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Bath of the Elderpin

Sometimes, you just have to give a dog a bath.

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After a hot day of being outside during the Capital Humane Society‘s Tails ‘N Trails event, I thought the elderpin could use a refreshing splash.

I also wanted him to be good-smelling and dandruff-free when we got to the home of my cousin with whom we would be staying on Saturday night.

So between shopping (yes, Scooby went into the dressing room with me) and dinner plans, we stopped in at The Canine Scrub.

canine scrub logo

Although we recently spent a Sunday doing a Beer Paws pop up shop at the self-serve dog wash, we hadn’t been able to try out the services.

There are several different tubs at the Scrub, including ones big enough to fit Mastiffs and Great Danes. The elderpin, of course, only requires the smallest sink.

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A soothing aloe soap, plus towels and as much warm water as we needed was provided. The spray nozzle made it easy to get the little guy cleaned up quickly.

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The walls of the tub are higher than my utility sink at home, so I didn’t have to worry about the elderpin climbing out and possibly getting hurt if I had to reach for a towel.

He’s so small that washing him took less than five minutes! However, I think it felt like an eternity to the elderpin!

We will definitely make a visit to the Scrub part of our regular Lincoln routine. It would be nice to always hit the road home with a fresh pup.

scooby all scrubbed

Do you ever take your dog to a dog wash? Share about the experience in the comments below.

If you are in the Lincoln area, I highly encourage you to take your dirty dogs to The Canine Scrub. While you are there, you can also pick up some Beer Paws merchandise, biscuits and doggy beer!

A Day with the Elderpin at The Canine Scrub

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

I’ve been told recently that the elderpin and I share a “special connection.”

I think it is actually best described as codependence.

This is never more apparent than when we are in a new environment, where he’s afraid to let me out of his (limited) sight, and I’m afraid to let him out of mine in case he has an accident.

The best way to keep other people’s carpet clean is for Scooby to be off the ground. Translation: I have to hold him.

To be clear, no one else can hold Squirmy Scooby in these situations. Just look at what happens when they try:

Beer Paws pop up shop at the Canine Scrub

“Where’s mama? Where’s mama? Where’s mama?”

Had my friend Mike let the elderpin down at that moment, I guarantee my little dog would have desperately sought me out (possibly squatting for a pee while en route) and commenced jumping desperately at my ankles upon finding them.

Fortunately, Mike and Lezlie, the owners of The Canine Scrub, a self-serve dog wash in Lincoln, Nebraska, are used to having dogs do all kinds of things in their establishment. And they think Scooby is pretty cute.

The elderpin and I spent the second day of our recent Nebraska travels at The Canine Scrub. Because the weather prevented us from setting our tent up in the parking lot, we set up a temporary Beer Paws shop in a nook inside the business.

It was fun to meet The Canine Scrub customers and see many dogs before and after they got a bath.

We saw some familiar faces and met some new ones.

Bruno, an adoptable dog from Paws UP Nebraska, spent the whole day with us.

Bruno and mix pack

Amy, a volunteer with Paws UP, also brought in her personal dogs, PBR and Brendan, for a scrub and some Beer Paws goodies.

Peeber and Brendan

Archer the very handsome pit bull and my friend Terri’s puppy Dorri both got their first taste of Beer Paws at the event.

Archer

Between customers, Scooby and I got to know Mike and Lezlie of The Canine Scrub a little better.

Mike is an ace at marketing who is always focused on how to make the customer’s experience positive. He’s also a really nice guy. He noticed when I pulled up that one of my windshield wipers was malfunctioning, and he made a point of fixing it for me before I hit the road at the end of the day!

Lezlie is extremely creative. In fact, in addition to operating the Scrub, she makes awesome art for dog lovers.

doberman silhouette

You can order Lezlie’s art online or pick it up in person at The Canine Scrub.

I’m proud to report that there is now something else you can get anytime at The Canine Scrub – Beer Paws!

After Scooby and I tore down the pop up shop, we left some merchandise, Beer Biscuits and doggy beer with Mike and Lezlie. Their business is now our first Nebraska retailer and currently the only retailer of our beer for dogs!

The elderpin and I can’t wait to see Mike and Lezlie again. Our next trip to Nebraska happens on May 17. Stay tuned for more information about that event. It’s not at the Scrub, which means Scooby won’t be causing any scrubbing of carpet to occur!

Why We Woke Up at 4 a.m. Last Saturday

Scooby toof

Exactly one week ago, I was collapsing into the bed in my old teenage lair.

After an incredibly long Saturday, the bedroom where I feel safer and sleep more soundly than anywhere else in the world (aka my dad’s house) was exactly where I wanted to be.

Scooby the elderpin and I had risen that day at 4 a.m., hitting the road well before sunrise so that we could represent Beer Paws three hours away at Hefflinger Dog Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

In the week leading up to the event, I kept going back and forth with myself trying to decide what I should do with Scooby while I was out of town. After exhausting all options, including boarding him at the vet in case he had some kind of health attack, I had finally just taken my mother’s advice and loaded him up in the car with me.

The event was Beer Paws’ first in Omaha. We were invited by someone who had visited our booth in February at the I Love My Dog Expo in Lincoln.

She promised that her event, a fundraiser for the Omaha Dog Park Advocates, would be just as much fun.

She was right!

Although the wind viciously whipped our hair and merchandise around all day, Bark in the Park at Hefflinger Park was a fantastic experience.

From a vendor’s perspective, I can honestly say I have never participated in an event with such a well-organized and legitimately helpful crew of volunteers. That really made the beginning and end of the day go much more smoothly.

The crowd was pretty wonderful, too.

We met some really cool people and dogs, including Giovanni the Great Dane and Buck the labradoodle, who left the event wearing leather collars that my dad customized for them while they waited.

Giovanni

Buck

Lots of pups, like handsome Hugo,  also got their first taste of Beer Paws Beer Biscuits during the event.

Hugo

When their parents asked where to get more of my products locally in Omaha, I said:

“Tell your favorite pet businesses you want them to start carrying Beer Paws.”

I hope they do.

While it was super fun, between the wind and the crowd, the experience of working the booth was a bit chaotic at times. At one point, I even fell flat on the ground because I tripped over a corgi!

dad and scooby

Although we tried to keep Scooby toward the back of the space, I didn’t see him relax much at all through the day.

I did see him squat several times for a pee, though. Those moments made me glad the event was on grass.

What we did the next day didn’t happen on grass. Find out about it in my next post!

 

To Travel or Not to Travel? What to Do with an Old Dog

miniature pinscher

“Do my ears make me look like a bat?”

Every day, my dog becomes a little more “vintage.”

Assuming he was at least 7 (and not the 10-12 they said) when I got him back in 2006, the dude is 14 years old at a minimum.

Every day is precious.

Consequently, I don’t like to spend a lot of time away from him beyond the obligatory 8 hours I have to put in at my non-dog-friendly office.

However, as my own company Beer Paws grows and we head into event season, I am busier than ever, with places to be on many evenings and weekends.

In Scooby’s younger days, he was my constant companion. He came to work with me. He partied with me. Anywhere he could go, I brought him.

What's a retirement fund?

What’s a retirement fund?

But as his face gets whiter, his bones more creaky and his bladder less reliable, I began to feel it is easier on him if I don’t take him everywhere. I’ve been leaving him at home during local events and booking him at the kennel when I travel, with the idea of not upsetting his routine too much.

But you know what?

I haven’t been giving the old guy enough credit.

He’s an excellent roadtrip copilot. He just sleeps until the car stops moving or stares at me while I drive.

And people love to meet my little smiling dog when he hangs out with me at Beer Paws events. (It’s just better if the event is outdoors, so I don’t have to feel bad if he has an accident.)

miniature pinscher wearing a hoodie

Cinco de Mayo 2013

In the next blog post, I’ll talk about some of the elderpin’s recent travel adventures.

In the meantime, share in the comments your thoughts about taking old dogs on the road.

Wordless Wednesday: My Favorite Guys

I spent last Saturday with these two characters. It was a great day.
dad and scooby

“Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.”
–Sydney Jeanne Seward

My Latest Lovely Silhouettes

Sometimes there’s a lag between my acquisition of art and its proper display.

Two fine silhouettes are currently waiting to get their place on a wall at Wayward House.

miniature pinscher silhouette

This custom print is a dog silhouette on photo paper by Kari Machal Designs.

It was an awesome birthday gift from my dear friend Shawn.

doberman silhouette

This beautiful hand-painted doberman silhouette is an original work by Lezlie Ferguson. She traded it to me for some Beer Paws goodies during the I Love My Dog Expo in Lincoln, Nebraska.

In addition to being a painter, Lezlie is also co-owner of The Canine Scrub, a self-serve dog wash in Lincoln. I’m going to do a pop up shop there for Beer Paws on Sunday, and I am packing extra treats for her personal dogs. I love her painting so much, and I don’t think we are close to even on that trade yet!

Have you acquired any doggy art lately? Leave a comment about it – or better yet, a picture – below!

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.

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