Monday, December 22, 2014

A Fabulous Must Read for Dog Lovers!

I love a great read, don't you?  I want to tell you about a fabulous book I just read called The Returns, written by the very talented M.K. Clinton.  The story begins with FBI Agent #7, Bentley "Hound Dog" Clanton just as he and his team are about to take down a notorious crime ring.  But something goes wrong.  Very wrong. Bentley is shot and killed!  When Bentley reaches the pearly gates of heaven however, he learns that a "mix-up" has occurred.  He wasn't supposed to die just then!  The heavenly Returns Department is then charged with finding him a replacement body so he can return to earth and fulfill his life's destiny.  The body they assign him however, isn't quite what he expected.

Isis and Phoebe are enthralled by the adventures of Bentley, his canine companions, and their guardian angel, Faith!
Bentley's nickname may have been Hound Dog when he was alive, but when he's returned to earth Bentley realizes that he actually IS a hound dog!  Yup! Long floppy ears, short stubby legs, and giant paws.  He is assigned a beautiful guardian angel named Faith to guide him through his new life on earth.

He meets up with 3 other canine "Returns" to whom Faith is also guardian angel.  That's when things really get interesting.  Bentley and the other Returns all have a vital common thread. You see, as humans, each of them ............. but wait, I'm getting ahead of myself here!

What happened next, mama??  Tell Us!!
Suffice to say that together these 4 canines, and their guardian angel, are positively Unstoppable! 

Their adventure takes place in New Orleans, during Mardi Gras no less!  At times I laughed my head off, several times I teared up, and many times my heart was in my mouth worrying what would happen to them next!

M.K. does an amazing job of infusing her characters with both canine and human qualities.  You can't help but fall in love with each one of them.  M.K. is a true talent, bringing these lovable characters and their wildly entertaining adventure to life!

You don't have to be a dog lover to love The Returns, you have to love a great read.  The Returns certainly is a great read!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Are You One of Those Crazy Pet Moms With a Camera?

Around this time of year, I become obsessed with photographing my dogs amongst holiday d├ęcor.  If there's a display anywhere dogs are allowed, I am compelled to stop and photograph them.  Do you do the same thing?

Sitting with a reluctant Phoebe on my lap at this adorable holiday display in a shopping center

Of course I had to also make my husband take a picture with Isis in the same display.  He was not happy.  "I'm hungry, can't we just eat already?"

Oh look!  Another adorable display, I had to stop & take a picture, didn't I??

One last shot in front of a pretty wreath with a gorgeous view along this major roadway in Sedona. Oh Honey, you just have to step into the street for a minute to get the shot. I'm sure you won't get hit by a speeding car!

If you're with your dogs and you pass a cute holiday display, do you feel compelled to stop and take a photo?  Leave us a comment!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Doggie Daycamp Can Save Your Sanity

Feel guilty when you have to leave your dog alone while you're burning the midnight oil at work?  What about when you're invited out for cocktails after work, do you decline because you have to race home to let the dog out?  Your friends want to take an impromptu trip for a day of skiing or hiking but you can't impose on family to watch your dog all day.....again.   Doggie Day Camp is a great solution to these conundrums.  Bonus point; doggie day camp can be hugely beneficial for your dog too!

Huskies are extremely high energy.  Day camp once a week or so helps Isis burn lots of excess energy when we can't get out to exercise her enough
Here are some of the biggest benefits of doggie day camp, for both you and your dog.

High Energy Dog breeds like Siberian Huskies, Border Collies, Weimaraners and other super energetic dogs need to BURN energy!  Sitting around the house all day can end up being disastrous.  This is when your high energy dog eats the couch out of sheer frustration.  At doggie day camp dogs play for hours and burn tons of energy.  At the end of the day they come home tired and feeling content.

Bored dogs.  If a dog doesn't have enough to keep him occupied for all the hours he's stuck in the house he'll find something to peak his interest himself.  You don't want this!  If your dog is consistently bored, a day at doggie day camp can be a great remedy.  It's especially helpful during inclement weather when you can't get your dog outside for fun and exercise.

Isis waits to get checked in for day camp, one of her favorite places to be!  She's made lots of friends there, both canine and human!
Socialization.  Doggie day camp provides great interaction with other dogs and people, namely passionate staff who love to play with dogs! If you can't get your dog out enough to socialize with other dogs and people day camp can be very beneficial. Dogs are usually grouped by size, age, and level of activity.

Day camp is a good Alternative to dog parks, which are often unpredictable environments.  You never know when a "bad" owner or dog is going to show up.  It can ruin everyone's day, especially your dog's.  In addition to vaccination requirements, doggie day camps usually require a behavior assessment of each dog before they allow them to attend camp.

Many day camps have flexible hours, allowing you to drop off your dog very early in the morning before work, and pick them up late in the evening if needed.  This is great when you're working long hours, having work done in the house, or any other reason you may need the dog to be out of the house for the day.  When our schedules got really crazy, we were grateful for the ability to drop our dogs off at 7am and pick them up as late as 8pm.  They even fed the dogs when we needed it.

Occasional day camp provides beneficial socialization for Phoebe.  She was such a shy girl when we first adopted her.
Day camp can be safer than leaving your dog with a friend or family member.  Their play is constantly supervised all day and most facilities have solid safety and security measures in place.  No danger of your dog door dashing or escaping the yard! 

When looking for a doggie day camp facility, ask lots of questions about qualifications and training of the staff, safety policies and procedures, supervision, requirements for dogs to attend, and the process for grouping and introducing the dogs to each other.  Make sure the place is climate controlled and ask about backup in the event they lose power.

No need to feel guilty when you can't be home for long hours during the day.  Line up a quality doggie day care facility you can rely on when you need it.

Do you use doggie day camp services?  When do you rely on it most?  Please leave us a comment and let us know.  We always love hearing from you!



Friday, December 12, 2014

FUN At The Holiday Pet Festival!

Do you love pet themed events?  We do!  The annual Holiday Pet Festival in Scottsdale, Arizona is something we look forward to every year.  It's totally pet friendly and everyone there is a pet lover!  We load our dogs and their gear into the car and head for a fun outing at the Holiday Pet Festival!   

The beautifully decorated Animal Angel Trees
They always have a cute doggie fashion show featuring adoptable dogs wearing the latest in doggie couture.  Your dog could have his picture taken with Santa or get his nails trimmed.  There was a Best Dog Trick contest, a Best Holiday Pet Attire Contest,  and a Lure Course demonstration.  Lots of interesting things going on and tons of dogs, including many breed specific rescue groups with adorable dogs available for adoption.  It took everything I had not to go home with another dog!

Of course, there was also lots of SHOPPING!  I couldn't help myself, I had to visit every merchant's booth and shop 'til my poor husband dropped!   I picked up a few Christmas gifts, which was great.  Less time spent at the mall!

One of the most interesting things I purchased was a necklace for my niece from a jewelry designer called Origami Owl custom jewelry.  They have a really interesting type of necklace.  It's basically a customized locket, where you select the base locket, the chain, and very tiny little charms that go into the locket.  You select charms that are a reflection of the person who will wear the necklace.  My Niece is a marine scientist.  I had been searching for a special necklace that had a charm with a sea creature on it.  I was so delighted to find that Origami Owl had these gorgeous necklaces and a bunch of ocean themed charms that would be perfect for her!  I selected a blue dolphin, a starfish, and a seahorse for the necklace.  At their suggestion, I also added some tiny blue Swarovski "stardust crystals" to float inside the locket.  The crystals are representative of the ocean.  They were a perfect addition to my custom necklace!  It's so unique, I   know my niece is going to love it!

Origami Owl's booth at the Holiday Pet Festival
I selected this locket face, chain, and each element inside for my niece.

Just a few of the hundreds of tiny charms you can select to go inside a locket
We stopped by the Animal Angel Trees to select a card from one of their beautifully decorated trees and make a donation to an organization that helps animals.  We chose to make our donation to Dogs On Deployment, specifically to help with emergency medical expenses for military personnel whose dogs are being boarded by Dogs On Deployment members. Dogs On Deployment helps military members who might otherwise have to surrender their dogs when they get deployed for military service or if they need temporary boarding for other reasons. This is a wonderful organization, we are happy to support them!

At the Animal Angel Trees table
I'm showing Isis our donation card for Dogs On Deployment. She is very happy that we are supporting our dog owning military personnel!
Dogs on Deployment also had a booth at the Holiday Pet Festival so we stopped by to say hello, snap a photo & grab a complimentary doggie biscuit!
It was a really FUN day.  We look forward to next year's Holiday Pet Festival!

Do you bring your pets to holiday events?  Leave us a comment and tell us what type of events or parties you bring your pets to!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Help Homeless Animals & Get Noticed At Work

During the holiday season people are in the spirit of giving!  Companies, especially large corporations, are also in the spirit of giving back to their communities   It boosts their public image as well as morale for employees.  Most people want to do business with, and work for, a company that cares!

Getting some puppy kisses at a shelter volunteer event I led for a company I worked at
You can leverage your employer's desire to boost their image and employee morale to help both your favorite animal shelter or rescue and your career!   Giving back to the community is part of most companies' goals.  If you have a way to help the company achieve that goal, it has value to them.  Given that so many companies downsize at the drop of a hat, any added value you can create for your employer can be beneficial for your career. 

3 little shelter pups hoping to be adopted!
Organizing colleagues to participate in a charity event that benefits an organization you are passionate about can get you noticed at work.  It gives you an opportunity to showcase your Leadership, Communications, and Organizational skills.  Companies need good leaders who know how to communicate and can get things done! 

While working for a large financial institution, I organized events to help the animal shelter I volunteer at.  I organized shelter volunteer events that contributed to over 300 volunteer hours over a two year period!  I posted the events on the company intranet, opening them up to employees both inside and outside my own department.  I got to network and build relationships with so many people that I would never have had the opportunity to meet if it hadn't been for these events.   My colleagues and I volunteered at the shelter, raised money in the office, and set up donation bins to collect much needed food and other items for the shelter.  The best part was that in addition to increasing awareness of the shelter and their outreach programs, several of my colleagues adopted pets after meeting them at our volunteer events!
This cutie pie did NOT want his picture taken, but after about 20 minutes I got one good shot!
As a leader of community events you organize at work you have an opportunity, and a reason, to reach out to colleagues and leaders you might otherwise not have a chance to interact with.  They'll get to know you and see firsthand your passion and your leadership skills.  Next time they need to tap someone to work on a project with high visibility, or when they're looking for someone to promote into an open job, that person just might be YOU!

Be sure to check with your boss or Human Resources before organizing events or raising money at work to make sure you are aligned with guidelines or policies they may have regarding volunteer events in the workplace.      

Have you organized a volunteer event at work?  Did it help you broaden your network and form relationships in the company?  Please leave us a comment and share!


Friday, December 5, 2014

What Pet Expert Or Celebrity Would Be At Your Holiday Table?

This time of year, people often ask "What famous person, still living or deceased, would you want at your holiday table and why?"  I've been thinking about what Pet Expert or Pet Celebrity I would want to have at my holiday table.  I have the gift (curse?) of gab, so one person isn't enough for me.  I would invite 2 of my favorite pet gurus, Cesar Milan and Dr. Marty Becker.   Why did I pick Cesar and Dr. Becker?  They are each extremely accomplished in their field and have a special area of knowledge and expertise about pets that I'd love to pummel them with questions chat with them about.  Who would be at your holiday table?

If I had a nickel for every un-neutered male Chihuahua that came into the shelter. I'd be rich!
Cesar Milan:  Cesar started his career as a dog groomer, where he was often asked to handle the most difficult dogs.  As he became more knowledgeable and experienced in dog behavior he became known as The Dog Whisperer.  The thing I want to discuss with Cesar is how we can get our society to a state where Spaying and Neutering our dogs is second nature for everyone.  He grew up in Mexico, where they have an even bigger spay/neuter problem than we do in the U.S.  I'd like to know what he thinks should be done to achieve this and how we can get there.  I want to know his thoughts on why so many people still avoid spay/neuter and how we can reach all segments of our communities to create change. I'd ask what he thinks he can do personally as a celebrity to help support that effort.  I'd love to see him draft a strategy on a dessert napkin!

One of far too many dogs that arrive at the shelter un-neuter, without updated tags, and not micro-chipped!  Grrr!
Dr. Marty Becker:  I found one of Dr. Becker's books, The Healing Power of Pets; Harnessing the Amazing Ability of Pets to Make and Keep People Happy and Healthy for $5 in a used book store.  I was so inspired by the heartwarming stories in his book!  Dr. Becker is also co-author of Chicken Soup For the Pet Lover’s Soul.  He's been a contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America TV show and the Dr. Oz show.  I'd love to discuss the power of the Human-Animal bond with Dr. Becker.  I'd ask him where the latest research on the Human-Animal bond is going and how we can harness even more of the power of the Human-Animal bond to help people.

Therapy Dogs are just one aspect of the power of the Human-Animal bond
If one of these two couldn't make it, I would invite another of my favorite pet guru's, Victoria Stilwell, author and star of the Animal Planet show It's Me Or The Dog.  Victoria and Cesar don't exactly see eye to eye on dog methodology.  If I had the honor of sharing a meal with these two incredible dog experts, I'd cross my fingers and hope they didn't end up throwing sweet potato pie at each other! I would have lots and lots of napkins on hand just in case - LOL!
Which pet guru would you love to have at your holiday table?  Please leave us a comment and tell us who your guest pet guru would be!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Aww, Sweet Santa Paws!

I'm bringing you LOTS of presents this year!

BAD Santa Paws!!
You're getting a lump of coal from me this year

VERY BAD SantaPaws!!!

I'm dumping a BOATLOAD of coal down your chimney this year!

Hey, we all have our moments, don't we?  Hope Santa Paws is having a GOOD Santa moment Not a BAD Santa moment when he's flying over your house this year!