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Thanksgiving in Asheville, NC

Grandbury, of 24Paws, wishing you Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our first Thanksgiving in Asheville, North Carolina was absolutely beautiful. We couldn’t let this warm and sunny day pass us by without going out to enjoy it. This is one of the things we love about our new home…the weather just beckons your outdoors to play, explore, and enjoy nature, especially with your pets.

We packed up Grandbury and even Miss Winni and headed out to the Biltmore estate. One of our first purchases here was an “Explore Biltmore Pass” so we could take Grandbury on the bike trails throughout the property. The Biltmore is super pet friendly – Grandbury is never the only dog on the premises by any measure.

Today was Winni’s first trip to the estate, and she had a great time on our walk looking at the beautiful scenery. She was mesmerized by the large trees overhead. Grandbury is an old timer at the estate now, and he just sat back and enjoyed the ride in his cart.

We stopped by “The Farm” to say hi to the resident donkey, billy goats, and chickens.

We hope you had a great day, and we want to pause a minute to say “thank you” for thinking of us when you search for great pet products and news.

All the very best from our pack to yours! We invite you to check out our gallery below by clicking on the thumbnail images and viewing the full size photos of our day.

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The Call of the Mountains

It wasn’t without trepidation that we decided to move from Illinois to North Carolina. Grandbury is no young pup at seventeen, and Winni– our house has been her world since we rescued her six years ago. We weren’t sure how the move would affect the two of them. Moving with pets, especially those with age and medical issues, can not only be complicated, but can lead to adjustment issues that may reveal themselves in behavior and health problems.

As you’ve read, we’ve traveled to the Asheville and Black Mountain areas of North Carolina many times throughout the year. We absolutely fell in love with the place. There is so much to love here. Western North Carolina is stunning to the senses, and it is one of the most pet friendly areas we’ve ever seen.

Black Mountain, NC-24Paws-

Every minute we have with Grandbury is a blessing, and we make certain to recognize it and appreciate the time we have with him. Moving to the Asheville/Black Mountain area has given us so many fun opportunities and adventures to share with him (and with you). The extended time we had with both Frosty and Tristan, as well as taking care of Grandbury as he reaches a grand old age, has been the greatest example of how short and sweet life truly is. We’ve taken these lessons to heart, and in great part, this is why we are now North Carolinians.

Grandbury of 24Paws, The Wise Dog of the Mountain

Grandbury took the move in stride, and while Winni has had some adjustments issues, is right at home now.

Photo of a cat sleeping on the back of a rocker.

We hope you’ll continue to join us on this great adventure, and remember to stop chasing your tail and get out and chase down what makes you happy.

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Buckle That Pooch Up!

Grandbury of 24Paws, wearing Doggles

You might be familiar with the “click it or ticket” campaign that reminds drivers to engage their seatbelt when driving, but what about our furry passengers who travel with us?

An average 60 pound dog riding unrestrained in a vehicle that wrecks while traveling at the rate of 30 mph can unleash 1,200 pounds of force upon impact with the windshield or other passengers in the car.

Assuming your dog makes it through a crash, he may jump out of an opened door or window and cause additional devastation as he darts through traffic, or become lost forever as he becomes confused and distraught.

We have loved traveling with our pack over the years, and boy do they have some miles on them. As Grandbury ages and encounters health issues like his large tumor, we have been forced to become creative with his restraints and have at times, had to forgo them. You know what they say, you only regret that which you didn’t do and could have prevented.

Have a great holiday, and make sure you and your beloved stick around for the next one on the calendar.

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Strolling Black Mountain with Grandbury and Winni

Grandbury and Winni met so many new friends as we strolled through Black Mountain today. Grandbury loves his new stroller. Contact us for ordering information, you’ll soon be able to order them through! This is the large stroller cart that accommodates a dog up to 110 lbs.  At 50 lbs, Grandbury fits just fine and has plenty of head room to turn around and sit comfortably.

Grandbury in his new stroller

Our 17 year old boy deserves his seat of style. Winni takes it easy too. 🙂


Winni in her backpack.


We made a stop at the Black Mountain Tailgate Market. Travelin’ with your pets? Don’t be shy, grab a leash (or your carriers or strollers) and stop in. Handmade locals items range from coffee and chocolate to plants and jewelry.

Black Market Tailgate Pet Friendly


There are so many great stores to visit when you trek downtown Black Mountain, North Carolina. Grandbury sampled some tasty treats at Bone-A-Fide Bakery & Pet Boutique. Nothin’ better than a little treat and rub for the pooch. Winni sat by wondering where her little nibble was.

Winni in her cat carrier.

One pooped pooch and kitty. We all certainly had a great time meeting everyone today. Black Mountain, North Carolina is a pet friendly community that awaits your visit.

Tired Winni and Grandbury in North Carolina.

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Cat Carriers and Car Rides – Tips For Cat Travel and Transport

Cat in carrier looking out
Photo credit: Debbie Schiel

While at Grandbury’s latest checkup, we met some great pet parents. One gentleman was greatly stressed about getting his cat into the carrier. Ernie, his sweet cat, was calmly sitting in the carrier as we all sat in the waiting area, but this wasn’t the case when it came time to prepare Ernie for the trip to the vet. This man has another cat that is much larger and much more vocal about his unhappiness about his carrier and travel in the car.

We passed along the following in the hopes that Ernie will have a better go of it when he is ready to hit the road again!

The Big Bad Carrier – Think about it, if the only time you ever saw that big plastic box or bag with mesh “windows” was when you got a shot or experienced a surgical procedure, you’d have a hard time running to hop into it too. If you want your cat to be comfortable with his carrier, you need to desensitize him to it. Here are a few tips to help you and your cat.

Leave the carrier out among the living – Get the carrier out of the closet and put it down on the floor where your cat can become more acquainted with it. Leave the door open (or remove it totally), put a favorite toy or blanket inside, and just let your cat discover the carrier in his own time. Place the carrier near a favorite lounge spot. If you happen to discover your cat inside the carrier, give him his favorite reward- a treat, a pat, or a sweet word of praise. Don’t linger long enough to make him want to leave the carrier, just praise him and be on your way. Repeat as often as necessary. Keep this up and the carrier may actually become the favorite nap spot.

Food is great motivation – Your cat has a favorite snack. Winni is crazy about asparagus, chickpeas, and pasta noodles. I know, she is a little foodie. If your cat just won’t warm up to his carrier, why not try a little coaxing instead of force? While the image of a cat howling and gripping onto the edges of their carrier as the owner attempts to force the cat into a pet carrier may elicit laughs in a cartoon, it is anything but funny if you are the scared cat or frustrated owner (like the ones in the video above).

When you are frustrated and rushed, your cat gets frustrated too. Trying to force your cat into his carrier can result in physical injury to you or the cat.

When you are ready to leave and need the cat in his carrier, try the following:  While letting your cat see you prepare it for transport, put the open carrier on the floor and line it with a soft blanket/towel. As you prepare your cat’s favorite treat, make sure he is within eye sight and can watch what you do with that yummy treat. Place the treat on a little paper plate or paper towel, and then call your pet over to the carrier (hopefully they just follow you and the yummy) and place the treat inside the carrier at the back.

Walk away. You’ll be tempted to hover, but you’ll get better results if you just ignore the cat for a minute and let him enter the carrier and go in search of the treat. Once your cat has entered the carrier, gently close it up and let him finish the treat. Now you two are ready to travel.

Make it Fun – From the cat’s perspective, the idea of leaving the house just isn’t an optimal choice. Aside from the whole carrier issue, there may be a little more behind the refusal to hit the road. If the only time that your cat ever encounters a car is when he is headed to the vet, you must understand his apprehension. The car and the carrier now represent an unpleasant precursor to a visit at the “not fun place” where one has left body parts and dignity behind.

Additionally, between the stress of being chased around the house and pushed into a carrier and the actual movement of the car, there may be a real issue of car sickness behind your pet’s hatred of all things related to leaving the home. If you can limit the stress before going on the ride, and increase the rides that you take with your cat, you may just make car rides a fun event for you and your cat. Take your cat with you when you run that quick errand to return a library book or pick up a pizza.

Most importantly, take them when you are not stressed or in a hurry to do anything. You may even need to start with a simple ride around the block. If your cat continually has car sickness, talk with your vet to determine what might be the cause.

Just to cover the bases, you might make certain that the carrier is:

Clean – Cats don’t want to ride in a yucky carrier.

Size Appropriate – The carrier you purchased for the little kitten might be too small for the big adult cat.

Safe and Ventilated – Is there a piece of metal or plastic sticking out ready to poke kitty in the eye or bum? Is there adequate ventilation?

You never know when you’ll need your cat beside you as a co-pilot. Working with your cat to make him more comfortable and safe when he travels takes time and patience for both of you. Take a breath and take your time.

Try as we might, sometimes we aren’t able to decode the unhappiness that is associated with certain items or elements of our pets’ lives. Sometimes we adopt an animal that has issues so deeply ingrained that it will take many years and more treats and tips to change those habits and feelings. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t fix all of your pets’ issues right away; the greatest minds of science still don’t understand the necessity of sleep.

This video highlights how differently individual cats can view their cat carrier.

There are lots of carriers on the market, see the links below to get you started.

How does your cat feel about his carrier? Have a tip you’d like to share?

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Headin’ to North Carolina

coloring book entry for the Eastern Box Turtle of North Carolina

We are heading out to North Carolina next week. Our trip will be a short one, but we plan on making it memorable and fun for both you and us. We are going to plot our route along an interactive map, and include photos and videos along the way so you can come along with us.

Now, Grandbury is a very seasoned traveler, but Winni, this is her first “big” trip. Hopefully he can teach her a few tricks along the way.

First things first, we are making a list and checking it twice. This is our first trip in a long time, and the needs of our gang have changed since our last journey. Do you make a list when you travel? We’ve got lots of lists going. One for our needs, one for the cat and dog, one for reminders of things that need to be done before we leave, one for things to do one our trip, and another for things to do when we return. We are lists makers. Now, if we can keep track of them all, we’ll be set.

Hope you’ll join us this week as we head out to North Carolina. Please share any tips or spots you think we need to hit.

Click on the turtle for a great coloring page!

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2010 Dog Friendly Honda Element

HondaElement emblem

We told you about the new 2010 Dog FriendlyTM Honda  Element back in April, and now we can report that you’ll be seeing it at your local dealership on November 16, 2009.


More information from the American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

The Dog Friendly equipment group is designed exclusively for the Element EX trim level and can be adapted to the Element LX trim level with the addition of a dealer-installed rear accessory power outlet for the rear ventilation fan. Engineered to integrate with factory precision into the Element EX, the Dog Friendly equipment is intended to accommodate the secure transportation of a dog in the cargo area within a nylon-webbed car kennel. In daily operation the car kennel helps prevent a dog from interfering with the driver in traffic by keeping the pet properly restrained and out of reach of the driver. In the event of a frontal collision, the kennel is intended to help restrain the dog behind the rear seats, reducing the chance for the pet to be injured – or to injure human occupants during a crash.

The Dog Friendly equipment enhances pet comfort by providing a soft floor surface for the dog’s legs and paws along with a dedicated fan and a spill resistant water source. Convenience is improved for owners with an integrated ramp, easy to clean surfaces and a full suite of matching Dog Friendly accoutrements.

Major components include:

  • a soft-sided cargo area car kennel made from seat belt-grade netting
  • a cushioned pet bed in the cargo area with an elevated platform
  • a 12V DC rear ventilation fan
  • second-row seat covers with a dog pattern design (matches the bed fabric)
  • an extendable ramp (stores under the pet bed platform)
  • all-season rubber floor mats with a toy bone pattern
  • a spill-resistant water bowl
  • Dog Friendly exterior emblems (driver’s side and rear)

The ramp stores underneath the bed platform and can be conveniently accessed when the rear tailgate is down. The car kennel was designed and is being constructed by Takata Corporation, one of the world’s leading automotive safety systems suppliers. The Dog Friendly equipment group has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $995

We love the color of the car in the photo (it is orange, after all)! We look forward to checking it out locally to get the feel of it ourselves. What do you think? Does it offer enough safety features? Is there something you would like to see in the canine car of your dreams? What suggestions do you have?


Photo credits: American Honda Motor Corp., Inc.

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Riding in Canine Style

Let's go for a ride! ©24Paws

Honda has announced the new Element, outfitted with Dog FriendlyTM components, is slated to hit the showroom floor in Fall 2009. Attempting to capitalize on the needs and wants of the pet owner, the Dog FriendlyTM Element will feature the following:

  • A cushioned pet bed in the cargo area with an elevated platform
  • Pet restraint system for the cargo area and second row
  • A 12V DC rear ventilation fan
  • Seat covers for the second row that feature a dog pattern design that matches the pet bed
  • Rubber floor mats with a bone pattern
  • A spill-resistant water bowl
  • Exterior emblems (dog paw, etc…) that tell the world you are driving a Dog FriendlyTM Element

See photos

The Element has already gained a following of pet lovers thanks to their urethane-coated utility floor that can be wiped clean, rear removable seats that also fold flat, and side opening cargo doors, and low lift-in height.

This isn’t Honda’s first attempt to produce a car that will appeal to the pet-owning masses. In 2005, they rolled out a W.O.W. concept car that, while never intended for commercial sale, created a “wonderful openhearted wagon” for pets and their humans to while away the hours on the road together.

The W.O.W. had some really neat features. My favorite was the “removable, washable, rollout flooring.” Not only would this have been handy when Frosty was first becoming “car trained” and he went through bouts of car sickness, but for transporting rescue animals to and fro, this would be a dream. Looks like Honda built on this idea with their urethane floor.

Honda isn’t alone in the attempt to harness the purchasing power of the animal-lover. In 2007, Pup-Peroni® brand dog snacks offered a lucky human and their pooch the chance to win a Pup’D-Out 2008 Jeep Liberty. The highly talented gang over at Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) was tapped to help create the PUP’D OUT ride for the lucky winners. Maybe you know them best for their work on the “Pimp My Ride” television show.

The Pup-D-Out Jeep had the following features:

  • Dog ramp that lowers/retracts from back hatch for easy pup entry and exit from jeep
  • Water and food bowls
  • Dog bone wheel rims
  • Small vacuum installed in back to help with clean-up
  • Pull-up screens behind front seats and behind back seats to keep your furry friend safely in one part of the Jeep, when necessary

These were some great ideas-practical and fun all in one. I love the idea of the screens, and the dog bone rims? Sign me up!

Honda (and any other car companies who might be listening) here are some additional ideas you may want to consider:

The security key fob needs a temperature alert. Even if you leave your pet in the car with the air conditioning running, something can happen and the engine could stop, or the air quit and you’d never be the wiser until it is too late. Please put an internal temperature gauge in the car and readout on the key fob to alert the owner.

Along those lines, what about an intercom system? You could hear what is happening in the car as well as communicate with your pack. If you travel with your pet you will inevitably be leaving them alone at some point. Rest stop breaks, food runs, etc…. A little tool like this can certainly bring some peace of mind.

Air/hear vents extended to the rear of the car/cargo area. Many pets are riding in the very back of the wagons, SUV’s, and vans. This area rarely has air or heat vents, and can therefore create uncomfortable and even dangerous conditions for your pet. A few feet more of tubing can make all the difference.

Size and slope of seat cushions. When a pup curls up to snooze while traveling, it is important that they do not feel that they are falling off the seat. As a multi-pet household, we’ve traveled with two dogs in the backseat and they each curl up in their own seat space. Many vehicles now have shortened seat widths to accommodate more passengers. This gives the look of more space but is uncomfortable for people and pets. To overcome this we purchased a seat hammock. The hammock allows our boys to use the entire space, offering them full use of the entire seat space and the wasted space over the floorboard. An added benefit, the hammock covers the floorboard and allows us to put bags of groceries beneath it and the boys leave them alone.

Keep the retractable ramp. Our pack has endured three cruciate surgeries and the ramp has been extremely helpful. We’ve tried to travel with our ramp, but it is heavy and takes up too much room in the vehicle. While they (and our backs) could use it now in their senior plus years, it isn’t practical to take it on every car ride with the boys. Instead, our “portable” ramp stays put atop the outdoor steps to help them in and out of the house. The retractable ramp is a wonderful option!

Additionally, what about sunscreens, tinted windows, and pup-proof storage areas for food, treats, and other tasty morsels?

We’re thrilled to see car manufacturers beginning to implement new pet-friendly features and products into their designs. In 2002, when shopping for a new car, we received blank stares as we commented that the child restraints would work great for our pet seatbelts. When we measured cargo areas to determine if our husky would have enough room to travel comfortably we were told by the sales team that they’d never had someone look at a car for features that would accommodate their dogs.

The market for creating a pet-friendly vehicle is wide open. Car manufacturers can really stretch themselves with design and utility when creating a car for pets and the people who love them. We are happy to see a pet-friendly car go from a simple concept to a full-fledged showroom option. We can’t wait to see what new options and models will be created thanks to this creative push into the market.

What other options would you like to see in your dream pet ride?

Links to chew on:

I don’t know what the site says, but it looks like the Honda Dog Japan site is totally tailored to the pet owner. Check it out.

Toyota has a similar Japanese site with “Corolla Avenue, C Loves Dog”