Snood Dude

One of the first purchases I made for Sarge when he joined the M&M&NK household permanently was a jacket and a Sirius Republic snood. As an older gentleman, I knew he would need some extra protection from the cold Maine weather. And, it was good timing because we had just gotten a little snowstorm! Nola loves her snood (well maybe not, but I certainly do!) and she’s even a model on the website! Not to be outdone by his supermodel younger sister, Sarge was just as handsome as can be modelling his new accessory. We chose the football pattern for him, because even wearing clothes picked out by his mommy, he has to represent the Mr.’s passion for the manly sport.

Check out this cuteness:

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Thanks again to Sirius Republic for keeping the handsomest elderbull warm this winter!

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A Few of Our Favorite Things- Part 2

As the holiday shopping season approaches, I wanted to share some dog related products that we love here at the M&M&NK household. Maybe some of them would make great Christmas presents for the dogs/dog lovers/dog owners in your lives!

headlamoL.L. Bean Headlamp
I don’t know about where you live, but here in Maine in the winter it is dark. Most of the time we walk the dogs before work in the dark, and again after work in the dark. Carrying a flashlight with two dogs who always go opposite directions is nearly impossible. I invested in one of these babies last winter and it made all the difference. Yes, it looks really dumb, like I should be working a coal mine or something, but in this case, it is function over fashion.

L.L. Bean Therapeutic Dog Couchllbeanbed
When Sarge came into our lives we knew he was going to need a bed that gave him more support than the ones we currently had for Nola (all 3 of them). We already had an L.L. Bean bed that we got when Nola was a puppy and we loved the quality of it. It’s no secret that we also like to support Maine based businesses, so we decided to invest in a Therapeutic Couch bed for Sarge. Yes, it’s a bit on the expensive side, but with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, we knew that if something ever happens to the bed we can return it for a brand new one. This particular model is great because it is extra thick with memory foam, is lined with fleece for warmth and softness, and has the bolsters that both the pups love to curl up next to.

vittlesVittles Vault
With two medium-large dogs, we go through a lot of dog food. I usually buy at least one 26 pound bag a month. But, our house doesn’t have a lot of storage space to keep large bags and I couldn’t find a clip that kept the bag closed well enough to keep it fresh. This container fits nicely in our kitchen pantry closet, it’s lid closes tight, and it keeps the pups’ food nice and fresh.

Orbee-Tough MazeePDOG_Mazees_med
If you’re looking for a fun interactive toy that you can’t find in a ‘regular’ pet store, this maze ball is a-maze-balls. Created by another Maine based company (and one we frequent regularly), Planet Dog, the Orbee-Tough Mazee is fun and interactive for the pups. You put a couple of cookies in and as your pups rolls it around the cookies move down the maze, closer and closer to the opening. Nola loves hers and I love that it keeps her busy!

harness2_Comfort Flex Harness
We have used every anti-pull harness available on the market for our fosters. But for Nola, and now Sarge, who both don’t pull regularly, we wanted a harness that was comfortable for them. I really don’t like walking dogs on flat collars alone, for many reasons, including safety and comfort for the dogs. Seeing dogs hacking and gasping for air while their collars are cutting into their necks makes me cringe. These harnesses are padded, IMG_4148have reflective tape for visibility and are great fits for our dogs with deep chests.

I like the sizing too, with the half sizes- Nola is a M/L because she’s sorta in between (she has a deep chest, but not too wide), where Sarge is a true L (with his deep WIDE stature). They come and a bunch of different colors and are pretty reasonably priced. Again, it is not a good anti-pulling tool, but for hiking, walking dogs with good leash manners, or for older dogs with neck/back issues, this harness is great.

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Sirius Republic Snoods
If you haven’t discovered these yet you must be living under a rock. These soft fleece neck warmers from Sirius Republic are fashionable and keep the pups warm in this cold Maine weather. It’s been especially cold lately, and the added coverage of the fleece for their head/neck has helped make walks in sub-freezing temperatures more bearable. Sarge and Nola both have one, and I am sure I will get them additional colors to match their ever growing cold weather wardrobe.

IMG_4929Decals from Bully Paws
Besides being locally made, the other trait I look for in dog related products is uniqueness. I came across these decals on Etsy.com  and HAD to have them. I bought two for my laptop and one for my car. While the two in the picture at right aren’t custom of Nola and Sarge, adoptdecal2there are so many breed options that I found the two that most resemble them, which are pretty close, minus Sarge’s straight up ear. I also purchased an “Adopt” car decal. They were reasonable priced, hand cut, and there are tons of different font/breed options as well as decals for cars, electronics, and iphones. These are so cute I want to buy more!

 

Are there any dog related products that are on your Christmas shopping list?

Squishy, Tuggy and Flirty

No, those aren’t the names of three more dwarfs. These are the words that describe our new found love of Squishy Face Studio’s Flirt Pole and Super Tug toy. We won the Flirt Pole and Super Tug bundle a couple months ago during And Foster Makes Five’s giveaway. Since this winter has been particularly snowy, even for Maine, we haven’t had a chance to use our prizes until now!
DSC_0611And the verdict is, Nola loves them! I wish we could use the flirt pole to have Nola jump more vertically, but since her ACL injury we have to keep the jumping to a minimum. Even so, she loves chasing things, so just going around the back yard tires her out.
DSC_0631 DSC_0628Nola has ‘drop it’ down to a science, so playing this game with her is so much fun. She has to sit before she can chase and then I let her catch it and she drops it. Occasionally she keeps her foot on the fleece part, just to prove to me that she got it.

DSC_0625It took her a bit longer to get the feel for the Super Tug toy. I had to demonstrate what to do and then entice her to grab the end. But once she got the hang of it, she loved it too!
DSC_0664 DSC_0660 DSC_0651 DSC_0643The way she sticks her little bum up in the air and wags her nubby tail as she pulls makes me giggle every time.
DSC_0654(I tried to play with Sarge too, but he wasn’t interested. He tends to leave the chasing and tugging to the youngin’ while he enjoys eating his bully stick.)
DSC_0488Squishy Face Studio’s toys are super durable and great quality. The flirt pols is one million times better than anything I could make on my own! I love that it has a bungee cord instead of a rope. It helps prevent the feeling of a sudden snap when Nola grabbed the fleece. The handle is nicely lined with a non slip grip that was easy to hold on to. Nola liked chasing the braided Fleece Toss lure because it had floppy ends, but they also have the option of getting one with Zanies Bungee Gecko with squeakers, or you can even use your dog’s favorite toy!
flirtThe ‘marine grade’ bungee cord and metal fasteners on the Super Tug toy seem like they will hold up against even the strongest pullers (man, if only I had found about these toys when we had Anna!) It was easy to install and the strap was plenty big enough to fit around the trees in our yard.
tugNola and I love both of these products and would highly recommend them to anyone who’s dog loves to chase and/or play tug! They are a great option to change up your dog’s exercise routine and keep them mentally and physically stimulated (and exhausted).
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Why Crusies are Like Pit Bulls

For two weeks before, and still two weeks after vacation, I have been dealing with all the negative comments people have about cruises. They watched the news and saw the horror stories of ships breaking down recently. They said to me: “It must be so awful being confined on a ship like that,” or “I would never want to go on a cruise,” or “Bring a poop bag for the ship!” All of the people that made theses comments have never even been on a cruise. How could they judge something that I love with no previous experience or knowledge on the subject? Why were they letting a few stories in the media influence their opinion and then feel the need to tell me how horrible they are? I’ve been on 5 different cruises and can say I have never had a bad experience. Why won’t people give cruises a chance?
cruiseAs I was sitting in my doctor’s office this morning, again defending my reasons for choosing to take a cruise for vacation, I had an epiphany. Cruises are just like pit bulls.

When you Google ‘Carnival Cruise’ here are the headlines you get:

  • Man sentenced to 20 years for gang-rape of teen on cruise
  • Are Cruise Ships Safe? Carnival Cruises‘ Triumphant Fall From Grace
  • Carnival Triumph Adrift: Cruise Ship Breaks Loose In Mobile, Alabama

When you Google ‘Pit Bulls’ here are the headlines you get:

  • Pit bulls removed from slaying site headed to Boise
  • Boy, 7, dies four days after being savaged by pit bulls
  • Teaching pit bulls to be nice

See any similarities? Because the media focuses on negatives, you never hear positive things in the news. Bad, scary things are news. Good, happy things are boring. Media outlets don’t report on fantastic cruise vacations just like they don’t report on ‘pit bulls’ who are therapy dogs and wonderful family pets. While it is true that some cruise lines have had issues, and for the people who were stranded for days with no power on a ship it must have been horrible, but that is the minority. Not all cruises are bad, just like not all pit bulls are bad. It is wrong to label the whole cruise industry after a couple negative incidents, and it is the same thing people have been doing to pit bulls for years. The entire breed is not viscous and dangerous, just because individual dogs might show these characteristics.
IMG_3441I have been defending pit bulls for the past several years, and cruises for the past several weeks. What I’ve learned with both topics is that it is easy to get frustrated when you feel defensive about something you love. It is hard to change the mind of people who have no experience with whatever you are defending. I like to have a few points in my back pocket that I can count on if you get into a discussion about something. But what I’ve found is that you aren’t always going to get the results you want. It is hard to change someone’s uneducated opinion. If more people would read about the positive pit bull stories or give pit bulls a chance in person, I believe they would change their opinion of them as being scary aggressive dogs.
side by side couchBut, not everyone will do that, just like not everyone will give cruises a try. All you can do is love them and change people’s opinion by being a good example.

Vacation Recap: Top Five Best Moments

Originally I intended to write about our entire vacation. But, for the sake of time, and your boredom, I decided to pick the top five experiences to share with you. So here it goes:

5. Finding dog stuff to take photos of/with.

At Universal, the gift shop had stuffies of Hagrid’s dog.
DSCN1831Apparently in this photo, taken at Toon Town in Universal, I was supposed to pretend that Marmaduke was dragging me. Now, it just looks like I’m floating.
DSCN1829On the cruise ship, there was a statue of a bulldog.
photo-1 copyI have to be honest, I tried NOT to look for dogs when we were in port. Some of the islands (Haiti and Jamaica) are pretty poor, so I was afraid what I would see. Luckily, I didn’t see too many strays, as we tended to stay in very ‘touristy’ areas, when we weren’t on a beach.

4. Getting to hold a baby turtle.
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Grand Cayman is home to the world’s largest turtle farm. They breed thousands of endangered sea turtles and release them into the wild. It was awesome to see all different species and turtles in all different life stages. We even got to hold baby turtles! They like getting their chins scratched. Apparently it calms them down.
DSCN1876 DSCN1859 DSCN1907DSCN1914DSCN1937DSCN1906DSCN1891Sparky is the oldest and biggest turtle there, weighing in at 500 pounds.
DSCN1923We saw the breeding turtles get fed. It looked like large bags of dog kibble! I can’t adequately say how cool this experience was for a turtle lover like myself!
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3. Exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Mr. and I love Harry Potter, so it was only natural for us to plan a day at Universal when we decided to fly into the Orlando airport. The replica of Hogwarts was massive, and looked exactly like it does in the movie. You walk through the whole castle and at the end it’s a ride that simulates riding a broom. I really only saw half of the ride, because it shut down right in the middle! It was such a bummer because it looses a bit of the ‘magic’ when you can see the screens and the tracks that the ride is on. I was just thankful that the car I was in was right side up and I wasn’t stuck dangling upside down!
DSCN1801 DSCN1798 DSCN1795 DSCN1835While at Universal we also saw a Matchbox 20 concert and a Mardi Gras parade. It was a great way to kick off our vacation!

2. Seeing the Cozumel Humane Society booth in the cruise terminal.
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It was such a surprise to walk off the ship and find an animal shelter booth set up in amongst all the touristy shops. But I was so happy we did! It was toward the end of the cruise and I was missing Nola terribly. When we turned the corner and saw the puppy, the Mr. and I stopped dead in our tracks. We went right over and gave her belly rubs and ear scratches. We spoke with the gentleman manning the booth for a while. He said that he brings a new dog to the terminal every day to get donations and spread the word. He said the stray dog population in Cozumel has been reduced significantly since the Humane Society got involved. They are a no-kill shelter and try to educate about spaying and neutering. They had all sorts of little souvenirs for dogs, so we donated and got Nola a bone. Even our mere $20 was received by the man like it was a million dollars. He told us that even just $20 could help 4 or 5 (out of the 60!) dogs already in the shelter.
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We went back after we got back from the beach, but the puppy had left for the day.

DSCN1976 1. Coming home to this face.
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The Mr. and I had an amazing time on our vacation, but by the end we really missed our Nola Muffin. She had a great time with my parents, and even though I purchased an international text plan to be able to check in, everything went fine. Nola got to go to the beach with Pepere everyday for an hour or two! She was so tired when we finally got home, that she went right onto our bed and didn’t move until the next morning. We had a great time, but it’s nice to get back into the routine of ever day living. Next time we go away on vacation it will be with Nola and somewhere in the U.S.!
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You Know You’re a Dog Lover When…

You go on your honeymoon and come home with photos of all the dogs you saw along the way. (Which is what the Mr. and I did after we went on our honeymoon to Europe back in June of 2011.)

This guy was laying on the cool rocks at the Acropolis in Athens.

This guy was laying on the cool rocks at the Acropolis in Athens.

We saw this pup at a cafe in Athens.

We saw this pup at a cafe in Athens.

He even sat with us for lunch.

He even sat with us for lunch.

A pup we spotted in a shop.

A pup we spotted in a shop.

This pup we saw in Turkey. It was actually pretty sad because he seemed like he was a stray but he was so young. :(

This pup we saw in Turkey. It was actually pretty sad because he seemed like he was a stray but he was so young. 😦

A pup hanging out in Kusadasi, Turkey.

A pup hanging out in Kusadasi, Turkey.

I am sure we will have more pics of the pups we saw during our vacation when we get back next week. Do you take pictures of other dogs when you go on vacation?

Aruba, Bahamas, Come on Pretty Mama…

By all accounts this winter has sucked. Plain and simple. It has been extremely busy and stressful at work, and the winter weather decided to make life even more miserable. So, after one particularly annoying snow storm back in January, the Mr. and I decided to plan a vacation to somewhere warm, without snow, and far away from here.

What we're leaving (both Nola and the snow)

What we’re leaving (both Nola and the snow)

We enjoyed our honeymoon cruise around Europe so much that we booked another one, this time to the Caribbean. It’s going to be 9 days of sun, sand and relaxation. (We also are planning a stop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, since we’re flying into Orlando. Don’t judge, we are nerds and we embrace it!)

Where we're going!

Where we’re going!

I have been in Boston to work a tradeshow since Friday, and then we leave this Friday for the cruise. I will not have access to the internet while cruising, so as much as I love all our faithful readers, you won’t be hearing from me until I am thoroughly relaxed and have a nice brown tan.

I am a little anxious about leaving Muffin for 9 days, but she will be with her Pepere and Memere (my mom and dad), who I think she loves even  just a little more than us. Since I am a big worrier they are not dog owners, I leave them with a typed out set of “rules” for Nola that include her meal schedule, what NOT to feed her, the vet’s phone number, emergency vet directions and commands we use when we want Nola to do something. It stinks that I haven’t seen her the past 5 days and only have two nights to spend with her until I leave for another 9 days. Is it crazy that I am a little more sad about leaving her than I am happy about vacation?

Well anyway, Bon Voyage to all of you. Have a great week…..and peace out Maine winter!

Book Review: Wedding Dogs

Two of my favorite things, ever, are weddings and dogs. I spend more time than I like to admit watching wedding shows on TLC. And, ever since we got Nola two years ago, I can’t remember the last time I read a non-dog book. If you put those two things together I am in crazy dog lady/girlie heaven. So, when I was asked to review a book called Wedding Dogs: A Celebration of Holy Muttrimony, I enthusiastically said yes!
weddingdogs_final_72Just reading the description of the book made me giddy.

Wedding Dogs features fabulous photographs and stories of the special canines who joined in the celebration of their owners’ big day. Decked out in tiny tuxedo or collars of roses. the pooches portrayed in Wedding Dogs run the gamut from tiny Chihuahuas to fluffy Siberian huskies; all played an important role in their owners’ nuptials. Whether serving as the maid of honor or best man, ring bearer or flower girl, or even acting as an honorary envelope liker- these dogs steal the show!”

And when I received the book, I was not disappointed. This book is the cutest thing EVER. I loved flipping through the beautiful photographs of people and their dogs. I enjoyed reading the little stories about each wedding day and the unique way the pup was a part of it. I literally smiled the whole time I read it. I mean what’s not to love? It’s dogs and weddings, remember?IMG_3788The Mr. and I got married a little over a year ago. Having Nola there was logistically impossible, but after seeing all these photos it makes me wish we figured out a way to have her in some of our wedding photos. These are memories that people will cherish forever, and why wouldn’t you want ALL of your family to be a part of it?IMG_3791Some of my favorite photos, were of course, the Boxers and the French Bulldogs. But, there were a multitude of breeds represented, including Labs, a couple of Great Danes, some Bichons, and the CUTEST bull dog puppy. It would have been nice to see some smiling pittie faces, but it felt like the ‘bully breeds’ were represented in many of the photos.
IMG_3787If the book isn’t enough, on the website, you can look at more photos that people have uploaded of their wedding dogs. They also have a Facebook page, so if you’re addicted to looking at dogs in wedding attire, head on over there and ‘Like’ them.

This book would be the perfect engagement or wedding shower gift for any dog loving bride. It comes out April 16, just in time for the beginning of the Spring/Summer wedding season! Or, you could just buy it for yourself, it looks pretty great on my coffee table too! I promise you won’t be disappointed. Head on over to Amazon to buy your copy!

P.S. Did any of you have your dogs as part of your wedding? Or at least in the photos?

P.P.S. I was provided the book for free to review, but the opinions in this post are mine, and I was not compensated for the review.