I’ve started a new initiative. It’s called BARK 4 CLT ( Bark for Charlotte.) I’m using the hashtag #BARK4CLT on my posts. I’m volunteering my time to do things like take photos of dogs that are available for adoption.
Snow days in Charlotte are a big deal. The famous Charlotte weatherman Brad Panovich has starting making his #snOMG forecasts and that means the bread and milk aisles at the stores are already empty. The following is a true story and personal testament about keeping your dogs warm when it is so cold outside.
Many of you have read stories about my previous yellow lab Sam. Sam was a dog that loved life. She was always happy, wasn't fearful of much and generally was just a pretty balanced, happy go lucky dog. He LOVED the snow. He'd get the zoomies. If I leashed him and took him for a walk, he'd walk with his nose to the ground. His nose was literally plowing the snow as he walked along.
As he aged, he starting losing his muscle mass and he got skinnier. He reminded me of a frail elder man. He still loved the snow but I'd always put his coat on him whenever we went out because he would shiver. One particular snow day, he zoomed around and then rolled around on his back like he always did. We didn't stay outside too terribly long but it was too long for Sam.
When we got back inside, he wouldn't stop shivering. To the point that it scared me so I called the vet. They said that his internal body temperature had gotten too low and I needed to SLOWLY warm him up. They suggested putting a dry coat or sweater on him (which I had) and wrapping him in blankets. They suggested warming up some water with a little bit of broth in it so he'd drink it.
I did that and it worked but it scared me.
Please be careful with your pets in during snow days or even just in cold weather. They don't know when enough is enough. You need to know that for them. Dry them off. Get any packed snow out of their paws. Clean off their paws if they've been on any salt.
Have fun in the snow but be safe. #dogsincoats
This weekend many of us will celebrate Halloween and many of us will include our pets. I am photographing a dog Halloween contest and parade on Saturday at Social Pet in Pineville from 11-2pm. Come on out. I photographed the event last year and had a great time.
However, keep in mind that not all pets like to wear costumes. My yellow lab Willow doesn't like to wear anything. If it is raining and I put a coat on her, she freezes and won't move. She doesn't like the rain either but apparently she'd rather get wet than wear a raincoat.
If you try to dress up your pet for Halloween and you get a similar reaction from your dog, perhaps you should forgo the costume. My other dog Moose could care less about having a costume or coat on. However if he is around other dogs who have on costumes that even remotely resemble something he'd like to put in his mouth, he will. That's another thing to think about if you have a crazy dog like my Moose.
Something else to remember: make sure your dog can't get in the Halloween candy. Chocolate isn't good for dogs - it can be fatal if enough of it is consumed and the wrapping that is on a lot of the candy can cause blockages. Keep the trick-or-treat bowl and your kids' stash out of your dog's reach. Your kids will be happier about that too, right? :)
On Monday evening my neighborhood will have a Halloween party in the cul-de-sac. There will probably be a few dogs there although I'm not sure if they'll be dressed in costumes. This is our 2nd Halloween with Moose. This year we are forgoing handing out candy because Moose is a lot to handle with all that candy around and the doorbell constantly ringing. We'll give out our candy at the neighborhood party. Have a safe and happy Halloween!
I'd love to know if dogs remember each other. I did a BARKography photo session earlier this week with Baxter, a dog that used to live in Charlotte and now he lives in Florida. I was introduced to Baxter and his family through my neighbor Tiffany. I'd done a photo session with Tiffany's dog Jack and when Baxter's parents saw the photos, they wanted to have a session with Baxter and they wanted to have photos of the 2 dogs together. The dogs used to play together all the time when they both lived in Charlotte. I did an early morning session with just Baxter and later that day, I met up with Baxter at the Mint Museum and Jack joined us there. Seeing the two of them run around and play was a lot of fun.
I've been thinking about it a lot since then and I wonder, do dogs remember each other? I have no scientific reasoning behind this but I think they do.
I know there are studies about a dog's memory and many say dogs don't remember things but I tend to question that. I think they remember certain things or events. When we rescued our black lab Buddy, he cowered if you lifted your hand over his head. I feel pretty certain he'd been hit in the past - he had to remember that and seeing a hand raised over his head made him remember being hit in the past, right? I can tell you over the last 6 years of his life, he was never hit again.
When Baxter and Jack saw each other, the first thing they did was sniff each other. There were a few other dogs around so they sniffed them all too but then they ran around together and played. I even captured a quick pic of Baxter giving Jack a little lick on his nose.
I do think dogs remember each other. Perhaps it has something to do with their sense of smell. Perhaps they remember the dog's scent. Seeing Baxter and Jack together was really sweet. I'm so glad I was there to witness it.
If you want to see more photos of Baxter, head over to my BARKography blog where I wrote a post about our time together.
To all my dog walking and pet sitting clients, I have exciting news: I've launched my BARKography website and you can click the link to check it out. If you do, please let me know what you think. This means several things. I no longer have to share my dog walking and pet sitting website with my photography site. Because I've spent a lot of time marketing the new dog photography business, it was taking over the See Spot Run site. No more. :) The dog photography piece is still really important but so is the dog walking and pet sitting. It always has been. So now I get to blog about dog walking and pet sitting things here and I can blog about the photography side of the business on the BARKography site. If there is a downside, it is that I now have 2 blogs. Yikes..... :)
I recently saw a post from a friend on my facebook page that was an article she shared about a pet sitter leaving a dog in a car and the dog died. The pet sitter was found through an online site. Here are my recommendations for finding a pet sitter:
- Ask your friends and family for a referral. If you have friends who have dogs, ask them who they use as a dog walker or pet sitter. Contact that person and see if she (he) covers your area. If she doesn't, ask her for a referral. I get a lot of referrals and sometimes the person lives outside of my service area. I will always refer them to someone else. If it is someone I know well, I will tell them that. If the person has pet sat for me before, I will tell them. If I don't know the person well, I will tell them that too.
- Ask your vet for the front desk staff at your vet's office for a referral. Ask them how they know the person.
- Interview the pet sitter. Seriously interview them! (I would interview them as if you were hiring someone to care for your child. My dogs are my children and they are treated as such.)
- Check the pet sitter's references. Really call them. Really check them out. Ask questions like: how long have you known her, how many times has she pet sat for you, were there any problems, how did she correspond with you while she was pet sitting for you, how frequently did she correspond with you, etc. Ask questions. Lots of them.
As a pet sitter, it breaks my heart to read the stories like what I read this morning. It breaks my heart for the family of the dog. I don't like the black mark it leaves on my industry either. There are good pet sitters out there. Do your research and find them. You'll have to plan ahead as this process will take time. Your dogs are worth it, right? Trust me if you find the right pet sitter, she'll appreciate your efforts and your dog will too.