Category Archives: Random Life

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.

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.

Baked with Love on St. Simon’s Island

Look what Luke and Scooby munched on all weekend!

dog cookies made by The Island Baker Miranda Loehle

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!

What’s Been Going On

I’ve been a bad blogger lately.

Overstacking my plate is a natural tendency of mine that reached new levels in the past few months.

But I don’t want to whine about my self-inflicted busy daze. I want to share some things I haven’t had time to write about. This could take a few days.

Let’s be honest.

After Charlie Machete, I wasn’t sure if we’d ever foster a dog again at Wayward House. Too much emotion and self-doubt surrounded the whole concept. What if we didn’t pay enough attention to our own aging forever dogs? What if we got too attached? What if we failed another dog?

I’m not kidding here. This stuff is heavy.

But I am so tied into the rescue community and have such a heart for dogs that I could not help myself from helping.

The opportunity to contribute to animal rescue was most definitely a motivating factor in the establishment of my business Beer Paws, which gives back a portion of all sales to the cause.

So was the creation of the Wayward Dog Foundation a few months later.

WD logo

Yet from spring to December, I only ever brought one adoptable home for the night.

That was Razzy, on the night before he was adopted.

long-haired dachshund

Through the rest of the summer and fall, I kept helping. I raised money. I networked.

Then, in November, I technically had a foster dog again.

He was black.

His name was Charlie.

He never made it to my house.

Charlie the poodle

Charlie the miniature poodle went straight from KC Pet Project to boarding at Kennel Creek Pet Resort, as a guest of the Wayward Dog Foundation.

He barely lasted a week before bewitching my friend, Kennel Creek owner and Foundation co-founder Chris Sailors. (I think PJ Ruth of MOSH Pit KC must have somehow known that would happen when she called me about the poodle she encountered mid-surrender in the shelter lobby.)

Although a far cry from the challenge we faced before, this rescue win – and the successful rehoming of Foundation dogs Buckshot, Penny and Razzy – emboldened me.

So, a few weeks later I got real brave.

I told Zach I wanted to bring a Wayward Dog Foundation adoptable home “just for the night.”

You will never believe what happened next (unless you follow me on Instagram or Facebook and have already seen the evidence).

Come back tomorrow for the full story.

Reflecting on a Really Weird Year

Looking back is what people do at the end of a year.

We review in our minds the awesome, awful and weird things (because that’s the kind of stuff that sticks out in our memories) we’ve done or that have happened to us over the past 12 months.


Maybe we try to make sense of it all, or maybe we just catalog the incidents as individual souvenirs from a moment in time. Maybe we even let Facebook or Instagram do this all for us through an automatically generated montage of “significant” posts.

I’m no different than any of you.

The biggest moments of my 2013 have been on a constant loop in my head lately. And I don’t know about you, but for me 2013 was intense.

I really can’t remember another year in my life that has been so extreme.

Because this blog is about a little more than just dogs, if you’ve been following, you know 2013 brought death and disappearance to my human family. The dynamics of my canine pack also changed in an unhappy way.

I am not special for having experienced these things. Everyone on the earth experiences loss.

I can only imagine that they, too, experience it as a series of permanent holes in the heart, dark tunnels you ought to be mindful of exploring too late in the night or even too often during the day.

the lost playmate

And yet, you can’t just forget these loved ones even though you can’t hug them anymore. You have to figure out how to carry them with you, to feel their influence but not their weight.

Because your life, your responsibilities – none of that stops.

In fact, if you are like me, you probably forge ahead while creating more responsibilities for yourself. That’s the other half of the reason my year was so intense.

In 2013, I accomplished things I never expected to do.

I started a business.

I co-founded a non-profit organization that helps save dogs.

And through it all, most miraculously, I got to celebrate another round of holidays with my impossibly ancient and beloved elderpin Scooby.

miniature pinscher with Beer Paws koozie

Cheers to 2014. I don’t know what’s in store, but I’m ready for the new year. Are you?

Thanks for reading this blog, and being part of my life in 2013. The community of kind souls who follow this blog and related social media channels make every day better.

Quote of the Day: What a Dog Wants

golden retriever in reindeer antlers

“The dog’s agenda is simple, fathomable, overt: I want. ‘I want to go out, come in, eat something, lie here, play with that, kiss you.’ There are no ulterior motives with a dog, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied.”

- Caroline Knapp

Don’t forget to enter my #DiamondNaturals grain-free dog food giveaway!

The Illustrious Career of an Elderpin

As a toy breed, Scooby the elderpin is not classified as a working type of dog.

But he has almost always had a job.

What's a retirement fund?

What’s a retirement fund?

In fact, he’s worked in a wide variety of industries. You might call the old miniature pinscher a pup of all trades.

Here are a few of the things Scooby the elderpin could put on a resume.

Security Guard (2006-2007)

Back when he worked in a screen printing office, Scooby performed the very important task of guarding the office, including the proprietors’ stash of potato chips. OK, maybe he stole some lunches, but that was his way of showing everyone that he was a tough guy who meant business. And you can bet he made a big point of demonstrating his intimidation power to delivery guys.

Newshound (2006-2009)

As the most prominent canine in a newsroom, Scooby fulfilled a variety of duties. Perhaps most importantly, he comforted young journalists who had stayed out too late the night before chasing down stories.

Scooby at work 2

Home Office Assistant (2009-2012)

This position, which Scooby performed from the comfort of his own home, was not unlike his role as a security guard. He made sure to alert all members of Reliant Media Systems of the arrival of any delivery personnel. He also ensured that the facility’s carpets were regularly cleaned – by giving the business owner a reason to clean up. (Can you guess what that was?)

Product Tester & Professional Model (2011-present)

As my constant companion, Scooby is not only expected to bring joy to my life. He has to earn his keep! Scooby is an eager worker when it comes to trying out the treats, food, clothes and general pet supplies we review here at He is also a photogenic model for other companies, including my brand Beer Paws.

Scooby at work

Pet Resort Greeter (Present)

Scooby goes to daycare at Kennel Creek Pet Resort nearly every day. And he is such an eager beaver that he recently offered to assist the staff at the front desk. From his perch on the counter, he monitors the phone, helps check in guests and keeps the employees company between tasks. He has been caught sleeping on the job, however.

Although I have told the elderpin that he is free to retire at any time, I think he will be one of those guys who always has a job.

Is there anything special on your pet’s resume? Share your story in the comments!

It’s Not a Costume, It’s a Metaphor of His Existence

When you’ve been on the Earth as long as the elderpin, you’re kind of a dinosaur.

That’s all I could think about when I slipped him into a Halloween costume I got for cheap at an after-holiday sale.

dog in frog or dinosaur costume

Rather than transforming him into a dinosaur, though, the ensemble makes him look more like he has a dinosaur on his back.

That metaphor is quite apt.

Although on his best days, he’s still a little T-rex when it comes to food, age is catching up to my sweet Scooby dog. You can see it in his ever-whitening face, his slowed gait and his utter confusion anytime the lights are too low.

miniature pinscher in dinosaur costume

Cataracts are making the elderpin blind.

He runs into glass doors and mirrors. We had to put a gate across our back stairs last night because he doesn’t always realize they are there.

Rather than signs of the dinosaur taking him down, I’d like to the think of the gated stairs, the extra sweaters purchased because he’s cold all the time and my cheering him on at dinnertime just more ways I get to show my extreme affection for the little dog love of my life.

Also, I’m not so sure that costume is a dinosaur, anyway.

dog in frog costume

It looks more like a frog. 

And that’s better.

Frogs are transformative creatures. They grow out of one body and into another, and they’re comfortable in two worlds – land and water. Which setting just depends on the season.

Yep, that’s a better metaphor.


November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month.

The Pit Bulls Made Me Buy Things

Yesterday was grocery day.

Sadly, I realized this morning that I forgot the coffee.

Maybe that’s because I was too busy admiring the product packaging at Trader Joe’s to stay on track with the grocery list in my head.

The use of pit bulls on packaging influenced two of my purchasing decisions last night.

Because it’s the season for pumpkin everything, Trader Joe’s currently offers pumpkin dog biscuits. They’re wheat-filled and not particularly healthy, but we are running low on homemade beer biscuits. And it’s fun to have something seasonal around. AND WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT CUTE WHITE PIT BULL ON THE BACK OF THE BOX??!!

Luke was so impressed that he pretended to faint.

trader joe's pumpkin dog biscuits

Can you see the pibble?

After procuring dog biscuits, I headed over to the beer aisle for something I really, truly needed –  a pint bottle.

I know what you’re thinking, but this purchase really was a need.

My company Beer Paws just rolled out a new product – super cute bottle sweaters that stretch to fit any size bottle. I’d tried them on standard 12-ounce and regular size wine bottles. I wanted to see how a sweater would look on a larger bottle of special beer.

Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a huge selection of pint beers. But the cap on a certain red ale caught my eye instantly.

Lagunitas red ale beer cap with pit bull

No, Scooby, you may not have any of my Lagunitas.

Now, you may be thinking that I’m being silly. There are dogs on the labels for all kinds of products. What’s so special about the fact that these particular items feature pit bulls?

To be honest, it’s not that big of a deal. In fact, a lot of shoppers may not even recognize that the Lagunitas dog is a pit bull or assign that breed to the ambiguous white dog on the back of the treat box.

But it is just cool to see this kind of dog presented in a positive, apolitical light. They’re just dogs. And pictures of dogs make people want to buy things.

Also – October is Pit Bull Awareness Month, so I have those blockheaded dogs on the brain even more than usual.

What’s the last thing you bought because it had a dog on it?

If you want to help support a Kansas City-based organization committed to helping pit bulls in need, buy Beer Paws merchandise this month. Throughout October, at least 10% of online sales will go back to MOSH Pit KC.

Beer Paws Banner

Non-Stop Awesome 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

minus the bear

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.

Christine Gregory Queen of Paws

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.

strutt with mutt

Last year, I actually ran the 5K at this benefit for Wayside Waifs. This year, I chugged coffee in the vendors’ area (aka the “flealess market”).

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.

reilly and willow

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.

Minnie wedding

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.

hope clydesdale

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.

clydesdale with sandy

How was your weekend?


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