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January 24, 2014

2014, Proud to Celebrate Crate Escape’s 10th Year! Great Herbal Remedies for your Pup


Sometimes I sit here and pretend I am a fake dog, just to see if anyone notices.

2014 is Crate Escape’s 10th Year!

We have so much to celebrate.
In the living room with my parents last night, I was thinking about them, in their living room 11 years ago,  discussing opening a retail dog and cat store. And, yes, they got into the dog business because of ME.
10 years later look where we are.

Bradley and Stephanie Hastings, the owners of Crate Escape, did not originally plan a dog daycare. Their first store was named Raining Cats and Dogs (now Crate Escape too). Located in Huron Village, Cambridge, the store has primo, great dog stuff and the word spread. Soon after opening, LOTS of customers encouraged adding a dog daycare to the retail services. So they did.

In the beginning Raining Cats and Dogs welcomed all sizes of dogs in daycare. In addition to the inside space, there is a doggie door leading to a fenced in back yard.  Even so, it soon became clear that more space was needed for the dogs over 40 lbs to play.  Fast forward to the creation of Crate Escape  in Belmont.

In celebration of our 10th anniversary, we are profiling the original dogs who attended daycare in Cambridge. They are very special in our hearts. Next week’s blog will be about our first dog, Brady Arnold.

This is going to be FUN!!

Later, Ernestine

p.s.  The articles in this blog are selected by me because I think they are interesting. They do not necessarily represent the opinions or thoughts of Crate Escape. I would like to comment on some of the articles.  My editiorial comments will be prefaced by this illustration:

ernie drawing from website1 .



The Whole Dog Journal
It’s unavoidable – no matter how well you care for your dog, he will still get sick or hurt. But not every ailment requires a trip to the vet. In fact, many holistic remedies have proven successful in treating a wide range of canine illnesses and injuries. The Whole Dog Journal has a list of  natural healing methods and products available that will address common ailments. It is long, so we will print a section each week.  Here is the intro:

Check out these herbal remedies for a few common canine ailments.

Good holistic health care fulfills the needs of the whole animal being, physically, mentally, and emotionally. A sound, well balanced diet (along with fresh, clean water), appropriate exercise, and proper behavioral education just about covers the bases.

Or does it? Health is individual. Many people consider their animals to be healthy as long as they aren’t sick, but to me, a healthy dog is happy and expressive, exuding resilience. Whether our animal companion denotes health with a gleaming eye, a flashing coat, and an athletic leap for a Frisbee, or a half cocked ear, sly grin, and thumping tail from the Barcalounger, we can best ascertain the level of our friends’ health by observing over time what’s normal for each unique individual.

Healthy animals can and do get sick occasionally. Sometimes a “tincture of time” is the best remedy, as the dog’s body fights off an invading bacteria or virus and the “illness” resolves with the passing of time. Occasionally, you’ll need veterinary help for a pet’s acute or severe problem.  But in other times, a minimal treatment provides a sufficient level of care to boost the healing response. That’s where herbal treatments shine.

Why should dogs have herbs? 
Plants provide vital natural sources of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that many of today’s commercial diets just don’t provide, what with poor-quality and over-processed ingredients. And in our increasingly urbanized environment, many dogs don’t have the opportunity to forage and ingest healing plants they instinctively seek out when feeling distressed.

From herbal treatments, animals can derive not only nutritional benefits, but also gentle, non-invasive medicinal therapy. Herbal medicine works by strengthening the body’s physiological systems, rather than treating only individual presenting symptoms. Because our culture is so accustomed to the methods of reactive, allopathic medicine, it’s easy to view herbal remedies as simply replacements for pharmaceutical drugs, but this is a mistake. Herbs aren’t a quick fix in the way drugs often are. Instead, they are usually gentler and slower-acting.

We will describe several common canine health problems that can often be quickly and easily remedied with herbal treatments. Even though herbs often serve as the raw material for refined and standardized prescription drugs, you’ll find some variance in the relative strength of plant materials, as well as products prepared in the same manner from different lots of herbs. For that reason, your approach to using herbs should be flexible. Monitor your dog’s behavior and symptoms, and be prepared to increase or decrease the amount you use accordingly. 

There may not be one right method of herbal administration for your dog (or you!) but with patience, you may find the right combination of herbal treatments that will support growing wellness in your animal companion.  

ernie drawing from website1 In next week’s blog we will talk about herbal remedies for;  Arthritis, Diarrhea/ Gastritis, Ear Infections.




January 15, 2014

** 2014 – Crate Escape 10th Anniversary**

As Ernie Sees It

Just in case you don’t know me, I am Ernestine Hastings, a brilliant, charming, beautiful and fast jack russell terrier. Crate Escape was founded because of me, and I have many jobs as Top Dog.  I am thrilled to announce that 2014  marks Crate Escape’s 10th Anniversary.  The rumor around the treat jar is that we will let everyone know that we are;

10 yr. banner (2)

This is the first draft of our 10th Anniversary Banner.  In each blog we will update the banner heading towards the fabulous finished spectacle! The official celebration will be around my birthday in April, but there will be lots of other stories, goodies and fun throughout the year.  Stay tuned!

The article written by Francis Battista,  the co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society,  highlights some concerns and dangers to your dog that go beyond the usual list.


Later, Ernestine

Keeping Dogs Safe in the Cold

Francis Battista
Best Friends Animal Society

Whether you choose to call it a polar vortex, an artic blast, or an invasion from Canada, it doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is that winter can be downright freezing. With temperatures in the single digits, and wind chills far below zero, it’s worth putting pen to paper to remind us of some basic cold weather tips for you and your pets.

Antifreeze, which has a sweet taste and is attractive to animals, can be deadly to pets even in small amounts, so make sure to promptly clean up any antifreeze spills in your driveway or garage! As little as 1/2 teaspoon is enough to kill an eight-pound cat.

• Tip: Ask your mechanic to be sure that you have propylene glycol–based antifreeze in your own vehicles. Brands such as Sierra and Prestone Low Tox use the less-toxic propylene glycol as the anti-freeze agent.

• There is a common misconception that dogs will be OK if left outside during the winter months. This simply is not true. All pets need adequate shelter and protection from the wind, snow and freezing temperatures. Both dogs and cats are safer and happier when kept indoors during cold weather, except when taken out for short periods of closely supervised exercise. Don’t leave your pets outdoors unattended when the temperature drops below freezing. Pets who stay inside most of the time may find it difficult to adapt to cold temperatures. Pets can quickly develop hypothermia and frostbite. Ear tips and tail tips are particularly susceptible to frostbite.

• Many dogs, particularly those with short coats, will be more comfortable outside if they have a sweater. Many dogs also need boots in cold weather, regardless of coat length. If your dog frequently lifts up his paws, whines or stops during walks, it is probably because his or her feet are uncomfortably cold. You may want to also check out booties and consider buying a set. That is, if your pup will wear them.

• Be particularly careful when taking older or arthritic animals outside. They will likely become stiff and tender quickly and may find it difficult to walk on the snow or ice. Keep them close to your side when walking on ice to avoid a slip-and-fall accident.

Don’t let dogs off the leash during a snowstorm. No matter how much they want to play in the snow, they can easily lose their scent and become lost in the snow once they are unleashed. Make sure dogs are wearing ID tags before you take them out, snow or not!

Chemicals and salt solutions used to melt snow and ice can injure or irritate the pads of your pet’s feet and may be harmful if ingested. Gently wipe their feet with a damp towel before your pet has a chance to lick them. Here at Best Friends, we use pet-friendly SafeStep Enviro Blend.

Small animals may seek the warmth of the engine of a parked car. To avoid injuring any animals hiding under your hood, bang on the hood or honk the horn before starting your engine.

Never leave your pet alone in your car in an attempt to keep them warm. Leave them at home or bring them with you on your errands. They can freeze to death in a car during cold weather. The enclosed space of a car will not maintain sufficient heat to protect them from the cold. In fact, cars can actually act like a refrigerator and hold cold air in, putting your pet at risk.

Make sure you have enough food and fresh water to last a few days, just in case the weather conditions prevent you from going to the store.

As New Englanders we need to be smart, stay safe and keep our pets warm and protected.

January 2, 2014

Happy New Year from Ernestine, Top 10 Most Popular Dogs, 2013, January, National Walk Your Dog Month!

2014; Bring it On!  by Ernestine

Ernie on Hardwood

A big Happy New Year to my followers and their dogs.  2013 was a wonderful year for Crate Escape and we are excited to enter the new year.  With great clients, a strong staff, our consistent focus on safety, cleanliness and doggone fun! we will stay on top (!) of our game, which can only mean good stuff coming in 2014. I mean, like, the recent addition of the GoPet Treadwheels at each location! (see Dec. 10th blog) Who woulda guessed?
The article below on the ‘Top 10 most popular dogs of 2013’ is interesting and fun. They refer to ‘mixed breeds’ as the hybrids, most of which have been approved by Westminster. Since I have 3 rescued brothers and sisters, they, sometimes, get a little ‘mixed breed snobby’, only wanting to hear about rescued dogs. I told them, once again, that purebreds can be adopted from almost any shelter, and how doggone cute they are!  Win/win.
Later,  Ernestine


Top 10 most popular dogs of 2013

from: Dogtime


Poodle hybrids are gaining in popularity: In addition to the Labradoodle (above), is the Maltipoo, Cockapoo, and other “-poo” mixes.
Dog breeds are among the top searches done by dog people. Here are the top pure- and mixed-dog breeds readers looked for in 2013. Almost half of the dogs from the 2012 top list were replaced this year, so the number-one choice may surprise you. Here they are — in ascending order:
10. Maltese:  One of the most ancient toy breeds, this  pooch is well suited to apartment or condo living; he can also suffer from separtation anxiety if kept away from his owner. (2012 rank: 26)
9. Labradoodle:  Part Poodle, part Labrador Retriever, this hybrid is a versatile therapy and family dog, who was bred for his hypoal lergenic characteristics. (2012 rank: 29)
8. Chihuahua:  The world’s smallest dog, these pint-sized pooches love nothing more than being close to their owners; although they have big personalities, they’re small dogs who can injure easily. (2012 rank: 24)
7. Boxer:  Originally bred to be a guard dog, this working pooch is renowned for his undying love and loyalty to his family…in addition to possessing a playful, clownish side. (2012 rank: 28)
6. Maltese Shih-Tzu:  A cross of a maltese and a shih-tsu , this pooch is one of the few “designer dogs” without Poodle heritage; his social nature makes him an excellent family pet. (2012 rank: 6)
5. Bichon Frise:  Often mistaken for a Poodle, the Bichon is almost always white, with black eyes and a black nose, and he’s ready to play — with a gentle and affectionate demeanor. (2012 rank: 4)
4. Shih- Tzu: Bred to be a companion, the pint-sized ST is good-natured and friendly; the distinctive way his facial hair grows in all directions has been described as a flower with the dog’s nose as the center. (2012 rank: 5)
3. Labrador Retriever:  Called America’s favorite dog, the Lab does it all: hunter’s companion, field retriever, show dog, working dog…but overall, he’s a loyal friend and companion. (2012 rank: 9)
2. Maltipoo:  An excellent therapy dog, this Maltese-Poodle hybrid is an excellent choice for timid or first-time owners, as he’s easy to train and does well in homes with children and the elderly. (2012 rank: 1)
1. Cockapoo:  The original “designer dog,” this Cocker Spaniel- Poodle mix is an affectionate, utterly adorable pint-sized pooch with a face that could melt a heart of stone. (2012 rank: 2)


January is National Dog Walking Month!

And, what a way to start!  Predicted weather is up to a foot of snow and cold temperatures for the first few days of the new year.  But as New Englanders (importees included!) we can do this and hopefully get past the cold and enjoy being outdoors with our best friends!


  • Dress your dog appropriately; jackets or sweaters if they get cold, rubber booties or mushers if the salt on the roads bothers their paws.
  • Especially with narrow sidewalksyo and limited plowing – No Cell Phones!
  • Even if you are cold and wish you were in the Bahamas, make it all about your dog(s). It is their excitement, exercise and exploration. Focusing on them takes our minds off the conditions. Let’s hope the interesting smells are frozen.
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