National Seeing Eye Dog Day

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January 29th 2015 is dedicated as National Seeing Eye Dog Day.

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Image from http://www.guidedogs.com/

Guide Dogs, or Seeing Eye Dogs as they’re often called, provide support and independence to visually impaired individuals. Often, the companionship of the seeing eye dogs allows a visually impaired person to take many of their daily tasks back into their own hands. Suddenly a world that was always limiting a person is once again re-opened, and they’ve got a constant companion who is looking out for them at all times. The partnership between a trained guide dog and their person is something to behold, and it’s something I’ve always found incredibly powerful and fascinating.

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Image from GDB FB

The Guide Dogs for the Blind is an organization based on the West Coast that is passionate about serving the needs of the visually impaired.  They are the largest Guide Dog school in North America, and provide services to students in the United States and Canada at no cost. The Guide Dogs for the Blind networks with dog breeders, raisers, trainers and more to provide highly skilled canines for service.

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I’ve wanted to be a puppy raiser since I was 9 or 10 years old, it’s just something I’ve always known I would do. I always hoped I’d be able to raise a puppy during my college years, but that just wasn’t in the cards for me at that time. Since moving to Portland though, the idea of raising a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind has come to the forefront of my mind again. The Guide Dogs for the Blind has campuses in both California and Oregon, and because I follow them on facebook, I often see postings of their ‘puppy truck’ deliveries.

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To make my recent temptation even worse, many of you probably know The Today Show has a Guide Dog Puppy In Training on set on their show. He’s been a part of the team for about two weeks now, and his name is Wrangler. He’s nothing short of adorable! Wrangler is on set of The Today Show each morning, but goes home with his own dedicated puppy raiser each night.

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I do realize that puppy raising isn’t for everyone. I also completely acknowledge how difficult it will be to give back a puppy after having raised him or her for over a year. (Typically puppy raisers are with their pups from 8wks- 12 or 14 months) I think the ‘attachment factor’ is the reason that more people don’t puppy raise, and I don’t blame them. But for me, taking on that loss is OK, because I really just want to be involved in the bigger picture. I just know how proud I would feel if the puppy we raised went on to become a serving companion to someone who truly relied on them.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways that anyone can help out the Guide Dogs for the Blind mission! You can start by spreading the word about what GDB is doing. Monetary donations in any amount are always appreciated, or you can show your support by shopping in their online store. Volunteer your time, or even consider signing up to be a puppy raiser, like I am!

So I’d love to hear…have any of you raised a puppy for GDB before? Would you consider it?? Why or why not?? 



Beating the Winter Blues with Best Bully Sticks!

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This winter, we’re using Best Bully Sticks as one technique to help the dogs beat the Wintertime blues. With less time spent outdoors, and more time cooped up inside, we often have to get creative in the ways we mentally engage with our dogs.

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Best Bully Sticks are the #1 selling natural bully sticks on the market, we were excited to have the boys try them!

Natural Odor-free Bully Sticks

Best Bully Sticks are:

  • 100% natural
  • fully digestible
  • each bully stick, or chew has just 1 ingredient
  • a variety of choices appeal to pets of all ages & sizes
  • chewing natural chews promotes good dental hygiene
  • chemical, antibiotic, and hormone free

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The dogs always know when a package is for them, and around here, nearly all of them are! Still, Bear was really really excited when we opened the box to reveal a Beefy Bliss Grab Bag from Best Bully Sticks.

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Scooter also couldn’t believe his luck! He was officially in possession of more chew treats than he knows what to do with! Each bag of Best Bully Sticks is slightly different, but they average out to 4.5lbs- the same weight as Scooter. After that, it took some convincing for me to remind him that this was their bag of treats….

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So after sharing negotiations were settled, I opened the bag and let Bear take his choice. He was nervous to pull straight from the bag, like it was just too good to be true, and plucked the first item off top and ran away to a corner of the rug to dig in.

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Scooter had a hard time deciding on just which beef chew he wanted…first he had to check out what Bear was eating….

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then rifle through the bag of Best Bully Sticks a bit more…

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Before he finally found the right one! He took Bear’s suggestion and went for the same knotted beef chew as his big brother.

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The Beefy Bliss Grab bag has been the perfect way for our pups to try a huge assortment of different beef chews. Beefy chews range in sizes that are suitable for medium and large dogs so we typically have to help Scooter out by finding the smaller ones. All of the bully sticks and other chews found in the Beefy Bliss Grab bag are naturally high in protein which makes me feel great about feeding them to the boys.

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Beefy Bliss Grab Bag includes a combination of these beefy chews:

  • Jumbo Cow Ears
  • Beef Strap
  • Jumbo Beef Strap
  • Mini Bully Stick Knotted Bone
  • Thin Bully Stick Knotted Bone
  • 4″ Bully Stick Lollipop
  • 7″ Bully Stick Lollipop
  • Bully Bone
  • Super Toothpick Tail
  • Cow Hooves

The chews are 100% natural and fully digestible for your pet (unlike some chew products found on the market). They are all sourced from free-ranging Brazilian cattle. It is recommended to store the chews in the freezer because they don’t contain any preservatives- your dog will love them frozen too- an increased challenge!

Disclaimer: SheSpeaksBark was provided with the Best Bully Sticks beef chews for the purpose of this review. SheSpeaksBark was not compensated in any way to write this post. All thoughts and opinions are exclusively my own, and we only share products and services on SheSpeaksBark that we feel are relevant to our readers. As always, thank you for supporting brands that make SheSpeaksBark possible! 


{Black and White Sunday} Bravo Freeze Dried Homestyle Complete

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We’ve found a great new way to feed the dogs while we’re camping, it’s a freeze dried raw food called Bravo Freeze Dried Homestyle Complete. Sold in portion controlled pouches, we’ve found that they’re easy to store and pack.

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These freeze dried raw food packets are great for those camping trips where we hike in a bit before pitching our tent, and therefor need to pack fairly light. They come in three flavor options: turkey, pork, and beef for your pup to enjoy.

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The dogs think they taste great, and they’re incredible from a pet parenting standpoint as well! They’re a healthy, complete meal that you can feel good about feeding your pets. We are happy to be able to pack our Bravo Freeze Dried Homestyle Complete dinners in Bear’s saddle bags and let him do the hauling- because they’re so lightweight he actually doesn’t even know they were there.


Supplementing with the Best: Wag Lifetime Joint Care

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Aside from feeding your dogs and cats the best food you can afford, what else do you do to ensure their long term health? For us, it’s always been supplementation in one form or another. We’ve tried many commercial pet vitamin and supplement products, add our own healthy mix-in’s to the dogs meals, and even use some safe herbal supplementation on occasion. It’s always been a bit of a hybrid method over here, doing what works for the needs of each of our dogs, and changing as we become better pet parents, and educate ourselves even more each year about pet health.

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Did you know that over 20% of American dogs are thought to suffer from arthritis from as early as 1 year of age? That equates to nearly an entire lifetime of aches and pains that our pups are silently suffering through. Sadly, studies have also shown a 38% increase in pet arthritis cases since 2007 alone! This rapid increase in arthritis cases is due to an inflammatory response in these animals bodies that is caused by stressors and toxins in the environment that we are all bombarded by on a daily basis. While I’m no expert on the subject, here’s one thing I do know: inflammation is a killer; for people, and for pets.

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Wag Lifetime Joint Care is a premium pet supplement. Premium is not a word we just throw around here at SheSpeaksBark. Pet Research, the makers of Wag Lifetime Joint Care, use ingredients that are licensed, branded & patented to ensure your pets safety. This gives you, the pet parent, a firm peace of mind that your beloved pets are getting quality controlled ingredients. Ingredients used in pet supplements are only able to be patented and branded once they have undergone rigorous testing that confirms their effectiveness.

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The Wag Lifetime Joint Care is a complete supplement; this means it addresses your dogs joints, bones, tendons and ligaments, unlike many other supplements on the market which likely focus on a single aspect of structural care. It’s been clinically proven to be 5x more effective than glucosamine & contdroitin. This incredible supplement also contains a patented blend of minerals which are bound with amino acids so they absorb into your pups bloodstream quickly, instead of being flushed out with waste- bound to salts.

 

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The superstar ingredient in the Wag Lifetime Joint Care is actually something we’re all familiar with- eggshell membrane! That’s right, like from inside a chicken egg. Once I learned this little tidbit (after we’d been using the product with Scooter a bit) I was basically mind-blown and had a flashback to our days living in Kansas. We used to raise chickens then, and the dogs got A LOT of eggs- both raw and cooked in every form possible. When we’d hard boil the eggs (my favorite) we’d occasionally crush up the egg shells for calcium, and both dogs LOVED that weird little layer between the egg and the shell- the egg shell membrane! 

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We love Wag Lifetime Joint Care because:

  • Tablet form is easy to use, store, and travel with
  • No mess, no odor
  • All natural, quality controlled ingredients
  • It is effective in as little as 1 week!
  • It is made in the USA
  • It can be used on dogs of all ages- puppies to seniors
  • A full 30-day money back guarantee if you don’t love it shows that they stand behind their product

Each bottle of Wag has 60 power-packed tablets. Pet Research company offers several different ordering options- including an auto-ship option to ensure your precious pups never run out of their Wag Lifetime Joint Care! The company pays your shipping too, hello awesome!

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We were originally sent this product to try specifically with Scooter, to see if it could help with his limited range of motion (caused by his leg deformities) For those of you who don’t know, Scooter has fused kneecaps in his back legs. He can walk and run, although it is not the same way a dog with four normal legs does. He cannot really jump at all (more than a few inches at least) meaning that furniture and more has always been out of access for him. We were hoping that Wag Lifetime Joint Care could give him a greater freedom through more mobility. I’m happy to tell you that it’s been working well for Scooter!

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We’ve caught him attempting the stairs recently, which is great progress, but it actually left us worried. They’re cement stairs that he and Bear use to access our backyard, as he goes up them though he is knocking his knees on each cement step. We decided he needed a greater amount of freedom indoors though, and purchased these fabric lined stairs (photo above) to give Scooter easy access to our furniture, seeing out the window, etc. After seeing how well the Wag Lifetime Joint Care tablets have worked for Scoot, we’re planning to get Bear on them immediately as well. We have had the honor to try out many types of supplements over the years, but this is the first product that has shown us such quick results. And possibly the biggest PRO yet, unlike some of the other supplements that we’ve tried, we haven’t reached a point where I feel as if the Wag Lifetime Joint Care has stopped being effective for Scooter either, which has happened to us with several products in the past. There’s nothing more frustrating than a product that works initially for your pet, and then who’s efficacy seems to die down just after you think you’ve found relief.

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In fact, we love Wag Lifetime Joint Care so much, that we’ve signed up to become affiliates. Happily, the folks at Wag are also offering a Special Introductory Offer for SheSpeaksBark readers where you can get your first bottle for just $29.97 (it’s a $47.97 dollar value!) which, when taken into consideration with their full money back guarantee if you don’t love it (you will), means you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by trying a bottle of Wag Lifetime Joint Care for your pups. Click here to get started! 

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Disclaimer: SheSpeaksBark was provided with a complimentary bottle of Wag Lifetime Joint Care for the purposes of an honest review. SheSpeaksBark was not compensated in any way to write this post. All thoughts and opinions are exclusively my own, and we only share products and services on SheSpeaksBark that we feel are relevant to our readers. As always, thank you for supporting brands that make SheSpeaksBark possible!



National Walk your Dog Month + Dog Walking Apps Feature

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It’s National Walk your Dog Month and we’ve been making more of an effort to get out for evening walks with the dogs as we know it’s good for all of us- both pups and people.

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There are plenty of benefits to walking your pet regularly:

  • a properly exercised pet is less likely to get into mischief
  • walking is both physical and mental exercise, especially when you give your dog some say into the route, and let him/her sniff some during the walk
  • each walk provides an opportunity to further your pups socialization
  • turn every walk into a training opportunity
  • walking with your pet will help to strengthen your bond

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Like many pet parents, I personally struggle with getting motivated to go out for walks most when the weather is crummy or cold. The fact that the dogs seem to feel the same sure doesn’t help! I think that having great gear is an essential part of enjoying your walks together, despite the weather. Here in Portland, we’re lucky to have fairly moderate weather when compared to the rest of the country. We do however, get a lot of precipitation, and our walks are often wet. Our human family members don boots, rain pants and rain jackets for walks while the dogs each wear their jackets. (See Bears & Scooters coats)

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I shared a sneak-peek during a previous Wordless Wednesday post where we revealed we’ve been using two different apps to keep us motivated, while also raising money for animal shelters- a passion close to our hearts! The two apps are called ResQWalk and WoofTrax. They’re both free to download, and use GPS to track you on a walk with your dogs, without your dogs, while you grocery shop, run errands, etc. and then convert that mileage into dollar donations for your favorite rescue!

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These apps both track your activity using GPS, so running/walking on a treadmill will not count, but all of your walks indoors and outdoors (as long as you aren’t stationary) should work well. We’ve found that both of these apps work with biking as well! With Wooftrax you must change the ‘mode’ to biking, and with ResQWalk there isn’t a way to change the mode, but it tracks your biking as long as you don’t go too fast.

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Here’s a quick summary of how they work:

1. Download each of the free apps (avail. on apple store and google play)
because you can run them simultaneously!
2. Choose which shelter you will be walking for
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3. Complete limited profile information
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4. Begin walking to raise $$
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5. It’s really as simple as that!
The most difficult part is the first week, as you have to train yourself to start the app when you begin walking! It quickly becomes highly motivating as you see how much we can easily raise for shelter animals!

These apps have been in regular use in our house since early December, and they’ve truly been the biggest motivator for us to get out and pound the pavement with the dogs more regularly. As you’ll see we have three different shelters selected as our favorites. If you’d like to learn more about any of them, or choose to walk on behalf of any of these shelters, they are:

Pottawatomie County Caring Hearts Humane Society (Where I volunteered when we lived in Kansas)

Angels with Misplaced Wings

Panda Paws Rescue

I’m also a part of a dedicated facebook group for walkers of Panda Paws Rescue- and the additional support and motivation from being a part of the group has been a blast!

Have you and your pups downloaded Wooftrax and/or ResQWalk yet? We’re hoping our post today will encourage you to do so if you already haven’t!