Monday, February 28, 2011

Keepin' It REAL!

The lookouts are on alert!

We're on hand to greet the next REAL...

No, it's not a new installment of the Real Housewives's something better!


Everyone knows that human-folks enjoy our quirky island and our vintage cottages, but some of our favorite sightings are the dogs (and some Puddy-Tats) we encounter.

Some are year round residents while others are here just for visits, but either way we love meeting them and learning about their adventures around Tybee.

Send us photos of your furiends enjoying Tybee and they just might end up on The Real Barkhounds of Tybee!  Oh, come on...if you send us photos of your pets enjoying themselves no matter where they are we'll probably post their pics, too.

And, you can't get a better shot than that of your dog enjoying our delicious, all natural dog treats, Beach Bum Biscuits.

Just go to, click on our BLOG link, post your photos and stories on our Beach Bum Biscuits FACEBOOK page and we'll do the rest!


Sunday, February 27, 2011


It's another picture perfect day on Tybee with loads of stuff to do.

Get out there and have a dog-gone good time!

Drop by the Guard House and meet Tybee Police Chief, Bob Bryson from 3-5 pm.

Call or email Dr. Joe and reserve your spot for a Tybee Beach Ecology Trip! 912-596-5362 or

But, first and foremost, grab the leash and take a long walk through our island community with your best furiends!

It's the best way to get Tybee-ized!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Something to BARK about this weekend!

Tybee Beautification Spring Highway Clean!

Join us at the Tybee Welcome Sign to help clean and beautify our dog-gone beautiful island.

Sponsored by the Tybee Beautification Association

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Berkeley Springs: A Guide To Life

We received this update on Berkeley Springs, one of our sponsored Guide Dog puppies in training.  He's very close to graduating and may be paired with a person with a disability, soon!

Berkeley Springs is finishing up his guide training and is working on the subways, doing city work and crowd work, taking country walks, mall work and riding escalators.  They are increasing distraction levels on all of his work and maintaining levels of concentration.  He has some slight noise sensitivity, but that is all.  His trainer says that he loves him and he is doing very well.

Join us in sending our well wishes and support to Berkeley Springs as he reaches this important milestone in his training.  His life of service will mean a more independent life and freedom for a person with disabilities.

Go forth young Berkeley Springs!  You can do it!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Is excess gas making your dog feel...uncomfortable?   Does your dog sit in the window and daydream about rolling in the grass?

Just light a candle!  No, really!

Dogs have really sensitive noses.  That's also how they say hello and assess a situation.

SNIFF Pet Candles is a line of all natural candles specially designed to soothe and calm your pet according to what your pet needs.  Made with organic soy, beeswax and palm these relaxing candles are also people friendly!

If there's a particular offending odor that's dogging your pet's environment get them a SNIFF and you'll both say, "AH!"

Portions of the proceeds from the sales of SNIFF also go to support animal rescue groups so we say WOOF! to that!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Arriving In Style!

If ever there was an incentive to wish for reincarnation this is it!


Mermaid friends Linda W. and Marianne B. sent us this link to Love My Dog Resort and Playground in St. Petersburg,  FL.

They provide daycare, boarding, grooming and soon a water park just for dogs!

The best part is they'll even send their limo to pick up your pampered pooches if you're too busy.

But, it isn't all champagne and caviar on the menu.  They're active supporters of pet adoption and pet foster services!

What a dog-gone great idea and we congratulate their howling success!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Soldier's Pet Finds A Home

What happens to a solider's pet when he or she gets deployed?

Many times our men and women who serve in the military get deployed and must leave their beloved pet behind.  In times past, many members of the military had no other choice than to turn their pet family members into a shelter, never knowing what might become of them.

Since 2005, Guardian Angels For Soldier's Pet has been providing foster family options for service men and women and their pets.

Foster families volunteer to provide a temporary home for a soldier's pet while away on deployment.  This organization is dedicated to the support of service men and women and their pets to ensure they are reunited once their deployment ends.  It's a fantastic way for members of the military and peace keeping forces to retain ownership of their pets and to have them well cared for while they're away.

If you've got room in your home and your heart to be a foster home for military pets please register and help reunite our brave service men and women with their pets.  It's a great way to say Thank You for those who serve.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Travel In Style!

Ever notice that your pet always seems to like your best furniture for their pet naps?

Well, I guess we can be glad they have great taste, too!

Here's a super idea that's sure to pamper your pet in style and make use of something most of us just have lying around taking up closet space:  A Suitcase Doggy Bed!

When I first saw this idea it was on a DIY site,, but since then they're popping up everywhere!

This is a great way to lure your pet off your furniture and into their own sanctuary.  You can custom design the interior to compliment your pet and it's a great way to travel with their toys and food bowls.  Just pack 'em up and away you go!

If you make it yourself from an old suitcase, just be sure to fashion some way to insure it will stay open when your pet is in it. 

My dogs are my best travel partners and they like to do it in style!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

You're Late! What's Your Excuse? RUFF!

A New study suggests dogs may be affected by how long we leave them alone.

It's generally believed that dogs, like most animals, are stuck in time.  In general terms, dogs can't think back to past events and/or anticipate future ones.

Now, if your dogs are like mine, they seem to know what I'm going to do before I do!  Many times I've drug myself home after a long day only to feel the greatest joy of seeing those cute little faces peeking out the window as I drive up.  We've all said it.  When it seems no one else has anything nice to say to us or about us our dogs save the day with a wag of their tails and their barks of love.

Researchers believe that dogs may seem like they can tell when we've been away from them for long periods of time, but it could be that we humans are also reminding them that we're late by our actions when we see them.

I don't know about you, but I'm just glad they're happy to see me.  It means a lot!

But, there's one sure way that your pets won't get lonely and you won't suffer the guilt of leaving them.  Bring them with you to Mermaid Cottages and Tybee Island!

For more on this study and to better understand how dogs perceive time click on

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Special Service Dogs For Special Needs

Service Dogs can be trained to assist persons with many different types of disabilities...even those that can't be readily seen.

One such special type of service dog is a Mental Health Dog.  A Mental Health Dog is trained to assist persons with various types of mental or nervous disorders, such as agoraphobia.  Agoraphobia can sometimes cripple a person to the point where he or she cannot leave their own home for fear of what they might encounter just outside their door.

Mermaid Melissa S. shared this wonderful video with us to show just how remarkable service dogs can be and how service dogs have dramatically changed the lives of two women.

Most animals can sense how a person is feeling and many are naturally talented in soothing and consoling someone in need.

If you've ever met Danny, Diane Kaufman's yellow lab, you know just how incredible a giant "Lab Hug" can make you feel.

Danny is quite the character and can often be seen peering from the windows of Mermaid Manor or riding shotgun in Diane's SUV.  He's also a big ham at heart as he loves to pose and model for the camera in many of the photoshoots and videos for Mermaid Cottages.

You can just be sitting around and Danny will sometimes come up to you and hoist his huge paws around your neck and nuzzle your face with his.  He's a charmer and he gives the best hugs!

When you visit Tybee Island and stay with Mermaid Cottages be sure to be on the lookout for Danny...especially if you need a hug!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Your Forever Friend Is Waiting

Your forever friend is waiting.

Will you make the call?

We received this heartfelt letter today from Cynthia Sharpley of EVERYDAY ERRANDS by way of Jane Coslick

Hi Dear Pet Friends,

This dog was found with an awful and tight choke collar around his neck.  And despite it, he is a very loveable and happy boy.  We can learn so much from animals.

He loves car rides. As his rescuer drove him to the vet, he sat in the front seat like a good boy.  He is not neutered, but appears to be a healthy 40 pounds dog.  No microchip was found.  He loves kisses and is a gentle and playful sweetheart.  

His rescuer, Leza Shore, already has three rescued dogs of her own and she is unable to keep one more.  She has him temporarily in the garage since one of her dogs is agressive.  

If anyone is able to give this boy a temporary or permanent home please contact Leza at 
912 224 3566 or   If not, please forward this email to others.  The more people we can reach the better our chances of finding this sweet guy a good home.

Thank you, as always, for caring.

Time To Simplify and Balance Your Life

Cynthia Sharpley
912 484 8826

One of the most important life lessons to be learned is that if you rescue an animal in need it will turn right around and rescue you back!

Are you ready?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What's In A Name?

They told me the big black lab's name was Reggie, as I looked at him lying in his pen.
The shelter was No-Kill, clean and the people really friendly.
I'd only been in the area 6 months, but everywhere I went in the small college town people were welcoming and open.  Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here and I thought a dog couldn't hurt.  Give me someone to talk to.  And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news.  The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people that had come down to see him didn't seem to look like "Lab People", whatever that meant.  They must've thought I did.

But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things which consisted of a dog pad, a bag of toys which almost all were brand new tennis balls, his dishes and a sealed letter from his previous owner.  See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home.  We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home).  Maybe it was the fact I was trying to adjust, too.  Maybe we were too much alike.

For some reason his stuff (except for the tennis balls...he wouldn't go anywhere without two stufffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all my other unpacked boxes.  I guess I really didn't think he'd need all of his old stuff; that I'd get him new things once he settled in.  But, it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn't going to.  

I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit", "stay", "come" and "heel" and he'd follow them-when he felt like it.  He never really seemed to listen when I called his name- sure, he'd look in my direction after the fourth or fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever.  When I'd ask again you could almost see him sigh and grudgingly obey.

This just wasn't going to work.  He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes.  I was a little too stern with him and he resented it.  I could tell the friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks to be up and when it was I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid my unpacked stuff.  I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, the damned dog probably hid it on me.

Finally, I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number I also found his dog pad and other toys from the shelter.  I tossed the dog pad in Reggie's direction and he sniffed and wagged; some of the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home.  But, then I called, "Hey, Reggie.  You like that? Come here and I'll give you a treat."  Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction-maybe glared is more accurate - and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down-with his back to me.

Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought. And, I punched the shelter phone number.

But, I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope.  I had completely forgotten about that, too.  "Okay, Reggie," I said outloud, "let's see if your previous owner has any advice."

To Whoever Gets My Dog,

Well, I can't say I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie's new owner.  I'm not even happy writing it.  If you're reading this it means I just got back from my last car ride with my lab after dropping him off at the shelter.  He knew something was different.  I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door for a trip, but this's like he knew something was wrong.  And, something is wrong which is why I have to go to try to make it right.  

So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.  

First, he loves tennis balls.  The more the merrier.  Sometimes, I think he's part squirrel the way he hordes them.  He usually always has two in his mouth and he tries to get a third one in there.  Hasn't done it, yet.  Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after them, so be careful-really don't do it by any roads.  I made that mistake once and it almost cost him dearly.  

Next, Commands.  Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them, again.  Reggie knows the obvious ones-sit, stay, come, heel.  He knows hand signals; "back" to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up and "over" if you put your hand out right or left.  "Shake" for shaking water off and "paw" for a high five.  He does "down" when he feels like lying down - I bet you could work on that with him some more.  He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and "treat" like nobody's business.  

I trained Reggie with small food treats.  Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.  

Feeding schedule:  Twice a day.  Once about seven in the morning and again at six in the evening.  Regular store bought stuff.  The shelter has the brand.  

He's up on his shots.  Call the clinic on 9th street and update his info with yours.  They'll make sure to send you reminders for when he's due.  Be forewarned.  Reggie hates the vet.  Good luck getting him in the car.  I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows.  

Finally, give him some time.  I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie and me for his whole life.  He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can.  He sits well in the back seat and he doesn't bark or complain.  He just loves to be around people and me, most especially.

Which means that this transition is going to be hard with him going to live with someone else.

And, that's why I need to share one more thing with you.  

His name's not Reggie.

I don't know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter I told them his name was Reggie.  He's a smart dog.  He'll get used to it and will respond to it, of this I have no doubt.  But, I just couldn't bear to give them his real name.  For me to do that, it seemed so final.  That handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting I'd never see him again.  And, if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything's fine.  But, if someone else is reading it, well it means that his new owner should know his real name.  It'll help you bond with him.  Who knows.  Maybe you'll even notice a change in his demeanor if he's been giving you problems.  

His real name is "Tank."

Because that is what I drive.

Again, if you're reading this and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the news.  I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie" available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.  See, my parents are gone.  I have no siblings.  No one I could've left Tank with...and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq.  That they make one phone call to the shelter...In the tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.  Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed.  He said he'd do it personally.  And, if you're reading this he made good on his word.  

Well, this letter is getting downright depressing even though, frankly, I'm just writing it to my dog.  I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family.  But still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.  

And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.  

That unconditional love from a dog is what I take with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things...and to keep those terrible people from coming over here.  If I have to give up Tank in order to do it I am glad to have done so.  He is my example of service and love.  I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.  

All right.  That's enough.  I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter.  I don't think I'll say another good-bye to Tank, though.  I cried too much the first time.  Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.  

Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every night - from me.  

Thank you,
Paul Mallory

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.  Sure, I had heard of Paul Mallory.  Everyone in town knew him, even new people like me.  Local kid.  Killed in Iraq a few months ago.  Posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies.  Flags has been at half mast all summer.  

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.

"Hey, Tank." I said quietly.  

The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and eyes bright.

"C'mere, boy."

He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor.  He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months.  

"Tank," I whispered.

His tail swished.  

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time his ears lowered, his eyes softened and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment seemed to flood him.  I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.

"It's me now, Tank.  Just you and me.  Your old pal gave you to me."  Tank reached up and licked my cheek.  "So, whatdaya you say we play some ball?"  His ears perked up, again.  "Yeah. Ball.  You like that?  Ball?  Tank tore from my hands and disappeared into the next room.

And, when he came back he had three tennis balls in his mouth.  

Every person who has served in or is currently serving in our military is a hero.  Every man.  Every woman.
No matter what your personal beliefs and convictions.  Treat them as heroes and say "Thank You" every chance you get.

If you can't do anything else, please consider becoming a foster family for pets our military has to surrender in order to serve and protect our nation and your home.

Saturday, February 12, 2011



Come join us Sunday, February 13 from 3-5 p.m. to walk and clean the south end of Tybee Beach!

It's time to start preparing for our 2011 Sea Turtle Nesting Season and we want the lovely lady sea turtles to have the most beautiful beach to choose their nesting sites!

Meet us at our newest Mermaid Cottage on the beach, Doyles At The Beach, at #2 18th Lane.

There's plenty of parking, but as always, the best way to enjoy Tybee Island is to walk or ride a bike.

Bring your own trash bags and bring lots of family and friends!

The less trash there is on the beach the less trash there will be in the beautiful waters off Tybee and this means less chance the sea turtles, dolphins and Right Whales will think the harmful trash is something for them to eat.

Ya'll Comin?


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Homecoming For A HERO

You're going home and relaxing, she said.  You're going home.

Eli, a black lab specially trained as a bomb sniffing dog in the military was on duty when his handler was struck by a Taliban fighter's sniper bullet.  Eli was the first to reach his handler's side and he guarded over his fallen handler even as other soldiers tried to pull him away.

Eli had sniffed out two bombs already that day.  Against all rules, Eli had slept in his handler's cot or sleeping bag. Always.  Eli had only eaten the same rations as his handler.  Always.  Eli was a soldier.  Always. Eli's handler wrote on his FACEBOOK page, Whatever's mine is his.

That was a promise and it was forever.

Eli has now been adopted and has joined his new family on their ranch.  It's the same ranch where his handler grew up.  Eli has been adopted by his handler's parents.

Eli's handler was Pfc Colton Rusk, the 20 year old son of Kathy and Darrell Rusk.

Mermaid Cottages and Beach Bum Biscuits honor and remember Pfc Colton Rusk and Eli for their bravery and service to our country and everyone evereywhere in this world.

We salute and thank the Rusk family for their loyalty and for opening their home to Eli.

To learn more about the bravery and sacrifice of this most honorable young man and Eli go to and

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

WOOF! Hey, I'm Working Here!

Hey, Puppy-Wuppy!  You're So Cute!

Guide Dogs and Service Dogs are beautiful animals, especially when they're puppies in training,  but there's an etiquette to keep in mind when you see one on the job!

* Any time you see an animal in a harness or vest know that the dog is working and you should not talk to,
   touch or do anything to distract him from his job.
* Do not treat the animal as a pet.  He's a highly trained professional.
* Don't assume the dog needs your advice or instruction.  The only person he should listen to is his handler.
* Don't try to take control of any situation you assume is unfamiliar to the handler or the dog.
* Don't walk on the dog's left side.  That's the side reserved for his handler.  Do walk on the right side and
   a few paces behind the dog and handler.
* Don't attempt to grab a hold of or steer anyone with a guide dog.  Always ask the handler if any
   assistance is needed.
* Be patient and polite to both the handler and the dog.  You'll be impressed with their skills!
* A handler and dog have a special bond and both are constantly learning.
* Never try to feed a trained dog.  Part of the special bond between a handler and his dog is the master's
   responsibility to provide well balanced nutrition for the working dog.
* Never allow children to tease or abuse a service animal.  Teach children to respect the special job a
   service animal has to do.
* Don't allow your family pet(s) to challenge or engage a service animal when it's working.
* Never encourage a service animal to disobey it's master.  That includes inviting a service dog to jump up
   on furniture when it's against the master's rules.
* Never allow a service dog to go outside unsupervised.  Understand and appreciate its value to it's handler.
* Always talk to the handler, not the dog.  You might cause the dog to make a serious mistake.

The relationship between a handler and a working dog is a special brand of teamwork.  Appreciate it, honor it and respect it.

If you know of a handler and his/her special working dog who would like to share their story let us know.  Heroes are always welcome here!   

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Anyone that shares his/her life with a pet knows they can be amazing and just as with our children sometimes we gush about how smart and talented ours are!

The term "Service Dog" covers a lot of territory and whether you call them a Guide Dog or  Service Dog or Assistance Dog they all make it possible for many persons with disabilities to lead astonishingly normal lives.

Here are a few of the specialties Service Dogs are trained in:

Guide Dog
Guide Dogs are the eyes for a blind or sight impaired person.

Hearing Dog
A Hearing Dog alerts its handler to sounds.

Seizure Alert/Response Dog
A Seizure Alert Dog alerts and responds to its handler when it senses the handler may be having a seizure.

Mobility Assist Dog
A Mobility Assist Dog is the arms and legs for a disabled person.

Psychiatric Service Dog
A Psychiatric Service Dog enables a person with a psychiatric disorder to calm down and can enable the person to function in public.

There are certainly some days my dogs are my miracle workers and they always know when I could use a kiss and a hug!

If you have a service animal or know of a service animal that's making a difference in someone's life please let us know.  We'd love to meet them!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

GRACE: Beach Bum Biscuit Eater Of The Day

Meet Grace, our Beach Bum Biscuits Eater of the Day!

Grace says:

Dear Diane and the Mermaids,

Just want to send you some proof of our lovely time at Doodlebug Cottage and a tail-wagging THANK YOU for the delicious biscuits you left in the cottage for me.  My parents really appreciate the name tags you provided.  They put one on my collar and one on my harness the whole time we were there.  My parents always worry about my safety and they said  that is very thoughtful of you to have the tags available.  You must love dogs!  I wasn't allowed to get on the furniture at my home so I did the same at Doodlebug.  I have my own bed and I sleep on the floor, anyway.  My mom said that you were so very nice not to charge me extra, so I made sure to leave the cottage as nice and clean as when we first checked in.  I really enjoy Tybee Island.  I love the daily walks where I can smell so many interesting trees, shrubs, posts, grassy areas, fences...

Thank you for letting me come to your house.  I heard my parents talking and they both said they wanted to return to your house again soon!  I can't wait!

(I am a Great Pyrenees.  My parents rescued me from a kill shelter 3 years ago.  I am a very good girl and a wonderful service dog!)

We can't wait for Grace and her parents to come visit again!  Tybee Island is just the right place for such a pretty girl!

If you've been rescued by a pet from a shelter or pure breed rescue be sure to let us know!  Your furiend could be our next Beach Bum Biscuit Eater of the Day!