5 Everyday Dog Moments You Should Be Having

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine.

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For the full story, you can read it HERE. My husband, Cassidy, had been casually (or not casually) perusing photos of dogs in need of rescue and he fell in love with a young Husky/Basenji mix puppy who had a rough start to her life. Luckily through a wonderful rescue organization and foster family experience, he went to pick Athena up in Vermont one chilly morning a few years ago. We thought he was at work. Both kids were sick. Cassidy suddenly pulled into the driveway, ran into the house, and called for me to get my camera to photograph a supposed dent on his car. There was no dent. He was not at work.

Luckily I had my camera ready even though I had no idea what was about to change.

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And that is how we became rescue pet owners. The process was similar when we got our cat, although not as surprising since I was in on it. We have found the greatest love in our dog Athena, and we are so thankful every day that we rescued her, and she rescued us too. We have incredible times with her in the garden, and with snuggling, and at our town’s wonderful and adventurous dog park. Our eight-year-old takes an active part in her and training, and our five-year-old is amazing with Athena too. We are now avid rescue pet owners and supporters. We took a chance on her and she took one on us.

How do we pamper her and show her love? So many ways! For one, we buy her pretty awesome treats. I picked up Milk-Bone Farmer’s Medley at Walmart recently, and they were such a hit, I had to try all the flavors for Athena. Her favorite?

Milk-Bone Farmer’s Medley Grain Free with Turkey & Pumpkin Biscuits

I’m excited that Milk-Bone Farmer’s Medley introduced such high quality treats. These treats have no fillers, corn, artificial preservatives or flavors. They make our dog moments even better. Athena was our first pet as a family of four, and she’s sat back patiently while we’ve since adopted Juniper, and 11 chickens. It occurred to me recently that I should be making sure I never take our time together for granted. It can be hectic and busy around here, but I need to always make time for my Athena. It’s important not to miss these dog moments.

5 Everyday Dog Moments You Should Be Having:

1 – One-on-one, PRESENT time. Just like with your kids, even if a dog has a different capacity for understanding, they do know when you’re fully with them, and not on your phone or watching TV. Even if it’s just snuggling. It’s enough.

2 – Go for a ride in the car! My childhood dog would freak out if you said “car” so we had to switch it to “ride in the car” and she would go berserk! It was the best feeling saying it to her, and then of course, taking her for a ride in the car!

3 – High quality dog treats. This probably goes without saying, if you know me, but it really matters. And they know! I suggest Milk-Bone Farmer’s Medley for the high-quality treats.

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4 – Find that special scratch spot. You’ll know it when you find it, if you haven’t already. For Athena, it’s her armpits! I’m not sure they’re called “armpits” on dogs, but all I know is that she LOVES when I scratch them. It’s so awesome.

5 – Extra play time. Show your love with those everyday dog moments of play. Make up your own games, follow your dog’s lead, and see what happens. My kids make up elaborate games with Athena, and she’s always a willing participant.

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What’s your favorite thing to do with your dog everyday?

7 Tips On Bringing Dogs and Cats Together

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PurinaMysteries #CollectiveBias

Do you have a dog and want a cat too? Or do you have a cat and you're considering getting a dog? Here's 7 tips for a peaceful household #ad #PurinaMysteries

It was last year at nearly this exact time of year, that we brought home our cat, Juniper.

It was the first week of summer vacation, and I had decided that I missed a cat presence in my house. I work a lot, and at home, and I loved the idea of a kitten and then cat winding her way through my legs while I type, or walking across the keyboard while I edit photos. I missed cute little meows, and soft kitten ears. I’ve always been a dog person, but I was starting to wonder if I might be both? Just like I love having both a daughter and a son, and shopping in two sections in a kid clothing store, I have always loved the idea of going into the “Cats” aisles, as well as the “Dogs” aisles of my PetSmart.

Lo and behold, my dreams have come true!

I go to PetSmart quite a bit – hitting all the aisles and saying hi to the cute dogs you’ll see in those aisles! Right now, from 6/1 – 6/30, if you spend $40 of Purina products, you will get a $10 PetSmart gift card! Here’s how this offer works. After you spend $40 on Purina products, you will then register your contact info and upload your receipt to the redemption site here. You will have until 7/9/17 to upload your receipt. After registration, you’ll receive an email confirming it, that will also feature Purina promotional deals. You’ll receive a $10 PetSmart gift card by physical mail within 4-8 weeks.

dogs and cats

I buy quite a lot of dog and cat supplies at PetSmart, but here are three of my favorites – Purina® Muse, Purina ONE and Purina® TIDY CATS® Litter for Juniper, and Purina® Beneful® for Athena. Purina has a wide variety of pet foods, treats, and litter at your local PetSmart. What I love is that this takes the mystery out of how to care for my dog and cat, and I can give them what they truly want. It’s no mystery how much I love both of my pets. It’s also no mystery what to buy them.

And also, where to go! PetSmart, of course.

dogs and cats



I find all my favorites within minutes. I love going to PetSmart because it’s pet-friendly, of course, but there’s excellent customer service when you’re looking for food, treats, and supplies for your pets. They clearly put care into the experience.

Do you have a dog and want a cat too? Or do you have a cat and you're considering getting a dog? Here's 7 tips for a peaceful household #ad #PurinaMysteries


So, back to that day we went to the animal shelter. There were plenty of kittens, but Scarlet picked out the tiniest, biggest-eyed kitten I had ever seen! She was pouncing around, and would then sleep on our laps. Scarlet fell in love on the spot!


We put a deposit on Juniper so that we could have 24 hours to get ready. This involved the house, her food and supplies, a litter box, getting the kids ready for such a tiny kitten, and then getting Athena ready for such a tiny kitten! As a puppy, Athena had been with cats in her foster home in Alabama, and had been around cats up here, but never such a tiny one. We wanted a total pet cat experience – indoors only, regular vet appointments, snuggling on the couch, waking up to her walking across my forehead, etc. We wanted the whole package, and we were ready for it. For Juniper.


Here are 7 tips for bringing dogs and cats together!

1 – Start with a slow and supervised transition/introduction. It took a few days for us, and we thought we were lucky! We never forced our pets to be together, but when they were, we were quiet and calm. We chose a neutral room (not with any of their food, water, litter, etc.) and let them see each other and be together for brief periods of supervised time. Then we gradually increased their exposure to each other. This was the crucial period and we all passed the test!

2 – Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match! Even though Juniper was Scarlet’s first choice, I preferred a quiet two-year-old sweetie named Maggie. The problem is that they weren’t sure if Maggie was dog-friendly, even though she was kid-friendly. We worked with the adoption counselors to make sure Juniper was the right match for all of our needs, and hers.

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3 – Give the newcomer a safe space. Whether the new arrival is a puppy in a cat household, or a kitten in a dog household, make sure the new arrival has a space of their own for a few days, or even a week. This area should be off limits to the current pet of the house. And don’t let the current pet linger too much outside of the safe space.

4 – Consider a dog leash or command. We kept Athena’s leash on during her early meetings, in case she got too aggressive. Another option is to put your dog in a down-stay position to allow your cat to move away if need be.


5 – Put your litter box somewhere private. This is mostly for your cat’s sake, since invasion of privacy can be stressful. It’s also for your dog’s sake, because dogs have been known to EAT litter. And toddler boys think they’re sandboxes..

Yes, that really happened once.

6 – Offer separation for meal time. Cats tend to not eat all their food at once, while many dogs do. Make sure you keep their food and food areas separate. Athena LOVES cat food, if given the chance. And that does stress Juniper out.


7 – Don’t push the friendship. They may become best friends, and they may not. Settling for courteous companions, or casual acquaintances is enough in this situation! And that relationship may grow over time.

Why do we follow these tips so closely? Pure love. It’s no mystery that I love both of my pets and I love one-on-one time with them. I’m also happy they can bond with each other. I love that we can all add to each other’s lives so much.


How do you get ready for having dogs and cats? What’s your favorite part of shopping at PetSmart?

Happy Pet Ownership!