Monday, August 14, 2017

Teach Kids About Pet Care & Safety Using Stuffed Animals

Teaching kids how to properly care for a pet is so important.  As many of you know, Icy and I are a Therapy Dog team.  We make several different kinds of visits throughout our community through Bideawee, in Long Island NY.  Bideawee is near and dear to my heart, not only because Icy and I do our Therapy Dog work through them but because I got my first dog, Ginny from them. Having Ginny in our lives meant so much to our family, I'll always be grateful to Bideawee for giving that to us!

Teaching kids about therapy dogs & pet care with the use of stuffed animals.  #petcare #dogs #pethealth
Icy listens intently during one of our Kids Reading Aloud To Dogs visits, helping kids improve their reading skills
One of the therapy visits we are sometimes asked to do is speak to children about what Therapy Dogs do, and also about how to properly care for pets.  I've done a couple of these visits with girl scouts and younger kids, talking with them about pet care and proper interaction with dogs.  We talk about thinks like:

🐶 Providing food, fresh clean water, and shelter
🐶 How to approach and interact with a dog safely - always ask before petting!
🐶 Dog's body language - a wagging tail doesn't always mean a dogs is happy!
🐶 The importance of walks, playtime, and exercise
🐶 Having proper identification on the dog at all times
🐶 How you know when a dog is sick, and the importance of Veterinary care
🐶 The difference between a Therapy Dog and a Service Dog

As a member of the Bayer Animal Health Pet Influencer Team, I was given a box of adorable stuffed dogs.  The dogs were modeled after a puppy named Champ who appeared in Bayer Advantix flea/tick commercials several years ago.  You can see this and some of his other adorable Advantix commercials on YouTube by clicking this link .

How to use stuffed animals to teach children about pet care & pet safety.   #dogs #petcare #healthydogs #pethealth
Use stuffed animals to teach kids about pet health & safety, & the importance of Vet care
When Bayer asked if we'd like some stuffed Champ pups to donate or share to help children learn about pet care and safety, they included suggestions on how we might use the stuffed pups:

💝 Teach kids about general pet care and Veterinary care
💝 Teach kids about keeping pets active; demonstrate fun things to do with pets
💝 Take along on Therapy visits to a hospital to provide comfort and bring smiles
💝 Use to illustrate that you should never leave pets in a hot car

When I received the stuffed pups and Bayer's suggestions on how they could be used, I immediately thought of Bideawee.   I thought the box of Champ pups would be perfect for their pet education visits with kids, or for therapy visits to local hospitals.  I reached out to my Volunteer Manager, Alicia Ryan, and she was happy to have our donation of stuffed dogs for Bideawee!

We donated stuffed animal pups to Bideawee to help teach kids about how to care for pets
Me with Alicia,  Sr. Manager, Volunteer Programs at Bideawee, holding one of the stuffed Champ pups outside their Wantagh, Long Island facility.

Bideawee is a no-kill shelter that rescues both dogs and cats. We care for each animal we take in until they find a loving forever-home. Bideawee means "stay a while" in Scottish, each animal is meant to "stay a while". We were founded over 110 years ago in 1903 and Bideawee is one of the OLDEST animal welfare organizations in the United States! Bideawee has lots of dogs and cats up for adoption, ready to find new homes! We not only have animals for adoptions, but we have animals that make special visits, to bring the love of pets to our community. It’s called our pet therapy program! We have this program because pets make people feel good and we want everyone to feel good!


Thank You to BAY ANIMAL HEALTH for sending us these adorable stuffed animals to help educate kids on pet care and safety!

Stuffed animals can be used help teach kids about how to properly care for dogs and keep pets safe.
I had to give one of the stuffed dogs to Phoebe, she insisted on having one for herself! She loves to snuggle with it!
Get More Pet Health & Safety Tips & Therapy Dog Information here:

Pet Health Tip from an expert Veterinarian at Bayer  

Pet Safety Tips both at home and while on Outings

Are these Pet Dangers lurking in YOUR yard?

How Therapy Dogs Help Kids Improve Their Reading Skills

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dog Friendly Belmont Lake State Park in New York

There are so many fun summer activities to do with dogs!  We've been taking the dogs to dog friendly parks and beaches here on Long Island, New York.  There aren't many dog friendly parks and beaches on Long Island.  I'm still trying to figure out why.  There are some, but there are more dog friendly beaches and parks in Suffolk County, the Eastern half of Long Island, than there are in Nassau County.  

Belmont Lake State Park, Long Island NY was once a horse farm owned by the Belmont family.  Dogs are allowed on the miles of walking paths in the park
Icy exploring the rocks and a little waterfall around the lake at Belmont Lake State Park
A really nice state park that allows dogs on Long Island is 463-acre Belmont Lake State Park.  Like so many of NY's state parks, it was once a mansion and estate owned by a wealthy family, the Belmont's, in the later 1800's - early 1900's.  This park was formerly part of the family owned thoroughbred horse farm.  The farm was owned by August Belmont, the namesake of the Belmont Stakes!

It's such a beautiful park, I'm so happy to have it available for public use and for well behaved, leashed dogs to enjoy with their owners!  The lake and walking/hiking paths are so lovely, we really enjoy it.


CANNON BAAALL!!  OK, SO THAT'S REALLY FOR THE POOL, BUT THIS IS AN ACTUAL CANNON.  The Belmont Lake State Park Cannons have been there since the park was a privately owned mansion, owned by the Belmont family.

This is an actual cannon from 1813.  A piece of American History, these cannons sit in Belmont Lake State park for all to see and enjoy. The park is has a beautiful lake and allows (leashed) dogs!
The quote captioned above is excerpted from one of the most famous quotes in military history.  I know what you're thinking, Hey!!  That quote is wrong, it's supposed to be We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us.... but that was actually the original quote paraphrased  by a 1970 Cartoonist, for an Earth Day poster.  Actually, I think many people would agree that his version of the quote probably belongs on a photo of a globe.  I've always wanted a globe, why don't I ever get one!?  I'm so deprived.



I shall guard the tree in case the elves or some hobbit try to escape and wreak havoc throughout the park!

Dog friendly Belmont Lake Sate Park in Long Island, New York
Phoebe and I stop along the bridge to watch the ducks play in the stream
Lots of ducks in the lake at dog friendly Belmont Lake State Park in New York's Long Island
The ducks were so cute!  There's 4 of them, it's funny but the two in front almost look like alligators, don't they?  But it's the back tail end of two of the ducks, LOL!  No gators on Long Island!


An outing in a dog friendly park like Belmont Lake State Park on Long Island are great socialization opportunities for dogs!
Parks make for great socialization opportunities for dogs, as long as both are leashed and they both want to meet.  Phoebe met this cute little boy, I think she was kinda smitten!

When you take your pets out for a fun adventure, make sure to Hydrate and Keep Your Pet Safe!

Summer and Fall are prime times for flea and tick activity, be sure to protect your dog against flea and tickborne diseases like Anaplasmosis (Tick Fever)!

Have you been to any pet friendly parks this Summer?  Leave us a comment and tell us about it

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hand Over The Pink Unicorn!


Does your pet have a toy that drives them crazy?  Leave a comment and let us know what it is!


Friday, August 4, 2017

Adoptable Dogs In Need of Love & Exposure

There are two adoptable dogs at the BIDEAWEE Animal Shelter in New York, where I volunteer, that are waiting for someone to love them and give them a loving home.  Pace and Gracie are not as easy to find homes for as some of the other adoptable dogs at the shelter, for a couple of reasons. They both need some extra help and exposure to find their forever homes.  

I'm sharing their stories here in the hope that readers will share these dogs on social media to help get them in front of more people.  The more exposure these two dogs get, the better their chances will be of finding their forever homes.  I'm asking for your help to spread the word about these two dogs in need of loving homes.

Adoptable dogs in Long Island, New York that are in need of some extra TLC
Adorable Pace recently had hip surgery and will need some extra love and care.
One of these dogs in need is Pase, an adorable and super loving dog who just had hip surgery.  Pace needs a home that can provide a lot of extra care.  He may potentially need follow up hip surgeries as well.

Pase is a goofy, energetic, and snuggly two year old Labrador Retriever mix who came to BIDEAWEE in early November, 2016 from Alabama. Pase weighs in at 65 pounds, but he's 65 pounds of love! His beautiful brown eyes sparkle with curiosity, watching everything around him. His smile is large and happy, and when you catch him smiling you're sure to feel your mood elevate as well. 

Pase gets along well with other dogs, although a meet and greet is always recommended!  While he's gentle, he's also fairly large at 65 lbs and very energetic, so the Bideawee animal shelter recommends he go to a home without young children.

Pase is a beautiful, loving 2 year old Labrador Retriever needs a loving home that can provide some extra TLC!
Pace is positively Adorable!!  This sweetie needs a home with people who can provide some extra TLC.
Pase also considers himself a lap dog and isn't totally aware of his size relative to yours! How many of us have experienced that, LOL!?  He'll wiggle his way towards you and try and curl up in a ball in your lap. Despite his best efforts, he's rarely able to fit his whole body in your lap and will resort to being half on & half off. 

His dream forever home has an active and attentive owner who will give him all the love, exercise, and stimulation this adorable boy needs. Pase would be thrilled to live with somebody who works from home as he gets bored easily and loves companionship. But hey, who doesn't need a 65 pound fur-ball as a coworker!?

The other dog available for adoption is a stunning pooch named Gracie. Boasting a dark ebony coat, with beautiful be-speckled paws and the deepest brown eyes you've ever seen, this girl is simply gorgeous! During her time at Bideawee, Gracie has already won over the staff and volunteers with her sweet personality!  

This beautiful dog named Gracie is looking for a forever home with a family who will enjoy long walks and her sparkly personality!
Stunning Gracie is shy but loving and full of personality!
This sweet girl is definitely shy at first, but once she knows you, her sparkling personality shines bright!  Gracie is an active girl, who would love a family that will enjoy spending time taking her on long walks, and exploring different places.  All this sweet girl needs is a family that will be by her side, guiding her through life! 

This sweet dog is looking for a second chance at life and love.  She's shy at first, but her lively personality soon shines through!

Both of these beautiful shelter dogs are badly in need of a second chance at love and life.  They are available for adoption from BIDEAWEE, Long Island New York.  Founded in 1903, Bideawee is America's first No-Kill animal rescue!

If you interested in adopting a dog, I hope you will please consider Pace or Gracie!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Pet Safety Both At Home and On Outings

We want our dogs to have fun and be safe both at home and away, but there are things that can harm our pets and ruin our fun!  Some of them can be found in the home, some are near water, and some we may encounter on travel outings and adventures we take them on.

Last week I talked about dangerous Insecticides and Pesticides that could be lurking in your yard or on walks with your dog.   Today I want to talk about things that can potentially harm our dogs inside our homes or while we are out on dog friendly adventures together. 

Keep your dog out of harms way both inside and outside the home by being aware of these potential pet health risks
I'm always on the alert for potential dog hazards inside and outside the home


The most obvious potentially harmful items that can be found in our homes are things we use every day without giving them a second thought.  Cleansers are one of the biggest culprits.  We use them often and sometimes leave them lying around the house open, or in poorly secured areas.  

Other hazardous items include nail polish remover (it's SO toxic to both pets and children!), medications, and rubbing alcohol.  Speaking of alcohol, booze is toxic to pets as well so don't leave wine, beer, or cocktails lying around in glasses on the patio! Pets are often attracted to the scent of these items.  Dogs love to LICK, and they can lick up spills of any of these substances as well as get into containers of them.  

Visit the Humane Society of the United States web page for a list of Common Household Dangers For Pets, both inside and outside the home.


It drives me nuts when we are at Starbucks and someone has spilled a giant blob of something I know can be toxic to my dogs, but smells delightful to them. They will jump at the chance to lick it up if we don't move to another table or clean it up ourselves! 

Cigarette butts on the ground are another thing that irritates me.  For some reason, every Starbucks we ever go to has like a million cigarette butts on the ground around their outdoor tables. It feels like the Marlboro Man has just had his coffee there!  Cigarette butts are like a magnet for my dogs.  They always find them and invariably start chewing on them!  If dogs eat cigarette butts it could cause nicotine poisoning.


Algae can be very toxic to pets so don't let pets drink stagnant water, especially if it has a blue-green film on it. This algae thrives in hot temperatures and can be found in stagnant ponds, lakes, even puddles. Algae in stagnant water can contain toxins that cause anything from skin rashes to potentially serious health risks for dogs such as organ and nervous system problems.  A variety of harmful parasites and bacteria, such as Giardia and Leptospirosis can also be found in stagnant water.

Don't let your dog drink sea water at the beach either.  Salt water can be toxic to pets and could result in salt water poisoning if they drink too much of it.  Toys and other items can absorb large amounts of sea water, and can be absorbed by your dog if he chews on it or sucks on it.

Salt water can be toxic to pets if they drink it.  It can cause salt water poisoning
Icy loves the beach!  I always have fresh water available for her to drink
Rinse your dog and his toys off thoroughly after playing in or by the water.  If your dog has diarrhea or vomiting after being by the ocean, lake, or pond, consult your Veterinarian right away.

Always keep your dog well hydrated with fresh, clean water at the beach.  Follow these Beach safety tips for dogs as well.


When you travel with your dog, keep an eye out for potential hazards to dogs.  I've shared this story before but it bears repeating.  During a cross country trip with Icy and Phoebe, we stayed in a hotel that we had stayed in several times before and were familiar with. In fact, it was one of our favorite places to stay along our route between New York and Phoenix  - until my dogs got really sick in one of their pet friendly rooms.

When traveling with your dog, keep an eye out for any sign of distress or illness.  We expect pet friendly places to be safe, but there could be dangers lurking!
We travel a lot with the dogs , I keep a very close eye on them while traveling 
It was late at night and we were glad to finally reach our hotel and settle in.  For some reason, there were really loud people smoking up a storm on a patio close to our window so I asked to have the room changed.  The guy at the front desk was apparently new and seemed a bit confused as to what room to give us and the dogs - that should have been a red flag right there.  He finally gave us a room and we settled in for the night.   Icy was sleeping on the floor between the wall and my side of the bed. Phoebe was sleeping on the floor on the other side of the bed.

Somewhere around 3am Icy started coughing and hacking uncontrollably.  We couldn't figure out what was wrong with her, we panicked!  We put her up on the bed and after a few minutes the coughing lessened a bit.  We thought she might have found an object under the bed and swallowed it, or perhaps she ate a bug.  

Shortly after, Phoebe began coughing and hacking as well!  Then she vomited, right on the bed.  We were freaking out and began searching for an emergency Veterinarian in the area.  As the dogs lay on the bed their coughing eased up.  We were slightly relieved but still perplexed and frightened.

Around 5am we got the heck out of there and onto the highway, windows open to get the fresh air.  I couldn't find an all night emergency Vet but we located a Veterinarian in the next city, not far away.  As we drove in the car the dogs began to improve - a lot.  Clearly, getting them out of that hotel was key, there had to be something in the room that made them both so ill.

We found the Vet's office, no small feat in the somewhat rural area of Ohio we were in.  It was a quaint little office and the staff was really nice.  We loved the Veterinarian, he was wonderful to us and the dogs!  He examined the dogs and asked us lots of questions.  In the end, the Vet determined that whatever the hotel used to clean the carpeting made our dogs sick.  He gave us a prescription, but we never needed to use it because hours later both dogs were perfectly fine!

Keep Pets Safe both at home and on outings
Icy and Phoebe love to sleep in bed with us in hotel rooms!
My guess is that the guy at the desk put us in a dog friendly room that was very recently cleaned.  It probably shouldn't have been rented out so soon, I'm thinking the cleansers they used needed more time to dissipate.  Because the dogs were on the floor, so close to the area cleaned, it effected their breathing.

You'd think a hotel that has rooms designated for pets would be totally safe for pets, but you never know.  Now my dogs sleep in the bed with us in hotels!

Has your pet ever gotten into something that made them sick?  Please leave us a comment & tell us about it, we really Love hearing from you!