Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bella's Trip to Staples - Is Staples a Dog Friendly Store ?

By Trista Polo

Shopping with your dog is definitely a growing trend. Some stores are quicker to get on board than others. Home Depot has been known to be dog friendly for quite some time. We frequent Marshall's too but those trips are shorter because the customers seem to find it odd that there's a dog walking around near by.

I think the growing dog shopping phenomenon is due to the increased awareness of the dangers of leaving your dog in the car. The Humane Society says that a dog left in a car could be dealing with temperatures of over 100 degrees inside the car, even with the temperature outside is cool. They also report that open windows appear to have little affect on the inside temperature of the car. You can read their whole article here.

Recently I needed to make a trip to Staples to print out color certificates for an upcoming training I was leading in Fishkill, NY. I thought this was the perfect shopping trip for Bella. I wouldn't be there long and the print center at Staples is open and spacious. If you Google, "Is Staples Dog Friendly" today, you get mixed reviews. In 2008, an LA Times article noted Staples as being open to service dogs only but it seems they Staples is loosening their grip on that rule, depending on the store...and likely it is at management discretion.

I have learned my lesson at Barnes & Nobel and called first. I made sure to speak to a manager - a lesson I learned at Kohl's - and asked the following question:

"I need to come in and get some stuff printed but I have my dog with me. I don't want to leave her in the car because you know how people are these days..they'll probably call the police. So I'd like to bring her in with me...would that be ok?"

I worded it this way to assist him in giving me the answer I was looking for, which turned out to be quite effective. I could tell he was hesitant...resistant...leaning toward saying no.

He asked her size...if she would be leashed...if she was well behaved. I said yes. I also threw in that I would clean up after any mess she made. That was when he said (quite relieved) that it would be fine.

When I went to the store with Bella, I was a bit nervous about going in. I almost didn't do it. But then how could I write about the experience? ;-)

We went in and made a bee-line to the print center. I had her leashed and had treats with me to keep her occupied. Generally she was great. She got a bit bored and barked once...and on our way out she really wanted to sniff and say hello to a customer at another copier. But we made it out without incident or comment.

As the dog friendly store rules continue to unfold, my advice is to call and speak with a Manager to request permission. That way, you won't catch anyone by surprise and if an employee gives you a hard time you have a manager's name to refer to. Keep your dog leashed and happy (treats work best for Bella) and don't do anything to wear out your welcome. Most of all, clean up after your dog! A mess left in a store is the quickest way for a store to remove themselves from the dog friendly store list!

Where do you shop with your dog? What tips do you have to keep your dog on the "Welcome" list?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Treat Puzzle Review - IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy (small, large)

This is a review of the IQ Treat Ball Dog ToyI would recommend this toy and am offering you a way to purchase it through an affiliate link. This will provide a small income to me and Bella to help us further our cause for happy active dogs everywhere. You are not required to purchase it from us. If you decide to do so, know that we very much appreciate it. 🐶

Bella's Review:

This is the coolest because the treats roll around and make lots of noise when I play so I am always excited to see what pops out. Since the holey part is small, I have to work to get the treats out. It uses my smarts and I like that. My hu-mom keeps it on the hard setting because I have lots of smarts. Don't be jealous. You're probably smart too. It is exciting too cause I can smell what's in there but I can't get too it till I earn it. Bring it on!

Just the Facts: 

The IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy comes in 2 sizes - large and small. It has 3 parts ... the top and bottom that screw together and an internal barrier that keeps the treats from coming out on their own. The top has a hole that the treats can come out of when the ball is manipulated. The bottom is solid so you can't see what's in there. The internal barrier is also opaque and has an adjustable opening so you can change the difficulty and size of treats used. This is a durable toy that keeps your dog's interest as long as treats are in it. The hard plastic is not puncturable as long as you get the proper size (I don't recommend the small one for larger dogs for this reason).

Trista's Two Cents: 

Not much more to add except - get it, try it out and your dog will most likely love it. I recommend not letting your dog play without treats because a determined and frustrated dog could destroy it while trying to get non-existent treats out of it.

Enjoy! Get it here with cash back -
It's about $5-$10 at the writing of this post depending on if you are choosing small or large size.

For treats that work best in this treat puzzle, try some of these - small training treats

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Pet Medium's Journey - Ponce the Cat

This was my most challenging and interesting case to date. The cat and her family are so private, they have all requested that their names be changed. So they have been. I introduce you to Ponce the cat and her hu-mom Maria and future hu-dad Jose. Here's Ponce's story:

Ponce is a very fearful and private cat. She is known for being invisible when company comes over. She has been with Maria her whole life since she was a kitten and it's known that she was taken from her cat mother too early and never really recovered. She has shown herself 3 times to Jose since he has been coming around Maria's house for the last year. This is a HUGE step and has never happened even once with any other visitor. Maria said Ponce and Jose definitely have a strong fondness for each other and Jose has a goal to be able to pet Ponce some day.

As Maria and Jose have gotten more serious, a relocation to Jose's home is in Ponce's near future.

Maria is worried about how Ponce will take the move and has been making mental preparations for weeks. She has picked out where and how Ponce will be relocated to ensure she has as much comfort in her new surroundings as possible.

This is where I come in. Maria asked that I check in with Ponce about the move. My process when communicating with animals is as close to a conversation as you can imagine but without any words. I start the conversation always the same way.
Me: "Hello Ponce"
Po: "Hello"
Me: "I love you"
(usually they say I love you back)
Po: "OK"

Maria laughed when I shared this part. She said "That's just like her."

This was my first experience where I could sense her in my mind. She was on the right of my inner vision in a corner, crouched but neither laying nor standing. She was against the wall. The corner and the way she pressed against the wall made it look like her back was arched but she was not in an attack position - more like defensive, afraid, worried.

So the interview started. I'll share it here to the best of my recollection.

Me: "Ponce, what do you know?"
Po: "Pain...fear"

Me: "What do you like?"
Po: "Grass. Bugs. Dark places. Blankets."

Me: "Do you feel Maria loves you?"
Po: "It's hard."

Me: "Do you know Maria loves you?"
Po: "Yes."

Me: "Do you know Jose loves you?"
Po: "Yes."  - a warmth that I felt in my chest at the mention of his name

At the point we discussed the move, I could feel her fear in my chest.

I asked Maria to describe the house to me. I began to be an interpreter for Ponce and Maria - allowing Ponce to really hear Maria describe the new home and all of its rooms. Allowing Maria to hear Ponce's reactions through me. First Maria shared about the room where Ponce will move into for the first few days...a room she is calling her "Spirit Room." Ponce was elated to be in that room... a sacred space for Maria. When she heard it was in the cellar, that turned her sour. Maria offered a different room out of the cellar. A small room with a desk, but no hiding places. Ponce would rather be in the Spirit room even if it means being in the cellar. Her response to the smaller room was, "no no no no no no no no no."

Maria described a guest room with a king sized bed and really comfy blankets. Ponce immediately responded, "That's my room!" When she spoke of the room they would share as a family, with a king sized bed that would have plenty of room for both humans and cats, Ponce imagined herself stretching between them against each of their legs, cuddled in the blankets and thought, "that's my spot."

At the news of 3 levels of rooms and exploration, Ponce was intrigued. She knew she would be hiding on the upper floor when guests came to visit. She saw lots of possibility by the end of Maria's description of the future home.

In fact, Ponce was no longer in the corner crouched and fearful. She was away from the wall, peeking out, curious and wondering.

Maria wanted me to make sure Ponce knew this was Jose's house they were moving into. I began my connection again with Ponce.

Me: "Hello Ponce."
Po: "Hello."

Me: "I love you."
Po: "That's fine."

I would call that progress.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Pet Medium's Journey - Kupa the Cat

Kupa is a Maine Coon Cat who lives in the Hudson Valley. He is a love and enjoys people, the outdoors and being pet. His Hu-mom, Yvette, was concerned about his health so we did a little check in session with him.

Here's what happened:

Me: "Hello Kupa"

Me:            "Hello Kupa's body" (trying something else)
Ku's body: "Hello" (a very purry hello indeed)
Me:            "I love you."
Ku:             "I love you too."

Ok so Kupa wasn't talking. He didn't want to be part of this inquiry. But his body was willing so I decided we would go there instead.

Kupa is having some pain. I asked his body where and heard, "Liver and onions." I asked for his body to show me where and a dull ache started in my right lower abdomen and side. Yvette and I wondered if he was having issues with his liver. After our session, she researched issues with the liver for cats and found his symptoms consistent with liver issues.

I asked Kupa's body about food. Bottom line - he loves junk food but his body does not. He loves cheese (swiss, cheddar and brie but NOT Boursin or American) but his body definitely does not.

Raw chicken was a yes. Cooked chicken was a no.

This was my first time communicating with an animal, so frankly, I was surprised I got anything at all. Yvette shared that my communication with him felt right. And she went to slice him up some chicken.

Feel better Kupa!