September 2002
vol 1.3

PetTimes... The newsletter for pets and their people.

In This Issue


Letter from the Sitter:

E-mail is a quick, easy form of communication. Letters to friends and family members that used to take days to arrive now reach their destination in minutes. Unfortunately, thanks to advertisers and random spammers, e-mail can also be a hassle. Everyone asks for your e-mail address. Catalog merchants, stores in the mall, local utilities, I have even heard of some doctors' offices that are using e-mail to remind patients of appointments! It seems once you get on one list, you get on every list. And the harder you try to get removed from a list, the more e-mail spammers seem to find you. I'm tired of being asked if I'd like to make $50k working from home. I like my job, thank you very much! :-) Many people have become reluctant to give their e-mail addresses out to anyone other than close friends, family, and work associates. Yet, one of the questions I ask at every consultation is, "Can I have your e-mail address?" I request this information for a number of reasons. E-mail allows me to send contracts for upcoming visits quickly and confirm dates and care information; it enables me to inform people of upcoming pet related events in the community; it provides me with a way to get the word out about the latest newsletter; and I can send vacationing clients updates about my visits and their pet's care. Keeping your concerns about spam in mind, I want to ensure you that I DO NOT sell, lend, give, or otherwise share my e-mail list with anyone. I have had pet care product merchants contact me for my client list in the past and my standard response is very simple: "I do not give out client information. If you would like to send me the information, I will review it and send it to the people I think would benefit from it." That being said, if any of you have any information you think other people would like to or should know about, please pass it along to me. You may see it in an upcoming newsletter or get an e-mail from Stay At Home Pets about it.

Feature Article: Shelter and Rescue Dogs... The Ultimate Gift to You and Them, Part II

Rescue groups, like shelters, offer an alternative to breeders and pet stores when you are looking for a pet. There are breed-specific as well as non-breed-specific rescues, rescues for dogs only, cats only, birds only, even guinea pigs and hamsters. Rescues are often private organizations started by a person, or group of people, looking for a way to rescue and adopt out pets that may be turned down or put down by shelters. They may have large facilities or work strictly out of volunteers' homes. Breed-specific rescues often have a network of rescue sites in different states or towns across the country. A large number of rescue groups work with local shelters to help alleviate over crowding or give some pets a little more time to find a suitable home. Rescues often operate on donations and their "employees" are mainly volunteers who help because they feel an affinity for a certain breed of pet or just want to get involved with a pet rescue group. I sit for many rescued pets and want to share some of their stories with you in the hopes that they will inspire you to contact a rescue group in the future to adopt, foster, or volunteer.

Three to five times a week I have the privilege of spending time with Hero and Lily. Hero, a beautiful male Dalmatian, came to owners Lisa and Al quite by accident. Hero's previous owners abandoned him at a veterinary hospital where the staff already knew him through previous visits. Although the hospital does not normally take in abandoned pets, they kept him in the hope of finding him a home. Lisa and Al heard about Hero through the grapevine and just could not leave him there! Lisa said it was a "spur of the moment decision -- not so smart -- but we haven't regretted it at all . . . as you know, he's a wonderful dog." And, yes, he is a wonderful dog. No one was really sure why Hero's previous owners abandoned him. Hero is deaf, and that may have come into play. Some people believe deaf dogs are harder to train and control. I have never experienced that in my interaction with Hero. Lisa highly recommends adopting a deaf dog. She is aware of the controversy surrounding this issue, but has "never seen any sort of aggression or timidity in Hero resulting from his deafness." Visit the Stay At Home Pets links page for sites relating to deaf dog information, education, and rescue.

Lily was a shelter dog that Lisa and Al located through Pointer Rescue's web site. Lily was being housed in the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Waldorf, Maryland. Lisa and Al went to visit her and, "loved her instantly." Already Dalmatian owners, Lisa and Al were not actually looking for a pointer, didn't know anything specific about the breed, and were just browsing various animal rescue sites when they came across Lily's information. Lisa visited the rescue sites and traveled from Baltimore to Waldorf to visit Lily because she "won't buy a dog [when] there are so many unwanted dogs out there already." Lisa also indicated "Tri-County Animal Shelter is a very high volume kill shelter, although the staff was very good and appears to do the best they can with what they've got to work with." It's worth repeating... every time you adopt a dog from a shelter you are saving a life!

Another one of my special rescued kids is Goldielocks. Goldie, a golden retriever-German shepherd mix (as far as we can tell) came from PAW, the Partnership for Animal Welfare, in Greenbelt Maryland. PAW is a non-breed-specific rescue group that helps place abandoned and abused dogs and cats with new families. Goldielocks found a new home, and a new life, with Colleen. When Colleen called me to inquire about daily dog walking, she and Goldielocks were attending training classes and Colleen was looking for an additional outlet for Goldie's unending energy. The only drawback was Goldie's fear and aggression towards new people. Colleen was worried about introducing new people to Goldie but also recognized that part of Goldie's recovery would require socialization, love, attention, and structure from people other than mom. Luckily, Goldie and I hit it off very well! As our visits have progressed she has became more comfortable walking on the leash, responds well to commands, and seems to really enjoy our visits. Now she has a new buddy... Carl. After a few tests, mainly some leash pulling and growling, she accepted Carl as a part of her routine and extended family. Goldie is still nervous and shows some aggression around new people, but her improvement has been remarkable. We may never know what kind of environment Goldie was raised in. We have no idea how she came to be fearful of and aggressive toward new people. But one thing we do know. Thanks to the caring people at PAW, Goldielocks has been given a chance to love and be loved. She enjoys being brushed, loves walks in the park near her home, and continues to improve in her greeting methods. If you would like to give a dog or cat a chance at a new life, please contact PAW at or 301/572-4PAW.

Bo, a young and energetic German shepherd, couldn't have found a more perfect home. Having recently lost Baby, one of their beloved shepherd-mixes, Mike and Tina and their two children were looking for a dog to keep Baby's sister, Patsy, company and help fill the void left behind when Baby passed away. They could have gone to a breeder for a shepherd, but chose instead to go through a rescue group. Bo, although not an 8-week-old puppy, came with a lot of puppy energy, and fit right in with Mike and Tina's active household. Patsy keeps him in his place most of the time, and he has adjusted very well to life with 5 cats and another dog. I'm sure the acres of wooded land his new home backs up to and the abundance of friendly, playful dogs in the neighborhood have helped him settle in.

I sit for many multiple pet households, including Tabitha and Craig's 4 dogs: April, Faith, Jackson, and Dax. April, a beagle mix, was rescued by Tabitha after her owners abandoned her at a veterinary hospital following a collision between April and an automobile. Rather than paying the extensive vet bills sure to follow, April's original owners simply never returned for her. Well, that was definitely their loss as April, now with three legs instead of the four she had pre-auto accident, is one of the sweetest, gentlest, most well-behaved dogs I have ever had the pleasure to sit for! But Tabitha didn't stop rescuing dogs there. She also rescued Faith and Jackson, 2 pointers in desperate need of a loving, stable, and patient owner. As an active member of Pointer Rescue, Tabitha comes across many incredible dogs that need homes. Check out the dogs at Pointer Rescue by visiting their web page. Look for an article about her experience as a foster mom in a future edition of PetTimes.

One active way to help out a local rescue group is to become a foster parent. Many pets that come into a rescue are not ready to be adopted out quite yet. They may need time to heal from an injury, adjust to living indoors, or need special socialization before they can be placed up for adoption. Some rescues don't have enough room to take every pet that comes their way and foster parents can help make space available for new pets.

As with shelter pets, many pets from rescues need time to adapt to their new homes. Their history is not always well documented, and their behavior may be less than desirable. But, with love, time, attention, and structure, you can definitely teach an older dog some new desirable habits. Many rescue pets are already housebroken, are used to living with other pets, and provide lots of love, attention, and companionship to their new owners. Please contact and visit your local rescue groups when you start looking for a new pet. There are an abundance of rescue groups on-line. Many shelters keep lists of local rescue groups. Breed-specific rescues are a great way to research breed qualities and adopt a pure bred dog that may otherwise be put to sleep or languish in a kennel for months. And if you are looking for a purebred puppy, definitely contact that breed's rescue group. Many rescues have puppies that need homes, too.

Have you saved a life recently? Adopt a rescue pet!

Pet Publications

Animal Fair
While scanning the endless assortments of magazines at a local bookstore I came across Animal Fair. It has a beautiful glossy cover and bills itself as "a lifestyle magazine for animal lovers." It reminds me a lot of People. The edition I picked up is their travel issue and includes stories about pets that have traveled as well as great places to visit with your pet. I found the articles well written and fun- a nice easy read. The photography is fantastic; the print is legible and easy on the eyes. There are no breeder listings, instead the magazine features stories about people and the pets they already share their lives with. It also runs regular columns for the humans including food, beauty, fashion, and film departments, and has a pet horoscope so you can keep up with your pet's moods and whims. Animal Fair is published quarterly, so you'll have plenty of time to enjoy one before the next issue is delivered. I am impressed by their eclectic collection of articles and will savor this edition while I scan the newsstand for the next one.

Pet Tips

This tip comes from Molly & Xena's mom. How do you keep your dog(s) off the fancy furniture? Aluminum foil. I have no idea how or why it works, but since seeing this technique in one home I have noticed it in many. Perhaps it is the shiny surface or the sound it makes when touched. Maybe it is just the fact that there is something uncomfortable about the feel of the foil. Evidently, it does not work for cats... they ball it up and bat it around. But most dogs seem to avoid the foil covered furniture. So, if you have tried everything else to keep you dog off no-no furniture, try the foil... and please let me know if you are successful.

Have a successful training tip or technique? E-mail it to me at

Photo Gallery

Check out the new additions to the photo gallery. All the originals are still there; they've just been joined by some new friends. Okay, all you cat people… I need your photos!! Help me balance my album with pix of your kitties!

Upcoming Events

Walk For Paws
Take a 1.8 mile walk with your dog along the paved pathway around beautiful Lake Elkhorn in Columbia, Maryland!

Proceeds will be used to fund Animal Advocates' programs to help animals.

Saturday, October 12, 2002
Rain or Shine
11:00am- 2:00pm

There will be pet contests, prizes for dogs and people, microchipping, pet caricatures, food samples, and much more.

Please e-mail or call 410/880-2488 for more information.

Don't forget to stop by at the Stay At Home Pets table

SAHP Announcements

Welcome Carl
Many of you may have already met Carl, but I wanted to take this opportunity to formally welcome him to the Stay At Home Pets staff. Carl is our first full-time sitter (other than Michelle) and we are all extremely excited to have him aboard. Carl has a background in environmental clean up and has been a volunteer firefighter in Laurel, Maryland for over 20 years. An animal lover, he has 2 dogs and a rabbit at home and always looks forward to meeting and working with new pets. Look for his full bio on the staff page soon. If you have not met Carl yet and would like to set up a meeting, call or e-mail me and we can schedule a get together soon.

Stay At Home Pets is currently seeking full and part-time pet sitters. Applicants must have a background working with animals, have reliable transportation and a clean driving record. Part time help is needed from 7-10pm weekday evenings and 8am-10pm weekends (not continuously). A position for a full-time daily dog walker is also available (Monday through Friday 8:00am- 5:00pm). If you have some extra time, are looking for a fun new career, love spending time with animals, and need some extra cash, please call 410/336-3582 or e-mail your resume or relevant background information to

New Howard County Dog Park
Well, I have to say, it's about time!! Thanks in large part to the members of HoCoDog, a Howard County based group of dog owners, Howard County now has a fantastic off-leash park to its credit. Please visit their site at for more information about the park and membership in HoCoDog. You don't have to be a member of the organization to use the park, nor do you have to be a Howard County resident. There is an annual fee per household to help with park maintenance and up-keep, but I really believe it is well worth it!

As an added bonus, and incentive to join this great organization, Stay At Home Pets is offering 10% off your next contract with proof of membership in HoCoDog. This applies to new and existing Stay At Home Pets clients.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOUSSE!- Mousse turned 2 July 2nd.

How many of you celebrate your pet's birthday? In our household, we make Chesapeake her favorite dinner (grilled chicken with mashed potatoes), buy her new toys, and let her stay up past her normal bedtime to spend extra time with us. She turned 10 years old on June 14!! Wow... how time flies. I'd love to help you recognize your pet's birthday with an announcement on the web site. E-mail me your pet's name and birth date, along with any traditions you have to help celebrate, or stories of past events. Birthday pictures are welcome, too.

Help Your Local Shelter
Many shelters regularly receive donations of dog and cat food, but are sorely in need of treats. Treats are a very important part of pet life…. Just ask your own pets! When you go to the store to pick up a box of milk bones or a packet of whisker-lickin's, pick up an extra one for the shelter. Want to feel even better about your purchase? Ask if you can accompany a volunteer while they pass out your treats, and watch the shelter pets' tails wag and eyes light up.

Fun… But Not Totally Pet Related
Football season is almost here. So what? Well, I guess this is a bit pet-related. My husband and I are avid football fans. He also plays trombone, and some years ago we both joined the Baltimore's Marching Ravens band. To help ease my work load on the weekends, I have hired two delightful people to help me out during football season…. Welcome, Cindy and Valerie, to the Stay At Home Pets staff!!

Now, for the non-pet related part: Baltimore's Marching Ravens is in the middle of a major recruiting effort. At this time every year some of our younger band members graduate high school and we are reminded of how many will leave for college in the fall… just in time for football season. The band accepts individuals from ages 14 up for all sections. We need musicians, people to help with the equipment crew, and for those football fans like me who don't play an instrument, but still want to be part of the performance, we need people for the flag-line. The benefits are innumerable, but include admission to every Ravens home game, great seats in the end-zone, lunch before the game, the honor of performing during the pre-game and half-time shows, and associating yourself with a fantastic group of people. Other performances throughout the year include: Ravens family day in Westminster; July 4th parades in Dundalk, Towson, Catonsville, and Havre De Grace; and the Preakness and St. Patrick's Day parades in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. In the past, we have also performed with Marvin Hamlisch and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, in the 2001 Inaugural Parade for President Bush, and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Oregon Ridge. So, if you can spare a few hours Wednesday nights to practice and would like to perform or help with the band, please call me or contact John Ziemann at 410/557-8335. Also, if you know of anyone else who may be interested, or would like a flyer to place on a bulletin board at work, please contact me so I can get you additional information.

Don't Miss an Issue
If you would like to receive advanced notification of the next newsletter, drop me an e-mail letting me know and I'll e-mail you the day the new newsletter goes up on the site.

What are you curious about? Send me your questions or article ideas for consideration in future issues of PetTimes.

Articles to look for in future issues:

Home | About Us | Services | Rates | PetPics | Newsletter | Links
Go to Previous PageReturn to Home Page

Pet Times