Posts tagged ‘Heather Kalinowski’

A Furry Friendly Family

A beautiful Newfoundland

As you may know, I have always been a lover of animals.  From the time I was a small child I had a connection to all animals so it is logical that in my retirement I would end up being a Pet Nanny, loving and caring for these precious furry companions. 

What you may not know is when I was a young girl living in the small town of Wenatchee WA, some neighbors of mine had several Newfoundland’s who needed to be exercised several times a week, so my sisters and I took on the job.  We were to take the big dogs out to the large orchard behind their house, walk them around and bring them back home. Now I have to admit I did more cuddling on these big gentle giants than walking around, but I loved the time I spent with them.  Gwyneth and Bruce Mitchell were the neighbors, and in 1967 they donated their home and land and founded the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society, fulfilling their dream of giving hope and homes to homeless animals in the Wenatchee Valley.

The story and connection continue with my family and this Humane Society.  I love the fact that my family shares my love of animals and have committed their lives to them.

The Mitchell home was converted into a thrift shop and my Aunt Fern volunteered there for many years, supporting and helping to fund the Humane Society.

My son Ben Baker became involved in working at the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society when he was in high school. Always an animal lover, this was the perfect fit to further his love and understanding of them. Over the years he has rescued several dogs in need, giving each of them a loving home.

One of the many poems my son Ben Baker has written

Ben Baker with his constant sidekick Angus

Little did Ben know that his son Christian would find his way to the same Humane Society many years later to achieve his passion as an Animal Control Officer.

Christian Baker heading out on a call

My grandson Christian Baker is a Wenatchee Valley Animal Control Officer serving the animals and residents of Chelan and Douglas counties.  Its mission is to help protect the safety and well-being of the citizens and animals of its jurisdictions through compassion, education and law enforcement.  There is no one better qualified for the job than Christian.  He has always been a sensitive, compassionate person towards people as well as animals which has made this occupation perfect for him.

Christian has shared a few stories with me.  Some heartwarming, some sad.  But all showing his compassion for this very important journey he has undertaken in his life.

Jordyn Baker with her horse Ahsoka

Christians wife Jordyn is also an animal lover who enjoys her horse Ahsoka whom she has broken herself! 

Jordyn also finds time to do some pet sitting in her spare time and of course Hilly, her close companion and sweet little partner in crime is always by her side.

Jordyn Baker and Hilly

My daughter Heather Kalinowski has always loved animals since she was a little girl. She wanted to be a veterinarian but when she shadowed a veterinarian in high school she almost fainted from the blood and realized, to her great disappointment, that veterinary medicine was not in her future.

Ava welcoming Heathers son LJ into the family
Little Ava with my daughter Heather

Over the following 15 years, while focusing on a career in journalism, she volunteered her time fostering and caring for dogs. She fell in love with the Italian Greyhound and spent years dedicated to fostering and finding forever homes for this very special breed.

In 2010 she joined a pet insurance company as a blog writer and found that the company was not just focused on ensuring pet owners could afford the very best care for their pets, but it was also a company dedicated to pet health and veterinary wellness. She stayed with the company for over ten years, even managing the non-profit organization the company’s Chief Veterinary Officer founded, MightyVet.

MightyVet is dedicated to supporting veterinarians and veterinary staff members in their career and personal well-being. Did you know that veterinarians are among the most likely professionals to commit suicide? You would be surprised at how stressful their job is, dealing with pet owners who may not have the money to afford the very best treatment for their pets. They get yelled at daily, are under tremendous financial strain with school loans, work around the clock, and don’t make much money (relative to other professions). MightyVet aims to help reduce the suicide rate among veterinary professionals by ensuring they are aware of and prepared for the challenges they face in practice.

My daughter Heather Kalinowski with her family and two latest rescues Molly and Lucy

Recently, Heather left her job and is pursuing other opportunities. I just found out she is planning to go back to school to pursue a zoology degree and will be celebrating her upcoming 40th birthday with a trip to South Africa to volunteer with an organization that supports the conservation of African wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and zebras.

Me with my newest little fella I’ve been looking after, 7 month old Louis.

And me? Well after 14 years, I’m still pet sitting and loving every minute of it!

April 17, 2021 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment

Hero Dog Awards 2014 – and a fun trip to Los Angeles

Susie winnerMy daughter Heather works for Trupanion, a pet insurance company based in Seattle, WA.  They sponsored one of the finalists of the Hero Dog Awards held in Los Angeles this year and Heather was in charge of making all the arrangements for her company for the event.  Since it fell on her son Declan’s first birthday, she asked if I would go with her so she could take Declan and be with him on his birthday.  What a fun trip it was!

Declans first plane ride

Declans first plane ride

Off we flew to the Beverly Hilton where we were met with a nice bottle of Champaign and a platter of assorted fruit, courtesy of the hotel.

s 013s 014Our first night we met my niece and her husband (who, it just so happened, were honeymooning at the same hotel) and went to the Hotel Bel Air for dinner. (One more check off of my bucket list!)

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The next morning, as Heather was whisked off to an event, Declan and I enjoyed our coffee on the veranda.

s 029We managed to get a few pictures with some of the Hero Dog Award finalists.

Declan with Bretagne, winner of the Search and Rescue catagory

Declan with Bretagne, winner of the Search and Rescue category

Over her long career, Bretagne has made a significant contribution to the search and rescue community through her many deployments including the World Trade Center after 9/11, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and Hurricane Rita in 2005. She now continues as an ambassador for search and rescue dogs as she visits elementary schools where she helps first graders learn to read.

Heather and Declan with Susie, winner of the Therapy Dog category, and Hero Dog Award 2014

Heather and Declan with Susie, winner of the Therapy Dog category, and Hero Dog Award of 2014

A puppy that was set on fire and a woman who suffered a brutal dog attack became a dedicated team that eventually changed North Carolina animal-cruelty laws. Susie the Pit Bull mix began life with terror and pain when she was beaten, burned, and abandoned. Susie and her owner both triumphed over pain and fear to become voices for abused animals that have no voice. They visit hospitals, schools, and nursing homes to inspire people never to give up.

Heather with Kota, winner of the Law Enforcement Dog catagory

Heather with Kota, winner of the Law Enforcement Dog category

A member of the Winchester, Virginia police force, this dog was injured by an eight-foot fall while responding to a burglary in progress. Undeterred, he helped his fellow officers finish the call, fighting with a severely fractured limb to ensure their safety.

Heather with Xena, winner in the Emerging Hero Dog category along with the owners.  Xena is the dog that Trupanion sponsored.

Heather with Xena, winner in the Emerging Hero Dog category.  Xena is the dog that Trupanion sponsored.

This pit bull was knocking on death’s door when she was brought into a Georgia shelter outside Atlanta. Emaciated and dehydrated, she was given just a one percent chance at survival. Unbelievably, she defied the odds, made a full recovery and was adopted by a family with a little boy with autism. Before, the child had closed himself off to the world, but the arrival of Xena sparked something in the child, and now he went from once silent to constantly singing to and chatting with Xena the Warrior Puppy.

We had some free time to enjoy the beautiful pool

Enjoying my niece and her husbands cabana by the pool!

Enjoying my niece and her husbands cabana by the pool!

We even got to take a stroll along Rodeo Drive!

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Aww yes, the LA life!

Ahh yes, the LA life!

Soon it was time for the Award Ceremony.

Heather on the Red Carpet

Heather on the Red Carpet

There were lots of celebrities attending who support the cause.

Heather with Pauley Perrette (Abby from NCIS).  She is a wonderful supporter of the Hero Dog Awards

Heather with Pauley Perrette (Abby from NCIS). She is a wonderful supporter of the Hero Dog Awards

Our last morning in LA, Heather, Declan and I went to Chateau Marmont for brunch.

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A pretty fancy place for Declan to spend his first birthday

A pretty fancy place for Declan to spend his first birthday

I have to include this picture of Johnny Galecki at Chateau Marmont.  I didn’t actually get to see him but my niece and her husband did who stayed there a few days earlier.  I admit watching The Big Bang Theory is one of my guilty pleasures and I was SO bummed that I missed him 🙂

Johnny Galecki (Leonard from Big Bang Theory) at Chateau Marmont

Johnny Galecki (Leonard from Big Bang Theory) at Chateau Marmont

After a busy and exciting few days in Los Angeles, we were on our way back to Seattle.

Too much for Declan!  Fast asleep on the plane ride home.

Too much for Declan! Fast asleep on the plane ride home.

It was a wonderful trip for a wonderful event!  Besides enjoying all the fun and beautiful things in LA, it was so heartwarming to hear all the stories of these very deserving dogs.

November 10, 2014 at 8:28 am Leave a comment

LJ and the Caterpillars

LJ and I have been spending a lot of time recently talking about caterpillars. One day a couple of months ago all of a sudden caterpillars started to appear around the house. He was so excited to see these little fuzzy crawly creatures and just couldn’t get enough of them.

LJ showing Grandpa Louie his caterpillar

LJ showing Grandpa Louie his caterpillar

There's a caterpillar crawling on my arm!

There’s a caterpillar crawling on my arm!

I told LJ the story of the life of a caterpillar. First a caterpillar hatches from an egg. Then the caterpillar is VERY hungry so he eats lots of leaf salad.

Caterpillar eating leaf salad

Caterpillar eating leaf salad

Then the caterpillar’s tummy is so full he makes himself a sleeping bag and falls asleep.

A few caterpillar "sleeping bags" that we found on the deck

A few caterpillar “sleeping bags” that we found on the deck

When he wakes up after a long sleep he turns into a butterfly!

We were SO excited when a butterfly came to say hello on the screen door!

We were SO excited when a butterfly came to say hello on the screen door!

I bought LJ The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
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LJ LOVES the part about the caterpillar turning into a butterfly!

LJ LOVES the part about the caterpillar turning into a butterfly!

We made egg carton caterpillars

We made egg carton caterpillars

We ate caterpillar pancakes

We ate caterpillar pancakes

Then it was time to go to the Butterfly House at the Seattle Science Center.

What a BIG caterpillar!

What a BIG caterpillar!

SO many caterpillar "sleeping bags"!

SO many caterpillar “sleeping bags”!

LJ watching the butterflies eating

LJ watching the butterflies eating

There's more butterflies!

There’s more butterflies!

After a wonderful time at the Butterfly House we walked to the fountain to have our lunch and talk about all the wonders of caterpillars!

My sweet LJ having his lunch at the fountain at Seattle Center

My sweet LJ having his lunch at the fountain at Seattle Center

July 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

A Fun Outing With The Boy

I just spent a fun morning with my Grandson LJ. It was raining so I decided to take him to an indoor play place. I wanted to take him to a place he hadn’t been before so I chose the Happy Nest in Redmond. It’s a smaller facility but there were only a handful of kids there so it wasn’t crowded at all.
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LJ had so much fun with all the activities.

LJ's favorite thing right now is to play with the trains

LJ’s favorite thing right now is to play with the trains

LJ and a friend taking care of kitchen duties

LJ and a friend taking care of kitchen duties

Who doesn't love the ball pit?

Who doesn’t love the ball pit?

One of the fun things they do at the Happy Nest is to blow bubbles for the kids

One of the fun things they do at the Happy Nest is to blow bubbles for the kids

Having a quiet moment at the book nook

Having a quiet moment at the book nook

Just across the street we found the Flying Apron to have lunch. It has all Vegan and gluten-free dishes. They all looked wonderful. We decided on the pizza and a muffin.
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Yummy pizza at the Flying Apron Cafe

Yummy pizza at the Flying Apron Cafe

LJ was fast asleep before we even got out of town. Fun times!!!

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

May 26, 2014 at 11:03 pm Leave a comment

The new arrival

I am so happy that I was able to take some time away from my pet sitting to be with my daughter when she had her second son.  Now I warn you, this is a Proud Grandma blog so bear with me while I show all my Grandson pictures 🙂

Nine months pregnant

Nine months pregnant

Heather was due to have her second son on September 28th.  That morning she was up fixing breakfast for her family looking big and full of baby.

Heather’s husband Joe went off to work and I spent the morning playing cars with LJ.

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Soon Heather told me she was in labor and called Joe to come home to take her to the hospital.  Later LJ, along with his other Grandma and grandpa’s were off to the hospital to meet the new little one.

LJ in his scrubs waiting to meet his new brother

LJ in his scrubs waiting to meet his new brother

Daddy introducing LJ to his new brother Declan

Daddy introducing LJ to his new brother Declan

My first chance to hold Declan

My first chance to hold Declan

Heather and Joe told LJ that when Declan came home he would get to go into his swing.  So the next day when he came home from the hospital that’s the first place he went.  He loved it!

Declan in his swing

Declan in his swing

LJ holding his new little brother

LJ holding his new little brother

LJ doesn't quite know what to think of this little guy

LJ doesn’t quite know what to think of this little guy

It wasn’t long before we were back to our normal daily routines.  LJ loves to help me cook so he’s always thrilled when it’s time to make dinner.  He’s a great helper!

LJ and I making dinner

LJ and I making dinner

And the following week LJ went back to his two-day a week ‘School’.

Ready for school in his "Thomas" rain coat and rain boots

Ready for school in his “Thomas” rain coat and rain boots

Grandma loving on that little guy

Grandma loving on that little guy

Declan had his first bath…

First bath

First bath

And was much happier once he was back cuddled in his nice warm towel.

All cuddled up

All cuddled up

Mommy and Declan having some tummy time.

Tummy time

Tummy time

Sweet little baby boy

Sweet little baby boy

Daddy hanging out with his boys

Daddy hanging out with his boys

Big boy!

Big boy!

My two weeks went by way too fast, and too soon I was back to pet sitting.  As much as I’ll miss my little boys, I know I’ll see them again really soon ♥.

Brothers

Brothers

My new charge – Oscar.

Sweet boy Oscar

Sweet Oscar

October 22, 2013 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Fun times!

I have to share a few fun things I’ve done this last month.

First of all my sister and I had the amazing opportunity to stay at a friends cabin in Winthrop.

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If you’ve never been to Winthrop you really need to check it out.  Take a drive over the North Cascades Scenic Highway to the Methow Valley and into the Old West town of Winthrop.  There’s usually lots of things going on in the area, including mountain biking, camping, horseback riding, etc. etc. etc.  In March there’s the Balloon Festival, Labor Day Weekend is the Methow Rodeo, In the winter there’s cross country skiing and snowmobiling.  Or if you just want to hang out in town, there are tons of restaurants, the Rhythm and Blues festival in July, the list goes on and on.

Winthrop

Winthrop

We chose to spend most of our time at the cabin enjoying the deck, the peaceful quietness, and the many deer who came to visit us.

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My next fun week-end was having a great time at our Annual Poker Party at one of my friends house on beautiful Lake Chelan.

Beautiful Lake Chelan

Beautiful Lake Chelan

We spent the week-end laughing, enjoying the beautiful scenery, acting silly like only the best of friends can, and oh yeah, playing poker!

DSC00457Last but definitely not least I helped celebrate my grandson’s second birthday.  His favorite thing in the whole wide world (right now) is riding the train.  So my daughter planned his birthday party at Country Village where he could play on the swings,

Swinging with Grandma Connie

Swinging with Grandma Connie

play catch with his new ball and mit,

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watch the model trains,

LJ watching the model train

LJ watching the model train

take a ride in the caboose with daddy,

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and of course open his presents.

DSC00341It was a wonderfully delightful day for LJ!  And I was so happy I could be a part of it.  LOVE that little boy!

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It’s definitely been a fun month!

September 28, 2013 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Early Christmas with my kids

LJ and dad on their way out for a walk

LJ and dad on their way out for a walk

This year I won’t be able to spend Christmas with my family so my kids and I had an early Christmas.  We gathered at my daughter Heather and family’s home in Lynnwood.  Heathers dad, brother Ben and wife Wendy and their grandson Mason all came.

Mason and LJ playing in the tunnel

Mason and LJ playing in the tunnel

It was fun watching the boys play!

Ben and Wendy enjoying the day

Ben and Wendy enjoying the day

After a nice brunch everyone started opening their presents.

Mason like his Rescue Bots!

Mason likes his Rescue Bots!

LJ playing with his zoo

LJ playing with his zoo

DSC08006We all had a really nice time visiting but the mountain passes were bad and all too soon it was time for Ben and his family to make their way back to Wenatchee.

After they left we all got bundled up and took a walk.

LJ warm and cozy in his new "bear" snowsuit from Ben & Wendy

LJ warm and cozy in his new “bear” snowsuit from Ben & Wendy

After our walk and LJ’s nap, guess which “toy” he decided he liked the best?

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Here’s hoping all of you have a wonderful Christmas this year and are able to spend it with the ones you love.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

December 24, 2012 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – How pet insurance can save you money

Here is a guest post written by my daughter, Heather Kalinowski.   As the mom of a fifteen-month-old boy and two dogs, she is always looking for ways to be thrifty.   She works for Trupanion pet insurance and truly believes in the benefits – both financial and emotional – a pet insurance policy can provide.

Heather_Ava

In today’s economy everyone is looking for ways to save money. For pet owners, saving money requires evaluating even more things, including pet food, grooming costs, boarding or pet sitting expenses, and veterinary care.

dog at vet

Unfortunately, for many pet owners, veterinary care is the biggest thing that digs into the family budget. While expected expenses such as yearly exams, vaccinations, monthly flea medications, and dental care can be easily factored into the budget, the unexpected expenses like major injuries and illnesses can cause a huge amount of financial strain and can lead to heart-breaking decisions.

dog in surgery 2

Pet insurance is one way pet owners can help protect their finances in these difficult situations. When a major medical condition develops in their pet, pet owners with insurance can easily and immediately opt for the best medical treatment available without worry of cost.

When you are trying to be thrifty, it can seem counter-intuitive to pay an insurance company a premium every month on the chance that it will pay off in the end. However, pet owners who cherish their pets as part of the family and who may not be independently wealthy need the financial reassurance that if something catastrophic does happen with their pet, they will be covered.

It makes a lot of sense when you consider how veterinary treatment has advanced in recent years and the increase in expense that comes with those advances. Medical conditions that were once thought to be fatal in pets like cancer and diabetes are now curable with veterinary care that rivals that available to humans.

trupanion insured cat

But if you don’t have the funds to pay for these advanced services, you only have two choices – max out as many credit cards as possible, plunging yourself into debt, or make the heart-wrenching decision to leave your pet untreated. With pet insurance, you don’t have to worry about making this decision – you are financially covered and in the end, you end up saving up to thousands of dollars.

Trupanion insured dog 3

December 21, 2012 at 10:41 am Leave a comment

How Pet Insurance Can Save You Money

Here is a guest post written by my daughter, Heather Kalinowski. As the mom of a five-month-old baby boy and two dogs, she is always looking for ways to be thrifty. She works for Trupanion pet insurance and truly believes in the benefits – both financial and emotional – a pet insurance policy can provide.

In today’s economy everyone is looking for ways to save money. For pet owners, saving money requires evaluating even more things, including pet food, grooming costs, boarding or pet sitting expenses, and veterinary care.

Unfortunately, for many pet owners, veterinary care is the biggest thing that digs into the family budget. While expected expenses such as yearly exams, vaccinations, monthly flea medications, and dental care can be easily factored into the budget, the unexpected expenses like major injuries and illnesses can cause a huge amount of financial strain and can lead to heart-breaking decisions.

Pet insurance is one way pet owners can help protect their finances in these difficult situations. When a major medical condition develops in their pet, pet owners with insurance can easily and immediately opt for the best medical treatment available without worry of cost.

When you are trying to be thrifty, it can seem counter-intuitive to pay an insurance company a premium every month on the chance that it will pay off in the end. However, pet owners who cherish their pets as part of the family and who may not be independently wealthy need the financial reassurance that if something catastrophic does happen with their pet, they will be covered.

It makes a lot of sense when you consider how veterinary treatment has advanced in recent years and the increase in expense that comes with those advances. Medical conditions that were once thought to be fatal in pets like cancer and diabetes are now curable with veterinary care that rivals that available to humans.

But if you don’t have the funds to pay for these advanced services, you only have two choices – max out as many credit cards as possible, plunging yourself into debt, or make the heart-wrenching decision to leave your pet untreated. With pet insurance, you don’t have to worry about making this decision – you are financially covered and in the end, you end up saving up to thousands of dollars.

February 11, 2012 at 12:39 am Leave a comment

My baby is having a baby!

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned that my beautiful daughter Heather and her husband Joe are having a baby.  This last year has been a whirlwind in their lives.  It hasn’t been a year ago that I was at their beautiful wedding.

A special moment before the ceremony

The beautiful bride and her handsome husband

Not long after the wedding they announced that they were going to have a baby!

We're having a baby!

They soon found out that the little bundle was going to be a boy!

It's a boy!

Between now and then they have moved to a bigger apartment and bought a car big enough to carry the whole family including their fur kids Ava & Jackson.

Jackson & Ava

They set up the nursery,

Babys bed

Toured the Birthing Center, got the car seat inspected at the police station, chose a pediatrician, and made practice runs to the
hospital.  They have the bag packed & ready to take to the hospital and are ready to welcome their new son to the family.

Any day now!

It’s hard for me to take this all in within just one short year.  Time goes by so fast, it seems like it was only yesterday that I was bringing my baby girl home from the hospital, and now she will be bringing her baby home.  I know my daughter is the happiest woman alive right now, just as I was 30 some years ago, and I know that she and her husband are going to be great
parents!  I can’t wait until my third grandchild comes into this world.  It won’t be long now…I’ll keep you posted!

August 11, 2011 at 5:58 am 1 comment