Family Dog Saves Boy with Down Syndrome

Teddy, Riley's dog

The Duffy family in Northern Ireland had to buy their two-year-old dog Teddy a new ID tag after they renamed her “Super Teddy.” What earned her the new name? Twice in as many months, Teddy acted like a hero for the family. Teddy may not be the fastest dog alive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but she is definitely a super dog.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the first time that Teddy acted like a hero involved a phone. Aaron Duffy told reporters that Teddy “alerted us that an iPhone charger was catching fire.” The second time was Teddy sounding an even more serious alert – that five-year-old Riley Gedge-Duffy’s life was in danger.

Riley has Down syndrome. The family told ITV that he enjoys hiding himself and can’t understand certain dangers. While Aaron’s wife, Gillian, was vacuuming one Sunday, Teddy “ran upstairs and basically went berserk so she knew something was not right.” Gillian told ITV “She was running in and out of the room looking at me, wanting me to follow her, and it just clicked that there was something up.”

Gillian ran downstairs shouting “Where’s Riley?” because she knew that her five-year-old son was in danger. Gillian then saw Teddy running back and forth to their dryer machine, “barking like mad.”

Read the complete story.

Halo Pets

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Mars Bought a Bunch More Vet Clinics- Now What?

We welcome our veterinary overlords! Well, kind of, but not really. Yesterday’s announcement that Mars PetCare acquired VCA for 7.7 billion was a shocker to everyone I know in the pet care industry, which just goes to show you us peons are always the last to know.

Disclosure: I am speaking only for myself here and from my own experiences.

I spent part of my career at Banfield, which is part of the growing Mars empire. That wasn’t the case when I joined, when veterinary clinics were almost entirely veterinarian-owned, including Banfield itself. Scott Campbell, the DVM owner, stood in front of my little group of new hires and promised us with all sincerity that Banfield would never, ever be sold to a corporate entity, a promise he kept for all of four years. It was the first domino to fall in corporate ownership, which many had predicted and he insisted never would.

I left Banfield before the Mars buyout to work in an emergency hospital owned by a husband/wife vet team, and then I came back to Banfield after my second child. In the interim Banfield had undergone the Mars turnover, and to be honest, there was a lot to like. They had implemented evidence-based medicine and were compiling a clinical database the likes of which we had never seen, allowing veterinary medicine to conduct clinical research on a scale that has never been done before. Their anesthesia protocol book is to this day one of my favorite veterinary resources.

The 24 hour emergency hospital I worked at was a bit of a Wild West environment in that we had more leeway and less oversight, in a crazy busy environment; as you can surmise this is both a good and a bad thing depending on who is at the wheel. I learned a ton in a trial by fire way, but I also had little to no safety net. (That hospital was later acquired by VCA, and is also now part of the Mars empire. There’s no escape!) There’s pros and cons to everything, as a client, and as an associate.

Mars: Chocolate and Pets are a Natural Fit

(that’s a joke)

With yesterday’s acquisition, Mars Petcare is now the largest moneymaker in the Mars divisions. After the big Banfield takeover in 2007, things quieted down, but for the last couple of years Mars has been on a tear. They almost doubled the number of hospitals they owned with yesterday’s news, which is the biggest since they bought Iams/Eukanuba off Procter and Gamble in 2014. They own a lot of pet companies.


That’s a lot of pet hospitals, pet foods, labs, and pet foods. What’s more, it’s two of the biggest hospital groups in the country, now under one umbrella. (Note: The affiliation with Western University’s teaching hospital ended at the end of its ten year contract, in 2014.)untitled-design-3

On the one hand, when you consider there’s about 29,000 veterinary clinics in the US, the total now owned by Mars seems like a drop in the bucket. Around 7%:


On the other hand, I’m not naive enough to think this trend stops right here. That’s probably what optometrists and pharmacists said way back in the good old days, too.

So What Does This Mean?

I wish I could tell you, but just like everyone else, I can only guess and postulate. Let me be clear: I am 100% neutral on this. I am Corporate Switzerland. When I had two young children, working for Banfield offered me the most stable hours and a good salary in an environment where I was able to practice very good medicine. I always felt empowered to do what was best for my patients, including referring to outside hospitals, deferring vaccines, providing the best pain management I had access to, scripting out meds. I never felt obligated to recommend Mars-owned pet foods and felt free to discuss any brand prescription diets I wanted to.

I know there’s lots of horror stories out there too, and I don’t imply they don’t exist. Asses are everywhere, and they are asses because they are asses, not because of where they work. They spread their miasma wherever they go, and I’ve encountered it in environments corporate and private. The veterinarians you will encounter in a corporate practice were educated in the same places, cry the same amount in frustration, care the same way, stand up for the patients, and occasionally prove themselves poor examples of the profession, in exact same proportions as vets in privately owned practices.

To the same extent corporate ownership increases bureaucracy and headaches, it pumps much needed investment into failing businesses, brings in better medical oversight, and can offer more diverse opportunities for employees and customers.

It also provides more leverage for buying power and advertising, which often squeezes out mom-and-pop operations without those same advantages. I can understand why so many business owners are worried. It’s a valid worry.

Bottom line: As a client, I don’t think you’re going to see big changes, at least not in the short term. If you have concerns, talk to your veterinarian. We’re all trying to sort out what this means too- as far as I know we all found out this morning when you did too.

As a veterinarian: Buckle up. I anticipate much hand waving in the near future. Do we welcome our veterinary corporate overlords or join the rebel alliance?

If you have any insight from the trenches, please do comment.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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The collie from the 60s

I got to see these family photos for the first time today. This is a dog that featured heavily in my dad’s dog stories that he used to tell us when we were kids.

This is Cam, the first AKC dog that my family ever owned. She was a rough collie “like Lassie,” as they say.  My dad is standing to her right. The date is April 1962.


And like Lassie, she had to have a litter. This one included some tricolors. My uncle Doug is sitting behind the mother collie in May of ’63– twenty years before I was born.


I had not seen these photos before, though I had seen some rather poor photos of Cam.

The bottom photo really reveals what she was:  She was a collie from a time when they were still very close to the intelligent farm dogs from Scotland from which their kind descend.

She looks gorgeous but more rugged than the collies of one might see today.  She was still very much the “Scotch shepherd” of the American farm and dog fancier magazines.




Natural History

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Saturday Survey: Where Do You Buy Dog Food?

If you’ve been a long time reader, you know I have toyed with making homemade dog food several times, but can never seem to find the time to stick with it for very long. I have the typical working parent guilt – I know it’s better for the dog if I make it myself, but […] Dog Blog

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Friday Funny: Time to Wake Up!

With tomorrow being Saturday, chances are your dog may wake you up earlier than you had planned. Remembering this picture might help you put a positive spin on the early wake-up call. I’m always grateful when the dog wakes me up rather than making a mess on the carpets. Until next time, Good day, and […] Dog Blog

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Four of the Michael Vick dogs went on to become ce…

Four of the Michael Vick dogs went on to become certified therapy dogs. I wish that could be mentioned in every article about these dogs.

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A Look Back at Bubby and Bean in 2016

Welcome to our first post of 2017! I’d planned on posting this yesterday, but in between the madness of Christmas, the new year, and Essley’s and my birthdays came some of the worst winter illnesses I can remember for our family. I came down with the flu two weeks ago (and am still coughing) and then Essley ended up in the ER on her birthday because hers got so bad she had a 106 degree fever. Her birthday party was canceled, my big New Year plans were canceled, and just when we started to feel better on my birthday, I started vomiting (yay, stomach flu), and then Essley got it the following night. Emmett has been sick as well, but thankfully (knock on wood a million times), the stomach bug hasn’t hit him. And miraculously, Robbie hasn’t gotten sick at all. Needless to say, we are ready to all feel better – especially because Emmett’s first birthday party is this weekend, and that little man deserved to be celebrated.

These yearly roundups are some of my favorite posts to put together. I really love taking the time to go back, read through the blog, and select my favorites from the entire year to share with you guys. And while 2016 was probably the least pleasant year of my life, in terms of blog projects, it was my favorite so far. I’m really grateful that I was able to work with some of my favorite brands this, and I genuinely had fun creating content. There are admittedly times I feel stressed and overwhelmed with Bubby and Bean (like with any other job), especially when my husband is on the road for work for long periods of time and I’m here with the kids by myself trying to meet deadlines, etc. But for the most part, I really, really love it. After 15 years in the fashion industry, owning a label that required 80 hour work weeks, constant travel, and severe unpredictability, it’s been absolutely wonderful to focus just on Bubby and Bean, and get to live the “work smarter not harder” mantra, for the last two years. And while blogging has changed immensely since I started, with less engagement and the world of social media pushing blogging to the background, as the year came to a close I noticed the beginning of what many consider to be a big blogging comeback. Some of my old peers made decisions to return to blogging after extended hiatuses, people expressed a massive collective discontent with Instagram (which became the platform that all but replaced blogging, but recently slipped back after unpopular algorithm changes), and more and more brands realized the potential of working with blog influencers. I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this peek back through my top posts of the year (and that some of them might even be new to you!).

Starting with the top image: In January, we announced the birth of Baby Emmett – by far the best thing that happened in 2016!

We took our first vacation as a family of four to Arizona in February, which I shared right here.

I posted my recipe for springtime lemonade mimosas in March. (I can’t wait to make these again this spring. So good.)

March also brought my first outfit post (and one of only three or four of them) of the year.

I teamed up with ErgoBaby in April to talk about our personal experience in getting baby to sleep. (Look how tiny Emmett was!)

I still eat these almond smoothie bowls that I shared back in April at least a few times a week. Delicious.

In the spring, I posted another (rarely occurring) outfit post. (I wore that kimono incessantly in the spring and summer of 2016.)

For the first time ever, my mama joined me on the blog for a comical post about celebrating motherhood… with wine.

I partnered with Neutrogena in late April to talk about how I share my mom’s beauty secrets with my own little lady.

In May, I shared a fun photo book we made Robbie for Father’s Day. He loved it!

I teamed up with ErgoBaby again in June and talked about my breastfeeding journey with baby #2.

It took forever, but I finally sat down and typed out Emmett’s birth story.

It was so much fun to partner with Godiva to put together a stylish baby shower tablescape.

Over the summer I shared our babywearing experience.

The most difficult post I’d ever written came in August, asking for positive thoughts for Emmett after his Infantile Spasms diagnosis. (You can read all the posts on Emmett’s journey, including the super positive recent ones, here.)

In September, I teamed up with one of our favorite snack brands, CLIF, to talk about how we instill healthy nutrition habits in our kids.

This healthy southwestern style stuffed sweet potato recipe is still a staple around here.

Hands down my favorite project of the year was teaming up with IKEA to design a new seating area for our living room as part of their Home Tour Series. You can see part of the process and watch the episode in this post.

In early October I shared two recipes that incorporate seaweed – one for avocado roll-ups, and one for  trail mix.

This post about how I’ve reorganized my mornings was the most visited/highest traffic post of the year.

I shared some photos from a weekend trip to the pumpkin patch in this post about 6 ideas for rewarding kids with active playtime.

Autumn VEGAN Grilled Cheese 2 Ways + a Daiya Prize Package GIVEAWAY

I ate a lot of vegan grilled cheese this fall. This post shared my two favorite recipes.

My final outfit post of the year shared my favorite winter accessory gift ideas.

This holiday star brownie bites recipe was a huge hit around around last month.

Family Play Ideas for Toddlers

I had fun teaming up with Lego to talk about the ways our family partners in play with our little ones.

In December I posted some photos from our family’s trip to the Dominican Republic.

We Need Your Help! Emmett The Brave's Child Neurology Foundation Parent Coach Program Fundraising Campaign

And finally, I shared a very special project I’m working on to help raise funds in Emmett’s honor for a Parent Coach Program with the Child Neurology Foundation.

I hope you enjoyed this recap and must as I did putting it together. (There were a lot, I know.) Here’s to an amazing new year!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Spreading the Happy

Hey you guys! I hope all of you are enjoying the winter holidays and have been able to spend some time relaxing with family and friends. We had an absolutely wonderful Christmas (I’m pretty sure the kids had the best day of their lives), and today we’re celebrating Essley’s third birthday (something around which I can’t even wrap my head; didn’t I just have her?). We have all sorts of New Year and birthday celebrations coming up in the next few days as well. It’s such a beautifully happy time of year in general, which is why I wanted to stop in today and share a really incredible project with you that is specifically focused on the concept of spreading happiness.

As most of you know (and likely agree with, because it is freaking delicious), I’m a big fan of Nutella. I adore it in crepes (the best thing I’ve ever tasted was a Nutella crepe in Paris), love spreading it on apples, and, in truth, could easily just sit down under a blanket and blissfully eat it with a spoon, right out of the container. But when I learned about their new, first-ever original content series titled “Spread the Happy,” my fandom reached an all-time high. The series basically aims to inspire acts of sharing happiness everywhere, everyday – through different but equally awesome stories of people who inspire others through their talents, joyful spirit, or by committing acts of kindness in their communities. And I can confidently say that our world needs this more than ever right now.

While I’m going to share each of the videos below, because they’re all amazing and the exact sort of thing we need to be watching as we enter a brand new year, my favorite is the first one, titled Brooklyn and Delvar. With my own little girl turning three today, I felt especially drawn to Brooklyn, the three year old in the video, who brings her local garbage man one of her cupcakes on her third birthday. Essley and I have watched the video a few times together, and she’s really picked up on the message of the importance of treating people the way we wish to be treated – with kindness, respect, and friendship. It has genuinely inspired me to work with her to find ways to practice similar simple-but-powerful acts of sharing and kindness in our own community.

Pretty wonderful, right? And here are the other videos in the series, each of wish delivers a unique message of spreading happiness and joy to others:

In this video, the internationally known indie-pop band Echosmith, comprised of four siblings, shares their mission to spread love, joy and happiness through their music.

This video shares the inspirational story of Marty and Seon Burbank, who invest their money in the academic future of a kindergarten class.

A local youth group that teaches the importance of looking good, feeling good and doing good in this video. And founders Mr. Nelson and Mr. Joyner continue spreading the happy throughout their community, by inspiring boys of today to be better men tomorrow.

I hope these video inspire you as much as they have me, and that you’re able to take that inspiration to spread the happy into 2017!

This post is in partnership with Nutella. Thanks for the supporting the brands that help make Bubby & Bean possible. 

Print in top image by my beautiful friend Jenny Highsmith.



Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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In step

A happy little poodle in step with his owner. Love the boots!

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Happy New Year! (+ Some Personal Thoughts On The Worst Year Ever)

New Years Cards

Happy (almost) New Year! Or more importantly, happy end of 2016! (More on that in a minute.)

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we had a wonderful Christmas followed by a fantastic early third birthday celebration for Essley with our family on Monday. Today we were supposed to go to a fancy hotel downtown where we’d be posted up for a few days while Robbie works the band’s three night New Year run (they haven’t played here in Chicago for NYE in years and we have been very excited). We were also supposed to have another casual birthday gathering for Essley with some of her band/crew kid friends at the venue tomorrow. But yesterday, on Essley’s actual birthday, we ended up in the ER with her for a 106 degree fever. It turns out she has a terrible case of the flu (which I gave to her and am just getting over), and when she was released, the doctors told us no activity for her for several days. So our fancy hotel stay and her birthday party with friends have been canceled. She does seems to feel a little better today, and while Emmett now has a fever and is showing signs, seems to (fingers crossed) have a lesser version. There is nothing worse for me than seeing my kids sick, so I’m just hoping this will pass quickly. My birthday is January 1st, and New Year’s Eve was supposed to be my first kids-free night in two years, so I’m hoping things improve quickly for selfish reason as well. Oh, and I got pulled over last night too, because I forgot to turn my headlights on. That sums things up pretty well, actually.

For my last post of the year, I usually go into a semi-dramatic musing on how strange it is for the year to be over, and I usually talk about how wonderful the year was for me. This year, my friends, was not that year. I like to stay positive. It works for me. But after Emmett was born on January 9th, 2016 just went to shit. Perhaps when David Bowie died the day after Emmett’s birth (a few hours later, actually), we should have all been warned, huh? There just aren’t a lot of people who feel like this was our greatest – or even a somewhat decent – year, and I’m on their team. On top of the obvious for me (Emmett’s illness), my stepfather has been fighting stage 4 cancer. I don’t talk about it here because it’s a private situation and this isn’t the proper place for it, but it hasn’t been an easy time for my family. Collectively, we lost all sorts of incredible and influential famous people this year. A man who admittedly terrifies me was elected to president of the United States. And the world just seems to be falling apart, filled with violence and brutality and hatred.

It’s been a difficult, depressing year. But I believe in hope. I genuinely believe that positive collective thought, good vibes, prayers, and hope saved Emmett. And I believe they could save the human race too.

That said, here’s to you 2017. You’ve got a lot of pressure on you, and it’s not going to be easy. But there are millions and millions of people who have faith in you and who can’t wait for your arrival. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to cry some serious tears of joy when that clock strikes midnight on Saturday night.

Whatever your plans, I hope you enjoy your New Years celebrations. I’ll be back next year (on January 4th, which is technically only a few days away, but it’s fun to say “see you next year,” right?) with a bunch of cool new content. Thank you for being such incredible readers and social media followers. I’m so grateful for all of you. See you in 2017!

Top image from our holiday card collection, available here


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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