Who really hasn't cracked a smile at the sight of a happy puppy face in the backseat of a car? Those lolling tongues and happy faces are irresistible. They're also appreciated by the dogs---It always makes me think of the Disney movie, Bolt, and this scene:
***Note, I do not claim to own any of the content in this video. Video via YouTube
Maybe it's because many claim Bolt is designed to look like a White German Shepherd, but honestly, that's freaking adorable. moving on to the facts of the discussion:
Arie loves car rides. I now live in Atlanta, but my hometown is in the upstate area of South Carolina, a good 2-3 hour drive. Arie goes home with me often; I even had to choose a larger vehicle when I got a new car last year to ensure that she and her crate, as well as the cats in their carrier, could fit comfortably for a road trip every few months. Arie usually stretches out across the back seat, with the cats in their crate in the very back of the car. After a few quick break-slamming incidents thanks to Atlanta drivers on a handful of these road trips, I came to the conclusion that started this discussion: Arie needs a seat belt.
My dad laughed at me when I mentioned pet seat belts. No joke. Still, such safety precautions are becoming ever more popular, present on the market, and encouraged for pet owners. My father grew up on my grandparent's dairy farm (Remember Arie showing off next the tractor?), and they took a very casual approach to pets. Pets were to stay outside---dogs didn't sleep at the foot of your bet, let alone in it, and their food sure didn't cost what Arie's does. With changing times, however, our approach to our pets is adapting. My parents even have a little dachshund now, who wears a sweater in the winter to deal with cold. Dad has come a long way.
People have done a great job of branching out into items for their pets, from fun and colorful toys and puzzles to designer pet beds and clothing, but our eye for design and our eye for health and safety seem to following slightly behind our more frivolous pursuits. I'm trying to play the catch up game now, adding grain-free, all natural kibble, vitamins, and more to ensure that my big girl has healthy hips and joints and lives a long and healthy life. Protecting her in the car is the next step, and pet safety belts are paramount for your pet's safety in accident.
FACT: " A 25-pound, unrestrained dog can become a deadly, 1000-pound projectile in the event of a 40 mph crash." - Pet Travel Center
You only need to picture your shih-tzu bouncing around between the seats during a bump up or a golden retriever thrown into the back of your seat to understand the need. While that picturesque puppy face lolling out the window is adorable, having them smile safely from their belted seat in the center of the car is still cute and much safer, for them and you.
The New Problem
Now that I know that I want to get Arie a safety belt, I have to find one that I like and that works for her. Some of these items are more complicated than a brand new car seat, and if you've ever had to hook one of those into a car (years of babysitting taught me better than a sensei ever could) you know that is no easy feat. Others only come in tiny, petite, small, medium, normal, and large sizes, leaving out the "holy-crap-is-that-a-miniature-pony?!" size harness that Arie will need. I'm still on the search, scouring various stores and websites and reading tons of reviews.
Where You Come Into Play
During #Petchat this past Monday (Twitter chat, Monday nights 8 PM EST for pet lovers) we discussed pet products we love and hate. Upon learning that I blog about my life with my pets, a fellow chatter asked me if there were any go-to blogs I like to read for product reviews. Well my lovelies, that really includes all of you. Whether your new to this blog and wondering why this lady cares so much about a freaking dog seat belt or a long time reader that totally gets it, having your opinions on this is much appreciated. Do you have a safety belt for your pet in the car? Why or why not? If you do, what brand/style would you recommend? So far I've heard a lot about Kurgo, but I'd like to learn about other brands as well.
Pets become a huge part of your life--as in an overwhelming one. Even when you're dog isn't physically larger than some of your friends, like mine, they still take up a great amount of real estate in your home, your car, your life, and your heart.
Now it's time to make the home part a little more attractive and functional with today's letter b: built-ins.
After developing an amazing addiction to Pinterest (because after all, who hasn't?) I was exposed to some amazingly fabulous pet-friendly built-in ideas, such as this super amazing dog bed tucked within a kitchen island:
To avoid stepping all over copyright, you can see the rest of my pins of fabulous pet-friendly built-ins on my "Life with Arie" pin board, or see this compilation from Pawsh Magazine. Most built-ins focus on setting aside a reserved space for pet beds or bowls, food storage, or even litter box hiding places.
At some point, I would love to add these ideas to a home, and I'm definitely not alone. In fact, this trend has grown astoundingly in popularity in Atlanta itself, the city Arie, the cats and I call home. Ili Nilsson, co-owner of the design-build firm TerraCotta Properties, spoke with AJC Home Finder about pet parents and home design:
"“For every client that has a dog, we do something specific for that dog,” said Nilsson. “You can fit the needs of your pet very easily with good planning.” That includes the clever location of built-ins for pet items or the installation of a hot water faucet outdoors for mess-free dog-washing.
The American Pet Products Association bears Nilsson’s opinion out. The APPA estimates that in 2011, Americans spent $50 billion on their pets." - AJC Home Finder
Design decisions by Atlanta area pet parents range from choosing rugs based on their pet's coat color and shedding to home owners choosing carpet tiles instead of a solid roll so that the squares are easy to replace if chewed or used for an accidental potty break. How far would you go to incorporate your pet into your home design?
As you've probably seen, I've been absent again for a little while. I've had a few family things going on, but now that everything is back in the clear, I've also had a little bit of time to prepare for April. It's going to be a big month ladies and gents (and furry friends).
For April, we're doing two blog challenges. That's right, two. This may be a sadistic way to throw myself back into blogging, but I'm ready. The first challenge is the A to Z challenge -- For the month of April, you write 26 posts, each one focusing on a different letter of the alphabet. You write every day except for Saturdays. Many writers include a theme; mine is, of course, pets!
The second challenge in the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. This challenge requires that you write 30 posts in the month of April. That's right. 30. It coincides really well with the A to Z challenge, and I'm really looking forward to it.
Now, onto the alphabet!
A is for.... Alsatian Shepherds, and American Shepherds!
Do you remember this lovely post about White German Shepherds? In the post I mention a few of the other names used for a White German Shepherd, as well as the break in certain bloodlines that prefer to be known under these other names. White German Shepherds are commonly known as American Shepherds in many bloodlines, as well as Alsatian Shepherds (The term Alsatian Shepherd is also used for standard coloration). New comers to the breed who are introduced via these new names often think that they are different breeds, and just similar to the German Shepherd dog, but the facts say otherwise.
If your dog is one breed, or you know what components make up your lovable mutt, what are a few alternative names for their breed that you've found?
Did you know that this week is National Animal Poison Prevention Week? March 18-24 is set aside to remind us of the dangers that various foods and items pose to our pets. 2012 marks the 50th annual observation of this week, and to commemorate this effort to preserve the lives of our beloved pets, we're listing 50 different items that may be in your house and posing hazards to your pets:
In the Kitchen
In the Garden/House Plant Pots
Last year, the top three pet poisons were:
1. Prescription Medications
3. Over-the-Counter Drugs
In the Garage
For more information on items that may be poison your pet, please review the following sources: ASPCA list of toxic and non-toxic plants, Oregon Veterinary Medical Association list of toxic items, The Humane Society of the United States list of hazardous items, Catster, Paw-Rescue "Dog Tips: Household Hazards", and Animal Planet.
Have you had a close call with your pet? Have an item you want to add to the list? Put your story or item addition in a comment!
Having a large dog is fun. Arie is the same size as some human beings, so she's an expert cuddler. She can keep up on walks and runs. She can actually jump up and look you in the eye. I just love having a large breed dog, especially a White German Shepherd. :) That being said, there is one thing that I miss about tiny dogs--Large dogs are harder to accessorize. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a person who puts my dogs in clothing or gets them a little bling. I do however, like to give them pretty collars, especially when your dog is always assumed to be male instead of the sweet girl that she is.
I have a crafty streak, though I haven't yet found the project style that really fits me. My friend Tori makes amazing jewelry that you can find on Etsy through her store, V. Carol Creations (you can also read her blog, Home Sweet Washington, to get to know the person behind the great earring options.) I cannot make jewelry. My friend Carolyn is an amazing artist, and her husband Daniel is a silversmith (how cool is that?!). You can see Carolyn's work at Carolyn Horne Illustration. I cannot paint or make silver into pretty things.
I am, however, learning to sew, and I love it. Kelly from Sew Alluring and I are learning together, and it's been great fun. For my first project, I picked something very unconventional. I decided to make dog collars! I found these adorable prints in the super cheap fat quarters section at Jo-Ann's. They were just long enough to make Shady (my roommate's dog) a few collars. One was a really cute shamrock print:
I loved the print, and decided that I would try to make Shady a collar by St. Patrick's Day. I haven't had much time to sew, and I'm terrible about reading directions, so on a handful of occasions I was able to sit down and practice making dog collars off the cuff. My attempts weren't always fruitful:
For the hardware, I used some very strong plastic fasteners that I also found at Jo-Ann's, and a metal d-ring I bought there as well. The D-ring did not hold up to Shady's walk, and pulled lose. Ugly first sewing attempt I can deal with---Impractical and unsafe breaking collars? That's not acceptable. For my second attempt, I got the hardware off of an old collar we had hidden away in the closet. It had a different form of buckle, so I had to learn to work with that as well:
This time, I was little more proud of my collar. I'm making them out of recycled materials by lining them with strong denim harvested by old pairs of jeans instead of they typical nylon. I made this collar thicker to be stronger, and also used the stronger hardware from Shady's old collar. This time, I tried a new kind of stitch around the D-Ring and fastener to make it stronger. The end could not be made attractive because I didn't have enough fabric, but I'm working on it for next time. Flaws and all, Shady is set to be styling St. Patrick's Day style as we celebrate all that is Irish.
Are you craft-tastic? Have you tried making anything for your pets? I'm going to continue to try to perfect my collars, and then move on to a nice, big dog bed. I'll keep you posted on my projects--If you have any suggestions for future projects or sewing tips, please let me know!
I'm off to enjoy a few ciders (a great alternative to beer that I learned to love while in Ireland) and the holiday. Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!
As you know, Life with Arie is a relatively new project of mine, and less than a year old, though it feels like ages since our first post. Arie herself is only two, so as Arie and I get to know each other as she grows up, I'm also getting to know Wordpress, my blog, and the behind the scenes workings of the web as time progresses.
We've recently been making some changes to the layout of the blog, the content of the sidebars, and now to the site itself. Here are just a few of things we've done to alter things:
While these are all simple changes, I hate when people update their sites with no explanation, leaving you to wonder where everything is. While most of these changes don't effect navigation, I wanted to give you a heads up out of courtesy, and to also ask you... What do you think?
So I know that this image is probably one of the worst quality I've posted, but I couldn't resist sharing this with you. Most of the pictures I post of Arie are of her snoozing or posing, but this one is definitely one we see a lot in our apartment. She cracks me up with the awkward way she bends her body, and that goofy smile. In case you were wondering, this is the moose from her birthday!
Do you have pictures of your pets fun poses when they want to play? Please share them on our Facebook wall!
Actually, I've never been to the Netherlands. Instead, I chose to go to Yemen (I'm not a terrorist), Ireland, and to Latvia/Lithuania when I traveled abroad while friends went to Mexico and Costa Rica...which made sense, as at the time I was a Spanish major in college. Oh life, you're funny.
My friend Kaitlin, whom I met after moving to Georgia, now lives in the Netherlands. She fell in love with someone and moved to his home country. Though she's across an ocean and a great deal of land, Kaitlin and I use our blogs to keep in touch. She can log on here to see what I'm discussing about Arie, and I can log on her blog, A Georgia Peach Abroad, to check and see how Loek, her husband to be, and their apartment are faring, as well as what Kaitlin has learned recently about her new homeland.
Kaitlin is in the middle of a photo project for the month of March, and today's entry focuses on someone she's spoken with today. We were chatting on Facebook when she was writing and she decided to write about me. I never post pictures of myself on here, mostly because I usually look like a hot mess when I'm photographing Arie, but Kaitlin asked for a photo of me to use in her post (so you can see what my picture looks like in the Netherlands! Love that corny humor, don't you?). Most of the time what you learn about someone is through their About Me page and how they interact on the web. If you want to get me know me a little better, and check out an amazing blog about the Netherlands, read Kaitlin's post to get another person's perspective.
Being able to keep in touch with Kaitlin, as well as the awesome Aussies, Spaniards, Englishman, and more that I've met through Life with Arie via our blogs is wonderful. Who do you keep in touch with from abroad? Share your favorite blogs that aren't from your country in a comment so we can check them out. Happy Sunday, everyone!
After settling in for a quite Saturday night at home, I stopped by some of my favorite blogs to check in on their latest posts. The Elka Almanac had a wonderful post about a new bill to protect dogs in the military and ensure they make their way home after their services.
It was pure coincidence and serendipity that after reading Jen's post, I checked my Google Alerts for White Shepherds and German Shepherds (They come in handy for the stories I write as the Atlanta German Shepherd examiner). In the listed articles, I found the amazing story of Marine Megan Leavey, and her fight to save the life of and to adopt her canine military companion, Rex.
Leavey was a dog handler in the military that worked with Rex, a bomb-sniffing dog, very closely. The two even survived a roadside bombing together.
"'Rex is my partner; I love him,' Leavey told Msnbc.com 'We have been through so much together … I’ve spent day and night with this dog. It’s a very strong bond.'" (via Mail Online)
Leavey has tried several times to adopt Rex, but was denied because he was still considered a valuable active work dog. Rex now holds status as the oldest dog still in service at Camp Pendleton at the ripe age of 10, which makes him an elderly German Shepherd. Rex is now facing health complications with Facial Palsy that cause his to be unable to serve. This complicates the matter even more, as his illness could be another reason to deny his adoption outside of service, and also a reason to put him to sleep because he cannot be used in service anymore--Not because he's not capable of living in fair circumstances.
Leavey is now working with several vets and members of the Air Force who train the dogs used within the military to get approval for Rex's adoption. For more information on the story, you can read about it via the NY Post or Radar Online.
While we've discussed canine members of the military before, now we have a chance to help these dogs get the recognition they deserve. Call your representatives and discuss S.2134 -- Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act (Introduced in Senate - IS) as a way for them to help dogs in the military.
These are just two of the things that I have been called today.
In January, I posted about an interaction I had on Facebook with a blogger and her followers, and asked for your feedback. Today that blogger announced that, because of my post, she had cried for half an hour, was emotionally distraught, and planned to delete her blog and Facebook page at 3 PM because of it. Afterwards, comments began pouring in from her followers onto her Facebook page and onto my post. I was at work, so I could not respond or approve the comments yet, but I was well aware of the situation.
At 1 PM, the blogger announced that she did not plan to "give in to cyber bullying" and planned to keep her Facebook and Blog, thanks to the outpouring of support from her followers. I am extremely happy that she made this decision, I just hate that I wasn't able to contact her beforehand. I hate that my post caused so much emotional distress for someone, and would even cause someone to think about deleting their pages. Her blog is loved by many, and she enjoys writing it, so I hope she continues her online presence and that her community grows.
Several of the comments on my blog, as you will see, refer to me as a troll. For those of you not familiar with this term, it's one commonly used to someone who comments on pages, blogs, and discussion boards with the intent of starting a war. My original comment on her Facebook page has been deemed a "troll-esque" comment. I can assure you that this was not my intent behind my comment. SOPA/PIPA are amazingly huge deals in our world, and so I do not consider them a laughing matter. When I saw the comments on the page, I was worried that these commenters may not know about the issue, and so I posted. Looking back, I agree that the language I used does come off rude and assuming, though I can promise, as I stated before, that this was never my intent. Tone is a powerful thing over the web, as it can be interpreted in so many ways, and in this post, I could have controlled it better.
As for my blog post on the matter, I wrote it to reach out the community I know on the web because I trust my readers to be honest and open with me. This post was not written to lay a smack down on the blogger or her readers, but instead to discuss the event, step by step and my reactions to it, as well as the importance of consistency when it comes to page conduct and policies. I asked you for your opinions to see what you thought, not to harass someone via the web or to be a cyber-bully.
While I stand by the fact that sticking to your policies and avoiding group attacks is important, I do hope that you can all understand that I did not intend personal harm to anyone with my posts. I know that the blogger in question, after posting her original comment about leaving the web and her secondary comment about staying, removed said comments because of the cyber-harassment that proceeded in her comments section, and has since posted about "olive branches to everyone". I couldn't agree more.
As for those of you who commented on my post, both good and bad, I thank you for sharing your opinions, as that is exactly what I asked for in the post. I know that many of you thought that I wouldn't post your comments due to the delay in my ability to approve them, but as Internet censorship is such an important issue for me, I have approved every single one, even those that assume I am possessed. I appreciate you sharing your opinions with me, but in the spirit of diplomacy, I will be closing that post to further comments. If you feel the need to respond, feel free to comment here.