About Amanda Huggett Hofland

Amanda Huggett Hofland works as a writer and editor in Fargo, N.D., and volunteers at a local dog rescue by producing its newsletter and maintaining its blog. She and her husband own two cats named Captain and Little Girl and a goofy Boxer-mix dog named Brick.
...
Add Amanda to your Google+ circles at .
You can also find her on Twitter @AmandaHofland.

National Dog Week: Rescuing, Fostering & a Dog-Filled Life

Ashley with her most recent foster, Abby.

Ashley with her most recent foster, Abby.

Attention all you party animals, it’s time to celebrate canines! This week is National Dog Week, which runs through the last week in September. This barktastic holiday is said to be started by Captain William Judy in 1928 to educate dog owners about their responsibilities to their pets and communities.

Speaking of community, we wanted to honor this holiday while also highlighting one of our amazing staff members, Ashley Farkas, who is our resident Merchandising Manager. She’s a champion of all things dog and we couldn’t help but feature her here for you all to read about. Here’s what she has to say about her own dogs and her experience being a foster for area dog rescues.

Amanda: What do you think it is about dogs that makes them man’s best friend?

Ashley: The dogIDs “About Us” page hits the nail on the head for me. Dogs give us their unconditional love and are there for us no matter what. I believe that this sincere connection is what makes dogs man’s best friend … and woman’s best friend too.

Amanda: What are your favorite activities to do with your own dogs?

Ashley: It may sound simple, but going on walks is one of my favorite things. Walking is not only great exercise for both my dogs and I, but it’s also a great activity for building a strong, trusting relationship with a dog and their owner.

Ashley with her family and dogs, Jake and Maci.

Ashley with her family and dogs, Jake and Maci.

Another favorite of mine is teaching my children the proper way to interact with dogs. I am a firm believer that teaching a child how to properly treat an animal goes far beyond their interactions with dogs and is a lesson they carry with them in their human relationships as well. It has been a complete joy to watch my daughters and our dogs as they grow and learn together.

Lastly, snuggling is one of my favorite activities to do with my dogs … if you can call that an activity that is. Who doesn’t love a warm, cuddly puppy to snuggle on a cold, North Dakota winter day?

Amanda: What have dogs taught you?

Ashley: My dogs have most definitely had a hand in teaching me patience. I adopted my Black Labrador Retriever, Jake, four years ago. When Jake first came home, he needed some work, to say the least. He would stand with two paws in the left side of the kitchen sink, two paws in the right side and “pre-rinse” my dishes. He once gnawed on a thawing beef roast, ate half of a sheet cake that was supposed to be for our daughter’s fourth birthday and devoured countless packages of gum, a tube of poison ivy cream, golf tees, etc. This boy has done his part in keeping me on my toes and teaching me not to worry so much about the little things.

Ashley's former foster, Owen, was seized from a puppy mill.

Ashley’s former foster, Owen, was seized from a puppy mill.

Amanda: You’ve been a foster for dogs at a couple local rescues. How has this experience affected your day-to-day life?

Ashley: Any person that volunteers to foster an animal will tell you that it’s not easy. Adding an additional dog to your pack and day-to-day routine takes work. Fostering means an extra dog to feed, water, let out, groom and train. The moment you see that dog go to their forever family makes all the “work” worth every minute.

Amanda: How do your own dogs react to having fosters around?

Ashley: I have two dogs of my own. My family and I adopted Jake from 4 Luv of Dog Rescue in Fargo. Not long after that, I convinced my husband that Jake needed a friend and that fostering would be the perfect solution. We could temporarily have another dog around, but not have to worry about the added expense of a second dog. Plus, Jake was a young lab that needed a playmate to burn off some of his puppy energy. A few fosters came and went until Maci, a young Pit Bull/Boxer mix, came along. We picked her up at a local boarding facility where she was being temporarily housed until a foster home could be found for her. She lived with us for several months until the day came that she finally had a meeting with a potential adopter. I was sick to my stomach. Maci had the sweetest soul, but was a very timid dog. I didn’t know how any other family would be able to make her feel comfortable and love her as much as we had for all these months. The adopters decided to go with another dog. I did a huge sigh of relief, looked at my husband and said, “We have to keep her.” I signed the adoption papers a few days later and she’s been our friend’s and family’s favorite ever since.

Jake is a fun-loving guy. I’m fairly confident that his goal in life is to meet everyone and everything he can. He loves when we bring new fosters into our home. He gets so excited to meet them. Maci is a little more skeptical and timid around new dogs, but as soon as she gets a good sniff in, she’s spinning circles and can’t wait to play with all of our new additions.

Amanda: What challenges have you faced, or overcome, while fostering? What about successes?

Ashley: We have faced many challenges in our four years of fostering dogs. We’ve seen everything from dogs with dog aggression, food aggression, toy possessiveness, separation anxiety and kennel anxiety to dogs that have come from puppy mills and abusive homes that spent weeks hiding in their kennels.

Ashley's daughter shares her nap time with  Maci and  former foster dog, Dre.

Ashley’s daughter shares her nap time with Maci and a former foster of Ashley’s.

Thankfully, with hard work and dedication from the dogs and my family, all but one of the 23 dogs that have entered our home have been successfully adopted. Unfortunately, you can’t save them all. As emotional as it is, there will be dogs that cannot be safely placed into homes, whether it is due to aggression issues or health problems. The success in these situations is knowing that you did everything you possibly could to give these dogs the love and care they so desperately need and deserve in their remaining days of life.

Amanda: If someone were thinking about fostering, what advice would you give them?

Ashley: According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.9 million dogs enter shelters each year, and 1.2 million of these dogs are euthanized. My advice to anyone thinking about fostering is to jump in with both feet and do it.

Amanda: What is the single best thing about fostering?

Ashley: For me, the single best thing about fostering is bringing a dog to their new home and knowing deep down in my heart and soul that that is the absolute, most perfect home for them.

Amanda: How can people celebrate National Dog Week? Give us some suggestions!

Ashley: I am a huge advocate for volunteering. I love the saying, “If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, donate. If you can’t donate, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, educate.” In the world of animal rescue, there is always something that can be done. What better way to celebrate National Dog Week than to make a positive impact on the life of a dog?

 

We here at dogIDs are also helping you celebrate this fun holiday week with a special offer: free shipping! Happy National Dog Week! Ruff ruff!

Orthopedic Dog Beds: Not Just for Seniors!

Reasons for getting an orthopedic dog bedHow many beds have you gone through for your dog? Personally, I’ve bought Brick about five beds in the five years I’ve had him.

I often went for the lowest-priced options thinking I’d save money, but they’d never last. Either they’d get lumpy or too flat, or simple wear and tear got the best of them too quickly. If only I had gotten a high-quality, durable bed off the bat, because that would have saved the most in the long run.

Durability aside, you may wonder if you really need an orthopedic bed for your pup. I mean, orthopedics are for senior citizens, right? Not necessarily! Doggies of all ages and sizes can benefit from a great bed. [Read more...]

Buckle Up for Safety: The Dangers of Loose Dogs in the Car

Dog travelling safe in carWe’ve all seen it, and maybe are even guilty of it ourselves: Driving down the road with a dog loose in the car, windows down, head out the window … or worse yet, sitting in the back cab of a pickup truck. It may seem harmless, especially when your dog loves to feel the breeze on his face, but the cost could be more than you’re willing to risk.

There are many dangers to this activity. Debris can strike a pup’s face outside, which can cause serious injury and costly medical bills. Ever been driving down the highway when a truck kicks up a rock on your windshield? Imagine that same rock hitting your dog. Not pretty.

What’s even scarier to me is that when a dog’s head is out the window, his front legs are often propped up on the armrest on that door. Some cars have those automatic window buttons right by his foot, and if he takes the wrong step, he may actually close the window on his neck.

Even worse still, if he tries jump out of the window, he could get stuck, or his leash or collar could get caught on something inside, leaving his body hanging or dragging outside, and at risk of chocking himself and great bodily injury if not death. Or if he makes it out, he is at great risk of getting struck by another car. [Read more...]

10 Ways to Show Your Dog Appreciation

10 Ways to Show Your Dog AppreciationWe’re excited for the fun pet holiday coming up next week! This month, “Pet Appreciation Week” is celebrated and is a great excuse to spend some time with your pup.

Here’s a list of some of our 10 favorite ways you can show your own dog some extra appreciation! [Read more...]

Celebrating Another Kind of Mother

It’s that time of year where we see advertisements for ways to pamper Mom – a bouquet of flowers, an Edible Arrangement, a spa day, some jewelry. But what about the other mothers? The fur moms?

There may not be an official Pet Mother’s Day, but that won’t stop us from recognizing some of the lovely fur moms out there.

To honor the relationship between human and pet, we asked some of our friends, staff, readers and customers to tell us what they think is best about being a pet mom. Here’s what they said! [Read more...]

Reunited and It Feels So Good: Why Your Pet Needs ID

Lisa Napell Dicksteen never thought that her beloved family pet cat Gus would be lost. But one October day, he snuck out the door and didn’t return for months.

It’s most pet lovers’ nightmare. If your pet became lost, how confident are you that he would find his way back home? If Fido is microchipped and/or wears ID tags, his chances are pretty good. But without ID? Chances aren’t so good. Can you even bear to think about losing your furry friend?

Reunited and it feels so good - Why it's important to ID your petsNational Pet ID Week, the third full week of April, is almost here, and so we here at dogIDs want to remind you the importance of ID tagging your pet. It just may be the one hope you have to getting your friend back home. [Read more...]

A Look at Unlikely Animal Friendships

Unique Animal FriendshipsThere’s something heartwarming about animal stories. Cats who traveled across country in a truck muffler, only to be reunited with his owners weeks later. A dog who helped somebody through a tough situation or a pet that gave a child more confidence. But one of my favorite types of stories are those of unlikely animal friends. [Read more...]

The Power of Padded Dog Collars

 

dogids padded collar

River wears a rock and roll padded collar

There are tons of options for dog collars out there. We even have a large selection right here at dogIDs. You may think it doesn’t really matter what type of collar your dog has, or maybe the selection is overwhelming, so you just choose one at random.

To take a little of the mystery out of the myriad options, today we’re going to highlight one particular style of dog collars today: padded ones. [Read more...]

Top 10 Tips for Responsible Pet Ownership

family with dogIn honor of February being Responsible Pet Ownership Month, we at dogIDs wanted to remind you of some of the ways you can make sure you’re being a great doggie owner. You love your animal companion, but sometimes we all need reminders on how to give your dog the very best and keep him happy and healthy. Aside from committing to the long haul, here are 10 things you can do to be a responsible pet owner. [Read more...]

Pet Trusts: Providing for Fido After You Pass

Two elderly people with their dog in the park.You may have heard of people in the news who left millions of dollars to their pets after they passed on. While most of us can’t afford quite that much, there are still ways each of us can make sure that our beloved animal companions are cared for if we’re not able to do it anymore.

Whatever your situation, you don’t have to be elderly or ill to set up a trust for your pet, and it’s probably easier and cheaper than you might think. To find out more about how trusts work, we talked to some experts and got a crash course. [Read more...]