Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cat Grooming Tips

 I found this awesome article on cat grooming, just thought I'd share.

For the record, none of these tips should be attempted without proper safety gear....Chain Maile or Full Plate Armour is highly recommended.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Benefits of Having a Professional Pet Sitter/Dog Walker

Dog Walking and Pet Sitting services in your own home have many benefits for you and your pets.  


Let's face it, the economy has us all tightening our belts, but the one expense we refuse to cut back on is the care of our pets. We may be buying cheaper shampoo, but “Princess” is still going to the groomer's once a month. That's how it is for us pet parents.

All Dogs Need Walkies!
Dog Walking Services:

You are probably asking yourself, “Is hiring someone to walk my dog everyday worth it?” The answer is yes. If you are gone for 10 hours a day, like most of us are...think of how your dog must feel for those 10 hours. Daily scheduled walks benefit the dog in many ways, not the just...”I GOTTA GO!!” potty breaks. Dogs require outside stimulation, exercise and socialization. Without these basic needs, your cute little Pomeranian can turn into Cujo.

Working dogs or “high energy dogs” really benefit from dog walking services. I'm owned by a Siberian Husky, more like a Werewolf than a dog...and if she doesn't get her 1 hour walk everyday...I am looking at a level of destruction that would rival Chernobyl. As long as she has her walkies before I go to work, she is fine. This also helps our training re-enforcement. Huskies pull, that is what they do....dogs that pull while walking make the whole bonding experience less than desirable. Hiring a professional dog walker to work with your dog on pulling issues and basic commands, really helps you! Consistent training that professional dog walkers offer makes YOUR walks with your pet much more enjoyable.

Overweight dogs are highly susceptible to Diabetes. If your veterinarian suggests more exercise and a dietary plan for your dog, a professional pet sitter can greatly contribute to your pets well being through additional exercise as well as helping you track your dogs progress.

Pet Sitting in YOUR home:

Before at home pet sitting became more mainstream, your only choice for pet care while you where away was a family member, Kennels or “Honey, we cant go”. You have more options these days, with the expanding pet care services. Choosing a pet sitter that will come to your home daily or overnight is a fantastic option to kenneling.

For one, no need to worry about your pet contracting an illness, such as Kennel Cough & Parvovirus. Stress on your pet is also greatly reduced by keeping them in their homes.

They will miss you, they will go through separation anxiety...but having someone come in to care for them will indeed lessen their stress.

How do I choose a Pet Care Professional?”

My dog is my child...crazy, I know...but she is...and I would not trust her with just anyone. As a Pet Care Professional, I can tell you what I would look for in someone to be entrusted with her care.

  • Licensed, Bonded and Insured – this lets me know they are serious about their services
  • Red Cross Certified in Pet First Aid and CPR – life saving credentials
  • Disaster Preparedness Plan – If they have one in place, and ask me to have one as well, they are very concerned with the safety of my pet.
  • References
  • Initial Interviews – Pet Care Professionals take the time to value your needs as well as your pets needs.
  • Feedback – A Pet Care Professional will provide you with a diary that notes any marked changes with your pet that may be of concern to you.
  • Safety – are they prepared for all types of situations? Do they carry a first aid kit and aggressive animal deterrents?

Finding someone to care for your pet while you are away is not that difficult. Go with your gut instincts and always remember...if your pet doesn't like them at the first meeting...chances are you will not. Animals are a great judge of character. Let them help you decide.

As always, if you have any questions or comments...please feel free to comment or contact me at

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pet Parenting at ANY Age!

Good Afternoon Everyone!

With the growing population of baby boomers retiring, I thought I would take a few moments to reach out to our senior community in hopes of persuading them to adopt a pet companion. Our local shelters are full of wonderful cats and dogs that desperately need YOU!

There are many benefits to opening your home and life to a senior pet:

  • Pets provide seniors with companionship. They combat depression, boost self-confidence and help overcome feelings of loneliness and boredom.
  • The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has linked owning a pet to such benefits as decreased risk factors for cardiovascular disease, particularly lower systolic blood pressure, plasma cholesterol and plasma triglycerides.
  • Within 30 minutes of interacting with a dog or cat, people experience enhanced levels of dopamine and the endorphins associated with happiness. Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone are significantly decreased.
  • Caring for a pet increases exercise, socialization and responsibility. Seniors who may feel a loss of purpose in life greatly benefit from having a pet to care for, and a routine to keep them active.
  • According to The National Institutes of Health Technology Assessment Workshop, the presence of animals increased smiles, talking and the alertness in the seniors in their study.

Selecting the right pet for you is very important. Depending on your lifestyle and health, I encourage you to talk with family members and friends about your choice to adopt a pet. When the time comes to find your furry companion, the adoption professional at your local shelter will also be there to help guide you to a perfect match!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at
or visit my web page at

Thank You!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Breed Specific Legislation and Why I'm AGAINST it!

Good Evening Everyone!

For the past 3 months now of trying to get my dog walking/pet sitting business off the ground, I'm starting to feel a bit like a sponge.  There is more to consider, more research, more social networking, website development ect...ect...

These are just learning experiences, and being a well seasoned administrative professional, I'm up to the challenge.  However, I do come across issues that directly impact me as a business owner and my clients.  One such issue that I have been researching is Breed Specific Legislation.

In short, Breed Specific Legislation is according to

"A breed-specific law is a type of dangerous dog law. It is defined as any ordinance or policy that pertains to a specific dog breed or breeds, but does not affect any others. Proponents of breed-specific laws seek to limit public exposure to dangerous dogs by regulating ownership of these breeds. The objective of breed-specific laws is to prevent future attacks before an occurrence."

In other words, Pit Bulls (American Pit Bull Terrier) , Rottweilers, Dobermans and Akitas....all the "scary" dogs.  Problem is, this legislation not only undermines our ability to chose the best companion for us, but it is also very much a mainstream media driven scare.  Fatal attacks are rare...but when they happen its big news, like shark attacks.  These breeds being targeted are very powerful dogs, and without proper training they can be lethal.  So I pose this question to you? is it the dog or is it the owner?  I place ALL responsibility on the OWNER.

Blame the "Thug Life" mentality, I do...for those who intentionally make these dogs vicious, there is not much you can do to enlighten them.  They are vicious, untrained wild animals themselves.  Its unfortunate for the dog that has been cursed to have such an unworthy master.

 For others, who are responsible, loving owners of these dogs, they are being targeted as well.  A very famous Pit Bull in Belfast, Ireland lost his life and left his owner devastated even though he never attacked anyone.  Lennox and his owner fought hard against the legislation, and even Victoria Stillwell, host of Animal Planet's show "It's me or the Dog", stepped in to offer to take Lennox out of the country on her dime to no avail.....


The Love of My Life Mara Jade...yeah..she's all sorts of vicious..
So which breed will be targeted next?  In my research of various ordinances, I found a disturbing one in Fairfield, Iowa...Siberian Huskies.  My wonderful loving dog, who is about as threatening as a butterfly.  This is why this issue has become important to me. 

Education is key here, and also common sense.

Never let your child pet a dog without asking the owner first.

Teach your children to greet the dog with palms up, so the dog can have a moment to become familiar with the child.

 This is non-aggressive to to the dog.   When children want to pet Mara, and they always do..she's a "Snow Dog" from the Disney movies.  I make her sit and ask the children to do this one at a time.  I have never had a issue with Mara greeting children, but I feel its important for them and their parents to know proper manners when meeting a dog for the first time.

There are also great tips in dealing with aggressive dogs on the Dogs Bite website.

Feel free to comment! I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Donations NEEDED!!!

Donations are greatly needed in this time of crisis.....

Please donate to the Humane Society for relief efforts for animals during Hurricane Sandy. 

May you all be safe....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween...and our pets are NOT amused...


Happy Halloween Everyone!!!


This is my favorite holiday~


So I thought I would share some tips from the ASPCA on pet safety...yes, even my werewolf needs to be kept safe during this magical time when the veil between both worlds is at its thinnest.....

Halloween Safety Tips

No Scaredy Cats This Halloween: Top 10 Safety Tips for Pet Parents

Attention, animal lovers, it's almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying "trick or treat!" all the way to November 1.
1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.
6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandanna.
7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside.
10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you

Side note:

If you are planning on dressing up your cats, I highly suggest chain mail armour with full face protection!

Also, keep in mind that revenge for dressing your cat up will be swift and most merciless.

Yes, You will Pay for this

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My dog is not afraid of Mayan Prophecy!

Good Evening Everyone!

So, as you all know, we are getting closer to the date that the Mayans predicted....."THE END OF THE WORLD!!..I happen to live with a Mesoamerican Archaeologist, so I can tell you that when you wake up on December 22...with a epic will feel just a little silly for believing this hype..but hey, it was a good excuse to get together with friends right?

In all seriousness though, there are many reasons to be prepared for disasters.  Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Wild Fires, Hurricanes, Civil Unrest, Zombies, Alien Invasions ect....are are possibilities in your area, well maybe not so much the zombies and aliens, but who knows?  The important thing is to be prepared.

As a professional pet sitter, I ask that all my clients provide me with a Disaster Plan and Disaster Kit in case there is need to evacuate their pet to safety.  It provides peace of mind for the owner and me during what can be a very stressful situation if not prepared. 

We all saw what happened when Hurricane Katrina hit.  Many people and their pets lost their lives because they refused to leave without their beloved animals.  The ASPCA and other other organizations were quick to act to help rescue those pets left behind, so before the next big disaster hits, please consider a donation to these organizations.

Don't Leave Me Behind!!!

As a member of The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, I suggest that you download this guide that will help you prepare for you and your pet.

If you have any questions on Disaster Prep for your pets, please feel free to leave a comment!

Be safe out there! Dont become a Zombie Chow or a pet in some intergalatic zoo!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Road Trip!!!! Pet Safety in the car...

Greetings Everyone!

If you are planning a road trip with your pet or just a quick trip to the dreaded vet...there are a few things you can do to ensure your pets safety, and yours.

First, if you have a small dog or cat, the best way to safely transport them is in a crate. Believe it or not, most small animals actually feel safer in a crate as opposed to free roaming in the car where they can also pose a hazard for you the driver. For bigger dogs, there are a variety of of harnesses that attach to the seat belt. If you have a SUV, pet barriers are another option. This is also very important in case you are involved in a car accident. If the animal is restrained, their chances of serious injury is lower.  Also, when the police or paramedics arrive, they will be able to do their job without having to worry about a loose animal.

Never let your animal ride in the front seat with you, much like small children, they are safer in the back seat due to the airbags. And for all of you pickup truck owners, if you put your dog in the back of the truck...YOU risk severe injury or death...from ME If I happen to be behind you....if you have someone else in the truck and there is no room for the dog.....make them walk!

Don't let your dog ride with his head sticking out the window; he could be hurt by flying debris. They could also decide to chase down that sexy poodle for her number or go after that handsome rock star Rottweiler...and out the window they go!

On long trips, make sure to pack food, water and a simple first aid kit. Be prepared to make frequent stops for exercise and bathroom breaks.  Pit stops also help for those dogs who have car anxiety. "The Werewolf" hates the car...she's getting better...but if we go too long without a break...I'm cleaning up either vomit or worse....much much worse......

Try not to leave your pet in a parked car. Sometimes, its unavoidable, like paying for gas. Try to park the car where you will be able to keep an eye on it and lock the doors! Pet theft ,especially of purebreds is on the rise due to the economy. Aside from theft, depending on the climate, the pet could be subjected to heat stroke (even in moderate weather) or hypothermia....if you are going to be more than a few minutes, don’t bring your pet! How would you feel if someone left you in a car while they went shopping or for a nice steak dinner for hours? I shouldn’t have to even write this, but the truth is I have seen it too many times.  Once I came upon a car at a all day Renaissance Festival and someone left their dog in the car...In the summer...Don't be that person....Don't make me bust out your window and call the police.

Once you get to your destination, leash your dog immediately. Maintain control before the dog gets out the car. Practice the WAIT command. "The Werewolf" does real well with this, even when she is totally excited and ready to hit the trail.

Road Tunes for your Pet:

Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon

Hound Dog - Elvis Presley

What's New Pussycat? - Tom Jones

Hey Bulldog - The Beatles

Me and You and a Dog Named Boo - Lobo

Year of the Cat - Al Stewart

Stray Cat Strut - Stray Cats

Dogs of War - Pink Floyd

Of coarse these are mere suggestions, you know your pet better than if your pet likes AC/DC, Lady Gaga or what they a reasonable volume of coarse...."The Werewolf" prefers Iron Maiden....she takes after her mommy...

Safe Travels!

Don’t forget the camera...chances are they will do something worthy of a facebook post!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dog Walking Safety Tips

Good Day Everyone!

As we all know, walking a dog isn't just a walk...its bonding, exploring and on that rare occasion heart stopping terror...

So, here's a quick list of the potential dangers you may encounter out on a walk with your best friend:

  1. Automobiles
  2. Stray Dogs (aggressive)
  3. Wildlife
  4. Poisonous Plants
  5. Sudden Storms
  6. Pet Emergencies

First off, never ever accept the fact that while crossing a street, even with the walk signal, that people are paying attention.  Chances are they are not.  Most people these days are in a rush or even worse, on their cell phone.  I encountered this today when I was crossing a busy road with Mara and someone on a cell phone came inches from hitting me and Mara.  Always be alert to what motorists are doing and be prepared to encounter the zombies behind the wheel.

Stray Dogs (aggressive)

This has happened to me more than once, and I cant describe the adrenaline rush that occurs except to say you shake for a good hour after the encounter.  Being prepared is by far the best thing you can be.  The first thing to do is to try to remain calm.  Second, in a DEEP commanding voice tell the other dog "GO HOME"...try not to scream in a high pitch, you have to try to defuse the situation before it escalates.  This has worked for me, even with a pit bull that jumped the fence and came after me and Mara (side note:  Mara was ready to rock and roll! she got between me and the other dog...not good...but at least she showed some protective qualities) - if telling the other dog to go home, and the aggressive posturing starts (hair raising, ears back, snarling, tail down) - Stage 2 has just arrived - Stage 2 is PEPPER SPRAY...don't bother getting the stuff marked for dogs...get the highest grade, stop a grizzly bear stuff, preferably foam - foam wont blow back in your face if there is a breeze.

Wildlife & Poisonous Plants

Here in the suburbs of Chicago, we have deer, raccoons, possums and the ever so fun Mr. Skunk.  Keep your dog on a tight lead...I'm not a big fan of retractable leads for this reason.  You need to be able to keep control of your dog and where they go in case there is a meeting of the animal kingdom.  The same goes for plants that may make your dog sick or worse.

Sudden Storms:

Before going on any walk, check the weather...if a storm pops up, seek shelter asap.  Some dogs are extremely agitated when a storm approaches and more likely to try to run off.  Needless to say, even if lightning is not present at the time, do not seek shelter under a tree...just not a good idea.  Most forest preserves have covered shelter on cement or enclosed restrooms.

Pet Emergencies:

I'm certified in Pet First Aid and CPR - I felt it was not only necessary for my business, but for being a pet owner as well.  This past year we saw one of the hottest summers on record, thank god its over...there were stretches of time that I would not walk Mara.  When I did, it was late at night or very early in the AM.  There are so many things that can come up on a walk; injuries, insect stings, heat stroke...again, being prepared for such things takes stress off of you should the need arise.

I carry a small first aid kit with the basics with me at all times.  You can purchase these through the American Red Cross or find them on EBay.  I got mine at REI and added materials for bee stings, allergic reactions and diabetic pet emergencies.  Hopefully you never have need of it, but if you do, it's there.

I recommend that all my clients take a basic Pet First Aid/CPR coarse, they are inexpensive and if you go through a local shelter that is certified, most of the proceeds go to the shelter, so its a win win!!

With all these situations, I can't stress enough how important it is to be AWARE of your surroundings and of your dog.  If you are going to listen to your Ipod, like I do...keep one ear bud out, that way you can hear if someone is coming up behind you...especially bicycalists on a path.  Keep you and your dog hydrated and most of all.....

Enjoy the walk!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

For the Love of a Werewolf....(Siberian Husky)

Greetings everyone!

I recently decided to leave behind the cubicle world to pursue the adventure of starting up my own dog walking business.  So, I guess the best place to start is from the beginning...

I have always loved animals...spent years championing animal rights causes, picking up strays, and volunteering at various local animal shelters...I have been blessed with the companionship of cats, dogs and one very feisty iguana...all of them have taught me patience, unconditional love and how to live fully.

I have spent sleepless nights caring for them when they were sick, thousands of dollars and endless research hours to give them the best care possible.  I have given IV's, insulin shots and antibiotics to all three species...imagine giving a iguana a shot....wasn't easy...but I did it...why? because I had to.  Its amazing what you can do when an animal depends upon you...

Which brings me to my wonderful Siberian Husky, Mara Jade......AKA: The Werewolf...

5 years ago, my husband Jim and I walked into a pet shop to get cat food...we walked out with a puppy...I know, I know...bad bad bad!!!! most of these poor animals are Puppy Mill orphans...but it was love at first site....for me and the puppy...not so much for Jim...he wasn't buying it...he kept telling me to put her back...but I couldn't...he finally gave in after threats of, here I was...2 cats at home, bringing home a dog...and not just any dog...a Siberian Husky...yeah...they are beautiful...but they are stubborn, destructive and better escape artists than Houdini...these things I did not know until it was too late.....

Too many people get a dog and have no idea what they have gotten themselves into...I didn't...but my love for her put me on a path of learning all I could about what she the 3-5 mile daily walks...

2 training classes and 5 years later....I am happy to report that we are both still the best of friends and our drywall is still in shoes are no longer chew toys for the werewolf...and even though she still gives me lots of back talk (that's what this breed does...they don't bark...they Joan Rivers on crack) I wouldn't give her up for the world....

And that's why I decided to start Walkies Doggies, I want pet owners to be as happy as I am with helping them maintain happy and healthy dogs through daily exercise and pet sitting at home instead of boarding their furry friends at a kennel, which can be very stressful for both the animal and the owner.

We don't have much time with them unfortunately...but lets make the absolute best of the time we have....for them and for us....