Perhaps the famous German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said it best when he said:

The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.”

The week of June 17th marks the eighteenth Animal Rights Awareness Week (ARAW), which was called into life by the California animal rights group, In Defense of Animals.

ARAW is designated as celebration of our synergistic relationship with animals and to educate people about means to bring more awareness and compassion into our world.

It can no longer be denied that animal rights and human rights are complementary, not contradictory.

I do not begrudge anyone buying their puppy or kitty from a store for the simple reason that these pets need a home, too. But the sad truth behind that type of spontaneous purchase is that it has far reaching ramifications.

Excepting ethical, and regulated breeders, it is a fact that “pet stores” perpetuate an evil sequence of cruelty, suffering and slaughter; and the buying and selling of animals solely to amass profits is not only ethically wrong but it supports the puppy mill and backyard breeder’s assembly line of production.

Today, only a handful of States have some sort of anti animal-cruelty or anti puppy-mill legislation, but that’s just not enough.

As long as politicians like New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, decline the regulation of animal cruelty, the toxic status quo continues to spread, and endangers more animal lives.

Every person I know treats their own pets with kindness, love and compassion. In other words, they already view Fido or Kitty as “family” and treat them with the same tenderness as human children. Sadly, many people are still not aware of the conditions in puppy mills, pet shops, some shelters, labs, zoos and circuses.

Animals are not mere commodities to be bought, sold and discarded on whim.

As long as we view animals as our personal property this vicious cycle cannot be broken. But a small adjustment in our thinking that animals are commodities might help raise awareness and compassion.

We are not their owners; we are their caregivers, companions and guardians! Or have you ever met a mother claiming her child to be her property?

This simple change of mind can greatly benefit animals. It can potentially lead to an increase of shelter adoptions, fewer abandonings, and people might develop a deeper sense of respect and compassion for companion animals that are now part of their families.

Collectively, we must make it our goal to work toward elevating the status of animals as well as to help increase today’s animal protection movement.

We should spend more time evaluating the relationship with our own furry friend, and then use our compassion to convince others of the fact that animals enrich our lives in countless ways, and, subsequently, persuade humanity that kindness and respect is due to all sentient creatures.

T.R. Firrigno

Fall is a wonderful time of year, especially, when you are a dog owner. Judging by my own little bundle of love, my Frenchie, Oskar, he enjoys the cooler and less humid days of the season. But these are also the days where leaves and dried-out weeds release sometimes invisible masses of pollen, and other irritants and allergens into the air, right where Ozzie likes to sniff, dig up his heals and is waiting to inhale them.

Just like humans, dogs can trap allergens in their sinuses, and as we all know, fur is also a magnificent magnet for pollutants, which means that Oskar, or your dog, could be covered in triggering pollens. Add to that a mild fall temperatures where fleas are still around and you have one unhappy dog.

In my store I have seen allergies manifest in various ways, but the symptom we have seen the most is plain and simple (and annoying and painful) itching. We have pups that chew their feet raw, some rub their noses, or scoot their little buts across the floor, and others lick their bellies until they are flaming red. Then there are my mystery pups that are so busy itching that they won’t even take time out for a treat; and yet their skin looks perfectly fine.

If you suspect your dog or cat may have allergies, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for an evaluation. Allergies can turn into a chronic and often frustrating (not to mention very costly) disease condition, but in most cases it is treatable. The key, or course, just as with humans, is early determination.

itchy-petsRegardless of the season, in most cases your vet can treat environmental allergies with a combination of methods, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Some of these methods can include:

• Regular bathing with a mild shampoo (preferably oatmeal- or aloe-based, hypoallergenic or medicated)
• Omega-3 and 6 fatty acid supplements (one of my favorites is Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon oil. Farm-raised salmon has its goodness pretty much destroyed by the antibiotics fed to the fish in order to keep the salmon population healthy)
• Allergy shots (also known as allergen-specific immunotherapy)
• Prescription medications (to treat secondary bacterial and fungal infections)

So, don’t despair. And if you feel uncomfortable with your vet’s diagnosis and or treatment choices, go get a second opinion –you would do that for yourself, too. No?!

Happy autumn!








Picture courtesy of

Long, hot and humid days can get a little boring, even for our dogs.  So, why not grab “man’s best friend” and plan summer activities you can do and enjoy together.  I think you will love it, and your pup, too.  In fact, it could turn out the best summer you ever had 😉


Bored Dogs


Cool off

Our dogs can’t sweat like humans. Panting is Fido’s only way to really regulate his body temperature and to keep it from overheating.  So, it is always a good idea to check with a vet or groomer to see if a summer haircut is in order[1].


Bully Chillin’Activities

Fill up the kiddie pool. Even if you don’t have a backyard, you can still make sure you are both feeling “chill”.  Everybody has a sidewalk or a driveway, or maybe even a local park[2].  Pop out the pool, fill it about 1/3 with fresh water, and let your canine take a cooling dip while you dangle your feet in the water.  Et voilà, you both feel better right away.

Turn on the sprinklers

If you have a yard, turn on the water and give your entire family a chance to cool off, get some exercise, and develop an even deeper bond with your pup.

Shady places

Drape a tarp over an outside kennel or doghouse so your dog has a place to escape the sun’s glare. You can also freeze a few bottles of water to place in the kennel or nearby as cooling off blocks for play and rest.


Swim together and enjoy practicing your dog paddle with your pal in a dog-friendly pool, safe lake, or at the beach. And, as always, supervise your canine friend closely around any body of water.


Giant Popsicle

Giant Popsicle

Make popsicles

A lot of dogs like frozen treats made with carrots or peanut butter. While I prefer broth[3], you can use either broth or plain water; freeze in ice cube trays or popsicle trays.

Fido friendly eatery

Today many establishments have patios where you and Fido can hang out, and it a fun chance for everyone to make new friends.

Don’t do the ice cream thing!

Our dogs cannot metabolize dairy products in the way their humans do.  Therefore, please don’t feed Fluffy our ice cream. Try a frozen treat made just for dogs or make your own (see above).

Dog & Ice Cream

Dog & Ice Cream

Part II will appear in the next blog issue.

[1] If your dog has a double-coat or undercoat, s/he won’t need a trim; their undercoat is their own personal air conditioner.

[2] Take along a gallon of water, or an empty gallon jug.  Parks have water fountains that you can use to fill up the jug.

[3] I make my own, or I use an organic, low sodium and fat free, free range chicken or vegetable broth.

Images and information curtesy of: PublixPaws; Joanne Osband; Dreamstime;;

The other day I had an annoying pebble in my shoe I wanted to get rid off.  So, I stepped out of my shoe and put my toes on the pavement –OUCH, the ground was so hot that I actually burnt my toes!  Ozzie sat next to me, happily, looking up at me with that loveable, huge grin that is so characteristic for him.  This made think:  if I burn my toes on the hot pavement, what about his little paws?  I figured I already knew the answer, but I did some research just to be sure.


Here is what I found out:

People think: Dog paws have protective calluses 
and won’t burn on hot pavement.

Not so: A dog’s paws can and will burn when exposed to extremely hot surfaces such as pavement, sand, concrete, asphalt and so forth.  Test the ground; hold your bare hand or, as in my case foot, on a sidewalk for 5 seconds. If it’s too hot for your skin to handle it is also too hot for your dog’s paws to handle.  In fact, Fido’s pads cannot only burn but blister, too.

People think: Oh, I have her winter booties; 
they should protect her from the hot ground when I take her for a walk.

Not so: If you put outright winter boots on your dog’s feet in the summer, chances are that he will sweat even more.  According to Thais Zoe, author of Lucky Duck Living, “dogs have the ability to cool their paws through the in-between of their pads”.  Heat rises from the ground up and gets trapped in the boots.

mainA much better alternative is Pawz boots (because they don’t trap the heat and the dog actually has traction, and, therefore, she can walk properly) or Musher’s Secret, which is a super dense wax that protects paw pads in extreme temperatures –hot or cold.





I love this stuff, I use it on my arms when they are scratched-up
from the rose garden, or from playing with my cats and puppies,
I use it on my chapped hands and lips, I use it on Oskar’s nose and
pads, and I use it as a general heal-all remedy for minor surface
injuries.  Trust me, my husband thinks I’m nuts.
But hey, if it works, why not ;-)

The point is that it’s easy to misunderstand or overlook our pets’ discomfort.  We need to pay close attention to their body language as well as other signs.  Our French Bulldog, Oskar, always has a huge smile on his face, even when he’s panting like crazy.  So, if you can’t walk your pup in the shade, take preventive steps.


As Dr. Patty Kuhl points out in her PetMD article If You Can’t Stand the Heat … On Burnt Pad Denial in Dogs,  “Your dog would probably follow you to the ends of the earth and never complain.”

Woof, woof & meow!

Images courtesy of: Dietmar Hoepfl, Musher’s,


Since May is national Pet Month, lets all celebrate our Pets!

Here are 6 gifts we can give to our pets:


A microchip is the single best way to ensure that our pets 
will make their way back to usin case they run off, or get lost.









To ensure strong and healthy joints and our pets’ overall longevity, 
we can make sure we feed them properly, keep table scraps 
out of their bowl, and create opportunities for exercise.

Penny and Benny blue copy





Getting our dog or cat spayed or neutered not only reduces the
likelihood of unwanted offspring,
but it offers many health benefits, too.



It takes year-round vigilance to prevent fleas and worms
-our pets’ good health depends on it.



We can’t let our pets suffer from tooth or gum disease.  
We can consult with our vet about keeping our pets’ 
mouth clean and healthy. 



We should visit our vet regularly and make sure our cats 
and dogs are up to date on all of their immunizations.












Images courtesy of:,,,,,