The Arizona Animal Welfare League & Spca recently shared this video on Facebook!

“Dinner time!! This is how “Girl” greets you around dinner time every day, how adorable! She is our 2 year old Staffie mix and she will wiggle her way right into your heart. Thanks Halo Pets and for making sure our animals always eat the best.”

Halo is proud to be a small part of AAWL’s great work!

Dinner time at the AAWL!

Dinner time at the AAWL!

Dinner time!! This is how Girl greets you around dinner time everyday, how adorable! She is our 2 year old Staffie mix and she will wiggle her way right into your heart. Thanks Halo Pets and Freekibble for making sure our animals always eat the best.

Posted by Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Click here to watch the original video on Facebook.


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The Home Stretch

Now that we’re back on the road, here’s an updated schedule:

San Luis obispo November 12
Pismo beach November 13
Santa Maria area* November 14
Santa Barbara November 22
Ventura November 25
Oxnard November 26
Malibu November 29
Santa Monica December 1
LA Area (leaving) December 8
The Final Mile December 14

Planning for the final mile is underway so we’ll post it here soon

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Why You are More Powerful Than Any Counselor

The phone rings, and I answer it with an admittedly impatient voice since someone sold my phone number to a marketer and I’ve been getting deluged with spam calls all week. I have the phone in one hand and Brody’s tail in the other, as he chewed up his bandage when I wasn’t looking and now I have to re-wrap the whole thing.

It’s Chaplain Gary this time, calling as he does, every few months, to see how I am doing.

I met him once, when he came to the house to talk to the kids when my mom was sick and give them a book. They sat looking at their hands, not sure what they were supposed to say to the stranger who was trying to get them to open up about their fears.

“We’re fine,” they say, because that is what they see me say. It is what all New Englanders learn to do from a young age, saying they’re fine even when their house is on fire, their leg has fallen off and one eyeball is hanging by a stalk. “Fine fine, under control, it’s fine.”

“I just was wondering how you guys were doing with the anniversary coming up,” he says. Ah yes, Easter, the last holiday we shared together as a family, the week before my mom’s seizure changed everything and brought our charmed existence to a screeching halt.

“Fine,” I say, “We’re hanging in.” Brody forgets his distress over his tail and puts his head in my lap, sensing the tension in my voice.

The chaplain calls because it is his job, and I am grateful he is there, but he’s not the one I want to talk to. He cares, but he doesn’t know me. When I see a butterfly zip by out of the corner of my eye and I’m hit with a wave of sadness, I want to talk to my sister. When I wake up from a dream where I’ve been out with my mom doing the little mundane things we always used to do- grabbing a Starbucks, pawing through the racks at Marshalls for a deal, I want my husband to hold me when I explain why I woke up crying. When I greet my Dad on Sundays and we both look at each other a little lost, I want Brody to come up and bully him into giving him treats, because that’s one of the few consistent ways to get a smile.

Grief is a family affair, and we’ve completely forgotten how to do that as a society.

Loss: The elephant in the room

Loss: The elephant in the room

When I started with Paws into Grace, I thought it was such a great boon to offer people a comprehensive list of pet loss support groups, counselors, social workers, psychiatrists. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good thing, but I was naively surprised when people almost universally declined to use their services. They are there to fill the void of a support system we no longer have and to help those in crisis, but it doesn’t replace our innate desire to turn inward during these times, to those close to us.

I gave a talk last year at a hospice conference about grief around the world, and one universal commonality was the ritual of community, surrounding families like a cocoon as they healed, giving structure and a safe place surrounded by friends to fall apart and, slowly, rebuild. Most important of all, the cocoon, the safe space, comes to the family- not the other way around. It takes a lot of energy to be sad, and who wants to do that in a strange place like a church basement, surrounded by other strangers, when you could be at home in a Snuggie close to the coffee pot and your dog.

I was at Western Vet Conference this week, and I ran into my friend Bill, who even in a rush to get to his upcoming afternoon of talks took a moment to say, “I’ve been thinking of you.” That meant more to me than 50 calls from the stranger chaplain. This is how it’s supposed to work, right?

When someone near to us loses a loved one, it seems these days that our instinct is to run away instead of to them. It is, I think, because we’re scared, we don’t know what to do, and no one has taught us how to scrape someone off the pavement. We don’t want them to know we’ve seen them upset.

We’ve made grief pathological, something ‘wrong’ that needs to be fixed by a professional, implying that we are somehow broken for having felt it. We’re so removed from this part of living that we can’t even manage the basics of grieving, needing booklets and chaplains and groups to manage even the simple things like, “am I normal to feel sad.”

As always, I keep trying to file these tidbits away into something useful for my own work, and in this case it’s dawned on me that it’s not the person who lost a pet who needs the guidance, but their family and friends. It’s a work in progress but it feels right, just as it’s a reminder to me how to be a better friend. I know 3 friends who lost a parent this year, and countless more who lost other beloved pets and family members. One little note from a friend, a Facebook message or a mailed card, means more than 50 calls from a stranger.

This is something we can all do well to remember.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Rosh Hashanah (Happy New Year) Wishes from a Furry Friend of Mine… Frankie!

Frankie Wishes all L’shanah tovah


Wondering what your Jewish Pet Parents are celebrating? Here is a Rosh Hashanah “cheat sheet” written by Wendy Thomas Russell on PBS Newshour.

Holiday: Rosh Hashanah

Pronounced: ROE-sha-SHA-na

Religion represented: Judaism

Date: The 1st and 2nd of the month of Tishrei in the Hebrew calendar. In 2015, the holiday starts at sunset Sept. 13 and ends at nightfall Sept. 15.

What it is: The Jewish New Year

Not to be confused with: Yom Kippur, which occurs 10 days later.

How important is it?: I asked my friend and former editor Jason Gewirtz. Here’s what he said: “Rosh Hashanah is a big, big deal. It’s the start of the Jewish new year. Yom Kippur the next week is only slightly bigger. [On a scale of 1 to 10], I’d say Rosh Hashanah is a 9.5 and Yom Kippur a 10. There’s nothing bigger than the two of them. They’re tied to each other. The period in between is supposed to be a time of mending any fences, if you will, and reflecting on things that can be improved from the previous year… It’s said that on Rosh Hashanah, you’ll either be written in or out of the Book of Life for the coming year. But on Yom Kippur, the book is sealed, meaning you’ve got that time in between to screw up or make your righteousness known.”

The good stuff: Foodwise, this holiday is associated with apples and honey (symbolizing a sweet new year), as well as pomegranates and challah (braided bread). Also, in lieu of stupid hats and tasseled squawkers, celebrants sport the traditional yarmulke and blow a cool-looking horn called a shofar.

Conveying meaning to kids: At dinner [a few years ago], I explained to my daughter that Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a time for reflecting on your life and challenging yourself to become a better human being. I served apples and pomegranates and asked Maxine to come up with one way that she might improve. Coincidentally, she had been reprimanded for “being silly” in her kindergarten class that morning, so her idea of self-improvement was to better follow her teacher’s instructions. I said my own resolution would be to spend less time looking at my phone. (Then on Yom Kippur, we checked in with each other about how well we did. The results? Well, a bit meh on both accounts. Luckily, we’re not religious…) As for children’s books, I recommend “Celebrate: A Book of Jewish Holidays” by Judi Gross and Bari Weissman.”    Read full story

May you be Inscribed in the Book of Life!

Helping to keep beloved furry babies healthy and safe… and pet parents informed!


I’ve Got the ‘Scoop’!, LLC

PetsitUSA Blog

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I Don’t Look

I swear I don’t obsessively look for lumps on Lacey.  I do check out her feet and legs more than most I’m sure, but I don’t give her full body rubdowns looking for more lumps.  Regardless I think I’ve found another one tucked in at the base of her ear.  It’s just little and I’m hoping it will turn out to be a little bug bite or something and go away on it’s own but I don’t really believe that.  She’s been licking the floor a lot lately and we’ve noticed her bugging at her anal glands a bit lately too.  The latter is definitely not a good sign and while I’m not sure if the floor licking is related, we swear it increases when she has a tumour although she always does it a little bit.

Anyway, I’ve got an appointment for Monday. Keep your fingers and paws crossed it turns out to be nothing more than a paranoid dog mom.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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10 Great Cauliflower Recipes

10 Great Cauliflower Recipes // Bubby and Bean
1. Hummus and Curried Cauliflower Tartine, Epicurious  //  2. Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Chick Pea Tacos, Two Peas and Their Pod  // 3. Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, Bon Appetit  //  4. Cauliflower Nachos with Harissa Cheddar Sauce, Busy in Brooklyn  //  5. Baked Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Bites, The Hungry Hedgehog  // 6. Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites, Our Life Tastes Good  //  7. Cauliflower Tortillas, Recipe Girl  // 8. Sticky Sesame Cauliflower, Connoisseurus Veg  //  9. Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower, Pure Wow  //  10. Spiced Cauliflower Carrot Soup, Epicurious 

A couple of years ago, I was at a party where a friend made vegetarian buffalo wings using cauliflower. I was so impressed (I may not eat chicken, but there is little I love more than buffalo sauce; if you’ve never used it as a dip for fried cheese curds you’re missing out), and ended up making them myself on several occasions. Then at a Friendsgiving party back in November, another friend made mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes and you guys, I seriously thought I was going to cry from how good they were. And with so many less carbs than potatoes! Ever since I have been on a major cauliflower kick, determined to eat them in as many recipes as possible. So for this edition of 10 Great, I thought I’d share some of my most recent cauliflower recipe finds. I think I’m most excited to try # 4. I mean, come on. Cauliflower nachos? A dream.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Our First Vacation as a Family of Four

We returned from our annual Arizona trip a few days ago, and although I had a different post scheduled for today, my brain is admittedly still in vacation mode – to the point that I bumped the other post so I could selfishly look at these photos and be transported back. I’ve talked about my love for the southwest many times before, and how I find it especially magical in comparison to anywhere else. I’ve lived all over the country, but never in the southwest, so I guess there is a sort of mystery to it, made even more intense by its natural beauty. And really, if you take me out of a dreary midwest end-of-winter environment and plop me down in a sunshine drenched locale filled with giant saguaro cacti and, like, tangelo trees in the backyard (literally), I’m going to be happy no matter what.

Unlike most of our other trips, I ended up not using our DSLR camera (even though I brought it, and we used it for some outfit pictures – stay tuned) and just shot with my phone. So these aren’t professional quality images by any means, but they tell the story of the trip just fine. I genuinely enjoy taking and sharing photos from our travels with my “real” camera, I really do, yet as the years go on, I find myself less motivated to make the effort to perfectly capture moments and just experience them instead. Obviously having kids makes it infinitely harder to stop, pull out the camera and the right lens and get the perfect shot, but I really think it’s more about enjoying the moment than logistics. Regardless, I (clearly) still take plenty of pictures.

This was our very first vacation as a family of four, and although the preparation and airport portions were not without near mental breakdowns, things went relatively smoothly (including on the flights, thank the universe), and everyone had a wonderful time. Our main reason for the trip was to visit Robbie’s parents, who are awesome and spoiled the kids in the best of ways. The vacation was the perfect mix of kid-friendly and adult activities – everything from swimming and fountain play time and ice cream adventures and cake baking sessions and lots of park visits to a Mexican food date with just Robbie and me to a day trip up to Prescott and Jerome (coolest old mining town built into the side of a mountain) and shopping at my favorite spot. And even though we went there about three weeks earlier than we usually do, the weather was incredible and I spent every moment I was able to outside. I worked a half day and answered some emails throughout the trip and that was it – it was all about being present, and I loved it. We all loved it. Essley almost started crying on the flight back when she realized we were headed home (she was convinced it was just a flight for fun, and that we were landing back in Arizona). And it got me pumped for more family traveling in the near future.

Robbie and I are both such wanderers and although Essley has appeared to be a natural born traveler as well, I was worried about what it would be like with two. So far, so good. And we couldn’t have chosen a better place for our first family trip. Can’t wait to see you again next year, AZ.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Dog Chew Recall: Dingo Chip Twists – Due to Possible Contamination of Amantadine, a Human Antiviral Drug Used to Treat Parkinson’s

Dog Chew Recall:  Dingo Chip Twists “Chicken in the Middle”

Because this recall is a Class III recall, the company does NOT have to make it public.    


The following is an excerpt and photo from Susan Thixton,, as she informs everyone about the NON-PUBLICIZED dog chew recall:

Dingo Chip Twists “Chicken in the Middle” Class III recall (not publicized) recall of a dog treat – “product may be contaminated with Amantadine, an antiviral human drug not approved for use in animal food.”

This recall was found on the FDA website Enforcement Report but not found as a press release (anywhere). The FDA told me “The FDA’s Regulatory Procedures Manual does not require that a company notify the FDA or issue a press release for Class II or III recalls, although we encourage companies to do so. Class II is a situation in which the use of, or exposure to, a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote. Class III is a situation in which the use of, or exposure to, a violative product is not likely to cause adverse health consequences.”

Read full story

Helping to keep beloved furry babies healthy and safe… and pet parents informed!


I’ve Got the ‘Scoop’!, LLC – Palmyra’s Professional Pet Sitter




PetsitUSA Blog

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five-star-bannerCleared up IBD
By Amy471

This review is from Amazon: Halo, Purely for Pets Spot’s Stew Natural Dry Grain-Free Cat Food, Hearty Chicken, 6-Pound Bag

“I don’t write many reviews but this food really helped my cat. Fed him Iams for 10 yrs thinking it was good for him. It’s actually like feeding him McDonalds. Okay once in a while but not daily. He started having blood in stool randomly for 3 yrs and we took him to vet and had expensive lab tests and x-rays.

drycatfoodVet thought it was IBD and gave us Prednisone. I did research and tried to change food before giving meds as a last resort. Tried Buffalo Blue, Royal Canin, Orijen, Iams Essentials, Natures Variety, Wellness, and Natures Variety raw food. The higher end foods all did the same thing. About halfway through the transition between foods, stool became soft and then diarrhea.

Almost gave up and put him on meds, then saw this food [Halo]at Petco and read about it. He transitioned to it with no problems and has been eating it now for 10 months. One month after switching to this food the blood stopped in his stool and has not returned.”

Click here to read the complete review on Amazon.

Thank you Amy for your review! We are so happy that your cat is doing so well and not having any more problems.


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traciehotchnerI had to say goodbye to my old Collie-mix dog Jazzy this weekend. People were feeling sorry for me when I told them my vet had come to put her to sleep – but I wasn’t sad. It was such a relief for me and for Jazzy – to be able to let go and soar above this world and the pain of just getting from one point to another.

I’d had to watch her over a couple of years diminish in her ability to get up, to get out the door, to navigate the big stone step up and down off the porch. She didn’t feel sorry for herself that it had been years since she’d even been able to walk down our lane with me and the other dogs; years since she could go out with us in the car which she had adored, because getting in and out was beyond her ability anymore, despite having the assistance of a Twistep or a ramp.

Jazzy and I had been hanging in there for each other for a long time. The burden was never far from my mind of wondering whether she had enough quality of life to justify the depth of her pain and immobility. Then she woke up Saturday morning and just let me know- she had come as far as she could and she was done. She was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs – she hadn’t been able to go up stairs for five years at this point – and she was panting hard, her tongue dark red and dripping saliva. Trying to turn around seemed nearly impossible because one of her back legs crossed over the other because she had no control over it.

I had the privilege of being able to call my kind and thoughtful vet, Dr. Linda Morris, who came right over with her wonderful vet tech, Sarah. Jazzy lay peacefully on the carpet as they gave her the injections. We did what we had the luxury of being able to do – end her suffering before it became any more acute than it already was.

As we watch our pets age and they begin to suffer the pain and indignities that often come with getting older, it becomes part of our daily thought process to monitor their comfort and wellness and ask them and ourselves, “Is today the day?” Helping her out of this world was a tribute to a dear old dog whose body was used up and whose spirit could not sustain the physical compromise and crippling pain anymore.

DFF-logo-ProudSponsor175x166She didn’t want to eat much of the time. I usually offered her kibble (Halo Small Breed to be easier on her old teeth) with some cooked turkey or chicken, but it often didn’t interest her, even if I put soft white bread (her favorite treat) broken up on top. Then I found a can of Halo Spot’s Stew in my cupboard. Voila! She gobbled it up, licking her chops as if to say, “What took you so long, silly?!” and that’s all I gave her in her final weeks. She showed me that old ladies need only canned food to eat like a trooper – until Saturday, when food was just not on her mind.

Sometimes saying goodbye is sort of a state of grace, an acknowledgment of a life well-lived that has come to the end of its road. I had adopted Jazzy 11 years before, when she was two years old. My trainer and dear friend Aimee Sadler, who ran the training program at Southampton Shelter (and has since become nationally recognized for her shelter program “Dogs Playing for Life”) told me “There is no dog more deserving of a home than this one. She’s been at the shelter for 6 months. She was adopted once briefly but they brought her back. She’s beautiful and smart and vivacious and just a little difficult to read, perhaps.

But she deserves the kind of home and life you can give her.” Needless to say, I drove over and brought her right home, before even introducing her to my big blue Weimaraner, Billy Blue (from the wonderful rescue Friends for Pets in Sunland, California) and my Rottweiler, Yogi Bear, who had been discarded in a cardboard box one summer day by the side of the road. She fit right in by taking the lead, a bossy bitch if ever there was one! And just what the boys needed, to get over their grief about the recent death of Lulu, my first rescued Weim from Friends for Pets, who had also come East with me from California.

Jazzy lived through 5 household moves with me and two marriages. She was always there, my stoic guardian, as I changed where and how I lived and buried 3 other dogs on her watch. Now it was her turn, and a pain-free and loving end, and the beginning of a well-earned eternal rest. In death she looked just as content and peaceful as this photo of her from several years ago, basking in a bit of sunshine.

I buried her myself, having halfway dug a grave in the Fall and covered it over, fearing she might not make it through the winter. I put a planter on her grave site and ordered a grave stone. I wasn’t sad – I was grateful she was at rest. Then today some flowers arrived. I thought it was for my birthday, a day late. But I was knocked out by the thoughtful kindness upon opening the card: “What a lucky dog Jazz was to have spent her life with you! From all of us at West Mountain Animal Hospital.” And then I could let myself cry.


Tracie began her fascination with dogs and cats by turning her eye as a former investigative reporter on every aspect of living with them, resulting in her encyclopedic resources THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and then the THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. Before long, Tracie was established as a leading pet wellness advocate as her all-encompassing books covered everything from medical issues to behavior, nutrition and environmental enrichment.
Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.

Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.


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