Barks and Blooms

Adventures in Pet Sitting

‘How to be a Highly Irritating Dog Walker’

This blog post made me giggle from beginning to end, so I wanted to share!

 By the way, Barks and Blooms Dog Walkers do NONE of these things.  Promise.

Happy Monday, people!

How to be a Highly Irritating Dog Walker


Pointless, Incessant Barking

Pointless, incessant barking:  Not my goal.

My  goal: To connect with other pet bloggers, pet lovers, and pet sitters.

(The gravy on the kibble would be if I could do all that AND  make you smile. )

  Barks Blog

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Homemade Chicken Jerky (or, Aren’t We All Tired of These Recalls?)

In the light of yet ANOTHER recall notice concerning treats made from chicken imported from China, we thought it would be a good idea to research how hard it would  be to make our own.  This looks easy!  My dog Jazz (below) has agreed to be the taste tester.  Ha!IMG_0221


Chicken Breast Fillet


  1. Preheat oven to 200° F
  2. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  3. Rinse off chicken breast and remove any fat.
  4. Slice the chicken with the grain. This will help make the jerky even chewier for your dog. The slices should be very thin, about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thickness.
  5. Place the strips on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake for approximately 2 hours (see note below).
  7. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack until completely cool.
  8. Cut strips into bite sized pieces.

 Note:  The baking times will vary due to difference in ovens, temperatures and meat size. Your jerky treats should be firm and dry, not at all soft or spongy. It is safer to go a little extra dry and firm than for the meat to be underdone.

Jazz will let you know if they’re any good.

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I Can’t See My Feet! (or, All I Got for Christmas is FAT)

I got fat

What are some games I can play with my cat to get him moving?

Cats are predators, and the way to get them to play is to let them use their hunting talents. Buy toys and then use them to mimic the actions of the animals a cat would normally hunt – a mouse, bird, lizard, rabbit or bug. Take a laser pointer and skitter it across the floor like a bug. Get a wand toy that looks like a bird and pretend to land and take off. But don’t just flap it around. No bird acts like that. Try to think about what a bird really does and then reenact that with the toy. It’s all pretend play, but try to make it as real as possible for your cat.

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Pet Weight Translator (or, put down that MilkBone!)

 If you suspect your pet is overweight, he probably is.

I found this handy tool while perusing the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention website. Did  you know that a 12 lb. Yorkie is the same as a 5’4″ woman who weighs 216 lbs?  Kind of gives you perspective, doesn’t it?  How about this?  A 14 lb. cat is the same as a 5’9″ man who is 237 lbs.

Check out this page and use this handy Pet Weight Translator.

fat dog

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Does this collar make me look fat?

A new year usually comes with new resolve to get fit and lose weight.   The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has come out with these helpful charts to assist you in determining if Fluffy is too fluffy or Fido has had one MilkBone too many.  ImageImage

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Your Pets New Year Resolutions

Do your pets make resolutions?  Tell us what they are!  


Pets Best Insurance Dog and Cat New Year Resolutions

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From the mouths of babes………

A funny thing happened last week.  A client sent her son to my door with an envelope for me.  My husband happened to be at home and answered the door.  The little boy looked at hubby and said, “Uh, I think your daughter is walking my dog.  This is envelope is for her.”

We were married in March of 1989.


Twenty-four years later, here we are:IMG_0527

While I appreciated the compliment and thoroughly enjoyed the look on my husband’s face when he repeated the story, I don’t really look like his daughter, do I?



Barks and Blooms in the Top Five!



“Pet Sitters International (PSI) has selected its top-five finalists for the 2012Pet Sitter of the Year™ Award.  First awarded by PSI in 1995, the Pet Sitter of the Year designation is the industry’s highest honor and recognizes true excellence for the in-home pet-care profession.”–from the announcement linked below.

PSI Pet Sitter of the Year Finalists Announced

We are thrilled and delighted to let you all know that we have made the Top Five!  The winner will be announced in January.  Thank you to all of you who took the time to nominate us.  Thank you also for allowing us to share in your lives and the lives of your sweet pets!

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The Chocolate Sage and The BRVBB

Meet Sage.  She is a vibrant, clever, goofy, rambunctious, gleeful Chocolate Lab.  I met Sage almost 3 years ago when she was just a wee puppy.

Sage, puppyCute, isn’t she?  Here’s another when she was just 12 weeks old.  (By the way, I’ve shamelessly stolen these pics from her owners Facebook page–Hi Linda!)

Sage, 12 weeksSage has grown up in the years since these were taken.  Here’s a more recent photo.

IMG_0468Still stinkin’ cute, right?    As you may remember from a previous blog post,  (Your Dog Can Be A Hero)   Sage is on her way to becoming a hero.   ‎

Sage met with the wonderful people representing the Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank  to determine if she would make a good voluntary canine blood donor.  I tagged along to the 4 Paws Spa in Forest Hill to observe the process.

First, Sage  gave the volunteers a good sniff.IMG_0156  The next step was to make her comfortable on the table.  IMG_0159

That step and the ones following were made easier (and yummier) for Sage because Linda kept a steady stream of kibble and peanut butter coming her way.  Sage was one happy pup.


The Vet tech examined Sage, determining her comfort level with the process, and checking out the area of her neck where the blood would be drawn.

For that step, the other tech got into position and gave Sage a fully body hug while Linda kept up the flow of peanut butter and kibble.


Sage was so delighted with the treats and the constant positive attention from Linda and the tech that she didn’t even notice the needle prick and the blood draw.  See how totally relaxed her legs are?  She’s practically melting off the side of the table.


Sage’s blood will be tested to determine what her blood type is and screen it for any health issues that would make her unable to be a donor.   (We know she’s absurdly healthy, but it’s an important step)  And since Sage was so agreeable to this initial procedure Linda can now set up appointments for Sage to donate blood regularly.  To find out how your dog(s) can be heroes, please contact The Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank for more information.

Tell them Sage sent you!

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