The Most Pet-Friendly States in the USA has published its rankings of the most pet-friendly states in the USA.

Using data from diverse sources such as the Bureau of Labor, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and online resources for pet-friendly accommodation such as, the company assessed states for pet-friendliness.

Pet friendly states

How does your state rank? Pet-friendly states as ranked by

The Top 10:

  1. Maine
  2. Virginia
  3. Arizona
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Colorado
  6. Oregon
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Kansas
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Washington

Studies like these can help pet owners make informed decisions about relocation and quality of life for them and their pets.  Well done to Safewise for sponsoring this study.


Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand


The Dogs of Avalon – book review

Inspired by her adopted lurcher, Lily, author Laura Schenone started to research the background story of Irish sighthounds that were being imported into the United States for adoption.

Her research reveals the story of Marion Fitzgibbon, who witnessed firsthand the appalling animal welfare problems in her native Ireland and started to take action.  Marion’s story starts small, as most animal welfare initiatives do.  But her dream and her passion builds as she finds friends who are willing to work alongside her and to help find shelter and fostering options for rescued animals.

The dogs of avalon

She eventually becomes the head of the Irish Society for the Protection of Cruelty Animals and she is experienced enough and with enough authority to tackle the greyhound racing industry.  This includes conducting an undercover investigation into facilities in Spain, where many of the Irish greyhounds were sold to live in appalling conditions.

In Ireland, very few people were willing to adopt the greyhounds that their country’s highly subsidized racing industry supported – and so many were sent to the United States which is how the author’s Lily came to reside in New Jersey.

And for a time the book focuses on the USA greyhound racing industry and the groundswell of support to help shut tracks down.  I actually found this part of the book to be its weakest – diverting from the Irish story.    The cause to shut down the Wonderland track in Massachusetts is covered, for example; but not particularly clearly in my opinion.  (I grew up in Massachusetts and Wonderland is a stop on the Blue Line of Boston’s subway system.)

Like all true stories of animal welfare organizations, there are many cases that are not easy to read.  But that is the reality that we must face when acknowledging how people and industries view the rights (or lack thereof) of animals and the history of how man has treated animals.

As a greyhound owner myself, I could never have passed by this book.  It’s a solid read for greyhound lovers, all dog owners, and anyone interested in animal welfare.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Doggy quote of the month for February

“The problem with loving dogs is that you outlive all but the last one.”

– Edward Grinnan, author of Always By My Side:  Life Lessons From Millie and All the Dogs I’ve Loved

Daisy English Pointer


What’s in a name?

Shakespeare famously wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  When you choose to bring a dog into your life, sometimes they already have a name and some new owners choose to change that name, too.

In my massage practice, I have found that the dog’s name often matches his/her character.  Havoc by name, Havoc by nature – for example!

Website has published its survey on the top dog names for 2017.  There are clear trends showing the influence of media and movies:  Star Wars, Wonder Woman, and Game of Thrones inspired names are featured.

So too are the names of influential and powerful women (yeah!)


Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

USA 1, NZ 0

In today’s workplace ‘leadership’ is the prized personal quality and politicians are expected to show leadership when creating and debating policies and conducting themselves (hmmmm – some do better than others in this regard).

It is rather interesting to me that in a week of coverage about the US Government shutdown and stalemate over a budget, and in NZ where all the news is about a Prime Minister who has announced she’s pregnant, will multi-task, and be back at work in 6 weeks following the birth… that the USA’s Government is winning in one respect over New Zealand’s.

Congress and the Senate are pet-friendly.  New  Zealand’s Parliament doesn’t seem to know what that means…

In August 2017, a survey sponsored by by Nestlé Purina PetCare and conducted on behalf of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute was conducted by personal interviews in the House and Senate offices.  The purpose was to call attention the benefits of a pet-friendly workplace.

The 192 House and Senate offices who responded say they welcome pets in the office, either during recess, while Congress is in session, or both.

Capitol Hill

  • The pet-friendly Hill office findings were relatively consistent across party lines, geographic regions, and both chambers, suggesting wide bipartisan support for having pets at work.    (Common Ground!)
  • The Assistant Senate Historian, Dan Holt, said senators used to bring their hunting dogs into the Old Senate Chamber — to sit right by their feet during floor debates.

  • Circa 1800, congressional rules were enacted to prohibit pets on the Chamber floors.  Congressional rules, however, permit pets nearly everywhere else on Capitol Hill, and staffers are almost universally aware that pets are permitted throughout congressional buildings, with few limitations.

The rich tradition of pets on Capitol Hill continues today:

  • Dozens of members of Congress and their staffers are regularly seen accompanied by their four-legged friends in and around Capitol Hill offices.
  • Some dogs are known as being greeters to visitors to their offices.
  • Some congressional pets even have their own business cards, like Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s “Spaniel & Statesman,” Oliver
  • Staffers sometimes announce when pets are in the office, as with a recent dog photo and note taped to Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen’s office door stating, “Stevie is in the House!”

Dear Jacinda

Source: DC Stands for Dogs and Cats: New Survey Confirms Capitol Hill is a Very Pet-Friendly Workplace

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Scents and Sensibility – book review

I’ve owned Scents and Sensibility, the 8th book in the Chet and Bernie series, for at least a year (it was published in 2015).  When  I interviewed Peter Abrahams (pen name Spencer Quinn) in September 2016 for my column in NZ Dog World, he had put his plans for another Chet and Bernie ‘on hold’ whilst writing The Right Side.  (The Right Side was published last year, 2017, and is on my reading list).    Scents and Sensibility

Given that I’m a huge Chet and Bernie fan, I held off reading this book since I knew the ninth book would be a way off.  Scents and Sensibility was another good read with a solid pace to the story of Chet and Bernie, my favorite private detectives.

Chet and Bernie return home one day to find that Mr Parsons, their elderly neighbor, has a new saguaro cactus planted in his yard.  Since the cactus is a protected species, Mr Parsons is soon under investigation and he shows a decided reluctance to reveal the source of the plant, which he says was a gift.

Bernie steps in to help and, soon, there is a murder to investigate.

saguaro from Wikipedia

A saguaro cactus (Source: Wikipedia)

We also meet a new puppy named Shooter who bears a striking resemblance to Chet.  Has Chet fathered puppies???

The book finishes with Bernie, our hero, in hospital but on the road to recovery – the scene is set for Book #9.  Presumably, in the next book we will also find out if Bernie’s relationship with Suzie is over or not.  Suzie has only a brief mention in this book; she’s taken a job in London and wants Bernie to join her…

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Year of the Dog

2018 is the Year of the Dog in the Chinese calendar.

The dog is the symbol of loyalty and honesty (which isn’t terribly surprising).  People born in the Year of the Dog will possess the best qualities observed in our dogs:   things like honesty, loyalty and intelligence.

The Temple of Eighteen Deities in Taiwan is often cited as an example of the dog’s loyalty in the Chinese tradition.

Taiwan dog

Statue of dog by the Eighteen Kings Temple. Photo by David Chen of the Taipei Times

As the story goes, 17 fishermen and their dog were crossing the Taiwan Strait when their boat capsized.   All of the fishermen drowned but the dog survived.  When the bodies washed ashore, the locals prepared a collective grave and ghost temple on a cliff overlooking the shore.   The dog was so loyal to its masters that it jumped into the grave with the bodies and refused to leave.   The dog was buried alive and called the 18th of the Eighteen Kings.

Chinese New Year begins on 16 February 2018.