No more waiting for their next walk !
Blog & News

August 29, 2013

Hilda’s Story, Reasons to Bring Your Kids up with Dogs

Hilda,  A Happy Ending

A beautiful Bull Mastiff named Hilda started going to daycare at Crate Escape in Belmont as soon as her puppy vaccinations were complete. From the beginning it was an interesting relationship; she has the most endearing expressions and goofy behavior;  everyone quickly fell in love. On the other side she was not always great with other dogs in daycare (which, btw, is what we are!)  In addition, taking on a mastiff puppy is not for everyone… and her caretakers’ efforts were short lived at best.

Over the next 3 years, through an intestinal illness and a torn ACL we basically cared for her.  In spring 2013 she tore the ACL in her 2nd  hind leg, which was crippling and had to be repaired. Her caretakers were done; they were not willing to do anything for her and even said the word ‘euthanize’, if no one took over her care.

First, she had to have surgery. Somehow her original owner appeared and offered to pay for the surgery.  The surgery was a success, and Hilda started a long road to recovery. We started posting flyers, with her stunning photo, to find her a home.  ‘Hilda’s Fan Page’ was set up on facebook. A couple of weeks later,  Stephanie and Bradley, who were part of Hilda’s life since she came to Crate, decided to take her to their home to give her more of a schedule and proper exercise.

Now, as many of you know, the Hastings pack = 2 jack russells, Ernie, who writes the blog with me, and Emmitt.  7.5lb. Sundance, completed the family. Based on those measurements, Hilda was like adding 5 dogs!  Luckily they are professional foster parents.  One week at a time, Hilda started improving. She got a special leg brace,  Bradley became her big fan, and Hilda totally took advantage of that love. Then Stephanie. She now tells endearing stories about her 4th – 9th child. We took the flyers down.

And the staff at Crate Escape? We have watched and celebrated a dog we all love  become part of a family, where she is honored and appreciated. She has a special place to sleep, a special diet and lots of one on one walks with Bradley.  She went to the beach this summer and will get to curl up in front of the fire this winter. This is how it’s supposed to be!


Researchers Find More Evidence of How Dogs Convey Allergy Resistance to Humans

from ‘Life With Dogs

Raleigh, North Carolina — Couples expecting babies may want to consider adding one more thing to that long list of must-haves before the babies arrive – a dog. It has been well-known for some time that children living in homes with one or more dogs are much less likely to have allergies. New research published in Plos One journal provides the answer to why that is true.

According to Dr. Rob Dunn of North Carolina State University and team members at the University of Colorado the answer lies in the fact that households with dogs have higher microbial loads than households without dogs.  It is these bacteria that seem to give babies the gift of an allergy-free life.

Dunn and his team were actually studying the variables influencing microbial ecosystems in homes. In other words, what makes a home have higher numbers of bacteria? They asked 40 families to swab down nine areas of their homes.. The largest variable is whether or not the home has a dog. In fact, homes with dogs are 700 times more likely to have bacteria normally found in soil than homes without dogs. Dunn has noted that the team can tell whether or not a home has a dog by looking at the dust found on the home’s linens or television screens. They found 7,726 phylotypes or kinds of bacteria. Each of the areas in the home they sampled had its own unique group of bacteria.

In this case, having bacteria around the home is a good thing. While there is no known “smoking gun” of a direct causal link between a dog presence and the absence of allergies, it has been suggested that the mother’s exposure to a broader variety of microbes is the difference between a child having or not having allergies later in life. The problem was that there was little documentation of microbial populations. The study’s authors are careful to note that their work does not demonstrate a direct causal link but it does give more evidence on the part the bacteria play.

Ernestine, Wrap it Up!

Hilda took all my space- which she always does at home too! (kidding)  I have been a very good alpha girl this week; Sundance and I went to the vet-  Sunny’s annual, and only his second time. I reassured him and comforted him (edit.comment; really? we thought you were talking about treats!)  Then yesterday, he got stung by something in the back yard and his face swelled all up– so I had to be there for him again. I do have many jobs. Next week, back to Charlestown! Hey, tell your friends who live in the city and have dogs about C’town Crate Escape! Better hurry, it’s getting Busy!  Happy Labor Day!

Ernie's Favorite Time of Day - Copy


As you can see, still reminiscing!
Later,  Ernestine

August 21, 2013

Crate Escape Back At Sowa! Tips to Help Your Dog Adjust to Busy Fall Season, Senior Dog Month

Hooray for the black dogs and the larger dogs who prefer their nights cooler, and their morning walks not as humid! Our blog starts with Brian Davis, President of som|dog, with suggestions how to anticipate and deal with your dog’s behavior during the busier fall season.
Next, because ‘August is Adopt a Senior Dog’ month, we share the benefits of adopting senior dogs. This month there has been so much buzz about the reasons people surrender their dogs to shelters. Here are a few from a shelter volunteer who regularly has 3-500 emails, many asking for last minute help in placing their dogs in new homes:

  • Families moving the next day; waiting until 5 pm the night before to find a new home for their dogs.
  • People saying they are allergic and the dog must go right now.
  • Complaining that their dog is getting old and they just don’t want him/her.
  • Complaining that their dog is not who s/he used to be, can’t hear or see.

It is not realistic to ask all our readers to adopt senior dogs.  But you may be able to think of someone who might consider fostering or adopting, spread the word to her, and ask her to keep the communication/ education going.  That simple conversation can create a space for another dog to be rescued and another life saved.

And! Crate Escape will be back at Sowa, the huge Open Market held every Sunday in September from 10am – 4pm, at 460 Harrison Ave. in the South End! It’s fabulous, many different items for sale, lots of good food, VISIT US! Bring your friends and your dogs. We are in the Farmer’s Market section!

The Scoop, Monthly Newsletter from som|dog

Brian Davis, President

September is right around the corner and fall brings about lots of changes. The kids go back to school, and our schedules become more hectic, and very often we’re away from home for longer hours than we are during the summer. This change in routine can cause your dog to suffer from separation anxiety or depression and all of a sudden your perfect dog isn’t acting so perfect anymore.

As pet parents we know that training is an ongoing process. As they age into adolescents or into their adult years, their behaviors, fears and needs change. When this happens, “back-to-school” might not be a bad idea for your pup too.

You can do it yourself by looking up new tricks that offer step by step instructions on YouTube, or practice clicker and reward training at home. There are also a lot of fun classes like nose work, agility and disc dog that will work on their impulse control and overall commands. Or consider working with an obedience trainer to finally master loose leash walking or break bad habits like counter surfing or jumping up on guests that enter your home (just in time for the holidays!).

Brushing up on obedience will offer your pup mental stimulation and also provide some one-on-one time for you and your dog.

Happy bonding!

Celebrating Senior Pet Month:  The Benefits of Owning an Older Pet

Blog Paws, Robbi Hess

Aaahhhh that “new puppy smell.” Along with that comes the almost constant trips outside to teach them that potty is to be done in the grass, not on the carpet. Then you may have to deal with, “did you chew another pair of shoes?” or, “Don’t scratch the furniture when the scratching post is right there!” Along with the joys of owning a puppy, kitten or other young pet of any breed comes the task of making her a well-mannered member of the family.

If you’re craving the love and affection of a pet but aren’t certain you’re up to “raising a child” again,adopting an older pet may be the answer. Also, when you consider that shelters are overflowing with older pets in need of loving homes, it makes even more sense.

Here are seven top reasons to adopt an older/senior pet:

  • In many cases, older pets are more well-mannered than their younger counterparts. They have likely been a member of a family before and understand what it takes to be a great family pet.
  • When you adopt an older pet you know just how big he’s going to get. Remember the time you adopted a tiny dog that “grew into its paws” and ended up weighing close to 75 pounds when you were assured that both parents were only 20? Your seniorpet has reached her full size — no surprises!
  • If you adopt an older pet that has some behavior issues, they are typically easier to train than a younger dog. Puppies are easily distracted, whereas an older dog has the ability to stay with a task and learns easily.
  • Even if you are in search of a specific breed of cat or dog, chances are you can find a rescue group that has many of them available and in search of a loving home.
  • If you have an elderly friend or relative in search of a pet, an older pet is likely the best way to go. An older pet will typically be calmer and will require fewer trips out to visit Mother Nature because he will usually indicate when he has to go out, unlike puppies whose usual sign of needing to relieve himself is getting into the squat position!
  • Most senior pets aren’t wild bundles of energy. If you’re looking for a companion to take leisurely strolls with or cuddle up on the couch on a weekend, a senior pet is a great idea.
  • It’s uncanny, but people who have adopted a senior pet say they feel the pet understood their new owner was his savior and a bond between the two forms quickly. The devotion shown by an older pet to his new owner and the attention the pet pays is heartwarming.

Words from Our Iconic Founder

We have been back from vacation for over a week and I am settling in. I had trouble the first few days taking walks around the neighborhood; it is so BORING compared to running full speed down the beach chasing birds.  My chihuahua brother, Sunny, faked being sick, thinking they would feel bad for him and take him back to the beach.  Honestly though, in my 11 people years, I have learned that, I am the one who has to train you guys to live in the moment– I do it naturally!!  Glad to be back with my peeps!

ernie on hardwoodbday


Later,  Ernestine

August 16, 2013

August is Senior Pet Month, Common Dog Myths and Ernie’s Back!

In Honor of Senior Dogs

The good news is that we (the world) are becoming better dog caretakers. We are paying more attention to their nutrition, exercise and overall wellness. The joyful result is that our dogs live longer. The definition of  how many years = a senior dog varies by size and breed. Larger breeds, such as Newfoundlands and St. Bernards are usually seniors at 6 or 7, while Jack Russells and Westies don’t fall into the category until about 9.

Most of us celebrate senior dogs. Whether s/he has lived with us his whole life, or has been adopted later in life,  our natural instinct is to be more careful and aware of our dogs’ health and welfare.  Senior dogs are precious. They are happy to sit by your side and get a belly rub.  Usually they will let you know if an activity is too much.

Here are some specific things that will contribute to your senior dogs wellness;

Brush teeth:  On a daily basis and provide appropriate objects on which your pet can chew to reduce accumulation of plaque and tartar.

Detect cancer early:  Check your dog regularly for:

  • body tumors and bumps
  • changes in weight
  • slow-healing sores and
  • Bleeding from the mouth, nose or ears

Watch for obesity:  Obesity is more common in adult and senior pets than in juveniles.

On the other side, watching  your dog age can be challenging.  A dogs’ life span is ridiculously short.  Unfortunately, dog caretakers deal with changes in their dogs  in different ways. As advocates of ‘No More Homeless Pets’, Crate Escape has relationships with many rescue organizations and shelters. The number of stories we hear about dog caretakers surrendering senior dogs is crushing. For whatever reason, many people decide caring for their aging dogs is ‘too much’ and surrender them to  local shelters.  This brings us to a common misunderstanding about shelters; that they find forever homes for all dogs. Not true. The numbers of dogs euthanized each year in the US is staggering.  It is also true that people are hesitant to adopt a senior dog. Thankfully, rescue groups are getting the word out about available senior dogs and sharing their stories.  There are groups specifically formed to place senior dogs; and on Petfinder ( you can search specifically by age  for adoptable dogs.

Spread the word.  Education is huge in finding these dogs their final homes.


Common Dog Myths – BUSTED!

Myth 1. An old dog can’t learn new tricks
False. Apart from intense agility training, as long as your dog is mentally and physically capable, and motivated, it’s entirely possible for him or her to learn new tricks.

Myth 2. A dog shouldn’t sleep with you or be allowed on furniture, otherwise, he or she will become spoiled and misbehave.
False. Like humans, dogs simply want a comfortable place to sleep or lie down. If comfort includes time with their owner, then they’re all for it. Note: Some dogs may guard their sleeping or resting spot, but this is rare.

Myth 3. When your dog has a potty accident, it’s important to rub his nose in it to let him know what he did.
False. When you rub a dog’s nose in her own mess, she often sees no association between that and her having had a potty accident. Nor does rubbing her nose in her accident teach her not to potty on the floor again.

Myth 4. A dog who cowers from people was likely abused in the past.
False. There are various reasons for dogs to cower or be timid. In most cases, the dog might not have been properly socialized or had negative experiences during her prime socialization period as a puppy. The dog might just duck away because it learned to dodge people who try to grab its collar.

Myth 5. Shelter dogs have too much baggage. It’s better to adopt a puppy with a clean slate.
False. Many shelter dogs are well-behaved pets who, for a countless number of reasons, could not be kept by their original owners. Older dogs make ideal candidates for people wanting to skip the puppy stages of chewing, potty training and mouthing.

Myth 6. All dogs should be around other dogs.
False. Some people are introverted, and so are some dogs. Some dogs may prefer solitude and only a small, select group of people. Whether from lack of socialization as a puppy or simply an individual preference, dogs may not enjoy other canine’s company.

Myth 7. You should let dogs just fight it out when they get into a scuffle
. (well, at least partly false). It’s true you should never get into the middle of a dog fight to break it up because that’s when many dog bites happen. Instead, trying using water, a really loud noise, or even a distraction like grabbing a treat bag. Dogs don’t normally settle matters on their own and fighting will most likely intensify if nothing is done.



And it is still summer!  I have lots to do, catch up time with my blue ball, and check out the 3 Crate Escapes to make sure they survived without me. OK, I missed you guys a little. But, as you know, NOTHING compares to the beach!

Here is our last day:

Later, Ernestine










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