Keep Your Dogs Away From Christmas Party Food

I want to tell a more personal story for this blog, in hopes that I can bring some awareness to dog owners during the holiday season.

Christmas is a huge holiday for my family, much like everyone else’s. We have friends and family from all around come to our home where my mom cooks an incredible meal for people to enjoy over good conversation. To make the night even more hectic, we add our three dogs into the mix.

Hanalei, Fletch and Ellie

Our family dogs have a tendency to get in the way when we have a full house. I’m sure everyone can relate to their dogs constantly begging for food. Our dogs are no different and are probably worse than most. During our annual Christmas Eve dinner party, everyone was handing out small bits of food to our dogs, but mostly to our oldest, Fletch. Fletch is a medium sized Shetland Sheepdog, and at the time of this party in 2012, he was nine years old.


For some reason that year my mom had decided to cook rich fillet’s, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. However, this was also the food that our friends and family had been giving to Fletch all throughout the night. Such a rich food like that is really hard for dogs to digest and process the way that humans do.

The night went on and everyone went home. It wasn’t until two days after our Christmas Eve party when Fletch started acting strange. My parents couldn’t find him in our backyard, and after searching all around, they found him hiding under my old playhouse. They watched him throughout the night, but he never got better. In the morning, my mom took him to the emergency vet and waited.

After hours of tests, the vet came out and told my mom that he had something called pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. His body was shutting down because of its inability to process all the rich and sugar-filled foods he was given during the party. Without treatment, Fletch would die in a matter of days. We were also made aware that even with treatment, he had about a 20% chance of surviving.

It seems like an easy choice to decide to treat him, but that’s before you know it was going to cost about $10,000. Luckily for Fletch, our family loves him to no end and we decided to move forward with treatment.

Current day Fletch (14)

For about three days we weren’t sure if he was going to make it or not. Then he started to get better. After a week in emergency care, and $10,000 later, we got to take Fletch home.

By telling this story I hope It reminds people how sensitive our dogs are to human foods, especially the older ones. Christmas is a hectic time of year and our pets can often get lost in all the chaos. If I could give you some advice it would be to keep your dogs in the backyard, or safely in a crate away from all the food. Don’t be negligent about your dog’s health, because it can all change in an instant.

After Burying Their Family Cat, Fire Victim Family Get A Sweet Surprise

Although this blog is off-topic when it comes to old dogs, it’s very close to my heart and worth writing about.

The Stockham Family

Dani Stockham and her two daughters, Grace and Lea, were fiercely and quickly woken up to flames and frantic neighbors the morning of October 9th, Lea’s birthday. Dani’s husband and the girls dad, Boyd, was out of town with my dad at the time. As the three of them hurried to grab their dog (Dexter) and cat (Thomas), Thomas leaped from Lea’s arms and ran away. Many don’t understand how common this was for people and their pets during the fires. Animals were even more panicked than people, and naturally they run.

The days went on and the family was finally able to return to the ashes that were once their beautiful home. That’s when they found what was left of Thomas, or what they thought was him.


What’s Left of Their Home

A couple days later they held a small funeral for their pet and family member of many years. They recieved thoughtful gifts and prayers from family members, friends, and strangers. 

Thoughtful Gift


More than 45 days after the fire and the loss of their cat, Boyd received a chilling e-mail from the Avid microchip company, stating that someone had found their Thomas. The family was in shock and disbelief learning that a kind stranger had caught Thomas just up the road from their burned-down home.

Boyd and his daughter’s made the drive to pick up Thomas, who they still couldn’t believe was alive, and sure enough it was him. They took him back with them to their new house, and he fell right back into his life of luxury. The Stockham’s were experiencing good news for the first time in weeks, and their hearts were full.

From this incredible story there are a few things to walk away with. For one, cats really do have nine lives. Two, thoughts and prayers sometimes really work. And lastly, never lose hope.



With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s important to know what you can and can’t give your dog when they inevitably come begging. Although we can enjoy turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, pie etc… our dogs might not be able to indulge as elaborately. I’m going to go through some common Thanksgiving foods and explain which are okay to give your dog and which aren’t.

  1. Turkey. The biggest thanksgiving food of them all, is totally okay to give as a leftover. However, make sure there isn’t too much fat on the pieces you share, and of course, double check that there are no bones in it either.
“Sad turkey” photo by, K Whiteford
  1. Alliums (onions, leeks, garlic, scallions). This one is a big NO. If you cook like I do, there’s probably too much garlic in all of your food, which is not good for your dog and could cause toxic anemia if too much of it is ingested.
  2. Pumpkin pie. A classic, buttery and whipped cream-covered pumpkin pie is not a good idea to share with your dog. However, canned or fresh pumpkin with no added sugar or spices is actually really good for them. It can be a good source of zinc, vitamin C and vitamin A. To make it appear more like a real pumpkin pie, it’s okay to add a teaspoon of sugar-free whipped cream on top.

You can also add all these ingredients together, and make a Thanksgiving bowl. I promise your dog won’t care if the turkey touches the pumpkin.

“Thanksgiving dog” photo by, 3milliondogs

Although these may be okay for most dogs, remember every dog is different. Be sure to remember small portions are best. If you have an older dog, also remember that they have a harder time digesting foods that aren’t commonly a part of their diet.

Then And Now Dog Photos

Nothing brings more emotion than reminiscing on your old dog’s puppy days.

“The evolution of the wink”

Unknown-2           Unknown.jpeg

There’s nothing better than growing up with a dog!

Family Happily Adopts Dying Dog

This family’s nine year-old daughter had the wisdom to understand how badly this abandoned, older dog needed them. Adopting a dog in this condition is emotionally difficult, but if you can get past that, it’s completely worth it.

Life For Retired Service Dogs

Service dogs are a huge part of our society, and have been instrumental to human safety and health. They’re diligently trained from the time they’re puppies, then strategically placed with a handler. For this blog, I’m going to explain what happens to these dogs after they’ve fulfilled their duties. I’ll be focusing on police and anxiety and depression service dogs.

Let’s start with police dogs. Most of them aren’t just working dogs. They can also go home and be the family pet. This is thanks to Robby’s Law, passed in the year 2000, which allowed retired service dogs to be adopted rather than euthanized.


“Police Dog” photo by,  Michael Pereckas 

In most cases, the K-9 police handler would own the dog after they retire. When the dog finishes its time in service, it’s transitioned into a full-time family dog with its handler and their family. If the handler is for whatever reason not able to adopt the dog, they will be placed up for adoption to civilian families.

An anxiety and depression service dog is another way we “employ” these K-9’s. The concept of having a service dog to help with these problems is a new and unfamiliar concept to many people. Most people have anxiety, but not to the extent where they would require a service dog. The most common reason for these animals is to help with those who have some type of post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly affecting retired military service members.

“Service Dog” photo by, Pixabay

These dogs are trained to know every mood their handler has. They are trained to sense when their owners are stressed or feeling depressed. When they do notice a negative change in their owner’s demeanor, often times they’ll simply go put their head in their lap, lick their face or bring them a toy to throw. Some dogs are even trained to grab their leash and encourage their owner to take them on a walk, which can bring their handler out of a depressing or anxious mood. I think we could all benefit from having a dog around us at all times, but some people need it more than others.

These emotional service dogs can be trained through placement programs, or trained by the owners themselves (which is extremely difficult). These dogs are expected to fulfill their duty as long as they physically and mentally can, then they spend the rest of their lives with their handlers.

“Retirement Ceremony”  photo by, Mariah Haddenham

Understanding the importance of what these service dogs do for us is huge in understanding their sacrifice. But knowing that they often get to live out their lives with the person they’ve spent years protecting and working hard for is important for our moral conscious.


Halloween isn’t just for the kids, or just for the adults (if you still dress up). The best part about Halloween are those hilarious, and embarrassing doggie costumes. If you’ve always wanted to dress your dog up for Halloween, but didn’t want to spend the money on some elaborate costume that your dog will inevitably hate, this blog is for you!

Butt-face-dogThe first one is by far my favorite, and will surely get you and your pet some attention. I call it the “face butt.” It’s a classic, hilarious costume that doesn’t take much to put together. Depending on your dog’s tolerance level, this one is definitely a crowd pleaser.

The second one I’d recommend is for all those African animal lovers, I call it the “barking lion.” Be ready for your pup to physically transform into one of the most powerful predators out there.


lion dog
Photo by Marco Repola

My last idea to share with you is one that could work for those with older dogs, who might have just had a small surgery or are required to wear a cone around their heads. They might be feeling miserable but this stiff drink could definitely cheer them up. I call this the “dirty cone martini.”

dog martini
Photo by

In the end, it’s all about doing something fun with your dogs on Halloween. Even if you don’t want to, or you’re not that crazy dog mom or dad, someone else will surely find enjoyment from it.

Family Dog Survives NorCal Fire

Here is a feel good story among all this devastation. Two men return to the ashes of what used to be their home, expecting to find the remains of their family dog. But here is what they actually found. 

Old Shelter Dogs Need Adopting Too

I know it seems like the entire world is ending right now, with wildfires, mass shootings and political turbulence, so maybe this somewhat light-hearted post about some cute old dogs will make you feel a little less dreary. Today, my old dog search adventure led me to the Inland Valley Humane Society  in Pomona. Right off the bat it was overwhelming walking through the rows and rows of dogs looking for new homes. Don’t worry, I’m getting to the light-hearted part. While walking through the shelter I got to know each individual dog. Sometimes (always) you even feel like that dog specifically chose you to come over and give it some love. After asking employees where the older dogs were, I came across two of the shelter’s senior residents.

The first one I got the pleasure of meeting, was a six-year-old yellow lab with the sweetest gray face. She came in with no collar and no microchip. She was a little shy, but clearly wanted and needed some love. She had only been at the shelter for about a week, but like many older dogs at shelters, she is probably going to spend more time there.

IMG_E5822   Photo by me (first dog from the shelter)

I could understand why some people might not go to a shelter looking for an older dog, but it’s not like you take your grandpa to bingo night when he gets too old and never bring him back home. These dogs were once someone’s loved pet, and for whatever reason they ended up at a shelter, so they shouldn’t have to stay there forever either.

The second dog I came across was also unidentified, and had no information regarding his previous owner. He is a 10-year-old Golden Retriever, who definitely seemed like the saddest dog in the shelter. However, he had a calm and pleasant personality that made him fun to be around. He would squish his body into the chain-link gate and wait for you to give him a good scratch right behind his ears.

IMG_5832Photo by me (second dog from the shelter)

Although an old dog might not be yours as long as a younger dog would be, they need homes even more. Older dogs get passed up way too often, and deserve to finish out their lives the way they started them. If you have the means and time you can adopt or even foster an older dog and allow them to live out their glory days. If this post was more depressing than I led you to believe, I apologize, but if all you got from it was the idea to go visit a local shelter and make some easy friends, then I am satisfied.


For more information on how to adopt or foster a dog, please contact the Inland Valley Humane Society at 909-623-9777.

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