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?

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Chesapeake, VA 23321

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