10 Essential Tips & Items to take to a Summer Festival

Are you going to a Summer Festival this year? I am no Glastonbury-girl but I am now super-comfortable at one that we return to year on year with our children. This is my list of 10 essentials that make for a brilliant weekend away.

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Is Loneliness a Growing Shadow at Your Door? Bring on the dogs.

Do we use our children & family commitments as a shield?  A handy cover-up when called to places we aren’t in the mood for - or perhaps to hide behind when socialising?  What happens as they grow up and we aren’t needed so much? Step in the dogs...

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What Does a Dog WANT To Play On?

Let’s Think Dog!   

If I were a dog, I’d want to lie, sniff, possibly dig, jump, rest and play on the ground in the sunshine and likely in the rain too.  My four paws wouldn’t want too much in the way of small gravel and I’d need some purchase from the ground I play on!

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ipaintdogs Newsletter, March 2019.

Are you on my mailing list? I hope so, in which case you will have received this today. I NEVER over-use my list and NEVER-EVER bring you tat! All letters are full of information, new offerings and oodles of dog-related news. Couple that with being the first to know about new offerings, sales and more - You can join up below and enjoy first dibs on everything!

Sam x

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A Winter Walk with Suffolk Dog Day - wet and wonderful!

Do you struggle to find your dog-walking mojo when it’s cold, wet and windy as it was today? Today Carl, Barney and I found the PERFECT solution - wrap up and join The Suffolk Dog Day team for their Winter Fundraising Walk at Helmingham Hall.

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You've Won A Two Week Holiday in The Caribbean - What will you do with your Dog?

Have you ever considered using a Dog Sitter?  Home-boarding for your best friend when you are on holiday or away for business?  Researching the options makes interesting reading.

Dog Sitting Options, Holiday Care for dogs, Samantha Barnes, ipaintdogs.com

When Barney was little (my Cocker Spaniel) he used to go to a Doggy Day Care Centre when I had appts all day.  He loved it. He attended both Happi Days & The Suffolk Canine Creche, both of which are local to me and he really enjoyed himself.

He was a bouncy boy and as such he was best suited to morning sessions rather than afternoon.  I was told that his barrelling into play at 1pm, after lunch - just as the dogs are setting down for an afternoon nap wasn’t conducive to an harmonic atmosphere in the centre - wow, they take this so seriously.

The days he spent at the centre weren’t regular, painting my dog portraits in my studio day to day, he spends his day with me, walk first, painting second - not a bad life at all.

So his days at the centres were really up to about the age of 3, when he needed imput and to be around other dogs.

Then something happened around the age of three.  On one of our usual walks, he met a black labrador.  They greeted as usual and the lab jumped and snarled. Not the owners fault but somehow this exchange changed Barney.   

From that moment onward he is shy of other bigger dogs. He isn’t aggressive, just very wary.  Once he knows them, he is absolutely fine but when meeting a black lab on a walk, Barney’s ears go down and he stays stock still, waiting for it to pass.

Now nearly 6, Barney is happy and content with me each day and happy to spend time apart when exercised, his separation anxiety is fine for up to 4 hours - I wouldn’t want to leave him for longer as a: it’s not advised and b:  he may well need a wee!

But what happens if we go away?  Well, we are lucky to have family nearby.  He once stayed with ‘Pampered Pets’ a dog hotel nearby which was a great success, but now that he is older and it’s not regular for him to be with a number other dogs, I think he may well struggle.

So, should the need arise for us as a family to spend 2 weeks away on a Caribbean Island (no sense in aiming low) and our extended family happened to be away - what would we do with him?

I’ve been doing some researching, speaking with agencies that organise holiday care and quite frankly I’m impressed with the level of service.

There are uber levels - posh pet hotel with concierge services - these are a little high and unnecessary for Barney as that’s not usual in his life (much as am sure he would go for it willingly)  Not to mention expensive.

Dog Creche Services that run to overnight care in single bedrooms complete with beds are an option, though again, am not sure this is for Barney. Another option is family care where Barney could stay with another family for the duration and the final option is a basic kennel option - am sure he would find this stressful.

So family care looks appealing.  

A stay with another family, perhaps with children and either 1 or 2 other dogs, is absolutely the best option for Barney.

This option seems to be around £35 - £50 per 24hrs.

Sadly we aren’t actually off the Caribbean but if we were, I know the best option for Barney and in truth, am considering offering this service, family care myself - we would LOVE to have other dogs join our family for short periods, although our dog-visitor may well end up on a canvas!

More soon,


About Samantha

Dog Holiday Care Blog Post by Samantha Barnes, ipaintdogs.com

Sam is a practicing artist of 25yrs with a deep love of dogs.  Her drawings, paintings and prints are exhibited in galleries throughout the country.  In 2017 she painted her dog Barney and clients began to ask for bespoke portraits of their own best friends.  Since then, Sam has successfully painted over 60 personalised commissions and sends her dog paintings all over the world.  

She has a stand-alone testimonial page on Trustpilot and is proud to support canine charities too.

To talk about having your own dog painted or to give as a gift, email Sam on info@samanthabarnes.co.uk today.

The Benefits of Leaving The Capsule. Downing Tools & Doing It.

 This morning I took my dog for a walk over Suffolk Heath, a place close to my heart.  After school holidays and winter bugs have dictated life indoors for a number of weeks, getting outside ALONE is precious.  This post is all about the benefits of downing tools and getting outside for 30 mins.

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How Can You Be In A Coffee Shop At Home? Welcome To The World Of Sound Apps.

How does background sound effect the way we work?  

If your next-door neighbours are converting their basement into a cinema room, I imagine this has a horrible effect on you - but leaving the extremes of the digger - what’s your regular listen as you work?Golden silence, whistling, heavy metal or spoken word?

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Dogs On Trains – DOGS ON TRAINS PEOPLE!!!!

On our recent jaunts around the country to visit friends, we went by train.  Super cheap, no arguments about what music on the stereo and no stops at the service stations that set me back at least a tenner per pee (via visits to the shop).  What really got me thinking though, was the amount of dogs I saw on the trains, I didn’t even know this was a thing!

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Comparisonitus - The Dangers of Comparing Yourself to Others & How I Avoid It.

Comparison,  we all fall.  Today I listened to a superb podcast episode by Kayte Ferris of Simple & Seaon, who has a new podcast called 'Grow With Soul'.  Today she interviewed the very talented  Kara Leigh Ford a ceramicist from Somerset and maker of some beautiful works.  One of the subjects they covered was the brilliantly termed 'Comparisonitis'.  (wish I'd thought of that name first).

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Finding Your New Best Thing, Here's Mine.

When working at Latitude Festival a couple of weeks ago, I found a stall called ‘Simon Says Fork Out’.  His is a business that hits all my buttons, creative upcycling, making something beautiful from things discarded, in this case Silver Cutlery.  Occasionally, I happen upon something that stops me in my tracks, when was the last time this happened for you?  I’d love to know.

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Slow Living - What is?

Much of my learning about blogging has lead to my embarking on oodles of necessary reading.  I’ve been researching well-written blogs, not so much the ‘How to’ variety, more finding and spending time on various websites and perhaps engaging with those that run blogs alongside their businesses.  I’ve met some really interesting people along the way…

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