Tuesday, May 29, 2012

K9 Kamp and the Desire to Deter the Muffin Top

Luckily my pooches and I don’t need K9 Kamp at this time as we are super active, but I know what it's like to have a dog who looks like a tank. For years, my darling Casey was affectionately called “The Chunk” as she was, shall we say (ahem) solid!

So I know what it is when a donut or three -- or too many great canine cookies! -- add more jiggle to your wiggle than is desired for optimum health or peace of mind and I can appreciate how a support group of dogs and owners can really help spur one another on to get up and move.

I wholeheartedly support Jodi and Kolchak’s initiative to work off their muffin tops and encourage anyone who feels the need to get on board for health and prizes. I know Jodi is getting a lot of support for this program and it makes me so happy to know that what she’s creating will be potentially powerful for so many people and dogs.

You can get full details here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

10 Things Casey Taught Me

I’ve been lucky to have shared my life with many pets over the years. Looking back, I know they were all very generous with their gifts and they taught me many things. Like a lot of people, though, I felt especially blessed and connected by one dog in particular. For me, that was my beloved Bichon Frise Casey Jane who I had to say good-bye to in December of 2011. The thought of that still gives me pain. 

Over the years, though, there was much, much more joy in my life from Casey than any other thing. That is, she brought joy and love to me in abundance but, looking back, she brought more, as well. Can I quantify those things? No, of course not. But if I think about her gifts I can boil it down, at least a little bit.

Here, then, are the 10 Things Casey Taught Me: the things I have to hold on to every single day. The gifts she shared that, ultimately, changed my life. And now I’ll share those gifts with you.

The Ten Things Casey Taught Me

1. Forget About Multitasking
Look at your dog when she’s got a job to do. She’s doing it whole-heartedly, isn’t she? She’s in the moment and on the ball. There are studies that show that when you multitask your productivity goes down. I don’t think Casey actually knew that, but something in her bones did, just the same.

2. Walk Every Single Day
Even when you don’t feel like it. Walking continues to be the safest and easiest ways to burn calories and help you lose weight, fight depression, keep your bones strong, your heart going and your mind sharp.

3. Live in the Moment
Though I think, in a way, that this goes with multitasking, it’s a strong enough point to draw a line under. In a Harvard university study called “A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind,” psychologists concluded that people are happiest when doing things that keep the mind focused, such as sex or exercise. So live in the now!

4. Wag Your Tail
It’s true: I do not have a tail. Nor, probably, do you. But Casey taught me to try and be happy for the small things and to approach life gratefully. Back to the studies: it’s been shown that people who keep gratitude journals have better attitudes, exercise more and have fewer physical complaints.

5. Get More Than Your Eight Glasses
When dogs are thirsty and need replenishing, they go straight for the good stuff: water from the tap! When you’re playing -- and even just plain living -- it’s important to your health and your heart to stay hydrated. It helps keep you looking good, too.

6. Show Your Love
Dogs don’t ever play coy. When they love you, you know it. It turns out that showing your love is important for people, too and couples that let each other see their love are more connected and secure.

7. Don’t Forget to Groom
When we take care of ourselves and take the time to look good, we feel better. And Casey didn’t just make that up: there’s a strong link between personal hygiene and self-esteem. And everyone knows a shiny coat is a good indication of health.

8. Don’t Sit in the Sun
You wouldn’t think that dogs would know about UV rays and such but next time you’re out and stop for a break, watch your dog: they’re most likely going to head for the shade. And though sunscreen in the summer is a must, adding the protection of a big ’ol tree won’t hurt, either.

9. Give in to the Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit. Most of us? Not so much. Yet people tend to thrive more when they get really in tune with their body clock. Everything you do in this regard can help you achieve more -- and more restful -- sleep.

10. Learn to Read Body Language
Dogs are experts at non-verbal communication. A stretch, a sniff or a snuggle all reveal deeply different things. It’s not that we humans don’t have body language -- we’re stretching and scratching and making eye contact all the time. It’s just that most of us aren’t terribly good at reading it and volumes of potentially valuable communication goes to waste.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

At Love on a Leash, we’re obviously most deeply concerned about dog care. Dogs are both our business and our passion. But it’s not because we don’t appreciate cats. Also, a lot of our friends and clients have cats and sometimes have no place to turn. So when I connected with Lori of Feline Friends Cat Care it struck me that this was a person whose passion for pets was equal to mine… just focused on the feline end of things!

So without further ado I’d like to introduce you to Lori and her fantastic catcentric services, in her own words:

Hi. My name is Lori and I have been asked by Tammy from Love On A Leash to tell you about my kitty sitting service. Tammy has indicated to me that many of her clients also have kitties who require excellent care while you are away. I can be that kitty care person. I specialize in kitty care in the Kitsilano and surrounding Vancouver areas.

With over 20 years experience working with kitties at the Meow-Aid Cat Shelter, taking courses in Cat Care at the BCSPCA, and caring for nine of my own kitties (both healthy and special needs), I am a responsible, reliable cat lover who will provide...

  • A safe, loving environment for your kitty or multi-cat household
  • Lots of affection, petting and play
  • Daily visits as per your kitty's needs (feeding; a pristine litter box)
  • Care for your special needs kitty (i.e., subcutaneous fluids; pilling; diabetic shots)
  • Other tasks such as collecting mail and watering plants...

Prices: $20.00 per day per household (1 hour visit per day)
References available from a veterinarian, cat households, and, of course Love On A Leash'
Please e-mail me to talk further about your kitty's needs.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May Special from Off-Leash Photography

One of the things that make me feel very lucky is the fact that my darling dogs have been photographed by what I consider to be some of the top photographers in the land. As a result, I have many wonderful photographs of my dogs from over the years. Looking at them all, I know that I’ve had more great photos than is probably my share!

Now all of that said, some of my very favourite photos were taken by Angie Wojciechowska of Off-Leash Photography in Vancouver. In fact, the photos she did for me of Casey and Finnigan last fall right after Casey was really sick are some of the most cherished photos of them that I have. So, naturally, when Angie told me she was running a special for the balance of May, I wanted to rush to tell you about it while there was still some of the month left and you might have a chance to book Angie’s services.

The offer is exclusive to Love on a Leash’s readers and clients, so make sure you tell Angie where you saw it when you book! She’s offering 1/2 off a photo session. A full session is usually $300, but for the balance of May, it is only $150. which includes your pet’s sitting and three high resolution files. Angie says that other options are available, including her fantastic coffeetable-style photo books, that look terrific in this link but are even more beautiful and moving in person.

To see more of Angie’s work, you can see an article we did about her last year, here. You can visit Angie’s web site here, or call 604-618-2236 to book a sitting for your pet.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

National Pet Week: Give Your Dog A Bone?

Okay, so if I’m very honest, in my heart and in my house, it’s National Pet Week all the time. And, truly, if you’re reading this, you probably think so, too. But I also like the idea of seven whole days set aside to give special thoughts to our dear household companions. The animals who share our lives and, perhaps most especially, those pets who have not been able to gain the sort of security that our own beloved companions enjoy.

According to the National Pet Week web site, “The goals of National Pet Week are to promote responsible pet ownership, celebrate the human-animal bond, and promote public awareness of veterinary medicine.” Which I guess is open enough to interpretation that you can do what you like with the occasion, provided you do something positive! Here are some ideas:

  • Take your best friend for a walk!
  • Learn more about your pet and what he requires to be both healthy and happy.
  • Have a peek at local pet-related charities and give to one whose message resonates with you.
  • Think about what you can do for less fortunate pets in your area: even if it’s something very small. (Every bit helps!)
  • Give your canine pal a scratch or a tickle and think about all the things she does for you!

And, most importantly, enjoy your pets every single day of the year!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Love Behind Love on a Leash: Carol Whitehead

For much of the last fifteen years, Carol Whitehead has spent her days and nights in the presence of dogs. She derives joy from their expression of love and affection every time they greet their human companions and is in admiration of their ability to welcome each new day with enthusiasm and wonder. Carol values how their living in the now reminds her to approach each day with some excitement about what may unfold. Carol has a lifetime of experience with dogs having worked in the industry either dog sitting or managing doggy businesses both on the retail scene and in the canine food industry and believes a day without a dog is like a day without sunshine. Dogs bring so much joy and laughter to Carol’s life that she tries to interact with every dog whose path she crosses. In fact, Carol would consider herself lucky to be a “loved” dog in another life!

Meet Carol and the rest of the Love on a Leash team here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Best Trips with Your Best Friend: Crystal Lodge, Whistler, B.C.

Whistler’s Crystal Lodge is pleased to be one of the few dog friendly hotels in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia. Known world wide as a ski resort, at non-skiing times of the year Whistler is the perfect place for a vacation with your dog with ample opportunities to get out and hike enjoy the mountain. When you book your room, for an extra $20 (per dog, per night) your dog will enjoy his own dog bed, a welcome biscuit, dog blanket, drying towel & doggie bag. Whistler does have the best places to hang out during the day and be seen: the Village is full of doggy friends, and there is always the Valley Trail and many fabulous extended hiking trails nearby.

Shops are dog friendly and numerous patios make it easy to enjoy the town square environment while sipping your cappuccino or enjoying a delectable meal on the patio. Our picks for a great meal? Try Araxi or Player’s Chophouse Whistler. Player’s offers the more casual dining of the two but features delicious ribs and steaks: hearty fare that sticks to your ribs after a day out in the fresh air!

From Vancouver you can be in Whistler in about an hour and a half. A perfect weekend getaway for you and your dog.