Happy International Cat Day!

posted in: Nonfiction, Our Work, Woof Trekking, Writing | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Happy International Cat Day! We have two cats that we absolutely adore and celebrate every day, not just on International Cat Day. Mac is the furry mom to Billy, a 9 year old male tabby. You can read more about him here. Billy is the definition of a mellow cat. He loves to sleep and once a day harass Izzy, our crazy Wheaten Terrier.
cat, feline, domestic shorthair
Al is the furry mom to Tyra, a 13 year old female white cat. You can read more about her here. Tyra is not a fan of other animals but loves to cuddle with Al.

We have taken both of them on road trips with us at different times in the past. Check out our book, Woof Trekking: How To Road Trip with Your Pets, where we give advice on how to travel with your favorite cat.

We recently read about a pretty cool cat. The newly elected Prime Minister of New Zealand is Jacinda Ardern and she has an awesome cat named Paddles. Paddles is unique because she has a set of crazy thumbs! She also has her own twitter account which is pretty hilarious.


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Meet Tyra (The Cat Formerly Known as Freak)

Meet Tyra (The Cat Formerly Known as Freak)

posted in: At Home, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Our book, Woof Trekking: How to Road Trip with Your Pets centers around our travels with our two dogs, Izzy and Nana, and Mac’s cat, Billy. We have talked a lot about them, here on our blog.

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However, our family also consists of another cat, Tyra. We have shown her in a couple Wordless Wednesday posts but we have never actually introduced her to our followers. Tyra is Al’s cat. They were made for each other.

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Tyra’s story began in 2004 when we saw a sign for free kittens posted on our community mailbox. At the time we had a retired racing greyhound, Mya. You would think that we would never get a cat with a greyhound already living in the house. Greyhounds are supposed predators and given an opportunity, might rip a baby kitten to pieces, however our’s did not. If anything, Tyra turned out to be more of a problem for Mya than the other way around.

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When we first brought Tyra home, Al had two thoughts 1) what did she get herself into and 2) why wasn’t this kitten normal? Tyra’s original name was not Tyra; her name for about the first year of her life was Freak. Kind of sounds mean, but it’s actually from the most excellent book, Freak the Mighty. However, the name didn’t quite fit her, so we tried other names until finally, Tyra became Tyra. She can also be referred to as TT, the white cat or ‘TY-RA!’, this last one is only used when she is doing something bad.


Tyra has always been wild; this could be due to her questionable paternity. It could have been the cat that lived with her mother or it could have been a feral Tom who roamed the neighborhood. We think she is part feral, mostly due to her territorial-ness and dislike of other animals.


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When she was younger, she was very standoffish, she didn’t want to be near any human. She liked Al, but only because she fed her. Tyra would not display any signs of affection until Al and Tyra set out to tackle the real world. When it became just the two of us, she became very affectionate, but that didn’t happen until she was eight years old. Now, since she is twelve, she is even more affectionate.

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Still, Tyra enjoys spending most of her time alone, sunbathing the day away.

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It is perhaps surprising she has lived this long since she has a terrible habit of chewing things, particularly wires. We had to buy cord covers to protect the wires after Tyra chewed Mac’s Super Nintendo power cord and ruined it. (Not bitter. Not bitter at all. ?)

When Tyra was younger, she enjoyed chewing on fabrics. Nothing was safe from a hole made by Tyra, some memorable items included a cashmere scarf, a pair of Under Armour leggings and a blanket. She continues to eat things she shouldn’t including Kleenex and toilet paper, but usually just takes one bite and then moves on to other things. Now that she’s getting to be an old lady, she can’t seem to be bothered.

tyra-2

But love is love and Al loves Tyra and Tyra loves Al. ? ?

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Valley Fever and Dogs: Facing the Desert-Dwelling Fungus Among Us

Valley Fever and Dogs: Facing the Desert-Dwelling Fungus Among Us

posted in: At Home, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Earlier this week, we talked about the dogs’ Homemade Dog Food. Now, we want to take you way back to that fateful day in 2012 when we saw Nana in the window.

When we went in to inquire about the dog that had captured our hearts, we discovered she had Valley Fever. They assured us that this was not a difficult condition to treat.

You Can't Tell Nana has Valley Fever by Looking at Her
You can’t tell Nana has Valley Fever by looking at her.

But we already knew that since our first dog, Mya, a retired racing greyhound had the same condition. Furthermore, at least two other dogs in our neighborhood also have Valley Fever.

According to Mayo Clinic, “Valley Fever is a fungal infection caused by coccidioides (kok-sid-e-OY-deze) organisms.” Valley Fever is fairly common in Arizona with 65% of all US cases occurring in our state, as reported by the CDC.

Spring at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum
Spring at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. Prime turf for the fungus that causes Valley Fever.

There is currently a vaccine in development at our alma mater, the University of Arizona, that could help prevent dogs from ever contracting Valley Fever in the first place.

The prognosis for Valley Fever in dogs can vary. Some may only need to take medication for a year, while others may be on it for life. Nana falls into the latter category.

***Consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s healthcare. This article is about our experience and is for informational purposes only.***

The treatment for Valley Fever is the antifungal medication Fluconazole. Nana has been on this medication for all four years of her life with us. It currently costs about $45 at our local compounding pharmacy. We gladly pay it because we love her so much!

However, fluconazole can cause some complications with the liver. Consequently, she takes the following additional supplements.


S Adenosyl 225 (SAMe) for MEDIUM / LARGE DOGS 225 mg


Grifron Maitake D-Fraction Professional Liquid, 2 Ounce


Nature’s Way Reishi Capsules, 100-Count

Our vet practices both conventional and holistic medicine, consequently he is 100% onboard with the use of mushrooms as supplements. He also gives Nana chiropractic and acupressure treatments every couple months for her lower back. We will blog about our experience with that later this month.

Nana’s blood work showed a vast improvement and total demeanor since we started her on the mushrooms, a healthier diet, and chiropractic treatments. We are so grateful to have our girl back, especially since we thought we might lose her last year. She is such a blessing and so is our veterinarian! If you are unsatisfied with your current veterinarian, don’t be afraid to change – it might just save your pet’s life!

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Woof Trekking Hotel Safety: Who’s Hiding Under the Bed?

Woof Trekking Hotel Safety: Who’s Hiding Under the Bed?

posted in: On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s post is an adaptation of a chapter from our new book, Woof Trekking.

woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets

Most hotels put their beds on metal boxes so nothing can go under the bed. For the most part they work, except occasionally at the head of the bed.

Sometimes the box ends before it touches the wall and leaves a cat/small dog-sized hole to crawl into. If you aren’t paying attention, your pet can end up under the bed and you can’t really get them out without a lot of time and/or coercion.

It would be wise to also take some of the extra pillows (you could use towels as an alternative) and create a blockade in front of any holes. We learned about this the hard way.

During our first Woof Trek, we would remove the leash from Billy’s harness when we arrived at the hotel. One night, we were not really paying attention and Billy found a hole we had missed at the foot of the bed.

Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 1

We tried to grab his hind end but he slipped through and ended up inside the box spring!

Hotel Safety with Pets Hiding Under the Bed 2

We tried to lure him out by calling him and shaking his treat container, but he wouldn’t come.


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We finally gave up as Billy enjoyed lording his newfound power over Mac. She left some treats by the entrance to his newfound Kat Kave.

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Eventually, Billy got bored and came out from under the bed to take the bait.

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Hearing the sound of his munching, we grabbed him, put the leash back on him, and blocked the entrance to his Kat Kave.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this adaptation from our book, Woof Trekking.

P.S. We highly recommend investing in a cat harness and leash.

woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets

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Woof Trekking: Rest Stops, Apps, and a $14.5 Million Price Tag

Woof Trekking: Rest Stops, Apps, and a $14.5 Million Price Tag

posted in: On the Road, Travel, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s post is an adaptation of a chapter from our new book, Woof Trekking.

woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets

When Woof Trekkking, some people can drive for hours and hours without stopping to use the restroom. These people must have bladders of steel. Our family does not, probably because we like to stay well hydrated while on the road.

Sometimes when you are driving along, nature can call rather abruptly and adamantly. You feel relieved when you see a rest stop is near on the roadside sign. You only have to wait a couple more minutes and then as you approach, you see it is barricaded and closed. Oh no!

We recently discovered that there is an app called USA Rest Stops that can be downloaded for free for both Apple and Android users. It relies on reporting from users, a lot like the Gas Buddy App.

Another cool app is called Trucker Path. From the name, you can tell that the app is geared more toward truckers, however, it could also be helpful to you on your Woof Trek. Besides weigh stations and large vehicle parking availability, the app also includes rest stop locations and gas stations with current prices (like Love’s and Pilot). It is also available for Android through Amazon.

As an alternative, most states have a list of rest areas online that can be found with a bit of Googling. Some sites also list whether each rest area is open or closed. If a rest stop isn’t nearby, there are always those golden arches available, as well as other restaurants or gas stations.

Most of the time we need to stop at rest stops for the human bladders amongst us. The dogs don’t get out every single time we stop. Izzy and Nana are on opposite ends of the spectrum: Nana can hold it forever, while Izzy can always squeeze out a few drops. Most rest stops have dog designated areas and many of these areas also provide small bags for pet waste. They are usually quite dependable to be free of holes. We like to take a couple each time we run into one of these stands. This way, we are always prepared. That being said, we always bring a good supply of waste bags with us, too.

One quirk about Nana is that when we are on a Woof Trek she enjoys marking her territory. She pees on significant places like prominent rocks and tree trunks. It’s like a big flashing sign, “NANA WAS HERE!”

If we have been driving for an extended period of time, everyone gets out to stretch their legs and investigate the new surroundings. There are some nice rest areas across the US. One of our favorites is in west Texas, Ward County West/East Bound and no wonder… According to the local Texas news, it came with a $14.5 million price tag! ? ? ?

 

Other nice rest areas are located in tandem with State Welcome Centers, where you can also pick up maps and brochures. One of our favorite examples of such a rest stop-welcome center combo was in Mississippi (pictured below).

rest stop

 

We hope this information helps you on your next Woof Trek!

woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets

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Woof Trekking: Anxiety and Motion Sickness (100th Post!!!)

Woof Trekking: Anxiety and Motion Sickness (100th Post!!!)

posted in: On the Road, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

First, we want to mention that this post is our 100th post on zydoyle.com! Can you believe it? We wanted to start a blog for a very long time, and we are so glad that on 12/31/2014, we finally took the plunge. Thank you all for reading our posts. We look forward to what the future has to bring! Now, on to today’s post, which is an adaptation of a chapter from our new book, Woof Trekking.

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Note: If your pets get anxiety or motion sickness when traveling, check with your veterinarian prior to giving them any medications.

Anxiety and motion sickness can be a big challenge when bringing pets on a road trip, aka Woof Trekking. Before you take your pets on a Woof Trek, we suggest taking several trips in the car around town a few weeks in advance. Then you can gauge your pet’s car riding personality. “Get your pet geared up by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car,” says the ASPCA in their great article, “Travel Safety Tips.”

When it comes to how well our pets handle Woof Trekking, they are all over the spectrum.

The Pro

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Nana has no problems on the road. She absolutely loves riding in the car. She is very good at controlling her body through twists and turns by leaning against the centrifugal force. She will crane her neck to watch the road through the front windshield. We are convinced that if she somehow acquired the necessary skills, she could drive to the park herself.

The Lightweight

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Billy, in general is very good in the car, but he does have one big problem. He gets motion sick. In the past, Billy has received a half tablet of Dramamine (Meclizine Version) on the first couple mornings of the Woof Trek, at the advice of our veterinarian.

It makes Billy pretty drowsy. We only give it to him the first couple days, because after that, he tends to have adjusted to life on the highway. The Dramamine works, but only up to a point. If the road winds back and forth, he can still get sick.

We recently changed veterinarians and he suggested switching to Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate Version) or Benadryl to help Billy with his motion sickness, but we have not yet tried either of these options. Talk with your veterinarian to decide what solutions may be appropriate if your pet is prone to motion sickness.

The Wild Card

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Izzy can get a bit anxious in the car, especially on the first day. She pants and can whine on occasion, but eventually she settles down. Like Billy, she has received Dramamine (Meclizine Version), per the advice our previous veterinarian, to help cope with this. We give her the pill about an hour before we leave, and she becomes much more mellow and less stressed. Again, we only give it for the first couple days because after that, she has adjusted to our new schedule.

ohanafamily

You might ask, if Izzy is so stressed, why not just leave her at home? We tried once in 2013. Everyone was kenneled while we attended a funeral. We were gone for four days. Nana did fine. Billy gave Mac the cold shoulder for about a week, but was otherwise fine. But while we were gone, Izzy went on a hunger strike. She can be quite sensitive and is very social. It was the first time we had ever left her behind, and it is likely to be the last. She is the type who could expire from a broken heart. So now, we never leave her behind. We are her ohana and we won’t ever forget her.

WT End of Post Feature


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Let Sleeping Cats Lie

Let Sleeping Cats Lie

posted in: At Home, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Happy #MeowMonday everyone!

Billy was being too cute this morning. He decided that Nana’s bed was the perfect spot for his morning power nap. He only recently discovered that dog beds can be a cozy retreat for cats, too.

“So comfy.”

meow monday 1

Using his spidey-sense, he caught us staring at him and taking photos of him while sleeping.

“Oh, boy! The paw-parazzi are at it again.”

meow monday 2

“Oh, hoomans. I know you love me, but please… can’t a cat get some sleep in peace?”

meow monday 3

“I really can’t be bothered. No more adorable pictures for you!”

meow monday 5

Then he fell back to sleep. Being a cat model is hard work.

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Izzy, the Wildest Dog in the West, PLUS New Book Announcement

Izzy, the Wildest Dog in the West, PLUS New Book Announcement

posted in: At Home, Scout and Malcolm, Woof Trekking | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

This month, we have introduced you to two of our five pets: Nana the Brave, and Billy the Most AMAZING Cat. Today, we are introducing our third pet, Izzy, the Wildest Dog in the West. Well, that might be an exaggeration… but only just a little bit.

You might be wondering why we have been blogging about our pets so much recently. The reason is our newest book: Woof Trekking: How to Road Trip with your Pets. Izzy is our cover girl, as you can see below!

wooftripping cover

Woof Trekking will be released 8 days from today: July 1st. It is a perfect summer vacation book. We are so excited to share all of the road tripping tips and tricks that we have picked up during our four years of trekking around the US with our pets.

But for now, let’s get back to Izzy.

Izzy is a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. We picked her up from the airport as an eight-week-old fuzzball. So cute!

izzy, dog, dogs, wheaten, soft coated wheaten terrier
8 weeks old

Izzy can get pretty wild. We think this is due to the purebred terrier aspect of her (i.e. more nature than nurture). She is very social and excitable, much more so than Nana.

izzy, dog, dogs, wheaten, soft coated wheaten terrier, terrier
4 months old

She is always “on.” According to Wikipedia, Wheatens were bred for “herding, watching and guarding livestock, and vermin hunting and killing.” When she naps, any small noise will wake her and she hops up to investigate.

She can also become overstimulated quite easily, which can cause a case of the zoomies, during which she lets out hilarious high pitched shrieks, tear around the house, and twirl around in circles.

This type of wild behavior is exactly what inspired us to write Scout and Malcolm. Izzy is Irish, like Malcolm, although he is probably four times her size. They are both purebreds, can be a little over the top, but remain completely lovable for their pure enthusiastic spirit.

izzy, dog, dogs, wheaten, soft coated wheaten terrier, terrier
11 months old. Her puppy fur grew out completely when she was about 10 months. Bye bye beautiful burnt orange. Hello Wild Wheaten.

Izzy has very expressive eyes. When she gets scared, her eyes grow wide. She takes advantage of her eyes by staring into your soul, thereby inducing you to feed her more treats. It usually works.

When you talk to her, she cocks her head as if if looking at you sideways will help her understand. Another great trick in her arsenal.

izzy, dog, dogs, wheaten, soft coated wheaten terrier, terrier
Izzy with her yogurt cup, enjoying a bit of Regis and Kelly back in December 2010.

Izzy is the polar opposite of Nana, but we love her. She is the wild one of our family and can always be depended on to bring some sort of excitement to our day.

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