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Dallas Morning News - July 3, 2018

Pets are Definitely Part of Healthy Organic Living

Nino Brown - 1 year old pit bull mix - outgoing, energetic guy who loves attention, loves to play and loves people.

We have always been dog people and for years have helped the Dallas and McKinney SPCA’s place their great dogs by giving coverage on my web site and radio show. I wanted to mention this service and some of the available dogs to my readers here today because there are several available dogs now that haven’t been adopted. Both the SPCA in Dallas and the one in McKinney are excellent, clean, comfortable facilities, the people of the staffs take great care of the dogs and cats and do a wonderful job, but the pets would be much better off and happier in permanent homes with you guys. And you’ll be the biggest winner!

So - check the SPCA button on the Home page of for the photos and details of some of these wonderful and available dogs. Yes, some of them are pit bulls, actually Staffordshire terrier mixes, but don’t let that fool you. Our most recent adoptee, Nelly, is pit mix and without question the sweetest dog we have ever had. She does like to climb trees, but that’s another story.

Smooth concrete is the best surface for dog runs.

Whether you already have dogs or take my advice here, I have another tip. I once spent most of my time designing gardens. For the residential projects I created dog runs for the pet owners that were spacious, as large as possible, and had grass as well as hard surfaces. Finally one day a veterinarian pointed out my misguided thinking. His recommendation is what I now give to homeowners asking how to have grass where dogs are left to run on turf all day. First, don’t leave the dogs out to have free run of the gardens while you are away. They will in almost all cases damage beds and turf because of frustration about where the people are. Leave them in a dog run while you are gone. Let them out when you are at home.

Second, don’t waste a lot of space for the dog run. It doesn’t need to be large. Spaces as small as 100 square feet are plenty in most cases.

Last and most important is to avoid turf in the dog run. It’s high maintenance, messy and really no benefit. I should have figured this out before I got the great tip, because I had already tried turf and every other possible surface - gravel, sand, carpet, mulch, etc. What works the best - by far - is smooth concrete. Dogs like it, it keeps their toenails worn down, and it’s easy to clean. Of course you need to include sleeping pillows, water and shade but the concrete floor is a major part of a good dog run.

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