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21 Feb 16

Big Dawgs at Westminster! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,, All Photos are Property of Nancy E. Hassel &

For the love of dogs, that is why thousands of people come in from all across the USA and world to attend the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.  For the LOVE of dogs.  That’s why I go.  While the show may be over, the buzz of the Best In Show winner will be happening for quite some time.

Each year the crowds of people seem to get bigger, always enthusiastic about their favorite breed of dog, you over hear stories about their own dogs, smiles from ear to ear as the dogs flew through the agility course on Saturday and seeing kids that were in awe of the 175 Great Danes at Meet the Breeds.

As dog lovers we tend to be drawn to dogs that we like, while I love all dogs, I am drawn to the big dogs for the most part (and Frenchies! haha), so I decided for that this after Westminter article to hightlight some of the massive dogs that were at Westminster!

Africian Boerboel – new to Westminster this year, there were only 4 in the breed ring, 3 females and 1 male.  Not a new breed by any means, just newly accepted to the AKC.  This dog is absolutely stunning in person – and while they can be a lot to handle for first time dog owners, the 4 that were there were very calm (I have met a few in the past and they were also calm, sweet and happy dogs) but you want to do your research, meet with breeders and learn about this rare breed before thinking about getting one.

This was in the Junior Handlers right before the show went live on Tuesday night.  I just loved seeing this tiny young girl handling this large beautiful Great Dane around the ring like a pro and with such ease.  Stunning dog – usually you see the fawn with black mask on the danes in the ring (which was in the working group), but this brindle coloration was beautiful.  It’s so great to see young junior handlers at dog shows.

This dog is a Anatolian Shepherd Dog – very large working breed, used for protection, farm work and definitely not for the 1st time dog owner.  They are very big – I have always loved seeing these guys at Westminster.

The Newfounland! Or Newfie for short – this gorgeous dog is a joy to see at Westminster or just walking in a dog park.  They are gentle and used for rescue work, think jumping out of helicopters into water to save a person from drowning!  Look at his foot – looks like a bear foot!  If you don’t mind some drool, then you will love these dogs.  They come in many colors, and do require grooming and regular brushing for that coat to look nice.

English Mastiff, probably one of the most massive breeds of dogs you can get.  They usually weigh in at 250 pounds…they are great dogs.  They are the origin of many other mastiff breeds.

This dog.  Do I need to say more?  Working farm dog to help protect sheep…dread locks are natural for this dog.  I can’t imagine owning one and having his fur this long.  But they are very impressive to see in person. The Komondor.

The Saint Bernard, another massive dog.  See how high his back is in relation to the purple backdrop?  You don’t see these dogs all to often but whenever you do, you are reminded of their size and sweet disposition.  Also working dogs, rescue dogs, and great family dogs.

Two for 1 in this photo, the beautiful white dog on the left is a Kuvasz – is an ancient breed of dog that is a livestock gurad dog working on the farm.  You need to work with them on socialization and training, again maybe not for the first time dog owner.  There was one at Meet the Breeds too, and she was very sweet and relaxed while there!  The dog on the right is the Leonberger – 4th or 5th year at Westminster and also massive in size, but they are very sweet from the dogs I know.  If you saw Best in Show on TV of this years Westminster – Dario (Pictured here) was snack happy and trying to get the treats out of his handler’s pocket.  It was quite comical and the crowd at MSG got a big kick out of it as did I!

The Neopolitian Mastiff, or Neo for short.  Italian Mastiff, with skin that is not defying gravity in any way shape or form!  Drooly, slobbery huge dogs – this breed helped create the Cane Corso, his cousin and much more agile (and less droopy skin) of the Italian Mastiffs.   This Neo made a point to say hi to some of the crowd – it was pretty cute to see!

For a lot more pictures from Westminster, you can CLICK HERE to see them.  I say it every year, if you have yet to go to Westminster, our superbowl of dog shows, you need to get your butt there, not matter where you live, it will be worth the trip to NYC!

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20 Apr 15

Go Green with your pet! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Go Green with your pet!

Celebrating Earth Day, April 22, and going green is something you can make a choice to do all year long with your pets.  The natural pet product category in the pet industry has grown tremendously in the last decade and now many pet product manufacturers are offering: earth friendly; sustainable; biodegradeable; products that are locally sourced; and some are even using packaging that breakdowns naturally or are made from recycleable materials.  So there is really no reason you can make your pet a planet embassordor too.   These days pet parents can make the choice to go green with their pets simply by choosing products that are often healthier for their pets and better for the environment.

Pet Food:

  • Look for pet foods and treats with the official organic seal that are made in the USA, with locally sourced ingredients.  If it says, manufactured in the USA – some of the ingredients may not be from the USA.  Not sure? Contact the company and ask them.  Using locally sourced, organic and high quality ingredients help keep our farms sustainable!
  • Recycle any of your pet food packaging properly.  Dog and cat food cans and tins, plastic, and food bags can all be put in your proper recycling bins.


  • Many people don’t often think to take their dog for a walk to do their errands.  Now, not everyone can do this – depending where you live, but if you live in a walkable distance, (a mile or 2) from your local down town, take your dog with you for a walk.  Have to go to the bank? Oddly enough most banks are pet friendly and more than likely will welcome your four legged, well behaved and leashed friend with you inside! (Your pup may even get a treat while there.  My Max was known around town at all our local errand stops – he got a lot of treats at the bank!)  This is going to help you and your dog get exercise, cut down on your car emissions and spending on gas.
  • While on that walk, be sure to have poop bags with you.  There are many poop bag companies out there but you want to be sure to bring bags with you that are biodegradeable.   Personally I like EarthRated’s poop bags – the dispenser has a easy clip to attached to your dogs leash handle.
  • Walking your dog in the park? For a hike?  Seek out plant based flea and tick spray or preventatives specifically for dogs and cats.  There are many great green, all natural products that help deter mosquitos, ticks and fleas.  They don’t harm the enviornment and they work – I have tried a few different brands over the years and they all worked great.

Bath time!

  • Use pet shampoo and conditioners that use all natural ingredients and essential oils.  A great product that has the Green America Seal is Jorge Bendersky’s new line at M. Boutique.

  • If your bring your dog or cat to get professionally groomed ask them about what products that they use: are they earth friendly, natural and safe for your pet’s coat.

Don’t forget your cats!

Kitty litter is a needed product if you own a cat.  But have you ever thought about if your clumping clay cat litter breaksdown while in the landfill? A lot of clumpling clays litters do not breakdown.  There are a lot of earth friendly kitty litters these days to choose from so take your time and do your research! A great all natural product that uses wood and papers is Okocat by Healthy Pets.

Okocat is 100% natural – made completely from wood or paper, it is completely biodegradable and it is free of clay or silica and free of any smell-masking chemicals that your kitty tracks all over your home. It is also 99% dust-free so great for any allergy sufferer (human or pet!). The natural antimicrobial effect of coniferous wood kills 99.9% of bacteria and fights bacterial growth for weeks, keeping your home cleaner and healthier. You don’t really ever have to “empty” the litter box, because due to okocat’s amazing absorption, this litter lasts for weeks…just scoop out clumped waste daily. The litter the remains stays clean, dry and odor free.


  • Many companies are now starting to make pet toys from organic materials that are free from harsh dyes and chemicals (that they could ingest while chewing or playing with toys).
  • Organic catnip.  That’s right, while your cat is bouncing off the walls enjoying their catnip – you can feel even better about it knowing it’s organic. ;)

Easy Green Pet Tips for everyday:

  • Carpool with your dogs to the park – given the dogs get along (save on gas, emissions).
  • Wash old blankets, towels, comforters and donate to your local animal shelter.  In Home Pet Services, Inc., has a special month long MayDay for Mutts campaign where they collect gently used pet products and donate them to a local animal rescue group.  They collect upwards of $3,000 worth of products every May that donated!  This is something you could do within your own home or business.
  • Adopt a pet from your local animal shelter – a way to help a pet who has been recycled.
  • Seek out holistic veterinary care for your pet.

Check out our segment recently on News 12 talking about this very topic, click to watch:

It’s easy being green with your pets!

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30 Mar 15

Visit to Canine Companions for Indep ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Recently we visited Canine Companions for Independence’s Northeast regional facility, right here on Long Island!

Watch our video to learn more about this incredible, national, organization – and of course their beautiful dogs!

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11 Jun 14

Max, Furever in our hearts ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

As sad as I am to write this post, I want to first thank everyone who has reached out to me in the last few days to send their sympathies, tell me how much they loved seeing Max’s smiling face, or how he could play hard to get with them, and how he had a great life.  Over the past 6-months, Max had mast cell tumors that had spread and, while he was going to the vet about every two weeks for months for re-checks and was on all kinds of supplements, herbs, medications – about a week ago his health rapidly started to decline.  On Sunday evening I had to make the decision no pet owner wants to make, but if you have ever owned a pet you just know when the time is to make that decision.  Max was in a lot of distress, could hardly walk, was very lethargic and without getting into too many gross details would not have lived much longer on his own.  I did not think I was going to have to make the descision that soon – but I did not want him to suffer any more for my selfishness of keeping him around longer.  He passed peacefully Sunday evening at the vets office around 9:20ish pm, knew I was there and was actually already sleeping.

I know many of you have gone through this, recently even – and its not easy whether your pet was 3 or nearly 13 (Max would have been 13 on July 1, 2014).  But here’s what I will ask, celebrate your pets life, Max’s life by thinking of all the joy a pet brings to you. Make a donation to a local animal shelter, whether it is monetary, or call and ask what supplies they need.  Volunteer if you can, foster if you can, adopt if you can.

I could literally write a book with all of Max’s antics, (move over Marley!), his personality, crazy silly goofy things he would do.  And while he had his very own personality traits or behaviors if you will, that weren’t always perfect, (I am not a dog owner in denial!), he was however a smiling breed ambassador for American Pit Bull Terriers everywhere.  And he was a good dog, yea he had his quircks, but he was a really good dog. Max loved the water, beach, woods and just loved to run and have fun!  I adopted him from Out of the Pits in October 2001, Halloween weekend – and he brought a ton of joy to my life and many others that knew him.  And as someone just posted on my Facebook wall – we have to thank them because our pets have brought so many friends and amazing people into our lives just by meeting through out pets.

Many of our readers have loved the ‘Where in the World is Max‘ contest over the years – and Max and I had a lot of fun showing up at different places around LI to take his photo.  While you may not know it, he wasn’t that fond of the camera and there were many shots taken to get that shot just right. (Seriously he was a pain in the neck with the camera, would look away a LOT as soon as I pulled the camera or my phone out.  Most of the time I had to trick him to get him to look at me, stinker!)  In our crazy busy world of I will do it tomorrow – stop and take a moment and look at your dog and whatever you were thinking you do tomorrow try to do it today. Take your dog on that adventure, even if it is just a walk through the woods – you will be glad you did.

And if you never owned a Pit Bull, are one of those people who still believe the BS about the breed, in Max’s memory do yourself a favor and get to know the breed – you won’t be disappointed, and you will probably feel just a bit foolish believing all the hype and realizing they are after all, just dogs.  One of the most loyal, fun loving, goofy, athletic and sweetest breeds of dogs you will ever meet.

RIP bud, miss you terribly. Maximus, Max, Stinky Pants, Moo Moo, Stinker, Buddy – July 1, 2001 – June 8, 2014.

See below for a few of probably of hundreds if not thousands of pics of Mr. Max!

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08 Nov 13

Spa grooming for Fluffy ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Every time you leave the salon feel beautiful, your hair is amazing to the touch, style is fantastic and you just feel so much better – and now you also have the product from your stylist to use until your next visit to keep your hair feeling luxoruious.  Wouldn’t that be great if you had the same product for your dog for inbetween their grooming visit?  We all know some of our dogs may not like a bath or visit to a groomer, but we also know how our pups strutt their stuff afterwards too.  How cute it is when your pup is prancing around and feeling good after being groomed!

Here are really great grooming tips from Dog Fashion Spa, and check out their product line on their website as they are having a free paw brush promotion with every purchase until November 23, 2013! Now you have no reason for you dog to look and smell great inbewteen grooming visits:

Regular grooming is important. Just like humans, dogs and their owners must understand best hygiene practices to avoid matted fur, ear, teeth, and eye infections, and buildup of dirt and bacteria. Grooming does not have to be a chore! Keeping your dog clean can easily be a pleasant and bonding experience with the right tools and knowledge. The 50-60% of dog owners who allow their dogs to sleep in their beds are especially encouraged to keep their pets clean as compared to dogs who spend the majority of their days outdoors and do not need as much grooming. Sharing couches and other surfaces is a major reason to keep both your dog and your home clean and minimize the risk to lowered or compromised immune systems.
One of the easiest things to do daily is to check and clean  your dogs eyes. Dog Fashion spa’s gentle cleansing eye  pads are perfect for safely disinfecting and gently cleaning  around your dog’s eyes. Inspecting your dog’s eyes daily is a  great way to examine the health of your dog and to quickly c  catch any potential illnesses before they progress. If you  notice anything unusual or abnormal about your dog’s eyes,  please do not hesitate to consult your veterinary  professional. Even if the eyes look bright and healthy, cleaning around them daily with gentle pads instead of potentially scratchy paper towels or tissues goes a long way.

Before washing or bathing, always brush your dog’s coat thoroughly to keep unmanageable matting at bay. Trim any large mats but don’t be afraid to consult a grooming professional if you are unsure or feel overwhelmed by any excess knotting.

After the coat is properly brushed, use all-natural dog shampoo and always follow with a dog conditioner.

Dog Fashion’s signature shampoo & conditioner are simple to use. Our shampoo does not contain harsh ingredients, formulated without sulfate, paraben, synthetic dye, and gmo. It’s special, toxin-free formula is also designed to combat free radicals. After dampening your dog’s coat, thoroughly lather and massage shampoo gently into fur, and rinse off well before repeating with conditioner.

When used together, DFspa shampoo and conditioner complement each other for a gorgeous, healthy, and shiny coat. Many groomers only use shampoo. Much like human hair, washing with shampoo only leaves fur dry and more prone to mats and knots. Conditioner is the key to a noticeably healthy shine. It’s important to rinse your dog’s fur clean of product before and after application of both shampoo and conditioner to avoid buildup and to achieve maximum results.

It’s actually possible to wash your dog TOO much. It’s recommended to only bathe your dog once every two weeks, and no more than twice a month. Just like humans, dog’s have essential oils that naturally occur in their fur, much like our skin, and we have to let the body do it’s job! To keep your dog’s coat smelling and feeling fresh in between bathing, use Dog Fashion spa’s coat + skins lotions.

Dog Fashion Spa semplice and rilassante lotions gently moisturize and condition the coat while replenishing the essential, naturally-occurring nutrients lost through natural activity and play. While some human dry shampoos and conditioners are heavy and leave our hair feeling oily, Dog Fashion’s lotions are non-greasy and light, infused with flower and plant extracts for natural hydration. Lavender and chamomile are an added bonus, as they are naturally relaxing aromas. Like any spa experience, our products were designed to create a soothing experience mentally and physically.

The coat + skin lotions are easily applied. Just massage a small amount into your dog’s fur and brush through to distribute evenly, and it can be doubled as a leave-on conditioner after use of our shampoo.

Another way to keep that spa-fresh feeling between grooming sessions is Dog Fashion’s signature fragrances for him and her, maschio and femmina. Each fragrance was designed specifically for male and female dogs and are completely safe to use and non-toxic.

Maschio embodies masculinity and relaxed sophistication and can be enjoyed by you and your dog, with universally pleasing notes of lemon, grapefruit, bergamot, lavender, marine accord, amber, and musk.

Femmina is a floral bouquet of jasmine, violet, lemon, yang, tiara accord, and musk that is luxurious but not overpowering. To use our signature fragrances, spray on your dog’s withers and away from his or her face.