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Posts from the ‘Dog Related Information’ Category

Christmas Time: Visiting Santa

This past weekend we took Alex and  Victory to visit Santa, an annual tradition!  This year, however, went a little differently than last year — Alex was not keen on Santa this year.  (We even tried putting Alex on the floor by Santa, but that did not work either.)  Someday, she will get a good laugh from these photos, below, as you likely will as well!  Alex is very brave and fearless when it comes to everything, except for strangers and doctors, which I suppose are one in the same.  (The pediatrician says this is very normal for her age.)  So, this is how our pediatrician and dental visits go, shown below, and Alex does not give up easily at all!  Thankfully, Santa is extremely patient!

Victory, our beautiful fur girl, did very well, like always!  Victory also tolerated her sister well, too!  And, of course, Santa and his helpers remembered our beloved girls, as this is Victory’s sixth time visiting Santa and Alex’s second time visiting Santa!  You can see Victory’s previous trips to visit Santa here, hereherehere, and here.  This is the only Santa in our area that welcomes both of our girls!  Victory wore her Holiday velvet ruff and antlers; and Alex wore a burgundy corduroy dress to coordinate for their visit with Santa!  All proceeds from visiting Santa are donated to a local dog rescue, a very good cause near and dear to our hearts as Biscuit and Victory are rescues.  If you are interested, be sure to check with and visit your local pet stores to see if there is a Santa in your area that specializes in furry family members!

A few images from Victory’s and Alex’s second visit together with Santa are shown below along with images of Victory with Santa from the previous five years!  The time really does fly by too quickly!  We are so grateful for our fur girl, Victory!












Victory’s visits to see Santa, 2014-2019!



The girls’ visits to see Santa last year (left) and this year (right).  Great change occurred in a year!


Additionally, each year, I have a photo ornament made with Victory and Santa for our Christmas tree!  This year, I made another ornament of our Victory and Alex together visiting Santa, a memorable visit; and one of Victory visiting Santa!  I also had personalized ornaments for Alex and Victory made for our tree.  I will get Alex an ornament each year, a tradition we had growing up!

Below is our decorated little live Christmas tree from Maine that we order online each year; and, this year, Alex was not willing to sit by our tree long enough for me to take a decent photo, so we will try again, at some point!




We have so much to be grateful for this year!  We are looking forward to celebrating our second Christmas together with both of our girls!

We hope that you are enjoying the Holiday season!

Interview: Hugo Coffee Roasters

Interview with Claudia McMullin, Owner, Hugo Coffee Roasters


Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing Claudia McMullin, owner of Hugo Coffee Roasters, located in Park City, Utah.  What makes this company unique is its commitment to dog rescue.  I also love the names of the coffees, which are dog inspired, which you can read more about in our interview below!  Additionally, you can learn more about Hugo Coffee here.


KATHERINE CARVER: My husband and I recently learned of Hugo Coffee, and we love your mission supporting rescue dogs.  How and when did Hugo Coffee come into existence?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: Hugo Coffee originated as a coffee shop in the Park City, Utah, Visitor Information Center in 2013.  By 2014 we realized that, in order to serve our customers the highest quality blends with consistency and trust in our supply chain, it was important to develop our own roasting capabilities.  Hugo Coffee Roasters was developed and currently provides a line of premium coffees, cold brew and espresso, which is sold in our retail shop and to numerous Utah wholesale customers, including grocery stores, restaurants, and corporations. 

Hugo Coffee was founded by in 2015 and is named after my handsome rescue dog, Hugo.  In a former life, I was the Executive Director of the animal rescue now known as Nuzzles & Co.  Animal rescue is in my DNA and that of my brand!   Hugo Coffee gives 8-10% of proceeds (not profit — meaning I give regardless of whether my company makes money) of all sales of its retail products to animal rescues.

Hugo Coffee’s Mission Statement: Hugo Coffee’s mission is to save dogs by roasting superior fair trade, organic coffee.

Hugo Coffee’s Vision Statement: Hugo Coffee’s vision is to become the go-to coffee for animal lovers nationwide.

Hugo Coffee’s Values and Promise: Hugo Coffee is a friendly, playful, caring company with a focus on community – “Coffee with a Paws.”  Every time you drink a cup of Hugo Coffee, you are saving dogs too.  So, enjoy a cup, save a pup, and turn your daily ritual into an act of kindness.

Our key messages are Dog Rescue and Superior Coffee.  Our company motto is: “At Hugo Coffee we love two things: coffee and dogs … and not necessarily in that order.”  Our hashtags include: #drinkcoffeesavedogs and #drinkhugobehappy.



KATHERINE CARVER: How did Hugo, the namesake of your business, come into your life?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: I am a foster failure of baby Hugo at three weeks old.  Hugo came from a backyard breeder who tried to sell all of his puppies at three weeks of age and, when nobody bought Hugo, he dumped him at the local shelter.  Hugo was immediately rescued by the rescue I was soon to lead, Friends of Animals Utah was the name at the time, which is now presently known as Nuzzles & Co.  Hugo needed immediate fostering, and I volunteered.  After bottle feeding that sweet pea (Hugo) I could never give him up.



KATHERINE CARVER: How did you become involved in dog rescue?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: I had always had rescue dogs my whole life and was always crazy for dogs (and all animals).  I had been an attorney for a long time and really, really wanted NOT to be one anymore when I heard from a friend that my “dream job” had just become available –  being the Executive Director of an animal rescue.  So I applied, and got the gig!


KATHERINE CARVER: What dog rescue organizations do you support?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: We currently support Nuzzles & Co., Best Friends Animal Society, Paws for Life, and Canines with a Cause.  However, I will support any animal rescue.



KATHERINE CARVER: Can you tell us a little bit about the products you offer for sale?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: You bet!  Hugo Coffee offers a range of specially roasted coffees designed specifically and intentionally to appeal to a broad palette.  Each roast is created by Master Roaster, John Lynn.  John selects the importer, country of origin, and the farm from which to purchase the organic fair-trade green beans (note that although our beans are organically grown, they are not always organic-certified due to size of our small farm suppliers).  He then skillfully creates the consistent roasts and flavor notes of each Hugo signature roasts.  Each “recipe” is taught to all junior roasters and consistently reviewed for consistent quality assurance.

Each roast is intentionally named with a nod towards dogs.  Specifically, from darkest to lightest roast, Hugo Coffee offers Black Paw (French Roast); Bonafido (Med-Dark Roast); Rollover Breakfast Blend (Medium Roast); Howler Espresso (Medium Roast); and New Trick (Light Roast).  In addition, Hugo Coffee offers Downward Dog Decaf (Medium Roast); Dog Daze Cold Brew (Med-Dark Roast); and our Rotating Roasters’ Choice.

Hugo Coffee’s roasts are comprised of beans from various countries in various proportions and with various flavor notes as set forth immediately below:

  • Black Paw® (French Roast): South American origin with flavor notes of burnt sugar, dark chocolate, and spice.
  • Bonafido® (Med-Dark Roast): South American origin with flavor notes of bakers chocolate and dark fruit.
  • Rollover Breakfast Blend® (Medium Roast): Peruvian origin with flavor notes of maple, milk chocolate, and nuts.
  • Howler Espresso (Medium Roast): South American origin with flavor notes of chocolate, sweet dates, and toffee.
  • New Trick® (Light Roast): Central American origin with flavor notes of nuts, floral, and sweet.
  • Roasters Choice (Light Roast): Rotating single source bean from various countries and small farms selected by Master Roaster every 4-6 weeks.
  • Downward Dog Decaf® (Medium Roast): blend of beans from various and changing countries with flavor notes of banana bread, caramel, and cocoa.
  • Dog Daze Cold Brew® (Medium-Dark Roast): Central African origin with flavor notes of chocolate, nut, and spice.



KATHERINE CARVER: Where can people purchase your coffee, especially with the Holidays quickly approaching?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: You can purchase our coffee locally in Utah, at various grocery chains including, Whole Foods.  You can also purchase our coffeeonline at or via

In addition to coffee, we also have this great holiday gift box which includes a bag of Bonafido or Rollover and a box of organic dog treats.  Oh, and our artisan hand made mugs are pretty sweet, too!



KATHERINE CARVER: Where can people find Hugo Coffee online?

CLAUDIA MCMULLIN: You can find Hugo Coffee via the following links:; Amazon; Instagram; and Facebook.


*All images are courtesy of Hugo Coffee.

Happy Halloween from our Super Girls!

Happy Halloween!  I cannot believe how quickly the time is flying by that it is already time for Halloween, one of our favorite times of the year!  We love the fall season!  It is Alex’s second Halloween!  Victory is Super Woman this year for Halloween along with her little sister, Alex, shown below!  We think they look pretty adorable!  (It is nearly impossible to get the girls to sit together for a photo these days without Alex running after Victory and then Victory running away, as a result!  So, we put them together in Alex’s crib and I took a few photos and I hoped for the best!  Last year, it was certainly easier to photograph the girls together!)  Victory (and Alex) was a unicorn last year; Wonder Woman two years ago; a fifties girl three years ago; a lioness four years ago; a butterfly five years ago; and a ladybug for her first Halloween, six years ago.

Weather permitting, Victory will help us hand out candy on Halloween in her costume and she will show off our pumpkin masterpiece carefully carved by Doug, shown below, of a toddler sitting on top of a pumpkin!  Doug spent almost seven hours, the other day, so earnestly working on carving his Halloween toddler pumpkin, in honor of Alex!  He did a wonderful job!  (Doug previously carved a dog on our pumpkin in honor of Victory!)  A short video of our lit carved pumpkin is also shown below.  Additionally, here are links to other pumpkins carved by Doug: last year; two years agothree years ago; four years agofive years ago; six years ago; and seven years ago!

Depending upon the weather, we may take Alex trick-or-treating to a few nearby houses in our neighborhood — we will just have to see how it goes, as Alex also goes to bed early, per her internal clock!  However, tomorrow, Alex is participating in a school Halloween parade!  It will be fun to see the kids’ costumes!  A few photos are shown below of the girls with the pumpkin Doug diligently carved!  (Alex insisted upon holding her bubbles while sitting next to the carved pumpkin!  She even eats her meals at home with these bubbles on her highchair tray!  And, she would sleep with them, if we let her!)

We hope that you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween!





















Here is a short video of the lit pumpkin Doug carved for us this year!


Photographs: Pumpkin Patch

This past weekend we went to the Shenandoah Valley with Alex and fur girl, Victory, to visit the pumpkin patch!  It was our second time together visiting the pumpkin patch as a family of four!  Alex is so much bigger as compared to last year’s pumpkin patch visit!  Alex is growing like a weed and she is changing all of the time!  The weather was beautiful!  Three years ago, Doug found a dog friendly pumpkin patch and animal farm, Hill High Farm, located in Virginia, for us to get this year’s pumpkin!  Alex loved looking at the animals, especially the llamas, and Alex and I rode a little train, which Alex, of course, loved!  (We recently took Alex to a petting farm, earlier this month, which she also loved, and she even rode a horse!)  Doug is still figuring out what he is going to carve on our pumpkin for Halloween this year!  Additionally, we visited a nearby local farmers market that had all sorts of unique items along with some of the best apple cider donuts and apple turnovers!  We also took Alex and Victory to Zaxby’s in Winchester, Virginia!  Victory was in heaven, as always!  We really enjoyed our time together; and a few images from our trip are shown below!  Also, here is a look back to our previous pumpkin patch visits: 2018; 2017; 2016; 2015; and 2014!

Additionally, I included a few photos from our field trip to another pumpkin patch with Alex’s school that took place earlier this month!  It was also a beautiful fall day, and Alex had a grand time, and she picked her very own pumpkin off the vine!

We look forward to Halloween next week — the girls will surely look adorable in their Halloween costumes!

Happy Fall!






















































Here are a few photos from Alex’s field trip with school to the pumpkin patch!

















Victory: A Birthday Celebration — 8 years!

This past Saturday, October 12, marked six years since we adopted our sweet dear little Victory!  The time is going by much too quickly!  We decided to make October 12 Victory’s birthday — the day we went to Michigan and adopted our sweet fur girl.

As such, on October 12, we celebrated Victory’s birthday marking her sixth year with us since her adoption!  This also marks nearly fifteen months of being a ‘big sister’ to Alex!  This year, for Victory’s birthday, we did a pastel rainbow theme with a silver accent!  (As shown below, last year, we did pastel theme with a gold and silver accent; two years ago we did a gold and champagne theme; three years ago we did a light pink and gold themed birthday; four years ago we did a pink themed birthday; and five years ago, we did rainbow themed birthday for Victory!)  We purchased some fun pastel rainbow decorations, party hats, balloons, and a cream sweater for Victory, a tradition, in honor of her birthday!  Victory also enjoyed her very own prime rib that we got for her while on our anniversary dinner!  (Here is a brief video of our fur girl, Victory, on her birthday enjoying her prime rib!)  Victory looked absolutely adorable and beautiful on her birthday, as always, shown below!  This is the second birthday that Victory celebrated with her sidekick, Alex!  (These days, it is really difficult to get the girls to sit still together; however, a few candid images of our sweet girls together are shown below.)vvVictory had a fun birthday and she truly enjoyed being over fed!

We are truly the lucky ones to share our lives with this wonderful, loyal, and loving being.  Victory has also fully embraced her ‘big sister’ role!  Victory is very attuned to her little sister and loves to greet Alex in the mornings!  It melts our hearts!  Victory continues to join us each morning and evening for play time and story time, in addition to all feedings!  We also do our best to keep Victory fully integrated in our outings as well!  We are so grateful and thankful for our Victory.  She means the world to us and we lover he very much.

For Victory’s birthday, we gave her a new: large sherpa blanket to use for her naps on our bed, one of her favorite places to rest; a cream sweater; and a gift card from my parents!

(All birthday decorations are via Sweet Lulu.)




















A look back at Victory’s birthday celebrations over the years…



If you are considering getting a dog, I hope that you consider adopting a rescue dog.  There are so many dogs in need of a good, loving home.  As shown below, Victory, a rescue, has changed so much physically and emotionally over the years since we adopted her, pictured on the left (image from Victory’s foster mom via the Michigan Sheltie Rescue).  You really can save a dog’s life, while simultaneously enriching your own life/lives.


Pups in the Park!

This past weekend we took Alex and Victory, in their matching jerseys, to Pups in the Park at the Nationals!  This was our sixth time, fifth year, attending Pups in the Park at the Nationals with Victory, and our first time with both Alex and Victory!  (You can view our previous trips to Pups in the Park: here, here, here, here, and here.)  

We had nice weather, although it was quite hot and humid for the tail end of September.  Alex loved seeing the other dogs, and she had no problem going up to the other dogs!  (We saw only one other sheltie at this game!)  Alex lasted about two hours after the drive to the stadium, with heavy traffic, and no afternoon nap.  Alex did pretty well at the game; she sat some of the time and she liked to roam in our row.  We were fortunate in that we did not have people sitting on either side of us in our row so that Alex, luckily, had some room to move around!  Importantly, Alex gave Victory a treat all on her own, during the game, shown in the short video below — it was so heartwarming!  (Alex had only done this once before, the evening before, while at dinner, and I was in the present moment and I was not quick enough to capture!  Alex was so proud of herself she clapped, we all did!)  Alex slept the entire ride home and Victory napped in our bed all day Sunday from being exhausted her outing to the game!  It was a fun time together; and I will always remember Alex’s and Victory’s first Nationals’ game together!

Below are several photos from our visit!  We look forward to going back for more games next year!

Happy Wednesday!




























Here are a few iphone images from the game!



Here is a video from Pups in the Park — Alex feeding Victory a treat!

Faye Moorhouse: Women and their Dogs

I am in love with illustrator Fay Moorhouse’s series, Women and Their DogsWomen and Their Dogs consists of nine paintings that portray the everyday life of the ordinary woman and her faithful furry friend.  This includes trips to the supermarket; bedtime; and trips to the park, which truly come to life in this handmade zine.  Moorhouse’s playful style creates endearing studies of people and their furry family members, while highlighting the humorous and intimate relationship we share with our canine companions.  Perhaps we see a little of ourselves in her work, shown below!









The above images are courtesy of Fay Moorhouse.

Date Night with Your Pup!

Doug and I aim to have one date night a month, which we covet!  (We, thankfully, have a few sitters that we use for Alex!)  However, this summer, it was Doug’s idea to start bringing Victory with us on our date nights for as long as the weather holds!  Victory has adjusted really well since Alex’s arrival and Victory is fully enveloped in our lives as we are in her life.  What we have found is that Victory is in seventh heaven on these date nights!  She is a smart sheltie girl, and we believe she knows that these are special times being spent with her!  We took Victory recently to an Italian restaurant, and she loved sitting on the chair next to us, during dinner, pictured below!  We then took her with us for gelato, which she also relished!  She truly loved being the ‘only child’ for an evening, like old times!  We love this time with our fur girl, Victory, too!  So, if you have a pup, I am sure he/she would love to go out on a date night with you, especially if he/she has other ‘siblings!’  At least it is may be an idea to consider . . .




Our girls riding in the car together, pictured below.


New Study: Dogs can feel stress from humans

I recently read a really interesting study involving shelties, our favorite breed of dog!  If you have not already heard about this study, please feel free to keep reading!

In a recent study, it is hypothesized that dogs can feel what their human companions feel.  “When dog owners go through a stressful period, they’re not alone in feeling the pressure – their dogs feel it too, a new study suggests.”  The Swedish researchers focused on 58 people who own border collies or Shetland sheepdogs.  They examined hair from the dog owners and their respective dogs, looking at the concentration of a hormone called cortisol, a chemical released into the bloodstream and absorbed by hair follicles in response to stress.  Lina Roth of Linkoping University in Sweden found that patterns of cortisol levels in the hair of dog owners closely matched that found in their dogs in both winter and summer months, indicating their stress levels were in fact in sync.  She [Roth] thinks owners are influencing the dogs rather than the other way around because several human personality traits appear to impact canine cortisol levels.

The researchers do not know specifically what causes the synchronization in cortisol levels between humans and their furry family members.  But why do people influence their dogs rather than vice versa?  Perhaps people are “a more central part of the dog’s life, whereas we humans also have other social networks,” Roth said.  The study results are no surprise, said Alicia Buttner, director of animal behavior with the Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha.  “New evidence is continually emerging, showing that people and their dogs have incredibly close bonds that resemble the ones that parents share with their children,” she said in an email.  But she said there isn’t enough evidence to assume that the influence goes only one way; it may go both ways.

Roth and her team plan to investigate whether other dog breeds will react to their owners the same way.  In the meantime, she [Roth] offered advice to minimize how much stress dog owners may be causing their pets.  Dogs that play more show fewer signs of being stressed, she said.  So “just be with your dog and have fun,” Roth said, which is excellent advice, for sure. 

Our beloved Victory has been with us through so much, a constant loyal family member.  We hope that she will continue to thrive and not experience too much stress; she has been a real trooper this year as she has warmly added Alex to her pack and she has adjusted really well!  A few images of our beloved Victory are shown below from this past year!  We love her so very much!


ASPCA: Dog Fighting, A Fighting Chance

Today is National Dog Fighting Awareness Day.  The ASPCA recently contacted me and asked me to share this information with you, kindly asking you to take a stand against the barbaric practice by taking legislative action in support of the HEART Act while also posting on social media to help spread the word.  As way of background, the HEART Act is important legislation that would help victims of dog fighting by decreasing their length of stay in temporary shelters and allowing them to be rehabilitated and re-homed faster.

As a result, the ASPCA would love your help in raising awareness by doing a blog piece or sharing one of the following, listed immediately below, on social media anytime during April 2019:

  • Today, I’m helping the @ASPCA fight for victims of dog fighting and put an end to this barbaric practice. Visit to give dogfighting rescues a #FightingChance
  • In honor of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, sign the HEART Act, which helps victims of dogfighting find loving homes quicker: @ASPCA #FightingChance

Thank you so much for your help with this important cause helping these dogs have a fighting chance!



The above image is courtesy of the ASPCA.