Alive and wagging

HELLO!

Whew…my it has been a while. I have so much to write about and so little time to write!

My boyfriend and I got back last weekend from a two and a half week long road trip up the West Coast!  The best part?  We took Spike!  Oh yes, I think I mentioned it in my last post, but anyhow…!

Two and a half weeks later, have I got a story to tell!  Tales of marvelous crystal clear dog-friendly beaches and harrowing adventures of escape from unkind Hearst Castle workers! Well…ok, so nothing was very harrowing.  Except maybe Fiesta in Laguna Niguel, but that involved neither dogs nor sobriety and so is not appropriate for these pages!

But it’s late at the moment, and I still have to compile all of the hundreds of photos into one folder on my desktop so that I can make at least a little sense here. I just wanted to assure you all that I am, in fact, alive and well, with many stories to tell! I’m actually not even sure where to begin…

Spike goes West!

Hi everybody!

Sorry I haven’t updated here in a while.  Frankly, I have been somewhat uninspired to write anything of substance even though there’s plenty I have wanted to say.

BUT!  Today, I have a very exciting announcement!  My boyfriend and I decided to take a two week vacation up the West Coast.  Initially, I was just going to have friends look after Spike, but when I started stressing about having all the days covered, I just said, “What the heck?” and decided to book him along with us.  I know some of you might be thinking that we’re crazy, and I certainly did at first!  But once we started doing some research, we found that it is actually very doable.  I mean, some parts of California have more dogs than children – I think we’d be welcome there, don’t you?

The main issue for us was that, if we plan a day out a particular way, we might run the risk of getting turned down at an establishment or park because we have a dog.  That would really be the pits, don’t you think?  So after doing a (literally) 5 minute Google search, we found that California, Oregon, and Washington are particularly dog friendly – seemingly more so than Boston!

So, rather than stress out and make a big deal out of it, we (the ever considerate, level-headed boyfriend and I) talked about it and decided it’s going to be fun no matter what we do!  There are dozens of dog parks, beaches, boutiques (like, seriously, I thought Newbury Street had a lot…), and even some events that come around once a year celebrating dogs!

Our philosophy going into this is to plan as much as we can, and just wing the rest.  There are so many things to do on the West Coast, we’ll be able to find something that’s dog-friendly.  But mostly this will be a great experience for us.  Whether it turns out well or not, we’ll learn a lot about traveling with a dog, and a lot about each other.  And I won’t have to stress about who’s taking care of Spike on what day.

If you’re thinking about traveling with your dog, there are plenty of things to keep in mind before you go.  If you make sure you’ve got them covered, you should have a good time!  Here are some of them:

1)      Make sure your dog is properly vaccinated for the region you’re visiting.  Even if it’s inside the United States, there are some places that are more stringent on their vaccination rules than others.  It’s essential to have Rabies, Bordetella, and DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus) if you’re planning on boarding, but some regions have additional requirements.

2)      Know how you’re going to get to where you’re going.  Is your dog small enough to travel in the airplane with you?  I don’t recommend sending pets as cargo – it is extremely stressful, and I’ve heard too many stories of negligent air staff and sky high temperatures that don’t turn out well for the traveling pet.

Even if your pet is small enough to go as a carry on, are there limitations associated with the airline you’re flying?  Does your pet bark or freak out uncontrollably when confined to a small carrying case?  If so, you might want to check out some other options including driving, taking a train or boat, or even Pet Airways, a private airline service that has individual crates right in the cabin JUST for pets.  It’s a pretty cool service, and I would definitely use it if I had a bigger dog or multiple pooches!  Check it out!

Traveling in comfort and style for Pet Airways’ “paw-ssengers”!

3)      What are YOUR pet’s needs in relation to your trip plans?  Do you have a ten year old mastiff who tires easily and are planning a trip filled with hiking and extreme sports?  Or a six month old rat terrier who’s almost-but-not-quite potty trained and are booked at an 1800s B&B with expensive antique furniture and ten o’clock tea and quiet time?  Try to have realistic expectations when thinking about bringing your pet with you.  If you don’t think Henry will be totally comfortable in this brand new environment, it’s best to leave him home and have a sitter look after him until your return.  Don’t feel bad about it!  There are some doggie hotels and pet sitters that I’m almost jealous I can’t be at while my dog is there!  Where’s MY ten minute tummy rub and bedtime biscuit??

4)      DO THE RESEARCH.  I cannot stress this enough.  Maybe you are lucky enough to live in a place where you can bring your dog into a restaurant with you.  But keep in mind that there are many cities that are way behind the times when it comes to laws concerning dogs in public spaces.  Do a quick Google search titled “Bringing a dog to X” and you should get some good results with hotels, stores, and parks that are dog friendly in that area.  It will also tell you what to watch out for if you’re expecting everyone to be super friendly towards your pup: you may be disappointed.  Some places require certain breeds to be muzzled at all times in public, and some places do not allow certain breeds on the streets at all.  Be aware of this.  I don’t agree with breed-specific laws, but I would hate to see someone and her dog suffer because of a lack of information.

5)      Most importantly, don’t stress too much!  Your dog can read you like a book, and I would be lying if I said Spike hasn’t been feeling the effects of my attitude these last couple of days.  I’m trying to be as open minded as possible, and being prepared helps a lot!  I am armed with a multitude of pages and websites that offer information to people traveling with their dogs, and dog-friendly establishments in California, Oregon, and Washington.  The best thing that will come out of this is that I can say I traveled with my dog and it was fun!

Spike loves his little travel bag! This was at the Logan International Airport last May.

More jobs and things!

Hi everyone!

Hope you had a restful weekend! It was scorchingly hot up here in New England, so we took the dogs swimming!  It was nice and cool, and Spike even went in which he’s usually reluctant to do.  Like I said, it was HOT.  Then everybody got a bath and now they smell like flowers!

In other news, I ordered my first business cards ever!!  Well, technically they’re Spike’s (they even have his name), and I just paid for them.  (How do I always end up doing that?! lol)  But I ADORE them, and can’t wait for them to get here!  They have pictures of my greyhounds and Spike and are super cute and trendy!  I will post an update when they arrive, possibly as soon as the 13th.  With any luck, they will be almost as cool as I am expecting.

Updates to come!

Jobs and other things

Hello again.

I am trying so so hard to get more posts up on here!  I am straying a little from my initial intent for the site, but I just have to get things out there.  I still think the things I’m talking about are relevant, just not precisely what I envisioned…

Anyway, I just wanted to talk about what’s generally been going on in my life dog-wise.  Mostly that I’ve been sitting a friend’s two (adorable) chihuahuas for the last month.  Amy and Kiki are distinguished gals who know what they want and usually get it. :P The best part is that I get to stay at my friend’s two bedroom apartment while she’s away!  It has been a really awesome experience, and has made me want to do it ALL THE TIME.  You see, my apartment, while it is also two bedrooms, is about half the size, is on the garden level of our ugly brick apartment building, and has no private space outside of my 10×10 bedroom.  Oh, and did I mention I live with an awkward roommate who painted all the walls dark maroon? (I really hope he doesn’t read this!)

My friend’s apartment, on the other hand, is the whole first floor of a quaint yellow New England style home in the nice part of town, has a back yard, huge windows that let in a lot of light, and I get the whole place to myself.  Aside from totally wanting to buy a house all my own, I have really come to enjoy having all this space to do whatever I want.  It makes me feel like a grown up. :) It has made me come to realize that I really do appreciate my own space and actually enjoy looking after a whole house.  I have even contemplated buying potted plants to line the back porch, but I wouldn’t be able to take them with me, and I don’t know how my friend feels about taking care of someone else’s plants.  In short, I really like the responsibility, and I think it would be cool to “borrow” (if you will) other peoples’ homes (and pets) for a little extra income.

So here it is.  [insert shameless plug here]

Are we going for a RIDE??The trio!

Who, what, where?!Beautiful ladies!

 

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos…they were taken on my cell phone while I figure out how to fix my DSLR.

 

 

Cute tidings

 

For lack of anything better to write about, and me just wanting to get something out there on the interwebz, I thought I would do my first blog feature.  I haven’t contacted the author or anything, but I just found this girl’s site and love it!

Lili Chin of doggiedrawings.net (so cute, right?) draws portraits and other goodies about dogs.  I found this comic on how to properly (and improperly) greet a strange dog:

I was like, “THANK YOU!  Finally proof that I’m not alone in my aggravation with how strangers approach my ever adorable dog!!”  You know, sometimes I think it might be part curse that some people have incredibly adorable dogs…like, 1% curse.

I also love how she includes “squealing” and “shouting” in the dog’s face as one of the things not to do.  I can’t count the number of times people have physically blocked my path (with strollers, their children, themselves, etc), and squealed “OMG WHAT A CUTE PUPPY!” expecting to get a petting sesh.  I’ll tell you, I am MUCH more willing to let someone pet Spike when they politely ask if they can say hi before attempting to pick him up (which is an even bigger no-no).

I might actually add some things on to this drawing.  When I greet dogs, I kneel down while avoiding eye contact.  Most dogs feel more secure approaching a stranger if they’re on their level.  I kneel and put my hand out to them without looking at them.  It usually works.  Let the dog approach you, and if he’s not interested, don’t force contact.  I know they’re cute, y’all, but they’ll let you know when they don’t want to be touched and it’s best to respect that body language. Of course, I agree that you should pet the dog on the chest or side since most dogs see an attempted pat on the head as a dominating gesture.

I think it’s so important for parents to see this drawing because I have had numerous children attempt to chase my dog.  They sprint after him, sometimes while he’s leashed, screaming and clawing the air trying to get at him.  Now, my dog wouldn’t even DREAM of hurting so much as a fly, but when he believes he is being threatened (wouldn’t you feel that way, too, if you were walking with a rope tied around your neck and some giant human things came sprinting full-out at you screaming unintelligible gibberish?), he will growl and perhaps bark.  I can only imagine what a more dominant, maybe even aggressive dog would do when faced with this situation.  Most dogs become aggressive when they feel cornered and have no other alternative of protecting themselves or getting away.  So parents, please teach your kids how to properly greet or act around a dog.  As much for their safety as for my dog’s sanity.

We’ll probably be revisiting Lili’s site in the future – she does a lot of things I wish I had done first! haha