Photos By Paul Flessland
Keep your friends close, and your (non)furry friends closer. Whether you’re a long-time animal owner, a recent pet parent or in the market for a critter companion, there’s plenty of important information out there for you to be aware of in order to keep your best friends safe and healthy. We took readers’ frequently asked questions to various animal experts in Fargo-Moorhead so that residents can be the best parents for their fur-ever friends and also help area animals in need.
4 Luv of Dog Rescue
4 Luv of Dog Rescue is a local community-based and volunteer-run organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming dogs. The dogs stay with the rescue until there is an appropriate home, and there is never a time limit on a dog’s stay. The shelter provides all aspects of physical and mental health needs for the animals, and also offers free classes for fosters to take part in.
4 Luv of Dog Rescue President and founder Kish Hilmert with Gretta.
President and founder Kish Hilmert filled us in on the importance of the rescue and why you should consider adoption or fostering.
What are the benefits of adopting instead of buying?
“A lot of people are not aware of the huge animal overpopulation problem in our nation, so there are thousands of dogs waiting in shelters to be adopted. The benefit of adopting is that you’re saving a life, and the money that you are giving for an adoption fee helps the rescues continue to save more dogs. As opposed to buying, if you haven’t done your research and you don’t know 150 percent that you’re buying from a ‘reputable breeder,’ you could be putting money back into the pocket of somebody who has hundreds of animals caged just so they can pump out cute puppies that are sold to pet stores.
“Many times those dogs are living in deplorable conditions–dogs who never feel grass under their feet, never feel human affection, never get a proper grooming, severe infections and are bred literally until it’s incredibly dangerous. That cute puppy may come from a terrible place of animal torture and neglect. The money that you are giving that pet store or that ‘breeder’ is going right back into their pockets and it’s not benefiting the animals. It’s just continuing their cycle of neglect.
“Adopting also helps spread positive attitudes about rescue dogs. You might meet somebody and they might like your dogs and you’ll say, ‘Oh, I adopted and it was a great experience. My dog is beautiful and has all these wonderful traits,’ so it helps promote the positive aspects of adoption to others.”
Myth: “Rescue dogs always have behavioral issues.”
“I think the biggest myth is that people somehow think that rescue animals are broken or have behavioral problems, but the majority of them don’t. Any animal needs an adjustment period whether you get it from a pet store or adopt it, and they just need time to adapt to their new surroundings along with love and care. They are wonderful, loving and caring dogs.”
Myth: “I want a specific breed of dog or a puppy, but they’re never available at the shelter.”
“Not true, just do a little research. So many people say that they want a specific breed of dog. I understand that and I can guarantee that there is a rescue for every specific breed because people buy animals and then realize that they can’t keep them, so you have these ‘purebreds’ and mixed breeds that come through the shelters all the time. Petfinder.com is also a great search engine.
“Another popular myth is people want puppies but think they can’t find them in shelters. That’s not true at all. There are many litters born into rescue or puppies surrendered to rescue, so you can rescue any age or breed of dog with a little bit of time and research.”
Myth: “The adoption process can be too hectic.”
“Sometimes I think people can get turned off by the adoption process, but every clause in our adoption process is there for a reason. Specific life events have happened that cause us to be so thorough. 4 Luv of Dog considers these dogs our responsibility for probably the rest of their lives, so we want to make sure 100 percent that they’re going to safe environments–places that can continue to care for them for the rest of their lives and provide proper medical care, shelter, and will treat them as a family pet as opposed to putting them on a family chain in the backyard and seeing them once a week. The adoption process is not hectic when you understand the importance of the steps.”
I want to foster dogs. What is required of me?
“Fostering is free. We pay for absolutely everything. The rescue pays for the food, all the medical expenses, the crates, veterinary expensive, boarding and anything else the animal might need while in your care. We are in constant communication with the fosters. Your biggest responsibility is the emotional one, because we want them to have a safe and loving home. If you’re fostering then you’re mostly approved for adoption, but people fostering have to understand that you can’t just decide you want to keep a dog. You have to let the rescue know early on that you may be interested in adopting so you don’t pull the rug out from another potential adopter who’s waiting for an animal and we have to tell them ‘never mind.’ You can absolutely foster to adopt, you just have to let us know.
“We’re always in need of fostering and you’re never trapped into your foster dog. That means we do our best to provide you with the best foster placement, but if for some reason you can’t continue fostering that dog, you are not strapped to that dog. We can take the dog back and find an appropriate foster home.”
How can I properly acquaint new pets with other animals or new situations?
“As far as introducing dogs to new situations, a new home or other pets, you want to do very slow introductions. Dogs are very similar to people in the fact that we don’t like everybody, and some people think that dogs are some magical Disney creatures and they all love each other, but they have emotions that are very similar to us. Some dogs hit it right off the bat, but don’t anticipate that. Expect at least a two-to-three-week adjustment period where you’re making sure that that dog has a quiet area, they’re not constantly in the mix of things, you’re taking them off your property for walks and doing short training sessions to build that trust with them. Training really is about positive reinforcement and trust with an animal, not about dominating them.”
Do you have any tips when it comes to breaking bad habits in dogs?
“As far as breaking bad habits, I like to get away from the term ‘breaking.’ It’s focusing on the good. I think the biggest disconnect in people working with their dogs is the misconception of how dogs think and how they want to be worked with. Focus on the positives and ask them to do something that’s appropriate instead and pay them for their good behavior. Use positive reinforcement, give them a treat or affection and let them know what you like as opposed to telling them what you don’t like all the time. Show them what you want and set them up to succeed as opposed to setting them up to fail.”
4 Luv of Dog Rescue
CATS Cradle Shelter
CATS Cradle is a no-kill shelter for rescued cats and kittens, where animals are cared for by a core group of shelter volunteers. The shelter rescues cats from the Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead pounds as well as abandoned animals brought in by the public, so that they can protect cats and find loving, lifelong homes for them. They also work to prevent abuse, neglect and cruelty of animals.
CATS Cradle executive director and co-founder Gail Ventzke with the famous Corky.
Executive director and co-founder Gail Ventzke stressed the importance of adoption and the shelter’s role in the community.
What are the benefits of adopting cats versus buying from a pet store?
“When you adopt, not only are you saving one cat, you’re saving two because the cat that you adopt opens up another spot for another one that can be rescued. So by adopting, you’re actually saving more lives and stopping animals from being euthanized at the pounds. When we started the shelter in 2012 there was somewhere between 400-600 adoptable cats being euthanized a year in the three pounds. For some reason, cats are disposable and have a low reclaim rate when they get to the pound.
“The reason we focus on cats is because we feel they need the biggest voice because so many were being euthanized. Throughout the years, that number virtually went to zero and only two adoptable cats were euthanized in the Fargo pound, but none otherwise since our opening. Two cats in five-and-a-half years. We feel that we have made a big contribution to the cat community and we couldn’t do it without the help of the local pound staff and our relationship with Homeward Animal Shelter.
“If you’re getting a cat from a backyard breeder or pet store, you’re looking at spending a lot of extra money medically. The animals from those places won’t get the same type of medical attention that ours do. Some clinic rates are higher than others, so you have to do your homework. You could pay $85-100 for a kitten that has had absolutely nothing and you’re responsible for all of the rest when it comes to getting neutered, testing or chipped. At CATS Cradle you’ll pay $109.77 plus tax and you’ll get a fully vetted cat. You’re getting a pretty good deal when you rescue.”
Is the adoption process difficult?
“Adopting a cat or an animal is not as hard as people think it is. Our goal is to find forever homes and finding great matches. You have to make sure you are committed, because this is a living, breathing thing. It’s not a toy. So if you’re looking at kittens because they’re cute, fluffy and adorable, realize that this is going to be a 10-pound cat when it grows up and it’s not going to have the same personality. Kittens can be challenging because they’re like children and you have to teach them. It’s important to us to make sure that clients have really thought it through and are ready to make a commitment.
“Another challenge is apartments, so make sure you know the regulations. I call every single landlord, because I don’t want to send a cat home and have a client be at risk for eviction because they didn’t go through the proper channels. We also have a no-declaw policy at CATS Cradle. We will not allow anybody to declaw our cats because it causes behavioral and health issues. We don’t want to set our cats up to fail, so something we ask as well is if a housing unit requires declawing. If for some reason they do, many will allow cats to have little nail caps (softpaws) so they can’t damage anything.”
Myth: “Shelter and rescue cats aren’t the healthiest.”
“If you look at the statistics with puppy mills or backyard breeders, they don’t get the vetting care that our animals do. Most puppy mills will do a de-wormer and send them off to their new home and leave it up to the owner. To be honest, that can be a crapshoot because you don’t know if the owner is going to follow through.
“At CATS Cradle, we provide all the supportive care and every cat that comes in gest tested for feline Leukemia and feline AIDS. We have a veterinarian from Sheldon, North Dakota, who comes in on a regular basis to do check-ups and treatments. We vaccinate for distemper and rabies, we do multiple de-worming treatments, micro-chipping, spaying and neutering. Everybody is fully vetted when they go out and anything that comes up during our time of fostering or their time at the shelter gets taken care of as well. They get quarantined for the first seven to 14 days depending on what’s going on with them and they do get a lot of medical attention and diagnostics. You’re not going to get any of that in a backyard breeder or a pet store. With those, you would maybe get the bare minimum or even nothing. Our cats also live community style, meaning they don’t live in cages beyond their quarantine period.”
I’m worried about a new cat clawing my furniture. What are some tips to prevent that?
“Providing enough of the right type of scratching apparatus. I had a call one time and a guy said his cat was scratching the carpet, but he also had a cat tree. The first question I asked him was what the cat tree made out of, and he said it was carpet. So the cat thought it was okay to scratch the carpet on the cat tree but didn’t differentiate the other carpet he’s not supposed to scratch.
“Getting the right tools to start with is probably the most important. We also have a ton of information on our website when it comes to training cats not to claw things.”
What are my other options if I’m unsure about committing to adoption?
“Aside from fostering, you have the option to visit with the cats during our social hours. Cats are great therapy pets, so there are times that we allow people to come in and visit.
“Maybe you’re allergic to cats and can’t have one but you still want your kids to be exposed to them, or maybe you’re a college student who misses their pet back home and really wants a kitten fix. Those are the types of things the social hours are great for. We offer that on Tuesdays from 7-7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 5-5:30 p.m., but you can always call ahead and see if you’re able to come in earlier.”
If I want to foster a cat, what is required?
“We always need new fosters. Fostering is absolutely free and the shelter takes care of anything the animal may need while it is in your care. All we ask is that you provide love and a roof over their head. It’s a pretty easy thing to do and you are not committed to a certain amount of time with a foster animal.
“For adoption, we don’t require a separate room in your house, but for fosters we require that you have a separate room in your house to put them in. We ask that you do not integrate them with other cats until they are through their quarantine period, and we want your current animals to be up to date on their vaccinations. You can foster to adopt, but it’s not something we encourage unless it’s a very special situation.”
If I want a kitten, what is the youngest I can adopt or foster?
“Some places adopt kittens out at 8 weeks but we do not. We do make some exceptions if it’s the right situation. Between 8 and 12 weeks old is a crucial time for development. We feel it’s really important to keep them with their mom and siblings until 12 weeks because there’s a lot of behavioral development and discipline that’s learned.”
CATS Cradle Shelter
9 9th St. S, Fargo
Dr. Melissa Schlader at the West Fargo Animal Hospital has been a veterinarian for 11 years and has spent most of her professional career catering to animals in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
Dr. Melissa Schlader of West Fargo Animal Hospital
The West Fargo Animal Hospital is a full-service veterinary medical facility that seeks to provide the best possible care for cats and dogs all over the region, and strives to promote responsible pet ownership and preventative health care for clients. Dr. Schlader was able to answer popular questions when it comes to common health issues in pets.
I’m curious about making my own pet food. Is there anything I should look out for?
“I’m a little bit cautious with that just because in general, you have to make sure they’re getting their complete nutrition. If they have a special consideration, working with a vet or nutritionist is a good idea. There are board-certified nutritionists that can help you get the complete nutrition they need. Check with someone like that.
“I would be a little nervous about just going online and making your own without having some consultation. There are definitely times that a homemade diet, with things like allergies or certain diseases, would be a consideration, but for most animals there’s something over-the-counter or prescription that works well.”
Aside from chocolate being one of the most obvious things my pet shouldn’t eat, is there anything else they should avoid eating?
“Foods that can be toxic to pets definitely includes chocolate but also alcohol, avocados, caffeine, fruit pits, grapes, raisins, hops (and beer), macadamia nuts, milk, raw or undercooked meat and bones, eggs, onions, garlic, chives, yeast dough and salt. Another thing is a sweetener called Xylitol, which is found in many items, but I feel like one thing we commonly see it being a problem with is sugar-free gum.”
Allergy medication can sometimes be expensive. Are there any holistic methods for my pet to get relief?
“If it’s something seasonal–this time of year we see a lot of allergy flare–something as easy as wiping their paws off with a baby wipe every time they go outside to get rid of those allergens and pollens can help a lot. It’s hard to say. Again, I would consult with someone before you try holistic methods. Sometimes there are over-the-counter antihistamines and products that are okay, but I hate to say that certain things work for every dog because they’re all different.”
What are some good ways to help my pet combat ticks and fleas?
“I definitely recommend having a system on board. We generally recommend using a product year-round. Most of the products are applied monthly but some can be spread out every three months. A product given monthly, especially for ticks this time of year, is a good idea because we see a lot of tick-borne illnesses that can be serious. Getting a prescription from your vet instead of over-the-counter is a good idea because there are a lot of counterfeit or knock-off products that you can get through online sources and pet stores, and those can cause more toxicity to the dog. Just be sure it’s vet recommended.”
Do you have any tips for keeping my pet safe during different seasons?
“In the summer, we’ll see dogs that can get overheated pretty easily, especially the short-faced dogs like pugs, who are especially at risk because they can’t pant as efficiently and regulate their temperature. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, provide fresh water, and make sure they’re not burning their footpads on hot asphalt.
“Of course, don’t leave them in a hot car. With the start of lake season, also people forget that they haven’t been exercising their dog at all during the winter, then all of a sudden they just go out and go crazy for the day, or they run more than they’ve run in months, then their dogs get stiff and sore and they’re very tired. Realize that our dogs can get out of shape, too. Some people can overdo it and get in a panic about what’s wrong, but the dog is just really tired. It’s also common sense that Fargo is pretty brutal in the winter. Make sure your pet has short times outside, and keep watch on their paw pads because they can be affected by the salts and chemicals used to put on the sidewalk in the winter.”
What should I know about caring for animals with anxiety or my mental health in regards to how it affects my pet?
“I think pets can feed off of your emotions, but it doesn’t mean your pet is going to act like you. We do see a lot of anxiety, especially after a big move, a new baby in the house or other big life changes. You can definitely see changes in anxieties and behavior with pets and it differs with each animal. Usually it’s always an anxiety that has always been there but it can escalate in different situations. There are prescription medications to help with it, or you can also buy ThunderShirts (animal anxiety vest), pheromone products, special collars or sprays that have a naturally calming feel to them. Those alone can make a big difference.”
If I plan to travel with my pet, what’s the best way to make sure they’re comfortable in the car?
“Try to get your pet acclimated to cars, especially cats, because the only time they’re in a car is to come to the vet, and then they’re completely stressed out when they do have to do it. Have them acclimated, but I’m not saying to just take them in the car every time you go somewhere. Have the kennel out, try using pheromone sprays before you go to calm them, have them accustomed to being in the kennel and then you can start on rides around the block. That way they can get more adjusted before you’re going multiple hours away at a time.”
If I’m a new pet owner or looking into getting an animal, what’s the next step once I actually have my animal?
“There’s always that initial examination to make sure they’re healthy and to answer any questions for the owner. We’ll set up a vaccination and deworming schedule. From there, we talk about training and puppy school is always recommended. Getting that initial visit to make sure things are going well is probably the biggest thing. There are usually three to four visits when they’re a puppy or kitty, then there’s spaying and neutering that has to be done as well. It’s not just a one-time visit and you’re good for years. We have to continue seeing them multiple times while they’re young. Microchipping is also a great idea and we do that here. I recommend it, because it’s an extra way to identify your animal, especially if their collar gets lost, and it’s permanent identification just under the skin between the shoulder blades that’s read with a microchip reader.
“My advice is to try and prepare yourself in all ways for everything that is involved for having a pet, including finances. Some people don’t calculate in the costs that come with maintaining the health of your animal, especially when they’re young. When it comes to animals outside of cats and dogs, definitely do your research. When it comes to animals such as rabbits, turtles, ferrets, hamsters or things like that, it seems like a lot of times people get pets for their children in those situations. Just know that it’s not always going to be the children taking care of them. Do your homework as far as what’s needed for care, feeding, accommodation and making sure what you’re getting yourself into.”
West Fargo Animal Hospital
816 Meyer Drive, West Fargo
Red River North Dog Obedience Club has been working with animals in the community for over 20 years. This club is volunteer-led and licensed by the AKC (American Kennel Club) with a goal to help dogs of any breed be good fits for the community and good companions at home. With a progressive class system, dogs of all ages and types are always welcome no matter what level of training they’re at. Trainer Lavonne Marubbio has spent much of her lifetime working with dogs, and has heaps of advice when it comes to the importance of getting your pup enrolled in proper training.
How early can I start my puppy in training classes?
“They can come in at 8 weeks old and we can take them up to 4 to 6 months. We find that with the toy breeds and other dogs that are extremely shy, you have to let them into Puppy Kindergarten up until about a year. We’ve got a progressive system where Puppy Kindergarten feeds into a class called Jump Start, which is a transitional class for the pups that are too young for the basic obedience class but they’re done with the puppy class.
“Most of the time, 8 to 9 weeks is a good time to adopt a puppy. It’s also a good time to bond and change their allegiance from their littermates and their mother to a family. Eight weeks to 3 months old is a good time period. Even though they’re young and you know that you might not be able to train them with everything in the beginning, it’s important to get them used to being in different situations. You need to get them used to meeting different people and socializing with different dogs early on.”
What’s the most important training method for pet owners to take away from the classes?
“You’ll find that what you do with a puppy may be very different than the way you’d start training with an adult dog.The puppy class is very gentle–no prong collars, no harsh corrections and we use positive training methods. The positive methods are when you see the dog doing something you don’t want it to do, you try to distract it or redirect it to something that it should be doing.
“Instead of saying ‘no’ to your dog all the time you say something different. If they’re biting you, let them know that it hurts and give them something else they can chew. Recognize that with puppies, biting and chewing drives us crazy the first six months but stops when they get their adult teeth. All of these problems are geared toward their developmental stage and we recognize those in each level of classes.
“The more positive you are with reinforcement and introducing those things to the puppy, they’re less likely to become fearful or develop problems with behavior. Patience is probably the most important characteristic that you as the owner need, and to remember not to overreact. Be respectful of your animal, because just like humans, there are times when they don’t want interaction.”
What does the average Puppy Kindergarten class entail?
“In the course of an evening’s class, we’ll get them out on the floor for some exercise. We want them to come out of the seven-week session knowing how to sit, go down, to stay, to wait at a door or gate and not barge through and to come when they’re called. Those are the very basic things that we teach them. The first few minutes of each class is devoted to that kind of educational training. We also encourage families to participate in the class so that training is consistent with all family members throughout the pup’s development.
“We try to emphasize that it’s not just a playtime for the puppies and we want to make sure that people know what they’re doing with their puppy. We try to help the people who come in and perhaps have the wrong dog for their family, and help them find a way to integrate this dog or puppy into their household, into their family and into their circle of friends. It boils down to basic training and being respectful of the dog at all stages in its life.”
What’s the best way to integrate a new dog into my household, especially if I have already another animal?
“Don’t assume that they’re going to be friendly at the beginning. Do it gradually. Usually it’s best to introduce the dogs on neutral ground, not in your own house. Bring the existing dog out to meet the puppy some place like park or out on the lawn, a place that’s not the older dog’s territory, and let them interact a little bit.
“Giving the dog a place of it’s own, like a room or crate, is one of the best tools that has been developed as far as getting dogs integrated into households. It’s a place of their own. Let them be protective of that and respect their privacy. They all need that until they can learn to trust you.”
How does my emotional health affect the development of my pet?
“Dogs and cats pick up on our anxiety. If we’re stressed or feeling troubled, they know it right away. It either throws them for a loop or they become very caring and can try to be your nurse. If you’re extremely nervous as a person, or your behavior is really erratic, that can be really frightening to pets. If they’re introduced to you from an abusive situation, you may have a long hard time getting that dog willing to accept you and trust you.
“If you have stressful times in your family like divorce, moving or death, animals will pick up on that. They will either stay away from you because of the aromas and oras you give off during hard times, or they’ll feel they have to take care of you. Our behavior and our attitude toward our animals really does affect the way they develop. That’s one of the reasons why much of the dog training world has now gone to very positive methods of training, and not using harsh methods of correction like shock collars.”
Do you have any advice on selecting the right breed for my lifestyle?
“We find that one of the problems in every class is the impulse buy. Don’t just get a dog because it looks cute, because it might not be the best fit for your family.
“If it were an elderly couple, you wouldn’t want a high-activity border collie, for instance. If there are frail members of the family, you don’t want a big dog that will take down grandma and break her hip. If there are children, you’ll want a dog that’s more quiet and calm that can maybe be a nana for the kids, but maybe not a pitbull. There are lots of breeds that are very protective–German shepherds are very good with children and good family dogs, but they tend to be protective to one family. The dogs that are herders, the shelties or the collies, will sometimes try to chase and herd, so if kids are running they could get in there and do what they would do with sheep or cattle and that’s nip at the ankles to get them to move.
“You need to do some basic research before they make the commitment, because it is a huge commitment. The AKC (American Kennel Club) has a great directory of information on all the breeds. We tell everyone that this is a commitment for the life of the dog, and it’s your responsibility to take care of this dog, to make sure it’s healthy, well fed, well socialized and can enjoy life.”
Red River North Dog Obedience Club
2202 3rd Ave. N, Fargo
Downtown Fargo’s Hotdog! Pet Salon will have your pup feeling like a star and even looking forward to coming back for their next hair cut or nail trim. This salon is a full-service grooming shop that offers standard breed cuts and treatments, creative styling (in case your pooch wants a colorful coat), uses all-natural grooming products and sells unique, handmade pet wares and products.
Cristen Voeltz, owner and operator of Hotdog! Pet Salon
Owner and operator Cristen Voeltz has been grooming for 11 years and opened the salon five years ago, so she gave us a few tips for making sure your pet stays healthy while looking and feeling its best.
How does grooming differ with the seasons?
“This time of year, it surprises people, but we book almost two months out. In the summer you really have to plan ahead because dogs do get hot, and then there are lake dogs that can need extra grooming. Shorter hair this time of year can also help with ticks too. When it comes to fleas and ticks, we’re seeing some spot-on treatments that aren’t working as much as they used to so oral treatments from your vet are probably best.
“In the winter, a lot of people do think that dogs need their coat length to stay warm, but matting can occur, especially with snow if their coat is wet. They are prone to matting and mattes do not keep them warm because there is no airflow under the skin, so it’s just as important to have them regularly groomed during the winter months.”
What do you recommend for new dog or puppy owners when it comes to grooming?
“A lot of people are getting new puppies this time of year and the sooner you can start them on a grooming regimen, the better. Start them young at 8 weeks and up. It’s really good to get them used to the grooming processes even if they’re not getting full haircuts all the time.”
How can I help reduce my pet’s shedding?
“Spring and early summer is when we probably do the most of our low-shed package because dogs are blowing their coat and such. We use a special de-shed shampoo, then there’s a solution that goes on the coat that sits on for a few minutes and it helps pull out dead hair and it strengthens the hair follicles. For keeping shedding at bay, I’d recommend something like that every four to six weeks. We also use a few different types of brushes and do a lot of extra brushing for them.”
Brushing my pets’ teeth can be a real pain. Is there anything to make the process easier?
“Most people don’t realize that they have to do it in the first place, but it should be done a few times a week because it’s so important. There are nice things out there such as water additives and actually, a lot of toothpastes for dogs and cats are enzymatic, so as long as it gets in the mouth it works with their saliva and you don’t have to brush like you would our teeth.”
What do you recommend when it comes to finding the right place for my dog?
“I certainly recommend visiting a groomer first and finding a place that smells and looks clean. I know that we have dogs here all day and we have a lot of dog hair, but it really should be clean. Feel free to watch and see how they handle and interact with pets. There are a lot of good groomers, but there are some that can rush through things and if the dog is nervous, they wouldn’t benefit much from it.
“Talk with your groomer to get options for your dog. For example, if they like a fluffier coat, that takes a lot more maintenance and they need to come in more, and then there’s a lot of brushing at home and we can show them how. If they’re okay with a shorter cut, that’s usually a lot less maintenance but people tend to learn the hard way that if they want a fluffy dog, they can be a lot of work.”
Do you ever hear any misconceptions about groomers?
“Most people think we ‘play with puppies all day,’ but our jobs are very physically and mentally demanding. Grooming requires copious amounts of patience, knowledge of standard breed cuts and skills with managing various coat types. Plus, you have to really know how to read animals. Do we try to squeeze in some fun cuddle time with each pet? You bet! We definitely feel lucky to work with animals every day, even if it isn’t always easy.”
What sets Hotdog! Pet Salon apart from other groomers?
“We really focus on one-on-one interactions with the dogs, so we groom the dogs all the way through rather than having them sitting for hours waiting to get groomed and seen.
“A lot of places are different where they’ll take multiple dogs in at once and then get to them as they get to them, but we’re about treating animals with respect and know that they can be nervous coming in, so we try to make it as stress-free as possible. We’re full service and we do a lot of de-shedding baths this time of year as well as treatments for nails, teeth brushing and all types of breed cuts.”
Hotdog! Pet Salon
629 1st Ave. N, Fargo
What is dogIDs?
dogIDs is a Fargo-based e-commerce company that focuses on personalized products for dogs such as tags, collars, leashes, pet beds, bowls and other various accessories. All of the products are made right in their Downtown Fargo location and they specialize in using U.S.A.-made materials and laser-engraved plates, giving the products a lifetime guarantee. The company has an international clientele with a strong market in the U.S. and Canada alone.
CEO and founder Clint Howitz started the company in 2005 online, but it wasn’t until 2010 when he began hiring staff and finally took the company out of his basement to make it even more of a reality. The collar that really started it all is Howtiz’s invention of the ScruffTag collar, a collar with a tag that sits on the back of the dog’s neck right on their scruff. It makes the tag easy to read and if a dog is lost but someone is scared to come up to the dog, they can stand back and still easily read the tag for the owner’s information rather than trying to reach under the dog’s neck for tags. Plus, there’s no jingling.
Why is dogIDs important?
As an active supporter of the local entrepreneurial community with a strong love of animal welfare, this company goes beyond just making specialized pup products. “We put a strong emphasis on supporting the do-gooders in the industry. Rescues and other dog organizations out there–we do whatever we can do support them. That’s really our driving force, is that we really want to make an impact and make changes happen for dogs everywhere,” said Howitz.
Marketing manager Hannah Savoy explained their Sponsor.Dog program through their website, which allows anyone to send products to shelter dogs in need with a percentage of the purchase proceeds going back to the rescue. At checkout on the dogIDs website, you can also donate to dog-related nonprofits through their Paw It Forward program. The company selects an organization each quarter and matches part of the donations made up to $1,000 each month for the selected partner. By supporting dogIDs, you’re helping the lives of dogs everywhere.
“The motto is that we’re here to improve the lives of dogs, so it’s our goal that we’re always making the best for our best friends. A big statistic that we kind of run by is that one in every three lost dogs isn’t returned home, so our goal is to make that number obsolete and make sure every pet gets home with the proper identification,” said Savoy.
Howitz also stated that he’s working on another company called Second Wag, a nonprofit organization that will be “part foundation, part crowd funding and part nonprofit marketplace.” One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to dog organizations, and Howitz said he plans to have everything live before Christmas.
“Say that a dog has been diagnosed with cancer and the family doesn’t really have the money for it. There are a lot of vets that will do things at a discount rate or set up payment plans and stuff like that, and they have little networks around them that help pay for costs,” said Howitz. “There are all these little pockets around the country that do this stuff, but not one central place where everybody can go to get stuff done. Second Wag will be a place for families and dogs in need to go and connect with people who want to help them. The main thing will be the connecting part of it and the network behind everything, to connect those people and dogs who need help with the people who want to help.”
Products are purchased through the website, but the company welcomes anyone to their office to view samples and have questions answered.
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dogIDs Product Peek
1. Embroidered Nylon Collars
2. Leather Designer Collars – Made by artisan partners with name plates made by dogIDs.
3. ScruffTag Collars – Waterproof, odor resistant, soft-grip material, laser-engraved. Also comes in reflective, camo, leather and glow-in-the-dark.
4. Martingale Collar – Fleece-lined embroidered collar. Great for dogs who tend to pull.
5. Embroidered Nylon Leash (bottom) and Soft-Grip Leash (top) – Same soft-grip material as the ScruffTag Collars, waterproof, odor resistant.