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  • Behavior Problems? We have answers.Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Behavior Problems? We have answers.

    Learn about behavior from our team of experts. Whether you have cats, dogs, reptiles, horses or birds, we can help you learn to live with them. Read More
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    All About Horses

    Learn about equine science, whether you're an aspiring rider or a long-time owner, we have the latest in products, breeds, and more. Read More
  • Traveling with PetsTraveling with Pets

    Traveling with Pets

    Be sure to check this section out before you hit the road with your pet! We've got a look at pet-friendly hotels, the guidelines of air, train, bus and auto travel, and much more. Read More
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    A look at our cold-blooded friends and discovering how to care for these fun loving creatures! Read More
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  • Take Your Dog To Work Week

    While we're lucky enough to spend just about every waking with our dogs and cats, we know a lot of you don't have that luxury. Next week, every one will have the opportunity to take their dogs to work - because it's officially "Take Your Dog To Work Week" (#TYDTWW)!

    Having an official week like this is important for corporations, because if it's done correctly, everyone can benefit from having dogs in the workplace. Dogs promote a happier work environment, can keep employees calm just be being around them, and can give everyone a chance to laugh when they may otherwise not do so. We all know how important laughter is in the workplace.

    Today, you should talk to your boss and see what the office policy is on this holiday next week. If they aren't totally sure about allowing this, we have some office antics that can help even the most reluctant boss change their mind...

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  • TrackR Uses Crowd GPS To Locate Your Pets

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    The tracking is not as detailed as the standard tracker, but it's new technology. Rather than pinpoint the item, it tells you when you're near it by using "hot" or "cold" cues (which we all remember from our childhood games).

    A 2-way separation alert (when you pet gets too far from your phone) alerts you so you never have to worry about leaving a pet behind.

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  • Installing a Pet Door for Summer

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    My pets don’t really care about our loss of air conditioning - they would be totally content to stand in the doorway letting the cool air waft over them while they were warmed by the sun.

    Their lack of empathy means I have to take precautions to conserve my air conditioned comfort. I don't want to knock a hole in the wall, so what’s a girl to do? The answer is simple, really...

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  • Protect Our Water by Picking Up After Pooches

    Despite the fact that water covers 71% of the earth, we are finding ourselves with rapidly dwindling water supplies. Those of us in North America are very fortunate because we have large aquifers and a good amount of rain (if you're not in the Southwest).

    But every year, our large population consumes far more water than we should and most of our states are in drought conditions. This makes it a precious resource we should never take for granted. Instead, it's a resource we should be fiercely protecting.

    Contamination is one of the biggest problems and while most of the water contamination comes from humans, dog waste is the third leading cause of water pollution.

    Every single gram of dog waste hosts over 23 million fecal bacteria. This bacteria seeps into the soil, is absorbed by groundwater, washed into storm drains into our aquifer, and then filtered and recycled through waste water treatment plants. Eventually, it ends up right back into our water supply with a final arrival out of our taps.

    And who wants to drink that?!

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  • Synthetic Dog Could Replace Shelter Dogs for Veterinarian Training

    Just when you think the fate of an abandoned animal can't possibly get any worse. ABC News recently reported that many of these dogs and cats are sold to terminal surgery laboratories where they are used for testing and surgery training, and then euthanized.

    Now, I have to say, we have our doubts about this practice and that story's accuracy. The veterinary schools we know and work with abandoned that practice many, many years ago and only perform surgeries on shelter animals who require surgery. Even then, then they do their best to find homes for the animals through legitimate rescuers.

    On the other paw, many laboratories do purchase animals from "B dealers" (aka puppy mills, horses from slaughterhouses and others who just breed to sell to laboratories).

    Regardless, SynDaver Labs, a Florida-based company, is planning to change any need for anyone to ever have to purchase a live dog for experimentation or training DVMs by replacing them with lifelike and very realistic synthetic dog that mimics nearly every part of a live animal.

    Read More
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Dogs that can't Swim and Some that just aren't very good at it

Summer is officially here in the desert and we have reached temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, so you know Read More

Disaster preparedness with pets

September is National Animal Preparedness Month. Some natural disasters require that you evacuate your entire family, pets included. Wildfires, floods, Read More

Keeping Aquariums Alive During Summer Blackouts

Summer is on the way, and that means possible brown outs (power shortages) and even blackouts (power outages) for most Read More

Keeping Pets Safe from Coyotes

No matter where you live, you’ve likely had to deal with wildlife. Whether its mountain lions and coyotes, or squirrels Read More

10 Ways to Help Cats #AdoptAShelterCatMonth

June is #AdoptAShelterCatMonth and that means it's time to join in the festivities and celebrate all thing cat! We really Read More

Teaching Children to Approach Horses

I have a problem with parents who just allow their kids just run up to strange animals. In fact today, Read More
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Fate of NahguaFate of NahguaI get interesting letters from people asking about the relationship between horse racing and the show world. When our farm branched into racing, a lot of our friends asked, why? They couldn’t see why we would “abandon” the show world for something they flat-out didn’t understand or appreciate. Looking back, I have to smile because it turned out that we didn’t abandon anything. We just grew.

Like an increasing number of breeders entering the racing industry, we expanded our horizons. Let’s take a closer look at that question and those horizons.

Horse shows, like most shows for purebred livestock, started out as a chance for breeders to compare their stock and evaluate the progress of their breeding, nutritional and training programs. And horse racing has always been right in there.

 According to author Margaret E. Derry, in her book Bred For Perfection, animal breeding is an ancient occupation dating back at least as far as fourteen thousand years. The impact of purebred animals on our agricultural economy—and other areas of our culture—is undisputed. While they may not have started as such, today, the exhibition of purebred horses and dogs has been elevated to international stature. Who, for example, hasn’t seen the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on TV as it is broadcast each year from Madison Square Garden in New York City? Who hasn’t seen the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or the Belmont Stakes? Anyone who has ever been to Crufts in England, the Salon du Cheval in Paris or the national Arabian horse show in Scottsdale can not walk away without being impressed by how far the world of purebred animals has come. Or, convinced that glamour doesn’t only belong to movie stars and singers. OK, you’ve just given us examples of glamorous races and shows, you say. Why are you telling us that?

I’m pointing out how big our sporting world is, and how much is available to those of us making champions.

Some of the most successful people in racing have come from the show world. What secrets did they learn along the way? To find that out, you’d have to ask the many Arabian horse trainers succeeding on the track and, from there, you’d have to ask people like Neal and Ginny Ehrhart of Keystone Driving Force, who are among the top winners in Harness racing. After Neal and Ginny, you’d go on and ask people like Jack and Mary Butler, who were busy showing Siberian Huskies in New England about fifteen or so years ago, but have some of the most successful racing Greyhounds in the business today. Or ask Jan Troxell, another Greyhound trainer, who to this day still raises and shows German Shepherds from her racing farm in Oklahoma. The list goes on. Maybe what these successful breeders and trainers discovered is that both disciplines—showing and racing—go hand in hand. Maybe they see the world of champions from a wider scope and in a brighter light than their competitors do. And maybe that’s an advantage.

A recent conversation with Greyhound breeder/trainer (and former Quarter Horse jockey) Kevin Gresham, from his farm in Kansas puts it this way.

“Years ago,” he says, “Back when I was ridin’, you’d have horses that did all kinds of crazy stuff. Some of them horses could really get to carryin’ on and a guy could get hurt. Well, there was this one trainer who did a lot of winning. And I mean a lot. I always liked ridin’ his horses ’cause they would just, you know, be real calm and keep their mind on business. Well, what this guy said was, the best racehorses are the ones who are trained the most.”

Now, that’s a very interesting statement and a rather broad one. But, Kevin has a broad base of experience. Besides his horses, he also has a few show dogs. What he’s really know for, though, is his success raising and training some of the most expensive, winning Greyhounds in the sport. Greyhounds raised or trained by Kevin sell for tens of thousands of dollars and they earn even more. So, it should come as no surprise that Kevin Gresham counts among his clients some of the most well known owners in the game and he knows what he’s talking about.

Listen again to what he said: “The ones who are trained the most.”

Hearing that statement is one thing. But, understanding it and putting it into practice is a whole different matter. What it boils down to is this: Kevin is talking about “cross-training.” He’s saying the racehorse with the most diversified experience is the horse least likely to be surprised, distracted or worried about anything that happens before or during the race. That horse will have less to think about and can pay more attention to matters at hand. And that’s the kind of difference that makes a champion.

We in racing believe in winners. Whether we are fans, owners or somewhere in between, all of us play a role in the making of champions and many racing athletes have crossed successfully from one arena to the other. Racehorses have proven themselves in dressage, driving, hunter/jumper classes, western pleasure and halter. Likewise, racing Greyhounds have gone on to win ribbons in the show ring as well. Rare, maybe, but real nonetheless.

Racing—whether it be horses, dogs or pigeons—instills something in us that we can’t get anywhere else and it keeps that “something” alive. It’s all about heart. It’s about passion and desire. And it reminds us how powerful and exciting we, ourselves, can be.

At the racetrack, played out before our very eyes, we see enacted a time-honored ritual that touches a chord in all of us. It’s no accident that it’s called a performance. We see racehorses from across the country competing to prove which is fastest, which stable is best, which trainer the wisest and which owner the most savvy.

In a society growing ever more soft, where schools and companies and towns seem to be falling into a political correctness that makes our lives more boring at every turn, we in racing have the “real” first turn to look forward to. Racing fans know the American Dream because we re-enact it every day. Unfolding before us on the track, we portray the promise that if you look straight ahead and give your all, you will get from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow. Fast or slow, sooner or later, you will cross the finish line.

Racing is about the individual, not about a team you hide behind. Racing is about you, alone out there, against all odds. They don’t teach you that kind of self-confidence in high school, but our sport of racing does. Take it to heart and you will always know—no matter how long you live or what you do—that you gave your best. And if you reach the winner’s circle the world knows it, too.

Read more stories about horses:

rhevener
Author: rhevener
About the Author
Author/Artist RON HEVENER specializes in animals and the romantic, adventurous people who love them. An accomplished artist who started by selling handmade souvenirs and telling stories to tourists at Pennsylvania Dutch farmers' markets, Mr. Hevener's studio is now an official tourist attraction and his collectible figurines and the prints from his novels are bought and traded throughout the world. His original paintings and sculptures are sold in galleries, displayed in museums and can be found in many private collections. Mr. Hevener is a regular contributor to many publications. Visit his website to learn more.

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