Champion of My Heart began publishing a blog in April 2007. That's forever ago, as blogs go. For 10 years now, dog lovers have followed our stories, looked here for reputable advice, and made good use of our best resources.
Champion of My Heart honors include the following award wins and nominations:
- Humane Society of Boulder Valley Community Engagement Award Winner
- DogTime Media Best Dog Blog Award Winner
- DogTime Media Best Dog Blog Award Finalist
Jump in and read a few of our recent posts. We're glad you're here. We hope you'll join our community.
TIP: For some reason the subscribe page form throws an error for Kindle tablet users, if they are using the IMHO terrible browser that comes built in to the Kindle. You can always contact me directly, and I can add you to the subscriber list manually. Thanks! And, sorry for the glitch!
Here are the most recent posts ...
Happy Chonksgiving With Foster Puppies
Happy Chonksgiving from all of us! I plan to write some posts soon about what it's like to foster tiny puppies for our local animal shelter and the kinds of supplies you'll need in bulk to survive, if you want to add a similar volunteer gig to your life. But, I'm getting ready to take an extra-long Thanksgiving break (Nov 19-28), so instead please enjoy pix and videos of our latest foster babies that we're calling TATO (like mashed potatoes) and GRAVY. They are just 2 from a litter of 9 puppies born at our shelter. We went for sanity over heroics and offered to foster just 2 of them. #ChonkyPuppies
Top 3 Dog Halloween Costume Mistakes
Dog Halloween costume advice for 2021! I know I'm cutting it close, but a lot of dogs get put through too much stress purely for a good laugh or cute pix for IG or a funny video clip for TikTok. Avoid these common dog Halloween costume mistakes with this advice from a longtime dog mom who learned these lessons the hard way + ideas on what to do instead.
Veterinary Realities and Problems with The Starling Movie
If you're asking yourself, "Should I watch The Starling movie?" ... Here's my answer, some context, and a suggestion of what else to watch too. I'm a big fan of Melissa McCarthy. She deserves all credit and praise for so many incredible performances in movies, including a scene in Thunder Force where she references Jodie Foster in ways that made me laugh, laugh, laugh. So, I watched her new movie The Starling, available on Netflix with interest, even though, I knew it wasn't going to be wildly ha-ha funny. It turns out that the incomparable Kevin Kline plays a veterinarian in The Starling, which would be great except for the context of that character at this specific time in the history of veterinary medicine.
Nosework Success Story, So Far
About a year ago, I retired Clover from agility classes for both her physical and emotional health. That decision itself probably deserves a whole post at some point, but suffice it to say that the pandemic (among other things) helped me find clarity about Clover's happiness and my own. Rather than the end of something, it marked a beginning. Clover and I started taking online nosework classes in December 2020. Each class lasted about 6 weeks. We did all our training as homework, just the 2 of us at home. We never took an in-person class. Then, this summer, we took the opportunity to test our progress at 4 events, and things went SO well. Amazing videos ahead, if I do say so myself.
Zen and the Art of Caring for Pets Book Review
Donna Kelleher, DVM, is a holistic veterinarian who works in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Her most recent book Zen and the Art of Caring for Pets chronicles her career path and challenges with the demands of the veterinary profession itself and the pressures (and annoyances) caused by clients. Over the years, she worked in emergency / critical care and even for a veterinary practice purchased by a corporation. The book addresses the high rate of suicide among veterinarians (that I talked about recently in the post about how not to get fired as a veterinary client). Kelleher offers keen insights into how she practices veterinary medicine today -- from cancer cases to chronic allergies and beyond. The 2 of us agree in many things. Some things in the book, though, I disagree with, doubt, and bring a heavy dose of skepticism too. She knows that based on our private conversations via email and encouraged me to write a book review anyway. So here you go.
Best Advice for Dogs with Skin Issues
I still need to publish a real post about Mr. Stix's full backstory, but this feels more pressing. For nearly 18 months, Mr. Stix's permanent nakey spot (from unknown injuries before he was rescued, including 15 fractures and this big patch of coat missing) has featured several inflamed, peeling areas. Initially I tried to fix it myself at home with things like aloe vera, vaseline, a veterinary ointment called animax that the shelter had give us while we fostered him most of 2019, etc. It's sort of a combination of steroids, antibacterial, and antifungal stuff. I took him to see our main veterinarian in spring 2020, when there was a 2-month wait to get into see a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. It has been quite a journey since then, and it's nowhere near over. Here's my best advice for dogs with skin issues.
How Not to Get Fired as a Veterinary Client
I just finished writing an article about a crisis in veterinary medicine with the mental health and overall wellbeing of veterinarians and their veterinary hospital teams, driven in part by the increased demands for veterinary services and the increased abuse they face from cranky clients. Recently, I've also become aware of more and more people in my circle of dog lovers -- online and otherwise -- getting fired by various veterinary hospitals across the country. I find it hard to believe that ALL of these folks are being major jerks, but it seemed like an urgent need to discuss what's happening, why, and how NOT to get fired as a veterinary client. Here are my best tips + a video explaining (sometimes ranting) about what NOT to do.
Liver Dog Treat Recipe
I started ordering groceries online for parking-lot pick up long before the pandemic. Most of the time, the staff shoppers at our local grocery store do a good job getting me everything on the list. Sometimes, though, I get weird substitutions and don't realize it until I get home. It's a 45-minute drive each way from our place to the store, so going back to correct weird or missing items is a real pain. So, I make do or try to find something to do with what I get. Guess who ended up with pounds and pounds of LIVER recently? Rather that just giving the dogs cooked liver as a treat, I made up a liver dog treat recipe. Just winged it, and they turned out pretty well. See what you think.
Dog Nail Grinder Review – Lucky Tail Nail Grinder for Pets
Switching from cutting our dogs' nails to using a dog nail grinder was a game-changer for all of us. So much less drama. No more accidental injuries from cutting nails too short. Best of all, the dogs no longer look at me with murder in their eyes when it's time to do their nails -- which I grind down weekly. Yes, really. I've gone through a bunch of different grinders since Clover was a puppy, including an entry-level one that went through untold numbers of D batteries and replacement heads. I've had other (nicer) ones that died after a year or so. I'm now using a new / different one, so here is our review of Lucky Tails Nail Grinder.
Long Nose Legacy Book Review
As a dog book reviewer, I maintain a short list of quirks -- such as NOT liking books told from the dog's point of view. So when J.G. Eastman asked me to look at Long Nose Legacy, A Dog's Story of Royalty and Loyalty (a middle grade chapter book for kids ages 9-12) we shared a little back and forth about if I'd be annoyed by the narration in the book. Eastman explained, "It's told in 3rd person, but the dogs do communicate with each other, and we hear their thoughts." So, I gave it a try. Here are my thoughts.
CBD From Colorado – Suzie’s CBD Treats
In my ongoing quest to support small businesses, I'm happy to share some intel on a *very local Colorado CBD company called Suzie's CBD Treats. They sell both CBD-infused treats for pets and CBD tincture drops. As you may recall, we use a combination of CBD drops and an over-the-counter med (meclizine) for motion sickness since both Tori and Stix get car-sick because of our long, winding drive down the canyon, and this combo works WAY better than the expensive veterinary prescription med for car-sick pets. Let's look at what makes products from Suzie's CBD Treats special. [Hint: They even sell special peanut butter for dogs with CBD in it.]
Support Small Biz – Where to Buy Dog Food, Treats, and Toys Online
recently ditched my affiliate relationship with a major / famous pet site that's owned by a huge pet products mega company -- both because I literally never earned a dime because their terms sucked so much and because I realized they sell (and lately promote a lot) shock collars (some of which now masquerade as GSP devices and dog activity trackers to mask their other purpose -- to train dogs using pain). So, if you're looking for new places to shop online, please consider K9Cuisine.com whom I have new affiliate relationship. Ditch the megastores. Support small biz.
When to Spay or Neuter Your Dog
The veterinary profession continues to learn about the long-term health effects of surgeries done to prevent unwanted canine pregnancies. These insights help Dog Moms and Dads make better decisions about when to spay or neuter dogs. Simply put, our goals must bridge both reproductive protection and long-term comfort and health for the dogs we love. Researchers from UC-Davis looked at associated joint disorders, cancers, and urinary incontinence in 35 dog breeds and offered insights on making this important decision. In some cases, the best option may be leaving some dogs intact.
Big Barker Review Video (Dog Bed) and New Research
Our youngest canine hero, Mr. Stix, has NOT been sleeping well for many weeks now. We needed some fresh ideas, then along came some new research from Big Barker dog beds done at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center. Here's why our little dude needed a new bed and how it's working so far. Don't miss the end of the Big Barker review video -- so doggone funny.
Book Review You Know Your Dog Loves You Because
If you need a good giggle about some of the silliest (and, yes, documented by science) ways dogs prove their love for us in every day life, check out our book review! You Know Your Dog Loves You Because ... by writer Jeff Parks and illustrator Mark Sean Wilson might make a good gift for your loved ones of all ages. Here's why. [Also, news about our Mr. Stix at the bottom of the page.]
The Whole Blog & Nothing But the Blog
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