Got the 9-to-5 blues? We have the solution!

ff-academy

If you’ve taken Behavior Fundamentals Online, you already have a great foundation in canine behavior, communication, breeds, and evolution. If Fundamentals has whetted your appetite for all things dog and you want to learn more – or even ditch the cubicle and change your career – then FetchFind Academy is the logical next step!

FetchFind Academy is an eight month long, in-person training program that will teach you everything you need to learn to become a dog trainer. Our graduates are highly sought after for professional positions throughout the pet industry. The program consists of two, 4-month long sessions – Essential Training Skills and Advanced Training Skills.

Essential Training Skills

This is where we really start digging into topics such as associative learning, canine intelligence and emotion, classical and operant conditioning, anxiety and arousal thresholds, and nuisance behaviors. On top of that, you’ll begin to learn the basics of positive training (that’s where it really gets fun)!

During the four months of Essentials, you’ll have one instructor – the excellent Betsy Lane, founder of PetKiDo (pictured above, bottom row center, with the 2016 Academy class). This single instructor format promotes a sense of intimacy and camaraderie with your fellow students that lasts long after class work is over. This is where you start to build your network; these will always be the peeps who knew you when you were first starting out as a trainer, and it’s a valuable, lifelong bond.

Dates: Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9:30 pm, April 18 to August 8

  • Prerequisite:
 Behavior Fundamentals Online and placement exam
  • Program length:
 4 months
 / 
120 hours
  • Time spent:
 50% classroom
, 50% hands on
  • Apply here.

Advanced Training Skills

After you’re done with Essentials, graduates can move on to Advanced Training Skills. (If you’re already a dog trainer and want to further your career and hone your skill set, you can sign up for Advanced after passing a placement exam.) This program is a very hands-on, and includes many simulated and actual situations that face dog trainers today so that you can work through solutions with the guidance of our team of expert instructors and veteran dog trainers. You will learn how to create treatment plans, interact with clients. and identify all types of behavioral issues, including fear, anxiety, and aggression.

Dates: Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9:30 pm, August 15 to December 5

  • Prerequisite:
 Essential Training Skills or placement exam
  • Program length:
 4 months
 / 
65 hours
  • Time spent:
 25% classroom
, 75% hands on
  • Apply here.

We hope you’ll join us!  If you have any questions about the program, please contact Lynda Lobo at lynda@fetchfind.com.

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The first step to becoming a dog trainer is signing up for Behavior Fundamentals Online. It’s only $49, and throughout the month of February we’ll donate half the purchase price to Best Friends Animal Society! 

Do you want to join the FetchFind Revolution?

young man and dog jumping in the sky

Dear friends,

We did something really big last week and * drumroll please * officially opened up our Seed 1 capital round!

First, a little background info: capital or funding rounds are usually restricted to institutional investors, crowdfunding platforms, and – in the very early stages – to friends & family. In addition, capital rounds are generally tied to specific benchmarks in a company’s development, traction, and growth.

I’m proud to say that we’ve been hitting our benchmarks left and right for the last six months. For example:

– We currently have 70+ subscribers, 3,800 users, and are growing 9% month over month.

– We’re in negotiations with some of the largest pet care companies in the country to provide HR solutions focused on hiring and training.

– We recently welcomed our first three international subscribers, thus signaling our opportunity outside the US.

– We’re in conversations with global media and insurance corporations to provide pet-centric content. Our own content library exceeds 1,000 unique pieces, and is growing daily thanks to the contributions of our in-house experts and other pet care industry leaders.

In a nutshell, this means that we are exceptionally well-positioned to dominate the global pet e-learning content market.

But one of the things that has always stuck with me throughout the process of growing this company is just how much support we’ve always gotten from the pet community – in short, the support that we’ve gotten from all of YOU!

It’s almost unheard-of for a private company to offer direct investment opportunities to non-institutional sources; however, as a way to recognize and thank you for your support, we’re opening up a percentage of this funding round to our wonderful, enthusiastic, and savvy pet community. Of course, there are a lot of requirements for those interested, but the main takeaway is this: If you believe in everything that FetchFind stands for – and want to be a real and material part of what are going to accomplish – you can become an investor as well. If you want to learn more, let me know and I’ll send you more information.

With endless thanks and infinite gratitude,

Jamie

 

 

 

Why do dogs lift their legs to pee?

fire-hydrant
Give it a minute – a dog will be along soon.

By Jamie Migdal, CPDT-KA and CEO of FetchFind

The image is a cartoon and comedy favorite all around the world – if there’s a fire hydrant, there’s sure to be a dog lifting his leg on it.  But why do fire hydrants (and other vertical surfaces) prompt this behavior?

The short answer – dogs are marking their territory, and the higher up the spray, the harder it will be for another dog to come along and overwrite the information.  Think of the fire hydrant, or lamp post, or car tire as a chat room for all the local dogs – that fragrant mix of messages is announcing who has more testosterone, who is in heat, and who is new to the neighborhood.

It’s not just male dogs who lift their legs to pee. Many years ago, I had an adorable female beagle on my dog walking route who would use one of her hind legs to ratchet herself halfway to a headstand so that she could pee three feet above the ground. (I loved her for many reasons, but that particular acrobatic feat was the clincher for me.) And it’s not just female dogs who squat to pee – many male dogs never get in the habit of lifting their legs, and the jury is still out on whether or not this is a learned behavior or an instinctive one, or more common in unaltered vs neutered dogs. So if your male dog never hoists a leg, don’t worry about it; that’s just who he is. But, if he has been raising his leg his entire life and all of a sudden starts squatting, it may be a sign of a UTI or even a hip injury, and you should take him to the vet to get it checked out.

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Want to learn more about canine behavior? Check out Behavior Fundamentals Online!  It’s a detailed, science-based look at dog behavior, how dogs learn, and an all-encompassing survey of the world of dogs!

Bonus: during the month of February, when you buy the entire program, we’ll donate half the purchase price to Best Friends Animal Society!

Are you missing out on allowable tax deductions?

taxes

By Marie Poliseno, CPA and managing partner of Dollars & Scents Accounting Services

Too often, self-employed professional dog walkers find themselves owing taxes at the end of the year, in part because they weren’t aware of things they could or should have done during the year to avoid a tax bill. This includes understanding tax deductions that are appropriate for a dog walking business.

First and foremost, planning is key: Don’t just get handed a tax bill at the end of the year. Learn advantageous ways to manage it. Make sure you are tracking your income and expenses accurately, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Too often clients fail to engage in a dialogue with their tax preparer. A good CPA who understands your industry will take initiative, but it never hurts to ask about tax strategies that could lower your tax bill, including allowable deductions you may be leaving on the table.

Where to start

The first step is setting up a separate business bank account from your personal one. Once you’ve committed to a discipline of depositing all of your business income and paying business expenses from your business account, you’ve gone a long way toward helping yourself understand your financial picture and the taxes you’ll owe.

The second step is learning to properly categorize your revenue and expenses to determine their tax deductibility. There are various ways to get help with this step, including engaging a CPA knowledgeable about your industry, attending tax related webinars, or doing some research on your own.

Next, engage in a dialogue with a tax professional to answer some essential questions, such as:

  • Are there any tax advantages to purchasing certain assets for my business, like a car or an SUV? Does one type of vehicle have a tax advantage over another?
  • I am planning to invest in my business this year, including purchasing a new computer and software to manage my scheduling of dog walking and invoicing. How will this affect my tax bill?
  • I am planning to attend a conference this year or enroll in an education or certification program away from home. What expenses can I deduct while traveling to and from these events?
  • Are there any tax strategies I should be employing to lower my bill?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You know your business better than anyone, so if something is on your mind, speak up! Your tax preparation should not just consist of handing over some files or receipts to an accountant once a year. Having a consistent dialogue with your CPA throughout the year helps lay out a plan for managing your taxes and provides an opportunity to do something about them proactively. This will often save you money and unpleasant surprises, like owing more than you’ve budgeted for.

Often-overlooked tax deductions

I see too many clients paying more taxes than necessary simply because they didn’t know they could take certain kinds of deductions. Here are some of the most commonly missed ones:

The home office deduction. Did you know that a portion of your home or apartment used exclusively for your business is tax deductible? Your home office space is the most obvious candidate. And if you provide boarding or daycare in your home, which is often the case—because as your clients’ dog walker, you are probably the first person they will approach to provide this service—the space you use for crating the dogs in your care could also be considered when calculating the square footage of your home used for business. Think about not only the additional revenue source but the tax advantages of deductions associated with it, like the laundry, pet food costs, and other supplies. Translation: tax savings!

Business use of your vehicle. Especially for dog walkers who spend a lot of their time traveling to, picking up, and dropping off clients’ dogs, getting the best possible deduction for the use of your vehicle can save tax dollars big time. Many people believe the mileage deduction is always the most advantageous way to deduct the business use of their vehicle, but this isn’t always true. Often times, especially with new vehicles, the depreciation deduction far outweighs the mileage calculation. It’s worth asking your accountant which strategy is best given your vehicle and how it’s used.

Meals while away from home. This is often a topic of conversation because most dog walkers work in close proximity to their homes. In those cases, meals while out and about during the work day are NOT tax deductible. However, if your dog walking takes you more than 20 miles from home, the cost of your meals could be tax deductible.

Conference and workshop expenses. While most people realize the cost of enrollment in a conference or class is a business expense, many dog walkers overlook costs while attending such events. For example, you can deduct meals, the cost of travel to/from the workshop including car expenses (mileage or gas), parking, tolls, and lodging (even if it’s an RV park!), and any other expenses directly related to the activity.

Communication is the key

The rules around deductions change often—another reason to keep that dialogue going with your accountant. Knowing about tax law changes can help you make good decisions about a range of things, including when to purchase something, what to buy, and how to purchase it. Should you buy a new or used car? This year or next? How much should you spend on it? Should you own it or should the business? Your tax professional can also guide you in decisions about the use of your space, or even which expenses to keep track of.

In short, maintaining an active relationship with a CPA and keeping up on tax laws can keep more money in your pocket at tax time. Who doesn’t like that?

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marie-polisenoMarie Poliseno is the managing partner of Dollars & Scents Accounting Services. She is a certified public accountant (CPA) as well as a professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and honors graduate of the SFSPCA Academy for Dog Trainers (CC). To work with Marie on your financial and tax matters, email marie@dog-pro-cpa.com, or visit www.dog-pro-cpa.com to learn more about her services.

Better than chocolate

Jamie and Mimsy

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

I found this nifty little graph of how much money the average person spent on their pet on Valentine’s Day from 2008-2016 (I love statistics!), and, as always, it got me to thinking about all of the extra special things that we buy to show our pets that we love them, and how many of the necessary things that we tend to put off when our lives get hectic.

So instead of giving you another top ten list on why pets are better than chocolate (though both pets and chocolate are good for your heart), here are some things you can do to show your pets that you love them all year round:

Schedule those annual check ups, vaccinations, and dental cleanings. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let these important appointments creep past their due dates because of my own overscheduled life.

Take your dog to the groomer. It’s easy to let this slide over the winter when you don’t want to deal with a damp dog and freezing temperatures, but you know your dog needs a bath and trim right about now. If you have a pup that doesn’t care to be touched, extra points for finding a low-stress groomer. 

Sign up for a class. It’s time to start instilling new behaviors (or brushing up on old ones) so that you can be ready for the warmer days, longer walks, and bigger crowds.  

Update your first aid and emergency evacuation kits. Everyone should have fully stocked first aid and evacuation kits. If you have the time, you can also take a pet first aid course.

Learn some relaxation protocols. For noise-sensitive or anxious dogs, spring thunderstorms can be pretty terrifying. Take your pup to a TTouch session, lay in a supply of Rescue Remedy, or – in extreme cases – schedule an appointment with a board-certified veterinary behaviorist.

Start researching pet resort or in-home pet sitting options. If you can find a company or sitter that you trust now, you won’t be scrambling for a reservation when you want to get away for a few days during spring break. 

Re-evaluate your pet’s diet and supplements. A dog’s nutritional needs can change rapidly as he gets older, and it makes sense to evaluate those needs regularly. Replenish the pet supplies, re-read the labels on the food, and make a note to discuss any changes with your vet during the appointment you scheduled after reading item #1, above.

Get those professional photos taken! Ask your friends who they used for their pet photos, or just google “professional pet photographers” and look for the pros in your area. A lot of pet photographers will hold day-long photo shoots on major holidays at local retail stores, so keep an eye out for those opportunities as well.

And, speaking of chocolate:

Bookmark the chocolate toxicity meter and poison control hotline info. Because some of our dogs like to have their own celebrations by getting into what’s left of that giant box of assorted chocolates we mistakenly thought was safe on top of the fridge.

 

 

Can you keep miniature goats as pets?

mini-goats

By Mary Beth Miller

Mini goats – Pygmy and Nigerian dwarf goats – can be great additions to the right family. Gregarious and docile, both types are good choices for hobbyists and people who want to keep them as pets. There is never a dull moment with these mini goats, but they aren’t for everyone.

The pygmy goat is about half the size of a regular sized goat, weighing between 55 to 75 pounds. The Nigerian dwarf weighs between 25-45 pounds. Both types of goats can be milked.

Female goats are called does or nannies; intact male goats are called bucks or billies, and neutered male goats are called wethers. Billy goats can be aggressive and have a strong smell; does or wethers are recommended for people who want to keep them as pets.

Housing

Anyone who has ever tried to house train a goat will tell you it is impossible to keep them in the house. Aside from the fact that goats eat everything but the kitchen sink (not an exaggeration here), they also have the inability to control their bathroom habits.

Goats are herd animals, meaning that they get lonely if left by themselves. It’s better to have at least a pair, but if you don’t want a growing herd, it’s best to get two females or a female and a wether.

The great thing about keeping mini goats is that they do not need a lot of space (especially in comparison to other livestock). Shelter should be 15-20 square feet per goat, with a hard surface for standing and access to adjacent grazing areas. The shed should have bedding that is replaced regularly, and a higher, dry place for sleeping.

Fencing is key: their housing area should be secured with fences high enough to keep these spirited jumpers inside the fence and safe from predators.

Feeding

Goats are grazing animals, spending long hours of the day eating a variety of roughage, including dry leaves, brush, bark, and grass hay.

Not all pet owners can provide this type of free-range diet for their pet goats, so a goat mix feed should be provided (check with your vet for recommended amounts and types of feed). Overfeeding can lead to health problems such as scouring and obesity.

Goats make great lawnmowers and the fresh grass is an excellent addition to their diet. However, beware of plants poisonous to the pygmy such as fir trees, laburnum, rhododendron and yew.

Minerals should also be included in the diet; a mineral block, available at any large pet or farm store, should be placed in a dry location where the goats can easily reach it.

Health care

Before you even consider getting goats – find out if there is a veterinarian nearby (or within a reasonable driving distance) who treats goats. Ask the breeder or rescue, check online for large animal vets (especially one that treats small ruminants), call a nearby veterinary college to see what services they offer, or call the county agricultural extension agent and ask for recommendations.  (See resources, below, for online listings.)

Mini goats are generally very hardy and healthy, but there are a few basic care requirements pet owners must do routinely:

Vaccination and medication – goats should be vaccinated against tetanus, pulpy kidney, enterotoxemia and other illnesses common in your geographic location. Ask your vet for the recommended vaccination schedule for your goats.

All  herbivores have a tendency to contract parasitic worms. Administering worming medicine to your goats twice a year will prevent stomach and gastrointestinal parasites. Talk to your veterinarian about your worming needs and the appropriate medicine to give your pet. Worming medication is easily administered by mouth and can be given at home.

Hoof trimming – just like the human fingernail, goat hooves grow continuously and will require trimming about every six to eight weeks.

Financial implications

As with any pet, you must consider the amount of money that will need to be spent to keep your goats safe and healthy. Here are some of the line items everyone should consider before adding a goat to the family (prices will vary by geographic region and how elaborate you want your set-up to be):

  • Health, registration, and transportation certificates
  • Shelter and fencing
  • Bedding
  • Goat feed and hay
  • Annual veterinary costs

Legal requirements

Even if you regard your mini goats as pets, they are legally considered livestock and require owners to obtain documentation such as property and registration numbers and transportation/movement licenses before/upon purchase of the animal. Every county or municipal district may have different requirements; the rescue or breeder should be able to help you get the appropriate documentation squared away before you take your new goats home.

If you live in a city, your first order of business should be determining whether or not you can keep livestock within the city limits. You should also check (and double check) any municipal regulations regarding such things as waste disposal, rodent control, and noise abatement.

There is a lot more to owning goats than you thought!

Although it may seem like a lot, most of the legal requirements and expenses are only necessary right after purchase or adoption. Of course, not every budget, property, or lifestyle meets the requirements for goat ownership. But, with this information as a starting point, you can now make an informed decision about adding mini goats to your family.

Resources

 

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mary-beth-miller-pawedinMary Beth Miller is a registered veterinary technician from southeast Iowa. She works in a large/small animal veterinary clinic and also volunteers at the local Humane Society, Emergency Animal Care Center, as well as the Iowa Parrot Rescue. Her passion lies in helping save the lives of animals. Mary Beth has three dogs, a Siberian husky named Rocky and two rescue dogs named Sambita and Nina.

Work like a dog or lead the pack: the Pet Boss guide to MORE foot traffic in your store

pet-boss-blueprint

By Candace D’Agnolo, Founder of Pet Boss Nation & CEO of Dogaholics 

Would you rather have only a couple customers visit your pet business or have the door constantly flowing with people?

Of course, you’d rather have more customers bringing more money and freedom for you. But how? Does it feel sometimes like you’ve tried everything short of hiring a marching band?

Pet Boss Overwhelm happens quickly, because without knowing where to put your marketing dollars and how to find the right people, it might feel like the customers will never come to you!

So let’s break it down right now and end the overwhelm, because there are really only two ways to increase traffic to your business: find new customers and re-engage current clients.

It already seems like something you can take action on, doesn’t it? Here are three great ways to bring a flood of customers right now AND a free planning tool to get it all done.

Make friends with social media spending

If you’re still hoping your followers will start seeing all your posts again free, I’m here to tell you that ship has sailed. It’s easy to waste money on Facebook ads and Social Media Managers, if you jump in without a plan, but it can be simple and inexpensive to have great success there, too!

First, let’s talk about Facebook ads. Facebook is the cheapest way to advertise and you can target exactly your ideal customer! Play around in the ads manager by using pictures to create a slideshow and add music (…you can do that directly in the ads manager now). Then make sure to dig deep into the details of the advertising parameters (like radius down to the mile or zip codes, customize the audience to include dog lovers and exclude parents…for example. Focus on a specific age group and in the targeted details, you can even focus on things like careers of busy working professionals who would need daytime services).

Second, if you have a professional or a team member helping you with social media, make sure they know what your goals are and give them a plan for the types of the things they should be posting. Don’t just leave them hanging! Make sure they know to put a local spin on everything you do. Use local hash tags or while out on walks your team could posts photos of a dog in front of a local business. Don’t forget to tag that business, too! Boost any posts that are getting more traction than others.

Remind them you’re awesome

Once you get them, make sure you don’t just wait for them to think of you. Reach out to people who haven’t worked with you for the last 60 days by phone or email. If it’s a long time client, just check in and ask how “Fluffy is doing.” Let them know you’ve noticed you hadn’t seen them in a while, and you just wanted to make sure they were all doing okay.

If it’s a new customer, offer them a discount or special one time offer to get them back in. Just have a conversation. See if you can answer any questions they might have around their pet. You’re the expert in the pet industry! Help them out and it will likely turn into a future sale!

Develop a program with local rescues

I’m not talking about just offering coupons to adopters, which you should be doing if you’re not. What I’m suggesting is partnering with them more. Host little “alumni” events for their adopters at your store or doggy daycare where the alumni can mix and mingle, get a discount, and perhaps have a shelter representative there to see how all the dogs are doing.

Make the most of the relationship! Have the rescue send an email to adopters that includes your logo, story and a photo of you or your business. Take photos every time at the party and share them on social media. Talk about your services to everyone in attendance. Don’t forget to get all their email addresses, because now you’ve got some NEW foot traffic in the door and you want to be able to continue marketing to them!

In my own store and with my clients, we use my Pet Boss Blueprint to break down major goals (like conquering any of the three ideas above) into a 90-day plan so foolproof you can’t help but be successful in implementing them. If you’ve got big ideas, but no time, no energy, or no bandwidth to make them happen, I’ve got you! These quick to-dos are examples of small tasks that add up to BIG results as part of a larger plan (and they’re so easy to just get done – no procrastinating).

Head over to Pet Boss Nation and download your FREE blueprint. I’ll teach you how to use it to break down any big goal or problem you’ve been putting off into a manageable 90-day action plan. The PDF includes a series of quick how-to videos so you’ll never be stuck.

Hey, at the end of 90 days your store will still be there.

Will it be full of people, making you more money, running like a well-oiled machine while you’re kicking back with your family, or will it be the same as it is now? It’s up to you!

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Download your FREE Pet Boss Blueprint here! Bonus: get the newsletter here.

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1candaceCandace D’Agnolo, Founder of Pet Boss Nation and CEO of Dogaholics, started the Pet Boss Nation community because she knows the value that support and coaching can provide to a business. In her own company, she took the my initial concept of a brick and mortar location and turned it into multiple revenue streams – up to three locations, offer services (as in dog walking, doggy daycare, grooming), online informational products, books, merchandise, and now pet business consulting. She’s employed over 150 people, led a team as large as 30 and still runs a successful 7-figure business. 

Keep your eyes on the prize

wistemBy Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

If you’ve been reading my biweekly love [news]letters to you, you know that I am currently involved in a couple of business accelerator programs. One of them is the prestigious WiSTEM here in Chicago, and the other one is the equally prestigious Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE) in St. Louis. Yada yada yada, etc etc etc – all that really matters is that I understand what it is my business is looking to accomplish. I’ve been working my butt off (more on that below) setting goals, making plans, and focusing on objectives.

I have my big pitch night at 1871 Chicago on Tuesday, and quite honestly every cell in my body and every moment of my time is focused on creating a memorable and meaningful three minute speech that will make 400 or 500 people in the audience feel as though they would be willing to either use FetchFind to better their business or write a check to become an investor in my company. The point being, even when you’re laser-focused on one thing, you are most likely also doing that thing for two or more reasons.The same reasoning can be applied to anything in personal life. I am on a weight-loss journey and just knocked off the first 13 pounds. Although I am super focused on reaching my goal weight, every day I do many things to stay on track to meet the goal: counting calories, getting my 10,000 steps walking my Collies, or just being comfortable with a little bit of hunger in my belly.

 

So whatever’s on your plate, big or small, remember to pay attention to all of the little things that will help you accomplish your ultimate goal.

Why are most calico cats female?

calico-cat

By Emily Bruer

Calico cats have arguably one of the most beautiful coats in all of cat-dom.

Many people believe that “Calico” is used to describe a breed, but it is actually a coat color that can be found in many different breeds. This coat pattern is entirely unique and you will never find two calicos with the exact same markings.

A common myth is that all calico cats are female. While the large majority of calicos are female, one in 3,000 are male. The reason for this is completely genetic: the orange/non-orange coat color is carried on the X chromosome. Each parent contributes one chromosome to the baby. Females have XX and males have XY. This means that the father of the kittens determines the gender.

However, to get a calico coat the kitten must have both an orange and a non-orange X chromosome, which one would assume means that all calicos are female. In some rare cases, however, faulty cell division can cause an extra X chromosome. This extra X would be reproduced in all the cells, and if one of the Xs has the orange gene and one has the non-orange, the resulting kitten could be a male calico.

The XXY gene sequence can cause health conditions such as weak muscles, slow growth, and hormone imbalances and is referred to as Klinefelter’s syndrome.

If you are one of the few people who ends up with a male calico, there are a few things you should know. The first is that almost all male calicos are sterile.

1 in 10,000 male calicos are able to reproduce, but their genetic materials can be problematic due to their extra chromosomes. For a male calico to be able to reproduce they would have to have two double cells XXYY, which, as you can imagine, is very rare.

Another way that a male cat can be a calico is through two fetuses merging in the mother’s womb. This is referred to a chimera: during the merge one of the DNA strands can determine the coat color, while the other determines the reproductive organs. This is extremely rare, but it has occurred.

When choosing your new cat, be sure to base your choice on more than coat color. Let the adoption staff know about your home, activity level, and other pets, as many staff members will know the cats in their care exceptionally well.

Keep in mind that the shelter is a terrifying place for most animals, and some may act completely shut down or aggressive in the shelter when they are amazingly sweet, affectionate and outgoing in a home. While the staff may not be able to tell you exactly how a cat will act in your home, they may be able to guide you toward a cat they think will be a great fit.

If you don’t currently have a cat, consider adopting a bonded pair of adult cats. Bonded pairs have a hard time getting adopted, but they have twice the amount of love to give. They can keep each other company as well as help each other stay fit and exercised.

The only thing better than one calico cat is two!

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Looking for your new calico pal(s)?  Check out the listings on a national adoption databases like Petfinder or Adopt-a-pet, or through a local rescue or shelter. 

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emily-bruer-pawedinEmily Bruer has been penning the adventures of her imagination since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Working at animal shelters for the last five years, she learned an incredible amount about animal care and behavior. She is currently employed at a vet clinic where she continues her animal education. Emily’s love of animals is evident when you step into her home, which she shares with six dogs and six cats, all of whom were rescues.

 

 

Favorite fictional pups!

rough-collie

By Sandie Lee

Dogs have been a part of literature for centuries, from Homer to J.K. Rowling. Keep reading to see if your favorite pooch is on the list!

Argos – The Odyssey 

This epic poem by Homer is a classic among literary works. It tells of the wanderings of Odysseus after the Trojan War.  

Argos waited for 20 years for his master to return and was the only one to recognize Odysseus for his true self. And like any good dog, this man’s best friend (after having seen his master safely home) went and died in peace. It’s a true tale of fidelity and love.

Snowy – The Adventures of Tintin 

It may not be an epic tale, but the adventures of Tintin and his eye-rolling and cynical-mouthed canine, Snowy,  elevated this series to one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century.

The Adventures of Tintin was created by Georges Remi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name Hergé and features slapstick humor  offset by dashes of sophisticated satire and political or cultural commentary. These books became so popular they were translated into more than 70 languages, with sales that topped 200 million copies.

Even though Snowy may have been distracted by his favorite chews (a good bone) every now and then, he was still able to help his happy-go-lucky owner out of some tight spots.

Toto – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 

Who can forget the cute little terrier that accompanied Dorothy to the mystical land of Oz?

Toto was a loyal sidekick to Dorothy, even though she ended up with three other unlikely companions. Toto displayed the ultimate in loyalty and fearlessness, and  this tale wouldn’t be half as good without him!

Written by author L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900. It has since gone on to become a classic tale for both children and adults, and has been adapted for both film and stage.

Did you know that in the Oz sequels, Toto could talk? He always could, but told Dorothy that he simply chose not to. 

Check out “Terry”, aka Toto of the Wizard of Oz.

Buck – The Call of the Wild 

This tale tells of survival and primordial instinct of its main canine character, Buck, a Saint Bernard/Scotch Collie mix.

Buck is dognapped from a California ranch where he was a beloved pet and sold as a sled dog in the Yukon at the height of the  Gold Rush. Here Buck must fight to dominate the other pack dogs and learn the violent, evil ways of man. This left Buck no other option but to resort back to his wild state, until he met his savior, John Thornton, whose love and kindness showed the mistreated dog the other side of humanity.

Written by Jack London, The Call of the Wild was first published in four installments by The Saturday Evening Post in 1903. The same year it was picked up by Macmillan  to be made into a book, and has been in print ever since.

Tock – The Phantom Tollbooth 

Another “cartoon” dog stole the hearts of children (and adults) in this 1961 children’s adventure novel by Norton Juster called The Phantom Tollbooth.

In this tale a young boy (Milo) is bored with everything. One day he arrives home to find a mysterious package with a note awaiting him. The package contains a magical tollbooth that brings Milo into a whole new world.

Here he meets Tock, an oversized talking dog with an alarm clock on each side of him (a “watchdog”) who tells Milo “since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable to expect that, in order to get out, you must start thinking.” (Good advice from a cartoon canine!)

The Phantom Tollbooth sold over three million copies, was translated into several languages, and was adapted for the stage, screen, and even the opera.

Lassie – Lassie Come Home 

Lassie the beloved Rough Collie is an all-time favorite of many people. She is a wonderful and devoted dog that shows unending love and dedication to her young owner by trekking over many miles to be reunited with him in Lassie Come Home.

Written by Eric Knight in 1938, Lassie Come-Home was originally published in The Saturday Evening Post. By 1940, Knight had expanded the short story to a novel, which gained commercial and critical success; he went on to write more books featuring the brave pooch, and even had a couple of radio programs. Lassie was so popular it was made into a movie in 1943, with a remake in 2005.

The tv series, Lassie, chalked up 19 seasons and is the fourth longest-running program in TV history. Here’s a look at Lassie on the opening theme of the show.

Old Yeller – Old Yeller 

Old Yeller might be the most tragic of stories involving a beloved dog. This faithful “yellow dog” wins the heart of his young master and goes on to save the family from many harrowing situations. Unfortunately, Old Yeller has to be put down after he is attacked by a rabid wolf.

The author of this children’s novel is Fred Gipson, who received a Newbery Honor in 1969. Before it was recognized as a literary masterpiece, Walt Disney made it into a movie in 1957. If you’re brave enough to watch this sad tale, be sure to have a box of tissues handy…you’ll need them.

Fang – Harry Potter 

Who wouldn’t love an oversized, sometimes cowardly, sometime valiant Boarhound?

This slobbery, lumbering pooch is part of the Harry Potter crew and is just one of Rubeus Hagrid’s pets. Fang was present for the majority of the Second Wizarding War, and accompanied Hagrid to many places, including the Forbidden Forest.

Although not likely to be found on the AKC registry, this lovable Boarhound has won the hearts of Potter fans all over the world. In the movies, Fang was played by a Neapolitan Mastiff.

Jip – David Copperfield 

Everyone loves a lap dog –  but maybe not as much as Dora loved Jip in David Copperfield.

Jip is spoiled beyond reason by his mistress and is extremely jealous of any attention paid to anyone else other than himself.  Jip’s loyalty and love for Dora lasts only as long as his beloved mistress, dying in the exact moment Dora takes her last breathe. Now that’s devotion!

Snoopy – Peanuts 

No list of famous fictional dogs would be complete without including the most beloved Beagle of them all – Snoopy.

This cartoon hound won the hearts of kids and adults alike with his human-like antics and infectious laugh.

Even though Snoopy was technically owned by Charlie Brown, he was a neighborhood pet to all the Peanuts gang. Peanuts started off as a simple comic strip in 1950 and went on to become best selling books, television specials, a play, and even a hit movie.

Want to smile? Check out Snoopy getting ready for a fashion show. 

Who are your favorite fictional pups?

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sandie-lee-writerSandie Lee has been in the writing industry for over 20 years. She hails from a small city in Ontario, Canada where there are two seasons – winter and not winter! Her husband and pets, Milo and Harry, make sure she is diligently writing each day to help bring awesome content to her readers.