DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!


Apr 29 2011

A Tug at the Heart

by Amanda L

I have a history of adopting stray and shelter cats and dogs my entire life. In fact, so far I have had six cats and two dogs.  In my experience, shelter animals are so appreciative of the time and love that you give them. Each comes with their own personality and baggage.

A little over a year ago, we had two visitors at my house.  These guys would just watch from afar as the family came and went. As the weeks went by, the smallest of the two began to creep closer and closer. We decided to feed these two stray cats (actually feral). They have since become ours. The three cats often will sleep with their older “brother” dog to keep him company.

I love to read stories about the experiences of others.  I  am always looking for that book to help me and my companions’ experience to be more positive.

The library has a variety of books to help with both of  these needs.

Here are some stories about shelter animals:

The dogs who found me: what I’ve learned from the pets who were left behind by Ken Foster

Lost and found: dogs, cats, and everyday heroes at a county animal shelter by Elizabeth Hess

You had me at woof: how dogs taught me the secrets of happiness by Julie Klam

Try some of these books for a better experience for you and your adopted companion:

The adopted dog bible by Kim Sanders

Choosing and caring for a shelter dog: a complete guide to help you rescue  & rehome a dog by Bob Christiansen

Cat culture: the social world of a shelter cat by Janet M. Agler

When your pet outlives you: protecting animal companions after you die by David Congalton



Oct 13 2010

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

by Joseph M

Autumn is in the air, and as the weather gets chilly and your warm bed begins to seem more and more inviting, you may find yourself looking for a snuggle buddy to help get you through the cold season ahead. October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, so it’s a great time to consider adding a furry friend to the family. There are several organizations that can help you find and adopt the right dog for you, including the American Humane Society, the ASPCA, and PAWS Atlanta. Check out their websites for a variety of tools, resources, and links to local shelters and rescue groups. The library also has some related books on the subject, including Old Dog, New Tricks: Understanding and Retraining Older and Rescued Dogs, and Shelter Dogs: Amazing Stories of Adopted Strays.


Aug 2 2010

The Last One

by Veronica W

I can’t remember a time when I did not have a pet. Sometimes it was a cat, sometimes it was a dog, occasionally one or two of both. Brandy was a slobbery Saint Bernard with a long, impressive pedigree, while Toughie Tom was found scrounging around in a garbage can. I even ventured into the world of birds, at one time living with two parakeets. Butter was all yellow and Green Sleeves was yellow with green wings.  If I left the cage door open, they would fly across the room and sit on my finger or shoulder. Each one was special and each left a hole when I had to say goodbye.

Pets add a dimension to your life which is sometimes difficult to articulate.  Dogs offer unconditional devotion while cats present the life-long challenge of trying to teach them to fetch your slippers- or to just come when they’d rather not. It’s no wonder almost every child, at some point, wants a puppy or a kitten. It’s also no surprise that, when properly trained, animals can be used to aid and comfort the distressed and physically challenged.

I love stories about or with animals.  There are too many to name so I will  give you only a few of my favorites.You may have  some of your own. At the top of my list is always The Incredible Journey. When the old dog comes limping home at the end, it’s always tissue time for me. Call of the Wild, Lassie Come Home and Sounder are all on the list. Cat lovers devour Lillian Braun’s series featuring the detecting Siamese cats Koko and Yum-yum, as well as Rita Mae Brown’s Squeaky Pie stories. Those folks more into dogs can try the Virginia Lanier series beginning with Death in Bloodhound Red. Jo Beth Siddens, who raises bloodhounds for search and rescue missions in the Okefenokee Swamp, must use those sensitive noses to get herself out of trouble. Even folks who don’t want pets often enjoy reading about them.

Snickers was a sweet Maine Coon who asked for nothing more than to sit next to me, with her front paws on my lap, whenever she could; well, maybe getting some treats now and then. A few months ago, after 13 years, I had to say goodbye to her. In my head I dubbed her “the ABSOLUTELY last one.”  No more pets for me!  However everyone knows that the heart rules these decisions. Perhaps one day I’ll want to hear the patter of little paws again. We’ll see.


Oct 26 2009

Mouth to Muzzle Resuscitation

by Vivian A

It seemed like the perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday morning. I’d read all the James Herriot books at least once. ER was my favorite TV show and lastly, my Dad was a doctor. An Animal First Aid Class seemed appropriate. And it was.  I attended the First Aid for Cats and Dogs class at the Dunwoody Library on October 17th.

Our Christopher Walken look-a-like instructor (John McCarren from Paw Paws Pet Sitting Service) showed us the basics of pet first aid. We learned everything from the infamous Mouth to Muzzle breathing technique (on a dog replica that came with a heart beat and pulse to show you if you were doing the technique right).  We learned to use an old credit card to scrape out stingers and to carry a dog to the car rather than have him walk, if a snake bit him.  We learned how to perform CPR, how to stop bleeding, how to strap a dog to a backboard if his back was broken and my favorite–the doggy Heimlich manuever.

I came home from class and my dog, Sammy, knew he was safer or at least he let me take his pulse and shake on it.  If you missed this event, don’t worry–you could check out Emergency care for cats and dogs : first aid for your pet by Craton Burkholder.  Also, there are many other educational programs at the library.

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Aug 3 2009

Dog Days of August

by Vivian A

Since July was National Ice Cream month and the Dog Days of August are from July 3 through August 11–why not celebrate with homemade ice cream for your DOG?  Sure you can probably buy it at the grocery store but nothing says loving like homemade ice cream. Here’s the recipe for doggy ice cream. Take 32 oz. of vanilla or plain yogurt, 1 well mashed banana, 2 T. peanut butter and 2 T. honey.  Blend in a blender or food processor, pour into small paper cups and freeze until solid.

While you’re waiting for your pup cream to harden, you can ponder the  Dog Days of Summer which occur when the Dog Star is easiest for viewing. Or you can read the book Totally Fun Things to do with your Dog by Maxine Rock. She’d probably suggest serving your new creation at a Paw-ty.


Feb 19 2008

Playing With Dogs

by Amanda L

One of my passions is my border collie, Seamus. He has been with me
fourteen years.  He has had a variety of jobs over the years as all
border collies must have to keep them out of trouble! His jobs have
varied from watch dog, alarm clock dog (yes, he used to wake me up
everyday to go to work!) and lately referee for the cats.  As  I
prepare  for the coming  of my next  border collie,  I have been
looking around to find things I can do with a younger dog.

There are many types of semi-organized and organized activities for working dogs. The most popular are disc dog (FRISBEE- FRISBEE  is a brand name and registered trademark of WHAM-O, Inc), agility course and the newest contender, flyball. If you would like to see what these activities are, check out Ultimate Dog Challenge on the Animal Planet channel. Atlanta has opportunities to participate in many of the activities seen on the Ultimate Dog Challenge.

Here is a list of activities and websites if you are interested in participating or watching a local event.

During the Atlanta Dogwood Festival each year, there is a canine
competition. The Festival this year is April 4, 5 and 6. Due to the drought, the competition will not be at Piedmont park. Check
the Atlanta Dogwood Festival website to see the latest information on where this
competition will be held. There is a demonstration on Friday, advanced
freestyle on Saturday, and Sunday is the actual competition for prizes
and money.

The Greater Atlanta Disc Dog Club has opportunities to learn
how to participate in disc dog competitions and holds a variety of
competitions throughout the year. On their website you can find out
about the various competitions and open events for beginners as well as
a Frisbee dog training guide.

The Atlanta Kennel Club,  holds agility trials. Their next trial
will be on April 9 -13. If interested the deadline is March 19th.

There is a Flyball Locator Board, if you’re interested in
introducing your dog and you to flyball.

DeKalb County has two dog parks for dogs and their owners. One is
located at Mason Mill Park and the second is at Brook Run Park. Of
course we have books that can help train your dog on a variety of
things. Here is a small sample: The Kohler method of training
tracking dogs
, Working Terriers: management and training,
and Urban
Dog: the ultimate streets smart training guide
I hope this has given you some ideas for things to do with your dog.