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Fly With Your Fur Kids? Which Airlines Are the Most Pet-friendly?

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We travel with our fur kids, a lot. Boss Mochi and Jolie have been flying high since they were little. Nowadays, it is much easier to fly with our four legged companions than ever before. These days, certain airlines don't just allow pets on planes, they encourage them.


Whether your toy breed is a frequent flyer or your big one needs to make a one-time trip across country, seek out a pet-friendly airline when you're pricing your travel options.
Note, though, that you'll need to stay abreast of each airline's rules and offerings all the way up until the time you leave. Many airlines offer options for pets to fly, but may restrict any number of pets, including short-nosed dog breeds or those traveling with flyers under age 18. Other airlines restrict times you can travel with a pet. American Airlines, for example, won't allow pets to fly on the airline when the forecasted temperature is above 85F at any location on the itinerary, while Alaska Airlines restricts pet travel on certain holidays.

Start your search for the pet-friendly airline that suits your itinerary with these five options:

Jet Blue JetPaws Program 
The basics: A leader in the pet travel industry, Jet Blue charges a pet fee of $100 each way and allows one pet in a carrier per passenger. The pet is considered carry-on luggage and can not exceed 20 pounds along with the carrier.
Special extras: Jet Blue's JetPaws program includes a special bag tag for you carrier and your pet can earn 300 extra TrueBlue points on each flight segment you take together. Unlike most airlines that allow pets, Jet Blue allows you to book pets online. Or, you can call 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).

United Airlines
The basics: United allows certain sized domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits and household birds (excluding cockatoos) to travel accompanied in the aircraft cabin on most flights within the U.S. for $125 each way. 
Special extras: United allows the pet and a carry-on bag, which is unusual. For pets restricted from cabin travel, United offers PetSafe®, which includes plane compartments pressurized the same way as the cabin, airport-to-airport delivery for animals and features a 24-hour live animal desk and gives owners the ability to track pets. And points! You can earn 500 MileagePlus award miles for each PetSafe shipment within the U.S. and 1,000 miles for all other shipments.

The basics: Certain pets can travel in the cabin, counting towards your carry-on baggage allowance, or as checked baggage.
Special extras: WestJet has one of the least expensive fees for pet plane travel, charging kennel fees from $50-$60 each way if pets are carried on, and $75-$90 if they become part of "checked baggage."
The allowances for pets traveling as checked baggage are also more generous than most other airlines. Pets that can fly as checked baggage include birds, cats, chinchillas, dogs, guinea pigs, hedgehogs and rabbits, and the airline allows 100 pounds for the pet and kennel combined. In addition, one passenger can check up to six pets, so WestJet is ideal for the multi-pet traveler.

Virgin Atlantic
The basics: Virgin Atlantic accepts only cats and dogs on flights, and restricts short-nosed breeds like Pekinese. The cost of taking your dog or cat on one of our flights depends on a combination of the size of its travel box, and they request a call to their shipping department to discuss the pets before you book tickets.
Special extra: The Flying Paws "scheme" means pets earn Flying Club miles. Pets flying to Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Detroit and other North American locations earn 1,000 bonus miles for owners who are Flying Club members.

Alaska Airlines Fur-st Class Care 
The basics:For $100 each way, dogs, cats, rabbits and household birds are accepted in the aircraft cabin (counting as the carry-on bag allotment), and in the baggage and cargo compartments. Short-nosed dogs are prohibited and all pets traveling cargo have to have a health certificate dated within 10 days of the outbound departure date.
Special extras: Alaska Airlines is a great choice for unusual animals as it allows cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, household birds, non-poisonous reptiles, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits and tropical fish to travel in its climate-controlled baggage and cargo compartments. The airline also offers Pet Connect™ animal travel for pets traveling without their owners. Pet Connect customers can get a free pet health examination and discounted health certificate at Banfield® Pet Hospitals located in PetSmart retail stores.

New Guidelines for Pet CPR

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Over the weekend, Science Blog reported new guidelines for pet CPR that every dog owner should be aware of. The Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care has published a series of articles that outline the new guidelines.

Recommended Practices:

  • Perform 100-120 chest compressions per minute of one-third to one-half of the chest width, with the animal lying on its side.
  • Ventilate intubated dogs and cats at a rate of 10 breaths per minute, or at a compression to ventilation ratio of 30 to 2 for mouth-to-snout ventilation.
  • Perform CPR in 2-minute cycles, switching the “compressor” each cycle.
  • Administer vasopressors every 3–5 minutes during CPR.

Using the new guidelines, the RECOVER team is developing an Internet-based training curriculum to certify clinicians in veterinary CPR. This certification is being peer-reviewed by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, much as the training materials for human CPR are accredited by the American Heart Association. The guidelines will be updated regularly, with the next RECOVER planned for 2017.


Chest compression techniques for medium, large, and giant breed dogs.

(A) For most dogs, it is reasonable to do chest compressions over the widest portion of the chest to maximally employ the thoracic pump theory. Either left or right lateral recumbency are acceptable.

(B) In keel-chested (ie, deep, narrow chested) dogs like greyhounds, it is reasonable to do chest compressions with the hands directly over the heart to employ the cardiac pump theory, again in either recumbency.

(C) For barrel-chested dogs like English Bulldogs, sternal compressions directly over the heart with the patient in dorsal recumbency may be considered to employ the cardiac pump mechanism.


Chest compression techniques for small dogs and cats.

(A) For most cats and small dogs (<10 kg) with compliant chests, the use of a 1-handed technique to accomplish circumferential chest compressions with the hand wrapped around the sternum directly over the heart may be considered.

(B) An alternative chest compression method for cats and small dogs is the 2-handed technique directly over the heart to employ the cardiac pump mechanism. This method may be considered in larger cats and small dogs with lower thoracic compliance, or in situations in which the compressor is becoming fatigued while doing 1-handed compressions.

There is strong evidence, including an experimental study in dogs documenting increased rates of ROSC and 24-hour survival, supporting a recommendation for compression rates of 100–120/min in cats and dogs (I-A).[36] However, there is also some evidence that higher compression rates of up to 150/min may be even more advantageous, and further work in this area is needed.

There is also good evidence to support deep chest compressions of 1/3–1/2 the width of the thorax in most patients (IIa-A), with an experimental canine study showing a linear relationship between compression depth and mean arterial pressure, and multiple human clinical trials and experimental animal studies supporting these compression depths.[37-39] Finally, experimental studies in pigs have documented reduced coronary and cerebral perfusion when full elastic recoil between chest compressions is not permitted (ie, leaning).

Observational studies in people have shown a high prevalence of leaning during CPR. It is recommended that full chest wall recoil is allowed between compressions.

A Dog's Purpose - from a 6-year-old

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Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker 's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?'' The Six-year-old continued, ''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Think good thoughts for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE...Getting back up is LIVING...

Have a great life.

~Author Unknown

Things We Can Learn From a Dog

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Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
When a loved one comes home, always run to greet them.
Take naps, and stretch before rising.
Be loyal.
Never pretend you're something you're not.
When somebody is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
Avoid biting when a growl will do.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Bond with your pack.
Allow the experiences of fresh air and wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
-Author Unknown

London, Fashion Capital Of World

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Fish and chips isn't the most fashion-friendly (read: low calorie) dish, the rainy weather wreaks havoc on fashionistas' high heels and Buckingham Palace is neither sleek nor stylish.

But London still managed to be named the world's fashion capital for 2011, thanks to two people you may have heard of: Kate Middleton and Alexander McQueen.

According to a survey by the Global Language Monitor, a company that analyze trends in word usage, London has overtaken New York City based on what impact the city had on fashion through the media.

Global Language Monitor tracked websites, blogs, Twitter and all sorts of other social media to see which country -- and its citizens-- were fashion's most important names.

Bekka Payack, the company's fashion correspondent, said, "We are seeing what the impact of two genuine media stars, Princess Catherine (the former Kate Middleton) and Alexander McQueen can have upon a global ranking. Our numbers show that it was their presence that tipped the victory to London over New York."

Don't need to tell us twice -- we spend way more time talking about Catherine than any old designer or fashion editor. For fashion, London -- or more specifically, Kensington Palace-- is where it's at.

Here's the rundown of the Top Ten, including what number position each city held last year (all commentary care of Global Language Monitor):

1. London (3) - Kate Middleton and Alexander McQueen help raise the City to No.1 status.

2. New York (1) - New York is strong but London has Kate. 'Nuff said.

3. Paris (4) - No. 1 in our hearts but No. 3 in the media.

4. Milan (6) - The Earth has returned to its proper orbit: The Big Four once again occupy the top four spots.

5. Los Angeles (5) - LA solidifying her hold on No. 5.

6. Hong Kong (2) -- Down from No. 2 but tops again in Asia.

7. Barcelona (10) - The Queen of the Iberian Peninsula. Once again.

8. Singapore (15) - Up seven spots and into the Top Ten.

9. Tokyo (14) - Third Asian city in the Top Ten.

10. Berlin (18) - Completes a long climb into elite status.

The Best Restaurants to Feast with Your Furry Friend

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Now that the dog days of summer (and the hot and humid weather that usually accompanies them) are behind us and National Dog Week is about to begin, it’s a great time to take your pet (or two…or three) out on the town and to your favorite restaurant. Not every dining establishment will accommodate pets.  But, typically, those with outside seating can. And many go out of their way to welcome your four-legged or two-winged dining companions.

Here’s a list of 10 restaurants around the U.S. that don’t mind accommodating pet-obsessed owners and their animals from the Open Table blog.

1.  FARM at The Carneros Inn, Napa, California

OpenTable diner Kathy Johnson enjoys taking her canine companion to wine country. “FARM at the Carneros Inn is very pet-friendly. If you are in their outdoor lounge/bar area, you can have your dog at your feet while you sip great wines and choose items from the bar menu.  Dogs can also be nearby if you are seated in the outdoor terrace of the formal restaurant.” FARM specializes in serving food that complements wine, so go hungry and thirsty.

2.  Tabla, New York, New York

Diner Lisa Hanock and her husband are fans of this pet-friendly, upscale Indian restaurant. “We’ve found quite a few restaurants that enjoy hosting four-legged pals, but the most welcoming restaurateur has got to be Danny Meyer. At Tabla, (across from Madison Square Park, which has a popular dog run), you can order from the dinner menu while your dog enjoys a designer bowl of water and packaged cookie treats. We’ve taken our 90-pound Belgian Shepherd many times.”

3.  Log Haven, Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City’s Log Haven takes its appreciation for dogs to a new level during the months of June through the second week of October with a “Dog Days of Summer” special. Diner Kathleen Bratcher, her husband, and their dog Bella give Log Heaven’s seasonal American cuisine and canine hospitality a rave review. She says, “We were offered spacious patio seating, cool water, high-quality dog treats in a stainless steel doggie dish, and brass-plated dog tags with ‘Log Haven’ embossed. They also offer a reasonably priced dog meal created by their chef, Dave Jones, and a special cocktail menu for adults with a refreshing ‘Salty Dog.’

4.  Besito, Huntington, New York

Besito (which means ‘little kiss’ in Spanish) embraces all of its customers, including those who can’t order for themselves. With outdoor seating ideal for people- and pet-watching, Besito, known for its authentic Mexican cuisine and tableside guacamole, has an ever-present bowl of Milk Bones on the sidewalk along with an endless supply of cool water. It’s the perfect place for Fido to make friends.

5.  The Farm of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California

The Farm (no relation to FARM at The Carneros Inn) serves innovative American cuisine at each of its locations around Los Angeles and happily welcomes animal companions. The Farm’s Kelli Richardson reveals, “The Farm is one of the most pet-friendly restaurants around. We have even hosted an event, ‘Eat With Your Paws for a Good Cause,’ to help raise money for needy animal shelters.  At each of our locations, we are more than happy to accommodate four-legged guests of guests. We will set up a bowl of water for the dog just outside our patio or next to the table. We are very mindful of health department rules regarding animals in restaurants.  But, our patio allows us to comply by keeping animals just outside of the railing.”

6.  Old Homestead Steak House, New York, New York

A meat lover’s paradise, this classic (and, yes, old) Manhattan steakhouse is situated – where else? – in New York City’s hip Meatpacking District. With weather-permitting outdoor seating, you and your pet will be conflicted as to the real appeal of this location: the smell of your perfectly cooked steak or the sight of perfectly coiffed people strolling by. The warm staff at this carnivores’ paradise provide superb service and lots of cool water for your pet upon request.

7.  Solbar at Solage Calistoga, Calistoga, California

Another favorite of the Johnsons and their faithful dog is Solbar at the Solage Resort in Calistoga, which serves up seasonal California cuisine. She says, “The servers will bring your pet freshly baked dog cookies and a bowl of water as soon as you are seated at their outdoor terrace.”

8.  Savore, New York, New York

Yvonne Conza, founder of Woof Patrol, an organization that celebrates dogs and helps fight for pet-owners’ rights, says her pup Pomo’s favorite restaurant is Soho’s much-heralded Savore, where owner Paolo Alavian serves up outstanding customer service with his authentic regional Italian cuisine. Conza says, “Paolo—who’s even remembered my dog’s favorite table— often asks diners their dogs’ names and will try to guess the breeds while silently signaling to his staff to bring water for pets.  Savore also enables diners to order mini portions of chicken and tomatoes for their four-legged friends.”

9.  Paggi House, Austin, Texas

This Austin gem prides itself on being pet-friendly. A historic Austin landmark dating back to the 1840s, Paggi House serves up innovative American fare inside and on its outdoor lounge. The friendly staff provides pets with water in champagne buckets and ample attention. Austin diner Christine Harmel, who frequents Paggi House with her dog Dax says, “I’ve met plenty of people by bringing my dog to dinner with me!” Another diner/food blogger told us they recently celebrated their dog’s seventh birthday at Paggi House.

10.  Café Milano, Washington, D.C.

You may think power lunches over pups when you think of Café Milano, but this Italian restaurant welcomes pets on its patio. Known for stellar service, sublime Italian dishes, pizzas, and an impressive wine list, Café Milano is recommended by Modern Dog magazine as a top location for your pooch to rub elbows (or noses!) with the pets of the capital’s most powerful and beautiful people.

Guinness World Records on Pets

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Guinness World Records 2011 is just being released and has that answer and many more on pets. The Great Dane, George is 43 inches tall and weighs 245 pounds as of Feb. 15, 2010. He is the tallest dog in the world. He is owned by David Nasser of Tucson, Ariz.

There are 10 pages of records involving pets and other animals. It's a really entertaining book with a good layout with lots of fun pictures. Some highlights:

The tallest cat is a F1 Savannah named Scarlett's Magic measured 16.48 inches from shoulder to toe. This cat is supposed to be a sweetheart, according to her owners and can jump better than USA's basketball super stud Kevin Durant.

The highest jump by a dog: cleared by a dog is 172.7 cm (68 in), achieved by Cinderella May a Holly Grey, owned by Kate Long and Kathleen Conroy (both USA) of Miami, Florida, USA, at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge National Finals, Gray Summit, Missouri, USA on 7 October 2006.

Longest jump by a rabbit: The world record of 9 feet, 6 inches was set by Yabo.

The fastest time to pop 100 balloons: Jack Russell Terrier, Anastasia, did it in 44.49 seconds on the set of Live with Regis and Kelly.

The oldest dog ever: Bluey, an Australian cattle dog, lived to be 29 years, 5 months. He was rescued from a puppy mill in 1939.

The oldest goldfish ever: Tish, won by Peter Hand at a fairground in 1956, lived for 43 years.

The longest goldfish: (Carassius auratus) is owned by Joris Gijsbers and measured 47.4 cm (18.7 in) from snout to tail-fin end on March 24, 2003 in Hapert, The Netherlands.

The oldest cat ever: Creme Puff lived with Jerry Perry in Austin, Texas for 38 years and 3 days.

Most Frisbees caught and held: Edward Watson threw seven flying discs and his dog Rose caught all of them and held them all in her month.

The fastest time a dog has unwound a non-electric car window: 11.34 seconds and was achieved by Striker, a border collie owned and trained by Francis V. Gadassi (Hungary). The record was set on September 1, 2004 in Quebéc City, Canada.

Most prolific chicken:A White Leghorn laid 371 eggs in 364 days at the College of Agriculture , University of Missouri.

Most expensive horse: The highest price paid for a thoroughbred at public auction is $16 million for a 2-year-old Colt who has yet to race.

It's a dog's life in color

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Before the domestication of dogs, their ability to see in the dark was far more important than their ability to differentiate color, so their sight evolved differently than that of human beings. Instead of the full spectrum, a dog sees only YELLOWS, BLUES, and GRAYS. The only way this may affect your dog is if you buy him a red or green toy, because he sees them as yellows and whites, which make them incredibly difficult to find in a field of green grass, which also seems white to a dog! Next time your dog dashes right past your green tennis ball, it's not because your dog is blind -- just color blind!

5 Healthy Recipes for your dog

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The pet food industry has been selling consumers a whole lot of toxic foods. Once we had learned what was really in dog food, we have been on a constant look out for some great and easy recipes to cook ourselves to feed our dogs. Making sure that our dogs receive a balance of protein, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, vitamins and minerals from our home cooking may prove a challenge, but here we found 5 recipes that can be easily prepared to support our dogs' health. And we'd like to share with you.

Pumpkin Sardine Dinner (Makes 5 cups)
1 29-ounce can pumpkin (alternate with cooked butternut squash or sweet potato)
1 cup frozen spinach, defrosted
1/3 cup flaxseed meal
2 3.75-ounce cans sardines (water packed, drained)

Combine ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well using either a potato masher or a large fork to ensure breaking down the sardines. Cover and refrigerate between servings.

Banana Yogurt Smoothie (Makes 1 cup)
1/2 ripe banana, peeled
¼ cup blueberries
½ cup unsweetened yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

Mash together ingredients in a bowl and serve immediately.

Lamb Stew (Makes 8 cups)
1 pound lamb neck and shoulder pieces
6 cups water
3 carrots diced
1 sweet potato, peeled, diced
2 cups cooked brown rice

Combine the lamb and water in a medium saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove lamb and cool before removing meat from the bone. Discard the bone and return the lamb to the pot with the remaining ingredients. Return to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Cool and mash before serving. Freeze in serving portions and defrost as needed.

Tuna Fudge
2 6-ounce cans tuna OR 1 14-ounce can salmon (do not drain either)
1 1/2 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Pulse ingredients together in a food processor. Spray a 9×9 pan with oil and add tuna mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, remove and cool. Freezes beautifully and will keep unfrozen in refrigerator for 3-4 days. CAUTION: do not refreeze any leftovers!

Salmon Brownie Treats
1 10-ounce can salmon, not drained
3 cloves garlic
3 cups spelt, oat or quinoa flour .

Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Combine salmon and garlic in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the flour and continue to pulse until a ball of dough forms. Remove from processor and place between two layers of wax paper then roll out to half an inch thick. Place on a cookie sheet and score into small squares. Bake 10-15 minutes.

If you have any great recipes that your dog loves, please share with us!

Luxury Pet-friendly Hotels

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Sure, there are plenty of “pet-friendly” (and the slightly less-welcoming “pet-tolerant”) hotels out there for you and your wandering cat or canine companion. But when you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you probably crave pampering more than usual. And so, we’re guessing, does your pet. Luckily, hotels across the country are upping the ante on pet amenities and luxury hotel services for the animal set, so that you and your favorite companion can rest a little more comfortably.

The trendy W Hotels in such cities as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Honolulu, San Francisco, and Seattle, trade in minimalist elegance that still feels totally indulgent. Their pet package is no exception. Upon arrival, dogs and cats are greeted with a toy, a treat, an ID tag, a custom “W” pet bed, as well as food and water bowls waiting in the room. The hotel also provides guests with litter boxes, waste bags, dog and cat-customized first-aid kits, and concierges ready to advise on anything from grooming to doggie birthday cakes.

For an even more pet-centric experience, visit The Muse Hotel in New York (one of the Kimpton Hotels), where the “Pampered Pooch Package” features many of the same amenities as the W—specialty beds, food and water bowls with bottled water, a mini-bar stocked with treats for pets and people, and an assortment of accessories in case guests left anything behind. And then there’s Ginger, The Muse’s “Director of Pet Relations.” And did we mention—Ginger is a six year-old Teacup Pomeranian “who prefers Prada, visits to the spa and ahi tuna,” according to her personal getting-to-know-you website? Surely she’s a great guide to NYC’s canine-centric attractions. We just wonder who answers all her e-mails…

And then there’s New York’s Hotel Benjamin. Their “Dream Dog” program is so luxurious that it rivals even the most generous of human hotel experiences. While at the Benjamin, your dog will sleep in one of three specialty memory-foam orthopedic dog beds from the “Dog Bed Menu,” swaddled in extra sheets. House-made dog food cooked with “human-quality ingredients” like salmon, tofu, or chicken and vegetables arrives via room service—though don’t ask us how pets are expected to read the ScooterFood® menu. Your dog then dines from ceramic bowls in a wrought iron stand, all resting on a chenille place mat.

Just in case that’s not fancy enough, all pet guests receive complimentary toys and treats, as well as a tiny plush bathrobe, a spa basket full of lavender-scented bath products, and even DVDs to keep them occupied when you’re out of the room. The hotel also provides a list of off-site amenities, some with discounts for guests enrolled in the Dream Dog experience, from “pet psychics” to “pet event planners” and even “pet taxis.”

Now, we realize that some of this might seem a little ridiculous, but is a drop of over-the-top such a bad thing, for you or your pet? If your pet gets to relax, so do you—and isn’t that what vacation is all about?

Summer's Top 10 Pet-friendly Vacation Destinations

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Memorial Day is just around the corner and on its heels is summer break. Grab the kids, the swim gear and hit the road
— but, oh, wait, what about Spot and Fido? Bring them along, too!

There's no reason the family pet should be excluded from the family vacation, especially considering the number of pet-friendly options. From RV'ing across country to going for a day trip to the local state park, families and pets can enjoy summer vacationing together more now than ever before.

1. The YMCA of the Rockies. Nationally recognized as one of the country premier vacation destinations, the YMCA of the Rockies has two pet-friendly vacation locations in the Colorado Rockies. The Estes Park Center offers beautiful trails for canine-friendly hiking and every Friday during July, a Yappy Hour is hosted for canine guests. Yappetizers and doggy drinks will be served and special guests will give presentations on subjects such as canine nutrition, obedience and agility, and veterinarian advice. At the second location, near Winter Park, dog owners seem to love the serenity of Snow Mountain Ranch and the wide variety of trails available for them and their pets.

Both locations offer a wide variety of activities exclusively for humans, including mini golf, disc golf, swimming, fly fishing, rafting, horseback riding, guided hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, arts and crafts centers, day camp programs, and family nature programs. For more information, visit

2. Victorian Inn. Perfect for a delicate doggie's sensibilities is the Victorian Inn, in Monterey, Calif. The historic inn offers a pooch-friendly package that comes with two treats: "Love Me, Love My Dog" includes cozy, specially designed accommodations for two humans and one hound, souvenir water bowls, tail wagging doggie snacks, a beach toy; and for the pet owners, continental breakfast buffet and an evening wine and cheese reception. Each room has a fireplace — the perfect place for pooches to curl up and nap.

Near to shops and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and with its wide open, pet perfect beaches, extensive oceanfront walking paths and dog-friendly attitude, Monterey is the epitome of a dog's life. Plus, your adventures might win you a prize. Each month, the hotel's staff picks one favorite "Fido-in-Monterey" photo for a complimentary one-night stay at the Victorian Inn. But the Victorian Inn does more than just give weary travelers a respite, it also helps homeless animals. Ten percent of every "Love Me, Love My Dog" package is donated to the SPCA for Monterey County. For more information, visit

3. Canine Club Getaway. Described as the "Club Med for Dogs," Canine Club Getaway only happens in 2010 from June 2 to June 6 at Lake George, NY. The all-inclusive, resort-style 4-day getaway holds dozens of activities daily, such as swimming — where dogs are allowed in the pool — agility classes, hiking, Frisbee, lure coursing, flyball, doggie skateboarding, canine CPR, as well as "barks and crafts."

In addition, there are daily seminars by expert trainers and veterinarians on topics including Emergency Canine First Aid, Dog Psychology 101 and Training Fusion. While dogs are allowed everywhere — from seminars to the bar and dining areas — plenty of "human friendly" activities are offered: horseback riding, country line dancing and an on-site spa. For more information, visit

4. Su'ruff Camp. In Cali, the surf's up and for dogs, that means the Fifth Annual Dog Surfing Competition! As part of Loews Hotels' award-winning Loews Loves Pets program, the May 22nd surf event is raising money this year for the San Diego Police Department Unit. Through the course of the "surf dog" weekend, a special room rate applies — plus, all surf dogs receive a pet placemat, food and water bowls, dog tags, treats and scoop bags. For entering the competition, doggie contestants get surf shorts or a bandana.

But if you can't make it out for the May event, Coronado Surfing Academy offers doggie surf lessons nearly year round, in partnership is Loews Coronado Bay Resort. For more information, visit

5. Unleashed Dog Parks. If someone said "doggie park" and "summer vacay" in the same sentence you may be less than enthused, but Unleashed Dog Park isn't your ordinary doggie playdate locale. Located in Dallas, Texas, it's a giant (at 50,000-square feet of special K-9 turf) indoor dog amusement park. As the nation's first indoor, off-leash play park, it also offers shopping, dining and dog services, such as "paw-cures" and blueberry facials for both owners and pets. With day care services also provided, the family can get out and enjoy the nearby lakes and water parks, as well as other tourist attractions in Dallas. For more information, visit

6. Queen Mary 2. Known as the largest passenger vessel currently sailing the seas, the Queen Mary 2 is also reported to be the only cruise which allows pets to join their owners on deck. Operated by Cunard Line, the "Pets on Deck" program offers Queen Mary 2 canine passengers fresh-baked biscuits at turn-down, a choice of beds and blankets, and even a QM2-logo coat. The kennel program is overseen by a full-time kennel master, while the kennels and adjacent indoor and outdoor walking areas are open throughout the day, so guests can spend time with their pets.

But the program is not just for dogs. Cats are invited too, and either sort of pet will get a portrait with their owners, a crossing certificate and personalized cruise card. For information,

8. EPIC Hotel. Fees here and there add up when travel plans include the family pet, yet, in downtown Miami, Kimpton's EPIC Hotel doesn't see the four-legged family member as an extra cost: Pets stay free! Various pet-friendly services and amenities are available including restful accommodations in a luxury guestroom; VIP (Very Important Pet) amenity; pet bowl and pet bed; leash and plastic bags for dog walks; as well as pet sitting, grooming, walking and massages.

If your suite needs even more puppy love, Kimpton's Guppy Love Program is available at EPIC, where guests can request a live goldfish to stay overnight in their guestroom, never worrying about caring for their fishy friends because hotel staff provides daily feedings and care. For more information, visit

9. Colorado Springs. Yes, the Colorado city and the surrounding Pikes Peak region has been named one of the nations pet-friendliest by Men's Health and Boasting of mountain scenery chalked full of trails and open spaces, the destinations screams adventure and is home to seven dog parks. Pet-friendly accommodations exist for both dogs and cats, while attractions and activities run the gamut, including Buckskin Joe Frontier Town & Railway where pets go where you go, on a horse-drawn trolley into town or on the train ride; Cripple Creek District Museum, Garden of the Gods Trading Post, Historic Manitou Springs and Manitou Cliff Dwelling are all sites, among others, open to leashed pets; and, Wilderness Aware Rafting and Royal Gorge Bridge & Park offer free kennel services while the family enjoys the rides.

With most shops and restaurants being pet-friendly, even offering treats and water, the Colorado Springs region is a pet owner's paradise. For more information, visit

10. Alexandria, Va. For the history buffs, this town is complete with trivia-rich sites that also happen to be pet-friendly. With 15 pet friendly hotels in price ranges to suit most travel budgets, the city offers many seasonal outdoor dining areas for families with pooches, while various tours are completely open to leashed canines, including Arlington Cemetery, George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and the Torpedo Art Factory Center. Going for a cruise up the Potomac River is also a canine option, as well as a walking tour of Alexandria, a hike on the Mount Vernon Trail and, of course, several dog parks. For more information, visit

Top ten names for dogs and cats

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For the first time, the most popular name for a female dog is also the most popular name for a new baby girl. Bella was the number one name for female dogs in 2009, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., in Brea, Calif., which tracks its clients' pet names. Last year, Bella — short for Isabella or Isabel — was also the most popular name for baby girls, according to Parents Magazine, which tracks human names.

The popularity of the name Bella for dogs, humans, and even cats — number three on the VPI list — is also an homage to the popular character, Isabella Marie "Bella" Swan of the Twilight series of novels by Stephanie Meyer.

Chloe, the number two name for cats and the number nine name for dogs in 2009, was also the number six name for baby girls of the human variety.

A recent analysis of VPI's 480,000 insured pets revealed the top pet names for 2009.*

Top Ten Names for Dogs

1. Bella  2. Max  3. Bailey  4. Lucy  5. Molly

6. Buddy  7. Maggie  8. Daisy  9. Chloe  10. Sophie

Top Ten Names for Cats

1. Max  2. Chloe  3. Bella  4. Oliver  5. Tiger

6. Smokey  7. Tigger  8. Lucy  9. Shadow  10. Angel

Source: Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., 2010 Brea, Calif.

Giving pets the same name as human babies makes their rising status to full-fledged family members almost complete.
"Pet naming trends are reflecting the humanization of pets," says Dr. Carol McConnell, chief veterinary medical officer for VPI.
“When people consider their pet an integral part of the family, they are more inclined to pick a human name for it.”

Pet names highlight status as family members

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The day care roster includes Hannah, Cameron, Sophie, Henry, Tucker and Emma. They are the same names you'd find at just about any day care center in town. The only thing that might raise an eyebrow - or in this case, a whisker - is the fact that these names were plucked from an attendance sheet at Wag a Lot, a day care for dogs, in Atlanta.

Hannah is a German shepherd. Cameron and Henry are lab mixes. Sophie's a poodle; Emma, a boxer; Tucker, a goldendoodle.
Not one of the 43 dogs playing and fetching at the doggie day care answers to Spot, Rover or even Pepper.

Many people are choosing family or celebrity names for their furry friends, considered a reflection of the deepening bond owners have with their pets. Seventy percent of dog owners (and 65 percent of cat owners) said they consider their dog a full-fledged family member, according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association. Dogs and cats get dressed up for Halloween and buckled up in the car during drives. About 7 percent of dog owners and 5 percent of cat owners throw birthday parties for their beloved pets, according to the association. The attachment doesn't even loosen at bed time. It's estimated four of every 10 dogs sleep in their owners' beds, according to the association.

So, when it comes to names, pet owners nowadays ruminate much like an expectant couple.

Among the most popular dog names are Lucy, Jack, Bella and Charlie, according to an analysis by petfin, an online database of hundreds of thousands of adoptable pets. The trendiest cat names also include Lucy and Molly, though some perennial faves - Shadow, Smokey, Tiger, Tigger and Precious - are holding their own.

A Pet's Ten Commandments

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1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends,
    your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. 
    Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can’t bear to watch. Don’t make me face this alone. 
      Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

Please pass this on to other pet owners. We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness.
It is here on earth and has four legs!

New Year's Resolution

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This year, make a New Year's resolution to help your pet live a healthier, happier life.
But do you know your dog may be considering some resolutions of his/her own?

Top 10 Resolutions by Dogs:

10. Owner on floor, dog in bed.

9. Stop begging and actually get a seat at the dinner table.

8. Give up the dream of ever catching my tail.

7. Bark like a big dog but still get cuddled on lap like a little dog.

6. Get back at cat for litter box incident.

7. Find every bone I ever buried.

4. No more haircuts! (come fall, I can go as a Komondor for Halloween).

3. Become alpha dog in my house. Well, at least stop letting the cat push me around.

2. Invent goggles that allow me to see the electric fence.

1. Finally pass that darn AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

Woof! Woof!

Health Benefits of Pets

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According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most households in the United States have at least one pet. Why do people have pets? There are many reasons. They comfort us and they give us companionship. And on top of that, they bring us
great health benefits:

Pets can decrease our:
Blood Pressure
Cholesterol Levels
Triglyceride Levels
Feelings of Loneliness

Pets can increase our:
Opportunities for exercise and  outdoor activities
Opportunities for socialization

How great it is to have a loving and loyal pet in our life!

Financial Adviser Counsels Pet-Friendly Planning

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A very recent article in the Wall Street Journal was brought to our attention: any pet lovers should have a plan for their beloved pets.

** Mention “pets” and “estate planning” in the same sentence, and many people think of the late Leona Helmsley, the Manhattan hotelier and convicted tax cheat who left $12 million to Trouble, her Maltese pooch, and also specified that her trust of more than $5 billion be used to benefit dogs.

A judge later reduced Trouble’s personal bequest to $2 million, and the Helmsley estate decided to give only $1 million to dog causes. But the will added to the public perception of Helmsley as someone with a distant relationship to reality.

That’s too bad, says Sue Stevens, a financial planner, CPA and self-described “huge animal lover” who counsels clients to consider their pets when making estate plans.

Stevens, the founder of Stevens Wealth Management in Deerfield, Ill., discusses pet planning in her new book, Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is, as well as on her Web site, “You don’t have to be Leona Helmsley,” she says, “but if you don’t have a plan, your loyal companions could end up in a shelter,” where they will be euthanized or donated to research labs if they are not adopted.

Pets need not get the royal treatment in a will, says Stevens, who was director of financial planning at Morningstar for nine years. But she cites four steps that any pet lover should take when planning an estate:

1. Choose a “pet guardian.” It should be someone who wants to care for your pets and understands their needs. Make sure to name contingent guardians, in the event your first choice becomes unwilling or unable to serve. “Do not assume the people you choose as beneficiaries for your assets are the best people to care for your animals,” says Stevens.

2. Decide on financial assistance. It costs about $1,400 a year on average to care for a dog, and $1,000 for a cat, according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association. You can expect either pet to live at least 13 years. As Leona Helmsley demonstrated, it’s possible to fund a trust for a pet, and the trustee need not be the person responsible for care.

3. Add language to your trust to provide for pet care. Include instructions on how the funds are to be used (food, veterinary care, pet sitters, grooming, etc.) as well as plans for interim care until long-term placement is completed. Your lawyer can do this, but Stevens provides sample language on her Web site.

4. Write instructions for your caregiver. This should include a complete medical record, feeding instructions, a list of favorite toys, even names of friends–both human and animal.

A related concern is establishing care for your pets if you are incapacitated or require nursing care. Plans should be discussed in advance with the person you have named as your financial power of attorney. Stevens also recommends the Web site of Eden Alternative (, a nonprofit organization that advocates for improving the quality of elder care by, among other initiatives, encouraging the right to have pets in institutional settings. The Web site lists dozens of pet-friendly facilities around the country. In addition, Lollypop Farm ( provides financial assistance so the elderly can keep pets in their homes.

One pet in need of no public assistance is Helmsley’s dog Trouble, who was last reported living comfortably with the manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel in Sarasota, Fla. **