Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kelly says Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

We had very Merry Christmas here at the Frezon household. My father in law recovered from his pneumonia just in time for the holidays, our son Andy's ruptured eardrum healed nicely, and the only other holiday health issue was our daughter Kate's badly burned eyelid resulting from a holiday fondue mishap. Fortunately, all is well...merry and bright, even.

So we're now looking ahead to the new year. I'll be blogging a lot about goals and resolutions. I love setting goals, but my follow through needs work. I'll be interested to hear what you all have to say about New Years Resolutions.

Also, I'm excited to announce this blog will soon be featured as one of several bloggers on the Guideposts website (New bloggers will be added after January 1st). Visit Guideposts online for many inspiring stories throughout the year, and be sure to check out the blogs on many topics, including living green, Texas flora, and many others. And of course Kelly looks forward to meeting you all there.

Happy New Year!
Peggy and Kelly

Paws for Reflection: Keep your New Year's Resolutions simple. It's good to set a goal, but sometimes it is counterproductive to pressure yourself to attain unrealistic accomplishments. One goal, with gentle steps toward achieving that goal, is a great start!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Playing in the Snow

Snow bunny Kelly loves playing outside in the winter. But I have to take care that she doesn't get too cold. I keep her outside for shorter periods of time, and make sure it's not too windy. I think the biggest problem is that the pads on her feet and between her toes get covered with little ice balls if she's out in the snow for too long. I try to dry them off with a towel when she comes in.
Here are some cold-weather tips from blog reader friends:
1. One reader advises to keep the hair between the pads well trimmed so the snow and ice won't stick to it.
2. A friend told me that you can rub baby oil on the dog's pads to help protect them from the winter weather. It seems to me that this would make it slippery to walk. But maybe you should do this after they come inside. Some dogs pads get cracked and dry, so this would help.
3. Only use rock salt on your steps that is safe for pets. Other rock salt can burn and irritate your dog's sensitive feet.
4. I've never used them, but there are dog coats, sweaters and even booties available if your dog will wear them. Better than a shivering pup. One reader's chihuahuas wouldn't dream of going outside without their coats.
5. You've probably all heard this already, but keep your dog away from antifreeze that may be puddled in the driveway or on the street where you walk. It smells good to dogs, but it's poisonous.
6. Although it doesn't relate specifically to dogs, here's a great point from the Humane Society of the United States. Cats and small animals are attracted to warm engines of parked cars. In case a small animal has climbed up under your hood, bang on the hood to scare them away before getting in your car and driving off.
7. Here's a great article from eHow on "How to Protect your Pet from Winter Cold."
8. Most dogs still enjoy playing outside in the snow, just like kids! Have fun!

Paws for Reflection: The changing seasons are beautiful. While I respect the power of frigid weather and icy conditions, I give thanks for this winter with the beautiful white snow formaking snow angels, snowball fights, and playing outside with Kelly.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tis the Season

If ever I was dreaming of a white Christmas, my dreams would be coming true this year. Last week we had a major ice storm in the northeast, dusting the ground with a little snow, and covering the roads, trees and power lines with thick ice. 240,000 homes (just in our area of the state) lost power (and heat!) It made me feel good to hear about neighbors checking on other neighbors, taking care of the seniors, offering their homes to anyone in need. My in-laws lost power for 5 days, so they stayed with us. But not before my father-in-law ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. Fortunately, he's home and feeling better now.

Today we received our second major storm, with more than 14 inches of snow falling today and guess what--another 8 to 10 inches expected tomorrow. Okay, enough already!
Good thing it's beautiful. The photos today are of the ice storm, courtesy of Merry Kraft of Averill Park, NY.

Paws for Reflection: Love Your Neighbor by checking in on them in times of severe weather.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Kelly's Holiday Classic Look-Alike

(illustration courtesy of TV

While watching the classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I noticed a resemblance between the Grinch's dog, Max, and a certain spaniel-mix I happen to know! What do you think? Kelly is certainly no grinch when it comes to Christmas. She sports her reindeer antlers proudly. Does your pet have a holiday celebrity look-alike?

And, this is Max from the cover of the Jim Carey movie:

Paws for Reflection: Celebrate the season with a classic holiday movie. It really puts you in the spirit. In addition to Grinch, I recommend "A Christmas Carol."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Top Dogs #1

I love to share photos of my friends' dogs with you, so that everyone can get to know these cute, crazy or cunning creatures.
Today we're featuring two dogs belonging to faithful reader Ellen: Marley the German Shepherd and Milo the Pug, all decked out for the holidays. Besides decorating themselves in holiday lights, Ellen says Marley and Milo enjoy marrow bones stuffed with peanut butter and frozen. Yum! Milo is definitely top dog, and will steal any toy he wants from Marley. They enjoy long walks with their mom at the local park, although Milo does occasionally appreciate a ride in the stroller when his little legs get tired. Happy Holidays, Marley and Milo!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Cards with a Plus

The other day I wrote about putting our pets' photos on holiday cards. Another option is purchasing holiday cards that benefit pet programs and organizations. Here are a few. You may not support or agree with all these organizations, but you can pick and choose the ones you like. If you know of an organization offering dog or pet holiday cards that I left off the list, let us know! I'm sure there are oodles. Thanks and Happy Holidays!

Best Friends Animal Society features cute pups playing with wrapped gifts in the snow. Best Friends aids abused and abandoned animals.

Aunt Mary's Doghouse is a not-for-profit organization that provides help for abandoned and homeless dogs. These cards feature photos of your own dog, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Aunt Mary's Doghouse.

The Guide Dog Foundation has a selection of absolutely charming photographs of Golden Retriever puppies "nestled all snug in their bed" and illustrations of noble Black Labs in winter scenes.

A photograph of a yellow puppy kissing a kitty, or a drawing of cats and dogs looking out into the night sky at Santa's sleigh.
The American Humane Association

These cards feature a photo of two adorable rescued pets--the cutest white terrier, and a pretty orange tabby--on a sled in the snow. Benefits the Animal Protective Association of Missouri

Featuring an Old English Sheepdog in Santa's sleigh, these cards benefit the Old English Sheepdog Resuce

A drawing of joyful, dancing yellow dogs. A message on the back of the card promotes "unchained" dogs. Dogs Deserve Better is a not-for-profit organization.
To order:

Paws for Thought: A donation of any size to an organization you support makes a great gift for the pet lover who has everything!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Presents for Pooches

This is Kelly when she came to our house, Christmas Eve 2002. She looked a bit worried, but she still liked to give my son, then 12, a Christmas kiss.

Last time, I talked about including your dogs in photo Christmas cards. In this post I'll talk about presents. Do you buy your dog Christmas gifts? Of course you do! Look at those big, pleading eyes and even contemplate otherwise.

We've always wrapped a few gifts for the dog. Before kids, we even filled a stocking for our Dalmatian. My grandfather used to wrap individual Milkbones for his black lab, Dinah. He'd settle them among the branches of the beautiful, decorated Christmas tree. Dinah never bothered the tree to reach her goodies, but for some dogs this could be a disastrous suggestion.

We usually select a new toy for Kelly. Just as with little kids, sometimes the toy is a hit, and sometimes the packaging is much more appealing. Although she loves stuffed toys, I've stopped buying them because she has even the most durable ones unstuffed and de-squeaked in a matter of seconds, and I'm left cleaning fuzz for hours. (Amazing how much stuffing fuzz can come out of one little toy.) Her favorite toy is still a tennis ball.

What do you plan on getting your dog for Christmas?

Tail's End: A great gift for your dog can be anything from a fancy new toy, to a special outing at the park. (Kelly says a little Snausage never hurt, too.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Greetings from the Hound

Do you put your dog in your photo Christmas and holiday cards? Or at the very least, sign their name(s)? Why not, they're part of the family.
Our tradition of sending out photo Christmas cards has recently ended, a direct result of the empty nest. Of course, Kelly would be more than willing to have her face adorn our yearly greetings, but I figured it was enough she was on the blog and website. But every year since she joined our family, up until the last few, she was included--along with the kids-- in the big production known as the creation of THE Perfect Picture to create our card.
This was never a simple procedure. We only have two kids and one dog, but try getting them all to stand in the same place with happy expressions. Andy generally wanted no part of the whole deal. I usually fussed with Kate's long, curly red hair until I'd about brushed it off her head. And whatever dog we had (first a Dalmatian, then a Yellow Lab, then came Kelly) could sit still for about a nanosecond before foraging for Snausages. We usually went through about 4 rolls of film, none of which were satisfactory, and the entire procedure had to be repeated. We got a good quality digital camera about at the point when the kids started outgrowing this "happy" holiday tradition. I can hardly think of a year that this session didn't end in tears.

Do you have any funny stories about your holiday photo card? Share them here!

Diva dogs always like to have their pictures on Christmas cards!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

From the Heart

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas presents. Those from the heart gifts. Handmade gifts that are useful and appreciated.

Times are tough, everyone's cutting back. I've been kind of moping around about our need to spend less on gifts for loved ones this year, when I suddenly realized; this is not a negative. This is an opportunity. A chance to put some real thought into coming up with creative ideas that are personal and special. So that's what I've been doing.
Let me tell you, it's not easy.

I was thinking about those coupons, you know for a back rub, a special dinner, shoveling the driveway. But no one ever redeems them! My friend Sue writes little notes and funny sayings on the squares of a calendar. Maybe I could do that for some people.

I also like theme packages. Ones that call for buying a few smaller items, but putting them together creatively. I sometimes make cooking baskets with some teas, or crackers and jam. My friend Joy gave me the idea of a movie night gift set. Put some movie candy or healthy snacks in a microwave popcorn bucket, and write a coupon for a cozy night together on the couch in front of a movie of his/her choice.

I'm not real crafty, and I am not fond of making nic nacs that just take up space and cause clutter. But some decorations are appreciated. Every year when we decorate the tree, I enjoy the many handmade Christmas ornaments friends and relatives have given me over the years. It's like getting a present every year. So I just recently thought of these wonderful aromatic ornaments the kids made in nursery school. They are made with a cinnamony dough. After all these years (One kid's in college, one is married) the ornaments still look nice and smell Christmassy. Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup cinnamon
1/2 cup applesauce

Mix together. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut with cookie cutters. Use a straw to make a hole in the top for hanging.
Let dry for 24 hours.
Use pretty ribbon, yarn, raffia, twine or etc. for a hanging loop.

What are your ideas for "from the heart Christmas gifts?" I'd love to hear!

Christmas like a dog: Give unconditional love!