Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reflections on an Incredible Journey

Sadie snores blissfully, nestled between her alphas in our bed as I write tonight. It's four months into the journey that started with tragedy, led me to create Smiles for Sadie Facebook Fan Page to maintain sanity during one of the most difficult weeks of our pack's collective life and ultimately morphed into something so much more meaningful.

Smiles for Sadie is more than a vanity project to showcase cute photos of our beautiful dog. This multimedia project is a tribute to a miracle and our goal to promote rattlesnake awareness for pet owners.

Friends, family, colleagues, neighbors and strangers worldwide have provided shoulders, prayers and dollars of support. Additionally, Sadie's incredible story has garnered unsolicited media attention.

In the wake of last month's feature in American Dog Magazine, I was delighted to this week hear the resulting podcast of an interview I had done with DogCast Radio a couple months back.

Julie Hill in England (!) discovered Sadie's tale on Facebook and invited me to Skype in for an interview on DogCast, which she's spread over two shows.

Part 1 aired this week and is available for download or streaming at and iTunes. I am truly honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to run my mouth for Sadie and rattlesnake awareness. I hope our story serves as an important warning to everyone who enjoys the Great Outdoors with their pets.

Additionally, I hope Sadie Dog and we inspire and educate others who find themselves in similarly frightening and tragic situations. For this purpose, I continue to collect and display rattlesnake-awareness resources for dog owners. Thanks, Julie, and everyone for your continued interest and support!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Making Dogs Rattlesnake Smart

One of the first things we did after Sadie's near-fatal double-rattlesnake encounter was sign her up for rattlesnake-aversion training with Ma 'n Paw Kennel Canine Training. Here's a resource for Arizona-based dog owners.

The Payson Roundup / Making dogs rattlesnake smart

Roger May of Mayday Retrievers in Oxbow Estates presented a program by Jay Smith on rattlesnake avoidance training this weekend. It is something he tries to do once a year, he said.

Smith operates Community Dog Training in Oracle, north of Tucson and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, which can be found at www.

Smith developed his snake avoidance training by studying a learning theory called Operant Conditioning.

He explains, “This learning theory simply says: Anything that immediately follows a behavior will increase or decrease the chances of whether that behavior will be repeated."