Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones (furry, feathery, scaly, or otherwise)! Paws On Durham is undertaking an exciting holiday community project and customer appreciation special.  Starting November 15 and running to December15, Paws On Durham will be collecting donations for two worthy causes: Toys for Tots and the Durham Animal Protection Society. Here’s how it works… Donate a toy(s) for Toys for Tots or any of the needed items for the APS and you will receive a special 15% Off in 2015 coupon, good for your first service reservation in 2015! Even if you don’t need our services for the holidays, this is a perfect opportunity to give back to the community and take advantage of discounted pet services. We’ll even pick up your donation and drop off your 15% coupon! You can find details for this limited offer here: Paws On Durham Holiday Special. I hope you will join us in providing Triangle children a happy holiday season and helping the Durham APS to accomplish their very important mission. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season! APS gift
For the past month, I’ve been thinking about the events that unfolded last year after the veterinarian spoke the most horrific words to me, “Lulu has cancer.” My heart stopped and my darkest nightmare had just become reality. And in the blink of an eye, she was gone. I’ve played the scene in my mind over and over in the past year, and it never ends well. She’s still gone, and my heart still aches for her. As I write this, I think to this exact time of day last year, sun shining, cloudless sky, a slight chill in the air. We walked Lulu in her wagon to get her some fresh air. She was severely anemic at the time, and could not walk without becoming weak. So we loaded her in the wagon and took a nice stroll in the neighborhood, took her out of the wagon, let her walk in some nice grass, and took some lovely pictures with her. They would be our last pictures and our last walk with her. That night, Lulu ate little and was very weak. She laid in her bed and watched my every move as I made dinner. The radio was on, and Joe Cocker’s, “You are so beautiful” came on. I laid on the kitchen floor with Lulu and held her in my arms as tears streamed down my face. I knew it would not be long. In the early hours of the morning, Lulu’s breathing was labored, and I knew it was time to call the veterinarian. She arrived a short while later, and as we laid on the floor with her, the doctor gave Lulu a shot to help her sleep. As she took her last breath, Lulu licked my nose to tell me goodbye. Lulu was no longer in pain, but for me, the pain and longing has never stopped. A few minutes ago, I laid on the floor and enjoyed a sunbeam as it shone through the window. As my eyes closed, I remembered all the other beautiful sunbeams I enjoyed with Lulu and her brother Monty. Monty would lay near me, and Lulu would balance herself on my chest or on my ribs if I laid on my side. Such a perfect way to love and be loved by my pups. These I count as my most precious and heartwarming moments. The year has passed quickly, and though time has healed some of the wounds, not a day goes by that I don’t think about Lulu…her face, her personality, her smell, her soft fur, and her constant companionship. She was my sweet and special girl. Daddy’s girl. As with Monty, Lulu’s remains are on our mantel, and I greet her every morning and bid her a good night every evening. She was a faithful companion for three days short of 11 years, and I owe her my lasting gratitude and love. I can’t reverse time to undue Lulu’s fate, however, I can look to the future in anticipation of enjoying a perfect sunbeam in Heaven with her. Until we meet again, Little Girl.
DSCN1074 It’s been a year since our faithful and sweet pup Monty decided to leave us on that Monday morning last year. I was about to depart for work when I walked into his room and discovered his lifeless 15-year old body, still warm as if only sleeping and waiting for his morning to begin. He looked so peaceful…resting with no pain or worries. Losing a pup like Monty is heartbreaking. We mourned him for months and when we lost his sister, Lulu a short while later due to cancer, we were devastated about the loss, quiet, and disruption to our happy household. Our routines and daily life came to a screeching halt and the silence in the house was deafening. The only solace came from the fact that Monty left us with so many good thoughts which enabled us to live our days with sweet memories of our boy. The year has passed so quickly, but the thought of Monty is still fresh in our minds. His soft fur, the way he smelled of corn chips, and his sweet disposition have helped us cope with his loss this year. From the moment I brought him home the day he left home, Monty brought us joy and comfort and evolved into a most special part of our family Monty’s remains sit on our mantel, and he is greeted every morning and bid a good night every evening. He still lives in our minds and thoughts and will forever be a part of our family. Continue to run and play with your sister, Lulu, sweet boy…until we meet again. We will love you forever.  
One of the great things about being a pet sitter and owning my own business is that no two days are ever the same. We have our share of daily visits to cats, dogs, and reptiles, but this week we were given the opportunity to care for two senior dogs and a senior cat. I have a soft spot in my heart for older animals, as we recently lost our 15-year old pug, Monty, and our 10-year old pug, Lulu. They were my most special pups and I miss them dearly. However, I thoroughly enjoy meeting with clients who have senior pets. There is something to be said for a pup or kitty who moves a little slower and has quite a bit of grey mixed into their fur. I met with Maddie’s owner a few days prior to the service dates, and my heart melted the second I saw her. What struck me was her sweet face and her eyes that shone not only experience and wisdom, but a spark of life, curiosity, and playfulness. However, Maddie’s spark was hindered by her 12-year old body. Her hips and hind legs slowed her down considerably, and there was a noticeable gate to her walk that limited her speed and the distance walked. That’s not to say, her mind and heart didn’t try though! Maddie is a beautiful girl who reminded me of the special bond between dogs and humans. I looked into her eyes and saw nothing but beauty and an inner peace. Taylor is a very special kitty, who like Maddie, is only limited to what she can do by her frail, tiny body. At 17-years old, one would think Taylor is well past her prime. However, this special calico is still curious, vocal, loving, and agile. Granted, Taylor is not able to do the things she used to, but her spirit is still very much intact. A gift to her owner when she was in the fifth grade, Taylor remains a steadfast companion to the owner who is now about to graduate from dental school. Taylor is a very special kitty who is well loved and cared for by her owner. The special bond between the two cannot be broken and will continue to endure even as they are about to start a new chapter in their lives together. We were also given the opportunity to care for another sweet pup who at the ripe age of nearly 17-years, was considered quite the daddy’s girl. Polly as she was known, was a beautiful dachshund who battled cancer and won, lived with Cushing’s disease, was blind and deaf, and was definitely secure with herself and her surroundings. Though she could not see nor hear, Polly definitely knew we were strangers to her home and followed us during the entire consult to ensure we didn’t step out of line. When we concluded the consult, we left knowing we were going to have a great time getting to know Polly and her parents. Unfortunately, I was notified a few days later that Polly took an unexpected turn for the worse. Polly’s parents had to make the unfortunate decision to relieve their poor girl from her suffering. It was a sad end for tough little dachshund with lots of spunk and attitude. In the time I’ve been writing a blog, I’ve found writing about puppies or kittens is easy. After all, there is so much energy and cuteness to talk about. From my perspective, however, writing about senior pups and kitties is just as easy due to the immensity of their personalities. As I cared for Maddie and Taylor, I often sat with them and petted and touch their soft fur. I looked into their gentle eyes and realized like a senior human, they are full of memories and experiences. They too were once puppies and kittens, but they have grown into beautiful and wonderful creatures who love their owners and the life which is theirs. Though they can’t always get around easily or they may suffer from ailments unknown, they are integral parts of their families. They give comfort, life, hope, warmth, licks, purrs, and above all else, they give unconditional love that only they understand and have experienced with each year that has passed. I am honored to be given the opportunity to care for my clients’ pets and to know that I too will be part of the memories engrained in the lives of their wonderful animals.
One of the many pleasure of owning my own business is the flexibility it lends me to take care of personal tasks as I need to. Although this week has been exceedingly busy, I found the needed time to pick up my wife at the airport. I was able to juggle several appointments in the morning in order to pick her up in the afternoon. That morning I met three new clients, two of which involved caring for a 12-week old Great Dane and an 8-week old black Labrador retriever. I also met with an older mixed breed dog and a home with two kitties. If there is anything I’ve learned about being a pet sitter and meeting new clients is to always have treats in my pocket to “greet” new doggy clients. It’s definitely a sure-fire way to make new friends! The Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is a nicely designed and easily accessible airport—easy in/easy out. I parked my car and walked into the terminal to wait for my wife’s flight to arrive. Since I came straight from my pet sitting appointments, I was wearing my company logo t-shirt and cargo pants. I made my way to the waiting area proudly wearing my company’s colors and feeling great about being a pet sitter!
Photo: Durham Newsobserver March 28, 2014

Photo: Durham Newsobserver March 28, 2014

I was standing in the waiting area watching people when a few feet away from me, I notice a uniformed police officer and his working dog walking in my direction. I was standing there calmly when I notice the 4-legged officer slow and start walking towards me, 2-legged officer in tow. I thought nothing of it, but then the dog stopped in front of me and immediately started sniffing my left leg—very intently. I see the police officer eyeballing me and sizing me up. I took a deep breath and I complimented the officer on what a beautiful pup he has. He looked at me a little suspiciously as the dog continued to sniff my legs and said “thanks.” By that time I was becoming a little more uncomfortable and then I realized that the dog was now wagging his tail! I then realize the ever vigilant pup was sniffing all the wonderful puppy, dog, and kitty smells on my pant legs! I think the officer came to the same realization around the same time I did and actually noticed the Paws On Durham t-shirt I was sporting. A split second later, the vigilant pup was sniffing my right pocket very aggressively and wagging his very happy tail. I immediately realized that I still had several dog treats in my pocket from my morning’s visits. The highly-trained, drug and bomb sniffing nose honed in on what’s really important in a dog’s life…tasty peanut butter dog treats! I quickly offered to the officer that I was a pet sitter and I had some extra treats in my pocket. I chuckled loudly, though the officer barely offered a smile. However, the officer who does most of the really important work was still happily sniffing my treat laden pocket. I asked if the pup could have a treat (already knowing the answer), but the officer declined the offer…the pup was on duty after all. The two officers then continued on their way to ensure the safety and security of the travelers. When my wife arrived, I told her about my experience and we both shared a great laugh. I immediately know this was one of those special moments that only a pet sitter could experience. In my short stint as a pet sitter/business owner, I have memories of many sweet experiences involving dogs, cats, turtles, people, etc., but this is a definite keeper…to be eyeballed and sniffed up by armed to the teeth (pun intended) police officers. It’s good to know that our airports are being protected by the eyes, noses, and paws of such vigilant security personnel! Always Vigilant, Always Faithful, and Always Canine...
CIRCUS ACT Young 1I recently had the pleasure of pet sitting for a family who spent Memorial Day weekend camping. I was responsible for the love and care of their ten pets! This lively bunch consisted of four dogs (Champ, Coco, Samantha and Sampson), five cats (Diego, Coon, Gato, Nala, and Simba) and a turtle (Turdie). They were quite an amusing group! During an evening visit I had completed my usual routine of providing all of the animals with fresh food and water. After tidying up inside, I headed outside to play ball with the dogs. Unbeknownst to me, these fur babies had other plans and coordinated a circus performance for me! ACT I: Bird Hunt young3aA few minutes passed when I heard birds squealing like crazy in the very back of the yard. I ran over to the fence to find Champ with a small bird in his mouth! Champ is the “old man” of the group and suffers from arthritis, tumors, and poor sight/hearing. How he was able to find let alone, catch the bird is a feat in itself! He dropped it immediately, but it was so interesting but of course the other three pups had to join in on the fun. I was able to scoop up the bird and lay it to rest right before the other pups joined in.         ACT II: Sandbox Scuttle young3bCoco (5-year-old Dobie mix) and Samantha (1-year-old French Mastiff) decided they would keep me entertained by wrestling in the sandbox. As Coco plopped on her belly, Samantha figured it was the perfect opportunity to pounce.One large lunge forward was all it took and the two playfully went back and forth, rolling around and kicking sand everywhere. By the time play ended, it appeared they had spent the day at the beach! Young4b                     ACT III: Trampoline Bounce Young4aHave you ever seen a 200 pound French Mastiff try to jump on a trampoline? I have! Next up was Sampson (1-year-old French Mastiff), the biggest lap-dog of all time. He put his front paws on the trampoline, stood erect and looked me straight in the eye, as if to say, “Watch this!” As he desperately tried to kick his back legs up, I was keeled over and literally laughing out loud. Needless to say, I had quite an interesting night at the circus. Tired and panting, lying on the cool kitchen floor with their tongues hanging out, I thought to myself that they would get a good night’s sleep. What stinkers! It’s always great fun to experience the lives and antics of our clients’ pets. They all have such different personalities, quirks, needs, and wants, but one thing is constant with them all…They are all very special. This group in particular is full of life and they definitely require a strong "ring master" to keep them all in line.  I look forward to the next time I'm able to care for this happy, crazy, and classy circus act!    
I think I've made it pretty clear in some of my previous posts of how blessed I am to own Paws On Durham.  There are so many great things about being a pet sitter but to be specific, I love meeting new customers and the humans who care for them, I am so lucky to have such a great team to work with, and how great is it to hang out with my brand new client, Bismarck.  He's a beautiful and happy 8-week old behemoth!  Bismarck and I will be spending a lot of time together, and I'll be helping Bismarck's mom shape a socially responsible and well-mannered pup.  More updates and pics of Bismarck over the next few weeks!  
Six months ago, it was hard to imagine life without my special girl, Lulu. After a short battle with cancer, Lulu lost her life to the scourge inside her. It was undoubtedly the hardest and most devastating day in my life. Lulu should have lived another 5-10 years. Her life came to an abrupt end, and there was nothing I could do to help her. Six months have passed. The first three months were the hardest. Weeks after losing her, I would still weep uncontrollably at the unfairness of it all. Every room in the house conjured a memory. Every inch of our yard held vivid thoughts of Lulu walking, running, or being silly. Losing her left a gaping hole in my heart, and though my days have gotten easier, it’s hard to imagine what the next six months will be like. Some people say it’s easier to move on than to continue to mourn Lulu. I consciously choose not to move on from the memory of how my girl fought so hard. I choose to remember how the chemo made her feel terrible one day, and then feel good the next. I have to remember how she left me at 5:15 a.m. that morning but not without licking my nose one last time before taking her last breath. Remembering all of these seemingly devastating events helps me to keep Lulu’s spirit alive in my heart. Lulu’s loss helps confirm my decision to open Paws On Durham. I serve dogs, cats, turtles, fish, and other animals with humility and sensitivity. All are special in their own ways. All are loved and cared for by their owners without question. Caring for these special animals warms my heart and helps me to honor the memory of my special girl. I keep Lulu’s spirit, happiness, and struggles with me, and though she is at peace, Lulu is always in my heart and mind.
Six months ago, it was hard to imagine life without my special girl, Lulu. After a short battle with cancer, Lulu lost her life to the scourge inside her. It was undoubtedly the hardest and most devastating day in my life. Lulu should have lived another 5-10 years. Her life came to an abrupt end, and there was nothing I could do to help her. Six months have passed. The first three months were the hardest. Weeks after losing her, I would still weep uncontrollably at the unfairness of it all. Every room in the house conjured a memory. Every inch of our yard held vivid thoughts of Lulu walking, running, or being silly. Losing her left a gaping hole in my heart, and though my days have gotten easier, it’s hard to imagine what the next six months will be like. Some people say it’s easier to move on than to continue to mourn Lulu. I consciously choose not to move on from the memory of how my girl fought so hard. I choose to remember how the chemo made her feel terrible one day, and then feel good the next. I have to remember how she left me at 5:15 a.m. that morning but not without licking my nose one last time before taking her last breath. Remembering all of these seemingly devastating events helps me to keep Lulu’s spirit alive in my heart. Lulu’s loss helps confirm my decision to open Paws On Durham. I serve dogs, cats, turtles, fish, and other animals with humility and sensitivity. All are special in their own ways. All are loved and cared for by their owners without question. Caring for these special animals warms my heart and helps me to honor the memory of my special girl. I keep Lulu’s spirit, happiness, and struggles with me, and though she is at peace, Lulu is always in my heart and mind.
It was a great day for cats and dogs today at Urban Durham Realty's monthly "Swizzle."  The Durham APS was on hand with several adorable kittens and dogs that were available for adoption.   Businesses such as Paws On Durham, The Other End of the Leash Pet Boutique, The Durham Kennel Club, the Broadway Veterinary Hospital, and local artist Char Reed enjoyed a beautiful day and wonderful conversation with Durham pets and their humans.  Dogs of every size and shape enjoyed homemade treats from Other End of the Leash and several were lucky enough to walk away with toys and treats from Broadway Vet Hospital.  Paws On Durham, Broadway Vet, and Other End of the Leash all donated special prizes as giveaways to benefit the Durham APS. Raleigh artist, Char Reed was on hand to draw amazingly beautiful caricatures of some lucky pups!  Char uses an iPad as her canvas and a stylus as a pen to capture the character of her subject.  Once complete, Char forwards the caricature to the pet owner via email for future use.  Look for an upcoming collaboration between Char and Paws On Durham...Great things are on the horizon! Paws On Durham is happy to be part of such a pet friendly community.  We look forward to future pet friendly events...coming soon: Durham APS Walk for the Animals, May 17.  See you there!