A man once asked, “Who let the dogs out?” We counter his question with another question, “Why would you not let the dogs out?” In Boulder County and the North Metro area, there are so many options—from dog parks to equestrian centers—to let our pets run amok. Why not let the kittens have their nip and the puppies have their chow? Why not let them out to play? Read on, YS tells you how.
Do you know which animal each letter represents? To win a pet-related prize (no ponies, sorry), post a comment below identifying all the animals on the letters above. The person who correctly guesses the most will be showered with prizes and acclaim. Remember, W is for winner.
We have a winner! Here are the correct answers: Armadillo, Butterfly, Chicken, Duck, Elephant, Ferret, Goat, Horse, Iguana, Jellyfish, Kangaroo, Lion, Moose, Newt, Owl, Pig, Queen Bee, Reptile, Snake, Trout, Urchin, Vulture, Whale, Xiphias (swordfish), Yak, Zebra
is for Adventure Hikes
Chris McCandless calls what he does, “Putting working dogs back to work.” McCandless, owner of the Healthy Bone in Erie, considers his store to be a one-stop-shop for all things dog-related, but he specializes in off-leash romps during which dogs swim, do field work and socialize in packs. His daily adventure hikes help canines with anxiety or behavioral issues, exercising their bodies and minds and providing them with a social outlet. He has a variety of groups and it usually takes dogs a few weeks before they get acclimated to the adventure. “Their owners are people who work 9 to 5 and they love their animals, they just don’t have time to do this,” he said. “They bring them to me and I help them get back to being a dog.” thehealthybone.com
is for Breeds
“You can’t exchange your dog if it’s the wrong color,” says Joel Silverman, host of Animal Planet’s Good Dog U. That’s the inspiration for his book What Color is Your Dog?, in which he identifies dog personalities by color. He says there’s personality consistency within breeds. For families, he suggests a golden retriever or lab. Outdoorsmen should look for energetic Australian shepherds or border collies. Those who want a mellow dog should look for a St. Bernard or even a greyhound. His favorite? “I’m a mutt guy.”
is for Chickens
Eco-hipsters and city councils continue to flap their wings over bringing fowl play into urban areas. Chickens have become divisive in places like Longmont, which allows limited residents to own them. Amy Gates, Longmont Urban Hen Coalition founder, says chickens are an extension of a garden. “In addition to the eggs, I like that chickens eat table scraps and make great compost,” she said. “My kids love chickens and I think owning a few would be a great learning experience for them.” While she has a permit, she’s waiting to move before getting her coop up and clucking.
is for Differently-abled Dogs
Their “pawrents” call them “tripawds;” we call them the area’s three-legged canine club. In August, almost 30 different doggie amputees made their way to a Longmont dog park for the first official gathering of the Tripawds. Pawrents came from as far as Kansas to celebrate life with one less paw to worry about. More tripawd events to come. tripawds.com
is for Exercise
Sure, your backyard is great, but your dog needs to frolic with other canines once in a while. Coloradodogparks.com is a great resource. Here are a few of our favorites: East Boulder Dog Park, 5660 Sioux Dr., Boulder; The Great Bark, 597 N. 119th St., Lafayette; Union Reservoir, 461 CR 26, Longmont; Louisville Dog Park, McCaslin and Washington Blvd., Louisville; Happy Trails Dog Park, Irma Drive and E. 105th Place, Northglenn.
is for Ferrets
If you own a ferret, the thing you hear is, “Ferrets? Don’t they smell?” Again and again. Truth is, ferrets have a natural musky odor. It usually lightens when they are neutered, and their scent glands can be removed, though it’s not recommended. Routine shampooing helps, but excessive bathing can up the smell. Best bet is to keep the ferret’s bedding clean and diet healthy. Check out Marshall’s Ferret Spritz. Owners should come to terms with a ferret’s smell. The first step is admitting you have a problem.
is for Getting Cozy
Just admit it, your cat is the king of your castle. All he needs is a throne. Check out Longmont’s Feline Fanatics, which makes all sorts of kitty furniture. From small and cozy to towers that put your cat seven feet in the air, these pet perches are the type of luxury that your cat never knew was possible. felinefanatics.com
is for Hotels
On vacation, you get a deluxe suite with king-size and ocean views; your pet, on the other hand, just gets lonely. Never fear, here are a few local pet hotels: Dog City, Boulder, 303.651.9963, dogcityboulder.com; Dog T.A.G., Superior, 720.317.8414, dogtagco.com; Cottonwood Kennels, Boulder, 303.442.2602, cottonwoodkennels.com; Bar Car Acres Pet Resort, Weld County, 303.678.1371, barcaracres.com; Bowhaus Dog Daycare & Boarding, Erie, 303.828.4989, bowhaus.biz.
is for Illegal
Each municipality is allowed to regulate which animals its residents can keep. Some cities have lengthy lists that get very specific while others keep it general. Boulder’s city code makes it clear that “no person shall place on public display, own, or keep” elephants, seals, sea lions, dolphins or sea otters; anteaters, sloths, or armadillos; marsupials, monkeys and ungulates, including deer, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, giraffes, and camels but not including domesticated species. Broomfield’s code says its unlawful to harbor livestock, including burros and turkeys, as well as exotic, endangered or dangerous animals like orangutans, wolverines or porcupines. In Dacono, a household can have three dogs, six rabbits, one goat and three ferrets…but no roosters.
is for Jumping
Rare is a child who doesn’t want a pony. But ponies and horses are not the most affordable of pets. The initial purchase is just the beginning. Boarding, grooming, visits from the farrier and vet—having a horse can be thousands of dollars annually and a seven-day-a-week commitment. But there are pay offs. “It’s really fun and rewarding. It’s great exercise,” said Lauren Whitmarsh, manager at A Rising Star Equestrian Center in Arvada. While a kid might not have the cash to finance a horse hobby, they might come back to it. “We get a lot of people who had horse experiences from childhood,” she said, “and want to get back into it.”
is for Kitty
Kitty is a two-year-old domestic shorthair mix. To adopt a kitty like Kitty, visit the Longmont Human Society. longmonthumane.org
is for Lion’s Cut
Sending a cat to a groomer is foreign to some, but it helps keep your cat tidy, cool and hair-ball free. A lion’s cut will maintain length at your feline’s tail, lower legs and mane… hence the term “lion’s cut.” We like Paws and Claws in Longmont (1023 Main St., 303.678.8200) or try out Bark Me Beautiful in Longmont (303.776.0332) and The Little Groomer in Louisville (303.666.0545).
is for Memories
It’s not easy capturing a cubicle-worthy image of Rover. “Pet photo sessions can be chaos,” laughs Erick Danzer of Erick Danzer Photography (danzerphotography.com). He advises taking dogs for walks prior, or getting a friend to comfort them and then step out of the shot. Lighting is key. “Find a place in your living room, on a chair, and move lights near and take the shades off,” he said. “It’ll look artificially bright, but it’ll be great on camera.” Use props and remove distracting elements. Try to get close-up, or shoot pets when they’re napping or on a walk. “Just take a ton of photos,” he said.
is for Natural Food
Yards from Whole Foods’ pet aisle sits Whole Pets, filled with natural pet products, and Only Natural Pet Store, also filled with natural pet products. Spot the trend? The natural pet products market is blowing up, topping $1 billion this year. That’s good for Lauren Zimmerman, who owns Colorado Pet Chef, which gets its recipes in small batches straight from the manufacturer, making it really fresh; it’s all natural, no fillers. “Consumers are becoming more aware of what their pets mean to them and what it means to feed them,” she said. She saw a jump after the 2007 pet food recalls. coloradopetchef.com
“We should set up a play date. We can bring the dogs too.”
“What a gorgeous animal…I wasn’t talking about your dog.”
“So, does your dog have a phone number?”
“Can I pet you? …Er, I mean, can I pet him?”
is for Q&A
Pet professionals get a lot of questions…and a lot of the same questions over and over. We asked experts about common questions they get most…and the answers.
Q. How do you potty train?
A. “The biggest mistake people make with potty training is that they give their dog too much space—too soon, too fast. You have to teach your dog that freedom and space is earned, not given. Dominant dogs will naturally control space and their surroundings. So should you. Crate training is by far the best way to potty train your dog.”—Jennifer McCarthy, principal of The K-9 Ranch Training Center,
Q. How do I get my dog to stop doing XY and Z?
A. “We need to stop treating dogs like humans, because they are not. …When we start treating them like the dogs they are, it will get a lot easier.”—Chris McCandless, Healthy Bone
Q. Why does my dog eat grass?
A. “It’s been postulated that it’s because of a digestive issue or the animal is looking for fiber. But it’s a misperception that dogs are strict carnivores. …Researchers say some grasses have a good amount of water content and certain structural sugars that make the grass sweet. So, it probably just tastes good. It doesn’t mean your dog is deficient in something.”—Kevin Fitzgerald, Alameda East Veterinary Hospital
is for Reptiles
Snakes, lizards and turtles sit, slither, skulk and sit more. “If you want to go jogging, a turtle is not for you. If you want an animal to please you, reptiles will be a disappointment,” said Ann-Elizabeth Nash, executive director of Colorado Reptile Humane Society, which offers shelter, research, education and rehabilitation for dozens of species. “If you enjoy watching an animal just be that animal, reptiles might be good.” Even then, not every reptile is fit for petdom and not every turtle you find (whether it’s at PetSmart or in a backyard) should be put in a tank in your living room. “We want to encourage people to hit the pause button and do some research,” she said. “It’s really OK not to have a reptile.” With that said, bearded dragons and ball pythons are pretty people-friendly. CORHS now has reduced adoption fees on both. corhs.org
is for Spa
What’s the difference between your average pet groomer and a “spa?” Well, it just depends. Sometimes it’s luxury. Sometimes it’s deluxe services. Sometimes it’s ultra convenient, like Wagg-In Wheels Mobile Dog Grooming (wagg-in-wheels.com), which will come to your house. Also, check out The Spaw at Divine Canine in Louisville (divinecanine.net), The Paw Spa in Longmont (paw-spa.net) or the Dapper Dog Day Spa in Niwot (dapperdogdayspa.com), which offers bubble baths.
is for Utah
Utah is a 2-year-old terrier/pit bull mix. To adopt a dog like Utah, visit the Longmont Human Society. longmonthumane.org
is for Vet
These days, a vet is never just a vet. Kevin Fitzgerald, for example, is a former bouncer for the Rolling Stones, a star of Animal Planet’s reality show Emergency Vets, a comedian and a vet at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital. “The animals that go in the exam room don’t care that I’ve been on TV. TV shows don’t matter when the doors close,” he says. He calls veterinary medicine a “harsh mistress,” an ever-changing field that you must perfect everyday. He talks passionately about everything from animal obesity (“We overfeed and under-exercise”) to overpopulation (“It’s amazing that people still fail to neuter or spay their animals”). He even theorizes about pets’ role in our lives. “As we have become more urbanized and less in touch with nature, pets are now our connection to something more primal and something simpler,” he says. Add philosopher to his resume.
is for Washing
Gone are the days of washing Fido using the garden hose, your wife’s shampoo and a kiddie pool. Today, the DIY trend is self-service washes. Visit Struttin’ Pup in Lafayette, Happy Hounds in Longmont, Spawlash in Thornton, and Unleashed Ultimate Dog Center in Louisville.
is for Xenophilia
Past the jungle of car dealerships, strip malls and construction zones, through the ripened suburbia of Northglenn, and into an orderly by-level home, Larry and Annette Stone are talking about sugar gliders—an exotic, legalized and domesticated marsupial that has gained cult-like popularity as a pet. The Stones pleasantly interrupt each other as they talk facts and figures, diets and joeys, and the ins and outs of breeding.
A sugar glider is a teacup-sized marsupial native to Tasmania, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It’s nocturnal and can spread its tiny legs and use its patigium (gliding membrane) to sail through the air. The couple is among the best sugar glider breeders out there (they are ranked No. 2 on glidercentral.com), attracting people from across the country to their gliders. “We just let them breed naturally,” Annette says, standing in her living room amongst a sofa, recliner and roomy cages with sleeping animals (40 gliders and a couple of short-tailed possums).
The Stones have been breeding almost as long as the animals have been legal in Colorado. They’ll talk with buyers for hours before letting them even hold one of their “gorgeous babies,” and they aren’t opposed to turning away potential buyers. Mostly, it’s because gliders aren’t like hamsters; you can’t simply keep them in a cage and occasionally fill their water bowl. “You have to remember three things,” Annette says, looking at Larry. “You have to have time, patience and consistency,” he continues. “Consistency in everything you do. In your everyday habits, in their diet. You don’t make a lot of changes.” Gliders live 12 to 15 years, so it’s a true commitment. The Stones have pretty much written the book on gliders, and you can read that book at loveablepocketpets.com.
is for Yellow Scene Pets!
We love our pets just as much as you do, which means we want to show them off. Check out Yellow Scene staffers’ prides and joys (feel free to call us and ask us about them. Boy, do we have stories!). Email us your pet pictures and we’ll post them on our Flickr page: email@example.com
is for ZZZZZZ
The perfect pet to some people is a joyful retriever who’s just as happy playing in the backyard as hiking and camping. For others, it’s their loyal and soft-tempered cat. And still for others, the best pet would be one that does not make messes, or noises, or allergies flair. For the latter, check out perfectpetzzz.com, where you can find sleeping, non-shedding puppies and kitties that will do nothing but softly breathe. Batteries included. Plus, they are spayed and neutered (wink, wink).