Worried about your pets and Covid-19? Here Are Reassurances.

Having access to and getting accurate information is so important right now, to help deal with all the questions you might have regarding Covid-19, yourself, and your pets. There are many sources of good, factual information appearing on the web, to calm your fears about if your pets are at risk,  yet at the same time, you may be seeing stories and headlines from parts of the world where people seem to be panicking, thinking they are going to get Covid- 19 from their pets and abandoning them.  You DO NOT need to do this. There is NO, I repeat, NO evidence that pets transmit the virus.  If you are like me, I need my dog for comfort more than ever now. They will be fine and need to stay by you.

For love of your pets, your well being, and your blood pressure, PLEASE read beyond the some of the headlines you see that strike terror in your heart. Do not stop and get stuck at the scary stories that may or may not be true – and go directly to the credible and highly reliable sources of accurate information, such as the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Besides talking about this on the podcast, here are the questions I answered with expanded and updated information to read and refer to. You will also find in this blog,  the links to the above named organizations (CDE and WHO) so you can quickly find out what you need to know about the virus for your own sake and then links to the pages in the resource section below where I got my information from that answers questions about our four-legged family members.

In this week’s podcast, episode 63, in the first segment, to help reassure you, and calm some of your fears about pets and the coronovirus, here are some questions you may have and the answers from information from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.


Can my dog and cats catch it and get sick? –

No. To date, the CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with Covid-19.

I want you to know that coronaviruses are not unusual. They make up a large group of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause illness in people, others appear in wild animals and there are even canine and feline coronaviruses, but the ones that dogs and cats get, only infect dogs and cats. The particular coronavirus that we are calling Covid – 19 to distinguish it from other coronaviruses is a new or novel one we have never seen before and it only infects humans.

 But wait, I read/heard that one dog in Hong Kong did get it and now there is a second one – what about that?

I’ve been following the story of the first dog, a Pomeranian for awhile. It’s important for you to know the details of this story.

In Hong Kong, in February, there was a woman who had Covid- 19 and her 17 year old Pomeranian dog was handed over to the Hong Kong Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department for observation and quarantine. They collected and tested nasal and oral cavity samples from the dog which came back with a weak positive. While the test results seemed to indicate that the dog had a low-level of infection, the dog was not sick and showed no symptoms. They kept the dog in quarantine and continued to test because they could not establish if the dog really had been infected with the virus or this was a result of environmental contamination of the dog’s mouth and nose. Many other medical experts, including those from the World Health Organization (WHO), investigated the case also trying to determine if the dog was actually infected or had picked it up from a contaminated surface.

Subsequent tests were done looking for antibodies in the dog’s blood. Just so you know, antibodies are proteins that the immune system produces to attack a particular virus or bacteria – each antibody is different and designed to fight off a specific kind of invader. The antibody tests were done to  see if the dog has been infected and show if the dog’s immune system had come in contact with the virus. The Pomeranian’s tests came back negative meaning that no antibodies specific to the Covid – 19 were found in its system. Leaves it a bit unclear doesn’t it? As the dog was negative, it was then released back to its owner who had recovered from the virus.

Sadly, after the Pomeranian was returned home, it did die – but the cause is unknown due to no autopsy being done.

Here again, we want to stress, for your own sanity and peace of mind, during this most unprecedented and troubling time in our lives, be sure to read beyond headlines you may see. You and I know that at times, headlines are meant to catch our attention and can instill fear. Last week, I read a headline about this dog that was maddening to me. It stated, “First dog to test positive for coronavirus has died in Hong Kong.” If you don’t delve into the actual story in detail, you could easily get the impression that the dog died from coronavirus. This isn’t the case. The Hong Kong department said the cause of death could not be determined – the owner declined to conduct an autopsy. What needs to be stressed and to keep in mind about the dog dying, which was very unfortunate, was the dog never got sick with the virus, he had underlying medical conditions and he was an old dog for that breed.

You may have also recently, heard that as of March, 21, 2020, there is another story being reported that a second dog, a German Shepherd in Hong Kong, has tested positive for coronavirus. This dog has not shown any symptoms of the disease. He is in quarantine with another mixed-breed dog from the same household who tested negative and also has shown no signs of the disease.  Both dogs continue to stay in quarantine and will continue to be tested.

Even with these two dogs, the World health organization, the Hong Kong Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the CDC still states, that to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet animals, can become ill with COVID-19.

A little perspective in case you are wondering if we will find out in the future, that our pets can become infected with it.

During the days of the 2003 outbreak of SARS, which was the severe acute respiratory syndrome, some dogs and cats did contract low-level infections of that particular coronavirus but the case histories showed that even though a small number of pets tested positive, NONE became sick and importantly, there was no evidence of viral transmission from pet dogs or cats to humans. The key point here is that there is a difference between the dogs and cats being infected and becoming infectious. They were not infectious during SARS.

So what’s the most important message about these dogs in Hong Kong regardless of what else you may see? The Hong Kong department themselves stated “Pet owners need not be overly concerned and under no circumstances should they abandon their pets.”   Calm your fears and keep your beloved pets with you.

Can they transmit the virus to you?

The answer is No. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there is no reason to think that any animals, including pets in the U.S., might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, they haven’t received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, noting that “at this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19.”

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) also echoed that there is no evidence that dogs can spread the disease or that the disease can cause an animal to fall ill.

Didn’t the virus come from an animal in China in the first place?

Yes, this is true. Scientists say the virus initially jumped from animals to humans.

As I mentioned before, Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals.

In recent history, there have been the rare incidents where the kind of coronaviruses that infect some animals – have emerged to infect people and then they were spread between humans.  This is what is suspected to have occurred for the virus that causes COVID-19. There was a variety of different wild animals being sold for food, at a seafood market in Wuhan, China and Chinese health officials believe that the coronavirus, Covid – 19 originated from the wild animals at the market. Even though you may have heard that the animals that spread it, were snakes or bats, but this has NOT been confirmed and to my knowledge we don’t know which particular animal it actually was.

What is important is remember is that the type of coronaviruses that dogs and cats may get, are NOT the types that jump to humans.

The bottom line: People don’t get Covid-19 from pets, and pets don’t get sick or pass the virus on.

Are there any precautions I should be taking with my pets?

Yes, If you are sick with Covid-19, you’d want to restrict your contact with them, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with Covid-19, it is still recommended that people that have the virus limit contact with their animals until more information is known about the virus. As hard as this would be, it means, avoid petting, snuggling, and kissing your pet.

You see, while there is no solid evidence that animals can carry the virus internally, their bodies may still act like a fomite for it. What’s a fomite? It’s a surface that can transmit disease – and anything can be one – such as a door handle, a gas pump, a phone screen, or your cat’s fur. The idea is that someone with the virus that may have been coughing into their hands or wiping their nose, that then, pets the cat, may deposit some of the virus on the animal’s fur. When someone else in your family comes along to pet same feline, they can inadvertently get the virus on their hand, and then, without thinking, rub their eyes. Oh, oh. Possible infection. As you know, this is why we are constantly told to wash our hands and stop touching our faces.

Now, we don’t know for sure this could happen with your pets fur, and we don’t really know how long the virus could live on the your dog or cat’s fur, but because  we don’t know enough about it yet, its better to play it safe.

If you are sick, if possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while recovering. Keep them close for comfort, of course, but you’re going to have to be more diligent about washing your hands before cuddling.

If you must care for your pet yourself, while you are sick with Covid-19, wash your hands before and after you interact with your dog or cat, avoid sharing food and wear a facemask if you have one.

If you are well and going for walks with  your dog, this also means when out walking, it’s best not to let other people touch or pet your dog. This is a hard one. When I’ve been walking Rosy the last few weeks, even though I am social distancing and so are the other people, every one does want to be close to my dog and she wants to go near them and get petted and loved on. Eeeesssh.  I am going to have to get strict about this and ask people not to pet her –  Not easy, I’m finding. Rosy is very sweet and beautiful – her fur is very soft and people we meet, clearly, want or need her comfort. I hate to deprive them of her attention, but I guess we’ve got to apply social distancing to our pets too.

Probably goes without having to say so, but if your pet becomes sick and you are not sure why and you are concerned, of course, call and go see your vet.

Knowing what we do know about pets not getting sick from the virus, and not passing it on, please keep perspective, and do your very best to remain calm.


Full Show notes for Raising Your Paws podcast Episode 63

Title: Reassurances About Pets and Covid-19 & The Benefits of CBD oil From a Vet.

If your dog ever gets an expression on its face that looks like they are smiling, I’d like you to send a photo of that to me. I’ll post a number of smiling dog photos on one of the blog posts on the Raising Your Paws website and your dog will receive a large free bag of NutriSource pet food.   Please send one or two photos of your smiling dog to susan@raisingyourpaws.com. Be sure to tell me your dog’s name and the kind of breed they are. Keep the photos coming through the end of March 2020.

First, are you worried about your pets, and Covid – 19? Confused about crazy stories and scary headlines that seem contradictory? Please be reassured.

Here are the questions I’ll answer from the reliable sources, the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

Can my dog and cats catch it and get sick?

I read that one dog in Hong Kong got it – what’s the real story?

Can they transmit the virus to me?

Didn’t the virus come from an animal in China in the first place?

Are there any precautions I should be taking with my pets?

Then, Dr. Barbara Royal, DVM, a leading integrative vet who is the founder and owner of The Royal Treatment Veterinary Center and author of “The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets” is here to talk about the benefits that CBD oil has for your dog and cat.

Finally, there is something about your dog’s face that can aid you in knowing your dog’s mind – if their mouth is open or closed as they go about their activities during different times of their day. This can be another indicator of their inner feelings. I’ll explain which ones.

Additional Resources for the show.

Center for Disease Control – Information about pets from the FAQ page.

World Health Organization – Information about pets from the Q & A page.

Dr. Barbara Royal’s Royal Treatment Vet Center.

Purchase Dr. Royal’s books.




Blindness Didn’t Stop This Dog from Doing What He Loved.

Indy, a sled dog that races even though he has no eyes.

Never lose faith in what your dog can do and overcome. This is what Frank Moe, a sled dog musher learned about one of his Alaskan Husky’s, named Indy, who was a racing sled dog who lost both of his eyes.  Listen to the story of how Indy became blind and yet found his way back to being part of the racing team on this week’s episode of Raising Your Paws podcast.

Here is the video about Indy, I mentioned during the podcast.


And here are the photos Frank sent me so you can see more of Indy.

Indy before his eye problems in 2015 with the dog, Wolfie.
Indy and Frank.
Indy just before the 2nd leg of the Gunflint Mail run. At 100 miles it was by far the longest race Indy had done since he went blind three years prior. He finished strong and happy in 8th place in the 12 dog class.

Indy, happy in his harness and racing again.


Here’s a video made just before Indy ran in the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in which they finished 5th place.  A great close up view of sled dogs running.


Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Episode 62.

Title: Understand Your Dog’s Facial Expressions & the Story of Indy, a Blind, Sled Racing Dog.

I start this episode clarifying a part of the conversation I had with animal trainer, Ken Ramirez in the last episode, about rewarding your dog every time they come when you call them. This is in response to some questions listeners had about positive reinforcement training and if this means one always has to give treats to get a dog to do anything.

If you have any questions you’d like answered on the podcast about your pets, please feel free to ask. Post your question in the comment section of any blog article or write me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com.

I talked about dog’s mouths in the last episode and how at times when they pull their commissure which are the corners of the mouth, back, it looks to us like a smile. In this episode, I’ll describe some of the other positions your dog’s mouth takes that reveal when they are feeling nervous, defensive or fearful. Once you know what to look for, it’ll be easier for you to understand your dog’s emotions and anticipate its actions.

Then, did you see or read about the blind sled racing dog named Indy on the internet? Frank Moe, a dog sled musher in Minnesota, is the owner of Indy, and is on the show today, telling the story of how Indy lost his sight, what is was like for him to have a blind dog and how Indy was able to get back to racing.

Finally, have you wondered why your cat greets you by sometimes walking towards you with its tail held straight up towards the sky? This is a signal that all domesticated cats use with each other. In wildcats, it is only the kittens that show this posture. Find out how adult cats started using this and what it means when your cat raises its tail for you.

Send Us Your Smiling Dog Photos!

Do you have a dog who looks to you like they smile? Send me one or two photos of your smiling dog – I’ll select a number of the most engaging photos of dogs with smiling faces on, and post them on a future blog article along with your dog’s name. If your dog’s photo is selected, I’ll send you a coupon for a free large bag of NutriSource Pet food.

Send your photo to susan@raisingyourpaws.com. You’ve got until the end of March 2020 to get the photo to me. I’m looking forward to seeing your doggies.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Listen to the full conversation with Animal Trainer, Ken Ramirez.   Part 2 – Episode 61.

This is when I asked why he advised me to always “pay” or reward Rosy every time when she comes after I call her when she’s far away from me.

Resource for the story about facial expressions revealing dog’s emotions – -”For the Love of a Dog” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.

Dog sled musher, Frank Moe’s Facebook page.

Frank Moe and Indy.


Resource for the story about cat’s upright tails – Cat Sense, How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw.




Do Dogs Really Smile?

Do you think your dog naturally smiles at you? I’ve seen what looks like a grin on Rosy’s face (my Shetland Sheepdog/German Shepherd mix). See what I mean in  the photo below?

Rosy looking like she is having a good dream.

But most likely, it’s just the way she is lying against the edge of her bed that is causing her lips to take that shape –    rather than her dreaming about unlimited access to cheese. We as people, are primed to recognize smiles on faces, which is a powerful, universal, human signal.

Because our brains are programmed (so to speak) to respond to smiles, this can mean anytime, we see other animals with the corners of their mouths pulled back with upturned lips, we interpret it the same way. So the question is, no matter if your dog “looks” like they are smiling at you,  is there actually an expression that a dog can make that really means they are feeling happy? You may have a strong opinion about this. Hear what animal behaviorists have to say about it and what else to look for in your dog’s body language to help you determine if that expression on your dog’s face is truly joy. Listen to this week’s episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast.

Here is the photo I spoke about in the show of Rosy with an open mouth and corners raised – Yep, we could call that a smile right? Problem is at the time, she could also just have been warm – and cooling off –  as you know that dogs release heat by panting.  

Anyway, now that you know more about your dog’s lips from listening to the podcast – lets have some fun.


Raising Your Paws Smiling Dog Photo Contest.

Come on, you know you think your dog has a great smile –  We want to see that.

Send me one or two photos of your dog that looks to you like they are smiling and include your dog’s name.

I’ll choose about 6-8 of the most engaging photos and post them here on a future blog. And for your dog being selected, I’ll send you some great NutriSource Pet Food coupons so you can reward your doggie.

To be considered, all photos need to be sent to me by March, 31, 2020.

Send to susan@raisingyourpaws.com.   Good luck, I can’t wait to see your dog’s photo.


Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws – Episode 61.

Title: The Emotional Benefit of Positive Reinforcement Dog Training & Do Dogs Actually Smile?

First, you might think that when a cat hisses at something, it means they feel mad. This is not the case. I’ll explain what cats may be feeling that causes them to hiss, how a cat’s hiss is similar to a dog’s growl and offer tips of how to handle your cat when they hiss at you.

Then, I’ll continue my conversation from the last episode, with Ken Ramirez, Executive Vice President of Karen Pryor Clicker Training, and author of The Eye of the Trainer: Animal Training, Transformation and Trust.

When training your dog, can punishing it for doing the wrong thing, negatively affect how your dog feels about you?   You’ll get the answer to that question, and hear the story of a German shepherd named Serena, whose training resulted in her being able to help a trapped firefighter.

Plus, do you think your dog smiles? The expression on your dog’s face may look like a smile to you, you may call it a smile but is it really the same thing – do dogs really smile like we do to express happiness?

Your mouth and lips contribute to the many different facial expressions you have, that can communicate your feelings. This is true for dogs as well. We’ll analyze the expression dogs have that we think may look like the dog is smiling.

News! Smiling Dog Photo Contest.

To accompany the segment about dog’s happy facial expressions, we’re going to have a smiling dog photo contest. Send me one or two photos of your dog’s face when you think they are smiling. I’ll select about 6 – 8 of the most engaging photos to post on our raising your paws website along with your dog’s name and I’ll send you some great coupons for NutriSource pet food.

Send your photo to susan@raisingyourpaws.com. Please include your and your dog’s name and your mailing address. The contest will last until the end of March, 2020.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Source for the story about cat’s hissing – “Cat Wise” by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

Why Dog’s Growls Are a Good Thing – listen to Raising Your Paws episode 15.

Ken Ramirez Website.

How to order “Eye of the Trainer” by Ken Ramirez.

Karen Pryor Clicker Training Website.

Karen Pryor Clicker Training on Facebook – Videos of Ken Ramirez.

Follow Ken on Twitter @KenKPCT

Follow Ken on Instagram ken_ramirez_kpct

Find a certified Karen Pryor positive reinforcement trainer.

Source for the story about dog’s expressions -”For the Love of a Dog” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.


Helping You Decide What Style of Dog Training to Use.

Look at all these trained dogs!  How did they learn to do that?  Are you ready to start training your newly adopted dog or new puppy or are at your wits end with an out-of-control dog and need to hire a professional trainer? Not sure what style of training to use? In this week’s episode of Raising Your Paws podcast, find out how training your dog will not only protect your sanity and furniture, but it actually increases your dog’s well-being. Learn the differences in the methods of training and how positive reinforcement training will enhance the relationship you have with your dog.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast #60.

Title: Dog Training: Positive Reinforcement or Punishment Based? & Why the Cat Pees on Your Bed.

In honor of Valentine’s Day – (this episode was released on Feb. 11) a celebration of love and affection, since we give our hearts readily to our dogs and cats, here are some thoughts on how dogs help men express their feelings and how a cat’s purr benefits you physically.

If you need to start training your dog or want to hire a dog trainer, how do you know which of the different styles or methods of training will work and is best for your dog? Wouldn’t it be helpful for making an informed decision, if you understood in the first place, the basic difference in the styles of training, and if one has major benefits that the other does not. My guest, is Ken Ramirez, Executive Vice President of Karen Pryor Clicker Training, and author of The Eye of the Trainer: Animal Training, Transformation and Trust” and he explains both positive reinforcement and punishment training. He also tells fun stories about the training of many different kinds of animals besides dogs.

Then, here is a cat elimination problem that can have you losing sleep – literally. Why do cats start eliminating in your bed and what can you do to stop the behavior? You may think your cat is mad at you and acting out of spite – they are most likely feeling an emotion but its not anger. I’ll explain what your cat may be feeling that leads them to pee on your sheets.

I’m still offering the free children’s book, promotion, Adventures with Tuffy. It’s not only a nice story, there are pet food coupons included. To participate in the promotion, write me, tell me what particular challenges you are having with your pets that you’d like to hear addressed on the podcast and I’ll send you a free copy. To participate in this book promotion, just write me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com.


Additional Resources for the Show.

Stanley Coren Article. “The Gender Divide – Why Women Want Dogs While Men Need Them” from Modern Dog.

Listen to Raising Your Paws podcast about cat litter box issues. – Episode 11.

Resource for finding a Certified Animal Behavioral Consultant.

Ken Ramirez Website.

Ken Ramirez

How to order “Eye of the Trainer” by Ken Ramirez.

Karen Pryor Clicker Training Website.

Karen Pryor Clicker Training on Facebook – Videos of Ken Ramirez.

Follow Ken on Twitter @KenKPCT

Follow Ken on Instagram ken_ramirez_kpct

Find a certified Karen Pryor positive reinforcement trainer.

Source for Story about Cats peeing on beds – “Cat Wise” by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

Comfort Dogs To the Emotional Rescue.

Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities. From the Pulse nightclub shooting, Orlando, Florida.

Sometimes, it is the silent, gentle presence of a dog – accepting, non-judgmental, simply sitting next to someone,  offering its fur to be touched, that allows a few precious moments of relaxation and relief to someone who is experiencing, anxiety, shock or unthinkable trauma. Not to diminish at all the efforts and value provided by other people, the first responders, authorities, counselors and volunteers that help the people directly affected during times of crisis or disaster – but often it is a comfort dog at the scene, that may be able to reach and get through to the place in a person’s heart where emotions are blocked and words are not possible yet.

On this week’s episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, you’ll hear about a very special organization, Lutheran Church Charities, and their K-9 Dog Ministry Comfort Dogs. This is a unique group of highly trained Golden Retrievers and handlers that deploy all over the country to lend their boots and paws to the aid of people everywhere, that are in need and suffering. Now, listen to the stories of Tim Hetzner, President and CEO of Lutheran Church Charities (LCC),  and Richard Martin, who is the Director of Deployment, about their experiences when they reported to the towns where mass shootings occurred and how their comfort dogs helped.

Here are some photos of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs.

LCC Sandy Hook K-9 Comfort Dogs Deployment Team.
Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.
Maggie, one of the K-9 comfort dogs stationed at Sandy Hook.
Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.


LCC – K-9 Comfort Dogs with a counselor at Sandy Hook Elementary following the shooting. She is holding the puppy, Isiah, that accompanied the group of dogs. 
Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.
Leah, with a child. Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.


LCC K-9 Ministry deployment at Henry Pratt Shooting, Aurora, IL. The man to the far right is Richard Martin, Director of Deployment, the other guest on the show.
Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.

LAdeena and a firefigher. The K-9 Comfort dogs also help the first responders.
Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.
LCC also has comfort dogs for the military.
Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.
One of the K-9 comfort dogs with a National Guardsman. Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.

LCC Comfort Dog, Katie with Child.
Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.
K-9 Cubby, offering comfort. Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.


Full Show Notes For Episode 59

Title: When Your Cat Pees in Unwanted Places & Golden Retrievers that bring Comfort during Disasters.

Are you having problems with your cat, not using the litter box, but instead peeing in places you’d never expect? In this episode I’ll talk about when cats choose house plants as their litter box, offer an explanation for why this might happen and tell you what to do about it. Next time, we’ll cover when cats begin peeing in your bed.

You may have heard of therapy dogs who visit patients in hospitals and clinics. Today, you’re going to hear about a special group of golden retrievers, who bring comfort to those suffering the aftermaths of mass shootings and other disasters. You’ll hear how, Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Ministry’s comfort dogs, along with their handlers, travel all over the United States–being deployed in times of crisis to bring comfort to all those affected. My guests today are Tim Hetzner, the president and CEO of the organization who started the K-9 ministry and Richard Martin, the director of the K-9 deployments.

Does your dog attempt to eat parts of dead animals it finds outdoors or even grab mouthfuls of dirt at times? When dogs eat what we consider to be disgusting, no doubt you probably pull your dog away, thinking it’s not only gross, but will cause your dog to get deathly ill from consuming such a germ infested thing. In reality, your dog’s body is equipped to handle consuming a lot of bacteria and germy things much more than you are. I’ll explain how.


Additional Resources for the show.

Amazon link to many brands of Sticky Paws Tape – most are advertised for furniture, however you can fashion strips to make a crisscross pattern on the top of the planter.


Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) Website.

Tim Hetzner, President and CEO of Lutheran Church Charities.
Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.
Richard Martin, Director of Deployment at Lutheran Church Charities.
Photo Permission and Credit: Lutheran Church Charities.


LCC’s K-9 Comfort Dogs website:

LCC’s Kare-9 Military Comfort Dogs website:

LCC’s K-9 Police Comfort Dogs.

Lutheran Church Charities and the K-9 Comfort Dogs on Facebook:

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs

Lutheran Church Charities:@LutheranChurchCharities


Find the K-9 Comfort Dogs on Instagram:

Comfort Dogs: @comfortdogs

Lutheran Church Charities: @lccharities

Find the K-9 Comfort Dogs on Twitter:

Comfort Dogs: @K9ComfortDogs

Lutheran Church Charities: @LCCharities

Source for the story about dog’s ability to eat carrion – “See Spot Live Longer” by Steve Brown and Beth Taylor.


Write and tell us the pet problems you’d like solved on the Raising Your Paws Podcast and participate in a free children’s book promotion



You can receive a free copy of the children’s book, “Adventures with Tuffy” Written by Sue Sailer and Illustrated by Troy Becker. This book was the idea of Charlie Nelson, the CEO and president of the family owned company, NutriSource Pet Foods. Tuffy was the name of his grandfather and is also the name of the family’s pet food plant.

To participate, please write me at susan@raisingyourpaws.com, with your detailed comments about the Raising Your Paws podcast. We would like to know what some of the problems you are having raising your pets that you’d like to hear addressed on the show. I’ll select 10 of the first people to write and send them a free book. Good Luck. The book is also sold in many of the stores where you find NutriSource pet food.


How to Decide to Get Pet Health Insurance or Not.

Do you have health insurance for your pets? If not, do you wonder if you should get it, why its needed or would it really be worth it?

And how do you pick the right company anyway?  Does it feel like a hassle to have to figure it out?

To help  you decide if it’s worth getting, – it’s pretty easy. Just answer two questions.

And to choose which company to go with, there is a convenient online tool that takes you step by step through the process.

You’ll hear the two questions and what the online tool is, in this episode (58) of the Raising Your Paws podcast. This is a “best of podcast”  replay from one of the first pillar episodes of the show.

Full Show Notes.

Episode 58 (replay of pillar episode No. 1)

Title: Sure Fire Way to Decide if You Should Get Pet Health Insurance & Why Your Dog Lies Down After Spotting Another Dog.

In this, “Best of Podcast” pillar episode replay show, we’ll first start with what you should do if you think your pet may have been poisoned… besides panic. I’ll tell you a story about when I accidently fed a toxic drug to my dog and a phone number you’ll want to call right away if you suspect poisoning.

Next, do you wonder if you need to have pet health insurance for your cat or dog? Dr. Doug Kenney, DVM, author of the book, Pet Health Insurance, A Veterinarians Perspective, poses two simple questions to ask yourself in order to decide and then explains how to select a good company that meets your needs. You’ll hear about an online resource, his pet insurance tool kit, which helps you work through this step-by step.

Then, your dog may be communicating with you and other dogs, through doing this particular behavior. Find out what it is and increase your skills in reading your dog’s body language.

And, finally, why pouring your dry pet food from the bag it came in, into another can or bucket is not the best way to store the food.

Additional Resources for this show:

ASPCA Poison Control Hotline Phone number – 888-426-4435.

Amazon link for ordering the book, Pet Health Insurance, A Veterinarians Perspective.

Dr. Kenney’s Website.

Pet Health Insurance Tool Kit.

Dr. Kenny’s Podcast


Please leave your comments about the episodes at the bottom of any of the blog articles/show notes. Would love to hear your opinions and questions.


Can Rescuing a Stray Dog Rescue a Person at the Same Time?

Have you rescued a dog? Perhaps you found an abandoned one out on the streets or saved one from being ethuanized in a shelter. Rosy, my dog, a Sheltie, German Shephard mix, that I adopted, was taken out of a community pound by a woman who fostered dogs moments before the dog was going to be euthanized.

Perhaps you feel that as much as you saved your dog, your dog has saved you in many ways.

That is how one Marine who fought in Afghanistan, during 2010, feels about his dog Fred.

Listen to Craig Grossi’s dramatic story of his mission fighting the Taliban in one of the most violent areas of Afghanistan, how he fell in love with a stray dog living in the middle of the battlefield, got him home to the United States and is rescued by his dog everyday.

Here are photos of Craig and Fred.

Craig Grossi and Fred the Afghan. Two souls rescued.
Fred sleeping in the worn-torn area of Sangin, Afghanistan.
Fred would accompany the Marines as they visited and spoke with the Villagers.
Fred looking out over the compound where Craig’s platoon was stationed.


Full Show Notes For Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 57.

Title: How Smelly Humans Are to Dogs & A Marine and a Dog from Afghanistan that Rescued each other.

How can search and rescue and police dogs sniff out and follow people that are long gone from sight? It is because, we humans smell ALOT to dogs and this makes it easy for them to track people. In this episode, I’ll explain exactly why and how you are constantly producing odors that dogs can detect and allow them to identify YOUR particular scent from all others.

Next, the story you’ll hear today, from my guest, Craig Grossi, a marine, who was stationed in, Afghanistan is about a stray dog who was scrounging out his living in the desert sands, and captured the marine’s heart and commitment. The story of Craig and his dog Fred, is one of the more unique and gratifying rescue stories I’ve ever heard. You’ll be able to read the entire story about how Craig brought Fred back from war torn Afghanistan to the United States, in Craig’s book, Craig and Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other.

Then, it’s time for another “Where did that expression come from? There are two stories that offer an explanation for where “let the cat out of the bag” came from.

In the podcast, I promised  you some photos of cats squeezed in small places.

If you live with a cat, you know that they like to jump into bags and boxes.  Cats have a natural need for warmth and protection and their instinct tells them to be alert to dangers that might sneak up on them when they want to relax and doze so it makes sense that they would feel snug and comfortable and more protected in smaller, defined places.

But do you wonder how a cat can cram themselves into the smallest of places? It has to do with how they are made. Cats can fit through any space that is wider than their heads. That’s because they don’t have collarbones and their heads are the widest parts of their bodies. As long as they can get their head in something, with their  amazingly flexible spines, they can twist and wiggle themselves into all sorts of things in such a way that their front legs can be facing one way, their hind legs are facing another when they are lying down, and they’ll still be comfy.


Photo credit: Alina Esther©

Additional Resources for the Show

Listen to Stories about Search and Rescue Dogs finding missing people. (Episode 31)

Listen to Stories about K-9 Police dogs tracking criminals. (Episode 41)

Amazon link to the source for the story of how smelly we are to canines: Being a Dog: Following the Dog into a World of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz.

Craig, Nora and Fred.

Craig and Fred’s website and social media:

Website: fredtheafgan.com

Fred the Afghan on Facebook:

Fred the Afghan on Instagram:

Craig Grossi’s YouTube channel.

Amazon link for how to order the book, Craig and Fred, A Marine, a Stray Dog, And How They Rescued Each Other.

Young reader’s edition of the Craig and Fred book.






What to Know about Giving Pets as Gifts.

As I am very busy trying to train Rosy how to help me tape up and wrap holiday packages, (not going so well) this week’s episode of Raising Your Paws is a best of holiday segments replay.

It’s good holiday related information to be reminded of or to know. Such as what to consider first, if you are planning on giving a dog or cat as a holiday gift, and also why you want to make sure you keep certain holiday foods out of reach of your pets. For example, do you know why you want to make sure the cat does not lap up the remains of the mulled wine in that glass or the dog is not able to wolf down the freshly made bread dough that is sitting on the counter rising?

Listen to episode 56 to find out why.

I do mention at the beginning of the episode some exciting news.  Our full-time, one of a kind, children’s hospital therapy dog has finally arrived.

Here is the press release about it.

NutriSource Pet Foods Funds Hospital’s First Ever Facility Dog

By:Pet Age Staff
December 6, 2019

Members of the Nelson family, (Owners of NutriSource Pet Foods) hospital staff and Rocket.

Press release: NutriSource Pet Foods

At M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, young patients met the hospital’s newest staff member who will to help them take medicine, relax during anxious moments, encourage them to walk after surgery and offer support and affection during medical procedures.

Rocket, presented by NutriSource, is a golden retriever and the first and only full-time facility dog to join the team at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

Rocket will help support children and families during hospitalizations and clinic visits. Rocket was formally introduced to the hospital during a short program on December 5th. The staff position was made possible by community support and a generous gift of $250,000 from NutriSource Pet Foods.

Rocket went through years of advanced, specialized training allowing him to be present during medical procedures—something other therapy dogs visiting the hospital are not able to do.

There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our children. The bond between pets and kids is extra special,” said KLN Family Brands president Charlie Nelson. “In addition to our mission to provide nutritious and healthy food for our four-legged family members, we are proud to support the great work at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital by funding the NutriSource Facility Dog Program.”

“We want to extend a huge thank you to KLN Family Brands for their generosity and support to help launch the NutriSource Facility Dog Program at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital,” said Anna Dressel, child life coordinator – Facility Dog Program at the hospital. “Rocket has only been at the hospital for a total of seven days yet he has already had a huge impact on patients, families and staff.”

Based in Perham, MN, NutriSource produces dry dog and cat food kibble along with semi-moist pet treats. The family owned and operated company was founded in 1964 by Darrell “Tuffy” Nelson and his son, current CEO Kenny Nelson. The company recently completed a $35 million grinding, mixing and storage bin expansion as well as an $18 million investment in a fourth extruder adding 50,000 additional annual tons of capacity. By the end of 2020, a new state of the art $65 million dog and cat treat manufacturing facility will be up and running in Delano, Minnesota as their manufacturing footprint continues to grow.

Here are more photos of Rocket. By the way, you might recall that when I was talking to Charlie Nelson, owner of NutriSource Pet Foods, about why they were donating money in order for the children’s hospital to have a full-time dog on staff, (episode # 51)  he told us that the family wanted to name the dog Tuffy, after  Darrell Nelson, Charlie’s grandfather, who started the company, whose nickname had been Tuffy.  Here’s why Rocket is not named Tuffy. This specially trained dog, who was selected to be NutriSource’s representative, was named Rocket at birth and it is not possible at this point to rename him. So maybe we can all just call him Rocket Tuffy or Rocket T. for short. I’ll keep you updated about this. I can’t wait until we hear about how he is doing at his job. As soon as we have some stories about him and the children he will be loving and helping, I’ll share them with you.

Rocket, his handler and some children.


Charlie Nelson, his family and Rocket.

Full Show Notes. 

Episode 56 Title: What to Know before Giving a Pet as a Holiday Gift & Why Certain Holiday Foods are Not Good for your Pets.

If you are thinking of finally getting that puppy or kitty for your kids, relative or special someone and presenting it as a holiday gift, you’ll want to consider these things first to ensure the pet will be a long lasting success in the home.

There are certain foods we like to eat around the holidays, that our pets would also like to partake in, but many of them can cause health problems for the dog and cat. In this episode I’ll list which ones can be hazardous and explain the reasons why.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Resource’s for finding a pet that will be a good match.  From Dogtime.com there are two good tools:

1. This one determines which types of breeds and mixes may be a good fit for you and your family. https://dogtime.com/matchup

Here are detailed profiles of the major dog breeds so you can learn about their different characteristics. https://dogtime.com/quiz/dog-breed-selector

2. ASCPA Meet A Match™ Program.  https://www.aspcameetyourmatch.org/about

This one helps you to figure out which personality types of dogs and cats would match well with you. It is designed for matching you with dogs or cats that you would adopt from an animal shelter.

For the more detailed explanation about these resources and topic, see the original blog article “Finding the Pet that will be a Good Match for You” at the Raising Your Paws website.

If your pet eats the wrong foods and you suspect health problems, call ASPCA Poison Control Hotline phone number – 888-426-4435.

Have your credit card handy: After reception asks what the health issue is with your pet and relays this to a Vet, they will ask for your card number as there is a charge for the service. It is worth it.


Why Dogs Turn in Circles and Dig Apart their Beds Before They Sleep.

Does this photo look familiar – your dog going through the crazy motion of scratching at your blankets or couch before they lie down?

Has your dog torn apart their foam beds or mats from all that digging and turning around and around in circles before they can take a nap?

Why do dogs do this and can they be stopped? Find out in this week’s episode of Raising Your Paws podcast.

Full Show Notes

Episode 55 – Title: Hearing Your Pets Talk Using Artificial Intelligence? & Why Dogs Turn in Circles and Scratch Before Lying Down.

I promised you that I’d tell you why I knew my cat Willie would protect my apartment and get physical with any intruder that dared to enter the house. In this episode, I’ll tell you the story of why Willie’s nickname was “Killer Cat.”

Next, did you know that your dog can recognize your different facial expressions and that someday you may be hearing what your pets actually say, though using artificial intelligence? My guest today, is Richard Louv, a nature journalist and author of the book, “Our Wild Calling: How connecting with animals can transform our lives – and Save theirs.” Along with other new, startling, scientific discoveries about our relationship with our pets and other wild animals, he makes the point through many fun and fascinating stories, that the connection we have with non-human creatures affects our wellbeing and mental health in deeper ways than we may be aware.

Then, do you wonder why your dog turns in circles while digging at the carpet or its doggy bed before lying down to sleep? This photo of a wolf, offers a clue to the answer.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Richard Louv.


Richard Louv’s website.





Order “Our Wild Calling: How Connecting with animals can transform our lives – and save theirs.” By Richard Louv.









Source for story about dogs turning in circles: “The Secret Lives of Dogs” by Jana Murphy and the Editors of Pets, Part of the Family.

Fictional excerpt from book ”Walking in Circles before Lying Down,” by Merrill Markoe.





Will Your Dog Be A Drooler?

ALL dogs may drool at certain times but the kind of lips a dog has, effects the amount of saliva that escapes the dog’s mouth.  It’s good to know about dog  lips for two major reasons.

1. To help you understand why your dog is so slobbery, they don’t mean to slime everyone and everything and they can’t help from doing it.

2. If you are researching what kind of dog to get, and it matters to you, if a dog breed tends to drool a lot or not so much, knowing the type of lips a breed has, will help you make an informed decision.

What causes all dogs to drool and why are some more likely to have streams of saliva hanging from their mouths than others?

Find out in this week’s episode of Raising Your Paws podcast, Number 54.

Now, here are some photos of the dogs that have the two different types of lips. This is by no means a complete list of the breeds with either type of lips.

In dogs, the upper lips are called “flews.” The flews vary in length from breed to breed. Hound dogs and other heavy-muzzled breeds such as the bulldog and bloodhound pictured below, have long, low-hanging flews draped over their upper jawline.

These dogs have pendulous or saggy lips and will tend to normally, drool more.

Can’t really tell from this photo, but this is a Bloodhound.
Here again is a bloodhound, ready to work and start tracking.
St. Bernard puppy.

Compare this photo of an English Mastiff’s mouth, with pendulous lips to the mouth of a standard poodle that has tight lips.

English Mastiff.
Standard Poodle.

Here are some more of the breeds with tight lips that regularly drool less.

Doberman Pincher.

Keep in mind that even though, dog drool may seem gross to you at times, it is a sign that your dog is producing saliva and just like you, your dog needs saliva to aid in the digestion of its food, and it also helps keep your dog’s mouth comfortable. If you’re not seeing any slobbering from your canine and its mouth seems overly dry, your four-legged companion may have dry mouth, also known as the condition called xerostomia. Without a liquid (saliva) regularly washing over the teeth to keep them clean, dry mouth can cause bad breath in both dogs and people. Besides noticing bad breath, dogs with dry mouth may have sticky, dry-feeling gums. Xerostomia can affect your dog’s  swallowing and eating so if you suspect this condition in your pooch, take them to see their vet.

Here is Rosy, my Shetland sheepdog/German Shephard mix that has tight lips.

All of these dog breeds no matter how drippy they are, still merit our respect and care. If you have one of the more slobbery breeds, you just have to manage it a bit more. With all the love and fun and happiness that exists between you and your dog, its worth carrying tissues, or handkerchiefs or towels or a sponge around with you, isn’t it? And remember, that ALL breeds of dogs may drool at certain times – when food is present, when they are excited, when panting or when feeling sick or ill.

Bulldog, one of the more drooling breed, enjoying its water. All dogs however can drool while eating and drinking.








Full Show Notes For Raising Your Paws Podcast – Episode 54

Title: The Reasons Dogs Drool So Much & Why Family Dogs Bite Family Members.

Does your dog leave puddles of drool on the floor in anticipation of eating when you open the container of its food? Or perhaps you have one of those large dog who slobbers constantly. Why do dogs drool? There are many reasons for this. Find out what they are in this episode.

You may be surprised to hear that some of the most common dog bites happen to family members from the family dog. Why is this? What are the circumstances that can lead to your dog biting you or someone in the family? And most importantly, what can be done to prevent this? I’m continuing my conversation with Melissa Berryman, a dog bite prevention expert and author of the book, “People Training for Good Dogs: What Breeders don’t tell you and what trainers don’t teach.” We’ll cover those topics today.

Melissa Berryman









Does your cat sometimes act like they are hearing things? Maybe you figure they’ve gone kind of nuts – because you don’t hear a thing. Actually they are – hearing what you are not! In this episode I’ll explain just how much better your cat’s hearing is compared to yours.

Additional Resources for the show

Source for the story about dog’s drooling – The Secret Lives of Dogs by Jana Murphy and the Editors of Pets – part of the family.

Melissa Berryman’s People Training for Good Dogs website.

Amazon link to Order “People Training for Good Dogs.”

Source for the story about cats hearing – What Your Cat Knows by Sally Morgan.