5.14.14 - Lucky Dog Survives Crocodile Attack2

A pit bull named Tyson is lucky to be alive after a recent brush with death:  the 65-pound dog was pulled underwater by a crocodile in Key Largo, but fought back and escaped with only a puncture wound to his leg.

“If it was a smaller dog or a bigger crocodile, Tyson would not have survived,” said owner Emilie Stewart.

Tyson was swimming in a canal behind his home off Blackwater Lane in Key Largo, a known risk for any dog owner in the area.

“I see a croc tail going up, turning the water and Tyson going under,” Stewart said.

Tyson sank, and the croc thought he’d gotten an easy meal.  But the powerhouse fought back.

“I don’t know if he actually bit the croc or bit at him, but it freed him up and he started to swim back.”

                                        5.14.14 - Lucky Dog Survives Crocodile Attack1

As Tyson swam back toward a boat ramp, the 40-pound croc “literally chased him,” which is unusual – most crocs don’t usually go for prey bigger than they are.

Stewart called Florida Fish and Wildlife officials, who were able to capture and relocate the 5 ½-foot male juvenile American crocodile.

“This crocodile did not act normally,” Stewart said. “It was a fairly little thing, but it was not afraid of humans. It was hissing at the FWC officers trying to catch it.”

Stewart, who has lived on Key Largo for nearly 20 years, said she used to let nine-year-old Tyson swim in the canal “three or four days a week,” for his entire life, but those days are over.

“I’ll never let him swim in there again,” Stewart said. “I’ve gone swimming in there, too, but not again.”

Tyson will make a complete recovery.


Calmer, potty-trained old dogs find new homes

This March. 22, 2014 photo provided by Elli Frank shows Tanya, an 8-year-old pit bull mix that was dumped at a shelter as a puppy,  in New York City.  She stayed there until earlier this year when Elli Frank, founder of Mr. Bones and Co., in New York City, got her out and tried to find her a home.  Frank won’t acquire other dogs until Tanya has a home. The dog’s been adopted twice, but little things went wrong and she was returned. She thinks Tanya would be an ideal dog for someone without any other pets. Photo: Elli Frank, AP / Elli FrankThis March. 22, 2014 photo provided by Elli Frank shows Tanya, an 8 year-old pit bull mix that was dumped at a shelter as a puppy, in New York City. She stayed there until earlier this year when Elli Frank, founder of Mr. Bones and Co., in New York City, got her out and tried to find her a home. Frank won’t acquire other dogs until Tanya has a home. The dog’s been adopted twice, but little things went wrong and she was returned. She thinks Tanya would be an ideal dog for someone without any other pets. Photo: Elli Frank, AP

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Erin O’Sullivan wants to change lives by finding new homes for old dogs.

Visitors to her popular Facebook page say she has done just that by helping them discover the pets they didn’t know they were missing. O’Sullivan’s page tells stories about pooches past their prime that need loving homes and taps into the wellspring of animal lovers seeking calmer, well-trained dogs or those wanting to care for pets in their twilight years. Shelters will ask her to help place older dogs that aren’t as sought-after as puppies, many of which have extensive health problems that can stall adoptions.

“I think more than food or water, companionship is lifeblood to a dog,” O’Sullivan said. She is convinced that when an older dog is adopted, they will live longer because of an owner’s love.

Many shelters and rescues online and off focus on senior dog adoptions that are growing in popularity. But O’Sullivan’s page, Susie’s Senior Dogs, has gotten more attention than most thanks to a big boost from her boyfriend, an Internet star who knows how to build buzz online — and owns a dog named Susie.

Brandon Stanton of Brooklyn is the author of a book and much-read blog called “Humans of New York,” which claims more than 4 million followers on social media and chronicles the lives of New Yorkers, enrapturing overtaxed Web surfers with heartfelt photos and snippets of text.

Three years ago, Stanton adopted an 11-year-old Chihuahua named Susie.

“She is the greatest dog in New York … I didn’t realize what it meant to have an animal attach itself to you so her only concern in life is being close to you,” he said.

O’Sullivan had set up a Facebook page for Susie, which had about 10,000 “likes” the morning she changed its purpose to finding other old dogs new homes. Stanton pitched the page on his blog, and by nightfall the page had 10 times as many followers. That number has since grown to over 150,000, and she has helped nearly 200 dogs since January.

That includes a 12-year-old pooch that Britany Spangler of Grand Rapids, Mich., found on the page.

“I never intended on getting a dog until I saw our Molly and I knew we had to have her,” she said.

The Lhasa apso was missing a whole side of teeth, was infested with worms and fleas, had an allergy that made her hair fall out and suffered kidney problems.

Despite the health issues, the dog gets along beautifully with her three children, who are all under 3 years old, Spangler said.

“It was like they had been together forever,” she said. “She came potty-trained and full of love. If she is with us for six months, she blesses us for six months. If she is with us for five years, she enriches our lives for five years. She’s the dog I never knew I needed.”

Steve Greig, who owns a menagerie of animals, found a 10-year-old dog to love on O’Sullivan’s page, but the nearly hairless Chihuahua-poodle mix named Phyllis also came with problems.

The dog is blind, weak, had sores on her face from trying to escape her cage, and lost all her hair to an infection, Greig said. In February, he took in Phyllis because he didn’t have hope she would be adopted from a shelter otherwise.

“She looks like a fox with a bad perm,” he said, but that hasn’t bothered his dogs, cats, chickens, ducks or pot-bellied pig. “The other dogs must realize the 10-year-old Chihuahua-poodle is blind and feeble. They are so gentle with her. She’s fitting in fine.”

Greig is looking into getting Phyllis surgery to possibly restore her eyesight.

Meanwhile, O’Sullivan and animal rescue owner Elli Frank are trying to help Tanya, an 8-year-old pit bull mix that was all but forgotten after being dumped at a shelter as a puppy.

Frank, founder of Mr. Bones and Co. in New York City that takes in a few animals at a time, won’t acquire other dogs until Tanya has a home. The dog has been adopted twice, but little things went wrong and she was returned.

Frank has since sent her to an obedience school in Connecticut.

“I want her to be the most adoptable dog she can be,” Frank said. “It’s so wrong that she doesn’t have a home … But who is going to gamble on a dog that’s never had a home?”

O’Sullivan would call her an underdog — her favorite kind.


By  Jan 28th 2014

Researchers are working to prove what dog owners have said for years. Dogs really do love us! Scientists at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., have discovered that dogs do in fact experience feelings of love and affection.

After training dogs to tolerate the noise of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, a team of scientists was able to get clear images of dogs’ brains without sedating them.

“I thought that if military dogs can be trained to jump out of helicopters then surely we could train them to sit still inside an MRI scanner,” said neuroscientist Gregory Berns.

The team used hand signals to tell the dogs that they were going to receive treats while they were in the scanner. The resulting images showed that the caudate nucleus, a part of the brain related to positive emotions, was similar in both humans and dogs. This discovery lead the team to believe that dogs are capable of feeling emotions associated with love.

“We can really begin to understand what a dog is thinking rather than infer it from their behavior,” Berns said.

Many scientists argue that the bond between an owner and their dog goes no further than a dog’s need for safety and food. Bern’s and his team’s next step in their research is to prove this belief to be false by offering dogs food from strangers and machines.

“If, as many scientists have argued in the past, it is all simply about getting food for dogs, then the reaction in their brains would be the same no matter who or what is offering them the food,” Bern said.

Bern and his team will continue their research, working to prove that dogs love their owners as more than just a source of food and security.

“We hope to show that they love us for things far beyond food, basically the same things that humans love us for, like social comfort and social bonds,” Berns said.

Protect Your Pet This Week With These Holiday Tips

Whether it’s a new dog seeing a Christmas tree for the first time or an older dog who only sees it once a year, you have to take some precautions to make sure everyone gets through the season safely.

Here are a few tips:

Holiday food is abundant but not safe for animals. Stick to dog food. Bones can be especially dangerous as they can splinter and harm the animal.

Decorations are not toys. Tinsel in particular can be very harmful if swallowed, wrapping around the animal’s intestines.

Christmas trees and other plants can be harmful and poisonous. The trees can often have preservative chemicals that drips into the water dogs naturally want to drink. Be observant.

For more Christmas tips and tips you can use all year round with your dog visit

The Truth About Organic Dog Food

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Before recommending and encouraging readers to feed organic dog food to their pets, it’s important to understand what exactly IS organic dog food. While it should be held to strict manufacturing guidelines, dog food is highly under-regulated. Anyone can basically put anything into a bag, label it “Healthy Dog Food” and rake in the profits with no regulation by the USDA.

Scary, isn’t it?


As a pet owner, it’s important to know what your dog is eating, to give him the healthiest foods available, to do your homework! Since dog food is generally not regulated, manufacturers can label their food with terms like “healthy,” “holistic,” “complete nutrition,” with no substance to back it up – with one exception: Organic food.

In fact, the ONLY dog foods regulated by the USDA are those manufactured in certified organic facilities.

Just because a brand has the word “organic” or “holistic” in their name or on the label doesn’t always mean what it seems. Very few are truly organic, from certified organic facilities. As you can imagine, the misuse of the term “organic” is very common in the pet food industry. Many manufacturers make claims regarding the organic nature of their foods, but without the USDA Certified Organic seal, these companies are not subject to the same regulation, verification, and legal enforcement as certified manufacturers.

The USDA explains,

If a manufacturer wants to claim a product is “100% Organic”, it must contain 100 percent organically produced ingredients, not counting added water and salt. As far as dry dog food is concerned, this is currently not possible, since as per AAFCO regulations vitamin and mineral supplements must be added, which can not be organically produced.

If a manufacturer wants to claim a product is “Organic”, it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients, not counting added water or salt, and must identify the organic ingredients as “organic” in the ingredient list when other organic labeling is shown. To identify an ingredient as organically produced in the ingredient list, the word, “organic” in conjunction with the name of the ingredient may be used, or an asterisk or other reference mark which is defined below the ingredient statement.

Only products that fall into these two groups may display the “USDA Organic” seal, either in color or black and white.

If a manufacturer wants to claim a product is “Made With Organic Ingredients” or a similar statement, it must contain at least 70% organic ingredients, not counting added water or salt, and must identify the organic ingredients as “organic” in the ingredient list when other organic labeling is shown. To identify an ingredient as organically produced in the ingredient list, the word, “organic” in conjunction with the name of the ingredient may be used, or an asterisk or other reference mark which is defined below the ingredient statement. The product may display the seal(s) of the agent(s) certifying the included organic ingredients, but not the “USDA Organic” seal.

If a manufacturer wants to advertise the fact that product has some organic ingredients, it can include less than 70% total and they must be identified as “organic” in the ingredient list. The product may not display the seal(s) of the agent(s) certifying the included organic ingredients nor the “USDA Organic” seal.

We’re not claiming that unless a dog food has the USDA Certified Organic seal that it’s not good food. There are plenty of dog food manufacturers that make top quality, nutritious foods with your dog’s best interest in mind. You just might have to do a little homework to find them.

A downside to truly organic dog food is that because organic meats are quite expensive, these foods usually have a lower meat content than other, non-organic foods. You’ll have to decide for yourself if you prefer a higher volume of meat in your pet’s food, or a lower volume of meat that is USDA regulated, free of hormones and antibiotics, and human-grade.

The only way to truly guarantee your dog is getting the very best ingredients possible is to look for the Certified Organic seal. Otherwise, choose food from a manufacturer you trust, that has your pet’s health at the heart of their mission statement. Don’t take fancy labels and colorful marketing terms as proof for what’s actually inside the bag.

Do you feed your dog organic food? If so, make sure the package has the USDA Seal and read the ingredients list, or you might be paying more for food that isn’t truly organic!




Potcakes of the Caribbean: A Puppy Rescue Adventure

A Family Adoption Journey and Introduction to Potcake Rescue and Adoption

The following guest article was written by Anthony Bennie, the Founder and President of Clear Conscience Pet. Clear Conscience Pet manufactures all natural, award winning, nutritious, and drool-worthy treats, chews, and food supplements using only proteins and organic vegetables sourced from local, sustainable family farm.


  Potcakes are the native dogs of the Turks and Bahamas islands.

“What in the heck is a Potcake?”  This was my question as our family flew towards the Turks and Caicos Islands in the British West Indies in February of 2011. “Turks,” as the island group is sometimes known, is a former British colony and still a part of the United Kingdom. Thumbing through the official tourist publication available on the flight, my “dogdar” drew me to an article about Potcake adoption and rescue. Potcakes are the native dogs of the Turks and Bahamas islands.  The name comes from the practice of feeding dogs the residual hard cooked rice, peas, fat, and meat from the bottom of a flame cooked stew pot. These leftover hard chunks are called potcakes, and thus the island dogs and their traditional food source became synonymous.  Despite my long career as a pet nutritionist and pet food industry entrepreneur, I had never heard of a Potcake before!

Digging deeper into the history of Potcake dogs reveals a long legacy. Spanish and English ships exploring the islands had dogs on board, with terriers being one of the favorites for controlling shipboard rodents. And during the American Revolution, settlers from the Carolinas loyal to the British crown fled to the Caribbean and brought their hunting hounds along.

All of these and more “modern” dogs mixing in the last century make up today’s island Potcake breed. Potcakes vary in size and appearance, but the typical Potcake is between 30 and 60 lbs. with long noses and large ears, traits helpful in  searching out scarce food and avoiding trouble in the wild.

Our flight landed in Providenciales, nicknamed Provo by locals and tourists. Provo is the most populous island and the tourist center of Turks and Caicos.

We had very recently lost one of our two dogs, our beautiful female Golden Retriever, Isis, to cancer. This left our 5 year old male Golden, Ozzy, without a companion for the first time in his life. But the family was grieving, and the last thing on our minds was bringing home a dog from a foreign country.

Or so we thought. On a visit to a local restaurant, my wife Amanda and I met a wonderful man named Lovey Forbes, one of the most respected musicians and songwriters  in the Turks and Caicos islands.  We talked about his music, and then Lovey asked us the fateful question: “What do YOU do?” Our answer, “we own Clear Conscience Pet, we’re animal nutritionists and pet treat manufacturers,” was met by a huge smile. Lovey said, “you’re kidding, Mon, I’m married to the head of the Potcake Foundation!”   His wife, artist Heather Simpson-Forbes, is the Founder and Chairwoman of the Potcake Foundation, which has provided thousands of low cost spay and neuters to help control the stray population, and have rescued and placed thousands of Potcakes over the years.

We were graciously invited to Heather and Lovey’s home that evening, and that’s when we met our first Potcakes up close. Heather and Lovey had four, and they were delightful, cute, and friendly dogs. The hook was set and we were slipping into the net.

By the end of the night, Heather arranged for us to meet Susan Blehr the next day. Susan is the tireless Director of the TCSPCA.  Our goal was simply to visit the facility, make a donation of money and treats to support this noble and humane effort, and call it a day. We most CERTAINLY were not going to look at puppies to adopt.

So we and our two boys made the trip to the TCSPCA office and met Susan. After some general discussion, she looked us in the eye and said, “aren’t you really here to look at puppies? We have some ready for new homes right now.” My hands got clammy and Amanda and I looked at each other. “Uh, well, hmm, we couldn’t possibly bring home a new puppy,” I said.  We explained about our recent loss and our concerns about socializing a semi-wild dog with Ozzy, our very domestic and now heartbroken Golden Retriever. We also wondered about possible health issues with Potcakes,  the rules to bring a dog through U.S. Customs, and our fears about traveling with a non-housebroken puppy on a long flight including a stopover connection.

Susan reassured us on all fronts. The TCSPCA has placed thousands of puppies in homes in the U.S.A. and Canada, and has the process down to a science, she told us. Health certificates are supplied for travel, all puppies ready for adoption have had complete veterinary care including all required shots, and the puppy would be given to us in a pet carrier at the airport on our departure day with all papers. We would only need to take the puppy’s paperwork to the airline counter and pay a $100 fee to take the puppy in the plane for the trip home.

So we followed Susan from the TCSPCA office to the Pampered Paws kennel. The kennel was very clean and well-run, and the dogs were in large runs with plenty of running room rather than confined to kennel cages.

It was here that we first saw three puppies, two females and a male that had been rescued in late November at less than two weeks old as part of a litter of six from an area near the beach. Their survival was doubtful, but the pups received excellent veterinary care, and they pulled through. By then, three had been adopted and the remaining three were about twelve weeks old. They needed homes very soon or they would get too big to fit in a hand held carrier for the flight back to the USA. Without off-island adoption, their future was uncertain. So this was the moment of truth. Would we form a bond with a Potcake puppy and cast aside our fears?

Anthony and his family immediately fell in love with this shy, yet affection Potcake.

One of the females was very shy and frightened, but she went to my older son and nuzzled him. The others were more playful but when this little girl looked right at me with her beautiful brown eyes,  I knew we were in trouble. We were told that this puppy might not be our best choice, as she was very fearful and might have a harder time adapting. But I saw something in those eyes that anyone who has ever rescued a dog will understand; it was a plea for life and an offer of unconditional lifetime love.  My heart melted along with my resistance, and we made a family decision to take a leap of faith and rescue this little girl, and make her a part of our family.

Taylor Bay, looks up at her new family from her cozy spot on the long flight to her new home.

The next day, Susan brought the puppy to the airport to meet us. We decided to call our new baby “Taylor Bay” after one of our favorite spots on the island. She behaved beautifully during the flight, with barely a peep.  Her first experience in Connecticut was stepping out of the car and into over two feet of snow! Not exactly Caribbean weather but she was more curious than concerned.

Ozzy, our Golden boy, was a little shocked at first that we had brought this strange looking little creature home with us and no doubt still in mourning for his mate. But after a few days, Ozzy warmed up to her. Since then they have become inseparable.  Her shyness melted away with last year’s snow and she has become a vibrant and loving 35 pound young adult.  Her personality is cautious with new people, and she’s an alert watchdog, but she loves people and warms up to strangers quickly.  Few can resist her unusual “dingo-like” appearance or her winning personality!

If you are planning a trip to Turks and Caicos and want to consider adopting a Potcake, or acting as an airplane escort to help a puppy reach a new home, or if you want to inquire about having a Potcake puppy brought home for you by an escort, the best place to start is by contacting Heather Simpson-Forbes at the Potcake Foundation (see all contact info below). Or you might kindly consider donating a few dollars to the Potcake Foundation, which uses ALL funds directly to help the dogs.  Secure donation is available through the website.  Between the TCSPCA and Potcake Place, over 1000 puppies were successfully placed in new homes in 2011!

Taylor and Ozzy have become the best of friends!

Frequently,  we are asked, “what kind of dog is that, she’s so cute!”  We proudly reply “that’s Taylor Bay- she’s a Potcake from the Caribbean!”  As you can imagine, that’s usually just the start of very interesting conversations with fellow dog lovers. Taylor has been with us for 16 months and we couldn‘t be happier about our decision to take a chance and bring her home with us. Open your heart to a Potcake or ANY dog or cat that needs a home- you’ll never regret it.

Four days of dog show fun in November!

Don’t miss out on this great weekend !!

October 6, 2013
For immediate release
Contact: Lynn Brown-Quick, 520/909-0311

Which is the prettiest dog? The smartest dog? Who is the best junior handler?
Area kennel clubs to host the Canyons Cluster dog shows Nov. 8-Nov. 11

The Cañada del Oro and Madera Canyon kennel clubs will host four exciting days of canine competition in conformation and performance events Friday, Nov. 8, through Monday, Nov. 11, 2012, at Rillito Park racetrack, at 4502 N. First Avenue, in Tucson.

Parking and admittance are free. Judging will begin at 8 a.m. There will be a free dog show tour starting at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. Information will be available at the Superintendent’s Office on the show grounds.

The dogs and their handlers will be competing for various awards established by the American Kennel Club. Last November, more than 725 dogs were entered each day in these shows. Two breed clubs will also host special competition in Golden Retrievers and Whippets. Sunday afternoon, the clubs will offer a special event: conformation competition for baby puppies aged four months and under six months.

Thirty-two judges from 14 states, including Hawaii, and Canada, will officiate over competition in conformation, obedience, junior showmanship and rally.

Throughout each day, vendors will sell food, beverages, and dog-related items.

Exhibitors must submit entries in advance in order to participate in these shows.

For more information on specific events/times at the shows, call 520/909-0311.