Tag Archives: dog travel

The Promised Land on a Horse with No Name

500 women over the age of 50 on the monterey bay peninsula are experiencing what I have as well as people across the country have been writing to me telling me their stories. Cici and I are overwhelmed with gratitude for the people who have sent me kind words, donations and offers to help us.  A special thank you to Melody and Diane, two inspiring women who gave us hope and friendship on the road.

http://www.vox.com/first-person/2016/9/29/12941348/homeless-over-50-statistic

 

Thank you to Eleanor at Vox and Karen Turner for their kindness and assistance with this article.

 

We have been featured on some pretty high profile pages, see below.

 

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We also love what our friend Wanda Sue wrote about us in this week’s Cedar Street Times:

 

Monterey Workshop addresses Affordable Housing Solutions

Ask yourself: Now what was that all about?

Reducing a speech, lecture, or event into a one-line summary isn’t easy, but you’ll be surprised what you discover by condensing a major phenomenon into ten words or less.

If interested, try this: Focus on one specific event, such as the first Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump last Monday. Then ask: What was that all about?

When I did the exercise, fifteen hours of contemplation resulted in extracting a comment Hillary made at the opening of the debate. Paraphrased, the most-important message I culled from event was:

One out of two Americans lives paycheck to paycheck

Never mind the fact neither candidate mentioned the H word. Hillary’s statement implied poverty is already a national epidemic. Mass homelessness proportional to disenfranchised Americans of the  Great Depression years seems imminent, even in a paradise like Monterey..

That not-too-distant future is now for CeliaSue Hecht, about whom you’ve read in this newspaper.

The former journalist who’s now homeless lives a nomadic life which is currently reminiscent of Biblical times.

Monterey’s rider on a horse with no name

CeliaSue is a stalwart symbol of bright, sober and mature homeless women with both courage and talent. She is a well-bred middle-class, college-educated former New Yorker, age 66, whom homelessness turned into a living example of the legendary person crossing the desert on a horse with no name. The steed in her case is a dusty white van shared with her dog Cici. It serves as the office from which she freelances as a writer and blogger.

During the six-months in which the City of Monterey was researching the feasibility of adopting five amendments to its Housing Element, each of which might hopefully ameliorate the affordable housing crisis in the city, CeliaSue Hecht went south to avoid becoming a starfish on another cold winter beach in Monterey.

Hoping to find a cozy room at an inn, she found instead, what I would succinctly define as a temporary oasis in The Promised Land for the Homeless, otherwise known as the desert near Giant Rock Airport.

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The Promised Land for the Homeless?

CeliaSue has been sleeping in a trailer on a campsite where she helps tend a herd of thirty-plus goats. There is no running water or electricity, but a perk in this region noted for flying saucer sightings is an occasional anomaly above the yucca trees that could be a fortuitous sign or even revelation of future things to come.

Look at the photo and ask yourself: What is this streak all about?  Then try to define it in ten words or less.

As a  help, you might remember the most-beloved Bible story of them all, in which a bright star appears over the manger in which an infant sleeps while shepherds tend their flocks by night.

When I asked myself what this is all about, the answer was: History repeats itself.

If this goat could talk, it might reveal where the homeless go from here by baa-baa-baa-ing, “There’s lots of  land in the Great American Southwest!

 

 

SAVING LIVES

if you live on the Central Coast of California or know someone who does and have an RV, camper, mobile home or trailer that is gently used and would like to provide a home for a senior or veteran, please call CeliaSue at 702-225-8206…have a list of those in need of housing. You can also contribute here:

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Filed under Adventure, affordable housing, all you need is a dog, California, Dalmatian, dog friendly, dog travel, dogs, Don't worry be happy, donations, farm animals, goat, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Palm Springs, travel with dog, women with dogs

Dog laws pros and cons

California has now made it legal for people to break car windows in order to break a dog out of a hot car.

“As of August 2016, Vermont joined forces with Tennessee, Florida, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio in passing laws to protect good Samaritans who assist dogs locked in hot cars.”

Palm Springs has made it illegal for people to leave their dogs in their cars.

Many people applaud these measures. Don’t get me wrong, dogs shouldn’t die in hot cars AND there are other issues about this to consider and SOLVE which these laws do NOT DO.

http://outwardhound.com/buzzwoof/barking-news/this-state-just-made-it-leagal-to-break-dogs-out-of-hot-cars

For instance, people like me who take their dogs on trips, who are single and alone and cannot leave their pooches in the motel, and must take their dogs with them wherever they go, sure, these laws are meant to save dog’s lives… but in Palm Springs it is illegal to keep your dog in a car, even if it is COOL weather or night, this goes TOO FAR. if dogs are not allowed in stores, there is NO PLACE FOR THEM TO BE. Where am I supposed to put CICI, tie her up outside a store ????

A woman called the police while I was shopping at Trader Joe’s one cool morning. I usually take Cici inside with me and did not know about the law. She was fine with the windows wide open. As I was at the cashier and leaving, the manager asked if that was my car and told me about the woman and the law.

 

CiCi

 

There are laws that DESERVE TO BE BROKEN or should never have been made to begin with in my humble opinion.  What do you think ?

 

Speaking of which, MONTREAL’s wrong minded response to an incident and just passed a really horrible BSL law that will put too many dogs lives at stake. Rescues are trying to get dogs out of Montreal ASAP as we speak but families are being torn apart and heartbroken for what ????? outlawing dogs for the WAY THEY LOOK IS JUST PLAIN INSANE and goes against EVERYTHING dog experts agree upon on how to COMBAT effectively dog bites and dog aggression. Breed Specific Legislation does NOTHING but waste taxpayer dollars and has proven to be completely ineffective at curbing dog bites. In fact, in some places, dog bites went up because BREED and dog’s looks have NOTHING TO DO WITH whether  a dog will bite or be aggressive or not.

There are 5 or  red flags that are PROVEN that can lead to a dog attacking or biting.

A dog who is or has been abused, a dog who is left alone in a yard, all day and night and is not socialized nor trained, a dog who is left to roam the streets, a mama with puppies, a dog who is sick and NEVER LEAVE A CHILD OF ANY AGE ALONE WITH A DOG, NO DOG, NONE. These are the RED FLAGS … AND APPLY TO ALL BREEDS of DOGS!!!!!!

“legislators voted in 37 to 23 favor of breed-specific legislation, effectively outlawing any dog that resembles a pit bull — unless owners meet a strict set of conditions.

“Under the ban — which loosely covers American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers — no dog considered a pit bull can be adopted from Montreal shelters.

“For dogs that don’t have an ‘owner’ on the day of the passing of the legislation, the way the legislation is drafted, the dogs have to be euthanized,” Alanna Devine, of the Montreal SPCA, told The Dodo last week.

“…The legislation was proposed after a spate of dog attacks in the city. Among them, the most notorious resulted in a woman being killed by a dog in her yard last June. But, even in that case, there’s doubt whether the dog that attacked her was even a pit bull.

“Under the law, people who own dogs deemed pit bulls have until March to undergo a criminal background check and pay $150 for a special permit. Their dog will have to be sterilized, vaccinated and microchipped —as well as muzzled and on a 4-foot leash at all times in public.”

https://www.thedodo.com/pit-bull-ban-montreal-passed-2019462088.html

 

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What you can do:

Sign the petition, write to the officials, speak out against BSL and adopt a dog from MONTREAL asap.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under adoption, all you need is a dog, animal rescue, around the world, breed specific laws, dog rescue, dogs, dogs around the world, K9 travel, keep pets safe, Palm Springs, pet adoption, pit bull, politics, Uncategorized

No ifs ands or goat butts

I made a new friend today… a goat.  Well, a few friends but one in particular seemed to enjoy my company.

My new goat friend ate some bread out of my hand and proceeded to sit underneath my chair. Horns and all. The chickens joined in the party for the bread and pecked it off the ground.

Cici and I stayed on the property of “Manifest” aka Shaun in Joshua Tree. He has 37 goats (and two dozen chickens on his land plus a rabbit or two, a scorpion, squirrels and some bats (who eat mosquitoes).

Cici thinks that the goats are fun to chase, except when they let her know when she is out of bounds. She does not seem as interested in the chickens and roosters. Maybe she thinks she is a goat without any horns? She wants to play and is learning how to play nice.

There are also UFO sightings in the area at Great Rock and Integratron in Landers and other places near the Joshua Tree National Park. Looks like we may have caught something on camera. What do you think ?

 

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Manifest’s story with goats begins with his wanting to get an awesome Australian Shepherd as a pet dog, doesn’t everybody? Instead a goat named Dada Aye followed him around and has become his mascot. Dada is 5 years old, half-Nigerian dwarf, half-pigmy and four years later, she gave birth to a daughter named Shou Aye. He has trained these two to be his service pets. And they go with him practically everywhere he goes to swap meets and other places.

He also has a dozen males and three of each breed, Nigerian, Nubian and Pygmy, that he is hoping to breed with females to get a Griffin. The little baby goats are adorable.

 

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Manifest spent much time rock climbing in Joshua Tree from the time he was 17 to twenty-five. He also was a captain of a sport fishing boat in the waters off San Diego.

He thinks goats are special animals and here’s why.

“What I love about goats is that they are the closest animals to nature and source. They are the elves of the forest. They cultivate plants, grass and trees. They bring vibrancy to the land. Goats are simple like a four wheel dog. Their bodies are durable, endure weather better than dogs, like micro-camelettes,” he explained.

He has about two dozen chickens and roosters, Golden Phoenix, American and Cochin.

 

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Manifest has a dream of creating Eco pets, animals that clean your garden and neighborhood, provide superfood (milk), without hormones, no pesticides, and no preservatives), pets that give back and have a job to do.

He has been learning a lot from his goats. “Goats live a simple life. They enjoy their days. Watching the world go by. Chewing their food. They go to sleep and wake up the next day and do the same thing all over again. People, meanwhile, live to work and work hard and have no time in their lives to enjoy life. Everyone’s working too many hours to keep up the Joneses and just to get by and we cannot even afford to live anymore. We don’t respect and honor products that are made well to last. Instead, we buy items that last a month rather than years. Everything is temporary not permanent. Throw away junk.”

Goats have a different perspective on life than humans do.

“Goats interact with nature every day and enjoy trees. They preserve and protect and grow life. They use trees to mark their territory, sharpen their horns, to convene together, come back together as a community. They have their favorite trees and do well eating Mesquite, Palo Verde and non-fruited Mulberries. Will eat creosote and non-native grasses in a pinch. They limit growth and keep the grass short. They give something back.

“The way they communicate with one another is through their actions and activities. Food makes goats happy. They respond to whistles and commands. And interact with one another through rubbing the nape of the neck, stomping of hooves, mane and tails, and howling and other noises. During mating season, late August through early October, the males are especially loud with snorts and hollering, stomping their feet, pawing the ground, and showing off to the females their level of vibrancy. This is very equestrian in nature.

“I think the Tasmanian devil was based upon a goat, emulating a goat. They get wound up and it can require a good amount of patience and persistence to train them. It did not take me as long as I thought it would to make my goats great pets. Goats want to be friendly and sociable with humans. Most humans have not taken the time to get to know them as pets. They throw them in a pen but the goats don’t want to be left alone. They are smart and want to communicate with us,” he concluded.

a new paper published in Frontiers in Zoology, (says that) goats have fewer commonalities with their dull farm counterparts and belong instead on the ungulate honor roll. These furry, hoofed eating machines appear more sheep- or mini-cow-like in their demeanor, but their IQs likely put even the most astute steer to shame, the researchers—real men and women who stare at goats—found.

“The researchers, who hail from Queen Mary University of London and the Institute of Agricultural Science in Switzerland, long suspected that goats might be more intelligent than they seem. For example, goats live in complex social groups; they are experts at getting at hard-to-reach foods (goats in the Morocco, for example, are known for climbing trees in search of tasty sprigs); they live a long time, meaning they are better able to build up a repertoire of memories and skills than some short-lived animals; and despite the misconception that goats eat garbage, they are surprisingly picky eaters, able to adeptly pick leaves off of thorn bushes or seek out just the right sprig of grass.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/never-underestimate-goat-not-stupid-looks-180950265/#hmHtswFS1PjKEHOI.99

Did you know that the origins of the saying “getting your goat” references “an old English (Welsh?) belief that keeping a goat in the barn would have a calming effect on the cows, hence producing more milk. When one wanted to antagonize/terrorize one’s enemy, you would abscond with their goat rendering their milk cows less- to non-productive.”

So goats were known as the great calmers of nature and were kept in stables to calm down thoroughbred horses.

 

Goat Therapy = Goat Yoga

Were goats the original horse whisperers and/or cow whisperers?  And how about pairing humans with goats during Goat Yoga?

“You know, I’m in this horrible state but they’re making me laugh—that’s the therapy part, goats just being goats,” she says. “It was just so hard to be depressed and sad when—even when I was in pain I would forget about it because of them. They use horses a lot for therapy, and dogs, but nobody uses goats and I just wonder why. They’re hilarious animals!”

http://www.alternet.org/culture/heres-real-story-behind-internet-famous-goat-yoga

My new goat friend thinks goats are fun and  perfect for doing yoga with, for therapy purposes as well as calming people and other animals down.  He has his work cut out for him with Shaun, who has a rotten temper, is a bully, has a bad reputation with his neighbors and thinks he knows everything. Oh well…

 

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The goat is not sure about interacting with my computer and becoming famous on the Internet. No ifs ands or goat butts …

 

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Filed under affordable housing, animals, chickens, dogs, farm animals, goat, pet care, Uncategorized

Wonder woofers

This column article is in the Cedar Street Times this Friday… thanks to Wanda Sue Parrott

 

http://www.cedarstreettimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/8-19-16-cstweb.pdf

see cici on page 14, article about wonder woofers
 
photo by Mark Anderson, Monterey County Weekly

Wonder woofers and owners who won’t live without them

“Housing First!” If you were a homeless woman, or on the verge, housing would be your top priority.

Alas, affordable housing is so lacking in Monterey County, that “housing first” is the slogan all agencies, both public and private, use in dealing with affordable housing across the board.  (Note: Cici and I wish this were true)

A special category of need exists that involves homeless women with pets, a few being cats and the majority dogs. The exact number of Monterey’s homeless pet owners is unknown.

Overnight dog housing needed

Landlords don’t want pets and agency-housing doesn’t usually allow them.

Homeless women don’t want to give up their dogs, so they sleep in their cars or on the street to be with their animals.

One reason for temporary suspension of the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program for Women (I-HELP) was the fact female guests weren’t willing to give up their canine  companions in exchange for food, personal amenities and shelter.

Suggestions have been made that an I-HELP for Pets program be devised through which pets can be sheltered at a designated location, then reunited with their owners during the daytime hours.

Between 400 and 500 homeless women were estimated to live on the Monterey Peninsula before the Soberanes Fire dislocated residents who were burned out over the past three weeks. Of this number, an unknown percentage includes pet owners who consider their four-legged friends as more than just canines. They’re their Wonder Woofers.

A few words about Wonder Woofers

Cici is a poster-dog for this column. She’s a loving Dalmatian-Pit Bull mix seen here celebrating her 10th birthday last month. Cici is a Wonder Woofer. Along with her Wonder Worker owner, Cici is homeless.

 

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Since Cici can’t define Wonder Woofer, I’ll try.

A Wonder Woofer is a warm-blooded furry friend who speaks from the heart in arfs, ruffs and woofs we humans call barks. A Wonder Woofer is on the job 24/7, never complaining.

A Wonder Woofer likes to snuggle and wiggle and lick, as well as serenade his or her human with  love songs sung unconditionally through squeals, whimpers, whines and hums.

A Wonder Woofer’s vocal range is extensive, also being capable of issuing protective warnings by yipping, growling and snarling if danger exists.

CeliaSue Hecht, Cici’s loving owner, is a former journalist who’s so devoted to her pet that she defines herself as a “dog traveler.”

Unlike many homeless women who don’t know where to turn or how to get started to solve the housing crisis, CeliaSue is a 66-year-old articulate activist. Despite having survived breast cancer and being in need of medical care and housing, CeliaSue is seeking solutions to the housing crisis. A current example is this ad in Craigslist:

RVs for Seniors with Dogs

 

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If you live on the Central Coast of California and have an RV, camper, or trailer or know someone that does and would like to provide a home for a senior or veteran, please call CeliaSue at 702-225-8206…we have a list of those in need of housing.

Hundreds of senior women have been displaced with their pets. Single women without children, women who are not mentally ill, not drug addicts, not alcoholics, with low income, not working or cannot find work, veterans, and other seniors with dogs, over 50 years of age, some ill and whose health has deteriorated without shelter. 

Thank you for your kindness.

http://monterey.craigslist.org/rew/5728749956.html

 

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Filed under affordable housing, big dogs welcome, California, Carmel, dog travel, dogs, donations, four paws up, K9 travel, keep pets safe, Monterey, news, pet press, pet travel, Uncategorized

It is the pits and not the pits

did it all begin with dogs?

the rancor, recrimination, disdain, and discrimination,

small versus large dogs.

breed discrimination.

breed bans.

BSL.

talk to any owner of a German Shepherd, Rottweiler, or pit bull (which is not a breed, a bunch of bully breeds including American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrirer, Pit Bull Terrier, and others) are lumped together and called pit bulls, and they will tell you about how their dog(s) are vilified, demonized, shunned, and/or called mean, vicious and/or killer dogs, no matter the dog.

is it any wonder then now we have right here in America:

people

red vs blue

GOP vs Democrats

conservatives vs liberals

Bernie supporters versus Hillary

men versus women

white Christian evangelicals aka white supremacists against everyone

heterosexuals against LGBT folks

white people versus nonwhite people

rich versus poor and middle class

1% versus 99%

housed versus unhoused

child molesters and rapists versus transgendered

environmentalists aka tree huggers versus climate change deniers and oil companies, big pharma and nuke, coal, industries

vegetarians and vegans versus meat eaters

war mongers versus pacifists

north versus south

didn’t we fight this war before, I seem to recall something…

people divided

a nation in crisis 

fighting each other and the whole world

when will we learn the lessons and stop blaming one another, pointing fingers, spewing hatred?

it is not the dogs, not the people…

 

a nation gone mad accusing one another for our problems

 

we are NOT NOT NOT going to solve anything with slurs, epithets, walls and bans

 

can we just agree to disagree and MOVEO N?????

 

****

 

on a different note, Cici and I are traveling and met with Howard Epstein in LA for lunch yesterday. It was fun and yummy and we grew up in the same neighborhood in NYC, went to the same high school at different times.

 

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Filed under bigotry against dogs, boycott, breed specific laws, breeds, pit bull, travel with dog, Uncategorized, USA Today, war on women, Washington

Camping is for the Dogs

Cici and I love to go camping and below are some tips for camping with the dogs. And we would like to introduce you to our new friends, the Webers, Christian and Kirstin, and their dog Fred, who also has white and black spots all over. He was rescued a few years ago on a trip to Mexico. He does some fun tricks like shake hands and he is awfully sweet (says Cici, woof woof woof).

Here he is having fun camping out with his family’s Shift Pod tent.

 

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40.1 million Americans, or 14 percent of the US population over age six, camped in 2013.

Spring and Summer are a hop, skip and jump away. It is not too late to start planning your summer vacation. The lure of scenic wonders and natural splendors appeal to people of all ages. And camping is a great way to get away from it all, commune with nature, spend quality time with family, friends and the dog and let go of stress at a reasonable cost.

Whether it is to the nearest lake, beach or creek, mountain area or a typical tourist destination such as Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Arrowhead, Joshua Tree National Park, Big Sur or Big Bear, everyone needs to get out of dodge for some rest and relaxation for a few weeks.

If you have your own RV, camper, minivan, tent trailer or tent and sleeping bag, you may want to reserve camping spots in national or state parks far in advance because the most popular places with limited sites are going to get booked up quickly.

Travel Light

Pack only essential items that you will need such as a first aid kit, batteries, flashlight, food, and water. If you are traveling with kids and/or pets, you will have more items such as dog food, leashes, toys, treats, towels and blankets.  Other items for dogs include collapsible bowls, poop bags, brush, extra leashes and collars, and a life vest for water activities such as canoeing, swimming, boating in lakes, ocean or rivers.

What is Bugging you

When you go camping with your dog, be sure to give them some flea and tick prevention and take some spray with you.

Who nose 

Make sure ID tags are in place, along with proof of vaccinations in case you need to show these.

Beware 

Dogs are usually allowed in parks but you definitely do not want to allow them to be in areas where they can get stung by bees, get foxtails stuck in their ears, mouth, eyes, hot sand can be rough on four paws and so can hot rocks and please keep them away from toxic plants, flowers and weeds, and garbage.

Do not let your dogs roam and disturb the wildlife such as rabbits, squirrels, bears, coyotes and mountain lions. Contact the park ranger or park host for assistance if an unexpected and uninvited visitor should show up at your campsite.

Glamping or Camping?

If you prefer to backpack and hike trails, you can carry a tent and sleeping bag with you. You can also reserve a yurt, cabin, tipi or motel to sleep in at some parks (usually they do not allow pets but some do, check with the campground). Many campgrounds are crowded and busier on holiday weekends so organize your time to avoid the rush.

Speaking of Tents

Speaking of tents, many regular tents are not sealed well and some have ceilings made of screen with a rain fly.  This will not keep any dirt out or any heat in.  Regular tents also have many parts and pieces to assemble each time and parts to lose in between camping trips.

Pop-Up Pods

pod-tent

SHIFT PODS are an extraordinary insulated tent that is portable, easy to use, insulated, comfortable, easy to transport, and sets up in minutes (without all those loose poles).

SHIFTPODS set up as one complete unit.  The stakes and lines are the only parts you have to connect once the SHIFTPOD is set up.  The SHIFTPODS are 12 feet across and 6.5 feet tall and can be set up by one person in less than 2 minutes.   SHIFT PODS are made out of sturdy and weather-proof materials. They are made with a three-layer, insulated, UV-reflective nylon that reflects the sun’s rays to keep things cool inside during the heat of the day and warm all night.

The Shiftpod was designed specifically for the harsh environment of the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada and can remain set up for a few weeks at a time. This comes in handy (and highly recommended) when you are going camping in unpredictable desert weather and other climates. The tent is heat-reflective so the blinding sun doesn’t wake you up. It is so simple to set up that even the least handy aka clumsy individual can put it together.

Space is not only the final frontier but the Shiftpod has plenty of room inside to stretch out and get comfortable. When fully assembled it covers a 12-foot by 12-foot area, and stands 6.5-feet in height, allowing most people to comfortably stand up without having to lower their heads. This gives the tent enough room to accommodate a queen-sized mattress, as well as plenty of gear and other equipment too.

There are six portal windows that allow exterior light to filer into the structure without compromising interior temperatures. Waterproof zippers help to keep both moisture and sand at bay. The floor can even be zipped out for quick and easy cleaning, and the tent even comes with high quality stakes and two combination locks to secure the door.

These silver futuristic looking tents weigh about 60 pounds and cost $1195 MSRP.  If people pre-order and wait 30-90 days for delivery they get $300 off.  Used SHIFTPODS sell for $600.  Can be shipped UPS and taken on an airplane.

For more info, go to:

 

https://shiftpods.com

 

Cici and I are going to be setting up our new ShiftPod soon at our new Mobile Home Park, where we are living in a very tiny camper. We have a fenced in yard, kiddie pool, two big chairs (a recliner and a rocking chair) and our ShiftPod outside. When we do get it set up, just a matter of space right now, we will share photos. Also, we need a bed to go inside of it, so that we can sleep outside.

Meanwhile, here’s a photo of Cici in her new yard having a sun bath. She loves that people and doggies come by to visit her. And the bars are the ramp that was built for us to go into and out of the camper.

Photo on 3-27-16 at 12.01 PM #2

https://homesweetinyhome.wordpress.com/2016/03/28/tents-campers-and-dogs-oh-my/

 

Upcoming Las Vegas Event

 

ShiftPods will be featured at this event coming up near Las Vegas. You could win one. You could sleep in one. You could see what the ShiftPod is all about up close and personal.

 

http://www.furtherfuture.com/

A new kind of music and lifestyle festival. From 12pm on Friday April 29 through sunset on Sunday May 1, 2016, we will gather at the Moapa River Indian Reservation near Las Vegas, Nevada, for a weekend filled with incredible music, visionary speakers, inspirational art and human connection.

 

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2016 Pet Blogger Challenge

 

Here are the questions for the 2016 Pet Blogger Challenge:

1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone who is visiting for the first time, please give a quick description of the subject of your blog.

I have been blogging since 2008. Our blog is about traveling with your dog(s) to pet friendly destinations, primarily in California (and also Nevada, Arizona and Oregon. And we have also covered other places). My dog Cici and I traveled for three years and reviewed 85+ pet friendly hotels, B&B’s, motels, lodges, inns in various locations and told the tales of pet friendly and pet tolerant cities and towns. We share our experience at pet friendly restaurants, wineries, stores, beaches and more.

2. What is the one thing that you accomplished during 2015, either on your blog or because of it, that made you most proud?

as sick as I was in 2015 (breast cancer, concussion, blood clots on my lungs, lost the most important person in my life for 40 years the day after Christmas, etc etc)  and with all of the other difficulties that I have had to deal, (not having a home of our own) that I wrote any blog posts in 2015 is a miracle.

3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

I thought it was fun to point out things we can learn about our dogs and how they would blog. There were other blog posts about how we were the best dog bloggers in the universe (only kidding) but we were picked as being in the top 10 or so and those were nice, too. But we did not pick ourselves. And if we did, Cici and I will never tell. Anyway, I am rambling. Dogs can teach us a lot about our world. And they can certainly train us how to blog, too.

https://celiasue.com/2015/06/26/how-to-blog-like-a-dog/

 

 

4. A common theme from last year’s challenge was that many of us wanted to increase the size of our audiences. Whether or not we intend to monetize our blogs, it seems we’d all like to reach more people. It feels good to know that we’re connecting with others, sharing a laugh or supporting a cause, and it’s motivating to see those numbers grow! What is one thing you’ve done in the past year that has brought more traffic to your blog?

I am not sure that it has brought more traffic to my blog, but I have expanded the groups that I have been connecting with and made new online friends including some outside the USA (Australia, Denmark, etc). Some of the groups have been alternative housing aka tiny home folks, homeless advocates, and seniors.

 

5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? Why do you think it was so popular? (Please include a link.)

23 Pet Friendly Places in NorCal got the most traffic I think because people want to travel to Northern California and/or are traveling with their pets to NorCal and want to know the best places to take their pooches.  And we offer them a pooch side seat in the passenger seat to travel along with us exploring the pet friendliest places with dogitude (as opposed to the pet tolerant places that are not really pet friendly. You know the ones that charge pet fees (large or small), restrict dogs according to breed, size, or weight, do not have any or enough green areas, do not allow dogs to go anywhere, and/or do not provide any doggie amenities such as massage, toys, bowls, ID tags, pillows, beds, towels and/or TREATS / menu.  Pet tolerant places like Las Vegas, Nevada, oops, hotel casinos. Do not really want you to bring your dog BUT if you must, we will charge you, make you pay. Did you know that Harrah’s in Laughlin is $20 for you and $80 for your pooch? I kid you not.

https://celiasue.com/2015/05/03/23-pet-friendly-places-in-northern-california/

 

6. What is one blog that you read religiously – other than your own – and what makes you such a devoted reader? (Please include a link.)

I like to read BADRAP’s blog. Amazing dog trainers and especially great info for and about pit bulls and their owners.

 

http://badrap-blog.blogspot.com

 

 

7. What resources do you rely on to enhance your technical, writing, photography, social media, or other skills that improve your blog?

I am a research-a-holic, am on Google all the time, learning, reading, finding out what others are doing and what  find interest. I also use google-alerts to keep me up to date. I find a lot of the dog travel alerts to focus on the same old same old and some of the emails that I get, people want to write blog posts that I’ve written about many times. Enhancing reader’s interest, I try to use images, humor, as well as short blog posts (300-500 words) along with catchy headlines. It is also good to capture reader’s attention by tapping into controversial topics and providing tips, resources and practical assistance.

8. What is the best piece of advice you can offer other bloggers?

Keep on blogging, writing and reading other blogs.  Persistence pays off and so does keeping it fresh as you change, as your needs / focus / interests transform.

9. What is your vision for your blog in 2016? Do you have specific goals?

I want it to be more and more real, authentic and include other people and their stories, especially seniors with senior dogs. I have always tried to tell my truths, be honest, and I’ve interviewed others. I would really like more people to feel compelled to contribute their truths, too. I also want to include alternative housing (mobile tiny homes) since I am obsessed with finding, building, creating one for me and cici.

10. You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there one blogging challenge you’d like help with, or one aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?

I would like to expand the scope of my blog to include various topics such as seniors with dogs, difficulties of seniors in coping with life changes including alternative housing options and resources. I still will write about my dog and include living with my senior dog, issues that arise with a senior dog, and a senior person.  Do I change the name of my blog since I am changing the focus or just keep on keeping on ?

 

Challenge badge on your blog, did not work… I tried and tried and tried oh well 🙂

 

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