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.

nolasnood4


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?

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Sargent’s First Public Appearance

This weekend Ken Foster, author of “I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet” was in Portland at a local dog supply store signing his book. Jessica, of Notes from a Dog Walker and DINOS fame, invited me to bring Sarge to get him some exposure. I, of course, could not turn down an invitation to hang out with two celebrities AND get my foster out and about, so we gladly accepted.

image from: http://www.petside.com/article/pit-bull-book-review

First of all, the book is awesome. Even if you are just a dog lover, and not necessarily a pittie addict like me, you will enjoy the beautiful photographs and lovely stories. Ken was great to meet in person. He is from New Orleans, so I told him about our Nola and how she was named after the Crescent City. He took tons of photos of the Sarge-meister and signed my book!

Ken, Sarge and I

Ken, Sarge and I

Second of all, the title of Ken’s book summed up how the experience went with Sarge. He.was.awesome. Like amazingly awesome. It was hard for him to sit still in the store, there were just too many things to smell and look at.
IMG_4202This was especially true when he discovered the box full of 14 inch bully sticks- his FAVORITE thing ever. He was in heaven. I, not so much, as it took all my might and tons of cheese to get his face out of the box.
IMG_4204Since Sarge seemed to be too much of a shop-a-holic in the store, we spent a majority of the time outside of the store entrance on the sidewalk. The store is located on Commercial Street, one of the busiest streets in the city as it is the beginning of the Old Port Shopping district and the only street that runs parallel to the ocean. Being the day before Mother’s Day is seemed like the sidewalks were extra busy. And big ol’ Sarge, with his almost too small ‘adopt me’ vest on, attracted crowds like it was his job. I personally think it is the combination of his size XL white head, black eye-liner raccoon eyes, and his always wagging kinked tail. People came up from behind him, little kids put their hands in his face, and people bent down right at eye level to him, and through it all he was cool as a cucumber.

Sarge got some treats from a visitor.

Sarge got some treats from a visitor.

Team Sarge!

Team Sarge!

I gave him a bully at one point when the crowd was light and he happily chomped away on the sidewalk. Even when people came up to him while he was eating it, he didn’t mind at all. (I did end up taking it when people came up to him, I just didn’t want to risk any resource guarding since he loves his bullies.)
IMG_4195 IMG_4191Jessica stood outside with us and was awesome to talk to! It is so nice to have someone so knowledgeable as her to ask advice in person. She was so gracious about answering my 50,000 questions about fostering, rescue and how best to market Mr. Sarge to potential adopters. And as if I didn’t know it already, she could not stop saying how wonderful Sargent was. She reminded me that this was a hard environment to be in for any dog, with tons of distractions, strollers, cars, bikes you name it. My old guy was handling it like a pro.

We stayed about an hour and a half, and he probably could stayed longer, but I wanted to leave on a high note. I was so proud of the old guy, he handled himself like a distinguished gentleman. I gave out a bunch of cards with his info on them and talked about him a lot. I’m not sure we’ll get any serious inquiries, but it doesn’t matter. Just knowing that he does so well in these situations made the day worth it. It was a great event for Sarge, and selfishly, I was so happy to spend time with Jessica and to meet Ken. It was a win-win for both of us!
IMG_4207Oh, and Sarge was exhausted after. He was asleep 2.5 second after we got back to the car.

If you want to add a cool, calm and collected pup to your family, Sarge is your man! Fill out an adoption application with BURN or check out his Pet Finder profile.

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).
DSC_0670

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.

Nola Muffin Monday: How I Spent Easter

Hey Everyone! Mom hasn’t let me blog in a long time. She says she’s been busy, and if busy means not being home very much than she has been VERY busy. But, she was home this weekend because it was Easter. I’m not really sure why we celebrate Easter, but I got to do some fun things anyway. First, and not very much fun, Mom made me pose with stupid rabbit ears on. They were heavy and I didn’t like them much, but I got lots of treats if I sat there, so I did.
DSC_0165DSC_0191 DSC_0201Then when I decided we were done, I took the ears and ran around all silly in the backyard. THAT was fun!
DSC_0199 DSC_0204 DSC_0205 DSC_0206 DSC_0211We also got to go to the beach. I wish there was still snow there, I love running in the dunes with the snow. Mom seemed to be happy it was warm and she didn’t have to put her boots on. The water was really low so I had LOTS of beach to play on.
IMG_3843

Really?! I have to sit and pose again?

Really?! I have to sit and pose again?

I also explored the little pools of water. I saw this little creature moving all funny so I went to check it out. Mom started yelling “Leave it!” just when I got close enough to sniff it. I don’t know what the big deal was, but she gave me a treat for being a good dog and listening to her and not touching it.
IMG_3850Then, later in the afternoon we played ‘find it’! ‘Find it’ is my FAVORITE game. Usually we play it with Teri in the big blue room or in our basement, but today we played outside. Mom filled these round things with chicken and put them in the yard for me to find. She said she stole borrowed the idea from Athena’s mom at Pitlandia. (Hi Athena! Thanks for having such a smart mom so mine can get ideas from her!)
DSC_0218 DSC_0216 DSC_0230DSC_0252At first I wasn’t sure how to get the chicken out. Then I realized if I used my paw enough it broke and out popped the yummies!
DSC_0258 DSC_0250 DSC_0242 DSC_0223 DSC_0227DSC_0266Easter must be really special because on top of all that other fun stuff, Mom and Dad  made ham and I got to have a few bites! (But only when I sat nicely on my mat.) So, to recap: I got treats, went to the beach, played ‘find it,’ ate chicken, then ate ham. Best.day.ever.

DSC_0159Hope you all enjoyed Easter as much as I did!

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.