Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Tips for Moving to a New Home With Pets

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Tips for Moving to a New Home With Pets | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamMaking the transition to a new home can be stressful for everyone, including your pets. “We often are anxious about our pets’ adjustment to a new home,” says Lincoln Thompson, a broker-owner with Royal LePage Gardiner Realty in Fredericton, New Brunswick. “To ensure a safe and successful transition, homeowners can plan ahead and take initiatives to make the process as smooth as possible.”

Before the move

Pull out moving boxes in advance of packing to allow your pet an opportunity to become accustomed to them. Orient your pet to its carrier or crate so that you have a safe-place for her before and after the move. Try to keep routines as stable as possible during the flurry of packing and preparation for the big move.

Research by-laws and pet licensing in your new area.

Contact the local municipality for requirements concerning domestic animals in your new area. Ask about licensing and by-laws concerning the responsibilities of pet owners. Also check into the availability of off-leash areas for dogs in your new community.

Special considerations for rural areas

If your new home is in a rural area, be sure to learn the rights of farmers when neighbouring pets venture onto their property. Often, farmers have special privileges when it comes to protecting their livestock.

Transitioning your pet to your new home

Be prepared for some trepidation, particularly with cats that tend not to take as well to a change in environment. Cats should remain inside for several weeks until they become comfortable with their surroundings. Then, allow them only short accompanied ventures outdoors. Take your dog for several walks each day to help him become familiar with the new area. Avoid walking a dog immediately before leaving for errands or work. Plan to be home for a period of time after those initial walks. That way, the dog will associate his new home with positive outcomes.

Do you have other tips to share about moving with pets?  Let me know and I’ll feature your ideas in a future blog post!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

(Content of this article courtesy of

Fostering Animals Does Good, Feels Good!

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Fostering Animals Does Good, Feels Good! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHomeless or abused animals in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton area may end up in the Edmonton Humane Society shelter or the Parkland County Animal Shelter, but only if they are lucky enough to be rescued by somebody. Recently, my wife, daughter and I became involved with another option.

Hart, or the Humane Animal Rescue Team, is an Edmonton-based non-profit organization committed to rescuing stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs from rural areas around Edmonton and finding them permanent homes. Through this organization, my family’s home has become a temporary home for a few of the dogs rescued by this group, and it has been a rewarding experience!

From the hart website:

“…we rely entirely on the generosity, skills, and compassion of a volunteer network to:
• provide foster care, socialization, and basic training to prepare rescued dogs for adoption;
• coordinate the adoption of rescued dogs through a matching process of the dog’s needs to lifestyles and personalities of adopters;
• administer medical assistance to rescued dogs;
• respond to calls for dogs in need by traveling to rural locations to perform rescues;
• provide food to field volunteers for the dogs who cannot yet be rescued;
• prepare and deliver outreach programs and initiatives that promote responsible pet ownership;
• raise funds to support hart activities; and
• build awareness about hart and about the overpopulation problem.

hart does not operate out of a facility; instead, we rely on a network of foster homes, volunteers who open their homes and hearts to a rescued animal until a permanent home is found. Supplies such as leashes, collars, toys, dishes, food, treats, and crates are provided to our foster homes.

“A loving, safe and lifelong home is the goal in hart‘s re-homing efforts. A multi-step adoption process is followed to ensure the best match possible between the needs of the dog and the lifestyle of the potential adopters. Many of hart‘s adoptable dogs have been rescued from harsh situations and are therefore adopted out as companion animals to be loved and protected for the rest of their lives. The time we take in the adoption process and the fact that we visit each potential adoptive home is unique to our organization.

“Despite the initiative, the reward for hart volunteers is always the same: wagging tails and wet noses when lonely, scared or sick dogs are transformed into happy and healthy companions.”

Anyone who loves dogs and is able to devote some time and space in their home to helping a dog become adoptable might want to consider getting involved with hart’s foster program. Fostering can take many forms and is very customizable to personal circumstances. You can designate the age of dog you’re comfortable with (young puppies up to 6 months, young adult dogs aged 6 months to 1 year, or adult dogs), as well as the size and gender of dog. Hart welcomes people who can accommodate dogs in all kinds of special situations: mothers and their newborn pups, high energy dogs, low energy dogs, bonded pairs, or dogs with medical or behavioral issues. Hart also needs temporary homes, vacation homes, and emergency homes. Commitment can range from full time till adoption to various short term stays from under one month, up to 3 months and so on.

As mentioned above, there is no cost commitment since hart supplies everything needed by the dog in your care, and the hart foster team is always available for support.  Fostering is a great way to have a companion animal in your life on a temporary basis, maybe allowing you the chance to decide if you are ready to make a life-long commitment.

Other opportunities for fostering animals:

Many of the organizations that rescue abandoned animals operate through foster homes rather than housing the rescued animals in a central facility. Here are a few of them in our area:

Edmonton Humane Society (dogs, cats, rabbits, birds), 780-491-3513

Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS), (dogs), Edmonton and Athabasca

Northern Alberta Society for Animal Protection (NASAP), Sherwood Park

Why foster? Because everybody needs a home!

I love to hear your questions or comments. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Citizen Canine: Off-Leash Dog Parks in Spruce Grove

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Citizen Canine- Off-Leash Dog Parks in Spruce Grove | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamDo you own Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, Parkland County real estate, Edmonton real estate, or one of the many Parkland County acreages or Edmonton acreages, or other real estate in the Edmonton area? Are you looking for a great place to let your dog off-leash in one of those areas? Well, below is a summary of Spruce Grove’s off-leash dog parks to get you started. The Spruce Grove off-leash parks are easily accessible from all of the above areas. Your little four- legged friend will surely thank you for the wide opens space to run around!

Experience Cpl. Jim Galloway Memorial Off Leash Area

If you’ve been around Spruce Grove for a while you might remember this park by its former name “Century Off-Leash Park.” You can find this park at 51 Century Close. One of the special things about this park is the creative layout that includes a specific area of the park for smaller dogs, so you don’t have to worry about your little puppy being intimidated by all the big pooches! The facility features a double-gated entryway perfect for leashing and unleashing your dog. The off-leash area is about 8.6 acres big, with 1 km of gravel trails for you and your furry friend to take advantage of. Dotted throughout the park are benches and other seating areas, and the park is totally fenced.

For an Unfenced Park Try Marlboro

South of Marlboro Drive, near Heritage Grove Park, lies this nice little unfenced park where you can take your canine friend for some activity and fun. The park is accessible via the Heritage Grove trail system or via a pathway off Marlboro drive. Remember that the area is unfenced, so make sure your dog is appropriately trained before you try this park.

Observe Park Etiquette

When you go, remember to observe some basic off-leash park etiquette tips. Pick up after your dog (there are receptacles around the park where you can dispose of waste), and keep your dog leashed until you arrive at the specific off-leash area. Also important to remember is not to bring your dog if he or she is sick, to be in control of your dog at all times (if they need some more training before they are ready for the off-leash park then do that before bringing them out), and remember not to get too busy visiting with all the friends you will surely meet and make at the park that you forget to keep an eye on your dog and what he may be up to! Sometimes with so many canines in one place they can interact in unusual ways that need to be monitored.

Off-leash parks are a great way to enjoy the city and get out and about. They give you the opportunity to exercise, enjoy nature, spend time with your dog, and meet new people. Get out and enjoy one or both of Spruce Grove’s off-leash parks this summer.

If you’d like more information about Spruce Grove real estate, whether you’re looking to buy or sell, call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here


Selling Your Home When You Have Pets

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Selling Your Home When You Have Pets | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLife in our Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton-area homes just wouldn’t be the same without our four-legged companions.  But, even though 6 out of 10 Canadian homes have a dog or cat in residence, we have to pretend those family members never existed when it’s time to sell our homes!  In fact, having a pet in the home (or at least evidence of one) may even lower the price buyers are willing to pay for your home or make it harder to sell.

Why is this?  

Remember that buyers need to be able to visualize themselves as occupants of your home.  The physical presence of an animal along with its furnishings and equipment can start people thinking about all the negative effects of pets in the house (even if they are pet owners themselves):  animal hair, skin and bodily functions, damage to property from teeth and nails, germs!!  What’s more, encountering your pet unexpectedly could frighten potential buyers away from even viewing your home.

What can be done?

  • While it’s inconvenient for you and disruptive for your pet, the best solution during the time your home is on the market is to relocate your pet.  Lodge it with a friend or neighbor, or board it at a kennel.  If this isn’t possible, then you’ll need to always take your pet with you when you vacate your home for showings.  Leaving it in the garage or backyard might seem like a good compromise but not if you are after the best sale of your home.
  • You’ll also need to clear out all signs that an animal lives in your home.  This means packing up cat litter boxes and bags of litter or puppy training pads, pet toys and leashes, pet food, bowls and feeders, pet cages, carriers and bedding.  Remove any photos of your pet.
  • Mega-cleaning!  Special effort may be needed to remove pet stains from carpet and pet odors from the air.  Enzyme cleaners and lots of elbow grease and fresh air will help.  Consider hiring professional carpet cleaners, furnace duct cleaning companies and the like.  Don’t rely on air fresheners and deodorizers as these will only make people wonder what you are trying to cover up.

Your pet-proof and “pet-friendly” home (see my blog article “Your Pet-Friendly Home ) has both positive and negative aspects when it’s time to sell.  On the one hand, if your home is carpet-free, furnished with easy to clean materials, and so on, you may not have to do too much extra in the cleaning department.  On the other hand, if you have made any pet-accommodating modifications to your home, such as doggie doors, cat ramps (special stairs up the wall), window sill platforms, or outdoor dog and cat runs, you may have to reverse these.  You might think that special additions to your home to accommodate pets would be a selling feature for other pet owners, and this might be true in some cases.  But it’s always better to try to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers possible.  That means presenting your home in as neutral a fashion as you can.

It is possible to sell your home quickly and for a good price even with a pet in residence.  As with most things connected with real estate sales, it just takes a little work and preparation!

Please also visit my Pinterest board “Pets and Your Home”.

What else could sellers with pets do to entice buyers?  Let me know what you think!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Your Pet-Friendly Home

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Your Pet-Friendly Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIs there a dog or cat living in your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home?  According to a 2008 Ipsos-Reid survey as reported in the Canadian Veterinary Journal, roughly 56% of Canadian households have a dog or a cat as a pet.

Animals make their presence known in your home, and not in a good way, through scratches on walls, floors and furniture, stains on carpets, dander and allergens in the air, and various unsavory odors.  But there are ways to keep your house in good shape and all residents happy with a few smart and relatively inexpensive adjustments.  The most important advice is to choose the right materials and work with your animal’s natural instincts and needs.

Keep it clean!  Home and pet, that is.

  • First, vacuum often.  It’s a basic fact of life that dogs and cats shed.  Invest in a decent vacuum cleaner, preferably with HEPA filter, and plan on going over carpets and upholstery about twice a week or more.
  • Reduce the amount of clutter in your rooms.  Each object you remove from a room means one less object that gets covered in dust, dander and pet hair.
  • An item that is well worth the cost is a HEPA furnace filter which removes huge quantities of dust, dander and allergens from the air.
  • Use enzyme cleaners such as Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odour Remover when dealing with pet messes.
  • You might also want to purchase some special furniture covers designed with pets in mind.  (See these Pet Protector Covers available from Sears Canada).  Easier to wash these than to shampoo the furniture.
  • Keep your pet clean and well-groomed.  This means regular brushing, nail-clipping, bathing and the like.  If you can remove some of the hair and the oil and dirt it holds before it ends up on your floors and furniture, your house will be cleaner.  Trimmed nails are less likely to scratch floors or snag upholstery. 

It’s the nature of the beast!  Work with your pets’ natural inclinations to mold their behavior to what’s acceptable.  Your dog, for example, wants to please you so will tell you when he wants out and will also adapt readily to his own bed or crate.  Supply a clean litter box and a scratching post for your cat and watch her take to them.  If you find your animal jumping on the couch to look out the window, consider moving that couch away from the window and possibly installing a platform that bolts to the window sill to accommodate your pet’s preference.

Choose the right fabrics.  If you have pets, you already know to stay away from silk and velvet.  If you’re shopping for new furniture, consider something like Crypton or UltraSuede, which are wonderfully stain-resistant and durable.  Leather will scratch, but it is easy to clean and long-lasting.  Forget the dry-clean-only bedding and opt for washable everything because you know your pet will end up on your bed at some point.

Get rid of fabric altogether, where you can.  Replace draperies with wood blinds, for example.

Choose the right flooring.  Carpet and pets are a bad combination.  Carpet soaks up “accidents”, absorbs odors, and traps hair and dander – yuck!  If possible, consider replacing wall-to-wall carpeting in your home with any of the variety of hard-surface flooring on the market today, and bonus! these choices are very fashionable at the moment.  The best option for a pet-proof home is ceramic tile because it’s pretty much impervious to anything your pet can do!  Other easy to clean and durable alternatives include painted concrete, brick, high-end linoleum, or hardwood (but be aware that big dogs can scratch wood).

Neutrals work best.  Dramatic color schemes will show dirt, hair, and wear and tear more than colors such as gray, taupe and cream.  Luckily, neutrals are in style now for everything from paint on the walls to furniture, carpets and counter tops.  If you’re planning to re-paint, remember to choose a washable satin finish, and look for low or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints.  Both you and your pet will benefit from not breathing toxic fumes.

Consider some of these specialty products and home renovations:

  • Disguised litter box, partially covered and resembling furniture.  Keep the odor down by placing in a well-ventilated area if you can, and by cleaning it frequently.  The litter box might even be located in a separate room, such as a garage or utility space, with access through a secret cat door hidden inside a cabinet.
  • Built-in bench with removable cover next to an outside door:  Provides convenient seating for people to put on and remove shoes, and the inside provides storage for pet toys, balls, leashes, etc.
  • Indoor pet retreat or special mudroom could be a corner or even a whole room located by an outside back door.  Automatic feeders and drinking fountains and even doggy showers are often features of these spaces.  Some have lockable exterior access doors designed for your pet to go inside and out.  Most have specialty storage for all pet-related items such as food, chew toys, towels, etc.
  • Heated floors.  Good for animals and people!
  • Cat ramps are a series of shelves resembling stairs running up a wall to just below the ceiling where they meet a longer shelf where cats can run or recline.
  • Portable pet stairs to help small animals access furniture.
  • A doggy overlook is a square opening on the second floor allowing your dog to stick his head through to keep watch on his owners below.
  • Outdoor dog and cat runs.
  • For more ideas like these, see my Pinterest board “Pets and Your Home”.

What special things do you do in your home to accommodate your pets while keeping your home clean and stylish?  I’d love to hear from you.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Lost and Alone in Spruce Grove

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Finding homes in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton area is what I do for a living, and I think of myself as pretty good at it, but I learned a few new things about the process recently.  The being in need of a home was not a person, but a cat who decided my home was a good place to live!

Lost and Alone in Spruce Grove | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamI like cats, and dogs too, but because both my wife and daughter have severe allergies, we’ve never been able to keep a pet.   This sweet little cat arrived at our door and showed no signs of leaving, especially after we fed her, and it seemed as though we’d have to keep her, even though my wife Paulette was covered with hives.  What to do?

After the cat had been hanging around our house for a few days, becoming more skittish and scruffy-looking, I asked my cat-loving assistant if she wanted to adopt another cat.  Regrettably, no, but she had a few suggestions.  The cat has to belong to someone in your neighborhood, she said, so why not put a sign on the mailbox at the end of the street?  Ring doorbells up and down the street and ask if anyone’s lost a cat.  Put an ad in the local paper.  Contact local vets or the local pet store to see if anyone’s reported a missing cat.  Contact Parkland County Animal Control to report finding a cat.  When I told her Paulette and our daughter Devan were on their way to deliver the cat to the Edmonton Humane Society, she was horrified.  I was under the impression that the Humane Society tries to find new homes for cats.  That’s true, she said, but many don’t find homes and are euthanized. I immediately phoned Paulette to get her to change her plans.

If the old legend of cats having nine lives is true, then this cat had at least one of her lives saved that day!   Paulette had decided to take the cat to one of the veterinarians in town to see if they could help.  The vet checked the cat and discovered that it had been tattooed.  What’s more, the vet was able to match the tattoo information with the name and address of the cat’s owner.  It turned out that the owner of the cat had recently moved to our neighborhood so the cat had not yet gotten used to its new surroundings.  Lots of happiness all around when the cat was reunited with her family.

 So, what did I learn from this experience? 

  • If you are a pet owner, don’t let your pet outside without supervision.  This is especially true if you are new to your neighborhood.  Cats in particular may act independent but they still need to be looked after.  They should not be allowed to run free because there are many dangers to pets on their own:  vehicles, toxic substances, other animals, people who don’t like animals.
  • Get your pets tattooed or microchipped.  If your pet should become separated from you, this increases the likelihood of it being returned to you.  Because dogs are licensed, they usually wear collars, often with contact information, but many cats don’t so some other identification method is very important.  Check out PetWatch’s website to learn about microchipping.  You can also read the Wikipedia article about microchip implanting.
  • The Edmonton Humane Society does incredible work in rescuing lost, abandoned or homeless animals but sometimes they have a hard time keeping up with the demand.  In May 2011, there was a 25% increase in admissions to the humane society compared to spring 2010.  Between 40 and 50 animals, three-quarters of them cats, arrive daily at the shelter, with homes being found for 20 to 25 animals each day.  Last September, the shelter was caring for about 500 cats, and that is a situation that strains all the resources.  If you are looking to adopt a pet, the Edmonton Humane Society is a good place to start.  Visit their online adoption centre.  Check out also the Parkland County Animal Shelter’s Gallery of Found & Adoptable Pets.
  • If you find a lost animal, it probably has not strayed far from its home.  Do what you can to make the animal comfortable and then be prepared to knock on doors in your neighborhood.  Taking it to a shelter really should be a last resort.

Comments or questions about this article?  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here 

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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