Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Backyard Lives of Urban Dogs

A quick Google search on dogs and gardens will pull a lovely list of posts that give advice on how to participate in America's number one hobby - gardening while living with a dog. Here is a sample of some useful lifestyle suggestions for gardeners who love dogs:

Advice related to plantings, training dogs to urinate in a designated area, pet safety, fencing, controlling undesirable dog behaviors (such as digging holes and eating plants), and landscaping to accommodate dog houses and runs are among the many tips available to gardeners.

A similar search for dogs whose outdoor space is a deck or stoop are a little more foreboding - advise about how to keep your pet safe from second story falls, arsenic poisoning and splinters.

The reality for the nation's millions of urban dwellers is that outdoor space is at a premium and many of us must use every inch of space - indoor and outdoor for maximizing the amenities of our dog lifestyles.

Here are our tips for citified living with dogs and gardens.

1. Containers are your friend. has suggestions on how to protect container plantings from pets, including: raising or hanging containers out of the reach of your pup, suggestions on the types of soil and additives that are pet friendly, and planting specific plants (such as basil) that discourage pets and other animals from disrupting the garden.

2. Squirrels and other rodents, pidgeons, and bugs are a problem in the city. Urban gardeners will quickly point out what our small town, suburban and country counterparts already know: pests are unwelcome in the garden. If your dogs are like ours, the mere presence of one nearby results in all the prey instincts coming to the surface, and in a small space or on a deck the chase can result in injury to your animals. Our solution is to avoid planting food products at all in close proximity to neighbors unless the precaution of creating a screened barrier can be taken. We learned the hardway that even the seeds in a bird feeder can attract unwanted attention, in our case from pidgeons. Removal of the bird feeder quickly solved the problem and we felt fortunate that we discovered the pidgeons before other animals discovered us.

3. Dogs love a shady area to lounge. Roof decks, stoops, and tiny spots of grass need to serve many purposes for urban dwellers with pets. All pet owners understand that dogs love to lounge but seek to avoid excessive heat. Urban areas can be particularly hot because of the lack of green space generally, and often our outdoor spaces are uncomfortable in the heat of summer. Umbrellas, pergollas, blinds, and fencing can all provide just the right amount of shade to keep your pet cool when lounging. New barkitecture designs can feature canapies too!

4. Water is the key to comfort. Hose down the deck or bricks; fill a kiddie pool with water; keep the water bowl full at all times; wet your pooch; and don't be stingy with ice cubes. Water in all of its forms helps our dogs to stay cool when they spend time on our roof deck. Sadie and Lily are quite content to lounge on the deck for hours, but they must have water, shade, and an area that has been cooled off with water.

MM & RY 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dogs and the Olympics around the Web

Olympic mania has arrived. We dog loving city dwellers want to join in on the fun and the hype. Sadie, our natural born acrobat, would leap for joy to have the opportunity to showcase her talents in front of a global audience. We feature her in this photo practicing her favorite balancing act - hanging out on the back of the sofa. Unfortunately, she had to confront her physical limitations today on the playground. We met a new dog named Chase. Chase is a whippet. Sadie tried mightily, but she could not catch the super speedy Chase.

While Sadie was blasting across the playground on her quest, the dog people were shooting the breeze about how great it would be to see dogs in the Olympics. We mentioned our earlier Olympic Theme posts on Fairmount Dog Stories suggesting that new event categories like (ironically) Chase and Ball should replace the ones currently in place. And, we all agreed that Sadie or a dog just like her ought to have the chance to fly through the stadium just once to participate in lighting the torch to start the games.

Here is our compilation of the best of the web stories percolating about dogs and the Olympics. We are learning more about the proud history of dogs and sporting culture every day! We skipped the horrible stories about dog slaughters that have occurred in China prior to the games and the nearly ubiquitous report that dog meat is currently off the menus of Beijing.

Poodle and Dog's post on the Weirdest Olympic Event
Petside's Olympians and their Dogs Post, courtesy The Pet Blog
Petside's Dog Sports versus Olympic Sports Post, again courtesy The Pet Blog
Nick Freidell's News Report of Denver, Colorado's Dog Olympics in Honor of Real Olympics
Urlesque's Post of Dog Videos that could be Olympic Events

MM & RY 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lijitimizing Lifestyles of the Urban Dog

Lijit is super cool - we have established that in a prior post.

Now Lijit rocks even more. Our prior post is a featured link on Lijit's homepage. Check it out at:

Here is a little snapshot preview of our 15 seconds in the Lijit limelight! Guess that makes us too Lijit to Quit blogging about our urban dog lifestyle anytime soon.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sadie's Baths: What happens when a Mini-Poodle Rolls on the Playground

Sadie is in nearly daily need of a bath. Most dog experts recommend against giving dogs baths frequently. One can find quite a bit of advice on the subject. Yahoo's Answers Board shows this range quite nicely.

The Fairmount Dogs are Urban dogs who live in a row home that does not have a back yard. We exercise Sadie and Lily at the playground in Fairmount Park nearly every day (sometimes more than once). We have described Sadie's fondness of rolling in several posts on Fairmount Dog Stories. Her mini-poodle curls attract debris, dirt, and smells that do not work for us in our home, on our bed, on the sofa, and on us. Therefore, we bathe her. A lot.

Last night, during our playground visit, all Sadie did was run and roll. First she ran, then she rolled on the grass. Then she repeated the activities in that order: run, then roll. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. After an hour of this, her coat turned green from the grass stains! The day before, she went for a hike at Valley Green with Lily. She swam. She ran through thick brush. She tried to jump over a fallen tree several times before succeeding. She came home with thistles and twigs embedded in her fur. It took a long bath and a careful grooming to remover most of the debris.

Our favorite shampoos have oatmeal because supposedly that means they are gentle to our dogs' skin. Here are some of our favorite dog shampoo advice and product pages.

Lace to Leather's Dog Bathing Advice:

Wikihow's How to Give a Dog a Bath:

Raising Spot's version of Giving a Dog a Bath:

Kiehl's Dog Shampoo: