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Posts from the ‘Dog Related Information’ Category

Stardust and Ashes, by Shannon Johnstone, Photographer

Have you seen these very moving images contained in the series entitled, Stardust and Ashes, shown below, by Shannon Johnstone?  I found these images to be remarkably touching and beautiful.  According to Johnstone, “I made these cyanotypes with the ashes of euthanized homeless animals from an animal shelter’s crematorium.  These animals died with nobody to mourn their passing, except maybe a few overwhelmed shelter workers.  I hope these images serve as a memorial to these animals, who were nobody and nothing.  Turned to dust and returned to the cosmos, they become everyone and everything.  Just as we all will someday.  Using my own breath and fingers to manipulate the ashes, I work the ashes into celestial configurations while the sun exposes the cyanotype turning the negative space to a Prussian blue.  With these images I hope to mourn the passing of thousands of our forgotten companions, and remind us that we are all connected and headed for the same fate: reduced to dust and returned to the stars.”

“As I am working, I am quite aware that I am working with deceased animals who were not lucky enough to find a home,” according to Johnstone.  “It is really important to me to treat their ashes with respect and dignity.”  On hot days, she sweats onto the fabric, leaving marks.  It used to upset her, but now she lets her own body–her breath and hands–interact with the ashes to create a picture.  The final prints are eight by ten inches, and she also makes giant murals at five by seven feet.  Because they are fabric, the sun shines through them.

Stardust and Ashes is a reminder of the impermanence of life and the recklessness with which we humans treat our fellow creatures.











All images are courtesy of Mary Shannon Johnstone.

Fun Mini Holiday Gift Guide for your Pampered Furry Family Member!

Happy Holiday Season!  It is already that time of year!  Since our furry family members cannot be forgotten at the Holidays, below are some fun furry family member gift ideas that we love!



1. Filson Dog Leash – We got Victory this leash for Christmas, in the natural color, to match her fur, and we really like it!  We even had her initials engraved on the leash as well!

2. Orvis Tweed Dog Coat  – We got Victory this dog coat for Christmas and we really love the color and quality of this coat for cooler weather!  (This coat also comes in a hunter green color for male furry family members).

3. Harry Barker Dog Toys – We love the Harry Barker dog toys, especially the rope toys.  They are made of good quality materials and they last for a while.  Victory loves working her way through the rope toys!

4. Zuke’s Mini Naturals — These mini natural treats are fantastic!  Victory absolutely loves them!  And, the good news, is they are tiny and not too many calories per treat!

5. Dandy Design Personalized by Breed Dog Ornament — We love these ornaments.  They are great quality, handmade, and they come in all breed types (including different fur colors) and they come in a variety of scenes!  We have one for Victory and Biscuit for our Christmas tree!

6. Helen Levi Custom Dog Bowls – We got Victory a new water bowl in pink, with her name, for her birthday, and it works really well, while keeping her water cold!

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Monday!

#FindYourFido: Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

It is the #FindYourFido Adopt a Shelter Dog Month via the ASPCA!  Anyone who has been reading this blog, for any length of time, knows that dog rescue is near and dear to our hearts.  Victory is a rescue and Biscuit was a rescue.  So, when the ASPCA asked if we could share in this campaign, we were happy to participate and help spread the word about this important topic.

How can you get involved?  The public can get involved by visiting here and by using the hashtag, #FindYourFido, to promote shelter dogs, and searching for local adoptable dogs across the country.

Outlined below are two ways that you can get involved:

1. Post a Photo: You can post a photo of your pet looking adorable and share why dog adoption is important to you, along with this social media language like this: “Visit to join the adoption movement and help shelter dogs around the country!  #FindYourFido @ASPCA.”



2. Fido Cutout, “Virtual Foster”: Additionally, the ASPCA can also send you a cardboard cutout of Fido and you can be a “virtual foster” by posting photos of him (with or without your pet) on social media.  Below are a few samples of the cardboard cutout and here is some social media language you can use along with your image of the Fido “virtual foster:” “This is Fido, an ambassador for shelter dogs around the country.  Visit to find out how you can help! #FindYourFido @ASPCA.”




*All images (except for the image of Victory) contained in this blog post are courtesy of the ASPCA.

Pups in the Park!

On Saturday evening we took Victory with us to Pups in the Park at the Nationals!  This is our third year going to Pups in the Park with Victory!  The weather was beautiful and we had a fun time together!  Victory was brave and sniffed and met many dogs!  However, we did not see any other shelties at this game.  Victory also enjoyed part of a Shake Shack burger, which she loved!  Below are some iPhone photos from our visit!  We look forward to going back for more games next year and we plan to get Victory a Nationals’ jersey for future games!

Happy Friday!  We’re headed to the Shenandoah Valley for a long weekend with our fur girl, Victory!  Have a great weekend!


Recent Dog Artists’ Work

New Book: Being Human by William Wegman, is available for pre-order, which releases on October 3, 2017 by Chronicle Books.  This book contains over 300 images from Wegman’s personal archive.



New Book: Really Good Dog Photography is available for pre-order, which releases on October 5, 2017 by Hoxton Mini Press and Penguin.  This book features the work of 30 photographers focusing on dogs and man’s relationship with dogs.



Below are paintings by Robert James Clarke, whose recent collection of works, unites together dogs and some of their owners, painted nude or semi-naked.  “I wanted to paint nudes because there is an intimacy between the dog and the female form,” Clarke says.  “There is a sense of scale of movement that makes for interesting subject matter.”  The series, entitled, Hooray for Hollywood is now showing at the McAllister Thomas Fine Art Gallery in Surrey, England during September 2017.

Clarke’s paintings have gained attention, and Clarke regularly is commissioned to paint celebrities furry family members.  Clarke tries “to capture the essence of the dog. […] Each dog has a different personality: I try to capture that in paint. […] Sometimes it all comes together like magic: other times, it’s the smallest detail like adding a dot to the eye that makes the dog spring from the canvas.”





*All the above paintings are by Robert James Clarke.

Why you should sleep with your dog

We’ve all heard that we should not do it — invite your dog to sleep in your bed.  People believe it’s dirty, and it is just not good for you.  However, what if this is not entirely true?  There are actual health benefits to letting your furry family member spend the night and it is not just you who is better for all of that time together.  It is better for your dog, too!  When we first adopted Victory from the Michigan Sheltie Rescue, Inc., Victory, our beloved fur girl, made it known she wanted in the bed and, well, ever since, she has been sleeping with us in our bed!  Our very first night with Victory she hopped into bed with us and would not budge.  And, we would not want it any other way.  We love Victory and ‘night-night’ would never be the same without her tuck in routine consisting of play time, followed by her tummy and head massages, followed by a drink of water in bed before heading to sleep, along with lots of kisses from Victory.  Every morning we wake up with Victory, who sleeps above our heads, against the headboard.  She always sleeps as long as we do!  Sometimes Victory will hop back into bed after her morning potty, while ensconced in our pillows, and sleeps until the late morning!  It is really a ‘win-win’ for everyone.

Below are some reasons why you might consider having your furry family member sleep in the bed with you!

1. Dogs provide comfort.  Whether it is her worm body or rhythmic breathing, there is just something so comforting about a dog.  They make one’s bed feel even cozier.

2. Dogs fight insomnia.  A dog’s presence promotes calm, stress relief, and a feeling of safety.

3. A dog’s presence promotes a better night’s sleep.  A study found that getting close with your dog can boost serotonin, the chemical that is essential to regulating sleep.

4. A dog’s presence provides a happier mood.  Another benefit of sleeping with your dog can lead to falling asleep happier.  A study found that the interaction with your dog can boost one’s oxytocin, an essential chemical in both feelings of affection and happiness.

5. Snuggling with your dog relieves stress and anxiety.  As therapy dogs have shown, a dog’s presence is a great stress reliever.  A dog’s positive outlook is contagious, and their attentive nature is very reassuring.

6. Dogs provide warmth.  A dog’s warm bodies and tendency to curl up as close to their humans as possible work as a little radiator in the bed.  While this can be tough in the summer, while mitigated with air conditioning, who doesn’t love a little bit of natural warmth on a chilly night?

7. Dogs help humans deal with difficult times.  One thing that dogs offer without question is unconditional love.  For someone facing a difficult time, this type of connection can feel hard to come by.  To receive it, with no questions asked, can work wonders during a particularly tough time(s).

8. Dogs help make you feel safe.  Knowing that there is another presence watching over you when you are at your most vulnerable is such a comforting feeling.

9. Dogs help to lower one’s blood pressure.  Sleeping with dogs can be a vital part of your health routine.  A study found that getting close with your furry friend corresponds with lower blood pressure.  That is a pretty good reason to let your dog under the blankets!

10. It’s good for your dog, too.  There is nothing in the world that your dog loves more than you, so allowing them to spend that extra snuggle time will make her day.  They receive comfort from you in the same way that you do from them, so this sleep arrangement is good for everyone involved!

Our bed is now Victory’s bed, and we would not have it any other way, as evidenced below!




*Image Credit: Off The Leash, Rupert Fawcett

Acupuncture: For Animals

The Washington Post recently ran an article concerning acupuncture for dogs and cats in China.  Many humans, including myself, have tried acupuncture for various reasons.  Now, the human companions of animals are turning to acupuncture to help soothe pains experienced by their beloved furry animals.  A few images of dogs and cats receiving acupuncture treatment is shown below.  “Traditional practitioners believe acupuncture can stimulate blood circulation to promote healing and relieve aches and pain.”  The images below were taken at the Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Neurology and Acupuncture Animal Health Center.  Perhaps more humans, in the future, will take advantage of this treatment for their furry family members.

*Photo Credit: Aly Song/Reuters


Pups in the Park

This weekend we took Victory with us to Pups in the Park at the Nationals!  This is our third year going to Pups in the Park with Victory!  The weather was beautiful and we had a fun time together!  We even got tickets to go back in September with Victory!  Below are some images and iPhone photos from our visit!




Take Your Dog to Work Day!

You probably heard about “Take Your Child to Work Day,” but did you know there is also a day set aside each year for welcoming your fur family members into the office?  Every June features a “Take Your Dog to Work Day” when many employees “hire” their four-legged furry family members for the day.  This year, “Take Your Dog to Work Day”,  which falls tomorrow on Friday, June 23, has been celebrated annually since 1999 in the United States.  The unofficial holiday was created by Pet Sitters International as a way to encourage dog adoption and to celebrate the love and joy dogs bring to the lives of their ‘pet parents.’

However, some employers have “Take Your Dog to Work Day” everyday!  Dogs are even now welcome at the Interior Department!  There are many positive aspects to allowing dogs in the work place, perhaps a reason for this growing trend with employers.

Dogs in the office bring calm and promote wellness.  Employees are required, out of necessity, to take regular breaks to walk the dog, which is good for their physical health and provides a welcome break.  Dogs also have a calming effect on people — their natural joy and positive energy is a stress reliever and morale booster.

Dogs also foster happier relationships between humans, too.  When someone is walking their dog around or has a dog at his/her desk, other employees are more likely to talk to him/her.  The dog provides a nice way to start a conversation between two people whose work may not cross paths ordinarily.  Further, and importantly, this can also open the door to collaboration and creativity!

Unfortunately, our fur girl, Victory, is not yet permitted at the office.  However, Victory is a loyal companion in our home office.  She loves to either be on her bed, shown in the iphoto below, or she likes to sleep by my feet under the desk.  During the warmer months, I am guaranteed that Victory will provide a ‘bath’ for my feet and toes, never missing a spot!  Working with Victory by my side is always better!


Dogs: Hospice Care


In a recent article, I learned about a wonderful hospice rescue for elderly dogs, which are not usually people’s first choice to choose to adopt when considering adopting a rescue dog.  Kim Skarritt is the owner of Silver Muzzle Cottage, a rescue and hospice for homeless old dogs.  It is the only type of hospice rescue located in Michigan and one of the few in the country.  Silver Muzzle Cottage takes dogs left being either by choice or by circumstance, as when a dog’s owner suddenly dies and nobody else claims their dog.  Skarritt began her rescue about two years ago, and she has taken in more than 70 dogs so far.  Almost all of them are old, many are sick, a lot of them are near death.  No matter how bad the dogs’ lives have been so far, Skarritt wants to make their last days wonderful.

“They don’t ask for much when they’re really old.  They want to be loved and cared for, they want food, and they just need a warm place to lay their head at night,” said Skarritt.  “At some point they were cared for, and then when they needed it most they’re not.  And that’s why they really need a place like ours,” according to Skarritt.

About five years ago, Skarritt purchased an empty tool and die shop on a remote industrial road and opened Bowers by the Bay, a dog fitness, rehabilitation and cage-free boarding center.  Her work was coordinated with local animal shelters where Skarritt became alarmed by a disturbing pattern.

“I kept seeing these 14-year-old dogs and 13-year-old dogs in shelters and needing homes, and I’m going, ‘What is that?  Who does that?'”

As a result, Skarritt telephoned several animal shelters throughout the state of Michigan and estimated there were approximately 900 senior dogs needing homes within a 500 mile radius of Elk Raids, Michigan, where the Silver Muzzle Cottage is located.

According to some local rescues and shelters, some people do not even bother bringing the old dog inside the shelter building.

“Sometimes they dump them down our road a little bit so it’s not right in front of our building.  But we do have cameras up,” said Tia Babera a kennel technician at the Cherryland Humane Society located in Traverse City, Michigan.

At the Otsego County Animal Shelter, people at times come in with a dog they claim was a stay they found, but it’s really their lifelong pet.  If the staff finds out the owner is lying, they’ll make them return and take their pet back, like the guy who recently brought in a tumor-riddled 15-year-old dog, pretending he found it.  It turned out to be his dog.

“They’re just looking for a scapegoat instead of taking responsibility,” said Christie Pratt, a 37-year-old animal control officer.  “We are a little bit harder here.  We will make them have a good reason to surrender their dog.”

These types of stories compelled Skarritt to purchase an empty storage building next door to her business, mentioned above, and opened Silver Muzzle Cottage as a nonprofit rescue solely for elderly dogs, which she defines as age 10 or older unless they’re terminally ill, in which case she’s take the dog at any age.

This is not a typical rescue — there is a large living room with couches and throw pillows, a fake fireplace with decorations atop the mantle, end tables with vases and a coffee table with a thick photo book about dogs atop it.  It is described as looking like a ‘normal house,’ except there is a bunch of dogs lounging on the couches.  “We wanted it to be a home,” Skarritt explained.

This is a home for her, too.  The dogs aren’t caged at night, which means someone has to be at the rescue at all times.  Since Skarritt could not afford to pay someone to do that, she moved into a small room at the corner of the house, with little more than a bathroom and a bed.

There are about 100 rotating volunteers to take the dogs for walks or car rides, or sit on the couches with the dogs and pet or play with them.

Most of the dogs get adopted, despite a short future, thanks to Skarritt’s persistence in spreading the world about the plight of old dogs.  But some are not adoptable as they have such little time remaining to live.

“For some people it’s too hard,” Skarritt said.  “They really can’t handle it.  But for those who can, they find it very rewarding.  We have to look at it in a positive light, otherwise it would be very depressing.  But it’s a win-win for us and it’s a win-win for the dogs.”

This is a wonderful project and I am hope more dog hospices develop around the country to help these elderly dogs that, inevitably and unfortunately, need a home in their final days.

You can read the article and view lovely images of the Silver Muzzle Cottage’s hospice and rescue here.

Additionally, Silver Muzzle Cottage is located at 201 EC Loomis Drive, Elk Rapids, Mich., 49629.  For information or to make a donation, call 231-264-8408 or see

The above image is via Pinterest.