Category Archives: Good Travels

Just another day at the (dog) park...

Jonathan Lagasse (shown with his two- and four-legged family), Dog Park Expert and Founder of PawParks NYC, gives us a look into his app as well as a few tips to make your first (or daily) trip to the dog park a positive experience.

It was the day of his engagement with his wife when they fell in love with a one-year old boxer rescue named Mel.

They had plans to take Mel to the local dog park to play and have a great time. They soon found she wasn’t so fond of certain dogs.


PRO TIP 1:1603e7_f4f81bfd5e654e768fe24902615b85bb
Size the Scene – check out the other dogs as well as the people at the park when you get there (or before using PawParks.nyc) and determine if it is a good match for you and your dog. Do a little research about the park before you go - so you know if you need to bring shade or water for you and your dog.
Dog training didn’t necessarily help either and Jonathan saw a problem.
Which dog parks could he take her too? What if Jake, her golden enemy was there at the exact same time?
It was important that Mel receive proper exercise and maintain an active lifestyle, so Jonathan researched online, but found nothing.

PRO TIP #2
Speaking of exercise, your pup will be getting a ton of exercise with the other dogs at the park. Avoid bringing your own treats or toys into the park – the other dogs at the park with be plenty of stimulation for your dog (Plus, the others might fight you for a treat or two.) 
Nowhere stood a source of information regarding the dog parks in New York.
Jonathan saw and problem and decided to fix it himself. Then came PawParks.
PawParks is specific to the New York City and Long Island area and works to create a positive environment for all dog lovers in the city.
Here are some of the features:
Pawfile: each dog has a puppy profile that tells others about your dog and vice versa. Things they like, things they don’t like and general personality traits. No human information, just doggie details.

PRO TIP #3:
Know your own dog and keep an eye on them, don’t get buried in your phone. Know your dog’s distressed signals, so you can manage their interactions accordingly.
Parks Search: Parks search gives you the hours of operation of each park in the NYC or Long Island database including amenities to help you plan for the perfect trip to the park.
Pawpals and Pawdates: You can become friends with other pups through the app and from there plan dates with you and your pups new friend.

PRO TIP #4:
Make sure your dog is spayed or neutered and up-to-date on all their vaccines. We wouldn’t want a doggie date to turn into boom-chickie-mow-mow…
Check-in, give back: At BOGO Bowl, this is our favorite feature, the donation part! When you check in at any of the 130+ dog parks, we give a bowl of kibble to a shelter or rescue in need.
STAy score: This part can be important if you have pups that are picky about their surroundings. It keeps track of Size, Temperament and Actvity levels of all the dogs who are checked in at the park to give the user an overall “energy” of the park you have selected. This feature is great to identify whether the park is a good fit for you and your dog at your time of arrival.
Event feature: This section of the app lets you keep track of local events including adoption events. It even allowing you to make inquiries about the shelter or rescue pup on their page.
And always remember:

PRO TIP #5
You and your dog are there to have fun! If a situation is too much for you or your dog on a given day – don’t worry – just take a break or leave and come back on another day. Keep the park fun for you and your pup!


Special thanks to Jonathan Lagasse for his input on dog park etiquette. Find PawParks.nyc in the app store or Google Play. The app can be used by NYC and Long Island area dog lovers for now, but could be expanding in the future.
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50 Ways to Help Homeless Animals

puppytHelp them stay out of the shelter in the first place!

  1. Spay and neuter (or fundraise for spay/neuter programs.)
  2. Trap, neuter, return (TNR) feral kitties.
  3. Support your local pet food pantry. You might be surprised who comes to them for help.
  4. Volunteer for (or start) an AniMeals program in your community.
  5. Pitch in at a fencing project so a dog that was on a chain can be safe (and one step closer to indoors.)
  6. Volunteer at a community wellness clinic for pets.
  7. Visit an elementary classroom and talk to young people about being a good friend to animals. Kindness starts early.
    Use Your Talents!
  8. If you can sew, quilt, crochet, knit or even braid, make beds and blankets for homeless animals.
  9.  Good with a hammer and saw? Build a house for cats, paint a dog house or help create a canine obstacle course.
  10.  Offer to take flattering photos of adoptable pets.
  11. Invite your pals over for a cat scratch party. Gather carpet scraps and wood (or whatever tickles your cat fancy) and donate the results.

    1603e7_4536a06b3bd2411caf817ea846adc564Give Your Time

  12. Are you in communications? Write a press release or an opinion piece or a newspaper article about your favorite shelter or rescue.
    Give Your Time
  13. Volunteer to walk, pet, read to or play with animals.
  14. Offer to clean kennels. It’s not fun, but someone has to do it. A clean environment makes for happier, healthier pets.
  15. Help train adoptable pups. A dog that already knows basic commands is going to the more desirable option for families!
  16. Spruce it up! Round up friends of coworkers and offer to have a makeover day. Clean, paint, show off your best handyperson skills.
  17. There are so many small but important tasks to handle that don’t require special knowledge. Pack goodie bags. Make copies. Answer simple email questions. Take down phone messages. Move food. Do laundry. Two hours to you could be life-saving for them. Just ask!
  18. Make kitty safe houses for strays and feral cats. One of the greatest needs for rescues, is people who will regularly help at adoption events. Committing to once a month (or more) means less time spent training for the organization and more confidence for you.
  19. One of the greatest needs for rescues, is people who will regularly help at adoption events. Committing to once a month (or more) means less time spent training for the organization and more confidence for you.

    Collect Stuff

  20. Organize a drive in your school, job, church or neighborhood to collect pet food, blankets, and other supplies.
  21. Give a portion (or all) of the proceeds of your next yard or garage sale to your favorite group.
  22. Ask your employer if you can put out a collection jar. You can even have a competition between departments, floors or ‘friendly’ companies.
  23. See if your company does a match program. Many companies will match their employee’s cash donations – and sometimes time – to a nonprofit.
  24. Partner with a local restaurant to plan and host a ‘foodraiser’ where a percent of revenue, or tips, are donated.
  25. Some grocery stores (and Amazon) will give money to your favorite nonprofit when you shop with them. Does yours?
  26. Jeans day event at work. Talk to your boss to allow employees to wear jeans for a cost, donate that money to a local shelter or rescue.
  27. Fund raise with a bake sale. Work with your neighborhood school or your child’s PTO to organize a bake sale to benefit homeless pets in your community. This is a great way to educate children on the topic, create community buzz around available pets, and help provide funding to the animal organizations that need it most.

    dogDo It From Home

  28. Foster a mama dog and her puppies. Nobody wants to have their babies in a scary shelter! Plus, puppies!
  29. Bottle feed newborn kittens. Sometimes these babies end up without their mom and they need a bit of extra care.
  30. Educate. Share your knowledge – politely, and when asked (of course). Explain why spay and neuter is important, why microchips are lifesaving, why heartworm prevention is so important, why dogs need to be socialized and why kitties are healthier when they live indoors.
  31. Distribute flyers for low-cost spay and neuter programs to residents in low-income neighborhoods.
  32. Challenge a senior community or church group to craft pet beds to donate to shelters.
  33. When you replace your gently used leash and collars, donate them.
  34. If you’re changing your bedroom décor, give old comforters and blankets to the animals.
  35. Gather all those single socks, fill them with empty plastic water bottles and give them to your local shelter. Dogs love to crunch them!

    Do It Online

  36. Ask local grocery or box stores if they’ll donate ripped bags of pet food which you can then collect monthly and deliver to pantries in the area.
  37. Thank the people who do the daily work. A simple “thanks for all you do!” on a Facebook page can do wonders on a hard day.
  38. Share an adoptable pet on social media. We’d all love to have time and resources for unlimited dogs and cats, but the reality is we don’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t share. You never know which of your friends might be looking to add to the family.
    Give From Your Heart
  39. A post with a lot of ‘likes’ is judged to be ‘valuable’ by Facebook’s algorithms so don’t feel bad liking!
  40. Every dollar counts. If you don’t have much in the way of extra funds, collect recyclables and return for cash, then donate.
  41. Save your change and every quarter convert it to bills to donate.
  42. We all know a cat’s favorite toy is the nearest box, but they like balls and toy mice too. Consider picking some up at the dollar store.
  43. Buy BOGO Bowl and feed a homeless dog or cat without any extra time or cost on your part. Easy peasy!
  44. Support pet-friendly businesses. Many companies try to help by contributing items to fundraisers or collecting donations.
  45. Give an adoption gift certificate to a friend looking for a new pet!
  46. Sponsor a pet – especially an animal that will need to stay longer such as a senior or a medical case.

    Road Trip

  47. Drop off new water or food bowls.
  48. Like to drive? Sometimes an adoptable animal is in one place and his new family is another (like BOGO Bowl dog Chance who came to Des Moines from Topeka). Offer to drive a leg of a transport!
  49. You don’t have to drive long distances to help on transports. Some legs are just an hour or two!
    There’s even a group that transports dogs in privately-owned small planes. Have one?
    Money isn't everything
  50. Be a good role model. Show the world how animals should be treated. You never know who’s watching!

    And of course...Image result for dog in a shelter cage holding hand

  51. Well, duh. Adopt!
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