I’m Running Behind – So Here’s Photos of Smiley

It’s been a really busy week and I’ve realized that I have nothing to write about today! I will be going to the Chinese New Year Parade in the afternoon so you’ll have an interesting post about that on Tuesday. But today, I have nothing to share with you except adorable photos of my rescue pibble Smiley!

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Why You Should Order Pet Supplies from Chewy.com

This past week, I was picking out a new food for Smiley on Chewy.com because I wanted something with fewer ingredients. Amazon had it for $10 cheaper, but here is why I chose to buy it from Chewy…

This is not a sponsored post, although from the amount of money they have refunded us over the past few months, it might as well be.  But let me start at the beginning!

We adopted Smiley just over three months ago and like any crazy dog parents, we began spoiling him with toys and chews. We try to limit our Amazon shopping because we are morally opposed to their business tactics but all other websites, like Petco, had expensive shipping fees and overall prices.

That’s when someone recommended Chewy.com. They offer free shipping on orders over $50 and for most dog foods. When shipping isn’t free, it’s very cheap and with all of their sales on doggie sweaters and chews it’s worth paying the fee.

In addition to being cheap, they also ship quickly within a day or two and we’ve never received an order later than 4 business days and that was once when it got lost in transit. All of their products come packaged sustainably in paper boxes with crumpled up paper to protect the items. They use as little plastic as possible which is another reason I love them!

Finally, unlike Amazon recently, Chewy takes responsibility for lost packages. Even when it was 100% not their fault. We don’t live in the best area of Brooklyn and so far, 3 packages have gone missing. One of these I later found outside in the trash, unopened. So I managed to retrieve it. The other two, however, were re-shipped at their expense.

Calling Chewy customer support is a completely unique experience. They pick up the phone within two rings, they don’t play calming waiting music, there is no line of people waiting ahead of you. They always answer right away, it is always a human and they are incredibly friendly and helpful. Again, unlike Amazon.

When Smiley’s new sweater went missing, they simply re-shipped it without hesitating or asking questions. The second time, it was his food that went missing. This was a bigger problem because he is severely allergic to chicken and will break out in itchy hives. We mentioned it to Chewy and they not only re-sent the food but they also refunded us $20 to buy him something else in the mean time. What other company does that?

During the holidays, unfortunately it didn’t happen to us, but they sent presents to a lot of their customers. They commissioned artists to paint the customer’s doggies and sent the art out as Christmas presents! They also send flowers and condolences notes if a beloved pet dies.

This past week, I was picking out a new food for Smiley on Chewy.com because I wanted something with fewer ingredients. The variety of their products is impressive and quite overwhelming. I used their filters and found the perfect food that also happened to be cheaper than his current one.

Finally, just to check, I decided to see if Amazon sold it for cheaper. They did. But did I buy it from Amazon? No. Could I save over $10 a month ($120 a year) by shopping from Amazon instead of Chewy.com? Yes. Would I stray from a business that is caring, treats their employees and customers with respect? Never!

Thank you Chewy, for being amazing and for showing us what companies and customer service should be like. Also, thank you for caring about us and most importantly, about Smiley. If you haven’t already, go to their website and see for yourself. If you have any questions about anything, just call them and see just how different from other companies they are.

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Christmas Cheer in NYC & Upcoming Break from Blogging

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! <3

In just one week, we will be leaving Smiley in good hands (I’m still going to cry and worry) while we leave for our 18 day trip to Iceland, London, Kiev and Prague! It’ll be our first time returning to Europe in 2.5 years and I have no idea what to expect with my Shanghai/New York perspective! It’s going to be amazing.

Yesterday we spent a day doing all the typical touristy Christmas stuff in Manhattan with Smiley. It was crazy and crowded but so worth it. Here are the photos! I’ve been posting every other day for months and it’s time to take a break. I’ll be back annoying you with my rants and videos in January!

I wish you all happy and relaxing holidays <3

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My Labrador Leia, Who Lives with my Parents in Kyiv

Leia is a 13-year-old black lab who still acts like a puppy. She loves to lick rough surfaces and leaves drool stains on the sofa, everyone’s jeans and sometimes pillows too. Does anyone else’s dog do anything like this?

Leia is a 13-year-old black lab who still acts like a puppy. She loves to lick rough surfaces and leaves drool stains on the sofa, everyone’s jeans and sometimes pillows too. Does anyone else’s dog do anything like this?

By the way, this video has more views than any other video I have on YouTube! If you’d like to help support my video making, please subscribe to my channel.

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PetBuddy Services in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Starting November 12th, they finally completed their move from Wilson Avenue to 54 Noll Street, Brooklyn. Their new location offers a rooftop playground, pet grooming (through their new partner Pet Wash N’Go and they will be selling organic dog products. Their prices are going up a little with the new facilities, so now cage-less boarding will be $59.99 for 24 hours and $40 for daycare including transportation.

Petbuddy Services is a smaller family daycare and dog boarding that’s currently working on expanding their facilities as well as services. Before they accept your dog, they require a trial day that costs $25 and can last all day. If your dog passes, the daycare costs $40 a day (including transportation) and they are open from 8 AM until 8 PM.

Previously I wrote about a different daycare that we also used for Smiley that unfortunately didn’t work out. He was anxious at the other one and needed one-on-one attention otherwise he would spend all day trying to escape. The staff told me that while they could handle him because they had enough experienced staff to give him the care he needed, he clearly didn’t enjoy being there. So I tried taking him to Petbuddy Services instead.

After meeting Oscar only twice, I am convinced that he has supernatural dog whispering abilities. Him and his dad are dog lovers and are great at keeping up to 20 dogs calm and content throughout the day. The only time the dogs bark at PetBuddy is when someone new is coming or leaving, otherwise they are just hanging out! That’s an amazing feat with so many dogs!

Since Smiley didn’t enjoy the first daycare, I was worried that he would hate all daycares. But he did really well at PetBuddy for 12 hours, two days in a row. He was still crazy at pickup, but when they went to get him for me and put his leash on, he was chilling with the other dogs. It was a huge relief knowing that there’s a place to take him where he was safe and happy.

Although Smiley will be spending most days staying at home where he is more comfortable (we have cameras set up to watch him to make sure that doesn’t change), we will definitely be using PetBuddy again the future. Probably for boarding a well as daycare, since we trust them and know that he is happy there. In the mean time, he gets a 30-minute social walk through his old daycare that is more than enough on our average work day.

Anyway, back to PetBuddy. Starting November 12th, they finally completed their move from Wilson Avenue to 54 Noll Street, Brooklyn. Their new location offers a rooftop playground, pet grooming (through their new partner Pet Wash N’Go and they will be selling organic dog products. Their prices are going up a little with the new facilities, so now cage-less boarding will be $59.99 for 24 hours and $40 for daycare including transportation ($5 increase, but transportation used to cost that much anyway.)

I wholeheartedly recommend Petbuddy Services and vouch for Oscar and his dad. They do cost a little more than other daycares in the area, but it is 100% worth it. I am excited to visit their new place and see how much they have grown.

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Brooklyn Bow Wow – Doggy Services

– $16 for a 30 minute social walk
– $25 for day care under 6 hours
– $35 for day care over 6 hours
– $45-60 for boarding depending on the length

Having a dog in New York can be a little complicated, especially when everyone in the household is busy with full time jobs! When we first got Smiley, we didn’t have to worry about it because I was still job-hunting from home while Isaac brought home whatever the vegan version of bacon is.

Timing is a weird thing, however, and as soon as Smiley came into our lives, I started getting interview requests after two months of cricket chirps. That’s when I started panicking and doing research about what to do when I finally started work.

I first heard about Brooklyn Bow Wow while walking Smiley at a local park. Several people mentioned their dog-walking services and had nothing but amazing things to say. Being the paranoid dog-mom that I am, a walk just didn’t seem enough to keep Smiley safe and happy.

To add to my stress, one I finally got the job, my first week of work ended up being at the same time that Isaac had Walford training upstate resulting in him having to leave at 5:30 AM and returning as late as 8 PM! At the same time, I was leaving by 7 AM latest and getting back by 7 PM for my first week.

Since we had only had Smiley for a few weeks, we didn’t feel comfortable leaving him alone that long even with a 30-minute walk around noon. The only solution was to take him to a doggy daycare. Which was expensive, a long walk away and we didn’t know if he would be happy there.

Before the week we brought Smiley in to meet the dogs and hang out for 30 minutes to see how he behaved. He was extremely calm around all the dogs and seemed content to be there. It was a great start! On my first day of work I dropped him off without a second thought and went to work. I called at lunch to make sure he was okay and found out that he was! It was all great.

By the time I picked him up, I found out that after 2PM he got very anxious and tried to escape. He was so focused on trying to escape that he ignored all other dogs and didn’t respond to commands and basically acted like an unhappy, spoiled child, which was not good.

The daycare said it was normal at the beginning and that we were welcome to bring him back. Which we did for two more days, during which his behavior did not improve. The staff at Brooklyn Bow Wow was great and so patient with both me and Smiley. They explained that he just didn’t want to hang out calmly with other dogs, needed one-on-one attention from the staff and seemed unhappy there.

They explained that they had enough staff to provide the one-on-one care that Smiley needed, which was a great relief… but they felt bad about Smiley being unhappy and so did I. I fully intended to take him to them again on Thursday and Friday, because I just couldn’t leave him home alone, but after walking by a different, slightly smaller doggy daycare that Smiley had previously visited, I spontaneously decided to take him there just to see what would happy.

For some reason, Smiley preferred that particular daycare (which I will write about in another blog post). We were definitely not done with Brooklyn Bow Wow and we were disappointed that Smiley didn’t like their daycare! We did have a trial walk scheduled with them and hoped to switch to daily walks once our schedule got less crazy.

Just last Saturday, while Isaac and I were out, we had a walker from Brooklyn Bow Wow come over (we had left them the key) and walk Smiley for 30 minutes. It went really well so we are excited to keep using them for regular walks!

Being the paranoid dog parents that we are, we also got a $35 camera to watch Smiley at home. Our apartment has thin walls and a no-dog policy (which our landlord waived as long as Smiley doesn’t disturbed anyone) so we wanted to 1. have peace of mind, 2. see if he barks during the day and 3. see if there’s anything he tries to get into so that we can hide it.

So because of the camera, we got to see (and hear) the Brooklyn Bow Wow walker come in, greet Smiley who was excited to see him, put his harness on and then play with him briefly after dropping him off. We’re not sure if he even noticed the camera (and we resisted scaring him by saying hello through the two-way microphone) so we are extremely satisfied with how the pick up and drop off went. We assume that the walk was just as good!

From now on, we will have the walker come Monday – Friday and since we have a less crazy schedules, Smiley will never be alone for too long and we now know exactly what he does when he’s alone – he snores on our bed like a good boy!

If you’re looking for a doggy daycare, boarding or walking, I definitely recommend Brooklyn Bow Wow! They are located by the DeKalb Subway Station (L train) and they have great prices.

  • $16 for a 30 minute social walk (may include other dogs, private walks are more expensive and less fun for the doggies)
  • $25 for day care under 6 hours
  • $35 for day care over 6 hours
  • $45-60 for boarding depending on the length

We have just started using Brooklyn Bow Wow but have so far had a great experience and high expectations for the future. To save some $$ we prepaid $550 for their services that gives us $600 of credit. If you are interested in using them, give them a call or send them an email and schedule a trial visit and/or walk. You won’t be disappointed!

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Bridge and Tunnel Brewery: Dog-Friendly Queens Bar

The Bridge and Tunnel Brewery is an amazing dog-friendly bar right on the border of Ridgewood, Queens and Bushwick, Brooklyn. The delicious draft beers cost $5, dogs are welcome and the staff is incredible!

The Bridge and Tunnel Brewery is an amazing dog-friendly bar right on the border of Ridgewood, Queens and Bushwick, Brooklyn. The delicious draft beers cost $5, dogs are welcome and the staff is incredible!

My first visit to the bar was on a quiet night. I got to try many of the beers, I got to sit at the bar or at one of the tables and the few people who were there were fun to talk to. On my second visit the place was packed with people, dogs and children forcing me to stand, but the atmosphere was so great that I stayed anyway!

On my second visit I also got to meet the owner and his family. His twin daughters ran the Halloween dog costume competition like professionals! Isaac (the hubby), Smiley (the dog) and I met some of long-term patrons of the bar and had a great time.

Not only was the day fun, but Bridge and Tunnel added a dollar onto all of their beer prices which raised money for a local shelter: Bobbi and the Strays – we met a few people from the shelter and they were amazing too!

We will definitely be coming back to hang out, refill our growler and enjoy some delicious beers at a great price! My favorite beer is their sour IPA – make sure to try it when you visit.

Check out some photos from the event on Bushwick Daily.

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Nowadays: Pet-Friendly Bar

Their already great beer prices are even more exciting during their 2-for-1 happy hour which runs from 5pm to 8pm on Thursdays and Fridays. It only works for select beers, but where else in NYC can you get a draft beer for $3? 

I am lucky to live next to two great dog-friendly bars with amazing beer prices! One is the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery and the other is Nowadays. Nowadays is located in Ridgewood, Queens but is right next to Bushwick, Brooklyn. It’s just a five minute walk from Wilson Avenue subway (L).

Nowadays has an indoor and and outdoor area. The indoor area is fancier, doesn’t allow dogs and has a cover fee to enter after certain hours. The outdoor area is dog friendly, free and has a relaxed vibe that I love. Nowadays is open Thursday – Sunday, sometimes also on Wednesdays and they are open year round. Make sure to check on Facebook to see if they are open.

Their already great beer prices are even more exciting during their 2-for-1 happy hour which runs from 5pm to 8pm on Thursdays and Fridays. It only works for select beers, but where else in NYC can you get a draft beer for $3?

As mentioned before, they are open year round! So when it gets cold, the outdoor area is heated with chic round fire pits! I was there on a particularly cold October day and the fire was much needed, plus it added to the great atmosphere. I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy it in the snow, but we’ll find out.

In addition to a great space and atmosphere, the staff is also pretty amazing. They are always friendly and let you try the beers, offer shots of mulled wine (that make you end up buying a cup for $11). I’m from Europe, where mulled wine was born and Nowadays made it so surprisingly good that I almost forgot I wasn’t in Prague’s Old Town Square.

If you’re ever in the area or feel like venturing over to this part of town, make sure to check out Nowadays! It doesn’t get hopping until later at night but if you come early you can grab the best spots while enjoying cheap drinks! Feel free to bring your pets as long as you don’t mind staying outside.

My only complaint: the beers come in single-use plastic. However they will let you re-use the same cup all night.

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Happy Halloween: Smiley’s Dog Costumes!

Our first event came up unexpectedly, the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery was just a five minute walk from our apartment but we had no costume! I quickly cut out an avocado out of Dollar Tree cardboard paper and it was a success! Smiley won some toys and we got a growler for our fun last-minute costume. 

You may have noticed the dog pictures on my Instagram, or read the two posts I wrote about our rescue Smiley – you may have even read the viral Dodo article about his rescue story! Our unexpected adoption (it only took two weeks of fostering to realize that Smiley belonged with us forever) changed all our plans. All those crazy Halloween parties we wanted to go to turned into us going to dog-friendly pub events, the dog parade and tonight we’ll be going to the big NYC Halloween Parade with Smiley in tow.

Our first event came up unexpectedly, the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery was just a five minute walk from our apartment but we had no costume! I quickly cut out an avocado out of Dollar Tree cardboard paper and it was a success! Smiley won some toys and we got a growler for our fun last-minute costume.

We ended up going to another last minute event, the Tompkins Square dog parade, so Smiley wore his same avocadog costume and got outshined by popes and other crazy intricate creative costumes! It was a lot of fun and we’re definitely going again next year with a better costume. Although most dogs wore hot dogs, delivery costumes and they rocked them, as a crafter I got inspired to do something a little more creative!

Tonight, the parade is mainly for people but Smiley will hopefully steal the show – as long as he actually wears the costume I made him and it doesn’t fall apart. Stay tuned for photos of tonights shenanigans.

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