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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Great Iowa Pet Expo

The Great Iowa Pet Expo was in Des Moines last weekend, and Jared and I were able to attend.  I was so pumped to go to my first ever expo!  We decided to make a day of it, so we got up bright and early.  As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed all sorts of bumper stickers and decals reading things like "Proud Dog Mom" and "Stop Puppy Mills."

Jared noticed these too, and he looked over at me and said, "Wow.  These are your kind of people."

He was absolutely correct - dog people are definitely my people! And this expo was chock full of dog lovers and amazing animal advocates.  There were dogs everywhere - in strollers, on leashes, in the arms of their parents - and nearly every breed of dog (the most popular seemed to be Greyhounds, Great Danes, Chihuahuas, and Labs) was represented.  Barking, sleeping, wagging, panting...wearing skirts, tutus, costumes, and even hats!



I saw only one lone kitty...and it was walking, quite contentedly, on a leash - wish I'd gotten a picture of that!

The booths and people were all so friendly; it was refreshing to have so many wonderfully kind people all in one spot.  Jared and I were lucky enough to catch a Marvelous Mutts show!  Each canine athlete is a rescue, and these dogs are seriously talented.  Leaping into the air, weaving through obstacles, and fetching Frisbees at insane heights.  The best part?  It's clear that these "mutts" love what they do.  It was a great show!

Some of my favorite booths were those educating about puppy mills.  Did you know Iowa is #2 in the country for puppy mills, only second to Missouri?  My county alone is home to three confirmed mills, and the next county over has eight.  Bailing Out Benji was one of these booths; this organization was founded by a young woman named Mindi, who I think is just amazing - she has dedicated her life to educating others about the horrors of puppy mills.  She greeted me, and I responded with, "Are you Mindi?  You're awesome!"  Ugh.  Embarrassing, but it just popped out. :)

Another favorite was Iowa Friends of Companion Animals, and the founder, the wonderful Mary LaHay, fielded my questions for a ridiculous amount of time - "Do you pull the dogs directly from mills?  Have you ever attended an auction?  How can I get more involved?"  Yikes.  I have a lot of curiosity about puppy mill rescue, I guess.

There were also several rescues that attended, bringing with them adoptable dogs and cats.  Though it's usually elderly dogs that win me over, I couldn't resist heading to a rescue's Kissing Booth, where a handful of adorable puppies were waiting.  Scooped from an overcrowded breeder, these little black munchkins, thought to be Shih-Tzu/Poodle mixes, were all up for adoption...until the end of the day, that is!  That's right, they all found their forever homes!

I had some serious trouble leaving this girl behind!

You can't leave a pet expo without some swag...


Along with a silly magnet and some rose gold earrings from Origami Owl (Jared is saving them for me for Christmas!), we bought a super-comfy I <3 Mutts hoodie from AHeinz57, a handsome plaid raincoat for Riley, and a "Mill Dog Warrior" decal from Bailing Out Benji.  At the AHeinz57 booth, we also won a cute Pluto squeaky toy - Riley loves it and recently woke us up at 5 AM by squeaking it over and over. :)

Overall, the day was a great success!   I was so impressed with the dogs in attendance; they all seemed so well behaved and not at all bothered by the crowds and noise.  We had so much fun socializing, meeting new people, and petting cute dogs, and we can't wait for our next expo...which, to be honest, will probably be BlogPaws in Nashville.  So excited to see you all there! ;)







PS:  You may be wondering why we didn't bring Riley along to the expo.  Riley can be dog aggressive, and though he is usually okay on a leash, we thought it'd be better safe than sorry.  Also, it was honestly in his best interest:  He tends to pant and whine and just really seems to not enjoy himself when he's out in public.  We think he was rarely socialized in his previous home - it would explain many of his behaviors and habits.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Japanese Chin in a Fez...What Could Be Cuter?: Wordless Wednesday


This adorable fez-wearing Japanese Chin was just one of the many cute pups I ran into this weekend at the Great Iowa Pet Expo!  My first expo ever, and it was an absolute blast - so many dogs to pet and so many people to talk to...what a great weekend!  

Tomorrow's post will share more details about the expo, though unfortunately it will be light on the photos; I always forget about taking pictures when it's most important.  Check back tomorrow to read more :D

I'm participating in BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop!
Click on the link above to check out more fabulous blogs.




Monday, October 20, 2014

Tuesday's Tails: Adopt Cowboy!

I've mentioned before how much I respect the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the work they do, and one of the top goals on my "bucket list" is to visit Utah specifically to volunteer there.  I check their list of adoptable animals at least once a month...even though I know we aren't able to bring another pet into our home at this time, I still love to browse :D  (My husband always knows when I'm checking out pet adoption sites because I keep squealing and "awww"-ing!)

Of course, all of the dogs featured win me over in their own way.  But this time, a unique mix named Cowboy caught my eye, and I just had to share him with you!


Check. Out. Those. Ears.  I can't get enough!  This photo absolutely melts my heart.

From the Best Friends page:  "Cowboy is a little man with big ears, a big heart, and a great smile.  He's very outgoing, bonding quickly with new people, and playing nicely with other dogs.  Born in 2006, Cowboy is at an age where he equally enjoys his playtime and relaxation time.  The poor boy was found tied to a car in a hot parking lot, and his people never returned for him.  Now he's looking for someone who will never leave him.  Could that be you?"

At approximately 8 years old, Cowboy is considered a senior dog.  My Riley is about the same age, and I can definitely vouch for the fact that 8 is a great age!  Riley loves both playing and sleeping, and it sounds like the same is true of Cowboy.  

The website calls him an Affenpinscher/Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler) - isn't that crazy?!  Not sure where the Affenpinscher comes in...any ideas?  Cowboy is a nice mid-sized fella, and he would make someone an amaaaazing pet!  Since his new furrever home can't be mine...could it be yours?  Contact the Best Friends Animal Society for more information!




Friday, October 17, 2014

Cyber Saturday: Halloween Edition

Rounding up my favorite fall- and Halloween-themed links from around the Web this week...

Beagles and Bargains posted an adorable (and super-easy!) recipe for frozen "candy corn" treats for your dog.    It involves pumpkins and yogurt, and it couldn't be cuter!


Speaking of cute recipes, have you seen these little mummy treats over on Kol's Notes?!  Perfect for Halloween!

Puppy Leaks recently posted an informative list of ways to keep your pup safe on Halloween.  We all need to keep in mind how stressful the holiday can be for pets - what with the doorbell ringing and kids running around in scary costumes and all.  Not to mention all the dangerous candy they might ingest!  Click on over and check it out to prepare for the 31st.

Robbi at BlogPaws had some great ideas for using Halloween as inspiration for your pet blog.  Writer's block can be tough - especially now, when the weather is getting chilly and we're all cooped up inside.  Holidays like this one, though, can serve as a great starting point for posts:  costumes, treats, and safety tips are all Halloween-related and could make awesome posts!


I adore this treat jar from Bliss Home & Design!  We keep Riley's treats shut away in a closet - in their original packaging - but this jar would allow me to keep them out in the open in a pretty way.  Fishs Eddy also has some amazing pet-related home decor.

Any fellow pet bloggers live near the Twin Cities?  Be sure to check out Sever's Corn Maze and Fall Festival!  It's a huge corn maze, pumpkin patch, and farmer's market and looks like tons of fun.  Bonus:  it's not a haunted event, so it is very kid-friendly!





Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Letter From Riley

Have you heard of the book called Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe by Jeremy Greenberg?  It's full of cute photos and letters from naughty dogs to their "pack leaders".  The subject matter of these hilarious letters ranges from grooming mishaps to pleas of "throw the ball already!"  Each letter is accompanied by a photo of the letter's canine author, and each is funnier and more adorable than the last!

Inspired by this book, Riley decided to take matters into his own hands...er, paws...and share his own letter with you...


Dear Mama,

Lots of the dogs in that book you kept laughing at called their mama "pack leader."  I am not going to call you that, because we all know who truly leads the pack around here.  Yes, me - Riley!  So I just call you Mama instead.  

Can I just tell you one thing?  When I roll over and look at you like I am looking at you in that picture, I am asking for something.  That something is a belly rub.  I don't want you to take a picture of me, and I definitely do not want to be laughed at or called "cute."  Just rub my belly, woman!

Even though we both know that I love Daddy more - I don't do a great job of hiding it, do I? - you are by far my favorite mama!  Sure, you don't give me as many belly rubs as I'd like, and you think it's funny when I am afraid of the Evil Ice Machine...but you're pretty cool otherwise.  I really like it when you sing that song that has my name in it, and you are the only one who knows how to scratch my ears properly.

One more thing, though, Mom...no more baths.  Ever.  That stuff I rolled in in the backyard smells delightful!  Don't ruin it with those awful, wet, sudsy bubbles!  And I happen to like when I get food stuck in my mustache, so no need to bother with that anymore either.  


Love,
Riley 

What would your pets say if they could write you a letter??






I'm participating in the Thoughtless Thursday Blog Hop, sponsored by Ruckus the Eskie, Owned by a Husky, and M.K. Clinton!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Small-Town Living Has Gone to the Dogs

My husband and I live in a small town where nearly every family owns a dog.  Now, in many cases, this could cause all sorts of problems:  dogs who won't stop barking, off-leash dogs, bite cases, poop left on sidewalks...the list goes on.  But I love that my town has such a large population of dogs.  Incredibly, we have never had much of an issue with any of the neighborhood pups, and aside from our neighbor's friendly poodle mix and one wandering Lab, we've never even seen any off-leash dogs!


The small-town, "everyone knows everyone" vibe here is great, too.  The same people walk their dogs every morning, when the air is a little chilly and the grass is wet and cloaked with a layer of fog.  And the same people walk them at night; no need to use reflective harnesses or clothing here - there are rarely any cars on the road.  We make eye contact, smile, exchange sympathetic glances when one of us is kneeling to pick up after our dog.  We know which dog to steer clear of on the sidewalk and which ones like to give sloppy kisses.  Sometimes we even know the names of the neighbor's dogs and not the names of the neighbors themselves!  We always pick up after our dogs, not only because it's the right thing to do, but also because our former gym teacher might see us out of his window, or because it might get stepped in by the lady who has cut your hair since you were 14.


I'm not sure about the other residents of this town, but I always look forward to the noon and six-o'clock whistle...because the neighborhood dogs go nuts!  I crack up every time I hear one lone Beagle start howling in tune with the whistle, then slowly, the other dogs join in.  I don't get annoyed by the resident Basset Hound's barking, if only because it makes Riley's ears perk up in the most adorable way (though the yipping Yorkie that visits every once in a while...that's a different story).  I love taking Riley on walks past different houses and knowing I'll see the poodle's head pop up, the  Pittie's nose nudge the curtains open, and I'll hear the Westie's low, gruff barks as soon as he hears the jingle of Riley's collar.  It's always something fun to look forward to :)

How do you feel about your neighborhood's dogs?  Are they friend or are they foe?


I'm participating in the Thoughtless Thursday hop, hosted by Ruckus the Eskie and Owned by a Husky!




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

We Love Fall!: (Mostly) Wordless Wednesday


Fall is our favorite season around here.

The changing leaves are gorgeous this time of year...

...And Riley is very excited to get all decked out in his Halloween best!

Happy WW! <3