Monday, December 15, 2014

#Deck the Dog House Christmas Contest: Week 2 Photos

Hey gang!

I am in love with the entries we've gotten so far from the #DecktheDogHouse photo contest!

Pet owners decorate their pet's living spaces and take pictures! Enter to win prizes from Hallmark's Peanuts Collection! Full details can be found in my previous article.

Here's a look at some of the awesome entries we got in our second week!

 And take a look at the entries from Week 1:

Have you entered yet? Why not! It's really easy, and if you don't really want to decorate for real, just use a paint program like Gimp, Photoshop, PicMonkey and more!

Decorate your dog's dog house, crate, bed or living space. Don't have a dog? This contest is open to cats, rabbits, birds, ferrets, rats, turtles, fish, chickens and other pets!

Just enter on Life With Beagle's Facebook or Twitter accounts. Be sure to use the hashtag #DecktheDogHouse, so I can find you easily.You can also email me at

You have until Dec. 20!! Good luck!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Christmastime is here

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Take a look at some of the dog-related ornaments in my collection.

That's my I have a bunch of Hallmark Peanuts ornaments. This one recreates the Christmas play scenes in "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Above that one is Max, the Grinch's dog in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Nice Beagle ornament, huh? It's one of the Sandcastle ornaments. And yes, Stitch is right underneath.
And some more of my awesome Charlie Brown ornaments.
  • What are your favorite pet ornaments? Comment below!

Monday, December 8, 2014

#Deckthedoghouse: Week 1 photo entries

Hey gang!

Are you getting ready for the holidays yet? It's time to #DecktheDogHouse!

Last week I introduced our first ever photo contest! Pet owners decorate their pet's living spaces and take pictures! Enter to win prizes from Hallmark's Peanuts Collection! Full details can be found in my previous article.

Here's a look at some of the awesome entries we got in our first week!

Have you entered yet? Why not! It's really easy, and if you don't really want to decorate for real, just use a paint program like Gimp, Photoshop, PicMonkey and more!

Just enter on Life With Beagle's Facebook or Twitter accounts. Be sure to use the hashtag #DecktheDogHouse, so I can find you easily.You can also email me at

You have until Dec. 20!! Good luck!

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Win Hallmark prizes with the Deck the Dog House photo contest

On Tuesday "A Charlie Brown Christmas" airs on ABC -- the first of hopefully many airings this holiday season! Yay Snoopy.

Do you remember this scene?

Ok, so Charlie Brown wasn't quite as happy about Snoopy embracing the commercial side of Christmas. But who doesn't love Christmas decorations? They give the holiday a beautiful glow. So if your pet could decorate their living space for the holidays, what would it look like? Here's your chance to figure it out -- and win prizes!

 From now until Dec. 20, decorate your pet's dog house, cat condo, crate, cage, bed or other living space! Take a picture and either post it on the Life With Beagle Facebook page, the @LifeWithBeagle Twitter account or email me at Be sure to include the hashtag #DeckTheDogHouse!

UPDATE: Just making it clear, this is not just for dogs. Owners of cats, rats, birds, turtles, fish, ferrets and other creatures are welcome.

Three judges will chose the top two winners. Now there are two ways to decorate. You can:
  • Actually decorate your pets' living space. Should you choose to do this, remember that some decorations are dangerous to pets, including garland and Christmas lights. But if you want you can decorate the area, take the picture and then remove the decorations.
  • Digitally add the decorations, like I did in the picture above. You can use any computer program you have handy. I did that one above with, which has some cool overlays.
Winners will get one of two prize packs from Hallmark, full of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Peanuts goodness!
  • Prize Pack One: 2 Snoopy plush, a box of Peanuts Christmas cards, a Snoopy and Charlie Brown wire figurine and a Peanuts Advent Calendar.
  • Prize Pack Two: 1 Snoopy plush, a box of Peanuts Christmas cards and a Snoopy wore Figurine.
So, to reiterate:
Life With Beagle's Deck the Dog House photo contest
  • Dec. 1 to Dec. 20
  • Decorate your pet's living space, either in reality or digitally, and send the picture via Facebook, Twitter or email with the hashtag #DeckTheDogHouse!
FINE PRINT: Void where prohibited by law. Contest runs Dec. 1 through Dec. 20. Hallmark is providing prizes for the contest but this is not a paid contest.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Snoopy, show dogs, beagles, oh my! Invading your TV this Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving week!

What are your TV traditions during this holiday? The parades, football?

Well this week we have a whole lineup of doggy delights on television that you should check out!

Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. on ABC
Charlie Brown Thanksgiving -- It's not a holiday without Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang. This time around Peppermint Patty and Marcie join the group when Patty invites herself over the ol' Chuck's place for a Thanksgiving dinner Charlie Brown didn't even know he was throwing!

Thursday, Nov. 27 at Noon on NBC
The National Dog Show presented by Purina -- the Kennel Club of Philadelphia's annual show featuring John O'Hurley, David Frei and over 150 dogs! Can't see it at noon on Thanksgiving? It airs again Saturday at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Thursday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m on Fox
Fox's Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular -- A celebrity-filled tribute to inspiring dog stories. Among the dogs we'll see: five Beagle Freedom Project alums strutting their stuff on stage, including Percival and author Teresa Rhyne. But it's also a chance to find a home for dogs who need families. Find out more on the Cause for Paws Facebook page.

Sunday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. on Hallmark Channel
One Christmas Eve -- Are you ready for a Christmas movie? You may not be, but at least this one features a beagle! One Christmas Eve is about a newly-single mom who wants to give her kids an extra special Christmas. But the discovery of an abandoned beagle starts a chain of crazy events. But it's the Hallmark Channel, so you know everything works out in the end, right? Right?! Learn more about the movie on the Hallmark Channel website.

What are you most looking forward to this Thanksgiving week? The food, the family time, the shopping?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Keep Orlando dogs at home: Ideas to keep pets out of shelters

This is a post for Orlando's BIG Exchange Blog-Along to find a solution to an issue here in Central Florida.

Every year, around 20,000 dogs and cats enter Orange County Animal Services in Orlando.

And every year, almost 10,000 are euthanized. About half.

There are lots of reasons pets end up in shelters. But if you've ever walked through a kennel and looked at each of the cards, what will break your heart is how many were surrendered because their owner couldn't take care of them -- either they had to move or the pet had health problems or the owner simply couldn't afford it anymore. I'll never forget the times I've watched people walk out of a shelter crying because they had to surrender their pet.

Lulu was one of those. Her owners were moving and couldn't take her with them (no pets allowed). She was only six months old. Fortunately she was also at Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, which is almost a no-kill shelter.

The dogs and cats surrendered to Orange County Animal Services are not as lucky.

The Metro Orlando area remains one of the top in the country for foreclosure. How many people are still forced to leave their homes and have to give up their pet?

Unfortunately not every issue is salvageable. For people with a dog considered an "aggressive breed," many apartment complexes shut the door. If only there was a way to deal with that...

But I think we in Orlando can find a way to keep more pets with their families. It is much cheaper for the county if these pets stay with their families than if the shelter has to care for them.

Chyna (A305742) is a year old and at Orange County Animal Services.
Establish a fund for animal assistance 

Groups across the country provide assistance for people who need medical help, apartment help, etc. For instance, Orange County Animal Services has a pet pantry. In the page for the pantry, this is written:

"Life can throw surprises at you," said Dil Luther, division manager of Orange County Animal Services. "Anyone can be caught off guard by unexpected expenses like car or health issues and we do not want financial struggles to separate a pet from a loving family."

But while we have some scattered efforts to help with spaying and neutering, micro-chipping and even food, we don't have a dedicated fund to help people better afford their dogs.

My suggestion is modeled after Florida's Tax Credit Scholarship Program for students. In exchange for county tax credits, Orange County-based businesses donate to the fund, which is run by the county.

Money in the fund is split up into three categories: home assistance, medical assistance and behavioral assistance. Residents (and they must be full-time Orange County residents) then apply for a one-time grant for one of those three categories.

  • Home assistance can be used to pay for pet deposits and pet rent, a growing expense in the apartment rental world. 
  • Medical assistance can be used to pay for extraordinary veterinary bills (not for routine office visits). The fund can work with a choice group of vets to reduce the cost of those services (Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando has a clinic that provides reduced services).
  • Behavioral assistance allows pet parents to get financial help to pay for a trainer/behaviorist for their pet. They must work off an already-vetted list of trainers/behaviorists that the county has. 
This fund should not affect the overall budget for Orange County Animal Services.

Luna (A305889) is 3 years old and at Orange County Animal Services.
Tax credits to keep pet deposits down

In addition, the county should also offer tax credits to landlords and apartment complexes who reduce the cost of pet deposits and pet rent to make it more affordable for residents. 

Pet rent and a rise in pet deposits is a growing problem for apartment renters in the U.S. Some apartment managers say they need the safety net against pet damage, but according to a recent CBS article, some managers say they charge it because they can. 

Pet deposits in Orlando can run from $250 to $500, and in some cases are charged per pet. By reducing pet deposits, not only will it help people trying to keep their pets, but it might encourage people to adopt too. 

Dexter (A293832) is a year old and at Orange County Animal Services.
Community bulletin boards to promote low cost services

But why stop there? Remember when I said there were scattered services for people who need help caring for pets?

Did you know about Orange County's pet food pantry? How about Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando's low-cost vet services, including spaying or neutering? Or Pet Alliance's Meals on Wheels for seniors program? 

Do people know these programs and others even exist? 

In city dog parks like Lake Baldwin Park in Winter Park and Sanford Paw Park, there are big community bulletin boards. 

In Orange County's parks, any bulletin boards are often not close to the dog parks. They're closer to bathrooms or playgrounds.

I suggest using money from the parks and recreation budget to put up those bulletin boards immediately outside the parks and keep updated listings for this information and other events. 

People don't go to parks? Make it a point to put this info in the hands of those who can help -- vets offices, pet shops, apartment leasing offices, community centers, malls and more. Put it together in a new adopters packet and hand it to shelters and rescue groups to hand out. Hand it out at farmers markets, fairs and other events. This information needs to be easier to find.

Scrappy (A220855) is 9 years old and is at Orange County Animal Services.
By handling these issues, we can hope to keep pets out of shelters and in their homes. But those aren't the only pets we save.

There's a saying in the animal rescue world that I will paraphrase here: Keeping a pet out of a shelter saves two pets: that pet, and the one who could be euthanized. By reducing the shelter pet population, Orange County Animal Services can give more time to pets in the shelter who need a little extra help to get out.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The great clothes debate: Does your dog need a coat?

It's the question every pet person has heard -- to clothe, or not to clothe your dog?

I admit, before I owned a dog, I came down firmly on the no clothes side. I even wondered if it was some form of abuse. If you haven't noticed, my opinion has softened somewhat.

But I know the question still remains among pet owners -- is dressing up your dog too much?

Now's as good a time as any to have this discussion -- because baby, it's cold outside!

Yes, even here in Florida.

Lows have been in the 40s and 50s every night. They may even get down to the 30s this week. Yeah, I know boohoo, right?

Well, I'm fine, thanks. It's the dogs you might want to be worried about.

They're willing to snuggle, it's so cold!
You see my dogs are southern dogs, and Lulu is a Florida dog. When Lulu and Jasmine are outside it's clear they are not used to the cold. Poor Jasmine especially shivers and whines outside.

If you have a dog who has short hair, a lean body type, is small or has a health issue, you should really consider getting a coat or a sweater.

What should you look for:
  • If you live in a snowy area, you may want to consider a water-resistant coat. 
  • You want something that covers the chest. The chest and abdominal area is your dog's core, just like it is on you. If you keep that area warm the heart can better pump blood to other areas of the body and help regulate temperature.  There area also has the least amount of fur.
    (Often in stores you see a coat that covers the back with a piece of fabric that goes across the middle. That's not as helpful when it comes to the cold)
  • Something that fits snug around the chest and waist, but not too tight. It should also give a little cover to the neck and down to the tail.
  •  Be roomy around the arm pits so the dog has plenty of movement.
If you've ever been to Pets, last year Stacy Mantle did a good write-up on coats for winter. It includes some of my favorite companies, like KumfyTailz and Thunderworks. Another coat listed, Fido Fleece, is actually now made by PetSafe. Take a look at that review.

Now, sure I could buy a fancy coat for Jasmine, but since I'm learning to use my sewing machine, I've got it into my head to make one.

And one for Lulu too while we're at it.

So we'll be tracking that project over the next few weeks. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest.

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