My dog is my family. A few of my friends would probably say I go a little overboard. But honestly, Bitsy gives me so much love in return, that a little overboard is warranted, don’t you think? There is a fine line between being a dog lover and being doggone crazy! I am positive I am the former. But which one are you?
1. You’ve provided for your dog’s lifelong care in your will.
Actually, shame on you if you have not established plans for your pet in the event you go first. In many cases, surviving family members choose to euthanize their loved one’s dog or cat. What a horrible way to honor the memory of your dearly departed!
Seriously, ask friends or family members if they would take your pet into their home in the event of your untimely demise and then get it in writing! Create a folder with all the pertinent details about your furry friend like name of caregiver and contact info, diet, vet, shot records, license, etc. Contact your lawyer and update your Will to name the caregiver and set aside the money needed to undertake that duty. (Just make sure you include that the money is to be used for your pet and not their vacation to Hawaii.)
2. You can name every hotel chain that accepts pets.
There are countless websites that list pet-friendly hotels. One of my very favorite ways to search for pet-friendly travel is the TripAdvisor website. I have the app on my phone. Simply type “pet friendly” into your search and you’ll see restaurants, hotels, and attractions where my little Bitsy is welcomed at any destination. It’s a great app!
Many hotels take up to two pets. A few of the chains that are most accommodating to our four-legged companions are LaQuinta, Wyndham, and most Hilton properties (you’ll need to check each location for their policy). But there are tons more out there. A few of the pricier options where pets are really pampered include Kimpton Hotels, Loews, W Hotels Worldwide, and The Ritz-Carlton.
3. You took your dog on your honeymoon.
Okay, this is bordering obsession! But I know there are people out there who do. If you are one of them, please post a photo! After all, while I’m not married, I know many friends who wouldn’t be happy without their furry friend in tow.
4. You refuse invitations that do not include your dog.
I do this sometimes. If someone invites me away for a weekend, I’m either taking Bitsy or staying home. I’m at work five days a week. I’m not leaving my dog in a kennel over the weekend. Period.
5. You host a neighborhood pet party each year for your dog’s birthday.
Bitsy and I have been to a few birthday parties so I feel qualified to offer some advice here. First, don’t have it at a dog park unless you bring enough treats for any uninvited guests that happen to be at the park that day. Really, it’s just rude!
Second, make sure those treats are actually dog-friendly. You can make your own using wholesome ingredients. (I’ll include a recipe or two of my own below.)
Third, bring extra water bowls and clean water.
Fourth, paper birthday hats are fun for your memory book, but some dogs find them humiliating. If you see a party guest’s tail go between her legs as soon as the hat is plopped on, don’t force the issue!
Fifth, know your guests. Though your dog might be on friendly terms with your neighbor’s pooch, make sure all invited canines are dog friendly with all others. There’s nothing worse than a playground bully at a dog party.
6. The only dog biscuits in your pantry are home baked.
I like to make Bitsy her biscuits because that way I know they are not loaded with fillers, plus it is way cheaper. Her faves are the peanut butter ones, though she likes the sweet potato too. One word of caution when making your own doggy treats…keep them wholesome. Bacon is loaded with sodium, so skip it. When is brown sugar ever recommended for a doggy diet? Skip it. Actually, the ASPCA has a great list on their website of people foods you should not feed you pet. If you see something on the list, keep it out of your dog cookies!
Bitsy’s Peanut Butter Biscuits
2 cups whole wheat flour (or other if Fido has an allergy to wheat)
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1 1/4 cups hot water
1 Tablespoon flaxseed
Mix dough. Roll out to ¼” thickness. Use cookie cutter.
(Here’s a link in case you don’t already own a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cookie cutter.)
Lay out on cookie sheet using parchment paper. Base at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until golden around the edges. Cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to a week.
Tip: You can turn this basic recipe into pumpkin or sweet potato treats by switching out the peanut butter, cutting back on the water to about a cup, and adding an egg. Make sure you use pure organic pumpkin or bake your own sweet potato.
7. You have more posts featuring your dog on your social media accounts than any other member of your family.
8. Your dog is included in all your professional family portraits.
9. Dog toys have their own line on your annual household budget.
I can’t help myself. Every time I walk through a pet supply store like PetSmart, or even a regular store that happens to carry dog paraphernalia like Target, I pick up another toy for Bitsy to try out. I’ve ordered my share of “stuff” from Amazon too! I am eyeing this new pet camera in a ball as we speak! Please, could someone talk me out of this one!
10. You bought a bigger bed to accommodate your dog.
I am wondering if there is anyone out there who hasn’t done this? I finally succumbed to a king sized bed so that my tiny (but expansive while sleeping) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has room to kick her paws while dreaming. Full disclosure: This is not Bitsy. I do NOT sleep on polka dot sheets!
And two bonus clues I nearly forgot:
11. Your veterinarian is on your Christmas card list.
12. All the clerks at PetSmart and PetCo know you by name (first and last).
Yes, and yes. Guilty as charged!
So, are you a dog lover or dog obsessed? Maybe I am somewhere in between! What qualities would you add to my dog lover list? Leave a comment below. Pictures welcome!