid of excess nitrogen. That’s because your pet’s body will only absorb a certain amount of protein – everything in excess must be processed by the liver and kidneys. You can see how over time this extra work could affect these organs.

Fats are very beneficial in your pet’s diet. Fats – in the appropriate levels – are excellent for healthy skin. Fats nourish the skin and make it soft. What’s more- fats help with a luxurious coat and contribute to shiny fur! We know what happens with too much fat: weight gain. But what if there isn’t enough fat? Potential for a dull, dry and flaky coat.Hills Image 2 Post 5

Vitamins and minerals are also essential in your pet’s diet. Vitamins support the immune system; minerals help puppies and kittens grow strong muscles and healthy teeth. If the vitamins levels are deficient, your pet could experience fatigue or weakness. If the vitamin levels are too high, this could lead to organ stress. If the minerals are too high, your pet could be at risk for bladder stones.

Fiber, we all love fiber! It’s great for healthy digestion, but if your pet’s diet is too low your pet could experience loose stools. Not good! How about too much fiber? Your pet could experience gas! Equally NOT GOOD!

So the moral to the story is “balance.” Each of these nutrients is critical to survival. For optimal health, choose a food for your pet that provides proven, perfectly balanced nutrition.

Balance is the reason that we choose to feed Franklin and Ramsey Hills® Ideal Balance™ Dog Food. It is chockfull of vital vitamins and equally crucial nutrients in perfectly proportioned amounts. Plus, the boys gobble it up like it’s going out of style.

If you want to know if you are feeding your cat or dog a healthy, properly balanced diet, check out the following pages:

–          Check here to see if your dog’s food contains properly balanced nutrition and see how to make a change if it doesn’t. You can also check this handy comparison tool for dog food.

–          Check here to see if your cat’s food contains properly balanced nutrition and see how to make a change if it doesn’t. You can also check this handy comparison tool for cat food.

 Important Takeaway Points:

–          Balanced nutrition is key to good health

–          Nutrient excess can lead to certain health conditions

–          Nutrient deficiency can also lead to certain health conditions

–          Good nutrition isn’t just about ingredients – it’s about the right balance of nutrients

–          As ingredient quality increases, so does a pet’s ability to absorb and use the nutrients for optimum health



All opinions in this article are those of the author. Author has been compensated for completion of this article. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Pets — and What to Do: PET CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

Posted on November 13th, 2013

1-in-5-catsCancer in pets is not a laughing matter. In my life I have lost several dogs and cats to the horrible disease.

Did you know that 12 million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer every year, according to PetCareRX?

I’m helping to spread the word because it’s Pet Cancer Awareness Month – I’d like to tell/show you some ways that loving pet parents can put a “paws” on cancer… So today, is sharing a few infomemes created by PetCareRX – and the 10 warning signs of cancer in pets.Warning signs of cancer

If your pet exhibits any of these signs, it’s time to get them to a vet for a checkup. Remember, though — all of these symptoms can be caused by other health issues, too. What’s important is getting your veterinarian involved and getting a professional diagnosis.

How You Can Help Pets with Cancer

For every Facebook page LIKE PetCareRX receives, they are donating 50 cents to the National Canine Cancer Foundation; their goal is to raise $5,000 so go and LIKE them now please! It only takes a second!



On a side note: I would like to dedicate this post to Gibson and Theodore… I love you and will never forget the years of dedication, love and enrichment that you brought to my life…. RIP at the Rainbow Bridge and I’ll see you again someday.