Animal Welfare Institute Needs Our Help With Alicia Prygoski

Animal Welfare Institute Needs Our Help With Alicia Prygoski

In the 38th episode of the Social Dog podcast, Alicia Prygoski, joins Cindie and Marilyn. Prygoski is a fellow animal lover, former environmental lobbyist from Michigan, and she holds a law degree from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. Prygoski parlayed her lobbying experience and love of animals into a career advocating the better treatment of animals. She has worked for the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), a small policy-based organization, for four years.

What Does the Animal Welfare Institute Do?

Founded in 1961, AWI’s mission is to end the human-inflicted suffering of animals. AWI seeks to protect all animals, including:

  • companion animals
  • wildlife
  • marine mammals
  • lab animals
  • farm animals
  • and more

Although Prygoski’s compassion extends to all animals, her work with AWI focuses on farm animals.

Prygoski Brings Awareness to Central Issues Affecting the Welfare of Farm Animals

As AWI’s Farm Animal Policy Associate, the goal of Prygoski’s work centers on bettering the welfare of farm animals. Her areas of focus are:

  • farm animal welfare legislation
  • barn fire prevention
  • food policy
  • generally improving the living conditions of farm animals

Each area of focus has helped Prygoski to identify and bring awareness to central issues affecting farm animals today. She discussed several of those issues with us on the podcast.

Factory Farming

Factory farms are notorious for housing farm animals in deplorable conditions. Because the primary goal of factory farms is to turn a maximum profit, they treat their animals like products rather than sentient beings.

Factory farms keep the animals in crates and cages, so small that even the most basic movements, such as stretching and turning around, are out of the question. Storing the crates and cages in crowded warehouses deprive the animals of sunlight, enrichment, and stimulation. Factory farm animals never know the joys of grazing in pastures, playing, or socializing with other animals.

Factory farms often achieve their financial goals by breeding animals to grow bigger and faster. Chickens raised for meat are bred to achieve market weight in just 47 days, often growig so large that their legs cannot support their body weight. According to Prygoski, 85% of the animals raised for food in the U.S. are raised in factory farms.

Transport and Export

The routine overcrowding of transport trucks puts the animals at risk of trampling and/or injuring each other. Transporting conditions frequently deprive the animals of food, water, and rest, while also exposing them to extreme heat and cold. Federal law should technically regulate the transport of animals; the Twenty-Eight Hour Law provides the framework to mitigate most of transport-related issues, but the law is not really enforced.

AWI has also worked to ensure the safe export of animals to and from other countries. International transport is one of the largest animal welfare concerns when examining the export practices of some countries. For example, in contrast with the approximately 100,000 farm animals the U.S. exports overseas per year, Australia sends millions of farm animals overseas every year. Large ships transport the animals, keeping them on board for several weeks at a time.

AWI has helped to implement some helpful policies. In 2011, AWI petitioned the USDA, requesting that they confirm farm animals’ fitness to travel be confirmed before departure. The USDA agreed to adopt fitness to travel requirements, and they implemented the policy in 2016.

Barn Fires

A single barn fire can kill hundreds of thousands of animals, but they draw very little attention when they occur. Animals confined to cages have little chance of escaping when a fire breaks out, all but ensuring certain death. AWI implemented a new tool on their website this year, which provides up-to-date information on each barn fire in 2019 so far. You can use the barn fire tracker to find relevant data, such as a fire’s location, date, animal death toll, and links to media reports linked to each tragedy.

In October 2018, AWI released the first-of-its-kind report documenting the more than 2.7 million farm animals that died because of barn fires from 2013 to 2017. Because of their potential for large death tolls for farm animals and widespread damage, Prygoski stressed that prevention is key. Some preventative measures farmers can take are:

  • Equipping barns with sprinkler systems
  • Installing smoke and fire detectors
  • Provide training for staff
  • Equip barns with fire extinguishers

AWI’s report makes many recommendations, but there are no laws or regulations in place to protect farm animals. The lack of laws and regulations in the U.S. is especially frustrating considering the millions of animals that have perished in barn fires over the last few years. Knowledge is power, however, so Prygoski and AWI are working to arm advocates with as much information as they can to inspire changes at local, state, and federal levels.

What Can You Do to Help?

Introducing legislation and taking preventative measures help to mitigate the impact of many of these issues. You can help bring awareness to the issues farm animals face by:

  • Volunteering at a farm animal sanctuary  will help you to realize the farm animals are individuals and see how much better the animals have it when they have more space to roam around.
  • Writing your elected officials  helps to let them know that farm animal welfare is important to their constituents.
  • Writing letters to the editor of your newspaper — is a powerful way for someone to voice their opinion in their local community while bringing awareness to farm animal welfare.
  • Checking labels on products, educating yourself about the different terms that appear on the labels, and looking up what the standards are — helps you gain awareness as a consumer and  avoid conventionally raised products.
  • Shopping at farmers’ markets — is a great place to learn about how the farm animals were raised and avoid purchasing conventionally raised products.
  • Listening to the Social Dog podcast — helps listeners realize the challenges and barriers animals in this arena face today

Visit the AWI website for more ways to help and sign up for action alerts to stay abreast of what AWI needs by action alerts on website.

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Reiki For Dogs with Kathleen Prasad

Reiki For Dogs with Kathleen Prasad

  In our sixth episode of our Social Dog Show podcast, we spoke with Kathleen Prasad.

Kathleen’s is an Animal Reiki teacher internationally known for her pioneering work in the field of Animal Reiki. She founded Animal Reiki Source® (ARS) in 2004, which has grown from a small Animal Reiki private practice into a world-renowned teaching academy and the foremost center for Animal Reiki information.During the past decade, Kathleen’s work with ARS and SARA has grown remarkably and their programs have become more and more influential in both the U.S. and internationally. Thousands of animal lovers have trained through ARS in Reiki and SARA has over 400 members volunteering and teaching Reiki using Kathleen’s groundbreaking Let Animals Lead™ method in shelters and sanctuaries around the world.

In this Podcast, we talked to Kathleen about reiki for Dogs. Reiki is Japanese for “Spiritual energy”, meaning your inner being; your essence. The system of Reiki is a meditation system that helps us to uncover our inner beauty and inner light that we all have. Kathleen explains that she actually discovered Reiki on accident when her mother recommended it to her. She says that her first Reiki session was so peaceful and healing that she felt like it was the key to her own personal healing journey, but soon, her dog Dakota began laying across her feet, which he never did, causing her to realize that the Reiki sessions were helping him too! This was the beginning of her new career as a Reiki for animals teacher.

Over the years, as her passion grew, she has travelled all over the world spreading her knowledge to dog shelters and other dogs.               The reason she chose shelter dogs is because they need it most. When a shelter dog is very stressed, perhaps because they’ve been through trauma or abuse, it’s very difficult for them to express or show who they really are. The meditation practice of Animal Reiki helps those animals to relax and show their true selves, and allow their inner light to shine. This causes us to be able to be present with an animal instead of running from the situation when they’re stressed or down. Animal Reiki also lets us share kindness and compassion, because it helps us to let go of our anger, frustration, and fears. Since we radiate our feelings into our dogs, they can step in and help heal us while also healing them. As a result of this, in shelters, the caretakers also benefit from Animal Reiki! This also allows sheltered animals to be adopted more because their inner light shows instead of pain or fear. 
Keep in mind, you and your pets can do Reiki anytime, not just when your hurt, and not just when you’re happy. Kathleen also shares with us that, a number of years back, her young dog actually discovered a cancer that had taken place, and showed Kathleen by one day trying to dig on her chest, and when Kathleen felt where the dog had done it, she felt the tumor, and was able to have it removed before it could spread.

Kathleen graciously shared a brief ten minute amazing meditation to share with our pets.
It was fantastic.( I’ve personally tried it with a room of 23 dogs with my staff and had every dog relaxed. I tried it again by myself with 15 dogs, same jaw dropping results.I never tried this before, have no experience with reiki. I’m so impressed, I’ve implemented a policy at our dog daycare, we take ten minutes before nap time to practice this simple ten minute meditation and just be with the dogs. ) 

I was ready to talk more with Kathleen and get all the info I could before our time was up.  Kathleen soon explains that the most powerful healing that we can offer to our dog is our presence. When our dogs are sick, we often tend to panic, doing things such as calling vets and frantically searching for medication, which draws us away from just being with our pets. 
We decided to ask Kathleen to share one of her favorite Animal Reiki experiences, she told us of a story about when she went to the Devoted Barn in Michigan last spring, which has over 50 feral dogs. On the first day they went, the dogs were scared of the group of people. On the second day, however, after the group really let go and opened up to their Reiki, the dogs actually accepted them and went to sleep! The barn went quiet, which the owner said she had never heard before. This was proof that Animal Reiki worked, and was also one of the most amazing experiences Kathleen has had during he career.
Kathleen has in person courses this summer in California. She also has a class calendar and online meditations on her website:
Please leave comments ,questions or just a simple hello below. We would love to hear from you.
Lots of love and compassion,
If you missed this show, here is a quick link to it:



Albert Duoibes talks with us on Vetionx and Better Bowl a healthy alternative for our pets!

Albert Duoibes talks with us on Vetionx and Better Bowl a healthy alternative for our pets!

In our fifth podcast of Social Dog Show, we interview Albert Duoibes, founder of Vetionx and Better Bowl meals. We enjoyed listening to Albert’s advice from VETiONX. In this interview, Albert talks about dog shampoos, dog food, diet, and homemade cooking, so you can get all the insights on how to keep your four legged furry friend happy and healthy.

GUEST: Albert Duoibes GUEST BIO: VETiONX® was founded in 2006 by Albert Duoibes. Albert was quoted in Animal Wellness magazine’s August/September 2010 issue: “We know animals suffer from many of the same degenerative diseases as we do. So we thought, why don’t we have the same support for animals?”

Just when you think you know what a healthy meal for a dog would be, Albert explains that most of the time, his customers come to him with concerns about their dog having certain joint or skin conditions, and that the first thing to do is look at the dog’s environment, food, and diet that they’re used to. Albert goes on to recommend raw diets, and also states that he has been working on a solution to give dogs the vitamins and nutrients found in vegetables without having to use heat cooking. Did you know, this is important because, being true carnivores, dogs lack the digestive enzymes required to break past plant cell walls and extract its nutrients. It is revealed that the main ingredient in Better Bowl is animal proteins, and that, instead of having the animal proteins directly in the patties, they separate them into dehydrated packets so that the owner can add them at his or her own will. Better Bowl offers a egg & veggie dehydrated raw meal patty

  • Better Ingredients: 16 raw, GMO-free, natural superfoods grown, blended, and packaged in the USA. No refined or artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or fillers. No animal byproducts, mystery “meat,” grains, corn, soy, yeast, or gluten. Egg & Veggie Dehydrated Raw Meal Patties are 100% natural!
  • Better Recipe: This limited ingredient diet (LID) is gentle on sensitive stomachs and dehydrated raw for natural preservation. Feel confident knowing your dog has a full range of the nutrients he needs – high quality protein, vitamins A-K, a wealth of minerals, omega 3 and antioxidants!
  • Better Flavor: Egg & Veggie Dehydrated Raw Meal Patties make a warm, instant-homemade, “just add water” meal you can serve your pup proudly.

The next main topic we spoke of is hydration. When dogs get older,  their bladders get smaller, causing them to more frequently need to go to the bathroom, but at the same time, their skin can get dry because they don’t get as much water from what they eat and drink due to them doing so less. Albert’s solution for his pet was to start giving your pet wet dog food. ( NO to canned wet dog food, due to preservatives, if its canned, its full of preservatives) and making sure that they are drinking enough water, and Albert says that it has worked like a charm. Hydration is very important for many things, including blood, skin, and, as a result, overall health, so it’s important be attentive to your dog’s hydration, especially once they start getting older.

Albert says: always, always moist wet food is a good choice for animals dealing with allergies! The amount of water helps with allergenic because the amount of water and the nutrients are distracted by the water and helps drive the nutrients to your pets system faster.

The next major topic we talked about, and a very interesting one for me, is anti pest bath products. Albert explains that cedar from cedar trees is actually a natural pest repellent, often being used by many animals in the wild, and that he and the people at Vetionx have based their sprays, soap bars, and shampoos on this fact by adding Texas red cedar oil with a touch of rosemary, making a healthy and natural flee and pest medication.Before we wrap up this blog, I’d like to inform you that there is a discount code for the Better Bowl so you can buy two get one free on all their pet foods and treats! Simply enter the code “Cindie” at

I would love to hear any comments or questions.
I would never recommend anything that I did not 100% believe in!  Lots of love, Cindie
Socializing Dogs

Socializing Dogs


Episode 4
Aired (May 9, 2018)

Listen on iTunes:

Click here to Listen


Show Notes and Links:

Award winning trainer Victory Hulett answering your Socialization Questions.

One caller had Havanese that is being aggressive on leash toward Poodles.

Another Caller how to pick  out the perfect dog at the shelter

Facebook question: Toy Poodle new to home. Mother is in facility and son took in the poodle. Having trouble adjusting to new environment.

Good Dog Bad Habits

Good Dog Bad Habits

Episode 2
Aired (April 25, 2018)


Listen on iTunes:


Show Notes and Links:


11 Ways to LOVE your Dog

11 Ways to LOVE your Dog

1. Show them you care by baking some HEALTHY treats from the Dog-Gone Good Cookbook.”

Research for yourself what is a healthy portion size for your pet’s food and the quantity/quality of treats. Do you know if your dog is overweight? Do the simple feel test around your pet’s rib cage. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs easily, there is a good chance they are overweight.


2. Go on long walks and change up your route for new smells.

Dogs use their noses more than their eyes, smelling their way around. They smell every shade of green we see. They smell a teaspoon in an Olympic size pool. Show your dog some love by taking them to new places, introducing them to new smells. Your dog will appreciate the fact that she’s got your undivided attention in a cornucopia of smells to delight her senses.


3. Teach your dog a new trick.

Check out all the tricks we have for you here.


4. Teach your dog some new words.

Watch the video below for some ideas:


5. Treat your dog to a day of doggie daycare.


6. Enroll in a training class.

Training is a great bonding time for you and your dog and taking time to take a regular class will strengthen your bond.


7. Play games together like hide and seek, fetch, and fly ball.


8. Brush your dog weekly.

Brushing stimulates the skin and allows natural oils to circulate. It prevents irritations and infections. It is also a great way to spend quality time with your dog.


9. Give your dog a nice relaxing bath.


10. Exercise with your dog.

Walking, running, hiking, and biking are all great forms of exercise to do with your dog. You build deeper bonds with your dog when you spend time exploring the world with your him.

dog hiking in snow

Photo by Paxson Woelber


11. Take your dog to a local pet store for a visit.

Let them go down the aisles on a leash (of course) and pick out a new toy.



How to train your dog to give kisses

How to train your dog to give kisses

Giving kisses on command is a favorite dog trick for many people, especially children. It also happens to be one of the easiest tricks to train a dog to do.

What You Need

Some yummy treats are all that you need to train a dog to give kisses. Peanut butter or cream cheese works well because it’s easy to smear a small bit on your cheek or hand.

Here’s How to Do It

  1. Take a little peanut butter or cream cheese and place a dab on your cheek (or wherever you would like your dog to kiss).
  2. Give the command “give kisses.”
  3. Lean towards your dog, and let him do the rest. He should be eager to lick the treat from your cheek.
  4. Practice this dog trick for a few minutes several times a day. It won’t be long before your dog comes over to give you a big kiss every time you give the command!



Photo by Mike Baird

What is Fostering?

Basically pet fostering involves providing a temporary home for a rescued animal. As a foster family you provide love, attention, and care for the animal in your home while he /she waits to be adopted.

The duration of the animals stay can be anywhere from a couple days to several months and during that time you may assist with training or behavior modification. Any expenses related to the dog’s daily care, food, the shelter or rescue group generally covers veterinary visits, grooming. “ You get to do the fun stuff with the dogs. Love on them, take walks, and play with them.


How do you become a foster family?

Each shelter or rescue group has their own application process, but they all generally include some paperwork and home visit. The shelters look at the space an individual has at home and any other pets, and they talk to the family to make sure everyone is on the same page.

During the application process potential foster families can define the type of dog that will fit best in their life – big or small, active or laid back, even specific breeds. The most important thing is that the dog fits in well in the home.


The Joys and Pitfalls of Fostering

The fostering families get to know the dog in their care and often uncover some behavior problems. Chewing or destructive behaviors and potty training are some common issues foster families tackle. But the most challenging issues may be saying goodbye when the dog is adopted. While there are tips to decrease the chances of becoming too attached, most foster families still feel a connection to the dogs.

The joy of fostering comes from knowing that you are giving a dog a real chance at survival and giving the shelter an opportunity to help one more animal.


Fostering Tips

  1. Never name the dog. Giving the dog your own name increases the chances of becoming attached.
  1. Put your family and pets first. The foster dog is temporary and while you want to give them the best care possible, the needs of your family and pets should be primary.
  1. Don’t let them sleep on the bed or couch. Do give foster dogs their own space and toys.
  1. Remind yourself that you are preparing the dogs for their forever home.
  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are making a difference.