Archive for July, 2010

Welcome to Pet-Friendly Virginia City Nevada

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

by Jodi Kain

Welcome to Virginia City, Nevada! – Half and hour from Reno or 20 minutes from Carson City. Want to check into a pet-friendly hotel? If so, head down the street to the Silver Queen Hotel or head over to Silverland Motel two blocks off the main drag. Have an RV? Head over to Virginia City RV Park. Want to walk around town? Head over to the Virginia and Truckee Railroad and Hop on board the Virginia City/Gold Hill 30 minute roundtrip 1800’s train ride. Have 10-30 minutes? Go to T&T Stagecoach Co. This unique stagecoach ride shows you what people went through in the old days. The stagecoach reaches 20 miles an hour,runs along a cliff ,and goes up and down hills. Hungry? Head to the Virginia City Jerky Co. Hot Day? Head over to Comstock Creamery for Ice Cream, Sandwiches, and more. Need batteries for your camera? Head to Virginia City Merchandise. For more information about Virginia City, NV, go to’s Virginia City Guide.

Virginia City Main Street of the Old West

Virginia City Main Street of the Old West

So, You’re Ready To Get a Dog? Consider a Shelter Dog

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Diane Pomerance knows what people say about adopting pets from animal shelters and rescue organizations.

“They think, ‘I don’t want to inherit someone else’s problem,’ or they simply think all the dogs there are abused or hard to train, or that they won’t be able to find the breed that they want,” said Pomerance, author of seven books about pets, including Our Rescue Dog Family Album ( Her family has saved and adopted more than 40 rescued dogs over the years and currently have 21 in their home. In addition, she has helped place hundreds more with good homes. “All of those notions couldn’t be further from the truth, and in fact, buying from the pet shop can be more hazardous than adopting one from a shelter.”

Pomerance does not work for an animal shelter or animal welfare organization. She is simply an individual who has devoted much of her personal life to rescuing these dogs because she feels strongly about the value of these animals and the many gifts they can offer people. She also believes that people view animal shelters in a poor light because of their adherence to many popular — but erroneous — myths about shelter dogs:

Most shelter dogs are sick or aggressive from abuse — Rescued dogs receive better care and feeding than pet shop dogs, and they are treated by veterinarians before they are offered for adoption. In addition, they are far more affordable to adopt and care for, since many shelters and rescue groups offer free adoptions, and excellent veterinary services at significantly reduced rates. Also, most shelters don’t allow dangerous animals to be adopted.

Pet Shop dogs are better quality animals — Pet shops typically get their dogs from puppy mills that breed them in unsanitary and inhumane conditions, which means many new owners bring home pets with illnesses not immediately obvious or disclosed at the time of sale, and they are offered no compensation for it. So, buying at a pet shop means paying top dollar, sometimes over $1,000 for a dog, and then paying top dollar for private veterinary care to treat any initial illnesses many pet shop dogs contract.

Most of the dogs who are euthanized wouldn’t make good pets, anyway — Rescuing a dog helps deplete the high population of animals in these shelters and reduces the number of good, faithful, loving animals that are euthanized every year. It’s not just the sick or dangerous dogs who are euthanized at shelters. In most cases, many dogs who would make good pets are euthanized because of overcrowding in the shelter

“Animals are deserving of our respect and appreciation, which is why we should try to be responsive individually to the crisis facing animal shelters today,” Pomerance added.

“They perform many important tasks for us – in the military, as bomb and weapons detectors, as service animals, as healing companions and friends of the lonely and bereaved and even as search and rescue assistants in natural as well as man-made disasters. They heal and even save human lives. It is scientifically substantiated that animal companions increase our longevity and improve the quality of our lives. We should also realize that getting a family pet should not be a decision or choice that is taken lightly. You’re not buying a car or getting a new electronic toy to play with — these are living, breathing, loving creatures with whom we share our world. If we choose to share our family with one, we should take care to ensure we choose carefully and prudently so we can enhance not only our family’s life, but the dog’s, as well.”

At Santa Fe Non-profit, Assistance Dogs are the Teachers

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Students learn acceptance through service dogs, program inspires children’s book series

Tales of service dogs performing daily acts of heroism aren’t unusual. These canine companions help the blind navigate their environments, they sniff out bombs and help wounded soldiers and they even assist doctors by detecting cancer and alert diabetics to rising or falling blood sugar levels.

In Santa Fe, N.M., assistance dogs are providing another equally important service – teaching local youth awareness of the challenges faced by people with disabilities. Assistance Dogs of the West (ADW) is a Santa-Fe-based non-profit with more than 30 dogs in training at any given time, 12 to 15 of which graduate each year to placement with human partners. These dogs open doors literally and figuratively for people with a variety of disabilities.

Unlike other service dog agencies, ADW recruits students from area elementary, middle and high schools, juvenile detention centers as well as developmentally and physically disabled students to train all of their service dogs. Working with ADW staff, the student dog trainers gain knowledge and leadership skills, build responsibility and compassionate awareness of people with different abilities, and make concrete contributions to their community.

Today, children everywhere can experience the life of an assistance dog through a series of children’s books inspired by the ADW program. Author Judith Newton, an ADW Advisory Council member, wrote three books based on Nito, a runt puppy chosen for the noble job of a service dog.

Newton and her husband moved to Santa Fe in 1999 and began their search for a family dog. When they saw ADW dogs in training and found out that some dogs don’t graduate from the program, they applied for a “release dog.” They received their pup Chutney and became active members of ADW.

The first book in the series, Nito’s Tale teaches kids ages 2-6 how assistance dogs are trained and what they do. In book two, Nito Meets Chloe, Nito is matched with a little girl in a wheelchair and becomes an important part of Chloe’s family. Finally, in Nito and Chloe Get an Invitation they are invited to Washington, D.C. to visit the White House, meet the president, his family and their dog Bo and receive the Service Dog of the Year award. The series is illustrated by popular folk artist Sue Blackburn.

According to national statistics, 19 percent of the U.S. population is defined as disabled – this includes the aging, ill, vision and hearing impaired, physically disabled and mentally disabled. For many of them, service dogs offer both companionship and support in daily activities. Learn more at