Fetching Highlights and the Dog Days of Summer

By Rose Martin, PAGDUS President and
Rebecca Ilniski, PAGDUS Recording Secretary

The dog-days of summer are fast approaching, and Pennsylvania Guide Dog Users and Supporters (PAGDUS) are preparing for our third meeting on Wednesday, August 14, at 7:15 p.m. We wanted to extend another tail-wagging welcome to all of you, remind you who we are, and share some quick highlights of our discussion topics from previous meetings.

Our membership is not only open to guide dog users, but those who support or are interested in guide dogs. We also welcome all dogs and humans, not just those living in Pennsylvania. Our chapter meets on the second Wednesday of each even-numbered month at 7:15 p.m. Eastern. We conduct business to start each meeting, then lead into the discussion. It’s never too late to join our chapter for 2019. Please send a check to the PCB office with “PAGDUS” in the memo field. For current members of PCB, our dues are $2. If you are not yet a member of PCB, dues are $12. Subscribe to our chapter listserv to participate in online discussions, receive detailed notes, and access to meeting recordings. Send a blank email to pagdus-l-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. You will instantly receive an email response to which you need only reply to confirm.

After the business portion of our meetings comes the fun. In February, we discussed grooming and preparing your guide dog for the weather. We discussed different types of equipment that can be purchased from the following companies: Ruffwear, Amazon, and Chewy. For warm weather, we talked about cooling vests and collars, Pawz booties, and Paw wax. The Pawz booties and paw wax such as Musher’s Secret are used to protect dogs’ paws during the summer for walking on hot surfaces. Cooling vests and collars help to keep our pups cool if we have to be out in the summer heat. During cold weather, Musher’s Secret and Ruffwear booties can protect our dogs’ paws from the snow and ice as well as the salt on sidewalks. There are also jackets that you can purchase from Ruffwear and Amazon as well as other sites to keep your dogs warm. We closed out the meeting by touching on grooming. Some products covered were the Kong ZoomGroom, the Furminator, slicker brushes, and solutions to keep your pup’s coat feeling great such as bath wipes and dry shampoo.

Our April topic of discussion was Bring Your favorite Toys and Treats. Some favorite toys discussed included: tennis balls, supersonic toys, Kongs, GoughNuts, Wubbas, durable NylaBones, antlers, and Tuffy Toys. Wubbas are made by Kong, and are nylon rope toys with a tennis ball attached that also squeaks. Dogs enjoy playing tug of war or fetch with Wubbas. Kong has also expanded their Wubba line to include soft animal Wubbas which have plush animal heads and softer ropes for more gentle play. Supersonic toys contain squeakers which only dogs can hear. They are great for playing while traveling as an extra reward for your dog, or in the office so that no humans are distracted by the squeaking. One good brand of supersonic toys is HearDoggy. A GoughNut is a doughnut-shaped toy that is made of thick rubber for strong chewers; there are now additional shapes beyond the original GoughNut. Dogs can use GoughNuts as a chew toy or for fetch. GoughNuts claims to provide a guaranteed free replacement, excluding shipment, “If your dog chews through the outside wear layer of any GoughNuts Ring or Stick, Green, Black, Yellow or Orange, to expose the indication layer, Red, GoughNuts will replace your toy.” Many of these toys that were mentioned can be purchased from Amazon, Chewy, and tractor supply stores.

There are several brands of treats for dogs. Mini Milk-Bones, Charlee Bears, baby carrots, and even your dog’s kibble rationed out, are good options for treats. It’s best to avoid rawhide or anything that your dog can splinter and swallow that may be dangerous. It’s always a good idea to keep your dog’s weight down. These are good low-calorie options. All these treats can be purchased from Amazon, Chewy, and pet stores.

We concluded our discussion by talking about play which is crucial for balancing work and play for your guides. Some members talked about getting a basket and having their dog learn to throw the Kong in the basket. The member taught her dog with the clicker to drop the kong in the basket. Hide-and-seek is also a great game to play with your dog. Having or going to a good fenced-in yard is an excellent way of getting that penned-up energy out.

Be sure to join us for our next PAGDUS meeting on August 14 at 7:15 p.m. Eastern. Dial 605-313-4802 and enter passcode 985255#.

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