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

Posted in Random Woofs | 3 Comments

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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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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