Sunday, November 19, 2017

K9s For Warriors Rescues Dogs, So Dogs Can Rescue Warriors

In October I had the pleasure and privilege of  visiting K9s For Warriors in Ponte Vedra, Florida.  They are the nation's largest provider of service dogs to Military Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disability (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Military Sexual Trauma as a result of military service post - 9/11.

Tragically, every day at least 22 Veterans commit suicide in America

Since 9/11, there have been over 130,000 Veteran suicides.  That is not acceptable on any level!  These Veterans risked their lives and made huge sacrifices so the rest of us can enjoy the safety and freedom our great country provides.  K9s For Warriors Mission is to STOP these daily suicides from PTSD altogether.  They developed a program that pairs Veterans with trained service dogs, most of whom are shelter rescues, that enables Veterans to return to civilian life with dignity and independence, while reducing their risk for suicide.

K9s For Warriors is helping Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disability, Traumatic Brain Injury and/or Military Sexual Trauma through Service Dogs, many of whom are animal shelter rescues.
The welcoming front porch at K9s For Warriors in Ponte Vedre, Florida
I'm a proud member of the Bayer Animal Health Pet Influencer Team.  My travel expenses to visit K9's For Warriors were paid for by Bayer Animal Health. I believe in the work K9s For Warriors is doing to help Veterans, and I want to share information about this amazing organization.


💔 20% of post-9/11 Veterans suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disability).

💔 10% of post -9/11 combat Veterans, 338,514 men and women, have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

💔 Tragically, every day at least 22 Veterans,  many of whom suffer from PTSD, commit suicide in America.

💜 The average Veteran is taking 10 - 15 medications when he/she begins the K9's For Warriors program.  92% of these Veterans have eliminated or reduced prescription medications after they graduate from K9's For Warriors!

"When doctors kept giving me medication, K9s For Warriors gave me a spectacular service dog who has given me a second chance at living" -  Tiffany, a 2015 K9s For Warriors program Graduate

💜 There are over 3.5 million dogs euthanized in shelters every year!  Many of these are great dogs that can be trained to be service dogs to help Veterans.  The majority of the dogs in the K9s For Warriors program are shelter rescues.

Check out this video of adorable Bo, one of the dogs being trained to be a service dog at K9s For Warriors.  I think Bo stole everyone's heart that day!  He's doing so well in his training, just look at that FOCUS!  Bo is 2 years old, he was found as a stray in the streets of Ocala, Florida. 


🐶 Dogs must be Under 2 years of age and weigh at least 50 lbs.   A senior dog may not have enough years of service to give to a Veteran.  A lighter weight dog may not be strong enough to pull a wheelchair or assist in "bracing", which is helping the Veteran if s/he needs help getting up.

🐶 No bully breeds are accepted, mainly because of the potential for members of the public to have negative reactions to them.  I know, that sounds so unfair right!  But it's critical that a Veteran and service dog be welcomed and not potentially feared due to negative public reaction - fair or not, real or imagined.

🐶 K9's For Warriors maintains approximately 52 dogs on property that are in training.

🐶 As of last month, 367 dogs have been placed with Veterans in need!

🐶 The K9s For Warriors program saves two lives - the life of the dog that is rescued and trained for service, and the life of the Veteran who receives the trained service dog.  I like those numbers a lot!

🐶 The majority of the dogs trained for service in the program are rescued from shelters.  Most are adopted directly from shelters by K9s For Warriors, some have been obtained from prison programs, where select prisoners spend their days training dogs to become service dogs.

K9s For Warriors rescues dogs and trains them so they can rescue Veterans.  Service Dog, Service Canine,
There's a swimming pool shaped like a dog bone at the K9s For Warriors facility!

🐶 When selecting dogs from a shelter or rescue, K9s For Warriors does an assessment to see if they will be a good fit for the program.  They test the dog to assess their ability to cope with loud noises,  how they react meeting strangers and other dogs.  They are also assessed for food aggression.

🐶 We spoke with the staff member who works with local shelters and rescues to recruit dogs for the program.  She explained that being food motivated was also an important trait for a dog to enter their program.  They need to be motivated by food or treats in order to fit well into their training program.

🐶 Once at the facility, K9s For Warriors quarantines the dogs for 10 days to ensure they show no signs for rabies or other diseases.  They perform blood work as well, testing for heartworm and other ailments.

🐶 If a rescue dog doesn't make it through the program successfully, K9s For Warriors works to ensure the dog finds a loving home.  They never send a dog back to the shelter!  They will work to find a good home for any dog that doesn't work out, which rarely happens according to the organization.


💜 Once accepted into the 3 week program and given a start date, the Veteran lives at the facility for 3 weeks.  Note: there is a waiting list to get into this wonderful program.  As of October 2017 the waiting list is about 11 months long.  The program is provided at NO COST to the Veteran.  

💜 Veterans are provided with a trained service K9, housing, meals, equipment, veterinary care and 120 hours of training with their new service dog.  As of October, 2017 367 Veteran-K9 teams have graduated from the program!

💜 The facility in Florida is beautiful, it has a genuine homey feel.  The grounds are lovely and the staff is warm and welcoming.  Many community volunteers cook meals for the Veterans and deliver them to the facility!

"I found the program through the NJ State Police and Troopers Assisting Troops where I met K9s For warriors founder, Shari Duval.  I had attempted suicide a few months prior and Troopers recommended I call Shari and get a service dog.  My dog Bernie has given me the security to leave my comfort zone.  Going through the program has given me peace of mind, and Bernie helps to mitigate my PTSD and Operational Stress" - James, a 2016 K9s For Warriors program graduate

💜 When they graduate from the program the Veteran gets a trained service dog for rest of his/her life no matter what happens!  When a dog retires, dies, or becomes too old to perform his duties the Veteran can choose to keep their dog as a pet.   K9s for Warriors would help them find a new home for the dog if needed.   A service dog is usually retired at approximately 8 years old, but that depends on the individual dog and their abilities.  

💜 K9s For Warriors stays in touch with their graduates long term, after they graduate from the program.

The beautiful K9s For Warriors facility where rescue dogs are trained to become service dogs for Veterans of war.
K9s For Warriors facility, where Veterans live and train with their service dog while in the program.  Pictured is the living room with TV, and kitchen and dining room in the background.

💜 K9s For Warriors also help Veterans with veterinary bills for the dogs placed with them.  They partner with local Veterinarians, and there are even mobile veterinary units available.   They work to obtain discounts or free services for the Veterans. 

💕 💕 💕 💕 💕 💕

K9s for Warriors was created in 2011 out of a mother's love and concern for her son.  Shari Duval's son Brett returned home as a contractor from Iraq with Post Traumatic Stress Disability (PTSD).  Because Brett was a K9 Police Officer, Shari wanted to find a way to help him, through his love for canines.  After researching service dogs and PTSD she knew she had found an amazing way to improve Brett's life that could also help other Veterans.  We had the pleasure of meeting Brett while at the facility, where he now works to help other Veterans just as his Mom helped him!

I'm so impressed by all the great work K9s For Warriors is doing to help Veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI, and Military Sexual Trauma as a result of military service post - 9/11.  I loved visiting their facility, meeting their passionate staff, and seeing some of the dogs in training.  

Watch this video, called Dear Captain, to see first hand how a  K9s For Warriors service dog helped a Veteran in desperate need.  Grab a tissue folks, it's a tear-jerker for sure.

I want to thank Bayer Animal Health for inviting us along on this inspiring and insightful visit to see how K9s For Warriors is helping Veterans in need!  Thanks to Bayer for being such a great supporter of K9's For Warriors.  Their sponsorship helps K9s For Warriors continue providing this valuable service to Veterans suffering from PTSD.  Here's what Bayer Animal Health had to say about their partnership:

"Our partnership with K9s For Warriors was incredibly impactful to our employees, our customers and pet owners.  Because the partnership demonstrates Bayer Animal Health's mission of passionately caring for animals, our employee's rallied behind the cause, as it adds meaning to why we come to work every day.  Their engagement was genuine and inspiring.  They embraced Bayer, and supported the K9s For Warriors cause through in-store merchandising and promotions.  But more importantly, we were able to do well while doing good for others, and likely help save precious lives."

Proud member of the Bayer Animal Health Pet Influencer Team

K9s For Warriors is in 43 states & Puerto Rico.   They have been working to get food and supplies to their Veterans in Puerto Rico. 

I hope you enjoyed learning about this incredible program that helps Veterans in need!  Please leave us a comment, we'd love to know your thoughts!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

High Tech Veterinary Care

I recently had the pleasure of visiting a state of the art Veterinary Clinic in Florida.  

Do you know what this weird looking piece of equipment is?

Blog Hops.  3D Printers used for Veterinary care.  Dogs, Dog blogs
I was really impressed that this Veterinary clinic is using 3D printing to help repair leg injuries in pets!

I was pretty impressed when I learned that it's a 3D printer used to help Veterinarians caring for pets with leg injuries.  I find that pretty fascinating!

Join us on the BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday blog hop.
Phoebe is reading up on how 3D printing is used in Vet care!

Check back with us in a few days when I share more about the high tech Veterinary care pets are getting at this new state of the art clinic!


Monday, November 6, 2017

Questions to Ask Before You Adopt A Dog

Thinking about adopting a shelter or rescue dog?  Congratulations!  Your decision to Adopt Don't Shop will save a life.  Actually, it will save two lives.  You'll be saving the dog you adopt, and by getting one dog out of the shelter you've made room for another dog that needs to be saved as well!

Before you bring your new best friend home though, you'll want to find out as much as you can about the shelter dog, or rescue dog, you'll be adopting.  

When you go to a shelter and see all those cute adoptable dogs, you can't help but want to save them all!  You can't take them all home, but here are the questions you should ask to help you make the best decision on which dog is right for YOU. 

Important Questions to ask before you adopt a shelter or rescue dog.     #dogs #adoptabledogs
It's important to ensure the dog you adopt is the right fit for you and your family


As an Adoption Counselor at an animal shelter, one of the first things people often ask is "How Big will this dog get?"  It's an important question.  Considering the breed/mix and current age and size of the dog, shelter staff can estimate fairly well how big a dog will be when full grown.  If the dog is a young puppy, it's not as easy.  Sometimes you can only guesstimate how big they'll get.  

Most dogs will be full grown by the age of 18 months.  Giant breeds such as Great Danes can continue growing for 2 years.  It's important to know how large a dog could get in case there are size restrictions for dogs in the apartment or the HOA (Home Owners Association) where you live.  

If you have small children it could be a concern that a large dog could jump on the kids and knock them over.  It may not ever become a concern, but it's something you should be prepared for.  You may need some additional training to Stop the Dog from Jumping up on people.


Ask about the attributes of the breed(s) so you know what to expect.  Energy level and tendencies of the breed are import.  If you’re looking for a hiking or running companion then a high energy dog like a Siberian Husky or Border Collie might be a great companion for you.  If you prefer a mellow dog that doesn't need much exercise, a Husky or Border collie may not be a great fit!  A dog with a less intense energy level like a Shih Tzu, Boston Terrier, or Basset Hound  may be a better fit for your lifestyle.


Will a dog that sheds a lot be an issue for you?  Just because a dog has a smooth coat or very thin hair that doesn't mean she won’t shed.  My sister has a Pug and the shedding drives her crazy!  

If your tolerance for shedding is low, look for non-shedding breeds or dogs that are mixed with a non shedding breed such as the Poodle, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Goldendoodle, or Bichon Frise.   By all means DON'T get a Siberian Husky!  It "snows" indoors at least twice a year!

Questions to ask before you adopt a dog.  How big the dog will get, if he sheds a lot and other attributes may be of concern to you.  #dog #pets
If shedding is a concern for you, look for a dog that is a non-shedding breed or mixed with non-shedding breeds.


It's important to find out if a dog is friendly.  Not just friendly towards people but friendly towards other dogs as well, or at least not aggressive towards other dogs.  Shelter staff and volunteers don't always know for sure, but at most shelters and rescues they can tell if a dog likes people and other dogs.  They behavior assess the dog upon intake and they interact with him on a regular basis.  If they have play groups for the dogs they’ll be able to tell if he’s dog friendly or if he dislikes being around other dogs. 


Sometimes people who already have a dog(s) worry about bringing another dog into their home.  Ask the shelter to arrange a meeting with your current dog and the one you want to adopt to see if they get along.  If they can’t accommodate a meeting, make sure you can bring the dog back if he doesn't get along with your current dog(s).  Ask for guidance on how to properly introduce the dog to your current pets.  Set the dogs up for success, don't just throw them together and hope it works out!

Before you adopt a new dog, ask these important questions.
I wasn't sure how Icy and Phoebe would get along, but  with the right introduction they became close sisters!


Ask what’s included in the adoption fee and what additional costs you might have to pay.  Most shelters and many rescues will have the dog spayed/neutered and include that in the adoption fee.  Vaccinations required up to the dog’s current age, such as Rabies, may also be included.  If you’re adopting a puppy, vaccinations and spay/neuter may need to be done later, at your cost.


Ask if the dog has been treated for any illness or injury at the shelter, or if they are aware of any medical  issues.  If so, ask about follow-up care, prognosis, and potential costs.  Kennel Cough and other respiratory illnesses are common in a shelter environment.   Some shelters will send you home with necessary medications for minor ailments.   Ask if the dog's illness is contagious and what precautions may be needed if you have other dogs at home.  Ask about known behavioral concerns as well and how best to address them.


Ask whether the dog was a stray picked up on the street, an owner surrender, puppy mill or hoarder rescue.  Most will probably be strays with little background information, but ask if there is any information on the dog’s history that might be helpful.

Ask how long the dog has been in the shelter.  Sometimes, long term shelter pets may have become fearful or withdrawn to some degree.  They've been living much of their lives in a cage and may need some extra TLC and time to re-adjust to having space and being a pet again!  I recently shared a blog post about a beautiful long term shelter dog who had been at the shelter for over 2 years!  I just found out she's been adopted.  I'm so happy for her and I'm grateful to whomever adopted her.

If the dog was an owner surrender, ask why the owner gave him up.  Know that sometimes owners lie.  They have
been known to say that a dog is a "bad dog" when in reality they just didn't put the time in to train or had unrealistic expectations. 

Before you adopt a dog, ask these important questions!  #dogs #adoptadog
My foster dog Rudy was the Best dog!  I wanted to adopt him so badly, but it wasn't the right time for us.


There may be little known about the dog's history, but try to find out whatever you can.  Any information they can provide is helpful. 

Ask if the dog has ever bitten anyone that they know of, or if he displays aggression during feeding or playing with toys.  "Resource Guarding" can be a potentially dangerous behavior if it's not dealt with properly.  This type of behavior should have been detected on intake of the dog, but ask to be sure.

Ask if they know whether or not the dog has any fear of, or issues with; kids, cats or other pets, men, people wearing hats, etc.

You can ask if the dog is potty trained.  Puppies almost never are, older dogs often are.  One good indication that shelter staff and volunteers see is if a dog "holds it in" for a long time, not wanting to soil their kennel.  It often means they've been potty trained at some point, they're trying to hold it in until someone takes them outside.  

Dogs who defecate in their kennels, stepping in or laying in their poo, are often not house-broken at all.  They can certainly be trained, it just takes more time.   Any dog brought into a new home environment needs to be shown when and how they are expected to potty.  You can't expect them to figure out where the doors are or when and where they're expected to potty all on their own.

Asking these questions can help you make the best decision about which dog is right for your family, and will give you an idea of what to expect as you bring your new best friend home.  Avoid the heartbreak of finding out that you can't handle the dog you've adopted or that that dog isn't a good fit.  No one should have to go through the pain of returning their adopted dog to the shelter, especially the dog.  

Other blog posts you may like:
If you've adopted a dog with fear issues, find tips on how to Help your Fearful Dog.

Is your heart set on a particular breed of dog?  No need to shop, there are Breed Specific Resuce Organizations for nearly every breed of dog

I know it's tempting, especially during the holidays, but Please Don't get someone else a puppy as a gift! Getting a puppy for someone else could turn out to be the worst "gift" you ever give.

Leave us a comment and tell us what other questions you think are important to ask when adopting a new pet? 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

My Life Is a Journey Made Better With Dogs

People say that life is a journey.  It's not a race or a destination, it's a journey to be enjoyed and experienced.  I don't know where my life's journey will take me, but I'm ready to go down any road as long as my dogs are with me!

If you're anything like me, your pets are family and they make life better in so many ways.  My dogs, Icy and Phoebe, are a huge part of my life. They make me laugh with their adorable antics, cheer me up when I'm feeling down, and motivate me to get up and experience life's fun and adventure, even when I feel too lazy to get off the couch!

Our dogs are family, loyal companions who love us unconditionally.  For that devotion, they deserve premium 100% natural treats, like True Chews® Dog Treats!
On my life's journey, three things I can't do without are; Tail wags, Sloppy kisses, and Treats.  Lots and lots of dog treats, preferably All Natural Dog Treats!  Nothing but the best will do for my pups, so I only give them premium treats like TRUE CHEWS® Dog Treats.

I partnered with TRUE CHEWS to share my journey with Phoebe.  Life wasn't always easy for her, but together we worked through it to give her the best life!

This post is sponsored by True Chews® Dog Treats and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share information about the True Chews line of all-natural dog treats. but Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. All statements made reflect my true opinion of the product.  True Chews is not responsible for the content of this article.

I have a close bond with both my dogs, but Phoebe and I share something extra special.  Our journey together didn't start off easy, though.  In fact, when I first adopted her she was so filled with fear that it prevented her from embracing life.

I first met Phoebe at the animal shelter where I was volunteering.  I wasn't looking for another dog but she was so adorable and sweet, I fell in love with her immediately and adopted her that day!  I had no idea she was harboring extreme fear issues that would prevent her from enjoying life.

In this 2 minute video, I share the story of my journey with Phoebe.  I'm so proud of how she transformed from terrified shelter dog to a happy, confident member of our family!

(To turn on video sound, click on the sound icon at lower right to remove the x, OR right click on the video and select Unmute)

Now Phoebe wakes up happy each day, embracing life with joy and anticipation of what the day might bring!  Weather it's a road trip, a hike, or an outing around town Phoebe is up for it!  

Dogs give us their unconditional love, 100% of the time.  That kind of love deserves the very best we can give them.  The folks at True Chews feel the same way!  That's why they created True Chews all natural Dog Treats.  

Here's what I love about TRUE CHEWS dog treats:

👉 They are 100% Natural dog treats, made using only natural ingredients

👉 They are both Made and Sourced in the U.S.A.

👉 They are Made with premium cuts of meat, which are always the #1 ingredient listed

👉 They contain NO meat by-products, artificial flavors or preservatives

TRUE CHEWS dog treats were created by pet parents for pet parents.  They're committed to making Wholesome100% Natural dog treats.  The best part? My dogs love them!

On a recent shopping trip to the pet store, Phoebe pondered which True Chews dog treats she likes best!  I think she wanted to buy one of every kind but we stuck with the Chicken, Duck, and Beef Premium Jerkey Cuts!  Delicious!!

True Chews All Natural Dog Treats are made and sourced in the USA. They contain premium cuts of meat and NO meat by-products, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives.
Hmmm, which of these fabulous TRUE CHEWS dog treats do I love best??
Treat Them Well!

Life's journey with our dogs is special.  Make it even more special with TRUE CHEWS 100% Natural, Made in the USA dog treats.

True Chews 100% Natural dog treats.  These dog treats are Made and Sourced in the USA. Premium cuts of meat, NO artificial flavors or preservatives, NO animal by-products
When we hit the cafe, I have a snack for myself, and Phoebe gets a special TRUE CHEWS treat!

You can find TRUE CHEWS dog treats at pet specialty stores like PetSmart, Petco and online at  Visit the TRUE CHEWS Store Locator to find TRUE CHEWS dog treats at a store near you!

Connect with TRUE CHEWS by visiting their Facebook Page  Psst!  They're having daily giveaways of their fabulous All Natural Dog Treats on Facebook until 10/27/17!

Is your life's journey made better with your dog?  Tell us about it in the comments!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of True Chews. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Halloween is one of the most popular and fun holidays in the U.S.  The National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association, estimates that more than 179 million Americans plan to take part in Halloween festivities this year, spending a record high of $9.1 billion on costumes, candy, and decorations!! That's a Howlin' ton of Halloween fun!  These days, Halloween isn't just for the kids, it's for pets too!

Keep your cats, dogs, and other pets safe with these Halloween Pet Safety Tips   #dogs #Halloween
Little Devil Phoebe wishes you a Happy Howloween!!

The National Retail Federation estimates that we'll spend $350 million on Halloween costumes for our pets alone!  I call that the Howl-o-ween Effect!  

Of those planning to celebrate Halloween this year, 16% of them will dress their pets up in costume.  Some of the most popular costumes expected for pets this year are a pumpkin, hot dog, bumble bee, devil, Batman character, dog, lion, pirate, ghost, and witch.  

10% of pet lovers will dress their pet in a pumpkin costume, 7% will dress their cat or dog as a hot dog, and 4% will dress them as a dog, lion, or pirate!

With all this Halloween fun expected for pets, here are a few Safety Tips to keep in mind:


If you're dressing your pet up in a costume, have your pet spend time wearing the costume before they wear it on Halloween.  Costumes may feel very strange to them.  If it's uncomfortable and your pet just doesn't want to wear a costume, please don't force it.  Not every pet will be happy wearing a costume.

Dressing your pet up for Halloween? Let your pet get used to wearing a costume before wearing it on Halloween.  More Halloween Pet Safety tips.
Don't put your pet in a costume that will make him uncomfortable. 
There are some really simple costumes available for dogs that literally just sit on top of your dog's back.  They're lightweight and velcro close under their belly.  A costume like this may be all your pet will agree to.  In the photo below, Icy is wearing a simple Headless Horseman pet Halloween costume that sits comfortably on her back.  This is actually my favorite Halloween photo of her!

This style of super simple pet Halloween costume is easy & not uncomfortable for many pets to wear. This is one of my favorites!  Halloween Pet Safety Tips
Icy is wearing a really simple Pet Halloween Costume that sits on her back comfortably. 
For pets who won't wear a costume, your pet can still look festive with a fun Halloween bandana, collar, bow tie, or stretchy elastic "necklace"  with Halloween themed colors or adornment on it.

Just like with training, use treats or a favorite toy to help create a positive association for your pet with the costume.  However, if they still hate wearing the costume just scrap it. Never make your pet do something, or wear anything, they're uncomfortable with.


In addition to getting your pet used to her own costume, help your pet get used to all the crazy and potentially scary costume's she will see on other pets and on people.  

Many pets are afraid of hats, umbrellas and other items people carry.  On Halloween, your pet is likely to see tons of weird apparel and accessories on pets and people.  They may see them in the street, at a Halloween event, or even at a party in your own home.  

Take some time to help your pet prepare for all the weird costumes they may see.  Try on some of your old costumes, invite a friend's pet over in costume, or take your pet to a store that sells costumes and try some on - with all the accessories!  Let your pet know there's nothing to fear.  Have some treats or a favorite toy handy when you do this.


Candy is toxic to pets.  Do you have a plan to keep candy well out of reach so your dog doesn't ingest something toxic?  Candy, especially chocolate and anything containing Xylitol can be very toxic to pets, pets have died from this!

I knew a lady who received a giant bar of chocolate as a gift.  She left it on the bed and her little dog got into it, scarfing it down while she was in the bathroom.  Tragically, her sweet dog did not survive the incident.

Some years ago, a young couple in our dog training class had a beautiful Lab puppy.  While they were on vacation her mother baby sat for the pup.  Somehow this little dog got into an empty bag of potato chips and suffocated.  It was the most heartbreaking thing.  Can you even imagine something so tragic happening to your pet?

I don't share these stories to shock or upset anyone, I share them to inform and warn people of potential dangers.  Please, make sure everyone in your household understands the danger of candy to pets!  Kids love to spill out their Trick or Treat bags onto the floor or the bed.  make sure they know how important it is never to leave any candy, chips or other sweets where a pet could possibly get into it.


One of the things that can freak your dog out is the constant ringing of the doorbell when Trick or Treaters arrive, or weird looking STRANGERS in your dog's mind!

My dogs used to go nuts in our former house where we had tons of kids Trick or Treating all night long.  After the first year, we put leashes on the dogs and let them sit in the front room with us waiting for the bell to ring. They were much more relaxed when they knew what was happening and could see the kids in their adorable costumes from a safe distance.  The kids got a kick out of seeing Icy and Phoebe too!

If you're entertaining on Halloween, make sure you have a plan to keep your pets away from the door!  Many pets end up in shelters due to the craziness of Halloween.  Keep your dog secure during trick or treat hours and during any parties you may be hosting at home.  


Be sure your dog or cat is wearing a collar with updated ID tags.  Collars can easily break off, especially when a pet is frightened and running scared.  In case your pet and their collar are lost, consider microchipping your cat or dog as well.

Halloween is a great time to Microchip your pet if you haven't already!  Any shelter or Veterinarian's office should be able to scan a microchip in the event your dog or cat goes missing.  If it's too expensive at your Veterinarian, many shelters offer microchipping at a very low cost.  Halloween might be a good time to take advantage of that. 

Halloween Pet Safety Tips to help keep dogs and cats Safe during Halloween fun   #pets #dogs #Halloween
Don't let Halloween fun turn into a nightmare.  Keep pets Safe!
Don't let Halloween turn all Sleepy Hollow on you and become a nightmare.  Keep your pets safe!

Do you have any Halloween Pet Safety Tips to share?  Please leave us a comment!  We love hearing from you!


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Jetting Without My Dog

Poor Phoebe is disappointed that she won't be going with me to Jacksonville Florida to visit K9's  for Warriors.

Phoebe won't be joining me on my trip with Bayer Animal Health to visit K9's for Warriors
Why won't you take me with you?  Look how good I behave in the carrier!
I have the privilege of being invited by Bayer Animal Health to pay a visit to K9's for Warriors.  I was going to bring Phoebe along but some logistical snafu's made me change my mind.  Sorry sweetie, it's best if you stay home this time around.

👉 K9's for Warriors is the nation's leading provider of Service Dogs for American Veterans struggling with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disability).  They're a tax exempt 501c3 organization

👉 They are dedicated to providing service canines to our warriors suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma as a result of military service post 9/11.

👉 One of the things I love about the program is that so many of the dogs they pair with Veterans are Shelter Dogs!  K9's for Warriors trains these rescue dogs at their facility to prepare them for service to Veterans in need.

👉 K9's for Warriors goal is to empower these Veterans to return to civilian life with dignity and independence.

I'm excited to tour their facility and learn more about their process and all the great work they due to help Veterans!  

Thank you to Bayer Animal Health for inviting us to join your visit with K9's for Warriors!

Proud member of the Bayer Animal Health Pet Influencer Team!   We've been invited to visit K9's for Warriors to lean more about how they train shelter dogs to provide service to Veterans with PTSD.
I'm a proud member of the Bayer Animal Health Pet Influencer Team

Check in with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Thursday and Friday for sneak peeks of our visit to K9's for Warriors.   

Tune in over the weekend for an update on what we learned at K9's for Warriors.  I'll also be sharing pet health tips from Bayer Animal Health's Veterinary experts!

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Guide To Dog Friendly Fall Adventures

I have always loved the Fall, but I'll admit I took it for granted year after year.  Only after living in Phoenix, Arizona for nearly 10 years did I really appreciate the joy of a majestic Fall season.  In Phoenix they joke that there are only two seasons; Hot and Hotter!

Although we loved living in Phoenix, we soon missed the blazing beauty of the Autumn leaves.  Even driving on the highways you can't help but be struck by Fall's gorgeous hues. The bright yellows, fiery reds, and deep rust tones create a stunning landscape against cool, crisp, sunny skies.

Fall is a great time for outdoor adventures with dogs!  This is a Guide To Great Dog Friendly Fall Adventures With Dogs.
Enjoying the beauty of Fall with Icy and Phoebe
I love outdoor activities with my dogs in every season.  Each season is special, with it's own brand of fun things to do with your pet unique to that season.

Fall is one of the best times to embark on outdoor fun activities and adventures with dogs! The weather is cooler and the Summer crowds have thinned out.

As October approaches we start thinking about Pumpkins, Hiking & Biking in cool weather, Fall Festivals & Costume Parades, Apple Picking, Corn Mazes, Fall Foliage, and Hay Rides!  So much FUN and bonding to be had with our pets during the Fall season! 

Here's a list of some great Fall activities to do with dogs.  Plan your Fall adventures now before the season of Autumn beauty is gone!

Fall is a beautiful time of year.  There are so many great activities to do with your dog in the Fall!  You need the right gear to enjoy it all.

Note: Some posts on Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them contain affiliate links.  If you purchase something through  these links it will not cost you anything extra, and  I may receive a few cents compensation.  I thank you very much if you do!


Be ready for outdoor Fall activities with dogs by having the right gear!  For all that outdoor fun with the dog, you want to make sure your dog is comfortable and safe!

The two activities I look forward to the most with our dogs are hiking and bike riding.  We hike and bike in summer, but heat and humidity often makes us keep hiking and biking trips with the dogs short.  Not so in the Fall, here's when we go all out!


Bicycle riding with your dog is a great activity, but you should do it safely.  Dogs have a habit of getting too close to the wheels of the bicycle or crossing out in front of the bike.  To avoid an accident I bought a Bicycle Leash for Icy.  A bike leash for dogs keeps your dog next to the bike and away from the wheels!  I use the Walky Dog Plus bike leash, but there are a few others on the market.  I couldn't find dog bike leashes in bicycle stores (weird, right?!), but a Google search pulled up several.  Walmart has a couple of them in their online store as well.

A Bike Leash for dogs helps you ride a bicycle with your dog safely.  #dogs #petsafety #bikewithdogs
Icy gets so excited when she see's my bicycle come out!

A bike leash for dogs helps you bicycle ride safely with dogs.  It prevents dogs from getting too close to the bike or it's wheels. #dogfriendly #dog
My Walky Dog Plus dog bike leash helps me bike ride safely with Icy

Icy and I can usually bike ride from early Fall through December in the Northeast.  In this video you can see how the bike leash keeps her at a safe distance from the bicycle.

Bike riding with your dog is not only a total blast, it has health benefits for both of you!  Need more reasons to bike ride with dogs? Here are 6 Reasons To Bike Ride With Your Dog!

Icy and Phoebe are two very different dogs in size, strength and endurance.  I can't bike ride with both of them together on bike leashes, but I can attach a Pet Basket for Bicycles to my bike for Phoebe!  That way she can join us for the ride and not feel left out.  PetSmart sells bicycle baskets for small dogs (or other small pets) online.  They have a few models, here's a really nice one:

Active gear for dogs.  This Bicycle Pet Basket attaches to a bicycle and allows you to take your small dog or other small pet along for a bicycle ride!
A bicycle basket made specifically for small dogs or other small pets! This image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link.


We've done so much awesome hiking with our dogs, from Sedona, Arizona to Montauk, Long Island with tons of places in between!  I have to say, hiking is probably my favorite activity to do with the dogs.  I love to get out and explore nature with them.  It's a great activity for the 4 of us to do together.  Although Icy and Phoebe are active at different levels, hiking is something they can easily do together.   If Icy and my husband forge ahead, it's no big deal to stop and wait for Phoebe and I to catch up.


When I think about my dogs being safe and comfortable during outdoor Fall activities, the first thing I think about is clothing and outerwear.  Being a Siberian Husky, Icy pretty much never needs dog apparel of any kind!  As soon as Fall weather arrives however, Phoebe gets chilly.  I always have to break out a sweater or jacket for her when the weather turns cool.  I love shopping for Phoebe, it's so much fun!  They have the cutest clothing for dogs, especially for smaller dogs.
How cute are these soft cozy Mohawk dog Sweaters?! This image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link.

For cold Fall mornings, or if there's a chance of rain, your pooch might need a waterproof coat w/ a fleece lining like this adorable one.  It has reflective striping on the back & sleeves for dog safety. This image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link.

When we go on longer hikes, I often use a dog backpack for Icy.  It helps with carrying gear like water bottles, snacks, bowls, and waste bags.  It also help curtail her pulling on leash.  Many dogs pull on their leash and using a backpack is one way some trainers recommend reducing the pulling.  Be sure to check with a trainer or pet store staff on how much weight in the pack is appropriate for your dog, if any.  You don't want to put more than approximately 10% of the dogs weight in a dog's backpack.

We often use a backpack for icy when we go on long hikes.  It helps keep her from pulling like a sled dog and she can carry her water bowl, water, and snacks allowing us to hike hands-free!
Some dogs may require less weight or none at all in a backpack. Check with your Veterinarian before using a weighted backpack on your dog for the first time.  Here are more tips to get your dog to Stop Pulling On Leash.

The stylish Everest Dog Pack by Pet Life shown here is waterproof and has reflective strips on the sides for safety.  You may not consider reflective safety strips when hiking but more than once we've found ourselves still hiking in the desert just after the sun had set.  Sunset in the Arizona desert is often when coyotes (and other animals) start hunting.  We could hear the howling - yikes!!
A dog backpack can not only carry some of your dog supplies & gear, it can help discourage leash pulling. This image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link.

Make sure you bring plenty of water on any outing with dogs! Don't forget to bring along portable bowls and a water bottle.


Fall is actually prime season for Fleas and Ticks!  Be sure to protect your dog with Flea & Tick control. K9 Advantix is a topical prevention & treatment for ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, biting flies and lice.  Note: Consult your Vet before you begin using any flea/tick product.

Fall is prime Tick and Flea season!  K9 advantix can help protect your dog all season long. This image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link.  

If you plan to take your dog near beaches, lakes, ponds, pools. or out on a boat you may want to consider a Life Jacket for Dogs.  A life jacket is a great safety option for dogs around water, especially if your dog is unfamiliar with the area, isn't a strong swimmer, or if he'll be out on a boat.

This Kurgo Surf 'n Turf life vest doubles as a life vest or rain coat.  It has 2 handles to help get your dog in and out of the water, reflective trim, and 2 metal D-rings for leash connections.  The flotation layer can be removed so that the waterproof shell can be used as a raincoat!
If outdoor Fall adventures with your dog take you anywhere near water, consider a dog Life Jacket for pet safety. This image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link.

If your Fall adventure with your dog involves a car ride or a weekend getaway, consider a Dog Carrier or Pet Crate and a Pet Safety Harness for the car.


There are SO many beautiful and versatile pet carriers to choose from these days.  Pet carriers come in lots of shapes and sizes, some models even have wheels.  A carrier or crate is a great way to keep your pet safe and secure while riding in the car or at the airport.  If your Fall adventure involves taking your dog or cat on an airplane, here is some information you should know; Tips For Air Travel With Pets.

Phoebe loves her Sherpa pet carrier!  I actually leave it open for her on the floor in my office so she can nap right next to me.
Dog carriers with wheels are so cool, especially for airplane travel with pets.  Image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link

Outdoor Fall adventures with the dogs usually come with mud, sand, or dirt!  For all those great outdoor Fall adventures with your pup, make sure you protect your car seats with a Car Seat Cover like the one shown here from Kurgo!  They come in all sizes to fit pretty much any vehicle you've got.

Outdoor adventures with dogs almost always involve mud, sand and dirt!  Investing in a quality seat cover like this one from Kurgo is a great idea. Image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link.

Even if you have a car seat cover don't forget to bring along Pet Wipes and a Towel or Paper Toweling. You'll probably want to get the dirt off their paws before going back into the house after a day of  outdoor fun & adventure!  I always have pet wipes in the car and in my backpack, you just never know what your dog will roll in, step in, or swim in!  If there's anything massively stinky to roll in, my dogs are sure to find it!

One of the things I can't do without on any of our adventures with the dogs is a First Aid Kit.  I can't tell you how many times we've traveled with our dogs or gone on long day trips and needed the First Aid Kit!  It's essential to get a pet first aid kit, or assemble one yourself.  I'll never forget the time Icy cut her paw open on broken glass on her last potty break of the day.  It was at a hotel in Albuquerque, around 11pm.  No Veterinarian's were available and our first aid kit literally saved us!  Paw pads bleed a lot more than I expected!
A First Aid Kit is essential for outdoor adventures with dogs.   This Image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link

The first aid kit pictured here is a 50 piece kit that folds up to fit into a backpack or glove compartment.  It includes a guide with instructions on how to assist a pet with minor medical emergencies.  We never home without a first aid kit!

Anther fun Fall activity is to head for your favorite dog friendly cafe for a mug of steaming hot spiced apple cider.  While you relax and enjoy that delicious traditional Fall beverage, your dog can enjoy a special chew stick or her favorite toy right beside you.

Pumpkin picking is a perennial Fall favorite, so look for a dog friendly farm and take your dog pumpkin picking!  I love taking pictures of my dogs out in the field among the bright orange pumpkins, the photos come out so pretty with all that Fall color. Rich Fall color brings so much warmth to a photo.

One thing we look forward to all year in our area are the Fall Festivals and Pet Costume Parades  It's so much fun to see all the dogs out and about, trotting alongside their family enjoying the festivities.  A Pet Costume parade is always fun.  Some people are really clever in the costumes they create for their pets!  It's so inspiring.

Icy marched in our town's Pet Halloween Costume parade looking BOO-tiful in her Headless Horseman costume! 
I'll bet one of this year's hottest Pet Halloween Costumes will be Wonder Woman for the girls and Spider Man or Super Man for the boys.  Do you dress your pet up for Halloween?  What will your dog, cat, lizard, or other pet be for Halloween this year? Tell us in the comments!
Wonder Woman Pet Costume for Halloween  #pets #halloween #dogcostume
I love the little skirt on this Womder Woman costume, it's so cute! Image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link 
You don't even have to leave your own yard to enjoy the beauty of Fall with your pet.  Rake up the leaves in your yard and let your dog or cat play in them!  Throw his favorite ball or toy into the pile and watch him have fun digging and jumping through the leaves to retrieve the prize.  So what if you have to rake the leaves up again, it's worth it!

This Fall, I'm making it my goal in life to find a dog friendly Hay Ride and Corn Maze!  I've been searching online and I've located a few corn mazes, but I need to call and see if they allow dogs.  I'm on the hunt for a hay ride that allows dogs, here in the suburbs of New York City!

I'm excited to see some Fall themed pet treats this year, like Greenies Pumpkin Spice flavored Dental Chews for Dogs!  No reason why our pets shouldn't enjoy the flavors of the season, right?  While you enjoy a mug of hot apple cider at an outdoor cafe, give your dog a pumpkin spice flavored treat to enjoy and celebrate Fall together!

Pumpkin Spice flavor dental treats.  Our pets should enjoy the flavors of the Fall season too! This Image contains a PetSmart Affiliate Link

If you have the time and energy, you can make your own dog treats with Fall themed flavors like pumpkin, apple, or pear.

I take advantage of all those freshly picked pumpkins of Fall.  I add some pure pumpkin to my dogs' food each morning to give them the health benefits of pumpkin all year round. In the Fall I make my own pumpkin mush for them from the fresh pumpkins we bring home.  If you've never made fresh pumpkin  mush yourself, you'd be surprised at how much pumpkin mush even a very small pumpkin can yield!

Phoebe, surrounded by beautiful pumpkins at our town's Fall Festival!
🐾 After removing the seeds inside, I cut a fresh pumpkin into large chunks and boil until the pieces are soft.  

🐾 Then I peel off the outer skin (Skin comes off easily after boiling) and mash it all up in a bowl.  You can puree it in a blender if you prefer

🐾 Cooked pumpkin freezes well so it should last a couple of months in the freezer.  

Always check with your Veterinarian before introducing any new food into your pet's diet. Never feed raw pumpkin to your pet, raw pumpkin can make them sick.