Pet Parenting: Meet our new animal advisor


Mamas, you asked for it and we got it. We’re introducing a new feature on next month called Pet Parenting.

From advice on how to introduce your newborn to the family dog to bringing home a new puppy, our resident pet behavior counselor, Denise Holmes, will talk you through your perturbing pet problems in this question-and-answer feature.

We’ll start with the questions on Thursday, April 2. Feel free to send your questions to mamas{at}nwaMotherlode{dot}com.

Denise, who owns a local private counseling business Ain’t Misbehavin’, has been training animals for 25 years. Actually, earlier than that if you count the years she spent training her neighbor’s dogs after they saw how she handled her huge, well-behaved St. Bernard.

Denise also developed a product that’s just for brand-new moms and is available at retail outlets around NWA beginning this month. It’s a CD called My New Best Friend and features actual newborn baby sounds. It’s designed to help introduce the family pet to a new baby. Denise literally recorded her own friends’ newborns for the CDs and the noises range from contented chirps to what is called “baby bedlam”.

“I lovingly call it raging baby,” Denise said with a laugh.

The CD, along with detailed instructions for pet/baby introductions, is available for $16.99 via PayPal on Denise’s website, (CLICK here to go to her site and download the media zip file).

Or, as I mentioned, you can now buy the CDs at local businesses, including: Dog Party USA in Springdale (a doggy daycare and boarding facility where Denise offers dog training to individuals and families); Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville; Babies and Beyond in Fayetteville;  Copper Pig in Fayetteville; and Big Wag Dog Bakery in Rogers; Colliers Drug on Dickson St. in Fayetteville and at Willow Creek; Best Friends Veterinary Clinic in Fayetteville; Rover Oaks Grooming in Fayetteville; and West Oaks Animal Hospital in Fayetteville.

Denise, who has a microbiology degree (minor in psychology) from the University of Arkansas, has initiated a variety of programs in Northwest Arkansas to further the health and well being of people and pets in the area. As a consultant for Arkansas Children’s Hospital, she helped shape its first animal-assisted therapy visits. She also established Pawsitive Connection, Arkansas’ first non-profit organization supporting animal-assisted therapy.

One of my favorite programs is the one she started at the Fayetteville Public Library called “Sit. Stay. Read!” My daughter read to a toy poodle named Betty all last summer and it was a great way to encourage literacy through fun. And children don’t care if they stumble over words when they’re being heard by a forgiving canine.

Denise’s slogan is Love. Trust. Teach. She believes true training has to happen in that order.

Welcome to nwaMotherlode, Denise. We’re looking forward to the animal advice!

P.S. If you have some adorable pet pics we could use for future installments of Pet Parenting, e-mail ’em to the mamas! We know pets can be babies, too. 


  1. I’ve been waiting for a blog about pets. Thanks for adding that to your website

    Carolyn Stephens

  2. Thanks for adding something like this to your web site. I’m looking forward to it.

  3. HI all. I just wanted to drop a note to thank the Mamas for inviting me to contribute to their web site. I’m really looking forward to helping all of you create better relationships with your pets. Please don’t hesitate to send me your questions.

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