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Canine Hearts from Canada

I don’t typically buy a lot of things for myself. But I do like to spoil my dogs.

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Last night, as I was replenishing the kibble supply with a purchase from Brookside Barkery, a deal on treats caught my eye.

All varieties of Holistic Blend Canine Biscuits (8.29 oz package), regularly $9.99 each, were buy-one-get-one-free.

Of course, I picked up a pair: 1 bag of  Pumpkin Spice Hearts and 1 bag of Sea Hearts.

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These Canine Biscuits are all wheat-free and also do not contain artificial preservatives, additives or salt or sugar. The ingredient list is short and include good grains, like barley and oat flour. In each case, the flavor indicated in the product name (salmon for the Sea Hearts) appears about halfway down the list. But I’ve learned that is just the deal with most baked dog treats.

Holistic Blend is a Canadian company. The information on the packaging appears in both French and English. To ensure products of the highest quality, the food and treats are made to standards that exceed FDA guidelines for human consumption.

This human didn’t try one, but I did offer a couple heart-shaped biscuits each to Luke and Charlie Machete.

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Of course, they approved!

Although I’d like to think I will regularly make my own dog treats, realistically, I don’t always have time for that. Holistic Blend Canine Biscuits are definitely seem to be the type of product I would purchase for my pets again.

If you’re in Kansas City, I recommend hitting up Brookside Barkery and taking advantage of this deal before supplies are gone!

In addition to the varieties I bought this time, there are also Cinna Hearts and Yogurt Hearts.

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The heart shapes also make Holistic Blend Canine Biscuits perfect treats to have on hand for Valentine’s season!

Have your dogs tried any new treats lately? Where were they made?

I have no affiliation with Holistic Blend. I bought these treats with my own money. :)

This is What Saturday Morning Looks Like

“Do you think we can get them to bring us breakfast-on-couch?”

miniature pinscher and black lab mix snuggle

Scooby and Charlie Machete hope your final weekend of 2012 is starting off this comfortably.

If you would like to incorporate snuggling with Charlie Machete into your Saturday morning routine, check out his Midwest Adopt-a-Bull profile!

How will you and your dogs spend the last days of the year?

Review: Cruising Companion Car Harness for Dogs

This is what my backseat looks like just about every morning and afternoon these days.
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With Luke’s help, I could re-enact the photo from this product packaging exactly. However, it’s not a golden retriever looking suave in a houndstooth harness in my backseat — it’s a black Heinz 57 mutt you all know as Charlie Machete.

In the past, I used to do everything I could to avoid putting my foster dog in my Volkswagen.

The car doesn’t make Charlie Machete sick or scared. It makes him way too excited.

He wants to look out this window, and then he wants to look out that window. Then, he wants to stare at someone from the way back window. Heck, then, he wants to roll around in the front seat – never mind the gear shift. Oh, and then maybe he’ll settle for a co-pilot spot, front paws on the console, hot breath in the driver’s ear.

That’s not a fun or safe way to travel from place to place.

Fortunately, I recently remembered that I actually purchased a dog car harness several months ago. (We never tried it because he was “adopted” shortly after.)

I was at first skeptical of the Cruising Companion.

The box, which I purchased at TJ Maxx for $7.99, contained two items: a harness and a separate, short strap with one end designed to fit in a seatbelt mouth.

The harness is pretty basic. The back of the chest piece has a soft, Sherpa-like fabric, which is nice for the dog.

There is a ring to attach a leash in the middle of the dog’s shoulder blades and another ring further down the dog’s back. The seat belt strap is supposed to attach to the second ring.

Basically, putting your dog in the Cruising Companion is just like having him on a leash in the car – a really short leash. I didn’t think Charlie Machete would stand for it, but he does fine. The strap gives him just enough room to stand and look out one window, sit pretty or lay down with his head on the console next to my arm. Gone are the days of this 65-pound dog trying to wallow around on top of me as I drive down the interstate.

Short of kenneling him or an actual dog car seat, the Cruising Companion is a suitable solution for rides with Charlie Machete.

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Wondering why this dog is in the car so much lately? Come back tomorrow to learn about where he’s been going and what he’s been doing.

Disclosure: I bought the Cruising Companion harness with my own money and received no payment for this review. 

The Black Oracle

I spend a lot of time staring into this face:

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“What are you?” I ask it.

I cup my palms on the chiseled cheekbones and gently tug on the excess skin around the thick neck and jaw. I pull the ears into a bat-like erect state. I trace the little wrinkle along the top of the skull, which reminds me of my childhood dog Prowler.

Then, I run my hands through the fur. It’s velvety soft all over, but the length and density vary.

On the face, the hairs are short and thick. From the nape of the neck, the black threads grow longer, maxing out at about two inches around the shoulder blades and coming in slightly shorter and less densely all the way to the tip of the tail.

There is not a single white or brown patch anywhere.

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The body itself is lean, long and athletic. The chest does not protrude. There is webbing between the toes.

Friendly licks are delivered by a pink-and-black speckled tongue.

I can see a lot of things in this dog.

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Charlie Machete reminds me of a Rottweiler, a Chow and sometimes even a Shar Pei. I also think he looks a bit like a panther.

black panther picture

Could Charlie Machete be part cat? (Photo courtesy: FreeWildlifePictures.com)

Mostly, when I look at my foster dog, I see a black Labrador retriever + something with a square head and a lot of love to give.

One thing is for sure: Identifying dogs based on looks alone is a tricky business, and it can have dire consequences for mislabeled animals in areas that ban certain breeds.

For more on this topic, check out the “Misjudging Mixed Breeds” article at StubbyDog.org. While you’re there, be sure to look at the picture of Rocky, who was listed as a pit bull mix but whose DNA test revealed a mix of 10 breeds, none of them bully.

We might get Charlie Machete DNA tested someday.

But no matter the results, he will always be the same thing: a dog.

If you or someone you know is interested in adopting Charlie Machete, check out his Midwest Adopt-a-Bull profile.

Share a story about your favorite mutt in the comments!

Wordless Wednesday: Curious Charlie Machete

What’s going on in the kitchen?

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It’s almost Thanksgiving, and this grateful-to-be-alive, powersniffing dog knows.

We are preparing some meats and maybe some butternut squash to take to my mom’s house for the holiday. All the aromatic action results in scenes like this:

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What’s cooking in your kitchen?

Bonus link: I know it’s “Wordless Wednesday” and all, but Fiona Apple wrote a whole bunch of touching words about how she’s canceling a tour so that she can be with her dying dog. Check out the news story and her handwritten note. Have a hanky handy.

What He’s Wearing: Thunder Jacket Edition

Of course, I said yes when offered the chance to review a Thundershirt product.

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Two of the three current canine residents at Wayward House suffer from anxiety. The triggers are different.

For Luke, it’s stormy weather. Often, he realizes the weather is turning before we do. He paces. He pants like he’s having a heart attack. He glues himself to whatever human is in the house, following so close that he trips you. This might cause you to yell out, which frightens Luke even more.

Sometimes he just hides. He’ll stick his nose in a corner of the kitchen or climb into the bath tub where his panting sounds are amplified.

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A lot of times, we’ll just give Luke some Wal-finate, a generic antihistamine he often needs for his allergies, anyway. It makes him drowsy enough to forget about the storm.

But if I can avoid drugging my dogs, of course, I will. So, when a  thunder jacket for dogs by Thundershirt arrived in the mail, just as the skies began to darken, I immediately strapped that thing on Luke.

Boy, did he look good!

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The product did seem to work, as well. Although Luke definitely did not forget about the storm, he didn’t move around so much or pant his brains out.

He mostly just laid quietly in the bathroom.

And he didn’t seem to mind the jacket. I left the house for a couple of hours with him in it and returned to a happy dog who didn’t seem to have tried removing his outfit.

If I hadn’t seen the HBO movie Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes as an autistic woman who helps redesign livestock facilities to minimize stress on the animals, I would have thought the thunder jacket for dogs was baloney right from the start.

But there is a method behind the garment. Temple Grandin is a real person who realized that in times of stress she felt better when she was hugged tightly or squeezed herself into a tight area. She also noticed that cows seemed to get less freaked out when herded through a narrow chute.

The same idea is reflected in the thunder jacket, which fits very snugly on a dog, making him feel securely hugged, without restricting his movement.

Around the house, I found that the thunder jacket made both Luke and foster dog Charlie Machete calmer.

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While a chill Charlie Machete is always preferable around the house, where I really need that guy to cool out is in public.

His anxiety trigger is other people and dogs. That’s why I take him on walks with the KC Pittie Pack, where he can be part of the group in a structured, safe way.

For our special Coast to Coast Bully Walk on Pit Bull Awareness Day, I wrapped him up in the thunder jacket with the hope that he’d be extra relaxed for this extra special event.

Coast to Coast Bully Walk

Lookin’ good but actin’ naughty.

Unfortunately, instead of behaving like the preppy gentleman his thunder jacket and bandana made him appear to be, Charlie Machete acted like a buffoon.

He acted huffy toward two dogs in particular and pulled on his leash way more than usual. I was pretty embarrassed.

But I don’t blame the thunder jacket. We walked in a different location than usual, and there were many new dogs there Charlie Machete had never before smelled.

Also: When we got home, I realized that his gentle leader had chafed his face. That would make anybody irritable!

I left the thunder jacket on him to see if it helped at an adoption event later that day, but the event was canceled.

I’m glad to have the product, though. I will definitely keep using it on both big dogs to see for what other situations it may be helpful.

What makes your dog nervous?

Big thanks to onetime guest blogger Sonia Charry and PawPosse.com for hooking us up with a thunder jacket for dogs by Thundershirt!

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

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