Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday's Funnies!

Raising Duncan

by Chris Browne

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Considerate Canine: Relaxation

Lowcountry Dog Magazine
by Cindy Carter

You are lying on a comfy bed taking deep, relaxing breaths, receiving a gentle massage and the cares of the world are receding into the background. Does this sound like a wonderful spa, where you are pampered and your every wish is indulged? No, this is the world of a dog that is learning to relax.

Okay, that image may be a little over the top, but dogs, just like humans, need to learn to relax. We humans tend to over-react and to not think clearly or reasonably when stressed or out of sorts. Why should our dogs be any different? While we don’t know exactly how dogs process or feel emotions, there is no doubt that they do have emotions and respond to them. Stress can play a major role in the lives of our dogs just as in our own, it affects the physical, mental and emotional well-being of our pals. Unfortunately, they don’t have the verbal language skills to communicate with us, so it’s our job to learn to recognize the canine signals of stress.

Our dogs give us so much, while asking very little in return. It is our responsibility to learn to communicate with our dogs, providing them with a safe environment in which to live, work and thrive. Many of us, unless we have a very high strung, possibly reactive dog, never consider that relaxation is important. After all, what do dogs really have to be stressed about? They take naps, go for walks, eat well, maybe play agility, rally or flyball, it’s a dogs life, right? We see our dog hanging out on his bed and think, what a great life. But is it really, if every time he hears a noise or senses a change in the environment, he feels compelled to jump up and investigate. Maybe the missing piece in this dog’s life is the ability to relax.

What about the normally well behaved, well trained dog whose skills take a turn for the worse when he is in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by strangers, human and/or canine? Is this a dog that just refuses to do what is asked of him or is it possible that he cannot respond because he is worried or stressed? Maybe your dog reacts to fast moving objects, the UPS truck or even the vacuum cleaner, by barking or chasing the object. Or your dog is at the other end of the spectrum, when something or someone new is introduced, he shuts down, unable to interact with others. In many cases, it is stress that makes a dog unable to respond promptly or correctly when the environment is highly charged or confronted with changes.

So what can you, as a devoted and loving caretaker do to help your dog learn better coping skills? A good place to start is learning to recognize signs of stress and helping your dog learn to relax.

These are some of the more common stress indicators, but you always need to see the behavior in context, after all a yawn can simply be a yawn.

lip licking
look away ( head turns)
stiff body
dilated pupils
sweaty paws
tail and ear carriage
There are many other signals but these are fairly easy to spot.

Now, what to do when you see your dog offering these behaviors in a way that is indicative of stress.

1) Remove your dog from the situation

2) Teach your dog to relax

3) Teach your dog a different response

4) Change the emotions behind the response

We can’t discuss everything on the list now, but removing your dog from a stressful situation is important, regardless of where you are in your training plan. If your dog is stressed by children, bikes, strangers, other dogs, or loud noises forcing him to remain around these triggers only does harm. It is rarely a good idea to “let the dog get over it”. Constant exposure to a scary thing typically results in a dog becoming more stressed and fearful, possibly even aggressive when he feels trapped. If you are afraid of snakes, would being locked in a room with several snakes make you feel better or more afraid? Of course, there are ways to help our dogs be more comfortable in certain situations, but that discussion is for another time.

Take a deep breath and learn some great techniques to help your dog relax.

Always start working in a quiet, low distraction area, preferably a place that your dog is comfortable and work for a very short time. Have him sit or lie down on a mat or doggie bed, don’t force him to lie down unless he wants to, remember this is about relaxing. I am NOT a Tellington TTouch practitioner nor a doggie massage therapist, but I do use some of their techniques to help dogs learn to relax. Using slow, light touches, begin to massage your dog. It is best to use only your fingertips, little or no pressure and keep both hands in contact with your dog. If you are touching your dogs back, be sure to go the entire length of his back, including the tail (even if it is not there). The ears and muzzle are very important areas as well. If your dog is reactive or barks a great deal, TTouch tells us to use a counter-clockwise motion. Be aware of your dog, if he is uncomfortable with your touch, stop. Our purpose is to help your dog associate gentle, calming touch with his bed or mat. In that way, the mat, eventually, will become a cue to relax.

Now, the actually work of teaching relaxation. Dr. Karen Overall, a respected behavioral veterinarian developed both the Protocol for Relaxation and Protocol for Deference, designed to teach dogs that being relaxed and calm is what earns them rewards.

Many dog owners have been taught to have their dogs sit or down for everything, work to earn. Dr. Overall has carried this a step further. In the Deference Protocol she teaches dogs that being calm while in a sit or down is the behavior that earns a reward. So instead of having your Border Collie sit for the ball to be thrown, he must sit and relax to get the ball tossed again. Hard to teach, yes and no, it depends on the dog and the thing they are trying to earn. Do you start with the ball, no, you start with something of low value so the dog is successful. Is it worth the effort, yes, definitely. Once he has begun to associate being calm with getting what he wants, he will learn to calm himself as he starts to get over aroused.

The Protocol for Relaxation has changed many dogs lives for the better. It is a series of exercises designed to be used over a period of time, gradually increasing the distractions around the dog while he remains calm. After each step, the dog is rewarded with a small, maybe not terribly exciting treat. The mat used for relaxing touch is the perfect place to do these exercises, again creating an association between the mat and relaxed, calm behavior. The exercises start out very simply and increase in difficulty, at any time the dog becomes anxious or excited, you stop the exercise and start over, at a different time, at a point your dog was still able to relax. The protocol begins with having the dog simply sit while you count to 3 and give a treat, count to 5 and treat, count to 10 and treat. As you progress through the exercises, you may be hopping from foot to foot, going outside the door, ringing the doorbell, the whole time Rover is calmly processing things happening without reacting. Can you see how these exercise will be useful in daily life?

I hear many clients say that their dog knows how to hold a sit or down/stay with things going on. But -- this in not proofing a stay, in fact, Rover has never once been told to stay. This is all about helping your dog relax in the face of distractions. It also teaches great self control.

Another technique for teaching relaxation is to teach a dog to take a breath or hold his tail still. We capture these behaviors when the dog offers them, then put them on cue. Teaching a dog to take a breath works exactly the same way that it does for us. The intake of a deep breath gives both species a chance to take in oxygen and pause long enough for our brains to begin to work instead of react.

You may wonder why it makes any difference if your dog is relaxed. If your dog is over threshold, reacting to something in the environment, he is not thinking or even hearing you. At this point, he is using the instinctual part of his brain, not the thinking part, which is where we need him to be. Being in a constant state of stress or anxiety is bad for your dogs health, as well. How do you feel after a particularly stressful day? Imagine living with that stress constantly, with no way to relieve it or even let someone know that you need help.

It is our job to be advocates for our dogs health; physical, mental and emotional. Learning what causes stress and teaching our dog the skills needed to cope and relax is our job as their caretakers.

Cindy Carter, CPDT-KA
Mindful Manners Dog Training

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Taming Tip from Taming the Wild Side Dog Training

Contributed by Terri Elkins, Owner / Trainer -

Note from from CP Blogger: We would like to thank Terri Elkins for allowing us to post her weekly taming tips on our blog. Her training facility is located in Fort Worth, Texas.

Each week we'll share a Taming Tip for you, your family and friends to do with your dog(s)! These tips will help teach your dog real world manners in a fun way. Leave us a comment and tell us how it went!

Taming Tip #18:

You can do this activity indoors or outdoors. Play a game with your dog that he loves, such as tug, fetch, chase, ball, etc. Play with your dog for 5-15 minutes to get your dog very excited and revved up, then suddenly take a "Manners Break" and ask your dog to sit, down, or go to a mat to help him settle down. Once your dog has settled down play the game again! After you quit playing the game with your dog if they sit, down or run to their mat without being told give your dog extra rewards!

Please follow this link to visit their blog!

Wacky Wednesday!

Wednesday is the day to be WACKY! Each week we will showcase a terrierific cairn picture with an appropriate caption. If you have a terrierific cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture and caption for an upcoming "Wacky Wednesday" send it to us at! (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.

A big shout out to Walker, for being our Wacky Wednesday model this week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Introducing Caia

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

Caia lived her first 5 years as in a commercial breeding facility. Somehow she found her way to a shelter and was adopted by a busy family with small children. Her new family tried to include Caia into their active lives, but after 2 years they decided to surrender her to CP, realizing Caia needed a more structure and quiet home. Caia is said to be housebroken, good with kids, other dogs, cats, and riding in a car.

Let’s all give a warm welcome to Caia.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Welcome Jada!

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

Please welcome Col. Potter's newest girl, Jada. This absolutely adorable, wheaten cairn girl is 3 years old and ready for some fun! She was dumped two years ago by her original owner, and taken in by a very caring woman. As we see happening so often lately, life threw a bunch of unexpected changes to this woman, and she could no longer give Jada the loving caring home she deserved. Ool. Potter stepped in anc came to the rescue. This little one has no reported issues, other than being too cute! She is having her spa treatment tomorrow, and then heading to her foster home.

Get a good look now, because I imagine the applications will fly in for this doll!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Sweets

Sunday is full of SWEETS! Each week we will showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet filled cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets" send it to us at! (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)



Gabby & Tess


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ajali joins the Col. Potter family

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

Please welcome Col. Potter's newest girl, Ajali. This sweet 8 year old red wheaten girl was loved by her family. But changes in their living environment along with the addition of young children were not a happy thing for Ajali. She missed her fenced in yard freedom and had no way to get rid of excess energy. She loved (too much) the eye level and dropped food, courtesy of the toddlers. She was having to spend far too much time isolated for her own and the toddlers' safety.

Her family realized it was not at all fair to her, and that her past happiness was gone. So they made the heartfelt decision to find a better life for her. One where she would be the star.

Ajali will find her happiness again, thanks to the hard work of CP's volunteers.

Welcome, Ajali!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Please welcome Gustav!

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

Can you imagine being on the street, all on your own, no identification, no collar or harness, and no money to buy a burger?

That's the situation Gustav found himself in. No one knows how he became a wanderer, whether he was a stray or someone dropped him off in a neighborhood to fend for himself. Being a hungry and smart young cairn, Gustav surveyed the neighborhood deciding who would be best to help him. He saw a house where some happy dogs lived with a nice lady. AHA - that's where I'm going!! Gustav kept showing up at the same house every day until he convinced the kind lady he needed help. This wonderful Samaritan did everything possible to find his owners. No microchip, no answer to all the ads and found dog posters--no one was looking for him. The local authorities had no reports of a lost cairn.

Our wonderful Col. Potter rescue team contacted the caretaker in case rescue was needed. As time went on and no one came for him, the caretaker decided Gustav needed the help only CP could provide for wayward cairns.

Gustav is thought to be about 3 years old, knows some commands--sit, down, stay, and is a cute, furry boy. He's energetic and enjoys long walks. Gustav has come in from the streets and is looking for a forever home where he will be treated like a king. Please welcome Gustav!

Friday's Funnies!

Introducing Kosher!

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

Kosher is an 8 year old 17 lb female cairn that was found on the streets and taken to the local Humane Society. She was vetted at the shelter, and put up for adoption. No one seemed to want this adorable little girl. Col. Potter was called, and last week Kosher became a CP furkid. She is said to be house trained and very sweet.

Let’s all give Kosher a big CP welcome!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Considerate Canine: Door Scratching

Lowcountry Dog Magazine
by Cindy Carter

The Problem: I have a 2 year old dog that ALWAYS jumps on the door and nothing we have done can get her to stop. She does not do it when we are on the same side of the door as she is, but if she is outside and we are in or vice versa she will literally jump up and scratch at the door the entire time. How can we teach her NOT to do it, if we don't have access to her? Opening the door to tell her to cut it out seems to only reinforce the behavior. She has now ruined our porch doors with scratches on the glass and has decimated the moulding around our front door... -Ashby

The Solution:

Ashby, you are absolutely right that opening the door to correct your dogs is reinforcing the behavior. Unfortunately, she has had 2 years to refine her door scratching/demanding behavior, making it more difficult to change the behavior.

As with most behaviors, management is the first step. Try to create some type of barrier that will deny her access to the door while you are on the other side. Baby gates, a plywood barrier, an expen are all viable options.

Teach her to relax regardless of what is going on around her. This is one of the most important and overlooked behaviors that we should teach our dogs. I teach relaxation by using a mat and rewarding all calm behavior on the mat. Begin in a quiet, low distraction area where she can learn that calm behavior is what earns a reward, a small food treat that isn’t terribly exciting, is perfect. As she learns to relax, look for body changes that indicate calm; sleepy eyes, slower heart rate, her tail becoming still, etc. and quietly reward her body changes. When she is successful, begin to work with more distractions, in different places, always remember that your last place will be on the opposite side of the door.

Once she can relax on her mat with things happening, you can place the mat on the porch, near the door. Your progression will be something like this, returning after each piece to reward her for remaining calm on the mat:

*Mat on the porch

*Walk to the door

*Return to door, touch handle

*Open the door

*Step inside

*Step inside and close the door

*Step inside, close the door, wait 3 seconds

*Step inside, close the door, wait 5 seconds.

You are gradually changing the emotions connected with being separated by the door. Is this an overnight fix? No.

Will it work? Yes, depending on your commitment and patience.

This is a broad generalization of teaching self control and relaxation. By no means is this all that goes into changing this type of behavior, but it is a start. While you are looking for a way to protect your door, you are also teaching your dog an important life skill.

Good luck in helping your dog relax.

Cindy Carter, CPDT-KA
Mindful Manners Dog Training

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wacky Wednesday!

Wednesday is the day to be WACKY! Each week we will showcase a terrierific cairn picture with an appropriate caption. If you have a terrierific cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture and caption for an upcoming "Wacky Wednesday" send it to us at! (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.

A big shout out to Hilts and Brook, for being our Wacky Wednesday models this week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Considerate Canine: Potty Problems

Lowcountry Dog Magazine
by Cindy Carter

The Problem: We recently had company stay at our house, and our 3 year old Irish Jack pooped each day some place in the house. He got loads of attention (as he always does) so it's not like he took a back seat during any activities. I never caught him in the act so couldn't reprimand him! Help!! - Lisa

The Solution:

Hi Lisa,

My first thought; have your vet check him out to eliminate the possibility of a physical cause for the problem.

Some dogs are very sensitive to changes in the environment and their routine. It’s quite possible for dogs to have accidents due to stress caused by changes in the home, and visitors certainly fall into that category.

Several suggestions for the next time company is staying over.

*Offer more opportunities for potty breaks and reward him for eliminating in the right place and correct time.

*When you can’t supervise him, confine him in his crate.

*Keep his routine as normal as possible; feeding at the same time, etc.

*Make sure that he gets plenty of exercise.

*Spend some time helping him become comfortable with your visitors.

*If he exhibits any signs for anxiety, give him a break from the activity, especially if children are involved. Even dogs that are used to their own family's children may be a little concerned about visitors' kids.

Kudos to you for not falling into the punishing him after the fact trap. It’s much better to just clean it up, move forward and offer more opportunities the next time.

Cindy Carter, CPDT-KA
MIndful Manners Dog Training

Monday, September 19, 2011

Know the Nose...of Your Pet

Lowcountry Dog Magazine
by Gillian Nicol

A gentle nudge … an inquisitive sniff — your dog or cat’s nose can be used to communicate as well as inquire. But what other telltale signs can your pet’s nose convey?

“Some cat caregivers worry about black spots on the nose of their cat,” notes Dr. Adam Patterson, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

“The concern is if these black spots are cancerous, but in reality the spots are a normal finding in young orange cats,” explains Patterson. “These black spots can appear on your cat’s nose as well as lips, eye margins, gums and mouth.”

“Usually orange tabbies are more prone to these black spots which is a condition known as lentigo simplex,” notes Patterson. “These spots are somewhat comparable to freckles in humans and are not itchy or painful.”

”However, there should be concern if you find raised or inflamed spots that cause soreness and pain,” says Patterson. “Always have these types of spots examined by your veterinarian.”

Dogs can lose pigment on their nose, explains Patterson. This is not much of a concern as long as the surface of the nose retains its cobblestone appearance. If the nose begins to crack, scab or smooth over, then veterinary assistance should be sought. Nutritional disorders, autoimmune diseases and cancer cause these types of signs and often warrant a biopsy of the nose to make a diagnosis.

“Cats and dogs are prone to sunburn and subsequent skin cancer on noses, ears and around the eyes,” notes Patterson. “Fair-skinned animals with light-colored hair coats are at the most risk. Limiting sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the summertime here in Texas can reduce the risk for solar damage.”

Your pet’s runny nose may indicate other medical conditions are lingering, states Patterson. Respiratory infections may manifest themselves as nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing and difficult breathing. Foreign bodies or tumors in the nasal passages may cause these same signs. If your pet exhibits any of these health problems, it should be seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible.

“Remember that wet or dry noses are not a sign of illness per se,” explains Patterson. “Whether your pet’s nose is dry or wet is largely related to the temperature and humidity in their environment. Lethargy, little or no appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea and inappropriate urination are some signs that better reflect illness.”

So … know the nose of your pet … it can be a messenger as to the health of your cat or dog in addition to a wet and warm greeting.

ABOUT PET TALK Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A new life for Rocky B!

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

Please give a warm Col. Potter welcome to a boy who deserved better in this life.

Rockie B was just rescued from a lifetime of being a breeder boy. He is TEN YEARS OLD, and from all accounts sweet and mellow. He is somewhat nervous with the changes he has experienced over the past few days, but is warming up quickly. The vet tech who is his primary care taker said he is a very sweet, calm cairn. He gives her kisses and follows her around.

Kisses. Follows her around.
After TEN years in a kennel shed.
The epitome of resilience.

Rockie B's name was donated by Lynne B., named for the beloved cat of one of Col. Potter's foster homes.

He is a beautiful wheaten, weighing 17 pounds. He has just been neutered and has his dental. He will be ready to move to his foster home this weekend.

Welcome Rockie B, may every day from here be one that a cairn truly deserves!!

Sunday Sweets

Sunday is full of SWEETS! Each week we will showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet filled cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets" send it to us at! (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)




Bogie, Gypsy, Hemi and Orchid

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Precious Pewter joins CP

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

This tiny boy, estimated to be 7 years by our vet, found himself in a very high kill shelter in CA. Given his 5 days stray hold, on day 6 he was to be euthanized.

Thanks to the very hard work of one of our Rescue Team members, he was saved with only ONE HOUR to spare. Had she not worked as hard as she did, he would not have been rescued and he would not have had the chance to enjoy being a a Col. Potter kid.

His Col. Potter name is Pewter. His name was donated by Doreen W. She won a football pool and generously donated her winnings to the Name a Rescue Cairn program. The name suits him!

As you can see from his intake picture, he is a beautiful grey boy (in need of some grooming). He weighs only 14 pounds! He is at the vet for his neuter, dental, vaccines and testing. He will be moving to his foster home soon, and then onto a wonderful forever!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Written by CP's VP of Intakes

Have you ever had a furkid go to the Rainbow Bridge? And you thought you couldn't bear the pain? Rare breed are those of us that are dog lovers, treat our furkids like family and would generally rather be in the company of a dog than a human. Very little else in life is as devastating as the loss of a dog. And when they are young and healthy one day and are taken by a sudden illness the next, the shock can be unbearable.

Right now I am living with the shock of losing a furkid who was happy, healthy and young one day and dead three days later. Don't ever miss or skip the opportunity to Appreciate and Cherish your furkids each and every day--you never know when it will be their last...

I know you all will Appreciate and Cherish, CP's two new members of the family:

Cherish - Female, wheaten, 1 year old

Appreciate - Female, wheaten, 4 year old

As much as we try to spend as much time as possible with our pets, please take an extra minute right now to hug your furkids. You never know, you might not get that opportunity tomorrow ...

Friday's Funnies!

Raising Duncan

by Chris Browne

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Col. Potter says NEVER FORGET!

Written by CP's VP of Intakes

This past weekend ceremonies were held all over the US in remembrance of the events of 10 years ago. It is a day very few of us will ever forget. I think we all remember where we were, what we were doing and who we were with when we heard the unthinkable news. Almost 3000 innocent people lost their lives that terrible day. The effects continue to affect the family and friends of those people today.

Other tragedies also happen on a daily basis, for no apparent reason, and without anything that seems like justice. It doesn't matter if they are old or young, or how much they are loved and cared for. The loss can seem almost unbearable to those that are left behind. Whether it is a human or canine member of your family or friends, please NEVER FORGET them. Hold them close in your heart forever and let their memories carry them into eternity with you.

This past weekend, two little girls made their way to Col. Potter from some rough conditions. They were covered in fleas and matts filled with more fleas, dirt and feces.

Eternity: wheaten, born 10/30/07

Forever: wheaten, born 8/12/09

These names have a personal meaning for me this weekend. I hope you all will NEVER FORGET!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Welcome Izabella Chloe!

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

Izabella Chloe is a 1 year old little girl cairn. She has had two previous owners, both deciding they were not “terrier people”.

Izabella is housebroken, good with children and other dogs, but chases cats. She is crate trained and knows the commands sit, leave it and come. Izabella loves attention and likes to snuggle. Still a puppy at one year old, she is in need of some personal boundaries.

At one year old, she's not perfect, but she sure sounds close! Please give a warm welcome to Izabella.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Introducing Ruffy!

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

This handsome little cairn became a Col. Potter kid last week. Isn’t he gorgeous?

Ruffy is 4.5 years old and came from a very loving home. He’s housebroken, loves people and other animals. He’s also described as independent and headstrong. Of course, that describes most cairns doesn’t it?

Welcome Ruffy! Col. Potter will find you a new loving home.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why do dogs eat grass?

Lowcountry Dog Magazine
by DanielIslandVet

As it turns out, the short answer to this question is “We don’t know.” However, there are lots of fun theories out there about why our carnivorous companion pets eat grass and it turns out that the circumstances of grass or plant eating can be very different between individual animals.

Are they sick?

Many people report that their pets eat grass and vomit afterward, which has led to the commonly held assumption that they eat grass because they have an upset stomach. The idea is that the poky tips of grasses irritate the stomach lining enough to induce a vomiting reflex. Others have theorized that they eat grass because of the effects of internal parasites, and the fiber helps them feel better by mechanically removing the parasites from the intestines. This idea has actually been studied in great ape research, where some chimpanzees have been shown to have decreased fecal parasite loads after eating certain kinds of fibrous plants.

In research surveys, however, grass eating and vomiting don’t necessarily go together. A recent study of clients and veterinary students who’s dogs ate grass showed that only 18% of clients’ dogs that ate grass or other plants vomited afterward, and only 9% of veterinary-students’ dogs showed any signs of illness prior to eating grass.

Another interesting study took normal dogs and treated a small subset of them with a mild, diarrhea inducing drug and then exposed them to different grasses. The dogs not given the drug ate much more grass than the dogs that were given the drug, suggesting that dogs do not eat grass to self-medicate at least that type of GI upset. However, anecdotes abound of people who were first alerted to anything from gastric ulcers to inflammatory bowel syndrome by frequent grass eating behavior. One difference owners seem to consistently notice is that dogs who are seen to suddenly start the habit of gulping down large amounts of grass (and usually vomiting afterward) are more likely to have an underlying illness.

Are they lacking in nutrients?

The ancestors of our modern day dogs and cats probably ate small amounts of plants and grasses as a normal part of the diet. They may also have obtained plant fiber and nutrients indirectly by eating the intestines of wild herbivores (like rabbits or deer). Since most of our dogs and cats are lacking fresh herbivore entrails in their daily diet, some people believe they crave grasses in an effort replace what they would get in the wild by eating plant material directly. Anecdotally, this theory is somewhat supported by the experience of people who have seen that feeding their dogs greens such as small amounts of parsley, kale, or other vitamin C containing foods will curb their dogs’ grass eating habits. In addition, one published report in Japan documented a poodle that stopped eating grass after the owners instituted a high fiber diet.

While they are stricter carnivores than dogs, a similar thought process is used to try to explain grass-eating in cats. Many pet stores now carry barley grasses that are free of pesticides that you can grow at home for your kitties to eat. Nutritional benefit is questionable, but if it does not cause vomiting or other problems it is probably safe for them to eat small amounts of grass.

Are they crazy?

Neurologic or behavioral maladies such as obsessive compulsive disorders have been suspected in some cases of grass eating. Pica, a condition characterized by a consistent craving for non-food items (usually dirt, rocks, etc.), may apply to grass eating in some cases, although it is thought that these cases are rare.

Are they hungry?

Although their intestines are not adapted for breaking down plants for nutrition the way herbivores like cows and horses are, dogs at least (unlike cats) are able to tolerate a much higher fraction of non-meat protein and carbohydrate sources in their diet. Research on wild canid populations (wolves, foxes, dingoes, etc.) has shown that all of them do consume some plant material, including grasses, in the wild.

Owners of dogs that frequently snack on grass without side-effects often say that the dogs are selective about which types of grasses they will eat, including some who will only eat newly grown shoots of certain kinds of grass (which are lower in the bitter tannins and higher in carbohydrates and protein). There are probably many dogs that just like the taste of grass and eat it as a snack, whatever the larger implications may be.

What do I do about it?

Why, ask your veterinarian of course! If your pet snacks on grass and never or only very occasionally vomits, there less likely to be an underlying problem. However, if it is a new behavior, they are eating large amounts of grass or vomiting frequently (more than once a month or so), then we would recommend you have your pet seen for a physical examination and possibly some follow up blood work or other diagnostics. Also make sure that any grass eating they do is on grass that has not recently had fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals applied.

As a side note, supplementing pet diets with herbs and vegetables is fine but always make sure that a high quality AAFCO approved, age-appropriate, nutritionally balanced commercial food is the main component of any diet you feed your pets.

Daniel Island Animal Hospital is a small animal veterinary clinic located in Charleston, SC on Daniel Island. They focus on general medicine and wellness including surgery, dentistry, radiology, and emergency care for dogs, cats, and small mammals. Teri Macklin, of Island Dog Cuts, provides grooming for dogs and cats in the facility. Their team is dedicated to personalized patient care and friendly client service.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We remember

Sunday Sweets

Sunday is full of SWEETS! Each week we will showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet filled cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets" send it to us at! (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)



Kayla & Sadie


Chance fka Jambo

Saturday, September 10, 2011

CP Foster Adonis is making great progress!

Contributed by Adonis' foster mom

Adonis (of the Famous Lovers) is from the Ohio hoarder that had 200 dogs stacked in crates in the home. He's about 5 years old and is a total pistol. Either he was someone's loved pet before they got him or they treated him like a house pet, as he is nothing like an abused dog. Having said that, he does have some trust issues. When he first came here, he was fine for the most part, but then he started resisting all my attempts at petting within a week. He really didn't want to be touched, so growled and snapped to show me that. And anytime I raised my voice, he would cower as if he thought he was going to be beaten.

Once 'I' learned to not push his boundaries, he learned to trust me. I can pet him without any growling and he chirps and chortles when I come home from work as he's so glad to see me. He does still have some issues with hugging, so we don't. Well recently, he went on a play date at Westie Rescue Houston. They rescue Westies, Scotties and Cairns (and too many mixes). He was running around and playing with the other dogs (about 7), terribly happy to find so many toys on the floor, and never growled once at the male or female humans.

There was one old yorkie mix (looks just like a yorkie but white) who is very old and a real BEECH. He was bouncing and trying to get her to play, but she was heck bent on trying to set him back on his haunches with the few remaining teeth she has. I had to tell him to leave her alone, poor thing. He played long and hard with the other dogs that would join him. The change in him is remarkable and he's going to make someone a fantastic companion. Adonis is one of those Cairns that is too smart for his own good, talks a lot, is very interactive, and insists on telling you what he wants when he wants it. I'm so proud of my little black boy foster.

Adonis is being fostered in Texas and you can find out more about him and the other cairns available for adoption by clicking here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday's Funnies!

Raising Duncan

by Chris Browne

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CP Foster Frannie had guests!

Contributed by Frannie's foster mom

Foster Frannie had guests. Blanket Auntie Iris, and her husband Brian dropped in to meet Frannie and deliver her gorgeous blanket and a new toy, along with a lovely welcome card from two CP cousins (fka Miss Miriam and Current).

Frannie was so excited she couldn't stop playing, greeting and moving.. I didn't get a photo until after they had left. Thank you so much to all the blanket Aunties for this truly meaningful contribution to the Cairns!

Frannie is being fostered in British Columbia, Canada and you can learn more about her and the other cairns available for adoption by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Introducing Dallen

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

Oh what a boy!!! Dallen is a young energetic cairn. At just 9 months old, he is full of himself and all terrier. His family was young with 5 children and 3 in diapers. They clearly had their hands full already. They had no idea how much time it would take to properly train a puppy, but realized that the right thing to do was to find him a new home and owners that had more time to devote to him.

The former owner told us that Dallen is "great with kids of all ages, very eager to please, loves to be with anyone and everyone, is great with big and small dogs, cuddly, and a loving puppy that doesn't destroy things."

And might I add a very handsome cairn too, just look at his picture and the colors on that coat of his! WOW, I don’t think he will be in foster care for long!

Wacky Wednesday!

Wednesday is the day to be WACKY! Each week we will showcase a terrierific cairn picture with an appropriate caption. If you have a terrierific cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture and caption for an upcoming "Wacky Wednesday" send it to us at! (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.

A big shout out to Lucy, for being our Wacky Wednesday model this week!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Welcome back Zodiac!

Written by CP's VP of Intakes

Zodiac upon his return to Col. Potter

Many people live their lives based on astrology. They will only do certain things, try new things, travel, etc. based on what their astrological sign tells them. I don't believe in astrology myself, but I have to admit, there must have been something aligning the stars and somehow protecting and guiding one little Cairn boy back to Col. Potter.

Not every adoption of an animal from a rescue, any rescue, works out, for various reasons. Many don't work out because no matter how much information, detail and explanations you can give a prospective adoptive home, nothing really compares with actually having that furkid in their home. We all try to screen prospective adoptive homes with a fine tooth comb, but still some adoptions just don't work out. Just about every rescue organization out there has a clause in their adoption contract if the adoption does not work out, for any reason, to contact them. Col. Potter is no exception.

My message is a very simple, but important one--if you adopt from rescue, any rescue, and you cannot keep your animal, for any reason, please be sure to contact the rescue you adopted from for help. Please don't turn them into a shelter.

This little guy just got lucky that he was still wearing his CP ID tag and a careful shelter worker took notice and called or who knows what could have happened to him. He'd been in his adoptive home for less than 8 months and you can see what can happen when a home really doesn't understand what the commitment and responsibilities are for taking on an animal. PLEASE don't post negative messages about the adoptive home. That's not what this is about. This is about education and reinforcement to always contact the rescue you adopted from if there are any issues at all so they can help. And most importantly, it's about the animals, always about the animals.

And now, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Zodiac, a 6 year old male whose travels through the astrological galaxies have brought him back through Col. Potter's orbit until the stars align perfectly to find his happily ever after. We're so happy to have you back with us little Zodiac!

Zodiac after Col. Potter groomed him

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Heart of Col. Potter - Our volunteers!

Today is Labor Day and Col. Potter would like to take the time to thank all of our tireless volunteers who have donated their time, talents and treasures in a variety of ways to help in our mission of rescuing, rehoming and rehabilitating cairn terriers.

If you would like to join this group which numbers in the hundreds in the United States and Canada, please follow this link. Opportunites abound in areas from intakes, transport, matching our cairns with forever homes to checking references and searching ads for cairns in need. We would love to have you join our ranks and you don't need to have a cairn to help!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Please welcome Pollo!

Written by a CP Intakes volunteer

We often hear of cairns in danger of losing their lives in shelters. Well little Pollo (pronounced poy-yo) was NOT in a shelter but he too was in danger of losing his life. You see, he has a thing for live chickens and a neighbor didn’t take kindly to his chickens being messed with by a little terrier.

Pollo, being a typical young cairn, very creatively figured out a way to push his crate up against his fenced-in area, hopped on top of it and escaped. He wandered down the road to the neighbor’s house where the chickens live. The neighbor caught him before he’d done too much damage and returned him but warned about what would happen IF there was a next time.

Fortunately, his family, who really loved the little guy and thoroughly enjoyed the antics of a little 1 year old cairn boy, realized they were not the best home for him. They contacted one of the Col. Potter volunteers and asked if we could take him before something bad happened.

Pollo, I hope the only chicken in your future is the cooked kind. But have no worries little guy, the squirrels, rabbits, and chippies are all fair game.

Sunday Sweets

Sunday is full of SWEETS! Each week we will showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet filled cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets" send it to us at! (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)


Tess & Gabby