Birthdays – Human vs. Canine

Happy Friday from WOOF!

Today is an especially festive Friday because we are celebrating TWO birthdays.

Dog handler Krista (today) and boarding guest Reesi (tomorrow)!

Krista and Reesi in the requisite silly hats.

We thought, in honor of these fine birthdays, we’d share what the similarities we can find between DOG BIRTHDAYS and HUMAN BIRTHDAYS.

Our brave subjects were happy to oblige by answering some key questions.

(And wearing the silly hats.)

Let’s begin.


Krista: Fondue with friends.

Reesi: Little Cesars by myself. (And please stay away from my food!)


Krista: 25 (Krista said she’s having a “quarter life crisis”. I smiled serenely and thought, “Talk to me in another 25 years.”)

Reesi: I have no idea!  (Reesi’s turning two years old. We’re pretty sure there’s no crisis involved.)


Krista: seeing the movie “Magic Mike” with my friends. (A story about the world of male exotic dancers.)


Reesi: Watching the Friday Night Movie at WOOF: “A Dog’s Day Petsitter DVD” (A story about the world of farm animals scurrying about and squirrels running through trees!)

4. How long have you been at WOOF?

Krista: Just started as a dog handler a few weeks ago. (Krista’s bio on our staff page is coming soon!)

Reesi: Has been a proud WOOFer for over a year!

In review: Krista and Reesi, though years apart in age, are pretty in tune birthday-wise.

They’re both dining on delicious food, watching stimulating films and donning adorable birthday hats in celebration of their big days.

In the interest of fairness, I put on a hat too.

So a big happy birthday from WOOF to Krista, Reesi and all you Cancer signs out there! Astrology says your best attributes are loyalty, sensitivity and that you’re family oriented.

Traits I think definitely apply to Krista and Reesi, come to think of it. 😎


Vickie Jean @ WOOF


Wildlife at WOOF

Oh, the little critters we encounter every day at WOOF! In fact, the more we look into their furry faces, the more we start to see…


So we’ve decided to share some of our favorite DOGS WHO RESEMBLE WILDLIFE AT WOOF.

(We have a special guest named Rudy who inspired this blog. But more about him at the end.)

First up: WOOF owner Jacque’s very own little bundle of wildlife – Olive the Rodent.


In fact, Jacque says she affectionately termed Olive’s species as “Olive Rodentialis” or some sort of made-up science name. In my opinion, she also looks a little “Ren” from “Ren and Stimpy.”


We also have Missy, the black bear cub.


And Kozmo, the Arctic wolf.

Scooter, the baby possum.

And Shelby, the….

… Cute little baby! (Now, I know this isn’t wildlife per se, but I couldn’t resist pointing out Shelby’s baby-faced qualities.) But back to Rudy. He’s kind of hard to photograqph because he’s always on the go.

Ah, there he is – RUDY THE HEDGEHOG!

Rudy is a Norwich Terrier. (You may remember the breed featured on the hilarious mockumentary “Best in Show.”)


And in this particular category, we think Rudy takes the blue ribbon.


All behold RUDY THE HEDGEHOG. Inspiration to this blog, and inspiration to us all. We love you, you little hedgehog-like creature.

And that is all we had to say.

Vickie @ WOOF


Boomer time

We take care of all kinds at WOOF – the young, the not-so-young, the big, the little…

But one special guest really stood out for me today.

Meet Boomer Roland.

Boomer is a 17 year old Pomeranian. He’s getting up there in years (the longest living Pom is rumored to have been 25 – so Boomer keep on going!) and consequently he has lost most of his vision and hearing.

He gets along pretty well though. We noticed he likes to hang out in Jacque’s office, on the couch.

And since I was working a lot in the office today, Boomer and I were kind of hang-out buddies.

What up, Boomer.

After a nice long snooze, Boomer got a little restless. He wanted to be lifted OFF THE COUCH and do a little EXPLORING.

(Now, as you can imagine, this can be a little frustrating when you can’t see or hear.)

So I leashed him up and guided him slowly outside, thinking maybe he’d like to take a potty break.

But after wandering aimlessly (I more than him…) I finally knelt down, held him to me so he felt secure (he knew where I was and that someone had him) and we just…


I noticed that his heart rate slowed down. He lifted his face to the sun.

He sniffed all those smells in the breeze that only dogs know about.

I tried to imagine what it was like for Boomer, not being able to see or hear anything. All he knows about the outside world is what he can feel and smell.

So that’s what we did: a lot of feeling and smelling!

Just Boomer and I on a bliss-out break.

It was unexpectedly awesome – again, probably more for me than for him.

So thank you Boomer Roland for helping me see things in a new way.

(And this is why I’ll say for the millionth time, LISTEN TO YOUR DOG – THEY KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING.)


Vickie Jean @ WOOF


Daycare Photo Bomb! June 6 Edition

Hey WOOFers!

We love to entertain, educate and illuminate with this blog. We have big plans to cover all sorts of topics – from crate training to kennel cough to all things dog-loving people want to know.

But sometimes we just want to look at some super cute dog photos.

So, may we present the first in a series we’d like to call of DAYCARE PHOTO BOMB! (Even though we know the strict definition of “photo bomb” is when some goofball sneaks in the back of a posed photo…)

We’re sticking with the name anyway. 😎

So here goes – here are all the dogs Nicole could catch mid-day in daycare at WOOF’S San Ramon facility, dated June 6. (very official, you know).



Bear! (growing, growing every day...)

Sweet little Bella!



Ellie and Fletcher! (ah, the family bond is evident...)

Demure little Fiona!



Jake! (did you notice the Boxer theme?)

Good ol' Jack!

Yo, Joey!

Gorgeous little Kona!

The equally gorgeous Kona Bean!



Oh, Parker.



And last, but not least, the amazing Stella…

Yay Stella!

What is that – 22 dogs? Not bad for a –



Now, if your dog was here today and did not get PHOTO BOMBED, never fear.

They may be next!


Vickie Jean


Happy trails Ina and Tola!

Today we say goodbye to two very special guests, Ina and Tola.

Their parents are moving out of state and today is their last day with us!

These girls are very near and dear to our hearts. First of all, they’ve been with us nearly every weekday for SIX YEARS.

WOOF MATH MOMENT: If there are about 52 weeks in a year, that’s 312 weeks. If there’s 5 weekdays in a week, that means Ina and Tola have been in daycare for 1560 days.

I’m not sure I did that right, but let’s just say we’ve known Ina and Tola – and their wonderful parents David and Christopher – for a really, really long time!

Second, these are the first WOOF dogs from POLAND – a breed called Polish Lowland Sheepdogs. Or, even more exotic, their native breed name is:

Polski Owczawrek Nizziny. (PONs for short).

(Say THAT fast three times.)

Here’s Ina when we first met her:

(A cool little fact about these PONs is that their hair gets lighter as they get older.)

And her big sister, Tola:

So today, we thought of all the things we could do to give these ladies a proper send-off. Of course, since the family is moving to Oklahoma, we somehow associated that with cowboys. Or, in Ina and Tola’s case, cowgirls.

A quick trip to the local San Ramon CVS pharmacy yielded the perfect hats.

That’s Tola on the left in a tiger stripe cowboy hat. And Ina on the right in a pink leopard print number. (Also Erica, Elisa and Nicole!)

Even though we think the girls were a little bit of RELUCTANT COWGIRLS, we think we got our point across.

Watch out, Oklahoma – some California girls are coming your way and they are FABULOUS.

We also thought we’d share a few Ina and Tola memories:

Elisa: “I remember Tola in group. She had one ball in her mouth and kept trying to put more in there. I call them the POLISH TORNADOES.”

Nicole: “They argue like real sisters in the morning.”

Jenna: “(David and Chris) were so cute when I picked Ina and Tola as the Dogs of the Week. Chris said, ‘I never thought my girls would make it – they’ve been here 5 years!'”

All the staff recalled how Ina’s parents would drive up with them in the car in the morning. They used special tubes with zippers to keep the girls separated on the car ride for safety. Everyone joked that they should just roll them on in here!

As I type this, Ina and Tola are spending their last couple hours in WOOF’s daycare. I can see them sleeping on their Karunda beds through the window. Soon, a car will drive up and take them to a new life.

An hour ago, we got a delivery of flowers. Of course, we knew immediately who they were from.

Thanks so much, Christopher and David. We wish you well in your new life – and just like the sign says above, we know you’ll feel right at home with Ina and Tola by your sides.

But know we’re going to miss them – and you – terribly.

This place just won’t be the same.


Your friends at WOOF


Jacque’s charity work

All around WOOF last week, people have been asking: Where in the world is Jacque Preble?

(No, that’s Carmen Sandiego.)

I’m talking about Jacque Preble, owner of WOOF. She was missing all last week helping with her favorite animal charity in Mexico, Sayulitanimals.

You may have spotted some clues around the WOOF office that foreshadowed this trip.

A donation basket on the front desk:

Even a former Mexican native wandering around, who Jacque brought back from her last trip:

Viva Pancho!

If you’ve met Pancho, you know we’ve been working on easing some behavioral issues with him. (Hence, the Thundershirt you see him wearing above.) He has separation anxiety that still plagues him, but we’re working with a trainer and veterinarian to get it under control.

And even though it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Pancho, he’s such a sweetie and we’re pretty sure he’s enjoying his new American lifestyle.

Hanging out on the bed with Olive Preble…

Enjoying some of life’s little luxuries.

We wanted to share Jacque’s work with Sayulitanimals because many of you were kind enough to donate to the cause and we’d like to show you what your money went toward. (Plus, they’re fighting an uphill battle down there and can use all the additional help they can get!)

First, a little about Sayulita, Mexico.

Located 40 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta airport, Sayulita is a fishing village that has become a recent vacation/ rental hotspot for its quiet atmosphere. (No mega-resorts here as of yet…)

For example, this is still a pretty common sight in Sayulita.

Sayulitanimal’s founder, Sara Briner, moved there in 2005.



She found the streets to be overrun with unwanted animals. The locals were overwhelmed with growing packs of dogs and cats. Out of a lack of education and severe desperation, some townspeople threw poisoned meat onto the street, tossed litters into the river or tied up dogs to starve and slowly die alone.

An animal lover, Sara adopted a street dog named Esmeralda, who became a sweet and loving companion. She decided to make a bigger difference, starting a small organization out of her home, which eventually grew into Sayulitanimals. The first year, they neutered 360 animals, found homes for 40 and found foster families for 30 more.

Not bad for a home-grown rescue group!

The locals began to see Sara and her group of volunteers as allies. Through their help and education, they began to see the dogs and cats in their streets as friends instead of nuisances.

A street dog awaits his turn to be neutered at Sayulitanimals.

In late 2011, Jacque was planning a trip to Sayulita but was feeling “bah humbug” around Christmas because she felt she had so much while others had so little. She decided to see if there were any animal rescue organizations in the area that needed supplies, her plan being to get together a donation drive at WOOF and take it with her for needy dogs and cats.

It was quite the successful drive! (Thanks to our wonderful WOOF clients.)

Jacque ended up bringing six boxes of supplies – filling Sara’s wish list and then some.

While down there, she found out about Sayulitanimal’s quarterly spay-neuter clinics. She found out that every three months, a volunteer veterinarian and technician fly out from California for three straight days of neuter surgery at no cost to the villagers.

Jacque booked her next flight before she even returned home for the May 2012 spay-neuter clinic.

So that’s where Jacque was last week – helping with animal recruitment and surgery recovery!

Here she is posing with one recruit, brought in on an extension cord leash.

 Jacque sent us photos all week, documenting Sayulitanimal’s progress. Just by neutering these little guys, so many future unwanted liters will be eliminated!


 Founder Sara enjoying some fringe benefits.

A Sayulita local girl helping out.

Getting as many dogs and cats safely operated on in three days requires 10-hour-plus shifts, lots of towels and some keen organization.

1. Find the patients in need! (Their transportation to the clinic can be quite interesting…)

2. Knock ’em out!

3. Perform the surgery!

(no pictures of this but you can imagine…)

4. Line ’em up for recovery!

The neat little row allows them to be monitored easily and stay warm while recovering from their anesthesia.

5. Hopefully find them homes.

This little male, for example, is up for adoption and only slightly confused as to where two parts of his anatomy went.

All in all, the group spayed and neutered an average of 50 animals per day. Jacque said, although it was exhausting, it’s one of the most satisfying things she’s ever done.

Here she is with founder, Sara.

And she really, really loved handing out all your WOOF donations, of course.

Getting a thank-you kiss for a donated leash and collar…

Watching this after a hard day’s work each night wasn’t bad either.

Sayulita sunset

So a big THANK YOU from Jacque and everyone in Sayulita for your donations. If you’d like to learn more about the organization, go to their web site.

Or you can help now by:

Donating money by clicking here

Donating supplies or becoming a volunteer by calling 329-291-3974 or by e-mailing here

Search the adoptable dogs and cats by clicking here

Jacque is going back to Sayulita September 30 through October 4, so if you’d like to donate through WOOF, contact us here.

 Welcome back, Jacque. We have a sunset here too – just look at our wall every night.

We think it’s almost as beautiful.


Vickie Jean @ WOOF


WOOF gear top ten list

Have you ever thought of all the tools you’d need to keep track of a bevy of dogs each day?

(We know – who needs to plan that far ahead?)

Well, we do! Us humans with real jobs and real responsibilities need more than just soft fur, soulful eyes and natural charm to get by.

I know, Bentley. It’s shocking but true.

I got to looking around WOOF and started to notice some bonafide WOOF GEAR we would absolutely perish without. And the more I thought about what each tool does – how unique they are to the care and management of our canine guests – I thought, why, this would be a good thing to share.

So may I present:

The WOOF Gear Top Ten List

By Vickie Jean

10. Loop Leads!

This may seem pretty basic, but this leash has some unique attributes, including a loop on the end for the neck and padded grip. It is worn by all of our staff so they can quickly catch a dog in playgroup. Since our guests play with no collar for safety purposes, we find our lasso-style leads quite handy!

9. Shoe Pouches!

It’s simple math: dozens of dogs = dozens of leashes and collars. These hanging shoe pouches are perfect doggie cubbie holes.

8. Walkie Talkies!

Quick communication is key between our front desk and the dog handlers. When it’s time to corral a dog to go home, all the communication happens over these cool little walkie talkies. This is especially important because we like to keep our dog handlers with the pack at all times so nobody goes unsupervised.

Watch Dog Handler Deztiney demonstrate:

Who’s lunch is this?

Got it!

7. Ceramic Tiles!

To the layperson, this may look like your average kitchen or bathroom tile. But to a WOOF employee, it’s a perfect creation for boarding suite identification. Whoever discovered that dry-erase marker would wipe off these shiny little numbers was a genius. (And you can pick your favorite color too!)

6. Aprons!

You need hands-free body storage bigger than a pocket? Behold the WOOF apron. Small and stylish, this will hold all your gear: leashes, markers, poop bags, gloves, and more.

5. Whistles!


Safe dog management comes down to keeping everyone’s attention in a positive direction. Whistles are wonderful tools to redirect dogs who start to play too rough or get stuck on a barking jag. The key is once you’ve got their attention, get them to do something nice (like sit or quiet) and then praise them all over the place!

4. Little brown bags!

We love these because they keep track of everyone’s personal belongings. (We secretly really love them because they let us express our creative sides – this one shows Great Dane Baxter Holbrook in many stages of development while he’s been with us!)

3. Smart phones!

Okay, so we know we’re not the only ones privy to the wonders of these little devices but we are so thankful for the technology! We are now able to photograph our guests and e-mail Cuddle Time and Tennis Ball Time instantly, take videos and post them to our Facebook and YouTube pages and instant message all manner of goodies to our clients – without missing a step with the dogs. (May I personally thank the iPhone for the ability to do this very blog, in fact.)

2. Headsets!

The more hands-free tools, the better. Especially since our front staff is usually on their feet, ferrying doggies. (I have personally witnessed Elisa cleaning up a mess, holding a dog and taking a phone call all at the same time. Truly amazing!)

And now for number one – the MOST IMPORTANT WOOF GEAR OF ALL TIME.

Are you paying attention?

1. Dog flair!

No? Maybe that’s just me.

Until next time –


Vickie Jean @ WOOF


Sleeping & bathing beauties

Happy May Day!

Around the world people are celebrating the beginning of summer. At WOOF, we celebrate with two perfect “the weather is getting warmer” activities.


Hello, Cody Murphey

And napping:

Goodnight, Riley Murphey

For our own little tribute to May Day, we’ll share all the swimming and napping moments we captured this week.
Jesse demonstrates a common misconception among our guests. 

Jesse Feil

 That you can actually “catch” the water.
Others take a more laid back approach.

Buddy Garcia

Buddy just relishes the cool water on his toes.

Beckham, hoping the water won't make his curls frizzy


Lola keeps herself calm, cool and collected – which is quite important for these short muzzled breeds. (She’s a bulldog so we make sure she stays cool in warm weather.)


Lola Jennings

WOOF TIP: Did you know dogs with this face shape overheat easily? Dogs regulate their body temperatures by panting and breeds like bulldogs, pugs, french bulldogs, boston terriers (think “scrunched face” dogs) have an inefficient face shape to lower their body temperatures naturally. So it’s important to keep these guys in the shade and with access to cool water at all times. Learn more here.
Then there are, of course, the heavy drinkers.

Bottoms up, Heidi Bennett


Daisy Angle goes right for the source

We don’t blame them – the water is so cold and delicious!
A few shots from the “straight-up splashers” group.

Show that water who's boss, Cody Murphey!

Notice Lola standing by, getting some residual spray.

Girl power, Heidi Bennett!

This group gets cooled off and their exercise, which leads to… NAP TIME, of course.
Some choose our comfy Karunda beds.

Niki Feil


Sweet little Mindy

Others prefer a sun nap.

Big ol' Baxter Holbrook

Some curl up right on our comfy flooring in the shade.

Ina and Tola


Beckham and his TAIL


Oh, Travis

Once again, I think we can take a lesson from these dogs. It’s summer – don’t stay cooped up in front of the computer or behind the wheel of your car.
Get out there and go for a good swim. And then lay down and take a good nap.
Throw a little lunch in there somewhere and we can call that the perfect summer’s day.
Until next time.
Vickie Jean @ WOOF


Perfect names & breed buddies

When you work around dozens upon dozens of dogs, you start to notice things. Patterns emerge. Alliances are formed. Discoveries are made.

(This might be a high-falutin’ way of saying if you stare at dogs long enough, you might go a little nuts.)

Today Nicole, one of our dog handlers, told me there were several dogs who had THE PERFECT NAMES. I wasn’t sure what she was talking about until I saw for myself.

For example, meet Peanut:

I'm Peanut!

Meet Peanut’s friend, Meatball.

Yo, I'm Meatball.

Now behold Peanut and Meatball together.












You know, Nicole, I’m starting to see what you  mean!

Now let’s look at a few more.

This is Licorice.

This is Shadow.

And this is Hades.

(Now I get The Omen reference, but if this is what H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks looks like, I’m not so afraid anymore – such a beautiful smile!)

The other thing you start to notice are BREED BUDDIES. It is an observational “fact” (if that exists, and we say it does) that like breeds tend to gravitate towards one another in the playrooms.

Look at Sammy and Buddy, the Golden Retrievers.


They always seem to sit together.

And Sarge and Lando – the king of terriers – Airedales!



They get each other’s high energy like no one else.

Also Lola and Oliver, the Puggles.

We're special.


They’re from the same family but we still consider them BREED BUDDIES.

And there’s Stella and Marzen, the German Shorthair Pointers.

We're huntin'


And last but not least, the stunning pair known as Travis and Kona, the Siberian Huskies.

This is my girlfriend.

She makes me laugh.

We're young, beautiful and in love.


So the next time someone sends you one of those funny e-mails of the owners who look like their dogs, send them this blog.

It may be that we subconsciously choose dogs who resemble us – but it’s also true that dogs know a few things too.

Like that they have the perfect name and totally own it!

Or recognize their own and like what they see.



Vickie Jean @ WOOF


Eat, sleep, play

The month of April means two things at WOOF: Spring break and rainy weather. It adds up to a full (and occasionally wet) house.

Oh no!

 Don’t worry Mr. Bill, we can handle it!

One of the major keys of running a busy boarding facility is organization.

And more organization.

Each of our guests gets a bag with a detailed list of their belongings. (And their own cute little tail hook!)
But dogs don’t care about organization. All they want to know is:
1. Is it time to eat?
2. Is it time to sleep?
3. Is it time to PLAY?
So we organize our philosophy of good dog care under these three very important tenets. (And we humans could benefit from them as well, don’t you think?)
So without further ado we present: EVENING TIME AT WOOF
Subtitled: EAT, PLAY, SLEEP.
After a full day of play, we begin ferrying our overnight guests from the Daycare building to the Boarding building. The first round of business is to put everyone in their own, private kennel so they can EAT.

Micky: where's dinner?

The dogs wait patiently (mostly) as we dish up everyone’s dinner. And since everyone has their own feeding instructions – and in some cases, medications – we have to slow down and really pay attention.
For example, Spencer gets carrots in his food.
He seems to like them.

All gone

 Micky enjoys a classic mix of wet and dry.

When everyone is done eating, the next question is, of course:

Is it time to PLAY?


Not yet! We have to have a rest period while everyone digests. For some of our guests, it’s not a problem.

Major Weimereiner Food Coma


When rest time is over, the dog handlers initiate the evening play groups.

I had the pleasure of taking Leo the German Shepherd to the outside yard. But it was raining and he wondered – why on earth are we going outside?

Me outside, in the rain, taking a picture of Leo inside, dry and warm

After a little encouragement, Leo joined me for a sniff and a potty.

Good boy, Leo

While Dog Handlers Kyle and Amanda monitored the big dog yard, I took charge of the little dog recess. Everyone was let out into the hallway leading to the upper yard.
Unfortunately, the little dogs also didn’t care for the rain and were developing a case of their own “Leo-itis.”

Come on everybody, get out here!

I was finally able to convince everyone to come outside. When they did, the big dogs the next yard over were curious.

Hey, what's going on in YOUR yard?

Everyone got into the full swing of playing and (let’s be honest) pooping except for little Mona.


Her feet were getting wet and she wanted to be picked up.

Of course, I put my foot down and resisted.

Just kidding

But as the evening outside time was winding down, I had to put Mona elsewhere so some necessary clean up could be done.

Mona sat in a chair...


While I attended to other matters

While the dogs were finishing up outside, we picked up dinner bowls and fluffed beds.

Their bellies full and their bodies tired, the final question of the night was upon us.

Is it time to SLEEP?

Of course.

Goodnight, sweeties. See you in the morning for more EAT, PLAY, SLEEP.


Vickie Jean @ WOOF.