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February 27, 2018

Physical activity, learning new things, interacting with others, and experiencing the world around us benefit both humans and dogs. Now that the weather is warmer and days are longer it’s a great time to spend time with our best friends.

Dogs are calmer, and more content if they have an outlet for their energy.Using their brain and bodies to do what they were bred to be is the key to a content dog. If your dog’s genetics come from herding, swimming, retrieving, tracking, running, etc. there is a...

December 10, 2015

Last winter North Carolina experienced brutally low temperatures for days on end. We experienced record cold, even colder than the state of Alaska. The Chatham Animal Services Director told me there were several weeks last winter when they were overwhelmed with reports of pets with no shelter.  So many, Animal Services Officers were only responding to those calls. I have no idea what this coming winter has in store, but I’d like to take this opportunity to provide information that may help prev...

June 2, 2015

June is here, and with it the heart of puppy and kitten season.  If there are plans for a puppy in your future, then here are some things you should think about and do before making a furry addition to your family.  Adding a puppy to your life should not be an impulse decision.  Fight the urge to take a “free puppy” from a box in the Walmart parking lot. 

Take time to research breed characteristics and common health issues.  A couple of websites to start your search are www.akc.or...

May 5, 2015

Most dogs are not thrilled about a trip to see the veterinarian.  Typically, it is just a mild case of anxiety where the dog is trembling and trying to head back out the door. However, routinely dogs have full blown panic attacks, where they are screaming, flailing about, sometimes uncontrollably peeing or pooping, and maybe even behaving aggressively. 


The best solution for a positive experience at the vet is preparation well in advance of the appointment.  Many dogs are under-socialized....

April 18, 2015

When I came to Chatham County in 1979 the county dog pound was located in a small area behind the school bus garage, next to the Fair Grounds in Pittsboro.  The pound consisted of a small number of fenced runs on a concrete slab. The only shelter it offered was a roof.  Dogs suffered, and sometimes died, during cold and hot weather.  There were no accommodations for cats, and upon arrival they were immediately placed in the leaky gas chamber.  The only time I saw statistics for the Chatham Poun...

April 4, 2015

The human code of polite behavior is lost on our canine companions.  Dogs don’t care if they pass gas in a crowded room, or ever think about wiping off their muddy paws before coming into the house.  On the other hand, people typically are not aware of the dos and don’ts when it comes to polite behavior in the dog world.


Puppies who are allowed to stay with the litter until at least 8 weeks of age learn a lot about how to “play nice” from their mom and siblings.  Unfortunately, most puppie...

March 3, 2015

Often, I receive phone calls from people needing help house-training their puppies.  Other callers ask for help with their dogs who have been house-trained but are now having accidents.


Before I go any further there is something I must make crystal clear, there is NEVER a good reason to put anyone’s nose in urine or feces.  No training is occurring by doing this.  The only thing being accomplished is making your pet think there is something wrong with you, resulting in the pet becoming fearful...

February 3, 2015


At the January 21, 2014 Chatham County Board of Commissioners meeting a revision of the county’s Animal Control Ordinance was approved in a 4-1 vote.  For the most part there were no major changes.  The majority of the discussion was around a proposal to include limitations to tethering dogs.  There were two options placed before the Commissioners.  In Option 1, dogs could be tethered no more than 10 hours at a time, and then required to be given a two hour break off the tether.  Option 2, all...

October 9, 2014


Twenty years ago I don’t think I had ever seen a Pit Bull dog in person.  Today, they are the most common breed seen in shelters. If you go to any public animal shelter you will discover about half of the occupants are Pit Bull dogs and mixes.  One of our family pets is a Pit-mix, and I routinely work with Pit Bull dogs as clients. 


A few years ago, at a professional dog trainer’s convention, I attended an informal discussion about Pit Bull dogs.  The room was packed and the comments...

October 4, 2014

What is better than a sweet, precious, adorable, little puppy?  Well, how about two!  Double the cuteness, cuddles, and puppy-breath.  Sometimes people add two puppies at the same time to their family.  Most of the time the thought process behind this is, the puppies will have a built friend and playmate.  On the surface it seems like a great idea, but in actuality it may lead to serious problems in the future.


Leaving the litter and mom can be very stressful for a young pup...

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February 27, 2018

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Valerie writes a series of columns for The Chatham County Line paper. Each article will appear in the physical paper, here on our website, and on the Chatham County Line website..

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