Photo Friday: Best Friends

Hello Wonderful People!

Welcome to a new feature on our blog. We call it Photo Friday. In these posts, we will select one photo (maybe more) and talk about what it means to us. The first photo that we feature is one that includes our favorite four-legged furry friends – Gio and Vinny!

Gio and Vinny!


If you have been following our blog for a while, you will know that we are big dog-lovers. We both grew up with dogs and love the joy that they bring to our life. Our family is blessed to have two amazing dogs, who just happen to be best friends. Gio is a beagle who was rescued off of the streets when he was only a year (or two) old. We don’t know his exact story of where he came from and how he has ended up on the streets. Vinny was born on a collie farm in northwest Illinois and came to our family after our other collie Israel passed away. Coming from opposite backgrounds and breed types, we were not sure how well they would get a long. But after being together for almost ten years, we can say that they are truly best friends. Gio is a little dog who thinks he is a big dog; while Vinny is a big dog who thinks he is a small dog. If you believe that opposite attract, Gio and Vinny would fit that description. Gio is the loud and boisterous one, while Vinny is quite and mellow one. Gio is always hunger and ready for treats; but Vinny is cool no matter when he gets to eat. But through it all, they are always together. Whether they are outside chasing squirrels or sleeping at night, they are never too far away from each other. Vinny is always looking up to his big little brother and wants to be with all the time. When we come from work, Gio is in his crate and Vinny is usually right next to him. They will fuss and bark at each other, but they have never fought with each other. Truly what it means to be Best Friends.

Happy Birthday Gio!

Happy Birthday Gio!

It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since our favorite beagle came running into our life. Back in November 2006; a runaway beagle had been rescued by a friend of a colleague from work. However, the friend and her family could not keep him because they already had three beagles of their own who didn’t like the new addition to their family. The friend was desperate to find a new home for him. She contacted her neighbors, her family and her friends, one of which was our colleague. Our colleague talked let us know that he was available because at the time, we wanted to have a second dog in the family. Not sure how it would go, we met the lady and her family and the beagle. But once we meet him, we knew we wanted to add him to our  family.

On November 15, 2006; Giovanni David – “GIO” – came home with us. Needless to say, our life has never been the same since. Nor has it been quite either.

Happy Birthday Gio!

The many faces of Gio!

The early days with Gio were touch and go. He was a runaway dog from the streets that needed to learn how to love and how to be discipled. He could not be trusted in the house by himself. He would scratch up the walls, he would leave us presents in odd places and he would bark all the time. We recruited the help of a trainer to see what could be done. After she spent only 90 minutes with him, he was now staying in a crate when were gone, he stopped leaving the presents and he started to show us love. Through tough love and discipline, he is now a sweet and lovable; but still very loud beagle. And we would not have it any other way.

True to his beagle nature, Gio is called to the wild and wants to be outside any opportunity he can. No, he is not chasing rabbits, instead he is often in hot pursuit of the squirrels who call our backyard home. Gio is chasing them up the tree, across the yard and any which way he came. He is doing all he can to catch one of them. And I know with his determination that he just might do it.

If being outside is Gio’s number one love, then eating would be a close second. Gio is always ready for food. He often reminds us when it is time to eat. We see him looking at his Snoopy watch; getting ready for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And my goodness, don’t be a minute late from the regularly scheduled meal; he will let you know. He will bark at you, he will nudge you and will not leave you alone until you give him the food. He is also the King of Treats in the house. Once we finish our dinner, he is ready for his treats. It could be one of his biscuits, or it could be baby carrots (yes, carrots) or even nuts. Oh don’t forget the cheese. He loves him some cheese. It doesn’t matter the kind – hard cheese or shredded, Italian or Colby Jack. He will eat it all. He can hear the crinkling of the plastic wrapper in the refrigerator and he will come running.


Gio waiting for a treat (or two, or possibly even three or four).

Gio is a super-excited beagle and has a strong attitude at times. Okay, all the time. When we come home from work or church and we let him out of his crate; it is a barking fest until he gets outside and takes care of his business. He is also in hot pursuit of those squirrels to make sure they get out of his backyard. Then when we come back inside, he knows it is time to eat. And he won’t stop the barking until you give him the food. Sometimes I wonder who is in charge of this household.

Trying to get Gio to focus

Trying to get Gio to focus

Just as much as Gio loves to play hard and also sleeps hard too. When his squirrel chasing duties are done for the day; he will snuggle in bed, cover up in his blankets and snore l louder than any human that I know. It is also so sweet to know, when we go to the living room and read our Bible Chapter; GIo will come up there, laying on the carpet right next to us. And when we finish, he is ready to go back on his own bed.

Gio laying next to us while we are ready our daily Bible chapter.

Gio laying next to us while we are ready our daily Bible chapter.

 Please join with me in wishing Gio a very happy birthday.

Dog Ownership Doesn’t Have To Be Messy Wiith These Top Tips

Every dog owner is aware that sometimes it comes at a price. More often than not this is your home. Just like with small children it’s inevitable that a dog will make a mess in your home. So you are going to have to invest in more time keeping it clean. With that in mind, I thought I would share with you some top tips to keep your home clean and tidy. Allowing you more time to enjoy with your dog.

Unpleasant smells
As a dog owner, we know that they have a scent. One that can get stronger at times especially when they have been outside. These odours can linger in the home. So it’s important to ensure that your dog gets bathed regularly. But make sure that you don’t wash too frequently, or avoid not washing your dog often enough. Just like we have specific requirements for our hair, so does your dog. So take into account if your dog’s hair is particularly greasy or dry. While bathing your dog is a great way to keep odours at bay, consider making sure your home is ventilated. Also, use strong fabric fresheners to ensure the rest of your home continues to smell rosey.


Damaged items
Another thing that dog owners are all too familiar with is damaged items. If your dog likes to chew things, then you sure know about it. Nothing is safe from your slippers to the carpets. To avoid your furniture and other items being destroyed consider bones for them to chew or indestructible dog toys for them to enjoy. You can go to the website online to find out more information on what’s available.

Dog toys everywhere
Dogs are just as playful as young children. So it shouldn’t surprise you that there will be an accumulation of things like toys everywhere. It’s important to keep your dog occupied, especially when you are not around. But consider having a storage space where they can live at night or when your dog isn’t keen to play. Doing this will ensure that your home stays tidy.


Dirty paw prints
The last thing you want is for your dog to go trailing through your home with muddy paws after a long walk. But these incidents can happen and cause stains on carpets, flooring and even the walls. However, training your dog to wait until you give the order to enter your home is one way to combat it. Although, you may find that these things do happen from time to time, so make sure you have a good stain remover spray on standby. Tackle the marks as soon as possible to avoid them staining.

Dog hair
Finally, one of the biggest issues with dogs is the accumulation of hair that can gather all around your home. Of course, the amount of hair a dog sheds depends on its breed. Regular grooming is essential to make sure you brush away those stray hairs. A dog will shed its hair more at certain times of the years, so make sure you are aware of when you may need to groom your dog more regularly.

I hope these tips help you keep your home clean and tidy.


FTC Disclaimer:
This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links.

Thinking Of Getting A Puppy?

Are you thinking of getting a puppy? If so, it’s best to consider a few things before you make a decision. Puppies are gorgeous, but they do require a lot of care and attention. Here are some things to think about before you commit to giving a puppy a new home.

Vinny, Gio and Me

JT with Gio and Vinny

Are you away a lot? Do you have a busy work schedule? Are you constantly chasing your tail, and living for the weekends? If so, getting a new puppy may not be the best idea. Puppies require a lot of time and devotion. Like babies, they rely on you to feed them, and they need lots of affection. Dogs are less independent than cats, and they don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time. They also need to be let out to go to the toilet. If you work long hours, and nobody will be at home during the day, it’s not fair to bring a new pup into the family. You’ll also need to devote time to taking your puppy for walks, and when it gets a little older, obedience classes. Your dog will need grooming and washing on a regular basis. If you have very little time as it is, it may be best to wait.

Pets are never cheap. After the initial cost of buying your puppy, you’ll also have to consider the price of feeding and caring for your dog. You will need to pay for injections and boosters, food and all the accessories puppies need when they first join you. You’ll  probably spend a fair amount of a lead and collar, a bed, toys and food bowls. Vet bills can be incredibly expensive and it’s always wise to invest in pet insurance. Additional costs you may need to consider include a dog boarding service for when you go on holiday.



Dogs can take up a lot of space, especially if you go for a large breed. If you’re thinking of getting a puppy, it’s worth considering whether your home is suitable. Do you have a garden for them to go out, go to the toilet and have a run around? Do you live near a park or open fields, so that you can take them for a walk every day without having to drive for miles?

As loyal and loving as they are, there’s no getting away from the fact that dogs tie you down. If you’re a fan of spontaneous days out, or you like to go away for the weekends, getting a dog may not be such a good plan.



Getting a puppy can be incredibly exciting, but it’s essential to understand the level of commitment required. Dogs require a lot of attention and you can’t leave them alone for long. Think carefully about whether you could adapt your lifestyle and schedule to offer a new puppy the devotion is deserves. If you’re not quite ready now, there’s no harm in waiting.

My Favorite Way To Spend Extra Time With My Doggie

Hey Beautiful People,

Hope you are having a lovely time during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It only gets stressful if you let it, don’t filter it in and try to enjoy the occasion. When I feel that stressful spirit come, I immediately have to say out loud, “I will not receive that, I take joy in my life!” Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It is so easy to get caught up in the commercialization of the Christmas holidays and I refuse to play into it. When I come home from work, my hubby I like to go outside and play with the puppies and have fun.

Gio and Vinny on the set

Gio and Vinny on the set

Do you know that the number one way I find time to spend extra time with my puppies is during their grooming time. I know you are saying, ‘you have got to be kidding me?’ No, I am not. When I get the comb in my hand and start brushing my collie, Vinny doesn’t like to sit still. He runs around and come back and run around and come back until he is tired. Collies shed practically all year long. There is not a time when I don’t get some underbrush. My beagle, Gio has short hair; but will still shed a lot of hair.  How can I tell?  When I rub his back the hair just comes on my hand. His hairs are shorter and he is quick to finish but he will sit still for the minute and then he is off  sniffing out new territory in the backyard.

Spending time grooming your dog has many great benefits:
1) Bonding with your pet. Having this close time with your dog will create a strong bond and will foster trust and affection.

2) Getting to know the places on your doggie’s body that may have hair knots. You have to get a good quality comb if your dog is prone to knot and tangles. We recently had a chance to sample the RollinPets Brush and it worked wonderfully on Vinny. He gets tangles and knots behind his ears and this Brush removed them without a problem. In the past, we usually had to cut them out; but not with this comb. The comb also removes the undergrowth without a problem. As the seasons changed, the thickness of Vinny’s hair changes and that undergrowth needs to be removed. The RollinPets Brush glided smoothly through his hair and quickly removed that undergrowth with ease. The metal bristles on the brush actually massaged Vinny and relaxed him. He was actually enjoyed the grooming session for a change.

The amount of hair removed from Vinny after using the RollinPets comb

The amount of hair removed from Vinny after using the RollinPets comb for the first time.

3) You can check their ears, teeth, and nails to see if they need any extra cleaning.  Checking your pets coat is a good thing to do because sometimes you might find a scratch that you would not have normally seen or you might find some dry skin. If your dog is comfortable with you checking his ears, teeth and nails; this is a key time to do it.

4) After you groom your pet, you can run around the backyard or throw a ball or stick until you both are ready for a nap. When I throw the stick for Vinny to catch it the tenth time, he looks at and sits down because he has officially worked out for the day.

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DISCLAIMER: I received the RollinPets Comb at a discounted price in order to write this review. I did not receive any monetary payments and all opinions are strictly my own.

Checking Your Pets For Heartworm

Our pets rely on us for food, shelter, and more importantly, safety. That’s why we should be on top of anything that ails them. Jordan Walker, the lead content curator of Coops and Cages, shares what heartworms are and how they can be detected.

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Heartworms are parasitic roundworms that are spread through mosquito bites. Although generally referred to as dog heartworms, they can also afflict other animals like cats, foxes, wolves, and coyotes. In rare instances, they are also found in humans.

As an owner, can you bear the thought of your beloved pet wasting away because of a parasite in its heart? If not, better follow these measures that would help you detect the presence of heartworms in their body.

Unnatural Exhaustion

There are very limited signs of heartworm infection. Until the larvae grow and mature inside the host’s heart, practically no tell-tale signs can be found. One of the early signs of heartworm infection is unnatural fatigue. That is, if your pet used to be able to maintain a very active lifestyle but can’t now, you may want to have them checked by a vet.

Coughing and Vomiting

The longer the heartworms stay in the heart and lung chambers of the victim, the higher the risk of his vital organs getting damaged. Coughing and vomiting are typical symptoms brought about by heartworm infection. When these symptoms are combined with fatigue, there’s all the more reason to have your pet checked.

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Abnormal Lung Sounds

Severe heartworm disease also begets this symptom. If you notice that your pet is producing unusual lung sounds, he needs to be attended by a vet immediately.

Antigen Test

This blood test is administered by veterinarians and is effective in detecting heartworms that are at least five months old. By examining the dog’s bloodstream for proteins called antigens, the vet can verify if there are indeed heartworms. This is because such proteins are released by adult female heartworms in the pet’s bloodstream. However, same reason makes it impossible for the test to detect immature heartworms, because only when these female heartworms become adults that they are able to release this substance.

Microfilaria Test

Another type of test that can be used for parasite detection is the microfilaria test. Yet another product of adult heartworms, microfilaria’s presence indicates that heartworms are thriving and have begun mating inside its host. It usually takes six to seven months for heartworm larva to fully grow into adults.

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Make it as a rule to always schedule regular sessions with your vet. While nothing may be wrong, it won’t hurt to have the experts take a look at your pet every now and then. Also, going to the vet often also has numerous other benefits.

Parasites are detrimental to a pet’s health. We should protect our pets if we want them to live long and to the fullest. In return, they’ll reward us with their loyalty and companionship.


Image Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops and Cages as well as a couple of other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is paired with his love for “attempting” to play the guitar. If you would like to catch more of him, you can visit his Google+ or Twitter accounts.

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