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15 ways to take the best pet paw-traits

Full disclosure: Waldo and Salsa are used to fawning photographer entourages every single day – because we can’t get enough of Waldo’s bluey freckles or Salsa’s little mo. How about your four-legged friend? Smiling, running, cuddling, hiding, jumping, snoozing—how many of these types of images have you captured of your beloved pet? Pets are integral Read More...

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Full disclosure: Waldo and Salsa are used to fawning photographer entourages every single day – because we can’t get enough of Waldo’s bluey freckles or Salsa’s little mo. How about your four-legged friend? Smiling, running, cuddling, hiding, jumping, snoozing—how many of these types of images have you captured of your beloved pet? Pets are integral members of a family, and it’s no surprise that animal owners take countless pictures of their four-legged friends to share with their family, friends, and fellow animal lovers. 

Make your pet’s images stand out from the pack by following these 15 quick and easy photography tips. No matter what mood he’s in, what he’s up to, or where he’s currently at, you can capture him in his best form with a simple camera, a few adjustments, and loads of creativity. Trying these tips and tricks will produce beautiful paw-traits that will serve as lasting mementos of your pet.

1 Take pictures when he’s in the mood

The quickest way to produce the best pet photos is figuring out when your pet is most sociable. It could be just before his first meal, right after one of her relaxing cat naps, or as he eagerly greets you when you come home from work. Study your pet’s regular schedule, and in it, you’ll find pockets of opportunities for gorgeous photos.

If you’re really set on taking photos on a particular time or day, make the experience a fun one for your pet by rewarding him with toys and treats once you get your ideal shots.

A kiss on the nose is definitely one sign of cat affection

2 Make use of natural light

Use the sun’s glorious rays to add a shiny sheen to your pet’s fur, coat, or hair. The best time to shoot when you’re outdoors is a few hours after sunrise or before sunset (also called the golden hour). Shooting midday would cast harsh shadows on your pet’s face or body. When you’re indoors, you can add a healthy glow to your pet by opening your shade or window to let natural light stream in.

The sunlight gives this rabbit’s body a warm, healthy glow

3 Bring him to his favourite place

Get ready to see pure bliss on your pet’s face once you take him to his favourite spot, whether it’s by the sea or at the neighbourhood bark park. Give him a chance to run around and explore the spot, and when he’s settled down, start snapping. Be sure to include the background to give more context to the photo.

This happy pooch can’t get enough of the sun, sand, and surf

4 Sink down to his level 

Sit on the floor or go down on all fours to capture your pet at a closer and more intimate level. Do a bit of stretching beforehand, so your muscles don’t cramp up as you sustain that low or awkward position. When you’re ready, move down in a silent and unrushed manner so as not to startle him. You’ll be rewarded with a glimpse of the world through your pet’s point of view, and a stunning direct gaze to boot!

Let the staring contest begin

5 Let him experience something new

A new flavor, a new season, a new toy—all of these can elicit candid reactions from your pet depending on how much he enjoys or dislikes it. Watch his reaction as his paws step over a fresh pile of frozen snow or how he sniffs and licks a homemade treat you baked just for him. 

A smattering of snow adds character to this dog’s face

6 Catch him in his relaxed state

Some animals aren’t keen on people invading their personal space or weird objects (i.e. your mobile phone or digital SLR) thrusted at their face. Make your pet feel comfortable by acquainting him with your camera and letting him feel that you’re just there to enjoy the moment. Refrain from over-exciting him with toys or calling out his name repeatedly. This way, you can capture him at his most languorous state. Watch for slow blinking, relaxed ears, tongue lolling, purring, lying down, stretching, kneading, and/or sleeping.

A cat’s flexible body has inspired some yoga moves

7 Show off what makes him special

Zone in on what makes your pet unusual. Is it his striped fur, her two distinctly coloured eyes, or his extra paw pad? Take pictures of it in varying angles and in different backgrounds to make this trait stand out!

The striped black and brown hair of this guinea pig pops out against the green grass

8 Clean up the setting 

The background also adds to the overall composition of your paw-trait. Before shooting your pet at home, tidy up the area and remove unnecessary objects (no one wants to see a dirty sock next to your pet!). You can choose to include home elements to liven up the space, but make sure they’re pet-friendly. You wouldn’t want your pet to accidentally munch on a poisonous plant!

A white wall and potted plant are all this kitty needs

9 Let him interact with his best friend

Add another animal to the mix and see how playful or sweet your pet gets. The two may engage in playful nips and run circles around each other (until one of them eventually gets tired) or they may opt to sniff each other and sit side by side (a prime photo opportunity!). Whichever the case, make sure the animal is someone your pet is already in great terms with. If your pet and his fur friend are known to be highly active playmates, it’s best to use your camera’s action or burst mode to capture their fun moments together. 

Double Fido’s fun with game of tag with his best fur friend

10 Dress him up 

Take advantage of special seasons or celebratory events to jazz up your pet’s look. You can make use of simple outdoor elements such as freshly picked leaves or flowers to level up your pet’s style quotient, or go full-on costume designer and set decorator in time for his birthday!

A branch of leaves shows spring has sprung
Go all out for your pet’s birthday with gifts, treats, and decors

11 Capture his changing moods

Go beyond the usual happy paw-traits and try capturing your pet when he’s bashful, pensive, or even annoyed. Clue in on his current emotion by observing the way his ears, eyes, and mouth appear, where he places his paws, and his other body movements.

This puppy is feeling shy for the camera

12 Frame him in a unique way

Instead of taking your pet’s photo in front of a plain wall, make use of his favourite nooks and crannies to show different perspectives. Capture your new pup inside his doghouse or let your cat play hide-and-seek with you through her cat tree enclosure. You can also frame your pet using paper boxes, wooden gates, window sills, and more!

Peek-a-boo, he sees you

13 Let him be with his choice hooman

Bring out the big guns by placing your pet next to his all-time favourite human. Expect to generate a lot of warm, fuzzy feelings as you capture their tender moments together. After you take enough pictures, you’re more than welcome to join in on the snugglefest.

Somebunny loves your kid, and it shows

14 Make use of textures and colours

Zoom in on your furbaby when he’s wrapped in a bright-coloured blanket, casually lounging on a textured rug, or standing on a heavily patterned tile floor. The different tints, textures, prints, and designs will be a welcome contrast to his hair colour.

The pink blanket contrasts with kitty’s white fur (but matches her nose and ears!)

15 Tell a story

Join your pet for a fun self-portrait. Instead of simply taking a selfie (a cop-out, in our opinion), take it to the next level and shoot it from a different angle (try taking a picture from a higher angle) and with accompanying props. The result would be something that you would want to print, frame, and display for everyone to see.

Just another day at the park

Which pet photography techniques work best for your pet? Let us know by sharing your comments below!

Pet Adoption Tails: Michelle Calasanz and Apricot

Manila-based Michelle Calasanz is a Theta Healer, and a certified plant and kitty lover. She has rescued and fostered strays all her life, and fondly shares two of her most memorable cat adoptions with Waldo’s Friends: Cocoa Banana (a brown Persian – British Shorthair mix who was with her for 16 years and passed away Read More...

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Michelle and Apricot

Manila-based Michelle Calasanz is a Theta Healer, and a certified plant and kitty lover. She has rescued and fostered strays all her life, and fondly shares two of her most memorable cat adoptions with Waldo’s Friends: Cocoa Banana (a brown Persian – British Shorthair mix who was with her for 16 years and passed away in December 2017) and Apricot Pineapple-Locklear (a year-old puspin she recently adopted last April).

Waldo’s Friends (WF): How did you get into animal rescue as a child?

Michelle Calasanz (MC): I’ve been rescuing cats since I was a child. We are a family of cat lovers, and rescuing is an activity we grew up with. If we rescued a cat, it would automatically be ours. I remember we had 29 cats at one point! 

Once, my family and I heard non-stop meowing coming from somewhere. After many hours, we finally found a kitten inside a plastic bag that was inside a garbage bin. We named her Lagro, which was short for Milagro (which means miracle). She went on to live a long life and have kittens of her own. 

I’ve had good experiences rescuing animals, but also traumatic ones. I’ve rescued so many cats that I don’t even remember all of them. There have been many deaths, but the most traumatic ones involve me leaving or abandoning cats behind. Once, when I was around 10, I was walking home from school and I picked up a tri-coloured kitten with either a head injury or worms on her head. We had her for a week, and I named her Mew-Kit. For reasons I don’t remember, my mom told me to return her where I found her. I cried the entire time. 

Also, a few years later, we had to move to a condo. We didn’t know how to rehome the cats we had at that time, so we abandoned them. I was young, and we were inexperienced in these things. It wasn’t until I was older when the thought of bringing a cat to a vet or rehoming them became a thought. It traumatised me so much that I vowed never to abandon a cat again.

WF: How did you come to adopt your two pets?

MC: I adopted Cocoa Banana when I was only 18 years old. I was depressed at the time, and we didn’t have any cats in or out of our house. My psychiatrist told my mom that I should have a cat again, so despite the “no cats in the house” rule that my mom implemented at the time, we adopted Cocoa from my cousin, in order to save me. He was a tiny, flea-ridden brown rat (yes, rat), and my brother Simon and I had to carefully remove his fleas one by one (we didn’t know about flea treatments back then).

Cocoa’s first day at home

MC: As for Apricot, my best friend/roommate Dennis and I were just wandering about Bonifacio Global City when we came across Pet Week outside the Central Square area. We passed by the Cats of Manila adoption booth simply to “inspect” the “children” (yes, we call cats children). Our eyes immediately went to Apricot, even if I have an affinity for calicos.

Out of the blue, Dennis said, “Let’s adopt her.” We lost two children within a few months of each other, and we were left with only one cat at home. It was weird because I am usually given a cat or I rescue one, but something in me said yes. We immediately inquired with Cats of Manila on how to adopt Apricot. 

We were told that she was already reserved, but they interviewed us anyway. I gave her the name on the spot too! Dennis has a way of speaking and charming people, especially when talking about animals, and I honestly think HE is the reason we got chosen to be Apricot’s parents.

Apricot’s first day at home

WF: Were there any hardships that came with adopting Cocoa and Apricot?

MC: Aside from dealing with his fleas, Cocoa was an active, ankle-biting cat. Before his first birthday, he got sick and remained a sickly child for 16 years of his life. He had to visit the vet at least once or twice a year.

Meanwhile, getting chosen to adopt Apricot was easy. When we came back to the adoption booth that same evening, we were told that we were chosen. Yipee! The first three days was the adjustment period. Apricot was skittish and paranoid, but she was always headbutting us and asking for belly rubs. She met our resident queen, Ongina, and it took them a few days to “tolerate” each other. Oniga is a 10-year-old orange fluffy Persian who prefers cats with breeding (she’s such a snob!). In rare occasions, she and Apricot have sniffed and played with each other.

Apricot is still young, so she sometimes likes to play or be noisy when I have clients at home for sessions.

WF: What would you say makes your adopted pets unique?

MC: Cocoa was my son. My shadow. My best friend. My anti-depressant. He would wake me up every morning by jumping on my chest and suckling my fingers. He would lay on my hands as I typed on a keyboard. He would sit beside me when I was feeling upset. He was my only cat who loved being carried like a baby.

Cocoa adored being carried around

MC: Apricot was the most popular in the adoption booth because of her white coat and different eye colors. She’s lived most of her life in the streets, so that’s something she still has in her. In the beginning, she loved hanging out on dustpans and brooms, and licking garbage bins—thank God she outgrew that phase!

Apricot and her stunning set of eyes

MC: Though Apricot is very sweet, she strangely likes Dennis more than me. I think she knows Ongina is “mine,” so she claims Dennis as “hers.” She loves to headbutt and flop on the floor to ask for belly rubs. She cries loudly when she realizes she’s alone in the flat (I take Ongina out for walks in the corridor), but she’s afraid of going out. I guess she’s still traumatised from being a street cat. 

Apricot loves playing with her feather toy, sleeping on the bed with us, and snuggling while watching Netflix. She loves to “help” me when I do my gardening. When we rescued Oswald Wineburger on June 30, Apricot immediately took him in as her own. She became his mother while he was with us.

Oswald and Apricot

MC: We rescued Oswald right before the heavy rains poured over the tree where we found him. It was supposed to be a quick bathe, feed, then release operation, but it rained non-stop. By the time the rain stopped, it would have been cruel to release him when he got accustomed to indoor living. 
 
Apricot herself was a trap-neuter-release project (when her captors decided not to release her, and give her up for adoption instead). In fact, she was pregnant when she got captured. The babies were aborted, but her motherly instincts remained. She immediately took Ossie under her wing, bathed him, played with him, and basically made him feel at home. We had him for nearly two months.

WF: Speaking of Oswald, how did you get into fostering cats?

MC: When I moved out into my own place (a studio-type unit), I realized I couldn’t keep too many cats inside, so that’s when I started fostering. I foster the cats that I would rescue myself. Oswald, who just got adopted recently, was a male kitten and LOVED to play. I had to tire him out before a client arrived, or else it would be a disaster.  

The bad thing about this though is how Ongina (and other cats before her like Cocoa) react to a new kitten in the house. Ongina needed to visit a vet because she got herself sick to protest the new cat. Because of this, I am unsure I can rescue/foster again unless I move to a bigger unit with more rooms.

Cocoa was everyone’s favorite grandpaw

WF: Any interesting anecdotes you can share about your adopted pets?

MC: I remember the neighbourhood kids used to call Cocoa a monster. They weren’t used to cats of that breed, and because of Cocoa’s size and colour. They would yell to each other to run whenever they’d see him.

WF: Aside from Cocoa and Apricot, do you have other memorable rescue stories over the years?

MC: Back in 2015, I had an ectopic pregnancy. During this time, there was an outside cat we would feed, who was also pregnant. She eventually gave birth and became the best mother ever. Then I had my surgery, and when I came back from the hospital, mother cat was gone and abandoned her five kittens. We rescued all five of them, and this picture (below) shows Dennis feeding them with a syringe. I lost my baby, but the mother cat gave up hers to fill the void in my heart.

Feeding time with Dad

WF: How do you come up with unique names for your pets?

MC: Apricot was a name of a cat from Neko Atsume. When I played the game, I knew I wanted to name a cat Apricot someday. Locklear happened because I watched The Dirt. Pineapple was Dennis’s idea. Ongina is a Banana-Locklear, but she and Ongina seemed so different, so we decided to create a different kingdom, the Pineapple-Locklear kingdom.

Inspiration just hits me, and it’s usually food-related names and usually doesn’t match their actual fur color. Sometimes, it’s inspiration from an anime, series, or a Japanese boyband. Some examples include Cocoa Banana, Raspberry Brownie Banana, Strawberry Panty Sr., Raisin Bread, Jelly Pop, Tohoshinki Mango Kun/Tart, Ginger Toast, Cherry Lollipop, Chewie Yogurt, Belladandy, Sakorako, and Sakuragi.

WF: What’s the best pet parenting tip you can give to fellow animal owners?

MC: Research, ask, watch YouTube videos, and NEVER ASSUME. When in doubt, go to the vet!

WF: Why would you encourage adopting animals?

MC: For people thinking of adopting a rescue animal, I’d say give it a shot. Besides, most adoption centers will take the animal back in if it is a “wrong match.” There are so many animals in need of help. If we have the space and resources, it would mean the world to them to have a furever home. 

Personally, it was Cocoa Banana who helped me overcome my depression and anorexia many, many years ago (with the help of family and friends, of course!). Cats may be aloof and jerks, but when you are sad and lonely, they DO care.

To see more of Apricot, follow Michelle’s Instagram account.

Do you know of an interesting pet adoption story? Share your suggestion with us by commenting below!

Pet adoption tails: Chat Padla and Spike

Former preschool teacher Chat Padla is the proud paw-rent of two dogs. One fateful day in August, she came across an aspin [short for Asong Pinoy or Philippine dog] while taking her pooches out for their daily walk. Next thing she knew, she was walking home with a two-year-old stray dog in tow. Chat shares Read More...

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Former preschool teacher Chat Padla is the proud paw-rent of two dogs. One fateful day in August, she came across an aspin [short for Asong Pinoy or Philippine dog] while taking her pooches out for their daily walk. Next thing she knew, she was walking home with a two-year-old stray dog in tow. Chat shares Spike’s adoption story and how he became a happy domesticated pet. 

Waldo’s Friends (WF): How did you come to adopt Spike?

Chat Padla (CP): I was walking Jeter (my one-year-old Jack Russell) and Charlie (my one-year-old Beagle) around the neighbourhood park a few weeks ago. We came across Spike walking by himself just outside the park. My dogs were curious and so was he, so they started sniffing each other. 

Jeter can be walked off leash so I took off his leash, looped the leash, and tried to put it around Spike’s neck (it’s something I learned from watching Hope For Paws videos on YouTube. Hahaha!). It took me a few minutes because Spike kept dodging the leash, but he didn’t run away. When I finally got it around him, we took him home. 

WF: What were the initial challenges you had to face with Spike?

CP: Spike was pretty scared of everything at first. He didn’t want to come inside our building. He didn’t want to get inside the elevator. He didn’t know how to eat out of a food bowl. He didn’t know what dog beds were for. He cried a little on his first night with us (which I could only assume was because he wasn’t used to being inside), but he slept like a log that first night. I put him on the bed then he figured out that it was for resting. He slept through the noise of my dogs and the TV that first night. 

I took him to the vet the next day for his shots and to have him neutered. He stayed the night so the doctors could observe him. The next day, I took him home and he’s been with us since. Just recently though, I found out that our building only allows two pets per unit. So now he’ll be living with my parents.

Spike on the day he arrived and the day after his vet check-up (look at that smile!)

CP: Now, the challenge for us is how to discipline him. He’s actually a very good boy, and remarkably, he’s potty trained. However, he can get really rowdy and rough when he plays with the other dogs. Even if we call his name (he still doesn’t know that Spike is his name) or make a really loud noise, he’ll only stop for a second then continue playing. He and Charlie have had to be physically separated. 

Another challenge we’re currently facing is his habit of getting on the couch. He learned to jump on the couch because my dogs are allowed to do that in our house, but in my parents’ house, it’s not allowed. So now we’re trying to get him to unlearn that and have to transfer him to his bed instead when he tries to nap on the couch.

WF: Do you have previous experience with animals and/or pet rescue? How did this affect your decision to adopt him?

CP: I’ve never really personally adopted, but my parents have adopted pets before. They would be given unwanted puppies and they would raise them. The cats that would come inside their house would never leave anymore—they basically became pets too! My dad kind of believes that animals and pets bring luck. We’ve always had animals in the house ever since I was a kid. I don’t ever recall a time that we didn’t have at least one pet in the house. 

At the moment, my parents have a rescue dog named Riley. Spike’s been doing well at their place and playing with Riley almost exclusively.

WF: Before Spike moved in with your parents, how did your two dogs react to Spike living at home?

CP: Charlie and Jeter were pretty excited about having a new playmate. They were as much a part of the whole adoption story as I am. They were basically the reason that I got Spike. Another person who regularly walked his dog in the same area told me that the park guards have been trying to catch him for weeks, but he would keep running away. It was my dogs that attracted Spike to come to us. 

From day one, they’ve been playing and getting into trouble together. My dogs taught Spike how to be a dog. It was them that taught Spike how to eat and drink out of a bowl. (Spike used to drink from little puddles on the ground and it broke my heart!) They taught him how to play with toys, how to climb the couch, how to climb the bed—everything. It can be said that Spike was a better behaved boy before he met Charlie and Jeter. Now they like to get into all sorts of trouble like snatching socks from the hamper and kicking at the dog food box when they’re hungry.

The three rascals: Spike, Jeter, and Charlie

WF: What would you say makes Spike unique?

CP: He seems to be afraid of the rain, which is a problem when we have to go out for our walks. I get a little stressed because I know he’s holding his pee and poo in. He’ll happily go for walks when the ground is dry. But now that it’s been raining, we have to squeeze in their walks before it starts pouring.

As we go on our walks, I find it funny when some people recognize him and say how handsome he’s become. They would stop and I could hear them whispering, “Isn’t that the stray dog we saw last week? He looks so different!”

WF: What’s the best pet parenting tip you can give for first-time animal owners?

CP: Patience. You’re gonna need a lot of that. They’re gonna pee, poo, and break a lot of stuff (especially puppies) before you start seeing results. Be consistent when you train them for faster results. Food, love, and treats are the best for training, not punishment. Dogs naturally want to please you, so take advantage of that. 

All your pet really wants is love and attention. They don’t need fancy stuff. A piece of paper is just as fun as an expensive toy. They can sleep on an old towel just as long as they’re with you. Also, keep their vaccines up-to-date and have them checked regularly. It’s much cheaper than having to treat a disease that’s already progressed because of negligence.

WF: Why would you personally encourage adopting animals?

CP: There are so many unwanted animals that are suffering because they have no one to take care of them. There are so many animals in need that are in pounds or on the streets. There are also horror stories about irresponsible breeders who only really care about making money off of poor animals. The cycle has to stop. A pure-bred dog and one from a shelter can give you the same kind of love and happiness. 

My first-time animal adoption experience has shown me how big a difference having a home has made to how Spike behaves. He used to be so stiff and anxious all the time in our house. Now he’s more relaxed, at ease, and you could see that he’s actually happy. That, in turn, has made me so happy.

WF: How has your life changed after adopting a pet?

CP: There’s always a sense of fulfillment when you know you’ve made a difference, and seeing how happy he is now is kind of a drug for me. Haha!

Do you know of an interesting pet adoption story? Share your suggestion with us by commenting below!

Pet Adoption and Rescue Tails: Soleil Santos

Growth marketer Soleil Santos is a full-time cat mom to seven rescue cats! Five years ago, her life changed after she felt compelled to save and raise three helpless kittens who had just lost their mama. Soleil shares how welcoming these kittens opened her heart and changed her life forever. Waldo’s Friends (WF): We’ve been Read More...

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Soleil with Patchi

Growth marketer Soleil Santos is a full-time cat mom to seven rescue cats! Five years ago, her life changed after she felt compelled to save and raise three helpless kittens who had just lost their mama. Soleil shares how welcoming these kittens opened her heart and changed her life forever.

Waldo’s Friends (WF): We’ve been following your adventures with Rocco, Crookie, and Walter for a while! Tell us about how they came to live with you, about their mama cat, and how you felt when you found them as kittens in your garage!

Soleil Santos (SS): When they came into my life, I was still living with my family. One day, my brothers shared with me that they saw a mama cat in our garage with kittens. My family was not fond of animals. They saw them as pests. So my brothers and I decided to take care of the mama cat in secret. We figured we can feed her so that she can feed her babies. 

One day, the mama cat just disappeared. Our fear is that she got into an accident. Some people will say that she just left her kittens, but I honestly do not believe that. You should have seen how fierce she was when she thought we were going to take her kittens away. I do not know what happened, but there was a switch inside me and I decided that I will be responsible for them from then on.

This did not go well with my family. Some family members wanted to put them in a plastic bag to throw them away like trash. That was a defining moment for me. Like a crazy person, I started shouting and threatening that I will call the police if they dare lay a finger on them. I moved out of the family house right after the incident. It wasn’t all bad though because that moment changed my family as well. They were shocked that I could feel that way about animals. Slowly, my family’s outlook changed and they were able to view animals with compassion. Now, my family has two dogs who are so well loved.

Rocco, Crookie, and Walter

WF: What was the first thing you realised that you never considered/knew of before life with cats? And what kind of adjustments did you have to make to make room for your fur-babies?

SS: I do not know if I can enumerate all the ways my life changed/is still changing because of my cats. So many things have changed. One main thing though is that my cats made me understand myself better. I didn’t really know that I could love that much! They are my husband (Jay) and my core. 

One big change was our determination to get our own house. Jay and I do not ever want to have an encore of what happened in our family house. We want a safe place for the cats. Five years after adopting them, we were finally able to provide them a home that is ours! This may sound funny to other people, but the truth is we really worked hard so that we could provide a home for our cats.

WF: How did your kittens adjust to your house and lifestyle? And what kind of adjustments did you have to make to make room for your fur-babies?

SS: Our cats adjusted well. Since they were born in our garage (technically still inside a house), they were indoor cats from the get-go. In the beginning, the apartment we moved into was quite small, so we made sure that they had a lot of vertical spaces where they could jump to/chill at. 

In terms of our lifestyle adjustment, it was more of us adjusting to living with cats. It’s similar to having a human child⁠—you have to consider them in all aspects of your daily life. One funny change though is that our cats forced us to be tidier! We cannot continue being our messy selves for fear that they may accidentally eat something that we have left lying around.

WF: What’s your top advice for new cat parents?

SS: Read the book Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat—Not a Sour Puss by Pam Johnson-Bennett. There’s a misconception that dogs and cats are quite similar and that we can take care of them in a similar way, but that is not correct. Cats have different needs and different ways of expressing themselves. When my cats were still kittens, I treated them like puppies. It was after reading this book that I found out how I could correctly take care of them.

WF: Tell us about your rescue and rehoming efforts. How do you manage to not keep adopting all the kittens you help re-home?

SS: Jay and I do not have any formal rescue center. We really are just two people trying to help animals we encounter. So far, we have been able to have five cats adopted and rehomed.

Our household though grew from three cats to seven cats. The additional four cats we have in our house right now are the cats we had trouble adopting out—some consider them unadoptable because of different challenges. For example, Patchi—our lovable black cat—was not socialised well and he used to bite people. This made it hard for us to have him adopted. Goguma, our other cat, did not have behavioral problems. However, he bonded with Patchi, and for some odd reason, he was able to socialize Patchi. Now Patchi is a well-adjusted cat who no longer bites!

WF: Could you tell us about any interactions with rescue shelters in your city? Are there any that you would recommend to any Waldo’s Friends readers from your neighbourhood?

SS: The shelters here in the Philippines like PAWS and CARA do not really accept rescues. Because the Philippines has an overwhelming population of strays, shelters are not able to accommodate every animal. What PAWS and CARA do is to empower individuals to help out in any way, like foster, organize trap-neuter-vaccinate-return efforts, and such.

Follow the adventures of Soleil and her meowsome family on Instagram.

Do you know of an interesting pet adoption story? Share your suggestion with us by commenting below!

Can Dogs Eat Raspberries?

The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Raspberries are soft, healthy fruits that your dog will enjoy snacking on. This sweet and tart fruit can come in a gamut of colours, like red, black, yellow, and purple. They contain powerful antioxidants and flavonoids that protect your dog’s body against cell damage, joint pain, and heart-related Read More...

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The short answer: Yes.

The long answer: Raspberries are soft, healthy fruits that your dog will enjoy snacking on. This sweet and tart fruit can come in a gamut of colours, like red, black, yellow, and purple. They contain powerful antioxidants and flavonoids that protect your dog’s body against cell damage, joint pain, and heart-related diseases. They’re also valuable sources of vitamins B and C.  

Raspberries can be enjoyed by both young pups and old dogs since they provide health benefits for all age groups. However, dogs should only have raspberries occasionally and in small quantities because they contain fructose that can upset their stomach or make them gain unnecessary weight. Small- to medium-sized dogs should only eat about three to six pieces in one day, while large-sized dogs can enjoy about six to 10 pieces in one day.    

How to feed raspberries to your dog: Wash the raspberries thoroughly. Take out the leaves and stems, as well as overly ripe or squished fruits. Feed the raspberries to your pet one at a time and observe how he reacts to eating them. 

Here are three ideas for raspberry treats your dog will love:

  1. Freeze unflavoured yogurt with raspberries in an ice tray, then serve a cube to your pup when it gets hot. 
  2. Raspberry pumpkin pupcakes will be a hit at your next pawty! 
  3. Make a refreshing slushed drink out of blended raspberries and pineapple.  

In summary: Raspberries can be fed to your dog as a light afternoon snack or as an occasional reward. Though they are packed with countless vitamins and nutrients, they should not be used to replace the nutrients your dog should receive from his protein-rich diet. 

References: 

Food dogs should not eat and some they should

Can Dogs Eat Raspberries?

Can Dogs Have Raspberries?

Health Benefits of Raspberries

Can Dogs Eat Sweet Potatoes?

The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Your dog will benefit from eating sweet potatoes. These starchy root vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin A (helps keep your dog’s eyes, coat, skin, muscles, and nerves healthy), vitamin C (improves your dog’s immune system), and fiber (aids in your dog’s digestion). As long as they’re not Read More...

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The short answer: Yes.

The long answer: Your dog will benefit from eating sweet potatoes. These starchy root vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin A (helps keep your dog’s eyes, coat, skin, muscles, and nerves healthy), vitamin C (improves your dog’s immune system), and fiber (aids in your dog’s digestion).

As long as they’re not cooked with harmful flavourings such as sugar, salt, or butter, sweet potatoes can be eaten by your dog regularly. They’re usually mixed into dog food or treats since they’re are gluten-free, carbohydrate-rich, and easily digestible. Owners with dogs that are diabetic, overweight, or less active should consult with their vet before incorporating sweet potatoes into their dog’s diet because of its high glycemic index.  

How to feed sweet potatoes to your dog: Wash the sweet potatoes properly. Peel off the skin before steaming, boiling, or baking them. Never feed your dog raw and unpeeled sweet potatoes. Once cooked, you can cut it up into smaller pieces, mash it, or mix it with other vegetables and protein before feeding it to your pooch.  

Here are three ideas for sweet potato treats your dog will love:

  1. Dehydrated sweet potato dog chews are tasty treats you can give as a reward.
  2. Create a holiday casserole for your dog using sweet potatoes, fruits, and kidney beans!
  3. Your dog will love the smell and taste of these sweet potato dog biscuits.

In summary: Sweet potatoes are a welcome addition to your dog’s diet. Consumed properly, they will provide your pup with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will improve his overall health. Ask your vet about how much sweet potatoes you should feed to your dog in each meal.

References: 

Food dogs should not eat and some they should

Can Dogs Eat This? The Ultimate Guide To 105 Food Items

Healthy Foods Checklist: Sweet Potatoes For Dogs

Can Dogs Eat Rice?

The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Though it’s generally okay for your dog to eat rice, choose to feed him brown rice over white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain that contains high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Meanwhile, white rice is a refined grain that has gone through a more Read More...

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The short answer: Yes.

The long answer: Though it’s generally okay for your dog to eat rice, choose to feed him brown rice over white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain that contains high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Meanwhile, white rice is a refined grain that has gone through a more rigorous process. Its bran and germ has been removed, making it less nutritious than brown rice.

There are some instances in which feeding white rice is encouraged. Some vets recommend letting your dog eat white rice with boiled chicken when he’s experiencing stomach problems such as gas, constipation, or vomiting.      

How to feed rice to your dog: Rinse the rice grains before cooking them. Boil the right amount of rice with clean water. Refrain from including cooking oils or seasonings to add flavour to your rice. Serve it to your dog warm or cold, but always cooked. Try different meats and veggies to go with the rice, and see which one your dog enjoys eating the most. 

Here are three ideas for rice treats your dog will love:

  1. Go for this nutritious meal made of brown rice, ground chicken, and veggies!
  2. Relieve your pup’s upset stomach with a trusty bowl of boiled white rice and unflavoured chicken chopped into small chunks. 
  3. Try this easy beef and veggie meal using a slow cooker.

In summary: Your dog can enjoy a satisfying bowl of cooked brown or white rice to complement his daily dose of protein and vegetables. Manganese, magnesium, and niacin are just some of the minerals and nutrients he can get from eating this filling grain. 

Speak to your veterinarian before including rice in your dog’s regular meals. You want to make sure that it’ll benefit his body in the long run.

References:

Food dogs should not eat and some they should

Toxic and Dangerous Foods Your Dogs Should Never Eat

Can Dogs Eat This? The Ultimate Guide To 105 Food Items

Can Dogs Eat Rice?

Top 20 healthy homemade dog food recipes your dog will love

Brown vs White Rice – Which Is Better For Your Health?

Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?

The short answer: No. The long answer: Pistachios are not toxic to dogs, but are best avoided for many reasons. Since this type of nut has a hard shell, jagged shape, and small size, your dog might ingest it as a whole. This could lead to choking, throat injury, or intestinal blockage.   Dogs don’t digest Read More...

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The short answer: No.

The long answer: Pistachios are not toxic to dogs, but are best avoided for many reasons. Since this type of nut has a hard shell, jagged shape, and small size, your dog might ingest it as a whole. This could lead to choking, throat injury, or intestinal blockage.  

Dogs don’t digest nuts well, and eating them on a regular basis or in large quantities in one sitting can cause gastrointestinal distress, obesity, or pancreatitis—possibly due to the high salt or phosphorus content found in them. Plus, pistachios may contain Aspergillus mold which could cause damage to your dog’s liver.  

What to do if your dog accidentally eats pistachios: If your dog eats one or two pieces, it shouldn’t be a problem. Just keep an eye on him to make sure he’s okay. 

If he consumes a considerable amount of pistachios in one sitting, observe for signs of dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and greasy stools. Look out for jaundice, lethargy, liver failure, loss of appetite, and vomiting for possible aflatoxin poisoning caused by the Aspergillus mold. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, take him to the vet immediately. 

In summary: Refrain from feeding your dog pistachios. You wouldn’t want him to grow fond of this high-protein human snack that can cause his body more harm than good. If you really feel the need to feed him nuts, go for unsalted peanuts, almonds, and cashews served without any shells. 

References:

Can Dogs Eat This? The Ultimate Guide To 105 Food Items

Pistachio Poisoning in Dogs

Can My Dog Eat Pistachios?

The Dog Owner’s Guide to Nuts and Seeds

Which Nuts are Dangerous to Dogs?

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?

The short answer: Yes, but with caution. The long answer: Asparagus is chock-full of nutrients such as vitamins C, K, and E, folate, beta-carotene, and manganese. High in fiber but low in calories, this light green vegetable can be consumed by your dog to fight against eye problems and promote healthy organ function. However, there Read More...

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The short answer: Yes, but with caution.

The long answer: Asparagus is chock-full of nutrients such as vitamins C, K, and E, folate, beta-carotene, and manganese. High in fiber but low in calories, this light green vegetable can be consumed by your dog to fight against eye problems and promote healthy organ function.

However, there are some risks involved in feeding asparagus to your dog. For one, raw asparagus may be tough for some dogs to eat, especially the younger ones. The hard stalks may be a choking hazard, they may also give him gas or cause indigestion. 

Another possible issue is that the scent of your pet’s pee will change, making him want to avoid his pee or going in his usual spot. Don’t be alarmed with the distinct, sulfur-like smell though. This is normal due to the asparagusic acid your dog flushes out, and happens to us humans when we eat asparagus as well.

How to feed asparagus to your dog: Asparagus should be served to your dog as a treat and not as a part of his regular diet. Because of the tough shoots, it is best to grill or boil them with no added seasonings or heavy sauces. Poke a fork through the shoots to check if they’re soft enough. 

Before serving asparagus to your dog, chop the shoots into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Serve him one piece and see if he’ll be able to consume it without difficulty before giving him the rest. 

Here are three ideas for asparagus treats your dog will love:

  1. Here’s a homemade dog food recipe using beef, asparagus, and peas.
  2. Add a bit of flavor to your dog’s boiled asparagus by adding a drop of olive oil or flaxseed oil. The oil will help condition his coat and skin! 
  3. Create delicious and nutritious turkey meatballs with chopped asparagus in them.

In summary: Asparagus may not be the perfect vegetable for pups who have a hard time chewing or digesting hard food. Boiling or grilling it gives your dog a chance to expand his vegetable choices and try new textures. Its high fiber content is also great for dogs who are trying to shed some weight.

References:

Can Dogs Eat This? The Ultimate Guide To 105 Food Items

Can Dogs Eat Asparagus – A Guide to Asparagus for Dogs

Is Asparagus Safe for Dogs?

Your complete puppy starter kit

Getting a new puppy home is a fun experience and as much as you prepare, one that comes with several last minute runs to the neighbourhood pet store. Most new pup parents prepare with beds, toys and kibble, but the complete puppy starter kit looks a lot longer and takes some research. Enter: our complete Read More...

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Getting a new puppy home is a fun experience and as much as you prepare, one that comes with several last minute runs to the neighbourhood pet store. Most new pup parents prepare with beds, toys and kibble, but the complete puppy starter kit looks a lot longer and takes some research. Enter: our complete DIY puppy kit to help you get started. Here are some essentials, with links to shops, that you would need to have in place long before little fluff-ball enters your home.

Please note that this list is created with a young pup in mind. Stay tuned for subsequent posts about what to keep in mind for older rescue dog starter kits.

01. Puppy carry crate

A carry crate is an essential in any pet parent household. Even if you’re not using this to fly your pup around, it’ll come in handy for vet visits and emergencies. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have one with a comfortable bed in the house – with the door open so your pup goes in and out and sees it as a comfortable safe space. This way if you ever need to use it, little pooch won’t be distressed about it. Usually, airline approved dog crates are the sturdiest of the lot and will pass muster for any transport use.

Travel crate
Quick tips to pick a crate:

  • Choose a hard-sided carrier made of rigid plastic, fiberglass, and/or welded metal mesh
  • Choose one with a solid floor
  • Choose a carrier with a secure locking system in a metal mesh door without sharp edges
  • Don’t compromise on ventilation – pick one with at least two open sides
  • Stock up on some LIVE ANIMAL stickers – purely in case of household emergencies
  • Choose one with your dog’s measurements in mind. Here’s a handy explainer from Petcratesdirect.com 

Product to buy:

02. Puppy bed

Buying a puppy bed can be confusing but ultimately depends on which school of thought you subscribe to – do you prefer buying something sturdy and expensive from the get go, or would you rather buy a cheap bed first and invest in a good one that your puppy chooses later? Either way, size is the first decision. Puppies grow very quickly and what seemed like a big bed in the beginning will become tiny quite quickly. Start by choosing where in the house this bed will sit – if it’s within the crate, then choose one that’ll fit there nicely.

Quick tips to pick a bed:

  • Make sure that the bed fits inside the crate – if a near match isn’t possible, use a washable liner mat or puppy blanket to cover the crate’s floor end-to-end
  • Consider the breed – known or predicted – when choosing a size, since the pup will likely outgrow its first bed in a few short months
  • Choose the fluff factor and colour according to your pup’s furcoat and fur colour – long hair will stick to a very plush bed, and dark hair will make any light colour bed look messy
  • Be ultra safe about how chew-friendly the bed is – don’t buy a bed if you’re unsure of the toxicity of its material
  • Look for a bed that’s washable and has a floor pillow that can be dried separately, as these beds dry a lot quicker than compact beds 
  • Choose a bed that’s warm and helps your pup gently ease into sleeping alone, away from its pack’s huddle
  • Look for a bed with support round the edges for maximum comfort


Products to buy:

03. Puppy training crate

Crate training is a great way to housebreak your new puppy, but the wrong crate can damage the best intentions. Aside from the right size (just enough for your dog to be able to stand, lie down and turn around), you’ll need to choose material and make.

Training crate
Quick tips to pick a crate:

  • While there are plastic and soft-sided crates, we recommend a metal crate because of better ventilation, durability and flexibility (wood crates can be a chewing hazard and are harder to clean)
  • If your pup is likely to grow big quickly, choose a flexible crate with room to increase your pup’s crate area
  • If space is an issue, choose a crate that’s collapsible and can be re-used for storage later
  • Choose one with a removable tray to make cleaning easier
  • Pick one with a lid, because as your pup grows it will try to escape by jumping out
  • Add a comfort toy and kong to pacify your puppy in its new living quarters

Product to buy:

04. Puppy patch or pet loo

This one’s for city pet parents, especially those living in apartment blocks or houses with small backyards. A puppy patch will become your best friend when housebreaking your new dog. It’s a great controlled training setup for your pup to understand how to ask for permission to go outside and use the facilities. It’s also handy for bad weather days and easy to clean.

Resized pet loo
Quick tips to pick a puppy patch:

  • Choose a fresh puppy patch if you’re comfortable with recurring costs. Keep in mind that these patches are made of fresh grass and can’t be rinsed out without breaking down or getting a little messy (stay tuned for our assessment of fresh puppy patches in the market)
  • Choose an artificial pet loo if you’d rather own something that’s easy to clean, with less frequent recurring costs (changing the artificial grass patch)
  • Look for one that’s easy to clean. Most pet loo containers are essentially a base with a removable tray that can be cleaned every couple of days
  • Choose a size right for your dog’s predicted growth

Product to buy:

05. Bowls, dishes and feeding mats

Your new puppy is going to need a few kitchen essentials of its own – food and water bowls, feeding mats, and outdoor collapsible bowls that make picnics and walks quite convenient. The good news is that you’re spoilt for choice. There are hundreds of bowls of different shapes, sizes and materials to choose from. We recommend combining all three uses – food, water and drip mats into one efficient and compact solution.

Resized bowls

Quick tips to pick a compact food and water dish:

  • Pick one that’s appropriate for your puppy’s size – especially the height
  • Choose a mat that’s easy to clean and doesn’t have any hard-to-get-to corners
  • Pick two separate collapsible outdoor food and water bowls for convenience
  • Choose stainless steel for easy cleaning. However, several dishwasher-friendly materials are available as well, or if aesthetics are more important to you then stoneware options work too

Product to buy:

06. Shampoo, conditioner and brush

Puppies have sensitive skin and fur, and your vet will usually advise that you don’t wash your new dog immediately, or too frequently. Look to get your vet’s guidance regarding washing supplies as well. In general, you would get hypoallergenic and gentle cleaning products, and avoid anything harsh that causes irritations or flakiness. Similarly, the right fur-coat brush would be gentle as well as effective.


Quick tips to pick shampoo, conditioner and brush:

  • Consult your vet before buying anything for sensitive skin, anything medicated or for flea and tick rinses – especially during your first visit
  • Folllow instructions regarding use, especially for leave-in or rinse products around other pets

Products to buy:

07. Puppy food and treats

Buying pet food can be quite confusing as you walk down pet food aisles and try to decipher one brand from the next. After all, what you feed your pet is an important decision. Your choices encompass dry, wet (or tinned) and fresh food – and it doesn’t stop there. As with everything critical to your growing puppy’s health, you must consult a vet to get a good initial idea about how to keep your dog healthy and fit. The tips that follow are strictly suggestions for variety and convenience.


Quick tips to pick dog food and treats:

  • Puppy dry food or kibble is packaged per puppy size and age, so look for these clearly marked on the kibble packaging
  • In order to balance dry food with the right levels of hydration, check recommended water requirements with your vet
  • Tinned food is convenient and your pup will love it mixed with the kibble, but check recommended dry to wet food ratio with your vet
  • Variety is great!
  • Different textures of treats for teething puppies is usually recommended

Products to buy:

08. Puppy supplies for the outdoors

Outdoor supplies for your puppy will range from daily use essentials like a lead, harness, collar, poop bags and a carry case to more fun stuff like a treat case, travel bowls, frisbees and balls. As a new parent, all the options may seem overwhelming, but remember to buy for functional use first and your choices will immediately begin to make sense.

Outdoor bowls
Quick tips to pick outdoor pet supplies:

  • There’s no real science to poop bags other than the size (small dogs need small bags for obvious reasons!), and environmental impact (look for biodegradable options)
  • Choose a bag carry case that attaches to the lead simply so that you never forget to carry bags for walks
  • Choose comfortable and durable collars, harnesses and leads that are size appropriate. It helps to take your puppy to the store if you’re unsure about size
  • Look for two collapsible bowls – one for food and another for water, so you don’t have to stop and clean anything mid-walk

Products to buy:

And there you have it, a starter kit that’ll help your puppy settle in without you running to the pet store every couple of hours. Stay tuned for more posts about getting your budget in order with pet insurance and puppy vet bills.

Features Photo by Daniel Wiadro on Unsplash

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