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Picture of a german shepherd

German Shepherd Hip Problems

Apollo is his name and unfortunately, he is going to have to be put down this coming Tuesday. It is a very sad day that is to come as Apollo has been with the owner through many hard times. The owner’s name is Clay, a plumber in Lebanon, TN who will be taking Apollo to the vet next week. Apollo was diagnosed with hip dysplasia last year and he has been struggling to move the past couple of weeks. This is a common disease in German Shepherds. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, 19% if German Shepherds will get hip dysplasia. Basically what happens is that their hip sockets become too loose causing damage.

Preventative Measures For Hip Problems 

It is said that preventative measures should be taken in order to dodge this genetic disease from occurring. This can be done by giving your dog dietary supplements to reduce inflammation. You can find out more about common problems here in the article.  Clay had been giving Apollo many different supplements over the past few years, however, they did not prevent the disease from occurring. Apollo is somewhat of an exception to most dogs as he was a hiking companion to Clay for thousands of miles through the Appalachian mountain range.

Apollo Hikes The Trail

As stated before Apollo was Clay’s companion hiker on the Appalachian Trail. He has hiked over 2000 miles of rugged terrain with Clay over the years. I was lucky enough to hike a few hundred miles with him through Virginia during the summer of 2012. We walking through the woods every day with Apollo, who at the time was about 3 years of age. It is so sad to see Apollo unable to get up after seeing his strength and endurance on the Appalachian Trail. Now he is about 9 years old, still happy as can be, but Clay can’t stand to see him down like this anymore. On the trail, Apollo would always lead ahead of us carrying his own food with a small pack on his back. Sometimes he would lag behind if he caught a scent but this would only last for a few minutes. He would then come rushing past us full speed to his lead position continuing to guide us through the woods. Such great memories out there with Clay and Apollo. It sure will be sad to see him go. Clay will surely never forget the memories he has shared with his best bud. His plumbing company in Lebanon, TN will also miss their office dog. Apollo would always happily greet the workers in the morning before the headed out on service calls. Another chapter ends in Clay’s life story. The days of Apollo will be remembered with the best of memories.

Free The Dog

Why is it a good idea to go to a dog park? To free your dog! Let them run wild and crazy for a little bit that’s why! The only thing stopping them is your spare time being dedicated to social media! Seriously, I see too often dogs being stuck in their kennel all day with barely enough room to do anything. My cousin Clay works full time as a plumber in Tennessee and he actually brings his dog with him to the office and even some times on service calls. This has given him a name around town as the “plumber with the dog” and people absolutely love him for it. His lab, “Splash” as been going to the office with him for years now. I asked him why he doesn’t leave Splash at home and he says “Well, where would I put him? Splash would much rather be with me”. I couldn’t agree more and I am sure Splash thinks the same!

I bring this up because an acquaintance of mine is going through some issues at home with her roommate and she has decided to move out because they are not compatible together and her roommate has a dog who literally spends almost all day in a kennel. It hurts me to see this whenever I go over there. The dog is a puppy and just wants to be free. Now I don’t mean to say, “Let the dog be free without discipline”. That is not where I am going with this. The fact is, if you wish to discipline your dog and have it obey you then you cannot keep in cooped up all day and expect its attention for  the hour the dog is actually able to move around. This should be common sense, but I constantly see her trying to discipline her dog with basically no effort and when her dog doesn’t obey after a few minutes, she puts the dog back into the kennel.

Bringing this back to the example above with my cousin the plumber, you can keep your dog out of their kennel if you really appreciate it. You can FIND a way to work it out. Clay decided to bring Splash with him to work at the office or even on a few service calls. The dog will begin to understand the routine. Not only will this give the dog more freedom to exercise and exert energy but it will also give you more time to train the dog to be your best friend! The relationship you have with your dog can quickly turn into neglect if you constantly have it in the kennel. Because it is a “dog” kennel it does not somehow validate your reasoning. Lets just be honest, your neglect highlights that you are lazy, too lazy to take responsibility for your pet and you are probably in denial of how irresponsible you are acting.

Start (and now I am just ranting) by taking your dog to your local dog park a few times a week for AT LEAST 30 minutes. When you all get home, spend another 30 minutes training your dog and spending quality time with him or her. After a relationship is formed, you will be less likely to keep putting the dog in the kennel and more likely to have him or her join you throughout your day!

More on Dog Sitting

Previously I posted about free advertising for someone looking for extra income by being a pet sitter for their local community. This is an wonderful idea in which this post will be expounding on a bit more. So lets go over the following:

  • Being the right sitter
  • Setting the right expectations
  • Being able to relax and enjoy it

Being the Right Sitter

Before ever taking the opportunity of pet sitting for a friend or referral, make sure you are the right fit for the situation. If possible, go by the homeowners house and enjoy a few minutes with the dog to see if you two are compatible. This might sound silly but do you think a super hyperactive dog is going to work well with an elderly person? It might not be the best fit. Also, make sure you feel comfortable in the neighborhood and in the house you will be working in. Pet sitting is all about enjoying your time and not have an anxiety attack because you have to spend the next week in a nightmare situation. Make sure you are the right sitter for the job.

Setting the Right Expectations

Keeping the dog in the same routine for when the pet owner gets back from their trip is a good place to start. Lets say the dog is used to a 45 min walk everyday around 6pm then that would be an expectation you need to consider when going over the job details. When discussing the duties with the pet owner, try and get as much information from then as you can…while you can. If they are on vacation, you may not be able to speak with them if you have questions. So be sure to be thorough about the requirements and expectations of the pet owner. You also might come into a situation where the pet owner doesn’t actually leave detailed notes or instructions even though you assumed they would. This will be your opportunity to take your own notes in order to be prepared for your job.

Being Able to Relax and Enjoy

The top two points were being made in order for you to have the opportunity to actually relax and enjoy your pet sitting job. You don’t want to be left in the dark about anything so be sure to do your due diligence with the pet you will be looking after, as well as the pet owners expectations for the job. If you take all of the above into consideration then you will be setting yourself up for success, enabling you to sit back and relax!

Dog Sitting – Free Advertising

Dog sitting has become a sought out job in my area of TN. It seems like at least once a week I see someone posting in Facebook, looking for a dog sitter. Dog parks are a great way to find a neighbor in your area who has experience with pets. Not only will you find someone who has experience but also someone who has shown the willingness to take their pet to the dog park.

How can you use a dog park as free advertising for a dog sitting position? Flyers are a great place to start. Most dog parks have a sitting area or even a telephone pole next to the entrance. If that is the case, create a simple flyer with the necessary information on in and staple it to the telephone pole. This will surely be seen as many dog park goers are looking for things to keep them occupied while their dog is out running around, sniffing other dogs.

If you are not the shy type another option would be to print out a few business cards with your information specifying that you are indeed a dog sitter. Next time you are at the dog park, just pass these out to friendly faces, and that’s it!

Thought I would put in my 2 cents on the matter of dog sitting since it is becoming a more sought out position these days with so many travelers.

Take care!

Building A Dog Park

Has anyone ever had the thought of creating a community for pet owners in your neighborhood? I was speaking with a building contractor about this at and he said it would basically be the cost of the property and the fencing around the dog park area. This would be a communal area where not only the neighborhood residents have a purpose behind meeting each other but it also gives the pets and opportunity to become acquainted as well. Most dog parks are funded by the city but if there were people willing to come to purchase an empty lot in the neighborhood, they could actually have their own dog park within walking distance of their residence. If we had 30 pet owners in the area willing to invest in this project we could have ourselves a long term asset for our community. Of course, we could make it a membership dog park based on a monthly or yearly fee in order to recoup the costs of the lot and fencing. This could grow into a something very special for the community where we could hold dinners, events, birthdays, and whatever else we decide on. Also, we would need to have accountability for our members to clean up after their pets which I posted about here. There would also be maintenance on the land as far as lawn care and so forth. But who knows, maybe there is a company in the area who would be willing to do this at break even costs and a free membership to the dog park. Continue reading

Dog Park Ethics

The ethics within a dog park might seem intuituve and self explanatory since there are waste bins in different areas of each park. However I have been noticing lately that many pet owners have not been disposing their doggy bags in the waste bin. This is a concern for multiple reasons and simply doesn’t follow the ethics that are assumed to be intuitive to the pet owner. It could be laziness on the part of the owner, forgetfulness, or just personal reluctance to follow order and create chaos. Probably the third scenario. Nonetheless this reluctance to properly dispose of your pet’s waste can be dangerous and degrade the park for other users to enjoy. Why is it dangerous you ask? Well we all know that some dogs enjoy eating other animals waste which can lead to passing of harmful bacteria which can in turn spread to other animals not exclusive to dogs. It simply isn’t a smart thing to do. It’s very unhealthy for the environment of the dog park. Also, how appealing is it to see used doggy bags scattered across the trails or next to bushes at the dog park? It’s not appealing – it’s garbage. We should be more conscious about these matters and take into consideration the other patrons enjoying the parks with their dogs.

I am not raising these concerns because I saw ‘one or two’ doggy bags laying on the ground literally feet away from the bin, but because it is a reoccurring sight. This trend, is not cool.

If you happpen to see anyone leaving their waste bags alongside the trails or anywhere other than in a bin, the proper code of ethics would be to remind them that we are responsible for disposing of the doggy waste bags in the waste bin.

Welcome to the Upland Dog Park!

Welcome to the Upland Dog Park. All dogs are welcome here, we do not exclude and breeds. So bring your friends and be merry! No need worry about being on a leash either. It simply doesn’t matter here. As a matter of fact, if you see a dog on their leash, please walk up to their owner and kindly ask them to free you. That way, you will have the experience here that we wish to create. Pure, freedom.

More on that later…