Phoebe loves her Martha Stewart witchy-poo costume!

Uh-Oh, Goblin Alert!!!
Be sure to link up with us on the blog hop below!!!
Phoebe anticipates lots of Yummy Halloween treats!!

Hey, what is that skull head staring at???
 Isis and Phoebe want all their friends to stay SAFE on Howl-o-ween.  Be sure to follow these  Halloween safety tips !
Isis looks cute in her sparkly witch hat!

How do you like my Spider Lady dress?

Oh no, Isis left me alone with the Goblins... and that scary Skull head!!  Help me.

The Halloween Spooktacular Blog Hop is hosted by our friends at Barking From The BayouOz the Terrier and Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows.  Lync up on this “FANG~TASTIC” hop!


October Is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month! Part Three


Bloggers have been promoting Adopt A Shelter Dog month throughout October, helping shelter dogs everywhere find Furever homes!  In support of Adopt A Shelter Dog Month, I've dedicated weekly posts to helping Pawsome dogs who are very much in need of loving homes.  It's still Adopt A Shelter Dog Month, so please help by sharing the stories of these two special dogs!

In my October 3rd Adopt A Shelter Dog post, I introduced you to Charon, a sweet, affectionate Pit Bull mix that had been at the shelter for 6 long months.  I was elated to learn that he had been adopted days later, but I was crushed to find out he was returned to the shelter the very next day!  Why??  He was returned because he was not housetrained -  SERIOUSLY?!    Did his adopters even give him a chance?  They returned him 24 hours after giving him a home simply because he wasn't potty trained.  That is just cruel.  Many dogs that end up in shelters have never been housetrained, probably due to owners that didn't take the small amount of time & effort needed to potty train.  Poor Charon has been living in a cage for 6 months.  Isn't it reasonable to think perhaps his potty training has lapsed a bit, if he was ever trained to begin with?  What does it take to buy a wire crate and spend 2 or 3 days potty training - is that too much to ask?

Sweet Charon whose been living in the shelter for 6 long months, was adopted but then returned to the shelter after only 24 hours just because he wasn't housetrained!
So here I am, spotlighting Charon for adoption once again.   Charon is a 6 year old neutered male Pit Bull mix who perks up at the sight of a bright yellow tennis ball!  He came to the shelter as a stray, and quickly became a favorite among staff and volunteers!  He loves water, playing fetch and being with people.  Charon's ID number is A3450205.

Charon loves the water and playing with a ball!  What a great friend he'll be.
Next I'd like to introduce you to Cascade, a 6 year old Australian Shepherd mix whose brindle coat is just beautiful.  Cascade is a spayed female who has been at the shelter since June.  She is a very mellow, sweet dog.  She walks beautifully on leash and loves walks.  She has such a lovely disposition, this is one sweet dog!  Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but when I look into Cascade's eyes I feel like she is sad, probably wondering how she ended up there and why her family never came for her.  She would be a wonderful companion!  Cascade's ID number is A3477998.

Cascade is a sweet, mellow girl who really needs someone to love her!
In a recent post, I listed 8 key questions you should ask before adopting a dog.

Charon and Cascade are available for adoption at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC)Cascade is at the PetSmart Everyday Adoption Center in the Scottsdale Arizona store. Charon is available at the Mesa, Arizona shelter location.


NOTE: If you are interested in adopting these dogs, please contact MCACC (602) 506-7387 and provide the dog's Identification number above. It's possible that these adoptable dogs may have already been adopted by the time you get to the shelter, but there are hundreds of other wonderful animals in search of loving homes!
THIS IS A Thoughtless Thursday BLOG HOP!!

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: Just Some Howl-o-ween Fun!

On this Wordless Wednesday I thought I'd just share some fun Howl-o-ween pics I took of Icy and Phoebe.  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen these.  I hope you enjoy them!



Legends of witch trials and ghostly hauntings abound in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia!  At the center of Colonial Williamsburg is The Revolutionary City, a historic and educational re-creation of life in Colonial Williamsburg during the American Revolution, which lasted from 1775 - 1783.  Colonial Williamsburg definitely ranks as one of our favorite dog friendly travel destinations. 

Ghostly specters are supposedly still seen in historic Colonial Williamsburg.  Photo Source: Colonial Williamsburg  Tour and Ghost Walk web site

The city looks and feels very authentic.  American “Colonists” not only dress in period costume but wander the town in character, re-enacting scenes from life during the era and engaging tourists in 1700’s conversation!  One such gentlemen approached us, eyeing our Siberian Husky, Icy, curiously That’s a fine looking animal you have there, sir!and proceeded to make us an offer to purchase her for 100 quid!  We had some really fun banter with him, explaining that our precious FurKid was NOT for sale at any price!   

Spending Halloween or Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg is certainly fun and educational, but some of it’s history can be downright scary!

American "Colonists" discuss & debate the issues of the day

One of our favorite activities was a guided candlelight Tavern Ghost Walk.  A small group of us met late in the evening in front of one of the historic taverns to begin the tour.  Our guide fascinated us with bizarre ghost stories, where people have sworn they’ve seen and heard ghosts that still haunt the old buildings.  It turns out the historic Revolutionary City, with many of it’s original buildings still in tact, has quite a haunted past!

Oh, Daddy, I told you not to practice witchcraft here!  The Colonists do NOT like that!

As we walked thru the Revolutionary City by candlelight, listening to our guide recount stories of the ghosts that supposedly still haunt the taverns and historic buildings, our dog Icy started to become antsy.  This was very out of character for her, but we chalked it up to being in a strange place, walking around in the darkness of night.  

As our tour wound down people left the group, slowly making their way back to their hotels.  After a few minutes we realized there were hardly any people left on the cobblestone streets of the Revolutionary City.  It was eerily quiet and dark.  Icy was becoming more and more agitated. 

Suddenly, Icy started barking wildly for no apparent reason, lunging at one of the deserted historic taverns!  It was so eerie, it made us a little jumpy ourselves.  We quickened our steps and hightailed it back to our hotel! Our dog friendly hotel was on premises inside the revolutionary city, so thankfully we didn't have far to go. 

When we made it back to our hotel room we breathed a sigh of relief – Whew!  That was weird.  It took a few minutes for Icy to calm down, but she soon settled down on her blanket and fell fast asleep.

What made Icy act so weird??  Was it just the cold night air and the unfamiliar darkened streets?  Or had she sensed something else, perhaps something from the spirit world that only she could sense?  Hmmm…. I guess we’ll never know for sure!

Not only is Colonial Williamsburg a great pet friendly vacation spot, it's also a wonderful travel destination for kids. It's fun and interesting for the whole family and the kids will learn what life was like during the American Revolution.  I especially like Colonial Williamsburg as both a Halloween vacation spot and a Christmas vacation destination for the whole family. Including the dog!

Visit my ETSY store, Nature and Critters for one of a kind items! Printables and Products like Mugs, T-shirts and Wall Art.

Have you ever visited Colonial Williamsburg?  Please tell us about it in the comments!

Sharing is Caring! If you enjoyed this post, we would really appreciate a social media share! 😍


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Is Your Dog Ready For Halloween?

Halloween is one of the most popular holidays here in the U.S., and it's not just for kids!   Americans are expected to spend well over $7 billion on Halloween costumes, candy and decorations this year.  The National Retail Federation estimates that we'll spend $350 million on Halloween costumes just for our pets!  Now I call that the Howl-o-ween Effect!  Ha!  I feel vindicated; I'm not so crazy just 'cause I have a closet full of Halloween costumes ...for my dogs! I'll bet most of you do too.  Am I right?

I Vant To Bite Your Neck and Suck Your Blood!  OK, How About If I Just Like Your Face?

So, is your dog ready for Howl-o-ween?   

Does your dog have a costume yet? What is your dog going to dress up as?

Have you had your dog spend time wearing her costume so she gets used to it before wearing it on Halloween?

Phoebe in one of her many costumes

Have you helped your dog get used to all the crazy costumes she'll see?  Forget baseball hats and umbrellas; masks, crazy clothing, and objects like swords, wands, and who knows what else can be very scary for dogs.

Do you have a plan to keep candy well out of reach so your dog doesn't ingest something toxic like chocolate?

How will you handle your dog while all those spooky little goblins ring your doorbell all evening long?

Many pets end up in shelters due to the craziness of Halloween.  Do you have a plan to ensure your dog will be secure during trick or treat hours and parties?
Halloween is an excellent time to MICROCHIP your pet if you haven't already!  Most shelters provide very low cost microchipping.  It's fast, easy, and permanent.  Don't let Halloween turn into a nightmare for your family by losing your furry BFF!

Keep your Halloween angels safe!

ADOPT A SHELTER DOG MONTH: 8 Questions You Should Ask Before Adopting A Dog

If you’ve decided to adopt a shelter or rescue dog, congratulations! You’ve made a decision that will save a life.  Choosing a dog is a commitment that will last the rest of the dog's lifetime.  Choose unwisely and you and your new furry BFF might not make a successful love connection.  As you head to the shelter, ask these 8 questions to ensure the dog you adopt is the right one for you! 

Most dogs are full grown at around 18 months old.  You'll want to know if the dog is already full grown, and if not ask about how big he's expected to get.  Most of the time a shelter or rescue can only estimate how big a dog will get when full grown.  Find our if there are any restrictions on the size or breed of dogs allowed where you live.  
Think about what size dog is right for you.
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 such as a Border Collie might be the right companion for you.  If you prefer a mellow dog that doesn't need much exercise, a Siberian Husky would not be a good fit!    

What's your tolerance for shedding? Just because a dog has a smooth coat or very thin hair that does not mean she won’t shed.  If you want a dog that sheds very little or not at all, ask if the shelter has any non-shedding breeds or dogs that are mixed with a non shedding breed such as the Poodle, Maltese, or Bichon Frise.   

Is shedding a concern?  Dogs like Phoebe don't shed one bit!  We think she's a Havanese mix.
Sometimes shelter staff and volunteers won’t know for certain, but at many shelters and rescues they can tell if a dog likes people and other dogs.  They do this by behavior assessing the dog and interacting with him on a daily basis.  If they have play groups for the dogs they’ll be able to tell if he’s dog friendly or if he displays aggression towards other dogs. 

Sometimes people who already have a dog worry about bringing another dog into the home.  Ask the shelter to arrange a meet and greet with your current dog and the one you want to adopt to see if they get along.  If they can’t accommodate, make sure you can bring the dog back if he doesn't get along with your current dog(s).

Ask what’s included in the adoption fee and what additional costs you might incur.  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.

Icy and Phoebe are both very dog friendly, so they became BFF's very soon after we brought Phoebe home to join our family!
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 handle them.

You can 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.

Asking these 8 questions will help you make the best decision about which dog is right for you, and you’ll know what to expect as you bring your new best friend home with you!

What other questions do you think are important to ask when adopting a new pet?   Please leave us a comment!

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: Getting ready for Halloween!

 Little Witchy Phoebe is Mixin' up a Brew,  
 Bat Tails and Cat Tails make a  delicious Halloween Stew!!




The Hamptons.  The ultimate Summer playground conjures up images of celebrities and mega millionaires for many people.  But for most New Yorkers it's a weekend getaway where you can sunbathe on the most pristine beaches, dine on freshly caught seafood, shop 'til you drop (or run out of money, whichever comes first!), party all night long, and pick up fresh local produce at farm stands on the way home!


But there's another side to The Hamptons, a quieter time when you can bring your dog along and have some fun.  I could have written a post about the Foo-Foo side of  The Hamptons, spotlighting chic doggy boutiques and people carting tiny dogs around as they shop for hours and attend polo games.  Instead, I opted to focus on the part of The Hamptons that may not seem as glamorous to most "Summer people", but would be an absolute blast for you and your dog! 

Gorgeous, pristine Road D beach in The Hamptons, Long Island NY is dog friendly but with restrictions.  #Dogs #petfriendly
Icy enjoying an empty beach and plenty of sunshine at Road D beach in Southampton

Early Fall can be one of the best times to head to The Hamptons.  The crowds are thin and you don't have to worry as much about heatstroke, sunburn, hot walking surfaces or dehydration.   More importantly, restrictions to beach access for both humans and dogs are greatly relaxed after September 15th.  During the Summer, restrictions to accessing the fabulous Atlantic ocean beaches can be a bit insane. 

Beaches in The Hamptons, Long Island NY get super crowded in Summer and access to dogs is more restrictive. After September 15th it's much more relaxed and Dog Friendly.  #Dogs #Pets
I love the sound of waves crashing on the beach, but Icy prefers to swim in the calmer waters of beaches on the Bay side.


In Summer, beaches have both access and parking costs and restrictions for people, and access restrictions for dogs.  You need to study the rules for the beach you want to go to, each one is a bit different.  If you violate the rules, you'll end up with stiff fines and your car is likely to be towed.  You practically need a PhD to figure out which beach you can go to and when, whether or not you can park, and whether or not and when you can bring your dog! 

The good news is that many beaches on the Bay side of The Hamptons (on the Northern side of The Hamptons) are dog friendly all year long.  They are not as pristine as the Atlantic ocean beaches but the waves are gentle and there's always something interesting to see (and sniff!) along the shoreline.  Your dog will have fun romping along the shores of Bay side beaches, sniffing all the interesting stuff that has washed up along the beach!

Dog Friendly Beaches on the Bay side of The Hamptons, Long Island New York. Dogs, Dog Friendly Travel, Pet Friendly Travel Destinations.
Beaches on the Bay side of The Hamptons may not be as pristine as the ocean beaches, but they are pretty and interesting in their own way.

If you enjoy seeing historic lighthouses this one on Cedar Point Beach in East Hampton, Long Island, NY is really interesting.
It looks more like a haunted house, but historic Cedar Island lighthouse, is on Cedar Point beach, on the Bay side in E. Hampton.  At the time of this writing, the light was being restored and had been temporarily removed from the top.


We always look forward to heading out to The Hamptons between September 16th and late October.  The weather is still beautiful, warm and sunny in September.  In October the weather is cool & brisk and farm stands are loaded with pumpkins and apples!  The traffic and crowds have calmed down, everything goes on sale in the stores, and you rarely have to wait for a table at restaurants. Best of all, you can bring your dog to just about any beach.  It's divine!

At dog friendly Beach Bakery Grand Cafe in The Hamptons, Long Island NY

There are a few dog friendly restaurants in the Hamptons.  We love to stop for breakfast at one of the dog friendly cafes before we hit the beaches and shops.

Dog friendly Beach Bakery Grand Cafe in West Hampton is a great place for breakfast or lunch with your pooch

Beach Bakery Grand Café in West Hampton is dog friendly & Delish!

There are lots of shops where you can find the latest (human & doggie) fashions, unique home décor, and antiques throughout The Hamptons.  Shopping out there is Expensive, but you can score big with end of season sales in early Fall!

Shopping in The Hamptons, Long Island NY is pricey but you can score great deals in the Fall
Shopping in The Hamptons is fantastic, but pricey so bring your credit card!
The Tuscan House restaurant in South Hampton, NY has great food, great service, and is very dog friendly
Job's Lane Restaurant, formerly the Tuscan House (as seen here) in Southampton, a fantastic Italian restaurant that is so dog friendly.  We love this place!

At the end of a beautiful Fall day in The Hamptons, we had dinner at the very dog friendly Tuscan House, recently re-established as the Job's Lane Ristorante for a heavenly meal and great service.  Of course, we had to stop at several farm stands on the way home! 

Plan your Fall trip to The Hamptons early, even in the Fall places book up fast.

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My Dog The Therapist: Helping College Students Cope With Stress

As a Pet Partners Therapy Dog team, Icy and I participate in children's reading programs, where kids practice and improve their reading skills by reading out loud to dogs.  We also visit seniors in nursing homes and kids in daycare centers.  One of the other fun assignments we have is visiting college students as part of Stress Buster events.

Whether you're Freshmen or Senior, college can be tough.  Although there have been many advancements over the years that make learning faster and easier, it can also make school more stressful.  With each generation, the bar seems to be raised and things get harder for students.  The pressure can be overwhelming.

Icy is just loving all this attention and petting!
When mid-terms and finals roll around, students are under maximum pressure.  Many colleges have started Stress Buster events where students on campus can visit with Therapy Dogs in order to help relieve stress and take a time out during mid-terms and finals.

I'm amazed at the number of students who sign up for these events!  At one event, we had 5 Therapy Dogs in a large common room.  Students waited outside the room for their turn to visit with the dogs.  Over a 2 day period, several hundred students came through to visit with the dogs!  Students were invited into the room 25 or 30 at a time to meet the dogs.  You could feel their tension as they first entered the room but within moments, as they caught sight of the dogs, they would break into smiles which ultimately turned into laughter. 

As they petted, hugged, and kissed her, the students asked lots of questions about Icy; is she a Husky, how old is she, does she shed a lot, does she love the snow, and other questions.  They talked about their own dogs waiting back home for them while they were away at school, and how much they missed them.  They pulled out their cell phones to take selfies with her and texted photos to friends telling them they had to come down to see "this gorgeous Husky with blue eyes!". 

It's a known fact that petting a dog, cat or other animal can reduce blood pressure and relieve stress.
The students loved Icy and had a lot of fun visiting with her.  As you can see from these photos, Icy basked in all the attention and affection.  When I asked the students if they felt their visit with her helped relieve some of the stress they were feeling, the answer was a resounding Yes, it did help relieve stress and they were glad to have the break.  It was rewarding to see them walk away after their visit with Icy, laughing and smiling, reluctant to leave her.  The Stress Buster events are definitely one of the most fun Therapy Dog programs we have participated in

I'm not sure who enjoyed these Therapy Dog visits more, the students or Icy!
What do you think about the concept of Stress Buster events at colleges?  Leave us a comment and weigh in on the idea of Therapy Dogs helping to relieve stress for college students.

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Show Us Your Pink!

In addition to being Adopt A Shelter Dog Month, October is also Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Phoebe is dressed in her furry best PINK to show her support!

Did you know that according to the American Cancer Society breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.  The American Cancer Society's estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2014 are:

  • About 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
  • About 62,570 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
  • About 40,000 women will die from breast cancer
There are many RISK FACTORS associated w/ breast cancer, here are just a few of the Lifestyle related risk factors that have been linked to breast cancer:

Alcohol consumption
Long term heavy smoking
Being overweight or obese
Lack of physical activity
Hormone therapy after menopause
Taking Birth control pills and DMPA birth control injections

For a more complete list and explanation of risk factors, see the AmericanCancer Society's breast cancer risk factors.



Have your dogs been enjoying the beautiful Fall foliage as much as Isis and Phoebe have?  Leave us a comment and tell us how your dogs enjoy Fall!




October is a very special month because it's dedicated to helping dogs in shelters everywhere find Furever homes!  In the spirit of Adopt A Shelter Dog Month, I'm dedicating weekly posts to helping some Pawsome dogs who are very much in need of loving homes.

Meet GATOR and CLAUS.  Can you, or someone you know give these two sweeties a loving home?

Gator, just chillin' in the shade wearing his favorite hat!
Meet Gator, one of the coolest, laid back dogs you will ever meet!  This handsome, 6-year-old Pittie mix arrived at the shelter as a stray 7 months ago!  Both staff and volunteers are puzzled as to why he hasn't made a love connection yet and been adopted!  During Day Foster outings with volunteers, he has enjoyed hiking, visiting Home Depot (where he was a BIG hit) and chilling out with volunteers.  This boy loves to go for rides in the car!   Gator was recently featured on Fox10 to promote the shelter's Wag & Walk Adoption Hike program at Usery Mountain Park in Mesa, AZ.  We are asking that Gator go to a home without small dogs or cats, but if you have larger dogs, bring them with you to the shelter and they’ll do an introduction to ensure a smooth transition from shelter to home!  Gator’s adoption fee has been paid by a kind donor who is eager to see him adopted.  Gator is neutered, rabies vaccinated, and will go home with his dog license.  His ID number is A3430255.

Claus, enjoying the fresh air during one of his special Day Foster outings!
Two-year-old Claus arrived at the shelter as a stray in July.  This handsome Boxer mix is playful, friendly, and will do anything for a toy or ball!  While on a recent Day Foster outing, Claus rode in the back of the SUV and methodically pulled all the toys out of a small crate.  Our volunteer thinks that perhaps he had a toy box in a previous home L.  He is the type of dog who is happiest when he is carrying a toy or ball in his mouth. Although he’s only 2, Claus is not hyper and is very well behaved.  He walks well on a leash and enjoys going for hikes.  He readily greets human hikers along the way!  Claus loves water, even baths!  He is super friendly and loves attention.  Claus has a very expressive face and the most beautiful chocolate/caramel eyes!   One look from him and your heart will melt.   Claus has been neutered and rabies vaccinated, and his adoption fee is only $20, which will also include his dog license.  Claus' ID number is A3487187.

Both of these beautiful dogs are available for adoption at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) in Mesa, Arizona.

Last week's highlighted dogs, long term shelter residents Khalua and Charon, are still in need of Furever homes!


NOTE: If you are interested in adopting these dogs, please contact MCACC (602) 506-7387 and provide the dog's Identification number above. It's possible that these adoptable dogs may have already been adopted by the time you get to the shelter, but there are hundreds of other wonderful animals in search of loving homes!