WAG: From the Editor's Desk


As I write this, the weather feels more like summer than fall, yet winter is only a few weeks away. Hard to believe it’s almost time to break out the holiday decor and snuggle up to the hearth with our furry friends. 

‘Tis the season for all things merry and bright, so get in the spirit. Twinkle lights and stuffed stockings help set the mood, and an evergreen wreath simply smells like Christmas. Use common sense, though, in your celebrations. Keep candles and breakable items out of reach of exuberant tails, and don’t let your dog nibble the mistletoe or poinsettia, much less the chocolate Santas and cheese balls. 

The first three are known canine toxins. Cheese and other high-fat foods aren’t exactly poisonous to dogs, but they can have dangerous health effects. On page 9, Dr. Holly Frisby explains the ins and outs of pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening condition that can be triggered by just one over-the-top fat feast.

On a lighter note, let’s go shopping! Conscientiously, of course. Ana Poe of Paco Collars provides guidelines for sustainable pet shopping and recommends some eco-savvy gifts for dogs and their people on page 10. We collected gift recommendations from a few other local retailers, as well – peruse them on page 14. If you fold up the center spread of this issue and pop it in your backpack or purse, you’ll have all these suggestions handy when you hit the stores.

One good pick for the dog lover on your list is Almost Perfect, a heart-tugging new book about disabled dogs. We bring you local writer Vicki Tiernan’s contribution to the anthology, which tells the story of Ruby the wonder dog.

If you’re considering a holiday weekend away, Maria Goodavage, author of The Dog Lover’s Companion to California, suggests you head for the hills – the Gold Country hills, to be exact. Turns out it’s a super dog-friendly destination. Maria’s guide to lodging, Gold Rush-related parks, and other attractions that welcome your pooch begins.

Wherever you go, close to home or out in the world, it’s important for your canine companion to interact safely and happily with the holiday hordes. In this month’s training column, “Season’s Greetings,” Jennifer Joyce shares her tips and techniques for keeping holiday encounters stress-free for your dog. 

On other fronts: Corinne Dowling discusses how her organization, Give A Dog A Bone, relieves the stress of shelter dogs; and Herb Canine joins the fray over what kind of dog the Obamas should have and what they should name him. 

Happy Howlidays, dear readers.