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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.

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.

Help Me Help My New Foster Dog

Blind Willie Christmas Tree

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.

willie and scooby

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.

willie and luke

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.

jack russell terrier blind

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.

beer paws package

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.

For Better and Worse – A Pet Love Story #RecipeforMoments

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.

The Blog Paws network and Nature’s Recipe® pet foods agree with me on the last part. In fact, they have dubbed February Spoil Your Pet Month. I’m cool with that.

This will be Scooby the elderpin’s 8th year as my canine sweetheart.

New Friends Photography Beer Paws

Credit: New Friends Photography & Design

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.

miniature pinscher wearing Carol's Dog Scarves photo by Fido Fetch Photography

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.

While He Was Sleeping

It’s the end of the weekend, and I can’t wait to be in this state:

sleeping miniature pinscher
As usual, Scooby the elderpin got a lot of zzz’s in this weekend.

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:

sleeping miniature pinscher

Sometimes, the snaggletoothed little fellow looks a little silly.

sleeping scooby 3

But even in his sleep, the elderpin always wears his little Scooby smile.

sleeping scooby 4

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

Dynamo Dog Treats – A Cloud Star Review + Giveaway

IMG_3360 large

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.

In the past, Cloud Star’s Buddy Biscuits have been a big hit at our house. This was the first time Luke and Scooby got to try the Cloud Star Dynamo Dog treats.

cloud star hip and joint

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.

cloud star skin

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.

cloud star tummy

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.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received free treats for my dogs in exchange for this blog post. However, all opinions expressed are solely my own.

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.

wpid-IMG_20130609_111536.jpg

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.

Kansas City Flashback Thursday with Scooby the Elderpin

Could there ever be too many pictures of Scooby the elderpin?

I think not. And I hope you agree.

Kansas City Flashback

Kansas City Flashback

In this week’s roundup of highlights from his 2013 adventures in modeling, I failed to include our most recent photo session.

Last Sunday, Scooby and I participated in Mosh Pit Kansas City‘s Posing for Pits Fundraiser. Local photo company Kansas City Flashback was taking holiday pet portraits, with 100% of proceeds benefiting pit bull rescue.

We got a few fun shots of Scooby alone, and some with his sweetheart (aka me).

Kansas City Flashback

Kansas City Flashback

You can check out the whole album on Facebook!

Pick Your Favorite Scooby Portrait + An Easy Canvas Prints Giveaway {Sponsored Post}

Scooby the elderpin has been a busy dog model this year.

Lots of our photographer friends, old and new, have caught his cuteness on camera.

Consequently, I have a desire to hang his handsome mug on the wall.

Part of my holdup is the difficulty of deciding which images to have printed for framing or made into photo canvases.

Maybe you can help me choose. Here are a few of my favorite 2013 Scooby portraits.

Fido Fetch Photography miniature pinscher

Credit: Fido Fetch Photography

Fido Fetch Photography miniature pinscher and golden retriever

Credit: Fido Fetch Photography

miniature pinscher in Pitch Best of KC issue

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Because I like wall decor that is super easy to hang, chances are strong that I’ll end up ordering some photo canvases of Scooby.

You can enter to win one of your pet in the Easy Canvas Prints holiday giveaway. Check out this blog post for details.

Disclosure: I received compensation from Easy Canvas Prints in exchange for spreading the word about this giveaway.

A Jolly Old “Elf”-erpin

Every year around this time, a certain old guy puts on his red suit at least once.

Scooby the elderpin elferpin emerged in all his white-faced glory for the first time last weekend.

He got all dressed up in his Santa suit – and other outfits – for a photo session with our mustachioed friend Jacob Meyer of New Friends Photography & Design.

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

Photo by New Friends Photography & Design

These are just a few of our favorite photos from the session. Which one do you like best?

You can view the whole photo collection on the Beer Paws Facebook page.

While you are there, be sure to give the page a Like. If Beer Paws reaches 1,000 Likes by December 31, I will give an extra $100 to KC Pet Project!

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