Watch for my LIVE blog on this topic Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 3pm Eastern at

Although much of our daily activities have been restricted due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is more important than ever to keep moving.  Some humans are getting a bit stir crazy being confined to home, but it is not only YOUR life and routine that has been turned upside down…so has your dog’s!  You may be sleeping in, so your pooch is delayed in getting his morning sniffs.  He may be missing belly rubs from his professional pet sitting pal, and he certainly is not getting the peace and quiet needed to accommodate his normal 16-18 hours of cat naps (bad choice of words) with the family home blaring the TV.  Even though moving and getting fit will not prevent us humans from catching the virus, it can have protective effects and be a great morale booster.  Physical activity improves your mood (which certainly makes your dog a lot happier), boosts your immune system, reduces stress, and helps you sleep better.  Same goes for Fido, so grab your walking shoes, your best pal and a few important items, and take a little “doggie & me time” every day to release endorphins, revitalizing your body and mind, while creating GRReat bonding moments with your four-legged best friend.


Your dog is one of the best exercise partners known to man.  He will motivate, with his big brown, blue or green eyes, head cocked and tail a waggin’, to get out of bed and enjoy the new day.  As you both stretch your muscles, it is important to bring along the proper gear.  Fortunately, our friends at Alpine Outfitters have done our homework for us, helping make sure we move and return home safely.

When we are just sniffin’ around our ‘hood, Haiku requires nothing more than a harness and leash to keep connected to me.  The Urban Trail® Adjustable Harness has become our go-to-choice because it is not only comfortable, but it keeps my 15-years young best buddy safe, meaning no pulling on his neck and secure so he won’t slip out of it.  The straps are wide which prevents them from digging into Haiku’s mature skin, and the soft fleece.  From the get-go, the harness was super easy for me to adjust around my buddy’s torso and neck, and since it comes in 6 colors (black, blue, pink, purple, red and teal) and 4 sizes fitting dogs from 15 lbs. to a hefty 105, there is one that will make your dog look just as stylish as my best friend!

Adjusts easily and securely.


The reflective strip glows on the Urban Trail Adjustable Harness.

Another Alpine Outfitters item we don’t leave home without is the

Chew-Proof ®Leash.   Now, I must admit, since Haiku is about 95 in people years, he no longer chews anything but food, but in his younger years, I recall a time when he chewed clear through his leash while riding in the backseat!  Walking the golf cart paths in our neighborhood is a safe and familiar environment, filled with many sights & sniffs, so the 5’ length leash allows Haiku to wander into the bushes and seek out the best scents.  When we are in unknown territory however, or where we may cross paths with other pets or people, I prefer the 30” length of this strong, secure and comfortable-to-hold leash.  The bolts and clips are PAWmazingly strong, providing me peace of mind in keeping Haiku at my side.  The leash is filled with galvanized aircraft cable to make it durable and is covered in reflective poly rope, so that we can be seen during our twilight walks.  Again, although Haiku’s destructive days are history, I appreciate the security of a strong leash, and if you have a chewer, this one is for you!

Haiku's morning stroll in his Alpine Outfitters Urban Trail Adjustable Harness & Ultra Strong Leash. Thanks Dana…

Posted by Sunny-Dog Ink on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Fleck Family at Stone Mountain, Georgia

Fortunately, State Parks have been open in our neck of the woods during much of the shut-down, and serve as a great place for family time, to exercise, breathe fresh (hopefully coronavirus-free) air and enjoy nature. During these jaunts away from home however, it is important to have a couple other items in tow.  As The Pet Safety Crusader™, you can imagine safety is paramount, so before starting the engine, Haiku always gets safely strapped into the back seat, cushioned pad underneath his bum, secure body harness and Alpine’s Safety First Seatbelt Restraint™.


My best buddy LOVES car rides, but I MUST keep him safe!

For less than $10, it could be the best ‘ten spot’ you ever spent for your dog’s safety.  Loop it around the shoulder belt, to give your pooch freedom to sit or lie down, knowing it can prevent him from moving about the car becoming a distraction, or being propelled out a windshield with it’s 780 lbs. break strength!  According to the American Automobile Association, thousands of pets are killed in the 6 million car accidents that happen annually in the U.S.  Many of these four-legged family members could be saved if only that had been properly restrained in the vehicle by a gadget such as this from Alpine Outfitters.  If you have a harness you already love, no worries.  Alpine’s Safety First Seatbelt Restraint™ can be used with virtually any harness 😊  Just always, always attach a seat belt restraint to a body harness, never a neck collar, and don’t let your dog ride shotgun.  If the airbag is deployed, most small dogs get their necks broken while larger dogs, getting slammed in the face at 200 mph (speed at which most airbags release), often severing the lingual artery in their tongues and putting them into a life-threatening bleeding situation.

Clips around the shoulder belt and to the body harness.


GRReat to know, Subaru and The Center for Pet Safety recommend seating your furry (and not so furry) child as follows in this infographic:

So for road trips, we need stuff:  Pet First Aid Kit items, water, munchies and of course my cell phone for excellent photo ops as well as a communication device in event of an emergency.

The Urban Trail Backpack can hold water, treats and all of Haiku’s first aid needs! Notice how the reflective strip allows my buddy to be seen!

Well, the Urban Trail® BackPack fits the bill as a way to bring all this stuff along.  Many of you know I used to produce my own line of pet first aid kits.  Well, this backpack is a great way to bring along what you need, and…let your exercise buddy tote it instead of you!  This pack actually could hold my entire pet first aid kit, but no need to weigh my boy down with everything.  It is made with your dog’s comfort and safety in mind. It slants slightly in the front to avoid impacting your dog’s movement in the shoulders and withers, and the pack is made with a small angle from side to side to keep the filled saddlebags closer to your dog’s body, so they do not sway or hinder his balance.  Velcro makes it easy to attach once the harness is on your pup, and keeps it in place, just be sure with any backpack to evenly distribute the weight of what you put in it!


Haiku and I were delighted to test out these products from Alpine Outfitters.  I found the items tested easy to adjust and slip on to my “son” shine and had peace of mind that we stay ‘connected.’  Haiku appeared comfortable in the Alpine gear and looked stylish.  With all this company has to offer, I am convinced there is something for your dog too!  Just remember, whether it’s around the block or a mountain climbing expedition, condition your dog first, warm up his muscles, pay attention to his body language, keep him well-hydrated (yes, there’s a bowl for that) and know what to do should a bee sting, a tummy get upset, choking occur or even a bleeding injury or cardiac arrest befall your precious best friend — brush up, or learn anew, your Pet First Aid skills before you wish you had!

Read here why it is sooooooooo important you don’t delay, and take a Pet First Aid Class!