Monday, January 25, 2010

Four Paws Up for the Bow Wow Workout

Those holiday pounds still hanging around? How about your canine partner? Could he/she stand to lose a few? Want to get fit before swimsuit season and need some company to help you out? Well, I've got the answer for you. Austin Dog Alliance, a 501(c)3 dedicated to training dogs to live harmoniously in the home and the community, has created a class called Bow Wow Workout. The dual purpose of the class is to provide a unique fun way to get fit with your dog and to "get the dog out of the backyard", according to President Debi Krakar.

The class is an hour long, meets three days a week and offers a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Personal Dog Trainers to aid you in a variety of exercises designed to get you in tip top shape. Exercise classes include a cardio portion, strength training exercises, core strengthening session and a cool down/canine massage portion. Your pup will stay busy running from workout station to workout station with you. He can also cheer you on during your toughest challenges. He may even get some agility work in while you both dart in and out of cones, and throw and chase the medicine ball. Good behavior is reinforced as he sits and stays while you lift weights. Frequent treating and doggy water breaks help your pup re-energize.

Last Tuesday, I gave it a go, and both my dog and I were tired at the end of class. My muscles were sore from the squats and tricep workout. Medicine balls, oversized rubber bands, dumbbells and yoga mats are all provided to aid you in the exercises. All you need to bring for your pup is a leash, some treats and a closed bag to keep the treats in (so they don't pop out all over the ground during your jumping jacks). Don't forget that the trainers available to give you tips on performing the exercises in the safest and most effective manner and to advise you on how to keep your dog engaged.

So, if you're ready to work hard so you can strut your stuff this summer, check out the Austin Dog Alliance Bow Wow Workout. Both you and your pet will get healthy and have fun at the same time. Be sure to check the Austin American Statesman on Feb. 1 to see some HOTLR dogs in action at one of the training classes. Don't hesitate, sign up now. Check out this link for more information on how to get started: ADA Bow Wow Workout

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Faces at HOTLR

Well, 2010 is already proving to be another busy year for Heart of Texas Lab Rescue, Inc. In the last two weeks, we've brought in 14 new dogs to the program. Most of our dogs come from area animal shelters and that means someone needs to visit these shelters on a regular basis to evaluate new dogs.

Often in the early morning, you might spot President of HOTLR, Margaret Huston in the green rescue van we affectionately refer to as "the Pickle" pulling out of Austin in search of more dogs for our program. It is indeed a rewarding trip when the empty "Pickle" returns to Austin in the late afternoon full of abandoned Labs ready to begin their journey to their forever homes. HOTLR would like to thank Margaret and Stefanie Dwyer for performing the time consuming task of shelter checks.

Now we'd like to introduce you to a few of our newest HOTLR family members.

From the animal shelter in Brownwood, Texas, we rescued these great dogs:

Miss Bubbles - Bubbles is a female yellow Lab approximately 2-3 years old. She gets her name from her happy go lucky personality. No matter what time of the day it is, Bubbles will greet you with a sweet smile and a happy tail wag. She loves to use her front paws to hold on to you while you pet her. She also loves to be outside. She would be a wonderful dog for an outdoor enthusiast. Bubbles is very interested in balls and is beginning to get the idea of fetch. She also loves to run and would probably happily hike or run with you wherever you'd like to take her. She is spayed, but sadly is heart worm positive, so it will be end of March before you can meet her.

Allie is a beautiful black girl who could stand to lose a few. All she needs is to cut back on her food intake a little, get some regular exercise and she'll be the perfect Labrador. Exercise will be easy with Allie as she loves to play fetch. Want a partner to help you get in shape this winter? Adopt Allie and the both of you have plenty of time to be slim and trim for summer.

We just couldn't get enough of those puppies, so we welcome Zippy, Jazz and Buzz into the HOTLR family. They are beautiful black puppies that were dumped at the animal shelter when they didn't sell for Christmas. Zippy and Buzz are little boys and Jazz is their sweet sister. They are around four months old and ready for their forever homes. If you missed out on our puppy mania in late 2009, it's not to late to get your fix!!!

After Brownwood, it was on to San Marcos where we found a wonderful dog that we call Jupiter. Jupiter is a gorgeous, yellow boy who is extremely affectionate, seems to know a few basic commands and likes to retrieve. Jupiter too, is heartworm positive so he will need to be treated before he can meet you. If you dream of a big yellow boy to fill your days and nights, stay tuned, Jupiter will be worth the wait.

Reebok is a special boy who came from Giddings. He is also a young yellow boy looking for a new home. He is working on learning to walk on a leash and does show interest in retrieving. He loves to carry stuffed animals around in his mouth and does well with other dogs.

The animal shelter in Waco always proves to have many Labs needing help. Just this past Wednesday, we brought home 7 dogs from Waco. We found a skinny Haynes dressed in a blue t-shirt that was put on him to try to help him stay warm during the cold snap we recently experienced. He is a shy yellow boy just waiting for the right family to give him the unconditional love he deserves. He is a total sweetheart that drinks in all the hugs and pets he can get. He will be a wonderful addition to any family.

If you are interested in a big chocolate bear, then Bogey is your dog. A BIG boy at 100+ pounds, Bogey was dumped at the shelter after living in the backyard of his former family for 7 years. Surprisingly, he seems to know some basic commands like sit and shake. Nothing puts a smile on your face more quickly than watching this big boy fetch a ball. He will need some training, however, to learn how to be an indoor dog. We have some time to train him as he is another heartworm positive dog. On the bright side, he should be trustworthy in the house, by the time his heartworm treatment is complete.

Both Nikki and Calla are young yellow girls who have both been mothers already. They are sweet and easy to work with and can't wait to meet you. If you are interested in a young yellow girl, then check out Nikki and Calla.

Pilot is a gorgeous black boy who could be a Labrador calendar model. He is VERY strong and appears to have spent a lot of time alone outside. He needs some leash work and needs to learn basic commands. He will be a L.I.T. (Lab In Training) for a short while before he can meet you.

Winchester also is a sweet young black boy in need of a good home. He has gorgeous light brown eyes, but needs to learn a few leash manners according to our trainer at Canine Hilton. No worries, we'll be working on that and have him behaving beautifully in no time.

Finally, little Scuba....He is a true heartbreaker and a good example of why HOTLR exists. Scuba had been at the Waco shelter since November 3. He is terribly emaciated most likely from the stress of being at the shelter for so long. He is also most likely a victim of "black dog syndrome", continuously passed over simply because he is black. Well, Wednesday was the start of the rest of his life. We are working with a veterinarian to get Scuba back to health as quickly as possible so that we can get him home to a forever family. This is a dog that will forever be grateful to the family that adopts him. He is definitely a special, special boy who needs lots of TLC.

To learn more about these dogs (as well as the other available dogs) and follow their progress, visit this link at Heart of Texas Lab - Dogs Available for Adoption.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hike with your Dog in 2010 - Find out Where

Taking your dog on a hike can be one of the most rewarding times you and your dog spend together. The relatively mild winter weather we experience in Austin can make it the best time of year to roam with your pup. However, it can be difficult to figure out where your four-legged friend is welcome and what rules you must play by to have him with you. Just where can you go to enjoy a long relaxing walk together?

Well, come with me to REI's North location next Tuesday, January 12th at 7pm and find out. Melissa Gaskill author of Best Hikes with Dogs: Texas Hill Country & Coast, will give a talk on the best hikes in the central Texas area including, Austin, San Antonio and Houston. Not only will she map out some of the best hiking spots for you and your canine buddy, she will also tell us how to prepare our dogs, what to pack and discuss overnight adventures with our furry friends.

Ms. Gaskill has spent lots of time hiking and camping around central Texas and has written several magazine articles about her adventures. She has also co-authored a book on lacrosse and authored a long-running parenting column. Best of all, she owns two dogs. One is a rescue dog named Max, a mixed breed rescued from an Austin shelter AND the other, a black Lab named Keeper. You know these guys are living the good life. Come find out more about how to give more of the good life to your special friend.

Who: Melissa Gaskill, Freelance Writer
Where: REI North Location - located at 9901 Capital of Texas Hwy
When: January 12th, 2010 at 7pm

Check out this link for more info: Melissa Gaskill & Hiking with your Dog

*pictured above - Melissa Gaskill with her rescue dog, Max