Archive for June, 2010

Claiming Canine Costs is in the House…

July 31, 2010 makes a year when the H.A.P.P.Y (“Humanity and Pets Partnered Through The Years”) Act was first introduced into the House of Representatives.

No new updates on its progress as of today however; this Act (H.R. 3501) proposes that those who own their dogs legally, will be able to claim as much as $3,500 on their tax returns for qualified veterinarian care.

We all know that these furry friends often provide a sense of camaraderie, comfort, and unconditional love and research supports this fact with a 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, indicating that 63 percent of United States households own a pet.

With the state of the economy now and for some who have pets with pre-existing conditions, the option of pet health insurance is not an option. And what about those whose canine companions are now older and prone to illness, resulting in more frequent trips to vet? Average costs for dog care is close to $1,000 a year and with unforseen clinical needs, this cost could easily rise.

Betsy Dribben, vice president of government relations for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says she is realistic about the bill’s prospects. But with more attention being paid to the fate of pets whose owners lose their homes, she said interest is growing on Capitol Hill and beyond about how the government can respond.

“There is a move afoot. There is a general acknowledgement that people really care about their pets,” Dribben said. “Taking care of pets does cost money, and during the dramatic decline of people’s income and the shaky economy, any possibility of assisting people in meeting those costs should be looked at.”

I agree and if you do as well… make your voice heard via your Representative!

To read this Bill in its entirety click HERE.

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Dog Eat What?

When Kenny arrived from Boonville, MO, at 11 weeks-old, strict instructions were given to us on how to care for him – from food to eat, snacks to give and water to drink. I paid special attention, as I wanted to make the transition into his new home as smooth as possible. With direction to feed him Iams ‘dry,’ he ate that religiously for six months. I often wondered if he were getting bored because his bowl would be full for long periods of the day. After a week of observation, I started to research some alternatives. While Iams may be a great product for some, aside from cooking for him everyday, like some of my dog-owning neighbors (lol!)
I knew his puppy palate was looking for something else.

Grammy's Pot Pie

The first change we made was to Merrick brand dog food. We tried both the wet Grammy’s Pot Pie and also the dry. I followed the rule of adding a bit of the new into his old and then phasing out completely. Kenny seemed to like this and we carried on for about three months. I thought the wet was a tasty change with the complementary dry and then it happened again – bowl full. Not eating.

Spot's Stew

Next up? Halo brand’s Spot’s Stew was recommended by Petco staff and Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul – because my Dad’s Pom/Maltese – Sasha- eats this, and Kenny helped himself to her bowl around the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Once we got back home, the challenge was looking for stores that sold Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul. The one bag that I bought went far, but soon to the wayside. It has now been close to eight months and we are still going strong with Halo’s Spot’s Stew in chicken and sometimes, salmon.

Zuke's Mini Naturals

Concerning treats, we tried several types of snacks/biscuits but our faves are Zukes’ mini naturals (which is how Ken was “click” trained) and Old Mother Hubbard’s all natural biscuits, cheese and oatmeal flavors (he’s over these). Currently I do indulge him with a creme sandwich cookie from Petco and a piece of roast chicken, on occasion.

Bottom line? We don’t eat the same thing everyday, why should we expect our dogs to do the same? Pay attention to your Dog’s behavior. In this case, their actions will speak louder than words.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles? We’ll take the latter.

The more I think about it, our Summer travels are primarily road trips. Maybe it’s because we tend to drive South to go to the Outer Banks (NC), at least twice a year, or up North with a trip to Martha’s Vineyard or somewhere in the New England area. Last year we missed out on a few Caribbean trips so if there is time left this Summer, we may take one final trip that involves flying – where in that case Kenny will board with his groomer or a family friend. It has become apparent that when traveling with Kenny it is ideal that we travel by car b/c it is the least expensive and for us, more comfortable.

So starting with our Memorial Day weekend trip down to the Virginia Beach/Outer Banks area, I was challenged to search for a nice hotel that accommodates and/or welcomes pets. I hit the jackpot in Chesapeake with W Hotels’ newest ‘vision’ line – Aloft.

Aloft Hotel - Chesapeake

Aloft Chesapeake is a bold new hotel featuring loft-inspired designs in Virginia’s vibrant Hampton Roads region. We tend to stay in between VA Beach and the Outer Banks so that we are able to enjoy the boardwalk of VA Beach and both beachfronts and with the pet policy (they are welcome with no extra fees) we are loving this hotel!

My 2 cents? The Aloft Chesapeake is absolutely perfect for us dog owners! A very cool hotel with the “W” feel. Our dogs are treated as guests with their own treats, upon arrival, substantial walking grounds all around and poo bag dispensers on property. As for us? Aloft is located near the Greenbriar Mall, the yummy Joe’s Crab Shack (get the crab nachos), has decent sized rooms and great Bliss products in the bathroom!