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Wordless Wednesday: Claire is aware

Wordless Wednesday: Claire is aware

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Wordless Wednesday: merry Mini

Wordless Wednesday: merry Mini

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Wordless Wednesday: locked-up Layla

Wordless Wednesday: locked-up Layla

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i am not a prejudiced pet sitter: Blog the Change for Animals

As a professional pet sitter, I can’t tell you how many times people say the following things the first time I speak to them on the phone:

“Do you take care of big dogs? I hope you don’t charge extra.”

“Sweetie is a Rottweiler, but she’s really nice…she’s never bitten anyone…she loves kids…you’ll love her…”

“He’s a Chihuahua, so he’s little. So you don’t charge as much, right?”

“She’s a Golden Retriever. She’s a lover, and she’ll be super easy.”

And my all-time favorite “Do you sit for Pit Bulls?”

I always provide the same answer: “I don’t discriminate based on size or breed. Every dog deserves the same amount of attention and love. I won’t take care of a dog that shows hostility toward me, regardless of the breed or size, and I take wonderful care of all animals that will let me, regardless of the breed or size. There is no difference in price.”

Sure, Goliath’s poop is HUGE, but that’s not his fault. I’ll pick up his, and I’ll pick up Chi-chi’s, just the same.

I have slept in bed with many a Pit Bull’s tongue in my face (in a good way) and I’ve been barked out of town by a Golden Retriever. I have learned through experience not to prejudge the animal. I greet each animal with the energy that is appropriate for the energy he shows me, whether that be positive or negative, big or small. Just like people, dogs are individuals and deserve the right to shine (or not).

So let’s judge them, but let’s judge them fairly after getting to know them. Just as most of us refuse to judge our human friends by their color or size, might we do the same for dogs? My motto: assume the best, but be prepared for the worst. I apply that to everyone I meet.

Hi! It’s nice to meet you…

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Wordless Wednesday: catnapping coco

Wordless Wednesday: catnapping coco

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perhaps the best client i’ve ever had

I was dreading the moment when Mona Chica’s parents would come to collect their other fantabulous pooches. Two others, to be exact. If you read my post, she died in my arms last night, you know we’ve had a really rough week. Since Mona Chica passed, we’ve been dealing with the emotions of it all. It’s rough. Not just for me, but for my whole family. And since then, we’ve been caring for Mona Chica’s older brother and sister.

Until today.

As a professional pet sitter…I’m thinking that’s now an oxymoron. Because there is nothing professional about crying on the phone when you tell your client that their pet has passed. The professional part was that I downgraded from all-out bawling, which I reserved for my family. But, then, a week later (they were on a cruise, don’t judge)–today–when they came to collect their other animals, once they started to cry, so did I. And we hugged, which is also not considered professional in the professional sense. Mona Chica’s mom remembered that Campbell (my 4-year-old daughter) was over the moon to take care of a Chihuahua, her dream doggie. So she brought this for Cam:

20131008-200422.jpgUnbelievable, right?

Let me break it down for you if you haven’t heard: I was taking care of these dogs for the first time. Though the clients knew their Chihuahua was sick, they didn’t know how sick. Mona Chica’s death, though not unexpected, was shocking. Then, when returning from their stay away, immediately after dealing with her beloved’s remains, upon collecting their other dogs, they presented my daughter with a toy Chihuahua (Mona Chica look-alike), simply because they knew Campbell had been excited to help me care for Mona Chica.

I think these brand-new clients touched something in me, and in Campbell, that we didn’t realize before, and probably won’t fully realize for some time. I didn’t think as much about my own daughter’s feelings of failure as I did about my own, the professional pet sitter, or as I did about my clients, who had suffered the ultimate loss. Sure, our family went through the emotions of loss and talked it out, but I never even conceived that my girl might feel a bit of failure that the dog who she most likely felt ultimately responsible for died in our care.

We now have a new Mona Chica in our lives. And though she can’t truly compete with the original Mona Chica, she’s something special, and she lets my daughter–and me–know that we’re something special. And that we did the best we could. And that loss sometimes just happens anyway.


10 reasons to go grain-free for your dog with #DiamondNaturals

10ReasonsToGoGrainFreeAs with just about everything these days, whether or not to put your dog on a grain-free diet is hotly debated, as is every argument within the debate. We should feel lucky that we have so many high-quality options when it comes to providing nourishment for our canine family members. Though there are many options out there, and you should always choose a diet for your dog based on your dog’s individual needs, providing a high-quality, grain-free diet like Diamond Naturals Grain Free is an excellent option for most dogs.

Here are the top ten reasons to go grain-free:

1. A grain-free diet is more closely associated with a canine’s natural diet. Before being domesticated, dogs ate a protein-centric diet composed almost entirely of meat. The little grain they did eat mostly came from the stomach contents of the animals the consumed. Going grain-free is only natural.

2. Your dog will have more energy. Protein is the main source of energy for dogs. Since they tend to turn their noses up at tofu and beans, your best bet may be to maximize their protein intake with a meat-based diet. A diet that includes low-quality grains (fillers) won’t really provide your pooch with the energy he needs since it will mostly come out as waste. It echoes the way humans consume. If we eat a low-quality, high-carbohydrate diet, we stay hungry and we don’t have the energy we need to get through the day. And it comes out as waste.

3. Your dog will shed less and have a healthier coat. Consuming low-quality grains on a regular basis does not provide your dog with the proper oils and nutrients she needs to maintain healthy skin and coat. Healthy coats are shiny and stick with your dog, mostly. We all shed some, but think about how one of the first signs of human malnutrition is brittle, breaking hair and hair loss. Same with dogs. The easy-to-digest animal fats in grain-free dog foods such as Diamond Naturals include the necessary oil to your dog’s diet that is key to a healthy coat.

4. Dogs on a grain-free diet have fewer allergies. Most canine allergies are associated with the grains in dog food. A grain-free diet is usually the best choice for an allergic pooch, and is, in my opinion, the first thing a dog owner should try before subjecting their dog to allergy medications and bold lifestyle changes.

5. Dogs on a grain-free diet enjoy better health. Consuming low-quality grains that are included in low-quality foods are of no benefit to your animal. The dog foods that include these fillers often include other harmful ingredients such as chemical preservatives and artificial colors. Your dog definitely doesn’t need those! These types of chemical additives are linked to cancer, liver problems, joint degeneration, and a whole host of other health issues. Most grain-free foods are high-quality. You can be fairly certain that when the grains come out, so does the other junk. Dogs on a grain-free diet might enjoy more energy, fewer allergies, better weight management, and a healthier digestive system.

6. Dogs on a grain-free diet have better breath. Nutrition has a huge impact on dental health, both for humans and dogs. If your pooch is eating a high-quality grain-free diet, odds are, he will enjoy better dental health. If his teeth aren’t rotting, his breath will be better, of course.

7. Grain-free dog foods are thought to be more easily digested. Some argue that dogs simply can’t digest grains. I believe that this can be partially true. High-quality grains can add fiber to your dog’s diet, which can be beneficial. Not to get too personal, but we all know that some of the things we eat come out just as they went in (I’m not the only one, right?). That’s okay. We may not be gaining nutrition, but we are gaining fiber. The problem? Most undigestible material in dog food is low-quality. They need a bit of high-quality fiber. So if you feed your dog a grain-free diet and feel that she needs more fiber, try pumpkin!

8. Dogs on a grain-free diet produce less poop. It’s true. It really is. I know–first hand–because I alternate my dog between high-quality grains and grain-free foods. And I pick up her poop. It’s smaller and less frequent when she’s going grain-free. This theory is reinforced by the animals I see as a professional pet sitter. Dogs on high-quality grain-free diets poop less. And toot less. They use more of what’s in the food to help their bodies go, so less waste comes out. Does Walter the Farting Dog live in your house? Try going grain-free, and I’ll betcha things will get better.

9. The poop produced stinks less. One of the most glamorous parts of my job is scooping the treasures left by my sweet canine clients. I have become somewhat of an excrement expert and can confidently tell you that the poop produced by my clients on a heavily-processed, low-quality diet filled with grain fillers such as corn, gluten, or wheat flour have gaggy-stink poop that can be smelled for miles when the wind picks up. Even if the pet owner hasn’t revealed the brand of food they feed their dog, I can almost always tell if it’s one of the worst. Kinda like when you eat Taco Bell and then the next day…well, you get the idea.

10. Dogs on a grain-free diet consume less food. For sure. They get more energy from the food they are eating, so they consume less. I have personally tested this theory when I switch my dog from high-quality grain foods to grain-free. She eats WAY less on the grain-free food. I feed her a small amount twice a day, and she’s good to go. Sometimes she doesn’t even eat it all. When she’s on the food that includes grain, even though it’s high-quality, she eats more and begs for snacks between meals. A grain-free diet can help with weight management AND finances because our pooches consume less. For tips on how to find an affordable, grain-free food, please check out grain-free dog food that doesn’t break the bank.

DiamondNaturals850x315IIDiamond Naturals Grain Free has three high-protein grain-free choices. Beef & Sweet Potato, Chicken & Sweet Potato, and Whitefish & Sweet Potato. Real beef, chicken, and fish protein sources not only provide your dog with the energy he needs, but are a natural source of amino acids. And the sweet potato provides complex carbohydrates so your dog can keep his energy level up throughout the day. The fruits and vegetables in each variety are a great source of antioxidants and fiber for optimal health.

Going grain-free with a food like Diamond Naturals Grain Free is an excellent choice for most dogs. Have you gone grain-free? Tell me your experiences! But let’s not go all congress on me, okay? I’ve had about enough of that, regardless of which side you’re on.

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Diamond Naturals as part of the Blog Paws Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Diamond Naturals Grain Free dog food, but well minded word only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Diamond Naturals is not responsible for the content of this article.