Archive for the ‘Reno’ Category

Oh goodness finally an update!

Well, well, where does the time go? And how to start up again after standing still for so long? Here we go!

In December I moved back into my mom’s house and my divorce became official on Valentine’s Day. It was a bitter holiday for sure! Flash, my wonderful (and now only) dog, did bring me two dead birds as his Valentine’s gifts. They were precious to him, so I guess I should be thankful! 🙂 Dogs are great!

What else? Let’s see… I thought signing up for Match.com was a great idea, but it was instead way too much way too fast! So I’m on invisible and waiting the paid six months out. If you are thinking about it though, I have nothing but good things to say about the site and most of the people I met; it was just way too soon for me. Maybe some other time!

So between tax season, dating, and my growing dog walking and pet sitting company (Lucky Mutts), I’ve never been busier. I haven’t even had time to make more than two cigar boxes in the last six months! But life is returning to a new normal and I’m enjoying it. I’m much more active than before (imagine a dog walker being more active!), I’ve lost 25 pounds because my eating habits are so much better and I’m reconnecting with friends and making new ones too. I’ve discovered that I absolutely love dancing and have been trying to get in as much as possible, even if I’m a tad terrible! I’m also much more social than I remember ever being, which has been a fun growth for me. And I’m pretty much trying anything new anyone throws at me. It’s a good time for growth all around!

Anyway, as things settle more, I will be posting regularly again and getting my butt in gear with the cigar boxes too. I look forward to reconnecting with everyone! Have a sunny and barktastic day!

Sunny view from my new space

Goodness Gracious!

Bean, the chihuahua, cuddling up for a nap

Bean asking, “Are we done?” after a long walk and just a short nap.

Goodness gracious I’ve been busy lately! I’ve just started with a new software for Lucky Mutts that is completely online. Cloud software if you will. It keeps track of almost everything and lets both me and the employees check schedules anytime. Also, customers will be able to book online, receive automatic confirmations and pay online too! I’m so excited about the convenience that this is going to bring to me and my clients!

Yes, that may sound dorky, but I’m a young business woman! Most of my interests are inherently dorky!

On another front, I also am taking classes in order to be a tax professional again with H&R Block for this upcoming season. You can come and see me at the H&R Block on 4th and Keystone once tax season starts up! That is if I get hired back. Every season we have to take and pass classes in order to even be considered for rehire. I’ve taken 15 hours, but need at least 24 hours total. I’d also like to test up in certification from the basic Tax Professional to Tax Specialist 1 or 2. We’ll see! I only have a few more days to take and pass all the required exams.

Plus I’m trying to keep up with Etsy and my cigar boxes! It seems that when I don’t have time, I want to work on them. And when I have plenty of time, I’d rather not! Darn me!!

Oh, before I go! I forgot to mention that I’ll be planning a Poop-Scoop-A-Thon to help clean up Horseman’s Park and the Steamboat Ditch Trail as a part of Lucky Mutts‘s continuing community outreach commitment. At the event I’ll be collecting donations for The Humane Society of Northern Nevada as a part of my Presents for Pets campaign (which is part of the larger campaign put on by NAPPS).

More details about all of this should be coming out in the next few days – especially all the stuff relating to Lucky Mutts! I’ve been able to get a lot done for LM and plan on doing more.

Ok, well. It’s 12:16 and now Wednesday morning. I should get to sleep in order to be rested for my dog walking clients! Have a bark-tastic night/day! 🙂

(Addendum: That was a lot of links to add!)

Oh so excited!

So today, one of the Etsy sellers lucky enough to be featured on the front page was mooshygooshies. And I was immediately drawn to the item that was shown:

Mooshygooshies's custom metal key chains with dog silhouettes

Aren’t those just up my alley? Dogs AND crafts! I couldn’t be happier. Ok, maybe if she somehow worked Fat Tire beer into the listing… 🙂

Anyway, I immediately contacted her as the rest of her stuff is just gorgeous. Clean lines, graphic prints and more dog themed items. I’ve asked her to come up with either a pit bull silhouette (I’ll forgive her for overlooking the second most common “breed” in America!) or if she could base a silhouette from Muttley’s adorable mug. I gave her the link to the picture that my business logo is based on, and quite possibly the best picture of Muttley ever. Take a look at it on the front page of my business site here. Wait, you didn’t know that I also run a successful pet sitting and dog walking business, besides my slowly (hint: quite slowly) emerging craft business? Where’ve you been?! I even have an employee! Check it out!

Anyway, enough self promotion. The cute little cards that mooshygooshies offers is what I’m ordering for my annual Thank You cards and gifts for clients of Lucky Mutts this past year. Last year I included little treats for the pets and a Belgian chocolate treat for the humans. This year I’d like to top that by a little. Nothing crazy, but everything totally adorable! And yummy too. I’ll probably be making the pup treats again this year, but maybe a little gift too? Who knows, it’s still early. Though I would like to get these out around Thanksgiving.

Why Thanksgiving and not the holidays? Am I being that politically correct? Heck no! Well, actually in a way… But the main reason is that Thanksgiving is a time to remember those you need to be thanking and for thanking the abundance in life. What a perfect time to thank my customers for keeping me fed the last year and to wish them a happy holiday season. And marketing wise, it’s pretty good timing!

Why even blow money on clients? Because they are the best! They pay me to play with their dogs! They trust me to love and attend to their most cherished ones. It’s a responsibility and a task that I enjoy doing and I’ve been able to craft a wonderful business out of my clients. My small business has allowed me to grow as a person and stretch my creative (and sometimes ADHD) mind in new ways. Lucky Mutts has allowed me to be the wife I want to be, the dog owner others dream about and quite possibly one of the happiest women on earth.

See! I’m getting on all emotional-grateful and I haven’t even ordered the thank you cards yet! Off to play one last game of mah jongg before retiring to bed with my latest marketing required reading. I hope all is wonderful in your world and that you cuddle with your fur-kid with extra love tonight. They deserve it!

What does a dog walker do on her birthday? Let’s find out!

Yesterday was my birthday, and also my husband’s (different years, but same city and same day of birth!), and so not only did I decide to treat myself to a wonderful day, but I took pictures of most of it too!

The first thing I let myself do is lounge in my bed for an extra half hour, I got all the pillows and all the blankets since Roger had already gotten up. Oh, luxurious laziness! But then the stirring of Flash and the grumpy snorts of Muttley got me up. A perfectly brewed cup of espresso and a little bit of time wasted online and I was ready to go!

First, off to Home Depot! I had to make key copies from a client’s keys. Yay for clients paying me! And wasn’t the lighting just magical in this picture? Love it!

I almost always listen to audiobooks, and my birthday was no different. Right now, I’m listening to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. So far I think that the book is pretty self indulgent, and it took until CD five to get hooked. Also, no time for cooking at home, so I had Del Taco breakfast burritos with no cheese. Yum!

Off to my first client of the day. This is Jenny. It was our last run together since her “parents” were returning home that day. She’s a goofy black lab mix who was too excited about our walk/jogs! A good dog! And then traffic as I drove through downtown Reno to get to the next house. Look at that perfectly blue sky though, just gorgeous!

More happy clients! After I was sweaty from all the running, I headed over to PetCo for some donation items for the Humane Society. One of my clients had a pet die a few days ago (not while in my care!) and my policy is to donate to the local shelters when this happens. A way for myself and the company to give back and remember a pet client.

While at PetCo I spied this cute little ferret! I wish I slept like that, I’d be a lot more limber. 🙂 The next picture shows what Lucky Mutts donated to the Nevada Humane Society: 3 lbs of rawhides, tins of cat food, little cat toy balls and some apple wood chunks for the rabbits. The new (well, not that new, but I still remember the old building) building for the Nevada Humane Society is just inviting! Again, note the beautiful sky.

After donating the items, I had to look at the dogs! I’m a sucker for a cute pit bull, but there were tons of dogs I would have taken home. Here are just some of the dogs that I could get pictures of:

After spending so much time with these wonderful pups, I had to go home and shower. I was stinky from sweat and dog kisses!

After showering attention on my own dogs, I was able to clean up, pluck eyebrows and actually apply makeup! Whoa! I got the mail and I recieved a birthday check! Woohoo! So I went straight to the bank to deposit it and then straight to Ross to spend it! I’ve been needing some summer shirts but haven’t had quite the resources to go look. Success! I found two wonderful shirt and a great purse and only spent forty dollars! When I was in the changing room, I suddenly noticed how terribly old my favorite non-dog-walking shoes were. So after Ross, I headed over to Famous Footwear and was able to find the perfect replacement shoes for only 25 bucks! Yay! I won!

I got home, changed into a new shirt and got ready for a dinner out with my mom, her long time beau, his son and of course Roger. We went to a wonderful local mexican restaurant called Bertha Miranda’s. Mom used to know Bertha and her husband (Jack er something), but I know she’s passed and I think he has too. Anyway, two pitchers of margaritas and a plate of crying pig later, Roger (designated driver, thank you love bug) drove us home. It was almost ten at night, the time I like to get into bed and read for a few pages. But no, I had to do homework that I blissfully ignored all day. So two hours later of excel and writing, I was able to turn in. I read a single page of my latest read before completely crashing.

It was pretty much awesome! So how does a dog walker spend her birthday? With dogs! And wonderful family too. 🙂

Best and Worst Run Ever!

Ok, so I was a total bum yesterday and didn’t do my six-mile run until today. But I have good reason! My husband and I spent some much-needed time together. Nothing particularly romantic or fancy, but good ol’ married time together. We played Halo online together for a few hours, made dinner together and then drank a little too much and watched a movie. So there was no time for a healthy run in there! 🙂

Unlike years ago, where if I didn’t stick to the plan, the plan went out the window, I actually got up this morning and dressed immediately into my running gear. After a cup of coffee and reading my emails, I loaded Flash into the car and we got to our favorite trail next to the river. The first two miles were pretty good. I was pacing a little faster than I wanted, but nothing outlandish. I did, however, notice the heat immediately. This spring in Reno has been very cool with quite a bit of rain. For me, and I’m sure other runners, it was nice! And now it’s 80+ degrees within a week or two! Ack!

I paused once or twice to drink some water and also give Flash some. And every time I started up again it was harder. I got to the turn around point of three miles and walked for about a minute. Six miles, while long, is not drastically long for me. I’ve done five 10ks now (6.2 miles) so it shouldn’t be that hard. And I can’t even place what exactly was hard about the run. I felt like I couldn’t breathe deep enough, my socks were too thin and my feet were sliding around in my shoes (which I hate anyway). It was just hard.

Before I continue, I feel I must explain something about myself. I’m an only child and I consider myself to be a sociable loner. I don’t have a lot of real friends, some acquaintances, but even those are few. I’m very content to be completely alone. At the same time, because I’ve worked in restaurants and sales my entire life (I started bussing tables at my mom’s deli when I was five), I feel at ease talking to strangers for the most part. But I can never “close” on making someone a friend. If that makes any sense…

I joined a running group, Reno Running and Fitness, this past spring hoping to not only get in shape but talk to people. Working with dogs provides limited conversation! It wasn’t until the second to last week that I ran and talked with someone for more than a few strides. In fact, we ran and talked the whole five miles. And we even paced really well! Then the next week, which was the last of the group, I couldn’t go. So at the race that the group was training for, the Reno Rock-n-River, I was eager to see if she’d be there. Once again, we ran together for the majority of the race (the last 1/4 mile we even raced each other) and talked almost nonstop. Now I talk a lot, but it’s rare that there’s someone I can talk to for that long! I gave her a ride home from the race and gave her my card if she wanted to run together sometime.

She’s a teacher (actually a speech therapist) with the school district so I didn’t expect much before school let out, but was still kind of sad that a month had passed and no call. Then, today, at about 3.4 miles into the run, I hear “Krysta, Krysta!” I turn around and it’s her! Turns out she packed my card along with all her other belongings since she’s in the middle of moving. Yay! A new friend! So we walked together for a while before needing to split directions to head back to our respective starting points. We’re going to go running tomorrow! Oh, and her fiance is a chef! Doing couple stuff the four of us would be fun too, especially if he’s cooking!

Anyway, that was the highlight of the run. After standing and talking for a while, my legs were just done with the already hard run. I kept running for a while, but would have to switch back to walking. Flash, bless his heart, seemed annoyed with the slower pace, but didn’t pull too hard on the leash. He’s still learning his leash manners.

So while it was the worst run that I’ve had in ages, it was the best because I got to reconnect with a new friend! And now, off to write the Etsy Featured Story of the Week. But before I go, does anyone else ever feel as awkward as I am while making new friends? Why is something that was so easy in school, so hard now that I’m a grown up?

New products on Etsy!

I hinted in an earlier post that I was making a new product line for my Etsy shop and they are here! I have added them to my shop, krystajackson, over the weekend and wanted to post a few pictures here for you all to see.

I’m still working on the pictures for these products as they are kind of hard to photograph! The surface of the copper is very shiny after all the finishing I do, and I need to work on the backgrounds too. I’m thinking about picking up some astroturf from the Home Depot up the street for a background for them. That and it hasn’t been very sunny here lately, and luckily that’s changing too! Yay for summer!

Keep an eye open for new ones coming soon! If you’d like to check out the ones above, here are the sites:

Do you have any ideas for funny or unique sayings for this dog id tag product line? I’d love to hear them!

Problem Chewers

My husband and I are both bombarded with questions about problem chewers with puppies, but also dogs in general. Sadly, this is one of the easiest problems to control, but not enough people can or do dedicate the time needed. This posting is a quick reference for frustrated puppy parents out there. Some of this advice will necessarily be broad, so if you have a question, please don’t hesitate to post below or send me an email directly.

First, have you provided appropriate chew toys for the dog? And I don’t just mean throwing a chew toy on the ground as you leave for work. You need to create the fun in this toy, or the dog won’t differentiate that toy from your shoes! Sometime when you aren’t leaving the house, or just arriving home, you need to play with the pup with the toy. Play a bit of keep-away or tug-of-war, or even better have the dog perform some basic tricks to “earn” the toy. Keep the tricks easy though so you don’t frustrate your pup and so you don’t get frustrated yourself!

One toy that I recommend to all of my clients, friends and family is the Kong. In fact, I’ve been known to buy them occasionally for people just so I won’t have to hear about damaged items any longer! Not only are these chew toys stuffable, and what dog doesn’t love that, but these toys are safe for teeth! While my pups enjoy Nylabones as much as the next dog, I don’t leave them unattended, especially when younger dogs could be teething. Nylabones and other such hard chew toys can be too hard for some teeth. And because I’m not a paid testimonial from the Kong company (though that would be nice if you guys are reading this!), I will only recommend the black Kongs. These are made from a stronger material than the standard red ones and will last much longer. My pit bull, Muttley, has only been able to chew through one of these black Kongs in the years that we’ve had her and she’s destroyed everything else.

Replacement actually involves two types of action. The first is when you catch your dog chewing on something inappropriate, replace it with the toy you want him to chew on. When I found my Springer pup chewing on a French edition of La Rochefoucauld, I quickly got his Kong and made it ever so enticing by oohing and aahing over it. While this did not bring back my book, Flash has learned that I’m much more interested in his Kong than those silly stacks of papers covered in delicious leather. Silly dog!

The second action replacement refers to is a replacement of textures for toys. Does your dog always choose leathery objects? Or soft, plush objects? Then find her a toy that equates! That way the toy will be more likely to be interesting. And the more interesting the toy you choose, the less likely she will find something else to occupy her!

The most important aspect to any dog’s problem behaviors tends to be their exercise regimen. Or, more importantly, the lack of exercise. And most dog trainers, dog walkers, veterinarians, at this point are nodding in agreement. Even pugs are bred to be all muscle. So what can you do to tire out that dog and therefore their mouth? Playing fetch is not enough but can play a helpful role.

Everyday your dog needs to get out. Needs to go sniff stuff, pee on rocks and bushes and to generally just frolic. Imagine if you were confined to your house and maybe the backyard. YUCK! So what can you do? Several options are available and you should give several of them an option or rotation for your dog’s life:

  • Fetch: like I mentioned a bit above, this can be helpful in any routine to tire out a dog. I currently employ this with Flash on busy dog walking days when another three miles would just kill me! This however, cannot be the only solution as it doesn’t necessarily tire a dog out mentally. I highly recommend the Chuck-It for slobbery tennis balls! Herman, a client of mine, after a good session of fetch:

  • Short walks: Can’t do an hour-long hike today? Try three or four walks that last about 15 minutes. While this won’t have the exact same effect as a long walk will, it will definitely help and it is usually easier to fit into the day. Try taking a different path/loop each time as the sniffing won’t be as good if the scents are the same each time out.
  • One long walk/jog/hike: If you can take your pooch out for an hour or longer, then that will be a happy dog! And why are you reading this article? hehe… But really, if you can work one long walk into your weekly routine, your dog will be more relaxed on other days in general.
  • Agility, obedience classes, etc: Anything to work out that mind! That’s half the battle when dealing with a chewer. They are usually bored, and while exercising a bored dog will make them too tired to chew, mental exercise can sometimes cut straight to the chase. Speaking of which, do you have a hunting dog that would love to chase after something? Take them to the hills! Here in Nevada we have tons of space that allows dogs to chase after birds and rabbits at will. Most likely they will never catch anything, but it gives them the thrill of the chase. Even swimming can help a lot with those hunting breeds! Here’s Flash swimming on one of our runs:

  • Dog parks are a last resort! Taking a frustrated dog to the dog park is just asking for trouble. But if your pooch has been on at least one walk for the day, go ahead. But make sure to not just hangout with the other “parents” and please do keep an eye on your little one. If they are being harassed or aggressive, remove them from the area by walking across the park or going home. Remember, this is about them and not you!

Combining the above activities and a good chew toy with encouraging interaction with said toy, will usually take care of most problem chewers. Still having problems? Consider a crate or a dog walker. I recommend crating pups until about age two (depending of course on the dog and situation) but this can help your frustration immensely which is half the problem!

Do you have a problem chewer? Any stories or frustrations? Let them loose!