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January 23, 2015

I’m working on a fun project where I need to take a lot of photos of my dogs in the car while wearing their dog seat belt harnesses. I’ve added a caption to two of Maya’s photos. Is she cute, or what?

Maya Lap Dog ClickIt Sport Dog Car Harness

Shoot Maya Dog Car Harness

Can you think of any more funny captions that would go along with Maya or Pierson riding in the car?

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January 13, 2015

Pierson Wearing ClickIt Sport Dog Car Harness

In an independent crash test study completed by the Center for Pet Safety in 2013, the ClickIt Utility dog seat belt from Sleepypod was rated as the safest brand out of eleven popular brands. Indeed, upon using the ClickIt Utlity for ourselves, we found it secured our dogs very well. But there were a few inconvenient issues that make people turn away from it. And so, Sleepypod redesigned a better harness called the ClickIt Sport.

MEASURING
The issues with the ClickIt Utility aren’t safety issues, but issues with use. For one, the measuring method is not as simple as with other brands and people were often confused about what to measure. The ClickIt Sport dog car harness has a much easier measuring method. All one has to do is measure around the barrel of the dog’s chest behind the front legs.

SIZING
The ClickIt Utility is also difficult to adjust for size. Despite Sleepypod’s videos, many people had a hard time getting the harness to fit their dog properly. The ClickIt Sport is much easier to adjust so it can fit perfectly without much trouble.

Maya Wearing ClickIt Sport Dog Seat Belt

PUTTING IT ON
Relatively speaking, putting on the ClickIt Utility harness is about the same as putting on any other dog car harness. You basically have to put the harness over your dog’s head and then physically put his front legs through the openings. Some dogs are less than cooperative. The ClickIt Sport is a little easier. Have your dog sit, put the harness under him with his front feet in the leg spaces, then pull it up and buckle it.

SECURING IN THE CAR
A dog wearing the ClickIt Utility has to be secured in three different places in the car. Firstly, the seat belt of the car goes through the back. Then two side straps are connected to the baby seat latch bars. So if someone’s car doesn’t have the latch bars, then they can’t use this car harness. Trying to secure a dog at all three points is difficult and frustrating for some. With the ClickIt Sport, all you have to do is put the seat belt of the car through the back. There are no side straps.

SAFETY
Nothing has changed regarding safety. The ClickIt Sport has passed all the same tests as the ClickIt Utility and has received a CPS Certification authenticating its safety.

If you’re looking for a dog seat belt and are put off by some of the negative reviews about the ClickIt Utility, consider the new ClickIt Sport instead. It’s just as safe, but much easier to use. It is still very restrictive, but this is what makes it so safe.

Pierson Wearing ClickIt Sport Dog Car Seat Belt Harness

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January 8, 2015

Variocage Logo

Top quality. German engineered. Extensively crash tested. There are many dog travel cages on the market, but there is only one that meets the highest safety standards—
the Variocage.

Variocage Dog Travel Cage for SUVs

I want an SUV so I can have this Variocage for Maya and Pierson. Other sizes available.

The Variocage dog travel cage has had a perfect safety in Europe for over ten years. It is now available here in the US. It is a very high quality cage designed for use in the cargo area of SUVs and some hatchback cars. Because it comes in 4 styles with 14 different sizes, you can find the perfect size. And best of all, no vehicle modification is required.

Variocage Minimax Dog Travel Cage

The Variocage Minimax dot travel cage is smaller for smaller dogs and hatchback cars.

The safety features of the Variocage include a built-in crumple zone. This will absorb an impact and prevent the cage from being pushed forward into front passengers. This pet safety product also has an “escape” hatch in the back so that if the front door is damaged in a crash, there is another way for your pal to get out. It is made of durable powder coated steel that will hold up in a variety of crash scenarios.

Variocage Safety Dog Travel Cage After Car Accident

The Variocage safety dog travel cage was misshapen from the accident, but it didn’t smash and the dog is unharmed.

More information on the crash testing can be found on this video:

Wow! It’s no wonder the manufacturer claims the Variocage to be the best crash tested pet safety product in the world. I think my dogs will be safer than me!

Before buying the Variocage, be sure to read all the information regarding how to get the right style and size. You will want to measure your vehicle. And you will want to consider the angle of the closed hatch into account, along with wheel wells that might interfere with how the cage fits, and if the back hatch as a raised sill. You can read all the information about the Variocage dog travel cage at Pet Auto Safety.com.

2 Shelties in the Variocage Compact XL

The Variocage Compact style allows the cage door to be opened for these two Sheltie dogs when the cargo area has a raised sill.

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2015 Compare Dog Car Harness Brands

Author: MayaAndPierson
January 6, 2015
All Our Dog Car Seat Belt Brands

My dogs Maya and Pierson have tried out almost every single dog car harness brand we carry.

Pet Auto Safety now has seven dog car harness brands, two with different variations. So how does one decide which of the nine seat belts to buy? Some people want the safest. Others want something safe, but worry their dog will not like the restriction of a safer car harness. A few want something easy to use. And for others, the criteria may be price.

To help you decide which one is the best for you and your dog, check out this .pdf document showing a chart to compare the features of several dog car seat belts. These brands include the ClickIt Utility, ClickIt Sport, AllSafe, Ruff Rider Roadie, Bergan, Kurgo Tru-Fit, Kurgo Go-Tech, PetBuckle, and the Guardian Gear/Cruising Companion (G.G. & C.C.) brands. The chart compares safety, quality, price, ease of use, and ten other features.

My Pet Auto Safety dogs, Maya and Pierson, have had a chance to review all but one brand. I like the ClickIts because they keep Maya in her seat, which can be difficult. I like the AllSafe because the quality is so great. I like the Ruff Rider because it is made in the USA and it is lightweight yet still durable. I like the Bergan because it’s padded and because the tether is so easy to use. I like the Kurgo because I like how it fits Maya, and I like the quality of all Kurgo products. And I liked the G.G. & C.C. dog car harness brands because they are stylish and inexpensive.

Which features appeal the most to you?

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December 31, 2014

More and more people are traveling with their pets and thinking of their safety. And as such, 2014 was a great year for new (or new to us) and innovative pet travel products. My dogs Maya and Pierson got to try out a few of them.

The Car Pet Dek with Dogs Maya & Pierson

The Pet Dek extends the back seat of your car so your dogs can have more room.

Pet Dek – We used the Kurgo Backseat Bridge for years and loved it. But then something better came along. The Pet Dek is flatter and much sturdier.

Dog Pierson on Pet Travel Flat Seat in Car 2

The Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat is another extender that gives your dog more room in the car.

Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat – Shortly after we got the Pet Dek, a company contacted us about their new seat extender, the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. Although I love the Pet Dek, I love the Flat Seat more! I think Maya and Pierson do too.

Cocker Spaniel in Red Car-Go Pet Car Travel Shelter

Use the Car-Go pop-up pet shelter in the back seat of the car, in the cargo area, or even in your home.

Car-Go Pop-Up Shelter – My dogs Maya and Pierson are too big to try out the Car-Go Pop-Up Shelter, but I love the concept. It’s a great way for smaller dogs to ride in the back seat of the car or in the cargo area of the SUV. The Car-Go can even be used in the home.

Maya Labrador AllSafe Dog Car Harness

The AllSafe dog car harness fits Maya perfectly!

Allsafe Dog Car Harness– This is not a new product. It has been around in Europe for years. The AllSafe dog car harness is German engineered and has been crash tested both in Europe and the US. Its quality is phenomenal and I absolutely love it. It looks great on my Maya.

Variocage Dog Travel Cage for SUVs

I want an SUV so I can have this Variocage for Maya and Pierson. Other sizes available.

Variocage – This is another German engineered and crash tested product. It has been so well designed and so thoroughly crash tested that no other product on the market can come close to its quality. I don’t have an SUV so I haven’t been able to try the Variocage, but I really want to someday.

Pierson Wearing ClickIt Sport Dog Car Seat Belt Harness

Pierson is trying out the new ClickIt Sport dog car harness.

ClickIt Sport Dog Seat Belt – Remember the ClickIt Utility? It was rated as the #1 safest dog seat belt by the Center for Pet Safety in 2013. It is still #1 today. But it can be a little difficult to adjust and to use so Sleepypod improved it. The ClickIt Sport came out in December 2014. Doesn’t my dog Pierson look great in it?

These products look great, don’t they? I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer in regards to pet travel safety. Happy New Year! :)

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December 30, 2014
Pierson Wearing ClickIt Sport Dog Car Seat Belt Harness

Pierson gets to try out the new ClickIt Sport dog car harness.

We’re still here and ready to do some more blogging! It’s been an interesting year, for both Pet Auto Safety and for me personally. Let’s talk about Pet Auto Safety first, then I will explain why I haven’t been blogging for a while.

At the beginning of 2014, I told you some of our goals. Let’s see how we did:

More Funny Videos – Maya and Pierson starred in a cute video in 2013. We vowed to make more in 2014. However, we just made one (below). But we also made a couple of pet travel product videos. And we plan on making more videos, funny or otherwise, in the future. See these and other videos of my dogs at www.YouTube.com/naturebydawn.

More Pet Travel Articles – 2014 was a decent year for our article writing. We wrote several articles and also hired a good free-lance writer. The word about pet auto safety is getting gout there, but we need to write and publish many more articles in 2015. And we’d like to publish them in places other than our own websites. So if you know of a blog or magazine who would like to publish an article about dogs riding safe in the car, let us know.

WIPIN – Women in the Pet Industry Network – Thanks to a friend, I became a member of WIPIN in 2014. It is a great place to connect with other pet lovers and share business ideas. However, due to personal life circumstances, I did not take advantage of everything this group had to offer. I am not sure whether I will renew my membership in 2015.

Inc. to LLC – In 2014, we successfully changed the company from a corporation to an LLC. This change made some administration processes easier and I’m glad we did it.

Maya Wearing Dog Backpack from Outward Hound

Maya shows off her outdoor dog gear backpack.

Outdoor Dog Gear – We did not create a new website for outdoor dog gear, but we did set up a new page on Pet Auto Safety for outdoor dog gear. After all, dogs who ride in cars are usually going somewhere. And if they are going hiking or swimming, they can get some supplies from us.

Maya Labrador AllSafe Dog Car Harness

The AllSafe dog car harness fits Maya perfectly!

AllSafe Dog Car Harness – We have been wanting the AllSafe dog seat belts for some time, but had difficulty acquiring them. Luckily, the opportunity finally came a few months ago. We now have the AllSafe brand and I couldn’t be happier.

Some of our other new products in 2014 include the Car-Go pop-up shelter, Portable Pet Flat Seat, the Variocages, and the ClickIt Sport.

Pet Auto Safety Infographic – We never did implement our idea to create an infographic. Whether or not we will do so in 2015 is still being debated.

As you can see, 2014 was a success for us in many ways. If we fell short in some areas, it was because of some personal events. If you’ve kept up with this blog and if you also follow me on my American Dog Blog, then you have some idea of what’s been going on.

In mid-2014, my husband transferred to another job in Des Moines, Iowa. Things were in upheaval for Pet Auto Safety as I worked to relocate both our home and the business and to refile all the tax documents in the new state.

Just before this move, I found out my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. It was progressing rapidly and the doctors were not optimistic that she would live for much longer. She surprised us by making a good recovery a couple months ago. But the recovery was short lived.

My mom passed away just before Thanksgiving. I’ve never lost a parent before and so it is very hard for me. The holidays have been especially difficult. I have still managed Pet Auto Safety’s retail activities, but I took a break from all other tasks, including blogging, article writing, and videos.

While I still miss my mom, it’s time to get back on track. If you’re not already subscribed to this blog, please do so now and look for another post for our Pet Auto Safety 2015 goals. Also subscribe to my American Dog Blog, where I will be making a tribute to the woman who taught me many things, including that dogs are family too and deserve to be as loved and cared for as any other member of the family.

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September 30, 2014

Want to know how a dog car harness secures your dog? You’d think the answer would be simple. In a way, it is. For most, it is as simple as clipping it on and clipping it in. But what makes it complicated is that each brand works differently. Let’s take the top 5 brands and show you how each of them work:

ClickIt Utility
The ClickIt Utility dog car harness has three connection points. This makes it one of the most labor intensive to use, but also the safest. First, put the seat belt of the car through the back of the harness. Then connect the two tethers on either side of the harness to each of the two latchbars located between the seat cushions. All cars 2001 and later should have the latchbars in the back seat.

Please note, the new ClickIt Sport coming out soon will not have the two side tethers.

Close-Up of the ClickIt Utility Strap to Latchbar

This metal bar is located between the seat cushions of cars. There are two on either side of the seats, for a total of four. Clip the ClickIt tethers to these latchbars.

Tether of the ClickIt Utility Dog Safety Belt

These two tethers attach to the latchbars located between the rear seat cushions, and in turn attach to the side of the ClickIt Utility dog safety belt.

Seat Belt Through Back of ClickIt Utility Dog Car Harness

Put the seat belt of the car through the back of the ClickIt Utility harness then clip the tethers onto either side.

Diagram of ClickIt Utility Dog Car Harness

This diagram of the ClickIt Utility dog car harness shows the connections better.

Ruff Rider Roadie
The Ruff Rider Roadie also uses the seat belt of the car to secure your dog. Instead of going through the back of the harness, it goes through one of two loops on the tether. This tether is part of the harness and is not detachable. To give your dog more room to move, put the seat belt through the loop at the very end of the tether. To secure your dog more for safety, put the seat belt through the loop closer to the back of the harness.

The Two Loops in Ruff Rider Roadie Dog Car Harness

Put the seat belt of the car through one of the two loops of the tether on the Ruff Rider Roadie.

Ruff Rider Roadie Dog Car Harness on Pierson

This is the seat belt of the car through the loop closest to the back of the Ruff Rider Roadie.

AllSafe Dog Seat Belt
The AllSafe is also takes a bit more work to secure. First, you have to stabilize the seat belt of the car. Buckle it in without your dog. Then use the two red clips included with the harness to stabilize it. If the top part of the shoulder belt is like the picture indicated, then stabilizing is easy. If it is like mine where it comes out directly, then it can get a little troublesome. You have to make the shoulder belt lock, and then apply the red clip. This way the shoulder belt does not pull out when your dog moves. Once you have it stabilized, attach the tether to the seat belt. Once this is done, all you have to do is clip the tether onto the back off the AllSafe dog car harness.

The Top Clip of the AllSafe Dog Seat Belt

Stabilize the top of the seat belt of the car using one of the red clips provided by AllSafe.

Red Clip of the AllSafe Dog Seat Belt

If the seat belt of your car does not work like in the diagram above, lock the seat belt in place by pulling it hard, and then placing the red clip so it can’t go back in or out.

Secured Seat Belt for AllSafe Dog Harness

Once the seat belt is stabilized so that it doesn’t pull out, put the AllSafe dog car harness tether onto the strap.

Back of AllSafe Dog Seat Belt

Clip the tether onto the back of the AllSafe dog seat belt.

Bergan Dog Car Harness
The Bergan brand is very easy to secure in the car. Either clip one end into the seat belt housing of the car, or clip it onto the latchbar. Then clip the other end to the back of the harness.

Clip the Bergan Tether Between Seat Belt

The Bergan dog car harness tether clips between the webbing of the seat belt buckle.

Bergan Seat Belt Tether on Latch Bar

The Bergan dog seat belt tether can also clip onto the latchbar.

Bobo Secured with a Bergan Dog Seat Belt

The other end of the Bergan dog seat belt tether clips onto the back of Bobo’s harness.

Kurgo Dog Seat Belt
The Kurgo Tru-Fit and the Kurgo Go Tech brands are also very easy to use. Simply put the seat belt of the car through the loop tether, and then clip the other end of the loop tether to the back of the harness. Kurgo also has the option to buy a direct connect tether, which clips directly into the seat belt receptacle.

Loop Tether of Kurgo Dog Seat Belt

The seat belt of the car goes through the loop tether of the Kurgo dog car harness.

Alternate Kurgo Dog Seat Belt Connection

To make the loop tether of the Kurgo dog car harness more secure, loop it like this around the seat belt.

Kurgo Direct Connect Tether for Dog Car Harness

The Kurgo direct connect tether is purchased separately. It can buckle directly into the seat belt of the car for attachment to a dog car harness.

Buckle Strap for Dog Car Harness

The Kurgo direct connect tether clips onto the back of the harness and buckles directly into the seat belt receptacle.

Which Dog Car Harness is Best?
Determining which dog seat belt is best depends on your preference. While the Bergan and Kurgo are the easiest to attach, the ClickIt, Ruff Rider, and AllSafe are the safest. At the same times, the safest brand may also be the most uncomfortable for some dogs because they can’t move much. Keep this in mind and balance safety with your dog’s comfort. A super-safe dog car harness is not going to help if your pet is so uncomfortable that he chews it off.

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September 26, 2014
Maya Labrador AllSafe Dog Car Harness

The AllSafe dog car harness fits Maya perfectly!

One great thing about running Pet Auto Safety is that we get to try out all the products. Our recent acquisition is the AllSafe dog seat belt. And the lucky dog that gets to try it out is our lovely Labrador Retriever, Maya.

Maya presents a number of challenges when it comes to dog car harnesses because she doesn’t sit still. She’s got to stand up and stick her little brown nose wherever she can get it, sometimes in my ear. She also has a deep narrow chest, which occasionally makes harnesses pull to the side rather than hug the chest. Did we have these issues with the AllSafe? Let’s see.

QUALITY
First, though, let me give you my first impression of the AllSafe dog car harness. When I pulled it out of the box, I was absolutely amazed. The quality is fantastic. It is obviously very well made and highly durable. The straps are thick and sewn together very well. There are no plastic pieces on this seat belt, just strong webbing and very strong steel parts.

PUTTING ON/TAKING OFF
The AllSafe dog car harness does not clip on like most other dog seat belts do. As demonstrated in the below video, you have to pull your dog’s legs through the leg holes. Maya makes it look easy, but I can see how this might be a challenge for other dogs that are not yet used wearing a car harness. Because of my experience and because of Maya’s cooperation, I personally found the AllSafe very easy to put on.

SECURING IN THE CAR
It was very simple to secure my dog Maya in the car with her AllSafe harness. There was a bit of a misunderstanding with the instructions. Apparently, my box had the wrong instructions. But when I notified the company located here in the US, they walked me through the right way. Their customer service was fantastic.

RIDING AROUND
Maya wore her harness perfectly. She could still stand up, sit, or lie down, but enough that she could stick her wet brown nose into my ear. This restriction is a good thing because it means if we are in a car accident, Maya will not be jerked around. A longer tether means more freedom and comfort, but it also means less security. I find the ClickIt the most restrictive and the Bergan the least. On the other hand, the Bergan is more comfortable and the ClickIt is the least. The AllSafe is right in between both.

FIT
The chest piece of the AllSafe still went off to the side if Maya tried to move around. But that is Maya’s fault because she won’t be still. If Pierson were to wear this harness, he would not have any trouble at all because he stays in one spot.

COMPARISON
The AllSafe is very comparable to the ClickIt Utility in both quality and safety. The ClickIt Utility had a better safety rating from the Center for Pet Safety, but the AllSafe rated nearly as well. One drawback of the ClickIt Utility is it has three connection points that can make it more of a hassle to secure your dog in the car. It can also be more difficult to adjust for sizing. (Both these features of the ClickIt Utility are changing, though, with the release of the ClickIt Sport before the end of this year.) The AllSafe allows for the harness to be used as a walking harness much easier than the ClickIt Utility.

Overall, I am very pleased with the AllSafe. It is more expensive than most brands, but it is worth every penny.

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September 18, 2014

Barks and Bytes Blog Hop

Welcome to another edition of Barks & Bytes hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog and Linda with 2BrownDawgs.

It’s been a month since our last participation in the Barks & Bytes blog hop so we have a lot to cover. I’ll try very hard to be brief. First off, if you haven’t done so already, say Happy Birthday to my Maya who turned 7 at the end of August!

IMPROVED PET DEK
In a review of the Pet Dek that I made back in July, I mentioned how one of the legs kept coming off but I fixed it with a washer. The manufacturer of the Pet Dek saw my post and wanted to let me know that this issue has been fixed and is no longer a concern. Honest reviews really pay off!

FREE SHIPPING ON FLAT SEAT
The Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat is a comparable product and for the month of September, we are offering free shipping.

Belle-Button the Frenchie Wearing the Bergan Dog Seat Belt 3

Belle is wearing the Bergan dog seat belt as she rests comfortably in her pet bed in the back seat for the road trip.

FRENCHIES REVIEW
On Wednesday, September 10th, we shared the photos of three adorable Frenchies: Arnold, Belle, and Wilbur. Their mom first purchased the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat from us. And when she found out we were also in Iowa, she explained how difficult it has been for her to find a dog car seat belt that would fit the odd shape of a Frenchie. And so I offered to visit her in person to try some on. The Kurgo Tru-Fit brand fit them nicely, but the Bergan dog seat belt fit even better. So Arnold, Belle, and Wilbur all have one and they wore them on their recent road trip.

My Dog Pierson with a Woman Named Flea

Does Pierson want pets or does he want goodies from Jones Natural Chews? Flea gives him both.

FLEA!
If you haven’t heard of Flea from DogTreatWeb for Jones Natural Chews, then you’re really missing out. Her blog is funny and Flea is such a heartwarming person. We (Maya, Pierson, and I) have been lucky enough to have been able to meet her on two occasions. Once, during the holidays when we made our annual road trip from Kansas to Texas. And the second time just a couple of days ago as she traveled from Oklahoma to Illinois. It was a wonderful visit and Maya and Pierson were extremely spoiled with the Boo Bucket and other treats from Jones Natural Chews.

Maya Labrador AllSafe Dog Car Harness

The AllSafe dog car harness fits Maya perfectly!

ALLSAFE
Remember earlier in the year where I mentioned one of our goals was to acquire the AllSafe dog car harness? Well, we finally got it! As of yesterday, the AllSafe pet seat belt is officially available on PetAutoSafety.com. For now, it has free shipping. This may change later so if you’ve been wanting one, now is the time to get one. Maya has hers already. Keep an eye out on this blog for our review.

VARIOCAGE
The company that provides the AllSafe dog seat belt also has the VarioCage. If you haven’t heard of it before, it is the absolute best car cage on the market. We don’t have this one on our website yet, but it will be available before the end of the month.

LOST DOG COMMENTS
A special thanks to Barbara from K9sOverCoffee and Lindsay with ThatMutt for adding two more means to find a dog lost after a car accident. Post fliers, contact a radio station to see if they will mention the lost pet, and contact shelters and rescue groups every day to see if anyone has brought in the pet. I can’t believe I didn’t think of these. Thank you!!!

PET TRAVEL ARTICLES
And thank you to Patrice for writing these great pet travel articles for us:
Plan a Great Pet Friendly Trip
Finding Pet Friendly Accommodations

Thanks for stopping by, everyone and enjoy the rest of your week! :)

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September 10, 2014

These three cute little Frenchies went on a road trip recently:

Arnold the Frenchie Wearing the BerganDog Car Harness 2

Arnold enjoyed his road trip so much that he dreamed about it. :)

Belle-Button the Frenchie Wearing the Bergan Dog Seat Belt 4

Belle, nicknamed Belle-Button, is snug as bug in the back seat of the car.

Belle-Button the Frenchie Wearing the Bergan Dog Seat Belt 3

Belle is wearing the Bergan dog seat belt as she rests comfortably in her pet bed in the back seat for the road trip.

Wilbur the Frenchie Wearing the Bergan Dog Seat Belt 1

Wilbur is also wearing the Bergan dog seat belt in the car. Actually, all three of these Frenchies are wearing the Bergan because it was the one that fit their odd body size the best.

I’m so glad Arnold, Belle, and Wilbur’s mom shared these with us. Aren’t these Frenchies just the cutest?

For more adorable pet photos, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below:

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