Dog Toys

dog walker and dog toysDog Toys for Tough Chewers

If anyone has had the opportunity to share their house with a tough chewer (ie. can destroy ANYTHING you put in front of them), then you share my pain.  Here is a comment from someone I know: My Chesapeake Bay Retriever has the jaws of a crocodile and can eat through pretty much any dog toy, whether it be rubber, rope, plush, etc. that we give her.  In fact, she is NEVER left unsupervised with any dog toy whatsoever because of her incredible ability to reduce anything to shreds and her tendency to then devour aforementioned shreds as a light snack.  As such, I wanted to share with you her two most indestructible and long-lasting dog toys. (Spoiler: not one of them is a stuffed toy – I have yet to find one that is a match for her). Moose pictured here is also a tough chewer and I can attest to the strength of the Kong Classic Shape Extreme X-Large. He has one!

  1. KONG Classic Shape Extreme X-Large

Not only is this toy one of the longest lasting, but it is also my dog’s absolute favorite.  She loves to carry it around in her mouth and will happily chew on it without any food inserts.  My one criticism is that my dog has recently started to chew bits off from the edge around the hollow part where food is inserted, simply because it is slightly thinner at this point.  However, this product has lasted significantly longer than any other KONG toys, and still lasts for several months.

Dog walker in Charlotte NC

  1. Dog Jolly Ball

So far, these dog jolly balls have stood up to the test.  The shape makes it impossible for her to chew through it like other toys, and she likes to knock it around with her paws.  Like the KONG, it is made of rubber and some dogs may not want to chew it because it has little taste.  However, I have found that the most voracious chewers will often gnaw on anything.

I did not include any bones or antlers in the list; although I have given them to my dogs in the past, I try not to now because of the risk of broken or splintered teeth that come from very hard chews.  If you would like to learn more about this issue, click on the following link:


I would love to hear about your favorite dog toys for voracious chewers, and any tips you might have for satisfying them.

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Pet Safety

pet safety

rescue dog Moose

Pet safety is something most of us don’t think about until we are forced to think about it. Hurricane Harvey striking the Texas coast has me thinking about it.

After Hurricane Katrina came ashore in New Orleans and the aftermath of destruction from all of the flooding, I joined an online group of volunteers trying to track down the displaced owners to help reunite them with their pets. In 2005, facebook didn’t exist. Many people didn’t use cell phones yet. Trying to track down people when their homes are flooded, the electricity is out and you have no idea where they went was a challenge. Our group was responsible for helping to reunite over 1000 pets with their owners.

Hurricane Harvey just struck the Houston area. The flooding after the storm reminds me so much of Katrina. People were caught off guard. Many had to abandon their homes in the middle of the night to save their lives and to save their kids lives. Some may have been forced to leave their pets. Some may have thought it wouldn’t be that bad and they’d be able to return soon. Just like Katrina, some Houston pet owners ended up leaving their pets behind.

I am not here to judge. I think until you are in that situation, you don’t know what you’d really do. I don’t have children whose safety I need to ensure so I’d like to think I would rescue my own dogs. But do you know what? My dogs weigh 80 and 90 lbs. I can’t carry either one of them and I certainly can’t carry them both. I can’t imagine if something happened in the middle of the night, there was no power so I couldn’t see and the water was rising. My heart breaks for the people forced to make these decisions. Instead of judging, we should say a prayer for them. Pray that their souls have peace because I know if I were ever forced to make these types of decisions, I don’t know that I could live with the guilt if I left.

Sadly some of the pets that died in Harvey were being rescued. They were in boats on their way to safety but some got washed overboard. Some got scared and jumped. What I would hope is that I would have enough warning to know if I might be in danger so that I could leave in advance with my dog. I don’t live in a flood zone but if I did, I would be one of the first ones out. I’d load up my car and hit the road to safe, higher ground.

pet safety in a storm

Moose and his dog walker 

So, what can we do to try and ensure our pet’s safety, follow these tips:

  1. Make certain your pet’s collars are on and that the information on the tags is up to date
  2. Microchip your pet. Make sure you contact the microchip company and register the chip to you. This is a free service. If you’ve moved or changed cell phones, contact the chip company and update your information.
  3. Have current copies of your pet’s vaccines. You might need them if you go to a shelter or hotel.
  4. Have enough water, food and medicine for you and your pet for several  days.
  5. Charge your cell phone.
  6. Fill your car with gas.

The biggest tip I have is to plan in advance. My thoughts are with everyone in the path of Hurricane Irma and I hope these pet safety tips help.

pet safety during a hurricane

My lab Moose

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Dog Photography in Charlotte NC


dog photography in Charlotte NC

Dog Photography is something I have grown to love. I started See Spot Run Dog Walking in 2009 and in 2016 I launched BARKography my dog photography company here in Charlotte. Here is a link to my dog photography website: BARKography.  I write at least one blog post / week on the site.  You can see some of my latest work there and read about my journey to become a dog photographer.

When I got my first camera, I knew next to nothing about dog photography. I actually didn’t even realize there was much to learn about photography. Early on I got really frustrated with myself and my camera. I didn’t understand why my photos weren’t any good and why they were frequently blurry. For those of you who try to take photos of your moving dogs with your phone, you know it’s hard. If they’re sitting still it’s easier (still hard but easier) but when they’re moving, it’s almost impossible to get a cell phone photo.

local dog photography

This is the image description

Fast forward to today and I am in love with dog photography. I love my camera. I love learning new things about photography and I love trying out new lenses. For my birthday, I got a lens that allows me to take really close up shots that are super sharp and clear. I love those types of photos: close ups of their eyes or their fur. I feel like I can see my dog’s soul through his eyes. I know I’ll cherish the photos that I’m taking of them forever.

I think cell phone photos are great. They’re great for capturing the moment but if you want to ever print out your photos, your cell phone photos aren’t going to look very nice. I’m a big advocate for printing your photos. Even before I got into photography, I’d print my photos. I have a zillion photos of my first 2 dogs Sam and Sloan but none of them are very good. I’m so glad that the photos I have of Willow and Moose are nice quality, printable photos.

I saw a stat recently that 20-30 year olds are the most photographed generation ever but their kids and grandkids won’t ever see photos of them in their younger years because all the photos are cell phone shots – the ones people never print.  There’s a hashtag #printyourphotos (I’m not making that up!)

If you’d like photos of your dog, contact me. Don’t wait. Time goes by too fast and you don’t want to have any regrets about not having decent photos of your furry kids.

local dog photographer

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Heat, Humidity and Dogs

Heat, humidity and dogs were the topics of the online recording I listened to while on hold at my vet yesterday. As a dog walker, I am always really cautious in the heat and humidity with my dogs and any of my client’s dogs. I always make certain the dogs don’t overdue it in the heat. With some high energy dogs, I stop the playing before they act like they want to but I do it because I don’t want them to get overheated.

Charlotte area dog walker

In this heat and humidity, I also pay attention to the dog’s paws when I’m walking them. The pavement can get really hot. The pads on their feet can burn. Some dogs seem to be more sensitive to it than others and I guess that makes sense since they’re all created differently.

The message that I heard yesterday while I was on hold was that dogs don’t sweat the way we humans do. They aren’t able to cool off like we do or as quickly as we do. It went on to say that if you’re outside and you’re hot, your dog is hotter. That really surprised me.

Unfortunately I know of an instance a few summers ago when a woman I knew was running with her dog. Her dog collapsed on the run and died of heat exhaustion.

I may be overly cautious when I’m with my client’s dogs but I want to err on the side of being too careful. You can rest assured when you dogs are being walked by See Spot Run, their safety is our #1 priorty especially in this heat and humidity. I’m not a fan of the heat and humidity either so if a dog seems ready to come inside after doing his business, I am good with that.

Take care of your pets. Keep in mind that you are probably going to need to be the one to know when to stop playing in these extremely hot temperatures.

local dog walker

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Should You Hire a Dog Walker

dog walker


Should you hire a dog walker? Have you asked yourself that question before? Perhaps you’ve not thought about it but my asking the question makes you wonder about it. My answer would be if you work during the day and you’re gone for more than 5-6 hours, then yes you should hire a dog walker. I’ll bet your dog would agree.

Certainly the younger, higher energy dogs benefit from getting walked. It’s good for them to burn some energy, stretch their legs and be mentally stimulated. Have you ever wondered if your dog gets bored when he’s inside the house? I do. I wonder if mine are and I’ll bet the answer is yes, there are times when they are bored. I”ll bet my dog Moose would prefer that I’d take him for a walk right now as a matter of fact and as soon as I’m done here I believe I will do just that!

In looking out for the well-being of our dogs, I think exercise is important. As a dog walker, I always take the weather into consideration and in the middle of the summer when it is hot and humid, I don’t recommend going on a long power walk with your dog but some exercise is still important. As a dog walker, I always assess each individual dog and take things into consideration such as his age and his health when I’m hired to walk him. I report back to the owner after each visit.

We always need to be aware of our dog’s health too and that’s something else your dog walker can assist with. As our dogs age, they might not be able to walk as far or as fast. Some might think they can so as their owner/dog walker we need to know when enough is enough. This time of year we need to watch out for hot pavement too. If the pavement is too hot for you to walk on barefoot, it’s too hot for your dog. If the sand on the beach is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your dog. These are all things that I think about when I’m out walking dogs.

Patricia McConnel wrote a blog post about “What Your Dog Walker Needs to Know.” She did extensive resarch on the subject. You can find her article here.

All of these things are things responsible, professional dog walkers should consider. Your dog’s well being is our #1 priority. We want to help keep your dog healthy and happy with daily exercise and fresh air! After all, a tired dog is a happy dog! Your dog and I think you should hire a dog walker. 🙂

hire a dog walker


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New Midday Dog Walker

See Spot Run has not one new walker but two new dog walkers. I’m so excited to announce I’ve added two ladies, Tiffany and Christina to the team. I’ve known them for years… they live in my neighborhood. I can personally vouch for them.

walker of dogs

Does your dog need to stetch his legs during the day? We love to toss the ball and watch them run after it.

Last September I took some time off and Tiffany covered for me while I was away. She loved it so much so we got to talking and she decided she’d like to walk dogs regularly. That conversation spilled over into a conversation with Christina and now both of them are my new midday dog walkers.

They are taking on new clients Monday – Friday who work during the day and would like their pup to get a walk, play time, or cuddles. We are covering the greater Southpark areas including parts of 28209, 28210 and 28226. If you know of anyone who would like to add this service for their dog, please let me know.  You’d make the dog’s day and you’d make Tiffany and Christina’s too.

This is Rivers, a weimeraner puppy that needed a walker and someone to throw the ball for him while his dad was at work. I’ve said this before, this is the best job ever. Watching dogs like Rivers play and have a good time is a great way to spend my day.

We also love to take them for walks. Not only does the dog enjoy going for a walk, so does the walker. Getting to stretch my legs while watching a dog enjoy his time outside makes me happy.

If you know of anyone else who would like to be a walker, let me know. We may be adding more walkers on in the future.

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Snow Days

Snow Days

Buster and Buddy are two BARKography clients sporting their coats during our session.

Snow days in Charlotte are a big deal. The famous Charlotte weatherman Brad Panovich has starting making his #snOMG forecasts and that means the bread and milk aisles at the stores are already empty.  The following is a true story and personal testament about keeping your dogs warm when it is so cold outside.

Many of you have read stories about my previous yellow lab Sam. Sam was a dog that loved life. She was always happy, wasn’t fearful of much and generally was just a pretty balanced, happy go lucky dog. He LOVED the snow. He’d get the zoomies. If I leashed him and took him for a walk, he’d walk with his nose to the ground. His nose was literally plowing the snow as he walked along.

As he aged, he starting losing his muscle mass and he got skinnier. He reminded me of a frail elder man. He still loved the snow but I’d always put his coat on him whenever we went out because he would shiver. One particular snow day, he zoomed around and then rolled around on his back like he always did. We didn’t stay outside too terribly long but it was too long for Sam.

When we got back inside, he wouldn’t stop shivering. To the point that it scared me so I called the vet. They said that his internal body temperature had gotten too low and I needed to SLOWLY warm him up. They suggested putting a dry coat or sweater on him (which I had) and wrapping him in blankets. They suggested warming up some water with a little bit of broth in it so he’d drink it.

I did that and it worked but it scared me.

Please be careful with your pets in during snow days or even just in cold weather. They don’t know when enough is enough. You need to know that for them. Dry them off. Get any packed snow out of their paws. Clean off their paws if they’ve been on any salt.

Have fun in the snow but be safe. #dogsincoats

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Adopt a Cat Commercial

Many of you know I am a supporter of rescuing and I saw this video promoting “adopt a cat” so I had to share it. We have dogs in my house so I tend to post more about dogs but I am a proponent of any kind of rescuing. I think this adopt a cat commercial is brilliant.

The man in the video is Paul Preston. He lives in Atlanta and his sister Helen volunteers for this rescue, Furkids Animal Rescue and Shelters. His sister came up with the idea and thought her brother would be perfect to cast. I think she was right.

So many rescues struggle to get their adoptable pets noticed. I’ve started photographing pets that are available for adoption in hopes of proving better images for the public to see. I believe that better images of dog and cats that are available for adoption will help the pets get adopted. This afternoon I’ll be photographing a dog that is looking for his forever home. I’ll share those images soon.

I read an article about the commercial that said it took about 30 minutes to shoot. If only every rescue had the capability of producing this type of media attention. I think a lot of cats and dogs would find their forever homes.

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Halloween and your Pet

This weekend many of us will celebrate Halloween and many of us will include our pets. I am photographing a dog Halloween contest and parade on Saturday at Social Pet in Pineville from 11-2pm. Come on out. I photographed the event last year and had a great time.

puppy in Halloween costume

Her name is Wash and she was a puppy when I met her last year. I’ll get to see her again on Saturday and I’m sure she’ll be a lot bigger!

However, keep in mind that not all pets like to wear costumes. My yellow lab Willow doesn’t like to wear anything. If it is raining and I put a coat on her, she freezes and won’t move. She doesn’t like the rain either but apparently she’d rather get wet than wear a raincoat.

If you try to dress up your pet for Halloween and you get a similar reaction from your dog, perhaps you should forgo the costume. My other dog Moose could care less about having a costume or coat on. However if he is around other dogs who have on costumes that even remotely resemble something he’d like to put in his mouth, he will. That’s another thing to think about if you have a crazy dog like my Moose.

Something else to remember: make sure your dog can’t get in the Halloween candy. Chocolate isn’t good for dogs – it can be fatal if enough of it is consumed and the wrapping that is on a lot of the candy can cause blockages. Keep the trick-or-treat bowl and your kids’ stash out of your dog’s reach. Your kids will be happier about that too, right? 🙂

On Monday evening my neighborhood will have a Halloween party in the cul-de-sac. There will probably be a few dogs there although I’m not sure if they’ll be dressed in costumes. This is our 2nd Halloween with Moose. This year we are forgoing handing out candy because Moose is a lot to handle with all that candy around and the doorbell constantly ringing. We’ll give out our candy at the neighborhood party. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Do Dogs Remember Each Other?

I’d love to know if dogs remember each other. I did a BARKography photo session earlier this week with Baxter, a dog that used to live in Charlotte and now he lives in Florida. I was introduced to Baxter and his family through my neighbor Tiffany. I’d done a photo session with Tiffany’s dog Jack and when Baxter’s parents saw the photos, they wanted to have a session with Baxter and they wanted to have photos of the 2 dogs together. The dogs used to play together all the time when they both lived in Charlotte.

I did an early morning session with just Baxter and later that day, I met up with Baxter at the Mint Museum and Jack joined us there. Seeing the two of them run around and play was a lot of fun.

do dogs remember each other

I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then and I wonder, do dogs remember each other? I have no scientific reasoning behind this but I think they do.

I know there are studies about a dog’s memory and many say dogs don’t remember things but I tend to question that. I think they remember certain things or events. When we rescued our black lab Buddy, he cowered if you lifted your hand over his head. I feel pretty certain he’d been hit in the past – he had to remember that and seeing a hand raised over his head made him remember being hit in the past, right? I can tell you over the last 6 years of his life, he was never hit again.

When Baxter and Jack saw each other, the first thing they did was sniff each other. There were a few other dogs around so they sniffed them all too but then they ran around together and played. I even captured a quick pic of Baxter giving Jack a little lick on his nose.

BARKography dog photography

I do think dogs remember each other. Perhaps it has something to do with their sense of smell. Perhaps they remember the dog’s scent. Seeing Baxter and Jack together was really sweet. I’m so glad I was there to witness it.

If you want to see more photos of Baxter, head over to my BARKography blog where I wrote a post about our time together.

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