Archive for 2015

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26 May 15

Summer finds for your pets! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Can you imagine hiking with your dog, your dog doing agility, chasing after a ‘rabbit’ (a plastic bag) during a lure coursing run, swimming with other dogs in a designated doggie pool, ‘Barks and Crafts,’ Yappy hours and much more in the scenic and beautiful Adirondack Mountains.  If you can picture this and you’re thinking about taking a vacation with your dog, there are places that are specificially designed for you and your dog to vacation together, one company run by Janice Costa, is Canine Camp Getaway.  Canine Camp Getaway of NY is held twice a year with the upcoming dates of June 23-27, 2015 and September 18-21, 2015 in Lake George, NY.  If spending a great vacation with your dog and like-minded dog lovers, you have to check out Canine Camp Getaway – and book before they are sold out. For more infomation call 877-592-2674 or click here.

Traveling with your pet in an RV?  Staying on a boat or staying in the city for the summer in a new apartment – and trying to figure out how to get your dog to ‘hold it’ during that 30 floor elevator ride to the ground level or until the boat docks?  Why not make it easy for you and your traveling pet and get a UGODOG Pet Potty where they can take care of business.  UGODOG Pet Potty is an innovative and environmentally-friendly indoor dog potty training system. UGODOG helps keeps dog’s paws dry, your beach rental house, RV or boat clean and your dog healthy, just the way you and your puppy prefer it.  With the easy to clean double grate design, UGODOG Indoor Dog Potty provides all of the benefits of a traditional litter box without any of the mess.  It can also easily slide under a bed or table of your RV or boat if you want it out of sight when guests are over (of course knowing your pet’s potty schedule is recommended if you do store it out of the way). A great option when traveling and your dog may not be able to be taken for a potty break for a while.  It is also the only indoor dog potty awarded 5 Stars and approved by the American Pet Association.

If you’re traveling with a dog that needs to take daily medications – there is a new way that you can give them their meds – Doggables Treats.  The spoon shaped dog scoops are made with 100% human grade, all-natural ingredients that are designed to enhance your dog’s health while on medicine with the best quality ingredients.  You can feed your dog a pill by using the dog scoop as a spoon into peanut butter or their other favorite wet food, and hide the pill in there – while giving them the entire scoop that is a biscuit they can eat. There are no artificial flavors, ingredients, gums, glutons, sugar, etc., and they are made here in the USA.  The dog scoops come in two flavors, Peanut Butter and Pumpkin and large and small sizes. A fantastic idea if you ask me!

Speaking of biscuits, right here on Long Island, Bubbles & Biscuits in Holbrook has many needs you are looking for whether you’re traveling with your pet or need a place to board your pet.  Bubbles & Biscuits have the following services: grooming, training, doggie daycare, boarding, play groups, a self-service dog wash and now a NEW Doggie Fitness Center.  Whether you need your pup groomed before going on vacation, or if you need to board your dog while you’re away, or for a bath after that day-cation at the beach with your pup – Bubbles and Biscuits has a many services that you need this summer. They have a staff of professional animal lovers who’s mission and passion is to work with your four-legged family member to ensure a positive experience.

For additional travel tips and advice, you have to watch the 2 video’s below – both have excellent and different information that any savvy pet traveler should know!

Traveling on a plane with your pet?  Watch Dana’s video below:

Pet Friendly vacations require some homework and pre-planning.  Watch Kathleen’s video below:

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20 May 15

Rescued Pit Bull helps Marine ...

Memorial Day weekend has crept up on us early this year, and with the unofficial kickoff to summer, BBQ’s, celebrating with friends, family and of course our pets – please take just a moment to think of, and thank our veterans who protect our country and freedom and keep us safe.  And to those two-legged and four-legged who we remember and memorialize those military who have passed, thank you.

A couple of week’s ago I was fortunate enough to attend a press conference at the Town of Islip Animal Shelter and Adopt-a-Pet Center who recently worked with the Long Island branch of the national non-profit organization Pets for Vets.  Pets for Vets rescued one of the dogs at the shelter, Ariel a Pit Bull, now named Bella to bring into their program. After working with Bella to train and socialize her, and with her very sweet personality, they have already placed her in a forever home with Marine Lance Corporal Robert.

Bella is already providing Robert with comfort, helping him get back out into society – he has to walk her after all – and helping him cope with PTSD that he suffers from.  Robert is very soft spoken, but you can see how proud he is of Bella and how happy he is since having her in his life.

“It is imprerative to ensure that our veterans and our animals are treated with the utmost respect and compassion and we are so proud to be part of theis adoption,” said Islip Councilman Anthony Senft.  ”Being a veteran myself, I can fully appreciate all that Pets for Vets is accomplishing and am proud to know that our Town shelter is working towards such an important goal.”

Heidi Hoistad, Head Trainer for Pets for Vets Long Island NYC

I spoke with Heidi Hoistad, Head Trainer for Pets for Vets Long Island NYC and Bella’s trainer, during the press conference about how wonderful it is that they picked Bella, an American Pit Bull Terrier, how wonderful it is for the breed, and for people to see that pit bulls are after all, just dogs.  Heidi agreed and she said they look for dogs that will be a right fit, have great temperments and had a couple of the smaller breed dogs that were at Islip in mind for another veteran.  So it doesn’t matter the size or breed of the dog, but how the dog is going to postively impact a veteran’s, (and his family’s), life.  And a dog being rescued for this is the icing on the cake in my opinion!

Bella and her new family were presented with a basket full of dog toys, treats and goodies, donated by the Islip Animal Shelter’s non-profit volunteer group, Live Love Bark Dog Rescue.  The shelter will also be offereing freed pet adoptions to veterans during the month of May where Live Love Bark will be paying adoption fees for anyoe with military ID.

Bella dove right into to the basket pulling treats and toys out and stealing the show – while we were all cracking up laughing at her sweet antics. What an awesome dog!

Marine Lance Corporal Robert and his wife Mary, with Bella the dog.

Bella is a beautiful, low rider. ;)

Marine Lance Corporal Robert and his wife Mary, with Bella the dog.

To learn more about Pets for Vets please visit their website or facebook page and for info about the Islip Animal Shelter visit their facebook page and to learn more about Live Love Bark Dog Rescue or make a donation so they can continue helping, click here.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day everyone!

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13 May 15

ET phoned home… ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

In the late fall of 2014 I visited nearly every animal shelter on Long Island bringing pet supplies or treats for the dogs and cats there.  As an animal lover, of course there was a dog at each shelter that I liked or wanted.  I am sure many of you can relate!

Two days before Christmas I went to the Town of Islip animal shelter to bring a bunch of dog biscuits I baked for them, with the Paw it Forward cookie cutters.  It was a cold and rainy day and there, and there was really no one else looking at the dogs or visiting the shelter to adopt.  It was 2 days before Christmas after all.

As I walked down the row, a few of the dogs started barking and once they heard the crinkle of the bag, they all quieted down and many were wagging their tails, jumping up at their kennel gate, pawing at the fencing – all very much wanting attention. While it is sad, the Town of Islip shelter supervisor, staff and volunteers (Live Love Bark Rescue) do a wonderful job at the shelter, like many of our shelters here on LI – but it is still no place for a dog to live.  For me it was nice that there were not many people in the run aside from a kennel aide – so I could take my time and saying hello to each dog.

While talking to and trying to give equal attention to all the dogs there, this one dog stood out to me.  Maybe it was his goofy expression, or his one ear sticking up, or his eyes bugging out a little – but maybe it was his calm demenor but wildly wagging tail.  Or a combo of everything.  His name was ‘E.T.’ yes like the movie.  I said to him, “what’s up with you goofy?  You’re so sweet.”  Gave him a couple extra treats – told him not to tell the other dogs, and I moved on.

The Holidays came and went and in early January, I asked one of the volunteers about him, what about ET?  Is that goofy dog ET still there?  They said yes he is still there and I saw his picture on their facebook page – but didn’t know too much else.

In early February, I went to the shelter again to drop off some more supplies, and went inside to see if ET was still there, I thought he was – but wasn’t sure.  Sure enough he was in his kennel, leaning on the door, wagging his tail totally chill.   I went over was petting him and asking him what was up, ‘thump, thump, thump’ went his tail.  He was so relaxed in the shelter and didn’t seem to care about the noise, dogs barking, dogs walking by, people coming and going, etc.  I was now more curious about him.  Dogs can often be very stressed out in a shelter, nervous, scared, barking, jumping, but not ET he was super relaxed.

After returning from a business trip to Global Pet Expo in Orlando, I asked my friends that volunteer again, what is up with ET? Do you have any additional info on him? They told me, “he likes cats, has been tested with dogs and is good, but a bit of ‘Marley’ in him.”

I decided to go on St. Patrick’s day to meet him in the meet and greet room.  In the meet and greet room, ET was nuts! It was jail break crazies, hyper, knocking things over, climbing on stuff, stealing stuff of the shelves in there, and just super silly.  I was thinking, “Holy shit this dog is crazy!” But after about 5 minutes he started to calm down.  I did some basic commands, sit (which he knew), stay (which he did not know) and just overall evulating him.  Seemed like an awesome dog to train and mold, he calmed down so much he was sitting in my lap, and just a big pittie smile from ear to ear.

So with that my goal was to help get him adopted.  I posted him on my instagram account, Facebook pages and told people I knew about him.  A dog that is chill in the shelter, good with people, kids, cats, dogs – I thought he wouldn’t last there and would get snatched up soon.   People came to meet him and then didn’t adopt him.  Now sadly, this is not uncommon.  There are millions of other amazing dogs in shelters across the country that get overlooked and left behind.  Some sitting there for years and years.  But I really thought he would get adopted and soon.

Nothing.  He kept getting passed up.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought this would be the perfect dog for me, but wasn’t sure if I could adopt him.  One day in early late March, I went with the animal Shelter volunteers with them for a walk at a local park with ET and another dog.  He proudly wore his, ‘adopt me’ outfit. We told people who stopped to pet him how great he was that he was up for adoption.

I wanted to see how he was out of the shelter envirornment.  In the beginnning of the walk – he was pulling the shelter volunteer and just hyper – but he seemed to calm down and he was so awesome with everyone.  Bikes going by, people running and walking by, other dogs coming and going.  He was pretty much bomb proof.  I was impressed. He needed training and you could tell he was very moldable and looked like he would be fun to train.  And after seeing him out and about, uh oh, now I want this dog!  But again wasn’t sure. And still promoted him to get adopted.

A few weeks later, after going on a long hike with friends, I stopped at a local deli to get a sandwich and the TV was on, it is usually a news channel on – and I looked up to see what that noise was coming from the TV, and it was the movie…ET.  I kid you not.  Really?  I texted a friend who knew I wanted ET – she said, “it’s a sign Nancy” – I said, ‘yep I know it. lol’

Then as I would hear from the volunteers that someone was coming to look at ET to adopt him, I would reply ‘yay that’s great’ – and with that have an internal pang of nooooooo that dog is mine!  And every potential adopter always fell through – the people wouldn’t show or decide not to adopt him.

So that was it my mind was made up and I wanted this dog – and knowing an adoption day was coming up at the shelter and thinking someone would see how awesome he was, I went on April 25 and adopted him, so now that’s ET who is now named Cody’s official ‘Gotcha Day!’  All the signs I was getting to adopt him, you could say ET phoned home… :) .  (A little corny but that’s ok!)  If you are ever hesitant about adopting a dog from an animal shelter, you need to, well, get over it!  There are so many amazing dogs just like Cody waiting for a home.  Cody waited for almost 6 months, many dogs have been waiting for a years at local shelters.  Can you imagine your own dog for years in a shelter?

Cody’s transition, I have to say has been pretty easy – I thought it was going to be a lot more work and wasn’t sure how he would be.  He has learned so much and so amazingly fast – and has settled into my routine it’s really incredible.  Cody is about a year or so old, so still puppyish but not with the bad puppy habits.  We have already walked over 50 miles together in just 2.5 weeks – so my added benefit an exercise buddy!  If you have been thinking of a dog you met recently and are trying to figure out if you can, you can. My first week with Cody was also a busy work week for me and I had a couple events in the evening – he did just fine, and has settled into my work schedule so well.

Cody #Day1outoftheShelter (First walk together!)

Check out the video I did of him of his first week’s outings!  More #AdventureswithCody to come.  Go adopt – you will wonder what took you so long. ;)

Photo Credit: Liz Daly Town of Islip Animal Shelter

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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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12 Apr 15

Don’t pick up that Poop! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Are you ever out walking your dog and you see another person walking their dog, the dog stops to poop and after the dog is done the owner keeps on walking leaving the stinky, disgusting pile of poop there?  Unphased and obviously not caring about disease, someone stepping in it, other dogs potentially squishing it between their paw pads, etc. Nasty right?  I agree.  Saw that the other day and the guy even had a poop bag dispenser on his leash.  He did see his dog poop and it was right on the trail.

It’s not pretty.  A lot of people get very upset – when they see this occur, when they go for a walk and there is dog s*** everywhere.  Some put signs up to ‘curb your dog’ others put signs up saying it’s the law, (it is in case you didn’t know), to pick up after your dog – and it doesn’t take much effort.

But what’s worse than that?  What’s worse than dog poop is the INSANE amount of garbage ALL OVER Long Island.  Yea people should pick up there dog’s poop, use biodegrable bags to do so and dispose of properly.  But frankly, I am not as worried about a few piles of poop – I don’t like it – but, I am seriously worried about our environment, here on Long Island.  Driving around, walking through the woods – there is garbage strewn everywhere.

The amount of garbarge in this water is absolutely disgusting. This stream eventually feeds out into the Great South Bay. Taken on the trails through Southards Pond, North Babylon, NY.

I just don’t get it. What the F#$% is going on?

When I was a kid growing on LI, you never saw garbarge in the way it is on the sides of roads, in our streams and ponds, on our beaches, in the trees – have you driven down a road anytime lately and seen tons of plastic bags stuck in tree branches?  Or plastic bags being blown through a parking lot, down the beach right into the ocean?  Are you paying attention, or don’t even notice since it sadly seems to be our new normal?  Do you even care?

When I was a kid, we would go out on our boat in the Great South Bay and go fishing or just cruise around, anchor at Democrat Point, dock at Cedar Beach and enjoy the beauty and nature we are so incredibly lucky to be around.  When we would wash the boat, my dad was very concious of using ‘green’ biodegradable plant based cleaning products.  I remember asking him about it and he said, “So it doesn’t pollute the water and if it goes on the ground it is not harmful.”  People this was back in the 80’s and before the word ‘green’ was used when referring to the enviornment.

We would be out fishing and if there was any garbage in the water we would get the fish net and scoop it up to dispose of it properly.  And we never left anything behind from our outings – all garbage was brought back with us and disposed of properely.  My dad was a bit of a clean and neat freak, and it was a good thing.  If my dad were still alive I think he would be so disgusted with how our island looks now.

I remember the only time your really saw garbarge all over the place was when we would drive through Queens heading towards New York City (and of course in the city).  Now when I have to drive through Queens, even just on the LIE – you don’t see garbage on the side of the road – not like you do on any road on LI.

Just the other day I saw people fishing in Southards Pond in Babylon and while they are fishing just 20 feet across the way, there was a ton of garbarge on the shore and in the water – and they were fishing?  Um, are you gonna eat that fish?

Directly across from where people were fishing. Southards pond, Babylon Village, NY. There is a LOT of garbage in this picture you may not be able to see all of it.

And what are the chances that as I was walking through Southards Pond just this past weekend, to take pictures, I saw a young couple walking through with fishing waders on, carrying a net filled with garbage.  I stopped and asked them, “Are you guys picking garbage out of the water?” Suzanne Burkhardt of West Islip, said, “Yes we are – there is so much garbage everywhere it’s just awful.”  I agreed, and couldn’t believe these two young people were literally in the mucky water cleaning out garbage.  ”We were just in Florida and when we got back that was the first thing we noticed, the amount of garbarge everywhere,” said Scott Meistrich of West Islip, NY.  I thanked them for picking it up, and said I was glad I was not the only one who also notices this (and that I am not crazy!).  Why are our town, village and state officials not sending crews on a regular basis to clean this mess – of course is what I was thinking.

Suzanne Burkhardt and Scott Meistrich of West Islip - making a difference.

How do we change this culture here on Long Island to make people stop, take notice and not pollute?

Along the service Road in Bay Shore, NY - all along Sunrise Highway.

Some people will say it’s the amount of trucks on the road, (big rigs and such, garbage flying off of them when they are blazing down the highways), ok maybe – but they can’t take all the blame.

Some will say – we are a throw away society – Ok so that makes it ok?  Or the amount of people here now compared to 3o years ago.

Some might say, let’s pass another law – who will enforce it?  The garbage police? (Pollution cameras anyone?)

Think about the toxic chemicals that were dumped in Islip, Newsday and News 12 have done a great job reporting on that and repeatedly so.   I wish there was as much attention paid to cleaning up our entire island.

Taken in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. Notice the geese swimming by in the background? :(

It’s heartbreaking.  Last year I went on a bunch of business trips, Florida, Chicago, Atlanta and a few other places – and every time I landed and took a shuttle to my hotel – I noticed how clean and free from garbarge those areas were, come back to NY and garbarge garbarge everywhere.  It truly pisses me off!

Taken in Bridgehampton, across from Bridgehampton Commons. (Even the Hamptons are not immune to this).

So what can we do.  If you are reading up to this point – you care, you want to see our beautiful island cleaned up – and beyond the spring cleaning. (You will see come clean up done on the highways, but it is not ever enough). And as the grass grows in, trees and bushes have leaves on them, you won’t see the garbage as much – but it is still there.

So what can you do?

  • Write to your County Supervisor (Nassau County, Suffolk County), local town supervisor and village mayor – your legislators, the governor, etc.
  • Organize a clean up within your own community – some communities already do this – find out how you can get involved.
  • This one is so simple, use re-usable tote bags whenever you go shopping.  (You know you have them!  Put them on your front seat of your car so you don’t forget).  If you’re in a store and buying a few small things and forgot your bag – tell the cashier, “I don’t need a bag.”  Simple as that.  In the Village of Southampton – plastic shopping bags are banned – have been for about 4+ years now, and in the Town of Southampton, on April 22, Earth Day, single use plastic bags will be illegal for retailers to give out.  The same law will take place in the  Town of East Hampton the same law will take affect on September 15, 2015.  So that means the entire South Fork of Long Island retailers will no longer be legally able to give out plastic bags.  Amen!  In San Francisco they recently banned plastic bags completely from the city. (Awesome!)
  • Recycle everything you can.  A lot of people just throw things in the regular garbage that can be put into a recycle bin – familiarize yourself with what should go where.
  • See garbarge in your own neighborhood? Clean it up.
  • Are you a teacher? Is this a topic you cover with your students?
  • If you see something, say something! Take photo’s of the garbage, (on public land), and document where and when you took them, send them to your local government.

I don’t have kids but I think about my niece and nephews and when they have kids and what just our island will look like in 50 years – if we don’t do something NOW. I think about our ground water, our oceans our enviornment and what all this awful pollution is doing to us, right now.  I think about our beautiful wildlife here and how the garbage destroys their environments, how they get literally caught up in it and even die from it.  I think about how it affects our pets, just like it affects us.  (How many times has your dog picked up some kind of garbage and eaten it?)

Think about this in our water ways - are you thinking about our ground water now???

Have you thought about it?  I hope you are now. Take a look around next time you are out walking your dog, riding your bike and while driving to the dog park, (but please be careful when driving!), and see if you notice the blarring amount of pollution starring you back in the face.

Solar panels are popping up everywhere in roofs, it’s really great.  People drive Hybrid cars, awesome.  Some of our towns provide recycling bins, excellent.  Yet pollution is all around us.

So Long Islander’s I would love to hear what your ideas are or how you are making a change.  Post a comment below! Tell us what you can do!  If you are proud Long Islander, step up and help clean up – lets bring this beautiful island back!  Maybe your pet can become a Mascot for your clean up campaign? :)

And to all those people that DO pick up their dogs poop and discard it properly – thank you!