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.
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.
I brought the box into the family room to open. Everyone helped, of course. And by helped, I mean, everyone got in the way.
I pulled the flat pets out of the box and set them up where interested parties could sniff them.
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.
While Calvin was distracted by the triple-play excitement of box, bubble wrap and tissue paper, Elsa Clair moved in for a sniff.
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.
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.)
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.
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…
…and Athena came in for a sniff and a rub.
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.
But they rebuffed his advances, confusing his doggy brain.
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.
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.
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.
You may also like:
- BlogPaws, here I come
- 2014 Nose to Nose Award winners
- What Happened in Vegas did NOT stay in Vegas
- After BlogPaws, a guilt trip
- How I met a capybara
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.Tweet