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June 5, 2014

What’s With My Dog’s Pooping ritual?

When we got our first dog, I really hated taking him for a walk. I just wasn’t used to the routine of taking time out of my night to walk him around the neighbourhood. I sucked it up and did it anyway knowing it was a necessary responsibility of caring for a dog in our family.

I wish everyone that had a dog felt the same way. But I digress…

Now that we’ve had Mojo for over nine years and Oscar for nearly six, I actually enjoy taking them for their daily walk. In fact they get walked twice. A quick 10 minute walk in the morning before going to work, then another 30 minute (or longer) walk in the evening.

But there is still one thing about walking the dogs that I hate. The pooping part! Not the picking up the poop part (I'm quite used to that now) but the ritual dance leading up to the magic moment.
dog looking through a pair of binoculars
There must be a good spot
around here somewhere!

It can be embarrassing waiting for Mojo to do his spinning routine on someone’s lawn. He spins and spins and spins; sometimes it seems it goes on for an eternity! I just love standing there throughout the ordeal wondering if the neighbours are staring at you out their window.

Eventually though, the spinning and going back and forth over and over again ends. It feels like a golden moment when the heavens open up, the angels sing and glory reigns supreme. He’s finally finished!

Oh don’t forget the kicking of grass afterwards. He’s very proud of his grass kicking.

For Oscar, it’s the exact opposite compared to Mojo. He poops so fast sometimes you can actually miss it if you’re not paying attention. Even so, Oscar has his own little routine where he walks as he’s pooping. So there will be a couple of pieces on the lawn, then one on the rocks and a couple more on the side walk. Plus Oscar never kicks afterwards.

So what is it about a dog’s pooping ritual? Why do so many of them have to go through this elaborate routine prior to doing something so basic; something they have to do two or three times each and every day from the day they’re born?

I had to pose this question to the great and powerful Google. After a little digging around on the subject I found lots of sites that actually talk about dogs aligning themselves with the Earth’s Magnetic fields.


I find that hard to believe. Sure, many dogs have the similar spinning ritual but like Oscar there are just as many dogs with totally different routines. Contrasting Mojo’s style to Oscar’s totally throws this theory out the window.

I only found one vet site that talks about this and they simply speculate on various reasons such as the movement gets the digestive tract going or it’s another way of marking their territory with all extra walking around the area.

So really after my research on the subject, I'm none the wiser.

When it comes down to it, dogs are like a box of chocolates, you never know what type of pooping habit you’re going to get.

Does that analogy even work here?

What’s your dog’s pooping ritual?

May 28, 2014

Afraid To Try a New Dog Groomer?

puppy in a steel bucket
Even though there seems to be a huge number of dog groomers throughout Calgary, I'm always shocked at how hard it is to find one that is either readily available or is conveniently located close by.

We've had Mojo for nine years and have taken him to a groomer since he was a puppy. Our first groomer was Katie, she's located in the Douglas Square Vet Clinic. Her rates were always affordable and she was very reliable. As we moved further and further from Douglasdale, the less convenient her location became. But with her affordable rates we continued to use her. We always made our appointments on Mondays and eventually Katie stopped working Mondays and we were unable to continue using her services.

So we had to find another groomer. Which we found stressful!

We tried Groomingdales in McKenzie Towne. We found them to be quite a bit higher priced than Katie and I got this weird feeling going there. I got the impression they were just a high volume business and just wanted to get the dogs in and out. There was no personal touch and I felt almost as if they just treated our dogs like "things". I did not have a bad experience with them, I just felt uneasy leaving my dogs with them. We only gave them one shot and never returned.

Then as luck would have it, Tailblazers in Copperfield had Shampooch open a salon in their store. We were so happy that these groomers were so close by, reputable and their rates were reasonable as well. We continued to use Shampooch for a couple of years. Cheryl and her staff were always so friendly and treated our dogs the way they would treat their own.

We were saddened to hear that Shampooch was going to move their salon to a bigger and better location on Heritage Drive SW. Awesome for them as they grow and continue to be a successful business but sad for us, Cheryl's new location just wasn't convenient for us. Again, we were in a bind to find a reputable, affordable and conveniently located groomer.

We were quickly running out of options but thank goodness for social media! One of pet industry friends had announced a new groomer was opening a location in New Brighton.

puppy in my pocket dog groomers logoWe immediately called this new grooming company to see if they were accepting new clients yet. Lucky for us, she was scheduled to open her doors the following weekend! Mrs. Nate booked the boys in for Saturday morning at 8:30 am. Not only are they conveniently located for us, they have awesome hours too!

Shortly after booking our appointment on the phone, we found ourselves enjoying a nice trip to the Auburn Bay dog park. As we were walking a lovely, young lady approached us and handed Mrs. Nate her business card. She told us she had just opened her new grooming business in New Brighton. We looked at the business card and it said, "Puppy In My Pocket Dog Grooming". This was her!

We all had a good laugh after telling her we had already secured an appointment for the upcoming Saturday.

On Saturday morning I grabbed the boys 8:20 am and headed out to drop them off for their spa day. As I drove to her location I realized that her salon was actually situated in a private residence. I started to get a little nervous thinking I would have to knock on her door at 8:30 Saturday morning. As I arrived and approached her house, I saw she actually had a separate entrance directly into her garage which was completely converted into a dog grooming spa. It was complete with holding kennels, a grooming table and all the materials required for her craft.

I was pleasantly surprised, it felt just as if I was dropping off the boys at a professional, commercial location. Tanya and I chatted about what kind of cut the boys would get and I signed a few initial documents required for first time visits. I felt very at ease leaving our boys with her.

At about 10:30 am, we got our call that the job was done and we could pick up Mojo and Oscar whenever we're ready to grab them. Mrs. Nate popped over right away anxious to see how everything turned out. We are happy to report they looked just fabulous!

Her rates were on par with what we were used to paying and it's well worth it!

So if you're in the deep SE area of Calgary and looking for a great, new dog groomer. Please consider giving Tanya a try. She is really passionate about what she does and it shows. With over ten years of grooming experience you can't go wrong.

I know for us, we'll be customers as long as she'll have us.

Visit her website for more details!

May 22, 2014

Calgary Humane Society 2014 Dog Jog

Calgary Humane Society 2014 Dog Jog

Every year the Calgary Humane Society hosts its Annual Dog Jog event. This is a huge event with tons of people and their dogs participating in a walk at South Glenmore Park. The participants do their best to raise funds individually or as teams by canvassing their friends and family for donations. It’s similar to most fund raising events like the Mother’s Day walk or Run for the Cure. Each participant or team gets a webpage where donations can be collected and tracked in their name.

Woman smiling and holding her dog
Mrs. Nate with Mojo
Each year Mrs. Nate participates. She rolls up her sleeves and hits up everyone she knows to donate to this special cause. This year is no different and I’m proud to say she has so far raised a total of $1175! Great job wife!

Additionally each year, Poooh Busters also provides a nominal sponsorship donation and attends the event. This year we have the privilege of sponsoring the “Watering Hole”. This is a small trailer equipped with fresh drinking water where the participants can refill their water bottles and water bowls for their thirsty pooches. In previous years, we would just show up to hand out poooh bags to the participants at the beginning of the walk, so this Dog Jog is special to us with the extra opportunity of the watering hole sponsorship.

As Mrs. Nate was checking her donation page she noticed that CHS has only reached 53% of its goal for this year. I am sad to hear they are still so far away and there is only two weeks left before the event takes place.

I am writing my blog today to help bring awareness about the Dog Jog and I would like to see CHS event reach its goal of raising approx. $125,000.

If you’d like to make a small donation to this year’s Dog Jog and want to help make Mrs. Nate (Tara Gilbart) a top fundraiser, please go to her donation page any time.

The event is being held June 8th at South Glenmore Park in Calgary.

For more information visit the Dog Jog website!

April 21, 2014

2014 Calgary Pet Expo

It’s hard to believe another Calgary Pet Expo is quickly approaching.

Poooh Busters first attended this event as a vendor in 2006. I remember it was at the BMO Centre and we had a little, tiny booth with a single banner, a table with our first draw box and some brochures for handing out.

Poooh Busters Calgary Pet Expo Booth 2006
Our first booth at the 2006 Pet Expo
Roland had a couple of friends stand at the booth to invite passers-by to fill out a ballot for our contest. It was an impressive thing to watch Roland do what he does best, talk to people and sell his service! He certainly is a master at this craft and I know to this day, it’s one of the biggest reasons for Poooh Busters’ success.

I always did (and still do) my best to expose Poooh Busters to the world and get those phones ringing but without Roland closing the deal with each phone call, we just wouldn't have the customer base we have today.

So here we are, about to attend our 8th pet expo event and it’s shaping up to be our biggest and best year ever!

As always, all three members of the management team will be there, Roland, Erin and me. We've got some new banners to display, a poster sized picture of our team (courtesy of BrindleBerry) and like every year before, we have our infamous draw box so people can enter our contest to win 52 free weeks of pet waste removal service!

Not only do we have our annual draw, we also are offering an incredible show special designated for anyone who comes down to the show in person.

New clients can sign up for any of our weekly packages and get an additional 4 weeks of free service added on. Not only do new clients signing up for the first time receive this deal, but any of our existing clients can come down and renew or purchase their usual package to get their 4 free weeks as well!

We've offered a show special now for three years straight and it’s always a big hit with those who are able to take advantage of this fantastic deal.

Unfortunately there is always a down side to our show special. The whole idea of offering this deal is to draw visitors down to the show. We want people to come down and support this wonderful pet expo event and see all the great services, products and pet rescues Calgary and the surrounding areas has to offer its pet loving residents.

But inevitably, a few of our existing clients ask if they can take advantage of the show special if they just simply renew their weekly service package during this time without actually having to come down to the show. Poor Erin has to give them the bad news that it is only for people visiting the show in person who renew their packages at our booth.

They either get mad or make her feel guilty for not honouring the deal.

When I send out my email campaign to announce the show special or advertise it on Facebook and Twitter, I always try my best to make it very, very clear that persons wanting to take advantage of the offer MUST come to the show and renew their package at the booth in person.

So every year we feel bad that some folks are disappointed because they are not simply able to visit us at the pet expo and get the additional 4 weeks free.

In the end, these incentives we offer for the pet expo are for the purpose of enticing people to come down to the show.

The good news is we always offer 4 free weeks of service to anyone who refers us to another family that signs up and buys a weekly package. It's a pretty awesome referral bonus! So even if you can’t make it down to this event, you can always get some free weeks by simply spreading the woof!

We truly hope to see you this coming weekend at Spruce Meadows on April 27 (10am - 6pm) or April 28 (11am - 5pm).

April 1, 2014

10 years! Where Did the Time Go?

Poooh Busters celebrates 10 successful years of scooping dog poop!

It’s incredibly hard to believe that 10 years ago today, Roland Pearson, founder of Poooh Busters entered his very first client in the customer database on April 1, 2004!

I think back to where it all started and I can’t believe how far we’ve come since that infamous day.

Owner/Operator and founder of Poooh Busters
Roland Pearson - 2013
I have to admit I was one of the many people that thought Roland was a bit crazy for quitting his job and endeavoured to pursue this business. I just said to myself, “Good luck buddy” and wondered how long it would be until he was back working another day job like the rest of us schmucks.

10 years later, I couldn't be happier and I myself am a whole lot better off for being a part of it all this time. I’ll get more into that later.

We had our good times and our bad times. We made plenty of mistakes and we learned a ton of stuff about so many different things.

Roland learned pretty much everything there is to know about pet waste removal. You’d think scooping poop would be a basic job but there is ton of things to consider and many challenges that come with this seemingly simple task. There are so many variables to consider that can affect how well each day goes out there in the field. Weather, yards with long grass, yards with no grass, good gates, bad gates, locked gates, gates that won’t open, gates that won’t close, dog runs with big rocks and little rocks, every kind of dog barking and growling at him, truck maintenance, and disposal methods. On and on I could go.

Our first booth at the 2006 Calgary Pet Expo
Our first booth at the 2006 Calgary Pet Expo
Besides all that Roland had to learn all about running a business. It was not a big deal at first but once things got going after the first three or four years, all of a sudden he had to deal with collecting GST, hiring and firing staff, dealing with all kinds of different customers, the tax man and accountants!
Thank goodness Erin finally came along and took a lot of that pressure off Roland. She started handling all the customer service and office operations. Roland could again concentrate on the thing he was a master at, sales.

Poooh Busters Team at the 2011 CHS Dog Jog. Nate, Roland, Erin.
Calgary Humane Society's Dog Jog 2011
We became the dream team of the pet waste removal industry. I got the phones ringing with my constant efforts online learning Google SEO, writing blogs and growing our social media. Roland would take those incoming calls and sell the service even more to the caller; he would get them to sign up almost every time. Erin would then take excellent care of our clients with her superior customer service. Not to mention, our staff was top notch too in how they approached the job with enthusiasm and care.

For me, what did I get out of the last 10 years with Poooh Busters? In a nutshell, I learned so many skills that I would have never normally learned without this company forcing me to figure things out. I was challenged to build our very first website without any prior knowledge. I was completely self-taught! I had to find ways to ensure our website could be found through a basic Google search, I had come up with ways to make it easier for our clients to pay, I had to figure this whole new Facebook and Twitter thing, and I had to constantly come up with fresh material for our blog and newsletters.

But for all three of us, I think the best part of working and growing Poooh Busters has been all the wonderful friends we have made along the way. We have exposed ourselves to Calgary’s pet industry and met so many incredibly wonderful people.

All the dedicated folks that run the animal rescues have been an inspiration to each and every one of us and make us proud to be part of such an awesome, caring and loving industry.

The last 10 years truly have been a blessing and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 bring!

January 2, 2014

Life Before Dogs

My new favourite website (besides my own) is I've always heard of it but never went there thinking it was just another pale-in-comparison search engine. I soon found out it is not a search engine at all but an avenue to helping one find websites that are specific to the interests of the user.

In my never-ending search for blog topics I found that there are some great places to look for topics on the web and StumbleUpon is one resource that I have quickly become addicted to.

As I was stumbling I came across an obscure website called One of the topics of this website was “Life before Dogs vs. Life after Dogs.” It was a great collection of pictures and GIFs depicting certain aspects of your life before a dog and your life after a dog. Really great stuff, I highly recommend checking it out.

But this got me seriously asking myself, “What was my life like before I had a dog?”

I've pretty much had a dog in my life since I can remember. We always had a family dog when I was a kid. As I got older and moved away from home, there were times I lived without a dog and I can't say I really felt like my life was empty without a dog in the house.

Looking back at the times as a kid, I never paid much attention to our family dogs and when one of them passed away I don’t remember feeling all that sad about it. However, I often think back fondly about one dog in particular, a border collie named Micky. I remember what a nice, friendly dog she was. I really do miss her but I don’t remember crying or feeling a sense of loss when she died.

I have to think more recently in the past, 12 or 13 years, when I met my wife and we lived together for the first time. We had three cats (all hers) and no dogs at the time. We rented a condo along Centre Street in the north and having a dog was not an option for us at the time. We lived there for about three years before moving to our own house in McKenzie back in November 2004. Mrs. Nate insisted she wanted a dog now that we owned a house and by March 2005 we had our first dog, Mojo.

We got him as a puppy through the Bargain Finder (if anyone remembers that before Kijiji came along). Of course this was before we knew any better about adopting and rescuing dogs.

Life before Mojo was pretty “even”. We did our thing and it we seemed like we had much more freedom. The cats could be left alone for quite some time before I started to worry about them being home alone. They were free fed and had access to the kitty litter so no biggie if we went out after work instead of heading straight home.

Pretty sure we had more disposable income as well.

Life after Mojo came into the house was completely different. We thought we were prepared for a puppy but we were wrong! He took all our time. We spent a fortune on an X-pen, supplies, food, puppy training classes and cleaning products. The cats hated him; one even died after she refused to eat and came down with a fatal case of fatty liver disease.

I used play video games on weekend mornings and that time was cut short entertaining the new puppy. I was a little bitter about that let me tell you!

As Mojo got older we started to take him on regular evening walks. I hated that at first too but I finally saw that it wasn’t only for his benefit it was for mine as well. I got to see our neighbourhood, enjoy the outdoors and even saw some interesting things like rabbits, deer and owls. Not to mention it got our butts off the couch for 30-60 minutes every night.

It may sound as if I thought my life was better before Mojo came along but it wasn’t. He was and still is a huge joy in our lives. I can’t imagine what it will be like when he’s gone, my heart fills with sorrow just thinking about it. I may not have had much emotion about my childhood dogs passing away but now that I’ve been responsible for Mojo from a puppy and he is truly our dog, I have a feeling both Mrs. Nate and I are both going to need full-on bereavement leave from work when his time comes.

Nearly four years after getting Mojo we decided it was time to get him a little friend.

Enter Oscar. We rescued him from a fly-by-night, shady rescue organization called Furever After. Dealing with them was a nightmare and I’m glad they are gone. At least they brought Oscar into our lives (even though to this day Mojo despises him).

Again we had some huge adjustments to make in our daily lives as Oscar came with a few issues.

  • He was a “marker” and peed in the house.
  • He had an attitude that tended to get him in trouble with the bigger dogs.
  • He had zero recall and would run off any chance he got.
We had one dog with none of these issues and added one with all of them!

We’ve had Oscar now for about four years and he still pees in the house if we aren’t careful but he has improved in all the other aspects by at least 80%. If anything, Oscar taught us a lot!

So life before dogs was nice but it was uneventful and the house had more of an empty feeling. Life after dogs? 100 times better! For a ton of reasons I won’t go into here, I’m sure they’re probably the same reasons for you.

If I had to pinpoint it down to one thing, it would be that I’m so much more aware of dogs as a whole. I’m more in touch with the dog world, the plight of dogs in our society and the incredible amount of devotion people show towards dog rescue and promoting responsible pet guardianship.

I no longer see dogs as a thing to own but as a loving, caring being that has thoughts, feelings and a ton of love to share with anyone who will accept it.

November 1, 2013

Soap Opera Makes Nate Mad!

Billy Abbott and his dog from CBS Young and the Restless
Dash Surprises Billy
Mrs. Nate has been a loyal follower and viewer of the hit daytime TV soap called the Young and the Restless. I’m sure many of you are familiar with this program. Even those of us who do not care for soaps know about the greedy and heartless Victor Newman.

Mrs. Nate faithfully PVRs the show and almost always plays it back while I make dinner. So I end up watching it here and there and I have to admit I don’t mind it so much. I know all the characters and their various sordid pasts.

The episode that played on October 30th had a scene that made me quite angry. Let me set it up for you.

You see, Billy Abbott had a lovely, young daughter named Delia from his previous marriage to Chloe, Billy is now married to Vicki Newman, just in case you didn't know. As if you didn't!

In recent, previous shows, Billy rescued a dog named Dash and gave him to his daughter as a present.

Last week Billy was driving home with Delia and her new dog in the backseat. They stopped at a convenience store to pick up some ice cream and Billy left the two of them in car as he went in to make his purchase.

I’m not exactly sure why but Delia decided to open the car door, Dash darted out and ran into the desolate, dark road. She got worried and decided to go after him. To make a long story short, a car came by driven by none other than Adam Newman, he swerves to miss the dog and ends up running over poor Delia; she goes the hospital and eventually dies.

I’m thinking, “Where’s Dash?” They never did tell us. A week later, Billy is grieving heavily and blaming himself for the death of his daughter. He finds himself out on the front porch of his house and low and behold, Dash made his way home! Yay doggie!

Billy brings the dog in and of course seeing Dash for the first time, he brings back the memories, hurt and pain all over again. He puts Dash out back and leaves him out there. After a while he wants in and Billy’s wife, Victoria says, “We should let the dog in.” Billy says, “Leave it out there, I don’t want to see that damn dog!” She replies, “I’ll get started on looking for a new home for him.”

I’m like, seriously? That’s a nice message to send the millions of viewers out there!

I know it’s just fiction but hey, let’s use a soap opera story line to reinforce the fact dogs are disposable items that can just be thrown away when they present life complications we simply don’t want to deal with.

I may be slightly overreacting here but that was first thought that came to my head seconds after the scene had finished playing. It made me mad that they would show their viewers the best way to deal with your dog in a crappy situation is to find it a new home.

I was feeling bad for Billy watching him deal with probably the worst thing a parent would ever to go through, but now I can’t stand him. What’s more, I’m not sure I even like the show now!

There is enough dog surrendering going on throughout North America without it being a part of our entertainment on some TV show!