Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Wolf at the Door

Rusty, one old lucky dog on his birthday

To The Wolf at the Door on his birthday, 

There's a wolf at the door, but I'm lucky that you live on the inside with me.

This year you taught me that slowing down only means that you have more time to appreciate all of the things around us. Time to meet with your friends in the park, say HI to someone new, argue with the crows, and even time to watch the rabbits figure out which way you're going to move during our many walks in the park. 

You still surprise me with the occasional full body tackle when I get home or talking me into an extra walk at the end of a long hard day (but always, always with indoor voices.) This year you figured out how to be even closer to the point that you're now a 75 pound lap dog, so that I can give you a belly rub while I watch TV on the couch. And speaking of 75 pounds, together, we did the impossible and lost that extra weight that we knew would be trouble for your aching joints later in life. 

There's a little girl that we see on our walk that calls you Lobo, but you'll always be Rusty to me, waiting by the door for me to come home or to protect me from the monsters on the other side. 

I love you buddy.

Your boy,
--Jeff


Friday, May 3, 2013

PetMD University - Providing High Quality Educational Courses for Companion Animal Health and Behavioral Topics

Before I started bringing my old dog to my veterinarian, I was concerned that the vets would use a lot of medical jargon that I couldn't understand. Luckily, they helped me understand everything I need to know in order to make the best decisions I can about my dog's health in terms that I could understand.

If I had access to PetMD University back then, I would have been more self assured that I'd understand the lingo, as well as how to best describe the symptoms so in order to facilitate the best health care possible.

PetMD University (PetMDU for short) is an online learning environment which allows users to take online courses related to companion animal health and behavioral topics. For this review I took the Dog Skin Care course, since it was something that I had some experience with having had a dog with some severe skin issues for part of his life.

PetMDU - Easy and free to accessThe courses are free and sign-in was extremely easy. You can can choose from among the 15 courses available across both dog and cat topics and save progress at any time. This allows you to come back and complete the courses at your own pace. The Dog Skin Health course took me about an hour from start to finish, but I could see where others might take 15 more minutes to complete if they read all of the reference material provided.

I had no expectation for what to expect from a free course, so I was pleasantly surprised that each content section (either a series of articles or videos) was relayed by a veterinarian. The good news is, much like my own vets, the teachers of this course make no assumption as to the skill level of the audience. Even the most technical terms have very easy to follow descriptions provided. For example: Did you know that pruritus defines a dog's proclivity to scratch? I sure didn't before taking this course.

Share your PetMD U course progress with your Facebook or Twitter friends. The course is set up in such a way that you have the opportunity to share your experience with your friends on a variety of social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. In addition, you can also share your favorite content with your Google+ friends, although you cannot share your test results here.

PetMD U quiz answers provide not only the correct answer, but also background information on the topics they cover.
After each section and at the end you have the opportunity to test your knowledge in the form of multiple choice quizzes. If you've carefully read through the content, expect to get a high mark, however, they aren't easy.

When you've successfully made your way through an entire course, you're graded and provided with a certificate, as well as the opportunity to once again share your success on Facebook and Twitter.

The site does have ads, but I was happy to see that they don't get in the way of the course content. I'll be looking closer at more of the courses and hope to provide you with additional reviews on this site in the months to come.

Check it out for yourself when you get a chance and let me know what you think.

Myself and a number of other pet bloggers will be available to answer questions at the PetMD U #blogpawschat on Twitter (yep, you'll need to use that hash tag along with #petmdu) when we meet on May 14th from 8 to 10 PM Eastern time.

If you've already decided you're going, go ahead and RSVP below. I look forward to meeting you and talking more about this new service: