As I am very busy trying to train Rosy how to help me tape up and wrap holiday packages, (not going so well) this week’s episode of Raising Your Paws is a best of holiday segments replay.

It’s good holiday related information to be reminded of or to know. Such as what to consider first, if you are planning on giving a dog or cat as a holiday gift, and also why you want to make sure you keep certain holiday foods out of reach of your pets. For example, do you know why you want to make sure the cat does not lap up the remains of the mulled wine in that glass or the dog is not able to wolf down the freshly made bread dough that is sitting on the counter rising?

Listen to episode 56 to find out why.

I do mention at the beginning of the episode some exciting news.  Our full-time, one of a kind, children’s hospital therapy dog has finally arrived.

Here is the press release about it.

NutriSource Pet Foods Funds Hospital’s First Ever Facility Dog

By:Pet Age Staff
December 6, 2019

Members of the Nelson family, (Owners of NutriSource Pet Foods) hospital staff and Rocket.

Press release: NutriSource Pet Foods

At M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, young patients met the hospital’s newest staff member who will to help them take medicine, relax during anxious moments, encourage them to walk after surgery and offer support and affection during medical procedures.

Rocket, presented by NutriSource, is a golden retriever and the first and only full-time facility dog to join the team at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

Rocket will help support children and families during hospitalizations and clinic visits. Rocket was formally introduced to the hospital during a short program on December 5th. The staff position was made possible by community support and a generous gift of $250,000 from NutriSource Pet Foods.

Rocket went through years of advanced, specialized training allowing him to be present during medical procedures—something other therapy dogs visiting the hospital are not able to do.

There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our children. The bond between pets and kids is extra special,” said KLN Family Brands president Charlie Nelson. “In addition to our mission to provide nutritious and healthy food for our four-legged family members, we are proud to support the great work at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital by funding the NutriSource Facility Dog Program.”

“We want to extend a huge thank you to KLN Family Brands for their generosity and support to help launch the NutriSource Facility Dog Program at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital,” said Anna Dressel, child life coordinator – Facility Dog Program at the hospital. “Rocket has only been at the hospital for a total of seven days yet he has already had a huge impact on patients, families and staff.”

Based in Perham, MN, NutriSource produces dry dog and cat food kibble along with semi-moist pet treats. The family owned and operated company was founded in 1964 by Darrell “Tuffy” Nelson and his son, current CEO Kenny Nelson. The company recently completed a $35 million grinding, mixing and storage bin expansion as well as an $18 million investment in a fourth extruder adding 50,000 additional annual tons of capacity. By the end of 2020, a new state of the art $65 million dog and cat treat manufacturing facility will be up and running in Delano, Minnesota as their manufacturing footprint continues to grow.

Here are more photos of Rocket. By the way, you might recall that when I was talking to Charlie Nelson, owner of NutriSource Pet Foods, about why they were donating money in order for the children’s hospital to have a full-time dog on staff, (episode # 51)  he told us that the family wanted to name the dog Tuffy, after  Darrell Nelson, Charlie’s grandfather, who started the company, whose nickname had been Tuffy.  Here’s why Rocket is not named Tuffy. This specially trained dog, who was selected to be NutriSource’s representative, was named Rocket at birth and it is not possible at this point to rename him. So maybe we can all just call him Rocket Tuffy or Rocket T. for short. I’ll keep you updated about this. I can’t wait until we hear about how he is doing at his job. As soon as we have some stories about him and the children he will be loving and helping, I’ll share them with you.

Rocket, his handler and some children.


Charlie Nelson, his family and Rocket.

Full Show Notes. 

Episode 56 Title: What to Know before Giving a Pet as a Holiday Gift & Why Certain Holiday Foods are Not Good for your Pets.

If you are thinking of finally getting that puppy or kitty for your kids, relative or special someone and presenting it as a holiday gift, you’ll want to consider these things first to ensure the pet will be a long lasting success in the home.

There are certain foods we like to eat around the holidays, that our pets would also like to partake in, but many of them can cause health problems for the dog and cat. In this episode I’ll list which ones can be hazardous and explain the reasons why.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Resource’s for finding a pet that will be a good match.  From there are two good tools:

1. This one determines which types of breeds and mixes may be a good fit for you and your family.

Here are detailed profiles of the major dog breeds so you can learn about their different characteristics.

2. ASCPA Meet A Match™ Program.

This one helps you to figure out which personality types of dogs and cats would match well with you. It is designed for matching you with dogs or cats that you would adopt from an animal shelter.

For the more detailed explanation about these resources and topic, see the original blog article “Finding the Pet that will be a Good Match for You” at the Raising Your Paws website.

If your pet eats the wrong foods and you suspect health problems, call ASPCA Poison Control Hotline phone number – 888-426-4435.

Have your credit card handy: After reception asks what the health issue is with your pet and relays this to a Vet, they will ask for your card number as there is a charge for the service. It is worth it.