Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bunch We Lunch With Pet Photography Review

In June, we did something I have always wanted to do:  a pet photography session.  It's important to capture moments throughout the life of a pet and we always have done this.  The problem is that it was always my husband taking pictures of me and our dog and vice versa.  Sometimes family and friends took photos of the three of us but they just snapped a picture and then we all went back to doing what we were doing before.  Sure, over the years, we got some great pictures but I still wanted professional ones, ones that were high quality and candid.  I wanted them to be in the perfect setting and I knew a pet photographer would focus only on photography and take many shots in order to get the right one.

Our shoot was with Mariah Hilton of Bunch We Lunch With Pet Photography.  We drove to Uxbridge and together we went to several beautiful sites.  We started out at a park and took pictures in different parts of it.  Then, we headed over to a beautiful conservation area and explored many spots while taking photos.  We then ended up in a splash pad.  I was very impressed by the fact that we went to so many places because the result is variety.  Mariah is a very patient person and perfect for the job she does.  We felt a connection with her immediately and her personality made us feel comfortable right from the start.  She's got a great sense of humour and these are qualities a photographer needs to have in order to ensure that the clients are relaxed.  Our dog also loved her and it's no surprise the two of them got along so well - Mariah is the owner of two beautiful dogs and loves animals, of course.

I would recommend to anyone who is looking for beautiful pet photography.  Mariah photographs dogs, cats, and horses and of course, the humans are welcome to join in.  Her Facebook page is at and is full of photos to get you excited about working with her.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wag on the Danforth Review

Saturday was a lovely day!  A bit too hot but lovely and sunny.  I had to go to the florist and decided to walk.  After all, in Toronto, amazing businesses are always within walking distance from wherever you live.  I live just north of the famous Danforth Avenue and of course, my florist is on the Danforth.  So, off I went!  On my way back I passed a cute little pet store called Wag on the Danforth.  I almost walked past it since I had my hands full of flowers but I couldn't resist.  I went in.  I'm a huge fan of small, local businesses and from the second I walked in, I felt right at home - partially because it's just a 20 minute walk from my house...but also because the owners, Ruth and Rob, made me feel so comfortable.  We chatted for a little while and I learned that they only carry organic foods/treats.  MEGA points for that one!  Also, Rob is a pet photographer and he's very talented.  His photos are mounted on the walls of the store for everyone to admire.  Any pet parent will agree that having great photos of our fur babies is a must but some of us just don't take great pictures so sometimes a pet photographer is essential.  Wag on the Danforth also has a dog washing station where you can wash your dog and prevent the mess at home.  Having one so close to home is great.  If my pooch needs a wash, we can walk home after and by the time we get there, he will be dry.  The price varies depending on the size of the dog and includes 2 towels, shampoo, conditioner and use of the blow dryer.  In my opinion, the lack of mess in my bathroom after bathing a 76 pound dog is worth every penny!  Last, and definitely not least, Wag on the Danforth happily accepts unused pet food.  It is donated to organizations that help rescue animals.  What's better than that?  I love a local business that's dedicated to providing the best for pets and helping other animals as well!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cool Treats for Hot Dogs

With hotter weather than usual these past few days I decided to make treats for my dog that would keep him cool and happy...banana ice cubes!  He loves them!  Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to make delicious and healthy summertime treats for your pooch.  Of course, the banana can be substituted with your dog's fave fruit or veggie. 

Slice a banana into small, bite-size pieces

Place banana slices into the ice tray

Add water

Freeze for a few hours and voila!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Pet Valu Store Review

Today is my dog's 7th birthday and we took him to DogPatch (Nature's canine playground) for some outdoor fun.  He ran around with friends and jumped in the mud and we had one dirty pooch on our hands.  Instead of bathing him at home (which is terribly messy and requires me to get into the shower with him), we took him to the new Pet Valu that just opened a few months ago in Toronto at Queen and Coxwell.  They have a self serve dog wash station and we decided to take advantage of it.  Even before we got out of the car we had a great first impression.  There is tons of free parking and in Toronto, that's a rarity.  The store is big and beautiful - it looks like a spa.  We were greeted right away by very friendly and helpful staff.  We decided to go for the deluxe package which includes shampoo, conditioning spray, shampoo brush, grooming brushes, towels, aprons for us, access to the wash station and access to the dryer hose and of course, a pupcake.  All this for only $15.00!  We requested the Tropiclean Oatmeal Shampoo (stay tuned for a product review on that later - we bought a bottle of it) and we got 100 mL to use.  They definitely give you a lot for your money's worth.  We only needed half the bottle and our dog is huge.  We were taken to the back of the store where they have a gorgeous area for washing your dog.  There are two tubs on either side with stairs in the middle for access.  It's beautifully tiled.  The floor where we stood has mats to prevent us from slipping if the floor got wet.  There are several hooks on the walls for hanging leashes, jackets and purses.  After we led our dog into the tub, the staff member put a safety collar around his neck and then clipped the leash part into a hook on the wall.  This is to ensure that the dog doesn't try to get out while being bathed as they risk slipping.  This worked wonders because my dog did try to jump out a few times.  What I also love is that the tubs are raised so there's no need to bend down and hurt your back as you would at home.  It was so wonderful to bathe him and to not have to clean up after.  If I had done it at home, I would be soaking wet, my floors and walls would be soaked and covered in black fur and it would have taken a lot longer.  This was super convenient.  At the end, we dried him with the dryer hose found on the wall.  The air is cool, of course, to prevent burns and injuries.  The best part?  They have a program for frequently using the wash station - pay for 5 washes and get the 6th one free!  The store also features a treat bar with treats so beautiful you'll want to eat them yourself.  I absolutely LOVE this store and I will definitely be taking advantage of the self serve wash station again.  The staff are great and it's a very comfortable environment.  So glad we found it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sick as a Dog

My poor baby was sick for about a month.  It all started like this.  We took him to the dog park and he was running around with all his friends, having a blast.  We noticed that he ate something and when my husband ran over to him, he saw that it was dog food.  This automatically concerned us because there is no reason there should be dog food at the park.  Either another dog threw up or someone planted poisoned dog food there.  It has happened here in Toronto several times and it's something every dog owner dreads.  We monitored him closely and he seemed perfectly fine.  Whew!  After the dog park, I bathed him because anyone who has ever taken their dog to a park knows that their dog comes home dirty.  Running around in the sand and playing with other dogs (which includes slobber) makes for one messy monster.  After his bath, he couldn't seem to warm up.  The inside of his ears were cold and it was like that for the whole night.  If we bathe our dog in the summer we let him enjoy the warm weather in the backyard and he dries off in no time.  But since it was cool out, we couldn't do that so he just hung out on the couch.  It got to the point where I had to cover him with a blanket and the only thing sticking out was his face.  Eventually, I had to walk him and it was cool and windy.  A few days later is when the problems started.  He started vomiting, once, sometimes twice a day.  At this point, it had been 4 days since going to the dog park and we became really concerned.  I phoned the vet and asked if it's possible that our dog had been poisoned.  They said it was unlikely because he would have most likely shown symptoms sooner.  However, they were also concerned about the vomiting so we took him in.  His blood work was totally normal and the fear of poisoning was ruled out.  I was so concerned that he caught a cold.  We just couldn't figure it out.  I should also mention that the day after the dog park, we opened a new bag of food.  We just finished the other one and when my husband picked up another bag, he was informed at the store that a few ingredients in the food had changed.  The meat was substituted with a farm raised version and the apples were now organic.  Everything else had stayed the same.  Also, I emailed the company that makes his food and they also said nothing else changed.  So this was unlikely the problem but there were now so many variables that we didn't know what was wrong.  Our baby was admitted to the hospital for 2 days and the vet did an ultrasound and it turned out that our precious pooch had a 14 mm growth in his stomach.  He also lost 8 pounds.  Once at the hospital, he never vomited and all his BMs were normal.  He came home after the 2 days.  He was placed on antibiotics and after a few weeks he had another ultrasound.  This time, the growth had been reduced to 7 mm.  Good news!  It is definitely not cancer.  But, this 2nd ultrasound found something else and they're not sure if they missed it the first time or if it's something that developed since the last ultrasound.  They found an area of his small intestine that has some mild linear thickening.  The vet seemed to think that our monster has inflammatory bowel disease but the only way to confirm the diagnosis is to perform an intestinal biopsy and that's a major surgery.  Then our dog was placed on a new medication, which the vet said is an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drug.  The vet said that if our dog does indeed have this condition, it doesn't seem severe but he would most likely need to be on meds for the rest of his life and perhaps we should alter his diet.  He doesn't think putting our dog through the biopsy is necessary.  This was a very tough situation because we don't want our baby on medication for the rest of his life unless we are 100% sure he needs to be.  Perhaps what he ate at the dog park irritated his stomach and he became ill.  Or something else made him ill.  After about 2 days on the new meds we saw a major improvement and it got better each day.  Now he's off the meds and he's back to his normal self...running around the house like a crazy dog, biting our slippers and bringing us his toys.  He is walking normally again...ahead of us, leading the way, whereas he would walk behind us, really slow, while he was sick.  The vet said that by now, any trace of the meds are out of his system so we truly see that he is ok without the medication and that's great!  Interestingly, the vet thinks the growth occurred very rapidly and obviously it was reduced in size very rapidly also.  Neither we nor the vet wanted to do another ultrasound since he's already been through 2 and he needs to be sedated for it.  But, since he continued to be on antibiotics for several weeks after the last ultrasound, we believe that the growth has been reduced further...or is completely gone.  This has been extremely stressful and difficult for us.  He is our baby and it broke our hearts to know he was not 100%.  Hopefully this was a temporary thing.  Our lives would be shattered if anything happened to our sweet pooch.  We love him tremendously and would do anything for him.  ♥  As I write this, he is taking up the entire space under the computer desk, making it quite uncomfortable since I can't stretch out my legs.  Clearly, things are back to normal!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

PAPYRUS Animal Birthday Cards Product Review

I am always on the lookout for cute and creative greeting cards.  In my view, when it comes to giving a card to a special person in your life, the card has to be just perfect.  A few years ago I discovered PAPYRUS greeting cards.  I am drawn to them because they are just simply gorgeous.  They have cards for every occasion and my first thought when I see the cards is that a lot of love went into creating them.  When I came across cat and dog birthday cards a few weeks ago, I couldn't resist!  I had to have these cards, even though the people they are intended for don't have birthdays for a while. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Best Dog Toy Ever

My dog is hard to shop for.  He has tons of toys, clothes and there are always treats in the house.  So when X-mas was fast approaching my husband and I didn't know what to get the beast.  Luckily, my mom came to the rescue.  Moms know best, right?  Her colleague, Jane, has a little business on the side making toys that are not only attractive and tons of fun for our four-legged friends but they are also safer than a lot of other toys on the market.  Jane knits the cutest "balls" and stuffs them with cotton.  These make great toys because dogs love sinking their teeth into them and there is no risk of damage to their teeth or gums.  And when we're playing fetch inside the house I can throw these balls across the room knowing nothing will be damaged.  A huge bonus:  they are machine washable.  This is by far the BEST toy my dog has ever owned.  He LOVES these balls and plays with them all the time.  He even sleeps with them.  Keep up the good work Jane!  I will be ordering more for next X-mas.