Thursday, August 30, 2012

Caption This Thursday

This is my son Andy when he was about 2 years old, and our first dog, Schuyler.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Pet Roundup-

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup. I didn't have a handy picture of Kelly and Brooks today, so I thought I'd cool you off with this cute husky. I don't think he misses the snow and ice, do you? This is a reminder to enjoy the rest of your summer!

* Could this possibly be the answer, or is it more complicated: Los Angeles City Council approved a proposal to require all pets in the city to be obtained from a shelter or humane society. Could a ban on commercially-bred pets work?

* If you live in the path of Isaac, the examiner has some tips on preparing your pet as storm approaches. (Tissue alert: the accompanying slideshow made me cry, just thinking about what these pets went through.)

* Still thinking of a late-summer getaway? The Christian Science Monitor lists their Top 10 Pet Friendly hotels. 

What about you? Have you experienced any great pet-friendly vacations this summer? And, are you expecting bad weather in your area due to Hurricane Issac, and if so, how are you keeping your pets safe?

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Dog Bowl for Food Gulpers

Maybe it's due to once being abandoned and on his own. Maybe he's always super hungry. Or maybe it has something to do with Kelly eying his food. Whatever the case, when we adopted Brooks, we noticed that he devoured his kibble in just seconds.

To help the food gulping, we purchased this Durapet Slow Feed dog bowl. The bowl has a raised center, which keeps food on the sides of the bowl and prevents your dog from gulping. Does it work? Check out Brooks as he gives it a test!

Although he still eats with gusto, the slow feed bowl causes Brooks to take almost twice as long to eat! We are well-satisfied with the results. The bowl seems to help with his digestion...after his meal, Brooks no longer belches from taking in gulps of air when he eats. If you have a dog who is a gulper, Brooks and I recommend this bowl!
*Be sure to check out this great post on my pal Kol's Notes, too, with more great Tips for Food Gulpers!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hey Bo Obama, Did You Read My Book?

It seems the First Dog has had a few too many yummy scraps from state dinners, and now is on a diet. Jackie from Pooch Smooches first alerted me to this, having read about it on Two Little Cavaliers.

She suggested that Bo could use a copy of my book.

Don't worry Bo, a copy of Dieting with my Dog is on it's way to you right now little buddy! Kelly sends her love!

This is part of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!
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Get your Winners Here

It's been a busy time for contests here. Thank you for entering, and I hope you won!

1. Easy Canvas print- Cynthia Downer

2. Greenies Smart Bites:
Digestive Care- Brian
Healthy skin and coat- Kirby the Dorkie
Hairball Control- LLMG1960

3. What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard-Danielle Murgia

Congratulations everyone!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kelly Plays with New Toy, while Brooks....

Tennis balls, flying discs, rope toys, stuffies. Kelly and Brooks have plenty to play with. And now they have one more great toy: the Bow Wow Flirt Pole by Squishy Face Studio.To demonstrate, I'm debuting my very first blog video, starring Kelly and Brooks.

As you can see, Kelly loved the Flirt Pole! She especially loved tugging. The super strong bungee cord made the tugging fun for her, while I didn't have to break my arms. She also liked jumping after it. This is a toy Kelly will have fun with any time! Now Brooks, on the other hand...well as you can see, he only has eyes (and teeth) for his beloved tennis ball.

The flirt toy is part of HollyWOOF gift bags by Distinctive Assets. The bags full of awesome dog products such as toys, snacks, art and more were given to 25 celebs! I was lucky enough to receive a fantastic bag of products to sample and review. I'll be sharing more information about the rest of the contents of the HollyWOOF bag in the future.

Now, I want to tell you more about the Bow Wow Flirt Pole.

I totally recommend the Flirt Pole. It's super well-made, strong, of quality material and a unique toy for your dog. I have to add, the toy arrived packaged in an attractive blue sleeve, wrapped with an additional fleece tug toy, a bandana for Kelly and a Squishy Face t-shirt for me! This is a company who pays attention to details. I hope you'll check Squishy Face Studio.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Pet Roundup, wet dog edition

Kelly is shaking it off!
Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup, with links you won't want to miss!

* Wet dogs shaking off water is not just cute, it may have scientific significance, according to Georgia Tech researchers. Would you like to be the researcher in charge of studying wet dogs?!

* Jack Russell Terrier Uggie, star of The Artist, uses a doggy treadmill, and so do many other dogs, as pet parents focus on diet, weight and overall health. Too bad we didn't have a treadmill for Dieting with my Dog!

* From Huff Post, three pet care strategies that keep your human family healthy too.

* North Haven Connecticut, town did the right thing, looking at the individual case and changing a bad law that prohibited a 7 year old girl from keeping her pet bunny.

* I'm confused by the subject lines for "cats" in my google alerts, so I decided not to click on any of them:
"cats infiltrate the fashion industry"
"cats that pester for food suffer from psychological condition"
"common parasites in cats trigger suicide attempts"
and "rats manipulated to be attractive to cats"

Friday, August 17, 2012

What the Dog Ate vs Dieting with my Dog

My blogging pal Jackie Bouchard of Pooch Smooches just released her new book, What the Dog Ate. See it there on the table?
Brooks and Kelly check out What the Dog Ate

One day Jackie and I got laughing, thinking about how our two books related. Sure, there are some obvious differences...What the Dog Ate is a novel, and Dieting with my Dog is memoir. Kona of What the Dog Ate consumes a wide variety from the non-food group (just see the chart, below!), while my pup Kelly learns to eat healthy, nutritious snacks. But basically, both books celebrate dogs, eating, and overcoming life's challenges. 

Read on for your chance to win a copy of BOTH books! 
But first, here's our review of What the Dog Ate.

Right away I loved this title. I mean, What the Dog Ate? Seriously, there's a whole book about this? Yum! And may I also add, I seriously love the book's hero, Kona. Now he's my kind of dude. Okay, now over to Mom.

Brooks, this isn't a "how to," you know. Please don't eat all those things Kona did. What the Dog Ate is a warm, funny novel about Maggie Baxter, who thinks she has life's priorities in order. She lives with her husband of seventeen years and their chocolate lab, Kona. But Kona unwittingly reveals Maggie's husband's cheating ways. Let's just say, what the dog ate--and brought back up--plays a key role by way of  incriminating evidence. 

Maggie deals with family, friends, divorce, and job pressures, all the while trying to carve out the best life for her and Kona. The question is, will she find a new man in her life? 
     From the  book: "On the way home, she fantasized about how much better it would be if finding a  new man was    like getting a dog. You could go online and research the type you wanted. Would you prefer one who'd be a couch-potato with you? Or one that would fit into an active lifestyle? Toy or worker? Purebred or mutt? More influenced by scent or sight? Guard or companion?"

If you like a story of love and romance, with a great dog for a best friend, then What the Dog Ate is for you! Brooks and I highly recommend you check it out!
Connect with Jackie at:
What the Dog Ate is available on print and e-book on Amazon, print only: CreateSpace, e-book only: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.
* A portion of the print sales will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society.  

Keep reading, you can win a copy below!
So, now do you want to know some of the things Kona ate? Here's the list, along with some Dieting with My Dog revisions!  

You might notice the list reads #6 -10. Jump over to Pooch Smooches to see #1-5. And while you're there, check out her Dieting with my Dog interview, where she asks me about Kelly's favorite snacks and my favorite "bad for me" food. AND enter to win a free copy of Dieting with my Dog

This contest, and more great giveaways, is part of All Things Dog and DogTipper's Fido's Freebie Friday

Enter to win What the Dog Ate
Contest open to residents of the US and Canada, excluding Quebec and where prohibited.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Walkin' the Streets...which is your dog's style?

Notice tail up and tail down?

My husband and I take Brooks and Kelly on two or three daily walks together, and I've noticed certain differences in their styles.


Kelly walks, nose down, sniffing excitedly. Her tail is raised like a flag, and wagging the whole time. She prances excitedly, always wanting to be "first." She meanders and weaves left to right, as if she always thinks there's something better on the other side. She can walk politely if reigned in and reminded, but still frequently gets tangled in her leash and I have to straighten her out. Most often I don't insist she heals, because I like her to relax and explore. However she tugs and pulls whenever she sees something exciting and barks and whines at other dogs. When she has to do her thing, she always moves to the grass on the side of the road to take care of business.

Brooks walks with his nose in the air, looking out and around. His tail is down and relaxed. He stays by my side without any tugging, and automatically adjusts his pace to mine. He enjoys running if I run, but is just as content strolling (more often, in my case!). If his leash becomes tangled, he simply steps out of it on his own. He might tug if he sees a cat, but is easily brought back by just my calling his name. The one odd thing, whenever he has to do his thing, he just stops and takes care of business right there in the middle of the sidewalk!

What do you think these behaviors say about my dogs?
What is your dog's walking style?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Pet Roundup, I Don't Fit on This Thing

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Brooks loves to relax by my big green chair. (By the way, don't worry I'm still taking pictures of Kelly. It might look like "the new kid" is getting more press time, but I'll put Kelly up here again soon!)  Here are your links for this week:
Mom, I don't fit on this thing.

* From the Kansas City Star, a family's pet raccoon for 8 years, Scooter, was removed because authorities cited it was unsafe and illegal. The raccoon has lived with the family since a baby. If the Conservation Dept. releases the raccoon to the wild, most believe it will not know how to survive. The family is taking legal action to get Scooter back.

* The Duluth News Tribute reports that donations are pouring in for John Unger, whose photo floating his slumbering dog Schoep in Lake Superior went viral. The water helps soothe Schoep's arthritis. Donations are helping pay for medication and laser treatments for Schoep.

* USA Today reports that new evidence shows roaming house cats kill an average of two animals--such as lizards, snakes, frogs, chipmunks, or birds--per week.

* And now, the winner of Easy Canvas 8x10 picture: Congratulations to Cynthia Downer. Please contact me with your mailing information to claim your prize.

What about you-- Does your dog suffer from arthritis like Schoep? Do you think wild animals, even if they haven't demonstrated any problems or aggression, should be taken away from families who keep them in the home? And, do you think it's safe for house cats to roam outside?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Greenies for Cats and maybe some for your cat, too

Tasty Tuesday is going to be purrfect. I hope Kolchak doesn't mind, but I have a kitty treat to blog about today.

Did you know that Greenies also makes cat treats?

And, even better, if you keep reading to the end, you can enter to win one of three bags of Greenies SmartBites for your kitty!

My daughter and son-in-law tested the new Greenies SmartBites with their cute cat Cinnamon. She is always very excited when she sees new kitty treats come into the house. Even before the bag is opened, she can tell that it's something for her.

Kate says "sometimes, our (semi-spoiled) little kitty doesn't like to eat the treats right out of our hands, she prefers to eat them off the floor or out of her bowl.  But this time....she wouldn't wait, she gulped them down right out of our hands, eating two at a time!

 She definitely loved these treats, and it was nice to see that the bag recommended we could give her quite a few per day, so we didn't feel bad about spoiling her with a few extras!"

Keep reading for your chance to win!

Greenies SmartBites are formulated to target specific health benefits, such as hairball control (contains plant-based fiber), digestive care (contains coconut meal), and healthy skin and fur (contains fish oils and whole ground flaxseed). They're crunchy on the outside and creamy inside, and come in naturally flavored salmon, chicken and tuna. And, like Kate mentioned, they are less than two calories per piece!

YUM!  Cinnamon highly approves!

Would you like to win a free bag? Leave a comment below telling me which Greenies SmartBite feline formula you'd like to win. Hairball control, Digestive Care or Healthy Skin and Fur. Then I'll randomly draw one winner for each bag of treats! Sorry, contest limited to U.S. only. Be sure to leave me a way to contact you if you're the winner. Contest ends Tuesday 8/21 at 11:59pm. Good luck!
What? You mean these aren't for us? Bah!
 *We were provided with 5 bags of Greenies SmartBites in exchange for our honest opinion. The opinions expressed here are 100% our own...and Cinnamon's.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Introducing a New Dog. Kelly and Brooks Update

If you're like me, you look at that cute dog you see on the street or in the park, and even looking up dogs on Petfinder, dreaming about adding "just one more" dog to your family. But then...what about your resident dog? The one you love and pamper and take to the park, and have all that time together just the two of you? Will she welcome a playmate...or be jealous forever?

We struggled with this decision, and added 11 year old golden retriever Brooks to our family 3 months ago. We wanted to help save another dog, and we thought Kelly might enjoy a playmate. The transition hasn't been completely easy. At times I thought she'd never accept another dog. But now, at last, they are becoming friends.

Originally we had to keep them separate whenever we couldn't supervise them. Kelly barked and tussled whenever we gave Brooks attention, fed him, tried to give him a toy, or whenever he tried to enter our bedroom (which is also Kelly's bedroom). Now things are peaceful and happy! Here is how long it took to make some progress:

4 weeks- We kept Brooks on his nice comfy bed in the kitchen at night, but after 4 weeks we are finally able to let him sleep on a doggy bed alongside our bed. This was a huge step, as we never wanted him to feel separated from the family.  Kelly sleeps on a doggy bed on the opposite side of the bed. (It's a small bedroom, so walking space is tight, especially if anyone has to get up in the middle of the night!)

5 weeks- Brooks and Kelly could now eat in the same room. We still have to be vigilant, and keep the food dishes apart physically, but I no longer have to feed them separated by a closed door! Kelly occasionally tries to "help" Brooks with his dinner, but she no longer feels the need to  run up barking and push him away.

6 weeks- Play with toys. Toys remain the biggest problem still. Kelly is still extremely upset for Brooks to have any toy. The only toy she doesn't mind Brooks having is a tennis ball. Which is lucky, because it's Brooks' favorite. Any other toy still needs supervision to make sure that Kelly doesn't get possessive and grab it all away. Brooks is cautious about new toys, fearing that she'll not let him have it.

8 weeks- We are finally able to leave the two dogs alone together when we go out! Before we left them, we wanted to be certain they would be able to remain peaceful together when not under supervision. What a relief when this day finally came. I still wonder what they do when we're away. Today when I was returning from an outing, I sneaked up on them and peeked in the window of the door to see where they were while we were out...and there they both were, lying right in front of the door together!

Kelly and Brooks don't play together much, and they don't snuggle much, but they are learning to become friends. When I think about how far they've come, I feel really good. They are both wonderful, sweet dogs and we're so lucky they both share our home. I know it's difficult for Kelly to share, but I feel confident that they will both accept each other more and more as time goes on. We give them both individual love and attention, and take them on walks and romps together. Life is good!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Isn't that tweet? Bark to School party tomorrow

It's almost back to school time! It's sure to be busy, maybe a bit stressful, but it can also be fun. You can enroll your dog in obedience or good citizen classes...dogs like school too! Or practice some new training techniques at home. To get the back-to-school season off to a great start, join us at Event Barker's Bark to School Twitter party tomorrow from 8-9:30pm.

What is a twitter party?
 It's a virtual party, so that's got to be fun, right? It's a way for people with a common interest to get together and chat about a specific topic. And, you can win great prizes, including leashes, harnesses, books, training treats, shampoo, and more, and a grand prize valued over $250!

Okay, what else do I need to know?

How can I join?
 1. RSVP hereIn order to win prizes, you need to RSVP!

 2. sign in to Twitter tomorrow night at 8pm and be ready to hit the refresh button!

3. Use the twitter handle #BarktoSchool

I'll be there tomorrow too, talking about my books, dieting, and looking to find out more about you and your pets! I hope to tweet with you tomorrow.

Event Barkers
All Things Dog blog
Nature's Logic 
Minutes for Fido 
My Pet Allergies 
Paris and John's Country Home.
 Holistic Dog Trainer Alecia Evans and Walk in Sync
Peggy's Pet Place

#BarktoSchool sponsors are providing products as prizes for our winners and working with the Event Barkers team to help you learn more about their products and services. There is no purchase required to enter or to join in the Twitter Party. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Am I Innova My Head? (get it?) No way!

When it comes to figuring out dog food, I could easily be Innova my head....but not when it comes to the very friendly and helpful folk at Innova, a brand of Natura pet food.

Cheesy puns aside, I was invited to join a handful of bloggers to learn more about the Innova pet food family and the ingredients that go into their food, and to have my dogs sample their exciting new blend of food which includes enhancements such as more fruits and vegetables.

I know many pet parents are very loyal to their own particular brand of food, which is great. But also many, like me, are confused by the standards and quality and variety. I had a lot to ask, and a lot to learn.
I really didn't know how important quality dog food was until I started dieting with my dog. And now that we've added 11 year old golden retriever Brooks to our family, with his allergies and skin condition, I know that the proper dog food is more important than ever.

According to the information provided me, here are some facts about new Innova:
*now contains more poultry and fish
* contains pears, blueberries, green beans and parsnips
* 100% whole grains including brown rice and oats (no more white potatoes and white rice.)-- That's a change I made for myself when I started dieting. Now I can make this change for my dog too!
*You can find helpful information and complete ingredient checks at their site See Beyond the Bag.

Innova's friendly experts have carefully guided me in slowly introducing the new food to Kelly and Brooks' old food, to make a transition without any digestive upsets. They communicate regularly to see how we're doing, how the dogs like the food, to offer tips and sometimes even just to share fun stories and ideas.We've even received sneak previews, such as what their newly designed bags of dog food will look like. That's just plain fun!

This is a wonderful experience for multiple reasons:
1. Communication-- I feel like someone is always there to help or to answer a question.
2. Answers-- Every questions I've had has been answered thoroughly, and followed up.
3. Samples--Innova provided me with two bags of Innova Healthy Adult dog food to ensure enough for my dogs to really give it a try and have ample time to document how they respond physically, plus a bag of Health Bars treats and a toy!
4. Personal Care-- I feel like they care about me and my dogs. And if they care about my dogs, I feel sure that they care about your dogs too. I feel safe in placing my trust in Natura and Innova.

In addition, when we first adopted Brooks, he came to us with skin and ear infections most likely caused by allergies. But since his medical history was not known, we had no idea what he had been eating before and what he was allergic to. Innova veterinarian Dr. Nathaniel Cook sent me several emails and spent over an hour one day talking to me on the phone and giving me guidance and suggestions for helping Brooks, far above and beyond anything to do with feeding him Innova food. In fact, he suggested a different type of food to try for Brooks, another Natura brand called California Natural grain free venison formula, and he and his associate Tammy even overnighted me coupons so that I could get Brooks started on that food right away! When's the last time you had service like that? And more importantly, real personal concern from a company.

Both dogs seem to love the taste of their Natura dog food. So far they're reacting great as well. I'll be continuing to learn more about these foods, and I look forward to sharing more with you. I might just have some food giveaways coming up too.

So, what do you look for in your dog's food? What have you not been able to find that you wish you could? Do you have any questions I could bring to Innova?

 * P.S. Congratulations! The winner of The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service book, selected by random draw, is Larrielle. Please email me or send me a DM on twitter or Facebook with your mailing address to claim your prize.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Picture on Canvas for You

A few weeks back I reviewed Easy Canvas, a great way to make your own photos into a unique and attractive wall hanging, and I said they were sending me a sample print for my review.


Here it is:

Isn't it beautiful? The quality of the print is wonderful. The image is crisp and clear, the colors are vivid and accurate. I like the way the photo image can wrap around the wall hanging. The canvas is sturdy with a nice texture. We couldn't be happier with our Easy Canvas print! See below to win your own!
You'll have to excuse the dogs, they were really tired when I took this picture!

Every time I look at this picture I smile, so I can't wait to find just the right spot to hang it in my home. So how about you? Wouldn't you like to win your own Easy Canvas? Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter below. Winner must be a U.S. resident *excluding Hawaii and Alaska. Winner will receive one 8x10x.75" canvas print. Winner announced on Wednesday pet roundup.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was provided with a free 8x10 print to review, and one to give away. I paid an additional charge to enlarge the size of my print to 11x14. This review is 100% my own honest opinion of the product. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Pet Roundup

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! I just had to share this picture with you. Here are two pawsome Vermonters--my best pal Becky and her dog Murray. Don't they just bring a smile to your face? And now, here are the links for today:

* The HuffPost reports that a Miami business owner has now agreed to stop keeping his dog on the roof, after outcry from animal activists. Please, please let this dog have a better life.

* From cnet, here's the craziest couch I've ever seen--includes a built in tunnel system for your cat! Would your cat like this?

* Cute alert! Twitter photo of Andy Murray's border terriers wearing his Olympic silver and gold medals!

* Cute alert #2: Buzzfeed's 64 photos of dogs wearing sunglasses!

That's all for now. Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Brooks Books- Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service

Brooks here: Today I'm reviewing The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service by Beth Kendrick. (NAL Trade Paperback 2012) The best thing about this book is that there are a lot of dogs! And, a really kind woman who rescues dogs, hates puppy mills and helps us dogs find homes. Oh, and the dogs were naughty too. I like that! Now here's mom with some more.

* Read on for your chance to win a copy of the book!

Peggy: In the first chapter it seems like the main character, Lara, is making matches between men and women. Then we make the charming discovery that she is matching people with dogs. I thought this book would be mainly about the matches and the interesting people and dogs Lara puts together. It turns out, however, that there is not so much matchmaking as I thought. In fact, it seems she does more dog training than matchmaking. Even so, her situations are not only entertaining, but also contain some useful tips for pet parents.

Hey Brooks, I can read books too!

The book also deals with Lara's relationship with her detached mother--which felt genuine and touching-- and her boyfriend, who was frustrated by Lara's zealous overcommitment to dogs and rescue. My favorite scene was when her boyfriend did something unforgivable with her needy rescue dog's only toy, and Lara had to choose between her distraught rescue dog and the man in her life.

I think you'll enjoy this book and cheer on Lara as she advocates for dogs everywhere!

Brooks gives The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service 4 out of 5 wags!

Okay, now for the giveaway! Leave a comment below telling about how you and your dog were matched up...or, if you prefer, what you think your perfect canine match would be. One winner will be selected at random, except where prohibited, and announced Friday. Contest open until Thursday 8/9/12 at 11:59pm. Good luck!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Guarding the Toys

Monday Mischief!

Kelly is rather possessive of her toys.

  Must guard the toy box!


Yup. It's all good.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Bridge, and Old Fort, a Large Bird, and Two Dogs

Brooks and Kelly really enjoyed our vacation.

On the way home, we stopped at Crown Point, NY. This is where the bridge connects Vermont and New York, crossing over Lake Champlain. We liked to stop at the top--traffic permitting--where the kids in the back seat would still be in New York, and we'd be in Vermont (or the other way around, depending upon which direction we were heading) They always thought that was funny. Or, that we were big dorks. Not sure which. Anyway, a couple years ago they had to blow up the old bridge, so this was our first time over the new one:

We stopped to visit a historic site, the ruins of Fort Crown Point from the Revolutionary War.

On the way home, we saw this giant bird's nest on a high tension wire.  See it up there?

I think it was an osprey baby. We saw two adult birds flying around overhead, but they didn't land while we were watching.

So finally we were home, tired but having had a lot of fun on vacation!