Tennile + SPOT have given Trevor a new meaning to “lifesaving”

Trevor Thomas has always had a passion for extreme sports, ranging from backcountry skiing to racing cars. Then suddenly, his entire world changed at age 35 when he learned that he had a rare autoimmune disease with no cure, leaving him blind within eight months. Thomas says, “I thought I’d been issued a death sentence. Every day my vision got worse. I went from being perfectly normal to having to learn everything all over again.”

Spot Guidedog

After being encouraged to get out on the trails by an inspirational speaker who was a blind hiker, Thomas began training for long distance hikes. He accomplished his first hike blind in 2008. While it was a huge achievement, he didn’t complete it unscathed and endured several broken bones. He then reached out to several guide dog organizations across the United States with a request for a dual-mode guide dog that not only could perform normal guide duties, but could also handle extreme hiking and navigating the back country.

Denied by all but one organization, his request was finally answered by Guide Dogs for the Blind. In 2012 Thomas and Tennille, an energetic black lab, graduated from training, marking the start of a truly unique and life-altering friendship.

“Trevor and Tennille are an amazing team and we are proud of all they have accomplished both on and off the trail. We are grateful for all of Trevor’s efforts to help change perceptions around blindness and to serve as an ambassador for our organization,” commented Karen Woon, VP of Marketing, Guide Dogs for the Blind.

To date, Thomas and Tennille have crested over 6,000 miles and are aiming to reach 7,000 this year. He says, “It’s mind-boggling the miles she has covered in only 4 years. There are many long-distance hikers who have not done as many miles as Tennille.” Thomas is the first blind person in history to complete a solo, end-to-end thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, which is 2,175 miles long. He says one of his biggest successes thus far was completing the Colorado Trail, since he attempted it in 2011 and was unsuccessful without Tennille. “There are no other guide dogs that I know of that do what Tennille does. She’s enabled me to do things not only personally but professionally that I otherwise would not have been able to achieve; in a sense, she saved me.”

While Thomas says they err on the side of caution and try to take every safety measure possible, sometimes things can be unpredictable while in the backcountry. They’ve had their share of close calls on the trail, but that it was always comforting knowing he had a way to reach out to get help if needed.

“Safety for Tennille and I is my priority when in the back country. No matter who you are, things can go wrong and my SPOT Gen3® is the most important piece of gear that I have to let folks know where I am and summon for assistance if needed,” comments Thomas. “And should I truly be in a life-threatening situation – I can remember a few close calls – the S.O.S. button on my SPOT device will be there for me.”

Not only does he carry a SPOT Gen3 for himself, but Tennille also has her own SPOT device which she carries on her pack. “It’s simple. She is very important to me and while I know she would never voluntarily leave me, if something were to go wrong in the back country and we were separated, then her SPOT will be pinging and we could find her,” he says.

When they aren’t on the trail, Tennille holds Trevor to a strict schedule. “Every day we hike 8 to 15 miles just to stay in shape. She can tell time and will definitely give me attitude if I am working in my office all day and we haven’t gone on our daily hike.” Tennille also enjoys car rides and visiting their local grocery. “People are always amazed when we walk into a store and I tell her my list and she will bring me to the items. We end up with an audience following us around. She can differentiate between specific chips and even varieties of the same sports drink brand.”

According to Thomas, Tennille has a very strict diet she must adhere to as all guide dogs do, and that “trail angels” will often bring her some of her favorites including bananas, baby carrots, mangos, broccoli, Greek yogurt and green beans. When they complete a thru-hike or a special trek, he says they have a tradition, “We both get filet mignon!”

Upcoming adventures for the pair include hiking the high altitude Collegiate Peaks Loop in Colorado, a total of 187 miles that will take around two weeks to complete. From there they will travel to California and thru hike the John Muir Trail to summit Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Completing this climb will make Tennille the first guide dog ever to do so and set a new altitude record for a blind person and guide dog at 14,997 ft.

Throughout the year and especially during September Guide Dog Awareness month, Thomas hopes to help educate society on the importance of what guide dogs do for people in everyday life. “None of the guide dog schools receive public funds. They are raised and paid for by donations only.”

In addition to supporting Guide Dogs for the Blind, Thomas is also passionate about his foundation, Team FarSight Foundation, Inc., which he founded in 2013 to challenge misconceptions and to push the boundaries of what is considered possible for a blind person to achieve. The Foundation is devoted to empowering blind and visually impaired young adults through outdoor activities like hiking. Through these programs, Team FarSight Foundation helps participants develop self-confidence and adaptive skills needed to succeed in mainstream society.

Ever optimistic, Thomas feels that every day is an accomplishment, focusing not on what they have done, but on the challenges ahead. He looks forward to taking on these challenges with Tennille by his side, saying, “She makes life more enjoyable because she is my best friend. She helps me to do expeditions that I wouldn’t be able to do by myself. The sky is the limit.”

During the month of September, Team Farsight Foundation will receive $5 from every SPOT Gen3 purchased on FindMeSPOT.com/GuideDog using promo code TENNILLE at checkout. For a limited time when using code TENNILLE between September 1 – 30, SPOT Gen3 will be discounted to $99.99 on its website, a $50 savings! In addition, supporters of Trevor’s inspiration and mission can make a donation to either organization by visiting GuideDogs.com and FarSightFoundation.org.

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Finding Shelter

Finding Shelter is an amazing documentary about an English family who found themselves unexpectedly rescuing street animals in Bulgaria. The film shares how the family has shared love and compassion for the homeless animals in their town. It’s not just the animals who benefit though, an entire generation of people are learning compassion for the animals they once disregarded (and sadly, abused).

The family are true heroes. Please consider watching the film, which is available for purchase on iTunes. The film won the audience choice award from the The Animal Film Festival, and I can see why. The love and dedication the Rowles family has for their rescues is truly inspiring, and I am sure that you will fall in love with them when you watch the film.

Filmmaker Erin Parks is donating 10% of all proceeds to their shelter, as well as covering costs to get the film out to more places around the world! You can visit her Facebook page, and learn more about the film Finding Shelter, here.

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Football Foods Pets Should Stay Away From

Football fare is nearly irresistible for dogs — especially when sitting at eye-level on the coffee table— but even cats can grab a piece of the action.

Keep your pets safe during football season.

Unfortunately, furry fans who intercept game day grub are likely to catch more than they bargained for. Petplan encourages would-be revelers with pets to think carefully before serving the following:

Brew-hoo — Just like people, some animals have a taste for beer. But think twice before pouring your pet a pint: even a nip can cause fatal respiratory depression.

No bones about it — Chicken wings have especially fine bones, which can splinter easily and puncture the GI tract. Besides, the sauces are virtually guaranteed to cause an upset stomach. Be sure to keep wings out of paws reach and after bones are thrown away, take the trash out to keep pets from trying to dumpster dive.

Not fun-ion — Onion rings are doubly dangerous: onions in any form are poisonous to pets and fried foods can cause diarrhea.

(Don’t) pick ‘em — Toothpicks may make a nice presentation for appetizers, but can cause severe and potentially fatal damage to pets’ GI tracts if swallowed.

Aw, nuts! — Many nut varieties have a devastating effect on dogs’ nervous systems. Walnuts and macadamias are especially toxic and can cause vomiting, paralysis and even death.

Here are tips from Petplan veterinarians to be sure pets and people alike enjoy game day:

start with a game plan
For some pets, the temptation may simply be too great. If you know your pet is going to try to steal food from the table, put him in a separate room during the game.

watch the turnovers
When begging doesn’t work, dogs may resort to linebacker tactics: playing smart and aggressive. Especially if you have guests over for the game, encourage them to minimize the risk of fumbling food by sitting at a table or using snack trays.

the best defense is a good offense
Go for the extra point by keeping pet-friendly snacks handy for pets with hungry eyes. Better yet, go for two with a new or favorite toy to keep pets occupied during the game.

don’t leave it all on the field
Keep an eye on unattended plates and cups — and make sure to clean up promptly. Even if they’re blocked at the line of scrimmage, sufficiently motivated dogs will run the end-around without a second thought.

Posted in cats, dogs, pet care | 3 Comments

Top 5 Tips on How To Take Care of Your Dog


Having a dog is one of the most exciting and profound experiences anyone can have in their life. Dogs are the most devoted companions, and they accept you for who you are, and they do not care about your faults or eccentricities.

They know when you’re sad, and will try to do everything they can to cheer you up or comfort you. If you’re ill they’ll stay by your side. A dog will patiently wait for your attention, and always remain a loyal protector and a loyal friend. Becoming familiar with exactly how to take good care of your dog will help ensure you and your dog enjoy a great experience. Here are the top tips on how to take good care of your dog;

1. Medical Check up


Just like people need regular medical check ups in order to stay healthy, your dog also needs regular check ups. It’s very important to undertake a thorough physical examination of the dog on a regular basis.

The veterinarian can check the pad of its’ feet for injuries, update its’ vaccinations, and can also do a thorough oral examination. A regular relationship with the veterinarian is essential to maintaining your dog’s health.

2. Proper Dog Supplies and Equipment?
Today, there are lots of stuff available for dogs. Many items are for fun, such as toys and chews, however, some things are very essential.

Choosing the right type of equipment and supplies for your dog is crucial and can help alleviate many potential problems. Some of the essential dog supplies and equipment can include, but not limited to;?

Dog Collar
You need to buy a dog collar which fits snugly without choking him. You can include a dog tag on the collar; the tag can have your name and your phone number should your dog ever get lost.

Dog Leash
Choose the right type of leash for the dog. Always make sure your dog is on a leash whenever you happen to take him outside the confines of his yard or house.

No matter how well trained your dog might be, you can’t guarantee that you’ll always be able to completely control your furry friend under all circumstances. There are some breeds, like the Siberian Huskies, which are bred to run, and tend to so at the very 1st opportunity.

Pet Water fountain
Buying a pet water fountain for your dog helps ensure you dog gets fresh water at all times.

Automatic Pet Feeder
This is a rather essential equipment especially if you are busy, and you want your dog to never miss a meal. An automatic pet feeder ensures your dog stays health by making sure he is well fed.

3. Exercise


In order to keep your dog fit and healthy, you need to ensure that he gets adequate exercise. Exercise is not only great for your dog’s health, but it also helps keep the behavioral issues at bay. Playtime is also a perfect time for bonding with your dog. Exercises generally vary based on the type of breed, level of health, sex, and age.

4. Grooming


Proper dog care involves grooming your dog on a regular basis. Grooming can be very fun for both you, and your furry friend. Frequency of brushing varies depending on the type of dog you own, and just how much it sheds.

Regularly brushing your dog will help reduce the shedding, and gives you a great chance of assessing the state of the dog’s body. Brushing your dog’s coat will ensure the coat remains free of any tangles, and in the right condition. It’s also a great opportunity for playing with your dog and offering affection.

Bathing your dog on a regular basis is also necessary. However, do not give him a bath on an exceedingly frequent basis because this can dry out his coat or skin, and result in serious skin infections.
How often you wash the dog depends on the type of dog, and the living environment. You should also keep your dog’s nails trimmed, ears free of infection, and teeth regularly brushed.

5. Proper Diet

A good dog owner will make sure that his dog has a nutrient rich diet every single day. Your vet can recommend the best type of food for your type of dog, and also advise you on the appropriate portions.
You should also make sure you feed your furry friend on a regular schedule. It’s recommended you feed your dog two times a day; if you are a busy dog owner, you can buy an automatic pet feeder to ensure your dog has a stable feeding routine.

A stable feeding routine can also be of great help with house training since dogs usually tend to go to the bathroom 20 to 30 mins after eating. Water should also be available at all times. Your dog needs to have clean, fresh water available 24/7. You should consider purchasing a pet water fountain so as to give your dog access to water at all times.

A dog can be a really wonderful addition to your home, however, whether you are first time adopter, or an experienced pet owner, it is very important to always keep your canine companion’s happiness and health a top priority.

Follow the above dog care tips to help keep your furry friend happy and in good health.

My name is Diana Hutchinson. I am the founder of Tinpaw. I have more than 10-years’ experience in nurturing and caring cats. I love them. Since long ago they had been become important members of my family.

Posted in dogs, guest post | 1 Comment