A Very Canine Christmas, Redux

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

2014-12-25 - Opening Presents - 0288 [flickr]

I had a blast spoiling the dogs last x-mas, so I decided to carry the tradition over to another year, even though they’re not exactly hurting for toys. Ditto: crates, bedding, games, clothing, costumes, or treats. (Even if they’d rather do without some of these items.) As my mom would happily point out, my dogs have more toys than she did as a kid. But seeing as I tend to send all our fosters home with a toy or two or three, we have enough turnover to justify at least a small pile of goodies under the tree.

Our current foster, Tiny Terror, threw a wrench into the plans on Christmas Day, just as I knew she would. (See: her nickname.) She tends to rush, bark, and sometimes nip at the other dogs whenever they do anything that so much as hints at signs of life: bark, whine, chase toys, run from one room to another, jump down from the couch, and/or attempt to enter or leave the house. Or make noise of any sort, whether intentionally or not. This behavior represents a huge improvement over her first days with us, when she’d try to pick fights constantly, and at random. (I use the term “fight” liberally; they resemble Peedee and Finnick’s slap and tickle fights more than anything else.)

2014-12-25 - Opening Presents - 0104 [flickr]

As per usual, Mags is not amused.
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Anyway, the gift giving went just as I predicted: Tiny Terror was completely disinterested in the shiny presents, preferring instead to bum rush the dogs who were excited about it (so basically Rennie and Peedee; Jayne and Mags are only interested in eating the paper, and Finnick just wants to be with his dad). Eventually it got so bad that I put her in the bedroom for a little time out. But by this point everyone was so exhausted that we only got to half the presents. So I guess we get to do it again…tonight? (Yay?) In any case, it won’t be the first time we’ve carried a few presents over to a second holiday.

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Product Review: Kyjen Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle Toy

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

A ginormous hit!

five out of five stars

I have five rescued dogs, all of whom have a varying affinity for toys. Peedee, for example, enjoys things that go squeak; when she’s feeling especially saucy, Mags delights in ripping fluffy faux animals apart; and Rennie loves all the things, from chasing tennis balls to chewing on rubber Kongs. I figured that, between the five of them, someone would get a kick out of the Kyjen Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle Toy. As it turns out, it was a near-universal hit.

Though my dogs are all on the small side (twelve to twenty-five pounds), I sprang for the Ginormous size for the maximum amount of hiding space. It has four front-facing holes, as well as one large hole on top. Each hole measures about 2 ¾ to 3 inches across, which is wide enough to fit a standard size tennis ball. The included squirrels (this unit comes with six) also fit through quite easily (but not so easily that they don’t sometimes prove a challenge). At 13 ½ inches high, it’s a little shorter than my smallest dog – but the holes sit all different heights.

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Product Review: Kyjen 2451 Cagey Cube Dog Toy

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

A great puzzle toy for dogs who don’t like puzzle toys!

five out of five stars

I’m always on the lookout for toys that exercise my dogs’ brains as well as their bodies. Unfortunately, of my five rescue dogs, Peedee is the only one who really enjoys the more difficult puzzle toys. Rennie? Well, she just wants you to throw her tennis ball, okay. Some balls she becomes downright obsessed with, carrying them around until they’re little more than scraps of rubber and felt.

To wit:

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So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered this Cagey Cube dog toy by Kyjen. What better way to trick her into solving a puzzle than by using her own favorite toy against her?

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VeganMoFo, Day 29: Frugal vegans have spoiled vegan dog-kids.

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

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2007-02-08 - Kelly & Dogs - 0004

Though I hope to eventually pen a piece about canine nutrition vis-à-vis veganism and vegetarianism, this isn’t it! Since I don’t have much time for background research, and don’t want to half-ass it, I’ll have to save that topic for another time. Instead of convincing you to feed your dog-kids a vegan or vegetarian diet – assuming you have dog-kids, that is – this VeganMoFo post is all about feeding your dog-kids a vegan diet (or foodstuffs), frugally.

Granted, commercial vegan and vegetarian dog foods are more expensive than their non-veg counterparts, and feeding your dog-kids a diet consisting solely of homemade food requires enough expertise that I don’t recommend it. Or rather, I can’t advise you on how to do it. You see, even though I occasionally feature recipes for homemade dog food, I primarily feed my kids commercial kibble: ’twas Nature’s Recipe Vegetarian formula for awhile, but we recently switched to V-Dog. Though it’s a little more expensive, it’s also confirmed vegan (DelMonte never would respond to my inquiries). The homemade goodies are more of a “topping,” if you will, to add a little variety to their meals. So all in all, we do spend a pretty penny on dog food in the Garbato-Brady household, homemade goodies notwithstanding.

Luckily, there are other ways to cut costs:

– Make your own dog treats. As with vegan dog food, vegan dog treats can be a little pricey, so you can save some cash by baking treats yourself. In contrast to food, which must meet your dog-kid’s nutritional requirements, treats are extras, so diy is just fine! Just go easy on the fat, salt, sugar and calories, mkay? Also, always check and double-check the ingredients to confirm that they aren’t harmful to canines.

Dogs also tend to be less discriminating eaters than people (well, me), so experiment with abandon, and don’t be afraid to substitute in less expensive ingredients when necessary. Chances are, your kids will enjoy whatever you create. Plus, is there anything cooler than giving your dog-kid a treat you baked especially for her, with nothing but love? (And an oven!)

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For treat ideas, check out It’s A Vegan Dog’s Life, Yummy for Dogs and the Innocent Primate Vegan Blog, for starters.

The obvious downside to baking your own biscuits is that they don’t keep as well as the store-bought stuff, so it’s a little harder to keep some on hand at all times (you never know when you’ll need to entice your dog-kid away from a found animal corpse, am I right?). However, this brings us to the next tip:

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