Medicine Goes to the Pets: Pet Therapy at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center


Over the years I’ve learned to let God teach me how to deal with stressful situations with hope and a happy heart. Most recently I realized He does not always spare us from difficult problems even though we think He should. However, if we shift our perspective, we can see there are other forms of happiness God provides to help us navigate through frustrating and overwhelming obstacles. Last week I visited Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center and it was the highlight of my week. I met with an incredibly attractive caregiver who provides security, calm, and a sense of normalcy to hospital patients dealing with difficult times. I believe with 100 percent certainty this caregiver was created as God’s remedy to provide hope and happiness to those affected with illness and injury. This particular caregiver has a huge head, big brown eyes and smile that reached from ear to ear. Calling him handsome would be an understatement. Did I mention he has the biggest hands I’ve ever seen?… and by hands I assume you all know I mean paws! This caregiver’s name is Copper. He’s a 3 1/2 year old Bernese Mountain Dog who began visiting Sharp Chula Vista with his owner, Sharon Ussery, in March 2013.


Copper is one of the five therapy dogs that make up the Sharp Chula Vista Pet Therapy Team. Twice a week, Copper walks the hospital halls with his loving Mom, Sharon. A certified therapy dog, Copper’s goal is to positively enhance the mood of hospital patients who may be dealing with the stress of hospitalization. I had the chance to meet Copper and Sharon through a sit-down with the hospital’s Volunteer Services Manager, Lisa Golden, who explained that there have been 1,300 pet therapy visits ( and counting ) and 6,000 hours of pet therapy at Sharp Chula Vista since the program began in 2007. Wow! Pretty PAW-ESOME right? Golden has personally seen the emotional impact pet therapy has on patients and their families. Golden says, “Therapy dogs like Copper provide patients with happiness and satisfaction during stressful times. Even though this form of healing cannot be measured by a doctor’s instruments or recorded on a patient’s chart, it is clear that an experience with a therapy dog makes all the difference in the world. The dogs provide emotional support and a diversion from the stressors of illness.” Within the first 10 minutes of chatting with Lisa and Sharon, I watched over 10 people stop by to pet and say hello to Copper. These people weren’t even patients- they were nurses and doctors lighting up with bliss when they saw him. I can see why people fall in love with him so easily. He loves the attention and very willingly takes pride in bringing people joy. I think Copper is the hospital’s favorite visitor and was meant for the pet therapy job which he clearly appears to take a lot of pride in.


Along with the emotional benefits of adoring pets, studies have shown the presence of animals has a positive effect on human physiology. Pet therapy can decrease a patient’s blood pressure and heart rate. But most of all, these furry friends make us feel loved and at ease. Other benefits of pet therapy include: -Reduction of the stress of hospitlization, making it a more positive experience -The opportunity for sensory stimulation through touch -Increased communication ability for withdrawn individuals -Enhancement of participation in occupational and physical therapy -Improvement of reading skills -Increased compassion for animals, self confidence and self-esteem.

Therapy dogs provide unconditional love and acceptance. They do not care that your hair is gone from chemotherapy, that a stroke has left you confused and speechless, or that you have a physical or mental disability. With the facilitation of their human handlers, they create a unique bond with patients and visitors that has a very real healing dimension. For Sharp Chula Vista, this program is a system that seems to be working out quite nicely. I hope to see more hospitals follow Sharp Chula Vista’s lead and recognize the tremendous benefits that come from pet therapy. We are blessed to have these amazing animals that provide an essential comfort that no medicine can. Check out the other four pet therapy dogs that make up the Sharp Chula Vista Pet Therapy Team:









Invisible Fence Brand Saving Pets with Project Breathe One Oxygen Mask at a Time

Invisible Fence

I don’t know what is harder for me to grasp: The fact that nearly 150,000 pets are lost in fires annually (most succumbing to smoke inhalation), or that over 10 million pets are lost each year (most of whom have run away from home). You can let those figures sink in for a minute. Even my experience having working with animal shelters and witnessing displaced and needy pets firsthand, I was staggered by these numbers. Today I am sharing a project I passionately I believe will significantly reduce the number of pets lost to house fires. First off, if you don’t know the dangers of smoke inhalation, let me enlighten you: it only takes about 45 to 60 seconds (or 5 to 7 breaths) for carbon monoxide inhalation to leave you unconscious. Now consider the lungs of a dog whose sense of smell can breathe in particles 40 times larger and faster than those of a human. You can imagine the amount of frustrated tears shed by fire fighters who have rescued pets who lost their lives to smoke inhalation. Fortunately, we now have a possible solution to this heartbreaking problem: Our friends at Invisible Fence Brand, inventors of the safe and humane computer collar that prevents pets from running away from home, has teamed up with Metro Fire in Sacramento for a life-saving program called Project Breathe. Project Breathe, with donations from Invisible Fence, is making it a goal to provide first responders with the special equipment (such as pet oxygen masks) they must have to save pets rescued from fires… And all of God’s pet parents said…”Hallelujah!” gnp-0610-fire-24 Captain Christopher Quinn of Metro Fire Sacramento, the firefighter who helped bring Project Breathe to California, was inspired to take action after seeing hundreds of unconscious pets come back to life after being fitted with a human oxygen mask customized to fit a dog’s snout with a Dixie cup. This simple modification sparked a movement. Quinn says, “Animals are an extension of the family. Metro Fire is all about returning families their lost pets with the highest quality of life possible. It came to my attention a year ago, as we do for humans, we need pet oxygen masks for pets who have succumbed to smoke inhalation.” Talk about a win-win situation. This is huge for pet rescue! I have prayed in hopes of someone finding a way to avoid animal fatalities due to house fires and now I feel like my prayers have been answered! Christina Landwehr, Invisible Fence Brand‘s community outreach manager is hopeful that Project Breathe will motivate other law enforcement departments across the country to partake in the idea. Fire departments can request the Project Breathe oxygen mask kits here. “Our goal is to ensure that every fire department and rescue unit is equipped with these life-saving pet oxygen masks. To date, Invisible Fence Brand has donated more than 11,500 masks to fire stations throughout the U.S. and Canada but heightened public awareness of the program helps us continue to reach more,” says Landwehr. I think I speak for all pet parents when I say thank you to Invisible Fence for their enormous efforts in keeping our pets safe. More pets’ lives have forever been changed because of the Project Breathe campaign. Chris Carney, who has been rescuing and fostering dogs for 13 years, brings up a good point about his dogs being rescued from a house fire, “People run from fires, but dogs hide and are quickly asphyxiated. There are no words that can begin to convey what a great program Project Breathe is, and the precious gift of life you gave us. These dogs’ lives mean so much. When I see the life in their eyes, I know their gift of life is from you. THANK YOU!” IVF

God bless Captain Quinn, the firefighters out there rescuing pets from house fires, and our friends at Invisible Fence Brand for channeling their compassion and generosity for pets to Project Breathe. The Grand Opening of the new Invisible Fence location took place in Encinitas exactly one year ago and to date, and Invisible Fence has helped save the lives of over 700 pets in counting with Project Breath! 

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Invisible Fence Brand of California invited all pet lovers from all parts of San Diego for a tail wagging good time at the Grand Opening celebration of their newest retail location located in The Lumberyard Shopping Center in Encinitas ( 967 S.Coast Highway 101, Suite B-108, Encinitas, Ca 92024) Invisible Fence Brand sure knows how to throw a pawesome party! The first 50 customers that arrive fetched a $50 Visa Gift Card and everyone in attendance received 20% off products and services and free “wag bags” full of pet goodies. They also hosted a DJ, Photo Booth, free bee toys and treats for Fido, and Helen Woodward Animal Center was there with an adorable set of puppies available for adoption. ib55

The exciting part of last years opening was the donation ceremony when Invisible Fence Brand donated 20 pet oxygen masks in honor of Project Breathe to operations manager of the American Medical Response of San Diego, Mike Rice. Rice graciously demonstrated how pet friendly these new masks are made, going on to say, ” It’s really great that Invisible Fence is doing this.. this donation is going to make a huge difference in the quality of life in pets we rescue who succumb to smoke inhalation.” American Medical Response has been serving the San Diego community with emergency medical services and medical transport for more than 65 years.

Operations Manager of American Medical Response San Diego Mike Rice celebrates Project Breathe oxygen mask donations with a demonstration at the Invisible Fence Brand Grand Opening in Encinitas, Ca.

Operations Manager of American Medical Response San Diego Mike Rice celebrates Project Breathe oxygen mask donations with a demonstration at the Invisible Fence Brand Grand Opening in Encinitas, Ca.

The Invisible Fence Brand Grand Opening was a huge success! They unveiled a very sleek and visually pleasing store layout design that channeled an Apple store-esque architectural feel, making the environment relaxing to both Fido and parent. Designated water bowls, toys and treats are available to accommodate Fido, while parents can take a few minutes to learn more about the Invisible Fence product with touch, feel and questions from the very informative and hospitable Invisible Fence team. The stores appearance, along with the overall efforts Invisible Fence Brand has made to be very present in the mind of the pet community and that of the industry is very powerful. ib5

We all know for some time now these dog collar products have existed, as has the Invisible Fence Brand collar. However this weekends Invisible Fence Brand store grand opening, symbolizes the reinvention or what it means to be a safe, reliable dog boundary collar. Invisible Fence Brand has clearly made it a goal to point out their safe technical philosophy behind their product throughout their presence online, in the media, and community pet social events. Beyond the good they have done for pets with Project Breathe, the Invisible Fence Brand genuinely has  safety and best interest of our pets at heart with reinvention of their amazing collar. I fully encourage parents who parent dogs whom are venerable to running away from home to check out this product.

Invisible Fence® Brand has taken pet care beyond the home and started the Project Breathe™ program, which has donated more than 11,500 pet oxygen masks to fire departments and first responders. For more information on Invisible Fence® Brand or to find a local dealer, visit or follow the company on Facebook or Twitter. FOR MORE INFORMATION:

The Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge: A lifestyle to fetch!

If you’ve ever surfed the channels on a Saturday morning and happen to come across what appeared to look like the “olympics for dogs”, chances are you got sucked into the fun that is the Incredible Dog Challenge. And rightfully so! Adorable dogs showing off their true potential as animals in a competition featuring the nations greatest canine athletes! What’s not to love!?


Currently airing on NBC and in syndication with other networks, this event just may be the greatest thing to happen to television. The Incredible Dog Challenge event kicks off with the regional qualifiers in Huntington Beach and Boston, followed by the finals that take place in Gray Summit Missouri on a property estate famously known as Purina Farms. Located 40 minutes out of St. Louis, Purina Farms once a year becomes the mecca where top canine athletes of different breeds from across the country battle it out in a series of competitions showcasing the athletisicm dogs truly posses. From course and agility, to dock diving and surfing, these canines referred to as “athletes”, are judged based on an array of factors including velocity, and trajecory, to endurance and execution. Competing canines have been known to train throughout the year with the support of their owners/handlers leading up to the event. Some canines who are returning veterans looking to defend their titles. With the discipline and training that goes into preparing for the Incredible Dog Challenge (both for canine and handler), I’m certain also comes a rewarding feeling of knowing you’ve made the effort to enrich the quality of the relationship with your dog to one of the highest forms communication and understand. While the main goal for the canines is that they have fun, it take serious discipline and focus from the dog in order for them to be successful in achieving the competition objectives. Participants should be proud of themselves knowing the differnece they’re making in the pet lifestyle community, along with how happy they have made their dogs for enrolling them in such a special opportunity.


And just like any sporting event, beyond the training and talent that goes into making a spectacular event, support from the crowds is just as important. Thousands of fans from around the country show up to both the preliminary and final competitions filling out the bleachers to catch these amazingly talented canines in action. The energy is infectious and it seems the athletes really appreciate the spectatorship.


What is also very unique about the Incredible Dog Challenge is that the majority of the canine competitors are rescue dogs! Beyond Purina Pro Plans outstanding efforts in promoting pet friendly health and wellness, they ate also commited to helping benefit local animal welfare through their Rally to Rescue Program. Now in its 11th year, Rally to Rescue has provided over 500 animal advocate groups nationwide, the materials to help find homes for rescue dogs.

Recently, I got a chance to speak with Purina Pro Plan’s brand manager Jim Allen. When asked what the Purina Pro Plan brand prides themselves in most when it comes to the Incredible Dog Challenge, Allen shared it being the importance of “guiding people to realize dogs are more than just pets in our backyards”.  Allen, we couldn’t agree with you more!  He went onto say that with a balanced diet under the Purina Pro Plan combined with regular activity, dogs are capable of capturing the real essence of the athlete in them while also reversing potential preexisting health conditions and living a longer life! The brand has specialized in the science of a healthy diet and since their start in 1998 when at the time they were called the famously known Dog Chow and Puppy Chow. With everything Purina Pro Plan does in the pet lifestyle community, it’s no wonder many across the nation think of the brand as more than just dog food, but a lifestyle to definitely fetch. With each event, commercial, or marketing venture Purina Pro Plan purses, they always make it a goal to encourage dog owners to cohesively live an active life with their dogs- this is definitely a philosophy I am grateful Purina Pro Plans cares strongly about.


Purina Pro Plan’s efforts in bringing animal lovers together on the level they have, with the success of the Incredible Dog Challenge, has been unparalleled to that of any other dog food brand. While there is no monetary prize for winning a competition, despite its syndication on NBC, I can imagine there certainly are other elements that make being an participant of the event rewarding for everyone involved.

I want to take this time to deeply thank Jim Allen and Purina Pro Plan for everything they do for dogs and giving them the platform they deserve to showcase their true potential. The Incredible Dog Challenge National finals will air on Super Bowl Sunday on NBC! Stay tuned as I will be sure to share more details about the broadcast and the canine stars expected to compete as soon as the details become available!

To learn more about the Incredible Dog Challenge visit Purina Pro Plan’s Incredible Dog Challenge website, also, check out these other awesome articles on the event, Purina Pro Plan Partners with Olympian, Scenes from the Incredible Dog Challenge the friendliest goofiest competition on earth, and be sure to follow Purina Pro Plan on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!


At Barking Beast we strongly believe in Purina Pro Plans message to embrace and healthy and active style for Fido. And in San Diego we sure have the advantage of amazing amenities so you can do so, especially at the dog beaches! But, with fall in effect, thunderstorms are making for some strong high tides and rouge current which can be very dangerous to dogs.  Although it may not appear so while your dog is jumping into the waves fetching balls at whatever distance they land, strong tides can be very tough on a dogs muscles, joints and hamstrings. They can also put the dog in a situation venerable to being sucked out by the tide. One huge tip of advice for dog owners who play fetch with their dogs we hope you will keep in consideration: To avoid the tearing of hamstrings, joints and preventing injuries to your dog, please please please do not throw your dog a ball into terrain that could harm their legs, knees and paws. Think about the terrain and if it’s not an environment you could run into barefoot, or be able to withstand, it’s probably not the safest on them either. A dogs paws and bone structure can be very delicate and vulnerable at times so please practice caution and consideration when playing fetch!  Have fun with it, but be sure to practice safety ad have lots of water available for our canine athletes.

This Dog “Screams” for Frosty Paws Ice Cream


I think Jack is developing a sweet tooth, thanks to dog ice cream by NESTLÉ® USA. He goes nuts every time I approach the refrigerator, anticipating his next snack will be a cup of Frosty Paws. Have you ever heard of these decadent dog treats?

Now, I know many of you make it a priority to keep Fido on a healthy diet, and I’m all for it. But hey, a dog needs to have a little “out of this world” tasty treat now and then. Giving your dog a treat is not only yummy, it is good for mental and emotional stimulation as well!

Dog ice cream is perfect for occasions like dog birthdays or holidays when you want to give Fido something extra special! Frosty Paws is made with yogurt, rather than cream, so it is easy for dogs and puppies to digest. With moderation, this product is the perfect treat for dogs. Seriously, take a few minutes to think of the euphoria and pleasure ice cream brings you as a human. Who doesn’t love ice cream? Now imagine if you could bring  that sort of bliss to Fido?

Clearly from this post you can tell I scream for ice cream. Guilty. My freezer is always stocked with Ben & Jerry’s rocky road or strawberry Häagen-Dazs. Jack is more of a peanut butter guy himself and Frosty Paws comes in two delicious flavors: original vanilla and peanut butter. I think if Jack could slurp the ice cream straight out the container he would. He just loves this stuff!


I encourage you to let your dogs have a taste of Frosty Paws! It is available in Wal-Mart stores but in case you don’t have one near you, click here for use the product store locater.

Now, if only I could find some dog root beer… then Jack would really have a party in his mouth! Thanks, Frosty Paws for sending us this delicious product!

Pet parents tackle separation anxiety

With the new year in swing I want to discus a topic I’ve struggled with since first becoming a dog parent almost four years ago. Separation anxiety from my dog Jack is something I have been tackling over the years and I know I’m not the only pet parent with this “dissorder”.

With every year, I have made significant progress but the anxiety still lingers so I wanted to shine light on it so together we can better understand and share with each other new ways of handling the situation.  This is a resolution I personally work on every year and I want to let others know they are not alone— I mean, what’s not to miss about your dog!

I’ve heard about dogs who suffer from extreme separation anxiety from their owners, but in this case it’s the other way around, mostly because I worrying my dog is sad a home and the idea of that makes ME sad. The reality of my anxiety became more apparent one night when I made plans to spend the evening with friends- OUT. OF. TOWN. to see Puff Daddy. I was looking forward to it because beside Diddy being one of my favorite artists I needed a night away (every mom needs a break). But with all the excitement there was still a looming sense of worry . I began worrying about Jack.

Who could watch him while I was gone for the evening?  Who would entertain him? How many hours will he be alone and how will he handle the loneliness? My brother who at the time was my roommate, also had plans to be out of town that night. I eagerly began skimming through my phone for a dog sitter. While a dog sitter could really make a difference, there have been many times when dog sitters have sent me text messages saying Jack spends a lot of his time looking out the window wondering when you will come home.  IT. BREAKS. MY. HEART. to know he gets depressed when I’m gone.  This is not for every case he has a sitter, but most.  Which meant if I was my goal to get him a sitter who he was familiar with and enjoyed being around. Unfortunately for the following the night, none of Jacks favorite sitters were available. And the only realistic option was for my next door neighbor to come by and check on him.  Jack has always liked her so the plan would be she that she come by to take him for a walk and play with him for a hour at one point in the evening.  Even though I knew I was going to have someone to come keep him company at one point while I was away the idea of my absence from him still made me sad. Knowing that I wasn’t going to be spending the night with Jack and his favorite sitters were not available made me worry about how bored and likely sad he would be while I was gone. I don’t like being away from him for too many hours at a time, especially at night. So when it comes to spending the entire evening away from him plans have to be made to implement ways of distraction for Jack and to diffuse the anxiety for me. I have trouble sleeping when I’m away from him at night… he’s all I think about.  Many times I have trouble letting myself fully enjoy an evening out because all I can think about is him being at home missing me.

I’m envious of dog parents who can just leave Fido home without anxiety.  How do they do it? Or is it just a front!  Parents who have two dogs have it much easier because they can leave the house with a piece of mind knowing their dogs keep each other company. Parents like myself who only parent one dog are always looking for new ways to distract their dogs while away. I have tried everything! From long lasting raw hides and durable toys. I have also gone as far as ordering DOGTV, a network scientifically made for dogs to entertain them while mom and dad are away. But no matter how many raw hides, toys, or television entertainment I personally provide for my dog Jack, my anxiety will never fully subside. Do any of you struggle with this with your dogs?


The day of my night out I took Jack to the  dog park, the beach, went to the dog wash and did some chew toy shopping. I bought him all kinds of long lasting raw hides I was hoping would distract him while I was gone. I mentally began to prepare myself how incredibly hard it was going to be for me to be away from him but I also had to remind myself that I was going to have a great time and gosh darn I deserved it!

The night ends up being a huge was a success! I had the time of life. However through out the evening I found myself anxiously making two countdowns; the first one with my friends until Puff Daddy hit the stage, and the second one in my head as I subtly counted down the hours until I was reunited with Jack once again the next morning.

The next morning, before any of my other friends woke up,  I left the hotel we stayed at bright and early at 7 am on a Saturday.  I was not interested in sleeping in and enjoying a hotel buffet breakfast with my friends to round out the festivities- I wanted to get home to my dog. Safely, but quickly I drove myself home I could not wait to see Jack. I walked in to see he Jack barley touched his raw hyde which instantly made me wonder if he was too sad to chew on it. I don’t know what goes on in his head when I’m gone, but I’m constantly worried about him. The reason why I worry so much is because I know that I am Jack’s entire world. I have my friends, my entertainment, my life but for Jack — all he has is me. So I always make an effort to be extra considerate of that as a parent to him.

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Many of my friends like to argue the case think I’m obsessed with my dog and have an unhealthy dependency on him. They might be right, who knows?  They don’t understand my anxiety. I tell them it’s not so much I miss the physical companionship but more that I worry that he’s at home sad and lonely without me. Anyone who know’s me knows that I tale Jack with me everywhere and I mean everywhere.  If for any reason I have an afternoon engagement that does not allow me to bring him along he goes to Kamp Kanine a  outdoor dog daycare in Encinitas which he loves!

Truthfully, I still don’t like being away from Jack especially for long hours in the evening.  However with every year I have noticed I have been making more progress on this issue. I have also invested in more dog sitters to come by and spent time with him so I can do my own thing now and then because it’s healthy to get “you” time.  I believe the goal as a pet parent is to enrich the life of your pet and by helping them grow and distinguish themselves as their own. They key to this I cannot express enough is harvesting a home and lifestyle situation that translate to a better mental and physical health of the canine and dog sitters can make a productive difference that way.  If you have separation anxiety from your dog I encourage you hire a sitter to take the dog a few times a week because it’s healthy for you and the dog to spend some time apart, but this way you won’t worry the dog is alone. What are ways you cope with treating your separation anxiety from your dog? How do you tackle the nervousness? Would love to hear your stories and suggestions!

Rain rain go away, Fido wants to play 

San Diego is expecting a storm over the weekend so turn off the sprinklers and let mother nature do her job. While it’s great for the climate, I know one camper who won’t be so happy it- Jack. A rainy day for him, as I’m sure for many dogs means staying home. If it’s raining and I’m away at work, Jack’s subject to stay home because unfortunately his daycare Kamp Kanine closes on rainy days due to its outdoor facility conditions. If I do get to stay home, that normally means I’ll be hacking away on the keyboard followed by a movie marathon in bed. It’s nice to have rainy days. There’s something about cuddling up inside on a rainy day that feels so serene. Sadly for Jack, a rainy day means being STUCK. INSIDE. ALL.DAY. with intervals of 2-3 short walk thrououth the day. 3 if skies clear up. A situation like this could drive a dog nuts. Luckily, there are several games I have found to be very useful to prevent him from getting cabin fever. Hopefully they can help you deal with your doggy as well.
Where’s Fido?
Hide and go seek is a perfect year-round game for dogs of all ages. Not only does this game work perfectly on rainy days, but it heightens a dog’s sense of smell in a fun and rewarding manner. Start out with a few of your pooch’s favorite treats. This game will require two people initially. One person stays with Fido in a room while the other hides. When ready to be sought, the hider lets out a “come, Fido” or “whoo hoo” sound to initiate the game. As Fido scours room to room, occasionally let out a verbal signal. Once found, praise him like he just won an Olympic medal and reward with a treat. Repeat. One caveat: Be sure the favorite Limoges vase or grandma’s heirloom plates are removed first.
“Bored” Games
Fido can’t fire up the PSP or Nintendo and play video games but he can engage in some good old-fashioned game play. However there are some games designed to exercise the brain. These activity toys encourage problem solving in a multitude of ways: finding hidden treats via lifting and pushing blocks, pushing pieces and turning discs. The Kong line of mind-stimulating toys fit the bill on a rainy day. Stuff treats inside the opening and Fido must problem solve to access the reward inside. Patience and persistence means puppy puddles of fun!
Trick Training
Work on tricks and commands to exercise Fido’s brain and body. Do this for 10-20 minutes and Fido will be sure to get much needed physical and mental stimulation out. Tricks such as Sitting Up to beg for 10 reps will help strengthen your dog’s core muscles improving balance and stability. Those core muscles are used for walking, trotting, jumping and many other actions so it is important to strengthen them regularly. Rolling Over is another good exercise for core muscles. Do four to five rolls each direction so you are targeting muscles equally. Shaking Hands is a nice stretch for the shoulder muscles but be sure to do both front paws 5 to 10 reps for a balanced workout.
Tug-of-War is without a doubt my #1 go to for tiring out Jack. He loves the game and I get a good arm toning up as well. A toy or rolled up towel work great. Tug of War strengthens the rear end, shoulders and abdomen of a dogs physique, so the game is beneficial too. When playing, be sure to remember not to lift the dog’s head and or neck back when playing tug of war. You don’t want to hurt them. For the majority of the game, I encourage you to let the tug favor fall in Fido’s hands as this will build his confidence, further engaging him in the game while stimulating his brain.

If you have any indoor games ideas I have not mentioned please share! I could use all the suggestions I can get to tire out this beast. Have a wonderful weekend, stay dry!

Animal Planets Puppy Bowl XIII : Ruff Competition featuring shelter puppies from across America!


Prepare for some “ruff” competition at this year’s most anticipated sporting event: Puppy Bowl XIII.

As 78 rescue puppies face off in an epic game of Team Fluff vs. Team Ruff in the hours before the Super Bowl, three all-star players with disabilities, Doobert, Lucky and Winston, are making this year’s championship one of the most inclusive yet.

Doobert, an adorable, deaf puppy from Goochland, is taking the starting lineup on Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl” on Super Bowl Sunday.

“The amount of energy and drive on that field – this is the best Puppy Bowl I’ve ever seen,” said referee Dan Schachner, who has been calling the shots at the beloved games for the last six years.

The game, which features puppies between 12 and 20 weeks old, will air on Animal Planet on Sunday February 5, before the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots battle it out in Houston. Roughly 78 puppies will be “competing” in the event, representing 34 rescue organizations from 22 states.

But this year’s “Puppy Bowl” will feature the most disabled puppies ever.

“There are so many wonderful animals in rescues across the country that have special needs who should not be overlooked, “said Dawn Sinsel, executive producer of the “Puppy Bowl.” “It was important to us to highlight what loving pets they make for the right family.”

And she added, “We are thrilled to say that all three dogs have been adopted to wonderful homes.”

The focus of the program is to not only provide a whimsical alternative for sports and animal lovers, but to promote animal adoptions and help lessen the strain on overcrowded shelter facilities.


Puppy Bowl XIII will air on Animal Planet Sunday, Feb. 5 with programming kicking off at 2 p.m. The show will repeat throughout the day. Super Bowl LI (NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas) featuring the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons kicks off at 3:30 PM, Sunday Feb.5 on FOX!

Additional information on the Puppy Bowl can be found at


Boneo Canine Supplements: Sore bones and answered prayers!

Whew! Today was a long one. I had a lot of errands to take care of and no naps were taken. Lunch was skipped so I indulged in dinner with maple glazed salmon and buttered green beans from the Whole Foods downstairs. I omitted mashed potatoes, which I’m very proud of considering I was really hungry. And since I’m sure you don’t care to hear the details of my day, I’m going to share with you a awesome product for Fido that arrived in the mail today!


This product is called Boneo. It’s natural bone and joint supplement for dogs and I’m so excited about getting Jack on it. In previous posts I have shared about Jacks recovery from the TPLO bilateral knee surgeries he underwent back in 2012. For those of you who don’t know, Jack was born with a bone deficiency which caused the ligament pigments in his knees to break down at an early age. At eight months Jack was victim to a life of discomfort and pain that could only be fixed with the demand of bilateral knee replacements in both knees. Leaving me no choice. The knee surgeries were done, at the same time. Crazy, right? Today he’s a bionic dog. Very shockingly, he runs faster and swims harder than he did pre surgeries. You can read more on how we over came the experience by clicking here on Jack 6 months post TPLO surgeries and Jack one year post TPLO.  

Since then, I’ve made it a goal to regulalry get vitamin D and calcium into Jacks diet. I’ve also been looking at supplements to specifically target Jacks bone deficiency as he enters adult hood and my prayers were recently answered when I was introduced to Boneo. It contains lots of all natural and lactose-free good-for-you stuff designed to promote healthy bones and life longegivity for Fido.


To make things easier on me, Jack actually enjoys the taste of this product. Hooray!  Normally he makes taking an oral tablet quite the production. I actually have to trick him and prepare vitamins mixed into his meal. It’s much easier given the fact he finds the Boneo chewable tablet delightful.

I especially encourage parents to bigger, taller dogs with lengthy skeletal frames ( like Jack ) such as Bernese Mountain Dogs, Shepard’s, and Great Danes to get some of these Boneo supplements for Fido. Taller breeds tend to be more prone to major bone diseases earlier in their adulthoods, and this product is the perfect solution to counter that problem.

Dogs love playing, romping and running… But while its all fun and games at the park, that strenuous activity can have long term affects on Fido causing joint ache and muscle exhaustion. It’s rare that dog food can solely provide Fido the adequet serving of essential vitamins and minerals needed for canine osteoporosis prevention. Boneo is the perfect product to make up for that imbalance of nutritional components. Check out Boneo’s very visually pleasing website which provides all the significant information about their product and further details the importance of bone health management and how it reflects the quality of life for our dogs. To make things even more paw-some Boneo is offering Barking Beast readers 10% off their entire order by using the coupon code JACK10.  Thanks BONEO!

My Perfect Pet: The Perfect Dog Food

In a previous post I mentioned I don’t often blog about food as there are a bajillion options for pet parents. However, I feel as though I would be doing the pet community a disservice if I didn’t share with you about My Perfect Pet. On Friday a My Perfect Pet swag bag arrived on our doorstep packed with a generous supply of a weeks worth of dog food assorted in blends of many flavors- just in time to snack on for the weekend! The package also included My Perfect Pet beef meatball treats along with some very fun gifts, such as the cool bandana you see Jack wearing in the above photo. I threw a bowl together for him, and not gonna lie, it smelt so good, even I wanted a taste. Weird I know…but it looked delicious! Like expected, he wolfed down the entire meal. That obviously didn’t get photographed…the truly delicious things never do. Perfect Pet supplied Jack with a one weeks worth of meals. It is safe to say Jack is hooked, and it looks like he’s making a lifestyle change. He goes crazy when I prep his chicken and beef Bloomers blend. Starts barking of excitement. I’ve never seen anything like it…

While I began reading the ingredients in this product, it dawned on me- the My Perfect Pet recipe is clearly from the Bible- everything contained in this brand is good-for-you stuff. Packed with protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins it’s hard to imagine a dog food that looks so delicious could actually be incredibly healthy too. Jack loves it and I love knowing exactly what is going into his meals and eventually into his body. Anyone who knows me knows I am not by any means a self proclaimed health nut. However, when it comes to my dog Jack, I would like to think that I won’t be looking back in regret about the food I fed him over the years as he enters adulthood. The reality is, what you feed your dog truthfully does have a dramatic impact on your dogs health and life longevity. Many dogs wind up on their death bed earlier than expected because of pet food ignorance, leaving a parent often living with regret. I would like to take this time to encourage you to think about what you’re feeing your dog? I have decided to swap out Jacks commercial food for My Perfect Pet, and think you should consider trying out this product for yourselves too. Clearly this brand is invested in the best interest of dogs while also compromising the consumers wallet. I definitely foresee My Perfect Pet making a lot of new friends in the pet community. If you are a new pet parent or attempting to reverse any harm commercial food has passively done to your pet, my advice would be jump on the My Perfect Pet program. It’s sure to fuel your dogs body with essential nutrients while improving health and encouraging a well balanced life.


Not only is My Perfect Pet food incredibly honest about their food, they also are that about their new facility in Poway, Ca. On Friday, we visited the My Perfect Pet warehouse and it was pretty darn cool. Roughly 20,000 square feet ( taking a guess on that ) the front lobby was super fancy so I knew we were in for a treat. The place was filled with all kinds of informative facts about what ingredients go into their product, how it’s made and where it comes from.


The production floor literally looks like that of a movie set. It’s huge and built inside the warehouse. It is SO clean you would never think they make dog food there- place was spotless!


To make things even more exciting during our visit , we had the awesome surprise of meeting Karen Scoggins the Founder and CEO of My Perfect Pet! She shared with us the food making process and how they never defrost their food which is essential in harnessing the intended nutrients in a meat based product. Judging by the above picture you can probably tell Jack was smitten with her, as was I.. Karen is incredibly humble and an absolute pleasure to be around. Her hospitality made us feel right at home. I think I speak for Jack when I say we are already looking forward to seeing her again.


Lastly, I also learned My Perfect Pet makes it a goal to attend adoption events, as well host charity social functions of their own to raise money for local shelters in need. They often donate generous size food sample bags for adoptable pets in need with hopes of getting them on the track to healthy and balanced lives. We appreciate you My Perfect Pet for everything you do. You guys are wonderful. Thank you!


Incredible Pets on FOX Sports San Diego’s hottest new show #SDLive

Tania Milberg and Dozer the Surfing Dog

Tania Milberg and Dozer the Surfing Dog

San Diego is home to dozens of pet friendly activities that embrace a fit and active lifestyle for Fido – and it’s no surprise that a city which is said to be one of the most pet friendly cities in the country – would also designate a television spot on a sports network to pet lifestyle and what makes it unique to San Diego living. FOX Sports San Diego’s new show #SDLive, intends to give viewers a look at ‘where sports meets the city’. The show features trends and current topics as they relate to San Diego’s dynamic sports lifestyle, including canine sports. Barking Beast creator Tania Milberg is the shows ‘pet correspondent’, taking viewers inside the world of canine fitness, health, and agility sports.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this show. I truly believe San Diego is home to the most active pet and pet owners in the country. As the pets correspondent, my goal is to share all the amazing sports and fitness activities that exist for canines and their owners here in San Diego. Hopefully these features will inspire viewers to partake in these activities with their pets who are not already. When it comes to getting healthy and fit, pet owners truly have the advantage here in San Diego. There’s all kind of athletic activities to spectate or enjoy with Fido. It’s because of that features like this will thrive in a city like San Diego” – Milberg

Since #SDLive’s debut in October 2013 Milberg has covered a wide range of canine sports such as dog surfing, dog dock diving, dog skateboarding, dog flyball, dog lure coursing, and has even taken us inside San Diego’s very own Snug Pet Resort owned by NFL Legend and San Diego Charger’s running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

If you know an athletic pet or a pet related sport you would like to see on a #SDLives pet feature, contact Tania at:

#SDLive airs Tuesday nights on FOX Sports San Diego. FSSD is available on all cable providers.



Milberg visits the San Diego Police Department Canine Unit

Milberg visits the San Diego Police Department Canine Unit



Inside the world of flyball with San Diego's very own the Ballistic Racers flyball team

Inside the world of flyball with San Diego’s very own the Ballistic Racers flyball team

Ricochet the surfing dog surfs with dogs for charity and The Make a Wish Foundation

Ricochet the surfing dog surfs with dogs for charity and The Make a Wish Foundation

Dozer San Diego's skateboarding dog

Floyd San Diego’s skateboarding dog

Inside San Diego's Snug Pet Resort, owned by NFL Legend LaDainian Tomlinson

Inside San Diego’s Snug Pet Resort, owned by NFL Legend LaDainian Tomlinson

Tania Milberg and LaDainian Tomlinson at Snug Pet Resort

Tania Milberg and LaDainian Tomlinson at Snug Pet Resort

Tania Milberg, LaDainian Tomlinson

Tania Milberg, LaDainian Tomlinson

Canine Dock Diving with Oceanside's Beach City Dogs

Canine Dock Diving with Oceanside’s Beach City Dogs

Dozer San Diego's Surfing Dog

Tania Milberg and Dozer San Diego’s Surfing Dog

Tania Milberg and Dozer the Surfing Dog

Tania Milberg and Dozer the Surfing Dog



Dozer 1

Tania Milberg FOX Sports San Diego Dozer Surfing Dog

Camp Pendleton Military Canines

Camp Pendleton Military Canines

Camp Pendleton Military Canine Unit

Camp Pendleton Military Canine Unit

Happy New Year Beasts! 


Happy New Year! New Years has, admittedly, never been my favorite holiday. I’m not one for making a bunch of resolutions and God knows these day Jack and rarely stay up late anymore. LOL! However, as I’ve gotten older, as Jack has grown I’ve learned to appreciate that ‘fresh start’ feeling that comes on January 1st. I think one of the most exciting parts of the New Year is that it feels a bit like a blank canvas. I love anticipating what’s to come, the milestones I will cross and the adventures I will have with Jack. But with that anticipation also comes some anxiety, because I know enough to know that the blank canvas won’t be filled with just happy memories. I’m learning life is a mixed bag. Joy and sorrow seem to intermingle – they aren’t as mutually exclusive as I once believed. Some parts of puppy parenthood get easier, while other aspects grow into challenges. Jack is now four years old and with that maturity comes an new lifestyle approach. I know I need to start taking his diet and exercise regime a little more serious. He needs tp start taking supplements to keep his bones strong an coat healthy. I also know that going into the new year I need to be more conscious of how rough I play with him at the beach and not too run it him too hard beyond his means. I need to keep this athletic beast healthy and not tire him about before the “race is over”. I also want to make a habit of enrolling us in more pet friendly activities like 5k’s and afternoon events. One more aspect of puppy parenting I especially hope to tackle is understanding that Jack is no longer and puppy and it’s okay to leave him home for a couple hours or hire a sitter to spend extended time with him in the afternoons or evening with him. A few years ago, when I started this blog, I set out to create a platform where I could engage and archive with my fellow puppy parents and get advice on local puppy friendly event and lifestyle accommodations. Now that Jack is older, while I am certain any extended time away from him here and there will give me anxiety, I know it’s good for both of us. Jack and I don’t need to be together 24/7 and it’s healthy for us to take time apart every other day. This is not to say I have plans to leave him behind all the time because that is no way to kick off the new year at by means. This, just means that I need to understand he’s older now and he can be alone for longer periods of time without me have to worry so much. Back in 2013 when I first launched I published an article titled Separation Anxiety I have from my dog Jack. It got a lot of interesting responses from the community of people who related to the issue. It’s funny to looking back at the article with hopes that I have grown and become less of a needy parents than I was back then. It will be interesting to see how Jack and I grow together in our fourth year now that he’s a full blown man in dog years.

So, to 2017 Jack! … Let’s do thisssss!

Are you a resolution maker? If so, what is your resolution? I actually did make a few more this year, but I think I’ll share those in another blog post. One is for Jack and I to eat more clean…because everyone else is doing it, so why not?!

Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes


I hope your holiday is magical and you go into the New Year filled with joy, contentment and peace. Let’s take these last couple days of the year to reflect and refill our tanks because who knows what 2017 has in store! While there’s many resolutions I hope to follow through with, one that will certainly be at the top of my list is recognizing and thanking those who give back to our pet community in incredible ways. This brings me to annual Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes Campaign, my new favorite holiday animal welfare event. While Petco and the Petco Foundation host hundreds of events through the year benefiting shelter rescues (dozens of which I attend every year such as the Petco Foundation Gala, held here in San Diego) I believe it is the Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes Campaign I believe that takes the cake and has serves what it means to grant a wish for a rescue group in need. Only in its thirds year, this amazing campaign gives animal lover and animal rescue advocates the opportunity to nominate deserving people in the community for 5k grants to further help their rescue efforts. Every year starting at the beginning of October, Petco launches Holiday Wishes in search for shelters throughout the country to donate animal welfare grants. Pet parents and animal lovers across the country submit stories about how adopting a pet changed their lives, and in doing so, gave deserving animal welfare organizations the opportunity to receive a grant from the Petco Foundation!

More than 3,000 stories were submitted this year, and now, the Petco Foundation is thrilled to announce our 53 winning stories and the recipients of $750,000 in grants.
The animal welfare organizations referenced in the stories will receive grants ranging from $5,000 – $100,000 to celebrate their lifesaving work. Halo, Purely for Pets and partner will also provide each of the top five winners with 10,000 bowls of Halo natural pet food for their shelter, and adopters will receive $500 worth of food for their own pets.  This year here in San Diego, it was Kathryn Flores’ story about her dog Dinah a rescue from Southern California’s very own Baja Dog Rescue that was nominated for a wish and won granting the rescue group with a $5,000 check from the Petco Foundation in light of Flores’ inspiring story, Adopted Woman Opens Her Heart to Pit Bull Mix.

I got the opportunity to meet Flores at the Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes check presentation held at the Petco store off Garnet in Pacific Beach. Flores is such a beautiful and kind hearted woman from the inside out. I shared with her my immense adoration for her story about Dinah and encouraged her to continue sharing the course of their lives on an online platform much like I do here on Unfortunately there was no sign of Dinah as Kathryn was not able to get her on a plane to make the visit. Kathryn did however share some amazing words about her fur baby that helped you envision what a awesome dog Dinah is and the phenomenal work behind the rescue group that saved her.


Of course, the beast however did make the trip out with me as he always does and of course, had a blast! Treats were eaten, photo’s were taken, and hands (and paws) were met and shaken between people from Petco Foundation and the Baja Dog Rescue volunteers. For a long time coming I always hoped something like this would happen for the Baja Dog Rescue as I’ve always admired the deep level of commitment this group has dog rescue over the border. Founded in 2010 the Baja Dog Rescue has rescued almost 6,500 dogs from some horrific conditions, in Mexico and California. They are a non-profit, 100% no-kill shelter and operate on donations from the public and the time and money of our volunteers. When I heard the news that Baja dog Rescue was getting this years Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes Grant I honestly could not think of any group more deserving. I was thrilled. You see, in Mexico, hundreds of dogs roam the streets searching for food in shelter. Unlike here in the United States, dogs are mostly domesticated even when they are in the hands of a shelter or rescue. In Mexico, “A dog is a dog” and rescue shelters are nonexistent. It is for this reason I deeply appreciate this Holiday Wishes campaign as they give financial assistance to the real dog rescue heroes making the big differences. The Baja Dog Rescue will forever hold a very special place in my heart and I really hope to see them receive more support like the one they got from the Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes grant. It was wonderful meeting the Josh Pratter from Baja Dog Rescue and Petco Foundation Board member Peggy Hillier who presented Pratter with the check after sharing a few words.
Thank you Petco Foundation for once again hosting this amazing event for the 3rd year in a row! We can’t wait to see what you got in store for pets in 2017! I also pray that this little blog will continue to be of entertainment to my followers as myself and Jack look forward to sharing more of our life, workouts, treats and pet lifestyle musings here on Barking Beast! Big congratulations to the Baja Dog Rescue for receiving the grant and a special thanks to Kathryn Flores on submitting Dinah’s story helping Holiday Wishes come true! We encourage you to follow along to read the other winning stories on Petco Foundation Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join the conversation by using the campaign hash tag, #PetcoFoundationHolidayWishes.


Meet Mila Miesner: The little Wiener that could


How stinkin’ cute is this Dachshund!? Her name is Mila, and there’s a good chance she may be one of the most hard working canines in show biz. Perhaps best known as the “Biggest Little Racer” in the world of wiener dog racing, Mila is one of the Wienerschnitzel Wiener Dog Nationals toughest competitors- YES you read that right – Wiener – Dog – Nationals. The sport primarily consists of Dachshund dog breeds and takes place on some of the America’s most prestige race tracks,  attracting spectators numbering in the thousands!

With a resume longer than that of most humans, Mila catapulted into stardom shortly following her Wiener Dog Race wins. Not only can you see Mila front and center at the Wiener Dog Nationals but she also stars in national commercials and was the star in the movies Wiener Dog Nationals. To view her very extensive resume, click here!

A local resident born and raised in San Diego, this half a dog high and a dog-and-a-half long package, is the little wiener that could! Mila is also very involved in her community, making appearances at social functions with a goal to give back to charities held for San Diego rescue shelters and programs. She is also a member of Dachshund Meet-up, Dachshund Club of San Diego, the Obedience Club of San Diego County and a Cesar Millan Ambassador. With an extensive story, plans are in the works to feature this incredible dog in a FOX Sports San Diego pet feature on the network’s new show, #SDLive.

For more on this amazing canine check out her website! Go Mila!

Barking Beast’s Holiday Hit List


Happy Holidays! Have you finished Fido’s holiday shopping?

With Christmas just a couple days away, here are some of my favorite Fido friendly gift item local to San Diego pet friendly businesses!

First up, is a fashion statement I think every dog should be able to make because it’s just that cool- a dog tie. And not just any dog tie, ties made by Ruff Ties! These amazing ties are custom designed by Jennifer Parker out of San Diego and come in all shapes, sizes, colors, patterns and fabrics… you can have them custom-made to fit your pup’s personality. My dog Jack loves his Chargers tie and wears it every game day! These ties make a great gift for dogs of all personalities and sizes 🙂



Next, gift yourself (yes we all deserve to treat ourselves for being dog parents, we have our struggles too) or gift a friend who’s a dog parent with a custom painted portrait of Fido. Our friends at Howland Studios specialize in fine art with an emphasis in painting pets. April Howland, a full-time painter has 20 years plus experience in animal portraits. She specializes in original pieces of painted artwork commissioned from photographs of our forever loving pets. What makes her paintings so unique is she offers styles that range from modern Warhol inspired looks to traditional classic portraits which transcend intricate detail, texture, depth and above all the personality of each dog she paints. These portraits make a truly amazing gift for anyone who is a dog parent!


Our friends at Pupchips, make Sweet Potato, Apple & Coconut Chips here in the USA just for Fido! Have you tried these chips? Unreal. (Please don’t judge, I’ve eaten a few now and then during Jack’s snack time and they are delicious and healthy.) Pupchips provides a great opportunity to let your dog have a substantial snack that is more appropriate than most treats today. They are natural and organic snacks with just a single ingredient, and the dogs love the taste, texture and crunch! These chips make the perfect gift for Fido when on the road or as pleasant snack between meals.


Leave a little love on for Fido this coming year. Our friends at DOGTV Television for dogs continue to produce stimulating and relaxing programming for Fido since their launch last year. Since then Dog TV has become one of the premiere sources of in-home entertainment for Fido! Dog TV is available on all major cable providers and can be streamed to the television through an internet router. Dog TV makes the perfect gift for Fido to enjoy when you are away from home.

dog-tva dog tv

AND Last but most certainly NOT least- is a dog treat that has been a huge hit in my hometown of Cardiff, CA. Our friends at Dirty Dogs – Wash | Earth Friendly Pet Product Store & Spa currently have BahiaBlue Pure Fish Stix on the shelves and the dog community is going nuts for them. Made by local Cardiff people, Pure Fish is wild caught dehydrated Canadian smelt. Simple and wholesome, they are packed with nutrients and dogs LOVE them! Nothing is added and nothing removed (yes, they can eat the heads). They make an incredibly tasteful treat for Fido while also enhancing their coat, skin, fur, eyesight, and strengthening their bones. We highly encourage you to stuff Fido’s stocking with a Bahia Blue Fish Stix bag! Available at Dirty Dogs in Cardiff and Carmel Valley, Ca treat your dog with something truly tasty unlike any treat they’ve had before! YUM!!!


San Diego Gulls Captain Joe Piskula and his boy ‘Big Ted’


Hockey in San Diego! It is just me or has this San Diego hockey thing really caught on with San Diegan’s.. and rightfully so! Not only has the team exceeded fan expectations with bringing this exciting sport and lifestyle to America’s finest city for the first time in years, but the team took the city to the AHL playoffs! The Gulls organization has been winning over fans beyond their games, but also with the teams community involvement and countless appearances on local media outlets sharing the sport of hockey with city. Heck even the team’s mascot Guliver the Gull is one awesome bird, he’s placed in the AHL’S Mascot finals!


One player Joe Piskula, is extra special to talk about not only because he’s the teams Captain but for his love of his chocolate labrador Big Ted, which is nothing short of popular. I tracked down the hockey defensemen for a FOX Sports San Diego Gulls Joe Piskula special after seeing many adorable photos the hockey player share of his large chocolate lab on his social media since. He graciously agreed to the story, from what we heard about Piskula leading up to the shoot ” anything that involved his dog, would likely win over his interest.

We set it up so Piskula could meet with us after practice at Ocean Beach Dog Beach, conveniently located 10 minutes southwest of where the Gulls play, The Valley View Casino Center located in the Sports Arena. With him was his beautiful wife Lauren, and of course the man of the hour were so excited to meet, Big Ted.  Like any dog when they first step paw at the beach, Ted did not want to be pet, he did not want to meet myself or my production crew members. All he could see and focus on naturally, was the ocean. One thing I noticed from first impression was Ted had the deepest bark, I heard in a ling time. From the minute he laid his big brown eyes on the ocean water his barks made waves. It was actually the cutest thing, because you could tell his barking was his way of showing his excitement!  Right in that moment it was obvious no interviewing, could be done until Ted had successfully b-lined his way down the sand into the water.  . .So we followed him and did exactly that!


We began our filming by watching Piskula rally with ‘Big Ted’ and oh did this dog  certainly live up to his name! I think his name symbolizes his size and likely his ability to “go BIG of go home!” because as you can imagine, this dog was a BEAST! For starters he literally was the biggest dog on the beach. Have you ever seen a dog so physically dense you start trying to guess his weight?  Ted was as thick as the days in San Diego are sunny. Also Ted swam the furthest and ran the fastest- no matter how many times it looked as if Piskula threw the tennis ball too far out, Ted never quit and effortlessly retrieved it, every single-time. Ted is truly lucky he has such an athletic dad to play with him because he sure has more energy than the average bear. One thing is for sure, Big Ted sure does look like one big Teddy bear. His big labrador block head makes is so he can model human fitted and baseball hats snug enough for a good laugh, this I learned on Piskula’s social media.


Meanwhile Joe was playing with Ted, he shared with us what made his dog a pinnacle part of a life. Having grown up in Wisconsin, he shared dogs had always been a huge part of his life since he was young. His favorite past times were taking the family dogs, out on fishing, hunting and other recreational activities he enjoys back home. Since becoming a San Diego Gull, and then being selected as the teams Captain, it meant a lot to Piskula that his wife and Big Ted were able to make the move out to California with him. He went onto say between all his travels being a hockey player and moving around between the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League the one constant in his life that is always certain, is his Big Ted.. .

Today San Diego is close to home for Piskula and Ted, and of course their favorite place to unwind is the dog beach. Living in a paradise with Big Ted has always been something he dreamt of, so when he learned he was going to play Gulls, Piskula was thrilled. Now having lived here almost a 9 months, Piskula has shared his appreciation for how dog friendly the city of San Diego is.. from activities to dinning, Joe and Ted are no strangers to the hundreds of awesome dog friendly features this city offers.

Personally, now having had attended a couple Gulls hockey games and having met Joe Piskula ( and Big Ted ) it’s no wonder the Gulls organization selected Piskula to be the teams captain. He’s a great athlete and even greater person of character. He’s knows how to deal with the media, he great at engaging with the fans, and he continues to be modest about his athletic achievements all while doing it, making for a great leader.

It was a incredibly humbling experience meeting Joe Piskual and watching him play with Big Ted. It’s funny because, working in the media, as I’m sure many would also agree, there’s nothing more humbling than seeing a celebrity, pro-athlete etc of some kind hanging out with man’s best friend.

Big Ted turns eight this month! Happy Birthday Big Ted! 🐶 🎂

Watch my FOX Sports San Diego feature: San Diego Gulls Defensemen Joe Piskula and Big Ted by CLICKING HERE!

But don’t think it stops with Piskula- practically half the San Diego Gulls team are proud dog owners. Check out this picture the San Diego Gulls Tweeted out on National Dog Day:


To Joe & Ted’s Big Adventures follow them on social media @skoolz43 and be sure to follow the rest of the San Diego Gulls team @SDGullsAHL to see more players and the pictures they post of their own puppies!


A Happy Dog’s Thanksgiving: Stuff Your Turkey, Not Your Dog!

Dogs enjoy the revelry at least as much as humans, with bits of this and that dropping on the floor and delectable smells wafting around the house. But Thanksgiving must not be a free-for-all. Just because we try to pack away all we can does not mean our dogs should. And there are certain items your dog really needs to avoid.

“Veterinarians experience an increased number of office calls due to digestive problems after the holidays because humans invite their animals to celebrate with high fat meals (ham, gravy, turkey skin), chocolates, bones, etc.,” warns Casandria Smith, L.A. Animal Services Chief Veterinarian, in a PetFinder article.

Here are some tips that will help your dog get through Thanksgiving safely and with a smile on her snout:

Stuff Your Turkey, Not Your Dog

It is easy to want to give your dog a big fat bowl of turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever else you think she might enjoy. But that is a bad idea. Overindulging in fatty foods can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, or a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis. A few strips of turkey on a dog’s normal food is fine, but do not overdo it, no matter how she may plead with her “I’m STARVING” eyes. Keep in mind that turkey skin can wreak havoc with a dog’s digestive system, so make sure she gets skinless, boneless turkey.

Stuff Your Dog’s Kong, Not Your Dog

Here is a great way to keep your dog busy and happy during your meal: Put a bit of your dog’s regular food in a Kong, and then stuff a little boneless turkey, sweet potatoes, gravy – just a tad, mind you – in the Kong. It is not much food, but it will keep him occupied for a long time.

Get Her Pooped

A dog who has been on a big walk or fetched the ball a zillion times will be much more likely to run out of energy during the feast than a dog who has been inside all day. A tired dog is a good dog on Thanksgiving. Make sure your pup gets plenty of exercise before the festivities begin.

Make No Bones About It

Cooked turkey bones can be a big danger for your dog. They are sharp, and potentially very dangerous. You may not know your dog has a turkey bone lodged in his digestive system for days. Do not leave plates with bones lying around. Ditto for the turkey carcass. Hungry dogs have been known to run off with the remains of a carved turkey. It can happen in the blink of an eye. You notice the turkey is gone. You notice the dog is gone. With luck, you find their hiding place before anything happens. Put plates in an unreachable area if you can’t dispose of everything properly right away.

Don’t Cry Over Onions

Onions are toxic to dogs. They can lead to a dangerous form of anemia that may not be detected for days. Make sure your dog stays away from the pearly whites, and yellows, and reds.

Don’t Give Him the Raw Deal

Unless your dog is already on a raw diet, we would not recommend plopping a piece of raw turkey in her bowl (the change from her regular food might cause an upset stomach). But more importantly, keep your pup away from the uncooked dough for bread or rolls. What helps make dough rise? Heat. If a dog eats raw dough, what is it like for the dough in the dog’s stomach? Warm. The dough rises in the dog’s stomach, and if the dog has eaten enough, the swollen dough can cause pain, vomiting, and bloating — conditions that can send you to the doggy ER on Thanksgiving.

Avoid Yappy Hour

Some dogs seem to enjoy alcoholic drinks. Walk away from your drink that is set on the coffee table, and Lulu may get lit. Dogs and booze are always a bad mix. Your dog may not do anything embarrassing she will regret in the morning, but she could become disoriented and quite ill. Too much alcohol can even lead to a coma, and death. Watch where you – and others – put their drinks, especially if you have a curious pup.

By following a few basic tips, your dog will enjoy a fun, safe holiday. Now if only you could avoid Aunt Edna’s gravy … Have a delicious and pawesome Thanksgiving!

A Mutt, a Marine, and a Miracle

Happy Veterans Day! Thank you to all those who have served and are still serving this great nation!  Even the military canines, you are not forgotten.

Did you know that every military working dog is a non-commisioned officer- some rank higher than their handler? and in 2000, Congress passed a bill so that military dogs can be adopted by their handlers! Check out this heart warming story about a Mutt, Marine and a Miracle.


The story of a San Diego dog reunited with his owner in the dangerous terrain of Iraq is nothing less than a miracle. In 2007, Nubs was an Iraqi dog who had a rough start in life. He was used as a fighting dog, was badly abused, and ran in a pack of dogs in Al Anbar Province. Nubs’ ears were cut off to make him look tough and to make fights last longer since there is almost no ear left to be injured. (The same thing is done to US dogs used for fighting.) Things started looking up though for Nubs when he was rescued by Marine Major Brian Dennis.

Major Dennis took care of Nubs for 4 months. Then the Marine was ordered to move his squadron and had to leave Nubs behind. Two days later and 70 miles away, Nubs appeared at the squadron’s new location ( Iraqi Dog Walks 70 Miles to find soldier )in 18 degree weather and found Dennis.

“I couldn’t believe that Nubs was able to find me so far away. It was truly remarkable “, said Major Brian Dennis.

While on base, Dennis continued to care for Nubs as his own, until he was informed that the dog had to go as it was time for camp to relocate. Major Dennis didn’t let this remarkable dog down. He got Nubs into Jordan, found a family there to care for him, and will be transporting Nubs to the US. What a lucky dog and what a compassionate human!


Since then, both Major Dennis and Nubs have been all over the media among ABC, CBS, Jay Leno, David Lettermen, and the Ellen Degeneres Show sharing the remarkable story which has both changed their lives, and touched the hearts of dog lovers all over the world.

In honor of the inspiring story between Marine and Mutt, in 2012 a San Diego based non-profit organization was created by a man who has an unconditional love and lifetime passion for working with animals. His non-profit rescues shelter dogs and trains them for military service members in need of companionship. Shelter to Soldier created by  Graham Bloem  began to get a lot of attention from the media, military and pet communities. While his job entails canine training, helping dogs with behavioral modification, introducing dogs to families, while rescuing thousands of dogs in the process, his true passion lies in helping dogs help people. In addition to his ventures in training service dogs for clients with disabilities, Graham has also been actively involved in the efforts of several military servicemen in rescuing dogs from Iraq and training and introducing them into their new homes in the United States.

Major Brian Dennis and the inspiration for this NY Times Best Seller, Nubs

Major Brian Dennis and the inspiration for this NY Times Best Seller, Nubs.

Graham’s most notable experiences have been with Major Brian Dennis and Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman. Major Brian Dennis is an F18 pilot of the United States Marine Corps and in 2009,he became the New York Times Best Selling Author of Nubs – The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine, and a Miracle, a miraculous story of the loyalty between a soldier and his dog. Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman of the United States Marine Corps is also a New York Times Best Selling Author of From Bagdad with Love and From Bagdad to America, stories of a soldier describing the struggle with PTSD and his journey with his dog Lava after serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Graham has had honorable mentions in all of these books for his help in guiding these Iraqi dogs to their new lives in America with their heroic Marines. Through his journey over the past several years in dog training and his incredible opportunities to honor our military men and women through his dog training skills, Graham’s mission to combine his expertise in order to give back to those who serve our country has evolved into Shelter to Soldier™.


Graham Bloem founder of Shelter to Soldier

In 2012 creator of Barking Beast San Diego, Tania Milberg teamed up with Major Brain Dennis and Shelter to Soldier Founder Graham Bloem to shoot a documentary about the admirable work and obstacles within the everyday realities of the non profit organization. Milberg, an avid animal and dog lover heard about Bloems work through from Public Relations Director at Rancho Coastal Humane Society of Encinitas, CA, John Van Zante. “When John told me about Graham’s work and his effort not only to help shelter dogs, but returning military service members, I knew I had to meet him and put a piece together on their story”, Milberg stated. Since then Milberg has put forth a collaborative effort in producing a film produced about the speciality trainer and the solider set to debut in January 2014.

View Dennis on The Ellen Degeneres Show

Check out Graham Bloems site for more information on how you can help and make donations at Specialty Dog Training.

Shelter To Solider: Helping Military Veterans one Marine and Mutt at a Time


Happy Veterans Day!  Did you know that every military working dog is a non-commissioned officer- some rank higher than their handler? And in 2000, Congress passed a bill so that military dogs can be adopted by their handlers! Meet a San Diego hero who’s helping military veterans one marine and mutt at a time…

While many claim to be “professional” dog trainer, not many actually train full-time ( and by full-time I mean 40 hours a week ). You wouldn’t hire a doctor who didn’t perform their trade full-time? Why should a dog trainer be any different? After all, it’s for the sake of your furry babies mental health and mannerisms, right?

Here in San Diego resident Graham Bloem is the “Dog Father” of dog trainers. With fourteen years of experience training dogs, his business Specialty Dog Training San Diego, is strong enough to certify all his trainees as service dogs. I’ve personally had the honor of working with Bloem over the years and can honestly say this man has the ability to graciously well manner any barking beast that passes through his program, all without breaking a sweat. A family man and father of three, Bloem devotes his life to animal rescue and dog training, treating every dog he works with the utmost compassion as one of his own. His natural ability to tenaciously keep a dogs focus, no matter how illusive one may be is truly mind blowing.

Having grown up South Africa as a child, Bloem is the epitome of today’s modern day Tarzan. Literally “raised” by wild beasts, calling leopards and baby lions “childhood friends” of his, it makes sense he considers training even the most undomesticated and primitive canines feeling like child’s play to him. What makes Bloem such an incredible human outside of his specialty skill set in dog training, is his enormous heart to give back to the community. Founder of Shelter To Solider a non profit program set out to train rescue dogs for military veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, is just one of his many selfless acts that symbolizes his dedication to give back to the pet community and that of the military community.

Between all his work, Bloem also managed to donate his time to train the dog from the New York Times Best Seller book, Nubs – The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine, and a Miracle. The miraculous story shares the loyalty between a soldier and his dog among the war zone in Iraq. Based on the life of Bloems long time friend Major Brian Dennis and his dog Nubbs, who got his name as his ears were cut off to make him look tough as he had a rough life being used as a fight dog. Shelter to Solider received a lot of attention from the media, military and pet communities. It even sparked controversy raising questions about military funding for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and if scientific proof exists that therapy dogs to help veterans. Below is the documentary “4 Legged Angels” I produced about Graham Bloems amazing work with Shelter to Soldier and the story of Major Brian Dennis and Nubs.  Even Ellen DeGeneres wanted in on some!

Bloem has gained a tremendous amount of respect from San Diego’s highest profile animal rescue organizations for his efforts in philanthropy. His extensive list of achievements in the pet community is one to not be over looked when considering hiring a trainer for your dog. Today Graham is proudly supported by San Diego’s most established animal organizations such as San Diego’s Helen Woodward Animal Center, Rancho Coastal Humane Society. He can be seen featured in the media on news station such as KFMB CBS, FOX 5 San Diego, and NBC San Diego. Bloem is honest to dog, the real deal. His work is inspirational and challenges what it means to be an invested dog trainer, a public figure in the pet community, and a local hero to San Diego.


The tall, buffed out, nearly 6 foot red haired beast of man ( with a heart as big as his hands ) can be spotted all over town. Always on the go working with dogs in all shelters throughout the county, if you get the pleasure of running into him, I encourage you to say hello. He’s a wonderful man who will be just as happy to meet you and your dog, as you and Fido will be to meet him! God Bless you Graham Bloem for everything you do to help military veterans and shelter pets.



Veterans Day: Celebrating Canine Military and Police Officers! 


To celebrate Veternas Day, I wanted to take time to talk about military and police dog appreciation. Did you know that every military working dog is a non-commisioned officer- some rank higher than their handler? and in 2000, Congress passed a bill so that military dogs can be adopted by their handlers! Also did you know police dogs know over 70 different commands before they two years of age on the force?  Check out my most recent story with the San Diego Police Canine Department for FOX Sports San Diego’s show SDLive! 

On this blog I highlight stories on all kinds of talented canines and inspirational stories making headline in our pet community. Bur nothing fascinates me more than the talent and services of military and police working dogs. Personally, I pride myself in how far I’ve come as a “handler, or a pack leader”. A stare down between Jack and I three years ago had no meaning.. today it speaks lengths of how far our communication has progressed over the years. There at times when I won’t even have to say a word to Jack, just one look and he knows what I’m thinking and what I expect of him in that moment.

Today my boy is a grown man and he sure turned out to be one very intelligent dog. Sometimes I wonder if Jack had it in him to be a military or police dog? Hey don’t all parents wonder if their dog could’ve made it to the big leagues? I admire and always make it a goal to show my appreciation to the military and police dogs that serve our community and country everyday. Over the past year I have spent time in and out of the Camp Pendleton Military Canine Unit and the San Diego Police Canines Unit covering exclusive stories for FOX Sports San Diego’s show SDLive, in hopes of better understanding the world these dogs are brought into as puppies and the adversity they overcome into becoming canines officers. At as young as 3 months these canines are paired up with a handler and vastly begin a strict training regimen to help them prepare for journey ahead. Every year nearly 300 dogs are recruited for training with units across the nation but less 100 will go onto becoming a military or police canine.

When a canine officially becomes the military or police official, the work they do is invaluable. Everyday these dogs step to the forefront into dangerous situations that could end their lives in that moment. Their loyalty to serve and protect proceeds their ability to forgive. It amazes me that through all the stress involved in their daily lives, they still manage to compose themselves in such respectable ways. One minute they’re calm and collected on base or at the station and the next they could be running full speed at a criminal firing a loaded weapon at them, essentially trying to kill them. Their worlds often go from zero to one-eighty so fast, and it continues to amaze me on how civilized and composed they manage to maintain after the drama. I order for these canines to get the training they need to serve and protect, they need the appropriate amount of funding. At Camp Pendleton, The Petco Foundation is a proud sponsor of helping grant food and lifestyle supplies for the military canines on base, while The San Diego Police Foundation helps back training programs needed for the San Diego Police Canine Unit. While both facilities are very fortunate to have the support of non-profit rescue groups, donations from the community are always greatly appreciated.

I want to take this moment to thank all the great military and police canines who have served and are still serving this great nation!  Stay tuned for my latest story with the San Diego Police Canine Unit airing soon after the Padres on FOX Sports San Diego lifestyle show, SDLive!


Shut Down the Adoption and Sale of Pets on Craigslist


“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Gandhi 

I recently signed a petition that opened my eyes to how insensitive the human race can actually be towards animals. Everyday I come across a lot of messed up news, headlines and articles that sadly I’m not surprised by because I know how remorseless and barbaric the human race can be when it comes to animals. These headlines paint the picture of struggles animal advocates face everyday in welfare and rescue.  For every one advocate out there, there will be thousands of other people who will breed animals for the sole purpose of making a dollar and nothing else. The selling of a infant “pet” to them is a paycheck or a way to pay the bills. They sell off animals they breed, by the dozens, to complete strangers with no consideration or compassion for the animals quality of life and the home its going to. Where do you ask inhumane transactions like this are being processed? Look no further than Craiglist.

For many years now, has been subsidizing the inhumane treatment of animals buy the selling of “pets” on its website.  Our friends at have put together a comprehensive petition set out against Craigslist with a plea they take the selling of animals of the popular services site. Please, please, PLEASE support’s efforts in bringing this petition to life and shutting down a outlet which helps thousands everyday support the inhumane treatment animals. Sign this petition:  Shut Down the Adoption of Sales on Pets on Craiglist. 

Target: Jim Buckmaster, CEO, Craigslist

Goal: End the unregulated sale and adoption of pets on Craigslist by removing the “pets” section.

Story posted by Charlene Wu on ForceChange.Org

Craigslist, the popular classified advertisement website, allows people to sell furniture, cars, apartments, and other personal items through online interactions. For animal welfare reasons, Craigslist does not allow the sale of any pets or animals, but the adoption of pets, with a small re-homing fee, is allowed. Although this clause is found on the website’s Terms of Use page, many Craigslist users ignore it and sell litters of puppies and kittens anyway. This causes many problems, as these pets are oftentimes coming out of illegal puppy mills and kitten mills. Unknowingly, those who end up buying these animals from Craigslist are contributing to the inhumane puppy and kitten mill industry.

Another major problem with selling and adopting pets on Craigslist is that the transactions are unregulated. Not only are people unaware of where the animals are coming from, but they are also unaware of where their animals are going. There have been many cases of people adopting free pets for cruel practices. In recent news, a man was found guilty of torturing and killing over twenty-five cats that he “adopted” from Craigslist. It has also been reported that many pets that are adopted from Craigslist are used as bait in dog fighting rings, or sold to research labs for scientific testing. In addition, some people are adopting the puppies, kittens, and small mammals on Craigslist as food for their large snakes and lizards. These buyers may pose as nice pet owners, but it is difficult to verify their authenticity without the background checks, home visits, and pre-screening tests that many animal shelters and rescues enforce.

In many cases, the people selling these animals do not have the pets’ best interests at heart and are only concerned with making a profit. Recently, one poster tried to sell three-day old puppies for $100 each. After further investigation, it was discovered that the mother of the puppies was actually a stolen dog. Without knowing for sure where the animals are coming from or where the animals are going, people posting or adopting pets on Craigslist are taking a huge risk. They may be unknowingly contributing to the cruel puppy mill industry, or accidentally selling their best friend to a life of misery and pain.

For these reasons, the “pets” section on Craigslist should be eliminated entirely. Sign the petition below to urge Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster to take a stand against animal cruelty today.


Dear Mr. Buckmaster,

I would like to encourage you to remove the “pets” section from Craigslist in efforts to end the sale and adoption of animals online. Although animals are prohibited from being sold on Craigslist as listed in the website’s Terms of Use, there is no regulation on this matter and litters of pets are being sold at prices ranging from $100 to $1500 in the “pets” section and “for sale” section. The problem with this is that many of these animals are coming from illegal puppy and kitten mills. Craigslist should not contribute to the exploitation of animals for the benefit of puppy mills and kitten mills. People who end up buying these pets off of Craigslist are also contributing to the inhumane commercialized breeding industry. Although the sale of animals is not allowed on Craigslist, it is still happening and people are getting away with it.

Another problem with selling and adopting pets on Craigslist is that adopters and adoptees do not know where their pets are coming from or where their pets are going. There have been many reported instances of people adopting free pets for cruel practices. Some animals are used as live bait for dog fighting rings, and some are sold to research facilities for scientific testing. In addition, some people are adopting kittens, puppies, and small mammals as food for their larger snakes and lizards.

Without strict regulation, those who are posting or adopting pets on Craigslist are taking a huge risk. These people may be unknowingly contributing to the puppy mill industry, or accidentally selling their pets to a life of misery and torture. In efforts to prevent animal cruelty and needless torture, please remove the ‘pets’ section on Craigslist immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Please sign the petition to Shut Down the Adoption of Sales of Pets on Craiglist. 


Tish and the Doggie Beach Bus

ALL ABOARD the DOGGIE BEACH BUS! WOOF! … I recently came across big red Volkswagen bus filled with canines sitting comfortably en route for a good time at the beach. Tish Tralka is the owner and creator of Doggie Beach Bus, a mobile canine dog-sitting service which invites your dog for an at-home pickup and drop-off visit to and from the amazing dog beaches of San Diego! Tish always exceeds making sure your dog gets to experience the beach in all forms from walking the sands to swimming and frolicking in the waves! You will often see her walking the beaches of Del Mar Dog Beach and Fiesta Island with a herd of 4-7 well socialized, friendly, and above all, happy dogs. Raised on a farm in the Napa Valley breeding Labradors, she has been a “dog person” since her first puppy “Buck”.

A little background on Tralka: She volunteered at the family veterinarian clinic before she could legally work. With intentions of becoming a vet herself, she completed a B.S. in Zoology and Marine Biology at Humboldt State University in 2002.

In 2006 she graduated from the Northwest School of Animal Massage. She has completed 50 hours of study in kinesiology and physiology, 26 hours in behavior and handling, and 25 hours in hands-on massage technique. Most recently she relocated from Hawaii to Cardiff by the Sea. In Hawaii she continued her experience in animal behavior by working as a vet assistant and at a animal boarding/training facility. She is also certified in Animal Emergency 1st Aid.

Tish loves to see the happiness she brings to all her dogs. Everyday she is so thankful to provide a service where joy is brought to her just as much as her clients. Her services are the perfect peace of mind for the many parents who feel that puppy face guilt after leaving FIDO home on a beautiful San Diego sunny day- alllll day.

Doggie Beach Bus picks up at your home. The dogs spend an hour (or however long you desire) at the beach, then drop off a relaxed and happy dog.

Pick-Up between 10-12
Drop-off between 1-3

$30 a trip * Multiple Trip and Dog Discounts

Daily trips to dog beach for dogs that are well socialized,
under voice control, and non-aggressive.
We pick your dog up at your residence, head to dog beach
(2-3 hour round trip), then drop your tired pup back off with a rinse.
Great exercise, socialization, and fun!

They also offer…
-Pet sitting
– Dog Surfing Lessons
– Animal Massage

Call today to set up a Meet-N-Greet with Tish so she can do a brief screening on Fido for the beach bus. 760-452-2002 . For more on her fantastic service visit her site

Howlween for Fido! The costumes and the obscene money spent

It’s that time of year! Halloween. Or how we say it in the pet community “Howl-Ween”. The pet costumes are officially overflowing the shelves and it appears costume designers in the pet industry have outdone themselves once again. I think I’ve seen every pet costume under the moon imaginable – from Micheal Jackson, to the Pope, and even a Headless Horseman costume for Fido. jacklion

Yes, its very obvious, everybody does loves dressed up pets, or so it seems. I think smaller dogs are more fitting for the looks, but I’ve seen some large dogs rock some pretty cool costumes too. The Lions mane for large dogs is always a hit! BTW if you want to economize your pocket book this year on a pet costume, Walgreens has some really cool costumes for Fido. Versus going to your local Petco or Petsmart – kind pricey. According to USA Today, spending on dog costumes is expected to jump about 20% from last year, and is expected to hit a record $370 million by the time the spooky season comes to a close. PAWE-some right? These numbers are astronomical. Is there really that much money in the business of dressing up dogs?

Yeserie! Even during an economic recession and a time when people are forced to make certain sacrifices, people are still willing to splurge on their furry friends and spoil them. The fairly steep increase in Halloween spending for our animals beckons the question: why is spending on these outfits so high, and are we spending too much? Britney Spears recently spent five figures on her bitches... but that’s neither here nor there. She’s the Princess of Pop. Personally if I were to tally up what I spend annually on my dog between food, vet, flee, vanity, and daycare I’m going to shoot at roughly $7,000 a year. Hey I ain’t proud, just honest.

Critics will surely say that its ludicrous that millions of dollars are being spent on Halloween garb each year. After all, what practical use does a dog costume have outside of looking cute right on time for Halloween? They will say none, which is not really arguable. But in response to those critics quick to lampoon pet lovers as “nutty”, one should ask: Who really cares? If a person wants to spend their money to spoil their dog with a costume, whose business is it to really criticize? Trainers could also argue that the dog gets social stimulation from the social interactions that come from the costume festivities.

On the home page of this blog in my welcome caption on the upper right, I mentioned my enthusiasm for this “booming dog lifestyle industry” and if you want a number to back up my excitement – it has been recorded the pet business in United States alone makes up for a 60 billion dollar industry. Put that in your holiday pipe and smoke it.

Some may laugh at the significant amount of spending on dog costumes in general, and the thought of dressing up a pet. But why? It’s the inspiration for the most exciting pet friendly social events, plus it’s boosting the economy! What is the harm as long as people keep safety and the comfort of the pet in mind. As long as a costume is not forced on an animal to the point of discomfort or excruciating stress, and in turn is not harming the animal physically or mentally in any way, I see nothing wrong with it.

What are your thoughts on the rising spending on Halloween pet costumes? Are you for or against dogs dressing up?

Here are some Halloween pet friendly events going on in San Diego to show off Fido’s costume: The Hallo-Wiener Picnic, Bark-Tober-Fest with Rancho Coastal Humane Society and Kamp Kanine , Howlween with Dirty DogsBest Halloween Pet Friendly Events in San Diego brought to your by Axis

San Diego stop of the Dog Film Festival Success!


It was a packed house at the Reading Cinemas Grossmont Theater over the weekend in support of the San Diego stop of the Dog Film Festival. The event celebrated the love between dogs and people- and the animal welfare groups that bring us together. Tweleve of the nations greatest cities took part in the event and San Diego’s role was not one to disappoint!  Presented by the Petco Foundation and just as I expected, (like all other Petco Foundation hosted events) the San Diego Film Festival was a success!  Each picture was different from the next and uniquely entertaining it its own way. It was pleasing to see the adults were just as amused as the kids were by the films. You could tell that based on the laughter heard throughout the films among everyone. I also appreciated how with each film I recognized some of my favorite A-list actors voices playing the role of a dog or animated character. That was awesome! One film I really enjoyed featured the voice of Jack Black playing the role of a dog in the animated film The Lewis Lectures, a story about what dogs actually think and do when we leave the house. I loved that! Made me wonder what my dog gets into when I’m away.


The Lewis Lectures : Merril Markoes animated depiction of what dogs actually think and do when we leave the house.

Being a huge Ren and Stimpy fan, I really enjoyed the animated film Fog of Courage featuring Academy Award winner John Dilworth, along with the feature Conversations with my Dogs a depiction of what it would be like if our dogs could talk to us. I appreciated the level of humor in the films and the effort the film makers put forth in creating some amazing cinema for dog lovers. It’s great to see Tracie Hotchner (better known as the “Radio Pet Lady”)  being recognized the success of her Dog Film Festival.  It’s also very special to see the tour link up with the Petco Foundation in support of helping rescue animals.

Petco Foundation Coco 013-L.jpg

I was fortunate to get the opportunity to sit down with the Petco Foundations Executive Director Susanne Kogut  at the festival. She shared with me about the Petco Foundations role in the San Diego Dog Film Festival, along with how others can help the foundation reach its goals:

Barking Beast: How did the Petco Foundation get involved with the San Diego Film Festival?
Susanne Kogut: I was interviewed on Tracie Hotchner’s radio show and together we made it a goal to promote the positive impacts of our relationships with our pets and the importance of adoption to the general pet lover-not just the pet lover who will always adopt, but to a broader more general public.
Barking Beast: What would set the Petco Foundation up for success to reach a general public?
Susanne Kogut: The Petco Brand. Most of the donations we raise are raised at the Petco stores. Everyone working for the Petco brand and their efforts in getting the word about our mission and visually showing the positive impact that dogs have.
Barking Beast: What does it mean for the Petco Foundation to be supported by the film festival?
Susanne Kogut: It’s the brain child of Tracie Hotchner and I think she’s done a great job about putting the selection of films together she has. It’s great for our brand to partner with the film festival to support these amazing globally shared films while getting the word out about the what the foundation has done in helping local pet rescue organizations throughout the United States.
Barking Beast: What does the Petco Foundation pride itself in the most?
Susanne Kogut: Reducing high numbers of homeless pets in America and solving the problem. It really is solvable, we just need to get people that come from different backgrounds learning more about animal welfare. There is a place where people from all walks of life can help animals and serve a great purpose.

It was a honor meeting Susanne Kogut. What I really admire about her most beyond her dedication to rescuing animals and empowering animal advocacy, was I found it inspiring she hadn’t worked in animal welfare all her life. She used to work as a corporate securities transaction attorney, but knew she always wanted to help animals. Today she is the director of one of the nations leading animal rescue organizations, and her work from her former career translated wonderfully into what she does now for rescue pets. It’s people like Susanne Kogut the Petco Foundation Executive Director and Tracie Hotchner founder of the Dog Film Festival who continue to inspire when it comes to animal rescue! They will forever be two of the nations greatest pioneers in pet rescue that prove following your instinct and your ideas to help pets can be a spectacular thing!

To learn more about Tracie Hotchner and her Dog Film Festival events visit DogFilm and be sure to like them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!  Special thanks to the Petco Foundation for everything they do to help rescue pets!


Keeping Fido cool and hydrated during the San Diego Heat Wave


Ahhh nothing beats the weather in San Diego!  The beach, the parks, and all the fun outdoor bbq’s our little fur pups can handle! But with hot and very humid temperatures in effect this week it’s exceptionally important to keep Fido hydrated all hours of the day, even in the evenings.  Sadly one dog collapsed and died on the Mission Trails last summer from heat exhaustion- see full story here.  That said, experts highly disencourage hiking with your dog during this hot San Diego heatwave. Instead, take Fido to play where there are tree’s and enjoy the shade. Better yet, the majority of San Diego dog beaches have now recently gone “off-the leash” so take Fido to enjoy the refreshing pacific ocean!

Car rides with pooch: For those of you who enjoy taking Fido with you on errands but leave them in the car- DON’T!  Just leave them at home with a generous bowl of good drinking water in an area where they can keep coo- you will both feel better about this decision in the long-run. During heat weaves the vehicle is no place to leave Fido.  A car can rise up to 90 degrees in just 10 minutes when parked in the sun during this time of year – even with the windows down leaving a dog in a parked car can cause major problems for a dog and can also be fatal.

No matter what you do- always be sure to keep your dog hydrated and have good quality room temperature drinking water available to Fido throughout the day.  Not having water available can cause a dog to overheat and pass out of heat dehydration. kiddie pool

Here are some ways to cool your dog down and actually enjoy the warm San Diego weather with Fido:

1) The beach: the majority of San Diego dog beaches have recently gone “off the leash” so that is all the more reason dog beach is the perfect place to keep Fido cool during the hot San Diego temperatures.  Bring plenty of water along on the activity.  San Diego is home to a handful of amazing dog beaches your pup will enjoy.  Take a look at a list of our favorite dog beaches here

2) If the beach is not often available to you for schedule reasons – a kiddie pool makes a great alternative. Wall-Mart and Target have some great kiddie pools in the children section for $10 a pool depending on the size that make a great hydrating toy for Fido to play in and play with. Set up your pool on your porch, patin or back yard and have it available to your dog during a hot afternoon for cooling down.

3) Pull out the gardening hose. A nice drench and splash with the gardening house makes the perfect activity to keep Fido cool. They’ll love the activity and it’s easy to do. Play around with them for 10 minutes with the hose while watering the garden and grass.

3) If you want to avoid getting your dog wet – ( however hydro – stimulation is very relaxing for dogs so we encourage you let them play in the water now and then ) take your dog to enjoy the calm breeze under a shady tree. Local park with large trees make great place where Fido can cool down and relax while enjoying the scenerry under a cool shady tree.

4) Place ice cubes in your dogs water bowl. This will keep the water extra chilled plus many dogs enjoy to play with ice cubes as treats.

5) Store wet hand towels in the refrigerators freezer. Once they become frozen and hard they make for great gnawing toys for Fido to cool off with on a hot day.

6) The BEST FOR LAST, my personal favorite: Tree’s! Nothing like hanging out at the dog park under a shady tree.  Sometimes just relaxing where there is a cool breeze can me the most serene thing for your dog.  Find a stretch of green grass and nice big bushy tall tree and enjoy a picnic with your dog.

scanned on 8200. retouched by nicole elliott.

Hope these tips help! AND Please remember – do not keep Fido in the car longer than 5 minutes.. INSTEAD find a friend, OR a near by pole or bench in the shade where you can tie Fido up for a few minutes… if you really have to leave Fido in the car find a parking space under shade!!!

Rattlesnakes in San Diego!


Ahhhh San Diego! Home of the endless outdoor activities to enjoy with Fido. Gorgeous beaches, parks and trails, there’s a reason they call this city Dog City USA- truly no better climate to adventure with your best friend. But if you hit the trails, please keep in mind, with hot and dry weather has gone down you still need to be on alert of possible RATTLESNAKES.  I know you’re probably asking yourself, in September, really? Yes, really!

Rattlesnake season looks like it has come early this year in San Diego. Sightings come as soon as late August, and early September.

Fire officials say the snakes are coming out of hibernation ahead of schedule because of our recent warm weather. According to the County Department of Parks and Recreation, most rattlesnake sightings occur in August, September and even November!

Just last year I came across one in mid- August during an afternoon run on the lagoon trails off the 5 freeway and Via De La Valle in Del Mar.  Jogging along, minding my own business not to mention I had my headset on, when suddenly halfway through the run I noticed a big snake stretched across the center of the trail ahead of me… and instantly I knew it was a rattlesnake because the rattle was facing up! UGH!!  What was even more startling was my dog Jack was off the leash, sniffing the ground like usual and could have easily been bit.  Luckily, he didn’t notice the snake because just in time I was managed to retrieve him back towards me with a call.

We haven’t had any run ins with any rattlesnakes since-probably because we’ve been avoiding the trails all together until rattlesnake season clears. But, for those of your courageous enough to take on the tails, please take extra precautions.

Below is the picture I managed to snap of the bastard with my shaky hand. I was so scared!


More and more sightings of rattlesnakes are being reported. For those of you still willing to take advantage of the beautiful mountain and lagoon trails, my friend John Van Zante from Rancho Coastal Humane Society put together a “go to” Rattlesnake article with tips to prepare you and your pup in case you come across a snake.

Van Zante Says “Sunset is when you’re most likely to encounter a rattlesnake. People need footwear that gives protection. Keep your dog on a leash and on a well-used trail and carry a stick. Hitting the bushes can scare snakes away.”

Other basic rules and tips can save pets and their owners:

* Don’t go places where there are likely to be snakes
* Don’t put your paws, hands or feet where you can’t see (like under a log or rock)
* Look before you leap. Step on a rock or log instead of jumping over it
* Take your cell phone for emergency (not to talk or text while you hike)
* If you stop to rest, look before you sit
* Be careful around water. Snakes can swim and they look like sticks in the water.
* If you see a snake…leave it alone!

Van Zante says that a rattlesnake’s strike distance can be one third to one half the length of its body and it’s faster than a human eye can see.

What should you do if you or your pet is bitten by a rattler? “Probably most difficult, try to remain calm. If you panic or run, that spreads the venom faster. Call 911 ASAP, because you want that antivenin within two hours of the bite if possible ,” Van Zante advises.

Try to remember what the snake looks like. Your veterinarian, pet hospital, or Emergency Room will want to know how big, what color, shape of head, and anything else you can tell them.

“We’ve also heard of people who pick up what they think is a dead snake, only to find that it’s resting. And even if it’s freshly dead, the bite-reflex can still be there. Leave it alone,” Van Zante added.

“And that old myth about sucking the venom out of a snake bite….That’s a myth. ” – JVZ

Please be careful out there! Not JUST on the trails, but outside in general be aware of fido’s surroundings. Many San Diego county rattlesnake encounters and unfortunately bites are surfacing in household backyards, near swimming pools and inside the homes of families who leave back doors open.. and dogs for the most part are getting the short end of that stick.

See you on the beaches, parks and trails!  Stay safe and STAY HYDRATED!!!!  

Dog Film Festival Sunday, Sept. 25

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If there’s anything I enjoy as much as I do dog parks, beaches, and dog friendly dinning, it’s definitely watching movies.. dog movies! As far back as I can remember I’ve always appreciated films that share a love for animals, especially dogs. Wether it be cartoon, Disney, drama, or comedy, if the story is based on a dog, I’m hooked.  What is it about dogs on film that make us feel happy and warm, no matter how sad the ending may be.  I think I’ve watched Old Yeller and Marley and Me combined about a hundred times. Other of my favorite dog films include Look Who’s Talking NOW, Lassie Come Home, Homeward Bound, Turner and Hooch, Beethoven, 101 Dalmatians, Air Bud, and The Secret Life of Pets.   That said, you can imagine my excitement when I learned the 2016 Dog Film Festival was being held in San Diego benefiting the San Diego Humane Society and sponsored by the Petco Foundation.  I can’t wait to see the new and creative ways film makers are sharing the profound stories about man’s best friend and how much dogs truly enrich our lives.


The Dog Film Festival will take place Sunday, Sept. 25 at the Reading Cinemas
Grossmont Shopping Center:
5500 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa
Sunday, Sept. 25
3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Join us for a family-fun evening of short films – all illuminating the remarkable bond between people and dogs. We’ll also be on-site with adoptable animals waiting for loving homes.

Tickets are only $15, and a portion of all ticket sales benefit San Diego Humane Society’s programs and services. For more information or to purchase your ticket, please visit

Dog Film Festival™ Tour Presented by the Petco Foundation Visits San Diego

Festival to Benefit the San Diego Humane Society

Following its overwhelming, sold-out success in New York City, the first-ever Dog Film Festival™ is touring the country, stopping in 12 cities nationwide, including San Diego. The Petco Foundation, whose goal is to help every animal live its best life, is serving as the national Presenting Sponsor of the festival, which celebrates the love between dogs, their people and the animal welfare groups that bring them together.

The San Diego leg of the Dog Film Festival will take over the Reading Cinemas Grossmont Center in La Mesa (5500 Grossmont Center Drive) on Sunday, September 25. The San Diego Humane Society, which receives 50% of all local ticket sales, will have adoptable dogs on site from 3-7PM.

“The Petco Foundation is thrilled to help bring the Dog Film Festival to cities across the country,” said Susanne Kogut, executive director of the Petco Foundation. “This series of films visually relay the Petco Foundation’s core mission to create a better world for animals and the people who love them. We are excited to celebrate with all dog lovers during this fun-filled festival and showcase these wonderful films that demonstrate the positive impact dogs have on people’s lives.”

The festival, perfect for dog lovers of all ages, is comprised of two separate programs of entirely different canine-themed films. Each screening is approximately 90 minutes long and includes documentary, animated and live-action shorts that illuminate the human-canine bond, submitted by dog-loving filmmakers from around the world.

The first screening at 3:30 p.m. features a medley of 11 light-hearted, animated and narrative shorts – perfect for any attendees, including children and families. Renowned photographer William Wegman’s 30-minute film, “The Hardly Boys in Hardly Gold,” starring four of his own Weimaraners in costume, will be highlighted at the first screening. Other fun and uplifting short films include “The Lewis Lectures,” a hilarious depiction of what dogs are actually thinking; “Beta,” a delightful tale that answers many questions we’ve all had about dogs; and “Useful Dog Tricks,” an inspirational short about the myriad ways a dog can help around the house.

The second screening, beginning at 6:00 p.m., features a more sophisticated program that includes a series of 12 short documentaries, narratives and subtitled narrative films. This screening is also appropriate for all ages; however, subtitles may challenge younger viewers. Films in this screening include “The Poodle Trainer,” a character study of a circus trainer, whose performing poodles are the center of her universe; “Second Chances,” a PBS film about dogs who are paired with incarcerated women, who train them to become service dogs; and “SURFice,” San Diego-based director Judy Fridono’s video about her Golden Retriever Ricochet, who was raised to be a service dog but instead became a SURFice dog – surfing to raise money for causes.

The festival is a way for founder and animal wellness advocate Tracie Hotchner to share her love for dogs and give back to organizations working hard for pets in need.

“We are excited to bring animal lovers together to experience the many ways our lives are enriched by dogs and to honor the animal welfare groups that bring them together,” Hotchner said. “I am honored to have a national non-profit organization such as the Petco Foundation as our Presenting Sponsor and to partner with incredible organizations in each city we visit.”

Tickets for the Dog Film Festival are $15.00 per screening for adults and $10 per screening for children and can be purchased online at

About the Dog Film Festival

In 2015, the first Dog Film Festival™ grew out of Tracie Hotchner’s desire, as a pet wellness advocate, to expand her Radio Pet Lady Network’s outreach to educate the public about adoption, pet wellness issues and philosophical aspects of pets in our lives. The festival is a unique way of honoring dogs as true family members by bringing together like-minded people to experience and celebrate the remarkable human-canine bond. The Dog Film Festival™ shares proceeds from its ticket sales with local shelters and rescue partners wherever it travels. Learn more at

About the Petco Foundation

The Petco Foundation believes every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, the Petco Foundation has invested more than $167 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With its animal welfare partners, the Petco Foundation inspires and empowers communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay/neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. The Petco Foundation partners with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions and has helped more than 5 million pets find new loving families. Visit to learn how to get involved. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #PetcoFoundation.

About the San Diego Humane Society

Serving San Diego County since 1880, San Diego Humane Society’s scope of social responsibility goes beyond adopting animals. San Diego Humane Society offers San Diegans a wide range of programs and services that strengthen the human-animal bond, prevent cruelty/neglect, provide medical care, educate the community on the humane treatment of animals and provide safety net services for all pet families needing assistance with keeping their pets.
As one of San Diego’s oldest nonprofit organizations, San Diego Humane Society has campuses located in Escondido, Oceanside, and San Diego as well as adoption centers inside Petco stores throughout San Diego County. San Diego Humane Society is supported solely through contributions, grants, bequests, investments, proceeds from the Muttique retail store and small fees for services. For more information or to view our current animals available for adoption; please visit

Remember Me Thursday 2016: Shine a light on orphan pets everywhere


Millions of homeless dogs who will never know what it feels to wade in the salty ocean waters at a dog beach or roll in the fresh cut grass of a dog park.  Instead many animals will end up euthanized because of shelter over crowding and not enough adoptions.  To honor these animals and in hopes of gaining more attention to the situation, candles around the world will be lit tomorrow in what is called, Remember Me Thursday.  Thursday September 22, 2016 will mark the fourth annual Remember Me Thursday, an event founded by San Diego’s Hellen Woodward Animal Center CEO and President Mike Arms.  Major celebrities have stepped forward using their notoriety to shine light on the cause.

Be a Part of the Remember Me Thursday® Awareness Movement
Remember Me Thursday® is a global awareness campaign uniting individuals and pet adoption organizations around the world as an unstoppable, integrated voice advocating for orphan pets to live in forever homes, not die waiting for them.

On September 22, 2016, let’s get the entire world talking about pet adoption, so the world can shine a light on all orphan pets waiting in shelters and rescues right now.

This year, you could win life-saving funds or food for a rescue or shelter of your choice! Submit a photo and share the importance of orphan pets on the #RememberTheRescue Photo Wall to be entered into the challenge!


Public relations manager of HWAC Jessica Gercke said the number of pets which are euthanized each year in the United States is staggering. “About 3.4 million orphaned animals are put down every year and only 30 percent of pets in homes are from adoptable facilities”.  Gercke pointed out that these numbers reflect that nearly 70 percent of animals are purchased from breeders.  Millions of beautiful pets are dying every year and that includes purebreds. It was these numbers which triggered Arms to bring worldwide awareness to the issue.  The candle light ceremony sets out to honor the memory of all pets that have passed away and gain attention towards all the orphaned animals that are awaiting adoption. With so many healthy orphaned pets euthanized every year and waiting adoption and world wide, an event like this can make a huge impact in the lives of these voiceless animals. We hope you will participate in this powerful movement by lighting a candle tomorrow and sharing it via social media to create awareness about adoptable pets being euthanized and or by attending, or organizing a candle-light ceremony to shine a light on adoptable pets still waiting for forever families.  Helen Woodward encourages you to please hashtag #LIGHTFORPETS and #RememberMeThursday in your posts so together we can support and pay respects to each others condolences.

The ‘Remember Me Thursday’ takes place on the 4th Thursday of every September. In it’s first year, 139 countries participated. Participants either lit a virtual candle on, or a traditional candle at an event or in the privacy of their own home. Last year, nearly 5,000 virtual candles were lit all over the world including Mexico, Australia, Europe, Great Britain, Japan and beyond. To learn more about this special event visit


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San Diego Guide Dogs for the Blind


Hey dog lovers! I hope your weekend went by nice and slow and your work week goes by nice and fast! Sunday I met with the great people of the San Diego Guide Dogs for the Blind at Petco Park when the Padres hosted them inside their new game day Bark Yard Suites as a way to honor and recognize the work they do in the San Diego pet community. The group brought two 5 week year old puppies in training to the game which made this the highlight of me weekend. Holding and playing with the puppies made me a happy soul. Playing around f with them was limited however, as a Petco Park game is an ideal environment to evaluate the progress of their training. They really seemed to be enjoying themselves taking in the sights and sounds of the game, mean while I admired the sounds and smells of puppy breath! Does anyone else have trouble resisting the urge to play with service dogs especially when they are puppies? Service puppies in training are like oxymorons! You know you shouldn’t disturb their focus, but you can’t help it. It was fascinating learning about the work that goes into selecting a puppy to be a guide dog and the training that goes into the process.  They scout puppies at 5 weeks old and begin formal training at 26 weeks. Training is in effect 16 out of the 24 hours in the day. For the next year, the puppy will undergo several activities a week that will determine if the dog is a good fit to lead the blind. Beyond the time and effort trainers spend with the puppies preparing them to be a guide dog, what I found most impresisve about San Diego Guide Dogs for the Blind was the compassion and selflessness these trainers possess that give them the strength to turn over a dog they’ve grown and worked close with over over a significant amount of time. I most certainly would never be able to give up a puppy I spent the past two years raising. Director of the San Diego Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sam Rindskopf, shared  “it’s not easy, by any means, but knowing these dogs are fulfilling a purpose and reaching their true potential makes learning to let them go rewarding, and slightly easier”. What a gift the people of SD Guide Dogs for the Blind are giving back to the community. It makes my heart so happy to see how they volunteer their lives to service training dogs for people whose need them. Stay turned because come tomorrow night ( Tuesday ) I share more about the process that goes into training guide dogs on an all new SDLive on FOX Sports San Diego, after the Padres game! I hope you will tune in and watch! Woof! 



Fitness with Fido


When it comes to goals of getting healthy and fit, pet owners truly have the advantage. Some, like myself, have seen firsthand the positive impact, dogs especially, can make. There are many health benefits that come from interacting with pets, such as lower blood pressure, cholesterol, decreasing anxiety while increasing happiness and work performance. Studies have shown people with heart disease have better survival rates if they interact with pets – you see, PETS. REALLY. DO. HEAL!

With perfect weather year round in San Diego- there’s all kind of activities you and Fido can enjoy while working on your
fitness. This city is home to hundreds of charitable dog marathons which invite you to power walk or run with your dog.



FACE Foundations “i Sweat 4 Pets” run

Its also a climate which harnesses some of the most adventurous terrain to get your cardio in along side a beautiful scenic view. Taking just a hour of day to get a outdoor workout with Fido is beneficial for both dog and human physically, emotionally and mentally. Dogs motivate health and fitness. Here are ways you and your dog can begin your fitness routine.


One of the easiest ways to get your cardio in is with a lengthy walk on one our pet friendly beaches. A good I-pod with a music playlist always helps. Be sure that you and Fido hydrate before the jog or walk to stay revitalized during the workout. San Diego’s top Fido-friendly beaches include: Cardiff By the Sea ( on leash ), Del Mar Dog Beach ( off leash except for summer) Fiesta Island ( off leash ) and Ocean Beach Dog Beach ( off leash ).


Another great work out is with hikes on the trails or in the woods. I think I can speak for Jack when I say hiking through the countryside is one of our favorite hobbies. That dog and I are happiest when we’re one with nature…or at the Ritz. LOL. Our perfect day would include a morning run, a day spent hiking through the woods and room service at a luxury hotel. Here’s a list of San Diego trails I think you and Fido will enjoy getting your work out along:

Cabrillo Tide Pools Trail: Cabrillo Tide Pools Trail is an easy, 0.5 mile hike in Cabrillo National Monument that will take about 1 hour to complete with Fido. Although some people along the trail may tell you that your dog is not allowed, this trail is in fact the only area in Cabrillo National Monument where dogs are allowed.

Cowles Mountain: Pets are welcome to join you on leashes as you hike this popular San Diego mountain. Enjoy the gorgeous views from the summit.

Tecolote Canyon Natural Park:Bring your pet with you on-leash for some exercise along the 6.5 miles of scenic trails in this lovely canyon.

Barker Valley Trail: Barker Valley Trail is a moderately easy, 7.5 mile hike in Cleveland National Forest that will take about 4 hours to complete with Fido. On this trail you will actually descend on the way in and ascend on the way out.

Bayshore Bikeway (Silver Strand Bikeway): The Bayshore Bikeway (Silver Strand Bikeway) is one of 1600 rail-trails supported by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that is working to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors.

Chollas Lake Recreation Area:Take your pet for some on-leash exercise in this beautiful lakeside recreation area.

Marian Bear Memorial Park: There are plenty of wide open spaces to play in at this fun neighborhood park. Dogs are welcome on-leash, restrooms nearby.

Martin Luther King Promenade: The Martin Luther King Promenade is one of 1600 rail-trails supported by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that is working to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors.

Mission Bay Trails on Fiesta Island:Fiesta Island is a large area of land centrally located in Mission Bay. There is a 5 MPH zone on the east side of the island that is popular for recreational water sports, and Fido friendly activity.

Evidence shows people who are pet owners tend to live substantially longer than people who aren’t. This must be because of the emotional and physical energy they require us to challenge in ourselves everyday. Ive never been more fit and mentally happy in my life than today and I Jack to thank a lot for that!


August 26th is National Dog Day!


This week we celebrate a very special day because August 26th is National Dog Day!

National Dog Day was created in 2004 by Colleen Paige to honor and show deep appreciation for our dogs and our connection to each other.  It is a day to show appreciation for their endearing patience, unquestioning loyalty, for their work, their capacity for love and their ability to impact our lives every day in the most miraculous ways.

What will you and your pup do to celebrate the pawesome holiday?  In San Diego we really have the advantage as there are so many special places and things to do with Fido throughout the city to celebrate the holiday:

  • If you’re the busy day working pet parent who can’t celebrate with pup until after work and don’t want to leave Fido home on this special day, set them up for a FIDO-DAY OUT with a sitter.  In San Diego we have many wonderful sitters who will spend the afternoon with pup at dog parks and beaches local to your area. San Diego’s Tish the Doggy Beach Busy is a great way to do something special for Fido as her bus is always circulating the San Diego area looking for pups ready for a day adventure!  You can always set your pup up with a day at Canine Camp.  Here in San Diego we got lot’s of awesome day camps for dogs enjoy a day of fun playing with other dogs.  When it comes to day camp I always encourage parents set their dogs up with a place where they get fresh air throughout the day so outdoor camps are always best! Check out San Diego’s Camp Run A Mutt Facilities or Encinitas’ Kamp Kanine!



  • Other ways you can celebrate this special day ( and likely Fido’s favorite way to have fun ) is at the beach!  Here in San Diego we have the best dog parks and beaches this nation has to offer. Check out the Barking Beast favorite San Diego beaches list 


For more ways to celebrate National Dog Day check out what has brewed up!  We hope you do something special for your dog this Thursday to show them how much they mean to you as dogs really do enrich our lives.  Special thanks to the beautiful Colleen Paige  founder National Dog Day and her efforts in benefiting animal welfare with this special day for dogs and her message of celebrating the lives of all dogs breeds and not just valuing the lives of “pure breeds”.

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Colleen Paige Founder of National Dog Day

” National Dog Day celebrates all dogs, mixed breed and pure. Our mission is to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day… for personal protection, for law enforcement, for the disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage, now they’re detecting cancer and seizures…things even humans cannot do. ” – …. READ MORE 

We hope you have a great time this Fridayy whatever you do celebrate National Dog Day! Be sure to follow National Dog Day on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with everything that is DOG! WOOF!

Sunday Aug 14: Pups in Tuxes to Strut the Red Carpet at The Wine Pub

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For as long as I been a dog parent, I’ve always made a habit taking my dog socializing at places beyond the park and beach as often as possible. Places like the neighborhood shops or my favorite, dinning at Yappy Hours to help benefit animal welfare in your community is always a great way to get social with the pup. It’s important for your dog to get that type of stimulation to better help enhance their public behavior skills, but most importantly, it’s fun for them! That said I wanted to share about a cool and adorable event being held at The Wine Pub benefiting Canine Companions for Independence I hope you will attend. .

On Sunday, August 14, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., The Wine Pub will roll out the red carpet (literally) and paparazzi will photograph dozens of San Diego’s socialite pups and their humans. Four-legged friends in tuxes and dresses will enjoy an evening of pampering at The Pub, complete with bottle-bowl service and gourmet doggie treats, including dishes of chicken and wild rice, “pupsicles” and homemade, all-natural dog treats.

“As a puppy owner, I know exactly how much joy four-legged friends bring into our lives,” said Sandy Hanshaw, owner of The Wine Pub. “Our patio is dog-friendly all year round, but for one day we wanted to give our pups center stage and raise money for a local organization that pairs people with disabilities with loyal and loving companions.”

The Oceanside-based organization, Canine Companions for Independence, enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure life-saving human-pup partnerships, free of charge. The Wine Pub chose Canine Companions as its 2016 Woofer Wednesday beneficiary and has donated $250 to date by encouraging customers to dine in with their dogs every Wednesday and giving 10 percent of each check to the dog-friendly nonprofit. No tickets are required for the VIP event – just a fancy dress code for people and their pups!

Can’t wait to see all the cool looks the pups will be styling, as Jack will be sure to be sporting his satin red bow tie. He really is such a ham when it comes to the camera’s and I’m so thankful for the laughter he and his furry friends provide me on a daily basis. See you guys at The Wine Pub, Sunday!

Keep up with the latest San Diego pet friendly restaurants hosting Yappy Hours in your neighborhood, be sure to follow Paws and Pints Events San Diego  along and The San Diego Pets Magazine Dog Friendly Restaurant Guide maintained by yours truly, the Barking Beast.

2016 Helen Woodward Padres and Puppy calendar presented by Petco


2016 Padres & Puppies Calendar

The San Diego Padres partnered up with Helen Woodward Animal center to help puppies find forever homes. I got to catch all the excitement with my FOX Sports San Diego SDLive feature, CLICK HERE to watch my exclusive behind the scenes story!


The San Diego Padres debuted their second Padres and Puppy Calendar over the summer, and I got an exclusive first look along with players and fans reactions to the pictures inside! And of course, once again they partnered up with San Diego’s own Helen Woodward Animal Center for the event. The shoot took place in Peoria Arizona during Padres spring training and was a giveaway to all fans on Sunday’s April 24th home game.

Leading up to the big unveil, I set up exclusive interviews with people involved in bringing the puppy calendar to life for my special story on FOX Sports San Diego’s show, SDLive. We got really lucky with Padres Ace pitcher &  James Shields a proud dog dad who was more than excited to share with us his love for dogs being as he was featured in the calendar’s September spread. He told us dogs have always been part of life as far back as he can remember, going on to say “I grew up wit dogs. How can you not love dogs?”. The Padres pitcher currently has two dogs of his own, a labrador and french bulldog. He also shared with us, any opportunity he gets to help pets is need is important so it meant a lot being featured in the calendar for the second year in a row as a San Diego Padre.


Talking with baseball great “Big Game James Shields” about our shared appreciation for dogs was an awesome experience, I’ll never forget. Going on in his second year as a Padre it’s safe to say he’s most certainly won over San Diego baseball fans and animal lovers.


I also got the chance to chat with Jessica Gryke the Public Relations Director at Helen Woodward Animal Center. Gryke dropped me a visit at the Fox Sports San Diego studio and she brought puppies along too! Gryke could not emphasize enough that exposure is essential when it comes to getting animals adopted. So, when organizations like Petco Park and the Padres parter up for fun projects like the calendar to help rescue groups like Helen Woodward, or news stations like FOX Sports San Diego do a story on the calendar, it makes all the difference in helping find homes for pets.


And finally, Sunday was the big calendar debut as the Padres gave them away to fans as they entered the ballpark for game. I dropped by to get reactions and boy were the fans loving the pictures inside. The December spread featuring Matt Kemp holding three puppies was very popular with the fans. Even the Petco Park mascot, Ruff the Dog could not get enough! I really hope to see this Padres and Puppy Calendar presented by Petco continue for years to come, it sure is a special treat for everyone!


Stay tuned for my behind the scenes story on the 2026 Padres and Puppy Calendar airing Tuesday night after the Padres game on FOX Sports San Diego show, SDLive. FOX Sports San Diego is available on every cable provider!

Chargers stars and the Barking Beast they love!

The San Diego Chargers honored our very own NFL legend LaDainian Tomlinson early this year by retiring his #21 jersey.  When it comes to football in San Diego there is no bigger star, than the famous ‘LT’.  Besides his tremendous talents as an athlete, he’s also a compassionate animal lover.  To celebrate his number 21 induction, the all time leading rusher hosted a pet adoption event at his San Diego pet resort, Snug Pet Resort . The event included autograph and picture signings with the Charger’s all-star as well with meet and greets with his MVP’s ( MOST VALUABLE PETS ) for adoption!

I caught up with Tomlinson on FOX Sports San Diego’s SDLive for a look inside his San Diego pet resort for pets! 


LaDainian Tomlinson, and the San Diego Chargers who love their dogs! 

San Diego is home to the most pet enthusiastic people in the world. We have exquisite pet resorts, mountainous dog parks, and we are host the largest pet expo in the world.  Heck, even our yappy hours for dogs are are held in nicer venues than that of happy hours for humans.

SO, it’s no surprise our love for dogs has rubbed off on the men who represent one of our cites greatest staple, the San Diego Chargers.  More than ever, sports stars are showcasing their love for pets on television interviews and in social media. In fact, did you know San Diego’s #1 all-star football legend is owner of the cities most superb pet resort?  Well, believe it baby!

To celebrate the kick off to football season, we put together an archive of San Diego Chargers stars who love showcasing their love for dogs and the joy these amazing animals bring to our lives.



First up is San Diego Chargers legendary all-star running back, Darren Sproles.  Picture below with my friend and Director of Public Relations for Rancho Coastal Humane Society John Van Zante, Sporles attended the Iams Home 4 the Holidays ( IH4TH ), the largest pet adoption drive in history, in search of a pup to call his own. This running back has delivered dozens of monumental performances on the field with his impeccable running ability. Shortly after Sproles’ arrived to the Home for the Holidays adoption drive, he found a friend to run with and adopted the puppy you see him holding in the below photograph.


Keep up with Darren Sproles and his puppy through his Twitter account DarrenSproles! 

Joseph Barksdale


Offensive tackle for the San Diego Chargers, Joseph Barksdale is not stranger to showing love for animals of all kind on his social media @BazookaJoe72. The Chargers’ 2015 Lineman of the Year, has officially unpacked his bags after signing a new four-year contract with the team in March. Enjoying the extended stay in beautiful San Diego, Barksdale was accompanied alongside his wife and adorable dogs who he is always sharing about on his Instagram. Barksdale loves his fur kids so much him and his wife went as far as including the dogs in their engagement photos! Now THAT is a serious Dog Dad!

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When he’s not on the field or with his wife and their fur kids, you can catch him in his jersey using his notoriety to help shine lights on the importance of loving animals in the community. Since his arrival he’s grown especially close to a certain canine, Officer Harvey the Chargers training camp canine police dog.

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To keep up with Barksdale and his adorable fur kids be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.  He’s expected to be a powerful factor going into the 2016 Chargers season so their will definitely be a lot to see from the tackle on and off the gridiron! Woof!


Next is a beast whom Chargers fans should consider themselves blessed to have here in San Diego, the one and only beast- Corey Liuget.  Corey Liuget a defensive end, has made plays for San Diego that seem like only GOD himself resurrected into Liuget’s body during the game.  A huge enthusiast of his Chargers fan community, Liuget is known to show his appreciation to fans and team supporters by attending charity benefits throughout the city annually. When he’s not busy with football and charities, Liuget enjoys to spend time with his two white pit bull mixes, his #DogoArgentino’s.


Pictured below are shots Corey himself shared with the community on his Intragram account of his beautiful barking beasts. Corey decide to get two dogs so they could keep each other company when he was on the road. A father to two adorabe children, two dogs, and beautiful wife– I think safe to say Corey Luiget is just that LEGIT and really knows how to keep it real and humble!!! To keep up with Corey Luiget and his enchanting dogs, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @CoreyLiuget


THOMAS KEISERThomas-Keiser.arrested.400

As if being a dog owner isn’t attractive enough– next up is a canine enthusiast who uses his celebrity to help shelter dogs find homes. Thomas Keiser, an All-Star Chargers linebacker teamed up with the San Diego Humane Society for a campaign they called “Sack the Stereotypes”. The purpose of the cause was to tackle the mistaken rap pit bull’s have, and to shine light on how incredibly warm and gentle the breeds truly are making them wonderful family pets.  Kieser even went as far to show love to our feline friends which soon after inspired several kitten adoptions at SDHS.


When is comes to football, Thomas Keiser is the epitome of what it means to “Unleash the Beast”. A monumental playmaker,  Keiser is most well known to San Diegan’s for his breathtaking interception against the legendary Peyton Manning, sealing the game and a huge win for the Chargers.  Keep up with Thomas Keiser and his enthusiasm for dogs by following him on Twitter at @ThomasKeiser.


Next up is a Chargers All-Star and Dad to a blue nose mastiff pit bull mix. A TOP 5 finalists to in the Pepsi Next Rookie of the Year award, wide receiver Keenan Allen fills Qualcomm Stadium with excitement and joy with every touch down he seals. I had the honor of meeting him on the set of Fox Sports San Diego’s #SDLive, where he sat side by baseball legend Trevor Hoffman ( who is also a dog Dad to two bull-dogs ). Both Allen and Hoffman shared their immense love for dogs on set. Kennan even got close and personal enough to share he lets his pit-bull mix Steale join him in the shower from time to time. Ladies is that not hot or what!?

Pictured below are snapshots of a video Allen shared of his blue nose puppy pit bull mix Steel playing with a door stop on his Instagram. He captioned the video “Midnight Madness”.



Keep up with Kennan Allen, his adorable new born daughter, and his puppy Steel on Twitter and Instagram @Keenan13Allen!



Next is  linebacker who puts forth as much effort doing work in the community as he does training for the gridiron.  Colton Underwood a linebacker from Illinois State University was signed by the Chargers in 2014 and since then has been making notable impressions to that of his football coaches and sports fans of San Diego. Late last year, Underwood was picked up by the Oakland Raiders where he now plays as a tight end in the famous silver and black!  The pups and football community will definitely miss him as a Charger, so to keep up with him and his love for dogs be sure to follow him on his Twitter and Instagram.

When he’s not training, Underwood enjoys spending time back home with his labrador retrievers of which he proudly showcases his ‘Dog Father’ love on his Instagram.  Check out these awesome pics of Underwood and his dogs . . .



To keep up with Colton Underwood and his paw-some love for the pups follow him on his Instagram and @ColtonUnderwood!

Seyi Ajirotutu

Hey may no longer be a San Diego Charger, but NFL Star Seyi Ajirotutu takes pride in being a dog dad to his French Bull Dog Tupac. You can catch the wide receiver posting pictures of Tupac via social media on the regular. Below is photo I truly adore of him posing with his wife Autumn and Tupac for the 2013 family Christmas photo.


Keep up with Seyi and Tupac on Twitter and Instagram at @Satutu19!


Next is a Chargers star who can often be spotted at the dog beaches in Mission Bay with his Boxer breed Champ. Wide receiver Vincent Brown, is widely known in the San Diego pet community to be a huge fan of Fiesta Island dog park, making friends with park visitors and the humans they walk.  Keep up with Vincent and Champ on social media by following him at @VincentBrown86!




Last but most certainly not least is the ultimate Chargers beast, the legend, the College Hall of Famer and soon to be NFL hall of famer–San Diego’s very own LaDainian Tomlinson ( widely known in as L. T.)  While today his athletic talent is still highly recognized all over the sports world, his most prominent legacy was that which he left with the San Diego Chargers.

LaDainian TomlinsonLTTTTT

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, let me just share with you how big time LaDainian Tomlinson is to the game of football and why he makes San Diego proud— For the majority of his 11-year career he played with the San Diego Chargers who selected him as the fifth overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. Tomlinson was selected to play five Pro Bowls, was an All-Pro six times, and won two rushing titles (2006 and 2007). At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career rushing yards (13,684), seventh in all-purpose yards (18,456), second in career rushing touchdowns (145), and third in total touchdowns (162). And today he’s currently an analyst on NFL Network

He also donates his time towards various charities throughout the nation, especially in New York and San Diego where fans follow and know him best.  When he’s not busy with the NFL Network and charity appearances, LT keeps himself busy with ( one of the many ) businesses he owns- one that embraces a lifestyle close to his heart, pets.  Nestled in Sorrento Valley Road between San Diego’s 5 and 805 freeway merge is LT’s pet boarding, grooming and daycare facility, Snug Pet Resort. A two-story, 22,000 square-foot building that LaDainian Tomlinson calls the “the Ritz Carlton for pets.”

I had the honor of meeting with the San Diego legend last year when he gave FOX Sports San Diego a tour of Snug Pet Resort and where he keeps his MVPS ( Most Valuable Pets ) Click here to watch the feature. 


To celebrate your love for dogs and football, gift your dog with an fashionably savvy Chargers drape or bow tie from RuffTies! Be sure to catch All-Star athletes and the incredible pets in the San Diego community on Fox Sports San Diego’s new show #SDLive! FOX Sports San Diego is available on all cable providers. Check local times for listings!


To see more of the NFL’s favorites and their barking beasts keep scrolling! Woof!

Vernon Leonard Davis tight end for the San Francisco 49ers with his dog during a Sports Illustrated shoot

Vernon Leonard Davis tight end for the San Francisco 49ers with his dog during a Sports Illustrated shoot
Kordell Stewart and his Husky breed
Kordell Stewart and his Husky breed
Brandon Marshall wide receiver for the Chicago Bears with his two PitBulls <3
Brandon Marshall wide receiver for the Chicago Bears with his two PitBulls ❤
Matthew Garrett
Matthew “Matt” Garrett  Forté running back for the Chicago Bears with his blue nose Pit Bull ❤

Before he was a Super Bowl winning quarterback, Drew Brees would hit the books with his chow lab mix Sonny.

Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s dog Bruno licks his face out in front his Pittsburg home
Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin enjoys spending time with his family and his family red nose pit bull Roxy
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones- Drew strikes a pose with his french bulldog Phillip
Tim Tebow is in the news after revealing that he changed his dog’s name from Bronco to Bronx after being traded from Bronco’s to the Jets.

Huddle Up to Cuddle Up Success!


San Diego Chargers are hosting the 1st Annual “DOG DRAFT” to benefit animal rescue so we’re throwing it back to our Huddle Up to Cuddle Up with NLF Linebacker Colton Underwood and the San Diego Chargers!

Barking Beast’s Huddle Up to Cuddle up with the San Diego Chargers:

It’s officially safe to say the Chargers community have taken significant charge in San Diego animal rescue!   San Diego Charger Colton Underwood, a very proud “dog dad”, rallied up his teammates to shine light on the importance of animal welfare and shelter pet adoption.  The event called “Huddle Up to Cuddle Up” sponsored by Barking Beast, set out to benefit the San Diego Humane Society and was held at their San Diego Gaines Street campus.  Throughout the afternoon, prospective families looking to adopt took part in festivities that included complimentary lunch, autographs with the Chargers, and pet give-aways, in hopes of inspiring people to rescue a pet.  Players in attendance were Colton Underwood,  Kenny Wiggins, Craig Watts, Nick Dzubnar, and Javontee Herdon who were all sure to make the day of their fans, and especially that of animals in need.


Up until Sunday, the last Charger to bring attention to animal rescue in San Diego was in early 2014, when linebacker Thomas Keiser took part in a campaign hosted by the San Diego Humane Society to help Sack Stereotypes on Pit Bulls.  You can imagine the excitement when animal lovers discovered Chargers star on the rise Colton Underwood’s enthusiasm for pets!  Having grown up a country boy, Underwood is no stranger to living in harmony with animals, especially with dogs.  He shared with Barking Beast that to him the family dogs are like brothers and when he’s away on football, he always makes sure to Face-Time with them! ‘Can we say, ‘Dog Father of the Year’?


The pet adoption is not the first benefit Underwood has put on for his community.  Over the summer his foundation the Colton Underwood Foundation hosted a football camp for the youth in his home of Indianapolis, Indiana,  featuring his teammates to help raise money for Cystic Fibrosis.

Thank you to all the sponsors Petco, Phil’s BBQ, My Perfect Pet, RuffTies, and CoreWater who helped make this event a success! And SPECIAL thanks to the San Diego Chargers Community and Colton Underwood for helping bring out families to adopt animals in need.


Keep up with Colton Underwood and his love for animals on his Twitter & Instagram and be sure to catch highlights from Sunday’s event NEXT Tuesday on a special SDLive at 9:30PM featuring Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner and his labrador retriever Lindsey in studio!  Airs on the FOX Sport San Diego network, available on every cable provider.



#PetcureanLove Tour in Encinitas


Hope you’re having a great week and hooray for the weekend! In my quest in blogging about San Diego’s greatest dog parks, I had to share about an exciting event taking place this weekend at The Encinitas Community Park, home of the awesome ( and my personal favorite dog park ) the new Maggie Houlihan Dog Park. What better way to enjoy park amenities than with a pet friendly party taking place?


So before you go making plans for the weekend be sure to reserve a special slot for Fido on Sunday between 11-2pm so you guys can attend the #PetcureanLove Tour in Encinitas event. Bring your pups this Sunday April 17th, to the Encinitas Community Park, Field 4, where Petcurean, an award winning healthy and organic dog food brand will host a pawesome pet friendly party that will include free samples, coupons and a prize draw giving some lucky attendees the chance to win a 3 month, 6 month, or year supply of their delicious food! There will also be a prize draw where PetCurean will donate a generous amount of food to a rescue of the winner’s choice. To top it off, what makes this event so great is it is setting out to support our compassionate friends at Waggin’ Dog Rescue– now come on, who wouldn’t want to stop by this paw-ty at arguelably one of San Diego’s greatest dog parks all while helping a local dog rescue program. It’s a win, win for everyone.

Since many of you will already be dropping by the Maggie Houlihan Dog Park this Sunday, because let’s face it- it’s not the weekend without at visit to Maggie Houlihan, you might as well do it between 11-2pm so you can swing by the #PetCureanLove event and grab some complimentary dog deliciousness for Fido all while supporting a great cause. You can also help raise funds in donations of PetCurean to dog rescues in need by hash-tagging #PetCureanLove in your social media dog posts! PetCurean is truly a brand that puts pets first with clean-sourced ingredients, and recipes designed to optimize pet health.

Petcurean is a Canadian, family owned company that only provides clean sourced, natural food – and they are the only pet food company with a PhD pet nutritionist on staff guiding product development! WATCH this awesome video behind who they are and what makes their product so special for pets, here. PetCurean recently became an award winner from Clean Eating Magazine for their products, and are only sold at pet specialty stores.

We hope you to see you this Sunday at #PetCureanLove Tour in Encinitas! Be sure to follow PetCurean on social media @PetCurean & #PetCurean!


‘Clear the Shelters’ in San Diego by Adopting a Loving Pet JULY23!



I always knew I liked that NBC Universal!  As if their decision to dump Trump’ s Miss Universe pageant after his comments about Mexican immigrants wasn’t enough to get my viewership the NBC owned group is now dedicating a special day to help clear animal shelters nation wide in what they are calling #ClearTheShelters day! This will mark the third year in a row NBC hosts the event homeless animals.

This years event will take place Saturday JULY 23, when hundreds of shelters across the country will agree to waive all adoption fees (spay/neuter fees) that Saturday for the one-day event, organized in partnership with NBC Owned Television Stations and Telemundo Stations Group.

Surprisingly, only about 20 percent of people looking for a pet choose a shelter animal. And with overflow of homeless pets pouring into shelters after spring births, a day like this can make all the difference!

Please share with friends and family this exclusive opportunity families looking to adopt a pet will get on July 23rd and help San Diego clear it’s animal shelters!

Refer the list below for San Diego #ClearTheShelter participating shelters:

Camp Pendleton
Camp Pendleton Animal Shelter
Marine Corps Base, Building 25132, Camp Pendleton, CA 92055
(760) 725-8120

County of San Diego Department of Animal Services Southern Region
5821 Sweetwater Road, Bonita, CA 91902-2219
(619) 767-2675

Rancho Coastal Humane Society
389 Requeza St, Encinita, Ca 92024
(760) 753-6413

San Diego
San Diego Humane Society San Diego (Also hosting animals from Shelly’s Shelter and Southern California Siamese Rescue)
5500 Gaines Street, San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 299-7012

San Diego
County of San Diego Department of Animal Services San Diego
5480 Gaines Street, San Diego, CA 92110-2887
(619) 767-2675

San Diego
San Diego House Rabbit Society Adoption Center
4807 Mercury Street, Suite A
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 565-2869

San Diego Humane Society Escondido
3450 E. Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA 92027
(760) 888-2275

San Diego Humane Society Oceanside Campus 1
2905 San Luis Rey Road, Oceanside, CA 92058
(760) 757-4357

San Diego Humane Society Oceanside Campus 2
572 Airport Road, Oceanside CA 92054
(760) 757-4358

Carlsbad: County of San Diego Department of Animal Services Northern Region
2481 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011-1531
(619) 767-2675

El Cajon
Friends of Cats
15587 Olde Highway 80, El Cajon, CA 92021
(619) 561-0361

City of Coronado Animal Services & PAWS
1395 First St, Coronado, CA 92118
(619) 522-7371

Chula Vista
Chula Vista Animal Care Facility
130 Beyer Way, Chula Vista, CA 91911
(619) 691-5123

El Cajon
City of El Cajon Animal Services
1275 N Marshall Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 441-1580

San Diego
Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego
3711 Mt Abbey Avenue, San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 277-3557

“Clear the Shelters” Day will be a nationwide push to place deserving animals in new homes. For more information on Clear the Shelters, including info on participating shelters and available pets, click here.

Follow the #Cleartheshelters hashtag on social media to keep up and follow NBC7’S Dagmar Midcap for ‘Clear the Shelters’ Day on JULY 23rd and her special recapping the event scheduled to air on NBC 7 JULY 24.


San Diegans Help ‘Clear the Shelters’ in Pet Adoption Event


Hundreds of pets in San Diego County will have forever homes thanks to NBC 7’s upcoming and very successful “Clear the Shelters” program. The 2016 event will take place this year on Saturday, July23!

The Clear the Shelters effort was a national initiative spearheaded by the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. NBC Stations across the country teamed up with their local shelters to place animals in permanent homes.

In San Diego, NBC 7  partnered with more than a dozen local shelters throughout the county to match up animals with new, loving owners. Participating shelters agreed to waive adoption fees* (spay/neuter fees) one day only for the important event on Saturday.


During the course of the day, NBC 7 anchor and lover of all things pet related Dagmar Midcap will cover the excitement, while the station tallies a number of photos of locals with their pets submitted via social media using the hashtags #ClearTheShelters and #NBC7 of pets being adopted through the #ClearTheShelters event.  Check out last years gallery here.  Be sure to keep up with Dagmar and her NBC7 pet coverage on Twitter as the covers the 2016 #ClearTheShelters event!


Last year, the event ended at 5 p.m. and 776 pets were successfully adopted from local shelters across San Diego County, according to a final tally.
Nationwide, the number of pets who found permanent homes during Clear the Shelters reached more than 16,000.

Thank you NBC7 San Diego for all your efforts in helping homeless pets find forever families with this awesome event!  Just like parenting a child, parenting a new dog will have its struggles too– but once you get the flow of things, the routine becomes effortless and the love for your furry friend will over power you with a joy and special bond incomparable to anything else.  Stay tuned for this years #ClearTheShelters recap with NBC7 News and San Diego’s favorite animal loving and weather anchor, Dagmar Midcap! 

On August 15, hundreds of animal shelters across the country are coming together for “Clear the Shelters” Day, a nationwide push to place deserving animals in new homes. For more information on Clear the Shelters, including info on participating shelters and available pets, click here. Follow the #Cleartheshelters hashtag on social media to keep up with the latest news on the big event.
Follow NBCSanDiego: @nbcsandiego on Twitter | NBCSanDiego on Facebook

Fido Friendly Fourth of July Lost Pet Prevention


Fourth of July is a fun summer holiday for most people, but for many animals, it’s a nightmare. The booming fireworks, festivals and company coming and going make this holiday particularly difficult for our pets. According to Petfinder, more pets are lost on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. It doesn’t have to be that way if you think in advance about lost pet prevention. Here are 10 tips provided by our friends at Raining Cats and Dogs.

Make sure your fencing is secure so your pet doesn’t slip out.
Extra security goes a long way – Check gates, doors, fences and other areas that a spooked dog (or cat) could escape to make sure that everything is secure. Inspect your dog’s collar and leash to make sure he can’t slip out of the back of the collar and to make sure the leash is both strong and secure. This step goes a long way in lost pet prevention.

Get your dog plenty of exercise before the party starts – Take your dog for a long walk or romp in the dog park before your company comes over or before your community fireworks are slated for the evening. Often the best prevention is leaving your pet at home since the crowds, explosions and everything else that is associated with the parades and fireworks on the Fourth are often too much for dogs.

Keep a tight grip on your dog’s leash – This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to slip up. A small distraction when you are out with your dog – like a small noise or something blowing in the wind – could startle your dog and cause her to bolt.

Make sure all pet’s microchips are up-to-date.
Make sure your pet has updated tags and microchips – Dogs slip out of fenced in yards and indoor cats also escape. That’s why it’s important to make sure they are microchipped, that the chips work and are up-to-date. Your dog should always wear his or her tags just in case. It’s also important to keep an updated digital photo of your pet if you need to make a lost pet flyer.

Create a safe zone for your pet – Keeping your pet calm is another important lost pet prevention tip. Set up a comfortable spot in a quiet room or crate for your pet. If you have company coming and going, your pet may easily slip out. There is an estimated 30 percent increase in lost dogs during fireworks. Shut the windows, turn on the air conditioning and some background noise before leaving for fireworks.

Check into other calming methods – If a Thunder shirt, Rescue Remedy or other medication works during a storm, you may need to suit your pet up or medicate her prior to the rockets red glare.
Set up your pet’s crate in a quiet room to give them a safe place to get out of the fray. Should your dog get out, immediately contact the shelter or rescue. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had your pet a long time or if you’ve recently adopted a dog or cat. If he or she gets loose, call the shelter, rescue or foster home immediately for help. Don’t be embarrassed and consider the safety of your pet – their network could be vital in helping you find your pet.

Get the word out. Dogs do get out and get lost. Contact local police, shelters and rescues, local veterinarians and animal controls to let them know your pet is missing. Provide a description and digital photo, get signs out and utilize social media. The more you reach out, the more your chances of reuniting with your lost pet improves.

4th July

Take extra pet loss preventative steps with shy or timid pets –

Taking extra precautions will keep your pet safe on the Fourth of July. Keep the lead on. Since shy, fearful or newly adopted dogs will try to run and hide if frightened, leave a short lead on in the house and a longer lead in the yard. He or she should drag it around and you then have something to grab if your dog bolts or runs from you.

Consider investing in a tracking device. There are GPS units available for pets that make it easier to track down those that bolt and hide. A popular option is the Tagg Pet Tracking Device.

The Secret Life of Pets

Is anyone off the wall excited about the new 3D animated movie, The Secret Life of Pets!? Just saw the trailer this morning and already I’m counting the days until the debut!! Beyond the fun and visually entertaining graphics, the movie plot is super cute and hilarious too. Taking place in a Manhattan apartment building, Max’s life as a favorite pet is turned upside down, when his owner brings home a sloppy mongrel named Duke. Meanwhile they have to put their quarrels behind when they find out that an adorable white bunny named Snowball is building an army of abandoned pets determined to take revenge on all happy-owned pets and their owners.

The Secret Life of Pets hits theaters July 8th and stars voices of Hollywoods greatest and most entertaining actors and comedians which include Lake Bell, Jenny Slate, Louic CK, and Kevin Hart to name a few!

secret life pets .jpg

Petco Park BarkYard Dog Suites!


Last week was Petco Park’s annual Dog Days of Summer. Nobody in baseball hosts top of the line hospitality for our furry friends better than Petco Park and the San Diego Padres organization, likely because they pride themselves being owned and sponsored by the greatest per brand in the nation, Petco! For over 10 years Petco Park has gone above and beyond, out doing themselves every year with their annual Dog Days of Summer. The festivities which include a pet parade around the baseball field featuring fans and their dogs followed by contests and awesome grab bag giveaways from Fido’s favorite brands, makes Petco Park Dog Days of Summer makes this themed ball game one of San Diego’s favorite. Being that Petco Park is truly compassionate about pets and understands the significance of the many thousands of San Diegan’s who take their dogs everywhere, it was no surprise to hear that Petco Park a group who always sets out to accommodate it’s community launched the BarkYard Doggie Box Suites. These suites located on the outfield terrace of the stadium include comfortable seating and excellent views of the game tailored for up to four people and two dogs. This years Dog Days of Summer marked the first day the exclusive pet friendly suites were revealed and I was invited to experience all the fun with the company of Jack. Like every Dog Days Of Summer, I headed down to the park with the FOX Sports San Diego camera crew to catch the excitement for SDLive, but this year was extra special because I got to bring my dog, my girlfriend Nadia and her dog Spike for some Dog Days Of Summer festivities followed by watching the game from the new doggie box suites at BarkYard. Seeing Jack in the pet parade, going ballistic over his goodie giveaways, and mingling with all the other dogs at the game that day, followed by the fun he was having inside the BarkYard doggie suites made for a Dog Days Of Summer I will never forget!


I want to take this time thank Petco Park for always looking out for our pets! These doggie suites are an absolute hit, and it make me so proud to live in a city where a huge group like Petco Park really understands it’s community and sets out to satisfy it’s residents. These doggie suites are available at every home game so if you’re looking to do something fun with friends that includes your furry friend, BarkYard is the place to be. Sign up for BarkYard suites by clicking here

Stay tuned as I recap this years Petco Park Dog Days of Summer including coverage of my stay inside the BarkYard Doggie Box Suites on FOX Sports San Diego’s SDLive!!



Stand Up Paddle Board with SUP Pup San Diego!


In light of summer I decided to take up Stand Up Paddle Board lessons with Jack. We’ve taken up a lot of recreational activities over the years, but Stand Up Paddle Boarding was yet to be crossed off our bucket list. We have never been on a paddle board before so as excited as we were about the new sport, we were also a little nervous. Over the years I’ve admired the athlete in Jack and his ability to learn fast,  but Stand Up Paddle Boarding was something I always believed would be extra tough for the long legged mutt with terrible balance.

It took us over a good dozen times of attempting to simultaneously get on board together and stand up until we final got the swing of things. There was definitely no shortage of bloopers and failed attempts to playback, as the FOX Sports San Diego camera crew was there catching all the fun for SDLive! Fortunately we had an amazing teacher Samantha Lee, a beautiful blond young woman who founded SUP Pups San Diego, and made the experience lot’s of fun. She was very present every step of the way in learning how to control the board while also keeping the canine calm. I think that was why the adventure was a success because Samantha was a great teacher!

I met Samantha Lee at the very pet friendly restaurant Rock Bottom in La Jolla a few weeks ago when I was stopped in for lunch with Jack meanwhile she was coincidently setting up a Yappy Hour on behalf of her non-profit organization Pints and Paws Events, a group that hosts pet friendly happy hours to help benefit animal welfare in the community. I later learned her cute Shepard-mix who was also present was named Jack too. Instantly Lee and I hit it off and I knew I wanted to connect with her after learning about her company SUP Pups San Diego and the pet friendly happy hour parties she hosts. Besides being our dogs are both goofy boys with the same name, Lee and I have a lot in common because we are both authentic about our love for dogs. Over the years I’ve seen all kinds of people some who aren’t even animal lovers create businesses in the pet lifestyle industry for different reasons. You can imagine my enthusiasm over Lee and her companies when it’s clear she genuinely loves animals, and sets out to show people how to make the most of a beautiful day in San Diego with their dog wether it’s at the beach or dinning out. She makes a fantastic Stand Up Paddle Board teacher, so it’s no wonder her company SUP Pups San Diego is the highest in demand SUP board teacher in the area. Being how much fun Jack and I both had learning to stand up paddle, I can honestly say this sport is definitely something all dog parents should take up if they enjoy beach activities with their dog and Samantha Lee is the teacher to hire for the job. Stay tuned for the upcoming SDLive Stand Up Paddle Board feature with Samantha Lee. To learn more about Lee, her Pints and Paws Events Yappy Hour calendar, or to schedule a consolation with her Stand Up Paddle Group contact her at or visit her website SUP Pups San Diego and be sure to LIKE her Facebook page SUPPupsPaddleBoarding! 


The 28th Annual Spring Fling Gala Saturday, June 4th 2016

spring fling.jpg

The Helen Woodward Annual Spring Fling Gala takes place this weekend and I’m over the moon excited!  One of the coolest things about San Diego is it is filled with amazing fundraisers all year long and the Spring Fling is definitely one of my favorites! This years Helen Woodward Gala theme is “There’s No Place like Home”… and when it comes to helping shelter pets find homes, Helen Woodward Animal Center is one of the Southern California’s greatest playmakers in getting that done. For over 20 years Helen Woodward and their forever hardworking and compassionate staff continue to be at the forefront of search and rescue in the health and well being of all animals within the Southern California rescue community. This particular gala, now it it’s 28th year, is one Helen Woodward should really pride themselves considering how much success has come from it in helping benefit animal welfare. Between the live music and entertainment, the dancing, cuisine and drinks, along with the amazing auction items there isn’t a shortage of things to enjoy at this event and all the money raised goes to the outstanding projects Helen Woodward creates in the rescuing of animals from terrible living conditions, rehabilitating them and finding them forever homes. What makes this event so special is it gives animal lovers the opportunity to meet public figures and executives who are moving mountains in the fight against animal cruelty. Having been a guest of the Spring Fling Gala for many years now I can honestly say it’s one of the most rewarding feelings being a part of the Helen Woodward rescue community and I hope many more will attend this event because being able to meet and speak with the people who are in the business of saving lives is truly inspiring. The Helen Woodward Spring Fling Gala is a one of a kind so we hope to see you there this Saturday June 2nd at 530 in the Emerald City Fairbanks Village Plaza! The address is 16236 San Dieguito Road. Rnachos Sante Fe, Ca 92067.

Click here to reserve your seat and ticket! 

Special thanks to Mike Arms the CEO and President of Helen Woodward Animal Center and their Director of Public Relations Jessica Gryke. Also thank you to the Sping Fling Committee for putting this years Spring Fling Gala together: Victoria Brown, Denise Clark, Tiscilia Culver, Tresa Dalton, Kareen Dee, Walden Daas, Joel Garlejo, Charlene Hooker, Mark Karla, Laurie Mrinman, Donna Ohman, Crystal Olson, Stacy Regsha, Lori Rosano and Richard Scheper.


Petco Park Dog Days of Summer!


Petco Park is gearing up for the annual Dog Days of Summer when the Padres play the Mariners June 2nd!  WOOF!! This year is extra special as the ballpark celebrates the launch of the new doggie suites, “Petco Barkyard!”  Just like your usual suites, the features will include all the top of the line service and hospitality amenities, along with special elements to accommodate Fido that I’m sure will, WOW!  Now more than ever, San Diego dining, shopping and recreational venues are setting up doggie doors and inviting the community to enjoy their business with the company of their dog- and Petco Park was not one to be left behind!  If you’re like me and take your dog with you pretty much everywhere possible, these suites are the perfect way to treat yourself for a special day at the park with your pup. For many years now, the ballpark owned and named after the biggest pet brand in the country has always set out to go above and beyond with a special day dedicated to inviting dogs to the game. Now with the launch of the new Petco Barkyard suites the fun can happen everyday!  These suites are perfect for groups of people who take part in the local “Paws and Pints” events!   If you’re looking to do something special with a group of your dog loving friends, this is the ultimate experience! Yours truly will be there when the suites are revealed June 2nd, for the 2016 Petco Park Dog Days of Summer!


While many of the other baseball stadium in the league celebrate their love for canines with a “Dog Days of Summer” theme, nobody does it quite like PETCO Park, the messiah of dog days! Come join a day at the ballgame with your furry friend filled paw-esome festivities! Scheduled activites include  Dog Days of Summer tail-gate party at Park in the Park, Dog Days of Summer Dog Show, followed by the Pet Parade where fans can take a walk around the park with their dog before the game!  For more information about 2016 Dog Days of Summer click here! Hope to see you and your dog at Dog Days of Summer June 2nd!

Sign up for dog days of summer here, Dog Days of Summer 2016 application.


La Jolla Veterinary hosts 3rd annual Paws & Pints

paws n pints.jpg

Hooray for “Yappy Hours” aka pet friendly happy hours! If you love dog friendly happy hours as much as I do be sure join us this Thursday May 19th for the Paws & Pints Fundraiser hosted by La Jolla Veterinary Hospital benefiting the Encinitas Rancho Coastal Humane Society and the FACE 4 Pets Foundation!  As I’m sure you can imagine, the beast and I have been to our share of “Yappy Hours”, but this one top’s the cake!  Going on it’s 3rd year of beer and pup friendly festivities, what makes this event truly successful is the staff involved in bringing the evening to life!  Beyond their compassion for animals, the amazing people at La Jolla Vet have always set out to engage with their community and help raise money for animal warfare whenever possible. If ever a unique pet friendly benefit takes place in town, guarantee you are likely to spot La Jolla Vet Hospital Manager, Stephanie Cooldige and her team there to support. Barking Beast has had the honor of hosting Coolidge and her crew as guests at all previous Barking Beast benefits. It’s important to La Jolla veterinary to connect with their pet community, which is we love supporting them in return!  This year is extra special as Paws and Pints will be held at the beautiful Lot in La Jolla, off Faye Avenue, and we can’t wait to see our Barking Beast friends there! There will be food, beer, and great raffle prizes all to benefit our loving friend at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society rescue. See you and your pup, Thursday!
For information on how you can get involved and donate towards the cause contact La Jolla Veterinary by email at 

We love hearing about new pet friendly dining venues in San Diego. Do you have any favorite spots not already on the blog?  Please share and email me and be sure to check out the San Diego Pets Magazine Restaurant Guide sponsored by Barking Beast!


Dirty Dogs: Best Pet Groomers in San Diego Expand


Whether it’s hygiene or grooming, the best place in San Diego for a good dog groom is Dirty Dogs . With comfortable bathing facilities, incredibly hospitable customer service and fun dog friendly decor, Dirty Dogs has turned dog bathing into a fun bonding adventure to enjoy with Fido. If you’ve never been to a Dirty Dogs, you and your dog are missing out. This place is AWESOME!!!

Named Best Pet Groomer in San Diego by Ranch & Coast Magazine, the earth friendly pet store and spa continues to give the pet community want they want – more branches throughout the county.

With boutiques in Cardiff, Carmel Valley and now Carmel Mountain Ranch, the pawesome buisness is in the process of getting ready for the opening of its 4th location in Carlsbad, off Palomar Airport Road! Dirty dogs all over San Diego can now get the luxury spa treatments they deserve at a price that economizes Mom and Dads pocket books!


The convenient do it yourself dog wash has become a customer favorite! You can do the bath yourself for $18, or have the employees at the store do it for $36. They provide you with a raised wash tup, waterproof apron, luxurious warm water, premium natural shampoo and conditioner. Each tub has warm clean towels ready for pup along with high speed professional blow dryers. No reservation needed. Just bring in your dirty dog!

The stores are divided into two sections. One section where the do it yourself dog washing takes place, the other section of the stores are where toys, supplies and food are showcased. Dirty Dogs offers a greet selection of organic pet food, environmentally friendly chews toys, and delicious treats. ( The Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried sliders are my dogs ultimate favorite!) The staff always provides guests with great recommendations on food and deserts to what is most appropriate for your pup when it comes to long-lasting toys for his or her destructive little mouth. Knowing ow to handle all animals with TLC, the Dirty Dogs team truly treat every guest dog as if it was their own.


What makes Dirty Dogs so special is the Btesh family who set out to inspire a unique revolution in the pet industry that had not been tapped into before. Constantly hosting charitable social events and fundraising partnerships to help raise money for local shelters, Dirty Dogs truly represents what it means to give back to their community on a incredibly generous level.


  • Salomon Btesh is a general contractor and business owner. He completed the build out for both locations.
  • Regina Btesh is a talented, innovative interior designer and created the design for both locations.
  • Elias Btesh is a successful business student and lifeguard. He is now general manager for all locations.
  • Nisha Btesh is an exceptional artist, and created beautiful custom wall art, showcased at both locations.
  • Joel Btesh is the brilliant young mind behind the whole operation. Coining the name “Dirty Dogs”, at just 11 years old, his creative play on words sparked the idea to begin our journey.


  • The Dirty Dogs fundraising partnerships are all put together by Riley Brandy head of marketing at Dirty Dogs. He oversees events, and advertising while also making sure Dirty Dogs is helping San Diego communities and providing the best possible support to dogs in need. He coordinates all community involvement and fundraising. If you have an event or fundraiser you would like sponsored by Dirty Dogs shoot him an email at at
  • Riley and the Dirty Dogs team should be commended for becoming an influential player in the San Diego pet industry. Since their summer 2008 opening, their continuous efforts in raising money for local rescues shelters in the community has been admirably overwhelming. They host dozens of pet friendly social events annually, as well run very generous promotions to new and returning customers in hopes of raising money for San Diego pets in need.


In September of last year, Dirty Dogs made a generous contribution to the North County dog community by funding the construction of the new Cardiff dog park located on the northwest corner of George Berkick Park at Cardiff Elementary school. Today the 200 feet of new fencing, fresh cut grass, and double gated canine playground is a huge hit among the Cardiff dog community.


Besides helping animals, Dirty Dogs is also a huge supporter of raising money for children’s sports teams, non profit groups, school clubs and social groups by hosting dog washing fundraisers for families and children in the North County communities. Dirty Dogs is the first grooming salon in San Diego to allow clients to host fundraisers in the self serve tubs to benefit dog friendly organizations and local school groups or sports teams.


Barking Beast has also partnered up with Dirty Dogs, sponsoring events such as the Dirty Dogs Halloween Costume Contest and the Chihuahua Fashion Show.


Weather it’s food, treats, toys, bath and grooming Dirty Dogs is your absolute one stop shop for everything dog, all while helping dogs and families in need in the San Diego community.

For more information click on Dirty Dogs. Be sure to LIKE them on Facebook too, Dirty Dogs Facebook.

San Diego Chargers host 1st ever #ChargersDogDraft to benefit dog rescue


Chargers are to host their first benefit for animal rescue April 30. Click here to watch the Barking Beasts’ Huddle to Cuddle story featuring Colton Underwood and the San Diego Chargers benefiting the San Diego Humane Society.

For the first year ever, EVER, the San Diego Chargers are highlighting the importance of animal rescue. For many years the team has used their notoriety to help benefit youth and athletic programs for the underprivileged. They’ve spent time working with after school recreational and education programs, as well put in significant time showing their respect for military families with extended appearances at Blood-bank functions interacting with the donating fans. But this year, on Sunday April 30th from 9-12pm for the first time ever, the San Diego Chargers will hosting the #ChargersDogDraft event to raise awareness about dog rescue and help find homes for dog in need. The event will take place at the Chargers Team Store, Qualcomm Stadium Gate G. To kick off what hopefully will be an annual event, all proceeds from this particular event will benefit the amazing San Diego based dog rescue group, Second Chance Dog Rescue. No word yet, if actual players from the team will be at the event. If so, it should be Corey Liugett who’s a huge dog lover, or Kenny Wiggins and Nick Dzubar who attend last years Barking Beast Huddle Up to Cuddle Up event featuring Colton Underwood and the San Diego Chargers.


Technically last year, I hosted the first Chargers pet friendly event to benefit animal welfare when I partnered up with former Chargers linebacker Colton Underwood for the Huddle Up to Cuddle Up event benefiting the San Diego Humane Society. Underwood graciously lent his name to help raise awareness about the importance of animal adoption while even rallying his teammates to get involved. Fans lined up in the San Diego Humane Society courtyard to get autographs and photos with Underwood and his team mates, who soon after would become prospective parents for pets in need at the shelter where the event was taking place! It was a huge success and dogs got adopted that day! To watch highlights of the Huddle to Cuddle event CLICK HERE for my exclusive FOX Sports San Diego feature!


It’s been a longtime coming for the Chargers organization to get more involved with animal rescue events in the San Diego community. Glad to see that day is finally here! We hope you will join us at the Chargers Dog Draft this Saturday to help benefit the dogs and volunteers working tirelessly at Second Chance Rescue in hopes of finding homes for dogs.


Petco Park Adoption Sundays and Dog Days of Summer

Baseball is in full swing…. and you know what that means- ball park franks and Dog Days of Summer around the corner.  For three years now Petco Park has been going above and beyond to shine light on the importance of pet adoption. Every Sunday game the ballpark host their “Petco Park Adoption Sunday” in hopes of giving shelter dogs the exposure they need in the goal to help them find a forever family to call their own.

Stop by Petco Park during every Sunday home game to visit with animals from local rescues and shelters presented by Petco. You may just find your newest forever friend. Petco urges you Think Adoption First!

April 14 – Escondido Humane Society
April 28 – Helen Woodward Animal Center
May 5 – Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego
May 19 – El Cajon Animal Shelter
June 2 – Labrador Rescuers
June 16 – Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego
June 23 – Chula Vista Animal Care Facility
July 14 – Rancho Coastal Humane Society
August 4 – Labrador Rescuers
August 18 – Second Chance Dog Rescue
August 25 – Helen Woodward Animal Center
September 8 – Labradors and Friends Dog Rescue Group
September 22 – Labradors and Friends Dog Rescue Group

As for Dog Days of Summer, this year it will take place Thursday June 2nd at 6pm, so grab a leash! You and your dog are invited to watch the Padres play for an evening game at Petco Park. An application is required. More details to come!

Krazy for Kamp Kanine, Encinitas Ca.

kampkaninecover Encinitas, Ca. Do you feel bad when you have to leave your dog home alone? Many people do. It’s only natural. But life goes on and sometimes we don’t have a choice. Fortunately when it comes to my dog Jack I have a flexible enough schedule where he can attend many of my job related engagements. However, there are times when he cannot tag along. Due to the fact that he’s an only dog in an apartment with no yard whatsoever, last year I invested in dog daycare for Jack. It was one of the best decisions I have made on behalf of my four-legged buddy. Currently my dog Jack is enrolled at one of San Diego’s premiere dog daycare facilities, Kamp Kanine in Encinitas and he’s absolutely krazy about them! kampk44

The Kamp Kanine outdoor facility is over 15,000 square feet of CAGE-FREE fun! It hosts 7 large yards which allows staff to properly place kampers in appropriate play groups and with abundant, experienced staff supervision. Each dog gets a colored take home collar which represents the playgrounds he or she is best fit for according to dog disposition, size, and age. Today, Jack holds the Green collar the best collar yet. It’s a universal collar and any dog wearing a green collar showcases very friendly disposition and they’re free to roam any playground they wish. Whether it’s for a few hours or for the entire day, by the time Jack gets home from Kamp Kanine he is seriously pooped, which is exactly what every parent wants…Now I can get back to watching my Bachelor DVR recordings and treadmill workouts! jaime3[1]

What sets Kamp Kanine apart from the rest of the San Diego daycare facilities other than its exceptionally large outdoor playground and extremely playful selection of campers, are its incredibly affectionate and attentive staff. Jaime Stokely, Kamp Kanine’s Office Manager does an excellent job making sure things run smoothly every day. Jaime is course certified by NAPPS – National Association of Professional Pet Sitters – is bonded and Red Cross CPR Certified. She owns a wonderful little rescue terrier mix named Bozlee who attends day care every day. Stokely and her staff are not only avid dog lovers but they all excel in animal behavior, psychology, and training. kampk1 When Jack first joined the camp, the staff was always sure to share wonderful stories with me about Jack and his day. They are always sure to send your baby home with a report card, as I’m always receiving report cards full of photos that showcase the fun Jack has at camp. This can make a parent very confident and happy with whom they leave their dog  during a long day away. The staff provide you with updates, photos, and report cards letting you know they are always the priority at camp. They even offer a complimentary free bath card on the first day you sign up your pup. Jack absolutely loves Kamp Kanine, the staff and the new friends he makes with every visit. It’s a busy world. And like most of us, you’ve got places to go, things to do and people to see. Whether you’re off to work, school or shopping, or out for a nice dinner and a movie, chances are you spend a lot of time away from home. And sadly much of the time, your dog cannot come along. Dogs have very little to occupy their time while you’re gone, especially if they’re the only pet in the household. We’re their entertainment. Some dogs seem content to nap away their day while you’re away. Other dogs have a much harder time coping with the situation when they’re home all alone. These dogs can suffer from boredom, stress or separation anxiety which can lead to a trail of destruction. If you live in North County San Diego and want to benefit the happiness and mental health of your dog, I highly suggest you take your pup for a visit to this Encinitas facility and sign him or her up. Kamp Kanine is the largest outdoor daycare facility in all of San Diego and their rates are incredibly affordable. If you’re looking to just entertain your pup for an hour or so while you’re away Kamp Kanine also offers many useful services including dog walking, pet sitting and overnight care. They offer pick-up and drop-off service throughout the county. For more details visit Kamp Kanine or call (760) 207-5267. kamp kanine

The Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park


I’m coming at you guys with a post about something I’ve been crazy excited to share for a while now— The Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park.  It’s been open for about a year, but I wanted to make sure to throw a post up about as this place has become one of San Diego’s county’s dog park hits, especially in North County!  It has made a awesome alternative for those wanting to dodge the sand at the dog beaches on their off days. Pretty much anytime of day ( during park hours ) you can find over a dozen dogs roaming the parks. The off the leash dog park has a large turf area, and areas for large, small and shy dogs and their owners. The dog park is part of the new 44-acre Encinitas Community Park at 425 Santa Fe Drive in Encinitas ( locate behind the Von’s and Jorge’s Mexican Food ) and has made a wonderful gift to the North County dog community.


Big paw prints are painted along the concrete pathway leading up to the entrance of the park which offers safety gates to use during your comings and goings. Made for dog water fountains are located on the inside entrance of the park and because there are several, the lines are always short! Terrain is made of a combination between grass and bark areas where dogs can ran wild. Jack isn’t the only one in heaven – I myself am a clearly a happy camper too as the benches surrounding the park permitters are lounge-y.  Lots of exciting things going on there, and no matter what time of the day it is, it’s always a fun crowd inside. On the weekends you can expect seeing up to 50 dogs inside this park, anytime of the day. One of the challenges I’ve faced since becoming a dog owner was finding and off the leash area that was large enough to really tire my dog while also hosted a great crowd.

Up until the opening of Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park, North County residents had very limited options when it came to off the leash park with generous enough room. The ones that allow off the leash 24/7 are generally quite small, and the bigger parks only allow off the leash at designated times which really cramps my schedule.  So yes! Finally our wishes have been answered as Maggie Houlihan Park is large and off the leash 27/7! On top of that theirs a Pet Haus located out front so, perfect to swing Fido by for some after park treats and toys! I have to credit The City of Encinitas for the spectacular job on the park as I believe it’s one of San Diego’s greatest dog parks to date!  If you haven’t already gone, check it out.  It’s pawesome and paw-fect!!!

Dog Custody and the Fight Over FIDO

New York man Craig Dershowitz is taking his ex girlfriend Sarah Brega to court in order to gain custody of the former couple's pet puggle Knuckles who Dershowitz claims was "dognapped" by Brega after the two broke up and Brega relocated to California. Dershowitz has already spent over $60 thousand dollars in legal fees and has even started a website asking for donations to help pursue his custody battle (for $100, Dershowitz offers a free night out at the nightclub where he works as a doorman and, for $250, you will get the opportunity — assuming that Dershowitz wins — to play fetch with Knuckles himself).

New York man Craig Dershowitz is taking his ex girlfriend Sarah Brega to court in order to gain custody of the former couple’s pet puggle, Knuckles, who Dershowitz claims was “dognapped” by Brega after the two broke up and Brega relocated to California. Dershowitz has already spent over $60 thousand dollars in legal fees and has even started a website asking for donations to help pursue his custody battle. For $100, Dershowitz offers a free night out at the nightclub where he works as a doorman and, for $250, you will get the opportunity — assuming that Dershowitz wins — to play fetch with Knuckles himself.

Recently I spent the day comforting a friend who is sadly going through a divorce. Divorce can be brutal but what more to make it horrific than fighting over who will get Fido? In the past I went through a similar situation with an ex boyfriend. He ended up getting the dog and weeks later I adopted one of my own exactly like the one I lost custody of.  It was a hard loss, having to replace that void but in the end it worked out and naturally this situation has come common. More and more couples are celebrating new relationships by adopting dogs and adding to their “family”. Sadly if and when the relationship goes south, this is a particular situation is one that’s very tough on couples to settle.

Hopefully many of you won’t have to go through it but if you do, here are some tips on how to figure out what do to with a dog that you owned with an ex.

While it’s easy to say that you’d like to take Fido yourself, it’s best to keep the dog’s interests in mind when deciding it’s post-breakup fate.

Just like when dealing with kids in a divorce or breakup, there are three typical scenarios that former couples with a shared dog can explore:

1. You split custody

“My ex and I have had joint custody for 2 years. It works really well and we’ve worked it out so one of us has the dog for a week and then we switch for the next week.” —Lisa Chang

2. You give full custody to the other person

“When Josh and I split, I had to move somewhere where I couldn’t have a dog. The lawyer asked if I wanted visitation rights in the divorce papers, however, I was moving and starting a very demanding job and wouldn’t have the proper time to devote to spending time with Duncan. I figured it would be too hard on him for me to just pop into his life sporadically. I gave Josh full custody. It was hard on Duncan at first but in the long run, I took comfort in knowing that he was able to be with the parent that had the most time to devote to him.” —Hilary Parker

3. One of the owners takes custody but gives the other visitation rights

“Emily took Charlie when we broke up. It was hard to give him away but we worked it out so I could still visit him. I go pick him up and take him to the park every now and then and even though I’m not around much anymore, he’s still always happy to see me.” —Bob Browne

After assessing your options, how do you decide which scenario works best for you? While many of these decisions are settled in court, The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) recommends amicably working this out with your ex while taking lifestyle factors into consideration. Before deciding who is going to keep the dog and how you are going to handle custody, consider:

  • Who is moving to a new home? A break up can be stressful enough on a pet without it having to relocate to new environment.
  • If the pet belonged to one of the owners before entering into the relationship, the couple should consider giving custody to that person as the dog may be more attached to them.
  • Who has the most time to properly care for the dog? It’s only fair that your beloved pet is able to spend time with the owner that has enough flexibility in their schedule to exercise and spend time with it.
  • Do you have children that are attached to the dog? If so, it may be best to have the dog live with whichever parent the children will live with.
  • Do you have more than one dog? While an obvious solution may be for each person in the relationship to take one of the dogs, it’s important to assess how attached the dogs are to one another. Splitting them up may cause more of an emotional strain than you think.
  • If you are considering co-parenting, is it possible for you to maturely work out a shared custody situation? It may sound like a good idea but it only really works when you’re able to put aside your differences for the sake of your dog. You will have to see each other when transferring the dog between homes after all.

Splitting up is never easy, especially when there is a beloved pet involved. Whether or not you and your ex decide to share custody, give the dog to solely one of you, or draw up visitation rights, making sure that you have your dog’s best interest at heart.

How did you handle dog custody when your relationship ended?