“May I Pet Your Dog?”

My corgi Ein is cute.   Super cute.  I’m not bragging, it’s just a fact.   And when we go out in public, people can’t resist that cute.   Ein has a handsome teddy bear face, a perpetual smile and that bunny-butt strut that all corgis have and people need to get their hands on him.

But here’s the thing - not every dog likes to be petted.  Ein is in this category, and he is not alone.   Do you have a dog like that?   What does your dog do when strangers approach on a walking trail or at the park?  Maybe her tail is low or tucked under her legs, rather than wagging or swaying.  She might try to hide behind you as people approach.   She might crouch low to the ground and avert her eyes away from the situation.  These are all signs that your dog would rather not be petted by a stranger.

Ein at a picnic with me.   He is in between my legs with head turned away from a person off-camera.   Look at his lips and the tension on his face.   He says "No thank you!"

Ein at a picnic with me. He is in between my legs with head turned away from a person off-camera. Look at his lips and the tension on his face, his ears are beginning to fold back. He says “No thank you!”

I knew nothing when Ein came to live with me.   He is the dog who taught me about dogs.  When people approached us and asked me, “He’s so cute!   May I pet him?” I said that they could.  If someone couldn’t pet my dog, didn’t that mean that he was a Bad Dog?  Didn’t that mean that he wasn’t friendly, that there was something wrong with him?.   It meant embarrassing me, and the other people.  For some reason, that mattered.   And it was at my dog’s expense.

The years went by.  Two more dogs were added to my family, dogs who loved to be petted.   It was easier now.   I could just tell people, “You can pet the big dog, the little one is shy.”  That was a compromise.   I could take one of my larger, people-loving dogs to social situations and leave Ein at home, happy.   Ein did come to love rally obedience trials, and the people there.   No one wanted to pet Ein, but they might give him a treat.   He learned to stare and smile and charm other competitors into giving him a tidbit without the compromise of petting.   These were Dog People.   They understood dogs.   This was Ein’s great gift to me, all I had to do was watch him and pay attention.   And I learned to understand dogs, too.   They don’t speak with words, they speak with body language.

No touchy!

No touchy!

Fast forward to now.   Ein is 11.   We were at a boat launch getting ready to go out on our kayak together.   Senior though he is, Ein is a head turner with his handsome face and adorable little orange lifejacket.   A group of teenage girls were gasping and squealing over him, you would have thought he was Elvis.   “May we pet your dog??”   It had literally been years since I had been asked that question of Ein.   Years.   And it caught me off guard.  But without hesitation and for the first time in his entire life I said the correct answer: “I’m sorry.   My dog is afraid of people and does not like to be petted.”   They seemed surprised and a little embarrassed.   That’s okay.   I was standing up for my dog.   Like I always should have.  And honestly, it felt great.

It is okay to stand up for your dog.   It is okay to say, “No.” People will get over it.   They will find another soppy bouncy dog to love on, possibly within the next hour or less.  It does not mean that your dog is a Bad Dog if she does not want to be petted or touched.  Your dog is a Good Dog, an awesome dog.  Your dog is not public property, she is your friend and she is counting on you to make decisions in her best interests.   Watch her, learn to read her body language and say “No.” when you can see that your dog would rather not be petted.  Your pup will thank you for it, I guarantee!  And you might even feel super proud of yourself!

Product Review: Benebone Chews

There are probably 20 Nylabones of all varieties scattered around my house and my three dogs love them.   Plastic chew-bones are my personal favorite for my pups (simply my preference!)  Not an evening goes by without their recreational chewing – sometimes in stereo!  When I saw a new type of long duration chewbone, I had to give it a try.

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Benebone sells a wishbone-style plastic chewbone in three different sizes: Jumbo, Regular or Mini.   You have your choice of flavors: Rotisserie Chicken, Bacon or Peanut Butter.  One thing was different straight off, the wishbone was curved rather than straight.   There are also little channels at each of the three ends.  Watching my dogs chew on the bones, they seem to be able to use both of these features to grip the bone more comfortably than other chewbones.   We approve of the design!

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For flavor we went with the bacon and peanut butter flavored wishbones.  I can’t comment on the taste, and my dogs aren’t saying anything!   I don’t smell the flavors but the dog have been committing a lot of time to our two wishbones…they seem to absolutely love them!

Durability gets a high rating from us after about three weeks of use.  This bone does not look like plastic, and at first glance I thought that it was edible and nearly passed it by.  Not the case!  I chose two Regular size Wishbones.  This was not too large for my corgi to enjoy, and is holding up nicely to my pitbull – who is a 60lb heavy chewer.  So, a good size range of dogs for the Regular.   For power chewers and larger dogs, the Jumbo size would probably be best both for durability and for size matching.  No chunks have broken off of the bones, not even any too-large plastic shavings or chips.  I still don’t recommend stepping on one in your bare feet, or rolling over on one in the bed in the middle of the night!

Benebone makes another shape of chewbone, the Rocking Dental Chew.   This comes in one size only, but is newly available in all three flavors.  The bone is curved and has ridges on either size for dental cleaning.  My dogs seem to prefer the Wishbone style chew to the Dental Chew however.  The Dental Chew definitely gets some attention, but not nearly the amount that the Wishbones get.

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Interested?  You can visit the Benebone website to learn more.  If you would like to buy some Benebones for your pup, you can order them on Amazon or Chewy – and the Benebone website states that they are available at some pet stores. (I have seen them at Pet Valu.)

(Benebone did not ask me to write this review.   My dogs simply enjoyed their product and wanted to share!)

Loot Pets Mystery Box Review

If you’re at all interested in comic books, video games, fantasy/sci-fi genres, and other, similar things, you’ve probably heard of Loot Crate. It’s a subscription master crate filled with random ‘nerdy’ items, delivered to your mailbox once a month. Crates each have a theme each month, and contents usually include a t-shirt, and a handful of other goodies, such as vinyl figurines, a pin, posters, trinkets, and baubles.

Not very long ago, the Loot Crate company announced another addition to their line up of mystery cates: A Loot Pets crate. Filled with nerdy things for your pet, this was something I had to try. I eagerly signed up, and waited for our first crate to arrive (incidentally, we decided to subscribe to the regular loot crate the same month, just to see what the fuss was about). The first month’s theme was “Galaxy” and I must admit, I was not disappointed.

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Included in the box was a dog t-shirt (which matched the Loot Crate shirt for that month- quite pleased that we decided to get the human crate, too, as my husband and Deirdre have matching shirts now, LOL). The shirt was an 8-bit ‘ugly christmas sweater’ design on it, being that this crate came out in December. A collar, which was a nice neoprene, was a Weyland-Yutani Corp motif (from the Alien franchise). The firefly food dish was a nice, heavy ceramic with a rubber non-skid bottom. Unfortunately, this was far too small for either of my dogs, but I’m quite happy with it as a place to put my watch, necklace, ring, etc. on the bathroom counter while getting ready for bed at night. Completing the crate was a bag of treats, and a nice golden collar tag that was shaped like a rocket ship and emblazoned with “Founding Pet” on it. The cute rocket tag matched the pin from the human Loot Crate for that month. The box itself has a pretty neat graphic printed all along the inside, and the box could be turned inside out to store things and display the artwork. All in all, I was quite impressed with it all, and instantly in love with the box. I decided to keep the subscription for the next month, which had a theme of “Invasion.”

The shirt collar was a little large for Deirdre, but the rest fit well.

The shirt collar was a little large for Deirdre, but the rest fit well.

 

A few months later, Tiki wore the shirt to protect her staples from bloat surgery!

A few months later, Tiki wore the shirt to protect her staples from bloat surgery!

The following month I eagerly opened the Pet Crate. Inside I found another dog t-shirt (which, again, matched the human crate shirt for that month), along with a space invader’s leash, a rubber battlestar galactica frisbee, some treats, and a silver bone tag. Again, the box had graphics on the inside that were displayed when the box was turned inside out.

Search and Rescue helmet not included

(Search and Rescue helmet not included)

The frisbee lasted about 3 minutes total, but Deirdre had quite fun ripping it into chunks while wearing her x-files shirt.

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RIP Frisbee

RIP Frisbee

 

The following month’s theme was “Dead” and that crate included a Deadpool shirt (which, you guessed it, matched the human crate’s shirt. It also said ‘Tacos,’ which is my husband’s favorite food, so the crate was quite well received around here). A squeaky, plush, Zombie head toy, two bags of treats, and a zombie collar tag charm rounded out this crate.

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The next month was “Versus” and I wasn’t disappointed. Included was another matching doggie shirt, along with a batman toy that, sadly, didn’t squeak, despite Tiki’s best efforts to MAKE it squeak. Deirdre was more than happy to rip it to shreds though, squeak or not.  Some plastic, collapsable ‘Captain America Civil War’ bowls, two bags of treats, and an Alien vs Predator dog tag charm rounded out the box.

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The next month was where the crates started to deviate from their usual format. The theme for the human crate that month was “Quest” and the pet crate was “Quest for Bacon.” Instead of a matching shirt, the pet’s shirt was entirely different, but that crate included a matching human shirt in it instead. From this crate forward, the shirts wouldn’t match the human crate shirts, but instead would also include a human shirt in the dog crate. Also included was a bag of treats, a “Battle Pug” comic book, a D20 dog tag charm, and- Tiki’s favorite thing ever- a stuffed bacon that was both crinkly AND squeaky. The bacon I’d seen for sale in a chain pet store before, but had never purchased it (thinking Tiki wouldn’t like the crinkly-ness. I was wrong).

fullFrom here I started to notice a dip in the quality of the crates. The following months’ crate included a dog and human matching t-shirt, a plain silver dog tag charm, a bag of treats, and a kong air dog dumbbell. The kong birddog was, again, something I could easily get in a petstore, and had before. Nothing about this particular crate felt really unique, instead the crate didn’t seem to fit to a theme so much as just a couple things thrown together. The inside of the box wasn’t unique or designed to go with the theme as the others were. But, I figured any company can have an off-month.

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The June crate was “Dystopia” (actually, dogtopia) and I noticed it wasn’t much different from the previous month. The same generic box interior instead of the uniquely decorated interior of most of the previous boxes greeted me when I opened it. Inside there was a bag of treats, a squeaky hamburger, a fire hydrant dog tag charm, and two t-shirts, one dog, one human.

Our stinker of a foster dog stole the bag of treats and ripped it open before I could get a picture, so instead you get a small pile of treats in the picture instead of the treat bag.

Our stinker of a foster dog stole the bag of treats and ripped it open before I could get a picture, so instead you get a small pile of treats in the picture instead of the treat bag.

For a second month in a row, I was a little disappointed. Instead of unique, fun boxes, it seemed I could expect a t-shirt, treats, and a cheap toy I could now generally find in a petstore in each box. The uniqueness and variety of the earlier months was gone. With a sad click, I cancelled my subscription, deciding to wait out a few months, see what happened with future crates, and if they seemed to turn around, I could resubscribe at a later date.

All in all, I enjoyed the crate until the last two months, and I liked the idea of a mystery crate in general. I know there a few other crate companies out there and have had thoughts of checking them out. If you subscribe to a different one, let me know which one and how you like it!

Happy First Gotcha Day Ben!

On June 27 last year my husband and I went to Glen Highland Farm (yes, the same place we have vacationed at for several years) to meet a few dogs that could potentially be our second dog. After meeting Ben, we just knew he was the right dog for us and he came home that very night.

And turned our lives upside down (you can read more of our story here).

He’s been the most amazing, goofy, ridiculous, awesome dog we could have asked for. He’s become a best friend to Dahlia and one of the lights of our lives. I can’t really imagine life without him at this point. He’s no longer the new dog. He’s just our Ben.

So I bring you the things Ben has learned in his first year with us!

1. New toys are the best thing ever!

01 new toys

 

2. Snow is pretty darned cool.

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North Carolina dog experiences REAL SNOW.

3. Tug is better with a friend.

03 tug4. Sitting politely will get me whatever I want*

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*still a work in progress

5. All must hail the might and power and amazing fun of the chuck-it.

6. Balls are no fun if they don’t squeak.

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7. Daddy’s lap makes the best chair

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8. It’s nice to have my own space sometimes.

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9. If running won’t get me there fast enough, I’ll just have to fly.

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10. Biting Mama’s boobs might lead to squeaking but they are, in fact, not squeaky toys.

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Did you really think you were getting a picture of Ben biting my boob?

Thanks Ben for choosing us! We hope to continue to be worthy to be your people!