Pup Care

You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it.

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YAY! Let’s talk grooming!

Luckily, we as a family have had the privilege of working with some fantastic groomers. They listen to our desires, concerns, and follow through with those wishes. I have also had the opportunity to be close by while the grooming magic happens and gained an education on the process.

DOODLE HAIR

Doodle hair can be extremely complicated to take care of and when it mats- it’s super frustrating for everyone including your pup. The longest we’ve had Pax’s coat was 5inches. As much as I loved my darling little puff ball he was miserable. Stickers would trench themselves in his hair, paws, and belly… we had to spend so much time working out tangles that it took away from fun things he could be doing. That wasn’t ok for us, so after our most recent road trip vacation we cut Pax down to 1 1/2 inches- and it’s made the biggest difference. We went from having mats covering his body and brush outs on the daily to no mats and brush outs 1-2 a week. Pax has more fun, it’s much easier to maintain his coat, and I can tell he’s happier not having to be groomed for 7 hours :)

CONSISTENCY.

It’s not your groomers fault if your dog comes in matted and leave the salon looking half its size. Some dogs mat more than others and if you aren’t diligent about brushing, combing, and detangling you’ll most likely have to shave your pup. Once the mat’s get attached to the skin, there is really no other way. Mats are NOT GOOD for your dog- they can cause infection and carry bacteria. Yuck. We use a bunch of products on Pax’s coat, and they are located here in my FAQ sheet. Try combing your dog once a day or a few times a week as you get started. Right now pax gets cut every 6 weeks and he gets a bath and blowdry every 3 (right in between) this helps with keeping him clean, that fur looking shiny, and us letting him sleep in our bed.

RESEARCH

When researching for groomers - ask around, or your doggo community at the dog park or even on social media can help you with referrals. Yelp and other trusted sources such as daycare centers could be helpful. Talk to your breeder or vet and do research on your breed in regards to how often they need to be bathed & how to take care of their coat.

COMMUNICATE

Communicate with your groomer. Show pictures, talk to them about the lines you like (ex: round head, round face & paws) learn about their process. Ask them how long they will take and if they hand scissor or razor. It’s ok to be a rookie- they’re the expert.

SPEAK UP

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So I use to believe it was rude for me to be so specific in Pax’s haircut. Like that it was ridiculous to want my dog to look a certain way. You guys- who cares! It’s your dog and the groomer is there to make you happy! Lesson learned! I’ve since mildly calmed down and only send in a powerpoint presentation followed by text messages every so often now a days :). When you communicate accurately to your groomer they get to learn what you want! How else are they going to know what you’re envisioning?

MINDSET.

Your dog is going to look different with a blowout and a haircut. Just like you do when you leave the salon. I think people have an unhealthy attachment to an image (myself included) and we get comfortable with one look - ESPECIALLY if you have an Instagram account! I’m just going to write it out loud that I have honestly thought about Pax getting a bad haircut and people not enjoying his content anymore. What a load of shit! WHO CARES. Hair grows back, it never looks as bad as you think it does, and keep your expectations low, so you’re always pleasantly surprised. Your dog doesn’t give a fluff how they look as long as they can eat hotdogs and run after tennis balls. Main point? Keep it light, keep your expectations low, and get over it. Trust me, you’ll still have followers. We have two ways to look at shitty situations - #1 let it define us “omg my dog got the worst haircut EVER” or #2 “haha he looks like a cheeto”… Cheetos sound way more optimistic to me don’t ya think?

IF YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR SERVICE.

It happens. It happens with human things too. Like I’ve literally walked out of the hair salon HATING my hair and telling the hairdresser that it’s ok. And instead of dealing with it and communicating to the person I was too uncomfortable and bailed and found someone else. You’re allowed to be unsatisfied or have questions about the service provided. If you like the reasoning you get then cool- if not, find another groomer. It’s all good. At the end of the day this about the well being of your dog, not about if the groomer likes you or not.

Below is my checklist that I share with my groomer. I would also suggest saving a few photos of what you like and what you don’t want.

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Haircut ready?

Comment below on what your biggest fear of getting your dog groomed is!

Guest Article: Picking the right breed for your family!

I get this question all the time… “How do I know what type of dog is best for me?” We choose a F1 mini Goldendoodle for many reasons. First, I’m allergic to dogs…so strange since I grew up with them but as I aged I became allergic to them. Second, my husband and I want to grow our family in the next couple years and we know that Goldendoodles are great with children. Third, they don’t shed. Fourth, their temperament in general was just a disposition we wanted to be around all the time (we both love golden retrievers!). There are many many many other reasons why we decided on a mini Goldendoodle and I’d be happy to share- feel free to email me if you have questions about getting a fur baby!

I was so excited when Jessica from ourbestfriends.pet organization wanted to do a guest blog article on picking the right breed for your family. Getting a dog is a big decision and Jessica gives some great tips! Take a look below and make sure check out their website!

A Humane and Responsible Decision: Choosing the Right Breed for Your Family

by: Jessica Brody

The relationship between a pet and its owner can be a mutually rewarding and long-lasting one if you find  the right animal and breed for your family and lifestyle. A number of factors go into making that decision, one that should be taken seriously and with an objective consideration of the facts. It isn’t a cookie-cutter choice; there’s no one-size-fits-all pet. They each have their own requirements and temperaments, and some may be more suitable for you than others. There are many cases of people who have made hasty decisions and had to return a pet to the local Humane Societyor some other animal shelter. That’s bad news for the animal, who may not get another chance at being chosen. 

Physical suitability

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An honest assessment of your square footage, inside and out, should play a big role in your decision. If you’re living in a two-bedroom apartment, it’s unfair to bring home a great dane or a mastiff, even if your landlord allows dogs. A small or medium-sized dog, like a beagle, would probably be a better fit, or perhaps a cat. Many people like having a big dog roaming the property to ward off intruders, which can work as long as your yard is big enough to allow him to stretch his legs and enjoy some playtime. 

For convenience, consider installing a dog door to make it easy for your pooch to get in and out and an automatic feederto help him stay on a regular feeding schedule. Remember that a large pet needs a comfortable place to sleep with enough room to spread out instead of in a cubby hole that forces him to seek room alongside you in bed. 

Kids

It’s essential to consider the impact a pet will have on your children. Think twice before bringing home a large breedof dog, such as a pit bull, rottweiler or chow chow, which are active and powerful breeds that can turn aggressive suddenly and unexpectedly. It’s unfair to the animal, who might have to be put down after an attack, and you could scar a child psychologically as well as physically. 

Avoid aggressive breeds if your children are very young and apt to pull Fido’s tail just for the fun of it. A cat can be a safer alternative, though it may be necessary to have it declawed(be aware that many animal societies recommend against this, and many vets won’t perform the procedure unless it’s medically necessary). Don’t forget to consider allergies, which will be exacerbated by pet hair and dander. 

Unless you settle on a fish, be prepared to deal with hair on the furniture, on the carpet and in the corners and in air ducts. The hairier your pet, the more you’ll need a top-notch vacuum cleanerwith plenty of attachments for reaching into tight spots, and under chairs and tables. If yours isn’t up to the challenge, do some online research to find the best option for maintaining a clean home. 

Your schedule

How much time you can realistically expect to spend with a pet is another important factor and should be taken seriously. People with very busy lives and serious responsibilities at work that keep them away from home for long periods aren’t the best candidates for owning an animal that needs and craves love and attention. This is especially true of dogs, which are highly sociable animals. Here again, a cat can be a good option, but remember that cats require attentionas well and certainly won’t thrive in a neglectful living environment. 

Acclimatization

Dogs and cats are creatures of habit, and a change of living environment can be an unsettling experience. Take care to make your new pet’s arrival as smooth as possible. Set up a space just for him, in a quiet spot in a part of your home that’s not as heavily trafficked as others. Be prepared to spend time with your new family member in the beginning to help him make the transition, especially if you’ve brought home a rescue petwho’s been subjected to abuse. 

It’s important to be realistic about providing care for the pet you choose. It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll be spending hours every day with a pet, but you don’t want to bring an animal into a situation of benign neglect, no matter how unintentional. Use common sense and make a humane decision.

 

Courtesy of Pixabay.com.       

Link: http://www.ourbestfriends.pet

Pax's first road trip!

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Jarrod (my husband) and I love to travel. We usually leave the country 1-2 times a year and since we got Pax it gets harder and harder to leave. This year we decided to travel with him! Unfortunately, with my boating accident earlier this year we didn’t want to go to far or fly for too long so we decided on a road trip around california! 

Pax loves the car. I think part of it has to do with the fact that he’s been in the car since day once and we drove 6+ hours home with him in my arms. When we go outside he always runs to the car and thinks we are headed somewhere. 

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We get asked a lot about our top road trip tips. A few months ago I posted about Brittany & Layla’s road trip and her tips. So here I am to add to the list from our own experience. We started our journey in San Diego and stopped in Orange County, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco, Napa, Mendocino, & Santa Barbara. We chose those destinations one because we have family in several of them and also because they are very dog friendly. We stayed in hotels in San Francisco, Napa, and Santa Barbara. San Francisco we stayed at the Hyatt Regency - they are dog friendly! We stayed at a fabulous hotel in Napa called the Archer Hotel. They were absolutely pawesome!! Their concierge set up a wine tour for us at all dog friendly wineries. Lastly, in Santa Barbara we stayed at a Kimpton hotel called the Canary Hotel. Once again, beyond accommodating. We found all of these hotels through our chase points and then calling to confirm they are dog friendly. When we were checking in we had to fill out a few pieces of paper that references his breed/name/details..etc. Mendocino’s airbnb was very appropriate as it was on an apple orchid and had acres for him to run around. The restaurants weren't as friendly so we ended up staying in and cooking the few nights we were there.

Best way to find out if places are dog friendly is to google it, ask around, use yelp or bring fido. Most websites will also express if they are dog friendly!

Here are additional tips that I think are helpful:

  1. We mapped out our journey to spend max 3 - 3 1/2 hours in the car. the one day we drove farther than that we stopped several times to let pax out and give him water. 

  2. Pax wasn’t hungry at his normal hours probably because of all the new settings so we brought a cooler of all his my ollie and put his bowl in there and kept trying to feed him when we stopped

  3. Call hotels & activities (we went wine tasting for example) and find out if they are dog friendly or check out online. 

    1. Yelp is helpful (and you can search within the reviews) for dinner reservations in most areas

    2. Bring Fido 

    3. Plain old google 

  4. Bring ALL grooming supplies 

  5. Pack towels - never know when you’ll need to wipe some paws! 

  6. Treats, chews, and only a few toys

  7. Google local vets in the area before going 

  8. Make sure you understand local laws 

  9. Google dog parks and read the reviews!! 

  10. We brought both a pop up bowl for water and a dog water bottle for him 


Hope this was helpful! Enjoy the road! xo

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Toxic & Non-Toxic Plants for Dogs

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When Pax was a little puppy, we noticed that he kept ripping leaves of our dracaena plant. We would find the leaves scattered around the house. At the same time, we saw he would throw up or have an upset tummy while displaying lethargy. When we went to the vet, they ruled out all parasites and other possibilities. I shared with our vet about the dracaena plant, and she let me know that it is mildly toxic to dogs and we should move the plant.

Luckily I am a black thumb and have a lot of fake plants in my house, but I do have three real ones. A fiddle leaf fig “figgy cent” who has since past (rest in peace), a snake plant, and the dracaena. Once I learned that specific plants could be dangerous for Pax, I began to research the ones we could not have in the house. Also, I just decided that being black thumb suited me and I’ll stick to the fake ones :)

Please be mindful with purchasing new plant babies and introducing them to your furry baby some of them can cause serious effects.

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Here are just 12 toxic plants to dogs:

1. Autumn Crocus

2. Azalea flowers

3. Daffodil flowers

4. Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane) houseplant

5. Tulip (especially the bulb)

6. Sago Palm (extremely poisonous)

7. Dracaena Plant

8. Fiddle leaf fig

9. Snake Plant

10. Ivy

11. Pathos (Devil’s Ivy)

12. Caladium (Elephant’s ear)

IF YOU ARE A GREEN THUMB! Don’t fret! There are dog-friendly plants to fill your house with :) Not all dogs eat plants or flowers so you may not even need to worry. However, just in case, make sure you know which plants are toxic vs. non-toxic and the signs to look for.

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Here are some SAFE plants for dogs!

1. Windmill Palm

2. Purple Basil

3. African Daisy

4. Creeping Rosemary

5. Heuchera (Coral Bells)

6. Pineapple Sage

7. Polka Dot Plant

8. Canna Lily

9. Fennel

10. Snapdragons

For more questions take a look at the following links. The ASPCA & Humane Society both have entire lists of toxic plants for dogs. Always talk to your vet and do your research! Below is also a list of dog-friendly options.

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/dogs-plant-list

https://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/docs/poisonous-plants-to-pets.pdf

https://www.rover.com/blog/10-safe-plants-dogs-can-add-almost-garden-right-now/

Pax's Pumpkin Poofs!

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Pax recently had a spout of giardia. While he had it, we had to switch his diet a few times. First, he was eating chicken and rice with his medication and a probiotic. Once we saw he was starting to feel better, we switched him back to his my ollie. It’s essential to change their food gradually- and even then there may be some tummy issues. It’s common for dogs to struggle with a bout of diarrhea and then to constipation. When it comes to constipation here are some signs to look for: 1) straining to go to the bathroom 2)scooting on their booty 3)hard or dry stool 4) not going to the bathroom for several days.

A few recommendations that our vet gave us were to feed Pax 1-2 TBS of canned pumpkin & 1-2 TBS of low-fat Keifer. It was also recommended to bake a pumpkin loaf or bread that is dog-friendly. I found a couple recipes and put one together.

Pumpkin Puppy Ball Ingredients:

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie mix)

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup quick cook oats

  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut oil

  • 1 egg

  • ½ tsp. Vanilla

  • 1 Tbsp. honey

  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt

  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon

  • 1 tsp. Ginger

  • ¼ cup water

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Pumpkin Puppy Ball Directions:

  • Preheat oven 350° F.

  • Lightly grease or spray the cookie sheet (we lined foil on the sheet)

  • Place oats in blender or food processor and pulse until oats are about half powder.

  • Then place all remaining items from the list in a large bowl and mix together.

  • Grab spoonfuls from the ball and roll the dough into a ball.

  • Sprinkle oatmeal on top of each pumpkin ball to add crunch.

  • Bake for 15-16 minutes until tops are golden brown.

When muffins have cooled store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Check out this article by the AKC on dog constipation and support they need.

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-constipation/


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Sick as a dog - no pun intended

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It’s a helpless feeling knowing that your dog can’t engage in conversation with you (although I swear pax understands English) especially when they are feeling under the weather! There are clear-cut signs that you can be on the lookout for if your dog has caught a bug. Dogs pick up actual bugs all the time- parasites are common in young dogs as they build their immune system. Recently, Pax was diagnosed with giardia which is a single cell parasite that lives in his intestine. It can impact older dogs, but it is more frequent in younger ones. Dogs become infected with the parasite when they drink water or ingest other substances that have poo particles in it. Or even have rolled around in the grass that is soiled with feces…such as the dog park and then cleaning themselves. For most dogs, their reaction when infected with giardiasis is diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, decreased appetite, and the symptoms can range from dog to dog, and some dogs don’t show signs at all! Luckily, Pax got a mild form, and he’s on the mend with some antibiotics and rest. Giardia is contagious and also be spread to humans so it’s important to do a deep cleaning of areas that could have contamination such as bedding, crates, toys, dog food, and water bowls.

So a couple questions I’ve been asked is 1) how did I know he was sick and 2) how can they prevent it from happening to their dog.

First off, I am very in tune with Pax’s routine and his energy levels. If he’s sleeping more than usual, not eating at his usual times, I like to check a couple things. First, I check his gums to make sure that they are pink and healthy. I also press my forefinger on his gums to make sure it bounces back quickly. I then look and smell in his ears to make sure there is no infection. Change in behavior is definitely an indicator that something could be off. But don’t worry it could just be an off day for them as well. If your dog is continually irritable, lethargic, showing signs of agitation, withdrawal, or needy behavior and it’s new that’s definitely something to check into.

Of course, there are other clear signs that something is wrong like if your dog isn’t breathing or they are wheezing and choking. A persistent cough could indicate kennel cough which is common in young puppies.

Checking your pup’s poop is essential as it will give you a lot of indication something is going on. For us, there was mucus in Pax’s stool that looked different than normal. He was also vomiting bile a few times which brought concern since he does not do that regularly. If your pup has trouble passing urine or stool that’s something to be aware of. And the opposite, if your pup is having diarrhea and is having tummy troubles that last over 24 hours take your pup in. I ALWAYS call my vet when something seems off. Pax vomited once on one day, so I figured maybe he ate something that upset his belly and he seemed fine. But he then vomited 4 additional times on different days which was very usual. We contacted our vet who advised us to come in. Be aware of your dog’s patterns of eating, going to the bathroom, and what their stool looks like.

Here are some tips that I’ve compiled from different sources:

  • Does your dog have a fever? you’ll need a thermometer to get an actual reading.

  • lumps bumps?

  • sudden weight gain or weight loss?

  • persistent itching

  • persistent shaking of head or scratching at ears

Here are 5 helpful suggestions:

1. Wash all bedding, toys that could be infected

2. Wash your floors, your bedding, and anywhere that could re-infect them

3. Go to the vet where they can determine if your pup is dehydrated and give them fluids, a diagnosis, and medication

4. Follow the medications prescribed by your vet. Your dog most likely won’t like the taste of some of them so be patient and “trick” them into it. For example, Pax has to take a liquid right now, and I pour the liquid over chicken I made him, and he eats it away.

5. Remember your energy when you are giving them medications- stay calm, patient, and kind. They are most likely scared or nervous about the new item and don’t like the taste. I sit with pax on the floor and hand feed him until he’s ready to take the medication. Come up with a creative way to have them take their medicine.

To get additional tips to check out:

https://wagwalking.com/daily/8-warning-signs-dog-may-sick

http://www.petsandparasites.org/dog-owners/giardia-in-dogs/

Tips for when you work from home & have a dog!

Working from home has it’s major perks. One of the best parts about working from home is hanging out with my best buddy all day. It also has it’s benefits such as increased happiness, reduced stress levels, increased productivity, more hugs and exercise! But it’s not just as simple as us gazing into each other’s eyes all day. Many times throughout the day I feel guilty about Pax in the house too long or not surrounding him with furry friends all day. So, I make an effort (well, I use to before the accident) to take him on a good 20-25 minute morning walk a 15 minute late afternoon walk and take him to the park in the evening every night to run around with all his little friends. Right now, it’s been tough since I don’t mobility to take him walks and I can tell he gets restless. However, dogs are very intuitive and he’s been sleeping a lot while I’m recovering. When I’m on conference calls or have meetings I don’t have an office with a receptionist taking packages or answering other phone calls. It can get a bit noisy when I’m in my home office and amazon delivers in the middle of the day and Pax decides he’s the man of the house and says hello to the mail man.

Here are some tips that might be helpful! 

  • Exercise your pup in the morning- they will then be ready for nap time! It will also be a great way for you to start your morning. 

  • If you can try and take a break at your lunch time and take your dog out for a quick walk to stretch both of legs!

  • Don’t take yourself so seriously! Your pup might want your attention, bark, walk on top of your keyboard- it’s all OK! Enjoy these moments- they are reminders not to take life so seriously! 

  • Hire a dog walker. Even though you are at home and you might feel like you “SHOULD” be able to do everything your job might not allow you the flexibility. This is a great opportunity to hire a dog walker or a friend that has a flexible schedule could help out as well. 

  • Try puzzle games to entertain your pup while your working away at your desk. 

  • LET GO of the mom guilt. It’s OK to entertain your pup and play a round of tug a war a couple times and give them a big belly rub. 

  • It might be easier to let go of guilt to set up designated play times. It is also important for you to stay in charge and not to let whimpers distract you or to give in. 

  • You may want to try crate training if your pup is a chewer or provide proper mental stimulation! 

If you work from home and have tips- comment below! 

The day that changed my life forever. #yakima67

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Yakima SixtySeven

Our story & dog boat safety

 It’s not easy to write this. I’ve tried 4 different times to write down the story and each time I get stuck at the same place. But last night, at 2am I was able to get it all out on paper.  So here it goes. My husband and I met on a Duffy electric boat, we got engaged on one, and we had one of the scariest experiences of our lives on one as well. On September 1st, 2018, we started out in Bay with another couple and all was well. As soon as we got on the boat I placed Pax’s life jacket on him and for some reason we decided to keep the leash on thinking that he probably wanted to go swimming but we had control of him… He decided to sit on the back area of the boat right behind Jarrod. About 5 minutes in the ride he slipped/ we think he jumped off the back right corner of the boat since he loves to swim. Jarrod said, “he’s in, babe he’s in” I jumped up and looked behind, Pax was on the corner of the boat paddling away with his life jacket keeping him afloat - this wouldn’t have been a problem except for the fact that his leash was caught and he was being pulled by the boat. Without thinking I dove straight in the water when I popped up I saw the boat was away from me and swam towards it. Jarrod was reaching down to grab the handle of Pax’s jacket and I was getting closer to the boat.

Once I was right behind the boat I kicked away as it was too close and they were able to grab Pax. My legs hit the boat propellers and I knew immediately something was wrong as it was a sharp immediate pain but also a state of calmness over my body. Fight or flight went into action and the adrenaline of everything just kicked in. I started to yell help, help me and my husband looked over at me like what? … I lifted my leg up out of the water and saw my skin flapped open on the top side of my foot. It looked different than other scratches and cuts I have had, I knew it was serious. My husband pulled me straight out from the water and that wasn’t easy. The length from water to the top of the boat was a large gap. They tied Pax’s leash around my right leg to create a truncate and called 911. The harbor police game and then the ambulance. We drove a million miles an hour to the hospital where I asked the EMT workers, “will I lose my leg?” …No response. I asked again and all I heard was the pain medicine they were administering and asking if I had any allergies. I sometimes wonder why ER people ask that because if you’ve never taken specific medication how are you supposed to know what you’re allergic to! Here’s to hoping! I don’t completely remember being pulled into the trauma center but was told we were heading there.  I learned that the difference between a trauma center and an emergency room is that is equipped to treat the highest risk injuries- think gunshot wounds, car accidents, major burns, boating accidents in this case. Trauma centers offer more extensive care than the ER. 

 I don’t remember being wheeled in but I do remember laying down staring at a bright white light with a million nurses and doctors zipping around my bed. The shock lasted for hours until I went into my first surgery. I ended up staying in the hospital for 10 days with 3 different surgeries. The surgeries consisted of sewing up some major lacerations on the right side and one laceration on the left ankle. The right leg had much more damage such as toe fractures & cutting the tendons that flex my toes and ankle. I sliced my right calf in half and have a total of 6 gashes between the two legs. They found a foreign object in my leg that wasn’t a boat propeller, maybe it was a fish – who knows? :)

Interestingly enough, when I was admitted into the trauma center on that fateful day I was given an alternative name by the team. They do this with all patients entering the wing as some patients come in unconscious or unable to speak or have any of their identifications. The name I was given was, Yakima Sixty-seven. When I googled what, it’s meaning was my mouth dropped wide open.

“You have a strong need for freedom - physical, mental and spiritual. You hate bondage in any form. You have love of beauty and philosophy, and you desire achievement. You are willing to take spiritual matters on faith instead of subjecting them to mental analysis. You are inventive, intuitive and extremely methodical. Since your will is so strong, you are hard to convince.” When I looked up the numbers 67 I found that 67 is described as a sign from angels which are here to help you realize your higher purpose in life!! Furthermore, in numerology the number 67 represents the idea of family first and keeping them secure.  

Ha! If you know me on a personal level this sounds quite fitting don’t ya think? In the end my accident resulted in 6 lacerations, 2 fractured toes, and 2 right foot tendons severed. I am off my right foot for 6 weeks and will wear a boot for 8-10 of those weeks. I’ve started physical therapy with going up and down my staircase and little walking but won’t really know the state of my functionality until later this year. 

It could have been so much worse. That same day, someone was rushed to the hospital to treat the same type of incident and they lost their life. Another young woman lost her entire leg. This is temporary & I know that. It’s SO fascinating how and when things like this happen in your life. What do they teach us? What do they result in being for us? I don’t know the outcome of this but I do know that it’s given me a lot of time to think about what I want out of life and who I am as a person. I use to (and still do) come down on myself so hard. Whether it was my body and weight or something about my career or that I wasn’t doing enough. Now, just doing one thing a day is something to be grateful for. I speak kindly to my legs and send positivy and kisses to them multiple times a day. What an adventure life puts us on. This has defiantly prepared me for more challenging experiences to come…I am ready for them.  

During this time, I’ve been able to truly focus on Pax’s instagram and Leader of the Pax. The stories that that people have shared and the well wishes I have received have been priceless. Gratitude for my life has been my motivator through the recovery process. The first thing people say to me when they learn about the injury is, “I’m so sorry you’re going through this and you’re just so strong- hang in there!” The funny thing is, I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry at all that this happened to me. The perspective I’ve gained is unlike any other.  Living in a hospital for going on 10 days is quite fascinating and you really learn a lot about yourself AND you have to let go of control. I’m so grateful for this experience no matter how painful it is because I’ve been able to see people, things, and my body at its most basic level. I’m a go go go person and FINALLY the universe said stop. So, while I was there I got to chat with my family and be present with them. I got to walk around the entire nurses’ station with the staff cheering me on and got to truly FEEL the accomplishment. I got to feel the swelling of my toes and the aftermath of walking. We go through life clicking likes and scrolling through pages without feeling each moment. The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is to be vulnerable enough to *feel* the core of each experience in order to grow. I know much more than I did before this experience happened and I know that I will triumph forward. 

Hopefully, you will never have to go through what I have experienced but just in case, here are some boat safety tips I have put together:  

Dog Boat Safety Tips: 

  1. Plan on what you will do in case of an emergency - such as your dog going overboard. 

  2. Practice the plan… I know this sounds ridiculous but it’s super important to know a few options you could do. Of course, in the event of the accident, it’s not going to go totally to plan so at least talk with those you are on the boat with what you would do. Ex: if someone jumps in make sure the boat is off. 

  3. Craft a doggy first aid kit… any medications your dog is on, Dramamine in case of sea sickness (make sure to ask your vet!)

  4. Make sure your pup is in a life jacket- even great swimmers can easily drown in rough waters. I swear that having Pax in a life jacket helped him stay above water and paddle! Also, most dog life jackets have a handle which helps you grab the handle and pull them back to safety (that is how my husband got him out of the water) 

  5. Did you know dogs need sunscreen too? Look for a dog friendly brand. 

  6. Plenty of water- especially if they go swimming. Dogs can become dehydrated on a hot sunny boat. 

  7. I wish we had better commands for being on the boat so he was trained to stay out of the water while the boat was moving…things like “on boat” or “off boat” — make sure to brush up on your basic commands like sit, stay, lie down, and leave it. 

  8. If you own a boat or your renting, try a non-slip pad for the bottom of your boat and let your pup try it out

  9. Additionally, let your pup check out the boat before you leave the dock to get comfortable. 

  10. Dogs are naturally curious and if they are not secure they can fall in. I’ve researched mixed results about the leash. Some of the articles I’ve read say keep the dog secure with a leash without much give another say have the dog free so if they fall in at least they are away from the boat or propellers. I would check with your vet and do some research on what you feel you’re more comfortable with. I also think that the leash should be attached to the boat not in your hand- that is personal preference based off my experience. 

 

 

Links: 

https://www.chewy.com/petcentral/basic-boat-safety-tips-for-dogs/

https://www.sailmagazine.com/cruising/dog-boating-safety-tips

https://www.banfield.com/pet-healthcare/additional-resources/article-library/safety-tips/boating-with-your-pet

 

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Can I bring my dog?

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I get this question multiple times a day when I post about taking Pax to different places. So how do I know where to bring him and where I can’t? First off, I just take him. If I’m not allowed in the store, it’s probably better for my bank account and respect the wishes of the store no problem. I’ve been bringing Pax to various locations since he was 8 weeks old and attached to my hip in his sling. To me this was an essential part of his development because he was socialized with sounds, smells, small children, the elderly, men, women, other dogs, birds, cats, and most importantly Nordstrom’s- duh. Now here’s the thing, when your male pup is going through its puberty stage it might want to mark a lot of , so it’s probably not the best time to take your puppy to Bloomingdales. Also- self-check time; is your dog polite in public? Is it well trained to not bark, bite, jump, or run from you? Think about how hard that will be on YOU to take your pup with you. Although, it seems like the best fantasy of having your furry bestie with you while at ALDO looking at shoes… it’s A LOT. You guys, dogs don’t speak English (WAH!!), and they have leaf ADD where they see one flying by and they are distracted immediately! One time Pax was so over shopping at Forever21 he saw a bird outside, somehow wiggled the leash out of my hands (that were full of clothing), ran out the door, I followed him with ALL THE CLOTHES and the alarms went bonkers!! I dropped all the clothes on the ground, chased my dog, and had to come back in and tell them I wasn’t stealing anything and my dog just felt I didn’t need to tell me I didn’t need another romper. Have you ever been in a store and your dog had to poop in an aisle? Can you imagine being in IKEA lost in the maze of kitchen sets looking for a poop bag? Truly, truly, truly ask yourself, is this worth it? It can be exhausting to bring Pax out sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I’m more on guard than when he’s not there, and I’m checking the video feed every 5 minutes. Luckily, Pax is very well behaved. He sleeps under my desk at work, lays down while I’m getting my hair done at my salon, and stays right by me in the store. This took training, dedication, and trust between us! Look into a local trainer to get some tips about choosing to take your pup in public places! 

Also, before you head out, google the stores or even call and ask can I bring my dog? Every store, city, state will have their own rules that regard dogs in the store. Additionally, many stores leave it up to the manager to decide to allow dogs or not. Some restaurants will be ok with it as long as you are sitting outside and some places will have a dog-friendly menu! It will ultimately depend on the owner and rules of that specific place. San Diego is exceptionally dog-friendly; we are fortunate. At one of the most beautiful malls in the region, they have dog water bowls outside almost every store. Restaurants have dog-friendly menus; you can bring your dog to many different bars and even take them to the movies! So you’ve thought about it, and your pup is well behaved, doesn’t need to pee on everything, and you want to go to the mall… 

Here are some ways you can find out about dog-friendly places in your area: 

1.     Bring Fido- this app tells you local spaces and places that allow dogs
2.    Google – this platform can tell you just about everything about everything

Here are some US National dog-friendly places (again, these may differ in your local area!)


1.  Nordstrom
2. Home Goods
3. TJ Maxx
4. Lowe’s (Depends) 
5. Home Depot
6. Forever 21
7.  Pottery Barn
8.  Macy’s
9.  Bass Pro Shops
10. Barnes and Noble
11.  LUSH Cosmetics
12. H & M
13. Anthropologie
14. Gap
15. Party City
16. Bloomingdales
17.  Urban Outfitters
18.  Free People
19.  Petco
20. Petsmart
21.  Tuesday Morning
22.  Hobby Lobby
23.  Ross
24.  Bed, Bath, & Beyond
25.  Footlocker
26.  Sephora
27.  Ann Taylor/Ann Taylor Loft
28.  Tiffany & Co. 
29.  Bath & Body Works
30.  Hallmark
31.   Bebe
32.  Old Navy
33.  The Apple Store
34.  Warby Parker
35.  Saks Fifth Avenue
36.  Tractor Supply Co. 
37.   Some IKEAs
38.  CVS

Do you have any to add to this list?! Write in the comments if you know of additional places! 

References:   Bark Post- Dog Friendly Stores

 

Going on vacation without your fur child? Check out these tips!

Leaving your furball for the first time, second time, or thirteenth time never gets easier. Whether you are leaving for a couple hours or several weeks it never feels good to know your pup is at home away from you. It’s challenging to head off to your vacation knowing that you’re pup will be in the hands of someone else. We all have a special way of taking care of our special family members. I spend more time with Pax than anyone else and understand his mannerisms, when he needs to be brushed, how to calm him down, when he’s hungry, and when it’s time to go potty . Leaving him is extremely uncomfortable for me for many reasons. First, I feel a lot of guilt. I feel that I shouldn’t be leaving him and that concerns me for when I become a human mom because I know how important it is for me to do my own thing. I think the other challenging thing is that Pax doesn’t speak English so he doesn’t understand when I say I’ll be back buddy. Next, I worry that someone else is not going to treat him like I would. 

We have used rover 3 different times. The first time we used rover we had a terrible experience with the couple watching him.  So, how did we make sure that didn’t happen again? We have interviewed about 20 people since that time. People often ask me if they can help out or watch him but we like paying for a service for those who work from home or that this is their full time work. I want Pax to be their main priority. I am an over communicator and as you know I love photos. The next two people we have used on rover have been fantastic. Sending multiple photos every couple hours, constantly checking in and putting me at ease. They have brushed him out knowing the importance for keeping his fur untangled, giving him kisses and belly rubs, listening to all of my instructions and asking more questions if they are confused. These are SO appreciated by a traveling mama. 

So, I bet you’re wondering what you need to do to prepare in leaving so here are some tips to check out before you leave your fur baby for vacation: 

  1. Figure out if you want a family member, friend, or service to watch your pup.

  2. If you have a family or friend - talk with them about payment and their schedule up front.

  3. Recognize you’re expectations about dog sitting and what you truly need from someone.

  4. If you’re going outside of family or friends- interview multiple people or canine services.

    1. Questions to ask:

      1. How long have you been doing this?

      2. How do you discipline dogs?

      3. What is the dog pees in the house?

      4. Do you have a dog?

      5. How many dogs do you watch at time?

      6. What type of exercise/activities do you do?

      7. What is your typical schedule when you are watching dogs?

      8. What do you do with the dogs if you need to leave the house?

      9. Where will my dog sleep?

      10. What information do you need from me?

  5. Write down all parts of your dog’s schedule including the food they eat and how much.

    1. What to write:

      1. Your name, phone number to reach you at, vet contact information

      2. Emergency contact information, any dietary restrictions or allergies

      3. What to feed your pup and how much/times of day

      4. What type of exercise your baby needs and how much

      5. Sleeping habits

      6. Bathroom habits

      7. Bathing needs/grooming needs

  6. Set up an interview - bring your pup to meet all the people you are interviewing. Watch the interaction both between you and the potential sitter and your pup and the sitter.

  7. Trust your intuition and never be uncomfortable to ask for what you need and what your expectations of the individual or service. Remember it is always better to be transparent and upfront in the beginning rather than be reactive later on.

Additional questions? Email me!

xoxo 

nikki