Archive for the ‘Cars’ Category

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12 Apr 12

Pups take over NY Auto Show ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Charlotte Reed & James Bell going over the features of the Chevy Volt.

When you think of the New York International Auto Show, the first thing that comes to your mind probably
is not dogs –and is more likely what the new concept car is.  But this year on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, Chevrolet,
in celebration of National Pet Day, teamed up with pet expert Charlotte Reed to talk about safety for our pets while
traveling and versatility for pets in their vehicles.

With many pooches on hand, some even famous in the NYC area, like Cubby and Porscha from ‘Doggie Moms,’ the dogs were ready, willing and able to try out the different Chevy models and all they have to offer our pets.

Cubby (white dog) and friends check out the car!

According to a 2011 AAA/Kurgo survey, nearly six in 10 respondents said they had driven with their dog in the automobile at least once a month in the past year.  But the question is, was the dog on their lap or properly secured in a doggie seatbelt or in a crate?  At the Chevrolet National Pet Day, both Charlotte Reed and James Bell, who is GM’s Head of Consumer Affairs, took us on a tour of different vehicles had to offer what works best for our four-legged friends.

“From subcompact hatchbacks to full-size SUVs, Chevrolet vehicles today provide plenty of choices to meet the needs of owners and pets of all shapes and sizes. To avoid stress, do your homework in advance and make note of your specific pet’s needs and review safety features,” said Charlotte Reed, a pet lifestyle expert.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for finding a pet-friendly vehicle:

Safety features. According to the 2011 AAA/Kurgo study, three out of 10 pet owners admit
to being distracted while driving. One in five admits to driving with a pet in their lap. The
Chevrolet Equinox, for example, has lane-departure warning systems, stability and traction
control and forward-collision alerts that help heighten driver alertness to possible danger.
Owners can reduce distractions by keeping pets restrained in the back seat with a dog seatbelt or in a secured pet carrier.

Hannah being with her doggie seatbelt on.

Exterior and interior features. Look for vehicles that are wide, tall and slightly square at
the back. This will make it easier to get pets and pet equipment into and out of vehicles.
Cargo room and additional cup holders are useful to stow pet food, water and accessories.
The Chevrolet Traverse crossover sport utility offers best-in-class roominess and class-
leading cargo space. It has flexible and fold-flat seating, as well as a rear cooling system

Talking OnStar capability for a Pet Emergencythat is ideal for pets on a hot summer day.

In-vehicle technology. The Chevrolet Equinox, Traverse and Tahoe SUV offer power lift-gates that make it easier for pets to access the vehicle. They also have fold-flat seats offer more space for transporting pets and crates. Additional safety and security technology such as remote unlock, vehicle location and crash-detection services from OnStar can provide
live help at a touch of a button during pet-emergency situations.

So the next road trip you take with your pet, even if it is just to the local dog park, think safety first (dog seatbelt, crate, secured pet carrier), and look for a car or sport utility that will suit you and your dog’s lifestyle.

Charlotte Reed, James Bell

Chevrolet at NY Auto Show, 2012

Testing the pet ramp

Blade, one happy pup checking out all the rides!


Hannah the model pup for the day!

Charlotte Reed & James Bell, NY Auto Show, 2012

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16 Apr 11

by Susan Chamberlain of 14KaratParrot

Traveling or Moving, with pet birds?

Planning to travel with your bird? Whether it’s a vacation or relocation, the trip can be a positive experience for both of you. My first long-distance move with a carload of parrots was a revelation. In spite of my insecurities (Would the birds eat? Would they be traumatized?), my flock traveled extremely well. I had even believed the Amazons would be stressed to the point of silence during the trip. At the first bridge plaza they proved me wrong and gave the toll collector an earful. Four moves and 15 years later, the “green gang” is still thriving.

Okay, you’ve got the travel cage or carrier, cover, portable T-stand and first aid kit. Now it’s time to think about food and water. Tailor my “Top Ten” list to you specific needs:

#1. Resist the urge to share “fast food”, or even restaurant food with your birds! Sure, that burger you got at the drive-through is delicious, but it may be contaminated with enough e-coli to make your bird desperately ill. Tasty tacos, embellished with cheese and salsa may be loaded with enough sodium to cause salt toxicity. You’re miles from a familiar veterinarian. What now? Tempt your pet with tasty avian snacks at meal stops instead.

#2. Bring along a supply of bottled water for your bird to drink. Water supplies along your route may be ’safe’ to drink, but may upset the system of a possibly stressed bird. You’ll rarely know in advance if the water along your route is well water or reservoir supplied. If you plan to use commercially bottled water, get your bird accustomed to it before your departure date. Alternatively, you can boil, then bottle your regular drinking water in clean jugs or smaller water bottles for use along the way. Once at your destination, you can gradually introduce your bird to the local water. I’ve done this by mixing increasing quantities of local water with water brought from home.

Portable water filters are available at variety and home improvement stores. Consider taking one of these along if you’ll be on an extended trip.

Did you know? You can kill bacteria by boiling water, but a filter is required to remove heavy metals and
other paniculate matter.

#3. Substitute juicy produce for water while in motion. Most birds drink little, if any water while actually in transit, or the water provided may be spilled. Spillage can be reduced somewhat by using a drinking water bottle, mounted to the travel cage or carrier, but do be aware that birds or the motion of a vehicle can cause these to drain as well. To provide necessary hydration, install a dish of juicy fruit and vegetables inside the travel home. This is especially important when your bird is traveling separately, perhaps in the cargo hold of an airplane.

When traveling by car, offer your pet water from a cup or dish at rest stops…inside your securely closed vehicle, of course! My budgies weren’t inclined to drink or eat produce on our trip, so I misted them with water from a spray bottle several times throughout the day. They preened the moisture from their feathers and licked it from the cage bars. A large, wet lettuce leaf, clipped to the cage bars got their attention on the second day of our journey.

#4. Pack a sufficient supply of seed and pellets in non-breakable containers. Those with screw-on tops are best, as they will not pop off if the container is dropped. Place containers where they will not be subjected to direct sunlight streaming through car windows.

#5. Store perishable food, fruit and vegetables in containers inside a cooler. I seal ice cubes inside resealable plastic bags so the food doesn’t end up under water at day’s end. (I don’t use re-freezable ‘blue ice’ on long trips because after it melts, it’s just excess baggage.) Replenish the ice at the hotel when you stop for the night.

#6. Allow plenty of time for your trip. Check into your motel early in the evening so your bird will have time to settle down, eat and spend a little tune out of its cage. Some birds, like my Senegal parrots, will refuse to eat a morsel of food while inside a car, so it’s important to schedule overnight stops on long trips.

#7. Feed fresh food sparingly before departure. Go easy on the eggs and table food, as a bird with a tendency toward motion sickness may vomit the contents of the full crop. When traveling, I like to awaken early, prepare my birds’ breakfast and allow them tune to eat while I shower and re-pack the car.

You may further reduce the risk of carsickness by covering carriers or cages with a white or light colored cloth while in transit. Birds will be able to perceive daylight, but will not be subjected to the sights of the road. Take your pet on several short drives prior to departing on a long trip so you can observe its reaction. Consult your avian veterinarian for specific advice regarding motion sickness.

#8. One dish filled with seed/pellets and another stocked with fruit and vegetables is all most birds require while on the road. My Amazons followed their regular eating patterns on the road: breakfast at the motel in the morning, then toward dusk, I’d hear the crunching of seed and pellets from the back seat of the car.

#9. Use a mess-containment device to reduce cage fall-out and spillage in your car and in hotels. I use the Mess Catcherfrom Pet Butler (call 800-452-9340 for local retailer or visit a lightweight, clear tray type container for my Amazon’s travel cages, and the wrap-around Birdcage Barrier from Birdbrains™ (888-779-4999 for info) for the smaller birds’ cages. Both are available in a variety of sizes and come in handy at home and away.

#10. Remove hanging toys, treats, swings and other accessories from cages and carriers while traveling. Install dishes securely. Allow your bird to spend time in and on its travel home well before your departure date. Offer a favorite treat or two so your pet will associate the temporary home with something pleasant. My Amazons are still so attached to their travel cages that they insist on spending some time in them every day!

Bon voyage!


Bird Food

Supply of bird’s regular food, seed, pellets and treats.

Fresh food, packed in containers inside cooler.


Box or carrier for bird food and supplies


Re-closeable plastic bags for ice cubes

Sharp knife for cutting fruit & veggies Plastic spoons Small cutting board Vegetable washing solution Anti-microbial soap Unbreakable food containers Bottled water

Electrolyte replacement beverage for birds that suffer from stress while traveling (Pedialyte™ or similar product; consult your avian vet for specific advice)

Portable water filter

Extra dishes for stands or travel cages

Mess containment device for cage or portable stand

Paper towels

Immersion heater or ‘hot pot’ to heat water or baby food.

Thermometer, if you’re feeding baby birds

Small trash bags

Hand-held vacuum

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23 Aug 10

Vroom, vroom! ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

Cruisin’ for Companions! 

Got you hot rods detailed, polished and ready to show off?  Got your four-legged best friend ready to cruise around check out other ‘tails’ and cool cars?  This Saturday, August 28, 2010 the first ever ‘Cruisin’ For Companions’ is taking place from 9am to 5pm at

Four Towns Training Center (Fireman’s Field) on Merrick Road in Merrick.  Cruisin’ for Companions is hosted by Vinyl Concepts, and all proceeds will benefit Forgotten Friends of Long Island animal rescue and the North Merrick Fire Department.

Joann Ferrara, one of the owners of Vinyl Concepts said, “We have about 20 cars that are pre-registered a lot more cars that are going to be coming the day of, and many local car clubs involved. We also have a bunch of vendors with something for everyone!”  This very cool event will also feature musical entertainment provided by Juke Box Drive; food and refreshments from Souper Fry; and many doggy/pet contests with prizes, $1.00 raffles, and a 50/50 raffle.  Forgotten Friends is going to have a mobile pet adoption for the day as well.  Joann also hinted there that may just be some local celebrities there signing autographs, hmmm I wonder who it will be.

So get those cars ready, groom your pup and head on down this Saturday to Four Towns Training Center (Fireman’s Field) on Merrick Road in Merrick. (Off of exit M9E on the Meadowbrook Pkwy.), for one pawtacular event.  You know I will be there!

For more information go to:

Admission for adults is $6.00.  Children are FREE and Pets are FREE.  For Pre-registered car participants the admission fee is $25.00. For same day car participants the admission fee is $30.00.

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02 Aug 10

Cruisin’ for Companions ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

Firemen, hot cars and cool dogs all for a great cause!

Calling all hot rod enthusiasts and dog lovers!  There is a really cool event coming up on August 28th in Merrick, a car show and swap meet – but this has a twist, it’s gone to the dogs!  The first annual “Cruisin’ for Canines,” hosted by Vinyl Concepts, a local family owned and operated sign business, will bring together two of mans, (and woman’s) favorite things, cool cars and their four-legged best friends. The best part is all the proceeds from Cruisin’ for Companions will be donated to Forgotten Friends of Long Island Animal Rescue to continue their mission to save pets on Long Island and The North Merrick Fire Department to maintain their volunteer efforts for the community.

Vinyl Concepts decided to create this unique furtastic event for their love of animals. Owners, Joann & Jesse Ferrara adopted both their dogs and they can’t imagine their lives without them.  Joann Ferrara said, “This show will bring people together and continue to save lives of precious animals who have been overlooked and deserve a second chance.”

“Cruisin’ for Companions” will take place on Saturday, August 28th from 9am to 5pm with a rain date of Saturday, September 4th.  The event will be located at Four Towns Training Center (Fireman’s Field) on Merrick Road in Merrick. (Off of exit M9E on the Meadowbrook Pkwy.) This family event will have something for everyone. A mobile pet adoption from Forgotten Friends of Long Island Animal Rescue, judging and trophies for the car participants, doggie contests, all kinds of vendors, professional photography for cars & pets and raffles much more!

Admission for adults is $6.00.  Children are FREE and Pets are FREE.  For Pre-registered car participants the admission fee is $25.00. For same day car participants the admission fee is $30.00.

Long Islander’s love their cars, and their dogs – don’t miss this pawsome event, to benefit two amazing organizations. So come down with your dog for a great cause! Please make sure you’re responsible for pet, by curbing your dog and making sure that they are vaccinated and play good with others.  If you don’t have a four-legged friend, there will be plenty of pets that need a good home available for adoption.  So, open your mind, heart and home to the animals in need.  And heck, there might be some hot firemen there to go along with the hot cars!

For more details on how to register your car for the event or to become a vendor call Joann (516) 804-9461 or go to:

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25 Jun 10

Hitting the road with your pet ...

June 25, 2010
by Nancy E. Hassel,

Hitting the road with your pet

Summer time and road trips go hand in hand and many people now travel with their pet. It is great to be able to bring your pet, but you should prepare properly so in case of an emergency or if your car breaks down, your pets will be safe. Even if you are just taking a road trip to the East End of Long Island it is good to be prepared. Some things to consider are:

  • Knowing where the local emergency veterinarian is where you are traveling to.
  • Have an extra dog leash, collar, foldable cat carrier, pet food, water and water bowl.
  • If your pet is not used to being in the car accept for going to the vet or groomers office, then think about taking them on shorter trips to get them used to it a few weeks prior.
  • Rescue Remedy is a great product to help calm a pet while on the road, and is a natural product.
  • Traveling with a dog can be a lot of fun, but safety even inside the car is important. Crating a dog while in the car works great, and many people who show dogs, this is the only way how they will travel with their dog while on the road. There are also seat belts for dogs these days, mainly harnesses that have seatbelt attachments.
  • Bring a portable pet first-aid kit and have any medication your pet is on with, as well as medical records from the pets vet.
  • Make sure where you are traveling too does not have breed restrictions on dogs, or species of certain reptiles. Some areas can confiscate a breed of dog or reptile that may be outlawed. Check state and local laws before you leave town with your pet.
  • Staying at a hotel? Make sure it is pet friendly, highly recommend for pets and has amenities for pets nearby or has a listing for you when you arrive.
  • Parks – make sure if you decide to go into a park with your pet, that the pet is actually allowed there first. Camping? Some parks require a lot of paperwork if you are bringing a dog, i.e. proof of dog license, rabies vaccination proof and more. Check first!
  • Leaving your pet home? Book a pet sitter or day care in advance as they fill up fast in the summer months. You can find local places here:

A few other things to take into consideration are, if the weather is different where you are traveling too. Is it hotter? Pets can have different reactions to such. Never brought your pet with you before? Sometimes a new environment can throw off even the calmest pet, be sure to watch for signs of distress. Just because you’re eating out, new foods or adding things to your diet, doesn’t mean you should do the same with your pet. Try to stick to their normal eating schedule and regular food and treats they eat at home. Most of all enjoy your vacation with your pet, but these above tips should help that!