Category Archives: PetCareBev

A Shelter Drive-By

11-16-12IH4TH logoThis time of year, my company is deep into Iams Home 4 the Holidays. This is the 14th year that we’ve partnered with Mike Arms and the Helen Woodward Animal Center to help get orphaned pets adopted and into furever homes–our goal this year is 1.2 million pets!

So right now a big focus of my work life is looking for ways to help get more orphaned pets adopted. And that makes me look for ways I can help in my personal life. And I’m really excited about an idea from Dr. V of Pawcurious: A shelter drive-by.

What’s a shelter drive-by?

11-16-12papertowelIt’s so simple! I had to go to my local warehouse store today. Before I left, I took a look at the wish list on the Greater Dayton Humane Society’s web site. Among the listed items was paper towels and paper bowls–perfect items to purchase from a warehouse store! Which is exactly what I did–along with all the rest of the things on my list. And on the way home, I dropped the paper towels and paper bowls off at the shelter. So incredibly easy! What a difference we could make by doing a simple shelter drive-by once or twice a month!

Take action!

So here’s my challenge to you: Next week, Thanksgiving begins the madness that is the holidays. Start a new tradition for the holidays that you can carry into the new year. Establish the habit of looking at the wish list of your favorite shelter or rescue. And once a month, do a shelter drive-by when you do your grocery shopping. If your finances are in good shape, do it twice a month. If we all do it, our shelters can take the money they would have used for supplies and use it for more worthy things–like saving more animals! Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

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Today Starts Petfinder’s Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week!

11-17-12Petfinder

What is the easiest pet to get adopted? If you said puppies or kittens, you’d be correct. This week, Petfinder wants to bring attention to pets who seem to have more trouble finding their forever home:

  • Deaf
  • Blind
  • Old
  • Not-a-dog-or-cat
  • Black
  • With a health condition
  • Doesn’t look perfect
  • Is a breed with a rep

Our world is made more beautiful by its diversity, and we are made more beautiful through our compassion. If you’re considering bringing a new pet into your family, please consider a pet who might not be the best looking of the bunch. Or one who has mellowed with age. Or one who has some health issues that you can help manage. Or who might need some extra help in learning how to navigate through life. Or maybe, consider adopting a pet that’s not a dog or cat. And remember, black is beautiful!

 

Remembering September 11, 2001

9-11-12skylineI visited New York City recently and spent a wonderful day with a dear friend, Michele Hollow of Pet News and Views. For a long time I’ve wanted to make the pilgrimage to lower Manhattan and the site of the World Trade Center. Michele was happy to indulge me–she is a native New Yorker, exiled to New Jersey, and very proud to show off her favorite city.

Even though my goal was Ground Zero, I think the most powerful part of the day for me was the walk we took across the Brooklyn Bridge. In the chaos that followed the fall of the Towers, I remember the sea of people I saw on TV rushing across the Brooklyn Bridge trying to find safety.

We all want to be safe.

So, on this day, let’s remember the heroes of 9-11–the fire fighters, the police officers, the courageous airline passengers facing down high-jackers, the office workers who checked to make sure no one was left behind on the trek down all those stairs to the street, the strangers who helped other strangers get across the Brooklyn Bridge–or uptown–away from the clouds of dust and debris as the Towers came down…all the heroes who helped people to safety that day. And let’s remember the workers and volunteers who came after. And the dogs who helped.

All any of us want is to be safe.

On this day, make a special effort to be gentle and polite to strangers. Hug the people and furbabies that you love. Take joy in being alive and able to appreciate the beautiful and diverse world we live in.

And be safe.

Looking at lower Manhattan from the walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge

Looking at lower Manhattan from the walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge

My New Playlist

I was doing some “deep cleaning” in my bedroom today (re-arranging a closet and liberating the dust bunnies to a better life in the trash) while I listened to a shuffle of Rock & Roll on my laptop when I realized that I have a lot of music that is animal-oriented. Either the song is about a dog or it mentions a cat or there’s a horseback ride or the title includes an animal.

It was a perfectly good excuse to stop working and create a play list of animal tunes.

After a couple of hours combing through my music library, here’s what I’ve come up with:

9-3-12Music-for-Animals

 Some of my favorite songs are in this group. Skylark, sung by Bette Midler, was one of my earliest exposures to what’s been called “American Popular Song.” A list like this MUST include The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Who Let The Dogs Out. I re-discovered a song that I’ve always got a giggle from, Gonna Buy Me a Dog–does anybody remember The Monkees on Saturday morning TV? And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way Bobby McFerrin revamps The Pink Panther.

But I think my all-time favorite in this list is the version of White Rabbit that Gillian Welch did live on Fresh Air. The guitar is absolutely haunting, and (for me) it’ a much more visceral vision than the tamer original done by Grace Slick. As J-Lo says, “It gives me goosies!”

~

 I published my play list on iTunes, and for $28.35 you too can focus on the fur babies instead of getting more important household chores done.

But I know my play list is incomplete. So tell me, what animal-oriented tunes am I missing?

/~.~

EzyDog? Definitely Easy!

DISCLOSURE: EzyDog sent me their harnesses to try–free of charge. And I get to keep them. This review represents my honest and personal experience and opinion. This review in no way represents the opinions or views of my employer, P&G Pet Care.

~*~

Tyler models the EzyDog Quick Fit Harness

Tyler models the EzyDog Quick Fit Harness

I don’t do many product reviews. But I was thrilled when my friend Pam (from Pet Blogs United and The Daily Oskar) asked me to take a look at a couple of EzyDog harnesses, because I had already heard about their standards of quality!

COMPANY BACKGROUND

Tyler models the EzyDog Chest Plate Harness

Tyler models the EzyDog Chest Plate Harness

EzyDog started production in a garage in Australia. Luke Hatcher, who worked in the water sports industry, enjoyed sharing his passion for “surf, sand, and adventure” with his Border Collie, Roger. Not satisfied with the available leashes, he used his knowledge of materials and manufacturing to create the “Original Shock Absorbing Dog Leash.” This unique leash features a bungie-cord-type shock absorber within the leash. Very quickly, demand for this leash was overwhelming and Mr. Hatcher turned his garage experiment into a successful business. EzyDog products continue to be handmade and are now sold in 18 countries worldwide.

THE CHEST PLATE HARNESS

Tyler models the EzyDog Chest Plate Harness

Tyler models the EzyDog Chest Plate Harness

We tried the Chest Plate Harness first. This is a basic harness in a criss-cross configuration with a pad that snugs up against the chest. Very simple to put on and adjust–a release buckle on each strap with length adjustment that starts at the buckle. There is a stainless-steal D-ring at the center back for attaching a leash. And the cute EzyDog logo (a doggy face) located at the D-ring helped me to know that I had the harness on correctly.

Note the EzyDog logo--a stylized dog face--in the center of the crossed straps

Note the EzyDog logo–a stylized dog face–in the center of the crossed straps

Once the straps were adjusted for Tyler, this harness was a breeze to put on and take off. It fit snug to his body without being constricting. I LOVED the reflective stitching running down either side of the straps. And he looked quite charming in basic black (this harness comes in several colors including camo and pink camo!)

Tyler, secured in the car with his EzyDog Chest Plate Harness

Tyler, secured in the car with his EzyDog Chest Plate Harness

This harness can be paired up with the EzyDog Seat Belt Restraint. This is a heavy looped strap which the seat belt passes through with a clip that snaps onto the harness’s D-ring.

Though I can see the quality, the Seat Belt Restraint was not successful for Tyler.  The strap of the Seat Belt Restraint was too short for Tyler. I think this would have worked very well for a bigger dog who would have the body weight to support moving the loop of the Seat Belt Restraint around when attached to the seat belt. I think we would have done better with the EzyDog Adjustable Car Restraint, which is similar to the very short leash I use as Tyler’s seat belt.

The short leash (an old leashed that I’ve shortened to approximately 2-feet with a loop for the car’s seat belt on one end and a clip for the harness on the other) worked very well with the EzyDog Chest Plate Harness and this harness has now become our first choice when Tyler goes for a ride in the car.

THE QUICK FIT HARNESS

The Quick Fit Harness is very well named–it’s quick to fit and really fast to put on. There are two points of adjustment. The torso strap adjusts at the buckle in the same way as the straps adjust on most harnesses. The neck strap is a very clever combination of Velcro under a sleeve padding. It’s hard to describe, so here is a video that explains it:

Strutting on down the street in the classy EzyDog Quick Fit Harness

Strutting on down the street in the classy EzyDog Quick Fit Harness

The Quick Fit Harness is AMAZING! Incredibly easy to put on–over the head, snap the strap and you’re done! It comes in a variety of colors–including Tyler’s favorite elegant black. And (like the Chest Plate Harness) it has reflective stitching that adds to its classy look. In very little time, I had the harness adjusted to Tyler and we were walking down the street. We LOVE this harness for walking!

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • Both of these harnesses are very well made.
  • The price for each harness is comparable to other harness brands; however, I am very impressed with the quality of the EzyDog harnesses. They are so nicely made!
  • After being adjusted, both harnesses fit Tyler perfectly and I felt no anxiety that he might accidentally slip out of either one.
  • This is the first time I can remember putting a harness on Tyler without him scratching at it with annoyance.
  • We love both of these harnesses, and when we wear them out we’ll be buying replacements from EzyDog!
Woof!

Woof!

EzyDog. Now go and play!

~

Two Year Anniversary

Two years ago today, I met Tyler Small Paws in Phoenix Arizona.

My sweet Bailey had crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on January 15, 2010. Bailey was my heart dog. She was 13 years old when she crossed after having finally lost the battle with cancer.

I wasn’t sure I was ready for a new dog in my life when Small Paws Rescue contacted me.

I don't feel so good.

I don’t feel so good.

I first saw Tyler in a Small Paws Rescue newsletter. It was this photo, from his shelter intake record. I could tell that he was not well–can you see it? Tyler had been found on a street in Phoenix with another puppy. Both puppies were starving and both puppies had parvo virus.

They were on death row within hours of being turned in to the shelter, because that was the shelter’s policy with parvo dogs. But the shelter knew about Small Paws, and someone telephoned the Small Paws Team Leader for Arizona–who turned out to be Tyler’s Guardian Angel. He got both puppies to a veterinary clinic, and Small Paws paid for their hospitalization.

Tyler’s photo haunted me.

On the way to his new home, a potty break in a family bathroom at the Airport in Atlanta

On the way to his new home, a potty break in a family bathroom at the Airport in Atlanta

At the end of May, 2010, I was still working through my grief for Bailey. But with thoughts of moving forward I had put myself on the Small Paws puppy list. At Small Paws, puppies are reserved first for people who are grieving. About a month after Tyler was rescued, I got an email asking me, did I want to adopt a puppy?

When I realized that it was the little parvo pup that had already been living rent-free in my head, it was a no-brainer! Plus, I was already on my way west on a business trip. With a little extra money, I was able to re-route my flight home to stop for a night in Phoenix and pick Tyler up from his foster mom (God bless you, Mikele, for all you do for the Fluffs!). This was meant to be.

Tyler, asleep on my hotel bed in Phoenix

Tyler, asleep on my hotel bed in Phoenix

Tyler was a skinny scrap of a pup. He was very underweight and his hair was cut very short to make it easier for the dogtors to deal with his illness. But I didn’t mind how he looked. From the first moment, he was so sweet and loving and I marveled that a creature who had received such a terrible start in life–abandoned, starved, sick–could still have the capacity to love. I get teary-eyed when I think of how he cuddled up to me that very first day, and trusted me to take care of him. I won’t betray that trust.

I think Bailey sent him to me.

Here’s how Tyler looks today….

Mr. Tyler, trying to tempt me to play instead of work.

Mr. Tyler, trying to tempt me to play instead of work.

 

 

My little snugglebug!

My little snugglebug!

 

With one of his favorite toys.

With one of his favorite toys.

 

Goofy boy!

Goofy boy!

He only weighs 8-pounds, but he’s the living heart of our home. I love you Tyler.

~ * ~

Dyson’s DC39–Not Just Another Pretty Face

DISCLOSURE: Dyson sent me their vacuum to try–free of charge. And I get to keep it. This review represents my honest and personal experience and opinion. This review in no way represents the opinions or views of my employer, P&G Pet Care.

Dyson's DC39-Animal

Dyson’s DC39-Animal

OK, either it’s a work of art or it reminds you of one of those monsters out of a science fiction movie. Personally, I think it leans more towards art than alien, and I LOVE IT!

I’ve always wanted a Dyson vacuum, because word of mouth has always been good. In fact, a friend of mine who has a multiple dog home told me a couple months ago that once she got her Dyson it was like having brand new carpeting. Yep. She was right.

The little beauty that the nice Dyson folks sent for me to try is their new DC 39 Animal. It’s a canister vacuum designed to be easier to navigate around furniture and obstacles. And it has that incredible Radial Root Cyclone™ technology that sucks up more dust than anybody else.

So I gave it a little test.

Tyler would rather play, but this is a dirty rug in need of a cleaning.

Tyler would rather play, but this is a dirty rug in need of a cleaning.

First, I used my old upright vacuum. Tyler took off because of the noise.

First, I used my old upright vacuum. Tyler took off because of the noise.

Next, I used the DC 39 to vacuum the same rug. Tyler was intrigued because it hardly made any noise.

Next, I used the DC 39 to vacuum the same rug. Tyler was intrigued because it hardly made any noise.

This is what the Dyson pulled out of the rug (I put the quarters in there to give you an idea of the amount of dust this vacuum pulled out of the rug).

This is what the Dyson pulled out of the rug (I put the quarters in there to give you an idea of the amount of dust this vacuum pulled out of the rug).

After using the Dyson, it was like having a brand new rug–I could hardly believe how much dust my old vacuum had left behind!! And pulling out that dust made a visual difference in the rug.

This test was so successful, I was inspired to vacuum the entire house! And this was good because it helped me to get an even better understanding of this lovely Animal:

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

  • It’s plastic, so it might be easy to break.
  • The instructions were pictures-only, not detailed enough.
  • The hose is a little ungainly and sometimes hard to manage.
  • When finished, trying to hook the hose wand to the slot on the body of the canister was impossible.
  • The price.

WHAT I LIKED

  • The trigger on the handle for decreasing suction–FABULOUS for my bedroom floor which is covered in light-weight rugs.
  • It’s so QUIET!
  • It has a really long power cord–I did the entire house and only had to replug once.
  • The floor attachment has a power brush that is easily controlled through the handle of the hose wand.
  • Great suction.
  • Really easy to dump the dirt and dust from the bin.
  • NO BAGS!!

BOTTOM LINE

This is an excellent vacuum for someone with lots of dog hair or even cat dander to pick up. It’s efficient, easy to use, and easy to clean. I LOVE this vacuum! But at $499.99 it’s a little outside of my price range.

~*~