Picture your pooch as a ladybug for Halloween

Before you judge me, consider this: pet costumes are big business. 

Just know that one in eight Americans will dress their pet for Halloween.

Last year, it was easy. I needed a dog costume for my annual Halloween costume story. So my female boxer, Ava, became Wonder Woman flying across the page of the Chronicle's Star section, thanks to our talented graphics staff.

It was my first time dressing up a pet for Halloween and considering I bribed Ava with treats, it was a win-win situation for both of us. My boxer male, Prince, later wore a Batman costume, but he lacked Ava's enthusiasm big time.

This year, I went looking for cheap costumes for both dogs. Given their size, they require XL or XXL sizes, which are often more expensive and hard to find. So I took to Pinterest and found an easy do-it-yourself ladybug costume.

It cost about $20 for supplies and took me about an hour to make both. I added sequins to the spots for bling.   Click here for instructions.

Now, getting them to wear it has been a challenge. Treats help.

Happy Halloween.

A furry friend for Xmas? Visit Windows of Life at Neimans

(Chronicle December 2014) It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I adopted Ava the Boxer. She was just 40 pounds and one of the many adorable animals showcased at SPCA Windows of Life at Neiman Marcus Galleria last year. The 26th annual holiday pet-adoption tradition, which features dogs and cats in festive first-floor holiday windows, continues through Dec. 23. Both dogs and cats are up for adoption and come with their current shots and are microchipped. SPCA volunteers are on hand to show the animals and process adoptions. Last year, some 200 pets were adopted through the program. Ava, formerly Foxy, was just 10 months old and her owners gave her up for adoption because she was “too energetic.” (An energetic boxer? Imagine that.) I happened to be at Neimans for an interview with a designer and left with a dog. Now 53 pounds, Ava has graduated from doggy training, has learned to run on a treadmill when the weather is bad and knows the layout of just about every dog park within 30 miles. She also has a little brother, Prince, who I adopted from Lone Star Boxer Rescue in May. I figured two energetic Boxers would keep each other company and keep me sane. And, oh, how they do. And because I’m a shameless dog owner, you can catch all of Ava’s antics on Instagram at AvaTheBoxer. Rescue dogs are the best.

(Chronicle December 2014)

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I adopted Ava the Boxer.

She was just 40 pounds and one of the many adorable animals showcased at SPCA Windows of Life at Neiman Marcus Galleria last year.

The 26th annual holiday pet-adoption tradition, which features dogs and cats in festive first-floor holiday windows, continues through Dec. 23. Both dogs and cats are up for adoption and come with their current shots and are microchipped. SPCA volunteers are on hand to show the animals and process adoptions.

Last year, some 200 pets were adopted through the program.

Ava, formerly Foxy, was just 10 months old and her owners gave her up for adoption because she was “too energetic.” (An energetic boxer? Imagine that.) I happened to be at Neimans for an interview with a designer and left with a dog.

Now 53 pounds, Ava has graduated from doggy training, has learned to run on a treadmill when the weather is bad and knows the layout of just about every dog park within 30 miles. She also has a little brother, Prince, who I adopted from Lone Star Boxer Rescue in May. I figured two energetic Boxers would keep each other company and keep me sane.

And, oh, how they do.

And because I’m a shameless dog owner, you can catch all of Ava’s antics on Instagram at AvaTheBoxer.

Rescue dogs are the best.

I went to Neimans for a story and left with a puppy

(Houston Chronicle 2013) It’s one of Houston’s most cherished holiday traditions: the Houston SPCA pet adoptions at Neiman Marcus Galleria. But I was oblivious to the 25-year tradition when I visited Neiman Marcus on Monday to interview fashion designer Roland Mouret. As I was leaving the store, headed to the office, an SPCA volunteer crossed my path walking the most beautiful female boxer I had ever seen. I commented on the dog’s beauty and friendliness. The volunteer quickly said the pup was available for adoption. An hour later, I had a 10-month-old boxer named Foxy. (Inow call her Ava.) Yes, a Christmas wish realized since I had spent the previous weekend in San Antonio with friends trolling animal shelters looking for a female boxer. That’s the magic of this holiday tradition. The SPCA pet adoptions (dogs and cats) are being held on the first floor of Neiman Marcus Galleria, 2600 Post Oak, in festive holiday windows designed by Neiman Marcus’ visual merchandiser/stylist Robyn Sieverding and pet photos by Gittings Photography. Adoptions are noon-9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 am.-9 pm. Saturday and will continue through Dec. 23. So how much was my doggy in the window? Mine was $195 for the adoption, though fees can vary. The adoption package, valued at more than $400, includes a health evaluation, age-appropriate vaccinations, rabies vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, deworming, heartworm testing and microchipping with free lifetime registration.  Every adopted dog receives a toy or treat courtesy of PetSafe and a gift courtesy of Hill’s Science Diet. In addition, VCA Animal Hospitals will provide a complimentary overall wellness examination (restrictions apply). I had Ava’s first wellness exam today. The vet gave me $150 worth of meds for Ava’s tummy issues, which are typical with adopted dogs, that were covered by the exam. This isn’t your average ShopGirl deal, but it’s a great one for pet lovers. For information, visit the SPCA’s Windows of Life page.

(Houston Chronicle 2013)

It’s one of Houston’s most cherished holiday traditions: the Houston SPCA pet adoptions at Neiman Marcus Galleria.

But I was oblivious to the 25-year tradition when I visited Neiman Marcus on Monday to interview fashion designer Roland Mouret. As I was leaving the store, headed to the office, an SPCA volunteer crossed my path walking the most beautiful female boxer I had ever seen. I commented on the dog’s beauty and friendliness. The volunteer quickly said the pup was available for adoption.

An hour later, I had a 10-month-old boxer named Foxy. (Inow call her Ava.) Yes, a Christmas wish realized since I had spent the previous weekend in San Antonio with friends trolling animal shelters looking for a female boxer.

That’s the magic of this holiday tradition.

The SPCA pet adoptions (dogs and cats) are being held on the first floor of Neiman Marcus Galleria, 2600 Post Oak, in festive holiday windows designed by Neiman Marcus’ visual merchandiser/stylist Robyn Sieverding and pet photos by Gittings Photography. Adoptions are noon-9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 am.-9 pm. Saturday and will continue through Dec. 23.

So how much was my doggy in the window?

Mine was $195 for the adoption, though fees can vary. The adoption package, valued at more than $400, includes a health evaluation, age-appropriate vaccinations, rabies vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, deworming, heartworm testing and microchipping with free lifetime registration.  Every adopted dog receives a toy or treat courtesy of PetSafe and a gift courtesy of Hill’s Science Diet. In addition, VCA Animal Hospitals will provide a complimentary overall wellness examination (restrictions apply).

I had Ava’s first wellness exam today. The vet gave me $150 worth of meds for Ava’s tummy issues, which are typical with adopted dogs, that were covered by the exam.

This isn’t your average ShopGirl deal, but it’s a great one for pet lovers. For information, visit the SPCA’s Windows of Life page.