We all, at a young age, are taught what is right and wrong by the examples set before us. The stories shared by my Mom about my Pee Paw (Grandfather), Richard Millar always interested me. He was a man who stood every bit of over 6’ 5” and was very easy to spot in a crowd. He was always the guy standing taller than most around him. He was a pilot who lived in Montevallo, Alabama and was responsible for keeping the Shelby County Airport open against the Governor of Alabama years ago. My Pee Paw was also known for his love for animals, particularly dogs. He drove a Datsun, 2-door car for transportation and the funny thing was seeing him squeeze into the driver’s seat. His knees were even with the top of the steering wheel and he would have to turn his head to the side so he could drive due to the low ceiling of the car. Now picture this in your mind.


One day Pee Paw was driving and to his horror and anger there was a man beating a dog. “SCCRREEEEECCHH!” The wheels of the Datsun screamed to a halt. The Datsun was rocking as Pee Paw peeled himself out of the car and came to the aid of the dog. He took the dog away from the man who was beating it. The man began to protest but Pee Paw glared at the man and told him he did not deserve the dog. The man yelled, “That dog is stupid and you can have her!” instead of fighting Pee Paw. This was not the first dog Pee Paw had rescued. Pee Paw already had nine dogs at home from various places. He named her Suzie and took her home.


2014-03-07_16-59-01Suzie had long white and brown fur, a Heinz 57 type dog. She left fur everywhere. Suzie would be a loving friend to Pee Paw for over twelve more years before she would go and be with the Lord. That love she shared could be seen on him every time he went to work as brown and white fur would always be on his pants. Before Pee Paw came home, she would become excited and everyone knew he was coming home. And that was how it was.

Today, my wife and I have eight Great Danes plus two more we take care of for our friends. Some are rescues and others I have collected over the years. I belong to them, not them to me. The love they give me cannot be measured. I consider it priceless.

I want everyone to measure themselves and ask whether they deserve their dog or not. Be honest because God knows your heart already and He is the giver of the dog or dogs we have. Are you a good steward? There are a lot of dogs in shelters that have been abused and are waiting to have that loving family to rescue them. Can you be a Pee Paw?

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel Allen


2014-02-07_14-09-20On February 1, 2014, I received a call from one of my clients informing me that a terrible deed had been done. Some of you may call it cruelty but I call it murder. In my client’s own words here is what happened:

Evening walks are wonderful. You are able to get exercise, breathe fresh air, be outside to look at the trees and animals and walk in their home. It is a beautiful place. Sometimes, however, and for whatever reason certain individuals want to destroy it. I am recounting one day in particular. It was February 1st of 2014, toward the evening. My husband, mother, sister in law, her dog, my 5 children, and our dog went for a walk. My sister in law was visiting, and wanted to take her dog down to the river. I stayed at home with my baby, and everyone else left. About 30 minutes later they came back and my sister in law was crying and one of my children came to me and told me what happened. Another one of my children brought a camera, to show me, I thought, the fun time they had. Well, it was not a fun time. My daughter took a picture, but it was one of the saddest things I had ever seen. Someone had put a bag over a white dogs head and threw her in the river. The dog was obviously not alive. They all came home and told me this and I immediately called our dog trainer, because I knew he would know what to do. I was told to call the sheriff and report it. My husband did.


Cruelty to animals is a learned thing. You are not born to harm. We are born to help, and serve one another. For the person(s) who did this act, we forgive you, because we are commanded to forgive everyone, but know that someone is always watching you, GOD, and he knows you and your heart.

2014-02-07_14-09-43Now folks, let me explain something to you all. The person who committed this act saw this dog and this is how I envision the whole scenario unfolded. The killer talked nicely to the dog and she came wagging her tail. The whole time the killer is petting and loving the dog and she is looking up at him with adoration. Before the dog knew what was happening, the killer pulled a plastic bag over the dog’s head and watched as the dog struggled. He then threw the poor dog into the creek. The entire time this is happening, the Lord was watching.

I want the whole community to know that it takes a dark soul to do this terrible act and that this person could eventually harm others, especially our children. It is my hope that anyone who has any knowledge of this terrible deed will come forward and alert the authorities. As for the authorities being notified, nothing was done on their part.
“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel Allen

Notice to all my readers: I will be starting to take sign-ups this month for training at the Athens Pet Depot for the month of February. My days when I will be at the store will be random because there is a need for my classes in the Hartselle Pet Depot as well.

1-3-2014 6-29-15 PMIt’s feeding time for your “Canine Family Member” and he/she is doing the chow dance. If they could speak I would bet that they would say, “Ooooh oooh! Give me! Food! Food! Food!” Of course, there is the silly slight turn of their head, the raised ears, and the look as if they are smiling. In my case, I see a lot of front paws stamping excitedly and when they look me in my eyes. I also see the thankfulness. Each slurp or chomp in their bowl makes me imagine I hear the “Ummmm, good! Thank you, Daddy.” A dog promises man one thing: to give their life to us.

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Now, let’s get to the matter I wish to discuss and the need for everyone to understand what to do in the event of food aggression. Recently, I had a case of food aggression that was unexpected. The dog showed no warning and just in a blink of an eye she bit my hand when I reached to adjust her bowl. Two things became clear. One, Ollie Girl (a silver merle Great Dane) was not trained from the time she was eating out of her dish not to fear someone taking her food. Two, when she bit me she did not break my skin nor did she bruise me. It was a deliberate attempt to scare me away from her dish. As a Dog Trainer, I must warn that what I am about to suggest should be carried out with caution and respect to the dog. So, be warned do not attempt to train a dog not to be food aggressive without first consulting a professional trainer. Every trainer has different methods and I would suggest more than one opinion in the matter.

1-3-2014 6-29-33 PMHere is what I did. I immediately made my body larger in stature and looked Ollie Girl in her eyes. Did she challenge me? Yes, but this is where we establish who is in charge. When I stared her down because we were in my territory and she broke eye contact I growled low and said, “No!” She at first responded with her teeth bared but I knew I had won. She stepped back and I stepped forward. Once she was back I picked up the dish and held it. Then I called her to me and presented the dish to her. I did not set it down. Talking to Ollie Girl calmly and holding the dish I tried to persuade her to eat. She refused but there was progress. I let her watch me set the dish down again and patiently waited for her to approach her dish.

Ollie Girl finally approached her dish and began to eat. I deliberately began to touch her spine and to massage her shoulders. She growled a little and after a while I was able to massage up to her neck. Each dog will respond differently according to their personality so remember to be creative and compromising when mimicking what I have done. The growling ceased and to this day I am able to handle her food in front of her. It took two feedings to accomplish this safely.
So, let us be safe when we have this circumstance arise. Especially if we have small children that do not know they are not to stick their hands in the dog’s dish. Always remember to train your dogs to know children and to teach the children to respect the Family Canine.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”

Joel and Zues Allen
ABC Certified Dog Trainer

12-6-2013 4-26-05 PMDear Doggie Claus,
I have been a really good Canine Family Member this year. You might have heard rumors of my experiences, as I have grown this year. But I assure you that was not me chasing the cat. I just so happen to be going his way and the cat just ran. Sure, he got a mild concussion from running into a wall, but the Vet says he will be fine. That is one tough cat. Maybe we can chase the laser light together if you bring us one for Christmas?

Let’s talk about that nasty rumor of my chewing habits. My Pet Parents didn’t know for sure I did that! They blamed me, even when I pointed at the cat. I even tried my “puppy dog eyes” and that bit of kryptonite didn’t work. I got the finger pointed at me and I heard the word “BAD” anyway. Ok, I admit the shoes tasted good and that electrical cord can be reattached. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. In the end, they broke me of chewing by applying this nasty tasting bitter spray to my mouth and then when I attempted to chew something I liked, it tasted just like that “yucky” stuff. Mom and Dad sneaked around and applied that stuff to all my favorite chewing sites. At least in the end I got a little more attention. Could you convince them to get me more toys to chew on?

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Then there was the time that I believed that inside the house was my bathroom to use where I liked. I had it made when they were gone. It’s when they returned and found that my bathroom didn’t flush away my mess like theirs did that I was in trouble. So, like a good dog I listened to the scolding and felt bad for my deeds. Eventually, after much trial and error I succeeded in choosing the right bathroom (outside). There are still times when I want to go in the house but I still manage to wait for their return. So, for future needs, can you give me a “potty patch” for indoor use when I am left alone for too long?

Ok, so they say I pulled the leash some this year. Well, everything was new to me then. I didn’t know what a leash was. I just knew that all 12-6-2013 4-28-23 PMthese new smells and people were there for me to pull Mom and Dad to. According to them, I was not supposed to behave like that. So, they took me to a trainer and “WOW” he spoke my language. My Parents and I learned how best to communicate while training. Then, I was taught the “Heel” command. At first, I did not like this command. But, now I don’t drag Mom and Dad everywhere. I sure miss running and hearing them scream behind me as I caused them to fly through the air. Who needs the Wright Brothers when you have me? So, in light of this, I would like a new collar and leash.

Yes, I can be impatient. I do charge for my treats and food dish occasionally. Hey! That’s what I do best. So, I jumped every now and again and caused my Pet Parents to wear some of my dinner? They took too long. I found that later I would regret that because, I found myself in the embarrassing position of sitting and waiting to eat. Then, to add salt to my wounds of embarrassment, I had to look them in the eye before I was allowed to eat. Now, I would like a new dog dish for eating and could it be made out of metal?

Then there was the time I was caught sneaking into my Pet Parents bedroom and getting on their bed. It was so soft and I left hair everywhere just for them. It was my way of spreading my hairy love. Of course, they really didn’t understand and I found myself in trouble again. So, for future reference could you leave them a note explaining why I did that and attach it to my new bed that I am asking you to bring me?

My year has been an awesome experience, Doggie Claus, and should there be anything I didn’t cover like bones and food. Could you please surprise me and bring me some? Thanks and Merry Christmas!

Love Sincerely,
Everybody’s Favorite Canine Family Member

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel Allen

12-6-2013 4-26-38 PM

Fear – Dog Barker

11-2-2013 7-51-40 AMAccording to the dictionary, “Cynophobia” is the irrational fear of dogs. It is my hope that those who fear dogs will read this article.

The dog is barking “Yippeee! The mailman is coming!” Every day at this time, the mail arrives and the dog announces how bad he wants to chase the poor mailman. Are all mailmen the targets of dogs? No, but there are a few that probably get grief from the neighbor’s dog.

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Let’s look at it through the eyes of someone who is afraid. Walking along the sidewalk by a fence, suddenly this dog appears out of nowhere barking and startles this person. They immediately fall off the sidewalk and “BAM!”, they are hit by a car. No one saw that coming, huh? This would most likely be written off as an accident, then again maybe not.

So, why be scared? Where does this inner fear reside? Is it a traumatic experience that was endured? While we consider those questions, let us look at what the dog is thinking. Using the same scenario from above, the dog runs at the person through the fence and just like that, they jump off the sidewalk. What does the dog do? Looks at the scene, sniffs and walks away. He was doing what was natural.

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Alright, now someone sees a dog running their way. It is barking with eyes locked on that person. They tense up, wanting to run but they know the dog will catch them. So, what do they do? They don’t run! Standing their ground, they make their body appear as large as possible. Pointing a finger, they boom the word “GET!” Now watch the body language of the dog. The dog falters and slows, becoming uncertain. This is where they reinforce their command with determination saying “GET!” again. This time the dog stops. Stomping their foot, by stepping toward the dog, they repeat the word “GET!” with all their being. The dog turns away with its tail tucked. Whew! That was a teaching moment.

11-2-2013 7-53-46 AMAnother example has occurred when Zues and I have been in Walmart or other stores, and there were people who were afraid of Zues. Some screamed and ran away, and Zues paid them no mind. It is sad they allow that fear to rule them.

Dogs sense when there is fear. If someone is scared, then a dog will sense there is something wrong, and in turn can become fearful of the one who is scared. Dogs are not mind readers, but they will protect themselves or their family from a threat. This is how some dog bites happen. When someone is bitten, find out what happened, and don’t assume it’s the dog’s fault.

11-2-2013 7-52-30 AMLastly, allow me to extend a helping hand to you who are afraid. Call and meet with me or come up to Zues and me wherever you see us. I will be glad to help you get past your fear. The only promise I want from you is for you not to “stroke out” on me!

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By:Joel Allen

11-2-2013 7-52-42 AM

10-4-2013 7-16-52 PMEver have guests over to your house and they bring their dog who is a “Holy Terror?” “Holy Terror,” (Joel’s definition) is a very rowdy, mud throwing, slobbering, jumping, pawing, begging, stealing while counter surfing, barking, tornado of destruction and terrorist to your own dog in the house. This dog is so untrained that when it is time for your guests to arrive, you are already taking Goody’s headache powders and calling me, frantically asking for quick counter measures. In this case, I applaud the use of taking a preventative to a migraine. Well, guess who’s coming to dinner? The holidays will soon be upon us, and it is my hope that this article will give some advance tidbits to prepare for canine guests.

10-4-2013 7-17-06 PM

“They’re heeerrree!” You say eerily, to warn everyone as you answer the door. First one through the door is the unleashed “Holy Terror” who runs straight to your dog. Your dog, being the age he is, rejects “Holy Terror’s” invitation to become best buddies. The Pet Parents of the dog, now ripping through your house, just smile and say things like, “Awe! How cute! He loves your house.” Then you hear the return of their dog and like nails on a chalkboard, you hear the distinct clawing of the dog’s nails on your nice finished hardwood floor. Remaining civil is one way to deal with the situation because you don’t want to offend your guests. But, what do you do?

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Plan A: To deal with said situation is to ask your guests to please control their dog (Be careful how you ask someone to control their dog because it is easy to hurt some people’s feelings). At this point, I can imagine you want to scream at the unruly dog. Don’t do this because yelling and losing your temper will get you the “Have you lost your mind?!” look. Plus, the dog will most likely ignore what you are saying, so you just wasted your breath. If this tactic fails, then we go to plan B.

Plan B: This is the strategy of using a spray bottle or squirt gun (In my case a Super Soaker, hahaha) with the concoction of 1/3 vinegar to 2/3’s water. Set for stream and spray the unruly dog in the face. If your guests have an issue with this, spray them in the face for not taking the time to develop their Doggie Skills. If this fails, we can use plan C.

Plan C: Well, you call me 256-651-2211 and I will come to visit and help your guests see a better way and better dog. Besides, would it not be considerate of them to train their dog?

A lot of people don’t realize they are being inconsiderate when they bring their untrained dog or puppy. I always ask or warn that Zues will be with me and when someone has a problem with Zues, I either don’t visit or I try to accommodate the situation. So, let’s all try and work things out because soon it will be the season of forgiving and remembering all our loved ones. Gifts will be exchanged and everyone will be eating all sorts of goodies. Lastly, you might get lucky because “Holy Terror” might decide to bring back your slippers that he originally took when no one was watching. Hence, soaking his Pet Parents with vinegar and water can be a great remedy for you and their dog can laugh at them in his own way.

10-4-2013 7-20-26 PM“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel Allen

9-6-2013 6-06-36 PMLego, one of our Great Danes, went to the water trough and took a drink. After his nice drink he came over to me to share his love, “YUCK”, he slobbered all up and down my arm! I got up to get a paper towel to clean my arm and stepped right in the trail of drool he left from the trough to me, “Ewwwww!” Lego is not your usual Dane. He likes to place his muzzle into the water, all the way up to his eyes. What a sight that is!

9-6-2013 6-06-23 PM

So, how drool are you?

Dogs tend to use their drool for different things. They use it as an expression of love (Lego), hunger (Brock), begging (Ollie), or feeling sick. I believe they use it tactfully too. While I was eating one day, one of my “Babies,” (Another Dane, Brock) walked by and shook his head, slinging drool everywhere. After he had successfully slung drool into my meal he gave me a look like, “Are you gonna eat that? Can I have it?” Of course, I just looked and told him, “I don’t think so,” and resumed eating.

9-6-2013 6-06-52 PM

The “Beggar” (Ollie, my Wife’s Dane) likes to have long stringy drool. This usually results in pools of slobber on the floor. Beware, because this is hazardous if the floor is tile or laminate. You know, slippery when wet? My wife had an interesting time with our big “Beggar” (Ollie). Luckily, his head was over the garbage can, drooling for a bite of her meal. But, unluckily for my wife he moved his drool to her leg, hahaha. In my case, I never let them beg me. I use my trusty spray bottle, with a mixture of vinegar and water. The “Beggar” stops really quick.

Then there is the sick one, who drools and vomits. This is serious and should be looked at by a Veterinarian. Some dogs eat certain grass to settle their stomach. If you see this, then please call your vet.

Lastly, let me share what happened at my niece’s birthday party a couple of years ago. Samson, another Great Dane of ours, was tethered to me at the party. While I was not looking he managed to get close enough to the cake and took one long tongued swipe at the cake. I heard, “Ewww! Joel! Samson just licked the cake!” I said, “That’s my portion.” And I laughed. Of course, Samson got that piece of cake and I took a piece near the area he licked. The cake tasted good and wasn’t cheap either.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel Allen
9-6-2013 6-08-46 PM

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8-2-2013 4-25-04 PMThat is what I imagine that Canine Family Member is saying when they bolt out the door on you. As they leap just out of range of your reach they look back to see if you are going to follow and when you do, “It is on like Donkey Kong!,” they are saying as they run, laugh and play. Ok, let’s back up for a second and see what you could’ve done to prevent this from happening.

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There is the “Sneaky Pete,” as I like to refer to the sneaky one, who waits just out of sight for the door to open. He watches you the whole time you are looking around, watching from a place you don’t see him and you strain to listen for his steps. Then just like that he is past you without even a whisper. Different breeds conduct this rebellious trick differently. Some will look back at you and others will be like that movie with Chevy Chase, Funny Farm, where the dog takes off running and throughout the movie you see the dog still going by, lol. There are a few things you can do. I would advise putting a bell on the dog’s collar so you have a warning before they get past you. Get the family involved in training the Canine Family Member by using a spray bottle, on stream, with 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water, and yes, spray for their head. You can have your teammate stand outside the door at the ready or inside catching the dog with the spray before they can get to the door and say “NO!” Then there is my least favorite way, the shock collar. You can use a remote kind or get the proximity sensor and use it at the door to trigger the collar. Shock collars are recommended by me only when there is nothing else that seems to work and the life of your “Baby” is at risk. So, if you go this route please keep the remote to the collar away from the hands of those who would laugh at the expense of your beloved.

8-2-2013 4-25-36 PMThen there is “No, no, Dino! Down! NO!” and wham! You just got knocked out of the way and the chase is on. When this happens you either have to chase them or, if you know they are a curious sort, trick them by you looking like you found something more interesting and running back in the house. They will most likely follow to see what you are doing. Now, this only works if the dog sees you go. Another way to get them to come back to you, if they like to ride, get your car and call to them. Sometimes squeakers and noise makers work to your advantage too. So, keep a squeaker or the like on hand. Lastly, if your dog runs away and does not return, check with the local dog pound just to ensure they have not been jailed and are on a five day stray hold.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel Allen
8-2-2013 4-24-40 PM

8-2-2013 4-25-47 PM

Keeping Your Dog Safe

7-6-2013 8-53-16 AMIt is our inherent responsibility to keep our Canine Family Members safe, out of harm’s way. There are many who either don’t believe this or really just don’t care. Some examples would be the lack of keeping them from roaming the neighborhood or running the roads. They can easily cause trouble like a car accident, destroy someone else’s property, and even make a mess like getting into the neighbor’s trash. I had that kind of problem one time. I took responsibility for a “foster dog” who would jump my fence and get into the neighbor’s trash. No matter how many times, I would go clean it up.

Eventually, I had to re-home her to a place she gets the love she desires and she cannot jump their fence. Another problem I have seen is where dogs chase cars. I know there is no leash law in the county, and I know that some people think it is ok for their dog to roam unmonitored. Think on this, what would you do if they caused a car accident? How would the “Law” apply to you if your dog was the reason the person was injured or killed? Do you not love your dog enough to protect them from harm and keep them up?

7-6-2013 8-53-07 AM

One more example, from my own personal experience, is from taking a drive onto a dirt road named Monarch Way. It is actually a dirt drive and I take it to visit my parents on occasion. Yes, it is here in Athens, but in the county. If you drive down it, you will almost always be harassed by a few small dogs, and the people that live there don’t seem to care. I have even tried to reason with one of them, and all I got was threats that if I hit their dogs, this or that would happen to me. I urged them, for the sake of their dogs, to keep them up. I even stated that I was a Dog Trainer and I did not want anything to happen to their dogs because I love dogs. To this day they still will not keep their dogs safe. So, what do you do in this situation, if your dog is running loose?

7-6-2013 8-53-34 AM

7-6-2013 8-54-40 AMAsk yourself, do you love them? Proverbs 12:10 says, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” What will you do now? I suggest either a wireless invisible fence or a fence of some kind. Chaining up a dog tends to mess with their mind, in my opinion so I don’t recommend that. And if you want to build a fence and need help, call me. If I am able, I will gladly come and give you a hand, especially if you are trying to do the right thing and protect that Canine Family Member. God Bless You.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
7-6-2013 8-57-18 AM

7-6-2013 8-53-47 AM

6-7-2013 2-03-02 PMI have witnessed dogs in hot cars in the parking lot of a shopping center, barking and looking desperate. I believe the people who do this should be made to sit inside a hot car with the windows up, in a full set of sweats with no AC running to see how they like it. Let the punishment fit the crime. Here is something else, the other day I was sitting at the Pet Depot and a customer came in commenting about a bumper sticker out there, “Cars found with dogs in them with the windows up and the engine not running with AC, get a free broken window.” I found that humorous and serious at the same time. Now, please note, I did not say you should go around obeying the bumper sticker, but if you happen upon a car with a dog in it and the windows up with no AC running, you should do the right thing and call the authorities.

6-7-2013 2-03-16 PM

Every dog should have shade and plenty of fresh water to beat the heat if you keep them outside. Here are some additional things you can do. Place a doggie door in your home to let them get into the house, out of the heat. See that there is plenty of shade where they are staying. Have someone check on them occasionally when you know you will be gone long hours. Additionally, you can always set up a misting system like you see at the produce sections in stores, for cooling your Canine Family Member while they out in their temporary living area when you are away.

6-7-2013 2-04-01 PMIf your dog should overheat, here are some tips to assist you in cooling them down. Keep in mind before you do anything that you should never pour cold water over the head of any dog when they are overheated. You can cause them to have a stroke. Move them to a shaded area or take them inside where it is cool. Turn a fan toward them and keep them relaxed by talking to them. Remember, the more excited you get, the worse you can make it on your dog. If you have ice packs on hand or can fill zip lock baggies with ice, place a pack under your dog’s neck, one behind their neck, one under each leg in the pit or curve, take a bowl of cool water with a rag and dab water over the body, starting with their neck and work your way to their stomach. Panting is normal and is their way of sweating through their tongue. By sharing all this, it is my hope that I have made you aware of the dangers of what the heat can do to our “babies” and help to prevent any casualties this summer.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel Allen

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