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:


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 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.

Here are detailed profiles of the major dog breeds so you can learn about their different characteristics.

2. ASCPA Meet A Match™ Program.

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.





Why Any Dog Can Bite Someone and How to Prevent It.

It can be the most innocent of things  – like you just wanting to move your dog from off of the couch. Did you know that one of the most common dog bites to  people in the home happens from an action like this? In this episode of Raising Your Paws Podcast – Episode 53, find out how being more mindful about your dogs needs and how they view you, their leader, can make a big  difference in preventing your dog from biting someone – the thing most of us think our dog would never do but in reality can happen.

Raising Your Paws Podcast  Episode 53

Title: Why Your Cat Brings You Dead Mice and How to React, & Your Dog Could Bite Someone – How to Prevent It.

Full Show Notes.

Does your cat bring you dead mice it kills or various rodent body parts? I’ll explain the current theory for why cats do this and the best way to react. It’s probably not what you think.

Then, if you are like many other dog owners, you don’t like to think that your dog could ever bite someone. The reality is that any dog – no matter the breed, can bite and injure someone. My guest, Melissa Berryman, is a dog bite prevention expert, creator of the People Training for Good Dogs dog handling program, and author of the book by the same title. In today’s episode, she talks about how we can take more responsibility for preventing dog bite injuries by better understanding our dog’s point of view and needs and expectations of us, and shares some of the innocent human actions that cause some of the most common bites.

Melissa Berryman









Plus, in the special feature, “Where Did That Expression Come From?” we’ll take on the phrase, “barking up the wrong tree” and then how one of America’s most popular foods, a sandwich eaten by the billions each year, got its name.

Congratulations to Ann from Woodburn, Oregon for winning a free large bag of NutriSource dog food. She did so, by being randomly selected from those that sent in a question about their pets that they wanted covered in the podcast. Her question, that we answered, was about why cats leave “gifts” of dead mice for her family. You can be selected as well and receive a free bag of pet food. Write me at or leave your question in the comment section below.

Additional Resources for the show.

Source for story about why cats leave dead mice and how to react. Why Does My Cat Do That? By Catherine Davidson.

Melissa Berryman’s “People Training for Good Dogs” Program Website.

Amazon link to order the book “People Training for Good Dogs: what breeders don’t tell you and trainers don’t teach.” By Melissa Berryman.

Source for Stories about where hot dogs got their name. National Hot Dog and Sausage Council Website

Blog Article: Why You Need To Take A Cat Bite Seriously.


If you get bitten by your cat, either through those play sessions that get a bit rough, or if you pick up your cat to separate them when fighting with another cat, the bite might not look like much at first and so you may play the injury down and forget about it. We tend to worry much more and pay closer attention to the possibility of dog bites as the wounds tend to be larger and can look so much worse. However, you’ll want to take any cat bites seriously and watch for unusual reactions especially if they are to your hand, wrist or forearms. Why?

Because cat bites can lead to infections. It’s not that a cat has more germs in their mouths than dogs, it’s the design and nature of their teeth that can inject hard-to-treat bacteria into your tissues. In comparison, dog’s teeth are more blunt and generally don’t penetrate down as deeply into the skin.

Even if your cat’s teeth are tiny and the bite mark is no more than a little pin prick, it can cause problems. Dr. Brian Carlsen, a Mayo Clinic plastic surgeon and orthopedic hand surgeon, relates that “Cat’s teeth are sharp and can penetrate very deeply. The bacteria gets into the tendon sheath or into the joint where they can grow with relative protection from the blood and immune system.”

And this is what puts you at risk, for a serious infection. With cat bites, it is best to seek medical attention.

Take the story of my father, who was checking in on my cat Willie, one afternoon while I was out of town a number of years ago. He had stopped by at the apartment, to feed, and play with Willie. My cat could be a tad unpredictable – lashing out and biting when you least expected it – to even those he loved the best.  Like my father who had cradled the teeny kitten when he was just a few weeks old, nestling him in the warmth of his neck. (Listen to Willie’s story – explains why my dad and I became the only mother he had. Podcast episode 30 – segment about socializing cats.)

So while visiting with Willie, in my home that day, my dad reached out to play or pat him and got rewarded for his affection with a bite to his hand. The bite stung – my dad’s feelings, mostly, but he washed it out and returned home. A few hours later my dad’s hand became red and swollen. When red streaks began radiating out from the hand, running up the length of his arm, my Mom and Dad figured there was probably something seriously wrong. They went to the hospital emergency room. Due to the seriousness of the infection at that point, he was admitted to the hospital and started on intravenous antibiotics.

This was quite a surprise to my father and very upsetting to me, when I heard the news over the phone – still being out of town. I felt so bad that my cat had put my father in the hospital. Who knew that a little cat bite could cause so much trouble? Fortunately, all was well by the next day after the medicine cleared up the infection.

My dad still loved Willie but, was somewhat more cautious around him after that experience.

My father and Willie.

Not all cat bites require hospitalization as it did with my father. People that have been bitten have seen their regular physicians when they could get appointments quickly, or more routinely visit the emergency rooms. Treatments can include oral antibiotics – but if they don’t knock out the infection, then intravenous antibiotics may be required. In some extreme cases patients have needed surgery to clean the wound or remove infected tissue. Research has shown in a majority of cases, if the cat bites were located directly over a person’s wrist or another joint instead of in soft tissue, these were the ones more likely to need hospitalization.

As you can tell, cat bites can be serious business – especially if you develop inflamed skin and swelling – you’ll need to seek medical attention immediately, so the wound can be treated aggressively. Play it safe and don’t wait until your hand and arm have long red stripes, like my father did.



What that Distinctive Vertical Slit in Your Cat’s Eye Is About.

Its Halloween time, and you’ll see many images of the black cats with their slitted eyes. It seems that for us, we associate animals, with eyes that have those vertical slits, like crocodiles and snakes and Harry Potter’s Voldemort, with being creepy, scary and threatening.


Some of the reason we perceive it as scary is that their eyes are different from ours.

Humans, (tigers and lions, as well) have round pupils and when bright light hits the eye, our pupils shrink or constrict to a tiny round pin prick size and shape. The constriction of the pupils is what stops too much light from getting in the eye which would damage our retinas.

In domestic cats however, their pupils are vertically shaped, not round, so when bright light, enter their eyes, to protect the retina, their pupils constrict into a narrow vertical slit. The cat’s vertical pupil shape is a real benefit, able to open wide, to an almost completely round shape, to let a lot of light in, when its dark out, to narrowing to a tiny slit to reduce the amount of light that enters as light increases.

Then to reduce the light even further, your cat may close her eyes half way and squint. We sometimes mistake this look on our cat’s faces thinking the cat is either sleepy or disgusted with something or us. This may be true, but it could also be that great adaptation at work, to protect your cat’s eyes.


The ability of your cat’s pupil to change from being a narrow slit in bright light to fully dilated  in low light large equates to about a 300 fold increase in the area of the pupil. Our round pupils only achieve a 15 fold increase.

Those wide open pupils gives them a huge advantage when hunting at night, allowing the maximum light in to see that tiny rodent in the grass.  The vertical slit however also gives cats an edge when hunting as it is believed that it allows them to better estimate their prey’s distance and focus more accurately on their target.

You’ve heard the expression that we apply to people – “the eyes are the window to a person’s soul.”  In your pet cat, the eyes are an indication of their mood and feelings. Start paying attention to the size of your cat’s pupils to get an idea of the state of their mind. You do need to take into consideration the context of what is happening at the time, and your cat’s overall body language as this affects what their eyes may mean.

Generally, a medium sized vertical slit usually indicates a confident, relaxed, happy cat.

The more open or dilated the pupils are at certain times, can mean your cat is feeling  defensive, may be agitated, and the eyes can warn you that they are about to jump away or may scratch or bite.  But as you can see in the photo below, this cat’s eyes are large but it is probably having a good time. Who doesn’t love sitting in a box?

If you notice that your cat’s pupils are becoming larger and rounder in bright light conditions, this can be an indication that something is bothering them. Pupil size is linked to the fight/flight response. If your cat is feeling fearful or threatened, the pupils get larger, letting in more light so your cat can see better, take in more information about the environment, assess any dangers and prepare to escape if needed.

Worried looking cat. Notice the ears – back and somewhat flattened.

A cat that is in pain, can also have dilated pupils. Vets learn to watch cat’s eyes for indications of how they are feeling during examinations.

Also pay attention to how they are using their eyes. If one cat is directly, continually staring at another cat, this can communicate a challenge. On the other hand, if your cat is avoiding eye contact with the other cat, he may be trying to reduce the likelihood of a confrontation.

You may have heard that one way a cat expresses its affection to you is to give a slow blink in your direction – sometimes called the cat kiss. It does seem true that blinking slowly is a sign of contentment and relaxation for domestic felines. Watch for this blink and you can participate in a bit of cat talk, and communicate your own happiness by slowly blinking back to your cat.

Speaking of cats, why do dogs seem to love eating their poop? Maybe your dog has too discerning of a palate to stoop down to the level of a litter box for a snack, but many dogs do covet cat turds as a particularly delicious treat. Why?  More importantly, is there something you can do to stop it? Answers are in episode 52 of Raising Your Paws podcast.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 52.

Title: Why Dogs Eat Cat Poop & How to Stop the Dog From Barking at the Mail Carrier.

Do you have both dogs and cats at home? Does your dog eat your cat’s poop? Seems that many dogs find those little turds, a tempting treat. I’ll talk about the habit of eating feces, called coprophagia and how to keep your dog out of the cat’s litter box.

Have you wondered if there is anything you can do to prevent your dog from barking and going ballistic every time the mail carrier shows up at the house? Hear what Katie K-9, a long time dog trainer who I’ve had on the show a number of times before, has to say about how to change your dog’s behavior without using punishment or a shock collar.

You may know that there are numerous ways in which a dog positively affects your physical health, but there is a brand new worldwide study that was just released, (Oct. 2019) in the American Heart Association journal, “Circulation,” that finds that having a dog actually causes pet owners to live longer. I’ll explain all the exciting and comforting details.

Win a free large bag of NutriSource pet food and help us out – by offering your feedback about the podcast. Write me at either or leave a comment in the section at the end of the blog article for episode 52 at our website, We’ll randomly select three people to win a bag of dog food and three to win a bag of cat food.

Additional Resources for the show.

Source for story about dogs eating cat poop. “ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems in your CAT-DOG Household” by Amy Shojai.

Katie K-9 Website – to hear radio show and podcast.

Source for story about dog owners living longer.

Who is the Nelson Family that Makes Food For Your Pets?

It’s always good to know exactly who is going to make dinner.

Right now, I’m talking about who makes your pet’s breakfast, lunches or dinners.  In the case of the NutriSource/Pure Vita/Natural Planet brands of pet foods,  then, you’ll be happy to know that it’s a family who is making your pet’s meals – the Nelson family from Perham (pronounced  Per-um,) Minnesota. This is where the family lives and the kitchen, I mean, the very large manufacturing plant, is located. (*see free promotion below)

It’s time to get to know the Nelson family, the people behind the company – who they are, and what they care about, besides making pet food, of course.

Let’s start with meeting Charlie Nelson, the president of the company, who is the third generation of Nelsons to be in that role.

Listen to the latest episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, (episode 51), to hear Charlie tell the stories of his grandfather and father, why their manufacturing company is called ‘”Tuffy’s,”  the route he took from playing professional baseball to coming back home to work the family business and how this  family owned company is going to improve the lives of many sick, hospitalized children starting this coming winter (2019) with the help of one very special dog.


Charlie Nelson and his family.

* If you haven’t tried NutriSource or Pure Vita brands of dog and cat food, and even if you have, you might want to participate in this nice promotion we’re offering for anyone to win a free large bag of dog or cat food. All  you’ve got to do is leave a comment below. We’d like some feedback about the latest episode of the podcast (number 51) and/or you can ask a question or tell me your story about your pets – that relates to the episode. Ah, another reason to listen to the show.

For those who do write, we’ll randomly select three people to send a large bag of free NutriSource dog food, and three more people to send a large bag of free NutriSource cat food. (When you send your comment, you’ll be including your e-mail address so we know how to get in contact to send you the food.)


Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode #51.

Title: Teach Your Dog to Stop Begging & How A Pet Food Company Helps Children Battle Cancer.

Does your dog annoy you when it begs for one more treat, or pushes your hand so that you continue petting its back, or bark at you to throw the ball just once more? In this episode, I’ll explain how to teach the cue, “enough” which means they are to stop doing whatever rather demanding behavior they are doing and leave you alone.

Then, meet the family behind NutriSource and why in addition to manufacturing pet food, the company is dedicated to helping children that are hospitalized or battling cancer. My guest is Charlie Nelson, the third generation president of NutriSource Pet Foods, from Perham, Minnesota. Charlie tells stories about his background playing professional baseball and how they got involved with an organization that started from a promise between a father and a child with cancer. Then, hear about the Nelson family’s latest cause, placing a full-time therapy dog, who will be named after their grandfather who started the business, in a Children’s hospital.

Plus, have you begun a new relationship, spending a lot of time together at your place, or perhaps recently gotten married? All is going really well but does your cat acts like it hates your new partner? Growling or acting aggressively? You may think it’s because your cat is jealous – your cat is upset – but it is not because of the time you’re spending with the new person. Your cat is feeling anxiety and fear. Find out the reasons why and what you can do to change your cat’s feelings about your partner so they stop hissing and start bonding with them.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Source for story about teaching your dog not to beg: “The Other End of the Leash” by Patricia B. McConnell, PH.D.

NutriSource Pet Foods Website.

Charlie Nelson, President of KLN Family Brands. (NutriSource Pet Foods and Kenny’s Candy and Confections.)


Pinky Swear Foundation: Helping Kids with cancer and their families with financial and emotional support. 

Source for story about when cat hates partner: “Think Like a Cat” by Pam Johnson-Bennett.




After fighting – How to Separate Your Cats for Safety and a Fresh Start.

There are two reasons that one of your cats may attack or bully another cat in the household that may come as a surprise to you – one has to do with a cat who was bothered by something else, but takes it out on the unfortunate soul who happens by at the wrong time, the other one – involves the effect a cat who has just visited the vet may have on the cat waiting at home.

Listen to Raising Your Paws Podcast episode 50, to hear about these reasons and what to do.

How to Effectively Separate Fighting Cats.

Anytime aggression breaks out suddenly between your cats, where there were no problems in the past, you’ll want to determine the cause –whether, its resource guarding of food or litter boxes (podcast episode 49) or things called redirected aggression and non-recognition aggression – (explained in podcast #50 above) or even a medical issue. Always and foremost, if one cat becomes uncharacteristically aggressive towards another, there could be a medical reason behind the behavior. Your cat may be in pain and that can make anyone irritable – so have cat checked out by the vet.

If the reason cat A was upset about a strange cat in the yard, but ambushes Cat B, or if Cat A attacks Cat B because he just came back from the doctor and smells icky, you’ll first want to separate the cats into different rooms to prevent further fighting and keep everyone safe.

Create a safe room, one that can be closed off, to place one of the cats or if you can, place each in their own separate rooms with doors. Set up the safe room(s)  with everything the cat needs: litter box, food, water, toys, scratching post, vertical space and good sleeping places. If you are going to have to leave one cat loose in the house and the other one in a den or bedroom, to figure out which cat should go into the safe room, there are two thoughts about this. If one of the cats was definitely, the aggressor, so that the cat does not get the perception that she ran off the other one, and is now the winner of the best territory – the rest of the house, place that cat in the safe room. If the victim cat, the one that got ambushed, appears nervous or stressed and tends to hide under things instead of enjoying the run of the house, place that cat in the closed off room.

Spend equal time with each cat, give plenty of attention and play time to both. This is not, nor should not feel like punishment for the cat placed in the den. The cats will stay apart for a number of days. Research shows that after an episode of redirected aggression the cats can remain agitated for up to two days after the incident. The point of the separation is to first, of course, prevent injury but to allow the cats to calm down and relax. Eventually when everyone calms down and goes back to their normal activities of eating, grooming, using their boxes, etc., while in their separate spaces,  then you can re-introduce them to each other.

If the spat happened recently and was not severe, and you were able to separate the cats immediately, then the time they need apart, won’t be very long however if the original fight happened a number of day in the past and they’ve been fighting ever since, then it’s going to be a longer, more gradual process before they can be together again and you’ll want to utilize what is known as a formal “reintroduction.” This is based on the principal that you will introduce them to each other in the same way you would as if this was the first time they had ever met. More about this in a future podcast episode.  If you haven’t subscribed yet to the podcast, now is a good time to do it. It’s free, and you will never miss an episode.


Raising Your Paws podcast Episode 50 – Full Show Notes.

Title: Making the Crate More Enjoyable For Your Dog & Why Cats Returning From the Vet Get Attacked By the Cats at Home.

Have you noticed that when a few dogs are walking or playing together, if one pees or marks a spot outside, than the other dogs will come over and mark the same spot? Why do dogs do this? I’ll explain how this is serious business in the canine world.

Next, talking to dog trainer, Katie-K-9 about dog crates, find out the answers to what the best kind of crate to get is, wire or plastic, what you can do to help your dog enjoy their time in the crate, and how to know when it’s time for the dog to be left out of the crate at home alone.

If you live with multiple cats and have had one cat suddenly become aggressive with or bully another cat, there are two surprising causes you’ll want to know about. One type of aggression has to with the cat who had simply been sitting and looking out the window and the other may happen when one cat comes home from the vet. I’ll explain the reasons these things can provoke aggression and how to fix it.

Let us know what you think about the podcast or the blog articles. Please leave your comment at the end of this blog article (episode, number 50) above, and win a few free bags of our cat or dog treats.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Amazon link to the source for the story about dog’s marking behavior. “Why Does My Dog Do That” by Sophie Collins.

Katie K-9’s Website.

Katie -K-9

Listen to Katie K-9’s shows on demand.

Amazon link to the source for the story about reasons for aggression in cats. “Cat Wise” by Pam Johnson-Bennett



What to Expect When Your dog Becomes a Teenager.

If your puppy is between 6 – 8 months old, (11 months or older in larger breeds) you may have noticed its behavior has changed – from being  cute, compliant, and quiet, to being rebellious, noisy, and rule-breaking. What’s happened, is your dog has become a teenager.

In this episode of Raising Your Paws podcast, hear about the normal, but challenging changes that may occur in your canine adolescent. Then in the blog below, find out about another thing your pooch may start doing – guarding its food – something that he had never done before as a puppy and what to do about it.

Episode 49 – Full Show Notes.

Title: Reasons Cats Bully other Cats & Why Your 8 Month old Puppy Seems to Forget all Its Manners & Training.

Does one of your cats bully other cats in the house hold? When human bullies torment other people, it seems like the reasons for doing so, is that they take delight in picking on others. Bullying cat’s behavior may look the same –torturing and attacking others, but the reasons are very different and specific to being a feline. I’ll explain a few of most common reasons a cat may turn into a bully.

Then, continuing the conversation with animal communicator, Tim Link, author of “Talking with Dogs and Cats: Joining the Conversation to Improve Behavior and Bond with Your Animals, he shares the three steps he uses to “talk” more deeply with dogs and cats. Keeping an open mind, you can learn how to do this as well to increase the bond with your pet. Plus, you’ll hear the story about the dog who was eating socks, and paper clips and how Tim helped him to stop in addition to how Tim helps solve the number one behavior issue people call him about regarding cats and likewise for dogs.

Has your sweet, quiet, cuddly, obedient puppy who used to respond to everything you asked, changed overnight into a disobedient, counter surfing, stealing, creature, who runs away from you and seems to have forgotten all its training? There’s a very normal, inevitable reason for this that’s part of your dog’s developmental stages. I’ll reveal what this is, and offer some tips to help you deal with the behavior changes.

If you have any in-depth questions or want to share your stories about anything you heard on the show, please write me at or leave me a comment at the end of this blog article.

Additional Resources for the Episode.

Source for the story about cats who bully – “Cat Wise” by Pam Johnson-Bennett and “How to Speak Cat,” by Aline Alexander Newman & Gary Weitzman, D.V.M.

Get in touch with Tim Link through his website.

Tim Link

Order Tim’s books.

Sources for the story about when your puppy becomes an adolescent: “Why Does My Dog Do That?” By Sophie Collins and “The Other End of the Leash” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.

What to do if Your Teenage Dog Starts Guarding it’s Food.

Your adolescent may become more protective over possessions – showing some resource guarding behaviors that did not exist before. Resource guarding means the dog is feeling possessive about what’s his. Could be its food or toys. And if your pup now perceives you as a threat – thinking you may want to eat out of his food bowl, or take and keep her favorite hedgehog toy, she may be fully prepared to give you a strong warning, meaning, “don’t even try to move in on this” by growling, snapping, or snarling, at you. This is NOT a desirable way for your teenager to assert herself. It’s very different from the “Keep Out” sign that a human 12 year old places on the door to their room.

You don’t want your dog to get into the habit of being defensive around its food and there are things you can do to deal with the issue of the guarding, but first a word about growling.

Remember a growl is a warning. Warnings are good things – they alert you to what could come next. Never push your dog to act on it – from a dogs point of view he has given you fair warning not to come closer and if you ignore him, he may feel compelled to take the next step and snap or bite.  So back off from your dog when she growls – then you can deal with the reason she growled. Many people get upset at their dogs for growling, thinking its bad, in and of itself,  and punish the dog for the growl.  Think about this though, don’t you want to know if your dog is feeling so threatened by something that they are ready to bite to defend themselves? You WANT your dog to warn you that the next thing coming is most likely the bite.

Listen to the podcast episode where I talk about the importance of the growl, and the reasons you don’t want to punish this away in Raising Your Paws podcast episode number 015.

The growl is not the problem to solve – its what’s behind it. If the reason for the growl is because your adolescent dog is now guarding its food from you, where they weren’t before, its time to start some food exchange exercises or bring them back and do them again, if you originally used them with your young puppy.

If you have multiple dogs at home, your  growing puppy may even test his ranking in the pack, by approaching another dog’s food. This little experiment is likely to earn him an abrupt lesson in both manners and status by the other dog. As long as the older dog just gives a warning or an injury free correction, like a small nip, let it be. Hopefully, the bold teenager, will have just learned its lesson and leave the other dog’s food bowls alone. If not, and the pup keeps barging in to the point that serious fights break out, feed the trouble maker separately and you may want to consult with a trainer for how to deal with this going forward.


Breaking Up Dog Fights and Identifying Healthy Dog Play.

What are you suppose to do if your dog gets into a serious dog fight? When dogs fight, our response may be, first, to scream and yell at them, thinking this will stop them. Then, even though it goes against common sense, people do get injured when they try to use their hands to break the dogs apart. Find out why yelling is useless, and what you CAN do to try and break up the fight without risking your life and limbs.  All here, in the Raising Your Paws podcast episode below. Then in the following blog article, you’ll find a list of the 8 signs that indicate the dogs that are roughhousing, are actually playing happily.

Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 48 – Finding Lost Pets, Stories from an Animal Communicator & How to Break Up Dog Fights.

Full Show Notes for Episode 48.

When your dog catches sight of that rabbit and runs off for the chase does your pet ignore you as you call for them to come back and act like they don’t hear you? I’ll explain this phenomenon.

Then, has your pet ever suddenly started acting differently, you can’t understand why or what to do to help and you just wished they could just tell you what’s wrong? Many people have gotten their answers through animal communicators. My guest is Tim Link, an animal communicator, who specializes in missing or lost pet cases. Hear his stories of how together with the dogs and cats, behavioral issues were solved and lost animals returned back home.

What can you do to stop a dog fight? There are a few physical interventions that are recommended, but more practical and useful are a number of tools you can carry with you that dogs will find aversive or offensive to their senses and are strong enough to stop the behavior. In this episode, I’ll list what they are.

Regarding animal communication if you have any stories of times your dog or cat understood things you’ve said that seem impossible and/or felt your pet actually communicated messages and talked back to you, I’d love to hear them. Write me at or leave a comment in the space below after the blog article.

Additional Resources for the Show:

Source for the story about why your dog ignores you at times – “Why Does My DOG Do that? By Sophie Collins.

Tim Link

Tim Link’s website.

Amazon link to order Tim’s book, “Talking with Dogs and Cats: Joining the Conversation to Improve Behavior and Bond with Your Animals”.

Amazon link to order “Wagging Tails, Every Animal has a Tale” by Tim Link.

Source for the story about how to stop a dog fight – “Play with Your Dog, by Pat Miller, CPDT, CDBC.

Source for the citronella dog spray, Direct Stop Spray Shield.

(Correction: I had the name of the company wrong in the podcast  – not

Blog Article – What Healthy and Happy Dog Play Looks Like.

Perhaps you’ve seen two dogs at play and all seems well, but then, the play turns aggressive and all of a sudden they’re fighting. Do you know what healthy one-on-one dog play should look like?  Here are the signs that tell you the two dogs are playing happily together and also how to know if it’s time to stop the play session and move the dogs along.

1. There are play-bows.  Play bowing is the body language dogs use to communicate their intention and what will happen next. A dog that play bows to another dog means, let’s play and what I do next, is meant only as play.

2. There will be frequent, short breaks in the activity. If the play becomes frenetic, and continuous, this can be a sign that the playtime is ramping up out of control.

3. The vocalizations of the dogs, such as grunting or growl sounds, will stay in a middle range of tone and pitch. “If one dog’s vocalizations begin to get lower and lower or higher and higher in pitch and more frantic in tone, a fight is in the making.”  (from “Through a Dog’s Eyes” by Jennifer Arnold.)

4. The dogs will exhibit open mouths, loose tails and the force of the bites they give each other, are inhibited and do not cause any damage or yelping.

5. The play is fair and the dogs take turns – reversing their roles. One dog is the chaser and then becomes the one chased – one dog does the biting first and then is the one bitten or being mouthed, etc. The roles do not have to be a perfect balance of 50 -50%, as long as both dogs seem be happy in their roles.

6. Each dog is respecting the body language signals of the other. If one dog is constantly trying to run or get away and the other dog is not allowing it, this situation is becoming unhealthy and you’d want to end the interaction. Time to distract the dogs.

7. If one dog is clearly stronger or bigger than the other, the stronger dog will handicap itself. For example, if a older, stronger  dog plays with a young fragile puppy, it is polite and correct for the older dog to use less power while playing with the youngster. If a stronger dog, needs to control itself around a weaker one, but fails to do so, this is indicative of unfair play and you’ll want to stop it.

8. Play does not become overly vertical. In normal dog play, they often rise up on their back legs and wrestle chest to chest with each other. However if this type of vertical play keeps increasing in intensity and duration, this can quickly turn into a fight, so keep your eye out for too much of it.

We’d LOVE to know what you think about the podcast and or this blog. Please leave your comments below. Or you can always write me at