Dryer Sheets Keep Away Nasty Flying Insects!

dog outside

Summer bug problems? I nearly forgot about this low-tech simple solution really works to keep away the nasty little biting, flying insects that swarm around me and my dogs when we go on summer walks in the middle of summer.

My girls Maisie and Wanda – who run across fields, streams and into woods year round – are already fully protected against ticks with their monthly applications of Vectra 3D or K9 Advantix II. In addition, this spring I added the long-acting Seresto collar, after hearing one too many blood-chilling accounts of the ever-emerging horrible diseases transmitted by an ever-expanding world of ticks looking to gorge on us and our dogs.

The best topical anti-tick products do kill-on-contact – so that the tick only needs to land on the dog to die and does not have a chance to take a “blood meal,” which is how the tick-borne diseases are transmitted. In theory, these topicals also have a repellent effect on other insects – but tell that to the mosquitoes, gnats, little black flies and other incredibly annoying flying insects that proliferate during the summer! And watch out for the panicked, tail-tucked misery of a short-coated dog being molested by these bugs!

Those of you with furry dogs (like my Golden Retriever Roma was, and my Collie-mix Jazzy) don’t know the torture these insects are for our “nude” dogs like my Weimaraners, or anybody’s Dobie, Viszla, hound of any kind, etc.

So here’s the “trick:” right before you go outdoors, take a dryer sheet and rub it all over your dog’s head, back, sides, armpits, belly. If you have two dogs as I do, turn the dryer sheet over and use the other side on dog #2. You can use a dryer sheet the same way on your own skin and clothes and hat – and even tuck it into the back of a baseball cap so it hangs down. It works!

But just to be sure I wasn’t leading you down a (bug free) garden path, I did a quick internet check and found THIS ARTICLE from Smithsonian.com which confirmed the folk wisdom as having scientific proof!
Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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Shih Tzu Care Tips

Shih tzu’s are good-natured and easy to train, making them great family pets. But caring for a Shih tzu can be time consuming because they require a lot of grooming.

A major part of Shih tzu care is proper grooming which will begin as soon as you bring your new dog home. Their thick, double-coated hair can be grown long, …
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DOG VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM!

Those people who are against vaccinating kids because they believe the bad science that says vaccines cause autism have now crossed over into the dog world. Time Magazine published this video and article debunking the myth. Just as with children, unvaccinated dogs cause huge problems in communities. They can pass diseases not only to strays, […]


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Inspiration, Move Me Brightly

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Happy first day of August, friends. My fellow Grateful Dead lovers will recognize the title of this post, but the post itself (clearly) has nothing to do with a song. It’s just been a while since we’ve done a good ol’ random inspiration post, and I’m feeling it. So enjoy these images I’ve recently come across online that have been making me, for no specific reason, feel creatively inspired. I hope they do the same for you. (You can find more images that inspire me on the regular right here.)

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Our Love For Storytime

Our Love For Storytime

I’ve posted here before about how storytime is one of our little ones’ favorite activities. We have family story nights outside in the summer, where we all sit out on our deck and read together. The kids have pretend storytimes of their own, where they snuggle up in the big chair in our living room and Essley “reads” to Emmett. (There is quite possibly nothing more adorable than this, by the way.) Essley and her friends play storytime on playdates. Robbie and I love how much they enjoy these experiences. In a time where screens dominate so much of our daily lives, there is something incredibly reassuring (especially when our kids, like most, admittedly do love their screen time), to know that they find such genuine joy in books.

Because they are such big fans of storytime, you can imagine the kids’ excitement (and then subsequent heartbreak, when they realized we’d have to miss out because we’ll be on vacation!) when we found out about Storytime LIVE!, an awesome event that Kiddie Academy is hosting at multiple locations here in Illinois this Saturday, July 29th. You may remember me singing Kiddie Academy’s praises in the past. They’re a nationally recognized provider of comprehensive educational child care programs, with a really wonderful Life Essentials® curriculum that focuses on social and emotional character education, and physical and cognitive outcomes – all of which are aligned with state preschool learning standards. And Storytime LIVE! is yet another cool thing they’re doing for little ones. It’s a fun, educational community reading event (that is also free!) intended to promote reading amongst kids. It will also help prepare little ones for the transition into school or a school setting through the combination of playtime and leaning (which are the main parts of the Life Essentials® curriculum). And the best part is that Curious George (one of our kids’ all time favorite characters) jumps off the page and visits the classroom in person! So fun, right?

For my readers here in Illinois, ten Kiddie Academy locations will be participating in Storytime LIVE! this weekend: Arlington Heights, Batavia, Carpentersville, Darien, Frankfort, Naperville, Oswego, Park Ridge, Plainfield, and Streamwood. And the event is open to everyone – whether your children are current students, you’d like to learn more about Kiddie Academy, or you’d just like to be a part of this special experience with your kids! To reserve your spot to attend, just click here. If we weren’t going to be several hundred miles away, we would be there in a heartbeat. And if you go, I’d love to hear about it!

Do your kids enjoy storytime as much as mine do? What books are their favorites?

This post is in partnership with Kiddie Academy.  Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Is a Dog Being Allergic to Chicken Really a “Thing?”

Yorke eating Halo pet food

Is it truly possible that a dog can be “allergic” to chicken? This seems to be a popular belief as the cause for a dog to have itchy skin, hot spots, or waxy, infected ears. From chicken?! Really?!

I mean have you ever heard of a human who is allergic to chicken? You see restaurant menus alerting people with food intolerances to the presence of gluten, dairy, nuts, etc. – but chicken?!

I thought about this when I received this question from Bill: “My vet says absolutely no grains, beef or poultry allowed for my allergic five-year-old mini-Sheltie, Bonnie. She came from a shelter with a bad yeast infection of her skin and ears and the vet said those food ingredients are the most likely cause. I certainly don’t want to keep aggravating a food allergy. So, what can you suggest I feed her?”

Skin Problems Don’t Mean a Chicken Allergy!
A dog who has been in a shelter can arrive there (and onward to her adoptive home) with deficits because of previous neglect, poor hygiene, stress and poor nutrition – but not because she’s allergic to a food ingredient. I respectfully suggest that Bill should look for a veterinarian who understands that most skin allergies in dogs are not caused by the diet but by environmental factors: a reaction to something Bonnie has touched or breathed. A veterinary internist or dermatologist will look for answers in the environment, where all the kinds of airborne and contact allergens that plague human allergy-sufferers (pollen, grasses, etc.) also affect dogs. In fact there are excellent blood tests available that can pinpoint the exact elements an individual dog is reactive to (runny eyes and nose, smelly ears, skin problems of various kinds) and they can make up an individualized serum that can be injected or given as a daily oral spray (like the oral serum both my dogs Maisie and Wanda use – to reduce the terrible hives, bumps, redness and itching they get in summer, racing through high fields of grasses and weeds) (in fact I give them their oral squirts twice a day in summer when the allergens are at their height).

Environmental Allergies are the Most Likely Cause
Trying to avoid chicken, beef and grains “just in case” would be a lifetime of management without any proven reason and an unnecessary burden – while not addressing and treating the actual underlying allergies. As far as “grains” (or corn for that matter), you won’t find them in premium dog food anyway. And when you consider Halo’s newest line of food, not only are the ingredients high quality, they are even non-GMO and otherwise earth and animal friendly. You don’t want to stop feeding a high quality food while your dog keeps on itching – you want to find out the real cause of the problem.

Food Allergies Are Rare
Dogs are rarely allergic to food ingredients, even though this is often misunderstood. Some vets will even put dogs on prescription dog foods with limited ingredients you may not be comfortable with – rather than looking elsewhere for the cause of itching, runny eyes or nose or other symptoms of allergies.

Poultry (which includes eggs) does happen to be the most common food ingredient to which some dogs can be intolerant, but the best way for a responsible veterinarian to get to the bottom of allergic symptoms is to first conduct a blood allergy test. If it shows no reactions, then it’s time to determine whether the dog is genuinely food allergic. A vet will instruct the owner to put the dog on a strict two-month “elimination diet” in which all commercial food is removed and the only thing to pass the dog’s lips will be boiled chicken and rice. After those 8 weeks, the vet would allow the addition of other food ingredients, one by one, to find the offending source.

However, please note that the elimination diet itself is chicken based!

Don’t Blame the Food!
Never guess or make assumptions about a pet food or an ingredient being the cause of itching or other symptoms. If you suspect allergies in your dog, ask your veterinarian for a blood allergy test to see if something in the environment might be causing the problem. Any concerns you have are best deciphered by modern technology under your vet’s supervision.

Feed the Best Food You Can
One step on the path to improved health would be to switch to a high-quality premium pet food like Halo, which uses WHOLE meat, poultry and fish while avoiding growth hormones and “meat meal” with animal byproducts.

Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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Whole Lot of Difference: Texas Husky Rescue

Texas Husky Rescue at Phydeaux & Friends

Texas Husky Rescue, Inc. was created in May 2009 as a non-profit 501(c)3 animal rescue organization that is run entirely by volunteers. Its mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and find qualified loving homes for neglected, abused, and unwanted Huskies throughout Texas and beyond as well as educate the public about responsible pet ownership and the special qualities of the Siberian Husky Breed.

Halo is proud to partner with Freekibble.com and GreaterGood.org to make a WHOLE lot of difference for shelter pets together.

Here’s what Texas Husky Rescue had to say about a recent Halo Pets donation, which was made possible with the help of Phydeaux & Friends in Austin, TX:

“…having Halo available for them gives us the peace of mind they are getting the nutrients they need to be the very best husky…”

“Halo has been a critical part of our program for every husky we have had this past year. We would not be able to have 60 dogs in our program right now if it were not for the generous donation of food, which allows us to allocate the funds we save towards making sure all of our huskies get the very best care.

From the healthiest of huskies to those needing a little TLC, having Halo available for them gives us the peace of mind they are getting the nutrients they need to be the very best husky they can be as they start the next chapter of their life searching for their family.

Zeus’s Story

Zeus from Texas Husky RescueZeus was picked up as a stray and brought to a local shelter. He wasn’t reclaimed and was labeled as “rescue only” because he was highly stressed and wasn’t feeling the whole shelter vibe (who does, really?). Once out of the stressful environment and into a place where our volunteers were able to show him the love and affection he so desperately needed his true personality came out! And boy does he have personality!!!

It didn’t take long for us to realize his rescue only status was not a true reflection of him, he is extra sweet and over just a big goofy fun loving boy who loves a nice ear scratch. The two months he spent in our program he enjoyed learning how much fun being a happy husky can be and of course all the yummy Halo food he got for his dinners. He learned quickly he wouldn’t ever have to go hungry again, there was always plenty of tasty food available to fill his tummy.  After two months we were thrilled to watch as Zeus walked away tail wagging and head up high with his very own family who loves him. (Is there any better sight??) This sweet boy now loves to play in the yard with his doggie friends and can not get enough love from his people.

Zeus from Texas Husky Rescue

Nymeria’s Story

Nymeria from Texas Husky RescueNymeria was an adoption return to the shelter because after 2 week her owners realized they were moving and couldn’t take her. She was terrified and depressed being back in the shelter. It didn’t take long for her to show signs of illness and they called us immediately.  When our volunteer picked her up at the shelter we knew right away Nymeria was in trouble! She was EXTREMELY underweight, listless and couldn’t even walk on her own! We rushed her to our vet where she got some antibiotics, a B12 shot and an IV. Our vets determined she had pneumonia in both lungs and stayed overnight at an emergency vet clinic to monitor her progress. After getting her illness under control Nymeria went to a wonderful foster home where they began giving her some much needed extra TLC (and some extra Halo meals) where she began to gain weight and gain trust in people again.

Zeus and Nymeria are just two examples of the many dogs we save every day. We do not know what happened to these sweet babies before rescue but we do know that thanks to generous donations from our partners at Halo and our great team of volunteers that none of these dogs will ever know what it is like to be alone and scared again. It is a promise we make to each and every dog we bring in and one we never go back on.”

Nymeria from Texas Husky Rescue with Halo pet food

Thank you Texas Husky Rescue for making a WHOLE lot of difference for pets in your community.

When you choose Halo pet food, made from natural, whole food ingredients, your pet won’t be the only one with a radiant coat, clear eyes and renewed energy. Halo feeds it forward, donating over 1.5 million bowls annually. As always, Halo will donate a bowl to a shelter every time YOU buy. Thank you for helping #HaloFeeditForward

Halo Pets

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Donna, thanks so much for addressing this paralle…

Donna, thanks so much for addressing this parallel. When my own girl, Daisy, joined me in 2001, it became devastatingly clear that the model of thought that engenders pit bull-type prejudice is inevitably linked to human ethnicity prejudice. When Daisy joined me, I had no idea that "pit bulls" were a thing. Except that my girl was one, I had no idea that dog breeds could be a target of prejudice. My girl taught me to always greet hatred with love and compassion, even joy. It came to be that while we stood shoulder to shoulder, we were standing for not only ourselves, but for all sentient beings. Tolerance and kindness is non-negotiable, and while it may never become the baseline, I hope that by working together, it may at least become socially formative across ALL demo graphics.
BAD RAP Blog

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Just One of Those Days (+ Taking A Little Break)

I fully intended on having a fantastic post prepared for you guys today, but instead I’m just going to get real and admit that after all of the traveling we’ve done the last few weeks, a trip we’re leaving for today (which you might have read about here; ya know, the one that I, for months, thought was next week), a pretty big work load for me with partnerships for here and on Instagram and my freelance stuff, the zillion activities the kids are in right now, and just life in general, I can’t seem to get my sh*t together today. I have some really great posts coming up in the next couple of weeks, but today just felt so overwhelming that I didn’t feel like “wasting” them. That sounds really negative, and I’m honestly not feeling negative at all. I mean really, I’m pretty lucky that I have the option of saying “I don’t feel like doing my job today.” And I’m really looking forward to our trip (which we’re taking with my late stepdad’s big, wonderful family, in his honor), despite the fact that I got the weeks mixed up and have been frantic. And right before we leave today, Emmet has his annual developmental therapy assessment for his epilepsy and I just have a great feeling he’s going to be assessed as even better than great. I am grateful everyday for my life and my family and my work. But yeah, today I just needed to write an old-school-blog style post where I’m just talking to you all like we’re having coffee (or better yet, a margarita) at some really great outdoor cafe, and not sugar coating how I’m feeling. Ya know?

I’ll leave you with that, and the grainy but beloved photo above, which is from when we went to Door County with my stepdad and his family back in 2015. (Emmett is the age now that Essley was then. Weird.) I’m going to take a few day break from the blog, but we’ll be back here next Tuesday, with a much more inspired post. And you can always follow along with our trip (which includes a 6+ hour car ride with my children) here. Happy early weekend, friends. May you get a little break too.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Animal Legal Defense Fund Sues Petland

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, announced the filing of a nationwide consumer class action lawsuit against Petland, a national pet store chain, and the chain’s Kennesaw, Georgia location. The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia alleging Petland […]


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