Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Pixel the Weather Adventurer Extraordinaire Braves the Arctic Tundra Once More

Pixel Blue Eyes walking through thick snow 2016 - photo by Jenny Lewis
I never would have guessed that even as a Weather Adventurer Extraordinaire, I'd have another wild grueling weather adventure quite so soon after winter. I'd been traveling for miles and miles, walking for what seemed like days, weeks even. Nothing around me but endless white. I wasn't even sure where I was, but based on how overwhelmingly blustery, cold and snowy it was, I was pretty sure I was close to the Arctic Circle. I had to rely on my senses, my survival skills and my keen intellect to get me through.
Pixel Blue Eyes studying the terrain as she treks across the snow - photo by Jenny Lewis
Surveying the landscape, desperate for any signs of life, I could see I was all alone. The travel was treacherous, the days were long, and the hours passed slowly. I fought fatigue, worried about the perils of the wilderness, and wondered when the next big blizzard would hit. I was in the mountains, so the risk of an avalanche was extremely high. One wrong howl and I could be a goner. What if I came across a glacier that blocked my path? Or fell down a huge ice crevasse? All I could do was make my way through the cold and snow as best I could. I was hoping for the best, but was prepared for the worst.
Oh how I missed the comforts of home, the warm fireplace, soft fuzzy blankets, the small yet delicious meals every 3-4 hours. I could just imagine my little duckies missing me, all lined up against the window pane wondering, "When is Mommy Pixel coming home? Will we ever see her again??" "Don't cry little Duckies, I'll survive somehow, I promise," I thought to myself.
Pixel Blue Eyes' serious face covered in snow outside - photo by Jenny LewisAs I trudged through the snow that was almost up to my neck, choking me, blinding me and making it almost impossible to make the next step, I thought about my Mommy...my beloved Mommy, and wondered how she would get along without me if I didn't get through this snowy tundra adventure. I pushed on as hard as I could, focusing on making it home.
Pixel Blue Eyes closing her eyes in the snow, praying for warmth - photo by Jenny Lewis
But soon the freezing temperatures overtook my small delicate frame, and in spite of dressing for the weather, I became too weak to go on. All I could do was close my eyes and let fate overtake me. I stood there, frozen in the Arctic landscape, unable to move. What would happen to me now? Would I ever make it back home? It seemed like just the other day I was enjoying a warm Spring afternoon in my own front yard, watching the blooms of the beautiful Bradford pear trees wave in the gentle breeze. Hadn't I just sniffed my first tulips and sat in a garden filled with daffodils?
But suddenly, after being stuck in this frozen tundra for ages, the last wave of Arctic frost overtook my body, and I heard that final call of my name to "go home".
"Pixel. Pixel? PIXEL! Come on sweetie, we've been out in this blustery weather for about 5 minutes now and the snow flurries are getting a little stronger. We've got a light dusting on the ground now. Let's go home and get warm by the fire."
Pixel Blue Eyes was dreaming of the Arctic Weather Adventure the whole time - photo by Jenny Lewis
It was MOMMY!! She found me and I was saved!!! Thank goodness it turned out to all be just a daydream...because I'd forgotten to bring my compass and snow shoes!
REALITY CHECK FROM MOMMY: Here in the mountains of Virginia, we had warm beautiful weather up until Friday, then we suddenly nose dived into freezing cold temperatures with lows getting down to about 19 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 degrees Celsius) and snow flurries. We had lots of flurries, heavy winds gusting up to 40 miles per hour (34.75 knots) and cold temperatures, just not quite all the snow that Pixel imagined.
Did you have crazy weather this Spring? I'd love to hear about it friends!! Leave me a comment and tell me all about it.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Pixel Shares Tips on The Joys of Safe Pet Travel

Holiday travel is winding down for many of us. Throughout the holiday season and all through the year, many pet parents and their fur babies are in vehicles scurrying about, bustling here and there, packing up and preparing to go see family and friends for holidays, vacations, or just to run errands around town. Most people with dogs love to bring them along on their adventures. In fact, a recent survey said that 5 out of 6 dogs went 'on the road' this past holiday season!
How often have you thought about your dog's safety in the car? I know you are all excellent pet parents, but sometimes pet vehicle safety is an uncertain subject. That is why we have National Pet Travel Safety Day, and why I wanted to share some helpful information to prepare you for some of the hazards and distractions that can occur when travelling with one or more dogs in a vehicle.

Many dogs are very good in the vehicle when it is moving, however distractions can come in a moment's notice. For example, I'm excellent in the car for Mommy, however I have a weakness once we get into town and come to a stop light close to a parking lot. If someone looks in the car wrong, or if someone is walking 3 blocks away with their back to me, I sound the alarm and start howling...startling the dickens out of all car passengers. It's just the Schnauzer in me and something Mommy and I are constantly working on. However, if I wasn't sitting securely with my seat belt on, and someone perhaps hit the car from behind, I could go get knocked off my feet in the car, fall down or go flying.
All dogs should be secured in one form or another while the car is in motion to ensure the safety of both the dogs, the drivers and the passengers. When I travel in the car, I always wear my Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Seat Belt Harness so that I am secure in the vehicle at all times. (You can read my detailed review of the Kurgo Tru-Fit Seat Belt Harness here.) Some dogs travel in car seats, like my friends Arlie Jo and her brother Irvin. Her sister Roxy sits securely in the middle. Arlie Jo's Mom Connie takes them every Sunday for Cheeseburgers. It's a very special outing that they all love, as you can tell by their faces in this photo!
I say that car safety is of the utmost importance because if, God forbid, a car accident does occur, both pets and humans can become tragically injured. Pets also can also easily become lost after a car accident. We've seen this time and again. Mommy has personally helped several families who lost beloved pet family members who were not secured in a moving car. Their dogs either escaped or got thrown from the car during an accident, ran off and several did not have a happy reunion ending. These tragic true stories have made Mommy overwhelmingly avid about making sure I am safe in the car.
Pixel's Top 5 Dog Travel Safety Tips - traveling in a car with your pet:
1. Make sure your pet wears a harness/collar with identification on it. THIS IS MY MOST IMPORTANT TIP. Make sure the ID tags include Pet Name, Pet Parent Name, Address, at least 2 Phone Numbers, and Vet Name (if you have the room), plus anything else that might be helpful. I have a two sided ID tag that allows all that information to be printed on it. PetTags4Less.com is one website with double sided aluminum ID tags for dogs that come in many styles and colors. Mommy won't even let me walk out of the house, she won't even carry me out of the house unless I'm wearing identification that is not easily removable. If I were to get lost during a car accident, that ID tag could people bring me home.
2. Once inside the vehicle, make sure your pet is secured to the seat either straight to the seat belt or in a car seat, which should be securely attached to the seat or seat belt as well. Don't let them walk or jump around inside a moving vehicle. That is very dangerous for all involved, no matter how skilled a driver you may be.
3.  Don't let your pet hang their head outside the window while driving (no matter how fun or cute it is). Think of what could happen if a stray rock or worse flew into your dog's eye or face. And the intense wind is not good for our lungs in all honesty either. Sad but true.
4. Make sure to carry fresh water and a small drinking bowl for your pet so they can have a fresh drink any time you stop.
5. Try not to have your pet travel on a full stomach. If they are nervous travelers or have queasy stomachs, you don't want to see their lunch come back on your seat. If you must feed them, feed them lightly so their hunger is satisfied but save any full meal for later after you are off the road, unless that cannot be avoided.
Some dogs love traveling in the car, others get very nervous. Some pets might start out very nervous about traveling when they are young, but end up loving every second of a car ride. And yet still other dogs might love riding in vehicles their whole lives, then as they get old and into their senior years, with failing health, suddenly become anxious when riding in a vehicle. That happened with my older sister Morgan. She traveled across the entire continent with Mommy for years in a truck with no problems, but once she hit 14 years old, she suddenly became unable to travel in a car without extreme anxiety. You just need to read your pet, and adjust things accordingly.

Trust me, us dogs are very adaptive. Our main goal is to always be with you, so anything that you can do to ensure we stay with you safely...will make us happy. Do you have any additional tips or advice you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about it. Leave me a comment and I'll add it to the list.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Joy of Car Safety: Pixel Product Review of the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness


You all know I love going places with Mommy. She takes me every place she possibly can, and I ride really well in the car with her. But she has always been concerned about my safety in a moving vehicle. What if something were to happen while she was driving? She wears a seatbelt to keep her secure in the car. But what about me? What kind of dog harnesses are available for travel safety?
Mommy had been actively seeking a car safety dog harness of some kind when Kurgo contacted us to review their new Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness. It was as if they were reading her mind! Mommy measured me carefully, per their instructions, and within a short time I received an extra small black and orange harness. The packaging is very attractive and gives great details about each harness. You can actually feel the harness material through the box window.
As soon as Mommy took it out of the box, she could tell this was a top quality harness. The materials they use are heavy duty and rugged, yet the quality craftsmanship is very fine. The padded chest plate was thick and sturdy, fitting perfectly against my sternum when she placed it on me. There's a front centered "D-ring" that Kurgo designed into the harness so you can use it as a walking harness as well as a car safety harness. They do not recommend using this front D-ring for car safety use, so we left it alone while travelling in the vehicle.
The stitching was done with great care and each piece was meticulously sewn into place to ensure it would be strong, work well, and last for many years to come. Mommy really liked the nested buckles system for securely putting on and removing the harness. It was so easy to do once she got the hang of it! Just slip the smaller buckle piece into the larger piece, then pull it flat. It locks in place and is so secure. It's so easy, you can do it with one hand! The craftsmanship alone top notch, Mommy told me, "It's no wonder Kurgo gives the Tru-Fit Harness (and all their products) a lifetime warranty!"
There are several places to adjust the Tru-Fit Smart Harness to make a secure and perfect fit for your dog. Mommy had a bit of a tough time getting it to fit just right on me, so it still fit a little oddly or large on me, but it might just be that I'm a very slender girl. It certainly fit well enough for me to sit and lay down very comfortably in the car and at home while wearing it.

The harness comes with a high quality seat belt tether with a carabiner that attaches to the harness. The instruction sheet showed two ways to use the seat belt tether. Mommy preferred the way we have shown in the photo, where she looped the handle around the seat belt, and then passed the carabiner end back through itself and hooked it to the harness I was wearing. I was able to move freely in the seat, yet stay only in the seat and not move elsewhere in the vehicle.
Here is a video by Kurgo showing the Tru-Fit Smart Harness being tested with an 85 lb. crash test stuffed dog. According to Kurgo, this car safety harness has been dynamically tested and is engineered with your entire family's safety in mind. It is meant to keep your dog comfortably restrained in the vehicle during travel so they do not jump around and potentially distract the driver.
Mommy loved being able to reach over and pet me at any moment while driving, knowing I was safely restrained in the car.  One very important thing to keep in mind with this and any safety harness for pets: you cannot expect that it will prevent injury in case of an accident. You cannot expect that of any safety harness. Just as seatbelts don't necessarily prevent injury to people in cars, so the same can be said for any kind of pet restraining devices. However, if you DID get into a car accident, the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness would keep your beloved pet safely contained inside the vehicle while help arrived, and it would ensure that he or she would not run off and get lost after such a tragic event. And always make sure your pet travels at all times with proper identification on their person so if anything happens, you and your pet can be identified and reunited. THAT, to Mommy, is serious peace of mind!
The harness was quite comfortable for me after I wore it a little while. At first, the seam along my spine was very hard and pressed on my upper spine, which was worrisome to Mommy because I am having back issues. However, she took the harness and bent and manipulated the harness for a while to "soften up" the section that was creating pressure along my spine. It was better after that and I could wear it comfortably. In fact, I hardly knew it was on after a while because it's quite slim line in nature. I even took a few naps while wearing the Tru-Fit Smart Harness.
One of the nice things about the Tru-Fit Smart harness is that it easily doubles as a walking harness, so when travelling, you don't have to switch out from a safety dog harness to a walking harness every time you stop. Just unhook the seat belt clip and hook on the walking leash. It's that easy!
So, all in all, we give the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness two paws up for quality, craftsmanship and purpose. We only a few things on our "wish list" for it:
1. We wish it fit a little more securely around the neck for me, even though it has lots of ways to make it secure. I'm an 11 lb Mini Schnauzer and this was the smallest one they had, but I know it's possible.
2. We wish the top seam along the spine did not seem to press on the spine so much at first. However, as we all know, new things must be "broken in" first.
3. We wish the harness came in more colors than just black/orange trim and red/blue trim. The quality is so amazing, I'm thinking some really pretty colors would be fantastic. Royal blue anyone?
I hope you enjoyed my review of the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness. I can't wait to get one for each of my sisters. I think all dogs should be secure in a moving vehicle. Are yours? If your pets aren't traveling with a secure pet safety harness in your vehicles, don't wait friends. Try a Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness for your pet. You'll be glad you did!
Go visit my friends at Kurgo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! They will be glad to hear from you and will answer any questions you may have. And don't forget to tell them Pixel Blue Eyes sent you!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Great Crate Debate: The Joy of Being and Having #CrateHappyPets

This post is sponsored by PetSmart, and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Containment Products and Education for your pet, but 'Pixel Blue Eyes: Her Tails of Adventure' blog only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. PetSmart is not responsible for the content of this article.
Ahhhh, the great "Crate Debate". Are crates good? Do pets like them? Is crate training cruel? Why try using crates at all...isn't that like a cage?  Mommy and I have heard so many questions, so many uncertainties. Hence, when we heard that our friends at PetSmart®, whose vision is to provide Total Lifetime CareSM for every pet, every parent, every time, believe like we do...that crates and pet carriers should be a safe, happy place that pets will actually choose to go to on their own...we were thrilled to team up with them and spread the word about how great crates are!
My sisters and I, and all dogs in my family since long before I was born 7 years ago, have used crates since day one with our family. For over 22 years, Mommy has been crate training dogs with love, affection, and great success. Dogs don't and shouldn't live in crates, or be forced to stay in them for extended periods of time, but they are a great tool when needed and a safe haven when used correctly. Since we now have four little girl dogs in the family, we call them our "Princess Towers" and we LOVE them. We have open "princess towers" all the time in the house so us pups can go in and take a nap, chew on a favorite bone or toy, or go some place to "feel safe" if we hear loud noises, such as someone mowing the lawn outside (it is getting to be spring after all). Whether we were adopted as puppies or adults, we learned quickly that crates were our friends. Let me tell you what I mean...
Training a New Puppy to be a #CrateHappyPet
When I first adopted Mommy, she was in school and living alone in a small apartment with lots of things I could have gotten into if left alone. Mommy wanted me safe, but unfortunately, she had to leave me at times to go to class. She bought me a large metal crate (but not too large) and a comfortable padded liner to go in the bottom. Then she got me a very plush bed to fit inside the crate, where there would then be plenty of room for a water bowl that would not tip over, and a few safe toys in the crate as well.
She rolled up blankets around the edge as sort of a bolster for padding, as in this photo here. Then she introduced me to my first "princess tower". Now, of course I was a puppy and didn't understand why I couldn't be in Mommy's arms every single second so she started slowly introducing me to it. She left it open and hid treats in it for me to find on occasion and we'd "play" in it. I loved that! No wonder I became the "finder of long lost kibble" later in life. Then she started placing me in the crate with some treats and the door closed for only a couple of minutes. I'd cry. She'd wait, and then let me out tell me I was a good girl for being in there. She slowly lengthened the time and would walk out of the room on occasion so I couldn't see her. I'd cry at first, but she'd wait until I stopped for a second. When she'd come back, and whenever she opened that door, it was always the BEST most HAPPIEST REUNION!! Even if it was just 5 or 10 minutes. Within a week, she was taking showers or cooking supper and I'd stay in the crate just for practice. Always, always, when she'd open up that door, we had the most loving time together, where she told me I was such a good girl and I'd get a few treats. She'd still leave it open and inviting all the time, and she soon saw that I'd go in there for naps if she was busy cooking supper or doing something else where I couldn't lay right beside her.
When Mommy had to leave for class, she'd put me in the crate with several treats (of course I protested at first, but then I loved it after learning it was such a great place!) and I'd happily wait until she returned. She always returned to me, and that is how I learned that the crate was such a happy place. I associated the crate with Mommy coming home to me and a wonderful cuddle fest afterwards. She'd open that door, and I'd roll on my back immediately and rub my little eyes, giving her a big smile. She'd stick her head and arms in that big crate and she would hug and kiss me so much! It was the best thing. To this day, I roll on my back like that for hugs and kisses from Mommy!
There are so Many Great Crate Uses. Here are some of the many other ways that our family uses crates to make me and my sisters #CrateHappyPets:
1. JOYFUL HAVEN
One look at Sassy's face, and the terms "joyful haven" and #CrateHappyPets will speak for themselves. My sisters and I love going into our "princess tower" crates to chew on a bone, take a nap together or play with our favorite toys. Sassy and I both LOVE to chew a rawhide or sweet potato chew in them as well.
Peanut and I will go in sometimes and lay together, or Dixie Mae and I will have rubber duckie squeaking contests in the "princess tower" crates. If a family member wants to find one of us, where will they often look? In one of the crates.
Now, we sleep with our family members in their beds, and spend the day on the couches, or dog beds around the house near them, or going out with them etc, but we also choose to spend time in our princess towers. We get to choose where we hang out at in the house.
And let's not forget the kitties love the crates too. Noel had quite the collection of toys she kept in her crate we always had available. We constantly found her in one of the crates bringing her "treasures" and making a collection pile.
2. REST and RECOVERY WARD
Just like humans, pets get sick, have injuries or need to get surgery sometimes. We use both metal and soft sided crates, depending on the situation, for rest and recovery during those times.
After my tail surgery a few years ago, Mommy set up a large metal crate right beside our bed so she could watch me every second. The vet required me to stay still, and I was not able to sleep on the bed with her like I normally do. I needed to be on a flat, cushioned area and not running around on the bed at risk of jumping down, so the crate was safer and wiser for me to be in. My sweet sister Peanut lay on the bed by the crate many a time with her nose almost through the bars so I would know she was close. It was such a comfort to me and showed just how devoted and loving we animals are to each other.
Fast forward to this very month. My newest sister Sassy, who is 6 months old, just got spayed, but at the same time, poor sweet Peanut, who is 10 years old, has a bad neck problem and is having trouble walking and using her legs. Peanut HAD to remain stationary so she would not harm her neck further, and Sassy had to remain calm and contained because she had an open wound in her abdomen and needed to rest. So we have had TWO dogs "convalescing" at once...both needing their own crate to rest and recover in. So, we set up two crates in the living room, one for each of them. They are never left alone. There was always at least one adult watching them at all times. They got bathroom breaks, water breaks, proper feeding times, lots of loving affection, but LOTS of required rest. And even though Sassy was not thrilled about it, we found ways to help her through.
Would it have been better for us to let a puppy with stitches run around all over the place, have full freedom right after surgery and potentially break open those stitches, requiring further surgery? NO. We've experienced that horrible mistake before. Sassy is all healed now and back to full fun times with no crate needed of course. It was just a necessary tool, like being in the hospital basically. If you had surgery, your doctor wouldn't allow you to run around and play would he?
3. SAFE FROM THE STORM
As we all know, some dogs get scared of things like thunderstorms, jets flying overhead, lawn mowers outside, even the vacuum cleaner. By having an open crate available to your pet, they will always have a "safe place" to go to if they at all feel uncertain and can't run into your arms immediately.
I actually go to one of my princess tower crates at times when my tail nerve pain acts up. I have written about it in previous blog posts about tail docking. It's a way for Mommy to know that I might be in pain if she sees me run to the crate for no apparent reason and act distressed or start going after my tail.

Dixie Mae has special circumstances that makes her afraid of things including thunderstorms and loud airplanes too. She escaped a horrible puppy mill after years of abuse, neglect, and then being shot. She was rescued and we were blessed to have her become a part of our family. But she still carries the bullet, and she still carries some of the fear. So when she hears loud bangs, she runs away and tries to hide under anything she can. We found she feels safest in my little travel crate, so we have it set up for her to go to anytime she wants to. We watch the weather close during thunderstorm season, are careful about hunting season since we live in the mountains, and make sure a cozy crate is available for her to feel safe and protected 24/7.
4. LET'S TAKE A TRIP!
Our family takes a vacation every year together, plus we go on drives and run errands all the time. If we need to travel in a carrier for safety, Mommy will have the carrier open for us ahead of time in preparation for the trip. We always give it an "inspection" and usually take at least one nap inside it before we are on our way. My sister Dixie Mae loves playing with our rubber duckie toys in one of our little travel crates that Mommy sometimes keeps open on the bed before a trip. She likes to have it open so we get used to going in and out of it before the trip, so it's not just a "grab and shove" type of surprise for us. We love to travel with our family, and love our crates, but she still likes for us to be used to things and never get "surprised".
5. INTRODUCE NEW FAMILY MEMBERS
We are a family that has both dogs and cats, and we've fostered several kitties over the years. With each one, there's a time of quarantine, then spay/neuter, then introduction into the family. As I mentioned before, a really comfortable crate is an excellent place for a pet to rest and recover from surgery. It's also perfect time for pets to get to know one another from a safe distance, without the feeling of being "threatened" in a way, especially if some of them had a rocky start to life. That is how I got to know several of my foster kitty sisters, including Noel a few years ago. She and I were especially close after we got to know one another. But first, I observed her at a safe distance while she was recovering from her spay surgery in a safe crate. After several days of just looking at her, I eventually sniffed the crate, and one day we finally met. But that crate gave us a safe way to be close without being "too close".
6. TRANSPORTING RESCUE PETS TO FREEDOM AND A NEW LIFE
This is a photo of Sunny, a very special dog that Mommy helped rescue a couple of years ago. Mommy has worked in rescue for years, and Sunny was just extra special. Sunny climbed the fencing of her kennel every single day multiple times, just like an escape artist. But she didn't run away, she just wanted to be with the people at the shelter. Mommy used her connections to help find a way for Sunny to get to a new home where she got trained to be an agility dog. It was a wonderful happy ending! Mommy used a metal crate to transport Sunny to get spayed and a crate was used to transport her all the way to her new loving home in northern Virginia. It was a wonderful experience and Sunny's life was saved thanks to the good use of crates that helped keep her safe during travel.
7. TRAINING FOOD AGGRESSION OUT OF DOGS
Our family has fostered and adopted many rescues over the years, and on occasion there's been a dog who had food issues. Whatever the reason might be, some dogs have a fear of their food being taken away, or they just can't eat around other pets. You can train pets to eat near each other by using a crate. Start by having two pets eating far away from each other, the aggressor in the crate with their food. With a lot of time, and careful proximity, you can slowly bring the two dogs closer together until they are within a few feet of one another. Mommy always recommends giving each dog "food eating space" because that is just proper and respectful to each dog. You can also help train the dog to lose food aggression towards human interaction while eating, but always consult a professional with any questions on this.
REMEMBER:
MAKE THE CRATE/CARRIER AS COMFORTABLE AND INVITING AS POSSIBLE. Soft bedding, plush padding, bolster blankets around the edges, whatever it takes to make that crate a haven. Try to think of what your pets needs are. Do they have arthritis? Do they get cold easily? Do they tend to overheat? Are their paws sensitive? Alter the customization according to the pet.
DON'T LOSE PATIENCE WITH YOUR PET. They are learning and unsure. They need all the reassurance they can get. When Mommy would put me in the crate (right outside the bathroom) and then take a shower, I cried so many times all the way through Mommy's entire shower when I first was learning about it, but I needed to know it was okay. I wasn't being hurt. Mommy had to let me sit in there, safe, surrounded in comfort, and let me realize in my own time that it was really an awesome, safe place to be when she went to class for 2 hours.
ALWAYS KEEP THE CRATE EXPERIENCE POSITIVE. Never ever punish a dog while they are inside the crate. They can have a few minutes of a time out in the crate, but don't punish, yell or make the crate a negative experience or they will fear the crate.
NEVER TRAP YOUR PET IN A CRATE FOR ANY LONG EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME. Crates are not meant to be a long term living quarter for your pet. Your pet is meant to live and be with you! I live with my Mommy, sit and lay on the couch with her, sleep on our bed with her, follow her everywhere. However, a crate can be a safe haven in various circumstances, including the ones I mentioned.
These are just a few of the ways that crates can be used in a positive and healthy way with pets to help them be #CrateHappyPets. The benefits of crate training are tremendous and will last a lifetime with your pet. Here is my final thought on why crates are a good thing for pet parents to consider for their beloved little (and big) ones: When used in the manner that I spoke of above, crates are safe, loving way to deal with separation anxiety, travel needs, pet safety, pet health, and pet happiness. When you use a crate for transport safety or to help your beloved pet recover from surgery, and they are surrounded by plush warm comfort better than some humans, and spoiled in the best way with a loving human right there watching over them in case they need anything...how can that be anything but loving?
To learn more about making your pet a successful #CrateHappyPet, here are a couple of helpful links:
PetMD Puppy Crate Training
Positive Portable Kennel Training
SPECIAL PETSMART SAVINGS!

All through the month of March, Petsmart is having a sale on all their pet carrier and containment items in stores. They have a huge selection of soft sided and metal fold up crates, like the ones you have seen in my photos, as well as great looking and highly durable plastic crates. They are all great choices, it just depends on your needs.
Can't find a Petsmart near you? Use this store locator link to find your nearest Petsmart.
So tell me friends, is your pet a #CrateHappyPet? If you have any questions on my experiences I'd love to talk more, so please ask me a question in the comment section.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Joy of Traveling - Part I: Pixel's Road Trip to the Beach

My Family just recently took a long, much needed vacation to the beautiful shores of Florida. It was such an incredible experience for me, as I've never even seen the beach before. I'm six and a half years old now, so it was always something I wanted to experience with Mommy. See, I was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. I love the mountains and beautiful seasons that I experience here, but I've always wanted to see the ocean. Mommy grew up on the eastern shore, and she often told me stories about the beautiful beaches; describing the ocean, the waves, the wildlife and the wonderful experiences she had there. It has made me long to go for years.
Once we set a plan into motion and started preparing for our 10 day excursion, Mommy and I were so excited we could hardly contain ourselves. I've only long distance traveled once in my life, and that was to the 2013 BlogPaws convention last year. That was 4 days and 3 nights, but this beach trip was going to be 10 days, which might as well have meant we were moving there. At least when it came to my travel needs. I double and triple checked Mommy's packing skills when it came to my stuff, and we both packed WAY more than we ever needed. But our philosophy is simple:  better to pack too much and not need it than not pack enough and be left without what you need. Thus, Mommy and I packed at least 2-5 times as much outfits and toys than we ended up using. Anyone else pack like that?
After making enough food to feed a large iditerod team of dogs and people, and after packing 3/4 of the house into Grampy's van, we were off. It was a long drive so we split it up into two days. We stayed at a FANTASTIC Pet Friendly hotel in South Carolina that really made us feel welcome and comfortable. I will be doing a full review of the Residence Inn Marriott in a later post. Once on the road, me and my sisters informed the family that we would be doing spot checks of every single rest stop and gas station from Virginia to the beaches of Florida. Thus, we only had to stop about 35 times times per day,  meaning that our 5 hour first day's travel turned into 8+ hours. We found nice rest stops all along the way that had real nice pet walking areas that even included supplies for picking up any 'messes' you made. In our defense, traveling with three little girl dogs, and a van full of people with differing "break" schedules, requires frequent stops...especially when you're doing surprise inspections.We didn't mind all the stops though. We were together and that was all that mattered.
So do you want to know what happened next? Stay tuned for more posts detailing my amazing beach trip! Wait until you see all the photos...you're going to love it!