Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

"There are entirely too many dogs in your Facebook."

Find bunches more dogs (and cats) on the hop!

Monday, August 29, 2011

PPCT's going HollyWOOF!

HollyWOOF swag-bag goodness
With Los Angeles right over the hill, you'd think we'd see our fair share of pet stars here in our fair valley, but no such luck, which is why HollyWOOF is so appealing.

HollyWOOF creates super-swanky gift bags full of some of the coolest pet products around and gives them away to dog-loving celebrities like Kristen Bell, Betty White, Kellan Lutz, Kate Beckinsale, Oprah Winfrey, Kathy Griffin, Katherine Heigl, Mario Lopez,  Olivia Wilde, Justin Timberlake and bunches of other famous-type folks so they can indulge their dogs in a manner befitting their celeb-pet status. And guess what --- the Doodlebug got a few items, too!

We'll be sharing our thoughts about some of these nifty products over the next couple of weeks. Darby can hardly wait to get his teeth into some of the treats (though he has asked to put off the grooming items for as long as possible)!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy National Dog Day!

Yep, it's our day!

On behalf of National Dog Day, my wishes for fellow dog owners:

  • May the hair on your clothes not exceed the amount of hair on your head.

  • May you find a free corner of your bed on which to sleep.

  • May your pet food bill not exceed your grocery bill.

  • May your dog not roll in anything that smells worse than you.

  • May you always remember that anything can be cleaned with the right number of paper towels.

Happy National Dog Day!

On behalf of those dog (and cat) owners on the east coast, please be safe this weekend. For information about pet (and people) evacuation, rescue and shelter during Hurricane Irene, please check out the Hurricane Irene 2011 Animal Rescue Resource Page on Facebook and share with others who may need this info. For horse owners, the Facebook page Horse Evacuations East has been established. Us west coast bloggers are sending out good vibes that you all remain safe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The emergence of Mr. Hyde

There's no way to sugarcoat it: The Doodlebug has gone rogue.

My goofy, doofy mess of a boy has always had some issues. He has an unnaturally high sensitivity to any number of sounds, doesn't like being hugged and, generally, tends to find the world to be a bit too big for his liking. For the most part his issues are a bit annoying, but within the confines of our day-to-day life, no biggie. Until this past weekend, when he decided to add one more to his list: snapping.

Yes, my floppy dog snapped at someone. Actually, two "someones". Both times, they were people who were in our home who he was not familiar with, and on both occasions it happened when they reached out to pet him while I wasn't looking. To say that I'm appalled is an understatement. I've known Darby to many things over his six years but I've never, ever been concerned about him hurting someone --- and definitely not someone identified as a "friend". We've had people over many times before, both singularly and in groups and although he has been tentative with folks he didn't know, he has never behaved this poorly.

I'm taking it very hard, especially as a blogger who reads about the adventures of other, seemingly perfect pups who appear to glide around society like a southern belle at a perpetual debutante ball. I know Darby will never be one of those dogs, but he can't be this dog, either.

I've spent the past couple of days turning it over in my head. Is it because something changed in his doodle brain now that I'm home all the time? Is he picking up on my frustration with a recurring medical condition I have and trying to take it out on someone else? Did he sneak into the living room after we went to bed and watch part of Cujo (obviously missing the end) and think he's a role model?

After a short period of self-flagellation, which is almost as productive as it sounds, I've decided the trigger  doesn't matter nearly as much as rewiring his funky little brain so it doesn't happen again. For now, the little dude will have his security blanket leash attached to him when anyone who isn't positively bomb-proof comes over. For Darby, the leash has thus far been the equivalent of a Thundershirt, so we'll start there and work his way back to being the dog we expect him to be.

It goes without saying that if anyone else wants to 'fess up about a less-than-wonderful issue your dog has, you'll never find a more sympathetic audience than this corner of the blogosphere...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Product review: Darby & the Lickety Stik

My dog is about the simple pleasures in life. Chase a cat, see it run. Bark at the delivery truck, watch it leave. Obey a limited number of basic commands, get something yummy in return. Darby is not a deep-thinking, complex creature, which is one of the reasons I shall never have the pleasure of seeing a Nina Ottosson toy being used in this household. 

I mention this only because we got a sample of the Lickety Stik, a treat that dispenses a chicken-flavored liquid when a dog licks the bottle, which operates on the same theory as your average roll-on deodorant bottle. It's designed to be an all natural treat, packaged in convenient way to carry and low in calories (one calorie per ten licks). 

The scent definitely attracted Darby to come over and see what I had for him, but that's about where the fun ended. He took a couple of licks, then became frustrated that he couldn't bite the roller ball and eat whatever food was attached to the scent. This is not a dog who will work for the promise of something vaguely food-like. He's a put-up-or-shut-up kind of dog, and not being one who embraces a challenge, the Doodlebug quickly lost interest and walked away.

I'm sure there are dogs who might get a charge from a product like this, but the Doodle isn't one of them. If you think yours might be, or if you're looking for a treat that you can use with little caloric build-up, check out Lickety Stik.

FTC Disclosure: I received a sample of this product for review. No other compensation was given, and all opinions are strictly my own.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My 7 links: The Tripbase Blog Post project

Thanks to Grouchy Puppy for including me in Tripbase's My 7 Links Blog Post Project. Even after spending a whole day thinking about it I'm having a hard time picking the seven links, but I'll do my best. I've also included a few gratuitous pics to break things up.

Most Beautiful Post: 
I have a hard time viewing my posts in relation to their "beauty", but I am fond of the way this one came out:

Most Popular Post:  
I like this category, because my stats made it easy. Here's the winner, hands-down:

Most Controversial Post:
I don't do much controversy, mostly because there are other writers and bloggers who are far more passionate and articulate about controversial topics than I, so I try and stick to what I think I can handle, blog-wise. Here's my offering for this category:

Most Helpful Post:
I can't honestly say whether my posts have been helpful, but I like this post because it tried:
Post Whose Success Surprised Me:
This was an easy choice, since I didn't have any idea it would resonate the way it did for some of my fellow bloggers:

Post That Didn't Get the Attention it Deserved:
My big ego might be tempted to say "too many to list", but I chose this one because I thought it was a fun piece that I thought would get some sympathetic responses:

Post I'm Most Proud Of:
Another difficult category, since there are days when I'm just proud I managed to get on the keyboard and made words. I'll go with this one:

Whew, glad that part's over! Now all that's left is to nominate five other bloggers to take part:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dog Signs

Just a few gems I found lounging about on the Internet.

If you enjoy silliness like this, links to cool blog posts 
and pet fun, join me on Facebook!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Close encounter of the third kind

For nearly two years my husband and I have kept an eye on the two neighborhood wandering cats, "Bob" and "Brindle". Since we don't know their names, we made names up so we can talk about them. Even Darby knows who we're referring to, evidenced by his sudden alert posture if we go on about them when we're hanging in the back yard.

Bob has been the friendliest feline con artist we've met in years, finding his way to the patio when the white devil dog is safely indoors for the evening. though he's always happy for a food handout, he also truly seems to love the company of some friendly humans. He knows his "name" and will respond to it. He has all the earmarks of being an owned cat, even if relegated to the outdoors 24/7. He's neutered, in good flesh, by all appearances free of fleas and loves people. His happy dance is so beguiling that we can almost overlook what an unrepentant pest he can be during those moments when we just want to chill out on the patio on a summer night.

Brindle has always been another matter. Though he seems to make his way through life by living in Bob's draft, he has never been keen on making our acquaintance up close and personal, and it's always bothered us. Brindle is much thinner than Bob and we worry for his health and, as cat lovers, we take pride in being able to win over the trust of our feline friends. though he, too has learned the name we've bestowed on him, Brindle has never felt the need to thank us for our concern, until this week.

I'm not sure what it was that made this week different from all the others, but Brindle has finally decided to make contact. He will now come to the porch (even without Bob, which is big) and hang with us, even allowing us to pet him, though not as readily as his fellow traveler. He is indeed thinner than Bob, though he is neutered (whew --- we were sweating that one for a while when we couldn't get close enough to tell) and appears in generally decent health.

I wish I knew how to explain what it's like for cat lovers when a cat who has nothing to gain by crossing the trust bridge decides to do so, but I'm sure anyone who has ever won over a wary animal knows exactly what I mean. I'm sorry I have no photos to share, but since they only come around at night after the dog is safely indoors I haven't wanted to violate their delicate sensibilities this early into our new arrangement. I'll be sure to grab a few as soon as I think they'll tolerate it. For now, it's enough that they've decided to tolerate me.

Happy Hopping!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Dog Torturer

"Yes, I know it's your favorite toy, Darby...
That's why I took it!"
It's time for the Wordless Wednesday blog hop! 
Check out some of the other terrific photos in this week's hop!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Focused or free association - how do you blog?

Gratuitous baby Darby photo. Just in case :)

Reading this wonderful post at Something Wagging This Way Comes reminded me of a few thoughts that have been tumbling around my brain of late.

I love writing about my critters and their various personalities, but there are about 27 other companion-animal things I like writing about, too. Do I need one blog about my pets, one for animal welfare issues, one about pet products and services that I may or may not use, one about pet-themed products for people and one for everything I couldn't manage to pigeonhole into any of the other blogs? Or is it cool that I sort of free-associate my blog with whatever pet-related theme that happens to pop into my head, leaving it to the reader to decide what is relevant or interesting, and trust that if they see something that isn't their cup of tea, they'll still check back in the future?

If you were to come to my house, the one theme you'd see is that there isn't one. The whole place is a mish-mash of styles, textures and colors, but to me it just looks like my house, a reflection of things we found cool enough to keep around, enjoying them for what they are, rather than for how well they fit together. Can my blog be like my house and still be an engaging blog? I know there are a bunch of people who say "no", that a blog must focus on a particular niche, but isn't blogging about companion animals a niche? It's not like I'm moving from pet themes to recounting last night's episode of True Blood, but it's also not as though every click on my blog guarantees you a story about the Doodlebug and his feline cohabitants, even if I think all things pet-related ultimately relate back to them.

I'm curious to hear the thoughts of my fellow bloggers. How focused is your focus?

Monday, August 8, 2011

World Cat Day

Today is the third annual World Cat Day, a day when we cat lovers celebrate the strange and special wonder of felines.

I wish I could properly express how it is that cats have beguiled me for so many decades, but I think it's something that people either get or they don't, like Star Wars or Lady Gaga. Roger Caras once likened having a kitten to sharing your home with an alien --- not sure why that analogy stuck with me for so long, but it's always held a ring of truth to me. Mostly, I'm knocked out that a creature who, in general, is twelve to fifteen times smaller than humans manages to trust us while remaining true to the essence of who they are as individuals.

Cats are more emotionally complex than most people believe them to be, more social than their stereotype and more amenable to the hectic schedule of a busy family than their canine counterparts. Oh, and they poop in a box, which is a heck of a lot more convenient than having to go walkies out in the rain or snow.

So Happy World Cat Day to you and yours, from my feline family:  
Bad Kitty Bo
 None of whom are under the impression that Cat Day only takes place once a year.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kona's Chips delight the Doodlebug

I have no idea why Darby is such an unrepentant spazz about the delivery trucks that roll through the neighborhood. Most of the time they're bringing something for him. This week, one of their stops included these awesome treats from Kona's Chips for Darby, courtesy of a drawing I won on DogTipper.

Three flavors of chippity goodness for the Doodlebug!
I love that these are made in the USA and that each one of them is exactly what they say they are --- just the meat, with no fillers or preservatives. Though they are dried, the chips are pliant and easy to break into smaller pieces, which helps because more than a few of these "chips" are HUGE!
No, this is not an optical illusion. Some really are this big!
The Doodlebug is not much of a model, especially when food is involved.
"When do I get one?"

"It's not funny to torture the dog
just so you can get a picture..."


Still nomming out. 

Gone but not forgotten...

Needless to say, Darby loves, loves, loves these treats! Thanks to DogTipper for the great giveaway and to Kona's Chips for making such awesome treats.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Absolutely vacspazztic

"Does this look like the face
of a vacspazztic to you?"
One trait Darby and I share is our devotion to routine. I have a particular way of seeing that my trains run on time when I have tasks to complete, much like Darby in his attendance to matters of home and yard. We both enjoy the rhythm that accompanies completing our checklist item by item, partly because it ensures that we get done what we mean to get done and partly because our dedication to process means it's pretty easy to keep an eye on one another as we move through the day.

On the other hand, it also means that we can read each other like a book. When I see his tail hit a particular set, I know I have about seven seconds to redirect him before mayhem ensues and, likewise, when he sees me begin a pattern of activity, he knows what's coming next.

In some ways our connectedness works well --- I can keep him out of trouble before he has a chance to make a little, and he can depend on me to behave pretty much the same way every time I do something, which gives him the reassurance that all is well in Doodlebug-land.

Then there's vacuuming.

I have no idea what goes through his mind as I begin picking up his toys to toss in the toy basket (and yes, apparently the only time I'm inclined to actually pick up his toys is when I'm about to vacuum), but based on the distinct change in the set of his body, I'm guessing it's something along the lines of, "OHMYDOGOHMYDOGOHMYDOG!

The dude simply loses all sense of reason when it comes to the vacuum cleaner. He's not afraid of it (though he does have a distinct weirdness about cords, vacuum cords included), he doesn't really want to kill it and he doesn't want to touch it, but he loves nutting up about it, tearing up and down the hall, flying from room to room trying to stay one step ahead of it, but repeatedly needing to come back to where I am to see if I really am going to push the green monster to every room.

Like many other aspects of the Doodle's personality, this is the first time I've had a dog so thoroughly enchanted with flipping out over the vacuum cleaner, so much so that I think I need a new a new word to properly assign to it: vacspazztic.

Anyone else belong in this club? Let me know --- if there's enough of us, maybe we'll make membership cards.

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