Two Dogs, One Bone… or something like that

Like any good dog-owning household, we have been long time proponents of durable chew toy options including bully sticks and antlers. However, as much as we wanted to maintain these toys in our weekly rotation, we just couldn’t get around the high prices at which most of these toys are offered.

You may remember our post last week, where we wrote about the outdoor festival we attended while visiting family in Virginia. Dogs and their owners were one of the most common customers at this event, and so it should come as no surprise that there were a hand full of canine-centered vendors in attendance. The most notable of these was a booth for Best Bully Sticks.

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At the Dominion Riverrock event

When we walked up to the booth, we were greeted by friendly and knowledgeable dog lovers, standing behind deep buckets full of every array of natural, safe, and durable dog treat, toy, and chew that you could imagine! We made our selections (three EXTRA LARGE elk antlers, a giant braided bully stick, a kangaroo tendon, and a stuffed gullet, as well as a few small all-natural dog treats) and were astounded when they told us the price… $36! We have seen elk antlers of similar size go for $20 EACH, so we were so pleased to receive so much value for our money.

Frog legs... the go-to pose in our home for optimal elk antler destruction.

Frog legs… the go-to pose in our home for optimal elk antler destruction.

The dogs were so pleased with our selections, and we were so happy with the minimal effect on our wallets, that we went back the next day for more!

This is about the best view we can get of the antlers, as the dogs hate to give them up!

This is about the best view we can get of the antlers, as the dogs hate to give them up!

"You're not gonna tryen take this, right?"

“Yur not gonna tryen take this, wight?”

The more time I spend researching the company, the more pleased I am, and the more I want to support what they do. They take every effort to make sure that their products are going to earn and retain your loyalty… by only selling the kinds of items that they would happily offer to their own pets! They set themselves apart from the competition by pledging that their products are never chemically-treated, and therefore remain genuinely all-natural… they are even FDA/USDA approved. They also take their reputation a step further by offering financial support to a variety of animal charities.

Shown at about half its original size... the coveted elk antler

Shown at about half its original size… the coveted elk antler

Check out Best Bully Sticks on their website, where your order is eligible for a 5% discount if you like their facebook page. You and your pups will both be glad that you did!

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I received no compensation for this post, and wrote it of my own volition as a happy BBS customer!

 

Dogs and their Dapper Duds

We have blogged about Sirius Republic collars a few times now. Most notably, here and here. But finally, finally, we are able to introduce our own pups, and their spiffy collar choices! Drum rolllllll… (Please, no flash photography, and hold your applause until the end.)

Gia Sue, looking pretty in paisley!

Gia Sue, looking pretty in paisley!

Tonka Tue, our dapper dude in this manly selection.

Tonka Tue, our dapper dude in this manly selection.

And then there was one…

Yes, that really is the best I could do...

Geege Louise. Yes, that really is the best we could do…

But at least her collar is cute, right?

While I had pretty high expectations while anticipating the arrival of the dogs’ new duds, I was even more pleasantly surprised than I thought I would be. The quality of these collars just can’t be described, but I will do my best. The patterns are bright and bold, and the collars themselves are much thicker than they appear, backed with nylon. I expect that this will enable them to be worn for months to come. In addition, they were perfectly sized to each of our pups’ unique measurements. I am so thrilled with our purchase and the customer service that I am already looking forward to the day when we will need additional collars, just so that I can return to Sirius Republic… the hardest part of the whole process was making our selections!

You may also have noticed their unique and eye-catching custom tags. You can find them at Sew Olive. We adore them… and think they pair perfectly with the Sirius collars.

“The Best Gift Ever”

You may remember that during our fundraiser, we introduced our readers to the genius and adorable-ness (what? This is my blog… I can make up words if I want!) that is Yellow Brick Home. If not, you can check out the post here.

Yellow Brick Home is a dynamic duo of a husband and wife team. Kim is the artist behind these masterpieces, that feature the mugs of YOUR precious pets. That’s right… utilizing photos of your fur-children, along with detailed descriptions of their personalities and past-times, she creates one-of-a-kind works of art to encapsulate all that you know and love about your pet. Okay, they aren’t exactly cuddly and squeezable, as they are painted on wooden blocks… but seriously people, we are talking minute attention to detail and incredibly intricate work! Painted with whimsical creativity and bright, bold backgrounds, Kim has a knack for capturing the adorable antics that set our pets out from the rest of the pack. Don’t believe me? See what I mean… and try to spot some of your blogging favorites!

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We… well, I… have been wanting to commission some portraits of our pups for quite some time now. Of course, I was strategically hoping to find a way for this to be a ‘gift’ as well; you know, a two dogs, one bone kinda thing. What better time than Foster Dad’s birthday?!

DSC_0017For budgeting reasons, we chose the smallest size, but you really can’t go wrong with any choice! (They are available in 4×4, 6×6, or 8×8 blocks) We can’t wait to add more to our collection!

This gift was a 100% surprise for Foster Dad… which, if you know me in real life, is so rare. I can’t lie, can’t tell a fib, and certainly can’t resist spoiling a good surprise! I L-O-V-E selecting gifts, about 10x more than I love receiving them. So sometimes the anticipation of giving that perfect gift is just TOO MUCH for me to bare, and I end up letting the dog out of the crate, so to speak. But this time, it was just too good… I may have dropped some hints here and there, but it is safe to say that Foster Dad was legitimately surprised! (Don’t mind the fact that I made him open all of his presents on Friday night, when his birthday wasn’t actually until Monday… that’s just what I like to call stretching out the celebration, people!) He may have even shed a tear or two, but don’t tell him I told you that! Gaige is his little baby, after all.

Of course, what portrait of Gaige would be complete without her big red ball?

I think it’s safe to say that Gaige approves…

Of course, what portrait of Gaige would be complete without her big red ball? And if you look closely, you will even notice the slight white roaning across her back. It’s our girl!

I am telling you… run, don’t walk, over to The Pet Shop to place your order. You will be so glad that you did!

Thank you so so much, Kim! We just adore your work. This will be a treasured keepsake for years to come… J already told me that it is his ‘fire thing’. (You know, the one thing you’d grab if there was a fire and all living beings had been safely removed from the home. How special!) Did I mention that Kim had this to us well BEFORE the estimated delivery date? I told you she was the best…

Practice Makes Perfect

During our trip to visit my parents in Virginia last weekend, we were ‘forced’ to walk the dogs on-leash, as they live in a busy community neighborhood.

Look at that tired pup!

Look at that tired pup!

We look at our living arrangements as such a blessing… we live on a piece of property that is blissfully large and safe enough that we can walk and exercise the dogs off-leash most times. However, this trip brought us the realization that when you live in (or visit!) a place that requires you to walk your dogs on-leash, you are faced with a great opportunity to work on training each day. In some cases, the dogs in this circumstance may actually be receiving more exercise and interaction, than those who are just let out the door to a fenced in backyard, unsupervised.

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During our walk, a little white dog ran out from one of the yards, across the street, and up to our dogs. The owner was calling her (“Cookie!”) but she was not interested! Thankfully, J jumped in front of the Jeep that was headed straight for her, and was able to grab her collar. We were so proud of our dogs for reacting quietly and politely, even as the little dog would bark in their faces and run away, only to repeat the process!

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We really enjoyed the opportunity to share some focused training time together with our dogs, and were so impressed by how quickly they were able to refresh their polite leash-walking skills.

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Tonka found a souvenir on our walk!

Do you walk your dog(s) on-leash on a regular basis? Is it out of necessity, or because you realize the importance of these skills? How would your dog handle a change in the routine, or an impolite dog disrupting their walk?

Are we the only weirdos that go to the gym while on vacation??

Are we the only weirdos that go to the gym while on vacation??

Welcome Home

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that we traveled out of town this weekend. You also know that we took Tonka & Gaige. Thankfully, my parents are dog lovers, and always treat our pooches like their grandchildren. (Read: Spoiled. Rotten.) However, in their brand new house in a gated community (without a fenced-in yard!) it isn’t the best place for all THREE of their grandpuppies. On top of that, neither of our vehicles are quite large enough to comfortably accommodate three dogs, two people, and all of our belongings, on a 6+ hour drive. Out of the three dogs, Gia is the one that can become most stressed out in new situations, so we have always felt that she would be most comfortable staying in her normal surroundings here at her home with our close friends.

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

A snuggly puppy makes cramped quarters less comfy... but exponentially more adorable!

A snuggly puppy makes cramped quarters less comfy… but exponentially more adorable!

All of that has always been true, until this trip… poor girl lost. her. mind. when we left without her. 😦 She was barking and crying and scratching at her kennel after seeing us loading up the truck with our bags and being left in her kennel without Gaige in the one right beside her. Babygirl was not happy… and of course, then neither was I. We’re talking crocodile tears here… how could I leave her when she was so visibly upset?

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving more than one dog here for our friends to watch. The girls have had a tendency to try to wander off lately, even when I’m right there calling them to come back… we need to work on our recalls! The spring bunnies in the yard are just more tempting than anything that I can offer. Because of that, I have been leashing them more often than not, and I just feel like two dogs with shakey recalls is too much to ask of a friend/pet-sitter. We are getting closer to being able to purchase and install a fence, but that hasn’t happened yet. So I left Gia content with a delicious frozen Kong, and made my way hesitantly out the door… armed with constant contact from my friend, who offered regular photos and updates to keep me from feeling too guilty or heart sick.

These are a few of the photos they sent me <3

These are a few of the photos they sent me ❤

0516132030As hard as it was for all of us to be away from our girl, it was all worth it when we came home… when I came to her kennel, little lady just stared out at me in disbelief! It was like she hadn’t thought we were ever coming back 😦 Once she realized that it was really me, she gave me the most enthusiastic welcome home that I’ve ever received… wags and kisses and paws were all flying!

Life has returned to normal here in the AFM5 household (aside from the flu bug I brought home as a souvenir from our trip. Ugh!) All of this has left me with a lot of thoughts, and a driving passion to start something that has been on my mind and heart for a little while… I know that I sound a bit cryptic, but I promise I will share more with all of you as the process continues! Until then, I want to know:

1) What do you do with your pets when you travel? Do they go along with you, stay in their own home, or visit a fun place?

2) If you opt to have someone else stay with your dog, what are your non-negotiables? What requirements do you have?

3) What are some services, skills, or experiences that you wish your dog sitter or kennel offered?

4) What is your budget for your pet’s care when you are away?

5) What is the best experience you have had with trusting someone to care for your pet, and why? Did it keep you coming back?

6) What is the worst experience you have had in trusting someone to watch your pet, and why? How did you handle it?

I really appreciate any and all input that you can share with me!

Wordless Wednesday: Pocket Pittie Snuggles

IMG_2957Check out this little cutie! ❤ We sent surprise packages out last week, filled with our Charliedog & Friends pocket pitties, to some very lucky friends!

In love with this little lady? Read her special story on her mama’s blog: The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood