Friday, April 19, 2013

It’s woof, woof, woof for the home team!

Some dogs like to play ball. Some dogs just like to watch. The watch dogs can get their fill this season with the Washington Nationals and the Bowie Baysox. (Hey O’s, what’s up with you?)

Pups in the Park – Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals has brought back--by 'pup-ular' demand, its series of ball games where pooches are welcome.

For select games, you can purchase a discounted ticket for you, your family and you favorite family pet and support the Washington Humane Society. $8 of every dog ticket purchased will benefit the Washington Humane Society.

Pups in the Park game dates:
April 14 Sunday 1:35 pm Atlanta Braves
May 11 Saturday 4:05 pm Chicago Cubs
June 9 Sunday 1:35 pm Minnesota Twins
Sept 14 Saturday 7:05 pm Philadelphia Phillies

  • $22 - Owner Ticket (Outfield Reserved section 140-143)
  • $8 - Dog Ticket (proceeds benefit the Washington Humane Society)

Please visit the National's website page for more details, ticket information, rules and waivers:

Mutt Mondays at the Baysox!

The Bowie Baysox are going to the dogs...literally! Every Monday night home game during the 2013 Bowie Baysox season is Mutt Monday!

Spend a little quality time with your pup and the whole family at an exciting Baysox game! Dogs will have a howlin' good time seeing the hometown team hit some home runs and round the bases against their Eastern League opponents.

2013 Monday Night home games:
April 29 7:05 pm Richmond Flying Squirrels
May 27 2:05 pm Trenton Thunder
July 1 7:05 pm Akron Aeros
July 22 7:05 pm Akron Aeros
August 26 7:05 pm Binghamton Mets

Visit the Baysox website for more details, ticket information, rules and regulations, and schedules:

Columbia Dogs on the Go

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lost Dog Alert: Yorkie in Columbia

This was listed today in Gone 2 the Dogs Lost Pet Networking on Tuesday, April 18.

“Looking Desperately for our dog!!!
Yorkie, blonde and Silver, weighs about 10-11 pounds. Has a small spot on his nose. Went missing last night in Columbia, MD near Cedar Lane around 9:00pm. Please call 301-821-2050 if you find him. There's a reward, we just want him back safely!!!”
Carol Lott

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lakefront Lunchtime Concerts

Those nice people at the Columbia Association (CA) have invited dog lovers and their pooches to enjoy live concerts by the lake every week through June!

Lakefront Lunchtime Concerts will occur on Wednesdays from noon to 2 pm, at Lake Kittamaqundi, running from May 1 thru June 26.

The musical line-up represents a wide variety of musical styles, including rock, folk and jazz. Check the flier for a full list and details.

The Lakefront Wednesdays lunchtime concert series is part of CA’s welcome initiative to help new and current residents learn more about Columbia’s history and vision and encourage them to become involved in their community.

Artist Line-up
May 1 Ted Garber • Rock/Folk
May 8 Project Natale • Jazz
May 15 Damon Foreman • Rock/Funk
May 22 Dana & Susan Robinson • Folk
May 29 Janice B • R&B/Soul
June 5 Bryan Russo • Blues
June 12 Julie Hall Trio • Jazz
June 19 Richard Walton Trio • Folk/Rock
June 26 Angela Sheik • Electro-Acoustic

For more information, please call 410-423-1891, or send an e-mail to Erin McPhail, the CA's coordinator of this event.

Columbia Dogs on the Go

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lost Dog Alert: Harvey

Lost Dog Alert: Harvey, 12 years old. Lost in/near the Stone Lake neighborhood of Laurel. His owner was searching in Kings Contrivance neighborhood around 7 pm tonight (Sat, Apr 13). Said he likes to run along the river. Alexey: 240-344-0434

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Name that snake! And keep your dog safe

Itty bitty snake with big attitude
I found this tiny guy on the pathway behind our house yesterday and posted its picture on the CDOG Facebook page to get comments on identification. I've become more snake-aware since a friend's dog was bitten by a rattlesnake a year ago and needed emergency treatment. I want to be able to identify different types so I could keep my dogs at a safe distance--or know how serious a bite might be should one happen.

This baby snake was very, very little. I almost missed it. But when I leaned in with my nearsighted eyes for a closer look, he reacted with a big-snake get-out-of-my-face attitude.

The first response on Facebook was: "My dog ate one just yesterday!" Whoa! I wasn't expecting that! But, of course, there's no accounting for taste when it comes to dogs.

Eastern garter snake: courtesy of John White, Maryland DNR
One person called it a brown snake. Another said it was a "don't touch me I'm icky" snake, while another said "Eastern garter." After doing a little research on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources site, I concluded that the winner was garter--with a nod to "icky". While not venomous, the Eastern garter snake is "a fairly aggressive snake" that readily strikes and bites, according to the DNR. If handled, it will release a foul-smelling (i.e., "icky") musk. Allergic reactions to bites have been reported. "Best policy in general," said Chuckie, ". . .  avoid."

Jamie, whose dog ate the "snake snack" said that it was definitely a garter snake and that she had dogs who ate much bigger snakes too. Her main concern was that her dog was not scared of the snake, and would just as easily go after a venomous snake.

Credit: Appalachian History
Are they toxic if eaten? From what I can tell, eating a garter snake may not in itself be dangerous to a dog. However, one person cautioned that snakes eat toads, and toads are very toxic to dogs. So if your dog eats a sort of "toad-ducken", i.e., a toad contained inside a snake, it could be a problem.

More on snakes:

Columbia Dogs on the Go

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The cicadas are coming! What will our dogs do?

My, what big red eyes you have!
The media are all a-buzz (no pun intended) about the 17-year cicada emergence that is due any time from now until mid-May. Billions of cicadas will overwhelm us with a deafening sound the likes of which, they tell us, we haven't heard since Bill Clinton was in office. (Um. That paraphrasing didn't come out right. Sorry, Bill.)

So, my first thought was: "Wow, what will the dogs do?"

My second thought was: "Riley will EAT them. He eats everything."

But my third thought was: "Hey, wait a minute. This doesn't add up." I distinctly remember Riley encountering (but not eating) masses of cicadas, and he's not 17. And I also distinctly remember a big cicada emergence in 1987, the year before my daughter was born, and again when she was 16--which would be 2004.

The math wasn't working.

So I did a little research and found that there are all kinds of "broods" of 17-year and 13-year cicadas. In 1987 and 2004, we had Brood X (10), a 17-year variety that is known as the "Great Eastern Brood" (says Wikipedia) and is the largest of them all. And their arrival truly is an experience you are not likely to forget. But those buggers aren't due back until 2021. (I have to admit--I actually grew a little fond of those clumsy, goofy little guys.)

The brood emerging this year is Brood II (2), which last came out in 1996. And, frankly, that year is not sticking in my head like the others. So I doubt that this will be as much of a phenomenon as we might be led to believe. And that's just fine.

Search result when googling
(not quite what I expected to find)
But . . . my original purpose in writing this was to talk about dog-cicada interactions. The cicadas happen to be a great food boon for a lot of animals, and dogs have been known to snack on them. Actually, even people eat them. The WBAL story says they have a "delicate, nutty flavor, and a buttery texture."  People apparently enjoy them boiled, baked, stir-fried and dipped in chocolate. (I really didn't mean to tell you that. Sorry.)

Long story short, the cicadas themselves are not toxic. But a dog that eats too many might have trouble digesting the tough skins and could get an intestinal blockage, or could choke on a body part. And just like people, some dogs can get allergic reactions.

So I for one will not panic if Riley nibbles on just one. But I will definitely lecture him about moderation.

File:Cicada Brood II.gif
Geographic range of Brood II
For more cicada info:

Columbia Dogs on the Go

Monday, April 8, 2013

When Riley goes rolling along--in a stroller

Riley in his "Blue Posh"
OK, so I look like a nut--at least to some. All of the other strollers of Columbia contain cute infants of the human species while mine has, well, Riley--my 13-year-old pooch.

Why a stroller? Riley has actually been walking at least a mile a day at a fairly normal pace. But with his age and recent health problems (pancreatitis, liver issues), he was finding it especially hard to get started and would mostly just refuse to go at all. Also, he occasionally gets a spasm that causes a stiffening in his back legs for a few minutes, and I need to carry him until it resolves. After a while, I sort of gave up trying to coax him to go on walks and started taking just Cody, who at 9 still loves to run for a bit. But leaving Riley at home did not feel right--to me or to him. I'm told he wailed the whole time we were gone.

There really was no good reason to deny Riley the great outdoors if there was an option available to take him out. That option was an inexpensive pet stroller from Amazon--the Blue Posh Pet Stroller--$34.95. Not a big investment, so it's not top of the line. But it's not bad. It's very lightweight. It folds nicely. It has a cover and sun shield if you need it, 2 cup holders, and a compartment to store a few things--like a phone and poop bags. The Amazon reviews were very good. This set of wheels apparently improved the quality of life for a good many pets with mobility issues.

So here's the 2-mile routine we've been doing almost every day along the Kings Contrivance pathways. I do exactly one mile with Riley in the stroller and with Cody running alongside on the leash. We go up and down the hills at a fairly brisk consistent pace--something that at least feels like a cardiovascular benefit. It's good for the soul too. It's a pretty trail that we've enjoyed for the 25+ years that we've lived here. It runs through the woods and mostly follows the river, with a little pond (with herons, ducks and kingfishers) and 3 tot lots tucked in along the way. We see a lot of regulars every day--jogging and walking, and lots of other dogs.

Riley, Richard and Cody checking out the Middle Paxtuxent River
When we reach our destination tot lot at exactly one mile, we relax for a while. Then Riley is ready to walk back home. He does this in a surprisingly perky manner--though we still move much more slowly than we did on the first part of the walk. I push the empty stroller back the whole way, ready to put Riley back in if he seems fatigued or stressed in any way. And, of course, both dogs get plenty of time for sniffing and doing what dogs do.

Only one woman has cracked up laughing at the sight of us. (Sheesh.) Most people respond positively, if at all, especially those who have had an older dog or had to carry a dog for a bit. So we'll keep doing this. The exercise and fresh air has been good for all of us.

Oh, and by the way, thank you, Columbia, for these pathways! The trails are so smooth and clean that you can really get some decent momentum going with a stroller--unlike our experience on the sidewalk where we bump along over cracks and uneven pavement. (There are no shock absorbers in the Blue Posh. Poor Riley.) Thankfully, it's just a short ride on the sidewalk until we get to the trail. Love those trails!

Columbia Dogs on the Go

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Choosing the best dog fence: traditional or invisible

By Kristen W. Perko, guest blogger

Editor's note: Spring is upon us and many of our dogs' fancies are turning to running in the great outdoors--and running and running and running. It can be challenging to keep them safely at home while allowing them some outdoor freedom. CDOG member Kristen did some research on two popular ways to contain our pooches--traditional and invisible fencing--to give us some food for thought as we consider the choices. 

For dog owners, keeping our furry friends safe and happy is a priority. There are many ways to prevent dogs from getting into dangerous situations, but one of the top solutions is a fence. Dog fences come in many styles and colors and they can be constructed from a wide range of materials. Two of the most popular types of dog fence are traditional above-ground fences and invisible underground fences. To determine which type is best for your home and family, consider the pros and cons!

Traditional Dog Fence

  • A traditional dog fence prevents other neighborhood pets and wild animals from entering your yard. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that they are constantly protected, especially if you can’t constantly keep an eye on them.
  • Traditional fences can complement your home with many different types of materials, from wood to ornamental iron, so they add beauty and value in addition to pet protection. Most fences can also be built in different heights, to secure any dog from Pomeranian to Great Dane.
  • Traditional fence types offer additional features that invisible fences don’t. If you want more privacy from nosy neighbors or protection for your children, a traditional fence is the ultimate multi-tasker.
  • Large dogs may require very high above-ground fences, which can block neighborhood views. Some neighborhood codes* may not allow high fences, so you may need to use alternate solutions. 
  • Dogs can try to dig under traditional fences. While quality fences are usually buried deep enough to prevent them from escaping, this can cause unsightly holes in your yard.
  • If your yard is particularly steep or hilly, a stepped installation might be required. However, dogs can more easily get their paws trapped under stepped fences, and smaller dogs may even be able to escape.  
  • Wooden dog fences need to be maintained regularly and may not be the best option for dogs who like to chew. Heavily-treated wood is not the best choice, as it can contain materials that are dangerous for pets to ingest.

Invisible Dog Fence

  • An invisible fence does not change the look of your yard or landscape, making it a great choice for homeowners who want an open view of their neighborhood or surrounding property. If you live in a heavily zoned neighborhood or have very large dogs, you may not be able to build a fence that is high enough to meet your needs. 
  • An invisible fence can often be cheaper and easier to install on your own, especially if you have a small yard. It can also be installed very close to the home, whereas most people do not want a traditional fence only a few feet from their front door. 
  • With proper dog training, invisible fences can offer a level of containment that is equal to a traditional fence. Eventually, trained dogs will learn the boundaries of your yard, and will be able to play freely within the spaces you designate. 
  • Without proper training, dogs will not respond well to an invisible fence. You will need to devote time and patience, or they may become afraid or skittish when they go near the invisible fence borders. 
  • Invisible fences should not be used with small puppies, sick, very elderly, or pregnant dogs. You may find that your fence needs change over the years.
  • Most invisible fences require a nearby power source to work. The dog collars that are worn with an invisible fence can malfunction, so you’ll need to recharge or make sure batteries are replaced frequently. This can make it difficult to let your dogs play outside for extended periods of time, especially during the long days of summer!
  • Invisible fences don’t provide protection from other animals (pets or wild). They also do not protect children from danger, gardens from being damaged by deer or rabbits, or pools from unwelcome visitors. 

For more helpful information on choosing your ideal fence, please consider visiting the sources below!

Traditional Dog Fences:
Invisible Dog Fences:

* Columbia residents: Be sure to check with your village office early on in your planning and get a copy of your village's Architectural Guidelines. Each village has its own home owner's rules and regulations and you will need to learn about the kinds of property changes that are allowed and not allowed, and the process for getting approvals.

Columbia Dogs on the Go

Monday, April 1, 2013

April: a busy month for pooches

April is full of community events for dogs! Check the Events calendar often on the Columbia Dogs on the Go website (and on this blog), to keep up with the latest, get details and links, and add events that you learn about.

April 5 (Friday) kicks off the first of the monthly Wine Bin Yappy Hours in Ellicott City, from 5 to 9 pm The Wine Bin's been doing these for years and they're a lot of fun--with wine and chocolate sampling for people and treats for dogs. Donations and a portion of sales benefit local pet charities.

April 21 (Sunday) is March for the Animals, the Maryland SPCA's largest annual fundraiser, featuring a 1.5-mile walkathon, pet contests, an agility course, training classes, pet demonstrations and entertainment. It takes place at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore from 10 am to 2 pm.

April 27 (Saturday) is the big day for our own Columbia Association, who is hosting its 7th annual Dog Day Afternoon at Hopewell Park from 11 am to 2 pm. There's plenty of doggy fun planned--contests, off-leash play, music, raffles and demonstrations.

April 27 is also the day for the K9-9K Walkathon, hosted by the Marshall Legacy Institute at Glenelg Country School, from 9:30 to 11:30 am. The event promotes the work done by mine detection dogs around the world and will raise money to sponsor a life-saving dog. Activities include walks around the Glenelg campus, BBQ, raffle prizes, dog contests, dog treats, and family activities.

April 28 (Sunday) is Bark for Life, a noncompetitive event for dogs and their owners to help raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society. The event features contests and games and takes place at Worthington Dog Park, from noon to 2 pm.

So, mark your calendars! We'll have no dogs complaining that "there's nothing to do around here!"

Be sure to check the Events calendar often on the Columbia Dogs on the Go website (and on this blog). Use the red "Add an event" button on the calendar to let us know about events to add!