Life Update: It’s August Already?!

This was July:

This Was July (2014) | Frock Files

Delicious food and gorgeous ambiance at a new restaurant called La Brasa in Somerville.

This Was July (2014) | Frock Files
This Was July (2014) | Frock Files

The biggest highlight of the month: a visit from my parents, who spoiled us (especially Kona) rotten.

This Was July (2014) | Frock Files

This Was July (2014) | Frock Files

After years of comically bad dates, my great friend Stephen finally met The One. (She’s fantastic!) Here they are, two years later. Happily ever after.

This Was July (2014) | Frock Files
This Was July (2014) | Frock Files

With these summer days flying by, we’re trying to remember to enjoy every single moment.

This Was July (2014) | Frock FilesThis Was July (2014) | Frock Files

…even though the trees have already begun to turn.

Here’s to another month of summer (fingers crossed!) fun!

P.S. More photos on Instagram! (Kona has her own account too. Because we’re those crazy dog people.)

How to Stay Sane During Puppy’s First Year

How to Maintain Your Sanity During Puppy's First Year | Frock Files

Kona turned one-year-old last month, which means that she’s lived with us for just short of a year. Let me tell you, friends, I wouldn’t go back to those early days if someone paid us! While we’ve been lucky in many ways–she’s always slept through the night, she’s relatively low maintenance during the day, she loves other animals, she’s generally quiet–in those first few months it was tough. We were up and down with her every hour-and-a-half during our waking hours. She tried to eat everything from our baseboards to our rugs to ear plugs, and when we sprayed them with bitter apple, she only liked them more.

But over the months she’s mellowed out, and even though she’s a quirky little thing, we love her to bits. As I type this, she’s curled up in her crate behind me, making little doggie dreaming noises and kicking her paws every once in awhile. We can’t imagine life without her.

For anyone who has a new puppy, or anyone considering adding a new four-legged canine to your family, I came up with this list of things we learned during Kona’s first year:

How to Maintain Your Sanity During Puppy's First Year | Frock Files

Doggie Daycare = Balanced Dog. But be careful when you’re choosing one. We first tried the one that’s right across the street from our house, but in the end convenience lost out to quality. We then took Kona to a wonderful daycare with a huge outdoor play area, but when we discovered that she was sneak-eating other dogs’ poop there (despite their low staff-to-dog ratio) we had to pull her out because she kept getting sick. We then reverted to hiring a dog walker on days when I go into the office, but I noticed Kona was getting overly anxious after a few weeks. Now we use a combination of dog walking and indoor daycare, which seems to be a good balance. Long story short, you’ll get to know your dog and that will help you find the right one. But in my opinion, a good doggie daycare is a great way to make sure your puppy grows into a balanced dog.

It’s essential to introduce a puppy to as many things as possible. Kona met all kinds of people and dogs right off the bat, but she didn’t meet many kids, and now she’s scared of them. While she’s all bark and no bite, it’s still hard to explain to kids who are so excited by this real-life teddy bear. We’re slowly including more kids into her life, and after about an hour she thinks they’re great — but it does take that hour for her to feel like, yes, these are humans. No, they aren’t zombies.

Dog probiotics are a (very good) thing. When Kona was getting sick a lot, our vet put her on antibiotics and, later, a probiotic. It’s made a huge difference in Kona’s digestion, which has always been problematic for us. We sprinkle half a capsule on her food each night, which she scarfs down so quickly that she doesn’t even detect a difference.

YouTube is fantastic for dog training. We went to puppy kindergarten, and our teacher actually said, “Geez, you guys didn’t need to come to this class at all!” We began teaching Kona commands the day she came home, based on information we learned from YouTube trainers. My favorite is this series on dog training by

How to Maintain Your Sanity During Puppy's First Year | Frock Files

Neighbors are nicer when you have a dog. We didn’t really talk to any of our neighbors pre-Kona. Since she came home with us, we know almost everyone. And while we’re pretty sure no one knows our names, they definitely know Kona’s! It helps that she greets them by running full speed down the hallways toward them, flopping on her back, and kicking her legs in the air. Who wouldn’t like such an enthusiastic greeting? Also, if they’re sane people and they offer to watch your dog, let them. They really want to, and you’ll really need a guilt-free break.

Everything outdoors is more fun with a dog. I’m really finicky about temperature. Anything above 80 or below 60 and I would be hard pressed to get outdoors. But Kona and I go for a two-mile walk almost every day, unless it’s icy or raining. We’ve also loved taking her to restaurants with outdoor patios, on walks around lakes and the beach, to the dog park, and on long car rides. We’re experiencing a whole new layer of enjoyment in these warm months!

It’s essential for everyone’s sanity to take breaks. Although Kona sleeps through the night, she does wake us up at around six or seven every morning. She also likes a lot of play time and attention. And we, used to our relative freedom to come and go when we pleased, found that we were missing the Fridays that I’d travel into the city to have date night with James (too late) or quick overnight trips around New England. We were so grateful to discover DogVacay early on, and we continue to look to our dog sitter on a regular basis. Kona gets to run around with the sitter’s dog in her “second home” and we get to run around without worrying about feedings, walks, or a lonely pooch.

P.S. Do-it-yourself doggie “ice cream” bites!




Our Christmas Card 2013

Frock Files | Happy Holiday Greetings

We’re beginning our Christmas festivities today, but I just wanted to wish you all a very merry one. I’m so grateful for the surprises that this blog has brought me this year, including some amazing friendships. You’ve all given me the greatest gift I could ask for. Thank you, and Merry Everything!

AirBnB for Dogs

Dog Vacay - The AirBnB for your pup. Our personal experience!

Remember how I rented an apartment through AirBnB last month when I was in New York? Over the weekend, Kona had a similar experience!

On Saturday night we went to see a friend’s band play about an hour and a half away, and I knew that we’d be out until the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving Kona home alone for that many hours since she’s only 4 months old, so we turned to a new service we’d heard about called Dog Vacay, where dog owners all over the country welcome pups into their home when their owners are out of town, on vacation, or just plain busy.

How It Works

The service allows you to search by your local area. You’re then given a list of dog sitter listings, each with photos, a description of their homes, “host” dogs (the sitters’ pets), and a calendar with availability. You may choose to do a free meet and greet with the sitter, or you can book right away. All of the sitters are insured through Dog Vacay.

Dog Vacay - The AirBnB for your pup. Our personal experience!

We chose our sitter, Faith, because she used to be a vet tech and she has a fenced-in back yard, plus she only lives about 20 minutes away. As a bonus, she and her husband own a yellow lab – and we’re under the impression that Kona thinks she’s a lab, herself!

Kona’s Stay

We brought along a container of Kona’s food and her crate, but left behind her toys because sometimes dogs get territorial about those things. Faith went over Kona’s eating and sleeping schedule with me and showed us around the house. She put Kona’s crate in a bedroom, which Kona got to sleep in all by herself (as she does at home). Talk about luxury.

Dog Vacay - The AirBnB for your pup. Our personal experience!

Kona was immediately smitten with another dog who was staying at the house, Chloe. She forgot all about us, and when we said good-bye she looked over her shoulder like, “Oh, you’re still here?” and galloped off to continue wrestling with Chloe, who is at least twice her size.

Over the course of Kona’s 24-hour stay, Faith sent us two emails containing pictures of our pup. We weren’t really worried about her because she loves other dogs and we knew she would feel like she was in Disneyland with two other dogs to play there. But we were tickled to get a peek at just how much fun she was having.

This is my favorite one. Look at how they’re gazing at each other and reaching their paws out! If that’s not puppy love, I don’t know what is.

Dog Vacay - The AirBnB for your pup. Our personal experience!

We would have paid the same or more to put Kona in a pet hotel or kennel for the night, but having her in a real home with other happy dogs and the comfort of responsible humans nearby was a better deal for all of us. With the holidays coming up, Dog Vacay is a fantastic option for any of you who can’t travel with your pups but hate the idea of kennels. Kona approves!


This post was NOT sponsored by I just think their service rocks and I wanted to share it with you.

Photos by our pet sitter, Faith


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