Ways to give back during the holidays
The holidays are quickly approaching! Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? This time of year is such a great time to give back. Here is a list of ideas on ways to give back to the community:
-Volunteer at a local animal shelter- Shelters are always in need of extra hands with many tasks that need to be done. This is especially true around the Holidays.
– Check out events the local animal shelters are doing during the holiday season. They always have ways to give back such as a Pet Photo with Santa at the Baltimore Humane Society. Money raised will go back to the shelters.
– Buy some extra pet food- When you are shopping for your own pet, buy some extra and donate to the local animal shelter for the pets in need. You can also donate items such as blankets, peanut butter, kongs, etc. You could also organize your own pet food drive in your community and donate a huge amount of items to the shelter.
– Become a foster parent- when you foster one animal you are actually saving two because the one you are fostering now has an open cage at the shelter for another animal. This is one of the best things you can do to give back. Many people say they could never foster because it’s so hard to say bye but you have to remember the impact you are making and all of the pets you are saving.
– Some shelters offer a program called Shelter Buddies Reading Program. You can take your child and they can read to the shelter animals. This helps but the child and the dogs. It calms the pets and your child gets to practice their reading skills.
– Adopt- what’s a better than giving a shelter animal a forever home?
We would love to hear of any ways that you like to give back during the holiday season!
Preparing Dog for Baby
Some of you may know that Scott and I are expecting our first little one in November…coming down the home stretch now! One of the first things we did when we found out we were pregnant was start the process of preparing our first kids (our pups) for this big change in our lives. Preparation is the best way to make the transition as smooth as possible- babies come with all sorts of new things- sounds, machines that move (rock n plays), tiredness, and change in schedule.
A great resource to learn how to welcome baby into the home with your pups is Family Paws. They have a great online class that you can take which we found super helpful. They also have a hotline where you can call with any of your questions. It is also good to talk to your vet and see what they recommend on ways to prepare. Here are some of the things we have done that have been recommended:
- Carry around a baby doll- yes this might seem weird and believe me it did for us at first but we will do anything to keep our pups safe, happy, and comfortable. Doing this teaches the pups respect of your space and gets them used to you carrying around something because when do we walk around the house just carrying something?
- Set up all the baby things- baby machines can be strange to dogs- have they ever seen a Rock n Play before? Bring the car seat in and out of the house so the dogs can get used to seeing it and teach them to give you space when coming in and out. Have they ever seen a stroller? Bringing all of these things out before will get them prepared.
- Play crying baby sounds- condition your pups to the noise and give them treats during so it is a positive. As the dog gets more comfortable increase the volume the next time.
- Teach them commands- “Lay down” is one that we have made sure our dogs know so that when they are getting to be a little too much we can say “lay down” and they will go to their dog beds for calm time.
Even if you think your dog is going to be a rockstar with meeting your baby it is always best to set them up for success and preparing them! And remember that just because your dog is doing great with the baby stage, toddlers are a whole different thing since they are mobile so we have to prepare for all stages of children.
Volunteering, a way to give back
With us almost into February you might be looking over your resolutions and noticing that you have written down that you want to give back and volunteer your time but are not sure where to begin. February is also a time to spread love for Valentines Day and what better way to spread love than by walking precious dogs at your local shelter?
A great volunteer opportunity is to become a dog walker at BARCS- Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter which is located in Baltimore city. The volunteer hours are nice because you can start volunteering as early as 8:30 AM. The 10-15 minutes that you are walking that dog might be the only highlight of the day- getting out into the fresh air, smelling the new scents, and getting some belly rubs too! If you are not interested in dog walking, they have countless other ways to volunteer, such as being a transporter, greeter, matchmaker, doing laundry, or working at events.
If you are interested in volunteering with your pet included, you should look into Pets On Wheels. Once your pet is approved in the program you can start making visits to assigned places like assisted living, schools, libraries etc. each month.
Another local place to volunteer is the Harford Humane Society. They have similar volunteer opportunities like BARCS where you can walk dogs. You can also socialize the cats where you visit with at the shelter to make them feel more comfortable. You could also be a matchmaker where you help possible adopters successfully match with a animal in need of a home.
If your schedule doesn’t allow for you to volunteer you can always download the “Walk the Dog” app and for miles walked they will donate to the shelter of your choice. You can do two awesome things at once- walk your pup while giving back!
Volunteering not only helps out the animals but it also makes you feel great too! Have fun with it!
Weekend Getaway with your pups
Its official, its winter time, and its cold! Who else is counting down the days til spring? I know we are! To keep from getting cabin fever it might be a good time to plan a weekend getaway for you and your pup! Virginia might be the perfect place to visit with many awesome destinations like Alexandria, Virginia Beach, and Richmond.
Alexandria has great places to explore. When you want to take Fido for a walk to release some energy, check out Founders Park, which offers views of the Potomac River. For a dog- friendly hotel option, you can stay at the Kimpton Lorien Hotel and Spa. They have dog pillows, a dog bed, and bowls. For a bite to eat, check out Lost Dog cafe for some good food.
Virginia Beach is another great spot. One of the best parts is that the beach is dog friendly during all of the seasons except the summer. A dog friendly hotel is The Founders Inn and Spa. They have rooms that are dog- friendly located next to a on-site dog park. For shopping, check out Mrs. Bones Bowtique for some special goodies for your pets. If your pup isn’t a fan of the beach you can make a stop at Woodstock Dog Park or Bayville Farms Park.
The third destination is Richmond. To get some exercise you will want to check out James River. When you need to relax you will want to stay at Quirk hotel that allows dog up to 70 lbs. When you check in with your pup they will get a doggy bag with treats, and waste bags. You can also request a dog bed for them. There is also a park about 2 blocks away so Fido can stretch his legs! After your burn some energy treat your pup to a doggie cookie at Abbella cakes Dog Bakery.
If you do a weekend getaway we would love to see a picture of your pup enjoying themselves!
Its the most wonderful time of the year!
The holidays are here! I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year! I especially love getting gifts for my fur babies! There’s already a few gifts under the tree and our pup Kooper keeps going over and sniffing out his gift! Here is our annual list of gift ideas.
For your Pup
- A dog bed- perfect for those cold winter days where they can snuggle up in and be nice and cozy
- Crumps dog treats- Our dogs love the Sweet Potato Chews so much they do zoomies when they sniff them out in the Amazon box.
- KONG- this is one of my favorites- fill it up with some peanut butter and banana and it will keep your pups distracted and stimulated
- Barkbox- this box usually includes a toy, treats, and a chew
- A new collar- is your pups collar looking a little shaggy? Find some cute ones on Etsy.
For you Cat
- A new cat bed- upgrade your cats bed so they have a nice place to relax
- Kitty treats – nothing better than a special treat
- A Bergan Turbo Cat Scratcher toy- this durable toy will keep your cat active and will provide fun for your companion
For your Pet lover friends and family
- Pop Your Pup shirt- Nothing says ultimate dog mom like one of these shirts! All you have to do is send in a picture of your pet you want to use and pick the cool background
- Personalized ornament with their pets name on it
- Dogist Book– this would be the perfect book for the coffee table
- The Book: A Dog’s Purpose – this book is good! All dog lovers will appreciate this read
- A gift certificate for an Agility class with Fido
- Apparel- How cute is this shirt at Life is Good?
Happy Holidays to you and your family!
A Doggone problem- pee accidents in the house
Do you have a pup that has accidents in the house? There are a few reasons why Fido is peeing in the house. Understanding why will help to stop the bad habit- here are four major reasons why- your pup is not house trained, he is sick or a senior, he is dealing with anxiety, or your dog is marking.
When it comes to house training your pup it is so important to use positive reinforcement. Look into trainers in your area that use positive reinforcement techniques. You could also look into doggie daycare or a professional dog walker that could help him engage in healthy activity. If he is having accidents when you are gone it could be caused from separation anxiety. If peeing in the house is something new that your pup is doing it is best to check in with your vet. It could be a health issue that is causing the accidents in the house. If he is marking it is best to clean up the spot right away, keep new things out of sight, get your pups spayed and neutered.
What to do if he has had an accident – pee cleaning techniques- the faster you clean it up the less likely the smell will linger, place a paper towel on top of the area and blot up the mess. You do not want to rub until all the moisture is removed. Then blot that area with clean water.
If you didn’t get to the spot before it dried you will want to use a pet odor neutralizer or try a more natural way with covering with baking soda overnight and blotting with a vinegar/water solution in the morning. If this doesn’t work for all of the spots then try hydrogen peroxide for the pesky spots but before you do this test a spot first. You do not want to use a steam cleaner because the heat will recharge the smell and make it a lot worse. If the smell and stain are still there call in the professionals!
Candy bowl is filled, kids in costumes on, the kids are giggling outside, and the pumpkins are lit! Halloween is always a fun holiday for the family, but it can bring some dangers for your pets.
- Always make sure your pet has his ID collar on and the information is up to date. Microchipping is always a benefit too.
- If your pup is shy, easily frightened, or not socialized well keep him inside in his comfortable element. With all of the strangers coming to your door for candy it can be overwhelming for Fido. Turn the TV on for him and give him a special treat like a KONG. Some pups can get frightened from the costumes and strangers. For Halloween night, we make sure our pups are nice and tired out after a long outing at the park, keep them gated upstairs with the blinds closed, TV on, and each gets a KONG. For our dogs, this is the best thing for them.
- Keep the candy up high and out of reach from the pets. Xylitol which is found in gum can be harmful for your four legged buddy. And as always don’t forget about the chocolate which can be just as harmful. If your pet does get into something he shouldn’t call your vet or ASPCA poison center immediately.
- Not all dogs want to be dressed up in cute costumes. If your pup is uneasy about new things skip the costume. If your pup is fine with costumes put it on him the day before so he is acclimated to it. Also make sure it isn’t too tight and that all of the fabric is secure.
Always remember you know your pets the best and know what is the best situation for them.
Have a tail wagging happy Halloween with your family and friends!
Wedding Season is Here!
This month is one of the most popular month to tie the knot! If you are like me and wanted to incorporate your pups in your wedding, this post is for you. When Scott and I got married 4 years ago I knew that I wanted to incorporate my 3 dogs- Baxter, Chessie, and Bay who we got when I was 11. These three dogs meant the world to my family and I. Since we were getting married at Chesapeake Beach Resort in Chesapeake Beach I knew unfortunately it would be too far for them to travel since they were 14 years old. I had to find another special way to have them a part of our special day! That’s when we came up with the idea to put a picture of my munchkins in my bouquet- it was close to me during the whole day! Here are some other ideas to include for four-legged besties in the big day-
Decorations– Use some pictures of your pals for the centerpieces, cake topper, invitations, thank you cards, or favors. You could also do a donation instead of favors to the local humane society!
Engagement and Wedding Photos– If you have a dog that is fine with people and a lot of activity you couple include them in some of the priceless shots. Be sure to use a photographer that is comfortable working with pups. Pinterest has a ton of ideas for poses and make sure to practice before so your buddy is comfortable in front of the camera and posing! Also, we do offer a wedding service so your pups can be part of the special day!
Ceremony– If you fur best pal likes to be around people why not have him walk down the aisle as the ring bearer or the flower girl : )
Be sure to get a sitter– With all of the final planning of the big day make sure you have your pets care scheduled- whether it for just the big day, days leading up to it- we got the walks covered when you are making those final details or the honeymoon!
The wedding day goes by a blink of an eye so take a moment and look out to all of your loved ones under one room and soak it all in! It will be one of the best days of your life and hopefully your four-legged best friend will be a part of it : )
Spring Preparation for your Pet
Even though it is currently snowing, spring is in fact around the corner! Only in Maryland can it be 70 degrees yesterday and snowy weather today! And that means one thing, spring showers bring May flowers! With that being said, here are a few reminders to get your pets ready for the warmer spring weather:
-Double check to make sure your pooch is getting his flea and tick- We love Nexguard. This is a chewable tablet that you can give to your pup once a month. It is more convenient than doing the liquid Frontline. Our pup, Kooper, did NOT like getting Frontline. It was a stressful time when his due date would come every month so we were Happy Dog Parents when we found out about Nexguard. Talk to your vet to see if it would be a good option for your pets.
– Check your pets microchip information to make sure information is up to date. If your pet does not have a microchip, this is the perfect time to get them one. This is an effective ID resource .
– Pay attention to your pet to see if they are licking, scratching or shaking the head – Our girl Dee has the worst allergies in the spring. She is always trying to lick her paws.
– On those rainy days don’t forget to leave a towel out for us so we can clean up your pups muddy paws
– Get outside- enjoy the longer days. Daylight Savings is Sunday and is the perfect start to longer walks with our buddies. It can be the start of your pups walking off those extra winter pounds!
Since spring is around the corner that also means Spring Break! Planning a getaway? Remember to reach out to your pet sitter if you can’t take yours with you. Pet sitters can provide your pet with the individualized love and care while you are away!
Lessons our Pets Teach Us
The holidays have come and gone and January is almost over already! When reflecting on the year prior and this past month, we can look to our pets for valuable lessons:
What lessons do you learn from your pet?
- Our pets go after what they want- They see a bird in their back yard they are going to chase after it! Dogs are always aiming to please and many enjoy learning a new trick with their owner. We can learn that we need to chase after our dreams and goals. Want to go after that dream job? Go for it…the time is now!
- Take time to relax- smell the roses as they say. We live in a world where its go go go all the time. We can learn from our pets that a simple pleasure like going for a walk on a beautiful day can do the soul good (perfect bonding opportunity with your pup too)
- Stay curious- Your pups are always smelling new smells and being curious. When they get a new toy, they want to learn all about it and play with it all the time. This year, learn a new skill, read more, or start new hobby.
- Exercise daily- Let this year be the year that you find balance and take time for yourself to try that yoga class or join the basketball league.
- Love unconditionally- this might be the biggest lesson that we can learn from our four-legged pals. They love us on our good days and our bad ones.
- Last but not least, the lesson as Ellen always says, be kind to one another. Our pups show us that with their wagging tails and slobbery kisses!