Flying with an Emotional Support Animal

If you’ve been flying lately, you’ve probably seen at least one dog on your plane. They’re usually in a carrier and under the seat. Often times, you may not even know there is a dog there until the plane lands!

I have also seen large, 50 pound dogs laying on the floor!

You’re probably wondering…”Why are they flying without a carrier?” or “That dog weighs 80 pounds?! How are they allowed on the plane?”

Usually, these are service dogs. They are allowed to go anywhere with their owner, as they provide life-saving services.

There’s also another other kind of dog – the Emotional Support Animal (ESA), that is allowed on planes and typically aren’t in a carrier.

Our family travels a lot over the summer, and we wouldn’t be able to go to as many places as we do without our dog, Gant. He has become a seasoned traveller, and a certified ESA. Today, I’ll be giving a comprehensive guide on traveling with an ESA on a plane, what an ESA is, and tips and tricks for having a smooth flight. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Licensed Therapist John Stiteler of Total Health Guidance, where they provide counseling services, as well as ESA certification.

What’s an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal is an animal that helps affect someone’s emotional state, by offering physical and relational support”, says Stiteler. “An ESA is beneficial in that it helps those struggling with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Having a reliable unbiased companion help manage many of the symptoms associated with these issues. “

Gant provides stress and anxiety relief when I fly, by remaining calm, sitting on my lap, and letting me focus on petting his ears.

How is it different than a Service Animal?

Service animals go through extensive training to become a certified service pet. “A service animal is trained to support with specific tasks like mobility, moving and collecting items,” Stiteler explains.

Does your dog qualify to be an ESA?

Is your dog even-tempered? Calm? Does he detect when you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed? Stiteler says, “In order to qualify, the pet owner must meet some diagnostic criteria for a mental illness as defined by the DSM5.  It could be depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, or any other mental illness. That illness must impact some area of their life and the animal must provide some level of relief of symptoms.”

Typically, you must have a medical professional evaluate and be able to confidentially say your mental health needs require a support animal. This is usually done through a psychological evaluation. Total Health Guidance evaluates the person during a 1-hour session, to confirm and establish the need for an ESA.

Ok, so my dog is approved to be an ESA Animal. How do I start the flying process?

First, book your flight. I recommend doing a non-stop flight (if your dog can hold it) if the duration of the ride is 5 hours or more. The maximum number of hours your dog can fly is 8. Any overseas or flights longer than that are typically denied. Check with your airline in advance.

Typically, after you book your flight, you need to indicate you are bringing a service animal. Either you go into your reservation “under Manage Reservations” on the site and check “Special Assistance Animals”, or you submit the forms needed to be approved (more on that below). For Alaska Airlines, as an example, you need to check “Special Assistance Animals”, when making your reservation, and then you need to submit forms within 48 hours of your flight for approval. Once approved, you are ready to go. I also recommend bringing a health certificate from your veterinarian.

With Southwest, you book your flight, and then bring a letter from a licensed professional proving your are under their care, the animal is well behaved, and their license information.

What are these “Special Assistance Forms” I need to submit?

These forms prove you are allowed to fly with an ESA animal on their flight. Forms typically include one that you have to sign, stating you are responsible for your pet, that they are well behaved, and they are healthy enough to travel. Another form will be one your therapist or a licensed professional has to sign, providing information on their license(s), how long they’ve been under your care, etc. Some flights also require your veterinarian to fill out a form stating your pet is healthy enough for travel. Delta Airlines seems to have all three of those forms, while Southwest, as mentioned above, just need one letter. It really depends on where you’re going. I have included forms from Southwest and Alaska as examples:

Southwest’s ESA Requirements
This is one of three forms Alaska Airlines requires, including information of your therapist or licensed professional.

IMPORTANT: You do NOT have to resubmit again for your return flight, if you bought a roundtrip ticket. If you do separate tickets, then you have to do the process each time.

Ok, my flight is booked, my ESA animal is approved. What’s next?

Good job! You and your adorable ESA animal are ready for travel! Here’s what I’d recommend:

  • Treats to keep them happy. Sometimes they won’t want to eat regular food, and it’s better to keep them hungry to prevent accidents, so treats throughout the day are a good option to keeping them sustained throughout the flight.
  • Poop bags. After a long flight, my dog has on occasion just pooped in the middle of the terminal. Make sure you have your bags handy! While there are some relief areas inside the terminal, your dog may not go because he is trained to go outside. When I do a connecting flight, I do take him outside if there’s enough time in between. But you do have to go through security again.
  • Blanket. My dog sits on my lap the whole time, and afterwards I’m covered in dog hair! Bring a thin blanket or towel to keep you both comfortable.
  • This is optional, but I did buy a little ESA Animal Vest, just to show the airlines he’s “official”. You can get them here.

The Day Of Travel

Ok, you did all the hard work – you got your tickets, submitted your forms and got approval, and all the supplies needed for your a safe and healthy travel with your dog.

If your flight is early in the morning (before noon), I recommend not feeding your dog. This will decrease accidents during the flight. I do give treats throughout the day to keep him sustained and happy. If your flight is in the early afternoon or evening, feed them once, and make sure they go RIGHT before you head to the airport. Try not to give them too much water as well.

I recommend arriving at least 2 hours before your flight, just in case. You are usually not able to check in online prior, so you give yourself ample time to wait in line. You go up to the counter, give your forms (if not submitted already online), tickets, and then head to security.

My dog is on leash the whole time. If your dog is not comfortable, you can leave them in their carrier. TSA asks me to put my baggage through the conveyor belt, and then hold my dog while walking through security checkpoint.

TSA is usually very friendly when you have a dog. On more than one occasion, they pull out their phone, show me their dogs, or ask to pet him. It does make the security process much more pleasant.

Hanging out in the Terminal. Excuse the blurry photo!

I basically walk him all around the terminal, and right onto the plane. Sometimes I pick him up because he gets nervous actually boarding the plane. Then he is on my lap the whole time. Most passengers love being around dogs, but I always like to ask. If I am alone, I have asked my fellow passenger to hold him or at least make sure he doesn’t get off the seat when I have to go to the bathroom.

Hanging out on my lap. Again sorry for the poor lighting. He just sits there the whole time.

Afterwards, I tend to immediately head outside, even if I have bags checked, as he cannot hold it any longer. There tends to be relief areas right outside airports.

I hope this information was helpful! Please let me know if you have any other tips and tricks for ESA animals, and if I left anything out. And thanks to Therapist John Stiteler of Total Health Guidance, who provided more info on getting a ESA animal certified.

Podcasts for Dog Walking, Part III

Podcasts are essential for my dog walks. I get outside, enjoy the fresh air, put on my headphones, and let the stories take me to other places. I listen to so many, I made two other posts about some of my favorite podcasts. You can read them here and here. Here are some buzzworthy podcasts I can’t stop listening to, part three.

For Crime Enthusiasts

The Shrink Next Door, Wondery. Click here for link.

Therapists are supposed to be helpful, supportive, and keep your information confidential. What happens when that therapist crosses the line? Learn about a therapist who conned his way into patient’s wills, in their homes, and boasted about having celebrity clients. You’ll want to binge the whole thing in a day.

For fans of NPR and CBS Sunday Morning

Mobituaries, Click here for link.

Mo Rocca, one of my favorite NPR guests, has a fascinating podcast about forgotten histories. Topics include death of sitcom characters, Alabama football rivalries, and Sammy Davis, Jr. His curiosity, great questions, and narration make each story unique and fun to listen to.

For the 90’s nostalgic

American Girls Podcast, Click here for link

Did you grow up in the 90’s? Were you obsessed with American Girls? Are your kids all about the cool cafes? Join Mary and Allison (who happen to be friends of mine) as they explore each American Girl, book by book, with relevant pop culture references that’ll make you LOL every time. Their podcast chemistry is undeniable.

For those who love Scandals

The Drop Out, Click here for link.

If you haven’t heard of the Theranos scandal, you must be living under a rock. Either way, this story is just so ridiculous you can’t believe how much the founder got away with. Listen as they investigate Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, which was supposed to be revolutionary in blood drawing and testing. Listen as a Stanford drop-out manages to get millions from high profile investors, and then crash and burn at the end.

For Fans of Queer Eye

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, Click here.

If you can’t get enough of Queer Eye, and love Jonathan’s fierceness attitude, then get your extra dose with Getting Curious. Yes, he interviews the other Queer Eye guys, but he actually goes deeper and learns more about various issues effecting us today, such as “Why is immigration a Queer Issue”, interviewing journalists, or “How Are You Fighting for Gender Equality” with Melinda Gates. A great listen for anyone who wants to learn more.

Do you have other podcasts I need to listen to? Comment below!

Dog – Friendly Spot: Yellow Dog Eats

Whenever I’m out, I’m always checking to find dog-friendly spots. I hate leaving my dog at home for hours, worrying about getting home too late. On the days when we want to explore and enjoy the whole day, it would be MUCH easier (and more enjoyable for him!) for the three of us to enjoy the day together!

That’s why I was so happy to find Yellow Dog Eats. If you’re local to the area, you’ve probably heard of this place. It’s funky decor, selection of local brews, and great food make this a popular destination.

When you drive up to the restaurant, you see a large, wooden house. It has two stories, with a red door. You’re not sure what to expect – is the restaurant have two floors of dining? Is it actually someone’s house? (I had that thought for a few seconds…)

The outside

The cool entrance. Is it a house? Photo from website.

The entrance is hard to find, but once you get there, you know you’re in for a treat. They have a huge, unpaved lot, with string lights for navigating during the evening.

After that, you see this red van, parked right at the entrance. There are images of three iconic musicians – Jerry Garcia, Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix, all seem to be saying “What’s up”.

Iconic legends saying hello

Then you walk to the entrance, into a beautiful outdoor patio. It’s covered, which is perfect for the crazy Florida weather!

Indoor Patio

Awesome patio that has live entertainment. Right: Inside the Iconic Red Van.

Local bands play here frequently, adding to the fun vibe. String lights, cool signs, and an awesome outside bar makes this a one-of-a-kind place.

Pet Portraits, Funny signs, and an Iconic Gotha (the location of the restaurant) add a “I’ve been here a long time” vibe.
The resident Kitty, Montel, has its own mailbox! More adorable signage!

In addition, the food is just as good as the decorations, if not better! They specialize in delicious smoked pulled pork and off the charts sandwiches. They’re perfect for all diets, as they have a vegan/gluten-free menu.

Buffalo Chicken Wrap (Left) and Pulled Pork Sandwich (R)

While the outside is completely unique, the inside is also just as fun. The walls are filled with pictures of dogs – some from customers, from the owners, staff…anyone who has a dog!

Inside Bar

Inside Bar. Photo courtesy of Fooditude21
Dogs, Dogs, Dogs! And a random surfer photo. Courtesy of Forkful.

Therefore, if you’re needing some delicious food, great entertainment, and a very unique vibe, head to dog-friendly spot Yellow Dog Eats!

Menu here. Open Sun – Wed 11:00 – 9:00 pm, Tues – Sat 11:00 – 10:00 pm. Serving sandwiches, nachos, wraps and desserts. Most entrees under $15.00.

To find more awesome local spots, check out here.

Orlando Event Planner – Overeasy Events

This week I’m so excited to be interviewing Orlando based event planner Overeasy Events !

Overeasy Events is located in Orlando, Florida area, founded in 2013 by Lora DeLorenzo. I had the pleasure of interviewing her to find out about how they started this business, how she makes your event amazing, and advice for dog lovers who want to include their pooch on their special day!

Tell us a little about yourself, and how you came up with the name “Overeasy.”

Lora DeLorenzo

Though event concept, design and coordination are my specialties, the drive to start this company came from years of falling in love with the people and culture in the Orlando community.

After graduating from Johnson and Wales University in 1995, I began working in the hospitality industry, which led to another love: wine! I earned my 2nd level Certificate from the International Sommelier Guild. Next, I fulfilled my dream to open a restaurant, operating a 100-seat full-service bar at Lake Eola (Florida).

I also developed my passion for helping children in need, so I co-founded the local non-profit Bridges of Light.

This passion for food, wine and people inspired the creation of Overeasy Events. I wanted to offer an event planning company that managed every detail, from site selection to budget development, menu planning and entertainment.

The unique elements of Overeasy Events are portrayed in our aesthetic name and logo, which pictures a pleasing and stimulating color palette that correlates with the ideals behind the company: Stress free, fun events. 

Overeasy Events logo

What services do you offer?

Overeasy Events is a full service wedding and event planning company. We specialize events in the Orlando area, where clients can plan all types of events; from a wedding to a milestone celebration to a corporate luncheon to a baby shower.

In addition, we provide event design services, and are happy to assist with the process of recommending and securing trusted vendors and venues.

A beautiful rustic spread for wedding guests. Posted with permission from Overeasy events.

Tell us about your two adorable pups, Charlie and Flash DeLorenzo!

Flash and Charlie are Overeasy Owner Lora’s fur-babies! They are happy to provide services at your event upon request! You can frequently find them enjoying a ‘mocktail’ at The Alfond Inn in Winter Park. 

Lora with her dog, Flash DeLorenzo
Posted with Permission
Flash and Charlie
Posted with Permission

In your recent blog post, you talked about how to incorporate pets in various ways on your special day. Can you tell us about a time when a couple did a great job highlighting their dog?

Just like our human guests, pups have to be entertained too! One of the most successful incorporations of man’s best friend into a wedding was accomplished by our preferred catering vendor, Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine and Events at a local venue a couple of months ago.

The happy couple had not one, but two furry companions that were very important to their wedding day! This idea could be a recipe for disaster, but instead all four-legged guests were entertained with a “doggie bar” that cleverly exclaimed “Bone Appetite!”. A chalkboard read, “all you need is love…and at least one dog” because the more furry friends, the better!

The setup was complete with an assortment of doggy treats, tennis balls and a picture of the happy couple with their two adorable pets.

A recent engagement photo taken by one of their preferred photographers | Steven Miller Photography Orlando
Posted with permission

If you want to make an event all-around pet-friendly, we recommend featuring a similar setup that will keep pups entertained and look amazingly aesthetic along with your décor. We have not seen disaster strike with pets at an event, but we tell clients to remember that their pup’s unpredictable behavior is just part of the fun!

I’ve also seen dogs being included in the “getting ready” portion, with either the bridal party or the groomsmen. Can you provide any advice for those who want to have their dog during this time?

For couples who are interested in having their pets involved in the “pre-wedding” festivities, like getting ready with the wedding party, we do have a few recommendations:

The many ways you can incorporate your dog into your special day. But make sure you read the tips below first!
  • Make sure that someone who is not in the wedding (or the bride or groom!) are responsible for the pets; their food and water, going out to use the bathroom, and transportation to and from the venue.
  • Make sure that the photographer and event planner both know about the animals and their timeline. If they’re supposed to be in pictures, make sure that everyone is on the same page about where and when those will take place! 
  • Make sure that the pets stay on their leashes, even if they’re usually very well behaved. There is a lot of activity and excitement before a big event like a wedding and the number of new people they’re meeting may overwhelm pets. 
  • Keep valuable items and expensive clothing up off the furniture and floor if pets are around. You would hate to have paw prints on that wedding gown or for a bouquet to turn into a snack! 

Can you recommend some great local venues that are either dog-friendly or can accommodate dogs? 

A surprising number of venues in the Orlando area would love to welcome your sweet dogs into your events; after all, they’re family too!

East End Market in the Audubon Park Garden District can accommodate 10-200 guests and has a beautiful outdoor Courtyard for guests and animals alike to enjoy. The Courtyard is set amidst the gardens and uses materials such as wood and touches of local florals throughout making it a one-of-a-kind venue.

The barrel room at Quantum Leap Winery, Downtown Orlando.

Quantum Leap Winery in the Mills 50 District is contemporary, yet rustic and is an urban winery conveniently located near downtown, ideal for private events large or small with space for your furry friends!

Finally, the Winter Park Farmers Market is both unique and historic and has a wonderful outdoor patio perfect for the amazing Florida weather that your pets can enjoy. The venue requires little décor as the gorgeous setting speaks for itself, ideal for wedding receptions and corporate events.

A fabulous wedding at East End Market | Steven Miller Photography Orlando
Posted with permission

When a couple comes to you and wants to include their dog during their special day, what are some of the first questions you ask them? Or things they must consider? 

Dog Save the Dates are a great way to introduce your dog to your guests prior to your wedding day. Shop here.

Of course, we first have to consider the venue and make sure the dog can be just as involved as the family!

After confirming a pet-friendly venue, we have to loop the photographer into our ideas for highlighting the pooch and preparing fun photography concepts (and preparing them for any unpredictable puppy behavior!).

I also like to have a conversation with the client about their dog’s personality, will he or she be comfortable with a large crowd? Does the pet prefer to be on a leash or held by a friend to put him or her at ease?

We love to recommend that the client lets the guests know the pet will be a star at the event through the save-the-date cards, just to make sure everyone is comfortable.

Most importantly, Overeasy Events wants their clients to feel at ease! If possible, we recommend a pet-sitter for the special day so our clients can relax and not worry about their pet!

Are there any other cool ways you have seen couples show off their dog(s) in events? 

A recent engagement photo taken by one of their preferred photographers | Steven Miller Photography Orlando
Posted with premission

Our team is full of dog lovers so any event where a client wants to feature their furry friends is an exciting challenge for us!

We want to make sure that our clients’ visions become a reality, so if that vision includes your pets, we’re here to make it happen!

We’ve loved pets in engagement photos, pets at weddings, pictures of pets used in the décor, and more!

If you can dream it, we can do it. 

What percentage of your clients are dog lovers? Have you seen an increase recently in people wanting to show off their dogs? If so, why? If not, why? 

Speaking from personal experience, when Flash is assisting me with greeting clients in the office, nearly everyone loves dogs! Now more than ever couples want to include their pets in weddings or special events, our dogs are so important and bring us so much joy. Nationwide couples are using four-legged ring bearers and fluffy flower girls.

We always want to help our clients make their events personalized, and more often than not the most personal aspects about us are our pets. Some venues and catering companies have even started baking gourmet dog treats for these special guests!

We want to show off our dogs because they are our family, and Overeasy Events understands that more than anyone. Sometimes Flash cannot help with the nitty gritty of client relations, but he sure can bring a smile to everyone’s face!

What are some of your future goals for 2019 and beyond? | Steven Miller Photography Orlando
Posted with premission

For the future of Overeasy Events, we’re focused on continuing to provide amazing service to our clients.

We also hope to build relationships with new clients and vendors across the Central Florida community and beyond!

We are always looking for new partnerships that will enhance the event experience for our amazing customers and new ways to share pictures and information about the work that we’re doing behind-the-scenes. 

Check out Overeasy Events here:
Facebook, Instagram, Blog, and Website!

Dog Breed Gift Guide: Great Gifts for the Labrador Lover

Today, I’ll be featuring awesome gift ideas for the Labrador lover!

It’s no secret that Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular choices for family pets. They’re friendly, love children, are intelligent, and have all the affection to go around for anyone who wants a lovable and larger pet to join the family.

I’ll include all types of labs: black, chocolate, and yellow. Enjoy!

Art for the Bathroom

The perfect addition to every bathroom, especially when your lab comes in to “get clean”! Comes in a variety of sizes starting at $12.99. Click here to buy.

Wedding Greeting Card

Are your chocolate lab loving friends or family tying the knot? This adorable card will make it in the wedding scrapbook. $2.97. Click here to buy.

The Perfect Addition to Your Home Decor

A fun, whimsical pillow that will add style to any space. Dog hair not included. $57.50. Click here to buy.

A Stylish Art Print

One of my best-selling prints, this yellow labrador print will always remind you that Love really is a four-legged word. (Only one LEFT!) $10. Click here to buy.

Add some flair to your front door

A perfect way to welcome guests! Choose from a variety of ribbons so it matches your decor perfectly. $50.00. Click here to buy.

Fun Women’s Apparel

A stylish addition to any Labrador Lover’s wardrobe. Starting at $24.99. Click here to buy.

A stylish (and functional) way to beat the heat. From $18. Click here to buy.

The Perfect Summer Addition

Stressed? Just listen to this lab and CHILLAX by the pool! Starting at $38.44. Click here to buy.

Do you have other awesome gifts for lab lovers? I want to know! Sound off in the comments below! And be sure to include links! FOr my other dog breed gift guides, click here.

This post is not sponsored in any way. These opinions, comments, and views are my own.

Product Feature: Gant’s Favorite New Collar

Gant showing off his awesome collar.

One of my favorite things to buy for Gant are collars. I have one for every season and mood. Is it Spring and he’s feeling preppy? Bring on the argyle! Feeling tropical? Got one with palm trees. Disney? Oh you know we got a mickey mouse one!

Recently, I came across a horrible video about animal testing from The Beagle Freedom Project. They were rescuing Beagles from animal testing facilities. Now, I know that animal testing happens. You can’t sell your products in China without testing on them.

That’s why I was so excited to come across Geopetric Pets. They not only sell cool collars, but they sell leashes, harness, bandanas for dogs AND cats.

Image from

They have the coolest designs! Zig Zags, Stripes, Diamonds Pattern, you name it! Find the one that goes with your dog’s coloring, and they’ll be the handsomest dog (or cat) on the block!

And why did I mention animal testing? Well, these products are vegan and cruelty free! They even are made from recycled materials, like plastic bottles.

Dreaming of treats…

And as a special gift to my readers, use code GANT20 when checking out! You’ll get 20% off with EVERY order! Woohoo! Send it to your friends, family, any dog-lover you know! So check it out now here!

You can also recycle your old dog gear! Check out their program here.

And don’t forget to show me your adorable pooch wearing their Geopetric collar! You can also purchase Gant’s collar, pictured, here.

This blog post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, I may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog and small business!

Wedding Inspiration for Dog Lovers

It’s that time of year… wedding season!

I love weddings. They’re a great excuse to see everyone in one place, dance to your favorite 90’s hits (Oh, cause you KNOW they’ll be playing Britney!) and dress to the nines.

What’s also so fun is how each couple does unique touches on their special day. Whether it’s having it in your own backyard, or doing a sketch from “Who’s on First” from Abbott and Costello (yes, this actually happened, and it was amazing), to wearing sunglasses for the first dance (We did that!), it’s always memorable. One of my favorites was one of my childhood friends had a taco bar. A TACO BAR. At the end of the night. HOW GENIUS? We had way too much wine and needed to soak it up with some carne asada.

Next week, we’ll be flying to Pittsburgh, where our friends will be tying the knot. They are bringing their dog, Daisy, who will be included in the wedding preparations.

I feel like I’m seeing this more and more nowadays. I’m sure people included their pets in their weddings, but lately I’ve seen so many more people want their pooches on their special day. There are dog-friendly hotels, AirBnB’s, and photographers who are experts at making Fido smile during the shoot.

Today, it’s all about wedding inspo, for dog lovers! If we got our dog, Gant, when we were getting engaged/married, I would have totally done one or some of these adorable photo shoots.

Engagement and Save the Date Ideas

Inspiration from Pinterest.

From costumes to beautiful wreaths and signs, so wearing matching t-shirts to announce the save the date, it is JUST SO CUTE!

Maybe they can’t be included in the special day for a number of reasons, so save the dates are much more chill, relaxed way to include them.

Wedding Day Ideas

Inspo from Pinterest. Photo top right and bottom right are from Katie Laines Events.

If they are lucky enough to be included, these are some ADORABLE ways to have them be part of something super special. I love the dog of honor bandana!

I am also excited to be partnering with wonderful wedding planners, both local and around the US. Katine Laines of Katie Laines Design and Coordination sent me the two right photos. They are an awesome planning service in the Bay Area. They do amazing work, as well as recommend my save the dates to dog loving couples.

Overeasy Events, another amazing planning service in Florida, wrote a great blog on many ways to include your dog in your wedding, whether or not they’ll be there on the actual day. Click here to check it out!

In the next coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing Overeasy Events on more awesome tips and tricks to include your dog(s), so stay tuned! And soak in all this amazing wedding inspo!


Custom portrait I did of @ohmydoggies adorable trio!

Are there certain IG accounts you just love? Whenever they post something new, you immediately like/comment/look at their stories? Well, @ohmydoggies is that account. Their photos are ADORABLE. I can’t take the cuteness! They feature their three dogs: Frances, Sting & Dexter, both Boston Terriers, and Dexter, a Pitt mix.

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing photographer behind @ohmydoggies! Here, I’ll be asking them how they developed their love of Boston Terriers, how they started their insta, and how the heck do they get their adorable dogs to pose so well?! I hope you enjoy!

First off, how did your love of Boston Terrier’s come about? What makes you love the breed?

I had always owned large breed dogs. I lost my 10 yr old Dalmatian in late 2008. I really wanted to experience a small, lap dog, so I narrowed it down to a Frenchie, a Boston, pug or a mini red poodle. I chose a Boston because they seemed to shed very little, and my husband didn’t want a poodle. I couldn’t have picked a more perfect breed for our family! They can be playful adventurers or Netflix potatoes. They are affectionate, friendly and intelligent. Plus, I love that they don’t bark all that much.

When did you create @ohmydoggies? How did you come up with the name?

I am an IG OG (Instagram Original Gangster)! I first began using this new, little app called Instagram for photo filter purposes only. One day, in 2012, I used a hashtag on a picture walking my first two Bostons, and received some likes from strangers. I thought, “That was fun, let’s see if it works again”. Those were the good old days, (when) Facebook didn’t own the app, and there weren’t a lot a lot of people on the app and the community feeling was incredible. Most dog accounts knew all of the other dog accounts. It wasn’t competitive and everything was in chronological order. So much FUN! No one had any idea it would become so big one day. My original name was @ohmydog09 for the year my first Boston was born. No one could remember the “09” so I changed the name to @ohmydoggies in 2013 or 2014.

Tell us a bit about why you started it, and who the adorable dogs are that are the subject of all your instagram posts!

I purchased my first Boston in May 2009 after MONTHS of endless searching for a female puppy. I found a little girl named Emmie that was born in March 2009 to a show dog breeder in Texas. I asked to be put on a waiting list even though I understood my chances were slim to none. I was obsessed with her and checked every week for the new photo update and progress report. Long story short, she ended up being mine. We drove six hours from Wichita, Kansas to Dallas, TX to pick her up. She was litter box trained and used her box about 6 times on the long drive home. I know it sounds silly but I was already deeply in love before we arrived home that evening. I kept her original name because that’s how I knew her for so many months on the internet. She was the smartest, fastest and sweetest dog I have ever owned. She could learn a new trick in about 5 minutes. I loved her so much I adopted her four year old, retired champion daddy, Skyler, nine months later in 2010.  

Emmie died in Dec 2013, at the age of 4 from kidney disease. I was devastated. The breeder had a 6 month old male puppy she offered me since she felt terrible about my loss. I initially said no because I had never owned a male dog and heard so many things about them urinating in the house. I went to bed that night and dreamed about this puppy, who I had seen in photos. I decided I wanted him. So, the day after Christmas, 12 days after losing Emmie, we got in our car and drove to Dallas. They were having a rare snow storm and the breeder wanted to cancel the puppy exchange since she had to drive a couple of hours as well. I was like “Noooooo, we are coming!”

We probably saw about 10 cars in ditches along the highway. This is where our IG story really begins, the puppy was Memo, Skyler’s great nephew. I started photographing him that weekend. He literally grew up in front of the camera. Even though he was a willing and excited participant, he always had a bored, sleepy expression with a sliver of tongue peeking out which made for some great photos! We started winning photo contests in 2014 and our account started growing.

In 2014, I received a message from the breeder’s daughter. Memo’s 1.5 yr old half sister, “Chanel” didn’t like the show ring so they wanted to place her in my home. Chanel and Memo were very close in age and even played together as puppies. I didn’t hesitate for a second even though I had never owned 3 dogs and wasn’t sure if I could handle it. I changed her name to Frances, aka Frankie. This was the best trio imaginable, (Skyler, Memo & Frances) they must have somehow known they were related. They were so in love, and they did everything together. It was easier than I anticipated and I was so happy for all the joy they brought to our family. 

Memo passed unexpectedly in Feb 2017. (It took almost a year for those tears to subside. I wanted briefly to delete my IG account. Thank God I didn’t because of all the memories) In May 2017, I was in a pet store buying some dog treats. They were hosting an adoption event for rescued dogs pulled from a kill-shelter. I spotted handsome, owner-surrendered, blue eyed Dexter and the rest is history. My husband kept telling me, “You are grieving Memo. This is going to be such a big dog, are you sure?” I was crying every day about losing a second dog so young. Memo was like my boyfriend or child. He was irreplaceable but I wanted to save this baby dinosaur that I couldn’t stop hugging and smelling. It took a week for baby Dexter to join our family and he still smells good to this day!
I decided Frances needed another small dog since the size difference was not really working between her and Dex except for nap time. So, that’s when Sting joined our family in 2018. Dexter and Sting bonded on day two. It took Frankie a little longer since she isn’t a fan of needle teeth!

How do you get them to pose? Do they enjoy wearing costumes?

Dexter, Stinger, and Frances

 My pups love taking pictures, they know it makes me happy. All dogs like “working’ or doing a job. Mine receive lots of yummy treats, hugs and praise. Any time I go downstairs, they run ahead of me and go to the studio and wait for me on a bench. So cute! And they don’t mind wearing hats, glasses or clothing. It is all normal for them.

Do you try to get them to pose a certain way or just let them naturally do their thing and capture the “magic” that way?

I always have a general idea in my head for a photo. I put them in position, set the camera to continuous shooting and let them do their thing. My current goal is to take less photos, but still get the shot and save the number of clicks on my camera, which wears it out and decreases its value.

How do you come up with the ideas for each photo? How long does it take on average, to get them set up and the photo taken?

There are so many things that inspire me; a quote, a song lyric, a prop, holiday or artwork. I can usually set up my background paper, the lights and props in 5 minutes. I try not to have the dogs there for the setup so they don’t become bored. But, they are so super excited at this point and are underfoot! A pro, like 2 yr old Dexter, takes about 2-5 mins to get the photo I want. And 5 yr old Boston Frances is the BEST. She actually understands and is incredibly patient. She will wait until I “release” her. She always wants to continue and I have actually turned the lights off on her and she still doesn’t want to leave the studio. She is REALLY food driven and I always have to watch her weight.

Stinger takes a little longer to photograph, 5-10 minutes because doesn’t know the “hold” or “stay” command as well. He always leaves his spot to come see me and the bag of treats! I am a little bit of a perfectionist so editing takes the longest of the entire process.

Show me your favorite photos you’ve recently taken and why.

Skyler, this boy couldn’t take a bad photo. He had the most expressive, puppy dog eyes. He didn’t enjoy the process towards the end, so he was retired around age 11. 

Emmie looks so regal and arrogant in her pearls. This is everything I love about Boston Terrier faces. 

Memo… Where do I start? This boy was my heart dog and my muse, so hard to choose only one photo of him.

Frances, my little girl, was too afraid to get in side of this tote. I put her behind it instead and she peeked over the top giving the illusion she was in the bag. Brilliant girl! 

Dexter in his Top Gun impersonation is probably my all time favorite photo. He looks like a human!

Stinger in his first puppy crown photo is amazing. When my family helps me take a photo, I always feel like they are my best ones.

What camera do you use?

My early photos were with an iPhone or Canon t4i. In 2017, I upgraded to a Canon 6d MarkII body and I use mostly my 35mm or 50mm prime lenses

You showcase a lot of cool products throughout your instagram. What are some products you’d recommend, not only for any dog lover, but especially Boston Terriers?

A product I am super obsessed with right now is custom, hand painted wooden ID dog tags from Poland, @moontailstag. I have one for each of my dogs and they are truly miniature works of art. 

It’s great how easily Dexter fits in well with your Bostons, Frances and Stinger. Did he immediately bond with them or did it take awhile?

It didn’t take any time for Dexter to bond with the Bostons. He loves all dogs since he has been going to doggy daycare since he was 4 months old. He is very gentle and sweet with puppies. Frances is very small so she is always nervous of getting trampled by Dexter (and Stinger)!

What instagram your followers should check out?

There are SO many wonderful IG accounts and I love them all for different reasons. Here are a few of my faves: @Totolino_16 is such a happy bright account with very creative content. I love for his one of a kind photography skills. One of my friends has a new Frenchie puppy and he’s absolutely addicting, @theodore_jetadore. And @misstyflower, because who doesn’t love a trio of capuchins?!

What are your dog’s favorite daily activities?

Sting and Dex wrestle every night inside and play chase or ball outside. They all three enjoy going on a walk. Frances is a couch potato. 

Tell me one cool fact about each dog.

Stinger is the alpha of the house, Dexter doesn’t know he is bigger and stronger which is probably a good thing! lol Dexter loves eating ice. Frankie “snake-bites” her the edge of her dog bed while she sleeps. There is always a wet spot! 

What are 1-3 important things someone needs to consider before starting an instagram or other social media account featuring their dogs?

I would tell anyone starting a new IG account that the most important thing is lighting. It makes such a difference between an okay photo and a great one! You don’t need a fancy camera to take good pics, just a smartphone and a large window with natural light flooding the room. Get on doggy eye level, don’t stand and shoot down towards the dog. Lay on the floor if you have to!     

What do you hope to accomplish in 2019, that you haven’t already with @ohmydoggies?

My goals for 2019: I want to cure Stinger of his poop eating problem, fingers crossed. I also want to learn Photoshop in 2019 so I can edit out leashes etc. I want to continue licensing my images of my sweet pups to be sold on postcards and magnets in Europe. Nothing makes me happier when someone DMs saying they received a birthday card of Frances and they recognized her from IG! 

Photos are copyrighted and posted with permission of @ohmydoggies. Please do not repost without permission. Content edited for clarity and length.

Dog Breed Gift Guide: Gifts for the Great Dane Lover

I am obsessed with Great Danes. With a combination of their tall, lanky bodies and their lovable faces make them “Gentle Giants” (They can weight up to 175 pounds!) They are known to be incredibly affectionate, dependable, and patient. People love them so much, they even get a bigger apartment so their Great Dane can fit!

The only downside is because they are such large dogs, they only live for about 6 years. Maybe 8 if you’re lucky. The larger the dog is, the shorter their life span.

But it doesn’t stop us from loving these gentle “Beasts”! So this week we are rounding up some of our favorite gifts for Great Dane Lovers!

Great Dane Magnet, $6.99 from Etsy
A cute play on their enormous size. Where are you sitting?

Art Prints

Great Dane Art Print, starting at $10.82, from Etsy.
This pop-art styled print will look great in any room.

Wedding Topper


Great Dane Cake Topper, starting at $17.51 from Etsy.
Getting married soon? This is a great way to incorporate your favorite pooch! Once the cake is eaten, put it on a shelf for a memorable keepsake.

Great Dane Ornament, $12.00 from Etsy.
Great for Christmas trees, but during the off-season, hang it along a short wall or on a keychain.



Great Dane T-Shirt, $23.95 from Etsy.
I mean, true. It’s just on a t-shirt.

Great Dane Mug, $19.99, from Etsy.
Because you can never have enough stuff with Great Danes on it.

Awesome Hats

Great Dane Ball cap, 12.74, from Etsy
Show your love of this breed while keeping your face protected. Comes in a variety of colors.


Great Dane Personalized Stationery, $24.00 and up (Depending on number of cards) from Etsy
You’ll always have stylish thank you notes to send!

That’s all for this week! Are there any other awesome gifts you’ve given to Great Dane lovers? Sound off in the comments below!

Also, what breed would you like me to do next? My goal is to get all of them, so let me know! Yours could be next!

To find out more great gift guides for other dog breeds, click here.


Hello, dog lovers!

Well, it’s nearly the weekend. Some weeks seem to slog, and go by way too sloooow. The kind where you think, “Is it really only Tuesday?!”

Other times, the days are a blur, and before you know it it’s finally time to enjoy the weekend and sleep in.

This week went by pretty fast for me…because it’s MY BIRTHDAY WEEK! My actual birthday was on Tuesday, but in my family we celebrate the WHOLE 7 DAYS. That’s right! Days of celebration. You get to choose what you want to do, without anyone complaining. It’s the best. Everyone should have a week, at least once a year, where it’s all about them.

However, I’m going to give some of my celebration to you, my awesome dog-loving readers! I am offering a fun birthday GIVEAWAY! WOOHOO! I can hear you cheering now, I swear.

You could win one of my favorite products…

A “Life is ALWAYS Better With A Dog” tote bag! I love this so much. It’s high quality canvas, it carries practically everything I need when running errands, and I get tons of compliments.

Blank vibrant pastel colored split tone background

So, how do you enter the giveaway and WIN this bag?! All you have to do is:

  1. Comment below with your name, and what you would use this bag for (errands, carrying your dog’s endless toy supply, etc. be creative!)
  2. For extra bonus entry, copy this blog link and tweet it! Be sure to tag me in the post so I can see it (@saccostudios)

That’s it! Giveaway ends Tuesday, April 16th. Happy week everyone!

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