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Talking to the dog–am I the only one?!

Do you talk to your dog or I your cat?  How about your chickens?  Hi all, Amanda here.  This blog is about talking to the animals.  I don’t mean in a Dr. Doolittle way (although–how cool would that be?!).  Nope, I am talking about just talking to your precious pets as if they are your best friends.  They should be, by the way!

I was walking into a dog walking job the other day and when I opened the door I yelled, “Hello, Cooper!  Are you ready to take a walk?”  Then I walked over to the counter to check for a note and then Cooper and I were off on our walk.  While we were walking, I was talking to him about a few business decisions that had been weighing on my mind.  Now, I had already talked to a few human advisors about this same thing, but talking to Cooper allowed me to really get to the meat of the questions I had.

 The thing about talking to a pet is that they don’t answer back or interrupt.  Have you ever had an experience where you just want to tell someone what happened and they keep asking you questions?  I know that they are just trying to get all the information but really?!  I just want to tell you the story–would you let me already?!  

 Or what about this–you are pouring your soul out to your bestie and you can JUST TELL that they are only half listening because they are busy trying to come up with something witty and inspiring to say.  Now, first of all–thank you for caring so much that you want to make sure you say just the right thing.  But I would love you so much more if you would just hear me out!

Tick-nado hitting CT this year!

It has been a long time since I blogged and for that, Dear Reader, I apologize.  I have no excuse–I got busy with life 🙁  Hi all, Amanda here.  Today we are going to talk about something , that everyone is hoping for–warm weather.  Now I know that wishing it won’t make it so but I can try!!!  Warm weather means a lot of great things…short sleeves, flip flops for some (still too cold for me!) and windows open.  Fresh air and lovely walks in the sunshine.  It also means some not so great things–bugs!  More specifically, ticks.

 

We have had a really great winter as far as things go–it was warm most days.  We had some snow here and there but for the most part it has been mild.  Even though that has been great for your local pet sitter (thank you very much!) it turns out it has been a growing season for ticks.  Worse than that, Lyme disease ticks!  

 

Fear not, Dear Reader.  Let’s just be blunt–you have to be vigilant.  You have to check your dogs (and yourself!!!) when you come in from outdoors.  It takes about 12 hours to transmit Lyme disease so when ever you are in an area that is a known tick spot (high grass, lots of trees, etc.) just be quick to check Fido for ticks.  And for our feline friends–you aren’t off the hook.  Even though your friend probably didn’t go on a hike with you, they are still a carrier.  Check yourself.

 

Just because ticks are going crazy this year doesn’t mean that you can’t go on hikes with your furry friend(s.)  Just be careful!  Also worth noting–dogs don’t get the bullseye ring that humans get so please don’t wait for that!  If your dog seems off–bring him/her to the vet.

Below is a link to an article about the tick problems this year.  Not to scare anyone…just want you to be aware!

http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Shaping-up-to-be-a-bad-season-for-ticks-11027659.php

Be safe, my friends!  Enjoy your walks and the soon-to-be warmer weather 🙂

 

Why is blogging so hard?

Hi all, Amanda here.  I have been putting off blogging for some reason–not really sure what?  However, with the new year  I figured I should just bite the bullet and do it.

I would love to talk about my new home office.  For the first time in 14 years, I actually have a place to call my office that doesn’t include my bedroom or living room couch.  I still have my exercise stuff in here, but that is a choice and not a necessity.  Woohoo!

I have been working from a desk that I made out of a table that was my great-Aunt Bert’s.  It is a prized possession and it is still what I work from.  If this desk could talk!

Josephine the Jovial

Hi all, Amanda here.  I have been putting off writing about the last member of this fur-family, Josephine.  Not because she is a trouble maker or boring (no way on both counts!) but mostly because she is new to me.  Josephine is the baby of the pack (although at somewhere around the age of 8 she is no baby!) and I just haven’t had as much time to get to know her as the others.20160611_104500

Here is what I do know about the beautiful Josephine.  Baby Cakes is her nickname, and she likes to eat (so I would have to say that is appropriate!).  When we come in from outside, she is the first one to get in her “spot” for a treat.  She is pretty laid back like the other girls, but she has a fierce streak in her when anyone gets “in her face.”    Turns out this family of dogs is built around mutual respect and understanding–everyone respects each other’s boundries and understands that ultimately Mom and Dad are in charge.  Not that there is never any plays for power 🙂

Josephine is happy to sit by the window and bark at the world.  And what a bark!  It is loud and deep…very effective!  She is a great Pyrenees and so her job in life is to protect and guard.  She takes that job very seriously;  she makes sure her Mom and Dad know when the mail comes, when a car goes by, when the other dogs are outside, even when there is a squirrel running around the yard!   Unfortunately for Josephine, Huxley also feels that his job is to protect the family and therefore they don’t always see eye to eye on who should take the first watch 🙂

I have spent a few evenings at this house and Josephine was so amazing at keeping me abreast of noises and potential threats.  When everyone else was sleeping, she was on point to make sure everyone was safe and sound.  I found that if she could see me, she could relax a little and get some rest herself; so we spent a good portion of time in the living room sleeping.  When she heard something, she could look up and see that I was okay before going back to her slumbers 🙂  The perfect guardian.

That is it for this family, although they are foster parents so I usually am introduced to temporary family members.  Josephine is no longer a foster, Mom and Dad just knew their family was not complete without this Grande Chien des Montagnes (“the big dog of the mountains”).  I am so glad!

 

 

 

 

O Lucy Beth, Lucy Beth…wherefore art thou…Lucy Beth?

Ok, so any of you Shakespeareans know that Juliet isn’t a dog…she is a Capulet.  But I don’t think anyone could argue that they are both very beautiful!  Hi all, Amanda here.  I would love to tell you about one of the pets of the mwp-image-1664029806jpg.jpgonth, Lucy.

What can I say about Lucy Beth?  Well, first thing is she is a breed I had never had or even heard of–an Akbash.  In Turkish it comes from Akba? meaning ‘white head’.  She looks like a yellow lab with some very big differences.  The most obvious is that she is white like fresh fallen snow.  The other thing I noticed is that Lucy has double dew claws.  That is a standard trait of Akbash dogs and again, completely new to me.  I have enough trouble keeping up with my dogs nails…cutting them must be double trouble!  She also has an adorable curled tail that is fluffy at the end and the most soulful brown eyes I have ever seen.  If I had to pick the most beautiful dog in the world, it would be this 3 year old beauty.  Who am I kidding, it would be EVERY dog.  I couldn’t pick!!!!!!

I read about this breed after I signed up Lucy and her family to make sure that I knew all I could before I started watching them; and I have to say Lucy is pretty normal 🙂  She spends her time hanging out watching her family play and playing with her brother, Huxley.  The story I have been told is that Lucy Beth came to visit as a foster and Mom nor Dad could find a good way to tell Huxley that she couldn’t stay.  So they adopted her and added her to the family!  Huxley is forever grateful and he and Lucy are inseparable.  All the dogs seem to love her but where you find Lucy, Huxley is not far behind 🙂

Her Mom told me her nickname is Sweet Pea and she is a calm and Zen dog.  That is another trait of Akbash dogs…they are very quiet but very observant.  Please don’t mistake that calmness for uncaring…Lucy would definitely fight if someone was attacking her family!

So Huxley is not the only defender in the family.  Turns out this pack is like Shrek described himself.  Ogres have layers like onions.  This family has a lot of layers!  That is all for now, stay tuned for the last member of the family, Josephine, to be profiled.  Peace, Love and Paws!

 

Drum roll, Please…Huxley the Hero!!!!!!

Okay, so it has been a CRAZY month plavix pill.  Some things really took my attention away from my blog for a minute but I am back from the asylum!crazy train

Hi all, Amanda here.  I would like to finish off July by writing a little about the rest of the pack from the family of the month.  Now, I know it is August and I am a week or so behind.  Please, Dear Readers, be understanding!  I will be announcing the family of the Month for September in a few weeks but think it is only fair that I spend a little more time with this family!

So, what can I say about Huxley?  Huxley under the stairsTo start, he is the only brother in a pack with 4 sisters.  Good thing they go to the bathroom outside…can you imagine?!  Just kidding.  Seriously, though…he most certainly makes sure his sisters are all good.  He is the most Regal-looking German Shepard I have seen in a while.  His family calls him Batman because of his ears and perhaps that is fitting as well.  I mean, Batman is a superhero who doesn’t rely on super powers to save the world.  He relies on a will of steel, smarts, and intimidation (among other things) to get his way; and he is a billionaire with education and poise when he isn’t fighting crime.  Yup, that’s Huxley!  Mia may be the General of the group, but Huxley is certainly the muscle.

In a few days I will talk about Lucy Beth, Huxley’s soul mate.  We will also talk about Josephine, who is Huxley’s other sister and may be a little mad that he loves Lucy more than her ?  Talk to you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emergency, emergency…

This post was supposed to be about Lucy and Huxley, two of the wonderful pets in the Family of the Month.   However, something pretty serious happened and I feel the need to talk about it.  Don’t worry, Huxley and Lucy will be talked about either later in the week or next week at the latest 🙂

Hi all, Amanda here.  I have been pretty vocal about the fact that my brother had a pretty bad car accident over the weekend.  He was on his way to Florida when he crashed in North Carolina and he is still there.  He is alive (Thank you Lord!) but he has serious injuries to his back and I am not sure when he will return.  The whole situation is a lesson in patience…I had to wait to find out where he crashed and where they took him.  I had to wait to see what happened and what they would do to “fix” him.  Now I have to wait to see when he will be able to return to us and his home in Connecticut.  I had to wait.  I HATE TO WAIT!

But, Amanda, what does this have to do with Amanda’s Paw Pals?  I mean, this is a sad story…but doesn’t seem to have a point.  Is there a point?  Why, yes Dear Reader!

John is not only my brother, he is also a client.  He has 3 very loving and occasionally insane dogs.  Because his trip was an emergency and not as planned as he usually is, I had a difficult time fitting him into an already full schedule.  But he is an established client of ours,so we do our very best to figure out how to accommodate.  In this situation, Brian Nieves (pet sitter extraordinaire and Amanda’s son!) was scheduled to stay at the house and do overnights with the dogs until John returned.  John’s good friend cared for the dogs for the first few days and then Brian took over.  That was the plan, at least.  After John had his accident that all changed.  Today I made the decision to find some foster homes for the dogs until John can care for them himself.  Not all three, one of his dogs is a good sized German Shephard.  John is having back surgery and when he gets home he will have a hard time with her.  He won’t be able to walk her and putting her on her run will be a challenge.   Just the fear that he will be knocked over was enough for me to start looking.  Turns out I didn’t look far, his friend who cared for the dogs in the beginning of the week volunteered.  A call to John cemented the deal and now Ariel is hanging with her 🙂

With that out of the way and the other two safe with Brian, I started thinking about all of this.  This is the biggest reason for an emergency contact on my pet sitting service agreement.  And this is also why I ask for someone other than the person you are with.   If you are both in an accident, who do I call to make sure your animals will be cared for until you can return?

I keep openings in my schedule for emergencies and last minute bookings, but I don’t know how much long term I can do beyond a planned trip.  So anyway, that is all I needed to say.  Hug your pets and your loved ones!

🙂

 

Let’s talk about dogs!

Hi everyone, Amanda here.  I have the awesome task of making everyone who reads this blog understand how great the family of the month is.  I already know they are fantastic because I have the opportunity to interact with them often.  Their family knows they are outstanding for the same reason.  But you, dear readers, only have my word for it.  I can promise you, therefore, that none of the fur-friends featured in this blog are anything less than magnificent!

This week I am going to delve into the lives and loves of Mia and Tessa.  They are only a fraction of the whole of this family, but to use a phrase from a book I am reading, I am especially fond of them.  (For those of you who have never read The Shack by Wm. Paul Young, one of the main characters, Papa, says he is “especially fond of” everyone.  And I have to say, I have not met a pet I wasn’t especially fond of.  So I get that!)  But enough chatter, let’s get back to the focus of this blog!  I am going to start with Mia.

Mia is a Rottweiler mix who is approx. 4 years old.  She is one of the most lovable, expressive dogs!  Her family calls her “Sweet Face” or “Smiley.”  As a matter of fact, she was the star of another blog post called “The Death Stare.”  Her Mom told me she is The General, she keeps everyone else in line.  Isn’t that usually the way, the smallest of the bunch is the one everyone listens to?!  Besides staring at me (lol), Mia loves to play.  She will run continuously for a tennis ball and doesn’t relinquish it easily see it here.  Usually I can get a dog to drop the ball in their mouth by throwing another one (therefore I typically have at least two in my possession.)  Not Mia.  Mia will run (with the ball in her mouth) and pick up the other ball.  In her mouth.  With the other ball.  Let me say that again…WITH THE OTHER BALL IN HER MOUTH.  You think it is hard to get a dog to drop ONE ball?  Try two!  I am a quick learner and so I waited for her to drop the balls (she wanted to bury them under the deck) and never threw another ball until she had dropped the first one.   When Mia isn’t hording tennis balls with me, she loves to go on long walks and runs.  She recently has been put on the sidelines with an injury so she has had to spend more time keeping the others in line and less time keeping her Mom company on her runs.  I have not experienced this firsthand but her Mom tells me that if I take her swimming, she will love me forever ?

Tessa is Mia’s younger sister, by one year.  This Bernese Mountain Dog is a beauty!  Although she is not a rescue in the literal sense, I don’t think anyone would argue that being included in this fabulous family was not a rescue of sorts.  Sure, she could have been adopted by another family who would have loved her as much.  But she would not have the overwhelming love and support of THIS family.  Oh, and I think we can all agree that she hit the pet sitter lottery with me ?  Seriously though, this lovable goofball (Puppy Face is her nickname…very fitting!) makes me glad to know her every time I see her.  She lays on the porch and watches Mia get the ball or she leans on me and looks for some love.  I looked up why bernese mountain dogs lean a while ago and learned that it is just a way to get the love and affection they crave.  It is true, too; it is almost instinctual for me to stroke her fur and rub behind her ears when she sits on my feet and leans into me haha.  Sometimes Tessa will get the ball but I am convinced she really is just trying to passive-aggressively get it away from Mia ?  Mostly, she just wants to watch the fun from the sidelines (or my shoes lol.)

So that is all I can think about with these two gems.  There are a few more (3, to be exact!) in this family to talk about so watch for a couple more posts.  In the meantime, be safe and enjoy this gorgeous weather we are having.  Maybe you should take a daytrip and call Amanda’s Paw Pals (860-338-7135 or email at Amanda@amandaspawpals.com)

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to visit your fur family while you are gone!

Family of the Month for July!!!!!

Mia

Mia cooling down after some time in the heat!


July is upon us and so is the heat!  They are forecasting a heat wave over the next few days…great time to start a new running program, if I do say so myself.  (And I do…something about hot weather and cute little outfits makes me want to lose weight, go figure 🙂 )  Another really hot number in July is Tessa.  Oh, and Lucy.  And Josephine, AND Huxley!

Tessa

Tessa chilling inside!

Hi all, Amanda here.  This month’s family is a pack of 5.  All rescues and all fabulous!  This group has been our Pals for the 7 months or so and I am so glad to know them.  They are like typical siblings, wrestling and fighting when they are outside but snuggling together when they are inside.  

Lucy

Lucy likes the view from up on the stairs!


Huxley      Huxley likes the cool tile the best!

  Their parents are pretty awesome, too.  Not only have they opened their hearts and homes to these 4, they also foster one more…Josephine.  

Josephine

Josephine smiling for the camera!


So that is all for now.  I will post again with some individual attention in a few days, stay tuned!

Leo the Love

Hi All, Amanda here.  I have changed the format of Pet of The Month to include the whole fur-family this month (and future months).  There are two reasons for this change.  First of all, I have realized that being the pet of the month is an extreme honor but one that may be unattainable based on the number of applicants.  Another words, I could do pet of the week with all the pets and probably still not get everyone in a year!  The second reason was pointed out to me by this month’s winner (their Mom, of course.)  By asking for a little more information about each fur-family member, I am getting to know each animal a little better.  I mean, I know each animal pretty well after my pet sitting escapades with them; but I don’t ask about their life B.A. (Before Amanda).  Turns out they had a life before me!  Not as exciting, I am sure, but still…

leo

So let’s get back to Leo.  Leo is sharing the spotlight with his sister Brandi and his brother Rocky (postmortem 🙁 ).    I met Leo and his family in September of last year.  Leo’s Mom, Donna, answered an ad I have placed on Thumbtack for pet sitting and dog walking services.   I knew right away that I was going to love this family; Donna asked all the right questions and had all the right concerns.  Her first question was not, how much? It was how long would I stay?  Not that I hold it against anyone to ask how much it costs, that is one of the first answers I want to know myself!  I am sure that if I charged a crazy amount it wouldn’t really matter how long I was going to stay.  The point is, her first thought was how long the dogs would get to spend with me.  That makes me happy 🙂

 

When we met for the meet and greet, she had everything I could possibly need ready for me.  A bunch of the pet sitters I know email the agreement and client/pet contact info. ahead of time so that the meet and greet isn’t all about filling out the paperwork.  It streamlines it a bit so the focus can be more about seeing everything instead of answering tons of questions.  I have thought about doing that but as of now I don’t.  I really enjoy filling out the paperwork…it gives me a chance to talk to people about their pets and their home.  Plus, I am an auditory learner and I will remember (almost) everything when it is spoken to me.  Of course, Everything is entered into our database by me or Mary so I have access by my smartphone if I forget something, but I usually don’t.  It’s a Rainman kind of thing…haha.  A downside to not emailing the info ahead of time would be that sometimes a person thinks of something afterwards and has to call me to tell me.  Wait, that gives me more contact…not a downside actually!  And just like that first day, she has prepared for Leo’s debut.  I am going to copy and paste what she wrote about him because it is perfect!

leo adHere’s the ad that started it all 

Leo, has a bad case of those nasty heartworms but…..

Leo is  approx. 2 years old and heartworm positive.

Leo was lucky to have been pulled from

Jackson County Animal Shelter in the nick of time

He is a Labrador retriever, Tuxedo Great Dane mix.

When we were looking for a small dog for our daughter to take to Law school with her we came across Leo’s posting: I thought it would be a great idea to adopt him since I needed a running and hiking buddy and he needed a home. I fell in love first then found out he could not exercise for a few months because he was still recovering from heartworm treatments. He was rescued from the Jackson MS pound.  Luckily friends of Jacksonville fell in love with him, rescued him and he was brought him up North and treated his heartworm. The vet in Mississippi told me that the crushed skull you see in the picture is the result of being hit in the head with a 2×4 plank. I have no idea how someone can hurt an animal or human.  He is such a good dog. He has a lot of energy and love!  He got bossed around by our elderly pug and his sister Brandi rules the roost but he doesn’t care. She marches up and takes his toys right out of his mouth. He had lived outside loose in MS and had no leash training.  We worked on getting him to walk calmly on a leash and to pass by strange dogs without pulling, squealing and wanting to run and to play. Loose dogs in the parks have set us back a few times.  His greatest weapon is his tail! He wags it fast and furiously.  We’ve learned not to keep breakables at tail height. He loves hiking with us and running with me. His favorite time of the day is couch time.  He doesn’t bark unless he loses his toy under furniture or wants his walk.  He loves to fetch, learn new tricks and play tug of war.”

 

I did not know about Leo’s abusive and neglectful start, I only know him as the well trained and rambunctious dog that I love to visit.  I would never have guessed that Leo had anything less than a perfect beginning, he definitely doesn’t have any issues from his horrible experiences.  True of many dogs that are rescued, Leo seems to not hold it against humans that there are some truly disgusting people out there that would hurt an animal.   But, as Donna mentioned above, a lot of training and loving went into making Leo the dog I know today.  He is a lucky boy to be found by his family (but I have no doubt that they feel just as lucky!)  And I, also, feel this luck that his Mom found me!

So that is all for now about Leo.  His Mom gave me some pictures, too; I will be posting them throughout the week on Facebook and Instagram so keep an eye out!