Barbara Venezia...
Stirring the pot of controversy
 one column at a time...

Stasha Speaks - she's  on the case for Stu News Newport Beach!

Read her monthly columns archived here on her blog!

Stasha Has a Nose for News Guest Column

Stasha Speaks!

Gift giving ideas for those special doggies on your list 

Stasha with Santa hat and neck scarf

Submitted photos

Ho! Hoi! Ho! Stasha posing in a Santa hat and holiday neck scarf…woof

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and there are dos and don’ts when it comes to picking gifts for the special doggies in your life. And just like Oprah, I have “My Favorite Things” list for holiday gift giving.

Though gift food baskets full of yummy treats may be a good idea for the humans on your list, it’s not so much so for dogs. Many of us are on strict diets and changing them even slightly can result in upset tummies and messy pooh. Please check with owners before giving any food items to pets. 

plush toys

Exercise caution when you purchase plush toys

Dogs love plush toys, but there can be hidden dangers here, so you need to be cautious in your selections. Avoid ones that have sewn on items like buttons and such that can be chewed off and become choking hazards for us. Holiday red collars with bells are a pet peeve of mine. They might look cute, but will drive you and us crazy within cross them off your list.

Clothing is always a good choice, but again be mindful of what you select. Coats with Velcro closures on the chest and underbelly are easy to put on, comfortable for us, and more apt to fit than those with zippers or cumbersome closures. My buddies and I love sweaters as the weather chills.  

pups in sweaters

(L-R): Nacho, Rocco and Stasha show that sweaters are welcome gifts for doggies when the weather turns chilly

Hanging with my newly adopted brother Rocco and our pal Nacho this week, we all went to our favorite store, Petco, and got matching Christmas sweaters and shopped for gifts. One item to stay away from is “stupid” Santa head gear. Though temptingly cute, dogs hate them.  

Barbara and Stasha

Stasha in a Santa hat with her Mom; the hat stayed on for a nano second

One good idea we found was this holiday bed set. They also had a good selection of plush blankets which are always an appreciated gift. Petco also has “Photos with Santa Days” at local stores. Check the website for times and dates in December. One hundred percent of your $9.95 donation benefits local homeless pets in your community, through the Petco Foundation.

pup bed

This is a cozy and warm pet bed that any of my furry canines would enjoy

And speaking of photos, another great gift idea for your whole family is a holiday photo session with Dogma Pet Portraits,, located at 1727 Superior Ave., Costa Mesa. Call 714.642.9021. It’s not too late to get your Christmas card pics taken. 

Rocco Mom and Stasha

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dogma Pet Portraits

(L-R): Rocco, Mom and Stasha at Dogma Pet Portraits


Stasha Speaks! will appear periodically in StuNewsNewport. 

Stasha Has a Nose for News – bidding farewell to my monthly StuNews column…for now

 Sept. 2017

Last month I wrote about getting a new dog in our house. My cousin Rocco came to live with us and now is a permanent member of our family. I’ve got to say it took a few weeks of getting used to another doggie, sharing toys and mom’s attention. But Rocco and I have worked through our issues and now we’re best buddies.

Rocco and Stasha

We hang out on the couch and watch DOGTV together. I’ve been busy introducing him to all my friends in Newport and in Las Vegas and we’ve been partying up a storm. We’ve been throwing pool parties for our pooch friends.

pups in the pool

Mom says Rocco and I are a bit more work for her, but I can tell she’s happy our fur family has grown. As the only pet in the house, it was a lot of pressure on me since mom’s focus was all about me. She’s more relaxed now that I have a constant playmate. This also means I don’t have as much time on my paws as I had before to write this column as my social calendar has really filled up. 

Cali and Stasha

My friend Cali and I were talking about it over Labor Day weekend, and September makes a year that I’ve been penning thoughts about the crazy canine world I live in for Stu News. And I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. But now it’s time to do other things. I’m not saying that you won’t hear from me from time to time, just not monthly as you have.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Tom Johnson for giving me the opportunity to be Newport’s first canine columnist for Stu News, and to my editor Lana Johnson for her encouragement. It’s not easy typing with paws and she makes sure she catches all my typos.

I hope my readers will continue to join me in supporting the new group in town, Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter (FONBAS) and their efforts. I’m planning on attending their first official fundraiser, a costume party for pets, Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., at Marina Park, 1600 West Balboa Blvd., on the peninsula.

They’ll be lots of costume categories as well as celebrity judges – mom and I will be judges, as will my trainer Vladae the Russian Dog Wizard, voted Number One Dog Trainer in Orange County. Not only will Vladae judge events, he will give training tips to make your doggie the best behaved on the block. You can get more information on their site at

I’m very blessed to have been a rescue dog and I would urge any family looking for a pet to save a life by rescuing, which is why it is so important to support FONBAS.

It’s been my pleasure to share thoughts and doggie tips with my readers this past year. Stay fun and in touch! You can reach me at Check out my past columns at

Stasha Has a Nose for News – Meet my cousin Rocco

August 2017

Stasha Super Model

This month I have big news about the Friends of the Newport Beach Animal Shelter – and my new fur buddy named Rocco.

Readers may remember in October I wrote about a new group forming in town to create a non-profit organization, Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter. 

Their goals are to eventually raise money to buy the property in West Santa Ana Heights where the shelter is located currently – which the city is renting – and generate funding for better cages and facilities along with upgraded medical and dental care to make animals more adoptable.

I’m happy to report FONBAS is now up and running! You can learn more about the organization at, as to how you can get involved and where to send a donation. 

I’ve donated $1,000 and The William A. Schampeau Charitable Trust has agreed to donate up to $10,000.00 in matching funds to the shelter.   

“The Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter has raised close to $25,000 in checks and pledges within two weeks of opening its bank account. Although this is just a small beginning toward the goal of having the City own its own shelter, it is confirmation that this community has a serious heart and soul. I›m so happy that we finally got this project off the ground,” said FONBAS board member Jean Watt. 

Four paws up for Jean and her group!

And in other news this month, I now have a new companion in the house. My cousin Rocco is a two-year-old black lab/terrier mix rescue dog – just like me.


He’s visited many times, but now his family is getting divorced so Rocco is hanging at our house. At first it was fun, but I’m not used to sharing toys and attention with anyone – let alone this goof ball. 

Noticing I was getting a bit testy with Rocco at times, Mom called my trainer Vlad the Russian Dog Wizard for tips on integrating a second dog into our mix.


“It’s important to set boundaries,” Vlad told mom. 

 Boundaries? I don’t need no stinkin’ boundaries!

 He advised that Rocco and I needed to be crated several times a day – with our crates next to each other – or to partition a room off with each of us on either side of the gates. At this point I was hoping mom had thrown away my old crate, but as luck would have it she hadn’t. 

The next thing I know my furry little butt was being pushed into the crate two to three times a day for about a week. 

Needless to say…I wasn’t happy about it.  Rocco isn’t that sophisticated, so he happily hopped in. To make matters worse, Vlad told mom not to give either of us any of her usual undivided loving attention. He said if we didn’t get her attention, we’d be forced to focus on each other.

This all sounded bad to me, but Vlad’s been voted the Best Dog Trainer in Orange County three years running now, so the guy knows his stuff. He said that even though Rocco and I were acquainted before he came to live with us, “you’re playing Russian Roulette by not creating a proper social bond with these two dogs.” 

Mom bought into Vlad’s advice hook, line and sinker. Life changed for me and Rocco for several weeks as phase two began. 

We had to periodically switch crates to familiarize ourselves with each other’s scent. We’re at the stage now where one of us is out of the crate, while the other remains free in the room. We take walks on our leashes together and even eat side by side now with no problems. 

Though I wasn’t happy with any of this at first, as Vlad says, “It was short term pain for long term gain,” and he was right.

Stasha in the back seat

Rocco and I have become buddies. We recently drove to Vegas together, so I could introduce him to my furry party peeps there. My friend Cali and Rocco played in the pool for days. 


I haven’t told mom yet, but if Rocco’s family thinks they’re getting him back, they’ve got another thing coming. 

Bark at ya’ next month!

Share your thoughts and photos at stashaspeaks11@yahoo.comCheck out my past columns at

July 2017

Stasha Has a Nose for News – She shares tips to stay cool this summer

Stasha Super Model

Summer heat can be tough for those of us wearing a year ‘round fur coat.

Doggie parents should take some precautions for us as we frolic outside with temperatures rising. 

Since I’ve been a pup, mom’s priority has always been safety first, and fun second. 

Stasha on boat

Just like my mom uses sunscreen to protect her sensitive skin from damaging rays, she also puts doggie sunscreen on me too. And if you think that she’s being an overbearing doggie mama, think again. Sunburned dogs can suffer symptoms from red inflamed skin to hair loss to skin cancer. But before you reach for that sunscreen bottle, make sure it’s made specifically for pets – as to not to pose an even greater threat to our health.

I know some pet parents use baby sunscreen on their animals, but be aware that even baby sunscreen can be harmful to us if it contains, zinc oxide, or para-amino benzoic acid (also known as PABA).  

We like to lick ourselves and ingesting these chemicals is toxic and we could die from them. That’s why it’s best to use sunscreen made specifically for us. When choosing a pet sunscreen, go for fragrance free. It’s also a good idea to test the product on a small area of our skin to see if we have any allergic reactions before continuing to use it all over us. Dogs that are outdoors during peak sun exposure hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. should have sun screen re-applied several times during the day – especially if they are in and out of the pool. 

Stasha and mom in pool

Sunscreen should be applied to our most sensitive areas – nose, lips, tips of ears, groin and belly area. Short haired dogs like Bull Terriers, Pit Bulls, Dalmatians, French Bulldogs, Greyhounds, and Boxers, as well as light colored furry friends are more susceptible to sunburn than those with darker skin and thicker coats.

Many parents shave long-haired dogs in the summer thinking it will keep them cooler, but this actually increases their risk to sun-related skin diseases like cancer.  

There are several good sunscreen products made specifically for the canine crowd available at Pet Smart, Petco, Walmart and Amazon. Most popular brands are Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray for Pets, Doggles Pet Sunscreen, and Petkin Doggy Sunmist. 

If your dog is like me and loves lying in the sun, remember we can’t be trusted to know when we’ve had enough heat and to come inside. Dogs can quickly suffer from heat stroke, which can lead to multiple organ failure and death. To avoid heat stroke or hypothermia:

-Keep exercise to a minimum on warm days – especially for older dogs and those with longer fur.

-Dehydration is another issue with heat stroke, so keep animals hydrated with cool drinking water. We never leave home without my Water Rover which mom fills with ice water.

Water Rover portable water dish

-Never leave animals in a parked car during hot weather even for a short time as temperatures can exceed 100 degrees in minutes.

-Plastic turf, asphalt and concrete can be too hot and burn our paw pads, so be careful when taking us out on warm days for walks and playtime. Plan these for early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. 

To read more about a good summer regiment for your dog, PetMD has some good info on heat stroke and hypothermia. Visit , as well as using sunscreen

Have fun in the sun – but be safe!

Bark at ya’ next month!

Share your thoughts and photos at stashaspeaks11@yahoo.comCheck out my past columns at

Stasha Has a Nose for News – She shares summer vacation tips

June 2017

Stasha Super Model

Summer is here, and if you’re doggie parents are like mine, they take you everywhere – including on vacation. 

But before embarking on the next fun adventure, there are things to consider when making furry travelers comfortable and safe. 

Here are a few of my travel tips. 

First off, when planning a trip, keep in mind there’s a big difference between “pet friendly” and “pet welcoming.”

Welcoming hotels not only accommodate us, but have amenities we’d enjoy like doggie room service menu items, designated dog runs, restaurants where we can dine with our parents and staff that are comfortable with animals.

We subscribe to “Fido Friendly Magazine,” a dog travel publication, which has reviews on pet welcoming hotels, resorts and more and great travel destination ideas.

Fido Friendly Magazine cover,, is another good site to check out as you plan travel. It contains lists of dog parks, restaurants, hotels, spas, beach rentals, hiking trails and more – just type in the area you plan to visit. The nice thing about this site is that there are reviews by pet owners who’ve been to these places, so you get first-hand information. And if you’re traveling by plane, Bring Fido has a page with links to many popular airlines outlining each carrier’s pet travel policies. Many have done away with pet travel in cargo areas, while others have height and weight restrictions for animals traveling in the cabin with their parents. Pet carrier size restrictions, as well as service dog requirements are also outlined. Visit this site to find out more. www.bringfidocom/travel/airline_policies/

The site cautions: Fees for pets vary and most airlines only allow one or two dogs on each flight, so always make sure a “seat” is available for your dog before buying your own ticket.

Food is at the top of my list when we pack for a trip. Mom packs a travel cooler with my favorite dog food and treats in Tupperware to keep it fresh. 

Drag Queen with Stasha

We’re big on Tupperware because my auntie Dee W IEye is one of the top Drag Queen Tupperware Ladies in the country and visits often.

My travel bag also includes doggie wipes, my Water Rover portable water/food dish, plenty of poop bags, a few toys, as well as Benadryl in case my allergies flare up, and some Pepto-Bismol for any potential travel tummy issues. An article on the American Kennel Club site explains the recommended dosage of Pepto for dogs is one teaspoon for every 10 pounds, and can be given to dogs every six to eight hours.

“But if your dog still has diarrhea after a few doses, stop the medication and call your veterinarian,” states the website

And as far as Benadryl goes, suggests “The standard dosage for oral Benadryl is one mg per pound of body weight, given two to three times a day.” The site goes on to say, “Most drug store diphenhydramine tablets are 25 mg, which is the size used for a 25-pound dog.” 

Since we’re big on road trips, in the car I sit in the back seat, on my blanket and strapped into my doggie seat belt for safety. Front passenger seats can be dangerous for animals should the airbags deploy in a crash.

And Mom never lets me hang my head out the window as she drives. Road debris and wind are a major cause of eye injuries for dogs.

Stasha in the back seat

Bark at ya’ next month!

Share your thoughts and photos at stashaspeaks11@yahoo.comCheck out my past columns at

Stasha Has a Nose for News – DOGTV gets four paws up

May 2017 

Stasha Super Model

Do dogs watch television? You bet they do, and I’m a lucky pup to have my own subscription of DOGTV on DirecTV. Why pay for a channel when Mom could just leave Animal Planet on for me? 

Problem with Animal Planet is that it’s geared toward humans, while DOGTV is specifically programmed for dogs that stay at home to reduce their separation anxiety. 

We’ve all been there, home alone, nothing to do, bored out of our little doggie minds. That’s when our behavior can become sketchy, nibbling blankets, shoes, tearing apart pillows – you get the picture.

Stasha with blanket

DOGTV offers us pups shows that keep us stimulated, engaged and calm our little furry butts down so we’re less likely to exhibit destructive behaviors.

According to their website, “DOGTV is designed as the perfect babysitter for dogs who have to stay home alone. Research shows that dogs feel better in the company of television, especially when the right content is on. DOGTV’s three types of programming offer relaxing and stimulating content as well as positive behavioral reinforcements.”

DOGTV’s programming meets a dog’s typical daily cycle and helps prevent mental fatigue. To give you some background, DOGTV premiered on DirecTV in a small test market in California, August 2013. It was created by vets and dog psychologists.

“The shift to digital televisions and flat screen TVs has also contributed to the growth in the numbers of dogs that watch TV. In a survey conducted by the American Kennel Club and IAMS dog food, nearly half of those surveyed had dogs that showed some interest in what was happening on the television screen,” the DOGTV site states.

The concept of a 24-hour channel just for dogs intrigued my Mom who quickly signed up for the free trial period in 2013.

Stasha on sofa watching TV

From the get-go, I was glued to it watching dogs frolic in fields, swim in pools during what they call “stimulation” programming time. Later in the day there’s “relaxation” where dogs nap and relax with soothing sounds and music in the background. There are also dogs going to the vet, walking on busy city streets, and lightning and thunder segments, with sounds related to those circumstances. The concept here is to neutralize our anxiety toward those situations when we encounter them in real life. Late into the night, DOGTV gets kind of psychedelic with color images and music that’s pretty trippy.

Mom watches it when she can’t sleep in the middle of the night and it lulls her back into nite nite land.

There’s real science behind DOGTV and the content is created to appeal to dogs.

DOGTV is now offered in 13 countries and can be watched on smart phones, IPads, televisions, you name it, and you can take DOGTV anywhere.,, offers a free month trial and then packages from $9.99 per month to $84.99 for a full year.

Is it worth the expense? Well, let’s just say in our house we watch DOGTV more than HBO. Check out the site: there are cool videos and you can delve further into the programming concept.

I give DOGTV four paws up! 

DogTV logo

Bark at ya’ next month! Email me at and check out my columns at

Stasha Has a Nose for News – Pet Expo changed my life


Stasha Super Model

Quite frankly I wouldn’t have the life I have today if it weren’t for America’s Family Pet Expo. That’s where back in 2012 my mom, Barbara Venezia, and my dad, Stan Tkaczyk who was a new OC Fair Board member at the time, adopted me from a shelter that had a booth at the Expo. I was just five months old at the time. Finding my new pet parents changed everything for me.

Stan and Stasha

This is our picture when my dad picked me out of the litter at the Pet Expo minutes before mom paid the lady to adopt me. Well, April 28 - 30, the  annual America’s Family Pet Expo is back at the OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa for its 28th year. It’s the world’s largest pet and pet product expo. More than 45,000 people attended last year and 500 pets found forever homes. Over the life of the event, an estimated 10,000 animals have been adopted. That’s a lot of pet lives saved I’m happy to say.

In addition to shelters and rescue organizations at the event, there are booths with all sorts of pet products, services and canine clubs where you can learn about different breeds of 

dogs. There are shows, demonstrations, contests and lots of fun things for the whole family to enjoy.

Splash dogs

Click on photo for a larger image

One of the most popular attractions is Splash Dogs. These doggie daredevils jump off a dock into the water and fans go crazy! There aren’t enough treats in the universe to convince me to launch my furry butt off a high platform into a pool, but these dogs do and seem to enjoy it.

Other Splash Dogs

Click on photo for a larger image

Then there’s the Lucy Pets Gnarly Crankin’ K-9 Wave Maker. Sponsored by Lucy Pet, this is the world’s one and only mobile wave machine which returns to the expo this year to showcase surfing dogs and cats too! The wave maker made international headlines at the 2017 Rose Parade.

Wave Runner

Click on photo for a larger image

America’s Family Pet Expo is the first stop on the 2017 National Tour that kicks off in Costa Mesa. Another crowd pleaser is the “Cook’s Racing Hogs & Dogs. It’s a race of four pigs – who run from one end of a 90-foot U-shaped track to the other – then four dogs do the same. Waiting at the end of the track is a treat – vanilla ice cream 

and a golden Oreo cookie – so now you know why these piggies and doggies are excited to run this race. Sometimes even I’m embarrassed at what lengths we’ll go to for sweets.

In all fairness, the event isn’t just about dogs, there are other animal life forms represented as well like reptiles, birds, cats and more. So, last year I tried to get a press pass for the Expo and to my surprise, I was turned down because I wasn’t a human.  

Apparently only humans are permitted to attend – pets have to stay home.  

I know that’s kind of a bummer for my furry fans out there, but organizers say with so many animals on the grounds, adding people’s pets to the mix isn’t a good idea – and I get that.  

Here’s info on the Pet Expo for humans planning to attend: General Admission $15; seniors 60 and over, $13; Children 6-12, $10; and 5 and under are free. Active and retired military personnel free admission with an ID. Show hours: Friday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Parking $8. To purchase tickets, visit

Bark at ya’ next month! and check out my columns at

Stasha Has a Nose for News – she knows how to show off her “pearly whites” and the importance of doggie dental care

Stasha Super Model

 March 2017

I love to show my pearly whites, but did you know that doggie dental care is vital to a dog’s overall health and long life? 

Yes my furry friends, taking care of your teeth could extend your lifespan two to five years according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. 

It’s scary when you think about the fact that 80 percent of dogs develop periodontal disease by age three!

We might not get cavities like our human counterparts, but dogs do develop problems like tartar, plaque buildup and gingivitis – not to mention bad breath and yellow teeth. 

Doggie dental problems can lead to life-threatening infections and issues like heart, liver and kidney disease.

Pet parents need to pay attention to their fur babies’ mouths as well as behaviors which could indicate they’re developing a dental problem. 

Symptoms like bad breath, change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face or mouth, depression, drooling, missing/broken/discolored or misaligned teeth, swollen bleeding gums are all indicators there’s a dental issue which should be addressed.  


My veterinarian suggests dogs have their teeth cleaned at least once a year. Because we’re a jittery bunch, it’s common practice to sedate us during the teeth cleaning process.  

My mom wasn’t crazy about the idea of anesthesia when our vet first approached her with the whole dental health issue, since I was just a puppy of 5 months old. So, he urged mom to see if she could make brushing my teeth a nightly lifelong routine. 

Brushing 1

Five years later, my teeth and gums are in great shape according to my doctor who we just saw for my annual checkup. 

He’s really proud that mom and I worked together on this, but at first it wasn’t easy. 

I thought the toothbrush was some weird chew toy, and I couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t letting go of it. 

Was this a new tug of war game she was playing with me? 

Apparently not. 

After a few nights of struggling mom changed her tactic. 

Lights were low, DogTV was playing on the television, and my favorite furry blanket was on the bed as I jumped up to get comfy.

For the first couple of nights she just let me lick the poultry-flavored toothpaste off the brush and pet my head.

Brushing 2

Once I got with this groove, she started gently putting her hand around my snout, introducing the toothbrush into my mouth, and just brushing a few front teeth. Eventually I became more comfortable with her brushing my far back teeth and ultimately my whole mouth.

These days I look forward to my nightly brushing. It has become mom and my “thing” before we cuddle up and fall asleep.

If you’re ready to start taking care of your teeth, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Always use a double-headed toothbrush with the brushes at a 45 degree angle to clean below the gum line, and dog toothpaste. 

Virbac has a toothbrush and paste combo we buy regularly on Amazon for $10. I’m partial to the poultry-flavored toothpaste over the vanilla one.

Virbac oral hygiene kit

NEVER use human toothpaste for your dog as most contain fluoride, which is extremely poisonous to us.

And there are other things you can do to contribute to good dental health. 

Dry kibble keeps teeth stronger than soft food, and there are synthetic bones and chew toys designed to strengthen gums and teeth. Remember, after a certain age hard bones can break a dog’s teeth. There are also treats which claim to be teeth cleaning as well. 

But as dog guru Cesar Millan says on his website, “Giving your dog a good bone to chew on can help get rid of buildup and keep teeth strong, but imagine a human who only chews gum and uses mouth rinse. That’s not an effective means of ensuring good dental hygiene and overall health. The same is true for your dog.”

So, start brushing your teeth and send me some photos and updates on how it’s going.

Bark at ya’ next month!

Share your thoughts and photos at stashaspeaks11@yahoo.comCheck out my past columns at

Stasha Has a Nose for News – and finds herself in the “doghouse”


February  2017

I’m a smart dog and probably better behaved in public than most people’s kids.  But recently my best creative thinking got me in a bit of trouble. Now I’ve been trained to only jump up on furniture where one of my furry throw blankets is placed. As you can imagine I have blankies all over the house.

I don’t know what came over me the other day, but I started nibbling the edge of one of them.

Stasha on blanket

As luck would have it, my Mom discovered the tiny nibble holes, and in my opinion, totally overreacted. The next thing I knew my furry little butt was placed in my crate while she went out to dinner with friends. I was crate trained as a pup in one of those hard plastic things with a metal door – they’re pretty much puppy proof.

Over the years, we’ve graduated to a portable canvas crate with a mesh zippered closure. Quite frankly, I’ve never had an issue with this considering usually the crate door is left open. My nibble incident changed all that.

ICanvas crate

I was home alone and now in the crate, zipped shut. From my crated vantage point, I didn’t really have a good view of DogTV – which is the only station created specifically for dogs on DirecTV and my favorite. I figured if I could just get to Mom’s new couch, I’d have a better view.

So, I nibbled my way through the mesh, broke through the zipper, squeezed out of the crate, jumped up on my furry blankie and spread out on the couch to enjoy DogTV.

When mom came home and saw the damage to the crate – and me in the lap of luxury on her new furniture – she said the only thing I was missing was a martini and a cigarette. Not totally sure what those things are…but she was really mad.

With my cutest doggie look I tried to convey I just wanted a better view of DogTV, but that didn’t work.

After talking with my trainer, Vlad The Russian Dog Wizard (, we both came to the conclusion I’m suffering from separation anxiety – which is prevalent in dogs who spend way too much time with their owners – which I do.

I’ll admit I get a bit crazy when Mom leaves the room, and follow her everywhere. At the very least that could be considered doggie stalking – separation anxiety is a bit of a stretch in my book. But apparently, this condition is a serious issue and more common than you would think especially with animals who’ve been adopted from shelters, had a change in residency, routine and other outside mitigating factors.

Vlad says in simple terms, “separation anxiety means that your dog thinks he is going to die when you leave your house.”

He also feels this disorder is easy to prevent, but it’s the most difficult behavior to correct. It’s also the second leading cause, after aggression, of dogs being euthanized. 

Depending on the level of anxiety, some dogs need to be medicated to alleviate symptoms like chewing and other destructive behaviors.

Vlad isn’t a big believer in drugging dogs. He feels with proper training and discipline the behavior can be altered. 

Hard crate

So, the hard crate is back. Let’s just say my freedom has been greatly curtailed.  And I’ve even been threatened with cancellation of my subscription to DogTV if I don’t shape up.

Yes, one little bit of nibbling landed me in the dog house big time! But I can assure you I won’t be there long – I’m a quick study – and will be back relaxing on the couch with DogTV in no time.

Bark at ya’ next month!

Send me your thoughts and photos at stashaspeaks11@yahoo.comCheck out my past columns at

Stasha Has a Nose for News – Weigh Loss Tips for the New Year

January 2017

New Year’s resolutions, like lose weight and exercise more, are great for humans – but now dogs too?

This fitness craze has gone too far!

My fur was standing on end when my favorite doggie travel magazine, FIDO Friendly, sent me an email looking for dogs that need to slim down for a contest they are running.

Calling it the “From Fat to FIDO Fabulous” contest, they’re looking for paunchy pooches to send a photo and email as to why they’d be a good candidate for a weight loss program. Entrees need to be submitted by Jan 15.

If selected, this chubby bubby would receive products to help shed the pounds, and be featured in the summer edition of the magazine.

I looked in the mirror and think my girlish figure is just fine, so I won’t be applying here, but to all my furry fans needing to lose the holiday weight, have at it and get the free stuff!

And as the line between humans and canines blurs on this weight loss subject, pet stores are getting into the fray with all sorts of products to help canines slim down. 

The Wonderwoof Bow Tie Activity monitor ($79.99) is kind of the pet version of the Fitbit. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I need is my parents looking at an app to see my furry little butt lounged around the house all day while they were away.

And what’s next…doggie treadmills?

Unfortunately, Amazon has a whole page of treadmills specifically made for dogs and cats too! But get ready to shell out the big bucks. Top sellers like Dog Pacer sell for upwards of $600.

Whatever happened to a good old dog walk around the park?

And if you start training now, how about entering the 34th Annual Spirit Run Race for the Schools coming up in Newport on March 12th in Fashion Island?

Diane Daruty, president and race coordinator, contacted me recently to let me know the race this year has a new element to it – a Dog Mile. It will be a chip-timed race for both competitive runners and joggers to enjoy with their furry friends, as well as an expo filled with interesting products and services. Spirit Run donates its net proceeds to support education and athletics in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, including elementary, middle and high schools. And you can sign up at

There are lots of choices for dogs to get in shape for 2017. And all this talk about diet and exercise is making me tired.

But before I curl up and take a nap, I wanted to close this column with a shout out of THANKS to the Newport Beach Marriott. They took note of my column asking for towel donations for the Newport Beach Animal Shelter, and delivered. The animals and staff really appreciated their kindness.

Bark at ya’ next month!

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