Tuesday, December 29, 2015

BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday: 2015 A Bella Retrospective

December 7, 2014
First Car Ride with My New Family
I think I'm gonna like them!
#foreverhome #adoptdontshop

December 25, 2014
My First Christmas
My First Forever Family
My First Person
January 2015
I <3 snow! But if you throw another snow ball and pretend
it's a real ball, we are going to have a problem.

February 2015
My Favorite Nap Partner
Best Valentine Ever

March 2015
I just love sticks. There's nothing I love more.
Except cardboard boxes with food in them...And treats...
And getting my way...
What were we talking about? Oh, yea...I love sticks!

April 2015
This is my hammiest. And it's fabulous.

May 2015
I love to catch things in mid air. You would too if you
were as fast and strong as I am.

June 2015
Things got a bit crazy at the dog park. All that happened is
my face got in the way of someone's paw.
Dominance fighting between two males?
All I saw was wrestling! #mybad

July 2015
This is my favorite stick. It's rubber. And orange. And fabulous.

August 2015
When she is working and I am waiting. I do not like waiting.

September 2015
A DIY Scavenger Hunt for me and cup of coffee for her.
We both win. :0P

October 2015
This is Henry. He was my first Foster visitor. He was awesome.
You never forget your first. Happy Tails Henry!

November 2015
Bike riding with my humans. It's the best!

November 26, 2015
First Thanksgiving with my Forever Family!

December 2015
So. Much. Win.
December 25, 2015
Merry Christmas Everyone!
From a clothes adverse Cattle Dog

It's been a year since I found my forever home. Happy Adoptaversary to my family and to me!
Thanks for sharing my first year in my forever home with me!

What was your favorite part of 2015?

Monday, December 28, 2015

FREE PRIZE Giveaway - Help Bella Pick Out Her Human's New Cross Body Bag from Kohl's

It's Contest Time!

We're giving away this PAWsome Pet Prize Pack:

Pet Health Hypoallergenic Shampoo
Tomlyn Relax & Calm Chews
TropiClean Fresh Breath +Plus Dental Chew
PetNaturals of Vermont Scoot Bar
Aspenpet MaxGlow Glow in the Dark Leash
Halo Grain-Free Cat Formula Spot's Stew
KC's Labs All Natural Dog Treat
TLC Dog Food $10 Savings Voucher

 Here are the details:

My hu-mom needs a purse but she just can't decide! We went to Marshall's and Kohl's and found lots to choose from but she (FINALLY lol) narrowed it down to the Relic Evie Flap Cross Body Bag.

Here's the trouble - it comes in lots of colors and she can't choose between them! 

So I said we should get help choosing. The new bag will be featured in lots of shopping sprees with me and my hu-mom, so we want to make sure YOU like it too! I do have my favorite but I don't want to influence your vote.

Here are the choices, the voting steps and the prizes - 

All so pretty! But which one, which one!?
We can't decide. We can't choose. We need the help from all of you!

To vote:

1 - Fill out THIS FORM
2 - SHARE the following post on Facebook or Twitter: I just VOTED (Choice) for #bellasbags You can vote too at http://bit.ly/votebellasbags
3 - COMMENT in this post with your favorite

You can do one, 2 or all three! Each vote counts toward the total and counts as an ENTRY TO WIN OUR PET PRIZE PACK.

Do ALL THREE and get DOUBLE your contest entries! YAY!

Voting closes January 4, 2016 at 11:59pm and winner will be announced Wednesday, January 6, 2016.

Let's talk about what's in the awesome PET PRIZE PACK!

Post a selfie of you, your pup and your favorite handbag! What do you love most about it? Use #bellasbags so we see your selfies!

This post contains affiliate links. 🐶

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dog Friendly Stores with In Store Pick Up - A Holiday Miracle for Last Minute Dog Loving Shoppers! (and a Holiday poem!)

Dogs Gone Shopping - A Christmas Poem by Bella Victoria

Where ya goin? Can I come too? 

Yes, Yes said she! We're headed to bed. Curl up on the quilt and lay down your soft head.

Were you leavin'? Can I come with you?

Yes, Yes said she! We're going to friends'. With Calico and Cricket the fun never ends!

What's up with your feet? Can my paws follow suit?

Yes, Yes said she! We're PetSmart bound! We ordered online now we head into town!

Who you seein'? Will my leash surely do?

Yes, Yes said she! To the Groomer and Vet! They can't wait to see you and give you a pet!

But what about shopping, it's Holiday bliss! The stores are all filled for both Mr. and Miss!

No, no silly girl. That's for Service Dogs working. Not Cattle Dogs leashed, and sniffing and jerking. 

But wait, what is this? There is good news afoot! Stores don't just approve Santa covered in soot...

They also rejoice at your four furry paws and your tail wagging round and your clackity claws!

This is great, this is cool! I'm a dog on the town! You just wait there, we are coming right down!

Tis a holiday story wrapped up in a bow! Last minute shopping with furry friend in tow.

You ordered online, and they shopped just for you. I won't tell a soul of what's green and what's blue.

We'll go down the aisles...we'll walk and we'll run! The children and staff will get licks just for fun!

So when you get your presents from under the tree. Don't mind the  paw prints from my wrapping spree.

I helped pick it out. I can help unwrap it too. Merry Christmas to she and to him and to you!

The Full Story - A Holiday Miracle for Last Minute Dog Lovers - by Trista Polo

Bella is an active Cattle Dog mix and needs 3 hours of activity per day - a mix of physical and mental work is best for her. She's a working dog breed and she really needs a job. The daylight is shorter, the weather is cooler and my schedule is fuller. All of that adds up to limited work/play time for Bella and me.

In the car, ready to shop!
I have been racking my brain with how to juggle my busy schedule and Bella's need for activity. How to get it all done - the running around that seems to fill the Holiday season - and still keep Bella's mental and physical well being in tact.

If only I could kill two birds with one stone! There are so many hours in a day, Christmas is fast approaching and there is still so much to do!

I'm happy to say that I found a great way to get everything done, spend plenty of time with Bella and leverage the little amount of time I have.

Here's my sure fire Holiday Miracle for Last Minute Dog Loving Shoppers in 3 easy steps:

1st - Occupy Puppy!
Make sure you have fully stocked food puzzles, frozen Kongs or other indoor activities that keep your dog busy.

Home Depot, Here We Come!
2nd - Shop Online!
Leverage ONLINE SHOPPING at your favorite stores that meet the following criteria: They have in store pick up AND they let you bring your dog into the store. (More on this later!)

3rd - Leash up and head out!
You and your BFF (Best Furry Friend) can have fun adventures at stores all around town wracking up curious stares, big smiles and happy children everywhere you go!

Below are the details that we learned through trial and error, so your first trip out is as worry and stress free as possible. =)

Occupy Puppy! - This may not be necessary for your pup, but if I'm home, Bella looks for more attention than your average dog. "A tired Cattle Dog is a good Cattle Dog" is an expression quite apropos. Unfortunately, since I don't work a typical office job where I can do my shopping online at work (I know YOU don't do that either!) I have to find time at home to do it. And if I'm home, I should be playing with Bella right? We use food puzzles as our main way to feed Bella. I'll be doing a review soon on many of the available puzzles out there. In the meantime, a Frozen Kong is always a good bet. You can watch my How To video for this option - it's been a a great option to keep Bella busy all year round.

Now that your pup is occupied, it's time to...

These lines are long!
Shop Online! - Imagine you are going into a store with your pup in tow for the first time. You have your car keys, purse, phone, leash, poop bags (definitely don't forget these! ;-)  ) and now you need to deal with shopping cart, buying things, standing in line at check out, having your things rung up, getting out your credit card...and you are still expected to have holiday spirit! By the way, they don't have those handy-dandy dog leash hooks at every cashier that are so conveniently located at the Vet counter. So at least when you are a shopping spree with dog newbie, get the bulk of your shopping done first. We love to shop at www.ShopWithBella.com - We can still shop at our favorite dog-friendly stores PLUS AND we get up to 50% Cash Back every time we shop. And bonus - we feed our #shoppingannuity with each purchase. If you want to see if your favorite dog-friendly stores offer cash back - you can check that here: http://bit.ly/bellastores. One more tip about shopping at www.ShopWithBella.com - I recommend you download Shop Buddy, a free widget that will get you cash back, current coupon codes and the best price all around the internet even if you forget to ShopWithBella.com. There's a full list of stores that offer the Trifec-dog below (In Store Pick Up + Dog Friendly + Cash Back).

I'll Take This one!
Leash Up and Head Out! - You'll get the hang of this after a few trips, I promise! It's very odd the first time you go to a store like Macy's and walk in with your dog on a leash. I kept wondering when someone would yell at me. I was defensive waiting for a hard time from an employee. It never happened though! We got lots of smiles and even some friendly pets. =) It's definitely worth a little stress and uncertainty at first because once you and your BFF start shopping together you won't want to shop anywhere that says "Service Dogs Only." Here are some things to keep in mind when heading out with your pup. It's not just about pet stores! Yes, PetSmart and Pet Co welcome your furry family and friends. And you may have heard that Home Depot is also a great place to take your pup along. But did you know that Macy's, Lowes and Gap do too? Popsugar.com wrote an article and some great dog-friendly stores made the list. See their full list here. Before you shop, take these tips to heart.
Barnes & Noble Poughkeepsie
Is No Place for Dogs =(

- Call first! Even though Barnes and Noble is on the NICE list in the Popsugar article, our local B&N is Service Dogs only.

- Consider a leash/harness combo for more control in the stores! There are a lot of people walking around the store and you want to maintain the best and most humane control possible. No long leashes and keep a tight reign on your pup when shopping.

- Go during off-peak hours! It's not just about fewer feet in the stores...you also have less parking lot traffic to navigate. It's safer and will ultimately be less stressful.

A $320 toy from MK -  I can has it?
- Seriously! Poop bags! You just never know. Pet stores are great about cleaning up after your pet. Don't expect a Macy's employee to run to your rescue. Be prepared to deal with whatever comes your way.

- Keep your purchases to a minimum or bring another set of hands along! Remember, if you bring your pup into the store, you will be bringing your pup out of the store with whatever else you purchase. So bring a friend along to carry the bags or keep your purchases to a minimum.

Home Depot is a great "Find It" spot!
- Training Treats optional! If your dog responds well to them, as Bella does, you can use them to distract your pup from the merchandise, frightened children and other things that may catch her attention. They are also a great way to grab some fun photo ops or even play a game of "Find It" in Home Depot!

- Be patient and have fun! This is a great option for spending time with your pup and getting some last minute holiday shopping done. Be prepared, be patient and have fun!

Bella is a high energy dog who is still learning to be on a leash and LOVES dogs and people. These tips are based on our own trial and error experiences and we quickly got the hang of it. No teeth marks on leather, no accidents and no embarrassing stories. We'll definitely be doing lots more shopping together!

These 12 Stores make the Trifec-Dog List!

They offer In Store Pick Up, Cash Back and are Dog Friendly! (Plus all of these stores have lots of great coupon savings you'll find when you click the store link)
Where have you shopped with your BFF? Any other tips you can share to make these outings awesome?

This post contains affiliate links. 🐶

Friday, December 18, 2015

More Holiday Gifts for Your Furry Friends

Most animal lovers will tell you, pets are part of the family. Whether you wrap their gifts and place them under the tree or they have their very own personalized stocking, chances are your furry friend will be receiving gifts for Christmas as well. ShopWithBella.com has millions of products to choose from to spoil your furry friends so that they don’t feel left out on Christmas morning! Read on for this year’s holiday gift ideas for pets!

Pet Lounger

This Lazy Zebra Pet Lounger is a purr-fect gift for the feline in your life. Not only does it feature machine washable orthopedic foam, it also comes with a Manufacturer’s 1-year warranty. If zebra print isn’t your pet’s style or you would like a larger one to accommodate your dog, shop from a wide variety of additional pet beds HERE.

PetHealth™ Products

PetHealth offers 6 great products that make great stocking stuffers! Enjoy hypoallergenic, medicated shampoos and ear washes, Pad and Palm Balm for cold climates or hot pavements and a MulitVitamin and OPC formula to protect your pet from the inside out! View the whole line of PetHealth products HERE.

Personalized Treat Jar

This personalized treat jar is a delightful way to store your pet’s favorite treats. Personalize it with your pet’s name, plus earn 4% Cashback from Miles Kimball. Your pet may not be a fan of an empty treat jar- find pet treats to fill up the new jar HERE.

Toys for Playtime

Your cats will love being able to play and explore in their very own Kong Interactive Tunnel. Earn 4% Cashback when you purchase this interactive cat tunnel sold by PetSmart, the nation’s largest pet supply retailer. Discover more exciting toys for your cats and/or dogs HERE.

Warm Apparel

Nothing says “trendy pup” like this Klippo Pet Argyle Pattern Turtleneck Sweater. Not only will it keep your dog warm and snuggly in those cold winter winds, it’s also very stylish. Not a fan of argyle? Take a look at other apparel options HERE.

Bella provided her own list a few posts ago. Check it out here.

Have you already picked out the perfect gift for your pet? Comment below and add to our gift list! Or you can tweet us your gift picks using the hashtags #accordingtobella #shopwithbella

This post contains affiliate links. 🐶

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dutchess County SPCA "12 Days of Holiday Giving" Donation Drive

By Trista Polo

The 12 Days of Holiday Giving has concluded but you can still help them reach their goal! 

This past Saturday, December 5th, Bella got to meet Santa Paws! We headed out to the Dutchess County SPCA in Hyde Park, NY for their "12 Days of Holiday Giving" event! This is their first “12 Days of Holiday Giving,” donation drive to benefit animals in need beginning December 1 through December 12. Written to the tune of the popular “12 Days of Christmas” carol, the DCSPCA is asking for pet-related items on its wish list, including monetary gifts toward a new SUV for Humane Law Enforcement, to be donated at designated drop-off locations or the donation drive page on Giving Grid at www.givinggrid.com/dcspca

Read on about our day and how you can help the DCSPCA reach their fundraising goal of $50,000 by Saturday!

When we arrived to the DCSPCA it was electric with activity and holiday spirit. Vendors stood at the entrance with so many wonderful gifts for dogs and humans alike! Yvette Yeomans, from Pampered Chef, was in a great spot to see the parade of dogs - and cats! - arriving throughout the day. Yvette says, "My favorite...was the enclosed carriage that came in carrying a cat. I looked over and saw a cat peeking through the mesh. As they went by, I could see the cat was wearing a dress. I found out later that the dress was hand made." 

A photo with Santa, taken by local pet (and people) photographer Al Nowak of On Location Studios, was the main attraction for most that attended. There was also plenty of time to shop and visit the resident "Adoptables" in Cat Land and Dog Village. According to Peggy O'Brien Jones of the DCSPCA, there are approximately 25-30 dogs and over 100 cats in residence at any one time.

Bella was definitely excited to see Santa...but being a dog's dog, she was much more interested in the many new faces (and butts) roaming around on four paws. There was a band of 6 Corgis, a group of 4 Greyhounds, a trio of 3 Cockers, a pair of Bernese Mountain Dogs, a Great Dane and even a Crate Escape alum.

Santa Paws, or Keith Jones as he is known the other 364 days per year, is a regular at the DCSPCA. Now that he is retired from his IT job at Avon, Keith volunteers regularly as a dog walker there. He has donned the Santa hat 4 or 5 times for pups and is wonderful with them. He was having a ball and it was no surprise to me when he told me he is quite an animal lover. The thing he loves most about volunteering at the DCSPCA is that despite their hard life, the rescues are "still trusting and affectionate. They have been abused but still seek out humans."

Keith and his wife Peggy (the DCSPCA employee mentioned above) have 3 dogs of their own at home. A 5 year old Golden named Dylan, a 2 1/2 Golden named Abby and a recent addition of Jessie (formerly Sweetie) a lab mix that chose Peggy's desk as the favorite place to nap during her short stint as a resident of the DCSPCA. 

I asked Peggy how things have been going with the fundraising efforts of the "12 Days of Holiday Giving" and it sounds like they have a way to go to meet their goal. They are 100% donation funded with no support from Government funding or grants. If you can help by dropping a donation at any of the locations below, it would be a huge step toward helping them reach their goal. You can also SHARE this article far and wide to your family and friends and help them get the word out for a last push toward helping them reach their goal.

Donation drop-off locations include:

· Ulster Savings Bank – 7296 South Broadway in Red Hook
· Rondout Savings Bank – 4269 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park
· Adams Fairacre Farms – 765 Dutchess Turnpike in Poughkeepsie
· A Cat’s Place – 738 U.S. 9 #15 in Fishkill
· Snug Harbor – 38 Main St. in New Paltz
· PetSmart – 2534 South Road in Poughkeepsie
· Iseman, Cunningham, Riester & Hyde, LLP – 3208 Franklin Ave. in Millbrook
· Senator Sue Serino’s office – 4254 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park
· All Sport – 17 Old Main in Fishkill
· Healey Chevrolet – 1960 South Road in Poughkeepsie

“Donations from the community are vital to the success of our organization,” said Hope Gamble, Executive Director of the DCSPCA. “Our goal is to raise the funds and necessities we need through the ‘12 Days of Holiday Giving’ drive that will help us to continue our mission work in the new year and increase awareness on all the ways we serve the community. In 2016, we seek to expand our programs and services to offer more low cost medical services for community pet owners, as well as update our popular animal welfare educational curriculum throughout Dutchess County.”

We had a wonderful time meeting all the dogs and their humans. Bella was worn out when we got home - a very unusual state for her active mind and body! We were glad to support such a great cause and organization. 

What is a favorite memory you have of the DCSPCA and its adoptables? Please share with me and share this article with your friends and family. Let's spread some holiday cheer for the animals at the DCSPCA!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy Bellaversary! It's Bella's 1 year Adoptiversary today!

By Trista and Bella

An Open Letter From Trista to Bella:

I can't believe a year has gone by since you came home. It's been an amazing year with lots of learning, growing, adventuring. And yet, it went so fast I wonder why we didn't fit more in! We haven't taken you sailing or for lunch at an outdoor eatery or even to visit grandma. We have done lots of great stuff though - tons of miles of bike riding, trips to meet and greet family and hours logged at local Hudson Valley dog parks. You even got to help foster a cat and a few dogs so you could pay your new life forward to other rescues in need.

The most exciting thing about your first year as a Polo is the launching of AccordingToBella.com. You are such a ham and smart as a whip. With such a big personality, it has been a challenge learning how to co-exist in our suburban home with a working schedule. Honestly, you needs a job - and I don't mean "Internet Personality" or "Bed Destroyer"! I know you would settle for always being by my side - at every meeting, every errand and every client visit. You are still plenty of puppy and I'm still learning how to train a dog with your skills and intellect. So we are both still works in progress. I'm happy to brag about your progress on leash - a larger undertaking than I expected because of your interest in other dogs - you have mastered so many commands and tricks and the ones you haven't are absolutely due to my inexperience in how your brain works.

I am happy I have a place to share the things we are learning, which I think can be of real value to others with overly active dogs. It is also a place we can expand Foster education - a topic I have become quite passionate about since I learned about the challenges foster dogs, foster families and rescues have.

I can't wait to see what the next year brings. We have a lot to look forward to! Mastering on and off leash training, lots of new tricks (should we try agility?), and many new adventures. Could "Service Dog" be a job for you? No matter what adventures we take, I know they will be better because we're taking them together.

Happy Adoptiversary Bella!! You stole my heart through Facebook and hold it in your paws every single day.

xoxo Trista

An Open Letter from Bella Victoria,
Rescue Heeler Mix from Poughkeepsie:

I woulda done fine no matter where I ended up. I am a survivor and my toothy grin gets me fans wherever I go. I also have this way of turning any situation around. Like if you're upset, I make myself really small and crawl into your lap and lick you gently until you smile - so I woulda made it anywhere.

When I got to NY I hung out with Jessie and Lana and Shelby. We had a great time and I coulda stayed their forever. I love visiting them even now whenever I can. But I was a little too much for Shelby because we would play a lot but she would always get tired way before I did and at 8 months old, I didn't really know how to stop till I was ready to stop.

A year ago today I found my forever family. It was tough because I found them through Bookfaces and I still think a mouse is something fun to run after in the short grasses.

We met in Beacon, which really excited me at first because I thought we were meeting in Bacon. But even though there was no bacon there, my new family was waiting so it was good too.

I have my own yard, my own chair, my own couch, my own bed, my own security perch that they call a bay window. I have a constant stream of Frozen Kongs and puzzles. Most of all I have people who love me so much I forgive them that they don't have any cows.

Here is to another year of stealing your spot when you get up...to alerting you when dangerous children walk by...to welcoming ladies by sniffing their butts...to playing "Find It" and "Fetch" and "Stick Ball".

We have a lot of work to do to help other families handle active dogs like me. My birthday wish is that all dogs find a home and get to live happily ever after, even if they are active working smart herding hands full like me.

Now where is that pupcake I was promised!

Bella Out!