Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How do you help your pup go green and save money? One paw at a time.

Nearly every day we get emails and questions about how to help your pup go green. And we love helping pups and pup lovers learn new and different ways they can have a healthier, happier dog and environment.

One thing we noticed in many of our emails is that folks think that going 'green' is difficult and expensive. In this challenging time, there is no better time to go green. Why? Because you can actually save money by living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. And it's easier than you think!

Being 'green' all my life, I really don't know any different. But what I can tell you is that living a green life is a lifestyle, it's not doing just one thing here and one thing there, it's a whole new way of living. You don't have to completely change your life overnight - that would be pretty difficult. But what you can do is take little steps, make small changes, one paw at a time, to help live a more healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle.

And what about expensive? We don't think being green is expensive, as a matter of fact, we think we save money by being more green. How? Here are just a few ways:

  • We utilize and re-use many of the items in our house for other purposes, like making dog toys out of old socks and towels, shipping boxes are turned into play toys, old blankets are sewn into mats and beds.
  • We have much less health care expense because we live a healthier lifestyle.
  • We compost to help fertilize our garden, doing away with expensive (and dangerous) chemicals for our lawns and gardens. And when we do purchase organic lawn care products, we use much less than the chemical kind, and save lots of dough. Also a naturally cared for lawn is not only safer for your pups, but requires much less water, saving on our water bill.
  • We don't purchase unnecessary paper towels or paper products for our home, we use stainless steel and safe ceramics for our foods, and old wash clothes for clean up rags. And those leftover TP rolls? We use them as toys!
  • We practice turning off lights when not in use and unplugging unused appliances which actually save on our electric bill.
  • We don't purchase expensively pre-prepared meals, we cook our own. It's fun and us pups get some of Mum's meals, like eggs, vegetables, meats and more, saving on our kibble bill.
  • We use bulbs that are safer for the environment and much longer lasting. They may be more expensive on the front end, but sure do save in the long run.
  • We always plan ahead and save on car gasoline by consolidating all of our trips to work, meetings and such, with our errands to the store or the bank.
  • We grow some of our own organic vegetables, which saves us from buying from the store, are healthier, and they taste lots better too!
  • We make our own household cleaners that are not only much less expensive than buying those high priced cleaners at the store, but they are much safer for you and the environment, too.
  • We take our reusable totes to the stores when we go. Many stores actually pay us a nice shiny nickel for each bag of our own that we use. Now that's a savings!
  • We very rarely buy a book. Instead we search out answers to our questions on the Internet, and if there is a book we just can't wait to read, we borrow books from our neighborhood library.
  • We purchase high quality hemp dog collars. Not only are they great looking, but they are safe and last a super long time.
  • Mum makes us our own dog treats, with ingredients we already have in our fridge, like homemade frosty paws, my fav!

There are a multitude of ways you can go green, and save money. Readers? Feel free to add in your tips too. We would love them!

And remember, you don't have to completely turn your life upside down to turn green. Take it one paw at a time, make a little change everyday, and before you know it, you'll be living a much greener lifestyle!

Earth Day countdown banner

Monday, March 30, 2009

New eco-friendly shelter aims to increase pet adoption while providing lowest impact on environment.

Visitors attend the Humane Society Silicon Valley's open house Saturday Mar. 28, 2009 to show off its new green, cageless, homelike habitat in Milpitas for strays that it's calling an Animal Community Center. There is solar heating and a water-efficient kennel cleansing system. (Patrick Tehan/Mercury News) ( Patrick Tehan )

This weekend a new, wonderful, eco-friendly animal shelter held their grand opening in Milpitas, California. Just one of a handful in the country this shelter aims to create a unique, pet friendly, humane friendly, green environment for animals needing homes in the hopes of increasing their chances of adoption, while making the lowest possible impact on the environment.

From Mercury News:

New eco-friendly Humane Society building captures goodness for pets and humans
By Bruce Newman

From the Get Acquainted Rooms that feature hand-painted murals by artist Sonya Paz, to the big room where pets and humans soon will take yoga classes together, everywhere you went during Saturday's open house at the Humane Society Silicon Valley's new 48,000-square-foot shelter in Milpitas, dogs and people alike were making a joyful noise that sounded a lot like barking. Even the woman who sat on the floor near the Cat Condos, weeping, said, "This is so wonderful. I just can't believe it."

And it was: wonderful and a little hard to believe.

The Humane Society's $25 million eco-friendly Animal Community Center is filled with sunlit "gallerias" and cathedral-like "reflection centers," in place of the cramped metal cages and pervading sense of sadness at the organization's current quarters. The old facility in Santa Clara was built in 1951, and it placed frightened, snarling dogs in the close confinement of what amounted to a cell block.

Planning for the new building started 12 years ago, when the Humane Society took stock of its "save rate" — the number of animals that came in alive, versus the number that left alive. "That number was 30 percent, and as a humane society, that just wasn't acceptable," said HSSV President Christine Benninger. "Seven out of every 10 animals that came to us, we killed."

Benninger hopes to increase the rate of adoptions from 4,000 a year to 10,000 at the new building, where the bright, airy rooms and eggshell-colored walls will allow visitors and animals a better chance to bond.

One problem with the old facility, said Humane Society spokeswoman Laura Fulda, was that it reminded people of a prison. "So the more you loved animals, the sadder you were likely to find it," she said. But the only cages in the new building are those meant to contain animals that have just awakened from surgery in the center's medical center, which also will serve as a veterinary teaching hospital.

In fact, with theme park names like the Rabbitat for its bunny hutch, the new place seems almost like a petting zoo, which administrators are quick to point out is not the case.

"We have such a wonderful space, people start to think these animals don't need to be rescued, that they already have a great home," said Julia Lewis, who will run the vet facility after the official opening May 16. "We're trying to provide the best environment for the animals in a bad situation, but this is not a home for them. We want them to have a family to love them."

The center will be the first animal shelter in the U.S. to be certified gold under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. As much as 40 percent of its energy needs will be met by solar panels that will be installed over the summer, and a reflective "cool roof" is expected to reduce the amount of air conditioning needed. The green features added $2.5 million to the cost of construction, but officials at the center expect to recoup that in savings on water and power.

The two dog parks outside — one for big dogs, one for the little guys — will not turn brown in the summer or muddy in the winter, and they don't require watering at all, because they're made of a synthetic turf that looks just like grass. The parks will have a membership fee of $200 a year and be monitored at all times to prevent altercations, and on Thursday evenings during the summer there will be live music.

The center even has a feng shui certification, which, according to Chinese beliefs means the place has a positive energy or qi. The feng shui consultant was the one who suggested making the atrium round instead of rectangular. That pleased Benninger, who said she wanted visitors to "feel the hug" of the new building. Judging by the contented panting and face-licking going on in every corner of the place Saturday, everybody was feeling it.

The Animal Community Center is located at 901 Ames Ave. in Milpitas. Go to www.hssv.org or call 408-262-2133 for more information.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Turn off the lights!

Earth Hour is just around the corner! It's this Saturday, March 28th, 8:30-9:30 PM, wherever you are!

Gracie and Mum wanted to make sure we are all ready for the big hour! So what did they do? Mum taught Gracie to turn off the light!

Gracie and I are a bit too small to turn off the wall switches. But we have other lights in the house, one being a lamp that has a floor switch. Gracie, being a bit bigger dog than I, had absolutely no problems using her larger mitts to flip the switch, so to speak.

So Gracie gets to be featured in this vid! Check it out, she picked up turning off the light very quickly. So now we are fully prepared for Earth Hour. Are you ready?

To learn more about Earth Hour, read my recent post - One Dog, One Hour, One Vote - can make a difference!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Make a sock dog toy!

I don't know about you, but I love saving money! A nice eco-friendly dog toy is super great for my barkday, or gotcha day, or other special day (like a day winning some blue ribbons in agility :). But for everyday toys? We like to make our own!

We found a nice vid (from DoYourPart.com) of how to take every day old socks (ones with all natural organic fibers are best) and create a super fun every day dog toy! Watch this!


Now go fetch your old socks and have fun!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eating our fruits & veggies the safe way!

Us dogs, we love our fruits and veggies. Some of my favorites are apples and blueberries. My sis, Gracie, loves carrots and green beans. And we are both crazy for bananas! But not all fruits and veggies are created equal.

When my Mum buys fruits and veggies for both her and us, she buys organic. Why? Because they are safer from those nasty pesticides. Did you know that regular (non-organic) fruits and veggies you buy at the store can have those nasties in and on them?

Treehugger.com says, "organic foods are essentially free of pesticides, while nearly every type of conventional fruit and vegetable has at least one type of pesticide applied to it sometime from when the seeds are put into the ground to when they are sold. Logically then, eating organic foods rather than conventional foods will reduce your family’s exposure to pesticides."

And reducing your exposure will most certainly keep you healthier and happier, and living a longer life.

According to the Environmental Working Group, it is now well established that pesticides pose a risk to vital organ systems (in children) that continue to grow and mature from conception throughout infancy and childhood. If they affect children in this way, just imagine what they do to our little doggie bodies!

The Environmental Working Group has recently published a listing of the most contaminated fruits and veggies, and has some information about chemicals in foods. Visit their report to learn more.

Not only are organic fruits and vegetables with significantly lower levels of pesticides healthier, they are also now shown to provide higher levels of antioxidants than non organic fruits and veggies. And more antioxidants mean more health benefits.

So when you're out and about shopping for your foods, we recommend picking organic, whether it be for you or your pup, to keep you all healthier!

Here is just a small listing of some of my (and my pup friends) most favorite fruits and veggies, perfectly safe for your dog. But remember, everything in moderation K?

(And another quick tip: Mum lightly steams our veggies. Why? Because for dogs they digest much better and we can reap many more of the health benefits of our veggies).

Blueberries, Bananas, Apples (no seeds), Carrots, Green Beans, Watermelon (no seeds), Zucchini, And more!

And be sure and review the ASPCA's great list of people foods your pup's need to avoid. Happy eating!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A few pet clean up tips!

A few safe and eco-friendly pet clean up tips, using items you most probably have around your home. Keep your pet safe and help the environment at the same time!

Friday, March 13, 2009

One Dog, One Hour, One Vote - can make a difference!

One Dog, One Hour, One Vote - really can make a difference. And here's your chance to show how!

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday. Join those in support and sign up today!

Sign up for Earth Hour

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm - wherever you are!

Monday, March 9, 2009

New eco-friendly dog products for March!

A few new green and eco-friendly dog products for March! Dig in!

Bacon & Parsley Organic Dog Biscuits
Turkey Sausage & Romano Cheese Biscuits

Earthdog Owney Collar

Cain & Able Bone Shaped Soap-on-a-Rope

Cain & Able Bone Shaped Soap-on-a-Rope

$8.07

WestPaw Eco Twist Tug Toy for Small Dogs

WestPaw Eco Twist Tug Toy for Small Dogs

$13.00

Bravo Dried Beef Trachea Natural Dog Chew

Bravo Dried Beef Trachea Natural Dog Chew

$2.99

Earth Friendly Chic Organic Wool Dog Sweaters Large Charcoal for Canine

Earth Friendly Chic Organic Wool Dog Sweaters Large Charcoal for Canine

$46.49

Sam's Yams Green & Clean Herbal Dog Treats 6 oz. Bag

Sam's Yams Green & Clean Herbal Dog Treats 6 oz. Bag

$7.99

Belvoir Media Group, LLC The Whole Dog Journal Subscription for Dogs

Belvoir Media Group, LLC The Whole Dog Journal Subscription for Dogs

$20.00

PureAyre Odor Eliminator 14 oz. Spray

PureAyre Odor Eliminator 14 oz. Spray

$7.99

The Good Food Cookbook for Dogs

The Good Food Cookbook for Dogs

$19.99

Harry Barker Bedroll Medium For Cats And Dogs

Harry Barker Bedroll Medium For Cats And Dogs

$43.99

Dr. Harvey's Healing Cream for Dogs and Cats

Dr. Harvey's Healing Cream for Dogs and Cats

$9.99

Dam Beaver Toy

Dam Beaver Toy

$12.99

Earthbath Natural Grooming Wipes Green Tea Leaf Wipes

Earthbath Natural Grooming Wipes Green Tea Leaf Wipes

$15.99

HomeoPet Trauma for Dogs and Cats

HomeoPet Trauma for Dogs and Cats

$10.79

Only Natural Pet Soothe & Shield Paw Balm

Only Natural Pet Soothe & Shield Paw Balm

$9.99

Complete Natural Nutrition Terrabone Chew Treat For Dogs And Canines - Regular

Complete Natural Nutrition Terrabone Chew Treat For Dogs And Canines - Regular

$3.09

Anibio Tic-Clip Insect Repellent Collar Tag for Cats and Dogs

Anibio Tic-Clip Insect Repellent Collar Tag for Cats and Dogs

$49.99

Eco-Futon Dog Bed

Eco-Futon Dog Bed

$55.00

Kissable Toothpaste and Toothbrush

Kissable Toothpaste and Toothbrush

$10.63

Uphaus Free-Range Real Meat Treats for Dogs and Cats

Uphaus Free-Range Real Meat Treats for Dogs and Cats

$10.49

TrueBlue Fast and Fresh Dental Swipes 50 Count for Dogs

TrueBlue Fast and Fresh Dental Swipes 50 Count for Dogs

$12.49

Sequoia Squirrel Toy

Sequoia Squirrel Toy

$13.99

Barkwheats Buckwheat Dog Biscuits - Seaveg & Chamomile

Barkwheats Buckwheat Dog Biscuits - Seaveg & Chamomile

$6.59

Mr. Herzher's Pet Residence - Medium Dark Brown Wicker For Pets

Mr. Herzher's Pet Residence - Medium Dark Brown Wicker For Pets

$161.49

Nutri-Vet Pet-Ease for Dogs

Nutri-Vet Pet-Ease for Dogs

$27.49

Oliver the Dog Organic Toy by Simply Fido

Oliver the Dog Organic Toy by Simply Fido

$13.50

Dirty & Hairy Repel Shampoo

Dirty & Hairy Repel Shampoo

$7.61

Bow Wow Beauty Bars

Bow Wow Beauty Bars

$4.21

Planet Dog Puppy Toy Kit

Planet Dog Puppy Toy Kit

$29.50

The Orbit Bed

The Orbit Bed

$85.00

Stow 'n' Go Leash & Pick-up Bag Dispenser

Stow 'n' Go Leash & Pick-up Bag Dispenser

$24.95

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's Spring and it's bug time!

It's showing signs of Spring at our house, thank DOG it's finally here!

I've been playing a lot more outside, doing some agility, wrestling with my sis, Gracie! Life is good!

But with Spring the bugs are coming out of hybernation and are showing themselves. Every Spring we get a few little (what I call) Roly Poly bugs - I think their real name is Pillbugs or some folks call them SnowBugs. And if we don't do something, in a few weeks they'll be taking over the first floor of our house!

So what do we do? We get out our Diatomaceous Earth!

What is Diatomaceous Earth? D-Earth is made up of fossilized skeletons of tiny aquatic organisms. The razor sharp edges of this mined product scratch the exoskeletons of hard bodied insects, making them susceptible to fatal attack from natural organisms in the soil. These sharp edges cut through the insect's protective covering drying it out and killing them, and if they ingest the DE it will damage their insides, also being fatal.

It's quite an amazing product, and all we use for insect control for inside our home.

How do we use it? About this time of year when we see the first sign of a Roly Poly, Mum gets out the bag, puts a cloth over her mouth (because the dust shouldn't be inhaled and it kinda flys around when you put it down). She puts us up inside the house and sprinkles it all around the outside foundation of our home creating an all natural bug barrier!

How does it work?

It works great! Mum has only had to put the d-earth down once in the Spring for it to take care of all the potential Roly Poly's, ants and potentially dangerous spiders that may invade our favorite spots, like our crates, beds, and all over our home.

We don't, but some folks we have heard utilize the food grade DE as a way to rid fleas on your pup by sprinkling on their fur, or as a supplement to their food (about 1% of their food intake), as a way to rid their pup of internal parasites.

So if you're looking for a safe, natural way to combat the inside insects in your home, we highly recommend Diatomaceous Earth (remember it's not the same D-Earth you would use in your pool, so be sure you get the right one, K?). And the best part? It's green and inexpensive! Our one 5 lbs bag has lasted us for four years.

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