Amazon Tripawd Selections

Reviews of Books and Products from for Tripawds and their people

Best New Pet Books for Animal Lovers Like Us

November 20th, 2014 by jerry in Books · No Comments

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Have you seen all the great new pet-centric books now available for voracious readers like us? What an incredible selection we have to choose from! Here’s a short list of the best ones we currently know about. If you have others to recommend, do tell!

A Letter to My Cat: Notes to Our Best Friends

If you ask us, Tripawd superstar kitty Jill should have been on the cover! But that’s cool, she is still an integral part of this very special, unforgettable collection of love letters from kitty pawrents who want to honor the cats who changed their lives for the better.

Alluring, elusive, mysterious—the cats in our lives are not always easy to get to know. But as with all pets, they have unique personalities and stories to tell. Alongside beautiful four-color photos of their cats, A Letter to My Cat collects personal letters from celebrities offering love and gratitude for all that their cats bring to their lives.

Miracle Dogs: Rescue Stories

We can’t say it enough. This. Book. Is. GORGEOUS. And better yet, it will warm your heart with tales of people and pets who are making a difference in this world through their very special rescue stories that send pawsitive ripples across the universe . . .

78 million dogs live as pets in the USA. These are the lucky ones. Five to seven million companion animals enter shelters every year, and more than half are euthanized due to the lack of space.

Miracle Dogs celebrates and honors the rescuers and the dogs whose lives they’ve saved. It features wonderful stories and photographs of dog rescuers, dog trainers, and rescue organizations such as The Gentle Barn and Tamar Geller’s Operation Heroes and Hounds, along with celebrity pet owners such as Chevy Chase, Hoda Kotb, Bob Einstein, Amanda Hearst, Jamie Lynn Siegler, and Lance Bass. Each story includes portraits of the dog and its new family, followed by a concise, compelling narrative detailing the dog’s journey to its new home.

“Miracle Dogs demonstrates a truth that lies at the heart of all rescue stories: That sharing a home with an animal—especially one that’s been forgotten and left to the fates—can enrich even the most glamorous and well-lived lives. “—Jim Gorant, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Dogs

A professional pet photographer, Liz Stavrinides spends much of her time on projects related to animal rescue. Miracle Dogs was born out of her desire to collect and share the stories of the dogs she’s met over the years, showcasing the incredible bravery and compassion of both canines and owners. Readers will be moved by stories like that of Wyatt, an assistance dog who helped a young boy with autism communicate with the outside world, or Fiona, who was found blind and starving and is now in a loving family. All of them have finally found their furever homes. Stavrinides’ portraits are heartwarming—a loving and poignant tribute to man’s best friend.

Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca

Oh. My. DOG. We cannot put this book down, it’s gripping and fast-paced and will leave you staying up late to find out what happens to Lucca next. Since we haven’t finished it yet, here is the official synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Soldier Dogs returns with the incredible story of K-9 Marine hero Lucca, and the handlers who fought alongside her through two bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Top Dog, Maria Goodavage takes readers into the life of Lucca K458, a decorated and highly skilled military working dog. An extraordinary bond develops between Lucca and Marine Corps dog handlers Chris Willingham and Juan Rodriguez, in what would become a legendary 400-mission career. A Specialized Search Dog, Lucca belongs to an elite group trained to work off-leash at long distances from her handler. She served alongside both Special Forces and regular infantry, and became so sought-after that platoons frequently requested her by name.

The book describes in gritty detail Lucca’s adventures on and off the battlefields, including tense, lifesaving explosives finds and firefights, as well as the bravery of fellow handlers and dogs they served with. Ultimately we see how the bond between Lucca and her handlers overcame the endless brutalities of war and the traumas this violence ignites.

Here is a portrait of modern warfare with a heartwarming and inspiring conclusion that will touch dog lovers and the toughest military readers.

67 Reasons Why Cats Are Better Than Dogs

Have we read this book? Well, no! Actually we’d love to but we just found out about it and haven’t put a call in to the publisher for a review copy. But doesn’t it look fun?!

It’s an age-old battle: cat vs. dog. Now, National Geographic and BuzzFeed’s Jack Shepherd team up to settle the dispute once and for all! Documenting cats’ superior abilities in such areas as artistry, athleticism, and intellect, Shepherd provides compelling insight into the fight for pet dominance. Perfectly pairing witty text with hilarious photographs and hard-hitting scientific facts, this brutally honest book culls the best evidence of the supremacy of cats (that the Internet can provide) to establish with definitive proof that individuals of the feline persuasion reign supreme over their canine counterparts.

The Dog Stays in the Picture:
How My Rescued Greyhound Helped Me Cope with My Empty Nest

If you’re expecting a “dog story,” this isn’t it. But, that doesn’t matter once you dive into this sweet tale written from the perspective of a Mom who’s becoming an empty-nester as her kids go off to college . . . yet despite the major life changes, the dog stays in the picture. Get it? OK! It’s definitely worth a read, here’s why:

This is not a book about a dog. I really do prefer my husband—honest. But it’s hard to tell the story of our journey into the empty nest, and leave out one particular animal. Which kind of illustrates the problem.

It is November 2009, and after mourning the loss of Arrow, their beloved Australian shepherd mutt, Susan and David Morse and family are finally ready to adopt a new dog. David’s acting jobs keep him away from home for long stretches of time, the last two teenagers are on their way to college, and this time it’s Susan’s turn to pick the dog. She probably should have thought a little more carefully before falling for a retired racing greyhound.

Enter Lilly, who lands like a disoriented neutron bomb in Susan’s comfortable suburban home after living the first three years of her life in the rugged and ruthless world of the racetrack. Instantly lovable but hopelessly inept at domesticity, Lilly turns out to be more than Susan bargained for, throwing all Susan and David’s plans for their long-anticipated, footloose empty-nest years into complete disarray.

In The Dog Stays in the Picture, Susan Morse tells the hilarious and moving story of how an anxious dog and a high-strung woman find tranquility together.

More Great Books for Animal Lovers

These books deserve more recognition, so be sure to find out why by stopping by our previous Amazon reviews about each one:

Does Your Canine Need Advice? Ask Anna Koontz

Dating Do-Over by Cathy Spencer a Great Read Tripawd Parents Will Love

Learn, Laugh in the Face of Cancer with Dr. Sarah Boston’s Memoir, Lucky Dog

Are We Shortening Our Dogs’ Lives?

Trouper, the Story of a Three-Legged Homeless Dog

So Why Do Dogs Hump?

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Read These Wise Words from Gentle Souls

November 3rd, 2014 by jerry in Books · 1 Comment

Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!

Three-paws up to everypawdy who entered our Ask Anna” book giveaway!

Our randomly chosen winner has sage words of wisdom for all of us:

The best thing that Luci has taught me is that sometimes no words are needed. All you need is just a little hug. A dog loves you no matter what. When your happy or when your sad. She just puts her little head on my shoulder & all I feel is love.

Shari Michelle

We’ll have more book giveaways coming soon, so stick around. Meanwhile read up on the profound and beautiful advice from the wise dogs and cats of our community:

For me, aside from living in the NOW, my dogs have taught me “acceptance of what is” and finding empowering learning lessons from whatever life presents to you. Wake up facing each day with a wagging tail and loving heart!!!

Sally and My Eternal Light Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle too!

Best advice my Lab girls have given me over and over again, “Calm down and pet me!! Here, I’m wagging my tail and want some love!!” They have done more to keep my blood pressure down than any medicine known to man! They have all, over the years kept me sane at times, when life was very difficult….one look in their calm, loving, soulful faces, and I am lost, but lost in a very good place…..

Bonnie & Angel Polly

My Tripawd Maggie taught me that she loved life no matter what. She never knew the outcome of her life and never cared. She wanted to continue on her horseback rides, her fishing trips and extra treats. She said “stay in the now” and I listened.


I’ve been an adoring fan for years and have had dogs for most of my life. The most important thing that Micah and Keela have taught me is that no matter how bad I feel, or how much pain I’m in, every day is a blessing because they love me no matter what and that we need each other. Pam & puppies

Pam JE

The best advice ever came from my cat, Jon. “Close your eyes. Take a nap.”


The best advice I’ve ever gotten was from my first best friend, a neighbor’s boxer. “Don’t be afraid, I’ve got your back.” That was over 40 years ago, will always have a boxer in my life.

Teresa T

The best advice my granddog, Aura Borealis, ever gave me is how to act when you visit someone. Even if it’s only been a day or week since you last saw them, you should wiggle, whine, and kiss them like it’s been forever and they’re the most important person in the world to you.

Theresa Davis

The best idea I got from my cat was, “Go for it! It never hurts to ask for something that you want!”

Barb Gale

Dear Anna,
The best advice I’ve gotten from any of our canine companions, was from our golden retrievers, Dudley and Nell. They led full lives, filled with great fun, infinite amounts of love, and caring companionship. The advise they gave was by example.

The both lived to almost 13, passing three years apart. Although their lives were as perfect as we could make them, and I believed they were as happy as they could possibly be, when their time came, they approached it with calm anticipation, perhaps even an eagerness to start another part of their existence. They were sure of our love for them, and yet they were able to move forward into the unknown without hesitation.

What lies beyond cannot be something to fear, as long as they are there. And where would a golden go except to a place of great wonder? I am not rushing to meet it, but when my time comes, I will move through it by following their gentle examples.

Thank you for all you do.

Kathy O’Rourke

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Jill the Tripawd Kitty Stars in New Celebrity Love Letters Book

October 22nd, 2014 by jerry in Books · 3 Comments

From our own local Tripawd celebrity to global superstardom, Jill the Tripawd Kitty is featured in a fabulous new book called “A Letter to My Cat: Notes to Our Best Friends.

Jill’s ready for her close up.

Here’s a sneak preview of the book, Jill is featured at 2:41

YouTube Preview Image

This touching series of letters is written by cat lovers from all over the world, including celebrities like Jill and Erica Berse, Dr. Oz, Dita Von Teese and Joe Perry.

You will love every word of this heartwarming collection of true stories about fabulous felines. Filled with gorgeous photos and beautiful letters compiled by Lisa Erspamer, the book is a must-have for every kitty lover.

Jill the Tripawd Superstar

A Letter to My Cat: Notes to Our Best Friends is available in stores on October 28. Pre-order your copy today and contact Jill for your personal pawdographed edition!

A Letter to My Cat book

Wyatt waits for his pawdograph

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Does Your Canine Need Advice? Ask Anna Koontz, Win a Copy!

October 10th, 2014 by jerry in Books · 10 Comments

Talent runs in the Dean Koontz pack and this week the famous author’s beloved Golden Retriever Anna makes a very special debut in her first book “ASK ANNA: Advice for the Furry and Forlorn.”

In Anna’s brand new, adorable and gorgeous photo book she doles out snappy wisdom and insightful perspectives on the canine life about popular topics like:

  • Love and food
  • Begging techqiques
  • Loneliness
  • Escape artistry
  • Tennis balls
  • Rolling in mud, and much more!

Anna and her loyal canine readers and Facebook fans reveal what they really think of their humans and our odd behavior, along with funny doggie dating advice and cross-species relationship quirks. And in her never-ending dedication to making the world a better place for humans and dogs, Anna is donating all proceeds to the assistance dog group Canine Companions for Independence!

More About “Ask Anna” from Amazon

“Dog confidante and advisor, Anna Koontz, golden retriever and canine companion to #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz debuts her talent as advice columnist to her species in her seminal work Ask Anna: Advice for the Furry and Forlorn. Anna helps all sorts of dogs with all sorts of problems, questions and, well, issues. With her superior intellect, sharp wit, a warm and fuzzy heart, Anna assists dogs in finding their inner canine. Some of her best advice: take time daily for ball-chasing and belly rubs – the keys (along with sausages) to true canine joy.

Koontz_ASK ANNA_author photo HI-RES

Learn more about the problems that plague Anna’s clients and be inspired by how she counsels them:

  • A Dachshund who feels height-challenged when cavorting with her Great Dane and Wolfhound neighbors
  • A Newfoundland wondering about his “blended” family: his sister is a Chihuahua
  • The trouble with birds…
  • Issues of self-esteem: Am I cute enough? Is my tongue too long?
  • Coexistence with cats…that inferior species which some humans (mistakenly) prefer

And delight in Dean’s just slightly skewed (or maybe not really) perspective on the importance of dogs throughout history. Without their help and advice, we humans would be in even worse trouble than we are today. They’re heaven-sent (what is dog spelled backwards?!)”

Here’s a special message from Anna:

Dear Person,

My dad, Dean Koontz, is a writer, as you might be aware. For years his first golden retriever, Trixie, also wrote books, which sometimes made the best-seller list. I vowed never to be a writer.

I barely have enough time for all the belly rubs, ball chasing, bird chasing, tug-of-war, and posing cutely that is required of me as a golden retriever, not to mention all of my non-professional interests, such as the new translation of Proust that I have undertaken, and learning to pilot a hot-air balloon.

Nevertheless, I have written a book of advice for dogs. It’s not a matter of ego, which anyone who knows a golden retriever will attest. It’s not about money, because all the earnings I receive from ASK ANNA will be given to Canine Companions for Independence, which provides assistance dogs for people with disabilities. What it’s about is giving back to my community–which I feel obliged to do especially because of all the park grass I’ve ruined with little round brown spots.

Thank you for your support.


Win a Copy of “Ask Anna”

We think you’ll love this book and everyone should buy at least 5 copies to help Canine Companions for Independence! However Anna was kind enough to send us one free publicity copy of the book, which we would like to gift to one lucky Tripawds member.  Here’s what you need to do enter this contest:

Comment below by Friday 10/25
and tell us the best advice
you’ve ever gotten from your dog or cat

The contest ends on Friday October 25 at 11:59 pm Eastern time. One winner will be selected at random and notified via email. Good luck!

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Dating Do-Over by Cathy Spencer a Great Read Tripawd Parents Will Love

September 25th, 2014 by jerry in Books · No Comments

When a Tripawd dog or cat stars in a book, movie or song, we’ll gladly help spread some three-legged goodwill. That’s why today we think you should know about Cathy Spencer’s newest book, “The Dating Do-Over.”

Dumped, Dating and Dogs Make a Fun Read

Here’s what Cathy’s book summary on Amazon says about this fun fictional story:

Toronto school teacher Viv Nowak has a sympathetic heart and abominable taste in men. She expects an engagement ring when her live-in lover of six years lands a terrific new job in Vancouver. Instead, she gets dumped . . . on Valentine’s Day! Everyone, from her best friends to her father to her estranged mother, has an opinion on how she should fix her life. Her friends even insist on a dating do-over. But will they like her choice when she finally decides what her heart wants?

In this fast-paced, sweetly composed tale of dating in the modern world, Viv meets Tom, a compassionate animal lover who helps save a stray dog named Bruno who gets hit by a car and loses his leg. The resulting three-legged love story is a read that every Tripawd pawrent and animal lover will enjoy.

We especially appreciate how Cathy wrote to us before publication to learn about amputation recovery in dogs, and the great care and accuracy she used in detailing Bruno’s recovery as well as human perceptions of a three-legged dog:

It was six by the time they arrived at the vet’s. Stacy nodded to them and let them through the door into the back hallway, where they walked to the recovery area. Thiago, the technician, had Bruno out of his cage. The dog was wearing a plastic cone around his head, plus a harness. The bandage was off, and Viv could see the stitches running from the top of Bruno’s shoulder to half-way down his side. Bruno was limping on his three remaining legs, and Viv’s heart contracted with pity.

“Hi, Bruno. How’re you feeling today?” Tom said from the doorway. The dog turned, yipped, and hobbled over to him, his tail pumping. Tom squatted and laughed when the dog butted him with the plastic cone instead of licking his face. “That to keep him from biting at his stitches?”

“Exactly.” Thiago smiled. “He’s doing much better today. Dr. Lane cut back his pain meds, so he’s a lot more energetic, aren’t you, boy?”

Cathy even thanked the Tripawds Nation in the book, so please join us in a big “THREE PAWS UP!” for a great novel! We hope you’ll buy a copy here and spread the word about this fantastic novel.

About the Author

Author Cathy Spencer

Award-winning author Cathy Spencer is married to a singer/actor/ teacher. He didn’t actually say “marry me and see Canada” when he proposed, but that’s practically what happened. They have lived on the west coast in Vancouver, on the east coast in St. John’s, in Calgary, and are currently living in Ontario.

Cathy writes both romance and mystery novels. Framed for Murder, winner of the 2014 Bony Blithe Mystery Award, is the first in the Anna Nolan series, a cozy mystery with an amateur sleuth set in the Rocky Mountain Foothills of Alberta. The second novel, Town Haunts, takes place at Halloween, while the third, Tidings of Murder and Woe, will be released in time for Christmas 2014. Aside from the mystery series and The Dating Do-Over, Cathy has written a regency romance entitled The Affairs of Harriet Walters, Spinster, as well as two short story collections, Tall Tales Twin-Pack, Mysteries and Tall Tales Twin-Pack, Science Fiction and Fantasy. Connect with Cathy at her website:


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Prepare Your Pet for a Major Operation

September 4th, 2014 by jerry in Books · No Comments

Today we’re proud to present a guest blog post written just for the Tripawds Nation, by world-renowned pet psychic and animal communicator Gail Thackray. She is the author of “How to Talk to Your Pets: Animal Communication for Dogs, Cats, & Other Critters” — a must-read for every animal lover who wants better communications with animals:

“Animal communicator Gail Thackray believes that everyone can learn to talk to their pets. Gail leads you through specific exercises to develop this skill and guides you step-by-step to connect and communicate. You’ll learn the most voiced “pet peeves,” solutions to common behavioral issues, and how to know what your animal wants. Gail teaches you how to perform energy healings, do body scans for health, and how to connect to lost pets. With Gail’s down-to-earth style and hilariously funny stories, you’ll get a firsthand look at how animal communication works and just how cute these critters really are.”

Here are Gail’s tips for preparing our animals, as well as ourselves, for surgery.

Gail Thackray

“Our animals are communicating with us all the time whether we realize it or not. They hear everything we say, we just have a harder time hearing them back. In fact not only do they hear but it is more accurate to say they sense. You see they pick up on our thoughts and our feelings more so than our words. So we can say something out loud but really be thinking something else and it is what we are really thinking that they pick up on.

They love you to talk to them and be clear with them. It can be very confusing when they pick up little bits and pieces. When your thoughts are scattered and you have mixed feelings. Perhaps if they have a major operation coming up, you are thinking about it, what will happen to them and perhaps you have some fearful thoughts. Imagine they are getting all of this. And you don’t even have to be in the same room as them, they hear your thoughts even when you are at work.

Animals See Our Visions, Hear Our Thoughts

So the best thing to do is slate out some quiet time just to talk to them. Talk straight about what you know and what are your fears (you cannot hide anything anyway). Whether you say this out loud or think it doesn’t really matter. They see the visions you have and feel and hear your thoughts.

Find time together in a place where you will not be disturbed. You need to get yourself in tat relaxed, peaceful, almost meditative state. Perhaps you could sit in the garden or when you just wake up and they are by your bed. Taking a walk with your pet works just as well as sitting meditating.

Imagine connecting to your pet through love. Think about sending love to them through your heart chakra the spiritual center of your chest and receiving it back from theirs. Now talk to them gently through your thoughts. Thinking and visualizing to explain what is happening. Then allow their thoughts to drift back to you.

Don’t question your thoughts but just allow the first thing that comes to mind. It could come as a vision a feeling or a thought that pops into your head or all of those.Tell them through your thoughts by visualizing what is going to happen as far as you know. Try to emphasis your thoughts on the operation being easy and successful. Try to think positive and visualize a wonderful outcome. The more you can do this with them the more calm and reassured they will feel. Visualize a quick and easy recovery. This works for people too!

Our Health is Connected

They do see the future and they do understand what is happening and what they need for their healing. They know and understand that they have, for some reason on a higher level, chosen to have this experience. Your stress and worry is usually what they are more concerned about. “Mom is very worried about it, tell her I’ll be fine.” “Dad has a lot of fear.” are things that I hear. They actually want to reassure the owners!

Now another thing to consider is why is this area of the body affected? Our pets are very connected to our energy and often when I do readings on an animal’s health they show me something in their owner’s health. They want you to be healed too. Because you are so energetically connected the area of the animal’s body may be an area that you are having difficulty in your life. When you do healing on yourself it actually helps their healing.

For instance their back legs resonate with your legs. Their front legs with your arms. Their eyes with your eyes etc. So if their issue is their back left leg then look at your left leg. It may be something physically out of balance with your body that needs addressing but it could also be energetically. Your left leg is about movement in a physical way, difficulty moving from a job you dislike. Your right leg more emotional or spiritual. Difficulty moving on from a relationship or feeling like you don’t have a purpose in life. Your arms not taking care of yourself, always yielding to others and not talking for yourself.

When you talk to your pet ask if they can show you in your life where you need some healing. Sending love and light to this area of your life, addressing negative feelings you’ve held onto and releasing is not only a tremendous healing for you but also your pet. During your pets operation and in the recovery, pay attention to yourself and give yourself the healing you need and this you will find is probably the most valuable way you can speed your pet’s recovery.”

In addition to being the author of “How to Talk to Your Pets: Animal Communication for Dogs, Cats, & Other Critters,” Gail teaches Animal communication workshops and also performs distant healings for animals. Her life changed at age forty when she discovered she was a medium and able to talk to spirits on the other side. Helping others connect to Source and to develop their own natural psychic abilities is her passion. Read more about her healing and communication work at

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Recovery Cone Alternative for Cats and Dogs

August 21st, 2014 by jerry in Products · 1 Comment

Looking for an alternative to the Dreaded Elizabethan Cone of Shame!

No Bite Elizabethan Cone Alternative

If your dog or cat is recovering from surgery and the usual recovery cones aren’t doing the trick, here’s a new post-surgery recovery device we just discovered that might work for your pet.

The Bite Not Collar

BiteNot Collars are an excellent alternative to the traditional Elizabethan collar. It provides unimpeded peripheral vision and allows pets to eat, drink, sleep and play while protecting back, rump, base of tail, flanks, chest, abdomen, and genitals — even feet in small breeds and cats too!.

Made of flexible plastic and foam and machine washable to help you keep it clean. BiteNot Collars are the only cervical restraint with a harness strap, which enables the collars to stay on.

User Review on Amazon: “I don’t know why vets don’t sell these, it’s the best option for keeping your dog from bothering his wound without crashing into things with that stupid cone. It was snowy when my dog had his operation, the poor dog couldn’t even go to relieve himself with tripping due to snow in his cone. We purchased this bitenot collar it was amazinging comfortable for him, which made it easier for us. You and your dog will love this bitenot collar, purchase before the operation!”


How to measure: While your pet is standing, measure from the base of the your dog or cat’s ear to the top of it’s shoulder blade. This measurement will give you the desired width and size of the collar.

For example, if you measure 6″ you will need a size 6.

Dog Sizing:

  • Size 3.5″ for dogs under 10lbs (i.e. toy poodle)
  • Size 4″ for dogs 10-17 lbs (i.e. Bichon, Shih Tzu)
  • Size 5″ for dogs 18-30 lbs (i.e. Spaniels, Terriers)
  • Size 5L” for dogs 31-45 lbs (i.e. Chow, Pit Bull)
  • Size 6″ for dogs 46-70 lbs (i.e. Labrador, Golden Retriever)
  • Size 7″ for dogs 71-100 lbs (i.e. Rottweiler)
  • Size 8″for dogs 101-140 lbs (i.e. Bullmastiff)

Cat Sizing:

  • Size 2.5″ for cats under 10 lbs
  • Size 3″ for cats over 10 lbs.

When choosing size, remember that the collar must stretch from behind the animal’s ear to the top of its shoulder for maximum protection.

Note: These collars are not recommended for protecting eyes or ears.

Thanks for shopping through this blog for all of your Amazon purchases! A portion of your purchases help to keep the Tripawds community online.

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The Key to Removing Ticks

August 7th, 2014 by jerry in Products · 3 Comments

Summer’s here and the ticks are biting. The key to getting rid of these nasty bugs once they latch onto your dog or cat is a cheap an easy tool we think you’ll love!

TickKey Tick Removal Tool,
Your Key to Reliable, Safe & Effective Tick Removal

The Tick Key is made of rugged 5052 anodized aluminum
With a simple slide and pull motion The Tick Key removes the tick body and embedded head
Reliable, Safe & Effective – The Easiest-to-Use Tick Removal Device on Earth!
TickKey attaches to your key ring or your pet’s collar so it is always with you
Protect Your Family and Pets from Ticks Including Lyme Disease Carrying Deer Ticks

The Tick Key Tick Remover Family 3-Pack

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Learn, Laugh in the Face of Cancer with Dr. Sarah Boston’s Memoir, Lucky Dog

July 24th, 2014 by jerry in Books · No Comments

Veterinary oncologists are the superheroes of the Tripawds Nation. With brilliant minds working overtime to help us through very dark times, these cancer experts offer hope and understanding when oftentimes our friends and family do the opposite.

But what happens when a vet oncologist is facing her own cancer battle? Can she find reassurance in a bogged-down human health care system that pales in comparison to the efficient, compassionate care that her animal patients receive? Will human oncology medicine measure up to her expectations?

The book “Lucky Dog: How Being a Veterinarian Saved My Life” by Dr. Sarah Boston, takes us on a funny and unforgettable journey through the eyes of a brainy, lovely and funny oncologist. Any pet parent who’s been through the cancer experience or is going through it now will relate to every word. Here’s why:

Animal or Human Cancer Patients: Who Gets the Better Deal?

Sharp as a tack and ready to do battle with cancer every day of her life, Dr. Boston is a busy veterinary oncology surgeon who is well-versed in diagnosing cancer in animals. But during one typical evening while indulging in her “fantastically overpriced” French beauty cream, she happens to find a suspicious mass in her own neck. Her memoir begins with the shock of realizing she’s just made her own diagnosis:

“I’m spreading on the cream, banishing forehead wrinkles, eye wrinkles, and smile lines. I move on to my neck. Wait a second, what is that? I can feel a mass.

I do not say “bump” or “lump” or “swollen gland” because these fingers are trained fingers and I know instantly that it is a mass in my right thyroid gland. I know that it is new, and that it is not good.”

This marks the beginning of Dr. Boston’s bumpy ride through the human oncology medical system. We follow along through tests and appointments as she fluctuates between worrying about bothering her doctors too much, to becoming a ferocious advocate for herself when treatment moves at a snail’s pace and doctors patronizingly advise her not to worry – despite her gut instinct (and well-trained oncologist brain) indicating otherwise.

YouTube Preview Image

From “Diagnosis” to “Treatment” to “Recovery,” the book’s chapter structure alternates between her own cancer experience and those of her canine patients. From dealing with surgeries, to coping with the reactions of friends and family, to getting back into the “real world,” Dr. Boston’s story unexpectedly unfolds into a “How To” guide for human and animal cancer survivors, their friends and family. She writes:

“It’s hard to compare a dog’s experience of cancer surgery to that of a person. A few things make it easier on them: first, they don’t know that they have cancer, and second, they have less time to think about the fact that they have cancer (if they could know that they have cancer in the first place) because they move through the process so much faster. Some things are harder. I wish I could explain to them what we are doing, why we are poking them, why they wake up in pain, and why they are sleeping in a cage. It’s heartbreaking if I think about it too much. Most of my patients are used to sleeping in a bed every night with their owners. The cage and the solitude must be very confusing. Even for the same surgical procedure, the experience for the human and animal patient is worlds apart.”

As you read through Lucky Dog, keep a highlighter pen handy. This insightful memoir is filled with so many inspirational and refreshingly honest insights about life, death, humans and animals, you’ll want to remember passages like:

“If you are a dog with a mass or a lump that someone thinks is cancer, your path to diagnosis and treatment will be very different than mine, with one glaringly obvious similarity: every patient needs an advocate. This is probably more apparent in canine patients because they can’t discuss their clinical signs, take themselves to the doctor, or make any decisions about their health. They are completely reliant on health advocacy.

Sometimes the barriers to a diagnosis and treatment are too great and our patients lose before they even have the chance to fight. Sometimes just the word cancer, and not the disease itself, is enough to bring the dog’s life to an end, even if it is a suggestion and not a firm diagnosis. A dog’s life is only as important as we think it is, and it is only worth as much as we can afford, or choose, to pay. A dog’s death is only as sad as it makes the owners who loved him, and a dog’s recovery from cancer or fake cancer is only as happy as it makes the people who are cheering him on.”

Cancer Freedom and Life Lessons

Spoiler alert: Dr. Boston survives, and today her health is good. But surviving the cancer ordeal is just the beginning of her next chapter in life, which is a new appreciation for seeing and experiencing things the way our animals do; living every day to the fullest, without worrying about the future. Again, we learn from her wisdom as she shares insights about looking death in the eye:

“We don’t consider death very often, but contemplating your mortality brings a certain level of freedom. Appreciating life for what it is – brief and precious – is cancer freedom. We are constantly trying to forget that we are all going to die. What if we stopped protecting ourselves from death? It doesn’t need to be so morbid. It might help us focus on the things that are important and bring us happiness.

What would you change in your life if you were going to die in a few days? Weeks? Months? Or years? Well, the truth is, you are. How few days, weeks, or year of life does it take before you start living the life you want to live? Wouldn’t it be better to live a shorter life with happy purpose and freedom than the unexceptional life of faux-immortality?”

When we’re in the middle of life-changing situations that drain us of our energy, it’s hard to imagine picking up a full-length novel and actually getting through it. But after reading Dr. Boston’s book, we guarantee you that her story is hard to put down, and will serve as the best medicine for you and your beloved companions, human or otherwise. Pick up a copy of “Lucky Dog,” and get ready to laugh in the face of cancer!

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Raw Feeding for Pets is a Trendy Risk, Says CSU

July 10th, 2014 by jerry in Books · 2 Comments

People who feed their pets a raw meaty bones diet are putting their pets and entire households in jeopardy and should consider other diets, says Dr. Camille Torres-Henderson of Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital Small Animal Practice.

Adherents claim that pets eating raw diets have shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, improved immunity and easier weight management. Impassioned testimonials about raw food diets often include anecdotes that might seem persuasive.

Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to support such claims, and the veterinarians at Colorado State University do not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. — Dr. Torres-Henderson

In this June 10, 2014 article published by CSU, Dr. Torres-Henderson goes on to advise pet parents to “analyze nutritional claims and look for the research to support those claims, especially if they seem too good to be true.”

While much of the raw feeding success stories are anecdotal, it’s hard to dispute these examples of how well the diet works for certain cats and dogs when you experience the benefits firsthand. We respectfully dispute calling it trendy, when the raw food diet for pets has been growing in popularity since the early 1990s.

We saw the raw diet benefits ourselves when Tripawds founder Spirit Jerry ate raw, and we see how bright and clean our Wyatt Ray’s teeth stay because he loves gnawing on a raw meaty bones.

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Yes there’s a salmonella risk when feeding raw, but when you consider how often commercial pet food is recalled for the same reason, the risks seem on par with one another don’t you think? CSU cites other reasons for not choosing a raw diet, including choking on bones and nutritional deficiencies, of which most veterinarians will concur.

A raw deal? The trendy ‘ancestral diet’ might not be best for your pet.  — CSU’s Dr. Torres-Henderson

There’s one thing that we can agree with when it comes to this article: there is no one perfect way to feed a dog or cat. We recommend doing your research and working with a holistic-minded vet to decide if a raw food diet is right for your pack.

Meanwhile here are some great resources for learning more about feeding a raw diet to your dog or cat so you can talk to a vet about your findings.

The Barf Diet
(Raw Feeding for Dogs and Cats Using Evolutionary Principles)

What Your Dog Is Begging For!:
Raw Meaty Bones, Your Dogs Best Friend.

Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats

Tripawds Spokesdog Wyatt Ray says “Eat more bones!”

German Shepherd Wyatt loves to eat raw bones

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