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Category Archives: Pets & Animals

One More Sleep Until Christmas!

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Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you are finished shopping, wrapping, and baking—and are now ready for some merrymaking! Today I will be spending time with my husband, my basset hound, my parents, and their 2 bassets. In honour of the furry, festive fun, I thought I’d share some adorable doggie videos and photos to put a smile on your face and help you pass the time while you count down the minutes until Santa arrives ;)

Dashing through the snow is hard #holidayworkoutplan #bringonthefeast #idratherbesleeping

A photo posted by Hank The Basset (@hankthebasset) on

A photo posted by Loki & Friends (@corgistagram) on

short legs and deep snow is a tough combination. ❄️

A video posted by Dean (@deanthebasset) on

A photo posted by Pip & her hounds (@philpush) on

8 Steps to Walking Your Dog in the Winter

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Despite their fur, doggies can get cold in the winter just like humans do. But don’t get low temps keep you from walking your best friend or playing with him out in the snow—you just need to take a few extra precautions. For tips on how to keep your pup warm and safe during a wintery promenade, check out the infographic below!
Walking Your Dog in Winter Infographic

Click on the image for a closer look! Infographic via Vetstreet

#OptOutside with Your Dog and Support the ASPCA

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#OptOutside with Your Dog

Last November, the outdoor recreation and sporting goods retailer REI did something rather unheard of. On Black Friday, they closed all of their stores and paid their 12,000 employees to spend time outside. They dubbed this campaign #OptOutside, and they encouraged everyone else to join them in the great outdoors instead of at the shopping mall. What a refreshing idea!

This year I’m thrilled to report that REI has partnered with Subaru, and together they are inviting dog lovers to #OptOutside with their pups this Friday. I simply cannot think of a better way to spend a day than being outside enjoying nature with my best friend—my basset hound—so I’m all for this. If you need help deciding what to do with your pup, check out REI’s list of dog-friendly activities.

To make this campaign even better, if you post a photo of you and your doggie out in nature with the hashtags #OptOutside and #MakeADogsDay, Subaru will make a donation to the ASPCA.

ASPCA Logo

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was established 150 years ago, making it the oldest humane society in the United States. As the President & CEO of the ASPCA Matthew Bershadker said, their “focus is to get pets out of shelters and keep them in homes, while increasing the protections of animals under the law. We are helping to shape a society that continuously improves the lives of animals.”

True to their motto—“We are their voice”—the ASPCA strives to make lives better for animals in a variety of ways. They work with the government to enact and enforce animal protection laws, perform spay/neuter operations across the country, run an adoption centre in NYC, transport animals to shelters, save animals from horrible conditions, and much, much more. Working to protect those who have no voice is a noble mission indeed.

I truly hope that everyone will venture outdoors with their dogs this Friday to pause and enjoy the beauty of nature. If you do, don’t forget to post a photo on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook using the #OptOutside and #MakeADogsDay hashtags to help raise money for the ASPCA! Additionally, if you want to give more to the animals, you can always donate to the ASPCA in honour of a loved one or host a Holiday Campaign.

Donate to the ASPCA

Take a Moment to Paws This Holiday Season

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The holiday season is always so fun, but it can also be stressful, especially if you are travelling. Well, I have some good news… If you live in the USA and are flying today, you may come across some furry friends at the airport! United Paws—a program from United Airlines designed to delight customers—will once again be bringing professionally trained comfort dogs to airports. United added more airports to the list this year, and doggies will be at Chicago-O’Hare, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, and Washington-Dulles. Puppies at the airport!? That would certainly delight this airline customer!

This video is from earlier in the week, hence why it says “tomorrow.”

Not only are dogs adorable, but science shows that petting a dog is actually good for you. Veterinary Consultant Dr. Walter Woolf said, “United Paws is a wonderful program that comes at just the right time for some holiday travelers who may be experiencing a bit of anxiety or stress… Research shows that just petting a dog releases oxytocin, the hormone associated with bonding and affection, and also decreases levels of stress, helps us breathe easier, and lowers our blood pressure.” I have a basset hound myself, and I can personally attest to the fact that being around a dog definitely makes you feel better :D This news clip shows that other travellers agree:

So if you are flying out of or have a layover in ORD, CLE, DEN, IAH, LAX, EWR, or IAD today, de-stress before take-off by petting a four-legged pal. Maybe you’ll even get a smooch from a sweet pup!

And if this act of holiday kindness wasn’t enough, United Airlines is also holding a contest where the winner will receive two round trip tickets. To enter, share a photo on Instagram or Twitter of your dog with a United Airlines logo or in a travel setting, tag @United, and include the hashtags #UnitedPaws and #UnitedContest. For every picture that is shared, United will donate $1 to support therapy dog organizations. [See official rules here.]

Dogs, air travel, and Christmas cheer… three of my favourite things combined into one holiday happening! :D

Monday Merriness

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There are only 11 days until Christmas now—woo hoo! I hope that your week is off to an excellent start, but in case your Monday needs a dose of holiday cheer, check out the adorable videos below. They will surely put a smile on your face and some festive feelings in your heart :D

Gävlebocken is Back!

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My beloved Gävlebocken is back! The 13 meter tall Christmas goat has been erected once again this year in Gävle, Sweden. Make sure to follow him on Twitter or Instagram, or read his blog for a dose of julstämning. And if you’re a serious Gävlebocken fan like me, you might also like to check out the live feed on his webcam!

:) #sharegävle #Gävlebocken #gavlegoat

A photo posted by Gävlebocken (@gavlebocken) on

And you can always go visit Gävlebocken yourself:

Slottstorget
802 50 Gävle
Sweden

Warm Fuzzies from Mog the Cat

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‘Tis the season for giving, sharing, and spreading joy. This short video of Mog the cat gave me warm fuzzies, and I’m sure it will make you feel cheery, too. Be sure to watch until the very end to see how things turn out!

Wasn’t that a sweet ending? Though this is a Sainsbury’s advert, I love the fact that it reminds me of what truly matters. In this case, neighbors pulled together to help the family recover from the fire. What can you do to make the season brighter for someone in your life? Perhaps it’s sharing a meal with a friend or baking cookies for your coworkers. Share a smile with someone you pass on the street; you can make a difference in someone else’s day in seemingly small ways. What will you do today? Let us know in the comments below. :)

Christmas Photos for Your Pets

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Photo by Sandra Cobet. License: CC BY 2.0

Have your pets been naughty or nice this year? Now is their chance to whisper in Santa’s ear. Or maybe they’ll just give Santa a big slobbery kiss. ;) In Petco stores nationwide, your furry family members can have their photo taken with Santa. If there isn’t a Petco near you, contact your local humane society or animal shelter. Many humane societies have an event where Santa will take a picture with pets. For more holiday fun, you can get a free digital photo from PetSmart (details below).

So pull out your Christmas sweaters, scarves, hats, or other festive accessories and make plans to attend one of these photo events!

Photos with Santa at Petco

petco-logoOn Saturday, December 6th or 13th, head into your local Petco between 1–4pm to have your pet’s photo taken with Santa. You’ll get a 4" x 6" photo for just $9.95. You’ll be happy to know that 100% of your photo purchase will help homeless animals—now that’s money well spent!

Click here to find a Petco store near you.

Paws for the Camera at PetSmart

PETSMART-logoGet a digital photo of you with your furry friend(s) at PetSmart for free—that’s right, FREE! Now, to be clear, Santa will not be there, but you can still have a nice, festive photo taken. The image will be emailed to you, so you can print as many as you like or even use it for your Christmas cards! This in-store photo event will take place on December 6–7th and 13–14th from 12–4pm.

Click here to find a PetSmart near you.

Other Resources

  • Your local humane society – Contact your local animal shelter to find out if they are having a “photos with Santa” event.
  • Your local shopping mall – Sometimes the Santa photo booth at the mall has designated times when pets are welcome to take photos with Santa.

Gävlebocken: The World’s Largest Yule Goat

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As evidenced by some of my Etsy selections and by my own personal Christmas tree, I LOVE julbocks [Swedish yule goats]. So it should come as no surprise that I also adore Gävlebocken, the massive julbock that is constructed each year at Castle Square in Gävle, Sweden. And when I say “massive,” I mean it—Gävlebocken weighs 3.6 tons and is 13 meters tall!

Dag 15 #gävle #gavlegoat #gavlebocken #gävlebocken #jul #visitgavle #christmas #sharegavle

A photo posted by Gävlebocken (@gavlebocken) on

A holiday tradition since 1966, Gävlebocken is erected each year at the beginning of Advent, and he is made of straw and adorned with red ribbons, similar to his smaller counterparts. Gävlebocken is usually accompanied by a shorter goat, referred to as his little brother or Lillbocken.

For some weird reason, Gävlebocken is a favourite target of vandals, particularly arsonists :( The poor goat has been burned down or otherwise destroyed 27 times in his history. The organization who creates the goat each year [Southern Merchants] has taken measures to try and ensure Gävlebocken’s survival, including installing a 24-hour webcam, coating the goat with ice, and soaking the straw with a variety of anti-flammable liquids.

Speaking of Gävlebocken’s webcam, you can view the live feed yourself here!

Screen capture of Gävlebocken’s webcam from the middle of the night

Besides watching Gävlebocken’s webcam, it’s also fun to follow him on social media—he has a lot of personality for a straw goat. Check him out on Instagram [gavlebocken] or Twitter [@Gavlebocken]. Gävlebocken even has a blog, which is particularly amusing. For example, yesterday he wrote about his little brother and said “[He] is the cutest little strawgoat you can imagine, and sometimes we play hide and seek or tag the Goat. Great fun!” Oh, and don’t fret—he posts online in Swedish and English, so you can keep up with all the goaty goings-on.

Dag 11 #gävle #gavlegoat #gavlebocken #gävlebocken #christmas #jul #sharegavle #visitgavle

A photo posted by Gävlebocken (@gavlebocken) on

Intrigued by Gävlebocken? Shoot him an email at gavlegoat@merjuligavle.se to tell him God Jul or visit him this holiday season:

Slottstorget
802 50 Gävle
Sweden

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