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The Great Puppy Adventure!

By Tamara Low
Co-owner of Tail Blazers

Tamara & Bodhi

Getting ready for a new puppy felt a bit like preparing for an arrival of a human baby!

Buying puppy things, getting the home ready, and letting everyone know with so much excitement and anticipation. The excitement of counting down the days until his arrival was palpable! I had not had a puppy in 18 long years. Skylla was with us when we opened Tail Blazers in 2000. Kobe joined us in 2002. There has been foster dogs during that time, and then Nicky. Nicky has been with us for the last 5 years. He was around one when we met him. He is a very sweet and mellow couch potato – a greyhound/whippet rescue from Ireland. In the house he is the calmest dog that you can ever imagine. Maybe even too calm? It is sometimes easy to forget he is even there! He sleeps and lounges on the couch or bed all day, because that is what “grippets” do! 

The new arrival 

The little Brittany Dog with three names arrived at the Kelowna airport around 5pm on Aug 7th. He was the cutest thing ever! His tail was wagging so hard. He was so happy to see us, and us him! He slept on my son Chayton’s lap all the way home. We were very excited to introduce him to Nicky….

Nicky was interested in him for the first three minutes, then looked at me like “wait a second, what is going on, here?!?” In my mind, I was hoping that this meeting would be like two long lost friends, being reunited! Ha. That is not exactly what happened. 

From the get-go, the puppy was obsessed with jumping up on Nicky, wrapping his arms around his neck and biting his neck and face. Hmmm. His very own live stuffy toy! He definitely needed to learn boundaries, and Nicky was not helping him out much with this learning! He was relentless!

For the next few weeks of the new puppy adventure, I felt like a referee between the two. I even broke my toe, accidentally “surfing” down the stairs to stop an “incessant bugging attack” on Nicky. Oh boy! Thoughts of  “what did we do?!?” definitely crossed my mind! To say that this unbelievably cute little bundle of puppy was disruptive, wild, chaotic and rather Tasmanian devil-like, is an understatement. As someone that needs peace, quiet, and calm in my environment, it stretched me in a very large way! 

I was so excited to go for long, leisurely walks with him. At first, he froze and would not move. As time went on, the freezing turned to sled dog pulling. It was not so leisurely. 

I did not expect that the puppy biting would be at an Olympic champion level. This made just being with him and connecting with him a challenge. Snuggling with him was out of the picture, unless he was asleep! 

He just did not listen. Hundreds of times, I guided him  “off the bed”, and “off the couch.” He knew what I was asking, he just did not care. Up he went again…my overwhelm, and frustration was getting close to Olympic champion level as well. I can only imagine what his wild and high energy self was thinking. Probably something along the lines of  “you guys are so boring, LETS GO!!” 

As I write this, he is now 5.5 months old. I find myself going for much longer periods, not every three seconds anymore, checking where he is, what he is doing, what he is into. Most often, he is just sitting there being good, playing with a toy, and most often just laying peacefully, right beside Nicky! Wow! I am pleasantly relieved, so is my son, and so is Nicky. I was not the only one that he was too much for at first! 

Nicky & Bodhi

Our communication is getting clearer and there is so much less frustration on both sides.  The Tasmanian devil has left the building. I have to admit that for that, I am grateful! The stress and overwhelm has mostly cleared (leash walking still needs a lot attention), making way for many fun, enjoyable, and delightful moments. He is a sweet, beautiful, delightful soul! 

He makes my heart smile every time I look at him. I know that Nicky has embraced him as part of the family too. He busts the door open with his nose each morning, to see him. Before this, he was in no hurry to get out of bed. They can be found playing together regularly as well. 

We definitely got a higher energy dog than I would have wanted- that is a fact. A middle-aged rescue dog is where I was at. Animal rescue is very important to me! I mentioned that Nicky was calm in the house, this is true, but not when we leave the house. He is anxious and on high alert. He had a very traumatic first 6 months of his life, and we have had so many challenges and limitations with him, as a result. So, it was a must for us, that our second dog be balanced, trusting, playful and lighthearted. 

We searched for 7 months, for the perfect rescue- fit for each of us (that is a whole other story). That door was not to open, for whatever reason. Chayton really wanted to do agility and obedience training with a dog, and be able to take it all kinds of places, and have all kinds of fun adventures, and this door opened.

Chayton did his first puppy class with him. He is a very smart, driven and focused puppy! He has a deep level of wanting to understand and learn. There have been so many things learned, and adventures to be had already….

We look forward to so many amazing years, experiences and adventures together, with Bodhi Ezekiel Elliot (we don’t call him all of those names, its just his full name on his birth certificate – haha)!!


How To Add Extra Taurine To Your Pet’s Diet

Taurine is an amino acid that both dogs and cats require for health.  For cats, it is an essential amino acid because their bodies cannot synthesize it, so it must be acquired from the diet. Dogs however, can synthesize taurine from two other amino acids, methionine and cysteine (which are found in meat). For cats, taurine is necessary for brain, nerves, eyes, heart, digestion, immune function and fetal development. For dogs, taurine is needed for eyes, reproduction, bile acid (for fat digestion) and for healthy heart. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs and cats is associated with inadequate taurine levels.

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Humans! Raw Food! Bacteria! Oh My!

Tail Blazers was founded on sourcing and offering the most species appropriate diets available in the market.  We have always heavily promoted raw (meat/bone/organ-based) diets as the most species appropriate – what do wild canines and felines eat if not raw animal prey-based diets?  These are the most species appropriate for our domesticated dogs and cats as well.

One of the most common arguments against raw food diets is, you guessed it, BACTERIA and the dangers that those bugs can potentially pose to our pets and ourselves.  But, how harmful is bacteria in raw pet food, and food in general?  Is raw more dangerous?  Are humans really at risk? Continue reading

What Can Ketogenic Diets Mean for Your Companion Animal?

Many of you have probably heard about the recent “trendy” ketogenic (keto) weight loss diet for humans (a variation of this diet popped up in the last few decades as the Atkins Diet).  It is otherwise known as a Low Carbohydrate/High Fat/Adequate Protein diet or lifestyle.  The ketogenic diet, as it is known today, was developed in the 1920s at the Mayo Clinic to treat epilepsy.  However, fasting, which mimics ketogenic-type diets, has been used by humans in attempts to treat illness since 500 B.C.

What is a ketogenic or “keto” diet?

The mammalian body (be it human, canine, feline, etc.) has two major metabolic pathways involved in energy production.  The body’s main two pathways use either glucose (sugar derived from carbohydrates, and in some cases protein/amino acids through a process called gluconeogenesis) or ketones (derived from fat) to power its cells.  We generally think of the glucose pathway as the “standard” pathway for bodies to derive energy.

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What sets Tail Blazers apart from the rest? What makes us unique?

Part 3 of 3
Part 1 focuses on Tail Blazers’ product research and screening processes…Read it here
Part 2 focuses on why we felt a need to create a health food store for pets…Read it here

In the previous two blogs, I have explained a bit about how Tail Blazers came to be, and our motivation and mission behind creating a health food store for dogs and cats. Now to analyze the question, “what makes Tail Blazers unique in the pet industry and what sets us apart from the rest?”

We are 100% completely and totally committed to providing THE healthiest, cleanest selection of food, treats and supplements available…this is what you can expect when you walk into a Tail Blazers store. Many pet food stores might offer healthy options, yet these options are interspersed amongst foods that contain harmful, toxic and unhealthy ingredients. This might be confusing to the consumer! Continue reading

Tail Blazers – Why did we feel the need to create a Health Food Store for Pets? Part 2 of 3

Part 1 focuses on Tail Blazers’ product research and screening processes…Read it here

Why did we feel the need to create a “Health Food Store for Pets”?

We opened our first store in Inglewood, Calgary in Nov of 2000. Our background was in the human health food industry and being animal lovers, opening up a health food store for dogs and cats was an extremely natural extension/passion for us. This was an extremely new concept at that time.

But why a store completely dedicated to pet health?

The overwhelming majority of commercial food options available for pets before 2000, were incredibly undesirable. It’s my opinion that the commercial pet food industry was banking on us staying uneducated and uninformed about this, Continue reading

Tail Blazers – Our Research and Screening Process – Part 1 of 3

Our Beginnings

Tamara Low and Brent Hauberg (with Skyla) in front of the 1st Tail Blazers in Inglewood in Calgary (2000).

Health and wellness is of utmost importance to us (as well as a healthy planet), and this naturally extends to all beings, including our animal companions. Our background, amongst many things, was in the human health food industry. In 2000, for numerous reasons, I set out to create a Health Food Store for Dogs and Cats.

It was so much fun and exciting to research products and create our first store! No one else that I knew of was doing what we were doing at that time. Our message and offerings were so out of the ordinary that people deeply wondered what we were doing, and why. I assure you, there were so few truly healthy, species appropriate foods for dogs and cats on the market in the year 2000. I searched high and low. So as you can imagine, the store, was a little bit sparse right at the beginning. We laugh about that now. How things have changed. This certainly is not the case, 18 years later….the stores are absolutely bursting at the seams with amazing, vibrant, life enhancing, creative and innovative products for dogs and cats!

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The Difference Between Freeze-Dried, Dehydrated and Raw Foods

DEHYDRATION

Dehydration is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. Dehydrated dog and cat food is generally processed at low heat for a long time to draw out or evaporate any moisture out of the food. Each of the dehydrated food companies that we carry use different methods and temperatures to achieve this. I outline this below. In my research there definitely seems to be more variation and uniqueness in the processes used to dehydrate than to freeze- dry pet foods.

Foods dehydrated at higher temperatures are not considered completely raw, but very lightly cooked as the moisture is removed. Cooking denatures many of these nutrients including delicate enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, affecting the nutrition of the product.

Dehydrated dog food is usually harder than freeze-dried food and takes longer to rehydrate.

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