Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do you need pet insurance?

Following the death of St. Bosco, I swore I was going to get pet insurance for my next dog. Given the scary sum of money we spent on Bosco trying to determine the cause of his issues, then the costs associated with treating them, I promised myself I wasn't going to put us in that position again. And I meant it, right up until I actually got another dog.

Darby came down with parvo within days of coming home from the shelter. Once we got through that patch, it was time for him to be neutered. Naturally, he was cryptorchid, making a fairly routine surgery a more complicated (and expensive) one.

By this time, not unlike many other pet owners, we figured, "Why bother? What else can go wrong with the little dude?" Here's a free tip from me: Never actually say those words out loud. It's the universe's signal to show you the folly of your nonchalance.

Sure enough, last year he needed knee surgery to pin down a loose kneecap. (That small sound you heard at the end of that sentence was the deflation of our checking account. Knees aren't cheap.) Yep, I was ruing the day I put off getting a policy right about then, and I had no one but myself to blame. I know pet insurance is available, I know bad things sometimes happen to good pets and I know having insurance can mean there is less thing to worry about when they do.

Want to know if pet insurance can help you manage your pet's medical bills? VPI Pet Insurance has developed a pretty cool Cost of Care Planner for dog and cat owners. Just pop in your pet's info (basic stuff - name, age, breed and your zip code) and you'll get a list of some most common ailments veterinarians see for your breed and the approximate cost to treat them.

I plugged in Darby's info to see what would happen. Funny, one of the first items listed was the cost to treat an ear infection. D'oh! I forgot about that trip to the vet last year, the result of one too many headers into the pool. Sadly, the treatment cost listed is just about what I paid for it, too. I dug a little further to see about the monthly premium and, sure enough, even if I'd been paying since the day I got him it would have been less than the one surgery he's already had.

Do yourself a favor and check it out. The wallet you save may be your own.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Doughnut head!

Check out some of the other terrific Wordless Wednesday photos here:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ugh. Already with the popping?

High on the list of Darby's more neurotic endearing traits is his reaction to certain noises, especially those emitted by fireworks.
Fireworks? Don't like 'em...

Maybe spending his first "real" Fourth of July living a block away from the largest professional demonstration in town ruined him for life when it comes to things that pop, whiz or bang, particularly if such sounds occur at or after dusk. The noise level of that show was such that the first "bang" of the evening routinely set off car alarms in the neighborhood as the ground shook from the force of the rocket's red glare. Perhaps it was that the noise was followed by more whooshes and booms as the firepower exploded overhead, any explanation for which was far beyond anything his puppy brain could comprehend.

In the end it doesn't matter because all roads lead to Rome, or, in his case, to the guest room where he can cower between the bed and the wall, waiting for the world to be safe again. So imprinted is he by the trauma surrounding the Fourth that any loud popping or banging sound at night will metamorphose him from playing-in-the-yard dog to cowering, running for the back door dog. A car backfiring? He's outta there. Same goes for cargo doors slamming on semi trucks as they unload their bounty at the nearby convenience store, someone dropping a large tool on a concrete patio or the whir made by the blades of a helicopter as they patrol the neighborhood after dark. Darby may have never met Keyser Soze, but he will guarantee you that should Soze come to the house he'll be accompanied by some great and horrible noise that any creature worth his salt would do well to avoid. And even with all that, I know I'm lucky.

Lucky because of all the options at his disposal, Darby chooses to shut down. Yes, it's hard to watch him huddle in the back room, utterly inconsolable, but at least he's securely indoors with his family. So many other dogs (and cats) bolt in terror from their homes into the dangers of the night. They break gates, dig under/climb over/slip through fences, and in a few extreme cases break windows or sliding glass doors in their panic to escape the assault on their senses. It's often repeated that more pets are lost on July 4th than any other single day of the year. Darby may be scared, even terrified, but he's home and whether he comprehends it or not, he's safe.

With the fireworks stands now open for business the evening "pop" has begun again, leaving me with a dog who will avoid an evening potty trip if there's so much as a whistling sound after sunset. Last night someone several doors down felt the need to test out a few firecrackers, blissfully oblivious to the terror their fun instills in my pooch, and there's still a week left before the "big show".

Being well-versed in the drill, we'll be especially attentive to his needs over the next week or so. Should your pets need some extra love and reassurance during this period, we know you'll do the same.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You know it's hot...

When the two cats you have to drag in every night take a pass on going outdoors...

Bad Kitty Bo says, "Going outside is for dogs." 

Musette says, "If I were meant to go outside, this chair wouldn't have been empty."

104 degrees and climbing...hope everyone is chillin' like these two.

Wordless Wednesday

Hot days bore me!

It's Wordless Wednesday, so head over to some of the other fine blogs that are taking part in today's hop!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pawing through the kitchen

As I've mentioned before, it would be hard to realize what a complete dork I am about pet-themed items by looking at my house. But that doesn't mean I don't have the stray fantasy about turning my little abode into an all-out testament to all that is critter.

Take the kitchen, for example. The sum total of critter cute rests on this spoon rest I acquired several years ago.
Well, that and a couple of cookie jars that have never actually held a (human) cookie. Oh --- and the paper towels that have cats and dogs on them. And the refrigerator magnets. But I digress, because the idea here is that there is not nearly enough in my kitchen to do justice to the world of cool critter-themed kitchenware, and I appear to be blowing that idea to smithereens by continuing to type.

I mean, look at these measuring cups. How are these not part of my household?

Or these seriously cool salt and pepper shakers from Jonathan Adler: 

And these measuring spoons might inspire me to use measuring spoons when I cook:
We'll need some pot holders and dish towels for all the great food we'll be making:
A new cream and sugar server for when we have guests:

And an apron to hide any stray pet hair:

Did I miss anything?

Oh yeah, it's time to hop, so let's check out some of the other great blogs in the pet blogosphere!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cat cakes!

Turns out the cats were a bit annoyed that I'd want a dog-themed cake, considering they outnumber him three to one. So, in the interest of fairness to my cats and my cat-loving friends, here are some awesome cat-themed cakes (which I'd also be more than happy get)!

Cute, but not overdone on the theme.

Oh man - cuter still!

Or I could go in this direction...

Guess I'd have to pick one cat for a cake like this.

But I can get them all on this one!

Why choose between cats and dogs? 
If they can live together, they can share a cake, right?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dream Dog Park unveiled!

Check out this amazing new dog park, unveiled in Johns Creek, Georgia. Local resident Pat McNeely and his Siberian Husky Koda were named Grand Prize Winner in the Beneful® WagWorld® Dream Dog Park Contest, which won their community a $500,000 dog park renovation from the Beneful® brand.

Interested in having a dream dog park in your community? The Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest invites you to get creative! Go to Beneful Dream Dog Park from now through June 21 and answer the question: If you had $500,000 to spend to create the ultimate dream dog park, what would you do? 

Good luck!

Dog cakes!

No, not cakes for dogs...cakes for people that are dog-themed!

As I continue to walk the fine line between between pet enthusiast and just flat-out pet nut, I'm forced to admit that I love, love, love pet-themed items. You wouldn't necessarily know it from looking at my house --- having a spouse guarantees that my pet-nuttiness doesn't creep into every corner (yet), but one thing I've always wanted was a cake that had a pet theme to it. Until I make one of my very own, here are some seriously cute cakes floating around on the Interwebz.

I like this one because it looks like something I could actually make, given enough time and frosting practice.

I'd need lots of practice before tackling something like this!

How cute is this???

Jeepers! Someone made a Darby cake!

Or maybe I should start with a paw print and work my way up to the rest of the dog?
Might need to invite a few friends over to help eat a cake this big!

Have any of you ever made/gotten a pet-themed cake?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pool time!

After a truly unseasonably long spring (for these parts, anyway), the weather is finally beginning to resemble what we've come to associate with summer. For Darby, that means one thing: Swimming!!

Not that he actually swims, mind you. His passion is clinging to the edge of the pool and having us splash him with the water. He'll swim if he falls in (which happens on a fairly frequent basis), but his joy is running to whichever side of the pool he thinks we might be going, assuming his position on the edge and waiting for us to arrive to give him a little face-splash.

You know what they say: A tired dog is happy dog.
I love swimmin' with bow-legged women!
(with apologies to the movie Jaws)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - baby Darby!

How puppies get away with everything...

Check out other Wordless Wednesday participants below:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A bowl-ed over Doodlebug

When we adopted Darby a few weeks after the death of our beloved sheltie, St. Bosco, we did what most pet owners do and repurposed as many of Bosco’s supplies as we could, including his food and water bowls. No point in buying a whole bunch of new stuff, right? The Doodlebug was small and everything he inherited was in great shape. Yes, he did try to go swimming in the water bowl…twice, if memory serves me correctly, but other than that, it was all good.

It wasn’t until a few years later that we noticed that perhaps Darby had outgrown his kibble dish. Although he grew to be almost the same size as our (supersized) sheltie, there is an obvious difference between the delicate, tapered muzzle of St. Bosco and the larger, squarer jaw line of the Doodlebug, particularly in regards to how well they navigate the inner regions of the dish in question. In the end the food is always eaten, so any discussion that maybe Doodle needed something better suited to his size seemed to vanish almost as quickly as his dinner. Until this weekend.
Darby's dirty dog dish.

As I caught sight of Darby retrieving his dinner from his dish, I called out to my husband.

“Dude, have you seen the way Darby’s eating? It’s like he can’t get his whole mouth in the bowl, so he’s using his lower jaw like a scoop while his nose hangs over the edge on the outside. I think his bowl is too small for him.”

“So,” he asked, “You want to buy him a new bowl?”

“No, I don’t think we have to buy something else. There’s got to be something here that will work. I just think he needs something that has a wider opening so he can eat more comfortably. What if we try one of the Fiestaware bowls? We’ve got bunches of those.”

And we do. Years ago, after I finally got the Fiestaware I’d been dreaming of for ages, my mother asked if there were items I was missing that she could get me for Christmas. Somehow “serving bowls” got translated to “cereal bowls” and I now have three times as many cereal bowls as I do anything else in Fiestaware-land. But I digress.

“Yeah, that should work,” he agreed. “I’ll change it out tomorrow.”

On Sunday, the spouse was as good as his word. When it came time for Darby’s afternoon kibs, he removed the old dish and served up Doodle’s meal in one of the more comfortable Fiestaware bowls.

New bowl for Doodle!

Darby walked over, looked at the bowl, smelled the food, then stepped back and looked at “Dad.”

Bowl. Dad. Bowl. Dad.

The Doodle slowly walked around the legs of the table next to his feeding area and came back to his new dish.

Bowl. Dad. Bowl. Dad.

It was during his second trip around the table that I flashed on what he was telling us.

I am not touching that bowl. Even though I know that’s my dinner in there, That’s the ‘you better stay out of the people food’ bowl that keeps the food I’m not supposed to eat. Even if the food smells good and I can reach it, it’s still the ‘no-no shamey-shamey’ bowl and I don’t get to eat it. You think you’re going to trick me by putting my food in your people bowl, but even though I’m hungry I will not touch that bowl. I am not shamey-shamey-baddog.”

So complete was my surprise at my incredible miscalculation, all I could do was laugh as my husband gathered up the “new” dish and dumped Darby’s kibs into the older, smaller model.

The Doodlebug finally got his meal, and I got a little reminder that no matter how dorky he acts on the outside, the wheels are always turning on the inside.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My shot at going to BlogPaws

Today BlogPaws announced a Facebook contest where the winner receives a free trip to this year's gathering, taking place August 25-27 in Tysons Corner, VA.

You guessed it --- I entered.

I have not been to a BlogPaws event before. I'd so much love to be able to meet so many of the people behind many of the blogs I've been reading so long, as well as the chance to meet and talk to various representatives of the pet products that will be featured there. I figure my odds of winning the contest are pretty slim, but not as slim as my chances of going if I didn't enter. After all, stranger things have happened.

You can enter, too. Just head to the BlogPaws Facebook page and click the "contest" button on the left side of the page.

Paws crossed that good fortune might smile on me.

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