Sunday, June 29, 2014

Happy 7th Birthday Griswold Walter!

Seven years ago today, the snuggle monster that is Griswold Walter (a.k.a Mr. Floppy) was born at ARF

Excuuuuuuuuuuse may!  Dat. Fayssssssss.
He was one of six (I think) puppies that were born at the center.  We had originally looked at Griswold's brother (shhhhh!  Don't tell him), but quickly found out that Griswold was meant for us.  He watched us the entire time we were there.

Griswold is on the tile, eating paper.

I have been saving this Puppy Cake for months!  It's the red velvet kind, and I added a carob-covered strawberry because Griswold appreciates fine desserts.  He wanted that cake so very badly he was shaking and whining something fierce. 

We have been working on the trick "Blow out the candle," (strike that off our bucket list) but it was torturous watching him trying to focus on the trick and the cake at the same time.  But here's what the trick looks like (because I think it's super-cute, but when aren't dogs cute?).

We didn't throw a party or anything for Griswold's birthday. The boys' BarkBox (click on the link to receive 10% off AND a box will be donated to charity) subscription has supplied us with plenty of treats and toys.  Although, I really wanted to make this I-have-no-words-for-how-adorable-this-idea-is from Pretty Fluffy.  We just might have to have an unbirthday party.

I'm finally starting to get into the summer swing (or summer slide perhaps is more appropriate) which has me to the point where I'm ready to delve into some crafties for Gris and Coop.  They just threw me a wicked side eye (my husband did too).  Hoping to have one posted by the end of the week!

Happy Birthday Mr. Gris!  We love your face!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Summertime Summertime Sum Sum Summertime!

It's been a hot minute, hasn't it?! I've come to the realization that quality blogging is a full-time endeavor or for people that are crazy organized.  I'm obviously not one of those people.  But, I can taste the end of the school year and that means I'll have some opportunies to get myself together and spend time with my boobaloos; I'm hoping my biggest concern will be how many episodes of Orange is the New Black I can fit in before I change from day pajamas into night pajamas #teamdontcare.  

The hubs is back home, so I'm happy to have my p.i.c back.  This summer we plan (or at least I plan and hopefully he goes for it) to spend quality time together.  That has me thinking about some of the activities we can partake in with the boys, since we obviously love having them with us at all times possible.  Time to break out the Doggles! Here's my Hot Dog Bucket List (see what I did there? Since it's summer and it's hot...and we're talking about dogs... No? Okay.)

Go out on a boat or sightseeing tour
Go geocaching (hoping to create some new trackables)
Go for ice cream (Dumser's is dog-friendly. Also, some shaved ice flavors are safe for dogs in small amounts)
Have a brewski (Just went to TallTales for the first time and they just opened a beautiful outdoor patio that is dog friendly)
Go to the beach
Go to a Bark at the Park
Teach a new trick
Go to a drive-in (if we can find one!)

I think that's a good place to start.  Of course binge-watching goes without saying.  

Also, I wanted to mention that Griswold donated two of the photos he took with his collar cam to the Worcester County Developmental Center for their "Art for Friends Sake" silent auction and was able to raise some money for this wonderful agency!  They recently launched a soap making business that should be available for purchase online soon.  But take it from me, they smell amazing! They are glycerine-based, so that means low foam (which I like because they rinse clean).  I'll see what I can do about having them branch out into the pet world ;)

What kind of summer activities do you have planned for your pooch? Did I miss any activity that's on your list?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Treat Yo... Dogs (did someone say TREAT?) for Love Your Pet Day

One of my favorite episodes of Parks and Rec is when Tom and Donna teach Ben how important it is to “Treat Yo Self.”  Regardless of your job, or even lifestyle if you don’t have a traditional j-o-b, there is bound to be stress.  And although a specific event or situation (or person, yikes!) to place the blame on for causing all that anxiety may somehow be comforting, I’ve come to terms with the fact that regardless of my love life, housing situation, and bank account something’s going to run me ragged.  So I treat myself.  This usually ends me up in the Target home section or (and hiding bags/boxes from my husband shhh).  But it doesn’t have to be that serious.  Taking some extra time to do my hair or make up in the morning (so I don’t look a usual hot mess) is something that makes me feel good.  And one of my favorite places to be?  On the couch with the boys.

Which brings me to my focus.  I’m sure you’ve seen that quote floating around, probably on some adorable, pull-at-your-heartstrings rescue dog meme saying something along the lines of “who rescued who?”  My two little guys have brought so much cohesion to our lives.  Griswold and Coop have such different personalities and teach me life lessons all the time.  Griswold has taught me the importance of not wasting food.  Or how a good snuggle and nap can really help to reset things.  Coop has taught me that not everyone likes a good snuggle all the time; being by yourself is okay.  It’s not just going outside or a car ride, it’s an adventure!  Who likes to roll in poop?!  (okay no.  That’s never okay.  But sometimes it’s fun to get a little dirty).  I’ll tell you, when I take out the trash and come back inside, the love I get makes me feel genuinely valued.  “Yes!  I AM awesome!  Hells yeah you should’ve missed me in that 23 seconds I was gone!"

So.  Since I’m responsible for t-r-e-a-t-ing the dogs (Gris can probably spell at this point), how do I do that in a way that isn’t going to leave them obese, traumatized (pampering a dog in ways like giving it a nice bubble bath or doing its nails isn’t exactly equivalent to a human experience), or with stuffing guts all over my living room?  I spend time with them.  My favorite bonding activity is to teach them tricks.  Gris is more into this than Coop, but sometimes Coop really loves to participate too.  They love to go to the park (taking a car ride to the park is nirvana in their opinion) and sniff (and pee on) everything.  Griswold loves to play catch.  Coop likes to find himself snuggled in the crook of my knees when I’m lying on the couch.  And having his belly rubbed.

Maybe your dog likes to be brushed or play hide and seek.  Take a long hike.  Sit at a dog friendly cafĂ©.  Whatever it is, pamper your furkid by spending time with him/her.  I love this wall art by Primitives by Kathy. 
Life is short.  And I, as a pet parent (certainly not a dog owner… who owns who for reals?), want to make the most out of what I have in this moment.  It’s pretty easy to postpone or even push aside spending that extra twenty minutes outside watching your dog eat bugs or grass (hopefully not poop).  I try to be conscious of these little things and savor the time we have together. I am the one responsible for being there for my guys for their entire lives.  Talk about pressure!  So believe me, throughout that ultimately too-short time, I am more than happy to make an attempt at reciprocating the excitement and love they give me.  Although, I will draw the line at sniffing butts.

To get you started, here’s a super-cute video by Kristen Crestijo to show your dog how much he/she is appreciated by teaching them to give you a hug.  Post-Valentine’s-love-your-pet squee!  Check out her YouTube channel for more bond-building tricks and tips.

Oh.  And our iFetch came in today!  BO-NUS best dog mom award :)  

Have a wonderful day with your furkid (all kinds included)!  The best day of the year!  What are some of the things you do to treat your pets? Gris and Coop are looking for ideas...

This post was inspired by Personal Creations and the Pampered Pups Project

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Puppy Bowl X

Have you ever heard of the website House Party?  If not, do yourself a favor and give it a peep.  You sign up to host parties sponsored by various companies (yes.  I said party and sponsored.  As if I need an excuse!).  It's not an automatic guarantee that you host; companies are specific about the demographic they want to target.  Well, I guess we fit the target this time around because we got chosen to host the bestest of parties - the holy grail of doggie entertainment - THE PUPPY BOWL!  Holla!  So what happens when you get picked is you wait what seems like 98735023923508 days to get your party pack (actually, it came only like a week or two after I found out we were chosen, I just have no patience).

In the meantime, you send out your little e-vites, get your banging menu planned, and spend way too much money at places like Party City and Oriental Trading for your doggie bags.  Actually, I bought most of my stuff at the Dollar Tree.

I knew I wanted to make bandanas, so I just cut out squares for small, medium, and large sizes (small was 6", medium was 8", and large was 10" if I recall correctly).  Then I just folded them into triangles - right sides together, left a space from the top fold (an inch to about an inch and a half depending on the size) and stitched the edges together, sewing pretty close (probably about 1/8th to the edge).  After that I flipped them to the right side through the opening that I left.  Sewed a straight line from the bottom of the opening to the other side for the collar to fit through and around the bottom edges so they laid flat.  Last step was an inkjet iron-on transfer to make it official.

When our party pack came, Griwold must've known there was something in there for him.

He believed it was the Twizzlers.

I ended up making some doggie toys because, of course, I wanted to color coordinate with the Animal Planet colors.  I was able to buy a two yards of fleece fabric on sale for $5 a yard.  So I spent $10 on homemade toys, was able to get at least 16 toys out of it, and still had material left over (I ended up buying another green shade).  Instead of making a traditional rope-like chew, I wove the fleece strips.  You remember the gimp craze?! Yaaaas.  My third grade self was so impressed.  Here's what I did:

Lanyard Chew Toy and Pouf (below)

Your Hands
About 15 minutes or so

Fold your fleece in half across the top.  You should be left with about a 22 - 30 inch wide piece depending on the width of your fabric (mine was 60 inches).  Measure about 1.5 - 2 inches across the bottom.  Cut down to the edge.  You will be left with a strip that is 60 x 1.5 inches when it is open.

Cut one of one color and one of the other.  After you have your two long strips, fold them in thirds.  I folded each edge into the middle and fiddled with the fabric until it was even.  Then cut the edges.  You will have three strips (six total) of each color.  You will only need four for this project, two of each color.

Take the four strips and pull them gently so they kinda stretch out.  The edges will curl in.  It'll be fine , I promise.  Holding all four strips together evenly, tie a knot at the front, leaving about a two inch tail.

Now the fun part.  You're going to start weaving.  This is pretty easy, the worst part, as any seasoned gimp artist knows, is getting the weave started.  Choose one of the colors and arrange them so they are folded over your fingers like the picture below.

See how the loops are on opposite sides?  Take your contrasting color and start your under-over weave.  You want the "under" part to match up with the loop side of your first color, not where the long tail is.  It'll make sense when you do this because when you try to pull it tight, (like I did no less than 481 times and still couldn't understand) it will fall apart.

Gently tug on each strand until you have something like below.  I folded the raw edges in to help it look a little cleaner, but it's really not that big of a deal.

Repeat the weave until you have about three inches left, then you're going to make your other knot.  Trim the tassel edges so they are even. Easy.  And drool absorbent.

The other toy I made was inspired by a Martha Stewart Pets item I saw at PetSmart for way too much money.  $9?!  Oh hells to the naw.  Not only being broke, but stubborn to boot, I was confident I could make my own.

I measured the large piece of fleece to be 9x12.  Again, one piece of yellow, one of green.  Then I folded the piece in half (hot dog style) and cut down the edge.  So you'll have four pieces total.

Fold each piece in half again and cut about every inch or so, being SUPER careful NOT to cut the folded edge (I left about a half inch before the edge).  We're just sort of snipping here.

You'll have a total of four muppet-looking pieces.  Yours will most likely not have as much dog hair on them as mine.

Stack each piece on top of each other as evenly as possible.  You could alternate colors or put a different color on the outside.  Whatever you fancy.

Sew down the middle of your muppet stack with a small zigzag stitch.

Tightly roll one short edge of the fleece to the other.

Then take a double strand of yard or embroidery floss (which is what I used) and sew the edge to the middle.

After your edge is secured (you want to go through it quite a bit, this will be in a dog's mouth), start forming a puff ball.  If you've ever made a puff ball with yarn, you know you have to trim the edges even to make it full.  I did the same with these.  Keep on going until you're satisfied with the way it looks.  Maybe not Martha quality, but for something that will end up ripped in 4.3 seconds, an inexpensive alternative (I was able to make at least 10 for about the price of the toy).  You can see this finished pouf in our doggie-bag-wag-bag below.

And now, for the pictures.  This party was SO much fun to plan for.  The Puppy Bowl X graphics were provided on the House Party website.

Supplies for the photo booth

Accidents happen

Found this idea on Pinterest.  Just search for "dog rolls" and it should pop up.  Used a standard hamburger bun recipe.

Dirt pudding.  Yum!

Temporary tattoos that were in our party pack

Thank goodness for the dollar store.
Griswold, the official phodographer on duty and referee

And now for Griswold's photos

Getting his photo taken in the Photo Booth

Eating a cheese curl snatched from my dad

Trying to mack on some foodstuffs
Thank you so much to House Party and Animal Planet for the awesome excuse to pawty!  Did you have a celebration for the big game?  What kind of activities do you plan to keep the dogs engaged?