Archive | August, 2013

The community of blogging

I get a range of reactions when I tell people I’m a blogger. Most people know what a blog is, but many don’t fully understand what it means to blog. Blogging is all about community. It’s about sharing information that enriches the lives of the community as much as it enriches the life of the blogger.

Blogging has been an amazing experience for me, and through blogging I have learned so many new things, made connections with interesting people, and enjoyed thoughtful conversations with readers!

Tails of Fort Collins is part of The Scoop Blog Network, a network of blogs covering interests relevant to Fort Collins residents. We cover a wide range of local topics and collaborate and share ideas across the network. Each blogger in the network is inspired by the topic we cover, and we share our passion with you, our readers, for the benefit of the community.

We don’t do this awesome work of blogging alone- it takes our readers and our sponsors to make it work! Our sponsors are local businesses that share our passion for our community. Sponsors support our efforts to keep the community conversation going. Aww…  yeah! Thanks to our sponsors!

So what does it mean to be a blogger with The Scoop Blog Network? Enjoy and share this awesome locally-produced video that says it all, with a notable contribution by my husband who wrote, recorded, and edited the music and audio track!

How your dog affects your homeowners insurance

When you think of homeowners insurance you probably don’t think about your pets but your homeowners and renters insurance typically has liability coverage that includes dog bites.

Dog bite insurance claims

In fact, dog bite insurance claims accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims in 2012. The average dog bite homeowners insurance liability claim paid out just under $30,000. Wow, that’s more than our homeowners insurance paid for a new roof on our house!

Breed restrictions

To make matters worse, breed restrictions often leave homeowners and renters vulnerable to these claims and being unceremoniously dropped by their insurance providers. Susie Salazar, a Greeley homeowner, lost her homeowners insurance when her insurance company found out she owned a pit bull.

Commonly restricted breeds may include:

Alaskan Malamute
American Pit Bull Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
Chow Chow
Doberman Pinscher
German Shepherd
Presa Canario
Siberian Husky
Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Dog breed restrictions vary by insurance company with some companies outright restricting certain breeds while other companies accept restricted breeds with proof the dog has passed the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test. Other companies do not restrict on the basis of breed as long as the dog does not have a bite history.

Reducing your risk of dog bite claims

homeowners insuranceImage credit Madame Meow

No matter what type of dog you have in your home you can reduce your risk of dog bite claims. Here’s how!

01. Spay/neuter your dog.

94% of fatal dog attacks involved intact dogs. Here are some low-cost spay/neuter options in and around the Fort Collins area. In August only, Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic is offering $20 spay/neuter on pit bulls and pit bull mixes!

02. Socialize and train your dog in group training classes.

Socialization and training is essential to the health and happiness of your dog and properly socialized dogs are less likely to bite.

03. Don’t leave your dog chained or tied up.

25% of fatal dog attacks occurred from chained dogs. Chaining dogs leads to boredom, frustration, and aggression.

04. Don’t leave your dog unattended in your yard.

Dogs are great escape artists and can quickly disappear from your fenced yard.

05. Never leave your dog alone with children.

50% of dog bites involved children under the age of 12. Dog bites can happen in seconds.

04. Always keep your dog leashed in public.

Dogs can react to a threat or perceived threat in an instant. While your dog may be well-behaved off-leash, you never know when your dog may react to an unknown person.

05. Get the Canine Good Citizen certification!

CGC training and testing is offered locally at the following businesses:

Canine Companion Consulting
Canine Learning Center
Fort Collins Dog Training

Dog bite statistics taken from American Humane Association Dog Bite Fact Sheet.

Special Thanks!

I want to give thanks to Jennifer Bond from Nancy Bond Insurance for meeting with me to discuss dogs and homeowners insurance.

Forever Home – Khandi the Kuchi dog, rescued from war

I’m extremely excited to share with you the very first Happy Endings tale on Tails of Fort Collins!

This is a truly amazing story of a dog rescued from Afghanistan. Khandi is a Kuchi dog, named after the nomadic tribal people of Afghanistan. Khandi is one of five dogs that roamed the military base at Kandahar, where soldiers slipped them food and attention. Many Kuchi dogs are mistreated or outright killed in Afghanistan, but this lucky dog found her happy ending!

Here’s Khandi’s amazing story, as told by her mom, Peggy McNeal.

Khandi the Kuchi dog, rescued from war

As fate may have it, I was in the dairy department of the grocery store one day when I received a phone call asking if I could pick a dog up from the airport.  Two days later, with a thumbs- up from my husband, I was driving to the airport to pick up a Kuchi dog rescued in Afghanistan by a group of soldiers.  

I had just two pictures of her and a name, and a story about how she was hours from being put down by base command.  A group of soldiers who had been taking care of five dogs, sneaking meals to them and playing with them, were able to find a way to transport them to a safe shelter.  She had given them some normalcy and comfort in a war zone, and they repaid her with safe passage to the USA.

Happy Endings - Miss Khandi_in_Afghanistan

Her travels took her from Kandahar to Pakistan, then to Dubai, Houston, and finally Denver, where I met her.  I opened the crate door, unsure of what I would find.  A tiny, scared, half-starved puppy emerged; my Khandi.  Little did I know how those soulful brown eyes would captivate me so completely within a matter of weeks.   

It wasn’t easy at first.  Tired and scared, she growled and lashed out at my other dogs, who wanted nothing more than to sniff the new arrival.  I owned three Labradors, possibly the friendliest dogs on the planet, and now I owned a small biting, growling machine. 

I second-guessed the decision to bring her into our home.  The dynamic of the pack was thrown completely out of control.  She was skittish and wary, although friendly with many, but not all, people.  Considering that she survived the streets of Kandahar, scavenging and fighting for her meals, this was to be expected.  I seriously questioned if I was equipped to deal with a dog from a war zone. 

Day by day small victories were attained.   The pack worked out their differences and I stopped worrying about bloodshed in the backyard.  Things we take for granted with American dogs were more foreign to her, such as dog food.  Initially she tried to eat dirt and seeds in our yard, but she quickly learned that it is less work to eat from a bowl. 

That was eighteen months ago and how our lives have changed.  She is now a cherished member of our family and she captives us with her charm.  She comes from a nomadic breed in Afghanistan, and her natural herding and protective instincts are strong. 

She guards the perimeter of our yard as if she is guarding a military base.  Instead of the dangers of war, she is now more concerned with birds and rabbits invading her yard.  She is fiercely loyal; for those of us who have bonded with her, we are the recipients of her all-encompassing, adoring love, which she shows us by pawing us continually until we give her belly scratches and hugs. 

Happy Endings - Miss Khandi

She seems to know she was rescued from certain death. Words cannot do justice to the bond we share. I would have never imagined that a rescued dog from a war zone could provide a peaceful oasis to me in this crazy world. All I have to do is place my lips on her soft pink nose and I look into those eyes, all my soul smiles with hers. She won the dog lottery when she left Afghanistan, and I won the people lottery when she became mine.

Share your happy ending!

I’d love to share your story and feature your pet on Tails of Fort Collins- just send me an email at !

Longmont Humane Society Facing Foreclosure

Longmont Humane Society is facing foreclosure and possible bankruptcy due to construction costs and annual deficits over the last six years. Despite program and staff cuts and fundraising efforts, the organization doesn’t have the money to pay the remaining $3.1 million due on their building loan by fall of 2014.

Going above and beyond

Longmont Humane Society isn’t your ordinary animal shelter. The organization has several progressive programs that go above and beyond animal intake and adoption to taking an active role in animal welfare and improving the human-animal relationship in the community.

Longmont Humane Society has partnerships with shelters all over the country. They take in dogs when a shelter has a too many of one type of dog, making it harder for those dogs to be adopted. A shelter in Georgia often has so many small dogs that the small dogs often get overlooked because they all look the same. Some of these small dogs have been transferred to Longmont Humane Society where they were successfully adopted.

Other dogs are transferred to Longmont Humane Society if the dog has a trainable behavior problem that other shelters are ill-equipped to manage. The Longmont Humane Society Behavior and Training department works closely with these dogs, working to address behavior challenges and turn an unadoptable dog into a great family pet.

In some cases volunteers take these dogs through the training program offered at the shelter, teaching them basic obedience. In other cases behaviorally-challenged dogs benefit from dog-to-dog training, learning appropriate behavior from carefully selected “helper dogs”.

Oh, and did I mention Longmont Humane Society offers dog training classes to the public? From basic obedience to advanced obedience, play groups, Canine Good Citizen training, and more! They also offer private, in-home training.

After animals are adopted from Longmont Humane Society, the organization supports the placement with their Adoption Follow-Up program. The Adoption Follow-Up program offers free or discounted behavior help, with free consultations at the shelter, and reduced rate in-home consultations, as well as free phone support for the life of your pet!

These are just some of the amazing programs and community support that makes Longmont Humane Society an outstanding animal welfare organization our community can’t afford to lose.

Saving Malcolm

Mal in Estes Park

I can personally attest to the incredible support Longmont Humane Society provides to adopters and the community. Our dog, Malcolm, was adopted from Longmont Humane Society.

Malcolm came to Longmont Humane Society from a shelter in Virginia where he was going to be euthanized for poor dog-to-dog skills. He had not been properly socialized with other dogs and didn’t have any dog manners! He was bouncy and excitable and the shelter he came from lacked the resources to address his behavior issues.

A volunteer drove Malcolm from Virginia to Longmont Humane Society where he spent several months learning basic obedience and improving his dog manners. We adopted Malcolm from Longmont Humane Society in March 2012 and brought him home as a permanent member of our family. Without Longmont Humane Society, we wouldn’t be sharing our life with this sweet and well-behaved pup!

How you can help rescue Longmont Humane Society

You can help Longmont Humane Society by donating to the Now and Forever Campaign.

Other ways you can help include sharing this post on Facebook and Twitter, encouraging others to donate if they can.

You can also register and collect donations for the fundraising event, Strut Your Mutt, coming up on Saturday, September 14!