Story: Real pets meet flat pets

A few weeks ago, I attended my first BlogPaws--a conference for pet bloggers. Because of the subject matter, the event was pet friendly in ways I couldn’t have imagined: passed doggy appetizers, a pop-up dog park, cats in strollers, capybaras splashing in the sprinklers. I would have loved to bring just one of my dogs and cats, but a trip from New Jersey to Las Vegas–whether by car or plane–would put too much stress on my pets, so they had to stay home.

I still wanted to feel like they were there, so I did the next best thing. For the cats, I bought a stand-in stuffie I named Rover–because he can travel in ways my feline friends cannot. For the dogs, I wanted a flat pet: a portable, thin version of my pups.

At first I thought I could make one myself. I’m a photographer, I thought. I can take a picture of the three dogs. Surely it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a place that would print it, mount it on foam core, cut it out, create a stand and then package it up for shipping to Nevada.

Right.

So, instead I hired Christy from  Pancake Pets to make one for me.  All I had to do was provide the photo. She did all the rest. Best part (other than the fact that she made it easy, sending me emails and pictures for confirmation, and had it hand delivered to my room at the hotel) was the final product was made of acrylic, not foam core, so I could take it anywhere, and not worry about it getting scuffed or scratched.

Flat Tucker/Jasper/Lilah accompanied me everywhere at the conference; they were easy to carry, since Jasper’s ears made a perfect handle, and they didn’t weigh much. My flat pets made friends wherever they went, posing with pets both flat and full. They even posed with Tillman the skateboarding dog. It was great; I never had to worry about them sitting still or looking at the camera. (Check out my post “What happened in Vegas did NOT stay in Vegas” to see more photos.)  Flat Tucker/Jasper/Lilah even came up to the podium with me when I accepted my Nose to Nose award. (Funny, having my flat pets and stand-in stuffie with me made me a little less nervous.)

I had my flat pets shipped home so I wouldn’t have to take them on the plane. They arrived a week or so ago, and I’ve been waiting for a the right time to introduce real Lilah, Jasper and Tucker to their flat doppelgangers. I thought it might be fun to see the cats’ reactions as well. What follows is that story, in pictures.

A mysterious box appeared in the kitchen. Dawn scurried by. Lilah made a detour around it. Athena had to investigate.

Athena the cat wants to know  what's inside the box.

The flat pets arrive in a mysterious box.

I brought the box into the family room to open. Everyone helped, of course. And by helped, I mean, everyone got in the way.

Three dogs want to know what's inside the box.

Something sure smells interesting

I  pulled the flat pets out of the box and set them up where interested parties could sniff them.

Jasper and Tucker meet their flat selves for the first time.

Who are these silent creatures?

Athena, Calvin and Elsa Clair supervised the proceedings, since there’s a box involved. That’s rule #37 in the Cat Pawbook. “Boxes must be investigated thoroughly, to determine quality and potential habitation.”

This box included bubble wrap, which required special attention.

Calvin the cat goes right for the box. And the bubble wrap

Bubble wrap, crinkle paper and a box! My favorite things!

While Calvin was distracted by the triple-play excitement of box, bubble wrap and tissue paper, Elsa Clair moved in for a sniff.

Elsa Clair investigates the flat pets

Elsa Clair inspects the flat pets.

Noticing that his sister found something interesting that he should have found first, Calvin tore himself away from the box and headed over to see the flat pets for himself.

Calvin inspects the flat pets

I’m bigger than the dogs!

Though the dogs held back at first, they couldn’t help but be curious, since the cats seemed to think this strange staring object was worthy of attention.

I played the “Touch it with Your Nose” game to get Lilah comfortable with her fur-family’s flat selves. In the game, I encourage her to touch something scary and I give her treats for doing so–until she feels safe. She is familiar with this process and has learned to trust me; the Scary Thing has always turned out to be Not So Scary–always–and I give her lots of praise and rewards for being brave. (Read a more complete explanation of the exercise in the post Braving the weather, or at least the umbrella. It’s a great way to help reactive dogs like Lilah.)

Two dogs sniff flat pets

They might look like dogs, but they don’t smell like dogs.

By now, I figured everyone was friends with the silent trio, and decided it would be fun to try and get a picture of the Reals with the Flats.

Jasper and Tucker seemed okay, but Lilah still didn’t like them. Notice the one ear back in the picture below. She’s sitting there because I asked her to, but she’s not happy about it.

Three dogs and their flat pet versions

Three and three

I didn’t like how the light from the window reflected off the shininess of the acrylic, so I thought I’d try to pose them elsewhere. I also wanted to work  with Lilah a bit to increase her comfort level.

In the meantime, I set Flat Tucker/Jasper/Lilah in the kitchen so I could focus on real Lilah.

Tucker came by…

Tucker sniffs the flat pets

They don’t smell any better over here.

…and Athena came in for a sniff and a rub.

The cat investigates the flat pets.

Can we keep ‘em?

She emailed her request for a trade-in later that day. Apparently, flat pets are an improvement over the real slobbery, smelly, noisy ones.

Jasper stopped by again, hoping the three new dogs would play with him–or at least offer a friendly sniff and a wag.

Jasper tries to figure out the flat pets

They’re staring at me.

But they rebuffed his advances, confusing his doggy brain.

Jasper doesn't understand why the flat pets won't play with him.

What gives?

I thought our dining room might offer better lighting, so I brought the dogs in there and had them sit, hoping to recreate the order that was in the original photo for the flat pet.

Instead, I got…disorder.

Three dogs posing with flat pets.

Hey look! A distraction!

At this point, I realized I was pushing it. Tucker was distracted, Jasper wanted to play, and Lilah was still nervous. That was my cue to leave it be, and take the dogs outside for some runs and funs.

Later, after everyone settled down, and Lilah had a few more comforting nose touches, I tried one more time to see if I could get the picture I was looking for.

Three dogs with their flat pet versions

Tucker, Jasper and Lilah posing with…Tucker, Jasper and Lilah

I think I came pretty close; don’t you?

I received no compensation for writing about my flat pets; I paid for them just like anyone else. I appreciate a great product, and what I consider a work of art, and am happy to write about it and feature it.

Also, I received many compliments on Flat Tucker/Jasper/Lilah and dozens of people asked where I got them from. Christy was so pleased, she told me that anyone who ordered their own Pancake Pet could use the code LWDAC and would receive a special deal.

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Today I’m participating in the Monday Mischief blog hop. Stop by some of the awesome blogs below to see what mischief other pets are getting into.

MondayMischief



29 Comments on "Story: Real pets meet flat pets"

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  1. Sue says:

    I love your Pancake Pet pack!

  2. Kelsie says:

    Love your flat pets! They looked like they fit right in ;)

  3. Bailey says:

    What a great idea.

    • Thank you! I can’t take credit for the idea or the implementation. Just the photo. But I loved bringing my flat pets with me, and I will surely be bringing them to any future conferences as well.

  4. slimdoggy says:

    Too funny. Lilah is like my Maggie…I”ll sit here because I know you will give me a treat, but I won’t cooperate any further than that. great assortment of flat and 3-D photos.

  5. Kitties Blue says:

    You definitely had the best flatties at BlogPaws. Mom says she loved seeing them efurryday as they really made her smile. She wants to know if you are going to have kitty flatties made? She says she would like to do this for us, but that eight cats are just too, too many to turn into flats. Really enjoyed seeing all the real animals interact with the faux ones. XO, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

    • Aw thanks. I thought about making flat cats too, but I couldn’t get a picture of all four together like to did with the pups. Instead, I brought Rover, my stuffie stand-in. I wrote a post where I introduced him to the kitty gang to make sure they approved.

  6. How neat you were able to attend BlogPaws. Looks like the dogs had fun, even if they didn’t get to enjoy the conference in person. And they did all get to meet the flat dogs. :)

  7. You had one of the best flat pets we’ve seen. Christy did a great job.

  8. We LOVE the flatties!!!
    … and it was SO fun to see you all up on stage accepting your pawsome award!
    xoxo

  9. Sandy says:

    Lilah look so much more comfortable in the last picture – hooray! You have such a fun group : )

    • Thank you. She used to be so skittish as a pup, and we worked with her to reduce her anxiety near new things. Usually she’s ok, but every once in a while I have to play the Touch it With Your Nose game, and that always helps.

  10. LOL the flat ones. Glad you had a great time at Blogpaws. Emma over at Mygbgvlife has nominated you for our guest blog Share It Sunday. You don’t have to do anything. Just email us a link to the blog you’d like us to showcase and we will do the rest. Also if you can send us a link to the blog you’d like to nominate for the Sunday after that would be great. We are at mollyDOTthewallyATbtinternetDOTcom. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  11. Stacey says:

    What a great idea! I had wondered how you made them because although I plan to attend Blog Paws next year, I have not decided about the dogs yet. If I’m not able to take them, you can be sure I will use Pancake Pets to make their flat images.
    Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend :)

  12. So cute! I will definitely use Pancake Pets if I ever need my gang to be flat! Yours really looks great, and that last picture of the pups with their flat versions is so cute.

  13. Hey Guys

    Those flat versions of you sure caused quite a stir when they got back from their adventure! And of course not forgetting the box and packaging!

    Great job getting a pic of all the doggies together! :)

    I hope you’re having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  14. Xman8745 says:

    Funny story! Congrats on the Nose-to-Nose award, too! And where do you think I can read this Cat Pawbook because I want to know more about normal cat activities and Whiskers won’t tell me. And is it weird that I can imagine every post on this blog as an animated cartoon series?

    • Thank you! To answer your questions, the Cat Pawbook is only available to certified cats and is handed (pawed) out at secret kitty initiation meetings. I was lucky enough to get a peek at one, but few humans have that opportunity. And you go ahead and imagine my blog as an animated cartoon series. It’s meant to amuse–and if anyone out there wants to turn it into a series, I’m open for discussions.

  15. This is so funny! Lilah is beautiful, and Tucker looks so much like my childhood dog, Poppy, an Airedale/cattle dog mix.

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