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How to Stop Barking When the Economy Gets Ruff!

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Lucky and I want to wish everyone a somewhat belated but still very Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a spectacular, peaceful, and relaxing time off. Lucky hopes that all the dogs out there got more scraps than they could ever dream of (Dog knows Lucky certainly did!) Lucky is a wise Maltese and is well read on my vegetarianism. She thinks she can eat enough turkey for the both of us, but contrary to popular belief, turkey meat isn't so healthy for dogs; I only let her munch on the stuffing and cranberries!

Can you believe December is already here? I guess even time has taken wind of the recent Presidential election and it's trying to speed our country to January 20th of next year as quickly as paw-ssible. Hopefully the Obamas will have a new rescued dog in time for the big White House move in (check out more banter on this much debated doggy issue below).

With the holidays quickly approaching and the worldwide economy in the doghouse, Lucky and I were on FOX's FOX and Friends morning show to discuss the ruff economy and how it will affect our pets. But just because the economy is suffering doesn't mean you and your pets have to be! Below I've listed some easy, money-saving pet cut backs that you and your family can follow without your animals even noticing!

1. Buy your cat and dog food in bulk instead of buying individual boxes and cans of pet food! This will save money in the long run and ensure your pet will never go hungry (something Lucky always needs assurance of).

2. Unfortunately you might have to get rid of your dog walker until times get better so why not walk your dog yourself? This way you will save money and you will also gain a few perks when you take the lease yourself. Not only will you get to spend a little extra time with your best friend, but pounding the pavement will also help you lose that extra holiday weight. All you have to do is make time and rearrange your schedule!

3. Use old collars and leashes instead of buying new ones every time you get a shopping urge. Learn to use the "No" command with yourself, instead of your pet. Much to many a dog owners chagrin, dogs are not that into fashion so they're certainly fine with last year's leash and collar, as long as you are!

4. Learn to groom at home. There are special home grooming kits available at the larger pet retail stores. Home grooming is an easy and cost effective way to snip costly pet expenses. Check out the FURminator, a great grooming kit available at PetSmart.com.

5. Try making toys for your pet instead of buying them! Look back to what people (and pets) used to use as toys such as a string from a ball of yarn for your cat or kitten to play with. Trust me they will love it ... they might even like it more than commercial, store bought products.

6. Whatever you do, make sure to keep your yearly vet appointment! It will save you money in the long run if you pet stays healthy and sticks to a normal check-up schedule.

7. Wash and dry your dog's paws in the mud room when entering the house from outside before letting him or her roam your house or apartment. This will help you save money on carpet, clothing, rug and floor cleaning.

8. Finally, ADOPT A DOG! Don't waste money on buying a pet when so many homeless animals in local shelters need rescue and a loving home this holiday season. This month, Lucky and I will be tirelessly promoting rescues for the holiday. It makes the most sense no matter if we are in a bull or bear economy. Check out AnimalFair.com for more information on where to adopt a pet in your area.

This week Lucky and I checked watched Oprah's annual episode of "Oprah's Favorite Things" and we were in for a huge shock. Rather than giving out refrigerators, cell phones, delicious cheese baskets, expensive wine and other lavish offerings, Oprah scaled down her holiday gifts from Harpo and offered other money-saving alternatives. When Oprah scales down, you know something wacky is happening to the economy. What's next? The Royal Family riding public transportation? Following Oprah's suit, this year Lucky and I will be offering economically sound pet gift suggestions, something we recently spoke to our favorite female animal loving home diva, Martha Stewart, at an Animal Medical Center Benefit. Martha told us about some very unique and exquisite gifts you can make for your pets at home, starting off with homemade cat gifts. "I raise my own catnip for my cats and we dry it and sift it and put it in jars and every night the cats get a handful." Everyone knows that cats go bonkers over catnip, but Martha told us the real reason for this phenomenon, explaining that, "Catnip is not something to make your cats go to sleep, it enlivens them, it's sort of like cat marijuana. It's a stimulant and they love it." If catnip is like cat marijuana, I can only imagine what people consider to be "dog marijuana." Whatever it is, I don't want to know about it, I don't need a Mary Jane loving Maltese on my hands (especially if it causes munchies because Dog knows Lucky munches enough already)!

Martha isn't just a major cat lover and fabulous feline gift-maker. She told about all her pets, which include two dogs, four cats, five horses, about 25 canaries, over 200 chickens and three donkeys, adding with a democratic smile, "Don't forget about the donkeys!" When we asked about other gifts she showers her very special pets with, Martha gushed, telling me, "I get them everything, they're the most spoiled little things. I dehydrate my own chicken for snacks for the dogs. The cats get all kinds of handmade toys, knitted, crocheted, and filled with all kinds of tasty things."

This week Lucky was out doing what she does best, sniffing around for pet gossip, and we got some exclusive pet info from some of our favorite New Yorkers. Dr. Ruth Westheimer, our go-to sexual analyst (who we unfortunately haven't had to "go to" in a while) told us that she is still not a dog person, but admits the importance of dogs in a person's single life. "For people with dogs, it's easier to find mates because they go and walk their dog and somebody's going to say, 'how cute'" While I do agree with Dr. Ruth, I must admit when people see me with Lucky they're always telling her how cute she is. What about me!? Dr. Ruth also told us about the importance of dogs as companions to the elderly, saying, "If they live alone should have a dog" adding, "But not me, all I want is a man and not a dog!" I say why can't we have both?

Lucky and I also talked to New York social darling Ivana Trump who was more than chat about her best friend and travel companion, her Yorkie Terrier, Tiger. "I take him everywhere," she told us. "I sneak him into restaurants which is not allowed but I take him in the bag and I say 'Tiger stay' and he stays in!" Lucky and Tiger both have a lot in common, they're rebels who go everywhere no matter the dog log. They also both love to travel the world, but Tiger has a few advantages on Lucky. Ivana told us that, "To get the dog into the UK is like mission impossible. I fly Friendly Skies Air France, and then I take a private plan to London to get my dog into London." Unfortunately Lucky doesn't get the privilege to fly private, which she is constantly reminding me of. But everyone knows how lavish Tiger's life is, including Trump herself, who told us, "In my next life, I would like to be reincarnated as a dog of Ivana Trump!"

Lucky and I also spotted model, actress, writer and America's Next Top Model judge Paulina Porizkova who introduced Lucky and I to her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dexter, who is about as regal as Porizkova herself. Lucky was so impressed by Dexter's modelesque looks that she asked him for tips on the catwalk. Dexter had to explain to Lucky that it is a common misconception for dogs of models to be good models themselves and he avoids anything cat related. Porizkova also has a Schnauzer named Dee Dee, telling us that her pet's names were inspired by Cartoon Network's Dexter's Laboratory, explaining, "I have children!" Of course we had to ask Paulina what a good name for Obama's dog would be because she is such a fabulous judge. Her answer was unlike anyone else that we talked to. She suggested the Obama family should name the dog, "Something literary so they can encourage people to think. Not something easy like Daisy or Butter, but Faulkner or Hemmingway... do something creative!"

On the topic of that never ending discussion of the Obama family dog name, Mike Jerrick from The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet had a very special message directed directly to Sasha and Malia Obama themselves, saying "Michael's always great option. Michael means god-like... look it up in the baby books!" Michael can fight for that name all he wants, but I just want to know if he would still say that if the Obamas adopt a bitch.

A second Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Lucky and I are busy working on our Holiday PSA urging everyone to adopt a pet this holiday instead of buying one. Check out www.AnimalFair.com for more information, including details on the premiere party of the PSA at our annual Toys For Dogs event.