My Top 5 Pet Themed Holiday Movies

Many of us will be busy with the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, working extra hours, driving amongst angry drivers, and dealing with the holiday blues.  Before Scrooge gets you in his sights pop one of these movies in for an instant feel good, and a friendly reminder of what the holidays are really about.   I hope you enjoy the list, and if you have any to add feel free to leave your recommendation in the comment box below.  Happy Holidays!

 

5)Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

charlie-brown

I know what you’re thinking, Thanksgiving over Christmas?  As cute as Charlie Brown’s Christmas is, I’m partial to the bond of man and man’s best friend in this adorable Thanksgiving movie.  Snoopy even tries to save the day when Peppermint Patty invites herself as well as two others over for a Thanksgiving feast.  For those who have seen it, their dinner is the sweetest, funniest, and cutest concoction that Snoopy can come up with in a pinch.  At the end of the day, it’s dear Marcie that helps to put the true meaning of the holiday into perspective.

“We should just be thankful for just being together.  I think that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.”

 

4) Addam’s Family Values(1993)

adams-family

Perhaps this isn’t your typical holiday movie and Thing probably isn’t what you would consider a”pet,” but I think we can all appreciate the similarities between Thing and some of our four-legged friends.  The Addams Family is by far what you would find in a Sears catalog, but it’s their loyalty and ability to stay calm and collective while making personal sacrifices for their loved ones that really gets you in the feels. The Thanksgiving feast is beyond comical in this film, and I would say personally favored over the first television to film adaptation The Addams Family  in 1991.  While Raul Julia is sadly no longer with us, his depiction of Gomez Addams was genius and wise.  It’s literally the Addams Family values that draws you into this movie, and leaves you longing to be an Addams too.

 

3) The Muppet Christmas Carol(1992)

There muppetare so many adaptations of Charles Dickens Christmas classic, but the Muppet Christmas Carol is my second to 1988’s Scrooged.  I realize these aren’t “real” animals, but you can’t get more pet/animal friendly than the muppets.  Kermit plays poor mistreated Bob Cratchit while Sir Michael Caine leads with a grumpy brute force as Scrooge.  This timeless classic story pulls on your heartstrings no matter how many times you may have seen it (regardless of version), or read it.  It’s simply not Christmas without it.   What makes Muppet Christmas Carol standout over other renditions are the beautifully written songs in true Jim Henson style.

 

 

2) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

national

Due to strong language, I wouldn’t recommend watching this movie with children that are easily influenced.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a nonstop laugh riot.  What adds to this families nonstop disastrous holiday are a rottweiler named Snot (for very obvious reasons), a cat who was accidentally wrapped as a present by a delusional Great Aunt, and a squirrel that makes it into the house under some very hilarious circumstances.   At the end of the movie you have an almost broken and defeated Clark Griswold about to swear off Christmas for good, when he finally realizes the importance of his family and what they mean to him as well as what he means to them.

 

1)Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas (1977)

jugband

Christmas can’t officially begin in the Ries household if Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas isn’t playing.  A holiday tradition since I can remember, this Jim Henson classic features a plethora of woodland critters singing, dancing, and even playing in a rock and roll band.  What makes this movie stand out to me, is the fact that I’ve seen it at the bare minimum 35 times and it still melts my heart to this day.  Christmas isn’t always about what you receive, it’s way more than that.  The holidays are about coming together, committing personal sacrifices just to see your loved one happy, and enjoying some beautiful music.  It’s an amazing movie that should be enjoyed by everyone.

Cookouts, Food and Pet Safety

Summer is finally here! And for a lot of us that means getting outdoors and enjoying cookouts with family, friends — and pets!

It’s a great time to sit back and relax, drink a beer or two and maybe set the family record for the number of hot dogs you can eat. But don’t rest too easy, there is some responsibility you shouldn’t ignore — especially if you have pets!

cook-on-bbqWhile we are enjoying our favorite summer foods, it’s worth keeping in mind that a lot of these tasty treats are not so good for our furry friends.  Even simple things that you might not think of, like onions and guacamole, can be dangerous.  These kinds of foods are typically left out on a table well within reach of any curious dog or cat, so let’s look at some of the more harmful culprits we should keep an eye on.

 

Foods Your Pet Should Avoid

Hot Dogs

While tasty, hot dogs are not the healthiest food for us humans, and they are even worse for pets. Hot dogs are packed with tons of salt and preservatives, both in levels that dogs are just not used to. Excessive amounts can lead to diarrhea and indigestion. It’s our recommendation to avoid them altogether, but if you must must must give in to temptation and treat your dog, please exercise moderation. Also, it’s helpful to cut them into bite-size pieces to avoid choking hazards.

Snack Foods

Chips are pretzels are also full of salt that can cause excessive thirst and urination.  And who wants a dog peeing everywhere!?  In all seriousness, snack foods are just as unhealthy for dogs as they can be for us and we should exercise caution.  If your dog gets too many snacks it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, the effects of which can include vomiting, diarrhea, fevers and even death.

Bones

The leftover remains from ribs, steaks or chicken wings can be dangerous in the mouth of your dog.  Bones can splinter easily  and if they are digested they can cause puncture wounds in your dogs mouth, stomach or digestive tract.  They can also lead to obstructions and other health hazards.  For your dog’s safety, make sure everyone knows where they can safely dispose of their food.

Fruits and Desserts

Fruits in general are high in sugar and can lead to blood glucose issues, but the main culprits to watch out for are grapes and raisins.  They have been shown to cause serious kidney issues and even death when consumed by dogs.  Desserts that include chocolate or Xylitol are no-nos for dogs, as they can prove fatal quickly.

Choking Hazards

Many cookout foods are also choking hazards.  Hot dogs, bones, and corn cobs can get lodged in your dog’s airway.  Keep an eye out for anything that is larger than bite size.

Alcohol

An ice cold beer or mixed drink might be the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day, but it is not going to have the same effect on your pet.  Even a small amount, just a few licks or laps, can be dangerous or even fatal.  In a festive environment, once drinks start pouring it’s not uncommon for a few glasses to get abandoned here and there, so make sure you clean up after your forgetful friends.

 

Foods Your Pet Should Enjoy

Okay, cookouts are all about fun and food.  If we enjoy these things, why shouldn’t our pets?  They can have fun too, as long as we are responsible and make it safe for them!

thThe good folks at the DogVacay blog have come up with some tasty, pet safe recipes that you can prepare for your pet and bring to your next cookout.  The recipes include a tasty Bacon Swiss Burger, a delectable Turkey Burger and Peanut Butter Treats!

As mentioned earlier, you can give in and treat your pet to normal cookout fare but it is important that you remember what is poisonous, what can be a choking hazard and what you should feed in moderation.  If your pet is just too far determined to get into the entire spread, it might be a good idea to take them indoors or to another part of the yard where they can stay out of harm’s way.

Have fun this summer, but be safe — even if your pet whines just a bit because they can enjoy the buffet, they will appreciate your mindful discretion in the long run!

 

Zoos & Aquariums: More than Meets the Eye

Red Panda

Red Panda loving his free reign of the tree branches at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.

June is National Zoo & Aquarium month! This month is not only intended to encourage more people to visit zoos & aquariums, but also to raise awareness about the role they play in our society. The work of Zoos & Aquariums happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year- the conservation, education and research happening at these facilities around the world never rests. The need for the work they do is becoming more & more important every day. The future of endangered species as well as educating individuals about conservation depends upon their continuing efforts and it just so happens that Zoos & Aquariums are one of the best ways to present this information to the curious public.

Prairie Dog out for a climb at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Prairie Dog out for a climb at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

I am lucky to be a part of an amazing group of volunteers at a local zoo. As a zoo volunteer, I quickly learned zoos (& aquariums) are so much more than just a place that’s fun for guests to visit. Yes, they are marketed as family friendly, tourism destinations but they have so much more to offer guests & wildlife of the world!

Zoos & Aquariums are working hard to establish memorable visitor experiences AND excellent animal care procedures. For visitors, this includes incorporating interactive and even hands-on programs in order to help build an appreciation & a stronger connection between guests and the wildlife all while in a fun and informal setting. For the animals, this means introducing more naturalistic enclosures & implementing animal enrichment exercises so they can demonstrate behavior that is common for their particular species, not to mention top of the line veterinary care when needed.

Orangutan at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk

Orangutan at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk

In my role as an education volunteer at the zoo, we work hard to ‘interpret’ the animal collection to our guests of all ages and engage them in conversation about wildlife adaptations, environmental & conservation efforts that are being made with the particular species to better enhance their visitor experience allow them to walk away with an enjoyable learning experience.

“We believe in a better future for all living things. We envision a world where all people respect, value and conserve wildlife and wild places.” –The Association of Aquarium & Zoos

Dog Face Puffer at the Denver Zoo in Colorado

Dog Face Puffer at the Denver Zoo in Colorado

Association of Zoos & Aquariums assures that the highest standards of animal care are met for accredited facilities. More than 200 AZA accredited institutions meet the always evolving top-of-the-line standards & guidelines for animal care & management. These standards are set to facilitate and promote education, care & conservation of animals.

Looking for something to do this summer? Consider a trip to the zoo or aquarium! You’re sure to have a fun time & learn some new things along the way. After your visit, challenge yourself or your children to come up with some ways you help the wildlife in & around your neighborhood.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the Summer,
Sam W.

Sources:
https://www.aza.org/
https://ngcproject.org/blog/june-national-zoos-and-aquariums-month
Zoos Are Not Prisons. They Improve the Lives of Animals.

My 5 Favorite Animated Animals

As the mother of a 2-year-old, most TV and movies that I get to watch are animated. After watching the same shows and movies over and over you begin to develop a few favorites.
Here are 5 of my favorite animated animals!

1. Sebastian
The Little Mermaid
Sebastian character
Sebastian is a red Jamaican crab in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. He is often ordered to look after Arial which seems to give him a deal of anxiety. He would much rather be writing music. Sebastian can also be seen briefly in Aladdin.

2. Flik
A Bug’s Life
Flik
Flik is a nerdy ant in A Bug’s Life. He is determined to make a difference in his colony. Flik makes a short appearance in Toy Story 2.

3. Dug
Up
dug-from-up
Dug is a super lovable Golden Retriever in the movie Up. His inventive owner created a special collar that translates Dugs thought into words.

4. Donkey
Shrek
50b30ae149cf51fb49bbde67922dbef3
Donkey quickly goes from a stranger to Shrek’s hyperactive sidekick, proving to Shrek that he is there to stay no matter what.

5. Apollo the Super-Pup
Paw Patrol
PAW_Patrol_Apollo_the_Super-Pup
Apollo is by far my 2-year-olds favorite. He is a TV show character on a TV show. The Paw Patrol pups watch his show in a few episodes and Apollo appears in Rubble’s dream in the episode “Pups Save Apollo”

Who are your favorites?

Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Laws

That Fish Place – That Pet Place is committed to the proper, safe ownership of all animals and we wanted to help our blog readers get a better understanding of what animal cruelty laws are, so we can prevent these abusive acts.

There are many acts that are legally considered cruel that you might not have previously considered. We wanted to highlight a few of these little known abuses and will post the full list of cruelty laws below.

(b) Regulating certain actions concerning fowl or rabbits.–A person commits a summary offense if he sells, offers for sale, barters, or gives away baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl, under one month of age, or rabbits under two months of age, as pets, toys, premiums or novelties or if he colors, dyes, stains or otherwise changes the natural color of baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl, or rabbits or if he brings or transports the same into this Commonwealth. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the sale or display of such baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl, or such rabbits, in proper facilities by persons engaged in the business of selling them for purposes of commercial breeding and raising.

Coloring chickens or rabbits might seem like a fun harmless activity, especially during the holidays, but they are considered illegal and should be avoided.

(d) Selling or using disabled horse.–A person commits a summary offense if he offers for sale or sells any horse, which by reason of debility, disease or lameness, or for other cause, could not be worked or used without violating the laws against cruelty to animals, or leads, rides, drives or transports any such horse for any purpose, except that of conveying the horse to the nearest available appropriate facility for its humane keeping or destruction or for medical or surgical treatment.

(f) Hours of labor of animals.–A person commits a summary offense if he leads, drives, rides or works or causes or permits any other person to lead, drive, ride or work any horse, mare, mule, ox, or any other animal, whether belonging to himself or in his possession or control, for more than 15 hours in any 24 hour period, or more than 90 hours in any one week.

Perhaps an overlooked section of the law is the use of animals for labor. Anyone who overworks and animal or uses an animal that is injured can face heavy fines.

(1) A person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if he is the owner or co-owner of a dog that kills, maims or disfigures a guide dog of an individual who is blind, a hearing dog of an individual who is deaf or audibly impaired or a service dog of an individual who is physically limited without provocation by the guide, hearing or service dog or the individual.

If a person, or their dog, causes harm or death to a guide dog, they can face heavy fines, up to and including health care costs for the guide dog or even replacement and training costs for a new guide dog.

Here in Pennsylvania, the SPCA strives to eliminate abuse towards animals. Their team investigates complaints that includes physical abuse, hoarding, animal fighting, neglect, neglect and failure to provide food, water, shelter and vet care.spca-300x82

They find educating the public can be effective at reducing complaints related to animal abuse. For public knowledge and the benefit of animals everywhere, they have posted Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Laws.

But there are more serious cases that require intervention and their Humane Society Police Officers, led by Director of Human Law Enforcement George Bengal, are willing and able to enforce search warrants when deemed necessary.

If you observe abuse towards an animal, you can report it to the Pennsylvania SPCA by calling 866-601-SPCA and they will handle it quickly and effectively.

14 Foods You Can Share with Your Dog

As pet owners, we are often warned about what foods not to share with our pups but sometimes it is hard to resist those puppy dog eyes. Here are 14 foods you can share with your dog!

Keep in mind that all dogs are different and just like people some dogs could be allergic to certain foods. Always try new foods in small amounts and watch for any side effects.

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Peanut butterLicking dog
  3. Chicken
  4. Yogurt
  5. Carrots
  6. Broccoli
  7. Green beans
  8. Pumpkin
  9. Eggs
  10. Salmon
  11. Cottage Cheese
  12. Apple slices
  13. Cheese
  14. Sweet Potatoes

You can make your own dog treats with these ingredients and more. Check out our DIY Dog Treats board on Pinterest for recipes!

Enjoy these treats with your dogs this summer and remember to always treat in moderation.

How to Greet a Dog

You know that feeling you get every time you see a new dog? That somewhat uncontrollable urge to run over scoop that pup up and snuggle it for hours. As tempting as it may be, think about it from the dog’s point of view, scary right? If a dog sees you as a threat they may feel like they have no choice other than to bite. Here are some tips on how to greet dogs in a non-threatening manner.

  • Always ask the dog’s owner
  • Do not make direct eye contact
  • Approach the dog slowly
  • Get down on his level
  • Wait for him to approach you
  • Pet gently
  • Pay attention to his body languagegreeting-a-dog

Proper Interaction Between Kids and Dogs

Petbehavior.org‘s Topic of the Month for May is Training Your Child To Be Pet “Wise.”  Their message is that you should start teaching your children how to interact with your pets as soon as they can become mobile.  Our youngsters have no idea that their tugs, pulls, pinches and smacks are painful and can hurt our dogs.

If this is left unchecked, our dogs can suffer from high levels of stress and may even react by biting.  They advocate proper correction from the start is the best way to curtail these actions and even recommend separating your pet from your kids until proper behavior can be demonstrated.

 

doggieAdding a Dog to the Home

A few years ago we bought our first house.  Since we already had kids, we thought getting a dog was a great way to round out our new home.  We already had two cats…but cats are cats and they never exactly warmed up to any of our kids.  But the kids sure did try and had scratches to prove it.

We naturally thought a dog would be different.  And he has been.  Since we picked out our dog, he has been a fun part of the household and he gets along with everyone.  Well, except the cats.

But getting back to PetBehavior’s topic, I think we were able to quickly get through to each of our kids that hitting the dog was bad.  Our two boys only batted at him a few times before our correcting got through to them.  And I can’t even really recall our youngest girl ever taking liberty with him.

The one problem that we run into on occasion is that our two boys have trouble understanding the difference between playing with each other and playing with the dog.

One of their favorite play activities with the dog is to take one of his chew toys and play keep away.  It’s one thing if it’s just them playing keep away with each other, but our dog isn’t as appreciative when it’s one of his toys.  They tuck the toys under their arms or close to their bellies and the only thing our dog can do to play is try to wrestle it from them.  This obviously leads to bites and scratches and every now and then it’s a little too hard and they end up crying.

So we try to impress upon them that that is not how dog’s play and he doesn’t quite understand that he is hurting them.  It’s working slowly, but I think we’ll get there soon.

The one interaction that we always found cute was one of our youngsters running over and giving our dog a big hug.  We thought it was something they would enjoy — and something the dog would appreciate.  Turns out we might have been wrong the whole time.

 

No Hugging?

An interesting theory gaining steam on the internet argues that you should prevent your kids from hugging your dog.  Sounds crazy, right?

Maybe not.

The basis of the theory is that dogs are cursorial animals, meaning that they naturally predisposed to run from danger when needed.  And whenever we hug our dogs we are depriving or preventing them from that ability.  In some cases it can stress your dog to the point that they might bite.

Dr. Stanley Coren writes on PsychologyToday.com, that he found several sources that suggested reducing the chances your child suffers from a dog bite start with preventing them from hugging dogs.  They also found that the proximity of your child’s face to the dogs mouth during a hug greatly increased the chances of being bitten.

Hug scoring 2 Humane Society of Greater RochesterIntrigued, Dr. Coren decided to test the theory.  He collected a random sample of 250 pictures posted to the internet that show a child hugging a dog.  He then looked at the dogs for signs of stress.  He lists signs of stress that can include baring teeth, lowered ears slicked back against the head, submissive eye closure or partial eye closure, avoiding eye contact and lip licking.

Coren found in the pictures he reviewed, 81.6% of dogs showed at least one sign of discomfort, stress or anxiety.  He found that only 7.6 % showed comfort in being hugged and the remaining 10.8% were neutral or ambiguous.  That’s pretty striking.

One thing that Cohen found troubling about his study was that he feels the pictures people post to the internet are the ones they feel show the dogs and their children at their happiest.  If such a high percentage of these photos show dogs under stress, he fears that the owners are not recognizing these signs and, if left unchecked, it could lead to stress and bites.

After reading both articles, I think the thing we can take away is to do a better job of observing our dogs and watching for these signs of stress.  As we try to teach our kids to better interact with our dog, hopefully we can catch any of these signs and prevent something bad from happening.

Spring Fever – Fun Ways to Include Your Pet in Your Wedding Planning

Spring has sprung, and love is in the air.  Most of us have that special pet in our lives, but some of us are lucky enough to have a special someone else in our lives.  Perhaps you both got your pet together, and now you are ready to take that next step with regards to your future.  Don’t let your pet miss out on being a part of your forever and ever.

 

The Proposal

6-91074-dog-collar-proposal-1422407039

Proposal image referenced from Huffingtonpost.com, and can be found here.

There are honestly so many ideas that you could come up with to include your pet with your proposal.   Get creative and jot some ideas down, and see what works best for you.  A few suggestions would be to get a name tag engraved with “Will You Marry Me” or, teach your pet to balance a ring on their head. The fact of the matter is, you know your pet best.  Have fun with it, and them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engagement Photos, Save the Dates, and Invitations

Resourced from theknot.com

Engagement photo referenced from theknot.com, and can be found here.

 

I love the idea of pets being in engagement photo’s, just remember that pets can be unpredictable.  In the event that you hire a photographer, be sure to give them a heads up so that they are also prepared.  It probably wouldn’t hurt to bring some extra treats with you the day of the photoshoot.  Invitations are another great way to include your pet.  Sites such as Shutterfly make creating your own invitations and save the dates a breeze!

 

 

 

Ceremony

Resourced from Brides.com

Wedding image referenced from Huffingtonpost.com, and can be found here.

There is nothing like man’s best friend being the best man, flower girl, ring bearer, or maid of honor! Your pet can have any role at your wedding.  Be sure to check with the venue that they are pet friendly.  If you plan on including your pet, do your homework and check out sites such as BringFido.com for a list of pet friendly attractions.  Receptions can become pretty hectic, and maybe even scary for some pets.  Do not assume that your drunk uncle is keeping an eye out on your pet, hire a pet sitter!

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

The Reception

Resourced from Topweddingsites.com

Image referenced from Topweddingsites.com, and can be found here.

The ceremony is over, and now your pet sitter is keeping an eye on your furbaby. Time to get the party started!  Do not feel bad if your pet can’t be a physical part of the festivities. Have your guests find their seat at a table marked with your pets picture!  There are a lot of cute ways you can include your pet in your decor, such as name place cards, centerpieces, cake toppers, table favors, and so much more!  We understand that some pets may have crossed over the rainbow bridge, but they are forever in your hearts.  Include your beloved pet with a beautiful pet memorial, guest book, or let your guests know that money from the dollar dance will be donated to your favorite rescue in memory of your pet.   It’s your day, make it special.

 

 

 

 

 

Have you included your pet in your wedding?  Please share how in the comments below!  We would love to see pictures too.  Please feel free to post your pictures to our Facebook page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luck of the Canine – 5 Top Irish Dog Breeds

Top of the morning to you all.  There be seas of green on the horizon, and what better way to embrace them than to celebrate with some of our favorite Irish breed dogs.  These dogs are beautiful, and all lucky enough to be Irish.

Irish Red Setter

Irish_setter_headThese beautiful dogs are known for their long, silky auburn colored hair.  Irish Setters are known to have an amazing temperment, so they would be perfect in a household with children.  Being an avid hunter, setters need to remain active.  Don’t leave them unattended outside either, because they will find ways to entertain themselves.  They crave human interaction, so if you’re looking for a dog to go on adventures with look no further.

 

 

 

Irish Red and White Setter

Irish_Red_And_White_Setter_2005The Irish Red and White Setter doesn’t fall far from the red setter, though it is believed that the red and white was the original setter breed from the 17th century.  Sadly, Irish Red and White Setters almost became extinct due to cross breeding.  Luckily enough the breed was saved by the efforts of Reverend Noble Huston.

 

 

Irish Wolfhound 

Irish_Wolfhound_SamThe Irish Wolfhound (or as I like to call it, the Jim Henson dog) is one of the oldest living dog breeds.  Originally referred to as Cú Faoil, wolfhounds were bred as hunting dogs and often given as gifts to nobles and other important people.  Don’t let the size of the wolfhound scare you.  These dogs really are gentle giants.  Though they aren’t considered to be guard dogs, I think the size alone can be rather persuasive.

 

 

Irish Terrier

Irish-terrierIrish Terrier’s are one of the oldest breed of terriers, and is the fourth most popular breed of terrier in Ireland and England. Irish Terrier’s are extremely active, so they are better suited with a family that loves going for walks, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Irish Terrier’s are great with children, and train extremely well.

 

 

 

Irish Water Spaniel

1024px-Irlandzki_spaniel_wodny_676Thought to be a descendant of Dobhar-chú, the Irish water Spaniel sure has come a long way.  Irish Water Spaniels are perfect dogs for people who may have allergies, due to its dense curly hair, because they shed very little.   Irish Water Spaniels make great family dogs, and can be quite comedic when performing ordinary tasks.

 

 

We love dog breeds of all shapes, sizes, and regions!  Thank you for reading, and we hope that you have a safe and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Scroll To Top