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Eternal Gratitude

Written by Creature Comforts. Posted in Blog, Creature Comfort Updates, Uncategorized

The following statement is from Amy Vilis, owner of Creature Comforts:

I’m having a difficult time finding the words to give voice to the intense gratitude that I continue to feel after the whirlwind events of the last couple of days. Let me begin by thanking the Agassiz RCMP for the safe recovery of Harriett and Friday and our company vehicle, as well as the individual who called the police after spotting the dogs and the truck.

I must also acknowledge the tremendous and instantaneous response from police services all over the Lower Mainland: it was incredibly reassuring to the families of the missing dogs to know that so much effort was being put into the search and rescue.

I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to friends and family (some in other cities and countries) who took the time to share the information with their extended networks. I definitely have a new respect for the power of social media to bring people together in times of crisis.

To the numerous strangers I approached on the street and who offered support and assistance through Facebook: your kindness will never be forgotten. We all have busy lives, but you took the time to search for our lost family members and to share any information you could. Thank you.

Also key in this effort were the various media outlets that broadcast news of the theft on their websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and radio and television networks. You recognized the urgency of the situation, and you treated us with respect and care. I remain grateful that you took an interest in this crime and brought province-wide exposure to this search and rescue.

Finally, to my family and staff: the Creature Comforts family. You were there to help, right away, with your time and emotional support.

As for the four dogs who were swept up in the theft, they are in surprisingly good spirits and (on the surface, at least) relatively unscathed by their harrowing ordeal. Being one of the owners involved myself, I can tell you that I will be snuggling my dog extra tight tonight, and every night, and encourage you all to do the same with your own pets.

Creature Comforts has been serving pet owners in the Lower Mainland for more than twenty years. In that time, we’ve never been the victims of such an awful, heart-stopping crime, and I’m still having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that something like this even happened. Despite the rarity of the occurrence, we’re instituting a number of policy changes to ensure that nothing of this nature ever happens again. The changes have already gone into effect. There is no room for error.

We pride ourselves on our integrity, and our ties to the community that we serve.
Thank you to Emily, Dave and Linda for your patience and understanding through all of this. I don’t look at my clients simply as clients: you are part of my extended family, and I’ve never and will never forget that connection.

And finally, to the man who stole our dogs and our truck and who put so many people through a rollercoaster of pain, stress and heartache: your weakness has only shown the strength and kindness of others, tenfold.

With eternal gratitude,
Amy Vilis
Owner, Creature Comforts

February – Valentine’s Day!

Written by Creature Comforts. Posted in Blog

It’s hard to do anything on the internet these days without stumbling across cute, amazing and funny animals.  (I myself can spend a couple hours of my weekend watching cute sleepy kitten videos…)  So, there is no doubt that people LOVE their pets – for many reasons.  After a long day, there is nothing like coming home to a meow, tail wag or a happy sniff.  Animals provide companionship, security and, for some, aid in their daily lives.  Since the holiday of the month is Valentine’s Day, here are some love-themed gifts to spoil your pets!

 

Edible cards for cats and dogs – seriously. 

A heart-shaped box of cookies disguised as chocolates. 

There’s nothing better to give a cat then something they can destroy with their claws…

Eco-friendly leashed made of recycled materials.

A puzzle where dogs have to use their noses and paws to find and uncover treats.

Kitties loooove boxes.  So buy them one built into a chalet!

 

Of course, animals don’t know how much you’re spending on them.  They are happy with a long walk, a laser pointer and some cuddly lovin’.  Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and enjoy your pets!

December – Happy Holidays!

Written by Creature Comforts. Posted in Blog

***PLEASE BE AWARE OF OUR SNOW DAY POLICY***

In the hope to alleviate unnecessary stresses on these days please take note of the following:

  1. If you observe such conditions please take the initiative to let us know via phone or email if you plan to stay home yourself to avoid unnecessary stops along the route.
  2. For those that require essential service if we are not able to go for a walk we will at least make sure that the dog gets out for an appropriate bathroom break.

 

The holiday season is here!  This is an exciting (and maybe a little stressful) time of the year not only for us, but for our pets too.  Here are some helpful tips we’ve gathered from around the web to help your holidays go more smoothly:

-             Tire out your pets before the company comes.  Having visitors in your home will undoubtedly cause extra excitement and/or anxiety for your pets.  To ensure a well-behaved dog, go for a long walk before people arrive and things get busy.  To calm kitty’s nerves, ensure they have access to a bustle-free and quiet place they feel safe.  Keep in mind some people are uncomfortable around animals and having a tuckered out pet will help those people relax.

-             New items may be introduced around your home and safety will be a concern.  Don’t forget that poinsettias induce vomiting in dogs, so keep them well out of reach.  (Mistletoe, ivy and holly berries can be poisonous also.)  Similarly, treats with chocolate need to be sealed and kept out of reach because chocolate is poisonous for dogs.

-             Tinsel is oh-so-tempting for kitty, but it is very dangerous and can cut up your pets’ intestines.  Paper tinsel is a better option than plastic or metallic.  Place fragile ornaments toward the top of the tree and sturdy ones toward the bottom.

-             Keep your tree and presents safe from destruction (because our dogs will know what presents contain food, even if we don’t…) Use a pen as a mini fence around the tree and gifts.  It doesn’t have to ruin the theme; you can decorate it with fabric bows, paper ornaments, etc.

-             Unplug lights and other electric decorations when you leave the house in case pets decide chewing on them is a good idea.  They can also trip on cords, such as the one connected to your tree, which could cause greater injuries and damage.

-             Have fun and relax!  Our pets can sense when we are anxious and stressed out.  Remember that the holidays are meant to be enjoyed – so take a little time to cuddle up with your furry children and soak up the spirit.

Looking for gift ideas for your critters?  We’ve found a few useful products to consider:

If you have a busy dog that is easily bored, try using a doggy back pack.  Being able to strap a little bit of extra weight on them makes them feel like they are working, giving them satisfaction, focus and more exercise.  Visit http://www.cesarsway.com for more info.

For dogs with Anxiety, some of our clients have recently purchased the Thundershirt.  This shirt fits snug around your dog, gently calming their nerves while you are away, in the car, during storms, etc.

If your large breed dog is a puller and you would like to regain control, try Cesar the Dog Whisperer’s Illusion Dog Collar.   Normal collars rest on the lowest and strongest part of your dog’s neck.  The illusion collar holds the slip collar closer to the ears, maximizing your control.

Litter boxes don’t have to be smelly AND an eyesore… You can buy them disguised as furniture or plant pots!

Kitties love to scratch!  Here’s a funny twist to a regular cardboard scratch pad… hilarious.

Does your cat like to drink from a running faucet?  Here is a lovely unique handmade cat fountain.

Hope that gives you some ideas.  Enjoy the holiday season!

Love,

Creature Comforts

November – Seasonal Affective Disorder and Your Pet

Written by Creature Comforts. Posted in Blog

***STAT Holiday – No dog-walking on Friday, November 11th, Remembrance Day***

As the dreary coastal fall/winter season rolls in, you may start feeling less energetic and a little down.  Recent research shows that our furry friends experience similar symptoms (lethargy, reduced appetite, clawing or chewing, frequent barking or aggression) during this time of year.  The lack of sunlight affects the levels of melatonin, serotonin and other hormones our (and their) brains produce.

A great way for you and your pet not only to bond, but to increase your endorphin levels is to get at least 20 minutes of outdoor exercise per day.  Endorphin production usually begins about 15 to 20 minutes into exercise and peaks after about 45 minutes.  Repetitious movement, such as walking, running and cycling, increase levels of serotonin.

Leave some curtains open while you are out of the house during the day.  Light is tied to the functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands and can stimulate the body to release hormones that have an uplifting effect on mood.  Even 30 minutes a day on a sunny back porch or window perch may do the trick.

On the weekend, try taking a trip to a different park in town.  The new sights and smells will help lift your pet’s mood.  For a list of off-leash parks in Vancouver, visit the Vancouver Parks Board website.  If it is too miserable outside to consider a walk in the park try introducing new toys and games.  Hide treats around the house or inside toys to entertain and challenge Scruffy.  Put a bird feeder by the window for the “hunter” in Fluffy to spy on.  ***Dog walker’s note: It is never too miserable for a walk in the park!  Chillydogs is a small Canadian company with Canadian-made products and materials.  They sell rain and winter gear for your pup.

Funny enough, you can buy movies specifically for pets!  These are designed to alleviate separation anxiety and boredom while you are out of the house during the day.  A movie for a cat might contain small animals such as birds and squirrels scurrying about their natural habitats making their glorious squeaky sounds.  A movie for dogs might show dogs playing with other dogs in the park, doing agility contests, playing fetch, etc.  I know my dog LOVES to watch “Dog’s With Jobs” on the Knowledge Network… Similarly, my cat likes to watch our parrot bathe himself and chew up his toys… I read about these videos at: http://www.themoviefordogs.com and www.cattv.com.

One more product I have read up on is the Thundershirt.  A couple of the dogs we know experience frequent anxiety with a number of different triggers: loud sounds, car travel, crating, separation from loved ones, etc. These shirts create a constant and gentle pressure which calms the nerves, much like swaddling a baby.  To watch the video and read more, visit http://www.thundershirt.com/.

Stay cheerful this winter and cuddle your critters!

October – Happy Halloween!

Written by Creature Comforts. Posted in Blog

Considering it is October, it seems the obvious blog topic would be about treats and costumes.  Since our four-legged friends may not be impressed that they cannot share treats with the kids, here are a few ideas for homemade goodies they CAN enjoy:

Peanut Butter Pumpkins

Ingredients:

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup peanut butter (Can substitute with almond butter)

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup water

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine oat flour, rolled oats, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add the peanut butter and water. Mix the ingredients together until dough forms. Roll the dough into 1/4″ thickness. Cut out cookies with a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until desired “crunchiness”.

 

Jack ‘O Lantern treats

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon each, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 egg whites

1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

1/2 cup water (more if needed)

Directions: Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, stirring until just combined. Add flour to make them stiff enough to roll into balls in your palm. Place the cookie balls on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper. Flatter with a fork in a crisscross pattern (dip the fork into flour or granulated brown sugar if it gets too gunky.) Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until cookies are firm and lightly browned. Cool on rack or leave in oven with the door cracked open two to three hours or until biscuits are hard and crunchy.

 

Nobody ever got a Halloween treat without dressing up and working for it!  Here are some of our favourite animal costumes:

Dogs:

                               

Silence of the Lambs                          Black Widow                                        King Mutt

                               

Hot Dog                                                King of Pride Rock                              Skunked

 

Cats (if they are willing to cooperate…):

                               

Puss in Boots                                       Chicken                                                 Hello Kitty

 

Holidays:

For the month of October, we will not be providing dog-walking services on Monday, the 10th, Thanksgiving.

 

Community Events:

S.P.C.A.

October 2:  Youth Workshop, “Canine Companions”

October 19:  Pet Behaviour Seminar with Dr. Pat Pryor

October 21:  Youth Workshop, “Fabulous Farm Animals”

October 22:  Beagle Ball

October 23:  Youth Workshop, “Canine Companions”

 

P.A.D.S.:

October 19:  Volunteer Orientation

 

S.A.I.N.T.S.:

No current events scheduled