Game Face

If this name sounds familiar, it might be because you took part in our giveaway at the beginning of this year. We featured some amazing SquishyFace Studio products, and talked a little bit about some of the reasons that this company and its founders are so near and dear to our hearts.

Unfortunately, until now we were not able to add any of their toys to the toy-treasure-chest in our home, and I had placed them on the dogs’ Christmas Lists as something we may be able to order at the end of this year. However, luck was smiling down on me because I happened to win an awesome giveaway from SquishyFace just a few weeks ago! I wasted little time and used the generous gift certificate to order a toy bundle, which contains a flirt pole and super tug.

Photo courtesy of SquishyFace Studio

Photo courtesy of SquishyFace Studio

We have our mail delivered to the local post office, and when J. picked up our mail, he said that our friend who works behind the counter was very curious as to what was inside this package. I’m not really sure that I want to know what her guesses may have been!

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As you can see, the dogs were equally as inquisitive. How is it that our dogs always seem to know when something is designated for them?!

DSC_0070 DSC_0071 DSC_0073This is when the fun really began. I have to be honest and say that one reason I’m such a fan of SquishyFace toys, is because TONKA seemed to be enthralled by them. Of course, both girls loved them as well, but they love anything that we get them excited about. Tonka loves to play, but is also the most mature of our group, so he sometimes doesn’t get as worked up for things. However, he could not have been more pumped about these toys. He would. not. stop. playing with them, and even after I put them away, my always-obedient boy climbed up on the counter to get them down. He then slunk over to me, toy in his mouth, with a tiny wag of his tail, like ‘I know I’m not supposed to do that, but can we please keep playing?’ If you can resist his ways, you are a meaner stronger person than I!

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I think I will just let most of the pictures speak for themselves. Except to say, you should really, really add some of these toys to your home! We just love how they not only work your pup’s mind & body, but they also encourage owners to get out and play with their pets, instead of just watching from the sidelines.

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CharlieDog & Friends: L.O.V.E.

“I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!”

-Buddy the Elf (…and Stephanie the Blogger)

Love #1? All of you. Can I just say how awesome our readers are?? You never fail to inspire me with your comments and support and even constructive criticism. This blogging community has become such a treasured and vital part of my life, and I don’t know what I would do without all of you! It is so special to be able to share my passions and find others who can relate.

Love #2: CharlieDog and Friends

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Charliedog and friends is a company that is doing amazing things for the plight of unloved and unwanted animals. Their approach? Start small… as in, with the smallest of animal lovers.

Almost every family experiences the begging and pleading from their children for a new four-legged family member. But what if those children were not pestering for just any pup, but for a shelter dog? I can’t say it any better than they have eloquently described it themselves, so I will be pulling much from their Mission Statement page:

”  Our mission is to help rescue organizations change the way people think about, and go about, getting their family pet.  It’s to make sure the animal shelter is the first (and, hopefully, only) stop on that exciting Saturday afternoon, when children and adults get in the car and set out to find their new best friend, brand-new leash in hand.

We hope every child that loves a CharlieDog toy loves the spirit of that toy, the spirit and the story of the once-homeless pet that inspired it.  And when the day comes — and it will! — to start pestering the parents for a dog or cat, we hope that child will say, “I want a homeless pet.”

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The unique, hand-crafted toys themselves are made in America, and based on real-life shelter and rescued pets, and now they help homeless pets get to their forever homes. In addition to their toys, they make colorful, playful, patterned bracelets that mimic pet collars, simply embroidered with the word ‘Adopt’. Talk about a conversation starter!

67485_474802525912793_176412963_n 549843_466402763419436_1926436812_nThe above pups are real-life rescue dogs Ruko and Adolla, pulled from New York City kill shelters just before their time was up. They continue to do good by touching the lives of children as treasured stuffed animals.
 
Their website calls this pup a little red-nose pit bull from PA... it MUST be Gia, right?!

Their website calls this pup a little red-nose pit bull from PA… it MUST be Gia, right?!

We can’t wait to make a little red pocket pittie addition to our family! (Remind you of anyone?!) As if all of that isn’t enough to send you running to their website to share and make purchases, CD&F isn’t just talking the talk barking the bark… they are also walking (no-pull leashes & harnesses in hand!) the walk in their every-day lives. $5 from each and every purchase goes directly to rescue shelters across the country.

”  We promise never to waste your money.  We’ll pledge to spend it thoughtfully and directly on on-the-ground rescue needs — exactly how we would spend our own money.  Vet care for sick or injured animals.  Transport costs (gas and tolls) for pets who have been rehomed, but have no way there.  Direct sponsorship of individual dogs or cats in shelters.  The people behind CharlieDog and Friends have seen local rescue in action (we volunteer ourselves) and we can tell you: it’s awe-inspiring, and because it’s a job that tears at the heart, it needs constant funding. We’ll never donate to large, bloated animal welfare organizations, that — despite their size, and without a doubt — do good.  Rescues need more help. 

My friend Suzy Allman is the brains, brawn, and (especially inner) beauty behind this amazing group. If you’ve fallen in love as quickly as I did with her heart, which she so openly shares through her words, then show her some love by following her blog and liking their facebook page. She is essentially an angel for animals… not only is she running this amazing yet fledgling company, she is a blogger, writer, NY Times sports photographer, and shelter volunteer, but she also provides free transportation for ‘super urgent’ rescue dogs out of New York shelters in her spare time. Wow.

Perhaps my favorite kernel of light from the CharlieDog website is as follows, because it so closely resembles my own mission when it comes to unwanted animals (here):

”  It’s hard for us to see a homeless animal without thinking of our own pets — safe, warm, loved, living a life that we know they need, and deserve.  It kills us, and we’re not alone.  We’re in the company of millions. CharlieDog and Friends believes we all want the same thing for our animals: a soft place, a loving place, a place where scraps sometimes land on the floor and it’s okay to pick them up with your tongue.  A special spot in the heart of a family.  ”

The dogs in shelters are no different than the dog resting at your feet, guarding your front door, or curled up beside you on the couch. (Cats too!) They deserve the chance to prove that. By supporting CharlieDog and Friends, you are giving those deserving animals the opportunity to find their forever families.

While CharlieDog and Friends is entirely deserving of a post all their own, I will be back tomorrow to talk about how their toys just might pertain to some of you! Stay tuned…