Pet Sitter House Minder

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Welcome to my blog! I'll be featuring information, tips, animal-friendly recipes, news, and more. Thanks for visiting, and stay tuned for updates!

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Critter-Friendly Recipe #2: Vodka Pineapple Soft-Serve - Vegan Version!

Posted by sherriedennis@gmail.com on July 2, 2016 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (1)

I fell in love with a yummy thing!  It's yesterday's new addition to the Buzzfeed's Tasty Happy Hour series.  It's not on their Tasty YouTube channel yet, but it is on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/buzzfeedtasty

Here's the video (drool!):


 

Since the video doesn't offer a dairy-free option for sweetened condensed milk in this recipe, I found a perfect one from The Unconventional Baker!

Here it is: 


Coming Soon!

Posted by sherriedennis@gmail.com on July 2, 2016 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Lots of fun stuff and creativity will be happening! I'm very excited about it.

I'm developing a YouTube channel about pet sitting. I'll let you know when the first video is out!

I'll also be posting more blog content on a regular basis. Please keep an eye out for my upcoming blog series, 'Vaccinosis: The Dark Side of Prophylaxis."

Critter-Friendly Recipe #1: Vegan Four-Bean Millet Chili

Posted by sherriedennis@gmail.com on November 13, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I personally, for reasons of my own, have decided to take the animal care lifestyle to the next level. I'm transitioning to vegan. One of the things I really want to do is to keep some semblance of my favorite comfort foods if I can manage it. So far, it looks like I can! So without further ado, here is the first recipe in my catalog of vegan comfort foods. I think I'll post these from time to time as I get them right.  Enjoy!

 

Vegan Four-Bean Millet Chili 

 

1 cup millet

2 cups veggie stock, divided

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 T olive oil

1 15 oz. can chick peas

1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans

1 15 oz. can black beans

1 15 oz. can of vegan refried beans

1 14 oz. can each of diced tomatoes with green chilis

1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 small can of diced green chilis

1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 T whole cumin seeds

1 T whole coriander seeds

1 T chili powder

2 tsp fresh oregano

2 bay leaves

 


1. Preheat your slow cooker to high.


2. While the slow cooker is heating up, in a large mixing bowl, take 1 cup of the veggie broth, the oregano, the chili powder, and the diced and crushed tomatoes, and mix with the can of refried beans to make it smooth, and set that aside.


3. Now that the slow cooker is heated, throw in the olive oil, onions, garlic, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds and get them started in there. Put the lid on, as the seeds will pop! Once the seeds have started popping, add the millet and stir until the millet is incorporated.


4. Add the remaining cup of veggie stock, and let the millet soak it all up.


5. While the millet is soaking up the veggie stock, separate the chipotle peppers from the adobo sauce, and set the adobo sauce aside. Rinse and seed the chipotle peppers, and dice them. Put the seeded diced chipotles, adobo sauce, and the can of green chilis in with the pinto bean-tomato mixture in the big bowl.


6. Drain and rinse all the canned whole beans, and add them to the millet, stirring until mixed. Then add the big bowl of refried bean-tomato-pepper stuff and mix together until everything is well-incorporated. Use your judgment. If it looks a bit too dry, add veggie stock until it looks right to you. Top with the two bay leaves.


7. Slow cook on low for about 4 hours, adding veggie stock as needed, if needed, depending on how you like the consistency.


The result is a gorgeous, zippy, complex bean chili with the millet perfectly mimicking the mouth feel of ground meat. It’s astonishing what the millet does texture-wise for those who are having a hard time transitioning from meat to veg.


If you like, top with fresh cilantro. Let me know how you like it!

 


A Bit on Life without a Congo Gray

Posted by sherriedennis@gmail.com on November 13, 2015 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Today I am sad. Today I only hear the door latch to the basement once. No cheeky mimic from the other side of the house. Rudder is dead.

 

He wasn’t even mine. He belonged to my aunt. He was the comic relief in the house for 16 years. He was cantankerous and bitey, but he was still my curmudgeon friend.


When I arrived to live in my aunt’s house, he was wary of the world outside his cage. He was wary of the world inside his cage if you added a new toy. But bit by bit over the course of a year and a half, he softened towards me. Perhaps it was because of the pistachios and sweet potatoes and Lafeber Nutri-Berries, and being allowed to watch cartoons on my tablet. Or perhaps because it was just his whim.

 

I grew awfully fond of him, and I couldn’t start my day without getting his breakfast together. I’m grateful to my aunt for letting me hijack his morning routine. My attachment was apparent, and she didn’t seem to mind me doting on him. A few months back she caught me having a mimicking contest with Rudder when I thought I was in the house alone. Everyone was amused, including Rudder who would actually laugh when chuffed.

 

He was the leery and sharp-eyed court jester of the family. Somewhere in there was a bird who could be very merry indeed.

 

I came back from an extended stay at a friend’s empty house. I had stayed away from home because I had walking pneumonia, and I didn’t want to spread it around the family. When I returned, dear old Rudder was gone. Simply not there.

 

My aunt had also been extremely ill with a bacterial upper respiratory infection while I was away, and it had spread to the bird.  He succumbed.  And that was all.


The house is too quiet for my liking now. I comfort myself with a recording of him going through his repertoire for 18 wonderful minutes.  All his voices and noises. I play it now and again. I even made a video with an excerpt on YouTube.  Here is the link:


http://bit.ly/RudderBabble




I do happymaking things with happymaking memories when I can.  In time I know the pangs of grief will ebb and flow, and the intervals between the tides of tears will grow farther and farther apart. But for now, I am still heartsick.


Goodbye, Rudder.



A Bit on Life with a Congo Gray

Posted by sherriedennis@gmail.com on April 19, 2014 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

His name is Rudder. 

 

Rudder is my aunt's 15-year-old Congo Gray.  Cantankerous and plucked.  Not having been quite ready for the realities of hormonal aggression, the owners developed a detachment regarding any handling whatsoever, and Rudder is under-socialized and very distrustful of the world outside of his cage.  And he growls at my camera. 

 

I moved in a little over a month ago.  Despite the warnings from family and the growly bird himself, I've begun developing a mostly fun, sometimes rocky relationship with him.  One moment a beak nuzzle, the next a murderous death lunge.  But we cope. 

 

A month later, his bad habits are still there.  But they're softer these days.  And bit by bit, Rudder the Congo Gray is begrudgingly accepting new things I've been introducing into his life since my arrival.  Better quality food, vitamin powder which he hates, a calcium block which he unsuccessfully tried to kill last week, and a little corner of dry toast on occasion, which he devours with gusto.

 

And I'm accepting new things he's adding into my life.  He has a name for me. "wooOOoo."  Unlike the words and phrases he's picked up from other members of the house, his name for me is in no one else's voice.  He greets me with his own, specially made noise just for me, in his own voice.  To my knowledge, I've never been named by another animal before.

 

What else is he adding?  Bird humor.  He's the raucous peanut gallery for the household.  No one is exempt from his mockery. Teasing my aunt by mimicking her smoker's cough, and her saying, "alright" and "oh, well."  He'll say other things in her voice as well.  "Birds are smart.  Dogs are stupid."   In my uncle's voice he'll say his own name repeatedly, and then scold my little second cousin, whether he's visiting the house or not.  "Braden! No!  No!  NO!"  He'll mimic perfectly the sound of my uncle sniffling, or my other late uncle's voice asking "where's the wolf, Rudder?"  And then following up with a wolf howl.  Babbled, garbled snippets of conversations, various things that beep in the house, a bluejay mimicking a hawk (yes, mimicking another mimic), the sound of a Coke can opening, the pantry door squeaking, the basement door latch. Endless, wonderful bird prattle.   

 

And now I'm teaching him things.  The Andy Griffith Show theme song, which he loves to listen to.  Calls of various song birds, which he also loves.  And he's teaching me things.  Here's a list of what I've learned from life so far with a Congo Gray:

 

  • With enough time and patience, we'll stop fluffing our feathers and  trying to bite each other.
  • We should listen keenly to the world around us, and repeat the fun stuff we like the most.
  • We really need to get a good dose of sunlight every day.
  • Calcium isn't trying to take over our personal territory.  It's safe.
  • It's okay to try new food.
  • Toast is wonderful.
  • We should all learn as many songs as possible and sing them as loudly and lustily as we can.
  • It's okay to cover our cage for a little bit and take a breather when we're overloaded with too much stimuli.


What will I teach Rudder?  What more will he teach me?  Who knows?  There's decades ahead.  I think he's wonderful. 

 


Editor's Choice on RightPet.com!

Posted by sherriedennis@gmail.com on March 15, 2012 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Woohoo!  My breed profiles have caught the attention of the owner and editor for RightPet.com.  My profiles for French Bulldogs and Vizsla made Editor's Choice.  Here they are: 

Thanks for reading!  

 


Don't Distress, De-stress!

Posted by sherriedennis@gmail.com on February 20, 2012 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Is your dog doing any of the following:

 

  • tearing up couch cushions?
  • nuisance barking?
  • digging?

 

I can pretty much guarantee you it's because they've got energy to burn, and they've got nowhere else for it to go.  Many dog owners have busy schedules, and it's a challenge to find the time to engage their high-energy dog.


Ways to Make It Work

 

  • Walking:  It's a beautiful day today.  Why not get outside and enjoy it with your dog?  Walks are awesome for reducing stress for your dog *and* for you, too!  And who couldn't use less stress, right?  Inertia can be powerful, I know.  But trust me.  It's SO worth getting off the couch!
  • Hiring a Dog Walker:  Not to get too repetitive, but walking is absolutely essential for dogs.  They need it like they need food and water.  So what happens when you want to walk your dog but can't?  Sprained ankle?  Flu?  No problem!  There are plenty of people like me and my crew who are willing and able to get your dog the exercise they need!  Generally, a good pet sitter/dog walker who really knows what they're doing will run you about $20/hour.  And as a pro, I recommend that a healthy dog with no mobility issues gets no less than an hour of walking in every day.
  • Giving Your Dog a Job:  Originally, all dogs had a job.  They were bred for their line of work, and as an owner, it's up to you to honor their instincts.  Take a look at the AKC list of breeds on their website.  Find your dog there, and see what they were born to do!  If you can make the time to involve them in their specialty, they'll be extra happy!
  • Play:  Why have a dog if you're not going to have fun with it?  Dogs are the perfect excuse to get silly, so go for it!  Get out in the yard and run around in circles.  Play fetch.  One of my customers goes out with his tennis balls and racket.  He'll practice his serve, and the dog will bring the ball back nice and slobbery!  Let yourself be a kid again.  Go play!
  • Visiting Dog Parks:  Dogs need socialization as much as they need walking.  They're pack animals, and a lack of social interraction can lead to all sorts of difficulties like xenophobia, aggression towards other animals and worst case scenario, aggression against humans.  A dog's mind needs exercise, too.  So get out and do some social stretching.  The earlier you begin socializing your dog, the better.  Keep in mind, though, when you're at a dog park, it doesn't mean you can just sit there and let your dog run amok.  Keep an eye on your dog's behavior at all times, especially if you and your dog are new to the park.  It's not always the other person's dog who starts a scruff shaker.
  • Tweaking Your Exercise Routine:  I know many of you understand the runner's rush.  Not everyone is slumped on the couch, right?  Brilliant!  If you're out there getting your endorphins on your morning run, why not take your dog with you?  Try adjusting your route.  Start off with a mile loop that runs the dog back to the house.  Drop the dog off, and finish your route.  You know your dog best.  If they can handle another mile, cool!  Just be careful with overheating.  It's time for the weather to start warming up, and they don't sweat like we do, so respect their limits.  Stop for a couple laps of water or drop them off before they get heat sick.  Before you take your dog running with you, always, always, always talk to your vet first.     
You love your dog, and you want to keep it. Your dog has energy. You prefer your couch intact. So find an outlet for your dog's natural enthusiasm.  Life is sweet as it is.  When the ones you love in your family are happy - and dogs are family - life is even sweeter!   

 

Pet Insurance - Yes, It's Worth It!

Posted by sherriedennis@gmail.com on December 5, 2011 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

When people think about getting a pet and caring for its needs, they usually make a list of things to include in their budget.

  • License
  • Vaccines
  • Bowls
  • Food
  • Collar
  • Leash
  • Bed, etc.
I'm here to tell you that the most important necessity of all is missing on that list:  pet insurance.  Pet insurance should be at the top of the list.  Sadly, I have seen case after case of financial euthanasia.  It's so desperately sad, and so unnecessary.

For an example of a typical pet insurance benefits schedule, click here:  


This policy above is just one of many out there, but it gives you a good idea of the kind of coverage you can expect.  

Can your pet survive a broken leg or a bout of pancreatitis?  Yes - but can your wallet?  Classic example: your dog swallows his chewy whole.  Which are you more likely to have on hand, your $30.00 pet insurance premium, or $1,500.00 to remove the foreign object lodged in his small intestine?    

Without pet insurance, Cody Washington, the featured pet on our home page here, would have died last month.  Pet insurance is an extremely wise investment.  Without it, some minor mischief can turn into major tragedy.  $60 may not seem like a lot of money, but when it's for euthanasia that could have been avoided, the cost is just too high.

To find out more, click on the links below.


 Google Results for Pet Insurance:  https://www.google.com/#hl=en&cp=5&gs_id=h&xhr=t&q=pet+insurance&tok=bbyFonxh1258CETcyfL2QA&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&site=&source=hp&pbx=1&oq=pet+i&aq=0&aqi=g4&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=59a1bbd79307d996&biw=1024&bih=673Your Guide to Understanding Pet Health Insurance by Doug Kenney:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982322100/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=petsithousecare-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0982322100&adid=03CTYWCKB1A7ZTK1375T



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