Calling All Canine Good Citizens in Miami!

Canine Good Citizen Seasons Hospice

Is your dog a Canine Good Citizen (or does s/he want to be)? We know a special place that could use her (or his) services! We met Caroline Blankenship, the Manager of Volunteer Services, Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, at the Trinity Cathedral Blessing of the Animals. Seasons Hospice was looking for volunteers, including canine volunteers. Caroline is looking for Canine Good Citizens ready to give of their time. We wanted to share this opportunity with the several Canine Good Citizens we walk and pet sit for, and let you in on the small interview we had with her via email, below.

Q) How would one go about taking their Canine Good Citizen to Seasons Hospice?

A) Get a feel for your canine. If they are friendly, loving, provide peace and tranquility and are full of joy, then your canine will be a great addition to the Hospice team here at Seasons. The next step would be to coordinate with the volunteer department at Seasons and initiate the screening process with one of our great volunteer coordinating staff.

Q) What is the routine like for dog and handler? What can they expect from a typical day of volunteering?

A) The days for both dog and handler vary greatly since we have a variety of patients with different needs, so, there is no set routine other than bringing smiles and happiness to the patients!

Q)What benefits have you observed that people in hospice gain from coming into contact with Canine Good Citizens?

A) Patients in hospice that receive pet therapy have been noted to be less stressed and feel more upbeat with their frequent canine visitors! Some patients that have been less prone to show emotions have frequently displayed levels of affection not regularly seen in the past when they have their canine visitors.

Q) Can you share a story about the benefits of bringing dogs to the hospice?

A) One of our canines, Ginger, used to visit a patient last year that would not speak to anyone and would always have their head turned away. One day on a visit by Ginger and her handler, Ginger (being the happy affection Lab/Shepard mix that she is) climbed up on the patient’s bedside excitedly and simply leaned her head next to the patient. The patient slowly but surely turned her head towards Ginger, began to pet her head, and smiled! Every visit after that was so special to the patient; she was visibly moved by Ginger, and her entire demeanor changed. She passed away with Ginger by her side the next day.

Q) Is there anything in particular you want potential volunteers to know?

A) Make sure your canine is trained and certified as a Good Canine Citizen, is well behaved, shows the essential qualities of a pet therapy dog (love, affection, happiness, friendliness) and be ready to provide a truly great and beneficial experience to patients.

Many thanks to Caroline for her time. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, click on their volunteer application link. Is your dog a good candidate to become a Canine Good Citizen? Go ahead and make that a goal for 2015- find a class here!

How to Say No to Buying a Puppy this Christmas (or Hanukkah!)

How to say no Miami

How to Say No to Buying Puppy for Christmas or Hanukkah

Your children have been begging for a puppy for months, maybe years, and they’re like bloodhounds on a scent as December 16 or 25 approach. Is this the year you bring home a new puppy? Some of our clients have trouble saying no to a puppy for the holidays even though they are almost certain they have enough on their hands with their families and current pets. Perhaps an adult dog is better suited to the family dynamic, but the kids are focused on the puppy in the window. This blog post is for those parents, soft-hearted souls who need a little help convincing their kids that a puppy is not right for them at the moment.

Is a puppy, an adult dog, or neither right for you?

A puppy is very much like a newborn child. Puppies are completely dependent on you for food, potty training, medical care, love, and proper socialization with humans and other dogs, all of which are very time-consuming. If you have a dog in the house already, introducing a new puppy to an older dog can be challenging as well and requires planning. There are also the added investments of the right kinds of toys, emergency veterinarian visits, professional training, and grooming. Puppies are hard work, which is why we offer a puppy potty training service and special puppy visits.

We typically don’t recommend buying a puppy; we are staunch believers in adoption over shopping. There are way too many dogs languishing and dying in shelters around our country to merit a purchase from a puppy store. Of course, some of you have a love for a certain breed and are within your right to bring that kind of dog home. We’re happy to say our clients with purebred dogs do their homework and bring home their new family members from reputable, caring breeders. Their dogs are wonderful, healthy, and loved. But not every breeder is like that. Luckily, there are many breed-specific dog rescues (Boxers, Bullies, English Bulldogs, Dachshunds, Yorkies) that can fulfill your need for that special breed without supporting the terrible puppy mill system (online or at one of Miami’s ill-reputed puppy stores).

If you have decided that a new puppy is not the right addition for your family life for the moment, congratulations! We know how hard it is to say no to tiny, cute, soft fur babies. Here are some ways to break the news to your children this year depending on your situation, their age, and maturity level.

If you absolutely don’t want a puppy this year:

  1. Santa wants us to help all the hundreds of dogs without homes at the shelter, so we’re donating to Miami-Dade Animal Services this year.
  2. The puppy you want comes from a sad place. Buying that puppy will keep those bad people in business.
  3. We have too many fun events planned this year and we wouldn’t want to leave the puppy out of them. Let’s wait until we have less going on.
  4. Having a new puppy is like having a new child. We don’t have time to take care of him/her the way he deserves to be loved.

If you do want a dog this year, but not a puppy, you have a few good options.

  1. We can’t have a puppy right now, but we can foster different kinds of dogs until we find the right one for us. That way we help these pups who need a home and we get to know which kind of dog we like!
  2. Santa has different plans for our family. We’re going to help one of the needy dogs from a rescue this year. Let’s look online to see who we want to bring home!

We hope this helps. Let us know if you do end up fostering a dog or taking adopting one. Remember, dogs are not presents. They’re family, and their arrival is as beautiful and full of responsibilities as a new baby would be to your pack!




Dog-Friendly Holiday Party in Miami a Success!

dog friendly Miami Christmas

Thanks to all who came by our dog-friendly Holiday Party in Miami last weekend! We, along with our co-hosts Fuji and Friends, were so happy to welcome our clients and new friends to West Elm in Dadeland for our fundraiser benefiting Paws 4 You Rescue. The crew from Paws 4 You brought out pups for adoption; we think one may have at least found a foster, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for that!

Everyone who came mentioned how thankful they were for the opportunity to donate to a great cause. They loved the Santa Paws photo shoot and the sweets were a hit. Of course, we have a long list of people to thank ourselves! Our pet sitters were on hand to volunteer their time on a Sunday, and we are so proud and grateful for that. Sara and Sarah are wonderful employees and that’s the kind of giving spirit we appreciate. Sara also volunteered with her boyfriend, Alex Bartole, to snap the Santa Paws photos that everyone loved.

We’d especially like to thank Lee Morrisson, our wonderful Santa Paws and and photographers Alex Bartole and Sarah Robinson! Lee is always ready to lend a helping hand, be it through the South Miami Rotary Club or as a friend. The dogs all thought he made the perfect Santa Paws, and we agree! Santa’s helpers, Alex and Sara, were professional and made the photo sessions run smoothly and the photographs were beautiful and crisp. If you need a photographer for your events, Alex and Sara are a great team. Please contact to learn more about them. 
We are also incredibly grateful for the support from our local Miami pet-friendly businesses and rescue volunteers! We’d like to thank everyone who came out to make this holiday party special, including:

  • Fuji and Friends- for being such great co-hosts!
  • Sheep Sac- for coming through to offer her great gift bags
  • Waglet Works Adventure Dog Gear- an incredibly cool dog apparel
  • Slice of Art Bakery- for the delicious mini Christmas Cupcakes
  • Little R & R Bake Shop- delightfully mid-western & homey baked goods (vegan? no problem!)
  • Cao Chocolates- for their donation of delicous freshly made brownies
  • West Elm Dadeland- for opening their store to our dogs!
  • The Paws 4 You Rescue volunteers!

We can’t wait for what next year brings.