Visiting wineries this summer? Don’t be surprised to meet a host dog or to find that your own dog is a welcome guest
By Kim Campbell Thornton
Andrews McMeel Syndication
Rosie loves to spend time in the vineyard, especially during harvest season. In the evening, she relaxes with her friend Julia. Together, they give a “sniffspection” to a glass of wine. Rosie doesn’t drink, but Julia says she has a great nose.
Julia Cattrall, the winemaker for Duck Pond Cellars in Oregon, grew up with wine and with dogs, starting with Saint Bernards and a golden retriever-cocker spaniel mix named Luke when she was a kid. Rosie, adopted from the Great Pyrenees Rescue Society in Texas (greatpyreneesrescuesociety.org), is her third Great Pyrenees, a breed she first acquired as an adult to protect the chickens on her farm from coyotes. The large white guardian dogs enjoy being outdoors, are protective of their property and people, and have a laid-back energy level.
“The more I read about the guardian breeds, the more it really appealed to me, the idea of having a dog that had a sense of purpose around being present,” Cattrall says.
Rosie’s life is a little different than that of the dogs Cattrall grew up with. Those farm dogs were “dogs about town,” going off on their own and spending their days as they pleased. That lifestyle seems impossible to imagine now.
While Rosie still lives in the country and has plenty of space to sniff around, her territory is defined by a fence. “She doesn’t get to wander aimlessly,” Cattrall says.
Does Cattrall worry that Rosie will nibble on vineyard grapes, which, like all grapes, are toxic to dogs? Rosie doesn’t seem to be interested.
“We don’t let her out in the vineyard on her own very often,” Cattrall says. “I have known some dogs that will go for grapes, but she has not. I’ve never seen her try, but I can imagine for some dogs that have a sweet tooth, that could be an issue.”
As well as having and welcoming dogs on the premises, Cattrall has poured her love of dogs into her winemaking. Rascal Wines, one line created by Duck Pond, not only feature a dog on the label, every purchase gives back to animal welfare organizations -- more than $100,000 over the years.
“We’re definitely a team of animal lovers,” Cattrall says. “It’s always been an idea that has resonated with us and as an organization to have these brands have a higher purpose. The different brands each have their own area of focus. For the Rascal brand, because it is representative of our love for our animals, it’s the Humane Society and other animal organizations.”
Cattrall also sees dogs as a metaphor for the wine she wants to make. Her goal is to produce wines that are drinkable at the time of purchase -- expressive and friendly, much like a golden retriever. She knows that for many people, a Rascal wine might be someone’s first experience with an Oregon pinot noir. “I hope to be a good representative of the state, just like you might make friends with somebody because their golden retriever comes up and smiles at you in the park.”
Rosie isn’t the only dog at Duck Pond Cellars. In the tasting room, visiting guests will meet Steinbeck, a hound mix belonging to hospitality lead Ray. Tasters can also bring their own well-behaved dogs.
“We have a great outdoor space set up for tasting,” says Cattrall, “and they’re welcome inside the tasting room as well, as long as they behave themselves.”
Some wineries are known for distinctive architecture, expansive views or showplace cellars. Cattrall says Duck Pond has a more cozy feel going for it, a warmth and openness and friendliness signaling that everyone is welcome: dogs, kids, tasters and all.
“The dog-friendly nature both contributes to that and kind of flows from it,” she says. “Even if you don’t drink, there’s something for everyone. I think it’s a place where everyone can find something that works for them and that feels very much in the spirit of the golden retriever on the label.”
What to know about
storing pet food
Q: What's the best way to store pet food, and how can I know if it has gone bad?
A: Pet foods contain preservatives to help ensure that food stays fresh, but once you open a can or a bag, the freshness level starts to decrease. You can take several steps to help food stay fresh and to know if it's time to replace it.
-- Check the "best by" date before buying. Don't buy the food if you don't think you'll be able to use it all before the date given.
-- Once you open a bag of dry food, use it all within four to six weeks.
-- If you feed dry food, keep it in the original bag instead of pouring it into another container. The fat in the food forms a film on the container, and you'll need to clean it regularly with soap and water to prevent the food from becoming rancid. It's better to place the original bag inside an airtight container to help it stay fresh and prevent raids by bugs or mice.
-- Store dry food in a cool, dry place under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat can cause fat in food to go rancid more quickly.
-- If your pet doesn't eat an entire can of food at one meal, refrigerate the remainder in a glass or plastic container with a tight lid. The food will keep better that way than if you leave it in the can covered with a plastic lid or aluminum foil.
-- Use your nose. Give dry food a good sniff to make sure it doesn't smell stale. And even if it smells all right to you, trust your pet's sniffer. If he turns up his nose at the food or eats with less enthusiasm, it may be time to replace it. -- Dr. Marty Becker and Kim Campbell Thornton
Do you have a pet question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.
Reptiles can be
-- Reptiles have a number of advantages as pets. They're quiet, can have long life spans, require little to no exercise, usually don't need to be fed daily and their waste is easy to remove. They even have personalities and form bonds with their people. Many are active and curious, making them interesting to watch as they explore their habitat. Depending on the species, reptiles can be good choices for both children and adults. Good "beginner" reptiles include ball pythons, bearded dragons, corn snakes and small box turtles or tortoises. Whatever you choose, do your homework to make sure you understand and can meet the animal's needs. Talk to an accredited expert before acquiring a reptile. That can be a veterinarian who specializes in exotics or someone who does reptile education for a rescue group or other organization.
-- If you see a dog who resembles a retriever with a curly coat, don't assume he's a Labradoodle. He may be an unusual breed called a curly-coated retriever. The curly, as he's nicknamed, was developed in the 18th century and is one of the oldest of the retrieving breeds. Bred to hunt pheasant, quail and grouse and retrieve waterfowl, the curly is a wickedly smart, independent thinker. His coat has small, tight, crisp curls. (Don't blow-dry it unless you want him to look like a Chia Pet.) The coat sheds a little year-round, with a heavier shed twice a year.
-- Do you smoke around your pet? You could be threatening his health -- and even his life. Secondhand smoke can cause malignant lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, and respiratory problems and allergies in both species. Other potential side effects include inflammation and pulmonary cancers. E-cigarettes aren't any safer: Pets can be poisoned if they eat the nicotine cartridges. -- Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker
ABOUT PET CONNECTION
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet care experts. Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker is founder of the Fear Free organization, co-founder of VetScoop.com and author of many best-selling pet care books. Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning journalist and author who has been writing about animals since 1985. Mikkel Becker is a behavior consultant and lead animal trainer for Fear Free Pets. Dr. Becker can be found at Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker. Kim Campbell Thornton is at Facebook.com/Kim.CampbellThornton and on Twitter at kkcthornton. Mikkel Becker is at Facebook.com/MikkelBecker and on Twitter at MikkelBecker.