Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: My Dog Patrolling The Beach

PATROLLING OUR FAVORITE DOG FRIENDLY BEACH 


ICY SITTING ON THE SEA WALL PATROLLING THE BEACH, 


FINDING STINKY STUFF ALONG THE SHORE AT LOW TIDE,


ENJOYING THE SUN SET AFTER ALL HER HARD WORK...

Have you taken your pet to the beach this season?

Dogs Love Summer, But If Your dog's digging in the Yard Try This!


THIS IS THE BLOGPAWS WORDLESS WEDNESDAY BLOG HOP!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Don't BUY A Guinea Pig, Rabbit, or Hamster, RESCUE One!

I'm taking a break from my usual content about dogs today to share some important animal rescue information. Most of us know that there are Rescue Organizations for nearly every breed of dog out there.  What is less known is that there are also Small Animal rescue organizations for smaller animals you might be tempted to buy at a pet store or online.  These are rescues for Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Hamsters and other small animals.  If your child is begging you for one of these furry little animals, please consider saving a tiny furry life by looking for a small animal rescue organization before you decide to purchase one!

There are many Guinea Pig rescue organizations across the U.S., please try to adopt one before purchasing a Guinea Pig
Two adorable Guinea Pigs from Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue (MPGR).  Photo courtesy of MPGR
I hadn't known about the many small animal rescue organizations across the country until about 2 years ago.  One such rescue organization is the METROPOLITAN GUINEA PIG RESCUE (MGPR), a non-profit organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and finds new homes for Guinea Pigs in the Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas.  MGPR also works to educate the public about the proper care of Guinea Pigs.

I met Becky Wilson, Medical Liason at MGPR, and her adorable foster Guinea Pig, Bobo at the BlogPaws Conference.  I was really impressed with the work they do at Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue to rescue Guinea Pigs from local shelters, where they are often euthanized. 

Becky graciously agreed to an interview for Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them to share with us all the wonderful work they're doing for Guinea Pigs in need, and why Guinea Pig rescue is so important.

Becky with the adorable and charismatic Bobo at the BlogPaws Conference!  Becky is currently fostering Bobo, who has some health issues.

ME: BECKY, WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR GUINEA PIG RESCUE?


BECKY: 
Many shelters don't accept small animals like Guinea Pigs, and those that do often don't know how to properly care for them.  Care of a Guinea Pig is very different from care of a dog, cat, or horse, which are the type of animals most animal shelters are trained to provide care for. 

One female Guinea Pig can potentially have as many as 30 babies in one year!  They can also become pregnant immediately after giving birth. It's not easy to tell the gender of a Guinea Pig.  Oftentimes people will buy two, thinking they are both the same gender, and end up with a litter of Guinea Pigs they can't find homes for!  Their numbers can easily get out of control.  Unwanted Guinea Pigs are often abandoned outdoors but are unable to survive on their own.

Metroplitan Guinea Pig Rescue (MGPR) was started by Judith Lainer. Here, in Judith's own words, is how it all started:

"One day I went to a pet store and decided to purchase two rabbits. Next to the rabbits was a really cute guinea pig with long hair. I decided to buy her as well. I had looked first at local shelters and did not see any rabbits up for adoption. So that is why I went to the pet store. I came home with Reese, a long-haired guinea pig, and within two days, she had produced three babies! They were all so cute!

My daughter at the time had a skating coach who wanted one guinea pig, so I let her adopt one, leaving me with mom 'Reeses' and her pups were 'Reese's Pieces'. This was in early 1994.

In early 1995, I found out through an internet mailing list about a woman in Virginia Beach who rescued guinea pigs. She asked me if I would come down there and help her rescue 15 guinea pigs at the local shelter. So I drove down to Virginia Beach and we went to the shelter and picked up over 15 guinea pigs.  I took home 15 of them.
These guinea pigs all had very bad feet that we would later find out was a condition called bumble foot. I had them checked out by a veterinarian and then asked some of my own friends to adopt these guinea pigs and care for their feet.  I kept four of them.  At that time, veterinarians knew very little about guinea pigs and how to care for them. Not long after that I found out about a need to rescue more local guinea pigs that were abandoned at a local shelter. So I went over and got them as well. I decided to start a guinea pig rescue and called it 'Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue'.  I did not take in any donations and all of the veterinary care as well as husbandry were out of my own pocket, and this included spaying and neutering them so they would not be bred.  I did incorporate that year (1995)  in the state of Virginia and proceeded to continue to rescue and rehabilitate guinea pigs and then adopt them out. People used to laugh at me and wonder why I was doing that and also why there would be a need to rescue guinea pigs.  These sweet animals were being kept in the worst conditions because people had no idea how to care for them."

Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue is run entirely by volunteers, currently 50 of them, and is mostly privately funded.  We usually have about 50 Guinea Pigs in our care, all of which are in foster homes. We adopt out approximately 12 per month.  

Guinea Pigs are herd animals and are quite social.  MGPR prefers to adopt out Guinea Pigs in pairs.  If you already have a Guinea Pig and would like a friend, we'll conduct Guinea Pig Speed Dating at our Adoption Meet-ups to help you find just the right companion for your Guinea Pig!

We spay and neuter the Guinea Pigs in our care and provide medical care they may need.  We perform a behavior assessment on our adoptable Guinea Pigs as well.  MGPR does NOT take in individual owner surrenders.  We rescue all our Guinea Pigs from animal shelters who are unable to adequately house and care for Guinea Pigs.

The folks at MGPR are Guinea Pig experts.  Educating people about how to properly care for Guinea Pigs is a big part of our mission.  We often visit SPCAs to provide staff with Guinea Pig care and education! 

We also attend Animal Festivals, events like the BlogPaws Conference and Adoption Events to raise awareness and educate people about Guinea Pigs and Guinea Pig rescue.  


ME: WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE SURRENDER THEIR PET GUINEA PIGS?


BECKY: 
Guinea Pigs are often bought on impulse, without much knowledge of how to properly care for them.  This is especially true when a child sees them in the pet store and begs the parent to get one.  I believe the required clean up and loss of interest are the main reasons people surrender their pet Guinea Pigs.  

Many people don't know that Guinea Pigs can be quite messy and require a lot of clean up and care. You need to clean their cages every day or two, and if their cage is too small it will always be dirty, and so will their tiny feet!  Guinea Pigs actually need more care than dogs and cats in terms of clean up, as there is a lot of waste created by a Guinea Pig, and it's all in their cage.

Once the Guinea Pig is home, kids often lose interest and don't like the smell and all the clean up, so the Guinea Pig gets left alone in their cage for many hours every day.  Parents don't usually have the capacity to give a Guinea Pig the attention it needs and don't appreciate all the clean up either.


Adorable Mortey & Chewy.  Photo courtesy of MPGR


ME: WHAT IMPORTANT FACTS CAN YOU SHARE WITH US ABOUT GUINEA PIGS?


BECKY:
πŸ’œGuinea Pigs are not good "starter pets" for younger children.  Their hands aren't big enough to safely pick up and hold a Guinea Pig.  They often drop them, which is not only unsafe for the animal  but it makes kids not want to touch them again.  They're best for older kids with larger hands.

πŸ’œThe cages sold for Guinea Pigs in most pet stores aren't big enough!  A proper Guinea Pig cage should be about 2.5 feet x 4.5 feet for two Guinea Pigs.  No more than three Guinea Pigs should be in a single cage.  A lot of urine and feces is generated by Guinea Pigs, they need enough room to get away from that.  Cages should be cleaned every day or two at least.  

πŸ’œCedar chips, often sold as Guinea Pig bedding is bad for their lungs.  They have their faces in it all the time and it can cause respiratory infections.  Paper bedding is best.  Aspen shavings are good too because they don't contain the oils that cedar has.

πŸ’œA child's bedroom is not a good place to keep a Guinea Pig. They need to be watched closely by the parents, as children may not notice an illness. 

πŸ’œVeterinary care for Guinea Pigs requires someone experienced with exotics.  Standard Veterinarians aren't usually equipped to handle the care and diagnoses of Guinea Pigs.  Although generally healthy, Guinea Pigs should see a Veterinarian annually.  Because they are considered prey animals in the wild, Guinea Pigs are very good at hiding their illnesses.  If they appear sick or they stop eating, within 12 hours they can become very ill due to their rapid metabolism.  They should be seen by a Veterinarian right away - don't wait!  The House Rabbit Society, a National organization, can provide recommendations on Veterinarians that can treat Guinea Pigs.

πŸ’œGuinea Pigs will start losing weight if something is bothering them healthwise, so watch for weight loss.  Ideally, weigh your Guinea Pig weekly, in grams.  They should weigh on average 800-1400 grams, but can weigh as much as 1500-1700 grams.

πŸ’œYou should never leave your Guinea Pig unattended outdoors, especially if Hawks are in the area.  A Hawk will grab them and carry them off!


Adorable Guinea Pig from Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue (MPGR).  Photo courtesy of MPGR

ME: WHAT SHOULD GUINEA PIG OWNERS WITH DOGS AND CATS BE AWARE OF?


BECKY:
Never leave a Guinea Pig alone with a dog, even if the Guinea Pig is in a cage.  Their cage should always have a lid on it as well.  If the dog shows too much interest in the Guinea Pig, or they want to play with it, be cautious. Larger dogs in particular can be an issue.  I only know of one case where a dog has killed a Guinea Pig.  It was a long haired Guinea Pig, and when the foster mom brought him home the dog apparently thought it was a toy.  Probably because the long haired Guinea Pig looked different than any other she had brought home before.

Cats actually like Guinea Pigs!  You'll often find cats inside the Guinea Pig's cage, curled up and happy together!  Many people have cats and Guinea Pigs with no problems.  However, baby Guinea Pigs could be considered prey by a cat, so be aware of that.

You know your own cats and dogs so be aware and judge their reactions.  Know your animal and be honest with yourself about the attributes of your pet.  

ME: HOW CAN THE SURRENDER OF GUINEA PIGS BEST BE CURTAILED?


BECKY: 
Education!  Do your research on the habits and care of Guinea Pigs, be prepared for the cleaning needs.  We would like pet stores to stop selling Guinea Pigs, just as many of them have stopped selling bunnies. Getting them out of the large chain pet stores will curtail begging children and the impulse buying goes along with it.  We'd like to see more people ADOPT, not SHOP.  Just like puppy mills, Guinea Pig breeders tend to keep their Guinea Pigs in horrible conditions.  

More adoption and less buying at pet stores will help curtail the number of Guinea Pigs that are surrendered to shelters and in danger of being euthanized.

THANK YOU BECKY FOR TAKING THE TIME TO TALK WITH DOGS LUV US AND WE LUV THEM ABOUT METROPOLITAN GUINEA PIG RESCUE!!  KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK SAVING LIVES!

If you live in or close to the Virginia/Maryland/DC area and are interested in fostering Guinea Pigs, please access the MGPR Foster Application Form on their site.

If you wish to make a donation to MGPR, they gratefully accept monetary donations.  They will also benefit from Guinea Pig food donations, but they are very discriminating about what they feed the Guinea Pigs in their care. They only feed them Oxbow brand food, as they don't feel many other commercial foods for Guinea Pigs provide optimal health.  They co not accept cages because they don't feel the average cage size in pet stores, which is what most owners have, is adequate for optimum health and happiness of  Guinea Pigs.

This is a PetSmart Affiliate Link:


VISIT THE METROPOLITAN GUINEA PIG RESCUE WEB SITE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GUINEA PIGS AND MEET ADORABLE GUINEA PIGS AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION!  

FOLLOW THEM ON FACEBOOK !


Have you ever adopted a small animal from a rescue or shelter?  If not, would you consider doing so?  Please share your thoughts in the comments, we value your feedback!!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

3 Great Dog Products I Discovered At The BlogPaws Conference

One of the great things about attending a pet industry conference is discovering new pet products.  I get really excited when I discover helpful new products for pets, especially products for dogs!   At this year's BlogPaws Social Media and Bloggers conference, there were 3 dog products that really stood out for me.

The first one was the Easy Walk dog harness from PetSafe.  I happen to love PetSafe, and I'm so grateful to them for creating the Easy Walk harness because it's made specifically for dogs that PULL! Siberian Huskies are by far not the only dogs that like to pull you clear across the county, there are plenty of other dog breeds that love to pull on leash!  We've been using the PetSafe Easy Walk harness for years, since Icy was about a year old.  So why am I so excited about a harness for dogs that I've been using for years?  I'll tell you:

Easy Walk No-Pull Dog Harness from PetSafe
One of our original Easy Walk no -pull Dog Harnesses

WALK YOUR DOG IN STYLE WITH A BEAUTIFUL NO-PULL HARNESS!


I love the Easy Walk no-pull harness sooooo much, it literally saved my sanity!  However, it wasn't the prettiest dog harness, it came in few colors and looked nice but pretty utilitarian.  That makes sense because it's a tool that helps prevent dogs from pulling on leash.  Just because something is a tool that makes your life easier, doesn't mean it can't be pretty, right?!  I had secretly hoped PetSafe would come out with an Easy Walk harness that came in some pretty designs.  Imagine my joy when I walked over to the PetSafe booth in the BlogPaws Exhibit Hall and there it was!  The new Easy Walk harness in several beautiful designs!!

My dog's Beautiful Easy Walk No-Pull dog harness in designs by Pet Safe
Icy's beautiful, new sparkly Bling Easy Walk harness!
I could have kissed the PetSafe folks in the booth, but that would be weird.  Instead I just gushed about how beautiful the new harnesses were and how happy I was that they made some Easy Walk harnesses in beautiful designs.  I was admiring the harnesses when Toni from PetSafe mentioned that although they didn't have it with them that day, they also had a new  BLING   Easy Walk harness!  I love Bling and I love to Bling out my dogs!  They offered to send me one to try, and of course I jumped all over that offer!  A short time later PetSafe sent me the most beautiful purple sparkly Easy Walk harness!! It's gorgeous, I absolutely love it!  It's perfect for walking around town, lunch at dog friendly cafes, trips to the pet store, or an evening at a special pet friendly event.


Icy wore her new Bling harness on a recent trip to PetSmart.  She looked so pretty!


C'mon, let's go into town and show off my new sparkly collar!


Thanks PetSafe, for sending us this gorgeous sparkly Easy Walk harness!  It's perfect!



EASY TO MAKE DOG FRIENDLY ICE CREAM MIX


Another new pet product I found at the BlogPaws conference was Puppy Scoops dog friendly ice cream, made by Puppy Cake!  This is such a cool product, no pun intended!  It's ice cream for dogs that you make yourself.  It's super simple to make and Icy and Phoebe just loved it.  It's perfect for the hot weather we're having right now.   

There are 3 simple steps to "make" the ice cream.  Add water to the mix, Stir, then Freeze right in it's own container!  It couldn't be easier.

Easy to make dog friendly ice cream mixDog friendly ice cream

Easy to make Ice cream for dogs
The container comes with the ice cream mix in a plastic bag

Ice cream that's dog friendly and easy to make
Open the contents of the bag into the container, stir in the water and pop into the freezer for a few hours.

Voila!  Delicious dog friendly ice cream!


Puppy Cake also makes several different kinds of Puppy Cake mix for dogs.  I keep wanting to make a cake for my dogs from scratch, but somehow I never get around to it.  The puppy cake mix looks really easy to make, I  definitely want to give that a try as well!


THIS DOG TOY KEEPS DOGS BUSY HAVING FUN!


The next product I really liked is also by PetSafe, it's one of their Busy Buddy toys.  At first I thought it was a pink Rhinoceros, because it's so sturdy and tough, but it's actually a Unicorn!  It comes with 4 rawhide treat rings that you can place around the Unicorn's neck.  Icy couldn't wait to get her paws on that pink unicorn - she loved playing with it!






PetSafe Busy Buddy rawhide treat toy.  It keeps dogs busy and playing!
The PetSafe Busy Buddy comes with 4 rawhide treat rings and is easy to set up for play
At first it seemed a bit puzzling to use, but it's actually simple to get the rings around the neck of the toy; just push the head in and twist is right off to put the rings on.  It provides great mental stimulation as dogs work to get at the treat ring.  Icy continued to play with it even after she ate the treat ring!  Note: Always supervise dogs' playtime with any toy or chew, don't leave them unattended.

As you can see from this 30 second video, Icy is thoroughly enjoying her Busy Buddy toy!


It was so much fun meeting great brands at the conference and seeing what new products they have come out with.  I love getting that sneak peak!

How do you like Icy's new purple Bling harness?  Leave us a comment and tell us what you think, we love reading your comments!

JOIN US ON THE RASCAL AND ROCCO PET PARADE BLOG HOP!!!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

When Should Your Pet See The Veterinarian?

Your pet may be a puppy or kitten, or perhaps you've just adopted an adult dog or cat.  If your pet isn't sick or injured, when should you take them in to see the Veterinarian?  It's not always easy to know when or how often you should vaccinate your pets or take them to the Vet for physical examinations.  PETCO has shared a helpful Info-Graphic to use for reference!

This graphic is great to keep on hand so we'll always know the optimal time for our precious pets to pay a visit to the Vet for:

🐢Vaccinations 
🐈Well Pet Exams 
🐢Senior Pet Exams 
🐈Examinations before boarding, travel, or even grooming

INFO-GRAPHIC: WHEN TO VISIT THE VETERINARIAN




THE VETERINARIAN IS YOUR BEST RESOURCE

Your veterinarian is a great resource, not just when your pet is sick or injured, but for preventative health as well. 


Your veterinarian can guide you through the health of your pet at every stage of your pet's life. Your veterinarian can even show you how to properly trim your dog or cat's nails so you don't have to dread trimming your pet's nails yourself!

Daily observations and knowing what is normal for your pet is your best health advantage. Paying attention to times that your dog or cat seems a little off will help your veterinarian diagnose and address problems early.

BUILD A HEALTH CARE TEAM FOR YOUR PETS


Having a Veterinarian you visit regularly, one you can ask questions of and who will listen to your concerns, is the best way to build a health care team for your pets.  A good health care team can help promote great physical, mental, emotional, and social health for your pets!

Thanks to Petco for sharing this wonderful Info-Graphic to help us keep our pets healthy from Head to Tail!  For more tips visit the Petco Community web site.


When you should see your Veterinarian for vaccinations and wellness checkups. Pet Health Care Tips
I do all I can to keep my dogs healthy and happy.  Proper Vet care & a good Veterinary team is essential
Do you find this Info-Graphic helpful?  Please leave a comment and tell us!  We always want to share information that is relevant and helpful to our readers.



Thursday, June 15, 2017

How Bloggers Can Work With Brands They Love

At the annual BlogPaws Blogging and Social Media Conference, you will always come away with great learnings and a list longer than your arm of take-aways to improve your Blogging and Social Media skills.  I always look forward to learning how I can grow my blog traffic and my social media channels even more.  This year's conference did not disappoint!

How to work with the brands you love as a Blogger.  Learnings from the BlogPaws blogging & social media Conference
My blog is a business, driven by a Passion for my own pets and for helping animals in need.

IS YOUR BLOG A BUSINESS OR A HOBBY?


Like many bloggers, I consider my blog more of a business than just a fun hobby.  It's a business driven by passion.  Passion for animals, passion for helping homeless animals, and passion for my own pets!

The more money I make through blogging, the more time I can justify spending on my blog and the more I can give to the causes I am most passionate about.  For this reason, one of my key blogging goals is always trying to increase revenue from my blog.  The learning sessions at the BlogPaws conference are always so helpful in working towards that goal.

As I prepare for the conference, I start by searching for the working sessions that will help me accomplish my Blogging Business Goals.  At this year's conference, one of those sessions was WHAT ARE YOU WORTH IN 2017 AND HOW TO GET BRANDS TO BELIEVE IT! presented by two great bloggers I love; Bryn Nowell creator of the blog A Dog Walks Into A Bar and Alison Reder creator of the blog Sarcastic Dog.  I was so impressed at the research Bryn and Alison compiled in the months prior to the BlogPaws Conference in preparation for their presentation! They did a great job and provided so much insight and so many helpful blogging tips!  Tips on how to work with brands you love and how to improve your blog to attract the brands you want to work with. 

Blogger Tips on working with the brands you love from BlogPaws presentation by Bryn Nowell and Alison Reder
The educational sessions at BlogPaws conferences are so helpful in achieving your blogging goals!
Bryn and Alison surveyed both Bloggers and Brands to find out what makes them want to work together.  They gained valuable insight into what brands are looking for when they select bloggers they want to work with and what makes brands NOT want to work with a blogger.   You may think the numbers are all brands care about, but you'd be wrong.  Brands don't only want to work with bloggers that have the highest number of monthly blog views, there are other things they look for. Some of those things may surprise you!


HOW BRANDS FIND BLOGGERS THEY WANT TO WORK WITH



Bryn and Alison started off by talking about how brands find bloggers they'd like to work with. The top 5 ways brands find bloggers they want to work with are:

🐢 GOOGLE SEARCH - they search for the kind of bloggers they're looking for via Google search.  That makes sense, if you're looking for dog bloggers you search for dog bloggers.  Make sure your blog is searchable for the things you want to be known for.

🐢 INSTAGRAM - this was interesting to me, I thought brands would be more focused on Facebook.  I hadn't paid that much attention to growing my Instagram account, but since Bryn & Alison's presentation I have focused on it a lot more! 

🐢 OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA - I'm a big Twitter user and have focused more on promoting and growing on Twitter much more than my other channels.  Now I'm going to focus more on my other channels for growth as well.

🐢 PR FIRMS - Yes, I know, they seem to always say whatever brand they're representing is "unable to pay" for any work you do to promote their products. Apparently, brands also rely on PR Reps to help them find blogs that are a good fit for the brand so don't ignore PR Reps, keep those relationships going! 

🐢 BLOGPAWS - this was music to my ears!  I was so happy to see that our BlogPaws community was high on the list of places brands look to find bloggers they want to work with.  If you're not already a member of the BlogPaws community, please join us - It's Free!

They talked about several other avenues brands use to find bloggers they want to work with but these were the top 5.


REASONS A BRAND WILL SELECT BLOGGERS FOR CAMPAIGNS



Next, Bryn and Alison talked about the reasons a brand may select particular Bloggers to work on their campaigns.  Here are the Top 5 Reasons a brand will choose a blogger for a campaign...


- DRUM ROLL PLEASE - 

The number one thing a brand will base their blogger selection on is, and this one is no surprise, BLOG POST CONTENT.  Obviously, if you have a dog blog they expect you to write about dogs, they don't expect blog posts about collecting model cars!

😻 QUALITY OF IMAGES -  is a very big reason brands will choose to work with a blogger - or not.  Of course images are important, but it surprised me that it was the number two reason a brand will chose to work with a blogger or not.  Bryn and Alison mentioned this many times during their presentation.  I spent much of last year working on my photography skills, and this year I'll be focusing on developing my video skills.  Time well spent, I'd say!

😻 COMMUNICATION -  from the Blogger.  Following up in a timely manner, delivering what you said you promised you would, and the quality of your communications with the brand.  This was a bit of an eye opener for me.  Of course, all these things are important but I didn't realize how important they were to a brand's decision to work with me or not.  Good to know, right?!

😻 POST ENGAGEMENT -   A brand will not be impressed by a blog post that has zero engagement.  No surprise there!  With active promotion and a good network of blogger friends that shouldn't be an issue.

😻 VALUES -  Matching the values of the Blogger to the Brand is important to a brand.  This makes sense.  A brand that makes high quality safe dog products doesn't want to see you promoting a product that seems unsafe such as a shock collar (Heaven forbid!)


WHAT ABOUT SMALLER BLOGGERS?



Another interesting thing Bryn and Alison talked about was why a Brand might want to work with a smaller blogger.  We tend to think that a brand wouldn't want to work with bloggers that don't have "the numbers", but apparently that's not always the case.    Your content, quality of your images, meeting deadlines, and social engagement are all factors that could sway a brand to work with you even if your numbers aren't high.  Good News, right!?


WHY WOULD A BRAND CHOOSE NOT TO WORK WITH A BLOGGER?



They also talked about why a brand would choose NOT to work with a blogger even if they had stellar numbers.  Here are a few things that turn them off:

The Alignment of a Brand's messaging with the Blogger's content was number one.  You and the brand need to be a good fit.  Content and Image quality are also important  Both of these things make perfect sense.  

The fourth reason may surprise you - having a Poor Reputation will turn a brand off!  What constitutes a poor reputation?  One thing I know will get you a bad rep is trashing any other brand online.  If you're trashing that brand, what might you one day say about them??  

I would venture to say that today's U.S. political climate has also brought out the worst in many of us. Friendships have broken up, online bickering and UNfollowing seem like they're at an all time high! Making harsh negative comments about sensitive subjects online is probably something a brand would cringe at.  You also don't know to whom a business, any business, is loyal. Many businesses are die-hard political party supporters.  If a brand sees you making harsh comments about the political party they have allegiance to and strong relationships with, it could work against you.

Why Brands choose to work with bloggers, or not from BlogPaws presenters Bryn Nowell & Alison Reder
Slide from BlogPaws Presentation by Bryn Nowell & Alison Reder: Reasons why Brands may choose NOT to work with a blogger, even if the blogger's numbers are great.
Bryn and Alison put together this slide, which shows several other reasons a brand may choose NOT to work with a Blogger, even if their numbers are great. Keep these in mind as you navigate through your online world.

Brands will search you online.  If you think they won't ever see negative things you post, think again. It's amazing what they might be able to uncover.  Your reputation is indirectly a reflection on them, so brands are careful about who they work with.  It's hard to resist the temptation to lash out against the injustices we see online, I get that.  Whether or not to do so is a decision only each of us can make. We should all proceed with caution!

There were many more tips and learnings in this incredible presentation, far too many to list here!  In closing, Bryn and Alison advised us to create our Branding Strategy and maintain focus on Integrity and Professionalism.


I want to thank Bryn Nowell and Alison Reder for all the research and hard work they put into this incredible presentation!  The insights and advice I gleaned from them will be so helpful to me in achieving my blogging goals.  I hope this excerpt from their presentation will help you as you work toward your blogging goals as well!    
Please visit Bryn at  A Dog Walks Into A Bar and Alison at  Sarcastic Dog  If you don't already follow these great bloggers, you should!!

Note: This is a PetSmart Affiliate link. If you make a purchase through this link I may make a few pennies in commission, which would be much appreciated!
PetSmart

Did you find the information in this post helpful?  Please leave us a comment and let us know - we always want to know if the information we share is helpful, interesting, or entertaining!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Just a few of my favorite photo memories from the BlogPaws Conference.

Phoebe looks adorable in her sparkly new Happy Hour dress at the BlogPaws bloggers conference
Phoebe looking pretty in her sparkly Yappy Hour dress
I always enjoy visiting the Vita Bone booth at the BlogPaws conference to see what's new with them in terms of dog treats. Nosey Phoebe stuck her little nose in the box to sniff what goodies the Vita Bone ladies were unpacking!


Here she is from the other side - Photo courtesy of Jenni Dold, Vita Bone representative.

Visiting the Vita Bone booth at the BlogPaws conference to see what new dog treats they have!
Nosy Phoebe sticking her little snout into the box of Vita Bone dog treats!

With Carol Bryant at the BlogPaws blogging & social media conference
With Carol Bryant, BlogPaws Exec team member and author of the blog Fidose of Reality at the Nose to Nose Awards dinner

At the PetSafe booth in the Exhibit Hall at the BlogPaws Conference
Kristin Avery of The Daily Pip blog with my dogs Icy and Phoebe at the PetSafe booth in the Exhibit Hall of the BlogPaws conference
I always visit the Natural Balance booth to see what new natural dog food products they've got. 

Visiting the Natural Balance Pet Food booth and the BlogPaws blogging and social media conference
Icy visiting the Natural Balance Pet Foods booth.
One of the best things about the conference is seeing all our wonderful blogger friends!!


Pictured with Kristin Avery of The Daily Pip, Robin Mudge of Playful Kitty, and Susan Nation of Talent Hounds.  Congrats to Susan for winning the BlogPaws Nose to Nose Award for Best Pet Video On A Blog!



The highlight of this year's conference was being a BlogPaws Conference Ambassador!  I'm pictured here with Chloe Divita (left) BlogPaws Chief Of Everything (COO) and my fellow Conference Ambassadors; Paula Gregg of Sweet Purrfections, Robin Mudge of Playful Kitty, Me, Elizabeth Keene of  The Chronicles of Cardigan,  Maggie Marton, BlogPaws Exec & author of the Oh My Dog blog, Jodi Chick, of Kol's Notes and Jennifer Costello of My Brown Newfies.  I loved working with these guys to help promote and share all the awesomeness that is the BlogPaws Conference!

Posing w/ my fellow BlogPaws Conference Ambassadors, Chloe Divitia, and Maggie Marton

Although I'm not exactly facing the camera, I love this photo of me with my husband John, Icy in her DIY skirt, and Phoebe. Icy, Phoebe and I are all wearing animal prints!  Mine is in my shoes.

BlogPaws pet blogger & social media Conference awards reception
Me with my husband John, Icy and Phoebe at the BlogPaws Nose to Nose Awards reception
If you didn't get to attend this year's conference, check out the blog posts shared by attendees on the BlogPaws Conference Post Blog Hop  You can get up to speed on all the Blogging & Social Media education and fun!  Thanks for reading my not-so-wordless Wordless Wednesday post!

THIS IS THE BLOGPAWS WORDLESS WEDNESDAY BLOG HOP!!

Friday, June 9, 2017

My Dog Is Lord Of The Manor at Coindre Hall

One of the things Long Island, NY is well known for is it's "Gold Coast".   From the 1890's until after World War II, Long Island was one of the places the super rich flocked to.  Over several decades wealthy families built lavish, pretentious estates.  Post WW II, many of those homes were sold off or taken over by local government.  One such estate is Coindre Hall in Huntington, Long Island.  The 34 acre estate was constructed in 1912 but the original owner lost it following the stock market crash of 1929.  It lost most of it's glory and today is owned by the public parks department of Suffolk county.  The good news is that the outside grounds are dog friendly!


Dog Friendly Coindre Hall in Huntington Long Island, NY
Icy on the grounds of Coindre Hall.  You can see the old mansion in the distance.

I'VE GOT A BLANK SPACE


This place looks like something out of Taylor Swift's music video Blank Space.  Actually, that video was filmed at Oheka Castle which is also in Huntington just a few miles from Coindre Hall.  It should come as no surprise that my favorite parts of her video are all the animals that appear in it!  I especially loved the two beautiful black Doberman Pinschers walking with the couple across the grounds of the castle.  Psst! Hey Taylor, Icy gives your Blank Space video 2 paws up!  She would love to appear in one of your awesome music videos too - she's available any time you might have a need for a lovable Husky who loves to give sloppy kisses!!

The moment we saw that video we recognized Oheka.  They do weddings there and we were considering it for our wedding back in 2004... until we found out the price - Yikes!!  We did, however, spend our wedding night there.  We couldn't afford to have our actual wedding at Oheka, but we could afford one night's stay, LOL!  Unlike Coindre Hall, Oheka Castle does not allow dogs.


DOGS AT THE BEACH



Coindre Hall overlooks the Long Island Sound.  At the end of the grounds is a small beach area.  Walking along this wall by the water is a bit precarious so we only let Icy get up there for a quick photo op.  The wooden pier in the background was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.  Sadly, it has never been rebuilt.  John and I used to walk out on that pier to watch the sunset.  It was very romantic, we really miss that.

Dogs love the beach and Icy is no exception.  Coindre Hall leads down to the water and a small beach

Check out how high the water level is!  Usually, Icy and I can step off this dilapidated dock and walk along sand into the water.  The tide was so high, there was virtually no sand visible.  One of my earlier posts showed the beach during low tide, with lots of dogs playing on the beach and in the water.

Icy at the water's edge on the beach at dog friendly Coindre Hall
Icy was disappointed we couldn't walk along the beach into the water, the tide was so high.
There's a pond on the grounds as well.  Icy loves to explore what creatures might be lurking in and around the pond!

Icy exploring the pond on the grounds of dog friendly Coindre Hall

There is some woodsy area to explore as well, Icy loves sticking her nose into everything!  Thankfully, she didn't stick her snout into any poison ivy!

Icy exploring the woodsy area at Coindre Hall.  Dogs are allowed on the grounds of this mansion

BORN TO RUN


Siberian Huskies love to RUN!  The grounds are pretty large and there were only one or two other dogs there so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  We let Icy run free without the leash, which we rarely do.  She loved running through the field and up the hill!  We ended our time on the grounds of Coindre Hall by taking a short video of her running up the hill one last time.


Long Island in general isn't very dog friendly, so I'm glad we have a place like Coindre Hall right here in our town.  It was such a wonderful day, Icy was passed out in her doggie bed by 8pm!

Do you know of any dog friendly historic mansions?  Leave us a comment & tell us, we LOVE hearing from you!

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JOIN US ON THE RASCAL AND ROCCO PET PARADE BLOG HOP!!


Monday, June 5, 2017

Pet Companies Give Back To Pets and People In Need

You've gotta love companies that Give Back!  I'm always happy to learn about companies in the pet industry that give back to help both pets and people in need.  Two such companies were sponsors of the BlogPaws Conference last month. Natural Balance Pet Foods helping the visually impaired and Bayer Animal Health Pet And Women Safety Act are two companies that are very passionate about pets and their people!  They both give back in unique and wonderful ways.


Icy and Phoebe rocking the Red Carpet at the BlogPaws Conferece. Thanks to Natural Balance pet Foods for sponsoring the Red Carpet event.
The founder of Natural Balance Pet Foods, famous actor Dick Van Patten, was not only extremely passionate about pets he was also passionate about Guide Dogs.  He admired how much these dogs helped to empower people who were visually impaired, and he wanted to lend his support.

Natural Balance has donated over $6 million to organizations that help people who are blind or have low vision.  One of those organizations is Guide Dogs For The Blind.   Guide Dogs For The Blind has a large network of trainers, puppy raisers, donors, and volunteers.  They prepare highly qualified Guide Dogs to serve and empower people who are blind or have low vision.  Guide Dogs For The Blind relies entirely on private funding and volunteers, they receive no government funding.  Their services are provided Free to recipients.

“It takes an average 251 volunteers to help a single puppy become a Guide Dog” – Guide Dogs For The Blind

Thank You Natural Balance for your generous support of Guide Dogs For The Blind! 

LIMITED INGREDIENTS.  UNLIMITED DOG.


Leaders in Limited Ingredient pet food, Natural Balance has just introduced a new High Protein dog food that contains 32% protein.  The average level of protein in most pet food is 23 – 28%.  Their High Protein dog food is made for active dogs, and contains no grains and no potato.  Icy had the chance to try this new food at the conference, where she gave it a resounding Paws Up!

Icy dug in & loved the NEW Natural Balance High Protein food!
Icy pretty much loves all of Natural Balance's food and treats!
Mark your calendars, September is National Guide Dog Month!  Natural Balance will be celebrating  NationalGuide Dog Month, will you?  



PET AND WOMEN SAFETY ACT (PAWS)


From the same company that brought us Bayer Aspirin, Bayer Animal Health is a leader in animal health, bringing us products like Seresto, K9advantix, and Advantage/II.  They're also a huge supporter of the Pet And Women Safety Act (PAWS).



There are currently no laws that protect the pets of domestic violence survivors. Although the pets of domestic violence victims are often abused as well, many domestic violence shelters do not accept pets.  This often leaves pets in peril, and at the mercy of abusers.

Pets are often used to terrorize and psychologically control domestic abuse victims.  Many victims of domestic violence will not leave a terrible situation because they fear for the safety of their pets and cannot bear to leave them behind.   Knowing this, Bayer has lent their considerable support to the Pet And Women Safety Act (PAWS), and has asked that all of us support it too.  


🐢 More than 4 million women in the U.S. are assaulted or beaten every year, that's one every 9 seconds!  

🐱 Approximately a million animals are abused every year because of domestic violence that occurs in their home.


🐰 71% of pet owning domestic violence abuse victims entering shelters have reported that their pets were threatened, injured, and even killed by their abuser.  Abusers commit these acts out of revenge or in order to psychologically control their victims. 


🐻 According to The Hill, 1 in 4 women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime, and domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness. Intimate partner violence is estimated to cost the US economy $8.3 Billion per year, through medical costs and lost productivity.


🐺 Pet owning women in domestic abuse situations often feel trapped, especially since so few domestic violence shelters accept pets.  This often causes these women to remain in the abusive situation.


These are terrifying and unacceptable facts.  No One should have to choose between leaving an abusive situation and the safety of their beloved pet.  PAWS strives to make accommodations for the pets of domestic violence victims more available at domestic abuse shelters. 




By supporting the Pet And Women Safety Act, you are providing protection to all survivors of domestic violence, including their pets. Please help protect domestic violence survivors and their pets. 

RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE NEED FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTERS TO ACCEPT PETS


You can help victims of domestic violence AND their pets by doing 3 simple things:


1. Click on this link to Learn about the PAWS ACT by watching the video.  

2. After watching the video, scroll down to Sign the Petition letting your official representatives know that you support the PAWS Act and that you'd like them to support it too.  


3. SHARE the video to help raise awareness about the plight of abused women and their pets in domestic violence situations, and about the PAWS Act.


The PAWS Act web site makes it so easy, you don't even need to craft a letter or know which of your state's representatives to contact, the web site has the petition letter already prepared (for email or print & mail) and will bring up the official representatives (approx. 3 reps) for you based on your address - it couldn't be any easier to support this critical piece of legislation and help abused women and their pets escape to safety!  





There certainly were tears when Trish, a former victim of domestic abuse, shared her story of survival during Bayer's BlogPaws Conference presentation.  Thanks to Noah's Animal House, a full service boarding facility on the grounds of the largest women & children's shelter in Nevada, T
rish was able to escape an abusive situation without having to leave her beloved pets behind.  When she talked about how much it meant to be able to have her pets with her, there wasn't a dry eye in the house!

Thanks to Bayer for supporting the Pet And Women Safety Act (PAWS) and for being a great conference sponsor!
It was great fun meeting the folks from Bayer Animal Health at the BlogPaws Conference!  I'm grateful to them for supporting such an important initiative, and I'm happy to lend my support as well.  I signed the petition and reached out to my local representatives from the PAWS web site to let them know I support the PAWS Act and that I'd like them to support it to!  The site even pre-populated my representatives' Twitter emails for me to tweet them about supporting the PAWS Act!

Are you familiar with the Pet And Women Safety Act (PAWS)?  Are you familiar with Guide Dogs For The Blind?  Please let us know in the comments!