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Tail Waggers of the Month

Meet Sophie and Norman!

Bloomington Tail Wagger

Sophie is a smart girl who knows the word “daycare” and can’t wait to arrive for her Playday sessions, especially if it’s time to make waves during POOL DAYS! She’s been part of our pack since her Puppy Kindergarten days in Eagan. Now, this sweet coonhound mix is 1-1/2 years old and spends time with her friends in Bloomington.

When Sophie isn’t busy playing at WTPR, she loves being the only child and princess at home. Her owners, Gage and Kelsey, say her favorite toy is a chicken, and it’s the only one she won’t destroy. Sophie even knows her “chicken” by name and will grab it when asked. She’s always happy to leave her chicken behind, though, if it means going on long with her Uncle Dan or playing with her cousins Tilly (a dachshund mix) and Bre (a Lab mix).

Gage and Kelsey told us that Sophie isn’t much of a cuddler. But, when she’s tired, she makes an exception. That’s when you can find her snuggled up nice and close to them on the couch for some extra attention. They also love seeing her coonhound genes come out when she gets busy smelling EVERYTHING. They say they wouldn’t trade it for the world – and we couldn’t agree more!

Eagan Tail Wagger

Norman is a four-year-old pitty mix who has been coming to our Eagan location since he was a puppy. He was originally born in Nashville but gave up a budding career in country music for Minnesota winters. When his owner, Amy, heads out to shovel, he’s always ready to lend a helping hand and leaps into the air to catch the snow she throws!

There’s a lot to love about Norman. He’s a happy boy with a big bark and enthusiastic prance. Whenever he comes to visit, we shower his 85 pounds of exuberant energy with love and attention all day long, often sending him home smelling of our perfume and cologne.

When Normal isn’t with his friends at WTPR, he likes spending time with Amy and his cat siblings, Walter, Lucy, and Gus. He also takes his responsibilities in the family very seriously. He makes sure they never have to sit on the couch alone, and he carries his own leash when out on walks – something he’s done since his very first time out; we have proof!

At the end of a long day, Norman enjoys kicking back with a giant rawhide, meaty marrow bone, or his plush Kong moose.

Congratulations Sophie and Norman!

By |October 21st, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

Saving Lives Through Fostering

Commonly Asked Questions

Thinking of getting a dog, but you’re worried about finding a good fit for your family? Trying to find ways to help homeless dogs in need? Fostering could be the perfect solution.

You’ve probably heard of fostering in the past, but it can be hard to figure out how to get started. Here are a few answers to frequently asked questions.

Why foster?

There are several great reasons to consider fostering. Many rescue groups don’t have a physical shelter, so foster homes play a crucial part in helping dogs in need. Fostering also frees up resources so that shelters and rescues can help even more homeless dogs and cats.

Unlike shelter environments that can be stressful for many dogs, foster homes provide a more relaxing environment for an animal. And, when a dog is in a relaxed and comfortable state, it’s easier to learn more about their personalities and individual needs to ensure they find a well-suited, forever home.

Fostering also gives a dog or puppy a place to:

  • Recover from surgery or illness before adoption
  • Grow old enough for adoption
  • Acclimate to a home environment before adoption

It can also be good opportunity to get to know a dog before deciding to adopt them.

What do I have to do to foster a dog?

Fostering is easy! All you need to give is love, care, and attention. That’s because rescue groups often provide all the supplies you’ll need – including crates, food, leashes, and collars – and cover any vet expenses your foster dog may require. You can also commit to fostering a dog for a few days or weeks to months or years.

When you decide to foster, the rescue group works closely with you to find foster opportunities that are a good fit for your home and lifestyle. That means that you can focus on fostering puppies, pit bulls, senior dogs, or even those requiring hospice care.

Can I foster a dog if I have a family or already have pets?

Yes! But you have to take precautions to keep everyone – pets and humans – safe and happy.

First, all animals in your home should be vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Humans, especially young children, should interact with your new foster dog in calm and non-threatening ways. Remember, new environments can be scary for dogs, so it’s essential to make introductions with the human and animal members of your household slowly and positively.

Fostering can have a life-changing affect on not only you but your entire family. For more information, we recommend contacting local animal rescues, like the Animal Humane Society, Underdog Rescue, Secondhand Hounds, and Ruff Start Rescue.

By |October 14th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

It’s Your Party!

September Birthday Roundup


We kicked off fall by celebrating a whopping 35 birthdays in September!

Is your dog in our Birthday Club? It’s free and comes with a complimentary Playday, bandana, and a birthday par-tay!

See all of our party pups by visiting our Photo Gallery!

By |October 7th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on It’s Your Party!|

Tail Waggers of the Month

Meet Louise and Owen!

Bloomington Tail Wagger

Sweet Louise is an adorable two-year-old boxer, lab mix originally from Arkansas. She’s been playing with us at our Bloomington location since she was six months old.

Her owners Steve and Ben tell us that Louise loves staying close to them or her big brother Charlie, the black Lab. In fact, one of the first times they took her to the dog park, she eagerly raced off to play but started to panic when she didn’t realize where they were! Once Louise found them again, she hid between Ben’s legs and stayed close for the rest of their visit.

Louise is more than snuggly; she’s also a very curious pooch who has to investigate everything. Even she’s in a different room and someone sneezes, Louise will come running, sit on their chest, and nuzzle their face to check things out!

We love it when Louise comes to WTPR. She enjoys spending her visits running around and hanging out with the Play Coaches.

Eagan Tail Wagger

Three-year-old Owen is an enthusiastic golden retriever who loves coming to our Eagan location. His favorite things include peanut butter Kongs, attention from the staff, and hanging out with all of his doggy friends. Though, his owners suspect that Owen thinks he’s there to supervise the pack!

When he isn’t at Wagging Tails, Owen enjoys helping out with the gardening. His owners Cathy and Kevin couldn’t figure out why they weren’t getting any cucumbers or tomatoes until one day when they saw Owen helping himself to even the smallest fruit on the vine! Cathy says that before long, they’ll only have garlic growing in their garden.

Cathy says that Owen has a stubborn streak that’s unlike anything they’ve seen in their previous Goldens. He’s also a total fetch failure. But Owen LOVES a good belly rub, going for walks anywhere, and thinks errands are super fun. He also seems happiest when the whole family gathers, because the more the merrier!

What’s the best part of having Owen in their lives? “He’s a good boy, and we love having him in our family.”

By |September 23rd, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Tail Waggers of the Month|

Can You Hear Me Now?

The Secret Behind Your Dog’s Ears

Does your dog have perky, upright ears? Or do they hang down in an endearing, droopy flop? It turns out there’s a reason why some dogs have erect ears and others don’t. Charles Darwin even wondered over this difference 150 years ago when he wrote On the Origin of Species. And, it turns out, he was onto something.

When it comes to the structure of your dog’s ears, one popular theory centers around domestication syndrome and neural crest cells. Neural crest cells help dictate the size and shape of many animal characteristics, from their skeletal and connective tissues to their facial structure and ears. These cells also play a role in how an animal’s adrenal glands function and the “fight or flight” response.

So, what do neural crest cells have to do with your dog’s ears being floppy or upright? That’s where domestication syndrome comes into play. It’s believed that thousands of years of domestication altered the neural crest cells in our dogs. Basically, as dogs became more and more tame, the number and behavior of their neural crest cells changed. As a result, new traits started to emerge, like floppy ears, shorter snouts, different in coats and tail form, and even reduced tooth size! We went on to accentuate (or inhibit) each of these traits through centuries of intentional breeding to enhance the characteristics we found most appealing.

To learn more about how some dogs came to have floppy ears, watch the video below:

By |September 16th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Can You Hear Me Now?|

It’s Your Party!

August Birthday Roundup


Has your dog celebrated their birthday with us yet?

Our Birthday Club is FREE and your lucky pup can enjoy their special day with a complimentary Playday, bandana, and birthday paw-ty!

Visit our photo gallery gallery to see all of our August party pups!

By |September 9th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on It’s Your Party!|

Happy Labor Day!

Minnesota Working Dogs

We often think of Labor Day as the end of summer and our last chance to get to the Minnesota State Fair for cheese curds and mini donuts. But, it’s actually a day set aside to celebrate American workers. In honor of the 125th anniversary of this national holiday, we thought it would be fun to recognize some little-known Minnesota workers: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s TSA dogs.

Courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration

TSA dogs are officially known as Passenger Screening Canines. There are nearly 1,100 canine teams hard at work around the country, busy sniffing for explosives or explosive materials in security lines. To become a Passenger Screening Canine team, they undergo a 12-week intensive training session at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. This $12 million facility has 25,000 square foot canine training space with seven classrooms. It also has 13 indoor venues that recreate numerous airport sites, including a baggage claim, checkpoint, cargo facility, and the interior of an aircraft.

As of last February, MSP had six canine teams on active duty. When looking for a dog to go into this line of work, trainers watch for more than a great nose. It’s also imperative that these dogs also have a high-energy drive to work. There are currently seven breeds that have shown exceptional capabilities as Passenger Screening Canines, including:

  • German shepherds
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Labrador retrievers
  • German shorthaired pointers
  • Wirehaired pointers
  • Vizslas
  • Golden retrievers

And don’t worry about the dogs who don’t complete their training or retire. The TSA also runs a doggy adoption program, but you’ll have to wait more than seven years if you’re interested in getting one of your own! In most cases, trainers are given the opportunity to adopt their partners first, and they rarely refuse. We can’t blame them!

Happy Labor Day!

By |September 2nd, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Happy Labor Day!|

Happy Fall!

Our Favorite Dog-Friendly Fall Activities

Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean the fun is over. It’s only just beginning! With cooler weather heading our way, that can only mean one thing: Getting outdoors. And what could be better than enjoying a fun, fall activity with your dog?

Here’s what made our top 5 favorite list of dog-friendly things to do in the fall.

1. Outdoor Festivals

If you’re looking for a fun, FREE, dog-focused event, you don’t want to miss Linden Hills Woofstock. When you hit Woofstock, you’re in for a day of doggy-specific programming with live music, local artisans, and food trucks. You can also meet different animal nonprofits and learn more about the work they do. And, did someone say shopping? Get ready, though; these items are all about pets and their owners! Don’t miss Linden Hills Woofstock on Saturday, September 7, from 10am-3pm.

2. Feel-Good Fundraisers

Looking for ways to support a good cause this fall? Look no further than Strut Your Mutt®! This local walk is part of a national partnership with Best Friends Animal Society®. As part of the effort, they team up with local rescues, shelters, and animal welfare organizations around the country to help save homeless animals everywhere. On September 28, Strut Your Mutt Minneapolis takes place at Wolfe Park where all of the money raised goes directly to supporting lifesaving programs. Learn more about getting involved so we can Save Them All® by visiting this page.

3. Taking a Hike

Fort Snelling State Park may be closed due to spring flooding, but there are still plenty of places to get outdoors and explore our beautiful state. Whether you want to hit the road for the weekend or head somewhere close to home, this roundup of great dog-friendly hikes in Minnesota has something for everyone. And, if you’re new to hiking with your dog, we’ve got tips to help get you started, so you’ll be enjoying the fall colors in no time!

4. Apple Orchards & Pumpkin Patches

You can’t go wrong with picking your own apples. But, when the destination also includes pumpkins, friendly farm animals, and a winery with wine tasting, count us in! This fall, head over to Deardorff Orchards & Vineyards in Waconia. And, if you’re dog still has energy to burn after your visit, head down the road to the Carver Park Reserve dog park – they have 27 acres of off-leash area that’s completely fenced, so your dog has plenty of room to run free! They also have a small enclosed area so small and frail dogs can play safely too.

5. Breweries & Wineries

We may be the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but we’re lucky to have a lot of great craft beer too! In fact, it’s hard to choose a single location with a great patio, especially since so many are dog-friendly now. If you want to enjoy a great craft beer this fall, why not try one of our favorite spots in the South Metro? Bald Man Brewing and Lakeville Brewing Company – each location welcomes dogs on the patio! And, if you prefer wine, Glacial Ridge Winery in Spicer has it all. They even welcome well-behaved, leashed dogs in their apple orchard, which means you can also find fresh apples, cider, and caramel apples during your visit.

What is your favorite dog-friendly way to enjoy fall? Tell us in the comments below!

By |August 26th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Happy Fall!|

Tail Wagger of the Month

Meet Blue, Toby, and Teagan!

Bloomington Tail Wagger

One-year-old Blue has been part of our Bloomington pack since he was only three months old. When this frisky Vizsla comes to WTPR, he really loves POOL DAYS. Once he’s done wrestling and chasing his doggy friends, he also enjoys settling in for a nice nap and snuggle.

When Blue isn’t at Wagging Tails, he likes to wrestle with his human brother, 5-year-old Bodin. One of his favorite ways to play involves grabbing Bodin’s pants and pulling him around the house until they finally come off!

Blue is a sweet boy who loves being the center of attention, often nosing you for pets and playing “keep away.” His owner Rhonda also told us that Blue keeps his family on their toes, especially since he learned to turn the faucet on so he could drink his water his favorite way — straight from the tap!

Eagan Tail Waggers

Toby and Teagan have been coming to our Eagan location for three years. At six, Toby takes his big brother role very seriously and wishes he didn’t have to share 4-year-old Teagan with anyone — and Teagan seems to feel the same way! These two dogs are either lurchers or staghounds and love spending time together. At home, you can often find them lounging on their couch in their room “Hound Town” while keeping an eye on the neighborhood. When they’re with us at WTPR, they’re lapping up attention from the staff.

These two rescues from Denver failed miserably at keeping coyotes away from the farms where they worked. At home with Kelly, Steve, and Clare, though, these dogs are total winners. The family loves Toby and Teagan’s unique personalities. When out on the streets, Toby acts as mayor of the neighborhood, being sure to greet everyone he passes. But, once he gets home, he’s a strong-willed pooch who can be stubborn. Kelly and Steve say that Teagan is the exact opposite; outdoors, this feisty girl is tough and ready to rumble. Back inside with her people, however, and she’s a cuddle bug who can’t get enough snuggles.

Congratulations, Blue, Toby, and Teagan!

By |August 19th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Tail Wagger of the Month|

Your Dog’s Health: Joint Pain

Recognizing the Signs of Joint Pain & Providing Relief

Dogs of all ages can experience joint pain; it’s not just a problem for seniors anymore. Common causes of joint pain in dogs include:

  • Tendon, ligament, or muscle diseases leading to tears or ruptures
  • Joint fractures
  • Congenital and metabolic disorders
  • Hormonal, dietary, or inflammatory conditions, like Lyme disease

Another major cause of joint pain is obesity. That’s because carrying extra weight can be as hard on a dog’s body as it is on ours!

But how do you know if your dog is in pain? And is there anything you can do to help?

Symptoms of Joint Pain

It’s not always easy to know if your dog hurts because they may not yelp, whine, or hold a paw out in pain. Fortunately, dogs offer other clues to let you know they’re uncomfortable.

Common signs of joint pain in dogs include:

  • Moving slowly or stiffly when getting up
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Having problems climbing stairs
  • Being reluctant to run or jump
  • Holding a limb off the ground or limping
  • Having difficulty standing, sitting, or lying down
  • Expressing less interest in normal activities
  • Decreasing energy levels
  • Becoming irritable
  • Losing muscle

Some dogs also have visible swelling or stiffness in their joints or obsessively lick tender areas of their body.

Treating Joint Pain

If you think your dog has joint pain, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. After diagnosing their condition, your vet might recommend a variety of therapies based on the severity of your dog’s symptoms, their age and overall health, and the cause of their discomfort.

Weight Management

One of the most important things you can do to keep your dog healthy and comfortable is address any existing weight issues. Losing weight helps minimize joint pain and inflammation by decreasing excess strain on your dog’s body. Talk to your vet about the safest way to help your dog lose weight, especially if they have health issues or pain that affects their ability to exercise comfortably.

Foods & Supplements

Certain ingredients or additives — like fish oil, chondroitin, and glucosamine — can have a regenerative quality on joints and help with pain. Before supplementing your dog’s diet, talk to your vet about your concerns, and ask for their nutritional and supplement recommendations that support joint health.

Physical Therapy & Complementary Treatments

Vets with advanced training in canine rehabilitation and sports medicine — like Dr. Julia Tomlinson at Twin Cities Animal Rehab and Sports Medicine in Burnsville — offer a wide range of complementary treatments, such as physical therapy, hydrotherapy, chiropractic care, massage, and acupuncture. These therapies can offer significant pain relief, especially if your dog has a chronic or degenerative condition.


Sometimes, pain relievers might be the best option to keep your dog comfortable. But, never give your dog pills made for humans. After talking with your vet, they might recommend prescription medications, like carprofen, meloxicam, or glucocorticoids, to reduce joint pain and inflammation.

Remember, if you think your dog is in pain, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. With their help, your dog will feel better in no time.

By |August 12th, 2019|blog|Comments Off on Your Dog’s Health: Joint Pain|