Saturday, July 19, 2014


Have you noticed the increase in pet friendly hotels these last few years?  We have! Finding a dog friendly hotel just 5 years ago was a big challenge.  Now smart hotels, B&B's and hotel chains are laying out the welcome mat for Fido.  Even smarter ones are laying out the red carpet for their canine guests!

Phoebe loves to sleep in between my husband and I in a king size bed
My husband and I travel frequently, both for pleasure and business.  We loathe leaving our furkids behind, we take them along whenever we can!

Like the Goddess she is, Isis prefers a queen size bed... all to herself of course!
Road trippin' with the furkids is one of our favorite things to do! 

No! I don't wanna get up! Go Away!
Many of the Comfort Inn hotels are dog friendly and the staff is usually really welcoming.  We have found Holiday Inn Express sometimes welcomes pets too.  We haven't found Hyatt hotels that welcome pets though.  We recently discovered a fabulous dog friendly DoubleTree hotel in Springfield, MO.  It was one of the best dog friendly hotels we've ever stayed in!

The Springfield DoubleTree hotel even had Doggie art in the bathroom!
Many smaller boutique hotels and Bed & Breakfasts are very pet friendly, it helps them compete with some of the larger hotels. My greatest resources for finding pet friendly hotels are The AAA Pet Book,, and I've just recently been introduced to, which has lots of great information & tips on travel with pets.  I really enjoy their pet travel blog, Take Paws.

One of the primary attributes we always look for in accommodations is their level of pet friendliness.  Some hotels are merely pet "tolerant", which is often evident in high pet fees, lengthy pet policies & restrictions, and not allowing pets anywhere but inside your room.  They also tend to offer the worst rooms to guests with pets. 

One way to tell if a place is truly pet friendly is if they prominently call themselves "pet friendly" on their web site or if they have a picture of a pet somewhere on the site.  If they say there's a dog or cat that acts as their host and will greet guests upon arrival, you know you've found not just a pet friendly place but a pet loving place to hang your hat!

For tips on road travel with your dog, see my Road Trip With The Dogs post.

When you book a hotel do the pet amenities influence your decision?  Do you have a favorite pet friendly hotel chain or type of lodging?  Isis and Phoebe love hearing your thoughts, so please leave a comment and share your thoughts with us!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2 New Dog Products Will Make Life A Little Easier

I'd like to share two new products I recently discovered that are making life with Isis and Phoebe a little easier.  If you're not familiar with these 2 products, give them a try, I think you'll like them.

The first one is the LICKETY STIK, a lickable dog treat!  I discovered Lickety Stik at the BlogPaws conference in May.  It comes in several flavors, and I couldn't help myself, I had to take 3 different flavors home to my girls!  Peanut butter, Liver, and Chicken.  Isis and Phoebe loved all 3!

Just give the bottle a shake, open the cap and let your dog lick her way to a yummy reward.  It's a clean, easy way to give a treat.  When I'm practicing obedience training, I can instantly treat when my dog gives me the desired behavior.  I don't have to dig in my pocket or treat bag for messy treats. The sticks store and travel really well too, I don't have to pack treats into airtight plastic bags.

The 3 flavors of LICKETY STIK I decided to try; Peanut butter, Liver, & Chicken

A roller ball dispenses the LICKETY STIK treat easily, your dog just licks it!

The next product I want to tell you about is FRESH AND FLUFFY dry dog shampoo.  It's all natural and requires no water - YAY!  I won this product in a contest hosted by the Long Island Pet Professionals group in New York.  I've been looking for the perfect time to try it.  That time came when Isis decided to roll around on the grass in a substance most foul.  She stunk to high heaven! She was not coming back in the house stinking like that!  We've all been there, haven't we?

I decided to try FRESH AND FLUFFY, and it worked great.  It was quick and super easy to use, and the foul odor was gone!  I was so happy I didn't have to run out to the groomer and get her bathed - at $45 a pop!  Nor did I have to bring her inside (Pee -Yewie!)  and attempt to bathe her in the tub.  Isis does not do well in the tub, I have to get mentally prepared to bathe her myself.  I just laid a towel outside and dry shampooed her in the yard.

I sprinkled the dry shampoo onto Isis, being careful not to get it in her eyes

I then rubbed the dry shampoo into her fur, spreading it all around & avoiding her eyes
Here's Isis looking beautiful after being shampooed & brushed out.  Far more importantly, she SMELLED good!!
Whew! I was so relieved that Fresh and Fluffy got the stench out of Isis!  Phoebe darling, You're Next!!

NOTE: I did not receive any compensation for writing about either of these products.  I received free samples of Lickety Stik, which were made available to all conference attendees.  I was not asked to write about these products.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: A Cool New Type Of Identification For Your Pet

In today's Wordless Wednesday, I want to say Thanks to Jenna Drady, author of the blog Love Is Being Owned By A Husky.  I was fortunate enough to win a really cool prize in one of Jenna's contests, and Isis wants to show it off!  We won a Blanket ID POD, a new type of identification your pet can wear on their collar.


The POD is a small, bullet shaped container that holds a paper scroll with your contact information on it.

The POD came in this neat little plastic case.

Having our names and phone numbers right on the scroll makes it easy for people to contact us if Isis should (GASP!) get lost.  They don't have to find someone to read her microchip or license ID, they can just call us directly & we'll come running!!

Isis will definitely be wearing her purple POD on all our Summer road trips!  Click Here to see Jenna's full product review of the Blanket ID POD.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Are The Kids Bored This Summer? They Can Help Animals And Their Community

Kids love animals!  If your kids don't have enough to keep them busy and engaged this Summer, why not give them something to do that will teach them responsibility, empathy, and compassion for animals? 

Your kids can make a difference in the lives of homeless animals this Summer by helping a local animal shelter or rescue.   There are lots of things kids can do to help homeless animals.

They can organize a donation drive with their friends, collecting much needed items from neighbors, local stores, or clubs they belong to.  Contact an animal shelter or rescue organization near you and ask for a wish list of items that are most needed.  The kids can have fun making creative flyers and posters requesting donations and work together to pack up the items for delivery.  Items needed may include food, toys, or used blankets and towels. 

This puppy had only 2 small towels to lay on......

.....until we brought him this beautiful donated blanket. 
Now he's SO comfy!

Kids can volunteer to get animals out of their kennels, walking and playing with the dogs,  cuddling and playing with the cats.  C'mon, what kid doesn't love to play with dogs and cats?!  Check with the shelter to see if there's an age requirement.  This may be an activity for teens rather than young children.  This helps the animals get exercise and stay well socialized, which in turn helps them remain healthy and adoptable.

Getting some puppy kisses during a volunteer event at the shelter
If your child is too young to volunteer at the shelter, you can foster a dog or cat in your home.  Many shelters even have day foster programs, where you volunteer to take a dog out just for the day.  You can take your foster dog to the park, hiking, or to an outdoor cafĂ©.  Anything that gets them out of the shelter, gives them fresh air and exercise, and makes them feel like a pet again is extremely beneficial, even if only for a day.  Make sure you fully explain that the dog will need to return to the shelter at the end of the day to avoid disappointment when it's time to go back.

Many shelters and rescues are overrun in Summer with puppies and kittens.   The large number of puppies and kittens creates an issue with kennel space and the ability to care for so many homeless animals.  Fostering a pet in your home for a few weeks will free up kennel space in the shelter so that another animal can be saved.  Your kids can learn responsibility for the pet and have a fun playmate.

My husband with Howdy, one of our recent fosters

Kids can volunteer to work on simple projects like sorting donated items at the shelter.  Call and ask to speak to a community outreach coordinator and see if there are any simple projects that kids can help with. 

Older kids can offer to take photos of adoptable animals for the shelter.  Shelters can't always get a good photo of every animal as they come in.  If your child is good with a camera, ask a local shelter if they need help taking photos of their adoptable animals. 
Kids can use social media to help get the word out about animals that are available for adoption.  Work with the shelter to post photos of their adoptable dogs and cats with some details about the animal and link to their site.   “Phoebe is a lovable Poodle mix who loves to go on walks!”   Then Share it online and ask their friends to do the same.

This gorgeous Lab stole my heart!  We played fetch in the play kennel for 40 minutes.   I was exhausted, he was just getting started!
Lots of parents have approached me at the shelter asking if their child can volunteer.  What a great way for kids to help homeless animals and give back to their community! 

What do you think about kids spending time over the Summer to volunteer helping homeless animals?   Please leave a comment, as always I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

THOUGHTLESS THURSDAY: Isis and Phoebe Join the Lazy's Girls Club

Now that temps have soared here in the desert, Isis and Phoebe have decided it's too hot to run around and play, so they've decided to join the Lazy Girls club and just sunbathe all day.

My little Phoebe's turned into a bathing beauty!


I think she's nuts but Isis loves to lie in the hot sun!  Her Husky double undercoat insulates from heat as well as cold.  We fill the water bowl to the max and don't let her stay out for very long. 

Isis Finally comes to her senses and finds shade.  Whew!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A SAFE and HAPPY 4th of July To Pooches and Their People!!

The 4th of July, Independence Day, is a huge celebration here in the U.S.  On this National holiday American's celebrate our country's independence.  American's celebrate with picnics, BBQs, parades, speeches, and of course FIREWORKS!  Lots and lots of FIREWORKS! 

Isis and Phoebe are ready to celebrate!
I'm sure other pet bloggers will be addressing 4th of July safety for dogs this week but I'd like to focus specifically on some of the top reasons pets get Lost over 4th of July weekend.  At the animal shelter where I volunteer, July 4th weekend is unfortunately a very busy time for intake of animals, especially dogs.  We're not alone in July 4th being one of our busiest intake weekends of the year. 

Many pets who were lost during the holiday weekend will quickly go up for adoption because their owner could not be identified.  There is usually a short amount of time most shelters will hold a dog waiting to see if an owner shows up.  IF a dog isn't micro chipped AND isn't wearing a collar with current information, there is often a waiting period of only 2 to 4 days where a shelter holds the dog to provide the owner an opportunity to find and claim him.  Waiting periods are often dictated by local law.  After the brief waiting period, if no owner has claimed him the dog is given a cursory vet check and behavior assessment and then made available to the public for adoption.

Phoebe's wearing her patriotic beads!
There are several reasons why so many dogs get lost on 4th of July weekend. I'm going to focus on some of the most common:

Fireworks Noise: This is probably the number one reason dogs go missing during 4th of July weekend.  Many dogs are terrified of the booming noises caused by fireworks.  The dog's first reaction is often to hide under a bed or in a closet.  However, if a door or window is open and your property isn't fully secured your dog may run away from the house trying to escape the noise. 

Camping: Lots of people choose to go camping on 4th of July weekend and want their dogs to join the fun.  Campgrounds will be far more crowded with strange people and dogs than usual.  This may make your dog anxious.  Throw in loud noises and lights from fireworks and camp fires and your dog may become even more anxious and try to run away from it. Your dog may not think your tent or camper is a safe enough place to hide.  He may run away in an attempt to find a more secure spot.  Another reason dogs go missing is that the kids may take the dog for a walk around the camp grounds and don't know to exercise more caution and awareness in a strange environment.

Visiting:  Visiting the home of someone else or having people visit your home can create an issue.  If your dog is in a strange home where he doesn't feel secure, loud noises and people can frighten him.  He may run off, trying to get back home or to find a secure place to hide out.  Conversely, if you have visitors in your home be aware of your dog's whereabouts at all times.  Guests may not know to watch out for door dashing, they may even leave doors open not realizing it's a danger to your pet.  Friends of ours had an overnight guest who stepped outside to smoke at night, leaving the patio door slightly ajar.  No one realized the cat slipped had out until the next morning.  They never saw their beautiful cat again.

Water hazards: A fun filled day at the lake may be on a lot of peoples' agendas this weekend.  Your dog may be very attracted to the water but don't let him wander around near water unsupervised.  It may be too deep for your dog, there may be a current your dog can't manage, or your dog may go swimming and get too tired to make it back to shore.  Bring along a brightly colored life vest or other flotation device for your dog in case he decides to go bounding into the water!  Not every dog is a good swimmer!

Collars frequently get lost, especially when a frightened dog is fleeing loud fireworks.  A collar can easily get snagged on a branch, rock, or other object and break off, or a fearful dog can slip out of a collar as a stranger tries to grab him.  I know I sometimes sound like a broken record saying this, but Please micro chip your dog!  It really is the best way for a shelter or veterinarian to identify an owner. It might be one of the best investments you make for your dog.  It's fast, easy, & inexpensive.

While 4th of July is a time for humans to have fun and let loose, it may make your dog stressed and anxious. 

Isis wants all pooches to be SAFE this 4th of July!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

What If You Boarded Your Dog And They Told You She Ran Away, But Then You Found Out She Died?

Last night over 200 people gathered for a candle light vigil here in Phoenix, Arizona in memory of 20 dogs who died tragically at Green Acre, the boarding facility who was supposed to take care of them.  Here in Phoenix, a place I refer to as one of the most dog friendly cities in the country, this tragedy has shaken our city to it's core.  

Along with other dog parents in Phoenix, I'm still reeling from the horrific tragedy that occurred last week, right here in our own backyard.  Imagine going away for a fun vacation, leaving your dog in what you thought were capable hands and receiving a call saying that your dog "ran away".  Far worse, you later find out they lied, that in fact she did not run away as you were told, she is dead. 

That's what happened to the families of 20 beautiful dogs in Phoenix last week.  They boarded their dogs at the Green Acre kennel.  Each family had received a call explaining that their dog(s) had run away from the facility.  The families soon realized however, that their dogs did not run away as they were told, their dogs were dead.  One family boarded all 3 of their dogs at Green Acre, and all three of their dogs died in this tragedy! 

WHAT HAPPENED??  There were several theories as to what really happened at the Green Acre kennel last week and how 20 beautiful dogs met a tragic end;

  • Was it because a dog chewed through the power cord leading to the air conditioner and the dogs died due to excessive heat?
  • Did the dogs suffocate due to lack of air in the small room in which they were kept?
  • Did the dogs die from dehydration, not given enough water in this hot dry desert climate?
  • Were the dogs supposed to have outdoor access via a doggy door but the door was locked?
  • Was it accidental, was there foul play, was it sheer negligence?
Here is a video containing the 911 calls from distressed owners source

How could 20 dogs be in extreme distress and no one at the facility knew until it was too late?  There are more questions than answers at this point, the story keeps changing. 

The greatest danger to both people and dogs here in the hot desert climate is extreme heat and dehydration.  The week this incident occurred, temps were just under 110 degrees most days. The Green Acre kennel is in a private home. Judging from the photos I've seen, the rooms in which the dogs were kept appeared to be a shed and a laundry room.  There was fencing in the area surrounding the property, where dogs could be taken outside.

Supposedly, there is still one dog unaccounted for that did run away, at least that's the story Green Acre has given.  The entire city is now searching for 2 year old Valor, hoping that unlike his canine sibling Remington, he may have escaped the tragedy.  But if it turns out Valor perished in the tragedy, the death toll will be 21.

This is Valor, the dog people hope escaped the tragedy.  His canine sibling Remington was a victim of the tragedy.
The incident has captured the attention of our Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.  Sheriff Joe ordered necropsies on the deceased dogs and has launched an all out investigation into this incident.  "I don't want to hear the word accident" he said, "We're investigating".  Sheriff Joe often ruffles some feathers with his hard line approach, but one thing I love about our Sheriff is that he loves dogs!  He even has his own shelter with  dogs he's rescued from euthanasia, at the county prison.  Although the investigation continues, the prevailing theory is that a dog did chew through the power cord to the air conditioner and the dogs died due to excessive heat.  Why wasn't someone watching them that evening?  How do 20 dogs suffer extreme heat exhaustion for hours and no one notices?  The proprietor of Green Acre had gone on vacation, leaving the dogs in the care of her daughter and son in law.

The A/C power cord supposedly chewed through by one of the dogs Source:

I'm betting dog owners everywhere are wondering "what if that were my dog"? 

Here's a video of the emotional candle light vigil held last night for the dogs who lost their lives in this tragedy.  Source ABC15 Arizona

I didn't realize until now that there are no regulations around pet boarding facilities, at least not in Arizona.  I'm so grateful we board our dogs at the PetSmart Pets Hotel.  I know they'll be safe there because they have a great staff of dog lovers and stringent policies and procedures.  In fact, we have to follow most of the same guidelines at the PetSmart Charities Everyday Adoption Center I volunteer at.

Arizonians want justice for the 20 dogs who lost their lives in this tragedy.   They're also calling for legislation to be put in place to regulate the pet boarding industry.  Our hearts go out to the families who lost their beloved canine family members.  I hugged Isis and Phoebe fiercely after hearing this story.  We happened to be in Seattle when it happened, thankfully with our dogs safely ensconced at the PetSmart pets hotel back home in Phoenix.

Click here for more details on the Green Acre incident.

Here are some tips to help you choose a safe reputable boarding facility for your pet:

  • Get recommendations from friends, family, or your vet.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau for unresolved complaints and read reviews on Yelp and other online review sites just as you would any other establishment you're considering.
  • Tour the facility: Does it look/smell clean?  Ask to see all areas your pet may be accessing.
  • Ensure there is sufficient room for all the pets being boarded, adequate ventilation and climate control.
  • Ask if someone will be there 24/7 and how often they check on pets.
  • How often is water provided, is it monitored throughout the day?
  • What are exercise and potty routines - are they safe and supervised?
  • Are there comfortable beds or are pets expected to sleep on concrete floors?
  • Find out what experience or credentials the staff has, ask if they background check employees prior to hiring them.  Do staff members know CPR and first aid for animals?
  • Are there smoke detectors and/or sprinklers? What is their procedure if a fire breaks out?
  • What is the procedure if there's a power outage; do they have backup power?
  • How secure is the area inside and surrounding the property?
  • Do they require pets to be current on Rabies, Bordatella, and other important vaccinations?

How are you feeling after learning about this tragedy?  Do you feel certain your pet is safe with whomever you've chosen to care for him in your absence?  Please post a comment, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.