Traveling Dog Lady

Thursday, September 7, 2017

RememberMeThursday is September 28th

*This is a sponsored post. The pack and I received a box of goodies from Helen Woodward Animal Center in exchange for spreading awareness about adoptable animals waiting in shelters. All opinions and words expressed here are mine and the pack's!We write because we think what we have to say will have some value and interest to our readers. There are no affiliate links in this post.

When I attended BlogPaws in Myrtle Beach this past May (at the beginning of summer!), I was fortunate to meet up with the folks from Helen Woodward Animal Center. At first, I thought their Remember Me Thursday campaign focused on memorials for lost pets, but I quickly learned that the pets they are remembering are the ones stuck at shelters throughout the U.S. waiting for someone to adopt them and give them the lives they deserve, safe and secure; loved and cared for; forever.

To help spread awareness for the #RememberMeThursday #RememberTheRescue campaigns, they were kind enough to send me a blogger's kit so I can help them with their campaign. I shot some video of me unboxing the kit, and you can watch that below.




I've been rescuing pets ever since I was a child. Too many pets to count. You can see my past pets on the Traveling Dog Lady website: Dogs are here; cats are here. This is just to give you an idea of how long I've been actively rescuing adoptable and unwanted pets -- even before it became "trendy".

Everybody already knows the stories of both Charlie Brown and Cooper, my current dogs that came to Massachusetts from Tennessee via Great Dog Rescue of New England. GDRNE is an organization that is near and dear to my heart. I volunteer for them, processing intake forms for dogs about to be transported to New England from southern states where there are high-kill shelters. We are fortunate to live in Massachusetts, because there are few (if any) kill shelters here. Great Dog is a shelterless rescue, which means that all dogs go immediately into foster homes. Litters get fostered together, with their mama dog, until they are weaned and ready for adoption. Because of my unique volunteer position, I get to see every dog that's on its way up to New England before anyone else. Let me tell you it is so hard not to want to adopt every single last one of them! Not only are they cute, cute, cute, but their stories tug at my heart every time. Even the littlest ones who usually arrive here as a whole litter, just like my hounds did nearly 6 years ago.

My rescued tripawd, Cooper, wants you to #RememberTheRescue 

Then, there are the cats. Again, you probably know the story of my three current cats, Cali, Tux and Newman. They were all motherless kittens that my friend's daughter found on three separate occasions. It is unclear whether they are related, or not. Since they were all found at approximately the same time, one would think they are related, but apparently they were found in three different locations. In any case, she bottle fed them, and was going to keep them, but then she realized she was having her own (human) baby, and they didn't want cats in the house with the baby for whatever reason. When asked if I wanted to adopt ONE of them, I told her I'd take all three.... sight unseen! It's hard to believe they are eight years old already. Seniors!?  These are just three of the DOZENS of cats I've rescued and shared my life with. Yes, I was a crazy cat lady before I became a crazy dog lady. Although, I have had both dogs and cats my entire life.

But I can't adopt them all, and that's where you come in. Help raise awareness for the plight of forgotten animals in shelters by participating in the #RememberMeThursday campaign on September 28, 2017. Use the hashtag #RememberMeThursday and #RememberTheRescue when sharing about the event with your friends and followers.

I write to save lives!
Counting down to #RememberMeThursday on the left side of my computer screen.
On the right is PetPoint, the database for dog and puppy intakes for Great Dog Rescue of N.E.
Framed photos of all my dogs, including Hector (l) and Hobie (r) give me encouragement while I work.
The current dogs just bark the whole time I'm working. lol

Don't forget to enter the #RememberTheRescue photo contest! Winnings go to your chosen shelter. The contest is on now, through September 30th, and you can find out more details here. 

Join us in lighting up social media on September 28th. Use the hashtags mentioned above, and light a candle for the forgotten animals that need everyone's help. You can light a virtual candle or a real one, or one of the handy battery-operated candles as shown in my video.

So, mark your calendar for September 28th, 
and join the contest today! 


Monday, August 28, 2017

August 28 Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

** This post contains affiliate links.We get a teeny-tiny bit of compensation if you purchase something from one of the links. And if you don't, that's ok, too!**


Today is four years since Hector died*.  I of course posted a picture of him on Facebook today, and I still cannot get my mind around the huge hole in my life left by him.  I loved him so very much.



On my news feed, another blogger shared that today is The First Annual Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, hosted by our pals over at Zee and Zoey's Cat Chronicles.  I have always said, there are no coincidences.  What was to be a quick photo on Facebook of Hector, now becomes a blog post.  (Maybe this will get me past my writer's block since the other two huge losses I'm still reeling from, from earlier this year -- I have basically been unable to write since I lost my beloved Gil and Hobie.)

If I ever DO get past the writer's block, I will finish my book, which includes Hector's Story.  Until then, if you have the patience to read an unedited version in which the photos don't display (!!) then you may do so here.  Or, you can just go up to the menu on this blog and click on the "Hector" tab.



As most of you already know, my beloved Hector died on August 28, 2011 just one week before his 10th birthday, due to a brain aneurysm.  He had tripped on the stairs a few months earlier, and evidently hit his head, sustaining a head injury, and began having seizures which were frequent and frightening, throughout that whole summer.  We had a wonderful summer that year, and I am grateful to myself that I had the aforethought to spend so much time at the lake and the ocean with my two dogs, Hector and Hobie.  Hobie, being the elder of the two, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that he would out-live Hector.

Hector and Hobie, carrying on during a snowstorm "back in the day" (before we had a fence!)


If you've ever seen anyone having a seizure, it is extremely frightening and disconcerting.  With a dog, it can be dangerous during the post-ichtal phase (after a seizure) because they can bite and snap, knock you over, etc.  This is because they sometimes have a short time of disorientation afterwards, and Hector actually had temporary blindness after a seizure.  After he regained his sight, he would then try to crawl into small spaces:  under a desk, into a closet, into the fireplace!  He did not realize what a car was, or how to get into the car, the first time he seized.  He would also run around the house, or the back yard, for up to 30 minutes after a seizure, and would drink tons of water and urinate repeatedly.  But the worst part was the biting and running at you at full-speed, knocking you to the ground post-seizure.  All of these memories are very hard to extinguish all these years later.  And, I can't believe that "all these years" is a phrase I just wrote.  It seems like he left us just yesterday.  I still feel him in my heart, and now he has the company of Gil and Hobie.



Enough about that.  I was going to wait to announce this, but I have learned that there is no time like the present.  So, here it comes:  My long-term goal, which I have been planning since Mr. Kitty and Timba died, is to become a pet grief and loss counselor.  I am hoping to finish the educational/certification part of that within the next year, and begin helping others (if they'll have me) live with the pain and grief of losing a beloved pet.

In the meantime, I devote this website to my beloved pets who I miss every day, and of course those who are still with me:  Charlie Brown, Cooper, Cali, Tux and Newman.



But for today, this is Hector's day, and I just want to say, "Mommy misses you, buddy, every single day.  I love you to the moon and beyond."

Hector
September 4, 2001 - August 28, 2011




Hector passed away during Hurricane Irene in 2011. His passing was not due to the hurricane, however. Here we are 6 years later, and Harvey has devastated parts of Texas. Through September 4th (Hector's birthday) 25% of your purchases at Jacksongalaxy.com will help victims of Hurricane Harvey. See below affiliate link.

And also the Teddythedog.com link below to help support SPCA of Texas.

Help with Hurricane Harvey: 25% of all sales now through 9/4 will be donated towards these efforts. Click here to learn more and donate.




Texas Tough Limited Edition Shirts and More! 100% of the profits from our Texas Tough collection will be donated to the SPCA of Texas to help their pet rescue efforts from Hurricane Harvey. Shop Now!






*This is a re-post from two years ago.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Road Trip Travelogue: Return to Cape Cod

Before the summer ends, I figured it might be a good idea to return to Cape Cod. I hadn't been there since I sold my beach cottage last September, and a visit was long overdue.

The first thing I did was stop in Stoughton to pick up a print of Nauset Lighthouse that I had found by sheer happenstance while dropping off some old tapes to a local musician who played on those recordings many moons ago. Well, somehow the painter and I got our signals crossed, and the print was not waiting for me to pick up at the cafe where it was supposed to be. In hindsight, I should have purchased the one that was on their wall, and told them to just take the replacement when it arrived, since I don't live anywhere nearby. As it turned out, the artist was actually in Eastham, where I was going, but the print was sitting on his fireplace mantel at his home! Oh well. Wasn't meant to be. We will figure out a way for me to get the print.  In the meantime, here's a picture of it that I snapped with my phone while at the cafe. See the reflected light in the background? That is NOT part of the painting.... it's a wall sconce in the hallway of the cafe. Freaky, right? This view of Nauset Lighthouse was my view from my back yard for 12 years (see photo of Charlie below!). It is no coincidence that this painting was hanging in the little cafe where I met the musician to drop off the tapes! No coincidence at all.




Photo from my back yard a couple years ago!

This should have been a signal to me as to how the rest of the day was going to be, because everything that could go wrong, did.

For starters, it rained all day. Not heavy rain, but certainly not a beach day. Nevertheless, I have always felt that Cape Cod is beautiful no matter what the weather, and that includes winter. Off-season (before Memorial Day, or after Labor Day) is the best time to visit the Cape. I lucked out that the crowds were non-existent on this day.

I was thinking that maybe I wanted to own property again on Cape Cod, and so I combined my trip with a looksie at a mobile home in an RV park in the town of Dennis. I am somewhat unfamiliar with Dennis, other than just passing through on beautiful Route 6A (if you ever get a chance to drive Route 6A from Bourne to Provincetown, I highly recommend the trip -- it is gorgeous). The RV park is in a more-or-less industrial section of Dennis. I kept driving up and down Great Western Ave which is an industrial area, and I couldn't seem to find the beaches of Dennis. I visited the mobile home. It was really cute! I strongly considered buying it at the amazing price of just $10,000!! But, after much, much consideration, I realized that Dennis is not my cup of tea, and that my dogs would not do well in the RV park because the sites are very close together, and there are a lot of people and children riding bicycles. My dogs and bikes do NOT get along, unfortunately. My dogs are super reactive, and we need wide-open spaces with a secure fence, like we had in Eastham, and like we have at home. So, nope, this RV park lifestyle, while appealing for some reasons, isn't a good fit for me right now. Not to mention that the trailer needed a lot of work. The toilet needed to be replaced immediately, the floors and walls needed updating, and the outside was a big mess that needed major cleaning up. With my fibromyalgia and arthritis, I cannot take on such a project, physically. Also, one of the main reasons I sold the Eastham cottage was because of the "money-pit" aspect, and all the upkeep and the distance. I'm not ready to take on a "project" right now, and especially a long-distance one. It hasn't even been a year yet.


Pictures of the trailer I looked at. Cute, but unsuitable for a lady with crazy, large dogs.






After seeing the mobile home and talking at length with the manager (I really was serious, but in the end decided not to buy), I tried, desperately, to find the beaches in Dennis. What in the world? They were impossible to find! When I finally did, I realized one side is the bay, and the other is Nantucket Sound, and neither is my kind of beach. I'm kinda a beach "snob" -- meaning that I like long, long, long walks on wide open beaches, such as Nauset Light Beach, or Salisbury Beach, Gloucester and Duxbury that I visited earlier this summer. When I pulled into the parking lot in Dennis and the attendant asked me for twenty dollars, I just knew in my heart that I wanted to spend my twenty dollars, and my afternoon, in Eastham instead. I politely thanked him and asked if I could just turn around. I then made a bee-line for Eastham!

The wide-open space of Nauset Light Beach/Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. 

Arriving at the parking lot of Nauset Light Beach (ahhhh! my favorite place on Earth), it was the first time ever that I had to pay to park. Since it was a cold and rainy day, there was plenty of room (in August!). I paid my $20 and decided to mention to the attendant that I used to own the house across the street. He, in shock, asked me why I sold it, and I told him I couldn't afford the mortgage and upkeep anymore. I parked my car, and packed up the things I needed to carry with me, and made the familiar trek to the beach. I certainly felt like I was home.


Snail in Eastham at my old cottage (photo taken a few years ago)

Being on the beach itself was fabulous, even though it was cold and overcast and drizzly. I needed to wear my long-sleeved sun shirt but no hat! I forced myself to swim, even though it was incredibly cold. But afterwards, washing off in the not-private ladies' shower/changing room; and using the toilets that did not flush properly and were (to put it bluntly) gross, really bummed me out. I used to be the "elite" cottage owner. I felt as though I were slumming.

To top it all off: no seals! I always used to say that the seals were my past dogs, reincarnated, and I always imagined they were "walking" with me on the beach. I spent the whole afternoon there, and didn't see one seal! Since I've been gone, they left, too, evidently.

A seal, saying goodbye to me in 2016.

About 10 days before my trip, I had seen on the news that a whale had beached itself on "my" beach. I did not realize that the whale was just left there to deteriorate (and feed the wildlife), so I was a little surprised when I saw the carcass on the beach! ("What's that smell?!" Ewwww). I did take a few photos of the remains. The birds and sea creatures certainly will be well fed, and the sea will take back its whale. It made me harken back to about 30 years ago when Timba found a whale carcass on the beach in Truro... you should have seen me trying to get her to stop rolling in it! Ah, dogs. Glad (for that reason) I didn't have Charlie or Cooper with me on this day. I stopped and said a prayer to the sea gods, on behalf of the whale.

Charlie, chillin' out on the porch at the Eastham cottage. Memories! 



Get 20% off travel accessories & crates with code TRAVEL20 at Cherrybrook.com! Sale ends 8/31.

Of course, I had to go look at "my" house since I was right there across the road. The new owners have it listed for rent online (not pet-friendly!), and I saw photos of the inside on the rental website. They did a nice job (other than taking out the fireplace and taking down the fence!). It's not something I could have afforded to do (renovations) and it's nice that someone took it over and are keeping it maintained. They even added heat and air-conditioning. From the outside, I could see how they had replaced some windows, had enclosed the modern outdoor shower, and a few other things. I miss the place, but not much. Not enough to own it again, that's for sure!

Someone was trying to tell me something, all day that day, and it made me realize I'm not ready to return to Cape Cod permanently, yet. But I still love it, and will always make it a point to visit at least once or twice each year. I'll just make sure I have better plans when it comes to bathrooms and parking!


Want to know more about Cape Cod? 
After living there for 12 years, I know a lot. 
Ask me some questions in the comments! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Oh My Gravy! Weruva BFF OMG! 'People Food for Cats'

This is a sponsored post for Weruva pet foods. The kitties and I were compensated with a box of Weruva cat food and some toys. No monetary compensation was received. 


This past week, on August 8th was International Cat Day. A week before that, on August 1st, was "Gotcha Day!" for both Tux and Cali. In late-August is Newman's gotcha day, as well as Cooper (the dog's) gotcha day! Not only that, but, Happy Healthy Cat Month is in September.

With all that cat-ness going on, this is the purr-fect time to talk about our feline friends' diet (or lack thereof).

Tux, checking out the goods!

Tux isn't really a picky eater. He will eat just about anything. Cali and Newman will also, but they usually "regurgitate" right afterwards unless it's a certain kind of food. Available for this project was Tux, who showed up at the kitchen table almost immediately after I woke up the morning I took these picture and videos of the package of goodies we received from Weruva.



But some cats are picky eaters, and did you know that's one of the three most common cat concerns? It's true: picky eating, weight gain and urinary tract issues are the top three issues that concern cat parents. I learned about this by partnering with Weruva -- they're launching a full line of gluten, grain and carrageenan-free cat food in honor of International Cat Day. It's a luxurious, natural pet food dubbed "people food for cats", and it's called B.F.F. OMG! (that stands for Best Feline Friend, Oh My Gravy!), and it's designed to aim at preventing these Big 3 Cat Concerns.

Look at all the goodies!!

Great new flavors, and I love the artwork!

If your cat is experiencing any of these three issues, you might want to consider some dietary changes. For instance, is your cat picky? Picky eating is usually a problem with texture (or, as my veterinarian explained it "shape"). Since cats are carnivores whose tongues and teeth are perfectly evolved for meat-eating, it's easy to see why a cat might dislike something without real shreds of meat. If you're a meat eater (I'm not) would you eat steak with the consistency and texture of tapioca? Of course not! Weruva's food features real shreds of meat right off the bone, which is why Tux basically devoured the entire thing especially the gravy!

Lots of great flavors. All grain, gluten and carrageenan-free; with cute names. "People Food For Cats"
Bonus: Weruva sent me the package from their headquarters right here in Natick, Massachusetts just 5 minutes from where I grew up ---  and it's the town my father worked in for many years! Not only did we get a groovy box of cat food, but we're supporting a local business by writing this post. Booya!

Is yours a Fat Cat? The problem is in the kibble, which is usually filled with unnecessary carbs that are almost impossible for cats to process (they don't produce amylase, an enzyme that helps humans digest food). Weruva's B.F.F. OMG! has no kibble to worry about because it's made from 100% real meat in true form.

Then there are the poor kitties who have the dreaded UTI issues. UT-why? Urinary tract issues often stem from dehydration -- even if you're giving your cat plenty of water. Or, if he's drinking it straight out of the faucet like Newman does! In the wild, cats stay hydrated via the food they eat instead of what they drink. Cats are used to "eating" their water -- but most wet foods don't have nearly enough hydration to keep cats satisfied. All of the products in the new B.F.F. OMG! line by Weruva are over 85% hydration, which satisfies a cat's hydration needs just about purr-fectly!


I really got a kick out of Weruva products because they are considered ‘people food for pets.’ The new line of B.F.F. OMG! cans and pouches feature land proteins like boneless and skinless white chicken breast, salmon, beef, duck, lamb and more. All recipes are grain, gluten, and carrageenan free. And if you are a BPA-free home, check out the pouches because they are are BPA-free. Best of all, Tux loves it! And, did I mention, we're supporting a local business?!



Health isn't just for humans, and I'm glad I took the time to learn how to feed my BFF properly.  I may have found Tux's new favorite food. He especially liked Weruva's Chicken & Salmon Dinner in Gravy flavor, which you can read about at http://www.weruva.com/. You can also explore the whole B.F.F. OMG! lineup there, and find a flavor your cat will 'paw'sitively adore, at Chewy.com 

Has your cat experienced one or more of the Big 3 Cat Concerns? 

Share your experience in the comments!


Monday, August 7, 2017

Road Trip Travelogue: Salisbury, Massachusetts Salisbury Beach

This summer has become an unplanned "one beach per week" road trip extravaganza for me. One perk of no longer owning a vacation home is that you don't "have to" go there. You can go to other places.

A few weeks ago, I went to Duxbury Beach. Fabulous, lots of parking, a little pricey at $20 for the day, but there are bathrooms, showers, a decent walkable beach with too many rocks, and a snack bar. I even was able to swim (well, ok, "dip")... the water was a tad chilly.

Duxbury Beach
Despite the rocky terrain, this isn't Rockport.... it's Duxbury Beach.

Then, I spent a whole week in Rockport. You can read about that here. 


Rockport Massachusetts
Rockport at Sunrise


On Thursday, I had an appointment in New Hampshire, and realized I would be just 30 miles from the more-northerly beaches (more northerly than Rockport, that is). But, surprisingly the water was much, much warmer. It was a toss-up between Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, or Salisbury Beach in Mass. The two being literally within walking distance of each other. I opted for Salisbury because a) I spent a lot of time there when I was a kid; and b) there is a "state park" where you can park for the day for just $14 if your car has a Massachusetts license plate ($16/day if out-of-state).

I deliberately arrived at 2:30 to avoid the crowds. At a pit stop to pick up supplies and some Aleve (headache!) at Rite-Aid, I got talking with the clerk, and she suggested I wouldn't be able to get a parking space at that time of day. But I knew better and hedged my bets. To prove me right, the parking lots were basically empty. Score! I had the entire bath house to myself, and there were plenty of prime places to plunk my umbrella into the ground and set up my towel and cooler for the afternoon.

At Salisbury, the beach is almost identical to my favorite beach in the world, The Cape Cod National Seashore. The dunes are much smaller, but the walkability is great. It is vast, flat, and especially at low tide, the waves are large but gentle... and the water is significantly warmer than in Rockport. That perplexed me for a while, until I realized that Rockport's Front Beach is really a "cove", thus the open ocean does not affect the water temp like it does on the outer beaches. The outer beaches, which are exposed to the expanse of ocean water, warm up because the water acts like a big radiator. Your science lesson for the day! (Hey, I might even be wrong, so go ahead and tell me --  I won't be offended.)

Salisbury has several bath houses, and several parking lots. You can park hundreds of cars there on any given day. Each parking lot has its own bath house and its own shower area -- one for men, one for women. It's very well organized. I thought there was a snack bar, but I tend to avoid the crowded areas of the beach (I call it "The Clump") and so I never went over that way to investigate further. Check online before you go -- I brought a small cooler of food with me and was very happy. A check of the beach's website does not indicate whether or not there's a snack bar, so be prepared and bring your own food just in case.

I walked for miles on this beach. I almost walked all the way to Hampton, NH, which IS possible, but I didn't feel like continuing, so I turned around and walked back to my towel. I carried my valuables with me in a plastic drawstring backpack that I got at a pet charity festival. The thing comes in really handy at the beach, and I highly recommend one for this purpose. You put your phone, keys, camera, money and a bottle of water in the backpack, throw it on your back, and you can got for a long walk without worrying about your valuables. You need to get creative when you travel alone. Nobody to watch your stuff, you know!


Salisbury Beach Massachusetts
The beautiful Salisbury Beach in August. You can walk for miles, and swim safely.

I also swam, really swam, for the first time all summer. The water was beautiful. Unusually warm; and the waves, although high, were gentle. I can get a little freaked out by the ocean sometimes, as I've had some not-so-fun experiences with undertow and being slammed by large waves. So, it was a real treat to have some fun actually swimming in cold north Atlantic waters for a change.  Not like two weeks ago in Rockport... brrrr! I had to wear a long-sleeved sunscreen shirt in order to swim!!

The only thing I didn't like about my return to Salisbury was that the beach is not dog-friendly. "No dogs allowed" flashed in orange neon lights on a DPW message sign at the entrance to the park. Along with "Road construction beginning August 7th", or whatever. In other words, dogs are SO not allowed here, and they want you to know that while you are still on the main road, before you've paid your fourteen dollars.  Boo.

When I got up to the houses on Salisbury Beach proper, though, (this is a private beach area but you can still walk on it as long as you are just passing through) there was one guy and his dog playing with a ball on the beach. The ball rolled right into my path, and I was able to kick it back to the dog. The guy laughed. I laughed. The dog wagged its tail and grabbed the ball. I got my fix!

As usual, I like to take the back roads on my local journeys. Salisbury is just under two hours from my home by highway, three if you take the scenic option. A super-easy day trip and well worth it on a weekday at just $14! I think it may cost up to $20 on weekends, but again, check before you go so you are not surprised. I started my trip in Salem, NH because I had an appointment there, so I took Route 110 "the scenic route" to the beach. It was lovely. On the way home, I made an error and decided I couldn't resist the temptation of real fried clams from a drive-in clam bar. This landed me squarely in work traffic (after I ate the clams, in my car, at a cemetery -- hey, I never said I was normal! Widows learn to embrace cemeteries. They are peaceful places, and a nice quiet place to eat without anyone gawking at you. Dead people don't gawk, or tawk!). In my attempt to avoid the work traffic, I stupidly jumped onto Route 495 south, which was moving, as compared to 495 northbound which was a "parking lot" (or as we say here in Mass. "pahkin' lawt"). Unfortunately, further down onto 495 south, traffic was at a standstill. As soon as I could, I took the first exit and found my way back home utilizing highway-avoidance techniques. However, that added an hour to the trip.

I arrived home at almost 8 pm. Not exactly what I had planned. But it was such a beautiful day, I couldn't complain.

Next up: my return to Eastham. It's been almost a year. I can hardly believe it, time went by so fast. Stay tuned for my next Road Trip Travelogue report from ol' Cape Cod!

What adventures have your road trips taken you on? Tell me all about it!


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Road Trip Travelogue: Rockport, Massachusetts

When I sold my vacation cottage on Cape Cod, it occurred to me that I would be able to go to other places. What a concept! If you own a vacation home, you pretty much have to go there on your vacation. Sure, you can go someplace else, but then your house is empty, or you're renting it out, or family and friends are using it. You feel bad not using this house that you're paying all sorts of money to own and maintain. It was a huge relief to sell the place, quite frankly. And, it enabled me to go other places, which is what I decided to do in 2017.

In the spring, I went to Myrtle Beach. It's now on my list of potential retirement places - if I can drag myself away from Massachusetts some day, that is!

To kick off the summer, I spent one day on another southeastern Massachusetts beach: Duxbury, just to see what it was like. It was quite lovely, easy to get to, and I intend to return regularly.

Duxbury Beach

But for my real vacation this year, I spent a week in Rockport, Massachusetts, on the north shore, by Gloucester.

Gloucester is where the events of "The Perfect Storm" took place, and there also happens to be a restaurant there named Passports, which I have to eat at every time I go there (because I work at the other Passports -- the student tour company -- which is completely unrelated, although we get their email all the time!). Great food, by the way. I highly recommend, despite the name.

Rockport is a "dry town". That means that there are no liquor stores, no stores that sell beer or wine, and no bars. Some, only some, of the restaurants serve beer and wine, but no hard liquor.  Now, for me, this is perfectly fine since I've been clean and sober since 1988 (one day at a time!). But, this might not be your cup of tea (oooo, pun!) if you like to party at a bar, your hotel, cottage or the beach. Ok, most beaches don't allow alcoholic beverages anyway.

Rockport is, however, a dog-friendly town. Hooray! Sort of. Dogs are not allowed on the beach. And you better have a superbly well-behaved dog.  Of which, Charlie and Cooper are not. Sorry fellas.

Booooo, mom didn't take us on vacation!

I had initially booked my accommodations at Captain's Bounty on the Beach Motor Inn (yup! Motor Inn! lol!) in one of their pet-friendly designated rooms. As my trip dates approached, though, I decided to leave the hounds at home, and I'm really glad I did. The rooms are tiny. The hotel is very compact, and they would have barked at everyone walking past my room. The hotel is not high-security. In fact, it's low-security -- like a throwback to the 1950s. You close the slamming screen door with a hook and eye, then you lock your inside door, then you use a chain to lock it further. Just like my cottage on Cape Cod, but not exactly what I wanted at a hotel. There is a fridge, and a/c, but no safes, so when I left the room for longer than a few minutes, I locked my laptop and camera gear in my car. Not ideal, since the temps were soaring, but it was the safest option.

You can walk to the town with no problem. The views from every room (EVERY room faces the ocean) are incredible. That was worth the trip, just to get these great sunrise photos every morning.

Sunrise shots, from my balcony, on two different mornings. Beautiful!




When I first looked at the photos of Captain's Bounty's pet-friendly rooms on their website, it looked as though ever-so-tall Charlie could certainly jump over the balcony onto the beach. Once I got there, that was probably not the case, but he might have tried. Especially if he saw a seagull or a child running. Even the first-floor balcony (pet-friendly rooms are on the first floor only) is quite high off the ground -- more like a second-story. But if he had tried it, he might have been successful. That was reason number one for leaving the boys at home. Secondly, they could not be left in the room unattended. That would have meant no shopping or beach for me, since I'm single, and it wouldn't have been fair to ask any of my traveling companions, "Gee, can you stay behind with my dogs so's I can go out and have fun?" Strike three was that dogs are not allowed on the beach. You heard right: dog-friendly town; dogs not allowed on beach. Oh well.  The water is astonishingly colder than on Cape Cod, just an hour or two south, which surprised this hearty New Englander. I actually had to wear my long-sleeved sun-protector shirt to swim. Never had to do that on the Cape!  (By the way, Gloucester/Rockport is on the other Mass. Cape = Cape Ann.)

The fog rolled in fast, and I managed to get this great shot of Front Beach socked in.

The dog-friendly factor came into play in the little town which was quite lovely. Dogs were allowed everywhere, with some exceptions. A few restaurants wouldn't allow dogs indoors, but dogs were welcome most places, particularly places with outdoor seating such as Top Dog (ha ha). There is also a dog supply boutique and my guys are way too big to have even fit in that store.

One of my favorite things that kept happening was that I kept seeing this older gentleman in a green Toyota with a cute little dog everywhere. For some reason, they kept turning up every evening -- at the ice cream store, at the convenience store, at the pizza shop.  I decided the man's name was Mr. Bojangles. And every time I saw him, I would point out to my friend who was with me... "Look! There's Mr. Bojangles again!" We kept seeing him! I wonder if he's a tourist attraction.

So, if you have a super well-behaved, small dog, and a partner or companion so you can switch off on dog duties, you'll be all set in Rockport -- even in the height of summer.  The town is so small, that once you walk through you've basically seen it all. Therefore, in my opinion, a whole week is a little too long to spend in Rockport. Watch your step at most shops -- the buildings are ancient, and the steps to get in and out are all different sizes, materials and shapes. Be mindful of the hot pavement on doggie paws, too.

Sunrise with fog

True to form, for this road trip I avoided highways and drove the country roads of Massachusetts from where I live to the north shore. It added nearly an hour to the trip, making it nearly three hours in each direction, but it was beautiful, and less stressful. Route 128 north of Boston? No thanks! I also learned of some towns I'd never been to before. In case you don't know, my favorite hobby is taking a long drive on the back roads of New England.

It's beautiful here. The Massachusetts coast (either north, or south) is gorgeous -- it's one of my favorite places in the world, and I've been to a lot of places. I mean, hey, that's why I live here! If you ever have a chance, check out the Massachusetts coastline... it won't disappoint. You can bring your dog to many areas in Mass., just be sure to do your homework and ask first. Some towns have restrictions during the summer months.

Where did you go on your summer vacation? Tell me about it in the comments!


Friday, July 14, 2017

New Pet Seat Belt Crash Tested at US & Canadian Safety Standards

* This is NOT a paid or affiliate post. *



I am such a huge fan of the Clickit Terrain car safety harness for dogs, that I had to share today's press release! I use the Clickit safety harness (seat belt) for my dogs all the time. This is such great news! See press release below, and....Clickit!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Pet Seat Belt Crash Tested at U.S. and Canadian Safety Standards for Child Restraint Systems
Sleepypod crash tests its new Clickit Terrain car safety harness for dogs at Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213 and Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213.

Pasadena, Calif.—July 13, 2017—Sleepypod®, a Pasadena-based company known for redefining pet products, today announces it has crash tested its new Clickit Terrain car safety harness for dogs at U.S. and Canadian safety standards for child restraint systems. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213 and Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) No. 213 are analogous safety standards with speed, test bench, and crash pulse among the similarities. There are several small differences to include belt and bench positioning. NHTSA issues Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in the United States. Find more information at https://www.nhtsa.gov/laws-regulations/fmvss. Transport Canada is responsible for transportation policies and programs in Canada. Find more information https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/acts-regulations/regulations-crc-c1038.htm.

“Sleepypod is the first pet product manufacturer to test its pet seat belts at U.S. and Canadian safety standards for child restraint systems with successful results,” says Michael Leung, Sleepypod co-founder and lead product designer. “In each test, the Clickit Terrain safety harness kept the crash test dog from accelerating forward and leaving the test bench while controlling rotation.” Watch the crash tests at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyXWASEZWXs.

Sleepypod tested the Clickit Terrain safety harness using DUKE 2.0, Sleepypod’s proprietary crash test dog weighing 75 pounds. Find more information about DUKE 2.0 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb210V0_on8.

  

About Clickit Terrain
Clickit Terrain is light and easy to use without sacrificing safety. Shock absorbing sleeves work with a broad padded vest and patented Infinity Loop design for more safety in the car. The same patent pending shock absorbing sleeves make Clickit Terrain comfortable for use as an everyday walking harness and also provide better control for the handler. Reflective patches on the harness shoulders can be interchanged with service patches for working dogs. Clickit Terrain can be used with an optional Terrain Pack. Working dogs and active dogs will benefit from the Clickit Terrain design. It combines award-winning travel safety technology with enhanced safety, comfort, and control features for sustained daily use. Find more information about Clickit Terrain at http://sleepypod.com/releases/031717-Sleepypod-Announces-Clickit-Terrain.pdf.

About Sleepypod
Look behind the beautiful designs and you’ll find multiple functions, durable materials, and safety beyond compare. Sleepypod pet products have earned numerous awards and accolades for safety and design innovation. Every Sleepypod carrier and car safety harness has been certified with a top safety rating from the Center for Pet Safety. Pets travel safer with Sleepypod. Sleepypod.com

Media Contact
Jane Skuta at press@sleepypod.com or (703) 364-9753



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Memories About Take Your Dog To Work Day

For most of my career in student travel, my dogs accompanied me to work. I worked long, long hours at our company headquarters, and it was better to just bring the dogs with me, rather than leave them home alone, drive back and forth to let them out, or hire a sitter.

But times changed, and I pretty much stopped bringing the dogs to work with me a few years ago.

Things are about to change even more, now. We are selling our office building that we've occupied for 31 years and we're moving the family business to an office park a few towns away.

I get emotional thinking about all the memories and the sheer volume of hours I spent in that building, most of them with my hounds snoozing at my feet. I had the good fortune to work with my life partner every day -- we even picked out the building together, all those years ago. It was our second home, for sure.

Timba, my devoted black Lab, came to work with me for 17 years. Every. Single. Day.

Timba at work at Passports, (and Laurent diligently working at his desk).

After Timba, it was Hobie and Hector who came to work with me, but usually only on weekends.

Not exactly a flattering pose for Hobie, but a good shot of the front office reception area with both dogs.

Cooper and Charlie are not as well-behaved as the others and they haven't spent as much time at my office as their predecessors.  (I'm getting lazy with training as I get older -- maybe I should call myself LAZY Dog Lady ha ha.)

But wait! Stop! Hold on! Let me back up a minute.....

Hobie didn't just come to work with me. I actually met him at my workplace! Hobie was my heart-dog, my canine soul mate, the canine love of my life; and he was brought to me, for consideration, right there at my office. I took him for his first walk, on the country road by the office building, and adopted him on-the-spot. That dog changed my life. He is the one who got me started writing about and photographing my pets. He gave me fodder to start writing this blog, and all my dog and cat stories. He was the "child" I never had. He filled the maternal void for me.

Then it hit me. This past Friday was Take Your Dog To Work Day,. Suddenly, I remembered: I met Hobie at work. What? Say that again? This is where I found Hobie. Oh my Dog! I can't leave! What the hell am I thinking?! If I had not been in this building, on that very day, back in the spring of 2000, I would never have adopted Hobie. My life could potentially have been entirely different.


"If I block the door, she can't get in; then maybe we can go home!"
(Note strategically-placed dog bowl)

And Hector? The very first thing I did with Hector was bring him to the office to meet his "DogFather" -- his doggy-daddy soul mate. Everyone in the office gathered 'round in a big circle, and we played with then-tiny Hector on "the red rug" (as Gil used to call it). Hobie was there, too. People still talk about that day "Remember the time you brought the little puppy in and we played with him on the floor?"

There are so many nooks and crannies in this building.... Hector, what were you doing down there?!


The iconic portrait of Hobie that I use for my profile picture on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest was taken on the grounds of the office.

Photo credit: Patricia Glennon

Some of the first photographs of Charlie Brown were taken at my office. I brought Charlie to work with me for the first few months of his life. Starting the day I adopted him.

Photo and collage credits: Patricia Glennon

It seemed I had started a tradition -- to bring my new dog to the office when first adopted, -- and Cooper was no exception. Here he is on his first or second day as a member of our family.




Still shaved and healing from his amputation surgery! Tripawds rule! Dog mom has messy desk!


Even my blog's header photo was taken at work!

Everyone has been asking me how I'm handling the move and the sale of the building, emotionally.
I am perfectly FINE. To be honest, I AM SO OVER IT! (yeah, I'm yelling!) I have now emptied out five (count them!) five buildings since Gil passed away. The man never threw anything away. It has been grueling, a chore, a maddening, sometimes fun and exciting, mostly expensive, exhausting, anger-producing task. I still love him with all my heart, and always will, but enough already! I need a break, and a normal life. I'm looking forward to some good old-fashioned ordinary!

Even though I complain, I do so in jest. I was so incredibly lucky to have shared my life with a fellow pet lover. I am one of those ladies who'll bring home yet another dog or cat, without consulting my partner. He loved dogs and cats as much as I did, so he was perfectly fine with it and never balked. His only worry, when I adopted Charlie (sight unseen!) was.... would it flare up my fibromyalgia and stress levels too much? No objection regarding his own life, just concerned about how hard raising a puppy might be on me. When it was time to consider adopting Charlie's brother, Cooper, his remark was, simply, "Can you imagine having TWO of them?!" Yep, I could. I did. I adopted. I took them to work with me.



Hobie outside the barn at Passports.
Photo credit: Patricia Glennon


Hector with me in my office on Take Your Dog To Work Day, 2010

As I write this, I think again about Timba. Like the time she abruptly ended a sales meeting by clearing a room with one single dog fart! Timba was just like a human (which is sort of an insult to dogs!) -- she was BEYOND human. She was magic. A gift from God. She "worked" in that building for nearly 15 years, just like we all did.

I couldn't bring Charlie and Cooper with me for Take Your Dog To Work Day this year because we are so busy with the move.

Hobes, on "the red rug" playing sentry.

I'm not sad about giving up the building. I'm excited to move on and start fresh. But that's the place where I fell in love with Hobie, and I probably won't ever bring Charlie or Cooper to work with me again.....the realization and the memories stopped me in my tracks. You can mourn saying goodbye to a location, just like you can mourn any other loss.


In memory of Hobie
2000-2015
Photo credit: Patricia Glennon



Readers and fellow bloggers: Other than if you're working at home, do you ever take your dog (or other pet) to work with you? Does your company allow dogs or pets? What are the rules? Tell me in the comments.



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Traveling Dog Lady Reports from BlogPaws 2017

When I first booked my ticket for BlogPaws 2017 in Myrtle Beach, the plan was to bring both dogs on a road trip to Myrtle Beach. I booked my ticket the day the Myrtle Beach location was announced for two reasons: 1) there's a discount if you book right away after the announcement; and 2) I have family that lives in Myrtle Beach. It just so happens that my human brother lives in the Myrtle Beach area; and my dogs' canine brother (Copper, not to be confused with COOPER), also lives in Myrtle Beach. The original plan was a reunion with both the human bro, and the canine bro. By the way, the canine bro does NOT own my human bro! It's just a funky coincidence that they both happen to live in Myrtle Beach.... but as I all too well know... There are NO coincidences!

My view of the ocean from the Sheraton ha ha.

Since I had made that booking 11 months before the conference, life got in the way. The very day I was supposed to start driving the 14-hour trip, happened to be the exact same day that the new owners were taking possession of a piece of real estate I had been dealing with as part of my late boyfriend's estate (by the way, I use the term boyfriend and husband interchangeably to describe Gil, the man I was with for 30 years -- it's just one guy. We really weren't married, but that's a whole other story.)  Anyhoo! I figured it would not be smart to leave on a trip the very same day that the closing was happening. I could have done it, since the lawyers were in charge, but I didn't feel comfortable. Alas, I changed my plans, convinced my friends to watch the dogs and cats, and booked an airline ticket. Yuck. Even though I have been working in the travel industry for 32 years, I hate flying. Hate it. Did I mention how much I hate flying? Oh. Yeah. I'd choose a road trip any day. This meant I had to leave my dogs at home.

My trusty stuffed travel companion, Stuffy Douglas, who has been on basically every trip with me because my dogs aren't exactly well-behaved, made the journey with me. Along the way, I "adopted" three more stuffed animals!

Stuffy Douglas (center) surrounded by the new stuffed pets

It was lonesome in the hotel without my hounds, but I'll tell ya, after observing everyone else with their pets, I realized that my boys are too rough around the edges to be trusted at such an event. For instance, when I ate dinner with the rat blogger, I kept envisioning Charlie with me. Charles is obsessed with squirrels, chipmunks, mice, moles. He would have attacked that rat, I just know it. Charlie is huge, so... well, just let your imagination figure it out. Not a good idea. Glad I didn't bring him. Another reason they wouldn't have done well is because I made a vow to myself to go to the beach each day. Not realizing that getting to the beach was a three-block walk, and required crossing two humongous boulevards, and it's already HOT in South Carolina in May.  It turns out I wouldn't have been able to bring Charlie to the beach in the afternoons. Bringing Cooper on such a walk would be absolutely out of the question. Finally, I had lunch plans with my family on Friday, and while BlogPaws had built-in pet sitting accommodations, I just didn't feel right about doing that. Again, because my dogs are country bumpkins who don't spend a lot of time in social situations -- never mind the city.

My boys are rescue dogs. Most, but not all, of the other dogs at BlogPaws are purebreds. Not that that matters, but my guys are obnoxious, and I know it.  In the end, while I missed having the experience of traveling with them, I'm glad I left them at home.

What a fabulous time I had meeting everyone I had known online for nearly 10 years! Some I'd met earlier in the year at the Dog Writers Association luncheon in New York during Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

With Carol Bryant of Fidose of Reality!  Say, Carol, we have great taste in jewelry!

The thrill of the weekend, for me, was meeting Kenn Bell and Remi of The Dog Files. I admit I was a little star struck, but somehow managed to introduce myself, congratulate them on winning a BlogPaws award, and say a few nonsensical words. I've been a huge fan ever since forever -- especially because Kenn's dogs, Max and Remi, resembled my dog, the late, great, Hector Huge. I like to think maybe Max and Hector are together, somewhere in doggie heaven.

I was also honored to be a part of the surprise baby shower for Maggie Marton of BlogPaws and the Oh My Dog! blog. We connected at Dog Writers Association in February as well, and of course our mutual love of dogs named Cooper, made us fast friends. I was so pleased to be included in the planning and execution of such a fun late-night bash. Congrats to Maggie and John on the expansion of their family!

Squeeeeeee! Diaper cake!!

It was not possible for me to attend all of the workshops I wanted to -- I had hoped to partake in all of them! I managed to weed out the ones that were most important. Had to squeeze in time with the fam besides; and I didn't get to meet Charlie and Cooper's brother, Copper, either. The workshops I did attend were informative, educational, fun, and it was great getting to know all the other folks in the workshop. Except for stepping on that poor beagle when he was asleep -- Kathy the Klutz strikes again! I STILL feel bad about it, weeks later! Poor little guy. :(  I felt badly that I had to duck out of the Friday afternoon festivities, and am grateful that most of it was either videotaped, or people took excellent notes, and I was able to catch up.

My workshop set-up! Stuffy Douglas in full residence. Charlie on the screensaver. Hobie on the pen!

I am not an artsy-craftsy person, but I attended Red Roof Inn's sip 'n' paint (I didn't paint, I just used a coloring book off to the side!); and I made an honor flag in memory of Hobie and Hector.



I did make it to the beach every day, and realized it is the same beach as the one I went to for many years on Cape Cod, just hundreds of miles south LOL! Myrtle Beach is "on my list" of potential places to relocate to (read = retire) in a few years, so it was good for me to explore and get to know my way around. I really liked it a lot. We had one great pack walk with several "newbies" (first-time attendees of BlogPaws); and I took another great beach walk with Susan Nation of Talent Hounds. Unbeknownst to me until later that night, she was up for an award!! And of course, she won!!



During the Cat Writers Association awards dinner and banquet, I won third runner up for a free ticket to CWA's 2018 conference (location, dates, etc. to be announced). I was so shocked to hear that I had actually won something, sort of!

A fortuitous meeting was that of Ellen Zucker, astrologer extraordinaire. We were at the same table during the first night's dinner, and really struck up a great conversation. As luck would have it, on the return trip, we were on the same flight out of Myrtle Beach! We had breakfast together and a lovely long chat at the airport while waiting for boarding time. I hope to remain in contact with Ellen, she is a delightful human being!

After I got back home from Myrtle Beach, I rearranged some duties in my day job, so I can manage my company's blog and social media in addition to my regular duties as treasurer and secretary of the business. It's great that I can apply some of what I learned at BlogPaws to my 9-5er as well! I also got my certificate of completion for module two of my dog behaviorist education -- if I ever finish it'll be a miracle. And, I am also about to start working on a book (or series) about a military dog named Silver who served in Japan during WWII.

One of the coolest things that happened was that we all got to see a sneak preview of the movie, "Megan Leavey". Of course, I started crying about 10 seconds in to the trailer, and each time I see the trailer on TV now, I start crying again. Powerful stuff! I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

All of us made sure to sign the petition for the #PAWSAct, and boy was I ever proud to put that little pin in the middle of Massachusetts on Bayer's map. After I signed the petition, I got a personal email from Senator Elizabeth Warren. Like, for real, she even told me about her dog! As a victim of teenage dating violence  a lifetime ago, when I was a teenager) this legislation is particularly important to me. Want to know more about the PAWSAct? Check it out, here. 

My #PAWSact pin right smack in the middle of Massachusetts! 

Next year, BlogPaws is going to be in Kansas City. I'm not sure if I'll be able to go, although it is during my birthday week.  It's an interesting thought to do something different for my b-day. So, perhaps I'll see you at BlogPaws in 2018!

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