Answer: When It’s From RescueChocolate.com

It’s the holiday season again, and as usual, most pet-related sites have been reminding us of all of those goodies that we love, but that can be a potential risk to our pets. Top among these is chocolate, but here’s a twist: the people at RescueChocolate.com while certainly not suggesting that you serve their chocolates to dogs, are donating 100% of their net profits to animal rescue organizations around the country.

I'm very happy that you will be supporting rescue dogs by buying some chocolates from RescueChocolate.com, but I'll be even happier if you don't give any to me.

Located in Brooklyn, NY, they manufacture  assorted flavors of 100% vegan chocolates including Peanut Butter Pit Bull and Foster-iffic Peppermint, all reasonably priced and all ready to make any of your animal-loving friends very happy this holiday season. (Chocolate is always a hit gift with me, but any product that also supports animal welfare is right in line with the philosophy behind my ScooPup Pockets.)

So remember, chocolate contains theobromine, a naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean, which is highly toxic to dogs in sufficient quantities. While it does take a large amount of the stuff to cause a toxic reaction, you must always consider the animal’s size, the concentration of the chocolate and the individual animal’s sensitivity. For instance, 2 oz of bakers chocolate can be very toxic to a 15 lb dog, but the same amount of milk chocolate would most likely only cause digestive problems. If you suspect that you dog may have ingested chocolate, or any other toxic substance, call your vet or the ASPCA’s National Animal Poison Control at 888.426-4435.

For more great information about dogs and chocolate visit dogownersdigest.com. For a comprehensive list of 25 human foods that are toxic to dogs, visit the animalpetsandfriends website.


(2 Million) Dog(s) Tired

It’s been nearly two weeks since my last post.  Other than when I first began blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever been quiet for quite so long.  I do apologize to my loyal readers, but it’s taken me all this time just to feel “normal” again.  The 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk was Sunday, November 7th and I can honestly say that I’ve never worked harder on anything in my life.  I’ve organized events before, but never for charity and never with a crew of less than a dozen people.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: fundraising ain’t no place for sissies.  You can quote me.  One nice side-effect is that I’ve lost nearly 10 lbs.  I call it the 501(c)3 diet and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.


Puppy Up! Walk, Seattle's Seward Park, November 7th 2010

Eight-odd weeks ago, when I signed on to organize the inaugural 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk for Seattle, I was more than pessimistic.  That’s my nature, but I was also being a realist.  Seattle had just had two major fundraising events for dogs, the PAWS Walk and the Seattle Humane Society’s Walk for the Animals.  Not to mention, our walk was going to be November 7th, and as anyone from the Pacific Northwest will tell you, November isn’t the best time to be outdoors in Seattle, unless you are a duck.


However, what I hadn’t anticipated, was the passion that Luke Robinson’s cause had ignited in the people of Western Washington. The ugly truth of the matter is that far too many people have lost their beloved companions to cancer, or are currently facing the disease.  Sure, we all love dogs and we will always support the walks that help the shelter dogs, but losing a dog to cancer cuts deep.  The people that came to support Luke’s cause and walked with us on November 7th were there for those that they had lost.  They carried pictures of their dogs, held leashes that once connected them to their boys and girls and carried the memory of that loss with them as they walked.

It poured all day and all night on Saturday while we prepared for the event.  But early Sunday morning, I woke to the sound of no rain, something that you immediately recognize here in Pacific Northwest.  By the time our caravan of five vehicles headed out toward Seward Park, dawn was breaking and there were patches of blue in the sky.  Incredibly, the sun came out and we had not a drop of rain fall on our Walk.

While the official final count has yet to come in, it’s looking like Seattle’s Puppy Up! Walk managed to raise over $22,ooo, which puts us ahead of the 12 cities that participated this first year.  So while I might be very tired still, I’m incredibly proud of what I managed to pull off, and incredibly proud of my fellow Seattleites for their support.  Thank you all, and we’ll see you next year.

If you would like to host a Puppy Up! Walk in your city in 2011, please visit 2MillionDogs.org for information on how you can become a part of this great organization.





It’s the final push here at the Seattle office of the 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk.  It doesn’t seem possible, but 48 hours from now, our Walk will be coming to a close.  I can’t take the time at this moment to tell you all about what an unbelievable rollercoaster ride this has been for me, but I promise to reflect and write a proper blog about my experience next week.

In the meantime, please watch this video that KPCQ reporter Brian Callanan put together.  It really says it all.

This afternoon, while taking a work break to toss a ball with Riley and his sister-in-law Bailey (who, by the way, took second place at COLA’s Dog-O-Ween this past Saturday!), I realized that I hadn’t been down to the lower yard in a few days. This is the part of our property that became known as “New Poolandia” when we decided to fence it in, and give Riley and his pals a little more room to run around (and poop) in. There were so many gifts left in the yard that hadn’t been picked up, it had gone way beyond ScooPup Pocket time. I’m talking backhoe here. Don’t want to get too graphic, but maybe you’ll remember this blog while tossing a 10 lb sack of rice into your cart, the next time you are at Costco.

Why so busy you might ask? I’ve been spending the better part of the past few weeks organizing Seattle’s 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk. It’s hard work, and while there are 10 ten days to go until November 7th, I’m proud to say that as of this minute, greater Seattle has managed to raise close to $9,500.

I promise the blogs will be a bit longer and back to my old frequency, after November 7th. (I might even have a surprise or two.) At the moment, I’ve got to get back to work. (Don’t even want to think about reality of picking up after 2 million dogs!) In the meantime, please help me spread the word about Luke Robinson’s mission to find a cure for canine cancer, by funding cutting-edge research in comparative oncology studies – which, by the way, benefit people as well as dogs. Please visit 2 MillionDogs.org to learn how you can get involved. Thanks, and Puppy Up!

in Dragon Slayer Sydney sneaks up on Bailey the Dragon

Normally, I'm a flying cow. Today I'm a dragon.

Roadtrip With Your Dog

Yesterday, Riley and I spent a few hours driving to those parts of Seattle that still hadn’t been covered with posters for the November 7th, 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk .  I’m not crazy about taking him with me when he’s not really getting any exercise as I drive from pet store to vet to pet store, but at least he’s not home alone and bored.

When we hit the road for long trips, I stuff a couple of pillows behind the front seats and put his blanket on top, which creates a nice little nest for him in the back seat. Of course, he’s also securely seat belted. I’m sure some people would look at us and think that he was pretty spoiled, or that I was a little over-protective, but I could care less what they think. He’s my boy, and I’m all about keeping him safe, comfortable and happy.

As we drove onto the West Seattle Bridge, I noticed a dog in the back of a pickup truck. He was excitedly moving all over the back of the truck bed, obviously not restrained in any way.

In my opinion not safe, but better than nothing.

The truck was going about 50 MPH. You can imagine how angry that made me. If they hadn’t headed toward the exit for the Alaskan Way Viaduct (a safety risk in its own right), I swear I was thinking about trying to pull them over to give them a piece of my mind.

I just don’t understand how some people can be so stupid. If this is so safe, why don’t we transport our children this way? I’ve blogged about this before, but I think this issue bears repeating. Currently, only California has legislation on this practice, but I would like to see the day when every state has a law in place that would subject anyone caught doing this to a hefty fine.

Once again, to me this practice only confirms the fact that while some of us treat our dogs like spoiled rotten kids, far too many people with dogs are truly “owners” who still consider their pets to be their property, rather than creatures to love, protect and care for.

If you’ve ever wanted to find out what you were made of, try organizing a charity event. For the past few weeks, I have been working pretty much non-stop on the 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk, since  I volunteered to be the Seattle City Leader. My little company, Tiny Growl*, has been pretty much put on hold for the cause.  In case you hadn’t heard, 2 Million Dogs was formed with the singular aim of eradicating cancer in pets and people and it will work towards that end by educating people about and investing in comparative oncology studies.”

Even though everyone agrees that this is a wonderful cause and have expressed interest in joining the walk on November 7th, I’ve not been too lucky finding volunteers to help me organize the event.  I realized that if this walk was going to happen in Seattle, it was going to be up to me to put in the hours sending emails, making phone calls and hitting the bricks. It’s hard work, but considering that this organization sprang from Luke Robinson’s 2300 mile, two year walk from Austin to Boston, this is a piece of cake. Quite frankly, distributing the posters these past two days forced to take a much-needed break from my “home office”.  While I was happy to get away from the computer, I really had no idea what an undertaking this task was going to be in a city the size of Seattle.

To begin, I had to find every pet-related business in the area, this included: pet supply shops, pet groomers, veterinarians and veterinary hospitals, dog groomers, dog walkers, dog trainers, doggie day care, dog kennels, dog parks and dog-friendly restaurants and bars.  List in hand, it was time to plot the best way to efficiently drive from one part of town to the next, figuring in all of the road closures, one-way streets, rush hour traffic and the rest.

Fortunately, I had the luxury of having my significant other chauffeur me on Friday, so at least I didn’t have to worry about wasting time looking for parking spaces. I’d like to say that things went smoothly, but aside from a few customary fights between pilot and co-pilot, I was completely taken aback by the number of stores that weren’t willing to put our poster in their window! I’m not so much talking about the owner-operated shops, I’m talking about the major chains.  These days, it seems it’s all about image.  God forbid their “brand” might be muddied by hanging a poster in their window or at the counter with a dissimilar font or color scheme.  (Whatever Barnes & Noble.)

With three weeks to go and plenty of posters and postcards left to distribute, I will have the help of a couple of people this coming week.  November 7th is looming, and there’s still a lot that I need to focus on, not to mention figuring out what costume Riley should wear for Dog-O-Ween this year.  Hmmm, maybe he wouldn’t mind wearing a 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk sandwich board?

*From now through November 7th, Tiny Growl will donate $3 from every ScooPup Pocket sold to 2  Million Dogs.

The life of Riley, that’s literally and figuratively what my dog leads. Luckily for him, he was adopted by a dog loving family with the time and the means to give him a wonderful life. Far too many shelter dogs aren’t so lucky. In fact, too many dogs in “good homes” are still treated as property, and not as the as living, feeling, wonderful creatures that they are.

It’s a commitment to have a dog in your life, but just what does it take to make a good life for your dog? They need exercise, a decent diet, good veterinary care, things to do to keep them from getting bored and above all, as much love as you can give them.

So much of my daily routine revolves around Riley, and vice versa. My day starts a bit earlier than his. Although I would love to, I can’t afford to embrace his penchant for occasionally sleeping until noon. Most days, I’ve already been working in Tiny Growl’s home office for a couple of hours before he emerges yawing from the bedroom. He’ll walk into the room, stretching as he goes and I’ll let him out to start his day.


11am: First kitty watch


His first job is to sniff around our patio to see if the neighbor’s cat spent the night on the loveseat again. Next, it’s on to inspect those spots that the raccoons have been known to frequent. Once those areas are secured, he flies down to the lower yard for a thorough sniff and check. After a while, I will hear the sound of his doorbell, an assume that all of his business is done and he’s ready for breakfast.

Riley is not one of those dogs who eats quickly. In fact, his eating habits could fill an entire blog, so I’ll save that for another day. After breakfast, he always gets a burst of energy and wherever I am, I can hear him fishing around in his toy bag, which makes a loud crinkly sound, as he looks for just the right toy to present to me. We usually run around the house for a bit playing keep away, and then he’s ready for his post-meal nap, while I get back to work.

The rest of his day follows its routine of naps, punctuated by intervals of kitty and squirrel watch, trips to the yard, barking to warn me of the imminent dangers of cars coming down the driveway and the worst of all possible interlopers, the UPS or Fedex truck!


Riley and Bailey



Riley and Sydney: What's she doing on my bed?"


Many days, Riley will have a visit from either his fiance´ Sydney, his god-daughter Bailey (Syd’s new little sister), or both. When the girls are here, the three of them have their own routines. As for me, on a rainy Seattle day, it’s hard to get a lot of work done, when I have to wipe 12 muddy paws every half-hour or so.

On days without the girls, if I’m caught up in my work, Riley will quietly woof to remind me that it’s time for our walk. Sometimes we walk in the hood, but if I feel the need, we will head to one of our favorite parks for a good long hike.

By the time we get back, Riley is ready for dinner, and I’m thinking about my first glass of wine. After dinner, it’s time for another round of games, or Riley will find one of his puzzle treat balls and quite literally chuck it at me. I may fill it once with a few treats, but he’s too good at getting them out, so I sometimes give him a homemade puzzle, which consists of a treat inside a box or a paper tube that is destined for the recycle bin. He loves to figure out the best way to tear into the paper to find his reward.

After a movie and some couch potato time for us, it’s time for “last outs” and bed. I have to admit, that while Riley has a wonderfully comfortable bed of his own, when usually chooses to sleep with me. Since my significant other is on the road quite a bit, having Riley next to me snoring away is comforting, not to mention, he makes a really good bed warmer. Most nights, he drifts off to sleep and dreams – making little growls and soft barking sounds, kicking his legs as he chases and actually catches those rotten squirrels who will, without a doubt, be back again to taunt him tomorrow.