Friday, January 29, 2016

How to Work the Wide Wonderful World of Pets this Weekend

There is so much to see and do (and eat!) at the World of Pets at the Maryland state fairgrounds this weekend that I thought it might be helpful to give you some 'insider' hints on how to see and do it all!

I have arranged the weather to be wonderfully warm so you can get out, minus our 28 inches of snow, and have a great time, laughing at the antics of the show dogs, eating carnival fare, petting the llamas and snakes, and bringing home some yummy and decorative dog treats for Fido!

First of all, consider attending Friday when the crowd is a bit smaller. If you return Saturday or Sunday to see what you didn't have time for, you will be a old-pro and know just where to go! (Friday hours are 2-8 pm, Saturday 10-7 and Sunday 10-6) You can even purchase and print tickets online. Driving directions can be found on the website here.  You can also take the Light Rail (Baltimore's 'subway' and El-train system).

Don't worry if you are overwhelmed at the entrance. Grab a program/map/brochure and start wandering. I used to make a list of the booths and activities I wanted to visit and go from one to another but after so many years, I now just wander up and down the aisles. But I do write down which events I want to attend and when and where they will be.

You will enter in the middle of the Cow Palace (but, no cows).

Pick up a brochure and then go straight ahead and find a seat on the bleachers to watch the trick dogs while you decide how to spend your day.

To the left, just beyond the restrooms, are the agility rings - the obstacle courses for dogs. This is so much fun to watch and will be going on all weekend so, if you get tired from wandering you can always come back, grab a bleacher seat and relax - and cheer!

Back at the entrance, just behind the trick dog area and bleachers are most of the food and, confidentially, it is super and my primary reason for attending. Everyone can have something different.

To the right of the entrance are the numerous booths - more food and this time, also for dogs. Dog bakeries. Also, dog posters and dog leashes and dog rescues and veterinarians and dog toys and antlers to buy for you favorite Fido (kind of like long-lasting bones).

Farther into the vendor area you will find the cats and the rats and the gerbils and the llamas and the
ponies (perhaps) and the birds and the reptiles.

Almost too much to visit in one day - that's why we have Saturday and Sunday. See you there!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Come to the Carnival

The annual World of Pets will take place again this weekend in Timonium, just off 83 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. I call it the Canine Carnival.

But. . . . the World of Pets is all about pets other than dogs, too.

Go, if you are a cat person, a rat person, a pony person, a llama person, a bird person, a snake person or a dog person. Take the whole family! Experience a rainforest. Hold a snake. Get your photo taken. Attend a cat show or even adopt a cat! Like mice? Ever go to a gerbil show? How about a guinea pig-a-thon? Or a petting zoo? Or story time?

Go, if you just want to eat yummy food - pretzels and lemonade and cotton candy and taco salads and everything else you love! Tropical drinks for the youngsters in special glasses.

Go, if you want to laugh out loud at dogs going through an obstacle course (it's called 'agility') all three days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday. See trick dogs strut their stuff. Dogs catching discs. Compete in the pet and owner talent and beauty contest - for prizes.

Go, if you want a great deal on a leash or collar or real dog cookies or cute dog beds. I got my first pair of Crocs there a few years ago.

Take a look at this short video with glimpses from some of the past 14 years of the Worlds of Pets.

See yesterday's blog for times and more info. See you there!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Canine Carnival in Maryland this Weekend!

Canine Carnival this weekend!

Now that you have had enough snow, how about a fun time at the World of Pets?

Where: Maryland State Fairgrounds, Timonium (highway 83 north of Baltimore)
When: Friday (2-8 pm), Saturday (10-7 pm), Sunday (10-6 pm)   January 29-31, 2016
What: Annual World of Pets
Who: You and your family
Why: Yummy munchies, fun entertainment, agility trials, dog bakeries and leashes and artwork and lots of new ‘stuff’
How: Free parking. Admission: adults, $10  children 5-12, $5 (under 5, free)

Also, cats and rats and reptiles and birds. Something for everyone in the family, including 10-year-old boys!

I’ll be there for the 15th annual World of Pets!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Review: The Tale of Rescue (dog, snow), an NPR pick for winter reading

The Tale of Rescue, by Michael Rosen with illustrations by Stan Fellows* (Candlewick Press, 2015, 103 pages, $14.99, ages 10 and up, grades 5 and up)

A Novel for All Ages, A Tale about a Cattle Dog

The Tale of Rescue was written for children ages 5 and up with the emphasis on the “up.” It is a special book for adults, too, with a hidden meaning behind the title that will make you smile when you figure it out at the end. (Hint: Don’t skip the epilogue.)

Author Michael Rosen has also placed gems of the English language into Tale such as one comparing life in a blizzard to living in a snow globe, something the Mid-Atlantic states can identify after this weekend of a 30-inch snow!

The Story

A Florida family visits Ohio for a wintery snow weekend (the parents had grown up in snow-winters and wanted their son to experience one). The family of three is staying in a cabin and takes a pre-breakfast hike to the main house one morning when a blizzard suddenly appears causing them to become disoriented, wandering and lost, for several hours.

Obviously they survive or this book would not have been written, but how they survive is the unforgettable essence of the story that you will not soon forget.

No Names Provided, No Names Needed

The family is not named, the cattle dog that lives to work and loves to work has no name, the farmer has no name. No names are needed - until the end when the circle is completed in the epilogue.

Life and Death?

Life and death wrestle for attention, along with positive reinforcement dog training (yippy skippy!).

Color-washed Illustrations

DogEvals does not generally call out the illustrator but the color-washed illustrations by Stan Fellows (who also illustrated The Dog Who Walked with God by Rosen) are simply stunning and would make keepsake stationery or framed posters. Fellows’ style is reminiscent of Japanese artwork or Andrew Wyeth’s skies when focused on landscapes but Fellows’ best work makes his watercolor dogs’ personalities spring off the page and stay in your imagination for a long time.

If you are not yet a fan of cattle dogs, you will be after reading Tale. And you will remember this tale!

*Perhaps, like me, you have read the highly successful Dogs We Love (2008) or My Dog! (2011) by Rosen or even the first collaboration with artist Stan Fellows in 1998, The Dog Who Walked with God.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Review: My Beloved Dogs (record keeping charts)

My Beloved Dogs: Record Keeping for the Canine Competitor and Multi-Dog Homes by Leila Grandemange (SunnyVille Publishing [self-published], 2015, 227 pages, $17.95)

Niche ‘Book’ Like a Scrapbook to Fill

My Beloved Dogs is just right for you if you have up to 20 purebred dogs who compete in conformation (or possibly rally, obedience or agility with some modifications to pages) and have more money than time. Leila Grandemange has provided the show dog world with a handy book of empty pages for you to fill in with records of your dogs – up to 40 dogs in some sections.

I am sure there are readers out there who can nearly fill this book, who have 20 show dogs: this book will help them become less scatter-brained by providing a place for all the ‘important stuff.’ Of course, you are paying for empty pages but sometimes it is more convenient for others to both provide us with empty charts than for us to think about what information we need to keep for our dogs and to devise the categories of such information.

Three Parts

Part One consists of three pages on which to record basic information for up to 24 dogs with the fantastic feature of a blank space for the page number associated with each dog’s more detailed information charts found in Part Two!

Part One also provides a blank chart for very basic information on 30 future (hopefully) champions; another, for 80 heats and breeding attempts; and, lastly, a place to write down information on 40 stud services. One page contains the information required by AKC on each registered dog, and, finally, you can read “The Ribbon that Runs Through History: Its Meaning, Purpose and Goal” which primarily consists of a several-paragraph quote by Dennis Homes.

Melding into Part Two with nary an internal demarcation, we come upon six pages per dog for up to 20 dogs – their photo (I presume, on one page); half a page for health, nutrition and routine; an entire page for achievements; one page for vaccination dates with the vaccinations already listed (very helpful) followed by two entire pages for veterinarian visits called Health Testing Health History, also a great and handy idea.

Part Three consists of a chart for 15 show results followed by a blank page for notes for 40 dogs. To introduce Part Three, the award-winning author answers the question, What is a Conformation Show? in a couple of paragraphs and also gives us a sample chart filled out.

The book concludes with general (obvious) safety tips, how to be a good ambassador, a short one-page article on how many dogs may be too many for you, a blank phone and address directory, and some recommended books and useful web sites, all quite introductory.

Artistic Photo Layouts

The few photo spreads are very nicely done, even if most of the dogs are the author’s breed. Collages with plenty of white space and with the photo edges ‘smudged’ emphasize excellent shots of dogs.

In addition, the 8 ½ by 11 inch size is just right. I can envision readers like me hurriedly stapling other papers of merit inside this volume so the size is indeed just right!


Besides fewer pages (many fewer), a couple of chapter transitions, a competent editor, additional sample pages ‘filled out already,’ and more breeds pictured, it might be helpful to have the book three-hole-punched. If it could be taken to shows inside the protection of a three-hole binder, it would have a better chance of surviving to actually record the lives of 20 dogs! On the other hand, if the pages were perforated, the reader could Xerox the charts herself as she needs more or, on the other hand, bring just the needed charts to each vet visit or to each show.


Again, Your Beloved Dogs belongs primarily on your bookshelf if you have more money than time!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pet Fashion: What Will They Think of Next?

Did you read the previous posting, a review of The Pet Fashion Almanac 2015? If so, you are now aware of the pet fashion industry and may even be interested to hear about my recent invitation to the New York Pet Fashion Show!

Yes, recently I was honored to receive an email invitation to attend (and pay, of course) the 2016 Pet Fashion Show on February 11 in New York City from 6 -11 pm at the Hotel Pennsylvania. (That is the weekend of the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show which is a TV event for most of the country.)

Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend this prestigious event: I never even knew there was a fashion show for dogs! And unfortunately, I don't believe my labrador and golden retrievers would be very interested in the latest canine fashions.

On the other hand, if it were a Dog Toy Show or Dog Treat Show, they would race me to New York! and get there first, of course.

Bargain for Dogs

A bargain at only $50 in advance ($60 at the door), you are sure to come away entertained by the theme of Music and Styles from the 80s. The event kicks off Westminster Weekend and NY Fashion Week. Cash bar, complimentary food and music, and vendors galore - also the awards* ceremony, runway show and costume contest ($40 additional entry fee).

Pets attend free but let's hope there are no snakes who are dying to get in.

An Animal Rescue Benefit

This year, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals (Adopt a Little New Yorker Today) and the Legacy Award will go to Pilots and Paws, two very deserving organizations.

If you can't make it, the evening will be taped - thank goodness. I would hate to have you miss it. Unfortunately we will not be there: my dogs don't have a thing to wear!

Sponsored in part by PJNY, The Friendly Traveler, Acadia Antlers, StrikingPaws, Sara England Designs,  . . . .

Read more about it here: Pilots and Paws, and earlier, in 2014, DogEval's review of Dog is My Co-Pilot

*Humanitarian of the Year, Documentary of the Year, Legacy Award, Nature Photographer, Shelter Organization of the Year and more

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Review: Pet Fashion Almanac 2015 (handy lists for new people in the pet fashion world)

Pet Fashion Almanac 2015 by Laurren Darr and Ellen Zucker (Left Paw Press, 2014, 132 pages, $2.85) Volumes for the years 2014 and 2016 (where ‘almanac’ is spelled ‘almanack’) are also available for $9.99 each.

Wow! Niche Marketing for a Niche Market. . .

Laurren Darr is the founder of the International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals* and co-author Ellen Zucker is a certified astrological professional**. Wow!

Six pages of praise*** from pet professionals who read the book. Wow!

Just Getting in to the Business?

I want to thank the author for going to the trouble of finding and publishing such voluminous information – from the dates of pet holidays by the week and month to trade shows, conferences, events and even fashion weeks, along with media, publications and organizations. Included are five short articles (about a page in length), one for nearly each chapter with an extensive astrology chapter (forty-seven of the 129 pages [over a third of the book] is devoted to astrology, the final chapter of seven). Most entries in the lists have dates and websites listed, too.

Creative Lists

I loved the original, variable, and creative use of punctuation (especially the slash but also commas and hyphens), vocabulary and undefined abbreviations as well as slang and insider-terms – not hard to figure out but a fun exercise nonetheless. Most of the major part of the book consists of indispensable dates, websites, and addresses – very helpful indeed to the pet fashionista who wants to learn about pet fashions, cats included. A great place to start.

Like the Idiot and Dummy books, the Almanac uses icons but, thankfully, not as many as the others. Instead, the almanac uses more detailed icons: a cat face (“ME-WOW”), a dog face (“Dog Ear This Page”), a bird (“Squawk About It”), a light bulb with a tail inside (that looks like a snake)(“A-HA”) and I do dearly love the ‘end of chapter’ icons – a cat pawprint, a dog pawprint and a bird footprint.

Suggestions for Future Almanacs

Perhaps a proofreader and an editor might help get the points across better in articles – and to catch items like ‘widdle down’ and change to ‘whittle down.’ I would also use specific examples in each, as well, to make the articles really memorable.

*Do pets really care so much about what they wear that they need an organization devoted to pet fashion professionals? I never knew! I will have to get right on this – my lab and golden retriever don’t wear a thing!

**CAP – Certified Astrological Professional. I never knew! I do appreciate the voluminous advice but I remain a skeptical scientist with an advanced degree.

***You have a great chance of getting your pre-publication quote in the next almanac if you purchase this volume and send the authors or publisher your comment. Hmmmm, I wonder if I will see my name in print in next year’s almanac or almanack?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Best of the Best for 2015

The Best Dog Books of 2015

Here You Have It, The Best of the Best for 2015

Best Book

1. DogEvals has selected Find Momo: My Dog is Hiding in this Book. Can You Find Him? (books one and two, read review here) as the Best Book of 2105 because you will return to it often as will the entire family.

2. Runner-Up and the Selection That May Just Change Your Life because you will return to it often as will the entire family for education and entertainment - Puppy Culture: An Expert and Comprehensive Video Guide - The Powerful First 12 Weeks that can Shape Your Puppy's Future (read review here)

And, in no particular order, The Book that Makes You Smile the Most - Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet (read review here)

The Most Inspirational Book - One Dog at a Time: Saving the Strays of Afghanistan, An Inspiring True Story (read review here)

The Most Informative Book - War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History and Love (read review here)

And, the Best Dog Product of the Year for Humans (move over, Soggy Doggy) - the EzyDog key ring because it is so handy and well-made and you will use it several times a day

Thanks for your comments and thanks for reading DogEvals!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Short List for 2015

The Best Darn Dog ‘Books*’ of 2015 – The Short List

This is always the hardest blog of all to write (except for the next one), mainly because it takes all year! The team at DogEvals reads nearly 100 books a year (and more dog products) but it is never enough (never enough time). We (three) are sent books and items by publishers or authors; others, we check out of a public library or purchase for review.


2015 was “a very good year” (sounds like a song I know). DogEvals published some interesting blogs as EverythingDogBlog in the Maryland online newspapers: a series of five posts - The Real Scoop on Dog Poop - a series of four on polite dog walking titled Beware the Jogger and a blog about The Real Dog Whisperer!

Sharing Our Short List with You!

Every year DogEvals blogs about the best darn dog books* of the year and 2015 is no exception - except we are sharing our short list with you (drum roll, please!) before the tough decision is revealed in the next blog.

Late Entries

Since the year is now over, we can add a couple of late entry books, Find Momo (book one) and Find Momo Coast to Coast (book two),

as well as a couple of neat new products (to us at least – reviews to appear soon) - the handy leash by EzyDog (

and for dog trainers to hand out to their clients and students as door prizes or “atta-boys,” the EzyDog key ring ( ).

Those reviews should appear before the month is out so stay tuned. 

And Here They Are!

In no particular order the five finalists are (with book covers at the end of this blog). . . 

Harlow & Sage (and Indiana): A True Story about Best Friends by Brittni Vega (read review here) told by a dog in late 2014 with a sequel in 2015

War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love by Rebecca Frankel, 2014 (read review here)

Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet by Dr. Jan Pol, 2014 (read review here)

One Dog at a Time, Saving the Strays of Afghanistan, an Inspiring True Story by Pen Farthing (read review here) (from 2009 but I forgot to post the review until I found it again this year) 

Puppy Culture: An Expert and Comprehensive Video Guide – The Powerful First 12 Weeks that can Shape your Puppy’s Future, by Jane Killion (et al) 2014 (read review here and in the Chronicle of the Dog)

Next. . . .

Stay tuned for the ‘best of the best,’ published next! Or let DogEvals know what you think is the best (but hurry).

*books, DVDs, and dog items