Category Archives: pet store

Trucking “Tails” From the Open Road


By Julia Williams

When Bill Taylor tells you that his German Shepherd dog, Hannah, goes everywhere with him, he isn’t exaggerating. That’s because Bill and his wife Robyn are long-haul truck drivers, and Hannah accompanies them on all of their cross-country travels. I recently had a chance to chat with Bill and Robyn (while they were on the road, naturally) and thought our readers might enjoy getting to know them too. Bill had many interesting stories to tell about Hannah, who he says enjoys the nomadic life very much. Hannah also loves meeting new people everywhere they go, and strangers (especially children) get a kick out of seeing a dog riding in the front seat of the truck cab.

Five-year-old Hannah was just eight weeks old when the Taylors added her to their family and began taking her on road trips. Although this inseparable trio is away from home for several months at a time now, they were doing local deliveries when they adopted Hannah, which made it easier to get her adjusted to life on the road. Still, Bill says Hannah did just fine from the start, and travels well. Even more impressive, Hannah has not had a single “accident” in the truck, unless you count the time she upchucked. Bill is quick to point out, however, that even this minor transgression was not on the carpeted section of their cab. Smart dog indeed!

Many people think of their pets as more human than cat or dog, and the Taylors would agree. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Hannah said ‘Hello’ sometime,” says Bill. Hannah knows many words, among them cookie, squirrel, food, leash, walk, rabbit and cow. It doesn’t take more than a minute or two of talking with Bill to see that he loves his dog very much, and that he and his wife both really enjoy having her with them on their trips.

It’s also quite clear that Hannah, whose nickname is “Pupkus,” rules the roost… or the cab, I should say. According to Bill, Hannah doesn’t have her own dog bed in the cab because she prefers to sleep on their bed. Moreover, she carves out her space on the bed first, and he and his wife squeeze into the space that’s left. Bill says Hannah likes to curl up on her blanket and snooze away while the miles tick by, but she’s more than happy to get out and get some exercise when they pull into a rest stop. After her walk, Hannah heads straight to the cupboard where her cookies are kept, and waits to receive her treat.

Like any canine, Hannah has her share of quirks that make her all the more endearing. For instance, Hannah won’t drink water out of a dog dish – instead, she prefers to drink the melted ice-water out of a cooler Bill and Robyn keep in the cab. They know when she’s thirsty, Bill says, because she scratches on the side of the cooler until they open it for her. Another of Hannah’s idiosyncrasies is the uncanny ability to smell cows well before she can see them. The Taylors always know when they are about to drive past a herd of cows, because Hanna sticks her nose into the truck’s vents.

Of course, life on the road with a canine companion is not without challenges. For one thing, Hannah sheds profusely. Or as Bill puts it, “We just about build a new dog every day with the amount of hair she sheds.” Another issue is the amount of dog food they need to carry with them. Hannah eats CANIDAE dog food (the grain-free kibble is her favorite) and as anyone who feeds this premium pet food knows, it’s not available at the local supermarket or pet superstore. This means that the Taylors always bring along a large supply of dog food – Bill jokes that “Hannah has more food in the truck than we do”—and they also know which feed stores and independent pet stores along their route carry CANIDAE pet food so they can buy more if need be. (If you need to find CANIDAE pet food while traveling, be sure to check out the easy-to-use CANIDAE Store Locator designed for mobile phones.)

But Bill says without a doubt the worst experience he and Robyn have endured thanks to Hannah was the time she got sprayed by a skunk at a rest stop. Hannah was on a 30-foot leash so she could run around and burn off some excess energy, when she encountered the skunk. Luckily, Bill called a trucker friend, who knew of a place down the road that had a pet wash facility located next to a truckstop. They were able to get the truck and the dog washed at the same time, and Bill says the place did such a good job of removing the skunk odor that they now make a point to stop there whenever it’s on their route. Still, Bill says “That was the longest hundred miles I have ever driven.” Knowing all too well how sickening the smell of skunk is, I can only imagine!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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5 Reasons to Support Your Local Independent Pet Store


By Julia Williams

Growing up, my parents knew that the local pet store was my favorite place to be, bar none. Animals were – and still are – “my thing.” I loved going down to the pet store to play with the kittens and puppies, and I could watch the hamsters spinning on their wheels and the fish cruising in their tanks for hours. If the owners and my parents had agreed to let me live there, I probably would have.

Today, the fond memories of those frequent childhood visits to this special place bring me joy but also a touch of sadness. I am all too aware that with the proliferation of discount mega-retailers, the future of the local independent pet store is uncertain. Now more than ever, it’s vital that we support these unique local stores so we don’t lose the many wonderful things they offer us as consumers and animal lovers.

Here are five good reasons to support your local independent pet store.

Personal service

For the last 75 years, the local independent pet store has been the heart and soul of our communities. These pet stores are operated by small business owners who are fully committed to giving their customers the very best service possible. The owners almost always live in the community, and chances are when you walk into their store they will greet you by name. My local independent pet store makes me feel like my patronage matters to them, because it truly does! I am so much more to them than just a nameless, faceless consumer among millions; I am an individual, with individual needs and concerns. When they thank me for my business as I walk out the door, I know that they really mean it.

Expert advice

The food we choose for our pets plays a crucial role in their development and ongoing good health. With so many choices available to consumers today, it can be difficult to decide which pet food to feed our beloved dogs and cats. Local independent pet stores can be of great help with this important decision. The owners and employees are highly educated about pet food and they have years –sometimes decades – of experience in recommending the right food for your pet.

Premium quality pet food

As responsible pet owners, nothing is more important than the health and well being of our beloved animal companions. We are concerned about the safety of the food we feed to our pets, as well as the nutritional value it provides. We want to feed them a pet food that is made from the most nutritious ingredients possible. Simply put, we want safe, healthy food at an affordable price.

Local independent pet stores carry only the finest, high-quality pet food brands available. When you shop at a local independent pet store, you can be confident that the premium brands on display, like CANIDAE dog food and FELIDAE cat food, are great choices that will help you keep your companion animal in good health.

Consistency

The highly trained staff of your local independent pet store provides reliable hands-on service and trustworthy advice. Their knowledge of the products they carry is impeccable, and this helps them provide a consistent shopping experience every time you visit their store.

Uniqueness

Local independent businesses are the backbone of our communities. Each store has its own distinctive style, with unique décor and an ambiance that makes stocking up on pet food and supplies an enjoyable experience rather than a chore.

For these five reasons and more, CANIDAE Pet Foods will always support the local independent pet stores. And as a cat owner who wants the very best for my cherished companion and my community, I will too. If we all support these irreplaceable local pet stores, there is hope that they can remain in our communities to serve future generations of pet lovers.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Keep an Indoor Cat Happy


By Julia Williams

Until recently, I didn’t believe an indoor cat could be happy. I thought that “depriving” a cat of the outdoors would surely make them depressed, lethargic and overweight. I saw how much my own country kitties enjoyed climbing trees, fences and trellises, lounging in the garden, and hunting the ever-prolific gophers on our five acre field.

Then we moved back to the small town of my childhood, and my cats became primarily indoor cats. They were scared at first, and hid in the bedroom closet for a week. I wasn’t going to let them go out for at least a month anyway. When they finally did come out of the closet, my California born-and-raised cats took one sniff of the cool Montana air and must’ve decided then and there that being indoors suited them just fine. And when the snow came, it pretty much sealed the deal.

I worried that they’d hate being inside and cease to be the joyful kitties I knew and loved, but soon realized that my concerns were unwarranted. In fact, to my surprise they now show little interest in going outside, even when offered the opportunity. I did make some adjustments to their indoor environment however, to make it as kitty-hospitable as possible. The key to keeping an indoor cat happy, it seems, is providing them with plenty of stimulation and attention, along with an enriched environment.

So what does that entail, exactly? I keep my indoor kitties stimulated by having lots of different cat toys for them to play with. I bring home a huge bag of Christmas clearance cat toys from my local pet store every January, and rarely spend more than $10. Some of those toys have a holiday theme of course, but the cats don’t know the difference or care, and neither do I.

The important thing to remember about cat toys is that every kitty is different; for example, mine go crazy for furry mice but get bored with balls in a nanosecond. If I buy assortments that have balls in them I give those to my sister, whose cats love to bat balls. Soon enough you’ll discover which types of toys your cat likes best, and you can get more of those.

Another other thing to keep in mind is that you need to rotate your cat toys frequently. Once a week I swap out all the toys with others that I keep in the “cat toy drawer.” In a feline’s world, this is like getting brand new toys to play with every week.

I also buy them toys that require human participation – like mice-on-a-stick, lasers, and cat “fishing” poles – which accomplishes both the stimulation and attention aspect. I also try to give each of my three cats my undivided attention every day, no matter how busy I am. I brought these cats into my family because I wanted to give them love and a good home, and I owe it to them to pay attention to them. Now that they’re primarily indoor cats, they are a bit needier and they crave more attention than they did before, so I adjusted to accommodate them.

Besides playing with them, you can also give your cats attention by having petting sessions, lap time, and grooming time. As with the toys, you need to discover what your cat likes the most, and do more of that. Annabelle loves to be brushed and combed (that’s an understatement), so this is what I do for her time. Mickey loves to sit on my lap, so I let him, even if it means I have to sit two feet away from my keyboard. Rocky prefers plain vanilla petting, so he gets that.

The third aspect to keeping an indoor kitty content is an enriched environment. In other words, you need to provide things besides toys that make them happy. My cats like to lie on the back of the sofa and watch the birds, so I placed a comfy sheepskin kitty mat there to contain the cat hair. You can also buy window perches that accomplish the same thing. You might want to get them a cozy cat bed or cat “donut” to sleep in, too. If your kitty likes to nibble on grass, it’s easy to grow special cat greens for them.

Cat towers and cat condos are a great way to provide your cat with a place to nap, scratch, climb, play and perch, all in one day! It’s also a good idea to provide your indoor cat with various scratching surfaces— I have several styles of corrugated cardboard scratchers, as well as a carpeted scratching post. I’ve learned that when it comes to cats, you really can’t have too many scratching posts!

My cats are probably not as happy indoors as they were outdoors, but they are happy enough. Given that indoor cats live longer and are typically healthier, that is good enough for me.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.