Monday, September 27, 2010

Carry pet stuff
and stay fashionable

"Pursekets" are all the rage, fellow pet peeps. These cute little wrap ups come in various sizes and prints. When getting ready for the dog park, you could just grab a roll up and stuff the pockets with your keys, your cell phone, your pet's ID info, treats, portable water and food containers and more, depending on the size of your bag or tote.

You could get a second roll up and preload it with your own items, including cosmetics, a mirror, appointment book, checkbook, and more and with a switch of a rollup, be ready to dash out the door for work or a night out. Click below for all the information.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bad businesses

It's unusual for something that hits me the wrong way to pop up twice in one day, but it happened yesterday.

First, a friend of mine forwarded an email sent to her from someone claiming to be huge pet lovers, especially for those poor little rescue doggies, doncha know. They were asking pet people like her, and pet businesses like mine, to help them promote their free pet-related eBook. They even included a copy of the eBook, although it will also be available as a download on their web site. And since they're mailing this out to pet lovers, they figured easy marks like me would love the eBook and would help market it through our web sites and our newsletters.

And normally, I would have. Except...they have a business and sell items which I am morally against; specifically, electronic dog training and containment products, like electronic fencing. In light of that, I consider theirs to be an anti-pet business.

If you don't think animals feel pain having electronic products used on them, try hooking yourself up to them sometime. I've done this - a company wanted to prove my concerns about electronic fencing to be silly - and the shock brought tears to my eyes and my finger they wrapped the connector around hurt the rest of the day!

Even though they aren't charging for the eBook, the URL of this business's web site was given on at least two pages of the eBook. To me, that is a very sneaky way to promote one's business, sort of a bait and switch. They basically said, "We have a business that sells products that are controversial to the health and safety of animals, so we'll write up this sappy little eBook about animals that get rescued, and get pet-related businesses like yours to help us promote it, giving us some validity and making it seem like you agree with our product and its uses."

Later, I found an article online about a company that is volunteering to adopt a dog park in southern Florida. The company is going to get its engineers and architects involved to develop and build improvements to the dog park and even sponsor community activities for pets and their people at the park. Wow, what a wonderful corporate neighbor.

Sounds all nicey-nicey until one does a bit of Googling and learns the company sells "cutting edge dog training products." A quick visit to their web site to learn the specifics about these products reveals, yup, you guessed it, electronic fences, remote trainers and bark control devices.

Both these situations personify a very dishonest way to promote a business. That's why I am writing about it in this blog. Pet people need to be forewarned - people who could care less about pets, indeed, who are actually promoting or selling products that harm them - are out there, trying to get our sympathies, our admiration, but most of all, our business. It's a new trend we can do without.

Monday, September 13, 2010

No more excuses

I learned something today. I learned there are no more excuses to not have a dog park in every city or town in Florida.

Panama City just got their second off-leash dog park. (The first was Zollie Young Park on 43rd Street.) It doesn't have a name yet, at least none I could find, so I'll just call it Everitt Dog Park for now since it's located at 1137 Everitt Avenue.

With about two acres of land, some tables, water fountains and restrooms, Everitt Dog Park isn't anything real fancy at this point. But there are plans to add amenities and people and their pooches are lining up to use it.

The park is operated by Bay County and guess what? It's not costing tax payers one red cent. That's always been a big fat excuse used by some cities or counties not to organize and build a dog park for its residents. And if there ever is some interest expressed in some municipalities, the letters to the editor start from poor, non-pet-loving residents convinced they'll have to pay for something they will never use. (Forget about the childless couples, or men and women age 50 or over without kids, who still have to pay ever-increasing school taxes.)

Bay County Commissioner Jerry Girvin said the dog park cost about $16,000, but it was paid for with something called "recreational impact fees. That means there was actually no balance left to be paid with taxes.

If you're interested in helping to form a dog park in your area and want to know how Bay County Commissioners managed it without shredding their clothes and gnashing their teeth, you can contact Commissioner Girvin by writing to him at:

If you'd like to see a pretty decent listing of dog parks throughout Florida, check out our Places to Play.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Protecting our pets when we're not home

Lately there have been so many news reports about humans and pets losing their lives in house fires. The value of structures and personal belongings involved can be calculated and reimbursed through insurance companies, but the people and their animal companions are priceless and irreplaceable.

Fortunately, there are simple ways we can all get proactive about safety and minimize the chance of such a terrible tragedy happening to our family.

We should start by picking up some of those colorful decals to press onto our storm doors and windows that alert emergency responders to the presence of animals inside our home. There are spaces on the decals to list the number of dogs, cats, and other species of animals living in the house. We need to make sure we keep those numbers up to date. If we now only have 3 animals, we don't want firefighters risking their lives searching and searching for animal number 4 who passed on to Rainbow Bridge last year. While most online pet supplies sell these decals, we can get some free at ASPCA or print off one at home from ARF, and buy the materials to make clinging decals from our local office supply store.

A second must-have decal is the "Animal Alert Card." It is also available as a download from ARF. This card will alert emergency or medical workers there are animals relying on us to return and care for their needs and provides a name and number of someone to notify in case we are unable to do so.

Another way to make sure we and our pets stay safe and sound in case of fire or other emergency is to sign up with a monitoring service. For years, my husband and I laughed off the idea of needing a security service since we had multiple dogs and figured their collective bark was deterrent enough. That is until a friend asked us what the plan was for our pets if the house caught fire, or if there was a dog-hating intruder, and we weren't home. We researched several companies, asked lots of questions, and then decided on BroadCom Security (I think they've recently merged with ADT.) For more choices, just do a quick Google search for "home security systems."

I want to encourage everyone reading this to at least get the decals mentioned. I cannot tell you how much more prepared and secure we personally feel since taking the above steps. The bottom line for all pet guardians is to do what we can to protect all the members of our packs.