In these challenging times, it can be hard to keep spirits high. Now that Fall is officially here, we thought what better way to kick off a new season than to channel some "paws-tive" vibes? Then we asked our brand ambassadors (both human and canine) to share their tail-waggin' tales and photos of their "paws-itive" experiences during these tumultuous times. If you're in need of some good vibes right now, we invite you to sit, stay, and enjoy these heart-warming "tails".
Brixy's Road Trip (@brixbrowsestheweb)
I thought I could share our recent road trip adventure. We were supposed to go back to MA for a month this summer to visit family and we were planning on bringing Brixy. Because of COVID, we canceled our trip and stayed in San Francisco. The last month has been absolutely devastating in San Francisco. The city is still shut down due to COVID, there was a massive heat wave which caused thousands of lighting strikes and over 300 fires. For multiple weeks, the air quality from the smoke was so hazardous and unhealthy, you couldn't go outside. Not to mention unbearably hot temperatures where you can't open your windows because of the smoke, and no one in San Francisco has AC. It was depressing and scary. Not to mention our poor puppy Brixy having to be cooped up inside. We decided to take matters into our own hands. Since we weren't going back east in September, we planned a PNW road trip (which we are currently still on). We've camped, glamped, hiked through national parks, swam in waterfalls and hot springs, with Brixy right by our side.
Layla's New Normal (@laylaofpgh)
Like everyone else in the world, 2020 has been a year of adjusting, adapting, and learning to manage in a global pandemic. Typically, Layla (my Black Dog) and I are pretty busy. I work traditional hours in an office job. Two days a week Layla attends doggie daycare to keep her social and active while I’m away from the house. We pack our weekends with group hikes with other dogs and dog moms in the area and explore different parks around Pittsburgh. When I suddenly started working from home in March of 2020, Layla had quite the opinion. She did not like that I was home and not paying attention to her. I realized how much I spoiled her when I was home that she was not adjusting to not having 100% attention. She would go from bringing me her ball to play with to laying down and giving me the saddest puppy dog eyes she had, begging for attention. We both needed structure to get through this. Luckily, her daycare remained open so Layla kept her consistency with going 2 days a week. They even had contests for Mardi Gras and Layla was crowned “Queen of Mardi Gras.” Having daycare be a constant for Layla while most of the world is changing helped us both adjust to the “new normal”. We added puzzle feeders for Layla to work her mind (and tire her out) while she was at home and I taught her a new trick (“paws up”) so I could get cute photos for her instagram!
We embraced the changes as best we could and bought a matching face mask and bandana set. In the early days of the pandemic, we would go on hikes in the local parks completely alone. Layla and I missed our hiking friends, but it was still nice to embrace “life off the leash” in a different way. The highlight of the summer for both Layla and I was being able to safely visit my family in Connecticut after we quarantined. My brother and sister in law had their second daughter in May and their oldest turned 3. It was such a joy visiting them. While in Connecticut, Layla got to play on the beach and visit the Mystic Black Dog Store. After many months of being socially distant, she loved all of the attention in Connecticut.
The Adventures of Porter and Spencer during COVID-19 (@porterandspencer_adventures)
The date was March 17, 2020. That was the day I suddenly became a "Stay at Home Dog Mom", MY FUR-EVER DREAM. COVID hit and it was mandated by our PA Governor that we needed to work from home. The funny thing is, I am considered an ESSENTIAL employee. I am in private practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and have been self-employed for 21 years doing outpatient Mental Health Therapy. The decision to work from home was a scary one but working from the office with COVID and clients seemed even scarier. I decided to work remotely from home doing virtual Teletherapy, which seemed like a great plan. It started slowing but picked up quickly.
Enter Porter and Spencer. They had me home ALL THE TIME. They had Daddy home ALL THE TIME. My husband, who works in a Pharmaceutical Company, was also working from home, even though he too is considered ESSENTIAL. With both of us having health issues, it was the best plan for us and for all our dogs. Porter and Spencer have 2 older brothers, Riley age 13.5 and Sidney, age 12.5, both Labrador Retrievers. Being at home with the pups was awesome. I loved being with them all the time but work suddenly became busier than expected and I had less time for them. It was then that I decided every weekend and at least one day during the week, we would go on an outdoor adventure. Maybe a walk, a swim, find a creek, a trail, a playground, do some training, something where they can expend their energy and quite frankly so could I. We maintained social distancing in public but did go a lot of places that were not populated, I wore a mask when necessary and we had a knack for finding hidden gems to take the dogs exploring. A friend of mine, who is retired, became my pup adventuring buddy. We made the BEST of COVID that we possibly could. The dogs and I became even more closely bonded. The time home has not only made us closer but has allowed me to continue to build on their training as Certified Therapy Dogs and as an Agility Athlete. We also managed to have Porter and Spencer's 3rd Birthday Pawty, along with their brothers' 12th and 13th Birthday Pawty in May and June of this year, celebrate EVERY day of Shark Week as Labrasharks and become Ambassadors for The Black Dog, which has been a life long dream. Who says dreams can't come true? Honestly, it is not how I envisioned being a "Stay at Home Dog Mom”, but I can say I made lemonade out of some very sour lemons. I think Porter and Spencer, and their brothers would whole heartedly agree. Signing off until our next adventure...
Brunello & Nature's Beauty (@brunello_the_goldendoodle)
The last couple of months has taught Brunello and I to enjoy nature’s beauty and wonders. What initially felt like self-isolation turned into self-reflection. From clear kayaking in a refreshing spring to off-leash prancing at the beach, Brunello and I are blessed with the extra time these past few months have brought us. Not only adventures, but food has been a highlight for us the past few months. I’ve developed a love for baking not only for myself but also for Brunello. We’ve made treats ranging from pup tarts, pup-cakes, and puppuccinos, which were all happily devoured. Our bellies are full, our hearts are happy, and our love is stronger than ever.
Moose the True Companion (@the_moose_page)
This story is about my dog named, Moose. I literally feel like I have given birth to him as funny as that sounds because I knew about him before he was conceived and saw photos of him after he was born. At 6 weeks old I got the chance to meet him and his 9 other litter mates. That day was Golden Retriever heaven. Ten, 6 week old puppies all climbing all over us. All the puppy parents sat in a circle and we all were in love. Two weeks later, Moose came home. He met Otis, the cat and Jack an 11 year old Golden. I can’t believe he’s 20 months already. He has been an amazing puppy.
We lost Jack to cancer last April. It was sudden and so sad. We miss him so much. If we didn’t have Moose to take that edge off and distract us, I don’t know what I would have done. Moose helped our family to heal and still helps continue to heal from the loss.
During this crazy Pandemic and the new normal we live in, Moose has been by our side and helped us see light and happiness every single day. We spent a lot of time at the beach this past Summer swimming and lots of boat rides, visited an island and explored and many more adventures. Moose can’t get enough of the outdoors and had a great Summer! To sum up Moose in a nutshell; he’s literally my child. I love him that much and love taking care of him every day. He’s so much fun to hang out with every day and I could never imagine my life without him. He brings smiles to our family constantly! Nothing better than the loyalty, unconditional love these special creatures give.
The Trails of Mick & Herbie (@vitamin_d.og)
In February of 2019 we became a two dog family for the first time as we opened our hearts and home to Herbie, a year and a half old Guiding Eyes For The Blind stud. Our black lab, Mick, was nearing his twelfth birthday and had really started to slow down. Having the young, vibrant Herbie around really perked him up, as he had to establish his alpha status and show Herbie who was King of the castle. We went on walks together and Mick seemed re-energized.
A year went by and Herbie was retired by The Guiding Eyes (after producing multiple puppies that will go on to become assistance dogs) and became our forever pup. All was well and then Covid hit. Everyone was sheltering in place and there was very little to do outside the home. Luckily we live in an area that has 3800 acres of preserved land trust properties, made up of 32 hiking trails, woods, rivers, farmland and amazing scenery. Before Covid I would stick to a few trails that I love. The positive side of this pandemic was that Herbie and I (Mick has become unable to hike due to arthritis and hip issues this past year) have ventured out and have explored all the hiking preserves, letting nature be the balm to the frazzled nerves and the elixir for the overactive mind. I maintained my health and increased my activity, with my best hiking buddy at my side. Watching him live his Life Off The Leash on the trails helps my mood every single time.
I am so grateful to have our land trust trails that I am now planning on becoming a volunteer! Maybe you will soon see Herbie and me out there, clearing and marking the trails for others to enjoy. You can certainly follow our adventures via the many photos and videos I post frequently on Instagram, as the beauty is too great not to share.
Brixy enjoying the scenery on her Pacific Northwest Road Trip
Layla enjoyed visiting the beach in Mystic, CT!
Porter & Spencer enjoyed outdoor adventures & celebrating Shark Week!
Brunello enjoyed kayaking, prancing at the beach & baking delicious dog treats!
Moose loved all of the extra time he got to spend with his "hoo-man."
Mick & Herbie enjoyed the great outdoors and each other's company.