Sunday, April 20, 2008

Abandoned Pets - Better Alternatives In The Foreclosure Crisis

Plea to Pet Owners –
If you are facing foreclosure, do NOT abandon your pet!

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) urges homeowners facing foreclosure not to abandon their pets or to drop them outside a veterinary clinic. After all, your pet loves and trusts you, and you have a responsibility for its welfare. It is not an inanimate object that you can just discard.

So pursue the alternatives. Turn instead to humane organizations or ask your vet for advice. Who knows? He may even have a client who would want your beloved pet!

"Frequently asked questions about pets and foreclosed homes"
Click on "Issues" and then look under "Animal Welfare."

An increasing number of pets are being found in foreclosed homes, some while they are still healthy, but others starving, ill, dying, or already dead...apparently waiting for the owner to return. Don't let that happen to your pet!

If you lose your home and must stay in a place where animals are not allowed, the FAQ provided by AVMA suggests ways you might find someone - a friend, family member, or someone through an internet search, social network postings, or veterinary bulletin boards - to either foster your pet until you find more suitable housing, or to adopt your pet and give it the kind of home it deserves.

You'll sleep better knowing your faithful friend is well taken care of!

As a last resort, there are rescue organizations and NO-KILL shelters that can help find your pet a loving home.

Understand that euthanasia is a possibility at many shelters, such as the Humane Society, if the right family doesn't stumble upon your pet fast enough - but even there, it stands a better chance of adoption than in an empty house.

Again, AVMA has shelter suggestions, and you can check out more in your local Yellow Pages and through a Google search as well. Look for NO KILL!

The Escondido Humane Society (California) encourages you to plan early if you are a pet owner who is facing potential relocation. Then you have a chance to look for animal-friendly housing, and to seek out family and friends to take in your pet temporarily until you are on your feet.

Advance planning also lets you find no-kill shelters within a reasonable driving distance. (Your dog would go miles for you, so won't you go miles to save it's life?)


If you are not one who is facing foreclosure, why not help alleviate the pain of this crisis? Shelters across North America are all short of funds - which means more dogs and cats are put down. They need you!

And your own pet needs for you to be an empowered pet owner caring for his health and welfare. That's what our friend, Dr. Andrew Jones, has done for us with his pet health care manual, home study course, and membership site (where everything is available online, you can ask questions, and much more).

I was excited to learn that before the end of April, Dr. Jones is donating 10% of all sales to the Second Chance Animal Shelter near him, which he supports regularly. And a great way to get started is to check out his pet health membership site with a fr*e*e trial -- I'm in it!

Let's save our pets!

Rena Muray

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Get Your Christmas Dog Pictures In - Great Way to Kick Off The New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope you and your family had a joyous holiday and blessed Christmastime. In the hustle and bustle, most people didn't have time to read even one thing extra, so I didn't want to add to it. Now the New Year is starting, and we're all off and running ... For me, that's been literally... I've been running several clients' dogs daily!

If you need help with a new pup, check out the Puppy Training Articles on my website. Or for direct help, contact me with your background information as outlined on my website - Consultations with Rena Murray. Each pup has its own unique personality, and as with children, each has its own behaviors that need to be addressed properly from the beginning!... But more on that in another blog.

But before you get too far away from the holidays, though, don't forget to send in your best Christmas and Hanukkah dog pictures.

Hey, that new Christmas pup counts, too!

It's our Annual Best Christmas Dog Contest. So why not enter yours?

First prize is a FREE consultation with me. (Winners will be announced early February.)

What to send?
JPG images as email attachments (preferably 200 x 200 pixels, but we can resize others). Write "Christmas Dog" or "Holiday Dog" in the subject line of your email.

Where to send them?
Email to Paw Questions.

Deadline: January 15, 2008.

Last year's pictures look great. Check them out on Paw Persuasion's Dog Picture Contests - That's where we want to put yours! Both Winners and Honorable Mention.

In your email, don't forget to include your phone number. We promise not to save or share your personal information with anyone, and ONLY to call you if you win. Please tell us, though, your dog's name, your first name, and your state or country to be published with your picture.

We look forward to seeing your adorable dog pictures!

Rena Murray
Dog Whisper Woman

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Friday, December 21, 2007

What Should You Do To Your Dog?

This dog was pushing his owner and blocking her with his body. He had absolute control, and was not hesitant about it.

"He won't stop jumping. I am afraid that I will get hurt!"

She was backing up and moving away each time the dog was pushing her. "He always stops eventually," she said.

"No," I said. "He has stopped YOU, and HE is in control."

I touched the dog firmly, much like another dog would bite him to let him know he was going too far. The dog stopped right away and totally focused on me.

The owner became upset, saying that I should be nicer to her dog.

"So, you are telling me that it is fair for him to touch us, and not fair for us to touch him?"

I was fully expecting that this case was not going to work out. But it was my turn to be surprised.

The woman said, "Oh, I never thought about it that way. So I'm giving him control by backing away from him?"

My simple nod in response was all it took. She got that dog's respect faster than any other client I ever had.

Don't listen to anyone who tells you it hurts your dog to have discipline, any more than it hurts a child. It's not so innocent any more when an undisciplined dog jumps on someone and knocks her down!

And dogs don't need rewards for obeying, either. Treats and such should be because you feel like it. You don't give your children a candy bar every time they get an "A," do you? In that case, why do you give your dog a biscuit every time he sits? And only for a couple of seconds, at that...

It's absolutely critical that you learn how much force to use in your touch. I touch my foot against my dog constantly. But unless a dog is trying to kill you or someone else, it is never okay to kick a dog.

Don't be doing that unless you've been taught how to do it.

As we are settling into the Christmas season, remember:
Do unto your dog as he is doing unto you.

Rena Murray
Dog Whisper Woman

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cancer Sniffing Dogs

I'm always amazed at the incredible sensitivity of a dog's nose, aren't you? I've heard a Bloodhound's nose is 100 times as keen as a human's nose, and a German Shepherd's 40-50 times. No wonder they save so many lives by tracking missing persons or felons and by sniffing out bombs and drugs. Now in recent years, I've heard about still another use of their great natural talents – cancer detection!

I have heard about bladder, colon, and lung cancers and malignant melanoma being detected by a cancer sniffing dog. The last study I saw about dogs who had undergone intensive training to learn the special odors of some cancers reported an 85% success rate. Unlike machines, dogs can even sift through the BLENDS of odors to detect cancer!

And get this. Some untrained dogs have this keen talent naturally. I heard a story of a woman who had a gentle, mellow Labrador named Buddy. Then one day he suddenly started pushing her intensely in the breast. The more she pushed him away, the more intense and insistent he got. She wouldn't listen to this "bad dog behavior," so he bit hard. At the time it didn't strike her - but the spot he bit was the 4 o'clock position in her breast. When she had a screening less than a week later, they found a little malignant tumor at that precise spot!

So if your dog suddenly acts out of character, he might be trying to tell you something. Before you overreact, check it out!

The use of cancer sniffing dogs is very attractive to me. After all, it's a non-invasive form of screening which might find early-stage, pre-symptomatic cancers. Much safer and more comfortable than some machine-based procedures – as my friend would agree. The connective tissue in one breast was painfully ripped by a machine operated by a snippy technician during routine cancer screening!

How effective are cancer sniffing dogs?

It varies. Obviously, intensive, specialized dog training using the exact right method is key. And you must use certified utility dogs (highest AKC obedience rating) with keen noses who know at least 400 commands by the end of the training. We all know that there's no such thing as total accuracy with any screening method, either. That's why you shouldn't limit yourself to just one.

The greatest problem faced in getting this out to the community is the scarcity of funding for this life-saving research. And for this specialized dog training. There are phenomenal qualification requirements for the dog trainer, too.

So if you know someone who has the ability and interest to fund some cancer research or training and maintenance of cancer sniffing dogs, contact them! And let me know (through the CONTACT page on so I can follow up and get them in touch with the right people.

I thank my friend, Karen Chrisman, for commenting on this issue yet again in Cancer Sniffing Canines, a recent blog post on her website -

For more research highlights and commentary on cancer sniffing dogs, you will want to check out the November 15, 2007 article by freelance writer, Stephanie Fox, Paging Dr. Canine - Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota.

I guess it's obvious that I am very interested in this subject. So if you have a personal story about cancer sniffing dogs to share, or access to research on cancer sniffing dogs, please CONTACT ME!

Rena Murray
Dog Whisper Woman

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Dog Behavior Problems?
Keep at it!

Remember the dog who feared motorcycles? That is a thing of the past now.

When your pet has a behavior issue, keep at it. When confronted with dog behavior problems, consistency and persistence pay big dividends.

Dogs move on if you stick with them long enough for them to do so.

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