Monday, August 31, 2015

Local pet rescues join forces to raise funds! #ShowThemTheLove #GivingChallenge15

The PlexiDor pet door is manufactured in Bradenton, Florida. We're in an area with many animal rescue organizations, and September 1-2 is an exciting time for many of them: it's the 2015 Giving Challenge

We are not involved in the Giving Challenge - just spreading the word.

Over 400 local charitable organizations participate overall, and 36 work with animals, ranging from dolphins and sea turtles to dogs and cats. Between them, these organizations rescue many thousands of animals every year.

Great Dane from Honor Animal Rescue
manning the Cat Depot welcome center!
Examples include Mote Marine, several Humane Societies, Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary, Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, Cat Depot, and Honor Animal Rescue.  Click here for the full list of animal-related participants.

Some of them, like Cat Depot and Honor Animal Rescue, have teamed up, encouraging people in their network to help the other. They've had fun activities to raise awareness, sent volunteers to each other to help out, and much more.

Practically, the Giving Challenge is a huge opportunity for participating organizations, because contributions between $25 and $50 from donors who didn't give to the specific organization in last year's challenge will be doubled. That means that if you give $25, the organization will get $50!

There are also many prizes the organizations can win, such as most individual donors, best video campaign, best campaign, first organization to get 50 contributors giving $50, and much more. Needless to say, every dollar given will have a big impact on animals in the area.

The Giving Challenge runs from September 1st to September 2nd, noon to noon EST. If you've considered helping a charity, this is the perfect time to do so.

Do you support a rescue organization? Is there a similar event in your area?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, August 28, 2015

Is it possible to install a PlexiDor through a wall?

When installing a pet door, it's easy and logical to put it through the house door. The PlexiDor is available as a door kit making it easy to install through a standard door, a somewhat handy person can do it, and it doesn't take long. However, installing through a door isn't always practical.

The PlexiDor cat door and dog doors are available as a wall kit and can be installed in cement, stud, brick, or block walls up to 12 inches thick. The kit comes with an aluminum tunnel that connects the interior and exterior frame.

The image shows a PlexiDor with the aluminum tunnel. The tunnel has a gentle slope to keep water away from the house, and it gives a professional finish.

Installing through a wall can be trickier than installing through a door – it is more difficult to make a hole in the wall than through a door. (An important tip is cutting from the outside – keep the mess outside the house!) You also need to check if it’s a load-bearing wall or not.

The video below shows how to install a PlexiDor through a door and through different forms of walls. It begins with installing through a door. Wall installations start around 9 minutes in and will go through the installation process through different wall materials.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Interesting correlations between pets and stress at work

Virgina Commonwealth's School of Medicine has performed a number of studies through the years, researching dogs in the workplace and the correlation to stress in employees. The results probably aren't all that surprising to dog lovers, but the numbers are still interesting.

In 2012, a study was made at a large manufacturing company. 76 employees were included, and having three dogs present amongst the seventy-six workers on any given day reduced stress levels with 11 percent!

A pet present in a workplace becomes a buffer against stress. Stressful events still take place, but employees react less to stress factors, and many vent to the pet - even if it's not theirs - in a way they would not confide to another human. Around two percent of dog owners around the USA take their dog to work.

On the other side of the coin, dog lovers know how difficult it is to leave their pet at home. Employees with their dog at home had an increase in stress of 71 percent on average. Dog lovers worry about their furry friends, and are eager to ensure the dog's needs are met.

Some larger workplaces take this into account, offering both onsite childcare and petcare for employees.

Do you have a pet in your workplace? Do employees take turns bringing them in?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy dog day!

Today is dog day - a wonderful day to celebrate our dogs. Give your furry friend some extra play time, or an extra fun walk!

If you don't have a dog, consider adopting one. There are many adult dogs in shelters and rescues all around the country waiting to find a fur-ever home and a human of their own. Puppies are adorable, but there are advantages to getting an adult dog.

Many dogs who end up in shelters and rescues are there through no fault of their own. In many cases the owner’s family, living situation, or financial situation changed, and the pet finds itself homeless. Older dogs are often the last to be adopted – and the first to be euthanized.

When you see a pet in a shelter, remember that the dog is stressed. Many shut down and become shy and unresponsive, others are hyper alert, ready for any chance to get away. The personality can change when you get home and your new pet settles in, and this process can take a couple of weeks until he or she figures out they’re home and safe. Once the dog has settled in, you’ll have a devoted friend.

When you adopt a grown dog you know important things like their final size and grooming requirements. Older dogs are far less likely to be destructive chewers than younger dogs – and if they chew on something it’s a training problem and not a teething problem. Older dogs are also more likely to be house trained than puppies. If the older dog isn’t house trained or has accidents in the new home, they have the physical and mental ability to “get it” quickly while a young puppy just can’t hold it.

Older dogs require exercise just like younger dogs, but they might not have the super-explosve energy that wants you to play ball for five hours and then run a marathon. Seniors often like to chill out.

Many believe older dogs can’t learn new tricks. This isn’t true. Training is great mental exercise for your furry friend, and it helps build the bond between you.

To find your new best friend, visit local shelters or rescues, or check!

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Three of the most common cat care mistakes

Regardless of type of pet, pet owners love them and want the best for them. The problem can be figuring out what is the best; even common types of pets such as cats and dogs are quite different from humans. Here are three common cat care mistakes that can be harmful for your kitty, or damage your relationship:

Punishing or frightening your cat

Cats may seem aloof and uncaring, but they're really quite sensitive. Yelling at a cat, scaring the cat, or hitting the cat will not change its behavior. The only thing punishing a cat accomplishes is making it believe you're a horrible creature that should be avoided. Also remember that a scared cat is a stressed cat, and in the long run stress can lead to illness.

Use praise and treats to shape your cat's behavior. Cats like predictable and calm environments where they can relax and be happy while enjoying their predictable and calm humans.

Using products not made for cats

Cats should not be submitted to products made for dogs, humans, or horses. Cats have a different metabolism than humans, dogs, and horses, they have specific needs, and they are sensitive to many substances that wouldn't harm a human. Read labels carefully, and remember that products created for adult cats may not be safe for kittens.

Common mistakes include giving cats aspirin or tylenol, or using flea control products made for dogs. Also be aware that many plants and flowers are toxic to cats, and if your cat shows interest in them, you need to provide some safe cat grass.

Overfeeding your cat

Overfeeding leads to a wide variety of problems ranging from diabetes to arthritis. If your cat is overweight, make sure that you measure the cat food, only feed cat food, and say no to begging. Keeping a pet's weight in check is the easiest way to add years to their life span.

When talking about cats and food it is important to understand that cats have the metabolism of a true predator. This means they're unable to create many nutrients humans or dogs can make in our bodies. Cats have to get these nutrients through eating meat. Dogs can eat cat food, but cats should not eat dog food. Cats are physically unable to survive and thrive on a diet low in meat.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Volpino Italiano

The Volpino Italiano is a small spitz type of dog from Italy. It is related to other European spitz breeds such as the American Eskimo, and many of these breeds have developed side by side through the past 4,000 years.

In the past, the Volpino would be used as guard dog. The dogs are too small to be much of a threat to an intruder, but they would work in pairs with mastiffs. If the alert Volpino sensed any danger they would bark to get help from the large dog. The Volpino Italiano has been called the dog of Michelangelo and the breed was historically very popular in Italy, but almost died out during the mid 20th century. Today there are around 2,000 Volpinos around the world.

The Volpino Italiano is known for being energetic and friendly. These dogs get tightly attached to their families, and they are intelligent, happy, lively, and playful. It is a hardy and healthy breed with an average life expectancy of 14 to 16 years.

An average Volpino generally weighs between 9 and 12 lbs, so a small individual might get by with a small PlexiDor dog door, but the majority will need a medium PlexiDor dog door.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Karelian Bear

Image from
The Karelian Bear is a Finnish breed of dog, also called Karelsk Bj√∂rnhund in the Swedish speaking parts of Finland, or Karjalankarhukoira in Finnish. 

This is a tenacious hunter with quick reflexes and fearless nature. The breed earned its name from its ability to hunt and protect against bears. It's primarily used as a hunting breed, but also for search and rescue, and for obedience trials.

Although not commonly seen in the US, the breed has been used for non lethal bear control by the Washington department of fish and wildlife. The department's webpage says, "Just as a Border Collie has an instinct for moving sheep, out of each litter some Karelian Bear Dogs enter the world with an instinct for handling bears safely."

They are popular in their home country; according to the AKC the breed is one of the top 10 most common dogs in Finland today.

The Karelian Bear prefers to be outside, and needs plenty of space to run. This is an intelligent and independent working breed, which means they also get bored easily and need mental stimulation.

They generally love people and children, but must be socialized at an early age to enjoy the company of other types of dogs. Their extremely social nature make them prone to separation anxiety. They want to be with their human, not alone.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How do I stop my cat from scratching up my sofa?

Cats love to scratch things, and if they don't have a scratching post available right where and when they want it, the thing of preference might very well be the expensive living room sofa. Why do they do that?

It is normal for cats to scratch, and they are quite motivated to do so, for a number of different reasons:

  1. Scratching conditions the claws - it removes the dead outer layer
  2. Scratching is a way to mark territory. Cats have scent glands on their paws, and besides leaving  a visual mark, the scratching also leaves a scent
  3. Cats are quite athletic, and scratching helps them stretch the entire body while flexing claws and feet.
Some cat specialists also say the scratching can be used during play, and to communicate dominance. 

Since this is such a big part of cat behavior, it's not realistic to try to prevent cats from scratching altogether. Make sure you have acceptable objects, such as scratching posts, in strategic places. Many posts have catnip under the outer material to make them more interesting to the cats.

In the USA, many choose to declaw their cats - over 30 percent of cats in the US are declawed. Most cat owners would reconsider that decision if they knew what it means to the cat. Declawing cats means more than just cutting nails. Declawing amputates the last joint of each toe. This is a major surgery that's very painful to the cat and can have serious side effects. Declawing cats is illegal in many countries, because it's considered cruelty to animals.

A better idea is to observe where he or she likes to scratch, and on what. Substitute similar objects that are okay for scratching.

Try to find something that's similar to whatever the cat liked to scratch. Examples of things many cats like include corrugated cardboard, carpeted posts, and logs.

Place the "acceptable" object close to the "forbidden" object, and cover the forbidden objects with something unappealing to cats. For instance, aluminum foil, double-sided tape, cotton balls with perfume, or something else kitty doesn't like.

As your cat gets used to using the acceptable object, you can move it about 1 inch every day to a location more suitable for the human inhabitants. The closer you can keep it to the cat's preferred location, the better.

Keep the unappealing coverings until the cat has used the "right" object in its permanent location for at least a month.

Other ideas that can help with the scratching problem includes trimming the tips of your cat's nails. It's important not to cut too far, and you might want to ask your vet to show you how the first time. Your vet can also show you how to put Soft Paws nail caps on your cat's nails. These are plastic cats that you glue to the end of the cat's nails. They last for about a month.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The PlexiDor XL is a pet door designed to stand up to large breeds

Hercules, the 2010 heaviest dog in the world, is an
English Mastiff weighing in at 282 lbs.
Image from
Many dog breeds grow to imposing sizes, like the Great Dane, St Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, and Newfoundland, to name a few. Many of these dogs can exceed 200 lbs and have a shoulder height of three feet or more. 

Traditionally, these dogs have been confined to waiting until their human has the time to open the front door.

It has been nearly impossible to find a pet door big enough to accommodate the extra large dog breeds, and to complicate things, the sheer power with which these dogs hit a door when they come running can tear a traditional pet door apart.

The PlexiDor extra large is designed to take a beating. All PlexiDor pet door frames are engineered with hardened aluminum that won't bend, rust, crack, or warp. The saloon style panels are made of a hardened, shatter-resistant acrylic and seals to the frame with industrial grade weather stripping.

On the extra large door, the panels are equipped with factory installed aluminum trim to protect them from chewing and to provide added strength to the entire door.

The doors can be mounted in a standard household door or through a wall, and they are available in three colors: silver, white, or bronze. Every door comes with lock, key, and a steel security plate.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wrinkly dogs may need some extra care.

Aren't those wrinkly doggies where you can hardly tell if it's a dog or a towel just adorable?

If you have a wrinkly dog, you need to know that they might need some extra care to stay safe from skin problems.

Use a gentle wipe to clean the wrinkles on a daily basis. If the dog is unused to it, clean slowly, and give the dog lots of treats to help them realize the experience is pleasant.

Use a soft, damp cloth, or pre-moistened, alcohol-free wipes. Rub gently.

Wrinkly dogs should be bathed at least once a month with a gentle shampoo. Shampoos with colloidal oatmeal are particularly good because they help against itchy and dry skin. Very gently scrub between all the dog's wrinkles each bath, and make sure all shampoo residue rinses off.

These dogs tend to already have dry skin, and blow drying them is superfluous. Using a blow dryer might dry out the top layer of skin and leave moisture in the folds.

Do you have a wrinkly dog? Does he or she need extra care?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Dalmatian

The Dalmatian is the only spotted dog breed. Its true origins are veiled in mists of time, and these dogs have been credited with many nationalities and names. 

The spotted dog we know today has gotten its name from Dalmatia - a historical region of Croatia close to the Adriatic sea - but dogs of this type have appeared all over Europe, Asia, and Africa. Many believe that the breed originated in India, and there are dogs looking like Dalmatians on Egyptian tombs and in ancient ruins as old as 5,000 years.

Dalmatians have had many purposes through history. Some have been used for hunting, some as dogs of war or border guardians, and others worked as shepherds. Many dogs can do these things, but Dalmatians have a unique trait: no other breed share their talent for running with horses.

Most Dalmatians will fall in behind a horse and cart, or trot beside the shoulder of a horse even if they’ve never seen one before. This probably created the breed’s original association with firemen; it was natural for the dogs to follow horse-drawn fire engines.

These dogs are energetic and require daily exercise and training. They learn quickly and have excellent memories, and excel at obedience, agility, and other dog sports. Their endurance also makes them great search-and-rescue dogs. If you’re considering a Dalmatian, remember their past as coach dogs; they require a lot of exercise and something to occupy them.

Dalmatian puppies are born white, and their first spots appear around three weeks after birth. After a month they have most of their spots, but new ones can appear throughout life.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, August 14, 2015

Does your cat ignore you?

Some cats are affectionate on the border to intense and crave their human's attention, but most have a talent for appearing aloof and non caring. That doesn't mean they don't love us. Many cats act like they don't care, but it is just that: an act.

In the wild it's wise to hide any signs of weakness. Predators and competitors are watching, and self preservation instinct says appearing aloof, uncaring, and healthy increases the odds of survival. Cats have evolved not to be demonstrative.

On the other side of the coin, cats have cohabited with humans for thousands of years. No one know exactly how long, but cats have shared our lives for at least 9,000 years. During all this time, domestic cats have developed an ability to understand humans and to communicate with us.

Many adult cats behave like kittens around their humans, and many cat lovers treat their cats like babies. We might think they're ignoring us, but they're paying attention.

The Internet is another interesting example of the relationship between cats and humans. Even people who don't have cats enjoy silly cat videos and memes of cats that can "has cheezeburger." There are many interesting theories  about why we're so interested in watching cats, including them triggering deep nurturing instincts in humans through their big eyes, small noses, and dome-shaped heads. Another theory claims that cats are cool, effortless, and don't care what we think about them, which triggers admiration.

Do you have a cat? Aloof, affectionate, or a mix? Do you watch a lot of cat videos online?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Save money with an energy efficient PlexiDor pet door

Did you know that installing a PlexiDor pet door can save money on your energy bill? Every time you open your household door to let your dog in or out, the air inside your home blends with the air outside. 

If you already have another type of pet door, odds are it's not as well insulated as the PlexiDor. The panels on a PlexiDor are molded to form a dual thermo-pane that insulates, and the panels are lined with high density nylon pile weather seal to stop drafts. The doors close tight to keep weather outside. Many customers from extreme climates report minimal loss in heating and cooling after installing a PlexiDor.

The below energy savings figures are typical of PlexiDor owners and based on more than 25 years of worldwide customer testimonials. The actual results can vary based on your home's insulation, roof and window type, age, and size.

The figures are based on an average spring/summer temperature between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit with an indoor temperature cooled to 72 degrees, and an average fall/winter temperature of between 32 and 45 degrees with the indoor temperature heated to 72 degrees.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pay attention to your cat's litter box

Maintaining the litter box isn't anyone's favorite thing to do, but it is very important. Cats are naturally clean and have a strong dislike for dirty, smelly letterboxes. In order to keep both kitty and yourself happy, make sure the box is squeaky clean.

If the box is squeaky clean and your cat still prefers a corner of the carpet or your laundry hamper, go see a vet. Your cat might have a physical problem.

Some cats are picky about the box.

Boxes that appeal to humans aren't always right for the cat - it needs to be large enough to dig, scratch, and turn around in, and it has to be easy to get into and out of. Many humans like covered litter boxes, and many cats dislike them, because they trap the smell. The average cat has fourteen times the sense of smell or an average human!

Automatic litter boxes are convenient for us, and many cats accept them. Other cats don't like them at all. If you have an automatic litter box and your kitty avoids it, opt for a large plastic box scooped manually.

Many cats don't like to share.

Many multi-cat households only have one box, and this can also lead to problems. A rule of thumb is one box for each cat, and maybe one extra. It’s okay to have the boxes side by side.

Litter matters

The cat usually doesn't care whether you use a liner in the box or not. Cats do care about the depth of the litter. Most manufacturers recommend two to three inches, but if your cat likes to dig around you might want to go up to four inches. Clumping litter is easier to scoop.

Make sure to choose a scoop that matches your litter - larger particles require larger holes to sift clean litter out. Scoop the box at least twice a day.

Keep the box clean

Regular scooping and replacing the litter will keep the box clean and smelling fresh for quite a while, but eventually you’ll need to empty it and clean it. Depending on the type of litter you use this might need to be done weekly or more rarely. If you don’t like the smell, you cats won’t like it either.

Wash the empty box thoroughly with hot water and detergent. Rinse well and spray with a mild bleach solution. Make sure you don’t use a cleaner with ammonia, because this smells a little like a cat’s pee, and might make them avoid the box.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What is a therapy dog?

Last week was assistance dog week. Therapy dogs don't fall into the same category as assistance dogs, but they still perform important work, both for their handlers and others. Read on to learn more about what a therapy dog is!

A therapy dog is trained to provide comfort and affection. Many are pets who have been trained to follow their owners to nursing home, hospices, retirement homes, and hospitals. Some even live in a facility. Others have been trained to provide stress relief at airports, or to give comfort during disasters.

There are many examples of disasters where therapy dogs and their handlers have worked around the clock to provide relief to rescue workers and those affected by the disaster. The 9-11 tragedy is probably the most known - over three hundred dogs were present.

There are three basic kinds of therapy dogs:

Therapeutic visitation dogs visit hospitals, nursing homes, and other places where a visiting dog can comfort and motivate people. These are often volunteers.

Animal assisted therapy dogs assist therapists with physical and occupational therapy. They often work in rehabilitation facilities.

Facility therapy dogs live in a facility, often a nursing home, and are trained to help patients with Alzheimer’s and similar.

An important difference between therapy dogs and assistance dogs is that therapy dogs and their handlers are not currently covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that their presence is dependent on the good will of business owners and similar.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog breed. The current world record holder of tallest dog is a Great Dane, but taking an average of individuals in a breed, the Irish Wolfhound would win without contest. They are also superb athletes with great stamina, and they can run quickly for long periods of time.

This breed has been around for a long time – the oldest references stem back to Roman records from around 390 AD. Today, many think the name comes from the dogs’ ragged appearance, but they were originally bred to hunt wolves. These versatile dogs would hunt with their humans, fight in battle, guard homes, and play with the children.

Irish Wolfhounds are known for being calm, kind, dignified, and courageous. This is not a breed that gets into trouble, but they do have hunting instinct and will give chase. It might be tempting to think a dog this size would make a great guard dog, but except being big they’re much too friendly to work as watch dogs or patrol dogs. A typical Irish Wolfhound will think the best of all people, unless their own humans are physically attacked.

The mere size of the breed can be a challenge for owners – a Wolfhound standing on the hind legs can reach seven feet. The coat doesn’t require much grooming, but dogs this size require lots of room, lots of exercise, and a big car.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cat breed spotlight: Singapura

Most people can identify at least a few dog breeds. Do you know any cat breeds? There are actually many different breeds of domesticated cats, but they often get less attention in the media than dogs do.

The Singapura cat is the smallest domesticated cat breed, and adult females can weigh as little as five pounds. Adult males usually weigh between six and eight pounds.

As the name hints, the breed was believed to come from Singapore. However, the three founding cats traveled from the US to Singapore and were then brought back to the USA. One working theory is that the breed is a mix of Burmese and Abyssinian. It is still considered a legitimate breed, and according to the Cat Fancier’s Association, there is at least one legitimate cat from Singapore behind the breed.

The breed has become a tourism mascot for Singapore, they have statues of the cats, and have even hosted Singapura exhibits.

Besides being small, the breed is known for being active, affectionate, and easy to live with. They thrive on attention and love to play, but won’t get excited to the point where they bounce around the house and accidentally destroy things.

Most Singapuras have a stunning coat. Each hair has two shades; ivory at the base and brown at the tip.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Don't eat that!

Some dogs go through life without ever getting into trouble, but others chew on everything from rocks to dirty laundry. If your dog belongs to the category who eats remote controls, chews, and other things not meant for eating, you need to dog proof your home and provide dog friendly alternatives.

Chewing often signals a bored dog. Consider giving your furry friend some extra exercise, more play time, new toys, and play games that stimulate the mind. A tired dog is generally a happy dog and much less likely to get into trouble than a pup looking for entertainment.

If you have a chewer/eater, you also need to dog-proof your home. Make sure everything toxic is locked up where your dog can't get to it, and keep chewable objects out of reach. It's bad enough if your dog chews things to pieces, but the habit can become fatal if they eat the pieces.

Of course, chewing tends to take place when you're not at home. Keep an eye out for these common signs of your dog eating something he or she shouldn't have:

  • Vomiting 
  • Gagging 
  • Abdominal pains 
  • Lethargy 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Change in bowels 
  • Change in behavior

If you think your dog ate something they shouldn't have, call the vet. If your regular vet is closed, call the nearest pet emergency clinic. It can be tempting to wait and see what happens, hoping for the best, but many objects can cause great damage. If you wait, your dog might need surgery, which will be much more expensive than going to the vet at once.

What is the strangest thing your dog has chewed up?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The PlexiDor Promise

We here at PlexiDor pet doors want you to be perfectly happy with your door. This is why every door comes with a 90 day money back guarantee - you can return it if you change your mind - and a five year warranty.

Any defective part will be repaired or replaced for five years from the purchase date - covers residential use only, there is a special line of kennel doors for commercial use. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

International assistance dog week!

This week is International Assistance Dog Week, dedicated to all the hard working and devoted assistance dogs that help humans with various tasks all around the world. The goals of this week include honoring and recognizing these fantastic dogs as well as raising awareness and educating the public.

Assistance dogs come in all forms and sizes. Some are bred to be guide dogs or hearing dogs, other started their lives under dire circumstances and come from a shelter. Regardless of size and color, they provide independence and change their handler's life.

These fantastic dogs provide a wide range of services. They ca be trained to guide a blind human safely through traffic, fetch items, alert for seizures, block oncoming persons and create a safe zone, pull a wheelchair, assist a disabled child, alert for high or low blood sugar, open and close doors, and many other important tasks. Some service dogs are able to use an ATM and help their handler with everyday tasks such as doing laundry!

No matter the size or breed of the dog, or the tasks he or she performs, they all have one thing in common: they offer hope, dignity, and independence.

If you see a working dog, leave it alone.

This requirement can be difficult to understand for those who aren't dependent on a dog, but consider this: the working dog might be train to detect seizures or other changes in their human that might be life threatening. Through distracting the dog from its job, it might not detect the change or be able to warn the owner in time.

Assistance dogs are allowed to accompany their handlers to all places open to the general public and they are not required to wear a vest.

Do you use an assistance dog or do you know someone who does? We'd love to hear all about it, leave us a comment!

~ Maria Sadowski ~

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dog breed spotlight: Dachshund

The Dachshund is a lively and friendly dog breed with German origin. The breed stems back to the 1600s, and the dogs were bred to be tough and fearless enough to dig underground and fight badgers.

Dachshunds are enthusiastic, playful, and loving. They require moderate exercise and generally do well with children. This breed tends to get bored easily, so be prepared to keep your furry friend busy and load up with fun toys.

There are three different coat varieties: smooth, wire-haired, and long haired. Both the smooth and wire-haired dachshunds shed very little. The dogs can come in standard size or miniature.

A standard Dachshund weighs between 16 and 32 pounds, and a medium PlexiDor dog door is a good choice. A miniature weighs under 11 pounds. Some can use a small PlexiDor, but most will require a medium.

~ Maria Sadowski ~