A Face Behind the Pet Car Safety Lady
Hi! My name is Dawn Ross. I generally put Maya & Pierson in front of the camera when I talk about pet car safety. But thanks to an idea from Amy with GoPetFriendly.com, perhaps I should tell you more about me. There are four things I love to talk about the most… Maya, Pierson, my husband, and myself!
What’s your favorite non-animal related book?
I love the world of fantasy with dragons, knights, wizards, and castles. My all-time favorite fantasy novels are the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.
What’s your favorite non-animal related movie?
Action/adventure, sci-fi/fantasy, and Disney movies are what I like best. Trying to choose one movie is very difficult, so I will choose one from each of my three favorite genres. Action/adventure – Indiana Jones. Then again, I could watch the Transformers movies over and over again. Sci-fi/fantasy – Star Wars or perhaps Lord of the Rings. Disney – I absolutely loved Tangled.
What’s your favorite non-animal related food?
Cheese. I love cheese. Any kind of cheese will do. Cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cheese cake, goat cheese, Munster, Havarti, gouda, brie, parmesan, cottage cheese, okay maybe not blue cheese.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Free time? What’s that? I used to do a lot of crafts. I enjoyed beading. At one time, I was even making my own beads out of rolled up paper. I also like to use plastic canvas. Plastic canvas can be cut into shapes. You can then thread designs on it using yarn, and then sew the shapes together to make something three dimensional.
Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy?
1. Drawing – If you follow my American Dog Blog, then you probably already know I am an artist. I love to draw nature and animals. In fact, I have a website dedicated just for my artwork at NatureByDawn.com.
2. Reading – I love to read about ancient history. Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ancient China, Greece, Rome, the Dark Ages, Renaissance, etc.
3. Writing – My love for history led me to a love for mythology, which in turn led me to a love for fantasy. In fact, I have written three fantasy novels, “The Third Dragon”, “The Raven’s Fire”, and “The Dragon & The Lion”. As is common in fantasy, these three novels encompass a trilogy I call “The Dukarian Legacy”. Each book has its own story that can stand on its own. But the characters are all the same throughout and there is a grander tale tell. You can buy my books on Amazon in either paperback or e-book version. I also have another blog for my writing, although I haven’t updated it in some time. Still, you can read a couple of my short fantasy stories there along with some of my writing and publishing tips.
What drives you nuts about your pets? What melts your heart?
Now, back to talking about my dogs. Dogs really are my passion. I’ve had dogs my entire life and cannot imagine life without them. My dogs bring me more joy than the three things mentioned above combined. Regardless, there are still things about my dogs that drive me nuts. For one, I would love to travel the world. I’d love to see the ancient Greek temples and other things I’ve read about in my love for history. But my dogs make it difficult for me to do these things. Let’s be truly honest, though, it is also lack of time and money that keep me from being able to travel.
Another thing that drives me nuts about the dogs is all the shedding. You’d think that because I’ve had dogs my entire life I’d be used to it. And to be sure, I am probably more used to it than most other people. But it still drives me nuts.
I also dislike having to stand outside in adverse weather waiting to pick up Maya’s poop so Pierson doesn’t eat it. I don’t like the fact that Pierson is dog aggressive, that Maya still pulls on a leash despite six years of training, how Pierson barks at everything, and that Maya knows she is not supposed to jump on people but does it anyway.
Despite all those things, they pale in comparison to the joys Maya and Pierson bring me. I love playing with them, cuddling with them, training them to do fun tricks, taking them for walks, taking them shopping, and so on.
If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have?
I would still choose dogs. I like cats okay, but prefer dogs. I’ve never had the same breed or breed mix twice, so I suppose I would choose a breed or breed mix I haven’t had before. I tend to prefer medium to large dog breeds, so whatever I choose probably won’t be a toy breed. But I don’t always choose the dog I want. Sometimes they choose me.
Have I talked about myself enough yet? Are you bored now? Well, perhaps it is time to read about other dog bloggers. Check out this blog hop below to read about some of my favorite dog, cat, bunny, and bird people:
It’s almost time for our annual road trip from Kansas to Texas to visit family. The drive takes about eleven hours. Taking such a long trip with two big dogs requires careful preparation and planning.
Why Do We Drive?
An eleven hour trip sounds intimidating. But when you have two big dogs, visiting family for the holidays doesn’t leave many options. Boarding kennels and pet sitters tend to be booked up this time of year. Flying can be expensive, not to mention a very stressful situation for pets that need to ride in the cargo area of the plane. Winter weather can also prevent your dog from being able to fly.
While driving requires several hours of our vacation to be spent on the road, for us it is the best option. I’m not sad and worried about Maya and Pierson because they’re with me. And the gas expense is less than one flight ticket.
PREPARING FOR THE TRIP
Now that we know we are going to drive, we just need to work out the logistics. Is our vehicle in good shape, including the tires? Is a car enough, or should we rent an SUV? Last year we rented an SUV because our friends went with us and four adults and two big dogs just wouldn’t fit in our sedan.
This year it is just my husband and I and the two dogs so we can take our car. We’re not taking mine this year, though. We are taking my husband’s. My car is already fitted with all the dog gear, but it is an older model vehicle and I don’t want to risk it breaking down on the way. So before our trip, I need to outfit my husband’s Camry for Maya and Pierson. The first thing it needs is a seat cover. I will also install the Backseat Bridge because it covers the floor and gives my big pups more room to stretch out for the long trip.
Will we do the entire drive all in one day, or will we stay overnight at a hotel? Most times, we drive straight through. But this year, we are visiting friends in Tulsa and so will stay in a hotel. To prepare, we need to find a pet friendly hotel in Tulsa and make reservations.
Health & Temperament
Maya and Pierson are in good health and so will be fine on this trip. But depending on your pet, you may want to consider his health before going on your road trip. In addition, think about how much or how little your dog likes to ride in the car. If he doesn’t like to ride, you may need to start getting him used to it now by taking short road trips to somewhere fun. You can also ask your vet about possible pet anxiety treatments you can give him.
A week before the trip, I compile a packing list. I add to it as things come to mind so that by the day of the trip, I know everything I need to take. For the dogs, I need their food, treats, food and water bowls, water, toys, blankets, beds, leashes, veterinary records, poop bags, their dog seat belts, first aid kit, and I need to make sure their id tags are secure on their collars. Since we are staying in a hotel, I should think about bringing their pet crates too.
Right Before We Leave
Besides checking off the packing list and making sure our vehicle has gas, I also like to administer Travel Calm to both Maya and Pierson. Maya gets excited in the vehicle and the all natural Travel Calm really helped keep her relaxed and quiet on our trip last year. Pierson sometimes gets car sick and Travel Calm helps with that too.
The next thing we do before we go is let the dogs go potty. And the final thing is to make sure our house is secure. If we didn’t already have someone watching our house, we’d be talking to our neighbors to ask them to keep an eye out. We’d also reduce the thermostat and make sure we didn’t leave any unnecessary appliances turned on.
THE ROAD TRIP
When traveling such a long distance, it is a good idea for us and the dogs to make plenty of pit stops. We stop at rest areas or gas stations to stretch our legs or use the restroom. For the dogs, I make sure their leashes are secure before letting them out of the car. It helps that they are already secured in their dog seat belts. All I have to do is attach their leash, then release the buckle that keeps them secured.
When I take them to go potty, I make sure they only go in designated pet areas. And I always pick up after them. If we’re in a public area, I am careful about not imposing my dogs on other people. I keep control of them as much as possible for both their safety and for the sake of others.
While it would probably be much more convenient if we could travel without having to worry about the dogs, I really enjoy taking them. For me, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without my Maya and Pierson. If you’re traveling by car this holiday and taking your best friend with you, consider our preparation plans and apply them for your situation. And send us pictures!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
The first episode of Maya and Pierson’s car travel video is finally done! My dogs Maya and Pierson ride in the car while wearing their pet car restraints and have interesting conversations. In this first funny video from Pet Auto Safety, Maya and Pierson talk about why they wear their dog seat belts. I tried to make it a bit humorous so that it isn’t the same old boring lecture. Watch it and tell me what you think.
So, how do you like it? If you enjoyed it, can you do me a favor and give it a thumbs up on YouTube?
Future videos will be less informative and more fun. Hopefully, the next video will not take 7 months to make. If you’d like to know what making this first video entailed, keep reading. It’s a bit dry, so feel free to skip this next part and leave a comment about the video at the end of the post. You can also leave a comment about the video on YouTube. Thanks everyone!
SEVEN MONTHS IN THE MAKING
I purchased a nice camcorder and video editing software at the end of March 2013. My camera is the JVC Evirio and the video editing software is the Movie Edit Pro 2013 from Magix. I started using the camcorder right away, but when I first downloaded the software I was greatly intimidated. How on earth would I figure this program out without someone to teach me? I don’t know about you, but reading the instruction manual did not appeal to me one little bit.
So I procrastinated on learning the video editing software. I wasn’t completely putting off this project, though. I started brainstorming video ideas, writing scripts, and trying to figure out how I was going to get a male Australian accent for Pierson.
Once I finally had these things ready, I started playing with the video editing software. I learned by playing with it, and only referred to the manual when there was something specific I really wanted to do but couldn’t figure out how. The first two videos I made with this software are of me drawing the dog Mos and of my dog Maya playing in a public pool.
The next snag in making the Pet Auto Safety video was how to mount the camera in the car. After trying various methods, I finally found a decent car camera mount. The video was now underway. Maya and Pierson wore their pet car restraints and cooperated very well as I drove around town with the video camera set to record. Now that I think I have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing, I believe Episode 2 will take a lot less time to make. Perhaps I can have it ready in January or February. I’d say sooner, except the holidays may hold me back.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my video!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
After months of planning (and with trying to figure out how to use video editing software) our first new funny dogs video is finally here. This video stars the cutest dogs EVER, Maya & Pierson. Join them on their adventures in the car as they talk about various things. Sometimes the topic is educational information about pet travel safety and sometimes it is just fun funny stuff. Here is a very short preview video showing you what you can expect.
Please share and give our funny dogs video a thumbs up on YouTube.
The first full length video of episode 1 will be coming very very soon, possibly this weekend.
Thanks and enjoy!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
For the past several months, Maya, Pierson, and I have been working really hard on a fun new dog car adventure video. And we’re almost done! Here are some images from the upcoming video:
These and other cute cartoons are in the video too:
Stop by our blog again soon to see a video preview and the finished video of Episode 1!
For more great photos from pet lovers across the web, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below:
Pet Car Seat Covers to Protect Your Car from Your Dog
No, seat covers don’t protect your dog but they can help protect your car. Do you have a dog that drools? Do you want to take your dog for a swim at the lake but hate the idea of wet muddy paws all over your seat cushions? Is your dog a big shedder? Do not despair! Adorable paw print dog seat covers are here.
The Black, Gray, Brown, or Tan Dog Seat Covers Are Embroidered with Paw Prints
Paw print pet car seat covers come in more cool colors than ever – black, charcoal gray, brown, and tan. Bench or single seat covers are also available. (We don’t have the tan ones on our site yet, though.) The best part about these covers is that they have embroidered paw prints on them. The paw prints are stitched on, not ironed on or painted on. Stitched.
Soft & Machine Washable
The material on these covers is so soft. They are slightly padded to add to the comfort of the velvety material. They are machine washable, but you would need to lay flat to dry. I made the mistake of putting the brown paw print one Sephi and Maya had in the dryer. It didn’t ruin it for use, but the cover didn’t look as good anymore.
Fits Most Seats
These dog seat covers will fit the seats of most standard sized vehicles. For the bench seats, there are four corner straps and several clips that can be used to fit the cover to the car. For the bucket seats, there are two corner straps on the bottom and one strap to go around the head rest at the top. There are also a few clips to help with securing the cover in place.
Guardian Gear is the brand of these dog seat covers. And now Guardian Gear offers a lifetime guarantee on their seat covers! This means they are built to last. But if they break at any time during normal use, you can get a replacement at no charge.
My favorite color is the charcoal. It’s perfect for Maya and Pierson. You can’t see Pierson’s hair much on this color. You can still see Maya’s blond hair, but not as much as you would see it on the black or the brown! Which color is your favorite?
My lovable happy Labrador Maya turned six this month! If you don’t know Maya, she is our Pet Auto Safety CEC (Chief Executive Cuteness). You may have seen her in some of our product photos and reviews on both this blog and our retail website, Pet Auto Safety.com. Read more about her and see many more photos of her on my personal dog blog, AmericanDogBlog.Wordpress.com. In the meantime, here are a few recent photos of Maya hard at work:
Here is Maya from this morning. Still a puppy!
Also, if you have a chance, go vote for Maya’s photo in a calendar contest on HeartLikeADog. Visit and vote daily! It would be a great birthday present.
For more great pet photos, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below:;)
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be relatively inactive in the summer because it is so darned hot. I still take the dogs out for walks in the morning or evenings, but nature hikes are no fun in the summer. So now that the weather is getting cooler, I’m excited about taking the dogs on an outdoor hiking expedition again.
Here are some outdoor hiking safety factors I think about for Maya and Pierson:
Leashes or Harnesses
I admit, I don’t always keep Maya on a leash when we hike. Maya is very good at staying by my side and has a very good recall. Pierson, on the other hand, has never been off leash except in our backyard. So I don’t trust him to come when he is called if he sees an animal to chase. Know your dogs. If you are not sure if they will come to you in various scenarios, then keep them on a leash. Also, be considerate to other people when hiking in areas frequented by others. Some people don’t like dogs and are even afraid of them. Furthermore, some hiking trails are also frequented by bicyclists or people riding horses. Loose dogs do not always get along well with bicycles and horses.
Maya and Pierson always wear their collar and tags. Plus, they are both microchipped. Even though I am confident in Maya’s recall and that I have a good grip on Pierson’s leash, the unexpected could happen. What if there is a loud noise that scares them? It might catch me unawares and make me lose my grip on their leash when they bolt. It’s unlikely but if the worst does happen, at least you have a better chance of being reunited with your best friend.
Beware of wild animals. Small animals like rabbits and squirrels can be very tempting for your dog to chase. Your dog getting lost because he chased an animal is not the only concern. There are many harmful wild animals to watch out for such as alligators (BrownDogCBR has to look out for these), porcupines, poisonous snakes, skunks, raccoons, etc. By the way, another good reason to keep your dog on a leash is so that they don’t eat wild animal feces. Raccoon poop, for one, can be infected with worms or even canine distemper.
Plants & Biting Insects Harmful to Dogs
Some plants can be harmful for your dog too. Look out for poison ivy and poison oak. Also beware of thorned plants. Biting insects are what bothers me the most on our outdoor hiking adventures. Ticks here are really bad. We also need to be aware of mosquitos and fleas. My dogs use Frontline, but this only kills fleas and ticks when they get on the dog. It doesn’t prevent the little blood-suckers from getting on them in the first place. As a repellant, I am considering a new product from Earth Heart called Buzz Guard. Earth Heart is the same company that makes the Travel Calm that I use for Maya when she rides in the car.
Pet Water Safety – To Swim
If you are hiking near water and plan on letting your dog swim, consider a dog life jacket. Also, know the dangerous aquatic wild animals native to your area such as water moccasin snakes or alligators.
Pet Water Safety – To Drink
Water safety also includes making sure both you and your dog have plenty of fresh cool water to drink. If you can help it, don’t let your dog drink from the lake or river water. It can contain bacteria and parasites that will make your dog sick. I like using the Kurgo collapsible dog water bowl when I go hiking with the dogs. We also won the Frosty Paws travel pack sometime back and it has a fantastic dog water bottle.
Dog Travel Safety
Don’t forget to travel to your hiking destination in safety. Seat belts for dogs, pet travel carriers, or our new K9 Car Fence, are just a few of the options available to ensure your best friend is kept just as safe as every other member of your family.
I like to take Maya and Pierson to Clinton Lake. The Mutt Run off-leash dog park is nearby and even has a place for Maya to swim. And there are a lot of secluded trails around the lake for me to take my dog-aggressive fluffhead Pierson.
I hope I covered everything. Can you think of any other outdoor hiking safety tips? Where do you like to take your dog hiking?
Update – First Aid Kit
After reading another blog post on first aid supplies, I realized I didn’t have a first aid kit on my list. Shame, shame! It is a good idea to have one with supplies for both you and your pet when you go hiking. A complete list of ideal first aid supplies can be found on KeepTheTailWagging.com. Thanks Kimberly, for your great post and reminder.
We had someone from AT&T over the other day to see if they could fix our internet. We were told that our dogs had to be confined while they were here. Why? The AT&T guy that came told me one of his coworkers had recently been bitten in the face by a dog that was supposed to be friendly. Maybe the dog was. But dogs will be dogs. Maya will jump up on people if I am not careful. This can be very dangerous if someone is bending over when they pet her.
So no matter how friendly your dog is, be considerate of your guests. I have a tendency to think, “The dogs live here, you don’t.” But what if Maya jumps on someone and hurts them? It would be my fault. I would be responsible. It doesn’t matter whose house it is. So in order to protect the safety of my guests, here is what I do with Maya and Pierson:
Work on Sit / Stay
Maya gets really excited when people come over. So we’ve been working very hard on the sit and stay commands. I don’t just work with her at home with no distractions, I also work with her when people come over and out in public with other distractions.
Work on No Jumping
I’ve taught Maya not to jump on me, but it has been difficult to keep her from jumping on other people. People don’t know that they shouldn’t pet her unless she is sitting calmly, so it is my responsibility to tell them. When we are at home or on walks and someone wants to pet Maya, I make sure they know that if she gets up or starts to get anxious, back away or turn around and ignore her.
Keep on a Lead
This helps even at home. If Maya is on a leash when guests come over, it helps put her in “work” mode. It also enables me to grab the other end and restrain her if she gets too excited.
Make Sure Pets are Confined
Yes, it is my house. But there will be some cases where it is simply best to confine my dogs. The AT&T guy was just one example. Another situation I have to be careful of because of Maya’s exuberance is when small children come over. Maya is great with kids, but she tends to get so excited that she knocks them over.
What do your dogs do when people come over? Are they challenging like Maya or calm and well-mannered like Pierson? (Sephi was well-mannered too.)
Do you ever wonder why we don’t post every day? Maybe we shouldn’t have put our CEC in charge of the work schedule.
Thanks for stopping by our blog for the Wordless Wednesday blog hop. For more great pet photos from other fantastic dog blogs, check out the links below.