Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008s Been Doggone GREAT!

Lessons from the Fur Side

When I look back over the past 365, I COULD focus on economic issues, vicious political battles and international strife. By WHY BOTHER??? There's so much good to push to the forefront of our minds. And thanks to my fur kids Dizney, Cassie & Tracey... I have some great memories AND learned some great lessons.

Dizney's ever-passionate love affair with her beloved squeeky ball (ala the squirrel-rat's obsession with its elusive walnut in the movie Ice Age) demonstrates the power of devotion and loyalty to that which you adore. Could be an object, a person, a career, or an idea. Dizney turned 11 this year but has a zest for life (and that darned ball!) that will keep her young and vibrant forever. What or who are YOU that excited about? What or who can't you wake up each morning raring experience? If you don't know... find out! And then, like Dizney, pursue it doggedly!!!

Cassie is the ultimate love machine. If there's a human to be rubbed against, she's there... front and center, ready to bestow her special blend of Golden sugar! She's an equal opportunity bellyrub recipient because in her eyes and mind, everyone is good. She has no unfounded, unnecessary fears or prejudices. Would that we two-leggeds could be so openminded and accepting. I have learned to look to the snout to learn what humanity should be all about. Cassie's snout (she's never been wrong yet!).

Happy-go-lucky Tracey demonstrates the bliss of "gam zu l'tovah" (Hebrew for "it is all for the good). Chewing contentedly on a nylabone one minute, whipping a stuffed toy around the next, romping with her friends at daycare twice a week, independently snoozing on her Mom's bed whenever the mood strikes her. A tandem lick of the tongue and a wag of the tail is her trademark... happy at BOTH ends. She continuously displays a satisfied expression on her adorable little face that clearly indicates she lives "for the moment"... and that the combination of those moments create a wonderfully satisfying life. That all she needs will be given unto her because there is unabounded good in the Universe. Take it from Tracey... it's the ONLY way to live!

A happy, healthy and doggone wonderful 2009 to you and yours from The Top Dog and her doggy daughters! Please log into The Top Dog's Blog regularly (perhaps register as a follower?) and be sure to share your thoughts about living FURvently!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

BONE-US Howliday Safety Tip

Keepin' The Tree Green...
and Your Canine Feelin' Fine!

In an effort to keep your live Christmas tree green well past the actual holiday, you may be tempted to add aspirin, sugar or commercial preservatives to its water. While they may be terrific for tree longevity, these products can create severe stomach distress, vomiting and diarrhea for tailwaggers that may stop by for a few refreshing slurps. Ditto for stagnant tree water… a breeding ground for bacteria.

Make sure your pet always has fresh water in his bowl so he doesn’t have to look under your tree for alternatives.

PSSST... just a few more days to participate in the survey in the left column of this blog! Your input may be different now that your poochy pal received his or her gifts so feel free to vote again! Hey, hound-sight is 20/20 vision!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


As you see, I kissed up to "The Big Guy" on behalf of fur friends & family members everywhere! I'm a pretty good smoocher so hopefully they received everything they needed, wanted and deserved!

FURvent wishes to you and yours for a fabulous holiday
AND a tailwaggingly wonderful new year!

Top Dog Eileen Proctor

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

BONE-US POST: Christmas Sing-A-Long

A Dog's Night Before Christmas
(Original Author Unknown, Modifications by The Top Dog)

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
With full faith that The Santa Paws soon would be there.

My dogs were nestled, all snug in MY bed,
While visions of chewy toys danced in their heads.
And I in my sweat pants and big bulky sweater,
Knew with them by my side life couldn’t be better.

When up on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my cuddling to see what was the matter!
Off to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the shutter and threw up the sash.

The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow
Gave a luster of midday to the objects below.
And what to my wondering eyes did appear
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver so lively and quick
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
With a sputter of ashes -- a flurry of soot,
He slid down the chimney with all of his loot.

My Dogs stood there so regal and proud,
Guarding their home with barks oh so loud.
St. Nick showed no fear and called them by name,
He knew in his heart they were gentle and tame.

He brought out his list, checked it once and then twice.
"Well, my beauties, all year you've been very nice.
I have in my bag toys and much more,
Just tell me what you pups really long for."

My dogs talked to each other -- then to my surprise
turned to Santa Paws with big tears in their eyes,
"We have chewies and balls and ropes to be tugged,
We are pampered and coddled and petted and hugged.

But for Christmas, dear Santa, we have but one care,
that all dogs be loved as much as WE are.
We want no dog beaten, whipped or chained,
No dog abandoned, abused or maimed.

We just want all canines, no matter what size,
to see love reflected in a dog parent's eyes."

St. Nick stopped for a moment to gather his wits,
"I have nothing to stop humans from being such twits.

All dogs are so beautiful and are such a treasure,
Living only to be loved and give people pleasure.
But I promise this message I will try to teach
So that one day your wish will be within reach."

St. Nick leaned over and kissed each furry head.
"Now you fabulous fur kids, go off to bed.
Think only good thoughts and dream good dreams
Of running and jumping and playing in streams."

St. Nick turned to me, his face wet with tears.
"Be proud of your babies, they are such dears."
In an instant St. Nick disappeared in a poof,
And I heard him give a deep sigh as he ran on the roof.

He jumped in his sleigh and to his team gave a whistle,
and off he flew like the down on a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim as the drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to All and To All Dogs a Good Life!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Top 10 Howliday Safety Tips: Day 10

Shocking But True...

WOW, your Christmas tree, holiday lights and decorations look fantastic! But what you've created as a feast for the eyes may inadvertently be a danger zone for your pets. Here a a couple of bright holiday ideas to "chew on" so that your pets don't... chew on them, that is:
  • Be sure to keep electrical cords hidden, out of reach or taped down to save your dog from electrical shocks.
  • Plug your lights into a GFI outlet that will interrupt the flow of electricity if the cord becomes wet or chewed… perhaps in the mouth of an unsuspecting pup.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Top 10 Howliday Safety Tips: Day 9

Hair of the Dog

While alcohol may help you get into the holiday spirit, it can do just the opposite for your pet. A mere three ounces of liquor swallowed by a 10-15 pound dog can depress its nervous system enough to cause it to stop breathing. Be sure to keep all glasses up high where they cannot be lapped up or toppled over. And if you suspect your dog has sipped some champagne, wine or spirits, call your veterinarian immediately for treatment advice.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

'BONE'-US POST: Hanukah Sing-A-Long

For all of our "Chewish" Friends..
and everyone else who wants to join in!

(to the tune of Dreidel-Dreidel-Dreidel)

Droodle, Droodle, Droodle
It's what we doggies do
And if you get too near us
We'll get our drool on you!
Licking, Licking, Licking
It's how we doggies kiss
Some call it wet and yucky
Some call it doggy bliss!
Shedding, Shedding, Shedding
Our hair gets on your clothes
But you'll still hug and love us
Guess that's just how it goes!

No matter how you spell it... Hanukah, Chanukah... The Top Dog and her "shayna madel kelevs" Dizney, Cassie & Tracey wish you a VERY happy howliday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Top 10 Howliday Safety Tips: Day 8

There's No Place Like Home... Or Is There???

Keep a close eye on your pets to make sure that they don't bolt or wander out while visitors come in and out of your house. If you have a cat or dog that is easily frightened, overly rambunctious or potentially aggressive, it is best to put him in his favorite room and close the door so he feels safe and secure. Be sure to put a sign on the door that restricts entry and to verbally explain the situation in advance to all guests.

Great Alternative Idea!
For those especially hustly-bustly situations... like this weekend's home-based holiday fetes... treat your fuzzy-faced kids to some respite at a facility that specializes in caring for "their type". In the greater Phoenix area, I HIGHLY recommend Villa La Paws... they provide fully supervised cage-free daycare and overnight slumber parties that will delight your dog with tons o' fun and interaction with 4-leggeds AND 2-leggeds alike in a fabulously spacious and doggy-friendly indoor/outdoor setting. My K-9 Kids LOVE it there, especially Tracey who visits a minimum of 2X/week all the year through! (Hey, every day's a holiday for her!!!). And good news for you feline fanciers... they also have Kitty Casitas to pamper your pussycat!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Top 10 Howliday Safety Tips: Day 7

The Point About Poinsettias

Although they are beautiful adornments of the Yuletide season, poinsettias, mistletoe, ivy, and holly berries can all be poisonous... even fatal… to animals. If you suspect your dog has ingested any these, induce vomiting by administering 1-2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top 10 Howliday Safety Tips: Day 6

More From Santa's Gift Bag

Still not sure about what to bestow upon your beloved Bow-Wow for the holidays? Here are a few more ideas and guidelines, straight from the Top Dog's mouth (and with Santa's blessings)!

  • Avoid toys that contain a noisemaking device if your dog feels it is his right and duty to perform “squeakectomies”. Ditto for stuffed toys which may contain hard-to-digest fillings such as nutshells or polystyrene beads, and tennis balls which are easily “peeled”.
  • Remove string, ribbon, rubber bands, tags and labels from all toys before turning them over to your dog. Discard toys that start to break into pieces or have pieces torn off.
  • Very hard rubber toys, such as Nylabones, are virtually indestructible, are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are fun for both chewing and carrying around. Kong-type toys are great for fetching and, when filled with broken-up treats or peanut butter, can keep a dog busy for hours.
  • "Busy-box" toys also offer long term fun and foster problem solving skills.
Okay, only a few days to go before the holidays are upon us. If you have an idea about what the fur kids will find below the Christmas Tree or Hanukkah bush... or still need some last minute direction... take a moment to check out/respond to the survey in the left column. (Undecided poochy parents will appreciate it!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top 10 Howliday Safety Tips: Day 5


Just because a product is sold in a pet supply store does NOT mean it is necessarily safe or suitable for your dog. Over the next few days, I'll be sharing some great tips for making your fur kid’s holiday doggone delightful!

  • Provide your pet with a variety of toys that fulfill many different purposes; for example, one to carry, one to roll, and one to "baby."

  • Keep your dog’s age, size and activity level in mind when purchasing toys. Anything too small or light-duty can easily be swallowed or destroyed.

  • Rawhide, hooves, and pig's ears are a high source of protein and can cause significant weight gain when ingested in large quantities or on a frequent basis. Furthermore, they can easily break off into small pieces and lodge in your pet’s throat or intestines. Imported rawhide is commonly preserved with carcinogenic preservatives such as formaldehyde; while American-made rawhide is more expensive and difficult to find, it is a safer product and well worth the extra cost and time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


When you think of tastes associated with the holiday season, Pumpkin is probably one of the first that comes to mind! But did you know that pumpkin is also a great source of anti-oxidents? For you AND your dog! And great for digestion, too!

With these nutritious, easy-to-make holiday treats, as you dive into your pumpkin pie dessert, your fur friends can feel part of the party while partaking of the health benefits and "yummy for the tummy" that pumpkin provides!

Pumpkin Patch Dog Biscuits
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
4 tbsp. butter-flavored Crisco
1 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ cup canned pumpkin
1 egg, beaten
½ cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine all dry ingredients and cut in shortening. Mix egg with milk and pumpkin, then combine with flour mixture. Stir until soft dough forms. Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool before serving. Store in airtight container.

Your fellow fido fanatics would LOVE to hear about your favorite pooch-pleasing recipes... post away!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Top Ten HOWLiday Safety Tips: Day 3

TIP #3: Food Frights
Despite your dog’s willingness --- or should I say insistence? --- about pulling up a chair to join you for your annual holiday meal, think twice about sharing… especially if they don't regularly get table scraps during the rest of the year. Most traditional holiday foods are far too rich and spicy for pets, triggering gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, and bouts of diarrhea.

Even stripped-down bones should be off limits. Poultry and ham bones can easily splinter and lodge in the throat, gums or the roof of the mouth; they can also cause extensive damage to the stomach and GI tract, puncturing the small intestines and creating a life-threatening or fatal situation. A good rule to follow is: "If in doubt, throw it out"!

The same caveats apply to desserts and snacks. It’s not just an “old wives’ tale” that chocolate is dangerous for dogs. In fact, depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, it can be toxic or even fatal. Semisweet, also known as "baker’s” chocolate, contains extremely high levels of caffeine and theobromine; as little as ½ ounce per pound of body weight can stimulate your pet’s heart and nervous system with lethal results. And while milk chocolate is less toxic to pets, its high fat content can lead to unpleasant attacks of pancreatitis.

A satisfying portion of his regular food served just before your feasting begins should reduce your dog’s inclination to beg for food. Be sure to reinforce the “no people food” rule to your family and friends; don’t give in no matter how cute, hungry or deprived your pet looks… or how “mean” you feel!

Lest you be called "Grinch" by your pooch and his pals, invite your festive Fido to participate in the holiday food fantasy and feeding frenzy by patronizing your town’s local pet bakeries or boutiques for special, pet-safe holiday treats. And for those "do-it-yourselfers", log in tomorrow for a quick & easy holiday biscuit recipe that is sure to delight even the most discriminating doggy's palate!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Top Ten HOWLiday Safety Tips: Day 2

TIP #2: Ornaments & Decorations
Bright and shiny holiday decorations are quite intriguing to pets and, therefore, bring their own set of considerations.

Tinsel is not considered toxic, however it can cause potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal blockage or strangulation, internal cuts and abrasions if swallowed.

Because hanging ornaments have a tendency to pique canine and kitty curiosity, cur”tail” temptation by hanging them as high up on the tree as possible, using ribbon or yarn instead of metal hooks. This is especially important for those made of glass because in addition to paw pad injuries, your pet’s internal organs can be severely damaged if the remnants of a broken ornament are ingested.

Other seemingly innocent but potentially dangerous holiday decorations include:
- Bubbling lights, which contain methylene chloride that can be dangerous if inhaled or ingested.
- Snow sprays and snow flock, which can cause respiratory reactions when inhaled.
- Water in snow scenes, which may contain toxic organisms such as Salmonella.

- Candles are another major safety hazard (especially for cats since they don't have much instinctive fear of fire). Make sure to place your Christmas and Hanukkah candles in places where your pets can't overturn them, possibly burning themselves and causing damage to your home. And of course, never leave lighted candles unattended.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Top Ten HOWLiday Safety Tips: Day 1

Ah the sights and smells of the holiday! Is it any wonder we look forward to it all year? To ensure a fun and safe time for all… including your four-legged family members and friends… I'll be posting an important safety tip (or 2) each day for the next 10 days. Please share them with your other pet-loving pals.

TIP #1: The Christmas Tree
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, How steadfast are your branches! Not very… as many pets inadvertently remind us each year, sometimes MORE than once! Be sure to anchor your tree so it can't topple over. Stabilize it by putting heavy bags of flour or sugar on top of the legs of its stand, hiding them with a decorative tree skirt, and positioning the heaviest gifts closest to the trunk.

Regardless of whether you have an artificial or live tree, chewing of branches can result in injuries to your dog’s mouth or throat. Be consistent about disciplining if you catch him chomping. To deter even a teething puppy from opportunistic nibbling, spray the lower branches with a chewing deterrent such as Bitter Apple; always use as directed on the product label to keep it safe for both human and K-9 Kids.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Doggone GRRRReat HOWLiday Gift Ideas

Thanks for tuning in to see my top safety tips and the seasons most unique gifts for dogs & dog lovers alike! My Golden girl Cassie is QUITE stunning, isn't she? LOVE how she just sits there and makes me look good (and doesn't try to steal the microphone from yours truly!). If you missed the show, or want to see it again, click here)!

You can find out more about all of the fabulous products I "show & told" about... and hundreds of other dog-friendly sports, travel and gift items... at Travel Hounds USA: 3375 E. Shea Blvd. in Phoenix or online at The owner Layne is a real sweetheart and great resource for finding and selecting the ideal items for you and the pet/pet lovers on your list! And, like The Top Dog, she's also a great friend to the local animal welfare community.

Monday, November 24, 2008

AZTV: The Chat Room 11/24/08

Lights. Camera. Action!
What a fun time guesting on AZTV's morning lifestyle show, The Chat Room (if you missed it, or want to see it again, click here)! My doggie daughter Tracey and I were treated royally by host Helen Gibson, producer Laura Holka, and the entire crew as we "showed & told" the virtues of pet adoption. Boodha, the 12 week old ShihTese (Shih Tzu/Maltese X) that we brought along from AZ Cocker Rescue was a REAL hit... especially to one of the other segment guests, Chrissy May, who ultimately may adopt him!

Key points:

  1. don't be impetuous... plan before adding a pet to your family
    (the holidays are not necessarily the best time to do so)
  2. when you're ready... ADOPTION IS THE BEST OPTION!
  3. find your perfect pet through, an online database which provides exact matches to your specific requirements (breed, gender, size, age, zip code, etc.)
    OR for those
    of you in Maricopa County, attend adoptathons organized by PACC911
Tune in, TIVO or tape The Chat Room on Friday, 12/12
when The Top Dog returns to discuss
Howliday Safety Tips & Doggone Grrrreat Gift Ideas!