Surprise! It’s a fitting month to get married in Philadelphia, don’t you think? :)
We’re getting married (again!) Now before you scratch your head and say, “Wah? I thought they were already married? Have they been lying to us all along?” Don’t worry – we eloped nearly ten years ago at the county courthouse in West Chester, when we were young kids. (Thinking about it now makes me giggle… We bucked the trend when it comes to marrying later in life. Looking back on it, we were practically children.) Now we’re finally getting around to celebrating our vows with our Kiwi & American friends and family here in Philadelphia.
So let’s back up. You’re probably wondering why we eloped in the first place. Any of you who have met Lindsay, have probably heard his accent. He’s a Kiwi and we met in New Zealand in 2001 when I was volunteering overseas for Habitat for Humanity. His parents were actually my “host parents.” (So we joke that his Mum imported a bride for him.) Long story short, we fell for each other immediately, and we fell hard. The only problem was that an entire globe and a massive ocean sat between our homes. You really can’t get much further away from Philly than New Zealand. For the next three years we did everything we could to stay in the same country. I studied abroad and got an internship with Habitat in NZ. He worked over here for a few months as a contract bricklayer. We moved to and worked in London for a few months. We popped over to Australia and back again. We flew in and out of countries for the sake of visas. We backpacked through Europe and Thailand. We even attempted to move to Japan (but it didn’t work. Japan is still on our bucket list.)
It was a whirlwind of a few years, but we were broke from constant international journeys and just wanted to set down some roots somewhere. It became clear that we were running out of options. We’re pretty practical people so the option of marriage came up. Remember – we were fresh out of college, so it was terrifying. But we did it. And yes, it involved a “Green Card” interview at immigration, which was surprisingly easy. The only issue was that Lindsay had to enter the US on a “Fiance Visa” and only had 60 days to wed from the time he stepped off the plane. We didn’t want to plan a wedding in 60 days, so we told our friends and family that we were going to the courthouse and that we’d do the wedding “later.”
You know where I’m going with this right? Ten years later and we’re finally doing it. For the first few years we were so busy with The Monster Minders that we really didn’t have a life to speak of. (No worries – we love what we built, but we worked seven day weeks for over four years.) Anyway, we kept putting it off, and putting it off, and we figured we probably couldn’t keep telling our Moms that, “We’ll plan the wedding eventually.”
So on May 31st, we’re having an intimate ceremony, and “getting married.” It’ll look like a wedding, it’ll feel like a wedding, but there’s not much legal about it. We took care of that a decade ago. We’re just pumped to celebrate everything we are and everything we will be.
And yes, the Jax and Lola (our dogs) will be there. They are going to be our ring bearers. Pictures will follow. Promise. (Minder Matt is going to be the dog-handler!)
A few days ago we were sent this scary tale from one of our clients: “We are switching leashes permanently. I have been using a retractable leash, and yesterday we had a very scary incident where Zorra could of been severely injured after darting into a very bust street of South Philly. She got loose from my grip because she got spooked by a loud noise, the sound of the retractable leash handle hitting the ground freaked her out so bad that she darted and the vicious cycle began of her running, and the leash banging on the ground.”
Retractables are sold to us as a user-friendly way to give dogs freedom, while keeping them “on-leash.” But have you thought about the dangers of this type of device?
Injuries to Humans
- Amputation of fingers or deep lacerations on hands, arms and legs (see below)
- Broken teeth, facial injuries, eye injuries. (Think about it: If collar breaks or leash clip fails and cord retracts at maximum speed there is the potential for it to whip you in the face.)
- Serious falls / trips for people walking dogs or others in their vicinity (You’re basically walking a your dog on a trip wire. Anyone who doesn’t spot the leash could be tripped. Or if your dog changes directions suddenly, anyone in the area could be at risk. Bicyclists are also endangered by the cords.)
Injury to Pooches
- Amputation of legs or tail due to lacerations / entanglements.
- Fear-based bolting/running if the handle is dropped on the ground. It will “chase” them ENDLESSLY, and they WILL run. (This is the repeated story we’ve heard more than a few times.)
- Hit-by-car if they dart into the road, either due to user error or mechanism malfunction. (The breaking mechanisms DO wear out and break eventually. What if your dog saw something across the street, darted for it and the brake mechanism failed?)
- Injury if another dog approaches while out on a long-lead. (What if it is an aggressive off-leash dog? How would you reel your dog back in?)
Talk to any vet and they will tell you horror stories about retractable leashes. Dr. Majeska over at Companion Pet Hospital had this to say about retractables: “Retractable leashes are inappropriate for close quarter settings such as Philadelphia. There are countless stories of hit-by-cars, dog attacks, and other incidents that can be avoided by keeping your dog on a closer leash. Also, when a dog gets loose from an owner while on a retractable leash, they are more likely to continue to spook because the handle chases after them loudly as they run.”
The above story is one we’ve heard not once, but a few times from clients. Dropping the leash causes a chain reaction of fear, noise and more fear and more noise. We’ve heard about humans being tripped by them, brake mechanisms failing and dogs ending up in traffic, and they even carry an amputation warning! As a service, we do not recommend the use of them in the City. The ASPCA and Consumer Reports even weighs in on the issue with numerous warnings.
Philly has a six-food leash law anyway. Why risk it? They can be useful for open areas if you’d like your dog to run without fear of running away (say in an empty field or something.) But we just do not believe they are safe in an urban environment where as dog owners we’re also contending with traffic, joggers, toddlers, cyclists, chicken bones, other dogs, stray cats, etc. As urban walkers, we never know what could be waiting for us around the next corner. And we think the good ol’ six foot nylon leash is the safest option for urban adventures.
In past years we’ve done a traditional photo contest, but this year we thought we’d switch it up and do an Instagram contest. If you’re anything like me, your Instagram feed is full of pictures of your dogs anyway. (And food, sewing projects, hiking trips and running shoes.) So tag your photos and show us your best! Are you a follower of themonsterminders on Instagram yet?
Prize: $50 off your next invoice with The Monster Minders. There will be four winners. (See below.)
The Contest: One entry per category, per client. (So each client can enter FOUR photos, one for each category!) Three categories will be judged by Philly pet celebrity judges and one will be an “Audience Choice.” All entries must be submitted (via hashtag) by May 2, 2014.
- Best Dog Smile – #MonsterMindersSmile
- Best Action Shot – #MonsterMindersAction
- Best Wintery Photo – #MonsterMindersWinter (We know you were snapping photos of your dogs in the snow! Something good has to come of that stupid Winter. So show us your best.)
- Audience Choice – #MonsterMinders2014 (Tell your friends, tell your coworkers, tell everyone you know. The photo with the most “Likes” on Instagram will win this contest.)
How to Enter: You can use old photos you have already posted on Instagram or tag new photos. Just make sure to comment on the photo you would like to enter using @themonsterminders and the appropriate hashtag (above) so we can find your photos. Example of a comment to enter your Instagram photo: “Hey @themonsterminders – check out this photo for #MonsterMindersSmile” (Please only comment on your own photos in your own Instagram feed. Please do not enter other people’s photos! We want to see YOUR best.)
There is no need to email us your pics. As long as you use the correct hashtag on Instagram, we’ll be able to find them. Each client can enter each category once for a total of four entries. As usual with our contests, third party “Philly Pet Celebrities” will judge the categories. (Vets, Trainers, etc.) If you do not have the Instagram app for your phone, it’s a quick download and really easy to use. :) (And highly addictive.)
Other Rules: Contest is open to current clients of The Monster Minders. If you are not an active client of The Monster Minders, you are not eligible for the contest. This is just a special contest for our special clients! All hashtags must be submitted by 5/2/14 as judging will take place that weekend.
See below for an example of tagging an old photo!
Last week we asked our staff to take their best shot at getting the perfect Winter photograph. (Because dogs become even more photogenic in the snow, right?) So here are our best! Enjoy!
Dogs make the best subjects, so it has become a tradition here at ‘The Minders to host a staff photo contest. The submissions this year were fantastic! Below are the winners of the 2013 Staff Photo Contest.
Best Motivational Poster – Minder AJ (Monster Phillip, in the rain.)
Best Smile – Minder Sari (Monster Oscar)
Best Serious Face – Minder Beth (Monster Scully)
Best Overall – Minder Dylan (Monster Mya)
We’ll be sharing these and other photos on our Instagram account so be sure to follow us for more awesome Minder pics from 2013.
We also had another stellar holiday party with our staff. It has become a tradition to go to Taquaria Veracruzana on Washington Avenue. They always treat us so well and don’t mind that we take up half of the restaurant. It was great to hang out with our employees and reflect on an awesome year. Here are some pics…
Happy New Year! Here’s to an awesome 2014!
Our staff just oozes with talent, not only as dog walkers, but also as professional artists. Minder AJ Bredensteiner shares with us some background info on his venture, The Animal Friends.
Give us a bit of information about your background as an artist…
I grew up in Nebraska taking art classes where we mostly drew, wait for it… wildlife animals! I stuck with it from then on and when my first attempt at college didn’t go so well I had art to fall back on. Some chance events led me to UArts in Philadelphia and in 2011 I received my MFA in painting.
So tell us where you got the idea for The Animal Friends…
In grad school they filled my head with a bunch of interesting nonsense :) When I graduated, I decided I just wanted to make art that I could have fun with. The idea slowly evolved into a bunch of animals making mischief in the city… It wasn’t three months later that I started walking dogs in the city almost by coincidence. All of my dudes (and dudettes) that I walk make me laugh and cry every day, there is so much drama going on inside their furry heads… Im constantly mopping their stories up and wringing them out into the Animal Friends ;)
What does the future hold for The Animal Friends?
My big goal is to make art that people are engaged with throughout the creative process, not just the finished product. This would include using aspects of Facebook and Youtube to connect with people as I am working through all the stages of creation. I am also trying not to limit myself to just art that is hung on a wall, I have a children’s book in the works, and I would REALLY like to make a video game in the future. There are a bunch of Animal Friends stories to be told and the challenging/exciting part is figuring out which form to tell them in.
It appears that Princess is locked, how exactly do we go about investigating how to free her from the castle?
Ha! Princess might be there for awhile, her story is yet to come
Have any of your clients inspired new Animal Friends?
There are some big personalities that are just itching to become Animal Friends… Its just a matter of time before I find a way to weave them into the stories :)
Check out all of The Animal Friends on their website. (Hopefully Schultz will be there soon!)
The Animal Friends on YouTube: AJ has his own YouTube Channel with awesome How-To-Draw videos for The Animal Friends. You can check AJ out, actually drawing the Friends, while he gives the viewers tips and tricks AND gives some adventure updates at the same time. We’re totally addicted. Fox has a crush! Rex builds a sandcastle! Grab a sharpie or a pencil and follow the action.
A few years back we had this crazy idea that lead to the formation of The Monster Milers (our volunteer non-profit running group that visits area shelters.) Then naturally, the next logical step would be to host a race, right? And thus, we started to plan The Rescue Run 5k.
We were really excited to launch Philadelphia’s first race to benefit rescue, but as with anything “new” we had our normal jitters. Will people register? Will people show up? Will the weather hold out for us? Would sponsors be interested? Thankfully, the event went off without a hitch!
We sold out and hundreds of runners laced up their sneaks on Sept. 29th, 2013 to run for rescue. 50+ volunteers joined us to make the day extra special. Thanks to our amazing 2013 sponsors, volunteers and the NINE rescues that joined us on race day.
Since we sold out weeks before race day, we decided that we should give people a lot of heads up for 2014’s race. (Hint, Hint.) We’re going to increase the registration numbers, but we do predict we’ll sell out again! Join the 2014 Registration Waiting List.
Thanks going out to our race sponsors, volunteers, and registered runners! We couldn’t have pulled it off without you!
Learn more about The Monster Milers
Check out The Rescue Run 5K website