Pawing It Forward

Remember when I told you about all the stuff that filled our chariot on the road to BlogPaws 2017? Well, on the way home, we had to find a little additional room for these huge duffle bags overflowing with all kinds of fabulous swag. Everyone attending the BlogPaws conference received a swag bag of goodies specifically selected for dogs, cats, or both. Because both of my humans were officially registered, Tallulah and I came home with two bags . . . filled with dog items, of course.

Those two bags sat on top of the dryer in our laundry room for way too long several weeks, until Mommy finally let us dig in.

Wow, the haul was somewhat overwhelming. We’ve set aside a few things that we think you might like to know about. Look for more on that in the next couple of months . . .

. . . but Mommy and I delivered most of the items to our friends at Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO). ARNO is a nonprofit, grassroots, volunteer organization founded after Hurricane Katrina. ARNO operates a no-kill triage shelter and has found homes for more than 8,300 companion animals. We can’t think of a better place to paw the BlogPaws love forward.

We also delivered a bag of super yummy and healthy food from The Naked Dog. Here’s a little background info from The Naked Dog website:

In 2014, Marco and Bere Giannini started The Naked Dog with the mission of helping pet parents access only the healthiest products for their pets. Within the next three years, The Naked Dog family grew to 11 retail locations in Southern California and built a group of pet parents dedicated to their grain-free, gluten-free in-house pet food and treat brand, Naked. In 2017, The Naked Dog Box was founded to help broaden the reach of this healthy mission, allowing pet parents across the nation to get Naked with its bi-monthly pet food subscription service. Marco, Bere, and the whole Naked Dog family are proud to have kept their Naked Promise: higher quality pet food and fair prices, available to all.

My friend Emma from My GBGV Life wrote an excellent review of The Naked Dog food and subscription service. I hope you’ll click here to read more. As you can see from the picture above, Tallulah was a little unsure about parting with The Naked Dog food, but I explained to her that the dogs at ARNO would really, really appreciate the donation. I think she understood.

BlogPaws is all about sharing the love and improving the lives of animals. I’m so happy that I could paw it forward by delivering treats, toys, and food to the dogs at Animal Rescue New Orleans. Even with my new shades, I see a bright and shiny future for my shelter friends.


Two Blondes and a Beach

All work and no play can make Golden Retrievers a little stir crazy, so I cannot begin to tell you how excited Tallulah and I were the evening that we snuck away from the business of BlogPaws 2017 to feel the sand between our toes and frolic in the surf on Myrtle Beach.

It was my second time to visit the beach (you can read about my 2014 Florida beach trip and Great Golden Gathering here and here), but it was Tallulah’s first time. My little sister is definitely a beach girl. (It’s not surprising. Her Golden grandmother, Katie, is from Lakewood Golden Retrievers in Melbourne, Florida. My humans and I actually met Katie on our Florida beach visit almost three years ago. At the time, we had absolutely no idea that Tallulah would join our family one day. Life can be funny that way. But I digress.) My human mommy says that if we’d dropped Tallulah’s leash at Myrtle Beach, she would have swum to Cuba. Luckily Daddy kept a tight grip.

If you have four paws and a tail, there are a few of things that you need to know about visiting Myrtle Beach. Animals are not allowed on the beach between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from May 1 to Labor Day. Dogs must be on a leash at all times and–I know all of my friends know this, but some people need to be reminded–please pick up after your pets. Humans go to the beach to feel the sand between their toes . . . not something else. 😉 And for the humans who will be joining their pets at Myrtle Beach, there is plenty of paid parking at little lots all along the beach. My humans learned the hard way, however, that the meters do not take American Express and they do not accept $20 bills, so Daddy had to run across the street to get change. Trust me . . . it was worth it.

Our beach visit was quick, but we’ll cherish the memory forever and ever. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the sea breeze blowing through my hair and my feet sinking into the soft sand. It was magical. Wishing you a magical weekend that creates moments and memories that last forever. Cheers!


Meeting and Making Friends at BlogPaws 2017

There are a whole lot of great things about a BlogPaws conference, but the greatest in my book has to be the people and pets you meet. They’re all so super nice. Way back in March, my human mommy started counting down the days until she’d meet my dear friend Bear’s mom. We fell in love with Bear when we discovered his Love always, Bear blog, and it shattered my mommy’s heart the day Bear crossed the Rainbow Bridge. When our mommies finally met last month, it was as if they’d been friends forever. I guess Goldens just have a way of connecting people. That’s Bear’s mom on the right holding his sister Rosy.

Rosy writes a blog called Rosy Reports and, as Rosy would say, it’s fab. So fab that she was a finalist for not one but two BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Awards. Tallulah and I were honored to pose with her before the big awards dinner, and we were beyond thrilled that Mommy finally got to hug Bear’s mom and we finally got to meet his fabulous sister Rosy.

Photo from Rosy’s Twitter @PrincessRosyRue

We were crushed when another Golden friend, Sugar, crossed the Rainbow Bridge just a couple of months before the BlogPaws conference. How fitting that our friends Sugar and Bear were side-by-side when the 2017 conference Honor Flags were displayed.

Photo from Golden Woofs: Sugar the Golden Retriever Blog

That’s Sugar’s mom holding stuffed Goldie at the conference. (Mommy and Sugar’s mom were so busy hugging every time they saw each other that silly Mommy didn’t think about getting a photo.) I’m so super happy to report that just as soon as Sugar’s mom and dad got home from BlogPaws 2017 they welcomed a new Golden Retriever into their home and into their hearts. His name is Koru Bear and you can click here to see how incredibly handsome he is.

Keeping with the Golden theme, meet Honey and her mom. Sweet doesn’t even begin to describe these two. They’re like the best cupcake ever piled high with the richest icing you’ve ever eaten and covered with sprinkles. Yep, that sweet. Honey’s mom blogs at Something Wagging This Way Comes and–get this–they live on a sailboat. It was such a thrill to meet them, and we cannot wait to follow their nautical adventures.

Now I don’t want you to think we only hung out with Golden Retrievers and their humans while we were at BlogPaws 2017. We also met Leroy from My Brown Newfies. Leroy’s mom probably thought my human mommy was a crazy stalker when she leapt from the car and dashed toward Leroy the minute we got to the conference hotel. But, I mean really, who doesn’t love a big handsome hairy guy who drools?

And mommy wasn’t the only one with a BlogPaws 2017 crush. My little sister Tallulah fell in love with Echo from A Girl & Her Husky. Yep, my little sister was that woman who goes to an out-of-town business conference and has a fling. You can’t really blame her. Echo was pretty sharp in his red carpet attire. I guess what happens at BlogPaws stays at BlogPaws . . . wink, wink.

Finally meet Lucy with the Underbite, an adorable Chihuahua-Pug mix who had the time of her life strutting her stuff on the red carpet with Rosy. Lucy and her mom work with DogWatch Hidden Fences, a conference exhibitor, and Lucy has the most adorable Instagram account. Check her out here. I could go on and on about all the amazing people and pets we met at BlogPaws 2017, but I have a better idea. Why don’t you make plans to attend BlogPaws 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri? I promise you’ll meet a whole lot of super nice people and pets.


10 Touches That Could Save Your Dog’s Life

My humans attended a lot of educational sessions while we were all at BlogPaws 2017. Usually my human daddy and I went to one session while my human mommy and Tallulah went to another. The humans learned about things like creating engaging content, search engine optimization, and analytics. (I know that stuff is important, but it sort of sounds like “blah, blah, and blah” to me.) While the humans took notes and attempted to fill their heads with knowledge, Tallulah and I caught up on our sleep under the conference room tables.

There was one educational session that my humans decided was so important they should attend it together: Dr. Julie Buzby’s “All Hands on Dog: Ten Touches That Could Save Your Dog’s Life.” And I think it’s so important that I’m sharing it with you today. Now I’m pretty sure most of you humans pet your dogs every day . . . several times a day . . . often not even knowing you’re doing it. Speaking for all the dogs out there, let me tell you how unbelievably happy that makes us. But what if just once a week you could pet us in a pattern that would help you to detect changes in our bodies? It just takes a few minutes, and it could lead to an early diagnosis by your veterinarian and better treatment results. So let’s get started. (By the way, I assisted Dr. Buzby as her model while my human daddy held me and my human mommy took pictures. Dr. Buzby, my daddy, and I were excellent. Mommy may need to repeat one of those photography sessions she attended, but you’ll get the picture. Haha . . . get the picture . . . get it?)

TOUCH 1: BODY CONDITION SCORING/WEIGHT

Start with opening strokes all over your dog’s body. Initially, you’re just petting your dog and bonding with him or her. Pretty easy, right? I mean, you do this all the time. Then move on to more purposeful petting. First check for rib cover. Run your hands over your dog’s rib cage. How much fat is over your dog’s ribs? Next look at your dog from the side and touch him or her along the chest and back toward the waist. Does your dog have a nice racehorse tuck? See how my body tapers up from my ribs to my waist? That’s what you’re looking for. Finally, look at and touch your dog from above. You want your dog’s waist to taper in. According to Dr. Buzby, proper weight is the number one thing you can do to extend your dog’s life, so these opening touches are pretty important.

TOUCH 2: SKIN & COAT (AND EXTERNAL PARASITES)

Now move to your dog’s back half where fleas like to congregate. Beginning at the base of the tail, flip your dog’s hair back against the grain and check the skin, working your way toward the head. You’re not only looking for fleas, you’re also looking for flea dirt . . . a nice way to say flea poo. If you’re not sure what flea dirt looks like, click here. Check under your dog’s inner back legs too. That’s another favorite spot for fleas.

TOUCH 3: LUMPS & LYMPH NODES

Run your hands all over your dog’s body checking for any lumps. Pay particular attention to the lymph nodes and check for any swelling. Lymph nodes are located in the neck, under the jowls or lower jaw bone, around the shoulders, at the back of the legs, close to the joints of the legs, and in the groin area. (A quick online check will result in quite a few drawings and photos showing where a dog’s lymph nodes are located.) You might feel something that doesn’t feel quite right to you. Make an appointment with your veterinarian. At best, it’s nothing and you now have a baseline for your weekly assessments. At worst, you’ve detected something that you might not otherwise have noticed until much later.

TOUCH 4: EARS

Here you get to use two additional human senses: sight and smell. Flip your dog’s ears back and have a look. They should be clean. Now have a little sniff. A foul odor could indicate an ear infection.

TOUCH 5: EYES

According to Dr. Buzby, eye problems can turn into emergencies very quickly. Eyes should be clear and without discharge.

TOUCH 6: MOUTH (LIPS, GUMS, AND TEETH)

A main objective behind getting to know your dog’s body through the weekly 10 touches is establishing your dog’s baselines. For instance, if your dog’s eyes look one way from week to week, you’ll notice immediately when there’s a change. Dr. Buzby says that normal gum color is the most important baseline to know in your dog. Press on your dog’s gum. When you remove your finger, the spot you pressed should be a little light but return to its original color immediately. Check your dog’s teeth for plaque buildup. (You should be brushing your dog’s teeth daily. Mommy had to admit that she doesn’t do this. Shame on her,) Also check for cracked or broken teeth, which can lead to infections and abscesses. Dr. Buzby pointed out the following rule of thumb when if comes to chew toys for dogs: “If an object is too hard for you to comfortably slap it against your leg, it’s too hard for your dog to chew.”

TOUCH 7: LEGS, PAWS & NAILS

Feel for symmetry in your dog’s legs. Check your dog’s paws for any sores on the pads or between the toes. Also check for discoloration of the hair on your dog’s feet, an indication of licking that might be caused by allergies. Make sure your dog’s nails are short. “Dog’s nails were not designed to be talons,” Dr. Buzby says. Long nails impact gait and posture, which can lead to further problems.

TOUCH 8: ABDOMEN & BELLY

Get to know the general shape of your dog’s belly so you can recognize when it’s not normal. Also be aware of the general firmness of your dog’s belly.

TOUCH 9: CHEST (HEART & LUNGS)

Get to know your dog’s normal heart rate and rhythm. Run the flat of our hand on the left side of your dog’s chest to feel the beats.

TOUCH 10: UNDER THE TAIL

Now hold on just one minute. I’ve been a pretty good sport up to this point. I’ve let you see Dr. Buzby’s hands all over by body, but a girl has her limits. I mean some things ought to be private, right? So without graphic pictures, it’s time to cover Touch 10: Under the Tail. Check for swelling and growths around the anus. If your dog is a female, check the area around her vulva for any discoloration.

Dr. Buzby says that it’s important to remember that you are your dog’s voice. Your veterinarian may see your dog just once or twice a year, but you’re with your dog every day. If you get in the habit of practicing these 10 touches once a week, a change in your dog will jump out at you immediately. Your job is to detect that change in your dog and then turn to your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Remember: Early detection leads to the best results.

FOOTNOTE

Dr. Julie Buzby graduated from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997 and began her career caring for dogs, cats, and horses. To augment her Western training, she earned certification by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association in 1998 and by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in 2002. 

As an integrative veterinarian, Dr. Buzby seeks to integrate the best of Western medicine, alternative therapies, and creative tools for maximum wellness in her patients. She has a special interest in preserving mobility and quality of life for senior dogs and proudly serves on the Advisory Board of the Grey Muzzle Organization.

In 2012, Julie founded Dr. Buzby’s Innovations, with the mission of helping people help their dogs. ToeGrips, the company’s flagship product, offer a natural alternative to dog boots and dog socks on hardwood floors.  They have helped dogs regain confident mobility in over 50 countries around the world. In 2016, the company evolved into “Dr. Buzby’s”, a brand focused on educating and empowering people who care about the best care possible for their dogs.

As an accidental entrepreneur, Julie has spoken at such venues as BarkWorld Expo, the Southeast Veterinary Conference, the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) Rounds, the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association annual conference, and BlogPaws.

Check out the Buzby Bark and Dr. Buzby’s innovative dog health products at www.toegrips.com.

 


BlogPaws 2017: There and Back

After 825 miles, four state lines, and a night in Atlanta, we finally reached our destination: BlogPaws 2017 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I was so ready for four nights and three days of nonstop learning and networking . . . unlike my little sister, who was one big yawn.

The Bee managed to perk up, however, when we got into our hotel room and she realized that we had another floor-to-ceiling window. That girl loves a floor-to-ceiling window. (Check out my last post to see how much she loved the window at the W Atlanta – Midtown.)

It’s hard for me to describe to you just how wonderful a BlogPaws conference is. There are dinners and lunches with keynote speakers. Yep, that’s my little sister, Tallulah, on the big screen as everyone is arriving for lunch. And by everyone, I mean everyone: humans, dogs (on leashes and in strollers), cats (mostly in strollers), at least one bearded lizard, a ferret, and a therapy rat.

Animals even attended the fancy awards ceremony dinner . . . after walking the red carpet, of course. That’s a photo of my little family.

There were educational sessions all day long, and pets were welcome to attend. I got to assist Dr. Julie Buzby at her session, “All Hands on Dog: Ten Touches that Could Save Your Dog’s Life.” (That’s Dr. Buzby on the left and my human daddy on the right. I’ll be doing a blog post on the ten touches later this week so you humans can keep my dog friends healthy.) I look pretty alert in this photo, but mostly Tallulah and I just slept through the sessions while my humans did a lot of note-taking. We definitely perked up for our visits to the exhibit hall, where more than 50 exhibitors shared information about pet products, pet health, pet food, pet toys, pet training, and pet treats. More importantly–to Tallulah and me, at least–they also handed out samples. We’re pretty sure that heaven will be a lot like that exhibit hall. I’ll share some of my favorite products in the next couple of weeks . . . just as soon as my human mommy finishes unpacking the two huge duffle bags of goodies that we brought back home.

BlogPaws 2017 was a whole lot of activity . . . maybe just a bit too much activity for my little sister.

Alright, I’ll admit it. Between the meals and the educational sessions and the happy hours and the visits to the exhibit hall and meeting new friends, even I needed a little nap or two.

What? A girl can’t sneak away from a conference for a little beach time? It’s been almost three years since the first and only other time that I felt the sand between my toes. But when I set foot on Myrtle Beach, the pure joy came rushing back. It was Tallulah’s first trip to the beach. To say that she’s a beach girl, too, would be perhaps the biggest understatement ever. Tallulah loved, loved, loved the beach. Be assured that I will be sharing more pictures and stories from our beach afternoon in the next few weeks.

And just like that, BlogPaws 2017 was over and we were back in Atlanta and checking into another W Hotel.

Unfortunately for Tallulah, the W Atlanta – Buckhead does not have floor-to-ceiling windows . . .

. . . but it does have floor-to-ceiling mirrors, which she enjoyed almost as much. Really, little sisters can be so silly.

After dinner at pet-friendly Seven Lamps restaurant and a restful evening, we reloaded the chariot and started the long drive home to the Big Easy. Our excellent adventure had come to an end, but our wonderful memories will last forever. We saw so many sites, met so many nice people and their pets, learned so many new things, and had so much fun. Thank you, BlogPaws, for making it all possible. My humans are already talking about the next road trip the four of us will take. Stay tuned!


The Road to BlogPaws 2017

Last week my sister and I went over the river, through the woods, across four state lines, and approximately 825 miles on our way to BlogPaws 2017 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If you don’t know about BlogPaws, here’s a little something from the BlogPaws website to introduce you:

BlogPaws is an inclusive, global community of pet enthusiasts who write about and support pets via social media. We connect brands with pet parents and pet parents with each other, 24/7/365.

The nice people at BlogPaws also present an annual pet-friendly three-day conference offering blogging and social media education and connecting bloggers with brands. So that’s why we loaded the chariot with two portable dog crates, a dog bed, a small cooler, enough dog food to feed two dogs for six days, dog bowls, beach towels, dog toys, dog treats, fancy dog collars for the awards ceremony, a few bottles of wine, two computers, two suitcases filled with human clothes, two dogs, and two humans. Surprisingly no one had to ride in a rocking chair tied to the top of the chariot. (That’s a reference to the old Beverly Hillbillies show. Click here to refresh your memory.)

Our first state-line photo-op was in Mississippi. (You might recall from my trip to Florida a few years ago that my human mommy is obsessed with getting photos at every single state line, despite my human daddy’s reluctance to stop. Once again on this trip, Mommy won . . . most of the time.) Tallulah was looking mighty proud in front of that Mississippi sign because she was born in Mississippi. Daddy’s hand and our poo bag holders made a nice little cameo in this photo. You’ll notice this as a recurring theme along the way.

Our next state-line stop was Alabama. Now I have a little something to say about Alabama and its “welcome” centers. This beautiful “welcome” center was under constructions last time we drove through “sweet home” Alabama, so we visited a temporary center where a very welcoming lady invited me in with my humans and told us all about a beautiful dog-friendly Alabama beach. My how things have changed in the last few years. If you’re in the market for a “NO PETS ALLOWED” sign, forget about it. Alabama has bought every single one and installed them all over their “welcome” center grounds. We did find a small patch of grass on the other side of the semi-truck parking that allowed pets. Tallulah and I made our little stop, posed illegally in front of this sign, and then hit the road.

My feelings about Alabama softened somewhat when I spotted this sign. Monroeville is the hometown of the human Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird and my namesake. Now if Mommy and I had been alone when I saw that sign, we would have made an immediate detour. But Daddy was behind the wheel and he had a schedule to keep, so Mommy barely captured this photo through the window. Maybe next time.

It’s a good thing that Mommy’s through-the-window-photo skills are so outstanding because by the time we reached the Georgia state line there was no stopping Daddy. He said that we were almost to Atlanta (where we would be spending the night) and we’d take pictures there. Daddy won that one.

So the next time our paws touched the ground we were in Atlanta and checking in to the dog-friendly W Atlanta – Midtown, where we were completely and totally spoiled rotten. Tallulah enjoyed the view out of the window . . .

. . . while I enjoyed the comfort of the bed.

Our hotel was just steps from beautiful Piedmont Park, where we went for a lovely walk before meeting Atlanta friends for dinner at Henry’s Midtown Tavern. After much food (for the humans at least), a fair amount of adult beverages (again, just for the humans), and lots and lots of water for everyone, we said goodnight to our good friends and walked back to our hotel to recharge before starting the final leg of our road to BlogPaws 2017.

It seemed as if Tallulah and I had barely gotten into the car the next day when our humans woke us up for the final state-line photo-op in South Carolina. Moment of truth: Tallulah and I slept for most of the trip. Occasionally we woke up, looked out the window, repositioned, and went back to sleep. It’s good to have chauffeurs. It’s also a good thing we got so much rest on the road, because our next stop would be Myrtle Beach and BlogPaws 2017 . . . where the action was nonstop . . . and I cannot wait to tell you all about it . . . after I catch up on my beauty rest.