Can you care too much for your dog?

The other night, I lay awake in bed thinking about all the dogs I’ve had in my life, and the various ways in which I’d failed each of them. My crimes ranged from leaving Pluto and Gypsy in the yard too much of the time, to failing to explain to Waldo that I was putting him down because  I loved him and wouldn’t have him suffer for one minute even though losing him would crush me. I mentally apologized to each of them for my failures, and asked them all to forgive me.

“Still alive” so they “must be doing something right.”

Being a dog guardian has been a learning process. I’m astounded by people who think they know it all because they have a dog. By people who say things like: “He’s still alive, I must be doing something right.” I’m equally astounded by the people who have had a dog, or two dogs, or half a dozen dogs during their life , and still think of them as “just animals.” People who ridicule others for “Treating their pets like children.”

What does that mean?

Wellbeing is more than having one’s physical needs met.

Next time someone says that to you, (and they will), ask them what they are objecting to.
Do they mean there should be a limit to how much care you give your dog? We know these days that physical care by itself isn’t enough. Wellbeing is more than just having one’s physical needs met. Do they mean that we should limit how much we love our dog? Is it even possible to limit the amount of love you feel? And anyway, we know that love by itself isn’t enough. Wellbeing is more than just knowing one is loved.

Which animal doesn’t have a soul?

I think that at the root of it, those people think that dogs are “less than.” That one life form is somehow less than another ( them ).
I wonder how they arrive at that belief? Because humans have speech? Jobs? Souls? Purpose? That, my friends, is why this world is in the mess that it’s in, because humans believe they are more important: more important than the environment, more important than other animals, more important than the oceans, the forests, their neighbor. Because humans are egoists. But this imagined separation between humans and animals is a lie.

It takes nothing from anyone if you are kind to your dog, so why is it so objectionable? Is it because others think that they are rational and you are not? I believe that I, and others like me, will be on the right side of history. Every day, science discovers more and expands our knowledge about the sentience of animals: that they have an emotional life, that they think and communicate, that they form relationships with others, that they are self aware, that they understand us when we speak to them.

What makes humans so great? We’re the ones who are destroying the planet. We’re the ones who cause all the pain and suffering.

Like children, dogs need us to be responsible and take care of them. . . in a way that ensures they are living their best life. And, like children, they are at our mercy.
UPDATE on the No Parole Project: there are still postcards left it you want some to pass out for signatures. Contact me at thewoof7@gmail.comwith your mailing address and quantity. Meanwhile, I am still accepting donations for postage. The current group of mailings will require $45 in postage. Donations of any size can be made through PayPal or in any quantity of actual 35 cent stamps. Contact me at the email address above for more info.

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Insisting on Proper Prosecution for WV Animal Abuser

I can’t believe I haven’t posted here since April, though I don’t suppose it’s hurt anything to keep the parole post up for an extra long time. Things have been pretty busy here Up on the Woof. In the “Good” column, I finished illustrating the children’s book, Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, which is part of the Animal Protector Series from Who Chains You books. The Animal Protector books are written by Tamira Ci Thayne. This is the second book I’ve illustrated for the series, and I’m working on a third, which is about hermit crabs. In the “Bad” column, our precious Rocket Boy left us on August 29, and that sucked. It was all very sudden. He died at home in our arms, and life just isn’t the same without our boys. But, that’s a conversation for a day when I am less consumed with soul-crushing sorrow.

Back to my previous blog post, about keeping Jeff Nally in jail to serve his entire sentence, which is where he belongs. I hope you’ve written a letter to the WV parole board asking that they set off Nally’s parole. If you haven’t (Why not??),  and if you just can’t get motivated to take pen to paper, or put ink in your printer, there may be another option (see below). . . But I’ve read that personal letters carry the most weight with the parole board. There’s still time, you know. (Hint hint) IMG_20190817_005244Meanwhile, the project continues. Did you sign the petition? This is what a petition with nearly 11,000 signatures looks like. I downloaded it, printed it out, and attached a cover letter. The petition is still active and accepting new signatures if you haven’t already signed. My cover letter informs the WV Parole Board that the petition is still active, and points them to it so they can note new signatures.

dennyThis is our cute young mail carrier, Denny. Today he picked up the packaged petition, and it is now headed to the parole board in WV. I hope they will be swayed by our request to have Nally serve his entire sentence. Thank you, to those of you who signed.

At the beginning of this blog post, I mentioned that if you were having a hard time getting motivated to write a personal letter to the parole board, there might be another option. Part of my plan for the project is to supply pre-printed postcards. I am currently in the design phase of the postcards, and foresee having them printed in October. I am taking requests for them. I don’t want to mail out single postcards, (The GoFundMe I set up to pay for the postcards hasn’t brought in very many donations, and my disposable income is negligible,) but if you think you can get five people to each sign one, I will happily send you five (or more, depending on how many you think you can get people to sign). I would love for the parole board to be flooded with letters and postcards!

postcard imgHere are some ideas: Do you work or volunteer at an animal facility or rescue? Would your vet let you put some postcards on their counter? Would your favorite pet supply store? Do you belong to an agility group, or attend obedience classes where you could pass them out to other animal lovers? Send me a note with your postcard request, and I will keep your info on file for when the cards are ready. The cards will only need a signature and a stamp, but I am designing them with some blank lines where you can write in your comments if you choose.

Please help however you can, and get your requests in now.

If you would like to offer us a helping hand here Up on the Woof, we have vet bills up the yin yang from our recent testing/imaging/medication & cremation of Rocket. We are always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis.  Bil Jac Frozen coupons,  milkbone coupons,  or Lysol coupons that you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send. Donations can also be sent via Paypal to

We also have a wishlist of items that snoopy thankshas recently been updated. Click the link below to view.

Things we need Up on the Woof


I also attempt to earn money for the pups with my Etsy Yelodoggie Art store and Zazzle items.




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CALL TO ACTION: Your Voice is Important.

When I think back to the times when I’ve been strongly motivated to advocate for animals, I find that they coincide with particular stories of animal abuse in the news. Stories that hit me in the gut. My current project is no different. For it to be successful, I need to make a lot of noise and to reach a lot of people. To do this, I need your help; the help of other advocates, animal rescues, and animal lovers. Today I am going to give you the opportunity and a clear path to help me and make a difference.

Jeffrey-Nally-Jr-mugshot-35765165.400x800 (1)In 2011, I covered a story out of West Virginia for Pet Pardons News. It was about a young man, Jeffrey A. Nally, who’d been arrested for obtaining animals from “Free to Good Home” ads and then torturing the animals to death. Many of the victims were puppies. Police found the remains of 29 dogs and a cat on his property. If you want to read more about the details of the case, you can do so HERE. (Be warned, it’s gruesome). The case had a prosecutor who really cared. He worked hard to be the voice for Nally’s helpless and innocent victims, and was able to have the man sentenced to 10-45 years in prison. That’s almost unheard of.

Nally comes up for parole in April of 2021. You may not know this, but psychiatric and humane professionals agree: animal abusers are five times more likely to move on to commit other violent crimes like assault and murder. In Jeff Nally’s case, he already has other violent crimes on his record, and given the fact that he’s been quoted as saying

“Killing dogs makes me feel good”

I think you’ll agree with me that the world is a safer place if he remains behind bars and serves his entire sentence.

That’s why I’m putting out this CALL TO ACTION.

  1. Sign the petition I’ve started on and then share it via your social media.
  2. Write a letter to the WV  Division of Corrections parole board asking them to deny Jeffrey Nally early parole. You should address your letter to “Honorable Members of the Parole Board“. Tell them you’d like for them to deny parole for Jeffrey A. Nally, Offender #3507601.

Ask that Nally  be given a “set-off” and be required to serve his full sentence. Tell the parole board why you think Nally is a danger to society, and how you feel about his cruel crimes. Sign your letter and mail it to:

Parole Board
WV Division of Corrections
1356 Hansford St. Suite B
Charleston, WV 25301

Neither the offender nor his attorney will see your letter — only the parole board. Personal letters carry the most weight with the parole board, but if you need help, send me an email and I will provide you with a letter you can sign and mail.

  1. Make a donation to the GoFundMe that I’ve set up for this project. Donations will be used to purchase pre-printed postcards to the parole board. The postcards will be provided to individuals and groups to share with others to sign and mail in. If there is enough in the GoFundMe, the remainder will be used for postage to mail the postcards.
  2. If you are an individual or a member of a group who wants postcards to pass out, please send me an email with your mailing address and the number of postcards you think you’d be able to get others to sign and mail.
  3. If you are an official of a rescue or humane group who updates your members with emails or a newsletter, I will provide you with an article upon request.
  4. If you are a teacher who would like me to speak to your class about this campaign and advocating for animals, contact me.
  5. Share this blog post with others via your social media.


 I used to say  “Somebody should do something about that.”
Then I realized I am somebody.”


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Let’s Talk Turkey About Rescue

Since becoming involved in the social media aspect of dog rescue and advocacy, my knowledge of the abuse and troubles associated with dogs has grown. I’ve learned about bait dogs, kill shelters, PETA and fake rescues, crush videos, the Yulin dog festival, sled dogs, pet theft and flipping, class B dealers, dog racing, chaining, humane legislation, commercial pet food, and more. To tell you the truth, huge.0.3313I’d rather not know about most of this stuff. Some days, the knowledge is like trying to shoulder the weight of the world.

One of the things that has repeatedly bothered me are the reports of dog abuse in other parts of the world. Most times, those posts don’t carry any useful information, such as when the abuse happened, who has the evidence, what official to contact, or even the country where it happened. Sometimes a country is mentioned, but often it’s one of those where the welfare of women, or other marginalized citizens are not respected — so how can I hope to obtain any kind of justice for animal cruelty there? Where does one even begin to vet a foreign rescue group to make sure it’s not some kind of financial scam?
Gradually, I came to hear of U.S. rescue groups that are rescuing dogs in places like Iraq and Turkey, by flying them to the states to find adoptive homes. I have not been a fan of this practice: not able to justify the cost, time, or effort involved when there are so many dogs right here in the U.S. who need help.

But then I met Dodi.

I was dropping Rocket Boy off to be groomed at Dog Days in Bath, and when I walked in a number of dogs were lined up behind the counter, standing on their hind legs, as if they were “working the counter.” This in itself was not unusual. There is always a group of friendly dogs there for grooming or day care to greet customers and new arrivals. On this morning, one of the dogs was a young golden, and as I handed Rocket over to Alyssa, I began to greet the smiling dogs at the counter. When I came to the golden, he leaned in for the attention, and I asked:
” Who’s this? ”
“That’s Dodi,” Alyssa said.
” Hello Dodi, ” I said, “you are a very sweet boy. Are you having fun here?”
” He probably doesn’t understand what you are saying, ” Alyssa said, “He’s a Golden Treasures dog from Turkey.”



So, I thought, this is one of those dogs rescued from overseas. I hadn’t known that Golden Treasures Rescue did that. Aren’t there enough goldens in need of rescuing here?
“You don’t understand English?” I said to Dodi. ” And I don’t speak Turkish.”

But then, Dodi and I made a connection. It was more than him deliberately placing his paw on my arm. It was more than the way he gazed deep into my eyes. It was more than the way he radiated love out of each and every golden hair.

I caught my breath. Gratitude was pouring out of him in a great wave. People had been kind to him. He was safe. He was fed. He wasn’t sick any more. He had a soft bed and a warm place to sleep. Life was good.

I hugged Dodi around his neck. What an extraordinary dog! Who was I to say which dogs deserved rescue and which ones did not? They are all deserving wherever they’re from. All dogs should feel safe and loved.

Golden Treasures Rescue teams up with other local rescues to each sponsor a dog. A rescue group in Istanbul provides the dogs in need, and the network transports them to America for medical treatment and adoption. As a team effort, the groups are able to keep their costs more affordable while helping multiple dogs at once. Golden Treasures places their dog in a foster home and sees to his medical needs. The foster home works with the dog to make him more adoptable, and to learn the dog’s traits and personality so he will be placed in a home that will help him thrive. Dodi was adopted shortly after I met him, and has a lovely family.


Golden Treasures Rescue (GTR) is an all-volunteer rescue, providing veterinary care, foster homes and permanent new homes for golden retrievers in the Ohio area. They rescue Golden Retrievers wherever they are found.

Their adoption fee rarely covers the cost of rescuing these wonderful dogs. They may take in a dog that is already spayed/neutered, but the next one that comes in may be heartworm positive. GT relies on donations, fundraising activities and grants for its income. They do not receive any state or federal funds. And, because GT is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, all donations are tax deductible.

Golden Treasures Golden Retriever Rescue, Inc.
P.O. Box 434, Bath, Ohio 44210

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​Because I’ve shared my life with so many dogs over the years, people often ask me how to know when it’s time to put a dog down. For a long time, my answer was the same: if a dog is still eating and still wagging his tail, leave him be. That’s terribly simplified, though. I wish there were a simple answer, but each case is different. One thing it will never be, is easy.

Just last month, I made the decision to have Wolfie euthanized. He was five days short of fifteen and still loved to eat, and for the fourteen months I fostered him, he had never wagged his tail — unless he was trying to work up a poop. But he couldn’t stand up or walk on his own, not even to potty, and that meant that he was getting washed up several times a day because he’d peed on himself, or pooped and then rolled in it.

He wasn’t a good candidate for a cart; his vet was sure he’d had a stroke, and he wasn’t showing any signs of recovery.  I had to look at his life with an objective eye. I had no objection to taking care of him forever in that condition — but that was no way for him to live. It was poor quality of life. Ultimately, his vet agreed with me, and I let him go.

Even though I know it was the right decision, it didn’t spare me the anguish of making that decision, and it didn’t spare me the heartache or the tears. It didn’t help that it came on the heels of putting Waldo down fourteen months earlier, in an entirely different situation. Waldo was 10-1/2 years old, young by our standards, when we discovered that he had metastatic hemangiosarcoma. It’s a sneaky cancer that produces no symptoms until it’s too late to do anything about it. Our big boy started eating less and not wanting to go for walks any more. We took him to his vet with these symptoms and they discovered the mass on his spleen. 

His films showed that it had spread to his chest. His bloodwork showed that he had pancreatitis. Our first decision was to relieve the pancreatitis symptoms, and then, we could give him chemo treatments, but the very next day he collapsed from a tumor bleed. Although chemo could have bought him six more months, it certainly wouldn’t have been any fun for him: not to mention the fact that he could have another tumor bleed at any time and could even bleed out from that. No decision had ever been clearer: save him every possible moment of suffering, because we loved him so very much. My heart, I think, will never be the same. A week hasn’t passed since that day that I haven’t ugly cried bitter tears of loss and heartbreak.

There is so much to take into account when you are faced with having to make the decision, but at the very root of it, the answer lies in the dog’s quality of life. We’d do anything for our pets, wouldn’t we? We’d get them the medicine, get them the surgery, whatever is necessary to save them–but we must be sure that our decisions are primarily concerned with their comfort, and not ours.

I once heard the best advice ever about knowing when it’s time, and I’m happy to be able to pass it along to you here: make a list of all the things your dog loves to do, whatever it is. Your list should be unique to your dog, so really think about it. No one knows your pet as well as you do. Car rides? Dog park? Daycare? Walks? Runs? Chewing up your slippers? Playing fetch? Cuddling? Eating? Tearing up the trash? Chasing squirrels? Sleeping? Going for ice cream? Keep a list. As your dog stops enjoying doing the things on the list, cross them off. Believe me, you’ll know when it’s time.

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Dogs & Their People

BY Guest Blogger, Cindy Aldridge.

Cindy is a dog lover and she loves sharing her advice and insights on pet ownership. 

Santa Paws is Coming to Town: Gift Ideas for Dog Lovers

The season of giving is right around the corner. And while it’s a fun and festive time of year, it can also be a bit stressful, especially when it comes to figuring out what to get for your friends and family. The good news is that if they are a dog lover, you have a plethora of unique yet useful options for presents. Whether you are making a gift list for the dog lovers in your life, or are curating your own wish list, read on for some great gift ideas all dog lovers can enjoy.

A Vacation

Let’s start with the big one: a vacation. Pet owners often feel forced into leaving their furry friends behind or, worse, skip out on a vacation altogether because they feel guilty leaving their pal behind. However, there are actually plenty of hotels and bed and breakfasts that cater to canine clientele. If you’re looking to give an extra generous gift, consider booking them a stay at a pet-friendly hotel for a vacation they’ll both enjoy.

A GPS Tracker

Another great gift for dog owners on-the-go is a GPS tracker. These are especially beneficial to people with young dogs that haven’t quite mastered the sit/stay command or those with a mischievous disposition. GPS trackers aren’t pricey, but most do require a monthly subscription, which you can pay in advance. Check online reviews before making a commitment.

A Customized Portrait

For the pet owner that appreciates fine art, a personalized portrait will make them giggle with delight. The internet makes it easy to find and commission an artist to create the canvas of your pet-loving recipient’s dreams—whether they like pop-style art, watercolor, or a whimsical reimagining of their dog as a war hero. Browse long enough and you’ll even stumble upon a custom cross-stitch pattern. The Etsy Marketplace has you covered and currently lists more than 40,000 pet art projects available for order.

A Book About Dogs

There are few gifts better for a dog lover than a sentimental book about a canine and his human companion. Books such as Marley & Me, Call of the Wild, and A Dog’s Purpose (as well as the books in the right margin of this blog), are sure to strike hard at their emotions. Each of these books has been turned into a motion picture that could also make a great gift. Don’t forget to package their books with a box of tissues.

A Paw-Print Set in Stone

Well, not really stone, but plaster of Paris, which is an inexpensive and easy-to-use casting clay that you can find it most craft supply stores. Be warned, however, that it can get messy and takes a few days to dry.

A Leash and Collar

Active pet people know the value of a leash and collar — and there are never enough of them around when needed. The majority of dog owners are happy to have multiple sets for different purposes. Someone with a new puppy might, for example, enjoy a slip collar, while someone with a large breed, such as a greyhound, might appreciate the added control that goes along with a harness..

A Gift That Keeps on Giving

If you haven’t hopped on the monthly subscription train, now’s the perfect time to do so. Whether you’re giving or making your own list, check it twice to ensure you’ve added a pet subscription box. Companies like BarkBox and Loot Pets constantly offer innovative pup products for a small recurring fee. You can choose a single month, three months, six months, or one year subscription, which is guaranteed to be appreciated.

A Matching Outfit

We get it, pets weren’t meant to wear clothes, but they just look so cute when they do. Small breeds, including Chihuahuas, actually do better outdoors when they have something to keep their small bodies insulated. This Christmas, make all the stylish members of your family happy with a matching outfit or, better yet, pajamas.

A Donation in Their Pet’s Memory

A memorial gift is a thoughtful way to let your loved ones know that you acknowledge how painful it is to lose a pet. It doesn’t matter if their pet passed away recently or if it’s been 10 years or more, pets leave a mark on the heart that lasts forever. The ASPCA makes it easy to acknowledge a life lost too soon and gladly accepts online payments for memorial gifts.

There you have it—more than half a dozen ideas for the picky pet person on your list. And don’t worry, we won’t judge you if you order duplicates for yourself.


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Recent Doggie Developments Up on the Woof

There has been a lot happening Up on the Woof over the past couple of months which has been restricting my writing time. When I get a few minutes, I’ve been squeezing in work on my first novel, Jackrabbit. Blogging has been the last thing on my mind, but I thought I’d better check in with you, dear readers, so you are not left wondering what’s going on.

Wolfie had a little accident while visiting his Mommy at the IMG_20181010_173308nursing home. It involved multiple vet visits, some tooth extractions, medication, and bed rest. Then, I came home from my own dental visit to find that Zoey had injured her spine, and could no longer move her rear legs. It wasn’t exactly out of the blue — Zoey has been having trouble with her rear legs for over a year. They’ve been kind of wild, with a mind of their own. She was able to walk, but didn’t seem totally aware of where her legs were. She hasn’t had the easiest life, so our best guess is that she had some disc degeneration happening. She may have tried to jump up on something and fallen backwards, or twisted funny, and slipped the disc. That was another vet visit, and more medication, and more worry.


She has sensation in the back legs, and is not incontinent, so that has provided a whisper of hope. She’s not really a good candidate for surgery, so there’s no reason to raise thousands of dollars for an MRI. She is fifteen, and has a bad heart. We are treating her medically with anti-inflammatories and pain meds to keep her comfortable, and we applied a couple of places for a donated cart to help her get around. Our application was approved, and she will be getting wheels from an organization called Joey’s P.A.W. She is a very active little dog, and likes nothing more than to follow me around all day long as I go about my day. I also joined a support group for Wheelie Dogs on Facebook.

Wolfie had recovered from his ordeal, and Zoey has made a little improvement over the past week with the meds. When I take her outside, I use a sling under her belly to help her, and yesterday she started using her right rear leg a little, kind of paddling it, though not very effectively. She also pushed herself up onto all fours to drink water. Both of these small things are encouraging.

img_20181011_182707.jpgNot everyone will support my decisions about Zoey’s care. I posted a video of her scooting on my FB page, and it received mixed reactions. You know what? That’s OK. Nobody knows my dogs as well as I do. Some people suggested she is suffering, but I assure you that she is not. Zoey is not angry or depressed or in pain. She is too busy trying not to miss anything, and scooting from point A to point B, so she won’t.

Other people might choose to euthanize a pet when they have mobility issues, and that’s something to consider when making decisions about your pet’s care. Every pet guardian struggles with that decision, so I’ll make that the topic of my next post.

For now, wish us luck while we embark on Zoey’s new wheelie life.

thanksdogIf you would like to offer us a helping hand here Up on the Woof, we have vet bills up the yin yang. We are always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons (we use DISH or Small Bites),  Cesar coupons, Bil Jac Frozen coupons, Nulo coupons (Wet & Dry), or milkbone coupons that you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send. Donations can also be sent via Paypal to

We also have a wishlist of items that we either can’t afford, or that we use often. It has recently been updated. Click the link below to view.

Things we need Up on the Woof


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