Pet Friendly SW Florida

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Pets & Growing Organic Food

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At first I thought this has about zero to do with pets, unless you count my somewhat futile efforts to train the dogs to keep out of the garden but it actually kind of does if you read on. To be fair, these old dogs (Bailey will be 108 in human years in just over a week!) have grown used to going wherever they feel like in the yard, and doing whatever they want. I’ll not go into more details as I’ve already digressed.

But, I feel so EXCITED about my new garden projects that I want to share it with the world, and what better way to do it than to put it on the internets? You’re welcome.

My Garden Pictures

Here’s some pictures of the garden. I’d love to get any suggestions and gardening tips to help me deal with pets and harvest as much as possible, so please feel free to email or comment!

Below are a few tips I found and tried to follow to keep the dogs safe.

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Don’t Plant Toxic Plants

Well, now here’s something that is actually pet related. When planting anything around your house, especially if you have a dog that likes to graze (I miss you, Joey) it makes a lot of sense to plan ahead, and research which plants are toxic to pets. Then, don’t plant those. Its actually quite easy to slip, because for every plant you are planning to plant, you will have to look at the list because there are lots of them.

You Might Get By With A Few Toxic Plants

Some plants which are toxic, you might still get away with. For example, Onions. If you can plant them in a spot that your pets don’t access alone, you can keep them away from it. Or you can plant them in hanging planters that they can’t reach.

Another thing to consider is the size of your pet. Small dogs and cats which are smaller but still can take a big bite of something will have a higher potential for an issue. If you have a larger animal, a small bite of something may not affect them at all. I had a friend who’s dog used to seek out and ravage through bags of Hershey Kisses, plastic bag, aluminum foil and all. He lived to a ripe old age of 14-ish going strong all the way. My vet said the actual toxicity in a family size bag of Hershey Kisses might be enough to kill a small dog, but a 60lb dog might get a little bit of a head rush and a palpitating heart. No wonder he did it – for the rush.

Plant Out Of Pets Reach

This is just smart, unless you want your plantings trampled. I’ve opted for hanging planters, above ground planters, and in-ground only outside the fence where they can’t get to. And when I put some corn in the ground, it will be protected until it gets tall enough to not be a temptation.

January 28, 2014 |

Announcing the First Ever SWFL Pets Photo Caption Contest

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In ground breaking news, SWFLpets.com announces its FIRST EVER photo caption contest. Hopefully there will be many more to come, but until then we urge you to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to get something for nothing (well, almost nothing) and join in the fun.

Here’s the rules:

1. Reply to our tweet of the following image with your suggestion of a caption. Replies via email, comments to this blog post, thinking about them in the shower but not replying to the tweet, and other such not-tweet-replies will not count, although we do really appreciate your extra brain cycles!

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2. The best caption will be chosen in February by a highly skilled panel consisting of myself, Bailey and Brady (pictured) and maybe a few friends if I can rope them in.

3. Winner will receive a $25 PetSmart gift card, courtesy of us. We are in no way affiliated, owned, controlled, influenced, sponsored, endorsed, loved, liked, hated, or anything else by PetSmart. I don’t think they even know we exist, actually. I’m just going to buy the gift card, and send it to you, but wanted to tell you what it is, because those vague “win a gift valued at $25″ lines repulse me when they don’t tell you what it is. They could be a bunch of old junk from a thrift shop that used to be worth something but are now broken.

So head on over to Twitter – just click here – and reply to our tweet to enter the contest!

January 8, 2014 |

Introducing SWFLpets.com – it’s going to be BIG!

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swflpets-squareWell, hello there! Or as they say in Hawai’i, at least at those made-for-tourists Luaus, Alooooo-ha! Take a moment and say it out loud; Alooooooooo-ha! Doesn’t that make you feel better, almost like you’re on vacation somewhere tropical?

Now back to the real world.

So here we are, instantly transported back from Hawai’i to good old SW Florida. There’s some really interesting stuff happening here, and I’m not talking just about whales stranded in the Everglades, or how Sneaky Pete’s in Bonita Springs is the new 70+ hook up spot, or even that the Marriott in Marco Island is THE local spot if you’re looking for a sugar-momma.

I’m talking about something BIG!

Big, not huuuge-ah. There’s a difference. BIG is big, and almost like huuuuge-ah, but with much less yelling and much less interrupting Caroline. I mean, if Caroline were to talk about this new BIG thing, I would let her. I’d even let her finish her sentences. Caroline, are you listening? Feel free to chime in about BIG if you like.

SWFLpets.com is gonna be BIG! “That’s what I’m talking about, Southwest Florida!”

So what’s this all about?

Well, I got so sick and tired of how hard it is to find pet friendly places, that I decided to build this site to help other SWFL pet owners find pet friendly places. So far in my quest, while I’ve met plenty of dog friendly people but I’ve also been kicked out of Costco with my beloved late Joey who I took in with me instead of leaving in the 95 degree heat in the car, had some random angry dude yelling at me asking if my 3-legged foster, Nala was a “blind dog” when taking her into Home Depot. “No, you idiot she’s not blind, she’s just lost a leg!” would have been an appropriate response, but I’m just not quite that rude out loud – just in my head. And there’s been countless other situations.

While some businesses don’t want dogs or pets visiting (and that’s up to them) there are others that do which are the ones I’m focusing on here. My mission is to find as many of them as possible, and list them on this site. There is no charge for being listed, so if they are on the site it’s because they are pet friendly and any relevant business will be added for free, so you don’t have to worry about someone just paying to be listed. I’m trying to be as non-biased as humanly possible. I am, only human, and not a dog, after all.

Please join me in my mission to find as many pet friendly things as possible, here in SW Florida and list them on this site, so we can collectively spend our money at businesses and events that understand our pets are not just pets, but family. Maybe even better than family, since they’re the kind you don’t argue with over the holidays.

Just who’s behind this thing?

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This is me. I’ve actually lost weight and become better looking since this picture, but I didn’t have any other shirt-off ones laying around and I’m not into bathroom mirror selfies (you’re welcome) so this is the one I’m using. If you care to know more about me, check out my linkedin profile. I can be reached via twitter or email.

The true inspiration behind the site though, are the dogs that have touched my life since being in Florida. Here they are, in no particular order:

Bailey

Bailey is my girl. I’ve called her a Wolfhound-Airedale mix for her entire life because I know she’s got some Airdale in the gene pool, and she has always looked and acted like a Wolfhound. I ended up doing one of those DNA tests, which says she’s a Polish Sheepdog mix with Rottie & Airdale. Seriously, WTF? I’m sticking with Wolfhound mix.

She was a handful for many years, but always a good dog. Just too damn smart for me. Well, now she will be 14 on Feb 8, 2014 and is finally a really good dog. She’s sweet, loving and still very energetic, due to huge thanks to me (only ’cause I pay for it!) her awesome genes, high quality food, Angel Animal Hospital for veterinary care and Valerie’s Physical therapy at Specialized Veterinary Services.

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 Joey

Best. Dog. Ever.

Loved everyone, and loved by everyone. Came out of the factory potty-trained at 7 weeks old. Joey set the bar so high it may be pointless for me to ever have another dog again. I could fill up this page with pictures and words of Joey, so I’ll stop now. I miss you dearly, Joey.

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Nala

My beloved first foster, Tripawd, and all around incredible sweet girl. I’m fortunate to still be able to see her and have her spend the night occasionally! Nala has a fantastic personality and brings a huge smile to my face with her funny sounds and dynamic personality. I don’t think she likes the floor much, because she spent most of her time with me on top of one piece of furniture or another.

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Shaggy

Previously known as Shaggy, this gentle, loving creature was found crossing the highway 41 bridge from North Fort Myers. Yes, the one with no sidewalks. Golden Retriever Rescue of SW Florida took him in, and I was given the privilege to foster Shaggy. His name truly fit as he was a matted mess. Ear infections, thyroid condition, skin infections, etc. He stunk to high heaven, yet still wanted affection and love. He’s so genteel that he will let you do absolutely anything to him – ear cleanings, bathing, nail trims, x-rays with no sedation, etc. After a few weeks of treatment he lost the stench and we became better friends. Now in his new life, he has THE softest coat I’ve ever felt, it’s like cloud-meets-cotton-candy-meets-marshmallows-and-side-of-velvet. His new family has since dubbed him Shiner, to release him from the stigma of his temporary rescue name.

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Graham

Graham is an honorary SWFL Pet. He is my Joey’s brother from the same litter, and almost as great of a dog. Don’t get me wrong, he’s GREAT but just not my Joey. At 13 and 1/2 years old, Graham is in his last stages of life with tumors on his spleen. He’s still well taken care of and happy. He lives with my parents on the West Coast (of the country, not the state) and it breaks my heart to not be near him now.

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And Others

I could list them all, and I may at some point. But until then, here are some of the foster dogs I’ve been privileged to care for along with other dogs that have been a part of my life in SW Florida. In order of appearance: Brady, Ellie, Ellie again, Dixie, Harley, Fiona, Ollie, Lolly, Zach, Gabe, Merlin and Lucy the Pig.

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December 28, 2013 |