Saturday, October 30, 2010

Last Minutes with Oden

If you haven't seen this, you owe it to yourself to watch. Six amazing minutes about a man and his dog. This won Best Video in Vimeo's first annual video contest in the Documentary category.

*note - contains scenes of a dog being euthanized.


Not living in one of the areas of the country where fall comes when the kids head back to school, I have to wait until about now to experience the crispness in the air that renews my desire to head into the kitchen and turn on the oven.

Cooking is one of the few skills I can actually claim to possess. Though I’m by no means ready to compete against people who can slice a carrot into matchsticks in under fifteen seconds, I can turn out some dishes that receive wonderful compliments and recipe requests. And alongside my interest in making people food is my interest in making pet treats.

Dog treats can be remarkably easy to make, cost far less than purchasing commercial treats, are a great way to introduce young cooks to the kitchen and can be customized to fit any dietary restrictions your pooch may face. Not only can you make them for your dogs, you can also make batches for your dog park friends, for the pups at the local shelter or rescue or to sell as a fundraiser for a pet-related nonprofit organization. After all, who doesn’t like playing in dough?

If you’re a novice at baking (on purpose) for your four-legged friend, here are some sites ready to help you get a few tails wagging.

I just have a couple of tips before you venture forth.

If you want hard, biscuit-like treats make sure you leave the treats in a safe place where they can air out for several hours to get rid of any excess moisture. Otherwise, they will definitely go bad more quickly.

Don’t get pulled into the idea that you need special cutters, molds or anything of the sort to get great treats. People care about the cutie-pie shapes, not the dogs. Any size that will properly fit their mouth and suit your purpose will be just fine. To make fast work of cutting rolled out dough, consider using a pizza cutter. You can go as wide or narrow as you need.

Happy baking!

Imperial Scratch ‘n Shapes product review

In a world where I receive few goodies that are cat-related to review, I was thrilled when I got this coolio cat scratcher from Imperial Cat to check out.
I’ve been a giant fan of cardboard cat scratchers for years now, so seeing Imperial Cat come up with one that is large enough for my Bad Kitty Bo to anchor with his ample rump while scratching the other end is a huge improvement on the previous versions I’ve brought into the house. Our “usual” scratcher tends to get pulled off of the floor with one paw while Bo’s trying in vain to push it away with his other feet while getting his scratch on. The larger size of these scratchers solves that problem completely.
I also very much appreciate that Imperial Cat packages organic catnip along with the scratcher. The ‘nip smelled fresh and had a great texture to it, unlike some of the “catnip included” items I’ve purchased in the past where you get a teeny bag of what resembles the leftover ground-up catnip that got swept up at the end of the day. The bag that came along with this product provides enough catnip that there is plenty left over to refresh the aroma as the weeks go by.

Although I think that the resident fur sacks would have discovered this piece on their own, allowing them the instant reward of a little nip action gave them added incentive to thoroughly check out the new toy. Weebs, naturally, spent a great deal of her time rubbing against the edges in a vain attempt to claim the piece as hers before Bad Kitty Bo came along to rest his lovely body upon his newest prize.

These scratchers come in a whole host of shapes and sizes, with some of them including tunnels and hidey-holes to increase their value, particularly in multi-cat household. Take a peek at this giant piece of scratchy-goodness that I’d love to get my hands on someday!

I found the price range for these scratchers to be pretty reasonable for the quality, with several ranging from $17 - $30 range. All of these products are made from 100% recycled materials and can be recycled themselves when they need to be replaced, which makes my tree-hugging heart happy.

I’m happy to recommend Imperial Cat Scratch ‘n Shapes to my feline-owning friends.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Be business minded for pets

The owners of Fortress Self Storage, believing that more needed to be done to reduce the number of pit bulls being killed in local shelters, took the initiative to create the Fix Your Pit Program, where they set aside a portion of the fees from each new space rental to subsidize the cost of having pit bulls altered through AngelDogs Foundation. The surgery, normally costing $110 (and includes a microchip and a rabies vaccination), is reduced to $40 for the owners of pittie and pit mixes, while Fortress Self Storage pays the difference. Everybody wins.

Which leaves the owners of Fortress Self Storage to ask why more businesses can’t step up and help address the obvious pet overpopulation problem we have in Kern County by doing something similar? Is it for lack of ideas? If so, here are a few to chew on.

How about donating a percentage of a day’s proceeds to a local shelter or rescue group? If you pick a day in advance and do a little promotion, I can all but promise you that the pet loving folks in the area will come out and support you.

Perhaps a business can put out a “snip jar” for a month or so, asking patrons to kick in some spare change that can be donated to local groups for spay/neuter. While I can’t speak for everyone, I know that I am far more inclined to spend money at shops that are supporting causes that are dear to me.

Maybe you own (or work in) an office setting where there’s not a lot of interaction with the general public. How about creating an office giving program, where employees can collectively pool together funds to create one larger donation from the company as a whole?

Promotions like these can help businesses establish a relationship with their community that goes beyond mere advertising, and if you don’t think appealing to people who dig pets is important, or that they don’t represent a sizable enough segment of “your” market, perhaps it’s time to rethink that. Sixty two percent of American households have pets living in them, compared to 46 percent of homes having children under the age of 18. Appealing to pet owners’ better nature might just bring you the customers you’re looking for as we head into the holiday season. If that happens, everybody wins.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LOLs for the bitteh set

I admit it --- I’m an enormous fan of LOL cats. I am the person you can always send your cutesy animal-related pics and captions to and know that I will never delete them before taking a peek at their furry goodness, which is why when I got the chance to get a copy of Teh Itteh Bitteh Book of Kittehs I was all over it.

In this latest version of LOLs from the I Can Haz Cheezburger crowd, the focus is all on the kittens. Every photo features some of the cutest, fluffiest bits of kittehs around, complete with captions.

If someone you know is a cat lover, they will definitely appreciate this book. Remember it come holiday season when you are looking for that “little something” to show someone you were thinking of them. Trust me when I say I know of what I speak --- I’m that person. I would probably not purchase this book for myself, but if someone were to give it to me, I’d be a happy girl --- and that’s before I ever opened the pages.

Much like the always-popular Smiling Dogs feature produced by The Bark, I defy anyone to look through ten pages of this book without cracking a grin. It simply cannot be done.

And why would you want to? These are the cutest of cuties, complete with the phrases LOL folks have come to expect. I need this book mounted next to my desk at work, sort of like those emergency fire extinguisher box-thingys, to grab for when I’m getting the urge to cross that imaginary line between “passionate” and evening-news-worthy.   

Flipping these pages may not change your world, but it will definitely help change the way you see it for a few minutes. Sometimes a few minutes is all it takes.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blog Hop Day

I'm a little emotional today, pet-wise, so I'm not sure if I'll have something newer than my previous post up just yet, but feel free to peruse the site and tell me what you think. Check out some of these other folks, too, as they have some wonderful blogs out there.


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