Get inspired for this year’s Halloween festivities with our favorite dog costumes!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. For my dogs, it’s probably their least favorite. Your dog might not mind wearing a costume all night long but if they’re like mine, a quick, one-time photo-shoot will have to suffice.

Here are some of my favorite (and hilarious) costumes. Hopefully these stir up your creative juices and you get some DIY ideas to make for your own dog. To me, the funnier the better!

Photos with links and other galleries found on our Pinterest page. Follow & share! Happy Halloween! xo

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Therapy dog Susie, abused as a puppy, named Hero Dog of 2014

Susie still wears the scars of her abuse

Susie still wears the scars of her abuse

The American Hero Dog of 2014 was announced Saturday night at the fourth annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA. The winner was determined by publicly cast votes and celebrity judges that included Naomi Judd, Lisa Vanderpump and Bailee Madison. Susie, a pit bull mix famous for her rough journey, and her owner Donna Lawrence, flew to Beverly Hills to be honored at the event.

The glitz and glamour of the event was a far contrast from Susie’s upbringing. Susie was only a puppy when her owner beat her, set her on fire and left her for dead in a local park in Greensboro, North Carolina. After being rescued by a local animal shelter and nursed back to health, she was adopted by Donna Lawrence. Ironically, Donna was afraid of dogs. In October 2008, she was attacked by a pit bull and nearly died. But that changed in August 2009, when she met Susie.

Their union led to Susie’s Hope, a nonprofit aimed at creating awareness for animal abuse. As of today, Lawrence has written several books on the topic, Susie has starred in a movie about herself and Susie’s Law has been passed, which allows harsher sentencing for those convicted of animal abuse.

The Hallmark Channel special about the Hero Dog Awards will air on October 30th. For more information on Susie’s journey and Susie’s Law, visit Susie’s Hope. If you’d like to make a donation to animal welfare, visit The American Humane Society.

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My interview with rescue-owner friends Robby & Cody, about life with dogs in LA & their newfound passion for animal rescue

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Cody & Robby with their rescued crew! Adopt shirts found on Etsy! 

 1. Can you tell me about each of your dogs & how you acquired them?

Alice, our white Havanese/Maltese/Chihuahua mix, was rescued in January of 2009. I rescued her before Cody and I were together. My friend had rescued a dog that soon gave birth to a litter. The litter was going to a shelter in Belmont, so I drove two hours to an unknown area and I took the runt. Originally she was meant for my younger sister but we had such a strong bond that she ended up being more mine than hers.  When Cody and I moved in together, she came with us. She has become the model city dog.  She behaves like a cat, lazily lounging around the house.

Fritz, our tan Wire Fox Terrier mix, was found on craigslist in February of 2013.  A woman in Fullerton was gifted him but her landlord wouldn’t allow her to keep him, so she was eager to find him a home before taking him to a shelter.  We were not 100% positive we were ready for another dog, but something told us we should see him. Upon meeting him we quickly realized he was in a very dangerous living situation and was actual taken away from his mother at far too soon; he couldn’t have been more than four weeks old. The owner would not answer any questions regarding the parents. To be honest, she was not acting normal and looked like she was under the influence. Our gut told us regardless of how this person ended up with the puppy, we had to get him out of that environment.  It was quite amusing watching one another bottle-feed a puppy the size of an apple, but we did it. Fritz still suffers from being taken so early from his mother and has developed classic separation anxiety behaviors. This is when we really began seeing the consequences of animal cruelty. However, Fritz has one of the most playful personalities we have seen in any dog. He’s still, and will always be, a puppy at heart.

Luna, our blue merle Australian Shepherd, was found on December 12th, 2013. This experience was a true eye opener for us and completely life changing.  I pulled over to take a phone call from Cody and upon doing so I noticed a dog with no collar emerging from the bushes covered in blood. My first thought was that she was hit by a car. I pulled a blanket from my car and slowly called to her.  She stared at me for a few minutes then walked my direction and collapsed at my feet. I took her to our vet and the physical assessment was gut wrenching.  She was severely dehydrated, sunburned, malnourished, infested with ticks, fleas, parasites, dog mange, fly strike, and a total of thirteen open wounds.  And on top of all that, she was lactating. They couldn’t get a viable stool sample from her because all she passed was Styrofoam.  The vet gave her 48 hours to live had I not found her and said her chances of survival would depend on how quickly we could find her a home, but it was unlikely that someone would want to take a dog in this critical of a condition. She would likely die in a shelter from infection of her wounds before anyone would take her. I thought that being a Hospice Nurse, I would care for her if these were to be her final days.  Wound treatment on her took me a few hours daily. I slept on the living room couch for nearly two weeks watching Luna slowly recover. Every night I saw a dog that was broken stare at the floor and corner of the walls, never attempting to make eye contact. She found refuge underneath our Christmas tree but would pant, cry, tremble, bark and pee in her sleep. I contemplated multiple scenarios in which I would ultimately find her a home. We couldn’t have another dog, right? After 9 months, she is 100% healthy, doubled in weight, and found a forever home with us.

2. How do you make life work having dogs in LA?

It definitely wasn’t easy at first, especially when you have three! We often felt in over our heads, but we are very fortunate to have made it work now. We live in a two bedroom townhouse, which fortunately has a big shady patio where we have built a large grass box. We rely on daily walks and weekly hikes.  We also look for dog-friendly establishments and frequent the dog park. Our weekends tend to revolve around taking them somewhere. Luckily we both have flexible schedules so they are never alone too long.  Robby’s parents also live close by and they have a huge yard with a rescue pup of their own. We call them our very own “Doggy Daycare”!

3. How has having pets changed your lives?

They remind you to breathe. When you walk into your home and are feeling overwhelmed with the outside world, they sense that and they just know how to make it better.  Where else can you go where you are always welcomed with excitement and love?  Everyday for us is paws and licks when we come home. They also help with our own anxiety and insecurities, not to mention keeping us active. We just can’t imagine not having them.

4. Now that you are pet-owners, have your attitudes or opinions changed on any particular subject matters or issues? If so, what are they and why? 

Absolutely.  We have a few. Obviously we are pro dog-rescue and we try to advocate it as much as possible. Then there is backyard-breeding and puppy mills. It is incredibly devastating to hear how many dogs are euthanized annually. You hear something outrageous, like 1 dog or cat is euthanize every 6.5 seconds.  That’s gotta strike a chord! It’s outrageous that people pay $800-$2000 and even more for a dog from a puppy mill when there are so many waiting to be adopted from a shelter. We have fostered two other strays and found them forever homes.  My subconscious is always scouting for strays. We visited a shelter once and the whole time we kept sending photos to everyone we knew that loved dogs. If we could we would take more, and hopefully one day we will!

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Alice, Fritz & Luna

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Maddie’s Story – National Dog Day

On a lazy afternoon in November, my husband came to me and said, “Let’s go to the shelter and get another dog.” Needless to say, it took me less than two minutes to gather my belongings, jump in the car, and head to Arizona Animal Welfare League. It only took a couple of options before we saw Maddie and knew she’d be coming home to the Enright family.

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Maddie at 2 months!

 

After a week of getting settled with our new pup, Maddie developed Kennel Cough. We quickly got her on medication and by the time she was ready for her next check-up, the doctor discovered that Maddie had caught Pneumonia. This was the start of what would quickly turn into her unfortunate health pattern. We later learned that Maddie was born with an autoimmune disorder that weakened her immune system. Over the last two years, she’s not only had Kennel Cough and Pneumonia, but she’s had Giardia, Mange, Valley Fever and a battle with Incontinence.

Maddie's after she recovered from surgery

Maddie after she recovered from surgery. We told her the shaved-leg-look was in style! 🙂

Maddie has proved that she is a fighter. She’s such a happy dog that brings so much joy to our lives. It was a process getting her back to health and she’ll forever be on medication, but we don’t care. She lights up our life with her personality. It’s only fitting that Maddie’s birthday this year (today) falls on National Dog Day. Happy Birthday Maddie girl and Happy National Dog Day to all the dogs of the world!

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Maddie with dad at the vet

 

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Pet Fitness & Obesity Prevention

Ok, I admit it… when my dogs give me “that look” I can’t help but offer up a treat. Even when they do something cute or sweet, my heart goes into melt-mode and all I want to do is spoil them! This week, Cocoa & Maddie had their annual vet check-up and sure enough, I was told both of them needed to lose a little weight.

Obesity amongst humans is obviously on the rise. Poor food choices and lack of exercise has lead to this growing epidemic in our culture. Did we forget about our pets? We’re doing the same thing to them! According to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. The medical and physical conditions associated with overweight or obese pets include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Respiratory and heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis and joint problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer, particularly intra-abdominal cancers
  • Shortened life span of up to 2½ years, according to APOP.
Stop pet obesity!

Stop pet obesity!

Seeing our pets every single day makes weight-gain so gradual that we become blind to it.  I was! I already saved my dogs by getting them out of shelters, so I want to continue saving them by keeping them fit, healthy and away from obesity!

A few tips to get your pet on the right path include:

  1. Regulate the amount of food you give your pet.
  2. Choose healthier treats like Lean Treats for Dogs.

    Lean Treats

    Lean Treats

  3. Get your pet active by going for walks, runs, or playing with a ball or frisbee. It’ll let them get out their energy too!

Be a responsible pet owner and remember that your pet relies on you for their health! Making these changes only mean a longer life for them and a longer time with your best friend!

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How Animals Benefit Your Health

Animal Welfare Guardian

Cats, dogs, and other animals may be cute and fun, but studies have shown that animals may do much more than generate “aww” responses wherever they go. Researchers have found that owning a pet or being around animals can have a number of health benefits:

1) Pets can assist with depression and emotional health or mental health issues. Loneliness and isolation can make depression and other mental health issues worse, but some patients with emotional disorders or mental health issues have a hard time feeling accepted by others. Pets provide a non-judgmental form of companionship as well as physical interaction, which has been shown to help many patients. Some people find that their overall outlook improves when they spend time talking to and interacting with animals. Others find that the symptoms of their disorders improve with pet ownership. For people with anxiety disorders, for example, pets can be soothing and…

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Dogs + Babies

To me, dogs are pretty much the cutest things on the face of the earth. Put a baby next to one and well, you have yourself a match made in heaven. I don’t have any kids of my own yet and I don’t exactly even have baby-fever. One of my best friends, Sara, just had her first baby girl last week so now it’s pretty much all I can think about! I also have the famous napping duo Theo & Beau to thank for my obsession. Here are some of my faves:

(Photos found on Pinterest.com)

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5 reasons to adopt

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According to the Humane Society of the United States, here are the top five reasons to adopt your new pet!

1. IF YOU ADOPT, YOU’LL SAVE A LIFE

Around 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because too many people give up their pets, and too few people adopt from shelters.

Because there is limited space at shelters, staff members sometimes need to make very hard decisions to euthanize animals who haven’t been adopted.

The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them.

By adopting from a private humane society or animal shelter, rescue group, or the local animal-control agency, you’ll help save the lives of two animals—the pet you adopt and a homeless animal somewhere who can be rescued because of space you helped free up.

2. WHEN YOU ADOPT, YOU GET A HEALTHY PET

Animal shelters and rescue groups are brimming with happy, healthy animals just waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelters examine and give vaccinations to animals when they arrive, and many spay or neuter them before being adopted. In addition to medical care, more and more shelters also screen animals for specific temperaments and behaviors to make sure each family finds the right pet for its lifestyle.

It is a common misconception that animals end up in shelters or with rescue groups because they’ve been abused or done something “wrong.” In fact, most animals are given to shelters or rescue groups because of “people reasons,” not because of anything they’ve done. Things like a divorce, a move, lack of time, and financial constraints are among the most common reasons pets lose their homes.

3. ADOPTING WILL SAVE YOU MONEY

Adopting a pet from an animal shelter or rescue group is much less expensive than buying a pet at a pet store or through other sources. In addition, animals from many shelters are already spayed or neutered and vaccinated, which makes the shelter’s fee a real bargain.

4. ADOPTING A PET WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER

Pets have a way of putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Not only do animals give you unconditional love, but they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally, and physically beneficial. Caring for a companion animal can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation in all age groups.

Pets can help your physical health as well—just spending time with an animal can help lower a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and dog walking, pet grooming, and even petting provide increased physical activity that can help strengthen the heart, improve blood circulation, and slow the loss of bone tissue. Put simply, pets aren’t just good friends; they’re also good medicine and can improve a person’s well-being in many ways.

5. IF YOU ADOPT, YOU WON’T BE SUPPORTING PUPPY MILLS AND PET STORES

Puppy mills are “factory style” breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs. Most animals raised in puppy mills are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care, and the parents of the puppies are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever joining a family. And after they’re no longer profitable, breeding dogs are simply discarded—either killed, abandoned or sold at auction.

Puppy-mill puppies are sold to unsuspecting consumers in pet stores, over the Internet, and through newspaper classified advertisements to whoever is willing to pay for them. Marketed as coming from great breeders, well-rehearsed sales tactics keep money flowing to the puppy mill by ensuring that buyers never get to see where the pups actually come from (a vital step in puppy-buying). Many of the puppies have serious behavioral and health problems that might not be apparent for months, including medical problems that can cost thousands of dollars to treat, if they are treatable at all. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not even aware that puppy mills exist, so when they buy a pet from a pet store, online or other retail outlet, they are unwittingly supporting this cruel industry.

By adopting instead of buying a pet, you can be certain you aren’t supporting cruel puppy mills with your money. Puppy mills will continue to operate until people stop purchasing from them. Instead of buying a pet, visit your local shelter or contact a local rescue group, where you will likely to find dozens of healthy, well-socialized puppies, kittens, and adult pets—including purebreds—just waiting for that special home—yours.

Humane Society

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Cruelty-free Beauty and Cosmetics!

Until recently, buying beauty & cosmetic products was something I did fairly quickly and without much thought. I typically went for big-name brands or looked for hip/modern packaging. But now that I’m on a mission to support animal welfare in as may ways as possible, cruelty-free beauty products are the only ones for me!

Make a commitment to swap out your current products for cruelty-free ones, one-by-one. For example, if you run out of shaving gel, purchase a cruelty-free product to replace your former choice. This will make an impact not only on animals, but the environment and your health, as well!

All it takes is a simple label check!

All it takes is a simple label check!

Here are some tips that will help you find the right products:

1. Identify the parent company. Some brands that are owned by big companies don’t support common interests. Those large companies could still be funding animal testing in other brands.

2. Read labels. Most boxes, bottles and packages will tell you if the product has been tested on animals.  If you’re unsure you can look at the PETA Database of Animal Ingredients to help you decode some of the ingredients. You can also do a quick search with PETA’s cruelty-free company list. The easiest way to determine if the product is ok is by searching for one of these symbols:

Vegan and Cruelty-free

Vegan and cruelty-free symbols

 

3. Check to see if the products are sold in China. For cosmetic products to be sold there, cosmetic companies must test their products on animals. Most likely, then, products from China are indeed tested on our furry friends.

4. Know where to shop: You’ll be able to find cruelty-free personal care products at larger stores like Target, but you’ll find a better selection and have an easier time with labeling-detecting at natural stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Here are some of my favorite cruelty-free companies:

  • Abba
  • Bare Essentials
  • Boscia
  • Dermalogica
  • Dr. Hauschka Skin Care
  • Lush
  • Neutrogena
  • Smashbox
  • Tarte Cosmetics

    My favorite LUSH Bath Bombs

    My favorite LUSH Bath Bombs

Feel free to share and comment on some of your personal cruelty-favorites!

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My All-American Baseball Dogs

We are the purest definition of a baseball family. My husband Barry is in his 8th season of professional baseball, which means we’ve traveled all over the country for his career. While we enjoy the experience, one of the struggles with this lifestyle is the uncertainty of where we’re going to live and which team we’ll be on. Each year we get to make new memories, meet new people and visit all sorts of new places in America. By we, I mean myself, Barry and our dogs, Cocoa & Maddie.

Because of this unique lifestyle, Cocoa & Maddie have already lived in 4 different states and 7 different cities. They’ve lived in houses, apartments, hotels, cabins and of course, have been frequent visitors of dog boarding facilities. They’ve driven (well, with us) across the country and have seen more parts of America than most people will ever see in their lifetime.

With each new city comes the scavenger hunt of finding all the pet-friendly places and the closest dog parks. The Bring Fido app has been a lifesaver! One of my favorite parts during the season is when the stadiums have Bark in the Park. These are the nights I get to bring my “kids” to the game with me. A stadium filled with people AND dogs is pretty much the coolest thing ever and watching the girls watch their dad on the mound is absolutely melt-worthy.

Cocoa + Maddie at watching dad's game

Cocoa + Maddie watching dad’s game

A career in professional baseball brings lots of pressure and lots of ups and downs. When Barry goes on the road and I’m left alone in an unfamiliar city with unfamiliar people, it is so comforting to have the company of my dogs. In the same way, when Barry comes home from a long road-tip, the squealing and panting he’s greeted with at the door, is true unconditional love.

Barry with his girls

Barry with his girls

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Barry & Maddie

My Cocoa

My Cocoa

 

I can’t wait to see where else this life takes us and what new American adventures are created for these all-American pups! Happy 4th everyone!

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