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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


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!





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!









7 Things My Dog is Thankful For

With Thanksgiving fast approaching we often take this time to look back and remind ourselves what we are most thankful for. My 7 year old hound mix, Chester has been on the top of my list for some time now. Sometimes IMG_4974I wonder what he is thankful for, so here is what I think his list would look like:

  1. My Little Sister
    When my parents brought home this little wiggly thing a year and a half ago I was less then amused. She started growing on me quickly and once they started giving her real food I was hooked! I am thankful to have someone to play with who sneaks me table scraps all the time.
  2. King Sized Beds
    I am thankful for my big warm king sized bed that my parent bought just for me!
  3. Family
    For the last 6 years I have been the only dog on my mom’s side of the family but this year I got two new K9 cousins! I don’t care to participate in their puppy antics but it’s nice to not be the only pup at family BBQs.
  4. My Mom’s Job
    Having a parent that works a pet store is every dogs dream right? Not only do I get the coolest and newest treats and toys but I can go with her to work!
  5. Flea Control10178106_10101032892477222_3758456951070288092_n (2)
    I guess because it’s cold out these little bugs think they can make my coat their home. Luckily I am protected by some awesome topical flea & tick treatment.
  6. My Tru Fit Smart Harness
    This awesome harness has a nifty little seat belt loop to help keep me safe and secure in the car. Now my parents have no excuse for leaving me home.
  7. Pet-Loving Family & Friends
    For some reason my parents sometimes think they need a vacation. Even though I don’t usually get to go, I have so many awesome friends and family members who are more than happy to open their homes to me.

Thanks for reading! Does your pet have a thank-you list this holiday season? I’d love to hear about it.


Assistance Dogs: Facts & Resources on These Amazing Animals!

Assistance Dog
It’s no secret that dogs are known as “man’s best friend”. On a daily basis our dogs (cats and other furry & feathered friends, too!) provide us with unconditional love and loyalty thus making a positive impact on our lives. The therapeutic and healing benefits of a canine’s companionship are next to none, simply petting a dog can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. This trait, along with their amazing trainability is what makes them so successful at being assistance dogs and aiding those with disabilities. With the help of hardworking and devoted assistance dogs, individuals with physical, emotional and mental disabilities are able to experience an enhanced quality of life.

3 Types of Assistance Dogs

While formal training standards for guide dogs have been established for over 70 years, the use of assistance dogs alongside individuals with physical and mental disabilities is a more modern concept. Nevertheless, hardworking assistance dogs of all types significantly impact their partners’ lives in many ways every single day.

Guide Dog

Guide Dogs: For individuals who are blind or visually impaired. In public, a guide dog can be identified by a harness and U-shaped handle which promotes communication between the assistance dog and their partner. In this team, the human’s role is to provide verbal commands, while the dog ensures their partner’s safety by avoiding obstacles, signaling changes in elevation, locating objects, negotiating traffic and so on.

Hearing Dogs: For individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Hearing dogs assist by alerting their partners to household sounds, such as doorbells, alarm clocks, smoke alarms, a crying baby and more. They are trained specifically to make physical contact and lead deaf partners to the source of sounds.

Service Dogs: Service Dog is a broad term for canines who support partners with disabilities other than those related to vision or hearing. These dogs can be specially trained to handle a multitude of situations related to improving their partner’s well-being. Service dogs can work with wheelchair bound individuals, those with autism and also those with other medical concerns to perform potential lifesaving duties. Service dogs can also aid those seeking emotional support. A veteran may find that an assistance dog has a huge, positive impact on their quality of life by providing them with stability & comfort after returning from overseas.

Among many others, here are a few tasks specially trained service dogs can help with:

  • Retrieving out-of-reach items
  • Pulling wheelchairs
  • Opening & closing doors
  • Turning light switches on & off
  • Barking to indicate assistance is needed
  • Providing balance & counterbalance
  • Seizure alert & response- Dogs trained to operate push button device to call 911, etc.
  • Alerting to other medical issues, such as low blood sugar- Dogs trained to fetch insulin kit or respiratory assist device if necessary.


Assistance Dog Standards

service-dog-1396291Assistance dogs, their trainers, partners and associated programs are held to a high level of standards that are crucial for defining what an assistance dog is. After completing screenings for emotional soundness, physical health and working ability, the dogs must complete labor-intensive training plans which include obedience and task work, such as retrieving, carrying, nose nudge and harness based tasks among many others. Once training is complete, assistance dogs are matched to best suit the needs of their partner and must show they are capable of performing the tasks deemed necessary to alleviate their partner’s disabilities. In turn, assistance dog partners must be able to provide their assistance dog with a secure living environment as well as take responsibility for the dog’s emotional, physical and financial needs.

While many service dog programs use Golden retrievers and Labradors, there are many other examples of breeds that have been successfully trained in aiding individuals with disabilities. The partner and their type of disabilities is a large deciding factor in what type of dog they will be matched with. Breed, size, shape and color aside, a good service dog is very people oriented, not protective or overly active and is confident, but not dominant or submissive.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in applying for an assistance dog, training an assistance dog or helping to educate others about these specially trained animals, check out the resources below.

  • Assistance Dogs International
    ADI is a coalition of not for profit assistance dog organizations. If you are interested in applying for an assistance dog, you can find resources from Assistance Dogs International to locate programs in your local area.
  • Celebrate International Assistance Dog Week
    This website is a comprehensive resource about International Assistance Dog Week (August 2nd through the 8th). Locate events in your area to help celebrate & raise awareness about assistance dogs.
  • Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services
    Do you know an organization or individual who could benefit greatly from some therapy dog interaction? KPETS, out of Lancaster, PA, is a network of therapy teams that provide therapeutic and supportive benefits to those with disabilities through human to animal interactions. These services are provided to organizations and/or individuals in need free of charge.
  • Phoenix Assistance Dogs of Central PA
    Interested in training an assistance dog? Phoenix Assistance Dogs is a community program created to locate and train puppies to help those in need. PAD can also help individuals in finding and training their own assistance dog if they wish.


Service Dog © Found Animals Foundation | Flickr
Service Dog with Wheelchair © betta5 | freeimages.com
Guide Dog © Leonardo Tote | freeimages.com


Walking the Dog – How Exercising with Your Pets Can Motivate You to Stay Fit

Ready for a WalkI’m not what you would consider an athletic person. For years I struggled with laziness and weight gain and not even my own deteriorating reflection looking back at me couldn’t get me up and moving to do anything about it. But about a year ago, spurred by an office “biggest loser” competition and the possibility of a substantial cash prize, I finally made the leap and started a walking regime, and walking the dog was the natural way to get going. But you know, it wasn’t long til the money didn’t matter…I started feeling great, eating right, and best of all, I came to realize that daily walks were as rewarding and beneficial for my dog’s physical and emotional well-being as my own. Daily walks and explorations became a necessity, a welcome obligation, and my dogs have become two of my biggest motivators to get moving and get fit.

Now don’t get me wrong, my dogs are active and get plenty of exercise, but that’s all thanks to having access to a fenced back yard, a lovely local dog park, and family lands where they are free to roam, play and run as much as their hearts desire. It’s always been easy just to open the door or take a short drive to let them run, while I enjoyed a maple-shaded park bench or a nap in the grass. Involving my pets in my newly adapted physical regime has become not only one of the most motivating aspects, but also priceless bonding time and a unique chance to really see my four-legged friends in the elements they love. I don’t think I could imagine two better walking partners to keep me on the path to success. Let me tell you why… Read More »

Pet Compatibility – Helping to Ensure Successful Cohabitation Between Pets and People

Boxer & CatBringing a new pet into the family or combining households each coming with their own pets can pose some interesting problems. It’s important to consider the logistics of forming relationships between pets and between people and pets before rushing them into a situation that may be strenuous for all involved. There are some easy ways to minimize or even eliminate problems during these transitions if you are willing to take take the steps necessary.

Adopting a New Friend

Whether you may be looking into adopting your first pet or bringing a new one into the family, it’s important to meet lots of candidates before deciding on the one who will fit best in your family. While you may be attracted to a specific breed or look, it is ultimately a pet’s personality that will make integration a success.

Doggie kissIf you already have a dog or cat or have previous experience in living with one (or more), you probably already have an idea what you’re looking for in your next companion. You probably already know what works for you as far as pet behavior and personality and what animals may be the best fit for your situation. First time pet people may have more difficulty in making the right choice and getting past the first impression they may have from a photo or first glance. Pet seekers may think that they know what they want, but may fail to understand the tendancies and potential issues that may come along with specific types of pets, and it may be hard to muster patience and understanding to get through if you’re a first-timer. As a result return rates to shelters can be as high as 20 percent, failed connections and sad endings that may have been avoided with a little more time or planning.

The ASPCA has developed a simple and effective method for helping those ready for their next friend to find a good fit. Their Meet Your Match program begins with a personality assessment of each pet they bring in to determine each individual’s dominant traits and characteristics including friendliness, playfulness, energy level, ect. The animals are then categorized into one of nine color-coded personality types including laid-back “Couch Potatoes,” or “Go-Getter” types.  The personalities are not assigned on preconceived breed notions, but on the individual.  These classifications help you as a potential adopter, to meet cats or dogs with personalities who might suit you best. While you are not restricted to choose pets in your category, representatives encourage you to meet and interact with these pets first in hopes of creating a forever situation.

Be sure to consider how any current pets may feel or adapt to a new pet in the house as well.

Pulling Pets Together

Cats GroomingPerhaps you are adopting a second pet or maybe you’ve reached a point in your life where you will be combining households, whether through a new marriage, relationship or some other situation. Now both sides have to consider how your pet(s) will adjust to new surroundings or new entities that haven’t been in a shared space before. Some pets venture through these transitions with ease, while others can become stressed or exhibit undesireable “acting-out” behaviors you may not expect or appreciate. Take steps to ensure a smooth move and adjustment, but stay prepared for issues that may arise that could require extra attention, patience, time from the humans in the house.

One of the most important first steps is to let potential housemates meet and interact in a neutral location. This helps to seed relationships without as many complications with territoriality and/or possessiveness.  Dogs may be a little easier to socialize than other pets. Take the pups and the whole family to the dog park or a similar locale to meet and play, and do it several times so everybody gets to know each other. If you’re adopting, ask the shelter if you can bring your current pet(s) to meet the potential adoptee–many shelters will ask that you do othis anyway, and they often have dog runs or contained areas where the animals can interact before you bring the new pet home. Keep open communication about your pets, making sure (specifically with children) that you all know what pets like and don’t like. If your dog doesn’t like his ears touched, for example, be sure the new crew knows it to prevent any misunderstanding.

Once things seem kosher on neutral ground, give the new home a visit. It may help to remove familiar items like toys, bowls and treats from the area which may bring out some territoriality in established animals. Be watchful during these initial visits to deal with any problem behaviors. Dogs are pretty good at communicating and setting up a natural order.  After a few visits the pecking order should be established and the permanent move should be pretty smooth. Be consistant in training and attention to all pets involved so the natural order isn’t upset by jealousy or competition.

Cats and other pets may not be quite as easy. Try slow introductions and be sure to give them some space to avoid each other if they want to. Remember, even if you take all the precursory steps, matches aren’t always ensured and sometimes a relationsip may never form between pets (or pets and people for that matter). Just be prepared to accommodate if they choose not to like each other, possibly even dedicating seperate spaces where they can avoid each other.


Cats Grooming image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Jessica Deily
Doggie Kiss image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Mike Baird

A New Member of the Pack – Considerations When Bringing Another Pet Into Your Home

Doggie gamesAny owner of multiple dogs can tell you that each dog has a unique personality and removing a dog, or adding a new one, can significantly alter the dynamics of the group. Last December, I added a new dog, Sara, to our pack (she makes 3). I’ve been watching the dynamic of my group of dogs change ever since. To successfully add a new dog to your family pack requires training and management of certain situations until the new group dynamic has been established.

Making the jump from 2 dogs to 3 was easier for me than the jump from a single dog to 2 dogs, partly because my boys, Barret and Gatsby, were already past the adolescent stage and partly because I’d learned some hard lessons when I brought Gatsby home from the shelter. The decision to add a second or third dog to your family isn’t one that should be taken lightly. While animals in the shelter can be tempting, take the time to decide if you can properly care for your new animal and consider the personalities of your existing pets to decide if they would benefit from a new companion. Read More »

Till Death (Or Pets) Do Us Part – How Having Cats Changed My Marriage

I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for almost 17 years. Around our house, we refer to him as The Tall Guy. “We” being the cats and me. That’s how they sign their cards to him. Our cats were strays and they’re still independent in nature. Although I’d love to think they think of us as Mommy and Daddy, I’m pretty sure they see us solely as the two-legged creatures who appear to dole out the food.

We were married for six years before we had cats. Looking back, all I can think is, “What on earth did we do with all our time?” (I know what we’re doing with it now: Fighting a losing battle against cat hair.)

But there have been other changes since welcoming cats into our home, many I’m sure most pet lovers can relate to. Read More »

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