Tag Archives: Amazon.com

The wedding

Life is full of firsts.

Yesterday, it was my first truly dog-friendly wedding.  When clients (and now friends) asked me to bake the cake for the dogs attending their wedding- I said ‘yes’!  I already make dog cakes for special occasions like birthdays.  A wedding was taking it to a whole new level (no pun intended).

dog wedding cake

The dog wedding cake by Kathleen Crisley of The Balanced Dog, Christchurch

Since the couple’s Bernese Mountain Dogs were part of the wedding party, and the couple married on the birthday of the Bernese Mountain Dog who brought them together – I found a Bernese Mountain Dog figure for the topper on Amazon.com

Dog wedding cake cross section

One of the couple’s dogs is on an exclusionary diet – having tested to be intolerant to most meat ingredients. She’s on a rabbit-based diet and so the top layer was made only of rabbit meat and pumpkin.  The middle layer was salmon and cottage cheese in a rice flour base.  The base layer was lamb’s liver with egg in a rice flour base along with garlic.

The frosting was made of low fat cream cheese sweetened with local dandelion honey.

The heart decorations were dog treats – my recipe called Carrot, Ginger and Molasses Crunchies.

Izzy was also invited to the wedding.  In fact, guests were encouraged to bring their dogs to the wedding which is why I say this was my first truly dog-friendly wedding.


The ceremony


The happy couple cut the dog cake (and also the human cakes – not shown)

Congratulations Kash and Dany!  Izzy and I wish you many happy years together (with lots of dogs).

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

Animals in Emergencies – book review


I have just finished reading Animals in Emergencies:  Learning from the Christchurch earthquakes by Annie Potts and Donelle Gadenne.  This was a must-read book for me.  Why?  I’m in it!

Published in late 2014, this book is largely a compilation of stories about people and animals caught up in the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.  However, since it is also a text produced by university academics, it aims to serve a purpose as “an introduction to the specialised area of animal welfare management during emergencies.”

I found the first 90% of the book the most enjoyable.  Filled with stories of rescue, sheltering and individual owner’s tales of the earthquakes, the book serves to document – largely in the first person – the historical accounts of the days, weeks and months following the quakes.  And I like the fact that the book doesn’t just focus on companion animal dogs and cats, but also includes stories about horses, fish, hedgehogs and other species.

But the last 10% of the book is rather disappointing (and it hurts me to have to say this).  Since New Zealand is a production-based economy, this book had to focus on the fate of production animals.  But this is also where the book loses its tone and momentum.  Either the authors asked for interviews with farmers and researchers and were rejected, or they simply didn’t ask – we’ll never know.

Perhaps because of the lack of firsthand accounts, the book becomes too formal in its approach to describing the impact on farm animals and animals used in research.  The text uses citations from newspaper articles at this point and becomes ‘preachy’ in terms of animal welfare.  As someone with a personal interest in animal welfare management, the issues raised in the book are not new but the distinct ‘lessons learned from Christchurch’ is very much lost on the reader.

I’m pleased this book has been produced and I’m very honored to have my story told although I know that I’m a very small contributor to the overall efforts to assist animals following the quakes.

Animals in Emergencies has been distributed to booksellers worldwide and a paperback version is available on Amazon.com.

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

A dog for your door

Here’s an interesting way to greet people and let them know that you are a dog lover.

Michael Healy makes a range of sculptured bronze door knockers especially for the dog enthusiast.  “Dog Knockers” come in a range of styles including:

Reproduced with permission

Beagle, Reproduced with permission

Labrador, reproduced with permission

Labrador, reproduced with permission

Schnauzer, reproduced with permission

Schnauzer, reproduced with permission

Chihuahua, reproduced with permission

Chihuahua, reproduced with permission

The knockers can be purchased directly through the Michael Healy website if you are based in the United States; for other locations the company recommends you purchase through Amazon.com.


The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

I’ve just finished reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.  This book was a New York Times bestseller in 2008 and also made Oprah Winfrey’s book club.  With these accolades behind it, and since the novel is set in a breeding kennels (fictitious) in Wisconsin, I had high hopes.

This book is over 560 pages and so it has taken me quite some time to finish it.  The story, at least for the first half, is quite good.  Edgar Sawtelle is a young boy growing up surrounded by dogs and his special canine ompanion, Almondine.  Edgar is mute – he can hear but has never been able to speak.  However, he has developed his own sign language that his parents can easily interpret and use.

The Sawtelles are dog breeders with a difference.  Dogs are whelped and then trained for a year before going to new homes.  “The Sawtelle Dogs” are a reputable breed (although we never quite find out what kind of breed or mixed breed they are).

Edgar’s life changes when his uncle, Claude, enters their lives.   When Edgar’s father dies suddenly, Edgar goes on the run with a handful of the Sawtelle dogs as companions.  During his months on the run, Edgar matures.  It is this part of the book, with Edgar’s adventures, that I enjoyed the most.

Then Edgar returns home and life at the Sawtelle homestead to finish his unfinished business.  It is these final chapters of the book that I found really disappointing and dark.

The story has been labelled a re-telling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  Perhaps that’s why I didn’t like it.  I had hoped for an entertaining novel and the story at first was full of promise.  In my opinion, this novel didn’t live up to its reputation and advertising.  I do notice that the most recent rating for the book on Amazon.com is only 3 stars….so perhaps I’m not alone?

What’s its name?

Choosing the ‘right’ name for your dog and puppy is just as important as naming your children.   People will make assumptions based on your dog’s name and act accordingly.  Just ask a Bozo about being treated like a clown… Or wonder why people aren’t interested in petting Killer…

And let’s face it – most books of names out there are focused on naming of babies – so you’ve got the added problem when your partner/parents/friends think you might be expecting when really you are only after the perfect puppy name.

Here’s the solution:  What’s Its Name by John Gordon is a naming guide specifically for dogs.  The book contains ‘1000 ways to dub your dog’ and it was written in 1999.  You can still buy copies of it on Amazon.com and other outlets including used booksellers.

Forgive the language.  John is a New Zealander and some of his references are related to rugby.  Otherwise, it’s an essential reference book for the dog lover.

This book will make an ideal Christmas gift (it isn’t too soon to start setting aside gifts for the holiday!)