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Posts Tagged ‘Pets’

  1. Uninsurable Ball Of Fluff?

    August 24, 2015 by admin

    This TR Family had been with Progressive Insurance for about a decade.  When we recently purchased our new home, it was a no-brainer to stick with Progressive for our homeowner’s insurance.  We had never had an issue with their service.  In fact, when we had an unfortunate car collision about a year ago, Progressive’s handling of our accident was stellar.

    We paid the annual fee for our homeowner’s insurance and were quite content for two months, when we got an odd email from Progressive indicating that our policy would be canceled.  Thinking this was some sort of miscommunication, we immediately phoned Progressive.

    We were told that we hadn’t provided any proof of our dog’s breed and our policy was going to be canceled.  Since we received NO request for dog information from Progressive – other than when we applied for our policy, we had NO idea they needed further information from us.  We immediately supplied what was requested: a picture of our dog and a statement from our Vet as to the breed.

    Here is the picture we provided:IMG_1039

    Along with our Vet’s disclosure.

    We are very proud owners of our rescued pup, Molly.  The organization that we used to adopt Molly referred to her as a “Spanador” as they thought she was half lab and half spaniel.  Since she is a rescue, no one could say with 100% accuracy her definite lineage or breed.  But she is a slightly overweight ball of love that has never had anger issues and has never bitten anyone.

    According to Progressive Insurance’s management, not being able to pinpoint Molly’s breed beyond a shadow of a doubt meant that we were no longer insurable.  Our policy was canceled effective immediately and there was no recourse.

    Here are the undisputable facts:

    • Progressive Insurance does not care how long you’ve been a loyal customer
    • Progressive Insurance discriminates against certain dog breeds
    • Progressive Insurance has an impossible set of criteria for any adoptive dog/rescued dog family to fulfill
    • Progressive Insurance will cancel your insurance on the spot regardless of your loyal history and regardless of initially accepting your payment and contract. Remember- their agent that opened our homeowner’s policy did NOT ask for any further information about our pup!

    We are very glad that we found out we were giving our business to a company that isn’t dog friendly.  We would not want to patronize Progressive Insurance had we known these facts.  And we are thrilled to now have our insurance relationship with State Farm.

    Rescue families and friends of rescues and strays be warned!  Do your research and ask pointed questions about dog ownership when searching for home insurance.  And have a back-up plan just in case you find yourself suddenly invited out of your Insurance company.

    We urger you to spread the word!  If you love stray and rescued animals and support those who take them in- make sure all your friends know that Progressive Insurance will cancel policies based on the unknown parentage of those pets.  We’ve had great luck with State Farm taking care of us and our harmless dog.  What other companies can you help us identify as pro-rescue pet?  Help spread the word and support companies that support rescued pets!

  2. Herman’s Hermits

    December 17, 2014 by admin

    IMG_9263Hermit Crabs? Yup! Hermit crabs are now counted among our family. This TR household is currently 4 humans, 1 dog, 3 cats, and 3 new hermit crabs.

    We thought these crabs would be a simple, low-maintenance pet to add to our family.

    But please be warned! We learned the hard way that welcoming hermit crabs into your home isn’t necessarily easy-cheesey. These little critters involve a lot of initial expense and set up. We had thought we researched this undertaking and were good to go. But it turned out that stuff like “keeping the humidity stable” is harder to do than we might have thought.

    Tip1: Items recommended for your hermit crabs: heat lamp with day AND night bulbs, glass aquarium, substrate of sand, 2 water dishes (not metal), heat/humidity gauge, food dish, small hiding shelter, extra shells, and climbing toys.

    IMG_9268We had a 5 gallon tank and decided that 3 small hermit crabs would fit comfortably in this space. We wanted to be sure that our hermit crabs appeared healthy and happy prior to purchase. We visited a few local stores before settling on the active hermits crabs at Animart, a locally-owned pet store chain. We picked our sand up at Menards, a local home & builder store (much cheaper than buying the fancy sands sold at pet stores) and some supplies at PetSmart– all for the lower prices.

    Once home, we excitedly set up our new friends in their habitat.  Our crabs seem to really enjoy a small ceramic tree that had been sold as a fish tank decoration, as well as some green moss we were able to get at Michaels (which is also where we found a big bag of extra shells).

    Tip2:  To reduce the odds of giving your crabs an illness or parasite, make sure all items for their tank are thoroughly washed and rinsed with boiling water.

    It took us a while to get to the point where both the temperature and humidity seemed more or less stable in our ‘crabitat’.  Since we obsess about taking good care of the critters that live with us, this struggle caused us some distress.  We suspect that crabs are hearty crustaceans that can weather these issues better than we think.  But we recommend you do full research if you choose to get hermit carbs, as you should for any new pet.

    Tip3:  We did a lot of our research using YouTube, but not all videos are equal.  Some seemed to come from very experienced crab owners, some seemed like they were made by newer owners.  (One, disappointingly, featured a man smuggling crabs from Jamaica to bring to his home tank in Canada.)  We recommend you watch MANY videos to get an ample supply of ideas to make your crabs happy.  Or take out some books from your local library.

    Our hermit crabs have turned into fun little friends to have in the house.  We occasionally shift them into a small plastic bin to interact with them.  They really seem to like these encounters!  They all start moving around and checking things out.  It has been quite a fun, new adventure for our family!IMG_9256


  3. Volunteering: Kitty Transport

    May 18, 2014 by admin

    Part of our continuing series for the ThriftyRambler Kindness Project.

    IMG_5936A great way to cultivate kindness is to volunteer to help others.

    Finding the best opportunity to volunteer can sometimes be a challenge, especially for the very young.  But a young age is the exact time to begin volunteering.  By starting out at as a youngster, kids learn all through their lives that helping others is something you do.  It can become a habit that they won’t want to break.

    So we’ve been looking for a chance for our young Bluey to get involved in something he cares about in his community, and that can make a meaningful difference in the world.

    We found just the thing by transporting kittens for Darling Pet Rescue.IMG_5935

    It’s no secret that Bluey loves animalsespecially cats, so helping transport them was a perfect fit.

    Darling Pet Rescue (DPR) is a no-kill animal rescue group that finds homes for animals in need.  DPR offers shelter and foster homes for animals until a permanent home can be found.  But the logistics of taking care of the animals can be quite daunting.   All DPR rescues receive top-quality veterinary care, and frequently need to be moved from the vet clinic to various pet stores that display the animals to expose them to good homes.   If animals at the viewing stores get ill, or need additional care, then they need to go back to the vet clinic.

    Moving critters from place to place is where Bluey comes into the scene.  We (along with several other dedicated volunteers) offer the rides to or from the clinic.  Our Bluey loves going on a kitty mission, and offers his sweet loving words to the cats while they are in car carriers next to him.  He comforts, calms and reassures them during their trip, and helps them settle at their destination.

    Bluey’s volunteer work also ties into his school projects.  He his learning a lot about animal health and care, and this knowledge is reinforced every time Bluey helps out.

    Bluey looks forward to assisting DPR and he knows that with each trip, he is helping an animal find a new family- just like our cats and dog settled down with us!

    Although it took us a while to find the right fit, we are so happy that Bluey gets to help out his friends and neighbors in a way that really matters to him.


  4. You Dirty Dog!

    March 30, 2014 by admin

    IMG_0640Spring has finally sprung!  (We hope!)

    If you have a dog, then spring brings muddy feet, muddy tails and various seeds and such caught in the fur.  Your fuzzy friend has become a mucky, smelly mess.

    For some, this means scheduling a trip to the dog groomer to get your puppy cleaned up and smelling nice.  Sometimes the cost of a groomer is prohibitive.  Other times you find that the day after you take the pup to the groomer, she decides to roll in a dead fish at the park.

    If you don’t want to trash your bathroom giving your furry friend a bath, you may be looking for someplace else to wash your dog.   It’s still too cold to hose her down in the yard, but there is a great solution out there- find a self-service dog-wash.

    There are several of these businesses in our area- just google ‘dog wash’ for a list.  We found a great one at Dog Lovers.IMG_1590

    Dog Lovers has two raised tubs to wash your dog.  There are movable steps to help your dog get safely in and out of the tub.  They offer shampoo, towels, and cotton balls for ear cleaning (though you can bring your own supplies!).  The bath has a temperature controlled hose and leash clips if needed.  For after bath, they have a grooming table and brushes available for you to use at no additional charge.

    We had a great experience there.  Bluey used the steps to get in on the washing project, and we were able to get our Moo good and lathered up before rinsing her off.

    Tip: Since Dog Lovers is also a full scale groomer, they offer reasonably priced additional services, like nail trimming, if you find you need to further pamper or care for your pup.

    For just $8 we went home with a clean, happy dog.  We had a fun time taking care of her without worries about clogging our tub drain or trashing our bathroom.

  5. Perspective

    November 3, 2013 by admin



    Yes, we’re a month out from Thanksgiving.  But you don’t need a traditional holiday to take a moment to sit back and reflect on why you are grateful for the life that you live.

    If we’re honest, we can probably all say that we have dreams we know won’t actualize, places we long to visit, time we wished we had more of, disappointments that still taste bitter.

    That is life.  Please don’t linger in the muck or judge yourself by your worst moments.  There is so much in the simple day-to-day that is worth celebrating.

    Here are some teensy and some huge things for which we are grateful:

    • Coffee – The smell!  And knowing that warm mug will soon be craddled in your hands.
    • Children’s laughter – It is contagious, true, and pure.
    • Frozen pizza – Seriously!  It is cheap and indulgent.
    • A paycheck – Sure, we live paycheck to paycheck.  But with a tight budget, we have just enough money to support our family.
    • A home – ‘Nough said.  Many don’t have a place to settle.
    • Playgrounds – Free access to fun, exercise, and the outdoors.
    • Libraries – Free access to education and fun.
    • Gardens – Cheap way to feed your family and support farm-to-table.
    • Love – Right?  It makes the world go ‘round.
    • Music – Inspiring, often free, and entirely enjoyable.
    • Critters – Unconditional love and mostly entertaining.
    • Health – Not to ever be taken for granted!


    Taking a moment to remember these things, no matter how minor they might be, helps us to focus on life worth living!  And to acknowledge that we are indeed, very lucky to be here.

  6. Homeschool Credits: Pet Care

    October 8, 2013 by admin


    As we swing deeper into homeschooling with our Bluey, we’ve established one of our recurring themes: Pet Care.  We have a lot of animals in our house, and Bluey frequently discusses his desire for a pet of his own, or to perhaps become a veterinarian one day.

    So one of our missions, on Mondays or Tuesdays, is Pet Care 101.  We go to the pet store.  We take the dog on a trip to the woods or a dog park.  We go to the vet.  We clean the fish tank.

    And along the way, our Bluey learns many different aspects of caring for critters.  He reads signs and labels in the stores, practices counting, and learns how much a fifty pound bag of dog food weighs.  Bluey also meets and interacts with numerous people from all walks of life.

    In addition to learning about carnivores, herbivores, egg layers, live birthers, forest dwellers, tree dwellers and water dwellers— our Bluey learns about his city and the natural habitats in his neighborhood….All this and more from Pet Care 101.

    Your day-to-day tasks can become wide-ranging topics of learning for your family.  Who knows what our next theme might be for Bluey?


  7. Route Planning For Your Dog

    September 14, 2013 by admin


    Part of our Continuing Series on Traveling With Pets

    Once you’ve gotten your car all packed for a road trip with the pup, you need to consider your travel route.  While this may seem daunting, it’s actually quite easy.  After a few adventures, planning will become as natural as any other part of the journey.

    When considering a car ride with your dog, think about how long of a trip you are taking.  The longer the trip, the more extra thought your pup requires.  Ponder these questions:  when will your dog eat? drink? get exercise? relax in nature?

    Whether you prefer an online map, an atlas, or a folded paper map- your best bet is to check your route for a park along the way.  We like to search in two or three-hour intervals for a stopping place—you may have to stop more often if you have an older dog, or a puppy (when Moo was a pup, we stopped every 30 or 45 minutes to let her out.)  A few stops built into the trip and your dog can go potty, get a drink of water, and maybe have a bite to eat.

    Many of these stops will bring you into towns you might not have noticed before and give you a chance to see natural sights you may have otherwise missed.

    Tip: Your car can get hot very quick.  Never leave your dog alone in the car!

    We do a short bit of internet research on each selected stop before we leave to make sure that dogs are permitted, and where they can go off leash.  Giving your dog a chance to get her run-on will help keep her happy and help her sleep when back in the car.

    Things to pack in your car:

    • A water/food bowl:  we use one metal bowl for both purposes.
    • A container of food
    • A bottle of water: ours is a half gallon size- plenty of water is important!
    • Chew toys for the ride: we have a hard ‘chew bone’ that stays in the car and helps our pup relax.
    • Toss toys for stops at parks.
    • Check our complete dog packing list HERE.


    You not only get a great travelling companion with your dog in the car, but an added reason to check out some parks and natural areas that you might have driven right by on the interstate.

  8. The Museum of the Dog

    August 27, 2013 by admin


    Part of our continuing series on traveling with pets

    This place is for the dogs!

    We truly enjoy taking our dog on vacation, so our research always includes looking for places she will enjoy.  Our trip to St. Louis produced a great find—The Museum of the Dog (MOD).

    The MOD is sponsored and supported by the AKC, and features exhibits about dogs of all kinds.  But it’s not just a museum about dogs– it is a museum that allows you to bring IMG_0422your dog into it!

    You must keep your dog on a leash as you explore three floors of dog related art and history.  Moo had a great time exploring the MOD with her family, instead of being left at the hotel on a museum day.

    The MOD won’t take you and your pooch longer than one hour to visit.  But it is right on the edge of Queeny Park, so you can take a long stroll before you go off on your next adventure.

  9. Bring Your Dog Into The Store

    July 29, 2013 by admin

    It’s summertime, so you can’t leave your pup in the car for even a few minutes!  Car interiors heat up very fast in the summer season, regardless of cloud coverage, so never risk leaving your dog in a closed car during the summer months.

    IMG_0335But does that mean you have to leave Fido at home?  Of course not!  Let your pooch come along on adventures to pet-friendly shops during the summer.  Here is a partial list of shops that allow critters (be sure to check with your local chain to ensure that they still allow pups):

    • PetSmart: all stores, nation wide!
    • Barnes & Noble: all stores, nation wide!
    • Mounds: A Wisconsin-based pet store.
    • Bad Dog Frida: Our local pet-boutique.  Check your neighborhood for similar pet shops that might allow your dog to visit.
    • Revolution Cycle:  Yes, our local bike shop is pet-friendly.
    • Star Liquor: In our area, you can even bring your dog on a beer run!


    Be on the lookout for small, locally owned shops that might be OK with your dog coming by.  Then you can let your dog accompany you on the next shopping trip!

  10. How Do You Know When It’s Clean Enough?

    July 21, 2013 by admin


    Our TR home is bursting with 2 kids, 3 cats, 1 dog, and 2 fish.  We are grateful to enjoy a rather large square footage of living space.  But it is still crammed with hand-me-down toys, clothes that no longer fit but may some day, countless books, and a mish-mash of furniture.

    As much as we try to stay on top of the chaos of day-to-day living, we know we aren’t achieving Felix Unger perfection.  Our beloved dog, Molly Moo, leaves bunny sized dust balls throughout the house.  Our children can’t resist the urge to flick crumbs from the couch or table, to the floor.  Our laundry breeds.  Seriously.  How many dirty clothes can a family of 4 create?  Our cats selectively throw up on the only carpeted space.  It just never ends.

    So we find ourselves constantly chasing the mess only to keep it barely under control.  Sure, we could stay up late into the night to clean once our kids have gone to bed.  Or we could decide that it is okay to leave some dishes in the sink to be rinsed tomorrow.  For now, our sanity rests squarely on the middle ground between hospital clean and dorm room dirty.