Dogs of MSP First Meet Up!

I am WAY behind on posting this, but if you haven't heard, I started a new Facebook group called Dogs of MSP (facebook.com/groups/dogsofmsp). We've got some fun meet ups planned at local dog parks and dog-friendly breweries/patios. It's also just a fun place to connect with like-minded dog folks and share fun pictures and stories.

Dogs of MSP had its first event on Oct. 2nd at Able Seedhouse + Brewery in NE Minneapolis. It was so much fun to get out and bring together old and new friends. Shout out to Finley's Barkery, our official treat sponsor, and they didn't disappoint! How cute is this flight of treats?! And how exciting that they released their new Apple Cinnamon flavor just in time for fall! If you haven't heard about the wonderful workers behind the treats at Finley's Barkery, be sure to check them out.

My friend Andy came out for the first meet up and it really meant a lot to me. It was such a fun surprise because I didn't know he was coming. Not sure if I've mentioned him by name before, but Andy was Nellie's owner. It was so great to catch up and chat with him.

Our friends Brigette and Torque from @mydomesticden were also at the event and Brigette did a really nice recap on her blog, along with pictures far better than mine. Thanks so much, Brigette!

Here are some of the pictures from that day, as well as some that were taken by our friends who joined us.

Pre-Gaming

@dooditsalbus

@dooditsalbus

@miskarla

@miskarla

Sophie from @buddynsophie

Sophie from @buddynsophie

Buddy from @buddynsophie

Buddy from @buddynsophie

Meet Up Pics

@littlefinnicky

@littlefinnicky

Brigette and Torque (@mydomesticden)

Brigette and Torque (@mydomesticden)

Buddy (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Buddy (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Cash (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Cash (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Cash and Maple (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Cash and Maple (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Sydney (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Sydney (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Jen and Torque (photo credit: @mydomesticden)

Jen and Torque (photo credit: @mydomesticden)

Cash and Sydney (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Cash and Sydney (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Jen and Sydney (photo credit: @monsterber)

Jen and Sydney (photo credit: @monsterber)

Mila and Sydney (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Mila and Sydney (photo credit: @mpls612andy)

Mila and Sydney (@monsterber)

Mila and Sydney (@monsterber)

@monsterber

@monsterber

Sydney and Maple (photo credit: @monsterber)

Sydney and Maple (photo credit: @monsterber)

Sydney and Finnick (photo credit: @monsterber)

Sydney and Finnick (photo credit: @monsterber)

Finley and Luna (photo credit: @luny2oons)

Finley and Luna (photo credit: @luny2oons)

Marc getting some love from Buddy and Luna (photo credit: @luny2oons)

Marc getting some love from Buddy and Luna (photo credit: @luny2oons)

Finley, Maple and Albus begging for Finley's Barkery treats (photo credit: @luny2oons)

Finley, Maple and Albus begging for Finley's Barkery treats (photo credit: @luny2oons)

@dooditsalbus

@dooditsalbus

Cash is so handsome

Cash is so handsome

Hank is too cute for words

Hank is too cute for words

Sweet Finley

Sweet Finley

Torque is too cool for words

Torque is too cool for words

This is how you Oktoberfest (@maplemuppet)

This is how you Oktoberfest (@maplemuppet)

Sydney

Sydney

Maple polishing off the last of the Finley's Barkery treats (@maplemuppet)

Maple polishing off the last of the Finley's Barkery treats (@maplemuppet)

Albus!

Albus!

@dooditsalbus

@dooditsalbus

3 doodles and a mini german shepherd (photo credit: Hank's mom)

3 doodles and a mini german shepherd (photo credit: Hank's mom)

Hank and Albus (photo credit: Hank's mom)

Hank and Albus (photo credit: Hank's mom)

Rest In Peace, Sweet Koda

"Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big."

When my friend Matt and I met on Tinder (of all places), it wasn't a love connection, but we had one important thing in common. We both had yellow labs. It breaks my heart to say that we now have another thing in common - we've both had to say goodbye to our labs in the last year.

Around this time last year, I lost my first dog Kirby. I have been thinking of him a lot lately, and remembering how much he loved this time of year. Spending time with Koda helped me through that grieving period. Koda even slept over at my house so I didn't have to spend that first night alone. I couldn't bear the thought of being home without the pitter patter of paws on the floor.

If you follow us on social media, you've probably seen a post or two about Koda and her ailing health. After receiving the best possible care, the vets at the U of M who came to love her as one of their own finally said there was nothing more they could do. Koda is now free to chase squirrels and tennis balls with her friend Kirby.

If I had to describe Koda in one word, it would be happy. When I showed up for her walks, she was waiting for me in the window. If you threw her the ball, she'd be your best friend (as long as you threw it quickly enough). If you needed a snuggle, she was your girl. She was the first dog I met that could balance a treat on her nose, flip it up, and catch it in her mouth. I'll never forget the time we walked in the Pride Parade with Sidewalk Dog and Koda stole the show with her trick of jumping and catching the tennis ball mid-air.

Koda was the very first Modern Dogs client, as this whole journey got started. I remember having her at my side as I hung up flyers in her neighborhood, wondering whether I was crazy for thinking I could start a dog walking business.

Koda, I don't know if Modern Dogs would exist if it weren't for you. You gave me hope that I could make a dream a reality. Thank you for being a part of my world, and thank you for sharing your infectious energy with the Modern Dogs family. You were so special to those who loved you, and you left permanent paw prints on the hearts of many. Things will never be the same around here without you. We love you. xoxo

Biscuits & Brews

Yesterday I stopped by Biscuits & Brews at Fetch Delivers for the Underdog Rescue fundraiser. The place was PACKED! It was wonderful to see how many came out to support Underdog, and to see all the donated prizes up for silent auction.

It was an extra dose of fun for me because I'm dog sitting this weekend for a few pups that came from Underdog. Naturally I had to bring the super sweet Marla with me (whose name was the same when she was with Underdog).

Got to meet Lexi the Pug for the first time. Boy, does she know how to make an entrance as she rides around in style!

The Yappiest of Hours

A little behind with posting this, but we had another fun Yappy Hour with Sidewalk Dog at The Freehouse on Tuesday, Sept. 13. Perhaps people and their pups were trying to soak up the final days of summer patio festivities while they had the chance.

This adorable lab puppy was available for adoption through the Carver Humane Society.

This adorable lab puppy was available for adoption through the Carver Humane Society.

@finnwepp was there!

@finnwepp was there!

@paprikathegoldendoodle - one of our cutest clients!

@paprikathegoldendoodle - one of our cutest clients!

@misopuppy, one of the Humane Society Jindo puppies saved from a meat market in South Korea

@misopuppy, one of the Humane Society Jindo puppies saved from a meat market in South Korea

Of course @luny2oons was there!

Of course @luny2oons was there!

Baby Bjorn in dog form

Baby Bjorn in dog form

@winstonthesheepdog & his man bun

@winstonthesheepdog & his man bun

Finley's Barkery

I sat down with the wonderful folks at Finley's Barkery, and it left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Co-owners, Angie and Kyle, are the nicest people you'll ever meet. I was familiar with their story through Instagram, and I knew I just had to meet the people behind such a good cause. 

Both teachers, Angie and Kyle have created a natural dog treat company called Finley's Barkery (named after their mini German Shepherd, Finley) that employs young adults with special needs. Currently, the staff consists of all their former students. How cool is that?!

Tuesday and Wednesday evenings are designated baking days, where they operate out of a kitchen in Chanhassen. Hearing stories of how much fun they have at work makes me a little envious that I have a lonely job in terms of human interaction. If you don't believe me, check out their pics and videos on Instagram (@finleysbarkery) capturing the fun.

Though their employees have regular jobs during the day, they come into work energized and excited to bake. Not only do they bake, package, and sell the products, they also help with marketing and design needs, so they truly see the tangible outcome of what they've been working on. They LOVE seeing the results of their hard work, which they're often shown via social media.

The one and only time I attempted to make my own dog treats (see right below), it was a fail of epic proportions. Pretty sure the color was not supposed to resemble Carrot Top's hair, and the dough was so stiff that I couldn't use the dog bone cookie cutters I bought specifically for that purpose. Blobs that look less than appetizing were all I could muster from this baking catastrophe, unlike the perfectly shaped Finley's biscuits on the left. Major kudos to them!

My dog Butterscotch did a taste test of the peanut butter oatmeal treats, and he was a big fan (despite the derpy look on his face). Save 10% through this month when you order treats and use code DOGDAYS at checkout. Also if you spend $30, you get free shipping. It's recommended that treats be used within 4 weeks, but you can always toss extras in the freezer for maximum freshness!

Do You Ever Take A Vacation?

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” - Steve Jobs

My clients often ask if I ever take a vacation, or I hear them say, "You never get a day off." While both may be partially true, I can't say that my job ever feels like work, cheesy clichés aside. I'm doing something I absolutely love everyday, so I don't need a break to get away from it all. Granted, it's good to step away to clear your head and relax at times, like I did last weekend with the two kiddos.

I look at this picture, and smile, for these are a few of my favorite things. #cabin #nature #dogs

Maple's First Photo Shoot

Back in the spring, Butterscotch and I had professional photos taken, and I was so pleased with the results! Now that there's a new baby in the family, I had to get new shots done by Kirsten from KME Photography! Kirsten takes all the Sidewalk Dog cover photos, and you'll find her behind the lens at Sidewalk Dog events taking canine pics. Plus she donates a lot of her time to take photos for dogs that need forever homes for local rescue groups. Not only she is an all-around incredible person, but I love every single shot she captures. (And I'll admit I can be picky when it comes to photography). The photos speak for themselves - these were just a few of my favorites.

People & Pets on the Patio

On Wednesday, August 3rd, The Freehouse hosted People & Pets on the Patio with Sidewalk Dog and People & Pets Together. Even though it was HOT, it was a fine time for yappy hour!

Highlights were meeting Finn from @finnwep! I instantly recognized his cute little mug from Instagram. And I also met Amy from @amy_geeeee who came out to volunteer for her first Sidewalk Dog event and the adorable Mabel from @nck318. Meeting people you know from Instagram IRL is pretty exciting! More pics from the event below.

@finnwep

@finnwep

@amy_geeeee and Mabel from @nck318

@amy_geeeee and Mabel from @nck318

Goodbye, Sweet Nellie

It's been a tough week, friends. As a pseudo writer, I've struggled with wanting to say what's on my mind, but silence becomes me when I think of all the hate and violence in the world. I haven't been as active on social media lately because it didn't seem right to post cheerful pictures of dogs given everything around us. At the same time, I love that dogs can put a smile on our faces in the darkest of times.

All that being said, I got a dreaded call from one of my clients earlier this week. He let me know "It was time" so I rushed over to say goodbye to our beloved friend, Nellie. Young at heart, but at 14 years in age, it was time for her to chase squirrels in doggie heaven free of arthritis and pain for the first time in a very long time. While I share a unique and separate relationship with all my doggie clients, Nellie was extremely special to me and she will always hold a spot in my heart.

Photo Credit: @mpls612andy

Photo Credit: @mpls612andy

Backstory:

A couple years ago, I fell in love with a dog on Instagram. Her name was Nellie. At the time, she didn't have her own account but I started following her dad @mpls612andy. I've mentioned it before but he captures the most amazing photos around the city (seriously, check it out), and Nellie would often be part of the shots.

I can still recall my first phone conversation with Andy where he expressed slight concern over having someone else walk his dog (having never hired a dog walker before), and wanting to know whether I could deal with a pet owner who was very particular about his dog's care. That pretty much set the stage for what kind of relationship existed between Andy and Nellie. A strong bond of a very loving and nurturing nature.

At our first meet and greet, I felt an immediate connection with Nellie. To this day, I can't seem to find the right words to describe what makes her so special, but I went back and found this social media post from my first walk with Nellie on October 9, 2014.

Meet our newest friend, Nellie! She's a 12 year old Amstaff/Whippet mix. I think Nellie is my kindred spirit in dog form...there is something special about this sweet girl. She has a calming presence and a warm heart.

Meet our newest friend, Nellie! She's a 12 year old Amstaff/Whippet mix. I think Nellie is my kindred spirit in dog form...there is something special about this sweet girl. She has a calming presence and a warm heart.

After saying goodbye to my dog Kirby last fall, I was given a picture of Nellie to comfort me in my time of sorrow. Such a sweet gesture, and it has been hanging on my fridge ever since.

I will never forget Nellie (Nell Bell), and what it meant to be a part of her life. Though I only knew her for the last couple years, I can't help but feel like I was "supposed to" meet her. She taught me things about myself, and the incredible bond between her and her dad is one that we all would be lucky to find at least once in our lifetime. I will forever miss Nellie's sweet kisses (that were just enough but not too much), and her Chewbacca-like coo when I showed up for her walks.

This is hard, you guys. I feel like many of my clients are my own dogs, and I tear up at the thought of anything bad happening to them, especially since I know how much their owners cherish them.

We also said farewell this last week to one of our feline friends, Miss Moby. RIP Moby.

Several other clients are experiencing serious health issues with their dogs. Please know we are all sending hugs and positive vibes their way.