4-7-2013 5-06-53 PMEarly every workday morning while you are leaving Athens going toward Huntsville on Hwy 72, there is the sound of howling and barking. It is the Athens Dog Pound, and you would hear it if the noise from the road was not so loud. The cries you would hear are those of dogs and cats waiting for a loving family to rescue them, or the end of their life at needle point. Now enters a heroine.

4-7-2013 5-06-43 PM

It is 8:00 am, and she walks into her place of work to see how many dogs and cats have been caught by the Animal Control Officer or abandoned by their one time pet parents, who, for whatever reason, could not continue to care for and love them. This is the daily routine of the Director for the Athens Dog Pound, Priscilla animals caught by the Animal Control are kept on a 5 day stray hold, but those turned in by their families can be euthanized on the same day if there is no room. Also, by the end of the stray hold, they could be e u t h a n i z e d should they not be picked up or adopted by a family.

4-7-2013 5-07-16 PMNow close your eyes and imagine you are in Priscilla’s shoes. You are in charge of the Pound and one of your many duties is to decide who lives or dies today. Regardless of the health or bloodline of the animal, your job is to choose whether they will live or die. Let’s take it a step further, look at your canine or feline family member and pretend they are the ones facing a chance of being euthanized by you because there is no room Blankenship. She comes in to find a daily average mix of cats and dogs. That average comes to approximately 15 animals a day during the spring. It is different with each season. Approximately 5 of these have a family. Priscilla stated to the Dog Barker, “More often than not, many people do not check the Pound for their family pets.” If you are missing your family pet, check the Pound! The at your facility. Not so easy, huh?

So, some of you are probably saying things like, “I never knew that!” or “How can I help?” Well, here is how you can help. Go see Priscilla at the dog pound and ask her what the Pound needs. I can tell you that they need volunteers and foster parents for the pets.

If you can foster just one, then that would take a huge burden off the Pound. If you are going to make excuses though, then marinate on this, “What is the maximum effective range of an excuse?!” I used to say as far as I could throw it. In which case, I did a lot of pushups for that answer, ha ha.
By: Joel Allen – Dog Barker

4-7-2013 5-07-08 PM 4-7-2013 5-07-28 PM

The Dog Barker
Well, people, I apologize to all my readers for not writing last month. In saying that, let’s talk your Canine Family Member. I see so many of you, in Athens, who have dogs, some I see riding around town with them, others I see walking them, and in some funny cases, I see you being walked by them. So, let’s discuss what I observed.

Those of us who ride with our Special Companions should always be aware of the danger of them riding in the vehicle and going from rider to driver. One of my Great Danes, Samson, is a prime example. He likes to ride up front and sometimes he likes to paw at me. I have to pay attention to this behavior and insist that Samson not be so overbearing and tell me how to drive! So, one thing I will be investing in soon is a seatbelt for Samson and the others who ride. One problem I see with this is if you have an accident, will you be able to get them safely away? Think on this.

The Dog BarkerNow, for those of us who walk our “Darlings.” Always remember when walking, walk facing traffic with your dog on your left, if possible. By walking your dog on the left, you ensure that you have some reaction time if your dog decides to jump out in front of a car and pull you with them. You must be able to pull them back to safety, or prevent the incident from the start.

Then there are those of you I see, red faced, flustered, and wanting to yell at the world or your Canine Family Member, who seems oblivious to you huffing and puffing. They are happy because they get to swing you this way and that. They have figured that you need a lot of exercising. Your lower back and arms are killing you and you are ready to smack the dog but you hold out. Some of you are ready to give up and just go back to the house.

Some of you will even give up completely on the walking and make Fido/Fidoette use the backyard for exercising. Well, folks, I am here to tell you, that I can help. First, look at your equipment. What kind of leash do you have? A six foot leash is recommended because we want to train the dog to walk close to your side. What kind of collar does your dog have on, or do you have a harness on? Harnesses are great but should be placed on your dog after they are trained to walk properly unless you want your dog to work by pulling something. In many instances I recommend the pinch collar which is the evil looking chain collar that has prongs faced in. Many of you see this device and cringe because you believe you can maim your “Baby”. It is a training tool and should only be used with training. Come and see me before you purchase this device and I will gladly show you how to use it. Just call my number listed at the end of this article. So, if you don’t want to be that person with the dog who is happily dragging you here and there, then call me. I am always glad to help!

“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

Picasso's Grill

Dog Barker
Dog BarkerHappy New Year! Well, dog gone it! I have to dig up all my dog bones I hid in the back yard. The end of the world never came and I never got to show my Pet Parents how I saved them a bone or two to chew on with me when we ran out of food. Now, I’ve got to go through with my New Year’s resolutions.

New Year’s Resolutions:

1. I will seek rehab for my addiction to chewing on my Daddy’s boots and my Mama’s stockings.

2. Overhearing my Parents promising to get into shape, I think I will insist on more walks by barking incessantly, and shaking my leash at them until they comply.

3. I will try and not pee on the corners and shelves in my favorite Pet Store when my Parents aren’t looking.

4. I will bark at the mailman only once, but I can’t resist trying to chew on his leg and the other meter readers who come by my house.

5. I promise to refrain from jumping into the mud outside and coming back into the house, leaving a trail on the carpets or leaving my prints on my Parents. That is kinda fun though, because others see my prints on them and know that those are my Parents.

6. I will not drool and shake my drool all over the place when my Pet Parents are eating. But, they could share a bite or two! Maybe they will give me their food if I do shake drool into their plate. I may have to rethink this resolution.

7. I know, I know, I have repeatedly told Doggie Claus I would lay off the cat. The guy is so cute though. Especially, when his hair is all tufted up and he is hissing at me. Ooooh! That gets me going. But, for my seventh resolution I promise to chase the cat when others don’t see me. Then I can deny all, admit to nothing, demand proof, and make counter accusations.

8. My toys have been an issue as of late. I leave them everywhere and I always hear someone in the house yelling my name loudly. My Dad stepped on one of those spiked hard plastic bones, so, just to help, I will start leaving my toys in the open so they can be seen as someone walks through the house.

9. Ok, I do bark a lot when I see someone at our door. Most of the time I am just happy to see a new face. But, to help my Pet Parents with my barking, I will stop when they spray me with vinegar and water mix (1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water). Yuck!

10. I will share my love even more on days I have not bathed so my Pet Parents will remember me all day.

11. When someone’s birthday is being celebrated, I will refrain from slinking into the room when no one is looking and swiping some of that sweet icing.

12. In my home, my Parents leave books around and I like to try and read them. Who says I can’t learn from “digesting” them?! No one told me. I will refrain from eating the books since I cannot learn from them that way.

Dog Barker“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.”

“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 and Zues Allen
256-651-2211

Dear Santa

Dear Doggie Claus,

This is my second Christmas, and this year I realized what a bird was. My parents were not happy when I chased the birds out of the yard. I heard them screaming at me, but I was killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. I like chasing birds and my parents chasing me! Sure, when they caught me, I looked mournful as if I learned my lesson and would not do it again. That being said, could you bring a big bird feeder for our yard so I can bait and trap birds next year?

The Cat complained again this year, and as always I had to look at my parents with the “I didn’t do it” look! Then there’s the trusty, “I was set up!” And, the ever popular, “He has mistaken me for the neighbor’s dog.” Of course, they took his side. So, for a peace offering, could you get the Cat a catnip, fishing feather toy, so he can enjoy himself? I will of course be watching him play with it to ensure he is enjoying it. Should he get too slow with it, I promise to speed him up!

Dog BarkerMy chewing habits have gotten better. Instead of chewing in the open, now I chew on things in spots where it can’t be seen until it is found. The good thing about it is, like that show, Law and Order, they need proof to convict me of the crime. “That is not my teeth impression on the wood! What hole in the sheetrock?! That was already there when you brought me home! What do you mean the Cat doesn’t chew?!” So, I guess I need more toys.

I still walk proudly by my parents when they walk me. I need a new leash, though. I kinda nibbled the old one while they were taking too long browsing at things that bored me.

My patience has improved. Instead of swallowing one of my parent’s whole hands down to their elbow in my mouth when they offer me a treat, I gently take it now. However, it was fun seeing the look of shock and the hollering about spitting out their arm that kept things fun. Can you bring me a huge meat log that can be cut up and refrigerated in a zip lock baggie? I promise to only nibble their fingertips for the yummies this year.

My bed you brought me last year was awesome! Now, I would like another to match. That way, I can have my own fresh linen while my other bed is washed. Else, I will have to start reverting back to sneaking into my parents’ bed again. After all, it is the love I leave, not the smell and hair of my presence that counts.

Once again, 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

Speedy Legal

The Dog Barker

As we gather together this holiday, let us keep in mind our Canine Family Members. I know, table food is considered bad for our wonderful dogs. It is my opinion that this is not always the case. Folks, I said my opinion, so please don’t take what I am about to share as fact. Every year during the holidays, I always set aside turkey and dressing for my Darlings. We all have something to be thankful for, and I always share my love for my family, human and canine alike.

Now, let’s talk turkey and some helpful hints to encourage Fido/Fidoette to behave when everyone is eating. Here are some examples of undesirable behavior, and a tip to encourage good manners during Thanksgiving Dinner.

Joel AllenTHE TURKEY THIEF: This canine likes to wait for a great distraction before he slinks in and takes something off the table (i.e., a piece of turkey or something smelly and yummy) when your head is turned. Often times, this guy’s best opportunity is when we bow our heads and give thanks to the Almighty. This is why I pray with one eye open!

THE LICKER: This canine is elusive and fast. He generally gets close enough to the table, while pretending not to see your plate and waits until he sees you see him. Then he does a tongue drive by on your plate, knowing your response will be, “Eww!! Here take it!” Don’t let him win! I usually look at the culprit and still take a huge bite of my food and growl. I know I just grossed out all of you. Being a soldier most of my young life has taught me to overcome certain things that would most assuredly make you sick.

THE DROOLER: This canine is devious. He generally will go and drink some water then come back to everyone at the table, and while you are trying to enjoy your scrumptious dinner, shake his head and sling drool all over the place in hopes you all will give up your food. I actually have one that will do exactly that. He has tried that with me. It didn’t work. Remember what I said about the licker.

THE LOOKER: This canine thinks by staring at you he will use his Jedi mind to overcome your will and make you, “Give the dog your food.” Just think about that being whispered constantly to you.

There is much more, but I do not have the room to keep you going. So, in answer to these scenarios here is what I suggest you do. Get yourself a spray bottle. Put 1/3 part vinegar to 2/3 part water in the bottle. Set the nozzle to stream, and when you have a misbehaving canine, aim for his face. If his back is to you, spray his bottom and when he turns around spray his face, emphasizing the “NO!” command every time. Well, God Bless You All. May everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to pray.

“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
alexanderskingdomoftraining@gmail.com
256-651-2211

Valley Pools Speedy Legal

Woof! Woof! Everyone, even you Tennessee Fans are encouraged to volunteer! Recently I visited the Athens Dog Pound, and again they are in need of volunteers. Whatever reason you find for being unable to volunteer, I encourage you to pray about it. Then write a list of what you think you can and cannot do. You know, we can’t pray enough, so pray some more.

Here are some realistic expectations if you volunteer at the pound. First, understand that you will be expected to clean kennels. It can range from scrubbing and spraying the kennel out, to just cleaning up poop. You may be asked to handle different animals such as cats and dogs. Some may come in with nothing wrong with them and win your heart. Others may come in diseased, starved, beaten, and severely maimed, perhaps making you cringe away from them. Those that do, need the love you give just as much as the others.

Second, I will warn you, volunteering for the pound can be a very thankless job. But, you are there for the animals, not the people, and when you get rattled or upset, remember this.

Third, remember everyone thinks differently, because Our Heavenly Father made everyone different. You are going to see people crying and surrendering their animals for various reasons. But, you will see the cold and callous people who don’t care either way. It is better that those who don’t care come to the pound, rather than exterminate the animal themselves. At least, at the pound the animal will be treated with respect and love.

Fourth, the hours can require long and tireless patience. During feeding times, there is probably going to be chaos because of so many mouths to feed. If you enter the kennels to place food, you may find yourself being jumped on. They are only happy to see someone, (and the food is a bonus,) so try not to be upset.

Fifth, wear clothes to work in, and not to look pretty. Ever see someone who went in the yard with an all too happy, affection starved dog? Usually they return from the encounter with paw prints all over them.

Lastly, listen to Priscilla, the Director. She has a huge heart for these animals. It is the team she has built that makes the pound so bearable to many of the animals. After you get home from your time commitment at the pound, always change clothing before interacting with your “canine family members,” and those “wonderful felines.” That way, you’ll keep your furry family free from illness, and know that you have helped ones that don’t have a family…yet.

“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 and Zues Allen
Professional Dog Trainer and Service Dog
256-651-2211

Adoption – Dog Barker

So, you are looking to adopt a new Canine Family Member. There are many places to choose from. You could ask your Veterinarian, check the phone book, google search your area, or even check the Dog Pound. Many dogs need to be loved. Even the “Heinz 57” dog wants to be loved. Here is some advice when looking for that special addition to your family. Consider the size of the dog. Do you want “GIGANTOR”, Medium, or “Itsy Bitsy”?

While you consider that, let’s discuss the differences. “Gigantor” (a huge dog with bigger feet than you) is full grown and seems very loving. Having this size dog, you should consider their needs. If they still have a tail, they are normally the right height to clean a coffee table off with one swish or bring a grown man to his knees by tapping him in the lower area. Guys, just think, as you hit your knees in pain they normally come and love all over you not knowing what they have done. Most large dogs need only a couch or lazy boy and they are good. When feeding this size of a dog you should elevate his food and water to chest level.
“Medium” size dogs are usually about knee to thigh high. With this size of dog you don’t have to worry too much about their tail unless you are a short person, like my Dad. It is good to also elevate their food and water to chest level for them. A dog bed or the furniture (if you don’t mind) will do them just fine.

“Itsy Bitsy” dogs are usually called “ankle biters” or teacups. Most dogs this size are prima donnas and do not like many people or dogs. They tend to look up at us when we teach or tell them a command and give us the look like, “What?! You expect me to do that?” Sometimes they even have the “Napoleon” complex where they think they can pick a fight with something bigger than them, never realizing that a quick puff of air will send them flying.

Lastly, you should know the first two weeks of your new Canine Family Member are the most important. This is where they acclimate to you and their new home. This is also where their true colors come forth. Dogs who have been mistreated can show negative behavior within this time frame. It is always best to seek an evaluation from a dog trainer. This can save you time, money, and torn up curtains.

Now, here are a couple of places in Athens, you can look to find wonderful Canine Family Members in need of a new home:
The Dog Pound, 256-771-7889 (Pricilla)
Peace, Love, and Animals, 256-233-4343 (Cathy)
If you are unable to adopt, please consider supporting your local shelter by asking them what they need or even volunteer to help out. Huntsville has a few shelters also, and they all need help.

“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
Professional Dog Trainer and Service Dog
256-651-2211

Recently, I watched a documentary titled, “One Nation Under Dog”. I would recommend only watching this with no children present. There is one scene I wish to talk about in the documentary. Keep in mind the definition of euthanasia.

Euthanasia- Also called mercy killing. the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, especially a painful, disease or condition; painless death.

The scene opens with men taking dogs out of kennels and placing them into a steel, square dumpster style chamber. Some dogs are scrambling to get away and look terrified as they are caught by the men and carried to the chamber. They are crammed into this chamber and the lid is closed and sealed by the men. The whole time this is going on, the cameras do not show their faces or indicate the location. The men step away from the chamber and the camera follows one of the men to another part of the kennel.

As the camera enters this area, you can see gas tanks/welder’s tanks attached to a hose leading back to the chamber. The man reaches up and turns the knob, and then the camera pans back to the chamber where you hear the dogs in the chamber screaming. I mean literally screaming. You can hear the agony. By this time I am ready to wretch up my dinner and I am sobbing uncontrollably because I cannot believe the cruelty I am witnessing.

Then the camera shows the man turning the knob off and it follows him back out to the chamber where he opens the lid and the camera pans over the dead dogs. One dog in particular, is laying there with its eyes open. They looked like they all died painfully. Then the men go and get puppies and place them on top of the dead dogs and they repeat everything all over again. The howling was horrible. At the end of the scene the men unhook the gas hoses and a dump truck drives up to take the dead dogs away.

Now, read the definition again. The last part when it says “painless death,” what is so painless about that scene? Let me be clear, this should not be happening. Places like this should be held accountable. If you check around, you may find that some Veterinarians are paid to euthanize dogs. Blood money is not worth your soul, and I believe God holds them accountable that do this. Yes, we have an overpopulation issue with pets, but, spaying and neutering are only part of the answer. It’s time to stop this and expose it for what it really is, “HITLERISM”. We have an inherent responsibility to take care of these dogs. Look at your dog and think, “What if it was them?” Say, your dog got loose and the local animal control catches them. Yes, here there is a 5 day stray hold. What if you don’t check with the pound and you sit home missing your “Baby” and their time runs out? Not saying that here in Limestone they gas the unwanted pets, but what if?

Lastly, we need more or bigger “No Kill Shelters”. Support your local no kill shelters, adopt a pet, and let’s raise up our voices to stop this cruelty.

“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 and Zues Allen
Professional Dog Trainer and Service Dog
256-651-2211

Hello everyone! The 4th of July is just behind us, and by the time this article is printed we will have eaten ourselves into gluttony. We will have fired our fireworks and enjoyed the displays. Some of us will have attended the fireworks show in town. And now for the memories!

I had a dog that was half pit and half dachshund. Her name was “Little Girl” for obvious reasons. Anyway, every year we had to lock up Little Girl because she hated fireworks to the point she would clamp down on them and let them explode in her mouth. Thankfully she was never seriously injured. We were bruised when she would come running full tilt into us because of the firecracker we would light. She was always trying to take them from us, LOL. It was comical to watch her grab one in her mouth, bite down, growling, and then “POW!” She would shake it off, spit it out and be ready for more. It always scared me she would hurt herself, but thankfully, it never happened.

So, let us talk about your recent holiday. Do you have a dog that hated the fireworks? Did they get aggressive, playful, or just want to hide? Well, let’s address these situations one at a time.

Aggression
Your dog tries to eat up anyone who lights any fireworks. The best thing you can do is put them up and keep them away from everyone at least until thirty minutes has gone by since the last firework was expended.

Playful
Your dog tries everything they can to get your goodies by chasing you, trying to knock you down for the ordinance, and sometimes just bark a lot and harass you. This can be fun and cause you to smile because they are totally into you and what you are doing. If you put them in the house to get them out of your way or to protect them, keep in mind, someone will need to protect your curtains.

Hiding
When this happens, have the compassion enough to put them into a quiet room, with maybe a TV, or some music to “soothe the savage beast.” They will be really nervous and sometimes become aggressive toward others or have accidents in the house, so be careful. If they have already run under something, don’t reach into their sanctuary. Instead try to lure them out and take them to their designated quiet area.

Lastly, remember for every dog bite or accident there is a reason why it happened, so do your best to find out why, and take steps to keep it from ever happening again. So, although this is may seem a bit early, “Happy 4th of July!!”

“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
256-651-2211