20 years ago, a beautiful calico kitten walked into my life.  I adopted her quite by accident, as so many of us do.  She was with me for nearly 19 years, and last Summer she passed away.  Now she waits on the Rainbow Bridge for the day her mommy joins her.  She'll hear something that makes her stop playing and glance into the distance.  Just then she'll see me coming.  She'll run to me and I'll gather her in my arms, bringing us together again at last.

Taking a little cat nap on Daddy's belly.  He's so comfy
Maggie and I saw each other through so much.  4 different homes across 2 states, a tragic family death, my marriage, and lots of boyfriends in between.  Us adopting our dog Isis, then adopting Phoebe, and Maggie being sick towards the end of her life.
Maggie loved my husband, as you can see from this photo.  Unfortunately, when I was ready to get married, she was NOT!  Although she loved him, she clearly didn't want him to live with us.  She made that abundantly clear when she pee'd all over his belongings the day he moved in with us!  Some men would have been angry, some would have even laid down an ultimatum.  Not my husband, thankfully he's a cat lover!  Isis and I made him a dog lover too!

Maggie laying on her favorite couch.  She claimed it the very day it arrived of course.
Maggie my darling girl, we miss you every day.  Love,
Mommy, Daddy, Isis, and Phoebe


100 Places To See With Your Dog: NEW YORK CITY

After working long hours, commuting, and making their way through the hustle & bustle of the city each day, city dwellers love to come home to their adoring pets.  Nowhere is this more evident than in New York City where you have crazy commutes, stress, and hustle & bustle in spades!  New Yorkers cherish their pets, and New York City responds by providing all manner of dog friendly places and activities.  You'll find lots of pet friendly places in New York City to welcome your dog. 

New York City is super dog friendly!  Take your dog along on your New York City vacation.  Pet friendly, Dogs
One of many dogs walking their owners in New York City!

New York City truly is the city that never sleeps.  All day and all night long you'll find people on the streets.  You'll also find them walking or hanging out with their dogs at all hours! 

New York City is surprisingly dog friendly!  There are so many dogs and dog lovers in the Big Apple.  Dogs, Pet friendly travel
New York City is super dog friendly!

One of the best places to take your dog in New York city is the infamous Central Park.  The park is alive with activity every day of the week!  That activity usually includes dogs.  Dogs in the enclosed dog park, dogs walking or bike riding through the park with their owners, or just sitting out on the Great Lawn, people-watching and taking in the fresh air - well, as fresh as the air can be in over crowded, traffic riddled New York City!

The Imagine Circle in New York City's Central Park is a tribute to the late, great John Lennon of the Beatles rock group sensation.  Dog Friendly Central Park, Dogs
Icy posing for a photo in the famous Imagine Circle. Icy imagines a world where all dogs have a peaceful, loving home.  What does your dog imagine?

Strawberry Fields is my favorite section of Central Park, where I spent countless hours when I lived in NYC.  Strawberry Fields is an area of Central Park that pays tribute to the late John Lennon, of the legendary music group The Beatles.  It's named after their hit song Strawberry Fields Forever.

At the center of Strawberry Fields you'll find the famous Imagine Circle, named after the famous song Imagine, which John Lennon wrote.  He lived in the Dakota apartments close to the park, where he loved taking walks with his wife, Yoko Ono.  This beautiful mosaic honors his life, music, and peace advocacy.  The dedication of Strawberry Fields and the Imagine Circle followed his tragic death in 1980, where he was gunned down outside the Dakota apartment building.

Beautiful Statue of Balto, the most famous sled dog stands in Central Park, not far from the Central Park Zoo.  Dog Friendly Central Park
Icy poses with the statue of her idol, Balto.

On the East side of Central Park is a bronze statue of the hero dog, Balto.  Balto was the lead dog in the last relay team of sled dogs that saved the town of Nome, Alaska from a deadly Diphtheria breakout in 1925.  

Nome didn't have enough antitoxin serum to treat all the children and adults infected by the disease.  The only way to get the life saving serum to Nome was via sled dog.  20 relay teams of sled dogs delivered the serum over treacherous terrain to the desperate community of Nome.  Balto was the lead dog of the last relay team to deliver the serum, saving the town of Nome.  

The dedication plaque beneath the statue of Balto reads:

Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the Winter of 1925.  
* Endurance * Fidelity * Intelligence

Other fun things to do with your dog in NYC include visiting the many sidewalk cafes, a walk across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, or a stroll along the waterfront downtown.  From Battery Park at the tip of lower Manhattan, you can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.  There are a number of fun dog parks scattered across the city as well, just search for them online.

Dogs aren't allowed at the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, or the ferries that take you there, but they are allowed on the Staten Island Ferry.  You'll get a lovely view of the NYC skyline from the Staten Island ferry. You can see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from the ferry as well.  Dogs must be in a carrier or muzzled to ride the ferry.  You can find a few pet taxi companies online that will take you and your pet anywhere in the city with advance notice. And of course, some Uber drivers will welcome your pet as well if you follow their individual instructions and requirements.

One thing to watch out for in New York City is the LOUD noises and heavy traffic that go along with NYC.  If your dog is very sensitive to loud noise, Sunday may be the best time to see the city.  Icy doesn't like the noise of the city so we take her to central park on a Sunday.  The park is so huge, traffic noise isn't an issue there. 

There are plenty of dog friendly accommodations in NYC, just do a Google search!  Plenty of stores are dog friendly too, including Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, and Ralph Lauren!  There are dog friendly boutique pet shops all around the city, and there's an Orvis store on 5th Avenue that is, as expected, dog friendly.  Bring plenty of Money & your credit card to Shop Til You Drop!! 

If you & your pooch do decide to visit, I hope you have fun in the City That Never Sleeps!!

TELL US!  If you've been to New York City with your dog, what was your favorite thing to do?   Share any tips or advice you have for traveling to NYC with dogs.

If you're traveling by air, click here to read my post on essential Tips For Air Travel With Pets   

Find other great Dog Friendly  travel destinations and Pet Travel tips in the PET TRAVEL tab on my blog's home page!

Wordless Wednesday: Why Are Doors So Irresistible To Dogs?

Doors Are A Mystical, Magical Place For Dogs!





Is your dog fascinated with doors too?  leave us a comment and tell us what your dog's oddest behavior is at the door?  Isis and Phoebe want to compare notes with you!



Have you noticed the increase in pet friendly hotels these last few years?  We have! Finding a dog friendly hotel just 5 years ago was a big challenge.  Now smart hotels, B&B's and hotel chains are laying out the welcome mat for Fido.  Even smarter ones are laying out the red carpet for their canine guests!

Phoebe loves to sleep in between my husband and I in a king size bed
My husband and I travel frequently, both for pleasure and business.  We loathe leaving our furkids behind, we take them along whenever we can!

Like the Goddess she is, Isis prefers a queen size bed... all to herself of course!
Road trippin' with the furkids is one of our favorite things to do! 

No! I don't wanna get up! Go Away!
Many of the Comfort Inn hotels are dog friendly and the staff is usually really welcoming.  We have found Holiday Inn Express sometimes welcomes pets too.  We haven't found Hyatt hotels that welcome pets though.  We recently discovered a fabulous dog friendly DoubleTree hotel in Springfield, MO.  It was one of the best dog friendly hotels we've ever stayed in!

The Springfield DoubleTree hotel even had Doggie art in the bathroom!
Many smaller boutique hotels and Bed & Breakfasts are very pet friendly, it helps them compete with some of the larger hotels. My greatest resources for finding pet friendly hotels are The AAA Pet Book, Bringfido.com, Petswelcome.com and I've just recently been introduced to GoPetFriendly.com, which has lots of great information & tips on travel with pets.  I really enjoy their pet travel blog, Take Paws.

One of the primary attributes we always look for in accommodations is their level of pet friendliness.  Some hotels are merely pet "tolerant", which is often evident in high pet fees, lengthy pet policies & restrictions, and not allowing pets anywhere but inside your room.  They also tend to offer the worst rooms to guests with pets. 

One way to tell if a place is truly pet friendly is if they prominently call themselves "pet friendly" on their web site or if they have a picture of a pet somewhere on the site.  If they say there's a dog or cat that acts as their host and will greet guests upon arrival, you know you've found not just a pet friendly place but a pet loving place to hang your hat!

For tips on road travel with your dog, see my Road Trip With The Dogs post.

When you book a hotel do the pet amenities influence your decision?  Do you have a favorite pet friendly hotel chain or type of lodging?  Isis and Phoebe love hearing your thoughts, so please leave a comment and share your thoughts with us!


2 New Dog Products Will Make Life A Little Easier

I'd like to share two new products I recently discovered that are making life with Icy and Phoebe a little easier.  If you're not familiar with these 2 products, give them a try, I think you'll like them.

The first one is the LICKETY STIK, a lickable dog treat!  I discovered Lickety Stik at a BlogPaws conference.  It comes in several flavors, and I couldn't help myself, I had to take 3 different flavors home to my girls!  Peanut butter, Liver, and Chicken.  Icy and Phoebe loved all 3!

Just give the bottle a shake, open the cap and let your dog lick her way to a yummy reward.  It's a clean, easy way to give a treat.  When I'm practicing obedience training, I can instantly treat when my dog gives me the desired behavior.  I don't have to dig in my pocket or treat bag for messy treats. The sticks store and travel really well too, I don't have to pack treats into airtight plastic bags.

The 3 flavors of LICKETY STIK I decided to try; Peanut butter, Liver, & Chicken

A roller ball dispenses the LICKETY STIK treat easily, your dog just licks it!

The next product I want to tell you about is FRESH AND FLUFFY dry dog shampoo.  It's all natural and requires no water - YAY!  I won this product in a contest hosted by the Long Island Pet Professionals group in New York.  I've been looking for the perfect time to try it.  That time came when Icy decided to roll around on the grass in a substance most foul.  She stunk to high heaven! She was not coming back in the house stinking like that!  We've all been there, haven't we?

I decided to try FRESH AND FLUFFY, and it worked great.  It was quick and super easy to use, and the foul odor was gone!  I was so happy I didn't have to run out to the groomer and get her bathed - at $45 a pop!  Nor did I have to bring her inside (Pee -Yewie!)  and attempt to bathe her in the tub.  Icy does not do well in the tub, I have to get mentally prepared to bathe her myself.  With Fresh and Fluffy, I just laid a towel outside and dry shampooed her in the yard.

I sprinkled the dry shampoo onto Icy, being careful not to get it in her eyes

I then rubbed the dry shampoo into her fur, spreading it all around & avoiding her eyes
Here's Icy looking beautiful after being shampooed & brushed out.  Far more importantly, she SMELLED good!!
Whew! I was so relieved that a dog dry shampoo got the stench out of Icy!  Phoebe darling, You're Next!!

NOTE: I did not receive any compensation for writing about either of these products.  I received free samples of Lickety Stik, which were made available to all conference attendees.  I was not asked to write about these products.

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: A Cool New Type Of Identification For Your Pet

In today's Wordless Wednesday, I want to say Thanks to Jenna Drady, author of the blog Love Is Being Owned By A Husky.  I was fortunate enough to win a really cool prize in one of Jenna's contests, and Icy wants to show it off!  We won a Blanket ID POD, a new type of identification your pet can wear on their collar.


The POD is a small, bullet shaped container that holds a paper scroll with your contact information on it.

The POD came in this neat little plastic case.

Having our names and phone numbers right on the scroll makes it easy for people to contact us if Icy should (GASP!) get lost.  They don't have to find someone to read her microchip or license ID, they can just call us directly & we'll come running!!

Icy will definitely be wearing her purple POD on all our Summer road trips!  

Are The Kids Bored This Summer? They Can Help Animals And Their Community

Kids love animals!  If your kids don't have enough to keep them busy and engaged this Summer, why not give them something to do that will teach them responsibility, empathy, and compassion for animals? 

Your kids can make a difference in the lives of homeless animals this Summer by helping a local animal shelter or rescue.   There are lots of things kids can do to help homeless animals.

They can organize a donation drive with their friends, collecting much needed items from neighbors, local stores, or clubs they belong to.  Contact an animal shelter or rescue organization near you and ask for a wish list of items that are most needed.  The kids can have fun making creative flyers and posters requesting donations and work together to pack up the items for delivery.  Items needed may include food, toys, or used blankets and towels. 

This puppy had only 2 small towels to lay on......

.....until we brought him this beautiful donated blanket. 
Now he's SO comfy!

Kids can volunteer to get animals out of their kennels, walking and playing with the dogs,  cuddling and playing with the cats.  C'mon, what kid doesn't love to play with dogs and cats?!  Check with the shelter to see if there's an age requirement.  This may be an activity for teens rather than young children.  This helps the animals get exercise and stay well socialized, which in turn helps them remain healthy and adoptable.

Getting some puppy kisses during a volunteer event at the shelter
If your child is too young to volunteer at the shelter, you can foster a dog or cat in your home.  Many shelters even have day foster programs, where you volunteer to take a dog out just for the day.  You can take your foster dog to the park, hiking, or to an outdoor cafĂ©.  Anything that gets them out of the shelter, gives them fresh air and exercise, and makes them feel like a pet again is extremely beneficial, even if only for a day.  Make sure you fully explain that the dog will need to return to the shelter at the end of the day to avoid disappointment when it's time to go back.

Many shelters and rescues are overrun in Summer with puppies and kittens.   The large number of puppies and kittens creates an issue with kennel space and the ability to care for so many homeless animals.  Fostering a pet in your home for a few weeks will free up kennel space in the shelter so that another animal can be saved.  Your kids can learn responsibility for the pet and have a fun playmate.

My husband with Howdy, one of our recent fosters

Kids can volunteer to work on simple projects like sorting donated items at the shelter.  Call and ask to speak to a community outreach coordinator and see if there are any simple projects that kids can help with. 

Older kids can offer to take photos of adoptable animals for the shelter.  Shelters can't always get a good photo of every animal as they come in.  If your child is good with a camera, ask a local shelter if they need help taking photos of their adoptable animals. 
Kids can use social media to help get the word out about animals that are available for adoption.  Work with the shelter to post photos of their adoptable dogs and cats with some details about the animal and link to their site.   “Phoebe is a lovable Poodle mix who loves to go on walks!”   Then Share it online and ask their friends to do the same.

This gorgeous Lab stole my heart!  We played fetch in the play kennel for 40 minutes.   I was exhausted, he was just getting started!
Lots of parents have approached me at the shelter asking if their child can volunteer.  What a great way for kids to help homeless animals and give back to their community! 

What do you think about kids spending time over the Summer to volunteer helping homeless animals?   Please leave a comment, as always I'd love to hear your thoughts!


THOUGHTLESS THURSDAY: Icy and Phoebe Join the Lazy's Girls Club

Now that temps have soared here in the desert, Icy and Phoebe have decided it's too hot to run around and play, so they've decided to join the Lazy Girls club and just sunbathe all day.

My little Phoebe's turned into a bathing beauty!


I think she's nuts but Icy loves to lie in the hot sun!  Her Husky double undercoat insulates from heat as well as cold.  We fill the water bowl to the max and don't let her stay out for very long. 

Icy Finally comes to her senses and finds shade.  Whew!

A SAFE and HAPPY 4th of July To Pooches and Their People!!

The 4th of July, Independence Day, is a huge celebration here in the U.S.  On this National holiday American's celebrate our country's independence.  American's celebrate with picnics, BBQs, parades, speeches, and of course FIREWORKS!  Lots and lots of FIREWORKS! 

Isis and Phoebe are ready to celebrate!
I'm sure other pet bloggers will be addressing 4th of July safety for dogs this week but I'd like to focus specifically on some of the top reasons pets get Lost over 4th of July weekend.  At the animal shelter where I volunteer, July 4th weekend is unfortunately a very busy time for intake of animals, especially dogs.  We're not alone in July 4th being one of our busiest intake weekends of the year. 

Many pets who were lost during the holiday weekend will quickly go up for adoption because their owner could not be identified.  There is usually a short amount of time most shelters will hold a dog waiting to see if an owner shows up.  IF a dog isn't micro chipped AND isn't wearing a collar with current information, there is often a waiting period of only 2 to 4 days where a shelter holds the dog to provide the owner an opportunity to find and claim him.  Waiting periods are often dictated by local law.  After the brief waiting period, if no owner has claimed him the dog is given a cursory vet check and behavior assessment and then made available to the public for adoption.

Phoebe's wearing her patriotic beads!
There are several reasons why so many dogs get lost on 4th of July weekend. I'm going to focus on some of the most common:

Fireworks Noise: This is probably the number one reason dogs go missing during 4th of July weekend.  Many dogs are terrified of the booming noises caused by fireworks.  The dog's first reaction is often to hide under a bed or in a closet.  However, if a door or window is open and your property isn't fully secured your dog may run away from the house trying to escape the noise. 

Camping: Lots of people choose to go camping on 4th of July weekend and want their dogs to join the fun.  Campgrounds will be far more crowded with strange people and dogs than usual.  This may make your dog anxious.  Throw in loud noises and lights from fireworks and camp fires and your dog may become even more anxious and try to run away from it. Your dog may not think your tent or camper is a safe enough place to hide.  He may run away in an attempt to find a more secure spot.  Another reason dogs go missing is that the kids may take the dog for a walk around the camp grounds and don't know to exercise more caution and awareness in a strange environment.

Visiting:  Visiting the home of someone else or having people visit your home can create an issue.  If your dog is in a strange home where he doesn't feel secure, loud noises and people can frighten him.  He may run off, trying to get back home or to find a secure place to hide out.  Conversely, if you have visitors in your home be aware of your dog's whereabouts at all times.  Guests may not know to watch out for door dashing, they may even leave doors open not realizing it's a danger to your pet.  Friends of ours had an overnight guest who stepped outside to smoke at night, leaving the patio door slightly ajar.  No one realized the cat slipped had out until the next morning.  They never saw their beautiful cat again.

Water hazards: A fun filled day at the lake may be on a lot of peoples' agendas this weekend.  Your dog may be very attracted to the water but don't let him wander around near water unsupervised.  It may be too deep for your dog, there may be a current your dog can't manage, or your dog may go swimming and get too tired to make it back to shore.  Bring along a brightly colored life vest or other flotation device for your dog in case he decides to go bounding into the water!  Not every dog is a good swimmer!

Collars frequently get lost, especially when a frightened dog is fleeing loud fireworks.  A collar can easily get snagged on a branch, rock, or other object and break off, or a fearful dog can slip out of a collar as a stranger tries to grab him.  I know I sometimes sound like a broken record saying this, but Please micro chip your dog!  It really is the best way for a shelter or veterinarian to identify an owner. It might be one of the best investments you make for your dog.  It's fast, easy, & inexpensive.

While 4th of July is a time for humans to have fun and let loose, it may make your dog stressed and anxious. 

Isis wants all pooches to be SAFE this 4th of July!