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A Life Jewel of Your Forever Pet

A Life Jewel of Your Forever Pet

I have had many dogs in my life; all of which I have loved dearly.  But little did I know that when I picked out that cute little bundle of blonde fur in January of 2001 I was taking home what would become my deepest furry soulmate for the next 15 years of my life.  Zoe, a name I already had in mind when I picked her out of a beautiful and very active litter of Golden Retriever puppies, ran straight for me and started charming me before the other pups had even recognized I was there.  There was something different about her; I had never experienced such direct eye contact with a young pup before and it surprised me.  It wasn't long before Zoe was riding home with me to her forever home.  Being the hard core dog lover that I am, I even took a week off from work so I could enjoy the "puppy breadth" while it lasted and make her comfortable in her new home.
Zoe and I developed a deep bond very quickly with our veterinarian even commenting on how he had never seen a dog so bonded to and in-sync with their owner.  Our pet sitter said "if she could climb into your very soul she would".  In fact, I think she did just that.  And so our relationship began....she was by my side during good times and bad and I embraced the unconditional love and companionship that she gave me.  I often said that Zoe was better than therapy and she repeatedly proved to be far more entertaining than I thought any single dog could be. 
Zoe is now 15 years old and sadly, although the deep connection is still there, I can see her faltering and the extra effort she is giving to be with me.  Seeing this, I had been feeling very strongly about having something deeply meaningful and spiritual that I could physically carry with me even when Zoe could no longer be by my side.  I searched the internet high and low, and when I found the work that Dr. Joy Halverson was doing with DNA through her company Perpetua, I knew my search was over.  Her jewelry truly reflects the love and respect she has for animals and the role they play in people’s lives.
Dr. Halverson's technique involves taking a DNA sample from your pet (through a cheek swab collection kit you are sent), purifying it so it passes thru a stage where it appears almost like egg white. At that stage it is bound to an iridescent pigment (a "jewel" color representing a characteristic or trait that you may select) and is wound around a wire helix. After setting, it is immersed in clear protective resin and displayed in a glass vial.  The glass vial can then be used as the main piece for a beautiful memorial necklace or bracelet.
Life Jewel Necklace and BraceletLife Jewel Colors

I immediately contacted Dr. Halverson and was fascinated by the idea of having a tiny piece of Zoe with me…forever.  Of the 10 colors of crystal you can choose from, I chose Lapis which represents “Strength” and preferred the black leather cord bracelet style.  I was beyond excited when I finally received my bracelet.  I wear it always and it gives me an immediate sense of connection with Zoe, whether she is physically with me or not.
And now, I’m very excited to offer these beautiful necklaces and bracelets to all of The EmBARKadero followers through Dr. Halverson.  If you are interested and want to know more about these unique pieces please visit The EmBARKadero Store to learn more or purchase one of these wonderful memorial statements of your pet.  You may have some very specific questions, such as "Can I still have a Life Jewel created if my pet has already passed?"...so, please be sure to also visit the "Frequently Asked Questions" section. 
Zoe and I send our love to you all!
Diane Feliciano
Founder, The EmBARKadero
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The Most Unusual Pet Products We Have Seen (So Far)

The Most Unusual Pet Products We Have Seen (So Far)

We have all seen some seriously crazy things throughout our lives, haven't we? Well, it is only about to get crazier because some of the pet products that are available today is mind blowing, and not always in a good way. These pet products are, how can we put this?...unusual. So be prepared to be shocked, rolling your eyes or holding your abs in pain from laughing so hard. 

Ready? So here we go:


It is exactly what it sounds like. Poop Freeze is a spray that you spritz on your dog's fresh poop to apply a film over the top of it so that you can pick up the poop easily. Listen, if you can't just put your hand in a bag, pick up poop and flip the bag, then you probably shouldn't own a dog in the first place. This product is like a science experiment in a whole new realm. 


Now this one isn't what it sounds like. Instead, it is a game created around your dog's poop. Yes...you read that right. It involves a hockey stick, and poop. When you purchase the TurdBurgular, you receive a free rubber practice poopie and official poop related yard games rule book. Your jaw is on the ground, isn't it?


This product seems to completely go against all of the training rules in the doggie 101 handbook. Firstly, isn't the dog supposed to not be around the dinner table, and secondly, aren't you supposed to try to train your dog to not beg. This dog high chair product is confusing the dog owners of this world. Does anyone else see the problem with this? No? Get a dog high chair and take a bite of your next meal.


Apparently, now you and your dog can go get inked together. Why not put a fake tattoo on your dog as you're getting the tramp stamp on your lower back? It makes total sense. Please notice our dubious delivery. Do... Not... Do...This.


If your dog has a more active social life than you do, then there might be a problem. Not so much for your dog but for you.  Anyway, there is no reason why you need to give your pooch a little black book, especially if he or she is not neutered/spayed. That's just asking for trouble. The Pet Master PDA is an electronic organizer for your dog. You know, because the play dates and doggie calls are becoming way too difficult to manage. You might as well hire some body guards and an agent for your dog when purchasing the Pet Master PDA while you're at it. Your dog obviously needs it.


We will say it again - if you cannot pick up your dog poop by placing your hand in a bag, then you might want to get a rodent instead. The Pootrap does several things, such as humiliate your dog and yourself, while also allowing your dog's poop to dangle behind it's bottom until you are ready to finally take it off. Honestly, if you want to put a poop bag under a tail, get a horse.  Do you want to know the best part? The manufacturers claim "wearing PooTrap will become their favorite activity”. Hmmmm.

So..these are but a few of the fascinating pet products we have seen on the market. We want to hear from you...what have you seen out there that you can add to this list?


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Deadly Mushrooms

Deadly Mushrooms

While many human foods are not good for our best furry friends, and many of them die or suffer terrible side effects every year because we humans are not careful enough to keep harmful foods and prescription drugs out of reach of our curious and hungry friends, this article is all about mushrooms that can severely compromise, or even kill our beloved canine companions.

Some dogs are intelligent enough to avoid foods that can harm or kill them, however, far more of our canine companions will taste or eat anything they can get their teeth on, whether or not it’s safe food.

Located throughout the United States alone, there are several thousand known species of mushrooms, however, while they are relatively easy for our dogs to find, thankfully, only a small percentage of them are considered to be toxic.

For instance, mushrooms grow outside in many environments where our dogs can gain easy access, and if they choose to eat the wrong ones, poisoning can have mild to severe consequences, some of which can be fatal.

Mushrooms from the Amanita, Galerina and Lepiota species are most often the cause of most confirmed fatal mushroom toxicities in humans as well as dogs (& other pets). These species of mushrooms contain cyclopeptides (toxic chemicals) and at least three classes of toxic chemicals, including amatoxins, phallotoxins, and virotoxins (subgroups of at least eight toxic compounds found in several species of poisonous mushrooms).

Amanita phalloides mushroom

The beautiful, but deadly Amanita phalloides (death cap), is one severely toxic species of mushroom most commonly reported in 95% of the mushroom-related fatalities in both humans and canines.

Several species of the Amanita include bisporigera, ocreata, phalloides, suballiacea, tenufolia, verna, and virus.

The Amanita mushroom is often found growing in grassy or wooded areas near various deciduous and coniferous trees, so if you’re out walking with your dog in the woods they could easily find these mushrooms.


The Galerina marginata (funeral bell) is a species of extremely poisonous fungus also prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, North America and Asia as well as Australia.

This is a wood-rotting fungus, which means that it usually grows on decaying conifer wood from fallen trees.  Galerina marginata contains the same deadly amatoxins  found in the Amanita phalloides which can result in severe liver damage and eventual death if symptoms are not rapidly treated.


Lepiota castanea (chestnut dapperling) is, like other species of the Lepiota genus, an uncommon, but dangerously poisonous, gilled mushroom known to contain potentially lethal amounts of amatoxins that can result in severe liver toxicity. 

This mushroom has white gills and spores and typically has rings on the stems, which can be found in coniferous and deciduous woodlands, either singly or in small groups.

Eating poisonous mushrooms can cause severe liver disease and neurological disorders and symptoms typically become apparent approximately 10 to 12 hours after consumption.

If you suspect your dog has eaten these mushrooms, immediately take them to your veterinarian, as the recommended treatment is to induce vomiting and to give activated charcoal. Further treatment for liver disease may also be necessary.

Common symptoms of poisoning:

  • abdominal pain
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • drooling
  • excessive thirst
  • nausea
  • organ failure
  • seizures
  • tremors
  • unsteady gait
  • vomiting

If your dog has eaten poisonous mushrooms, several organ systems can be moderately to severely affected, depending upon the type of particular mushroom, the size and weight of the dog and how much was eaten.

Be safe, rather than sorry, because as the saying goes, "There are old mushroom hunters, there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters."

Err on the safe side, and consider all wild-growing mushrooms, wherever found, to be toxic and potentially deadly, until positively proven otherwise.

As conscientious and caring canine guardians, it’s up to us to make sure that we know what foods are poisonous and toxic and keep them securely out of reach, to help our dogs live long and healthy lives.


Asia Moore — Ask a Dog Whisperer

© 2013 All Rights Reserved


“With the proper training, Man can be dog’s best friend.”

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Dangerous Foxtails

Dangerous Foxtails

Dangerous Foxtails

What’s dangerous about foxtails you might ask? Well, if it’s a real fox’s tail, not much, however, this post is all about the species of spear grass known as “foxtail grass”, which IS highly dangerous to your beloved fur friends.

For starters, you may not be aware that there are approximately 60 species of spear grass, commonly known under many different names, including, foxtail grass, porcupine grass, needle grass, silver spike grass, to name a few, and that “spear grass” is the generic term used for any wild grass that has barbed seeds.

There is much danger hidden in that beautiful flowing grass (it looks similar to wheat) that during the early growing season turns from green to a lovely shade of green tinged with purple that looks so innocuous as it gently blows in the breeze. However, when the grass begins to dry out and turn a dried grass color, the dangerous foxtail barley grass rears its ugly head.

Once it dries out, the remaining spears have a Velcro-like texture that easily attach themselves to anything that brushes past, including your best fur friends. Each small piece that attaches itself to a passing dog also has a needle sharp end that can easily pierce your dog’s skin and work it’s way inside your dog’s body.

No matter what name you give this quietly insidious grass, there is no denying that any type of spear grass and your pet are a dangerously unhealthy and treacherous combination that can cause your pet much pain and distress.

Spear grass is most dangerous for dogs once it has become dried out and more easily falls from the stalks and is most often a problem from late spring through to the fall.

Make sure that you keep a vigilant eye during the spear grass season and if you allow your dog to romp through grassy areas, always thoroughly check between the toes, underbelly, eyes, ears, nose, etc., because, as an example, if just one of these Velcro-like seeds gets into an ear canal, your dog will be doing a lot of head shaking and ear scratching and may even whine or cry because he or she is experiencing extreme pain. Once a spear grass has lodged itself in an ear canal or up a dog’s nose, removal will require an expensive trip to your local vet’s office.

The seeds found in the ears, eyes and nose can cause very serious problems, even to the point of becoming life threatening if not discovered and properly treated. Because these seeds literally stick to anything, and are designed to move forward through the hair, to pierce the skin, no body part is immune.

The seeds have been found in the urethra, vagina, anal glands, brain, and spinal cord. In one case a veterinarian found a seed in the lung, even though the original site of entry was through the paw. Spear grass can also gain easy entry through open wounds.

Spring and summertime weather is a wonderful time for dogs and their guardians to be even more active and spending time outside enjoying the sights and sounds and you can make sure that all this fun activity remains a happy memory when you carefully inspect for spear grass, especially the foxtail variety, after each outing.

“There are NO bad dogs ~ only misunderstood ones.”

~ Asia Moore, Author & Dog Whisperer
© 2016 K-9SuperHeroesDogWhispering.com

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Wags 4 Hope:  How One Teen is Championing the Cause for Heartworm Awareness

Wags 4 Hope:  How One Teen is Championing the Cause for Heartworm Awareness

Annie Blumenfeld and Wags 4 HopeGearing up for Heartworm Awareness Month in April, we caught up with Annie Blumenfeld, a 17-year old young lady with a big heart and a passion to help spread awareness about heartworm prevention.

Looking for a loving and loyal friend to adopt, Annie and her family began searching for three years through countless pet stores, rescue shelters, newspapers, and private dog breeders. Their search happily ended when they stumbled upon a two-year-old shaggy dog that had been rescued from a high-kill shelter in Houston, Texas. Teddy was rescued by Houston Shaggy Dog Rescue where it was discovered that he tested positive for heartworm disease. Teddy underwent treatment at the Shaggy Dog Rescue and was soon after united with Annie in his new forever home.

After hearing about what Teddy went through and learning about the disease, that is when Annie decided to take action. She was inspired to found Wags 4 Hope, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports shelter animal’s medical needs and spreads heartworm awareness. Also a talented artist, Annie sells custom dog and cat portraits and gives all of the proceeds to shelters and rescues. Between her paintings and donations from supporters, she has raised over $40,000.  Wanting to take her advocacy a step further, she has also focused on changing legislation and has testified before a legislative committee at the State Capitol in Connecticut. Because of her advocacy, all dog license forms in the state come with a heartworm disease awareness message, which she personally designed.

Annie Blumenfeld Wags 4 Hope Paintings

The EmBARKadero:  Annie, it seems the harsh reality of the heartworm treatment Teddy had to undergo had a significant impact on you.  Tell us a little bit about what Teddy’s treatment was like and what real dangers come along with heartworm disease.

Annie: Teddy had to be given two injections of arsenic and remain in a crate. He had to be inactive and carefully monitored for a couple of months. The treatment for heartworm disease is very expensive and difficult for dogs to recover from. It can also be potentially toxic to the dog’s body and can cause serious complications, such as life-threatening blood clots to the dog’s lungs. Treatment is very expensive because it requires multiple visits to the veterinarian, with the process of blood work, and X-rays. The cost ranges from $600 for a small dog to $2,000 for a larger dog.

It broke my heart to learn that my dog had endured great pain. I researched further, and learned that heartworm disease is extremely serious and can result in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and even death. Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm, Dirofilaria immitis, from mosquitoes. These worms are spread through the bite of a mosquito and produce offspring, while living inside the dog. The worms are called “heartworms” because they live in the heart, lungs, and other blood vessels of an infected animal. In the United States, heartworm disease is most common in the south because of the extreme heat in which the mosquitoes thrive in, but they are present and highly populated in all fifty states. Heartworm disease is also present throughout Europe, Australia, Canada, and Africa.

Having learned the devastating effects of heartworm disease from my loving companion, by founding Wags 4 Hope I seek to educate pet owners across the country about the disease. I cannot imagine my life without Teddy, and I am so thankful he made a complete recovery.

The EmBARKadero: Are you finding that many pet owners are unaware of the real dangers of heartworm disease as well as the expense and difficulty of recovery once diagnosed? 

Annie: Many pet owners are not aware about what heartworm is and how expensive the treatment can be. For those that do know, with the change of seasons there is a common misconception that their pet does not need to be on preventative medication in the colder months which is not the case.  In terms of preventatives, there are many safe FDA approved products that can be used. All of these products require a veterinarian’s prescription. These preventatives are used monthly and are simple. There is a vast range of different products from liquids to tablets. The use of preventatives depends on your location and your dog.  Pet owners should talk to their veterinarian about the best way to protect their pet.

The EmBARKadero: We are so happy that Teddy pulled through. Tell us a little bit about that shaggy guy!

Annie: Teddy will only drink water from a crystal glass with ice cubes. He has many toys and for some reason his favorite part of his stuff animals are the labels. He treats each one so carefully it’s very funny to watch. He loves to get tickled under his arm, really enjoys walks and long car rides.

The EmBARKadero: What was it like gearing up to testify before congress?

Annie: I did not know what to expect. I had watched many committee meetings on TV before I even had this idea, since they always seemed so interesting, especially those involving the common core and hearing all of the different points of view. I wanted to make sure I was positioning my proposal in the best light possible and that involved a lot of research.

The EmBARKadero: Have you gotten any personal feedback about what you're doing?

Annie: I receive many kind emails from pet owners discussing my work. It means a lot to me when pet owners share their heartworm stories. In light of April being National Heartworm Awareness month, I asked pet owners to reach out to me sharing their experiences. I then told their stories on my organization’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/wags4hope/). Many people stop Teddy all the time when I walk him, and I always explain how he was rescued and his story. A lot of these pet owners had never heard of heartworm disease too, so I always try to get the word out even on walks.

The EmBARKadero: What do you see in the future for Wags 4 Hope?

Annie: I hope to have Wags 4 Hope clubs in different schools. I am looking into funding individuals who cannot afford their pet’s heartworm treatment. I currently can only donate to 501(c)3 organizations, however this is something that is needed, and I would love to be able to help relieve these costs. I also hope to expand more on the pet responsibility end of my cause focusing on adolescents in the south, where some pet owners have a different mindset on pet care. I would also like to expand on my legislative efforts having another state follow Connecticut’s change of Dog License.  Unfortunately, some pet owners cannot afford the preventatives. In terms of the expense, I would like to expand W4H in the near future to be able to pay for veterinarian bills for pet owners’ in financial difficulty. 

The EmBARKadero:  And what about yourself? What are your future career goals? Artist? Running a nonprofit? Something totally different?

Annie: I am planning on pursuing a dual major in communications and business while in college. I have always dreamed of running my own company: one that combines my passions, while giving back. I would like to work for a rescue organization when I am older, since I am so inspired by the incredible rescue videos I see online. Regardless, I hope to continue Wags 4 Hope while doing all of this for as long as I can.

The EmBARKadero: Annie, The EmBARKadero is so impressed with your efforts, we’d like to make a cash donation to your cause but we couldn’t resist throwing in an extra $45 for an 8x12 painting of our Social Media Director…Charlie the Reluctant Retriever.  Are you up for it?

Annie: I would be honored to! That is so kind of you!!


A great big thank you to Annie for spending some time with us for this interview to help spread the word on heartworm awareness!

To learn more about Wags 4 Hope and Annie’s latest efforts, please visit their website at www.wags4hope.org.  Also follow them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/wags4hope/) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/wags4hope).


And stay tuned for Annie’s painting of Charlie (grinning away below in his 2015 Christmas Photo) which we will post once it is completed!  We just know his head will get big (well, bigger than it already is) after he finds out a painting of him is being commissioned!

Charlie the Reluctant Retriever Social Media Director at The EmBARKadero

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