“National Fire Pup Day” Guest Blog By: Dayna Hilton, Executive Director for the Keep Kids Fire Safe® Foundation

From DAKOTA’S DEN: Today is National Fire Pup Day! In honor of this special day Mom and I want to introduce you to an incredible woman,  Dayna Hilton, who is the Executive Director for the Keep Kids Fire Safe® Foundation. Her mission is “Helping keep children and their caregivers fire safe.”

Mom first met Dayna at the BlogPaws conference in 2011. Mom was completely in awe of all that Dayna  does in her quest to educate children and their caregivers about fire safety. Mom and I are honored to feature Dayna as our guest blogger on this most special day! We are proud to present to you…Dayna!

Little did I know that in 2003, my life was about to change. Daisy, as she was called by the folks at the Dalmatian Assistance League of Tulsa, had been rescued from a home with 62 other dogs. The look on her sweet face on the DAL website was too much. I knew that I wanted to adopt her to give her a loving forever home.


After a little help from friends and fellow firefighters, I decided to name her Sparkles. She certainly lived up to her name! With a constant “smile” and wagging tail, the name fit perfectly!

           Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog

Sparkles was my best friend. We spent so many hours sharing fire safety together that I couldn’t even count the number of programs. We had a connection that was like no other. Not only did we share fire safety together, we really cared about each other and were constantly together.

  Firefighter Dayna Hilton and Sparkles the fire Safety Dog. 2006

Sparkles crossed the Rainbow Bridge almost two years ago on October 10th and I thought my days sharing fire safety with a canine companion were over. Little did imagine that things were just beginning….

With educationally sound programming based on the latest research, the Fire Safety Dogs have been helping reduce fire related deaths and injuries for almost ten years. With nine “saves” (helping save the lives of 7 children and 2 adults in actual fire related situations), the dogs continue to work hard helping save the lives of children and their caregivers.

Tango the Fire Safety Dog, Siren the Fire Safety Dog, Molly the Fire Safety Dog and Deuce (a rescue), are not only members of our local fire department, but mascots for the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, a foundation founded in memory of Sparkles. The dogs love helping keep people safe.

             Tango the Fire Safety Dog, Deuce and Siren the Fire Safety Dog

The newest “recruit” to the fire safety team, is 12 week old, Molly. Molly is learning all the ropes and loves helping her big brothers keep everyone safe! She is such a joy. It was truly fate how I found her. She was the last in the litter after being picked over by all her litter mates. At that time, Hurricane Isaac was passing over New Orleans, and I had to wait until the storm passed before I could fly down to get her. It was love at first site and I couldn’t wait to get her back to Arkansas.

       Molly the Fire Safety Dog-12 weeks old


The dogs love to Skype with school children and other organizations (reading their nationally recognized award-winning children’s fire safety books, sharing fire safety tips, singing  songs, etc…) FREE with schools for all over the world from their very own clubhouse, Sparkles’ Clubhouse.


Sparkles’ Clubhouse is named after Sparkles, and we are very grateful to our friends at First Alert for believing in us and partnering with us to help keep children safe with this amazing building.

Sparkles’ Clubhouse pictures by Ann Price Photography

                    Sparkles’ Clubhouse


Not only do we Skype with schools in the clubhouse, we also share fire safety on our weekly program, Sparkles’ Safety Spot, streamed live on the web every Friday morning. Children and their caregivers can join the chat and have fun learning at the same time. This last week we streamed our 56th episode! As far as we know, it is the only fire safety related show streamed weekly on the web. We love the opportunity to come into people’s homes and classrooms each week and hope that our efforts are helping keep people safe.


The dogs and I are getting ready to go on our Chicago Fire Safety Tour next week and will visit Sears Headquarters and Skype with school children from all across the county at Chicago Fire Department’s Survive Alive House. I am trying to set up a meet and great for the dogs while we in the Chicago area. Stay tuned to the fire Safety Dogs’ Facebook page to learn more and you can meet them live and in dog!

We recently started another new webpage, www.firesafetydogs.com in addition to Sparkles’ website.  In addition to their personal Facebook pages, we also started a new Facebook page for all of the dogs. They are always adding new photos, videos, free downloadable materials and more on their pages. They would LOVE to have you as a friend!


We would like to remind everyone to have working smoke alarms on every level of your home. Be sure to test the batteries once a month and change the batteries twice a year. In addition, make an escape plan and practice your plan. Homes can become engulfed in flames in as little as three minutes, so by having a plan and knowing what to do, you can help keep you, your family and your furkids safe!


To learn more about Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog and Sparkles’ Memorial Pathway at the National Emergency Training Center on the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation’s Walk of Honor, please visit http://www.sparklesthefiresafetydog.com/sparklesmemorialpathway.html.


 Sparkles’ Memorial Pathway

                        On the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation’s Walk of Honor

                                              National Emergency Training Center

                                                            Emmitsburg, MD


Please help support the work of the Fire Safety Dogs. We are in the process of sending free fire safety books to schools that we Skype with and need help with postage. To donate, please visit http://www.keepkidsfiresafe.org/supporters_information.html. Help save the life of a child.

Winner of Rachael Ray Nutrish® Naturally Delish™!! Semi-Wordless Wednesday


Who is the lucky winner

who is going to be licking their chops like me?

It’s  my Buddy SNOOPY of

click on the photo to visit Snoopy’s blog!



Soon you are going to be enjoying

Rachael Ray Nutrish® Naturally Delish™!

Here is what Snoopy won!! Click on the photo to visit the Nutrish website!

PS: Mom still owes you prizes from before BlogPaws when she got sick! She is going to send everything out together! Thank you for your patience!

Barks and licks and love,


This blog post is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nutrish for BlogPaws.

I am one LUCKY Dog! I have Rachael Ray Nutrish® Naturally Delish™ and guess what? YOU Can Too!

Hi my furry furiends!! It’s Dakota and welcome to “Foodie Friday!”

If you are a regular reader of my blog it will come as no surprise to you to read that not only are my Mom and I obsessed madly in love with all things Rachael Ray, but I, in particular have eaten her Nutrish dog food practically since the day my Mom brought me home 5 yrs ago!  I have featured it a few times on my blog (check my side bar!), why? because I GENUINELY love the Nutrish line and I BELIEVE in Rachael Ray. Mom does too!

Rachael Ray is a no-fuss, down-to-earth HOME COOK, not a fancy, uppity chef, but a REAL COOK who cooks REAL FOOD!   She is also a REAL COOK who loves dogs.

Rachael Ray likes her recipes to be “Simple” no-fuss. That’s why she worked with a team of pet nutritionists to create a line of food made with simple, natural and wholesome ingredients, you know, the kind that HER dog would eat!   Rachael Ray Nutrish® is a super premium food for dogs!

How excited were we when Rachael took her love of food, cooking and dogs and created a line of dog food that “foodies” and “dog foodies” would not only LOVE, but would feel comfortable feeding their pet?

Now I am thrilled to share with you, the NEW dog food on the block: in the Nutrish line:

Rachael Ray Nutrish® Naturally Delish™

click on the photo to visit nutrish.rachaelray.com

the FIRST natural wet food for dogs inspired by recipes from Rachael’s kitchen!

I could barely control my excitement the day that it arrived:

You would run away with it too if you saw the four hearty and healthy  flavors that it  comes in! The first is a “signature flavor”: Chicken Muttballs with Pasta (the pasta in Chicken Muttballs contains semolina wheat flour). When Mom opened it to serve it to me it reminded her of one of her favorite soups, (Italian Wedding Bell!) it looked THAT GOOD! The broth looked like a broth that your Mom would make!

click on the photo to visit nutrish.rachael.ray.com

The other flavors are:

Hearty Beef Stew

Savory Lamb Stew

Chicken Paw Pie—-(“Chicken Paw Pie” how CUTE is that??) Mom giggled when she saw that and when she opened it….Ohhhhh…well….see for yourself!

When Mom read the ingredients in the Chicken Paw Pie she couldn’t believe that not only did it contain chicken broth (like Mom makes!), but it has chicken, green beans, pineapple and SWEET POTATO!!! No wonder it’s so “delish!!”

All of the Rachael Ray Nutrish® Naturally Delish™ product line is made with:

  • simple, natural ingredients
  • No corn, no wheat, no soy
  • No meat by-products or fillers
  • No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives

Doggies, that is info for MOMS….what we care about is TASTE and I’m tellin’ ya Rachael Ray is all about food that tastes good and dog oh dog does this ever TASTE GOOD!

Mom and I also love that proceeds from sales of Nutrish go to “Rachael’s Rescue”

From the nutrish.rachaelray.com website:

What is Rachael’s Rescue?

Rachael’s Rescue was created for all of the forgotten pets — the ones that might not have someone who loves them as much as you love your pet. To date, proceeds from sales of Nutrish have gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for animals in need. Many more shelters around the country need help, and through Rachael’s Rescue, together we can make a difference in the lives of many four-legged friends.

What are you waiting for!  Click here to find out where you can purchase Rachael Ray Nutrish® Naturally Delish™


Just leave a comment telling us which flavor interests you the most (U.S. only please) and we will pick a winner by using www.random.org.  DON’T DELAY!!  ENTER TODAY!! This is a quick  GIVE-AWAY! The deadline to enter is: MONDAY, AUGUST 6, at 11pm EASTERN. WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8TH!!!!

Ohhhh my doggy friends YOU could be saying Rachael Ray Nutrish® Naturally Delish™  is “what’s for dinner TONIGHT!!” (and tomorrow night, and the day after that and the day after that, ohhhh YOU get the POINT!!)

Barks, “Naturally Delish” licks and Rachael Ray love,


This blog post is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nutrish for BlogPaws. But….ALL opinions are 100% MINE and my TUMMY’s!!!

Mom Is Not At BlogPaws

Hi everyone. It’s Dakota. I just wanted to do a quick post to let everyone know that Mom is not at BlogPaws and is heartbroken.

Yesterday morning she woke up with shaking chills and pain in her right kidney. (She is supposed to have a lithotripsy on the right kidney on July 11, and had already had two lithos on her left kidney in the past five weeks.)

Mom spent the day crying and was packed and all ready to go to BlogPaws. She had bought Toki Poki cards, business cards, flat pets….she was all ready to go.

Flat Cody and Flat Dakota that Mom had bought for trip


Mom and Dad had left for the airport and half way to the airport Mom was sick and told Dad he better turn around. She was afraid with the pain she was feeling and the heat in Utah that she would either be in her hotel room the entire time or in a hospital in Utah.

To top it all off, Mom woke up this morning with a miserable head cold.

Mom is beside herself. She has contacted many people she was supposed to meet and is hoping to reach more throughout the day today.

Mom worked hard on and looked forward to this trip and wants everyone to have a great time and she will be watching the livestreaming  of the Nose-To-Nose awards and keynotes as much as possible.

Mom and I send our love.

Mom is missing you.

Barks and licks and love, Dakota

Tillman Is Gonna Be At BlogPaws!!! “Wordy” Wednesday

Tillman is coming with one of the

BlogPaws GOLD sponsors:


Mom is beside herself with excitement! I must admit I am just a wee bit jealous! Make that a WHOLE LOTTA JEALOUS!


You can also find Tillman on



PINTEREST you can also click HERE to see who Tillman posted on his Pinterest page! (hint…he is handsome and kinda looks like ME!! hehehe)

FOLLOW TILLMAN’S BLOG RIGHT HERE   (we want him to please put up a “follow by email” option for US!)

You can also find him on USA—click HERE


Mom will see ya at BlogPaws Tillman!!

Wooo hoooo!

Barks and licks and love, Dakota

Get Your Twitter Data-Generated Infographic!

Hi everyone! It’s Dakota! Boy oh boy do I ever have a bone to pick with my Mom! You see, I was reading a blog post on BlogPaws about how I could get my own Twitter Data-Generated Infographic and when I had my Mom put in my data…I was shocked and appalled!!



That’s because my Mom can’t get off her lazy butt and stop playing Words With Friends to help me tweet! Geeze!!

She has even been neglecting her other twitter handle @catchatcaren

There is no excuse for this!

I am an interesting Sheltie and this graphic says I am boring? Dull? Unenthusiastic? I have hardly any followers while Cody has over 2000 under Mom’s other handle?

This is a travesty!

I say Mom needs to get cracking and FAST! This is unacceptable!

Are you following me on Twitter? No? Why not!! C’mon and follow the wagging tail! You can find me @dakotasheltie Help me change this situation and FAST!! I’m NOT boring I tell ya, I’m NOT BORING!!

“FOOD OBSESSED???” That would be my brother, Cody and my bathroom-scale-challenged Mom!!

Want to get your own Infographic? Check out the post on BlogPaws

In the meantime…check out my hideously embarrassing report!

Birthday Give-Away Winners! Wordy Wednesday!

Hi everyone and I want to thank ALL of you again for the wonderful birthday wishes and for all of the entries in my Birthday Give-Away!

This was as much fun for me as I hope it was for you!

Now…I’m not going to make you wait any longer….here is the list of winners as chosen by www.random.org

The winner of the:

$100 PetAg Gift certificate

(by the way PetAg won Best Bird Product  at

Global Pet Expo last week)

PetAg was awarded that honor  by BlogPaws



(check out their blog by clicking on the above link)


We are sure that Roxy and Torrey

should be able to find

something great that they would like!



5 BAGS OF SmartBones ARE:

Bailey & Katie of


(check out their blog by clicking the above link)

I hope you both enjoy your SmartBones

as much as I do!

Bailey & Katie





Congratulations! I know you are going to

find something FANTASTIC on their website!




(Check out their blog by clicking the above link)

I am sure you will be able to find

something great for each of you!









(who were entered by their LUCKY kitty-sister Nellie)



(Check out their blog by clicking the above link)

I am sure you are going to LOVE your treats!

Whew!! Now I am tired!

My Mom said to tell you that

she will be in touch with all of you!

You should hear from her in the next day or so!









Barks and licks and love, Dakota

Book Review: Barkonomics By Paris Permenter and John Bigley

One of the many treats that Mom received at BlogPaws 2011 was the book Barkonomics by Paris Permenter and John Bigley.  She took one look at that book and was certain that it would be of huge benefit to us!

Mom is kinda slow on the uptake and didn’t realize until she read the book that Paris Permenter and John Bigley were also the duo  that write the hugely popular Dogtipper.  It is on this website where they share  dog tips, products, news, photos and more!

Continuing on these lines is Barkonomics.

This superbly helpful book is aimed at all income levels,  for people with one or many dogs or pets in general.

Mom has been waiting for a book like this! Having lost a steady income in 2007 , Dad retiring last year and living in Michigan (specifically DETROIT ’nuff said) Mom has decided this is her “Pet Bible” in reference to cutting/saving on pet expenditures.

How will YOU benefit from purchasing Barkonomics?

you will learn how to cut costs so that you will be able to keep your pets instead of being forced to give them to a shelter or rehoming them.

Barkonomics  will enable you to cut expenditures so you can afford veterinary care and direct you to resources that can help you finance that care!

There are some expenses that should NEVER be cut (as listed in Barkonomics)

1. Spay and Neuter

2.Quality Dog Food

3.Core Vaccines

4. Heartworm Preventative

5. Annual Wellness Exam

For further explanation pertaining to  the above I strongly urge you to buy this book!

From Barkonomics: Some tips  for cutting costs when it comes to your canine:

1. Sign up for newsletters of favorite companies. Many dog food and treat manufacturers offer electronic newsletters that provide exclusive discounts and coupons.
2. Follow favorites on Twitter and Facebook. Just about every company has a Twitter and Facebook presence these days (just check the company website for links). You’ll often find some great fan/follower discount offers that are only promoted through social media.
3. Go the DIY route. Consider learning some grooming and dog training skills. You’ll find numerous free videos at sharing sites such as YouTube for everything from trimming your dog’s hair to teaching your dog to stay.

4. Learn whether your pet’s prescription can be filled at the drugstore. Many dog prescriptions can be filled at the drugstore, often at a savings (and you’ll have the option of generic, low-cost equivalents for some drugs.) Also, some drugstores offer prescription clubs with lower costs–and family pets can be added to many of the prescription clubs.
5. Check your memberships for special offers. Check all your memberships–from auto clubs to work-related affiliations–for special partnerships offering discounts on everything from pet insurance to boarding services.
6. Consider pet insurance. Investigate pet insurance options while your dog is young, if at all possible. Do your homework and learn about exclusions and limitations, balancing the monthly premium against the amount of coverage.
7 Get proactive. Prevent costly problems before they start by taking your dog to his annual veterinary exam, spaying and neutering, brushing your dog’s teeth, and dog-proofing your home to prevent expensive accidents.

For more information on over 300 other tips for saving money on all aspects of your dog’s care, learn more about Barkonomics at http://www.dogtipper.com/barkonomics.

  • Number of Pages: 168
  • Imprint: Riviera Books
  • Retail price: $9.95 [on Amazon.com]
  • Trim size: 7 x 10 inches
  • ISBN 978-0-9717620-0-8
  • Charitable contribution: Every quarter, 20 percent of proceeds donated to pet non-profit selected by DogTipper readers
Author Bio: Paris Permenter and John Bigley
Paris Permenter and John Bigley are a husband-wife team of professional writers. Along
with over 2,500 published magazine articles, Paris and John have authored 28 published 
books ranging from Fodor’s In Focus Jamaica to Texas Barbecue (named best
guidebook of the year by the Midwest Publishers Association).
Paris and John have a long history of frugal living, starting with their marriage and the
launch of their writing business in 1986. Paris graduated from college with double
degrees in Economics and Accounting (followed by graduate school, then a few years of
teaching Economics) then the couple turned their attention to freelance writing,
specializing in leisure and business travel.
Lifetime dog lovers, John and Paris launched DogTipper.com in 2008, highlighting tips
for dog lovers with additional sections including dog news, dog-centric festivals,
celebrity canines, pet product reviews, Dog of the Day, dog rescue, and more.
Frequent television and radio guests, the couple has appeared as expert guests on many 
programs including local news stations as well as series on the Fine Living television 
Paris and John live with their dogs and cats in the Texas Hill Country near Austin.

Also:If you’re new to DogTipper, you might want to subscribe to our email updates or our RSS feed! And be sure to bark at us on Twitter and Facebook, too…woof, woof!

Can you tell that Mom LOVED this book?

Barks and licks and love, Dakota

We’re Workin’ Dogs!

In honor of Labor Day I wanted to tell you about two super hard-working dogs.

One of them happens to be ME!

As you know, I am a Shetland Sheepdog. Like Steppenwolf was “Born To Be Wild” I was born to WORK! Primarily, HERDING and of course BARKING!

From Wikipedia:

“The Shetland Sheepdog, often known as the Sheltie, is a breed of herding dog.They are small to medium dogs, and come in a variety of colors, such as sable/white, tri-color, and blue merle. They are vocal, excitable, energetic dogs who are always willing to please and work hard. They are partly derived from dogs used in the Shetland Isles for herding and protecting sheep.The breed was formally recognized by the Kennel Club in 1909.[1]

I may not have sheep to herd but I am a hard worker just the same. My job is 24 hr. security. Yep, all day and night I am on the alert! If there is a blowing leaf, cooking spray being sprayed, a garbage disposal running, a vacuum, a stranger in my midst. I’m all OVER it! Let me tell ya I can bark at the drop of a hat!

Believe it or not there is another dog who works even harder than I do! Mom met him when she went to the BlogPaws 2011 conference the weekend of August 25th thru the 28th. I was excited  because when she came home Mom told me all about him!

His name is Tango and he was at BlogPaws with his Mom, (Dayna Hilton) who is the Executive Director of “Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation”

"Tango" The Fire Safety Dog Says "Practice Fire Safety EVERY DAY!"

“Tango is a fire safety dog helping save the lives of children. A best friend of Sparkles (the original Fire Safety Dog) , you can read about him on their  website he learned everything he knows about being a fire safety dog from her!

You can visit Tango and his Mom, Dayna at www.keepkidsfiresafe.org to learn more about them!

You can also “Like” them on FACEBOOK!

Have a safe and happy Labor Day!

If you can make it through my Mom’s HORRIBLE singing!

Barks and licks and love, Dakota

Wanna Meet Mom At BlogPaws?

This is the picture that is on the black T-Shirt she will be wearing all day Thursday and Thursday night.

Cody and I are going to miss our Mom sooo much

but Daddy will take good care of us at home.

Mom can’t wait to meet everyone!

Mom wishes safe travels to all!

Published in: on August 23, 2011 at 10:09 pm  Comments (17)  
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