The “Bake A Bone” Biscuit Maker

I love the idea of the Bake A Bone, but the reality has been nothing but disappointing.

Once in awhile we like to bake treats for our five dogs, because we’re pretty careful about what we put in their mouths. In the past, that has meant recipes that we can roll out and cut with a cookie cutter, then bake in the oven. When we saw the Bake A Bone advertised, we had to have one.

bake-a-boneWhat’s right: The product comes with a book of recipes, which is great. Not only does it offer many different ones, but it inspires experimentation. The company also sells prepared mixes.

What’s wrong: The first disappointment was that the Bake A Bone is mostly made of plastic. I can’t help but think that the execution of the product design could have been so much better. It works like a waffle maker, and only bakes 4 bones at a time. Each bake cycle is ten minutes long, so it takes a little more than an hour to bake two dozen. With five dogs, two dozen isn’t nearly enough.



The bone-shaped cavities are too deep, especially when the device is closed and locked while baking – which makes the molds twice as deep. The baking powder in the recipes causes the dough to rise when it is heated to expand into the top mold. I would rather have recipes with less baking powder and a shallower mold…the biscuits would be flatter and bake faster. As it is, it is very time consuming.

The finished bones are not biscuits or bones…they are more like a bread with a hard crust, and a spongy texture. (I should mention that my dogs don’t care that the bones are spongy, or that they are twice the thickness of a typical dog biscuit. All of that only matters to me.)

Cut in half along the seam, they are closer to traditional size...but still spongy in the middle unless they sit in a hot over for hours.

Cut in half along the seam, they are closer to traditional size…but still spongy in the middle unless they sit in a hot over for hours.

This past weekend when I baked treats, ( a three  hour project!)  I decided to cut the bones in half lengthwise along the seam to make them thinner. A regular serrated bread knife cut them neatly, which revealed a very bread-like interior. I preheated our oven to 350°, then turned it off and tossed all the halved bones into a baking pan, then slid it in the hot oven, and left it in there for a couple of hours. The bones were crunchy when I removed them.

A lot of work for what is essentially an inferior bone.

"Iz dey bizkits yet, Mama?"

“Iz dey bizkits yet, Mama?”

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Books: A Dog Named Jimmy; Cesar’s Way

A Dog Named Jimmy, a photobook by Rafael Mantesso

Rating: 4 paws

Cat lovers have Grumpy Cat, and dog lovers have Jimmy Choo the Bull Terrier.

Jimmy’s dad, Brazilian author Rafael Mantesso brings dog lovers the canine answer to Grumpy Cat. His clever and creative picture book,  A Dog Named Jimmy is a laugh-out- loud collection of staged photographs. Mantesso was inspired by the blank emptiness of his dognamedjimmywalls after his wife left him and took everything except the dog. He began to draw imaginary worlds around Jimmy as he slept, creating hilarious compositions of the Bull Terrier in a multitude of poses. The simple black magic marker drawings make Jimmy Super Dog, flying over a city; a Bull Terrier Jaws, ready to snack on an unsuspecting swimmer; a weight lifter; and a mermaid, among many other things. Mantesso shared the images to Instagram, and they became an instant social media sensation.

The photos are in color, but since Mantesso draws in black marker, and Jimmy is mostly white, the compositions take on the appearance of black and white illustrations. The book, published by Avery, contains 100 charming photos of Jimmy that will delight any dog lover.

Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Avery (September 29, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 052542962X
ISBN-13: 978-0525429623

Available both in Kindle and hardcover.


Cesar’s Way; The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems

Rating: 3 paws

Cesar’s Way is not an “Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems” as the subtitle claims. It is, however, a treatise that explains Cesar’s “way”; Millan’s philosophy about why dogs have problems that need to be corrected in the first place.

Cesar believes that dogs are pack members driven only by instinct, not family members – reducing the human/canine bond to leader and follower. It’s a philosophy at odds with the current culture of pet owners who see dogs as part of the family; sometimes even surrogate children. According to Millan, this “warped” view of the human/canine relationship lays the groundwork for failure.


Just look at how sad the dogs are.

Millan’s guide to understanding and correcting a dog’s “issues” seems simultaneously simplistic and impossible. His answer to everything is to first walk your dog for four hours a day – a task that the majority of dog owners would find impossible to work into their daily routine, rendering the “solution” neither helpful nor realistic.

Cesar’s steps for a successful relationship with a dog are exercise, discipline, and affection – in that order. It makes his techniques come across as cold and clinical, taking only instinct into consideration, which does a great disservice to dogs. The coevolution of dogs with humans has provided a foundation for developing richly emotional bonds with our dogs, well beyond the boundaries of instinct.

This book is fine if you are looking for an explanation of Cesar’s philosophy and the experiences that led him to embrace it. It is not a helpful guide for the average pet owner, and I do not recommend his methods.


Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st edition (September 18, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307337979
ISBN-13: 978-0307337979



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Why the Tragedy at Franklin County Dog Shelter Has Set My Hair on Fire.

My hair is on fire.

There’s no other way to describe how I feel after hearing about the mass kill at Ohio’s Franklin County Dog Shelter this past weekend. Before I launch into a discussion about why it should not have happened, and how it could have been avoided, I want to tell you why (aside from the obvious reason) it has upset me so much.

The role of an animal control facility is to round up stray animals and hold them for a period of time so they can either be claimed by their owners or put up for adoption. First, I dislike the word “owners”, because pets are family members – or should be – they are not slaves, and they are not objects.



There are no statistics as to how many “strays” who enter shelters have homes and families. There’s actually no way of knowing that…because not every family knows what to do when they lose a pet and how important it is to check their local animal control in person. The ASPCA reports  that out of the number of stray dogs who enter shelters each year, 35% are adopted to new families; 31% are killed; 26% are returned to their homes. It is certain that out of the 66% adopted or killed, a portion of those dogs are misplaced pets who had a home before they were picked up by animal control.

During the weekend of Sept 10-11, Franklin County Dog Shelter performed a mass kill, taking the lives of 52 dogs. (UPDATE 9/15: the number is now 70.)  I think it is safe to say, and prudent to remind everyone,  that a percentage of those dogs were people’s lost pets…and that is the part that upsets me the most…there are always a ton of missing Franklin County dogs posted on my page Lost & Found Ohio Pets.  I lost two of my own dogs many years ago. Although I got them both back, the thought of one of my dogs being picked up as a stray and then killed before I had the chance to reclaim him, is the stuff that nightmares are made of.

FCDS’s justification for this abomination is that a dog came into the shelter who had distemper. When it was all said and done, they told the media they’d had an “outbreak”.   FCDS has come under a lot of fire lately for how they operate. There have been reports about how what they do and what they tell the public are often at odds. I don’t work there or volunteer there, but I’ve been hearing from people in the know about the shelter for quite some time. The media reported:

The one case of distemper that was confirmed by a lab test was found to be positive on Sept. 3. That dog, which suffered neurological damage and was euthanized on Aug. 31, was at the shelter from Aug. 9 to Aug. 19.

Then, over the past week, two other shelter dogs showed signs of distemper, which prompted the shelter to close on Friday. Officials are awaiting test results on those two dogs. The shelter remained closed over the weekend.

The other dogs that were euthanized over the weekend weren’t tested for distemper. It was impractical to test every dog at the shelter before euthanizing or quarantining it because tests are costly and can sometimes produce “false positive” results, O’Quin said. It costs at least $100 to test one dog for distemper, she said.”

Cases of distemper in shelters are not a new thing, and there should be procedures in place in every shelter to make sure this doesn’t happen. I’ve highlighted some of the info in the above statement because there is a lot wrong there. Dogs with distemper show signs of sickness before it gets to the point of causing neurological damage. The sick dog was at the shelter for…well, how long? O’Quin says 10 days. I assume the dog was adopted on the 19th and returned on the 31st..the following timeline provided by Tom Sussi of Fox28 in Columbus details all that. maya-timelineSo if dogs at the shelter were exposed between Aug 9-19, well….a mass kill is like closing the barn door after the horse is gone, isn’t it? There should have been an immediate announcement from FCDS that dogs adopted from the shelter between Aug 9-31 may have been exposed to distemper, so their families could be on the alert for signs.

The public held a protest at the facility on Tuesday, Sept 13. The protest centered around the fact that FCDS, knowing they had a case of distemper, still did not notify the public for 5 more days. During that time, they held an adoption event and hundreds, if not thousands of people came and went from the facility. Distemper is extremely contagious. A person can transfer the disease via their clothing/shoes to any dogs they come in contact with. According to Sussi:

“Between August 9 and September 9, 434 dogs were adopted out. Another 146 went to rescue groups. That means it’s possible 580 dogs have been exposed to distemper and were released into our community.”

As to the statement that 49 of the dogs killed were not tested because it was “impractical”…well, the rescue community is not called a “community” for nothing. All the facility needed to do was reach out. The community would have found the money to test, because that would have been 2,000 times preferable to killing.


Nine of the dogs killed by FCDS last weekend. Grace and her eight puppies.

Elsewhere in the statement, Wilbers said “The 52 dogs that were euthanized had either shown “severe clinical signs” of distemper or were determined to not be suitable for quarantine.” But I’m not buying that. If that were the case, it would be unconscionable for the shelter to hold an adoption event, knowing that they had a bunch of sick dogs…wouldn’t it? Two other dogs showed signs (and it’s since been verified that they were positive for distemper). The others: those dogs‘not suitable’ for quarantine (whatever that means) could have been tested.

And let’s not forget…it’s standard procedure for a vet to vaccinate a dog against distemper…meaning that those dogs who were killed who happened to be lost pets…the chances that they were vaccinated is pretty damn high.

So, what should facilities do to avoid this sort of thing happening? According to the SPCA, “There are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters.” Well, maybe there should be. Maybe there should be standardized procedures and monitoring of shelters in the interest of the public health and animal welfare. I know that wouldn’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

I would like to see a commission formed of veterinarians and animal behaviorists to draw up a list of federal guidelines for the set-up and operation of animal shelters, including budget recommendations depending on shelter size. They should recommend stop gaps to keep tragedies like this one from happening again. I’d also like to see departments developed in each state to inspect and oversee their shelters.



There are five dogs here Up on the Woof, and we are always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for the 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.

thanksdogAnd 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.

Things we need Up on the Woof




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Dog Books, I love them.

I had  a column for a number of years on Examiner that was dedicated to reviewing animal themed books. For those of you who haven’t heard, Examiner has shut down…but I just couldn’t see my dog book reviews going to waste. Besides, from a perfectly selfish point of view, I really like getting free books from publishers…so I’ve decided to move my Examiner dog book reviews to Up on the Woof. I will be posting them here when I get the time.

Um…this doesn’t mean that I want to review your dog book. I might, but I have to admit that I am uncomfortable with independent authors asking me to do that…because I know what it feels like to be an author asking for a review, and I don’t want the knowledge of what that’s like to color my reviews.

So, be warned: if you ask me to review your book and I do,  if I don’t like it, I’m going to say so.



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Dear Animal Rescue Community

You are all, every one of you, heroes. You are the most caring and compassionate people I’ve ever known…but you are also sometimes the most vicious.

I get it. Every day you deal with the aftermath of what some awful person has done to an animal. You’ve seen things nobody should see. You’ve helped animals who by all appearances didn’t have a chance. arc tn puppy millYou’ve railed against a judicial system that most of the time doesn’t take  animal abuse seriously enough. You’ve pushed your rage and sadness and despair deep down inside yourself, because to wallow in  it just gets in the way of what needs to be done. Every day you steel yourself and see what needs to happen, and you do it.

I know how sometimes you just need to speak your mind, slap people down, and educate educate educate, because there are a lot of idiots out there, and a lot of sick, deranged people hurting animals.

But I have to call you on something, because I think it’s easy to get lscotlund ms millost in that mindset. The majority of people who are following you on social media believe in you and in what you are doing. Some of them are rescue people themselves, some of them aren’t. Do you know why the non-rescue people follow you? It’s because they care about animals, because they believe the rescue community is made up of heroes, and because you give them hope.

I’d like you to try to remember that, the next time you snap at them; the next time you call them do-nothings; the next time you devalue them for being armchair activists, the next time you criticize someone who’s trying to help…because let’s face it: we need them. comments 1Even the ones who don’t have the knowledge or resources to catch feral cats, or foster a dog, or donate money, or transport, or organize a fundraiser. Even the ones who comment “Somebody please help this baby!” or “Prayers for this baby!”  We need them because at the very least, they care. And even those who can’t do anything else, can share your posts so they reach a larger audience. You know that networking is key. And maybe, instead of snapping at them you could steer them a little bit, get them to go just a little bit further…because that person following you, the one who cares…just might be a future rescuer.

The photos in this post are screen captures from a movie by Brian Wilson about some of my personal heroes of animal rescue, Animal Rescue Corps. The rescue footage was taken during a puppy mill rescue in MS. The people at ARC always act in a professional manner, and you’ll never see them slamming anybody, in rescue or out. They are far too busy for that nonsense.
Please “like” ARC’s Facebook page share their posts, and donate if you are able. They are the big guns of rescue,  taking on cases that involve dozens if not hundreds of animals.

arc volunteer tn arc tn mill2





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I’ve been busy the past month organizing and preparing for a fundraiser. It’s the Art 4 Paws Auction that begins today and runs until August 13. All of the proceeds will benefit NE Ohio humane group Valley  Save-a-Pet. I have a long relationship with them, but first, a story.

Dog at night shutterstock_41678524One night in 1987, Dalene and I got off work and headed over to a late night grocery store to pick up a few items. It was just before midnight, a couple of days before D’s birthday. A few blocks from the store, on a quiet but main road, the car ahead of us slowed and drove carefully around something in the road. As we passed the stop, we could see that it was golden retriever who had been hit by a car, and he, or she, was trying to crawl out of the road. I turned the car around and pulled over and went to open my car door, but D  stopped me with a hand on my arm.

“You are wearing black.” she said. “It’s dark. I’ll go.”

She climbed out and approached the injured dog. About this time, the parking lot of the church one block behind us was emptying from their weekly bingo night. Cars began passing us, and I was nervous about D’s rescue attempt with cars streaming by, so I turned around again so I could have our car between her and the oncoming traffic.

As I pulled the car around and  my headlights shown on her and the dog, she was lying in the street, rocking back and forth and it took me a few seconds to register that she’d been hit by a car. She was badly injured, and the dog, hit a second time, was dead.

You never expect things like this are going to happen. We were young, and we were invincible. D. has suffered her whole life with the injuries from that accident. But life is a balance, and where there is bad, there is also good.

Over the following months, we struggled while D. recovered. She wasn’t able to work and we were barely squeaking by on my income. Additionally, we had two dogs and 5 cats to feed. Then one day, we came across an article in the local paper about a humane group that was having a pet food drive to help people in need. So I called them. The group was Valley Save-a-Pet. A volunteer ended up bringing us enough pet food to get through the next 4 months. We were so grateful for the help that we vowed to help VSAP when D was back on her feet, and that began an almost 30 year relationship with that wonderful group.

art4pawsThe ART 4 PAWS auction fundraiser that I’ve organized is taking place on VSAP’s Facebook page beginning today, through Aug 13. There are more than 50 pieces of artwork up for bid — from sketches and jewelry and comic book art to original Japanese woodblock prints. I called on all of the artists in my network for donations, and received some great pieces. This year is Valley Save-a-Pet’s 40th anniversary, and this fundraiser is to honor them and the work they continue to do for animals in NE Ohio.

Please stop by the auction this week and take a look. And even if you are not bidding, you can help me, and VSAP, by sharing the auction on your social media pages. Please help me make the auction a success for Ohio animals.

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All of us working in pet rescue have the same goals: to save as many animals as possible from death or suffering. It’s really that simple.

But first we have to agree on some basic tenets:


  1. The most important thing in rescue is the animals.
  2. There are a lot of different focuses in the rescue community to achieve the goals of saving animals. Not everyone is involved in every aspect, nor should they be. (see #1)
  3. Networking is paramount. (see #2 and #1)
  4. Education is essential: both for rescuers and the general public. (see #3, #2 and #1)
  5. Not all of us will agree on the best avenue in any given circumstance. (see #4, #3, #2 and #1)
  6. Certain tactics are counter-productive and may actually hinder the chances of success. (see #5, #4, #3, #2 and #1)
  7. Leave your drama and your ego at the door. Rescue is not a competition. (see #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, and #1)
  1. We are not all going to get along. (see #7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, and #1)

I am a part of a pretty extensive rescue network. That network includes breed rescues, pound rescues, lost & found services, transporters, legal advisors, veterinarians, groomers, trainers, fosterers and bloggers. One of the most valuable things about having a network like that is the ability to reach out to people who have the answers that you do not.

You’ve heard the saying “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

Say it out loud. Memorize it. Live by it.

Here’s another saying. “Don’t engage in counter-productive practices, because it wastes your time and mine.”

Have that one tattooed.

If you want some examples of counter productive practices, check out these recent blog posts:

An Open Letter to People Who Flag Pet Ads on Craigslist

A Statement Regarding the Trumbull County Pound

And that saying “Saving one dog won’t change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”..well, just quit saying that one, because it’s only half true.

30 sec ad3


We are also always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for the 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.

Things we need Up on the Woof

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