Lifestyle

Yappy Hour at Curtis Hixon Park and Sono Cafe- April 15, 6-8pm

Posted by on Apr 14, 2011 in Events, Lifestyle, Paws for Thought | 0 comments

Yappy Hour, April 15, 6-8pm, Curtis Hixon Park/Sono Cafe About a year ago I was contacted to help plan and implement a series of Yappy Hours at Tampa’s newest and most beautiful downtown park, Curtis Hixon.  This waterfront arena includes a Children’s Museum, Art Museum, dog park, play ground, cafe and an iceskating rink in the Winter.  The park has been a wonderful place for Tampa residents to gather, play, eat, watch a movie, exercise their dog or simply read in a cool spot.  This Friday, we will once again host our monthly Yappy Hour at Sono Cafe.  Jacqui Silla from The Canine Company, St. Francis Society Animal Rescue and Veterinary Medical Clinic will be onsite to meet you and your pooch.  Of course, you will leave with bags of goodies for you and for your dog a new trick! Parking is easy!  Just pull into Poe Garage (adjacent to the Children’s Museum)  Or, park in the lot across the street! Here are a few pictures of past Yappy Hours.  Hope to see you...

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Hotels Roll Out the Welcome Mat for Pets and Their People

Posted by on Jul 25, 2010 in Lifestyle, Paws for Thought, Travel | 0 comments

If your vacation dreams include Fido lounging by the pool…you are in luck!  A variety of hotel and motel chains are not only pet friendly…but offer amazing services to ensure the comfort of your Fido or Felix!  All that is left to do is get the all clear from your vet, learn your destination’s pet policies and hit the road. Quality Inn & Suites near Ybor City and the Fairgrounds is a new hotel and they want to meet your pets!  Quality Inn has a $25.00 pet fee and no weight limit.  They have had cats, dogs and even a ferret or two sign their guest book.  Quality Inn is part of the Choice Hotel group which includes other names you may know such as Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Clarion and others.  Choice Hotels has over 2,500 pet friendly hotels across the country…so chances are, a Choice Hotel will be where you are vacationing.  Their website also offers pet safety and travel tips.  Visit:  www.choicehotels.com. Westin Harbour Island greets your under 40lb pet with a Westin Heavenly Bed, food mat, food bowls and a goody bag.  Leave your collar, leash and food at home?  They’ve got those items on hand! Westin is part of the Starwood Hotel Group which is the parent company of Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels, Four Points and others.  This world-wide company offers many pet friendly hotels.  Visit their website to find one!  www.starwoodhotels.com Looking for a smaller, boutique hotel?  Hotel Indigo is the one for you!  The boutique hotel chain is part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group and offers 36 unique hotel experiences world-wide. The Hotel Indigo I spoke with is located in the heart of St. Petersburg and offers access to pet friendly restaurants, dog parks and more!  Visit www.ichotelsgroup.com If your idea of a vacation includes spa time, gourmet meals and a lot of pampering…and you want the same for your dog…you must visit either the glamorous Ritz Carlton or a posh Loews Hotel.  The Ritz Sarasota offers a Privileged Pup program wherein your under 20lb Fido can enjoy either a Therapeutic Swedish, Full Body Relaxation, Invigorating Sports or Senior pet massage.  All massages are 60 minutes and cost $130.  Organic meals prepared by request.  www.ritzcarlton.com Loews Hotels have a motto:  Loews Loves Pets!  And they certainly do.  From spa packages at the Loews Don Cesar to Su ‘Ruff lessons at Loews Coronado Bay your pet will be nothing but spoiled.  Loews has a low pet fee of $25 and no weight limit!  www.loewshotels.com State and local laws will dictate what each hotel can offer and allow.  A quick phone call to your destination will give you all of the information you need for a fur fabulous...

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Collars, Leashes, Harnesses, Haltis, Gentle Leaders…Oh MY!

Posted by on Jul 25, 2010 in Lifestyle, Paws for Thought, Products | 0 comments

I have written in the past about the importance of the walk and some of the most common collars and leashes available to help you and your four legger make it around the block.  As promised, here is more information on gear to control your wayward pooch! Buckle Collar The standard buckle collar if sized properly will allow for a secure fit around the neck and provides less of an opportunity for the collar to slip off during walks or play.  These collars typically come in a variety of colors, styles and material and are great for attaching an identification or license. This collar is not necessarily good for a dog that is a constant puller while being walked.  Often dogs that are pullers will gag or choke when exerting force against these types of collars.  Special attention should be given to those feisty small breeds who insist on walking you!  If pulled too hard, harm could be done to their windpipe.  Head Collar (Halti or Gentle Leader) The head collar (not to be confused with a muzzle) fits around the bridge of the dog’s muzzle and neck.  The head collar allows minimal force while allowing maximum control in moving your dog in the desired direction.  This collar is excellent for those dogs that are pullers and for those owners who don’t feel comfortable with a choker or prong collar. The combination of this collar and proper training can do wonders in making your walks enjoyable for both you and your dog. While initially your dog may seem uncomfortable with this collar (pawing at it or refusing to move) over time and patience they will adjust.  If used incorrectly or if the dog is pulled with too much force strained neck muscles could result.  Martingale Collar The martingale collar is a slip collar that has limited capability to tighten.  (think of a choker collar covered with material). This allows the dog to be comfortable while still giving the owner some control.  While the collar does not easily come off the dog’s neck even when back pulling, it is not very effective for those dogs that are constant pullers. Harnesses A standard harness wraps to a dog’s body and when fitted appropriately provides good comfort while minimizing pressure on the neck.  The standard harness is typically effective for controlling little dogs that pull.  It is not very effective however for big dogs since they can utilize the full force of their legs and chest to pull.  *There are certain no-pull harnesses available which vary pressure between the dog’s front legs and chest to provide the necessary control. Choke Collar Many trainers and owners use the standard Choke collar.  To be used correctly, the timing and release of the correction must be mastered.  It is a quick jerk that is applied at a correct angle, speed and with proper timing.  Many trainers are able to use this type of collar flawlessly, but it is very difficult for the average dog owner to learn.  If you are using a choke collar and notice that most of the time your dog is pulling and gagging…this may not be the correct collar for you. Prong Collar Widely misunderstood, the Prong Collar dates back 2,000 years to the Monks of New Skete.  They used the collar as a training device as does modern day training phenom Cesar Milan.  The concept of the prong collar is to apply pressure evenly around the neck which is much gentler and safer for the dog. The smaller the links the more effective the correction.  It has limited tightening capacity unlike...

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Greening Your Pets Environment

Posted by on Jul 25, 2010 in Lifestyle, Paws for Thought, Products | 0 comments

It seems that each day we are given more and more information on interesting ways to help save our environment.  Reusable shopping bags, energy efficient cars, flooring made of environmentally friendly bamboo, fluorescent light bulbs, etc.  In that vain, there is much you can do in the way of your pet supply purchases and daily pet care habits to ensure a safer tomorrow. First and foremost…help eliminate plastic!  When shopping at your favorite pet boutique or pet retail chain, consider reusing bags.  I know many of our Wag customers comment that they have so many “Wag” bags at home and wish they had thought to bring them on their shopping spree.  I know that many of us use grocery store plastic bags to pick up our dog’s waste while walking.  A more “green” alternative is to use biodegradable waste bags.  There are many brands to choose from in this category.  The newest and most innovative are made by Flush Puppies.  They are biodegradable AND flushable.  They actually dissolve in water and are large enough to use with dogs of all sizes. Feeding organic treats is an extremely eco-friendly way to say “good job” to your favorite four legger.  Organic products are made without the use of pesticides and hormones which are bad for the environment.  If you don’t feed organic, at the very least feed all natural treats and food.  Products labeled “all natural” do not use preservatives and have many of the same qualities that organic foods contain.  Wagatha’s, Monzies and Smart Dog Treats are a few examples. Toy manufacturers have really jumped on the earth friendly bandwagon.  You can find toys that are made from recycled soda bottles; natural, non toxic rubber; recycled rubber from left over toy material and some are even made organically.  Yes, that is correct, organic toys.  The Simply Fido Toy collection is made from organically grown cotton!  The toys are softer to the touch due to improved soil fertility and harvesting methods. Because of its relatively short growth cycle of 100-120, Hemp materials are extremely eco friendly.  Earth Dog and Planet Dog make a wonderful line of Hemp collars and harnesses for small to extra large dogs.  Shampoos should be made with all natural ingredients, chemical free and made from biodegradable products.  AromaPaws, Earthbath and TheraNeem are a few recommendations. The easiest thing to do is to recycle your pet’s gently used toys, collars and leashes.  Donate last season’s “gear” to the Humane Society, Animal Services or other rescue organization.  These groups are in constant need of...

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Dogs in History

Posted by on Jul 25, 2010 in Lifestyle, Paws for Thought | 0 comments

Our pets have made a significant impact on our lives and we know that just like the famous German Shepherd star, Rin Tin Tin, they should all have their own paw print on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!  I have heard remarkable stories from many of you over the years… of your dogs helping when you were ill, alerting you of an unsafe situation, being featured in a movie or commercial, participating in pet therapy at local hospitals and nursing homes or simply having wiggled their way into your heart. I thought for this month it would be nice to highlight a few pets that have made history.  Some impressed us early on as our favorite childhood TV. icons.  Others we have heard about on the news or read about in the paper.  You may have not heard about a few of them…but they are all extraordinary.  Beginning with a dog we all know and love….Lassie.  Lassie was originally a short story created for the Saturday Evening Post in 1938.  The first major motion picture was produced in 1943 and Lassie hit the small screen in 1954.  Who can forget the heart warming story of Lassie and her owner Timmy?  Lassie, the Collie star, was a prime example of Sunday night wholesome family entertainment.  A few interesting facts:  There have been nine dogs that have played Lassie over the years….and they have all been male!  Male dogs were used because of their thicker coats.  During shedding season, male dogs retain a thicker coat than females therefore looking better on camera!! Moving on to a very famous animated dog….Snoopy.  Snoopy has certainly evolved over the years from his first appearance in the famous comic strip Peanuts in 1950.  Did you know that he was a silent character for the first two years and uttered his first word via a thought balloon in 1952? He also started out on all fours and in 1956 began walking upright like a human.  This soon became commonplace.  Snoopy moved out of his doghouse to the top of his doghouse in 1958.  From then on he rarely ventured back inside.  He is arguably the most identified character of the comic strip Peanuts and the following animated films. I read Snoopy’s wikipedia site to learn more about his history and I have to admit it brought back very fond memories and a ton of laughs.  It is definitely worth a read:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snoopy.   You may have heard the story about an Australian canine, Leo.  This terrier mix saved a litter of kittens from being lost in a house fire just last month.  A fire broke out in the home and Leo refused to leave the building.  Firefighters found him guarding the kittens until help arrived and they were taken safely away from the building.  Both the kittens and Leo lived and are back in their home.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27381659/ How about the Miracle dog, Isabella, that adopted three tiger cubs that were rejected by their mother earlier this year?  This happened at the Safari Zoological Park in Kansas.  According to an interview conducted by CBS News, Isabella, the Golden Retriever, doesn’t know the difference between her puppies and the cubs. She licks, cleans and feeds them as it they are her own.  Amazing!  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/30/ap/strange/main4309195.shtml One of the best stories of this year had to have been the story of Willie, a Quaker Parrot, who saved a toddler from choking.  The child’s babysitter was in the other room when the toddler began choking on a pop tart.  Willie began screaming and flapping his wings…saying Momma Baby Momma Baby over and...

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To Board or Not to Board

Posted by on Jan 16, 2010 in Lifestyle, Paws for Thought, Travel | 0 comments

Oh, the holidays. Ready or not, they have arrived. Turkey dinners are forecasted, suitcases are dusted off and it all begins!  Many of you are planning your holiday travels…to see Grandma Millie in New York, Mom and Dad in Atlanta or you may just want to get away to an island in the Caribbean and escape the chaos! What about your four legged family member? Who will care for them while you are away? Instead of visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, are you having visions of Macaulay Culkin in the movie Home Alone? If you have used your last I.O.U. and your trusted neighbor, friend or family member just can’t care for Fido this time around…you do have options.  Pet Boarding. There are wonderful facilities in the area that will house your pet while you are gone and offer many packages from which you can choose.  Your dog can stay in a higher end facility with indoor “suites,” outdoor playtimes, daycare and grooming… the list of add on’s is extensive. Or, you can board at a facility that has traditional kennels which typically offer outdoor and indoor space and a couple of walks a day. Nowadays, pet resorts, as they’re often called offer a wide variety of options, all safe and secure, giving you peace of mind while you are away. Before you decide if this is the route you should take, go visit a few boarding facilities, take a tour, learn their policies and prices, meet the managers and note how you feel when you are there. Rates for cats and dogs can start anywhere from $20 a day and go up from there. Don’t be surprised that if you choose a top of the line package with a large suite, many play times, extra cuddling, treat before bed, etc. that your price per night could be upwards of $50. Most facilities offer multiple pet discounts.  Look for a place that allows your dog to eat his own food, not food provided by the facility. Your dog might be a nervous boarder, so any change in his diet might impact his digestive wellness. Also, your buddy will need to be up to date on the following vaccinations: DHLPP, Bordetellaand Rabies.  Once you have decided on a facility, have your dog or cat visit and spend the night prior to your trip. This way, he will be familiar with his home away from home and have an idea of the routine, smells, sounds and staff. The goal is for your pet to feel like he is on a vacation while you are on yours! Pet Sitter – Pet sitters are a dedicated group of men and women that will take care of your pet in the comfort of your home. You can choose how many times a day they come to visit your pet and what they will do with Fifi or Fido while they are there. If your dog loves to play ball in the back yard, they will incorporate that during their visit time. If your dog is a dog park regular he can certainly enjoy this routine with his sitter.  Pet sitters can also take your pet to the vet or grooming appointments and will keep a close eye on their health and behavior while you are away. Some sitters will spend the night at your home if you so desire.  Upon your return you will fi nd notes written after each pet sitter visit so you will get a clear snapshot of how Fido spent his days while you were gone. They...

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