What I learned at the Veterinarian this week

When it comes to my dog’s health, I give them medication only when it’s necessary. So if you read my recent blog about tittering, you know that I prefer to have a titer test done before having them vaccinated. If you missed that blog post, click HERE. I’m also cautious about giving them preventative medication. But I won’t skip it altogether when the side effects of the medicine out weigh any illnesses they might get. So when my dogs were due for their annual heart worm test, I asked my Florida vet about this. And I was surprised to learn what preventative medication I should be giving them year round.

Everyone knows that Florida is a warm climate. While we celebrate four seasons up north, in the south, there are really only two seasons - rainy and dry. Thus mosquitos are abundant year round, not just 7 or 8 months like they are up north. And because of that, heart worm is more prevalent in the south than up north. Heart worm is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is spread when an infected mosquito bites our dogs thus making heart worm more prevalent in the southern United States. Thus, my vet recommended we give heart worm medication to our dogs year round. When we lived in PA, in the winter months I didn’t medicate them for it since mosquitos can’t survive in the cold.

I also learned that while there are ticks in the south, it’s not nearly as prevalelant as it is up north. I have always given my dogs flea/tick medication most of the year since ticks were a constant problem especially recently. After Izzy was diagnosed with Lyme disease when she was a puppy, I have always been a little more aggressive about being proactive in preventing her or my other dogs to contract this disease.

So, in short, I’ll be giving my girls heartgard year round and only treating for flea and tick medication if we’ll be in areas where ticks are found or if I find any fleas on them. I will keep Nexgard in my medicine closet so I’ll always have it on hand.

Thanks for reading!


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golden retriever among ferns

Are "likes" really that important?

You’ve seen it, or maybe you’re guilty of it too. Checking your cell phone every minute or so to see if you got another “like” or comment on your most recent post on social media. I’ll admit it, I do this. Sometimes I may share something, usually a photo, and if I don’t get a positive response quickly, I’ll delete it. I won’t deny that I’ve gotten caught up in the whole instant gratification thing like so many others have.

Recently I learned that Instagram is currently testing a new feature - hiding “likes” on your account. You, as the account holder would still be able to see how many folks double tapped on your photo, but no one else would. At first I wasn’t too thrilled with this idea. That had more to do with the fact that I don’t like change. Though if Instagram is reading this, I would like the algorithm to change back so posts would show up from all the accounts I follow, in chronological order. I’m tired of being told what I “want” to see with some accounts not even showing up in my feed at all. If I liked their account, it’s because I want to see their posts!

But after some thought, I really do hope Instagram does away with the “like” count. Then maybe we’ll start to see authentic images, photos that reflect real life, you know those less than perfect moments. I used to love scrolling through my feed, but I’m finding myself checking in less and less often. There’s so many beautiful accounts, I just don’t think I can begin to compete to get people to follow me. Ironically, the number of “likes” on average for my feed remains the same as it has for several years now. But looking at other feeds and seeing “likes” that are double, triple or even Duodecuple (did you know that was even a word?) mine makes me question whether I should even have an Instagram account sometimes.

But here’s the thing. We all think we want to be the “best”, the most popular, the most talked about account amongst our peers. But what we really want is to be seen, heard, and to know that we do matter. I follow some people even though I know I’ll never buy their service or product, but because they are authentic. They share their trials, tribulations, triumphs and the journey that got them there. I find myself rooting for them when things don’t go right and celebrating over their successes. I’ve never met any of these folks, but I feel like I know them just from following their accounts. It doesn’t matter to me that they have 1 “like”, 100 “likes” or even 10,000 “likes”, I still like them.

If Instagram does hide “likes” I think we’re going to see more real world posts from instagramers. No more sharing a certain post because the poster knows it will elicit thousands of thumbs to double tap on the photo. It will hopefully put an end to our unhealthy comparison to other social media users. Instead, it should encourage more interaction with one another. Which is, after all, what we’re all longing for anyways.

What do you think about this feature? Are you in favor of it or not? Are you guilty of not sharing something because you don’t think you’ll get as many likes as you want? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!


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terrier mix in Florida

Happy Mother's Day

To all moms everywhere - Happy Mother’s Day! Whether you’re a mom to a 2 legged child, a furry kid or a child in heaven, this is your day to celebrate all that you do to make our lives better! This is the first photo I’ve had taken of me with all 3 of my girls. However you spend your day, try to make it a point to get at least one photo of you with your kids. It’s so important to capture these family moments with all of you!

Trina with Izzy, Kita & TIllie

Nature is good for the soul

I love spending time outdoors. In fact, I love it so much that I spent a couple of decades working as a pet sitter so I would spend my days walking dogs - outside. It was the best job! Not as much on rainy or really cold days, but it did get me out of the house and in the fresh air. Any bit of sunshine was a welcome part of my day. 

The problem was that it was work too. I had to keep an eye on the time, my mind wandered as I thought about my never ending to do list, and my work hours started early in the morning and ended right before I went to bed. Eventually it took a toll on me and I started to feel burned out. 

Since my move to the sunshine state, what I realized most is that while, yes, I was spending more time outside working than sitting at a desk in a windowless room, I really longed to be out in nature. Now that I’m not working weekends, I spend part of my saturdays and sundays exploring parks, trails, beaches, and so on. The more I do this, the more I realize how much I enjoy it and need to make this a bigger priority in my life. 

There are so many reasons why nature is good for the soul. I find it that it clears my mind and I can think more clearly. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of life makes all the little problems seem not so big anymore. I feel calmer and can focus more on the present moment instead of worrying about the past or future. Moving my body, whether I’m walking, hiking, kayaking or riding a bike feels so good as well. 

Being in nature helps me get a better perspective on my life. I usually unplug from technology, so I’m not thinking about social media or email updates. When I go back home, I find that I don’t feel as rushed to get things done. Yet, somehow in this state of mind, I get even more done, but in a better frame of mind. I’m not short with my husband or taking my frustrations out on my dogs by telling them to leave me alone. This has to have a positive effect on my body as well. Slower heart rate, deeper breaths, and better sleep at the end of the day.

The more time I spend in nature, the more I see all of these benefits. This past weekend, my husband and I rented a kayak for an hour and paddled around Lemon Bay. It was a pretty sunny day, so we returned just shy of an hour so as to not get sunburned. I wanted to stay out there all day. It was when we went back long before I was ready to return, that it hit me how much I need to make a point to get out in nature as often as I can. No more excuses. I’m going to build it into my weekly planner. Whether I do this alone, with my husband, our dogs and/or friends, I am making this a goal to do on a regular basis from now on!

Do you like to spend time in nature too? Where are some of your favorite places? Share them in the comments below. I’m always looking for new places to explore!

Thanks for reading!


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Kayaking Lemon Bay.jpg

Living a simple life

When my husband and I decided to move to Florida, we wanted to give ourselves a trial period of at least a year before deciding if we would make this a permanent move or not. Thus, finding a home to rent was the best option for us. Our wish list included living someplace convenient to the beach, shopping places and where we thought we might like to work. It also had to allow dogs and be budget friendly as I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on rent. All of those conditions meant we would probably end up in a home smaller than the house we own in PA. Which I was ok with.

It’s been several months since we packed all of our belongings and moved to a place almost 1/2 the size of the house we’ve called home for years. It meant making decisions on what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. At first it was hard, but the more I simplified my possessions, the more free I felt. We still have quite a bit of our stuff in boxes, some of which hasn’t yet been sorted. But all in all, I can’t help but admit, the advantages of living in a smaller home are many!

To start, I spend considerable less time cleaning. And while I may clean more frequently - it’s much harder to hide fur balls - in a fraction of the time, I can get pretty much the entire house cleaned. This has reduced my stress so much and enabled me to spend more time on other things that matter more to me.

While we downsized, we still have too much stuff for the space. Thus, I have virtually no need to buy anything for the home. Now, I’m not a shopaholic, but I do love picking out new things every once in a while to spruce up the space we inhabit. Not spending any money, means putting more in the bank and creates another stress reducer ultimately leading to a more peaceful life.

Living in a smaller space means less energy spent on heating and cooling the place. Cha ching! Even more money in the bank! And yet another reason to be less stressed. Which leads me to the next advantage of living in a small home. I’m more aware of the amount of energy it takes to maintain a larger home, the impact it has on the environment and how unnecessary it is. We love our mansions, but much of the space in these homes is hardly ever used. Yet, we have to pay to heat and cool it, repair materials as they age, and spend time keeping it clean. That’s a lot of energy.

A huge perk of living in small home is how much more time I have to do things I really want to do. While I am working a lot - I have a full-time job, manage my pet sitting business up north and work on marketing my photography business - on my days off, I’m not trying to cram a ton of household chores into my day. I don’t feel worn out, exhausted and frustrated because all I did was “work” in my off duty hours. That right there has improved my state of mind tremendously.

As I think about the next home I want to own, I do know I’d like a little more space than I have right now. I also know I’d like an outdoor area to hang out in when the weather’s nice. Which is a whole lot often here than up north. And I want to create a home that is calm, relaxing and peaceful. I don’t want to fill up the space with “stuff” just because. I want to surround myself with things that matter to me - like art work from my travels, photos of the people in my life, and and design touches that are practical as well as pleasing to the eye.

While it was hard to downsize, I am so glad I did! I truly understand why more and more people are opting for tiny homes. For me, that is too extreme. Life should be more about experiences than responsibilities. I want to look back on my life fondly remembering all the good times I had instead of feeling regret over working so hard to own material possessions.

Thanks for reading!


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man and dog on bench in front of house