5 Things To Keep You & Your Pets Busy At Home:

With so many people working from home and staying home, we understand that while work may keep you pretty darn busy most of the time, boredom will probably hit at some point. Here are 5 relateable (and maybe a tad hysterical) things to do with your pets when you’re stuck at home.

Abigail Brown

1. Movie Nights!

Image result for cuddling pet on couch pictures
Image Via: Countryliving.com

Once you have gotten all of your work for the day done, there is nothing quite like sitting back and cuddling your pet while watching a great movie. While we may not recommend letting your pup pick what you watch… if you’re into 3-hour loops of squirrels running around, go for it!

 

2. The classic “Butt Nudge”

Image result for cat on keyboard
Image Via: Makeuseof.com

This is a particularly fun one! For those who work from home, most necessary items should be at your immediate disposal.

Here’s what you need…

Step 1.

Get to work on your computer. Type your heart out and get into your work groove.

Step 2.

You will need a feline in the house. The sound of you working diligently will beckon your cat closer, and closer until they are eventually sitting right near your face–nudging you for attention.

Step 3.

For the next stage, you simply refuse to give them the total attention they desire. Then soon enough “PLOP” there will be a big furry friend walking across your keyboard, or sitting upon it!

Step 4.

Last but certainly not least… To fully execute the butt nudge, you then push their rear off of your electronic device in horror as you realize how many buttons they managed to push. Bonus Points if it starts a chase around the house, exercise!

3. Playing fetch

Image result for playing fetch pictures
Image Via: Holidaybarn.com

Although this may seem fairly simple, it can be extremely beneficial for a pup who normally goes for frequent walks or may be feeling a little cooped up. If you have a backyard suitable for doing so, consider giving them extra playtime. Animals can go a bit stir crazy like us, so giving them ways to get their energy out goes a long way in keeping them happy and healthy.

 

4. In-depth talks

Get to know your pets a little better. There are so many questions to ask!

Such as:

“Do you like your new food?”

“What do you think of the bows I bought you?”

“Have you ever had a breakup that left a lasting impression on you, Queen FluffyKins?”

“What is your least favorite color?”

You may be surprised by how much you never knew about your furry friend!

(Talking pets not guaranteed) 

 

5.Self-care days

Take some time for you and your pet. It is normal to feel stressed or worried. Giving yourself, and they too, some extra tender love and care– can help ease the weight on your shoulders. Bath them and groom their hair, they’ll be feeling like their best self. In turn, do things that make you happy! Be it watching movies, reading a book, calling a friend or so many other things– take some time to care for yourself. We’re sure your furry friends will be there every step of the way with their love and support ready to be shared.

 

 

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6 Helpful Tips For When You’re Having Trouble Bonding With A Pet:

Building relationships can take a bit of effort, with humans and animals alike. If you just can’t seem to connect to your or someone else’s pet, don’t worry! Personalities vary greatly and some can take more time than others to “click” with one another. Here are helpful tips to help you bond with a new pet, a pet you’ve never seemed to see eye to eye with, or the pet of a loved one.

Abigail Brown

 

Understanding Possible Trauma

Humans and animals both hold onto memories and the impressions those memories have made on their psyche, for long amounts of time. No trauma looks the same, and it is not uncommon for some animals to take a long amount of time to trust humans. Abuse towards animals can be both emotional and physical. Below are resources to help you better understand how to offer support to an animal who has been abused in the past, and how to identify signs that your pet may have experienced trauma in the past.

7 Red Flags That Your Dog May Have Been Abused

Adopting a Pet with a History of Abuse: What You Should Know 

 

Positive Reinforcement

One great way to show an animal that you notice them behaving positively, and to show that you care for them, is positive reinforcement. This can be achieved by giving your pet a treat when they listen to a command, playing with them/offering physical affection to keep them engaged, and by verbally praising them.

 

Set Up A “Safe Space” For Your Pet

This is a fun way to help an animal become more comfortable within your home and with those around them. Set up a pet bed for them in a quiet part of the house, make sure it is large enough for their body to lay on comfortably. This safe area should be set up with access to food, water, litter box, etc. It can be helpful to wash a new pet bed with detergents used in your household, so it smells more familiar to them. Additionally, think about adding toys and a blanket to help it become even cozier. To solidify the fact that it is their space, consider giving your pet treats and affection when they are first introduced to their new space– to let them know they are safe and cared for when there. You giving them access to an area of safety helps them not only feel comfortable in the house they are in… but also with you, the human, who gave that sense of security to them.

More tips on setting up a safe place for your pet:

How to Set Up a Safe Space for Your Dog

How to Create a Safe Room for Your Cat

 

 

Training Classes

Many pet-related businesses offer training classes that work with dogs and their owners. Going through training classes with your pup has similar results to that of team-building exercises for humans. It aids a sense of teamwork to strengthen and evolve between owner and pet, as well as helping your pup become more familiar with listening to your commands.

 

One-On-One Time

Never underestimate the power of a little bonding time. Even if you and the pet you are wishing to bond with are not directly interacting, going about your daily routine with them near you can help greatly. It both makes them feel a part of your everyday life, and you a part of theirs.  This establishes a routine for the owners and pets involved and is a large step towards coexisting with ease.

 

Loving Them Anyway

Not to sound similar to the final stage of grief, but a level of acceptance is important in some cases. Not every animal is the same, and sometimes, pets will only bond to one human–if any. Unfortunately, that one human isn’t always you. It could be a spouse, family member, or friend that they finally connect to. In this case, it is very important to accept this fact and love them anyway. Just because they are not bonded to you, does not mean they don’t care for you in their own special way. Show them love, and take care of them. You never know, that bridge could be built in the future when you least expect it.

 

 

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10 Simply Hilarious Dog Haircuts:

Having the same old hairstyle can become repetitive, maybe even a little boring. There is only one thing to do when your pup is tired of their look…shake things up! Here are 10 of our favorite, eye-catching, and just a tad laughable pups who surely know how to work their snazzy new looks.

Abigail Brown 

 

The “I want it poofy and think… space!”

Marie Antoinette dog hairstyle

petcube.com

We admire this pup for their confidence and dramatic flair. But one question, how did their groomer get those fluffy spheres so darn perfect?

 

A solution to the age-old “Only my head gets cold” dilemma

 

Sphinx dog haircut

petcube.com

This pup combines style and functionality, allowing their body a cool breeze; whilst keeping their head all nice and toasty. We give them a gold star.

 

The “2000s were true fashion”

 

queenbee1924.tumblr.com

This look is an artistic take on the hairstyles that once adorned the heads of many pop icons in 2000-2005. We love the pop of pink, and can’t get over how cute this little fashionista is.

 

The “Humpty Dumpty”

Image result for funny dog haircuts

sadanduseless.com

Right here is a pup who clearly knows what they want. Clean edges and a very defined shape, the “Humpty Dumpty” brings a childhood classic to life in an oh so cute way. Just look at that little smile!

 

The perfect bun

Dog Hairstyles Dog Hairstyles 227400 15 Very Interesting and Funny Dog Haircuts 15 Very Interesting and Funny Dog Haircuts

drumsofthunder.org

Such a cute pup, with an equally cute hairstyle. Her updo perfectly accentuates her eyes and is undeniably charming. Someone get that dog cuddles ASAP!

 

The “No…I didn’t get this idea from Justin Bieber”

Image result for funny dog haircuts

cutestpaw.com

The perfect look for an aspiring pop sensation! Just enough drama to keep you hanging onto his every word, with a side of cuteness that’ll have you coming back for more.  Now that’s a doggie heartthrob if we’ve ever seen one!

 

The “Half in, half out”

Image result for funny dog haircuts

www.thiswaycome.com

For the pup who wants to go all-in and make a drastic change…but is a little hesitant about the all-in part. This look is a perfect way for them to dip their toes in the water and decide if a fully shaved look is truly for them.

 

Heavy metal isn’t a music preference, it’s a way of life

Image result for funny dog haircuts

glamorousdogs.com

This orange mohawk shows everyone just how hardcore a pup you are. That right there is a doggo who means business and won’t take no for an answer. We wish we were that cool!

 

An all-new take on the “Cold shoulder”

Image result for funny dog haircuts

brightside.me

While we are not entirely sure this pup and their owner achieved their desired outcome with this look, we applaud them for their risk-taking. It certainly is quite a look, to say the least. On chilly days, may we suggest a sweater?

 

The “Ms.Maybell, from next door”

17 Times Pet Haircuts Went So Wrong, It’s Hilarious

brightside.me

For the final spot on our list, we leave you with this adorable hairstyle. We love the vintage undertones of this pup’s look. Charming and classic, this pupper is heartwarming to look at and oh so precious.

 

 

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4 Great Dog-Friendly Trails/Parks For Winter Walks:

     Outside time isn’t just for when it’s warm out. Here are 4 locations that have beautiful scenery and fun so plentiful, it makes freezing your tail feathers off more than worth it!

By Abigail Brown

 

Grandview Nature Preserve

A beautiful 2.5-mile trail to the beach. This gem is located in Hampton VA and the surrounding beach makes for a gorgeous morning walk with your pups. Bring hot cocoa to keep warm, and enjoy!

Gorgeous day!
Via bringfido.com

Elizabeth River Trail

An adorable 10.5-mile trail to walk/run, that gives you an amazing view of the Norfolk Waterfront! Bike, run, walk, or be tugged along in a wagon if that’s your style– either way this area is endlessly pretty and worth visiting at least once.

Via traillink.com

 

Shirlington Dog Park

Located in Arlington VA, Shirlington dog park is quite a bit of fun for pets and pet owners. Inside the dog park is gates that lead to an adorable stream and this fenced area allows your dog free space to run around to their heart’s content.

Shirlington Dog Park

Via T.Worden, bringfido.com

Mount Trashmore Park

Fun for kiddos, pups, and parents! Mount Trashmore Park has something for everyone. Not to mention the 60- foot tall, 800- foot wide mountain made of solid waste–being quite the eyecatcher, to say the least. This park is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Off-leash areas are limited for pups, but the walking areas make it quite the experience for your pup.

A photo of dog-friendly Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach.

Via bringfido.com

 

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A 14 Dog Photo-shoot: The Laughs, The Process, And The Fun!

    Bonilla Pet Studio has done many portrait sessions and as of recently, one of our most remarkable showcases the personalities of 14 whippets…at the same time! Dr. Ken Latimer brought his fur babies in, and it was an experience everyone who got to witness it will remember fondly. 

By Abigail Brown

 

Getting To Know Dr. Latimer And His Whippets

   It was a pleasure getting to meet Dr. Latimer, his quick wit was a joy and his happiness was infectious. We had the opportunity to talk to him about all of his pups, whom he loves dearly, and everything he wanted to see within his artwork. As his relationship with each dog is something he prioritizes, he decided that he would like his portrait to show real-life moments they share– and that is where his vision of a portrait in which he is reading his pups their favorite book, began the process of coming to life. Dedicated to getting into our studio and making this portrait session possible, Dr. Latimer brought his whippets in with 2 separate trips and 7 dogs at a time. All the way from the Toano area of Virginia, to Chesapeake Virginia! In my conversations with Dr. Latimer, he said he had anticipated a good amount of chaos would take place during any photoshoot that involves all his whippets but was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly and quickly this process went. 

 

The Execution

  To ease the process of this shoot Erin Bonilla planned from start to finish, to ensure it went off without a hitch. Starting with her initial sketch, Erin planned exactly where each dog would be before bringing them in for their session. Erin and Meghan brought the dogs in one by one and spent some time getting to know them. They posed the pups and took a perfect photograph of each pup in their strategically placed spot. Their dad had his photo taken separately as well, and with expert skill– all 15 portraits were beautifully placed into one awe-inspiring composite.

 

See Erin’s Initial Sketch Below

 

Handling The Anticipated “Chaos”

  One of our photographers spent time playing with all the dogs not currently being photographed, in another room; they were loved up to no end and given treats galore. This kept them all happy as can be and helped whichever pup was currently being photographed, stay focused and calm. Major props go out to Dr. Latimer’s doggos, as they are retired show dogs with stupendous listening skills. Many laughs were shared and eventually, the photoshoot came to an end. From there Erin moved onto the production process–and this masterpiece was perfected!

 

Watch This Beautiful Composite Come To Life!

 

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ZOOMIES

Does your dog ever start running around the house like a crazy creature, for absolutely no reason at all? Say hello to the zoomies.

Wait…the what??

The term “zoomies” is used to describe the quick, random bursts of energy that many dogs seem to experience. To get technical, these episodes of high energy are called “Frenetic Random Activity Periods” and they are usually just your dog releasing pent-up energy. More often than not, these episodes seem to come out of nowhere, but they can be brought on by excitement. If your dog sees someone they know, or maybe just had a really good poop, they can then suddenly get the zoomies!

Speaking from experience, depending on the size of your dog, the zoomies are potentially dangerous for innocent bystanders. My neighbor has both a Golden Retriever and a sprained ankle. She had the misfortune of stepping into her dogs path during a post-poop zoomie, and was knocked right over into her pool.

Most cases of the zoomies only last a couple of minutes, and they are very entertaining to watch, but be warned – many dogs seem incapable of hearing their owners and following commands while racing around. Zoomies seem to put dogs into their own little worlds.

So the next time your dog has got a case of the zoomies, just make sure you stay out of their way and wait it out. The zoomies are a natural part of being a dog, so sit back, relax, and (most importantly) enjoy the show.

Meghan, Bonilla Pet Photography

Everything You Need to Know about Catnip

What is Catnip?

Catnip (or, Nepeta Cataria) is a species of plant that contains a substance called nepetalactone, which cats find to be very appealing. Cats can detect catnip, and their consumption of it causes behavioral changes in our furry friends due to its chemical composition. Which leads me to my next point…

Why Does Catnip Affect Cats?

Some believe catnip triggers receptors that mimic feline pheromones, and that it can act like an aphrodisiac. Catnip can result in behaviors ranging from bouncing off the walls to getting sleepy, and also has several health benefits for cats. But don’t worry, catnip is non-addictive, and your cats behavior should go back to normal within 10-15 minutes. It’s estimated that about 30-50% of cats don’t even have a reaction to catnip!

Can Cats Eat Catnip?

Catnip is completely safe for your cats to ingest, is supposed to have a lemony or minty taste, and is related to oregano and basil. That being said, with all of the options on the pet market today, concerned cat owners should definitely do their research before offering any catnip treats to their feline friends.

What to Keep in Mind:

When considering buying catnip for your fur-babies, be sure to take into consideration how many cats you have as catnip can affect them all differently (and we certainly don’t want anyone to end up upset or hurt.) Also, be sure to take any health related issues into consideration, as catnip may be able to work wonders for their health! Most importantly, search for quality products. With catnip, you’ll want to look for something 100% natural, fresh, and with no hard stems that may potentially cause injury.

So, now you know everything there is to know about catnip.

Meghan. Bonilla Pet Photography

Easy, Homemade Dog Treats

Do you love a good recipe, but hate searching the internet to find one? Luckily for you guys, I’ve done the searching for you! Here’s five easy, homemade dog treat recipes (with great reviews):

  1. Paw-Print Dog Treats:

    This first one is a Martha Stewart recipe that makes about 24 adorable cookies. (Despite some of the comments, you can in fact print the directions!)

    https://www.marthastewart.com/336454/paw-print-dog-treats

  2. Homemade Dog Treats:

    This next recipe comes from a devoted dog mom, who takes pride in healthy and simple ingredients. It’ll make you about 30 treats in thirty minutes.

    https://addapinch.com/homemade-dog-treats-recipe/

  3. Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats:

    Pups love peanut butter! This recipe takes about thirty minutes to make, and will yield about 120 mini bones.

    https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/homemade-peanut-butter-dog-treats-recipe/

  4. Dog Treats:

    Here’s another yummy, doggie peanut butter recipe. This one will take you about thirty-five minutes, and yields about 18 treats.

    http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/1003/dog-treats.aspx

  5. Flea Terminator Dog Treats:

    This recipe is both delicious and practical for your pups! You’ll need about 3h 30m for these, and you’ll get 36 cookies.

    http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/1003/dog-treats.aspx

If you try any of these recipes, we’d love to hear what you thought of them!

(We also love pictures of happy puppies enjoying yummy treats)

Meghan, Bonilla Pet Photography

Caye’s Nurse Dogs.

Dogs are wonderful companions. They bring us laughter, joy, love, comfort and compassion. Sometimes they even step into the role of nurse!

Caye sent me this story about her two dogs who helped comfort and take care of her while she suffered with the flu. 

“I have the flu. I got too sore and tired to get up from the toilet and go to bed. I was stuck there. Two of the dogs came to get me. First they snuggled me to warm me up, part of the exhaustion was from shivering, and coughing. Once I stopped shaking, strength returned slowly. I still had the joint pain with which to contend, and I almost gave up again. They barked and whined until I stood. I went straight to bed half dressed, without brushing my teeth, or washing my face. Once I was under the covers, the older of the two stood guard at my feet, while the younger kissed my face and snuggled me until I got warm enough again. They are always loving, but this is extra. Every time I cough the older one comes to check on me then goes to stand guard for a while, before laying back down. The younger one shoves her nose into my mouth, gives me a kiss, and snuggles me closer. They haven’t  let out a single fart all night either, maybe this is the fever typing, but I love my doggums.”

Isn’t that sweet how Caye’s dogs took such great care of her? How have your dogs taken care of you in a time of illness or sadness? Comment below to share your story!

Why Don’t Dogs Get the Flu?

If you’re anything like me you are curious all the time. So, why don’t dogs catch the flu? Or maybe they do? Let’s find out. 

It turns out that these nasty viruses are “Species-Specific”.

The virus cells actually mimic nutrients in order to gain access to the insides of our cells so they can use the inside parts (nutrients etc) as energy to replicate. The ingredients needed to mimic a nutrient in a way that can gain entry to a cell are very unique and the issue is that these viruses just can’t be mimicking all kinds of things, apparently only one. Just like I don’t try to do all kinds of different photography, I am really good at one: Pet Photography. The little virus cells are really good at one thing: messing with humans. They don’t try to mess with everything, just us. 

The Dog Flu

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “The first strain reported in the United States, beginning in 2004, was an H3N8 influenza A virus … In 2015, an outbreak that started in Chicago was caused by a separate canine influenza virus, H3N2.” Symptoms of the dog flu are similar to the human flu. Your dog may experience a lingering cough that lasts anywhere from ten to thirty days. He may begin sneezing, become feverish, or discharge may appear from your dog’s eyes or nose. Your pet will likely be prescribed an antibiotic or other medicine to treat the canine influenza. Be aware: There are necessary steps to take to ensure other animals in your home do not become ill as well. AVMA says, “Dogs with canine influenza should be isolated to prevent transmission of the virus to other dogs or, in the case of H3N2, cats.”

So don’t worry. Snuggle up with you pup if you’re feeling icky. They (pets) do make us feel better. If anything they can really make us laugh some times. And laugher is the best medicine right?

 

 

Those nasty virus cells are one-hit wonders, just us humans. Your dog is practically like Will Smith in I Am Legend, immune to this virus. Kinda cool huh?

Contact Us

Pet Photography in Chesapeake Virginia

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300 Monticello Ave,
Norfolk, VA. 23510
Suite 144B.

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