Is Your Pets’ Environment Toxic?

Reducing commercial cleaning products for your spring cleaning chores will not only benefit you, but your household companions. By using simple ingredients, including water, baking soda, lemon juice, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, club soda, olive oil and cornstarch just to name a few; you are declaring a clean and safe environment for both you and your pets.

Read the rest of this story in The Holistic Pet Journal

Have You Ever Seen a Green Dog?

I’m a Eco-Friendly DogSo, you have made changes to your personal lifestyle to make our Mother Earth a cleaner place to live. But what about your pets Eco-Paw Print? They share this planet with us. You should make sound choices to help our furry friends “Go Green”.

Here are a few suggestions to get started.

  • Use alternative forms of kitty litter made from recycled materials. Newspaper, pine shavings and commercial litter made from wheat are all good alternatives. (See my post Cat Litter Alternatives)
  • Use biodegradable poopbags for your dogs daily walks.
  • Feed a natural food made from sources raised without growth hormones or antibiotics. Look for foods that contain no animal byproducts or rendered meats. Feeding a balanced raw diet that includes meat and bones is a very good option. I actually do a combination of raw meaty bones and Flint River Ranch kibble.
  • Find grooming products that are eco-friendly, made without phosphates, sulfates and other harmful unhealthy chemicals.
  • Use all natural cleaning products that are free of toxic materials. Good choices might include: castile soap, vinegar and/or Grapefruit Seed Extract.
  • Buy eco-friendly pet toys made from organic or recycled materials.
  • Seek out natural holistic alternatives to treating your pet if he gets sick. Find a veterinarian that practices alternative medicine.

Having a pet is a lifelong commitment.

It’s up to you to make your pets’ lifestyle naturally healthy.

Just Thoughts: Life with cats and dogs.

cat-dog-bridgeFor many of us our Pets are our children, tending to their needs before our own. The saddest reality with being a parent to a pet, chances are you will out live your child. Susan and I have been very fortunate to share the lives of many cats and dogs over the twenty years of our marriage, and beyond, there were even a few squirrels thrown in to spice up the mix, but that’s another story.

It never gets any easier losing a pet; after over a dozen burials, we feel the same loss as we had for the first one. Attached to the particular personality we come to expect certain reactions or displays of affection. We miss seeing the tail wags that begin at the tip of the tail and come out their nose as their body becomes one huge wiggle. We miss these things as much as anyone misses peculiar indulgences about a loved one now gone.

It has always been, and still is a joy coming up with names, being nontraditional type folks makes this even more fun, and challenging. Sometimes the particular animals’ appearance or personality will play a factor in choosing a name.

Pearl for example; Susan has a saying when one of the dogs is looking sad or bored, “Poor Pitiful Pearl”. Then it occurred to me, I have heard this for twenty years and nearly forty dogs and cats have passed through our gates, and we had never named one Pearl. Pearls personality fit the saying too which made it an easy choice. However, this isn’t a story about Pearl, even if she thinks it is, she thinks it’s always about her.

sprocket-gray-tabby-cat-2Then there is Sprocket, what kind of mind would name their cat Sprocket? Have you met my wife, Susan? I guess that is why we have endured 21 years together, we got like minds. Sprocket is the most recent laid to rest, she was the smallest of our brood of eight, but she walked the tallest. She was one bad cat and nobody (the other cats or dogs) messed with her. When she did get into a fight she usually won. However, she loved people and would lie in your lap for hours and lick your hands completely clean.

Nearly all our dogs and cats have been someone else’s rejects or problems. Abandoned by the side of the road, or set free from the burlap sack that was to be a coffin in a cruel water burial. Some dropped off in front of our house because; I guess we have a reputation, of never turning our four legged brothers and sisters away, this is true.

For a few years, we tried being a foster home for cats and dogs, the objective was to bring them in and locate for them a suitable home. At one time, we had over thirty dogs and cats and this is when we realized that the only suitable home we were finding was our own. We no longer foster, however, if a dog or cat makes it onto the RiverRest they usually have a home for life.

©2008 Charley Hoke

Pappy’s Story

Senior PetsWhen I first saw Pappy he was running down the middle of busy Highway 16 in Denver, NC. It was 1997, I was on my way to check on some dogs that I was sitting for. I quickly pulled the Luv truck into the nearest parking lot, got out and called him. He came right to me and looked glad to see me. I’m sure he was frightened with all the cars whizzing by him and was happy someone got him out of the road. He had on a collar with no tags. Attached to the collar was a short length of rope. He appeared to be an older dog, a Golden Retriever I think (he was a little on the small side). He also had some skin problems. Otherwise he looked healthy.I opened the truck door and he hopped right in. He rode with me while I made my rounds and I think he enjoyed it. He was having one fine adventurous day. Escaping from where ever it was he came from and then out for a joy ride with a new friend.I still had the grooming shop at that time, so I took him back there with me. The shop was only about 1/2 mile from where I found him. I thought it would be easy to find his owner. Au contrair, Mon Frair. I went to all the neighbors. No one seemed to know where he came from. In the meantime, I gave him a bath, some food and water, and settled him in at the shop for the night.

The next morning I arrived at the shop to find him gone! He had broken out one of the bottom windows of the 12 pane front door. Now, that’s a small window to squeeze through! I finally found him at the back of the building relieving himself. He happily followed me back inside where I fed him some breakfast and called the man to come fix my door.

That night Pappy went home with me. He was introduced to the dogs, Eddy and Alley. He got along very well with the cats. Pappy soon settled into his new home. I named him Pappy. I thought it was an appropriate name for him. I have memories of my Dad calling my grandfather, Pappy.

We didn’t know how old Pappy was but he looked to be at least 10 years old. When he walked, it looked like his tail end was trying to catch up with his head or like he was fish-tailing. He did have a spring in his step though. After a few years went by it just amazed me that he was still with us. He developed some incontinence but he was still active. He was also deaf.

One day in 2001 I came home to find him unable to stand. He also had a swelling on his side, I knew it was time. I called the vet and took him in. It was Kidney failure. Charley rushed over and we said goodbye to our old friend. We stroked his head as Dr. Kim gave him the injection. We took him home and laid him to rest in the backyard.

I think of Pappy often. I have no idea how old he was. I’m guessing 14 or 15 years. He was a good dog. Dr. Kim and the staff at Maiden Animal Hospital gave us a stone in remembrance. It simply says


©2008 Susan Hoke