Halloween costumes for pets

I just read an article that says Americans will spend about $370 million on pet costumes for Halloween this year. And this number is up 19% from last year’s spending!

To be honest, I don’t even know what to say/feel about this. My dogs have never bitten anyone, but if I tried to put a costume on them, they just might decide to go for that first taste of skin.

I don’t think Nico has gotten over me putting him in a onesie to keep him from biting stitches out after a minor procedure. Have you ever seen a 27-pound dog wearing a difficult-to-find size 24-month onesie (along with the Elizabethan collar to ensure he didn’t get his stitches out for a third time)?! After he graduated from the onesie he wore one of my Bon Jovi t-shirts. While that helped cement him as one of the coolest dogs on the block, he does not take too well to having anything on him, even a blanket. Tugger just follows Nico’s lead and fights whatever Nico fights and gives in to anything that Nico allows (other than playing peek-a-boo—that is something Tug just hasn’t yet agreed to).

Looking at pictures of animals in costume makes me wonder—do our pets realize what we are doing to them and do they actually like it? If my dogs could talk (and Nico is pretty close with his grumbling), I cannot imagine they would ask me to dress them like a hot dog or cat. Maybe they would agree to be a plumber complete with plumber’s crack (I’d like to think they have some sense of humor.)

With that being said, some of the costumes are really funny. But what makes the costumes more enjoyable—seeing the animals dressed as something or the looks on their faces when they are? And does dressing our animals say something about us?

I probably should have prefaced this post by saying I don’t enjoy Halloween. I have some childhood memories of the “holiday” that aren’t too fond, so it’s no wonder I may not be on the bandwagon to dress my dogs in costumes as I don’t even want to wear any. But what do you think about animals in costumes?

So, until next time…

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Adopt-A-Dog Month

October is Adopt-A-Dog Month. According to the ASPCA, 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and about 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60% of dogs and 70% of cats).

There are many benefits to having pets. Personally, I think it’s great to have loyal dogs that I know are in my corner, even if I have just reprimanded them for jumping, stealing things from my purse, etc. I don’t know what life is like without a dog; my family has always had one since before I was born. I’m glad I don’t know what life is like without them. Sure, there are messes to clean; there’s money to put out for food, vet visits, etc.; and you can’t stay at happy hour for six hours if you have to get home and feed them, let them out, walk them, etc.; however, there is also is an abundance of love that you just cannot find anywhere else.

The Centers for Disease Control agrees that pets are good for you. According to the agency, pets can help decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and feelings of loneliness, and can increase opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities and for socialization.

And are pets good for children? I believe that they are. I think having a pet can teach about compassion, love, and loyalty; can help teach a sense of responsibility; and/or can help teach the importance of exercise, just to name a few perks. There are even studies that have come out in the past few years that show that reading to a dog can help children learn how to read. (I may actually address this point in more detail in an upcoming newsletter.) Studies also have started to show that pets can help build children’s immune systems.

I know many people who have companion pets. Some have gotten them through breeders or stores, some have adopted, and some have gotten a puppy or kitten from a litter of someone they know. I certainly would never judge the way that someone gets a dog or cat, because it’s a personal decision as to why you would choose a shelter over a dog store over a breeder over a neighbor’s litter, etc. Only you know what is right for you and your family. But after seeing that more than half of the animals in shelters are euthanized, would you consider adoption if you are thinking about getting a pet?

So, until next time…

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Reviews are coming in

So far, people report that they like Oh Brother!: A Nico and Tugger Tale!

My aunt works at an after-school program, and she kindly took copies of my book’s proof (before it was published) to read to the kids. According to her, it was a success with the children and the staff alike! What great news to hear! My friend also showed the proof to two of her children (who are 5 and 8); they said the liked it too and even had a conversation with us about their favorite parts of the book and the moral of the story. After it was published, one of her daughters was inspired to draw the cover (her version of it, which was awesome!) and asked to bring it to school to show her class.

Also after it was released, other good friends showed great support and purchased the book. (Thank you!) My friend read it to her son, who is 3 ½ years old. He enjoyed it so much that he wanted to sleep with it! And after she read it, I was invited to read to her kindergarten class. Another friend reported that his daughter wanted it read a few times and has requested to meet Nico, Tugger, and me. And yet another friend gave it to her 2-year-old, who now calls it his “puppy book”.

And what has the most important and impartial critic said? My mom loves it! OK, I get that my mom is not the most impartial, but her opinion still counts, right?

Who needs “professional” reviews when my targeted audience seems to be enjoying the book?! Obviously, I hope that the reviews continue to be positive. I think it’s a good book with a good story that children can relate to. I hope that if you’re inspired to get it, you will enjoy it too. It is something that was written from my heart—hopefully that comes through to anyone who reads it. I also hope that Nico and Tugger will become so dear to you that I will be able to continue their stories with a series of their adventures or/or mishaps.

So, until next time…

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Hello! Thank you for taking your time to read what I have to say (or write)! My recently published children’s book, Oh Brother!: A Nico and Tugger Tale, is the story of two dogs that became brothers. So, I thought for my first blog EVER that I would write about family. (Many of you know that one blog will not cover all the crazy stories that surround my relatives, but here’s one go at it.)

I was the annoying younger sibling to my sister, although I know that I have since passed being annoying and gone to being totally awesome…right, Sherry?! Anyway, it’s interesting that at our ages (all I’ll say is that we can legally drink), we have “moments” every now and again. Although we band together to poke fun at our mom or other fun-to-pick-on family members (i.e. Aunt Barb, whom we adore), put us in a store where there is one really cute shirt in our size AND on sale, all bets are off. And as much as I love Sherry and would take a bullet for her (as long as I was assured that it wouldn’t do much damage and get me loads of attention), if she stood between me and Jon Bon Jovi, I wouldn’t hesitate to trample her to get to him.

We’re not the only people in our family to torment each other. My mother once put Aunt Barb in the dryer…and turned it on. Probably karma, my mom now is the butt of family jokes–like climbing onto a roof to pour a bucket of water on her. For his share, my dad convinced Aunt Barb to stick her tongue on wrought iron in the winter (yes, it stuck) and took me to see Jaws when I was a child. (Stay tuned–the infamous Easter photo courtesy of Mom and Dad will be the topic of a blog itself.) We kind of got him back by forcing him to wear green dread locks in Vegas for St. Patty’s Day (and we have photo and video proof that have not stayed in Vegas…).

I am grateful for these times. They have taught me not to take things so seriously, and, no matter what, I can always count on my family for a laugh, if nothing else. Hopefully you will find some of my future stories amusing too.

While I’m on the topic of being grateful, there are many who helped me with my book and its related activities. Special thanks go to Christa, Ellen, Eileen, Amy, Katie, Aunt Barb, Carissa, Michelle, and everyone else who has helped me or was kind enough to put up with me shoving anything book related down his or her throat. And to those of you who purchased the book (especially those who bought it to support me but don’t know any kids or purchased it without even knowing what it’s about), I am deeply appreciative.

So, until next time…

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