Monday, October 15, 2018

Three Lessons from a Shelter Worker for a Perfect Life with Your Rescue Dog

October is Adopt a Dog month, and to celebrate we have a guest post by John Woods, founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and former shelter volunteer for Cheshire Dogs Homes; one of the UK’s leading rescue dog homes. Thank you John.

Three Lessons from a Shelter Worker for a Perfect Life with Your Rescue Dog

Guest Post by John Woods

Dog adoption can bring overwhelming joy, love and even healing into a lucky rescue dog-parents life.

Few things can be more joyful in life than a dog’s unconditional love and unfailing loyalty. Friendship and trust are words which beautifully capture the bond between canine and human. Experiences shared between rescue dog and parent, from late nights spent playing fetch to early morning walks, create an incredible bond.

If you have experienced rescuing a shelter dog, or temporarily fostering an animal, you are all too aware of the important responsibility, and role you have as a dog-parent, to rehabilitate and re-socialize your rescue dog.

As October is Adopt-A-Dog Month® and November is senior pet month, there isn’t a better time to talk about and share experiences of dog adoption. Here are some lessons from a shelter worker to help prepare you for a life full of joy with a rescue dog.

1. You Are Responsible

There are many reasons why people choose to adopt a dog, from companionship to improved health benefits. Throughout all of these reasons, responsibility is a core tenet which must be understood by rescue dog-parents.

Unfortunately, up to one in five rescue dogs are no longer owned by their adopted parents within six months of adoption.

There are many reasons behind this: changes in circumstances, moved home, new job and impulse decisions to name a few. However, a responsible owner will know, there are very few reasons which an owner can justify to return a rescue dog. When you adopt a dog, it is a commitment for the dog’s life—and that can be up to 15 or more years.

From experience, some rescue dogs will require a little bit more loving, care and attention than a puppy; re-training, re-housebreaking and re-socializing are the responsibility of the new parent.

Responsibility is a commitment to loving, boding with and caring for your rescue dog. This starts before dog adoption (to ensure compatibility and readiness) and last throughout the dog’s life. This involves training your dog, maybe to even become a recognized canine good citizen, re-socializing your dog into a loving household and being financially responsible for the costs of dog ownership.

The typical cost of annual dog ownership in the united states is $1,500. This includes food, grooming, walking expenses and vet bills.

2. Temperament and Compatibility

There are many circumstances that can change across a decade in our life. With change comes new life and opportunity, but, we mustn’t forget commitments we have made in the past and honor them.

In order to ensure responsible dog ownership, it’s important you understand compatibility and temperament of dogs. The temperament of a dog is terminology used to try and describe the internal or acquired traits of a dog which may regulate their response to a given scenario or environment.

First of all, it’s important to be clear. Temperament is typically used when we talk about purebred dogs (i.e. a recognized breed). When rescuing a dog, you may get a mix, hybrid or mongrel; not necessarily a purebred.  Therefor it is more difficult to identify their “temperament” based on a specific breed. Each dog must be considered as an individual.

Having worked in a national rescue center for dogs and cats, the best method is for to-be rescue dog-parents to spend time and consider their lifestyle and activity before adopting a dog. How much time do they spend at home, what activities do they enjoy, how active are they? These simple questions will reveal important information about your commitment levels and the type of companion you are searching for.

3. Adoption Day One

As a rescue worker, day one of adoption can be a very exciting day. Typically, this means the shelter has performed a home visit and successfully matched rescue dog and parents. Day one is the day a rescue dog is given a new life and adopted from the shelter to a new and loving home. Excitement and energy are high during the first few hours; especially for the dog-parents.

However, your rescue dog may be feeling anxious, uncertain and stressed during these first few hours, so understanding about dog body language and taking some basic steps can go a long way:

·         *Transport the dog in a crate and make sure this crate is placed in their home and is always accessible to them.

·        * Give them time to acclimate to your home, have areas safely prepared for their arrival.

·         *Get the feed from the shelter so you don’t drastically change his diet in the first couple of weeks and transition any new food gradually.

·       *  Stick to a feed, play and toilet schedule during the first few weeks to get your dog adjusted to their new life.

I hope this advice and experience will help you on your journey to finding and adopting a loving canine who will bring lots of joy and love into your life.

Monday, October 8, 2018

What are these strange dog houses at the rest stop?

My daughter pulled into a thruway rest stop in Oneida NY and saw.....

Alongside the building were these two little huts, Dogspots--designed to be a safe place for you to leave your dog while you go inside.

There are now Dogspots at four thruway service areas in Central New York. They are also on sidewalks in more than a dozen cities. I can't decide if I'd use it or not. Would my pet be anxious? As much as the idea seems unusual to many of us, if you have to go inside for a meal or to shop or use the facilities, it does seem like the vet-approved Dogspot is a safer alternative than leaving your dog inside your car--which is not even an option and can be deadly in hot weather.

The Dogspots have a front-facing window, air conditioning, and a UV light to kill germs. They even feature a camera so you can check on your dog from your phone.

The way it works--You download the Dogspot app on your phone. You reserve a spot 15 minutes before you arrive. You then unlock the Dogspot door with your phone. The fee is 30 cents a minute. It's important to note that the Dogspot is not a doggy daycare--they are designed for brief stays (15 minutes is average) while you run an errand.

I asked my daughter if a golden retriever could fit inside, and she said not very well. So if you have a larger dog, that might be an issue.

Would you use this?
If no, what are your concerns?
If yes, what features do you like the best?
Would your dog like it, or would your dog be afraid?
Would you feel safe and secure with your dog inside, or more anxious?

If you've used one, how has your experience been?

I look forward to your thoughts in the comments,

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Kong for Every Dog! Today- Kong Extreme

Monday we reviewed the Kong Senior and how it held up to our 10-year-old Ernest's chewing. Today we'll take a look at the Kong Extreme...and see if it can compete with Petey's powerful puppy teeth.

We have always loved Kongs because they keep our dogs happy, busy and help alleviate boredom when they have to be home alone. Now I've discovered that there's a different Kong for every stage and need.

Classic     Puppy     Extreme     Senior
As a Chewy Influencer, I got the opportunity to test and review one Kong for each dog, to see how that particular Kong worked out for them. Monday we shared our experience with the Kong Senior for Ernest, age 10.

Today we'll take a look at powerhouse 1-year-old Petey and the Kong Extreme.

Petey loves to chew, and destroys most toys within minutes. I knew he'd need something super durable to withstand his razor sharp teeth and aggressive chewing. Was the Kong Extreme the answer?

I stuffed the Kong with Kong Easy Treat and a couple crunchy treats. Petey jumped excitedly, and then got right to playing.

The Kong Extreme is made of the most durable rubber for determined chewers. And Petey was determined! After multiple uses, the Kong Extreme has actually held up to Petey's roughness. He has not managed to destroy it in the least despite plenty of enthusiastic play. We recommend Kong Extreme for all your power chewers.

Here is a chart to help you decide which Kong is best for your dog.

*Full Disclosure: we were provided with one Kong Senior and one Kong Extreme in exchange for our honest review. This in no way influenced my opinions. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Monday, October 1, 2018

A Kong for Every Dog! Today--Kong Senior.

We've had dogs of all ages--seniors, puppies and in between--and our go-to toy has always been the Kong. It keeps them busy and helps alleviate boredom when they have to be home alone. Now I've discovered that there's a different Kong for every stage and need!

Classic     Puppy     Extreme     Senior
As a Chewy Influencer, I got the opportunity to test and review one Kong for each dog, to see how that particular Kong worked out for them. Ernest is 10, and pretty mellow. He's facing a lot of challenges of older dogs. So we chose the senior Kong for him. At one year old Petey is still basically a puppy, but he is rough on his toys and chews everything in sight, so we chose the Extreme Kong for him.

Today we'll take a look at Ernest and the Kong Senior.

 Ernest may be a senior, but he can chew his toys with gusto. I was a little worried that the senior version, made with a rubber formula that is gentler to again teeth and joints, wouldn't hold up. When I received it I was pleased that it still felt sturdy and durable.

I stuffed the Kong with Kong Easy Treat because...well, because I'm lazy and it's the most convenient thing to squirt inside the toy. I added a couple crunchy treats.
Ernest was excited to get to playing!

After multiple uses, the Kong Senior has absolutely no damage or chunks missing. I feel confident giving it to Ernest for play time. And Ernest absolutely loves it! We recommend Kong Senior for all your older dogs.

Check back Wednesday to see our review of Kong Extreme!

Here is a chart to help you decide which Kong is best for your dog.

*Full Disclosure: we were provided with a Kong Senior and a Kong Extreme in exchange for our honest review. This in no way influenced my opinions. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Monday, September 24, 2018

How to Train your Cat to Walk on a Leash

Most cats I know do not like getting into their carrier. They also yowl and cry and thrash at the mere sight of a harness. Most cats don't like to walk on a leash. But most cats are not Maui.

I recently met Maui at an adoption event. His cage was right next to where I was selling books, and he seemed to be curious about everything around him. He caught the eye of Erin, who was there to find a companion for herself and her 15 year old mixed breed dog, Merlin. Maui was one of the lucky ones. He found his forever home! Not only does he adore his new companions, but he also gets to explore the big, wide outdoors with them. They all take daily trips to a nearby park where Maui can safely climb trees and stalk squirrels. Such fun!

Maui took to being transported in a backpack and walking on a leash easily. Here's some of Erin's tips how you can train your cat to do the same.

1. Gather treats you know your cat loves, and rank them from mildly exciting to mind-blowing! Treats may be food, toys, praise, etc.

2. Put the harness on your cat and immediately offer the lowest value reward. Leave the harness on for just a few minutes, then take it off. Repeat several more times over the next few hours.

3. The next day, leave the harness on a little longer. Reward. Repeat.

4. If you can get your cat to play or eat a meal with the harness on, that's great! It took Maui about a week to get to this point.

5. Now, to go outside, start with taking your cat outside for a super short time. Offer one of the higher value treats. Return inside before your cat is stressed.

6. Slowly build up the length of time, as long as your cat is enjoying the adventure.

Be sure you have the proper fitting equipment for your outings.
This is the cat backpack/carrier Erin uses.

Here is the cat harness and leash Maui likes.

I hope this helps you have some fun adventures with your cat, and helps your cat enjoy some safe and stimulating time exploring outdoors.

Note: We were not compensated in any way by recommending these products. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own (and Erin and Maui's!).

Monday, September 17, 2018

Tha Ultimate Book on the Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip

Wouldn't a road trip be that much more fun with your faithful friend along? I think so! That's why I'm so excited to tell you about this new book by my good friends at Go Pet Friendly.

Petey and Ernest are packing their suitcase for a trip.

The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip takes you on a 15,000 mile journey across the country to visit a popular site in each state. The best part about the book is that Amy Burkert not only wrote about the destinations--she and her husband and two dogs traveled the entire distance and road-tested everything first.

Ernest wishes he was at the beach too.
Some of the sites you'll explore are:
Carmel's Dog Beach (California)
The Grand Canyon (Arizona)
San Antonio Riverwalk (Texas)
Monumet Rocks (Kansas)
Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia)
Central Park (New York)
Acadia National Park (Maine)

Trip planning together.

Each chapter has help for planning your trip, suggestions on where to stay and eat, and most importantly rules you need to know to keep your pet safe and happy. I think you'll love this book.  Take the best vacation ever...with your best friend ever.

We're ready!

Check out The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip at Go Pet Friendly. And then...make that trip you've been dreaming about a reality.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Ernest Meets the Man, and Unconditional Love

One night last week we walked our golden retrievers past two kids riding their bikes on the other side of the street. A man stood on his porch watching over them. The little girl saw us and ran up to her dad and asked if she could pat the dogs.

"You have to ask their owners," he replied.

 We don't know very many people in our neighborhood. It's a small city, and people tend to stick to themselves. Everyone is busy and has their own problems, it seems. The most time we get to interact with the neighbors is when we are walking the dogs. We've gotten to know other dog lovers, and we also have learned who is afraid of dogs so we try to respectfully keep the dogs in close when we pass by.

The girl just looked, so I stopped. "Would you like to meet Petey and Ernest?" I asked. She nodded. My husband and I crossed over. The girl's brother stopped riding and came over too. They were a little hesitant, but soon they were happily patting the dogs and giggling as Petey wiggled and kissed them.

The man stayed on his porch for a while. Then something seemed to draw him over. At the same time something drew Ernest to him. Ernest is a therapy dog, and I've often noticed him sense when someone needs him. The man came right for him. Ernest sat still while the man patted his head, then his neck. The man told us how he had sole custody of the kids and I thought how difficult that must be, as the man was a bit older. He started telling us how much he missed his German Shepherd, Silver, named after the Lone Ranger's horse. The more he patted Ernest, the more he opened up. Ernest leaned into the man gently, and the man sunk to the ground, and tears began to flow. Whatever emotions he was holding inside him came out as Ernest poured out his love. At last the man struggled back up to his feet and gave Ernest one last hug. "God bless you," he said.

We all left feeling a bit better. Ernest is always on the job and always ready to offer his unconditional love.

Friday, September 7, 2018

No more fleas and ticks! Petey's Seresto collar review #ChewyInfluencer

Let's see, Petey's at the door. What has he come home with?

Image result for musical notes   Seresto...seresto....seresto... Image result for musical notes

Petey! Not the garden!

Image result for musical notesSeresto...seresto...seresto   Image result for musical notes

 Oh, Petey!

Yup, Petey's digging up flowers and bringing home who-knows-what again! Whatever Petey brings home with him, though, it shouldn't be fleas and ticks, right? So we tried out this Seresto collar from All we had to do was put it on once, and it provides eight months of flea and tick protection. That's great, because we were always forgetting to apply our dog's topical treatment every month. If we missed just once, that's all it took to get those pesky bugs biting. We love that we can put this collar on the dogs and know they'll be protected month after month.

My dogs have had Lyme disease before and I haven't found alternate methods of tick control that have worked for me. Seresto is a good choice for those who opt to use a chemical treatment because the ingredients are released slowly in low concentrations from the collar to the dog. Active ingredients are Flumethrin and Imidacloprid. Best of all we've had no problem with fleas and ticks that cause discomfort and spread disease to our dogs.

So whenever Petey plays in the back yard or at the park, I know he may be naughty and come home with a few things he shouldn't...but he won't be coming home with fleas and ticks.

Image result for musical notes Seresto...seresto....seresto  Image result for musical notes

OH Petey! Not the neighbor's bikini!

Full Disclosure: We are #ChewyInfluencers. We were provided one Seresto collar in exchange for our honest review. This in now way influenced our decision. Opinions here are 100% my own.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

How to Have a Dog-Friendly Vacation this Labor Day Weekend

With Labor Day weekend approaching, there's still time this summer to enjoy a great getaway or family vacation. And if the family includes a dog (or two or more!), it's easier than ever before to take them along--pet friendly businesses are more and more common. Your getaway just requires planning, flexibility, and quite possibly a sense of humor. Here are a few tips to bark your way.

We didn't forget to pack Petey!
Where are we going to stay?

If you plan on camping, or staying with friends or family who love dogs, great! Otherwise you'll need to find a pet-friendly hotel. We recently took our two golden retrievers, Ernest and Petey, along on a getaway to Vermont. The hotel was "pet-friendly" and indeed the staff seemed happy to welcome our dogs. But the pet-friendly rooms were tiny. There was only enough space to walk around the sides of the bed, and no seating area or place for the dogs to stretch out. It made for a very uncomfortable weekend. So when you book, ask about the size of the rooms, especially if you have larger dogs. Also some pet-friendly hotels simply "allow" pets while others really roll out the red carpet by providing doggy beds, bowls, and goodie bags. Some even offer amenities such as gourmet dog meals and dog parks. We love Go Pet Friendly as a great resource to search for hotels (and restaurants, and things to do on vacation too.)

Our room proved a bit small for Ernest, Petey (and a visiting friend!)
 Here are some other considerations:
1. Does the hotel have a dog-relief area with poo bags and conveniently-located waste receptacle?
The hotel we stayed at had a fair amount of grounds for walking the dog, but they were full of pricker bushes. Every time we went out, the dogs returned covered in burrs. Other pet-friendly hotels offer only a narrow strip of grass to walk your dog, or are surrounded by busy roads and parking lots. On the other hand, once we visited a hotel with beautiful grounds, plenty of room to exercise, and wooded hiking paths next door. Check reviews and look at photos (try Google Earth to get a great view of the surroundings) to evaluate the outdoor space.

2. Can you leave your dog in the room?
Most hotels we've visited don't allow you to leave your pet unattended in the room.
This is a concern for instances when you want to go out to an event, fancy dinner, shopping, or museum where your dog is not allowed. One option is to take your pet to a doggy day care, or hire a reputable pet sitter to sit in the room with your pets. If the hotel does allow you to leave your pet, be sure to put out the "Do Not Disturb" sign when you leave. If you're worried your dog might bark, here are some techniques that can help:
- Take your dog for a long walk and make sure he is really tired before you leave him.
- Turn on the TV to distract him from barking every time he hears someone open a door or walk down the hall.
- Play the CD "Through a Dog's Ear". You wouldn't believe how many times I recommend this, but I do because I love it. I don't know why, but it works. Our dogs calm down immediately whenever we put it on.
- Give your dog a Kong or new toy to entertain him while you're out.
Also, most hotels don't allow pets on the furniture. I'm pretty sure 90% of the dogs break this rule. Bringing along a large sheet or blanket to cover the bed and other furniture helps protect hotel property.

Where can we eat?

Dining out with pets can be a challenge. Here are some options we've tried:
1. Visit pet-friendly restaurants.
Many cafes and casual dining spots allow pets on their patio. Some even bring out a bowl of water for your dog. We try to choose the most out of the way spot to sit. Usually the dogs nap under the table. They almost always spill the water bowl.

Sharing something to chew on.

2. Take a picnic.
We buy fresh foods at a grocery store or whole foods market, find a nice scenic location, spread out a blanket, and enjoy.

3. Go through the drive-thru.
You will likely be limited to fast food, but in a pinch it works.

4. Order pizza in your room.
Or, stock your room fridge with convenient meals, sandwiches and fruit.

4. Patronize your hotel's restaurant.
Most hotels allow you to leave your pets in the room while you're on premises. On our recent trip, we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast in the lobby each morning, and had dinner in the more upscale restaurant, knowing that our tired, well-exercised dogs were contentedly resting close enough by to intervene if it turned out there should be a problem. (The first couple times we ducked out and listened outside the door to make sure we didn't hear any barking.) Selecting a hotel with a decent restaurant took a lot of stress out of our trip.

What are we going to do?

Your schedule won't be as free as if you were traveling without pets, but hey, you've got your best friends along with you so it's worth it, right?

Checking out the Whale Tails in South Burlington, VT.

A great hike in Shelburne Bay, VT.
 1. Parks, hiking, and swimming-
Outdoor activities are the easiest in which to include your dog. Just be sure you know the rules and restrictions for where you visit. Are dogs allowed? Must they be leashed? Are certain areas restricted?

2. Shopping and Activities-
Some pedestrian malls, such as Church Street Marketplace in Burlington VT, are pet friendly. The Vermont Country Store (in Weston and Rockingham VT) allows dogs inside, with signs reminding shoppers NOT to leave their dogs in the car. If you want to take a tour at Ben and Jerry's factory (Waterbury, VT), you can bring your dog on the premises (but they're not allowed on the actual tour). Wherever you stay, you may be surprised at the businesses that allow dogs.

3. Little known gems.
Ask a local for advice. Helpful residents walking their dogs may offer the best suggestions. We asked an employee at a pet food warehouse for a place to take the dogs in the water and were directed to a little out of the way swimming hole that was just right for our needs.

Have a fun vacation and a happy Labor Day Weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Chewy Pharmacy delivers! #ChewyInfluencer

 Dr. Ike answers your questions about Chewy Pharmacy

Dr. Ike is in.

Hi, Dr. Ike here to tell you about a new service offered by Did you know that there is a new way to get those all-important medications you need to put the wag back in your tail? It's Chewy Pharmacy. As #ChewyInfluencers, we got to try it out. And it's so easy! Any questions?

Q- What medications are available through Chewy Pharmacy?

Ike: If you can bark it, they probably have it. There are hundreds of medications--heartworm medication, flea and tick treatments, pain medication, allergy relief, ear and eye care, wound treatment, and medication for many other health conditions. We ordered Interceptor heartworm treatment for Ernest and Petey.

Q- How do I order?

Chewy Pharmacy rocks!
 Ike: First, go to Chewy Pharmacy and fill out a brief profile for your pet. We entered Ernest and Petey's names, breeds, ages and weights, and our veterinarian's name and phone number. Then we found the medication we needed and added it to our cart.

Q- Do I need a prescription?

Ike: Yes you still need a prescription for your medication. You can either mail it to Chewy, or have Chewy contact your veterinarian for you.

Q- How long will I have to wait?

Mail call!!
 Ike: Our order was processed the same day, and shipped by Fed Ex the next day. We received it just 4 days after we ordered.
Q- Are there any downsides?

Ike: The only negative we saw was that the bubble envelope didn't fully protect the box of medication we ordered, and the blister packs were smooshed. However the medication remained intact, and it didn't effect their quality at all.

A little smooshed in the envelope, but the tablets were not damaged.

So there you have it, from Dr. Ike. Chewy Pharmacy is a great option for your pets' health care needs. Best of all, order their medication along with their food (and Ernest and Petey suggest adding a few treats and a toy or two!) and have it delivered right to your doorstep.

Have you tried Chewy Pharmacy? Do you have any more questions for Dr. Ike?

FULL DISCLOSURE: As Chewy Influencers, we were provided with one 6-pack of Interceptor chewables through Chewy Pharmacy in exchange for our honest review. This in no way influenced our review. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.