I wish I could spend every weekend doing what I did last Saturday and Sunday.
That is: petting dogs, talking to dog lovers, introducing people and pups to my brand and hanging out with my dad.
A few weeks back, my old man and my dear friend Shawn encouraged me to plan a trip to my college town for the I Love My Dog Expo. The annual event is presented by Domesti-PUPS, a group that provides service dogs to people who need them around Lincoln, Nebraska, and beyond.
Dog lovers from all around the region attend to see obedience and agility trials, interact with pet-based businesses and, in some cases, adopt new dogs.
Because I have strong ties to Nebraska but don’t live there, the event gave me a chance to meet the people behind some local brands I’ve heard a lot about.
The Canine Scrub is a wildly popular self-serve dog wash that many of my Nebraska dog friends frequent. One of the owners is also a painter. (She did the doberman silhouette in the photo below that now lives in my house!)
The Green Spot is an Omaha boutique with a focus on natural, healthy and local products for pets.
Of course, it was great fun for me to be able to engage directly with people interested in the products I make and sell. I love answering customer questions, learning about their dogs and seeing to which items they are most drawn.
The bottle cap-studded collars my dad has been making got a lot of people’s attention. He even customized a few for people right on the spot. It made me so happy to see the pride he took in his work – and people’s excitement at being able to deck out their drinking buddy in a totally unique collar.
The expo marked the introduction of beer for dogs to the Beer Paws offering.
That concept alone got a lot of tongues (and tails) wagging. Not really beer at all, our brew is a mixture of wholesome broth and glucosamine and other minerals to support joint health, with a subtle malt flavoring.
People seemed to get a kick out of “yappy hour,” and pictures posted on Facebook tell me some have been repeating it at home this week.
At the end of two days of constant standing during the expo, I have to say my dogs were barking.
But I left Lincoln floating on a cloud and feeling closer than ever to my dad, thrilled to have made some new friends and profoundly grateful to all of the people who are with me on this little endeavor called Beer Paws.
I can’t wait for the next big show.
Every Beer Paws purchase supports my small business and animal rescue. A portion of all proceeds are donated to rescue groups and shelters. This month’s featured rescue partner is Paws Up Nebraska. Click here to shop now.
A significant day in my life passed yesterday with very little fanfare.
My 32nd birthday was overshadowed by a series of unfortunate personal events.
On Saturday, our house flooded due to a plumbing problem. On Sunday, I dropped my phone in the toilet. On Monday, I fell down in a snowdrift.
The third incident actually had very little bearing on anything, other than it caused me to re-enter my workplace on the afternoon of my birthday with a wet behind. And it makes for a kind of funny detail.
But the first events – especially number 1 – were disappointing, costly and inconvenient, to say the least.
As I type tonight, a 32-years-and-1-day-year-old dog mom, industrial fans and dehumidifiers surround me, humming loudly, slowly drawing the excess moisture from our floorboards. The constant noise is soothing to Zach but sets me on edge.
I don’t know what it is about white noise, but it’s always bothered me. Even the modest motor in our bedroom fan sometimes delays my sleep or startles me in the night.
The motors in these monsters are way louder. But I think I’ll live.
They’ve done an amazing job so far of evaporating the thousands of gallons that poured through our kitchen, gathered in the subflooring and rained down hard on some of our most prized but little used musical gadgetry. The sight in our basement Saturday night was so sad I let the professional clean-up crew take the pictures.
For their safety, we sent Scooby and Blind Willie to the kennel through the first couple days of the drying. As we drug all manner of items from our basement to strew across our main floor to air out, it was just too dangerous to let a totally blind and a half-blind, half-deaf dog stumble around.
Fortunately, Luke’s senses are strong enough that could get around OK. He even seems to enjoy napping in front of the big fans in the daytime.
I brought the little guys back home today. They don’t seem perturbed by the loud machines, other than they don’t seem to like the fans blowing on their fur. Mostly, all three of the dogs snooze. I envy them their ability to tune out the incessant whirring.
But I’m not really complaining.
We are lucky to have these fans. We are lucky our house was not damaged worse. Considering at the time I discovered the flooding, water was shooting into an electrical outlet, we are lucky our house didn’t burn up with three sweet dogs inside it.
I don’t know quite what to make of the rash of frustrating, water-related events that occurred within 32 hours of my 32nd birthday. I think I’m going to look at it all as some kind of cleansing, dictated by the universe.
Maybe it means my year 32 is going to be really good.
I’ll do what I can to make it so.
My new foster dog only has one eye.
It doesn’t work.
In fact, Blind Willie’s big, old, useless eye will have to be removed very soon, and Wayward Dog Foundation is currently raising funds to help cover the surgery.
Eye trouble is one of the health issues common in Jack Russell terriers. Although I do not know Blind Willie’s entire history, I do know he has been seeing impaired for most, if not all, of his life.
For this resilient and tenacious little terrier, though, his disability isn’t that big of a hurdle.
In fact, the 8-to-10-year-old dog gets around a heck of a lot better than Scooby the elderpin. Willie can go up and down stairs; he can hop on and off of furniture and he can use the electronic doggy door – all without help from people.
Little Willie also knows how to sit and speak for a treat. He’s a pretty good snuggler and content to rest for most of the day.
But at some point every evening he gets a burst of energy. During these periods, he’s a force to be reckoned with – if you are a Kong toy or a vacuum cleaner.
Willie has been in rescue for a few months, since he was surrendered by his former owners to the Wayward Dog Foundation.
After one failed out-of-state adoption, we are hoping to place Willie somewhere in the Kansas City area. He really does need a special home and a family who will be patient with him but who will also treat him like a regular dog.
Before Willie can be adopted, however, he does need to have his remaining eye removed. It is ulcerated and over time will cause Willie increasing discomfort. The sooner we can remove it, the better.
Buy Biscuits for Willie
One of the ways that I am helping to raise these funds is through the sale of Beer Paws Beer Biscuits.
Until the funds are raised, $1 from every 6-oz bag and $2 from every 12-oz bag of biscuits sold will be donated to Willie’s fund.
Click here to place your biscuit order.
Note: A portion of sales from all other Beer Paws products sold in February will be donated to the Beer Paws rescue partner of the month Paws Up Rescue of Nebraska.
February is here!
I can’t lie, this is my favorite month of the year. I don’t love it for the weather. I love it because it’s my birth month.
My birthday is coming up on February 17, and just before that is Valentine’s Day. I think of that holiday as a time to celebrate love in general, not just the romantic kind but also the love of family, friends and, of course, pets.
This will be Scooby the elderpin’s 8th year as my canine sweetheart.
To be honest, we all know the honeymoon is over in this relationship.
I don’t mean that in a bad way, but taking care of the elderpin can be tough. Potty training was never his forte, but these days I feel like I’m cleaning up Scooby’s messes 5 or 6 times a day. And that’s on top of the cleaning up his team of caretakers at Kennel Creek Pet Resort performs while he’s at daycare.
I’m not mad about it. Scooby’s old. He can’t help his potty problems at this point.
And he deserves special treatment in his twilight period. Doesn’t everyone?
Accidents in the house are a big reason a lot of people give up their pets. I understand – these habits are hard to break, and it sucks to see your property damaged or ruined.
But for every puddle I wipe up, my elderpin will make me smile 10 times. On the best days, he’ll make me laugh, too.
He’ll realize it’s dinnertime, find some reservoir of youth within him and bound across the house top-speed. He’ll steal a piece of steak straight out of Luke’s astonished mouth. He’ll attack a raw knuckle bone that weighs a third of what he does.
He’ll click, click, click up to my side of the bed at night and stand there until I scoop him up so he can sleep in the crook of my arm.
No one loves Scooby like I do. And he doesn’t love anyone the way he loves me.
He’s a good boy. He likes people – especially if they have food or a warm lap on a cold day.
But I am his favorite.
If I’m not careful, he will risk his feeble bones by leaping off of beds, chairs and other people’s arms to get to me.
It has always been this way. I had given him back to the owner he had strayed from and wanted to check in to be sure all was well a few days later.
At the door, in the neighbor’s arms, the little dog squirmed and wiggled until the guy just handed him over.
“I think he wants you,” he said.
And I wanted Scooby, warts and all (for real – he had a nasty one on his neck).
I wouldn’t take it back for all the world – or even a dog with a bladder made of steel. Scooby’s my boy.
That’s our love story.
What’s your love story with your dog? Share it in the comments below!
This post is part of a blog hop sponsored by Blog Paws and Nature’s Recipe.
You can join it, too, and enter for a chance to win a collar camera for your cat or dog. To learn more, click here.
Why did you start homebrewing?
I love going on brewery tours and visiting tap rooms but what actually inspired me to start home-brewing was President Obama. I know that may sound kind of odd – but he was what got me to buy my first home-brewing kit. I was watching the news and there was a story about how the White House was home-brewing beer. Home-brewing was gaining in popularity a few years ago and Obama wanted to know more about it, so they bought a kit and started brewing beer at the White House. I thought it was really cool that someone who is that busy took the time to learn how to brew beer. I also felt that someone, like me, who was a heck of a lot less busy could find some time to brew up a few batches of beer! I ordered a starter kit and I’ve been brewing for about a year now. I just brewed up the White House Honey Amber recipe, which you can now buy online, and it is quite delicious! They also have a White House Honey Porter that I am wanting to try.
Does Boomer help you in the homebrewing process?
Boomer would probably love to help me brew but I usually let him play outside while I’m brewing. He’s got a lot of hair and the potential for contamination is higher if he is in the room with me. He is also a pretty big dog and for him to get under foot while I’m lugging around a 5 gallon brew kettle of hot water probably would not end well for either of us!
What is your favorite type of beer?
I rotate around a bit on what I like but right now I am really into India Pale Ales. Black IPA’s specifically. I live in the Pacific Northwest – an area that is well known for growing flavorful hops. I like the nice crisp bite of a hoppy citrus beer – which that sort of flavoring lends itself to an IPA. IPA’s give you your most bang for your buck with bold flavors and a slightly higher alcohol content so you can drink less beer … not that I do! If I am not drinking my own home-brew I can usually be found with some sort of Oregon or Washington brewery’s beer in my hand!
If Boomer was a beer, what kind would he be?
Because of Boomer’s coat coloring I always joke that he would be a black and tan. So a Guinness with a little Harp beer!
What kind of beers do you brew?
I brew mainly Amber and Pale Ales. They are pretty easy and do not require refrigeration during the fermentation process like a Lager does. I throw a lot of beer tasting parties for my friends at my house and find that ambers and pales are the easiest to share. Although I like ambers and pales I am going to slowly work my way towards brewing more beers I prefer, like the IPA’s and some darker beers such as porters and see what my friends think of those. There’s such a wide array of beers out there to try you should never limit yourself to just one kind!
What makes Boomer a super awesome dog?
Boomer does have a lot of awesomeness but what I like best about him is that I can take him anywhere, to a friend’s house or on a 10 day road trip and he is always excited to be where ever we are going. We also have a really great bond between us which I have never had that with any other dog before. He’s a great friend to have and an excellent co-pilot!
If you like dogs and beer, head over to BeerPaws.com to learn more about my company and how to make your dog a better drinking buddy.
Look what Luke and Scooby munched on all weekend!
These beautiful treats were a surprise gift, sent by our good friend Miranda Loehle, aka The Island Baker.
The round, dark cookies are carob chip, a safe and healthy alternative to chocolate for dogs. The cute cut outs are peanut butter biscuits.
Miranda also makes delectable cakes and cupcakes for people. Unfortunately, because she lives about 1,500 miles away in St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, the dogs and I are used to admiring her works of edible art from afar.
I can assure you if we lived in her delivery area, I would have two plumper pups!
Thank you, Miranda, for the wonderful surprise!!
For more mouth-watering images of Miranda’s delicious creations for people and canines, check out TheIslandBaker.com!
On pretty much any day lately, there’s something in the oven at Wayward House.
For my clever friends, please don’t worry. I am being totally literal here. I’m not talking about figurative buns and ovens.
I’m talking about the real, gosh-darned convection oven that lives in my kitchen.
It’s new, a step up from our old conventional oven. This oven is much better for baking the thing I’m best at baking – doggy beer biscuits.
With the help of my other new friend KitchenAid Mixer, beer biscuits are in nearly non-stop production now.
To the delight of Luke, Scooby and our frequent four-legged visitors, a peanut buttery smell permeates the house. Reluctantly, Luke has agreed to share the biscuit bounty.
A lot of these treats, made with recycled grains from homebrewers and local breweries, end up in the mouths of shelter dogs. I delivered a big bag of them last weekend to my friends at Unleashed Pet Rescue in Mission, Kansas.
Soon, you will be able to order beer biscuits for your dogs via BeerPaws.com.
In the meantime, if your pooch wants to try a sample, and you live in the U.S., fill out the contact form below. Include your mailing address – it won’t be visible to the public. I’ll send some biscuits to the first five people who respond.
It’s the end of the weekend, and I can’t wait to be in this state:
The little old guy has earned the right to rest (and, apparently, pee) whenever he darn well pleases.
This also provides me ample opportunities to photograph him looking extra adorable. Case in point:
Sometimes, the snaggletoothed little fellow looks a little silly.
But even in his sleep, the elderpin always wears his little Scooby smile.
And now, it’s time for me to follow the elderpin’s lead. Good night, friends!
I know you all take pictures of your super cute dogs while they are sleeping, too. I’d love to see them, so head on over to the Wayward Dogs page on Facebook and share!
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter my Cloud Star Dynamo Dog treats giveaway!
After years of being a walking garbage disposal, capable of consuming crippling amounts of anything he could get into, Scooby the elderpin is getting a sensitive tummy.
In fact, these days, although his dry kibble doesn’t bother him, certain baked treats do. To be on the safe side, when he gets treats nowadays, I make sure they are soft ones.
For that reason, I was thrilled recently when Cloud Star sent the Wayward Dogs an assortment of meaty, chewy treats to try.
Of course, I love the fact that Cloud Star pet treats are made in the USA. Even better: The Dynamo Dog series is known as Functional Treats.
Featuring all natural ingredients, and no grain, Dynamo Dog treats are designed to support specific, common health issues faced by dogs. There are formulas for skin, tummy and hip and joint issues.
Scooby and Luke showed equal enthusiasm over all four varieties (hip and joint comes in two flavors). Each rectangular nugget is about one bite for a big dog and a minute or so of chewing for a really old miniature pinscher who is missing a lot of teeth.
It is nice having treats like these on hand because I know they are good for my dogs and the dogs enjoy them.
Because Cloud Star was generous enough to offer one Wayward Dogs reader the same assortment we received, you pup also gets a chance to be a Dynamo Dog. Simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win. (U.S. addresses only, please.)
Disclosure: I received free treats for my dogs in exchange for this blog post. However, all opinions expressed are solely my own.
When I asked Zach if I could bring Princess the chihuahua mix home for the night, that’s all I meant.
One night for me to get to know the pipsqueak better so that I could get some photos that would show the world how wonderful she is.
But we kinda fell in love with Princess.
And she kinda fell in love with Zach.
So at the end of night two, he gave her permission to come home with me every night until she was adopted. I did not protest.
As foster dogs go, Princess was a dream. After getting over some first night jitters, she settled in like she owned the place. Here favorite place to perch was Zach’s chest, and she was satisfied to cuddle there all evening. She preferred to sleep in her own bed at night. She didn’t yap when we put her in a kennel. And our dogs didn’t seem to mind having her around at all. In fact, the extra “competition” at dinnertime seemed to kick Scooby the elderpin’s appetite into high gear, which was just fine by me.
And my plan worked.
Finally, my friend Katie, who had been intrigued by Princess since she first came into the Wayward Dog Foundation, couldn’t resist anymore. She had to meet the little dog.
So, I packed up Princess in a carrier three days before Christmas. It wasn’t hard to guess the final outcome…
Katie says when the rescue stork showed up, her little family became complete. You can read her take on it over at Pigtales Blog.