All posts by Jon Lonergan

Choosing Healthy Treats For Your Lab

Milk-Fed Veal Calves - Group housing in NYImage via Wikipedia

Choosing Healthy Treats For Your Lab

Put table scraps where they belong, in the garbage, not in your dog’s food bowl. Many people think that giving your Lab that nice chunk of fat from their sirloin will add luster to his coat. While it may put joy in his heart, it may also give him loose bowels. An occasional veal bone, if very sturdy (a knuckle, for example), can give him a tooth cleaning and some jaw exercise, but be careful, since most bones are constipating as well as dangerous (an ingested splinter of bone can be fatal).

Nylon or rawhide “bones” are safest. They are available in most pet stores, groceries, supermarkets, and online. If you want to give your dog more than his everyday food (even though dogs generally do not get bored with their meals, unlike humans), try small amounts of fruits, cereal, and vegetables. They do not upset the intestinal tract by their oiliness or indigestibility, and actually promote effective digestion. You may also try well-trimmed (no visible fat) bits of meat. However, a dog raised on snacks of sirloin tips will not take kindly to a change to vegetables, so pursue this course with considerable caution.

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Coming out in Kid Lit

Today is National Coming Out Day, which got me thinking about LGBTQIA+ representation in YA and children’s literature. While there certainly can be more stories featuring realistic, nuanced representations of LGBTQIA+ characters (protagonists! friends! heroes! parents! etc!), I’m heartened by the books young readers do have today, to let them know that their feelings are valid and that they can be the main characters of their own stories.

Which means that, of course, I need to share some of my recent favorite reads featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard: a great look at sexual identity and gender identity, as Pen struggles against her family and friends’ ideas of what it means to be a young woman. I also loved the minor characters in this. #teamblake

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown: a twist on the coming out story, as very out Jo hides her sexual identity when she moves to a small, conservative town.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: bi, gay, and asexual representation in this super fun and touching historical adventure. I’m psyched for the sequel, which will follow Felicity!

George by Alex Gino: one of the sweetest and most sensitive coming out stories, about a young trans girl who just wants to be Charlotte in her school’s production of Charlotte’s Web.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: one of my new favorite contemporary YAs, about theatre and friendship and first love and figuring out who you are and how to share that with the world.

As I Descended by Robin Talley: in case you want some classically-inspired scares and intrigue with your representation, this one’s a female take on Macbeth, starring two young women at an elite boarding school.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour: one of my new favorites full stop, this is a fantastic look at first love and friendship and loneliness and grief and reaching out to those we love.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo: a powerful and hopeful story about a young trans girl trying to make a new start for herself.

Other books you’d add to this list? Share ’em in the comments! In the meantime, remember–you are valid and you deserve love.

Feeding Your Older Lab

A Pet's Place store in Hatert, NijmegenImage via Wikipedia

Feeding Your Older Lab

Keep in mind that as your Labrador ages, he will need less food to maintain a constant weight. With elderly dogs it is important to cut back on the amount of protein (particularly meat) that is ingested, because high levels of protein can put a strain on the kidneys.

Overweight dogs should be brought back into their ideal weight, primarily through gradually increasing the amount of their daily exercise. Cut back on the number of calories in the dog’s diet by substituting low-calorie fillers such as grated carrot or apples, unsalted popcorn, or low-fat cottage cheese for a portion of their meal.

Underweight dogs can be brought up to a good weight by adding high-calorie boosters to their meals, such as an occasional raw egg, cheese, or hamburger. Such caloric supplementation may also be needed during the winter if your Labrador is kenneled or worked outside much of the time, and during peak working periods when extra calories are burned. A high-calorie supplement can be purchased from your vet, pet stores, and online catalogs.

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Covers, Skates, and Dessert Pizza – Any Way You Slice It Cover Reveal!

When I was in middle school, I took skating lessons with my best friend and her brother. They were legit good skaters, whereas I was just happy to learn the basics, but I loved being at the rink with other skaters, trying out new skills and feeling a little magical as I swished over the ice.

So of course I’m super psyched to share the relaunched cover of Any Way You Slice It by Kristine Carlson Asselin, which not only features life at the rink, but also family struggles, a new crush, and yep, pizza. Plus the book has a gorgeous new cover, which I get to share with you:

If you live in the MA area, you can help celebrate the relaunch of Any Way You Slice It on Saturday, November 18. In the meantime, you should pretend you work with Penelope at Slice Pizza and make her dessert pizza:

ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT – Penelope’s Dessert Pizza
*1 can(s) crescent rolls
1/4 c butter, cold
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c flour
pinch of salt
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp butter, soft
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1-1 1/2 Tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 400.2. First things first, roll out the crescent rolls into 8 triangles—be sure to use an ungreased cookie sheet. These babies are pre-greased so you don’t need anything else.
3. Cut in the butter to the mixture of sugar, cinnamon, salt and flour to form crumbles. Use a fork or a pastry blender or your fingers! Be sure the butter is COLD for best results. Try not to eat too much of the crumble, but it will be tempting. (Licking fingers is excusable.)
4. Sprinkle the dough with crumbs and throw those bad boys into the oven for 8 to 12 minutes.
5. After it all cools, cut into smaller triangles and drizzle with glaze.
6. And now the fun part: EAT and Enjoy!

If you make these, take a picture and post with #AnyWayYouSliceIt and don’t forget to tag
@KristineAsselin w/ all your pizza photos.

Thanks to Kris for letting me share the Any Way You Slice It goodness. Can’t wait to snag a copy of my own!

*Penelope would have you know that using a pre-made dough is cheating; I am super with you, Penelope. But whatever way gets you pizza is a win in my book.


How to Stop A Dog Fight

Labrador RetrieverImage via Wikipedia

How to Stop A Dog Fight

Labradors usually will not start a fight, bit if another dog starts one your dog will certainly defend himself. Stud dogs often fight one another, and some dogs become jealous of their owner to the point of fighting any dog that comes near the house or car.

It is dangerous to try stopping a dog fight. While fighting, the dogs are emotionally out of control and may bite a person at this time. It is no use shouting at them to stop and you should not try to separate them, as the dogs are generally stronger than you are. The most effective way to stop a fight is a pail or two of water dumped on them or best of all a hose with spray nozzle attached and the water turned on full force.

Since fights often happen near the house, it might be wise to keep a hose in readiness if you have the bad luck of possessing any dogs that do not get along together. Labradors are not at all of mean temperament, and they are certainly not bred to be fighters. However, certain dogs (male or female) may form dislikes and it is usually rather hopeless to attempt reconciliations and more practical to prevent encounters which can lead to fighting.

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Labrador Retriever Coat Color Inheritance

Labrador Retriever Coat Color Inheritance

There are three acceptable coat colors in the Labrador retriever: black, yellow (with variation from fox-red to light cream), and chocolate. Black is the most common color, but the numbers of yellows and chocolates are on the rise.

Coat color is determined by the type of genes received from each of the parents. Black is the dominant color genetically. Simply put, if there is a black gene present in the dog’s makeup, the dog will be black. A yellow coat is produced when a dog receives a recessive gene for this color from both of its parents. In the absence of a dominant black gene, the recessive genes can be expressed. Because of this, a black dog can produce yellow or chocolate offspring if it carries both a dominant black gene and a hidden recessive.

The chocolate color is also a recessive, but many variables come into play regarding the inheritance pattern of this color. The recessive chocolate factor can be carried by both black and yellow Labradors. There may also be a crossover or modifying effect involved with the chocolate recessive, because in several generations of breeding chocolate to chocolate a breakdown in pigmentation, eye coloring, and overall coat color often occurs.

The Great Labrador

The Great Labrador

The Labrador Retriever’s keen sense of smell and ability to train have earned him a place in many police and military forces around the world. During World War II, Labrador Retrievers were used throughout Europe to scout fields for undetected land mines. They were credited with many finds and exhibited a stick-to-it-iveness not found in other breeds that were tested for the job. They have also been trained as messengers to cover terrain that is all but impassable by man.

Many municipalities currently employ the services of skilled Labrador police dogs. They are primarily called upon for scent-discrimination details, such as tracking criminals in buildings or detecting hidden narcotics, weapons, and bombs. Once a substance has been detected, the
dog does not retrieve the material unless specifically ordered by his master, but rather indicates the location to his trainer. This is to insure against possible injury to the dog.

“Dee” Labrador Explosive Detection Dog. Top Dog Security Ltd. 14 May 2009

Top Dog Security Ltd training a female working bloodline Labrador "Dee". In training as an Explosives Detection Dog, here she is conducting a vehicle search on leash.Dee searches very well off leash but was a bit sticky on leash so we have been encouraging her to lead the handler on a vehicle search; progress is being made.For any K9 related services please email us; or call on0044 (0) 1992 890 875.