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Posts Tagged ‘ScooPup Pocket’

Happy New Year to all of my readers. You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted anything for a while. Quite frankly, 2010 was a hard year for most businesses and unfortunately, Tiny Growl was no exception.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might know that I decided to take my invention The ScooPup Pocket from an idea to a saleable product, because aside from never wanting to wonder “what if…?”, I had really hoped to create a successful business that would make enough money to enable me to help dogs. Good product, good intentions = great idea, right?

While I have had great feedback on my product, my website, my blog, the cold hard truth of the matter is that ScooPup Pockets just aren’t hanging off of too many leashes. Oh sure, I’ve sold a few and they continue to sell, but hardly at numbers enough to do any good for either my business bank account or the animal causes that I was hoping to be able to support. I’ve tried very hard to make it work, including lowering the price, contests, giving them away and of course, blogging. And speaking of blogging, that brings me to SEO.

For those of you with web-based businesses of your own, you know all about SEO (search engine optimization, for the rest of you) and how important it is in this age of doing business on-line. You also know the importance of networking with everyone in your line of business and in my case, all of the animal advocacy groups. Unfortunately, that opens you up to a flood of information that someone like me just doesn’t have the psychology to deal with. For some reason, I am unable to process the sad stories and move on, the way that most people can. I even refuse to see (almost) totally “vanilla” movies like Marley and Me because I know Marley comes to a bad end.

Another part of my problem, or what makes up my particular pathology, is that I worry about every dog on the planet and feel somehow that I have the power (or have been charged with the responsibility) to make their pain and suffering disappear, heal them, save them, feed and them and give them all loving and happy homes. Obviously, that isn’t possible for anyone, not even Bill and Melinda Gates. But I thought that by going into business with a usable product, I could at least take comfort in the knowledge that I was making a difference, quietly or otherwise, via donations.

While I was hoping to sell sell sell! and donate donate donate!!! to help as many dogs (and other animals) that I could, what actually happened was that my work days turned into too much time spent reading sad story after sad story, trying my best to flash past the truly horrific ones and finally coming to the realization that I really am quite literally unable to do any good at all for most of these poor creatures.

I know that I have to come to terms with the fact that the world is good and bad and bad things happen all of the time to good dogs and good people. I know that I’m not giving up on my idea or the idea that Tiny Growl still has the potential to grow into the business that I’d hoped it could be, but I also know that I have to back away a bit from that level of involvement.  Both the reading and the writing have taken a toll on me.

In the coming weeks, I will be re-evaluating things, including the point of this blog. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on my wonderful rescue dog Riley and try to get through another dreary Seattle winter.  Thanks for your support and Happy New Year!

Bette & Riley

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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.

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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.

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It has been too hot to work this past week. Temperatures here in Seattle have been in the high 80s and low 90s. Not really Pacific Northwest temps, but it beats rain. As my office tends to become a little oven-like, I’ve been neglecting the blog this week.

One hot dog

So, we’re going to be taking a much-needed vacation. The housesitters are installed and we’re off to the beaches of Cape Ann, while Riley is off to the absolutely wonderful Roscoe’s Ranch. We’re going to miss him like crazy, but while we know he is going to be well taken care of, we also know that he’s going to have a super fun week at camp.

If the weather is against us, there is a chance of a quick post during the week. In any case, the next entry will probably be added toward the end of the month, announcing our one-year anniversary as an on-line shop at tinygrowl.com. We will be talking about our advocacy work this past year, updating our website a little bit, as well as offering some special sales on our ScooPup Pockets.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and keep your dogs cool!

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I still struggle with the idea that now that my business centers around dog poop, it feels as though my life does as well. Not the most glamorous life, really. Certainly not the life I had imagined at this stage of the game. Since inventing the ScooPup Pocket, I have researched and written more on the subject of dog poop than I really ever wanted to.

Cartoon by Les Campbell, Bellingham, WA

However, it is always fascinating to take Riley for his walk and wait for the big event to take place. Lately he seems taken with the idea that pooping in the ivy, on the side of a hill or even on top of a large rock on our beach is as good a spot as any, the latter making it a bit easier for me to ScooPup. What is it that makes a dog want to “give back” on any particular spot? Imagine if we all had multiple bathrooms in our homes and roamed from room to room deciding which one was just right on any particular day? While there doesn’t seem to be a lot written on the subject, I suppose where a dog poops has a lot to do with scent and territory marking.

What I’d like to know is why Riley tends to scratch the ground at least half a dozen times after finishing his business?  He does it with such vigor and seems so happy about his accomplishment that I have to pay attention and stand out of his way, or I can get showered with dirt, grass, sand, rocks…or worse.

My walks with Riley are more like ‘stop and marks’, as he is less interested in the exercise as he is in sniffing every tree, plant, post and what have you, leaving a couple of drops behind on each, letting the dog world know that he was there. He often kicks back and scratches the ground after marking this way as well.

So, what’s up with this behavior? Wildlife biologists study wolves in an attempt to understand canine behavior. Wolves use urine to mark their territory, which is something that dogs do as well. Both male and female dogs produce a pretty potent “calling card” when the anal glands are expressed as a dog defecates. But did you know that a dog also has sweat glands between his toes? I’ve noticed that Riley doesn’t exactly scratch the exact spot where he’s left his deposits, he will even scratch the ground a few feet away from the spot he marked. Perhaps the scent produced in the sweat glands adds a second odor to the area, making him seem even larger to whoever sniffs there next. The message remains long after the sender has left, so why not make it as big as he can? Makes sense to me, I’m just glad that humans have evolved to the stage where we don’t feel the need to exhibit this sort of behavior to claim our space. Although, unfortunately, our “mark” on the earth is a lot more destructive these days.

For more info on scent marking and some links for some helpful products (if you dog isn’t limiting his territorial marking behavior to the great outdoors), click here to check out an article on HubPages.


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We all know what goes in must come out and I’m sure we’ve all seen an assortment of odd things at both ends of our dogs from time to time, especially if we’re being socially and environmentally conscious and picking up their poop. But, how much do you really know about what should never be given to your dog?

I have seen people who claim to know all about dogs give their four-legged kids everything from chocolate to raisins claiming that ‘just a little won’t hurt’.  I say, why give your dog a taste for something that could hurt him?

So, here’s a little refresher on what needs to be kept away from your dog.

Alcohol, avocados, chocolate, coffee, fatty foods, macadamia nuts, moldy foods, raison and grapes, onions and garlic, yeast dough and anything containing the sugar substitute xylitol.

Chocolate and coffee contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds. Depending on the size of your dog and the amounts ingested, eating chocolate can cause severe stomach upsets and can even be fatal to some dogs. By the way, the cacao husk is commonly used in some brands of garden mulch. This stuff has also been shown to be toxic to dogs, although according to webcanine.com, isn’t always noted on the label.  Buyer beware!

All of the foods listed above can cause any number of symptoms, some as mundane as diarrhea and poop that’s not so nice to pick up, to very serious illness and even death. The ASPCA has a comprehensive list of all the above, as well as their symptoms.

If you have the kind of dog who likes to chew on all sorts of things, do you know if the plants in your house and yard are safe? There are quite a few plants that are toxic and even fatal to both dogs and cats.  The ASPCA also has great information regarding plants that you need to watch out for.  Apple has just come out with a new iphone Pet Safe app that lists toxic plants, as well as the symptoms related to each one.

One other item of note since summer is almost here: corn cobs can cause serious intestinal blockages and worse.

And finally, don’t forget to keep your medications and cleaning supplies out of reach of your dog, especially if you have a new pup in the house.  A good rule to live by is if you wouldn’t want a child to get into something, then you probably wouldn’t want your dog to either. (Do I need to remind you about anti-freeze?)

Accidents do happen and depending on the size of your dog and the amounts ingested, what they eat can have any number of consequences. And just in case you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to have the telephone numbers of your vet, your emergency vet and the National Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) somewhere prominently displayed in your home. Ours is on our fridge.

So, let’s make sure that the only thing that goes into our dogs is healthy food and that the only thing that comes out is poop.  (And while we’re on the subject, be sure to pick it up with your ScooPup Pocket!)

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