Wednesday, May 24, 2017

BlogPaws, a first timers view...

Sheraton Myrtle Beach, SC
It has been a few days since our return from BlogPaws.  BlogPaws, is a conference where bloggers, writers, and social media personalities of the pet world meet to socialize, network and learn to expand and grow our own avenues whether it is a blog, writing and etcetera.  Even to this day ideas are flowing on how to improve my blog.  I have so many ideas to write about, how to improve my writing, how I can show my dedication to what my blog is about and why I am blogging.  I have pages of notes from the different sessions we attended to the individuals we spoke to who have successful blogs or publications themselves.  However, it wasn’t all educational there were socialization time with sip and paint hosted by Red Roof Inn, Happy Meower hosted by VCA, and the Red Carpet Hour hosted by Natural Balance.  This conference was about the education and the networking with or without your pets. 
Sip & Paint hosted by Red Roof Inn

With this being my first BlogPaws conference I wasn’t sure how to plan or what to expect so I read all the posts in the social learning center on how to prepare, what to expect and what to bring to BlogPaws.  I carefully read each newsletter that was emailed prior to the conference in regards to what to expect upon arrival, who will be available to ask questions, and so on.  At first all of that was overwhelming but don’t let it be, read it all thoroughly then go back take notes to that which is pertinent to you.  When the schedule is published review and re-review it, unfortunately you will not be able to make it to all sessions as much as you want to so again make chooses that are most pertinent to you and what you want to achieve.  Just networking/socializing you will be able to pick up the highlights of the other sessions but the best news is most of the speakers are fellow bloggers or writers so they are available and easy to speak with.  Even the speakers that are major speakers such as this year with Kathleen Gage or Jay Baer, don’t be shy after they speak go up to them and ask them questions.  Both were very down to earth and open to answer questions.   The environment there is a friendly social environment, not like other conferences where speakers sneak out the back to avoid the attendees or answering further questions.  It is a well-organized and relaxed environment. 
Speakers Stage 

Even with the reading and re-reading once we showed up it was quite overwhelming with meeting and greeting fellow pet world personalities and their pets from cats, dogs, ferrets, rats, and a bearded dragon.  It is comical that we all recognize each other by our blogs or writing not necessarily by our names but still everyone was so friendly and welcoming.  There was a BlogPaws staff member available to welcome each of us, our pet and to answer questions. 

BlogPaws this way...
Only downfall to BlogPaws that I saw was it was too short or went to quick pending how one would look at it.  Another was there were some people I overheard stating how people stayed within their “clicks” however I feel it takes two.  If there was someone you wanted to speak to, go up introduce yourself and speak to them.  That is what this conference is about networking and socializing.  I knew a lot of people from the BlogPaws chat on Twitter or from their blogs but never really met anyone face to face that is why I went to the conference.  I put myself out there, introduced myself, gave my business card and spoke to them.  Not only was I able to put a face to a blog but I met new people and new blogs. Was it scary, yes, but I lived through it and it was worth it.  I would do it again in a heartbeat and Yes, I purchased my ticket for 2018 BlogPaws in Kansas City where I hope to meet even more new people as well as meet up with those I met with this past BlogPaws. 

Thank you to the speakers, Sheraton Myrtle Beach, and to the BlogPaws staff.  

#BlogPaws #veteranservicedog #servicedog #pug #sheraton #myrtlebeach #pugnation #puglife #vca #merrick #pawsact #southcarolina #pugs #socialization #networking #tooquick #cats #ferrets #beardedragon #petworld #blog #piapiathepug #fun #enjoyable #redroofinn #naturalbalance #kathleengage #jaybaer #sheratonmyrtlebeach   #spotpetproducts #ethicalpetproducts 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Snappy Snoozers, a unique and awesome pet bed!!

Another unique find at the Global Pet Expo this past March was a Snappy Snoozers®.  Snappy Snoozers is an orthopedic inflatable pet bed.  The bed comes with a clear carrying/storage bag with the bed, air pump, two quilted pads that snap onto the bed once it is inflated, think as a Pet Bed-in-a-Bag.  The bed can be inflated as much or as low with air to suit the needs or comfort of your pet whether it is a cat, dog, ferret or such.  The quilted top comes in pink, blue or tan and it is very soft, comfy and thick.  The bed can be easy inflated and deflated easily to travel with or leave it inflated for a permanent pet bed at home.  The bed can be used inside or outside.  It is easy to clean just wipe clean the actual bed and just throw the quilted top into the washing machine. Luckily, the tops do not shrink or lose their shape after being washed.  The quilted top securely snaps onto the inflated bed leaving it tightly on the bed.  The bed itself it very well made and tough.  

These beds are great for have a pet that has orthopedic issues or arthritis because the beds can be inflated and deflated to a comfortable area for them.  They are also good for pets that have incontinence issues because they are easy to clean with the wiping or the bed and machine washable tops.  Easy to break down, clean and put back together.  Also, great for traveling whether going to a mountain retreat or to the beaches just dust or wipe the bed off from the dirt or sand, deflate, place in bag and ready to go.  Many may think because the bed is inflatable they can be used at an inflatable device in a pool/water, however, I would not nor is it suggested to be used as one.  It is a bed NOT an inflatable device. The bed comes in two sizes small/medium and large/extra-large.  The small/medium is quite sufficient that I am sure three of my pugs can fit on it and I saw the large/extra-large, any large dog would fit quite comfortably on it. 

On a personal note: I have used this bed for three months and have traveled with it.  I have inflated and deflated it about eight times and washed one of the quilted tops six times and everything is still in perfect shape.  The snaps still hold the quilted top snugged on the bed.  Pia Pia falls asleep on it so easily, even outside while sitting on the patio with birds chirping and squirrels running back and forth, she is able to fall asleep fast.  This bed is used at home and at travel.  The bed was worth the cost.  The website is

#veteranservicedog #servicedog #pug #pugs #pugnation #puglife #sleeping #snappysnoozers #comfortable #traveling #pugtravels #inflateablepetbed #petbed #florida #floridagirl #travelingpetbed #incontinenceforpets #incontinencebedforpets #orthopedicpetbed #arthritispetbed #petbedforincontinence #petbedfororthopedic #petbedforarthritis #perfectpetbed #snappy #snoozer #snoozers #lastpetpedneeded #snappysnoozerspetbeds #globalpetexpo #globalpetexpo2017 #snappablebed #snappablequilts #quilts #inflatablebeds

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Benefits of a PTS Service Dog for our Veterans

Many believe the signs of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) are not visible; for the most part they are true however it is because those who are suffering with PTS do all they can to hide it or control it because they feel it is a weakness or that they will be viewed upon as someone with a mental disorder.  However, PTS is not a mental disorder.  PTS is a disorder that develops when an individual has experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event that is not within the normalcy of an everyday occurrence, such as our veterans going to war.  Unless one is in their shoes we cannot know what they have experienced or how they are experiencing the PTS.  But, we can help them but understanding the best we can, be patient with them, and provide them with a comfort such as a canine companion.  Not to say, a loved one, spouse or child is not a comfort to a veteran however a canine comfort is someone that can predict, concentrate, and have that connection that a human cannot. 

As for the signs of PTS, yes, there are those signs – such as pacing, sweaty palms, nervousness, huffing, breathing hard, sweating, and just uneasiness to name a few.  Not to say all veterans will display these signs but in general those are some symptoms.  I am no doctor, nurse, psychiatrist or such however I am a spouse of a veteran with severe PTS who has been in/ out of several different clinics, Veteran’s Administration facilities and have seen other veterans as well as have seen how my own spouse reacts to situations when he becomes stress, uneasy or in a predicament that sets off his PTS.  His saving grace as well as mine has been a twelve pound angel, a pug, and his now service dog. 

Within him constantly feeling uneasy and having anxiety/panic attacks he was officially diagnosed with PTS and prescribed medication.  The medication made things worse because he is unable to take medication because his body is not tolerant of medications so with no other avenues at that time he became home bound, could not go to his daughter’s school events, could not travel to see his boys and wasn’t even able to go shopping.  Even when he was left at home it would only be a matter of time before he was calling to see when I was returning, how much longer, or such to where we could not spend any time out of the home.  Then one day we visited a no-kill shelter with him to see about getting a dog to keep him company so at least we can run errands and get things done without him having panic/anxiety attacks while we were gone.  We found this little lethargic pug that had protruding eyes, which we were informed if not corrected she would lose her eye sight.  There was no doubt she was the one for us. 

She was automatically enrolled in obedience classes and started the beginner class within a few weeks of coming home.  It was difficult at first because of her eyesight but to show her the treats we chose a bigger treat to get her to sit, stay or down and etc. but fed her the smaller treat.  She completed the Beginner Obedience class very well and continued onto Intermediate Obedience class, which again she did extremely well.  We took a break before entering the Advance Obedience class to have her eyes taken care off.  Her surgery went fine and within two weeks, she was able to close her eyes and sleep full nights.  We continued onto Advance Obedience training in which again she did well.  So all the obedience training was completed and her eyes were corrected.  We were talking with the trainer when he realized my husband has a hearing problem yet notice his pacing and uneasiness issues also, so it was mentioned about Pia Pia becoming a hearing service dog for him.  We were unsure if that is what we wanted however the trainers came and spoke with us the benefits of her being able to help him with his hearing then also being there to assist with his PTS.  First, Pia Pia would need to be scrutinize to see if Pia Pia would be able to be a service dog as well as to see if my husband would also be able to assist with the training, we also needed to obtained the medical documentation from his physician stating his hearing loss and the diagnosis of his PTS causing his anxiety/panic attacks, once we had the documentation, the committee review Pia Pia’s performance and my husband’s position on her being a service dog, they were approved to become a service dog team and the training began.  Within a couple of weeks they started their service dog training.  As they began the service dog training we had Pia Pia’s ophthalmologist appoint to find out that she gained sight back and she has no more eye issues. 

She needless to say this little underweight lethargic half blind Pug is now a hearing service dog for my husband.  She gave my husband his life back with her he has complete trust and faith that she has his back, will help him and be right there for him when he needs her.  Trust me there have been times that she has been where I have unfortunately have failed him, proving that the canine bond is stronger.  Another reason why each veteran who suffers from PTS needs less medications and more canine companionship, in the end it is the companionship and comradery of knowing that there is someone there that will have the veteran’s back that is missing. 

The only thing that is wrong with a veteran with PTS is that they missed out on something special whether it was a holiday, birth of a child, school event or just that romantic date to give us our freedom to enjoy what we have today.  If you see that one person with sweaty palms, pacing or a little uneasy – don’t judge them, they may be the veteran who gave you your freedom to judge – instead Thank them and tell them you support them.  If they have a service dog acknowledge them with a Thank you and a support of them with them having a service dog to help them.  Thank you.  Thank you to all our veterans, military personnel, their families, fur-legged family members and those who help them.

#veteranservicedog #servicedog #pts #ptsservicedogs #pug #pugs #veteransadministration #k9forwarriors #petsforvets #dogsforlife #merrick #bayerpethealth #bissell #Florida #puglife #pugnation #ptsd #va #marspetcare #angel #love #savinggrace #halonokillshelter

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Education, Education, Education…

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that falls under the U.S. Department of Justice a service dog is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to perform specific tasks for an individual with a disability.  The tasks must be related specifically to that person’s disability such as a hearing dog to for a hearing impaired person, a mobility dog for a person with mobility issues, a seeing-eye dog for a blind or seeing impaired person and so on.  An Emotional Support Animal (ESA), therapy, comforts, or companion animal however are not considered to be service dogs and are not protected under the ADA protection because they do not provide a specific task.  There may be a state or local government law that may protect the rights of an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), therapy, comfort, or companion animals which would depend on each specific state and county government.  Now there are exclusions such as a service dog for an individual with diagnosed depression or Post-Traumatic Stress in which the service dog is trained to remind the handler to take their medication.  A diabetic alert or a person or has epilepsy again the dog is trained to alert when their sugar levels are low or to detect the onset of a seizure, these service dogs would be protected under ADA. For an individual to claim their dog’s presence “calms them” during an anxiety attack does not qualify them as a service dog either, this is a fine line.  If an individual states their dog is a service dog because the dog is able to provide a specific action to help avoid or possibly lessen the impact of the anxiety attack that would qualify the dog as a service dog because it is tasked for a specific job.  So again, it is educating the public, establishments, and others to understand what would qualify a service animal under the ADA versus the fake service dogs.    


Another potential misunderstanding is No; a service dog does not need to be professional trained.  An individual is able to train their own dog for their own disability.  Also, service dogs in training are not qualified or protected under the ADA while still in training.  There are establishments that will work with professional trainers to help train service dogs in training because of the relationship obtained over the years.  So if one is training your own dog an establishment is allowed by law to turn you and your service dog in training away.  Once you and your service dog is ready to go out, if an establishment questions if your dog is a service dog or not they are only allowed two questions: 1. Is your dog require because of a disability?  A simple yes or no answer is required here. You do not need to disclose your disability.  2. What is your dog tasked for? This is a sticky situation because this will disclose your disability when you state, for instance, they are my hearing dog or assists me with my mobility.   An establishment cannot ask for documentation, cannot ask for the dog or you to prove the task, or inquire further in regards to your disability. 
Under ADA a service dog
does not need to wear
a vest or harness. 

Another, misunderstanding is a service animal does not need to wear a service vest, harness or anything to state it is a service dog.  Some individuals will utilize the vest or a harness to lessen the confusion or prohibit individuals from petting or requesting to pet their dog however it is not required for them to be worn under the ADA.  So to some people there are positive and negatives to their dog wearing a vest or harness signifying it is a service dog and at work. 

All service dogs will need to meet all cities, state and local vaccinations requirements, they are not exempt from the vaccinations.  If your specific city or state requires your dog to be registered and licensed then you must obey those laws on top of the requirements needed for your dog to qualify under the service dog requirements.  The ADA has no specific mandatory registration or requirements just what the local governments require. 

Now this particular information was eye-opening to me, not all Federal agencies have to comply with the ADA.  For instance, the Air Carrier Access Act is slightly different in their definitions on what would comply as a service animal versus the ADA definition of a service animal as well as which and the number of questions that can be asked to determine if the animal is a service animal or not.  Now, all U.S. Carriers are to follow the Air Carrier Access Act however for foreign air carriers they are not required to transport any other service animal just a service dog. Just recently the Department of Veterans Affairs changed their policy in which service dogs are allowed on their grounds and in their facilities, prior to that it was depending up to each facility.   So even though it is a government facility, if you have a service dog and need to visit a federal government facility it is best to call ahead and check first if your service dog is allowed. 

Now this was a lot of information and even I learned some additional information that I was unware of during this article.  So again, education and continuous education is needed to help combat the real service dogs versus the fake service dogs.    

#veteranservicedog #servicedog #fakeservicedog #realservicedog #pug #puglife #pugs #pugnation #veterans #veteransadministration #pts #ptsd #veteranswithpts #ADA #piapiapug #florida #veteransneedsservicedogs #k9forwarriors #petsforvets #merrick #bayerpethealth 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

PTS Service Dogs are Critical for Veterans and their Families

Pia Pia on mat under table.
The healing powers of an animal is special, so special that it can help eliminate even those who have relied on medications to control certain ailments, especially those that are affected mentally.  It is an estimated rate that twenty two veterans take their life each day; this is a sad fact – a very sad fact. Veterans sacrifice a lot for us to have our freedom.  Veterans deserve better, their families deserve better.  Some veterans are realizing with the assistance of a dog they can overcome those feelings, feelings of desperation, loneliness, and solitude.   However, because Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) is not a noticeable disorder there are many that would contend to state or argue that an individual does not have a condition that warrants a service dog or the dog is a fake service dog.  This is because there are so many out there who abuses the system when it comes to service dogs.  An establishment is unable to ask direct questions in regards to the usage of a service dog but can ask what the dog ‘tasked is for’? In some states the dog does not need to wear a service vest, no documentation is required and worse one can order a service dog kit online. 

On mat while eating. 
Training a service dog is more than just sit, stay, and come.  These dogs are trained with the sit, stay, come and more as well as they are specifically trained for their owner and owner’s needs whether it is PTS, hearing, mobility or for the blind.  A PTS service dog is trained to pick up on their owner’s anxiety or panic symptoms.   Not only is the dog but also the owner who is in training.  The training does not come cheap and is not necessarily the easiest either.  So when someone attempts to pass off their dog as a service dog when they are not, it is downgrading all the time and training that others have put into a real service dog as well as adds additional stress on to those who are real owner’s with real service dogs. 

She always wears her vest.
Establishments, whether retail, restaurants, government or non-government should have in their orientation program how to handle individuals with service dogs even those who are fake.  It should be a mandatory program and be updated as everything else within their orientation program.  Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are trying to distinguish fake versus real service dogs however it is difficult because as long as someone states their dog is a service dog there is nothing an establishment can do for now.
As for distinguishing an individual with PTS or not, well, trust me one can tell if an individual is suffering from true PTS or not.  Ask any wife, loved one, caregiver or professional of those who treat a veteran with PTS and they will verify there are signs of when their loved one is suffering or is having issues because of their PTS.   To outsiders it is an invisible disorder but to those who live with or live with some who lives with it, it is NOT an invisible disorder. 

One day, hopefully soon, PTS Service Dogs will become a reality for our veterans and their families.  While, those who abuse the system with fake service dogs will hopefully realize the disrespect and disregard to others they are causing. 

#veteranservicedog #servicedog #pug #hearingdog #pugs #puglife #pugnation #hearingservicedog #fakeservicedog #ada #ptsisforreal #veterans #familiesofveterans #caregivers #stopfakeservicedogs #marspets #americanhumanesociety #veteransadministration 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Just in Case You Need To Feed The Dog

This past March was another successful Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida.  This year’s pet expo was even larger than year’s prior so it was so nice to be able attend.  With so many new pet products, treats, food, and gadgets out there it is hard to always narrow it down however there was one particular product that caught my eye because of today’s society with the hustle and bustle between work schedules, children’s schedule, the crazy weather going on and etcetera.  So now that I have your attention I won’t keep you waiting it is the PetNet SmartFeeder. 

The PetNet SmartFeeder allows you to feed your pet even when you are running behind.  It is a feeder that will store up to seven pounds of pet food connected to a bowl which is released by you through an application on your phone or table.  You download the SmartFeeder app to your phone or tablet, you are able to program it to the serving size and time for your pet to be fed or if there is a question the app will assist you to help personalize the SmartFeeder to your specific pet.  Once the SmartFeeder dispenses the food it will alert you so you know your pet, whether it be a dog or cat, was fed.  The SmartFeeder will also store and operate up to about seven hours if the power was to go out.  This is great alternative especially during busy times of year such a tax time for accountants, florists during Valentine’s Day, or in the event of an emergency you can rest assures your pet is being fed. 

The SmartFeeder can also assist with those pets that tend to overeat because it dispenses by portion control.  The feeder will only dispense the food by how it was programed per activity level, weight and type of pet.  Please still seek the medical advice from their veterinarian but the SmartFeeder can assistance with portion control for those breeds that have a tendency to overeat.  So far, all good things from one little reasonably price feeder. 

The one final thing is the PetNet SmartFeeder should not be and is not intended to be in replace of you being there to spend time with your pet.  This is not what they are saying; this is only a tool to help make things easier to owning a pet but not to replace spending time with your pet. 

#PetNet #SmartFeeder #Overeater #pug #pugs #veteranservicedog #servicedog #eating #feed #dogbowl #pets #petfeeding #globalpetexpo #pugnation #puglife #food #feedingtime