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Today wraps up the week long national celebration of International Assistance Dog week. This annual event is celebrated on the first Sunday of August for one week. Due to the efforts of Ms. Marcie Davis, the celebration honors and raises awareness for assistance animals across the world. These amazing animals work to serve disabled men and women, thereby reducing their limitations in day-to-day life!
Here in East Tennessee, we’re fortunate to have a local service dog organization, Wilderwood Service Dogs, located in Maryville. With their mission “changing the lives of families, one dog at a time” they help in providing highly trained service dogs, specialized in helping people with neurological disorders. If you are interested in getting involved with this local assistance dog organization, they have opportunities for puppy foster families, puppy walkers, kennel volunteers, and a variety of other sponsorship or donation opportunities. Check out their page How Can I Get Involved? for more information.
Another local East Tennessee service dog non-profit is Smoky Mountain Service Dogs. This group has a mission of “providing public access tested/approved mobility assistance service dogs to disabled Veterans and providing service dogs to autistic children.” SMSD also offers the opportunity to volunteer as a puppy raiser, socializer, and respite provider. Check out their Volunteer Page for more information.
The founder of this week of recognition, Marcie Davis, is the CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm located in Santa Fe, NM. She has also been a paraplegic for over 35 years, and has put forth much effort to further awareness and provide services for assistance dogs and their owners. She is an author and has a well known radio talk show called “Working Like Dogs” which can be heard via www.petliferadio.com. Her talk show provides valuable information for service and working dogs and their humans. Her show has also hosted various celebrity animal lovers, such as Betty White.
International Assistance Dog Week exists to recognize organizations such as these that are focused on devoted, hardworking assistance and service dogs that work to help their humans overcome disability related limitations. The week’s main purpose is to: – recognize and honor these amazing animals – recognize and honor the people who raise and train them – to raise awareness – to recognize the amazing and heroic deeds accomplished by these animals To learn more about this annual event, stop by www.assistancedogweek.org
I recently posted about losing my sweet boy Coda to bone cancer, and how much I appreciated the in-home vet care provided to me by The Visiting Vet, allowing me to say goodbye in the comfort of our own home. When we learned of Coda’s cancer last fall I knew I wanted to do something that I’d kept putting off. I wanted to get professional photos taken of us as a family. I knew it wasn’t going to be the easiest task for the photographer, and I needed the right person who would be able to take on the job. I was asking for “Christmas card – worthy” photos of 3 large dogs – who know their basic commands, but are not perfect angels :), two adults, and a 1 year old who had just learned to walk. Needless to say I was asking for a lot!
I came across Jennie Huettel with Mountain Mutt Photography, and I knew we had found the right photographer! She specializes in taking professional photos of dog and kids. Perfect for us! She actually takes the photos of the dogs up for adoption at Young Williams Animal Center, so if you follow Young Williams’ Facebook page, you’ve likely already seen her work. She is happy to suggest a location to have the shoot, or you’ve welcome to have her come to your house and property if that’s more comfortable for you. Jennie took our photos at Sequoyah Park and spent several hours making sure she had everything that we were looking for. After loosing Coda this winter, the photographs mean even more to me and I’m so glad we did this together as a family. I would highly recommend Jennie and Mountain Mutt Photography! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves …
The colder weather is coming, but that’s no reason to stay inside. If you’re living in Knoxville, Tennessee, you’re lucky enough to have some wonderful scenic places to take your dog walking this winter. So put on your coat, grab your gloves (hands get cold when you’re holding a leash!), and head out into our Knoxville parks, greenways, and natural areas to have some fun with your dog! Here are 5 great places to take your dog walking.
1. Sequoyah Park – This park runs along the river, and is easy access from downtown, located in the beautiful neighborhood of Sequoyah Hills. The park boasts large open fields, multiple access points to the river, and plenty of other pet lovers who will be out with their pups. This is somewhat of an “unofficial” off-leash dog park. Although there are not any enclosed areas, many people with well trained dogs will walk with them off leash. Every once in a while animal control does show up, so be sure you have a leash on you. If you’d prefer more of a trail walk, you can also access the Sequoyah Greenway from the park which is a 3+ mile nicely graveled trail running through the neighborhood.
2. Tommy Schumpert Park - This park located in Fountain City gives dogs and their owners several options for exercise and fun. A 3+ mile paved greenway runs throughout the park as a great choice for running or walking with your pet. There is also a wonderful dog park area that has separate areas for large and small dogs. There is even an area that has a pond and dock specifically made for dogs! This park is well used, and you’ll find many dogs to play with in the evenings and on weekends.
3. House Mountain - House Mountain gives you the best opportunity for some real hiking in Knox County. There are several easy loops in the park, but the most popular trail is the more difficult, steep trail up the mountain. The mountain rises to over 2,000 feet and is the highest point in Knox County. From the top you’ll enjoy some amazing 360 degree views over Knoxville and the surrounding areas. Be sure to bring plenty of water for your dog (and yourself!) on this hike.
4. Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge - Seven Islands is a 300+ acre wildlife sanctuary open to use by the public. This is an amazing natural space with miles of trails, open fields, woods, access to the water, and beautiful views of the river. Many well-trained dogs use this area off-leash due to the sprawling open areas and fewer people. You’ll likely see plenty of wildlife including birds, deer, rabbits, and other small animals in the area, so be on alert if your dog is a chaser.
5. Ijams Nature Center – Ijams is a great place to take your dog walking on-leash, while still exploring the woods and other wild areas. You’ll find multiple trails, including some very interesting features such as a loop around the quarry, and a wooden walkway right along the river. You can also connect to the Forks of the River natural area for a bit more secluded walking with easy access to the river, more miles of trails, and large fields.
I hope these 5 options give you inspiration to get out there and enjoy the outdoors that Knoxville has to offer. Your dog will thank you!
With so many choices out there in different sizes, colors, and shapes, choosing a dog bed can be quite a difficult choice. It can be very confusing to choose the bed best suited for your dog’s needs when stores and catalogs are filled with different options. When you do make a choice, normally the bed you choose is a combination of your personal taste, your dog’s needs (age, size), and how your dog likes to sleep.
Instead of leaving this important decision up to chance, consider the 3 “core” choices when selecting a bed.
1. Price – Dog beds can range from $10 to hundreds of dollars depending on the size, fill, and type of bed.
2. Stuffing – There are 4 main options:
* Polyfill – the bed contains tubes of polyfil made out of recycled plastics that act of separate sections that move with your dog for comfort
* Box spring – good support just like a human mattress
* foam – a classic approach or specially made for orthopedic support to conforms to your dog’s body
* combination – found in highest priced mattresses for the most comfortable option
3. Style - There are 5 main styles of beds:
* Classic Canine Bed – look like a mattress for people with plenty of room to stretch out
* Bolster or Nesting Bed - soft sides and cushioned bottom covered with a soft and cozy material
* Snuggle Bed – round, oval, or square-walled beds covered with something like suede or fleece
* Orthopedic Dog Bed – extra support with special foal made for dogs with arthritis or joint problems
* Travel Bed – integrated with an attached stuff sack allowing for easy and portable travel
Info and pictures courtesy of Jasper and Zoe’s Blog
I’d love to say that every dog is the perfect candidate for dog sitting while the family is away on vacation or business. But as much as I don’t want to admit it, that simply is not the case. There are many dogs that have a wonderful experience being cared for by a pet sitter. Those dogs enjoy the comfort of the smell and surroundings of their own environment, and love having a friend that visits them for special attention and exercise several times throughout the day. But other dogs simply aren’t cut out for it, and do better in a boarding situation. So does your dog have what it takes?
1. Age: We provide pet sitting services for dogs of all ages ranging from rambunctious young’ins to calm and collected seniors. We’re happy to go on fast-paced walks with the purpose of getting out your dog’s energy, or we can snuggle up and give hugs with the best of them, depending on your dog’s preferences and activity level. However if you have an elderly dog that has trouble getting around, or you worry about him/her falling, then boarding may be a better option so that it is a more confined space with constant observation. On the other hand, if you have an extremely young puppy who “gets into everything” or needs bathroom breaks every 2 hours, once again in-home boarding or kenneling may be a better option. We love puppies, but the very youngest ones are not the best match for pet sitting. (However we would love to help you with potty training during the day! We offer some great dog walking options for while you’re at work).
2. Personality: When considering pet sitting, your dog’s personality is something else to think about. Although we won’t be strangers to your dog since we’ll have met at our “meet and greet” initial consultation, we will be a fairly new person in your dog’s life if you are a new client. Some dogs love meeting new people and think the more the merrier, but others are a bit more protective of their house or reserved. As pet professionals we’re happy to work with dogs of all temperaments ranging from outgoing to shy to protective. However we’d can’t take care of aggressive dogs, so if your dog does have aggressive tendencies towards people, a kennel is likely a better option. Most dogs are used to being at home by themselves or with their doggie brothers and sisters during the day while you’re at work, so pet sitting often mimics your own daily routine. They are used to exploring the yard or relaxing on their doggie bed during the main part of the day, so pet sitting is a great way not to disrupt their regular routine.
3. Home Environment: Some homes are perfectly suited for pet sitting. Think about where your dog stays when you are gone. Do you have an area of your house gated off, or perhaps a “doggie room?” Maybe you have a dog door with access to a fenced area. Or perhaps they are outdoor dogs with the run of the yard. Or maybe you’re lucky enough that you have a dog that can be trusted in the mainpart of the house. All of these are ideal scenarios for using a pet sitting service. If you are crate training your dog we are able to work with you too, but it’s important that you schedule at least 3 visits per day and preferably at least one longer visit to allow for a good exercise walk. Plus with pet sitting you have the added bonus of a person coming to your house several times a day, turning on and off lights, collecting the mail if you like, and doing other things that give your home a lived in look.
So does your dog have what it takes? If you think he/she does, lets schedule an initial consultation and get you set up for pet sitting services!