Keeping Dogs Safe in the Cold

I don’t know where you are from, but I live in Iowa. If ever need to know ANYTHING about this state (and the surrounding midwest states) it will be that we have COLD WINTERS. I am not talking cold like 30 degrees, I am talking 30 below WITH A WINDCHILL… If you don’t know what a windchill is, I envy you. Anyway, even though our winters are cheek-numbing and frostbiting, those of us that have dogs need to be outside constantly throughout the day. Its awful- but that is the price we pay for loving our canine companions!

So, in honor of the zero degree temperature that I am currently living in, I wanted to write about how we as dog lovers can keep them safe during the cold winter months!

*Firstly, You should never leave your dogs outside unsupervised unless he/she has access to a heated building. A DOG HOUSE WILL NOT CUT IT. Just because your dog has fur, it does not mean he can withstand the cold. I know, some breeds (like Huskies, Samoyeds and Malamutes) are better suited to cold weather, but every dog deserves access to a warm shelter at all times. If you are the type of person that keeps your dog outside at all times, it is imperative that they have access to your garage or some other type of heated shelter. Something that works great is a heated dog bowl. It keeps the water at a nice temperature and it will never freeze!

*Small dogs or those with little (to no) hair should wear sweaters or jackets for protection against the cold. I know, I think they look goofy too, but they really can’t handle it! Breeds that I think would benefit from this are Chihuahuas. Miniature Pinschers, Great Danes and Greyhounds. Not all dogs will wear clothes, I understand this. But at least try to remember to limit their time outside (if you can help it!) Small, frequent potty breaks work the best in the cold! Puppies also can’t deal with cold as well. They will be difficult to housebreak when it is cold (and snowy!!). Opt to train them on pads inside, or limit their time outside and be understanding if there are accidents.

*Make sure to take extra care of their feet!  If your dog will tolerate it (mine absolutely will not under any circumstances!), consider foot protection, like dog shoes or booties. The salt that is put down on sidewalks is very harmful to the dog’s pads. If your dog can’t stand shoes, then after your walks be sure to wash the bottom of their paws and stomachs! If salt is left it can start eating away at their pads and it can be very painful! There are pet-friendly (salt free and chloride free) ice melters such as Morton® Safe-T-Pet®!

*Be careful around ice!  (The dog shoes will help with this too.) Walking on ice is very dangerous to both you and the dog (obviously). If they pull too hard, you will slip and fall. If THEY slip and fall, however, it can mean broken hips, broken legs, and expensive vet bills. Take extra care with the senior pets! They are obviously more fragile.

* This one is hard for me but try to deter them from eating snow! You have absolutely no idea what is underneath and it can be deadly for them. One very dangerous thing that lurks underneath snow is antifreeze! This is absolutely deadly, even a small amount- but very sweet which makes it hard for dogs to resist. If you even suspect that your dog has come in contact with antifreeze, CALL YOUR VET RIGHT AWAY!

*As much as it bothers you, don’t get your dog groomed during the winter months! That extra hair will help to keep them warm 🙂

*Feed your dog more during the winter if they enjoy being outside! This helps them put on the weight they need to keep warm!

*Make sure that your dog is microchipped or at least has tags! If they are lost in the snow, you want them to be found as quickly as possible!

*Also, during the winter months my heart always aches for the stray animals. Firstly, if you see one PLEASE catch it and call your local shelter. This is life and death for them. Every single person I know would do it for a child- an animal isn’t any different.

*Don’t forget to knock on the hood of your car before you start it EACH TIME! You never know what little critter tried to keep warm by your engine. 


If you are a true animal lover, like I am, be sure to check the “warm spots” this winter. I am talking about warm hoods, laundry exhaust vents, garages, or anything else that can give off heat. Cats and other stray animals try to find shelter in these areas, and it can be very dangerous for them. What I have done (pictured below) is made a few of these enclosures to help keep the stray animals safe. It is a cheap way to help all of the animals in your neighborhood… I strongly suggest that everyone who has a yard (especially those of you with farms) to make a few of these 🙂 You don’t necessarily need the second tub in the middle either. 

Also, if you see a dog that is constantly left outside DO NOT hesitate to call your local animal shelter or animal control. The animal deserves better and it is up to you to help! If you don’t know who to contact, leave a comment and I will find the information for you!

Thank you for reading! Please share this and let’s keep our pets safe this winter!


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John Lennon- The Cat Lover

Okay… Okay… So I am 50 years behind when it comes to loving the Beatles, but even so, John Lennon will always be my idol. I love his music, I love his quotes, I love his entire mantra… So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that John Lennon had a special affection for cats. Yet another thing we have in common!! Needless to say, this post will be full of cute pictures of John Lennon and cats, with some fun facts weaved in! Please feel free to share!



John Lennon, my idol, the lover of cats <3

When John was growing up in Liverpool, he always had a special feline friend hanging around! There was Tich, the marmalade-coloured half-Persian, who, sadly, died when John was at college. Then there was Tim, the half-Persian, who was a stray found in the snowy street by John and became a special favorite. Then there was Sam was another best friend!  John Lennon was crazy about cats! Every day (after being very naughty at school) he would ride his back to a local fish store and buy some treats for his friends! Even when he as a Beatle, he would call his Aunt Mimi and ask about the kitties!  — information from LENNON The Definitive Biography by Ray Coleman

Even John’s mom was super fond of cats.  Julia had a cat named Elvis. It was written that, “The cat, later, produced a litter of kittens in the bottom of the kitchen cupboard – so we realized our mistake – but the name remained the same!” Okay, so they weren’t on board with the whole spay/neuter thing, but they aren’t Saints!! haha —  information from John Lennon My Brother by Julia Baird

In 1965, John and his (then) wife Cynthia and son Julian lived in England with many, many  cats. Cynthia said that “once the house was completed, John insisted on getting a cat!” After living with them his whole life, he was going crazy with out them! She went on to say “The first [a tabby] was named Mimi, after his cat loving aunt. Two more soon followed [including one named Babaghi, another tabby] and eventually we had about ten.” Quotes from  John by Cynthia Lennon

After Cynthia (but before Yoko, there was a woman named  May Pang and… wait for it…  they ALSO had two cats 🙂  Major (black)  and Minor (white).  Are you starting to see a pattern? I am beginning to think that John Lennon was a crazy cat lady in disguise!

Now, we move on to the infamous pair, John and Yoko… While, many Beatles fans dislike this combo and claim that they ruined the Beatles, I disagree. They were very passionately in love, and their relationship was timely (in my opinion). But, I digress. After getting married, the pair kept MANY cats in their life! : There was Salt (white) and Pepper (Black),  Misha, Shasha and Charo (all were persian mixes) and Alice a Russian Blue Kitten.

So there you have it, John Lennon- Lover of Animals… If he were alive in this world of animal abuse and puppy mills, I think he would be singing a different tune …. Perhaps it would be… “All you need is love… and two kittens” or “Imagine there were no puppy mills… It’s easy if you try…”

Yeah, I went there 😀


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Below are a few drawings that John did, the can be found in his books A Spaniard in the Works. and Real Love – the Drawings for Sean.

Captain Planet Fights Puppy Mills

One of my readers informed me that this video exists. I searched and searched for it and here it is!

Does anyone remember Captain Planet? It was a show in the early 90’s that existed to spread awareness of global issues to children. Captain Planet has five “planeteers” and they are all kids who want to help save the planet. I think that this episode is a VERY powerful way to explain the awful world of puppy mills to your children. The cartoon is about 20 minutes long, but very worth it! Please consider sharing it with your family and your students! If you care enough about the puppy mill issue, I suggest sharing this video with your students teacher and asking them to play it for their entire class!

To watch it, click on the underlined link and scroll down to the movie screen. You will have to press play twice!

—> Captain Planet Fights Puppy Mills <—

Dr. Blight is running a puppy mill and selling sick animals!

(Season 6, Episode 3 )

The Planeteers discover Dr. Blight has been experimenting with puppies at a breeding facility that she’s secretly running. Unsuspecting people, including Wheeler’s young cousin are buying unhealthy puppies from a pet store and it’s up to Captain Planet and the Planeteers to put a stop to Blight. 

The photo isn’t the video! The link above it is 🙂

What baffles me, is that in the 90’s this show was SPOT ON- yet people today still haven’t gotten the message. ADOPT, DON’T SHOP for animals! Especially when you have no idea where the puppies are really coming from. Newspaper ads, websites- those can all be faked. They  can tell you exactly what you want to hear, just so they can get your money. 


Teacup Puppies– All the rage

I am so amazed at the number of people who are looking to buy “Teacup Puppies.” For those people searching for teacup puppies and running across my blog, PLEASE read it entirely. You need to hear the truth behind this   non-breed and not what the pet stores and breeders want you to hear!

I have said it before and I will say it again– Pets are NOT something that you order online like a purse. They are NOT another accessory that you can carry around. They are living beings that require love and care.


The Breeding Behind Teacup Puppies.  

Sure, these puppies look adorable and, rightly so- they are! But let’s look behind the curtain for a second. Most females are bred on the ninth through the fifteenth day of their heat cycles. Eggs can be fertilized for up to 72 hours after any of these breeding’s. Therefore, it is possible to have puppies conceived up to a week or so younger than the puppies first conceived in a litter. However, when the first puppies conceived are mature and ready to be born, labor starts and all the puppies will be born, no matter when they were fertilized. What all of this means is, you are buying a puppy that was born prematurely. Those of you that have had premature children (or know of any), you know that they need extra care. However, in these breeding facilities, the puppies are treated just like any other and are taken from their parents far too early.

Then, the female premature puppy is bred with the male premature puppy… The cycle just goes on and on and on.

As you can imagine, there is a laundry list of health problems that can arise from this type of breeding. Some of the issues that may be encountered are both genetic and congenital in these tiny babies and the list is a long one.

Genetic Defects 

* High Risk of open fontanels– (soft spot from the cranial bone not forming),

*Portosystemic shunts (PSS- abnormal vessel that allows blood to bypass the liver. As a result the blood is not cleansed by one of the bodies filters: the liver.),

*hypoglycemia- a syndrome that occurs primarily in toy breeds between 6 and 12 weeks of age. Puppies with a severe drop in blood sugar develop seizures or become stuporous and go into a coma. Death can follow.

*Cardiac problems-

*Distorted teeth- in all of the breeding that has occurred, these “teacup” or “toy” breeds do not have teeth that have evolved to fit inside of their mouths.

* Luxating patellas- A genetic disease that cause the kneecap to dislocate and move freely around the leg.


*Collapsing trachea- Their bones are so fragile that they break so easily!

*Hydroencephaly- In easier terms it can be referred to as “water on the brain”. A very serious disease that can cause trauma, strokes and death.


*Digestive problems- this causes diabetes and other health issues.

*Fragile Bones- Their bones are so weak that they can be broken by simply jumping off of the couch.

                   **Problems such as respiratory problems can remain or worsen throughout their lives. These puppies are so fragile that most do not live more than a few years.


I will say it again… TEACUP or TOY DOGS are not an actual breed! If you see a breeder or a pet store that offers these types of dogs RUN THE OTHER WAY! I firmly believe that all dogs deserve love, but if you choose to buy dogs from pet stores or from breeders, you are only showing them that there is a demand. These small breed dogs are very overpopulated in the shelters. Just look at California: hundreds of Chihuahuas are being put to sleep because they were bought as accessories and not forever family members!

If you want a small breed dog, look on and search for a small dog. It is that simple. You can pay a small fee as opposed to paying thousands of dollars.

Before I end this, I want to say one more thing. Many people mistakenly believe small dogs like Chihuahuas are safe for children because they won’t pose a threat. Chihuahuas in particular are a poor choice for children because they have a tendency to be snippy and protective. Small children can also unintentionally hurt a tiny dog. A teacup dog is even more vulnerable and can easily be harmed or even killed by dropping it or mishandling it, falling on it, or stepping on it. Instead, the small breed dog is ideally placed in an adult home with someone who will dote on it, such as a senior citizen or person who works from home.

Don’t fall for the teacup yorkies, toy chihuahuas, or teacup maltese… They will only cost you thousands of dollars in veterinary costs down the road.

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Cat (Small Animal) Mills: The Awful Truth

Any animal can be milled!

That is a truth that not everyone realizes. Sugar Gliders, Rats, Chinchillas, rabbits,  foxes, Ferrets and kittens. Any animal that you see in a pet store has (more than likely) been milled. 

Thankfully, there has been some (not enough) media attention surrounding puppy  mills. Most everyone has at least heard the term or seen a picture and realizes that it isn’t a good thing. But sadly, any animal that is sold in pet stores is usually milled. Just think about it- pet stores are always able to have more than enough of the animals listed  to sell to anyone that walks in their door. And why is that?  Since there is a demand, there will be an industry.

There will always be  “farmers” that make sure there are more than enough rats, hamsters and chinchillas to keep the cages in the pet stores full. But because no rodentmillone is speaking out against these types of mills, breeders are able to switch which species they are breeding rather easily. Many former puppy mill breeders have switched, and now breed a multitude of cats to public (and private) organizations. Much like the puppy mill industry, the breeder has absolutely no concern for the health of the animals, the conditions they live in, or the fate of the animals leaving the property.

Kitty mills are just another example of humanity’s “supreme reign” over the animal kingdom. We have the power to torture for profit, so we do. Most people don’t even think that kitty mills are that prevalent in this day and age because of the high number of cats in shelters. However, it is a huge problem.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, most cats are adopted “casually”. About 48% of human owned cats are taken in as strays, or found by someone who gives the kitten or cat to a friend, or is adopted directly from a rescue league. A much smaller percentage, 14%, adopts their cats from shelters, especially kill shelters. The remaining percentage goes directly to either breeders or pet stores. However, with all this kitty purchasing going on, 71% of all cats or kittens that find themselves in the unfortunate position of being in a shelter are euthanized before forever homes can be found. Only one out of every five kittens and cats are destined to live in one home for their lifetime. Most cats find themselves abandoned or left on the shelter doorstep when they are either too much responsibility or lose their cute little kitten appeal.

But it’s not just dogs and cats…. Again, every animal can (and is) milled. There are thousands of small animal mills in the United States, with millions of rats, mice, chinchillas and rabbits who are suffering for their short lives. These pets are not only sold to pet stores, but they are sold to testing facilities and bred at colleges for “scientific purposes”. Where do we draw the line? 

According to the HSUS:
There are Shocking Conditions in Small Animal Mills

Commercial pet dealers who breed or sell most warm-blooded animals to pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But The HSUS’ review of USDA inspection reports reveals that many of these breeders are guilty of repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act for crowded and dirty conditions.

Inspection reports from 2004-2006 reveal Animal Welfare Act violations that include:

  • a cattery full of expired medications, which could leave the kittens exposed to deadly diseases
  • a small-animal dealer with over 2,000 hamsters and other small pets inside cages that had reportedly not been cleaned in weeks; sick hamsters being treated without a veterinary consult; holes in the facility walls, and accumulation of dust, cobwebs, and rodent droppings throughout the facility
  • a small-animal breeder with “dead hamsters found in different enclosures housing other hamsters,” as well as “green algae” growing in some of the animals’ water bottles
  • 11 guinea pigs housed inside a small tub only large enough for four
  • a ferret and chinchillas without enough room in their cages to stand up
  • rabbits in overcrowded enclosures less than 9 inches tall

But what can we do? As a group that is actively fighting puppy mills, we have a hard enough time getting people to care about dogs living their entire lives in cages… Letalone  getting people to care about rats. But education is so important. Getting the word out about ALL types of animal mills and raising awareness about the conditions in which these beating hearts are forced to live. 

So, we already know that pet overpopulation is a big problem in this country, and many other countries. But are there  really small animals in shelters waiting to be adopted? YES! There are! Please check or . Any animal that can be purchased, is usually dumped on local shelters, rescues or craigslist. So please, the next time you are looking to add ANY pet to your family, consider adoption first! 


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“Don’t Shop, Adopt!”

Laika, the unsung hero

The first astronaut to be sent into space

Laika, a three-year old, terrier-mix was picked up off of the cold Russian streets and became the first astronaut to orbit the Earth.

On November 3, 1957, she was sent into her first space mission, only to die a few hours later. So why did the Soviets decide to send a dog into space?

The decision to launch Laika was decided for two main reasons – scientific and (as always) political.  The scientific reason was that no one knew how a living being would cope in space (let alone a human), and observing animals in space would provide some ground-breaking knowledge on this. So why not pick a dog off of the streets? They are already used to the extreme cold weather in Russia.  The second (political) reason, was that Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union, wanted a ‘spectacular’ space mission to be launched on November 3, 1957, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution that led to the formation of the Soviet Union.

So, in the name of science, Laika was launched on a one-way trip on board Sputnik 2 in November 1957. Only, the Soviets didn’t announce that the trip was “one-way” until she was already in orbit. This outraged many people across the world! The Soviets hadn’t figured out how to land the shuttle. While it was first said that Laika died after six(ish) days in orbit, it has more recently  been revealed that she died from overheating and panic just a few hours after entering space.

Her space “living” conditions

She was placed in her restrictive module  (cage) several days before the shuttle launch. Then she was covered in an alcohol solution and painted with iodine in several spots (so sensors could be placed on her) right before take-off.  The sensors were to monitor her heartbeat, blood pressure, and other bodily functions to better understand any physical changes that might occur in space.

Though Laika’s module was restrictive, it was padded and had just enough room for her to lay down or stand as she wished.  She also had access to special, gelatinous, space food made for her. It has also been discovered that she was chained to prevent her
turning around. Inside the shuttle, there was a carbon dioxide absorbing device to prevent a build-up of this gas, as well as an oxygen generator to give her fresh air. There was also a fan that would automatically activate to cool the dog when the capsule’s
temperature exceeded 59 degrees (F).

In the days preceding, the dogs were kept in gradually smaller cages in order for them to adapt to the tight conditions of the “Sputnik 2”. Overall, three dogs were trained, but only Laika was chosen.

Death in space

The sensors that were placed on Laika showed that her pulse was elevated during the launch, as could be expected. Only when the shuttle started to lose gravity did her heart rate decrease. It took her three times longer in space than when she was preparing on the ground. This only further proved how much stress the dog was under!

After seven hours, no life signs were found. Laika had passed away when the temperature and humidity started to increase. Between the overheating and stress, her body just gave out.

Laika’s “coffin” circled the Earth 2,570 times and finally burned up in the Earth’s
atmosphere on  April 1958.

On November 3, she will have passed away 55 years ago… In honor of Laika, please share this story with your animal loving friends!

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Designer Dogs = Expensive Mutts

Cavachons, Dorkies, Yorkipoos, Buggles, Goldendoodles, Cockapoos, Bowzers, Porkies, Baskimos, Puggles.

What do they all have in common?  

They are all mutts… Really really really expensive mutts. By slapping the “designer dog” label on them, unscrupulous dog breeders and puppy mills are able to sell them at outrageous prices so the consumer feels like they are getting something “special” and “new”. When really, they are getting a high-priced mutt, that more than likely isn’t recognized by the AKC.

Some even tell buyers that these new “breeds” like yorkiepoos, buggles or  jugs will be recognized by the AKC some day very soon. But people in the market for a new puppy  need to realize that a cute name doesn’t turn a mongrel into a  purebred. If you fall for the hype, you could pay more for a mutt than you would  for a registered, guaranteed purebred.

Creating a New Breed Using Existing Dog Breeds

Ever heard of a Chusky? Yeah, me neither, not until I started doing research for this article. According to many sites, I own an expensive “designer dog”. My beautiful dog Zeppelin is a 100% purebred Chusky (sarcasm very much intended) and I got him for the low, low sale price of $0.  Had his previous, abusive owners known that, they wouldn’t have surrendered him into my care at no cost! This beautiful Chow-Husky mix is absolutely one of a kind, and he is just that… One of a kind. Which is why most designer breeds haven’t been accepted by the AKC. When two purebred dogs are put together, you don’t always know what is going to come out the other end. You can’t know which traits it is going to get! It is like breeding two people. You can’t possibly know if it is going to get dad’s work ethic, or mom’s artistic abilities.

Doodles are another hot, new breed — except they aren’t a breed, either. They are  a mix of Poodles and Labradors or Golden Retrievers. Most doodles you see for  sale are just first generation crosses of retriever to Poodle. They are mixed  breeds! There is a puppy mill owner in Altoona, Iowa that will sell you a “GoldenDoodle” for $400, while the shelter down the road will adopt it to the right family for less than $100.

Another fun fact: The “oodles” of Poodle mixes like yorkiepoos, pekapoos, schnoodles (and so on)  have absolutely no breeding standards, no club, no standardized breeding records, and no plan  for the future–which means no AKC acceptance letters for these doggies. So what is the point? Why go to a pet store and spend $1000 on a designer mutt, when you can go to your local shelter or and find something that is just as adorable, SO much cheaper, and that is going home with all (or most) of its vet work done?

Here is my thought for the day… If rescues and shelters started putting these designer labels on their dogs, would they be adopted more quickly? I am really curious about what you think!

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And as I always say… “Don’t Shop, Adopt!”  

Want to know More? Read it here:

Shelter dogs aren’t broken!.

How much is that doggie in the window?.

Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, Ames, Iowa… A store NOTORIOUS for selling Puppy Mill puppies.

“Puppy” isn’t just an age

It is a learned behavior!

It wasn’t me!

How many times have you seen a puppy nipping at hands, jumping all over the furniture and going to the bathroom where ever they please? How many times have you heard the excuse, “Oh she’s just a puppy…”

… Until that puppy is a giant black lab and her cute little antics aren’t so cute anymore.

What starts off as a cute puppy habit turns out to be supremely annoying. No one wants a dog that tears up  your brand new heels!  It’s never too early to start training your puppy. Just like raising children, whatever behavior is allowed from an early age, is a learned behavior your puppy will think is acceptable in to adulthood. It’s easier to teach your puppy from an early age what is acceptable behavior, and to nip bad behavior in the bud before it’s too late!

It is my belief that there are no bad dogs… only untrained dogs! And these dogs are more likely to end up in a shelter, because of their supposed “high maintenance”… Which means that they are more likely to wind up euthanized and that is something that no one wants for their pet!

My advice to you is to study up! Read dog training articles, read dog books and just educate yourself! Your dog gets all of their cues from you, even when you don’t know you are giving them! There are so many dog trainers out there and their whole job is to just help you get your puppy to listen. Even if you aren’t sure that you need one, call the trainer. Talk to them and tell them what is going on. They will tell you exactly what you need!

It was the cat…

One trainer that I have been following on facebook is the Canine Connection LLC and it is in Dubuque, Iowa. I recommend them 100%. They follow my “positive reinforcement” beliefs and they do it all: puppy training, group classes, private classes, an in-home sessions! If you are in need of any training tips, please contact Canine Connection LLC 🙂 Also, feel free to “like” them on facebook! They are great about giving dog training tips!


Do you have any trainers that you recommend 100%? Please leave their info in the comment box! It doesn’t matter which state you are in! People ALL OVER need advice.


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Did you buy your puppy? Are you 100% sure the breeder you used is reputable?

Read here about puppy mills 

Read here about my experience at a Dog Auction

Is “Faux Fur” really that fake?

“I love animals and would NEVER wear real fur- 

faux fur should be safe, right?”

Shockingly… no. There are many reports out there that claim that most garments claiming to be made of “faux fur” actually tested positive for dog fur. In one test, the Humane Society of the United States tested 25 different jackets and of that, 24 of them were not labeled correctly.  3 of them came from a domesticated type of dog, twenty came from a type of raccoon dog that is  native to the Asian and northern European forests, and one of them was made from wolf fur. These “faux fur” products are no safer for consumers to use than actual fur coats. What is the difference, you ask? How do they get away with this?

Since the products are less than $150, no label is required to inform the public that it is made of actual fur. Most of these products came from China. There is a thriving dog- and cat-fur industry in Asia. Most of this fur is falsely labeled as “rabbit fur” or simply not labeled at all. Dog and cat skin is made into fur coats, fur figurines, and leather shoes, which are sold to unsuspecting consumers in America.      Outraged? So am I. I have compiled a list of stores and brand names that take advantage of this loophole. Personally, I don’t even wear fake fur, but I want to educate consumers so they make an informed decision while shopping.

Department Stores that sell (sold)  these products include: Macy’s, Burlington Coat Factory , J.C. Penney, Nordstroms, Younkers

 Designers/ Brands  include Sean John, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Andrew Marc’s MARC New York label, Marc Jacobs

Miss Leppert, a spokeswoman of the HSUS reported that “There is no suggestion that the retailers knew Chinese
suppliers were substituting dog pelts for fake and other types of fur. But they should know this. They are not properly policing
themselves on this issue. Millions of these animals are coming out of China and being passed off under the wrong labels all round the world. There is a lot more the big retailers could be doing. They have a responsibility for the products they bring to market.” 

On a good note, both Tommy Hilfiger and Nordstom tried to handle this new information the best way they could. Hilfiger stopped selling the fur-trimmed coats immediately and said that they would look into the matter because they are concerned with the findings. While, Nordstrom called 62 of its customers who had bought waistcoats trimmed with dog fur and offered them  a full refund.

However, an executive of Andrew Marc, disputed the HSUS findings and insisted that all fur on his coats labeled as raccoon contains “only farm-bred raccoon fur from Finland”… Ummm that still isn’t faux fur in my book!

Retail giants Macy’s and J.C. Penney were also discovered selling coats with raccoon dog fur labeled as raccoon. J.C. Penney initially removed the offending garments from its stores — but eventually had employees scratch out the ’raccoon’ label with black magic marker and put the coats back on the shelves. Macy’s, however immediately pulled the items from its shelves.

Burlington Coat Factory also pulled some coats with mislabeled fur from their shelves. Rap artist Sean “Diddy” Combs stopped producing and selling coats from his Sean John line that had raccoon dog fur, and rapper Jay-Z pulled coats with raccoon dog from his Rocawear label.

Another fun fact: Importing domestic dog and cat fur was outlawed in the United States in 2000. Intentionally importing and selling dog fur is a federal crime punishable by a $10,000 fine for each violation.

Don’t forget UGG boots. Yes, they are made from wool and (usually) the sheep are alive and shaved down humanely- however- after much investigation, it was proven that UGG boots are made from sheep that have been discarded because their wool isn’t good enough to sell. These animals are kept in awful conditions and, ultimately, slaughtered in very inhumane ways. I am NOT advocating that you go and buy the knock-offs though… Those shoes are made from the same raccoon-dog fur that I talked about above. These animals are beaten and skinned alive, after living their lives in tiny cages. 


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Dog Auctions

Dog auctions are a painful and despicable fact of life here in the Midwest, maybe not Iowa as much– but definitely our neighbors to the south. As I am sure you have all realized by now, the importance of educating as many people as I can about animal-related issues is my passion.  Dog auctions are certainly no different. They go on almost every weekend… Thousands of dogs are switching from owner to owner, never knowing the love that they deserve.  I recently went to an Iowa dog auction, please read my story here …. 



How many of you haven’t ever heard of dog auctions? Let me give you this scoop!  

Picture this…

Large rooms filled ceiling high with wire cages, stuffed full of dogs whose sole purpose in life  to make puppies.  I say “was” because by the time the dogs are brought to these auctions, they are unwanted by the owner for various reasons. The term for this is “cull”. These “culls”, more often than not, can’t even breed well anymore. Each dog is identified with a number tattooed on the inside of the ear, or the inner thigh. They are almost all purebreds of  every breed and the ever so popular “designer dog”. I should tell you that it is usually impossible to tell which breed it is because of the terrible health conditions. The fur is always grown out and matted, filled with ticks and clumps of blood. Not to mention the fact that the nails are so long the dogs can barely walk. The saddest part about all of this is, the rooms are usually so quiet because the dogs are too terrified to move, let alone bark. This is the first time a lot of them have ever been out of their usual cages. It all sounds like fiction, doesn’t it?

But what can we do to change this? The people who visit these types of auctions aren’t your run of the mill (no pun intended) dog customer. These are the other puppy mill owners that are either looking to get some new blood lines into their stock or the local rescues that go in to try and save as many as dogs as possible.

 Here are a few of my suggestions:

1. Boycott puppy mills.  This means never ever  ever buying a puppy from a pet store or from a website. If you want a dog, please please please go to your local shelter or rescue. They have so many dogs that need loving FURever homes! And so much of the public doesn’t even realize that over 35% of dogs in the shelters are purebred. Don’t believe me?! Try it… Go to and search for a breed, I am certain you will find just what you are looking for.

2. Talk to your veterinarian and let he/she know how you feel about dog auctions and puppy mills. Try to encourage him or her to take a public stance against them.  In my experience, the vets that are near these mills know exactly what is going on, and they almost always turn a blind eye to it. Each USDA breeder must have a veterinarian that looks over their dogs once a year… That means that with the 300+ puppy mills in this state, there are that many veterinarians on their payroll… Sad, isn’t it?

3. Share this blog with your friends… Share it on facebook, twitter, email it to your coworkers, link it to your blog– I don’t care! It is just so important that we reach as many people as possible with this message. I can talk and talk all day long, but I am almost always preaching to the choir. Until we can get our neighbors, coworkers, and friends to realize that buying a dog is bad for everyone then we all fail.

As always, comments are welcomed and appreciated. Please, if you have ever been to a dog auction, share your story. You can remain nameless, but it is just one more way for people to see that these things DO happen.

Horrible video that shows exactly what I am talking about… If we don’t stop these atrocities, who will?!


Teach your children how to behave with animals. Adopt a pet.
Don’t go buy one. Please. That’s a sin. Let’s get these puppy mills out of