Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Our Christmas Card

Riley's Letter to Santa Paws

Dear Santa Paws,

I've been a very, very good boy this year!  Mama and Daddy will tell you things like, "He peed on the bed," or "Riley only gets coal this year since he stole a bag of treats off the table," but trust me:  They are lying to you.  I have been an angel.

Please bring me some of the things on my list, and maybe a few surprises involving peanut butter or bacon!  But please, Santa Paws, not bring me a fur brother or sister.  I heard Mama and Daddy talking about how bad they want another dog, and I played dumb and pretended I didn't understand...but I am no dummy!  I am the only pet in the house, and I'd like to keep it that way!

1. A photo shoot with Amanda Jones - I make a fuss when Mom tries to take my picture, but I secretly love it.  It's just that Mom is not a very good photographer.  This Amanda Jones looks like she's pretty talented...but then again, she'd have a very photogenic subject to work with.

2.  Twins dog bandanna.  Daddy loves this game called baseball, especially a team called the Twins.  I don't know what baseball is, but I love my I love baseball, too!

3.  Bugsy's Box.  Sometimes Mama gets these packages in the mail that are full of things for me!  We have gotten a PetBox and a BarkBox, but the dog across the street told me that he gets Bugsy's Box.  I need one of those, too!

4.  Sleepypod Pet Carrier.  Mom and Dad think that I hate car rides just because I whine the whole time.  Secretly, I love car rides!  I just hate riding in my crate. :(  I think if I had this super-cool carrier, I would be much comfier traveling!  And I'd whine less.  I'd still whine...just less.

5.  Dog-e-Glow leash.  A light-up leash would mean more nighttime walks for me!  It might also get the attention of the pit bull two blocks away - I know she's not exactly my "type"...but I'm still kind of into her.  

6.  Calm Me Down calming collar.  This is a magical collar that will keep me safe and make me feel better when the ice machine makes those terrifying loud noises.  I don't want to talk about it anymore. :(

7.  Trip to Camp Dogwood.  Hiking, relaxing on the beach, playing, massages, and treats all in the same place?!  Where do I sign up?!

8.  Minnesota Vikings vest.  Daddy suggested this one to me, too.  I don't know who that man is on the back of this vest (he kind of scares me), but the color is pretty sharp.  And it looks like it would keep me warm on winter walks.  (Hint:  More winter walks, Mom and Dad!)

9.  A PrideBites squeaky toy with my face on it!  Do I really need to explain this one to you?!  (Psst...Riley's mom here.  He doesn't know that this is totally being shipped to our house as we speak!)

10.  Fire hydrant.  I could pee on this.

Also!  Another bag of Alpo Wholesome Biscuits, please!  I'm already halfway through this bag...Don't tell Mom, but Dad's been sneaking me extras. ;)  ( to come!)

Thank you in advance, Santa Paws!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#JoyfulMoments: A Letter to Riley's Former Mom

To Riley's former mama:

I wonder about you a lot.  Not only do I wonder what Riley was like as a puppy, and what you got to experience with him as he grew up that we never will...I also wonder what you were like with him.  Did you spoil him as much as we do?  Did you ever figure out just how much he loves apple slices?  Did you love him like we love him?  I bet you did.

I wonder if you lived alone, if your family visited often.  We have a theory that you were alone much of the time - Riley doesn't seem very socialized when it comes to people and animals.  I wonder if he ever growled at your grandkids.  I wonder if you ever noticed how his paws smell like Fritos, or how he makes eye contact for weirdly long periods of time when he's tired.  I wonder if you took good care of him...actually, I don't have to wonder - I know you did.

I wonder if you had thought about what would happen to him after you were gone.  Did you have a plan?  Your children took him into their home, changed his name, and tried to care for him...I wonder if you ever suspected he might end up in the shelter.  When they surrendered him, they said they couldn't afford two dogs.  That could be true.  But I always wonder if Riley had been aggressive to the other dog and that was the reason.  It doesn't matter...what matters is that we found him.  Shivering and quietly whimpering in the back of his cage, his fur a comical mop, we found him.

I wonder if he thinks about you.  He has to, right?  He remembers his old name - if we say "Kasey" in conversation, Riley whips his head around like he has just seen a ghost.  I wonder if, in a way, he has.  Selfishly, I wonder if he loved you more than he loves us - silly, I know.  (In the late hours of the night, I even wonder if he will look for you at the Rainbow Bridge instead of waiting for us.  I can't bear to wonder that for too long.)  I know you are gone, and there's no use...but I still wonder.

Thank you for taking care of him all those years.  We'll take it from here :)

I'm joining two blog hops today:  The Barks & Bytes hop hosted by Heart Like a Dog and the #JoyfulMoments hop hosted by Dogthusiast.  Click the links to check out some great blogs!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I'm in Puppy Love!

"Hello, I'm adorable - nice to meet you!"  (A recent guest at our dog hotel)

I'm participating in the BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday Hop!  Click the above link for more great bloggers.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Gift Guide #1: Gifts That Give Back

So much about the holiday season is about spending money, going to the mall, and running around for last-minute gifts... It often makes me feel kind of...I don't know, selfish?  That's probably not the right word to use.  But as Cindy Lou Who would say, "Isn't this all a bit much?" 

Instead of getting your dad a tie he'll toss in the back of his closet, or that new purse for your sister...consider purchasing a gift that gives back instead.  That way, even if your friend's dog turns his nose up at the treats you gave him, you will rest easy knowing that your purchase will have gone toward helping an animal in need.  Here's a few of my picks to get you started!

For your dog:

Cloud Star All Natural Pet Products is a great example of businesses giving back.  With each purchase, they donate to organizations not only helping animals, but those benefiting women, children, and the environment.  In addition to dog treats, Cloud Star offers cat treats, grooming products, and some great accessories for humans.  They pride themselves on using only natural ingredients that are super safe and healthy for your pets.

Haven't heard of BarkBox?  What planet are you living on?!  When you and your dog sign up for BarkBox, you receive a box chock full of goodies every month - toys, treats, hygiene products, and even new gadgets could be inside!  You're guaranteed at least 4 quality items in your box per month.  Better yet, BarkBox donates 10% of their sales to animals in need, in the form of everything from rescues and sanctuaries to spay/neuter programs and training.  Sign up for BarkBox, and your dog will learn to love the mailman instead of fearing (or loathing!) him :)

For your cat:

Fun and functional, this DJ Cat Scratching Pad will amuse you and your kitty.  Plus, the proceeds are donated to the ASPCA.  Perfect for a cat lover who also loves music...Emily at Kitty Cat Chronicles, whaddaya think?! ;)

For you:

I am obsessed with Marnie the Dog.  Absolutely obsessed.  She was rescued at 12 years old, and she is now universally adored for her lopsided gait and sweet face.  So when I posted on her Facebook asking about a calendar, I was overjoyed to see that there was one in the works!  Of course I ordered it immediately, and it was icing on the cake to see that a portion of the proceeds is donated to senior animal rescue.  (I may have also ordered a t-shirt.  With Marnie's face on it.  For the cause, people!)  Click the link above to order yours!

I saw this amazingly quirky and perfect tee on the Cyber Monday sale on Stylish Canine, and I had to have it.  The price was right, and the sentiment fits me to a...well, to a tee.  (Sorry.  Terrible pun.)  It shipped quickly and is super soft and comfy.  (Psst:  If you like your tee shirts oversized, order the men's size!  I am a size 8/10 and ordered a women's XL, and it is a bit snug.  I forgot to read the fine print.)  Though I would have ordered it anyway, I was delighted to see that $5 of the proceeds are donated to The Perfect Dog Rescue in California!

Rescue Me is a fairly new magazine, and it focuses on all things animal rescue!  I have purchased every issue so far, and it hasn't disappointed me yet.  Full of wonderful and useful information about spay/neuter programs, different rescues across the country, even "voluntourism", this magazine is worth the subscription price of $29.95...especially when you consider that 50% of the cost is given back to a rescue of your choice!

I love great photography, especially when the subject is a dog!  Traer Scott's "Shelter Dogs" is a perfect addition to your library, featuring gorgeous dogs in need of homes.  The portraits are sometimes heart-wrenching, other times funny - this photographer is always able to capture the dogs' emotions and personalities.  Be warned, the portraits may make you cry (each dog's story is given at the end, and some of the dogs do not end up finding homes...), especially if you're a sap like me, but it's worth it for such a beautiful book.  And $.50 of each copy sold goes straight to the ASPCA.

Pup Art is an online art show that is dedicated to raising money for shelter dogs, and I haven't stopped browsing the site since I stumbled upon it last week!  All of the prints for sale were inspired by adoptable dogs and painted by a volunteering artist, and 50% or more from each print sold will go to whichever rescue the featured dog came from.  There are all sorts of breeds and pictures, but my personal favorite is this one, titled "Uncle Larry" - who wouldn't want to take this face home?!

Organizations for everyone:

Hooray for the Underdog is a wonderful business that gives back in many ways:  photographing adoptable shelter animals, donating art work to fundraisers, and designing bus billboard campaigns are just a few of the ways they have helped pets in need.  Their shop offers one-of-a-kind greeting cards and stationery, along with treats and other fun dog accessories.

Another great resource for gifts that give back is the organization itself - many rescues/shelters will have items for sale on their website, and, of course, all proceeds go into helping the animals.  My personal favorites are National Mill Dog Rescue, Best Friends, and Underdog Rescue MN.

Note:  I was not compensated in any way for posting these items and businesses.  I just love these products and thought my readers might too! :)

Happy shopping! <3

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cyber Saturday: Best of November

A few links I loved in November:

Check out Chuy's "Ugly Christmas Sweater" over on Irresistible Pets - adorable, right?!  Click over for Aimee's simple tutorial.

There's not many things happier than a shelter dog finding a new forever home, and Buzzfeed shared a Thanksgiving roundup of thankful adopted shelter pets.

I teared up when reading the birthday post devoted to Sherman on My Brown Newfies.  The post is called "What Sherman Is," and it's very heartfelt and sweet - click on over to read it!

Kol's Notes never fails to inspire when it comes to DIY, and these ornaments are no exception!  Follow the steps to make your own right over here!

I'm sure you've all noticed the abundance of gift guides out there this time of year.  While they are all great, my fave so far has been this one from Beagles & Bargains.  TONS of great stuff for both pet lovers and the pets they love...I bought 3 things from this list, I loved it so much! :)

I need this cute print from the Etsy shop Botamaki.  It is titled "Give Me Shelter" and features adorable breeds with cute descriptions, and it's only 4.95!  

This WatercolorBook print (also from Etsy) is catching my eye as well.  She has tons of amazing pet watercolors, but the Chihuahua might be my favorite.  Even though I don't own one...Chuy's Mom and Bailey's Mom, whaddaya think?  Does this remind you of your furbabies??

I only recently figured out that it's Dogthusiast's Jen that runs Stylish Canine - silly me! - and I have been obsessed with the shop for a while now!  This adorable Christmas-sweater-themed collar is currently on my to-buy list...I love how red looks against Riley's white fur :)

Also just added the blog Decor and the Dog to my daily reading's chock full of gorgeous photos and fun DIYs!  I would definitely recommend you check it out!

Have a great weekend :D

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Riley By Any Other Name...

Like any typical pet parent, I have a lot of cutesy names for my dog.  He responds to most of them, if only because he thinks there might somehow be a treat in it for him.  Since adopting Riley two years ago, he has gone by all of the following (and probably lots more that I'm leaving out that are far too embarrassing!):

Little Gentleman
Snuggle-Bug - when he worms his way under the covers at night
Riley Jo
Stinker - reserved only for the times he is being especially naughty :)

We had originally planned on changing his name, wrongly assuming it had been the shelter that named him Riley.  Turns out, his name had been Kasey, then changed to Riley by another family.  Figuring he had been through enough confusion, we kept his name as is.  Otherwise?  I had a very lengthy list of fancy-old-man-ish names, including but not limited to:  Gatsby, Darby, Digby, Hugo, and Bixby.

C'mon, don't you think he looks like a Gatsby?!

Do you have any vaguely embarrassing nicknames for your pet...or any names-that-could-have-been?  Share in the comments! :)

Psst!  Don't forget to check back on Saturday for my round-up of the best links of November.  Who knows - you might be on the list!!