Tag Archive | Dogs

Howloween! One of the many reasons to love October

October is one of my favorite months of the year. It is Autumn, hiking trails are beautiful AND it has Halloween….cough cough…. I mean HOWLOWEEN!

Yes, that’s right. I said Howloween. The time of year when it’s perfectly acceptable to dress your dogs up however you like. This year I had two dog-centered events to attend, so I wanted to have some really fun costumes. Mimi played the role of a Chia Pet and Eli was very fittingly Oscar the Grouch.

I started my quest to create their costumes last year. I found a cheap small plastic garbage can in Target and spray painted it silver. I stored that thing for a whole year! On Friday, I dyed Eli’s fur green by using regular green food coloring and water. As you can see, the green didn’t really show that well, even on his white fur. I dyed him three times using a spray bottle, dousing him in cups of green water, and submerging his paws and tail in a big cup of green water. The water was really green, but perhaps his fur is not an ideal texture for absorbing dye. Good thing he doesn’t have to worry about dyeing his grays anytime soon!

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Earlier in the week, I drilled two holes in the bottom of the can – one to connect it to the wood platform that sits on top of their carriage (screw and nut) and one to feed a rope with a carabiner on it to connect to his harness to ensure he wouldn’t jump out (and so that no one could snatch him if I looked away for a moment). I did leave enough slack to allow him to stand up fully and adjust himself however he wanted. Interestingly, he never did try to get out of the can.

I placed a really comfy blanket in the garbage can so that he would have a soft place to sit and he enjoyed it so much that when he got tired, he 2014-10-25 16.24.59just curled up and went to sleep in the can which made it look like the can was closed!

 

For Mimi’s Chia Pet costume, I purchased a remnant of brown/taupe felt-like material for the body and cut out two pieces from a blanket-coat pattern I previously made for her. I ended up chopping off the neck piece of one of the pieces in order to use it solely as a top piece to attach the “chia” leaves to. I used these two items (lawn grass and more grass) and combined them using hot glue and sewed their edges to the top layer of the outfit. To ensure Mimi stayed comfy, I placed a layer of batting in between the two layers and then sewed them together.

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I’ve only had my sewing machine for a few weeks and can barely sew a straight line, but I was determined to sew legs onto Mimi’s outfit. I just held the base on her and marked kind of where I thought legs should be. It worked well enough, but next time I’ll try to do it properly so that she can’t pull her legs out accidentally. 2014-10-27 15.10.13

 I also added extra pieces to the neckline afterwards by creating a grass necklace that I sewed only on the end pieces and a quick stitch in the middle so she would have freedom to move it out of the way if she laid down.

I tied the theme of the two costumes together by dressing as an 80s chick with the multi-colored outfit, blue eyeshadow and a big bow on my head. Together we were Childhood Rewind!

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We had a great day at Tompkins Square Park in New York City and even managed to win third place the next day at the Chilloween pawty.

 Have I mentioned how much I love October???

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Being adorable is tough work - nap when you can!

Being adorable is tough work – nap when you can!

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Adventures in Hiking – Hoffman Park (aka ticks ticks and more ticks!)

Hiking in Hoffman Park will go down in history as the first hike I have done where I never once felt like I was lost! Woohoo! Perhaps I am making progress…..or perhaps the trails were so worn and wide and obvious that I couldn’t help but stay on track.2014-10-15 10.57.55

By staying on track, I mean wandering around, missing the turns I was supposed to make, etc. So I guess technically I was off the hiking trail pathway that was listed in Hiking with Dogs, New Jersey. In any case, the hike was a really nice, non-taxing walk, albeit a bit boring. Aside from a few tiny lakes, some hawks, one lone deer and a caterpillar, I didn’t really see anything too interesting. I did purposely veer off the trail from the book since the map posted online pointed out the other trails in between were easily accessible and wouldn’t add much mileage to the hike. The fall foliage was quite pretty to look at though, so I think the hike was worth the time.2014-10-15 11.03.22 2014-10-15 12.13.46.

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Oh! What I did see was a tick on Mimi that I was able to swat off and we were lucky enough to take at least one giant tick home on Eli that I found the next day. Removing that was a huge task. It was stuck on his ear so deeply that I really had to yank it out. I had to enlist the help of a friend for moral support as the ear was so red and inflamed that I was nervous and needed an assist!

It didn’t help that I think Eli had a reaction to the flea and tick treatment I gave him the night before after the hike. He was shaking and breathing weird and was basically glued to my side the whole day.

I guess the lesson learned from this hike was do not stray from the path like I did and take the tick warning signs very seriously. Also make sure that your dogs are up to date on their lyme vaccine and flea/tick treatments.  PS. find one that your dog does not have an adverse reaction to.

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Perhaps it’s really the bat trail?

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Adventures in Hiking – Paw Pad Protection

Well, if you have been following my blog, you know that I only go hiking with my two Chihuahuas, Eli and Mimi. This weekend I learned that I am a bad mommy. This is what happened to my poor little girl!

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See the pink pad at the right? 😦

Yes, the black protective covering on her paw is MISSING! Now, she is not limping and doesn’t seem to be in pain. I am able to touch it without her pulling away (at least no more than when she pulls away because she thinks I’m going to clip her nails!)

I inspected the rest of her paws and they are all looking pretty ragged. I put some neosporin on the bare pad and a bandaid around her foot to help aid healing. She is good and does not bite on the bandage.

I also have purchased a paw protector salve that should help healing and also will give her protection against the elements outdoors. I will use this from now on when we go hiking as her paws obviously cannot take the wear and tear of so many miles!

My girl is delicate. I have to remember to treat her that way!

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So remember, when you are out and about with your pups, be sure to inspect their paws on a regular basis. They only get to wear one pair of shoes for life. (Well, unless they actually let you put shoes on them!)

Adventures in Hiking – Schooley’s Mountain – Patriots’ Path

Recently I hiked Schooley’s Mountain in Morris County, New Jersey (#16 in the book Hiking New Jersey). Again, I was reminded how bad of a hiker I am. Luckily, my directional instincts are pretty good, but I spent a bunch of the hike feeling lost. It’s definitely time to invest in a compass!

Figured seeing this sign meant I went the wrong way!

Figured seeing this sign meant I went the wrong way!

My journey started off well. I found the parking lot after adjusting the GPS a bit. I was the only one there as usual. I left the car and headed across the street to Patriots’ Path. The trail was narrow but clear except for a few thorny stalks.

There were signs about hunting all over the place. Of course, I was wearing camo colors so I was ready to get accidentally hit with a bow at any moment.

There were signs about hunting all over the place. Of course, I was wearing camo colors so I was ready to get accidentally hit with a bow at any moment.

I made a few accidental detours while trying to ensure I was still on the right trail but ultimately, I made it to another parking lot where there were benches and picnic tables along with bathrooms.

The next part of the trail threw me off a bit as there wasn’t a sign pointing down to the lake. Fortunately, a couple of fishermen were walking back to their car so I deduced that the lake must be in the direction they were coming from. Sometimes I am just so smart! 🙂

I headed down the path hoping it was the right way as it was all downhill, and I really didn’t want to walk back up again. Sure enough, the lake quickly came into view. Unfortunately, the directions then called for me to cross a floating bridge. Bridges, me and dogs do not get along but the bridge looked wide enough and there were no waves or anything since it was a lake so I figured it wouldn’t be too bad. But wait! Nothing is ever easy for me. There was a 5-sided piece of wood blocking off the bridge. Just then a couple walked by. I called out to them and they came over. I asked them if they ever saw the bridge closed. They hadn’t, so the guy decided to cross over the bridge to ensure it was safe for me to do so. Isn’t that awesome?

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While he was crossing the bridge, his girlfriend was telling me about a cool hike where waterfalls were visible, but she didn’t think it would be good for me as my dogs were small and probably couldn’t do it. Well, lo and behold, the trail had me cross back over another bridge at the top of the dam a couple of minutes later and I had to do the rock scramble with the pups anyway!

This is the dam that I used to cross back over the lake.

This is the dam that I used to cross back over the lake.

Thankfully she had warned me about what the trail looked like, because I don’t know if I would have braved it without speaking to her first. On this same section of path you lose the trail markers again. While I was scrambling down rocks on my booty with Mimi in her pouch and Eli either scrambling along or in my arms, I realized that I was once again lost……but now I was lost at the bottom of a mountain. (Okay, to be fair, it would have been easy to backtrack – just follow the water, but I felt really lost!)

Booty crawling rocks!

Booty crawling rocks!

Rocky terrain by the water

Rocky terrain by the water

 

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Fortunately, the book gives decent descriptions of the trail so I was able to wander a bit and find the right way to get back up the hill. For a while, the trail goes uphill which meant it was a good time to stop and snack.  Soon we continued on our way and ran into our buddies again. Once again, they were extremely helpful. They called out to me from a ledge and insisted I check out the view. The guy even offered to hold the barking dogs for me so I didn’t have to worry they would fall over (and no, I didn’t think they would steal my dogs, lol). The view was very nice and I definitely would have missed it had I not run into them.

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We didn’t stay long because at that point I was ready for the hike to be over. Unfortunately, the trail markers were not always clear on the way down, but it was easier to follow since I knew I just had to get back down the mountain.

Overall, I thought this was a nice hike and the park overall seems like a nice place to spend a day.

NY Pet Fashion Show

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to help out backstage at the New York Pet Fashion show . If you have never heard of this event, you should check it out. It sounds a bit crazy, but it is all good fun and this year its proceeds went to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals which is a NY-based charity that helps out over 150 non-profit shelters and rescue groups around the city.

Backstage at the Pennsylvania hotel was a show in itself. My main tasks were to help dress the dogs and keep their handlers in line – literally in a line 🙂  The dog were very well-behaved; the people, eh, not so much. The clothes were amazing – long flowing gowns, tiaras and crowns and LED lights galore! The detailed work that went into these pieces of art was truly amazing. I was in awe of these creations – heck, I can’t even sew Eli’s tuxedo so it will fit him properly!

I was so busy that I didn’t get to take many pictures, but here are a few. If amazing gowns on dogs are your thing, please Google the show. There are so many great pictures and articles out there about it that I can’t possibly link to them all! Also, please consider donating to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals to help save the lives of many animals across the city and afar.

 

Even the flowers were dogs!

Even the flowers were dogs!

Press was everywhere!

Press was everywhere!

Bling bling!

Bling bling!

So sweet!

So sweet!

Hand painted dress by Ada Nieves

Hand painted dress by Ada Nieves