Are You and Your Dog Prepared for an Emergency?

Usually I don’t pay that much attention to all the random “National Fill-in-the-Blank Awareness” months and days (although I am a big supporter of National Doughnut Day), but as a new-ish dog owner National Disaster Preparedness Month this month caught my attention. I think it’s important to think about ways you and your dog can be prepared in the case of an emergency.

I’ve taken a few basic steps to prepare for emergencies. First, I’ve made sure that a family member and a close by friend has a key to my house in the event that something happens to me and I can’t get home to my dog at the usual time. I think it’s a good idea to have more than one person have a key to your house so that you have a backup in case one person can’t get there.

Another thing that I’ve done is affix a Fire Rescue sticker to let firefighters know that there is a dog in the house. Of course you never want to think about any of these things happening, when another living being is involved it’s important to take some precautions.

As I mentioned, these are very basic disaster preparedness arrangements. I’ve been reading up about some of the other things that you can do as a pet owner to prepare and came across some good tips on the FEMA site:

– Prepare an emergency kit for your pet – including food, water, medication and a leash.

– Do not leave your pet behind in an emergency or forced evacuation. Have an evacuation spot planned ahead of time. A lot of emergency shelters won’t take pets, so you’ll want to have researched pet-friendly hotels or friends and family you could stay with outside of the area.

– Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

FEMA has a good brochure on their site for pet owners with more advice on preparing your pet for an emergency:

Is this something you’ve given much thought to? What plans have you put in place for you and your dog?


Somehow (due to poor planning to my part) I have been out of town for both Puppypaloozas this year. I will definitely plan better for next year as I am sure my dog would love nothing more than to go a baseball game. He always enjoys taking a nap while watching them at home, at least.

The twice annual event benefits the Cleveland Animal Protection League. Although the game starts at 7:05, you’ll want to get there early. The Puppypalooza vendors, which include PetPeople, Banfield Pet Hospital, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and the Cleveland APL, will open up shop starting at 5:30. Only the first 300 dogs and humans can participate in the Puppypalooza Parade during the pregame ceremonies, so you’ll want to start lining up well before 6:15 p.m. in order to make the parade.

If you do plan to go, keep in mind these rules:

  • All dogs must remain on a leash at ALL times including when you and your dog are seated in the ballpark. Retractable leashes are not permitted.
  • 1 Dog per 1 Adult only. — All participants are required to sign the liability waiver. You must bring a signed waiver or sign one at registration to participate in the Event.
  • Each dog must have a “canine” ticket for admission to the Event, and must be accompanied by at least one ticket-holding adult owner over the age of 18. All participants must register/check-in at the Gate C / East Ninth Street Patio Entrance starting at 5:30PM on the day of the Event.
  • Veterinarians from Banfield Pet Hospitals will be available day of game.
  • You MUST bring a copy of your dog’s vaccination records. All dogs must be up to date on the following vaccinations:
    • Rabies -given annually, but sometimes can be a 3 year.
    • DHLP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Para influenza) – given annually.
    • Parvo – given annually, many times this is included in the DHLP and indicated as DHLPP.
    • Bordatella – given either every six months or annually. Sometimes referred to as: Kennel Cough OR Tracheobronchitis.

**Important ** This question came up on the Facebook page and I think it’s a good one – where do the dogs relieve themselves? According to the Puppypalooza Info page: “There will be a designated space outside the Carnegie Tent for dogs to relieve themselves while attending the Event.” Good to know!

And if, like me, you can’t make it this year – enjoy some pictures from June’s Puppypalooza event. Almost as good as being there right?

Have you been to Puppypalooza? Tell me about it in the comments!

Cleveland Pet Expo

Seems like I picked a bad weekend to be out of town. This Saturday at the Cleveland Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. is the biggest pet show of the year – The Cleveland Pet Expo. The event will feature vendors, costume contests, adoptable pets, entertainment, agility and obedience demonstrations…pretty much anything a pet lover could want to see.

The expo is dog friendly and free to the public. There are some good tips on Expo’s site if you do plan to bring your dog to this busy event. There will a lot of people and pets there, so besides making sure your dog is up to date on his vaccinations*, you’ll want to make sure that your dog is good in crowds and ok with loud noises.

Here are some of the events I wouldn’t miss (if I could go):

12:15PM: Pet/Owner Musical Chair Competition

1:15PM: Celebrity Dog Trainer Harrison Forbes Q & A

3:00PM: Animals Got Talent! Pet Talent Show

4:15PM: Sing for Your Pooch’s Dinner! For Reals!

5:00PM: Pet Costume Contest

Some of the local vendors participating:

North Coast Dogs – performing agility demonstrations

Secondhand Mutts – showcasing their adoptable dogs

Classy K-9z Dog Grooming & Pet Styling – free nail trims

The K-9 Solutions of Ohio – basic obedience demo

For a full listing of vendors and booth numbers, check out the flyer.

If you go, let me know what your favorite part of the show is!

*You’ll need to sign this pet waiver before you go.

Dog Friendly Spotlight: Lucky’s

Most dog-friendly brunch places are just a Sunday thing but at Lucky’s in Tremont you can take your dog to brunch any day of the week. My dog and I went there recently to enjoy their delicious food and dog-friendly patio. I think Lucky’s has one of the best brunches in Cleveland so if you haven’t checked it out you really should.

Based on how small Lucky’s is and how crowded it gets on weekends it’s not really a place I’d recommend taking your dog to on the weekend. But, of course, it all depends on your dog. I took my dog on a weekday since he tends to get a little excited about people and dogs so I know it’s not always best to take him somewhere busy. Plus, the patio consists of six long picnic tables so there’s a chance on busy days you may be sharing the table with others, which could be problematic for some dogs. Since my dog and I went when it wasn’t busy, we had a table to our own and he was able to just sit and relax. No other dogs were there, but the staff and other patrons seemed welcoming of my dog.

One good thing about their patio is that it’s covered, so you can even go on one of those overcast days when it could rain at any minute. The tables in the middle and closer to the garden don’t really have anything to easily attach your dog’s leash to, so you’ll want to sit at one the tables on the outside near the street, as those have chains on them that you can attach your dog’s leash to.

And, if you go for brunch – I recommend the waffles. They are delicious!

The details:

777 Starkweather Ave
(216) 622-7773

Mon – Fri: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Dogs are allowed on the patio

What to do with your dog in September

If anyone doubts what a dog-friendly city Cleveland is, they only need to check out the events calendar for September to see they’re wrong. Summer may be over, but there are still a ton of fun dog-friendly events going on this month to get you out enjoying the city with your dog.

Sept. 3
Lakewood Dog Swim
The month kicks off with the 9th Annual Friends of Lakewood Park Dog Swim at Foster Pool in Lakewood Park. Admission to the pool for non-members is $7.

Sept. 9
The following week on Sept. 9 is the final Puppypalooza of the season. Bring your dog to the game and cheer on the Indians as they take on the Kansas City Royals. The first 300 owners and dogs can participate in a special on-field Puppypalooza Parade before the game. The event will feature activities, pet vendors and a portion of the proceeds from each Dog Package will benefit Cleveland APL. To buy tickets, visit:

Sept. 21
Nature Center Hike & Run
Visit the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes for their 1-mile pet friendly hike for families along the Nature Center trails through the forest, marsh and prairie. Pets must be leashed at all times. The hike starts at 9 a.m.

Sept. 22
This annual event raises money for the Geauga Humane Society. Individuals raise money before the event and then participate in the 1 mile walk around the Holden Arboretum. The event will also feature vendors, dog contests and an agility course. For more information, visit:

Sept. 28
Poker Run and Cook Out
Meet at the Grateful Dog Bakery at 3 p.m. in North Ridgeville to collect your first card, and move on to the next two locations to gather your hand. At 5 p.m. all will gather at Bradley Woods in the Pavilion and the winners of the best and worst hand will receive a prize. The party will also feature dog-friendly events and adoptable dogs. Admission is $20 per person/dog couple and proceeds will go to Fido’s Companion, Love A Stray, Rescue K911 and Ziggy’s Friends.

For a full listing of events, visit:!what-to-do/cwvn
(Am I missing anything? Email me at!)

What event(s) are you going to this month?

The Dog Owner Files: Moving Blues

This is the first in a series “The Dog Owner Files,” where CLE dog owners tell their stories. This post is contributed by Destiny Simcic, owner of a 14-year-old shih tzu/pekingese mix named Sampson.

Recently I found myself in a situation where I needed to temporarily relocate. Unfortunately, my 14-year-old, deaf, cranky and anti-social dog was forced to go with me, and I’m pretty sure it’s been far more stressful for him than it’s been for me. My wonderful* friend (and owner of this site) Ann, graciously allowed Sampson and I to move into her tiny second bedroom and share the living space she occupies with her over-sized** Pomeranian, Hunter. Hunter’s personality is what I would describe as the exact opposite of Sampson’s personality. When Sampson is silent, Hunter is barking. When Sampson is lying peacefully on the floor, Hunter is jumping around trying to get his attention. Sampson is a beggar, and Hunter doesn’t even seem to notice when a piece of delicious pulled pork drops to the floor. Both dogs are great; they are just different, and this transition has been noticeably tough on both. Neither dog is sleeping very well, and when nobody is home they are confined to separate halves of the house.

The two dogs having a rare moment of quiet time together (Hunter, left; Sampson, right)


It’s now a month later, and luckily the mood of the house is seemingly becoming less stressful – I think Sampson is getting used to Hunter’s presence and Hunter is slowly learning that Sampson is never going to give him the time of day. Just in time for us to relocate once more, to our new home…

The point to all of this is that I don’t think anyone really realizes how something that is disruptive to you as a human can also have an equally disruptive effect on your canine – or feline – companion. I’ve done what I can to make my little man comfortable and stick to his routine, but the bottom line is that I yanked him away from what was familiar and it’s taking him a decent amount of time to get settled and act like himself. It been hard to be patient and took a while to realize that my life isn’t the only one that’s been turned upside down.

Next time you go through a life-changing event while in the company of a furry loved one, you may want to read up on ways to prepare him or her for the change. Here’s a good article I’ve found to prepare me for my next move!

Editor’s notes:
* No edits were made, those were her original choice of words

**By “over-sized,” Destiny does not mean “fat.” Hunter wanted me to point that out. She just meant he is a bigger than normal Pomeranian.

What to do with your dog this weekend

I was sad to miss out on one of the top dog events of the summer last weekend – Canine Fun Days (check out some photos here), so I hope to be able to make it out with my dog this weekend to check out what’s going on the CLE. Although the summer is winding down, the weekend still has a couple of good summer events.

Before getting into this weekend’s activities, I wanted to mention that tonight (Thursday) Pet-Tique in Lakewood will be hosting a Yappy Hour to benefit My Best Friends Bowl, a pet food bank helping pets stay in homes undergoing economic hardships. A $5 donation is suggested and a raffle will be held with all proceeds going to the pet food bank. The Yappy Hour starts at 5 p.m. and will go until 8. Food will be provided by Nature’s Bin.

Have you had a chance to check out the Zone Rec Dog Park in Gordon Square? The dog park, which opened last August, will be hosting a “Dog Days of Summer” event this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Highlights of the event include frozen treats for your dog, a chance to visit with adoptable dogs and free engraved ID tags. For more info:

Dog Paddle & Pet-a-Palooza will be held Sunday at Ledge Pool at the Hinckley Reservation. For a $5 donation, dogs can swim in the pool from 1 p.m to 5 p.m. The event will also feature a mini dog fair with vendors, animal safety demos and adoptable pets on hand. Pet-a-Palooza benefits the Medina County SPCA. More info:

I think I have some Akron readers, so this one may interest you. On Sunday at the Akron Dog Park on Memorial Parkway, Paws and Prayers will be hosting their 2nd Annual Alumni Picnic. Although it’s a tagged as an alumni (meaning people who’ve gotten their dogs from Paws and Prayers) event, it is open to all supporters/dog owners in the area. For more info visit:

What are you and your dog up to this weekend?

Back to School…for your dog!

Now that kids are back to school, it’s got me thinking about training classes for my dog. I’ve tried a few different classes with my dog in the past and I always enjoy the opportunity to allow my dog to use his brain and work on his behavior.

My dog and have done several training classes through North Coast Dogs. I like their mix of fun activities and practical techniques to train your dog. They offer classes to cover all ages of dogs, from puppy training to dealing with problem behaviors in adult dogs. Upcoming classes include:

  • Chill Out: Information to help the Reactive Dog – starting Sept. 1, this 6-week class will focus on the ways to deal with dog aggression. Class starts Sept. 1.
  • Family Dog, for dogs four months or older, the class focuses on building a strong human-canine bond and solving basic problem behaviors. Classes start Aug. 29.

Cleveland has no shortage of dog training classes, from the puppy level on up to the adult dog. Here are some other options around town:

The Dog Class, whose mottos is “Training Dogs, One Human at a Time,” holds classes in North Ridgeville and Rocky River. Trainer Marie-Josée Gatian was voted #2 best dog trainer in the Cleveland area on the “Fox 8 Hot List” for 2013. Upcoming classes include:

  • Puppy Training and Beginner Obedience Class starts on Aug. 26 and goes for six weeks
  • Intermediate Training for dog 6 months or older, also starting on Aug. 26.
    dog training cleveland
    Your dog will definitely need a backpack for all his homework – 


Fortunate Fido in Columbia Station, also a winner on the Fox 8 list, offers several different training courses to help adult dogs with problem issues. Upcoming classes include:
  • Competition Obedience, focusing on better handling and heeling skills. Class starts on Sept. 6.
  • Relax Fido 1, which focuses on training techniques for dealing with a reactive dog in real life situations. Classes start on Sept. 22.

All Star Animal Training in Parma Heights offers group training classes on a continuous schedule, so you can drop by when you are free. The classes are held Saturdays mornings at 10 a.m.


If you’ve already mastered behavior training and want to get your dog into agility, Canine University of Ohio in Bedford Heights, offers beginning training classes for agility.

If you’re looking for a  more advanced agility class, you’ll want to check out Cleveland All Breed Training Club. This training club offer courses geared toward preparing your dog for competitive agility. Your dog needs to know some basic agility techniques and will be tested before he or she can enter their advanced beginner course.

Who’s your favorite trainer in Cleveland? I’d love to hear your training success stories, send them to!

Happy Birthday Dog!

My dog’s birthday is Saturday. He turns 2! Last year, for the big 0-1, I bought him his favorite treat and took him on a special outing to the park. This year (since he is so grown up) I have invited some friends to go to a dog friendly brunch. I think it’s fun to do something special to celebrate your dog. Of course I realize that my dog isn’t aware it’s his birthday, but I do think all dogs appreciate having a day that they get extra-special attention even if they don’t understand what it’s all about.
If you’re looking for something to do for your dog’s birthday, Dogster posted this article recently with some fun ideas for your dog’s big day. It even has a recipe for a dog-friendly cake.
If you’re not really the dog-cake baking type, don’t worry, you can get one from a local dog bakery! Grateful Dog Bakery in North Ridgeville bakes up all kinds of special treats for dogs. In addition to cookies and donuts, they bake dog birthday cakes. Grateful Dog also offer catering services, and you can rent their “Paw”ty Room for a 2-hour celebration, which includes a 6” birthday cake.


A cake from the Grateful Dog Bakery (photo credit)
One Lucky Dog in Medina also bakes dog cakes and cookies, and has a great selection of dog gifts and cards to make the day extra special. You can even order online, but still support a local business, which is kinda great.
One Lucky Dog Cake (photo credit)

What fun stuff do you do for your dog’s birthday?

Dog Friendly Spotlight: Luxe

I think most Clevelanders would agree that Luxe has one of the best patios on the west side. If you are a dog owner in Cleveland you definitely don’t want to pass up a chance to sit on their patio with your pup.  My dog and I visited this weekend to enjoy some good food and outside time together.
Photo courtesy of Luxe’s Facebook page (Somehow I forgot to get a shot of the patio)
Although dogs are welcome every day of the week, it’s on Sunday that dogs really have the spotlight. The restaurant hosts a Bow Wow Brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is promoted a lot on their Facebook page, so there was a good amount of dogs there on our visit. The dogs were all well behaved; there was only a couple rounds of barking choruses (which, of course, my dog was an enthusiastic participant in every time). Each week Luxe chooses a Bow Wow Brunch Dog of the Week, who is featured on its Facebook page and receives a gift certificate for a free bath at the Mutt Hutt. Can you believe neither one of these cuties were selected? (Although Sampson, on the right, is a former winner, so you don’t have to feel bad for him).
On their best behavior, of course
Since the patio is great and the food is delicious, I’d definitely recommend adding Luxe to your list of dog friendly spots to hit up. I will say I was a little disappointed that the servers didn’t bring any water or offer any treats or anything special for the dogs, since it is advertised as a doggie brunch. I’ve heard there are some dog menu options, but nothing was mentioned and the server and most of the staff seemed a little indifferent toward the dogs. I have heard of more dog friendly experiences from others who’ve been before, so maybe it was just an off day. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since I was able to sit on a gorgeous patio and eat a delicious brunch with my dog, so it wasn’t really all bad.