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February 2012

January 2012

"Be My Valentine" Puppy Social-Asheville, Feb. 11

ScreenHunter_02 Jan. 13 15.52Join Pet Behavior Aid for a free Puppy Social on Saturday, February 11 from 9 to 10 AM at the Asheville Humane Society Adoption Center, 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville.

Mingle with other puppy parents and get your training questions answered by certified trainers will your puppy romps with other pups and meets new and different people. Doggie treat bags and human greats will be provided for all participants.

Puppies must be 9 - 20 weeks of age, in good health, with 2 sets of vaccinations and a rabies vaccine if 16 weeks or older. The puppy must be in home at least 10 days prior to coming to the social. For further information and to reserve a spot at the puppy social, call (828) 707-0644, or visit for more details.

Fosterpalooza 2012, Asheville, Jan. 28

YorkshireterrierpuppyFostering an animal is a way to share your love with a dog or cat in need –- and it can be a wonderful learning experience for the entire family.

To introduce families to the joys of fostering dogs and cats, Asheville Humane Society is sponsoring  FOSTERPALOOZA 2012, a free event, on Saturday, January 28, from 1 to 3 PM at the Adoption and Education Center, 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville.

At this family-friendly event, the public will learn how to share the love by fostering an animal for Asheville Humane Society. A foster mom will make a presentation and attendees can speak with foster parents of kittens, puppies, cats, and dogs. Bring the children -- they'll meet some foster animals and participate in fun activities.

Find out everything you need to know about fostering an animal. Come to FOSTERPALOOZA 2012! For more information go to:

Photo credit: Image: SOMMAI /

Winter Paws Dog Show, Blowing Rock, Jan. 29

DogShowpic9Show off your four legged best friend or just come to see the cutest dogs in the Blowing Rock area in the Winter Paws Dog Show!


Part of the Blowing Rock Winterfest celebration, this special event will be held on Sunday, January 29 at 1:30 PM in the Blowing Rock Elementary School gymnasium on Morris Street, Blowing Rock, NC. Categories include Smallest, Largest, Best Smile, Most EAR-ristible Ears, Most Adorable, Best Handshake, Most Mysterious Heritage, Best Tail-Wagger, Most Glamorous, and Best Dog/Owner Look-a-like.


Participants can register in advance or at the door. Registration at the door begins at 12:45 PM. There is a $10 entry fee for the first two categories and $15 for three or more categories. the winner from each category goes on to compete for the title of "People's Choice" and "Grand Prize. "


Proceeds from the Winter Paws Dog Show go to the Watauga County Humane Society. The show is sponsored by The Pet Place of Boone and the Watauga County Humane Society.

Download the entry form here.

Blue Ridge Dog Agility Trials-Fletcher, Jan. 20-22

DogagilityThe Blue Ridge Agility Club of Western North Carolina will host a United States Aglity Association agility trial on January 20 - 22 at the McGough Arena at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher, NC (across from Asheville Regional Airport).

Spectators are welcome to attend and admission is free. Over 150 purebred and mixed bred dogs, from throughout the southeast, will compete at various levels of difficulty. Spectators, please leave your dogs comfortably at home. Judging begins at 8 AM each day. Jump height order will be high to low Friday and Sunday and low to high on Saturday.

Visit for more information.

Doga: Yoga Your Dog Will Love

By Susan Hoffman for Exceptional Canine

DogyogaIn yoga, the salutation “Namaste” means “The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.” What better way to show your dog that you respect his inner and outer happiness than to include him in your yoga practice?

Doga is a new way to partner with your pet to experience the physical (and humans say spiritual too) benefits of yoga. All people and dogs can practice doga -- fit or fat, large or small, young or old. Poses can be modified for all sizes, shapes and abilities, just like in regular yoga classes.

Yoga for Dogs: A Bonding Experience
Doga combines massage and meditation with gentle stretching for dogs and their humans. Although it might seem unusual, dogs generally dig doga because, like yoga, doga emphasizes the union and connection with other beings, and there’s no being your dog would rather be connected with than you.

“People are often concerned that their dog isn’t mellow enough for doga, but I encourage them to give it a try. I’ve had many skeptics come to class and leave happy with the results,” says Brenda Bryan, author of the book Barking Buddha: Simple Soul Stretches for Yogi and Dogi, and a doga teacher near Seattle, Wash.

Finding a doga teacher or class is not always easy because the practice is still relatively new, but more and more instructors and practitioners are popping up around the country.

Doga Poses

Bryan calls her doga poses whimsical names such as Woofing Warrior, Camel Rides Dog, and Muttley Mudras.

“These poses incorporate your dog fully into your yoga practice. They’re a bit nontraditional in practice but quite traditional in theory,” says Bryan.

Ready to embark on some beginner doga poses? Try one of these:

  • Super Dog: Kneel and squat, balanced on your toes. With your dog facing away from you, gently and slowly encourage him to stand on his hind legs with you supporting his weight under his front armpits. This pose stretches your dog’s abdominal muscles and front legs and strengthens the back leg joints.
  • Forward Bend: Stand with both feet under your hips. Roll and bend forward, hanging from your waist, with your hands and head low. Scoop up your dog to add his weight to your bend. This increases your stretch. And while your dog is “weightless,” you can give his limbs a good stretch too.
  • Wheelbarrow: Stand behind your dog and lean slightly forward. Gently pick his back legs up, supporting his hip joints with both hands, and slowly encourage him to stretch and flex his torso. This pose stretches his abdominal muscles, loosens the hips and strengthens the front leg joints.

Doga Gear
Humans should wear comfortable, stretchy clothes, just like you’d wear for any yoga practice. Dogs need no special gear, although both human and dog should practice on a mat that provides some cushioning and traction. Keep cool water on hand for both of you to stay hydrated, and take breaks as needed.

Like yoga, doga is a journey, not a destination. The joy is in the practice. It’s something you can try for both the sheer fun of it and the deepening of the bond between you and your best friend.

Susan Hoffman is a freelance journalist who writes about canine, feline and equine topics. Her feature articles regularly appear in consumer and veterinary media. Susan is a regular contributor to Exceptional Canine.

Food Truck Craze Goes "Gourmutt"

FidotoGoWith all the hoopla about food trucks coming to Asheville, we thought you might find this latest spin on food trucks amusing. 

A food truck called "Fido to Go" has started operating in the Chicago area. According to the truck's pretty cool website, "Fido to Go is Chicago's premier gourmutt food truck serving hand-crafted canine cookies & doggy ice creams! Find us out and about at the city's dog parks, beaches, and special events. We are also available to cater doggy parties and can even provide the games, activities, and photographer!"

So look out, dog lovers in the Carolina mountains... some day, maybe we'll get our own food truck just for dogs!!

Free Help for Fearful Dogs, Asheville, Jan. 18

Be BravePet Behavior Aid will hold a free information session for owners of fearful dogs on Wednesday, January 18, from 6 to 7:30 PM.

Topics include how to help your dog gain confidence, learning how to understand signs of anxiety and when to step in, how to prevent fear from becoming aggression, and fundamental techniques to help your "wallflower" blossom. The session will be held at the Asheville Humane Society Adoption and Education Center, 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville. Humans only, please.

For more information, visit or call (828) 707-0644. This session is sponsored by Pet Behavior Aid, an organization dedicated to to increasing the retention of companion animals in their homes in Western North Carolina.

Photo credit: Image: Stuart Miles /

ReTail Scene: Patton Avenue Pet Company, Asheville

Pattonavepet-frontHow many pet stores have a friendly, inviting front porch with a rocking chair, a huge pet mural in the parking lot, and a bark mulched dog park in the back, complete with red hydrant?

That's what you'll find at the new Patton Avenue Pet Company, 1388 Patton Avenue (near Haywood Road) in Asheville. This new breed of locally-owned pet supply store aims to be a resource center for Asheville's pet loving community, says owner/animal lover Jenna Yarosh (shown in photo with Penelope, one of her three dogs). Of course, pets are welcome inside, but dogs will find their own little piece of heaven in the fenced-in dog park at the rear of the store, which is located in a brightly painted house. The dog park has a little "pee garden" with a fire hydrant, dog toys, a bench for humans, and plenty of space for some off-leash play.

Pattonavepet-jennaInside the store, you'll find a complete assortment of top-notch nutritionally appropriate pet food, free of meat byproducts, artificial coloring, additives and perservatives, and with a minimum of fillers. Also on hand is a wide range of supplies, accessories, treats and other pet products. Some of these products, such as the line of pet potions from GoodJudy, are available exclusively at the store. Patton Avenue Pet Company even imports humanely sourced moose antlers -- known to be the best chew sticks for dogs -- directly from Alaska, so you can get them at a great price.

The store offers a companion animal lending library which sits over a cozy fireplace, actively seeks products from local community sources, and will periodically hold training classes and adoption events. Artwork from local artists graces the exterior and interior. The store's hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM, and Sunday, 11 AM - 5 PM (closed Monday). Visit or call (828) 505-8299 for more information.

Grand Opening on January 14
Stop by with your pets for the store's Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, January 14 from 12 to 4 PM. There'll be free samples, free nail trims, free behavioral and nutritional consulting, and a contest.

Do Dogs Need Vitamin Supplements?

DogsupplementsGuest Post By the Editors of Exceptional Canine for Exceptional Canine

People are crazy about vitamins. So you might think what is good for us will work for our dogs. But quality dog food is carefully balanced to fulfill all of your dog’s nutritional needs. Scientists have proven that additives often interfere with the balanced nutrition in dog food. In fact, they can stop the absorption of some important nutrients, leaving your dog with an upset stomach or even skeletal problems.

“As we all know from studying our own health, it’s not just the amount of vitamins that we take that matter; it’s the quality of the nutrients and the proper balance of vitamins and minerals that make the difference,” explains Dr. Katy Nelson, an emergency veterinarian in Alexandria, Va. “When a food has been deemed balanced, then that means that vitamins and supplements are already added to the food. Giving additional vitamins can greatly throw off the proper ratio.”

The Thinking Behind Vitamin Supplements
We humans take vitamins because our modern-day meals often don’t include all we need to stay healthy. We also eat a variety of foods instead of a single item. We’re therefore sometimes tempted to add a dollop of yogurt to a bowl of dog food because we think it will make for a shiny coat. Or we ladle on a bit of gravy to increase palatability or add variety.

Nelson cautions that you’ll be doing your dog a disservice if you supplement his meal with human foods. “People food and other things purported to give shiny coats often contain large amounts of fat and possibly sodium and other unhealthy ingredients,” she says. “Highly fatty foods not only can cause weight gain, but they can also lead to health problems as simple as vomiting and diarrhea, all the way to severe issues like pancreatitis.”

Don’t worry about variety, says Nelson. Simply feed your dog what is healthiest for him. “Dogs are scavengers,” she explains. “Their taste buds are not necessarily sophisticated. Think about it: If your dog will eat rotten meat from the trash, the nuggets out of the litter box, and chase it all down with a little muddy water from a puddle, do you really think their palates are all that discerning?”

Good Minerals Gone Bad
Certain foods given to dogs in excess can produce adverse results. For example, meat contains 20 to 40 times more phosphorus than calcium, but your dog’s body needs a specific ratio of phosphorus and calcium to keep him healthy. Therefore, your dog’s system will attempt to right that ratio by stealing calcium from his bones.

Dogs, like the rest of us, need a balanced diet to thrive. Lucky for you, you don’t need to do anything more than open your pooch’s bag of food and pour. If you want to play chef, cook for your mother-in-law. She’ll probably appreciate it more than your pup.

Free Puppy Social, Asheville, Jan. 14

PuppiesteacupsCome to a free New Year's Puppy Social on Saturday, January 14 from 9 to 10 AM at Asheville Humane Society's Adoption and Education Center, 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville.

Mingle with other puppy parents and get your training questions answered by certified trainers while your puppy romps with other pups. Doggie treat bags and human treats provided for all participants. This is a FREE family friendly event, but space is limited!

Reserve your puppy’s spot today. Sign up at (828) 707-0644 or via email: For more information visit
-Ages 9-20 weeks of age
-Puppies must be healthy
-Must be in home at least 10 days prior to coming to social-Must have at least 2 sets of vaccinations
(copy of vet records required)
-Rabies vaccine is required (16 weeks and older)

This event is sponsored by Pet Behavior Aid, an organization dedicated to increasing the retention of companion animals in their homes in Western North Carolina.

Photo credit: Image: Timeless Photography /

Stop the Barking-Free! Asheville, Jan. 14

BarkPet Behavior Aid will hold a free session to help dog owners deal with barking. If you tried everything you know to do do to stop your dog from barking so much, then this session is for you. Learn the different types of barks, what they mean, and creative ways to stop the barking.

The session will be held on Saturday, January 14 from 11 AM to 12 PM at the Asheville Humane Society Adoption and Education Center, 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville. Humans only, please.

For more information, visit or call (828) 707-0644. This session is sponsored by Pet Behavior Aid, an organization dedicated to to increasing the retention of companion animals in their homes in Western North Carolina.

New Year, New Advertisers

2012dogWe're pleased to welcome several new local advertisers as we begin 2012. You'll see their ads to the right of blog posts under the heading, "SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS." And we hope you will do just that -- show them your support! Just click on each ad and you'll be taken to the advertiser's website. Here is a little about them:
Patton Avenue Pet Company
A "new breed of pet supply store" in Asheville that features high quality products, many of which are locally sourced.
Bed and Biscuit Pet Spa
WNC's premier dog and cat boarding facility, in an idyllic setting in Black Mountain.
Best Bites for Pets
A free delivery service for the Asheville/Hendersonville/Brevard area focused on only natural food, treats and more.

Image: Grant Cochrane /