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Our Fantastically Fabulous Team of Pet Professionals at Barks and Blooms is dedicated to earn your trust through our integrity and professionalism. We proudly service our clients at our doggie day care facility or in your home. Our services range from in-home pet sitting of dogs, cats and critters to plant watering & mail retrieval.
Barks and Blooms offers a full range of Fantastic services to give you the confidence you need to enjoy for your pets and home.

Friday, January 29, 2016

I Can't See My Feet! (or All I Got For Christmas was FAT)

I got fat

It's the time of year when it's easy to become complacent, comfortable and cozy.  This can lead to some added pounds for us and for our pets. We can go for walks to burn some calories, but cats are typically not huge fans of The Leash.  

Here are a few ideas to keep your cat moving and engaged mentally as well.  Cats are predators, and the way to get them to play is to let them use their instinctual hunting talents. Buy toys and then use them to mimic  actions of 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.  Your cat will be happier and all that belly laughing you'll do has got to be good for your abs, right?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sage, the Chocolate Lab and the Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank

Meet Sage.  She is a vibrant, clever, goofy, rambunctious, gleeful Chocolate Lab.  I met Sage 6 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!

And now.....a Soup Recipe

It's been dagnabbit cold here in Maryland this week.  We had a blizzard.  We had 30+ inches of snow.  As a result, not a lot of dog walking going on, but definitely a lot of eating.   

Below is my favorite chicken soup recipe (inspired from one I found on MyRecipes.com) Make some and enjoy!!

Roasted Chicken with Wild Rice Soup

(6-ounce) box long-grain and wild rice mix (Uncle Ben's, anyone?) 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion (or 1tsp dried minced onion) 
1 cup chopped celery  (ohmygosh, do you have one of those slap-chopper thingies?  get one!)
1 cup chopped carrot 
garlic cloves, chopped 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon (or not--frankly, I don't have any) 
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
2 cups water 
2 tablespoons dry sherry (or any opened white wine you have in the fridge. *wink*)
(15.75-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth  (or 4 chicken bouillon cubes and 4 C water)
(12-ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk 
3 cups shredded roasted skinless chicken

Prepare rice according to package directions; set aside.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion (if using fresh) and next 4 ingredients (onion through mushrooms), and sauté for 6 minutes or until onion is tender. Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Stir the flour, tarragon, and thyme into the onion mixture, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add 2 cups water, sherry, broth, (dried minced onion here if using instead of fresh), and evaporated milk; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in cooked rice and chicken; cook for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

YOUR Dog Can Be A Hero!

I had never heard of dog blood donors until a client told me she was taking her Chocolate Lab, Sage to be evaluated this week at 4 Paws Spa.   There is a need for canine blood to help sick or injured dogs and since canine blood has a shelf life of only about 30-35 days, the supply must be replenished regularly.
Some veterinary clinics don’t need blood very often, so they don’t keep it on hand. That’s when the Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood  Bank steps in to fill the gap.  They travel to vet offices, groomers, and other places where donors have signed up. They collect the blood and store it for when it’s needed.
Can your Fido be a donor?   Probably.  There are some tests to make sure there are no diseases that could be passed on and it’s important that your dog has a calm temperament.  During the testing and procedure, Fido is embraced in a full-body hug by one of the technicians and is treated to dog cookies and maybe even some peanut butter on a spoon!
For more information, use the links above and check back here for a peek at how Sage’s visit went!
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. )

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Tail of Two Dogs--Part Two

The last time we checked in, we shared a story about a dog named Graycie (a 12 yr. old Weimeraner) who was suddenly struggling to walk.  Through friends of friends, we were able to connect Graycie's owner Kristy with someone who had a doggie chair they wanted to donate.  Well, here's the update.  After two weeks of not walking or even sitting up, Graycie is getting used to and enjoying her new wheels!  Take a look at the videos Kristy sent us last week:

Here's what Kristy wrote on her Facebook page:

"Four weeks ago, our Graycie's health started going down hill. She couldn't get herself up or walk at all. Since then, she has gotten lots and lots of love and has been through various tests and even got a donated pair of wheels! We are still unsure as to what exactly caused her not to walk but she is doing well with her wheels and is even starting to hobble on her own! It's been a roller coaster but for now, we are thankful to still have her and continue to love her each day!"