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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How To Ease A New Pet Into Your Home:

   Adding a new pet into the mix is undeniably exciting and fun. However, like any transition, it can be a learning process at the same time. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when integrating a new furry family member into your home. 

By Abigail Brown

Be patient and calm

  A new pet is bound to be at least a little nervous when brought into a new environment, more so when there are other pets in the home that they are meeting for the first time. Take it slow and don’t rush them to interact with one another. A great way to help ease this is to have a separate location for your new pet to stay, so they can have some alone time to get used to the house– and slowly interact over time. 

 

Build a routine

  If your new pet will be the only animal in your home, get a routine set up for their feeding, walking, playtime, etc. to help them get familiar and feel comfortable within your home. If there are other animals in the home and your new friend is separated from them initially, utilize the same schedule for them that you normally use with your other pets. This will ease their transition into sharing feeding time, walks, and attention with another animal.

Example:

-Feed at 8 am

-Walk

-Playtime at 12 pm

-Treats 

-Walk 2 pm

-Dinner 3 pm

-Walk before bedtime

Celebrate the good behavior of any pets within the home

A good way to help your new friend adjust to your household rules is to reward both them and any other pets in the home for things they do well–or for listening particularly well. Even small moments such as coming when told being positively enforced can help greatly. This is especially helpful if you already have an animal integrated within your home who follows directions, as it will encourage your new pet to follow their example. Rewarding all animals in the home whenever possible, rather than only your new animal, helps keep their forming bond in the best shape possible while not causing competition to arise. 

 

Quality time 

  Get to know your new pet, try your best to bring a new animal friend into your home when your schedule will allow you the time to get to know them. Spend as much time with your new fur baby as possible, and their adjustment into your home will go a lot smoother. This quality time will also help build the bond between pet and pet parent.  

 

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Cutest Winter Clothes For Your Pet This Holiday Season:

   Brrrr… This winter weather is darn chilly. Time to show off our cutest sweaters, jackets, and more! But why should our pets be excluded from the fun? In this article, we’ll get into some of the best winter clothing options to keep your pet stylish and warm

By Abigail Brown

Feline Friends

Keep in mind that while not every cat will love wearing clothes, and they just might turn into a Roly-Poly when you put them in a sweater– some kitties love the added warmth. Pay attention to your cat’s body language/stress level, and have fun!

For the most festive kitties around XS-XXL

Cute cozy knit that comes in five colors, and XS-XXL

Canine Buds

Dogs are quite a bit easier to dress as most have no problem being put into clothes. In case your pup is hesitant, a few yummy treats on hand can help persuade your pet.

A sweater so cute you’ll never want to leave Ya Filthy Animal home alone, S-L

A snazzy turtleneck for colder weather, XS-XL

For our more prestigious friends

In case your buddy is tad fancier than other pets can keep up with, here are some options that will help them stand out in a crowd.

Fendi Look-alike dog sweater, XS-L

Insulated dog coat, XXS-XL

Sherpa lined coat for XS-XL pets 

But wait, there’s more!

Adorable sweater for a chilly guinea pig, 11 colors

Dinosaur knit sweater for small dogs, cats, and piggies!

A sweater and hat set for your lovely bearded dragon

A holiday snuggle sack for your hamster

 

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5 Ridiculously Funny Pet-Related Buys:

 

    Online shopping is a spectacular way to both kill time, and drain your checking account. Offering a world of goods at your fingertips, some of which being eyebrow-raising to say the least. Here are our top 5 silly pet-related finds, that pet lovers may absolutely love

by Abigail Brown 

Umbrella Leash To Keep Your Pup Dry

Now, in theory, this could work very well. But whether or not your pup stays dry heavily depends on you holding the leash straight up, how windy it is, and if your pet is prone to walking through puddles

 

A set of 6 adorable cat butt magnets

Some people may not be too crazy about these, and those who are– just might be self-proclaimed crazy cat lovers. There is no shame in that, who wouldn’t be driven a little kooky by adorable furballs?

 

A day-to-day calendar full of naughty dogs who were caught in the act

Nothing is chicken soup for the soul quite like a guilty pup holding up a sign that calls them out for exactly what they did wrong. If photos up that alley give you a chuckle, this is the calendar for you!

Chicken diapers for your sassy bird friends

A particularly interesting find is yes… diapers for your chickens. Brightly colored, ruffled, and soft. These nappies, while sure to give you a chuckle, make it possible for you to bring chickens into your house and avoid any mess that comes with them. 

Keep your kitty close to your heart with this cat carrying hoodie

Available in sizes S-4XL, just about everyone can tote their feline friend around all day long. Now getting them in there…we’ll leave that up to you. 

 

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5 Ways Your Pets Are Showing You They Love You:

Treats, cuddles, walks in the park, and bully rubs– we have endless ways to show our pets that we love them dearly. But, how do we know what they’re trying to say back? Down below are five things your pet does to show you that you are someone extra special to them.

1. When your dog or cat licks/grooms you.

Not only could they be showing you that they find you awful tasty,  this is also a way that many kinds of animals show their affection for you. At a young age, animals are both licked for grooming, and as a way for their mothers to show their love in a slightly damp–but oh so cute manner.

2.  When your cat/dog catches and brings you animals or bugs.

Although this may not be the kind of present you had in mind, a creepy-crawly left at your front door is often your pal’s way of providing for you, in the ways a mother would their child–and showing their appreciation. Oh boy, how great it would be if they could grab you a Starbucks here and there! Hopefully, you’re not squeamish, because this could be your furry guys equivalent of a handwritten thank you note.

3. When your cat kneads you or digs their claws into your lap.

Now it may be a little hard to see the discomfort of your cat’s claws digging into your thigh as a form of flattery, but you’d be surprised by the meaning behind it. An adult cat will often knead their owner when they are feeling happy and comfortable. A good way to make this sign of affection a little less uncomfortable is to cover your lap in a thick blanket, so their claws can’t getcha’ –and to let your feline have at it.

4.  When your pet has the happy wiggles anytime you arrive home or waits by doors for you.

A more easily noticed sign that your pet loves you to pieces, is when they can hardly contain their excitement whenever they see you. Wagging tails, tongues sticking out and excited barks/meows are all signs that your furry friend loves you to no end. This can even be shown by them waiting outside of your bedroom and bathroom for you– when they stick like glue, there’s no doubt they love you.

5. When your pet yawns with you, or after you from time to time.

Do you ever catch your pet yawning right after you, when you’re spending time together? If so, this could be a sign that they are very close to you emotionally. A strong bond between pet parents and their furry friends can be the root of them occasionally mimicking your behaviors.

Whether it be cuddling at night, keeping them warm and fed, or playtime during the day– your pet appreciates all the little things you do. We at Bonilla Pet Studio would like you to let you know how amazing you are and to keep it up, pet parents! Your love for your pet is a bond unlike any other.

The Do’s And Don’ts of Dressing Your Furry Friends Up for Halloween:

The popularity of dressing your pets up for Halloween has risen dramatically within the last few years. Cute, scary, and everything in between– this is a trend we welcome with open arms. And here are our thoughts on how to find the best possible costume for your pet.

 Watch out, the force is certainly with this feline.

Watch out, the force is certainly with this feline.

Diving in, safety is a very real factor that should be considered when picking out the perfect costume for your four-legged friend. Below are bullet points listing a few things to keep in mind while perusing your options.

  • You want your animal to be their happiest, most comfortable selves; this can be achieved by making sure their costume is lightweight, does not restrict movement, and does not block their line of vision.

  • Keep in mind that any dangling pieces or embellishments can be confused for a tasty snack, and very quickly become a choking hazard— or the cause of a very upset tummy.

  • Animals are often seen as young children and can require an equal amount of supervision. Upon putting your buddy in a costume, be sure not to leave them alone for long periods of time.

We understand that as much as we enjoy to see them all dressed up, our four-legged friends may require a little more convincing. Whether your puppy can’t sit still, or your feline friend Petunia is a tad worried all that fluff won’t fit into her Princess Leia costume–here are a few tips and tricks to help ease your hesitant pet into putting on a costume.

  • Getting dressed up can be a little stressful for an animal who is not used to doing so. Making sure you’re in a calm, quiet environment while introducing your pet to their costume can go a long way.

  • If your pet seems fairly skittish, be sure to give them a good deal of affection to help them calm down throughout this process.

  • Treats, Treats, and more Treats. It is Halloween after all, giving your animal friend a little something tasty will definitely improve their mood and hopefully make them more willing to work with you.

  • When you’ve got a very excited pupper on your hands, getting them to sit still can be tough, to say the least. A toy on hand to distract them with can be the handiest of tools in this situation.

  • And lastly, you know your furry friend best of all. Do whatever you feel will make them the most comfortable, and most of all have fun.

 Taco-Bout rocking your costume, this pup sure knows how to steal the show.

Taco-Bout rocking your costume, this pup sure knows how to steal the show.

Now, here’s the fun part that we’ve all been waiting for. Picking out the costume you feel fits your buddy the best. Below are 10 of our favorite pet costumes for this Halloween. Be it cute, funny, or scary, we’re sure your four-legged pal will truly knock this Halloweens socks off.

  1. For a dog who wants all eyes on them and a more lightweight costume, a saddled cowboy on their back can make them feel like they’re in the wild, wild west. Can you say “Yeehaw”? Click here to see.

  2. Whether they’re a cowardly lion or a large and in charge pup who wants everyone to know they’re king of the jungle, this mane is sure to put a pep in your dog’s step. Click here to see.

  3. For your feline or small dog who likes to keep surround themselves in a little bit of mystery, this vampire costume will simply drive you batty with its cuteness. Click here to see.

  4. And we’d never forget about our smaller friends. This guinea pig costume lets everyone know that they may be prickly or grumpy on the outside at times, but they sure are sweet on the inside. Click here to see.

  5. For a pup who always saves the day, they’ll be flying high with this super look. Click here to see.

  6. With this Ewok costume, you and your pup can let your geek flag fly. Click here to see.

  7. Who doesn’t love getting a package in the mail? Now imagine an adorable canine delivering it. Sounds like a dream, am I right? Well, this costume makes your dreams come true. Click here to see.

  8. For dogs big and small who can’t wait to make like Freddie Krueger, and tear this Halloween up. Click here to see.

  9. A bewitching getup for the kitty who puts the Bubble, Bubble, Toil, And Trouble into your life. Click here to see.

  10. With this bumblebee costume, a buzz will surely get going about how good your cat/dog looks. Click here to see.

 Look! An adorable Uni-Pug in their natural habitat.

Look! An adorable Uni-Pug in their natural habitat.

Bonilla Pet Studio

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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

Dyeing Your Pets Hair: Cute or Completely Crazy?

There’s no denying that a perfectly styled and dyed dog is beyond adorable, but I’m sure we’ve all had the lingering thought of whether or not it’s totally good for the dog’s wellbeing. I recently saw a discussion about this very topic in a Facebook page I’m a part of, so here’s what I’ve come up with on the matter:

If you’re reading this and thinking “But my dog would look so cute with purple hair!”, the good news is, there are quite a few completely safe ways to bring some color into your pets lives. Food coloring, or even natural dyes from foods (like beets for pink tones) are natural and non-toxic ways to add some color to your pets hair. There are also dyes made just for pets, like gels, hairsprays, and fur chalks that come in all sorts of colors and tend to wash out with soap and water.

Now, I don’t know if these safe options means you should dye your pets hair. Pet experts like Cesar Milan have cautioned against the idea, noting that it could potentially add unnecessary stress to your pets.

Personally, I think it’s super cute when people dye the tips of their dogs ears or their tails. However, I know my dog would never stand for it, and she already hates baths enough as it is. She would never sit still long enough to let dye take!

So I say, you know your dog better than the rest of us. If you think it’s cute to style and dye your pups and you know they’ll be fine with the process, and you do it SAFELY, then let them rock some purple hair!

What do you guys think?

Meghan, Bonilla Pet Photography

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