Watch Adorable Animals and Feed Shelter Pets!

Want to help shelter animals but don’t have a lot of time or money to give? The Talking Animals Guy has teamed up with Iams Home 4 the Holidays to make it pretty easy to make a difference in the lives of rescue pets. Get this:

For every view AND every share of this year’s holiday singing animals compilation – through January 2nd – Iams will feed a shelter animal!

You heard me right. To help animals in shelters, all you have to do is watch an adorable video. Granted, it’s a Shiva-less video so it may not be as cute as others I’ve shared in the past, but I think  it’s at least bearable. Just click the little play button below and you’ve fed an animal in need.

Think you are up to the task?

It’s hard work but someone’s gotta do it.

Now that you have completed this grueling chore, why not force others to do the same? There is nothing worse than suffering alone.

 

Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s Notes, PupLove, Rescued Insanity, Woof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!

Today’s giveaway is sponsored by Our Name is Mud. Click here to enter to win adorable dog themed gifts, plus be entered to win our Grand Prize package worth more than $1000!

The 13 Project – A Pre-Report Card

There are only two weeks left of the year. Two! My heart stops beating when I think about how little time we have left in 2012. Despite the palpitations, I thought it would be a good time to see how I have come along in my goals for Pretty Fluffy’s 13 Project.

Do you remember those? The thirteen goals I committed to back in October when I thought the end of the year was light years away? The ones about completing acts of kindness for animals in my community? Does this ring any bells? Yes?

Dang. Because I forgot.

No, wait, that’s not true. I didn’t forget, precisely, I just put them away for later, along with my New Year’s resolution to relax and have more fun. Whatever happened to that, I wonder. I think I can be forgiven with all the madness that is caring for one spastic little kitten. This what I am going with either way.

Luckily, even though I let my commitments falter, I think I’ve fumbled my way through ticking many of them off:

1. Share and promote the 13 Project onlineDone!

2. Participate in National Pit Bull Awareness DayDone!

3. Contact my local shelter about becoming a foster home for cats or kittensDone!

4. Commit to running the 10K in next year’s Bluenose Marathon to raise $1,000 for the Nova Scotia SPCA – Done? Essentially?

5. Attend BarkWorld Expo and learn new ways to promote the awesomeness of catsDone! Though, I really need to start putting this into practice.

6. Purchase one of these calendars for my friends and family.

7. Share the photos of adoptable pets on Facebook and Pinterest.

8. On my blog share as many online campaigns I can find that support animal welfare but don’t require cash donations – such as this terrific #BTC4A campaign to raise $5,000 of Petco’s moneyHalf done, sorta…

9. Teach my cat a unique trick and share the video to spread awareness that cats are just as much fun as dogs – Crap, totally dropped the ball on this one…

10. Write a letter to Jungle Pets, the only store in the HRM that still sells puppies and kittens, to explain why I won’t shop thereDone!

11. Write a letter to Pets Unlimited, a chain that finally stopped selling puppies and kittens, to explain why I now will shop thereDone!

12. Donate pet food to Feed Nova Scotia.

13. Steal some more business cards from my favourite trainers to hand out and promote positive training methods.

Hmm…

Eight out of thirteen isn’t horrible, right? It’s a  passing grade. Just. My teenaged self is curling up in corner right now at the thought of getting anything less than an A. I might have to tweak some of these in order to accomplish the required number of items.  It’s going to require some creative thinking if I am going to succeed. I figure if I can pass twelfth grade chemistry, I can do anything!

Of course, as hard that lab exam involving molar enthalpies was, it didn’t involve getting a cat to follow directions. Before the year is out, I might be begging for questions on the difference between endothermic and exothermic reactions.

 

Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s Notes, PupLove, Rescued Insanity, Woof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!

Today’s giveaway is sponsored by the Honest Kitchen. Click here to enter to win a starter set of Honest Kitchen food, treats & more, plus be entered to win our Grand Prize package worth more than $1000!

Less Wordy Wednesday – Growing Up

The little one is getting so big, I am not sure how much time we have left with him.

It might be hard to tell, but compare the above photo with the one below. He has at least doubled in length!

Unfortunately, getting him to pose for a photo is just as hard now as it was then. Maybe harder as he doesn’t much care for being held in place anymore.

At only eight weeks, there is nothing wrong with his feline instincts to look anywhere but at the camera. The Cat, I am sure, is proud.

I’ll just have to keep trying and make the best of the time we have left. If he learns how to pose as well as Shiva, hopefully he’ll be adopted all the faster.

Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s Notes, PupLove, Rescued Insanity, Woof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!


Today’s giveaway is sponsored by Pet P.L.A.Y. Dog Beds. Click here to enter to win a luxury dog bone pillow & blanket, plus be entered to win our Grand Prize package worth more than $1000!

I Write Letters

Dear Pets Unlimited,

It’s been almost two years since I wrote you last. I am so pleased to say a lot has changed. Last summer you not only stopped selling puppies and kittens in your stores, but you teamed up with local shelters to promote adoption. Many locations even host actual adoption centres, helping reduce strain on shelters and placing even more cats in loving homes.

The turn around in your policies has been amazing. Hopefully you will serve as a model for others to follow. Whereas before I vowed to avoid your stores at all costs to the point of paying more for the same products elsewhere, I am now proud to be a Pets Unlimited customer. Even though I have moved and you are no longer as convenient as you once were, I will often go out of my way to shop in your store. You have better selection, you are a Canadian company, and you are affordable. Thank you for recognizing the needs and wishes of the people in your communities.

By the way… You wouldn’t happen to have one of those “PJ’s Pets” cards kicking around with my name on it, would you? I can’t seem to find my old one.

Warm regards,

Kristine, a proud customer

 

****

Dear Jungle Pets,

It’s obvious I am not part of your target market. I can’t lie to you. I’ve only been in your store once. Once was enough to ensure I will never return. This was several years ago and your business hasn’t changed so I won’t fool myself into thinking my shopping choices make any difference to you whatsoever.

That being said, I still think it’s worth writing to you. As an animal lover and proud owner of a cat, a dog, and quite a few fish – and likely many more of all in the future – I spend a lot of money in pet stores. I don’t like to think about how much cash I have dropped but it’s definitely in the thousands. The total will only increase as time goes on. Wouldn’t you like to have a piece of that?

I do have one good thing to say about you. You are a locally owned, Atlantic Canadian company. Your founder started the business while still in high school. That’s pretty cool. It’s something I wish I could support. It pains me that I can’t.

You know why I and many others avoid you, right? It’s because your stores sell kittens. I don’t know if you sell puppies or not because I haven’t been back to check but I know you still sell kittens, ignoring the adoption trend taken up by all other businesses in the province. I don’t know where you get the kittens from. It’s not necessary for me to know. But I won’t spend a cent in either of your locations until you stop this practice. Even if it means shopping at large international companies instead.

Sincerely sadden,

Kristine, proud not to be a customer

Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s Notes, PupLove, Rescued Insanity, Woof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!

Today’s giveaway is sponsored by Planet Dog. Click here to enter to win Planet Dog extra tuff dog toys, plus be entered to win our Grand Prize package worth more than $1000!

An Introvert’s #BarkWorld Experience

Before October 25th, 2012 I’d never traveled to a new country by myself before. I’d been to the US, but never by plane and never alone. I’d certainly never been further south than Minnesota or New York. Atlanta, Georgia may as well have been St. Petersburg, Russia – though, at least they spoke the same language. But I understood the history and culture of the former a lot more.

This is all to say that BarkWorld was a brand new experience for me in more ways than one. It was my very first blogging conference and my very first solo travel challenge. As much as I was thrilled with the opportunity to go, I was terrified by all the things I knew could go wrong. As a self-confessed coward and shy introvert, the days leading up to the big event were filled with as much anxiety as excitement. I spent the same amount of time worrying about navigating my connecting flight in Toronto as I did about what my fellow bloggers would think of me. See: a disproportionate amount of time.

The thing is, my worrying saves the world. I knew if I was calm, disaster was sure to happen. So I stressed and stressed and stressed and somehow, after only a brief panic attack when I ended up at the wrong baggage claim, I made it to the Atlanta Airport unscathed. This was where my plans derailed. I had forgotten to stress about getting from the airport to the hotel. The kind souls at Bayer has sponsored a limousine ride for conference attendees and I stupidly thought this was the end of my troubles.

Major Worrying Fail.

Now I have been to many large international airports in my time. The Atlanta Airport was a whole ‘nother ball game. There are trains, people. Trains inside the airport. That’s how insane this place is. It is too large to get around by walking or even hopping on a moving sidewalk. You have to take a train. It didn’t help that the international terminal is in a different city than the domestic.

Cue to me having to make a string of miserable phone calls to the one contact number I had – thank dog I had saved the email – while trying not to cry.  Several times I thought about giving up and just taking a cab. It would have been much simpler and would have saved me the awkwardness of speaking to people I didn’t know, but I also would have missed out on a chance to meet some wickedly stellar people.

Wickedly. Stellar.

When I used the word miserable above, it certainly did not apply to anyone I interacted with over the four days. More to my own fears of talking to people who might snicker at me if I say something stupid. From the cheerful airport security to the warm greeting from my limo buddies (Hi Amber! Hi Lisa! Hi Karen!) I was thrown by how friendly every single person was. I shouldn’t have been, of course. The kindness of the pet blogging world has been proven to me every single day since I stumbled in, hanging out in the shadows. Why it took me so long to dip a toe into the light, I’ll never know.

BarkWorld? When it comes to niceness, you put Canada to shame.

Luckily, I kept myself together and didn’t let my nervousness hold me back from jumping into the experience. It helped that every where I went I was met with a welcoming smile. Whatever fears I encountered came entirely from my own imaginings. Not once was I made to feel that I didn’t belong. Not even during the anxiety-ridden speed-dating with mega brands like Flexi and Iams. I admit, I was tempted to bail at the last minute. But sitting in my hotel room after my arrival from the insanity that is the airport, I reasoned I could either stay there and hide or I could head down and see what was what. If it was awful, I could just leave, right? No pressure.

Of course it wasn’t and I continued to meet even more wonderful people.

Nevertheless, the most anticipated moment was yet to come. Speed-dating over, I tried to shrug off the rest of my nerves and prepared myself to meet two of my biggest pet blogging heroes. In person. With bad airplane hair.

Stupid. I should have realized that Amy Burkert and Kim Clune are my heroes for a reason. Sure, they have accomplished amazing things, but they are also just incredibly awesome and supportive people. So even though I felt self-conscious when I heard Amy yell my name and saw her walk down the hallway toward me, all of that melted when she stood in front of me. In a way, it was almost as if we were longtime friends, meeting up for the millionth time. This same feeling was repeated with Kim several minutes later. All of my misgivings faded and I was just one of them. Part of the circle.

Surreal.

The rest of the conference is still pretty much a blur, even a month later. So much to learn in such a short time. So many new faces and friends (Hi Katherine! Hi Vicki! Hi Diane! Hi Jessica! Hi Everyone Else I Feel Awful for Leaving Out!). I’d be lying if I said it was all good times. There were a few moments I felt my energy lag and wondered if I’d make it through. But session after session, party after party, make it through I did. There are even the pictures of me socializing to prove it!

I did hit a pretty big wall Saturday afternoon. I remember sitting outside the elevators wondering what the heck I was doing and almost wishing I was at home. Everything felt like too much and I was tired of putting myself out there.

“I need my puppy”, I recall texting to my practically husband.

However, I allowed myself to indulge in these low feelings instead of fighting them. I gave myself permission to just take a walk if I needed to, to skip a session if my brain started to wither. Ultimately, I think that was the smartest way I could have dealt with my emotions. If I’d tried to force it, I am sure I would have just felt worse. Maybe then I really would have ended up peering out from under the table. But by giving myself the choice, I found I eventually chose to participate and my spirits lifted in pretty short order.

Who’d have thought? Maybe there is an extrovert lingering somewhere in my depths after all.

It wasn’t easy, but I am so so so glad I went. If you are reading this and wondering if BarkWorld might be something you want to check out, just know I highly recommend you do. And I am not just saying that because BarkWorld was kind enough to help pay my way there.

Actually, maybe I am. Because gifts like that are representative of the entire experience. BarkWorld is made up of the kind of people who work their butts off to make sure all pet lovers and pet bloggers feel like an important part of the community. It’s so easy to feel isolated as a blogger, especially here in Canada when most of you are in the US. And blogging is such a solo activity in itself. Events like BarkWorld remind us we are part of something bigger, something pretty dang cool.

So thanks to everyone for their kindness and thanks to BarkWorld for giving me an opportunity to grow as a blogger and as a person. I hope this is only the beginning.

Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s Notes, PupLove, Rescued Insanity, Woof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!


Today’s giveaway is sponsored by Fetch a Passion Tags. Click here to enter to win a hand-crafted, custom metal dog tag, plus be entered to win our Grand Prize package worth more than $1000!

Less Wordy Wednesday – Our New (Temporary) Furball

Okay, okay, I give in. Here is the wee little guy causing all the excitement around here.

Yes, he is even cuter in person. No, he is not staying. Though it is kind of funny that the Kitty Meister has his own little mini-me.

I assume he will be with us until he is old enough and big enough to be adopted out to a lucky family. I use the word lucky with only slight sarcasm as like all the other animals around here, he is a little nutty. At only for weeks of age, he seems to have a pretty good idea of how to torment dogs.

He must learn a new skill every day. I’ve never lived with a kitten before so keeping him from death-defying leaps has been an interesting experience. I may get my first grey hair by the time he goes home.

I guess he’s worth it. That’s what the salon is for.

#BTC4A You Too Can Raise $5,000 for Animal Rescue!

Speaking of making a difference… There is a very easy way you can change the lives of animals right this minute. For every tweet and blog post featuring the #BTC4A hashtag – short for Be the Change for Animals –  from October 22-27, Petco will donate $1 for rescue pets at BarkWorld. This means if we all get together there is a chance we could raise up to $5,0o0 for local, no-kill rescues and shelters across the country!

That’s right. $5,000. For a couple tweets. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

The majority of animal welfare organizations receive little to no government funding. They rely entirely upon public donations and volunteers to offer their much-needed services. While most managers are pretty savvy at finding discounts and finagling deals, everything costs money. From spay and neuter surgeries to a bottle of bleach to clean the dog kennels, their needs often outweigh their capacity. As the demand for shelters and rescues doesn’t seem to be fading, no amount of support is too small.

I am sure you can imagine that $5,000 would be a decent bonus to any organization working to save lives in a tough economy. For example:

$5,000 = 882 bottles of bleach, 58 spay/neuter surgeries, 104 large bags of regular quality dog food, 833 bottles of laundry detergent, and 294 bags of cat litter.*

Here’s how you can help get this money into the hands of those who need it:

– Now through Saturday, October 27th at 11 AM (EST) tweet the following :

“Rescue pets receive $1 from @Petco at @BarkWorldExpo for each #BTC4A tweet from Oct 22-27! Learn more: http://ht.ly/eEls7

– Blog about what rescue means to you, now through Saturday, October 27th at 11 AM (EST). Add #BTC4A to your post title. Add your post link (not just your domain) to the blog hop list below to be counted. (Bonus! Each time your post is tweeted, you’ll earn more money for rescue pets!)

If you are attending BarkWorldnominate your favorite no-kill rescue or shelter at the Petco booth through Friday, October 26th!

Valuable resources for animals in your community are just a few clicks away. Join in and spread the word! There is no reason we can’t reach the goal if we all get our blog on. Let’s do this!

*Prices based on average costs found on various websites.

**All photos in this post are of dogs currently available for adoption at the Nova Scotia SPCA.