Monday, January 12, 2009

Interview with PAWS... Luxury dog travel

Interview with Janine Franceschi, President of PAWS… (Photos: Janine and Beau and Beau driving)…

1) tell me a little about you and your dog Beau and how you started your business and dog blog…

Beau, my Irish Setter came into my life about two and a half years ago. I woke up one morning and “needed” a dog and not only a dog, but an Irish Setter! Quite out of the blue… I searched on, found an Irish Setter breeder in Missouri and was looking forward to the puppy’s arrival that coming weekend.

Beau is such a wonderful dog that my friends wanted me to name him “lucky’ because they’d say, “You got lucky with that dog!” buying him over the internet and all. But, I knew all along that he was the one! He adds so much joy to my life and I thank him every day for coming to live with me!

My business PAW: Pet-friendly Accommodations Worldwide began shortly after Beau’s arrival. Although, at the time I didn’t realize it was a new business, it started out more as a ‘hobby’ that grew to an ‘obsession’ and I realized I’d better do something with this information, otherwise I was just some crazy dog lady!

Friends and family were surprised when I told them about Beau and almost everyone said the same thing, “But you love to travel, who’s going to watch the dog when you travel? And you travel so much, can you really have a dog?” People assumed that I would have to choose between being a pet owner and continuing to enjoy travel adventures.

So the ‘hobby’ became searching for and compiling a list of luxury, pet-friendly hotels that would accept a 60 LB dog, that turned into a list, the list into a database, and the database into the only online pet-friendly hotel booking engine to exclusively feature luxury, pet-friendly hotels for booking. It also became the only site to allow the user to utilize their pets weight as part of the hotel search criteria, which can be a huge time saver.

2) When did you start your blog, and what inspired you to get into blogging?

The blog was a component of the website and a way for me to write in more detail about hotels, activities, or pet products I discovered along the way. Also as a vehicle to share information such as Pet Passport information.

3) What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

The ability for people to comment and provide feedback about what you’re writing.

4) Have you noticed a shift in attitudes towards bloggers, dogs, dog travel ?

Absolutely, I just completed a 13,000 mile, 30-state, 50-luxury, pet-friendly hotel cross country tour. (Janine and Beau live on Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts when they are not traveling). If I had a dime for every person who said, “I wish I had known this hotel was pet-friendly, we would have brought our dog!” I’d never have to work another day in my life!! People really want to have the entire family with them when they travel, for business or pleasure and are just starting to realize that they don’t have to sacrifice the level of amenity when they travel in order to bring their pet along…they can have both a great level of amenity hotel and their pet.

5) What are some of your favorite blogs ?

Well, yours of course! (Editor note: OF COURSE!) :-)

6) If there was one tip that you would recommend that pet owners and/or pet business owners or pet bloggers follow, what would it be and why?

Remember when you are out with your pet, traveling or even just walking around your neighborhood, you are an ambassador for people who live pet-centric lives. If people have a good experience with you and your dog they are more likely to generalize that pets provide a pleasant experience and that will open up more doors to including our pets in other areas of our lives.

7) How do you cope with juggling all of the various balls you’ve got going in the air?

I am an outrageous list maker! I’ll have about six lists going at once. I tell people all the time, “you do not want to be in my head….it’s a very chaotic place!” :) LOL

8. As a dog lover, do you have a favorite product or service that EVERY dog owner MUST have for their pet?

There are four companies that I recently awarded “PAW - Top Dog awards for excellence in 2008″. ArfDog makes wonderful ‘louis vuitton’ style sleepover suitcases for pups complete with an embroidered bath robe. Bowser Beer, www.3 makes non-alcoholic beer for dogs and the concept is so well executed. Dog Lovers Wine Club donates proceeds to shelters across America and finally Dog is Good who offers a great line of dog-themed people clothing.

Janine shares some luxury travel tips for traveling with your pup:

1. Always ask what is included in the pet welcome amenity so that you can bring whatever your pet needs to be comfortable in a strange place.

2. Always bring your pet’s normal food. The luxury pet room service menus are a lot of fun to try, but relying on them for every day dining is probably going to be too rich for your pet’s diet.

3. If the hotel does not provide one, create a paper or cardboard dog tag for your pup and put your hotel’s name and phone number on it as well as “Guest” - and your last name. This is great insurance in case you and your pup become separated. I wouldn’t put your room number on it, but your last name should be sufficient information.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

greening your dog...

a truly green puppy was born in New Orleans...

if your dog is a tree hugging holistic hound and you share his love for the wild and pristine environment, then here are a few ways to green your eco puppy...

1, Spay and neuter and adopt a dog from an eco friendly shelter or rescue group, do not buy from a puppy store or puppy mill

2. Feed fido only healthy food and gourmet organic canine treats, homemade, raw, Paul Newman’s, Organix, Evo, Honest Kitchen, California Natural, Pet Promise, and other good brands

3. Use only green cleaning products such as Thieves from Young Living

4. Bath your pooch with nontoxic shampoos and grooming products

5. Toys: play catch with a recycled rubber ball, turn old socks into tug toys
and you can also purchase toys that use certified organic dye-free fabrics from PurrfectPlay and other companies…

6. Beds and bones: let Fido rest in an organic cotton bed, fluffed up with stuffing made from recycled plastic bottles. Bone up on the best raw, organic bones

Eco-chic pet beds from Paw Digs. Eco Slumber™ beds combine eco- fabric, made with 85 percent recycled fibers and then filled with 100 percent recycled fiber fill.

If you Must Carry your pup around in your purse, why not try green carriers by Eco Hound’s urban pet hemp carrier. Eco hound manufactures products made from sustainable and renewable sources such as hemp and organic cotton which are gentle to humans, animals, and the environment.

7. Use recycled, reusable, portable pet food and water containers.

Check out GreenPeople’s list of where to find green pet supplies around the world .

8. Preserve the environment by cleaning up after your dog with biodegradable doggie waste bags…Flush Poop, a flushable bag that is safe for the plumbing and biodegrades. This way the stuff is in the toilet and not garbage cans. Products: Oops I Pooped, Dog Poo Poo Bags, Biobags, Skooperbox or you can build a doggie waste composter in your back yard…

An episode of Renovation Nation featured a family that built a dog waste composter in their backyard. Here is how they did it:

1. Buy a metal garbage can. They are easier to move than rubber or plastic.

2. Poke holes in the garbage can. Remember those jars that you kept bugs in as a kid. Do just like you did then. You can use a drill if you want.

3. Dig a hole and put the can in it. Make sure that that top of the can is flesh with the surface of the soil.

4. Pour some water and bacteria in the can.

5. Add the pet waste.

Did you know that the average dog excretes over 250 pounds of waste a year? that adds up to 10 million tons of waste annually… Some cities won’t let you throw pet waste into the regular trash. Dog waste composting is a great way to aid the environment and to green up your pet and garden.

Note: Don’t use dog waste compost on food crops.

9. If you have to dress up your dog, get environmentally friendly dog clothing Dress up your pup in an organic cotton tank with a recycled belt collar. All hemp collars from Earthdog.

10. Bring your dog to a holistic or green friendly vet such as Dr. Harvey…

11. Stay at pet friendly eco-lodges and environmentally friendly (aka Green) inns

12. If you must put your dog in the dog house, make sure that you let her rest in a green dog house (build your own or you can purchase at your neighborhood all natural pet store)

13. Take care of your dog’s training with a green dog trainer (Read The Loved Dog by Tamar Geller), you want your pooch to learn in a positive, uplifting, inspiring, nonviolent, nontoxic dog training environment (no choke collars, no hitting or beating your best friend!)

14. You can even find Green pet sitters and doggie daycare facilities if you scratch deep enough

15. Make sure your pet is protected with Green pest care… There are some nontoxic Tick and flea repellent products such as Flea Free which makes an organic tick and flea repellent and Rara Avis Tick Spritz

For ticks, you can make a homemade recipe that includes mostly vegetable oil and rose geranium oil — 2 tablespoons to 10 drops. Another natural repellent is pennyroyal

16. Fluoridated water is not healthy for either humans or your dog … so use distilled, purified, reverse osmosis water (Dasani is water left over from soda pop, not healthy water)

17. Give the gift of health with acupuncture, reflexology, doggie massage and dog yoga

18. Research and educate yourself about vaccines and pet microchips

Monday, January 5, 2009

cici the surfer dog...

Cici decided it would be fun to go surfing... I let her off leash and she ran into the water and caught a wave and a surfer dude... she loves the water... is your dog a surfer dog, too? send photos and we shall show off your salty dog... will be taking photos and will post them soon...

meanwhile here's another surfer dog and a hula dancing dog...