Traveling Dog Lady: September 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Go local for pets!

The k2k9 crew has been spending September attending the various dog/cat festivals in and around our area.

These are local events that support local pet-related charities and businesses.  A valuable part of attending these events is not just spending money making donations or buying products from local folks, you also get to socialize your dog(s).  [Cats are usually not invited, although we did see Spike and his dad, and his famous cat brother (sister?) that their dad wears like a mink stole around his neck.  Yes, a real, live cat!  At a doggie event!  These folks actually attend a few of these events, and I've seen them a few times.  Spike is a wonderful, black senior dog who is SO friendly.  The cat is very docile.  I tell their dad that he is VERY brave!]

The weekend after Labor Day, Charlie and I attended Pet Rock Festival.  Now in its 17th year, Pet Rock was inspired by a news report of a horrific animal cruelty case -- a Worcester-area woman had a band named Pet Rock, and she wanted to do something to help animals.  Pet Rock Festival was named after her band, and over the years has become a fun gathering of music, vegetarian food, and all things dog, cat, pet.  This year the event was held at Becker College, in Leicester.  This was a great venue because of size, and a perfect fit since the college offers a popular veterinary/animal program.

Charlie Brown at Pet Rock

A week later, was New England Pet Expo.  This is a nationwide organization (may include Canada, as well?) that does Pet Expos in various cities each year.  There are usually two in our area:  New England Pet Expo, and South Shore Pet Expo.  But this year, there was no South Shore Pet Expo.  Pet Expo is a bit like a home show with dog/cat products.  Ferrets, reptiles, birds and horses, are featured, too.  Shorty Rossi (The Pit Boss) usually makes an appearance at each Expo, and there are other well-known animal trainers, agility courses, police k-9 demos, and other activities.

Me, and Shorty Rossi in 2012 at NE Pet Expo
I brought Cooper to Pet Expo -- it was Cooper's very first event like this.  He did quite well.  He only has three legs, so walking from the parking lot to the venue can be an issue.  I thought about taking advantage of handicapped parking, but I didn't think that'd go over well!!  Anyway, he did ok, but he got a little "testy" with a couple of dogs after being over-stimulated for a few hours, so we were soon outta there.  I was very proud of both of us.  No one got bitten, unless you count me. (Trying to entice him out of the building with a tennis ball in my hand! Ow!)

Cooper at Pet Expo

Yesterday was festival number three, of several:  Woofstock!  Similar to Pet Rock, this is a music and food fest with booths from the usual suspects.  I should point out that many pet companies attend ALL of these conferences; but some only attend one or two.  So, you don't always see the same people twice, but when you do, it just reinforces the networking.  Networking locally is SO important!

Posing at the Woofstock/Buddy Dog table, while I added to my impossibly unmanageable t-shirt collection.

Coming up:

Oct 3 & 4: Animal Weekend -- hosted by Second Chance Animal Shelter and Wellness Center.
(our pals at Second Chance are going to be exhausted, because they have been at EVERY one of the aforementioned conferences, AND they're doing their own full weekend next week.  I'm tired just thinking about it!)
Cooling off at Second Chance's booth during Woofstock-- see you next weekend!

Oct 3:  Great Dog Rescue Meet & Greet. Harvard Farmers' Market, 27 Mass Ave in gorgeous Harvard, Mass.  (Great Dog Rescue is the place I adopted Charlie and Cooper from!)  If you're looking for a great dog, you might just meet her or him here.

Oct 11: Pug Rescue of New England (PRoNE) Pug Social -- right here in beautiful downtown Spencer (at the fairgrounds).  If you love Pugs (and who doesn't?) this is a can't-miss event.

Oct 24: Klem's Annual Dog Halloween Costume Contest, at Klem's in Spensah!

Oct 31:  Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals Halloween Spooktacular, at Camp Marshall in Spensah!!

(Can you tell how excited I am that all of these things are right here in SPENCER!!!?  Have I used enough exclamation marks?)

November 7:  Goodness Gracious Run for Rescue 5K.  This 5K is being held in dog-friendly Marblehead.  If you've ever been to Marblehead, you will notice.... dogs!  It seems like everyone who lives there has a dog.  What a wonderful community!  Our friends at Great Dog Rescue have a team participating in the race, so if you want to donate to the Great Dog team, here is the link.

Friday, September 25, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life, Week 39: Shadow

Ok, this just freaked me out.... I was hunting through my photos for an appropriate picture for this week's 52 Snapshots challenge, and my cursor randomly landed on this photo and highlighted it automatically!!!  Weird!!

Therefore, here is this week's photo!  The theme is SHADOW

Charlie Brown at last year's PetRock Fest (2014) !!  
Which is also freaky, since PetRock 2015 was just the other day!

52 Snapshots of Life is hosted by our friends at The Lazy Pit Bull!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 38: Feet

When Hobie was a puppy, I liked to smell his feet.  I know other dog parents will understand this.  We've talked about it!  Back in those days, dog food had corn as a primary ingredient (maybe it still does, but I don't buy that stuff anymore).  I am not positive, but I think this is why dogs' feet smelled like Fritos.  Frito Feet!  Or, more generically-correct:  Corn Chip Feet!

Anyway, I sang a little song to Hobie:  "Puppy feet, puppy feet, I love puppy feet!" and then I'd grab his foot and SMELL it!!  Yeah, we pet parents are sick ha ha.

I regularly take pictures of my pets' feet.  Yes, yes, I do.

Here is a small collection of Pet Feet Photos from my archives.  The first picture here was just taken a few days ago while Cooper was sleeping!

Cooper foot!  This could make a good logo.

Cats have paws, too.

Footprint in the sand

Not a "sole" on the beach

We did a nail trim right afterwards!
Hobie loved to sleep with his back legs crossed.


Hobie's feet.  I did a whole photo session of Hobie's feet on his last birthday.

52 Snapshots of Life is a blog hop hosted by our friends over at The Lazy Pit Bull.

Monday, September 14, 2015

5 Things You Can Do To Remember and Honor Your Pet

After losing a beloved pet, for whatever reason, whether he or she was old and sick, or whether the pet ran away and you're still hoping for her safe return; or whether the little furry friend was killed in an accident; we can often feel so empty, sad and even guilty.  Grief can overtake us.  One grieving pet parent put it this way:  "There is a huge hole in my heart."

Losing a pet is a unique kind of loss.  Our relationship with a beloved pet can be a stronger bond than any we have known with a human.  Many people say that's because pets love us unconditionally, and while that is certainly true, I tend to think that my relationship with my pets is more like a kinship that transcends any kind of brain knowledge or explanation.  It is a more intuitive friendship, on a very spiritual and natural level -- communing with, and an actual kinship with, nature.  Humans can't emulate that because they are normally too busy with their own agendas.

In honor of my beloved pets, both past and current, I created this website.  I wrote about each pet (or, am in the process of doing so) and posted as many photos of them as possible here, and on my various social media accounts.  For the dogs and cats who are no longer with me, I remember their birthdates and the dates of their passing, and try to re-post an old photo, or maybe even go to a place where we used to hang out, and remember them on those meaningful (to me) dates.

We had a memorial "headstone" made for our garden, in memory of Hector.

Our "new" dog (at the time), Charlie, checking out the Hector memorial
Have you recently lost a pet, or are you continuing to grieve a pet you lost a while ago, and can't seem to get past the grief and sadness?  Please know that this is normal, and I speak from experience only.  I still mourn my dear, sweet Timba who died 14 years ago!  And her successor, Hector, who died in 2011. 

I can't say it enough:  there is no timeline for grief.  Your grief timeline is your own, and no one can or should dictate to you when you're supposed to "get over" it.  You may never (get over it), and that is okay!

Here are five free (or inexpensive) activities you can do to remember and honor your pet on an anniversary, on their birthday, on YOUR birthday, or just because:

Hobie's urn (left) and DogFather's urn (right).
I took them on a trip to Cape Cod!
  1. Bring your pet's ashes on a road trip.  After Hobie died, I brought his ashes in the car with me and Charlie and Cooper, every time we went to Cape Cod on weekends, for an entire summer.  I told a friend about it, and we chuckled.  A few months later, that same friend unfortunately had to put her dog to sleep due to a sudden and incurable illness.  On a family trip to Maine, she brought her dog's ashes along for the ride!  Don't have time for a vacation or trip?  Bring your pet's ashes in the car on errands.  I put the urn right next to me on the passenger seat, and look over at "him" and smile.   I also bought a small stuffed dog that has the same coloring as Hobie (tan with a black snout), I put a doggie necklace around its neck (really, it’s a keychain!) and now “the new Hobie” rides in the car with me at all times.  I may even tuck him into my suitcase the next time I have to travel by air! Now you try:  Come up with other creative ways to "bring your dog along". 
  2. Set up a web page, social media page, or other online tribute to your pet's memory. These days, there are too many of these online platforms to list.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,, DogBook (which is part of Facebook), your own website, or blog, and more. There are tons of possibilities are out there. Find one and post a few words about your pet, with photos and their dates of birth and death.  Not interested in an online platform, or not computer savvy enough?  Grab a notebook or piece of paper, and write about your pet; find favorite photos and glue them into a scrapbook.  Share your similar ideas in the comments – we’d love to hear from you.
  3. Attend an afternoon pet festival.   Autumn is the time of year for pet-charity festivals in most areas of the U.S.  For example, if I want to, I can attend one every weekend between Labor Day and Halloween in my area of Massachusetts!  Admission to some of these events is free, while others charge a small fee ($12 - $15 or thereabouts for adults, kids usually free,  and well-behaved, leashed dogs are usually welcome -- make sure you have proof of vaccinations if your state requires pets to be vaccinated).  Ask local veterinarians or pet sitters if they know of any events in your city, or just hunt around online via search engines, you can usually find the various events easily. For those who don't know what a pet festival is:  generally these are events held at a public place where vendors (mostly non-profit) set up booths and you are expected to visit the booths and perhaps purchase goods or services from those booths (but are not obligated to do so).  There is usually food, beverages, entertainment by local musicians, and fun activities like costume contests, pet pageants, a photo booth, agility or police "k9" demos, doggie massage or reiki, etc.  Proceeds benefit the organization that is running the program, or the various non-profit pet charities involved. This is a great way to honor your pet, and get some "animal time" in with no strings attached.  Be forewarned:  there are pets for adoption at these events, so go slow, don't jump into anything hastily. "Just looking" is a good response, and then take the organization's business card if you want to visit them under less pressure at their facility.  If you want more info on pet festivals, send me an email at, and mention your location and I'll try to find out if there are any events near you.  

    Charlie at the Sweetpea Howl-oween event 2015

    Charlie at a vendor's booth at Woofstock, 2015

    Charlie and me at PetRock, 2015
  4. Spend quality time with your existing pets.  Almost anyone I've ever talked to who has lost a pet has "The Regret List".  This can be anything from "I should have had her euthanized sooner, she suffered so much", to "I wish I had taken her on that trip to the mountains two years ago when I had that opportunity."  To (my personal regret) "I wish I had been able to stay home with him more often throughout his lifetime."  There is no time like the present.  Without getting yourself into trouble (spending too much money, or playing hooky from work!!) build in that time NOW with your existing pet or pets.  Bring Fido to that mountain retreat you wish you had brought Rover to "back in the day".  Now's your chance!  Cuddle with your cat, Fluffy, on your lap and a good book or movie, because you wish you had "one more day" with Pookie. You do have that "one more day", and it's today, with your current pet(s).
  5. Help out a friend or relative with their pet.  No pets at home, and you're not ready (maybe you will never be) to adopt a new companion?  If your parent, sibling, or other relative, a friend, or a neighbor has a pet you enjoy spending time with, offer to hang out with the pet to help out, or just because you need some "animal time".  This is a great way to resolve the "I need help getting through the loss of Max" problem without actually SAYING those words (because sometimes people do not understand). 
The finished product:  The Hector garden memorial!

Do you have other ideas or suggestions for ways to honor and remember your late pets?  Tell me about it in comments, or drop me a few lines at -- I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!  
You are appreciated!  

Disclaimer:  The suggestions on this website are not intended to be a substitute for therapy or professional advice. The contents of this website are solely the opinion of the website owner, and are not a substitute for therapy, advice, diagnosis, treatment of any kind, whether spiritual, medical, mental health, or other.  If you are experiencing a mental health issue due to the loss of your pet (or for any other reason), please obtain the services of a professional.  The owner of this website assumes no responsibility or liability on behalf of any purchaser or reader of the materials herein.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 37: Labor

I have terrible bathroom countertops, and not a lot of dough to replace them, and not a lot of time or patience.  I also am a little inept at DIY-type stuff, and am certainly do not have an artsy-craftsy bone in my body!  What a conundrum.  Having to constantly rely on others to get things like this done can often be disconcerting -- or, quite simply, a pain in the... !

A couple weeks ago, I saw a video online where a young woman did a tutorial on how to put contact paper on a kitchen countertop.   It looked like something even I could handle, and inexpensive, and it couldn't be worse than the 1972 countertops I have in place already.  Sure, it probably won't stand up to water for more than a few months, but it's only me here, and I'm not sitting here pouring water onto the counters or anything like that.  If worst comes to worst, just do it again -- I still have a whole roll of the stuff left over!

So, I gave it a try.  If I do say so myself, I think they came out pretty good!!  Each one took less than a half hour!

The fruits of my labor:




52 Snapshots of Life is a themed photo challenge hosted by our friends at The Lazy Pit Bull.   This week's topic is LABOR.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 36: Technology

Today, I want to write about how I spy on my pets (and my house) when I'm not home.  Actually, the cameras are running all the time, even when I am home!  There are a number of cameras at various locations throughout the house.  I installed them after my house was broken into.  I also had the house armed with an alarm system.

I use two programs for my cameras.  I set the whole thing up myself because I am a nerdy geeky person.  It's the only "DIY" project I am capable of doing from start-to-finish without hiring someone!  I also have a camera connected to the alarm system itself.  Because, if you know me, you know that I am a little obsessive and over-the-top when it comes to technology, video and photography!  One camera is never enough!

To inform the bad guys that they are being watched, there are signs on the doors and windows, and yard signs posted outside; including one that looks like this:

The fun part, for me,  is spying on the pets when I'm not home.  They basically do nothing but sleep all day, and they don't act up at all!!  They save all the acting up for me!!!  Now I am on to them, and realize it's something *I* am doing wrong that makes them get all amped up.  They are perfectly normal animals until I come into the picture (ooo, see what I did there?).

I capture videos quite often, for various reasons.  The computer programs have a feature that allows for video capture, and both programs also automatically save x-number of videos for x-number of days, so I can go back and look at them if I want to, or save them to my hard drive later on.

I captured this video as a download the other day because Charlie was looking right AT the camera!! I was spying on him from work, after the alert system sent me a text message indicating movement at this specific location.

If you'd like information on the technology I use to monitor my home and pets, here are the two products I use.  I am not getting paid to promote these two products, I simply use them, and thought I would share the information if others are interested.  So far, I've had no problems or down-time with either product.  I did drop a camera on the floor and it broke, but that was totally my fault!

The first product "Presence" is free, and can be used via any mobile phone or tablet that includes a camera. You have to keep the phone or tablet plugged in, which is sort of a pain. The app sends you text alerts and you can do a whole bunch of other things with it as well. Check out the PresencePro website for more info.

The other product is VueZone.  They are owned by NetGear, the company best known for wi-fi routers.  The VueZone cameras are pricey, even if you buy them from Amazon instead of VueZone (which I have done).  The batteries are also pricey, and they smell awful (the batteries).  But the batteries do last a long time.  There are no cords, and you can get night-vision cameras or regular ones; you can get motion-activated cameras, or stand-alone cameras.  This system does require a separate VueZone router attached to your internet modem.  There is a monthly fee for VueZone's monitoring.

With both products, you can see the monitoring either on your phone (you have to download an app for each one); or on your computer by logging into your Presence or VueZone account.

Another product which I have not tried is the Butterfleye Cam.  I tried to win one the other night during BlogPaws' Twitter Chat ha ha but no such luck!  Anyway, I hear it's a great product.  Not sure about pricing or any technical details, except it looks really cool.

Again, I am not getting paid to give out these recommendations, just doing it out of the kindness of my heart!!

Sometimes I'll take a break at work and scroll through the captures from the various cameras, and I sit there giggling, looking at what my pets are doing throughout the day.  I also am able to see my caretaker and pet-sitters, deliveries being made to the house, and a whole host of other stuff.  The cameras can be easily moved to other locations within the house any time I want to set it up differently.

Any questions or comments about pet-cam and security monitoring?  Tell me about it below!

This post is part of the 52 Snapshots of Life photo challenge, sponsored by our buddies at The Lazy Pit Bull.