Meet Dirk the Therapy Dog and his trainer, Stephanie

Dirk the therapy dog at Mercy

Stephanie Ensley is a veterinarian at Sugar Creek Animal Hospital in Bentonville, where she works with companion animals. She’s also a volunteer for Mercy Health’s Therapy Dog Program and makes all the difference to kids — and adults — who are often under a lot of stress. We interviewed Stephanie about Dirk the Therapy Dog [...]

5 Tips for Better Car Trips with the Family Dog


By Denise Holmes, pet trainer and blogger at The holiday travel season is fast approaching, and soon everyone will be hitting the road. If you’re planning to take the family dog with you, there are some things you need to consider to make your trip go smoothly and ensure that you and your dog [...]

Pet Parenting: How to take the dog on your Disney trip


Guest post by Denise Holmes, dog-trainer and blogger at Recently, I wrote a post for Travel Tails recounting a trip to Orlando with my dog, Henri. In the retelling of that adventure I mentioned that next time, I needed a visit to the Happy Place. As in, Disney World. Yes, I’m one of those. [...]

Pet Parenting: My dog is itching like crazy

itchy dog

Dear Denise, My dog is itching like crazy, but he doesn’t have fleas and I’m not seeing any obvious problems on his skin. All that scratching is making him — and us! — a little crazy. Any idea what could be wrong? Dear Mama: I generally don’t like to answer questions that appear to be [...]

Pet Parenting: Finding a great dog for your kids at the local animal shelter

Denise Holmes

It’s time for another installment of Pet Parenting! Local pet behavior counselor, Denise Holmes, who owns a local private counseling business Ain’t Misbehavin’, answers your most perturbing pet problems here. The latest question: Q: “We’ve decided to adopt a dog from the animal shelter. What’s the best way to introduce my 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old [...]

Pet Parenting: How do I keep my neighbor’s dog out of my yard?


Dear Denise, My neighbor’s dog is constantly coming into my yard and causing my dog to bark like crazy from inside the house. It drives me nuts. I like my neighbor and his dog, but not the situation. Is there anything I can do to discourage the dog from coming into my yard? Besides asking [...]

Pet Parenting: My cat won’t stay off the counter!

Dear Denise, My cat won’t stay off the kitchen counter and it’s driving me crazy. I’ve tried using a spray bottle filled with water, but it does not seem to faze her. She gets down at the time, but gets right back up when I turn my back. Any other ideas for keeping her on [...]

Pet Parenting: That dog won’t stop barking!

Dear Denise, My dog barks all day long and I’m worried my neighbors are getting annoyed. What anti-bark techniques or devices would you recommend? What about the sonic devices? I’m a little desperate. Thank you! Dear Mama: Barking dogs can be a real barrier to harmonious neighborhood living. Thank you for recognizing that. I get [...]

Animal behavior expert Denise Holmes helps solve pet problems in NWA

Denise Holmes (2)

We get lots of comments about our Pet Parenting feature on nwaMotherlode. What makes it so good is the practical approach that Northwest Arkansas pet behavior expert, Denise Holmes, takes when answering pet problem questions. She loves animals and it shines through in her answers. We recently did a little Q&A with Denise and thought [...]