Wednesday, April 30, 2014

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: De-Lightful Dog Logo

EverythingDogBlog #155: Featuring Dog Is Good - Apparel and Gifts Inspired by Dog. 

You’ve all seen the Dog is Good (DIG) line of T-shirts and other cute and adorable items.
Chances are you have fallen in love with their simple yet humorous designs like I have and have several classy DIG T’s and bumper stickers and magnets and coffee mugsl
But, have you ever wondered how Dog Is Good came to be?
This is the first of a three-part series of Wednesdays about Dog is Good. Today, EverythingDogBlog relates the story of the logo and the start-up itself. Next week, we tackle “Dogvergnugen” and the final week we introduce you to Dog Is Good’s Bolo Project. So, stick around!
First Edition DIG T!
The Logo Itself
The creation of the iconic logo dog, Bolo (Be On the LookOut), is a story in itself. Suffice it to say, however, that Bolo represents the good we see and feel in our dogs.
But Why Isn’t the Dog’s Halo Straight?
The canted halo represents the mischievous streak to which dogs are prone and also gives DIG license to use some irreverent humor linked to the Dog is Good/God is Good play on words.
The Start of DIG
The company story is somewhat typical of a grass-roots start-up. Dog is Good started less than 10 years ago in a room in the Gila and Jon Kurtz' California house, then a bigger room, then the playroom went away (but the resentment lingers), then a couple more rooms, and so on.
The first DIG warehouse became too small right away and DIG is now in its second location, which is too small again! Dog is Good is growing at a rapid pace and sells in many hundreds of retail locations in the USA and Canada (and internationally), as well on the website and at events across the country through the Exhibitor Program.
DIG also licenses its brand to a number of manufacturers. Through licensing, DIG continues to expand the brand’s product offering into a very diverse mix.
DIG Loves Dogs
DIG contributes to many charitable organizations dedicated to improving animal welfare and improving life with dog. More on this during week three of the series of Wednesday blogs.
Read more about it:
DIG is the brainchild of a dog trainer, Gila Kurtz, and her retired Navy captain husband, Jon, when they left Washington for ‘retirement’ in California. Thanks, Gila and Jon! We are glad you retired!
To view the mission and guiding principles of Dog is Good, click here.
And, check back next week for more of Dog is Good.
(Photos courtesy of Dog is Good,

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Festival of Sheep!

EverythingDogBlog #154: Highlights of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival for Dog People
Have fun watching working Border Collies at work. Highlight of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival for Dog People – the SheepDog Demos!
Be one of the thousands of people at the Howard County, MD, fairgrounds this weekend for the 41st annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Always the first full weekend in May, the festival is responsible for tremendous traffic backups on Routes 70 and 32 so get there early (Sunday is best) but please leave Fido at home. 
     Saturday 9-6 pm
     Sunday 9-5 pm
Highlight of the Weekend
Working sheepdog demonstrations will be held Saturday and Sunday at 11 am with Nancy Starkey (Mt. Airy) and Mark Soper (Woodbine).
Always a crowd-pleaser, these 30-60 minute demos are very well attended.
Rye working the sheep
In the following photo, notice the typical Border Collie crouched posture: tail down, head down, giving the famous 'eye.'
Lark taking the sheep in a figure 8 pattern around the cones

Soper is a farrier, Border Collie breeder, trainer and trialer while Starkey is also a Border Collie person, competing in competition as well training the breed, all while raising sheep on Trial & Error Acres Farm.
It seems almost miraculous how these dogs can drive the sheep to and fro, around fences, through gates, in a figure-eight pattern - all by whistle command, or seldom-heard phrases (at least in the US) such as "Come bye." Does your dog have such talent, skill, control and ability?
Think you want a Border Collie? Stop at the Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue (MABCR) booth and find out if a Border Collie is the dog for your family.
For the Whole Family (of the 2-footed human kind)
You know how much fun you have at the county fair in August so come to the fairgrounds this weekend for cotton candy, rides, sheep shearing, wool spinning/weaving/knitting/crocheting, the crowning of the queen, story-telling, and yarns galore so this is your chance to stock up on lovely colors.
I’ll be selling T-shirts, so stop by to get yours. To see the winning posters/T-shirts from years past and for 2014, click on this link.
And, to get in the mood, here is short book to read by Valerie Hobbs: Sheep.
Sheep. Click on the link for the review, previously published here.
Read more about it:
Trial and Error Acres working sheepdog farm is a 20-acre sheep farm with Border Collies, Great Pyrenees and Maremmas, livestock guarding dogs (LGDs)
(Sheepdog photos by Teresa Ballard)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Review: Letters to Leo (dog, 4th grade girl, NYC, diary)

Letters to Leo, by Amy Hest (Candlewick Press, 2012, 154 pages, $14.99, ages 8-12)

A fourth-grade girl wants a dog – how typical! Less typical is the story: Annie lives in New York  City with her absent-minded professor dad and finally, finally gets a dog! Yippy skippy!

Annie writes to her dog, Leo, in a journal (hence, the title – Letters to Leo) and reads to Leo every night from the journal. Leo is a good listener, just like Annie loved to listen to her mother read at night.

Remember fourth grade? A best friend who moves away, a difficult subject in school, embarrassing incidents in the cafeteria or on the playground, a teacher to love or dislike or perhaps go on pregnancy leave, looking forward to summer vacation.

Letters to Leo is a charming story that everyone can relate to. Daily life in a home with a dog – and a wonderful surprise (though not unexpected) ending full of promise and, I suspect, more books in the series.

Some journal entries are longer than others, just as in real life but one of the charms of Letters to Leo are the line drawings – simple and yet adorable self-portraits, maps, and, of course, Leo!

Caveat: Annie is a fourth-grader: I suspect that readers in the upper ranges of the recommended age level, ages 8-12, for Letters to Leo might not be as interested as those in the lower ages unless they dearly love dogs.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: LIFE with Dogs (photos, dogs, quotes, famous people, small coffee table book)

LIFE with Dogs, by the editors of LIFE Books (Time, Inc., LIFE Books, 2009, $17.95, 96 pages, ages 12 and up)

The Best of LIFE! 


The cover will draw you like a magnet!

Of course, the cover simply has to have an adorable photo of an adorable yellow lab! Labs and Golden Retrievers seem to be today’s America’s Dogs and are seen everywhere – in magazines, on greeting cards, on book covers. They must be selling!

LIFE with Dogs is a small* compilation of the best of LIFE’s dog photos with accompanying quotes from both the famous and the infamous that make this a ‘loverly’ little coffee table book following on the heels of the popular LIFE with Mother and LIFE with Father.

From Mark Twain to Andres Segovia and Churchill to Sheryl Crow. What fun to share the pages, exclaiming, ‘Oh, I didn’t know this famous person had a dog!’ or “So that’s what Errol Flynn’s looked like.”

Dogs laugh but they laugh with their tails (Max Eastman).

From Chihuahuas to Great Danes to Riley the Golden Retriever at 911.

If you are a serious dog person (never without a dog in your life), you may recognize most of the photos and quotes and still find favorites, or, if you are a newbie dog person on your first dog, you will find treasures to read and photos to embed in your mind to bring up again and again.

LIFE can’t be beat!

* by ‘small,’ I mean small in size not in content

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Movie Review: Zeus and Roxanne (dog, dolphin, teens, adult, comedy-romance)

Zeus and Roxanne, with Steve Guttenberg and Kathleen Quinlan, HBO DVD (95 minutes, 1997)

Who are Zeus and Roxanne?

One, a dog so ugly it is adorable and the other, a dolphin who doesn’t want to join a pod but finds friendship with a long-legged, skinny, wire-haired tan dog.

Into the Mix

Throw in a music writer, who with his photography-talented son, temporarily moves to paradise (the Bahamas) across the way from a marine biologist professor and her two daughters.

Add a mustachioed ogre in the guise of a sneaky PhD who competes (unfairly, of course) with the lady biologist for a grant (if the biologist doesn’t get the grant, she goes back to Minnesota and becomes an aquarium guide).

Who will Love Zeus and Roxanne?

Women will love the ambiance of the nightlife, the quaint little tropical beach town, the pristine white beaches and turquoise ocean views, and the two roomy bungalows with hammocked porches, both of which are directly on the beach.  How lucky can one get, except in a movie?

Teenage girls will love the fast-talking fashion-setting sisters who are ‘grounded’ for a week and who scheme to get their mom and the musician together romantically.

Boys will drool for the boy’s magic card tricks, photographic skills, his being cheated at cards by the girls, cooking for his dad, and his dog.

With parents who act like kids and kids who teach their parents about life and love; with wetsuits, short shorts and bikini tops; with underwater radar (sonar?) and mini-subs, even budding marine biologists will find plenty to like about Zeus and Roxanne.


I fell for the dog. Finally, a movie that centers on a dog as promised, with the dog in literally every scene, as it should be. You can even see the dog think and scheme.

The wonders of a dog and dolphin befriending each other. Growing up. Cross-species communication – we know it exists between man and dog, but what about dolphin and dog?


Of course, several of the animals behave too anthropomorphically, thus creating discussions with your kids about reality.

Other topics might center on minorities playing only minor roles and why not to go out on a boat alone.


On the whole, this is a lovely family movie with lots of happy excitement-suspense for everyone, including a memorable, unique, remarkable creative dog escape. How the dog hitches a ride is something you will not soon forget.

As you will not soon forget Zeus and Roxanne!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dog Dilemma #1

EverythingDogBlog #146: What would you do

I walk dogs. This is the story of a dilemma I faced walking a dog I have known for years. As a matter of fact, I know so many of the residents in that neighborhood that I have attended parties there and several of the neighbors are also my clients.
The Situation

So, there we were, a while back on a Saturday morning, returning to my client dog’s home after a walk. We were about to turn into the dog’s street when along came a UPS truck that turned the other way. I heard barking so I turned around and looked up. A young dog was chasing the truck (see photo of Canadian dog, Slammer, demonstrating what a running dog looks like) and I knew that dog had been “trained” on an electric (shock) collar to stay in the unfenced front yard when outside alone so I wondered what was going on.
The dog was outside the perimeter of his front yard, chasing the truck in the street and getting closer to a potentially dangerous situation. The driver was yelling. I knew I couldn’t do much with one dog leash already in my hand (and didn’t know the running dog very well) so I literally ran up to that dog’s front door and knocked madly. When the owner came to the door, I hastily explained the situation and suggested he call his dog right away.
Was I shocked when the man said his dog wasn’t wearing his electronic (shock) collar and often chased the UPS truck. He was not worried.
And then. . . . 

The UPS truck stopped for a delivery and I approached, suggesting that the driver carry dog biscuits to toss for dogs in the future, thus allowing his getaway.
Eventually the truck left the neighborhood, the dog returned to his front yard and I walked my canine client home, heart still beating rapidly.
I was still a bit upset. 
What would you have done?

In the first place, I don’t endorse electric (shock) collars or fences because there are less expensive, quicker and more dog-friendly ways of keeping a dog in the yard than through the use of shock.
Secondly, the dog was smart enough to either know he was not wearing the collar that would shock him or he was willing to endure the shock in order to chase the truck.
And finally, I was disappointed in the owner’s reaction to my concern about the safety of his dog running after a vehicle in the street. Other cars might swerve to avoid a collision and cause damage.
Needless to say, we adults are always role models for children and the entire episode was not an example of mature adult behavior for any kids to learn from, much less for safety reasons.
Lasting Impressions

This happened months ago and I still cannot get the episode out of my mind. I would probably do the same thing again even now that I know how ‘smart’ the dog is and how often he runs into the street after vehicles.
I wish it had never happened and hope it never does again. However, I am not holding my breath. What would you have done?
(Photo courtesy Lazyriver Photos)
(This article first appeared on on 27 March 2014.)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: Nobody's Dog (dog, children)

Nobody’s Dog by Charlotte Graeber (Hyperion, 1998, 32 pages, ages 4-8)

Some books should be rewritten every few years, perhaps updated, because they are so good the story bears repeating. Nobody’s Dog deserves another generation of devoted children. It could be a classic – if you can find it.

A Library Goldmine!

Not a rare occurrence today (especially in the day of Facebook) is someone taking their dog for a car ride, dropping him off, and driving away. It usually happens in the country but in Nobody’s Dog, it fortunately happened in town, on River Road.

What a beginning for a children’s book – but so well-written and more sensitive  than how I penned the incident above.

And soon forgotten in the dog’s search for a new home.

“A Small White Dog with . . . . “

You child will love this book as he/she gets to know “the small white dog with one brown ear (the right one), two brown paws (the front ones), and a feathery tail.” Children will soon be able to recite the phrase as soon as it starts to appear over and over again. And, it is just the right size for little hands and short attention spans.

The Community Plot

The dog makes his way from house to house to house to house. Everyone loves him but nobody wants him (too small, too noisy, or whatever). However, they do leave food out, and water, and hope someone will take him in. In the end, they all cheer his choice of a home.

How the small white dog finds his new home is a delightful story of perseverance, well worth a discussion or two.