Paws in the Park 2018

Last weekend, I attended the Toronto Humane Society’s biggest annual fundraiser, Paws in the Park.

With my husband and puppy by my side, I set up as an exhibitor with my new(relaunched) business Tarapparel. I shared the pet accessories that I make, including, bandannas, collar bows, and scarves.

I’ve been an exhibitor at Paws in the Park for the previous few years with my Arbonne business. So I knew what to expect and how fun the day will be.

I highly recommend anyone who has a dog or likes dogs, goes to this event. It’s a great socialization opportunity for your dog, and a great opportunity to spend time with dogs. There are wonderful activities throughout the day and food and beer!

When we arrived, we secured Pixel on a leash while we set up the canopy and tables. Then, as I set up the products, Keegan took Pixel around for a walk. As the day was getting started, he took Pixel to the agility training course, and I came over to watch while keeping an eye on my tent. The trainers worked with Keegan and Pixel to do some basic agility training, and she was so focused on them because they had treats. The trainers said that her focus at a place with a lot going on around her, plus her breeds, make her a natural at agility training.

As the day went on, it got very warm out. The weather was actually beautiful. So sunny all day! Keegan took Pixel over to the kiddy pools they have out for the dogs to cool down in. She loved it! I wasn’t there to see, but Keegan told me that she jumped around between the pools, and ran around in circles in them. The pools were set up near the adoption tent, so she gave a bit of entertainment to the people waiting in line.

People seemed to really like my pet accessories, and I loved seeing the other dogs wearing them. The scarves specifically got a lot of attention. It was a wonderful day. The THS raised a lot of money, and all of the dogs were adopted. At the end of the day, Pixel was exhausted! When we came home, she slept the rest of the day.

I can’t wait until next year!

5 Reasons To Consider Volunteer Work

Volunteer work, the backbone of every non-profit or charity organization. Without them, a lot of these places could not do the great work that they do.

I’m going to share my experience with volunteering and why I think everyone who is able to, should.

I volunteer at the Toronto Humane Society working with behaviour cats, and feeding kittens. Each of the following reasons I recommend volunteering is based on my experience there, but can be applied to any place you wish to volunteer.

The most important thing I can tell you is to volunteer for a cause you are passionate about.

1. It is very rewarding
As cliche as it sounds, knowing the impact your work is having does make you feel great. For me, seeing a cat that came in terrified and anxious, who wouldn’t let anyone pet them gradually become more and more comfortable with people, and then eventually get adopted is amazing! Every volunteer who interacted with that cat had a part in helping it find it’s home and have a great life.


2. It gets you out of the house
For anyone who is between jobs, unable to work, or is retired, it’s a great way to help you get out of the house on a regular basis so that you don’t go crazy staying home all the time. I personally have a day job and my business, but I see a lot of people who volunteer at the THS a few more times a week than me because they aren’t working and they love it.

3. You meet new people
I love the people I volunteer with. We may or may not have very much in common, but we all share the same compassion for animals. Some amazing new friendships can be formed with people you never would have met otherwise.

4. It looks great on a resume
This isn’t really the best reason for why someone should volunteer. This should not be the only reason you are doing it. It’s just a perk.

5. It’s wonderful for your mental health.
Whether you have a mental illness or not, your mental health is important. Doing something nice for others gives your brain a neurochemical sense of reward. Basically, you just feel good! Personally, I’ve found that during times of bad depression, going to the THS has really helped lift my spirits. It’s hard for your brain to tell you that you don’t matter when you are doing something that will positively affect another’s life. When I begin to feel this way, I try to remember the cat who never came out of her box for the longest time, who finally came out and after a long visit, and ended up purring on my lap! By my next volunteer shift, that cat had been adopted. I think about the cats who love attention and how happy they are when I show up with their favourite wand toy or a brush. I remember all the cat’s that weren’t eating because of stress, who I was able to encourage to eat. I know I matter because I helped improve the lives of these cats.

 

 

 

We Got a Puppy!

So I thought the first post about my time away from the blog would be a positive one! In this past summer we adopted our beautiful puppy, Pixel!

We had been looking for a puppy for a while. The Toronto Humane Society, where I volunteer with the cats, didn’t have any puppies that were available for adoption around that time. So we looked into other animal shelters and online for “accidental litters”. We absolutely didn’t want to go through a breeder, because they are expensive and we weren’t looking for a specific breed. We had a few breeds in mind, and wanted a mix, or, “mutt”.

One day, one my my husband’s co-workers told him she found out about someone who had an accidental litter, and we saw a picture of one of the puppies. So cute! So we contacted the owner of the mother and arranged to meet the puppies.

We met them when they were 5 weeks old. There were 11 of them, and 4 had already been claimed. We met the mother, who was very relaxed and gorgeous. A German Shepherd, Husky mix. And saw a picture of the dad, a Husky, Lab mix. Sitting in a room with 11 tiny puppies running all over the place was so fun! We picked Pixel, she had beautiful markings and we felt something when we held her, verses the others. We knew she was the one!

We picked her up the following week when she was 6 weeks old. I know that’s really early, but they told us that the mother had stopped nursing them already and they were eating dry food. We decided that she may as well come home with us, so she can start getting used to our home, and cats.

It is definitely true that dogs are a lot more work than cats! We found that out very quickly. For the first little while, I would take her to work with me, so that she could go outside a few times a day.

She had a bit of a rough start. When she was 8 weeks old, there was an emergency middle of the night vet run. She had swallowed a rock a couple days earlier, we were giving her special food to hopefully help her pass it. Fortunately, she threw it up, which means it didn’t go through her intestines, but she threw up everything, non stop, and woke us up whimpering. At the emergency vet, it was a long wait, and it’s a rather depressing place, especially at night. But one slightly amusing part of the night happened when the vet was examining her and she had explosive diarrhea, allllll over the vet. So she had to go change her entire outfit.

On top of that, she also had a bad case of kennel cough. It’s a very contagious dog cold/flu. It sounds horrible! We felt bad that there wasn’t much we could do for her on a coughing fit, and that she wasn’t able to play with her friends.

Since then, she has been pretty healthy. There has been the occasional sickness when she has eaten things that didn’t agree with her.

Dogs really have a tendency to get sick more than cats, and overall are a lot more expensive. I love Pixel, and I couldn’t imagine life without her now. But I also wouldn’t recommend someone adopt a dog, or puppy, without giving it a lot of thought. Realize that they are a lot of work and a lot of money.

That being said, she is worth every penny to us! Having a dog is wonderful for so many reasons. They are a wonderful companion who is always happy to see you. Pixel is wonderful at picking up on emotions. And anytime you are really upset, she will be right by your side. She has also, in a way, forced me to get up and go outside more often than I was before. (Although, she is mostly my husband’s responsibility for going outside) I almost always take her outside to socialize with other dogs and then I can socialize with other dog owners.

For the first little while after bringing her home, I took her to work with me at my day job. I work as a design assistant in a custom design boutique. It was a little tough because she didn’t like being alone when she was awake, and if I left her downstairs when I went up to help customers, she would whine. I often kept her upstairs with me when I didn’t have much work downstairs, and customers loved that!

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Right now she is almost 11 months old, with so much energy! She will be turning 1 on May 6th 2018. We are thinking about having a birthday party for her and her “boyfriend” Duke, who is 2 weeks younger, next month.

She has made a wonderful addition to our family, and I’m sure when she starts calming down, the cats will agree with us. Right now they are still a little nervous around her.

You can follow her on Instagram @the_pixel_puppy