Archives for March 2016

Happy National Puppy Day

 National Puppy Day

National Puppy Day is March 23

All the puppies we have ever known seemed to think that every day was made to celebrate them and that every day was National Puppy Day.  And why not???they are so adorable!!!  If a puppy has recently joined your family please be sure to enjoy those early weeks and months. Soon… they will be a distant memory as those sweet pups mature.

To make certain you are meeting your puppy’s needs take a look at this checklist we have adapted from multiple sources.

  • Take your puppy to the vet of your choice within 48 hours of bringing him home. It’s important to get your puppy started on appropriate vaccines beginning around 6 weeks. This link provides a list of area vets.


  • trooper in the woods

    Trooper on the trail

    Ask your vet for recommendations about flea, tick and heart worm preventives. When we adopted Trooper he was heart worm positive. Going through treatment was painful for Trooper and for us. Treatment is always painful for dogs. Heart worm medicine used for dogs is not safe for cats. Heart worm prevention is key.


  • Consult with your vet about the optimum age to have your cats and dogs spayed or neutered. Irresponsible owners allow unplanned and unwanted litters to be produced daily. The only way to prevent pet overpopulation and the resultant high rate of pets being euthanized is to have your cats and dogs fixed. Just do it!!!


  • Take your puppy to new puppy classes. Seek a trainer who uses positive reinforcement techniques. Scroll to the bottom of this page for a list of positive reinforcement trainers we recommend.



  • National Puppy Day

    Dirty Trooper in the dog shower

    Learn what grooming requirements are necessary for your puppy. Matted fur is very uncomfortable for your pup. You can do routine maintenance at home by brushing your dog every few days. Some dogs can easily be groomed at home but others do better with the services of a professional dog groomer.


  • Be realistic about house training. It’s not a quick process. Set yourself and your puppy up for success and be prepared for a full year of close and careful management. Remember that a puppy can generally “hold it” one hour for every month of age. If you work be sure to enlist the help of a neighbor, relative or your local professional pet sitter. The minimal cost at this stage will save you money in the long run and prevent misery for your pup.


  • Provide toys for your puppy and interact often to build that all important bond.

Choose Adoption

The primary reason we celebrate National Puppy Day is to promote the adoption of orphaned, owner surrendered or homeless puppies and to make the public aware of what puppy mills are. We encourage you to adopt from your local shelter or rescue organization or from a breed specific rescue organization.  If you choose to buy your puppy please buy from a reputable breeder.

A reputable breeder does not ship their puppies and does not advertise on Craig’s List or similar outlets.  A reputable breeder will not breed the female dog every heat cycle. A reputable breeder will have one or both of the parents on site, will know the health history, will test the puppy for vision and other health issues and will provide adequate veterinary care for the dogs and puppies.

To learn more about puppy mills please visit the National Mill Dog Rescue.


Pet Poison Prevention

It’s National Pet Poison Prevention Week

March 20 – 26, 2016

Pet Poison Prevention

pet poison prevention

Beautiful AND lethal to cats

Managing all the steps necessary to keep our pets safe, healthy and happy can keep us on our toes. That’s one of the reasons we need reminders such as National Pet Poison Prevention Week. There are so many dangers for our pets that it’s difficult to keep up with all of them.

In the Garden

For instance, did you know that for a cat exposure to any part of a Lily can lead to kidney failure?  Don’t feel badly. More than 70% of cat owners don’t know about all the dangers of lilies. While I was doing research for this blog post I was stunned to learn that even exposure to the water in a vase containing lilies can be lethal for cats.

The Pet Poison Hotline has developed loads of information that we can use. They have developed an awareness campaign, No Lilies for Kitties that provides methods we can use to educate ourselves and each other. I especially like their short videos that highlight the most significant information.  I learned that day lilies, tiger lilies and Easter lilies are among the most deadly.

For cats, exposure to any part of the Lily can lead to kidney failure. Although you can start first aid at home, there are no home remedies for the treatment phase. It’s essential that your cat begin treatment by the veterinarian as soon as possible after exposure and in no case more than 18 hours after exposure.  Any more time than that and your cat will have an extremely poor prognosis, most likely resulting in the need to euthanize your cat due to acute kidney failure.



Along with the Lily there are other plants in the garden and landscape that are poisonous to dogs or cats or both. Be sure to learn about any plants you already have as well as any new plants you are considering. The ASPCA offers a list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs, cats and horses.

pet poison prevention

Harwell Family Vegetable Garden

If you grow vegetables that are toxic to cats or dogs you may want to put a fence around that part of your garden. We learned this the hard way one year after Beau and Luke took a romp through our garden while we had the soaker hose on.  Fortunately, the dogs were not hurt, but we decided to protect our garden from being raided by our pets as well as the deer that live in our woods.

Common vegetables found in the garden that are poisonous include onions, garlic and chives.  Although the ripe fruits of the nightshade family are safe for dogs and cats, the plants are not safe. These include tomato and rhubarb leaves and stems and green potatoes and green tomatoes. We even keep the compost bin inside the fenced in area of the garden.

Dangerous ornamental plants include the sago palm, azalea, hibiscus, daffodil, dieffenbachia, geraniums and hydrangeas. Cocoa mulch gives off a chocolate aroma that is attractive to dogs but not safe for them to ingest. Remember that lawn and garden fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are poisonous to our pets too. Yet another reason to consider organic gardening.

Around the House

The Pet Poison Hotline offers  Preventing-Pet-Poisonings-Infographic (2)that is easy to read and follow. As you walk through your house thinking about pet poison prevention consider these items.

pet poison prevention

3 Hungry Pups Waiting for Peanut Butter

Food: Chocolate, grapes, apple and pear seeds, avocado, onion, garlic, chives, macadamia nuts, caffeine, alcohol, salt, unbaked yeast dough, moldy food and any items containing the artificial ingredient xylitol are poisonous. Even some peanut butter is now sweetened with xylitol so be sure to read the label.

Cleaners:  Laundry and dishwasher soap pods are attractive to pets and dangerous. Oven cleaner, fabric softener, bleach and dryer sheets, rust and lime removers, toilet cleaners and ammonia should all be kept out of reach of our pets. Perhaps you are ready to explore making your own cleaners with far safer ingredients including baking soda and white vinegar. But still exercise caution in storage of these items.

Medications: All prescription and over-the-counter medications should be kept out of reach and sight of pets. We all know how curious they can be. It never ceases to amaze me at what kind of containers and doors determined dogs and cats can open. Be particularly vigilant about medications for the heart and acetaminophen. Whether in human or pet dosages these can be deadly.

Decorative Items: The batteries in our remote control devices are poisonous to our pets.  We need to be very careful with liquid air fresheners and potpourri. Remember our earlier discussion regarding houseplants too. The most dangerous plants are those in the Lily family. Other house plants including asparagus ferns, corn plant, dieffenbachia, cyclamen, philodendron, jade, aloe and pothos are poisonous.

Miscellaneous Items: Often times you will find these items stored in the garage because we use them in or on our vehicles and garden equipment.  These items include anti-freeze, de-icers, windshield cleaners, motor oil, gasoline, kerosene, paint, paint thinner, water softeners and gardening chemicals.


We often hear the old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s certainly true for pet position prevention. We hope these reminders will keep you and your pets safe as you prepare to enjoy your Spring together.

pet poison prevention

Daisy Mae’s Adoption Day Intro to Her New Yard

How to Play with Your Cats

play with your cats

Curious Cat

Do You Know How to Play with Your Cats?

Who doesn’t love to play?!?  That goes for your cats too. Did you know that cats enjoy playing fetch?  It’s a little different than playing fetch with a dog but just as engaging. Cats enjoy hunting for “prey” so you can put their natural instincts to work. When you play with your cats, be sure to let your cats “catch” the prey or it’s much too frustrating for them.

Choose toys that are sized right for your cat to bring to you in her mouth. It’s much more pleasant to have her bring a stuffed “mouse” than the real thing! Try to mimic actions that mice might make when getting your cat’s attention. Or use a feather on a wand and mimic a bird.  It’s really cool to see the cats we take care of engage with their toys and play time will bring you both a lot of pleasure.

Jonasek the kitten gives us a lively demonstration about the joy of playing with cats on this You Tube clip.

D – I – Y Toys

how to play with your cats

Cat cave by Jess

Toys can be expensive motorized ones, inexpensive stuffed mice or totally free paper bags and boxes. One cool idea is to make a cat cave from a box covered with an old t-shirt. Jess from the blog Practically Functional  writes about how easy it is to make this cat cave. Her step by step written instructions with photos demonstrates how she used objects that otherwise would have gone in the trash.



Ali Andrews provides a You Tube clip to demonstrate another method of fashioning a cat cave from a t shirt and box.

how to play with your cats

Stella in her blanket cave

Our friend Stella saves her humans the trouble and creates her own cave under the blankets. In the photo you can see me trying to entice Stella out from under her cave with a toy. Stella also enjoys playing with her very own oatmeal box!




The folks over at World’s Best Cat Litter Blog show a whole bunch more!  Enjoy.

The Playful Kitty Blog provides more ideas.

Inexpensive Cat Toys

play with your cat

cat toys

To help build your bond with your cats it’s a great idea to play with your cats in an interactive manner.  After you play you can put the interactive toys away until the next play session. Your cats will also enjoy the toys more if you rotate them in an out of use just as you might rotate toys in and out of use with your children.

If you are supplying plenty of enrichment via cat caves, elevated surfaces, cat scratchers, cat TV (views of bird feeders outdoors) and indoor kitty gardens your cats will enjoy their day and still get plenty of exercise.


You can find these cat toys in most any pet supply store.

Play-time Etiquette 

It’s best to supervise your cat during play time and to inspect the toys  for safety after each play session.  Remember you play with your cats to give them the necessary exercise, build your bond and to teach them how to play gently. With catnip it’s best to see how your cat responds and remember not to over stimulate your cat.

Mimic the action of their natural prey by dragging the toy away from your cat so he has to chase it.  Let your cat catch the toy and “kill it.”  Keep your hands away so your cat does not learn to scratch or bite you instead of the toy.  The “kill” is the natural reward but a treat or two as a reward from you can signal the end of the play session and your cat will associate the reward with you.

After the play session your cat will be ready to curl up in her comfy cat bed or lounge in a sunny windowsill.

play with your cat

Cat lounging in window sill. All he needs is a view of a bird feeder!





Fun Events to Attend Around LKN in March

Are You Looking for Some Fun Events to Attend Around LKN in March?

Fun Events
  • Thursday, March 10  10:00 AM – 2:00 PM  Free  Live the Good Life Health Fair  Charles Mack Citizen Center, Mooresville                                                                      (Visit with us at booth 79)
  • Saturday, March 19    2:00 PM – 4:00 PM  Free  Hop Into Spring   Robbins Park, Cornelius

Fun Events

Fun Events

  • Saturday, March 19  6:00 PM – 9:30 PM   Mac & Cheese Cookoff   Future Fashion Designers and Mooresville Artists Guild  Art Depot, Mooresville  Fun Events


Happy March!!