Thursday, 28 October 2021
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25 huggable pets you can rescue this weekend on Staten Island: Aug. 11-12

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — There are dozens of animals in the care of dedicated volunteer animal rescue groups, just waiting for forever families to rescue them.

Click through the photos above to meet the adorable dogs and cats up for adoption at events around the borough this weekend.

Please keep in mind, it’s not all about cute pups and kitties: There are senior and disabled pets who really need you, too. BTW: Find a list of local rescue groups at the bottom of this post.


I have a Rottweiler grand-puppy named Vito (as in Corleone; also his middle name). He’s approximately 6-months-old and already weighs about 50 pounds.

Vito the 50-pound, plant-eating Rottweiler. His favorite? Petunias. (Staten Island Advance/Mary Jo Andriulli)

He’s full of playfulness and mischief.

I love him to death, but he’s been doing mob-hits on my beautiful potted plants set out on my porch and surroundings. Those are the same plants I painstakingly planted and lovingly cared for since Spring, and enjoy seeing each time I walk in or out my apartment door.

Lately, that flowering beauty has turned into an explosion of uprooted petunias (his favorite), and other flowers and dirt all over my porch and up — and down the walkway.

At times, missing flowers-pulled out by entire roots are found hanging from his mouth AND Vito finds it (hilariously) fun to have his nanny (me) chase him around the yard to get them back! (Good thing I love dogs and find the humor in this.)

My little sanctuary of colorful flowers has become a potter’s field of half-missing plants and dirt with evidence of eaten, shredded flowers around the perimeter of the entire house.

What to do, what to do? Should I give Vito an offer he can’t refuse?  Nah. As they say, “You can do anything, but NEVER go against the family!” 

Hence, my internet search for natural ways to deter the little herbivore! Instead of moving plants to higher ground, below are seemingly easy suggestions to deter dogs from eating plants, which I am very eager to try:

1. Clicker training: Clickers can help your dog understand commands quicker as well as get their attention rapidly. Clickers are available at pet stores, and many dog training classes give instruction on this type of training. (source:

2. It won’t hurt — spice things up: Discourage your dog from digging in your garden by sprinkling equal parts crushed red pepper and powdered mustard around the perimeter. The pepper will not harm your dog but it will irritate its eyes, nose and throat enough to keep them away. (source:

3. Logical — supervise and correct on the spot: If your dog has shown a tendency to dig in your potted plants, your dog needs supervision around the plants until he’s trustworthy. If he starts nosing around a pot, give him a firm “no,” so he will understand he isn’t allowed to bother them. (source:

4. Like Pepe Le Pew — think disgusting smells & odors: There are several substances that dogs dislike, but unfortunately some of them will kill your plants. For example, most dogs will run the other way if they smell vinegar — but if you spray your plants with it, the acidic composition of vinegar will kill them. You could use vinegar, however, on the pots themselves (or surrounding concrete if applicable.) Just put some vinegar and water into a spray bottle and shake so it mixes well. Then spray the outside of the pot. (source:

5. Distract — provide plenty of alternatives: Don’t let the dog find itself bored and without anything to entertain itself. Toys that can be stuffed with small treats and take the dog a while to empty can keep them occupied for long lengths of time. Take the dog away from the plant when it looks like it might want to start digging and give it an alternative to digging. Praise it when it chews the treat rather than digging up the potted plant. (source:

6. Citrus repellents: Cut fruits such as oranges, lemons, and sweet lime, and spread them in the garden area. You can even spray citrus oils on pots. Another way is to place slices or peels of oranges and lemons near your flowerbed or vegetable patch. (source:

7. Make sure they’re natural — Commercial Products: Countless commercial dog repellent sprays are available from pet retailers. You can spray these directly on dirt or on the plants and trees surrounding the area where your dog usually digs. Biodegradable sprays containing citronella repel many dogs but won’t hurt the greenery and an added bonus is, they work to keep mosquitoes and other bugs away. You can also look for sprays containing garlic oil, clove oil or pepper extract. (source:

8. Last but not least — POOP!: Placing a dog’s own feces in problem areas may repel humans as well as dogs but this method, while unpleasant, does work well, especially for dogs that tend to dig. (I’m positive I’ll skip this one.) (source:



The Bark Box

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