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!


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.


Birthday Brunch for The Bee

Last Saturday my little sister, Tallulah Bee, celebrated her second birthday. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: Getting to her first birthday was a bit of a challenge at times. But that second year flew by. We marked The Bee’s birthday in typical New Orleans fashion with a big blowout brunch.

Shhhh . . . don’t tell my sister this . . . BrunchFest NOLA was actually a fundraiser for the Louisiana SPCA, but Tallulah thinks the whole thing was just for her. Let’s just let her believe that. By the way, that little kitty behind us looks a little huge and terrifying. It’s not real, right?

Back to brunch. There were food and drink booths there for the humans and lots and lots of people to give us love and other dogs to give us kisses and sniffs.

Naturally we had to visit our friends at the Gulf South Golden Retriever Rescue tent.

And then we headed to Crescent Park’s big lawn for a little entertainment, which just happened to include a show by Mother Tucker’s Drag Queen, Inc. Drag shows are an integral element to many a New Orleans brunch, and Tallulah seemed to enjoy her first experience.

Tallulah still had plenty of birthday energy on the way home from brunch, so we made a little stop at my favorite New Orleans watering hole: The District. I was just happy for the nice cool floor. I guess that’s the difference between being two years old and being eight years old.

Our friends at The District even had balloons in celebration of The Bee’s birthday. (Again, this was simply a happy coincidence, but let’s just allow Tallulah to believe it was all for her.)

Judging from Tallulah’s post-birthday-brunch-bash nap, I’d say that the day was quite a huge success. My first two years as a big sister have been some of the best years of my life. Here’s to celebrating many, many more birthdays with my sweet little sister, Tallulah Bee.


Play Ball!

Last Thursday, my little sister and I joined our humans at the Shrine on Airline to watch the New Orleans Baby Cakes minor-league baseball team take on the Iowa Cubs, an affiliate of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs. The Baby Cakes host Dog Day at each of their Thursday-evening games. Every Thursday also happens to be Thirsty Thursday with $2 12-ounce domestic drafts, which comes in very handy for all the humans who are stressed about ensuring that their four-legged family members behave themselves for nine innings.

Technically, this wasn’t my first time at the ballpark. I concluded last year’s A to Z Challenge with a trip to Zephyr Field, as it was known them, but I only got to see the outside that day. (You can click here to read that post.) And back then, our Triple A Miami Marlins affiliate team was called the Zephyrs. Then they had a big contest to change the name and, in a bit of a controversial move, they became the Baby Cakes. It’s a play on our Mardi Gras tradition of placing a little plastic baby in our king cakes, but it’s a little odd because no one ever says “baby cakes” around here. Nevertheless, the new name has grown on us and the logo is pretty fabulous, so we’ll give our hometown team a pass. But I digress. Back to the game.

Humans and their canines have the option of enjoying the game from two different locations. Most of us sat beyond the outfield in an area of the ballpark called the levee. The nice people with the Baby Cakes set up water bowls and kiddy pools for the pups to enjoy, and there’s plenty of room to stretch your legs . . . all four of them.

Dogs are also invited to join their humans in certain sections of the stands along the first base side of the ballpark. We decided that Tallulah probably wasn’t quite ready for that level of sophistication, but we did stop by to enjoy the view.

And speaking of Tallulah, her mind tended to wander during the game. She was far more interested in the dogs around us and the hotdogs and Cracker Jacks their humans were enjoying than she was in the action on the diamond.

My big round eyes, on the other hand, were glued to the game . . .

. . . except for when I dosed off briefly. Turns out baseball is pretty conducive to napping.

My humans, Tallulah, and I say cheers to the Baby Cakes. We had a fantastic time and our hometown team won the evening we were there. We definitely plan on attending another Thursday evening Dog Day game this season. Here’s hoping we catch a homerun ball or at least have a little taste of a hot dog on our next visit.

Have you ever gotten to join your humans at a sporting event in your hometown?


Spring Tease

My sister, Tallulah Bee, and I went to New Orleans’ City Park last weekend. The last time we visited the park was a freezing cold blustery day in January, so you can imagine our surprise when we saw that spring had sprung while we were away. Now I know that for many of you the snow is just beginning to melt and spring blossoms are still a few weeks away. And I know that you’re thinking that the pretty flower pictures I’m about to share with you are a bit of a “spring tease.” You’re right. But just remember that when I’m seeing all of your fabulous fall photos–you know, the ones with the pretty colorful trees, the dogs romping through the foliage on the ground, and the humans sporting their cozy sweaters–it’s still 90-plus degrees where I live and our tongues are hanging halfway out of our mouths. So, without further ado, my sister and I present to you our spring tease.

 There was a pretty little patch of tulips growing by the big lake. Tulips are tricky in the deep south. We have to let the bulbs rest a bit in the refrigerator before planting because our ground temperatures don’t get cool enough to get them going. And then when they do bloom, it gets so hot so fast that they don’t last very long. So catching them on a beautiful day looking their best is a big deal. Tallulah and I lucked out. As an aside, I had to laugh when I saw that flimsy little rope that was intended to keep the tulips from being trampled. Did the park humans seriously think that little thing would stop Tallulah if she decided to make a mad dash for the ducks in the lake? Good thing Daddy had a tight grip on her.

Can you see our Golden hair blowing in this shot? Tallulah and I spent a lot of time with our noses in the air and our eyes closed, concentrating on every little yummy scent that wafted our way. Fun for us . . . not so fun for or official photographer/blogging assistant/Mommy. Fortunately, she’s persistent and managed to catch both of us sort of facing forward in front of the blooming azaleas. There are plenty of pictures of me posing in front of pretty azaleas, but this is Tallulah’s first, a right of spring passage for all southern girls.

Any idea what might have caused these silly faces?

It was the whistle from this little train that travels around City Park. Maybe next time Tallulah and I can hitch a ride. A girl can dream, right?

Tallulah and I thought Mr. Lion looked so stunning with his profile pose that we decided to copy it. Pretty good, huh? Well friends, this concludes our spring tease. My little sister and I will take a bow and exit the stage . . . but not without wishing you a speedy spring full of pretty flowers, and to our friends in the southern hemisphere a mild and quick winter.