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Beer Paws for a Cause: No More Puppy Mills

I have committed to always donating 10% of all profits from my business Beer Paws to animal welfare organizations. Today only, 20% of bottle opener sales from my webstore will benefit Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, a leader in the fight to reform dog breeding regulations.

I live in the state of Missouri, aka the “puppy mill capital.”

Puppy mills are commercial breeding facilities where dogs aren’t treated as man’s best friend or even his least favorite second cousin. Puppy mill dogs don’t get socialized, and they don’t get groomed. They exist solely to procreate as often as possible, their offspring headed for pet stores or wherever they may fetch the highest price.

When they can no longer reproduce, puppy mill breeding dogs tend to be dispatched, with the lucky few ending up in rescue.

Puppy mill dogs tend to be purebreds and high-demand hybrid breeds like Pearl, a labradoodle I know.

Pearl

Pearl

Rescued puppy mill breeding dogs often come with significant behavioral and health issues. Pearl has had trouble in her lady parts from having multiple litters, and there’s a notch in her tongue.

The offspring of dogs like Pearl aren’t always in the best condition either. Pet store pups exhibit more health and psychological problems, according to Psychology Today.

The whole puppy mill issue sucks, but it’s actually getting a little better in Missouri, thanks in part to one tireless organization.

According to the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, which has lobbied full-time on behalf of animal issues in the state since 1990:

  • In 2009, there were 1,998 commercial breeders and dealers, as of May 30, 2013; there are 963 which means 1,035 puppy mills are gone!
  • In 2009, there were 9 inspectors, currently there are 14 animal health inspectors, 2 investigators, and 3 veterinarian inspectors.  So it went from 9 people in the field to 19 in the field today.
  • The number of inspections conducted in 2008 was 1,169; the number of inspections last year was 3,460, which means that the number of inspections conducted has tripled.
  • In addition to the number of breeders decreasing, the number of dogs per facility has also decreased.  The average number of adult female breeding dogs per facility has declined from 44.5 to 39.2.
  • Those mills that still exist have substantially increased their standards of care due to the new law.  Many have built brand new facilities.

Many of these improvements are owed to the passage of the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act in 2011, which enacted tougher regulations for breeders in Missouri and funded more inspections of breeding facilities. MAAL was a leading force in educating and mobilizing the public to vote for that bill.

Some MAAL members are even featured in the trailer for the forthcoming documentary Dog by Dog.

The fight for animal welfare in my state and beyond continues, as you can see in that film clip and by the frequent updates on MAAL’s website and Facebook feed.

Prominent in MAAL’s recent updates are announcements of a fundraiser happening tonight. Pints for Paws takes place at an Old Chicago in Olathe, Kansas. Twenty percent of the restaurant’s profits tonight will be donated to MAAL.

Although I cannot personally attend the event, I am also supporting this organization today – with a little help from my friends.

If you’ve been waiting to buy a Beer Paws bottle opener like Pearl’s now is the time! 

20% of all Beer Paws bottle opener purchases made at my webstore by midnight Central Standard Time will be donated to MAAL. 

Let’s see how much we can raise for the fight against puppy mills and the overall better treatment of all animals in the state of Missouri!

I’ll report tomorrow on our success. Watch for updates on Facebook throughout the day.

SHOP NOW!

Pre-order silver and glow-in-the-dark bottle openers for guaranteed U.S. delivery by July 4. A limited number of turquoise openers are available for immediate shipment.

Update on Tessa the Blue Pit Bull

Yesterday, I wrote my very first check as a business owner.

It was for $25, and the money went directly toward helping this pretty lady:

adoptable pit bull in Kansas City

I felt so proud and grateful at the same time!

The only thing that would have made the experience better is if Tessa and I had run into her future family while we were out walking.

The money, of course, was proceeds from Beer Paws – the new little business that you all have been helping to support through purchases and by spreading the word. Tessa and I both thank you!

She seems to be doing OK, by the way.

adoptable blue pit bull kansas city

I think she has put on a little weight, and her sensitive blue velvet coat is in good condition.

Although Miss Tessa so far doesn’t seem too great around other dogs, I think she will blossom into a wonderful companion for someone.

She’s very excited about meeting new people. And in my experience, she is neither afraid nor dominant with humans. She is rather independent, but I think she just needs a chance to bond with a person of her own.

While I cannot adopt Tessa, I will continue to do what I can to help her and dogs like her, through this blog, direct action like walking her and through the Beer Paws brand.

This past weekend, I added a new product to the line – turquoise bottle openers for collars and leashes.

Turquoise Beer Paws bottle opener

As always, a portion of every sale will go towards animal rescue.

However, to keep the bookkeeping easy as the Beer Paws brand continues to grow, I’m shifting the donation from a dollar amount to a percentage – 10 percent, to be exact.

So, every time you buy something from Beer Paws, one-tenth of your purchase price will be designated to help an animal rescue organization like Midwest Adopt-a-Bull and dogs like Tessa.

Does that sound like a good deal to you?

Stay tuned for announcements of more Beer Paws products – and, of course, updates about beautiful Miss Tessa.

Congratulations to the winner of the Beer Paws giveaway – Emily from Adventures of a Dog Mom!

What a Lovely Blue Velvet Coat

Meet Tessa

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This pretty little pittie girl used to live in unsavory circumstances in a house full of dogs. Then, she ended up on death row.

Lucky for her, Midwest Adopt-a-Bull recently saved her.

However, her foster home didn’t work out, and now blue Tessa is back to living in a cage.

Until we can find her a new foster or forever home, Tessa is in boarding at A Dog’s Fun Playce, a rescue center and doggy daycare in my neighborhood.

Her accommodations aren’t bad, but she sure was happy to get out over the weekend when I stopped by.

Although we had never met before, Tessa greeted me with a kiss before dragging me out of the shelter.

She’s a pocket pittie at just about 45 pounds, but Tessa is pure muscle, and she’s not yet used to walking on a leash. For the first half an hour, she pulled like a sled dog, but as she got tired, she walked more politely.

tessa pro

I know with more practice, she will be a great walking or jogging companion.

My most important discovery about Tessa is that she’s not afraid of people. In fact, she likes them a lot and even gave kisses to two of my neighbors.

People like Tessa, too. Her silvery blue velvet coat garnered many compliments during my outing with her.

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I plan on seeing Tessa again this week.

In the meantime, I am hoping to do some things to improve her current situation, such as bringing her Kongs and bones.

You can help Tessa, too.

Please consider making a donation in her name to Midwest Adopt-a-Bull, whose tiny budget is being stretched to the limit by the cost of her boarding.

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If you would like to get something tangible in exchange for your giving, you can also buy a Beer Paws bottle opener from my Storenvy shop.

Beer Paws bottle opener

The front.

Beer Paws bottle opener

The back.

These button style bottle openers look great on your dog’s collar, at the end of a leash or on your own bag or keys. They’re even silver, like Tessa.

Until further notice, at least $1 from each Beer Paws sale will go directly toward Tessa’s care.

Order online today, and I will personally send you a Beer Paw!

Contact me with any questions.

A Tale of Two Cincos

The best part about having a very tiny dog is how easy it is to take him everywhere.

Scooby the elderpin and I met for the first time at a party, and he has continued to be a social fellow through our six+ years together, zipping underfoot at events I hosted and making the rounds from the crook of my arm during gatherings outside of our home.

Cinco de Mayo, 2009:

miniature pinscher in a sombrero cinco de mayo

Cinco de Mayo, 2009

The occasion: a vegetarian potluck, at my then-friend Zach’s house.

Zach had not yet encountered a certain golden retriever wandering the streets of Kansas City but welcomed my miniature pinscher into his dogless home for the party.

As soon as we arrived, a tiny sombrero was produced, furnished by a neighbor especially for Scooby.

In addition to the dog, I also brought a bowl full of guacamole made from overripe avocados. It wasn’t very good, but the guests pretended not to notice. Meanwhile, I pretended not to hang on my handsome host’s every word.

And Scooby didn’t have a single accident on the floor.

Cinco de Mayo, 2013:

miniature pinscher wearing a hoodie

Cinco de Mayo 2013

The occasion: Kansas City’s Cinco de Mayo Chihuahua Parade.

This year, I found myself in good company as a person with a novelty-sized canine.

Although this local attempt to break a world record for number of dogs in costume was open to all breeds, its advertisement as a Chihuahua-centric gathering attracted a preponderance of people with very small dogs of presumably Mexican heritage.

His sombrero long since gone, Scooby (who is often mistaken for a Chihuahua) sported his official KC Pittie Pack hoodie – and for most of the day, a blanket.

It was so unseasonably chilly, that Scooby’s new friend Piper, a teacup Chihuahua of just 2.5 pounds, never even fully emerged from Kennel Creek trainer Diana’s lunchbag pet carrier.

teacup chihuahua

Is that a pup or a peanut?

Despite the cold weather and a turnout not nearly high enough to break the current record of over 1,300 costumed dogs, Scooby and I had a lovely day with friends old and new. For me, it was especially nice to just have fun after our recent slew of sad life happenings.

Instead of thinking about all that, today we walked in the parade. We visited the Good Dog 2 Go food truck for dogs. We helped hand out Kennel Creek leashes.

And we sold the first of a new official Wayward Dogs product that happens to be perfect for people who love dogs and parties!

If you haven’t already seen the teaser photo of this product on the Wayward Dogs Facebook page, you can guess what it might be from this old blog post.

More details to come very soon!

Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your dog?

Big thanks to everyone for your support over the past couple of weeks. It is good to receive kind and empathetic words when the days get dark.

Benefit of a Buzz Cut

Luke said c’est la vie to his golden locks.

golden retriever gets a buzzcut

Luke’s imitation of a goldendoodle.

In the hopes that the weather will soon get warm and stay that way, Luke recently got the shortest haircut he has ever had.

My goals with this ‘do were:

  1. To reduce summer shedding
  2. To lengthen the typical time between grooms
  3. To limit his opportunities to accumulate debris (especially the thorny kind)

But getting Luke shorn extra short also came with another benefit.

The groomer found a stray staple in one of the scars from his recent lump removals.

Apparently, the vet missed this staple on the follow-up visit. It may be why the swelling around that particular incision site never completely subsided.

All is well now, though. The vet removed the staple, and Luke is now living proof that regular grooming is good for more than aesthetics and comfort. Regular grooming can help uncover health issues before they become a problem.

Big thanks to the groomer at Kennel Creek Pet Resort for being thorough with our Luke!

Has your groomer ever discovered something strange on your pet?

Happy Ending: Dusty Rhodes

“I’ve wined and dined with kings and queens and slept in alleys eating pork and beans.”- Dusty Rhodes

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Remember that sad, little shepherd mix my friends found recently on the hard streets of Kansas City?

Well, he’s doing much better now.

In fact, you might say little Dusty Rhodes, named for a pro wrestler, is living “The American Dream.”

Because my friends were able to get around a dog weight restriction at their apartment, Dusty Rhodes came home with them.

He now has a mom, a dad and a tiny beagle sister named Daphne.

No more sleeping at the park for this guy!

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Congratulations, Dusty!

Unfortunately, the list of dogs in need is neverending.

Another friend found an equally adorable shepherd mix with no collar, tags or microchip around 73rd and Harrison streets in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City yesterday.

Please share her photo if you have Kansas City contacts so that we may track down an owner before the dog is turned over to animal control.

black and tan shepherd mix

Do you recognize me?

From the Streets to the Shelter

What would you do if you found this at your neighborhood park?

shepherd mix

Fortunately for this little shepherd mix, when my friends stumbled across him a few days ago they did more than hurry past and try to forget about the sad sight.

They contacted animal control.

That’s not always an easy call to make. The shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, is not in good condition, and although euthanasia rates are down, not every animal makes it out of there alive.

For these reasons, my friends weren’t thrilled to send the pup to the city pound, but they weren’t in a position to tend to his immediate needs.

They did the right thing.

And again, they did not simply turn their backs when the truck drove off with the stray animal.

They recognized that to survive the shelter, this dog would need allies on the outside.

So, they shared his picture and story on social networks and lost pet forums.

They called up the shelter to see how he was doing.

They even went to visit him.

shepherd mix

My friends would really like to adopt this dog, but at 45 pounds he is slightly too large for the rules set by their apartment complex.

They say he seems to be friendly and sweet, and the shelter estimates he is between 6 months and 1 year old.

Today, he is officially available for adoption from KC Pet Project. His identification number is 19425723.

Please share this dog’s story with anyone you know who may be interested in adopting him.

What do you do when you find a wayward dog?

Read more about the experience of finding this dog at ginchy!

Dog Food Scandal: What If They Were What They Ate?

When the recent horse meat scandal erupted, I knew it was not the last we would hear about deceptive meat substitution on a large scale.

Then, a relative forwarded to me this story from an agricultural industry trade journal:

Pretty disgusting, huh?

According to the full version of the story by the Daily Mail, it is suspected that stray dogs were picked up off the streets in Spain and stolen from animal sanctuaries. Then, their bodies were processed into animal feed.

Everything about this story is disturbing.

And that should be true for you whether or not you are a dog person.

It’s amazing how little we really know about any of the food we buy.

dog food taste test.jpg

Whether we are getting kibble for our pets or enjoying a fancy meal out, we make our decisions based on what the label or menu says.

We trust stores, manufacturers and restaurants to tell us the truth. We have to.

For while we might know what a hamburger tastes like, our senses cannot tell us if the meat is composed of something more than beef.

Who’s to say about that filet of fish, either?

According to The Atlantic, 59% of the “tuna” eaten by Americans is not tuna at all.

As with the horse meat and tainted pet food, the fish findings are based on genetic testing. Without whistle blowers and a scientific investigation, no one would know the truth.

Considering the precarious economic state of the world right now, I fear there may be more disgusting new like this to come.

So, what do we do – as humans and pet caretakers?

  • Whenever possible, consume food that is grown and distributed locally.
  • If that isn’t practical, pay attention to the labels. Buy the highest-quality pet food you can for your pets, preferably with ingredients sourced in the United States or Canada.

What advice would you add to this list? Do you worry about where your food – and your pet’s food comes from? What are you currently feeding your pets?

The Wayward Dogs currently eat Petcurean grain-free kibble that we get from the Boutique at Kennel Creek Pet Resort.

Is That Charlie Machete on a Baseball Cap?

I try to downplay the fact that I’m a crazy dog lady when I’m at work.

For example, I tried not to talk too much about the pack yesterday, while I was at an all-day conference and trade show for my job.

But then, in the product showcase area, I saw these hats.

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I’m pretty sure Charlie Machete could have been the model on this one:

Dri Duck black lab embroidered cap

The company behind these hats is called DRI DUCK, and it is based in Overland Park, Kansas.

In addition to the labradors, walleyes and deer, they offer a wide variety of other neat animal and nature designs.

What do you think? Would you wear one of these hats?

Return of the Blizzard

On Tuesday, the world outside our Kansas City windows looked like this. image

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In a follow-up to last week’s snowstorm, Snowpocalypse II dumped another 10-12 inches across the metro, and pretty much shut down the city.

The dogs and I didn’t mind too much, since it was perfectly possible to snuggle get work done on the couch in the home office.

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Can’t you see I’m working here?

And then, suddenly, it was no longer possible to be so productive. Right after I snapped that Instagram of Charlie Machete playing office, we heard a loud pop across the street.

A transformer had exploded, and the power would be out for the next 20 hours or so.

Reportedly, some 100,000 people lost power at some point during the storm.

As one of them, I feel incredibly lucky that friends and family offered us a respite from the cold overnight.

Bonus: The sleeping accommodations included a fireplace and Charlie Machete’s spastic girlfriend Roxy.

Wherever you are today, I send you warm wishes!

Have you ever been stuck with your dogs and no electricity? Share your story in the comments!

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