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Saving O Tannenbaum

By Stephanie Heim
Cats climb trees so it should come as no surprise when they want to climb the only tree that’s available this time of year. Unfortunately, this just happens to be your Christmas tree decorated from top to bottom with your grandmother’s priceless antique ornaments. Instead of fighting with Kitty this year, why not try anticipating trouble before it happens. Here are some tips to make sure that you, Kitty and your family heirlooms all remain safe.

1. SPRITZ, SPRITZ, SPRITZ! 
 Claim the tree as your territory. No, this doesn’t mean chasing your cat through the house growling and hissing. Simply set up the tree and leave it undecorated for a few days. Most of the time, the cat will explore and then get bored and leave it alone. But take that time to let your cat know that the tree belongs to you. Whenever they approach it, use your handy-dandy water bottle and give Kitty a quick spritz. But note, an undecorated tree is key with the water bottle method, since you obviously don’t want to electrocute your cat.
2. CITRUS SCENTS
  To help your cat develop an aversion to the tree, leave orange peels around the bottom. Cats don’t like the smell of citrus, which can be used to your advantage. If you get tired of having dried out orange peels lying around your tree, then pick up some Bitter Apple. It’s a repellent to pets so spray the whole tree with it while it’s still undecorated. Since the apple scent dissipates quickly, you can refresh every couple of days, as long as the lights are unplugged. Keep it safe, people.
3. PINE CONES
  Maybe you want a more decorative option for keeping your cat away from those shiny baubles. So, pile pine cones under the tree, because cats absolutely hate walking on them (who knew?) Spray the pine cones with some citronella or bitter apple and the cats will stay away for good while still earning your house a spot in the Martha Stewart magazine.
4. TABASCO SAUCE
  There’s always the chance that your cat has stopped climbing the tree but continues to sit underneath it to enjoy a nosh on the lower branches. I have a cat that doesn’t even care if it’s real or fake before he starts chewing. To avoid this behaviour, just put a small dab of Tabasco sauce on the lower branches. It’ll be a spicy surprise for your furry friend and chances are will keep them from coming back for seconds.
Other helpful ways to keep your tree from crashing down include use fishing wire to secure the tree to the wall. Hang the most expensive or nicest ornaments at the top where Kitty probably won’t be able to reach them. Try using plastic ornaments at the bottom, so if they do get knocked off there’s little chance of breakage. And most importantly, despite whatever urges you might have, don’t play with your cat while you’re decorating the tree. If you make it a game, then the tree will become their playground. And for the love of cats, avoid using tinsel. It’s bad for your cats to begin with if they ingest it, and it’s shiny sparkly constitution unavoidably attracts a cat’s curious nature. Besides, tinsel is just a hassle anyway, so do yourself a favour and leave it off this year.
In my own experience, cats tend to grow out of the tree climbing. They either lose the kitten spryness or their youthful curiosity. However, cats are also creatures of habit, so once in a tree chances are they may always try at least once every year to return to the bushy branches and hide away. Even though Kitty might look gosh darn cute while he’s in there, remember hanging out in a Christmas tree can be dangerous, so follow these tips and keep him purr-fectly safe!
By Allison Vorstenbosch

Isis the White Shepherd

Photo Courtesy of Hopeful Hearts Rescue
 Introducing Isis, a gorgeous eight-year-old white shepherd! This beautiful gentle giant has had a rough life. She was picked up as a stray with a very messy coat and extremely low weight, then delivered to a pound in hopes of being adopted. However, Isis, being the sensitive soul that she is, suffered from a deep depression while waiting for a new family. Eventually rescued by Hopeful Hearts when her so-called ‘time was up,’ Isis is now thriving in foster care.
Totally tennis ball obsessed (she will carry one around for hours at a time), Isis is very devoted to her foster family and demonstrates perfect training. She is very gentle and sweet and gets along well with anything that moves. However, due to her mature age, a quieter environment would be best for this girl, who deserves a loving home in which to spend her golden years. For more information, click here.

November 2010 Pet of the Month!

Brandy the Golden Retriever is all smiles all the time, a quality that makes him one of the most lovable pooches in his Ottawa neighbourhood. He adores long walks (or better yet runs) and playing fetch is one of his all time favourite hobbies. However, being the trendy urban dog that he is, Brandy also enjoys frequent walks to the local Starbucks and waits patiently outside, licking his chops with anticipation for the bagel mom always orders with her latte. Oh yes, life is simply sweet when you’re an optimist like Brandy. Good people, good food and awesome snuggles is everything this pooch looks for in the perfect day. Congratulations Brandy! November 2010 Pet of the Month!

NICKNAMES: 
Branders, Brandy-Boy
PARENT: 
Jenny Weitzman
AGE: 
Almost 2 years!
FAVOURITE GAME: 
Anything with sticks!
FAVOURITE TREAT: 
Any king of food! (What? I’m easy to please.)
MOST MISCHIEVOUS MOMENT: 
I really really love sticks, so much so that I once tore apart an entire wicker basket in the front foyer. Such fun!
BEST TRICK: 
Rolling over…and over, and over, and over, and…man I’m dizzy.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT:
I feel out of a motor boat…and it wasn’t even motoring…le sigh.
BEST FRIEND: Yuna the Puggle! She’s a sweetie!
CATCH PHRASE: Play play play!
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If you would like to nominate your pet friend for next month’s “Pet of the Month Contest,” please email submissions to info@pawsh-magazine.com

Fluffy in the Sky With Diamonds

By Cindy Orti
 Losing a beloved pet is one of the most heart-wrenching tragedies in this world, but as hard as it is there are many ways to obtain closure for your loss. A popular trend of the past decade is a physical memorial to your pet. There are all types of memorials, but why settle for something mundane like an engraved rock when there are far more fancy and unique ways to pay homage to a lost fuzzy soul.

To begin: there’s a mess of jewelery available for the magpie-at-heart, ranging from simple dog-memory dog-tags to lizard-scale-pattern lockets to brass boxes in which to store precious memories. If jewelery floats your grieving boat, these ornaments can provide the most conventional and potentially least expensive way to remember your pet.
Need something more tactile than a simple picture? Why not try a plush replica. By sending some pictures to a custom plush producer, you can buy a terrifyingly accurate rendition of your pet for several hundred dollars. Creepy? Perhaps, but for those who just need to hug something familiar, little can beat a tiny plush copy.
Being part of the 21st Century, the internet has wiggled itself into all facets of daily life. Don’t fight the feeling; set up a personal pet memorial website, or join one of the existing ones. Making your own site, however, does come with some cost. Hosting services, web design and programming don’t come cheap. But building a completely personalized website offers an unmatched degree of creative freedom. Think of it as futuristic scrapbooking that you can share with friends and family at the click of a button. There are also many websites like http://www.ilovedmypet.com/ and http://critters.com/ that provide free template-based memorial pages to make this process simpler.
Is all this too mundane? Too blasé? There are always options for those to whom money is not a factor. Why not turn your deceased best friend into a diamond? That’s right, a real diamond! All terrestrial life is carbon-based, and diamonds are nothing more than carbon chains of a maximum density. It’s quite possible to take the cremated remains of an animal (or human, for that matter) and compress them into a full karat diamond in a variety of colours. If $2000 to $18,000 for the diamond making procedure is just a bit too rich, it’s also easy to mix in some ashes with molten glass to make rather captivating memorial urn.
It’s easy to forget, but memorials aren’t about mourning a death, but rather celebrating a life lived. Everything, from a locket with a favourite picture, to a website, to a multi-thousand dollar jewel is meant to be a reminder of all the good times had. Whether all this seems over the top or just right, there’s no denying that with the right memorial, any pet can live forever in your heart and fondest memories.
By Alexander Bentley

Sing a Little Song for Me

By Stephanie Heim
How do we express our love for another? Flowers? Chocolates? An exotic trip complete with champagne? While all of these may be favourable options, one of the most powerful means of declaring one’s emotions is through the magic of music. This is why love songs are so important in modern culture and why having a song written for you is considered such a high honour. Believe it or not, music history is filled with love songs that were inspired by a doting pet and these tunes span decades, genres and artists.

Firstly (and perhaps most obviously) Cat Stevens’ first ever single, “I Love My Dog” was written for his…you guessed it…dog! This song is a very literal explanation of the many reasons why Stevens loved a little dachshund that he found tied to a post as a child and adopted when the pooch was not claimed. The fact that “all he asks of me is the food to give him strength” and “all he ever needs is love and that he knows he’ll get” are some of the qualities Stevens admired about the human-dog bond.
Another song that explores a human-animal friendship is “Ben.” Written in 1972 by Don Black and Walter Scharf for the movie Ben (sequel to Willard), this song celebrates a pinnacle part of the film – a young boy who befriends a rat. Although originally intended for Donny Osmond, this popular song was actually recorded by 14-year-old Michael Jackson and became his first #1 hit as a solo artist. While this song does not actually reference a real pet rat, the song has nevertheless stood the test of time and emerged as a melody that sings of lasting comradeship.
However, in Jimi Hendrix’s song, “Fire,” a dog is referenced within the lyrics because of a real life occurrence. The story goes like this. After a show in 1967, Jimi stayed at bassist, Noel Redding’s, mother’s house. It was a frightfully cold night and Jimi wanted to stand next to the fireplace in order to warm up. However, the Reddings’ massive Great Dane simply refused to budge, thus inspiring the line, “Aw move over, Rover…” in the later hit, “Fire.”
By Stephanie Heim
 The B52s were also partial to the pooch play list phenomenon, penning “Quiche Lorraine” in the late 1970s. Although there was never actually a poodle named Quiche as the song suggests, this song is about a poor mangy mutt who lives to have a good time in the rain and doesn’t let life get him down. The content resonated with the eccentric funkiness of the B52s sound and has become a loved classic by their fans.
Paul McCartney is yet another international artist who owes the success of at least one major song to a pet. The 1974 chart-topping hit, “Jet” is rumoured to be about McCartney’s spunky Labrador-Retriever of the same name, although in an interview the artist superstar reveals the original inspiration in fact came from a pony he owned as a small boy.

Sometimes, however, songs intended for pets are not written so joyfully, instead professing the pain of loss. For example, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song “Death of a Martian” is the story of the bass player’s dog, Flea, passing on while in the midst of recording the band’s insanely successful Stadium Arcadium album. The lyrics speak of the owner’s grief and reminiscing. Lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, often referred to the 200lb canine as the band’s “little spirit guide,” and grew even more attached to the song when his own dog, Buster, also passed a few weeks later. The band believes that both of these dogs helped them through some of their darkest times as a group.
There are also a number of songs that use real pets as a metaphor for other things or people. For instance, the Pink Floyd song “Lucifer Sam.” The meaning of this song is often debated, but a couple of things can be known for sure. One of these, is that Syd Barrett did in fact own a cat named Sam, which is why it is widely thought that this song is in fact about this feline. However, other theories state that ‘cat’ was used more as a slang term for a man, or that the song is about Barrett’s then girlfriend and the metaphor of his cat is used as a way to write about her without it sounding too obvious and insulting. In any case, Sam the cat did exist and Syd Barrett seemed to have utilized his existence artistically as a way to express a message.
Though these songs, and the countless others like them, seem to have very little in common on the surface, they are in fact following the same theme. Each one was written with a special pet in mind and each one has therefore immortalized these pets forever…whoever said only people could be muses?
By Meagan Curran