Monday, January 19, 2015

Emergency Preparedness

While we love to talk about all of the fun parts of being a dog owner here at Little Holly's Big World, the fact of the matter is having a furry pal means the possibility of facing the occasional emergency situation. After TWO such situations cropped up in the past two weeks (don't worry, Holly is fine), I thought I would share our most important tips to be as prepared as possible just in case!

Remember: the best bet is to have a plan.

When something scary happens with your pooch, your brain switches into panic mode, and the most rational thinking does not necessarily happen in that mode. If you already have a plan in place for how to act should something bad happen, then your panic-fogged brain will switch to autopilot, and you can make sure to act quickly to make sure your pup is safe. Here's what we do to make sure that we are prepared for any scenario:

1. Make sure your home is ready in case you aren't there.

Remember when you were little and your mom would leave the list of emergency contacts for the babysitter? I have the same list for my dog walker, as well as stickers in all my exterior windows alerting local fire departments to the presence of a dog in the apartment in the event of the fire. The stickers are available for free as part of an emergency kit from the ASPCA (get yours here).

Also in the kit is a refrigerator magnet with the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (888-426-4435). For less than $100, this 24 hour service will provide access to a veterinarian to consult on your pet's condition and best course of treatment, and be available for any and all follow up questions. If you are unsure about whether something your pet ingested is poisonous, they are a great first step to see if you should visit an emergency vet.

2. Take a first aid course.

One of the best things I have done as a pet parent is to take an animal first aid course. My local VCA Hospital  offered one for a very reasonable fee, and the full day course covered everything from basic wound care to spotting symptoms for dangerous illnesses early. They also provided details on what should go into a pet first aid kit, though the ASPCA has comprehensive kits for both first aid and emergency survival (in the case of a hurricane or other natural disaster).

3. Know the location of your nearest 24 hour emergency vet, and keep their number on speed dial.

It's always best to act quickly when you know your emergency can't be handled at home, and taking the time to look up an address or phone number is just that much longer that you have to wait to get on your way. Having this information stored somewhere accessible (and preferably with you at all times), will keep you prepared to jump right in your car or cab and get there ASAP in the event of an emergency.

4. If your pooch isn't microchipped, run, don't walk, and get it done!

I can't tell you how many stories I have read where a microchip reunited a beloved pet and their owner. Holly was microchipped when I first adopted her (it's standard practice for the Humane Society and many other shelters), but if you are unsure if your pet has been chipped, your vet can do a quick check to see if they feel the chip under your pup's skin. They should repeat this test at your annual check up to make sure it's still in place.

Though I hope you never have to use any of these tips, I know being prepared will give you peace of mind as you're out in the world with your pet. You can never predict when something may come up out of nowhere, but it you know how to react and have a plan in place, you will be able to handle the situation in the absolute best way for both you and your pooch!
Being prepared for a situation will make sure you can enjoy all the fun parts of being a pet parent knowing you have a plan!
Until Next Time, Darlings!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cold Weather Activities for You and Your Pooch

Baby, it's cold outside!!

After coming back from Colorado where it was a balmy -17 degrees, it wasn't exactly exciting to hop back in to 9 degree morning walks. Though we've posted in the past about what to wear when the temps get frigid, I thought I would take a moment to share ways that I tire Holly out when a long walk is just not going to happen.
In Colorado, cold temps meant long naps and cuddle time!

Modified indoor fetch:

Some mornings I want to make sure Holly and I both get a little workout in before I head to work. I will often tune into the super old school 8 minute abs video on YouTube and throw a soft toy for Holly while I'm doing sit ups. She had a tricky time at first figuring out that she had to bring the toy to my head so I could actually grab it to throw, but now that we have it figured out we both have a great time! We make sure to use an extra soft toy like this Wooly Fun ball so we don't wake our downstairs neighbors!
This ball is fun and apartment friendly!

2. Hide and seek:

I learned this nifty game from trainer Sue Chipperton when I was lucky enough to get to interview her. When it's too cold to take her pooches out, Sue taps in to their inner hunter with a game of "hide and seek." Recreating the game is simple: take your pooch's favorite toy or treat, show it to them, then make them do a sit-stay while you go hide the object of fun in another room. When you tell them to "go find it," watch them use their nose to track it down. It's best to start simple--putting the object in a low, easily visible location and making it more and more difficult as the game goes on (Sue's dogs can hunt out their toy on top of a wardrobe!). Using a pup's brain tires them out as much as a walk, so a half hour of hide and seek is sure to have your pup happily snoozing for hours!
Holly's "Mrs. Hedgehog" is a sure fire hide-and-seek success.

When a toy just won't cut it, these amazing Yam treats from our pals at Brindle's always get Holly's nose going!

3. When all else fails, snuggle!

Some days, it's just too cold to do much of anything, so it's just best to stay inside, curl up with some tea and a warm pup, and snuggle the day away. Holly and I enjoyed an evening of snuggles and pampering during last night's Golden Globes, which if you ask me is the perfect way to spend a chilly evening!
A girl's night is just what the weatherman ordered! My red carpet ready lashes are thanks to Covergirl GoBloom mascara, c/o Influenster! I'm sure the Fashion Police would be proud!*
Until Next Time, Darlings!

*disclaimer: I received these products to test courtesy of Influenster and CoverGirl. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Trip to Colorado!

We just got back from an amazing long vacation for Christmas & New Year's at Holly's Grandma and Grandpa's house in Colorado. In addition to two standard poodles, three cats, a horse, and a donkey, my parents recently adopted a 9 year old beagle from a local shelter who is officially Holly's BFF! Below are some of my favorite pictures from our trip:

I hope you all had an amazing Holiday season with your loved ones!

Until Next Time, Darlings!

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Year in Review

It's almost 2015, LHBW fans! This year has been a whirlwind adventure for Little Holly & me, and we can't wait to see what 2015 will bring! We're betting it will be paw-sitively fabulous!

We have so much to be thankful for this year, from new Insta-friends who became real friends, the amazing community of small businesses we have had the honor of working with, and most of all, for all of you. When I was looking through our most liked media in the video below, I was so thrilled to see that this year's most liked picture was of Holly posing in front of the Humane Society of New York table at BarkBox's BarkDay. I know I've said it before, but truly the most important message I can spread with this blog is the importance of animal rescue. I'm so glad so many of you agree!!


Until Next YEAR, Darlings!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Paw-sitively Fabulous: Last minute Holiday outfits!

I can't believe it's already the week of Christmas! This holiday season has flown by, but there's still time to squeeze in a couple more ugly (and not so ugly) holiday sweaters before the New Year!

Here are some of our top mommy-and-pup picks that are festive yet neutral enough to carry you well past Christmas Day!

1. All Things Fabulous Squirrel Jumper & Fab Dog Squirrel Turtleneck:

Image courtesy of  Revolve Clothing.
Image courtesy of Fab Dog.
Show your pup's #1 furry foe who's boss in these cheeky prints, sure to make you giggle on even the gloomiest of Winter days.

2. BooHoo Snowman sweater & Fab Dog Snowman Turtleneck:

Image courtesy of BooHoo.
Image courtesy of Fab Dog. 
Still have a few ugly sweater parties to knock off your list? This stylish duo in seasonal Frosty blue is fun and festive without screaming Christmas!

3. Old Navy Fair Isle Yoke Sweater & Nutmeg's Nordic Dog Sweater:

Image courtesy of Old Navy.
Image courtesy of Baxter Boo.
Fair Isle knits are a more subtle way to dip your toe into the holiday sweater game. Festive without being the true "ugly sweater," this pair is sure to keep your matching game on point all Winter long!

We hope you all have a happy holiday season filled with family and puppy love!!

Image courtesy of Brindle's NY.
Until Next Time, Darlings!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Store Spotlight: Brindle's New York (& A Giveaway!)

I'm so excited to share this extra special Store Spotlight today. I discovered Brindles New York on Instagram and Holly and I were lucky enough to be chosen as brand ambassadors for this fabulous newcomer the pup e-commerce scene. After meeting up with the founders and their own pup-sonal ambassador (and the store's namesake), Mr. Brindles himself, I was struck with how much the Brindles philosophy aligns with my own.
It was love at first sniff for Holly and Mr. Brindles!
The Brindles folks feel that since our pooches are our furry family members, the products they use, from food and treats to chew toys and clothes, should have the same benchmarks for quality as those we give our human family. As pup parents themselves, they advocate for American made products with a level of care behind them that would appease even the most discerning pet owner. Brindles also believes in supporting small businesses, encouraging entrepreneurship and giving brands a stage to showcase their products and consumers a chance to discover them. Read on to learn more about the incredible story behind Brindles NY, as well as for some special treats available only to Little Holly's Big World fans!

Little Holly's Big World: What was your inspiration to start Brindles?

Brindles NY: The inspiration to start Brindles basically came from being a frustrated pet parent.  I was consistently disappointed with the vast number of pet products in the marketplace and the lack of information behind them.  

At home, I love to cook and can easily spend weeks researching the best ingredients.  Take olive oil for example. For myself, I want to be sure it is 100% pure and not mixed with an inferior oil.  I want to know where the olives are grown, and how they are pressed. 

After a series of well known pet food/treat recalls in the news, I finally asked myself why wouldn't I apply that same approach of looking for olive oil to find products for my best companion.  It turned out to be harder than I thought.  There was so many products that didn't meet our standards as we shopped online or in the “big box” stores.  

Fast forward to this spring, on a spur of the moment trip upstate to Beacon, NY with Mr. Brindles.  It was there that I met Patricia McGrath of Laughing Paw Farm.  Patricia had a table setup for the annual “Beacon Barks” festival on that day and Mr. Brindles found his way to her table of treats.  I listened to Patricia’s story of the dogs that inspired her to bake, and I saw the farm fresh Ameraucana eggs from her very own flock of hens that she uses in her treats. I knew I found someone who shared my own philosophy of doing things the right way with no shortcuts.  And, not only did I find amazing treats for Mr. Brindles but I also had the most amazing eggs for breakfast the next day!   

It was from this moment on that I knew there had to be others out there like Patricia. I wanted to find them and give them a place to showcase their products.  These individuals and small business owners are the inspiration behind Brindles.

Shopping local is great--just ask Mr. Brindles! Image courtesy of BrindlesNYC on Instagram.
LHBW: What makes Brindles different from other pet boutiques?

BNY: Brindles is different than other pet boutiques because we only feature 100% American-made products.  

However, just because you are an American made brand doesn’t guarantee you a spot on our shelves.  We are reading each and every label, researching the manufacturing process, and speaking to the purveyors of each product we carry.  We are ensuring that every brand and business in our shop is one we can be proud of and one that customers can feel confident purchasing.  Most of the small businesses we work with are pet parents themselves. They have passion and a pride of craftsmanship that gets lost among the larger manufacturers and big box stores.

West Paw Design re-knit sweaters available at Brindles NY. Image courtesy of BrindlesNYC on Instagram.
In addition, there are so many great artisans right here in NY making quality pet products and we at Brindles love to share all of them with you. 

LHBW: Why is working with small, American owned businesses important to the Brindles philosophy?

BNY: At Brindles, we believe in building a virtuous circle.  It is important to foster our local communities by supporting small American businesses that continue to grow, hire skilled workers, and give back to the community.

Here’s what I mean:

When you shop at Brindles and buy a new Toppl treat dispensing toy made by West Paw Design, you foster a growing American brand and support West Paw as they hire more skilled toy makers and sewers.  Those sewers, in turn, go out into their local Hometown, USA and buy produce from a local farmer at the market.  That farmer?  Well, he adopted a lovable rescue dog, Lassie, to help patrol his farm.  And so the farmer buys Lassie a comfy new Jax and Bones bed from Brindles.  Jax and Bones and West Paw Design both donate a portion of proceeds to charity from the purchases that Brindles made and we at Brindles also give back by donating to various pet rescue causes.

Brindles New York is a big advocate for shopping small. Image courtesy of BrindlesNYC on Instagram.
And so the circle continues….more American workers, quality made goods, a stronger economy, more pets rescued and a better community for everyone.

LHBW: Tell us the story of Rascal, or Mr. Brindles himself!

BNY: Mr. Brindles (aka Rascal) is a three year-old, cleverly stubborn, brindled French Bulldog and the Chief Tester of all products in the shop.  He likes hanging out in the dog park and chasing squirrels in Central Park. His favorite things are treats, treats, and more treats.  

Mr. Brindles sunning in Central Park. Image courtesy of BrindlesNYC on Instagram.
Like many breeds, French Bulldogs are prone to allergies and Mr. Brindles is no exception. We have to be careful with what he eats.  He is on a special limited ingredient diet that always keeps us researching the best quality ingredients. 

The Brindles store name was inspired from the color of his fur.  

I met Mr. Brindles when he was just a pup and I was courting his mama.  During our introduction phase, he would love to curl inside my legs or sit on top of them (he still does!).   One evening while snuggled on top of my legs, he quickly and suddenly ran off into another room.  A few minutes later, I scratched my leg (I am actually allergic to dog fur!!) and when I reached down my hand felt wet.   Yup, Rascal marked me as his and we have been inseparable ever since.  

LHBW:  In your opinion, what is it that makes pup ownership in New York special?

BNY: Well, most of us in New York don’t have backyards.   So we are all taking our pups outside in our PJs every morning…rain or shine.  We have a multitude of dog parks to choose from and a bevy of meetup groups to socialize.  Dog friendly restaurants and shops make it easy to take your best friend almost everywhere in this city.  The scents and visual scenery are just as stimulating to dogs as they are to people.   
Jumping for joy in NYC's own backyard!
However, its the community of great pet parents that truly make NY a special place. 

LHBW: What is the most important thing you want people to take away from the Brindles shopping experience? 

BNY: Confidence.

Confidence not only that their purchase helps support animal rescue efforts and small businesses, but that they can rely on Brindles to curate the best and safest pet products available in the marketplace from people who care about pets and not profits.

We believe that it's stores like Brindles New York that make the dog community special. To recognize an issue as a pet parent, and take the steps to go out and solve it all while supporting small businesses and rescue organizations, is absolutely amazing. If this piece made you want to run out and shop small with Brindles New York, then you're in luck! Little Holly's Big World readers can enjoy a 10% discount with code HOLLY, so you can knock out your holiday shopping in plenty of time.
Brindles NY Holiday Bundle. Image Courtesy of Brindles New York.
And as an added treat, Brindles has kindly offered one of their famous Holiday bundles to giveaway--just in time for Santa to leave it for your favorite four legged friend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats to the winner!! Happy Holly-days!

Until Next Time, Darlings!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Paw-sitively Fabulous: We're Gonna Be Royals

This weekend marked the arrival of Prince William and Kate Middleton in Manhattan, right in the LHBW neighborhood of the Upper East Side. After a call from one of my besties and my mother encouraging us to see if we could catch a glimpse of Britain's most popular royals, Holly and I donned our Barbour coats and Burberry scarves and braved the dipping temperatures to join fellow New Yorkers outside the Carlyle Hotel to await the arrival of Kate & Wills.

Though we didn't actually see the royals (the crowd was too dense), we did catch a glimpse of their motorcade and experience the excitement from the crowd. Though temps were low (27!), spirits were high, and people were singing a mixture of songs they felt the visiting rulers would enjoy, which seemed to really just be an endless loop of Christmas classics people don't know the words too mixed with a few selections from The Sound of Music (are the Duke and Duchess fans???).

A view of the beginning of the Duke and Duchess's motorcade outside the Carlyle Hotel.
In the end, we came hold with cold toes but warm hearts--it was such a classic New York moment, and we're glad we took part! Especially Holly, who was interviewed by a British news station for being the only pup waiting!

Speaking of royal treatment, we are obsessing over BaubleBar's new paw-sitively Princess worthy collar selection. As a long time fan of BaubleBar's fashionable pieces and Manhattan same day delivery options, I will certainly be tempted to add one of these sparkling Baubles to Holly's Holly-day wardrobe. Below are some of my top picks from the collection, as well as the Human pieces I would pair them with for a sparkling matching ensemble worthy of tea with the Princess herself!

Until Next Time, Darlings!
Images by Freepik