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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Fostering through Pound Hounds Res-Q: Smiley’s Story

Two days ago we sent a $300 adoption fee to Pound Hounds Res-Q, the place that pulled Smiley from Brooklyn’s high kill shelter, NYACC. We had originally planned on fostering Smiley, the cute 6 year old pit mix who was abandoned because his former owners got pregnant…

Two days ago we sent a $300 adoption fee to Pound Hounds Res-Q, the place that pulled Smiley from Brooklyn’s high kill shelter, NYACC. We had originally planned on fostering Smiley, the cute 6 year old pit mix who was abandoned because his former owners got pregnant. We were in no position to get a dog – we don’t make enough money and live in a small apartment, but we couldn’t let Smiley die.

We ended up adopting Smiley after just two weeks of fostering, mostly because we fell in love with our foster boy and also because of Pound Hounds Res-Q. In addition to the fee, we also gave a small donation because of everything the rescue has done for us. Donating to rescues helps them save more dogs so I encourage everyone to do the same!

The amazing thing about fostering, is that it’s practically free and saves lives! Shelters such as the NYACC become overcrowded and put animals on the kill list very quickly. They barely get a chance to get adopted! If you foster a dog, a rescue will cover the vet bills and any necessary training. Then you help the dog get decompressed, preferably crate trained and then you help them find a new forever home.

Fostering is a great way to help animals without making a lifetime commitment, that many people can’t do. If we hadn’t ended up adopting Smiley, we would have likely kept fostering, because it has been so rewarding. Let me tell you a bit about it!

Smiley went from the NYACC to the vet to get neutered, then a special service was hired to bring him to us. We had never met him or even see him in real life! Smiley was friendly and curious but he wouldn’t look up at me or make eye contact. He also didn’t respond to commands, although we were told that he knew to sit, stay and come.

When I brought him inside, he explored the place, sniffing every corner and demanding to know what was behind every door. It took over an hour to get him to slow down and rest on his doggy bed. He lay there for a while until I tried to put his harness on for a walk. He wouldn’t let me put it on I’m and bared his teeth, so I backed off and let him sleep. A few hours later, after my husband came home, he let us put the harness on without any fuss.

On his first walk with us, he pulled like crazy, giving us rope burn. He was so strong and wouldn’t listen at all outside. We immediately ordered a front pulling harness, but got dragged around painfully for three whole days. We also watched some videos on how to get a dogs attention on walks and we tried to implement them, which only half worked.

The first evening while we watched TV, we saw him watching us from his bed. It was the first time he looked at us. Not surprising after being handed off from one person to another for ten days. He was scared and confused.

We crated him that first night as instructed by the rescue. People want to adopt crate trained dogs and we had to try our best although we didn’t like the idea of him being in a small cage. He barked a bit but quickly went to sleep. The next morning he woke up wagging his tail at us, it was progress!

The second day he acted like a spoiled child, pushing his boundaries. He would jump on the sofa, demand treats and he pulled me even harder outside. I may have had one or two breakdowns that day because I couldn’t connect with him. I couldn’t see anyone adopting a dog that was this crazy and I also didn’t know how long I could spend with him, but I didn’t want to disappoint him like humans have in the past.

That night he barked more in his crate at night, and I was stressed knowing that we would have to leave him alone for up to six hours the next day. Everyone reassured me that he would be okay, as long as he wore a cone – he was recently neutered and could rip his stitches.

When we came home after our trip, that we couldn’t cancel although we had wanted to, we found his cone out of shape and he was practically hanging by it because a piece got stuck in his crate. It was around his neck so tight that he coughed when I cut it off. He seemed fine otherwise and extra friendly, but I was traumatized by the experience. I was too scared of putting him back in the crate while he had his cone, so we let him sleep in our bedroom on his bed.

When he woke up that Sunday (we had gotten him in the afternoon on Thursday) he was a completely different dog. He was so calm at home, looked at us, asked us for pats and actually listened when we gave him commands. That day we took him to a beer festival because we didn’t want to leave him home alone.

We had been told that he shouldn’t be around other dogs or kids so we were extra careful. But he was calm around kids, accepting treats gently and he wagged his tail when he saw other dogs. We let him sniff a few and it seemed fine, we were starting to doubt everything that the kill shelter had said about him. We found a quiet spot at the chaotic festival and he sat with us, observing. People came over to meet him and he was so friendly and loving to everyone. No one believed that we had just rescued him.

The next day we had received a front clipping harness and the moment we put it on him, he stopped pulling on walks. He still got distracted outside but he was so much better at walking calmly. We let him sniff more dogs and discovered that he was super friendly but couldn’t tell between dogs that wanted to play or fight.

The following week he started to feel at home. We let him sit with us on the couch but still kept him out of bed. He behaved better every day. Except the one time he jumped on the bed when I screamed because I saw a spider – but that’s because I screamed and I assume that he was trying to protect me.

During the week we also let him play with some dogs while leashed. He seemed to get along with everyone, ignoring the dogs who were aggressive and he backed away when an angry cat jumped out at him. He was clearly a good gentle boy!

We also took him to the vet that week to check his ears (he was super itchy) and his stitches that he had licked more than he should have. He was so calm and let the vet do very invasive things to him without showing an ounce of aggressive – and I grew up with labs that growled at the vet…

That second weekend we had him, we took him to an amazing day care Petbuddy Services for a trial day. We were nervous to see how he would get a long with other dogs but it went really well! After a day of playing with dogs, he was even calmer on walks and less jumpy when he met new dogs.

The day he spent at doggy daycare we went out, but came home before picking Smiley up. Our home felt so empty without him even though he had only been there for ten days! That’s when we decided that we’d be keeping him. But we wanted to wait in case there were any issues with our landlord, although those were unlikely.

On Wednesday we took him to the vet again, and even though the rescue knew we were 99% likely to adopt him, Pound Hounds Res-Q paid his bill. Later that evening, we officially paid his adoption fee and he became a part of our family. The next day, I let him play off leash with a bunch of friendly dogs at the park and he did so well, people didn’t believe me that he was a new rescue.

Since getting Smiley there has been more stress in my life – we need to figure out where he will be while we’re on holiday. We need to worry about him getting sick, hurting himself or feeling lonely when he’s alone at home. I also have a companion at home now,  a smiling face that makes me happier and I can’t walk him down the street without him getting compliments left and right. Oh, he also gets me out of the house more and breathing that fresh New York air! I’ve even met a few local dog owners that are quickly becoming friends.

Of course I’m already worrying about Smiley dying one day, but that’s just how my brain works. He has already made my life so much better and more worthwhile. As much as I think that everyone should adopt a dog, or five, immediately, I understand that not everyone is int he position to do so.

Foster! If you can’t adopt. Donate to rescues, if you want to help but can’t foster. Dogs, and animals in general, bring so much happiness and unconditional love to our hectic lives. They deserve our help and love, they should all feel safe and happy – the same way they make us feel. Please consider donating to Pound Hounds Res-Q today, without them we wouldn’t have this beautiful dog as a part of our family!

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We’re Fostering a Dog Saved from the Kill Shelter!

Smiley was pulled from the NYACC by Pound Hounds Res-Q. We are considering adopting him ourselves because he’s such a good boy. The Dodo wrote about him a week ago with the hopes that his story will inspire others to adopt, foster and rescue dogs in need!

Smiley was pulled from the NYACC by Pound Hounds Res-Q. We are considering adopting him ourselves because he’s such a good boy. The Dodo wrote about him a week ago with the hopes that his story will inspire others to adopt, foster and rescue dogs in need! Check it out:

https://www.thedodo.com/close-to-home/smiley-pit-bull-rescued-new-york

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Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Bali 2018

The monkey forest sanctuary in Ubud, Bali was an exciting place where monkeys rule and humans are allowed to feed them under supervision. Not sure how good this is for the environment, probably not at all, but the monkeys seemed happy and cared for and several badly behaved humans were told to leave.

The monkey forest sanctuary in Ubud, Bali was an exciting place where monkeys rule and humans are allowed to feed them under supervision. Not sure how good this is for the environment, probably not at all, but the monkeys seemed happy and cared for and several badly behaved humans were told to leave.

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The Black Squirrels of Kent State University

Every time I step outside to walk through the Kent State University campus, I am on the lookout with my camera close by. In 1961 ten cages containing black squirrels from Ontario Park in London were brought to KSU. They were released on the campus and it became their home. The most unexpected thing was that the black squirrels could mate with the local gray squirrels and the black gene dominated which helped the population grow. The students and staff at the university took a liking to the cute black fur-balls right away and started the annual Black Squirrel Festival, the Black Squirrel Run, the Black Squirrel Radio and many more Black Squirrel Somethings.

Squirrel is the New Black – Since 1961 was originally published on an expired domain created for the Kent State and Anglo American University‘s Journalism Program sponsored by Prague Freedom Foundation that I participated in during the Winter Semester of 2014-2015.

Being new to such a cold climate caused me to walk around campus at a quick pace and looking down to keep as warm as possible. It wasn’t until Candace Bowen pointed out that there were squirrels all over the place that made me decide to look up at a tree that I was passing and I saw one right away. This resulted in almost 20 minutes of me chasing squirrels from tree to tree trying to take a nice picture. At -18 Celsius this was not a good idea, but it wasn’t until my fingers were too cold to press the buttons on my camera that I realized that I was actually freezing and ran inside.

I have always been an animal lover and since there are no squirrels in Prague, I haven’t really gotten to see many of them. Now every time I step outside to walk through the Kent State University campus, I am on the lookout with my camera close by. It is amazing how many squirrels there are here, and that most of them are black. What’s even more amazing is the story of how they got here.

Speaking to the Dean of Communications and Information, Stanley Wearden, this morning I was told that there were ten cages containing black squirrels from Ontario Park in London. This was back in 1961. They were released on the campus and it became their home. Larry Wooddell and Biff Staples, the superintendent of Kent State’s land and a tree expert are the men responsible for this wonderful phenomenon. When the first release proved a success they went back for more cages. The most unexpected thing was that the black squirrels could mate with the local gray squirrels and the black gene dominated which helped the population grow.

The students and staff at the university took a liking to the cute black fur-balls right away and started the annual Black Squirrel Festival, the Black Squirrel Run, the Black Squirrel Radio and many more Black Squirrel Somethings. Three years ago, the squirrels celebrated their 50th anniversary at Kent, and they continue to live and thrive on the school’s campus. Hard to believe that Woodall’s “Operation Black Squirrel” turned into such a success. Walking around campus today you will find actual squirrels in almost every tree and running around leaving tracks in the snow – but you will also find black squirrel toys and other tokens of them on the desks of the university staff and in other unsuspecting places. I guess I’m not the only one who’s squirrel-crazed.

This post was updated on June 14th, 2018: the text, as well as title and headline, may have been edited, proofread and optimized for search engines. The featured image may have been changed due to copyright or quality issues.
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Living with Pets, Nika Kagui

I will never forget the day I came home from school to find a tiny puppy sitting on the stairs. With her big eyes, wet nose and chubby pink tummy, it only took Nika one second to make me fall in love with her. She made my whole family come alive and change.

Living with Pets, Nika Kagui was originally published in The Bridge, the magazine published by IWAP – International Women’s Association of Prague. Nika Kagui was more than just a pet, she was a beloved dog that was part of our family. We still miss her every day, but the memories of her are no longer sad.

I will never forget the day I came home from school to find a tiny puppy sitting on the stairs. With her big eyes, wet nose and chubby pink tummy, it only took Nika one second to make me fall in love with her. She made my whole family come alive and change. My busy mother found time to take her on countless of walks every few hours, my neat germ-phobic father heard her howling one night and she’s slept in his bed ever since, and I discovered the true meaning of unconditional love.

But there were many sacrifices too. We couldn’t go on as many family trips, we worried too much about leaving her with others. Also, just like many other purebred Labradors, Nika had many health problems; one vet even recommended that we ‘don’t waste our time and money and put her to sleep’. She had hip problems among many others, and she was at risk of not live past 3. We decided to take our chances and vowed to keep her alive for as long as possible as long as she didn’t suffer and had the will to live – and boy did she love living.

She was always full of energy and curiosity. Among driving in the car and playing with Leia, a puppy we bought for her because she couldn’t have her own, her passion was swimming. She would climb the ladder into the blow-up pool in our garden with confidence; look at us to see if we were watching her and then jump in and swim for hours. When she got out she would dry herself on a towel that we laid out for her. Watching this regular routine never got old and always raised our spirits.

But despite the happy moments, there was also a lot of worrying involved. She underwent over 7 operations over the 8 years and 5 months of her life. Seeing her shaved in strange placed, bandaged up, limping with sleepy eyes after a long operation was always horrible. But no matter what state she was in, she would greet us warmly; wagging her tail, begging us for a treat and making us scratch her back. Her eyes always twinkled with gratefulness and happiness that made every single sacrifice worth it.

When she died in surgery a few months back, we were devastated. She was more than a dog: she was a member of the family, a friend and a reflection of ourselves. She fought for her life until the end. When her heart stopped during other surgeries, she would make it beat again. When we worried that we were selfish to put her through the operations, she showed us that she too wanted more than anything to live. Her bravery, determination, happiness and her endless supply of love is something that along with the memory of her will be with us in our hearts forever.

This post was updated on June 14th, 2018: the text, as well as title and headline, may have been edited, proofread and optimized for search engines. The featured image may have been changed due to copyright or quality issues.
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