November 2017 – Volume XIV: Issue 11

–  November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month  –

Happy Thanksgiving

The Misty Pines office and training areas will be closed on Thursday, November 23rd in observance of Thanksgiving.

Customer Appreciation Day

On September 30th, Misty Pines Pet Company held our annual Customer Appreciation Day. We spent the day thanking our clients that help make our business possible, as well as raising funds for the Ambridge Borough Police Dog Fund.

At 11:15 am Rich Yonlisky from the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office spoke about the training that the dogs and handlers undergo and detailed some of the more noteworthy accomplishments of local K-9s. Ambridge Borough’s Officer John Chickos with K-9 Hector and Eric Wallace, of the Ohio Twp. Police Department with K-9 Rico, located narcotics around the training building to showcase the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois noses. The dogs then performed the highly skilled task of bite work – chasing down a suspect and physically detaining them for their handler. The whole crowd was captivated watching these elite dogs do what they do best. The officers were quick to explain that the dogs really do find their work enjoyable; no dog is forcibly trained and all work for a toy or fun activity as reward. They choose working breeds that have high intelligence and great strength, but also will be solid companions. Police dogs live with their handlers, making their partnership the most unique on the police force. That being said, the K-9 handlers are expected to provide most of the day-to-day care for the dogs on their own. Misty Pines was proud to host our 3rd fundraiser for Officer Chickos and Hector, who explained to us that no K-9 unit goes without help. The funds we raised will not only help Hector, but will be used for any K-9 in need throughout the region. Thank you to Officer Chickos and Hector for pledging their services to our community, as well as offering to help others in the region with the funds raised here.

Overall, the day was beautiful and benevolent. Not only did our staff enjoy a wonderful day with our clients, but we raised $1,638 for the Ambridge Borough Police Dog Fund! We could not have done it without your help – in addition to several private monetary donations, we had gift baskets donated by several clients and local businesses. Our raffles and 50/50 were a hit, and we hope all the winners are enjoying their prizes! Thank you to everyone who participated on the day of the event and thank you to everyone who has supported Misty Pines through the years. We wouldn’t exist without your support, and hope to continue serving you for many more years to come!

    Special Thanks goes to:

  • American Eagle
  • Big Burrito Restaurant Group
  • Ryan Camuso & Sidney Frank Importing Company (Jagermeister)
  • Casa D’Oro Jewelers
  • Furrever Friends Gourmet Pet Treats
  • Pet Portraits by Kelly Grace
  • Monte Cello’s of Cranberry
  • The Spencer Family
  • Bonnie Loya – Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services
  • Primanti Brothers
  • Tranquility Spa & Dr. Justin Scott
  • The Wolz Family
  • Kollinger Auto Body
  • Wexford Automotive Repair
  • Modcloth
  • Buffalo Wild Wings of Cranberry

TDI & CGC Test

TDI & CGC Test – November 10 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

The Primary objective of the TDI dog and handler is to provide comfort and companionship by sharing the dog with the patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions and wherever else the Therapy Dog is needed. This is done in a way that increases emotional well being, promotes healing, and improves the quality of life for the people being visited and the staff that cares for these people. Pre-registration is required.

The Canine Good Citizen Test is a certification program that is designed to recognize dogs that have good manners at home and in the community. The CGC is a two part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test will receive a frameable certificate from the American Kennel Club. Pre-registration required.

Registration by phone required to attend class.

Scent Work

Scent Work 101 – November 11 from 11:15 am to 12:00 pm

Scent Work 102 – November 18 from 11:15 am to 12:00 pm

Scent Work 102 Plus – November 25 from 11:15 am to 12:00 pm

Every dog is equipped with an amazing tool: their nose! Olfaction, the act or process of smelling, is a dog’s primary special sense. Dogs have more than 220 million olfactory receptors in their nose, while humans have only 5 million! Teaching dogs to use their nose to identify a target odor offers many benefits. This is a highly recommended working game for families to learn to work their family pets.

    Pre-Requisites for Scent Work

  1. 101 – None
  2. 102 – Your dog must have completed a Scent Work 101 course.
  3. 102 Plus – Your dog must have completed a Scent Work 102 course or higher.

Cafe DownStay

Cafe DownStay – December 9 from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Our Cafe DownStay event takes place at the South Side BBQ Company and raises money for great causes while providing a high quality dog-friendly dining experience for our clients. Throughout the event all the dogs are asked to Down-Stay by their owners and they remain there for most of the event. This unique location and distraction rich environment puts classroom training to the test.

  • Beneficiary | P.A.A.R.T (Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team)
  • Tickets are $50 ($21 for lunch & gratuity, $29 for the beneficiary)
  • R.S.V.P. by Wednesday, December 6th to Misty Pines.

The PAART team is passionate about saving animals. Whether it be by land or by air the team is on constant standby, ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice. Over the last few years our missions have varied in both size and scope. Every mission has unique circumstances and challenges. From large land rescues, to spur of the moment air missions, to humanitarian missions, the team is ready and willing to go to any lengths to leave “No Dog Left Behind”.

Click here for more information about P.A.A.R.T.

Cafe DownStay

You must register in our office or call 412.364.4122 to register for this event. Payment due when registering for the event. Payment should be cash or check. If paying by check you will need two checks: one for $21 made out to South Side BBQ and one for $29 made out to P.A.A.R.T.

Canine Cancer

November is National Canine Cancer Awareness Month.  We have compiled information from three different websites into one article to give you some basic information about canine cancer. We will list the six most common canine cancer types, information about some of the treatment options and videos showing information about cancer in general and how cancer develops. It is our goal to give you basic information that may help you make educated decisions for your pet.

6 most common canine cancers

Learning your dog has cancer is a frightening experience, but according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation (NCCF), it is a diagnosis one out of every three dogs will receive during their lifetime. The good news is, about half of all canine cancers are treatable if they are caught early and several promising research studies are currently being conducted to help find a cure.

Cancer comes in many forms, including carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma, and leukemia, and can occur at any age in both mixed breeds and purebreds. Listed below are the most common types of cancer affecting dogs and the signs to look for at home.

Lymphoma: Lymphoma occurs in cells in the lymph nodes or bone marrow and is most commonly diagnosed in dogs between the ages of 6 and 9 years old. Lymphoma affects the dog’s immune system and can spread rapidly if left untreated. It is classified in five progressive stages and treatment options vary depending on the stage. The first sign of lymphoma is typically a painless, swollen lymph node in the neck or behind the knees.

Hemangiosarcoma: Hemangiosarcoma is a malignant cancer of the blood vessels. It is more common in dogs than any other species. Hemangiosarcoma is commonly diagnosed in the spleen, liver, and heart, but can travel to any organ or occur just under the skin. Because there are no distinct early warning signs for hemangiosarcoma, many dogs are not diagnosed until the disease has reached its advanced stages. It is often seen in German shepherd dogs, golden retrievers, and other large breeds.

Mast cell tumors: Mast cell tumors are an extremely common form of cancer in older dogs and mixed breeds, as well as boxers, Boston terriers, Labrador retrievers, beagles, and schnauzers. Mast cells are found in the skin and other tissues, like the intestines or respiratory tract. They contain large amounts of histamines and enzymes that protect the body, but when tumors develop, that protection turns against the immune system. The first sign of a mast cell tumor is usually a lesion on the skin. Some mast cell tumors can also be uncomfortable and cause agitation.

Melanoma: Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can be found in the nail beds, footpads, and eyes, but the vast majority of melanoma tumors start in the mouth or around the lips. Melanoma tumors are highly aggressive, growing deep into the skin to invade vital organs. The first sign of melanoma might appear as a swollen paw, an eye that drains, or a sore in or near the mouth.

Osteosarcoma: Osteosarcoma is cancer of the bone. Approximately 85 percent of osteosarcoma tumors are malignant, and grow very quickly. Osteosarcoma commonly affects large breeds between the ages of 4 and 7 years old, including Great Danes, Irish setters, Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, German shepherd dogs, and golden retrievers. While osteosarcoma can occur in any bone, it most commonly affects the limbs. Initial signs of osteosarcoma may include swelling and lameness.

Mammary cancer: According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS), mammary tumors are more common in female dogs that are either not spayed or were spayed after 2 years of age. About 50 percent of all mammary tumors are malignant and have metastasized, or spread to other areas of the body, by the time they are surgically removed. Signs of mammary cancer are often overlooked because the tumors appear as a small nodule on or around the dog’s nipple; however, this type of cancer can also present itself as a painful tumor around the nipple.

Early Warning Signs of Cancer
  • Abnormal swelling
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding or discharge from any opening on the body
  • Unpleasant or unusual odor
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Loss of energy
  • Ongoing lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

*Information from the National Canine Cancer Foundation (NCCF)

Treating Canine Cancer

Most treatment plans for canine tumors involve surgical removal of the tumor. Depending on the tumor type and location, your veterinarian may recommend adding other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy drugs work by damaging rapidly dividing cancer cells while sparing normal cells. Because of this, normal tissues that also rapidly divide, such as those found in the intestine, bone marrow, and hair, can be transiently affected by chemotherapy. Many owners hesitate to pursue chemotherapy in their pets based on their knowledge of side effects in human cancer patients. It is important to remember that chemotherapy protocols are very different for dogs. Veterinary oncologists have a different goal, which is to provide a good quality of life with minimal side effects. For this reason the doses of chemotherapy are lower in dogs than in people, and side effects are much less common. Should side effects occur, the drug doses are lowered for future treatments.

More Information About Canine Cancer

Despite every effort, pet cancer rates continue to rise. asked WHY… The video and link below are from They have a 5 part mini-series which is all available on their website.

Visit for their article on canine and feline cancer, how it develops and their recommendations for treatments.

Ep. 1: The History of Animal Cancer


6 Most Common Canine Cancers –
Most Common Canine Tumors –
Ep. 1: The History of Animal Cancer –

Fixing The Winter Doldrums

This time of year we look out the window and into the winter’s ravages: it’s cold, dark, snowy and icy, and we have a hard time environmentally exercising the dog in the outdoors. We want to cozy up in front of the fireplace instead working the dog. This often means that Fido may lose or have shorter daily walks and become bored, and unruly.

Misty Pines can help! We have training programs designed to keep your dog fit and in top condition all winter long. Exercise is essential for the general well-being and mental health of our canine companions, not to mention for healthy weight management. Bring your dog in for a visit to Daycare to run and socialize with other friendly dogs. We have indoor options as well during the winter for dogs that can’t handle the cold. Your dog can have a run on the treadmill, take on the agility course, play ball or have a training session all while staying inside.

If you are not able to take advantage of our facility’s services then we have some recommendations for you. Engage your dog and provide the mental and physical stimulation he or she needs at home. Dogs that have jobs are more content than those that don’t.


Why a treadmill you ask? You can infinitely exercise your dog indoors, which means that you are no longer governed by the weather. At Misty Pines we say that a well-trained and well-exercised dog is a good dog and by working your dog on a treadmill you are accomplishing both at the same time; working your dog mentally and physically.

What kinds of dogs do well with treadmill training? All dogs! Honestly. From large dogs to small, dogs can benefit for a variety of reasons. The training program can vary depending on breed, ability and age.


Retrieving is one of the handiest behaviors you can teach your dog. When your dog will reliably retrieve an object there is no end to what you can do. This goes beyond simple playing fetch with a ball, this is locating, picking up and bringing objects to you.

Sitting on the couch and the remote is across the room…Fetch it up!

It’s double over-time, next point wins the cup, you’re borderline dehydrated and your bottle of water is in the kitchen…Fetch it up!

There’s a lot more you can do than just have your dog bring you things but this opens up a whole world of possibilities that were previously unexplored. One fun idea would be to teach your dog to put away its toys. It’s a good practice to put all your dog’s toys and bones away every few days and let them work their mind as they get them out to play, and it would be even more stimulating to have them put them all back as well!

Scent Work

Every dog is equipped with an amazing tool: their nose! Olfaction, the act or process of smelling, is a dog’s primary special sense. Dogs have more than 220 million olfactory receptors in their nose, while humans have only 5 million! Teaching dogs to use their nose to identify a target odor offers many benefits.

Why scent work? This fun, stimulating activity can be enjoyed by dogs of any age, breed, or temperament and owners of any experience level or physical ability may participate. This is one of the few activities that can be practiced inside in small areas; it’s great for winter or foul-weather training plus your dog will learn a skill that has practical value in real-life.

Examples of targets include: Birch, clove, and aniseed oil (used in scent work trials), deer antlers, plants or mushrooms, a missing sock, a favorite toy or your kids.

If you’re interested in Scent Work, consider taking our Scent Work classes on November 11th, 18th and 25th. These classes will teach you the art of scent detection 

Tight Quarters Heeling

When working a dog in a tight space the heel can become sloppy because the handler is focused on the obstacles and path rather than working on keeping the dog where he needs to be. Take this winter to work on a heel when walking around the house, perhaps even setup a course to navigate through consisting of tables, chairs, couches and other furniture. Though this may sound like a novice exercise, with the proper creativity, this can be a very challenging task. When Spring rolls around you can show off your improved heel when taking back to the streets and trails and be proud of your accomplishment.

Parlor Tricks

Everyone loves to show off their dog’s best skill or trick, that’s why every dog friendly event has a Best Dog Trick competition. What is your dog’s best trick?

Army crawl under the table? Put down the toilet seat? All of these behaviors/tricks and more are possible. Whether it’s a useful trick or just for fun the goal is to keep your dog mentally stimulated and physically worked when the great outdoors aren’t so great.

Prolonged Release Interactive Food Dispensing Devices

Other cures for the winter doldrums that we recommend are prolonged release interactive food dispensing devices. These help give your dog a work-out while doing something when eating their breakfast or dinner. Our domestic canine’s ancestor, the Canis Lupus, works hard both mentally and physically for each meal. How hard do our canine companions work for their meals? Problem solving work outs can be more tiring than physical exercise so switching between a few different prolonged release interactive food dispensing devices could be a good way to keep your dog mentally sharp while giving them some much needed stimulation. We recommend Bob-a-Lots, Kongs and a few other specialty items that can be found in our retail store.

A private lesson with one of our trainers will help you learn to work your dog and minimize the winter doldrums. Enjoy this winter and remember to continually integrate training into your daily lives.

Therapy Dog Visits

Locations To Visit

Once your dog has passed their Therapy Dog International certification, it’s time for the fun to begin. Read below for a list of places that are always looking for registered therapy dogs to brighten the day of the patients and residents:

Click to view list

Services & Teams

If you would like to have Therapy Dogs visit your facility, please contact one of the following Therapy Dog Teams or contact Misty Pines to have your facility listed in the above section so that our teams may contact you. Click the link below for teams that are interested in visiting those in need of therapeutic visits from their furry friends:

Click to view list

“The golden gift is this: Intimately connected with his own emotions, the dog cannot lie. What he feels, he expresses. What he shows in his body posture is true, without guile, completely and utterly honest. Distanced from our own feelings, bound by our fears, we treasure and are amazed by this quality of complete truth in our dogs.”

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Upcoming Specialty Classes

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Sat 25

Agility Class

November 25 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Sat 25

Scent Work 102 Plus

November 25 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm