Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dog Mom Confession: Sometimes I Am Scared of My Dog

(I was very inspired by this post over at My Brown Newfies.  Jen decided that 2015 is going to be a year of honesty, sharing with her readers her real beliefs and why she stands for them.  I love this, and it got me to thinking:  There are quite a few things I haven't shared here that are very relevant to the dog-blogging world.  I haven't shared them because I am afraid.  Because I am ashamed.  And I want to move on from that.  Here's to honesty!)

Riley is a sweetheart.  Let me just say that up front.  His favorite thing in the world is snuggling, and when one of us is sick, he never leaves our side.

I was sick, and Riley laid next to me on the pillow all night.


We are never entirely sure what he might do.  I suppose you don't ever know what a dog might do - they are animals, after all, and I think sometimes we forget that.  But seeing my dog go after another dog, snarling and teeth bared, is not an image I am likely to forget.  This has happened so far three times that I know of, and as a consequence, Riley is not allowed at any family gatherings where there might be dogs.

This is Riley's exact expression when around other dogs. 

He has also growled at my 5-year-old niece...repeatedly and for long amounts of time.  Though Riley is kept in a back bedroom if she ever visits, I still hate the fact that my niece is afraid of my dog.

Something also happened that I haven't been wanting to admit - Riley bit me.  I was just getting ready to start working out, and Riley was laying on the couch in his usual pose, curled up on his side.  Now, as all you dog lovers know, a cuddly dog can be pretty irresistible, and I couldn't help myself - I had to snuggle him!  As I did so, I took a deep noseful of that doggie smell - don't act like you don't do the same! - imitating the snuff-snuff-snuff sound Riley does when he is sniffing us.

I mean, just try not cuddling this.  Just try!

I don't know why - I was just being silly, I guess.  But Riley had been sleeping deeper than I thought, and I suppose he thought there was another dog sniffing at him.  Whatever the case, he snarled and lunged for the side of my face.  It all happened very fast, and had I not turned my head in time, I have no doubt the bite could have drawn blood or done some damage.  As it was, he had only grazed my temple.

I collapsed on the floor and sobbed, loud and drawn-out, like I had just lost my best friend - in a way, in that moment, I thought I had.  Riley just stared at me, tilting his head at my crazy noises; I don't think he had any idea what was going on.  I had a goose-egg on the side of my head for a week that was tender to the touch; any time I would brush my fingers over it, I would wince and remember that terrifying growl in my ear.

Of course I still love Riley...of course he is still my best friend.  But there's always something in the back of my head that warns me to be careful around him, to watch what I do.  I feel so guilty that something in me is frightened of my sweet boy, and I have to say, I am kind of wary of admitting it to my readers.

Not Riley...just another mommy-biter! ;)

But what do you do?  What do you do if your beloved pet hurts you?  If anyone has any of their own stories/"dog mom confessions", I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Furry Valentine

It's Valentine's Day tomorrow, and who better to pamper than your beloved pet?  Of course we spoil them rotten on every other day - as it should be!  But I think it's fun to bring your dog or cat a little special treat, since you'll probably be getting something for your significant other anyway.  And let's face it...our pets make the best Valentines ever!


What dog doesn't love the long loofah dog toy?!  This Valentine's Day edition is especially cute.  Riley tends to destroy these within a few days, but he sure has fun doing it!

The Kong brand just keeps pumping out new and awesome toys for pets, and this owl treat dispenser toy is no exception!  Keeps dogs busy and occupied, while at the same time massages their gums and cleans their teeth.


Riley loves Beneful Baked Delights, and how cute is this heart-shaped package made to look like a box of (forbidden to pets, of course!) chocolates?  If Riley is taking medication, I like to smush the pill into the filling on top of each treat - works surprisingly well!

Blue Bones mini dog bones are one of Riley's favorite snacks to keep him occupied while we get ready for bed at night.   They last quite a long time and leave his breath smelling fresh.


This luxe Henri Bendel dog bowl is, yes, a bit over the top...but I can't get over those gorgeous gold accents!  Any dog who eats from this bowl is one pampered pooch indeed!

Is your dog a food-gulper?  Gift him with this bright green slow feeder, and fix that problem once and for all.

Comfy Stuff

You all know that PrideBites is an amazing company, and their customized blankets are super soft and comfy.  Who wouldn't want a fleece blanket with their pets' face/name on it?!

I love the Snuggle Sack Pet Bed!  It can be used for dogs and cats, and its unique design allows for four different types of beds.  Whether your pet is a nester, a snuggler, or just likes to sprawl out, this bed has you covered.

For Cats

I have never seen a cat tree in such a unique pod shape!   Not only is it pleasing to the eye, it's also made from comfy fleece and all-natural materials.

Just for Fun

I admit that the reviews on this product are a little meh, but it seems like such a neat idea!  This is a water fountain for dogs designed to release fresh water only when the easy-to-push pad is pressed.  It looks to be pretty durable and sturdy, and it would definitely be fun for a dog on hot summer days!

This Etsy shop has all sorts of fun bowtie designs made from laser-cut wood.   Sure to turn your dog or cat into a dapper gentleman!

I can't resist an adorable pet teepee!  Designed for both dogs and cats, the canvas tent is easy to assemble and comes with a pillow.  So cute!!

What did Riley get??

The Martha Stewart line at PetSmart is chock full of springy stuff for dogs.  It was tough for us not to walk away with a full cart, but we ended up with this super handsome gingham shirt for Riley.  It comes with a Velcro front and chambray bowtie, and it fits our guy perfectly!

Kol's Notes alerted me to the fact that Pound Puppies are back and are now dog toys!  I had a ton of these as a kid, so when I saw them at PetSmart, I knew Riley needed one.  We chose the Poodle, which looks the most like him.  Riley adores his new toy (you can tell by the shade of dirty beige it's already turning!) - he has started hiding it in Jared's closet at his enemies can't get to it?  Who knows...dogs are wonderfully weird :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine's Day Gifts for Animal Lovers

My husband likes to joke that while he used to buy me clothes/jewelry/shoes as gifts, now everything seems to be centered around animals.  And it's true:  Every single gift I received for my birthday last year somehow involved pets!  I am more than happy with this, as there seem to be more and more adorable doggie products and clothing items every day.  Here's what's on my list of things I love lately:

(Left to right, from upper left corner)
1.  Itty bitty paw earrings - just $7.99 from Shopko!
2.  Sneaky Cat Keds - $55, designed by Taylor Swift
3.  Cuddle Clone - custom stuffed animal made to look just like your pet...I've been wanting to order one for ages!!
4.  "Got One Friend in my Pocket" bag - $39.99 from ModCloth; this adorable messenger bag also comes in Sloth, Fox, and Cat!!  
5.  Dog-print scarf - $14.99 from Peace.Love.Paws and comes in all sorts of fun colors
6.  "Cockapoo at the Beach" print - $12.50 from DJ Rogers' Etsy shop; I ADORE artist DJ Rogers, who paints all sorts of beautiful things featuring many different breeds.  I would be delighted to receive any of his prints, but this happy Cockapoo reminds me of Riley :)
7.  "Love Paw" necklace - $39.00 and so cute!
8.  A stay at the pet-friendly (and luxurious) California Rosewood Cordevalle - Dogs receive their own beds, food, and treats upon arrival, and dog sitting and walking services are offered!  Many outdoor dining opportunities are offered, and for an extra fee, you can purchase a pet package including special surprises for you and your pup (pictured above in bottom right corner).

Is your special someone getting you a pet-centric Valentine this year??  (Tune in tomorrow for Valentine's day gifts for your pets!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Instagram Puppy Love

In addition to following (and loving!) all you fellow bloggers on Instagram, I also follow several pups that I just adore.  Click the links to check them all out - I'm sure you'll fall in love too!!

The Dogist, a canine version of the Humans of New York photographer, posts frequent amazing photos of city dogs.

Look at this lil' guy!  Norbert is a 3-lb therapy pup with his own book series. (photo from here)

The goblintheboston Instagram account features Goblin (a Boston terrier with beautiful eyes), Fiona (a bluenose Pitty), and Zane (an Anatolian Shepherd).  Three of the most photogenic pups ever!

Casper & Stitch are two Pekingese who were on "death row" at a kill shelter..before their lucky family rescued them!

Not hard to recognize this face - it's Marnie, the senior rescue who rubs shoulders with celebrities like Taylor Swift and Sam Smith!  (I own a t-shirt, a calendar, and a bumper sticker featuring this gal!) (Photo from here)

Beautiful Beatrix is a King Charles who hails from Canada - she is such a pretty dog and is always up to something adorable.

Trust me when I say you will love Uncle Samsung.  He is a 14-year-old Pekingese/Shih Tzu mix who has a best friend...a bird named Geegee! (Photo from here)

Who is your "doggie crush" on Instagram??

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Can Authors PLEASE Stop Perpetuating Pit Bull Stereotypes?!

Two of my greatest loves are dogs (duh!) and books.  If I have time, I tear through books like crazy, and every shelf in our house is positively sagging with heavy novels and memoirs.  Choosing between dogs and books would be like Sophie's Choice for me - I'm not sure I could live without either of them.  So when one of my loves (books) insults my other love (dogs), I am almost personally offended.

I can't even keep track of how many times I have run across a pit bull metaphor in a book.  Often it will be in a crime or mystery novel, where a particularly tough cop is referred to as a "pit bull".  Other times, a character will hold on to an object with the "ferocity of a pit bull".  Most recently, it was a memoir all about voluntourism - the book is otherwise fantastic, yet the author mentioned his wife clenching down on ideas "like a pit bull and never let[ting] them go."  Come on!  Lately, it makes me want to throw the book across the room!

That big pittie smile - so "ferocious", right?! 

How are intelligent, street-smart adults still perpetuating these antiquated ideas?!  Pit bulls are not the vicious creatures the media makes them out to be, and if these authors did any sort of research at all- which I'm sure they don't skimp on for other parts of the book - they would know this!  Writers, take note:  This breed is incredibly misunderstood.  Their jaws do not, in fact, lock or clench onto things any more than other breeds' do, and they are not an inherently aggressive breed.

It baffles me that educated people still seem to believe these myths.  All of these authors - whether knowingly or not - are only further perpetuating the stereotypes that the media seems to so enjoy.  With one simple sentence, they could be setting us back years in our fight against Breed-Specific Legislation and breed ignorance.  With just one stupid metaphor or simile, their readers are encouraged to believe that bully breeds are tough and mean, with jaws like vice grips.  This is wrong!!

One of the sweetest girls I've ever known <3

If I was to use a pittie-related comparison in a piece of writing, it would be to say, "The young boy bounced around joyfully like a goofy pit bull with a ball."  Or maybe, "Her friend was nearly as loyal, playful, and loving as the pit bull she had had as a child."  Because every single bully breed I have ever come across has been just that:  Big, goofy sweethearts with smiles almost as big as their hearts who give the sloppiest kisses you'll ever receive.  I have met pitties from all sorts of backgrounds - from both abusive and happy homes - and while I have met aggressive dogs of many breeds, I have yet to meet a vicious pit bull.  Wake up, authors, and please stop insulting one of my favorite breeds... my husband is getting tired of me throwing books at the wall!

The face of a "dangerous" breed?  Ha!  I think not.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Judy: A Dog in a Million

(photo from Goodreads)

Judy sounds like she was quite a remarkable dog:  A liver-and-white English pointer born in a Shanghai kennel, she became a canine hero in the midst of World War II.  This intelligent and brave dog was adored by all the Allied servicemen she came across, and in return, she saved their lives several times over.

Taken under the wing of the Royal Navy, Judy lived much of her life on a gunboat called the Gnat.  While the Navy patrolled the waters, the brave and intelligent dog kept her eye out for the Japanese, both airborne and in the river.  When there seemed to be danger, she would bark, pace, and whine, alerting her shipmates to trouble.  When the boat capsized, it seemed like Judy would be done for - but this girl had the 9 lives of a cat!

Eventually, Judy found herself a canine Prisoner of War, nearly starving in a Japanese prison camp.  Though the conditions in which they lived were absolutely horrifying, Judy represented hope - something to look forward to - to the men in the camp, and she was taken care of by most everyone there.  By simply being her wonderful self, this dog probably gave many men something to live for.

Judy on the deck of the gunboat - such a good girl!  (photo from Wiki)

Though I loved the heroine of this true story - Judy - and all of the servicemen who cared for her, it was not exactly a fun book to read.  The events were shocking and depressing, and many chapters ended by saying something like, "But this was only the beginning of the horror for Judy and her comrades..."  It wasn't by any means uplifting.  I also noticed that Judy kind of faded into the background - it didn't seem to be the dog's story, but rather the brave men on the boat and in the prison camp.  And that's just fine, but I fell rather in love with Judy, and I wanted to hear more about her.

Overall, I would recommend this book to dog lovers and history buffs alike!  Though it was not necessarily a happy story, it was an inspiring read nonetheless.

This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I received no other compensation.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make...

...He'll be watching you!

A recent photo from my Instagram - Riley is the ultimate StalkerDog!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tuesday's Tails: Bluebell & Fleetwood

I stopped at the Humane Society of North Iowa last week for a short visit, and totally fell in love with two cats by the name of Bluebell and Fleetwood.  (Don't those names make them sound like cool 70's flower children or something?!)  Read on to learn more about these purr-machines!

Trust me when I say that this photo doesn't do Bluebell justice - she is a gorgeous, petite gal with the most beautiful blue-grey coat!  She is full of snuggles and her motor was running the entire time I held her.  Bluebell is just under a year old, so she's the perfect mix of kitten and adult.  She is also a polydactyl, so her paws look like little mittens - so stinkin' cute!!

Fleetwood is one big handsome fellow!  He has a gorgeous face and a huge, fluffy tail.  He is such a love, and I can't believe he was picked up as a stray...nor can I believe he has been at the shelter since July!  About 4 years old, Fleetwood is super laid back and mellow - the absolute perfect lap-cat.  I can't get enough of cats with these kind of big, blocky heads, and with a personality to match those looks?!  Let's just say, I almost had Jared convinced that he had gotten over his cat allergy ;)

If you're interested in either of these kitties, please contact the HSNI and share their photos in the meantime!  (Photos courtesy of HSNI)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Cyber Sunday: Best of January

Buzzfeed posted an adorable round-up of photos featuring the stars of Puppy Bowl!  Each pic gives a reason why you should adopt a pet.  I can't wait to watch these cuties in action...because let's face it, that's the only part of Superbowl Sunday I really take part in :)  

Also on Buzzfeed, a great and extensive list of 89 movies to watch with your kids - now, granted, my husband and I don't have children...but we love movies!  We've definitely added some more flicks to our Netflix queue after glancing at this.  (This isn't necessarily pet-related, but many of the movies do involve animals!)

Raising the Ruf, a photography blog featuring a Pharaoh Hound, has a hilarious series called Adventures While Sleeping.  The photographer creates scenes around her sleeping pup, and the results are pretty darn amazing!  This one was my favorite; it's called "Hold Your Horses". :D

BlogPaws never fails to inspire, and this list of blogging prompts is no exception.  But the article that I was most impressed with was called "We Live for Adoption and Rescue,"and it refers to the controversial Superbowl commercial everyone's talking about.  We should be proud of ourselves for speaking up for animals everywhere - look at what we, as animal lovers, can accomplish!

Head on over to Lola the Pitty to grab this free desktop wallpaper and Facebook cover photo!  Truer words have never been spoken :)

Beth at Daily Dog Tag recently posted a fun gift guide for Valentine's Day pet lovers.  I'm pretty sure I NEED that Jax & Bones heart rope toy for Riley!

Holy cow, you guys.  I knew PrideBites custom products were amazing, but I had no idea they'd be this amazing!  Does that look just like the photo, or what?!  I was so excited to finally get this in the mail; it was like Christmas all over again!  I don't think I'll let Riley play with this one too much, though - I know all too well his toy-destroying tendencies...we'll put it up on a shelf somewhere :) 

Do you have a PrideBites custom toy yet??  Any fun Superbowl plans?