Angry Valentines on Behalf of Chained Dogs

(when Dogs Deserve Better was doing their annual valentine campaign for chained and penned dogs, I used to send them valentines I’d designed for them to use. It’s only right that I should share this blog post by DDB founder and former CEO Tamira Ci Thayne published today.)

I’ve been told that I’d be a good activist, if only I weren’t SO FUCKING ANGRY. Duly noted. So, in the spirit of embracing my faults, I’ve made up some #angryvalentines on b…

Source: Angry Valentines on Behalf of Chained Dogs

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How Can We Continue to Trust Commercial Dog Food?

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think that pet owners should have to be concerned that the dog food they buy is going to kill their dogs. I thought the industry had learned their lesson in 2007 when every dog food manufactured in China was recalled because it was tainted with Melamine.

But still, there’s the ongoing situation with chicken jerky treats produced in China, and now there’s something new that is absolutely mind blowing, and deeply disturbing.

On February 3, Evangers announced a voluntary recall for their Hunks of Beef canned dog food, because it tested positive for pentobarbital. Pentobarbital is the drug used to euthanize pets.


(photo: Evangers)

I know what you’re thinking. What? How did Pentobarbital get into cans of dog food? Good question. I’m hoping that Evangers will be able to provide an answer, and I’m hoping they get to the bottom of it pretty fast. I can only think of two ways this chemical could logically have ended up in cans of dog food: either someone tainted the food purposely, or the food was rendered from euthanized animals. Whatever the case may be, there’s no excuse for it.

Here are the lot numbers affected and the states where they were distributed:

Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

The food was manufactured the week of June 6 – June 13, 2016 with lot numbers that start with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB, and have an expiration date of June 2020. The second half of the barcode reads 20109, which can be found on the back of the product label.

Evangers dog food has consistently been rated among the best dog foods on the market.

When D. and I went on the defensive in 2007 after the melamine recall and searched for a food we could trust, Evangers was one of the foods we looked at. It had a reputation for being high quality and trustworthy. In 2003, Evanger’s was the first pet food company to create a food that was packed by hand instead of machine by putting whole pieces of fresh meat and vegetables into the cans. This process started a new trend in pet food, Evangers called it “People Food for Pets™.” They claim that it is made of human grade ingredients.

But things were already going wrong for the company and the public just didn’t know about it. Between 2006 and 2008, things had started getting weird at Evangers. Health inspectors found rotting carcasses and maggot-infested grease traps on the property of their Wheeling plant. The village fined them in excess of 300,000 dollars, and Evangers took the decision to court, in a case that lasted until 2012. (the court upheld the decision).

In December 2012, the FDA discovered that Evangers Lamb and Rice food and their Grain Free Duck food for dogs and cats didn’t have lamb or duck in it. Not even a little — it was just plain old beef. Then the company posted test results defending themselves that turned out to be the test results from a entirely different brand of duck food for dogs.

Then, in September of 2012, Evangers was cited and fined again for “foul and offensive odors” causing a public nuisance to neighboring properties to their Wheeling plant. tThe stench was apparently, unbearable.

In January of this year, the president of Evangers was arrested and charged with bribing a witness in a court case against his company regarding the theft of gas and electric to his food plant. Obviously, there are some financial problems going on over at Evangers, and I’m not buying their “our supplier disappointed us” excuse for this month’s recall. In simple language, all their statement means is that they don’t know with 100% certainty what their meat supplier is giving them…and that’s no way to run a business where the lives of our most vulnerable family members are at stake.

Evangers has also been accused of patent infringement, and had a recall last year because there were metal tags in their chicken food for dogs.
(Picture Credit: WILX 10 NBC News)


The Mael family. Their pug, Talula died from eating Evangers, and their other three dogs are sick.   

Should we, as pet owners, really have to follow the lives of pet food manufacturers and executives so closely?   Shouldn’t we, as consumers, expect that the product we are buying is what it is advertised to be? Whom can we trust?

I’ll tell you exactly whom you can trust. YOU. That’s it. As the Trump administration begins to roll back regulations for businesses and manufacturers, things are only likely to get worse. If we can’t count on safe food from commercial suppliers now, how will we be able to count on it after plant regulations are relaxed?
If you can cook for your pets, do it! If you already cook for your pets, please share a recipe in the comments here so we can all join you.

Additional reading about the recall:
Poisoned Pets
Dog Food Advisor

We are also always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons thanks(we are still trusting Ainsworth foods),  Cesar coupons, or milkbone coupons that  you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send.

And if you come across an errant box of Purina Busy HeartyHides for sale on amazon or ebay, for God’s sake, send them to us!

I also have a wishlist of items that we just can’t afford, but would make life a whole lot easier. It has recently been updated. Click the link below to view. Topping the list is a Thundershirt for Maria.

Things we need Up on the Woof






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Books: Dogface & The Genius of Dogs

Dogface by Barbara O’Brien

Rating: 4 paws

Photographer Barbara O’Brien’s book ‘Dogface’ will keep any dog lover smiling. This collection of more than 100 color photographs celebrate dogs of many breeds, including dogfacetoys such as Yorkies and Chihuahuas, to giants like Danes and Berners. Even mutts smile out from the pages. Each portrait includes the dog’s name and breed and reveals the dog’s personality. From goofy to regal, these portraits are a treat.

This smorgasbord of canine faces is sure to bring a smile to every reader’s face, and will provide a satisfying dog fix for every dogaholic. ‘Dogface’ is available in hardback or kindle from amazon. The hardcover is in a 6” format perfect for tucking in a purse or briefcase or for a child’s hands.

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Studio; 1 edition (October 23, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0525426655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525426653

You can find out more about O’Brien and her upcoming books on her website.


The Genius of Dogs; How Dogs are Smarter Than You Think by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods

Rating: 4 paws & a tail wag!

The utterly captivating ‘The Genius of Dogs; How Dogs are Smarter than you Think’ by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, is one of those fascinating books that readers will want to take their time to pore over. I really cannot recommend it enough.

genius-of-dogsHare, director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center at Duke University, tells the story of how he became involved in the study of canine cognition, and pioneered research that has advanced the science of discovering how dogs think.

According to Hare, dogs have a particular genius when it comes to relating to humans that is unparalleled among domestic animals. In some cases, canine cognition even betters the brain power of apes.

Hare and Woods explore how dogs domesticated themselves to partner with humans, what dogs can and cannot figure out, how we communicate with dogs and they with us, which dog breeds are smartest, and more.

The authors have thoroughly researched this subject and presented it in a way that anyone can understand. They explain experiments in detail, and how the results sent them on further investigations. There are so many stunning revelations, readers will want to savor the information and ruminate on how it relates to the dogs they know.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Plume; 1 edition (October 29, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0142180467
ISBN-13: 978-0142180464

Brian Hare is an associate professor at Duke University and the founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center. Vanessa Woods is a research scientist at the Center and an award-winning journalist. She is the author of ‘Bonobo Handshake.’

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Book Reviews: GG’s Journey; Dogs & Their People

GG’s Journey: From Lost to Loved

by Cheryl Phillips

ggs-journeyRating: 4 paws

This emotional true story is told through the eyes of a young stray dog who has been struggling to survive the streets of Detroit, and ends up in the shelter system. GG is a pit bull mix, starving, sick and ignored. When she is finally rescued, she enters the shelter system only to come up against prejudices and preconceptions about her breed that threaten to derail her chance for a forever home. Fortunately, GG has an advocate who knows that she deserves every chance at happiness.

GG’s lonely journey from desperation to safety is an inspirational tale that shines the light on how every dog just wants to be loved.

15% of the net proceeds of GG’s products will be used to support animal welfare organizations in an effort to end animal homelessness, euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets, exploitation, inhumane treatment and other forms of animal cruelty.

Funding Focus

  • Animal rescue
  • Behavior assistance
  • Family assistance program
  • Humane education program for adults and youth
  • Micro-chip identification
  • No-Kill movement
  • Pet therapy
  • Spay and neuter
  • TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) to manage feral cat colonies
  • Vaccinations

Visit or for more information.

  • Print Length:95 pages
  • Publication Date:February 10, 2016
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language:English
  • ASIN:B01BN2T42S

Author, Cheryl Lyn Phillips, is a volunteer for the Humane Society of Huron Valley and participates in animal rescue, spay/neuter to prevent animal homelessness and over population and protection activities and speaks on behalf of our furry friends for humane treatment of animals and Humane Education for people, animals and the planet.

Dogs and Their People: Photos and Stories of Life with a Four-Legged Love

from BarkPost

Rating: 5 paws

dogs-and-their-peopleI dare you to read this book without smiling through the entire thing. This is a collection of some of the most feel-good dog stories ever told. Each short excerpt (they range from 1-3 paragraphs) highlights a dog or dog family, as told by dog pawrents. It is impossible to read this book without smiling, laughing, and loving it. Dog people will identify with many of the stories and thank their lucky stars that their own dogs are not so weird after all. The photos that accompany the stories are captivating, and funny hand-drawn cartoons poke fun throughout the text.

The book spotlights more than 200 dogs, some of them Internet celebs, others just your average Fido, all of them special and unique and loved.

A great book for anybody who has ever loved a dog, but a must-have for dog people (ie: rescuers, groomers, trainers, doggie boutique owners, dog advocates, etc.)

  • Hardcover:288 pages
  • Publisher:G.P. Putnam’s Sons (October 18, 2016)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0399574263
  • ISBN-13:978-0399574269

Bark & Co. is a company dedicated to the happiness of dogs everywhere. BarkPost, the company’s publishing division, helps dogs share their stories with the world through their enormously popular blog.

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Just What the Hell is a Puppy Mill, Anyway?

Everything you need to know about puppy mills is  offered in the standard English dictionary under “Mill”.

Mill   <noun>

1.a factory for certain kinds of manufacture, as paper, steel, or textiles. OR PUPPIES

2.a machine or building for grinding, crushing, or pulverizing any solid substance: SUCH AS A DOG’S JOYFUL SPIRIT, OR A BREEDER DOG’S HEALTH AND BODY.

3. a business or institution that dispenses products or services in an impersonal or mechanical manner, as if produced in a factory:

(used with object)
11. to grind, work, treat, or shape in or with a mill. (usually to powder)  SUCH AS A BREEDER DOG’S LIFE.


12. Slang. to beat or strike; fight; overcome.



17. through the mill, Informal. undergoing or having undergone severe difficulties, trials, etc., especially with an effect on one’s health,personality, or character: He’s really been through the mill since his wife’s death.


Part of the Yates Puppy Mill, recently busted by HSUS in N.C.

Rolling Stone just came out with an excellent article about an HSUS rescue of dogs at the Yates puppy mill in North Carolina.


“There are, by HSUS’s estimate, about 10,000 puppy mills in America, though the organization concedes that no one knows the real number: It’s an industry born and raised in shadows.” – Rolling Stone


Although there are many of us in advocacy who are fighting against pet stores who sell mill dogs, and who petition lawmakers to protect dogs from becoming victims of this industry, the Agricultural lobbyists make sure to block any bills that might effect their bottom line.
 Advocates have been trying to create legislation whereby pet stores would only be able to sell dogs from rescues. But, just recently, the pro-puppy mill amendment, SB 331, was lobbied by Petland and signed into law by Ohio Governor John Kasich on Dec 19, 2016. The bill allows pet stores to obtain their puppies from breeders, eased restrictions on puppy mills, AND takes away cities’ rights to  ban puppy mills. There was a lot of other crap in that bill, and it was the other stuff (like blocking a raise of the minimum wage) that carried it into law according to Kasich.  As long as there continue to be no restriction on Christmas Tree bills, passing meaningful legislation will continue to be a difficult proposition.

The USDA only has one law to govern the care and housing of commercial dogs. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which was enacted in 1966, lays out the minimum standards for breeders. According to the AWA, dogs may be kept in tiny crates their entire lives. They can be denied social contact with other dogs, bred as many times as they enter heat, then killed when they are no longer able to breed. There are more than 2 million dogs put down every year in shelters, but there are  no limits on the number of dogs puppy millers can breed.

“There’s this gross disconnect between our feelings for dogs and the way we guard them from abuse,” says Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of HSUS. “The USDA has a total of 100 inspectors to inspect thousands of breeders in 50 states.” But they also have to inspect every zoo, circus and lab that uses animals for research testing. “We’ve been petitioning them for decades to improve the law – require bigger crates for breed dogs, give them access to outdoor dog runs and much prompter vet care when they’re sick – but they can’t even enforce the bad law on their books,” says Pacelle.

For now, our best defense against puppy mills is to not support them by buying the puppies they produce. It’s pretty hard to keep a business going if there is no demand.
Please adopt, don’t shop.
thanksdogWe are also always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons,  Cesar coupons, or milkbone coupons that  you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send.

And if you come across an errant box of Purina Busy HeartyHides for sale on amazon or ebay, for God’s sake, send them to us!

I also have a wishlist of items that we just can’t afford, but would make life a whole lot easier. It has recently been updated. Click the link below to view.

Things we need Up on the Woof

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Working Around the High Cost of Vet Care

I love our vets. They are bright and cutting edge, and have provided wonderful care for our fur kids for the past fifteen years. But, they are expensive. One dog’s annual will run us anywhere from $200-$350, depending on how many vaccinations are given, and whether or not we do a senior exam with special testing. Being on a fixed income, and having five dogs, it can be tough to come up with that over and over again throughout the year. Fortunately, our vets work with us, and will give us 60 days to pay. But to be honest, I don’t like being tied down to multiple payments. God forbid if anything goes wrong. So I’ve started looking for bargains where I can find them. If I can get vaccinations cheaper from the county or a clinic, I’ll take our dogs there for that. If I can get heartworm testing at half the price, I’ll go wherever it’s offered.


Check your local health department for rabies clinics in your county. You may have to stand and wait, but the savings are worth it!

Maria has been needing a rabies booster since August. I’d been hoping on a county shot clinic, but they reduced the frequency of them this year and I couldn’t get to the one in September. Our vets want $25 dollars for a rabies shot, and although that’s not a lot of money, Waldo and Rocket Boy both needed their annuals, one in September and one in October, and I knew that was going to rack us, so I was trying to save money wherever I could. I finally called a vet that I had used once to get a heartworm check for Taco, (exactly half the price of our regular vet) and they told me that they have rabies shots for $10.00, with no office fee. That last bit is important, because there are vets in the area who offer lower prices, but then they tack on an office fee, whether the dog has an exam or not. $10 for a   rabies, is less than half the cost at our vet’s office. So I made an appointment for Maria, and took her in.

While we were there, I wanted the vet to look at her paw because she has a bump on her toe that’s been worrying me. I’ve seen so many cases of dogs with a bump on their foot that turns out to be a mast cell tumor, that every time a see a growth on one of my dogs’ feet, I go in to panic mode. The receptionist asked me if I wanted an exam for Maria, so I asked the cost for that — $5.00.

Wait. That’s 9 times less than I pay our regular vet. Yes, you bet your boots I want an exam, (which was exactly the same as the exam she’d have had from our vet — and the bump…probably just a sliver of glass from the storm window she broke last week.)

The exam revealed that Maria could use a dental cleaning, and probably a few tooth extractions. I knew that, but it was something I was avoiding thinking about, because those are crazy expensive. When we first adopted Zoey, she had a bad infection in her mouth that was causing kidney issues. She needed an immediate dental, which resulted in the extraction of every one of her teeth. It was more than $800. We’d received help for that from a local rescue group.


Banana, brushing her teeth.

So, out of curiosity, I asked…”how much for a dental”. And although I’d been teetering, this is where I began to feel like we’ve been being ripped off for the past 15 years.

$100. Flat fee. Includes any extractions and post dental pain meds.

I’m not sure how to reconcile this. I love our vets and feel a sense of loyalty to them. But, wouldn’t more people take care of their pets and get them the vet care they needed, when they needed it, if it were always this affordable?

It’s kind of looking like the girls and I may be changing vets.

Do you live in the Greater Cleveland area and think you are paying too much for vet care? Here are some vets and clinics that might help you lower your costs (info is 11/25/16). (If you know of more that I haven’t mentioned here, please comment or email me.)

  • Premier Spay Neuter & Wellness Clinic    7876 Broadview Rd, Cleveland, OH                 216-573-7387                                                                                                                                             $10 rabies, $5 exams, $20 heartworm check, $100 all-inclusive dental. Great prices on spay & neuter.
  • Aaron Animal Clinic      7640 Broadview Rd, Parma, OH 44134                                               216-901-9980                                                                                                                                           Free exams for senior pet owners, pets adopted from shelters, and low income pet owners. Dental savings during month of November. Vaccination packages.
  • Gateway Animal Clinic  5606 Fleet Avenue, Cleveland, OH                                                      216-771-4414                                                                                                                                            Low prices all around. Good price on ACL surgery.
  • Quick Fix Low Cost Clinic  930 Lafayette Rd, Unit A, Medina OH 44256                               330-558-1540                                                                                                                                             $15 DHLPP, $20 Heartworm check
  • Copley Pet Vet  1245 S.Cleveland Massillon Rd. Suite 314 , Copley, Ohio 44321                 (330) 576-3095                                                                                                                                           $8 rabies, $14 DHLPP, $12 Bordetella, $16 Heartworm check.


We are also always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons,  Cesar coupons, or milkbone coupons that  you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send.thanks

And if you come across an errant box of Purina Busy HeartyHides in your store, for God’s sake, send them to us!

I also have a wishlist of items that we just can’t afford, but that would make life a whole lot easier. It has recently been updated.

Things we need Up on the Woof

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Books: The Lost Dogs & Dog Inc.

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption

Rating: 4 paws & a tail wag!

Every once in a while a story hits the press about a dog fighting operation that has been busted. None of these stories has been more notorious than the one involving NFL star Michael Vick. In 2007, when a dog fighting operation was discovered on his property in Virginia, there was a media frenzy. Although it appeared to get a lot of coverage, what the public saw was only a portion of what was going on behind the scenes. A gag order kept much of the information about the investigation and the Vick dogs out of the media.

lost-dogsJim Gorant has done an amazing job bringing the story to light in The Lost Dogs: Michael Vicks Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption. Gorant’s narrative takes the reader from the preliminary days of the investigation through every step of building a case against Vick and his friends. He introduces us to the investigators who broke the case at the Bad Newz Kennels and the difficulties they encountered while uncovering evidence. As details of the case come to light, he paints a disgusting picture of dog fighting in general, and Michael Vick in particular. Gorant’s writing is compelling and engaging. Readers will find it difficult to put the book down.

The true stroke of brilliance in the narrative is the way Gorant writes about the dogs. They are not just intangible objects secondary to a celebrity story. The dogs are the story: they are the victims, and the book, after all, is about their redemption. Gorant describes with vivid detail what it means to be a fight dog, describing their existence from a dog’s viewpoint. Then he makes the reader fall in love with each of the 51 unique dogs, as he draws us through the story of their individual struggles during the rescue process.

Of course, not all the dogs make it through the process. But the efforts of the multiple rescue teams that work to save them is nothing short of heroic. Ultimately, the final outcome for the dogs is a thousand times better than any of the rescuers had dared to hope.

Gorant doesn’t leave the reader hanging with the story of the rescue. In the final chapter “Where Are They Now?” he gives a final update on each dog for closure.

Although readers can take some comfort in the final outcome for the Vick dogs, it’s impossible to come away from the book with anything but utter contempt for Vick; and disgust that he continues to reap the financial rewards of an adoring public.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; Reprint edition (September 6, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 159240667X

Jim Gorant is the senior editor at Sports Illustrated. He has also written for GQ, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, Outside, Sports Afield and Popular Science among others. His previous books include Fit for Golf and Fanatic: 10 Things All Sports Fans Should Do Before They Die.

NOTE: The Lost Dogs was published before the latest development in the Vick story. The rescue group, Dogs Deserve Better, has purchased the former Vick property in Smithfield, Virginia and turned it into the Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.


Dog, Inc. – the launching of the dog cloning industry

Rating: 4 Paws

It was 1997 when John Sperling, his friend Joan Hawthorne and her son, Lou, were talking about a New York Times article they had all read about cloning. During the natural progression of the conversation, John suggested that maybe Joan’s dog, Missy, could be cloned. It was an offhand remark, but it took hold, and before long, Sperling was financing a full scale scientific operation to make it happen.

dog-incIn Dog, Inc., author John Woestendiek takes the reader behind the scenes during the advent of the pet cloning industry and tells not only Sperling’s story, but the story of his competitors domestically and abroad, and the first pet owners to enlist their services. It’s a must-read for anybody who has ever entertained the thought of cloning their pet.

Woestendiek doesn’t make moral judgements or take sides in the cloning controversy – he merely introduces us to the players, explains their motivations, and reports the obstacles they encountered as well as the final results achieved.

It’s not a pretty story. The author goes beneath the superficial ideal of cloning and exposes the con men, legal battles, animal abuse, scientific fraud, and dissatisfied pet owners. Much of the story is very disturbing; from the financial exploitation of grieving pet owners to the sheer volume of animals involved to achieve the cloning of a single pet. Readers will draw their own conclusions about the ethical implications of cloning as the scientists involved reveal their true motivations: the drive to do something no one else has done, national pride, and greed.

The quest to clone man’s best friend proved to be a daunting task, indeed. Although sheep, cows, pigs deer, and even cats were successfully cloned, cloning dogs involved unique complexities; perhaps mirroring the integral complexity of the human/canine bond.

Woestendiek does an excellent job of putting the complicated scientific process into terms that laymen can easily understand. He also underscores the fact that cloning is reproduction, not resurrection; a point that some pet owners refused to acknowledge.

Many readers will find Dog, Inc. informative and interesting, but there’s no doubt that animal advocates will be troubled by what they learn. This book will spark hours of discussion.

  • Softcover:310 pages
  • Publisher:Avery (First paperback edition 2012)
  • ISBN-13:978-1-58333-464-5

JohnWoestendiek is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. He is a thirty-five-year veteran of newspapers, including: Arizona Daily Star, Lexington Herald-Leader, Charlotte Observer,Philadelphia Inquirer,and the Baltimore Sun. He lives in North Carolina with his shelter dog, Ace, maintains the popular blog, Ohmidog! and the website Travels With Ace.



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