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Monday, April 23, 2012


Question: My dog has growled a few times when we try and move/scoot her over. What should I do to correct this?

Answer: If you think your dog is just testing you and isn't thinking about biting, the best thing to do is to toss a treat on the floor so that she has motivation to relinquish "her" spot. As soon as she gets up, you or whoever should plop themselves right where she was lying. Have her do a "down-stay" for a couple of minutes and release her with a "good grrrrllll!!"

Caveat: if she is doing this in your bed, you need to immediately stop her from getting on any furniture at all. Dogs with possessive issues don't deserve to be on YOUR furniture. They must earn that privilege.

If you think she's trying to be bossy over y'all, or that she might be thinking about snapping at you, it is absolutely okay to squirt her full in the mouth with Listerine. And then put her in a down stay at your feet for about 3 minutes. Again, she must remain in the down-stay until you release her.

Girls are so sassy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Mom got me a new rope.

I flossed my teeth with it.

Then I chewed on my blue & white
squeaky zebra

 That zebra wore me down.

Time for a nap break.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Have we ever told you Buddy's story?

Three years ago, during what passes for an ice storm here on the Gulf Coast, someone dropped Buddy on the road near our house. We found him the next morning. The temperature was way way below freezing and the rain had turned to sleet and there was this wet, shivering black pit bull terrier huddled up on the outside of our gate.

We had to keep him separate from the other Hooligans until we could get him to the vet for a check-up. That took a couple of days because of work schedules and the local vet's office being closed for the weekend. But he finally had his health exam and  got scheduled for the Important Surgical Procedure all the other dogs have survived. And then, we talked it over and decided that we couldn't in good conscience put a pit bull with unknown history up for adoption. So he became a permanent resident of Hooligan House and Dad's special "Buddy".  He sleeps in Dad's lap and licks the grandkids clean when they come over to play, and he generally just ambles amiably through life. He's a Good Dog and keeping him was one of the best decisions we have ever made.

There were some areas where he needed help, like all rescued dogs need. For instance, he would not walk on the vinyl floor in the kitchen. It was NOT going to happen, no matter how much stinky canned food we put down on the floor to try to tempt him. Buddy sank to his belly and refused to move. That shiny expanse of slippery floor was just too scary for a dog who had never lived in a house. So we got some cheap carpet runners and put them about two feet apart from each other, and made him a red carpet runway to the kitchen. That did the trick, and gradually we moved the rugs farther and farther away from each other until one day there was no more runway. 

Rescue dogs do come with issues. And rescue volunteers and temporary foster parents often don't have the time to research what to do to help the dogs. Shelters have to move dogs into adoption or foster as quickly as possible to make room for new dogs that need help. Sometimes, dogs are adopted out who just aren't ready to deal with the environment of a family situation. That can be big Trouble. Recently, a couple of the local rescue groups here have contacted me with questions about how best to help some of their new canine residents who came from particularly neglectful backgrounds. I'm working with them and the foster parents involved are wonderful people who want to do whatever it takes to help the dogs acclimate to living with loving humans.

Not everyone can adopt a dog and the reasons vary. Most often, people can't afford an adoption fee and vet bills. But if you have a place in your heart and home where a newly rescued dog could be temporarily fostered through his issues until he is ready for adoption ---- what a wonderful gift that would be for everyone. Imagine helping a dog learn to trust that the outstretched hand of a human means something fun is about to happen. That a shiny floor or a doorbell are not really scary things. That another dog sniffing him is not cause for alarm. Teaching a dog how to play with a toy. Teaching him what a dog treat is. And even teaching him that it's perfectly acceptable for him to eat his food from a bowl instead of the ground.

Imagine the joy and the feelings of accomplishment you would experience. Yes, it hurts to send them off to their new adoptive homes, but the tears are rewarding ones. You have done important work and you know this dog has changed from being fearful and shy to being the confident, relaxed and, hopefully, mischievous critter God intended him to be.

One dog at a time. It's special work and it's not easy work.
 But it's Good Work.

Dad and his lap dog, Buddy

Friday, April 6, 2012


Just a quick head's up:

Diamond Pet Foods is voluntarily recalling its Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal
and Rice dry dog food because it may be contaminated with salmonella.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


There are lots of different kinds of Hooligans in the world. There’s Little Giz in Florida, and Popie up in Yankee Land. And there are the Hooli-guinapigs in Bellingham. I think there’s even a c@t somewhere that Mom calls a Signifi-Cat, who is a Hooligan. His name is Cujo. I don’t think we’ll ever get together but I’m okay with him being in the club. Being Anofficial Hooligan just means you have a Hooligan spirit. You get into mischief just for the sheer joy of it. Because you can’t not get into the mischief. If you understand that feeling, you’re a Hooligan too.

Mom and Dad went to N’awlins the other day to see a whole lotta Hooligans that are from the same dog family our Buddy is. There’s an Animal Planet show about this pit bull terrier sanctuary that just moved from California to N’awlins. It’s called Pit Bulls and Parolees. The Grand Opening of their place was last weekend. Mom and Dad took them some food and some money and spent the day touring Villalobos.

There are over 150 pit bull terriers there. Lots of them are ready to be adopted and they are GOOD dogs, happy and loving and playful like Buddy. Here are some pickshures of a couple of them. And you can find out more about them at


Next time the ‘rents go to N’awlins, it will be to visit a new foster Airedale named Godwin. He was transported from Tuscaloosa to Meridian to N’awlins and is staying with a family that was really really excited to get him. Here’s a pickshure of Godwin. He didn’t come to stay with us but he’s part of the Hooligan House family anyway.

Y’owl have a good week! And watch out for Hooliganism.
April is a good month for it!