No Bunnies for Easter: Photo Friday

Our family loves bunnies.

Paris took no nonscense from our dog.

Luckily our Rohnert Park Animal Shelter has volunteer bunny lovers. They give free nail trimmings and bunny dates once a month. With impressive knowledge and experience, these rabbit volunteers answer our questions on the science and care of rabbits. They also sell Timothy Hay at low-cost and other rabbit supplies. These sales fund their programs.

We adopted two of our three rabbits from Rohnert Park Animal Shelter.

Our girl  ParisOur third rabbit came to us after escaping a backyard. She had been caught by a friend.

Alex named her London because our first rabbit came with the name, Paris. London did not live more than a few years. After slow and careful bunny dates, she made Paris happy. Which astonished us. Although she was half Paris’s size, London  bossed him and seemed to display a grumpy personality. But soon, they were chinning and snuggling. We lost them both a long time ago. Paris lived to the great age of 12.

Bunnies are not for Easter.

When we went looking for another rabbit, we found every rabbit cage in the shelter full. We visited in the playroom with different bunnies. But none seemed that interested in making friends. All thirty bunnies were cast-off pets. A very sad and ongoing problem of pet welfare. Too many rabbits, not enough long-term house rabbit parents.

We let our rabbit pick us

Then months later, with a shelter still full of rescued rabbits, a black and white rabbit named Tuxedo showed little fear and sniffed us, jumped on my tummy (we were lying on the floor). So Tuxedo picked us.

Crop Tux ears up corner

Our free ranging house rabbit, Tokyo Tuxedo

What's up there?

Happy Sniffing

If you truly want a pet rabbit, PLEASE ADOPT -don’t shop-  from an animal shelter or Pet Finder.

Rabbits have special needs as exotic pets.

Please share this on WordPress, Facebook or your blog for the love of rabbits and their welfare.

Thank you, Deborah Taylor-French

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Save a Billon Songbirds: Be the Change for Animals

By Deborah Taylor-French

Hungry Songbirds

This morning I looked out at our bird feeder. The songbirds have been eating huge amounts this winter and early spring, so the feeder has a half – dozen birds perching and waiting hidden nearby in the Fuji apple tree.  Birds keep nesting earlier each year.

 A Big Problem

Not a bird insight

On top of our weathered side fence, a hunter lurked in the form of a neighbor’s black and white cat. I opened the window and shouted. The hunter hunkered down, not wanting to leave. Big problem, not a bird insight. I clapped and kept making noise until he left. He looked much like the cat below.

Hunting Cat, Istambul, Turkey

A Well-fed Predators Kill Billions of Birds

Free-Roaming Cats: A Conservation Crisis: Domestic cats are recognized as a threat to global biodiversity. Cats have contributed to the extinction of 33 species across the world and continue to adversely impact a wide variety of species, including those that are threatened or endangered. The ecological dangers are so critical that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) now lists domestic cats as one of the world’s worst non-native invasive species.

 In the U.S., free-roaming domestic cats kill an estimated 1.4-3.7 billion birds and 6.9-20.7 billion mammals. The sheer quantity of cat-caused mortality is staggering. For perspective, consider that 1.4 billion is equivalent to the entire human population of China, the most populous country in the world. As the number of cats continues to grow and owners continue to allow their pets to roam, harmful impacts will surely increase.” American Bird Conservancy 

Catch Songbirds only on camera, thanks!

Catch Songbirds only on camera, thanks!

Join us. Help animals.

Blog the Change for Animals

Each morning I wake feeling gratitude for all the love and kindness in my life. I want the next generation of children and their children to hear songbirds in spring.

This blog expresses and works to protect animals, wild or tame. I belong to a spiritual community that teaches and spreads the wonderful philosophy of Ernest Holmes. Daily, we unify our minds with the One Life, All Giving, All Good. No matter what your faith or religious affiliation, the message of love or charity shines to all.

Please visit these sites and share this post.

Thanks a bunch because…

together, we can save songbirds.

American Bird Conservancy Blog Conserving Native Birds and Their Habitats Throughout the Americas

The American Bird Conservancy

Cats Indoors: Better for Cats. Better for Birds. Better for People.

Songbird Care and Education Center

Click each day on The Animal Rescue Site. It’s free, and  each click gives one bowl of food to a hungry shelter animal.

Posted in Animal Welfare, Be the Change for Animals | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Nature and Poetry Lovers: Feathered Nest

 Nature Lovers’ Treat

Please go visit my newest favorite blog, Leaf and Twig.

Fantastic nature photography married to brief poems that leave lingering fresh mint on my tongue.

After I have visited Leaf and Twig I come away refreshed, feeling a distinct peacefulness similar to when I have hiked Sonoma Mountain or paddled a kayak on the Russian River.

Rattlesnake and wild oat grass in Crane Creek.

Rattlesnake and wild oat grass in Crane Creek.

I love hearing the whisper of rattlesnake grass on a summer afternoon or the sweet scent of crabapple’s delicate flowers. See if you like the Feathered Nest entry as I do.

Thanks for stopping by Dog Leader Mysteries.

Deborah Taylor-French

PS. Let me know if read Leaf and Twig.

Posted in Links for Writers, Writers Blogs | Leave a comment

Tiny Pets Cheer Children: Wordless Wednesday

 Hurrah for Tiny Pets & More

Hurrah for all small creatures, our girl Alex loves all animals. When we lost our beloved pair of keeshonds, we adopted a house rabbit then a rat. Alex named her rat, Silky. At seven, she taught it to run over her keyboard then jump from the keys to her head. After Alex broke her arm, she trained her rat to run up her cast. I never saw anything like how she communicated with her rat.

A bright eyed pet

A bright-eyed pet

More than tiny pets, I am especially grateful for all the micro-organisms that sustain life on earth. Although these tiny creatures are invisible to our eyes, life on earth depends on their making healthy fertile soil. No life on earth exists without them.

These creatures store carbon. In fact, all plants share 40% of their carbon with them, in exchange of life-giving water and minerals.

Yes, that’s right, living soil needs the roots of plants to live. Cover crops grown on no till farms and gardens capture and share nearly half the carbon they take in. So we really need our wild lands and organic farms to turn back global warming, and recapture carbon.

 Wishing I had a photograph of Silky to show you.

What? There are bugs in my garden?

What? There are bugs in my garden?

Although these creatures are hundreds of times smaller than earthworms, smaller than tomato seeds, they hold water in the soil. These thoughts come inspired by the book,

The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet by Kristin Ohlson

This photograph credit is a selfie taken by Alex Leeds, who loves all pets. She raised and trained dogs, rabbits and pocket pets.

You might call her a natural animal whisperer.

BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday


Enjoy the hop! Deborah Taylor-French





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Species friendships: Photo Friday

Our rabbit meets our dog

This sweet and surprising moment happen because Alex wanted to take a photograph of our rabbit and dog together. Sydney, our dog, patiently waits in “Down, stay” while Paris makes sure the dog did not move.

In this relationship, Sydney learned two things. That Alex kept him safe and calm and that both Alex then our pet rabbit were both able to tell him what to do. Our rabbit’s natural confidence showed Sydney that he would not be chased nor made to move out-of-the-way. Paris pivoted around each time our dog got nosy. In each face to face movement, our rabbit would puff himself up and make sure he was taller than our dog.

Sydney and Paris

Sydney and Paris

 Interspecies friendships

Interspecies friendships usually need calm individual pets.

Plus human pet parents need to show calm leadership. This type of home can set up safety for each pet. Of course, all visits require patient leadership.  So if you want your pets to get along, be calm and provide a safe and quiet place for them to meet each other.

Do you have any interspecies pet friendships in your family? Please tell us about them and send in photographs.


Deborah Taylor-French

Posted in Pet Rabbit Tips & Fun, Photo Friday | Tagged , | 6 Comments

DIY Fly Trap – put an end to nasty pests – FREE


Don’t let flies lay eggs on your dog. Learn from Sunny how to make your own chemical free, and cost-free fly traps! 100% FREE


One happy leggy dog.

One happy leggy dog.

Originally posted on Sunny Sleevez:


We spend a lot of time outside & one of our big challenges with outdoor living are a huge quantity disgusting flies!

In the past I’ve bought traps and bait (that smelled foul) & they have been really helpful.

However I have found a great DIY solution to keep the population down and best of all you can make this fly trap yourself from used plastic bottles which appeals muchly to my reusing ethos and also makes it FREE!

Here is a method to make an efficient fly trap from one of your used plastic water bottles.

This is great for all sorts of domestic flies, blow flies and fruit flies

Materials: scissors, a hacksaw or sharp knife and some packing or electric tapediy fly trap before

BAIT- a small chunk of meat chopped into the water will attract blowflies or a small amount of cat/dog poo with a little water. This will cook…

View original 355 more words

Posted in Keep Your Dog Healthy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Live Rabbit Clock: Photo Friday

Thump. Thump. Thump.

At precisely five AM this morning, I awoke to a thump.

A downstairs thump.

Then a steady stream of  thumps timed about two seconds apart.

Our house rabbit, Tuxedo, used negative conditioning…on me$5!#@ii!

 The more I use lures to train him, the more he thinks I’m his fresh food vending machine. I grabbed a flashlight and my workout clothes and went downstairs.  I opened the kitchen door. In his X-pen Tuxedo sat bunched up on a carpet square. He looked okay.

We learned to pick up and hold a pet rabbit safely.

We learned to pick up and hold a pet rabbit safely.

Do your pets wake you?

I filled and switched on the water kettle for tea and tossed out the non-skid runners.

Since this was not the first time Tux had made a loud fuss in the night, I watched.

When I did not let him out, he lifted his entire hindquarters and gave a two-footed stomp. Quite effective and seemed to require little effort.

When I opened his pen he had the run of the kitchen, but hid under the table.

I went about making tea, warming almond milk and heating my tea mug. When I restarted my laptop, Tuxedo hopped over. I ignored him.

Hey, this is my food.

Hey, this is my food.

I did not reward him for waking us.

Training is often about ignoring the behavior you do not want.

I cut celery and got out sugar snap peas for the training I planned to do after writing. Frustrated, he began digging in the corner next to my chair.

I gave him a carpet square and a shredded towel to dig in. After working his paws on the carpet, he pulled out tufts of the medium shag. Then he did the bunny scramble around my chair, under the table, and out to the opposite wall and back.

 His antics made me laugh.

 After an hour and half, Tuxedo jumped onto the sturdy step stool beside my chair. Every once in a while I’d reward him with a piece of celery.

I form my fingers together like a plate. When I offer the treat I say “Table.”

What’s next, rabbit agility? Maybe.

In this way, I get to pet and examine my rabbit for health issues.

  • Feel for any swollen bites from fleas or other bugs
  • Look to see if his eyes are clear
  • Stroke his ears and exam for ear mites
  • Feel for scrapes, sore spots or injuries

X-pens offer much for house rabbits. Allowing more room to hop and play, a safe place to retreat from other pets, and a secure bedtime pen. Get a look at a variety of house rabbit habituates by visiting San Diego Rabbits.

Posted in Animal Welfare | 2 Comments

Dog Will Not Walk on a Leash

By Deborah Taylor-French Mutt Monday: Best DIY Dog Training Video for Barking

Reader’s Question

Do you have any tips on how to encourage a dog to walk on a harness + lead? We have adopted two strays . . . they are never on leads, but for the long-term they need to learn this skill. One of them, when I put a harness and lead on him, he just sits down and will not move. He is very small.

Any suggestions – I have tried treats, cuddling, praise etc., but he just sits there.

Many thanks for your help.

Reply from Deborah

Oh, I had a dog like that. She would do everything I ask, except walk on a leash.

The instant I snapped on a leash, she sat down!

First Be Certain Your Dog is Healthy

  •  Rule out inherited knee or hip problems
  • Rule out heat sensitivity or hot sidewalks
  • Rule out illness, a sick dog does not want to walk
I think it's nap time.

I don’t feel like walking.

Dog Leader Tip

I suggest you try clicker training.

Be sure he loves those treats and then cut them or break them into bean-sized pieces.

Watch this Kikopup Youtube video on how to load a clicker.

  • Once you have your dog going ape to please you, try simple commands and behaviors he already knows like sit, down, stay.
  • Then leave his harness on the floor in another room.
  • Start a short clicker training session and have your dog walk with you into the room and around the leash.
  • Keep repeating short sessions, ignoring the harness but getting closer.
  • Gradually, add clicks and treats while he sniffs or touches the harness, then do the same with the leash.
  • Play short games, such as harness and leash dragging.
  • Only after he loves all this attention, hold the leash and let him lead you around the house, the yard, then out and down the street. If he does not want to walk anywhere, toss a treat and follow holding the lead.
  • Only when your dog has mastered all these steps, pat your knee and have your dog take a few steps with you on the lead. Do this inside, in a hallway or some quiet, non distracting place.

Please write again when he loves his walking gear.

Thanks for asking a GREAT question.


PS. For a good explanation on how to get a puppy or dog comfortable with a leash watch this video.

Be patient, consistent and persistent.

I suggest reading Training Answers: Why does my puppy lay down on walks. Click on the link below.

Cat in harness with leash

Cat in harness with leash (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted in Dog Leader Games, Training Tips | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Mutt Monday: Best DIY Dog Training Video for Barking

By Deborah Taylor-French Wolfish or Puppyish? Dogs Speak

What is your dog barking at? Do you know?

We have a “problem dog.” He came from an animal shelter. In most ways, Sydney behaves adorably. He knows many commands. He has earned his K-9 Good Citizen Certificate from puppy school. We took private training sessions  because Sydney cleverly escaped whenever people tried to handle him or make him do anything he did not want to, like put on his collar or snap on his leash.

His rap-sheet included biting groomers and veterinarians.

Shelter volunteers and staff nicknamed Sydney, “Sid Vicious” because he chewed on fingers!

Ten Years Later, Sydney still has his short barking fits. He lets us help distract or command “Sydney, quiet.” We think he applied for the job of guarding his family.

Today at ten years old, Sydney is the apple of Winnie’s eye.

If I look over there, am I invisible?

Okay, I got it, you want me to wear this.

Of all the training methods we explored with Sydney, water squirt bottle included, the best help we ever got is in this training video. I did not make this, nor am I a dog trainer by profession, I am just one dog lover who has adopted and helped a half-dozen “problem dogs.

Each of those “problem dogs” trained up to be crazy to please family pets.

Please share on Facebook or send this to a friend, you may help a dog lover help his or her fearful dog learn to stay calm.


Getting Started with a Clicker My Positive Dog Training Blog

Dog Looking at and Listening to a Phonograph, ...

Dog Looking at and Listening to a Phonograph, “His Master’s Voice”, The Original RCA Music Puppy Dog Logo Symbol for Advertising (Photo credit: Beverly & Pack)

Posted in Mutt Monday, Training Tips | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Write for Be the Change for Animals?

Be the Change for Animals

I belong to Blog Paws, an online community of pet bloggers. They host an annual conference. I take delight meeting other pet writers and hearing the various paths people followed to begin and keep blogging for pets.

I often join Blog Paws Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

Sydney ready to play

Sydney ready to play

I started Dog Leader Mysteries blog because I wanted to advocate for dog adoption and save dogs from death in animal shelters. That mission led to also writing about animal welfare then adding pet humor. Those two topics bring me new readers and connect me to blogs I want to promote.

I love blogging for Be the Change for Animals.

From physics to biology to environmental sciences, research points to the fact that every human, animal, insect, fish, bird and plant lives connected on our planet. Writing begins with being curious about what I see, hear and sense about what happens. Of course, animals tend to be my main subjects of investigation.

I make efforts to read new research on dog behavior, health, socialization and communication. I also read on animal welfare topics.

Grab this badge, write on any social media and link to #BtC4Animals

Grab this badge, write on any social media and link to #BtC4Animals

If you love animals, you can join Be the Change too. Absolutely free and less hassle than posting to Facebook, promise.

So no fooling, this April on the 15th I will blog for animals.

If you don’t have a blog but would like to help, please share or offer which animal welfare topics you feel strongly about.

Thank you, Deborah Taylor-French

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Mutt Monday: Adopt a Dog Like Rin-Tin-Tin

By Deborah Taylor-French  Dog Leader Mysteries

Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot get a great dog by adoption.

Rin-Tin-Tin is proof that finding a dog that needs you, can be far better than buying a puppy. Rin-Tin-Tin never produced a puppy that had his unique talents. Talent and willingness to work and bond with people never repeats machine like in animal after animal. This one dog, that became and still lives as a legendary hero, out-shone all his puppies.

Breeding purebred dogs does not insure smart dogs.

Lee Duncan never was able to replicate his beloved adopted Rinty.

"Looking for a home" adoption photograph

“Looking for a home” adoption photograph

Adopt a Dog Like Rin-Tin-Tin

Purebred dogs end up in animal shelters, all the time. The Westside German Shepherd Rescue runs a fun YouTube channel.

German Shepherds for adoption

__Please, take a look at The Westside German Shepherd dogs.

Please let me know if you adopt a dog from this rescue, thanks!

Posted in Animal Welfare, Give A Dog A Chance, Adopt | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments