Wordless Wednesday: A New Family

jack russell terrier wearing red hoodie

You haven’t heard much about foster dog Blind Willie from me lately.

That’s because he’s been busy getting to know his forever family!

jack russell terrier and a pug

jack russell terrier and a beagle

It looks like he’s having fun, doesn’t it?

Come back tomorrow for the full update on Blind Willie’s adoption!

Support the work of animal rescue by shopping Beer Paws!

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Treat Me Tuesday: NutriSource

NutriSource Soft & Tender dog treats

I make and sell my own brand of dog treats, but the Wayward Dogs also enjoy sampling other varieties on the market.

They were thrilled recently when Chewy.com sent a sample of NutriSource Soft & Tender training treats.

The meaty little bones provide a high-value reward for any size dog. Because they are soft, they are easy for the elderpin to chew.

NutriSource Soft & Tender dog treats

Luke would gulp them down by the handful if I let him.

NutriSource Soft & Tender dog treats

Made in the USA and free of wheat, soy and artificial colors and flavors, these treats also boast an added ingredient: Carniking™.

The benefits of this supplement are not explained on the NutriSource packaging, so I did some research. Carniking™ is a dietary supplement manufactured by the company Lonza. Carniking™ is, essentially, L-carnitine, a chemical naturally produced by the canine, human and feline body to help metabolize fat.

According to Lonza’s website: “Carniking™ research in pets has shown that when diets containing Carniking™ are fed to both dogs and cats, the level of body fat is reduced while the percentage of lean muscle mass increases.”

NutriSource Soft & Tender dog treats

In addition to helping with body fat, Carniking™ can also promote a healthy heart and liver. Lonza mentions that the supplement is especially important for senior pets like Luke and the elderpin whose natural ability to produce L-carnitine is diminished.

In addition to being healthy, the NutriSource Soft & Tender Treats are also inexpensive. You can get a 6-oz bag for $2.99 over at Chewy.com.

They come packaged in a resealable plastic bag. Once opened, the treats maintained their freshness pretty well, although I did notice some drying after a week or so. They contain a few natural preservatives, so I didn’t worry about the quality. However, for aesthetic reasons, you might consider storing these treats in the fridge if you plan on feeding them to your dog over the course of a month or so.

Have you tried any new treats lately? Share your recommendations in the comments below!

Disclaimer: I received a free product sample in exchange for my honest review.

Monday is for Molly Mutt

Here’s how far behind I am in posting:

My birthday happened way back on February 17. Around that time, I received a super awesome gift in the mail from my friend Miranda.

I’m writing about it today because it’s Monday. And Miranda, the gift and her new dog Moby all start with the letter M…

Although I loved it from first sight, I had no idea how useful Miranda’s gift would become to me. I use it every single day.

It’s a Molly Mutt tote bag, embroidered with my name.

persolnalized Molly Mutt tote bag

persolnalized Molly Mutt tote bag

Let’s be honest: Like a lot of contemporary consumers, I have a lot of reusable totes. Too many, in fact.

They clog up the coat rack and don’t always make it to the grocery store with me. I don’t use them often enough and yet I can’t bring myself to throw them away. They are functional, but they aren’t fun to use. They are made of weird fabrics and only offer that one big compartment, which isn’t so convenient if you are doing anything but transporting groceries.

The Molly Mutt tote on the other hand is a tote-ally different story.

Rather than that stiff laminated fabric that a lot of freebie totes are made of, the Molly Mutt bag is soft to the touch yet durable. Looking at the stitching, I can’t ever imagine a handle breaking. And although I’ve had the bag very full, the straps never seem to cut into my shoulder.

The bag itself is roomy but not oversized. I’ve stuck the elderpin inside it a time or two and more lately have been using it to transport my laptop. Of course, the bag is ideal for any shopping excursion or for carrying a dog’s supplies for a trip.

In addition to the main compartment, the Molly Mutt bag has a flat front pocket and two small ones inside.

A lot of my dog mom friends have been fans of Molly Mutt for a while. This is the first time I have ever used one of the brand’s products. I now understand their devotion.

What’s your favorite bag? Leave your answer in the comments.

While you’re online, go check out Miranda’s blog!

This post is in no way sponsored by Molly Mutt – it’s 100% my opinion.

Tips for Hiking or Camping with Your Dog (Video)

Lukeonroad

As you know, we occasionally take our dogs along when we travel.

Luke especially enjoys any opportunity to hit the trails and grasslands and chase bunnies off-leash.

Through my experiences hiking and camping with the dogs, I’ve learned a few do’s and don’ts.

I had the opportunity to share a few tips with an audience last Thursday during an in-store event at the Eddie Bauer store on Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.

Check out the video and add your tips for traveling with pets in the comments below.

Also, pay attention to the introduction by Wendy Garrett, coordinator of the event and blogger at PetSense.com. She talks about Eddie Bauer’s connection to black labradors!

Big thanks to the Eddie Bauer store for inviting me to speak!

In conjunction with my speaking event, I’m running a special on Beer Paws. Through April 1, get 10% off your order when you use the discount code EDDIEBAUER at checkout. Click here to shop.

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Why Is this Blind Dog So Happy Despite Wearing a Cone of Shame?

My foster dog Blind Willie is a good-tempered little guy.

He rolls with the punches – er, bonks on the head – life deals him and carries on.

jack russell terrier with southern tier brewing company beer

Willie is probably the most determined dog I have ever met. He’s scared of almost nothing and every day amazes me with his ability to get around – like a boss! – even though he’s totally blind.

However, undergoing surgery recently did dampen Willie’s spirit for a while. Although his only remaining eye was useless to him, having it surgically removed was, of course, traumatic.

In addition to pain and confusion, following surgery Willie experienced serious disorientation.

jack russell terrier in e-collar cone of shame

This sucks.

Every dog I’ve ever seen in the cone of shame has an understandably harder time getting around. The cone gets caught on things. They have a hard time judging how much extra space the lampshade requires. Relaxing with your head surrounded by plastic is awkward.

Watching a blind dog stumble around in a cone was particularly hard to watch , especially considering he got around so well before in spite of being sightless.

jack russell terrier and golden retriever walk

Whether made of soft fabric or hard plastic, I think a cone must distort a dog’s sense of sound.

Willie was obviously uncomfortable in the hard plastic e-collar, but I was hesitant to put him in a cone with more give. The worst thing I could imagine was a flimsy cone not preventing something from poking Willie right in his slowly healing eye hole.

Due to fears about that very subject, Willie spent part of his recovery, cone and all, at Kennel Creek Pet Resort, where there was absolutely no chance of his eye hole getting poked because he spent most of his time confined to his suite or on supervised leash walks.

But despite our best efforts, an unforseen complication from the surgery has meant additional weeks for Willie in the cone.

A tiny part of a tear gland was left behind during the original operation. This caused Willie’s wound to weep. For proper healing the only option was for the vet to open up the surgical site again and restitch Willie.

The first night after the follow up visit, Willie was sadder than I’ve ever seen him. He just laid in his bed and groaned. I barely got him to take his pain pill.

But as the days progressed he got his appetite back.

And then he got fed up with that cone.

Never one to settle for an unsatisfactory situation, Willie made his frustration clear. He strutted angrily around the house and rolled his head on the ground through the cone, somehow even managing to loosen one of his stitches.

The vet recommended Benadryl (we use generic brand Walfinate) to calm him down and reduce any itchiness from the healing wound. I decided it was also time for a more comfortable cone.

Luke has an actual Comfy Cone, but it’s way too big for Willie. So, I took the little guy to Brookside Barkery, and two women spent a long time helping me find the best fitting ProCone Recovery Collar for Willie.

jack russell terrier in procone recovery collar

While I know that a panting dog is not necessarily a happy dog, I couldn’t help but feel he was happier in the ProCone when I took this picture just after we left the store.

He also seemed to sleep much better that night. (Thanks, Walfinate!)

It’s been almost a week since we got the ProCone, and I’m happy to report Willie doesn’t really need it anymore. He’ll likely have his stitches removed in the next few days.

Then, I hope we can find someone to adopt him!

If you live in the Kansas City area and have interest in adopting Blind Willie, contact me via the form below.

Help me help more dogs like Blind Willie by supporting my business. We donate a portion of all profits to animal rescue.

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How to Honor the Memory of Your Dog

This is Dixie.

Dixie

She’s a friend of Luke and Scooby, although they never got to meet her nose-to-nose.

We got to know Dixie, through her mama, my friend Miranda, who lives in Georgia and blogs at WOOF! Tails from St. Simon’s Island.

Dixie didn’t have a great start to life. She was part of an unwanted litter born to a dog who belonged to a family but mostly just roamed the countryside around their home. Miranda tried to get Dixie a home with another member of that family, but he didn’t think the little brindle pup was very pretty.

So, she went home with Miranda instead.

She became a good companion to Miranda’s other dog Brutus, and they all loved each other through good times and bad.

We’ve gotten to know Dixie, Brutus and their pug brother Boney over the past couple of years as Miranda and I reconnected.

Unfortunately, during that time first Brutus and then Dixie have made their way to the rainbow bridge. Dixie’s journey there involved weeks of chemo followed by a blessed – but short – remission.

My heart broke for Miranda and her husband Joe when Dixie’s cancer came back. But they savored every moment with her until she became too sick to enjoy her walks, a good meal or even a good night’s rest anymore. Even then, the decision to say goodbye to our pets isn’t easy, I know.

But as they said goodbye to Dixie, Miranda and Joe made a the decision to honor her memory by helping other dogs.

They did this in two ways.

  1. They adopted another rescue dog.
  2. They encouraged their family to make donations in Dixie’s name to rescue organizations.

 Can you think of a more righteous way to celebrate the memory of a beloved pet?

You might know the dog Miranda and Joe adopted. He’s kind of a blog star – Moby, the most recent foster project from Our Waldo Bungie.

Although she was a Georgia dog, I’m also incredibly appreciative as I report that part of Dixie’s memorial money also came to Kansas City. Miranda’s family made a donation in her name to the organization to which my foster dog belongs, the Wayward Dog Foundation.

How will you honor the memory of your pet? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Outside, the air is chilly but the birds are singing.

Green things are shooting up out of the dirt.

It’s been a long, hard winter. We even had fresh snow yesterday.

But spring is coming!

Luke is ready. He was up before everyone else in our house, talking about it with the neighbor dogs. (Sorry, neighbors.)

Or maybe he was looking for leprechauns…

golden retriever wearing green scarfToday is St. Patrick’s Day, and I hope you are feeling lucky.

If you aren’t feeling lucky, give a dog a hug. I promise you’ll feel better in no time.

“You can’t expect to be a lucky dog if you spend all your time growling.” – Jean Cocteau

Foster Update: Blind Willie is wearing green today, too. Unfortunately, his green is an e-collar. He is still looking rough but is recovering gradually from his eye removal surgery. Head to our Facebook page to see a picture of him.

Daisy is an Adoptable Wayward Dog

Sweet baby Daisy is a little hound puppy who was found sopping wet and alone in a Petsmart parking lot.

beagle puppy

She was wearing no collar, had no microchip and no one in the store recognized her.

Following attempts to find anyone who may be missing her, Daisy was taken in by the Wayward Dog Foundation.

beagle puppy

She is a good-tempered girl, approximately three months old, and she is going to make someone a wonderful pet.

beagle puppy

Please share Daisy’s story with your network, especially if you are in the Kansas City area. Anyone interested in adopting Daisy should contact Kennel Creek Pet Resort to arrange a time to meet her.

Good Times at the I Love My Dog Expo

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.

Dad in booth

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.

The Beer Paws booth was located right next to Paws Up Nebraska. We got to be there for the adoption of Odie, a dog who might not have made his love connection if not for the expo.

Odie

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!)

Canine Scrub

The Green Spot is an Omaha boutique with a focus on natural, healthy and local products for pets.

Beyond the Dish Bakery is a purveyor of wholesome treats for dogs. Although my pups had been gifted Beyond the Dish biscuits in the past, this was the first time I got to meet the baker herself.

Beyond the Dish

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.

Buttells

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.

golden retriever

Boo the mastiff

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.

Nebraska and Beer Paws

We didn’t offer samples of the beer at the event – too messy – but we did have a yappy hour, with free samples of Beer Paws Beer Biscuits and a special deal on bottle openers for collars and leashes.

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.

Birthday Reflections: Life Flows On

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.

crystal at 32

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.

miniature pinscher and jack russell terrier

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.

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