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January 31, 2011

Are you a Yelper?

Ever since I got my iPhone, I’ve downloaded dozens and dozens of apps. It’s hard not to be a little addicted to trying out new apps as they are released.

Most of the time, I find the apps I download are not user friendly, some may have bugs or they’re just plain useless. But every once in a while I find an app I simply love and wonder how I ever got along without it.

One such app is called Yelp. If you are familiar with you know what I mean. Yelp created a wonderful site to help folks find and talk about great (and not so great) businesses.
The one thing I love about a site like is that I can read the user reviews before I buy a product. I look for overall score, how many reviews have been submitted and finally I read the reviews themselves. This really helps me determine if I should buy the product I’m thinking about.

Another great site that I use before booking any travel is This site is simply awesome for reviews. If you want to have a nice holiday in Mexico at an all-inclusive resort, you simply must read the traveler’s reviews of the hotel you are thinking of staying at! Again, the reviews I read make a huge impact on my decision. is set up for everyday businesses in your local area. Thinking of trying a new restaurant? Look it up on Yelp, chances are you’ll find reviews from previous diners. Want to know if that automotive place does a good job of fixing your car and at a reasonable rate? Check with Yelp first! or your Yelp iPhone app really helps you decide if you should take your chances and spend your hard earned dollars at a business you are thinking of patronizing.

So why am I telling you about this? Well because we at Poooh Busters feel we are a responsible business that provides great value to our clients as well as excellent customer service. We’ve thrown our hat into the Yelp ring and added our business to their listings.

Now people like you (our customers, past and present) can go onto Yelp and provide any kind of feedback about our business that you want others to know. Good or bad, we can take it! A company’s true worth is in its customer’s feedback.

So in order to get the ball rolling we have an offer for our weekly clients. If you as an existing client submit any Yelp feedback, we’ll give you one free week of service! That’s right, one free week for two minutes of your time and your opinion on our service.

So go to today, create an account and start yelping about all your favourite and not-so-favourite businesses.

January 17, 2011

Five Star Accommodations

Do you feel sometimes your pet lives better than you do? What level of accommodations do you provide for your animals?

Mrs. Nate and I have always allowed our pets to have the run of the house. They go where they like, sleep where they like and pretty much do whatever they like.

Some might say we aren’t setting enough boundaries for our “kids” but when it comes down to it, if our pets are happy, we’re happy.When we adopted Burberry from the Calgary Humane Society, one of the staff there was slightly concerned that we were bringing this new member of our family into a home where there already existed two other cats plus two dogs. Our friend, Melaina who works there assured her co-worker, “Don’t worry, their house is like a Five Star hotel for pets.”

Since then that statement kind of stuck with me. When I look at what we provide for our brood of five, Melaina is absolutely right. The entire house is at their disposal and we provide so much specifically just for them. Kitty condos on every floor, area rugsplaced for the purpose of eating on and pet beds in several rooms.

Not only do they have all this available to them, they pretty much play, rest and sleep wherever they wish. Oscar loves to lie on his back in the mornings on our bed, snuggling down deep in our cozy duvet. The three cats sprawl out on our master bath floor as it is equipped with in-floor heating. They LOVE the heat the floor generates and spend much of their time there. Chloe hangs out on the dining room table and kitchen counters. Mojo takes up much room on the couch lying on the pillows; we’ll sit anywhere on the couch but in his spot. Heaven forbid we disturb him! Mr. Goo insists that the fireplace be turned on so he can sprawl out in front the warmth of the fire.There are constantly toys spread all over the house, they all get fed the same time every day and expect it (and there is a treat schedule too).

If dinner or snacks are late, we hear about it! The kitty litter is cleaned every day and the dogs
go for a walk not once but twice daily. Not only are the accommodations plush, they have my wife and I serving them hand and foot with play time, pets and one on one time.

Now I’m sure we’re not the only crazy ones in this world who dote over their pets. I’m sure there are a ton of homes out there where the pets rule and we as the humans sacrifice so they get what they want and when they want it. Aren't there? I hope...

How about you? What do you do to pamper your pets and keep them happy?

January 6, 2011

Resolutions For Your Dog

With the arrival of a New Year inevitably comes a variety of New Year’s "resolutions." Mrs. Nate and I don’t really believe in resolutions but we tend to secretly make ones anyway. I personally think if you’re going to do something, you’re going to do it! You don’t need a certain time of the year to begin making a change for the better.

But since we all jump onto the resolution bandwagon every year, I thought a list of resolutions that involve not only our own well-being but the well-being of our pets should be included too! So how may we improve ourselves as pet parents? What New Year’s resolutions should dog guardians consider?

Here are 9 suggestions for your consideration:

1. Provide your dog with the highest quality nutrition possible. This means researching the ingredients in dog food and often, thinking outside the grocery store kibble aisle. It’s easy to research for quality dog foods, or even better, you can ask the experts at Tail Blazers – Health Food Store for Pets. They have very knowledgeable folks working for them and carry nothing but the best food products for all pets.

2. Make it a point to ensure your dog's health through providing adequate and appropriate exercise. This is partly how Mrs. Big Nate and I lost around 90lbs each.

3. Be realistic about your dog's weight. Obesity shortens longevity, dogs, cats and people. If you can't feel your dog's ribs easily, he is too fat. We are guilty for Oscar and Mr. Goo’s obesity problem and are working on it by feeding them a raw diet.

4. Train your dog. Training is not a luxury, it is necessary. Not only will appropriate training make living with your dog more enjoyable for you, it will make life more enjoyable for your dog by providing him with the mental stimulation all dogs need and crave.

5. Make it easy for your dog to succeed. If your dog loves chewing on shoes, do not allow him unsupervised access to shoes. If your dog eliminates in the house, provide him with plenty of opportunities to eliminate outside by giving him frequent breaks.

6. Be appreciative of how wonderful your dog is. One of the biggest elements of successful training is looking for desirable behaviors and reinforcing them with something your dog likes and appreciates - a treat, a butt scratch, a game of tug, the opportunity to go for a walk. Never miss an opportunity to thank your dog for good behavior.

7. Make time for your dog. This may mean rearranging your schedule. It may mean going out in the cold or rainy weather to give your dog a walk. It may mean skipping Wednesday night book club so that you can enroll in the agility class you wanted to take. It may mean spending less time on Facebook and more time playing, training, and exercising with your dog.

8. Be a responsible dog owner - keep identification tags on your dog, renew your dog's annual license, make the annual veterinary appointment, clean up after your dog, respect leash laws, etc.

9. Help a less fortunate dog at least once this year. Remember that not all dogs are as lucky as yours. Not all dogs have regular meals, veterinary care, someone who loves them and will play with them, a home to call their own. There are many ways you can help less fortunate dogs - by making donations of either goods (beds, leashes, collars, food, toy) or cash or by volunteering your time to our local Calgary Humane Society. There are many, many rescues located in and around Calgary that could use our help as well. Our favourite rescues include ARF, ARRCS, and Little Mutt’s Rescue.

January 4, 2011

Pet Care Subsidy

My friend Melaina from the Calgary Humane Society posted a link to a Calgary Herald article on her Facebook wall. It talks of how our recent recession has affected pet care right here in Calgary. It’s a sad situation to say the very least.

Her post and the related article are timely. Only two weeks ago one of our past clients who remain a loyal fan of Poooh Busters asked me if there were any resources available for pet owners who struggle with the costs associated with regular pet care. Annual shots and check-ups specifically.

The story posted by the Calgary Herald talks mostly of extreme cases where charges were laid against the pet parent for neglect, allowing their pets to suffer from injuries they sustained or from an illness. They couldn’t afford to get their sick or injured pet the care it required so they just went on letting their dog or cat suffer until it had to be put down.

The person I’m referring to loves her doggies and cares for them as any responsible pet guardian would. Her only trouble is she lives on a fixed income and when these little extra costs for simple shots and check-ups rear their ugly head; she is at a loss to find the funds required. She is a responsible pet parent and didn’t just ignore the fact that her dog’s shots were due; she cares enough about her dogs to take the initiative to seek out and ask about financial assistance to help her cover the costs involved.

Unfortunately after I spent some time asking around, it appears there is no such subsidy in existence. With so many human subsidies in place for people in need, the last thing our municipal, provincial or federal governments are going to do is set aside tax money for general pet care subsidies.

Although the City of Calgary Animal Services did recently open a low cost spay/neuter clinic to help with those costs. This was put in place with hopes that it will decrease unwanted litters and slow the ever-increasing the pet population. But they aren’t able to help with the basic care of annual shots and check-ups.

The only advice I was able to offer was that she try to get her vet to give her a break on his price or at least allow her to make small payments.

So what does one do in this case? It’s a great question and if anyone has any ideas or answers, I’d love to hear them.