Get in the Cargo!

Should changes be made regarding the restrictive laws implemented for pets and pet owners travelling on board Australian aircrafts? 

Travelling with pets has become increasingly more popular around the globe. However, Australia still seems to acquire outdated and more restrictive rules and regulations regarding traveling with pets both domestically and internationally, making it difficult for people to do so.  

To put the issue into perspective, findings from a study conducted by Compare the Market showed that no Australian city made the list as a top pet friendly travel destination, while cities such as New York, Seoul and Tokyo took the lead.

Air France was found to be the most pet friendly airline as they allow people to travel with up to three pets on board, and the price is extremely affordable, mirroring the cost of paying for additional standard luggage. 

Second to Air France, results showed that the British based airline Thomas Cook was another top pet friendly airline. For as little as 15 euros you can pay to travel with your pet on board one of their aircrafts, and no weight restrictions apply. 

In contrast, the least pet friendly airlines were found to be EasyJet, Emirates and FlyBe, because they don’t allow pets to travel on board at all. 

Closer to home, Air New Zealand is another one of Compare the Markets more stricter airlines, because pets are required to travel in cargo for international flights. Cathay Pacific also implement similar rules, with the exception of service dogs on board. 

This strongly demonstrates how much work is still required regarding travelling with pets within Australia, and how ridiculous these regulations are in comparison to the less restrictive rules implemented by international airlines. 

TRAVELLING WITHIN AUSTRALIA

Virgin Australia currently only allows Authorised Assistance Dogs to travel on board flights. And in regards to other dogs and cats very strict rules and restrictions apply, and they must travel in cargo. 

An example of a restrictive rule is that pets must be between the age of 8 weeks and 12-years-old, and must not exceed 65kg to be classified as ‘fit for travel’. 

When travelling to Tasmania even further restrictions apply as dogs must be tested for Hydatids Tapeworm prior to flying.

In 2013, Virgin Australia also launched a frequent flyer program for pets, which has slightly increased the number of pets travelling annually. But in comparison to the 2 million pets who travel within the United States each year, Australia still has a long way to go.

Following the Customs (Prohibited Items) Regulations 1956 crossbreeds are only approved and allowed on aircrafts under the discretion of Virgin. This rule is heavily enforced on breeds such as the Japanese Tosa and Fila Brasilerio which are completely banned.

And Qantas have similar rules to Virgin regarding travelling with pets, despite stating on their website that the airline ‘understands your pet is an important member of the family, and, just like people, pets need to travel as quickly and comfortably as possible’.

However, despite their emphasis on comfort, they still subject pets to travel in cargo. 

COUNTER ARGUMENT 

In rebuttal, many people actually agree with the restrictions implemented by Australian airlines in regards to travelling on board with pets. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, between 15-30% of individuals are allergic to dogs and cats to some extent. Symptoms can vary from sneezing to more dangerous reactions, such as severe asthma attacks.

However, a simple solution for this is limiting the number of pets allowed on-board aircrafts and having a designated section for dogs to sit with their owners. A good example of an airline implementing this rule is the American Southwest Airline who restricts pet travel to a maximum of six pets per flight.

Michelle Agnew, a spokeswoman for the airline publicly stated that passengers severely affected by pets on-board can notify an employee and request to be moved, which seems like a fair compromise. 

Airlines such as JetBlue, an American low-cost carrier, go further than that and offer customers a full refund if pets on board a flight have affected their ability to travel, or affected their level of comfort. 

But this controversial debate really comes down to pets not being fully regarded and respected as part of people’s families within Australia. It is unfair that they are separated from their owners and put in less than ideal conditions. Many pets, especially first time flyers, are scared and suffer severe separation anxiety, as the conditions in cargo are less than ideal. In addition to dimly lit lighting, their surroundings are unfamiliar and they are not provided with the comfort or safety that comes with their owner being right by their side. 

Put bluntly, if screaming children can roam freely on an aircraft, then pets should be allowed to be securely caged and sit by their designated carer.

PET PASSPORT AND IMPORT REGULATIONS

Australia’s Pet Passport and Import Regulations are amongst the strictest in the world. 

As a standard precaution, your pet will be imposed to 10 days of quarantine when entering Australia. If you are returning to Australia from another country, even more stricter rules and regulations apply. For example, vaccinations are required for all pets returning from any countries other than New Zealand, Norfolk Island and Keeling Island. 

You must present proof of microchip documentation, submit a rabies test and your dog or cat must be treated against internal parasites twice, with the second test being conducted within five days of your pet returning to the country. 

Because of the unfair travel conditions for pets in Australia, pet owners are encouraged not to travel between the months of December to February because of the hot weather conditions. There are also various breeds of dogs and cats which are not permitted to enter Australia. These include the American Pit Bull, Dogo Argentino and the Perro de Presa. 

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ADVICE FOR TRAVELLING WITHIN AUSTRALIA

If you do decide to travel with your pet it is also important to make sure that they are prepared and fit for travel, especially considering they will not be near you for the duration of the flight.

Purchasing a First Aid kit from your vet is highly recommended. It is useful to have this handy before or after the flight, especially for first time pet travellers. In addition to this, whether you have purchased a container or are borrowing one from the airline, it is useful to ensure that your furry friend becomes accustomed to travelling in these small, confined conditions.

Take them for drives in a small cage and put their favourite toy in there, as well as some drinking water, so that they can warm up and adjust to the idea of being confined to a limited space. 

It is also recommended that you purchase an additional protective kennel mat. This absorbs liquid and will make your pets journey more hygienic and comfortable.

On the day of travel you should feed your pet a light meal a few hours before take off as this will reduce the chances of them feeling ill on the plane. You should also ensure that they drink plenty of water and that they are staying hydrated. 

Nobody understands your beloved pet more than you do, which means that only you will know whether they are suitable for this type of travel or not. Although you may want them with you on your holiday, if they are prone to separation anxiety or don’t have the emotional or physical capabilities to deal with confined spaces, or hours of travel, then travel is not advisable. 

Brachycephalic breeds in particular should not travel as they are naturally at a higher risk of experiencing heat stress. Dogs pant when they are excited, stressed or in high energy situations as a method of evaporative cooling. But Brachycephalic breeds such as French bulldogs, Pugs and Persian cats struggle to do this naturally, which means that they will struggle even more on an aeroplane. 

Pets with thick heavy coats of hair such as Siberian Huskies and Malamutes may also find travelling difficult. Some airlines outright deny these breeds on board purely because they require more supervision.

It is important if you are travelling for the first time with your pet that you visit your vet and get a certificate that certifies that they are fit for travel. As domestic travel with pets grows within Australia, it is paramount to take into account these travelling tips to ensure your pets trip is as comfortable as possible, because put simply, they deserve it.

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Preparing For Your Dogs First Holiday

Holidays are best when the whole family goes away, and this means taking your fur-friend with you. With pet insurance, websites such as Holidaying with Dogs and an increase in pet-friendly hotels, cafes, restaurants and attractions across the globe, taking your pet with you on a trip has never been easier. 

If you have never taken your pooch with you on a holiday before, then a road trip to get them use to the idea of travelling, being on the move and being away from home is highly recommended. Taking them to the beach, park, or somewhere they enjoy is highly encouraged before your trip, so that they learn to enjoy being in the car and associate car trips with positive places. 

With just a little bit of pre-planning, you can have the perfect road trip with your pet by your side!

Pre-planning involves travelling short distances with your dog in the car, giving them an assigned seat and getting them accustomed to scheduled breaks. Go for a walk around the block so they can burn off excess energy before getting into the car. Offer lots of praises and give them lots of treats.

You know your dog best, so do whatever it takes to help them associate getting into the car with positive thoughts.

You want the whole experience to be enjoyable for them too, otherwise there is no use taking them with you on a trip. 

Air travel with your pet requires a little bit more pre-planning. Road-trips aren’t for everyone, and we understand that for some, unless you’re jetting off to a new location that requires a quick flight, then its really not a holiday. 

If you want to plan a getaway with the family and your dog overseas or interstate then the requirements are a little more demanding, but it will all be worthwhile because the trip is guaranteed to be magical. 

You should firstly make sure that your pooch is wearing a collar and tag with your contact details. A few weeks before travelling you should also check the airline rules regarding travel with pets and get a health certificate from your vet. You’d be surprised what other additional information some airlines might require from you. 

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If you are travelling within Australia then your dog will be travelling in cargo, so you should buy a crate and get your dog used to travelling in these conditions before the flight.

On the day, it is recommended you run some lavender oil between your hands and give your dog an aromatherapy massage to calm their nerves. You should also have their favourite toy handy or an abundance of treats. 

Avoid food five hours prior to flying, and keep your dog well hydrated. If your dog is travelling in cargo and not with you on the plane, it is recommended that you don’t make the goodbye too overwhelming or emotional, as your pet will sense this and feel anxious and nervous.

Instead you should remain calm and act like nothing is out of the ordinary. 

With travelling out of the way, on arrival, the first thing you should do is get your dog to burn off some energy, especially after being on a plane for a long period of time. Get them accustomed to their new surroundings with a walk and allow them to get use to the accommodation.

Show them the bed, and give them a blanket or toy they are familiar with to reduce nerves. Familiar scents will really help them stay calm, which will make the trip more enjoyable.

Holidaying with your pet is a time to make new memories and give them an adventure of a lifetime. Travelling to your destination is the most difficult aspect of the trip, but with these handy tips and tricks, your pet is guaranteed to enjoy the journey and feel at ease.

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Is Your Dog Bored?

You are the main source of entertainment when it comes to caring for your dog. You dictate when they play, eat, exercise, go to the vet, attend appointments and you schedule in all other important events in their lives. 

Because of this, it is important to keep your pets both mentally and physically stimulated to avoid them becoming bored. Boredom can lead to depression, separation anxiety and other serious issues, so it is crucial for your dogs well-being to understand and know the signs of boredom and how to cure it.

HYPER-ACTIVENESS 

If your dog is chewing on objects around your house, being super hyper-active and greeting you with more energy than usual, then alarm bells should ring, as this is one of the most common signs of boredom. Taking your dog for a walk or for a run at the park is strongly encouraged! 

DIGGING 

Digging is something dogs do for fun to burn off excess energy them have. If you have noticed that your dog is digging up holes all around the backyard, then they are definitely bored.

BARKING

Have you noticed that your dog has been barking more than usual? And at everything and everyone? *ding ding*. Ultimate sign of boredom. 

WHINING 

While apparently random whining can be caused by stress, it can also be caused by boredom. This is a trait most noted in younger dogs and you should definitely take this as a clear sign that they are simply looking for something more exciting to do.

HARASSING OTHER DOGS 

If your dog is being passive aggressive towards other dogs, and even humans, then they probably don’t have a healthy outlet to utilise their energy. This is also a clear sign that your dog is frustrated and fed up from too much boredom and not enough mental and physical stimulation.

CHEWING AND LICKING

If your dog is displaying signs such as excessive licking or they are chewing on their paws, this is another indication that they are short on things to do. 

ESCAPING 

If your dog is left alone in an enclosed space for a long period of time, then they may try to escape. They can do this by jumping the fence or digging an escape hole. Other serious issues may exist causing your dog to exhibit this behaviour, and it is recommended that you visit a vet to establish why they are behaving this way. 

SOLUTION

If your dog is exhibiting any of these behaviours then it is important to discover new ways to give them a healthy outlet to utilise their energy. Ensuring your dog is walked once a day or at least taken outside is extremely important. You should also ensure that they receive enough love and affection on a daily basis and that you play lots of games with them to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. 

Organising puppy play dates is a great way to keep your dog sociable and teaches them how to act in a group environment. Another suggestion is to give your dog two or three of their toys a day, and alternate between toys every morning to keep things exciting and interesting for them. 

You might also consider taking them to a friends house or to a doggy daycare for a short period of time. You can even hire a dog walker to come during the week if you’re busy at work or have other priorities so that your dog doesn’t become restless or too hyper-active. 

Being able to detect these symptoms at their early stages will help resolve and prevent these issues from escalating, and will make finding a solution much easier. Speaking to a vet or professional may be something you consider doing, otherwise giving your dog more love, affection, care, exercise and attention may be just what they need. 

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Petflair

Meet Brittany from Petflair! 

Where did the idea for Petflair originate from?

One of the co-founders Tyler Martin operates a swimwear label called Delfina Sport and he gifted his friend a swimsuit with her dog printed on it as a joke.

She ended up loving it and wearing the swimsuit every chance she had!

After that, Tyler felt excited about the idea of launching this project and approached Charlie Gearside, who is a guru of all things tech, to join the team. 

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The boys then approached me about getting involved, as I am probably one of the biggest pet lovers they know – and I was all hands in as soon as I heard about their idea!

To date, we have had such a great time combining all of our skills together to help raise awareness about pet adoption, all whilst selling custom-made products that pet owners are just loving! 

Why did you specifically choose to print on towels and bathers?

We are based in Australia and a majority of our time is spent on the beach, so it just seemed appropriate!

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Why do you think so many pet owners are now investing in products such as this?

Pet owners share a wonderful companionship and relationship with their pets.

You can always rely on a pet to be there for you and humans are acknowledging this loyalty by showing off their pets every chance they can get.

More and more young couples are even opting to adopt a pet before raising a child!

Plus, there is nothing on this Earth cuter than your own pet, so why wouldn’t you want their image printed on a product which you can show off  😉 

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Is there a specific group of people who Petflair products are targeted at?

Predominately pet owners and lovers. But we also target our products towards anybody who feels like a change needs to be implemented in the pet industry.

We encourage all customers to upload a picture of their purchase online with the hashtags #PoundPaws and #AdoptDontShop, as we want to raise awareness about this important issue.

If we can spread this powerful message about adopting in a fun and feel good way then we have succeeded!

Although the message may not be relevant to viewers and readers right now, in the future when they go down the path of wanting a pet, we hope they are well-educated enough to choose to #AdoptDontShop

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What do you think it means to be a pet owner?

There is so much to take into consideration before choosing to commit to a pet.

It is important that new pet owners understand that pets are a 10-15 year commitment.

They are not gifts that you can exchange on Valentines Day and they are most importantly, not a ‘fad’ which you purchase because “everybody else has one”.

They will tap into your savings, leave fur on your clothes and even eat out of your trash, but you will love them regardless, because they are a part of your life!

Part of my charity, Pound Paws‘, key message is to educate people about responsible pet ownership, as one of the main reasons for pets ending up in the pound is because owners didn’t realise how much of a commitment they are. 

Being a pet owner, and more importantly, being a responsible pet owner, means giving your pet unconditional love and treating them with lots of respect, like you would any other member of your family. 

What is your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement to date would have to be launching my charity Pound Paws in 2014.

It is a dream to wake up each morning and work on something I feel so passionate about.

And nothing makes me happier then successfully re-homing pets, and then hearing about their ‘Happily Fur-ever After Story’.

Find out more about Petflair at https://petflair.co/

Autumn Winter Bunny

Meet Autumn and Winter.

What do Autumn and Winter mean to you?

Autumn and Winter mean the world to me. I couldn’t imagine my life without them!
 

Why did you choose those names?

I chose the names Autumn and Winter for my pets because they are my two favourite seasons.

What do you think it means to be a pet owner?

In my opinion, being a pet owner means caring and loving for an animal and bringing them into your home. It also means making that animal a part of your family and incorporating them into your everyday life.
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What is involved in caring for bunnies?

Bunnies are very hard pets to take care of, but are definitely worth it.
Some of my daily tasks include cleaning their litter pan, restocking hay, taking the bunnies out to play, refilling their water and finding fresh veggies for them to eat.
I also groom them and trim their nails.
But the best part of my day is definitely when I come home to two super energetic bunnies who are ready to cuddle and play. 

What is the cheekiest thing they have ever done?

The cheekiest thing Autumn has ever done was sneaking off into the hay bin while I was filling up her water.
And the cheekiest thing Winter continues to do is when I feed her food she really wants, she goes up on her two back paws, raises her two front paws, and slaps the food right out of my hands and chows it down!
What silly bunnies!

What is your favourite feature on Petbar?

My favourite feature on Petbar (if I only had to pick one) would be the ability to create  different profiles for each bunny.
I recommend Petbar to all pet owners and pet lovers out there because it is a unique platform where you can interact and communicate with all of your pet friends!
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My Little Arthur

Meet Arthur. 

What does Arthur mean to you?

Arthur means so much to me! She’s a bright spot in my day. I get to hang out with her while she basks in the morning sun and I look forward to seeing her every day after work. She’s family to me!

What is involved in caring for a Bearded Dragon?

So much. I guess the highlights are making sure she has fresh water everyday, feeding her a mix of veggies and bugs (mealworms and crickets).
Then she also needs to be bathed and have her terrarium cleaned regularly.
It’s important to get to know your Beardie because if they start acting strange, you need to take them to a good reptile vet to make sure everything is okay.

What is the silliest thing she has ever done?

She pooped in the tub once! It was such a mess but sometimes these things happen.
She also likes wearing her little hats which is very cute!

If you could be any pet, what would you be and why?

I’d want to be Arthur for a day so I could know what it feels like!
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What is your favourite feature on Petbar?

I love how you have an in-built Business Directory! I think it’s a great way to connect pet lovers with local businesses. It’s so cool!

What do you think it means to be a pet owner?

It’s like having a kid! You need to be there for your pet no matter what, and always be willing to take care of them. It’s all about love and sacrifice.
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George the Sausage Dog

Meet George the Sausage Dog. 

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What does George mean to you?

George is the best thing ever. I treat him like he’s my child and I spoil him all the time. He has more toys and clothes than me! 
George is not just my responsibility, but my best friend. I spend most of my spare time with him, take him for walks and coffees and dress him up. Although I think I enjoy that last part a little more than he does! 
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What is the story behind adopting George?

I have always wanted a Miniature Dachshund ever since I was a little girl.
My mum and I searched for months and eventually one day an advertisement came up online for a tan male Miniature Dachshund in South Australia who was up for adoption. 
Within half an hour my mum and I had driven to the house and adopted George.
And as soon as I laid eyes on him I fell in love and it was the best decision I have ever made. 
 

What do you think it means to be a pet owner? 

Being a pet owner means treating your pet like family. Sometimes I feel like George is my child! I assert full responsibility for him and try to make his life as good as it can possibly be.

If you could ask George one question, what would it be and why? 

If I could ask George anything, it would be “what is your favourite food” because he literally eats everything!

 

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Why did you make him a social media account?

I made George a social media account because I saw that it was trending at the time and decided that it would be a fun way to share with people all the cute photos and videos we have of him.
It has also been a great platform and way to connect with the family whom we adopted George from, and share photos with them. 
 
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Charlie Little Bear

Meet Charlie. 

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What does Charlie mean to you?

I love Charlie! He is just so sweet and gentle and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He means the absoloute world to me. 

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What opportunities have arisen since creating a social media account for Charlie?

Plenty of opportunities indeed! Charlie is so loved and supported by his fur-friends and I get messages from people all over the world saying how much they love Charlie.
It’s so heart warming to know that and to receive that online support!

 

If you could ask Charlie one question, what would it be and why?

This is a really fun question!

To be honest I have never thought of it, but I would probably ask him if he’s a happy cat and if he loves living with our family.  

 

 

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What is the silliest thing he has ever done?

He’s totally obsessed with paper balls… like really in love!

He turns into a lion if you don’t give him a paper ball 😂

What is your favourite feature on Petbar?

I love knowing that I am part of a community of fellow pet lovers, who all have so many amazing and inspirational stories.  


What do you think it means to be a pet owner?

Being a pet owner means having the responsibility of taking care of your pet, just like you would look after a child. You are responsible for giving your pet love, care and support whether it be emotionally, medically or physically.
After all, they are our best fur-friends!

 

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Clumsy the Duck

Meet Clumsy. 

What do you love most about Clumsy?

What I love most about Clumsy is that she has a lot of personality.
She’s goofy, cute, funny and shows us how much she loves us with hugs and cuddles.

Why did you choose that name?

I chose the name Clumsy because when she was a baby she would always trip on her own feet every time she ran!

She would somehow always fall over, so she was pretty clumsy.

Have you always been a duck owner?

Clumsy is the first duck I have ever bought and cared for.
I had never thought about being a duck owner until I got her, and it’s the best thing to ever happen to me.

What is involved in caring for a duck?

A lot of patience, care, love, and hard work. 
It’s like having a child, so you need to be prepared! 

Why did you start a social media account for Clumbsy?

I started a social media account for Clumsy because I wanted to show everyone why she makes me happy and how adorable she is!

What is your favourite thing about Petbar? 

My favourite thing about Petbar is that they understand that your pet is part of your family.
You can talk to other users, and even look at pictures of other pets too, which I love.
I think that every pet owner should get the Petbar app and check it out!

What do you think it means to be a pet owner?

It means that you have multiple responsibilities that you don’t really think of as responsibilities.
You think of them as caring for someone you love and your best friend, and it changes your life in the best way possible. 
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Epona Horses

Meet Anita and Hansa

What does Hansa mean to you?

Hansa is one of the best things that has happened to me. She has taught me so much.

Thanks to her I have learnt patience and determination, because sometimes horse training is like watching grass grow.

You need to take small baby steps until you are proficient and receive the results you set out to achieve.

You also need to be able to read a horses body language to fully understand how to support them in the learning process.

It is a never-ending learning curve which enables you to grow with your horse.

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Why did you decide to buy a horse?

I had always wanted to own a horse ever since I was a child.

Because I wasn’t able to do that when I was younger, I decided that when I was an adult and started to earn my own money, I’d give it a try.

So I started attending horse riding classes.

Although I enjoyed riding, I didn’t really respond well to the way I was taught to do this in class.

I felt like I wanted to experiment with much more than just regular horse riding in the arena.

During that time (approximately 15 years ago) a new trend was emerging that is best described as ‘natural horsemanship‘, which is essentially a less restrictive training regime that is founded on building a solid relationship and communication skills with your animal.

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really wanted to experiment with this method and technique, but it wasn’t possible with a rental horse from a sports stable.

Traditional horsemen were also very sceptical about this new horse training approach that had newly emerged.

So, I decided that I needed to buy a horse to properly learn about horse psychology and to conduct my own one-on-one training the way I wanted to.

Long story short, I bought Hansa and we have been together for 14 years ever since.

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Do you ride competitively?

No, I don’t ride competitively.

Partly because my horse has health issues that doesn’t allow her to be put in physically demanding situations.

I’m also not really interested in the competitions that are available in Latvia, which is where I am from.

The two main disciplines in competitive horse riding are dressage and jumping. But I am not interested in either of them.

However, I am considering entering my horse into agility competitions that are available online. I think it would be a fun new experience for Hansa and I.

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What is something unique and distinctive about Hansa?

Initially when I bought her, she was very reluctant when it came to trusting people and didn’t feel comfortable and safe in her own environment.

She was actually called crazy because of her uncontrollable and impulsive behaviour.

Her previous owners told me that we would never be able to go on a trail ride together because of her behaviour.

However, after some training and a little love and care, I now even let my seven-year-old child ride her.

And, of course, we go on trail rides together too.

She has become so calm, trusting and reliable thanks to the correct training and proper communication, which are essential when building a relationship with a pet.

In my opinion, her uniqueness is the ability to overcome her fears and willingness to learn and trust me.

It’s very touching to watch how she is trying, learning and adapting to new things and how she interacts with new obstacles despite her fears and initial scepticism.

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What do you love most about her?

Our connection.

The greatest moments are when I know we are having a mental connection and understand each other without words or the help of equipment.

And we can interact and communicate in liberty. It feels so calming and therapeutic, almost like meditation. 

10348768_859948817367429_2909907181307115591_o.jpgWhat does being a pet owner mean to you?

It is a great responsibility because I am fully in charge for my horse’s wellbeing both physically and mentally.

I believe that horses must be given four freedoms.

Firstly, the freedom to have unlimited access to forage and water.

Secondly, to move in a sufficient and large open space.

Thirdly, to interact with their horse-friends in that space.

And lastly, the freedom from pain.

My responsibility as a horse owner is to give her these four freedoms and my obligation as a pet owner is to understand horse psychology.

I need to find the best ways to gently communicate with her in a way she will be most responsive, and in a format she will understand, which shows mutual love and respect.

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Follow EponaHorses on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eponahorses/   

Hound Hub Australia

From personalised products to quarterly donations at different animal rescues, HoundHub is the perfect example of how to manage your business whilst still being involved and making a difference in the world of pets. 

What was your inspiration for Hound Hub?

My inspiration for Hound Hub started when my partner and I adopted our first Greyhound Nero.

Going through the process of adopting Nero opened my eyes up to how much work was involved by the rescue group and what a great job they were doing.

From that moment I knew that I wanted to find a way to give back and help raise money for a Greyhound Rescue Group here in Perth.

I decided that I would create some metal Greyhound silhouette key rings and sell them with all profits going to that particular rescue group.

I received a lot of good feedback and decided to take the leap and create a business based around personalised items that would also give back to a selected group each quarter.

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How do you make sure each item is personalised?

Every personalised item is created directly from a photo of a pets face.

I then draw these up via our software and capture each unique marking as close as possible.

Once our drawings are approved I then have them made into key rings, magnets and brooches in either plywood or acrylic.

There is a lot of time and care involved when making these items, as I want them to be perfect for each customer.

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What is the best part of your job?

That would have to be when I open an email and see the adorable pets that I get to use to create a personalised item!

I also love hearing about each individual pet’s backstory and why the item that is being ordered is so special to my customer.

I also often create items for someone whose pet has passed away and I find it incredibly rewarding being able to provide them with something that they can carry with them every day.

There are so many favourite parts about my job and these are just a couple. 

The list could go on and on!

How do you ensure Hound Hub stands out from other similar businesses?

I take pride in Hound Hub being a very personable business.

I like to treat each customer with the same amount of respect and service I would expect.

I believe this is why we have customers who return and spread the word of what we do.

Our products are one of a kind and each item drawn represents the personality of the pet we are inspired by. 

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What does being a pet owner mean to you?

To me it means that even when you’re at your worst, you have a best friend who’s there for you unconditionally and brightens up your day!

It also makes you responsible for more than just yourself.

I have two hounds who need me just as much as I need them.

If anything, my boys have taught me how to take time out to appreciate the little things in life such as smelling the roses or in their case, the light poles!

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How do you work towards making a difference in the pet world?

With every purchase from Hound Hub, whether it be a key ring or our treats, a percentage of our profits go to an allocated rescue group for the quarter.

I also try my hardest to help out and volunteer with that group during the time we support them.

I have even done a kennel sleep out!

I think exposing the great work these rescue groups do is so important as well as being able to show people the benefits of adopting or fostering an animal. 

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Maximillion and Leopold

Meet Maximillion and Leopold.

What made you decide to buy Maximillion and Leopold?

Tortoises are my favourite animal, and I had been thinking about getting one for a while.

I did a lot of research before deciding to buy Max because it is such a big commitment to get a tortoise. They live a lot longer than most other pets!

When I went to pick a tortoise, I picked Max because he had such a distinctive and beautiful shell that really stood out. 

As for Leo, he came a few months later.

From the moment he looked at me in the shop, that was it – home he came!

I wasn’t looking for a second tortoise, but he was just too adorable to leave behind! Fair to say my friends and family don’t let me visit that shop anymore. 

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Why did you choose those particular names?

Honestly, I have no idea!

I knew I didn’t want any tortoise pun names like Shelly, Sheldon and Tortellini. 

Max just looked like a Maximillion but Leo took a good few days to name.

I wanted something long that could be shortened. But that was about all I knew.

After a few days though it became clear that Leo had a mischievous and adventurous personality, and the name Leo just seemed to suit him perfectly.

So he became Leopold.

Incidentally, I don’t even know if they are female or male (these species need to be 5+ years before you can really sex them accurately) so even though I’ve chosen boy names for them they could be girls!

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Have you previously owned reptiles?

I actually had a tortoise growing up called Frank the Tank who sadly died shortly after I left home to go to university.

It took me a few years before I even considered getting another one because it was such a terrible and sad experience losing Frank.

But when I did decide to get another tortoise I had lots of experience in caring for them.

I’ve never had any other reptiles as they don’t really appeal to me the same way.

The thought of having to keep mice in the freezer for a snake or live insects in the house for a lizard is enough to put me off! 

What is involved in caring for tortoises?

It depends on the species you have because different species have different needs and specific requirements.

For my boys, I have to think about things like lighting, temperature and substrate in their home. I also make sure they are stimulated and entertained enough with things to climb over and that they have plenty of space to stomp around in!

But the thing that takes up most of my time is their diet.

If you have a tort you will become an amateur gardener!

The boys eat weeds and flowers, so I’ve had to learn to identify safe weeds and flowers for them to eat which has been great fun.

I go on a ‘weed walk’ once a week to collect safe foods for them and I also grow safe flowers for them in my garden.

Some of their favourites are Dandelions, white and red dead Nettle, Pansies and Chickweed.

Lighting and housing is expensive for torts as well, but at least they can be fed for free!

It’s been really interesting learning more about local plants and being more observant to nature. I would also say that having a garden is essential for caring for tortoises because the boys are happiest when they are outside in the sunshine.

There’s a lot to learn if you choose to have a tortoise and I’ve really enjoyed the process so far! My next challenge will be brumation around Christmas time. 

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What is something special and distinctive about them?

This sounds crazy, but Leo thinks he’s a turtle not a tortoise!

He just loves water. He will lie down in his water dish, stomp through it making a mud bath and just generally enjoys spending time relaxing in water.

Leo is also a very talented climber, escape artist and all-round trouble-maker!

If you put anything new in front of them, Leo is generally the first to have a nosy.

Whereas Max on the other hand is a gentle giant. He is so chilled and just takes life in his stride. Absolutely nothing phases him.

More generally, tortoises are known to be very special animals who have loads of character.

If cared for correctly, they don’t just lay around all day hardly moving, but they’re actually very active and great fun!

Both Max and Leo are inquisitive and love exploring.

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What do you think it means to be a pet owner?

Being a pet owner is such a huge part of my life and looking after the boys is my hobby.

It has meant that I’ve been able to learn more about my favourite animals and interact with them.

I think being a pet owner helps you to become a more caring person because the animals you look after really do depend on you.

I’ve also met some great people through having tortoises and there’s a really great, supportive community of tortoise owners out there across social media platforms.

We all love to share advice and our personal experiences with each other so we can learn. 

I really can’t remember what I did with my spare time before having the boys! Maybe my grades were higher 😉

Do you have a favourite?

No!

Although if you asked any of my friends and family they would tell you that Max is my favourite. 

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Melody Penelope

Meet Kemo, Dutch and Ripley. 

Three rescue Sphynx cats. 

Caution – they post nudes.

Why did you decide to start a social media account called @MelodyPenelope?

I adopted my first sphynx, Kemo, a couple of months after moving to Los Angeles.
Whenever I would go home to visit, everyone would ask about her, so I decided to start an Instagram account to share pictures of her with my family and friends. 
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What has the process been like?

Almost immediately after creating @melodypenelope I started getting attention and questions from people who had never seen a hairless cat before.
The account quickly grew from family and friends to what it is now.
Several of our followers have become real friends to us as well.

What does being a pet owner mean to you? 

Bringing a pet into your home is a life-long commitment that means so much more than just buying a cute puppy or kitty.
Animals rely on us not just for food and water, but for love and attention as well.
They provide more loyalty and unconditional love than you could ever imagine, and they deserve the same in return.
If you are ready to adopt, remember, you are bringing home another family member. 
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What is it like having three cats at home?

Kemo, Dutch, and Ripley bring so much joy, laughter, and love to our home.
Sphynx are a very social breed of cat and I always have at least one in physical contact with me at all times.
Sometimes I end up bringing one to work with me because it’s so hard to leave them behind! 
But three cats also means a lot more kitty poo and a lot less room in bed at night!

Tell us a little bit about why you decided to adopt them?

When I moved to LA I knew I wanted to adopt a Sphynx.
After several months of contacting shelters and rescue organizations, we found a nine-month-old kitten who had been relinquished by her former family because they weren’t able to provide her with the care she needed.
She came home with us the day after Christmas, underweight, and extremely timid.
But with a little time, and a lot of love, she showed us what a sweet and silly girl she was.
We named her Kemosabe, which means faithful friend. 
Then, last September, a former college professor called me and asked if I would be willing to take in his one-year-old twins.
I never expected to have three cats, but after meeting Dutch and Ripley there was no way we could say no to them.
Their personalities fit in perfectly with our family’s.
Ripley keeps Kemo active, and Dutch has a major crush on our dog Bailey.
Now, I can’t imagine NOT having three cats!
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Bean_n_Doggie

Meet Bean and Doggie – partners in crime.

Or should we say bunnies in crime?

What is the story behind purchasing Bean and Doggie?

It all started when I left the comfort of my home town to move to a bigger and bolder city.

I was experiencing a major culture shock and felt very overwhelmed.

Then one night as I was doing my usual routine of getting lost in the depths of YouTube, I came across a video about bunnies being emotionally supportive animals.

That video sparked my obsession with their fluffy cuteness and I decided I had to have one! 

After restless nights of searching for the perfect bunny, I finally crossed paths with my sweet bunny Doggie.

I fell in love with her immediately and took her home within an hour. Not too long after, I decided that Doggie needed a partner in crime.

This was when I came across Bean at a local pet shop.

She had been donated to the shop and with just one look at her fluffy face, I knew she was the one.

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Do they get along?

They absolutely do get along!

Initially, they had a rough start and they didn’t exactly know what to make of each other.

There was a lot of chasing and hair pulling, but with patience and a lot of food they eventually became the best of friends.

Now they do everything together!

They truly are partners in crime and are always getting up to mischief. For instance, they love chewing up my carpet.

Goodbye security deposit 😂 

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What is the cheekiest thing they’ve ever done?

One morning, I woke up and I could not find Bean or Doggie anywhere.

I searched every crevice of my apartment only to find them in the closet where I keep all the pet treats.

They had managed to break into the treat box and not only eat all of their treats but the guinea pig and hamster treats too!

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What does being a pet owner mean to you?

To me, it means always having a best friend that loves you unconditionally.

I couldn’t imagine my life without Bean and Doggie and caring for them has been an amazing journey. They have taught me some much about patience and continue to grace me with their cuteness everyday.

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If you could ask them both a question what would it be, and why?

I would ask them “why do you insist on destroying everything?!”

I love them to pieces and they are the best thing to ever happen to me, but nowadays I don’t own anything that the rabbits haven’t chewed up.

Their cuteness makes up for it though!

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Dash the Heeler

Meet Dash. The King of the Heeler household. 

What does Dash mean to you?

Dash is the best addition to our little family!
Before we adopted Dash he had been taken back to the shelter twice because he had severe anxiety and was very destructive when he was left alone. 
He was definitely a challenge since he also lunged at dogs on our walks and was not good at meeting new people. 
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He has taught me patience and sympathy like no other! But he was 100% worth it!
And with a little bit of love and training Dash is now more comfortable and relaxed and he can meet other dogs and is so much better at meeting new people. 
He has the funniest personality and just loves going for walks now!
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Why did you decide to adopt a dog?

I had always wanted a dog of my own and I loved the idea of adopting one. 
When my boyfriend and I moved to Philly we were looking at dogs online but ended up adopting. 
There is no better feeling than knowing you took in a dog that desperately needed love and a home. 

What made you choose to start a social media account for Dash?

I probably have more pictures of Dash on my camera roll than I do of myself! 
Dash’s  account is a fun and creative way for me to share those photos.  
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What has the experience been like so far?

Making his posts has been a lot of fun! 
It’s great to show off his personality and translate the images into “human language.” 
A lot of people have told me that his posts are really funny, and it’s great that I can make people laugh! 
Dash also won a Halloween contest where he was sent Ponzmo dog food. 
I can’t say enough good things about Ponzmo since learning about their company!  It’s so great that I can make these connections so easily!

How do you choose photos/ content for his page?

I’ll take photos/videos of him on our walks or whenever he is doing something funny. 
There isn’t much rhyme to it or reason.
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If you could ask Dash any question, what would it be and why?

I would ask him what he does while I’m at work. 
In my mind he lives a high-class double life and whenever I leave, he puts on his bow tie, lights a candle and critiques classical music.  But who knows.
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Pumpkin Purr

Meet Pumpkin.

What is the story behind adopting Pumpkin? 

I have had Pumpkin since I was eight-years-old.

I had always loved cats and always wanted a cat, but my parents were not fond of the idea of buying an animal that we would need to take care of.

But then they finally decided to let me get a cat.

I remember seeing the picture of this little tiny Ragdoll kitten and absolutely squealing with delight that she would soon be mine. 

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Why did you choose that name? 

My eigth-year-old self decided to test her with whatever words came to my mind and see how she reacted to them.

For some reason, when I said Pumpkin, she turned her head towards me (or at least that’s how I remember it) and I immediately screamed “her name is Pumpkin!”.

It was October so I probably had Halloween on my mind. But from that moment on, she was Pumpkin, the white (not orange) cat.

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What does being a pet owner mean to you? 

Being a pet owner means I get to come home every day to my best, fluffy friend.

It also means that when I am having a bad day and feel like the world is against me, Pumpkin is always there to comfort me.

And it also means that I have a very demanding companion to take care of!

How do you differentiate Pumpkin’s feed from other social media pet accounts? 

Pumpkin has a very unique personality, and I try to make that obvious through her feed as much as possible.

She’s regal, she’s cuddly, she’s lazy, she’s silly, she’s curious, and she’s a diva. (Her signature pose is the ‘paws crossed’ position).

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What opportunities have presented themselves since creating an online presence for Pumpkin? 

Opportunities such as this one!

I get comments here and there asking to be apart of a blog, app, website and heaps of other things too, which is pretty cool!

What is something special, unique and distinctive about her? 

Something especially unique about Pumpkin is that she is a survivor of a four-story fall out of a New York City window.

This happened a couple of years ago, and although she was hurt, she came back with a full recovery, even at 14-years-old!

Now she is a happy, healthy kitty who truly has nine lives!

Luna the Lynx Ragdoll

This cat have a strange obsession with boiled eggs, and does some pretty funny stuff when the cameras on.

She’s funny, adorable, photogenic and full of sass.

Meet Luna the Lynx Ragdoll. 

What is the story behind adopting Luna? 

It’s actually quite a crazy story!
My boyfriend and I chose to adopt Luna last Summer because we were both recent university graduates and had just returned from a long trip backpacking around Europe.
We decided it was time for a new adventure!
So all in one day we found an apartment, confirmed our new lease and met Luna for the first time.
It worked out really well because her breeder lived on the way to our friend’s cottage which is where we were headed for the weekend.
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So really, adopting Luna was a risk because we hadn’t started our jobs yet and we were only going to move into our new place a week before we brought her home. 
But as soon as we met her, we just knew.
And for quite a bit, Luna was supposed to be Cosmo since the breeder thought she was a boy!
In actual fact we were looking for a girl Ragdoll but even Luna as a boy was worth adopting. It was just fate that she ended up being our little princess.
It may have been a risk but it all worked out in the end and I’d say we’re a happy little family now. 

Why did you decide to open up a social media account for her?

I’m a social media person.
Maybe it’s because of my background in Marketing and Communications or maybe it’s just because I love taking photos and interacting with new people but nonetheless, a social media person.
But I didn’t make Luna’s Instagram until about a month ago when she was already seven-months-old.
I started it in all honesty because an artist online (@venyuuuu) sent me an amazing digital photo of Luna that they had created because they saw her photo on a Reddit forum.
As soon as I saw it something just clicked in my brain and I was like “that’s it, Luna needs an Instagram!”
I already had so many photos of her and I was sure that my friends on Facebook were getting quite annoyed at all my spamming.
So that was that and now we’re getting close to our one month anniversary as @lunathelynxragdoll 
 
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What has the experience been like? 

It’s been amazing!
I never knew how wonderful it would be to run a pet social media account.
It is actually really good for self-care because instead of spending time on my personal  account looking at the highlight reels of people I barely know anymore, I now spend my time talking to and looking at adorable animals.
So it’s great!
I also feel like it’s encouraged me to spend even more time with Luna.
 I always make sure to play with her after our photo shoots and to give her treats so she doesn’t feel like she’s being used as just a social media prop.
So she’s getting so many treats these days!
Maybe one day she’ll get to meet some of her fur-friends in real life, which would be great.
 

How do you ensure that her account stands out?

I think there are a lot of gorgeous Ragdolls (and just pets in general) out there, with owners just like me who put in lots of effort to make their account amazing. 
For me it’s not about making Luna stand out but about engaging and becoming one with the pet community!

 

What is something special about Luna?

She loves hard-boiled egg yolk! Like seriously loves it.
She could be calmly sleeping in one room but as soon as she hears me cracking open an egg she’ll come running at the speed of light to eat some as a snack. It’s pretty cute. 
 

What does being a pet owner mean to you?

Giving an animal the love they deserve.
We may not be able to adopt and love every animal on Earth that needs our help,  but everyone can start somewhere and make an impact. 

 

 

 

Jarla 3 Legs

Jarla was not just physically injured, but she was emotionally damaged from years of negligent treatment from her previous owners. 

This was until Jami came along.

Jami made it her mission to care for this helpless dog and give her the surgery she needed to recovery from a terrible accident, that resulted in her back leg  being amputated on.

Meet Jarla.

What happened to Jarla?

I am a veterinary nurse and one morning I came into work and the overnight team were updating me on the patients that came in during the night.
One of them was an 11-month-old female stray dog who had been hit by a car. She had road burn all over her belly and down the side of her right hind leg, but the worst injury was to her left hind leg.
It was very badly injured with torn ligaments and she desperately needed surgery to stabilize the joint.
Unfortunately we were not allowed to proceed with surgery without the owner’s permission. So we got the rangers involved.
The rangers managed to track down the owners even though the dog was not microchipped or registered with the council.
And the owners wanted nothing to do with her and refused to take responsibility for her, so she had to be put to sleep.

 

During the first couple of days it took the rangers to locate the owners, I had fallen in love.
She was so depressed and scared and very underweight.
When I found out she was going to be put to sleep I spoke with the ranger and they organised for me to foster her with initial plans to re-home her, as I already have quite a lot of pets.

Was she receptive at first and how is she now, in comparison to when you first brought her home?

Myself and a friend/work colleague decided to make a Go Fund Me page to raise money for her surgery, as I was now responsible for her.
Unfortunately, by day three her leg was too badly infected despite all the antibiotics she was taking, so we had to amputate immediately.
Once she recovered from her surgery I took her out for her first walk on three legs and she did so well!
She was so happy to be able to move without feeling pain in her leg.
A couple of days later I brought her home with me and my partner instantly fell in love with her too, so we decided to keep her.
She was very quiet in the first few weeks. She slept on the couch most days.
She constantly wanted cuddles and to be near us.
I think she must have been very isolated from people and other animals in her previous home. She now sleeps in our bed every night and she is a lap dog even though she is too big for it.
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What does she mean to you?

Jarla means the world to our family. 
She loves to go crazy and run around the backyard with our six-year-old daughter.
She loves going to the beach with her dog friends Holly and Princess Leia and she makes friends with everyone at the dog park (human or canine).
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Why did you choose that specific name?

I got the name Jarla from a book I read by David Clement-Davies about a pack of wolves. It was called The Sight.
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What made you choose to start a social media account for Jarla?

I chose to make a social media account for Jarla because I was finding that my own social media account was being taken over by her!
All my friends, family and work colleagues enjoyed getting updates on how she was doing, so I decided to make her a seperate account.

Miss.Skylar

Meet Skylar. 

Why did you decide to adopt Skylar?

My boyfriend and I decided to adopt Sky because we had been together for a while, and we had both always grown up around dogs.
We both agreed that dogs make life a little more ‘whole’, so we decided to start a little family by adopting her! 

Have you always been a dog owner?

My grandparents are Labrador breeders and their dogs mean everything to them, so I was kind of born into the dog owner life.
My parents rescued a dog when I was only a couple of years old and when she passed away because of old age, my parents bought a dog from my grandparents!
Then I moved out and adopted Skylar.
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What does being a pet owner mean to you?

Being a pet owner means getting to know a pup and their personality!
I love how every dog has something different about them that makes them unique, whether it be the way they look or the way they act, or in Skylar’s case – both!
She’s the silliest, smartest, sassiest, most loving little pup you could ever meet and our lives have been so much better since the day we brought her home.

Why did you decide to open up a social media account for Skylar?

I decided to make an account for Skylar because she is just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen (I may be biased).
I wanted to be able to share her cute little face with everybody and I also just love sitting down with her and taking pictures.  
Some day she won’t be with us anymore and I don’t just want to have pictures of her, I want to have some memories behind them as well. 

What opportunities has social media created for you?

Having an account for her has been awesome!!
We’ve met other dogs in Canada and found tons of shops to buy accessories, treats and toys from. We’ve also had the opportunity to talk to some really awesome people!
We’ve received advice on Skylar’s eating habits and given advice on issues others have had.
We have even been offered to model for a company!
So its been pretty cool! 
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Alcequine

Meet Al. 

What made you decide to buy both a horse and a cat?

I’ve always grown up being surrounded by animals.
I had two Labrador’s and three cats (one being my current cat Chip) when I was younger.
I’ve had Chip since he was a little kitten and decided to take him with me when I moved to Oklahoma after graduating high school. My horse however, is kind of a different story.
I started riding when I was 10-years-old and instantly fell in love.
I got out of it for a while and took up volleyball instead, which I stopped doing in March 2017.
After that, I took up riding again and started working at a show barn (awful experience) where I learnt about para-dressage, which is what I do now.
So I started travelling to Texas to train with horses, and ended up moving there to train full-time. I also started leasing Cappi, who is the horse that I currently ride.
In addition to that, I have a foal that will be trained for my specific needs once he’s all grown up.
Eventually, once I move on from Cappi I hope to get a horse of my own that’s not a baby, so I can grow with him/her. 
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Do you ride horses competitively?

I do ride horses competitively – I’m actually trying to make it to the Paralympics!
I know it’s going to be a long shot getting there, but I’m super excited for the journey and everything that I’ll learn along the way. 

Do both pets get along with each other?

Both pets have never actually met each other, because I would never dream about taking Chip to the barn as he probably wouldn’t want to come back home after that!
Chip loves being outside and hunting, but I’m not sure how he’d go around big animals.
And Cappi is super great with dogs since there are always a ton around at the barn.

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Do you have a favourite? 

I have a favorite at different times!
I love being at the barn and I go almost everyday to spend time with Cappi and ride.
It’s one of my happy places and being there just makes me motivated to do my best and continue working hard to achieve my goals.
But Chip is awesome when I’m at home! Our favourite past time is sleeping or binge watching a TV show together. 
He curls up with me on the couch and watches whatever I’m watching, and he’s super cute when it’s bedtime because he sleeps right next to me (or on me) all night. 
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What does being a pet owner mean to you?

Being a pet owner means that you have someone to care of.
This little ball of fluff (or 1200 lbs of fluff) depends on you, loves you and you get the honour of being able to give them the best life possible.
I’m always showering both my pets with treats, toys and gear and it just makes me so happy! I could never imagine my life without animals and don’t know how people can live without them! 
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