Most Recent Blog Posts

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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 ...

The Story is Not My Story
If you follow Champion of My Heart on Facebook, you know that we spent the better part of July helping a family spot and rescue their border collie. She went missing in the huge wildland park near us on July 4. The headline? The family rescued sweet Nellie July 24, and she is recovering from her ordeal really well. I want to talk, though, about storytelling -- especially in public / social media / online settings. Whose place is it to tell stories like this? In this case, not mine. The story is not my story. Here's why.
Where Everybody Buys Your Dog Name
While Clover and Tori may or may not ever compete in various dog sports, we are working on earning some Trick Dog titles. In 2017, when I considered Clover's debut into agility competitions, I did the paperwork for her PAL listing through the AKC. Tori didn't have an official dog name yet, so I just did hers recently so that we could apply for their Novice Trick Dog Titles. Alas, we hit a snag on choosing Tori's "registered" name. Somebody bought some of the words I wanted to use in Tori's registered name so that no one else can use them for like 5 years. Really. So weird. Usually kennel names are more original than that.
Tori’s First-Ever Agility Class
As we started testing the theory that Tori could, in fact, now ride in the car without getting sick, we took her to her first-ever agility class in early July 2018. After years of only doing agility at home with the equipment we have here and what I can teach her on my own (after years and years of classes, even though I've never competed), Tori walked out and nailed it. It was the sweetest, funniest thing to see. Don't miss this short video.
Tori says, “Car travel is my passion!”
We're not quite ready to declare total victory on Tori's car-sickness issues, but she has gone for 3 whole trips to town and back without throwing up in July. Maybe she is *finally outgrowing her car troubles. Maybe we finally found the right combination, dosages, and timing of meds. Maybe she loved going to agility class (for the first time) so much that it has helped her realize that the car can take her fun places. As a joke now, Tom likes to use his "Tori voice" to say, "Car travel is my passion!" which makes me giggle after 3 years of car struggles with our sweet girl.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Tori
Crazy work deadlines and a lingering internet-connection issue with my main computer have hampered my plan to create another cute birthday tribute video for Tori's third birthday (which was Sunday). Instead, please enjoy these cute photos from our birthday celebrations. A few other news items also below.
Book Review Animal Lover’s Guide to Changing the World
My book review process typically starts with finally being offered a book of interest. I agree to write and post a review. Then, I promptly freak-out about finding the time to read the book. Weather, in turns out, did me a favor. Thursday, May 3, 2018, we got a ton of heavy, wet snow. So much that I didn't go to agility class. So much that we lost power (and phone service) for about 12 hours. I did as much writing work as possible on my laptop and through sparing use of our battery back-up system to access wifi a few times to check email, but there was only so much I could do. So, I read Stephanie Feldstein's book all in one sitting. Here is my book review Animal Lover's Guide to Changing the World - Practical Advice and Everyday Actions for a More Sustainable, Humane, and Compassionate Planet. Details on the book giveaway at the end. Scroll down.
Happy 4th Birthday, Clover
It's that time of year again. I cannot believe that Clover will be 4 years old this weekend. How is that even possible? It's kind of freaking me out how time is flying. We have so much more to do, so many more adventures to have. From the (literally) thousands of photos I took of her in the last year, I selected about 75 of them for this year's birthday tribute video. I like the final photo to be something really special, but I haven't (yet) taken the perfect 04 photo of her yet this week, so we'll stick with a photo of her sprinting so fast that all 4 feet are off the ground. She does fly. Happy birthday, baby girl. Here's to many more!
Veterinary Costs New Insights
The veterinary costs detailed inside the latest Nationwide Purdue Veterinary Price Index show interesting drops and increases in what people pay for veterinary care for their pets -- particularly in the immediate aftermath of The Great Recession as well as in the most recent couple of years. My general sense is that my experience overall has been different as a Dog Mom in Colorado, where the recession wasn't particularly bad, with costs going up and up. However, one point about veterinary costs at primary care / general veterinary hospitals versus at specialty veterinary hospitals rings true. Eerily true.
Eureka Moments in Dog Training
It took several weeks into an online dog training class that I'm taking with Clover for me to gain some insights into why I sometimes fail in my training efforts with her. That doesn't mean the answers and solutions will be easy, but I see things more clearly now. Eureka moments in dog training just ahead.
Corporate Consolidation in Veterinary Medicine – Why I Worry
Corporate consolidation in veterinary medicine -- and the pet world in general -- makes me worry. Here is the latest example of how it's changing my experience as a Dog Mom. Recently, I learned that the veterinary clinic I use for primary care decided to drop its AAHA accreditation. This is the latest unwelcome change at the clinic since it got bought out by one of the corporations that now collectively own about 11% of all veterinary practices in the U.S. I'm worried about what this may mean to me as a veterinary client and for the future care of my dogs.
Titer Testing in Dogs
The American Animal Hospital Association updated its Vaccination Guidelines in September 2017. The guidelines include some important decision flow-charts about titer testing and how to respond to the results in a variety of situations. This is an important topic if you want to avoid over-vaccinating your dog. So, I figured it's a good time to talk about Clover's recent titer test results and about titer testing in general since it may be a new thing for you. This is a LONG post. Grab a snack.
Why Dog Lovers Hate Xylitol
Xylitol Toxic to Dogs ! While cruising the aisles at the natural foods market recently, I nearly collapsed in a heap when I realized that you can buy WHOLE BOXES of xylitol (a sugar-free sweetener) to use at home -- in baking and whatnot. I'd always thought the biggest risks to dogs (since xylitol is super toxic to dogs) was from food makers including xylitol in their products and not being particularly forthcoming about it and seemingly not giving a rat's @$$ that it's dangerous to dogs. Apparently, though, you can buy a whole box of death. Yikes!
All Hands on Pet Book Review
Here's our All Hands on Pet book review. The full title is All Hands on Pet - Your How-To Guide on Home Physical Therapy Methods for Pets, and the book is written by veteran physical therapist Susan E. Davis. Inside you'll find deep information for dogs and later in the book even ideas for cats, birds, and other pets. I only read the dog parts. Here's what I think about the book.
Feeling Guilty About Getting a New Dog After Your Dog Dies
People sometimes contact me after reading the pet loss book I wrote (called Heart Dog: Surviving the Loss of Your Canine Soul Mate). People often ask about feeling guilty about getting a new dog after your dog dies. I have a theory about love that might help.
Agility Teeter-Totter Starting Over Again
Looks like I waited TOO LONG to write about our success completely rebuilding Clover's agility teeter-totter training last summer. It was going so well that Clover even did the agility teeter-totter at our group class in early October 2017. Alas, in recent weeks, Clover has gone back to treating the agility teeter-totter like her sworn enemy (again). If nothing else, dog training gives people the chance to practice patience and creativity. Thank goodness I shot some video of what worked last summer so that I can try the same things again. Cute 1-minute video ahead.

The Whole Blog & Nothing But the Blog

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