Monday, November 17, 2008

Photos with Santa at the Columbia Mall

During the holiday season, the Mall in Columbia invites dogs to come in on Monday evenings and have their pictures taken with Santa! Heather, one of our Columbia Dogs-on-the-Go members, discovered this little gem (one of Columbia's best kept secrets?) Here's the scoop - it's only on Monday evenings from 6-9 pm, November 24, December 1, 8, and 15.

Here's the pricing info:
$13.95 for 1 5X7
$13.95 for 2 3X5s
$13.95 for 4 wallets
$7.95 for additional prints
25% off 5 prints or more[/center]

Since the mall is open and normally does not allow pets, you MUST enter through the entrance near the Pumpkin Patch store on the lower level (where the old Bun Penney coffee shop was located). Here's a link for the Mall with a map. If you click on the left mall map it shows the lower level. Enter through the little red arrow on the right side of Lord and Taylor. Then make a right and then another right because Santa is located right in front of Lord and Taylor. Your best bet would be to park in the Lord and Taylor parking garage - it's the closest to the entrance.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The First Puppy

Barack Obama is not only America's first African-American president-elect, but probably the first to promise to put a puppy (!) in the White House . . . only minutes into his victory speech. Yes! The Power of Puppy to heal the country! Another reason to celebrate!

"I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House," Obama told his daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, while acknowledging his family's contributions to his campaign.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Grand Opening: Camp Bow Wow

Camp Bow Wow has been up and running for a few weeks now, but is preparing to celebrate its official Grand Opening with a party on Saturday, October 25, from 12:00 - 4:00 pm. All are invited!

CBW, located at 7165 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia, offers doggy day care and overnight camp. A nice feature of this camp is the "indoor/outdoor" play yards. Pooches can step out of the indoor play area for some fresh air (or a bathroom break) into a very well-protected outdoor play area--with more toys and equipment. Plus, you can spy on your pooch right from your computer with the live "
Camper Cam". Before attending camp, your dog will first need to go through a "meet-n-greet" process. The meet-n-greets are scheduled Monday - Friday from 7:00am - 12:00pm.

CBW has a number of activities planned for the October 25th party, including a camper/parent look-alike contest (oh-oh!), bobbing for hot dogs, and meetings with local vendors of pet-related services.

Check the
Camp Bow Wow website to learn of the latest details on the party, see photos of the facility and staff, and find out about all of the camp's features, hours and pricing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dogs! Get out and vote!

I saw an article today about a New Zealand company, Masterpet, that is gauging the public's pre-election mood by offering doggie chew toys with likenesses of the two politicians vying to run the country after their November election. Their pitch: "Which political leader would you like to see fed to the dogs?" So far, they say, the Masterpet poll is mirroring actual opinion polls.

Why can't we think of stuff like that here?

Hey, wait a minute. We did!

You can buy an 11-inch Obama or McCain doll made of "durable 100% cotton canvas, 100% polyester stuffing and a squeaker" for $19.95 from Headline Pet Toys. (I didn't see a Palin or Biden doll yet.)

If you don't relish the image of a beloved candidate covered in slobber and drool, your dog can show more subtle support with a Democrat or Republican collar from Hot Dog Collars. This company also offers doggie t-shirts for Obama, McCain, and . . . . Hilary (for those dogs who just can't give her up).

Dogs who would like to chew thoughtfully on the issues can order organic Political Dog Biscuits (donkeys or elephants) from the Only Natural Pet Store.

A while ago, without political intent, I color-coded my dogs red and blue to keep their collars and harnesses straight. Interestingly, they seem to have taken on some characteristics of their respective parties. Cody (blue) always walks on the left, while Riley (red) stays on the right. Cody, the community guy, enjoys volunteering for Pets on Wheels. Riley insists that he didn't evolve from a monkey. Both like a good roll in the mud.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

October 4: Basket Bingo!

The Animal Welfare Society of Howard County is having its 2nd annual Basket Bingo fundraising event on October 4, 2008! The event features "games, specials and raffles, with lots of chances to win great prizes." Plus, you get to support this great non-profit resuce facility that also offers slow-cost sterilizations and vaccinations to help reduce pet overpopulation and the incidence of disease.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door.

The event takes place at:

The Lodge
2832 Frederick Road at Nine Mile Hill
Catonsville, MD (outside of historic Ellicott City)

Doors open at 5:30 pm and games start at 6:30 pm.

Friday, September 12, 2008

October 11: Walk for Paws

It's time once again for the annual Walk for Paws at Lake Elkhorn! I always try to go to this. There's always a lot of fun dog things to do, vendors to meet, and . . . it raises money for the Animal Advocates, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing the suffering of animals in our area. I always come away knowing something more about the local dog community than I did before. Plus it's just so much fun to see all the different breeds hanging out.

This year, Walk for Paws takes place on Saturday, October 11, from 10 am to 3 pm. The Animal Advocates website has a downloable flyer, plus offers online registration.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Going, going . . . gone! SPCA Auction

OK, ebay junkies. Here's something to get your fix AND help animals at the same time. Check out the Maryland SPCA's Shop-a-Paw-Looza online auction, held this year from October 3-28.

I looked at the preview and found cool things like dessert parties, wine-tasting parties, beach house rentals, acupuncture for pets, and jewelry. Proceeds will benefit the cats and dogs at The Maryland SPCA.

You can also donate items. As of today, the MDSPCA is still collecting donations of sports memorabilia, tickets to sporting events and vacation home rentals. Contact 410-235-8826, ext. 133 or email

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Top Local Blog

Maryland Blog Award Recipient Columbia Dog Talk just received a "Top Blog Award" from Search Maryland, a local directory of businesses, tourist attractions, and professional organizations for the state of Maryland. We're proud to be named "one of the state's top blogs for 2008"!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Riley, the Artist's Model

© 2008 Catharine Love
Riley was one of the subjects of a series of pen-and-ink dog drawings done by my daughter Catharine this summer. Catharine's an art student at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore (and a graduate of Hammond High). I asked her if she would do some dog drawings that I could use on my blog, website, or . . . that book I'm thinking about writing.

I just love this one! I think I'll experiment with making some note cards.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blessing of the Animals

OK. I'm not a religious person, but I thought this sounded interesting.

The Shrine of St. Anthony is offering a special liturgical event on Sunday, October 5, 2 pm, to bless pets in honor of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals.

The shrine is located at the St. Joseph Cupertino Friary, which is in a very pretty setting in Howard County ("on 310 acres of rolling hills and woodland"), so it's definitely worth checking out. It's that interesting looking monastery that you might have seen and, like me, wondered about while driving along Folly Quarter Road. What do they do there? Do they make bread? Wine? Fruit cakes? Would I be allowed in? Could I get a closer look?

So here's a perfect chance to satisfy your curiosity and visit on an early fall day. Plus get to see all those cute pets out there waiting for their blessing. And it's free. I just might do it. My guys could use a blessing (though maybe an exorcism would be more in order for Cody . . . ?)

12290 Folly Quarter Road
Ellicott City, MD 21042

There are more details on the shrine's calendar.

P.S. Rubina from our Dogs-on-the-Go group posted a photo of her "lil hell raiser" Parker getting his blessing last year:

Here are directions to the shrine, if you're coming from Lake Centennial.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tonight: Saving the Vick Dogs

The National Geographic Channel is airing the Season 2 premiere of "Dog Town". This episode follows the work of staff members who are rehabilitating four severely traumatized pit bulls that were rescued from Michael Vick's illegal dogfighting.

Tonight at 9:00 pm
Duration: 120 Mins.
Rated: TVPG
Outdoors, Documentary

I wrote an earlier blog about one of the Vick dogs, Sweet Pea, who is in a foster home in Howard County and joined us on a group dog walk.

The National Geographic Channel is channel 101 on Verizon FIOS in Howard County.

Monday, August 11, 2008

August 13: Eat at Unos - Help Animals!

On Wednesday, August 13 from 4-10 pm, the Animal Welfare Society of Howard County is holding a fundraising event at Uno's at Columbia Mall!

Dine in, carry out, or just have a drink at the bar, and 20% of your purchases will go towards AWS!
You will need a coupon with your payment to make your purchases count. Click here for a PDF that includes the coupon, which you can print out and bring the night of the event.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pooches Pool Party!

It's the dog swim event of the year! Each year, the Howard County Recreaction & Parks department welcomes dogs into the pool for the last weekend the pool remains open for the summer. It's always the weekend after Labor Day and has been at the Roger Carter Center pool.

This year, it's Saturday, September 6. The fee is $10.00 and covers one dog and two handlers. Session times are 10 AM and 1 PM. Registration started August 6 and will fill up quickly.

Go to the HCR&P site, click on Location: Roger Carter Rec Ctr, and then go to page 2 of the listings. Or search for sessions #3003.101 or #3003.102.

Here are some pics of Riley, enjoying a dog swim at the Kings Contrivance dog swim a few years ago:

See you there!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Canine Olympic Swim Team

Columbia Dogs-on-the-Go had a great walk today along the Savage Historic Mill Trail. It's the perfect summertime walk--short, shady, swimming. . . and sweets! You start out by crossing the historic Bollman Bridge in Savage, walk about a half mile down the trail, and then take the little side trail down to the river and "beach." About half the dogs in our group decided to take the plunge:

After the walk, we headed over to Bonaparte's Bakery at Savage Mill. There's a great outdoor courtyard--not to mention pastries and coffee. You go inside to order, and they will bring your order to your table outside.

We also ran into some other CDOG members who were having an outdoor lunch with their dog, Beamer, in the courtyard, with service from the Ram's Head. Apparently, you can order inside at the Ram's Head and they will bring your order (including beer and drinks) outside also. We'll try that next.

Directions to the Savage Mill walk are on the CDOG website.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hey, dogs! Chill out!

Riley and Cody are not thrilled with this hot weather. Their Cuban roots aren't helping them at all.

Someone on one of our dog walks mentioned a device called ChillyBuddy that is supposed to help keep dogs cool by lowering their coat temperature by about 30%. So far, I haven't seen any dogs wearing them around here, but I've been giving them some thought. I guess I've mostly just been taking my dogs for longer walks in the morning and evening and trying to avoid sunny areas.

The Maryland Bichon Frise Rescue has these available (in all sizes) for about $38-59. I believe a portion of the sales goes to the rescue efforts. Bichons apparently have very pink sensitive skin and need extra sun protection.

Has anyone tried one of these?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Doggie Happy Hours in D.C.

If your best drinking buddy walks on all fours (when he's sober) and you like spending time in D.C., you'll want to check out the article, "A Happy Hour for You and Fido, Too" in today's Washington Post Weekend section. Featured are the Cantina Marina, the Hotel Monaco (in Alexandria), and the Helix Lounge.

Where can you go locally? I'm not aware of "official" doggy happy hours--maybe that's something we can work on--but there are places you can go. See my earlier blog on the Pub Dog in Columbia. We've also taken the dogs to Sonoma's Bar & Grille after walking around Lake Elkhorn.

Other ideas?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

USA Today: Dogs Doing Their Business

Alright, not THAT business. But, business business. In recognition of "Take Your Dog to Work Day," USA Today published an article called "What Your Dog Can Teach You About Your Business." It was written by Rhonda Abrams in the voice of her dog "Cosmo" who lists about 10 good reasons to have a dog-friendly office. He says:

"Dogs make great business companions. You can talk over your problems and ideas in complete confidence, or take a walk and meet potential customers. Dogs restore your confidence, and support you through thick and thin."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Did you take your dog to work today?

It's National Take Your Dog to Work Day!

Mine are here with me as always while I work, and as you can see in the photos, they are finding it extremely stimulating.

I think it's time for a coffee break and some hanging out around the water cooler!

Take Your Dog To Work Day was created in 1999 to celebrate "the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption from humane societies, animal shelters and breed rescue clubs. This annual event encourages employers to experience the value of pets in their workplace for this one special day to promote pet adoptions."

K9 Trailblazers: Busy, busy, busy!

Wow! The K9 Trailblazers have been filling up the calendar with summer hikes!

There is one tomorrow (June 21) at Soldier's Delight, and I hope you'll forgive my late posting. But, there's more coming up, including:

July 26: Sugarloaf Mountain

August 23: Little Bennett Regional Park

So get your hiking boots out and start exploring!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dog Shows at HoCo Fairgrounds

I've never been to a dog show. My main source of knowledge about them is the Christopher Guest movie, "Best in Show" (2000).

But maybe I'll go to the "Independence Cluster" shows in July at the Howard County Fairgrounds and check them out for myself.

There will be four AKC All-Breed Dog Shows from July 3-6. Each will feature about 1500-2500 dogs in approximately 140 different breeds. There will be about 40 -50 Vendors selling dog items and food supplies.

The show hours are 7:30 am - 5 pm. Admission is free, but there is a charge for parking ($5.00 ?). Strollers and dogs not entered in shows are not allowed.

The line-up is:
  • Thursday (7/3) - Catoctin Kennel Club
  • Friday (7/4) - Northeastern Maryland Kennel Club
  • Saturday (7/5) - Upper Marlboro Kennel Club
  • Sunday (7/6) - National Capital Club

Howard County Fairgrounds; 2210 Fairgrounds Road; West Friendship, MD 21794

Friday, June 6, 2008

Flea Market, Play Day and "Make a Milk-Bone Moment"

Well, there's just no end to the choices of fun dog events this month! The Humane Society of Baltimore County is sponsoring a "fun for the whole family" event on Saturday, June 21, from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm ($5 donation at the gate). You can shop at the flea market, have your dog play on the agility course, have your kids make crafts, and enjoy light refreshments.

In addition, you and your dog will get a chance to pose for the camera and share your "Milk-Bone Moment™" with the world. Milk-Bone® is celebrating its 100th anniversary by sponsoring a Make a Milk-Bone Moment ™ Mobile Tour. The contest will recognize the top 100 Milk-Bone Moments™, i.e., "moments of joy that strengthen the bond between a pet and his or her pet parent — a head on your lap when you are snuggling on the couch together, a little dance when he learns you are taking a walk together or even a sloppy kiss on the cheek to remind you how much he loves you."

The top 100 Milk-Bone Moments™ will be posted on Milk-Bone's website and America will vote for its favorite. The grand prize winner will receive a $100,000 contract to serve as the Milk-Bone® 100th Anniversary "SpokesDog."

Call Kara 410-833-8848, ext. 205 for more details about the event.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Black Tie & Tails Gala

The Humane Society of Baltimore County is sponsoring a Black Tie and Tails Gala on Saturday, June 7. This fundraising event will feature "a gourmet seated dinner, premium open bar, live music, silent auction (featuring trips, art, sports memorabilia and more!), an opportunity to purchase professional photo portraits, and participate in a Best Dressed Pet Contest." The gala will take place at the Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley from 6:30 pm -11:00pm (302 International Circle).

The honorees this year are the Animal Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association. All funds raised from the Black Tie and Tails Gala will support the care of the animals at the Humane Society of Baltimore County.

Call 410-833-8848, ext. 217 for more details or email

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wine & Wag Happy Hours!

The Maryland SPCA is celebrating Take Your Dog to Work Day with a Wine & Wag happy hour on Friday, June 20, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The event is the first of 3 summer happy hours, where "people and their canines can relax after work with other pet-friendly people and enjoy light refreshments, beer and wine." Planned activities include an obedience training class, paw painting, bobbing for hot dogs, a treasure hunt, tours of the Adoption Center, and off-leash play in the Fun Runs!
Tickets are $10 per person in advance and $15 at the SPCA gate. Dogs are admitted free, but only one dog per person is permitted, and all dogs must be leashed. Tickets can be purchased online.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Take Your Dog to Work Day

June 20 is National Take Your Dog to Work Day. No problem for me. My dogs have been my co-workers for the past 8 years--ever since I became a freelance writer in a home office. But I'd be curious about which local companies might participate.

Take Your Dog To Work Day was created in 1999 to celebrate "the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption from humane societies, animal shelters and breed rescue clubs. This annual event encourages employers to experience the value of pets in their workplace for this one special day to promote pet adoptions."

This event is sponsored by Pet Sitters International, who is asking every business to participate and help promote pet adoptions. The PSI site explains how to participate, register a business, and spread the word.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pub Dog: Outdoor Seating, Beers & Pizza

Riley and Cody tossed back a few brewskies at the Pub Dog last night. Well, OK. We did. They're under age. But a nice waitress made them happy by bringing out a big dish of ice water and a bowl of treats.

The Pub Dog has a large outdoor patio with about a dozen tall table-and-bench sets attached to the side of the building. The pub is not presently offering outdoor table service, so you need to place your order inside and bring it out--which is no big deal.

The Pub Dog offers a nice selection of their own microbrews--2 mugs for $4. Everything is dog-themed. The menu consists of salads and about 15 varieties of pizza. Richard had the salad which was meal-sized and I had the Fox & Hound pizza which I thought was very good. The portion size was just right.

I'm not much of a beer drinker, but I liked my mug of Amber Ale. There are also peach, raspberry and blueberry beers plus a number of other beer and ale offerings ranging from light to stout.
The Pub Dog is located on Dobbin Road (sort of; the official address is 8865 Stanford Blvd., Suite 100) near the Noodles Corner and Riverside Coffee shop. It's open from 11 am - 2 am daily.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Would You Clone Your Dog?

This week, I read about a company that is cloning dogs. In a project called Best Friends Again, BioArts International will clone five dogs to the highest bidders in a day of online auctions next month. "Bidding will start at $100,000 for those who want their beloved animals to live on after death or are seeking a physically identical younger 'twin' for their favourite pet," says the article.

Aside from all the various ethical and biological issues of cloning, I had to ask myself: Would I want to clone Riley and Cody?

After some thought, my answer is: "I don't think so." I adore both, but I love the quirks and nuances of their personalities that make them unique and different from each other. If I had a Riley clone made to order, for example, I might never have chosen to adopt and get to know the whacky Cody.
Plus, there is no guarantee that one would end up with exactly the same animal. I listened to a program on NPR (This American Life, maybe?) not too long ago where someone had a pet bull (yes, that's bull, as in cattle, i.e., male version of cow) named Chance. This was an animal the size of my VW who roamed through the house at will. A gentle giant. They loved him so much that they had him cloned, and named the resulting animal "Second Chance." I recall that while Second Chance had all the physical and initially some of the behavioral characteristics of Chance, he did not in fact retain Chance's docile personality. This resulted in the owner ending up in the hospital near death numerous times--but still determined to give Second Chance . . . another chance.
So, I think I'll give cloning a pass, save $100,000+, and continue to enjoy the products of gene pooling gone wild! Viva la difference!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dogtopia Marks One-Year Anniversary

Dogtopia in Clarksville is hosting a first-year anniversary celebration on Saturday, May 31 at 12:00 pm. Activities include a pool party and ice cream social! The event is open to everyone and there is no cost. All donations will go to the Mid-Atlantic Pug Rescue.

The Dogtopia facility offers dog daycare, overnights, grooming, self-serve dog wash, training classes, a retail boutique, 3 indoor playrooms, and a fenced outdoor area. Dogtopia also just launched a Meetup site and will be setting up dates to host groups.

Dogtopia is located at 12212 Clarksville Pike Clarksville , MD 21029. Call 410-531-9247 for more info.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lyme Disease on the Rise in Howard County

Last week, the Baltimore Sun and other media reported on the "dramatic" rise of Lyme disease in this area. From 2006-2007, reported cases of Lyme disease in Maryland doubled (from 1248 to 2576) and more than tripled in Howard County (from 113 to 358).

According to the CDC, most cases of illness occur in the late spring and summer (i.e., now) when "the tiny nymphs are most active and human outdoor activity is greatest." The CDC has a good explanation of Lyme disease transmission.

I contracted Lyme disease in 2002 and have sustained a chronic arthritis in my right knee that slows down my walking and moving to this day. Many of my neighbors (and some of their dogs) have had Lyme disease as well, including my next door neighbor who had it 3 times (!). Most were able to recognize it and get it treated early enough before complications set in. And this is key. Unfortunately, I did not have the classic bull's eye rash (which appears in about 80% of infections), so mine was not detected and treated until well after the knee problem occurred.

I do, however, remember having a high fever and flu-like symptoms for a few days. So I would encourage anyone who experiences this--when it's not flu season--to check with a doctor and consider Lyme disease. And, an otherwise unexplained joint problem could also be due to Lyme disease. Arthritis in one knee is the most common complication. But, other complications can occur--like arthritis in several joints and neurological and cardiovascular problems.

I would also urge everyone to be mindful about ticks, and keep checking themselves and their dogs for the teeny tiny things. The deer ticks are really, really small--pinhead size. And you don't have to be a camper or hiker to get them in this area. Many of the people I know who got Lyme disease are not particularly outdoorsy types--except for gardening around their house.

Also, it's important to keep dogs up-to-date with tick prevention treatments, especially now. Dogs can get Lyme disease too, but fortunately, there is a vaccine for them. I make sure mine have it yearly. However, even though dogs are treated, ticks can still get on them, go for a ride, and them jump on you. So, nothing beats frequent checking and vigilance.

And that's today's "Scary Thought of the Day"!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Welcome, Rita's Ice - Kings Contrivance

Here's a great new dog-friendly stop for something cool and sweet this summer. Rita's Ice opened on May 21 in Kings Contrivance--the same day as the Harris Teeter. Suddenly, our village center has come to life! Just in time for summer.

Our Dogs-on-the-Go group stopped by to check out Rita's today after our Sunday morning walk. With its walk-up windows, it's a perfect place to go with a pooch, and the owner seemed delighted to have the pack descend upon the shop.

I had a frozen strawberry custard, which was nice and creamy as well as tasty. Other offerings include Italian ice, cream ice, and other specialty combinations.

Another plus is the Kings Contrivance courtyard, which offers a convenient place to relax and enjoy your treats. There are plenty of tables with umbrellas set up and additional seating around the nicely landscaped perimeter. It was recently renovated and has a pretty fountain, and a location that's set off from the parking lots, i.e., safe from traffic.

We live less than a mile from here, so I'm sure this will be a favorite summertime destination for a walk. Dare I say . . . daily?

Canines & Cocktails for a Cause

This is in Annapolis, but it sounds like fun so I think we just might pack up the pooches, drive the 30 miles (with barking all the way), and check it out.

The Paws Pet Boutique is teaming up with dog-friendly Loews Annapolis Hotel for a series of special Friday evenings throughout the summer. They will meet on the outside patio of the Weather Rail at Loews Hotel from 5 to 8 pm on May 30, June 27, July 25, August 22 and September 26. A portion of the drink sales from each evening will be donated to the non-profit cause featured that night. It's free and the fun includes raffles for prizes.

The May 30 event supports the Humane Society of Prince George’s County and celebrates “Black Dog Night”! Pam Townsend, the author of the book “Black is Beautiful: A Celebration of Dark Dogs”, will be available to sign books, along with her black dog cover model, Samba.

"Pam published the book to tout the beauties and desirable traits of black dogs, which tend to be the least likely to be adopted." A story about Pam, a College Park resident, and her book appeared in the Prince George's Gazette on March 27.

All the profits from the book sales are donated to the PG Humane Society, and dogs of all colors are welcome!

Parking is available for $2 (self-parking) at Loews during the event. Metered parking and several garages on West Street are also options.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dog Walking, Hiking and Play Groups

If you're looking for fun things to do with your dog in the Columbia and Howard County areas--and you enjoy meeting other dog lovers and their dogs, there are a number of groups to check out.

Columbia Dogs-on-the-Go
This Meetup group (organized by this blogger) schedules walks, hikes and other activities in and near the Columbia and Howard County areas.

K9 Trailblazers
A dog hiking club located in the Baltimore/DC area that holds monthly, leashed hikes on dog-friendly trails in the area.

The Annapolis Active Dogs Meetup Group
Schedules activities in the Annapolis area, with lots of regular visits to the Quiet Waters dog beach.

The Baltimore Off-Road Dogs Meetup Group
Features dog hikes in the Baltimore area, and also plans visits to fenced off-leash parks, and maybe even a "canoe ride and camping trip every now and then..."

The Bethesda Active Dogs Happy Hour Fun & Play Meetup Group
Features dog hikes and indoor dog play times in the Bethesda area.

The DC Doggie Happy Hour Group
This group has a large membership and features happy hours at dog-friendly establishments in the D.C. area. (I haven't been to any yet, and am curious as to how it works out with 40-60 people and dogs attending.)

The NOVA Trail Dogs Meetup
Features day hikes in the D.C., Viriginia and Maryalnd, "but we'll have some overnighters thrown in there too." also lists many other dog groups not too far from Columbia and Howard County. Some are for specific breeds and activities. Certainly worth checking out!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pets on Wheels. Do it!

Cody has been a Pets on Wheels volunteer for Howard County for some time, but admittedly not a very consistent one. Pets on Wheels Howard County is an association of volunteers who take their own pets to visit nursing and assisted living homes.

Cody enjoys it immensely since he loves nothing more than meeting and greeting people. The problem is that he is quite a handful in the car and it's been a little difficult to get him to and fro--especially if Riley is not with him. (And unfortunately, Riley, who has other fine qualities, is not a good POW candidate.) Plus, I've had a few sinus and eye infections this past winter that I didn't want to bring into the home.

But enough excuses! We are going to get back on track! This is such a great activity for anyone with a friendly dog. The people enjoy it so much. And the organization has been so great about showing its appreciation of volunteers.

Tricia Summers is the program's director. Her dog Harry, a Great Pyrenees, is a volunteer--a Gentle Giant who is a sight to behold.

For those who think their dogs may be a good candidate, Pets on Wheels Howard County has program introductions and dog evaluations on the first Wednesday of each month. Call 410-313-7461.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Canine Haute Couture - Japan Style

I haven't really been seeing as many dogs in Kyoto as I expected. Maybe it's because dogs seem to have so few places to shop here. I've been doing miles of shop-walking and so far only saw this one shop--which the dogs had to share with "baby kids."

The shop had a selection of bowls and leashes alongside baby toys and gear. Come to think of it, this was the only child store I saw also (so far).

I was beginning to wonder if it were possible that the Japanese were not as devoted to their pooches as we are, when I came upon a bookstore and a pretty wide selection of dog magazines. This one was all about "wear, accessory, and goods" and came with a large packet of patterns and instructions.

There is everything in here from beach wear to a "layered look tee" and a camisole(!), and things you can make out of your own clothing.
Corgis and dachsunds seem to be popular here, along with the shitzus and lhasas that I expected to see.

A Dog's Eye View of Japan

We're here in Kyoto now, so my next few entries may be from here. I thought perhaps that Columbia had a "sister city" here in Japan, so I could keep up the Columbia theme of this blog. This doesn't appear to be the case, so my temporary theme will be "Columbia Dog Lover Misses Dogs while in Japan."

I get such a kick out of the little characters on the graphics and signage here, like this one reminding you to scoop your poop. I asked for a literal translation and was told it means "You're forgeting someting here!"

I'm not seeing as many dogs as I expected, but I've seen a number of people walking threesomes of the same breed--3 corgis, 3 poodles, 3 lhasas.

Our guide, Sakae, has a corgi so we had fun sharing our pictures--like pulling out photos of the grandkids. Nothing like the universal language of "love my dog."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

30-Day Challenge

Here's an interesting idea I found on another blog called That Mutt. The blogger, Lindsay in North Dakota, decided to take her 2-year-old black lab, Ace, to 30 new places in 30 days, starting May 1. Her idea is to train him to "chill out" by exposing him to as many places as possible so he learns to behave in different environments. Some readers commented that they liked the idea but couldn't think of 30 different places to go where they lived.

Well, I had no problem here in Howard County, and pretty quickly came up with a list of almost 30 different walks in this area. I couldn't do them in 30 days, . . . but maybe sometime in 30 weeks!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hand-painted Pups!

OK. I wanted to wait at least until October to post this one. But, I couldn't. I just thought these were so darn pretty, I wanted to show them NOW!

On our Sunday stroll through Ellicott City's Main Street, we stopped in several shops with "pets welcome" signs. One was Wreath and Basket, where we found a treeful of these personalized hand-painted ornaments. Sherry Kendall, the shop owner, is also a professional illustrator and creates the ornaments from photos of your dog--supplied by you or taken by her.

We'll have to stop in again--but maybe without 5 tails wagging at once!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Indoor Swimming for Dogs!

I've heard of the Canine Fitness Center in Crownsville, but never got around to checking it out. Yesterday, the center was featured in The Washbiz Blog, a Washington Post blog by Dan Beyer (who also writes a local blog called Columbia Talk).

The story was written by business columnist Tom Heath. Tom has a 10-year-old golden, Babe, who is "a bit arthritic." To keep him active, Tom and his wife drive from their home in Chevy Chase every weekend to take Babe to the indoor heated dog pool at the Canine Fitness Center in Crownsville, an hour away. "We pay around $29 for a half-hour's swim," he says. "It's worth every penny. He builds muscle in his arthritic legs and exercises his heart and lungs."
I know Riley would absolutely love it. Cody? Not so much . . .