Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Dog Owner’s Biggest Concerns

We all know that dogs bring joy, love, companionship and many other wonderful, positive attributes into our lives. We love them and treasure them. Our lives are richer because they are in it. But actually owning a dog also brings some concerns.

I recently read the response to a poll that showed some surprising results from dog lovers: “What Are Your Concerns About Owning a Dog?” The response to this poll was very interesting, with more than 3,000 dog lovers responding with their comments.

Here are the top seven things on people's minds when it comes to owning a dog:

1. Having to board and/or finding a pet sitter when traveling
2. Pet hair/shedding
3. Cost of veterinary care
4. Inappropriate urination in the house
5. Barking or whining
6. Aggression
7. Destructive behavior while home alone

Love on a Leash can’t stop your pet’s hair from shedding, but we sure have a handle on ways to help you with several of the above mentioned behaviors and concerns.

First and foremost I am here to tell you that you can own a dog and travel. It takes a bit more planning beforehand, but if you take the time to have a great dog sitter on speed dial it will help make things easier for you! You have your favorite dry cleaner, gym, manicurist, restaurant, etc. on file, why not your dog sitter? Check around with other dog owners and businesses in your area and don’t be afraid to ask for references. Further, a reputable company should have a web presence, be licensed, insured and bonded, be certified in canine first aid and belong to a national organization such as Pet Sitter’s International. These are some basic guidelines and accreditation that will help give you peace of mind ensuring that the business is serious about caring for your pet.

At Love on a Leash our reputation for reliable, responsible and loving in-home dog care is stellar and we work hard to keep it that way! Your wonderful pooch moves into our home with us where we treat them like one of the family. From puppy care to geriatric care, from purebreds to rescue dogs, from tiny toys to bully breeds, we love them all! Our service is one-of-a-kind and we even send updates and photos via email while you are away to help ease your mind and put a smile on your face. We tell our clients that your dog's stay at Love on a Leash is like Summer Camp for Dogs 365 days a year!

Destructive behavior in dogs such as urinating in the house, barking and chewing are often linked to boredom and lack of exercise. Aggression issues can often be attributed to boredom and lack of socialization. Dogs are pack animals. We fill in as their pack, but truly, they blossom with interaction with other dogs and the outside world no matter what their age. If you are at work all day, keep irregular hours, are on call and often have late nights at the office, you should consider the services of a dog walker. Again, Love on a Leash can help you in this area.

Penny Adam heads up our dog walking division and, along with her sister, Christy, you will find them walking dogs daily throughout Vancouver. Penny, like all our dog sitters and walkers, is certified in canine first aid and has completed advanced levels of training in dog behaviors and obedience. She takes dogs daily on walks: some in small groups, some on field trips to the beach or park and some just one-on-one ensuring they get out for an hour or more each day. Penny has been walking my dog, Casey, for four years now and Casey is still going strong: a healthy 14-year-old Bichon Frise.

This kind of interaction means more to your dog and will do more for them than you can imagine. They are happier, healthier, much more social, better behaved and in much better shape because of their daily walks and you don’t have to feel guilty about only having time to take them out for that quick around the block bathroom break. All of our dog walking clients adore Penny and look forward to the time she spends with them each day.

The bonus of a great dog walker and dog sitter is that your pet will get loads of TLC and exercise which will pay off in reduced vet bills and a dog that lives a longer, healthier, happier life. If you are anything like me you would like your dog to live forever. Doing what we can to ensure our dogs get the time and attention we are not always able to give them certainly helps them live longer. Though life is not forever, I will take as much time as I can possibly get with my dogs.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Puppy Mills Bite!

Want to support a great cause and give the dog lover in your life the perfect gift? Local canine lover and fashionista, Mary-Jo Dionne, is a Vancouver-based writer and T-shirt designer with a very big heart. Mary-Jo’s company, The Fleas Knees, designs and produces stylish T-shirts with witty messages worn by dog lovers all over North America.

Mary-Jo’s “Puppy Mills Bite” shirt was designed to help raise much needed funds in the fight against the mistreatment of man’s best friend by puppy mills. This is where Mary-Jo’s big heart comes into play: she donates $5 from every T-shirt sold to the non-profit rescue group, Best Friends Animal Society, and their “Puppies Aren’t Products” campaign. Twilight’s Rachel Lefevre is the campaign spokeswoman and a big supporter of the tees.

For people who don’t know what a puppy mill is: it’s a warehouse of dogs, row after row, and shelf after shelf, crammed with inventory. “That inventory is puppies,” says Dionne. “It simply has to stop.” These poor dogs are forced to produce litter after litter of puppies with no proper care or medical services, no affection, no interaction, no exercise... when they are deemed too old or sickly to continue producing, they are euthanized.

At Love on a Leash we beg you NOT to buy a puppy from a retail store-front or backyard breeder. These are the most common places for puppy mill breeders to sell their product to the unsuspecting public. Ensure you buy your dog from a reputable breeder with proper references, and is willing to show you their entire facility.

Better yet, adopt a dog who desperately needs a home. lists thousands of dogs all over North America who desperately need homes. Help spread the word and purchase a “Puppy Mills Bite” T-shirt. Never thought a tee could help save a life? These ones can. Mary-Jo says it’s her way of sticking her tongue out at an industry that’s just got to go.

Available in fitted Bitch-Pink and loose-cut Stud-Grey. Animal-loving media mavens who own this tee include: Oprah, Charlize Theron, Katherine Heigl, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, Drew Barrymore, Miley Cyrus, Fergie, Tori Spelling, Alicia Silverstone, Glen Close, Kathy Griffin, Mickey Rourke, and others. The cost is $42 and they are available at the following merchants: Three Dog Bakery in Point Grey and Port Moody, The Dog and Hydrant in Yaletown, Woof! In Kitsilano or online at

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recipe Corner: Apple Cinnamon Fetch ’Ems

This recipe for delicious Apple Cinnamon Fetch ‘Ems is from Cooking the Three Dog Bakery Way Cookbook by Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye.

An apple a day keeps the vet away... and dogs love em all...apples that is!

Apple Cinnamon Fetch ’Ems

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4-cup honey
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
½ cup canola oil
2 large eggs
½ cup skim milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick vegetable spray.
Stir together the flours, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce and oil. Then whisk in the eggs one at a time.

Add the milk and continue whisking. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients stirring only until combined.

Fill the muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Cool to room temperature before serving. If you have a small dog cut the muffins into halves or even quarters to serve them as a treat.

Store in an airtight container for up to four days or wrap well and freeze for up to two months.

Thaw before serving.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Size Does Matter!

If you have a small dog, you should know that more than a 50 per cent size difference in dogs can lead to serious issues with “predatory drift.” This is an instinctive situation in which a small dog suddenly seems like prey to a larger dog.

An excellent, reputable daycare, pet sitter or dog walker will always avoid such problems by setting up separate play spaces and grouping similar-sized dogs so that all sizes and play styles are safe.

This are things that, at Love on a Leash and Love on a Leash in the Country, we are well aware of. We always make sure that our client dogs are placed in a safe and size-appropriate environment!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Love Behind Love on a Leash

Every month we feature one of the wonderful, loving, qualified women behind Love on a Leash, putting a face behind the person who is caring for your dog while you are away. This month features “us,” Tammy and Shelly, owners of Love on a Leash!

Tammy Preast (left) and Shelly Dueck: Alpha Dog and FairyDogmother.

As “Alpha Dog” for Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care Services, I manage the company that babies your dog while you are away. This company was born out of my frustrations when looking for pet care for my senior dog, Casey. It was a difficult exercise to find someone trustworthy, loving and reliable to care for Casey when I wanted to take a vacation.

In December of 2008, Love on a Leash was launched and has become very successful with the tagline, “Peace of Mind and a Happy Pooch.” With eight caregivers under our wing and two full-time dog walkers, this boutique dog business caters to those dog parents who can’t bear to place their dog in a sterile environment, but rather, want their pet to feel the love and affection they would experience at home. We give your dog loads of personal one-on-one time, walks, treats and special outings. I tell all owners that our dog care is truly like summer camp for kids… even better!

My wonderful sister, Shelly Preast-Dueck, aka “Fairy Dogmother” came on board in May of 2009 as my business partner in Love on a Leash. With more than 23 years experience with dogs -- from breeding and showing Boxers to canine nutrition, dog psychology and first aid -- Shelly’s knowledge of dogs is incredible. Her passion for animals is evident and displayed on a daily basis with the patience and love she bestows on each and every dog in her care. She is truly a “Fairy Dogmother.”

Dog owner’s trust us with their “babies” while they are away and we consider ourselves fortunate to work in an industry with clients we truly adore. We tell our clients -- past, present and future, “we love the doggies that come to us and they love us right back! A stay with Love on a Leash is like Summer Camp for dogs, 365 days a year!”

Ask Casey...

Dear Casey,

Q: What is a “Geriatric Blood Panel” and when should a dog have one? What are the benefits?

A: This is a very simplified answer so please speak with your vet further about this topic, but in a nutshell:

A geriatric blood panel is a blood test that will show your vet and owner what’s going on inside your dog body. As we dogs mature, our vital organs like liver, pancreas, kidneys, spleen and bladder don’t run quite as efficiently as they used to. This blood panel will show where our enzyme levels, blood count, etc. are and your vet will be able to compare them to “normal” levels which will give him a heads up to the potential for diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, pancreatitis, etc. before we may show physical signs.

Because dogs don’t show pain the way humans do (we are very stoic), by the time our parents realize there is a problem and rush us to the vet it is often too late to do anything to save us.
Basically a geriatric blood panel is a preventative tool and will help you catch illness in a dog, hopefully before it becomes a disease too advanced to treat. Think of it as preventative medicine and money very well spent.

Your vet can explain this blood panel in more detail and will recommend when your owner should start running a yearly blood panel on you. It depends on size and breed of dog, as we all age differently, but my mom has run a yearly geriatric blood panel on me, from the time I turned seven years old. I am now a pretty healthy 15 ½ year old gal, and I have to tell you that, over the years, this blood panel has helped my mom find problems with my liver and pancreas that might have manifested themselves and cut short my pampered life. An ounce of prevention and all that love sure doesn’t hurt!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Our Community: Laura Gibson’s Whimsical, Wonderful Art

Vancouver-based artist, Laura Gibson, has been hard at it creating a whole new collection of paintings just in time for spring. Richly colored, lively, fun images of girls and the clothes they love (as well as their precious dogs) are ready to find a home on your wall.

Laura keeps busy with commission work, and is actively seeking new divas and delicious pets that need to be captured and preserved on canvas and admired by the artarazzi. Laura’s pieces are high fashion, but her prices are down to earth and will put a smile on your face!

For the month of March, Laura is donating 100 percent of all sales to Habitat for Humanity, a charity near and dear to her heart. Laura will be leading a team to Honduras and Nicaragua in May to build a house and school there.

Maybe cement gray will become the hot new color for summer sandals...

Check out more of Laura’s work on her website.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Travel Destination: California!

by Leslie Kennedy, Pet Connection News, Vancouver, B.C.

Freeway, Jazz and I have found a pet’s paradise at the Desert Princess Golf and Country Club in Palm Springs!

If you and your furry friends are ready to retire, are in need of a vacation, or wish to get away from the winter rain, there is no better place than Palm Springs. The Desert Princess is a pet friendly, gated property on over 550 acres. The resort itself includes a 27 hole championship golf course with rolling green fairways, a few lakes, abundant flower gardens, breathtaking mountain views, and many walking trails around the complex. There is also the country club which has great food plus many social events including a daily happy hour, wednesday night bingo, and friday night karaoke. Add in the 12 tennis courts, 32 pools, and hot-tubs, the gym and the on-site spa and everyone gets spoiled. My fur kids love it mostly because of the fresh new smells, daily sunshine and dry desert air.

There are many different accommodations to choose from with over 1000 privately owned condos, and villas as well as the Doral Hotel within the property. The D.P.C.C. also has their own onsite rental management company. Due to the snowbirds coming in from all over you have to book well in advance if you wish to stay during the high season of February and March.

You will find the best rental rates dealing directly from the individual owners, and by booking ahead. Check online at or, to name two of the websites that advertise properties for rent by owner. As all the units are privately owned, the interior decor differs from one unit to another. Some have been renovated to the 9’s and others still have the original decor. Units range in price as below:

One-bedroom condo’s between $1500- $2000 per month.
Two-bedroom condo’s from $1800- $2500 per month.
Villas range between $2500- $4000 per month. Villas have attached garages and some have their own private pools and hot-tubs.

Once you’ve arrived and settled in there is so much to ENJOY!

Your four-legged friends are very welcome, and you will meet many other four-legged friends from all over the US and Canada. We have met well over 30 dogs since we’ve been here. The complex is safe and clean and 40 percent occupied by fellow Canadians. Many of the guests return yearly.

Some nights some of the guests and residents tour the grounds in their golf carts, visiting the neighbors, going door to door with wine and appetizers, turning strangers into friends. It’s been a lot of fun and we hope to be back again next year. Check out the website and start planning to come down, too.

Leslie, Jazz and Freeway Kennedy

Saturday, March 5, 2011

In Loving Memory of Ziggy

In Loving Memory of Penny Adam’s Beloved
February 11, 2000 – February 23, 2011

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done?
For this -- the last battle-can’t be won.

You will be sad -- I understand
But don’t let grief then stay in your hand
For this day, more than rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had a few happy years,
You would not want me to suffer so --
When the time comes, please let me go
Take me where my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me until the end

And hold me firm, and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
That this is a kindness you do for me.

Although my tail it’s last has waved,
From pain and suffering I’ve been saved.
Please don’t grieve that it must be you
Who must decide this thing to do
We’ve been so close -- throughout the years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears,
But laugh when you talk of me,
As if I were beside you...
I loved you so --
It was heaven here with you.

Editor’s note: our hearts are heavy for Penny Adam, at the loss of her beloved companion, Ziggy. Penny heads up the entire dog walking division at LOAL and dogs adore her smiling face. Penny, our thoughts are with you at this time.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Reading is for the Dogs: Tammy’s March Picks

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein (Harper) is described much better by internationally bestselling author Jodi Picoult than I ever could, “The Art of Racing in the Rain is the perfect book for anyone who knows that some of our best friends walk beside us on four legs, that compassion isn’t only for humans, and that the relationship between two souls who are meant for each other never really comes to an end. Every now and then, I’m lucky enough to read a novel I can’t stop thinking about; this is one of them.”

Attention all dog lovers: If there is one book you should read this year, The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Seattle author, Garth Stein, is it. The tale is told from the dog’s point of view on the last day of his life. It’s simply captivating. I could not put it down and although there were many poignant moments throughout the story, I only cried at the very end and even then, only because their final parting was sweet and touching and the loving bond between Enzo and Denny will never really end.

The Good Behavior Book for Dogs: The Most Annoying Dog Behaviors... Solved! by Collen Paige (Rockport/Quarry) is absolutely filled with terrific information. Aside from dog behavior advice, there are full color photos, recipes, trivia and much more!

From the founder of National Dog Day (it’s in August, by the way) comes the book every dog owner should have!

The Good Behavior Book for Dogs provides illustrated, down-to-earth, practical advice for dog owners with not-so-perfect pups. With an accessible, fun and easy approach, the author helps owners and their dogs learn how to affect proper manners and behavior management in a respectful and loving environment. Dogs will happily engage in the training activities advocated, creating a bridge to happiness, freedom, and friendship between dogs and their people.
No other book addresses the truly weird and sometimes disgusting things your dog does -- inappropriate sniffing, tail chasing, excessive licking, shadow/light chasing, and other unmentionables. Many dog owners who deal with these issues feel ashamed of their dogs' behavior and find it demoralizing to even speak with their vet about them, allowing the behavior to continue and intensify until it is intolerable.

This book will provide dog owners with the instruction and information that will allow them to solve behavior problems that in many cases have resulted in giving up the dog. Training your dog to break undesirable habits doesn’t need to be stressful, or use harsh treatment. Training is an easy way to strengthen the bond between the dog caregiver and dog and, let’s face it; sometimes “bad” dog behavior is funny. The reader will be taken on a sensitive and sometimes comical journey to understand their beloved pooch and get back that “Puppy Love.”

Purchase at:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Swedish Movie Theater Goes to the Dogs

Will the term “dog-days” come to include a day at the movies? You’re dog-gone right... in Sweden, at least, where one of the world’s first movie theaters for dogs debuted during the country’s annual pet exhibition in Stockholm last month.

The theater, a joint venture between Fox Home Entertainment and Pedigree, opened to a screening of the canine infused film Marmaduke. According to PeoplePets, there were eight total screenings of the film with at least 20 dogs in attendance at each showing.

During the screenings, the animals in attendance were served “goodie-bowls” (PeoplePets) filled with Pedigree pet snacks. Although the snacks may have become the main attraction, there’s some solace to be found in not having to leave your pet at home in order to spend an afternoon out.

While the concept of watching a film with your pet pal might not be new, Sweden seems to be the first country to actually realize the idea in a public forum. Is this a sign that pet cinemas are going to become a staple of the future? The idea might not be as far-fetched as you think. The response to the doggy movie theater in Sweden was so profound that the festival’s organizers have vowed to continue the tradition into next year’s exhibition and beyond.

Would you take your dog to the movies?

by Ryan Karpusiewicz for PetSide.Com

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Does Your Pet Have A Sixth Sense?

Publicist Jeanette Zinno believes her miniature pinscher, Rocki, has a nose for predicting trouble. Recently Zinno and her boyfriend put a pot of water on the stove for tea, then left the room.

“After a while,” Zinno says, “Rocki came in and barked at us until we followed her to the kitchen, where all the water had boiled down and the pot was burning.”

A new poll reveals that Zinno is one of 43 percent of North Americans who think their pet has a sixth sense about bad things happening to their person. Of these, 47 percent attribute the quality to dogs.

Sense or Sensibility?

College professor, cat owner and Manhattanite, Talia Argondezzi recalls her cat’s actions during a recent fire on the roof of her apartment building.

“When I saw fire trucks lining the street I started preparing my cat’s carrier in case we’d have to make a run for it,” she says. Her cat seemed to feed off that anxiety -- following her all over the apartment and eventually hiding under the bed, something he never does.

Argondezzi thinks her cat’s behavior was more a result of the change in her own than anything else. “He is so attuned to our household and to my actions that I imagine he sensed things weren't normal.”

It wasn’t until fire officials assured Argondezzi that everything was under control and her apartment was out of danger that she, and her cat, calmed down.

As for how pets behave in the face of impending danger, Argondezzi’s cat is not alone.
Sixty-four percent of believers say their pet hides in a safe place, 56 percent say they cry, 52 percent say they become hyperactive, and 36 percent say they bark or meow persistently. Some pets, however, have a warning behavior all their own.

Unique Movements
South Florida-based executive and president of American Dog Rescue, Arthur Benjamin, says his poodle, Buddy, throws a tantrum in order to predict seizures in others.

About a year after adopting Buddy from a shelter, Benjamin’s wife, Gail, was diagnosed with breast cancer. The disease brought on seizures in Gail. “Before Gail had a seizure, Buddy would make these jerking movements -- like he was having a fit -- and we realized he could sense the seizures coming on.”

Although Gail has since passed away, Arthur Benjamin and Buddy continue to honor her legacy. Through rescue work they’ve done together, they adopted a second poodle, Holly, who happens to be epileptic.

“Now Buddy warns me of Holly’s seizures and takes me to her in time for me to give her a shot of Valium, which either lessens or prevents the attack,” Benjamin says.

Impending Storm
Although not quite as heroic as Buddy’s predictions, when it comes to a more common threat -- storms -- 67 percent of American pet owners think their pets can predict its approach.
It might seem odd, but some experts agree that storms cause a static electric charge in the air that pets can probably sense, along with their owner’s anxiety.

by Wendy Toth for AP-Petside

original photo illustration by David Middleton

Four Seasons Chef Robert Gerstenecker’s Dog Biscuits

Robert Gerstenecker is the Executive Chef at the Four Seasons in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the loving owner of two Pugs, Zoe and Pearl, whom he cooks for from scratch!

Four Seasons Chef Robert Gerstenecker’s Dog Biscuits

3 cups whole-wheat flour
½ cup rolled oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups peanut butter
1 tbsp. molasses
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend together whole wheat flour, rolled oats, and baking powder. Stir together whole milk, peanut butter and molasses. Stir dry ingredients into liquid ingredients. Roll out to 3/8 to ½ inch think and cut into bone shapes. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Makes 15 biscuits.

Pet Lovers Hosting Lavish Dog Parties

“Bark Mitzvah”? “Yappy Birthday”? “Paw-parazzi Red Carpet Celebration”?

Children are no longer the only ones being lavished with expensive birthday parties. Dog owners are also marking their dog’s special day with celebrations. Women in particular seem to want to do something truly special to celebrate the occasion.

Dogs in cities like New York, Vancouver and L.A. are celebrating their birthdays with everything from multi-colored balloons, dog-friendly cakes made of peanut butter, yogurt and carob, specialty drinks like Prosecco and even miniature cocktail hot dogs for their canine guests!

Specialty dog bakeries like Three Dog Bakery in Vancouver and Port Moody cater to pooches’ special day with custom decorated cakes, hors d’oeuvres and goodies that are absolutely chic, but pet edible only! They have a fabulous selection of merchandise to make your dogs’ day truly over-the-top special from “Pawty Hats” with Maribou trim to bone shaped candles for the cake.

Not all dog owners are ready to meet the challenges of holding a party for their pooch at home though and this is mainly because the “guests” can be unpredictable! A New York-based woman, has held two birthday parties for her three-year-old Bichon Frise, Ernie, including last year’s “Bark Mitzvah.”

“In dog years,” she explained, “Ernie turned 13.”

She recently celebrated her pet’s third birthday at a dog-friendly watering hole, “Drop Off Service,” in Manhattan’s East Village. The birthday dog, along with eight doggy guests, spent a Sunday afternoon lapping up homemade “pup cakes” made of oats, carrots and cream cheese, while beer and hors d'oeuvres were served to their owners. As Ernie and his dog pals donned birthday hats and received gift bags and doggie Snuggies, or blankets, their human companions sang “Happy Birthday.”

Many dog owners search for a venue that will not only cater to their human friends, but more importantly, allow dogs on the premises to create an extravaganza that will honor their pet and be enjoyable for all guests: both the two and four-legged variety!

Betty Wong, owner of Buttercup’s Pawtisserie, a dog bakery in Brooklyn specializing in natural dog treats, has seen a sharp increase in the number of people throwing birthday parties for their dogs.

“Originally, we opened the bakery because I wanted to give my finicky eating dog, Buttercup, some healthy menu choices,” Wong explained. “We’ve seen a rise in the number of birthday cake orders during the past few years, and the numbers are steadily growing.”

If organizing a pet birthday bash seems daunting, Dorothy Moore can help. In 2005, Moore opened The Dining Dog Cafe in Edmonds, Washington, featuring a pet-friendly restaurant for dogs and their owners. Complete with white tablecloths, soft music and chandeliers, doggie birthday parties are popular at the restaurant.

Moore is also a party planner for canines. She organized about 100 dog parties last year, ranging in price from $100 to $500, including high-end soirees in which owners rent limos for their dogs and guests. A princess theme is the most popular, with the dogs donning tiaras at an event featuring all-pink decorations.

A groomer by trade, Moore believes the socialization that naturally occurs during dog parties is good for the pets and their owners. “Not only do the dogs love the attention, but their owners also seem to get a lot out of the parties,” Moore said. “Some people and dogs may appear shy at first, but something about the sheer joy of the event brings them out of their shell.”

“The opportunity for dogs to interact with each other, for whatever excuse, enables fulfillment of a basic biological need,” says Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at The Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Boston.

For dog party enthusiasts, it’s never too early to begin planning the next party. I understand how many dog owners feel. Our Love on a Leash ~ Party with Your Pooch Doggy Evening and Fundraiser in 2009 saw 130 dog lovers and their pooches fill The Smoking Dog Restaurant in Kitsilano during a fun-filled “Red Carpet Night” that raised more than $2,500 for S.A.I.N.T.S Rescue Organization.

I am currently pondering plans for another such evening this coming September. On September 30th my Bichon Frise gal, Casey Jane, turns 16. That’s almost 80 in human years. I think that’s reason enough to celebrate!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pet Friendly Accommodation on the Road

There’s good news for people traveling with their pets: the chains are starting to sit up and pay attention!

Two more hotel chains have realized that catering to the traveler with pets makes good business sense. While driving down to Palm Springs this past year, I personally stayed at various properties in the Red Lion and Best Western Hotel chains in Washington, Oregon and California and found them to be incredibly friendly and enthusiastic upon our arrival.

Our faves? Casey, Finnigan and I give two paws up to The Best Western New Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. Rooms are clean, comfortable and spacious and Eugene is a great little college town with loads of parks and trails for walking your pooch. It’s a great place to stop on your first day drive if you are heading south from Vancouver. The town also has a charming downtown core with excellent coffee shops and restaurants and even though you can’t dine with your dog, mine were happy to chew a rawhide in the room while I had a lovely dinner with my human companions.

Another favorite is The Red Lion Inn. For me, two locations have proven to be extremely dog friendly: Olympia, Washington and Portland, Oregon, right on the Columbia River. Again, both places are dog friendly cities with loads of parks and walking trails, friendly patios and cafes and most of the boutiques and stores in The Pearl District in Portland and the downtown heritage area in Olympia were more than happy to have my dogs meander around with me.

On our trip south last fall, we came through South Lake Tahoe for a more scenic drive down. The Best Western Timber Cove was gorgeous! Each of my dogs was greeted with treats and goodies upon arrival, our room had a cozy fireplace, the bed was super comfy and had soft, luxurious sheets and linens and the location is right on Lake Tahoe so the views were spectacular!

Road trips with your pet are possible these days with chains such as Best Western and Red Lion making it easier all the time, but remember to plan ahead. Make your reservations in advance as many hotels designate a limited number of rooms as “pet friendly” and most do require extra fees ranging from $15-$100 per night to accommodate pets.

Be sure to follow the hotel rules – if you know your dog is going to bark and cause destruction if you don’t stay in the room with him, don’t leave him alone. Ensure you pick up after your pooch and be courteous: not everyone staying in the hotel will be an animal lover. Keep your dog on leash.

A superb website for the those traveling with pets is It’s chock full of hotels, parks, restaurants, attractions and all things dog-related. While your final destination is the end goal, with a little planning the drive to get there can be a wonderful journey for you and your dogs.

See you on the road!