Monday, April 30, 2012

How Paws-itive Experience Has Changed My Life

After adopting my dog, Sugar, in March, I knew that I needed to be trained on how to raise her. I wanted to be sure that I had a dog that was good around people, other dogs, and could handle children running up to her. I didn't want a dog who would bite, jump, growl, or be aggressive in any way. While I was lucky in adopting a dog who had a naturally kind demeanor, I still knew that without training, she wouldn't feel (or be) safe.

Everyone, I mean, EVERYONE that had a dog told me about a place called Paws-itive Experience Pet Services a few towns away. They said that the shop, the training, and all of the experts, were amazing. People seriously raved. I googled the website, got the number and called. Jane, a woman with an amazing British accent, gave me all of the information I needed for basic training, and I also got information about private training.

Sugar on my son Johnny's lap
I had a trainer from Paws-itive come to the house and evaluate Sugar, and the way that my son and I dealt with her. There were some things she was afraid to do, and she wasn't housebroken, so the trainer, Tina, came in and helped us with all that. She really got me started and put my mind at ease. 

I also signed us up for Basic Obedience 1, to teach Sugar the basics. In the time between when the trainer came and the first Basic Obedience class, I was invited to call with any question I had about Sugar. Jane always had answers for me, and put my mind at ease. Sugar didn't want to go in the crate, for example, and I had to leave the house. So I called Jane. Things like that. She was amazing. When I finally got to meet her, and put a face to her voice, I was elated.

Anyhow, the basic obedience program is behavior training. We humans are trained how to behave, and our behavior fosters good behavior in our dogs. We must be consistent, confidence, and firm. The word "no" isn't used in training, neither is yelling. Commands are soft and firm. 

John, the trainer who taught our Basic Obedience classes, is so good at what he does, that if participants actually do what he teaches (consistently), I cannot imagine a dog not learning. He taught us so much that we are returning for Basic Obedience 2, then 3, then their Out and About class, and their therapy dog class. Basically, we are taking as much training as we can get!

I learned that confidence and boundaries are important, and when I know what needs to be done and I do it with confidence, my dog will follow. I learned that dogs can sense the energy people send out (they sense fear, love, security). Oh, and she LOVES other dogs. Many days a week, I drop her at doggie day care (at Paws-itive) even though I don't need to have someone watch her. I do it because she loves it, she thrives on interacting freely with other dogs. The dogs always have a human in the play space with them -- all the humans there are fabulously kind and great with dogs, which makes me very happy -- and all the doggies maintain good social behavior. Sugar runs to the building, up the stairs, and into the door for both day care and behavior classes. She loves it there (let's face it, we all do). Everyone is so super nice, and they offer lots of great services for our dogs (even a do-it-yourself doggie bath). 

Paws-itive has changed the way that I view dogs, my relationship to them, and the understanding of my responsibilities as a doggie mom. Even more, though, I have learned the many ways I can enrich my dog's life so that she feels safe, has fun, and thrives. 

As she lays on her bed next to me, I am thankful for the four hours she spent playing at Paws-itive today, and I look forward to her returning. Knowing that on rainy days and in cold winter weather (or hot summer weather), she has a place to play and get exercise, makes me very happy.

If you haven't experienced Paws-itive yet, SERIOUSLY call them right now. They are a life-changing experience.

Paws-itive Experience is located at 114 Beach Street Building #5, 2nd Floor
Rockaway, NJ 07866. 973-625-2495

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Next Five Years

ISBN: 978-0-307-71977-5
While going through photos on Instagram, @ellymae had a photo of a 5 year project she was starting. It's this book called Q&A a day. Each day, you answer one question about you that is true for that day. Pages start at January 1, but you can start any day. There are five lines that are marked 20__ per date page (ie: April 12) and you write the current year next to them. So 20 __ will start at 2012 and end at 2016, if you start this year.

Mine came in the mail yesterday, in the midst of a huge emotional upheaval. I decided to wait to start the book until today, because yesterday I wasn't in a place to do much of anything. I'm not much better today, but the sun is out and, frankly, it's up to me to pull myself up by my  bootstraps, out of my own sadness.  Today I filled in May 12, then realized it was only March, so I went to March 12, then realized it was actually April. Long week...

Today's page

I filled in April 12, and I'm committing to doing a page a day. It's only four lines and I think that looking back at what has (and hasn't) changed as life passes, is a good thing. Available on, but cheaper on 

Make a five year commitment to yourself. It's the one thing you know that you are able to commit to for sure... unless, of course, you die :)

Not a bad quote for a cover page.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Get Out Your Pens... (doctors, dentists, vets, and a car doctor)

Over the past two years, I've had reason to find new doctors, and a new dentist. I searched far and wide to find providers that were both capable and sympathetic. Doctors have a tendency to make me anxious, so I always need to have super compassionate doctors. At the same time, my providers must also be very good at what they do, and be conservative in their approach. I want doctors who will do the least amount of procedures, prescribe medicine only when necessary, but who will also do what it takes to get me diagnosed, treated, and cured. I will drive great distances, when necessary, to see them.

I've been wanting to share my list with you all, but I've been so busy making candles that I haven't had much time. A friend, though, shared that her relative (who is in her 20s) was just diagnosed with colon cancer, and that was as good a reason as any to start this list.

Here's my list of doctors and dentist/specialists that I adore! If you want to know why I went to a specific doctor, or have a problem you need addressed, feel free to email me privately at

Dentist (children and adults)
Dr. Kimberly Soares, Mountain Lakes

She did a crown lenghtening procedure on me that seemed effortless, and was pain (and stress) free. If you ever need a periodontist, a tooth pulled, an implant, etc., this is the periodontist for the job.
Dr. Michele Dimaira, Montville

Love, love, love our pediatrian's office. He knows what he's doing, doesn't over medicate, but definitely medicates when necessary. (Anti-vax people can contact me with questions.)
Dr. DeLorenzo, West Caldwell

I got many referrals, and this doc is hand's down, the best. I trust him with my life.
Dr. Russell Hoffman, Summit

Dr. Joanne Martin, Morristown

The best!
Megan Messina, LPC, Morristown

She's sweet, smart, and a woman (making it a little less embarrassing)
Dr. Julie Lorber, Summit

She works at Sloane Kettering, so she can spot skin cancer a mile away. For general skin issues, try Dr. Almeida in Parsippany. For skin screenings, and possible skin cancers, see:
Dr. Elizabeth Quigley, Basking Ridge

Susannah Pitman, Boonton

Dr. Chon

Car Doctors (okay, mechanics, but I really wanted to include them on this list)
Honest, good prices, kind people and they will fix any problem your car may have! I only take my car to Mt. Lakes Motors!
Mountain Lakes Motors, Mountain Lakes

Veterinary Doctor
I love Dr. Rao and her entire office staff, and so does my dog, Sugar
Park View Veterinary Hospital, Boonton