Saturday, August 29, 2009

Darling Clementine

August 2009 was a good month for Fargo's Finest Clementine. She started off the month with an appearance on the CBS Morning Show and ended it with an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman!! The show had a dock jumping segment this past Monday, and Clem was invited, along with three other dogs, to compete for the longest jump. Three of the dogs made it onto the show, including Clem. We were so proud of her.

The best part of the day came when David Letterman made a GREAT plug for rescue. Most you know that all of our 10 dogs are from rescue. It's an issue that is near and dear to our hearts. To have Dave (my new BFF) use Clem as an example of why we should all adopt was amazing. ADOPT ONE UNTIL THERE ARE NONE!

We took lots of photos of our fun day in the city. Here is one with Clem and the paparazzi:

Clem and Nadja on the dock:

And one of Clem jumping off the dock:

All-in-all, it was a very fun and memorable day, and we were so proud of our Clemmie. If you'd like to see a clip of the show, go to our home page (, and click on the picture next to the story of Clem. Enjoy!

It's Fair Time Again

I can report personally that things are in full swing at the Dutchess County Fair again. Our store has a booth set up at the fair for the second year in a row (thanks Pawstars!). The year before that, we were at the fair helping out with dock diving and frisbee shows. I still feel pretty new to the Hudson Valley most of the time, but when fair time rolls around, I feel like a regular. I like that about the fair. You always know what you're in for. The milkshakes are great, the canine tent is a lot of fun, and most people can't resist squeezing a squeaky toy when they walk past one.

I also like being able to hang out with friends I don't get to see often enough. Our friends Kara and Erich Steffensen and Michelle Paulucci have been doing the frisbee show at the fair for three years now (see Pawstars). For at least one week of the year, we've been able to hang out together in the canine tent for long periods of time with nothing to do but watch the people walk by. This is a luxury that, as grown-ups, we don't usually get. In all of our busy schedules, we're lucky to get a two-hour dinner together once a month. At fair week, we get to catch up on everything we missed out on during the rest of the year.

Yesterday was pretty soggy out at the fair, and it seems like today will be the same. But I will be happy to soak up these last soggy days of summer with good friends, a milkshake, and my best buddy, Bandit sitting by my side.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Action-Packed End of Summer at Hooked On Dogs

We have a lot of fun stuff happening at Hooked On Dogs over the next several weeks.

This Sunday we're going to be chillin' and grillin' at The Chocolate Factory. We're having a BBQ at HOD just because we feel like it. Come by Sunday sometime between noon and 4, and have a burger, dog, or a grilled veggie item. Hang out for a while, and enjoy a lazy summer Sunday afternooon with us.

Next week, HOD will be at the Dutchess County Fair. We'd like to thank our friends from Pawstars for inviting us to "set up shop" in their booth again this year. If you are going to be at the fair, stop by the dog tent to say hi, and make sure you catch one of the Pawstars frisbee shows! We will be open at the store, too, but with reduced hours. We'll be open from noon until 5 Tuesday through Friday (and then regular hours over the weekend).

We have three adoption days coming up! Out of the Pits (August 22), Perfect Pets Rescue (September 4), and Animal Farm Foundation (September 12) will each have days at the store to share information and show off some of the wonderful dogs looking for homes. All 10 of our dogs are from rescues/shelters (the most recent, Thelma, from AFF), and I can say from experience, there's no better way to add a new family member.

September 24 - 28, the store wil be CLOSED. You say it better be for a damn good reason??? We think it is! Nadja and I have both qualified dogs to compete in the Hyperflite Skyhoundz World Canine Disc Championship in Chattanooga, TN!! I qualified with Squirty Birdy, and Nadja qualified with Wee-la. This is the first time we will head to the world finals with each of us having qualified a dog in advance. We are very excited, and have decided to close the store for 4 days so we can both go compete. :-) We'll be updating our Facebook page with results, so make sure to follow the action. Here's a picture of Squirty tracking her Frizzz.

Whew . . . once we get through all of this action, fall will be in full swing. I can smell the apple crisp baking . . . my favorite season of the year . . .


Sunday, August 16, 2009

How We Keep Our Dogs Cool On Hot Summer Days

Well, summer is finally here in the Hudson Valley. With all the early rains keeping the temperatures cool, I thought we might not see summer at all this year. Now it's here loud and clear. Oy. I sweat just thinking about it, or maybe it's our un-air-conditioned house that's making me sweat???

Anyway . . . time to dust off the list of important things to remember about keeping our dogs cool in the hot summer months. I've seen a lot of lists with good rules to follow -- this is my own homemade version of what we do to keep our own dogs cool:

1. Limit playtimes to cooler parts of the day and keep sessions short. On days like today, our dogs get a little romp in the morning, and nothing after that, unless it's a water activity. Swimming is always great exercise, but is especially good in the hot summer. On days where the temp is 90+ though, we are even pretty careful with them in water. Watch the tongue -- if it's getting enlarged or red, and especially if it starts to curl up on the edges, call it quits! Dogs can overheat even when swimming. Surprising but true . . . much depends on the temp of the water.

2. If your dog gets hot, the best way to cool her down, is to wet her underside with cool (not cold) water, focusing on the groin area and armpits. All too often I see people hosing down their dogs' backs -- this is not very effective at cooling, and with darker-colored dogs, can actually make them heat up more.

3. Think about investing in a cooling coat of some kind, especially if you know your dog will be out during the hot hours of the day. We keep the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler in stock at Hooked On Dogs at this time of year, so stop by to check it out if you think you might need one.

4. Make sure your dog gets plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.

5. Don't leave your dog in the car. At most times of the year, dogs are okay in the car as long as your leave the windows partially rolled down, but at this time of year, it's too hot even for that. If you have to run errands in places where you can't take your dog in with you, leave her at home at this time of year.

Please share other thoughts and ideas in the comments section if you have them, and . . .

stay cool!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Carpe diem

"Carpe diem," commonly translated as "sieze the day."

I think of this phrase, and I think of a number of ways this can be applied to my life with my dogs. Appreciate my dogs every day. Spend quality interactive time with each of my dogs every day (not easy to do when you've got 10 dogs, but I make it a point). Feed them the best food I can. Pet them every day. Love them.

In our line of work, we are reminded of this all the time, but some days, some customers really hit it home. Tonight, when we were getting ready to close, I had a customer come in to buy raw food. She had been in before and bought food from us (dry kibble, not raw) and perhaps a treat or two -- not a regular, but a sporadic visitor. Tonight was different.

Tonight . . . she went right to the raw case and said "I want raw, and I know you keep it over here." I asked if she wanted me to explain the different varieties of raw we carried. She said, "our dog is eleven and was just diagnosed with cancer. We're following a treatment protocol, and a raw diet is a part of it." I explained to her what the options were. She explained to me the treatment protocol. She selected a high-quality raw food for her dog (for any dog).

I WISHED we were there to recommend a raw diet to her dog when her dog was three years old. I WONDERED what difference it would have made in her dog's life. I HOPE raw food makes a difference now.

Carpe diem.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fargo's Finest Clementine

Clementine appeared on the CBS Early Show this morning with Nadja. She showed examples of what people can expect to see dogs doing when they watch the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge. As a true "jack of all trades," Clem is a perfect dog for this job. At 9-years-young, this incredible mutt has had an amazing career and isn't showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. Clem's story is a great one, so I thought I'd share a bit of it here.

Nadja adopted Clementine when when she lived in Fargo, ND (Fargo you ask? Yes, Fargo.). Clem was a stray who showed up at a lake one day where lots of Fargo-ites hang out in the summer. After entertaining people all day long by playing fetch, someone had the good sense to call a rescuer they knew who came and picked up Clem and and took her into foster care. After spending several months in foster care, Nadja decided to foster Clem to see if she could find her a sport home. Well . . . after about a day with Clementine, Nadja knew she had found her next dog and that Clementine wasn't going anywhere.

Nadja quickly started training Clem in agility. Clem showed natural skills right away, and with some great training by Nadja, it wasn't long before Clem started earning titles, eventually earning the title of Master Agility Dog in the USDAA. Along the way, however, Nadja discovered another amazing skill Clementine had . . . dock diving! At 28 pounds, Clementine, is much smaller than your typical "leaping labrador," but that doesn't stop her from outjumping most of them. In 2005, Clem earned a spot in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games in Big Air, by far the smallest dog to ever do so.

At the ripe age of 6, Nadja started competing seriously with Clem in the sport of canine disc. Most dogs peak in this sport between the ages of 4 and 6. Of course, Clem isn't like most dogs . . . starting out as an old lady in the sport, she has qualified for the world finals in four different organizations. Clem has travelled all over the country and to South America twice to thrill audiences in multiple sports. She never lets them down.

Over the years, Clem has been x-rayed for injuries here or there (her self-preservation skills leave a little to be desired). Everytime she is x-rayed, we find a new BB. She is riddled with them from her days as a stray. We always talk about what her life as a stray in Fargo must have been like. Did she get too close to a farmer's chickens a couple of times? Come across some kids playing with a BB gun? Who knows. One thing I do know is how she survived. Clem has a spirit that could take her through almost any situation. You can count on her for anything. As long as a toy or some food is involved, she will give you 110% everytime. :-) Her zest for life is inspiring. I am lucky to know this dog, and look forward to spending the next 9 years with her.