Dec 12

Merry Christmas!

Was looking back and trying to choose a favorite dog related Christmas photo and found this one of our Kate, when she was a wee pup in 2002. Many thanks to Janet Gray of Graystone Photography for permission to use this photo, and for her patience with Kate years ago to get this perfect shot for us. Kate is now 11, still with us, but not in the best of health.

All of my family and I wish all of the Knowing Dogs' readers a lovely Christmas and a very Happy New Year.  Here we are, left to right ,my beloved husband Rick, myself (Melanie) and my rather tall son Eric Schlaginhaufen, III.   Actually this was several years ago, no real tree up this year so couldn't snap a recent shot for you so this one will have to do . But we are still much the same except Eric is an inch or two taller now and has a beard to go with that head full of hair! Rick, well, he might have a tiny bit "less" hair, and mine is a tad lighter!

We are struggling a bit to make this year seem like a "real" Christmas, because Eric just had surgery and we cannot hop in the car and take off to the Carolinas like we usually do, to see our families. We will miss being with everyone at Christmas.  But still we are very blessed, as Eric's surgery went "perfectly" and we are happy to all three be together and hoping that next year will be a better one for health and happiness. We are also happy that our older pets are still with us as well. Even our Suzie Bean, our Dachshund adopted from a shelter years ago when she was already a senior, is still hanging on, waiting to see what will be in her stocking in the morning! We try to explain to her the real meaning of Christmas but she still doesn't quite get it.  However, WE know that she is another special gift from God, so even as we thank God for the most precious gift of all, His son, whom we celebrate during this time of year, we are also thankful for our family, our friends and our pets. It is the "living gifts" that mean the most of all, isn't it?  Not the material things, but the love of family, friends and precious pets, and of course the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We don't really know what day you were born, but we still wish to take time to wish you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!!!

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for A Happy New Year from the Schlaginhaufen Family, to all of you who are kind enough to read and contribute to this blog. We appreciate you and are sending you our best wishes, across the miles.  Merry, Merry Christmas!!

Rick, Melanie and Eric III


Jan 12

Meet Therapy Dog Nena...saved so that she might help save others.

Hi everyone, two and four legged friends alike! I am a thearpy dog.  My name is Nena and the Poodle Blogger asked me to write and introduce myself. I am a 63 pound white Standard Poodle. At least that is what I've been told.  I REALLY think that I am the "favorite child" of my forever parents, Diane and Marvin  in North Carolina and I am very happy to claim them!

But my life did not start out as happy as it is now. Ten years ago I was born in a “puppy mill”, daughter of a malnourished 36 lb mom (which is very skinny for a tall Standard Poodle). I was only two days old when many people came with law enforcement, and animal control officers and scooped all of us up. There were many more dogs than just Poodles, but since I was so young my eyes weren’t opened yet,  I never met the other dogs.

Anyway. these wonderful people from Florida Poodle Rescue took me in their warm safe hands and I knew I would be okay. My only brother did not survive, but my Mom and I went to foster homes where we were loved and given special care. I lived with Joani and several other Poodles for about 3 months.  Then one day my forever mom drove down from NC to pick me up.  We had a long 11 hour ride back to my new home, but I mostly slept, played with a toy and ate. I loved the trip and still love going anywhere in a car today. Just pick up the keys and I am ready to go!

Speaking of cars, let me tell you about my favorite trips.  My Mom always wanted a Therapy Dog. I was so happy to oblige because I want to help other humans in need, because they helped me when I was a baby. So Mom took me to a training class. I was a natural with all this stuff and became a certified Therapy Dog on the very first try! That test was a breeze for me. Now I get to go all kinds of places.

Every month I go to the VA Hospital and help the Veterans play Bingo. Sometimes someone reaches for me but can’t quite do it so Mom carefully places my feet up on the wheelchair so I can be touched. She is special that way, my Mom. When it’s okay, she lets me lick their hands. She says she is very proud of me and my work. She was very surprised when I didn’t even get scared the first time I rode in an elevator!

My very favorite visits are with children.  I get to go to the library and children read to me. Sometimes they even rub me while they’re reading.  It feels so good.  I’m actually a little sad when we have to go home.

But I have a very special place that I go to every week. This is where I do my most important therapy work.  Mom takes me to the Child Advocacy Center where physically and sexually abused children are interviewed.  Sometimes there is a family with several children in the room.  Mom doesn’t know who is there to be interviewed, but I DO.  The people watching on closed circuit TV have told mom that I go directly over to the child that needs me most, then later I make my way around the room. to visit everyone else  A lot of times I feel that the staff and other adults need me almost as much. This is really my favorite place!

Well, long story short, I want to thank all of you who work with rescue groups to help lost, abandoned, absued and homeless dogs find loving, nurturing forever homes, just like someone did for me.

Love to all,
          NENA FROM NC

Many thanks to Nena's mother, not only for typing this for Nena, but for all she does to help people through her therapy work with Nena, and all she does to help dogs through her volunteer work with Carolina Poodle Rescue.  When you save a dog, you never know what type of impact that dog's life may have. He or she may be a lifesaver to their owners, offering them joy and happiness they would have never known otherwise.

The dog you save could even turn out to be a dog who does what Nena does, truly providing  valuable therapy for hundreds of people during her lifetime.  Therapy Dogs are, in my opinion, angels in fuzzy bodies.  Thank you again Diane and Nena.   Melanie the Poodle Blogger.

Interested in Therapy Dog Work?  I recently came across this excelllent article on The 7 Best Therapy Dog Breeds on SeniorCare.Net.  Although as a dog trainer I am very opinionated on dog breeds and cannot agree with every single recommendation, I greatly enjoyed this article and I'm sure you will too!  Take a Look:  The 7 Best Therapy Dog Breeds.

Jan 12

Parti Poodle Takes Top Honors at U.K. Agility Grand Finals!

When I recently heard that a Standard Poodle had beat out all the other breeds (yes, including Border Collies, who took 2nd and 3rd place) for top honors in agility in the UK, I wanted to know all about it!

"Blaze", Kit Sue’s UK Trailblazer for Tisane, is a gorgeous parti-colored blue and white boy, who was imported by his owner Sara Bingham in 2007 when he was a year old. His very proud breeder is Sue Ablen of Kit-Sue Kennels in the United States. Sue was kind enough to put me in touch with Sara so I could learn a bit more about this winner of the UK Agility Grand Finals and introduce him to my readers!

When I spoke with Sara by phone, I realized that her dog Blaze is quite an amazing ambassador for partis in the U.K.  This color is still quite rare in her country. In fact, to the best of Sara's knowledge, Blaze was  the first male parti-colored Standard Poodle in England since the 1970’s, by then they had been culled out of the British lines.  A great deal of thought was put into his selection, since Sara has a passion for the breed and wanted to import something very special to re-introduce the parti-color in her country (note: the British spelling is actually parti-coloured).

Sara is a founding member of The Parti Poodle Club there and says she feels very fortunate that Blaze has turned out to be a dog of outstanding quality, conformation-wise, in addition to being a dog of truly amazing intelligence. Blaze simply "loves to learn". He loves not only the agility ring but also loves learning new tricks, such as saying his prayers. We spoke of our mutual admiration of Charlene Dunlap in the US who trains her parti-colored Poodles to perform all types of tricks and special behaviors for movies she makes of them. Sara said she wishes Charlene were closer, as Blaze would love to a chance to cameo in a movie to show off his tricks, since he catches on quickly to anything she teaches him. Actually, from what I am hearing, Blaze is already quite well known, a star in his own right, in his country.

Blaze seems to be a dog blessed not only with lovely conformation and flashy markings, but a temperament to match. Sara  says on occasions when they are out walking and Blaze has met dogs who like to start trouble, he just takes a quick look at them, then does a little skip on the sidewalk as if to say "suit yourself, and on you go!"  Since he loves all dogs and all people, he doesn't have any understanding of dogs who feel otherwise!

Sara and Blaze have been invited by The Kennel Club to participate in the agility demos at Crufts (the world's most prestigious dog show) for the last two years, and an invitation is expected in the mail any day to participate again this Spring.  We look forward to seeing more photos and hearing more about Blaze's accomplishments in the future. In the meantime, you can see more of Sara's Poodles and read about her plans to revive the parti Poodle in the UK by checking out her website: Be sure to visit the page entitled "The Parti Poodle" for a short but very informative article about the history of this color in Poodles.

Coming soon to the Poodle blog ( - a You Tube clip of one of Sara and Blaze's agility runs.

Go, Blaze Go!!!!



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