Category Archives: Family
Yesterday, I introduced you to my aunt’s new friend, a lost redbone coonhound.
During his stay on her property, he is sure to be very far from lonely.
Lots of animals live there permanently. And because she runs a pet boarding and grooming service, lots of animals come and go, staying for a short period of time.
For most of the canine residents, life is very different than what my city dogs experience. The outdoor dogs don’t get to lounge in front of the TV, but they are comfortable in runs that are heated in winter. They get out for walks and playtime, and they get plenty of food.
One of my favorite residents of the farm is big Mike.
He looks like a timberwolf, but he is actually supposed to be a Belgian malinois.
Mike has been around for quite a few years.
He ended up with my aunt because he went after the calves on the property of his original owner.
He loves to go for a ride in the back of a truck, and he likes people. In fact, I couldn’t believe how patient he was when I helped her clip his toenails.
However, Mike is still not so great with other animals.
He thinks cats make great snacks, and if given the run of the property, he would really upset the horses.
Mike walks with a bit of a limp because one time he did go after the horses, got kicked and needed to a hip replacement.
Even so, I find that I need to hold on tight whenever I walk him. Mike may be slowing down, but he sure is strong.
For the most part, the cats who proliferate on the farm stay away from Mike.
A litter was born not too long ago, and my aunt has been trying to keep the fluffballs corralled until they get a little bigger.
I won’t lie, I sort of wanted to tuck a dirty, little kitten in my pocket and bring him home, but I didn’t think Luke and Scooby would appreciate that.
However, while I toured the property and walked all of the outdoor dogs, Luke and Scooby did seem to enjoy spying on the cats. Maybe someday…
If you live near Plymouth, Nebraska, and would like a farm kitten, contact me via the form below.
Rawhide is a great way to give your dog a jaw workout, but it’s not so great for their stomachs.
The traditional, widely available and cheap chew treat is extremely hard for a dog to digest. I’ve heard horror stories of dogs dying from rawhide that got lodged in their intestines. And I’ve personally noticed increased digestion issues around dogs I had in the past who consumed rawhide.
Apparently, rawhide that is dyed and flavored may also contain harmful chemicals.
All signs point to the need for an alternative.
That’s the concept behind the PetMatrix SmartBones® brand.
After finding success with its signature product – affordable chews that look just like rawhide but are a far more digestible, patented alternative – SmartBones now presents SmartFillets.
SmartFillets are vegetable and jerky chews, formulated to last longer than traditional chicken jerky.
I was sent a bag of SmartFillets to review.
I actually offered these treats to my cousin to test on her power chewers – a pair of English bulldogs.
Hells Bells is the bulldog featured at the top of this page. As you can see, she enjoyed her SmartFillets.
My cousin said Hells Bells wasn’t sure about the treats at first, but then she began to chew and worked on each one until it was gone.
Unfortunately, the more finicky Weezer, mother of Hells Bells, reportedly turned her snub nose up at the treats and wasn’t interested in them at all. (Maybe she wanted her jerky to be in the shape of a beer bottle.)
In spite of the rejection by Weezer, my cousin seemed to be in favor of these treats.
I’m glad my cousin had a mostly positive experience with SmartFillets.
I am certain my golden retriever Luke would have enjoyed them. Because my dogs are older and not power chewers, I do appreciate the fact that SmartFillets are meant to last a little longer than regular chicken jerky but not as long as rawhide. At this point, both of our dogs are old enough that they need treats they can consume in one sitting (unless the treat is a real marrow bone).
Yet, there are a couple of reasons I would be unlikely to purchase SmartFillets on my own.
- The ingredients list – although sweet potatoes and chicken come first, most of the other words on the list are rather unpronounceable.
- Although produced in a “food grade” facility, these treats appear to be made in China. With all of the controversy around Chinese chicken in recent years, as a general rule we try to avoid it for our pets.
However, the choice of what to feed a pet is up to an individual. My cousin, for example, avoids recalled items but generally doesn’t go all crazy picking out dog treats and food like I do.
There are a lot of reasons to like SmartFillets, including that they are affordable (about $10 for a 10-pack at most online retailers I checked) and contain real meat, rather than a by-product.
What do you think? Would you feed your pets SmartFillets?
If the answer to the second question is yes and you have a U.S. address, then you are invited to enter for a chance to win a bag of SmartFillets for your dog.
Click below for your chance to win:
Disclosure: I received a free bag of treats in exchange for my honest review of SmartFillets. All thoughts expressed here are my own.
It’s Monday, but I’m feeling good today.
The weekend was busy but both productive and fun.
My dad came to town. I helped a couple of dogs get into a rescue program. I attended a rock show while supporting MOSH Pit KC and homeless pit bulls.
Most of Sunday I got to spend with my mom, as we celebrated her birthday. The festivities included her and I taking a nice, long drive on a beautiful day in her classic Mustang convertible.
All of these reasons are enough to make me smile as big as that poodle in the dogtique picture.
But there’s also a more direct parallel.
I’m feeling pretty – thanks to some fancy magic performed by my good friend Rusty at Belle Epoque. Take a look, and let me know what you think!
Bonus: While the color set, I got to hang out a bit with Rusty’s adorable Chihuahua Tippy, who had come by to say hi to her dad at the end of the day.
How was your weekend?
Burning the candle at both ends and overstuffing my calendar is just how I roll.
Between a full-time job, running my own business, doting on my dogs, blogging and an active social calendar, I don’t allow myself much down time.
But even by my standards, this past weekend was insane – in a good way.
5 Things I Did Last Weekend
1. Saw one of my all-time favorite bands play – because of my dog.
It helps to know people with power – and pooches with influence. My common-law sister-in-law Bethany scored us free entry to a Minus the Bear concert in Lawrence, Kansas, after name-dropping Scooby the elderpin.
That’s right. My dog is a rock star.
How this happened: Throughout his career of being awesome, Scooby has reported for regular duty at a variety of businesses. As luck would have it, the lord of the tickets at the Granada Theater once worked with the elderpin at a screen printing shop.
Speaking of business, my weekend also included…
2. Launching my Beer Paws products into a new retail location.
Queen of Paws Boutique & Spa, an adorable little business operated by my friend Christine Gregory in Prairie Village, Kansas, now carries Beer Paws. A portion of every Beer Paws sale made at Queen of Paws will be donated to Bark N Blues, one of Christine’s favorite local animal welfare organizations.
I got the Beer Paws to Christine’s shop just in time for her 1st anniversary celebration. I am so proud of this lady for following her dream and working so hard to make it a success!
Unfortunately, I could not attend the party because my weekend was so chock full with other activities like:
3. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. for Strutt with Your Mutt.
Of course, I was there repping Beer Paws. Like at several local pet events recently, I was able to set up shop with Kennel Creek Pet Resort.
As usual, owner Chris Sailors’ sweet dogs Reilly and Willow attracted a crowd, and together we introduced a lot of new people to our businesses.
As soon as Strutt ended, I had to skedaddle for another very important event…
4. The wedding of former foster dog Minnie‘s forever family.
The nuptials were held at the home of the bride’s mom and stepdad, in a small town outside of Jefferson City, Missouri. The setting was as beautiful as the bride and the drive so pleasant I didn’t mind that it took 2.5 hours.
I was ecstatic to be on the very short guestlist for this intimate gathering. I even had a special role to play – helping Minnie perform her role! The pretty little husky mix was the ringbearer!
I should have booked a hotel that night and saved myself some driving. The next day was also spent in this general part of Missouri…
5. Touring the ranch where the Budweiser clydesdales live.
On Sunday I got up super early again to hit the road with my family for a special daytrip celebrating my aunt getting through her radiation treatments for breast cancer and also my mom’s upcoming birthday.
Did you know that those big, beautiful horses synonymous with Budweiser beer are bred right here in Missouri? That’s right – they are raised at Warm Springs Ranch outside Boonville. My mom has been crowing about this place for a couple years now, and I have to say she was right. There’s just nothing like getting nuzzled by a 2,000-pound gentle giant.
How was your weekend?
Counting money is fun.
Especially when you know the greenbacks will be used for positive things – like feeding, sheltering and nurturing homeless pets.
Of course, collecting that kind of money was what my big hometown event – the Duke Days of Summer Beer & Wine Tasting – was all about.
At the end of the night, I tallied up all of the raffle proceeds, straight-up cash donations and the portion of my Beer Paws sales designated for animal welfare. The next morning, I grabbed my grandma, and we headed to the Beatrice Humane Society.
The setting of the animal shelter in my hometown is modest. But it is clean and cheery, with colorful paintings on the walls.
When we arrived, a volunteer named Brenda – and an adoptable dachshund named Razzy – greeted us.
Razzy also insisted on sitting in my lap the whole time that I was filling out the donation paperwork. It was super hard for me not to take that guy home.
But there were many other pleading faces at the shelter.
Fido has beautiful, heterogenous eyes – one brown and one blue.
Axel is a sweetie with just three legs.
Tex is a just a really big puppy – of the treeing walker coonhound variety.
The largest population at the Beatrice Humane Society, however is feline.
I tried to get my grandmother to adopt Cletus.
He was being held in a special area for kitties with sniffles.
There is another room that is just for kittens.
One of the kittens, outside of this room, was so tiny he needed to be bottle-fed. That was pretty cool to see.
As always, spending any time at an animal shelter is bittersweet.
I wished I could take them all home – especially Razzy and this Siamese-ish little kitten.
Fortunately, Brenda assured me that for the animals without serious health or behavior issues, they are safe at the shelter until they find a new home. I am hoping the funds raised from the Duke’s event will help make all of their stays a little more comfortable for a while.
Thanks again to all who supported or participated in my Beatrice event.
If you would like to learn more about the adoptables at the Beatrice Humane Society, click here.
If Duke’s Cafe and Wine Bar had been open back when I lived in Beatrice, Nebraska, I might never have moved away.
OK, maybe that’s an overstatement, but Duke’s is a very cool place.
The staff is pleasant, the decor is great, the food is good. And if you go at the right time, you just might get to take a seat on a comfy couch next to the canine the place is named for.
Duke is a good dog.
And last Thursday he wasn’t the only dog in the house.
During the Duke Days of Summer Beer and Wine Tasting, a couple of adoptable shelter dogs and one rescued Chihuahua made their way to the restaurant’s back room.
That’s where restaurant patrons could also purchase Beer Paws merchandise, raffle tickets and enjoy complimentary appetizers provided Traci Froscheiser, a financial planner with the local Edward Jones office.
Several months ago, I began the process of coordinating this special event in my hometown. I wanted to help support the efforts of the small town humane society and also to introduce my family and friends back home to my new Beer Paws business.
Although at the time, I had only ever had time to get one cup of to-go coffee from Duke’s, I knew it was the right place to hold this event.
Not only is Duke’s Cafe and Wine Bar named for a dog, but he happens to be a rescue dog. His face is the restaurant’s logo, which appears on everything from the chef aprons to the beer glasses and coffee mugs.
To my delight, James Orme, who runs Duke’s with his father (under the supervision of Duke), was thrilled with my idea for an event. He went above and beyond to source a variety of beers and wines with dogs on the label for the tasting. And he agreed to donate 10% of his proceeds from the whole day to the Beatrice Humane Society.
With a lot of help from my friends and family and a press release that ran in the local newspaper, word about the event got around.
By the time I arrived at Duke’s on Thursday afternoon, James was feeling a little nervous – in a good way.
Based on the number of phone calls he’d received by 3 p.m. he predicted an extremely busy night at the cafe. Boy, was he right!
From 5 p.m. until the kitchen closed around 9, the Duke’s staff got stretched to the limit, raffle tickets sold like crazy and Beer Paws merchandise was rather popular.
Beer Paws always gives at least 10% of sales back to animal welfare organizations.
That night, we also designated 50% of sales from some special edition waggiwear collars and wristlets, plus 100% of raffle ticket sales for the Beatrice Humane Society.
Consequently, I was able to personally deliver just under $500 to the shelter the very next day. The restaurant’s donation from food and beverage sales is supposed to be close to the same.
I am so happy that this event was a success and proud of the people in my hometown who turned out to support a great cause. It was awesome for me to see old faces, meet new ones and get a better understanding of the animal advocacy situation around Beatrice.
Huge thanks to Duke’s, Traci and all of my wonderful friends and family who helped make the big night happen. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!
To see more pictures from the Duke Days of Summer Beer and Wine Tasting, check out the album on Facebook.
Come back tomorrow to see some of the animals I met when I toured the Beatrice Humane Society.
I just spent four action-packed days in my home state.
I’ll be writing in more detail throughout the week about some of the things I experienced. For now, here’s a teaser.
10 Things I Did in Nebraska Last Weekend
1. Helped raise nearly $1,000 for my hometown animal shelter.
2. Drank local beer.
3. Drank some excellent, apple-y homebrew.
4. Drank cucumber lemonade.
5. Drank a taster portion of the most amazing carrot soup ever.
6. Watched a baby kitty being bottle fed.
7. Got a henna tattoo.
8. Handed out free beer biscuits to dogs at the farmers’ market.
9. Celebrated a six-year-old’s birthday.
10. Met a leopard gecko named Zark. (Check out my videos of him on Instagram.)
Come back tomorrow to learn which of these things happened at a restaurant named for a dog!