Sunday, November 23, 2014

Too Many Toys?!?!?

It’s almost here!  The Holiday Season that is.  Lots of folks don’t like “the holidays” because they feel rushed and stressed out.  Not me, I love them.

 Sure, we work more time at the Studio making our gift baskets, but that’s fun. It’s fun because we are making gifts that make people and pets happy.  I ‘specially like my job when I’m testing new toys or filling the pet gift baskets with them.  I make sure there are lots of toys in them cuz from experience I know you can NEVER have enough toys.  And treats, you can never have too many of those either.

 Different pets like different toys.  Personally, I like toys that I can chase or play tug of war with.  Right now my favorites are the blue ball that makes a flashing light when it bounces and my tug toy made out of a fire hose.  I drop the ball at the top of the stairs watch the blinky light go all the way down.  If I get tired of going after it, I let Mom get it for me and put it back in the toy box.  The fire hose tug toy is really like two toys cuz it’s also a good carry around one.

 Since DixieLee came to live with us, we had to change the kinds of toys that we get.  She didn’t get the nickname Dixie The Destroyer for nothing.  She should work for a pet toy company.  If a toy lasts for more than five minutes with her, they can say it is indestructible.

 When she moved in she ate all my soft cuddly and squeaky toys, but that’s okay since they weren’t my favorites anyway. Now our toy box is filled with toys like Kongs and antlers.  We love antlers.

 I have to admit, I’m still learning what toys should go in our cat gift baskets.  Since we don’t have a cat that lives with us, I have to rely on the cat friends we’ve met on line.  Obviously I like social media. I have this blog, I sometimes write for the company blog, I manage the Laurel Mountain Basket Co Pet Division Facebook page and I have accounts with sites like and  There are some really smart cats on so I get good advice from them.

 Cats love treats too so we make sure we put lots of treats in our cat gift baskets.  Cats seem to like shiny things and feathers.  They also like balls that they can hit with their paws and chase.  We have lots of different kinds of balls.  I like to put the little ones with a bell inside them in most of our cat gift baskets cuz those seem to be a favorite with our cat friends.  The best cat toy, I think anyway, is the one that looks like a mouse. It is soooo cute.

 Well, time to check the inventory to make sure we have enough toys for the upcoming Holiday Season. 

 Your Santa Paws Helper,


 P.S. Blatant self-promotion.  Holiday Special! 10% off any of our Pet Gift Baskets, now until December 20, 2014 so act today.  On line ordering, enter the coupon code “Yappy Holidays!”.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dogs Have Allergies Too

I have to go to the Vet again cuz I have the itchies.  I have scratched my face so hard I have little cuts all over and I have licked my legs so much I how have hot spots.  I don’t like having the itchies.

 Mom tries putting tea tree oil spray on my hot spots but I don’t like it much.  I know when she picks up that green spray bottle I’m going to get squirted so I run and hide.

 When Mom called the Vet people the lady at the telephone said I probably had an allergic to fleas and that I should use Advantix.  We don’t like putting chemical on us and our Pet Protector says it keeps fleas and ticks off of dogs.

 Flea allergics is the kind dogs get the most but dogs can have other allergics just like people.  We can have allergics to pollen, grass, cleaning products, mold, dust mites and other stuff.

 Until I get my appointment, I can take a Benadryl.  We don’t like taking Benadryl cuz that’s a chemical that goes on the inside but if it stops the itchies and I only have to take it a little, it could be okay.

 Mom also started giving us fish oil cuz it’s got some Omega-3 stuff which is good for lots of things and it’s more natural.   I wish we could have real tuna fish but that’s not happening.

 Mom noticed that I was licking and scratching way more and what is normal and then one day she saw I had bloods on my face from scratching.

 We can’t always tell our humans when we don’t feel good so here are some ways your humans can tell if you might have allergics.

1. Lots of scratching.

2. Lots of licking.

3. Red patches and irritated skin.

4. Licking or chewing feet.

5. Rubbing face in the carpet or on furniture.

6. Rubbing or scratching ears.

7. Coughing or sneezing.

8. Breathing hard.

9. Lack of energy.

 Having the itchies is not fun.  I’m not looking forward to going to the vet because she is going to make me step on the scale and if I haven’t lost some pounds I’ll be in trouble but I sure would like to get rid of these itchies.  I hope she can make them go away.

 Do you get itchies and if you do, how do you make them stop.

 Your scratching friend,
P.S. Blatant Self-promotion.  Have a friend who needs a little pampering?  One of our Spots SPA Gift Baskets will do the trick.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rain Rain Go Away

Just because I’m part Lab and my ancestors were probably St John’s Water Dogs doesn’t mean that I like to get wet.   I really hate the feeling of water squishing between my webbed toes and bouncing off of my head.  I know that my pretty coat is water repellant so cold water doesn’t get next to my skin but it still gets wet and drippy and I have to shake, shake, shake until it all gets off.
I thought I was the only one who didn’t like to get wet but I found out that lots of dogs would rather not go outside when it is raining.  Some dogs, like my sister DixieLee, will even hold their pee for a long, long time rather than go out in the rain.  I won’t go that far but I don’t waste any time when I do go out.

Most people think that dogs don’t like to go out in the rain because they don’t like to get wet.  Well, that’s only part of it.  Some dogs, like me, don’t want to go out in the rain because rain is noisy.  It’s all splashy and drummy.  Remember, our hearing is better than yours so that pitter patter you hear sounds more like bam bam to us.

Sometimes the rain brings thunder and lightning with it.  Thunder and lightning make rain much worse but that’s a subject for a different blog.
There is another thing that hurts our ears when it rains.  It’s called barry metric pressure.  I’m not sure how it works because it’s about science but when rain comes, especially if it’s a big rain, the barry metric pressure falls down and makes our ears feel funny.

There is one good thing about going out in the rain and that’s coming back inside.  When we come back inside Mom and Dad are waiting for us with big fluffy towels and extra treats.  They wrap us in the towels and scrub us until we are nice and dry.  It’s very relaxing and a cookie makes things like getting wet feet and drippy coats almost worthwhile.
Do you like to go outside in the rain, and if not, what do your humans do?

Your fluffy dry friend,

P.S. Blatant self-promotion our Puppy Power Gift Basket is filled with lots of toys and treats for playing indoors or out!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Walkin' The Dog

The mail person brought a package for me and DixieLee the other day.  It was a surprise.  Mom bought us new harnesses.  I have to admit I am not the best leash walker.  I like to go fast and Mom is so slow.  It’s not her fault that humans only have two legs so they can only go half as fast as us dogs who have four legs. 

 Not being a great leash walker hasn’t been a big problem since we do most of our walking at Dog Park or at Dog Mountain where I don’t have to be on leash.  It would be nice to be able to walk other places so we have tried a bunch of different collars and harnesses but I didn’t like any of them.   I had a nice harness that I sort of liked but I still pulled cuz I wanted to go faster.  I know, we are supposed to do training but it just frustrates Mom and me so we gave up

 I liked that harness, it was a pretty purple color and it worked okay until DixieLee ate it. With two dogs to walk, we really needed to find something that made us be good leash walkers. Instead of buying a new harness right away, we tried using a gentle leader but I didn’t like it on my face.  DixieLee is okay with her gentle leader but it makes her face itchy and she tries to rub it off after it’s been on for a while.

 We looked at all kinds of leashes and harnesses but we didn’t like any of them much.  Then Mom heard about a new kind of harness that connects the leash to the front on my chest instead from behind on my shoulders.   It’s called Walk Your Dog With Love.  It works sort of like the gentle leader, turning me around if I start going too fast or going in a different direction than Mom wants me to go in.

 My new harness is black which looks absolutely stunning on me and goes nicely with my pink collar.   DixieLee’s is blue which looks very nice with her brown coat.  Mom’s pretty good with knowing fashion stuff.  This harness is very easy to put on too.   With my other harness, I had to pick up my foot and then Mom had to clip it this way and that.  The Walk Your Dog With Love harness is super easy to put on.  It slips over my head and Mom takes the strap under my tummy and clips it on the other side.

 Having an easy to get on harness is very helpful when you have a dog like DixieLee who gets so excited that she rolls around and squiggles every which way when you try to get her ready to go out. Mom likes that these harnesses are made in the USA.  They even have some stuff called Scotchlite on it which makes it easy to see us in the dark. 

 We tried them out today and I think they are going to work good.  We all went for a big walk in town and I hardly pulled at all.  I walked slower and Mom was able to keep up.  DixieLee walked better than me but that’s cuz she got to practice yesterday.  The only one who failed walking was Dad.  He was a real slow poke.  He needs lots more practice if he is going to walk with us again.

 Going for walks is one of the best funs we have so I’m happy we found a harness that makes walking even more fun.  Were you always a good leash walker and if not, how did you get better?

 Your good walking friend,


 P.S.  Blatant Self-promotion.   Our To The Rescue Gift Basket has everything a new dog needs, even a pretty leash.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Ten Pound Challenge

I had my annual check up at the vet last week and I am soooo upset.  That mean man said I was FAT.  What's worse is he said in front of the techs and anyone in the waiting room could hear.  I was so embarrassed and upset it's taken me this long just to talk about it.  I may need to go into therapy.

I am part lab and we all know labs aren't skinny chic like greyhounds.  Labs are more robust and have a layer of fat around us so we don't get cold in the water.  So my layer of fat is a little thicker than some other lab's layer of fat.  So I'm  a few pounds overweight.  Well, actually ten.

Instead of siding with me, Mom is siding with the vet.  She says it's all Dad's fault.  Since he got retired he is home with us all the time and he was much easier to train than Mom.  DixieLee and I figured out that if we want a treat and our usual tricks like looking cute or showing him where the cookie jar is don't work, DixieLee goes into Crazy Dog mode.  She runs around and jumps on the furniture.  I chase her until Dad says "enough" and gives us a cookie to quiet us down.

Works every time. Well, it worked every time until Mom read Dad something called the Riot Act.  Now we only get half cookies and only right after meals and before bed.  Now when we do Crazy Dog Dad makes us go outside instead of giving us a treat.

The mean vet gave Mom this teeny, tiny cup to measure my food with too.  He said that I don't need to eat as much as the people who make the dog food say I should eat.  After all, they want me to eat lots so we have to buy more.  Mom always bought us good quality food, not loaded with fillers, but even if it's full of good stuff, too much isn't good for you.

I guess the only good thing is that Mom thinks DixieLee is getting a little chunky so she only gets the teeny, tiny cups of food and half treats too.  The other thing is we are supposed to get more exercise.  I like that part.  Exercise means playing and going for walks.

When DixieLee came to live with us, Mom thought she would be a good playmate and we would get lots of exercise together.  That didn't work out so well.  She and I both like to nap and she'd rather chew on a toy than play chase.  My friends Sadie likes to play chase so Mom said Dad needs to take me to play with her more.

Dad likes that cuz Sadie's Dad is his good friend and they do guy stuff all the time.  Last time they got to paly with these big machines that dug a giant hole  in the ground.  DixieLee would have been impressed cuz she likes to dig holes.  When I go to Sadie's house we just run around her yard.  I like her yard because it is miles big and there is no fence.

I would really like to make that ten pounds disappear because I don't want Mom to be upset.  She said dogs who are overweight get died sooner than dogs who aren't and she wants me to be her Zeva for a long, long time.  I'm good with that!

Any of you have any suggestions.  Did you ever have to lose weight and if so, how did you do it?

Your starving friend,


P.S. Blatant self-promotion: Every dog is a good dog, that's why we created our Good Dog Spot gift basket.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How Spoiled Are You?

I heard that celebrities and people with lots and lots of money spoil their dogs.  For example, Paris Hilton’s dogs have a two story dog house with a winding staircase, pink walls and a balcony. 

Hummm…. What’s the big deal?  I have a two story house, well if you include the basement where we have our studio.  It has stairs but thankfully the walls are sort of white, not pink! We don’t have a balcony but we have a nice screened in porch we can lay in and watch the birds and squirrels.

 DixieLee and I have our own place in the studio with a big soft rug and toys so we can play and nap when we get tired of working and we can go anywhere we want upstairs.  We can sleep on the big bed or on the couch and we each have our own creates in the office if we want to have some private time.
I also read that there is a company that makes mink coats for dogs.  How horrible!  First of all I have my own fur coat and it is quite beautiful, thank you.  Second, why would I kill another animal to steal its fur?  Sometimes I worry about humans.
Did you know they make dog collars with diamonds in them?  I sort of liked the one I saw.  It was very sparkly and it might look good on me.  I’ll have to figure out how many dog cookies I can buy for $1.2 million before I ask Mom to get me one.  The diamond collar is very nice but if I have to give up too many dog cookies, it’s not worth it.
Speaking of cookies, mostly we get ordinary cookies.   When she shops for regular cookies, Mom makes sure they are made in the USA.  Too many pets got sick or got died from eating cookies not made in the USA.  Sometimes, we get special cookies, like when we get an order from Locomotion Pet Treats for our gift baskets or samples from another company we might like to order from.

 Another friend, Organic Pet Boutique, has a Kobe Beef and Truffle Jerky Treat that sounded pretty good to me but Mom said $1,000.00 for an 8 ounce bag was a little out of our budget.  They have other treats we can have, but not that one.  She must be right cuz she knows money stuff.

 Summer time is vacation time.  Some dogs have to stay in kennels when their humans go on vacation, others get to go along.  I read about one dog who won a special vacation that cost $73,000.  He got to do lots of stuff like get a chauffeured car ride, had a personal chef, got grooming and Reiki sessions and got to meet a famous author and dog behavior expert. 
I don’t see what was so special about that.  We get chauffeured car rides all the time.  We get chauffeured to the vet, the dog park and daycare.  No big deal. We have a personal chef.   His name is Dad.  He fixes us breakfast, lunch and dinner and makes sure we have our snacks on time.  We can get groomed when we go to day care, I hate it but DixieLee likes to have her nails clipped, and Mom is a Reiki practitioner so we get Reiki all the time. I got to meet The Amazing Dog Training Man lots of times.  He is a famous author and a famous dog behavior guy.
 You don’t have to live with a celebrity or a super rich person to be a spoiled dog.  We have a sign at our front door that says “Spoiled Rotten Dogs Live Here” and I guess that’s true.
If you’re a spoiled rotten dog, I’d like to hear what your humans do for you that makes you feel special.

 Your Spoiled Rotten Friend,
 P.S. Blatant self promotion.  You can have your very own sign that says:  A Spoiled Rotten Dog Lives Here so there's no question who's spoiled at your house.  Just go to our website and order and I'll make sure you get your special sign.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Dogs Against Fireworks

July 4th (Independence Day) is a big holiday for humans in the United States.  They get together and they have picnics, which means the Dads cook on the grill and everyone eats outside.  Then, when it gets dark, they like to have fireworks.

 Fireworks are an important part of the Independence Day celebration.  Even the old guys who signed the Declaration of Independence said the day should be celebrated with bells and bonfires and the Congress of Philadelphia said there should be 13 fireworks to represent the 13 colonies/states.

 Fireworks are big explosions of color in the sky which I might like if it weren’t for the noise. Fireworks are very, very loud.  Human have little ears that are close to their heads.  Dogs have big ears so we hear things ten times louder than you do.  That would make fireworks very, very loud times ten.

 I read a lot and so I know all about 4th of July and fireworks but most dogs don’t so imagine, hanging out at home, catching a little nap after a nice day of begging for treats at the picnic and all of a sudden, the world explodes!  Whoa!  Next thing you know, Spot and Fluffy are 20 miles from home and still running.

 Here are some things humans can do to help pet not be scared when there are fireworks.

 1.  First thing is to know when there are going to be fireworks.  Lots of towns have big fireworks shows where everyone goes to the park and watches.  LEAVE YOUR DOG AT HOME!  Check for fireworks in all towns near you because, remember, dogs can hear things happening much farther away than you can.

 2.  Make sure your pet has their tags on and that their microchips are up to date.  That way, if they do run away, it will be easier for them to find someone to help them get back home.

 3.  Being in the house will make your pet feel safer.

 You can make it even better by keeping the lights on (not only humans are afraid of the dark).  Closing curtains helps with the sound and with the flashing lights.  When I’m scared I go in my crate and close my eyes.  DixieLee’s crate is a wire one so Mom puts a blanket over the top and two sides.  She keeps the front open so DixieLee can get air.

 If your pet doesn’t have a crate, keep them in one room.  If they get really scared, they will want to run and could hurt themselves running and jumping from room to room trying to get away from the noise.

 Make sure they have water.  Drinking water can help keep calm.

 Turn on some soothing music or the tv.  Having a little noise will make the house more “normal”.

 4.  If you are home with your pet, don’t get crazy yourself.  If we want to cuddle, hey, cuddling is good, but if we don’t, please don’t force.  Remember we are scared and scared pets will scratch and bite even if we don’t mean to.

 If you set up a nice room for us but we prefer being under the bed, let us stay under the bed.  We know what makes us feel safe even if we can’t tell you.

 5. If you know your pet is really scared of fireworks, talk to his/her vet.  They may be able to give them something to help keep them calm.  I prefer something herbal but that’s up to you.  My friends tell me Thunder Shirts work too.

 6.  If you had fireworks at your house, check the yard the next day.  The firework’s casing and sparkler sticks don’t make the best toys.   

 Knowing your pet is safe will make celebrating Independence Day much more fun for you.

 Your friend,
 P.S. Please check out my new Facebook page at Laurel Mountain Basket Company Pet Division where you’ll find lots of fun and interest pet posts.  Like us while you’re there.  Don’t make me beg!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The American Dream - Dog Version

Hi!  DixieLee here, filling in for Zeva while she works on our new Facebook page.  I joined the family business when I was rescued and adopted last summer.  I can’t believe it’s been a whole year! It’s been a struggle, but it has been worth it.

 I know lots of you dogs out there are rescues and I’m sure many of you share my story. We’re the lucky ones.  I lived on the streets in rural South Carolina for a long time.  One day while I was begging for food, a nice lady rescued me and fostered me until I got adopted.  My life before being rescued was so bad I don’t like to think about it, never mind talk about it.  Let’s just say the scars you can see aren’t the only ones I have.

 I was full of bugs when I was rescued.  There were all kinds of bugs but the worst bugs were the heartworm kind.  The nice lady and the vet helped me to get rid of them all.  It was hard because I had to get shots with these HUGE needles that made me not feel good and I couldn’t play with the other dogs.

 I thought living with the nice foster lady was going great until she said I had to go live at another place.  I thought I had been a good dog and didn’t understand why the other two dogs got to stay and I had to leave.  Maybe it was because I was full of bugs.  I was very sad.

 We went in the car and drove for days, all the way up to Massachusetts where I got left with another nice lady who only had one dog.  Maybe there’s a rule about only having two dogs in the house that I didn’t know about.  I tried to be good but then I had to go to another vet and get more shots and get my tummy cut.  Again, I had to stay in a crate and not play for a long, long time.  I began to think that the life of a dog wasn’t such a good one.  I wished I had been born a human.

 I was only at the adopted house a short time and I got moved again.  This time the two humans and the dog came with me.  I was so sad I didn’t want to do what I was told.   I was sure if I started acting nice, like it did with the foster lady, I would be sent away and I wanted to stay. 
I had lots of yummy food and all sorts of toys.  I got to sleep in a warm bed at night and I had another dog to play with.  Zeva kept telling me it was okay but I didn’t believe her because the man who I now call Dad said if I wasn’t good I was going to go to the pound.  I didn't know what a pound was but it didn't sound good.  Zeva said he didn’t mean it but he sure sounded like it when I chewed his glasses up or dug that big hole that made the outside stairs fall down.

 Like I said, it’s been a struggle but now I have a good job, I’m the Assistant Product Tester, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get to stay with this Mom and Dad and Zeva.  I still have the pretty collar and soft blanket the nice rescue lady gave me but now I have a bowl, leash and crate all of my very own.  I’m beginning to think that life as a dog is kind of good after all.
I would like to hear your rescue story.  You can write to me here.
Your new friend and Zeva's little sister,

P.S.  I forgot to say we would like you to stop by our new Facebook page Laurel Mountain Basket Company Pet Division.  Thanks.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Take Your Dog To Work Day 2014

Mark your calendar.  June 22, 2014 is Take Your Dog To Work Day.  I want all of you to be ready and looking sharp.  Make sure your nails are chewed short, your coat is licked clean and you are wearing your best smile.  You need to be ready just in case your human’s workplace is going to take part in this very important day.
DixieLee and I are lucky.  We get to go to work with our Mom every day but that’s because we work at home.  When I was a baby and we had a Studio in another town and I used to go to work with Mom.  It was a really good deal.  She would make gift baskets and I would get people to come into the store.  I was so cute, no one could resist.  Together we sold lots of gift basket.

Take Your Dog to Work Day was created by Pet Sitters International to celebrate and show people what great companions we dogs are and to get more people to adopt.  We sever as ambassadors, showing dog challenged co-workers what they are missing by not having a dog in their lives.
It was hard convincing some employers to let dogs go to work but research has shown that having dogs in the workplace leads to better teamwork, boosts morale, lowers stress and even contributes to higher employee retention.  In 1999 when the Pet Sitters International started the TYDTWD there were 300 companies that said okay and dogs went to work for the day.  In 2005 there were 10,000. 

Randolph T. Baker, a professor of management at VCU School of Business, said that “Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference.”  He said that “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”  Yup dogs in the workplace are good.

Even if your Mom or Dad owns the company, there are some rules that have to be made.  Some people have allergies.  It‘s not their fault but dogs make them sneeze and be sick.  Some people are actually afraid of dogs.  Even when I was really little, Mom would go in the hall when she talked with her friend Nita cuz Nita was uncomfortable around me.  I still don’t understand why someone wouldn’t love dog kisses but it is a fact of life.
Dogs have to be on their super best behavior.  I could go with Mom to a “real” office job but I’m not sure DixieLee would like it. She doesn’t like to be around lots of people or to be in places where people are walking around and talking.  Mom would have to remember to bring my food, water, toys, and a bed or my crate so I would be comfortable.  She would also have to take breaks so I could go outside and, you know…

At our Studio, Mom had a baby gate between the Studio and the Shoppe.  Without the gate, I could go into the Shoppe and then right out the outside door.  A baby gate would be a good idea in big companies because it would keep the dog in one office and not let her walk around the whole place by herself and maybe get into mischief.
There are lots of places that let dogs go to work with their humans all the time.  Something like 17 percent of people have jobs at those kinds of places.  There are even career sites that let humans look for jobs in dog-friendly environments.

Do you get to go to work with your human every day or have you ever gotten the chance to take part in Take Your Dog To Work Day?  I'd love hear all about your experience.

Your hard working friend,


P.S.  Blatant self-promotion.  One of our Puppy Power Gift Baskets would make a great gift for any hard working dog.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Place of My Own

When you work from home like I do, it’s not always easy to separate your work life from your home life.  After a hard day in the office, I like a little peace and quiet but when you have a noisy and energetic sister it’s not always easy.
If I go in the bedroom, she goes in the bedroom.  If I sit on the couch, she sits on the couch.  If I go outside, she goes outside.  She can be so annoying. The only place I can have a minute to myself is in my crate.  I know lots of folks think that crates are just used for training or a place for a dog to be when no one is home but for me, my crate is my special place.

My crate is pretty.  It’s blue with nice wire windows on the sides to let me see out and let air in.  It has a wire metal door that I can look out too.  I keep the door open so I can go in and out any time I want. It’s a pretty big crate.   I can stand up or sit up straight or even stretch out a little when I nap.  My crate also has a fluffy blue blanket to sleep on.

DixieLee’s has her own crate and blanket too.  Her crate is all wire and has a plastic tray on the floor so the wire doesn’t hurt her feet.  Mom put a rug on top of it that also covers one of the sides so DixieLee can have some privacy.  It’s a big crate so she can sprawl out or sit up.  She also has a little crate that stays in our car.  When we go for rides, DixieLee rides in her little crate because she isn’t a good car rider like I am.   Mom puts her in the little crate and she naps otherwise car rides would not be fun because she wants to sit in the front seat and drive.

Since our house has both of the more popular kinds of crates, I’ve become pretty much an expert on crates.  So, if you are looking for a crate for your dog but don’t know what kind to get, let me help.
First of all, plastic crates are prettier than wire crates, mostly because they come in different colors.

Plastic crates are cozy and more private.  I can see out if I want but if someone wants to look in, they have to get close.  I can curl into a ball and not see any outside if I want to sleep.  I like my crate to feel like a den.
Plastic crates keep body heat in so they are nice and warm in the winter but wire crates are better in the summer because air has more places to get in.

Dogs in wire crates can look out all the sides while there aren’t many places to look out of a plastic crate.  Some dogs don’t like not being able to see out.  They feel trapped rather and secure.
Plastic crates are harder to break out of.  DixieLee had another kind of wire crate before and she was always getting out.  Mom finally got one with a double closer on the door and she hasn’t gotten out since.  I think she also likes her new crate more so she stays in it.  My cousin Sophie can also get out of her wire crate.

If you have a puppy or if your dog has a bad tummy, cleaning poop out of a plastic crate is more difficult than a the kind of wire crate that has a removable tray.
Both kinds are easy to store when you are not using them.   The top half of most of the plastic ones come off and fits into the bottom and the wire ones fold up flat.

If you really want a extra special crate for your dog, some crates look like furniture that you can keep in your living room.
No matter what kind of crate you choose, the most important thing you need to remember is to get the right size for your dog.  It should be big enough so your dog can sit up, stretch out and turn around but not over big.  After all, it is supposed to be your dog’s special place. Some of the wire ones come with dividers so you can buy a big one and make it small by using a divider while your puppy is little and make it bigger as the puppy gets bigger.

What kind of crate do you have and what’s the best thing about it?

Your friend,


P.S. Blatant self promotion.  Having a place of my own is one way my humans pamper me.  Our Spot's SPA Gift Basket is another way to show your dog how much you care.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

5 Resons People Need Dogs

I was relaxing on the couch this morning when I heard the bulldog on TV say that having a human is a big responsibility.  Wow!  I never thought of it that way but he sure is right. 

 Humans need a lot of care if they are going to lead healthy, happy lives and dogs can play a big part in making sure they are the healthiest and happiest they can be.

 In our family, if it weren’t for me letting Mom and Dad know what time it was, they would probably sleep way past five o’clock in the morning.

 1.  Dogs help their humans keep physically fit.  It’s true that people who have dogs in their lives are much more apt to exercise.  Taking them for walks is probably the biggest way we help keep them fit but I know one dog that helps her Dad run.  We also make sure that our humans get plenty of sunshine and fresh air by playing games with them outside.   Right now DixieLee is helping Dad stay fit filling in the holes she dug.

 My friend Sadie takes her Dad hunting pheasants and I’m going to take Dad fishing soon.  He says I’m the only Lab he knows who doesn’t like water.  I thought going in the water while he was fishing might not be such a good idea so I just like to sniff along the banks and check out the near-by fields.

 2.  Dogs can help improve a human’s social life.  We meet all kinds of people wherever we go. The dog park is the best place to meet new people.  If you happen to be as cute a dog as I am, people will come up to say how adorable or whatever and before you know it, we have a new friend.

 Some dogs even take their humans to therapy dog school.  After they complete the class, they can go to visit schools, libraries and places where older people live.

 3.  Dogs are good health care providers.  Just by petting a dog a human can lower their blood pressure.   Dogs can smell stuff 1,000 to 10,000 times better than a human so some dogs are able detect bad things like cancer or let a person know when their blood sugar is low.  Other dogs can know when a person with epilepsy is going to have a seizure.

 Dogs know how to cuddle just right to make a person not be depressed. 

 4.  Dogs keep people safe.  One very important responsibility we dogs have is keeping our humans safe.  For example, Mom would never have known there was a squirrel in the back yard just now if DixieLee hadn’t been lying on the bed looking out the window.  They would never know when any of our neighbors came home or when the mail came if we didn’t let them know. We can alert them as soon as someone turns onto our street because our hearing is so much better than theirs. 

 5.  Dogs provide companionship.  We make the very best friends.  We always want to do whatever you want to do.  We love unconditionally, are always happy to see you, never criticize your singing, or find your stories boring and we are excellent secret keepers.

Even though they can be trying at times DixieLee and I take good care of our humans because they are worth it.

What job do you do that you think is the most helpful to your humans?


P.S.  Blatant self promotion: Every dog deserves to be spoiled rotten so we created our Spoiled Rotten Dog gift basket just for them.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Home Sweet Home

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning, the first warm day we’ve had in months and Mom says to me, “So, Zee, what do you think about dog houses?”. 
I’m like, “Is this trick question?” 

 Okay, DixieLee and I have been a little crazy and noisy lately.  After all, it is Spring and it's been a long winter.  And she has had to remind us to use our quiet barks a lot lately, but still, telling us we had to find our own house sounded a little drastic, even for Mom.
It tuned out that's not what she had in mind.  She just wanted a dog's perspective on a dog issue.  She does that a lot, ask me for my opinion.  Anyway, she said that some of her friends were building houses to give away to families who couldn’t let their dogs live in the humans' houses.  She said the dogs have to stay outside all day and all night.  She said they can’t go inside and sleep in their humans’ beds or anything.  Can you imagine! 

I think that if a dog has to be outside when it is cold or raining, they should have a house to go into to where it is warm and dry.  The problem is that sometimes those dogs are chained to their houses and can’t go very far.  I don’t think the chaining part is a good thing.
If they are chained to their dog house, they can only go far enough to poop and that’s not very far.  That is very, very sad and should not be allowed to happen. Dogs need to have a safe place to run and play.  Now if they could build fenced in yards AND give the dog his own house, then I would totally support that.  Mom says that that’s not an option in most cases but she was sure they would consider it.

DixieLee and I have a nice big pen where we can be outside by ourselves. We call it our pen but it is really a 36’ X 36’ section of our yard that is fenced in so we can play and Mom doesn’t need to worry we will play in the road or get lost.  If it is too cold or too hot or raining or snowing, we can stay inside our big house and play.  We can sleep on the beds, on the rugs and even the couch if we don’t want to sleep in our own crates.
Mom says that dog houses are sort of like crates.  I do like to go in my crate when DixieLee is being a pain or when I just want to be alone and think.  So after careful analysis, I think all dogs should have their very own place where they can be warm, dry and safe, and if that place is a dog house, then I think it’s a good idea.

Do you have an outside house of your own?

Your friend,


P.S. Blatant self-promotion.  For all you Spoiled Rotten Dogs out there, tell the world with one of our special signs.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Make Mine Chocolate

I know, I know chocolate is bad, bad, bad for dogs but this isn’t about dogs.  This is about bunnies.

Lots of people associate bunnies with Easter and since bunnies are so cute, they buy live ones and put them in Easter Baskets.  Live bunnies are NOT toys! They are critters who need love and affection and food and toys (I’m not sure what toys bunnies like but they must like toys).

Anyway, thousands of little bunnies are raised at places like puppy mills and sold at Easter time.  The bunnies raised in these places are not taken care of at all.  Some are so sick when they are born that they die within days or weeks. The bad people who breed them don’t see them as helpless little critters, only as a way to make some money.

Some bunnies even get their fur colored pink to make them “cuter”.  It is very sad that up to 80% of them end up in shelters or let loose in parks or woods to live on their own. 

Shelters are supposed to be temporary homes for critters and when they get too full, they have to euthanize some.  Euthanize is a big word for making dead so many of the bunnies that end up in shelters never even get rescued but are killed.

The bunnies that are let go in parks and woods don’t do much better.  They are not born and raised in the woods where they have their Mamas to teach them how to find good food and hide from enemies.  They are little tiny critters, alone and afraid.  Most don’t last very long before they get eaten.  That’s how it is in the woods world so that’s why animals that are not born there need to have good homes with humans who will take care of them and love them.

What can you do?  Don’t support stores that sell Easter Bunnies. Bunnies make wonderful pets, almost as good as dogs.   If you do want to get a bunny, get one from a reputable breeder or better yet, adopt one from your local shelter or area rabbit rescue.  Before you buy, learn about how to take care of them. You can find out more about how to be a good bunny parent at a website called

I think bunnies are cute and it’s nice that bunnies are part of the Easter celebration. But please make sure any bunny you put in your Easter Basket is a plush one you buy in a toy store or a chocolate one.

Your friend,

P.S.  Blatant Self-promotion.  We use chocolate and plush bunnies in our Easter Baskets and we’d be happy to make one up for you.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Further Adventures In Our Doggy Dog World

Last week I shared the story of a couple of friends of mine who live far away in India. They told us the story of where they live and a little bit about their daily lives.

Today I'm going to share some more of their story.  Like most of us dogs, Bumo and Miu love to play.   When they were puppies they like to play with chew toys but now they are more interested in chasing birds and monkeys.  When it's nice outside, Miu likes to sit in the yard and soak up the sun.  Her Mama says she's getting lots of Vitamin C. 

Miu is a Mama's baby.  She sticks like glue to her Mama and really like to play catch.  It's is all fun and games until she upsets the freshly done laundry.  She's kind of a klutz when she's not paying attention.

They also like digging tunnels in their yard.  Don't tell your humans but Bumo, Miu and some of our other friends are all digging tunnels to each others yards so we can have play dates.  Our tunnel was looking good until Dixie dug too close to the post that holds up the stairs, making them almost fall down.  Dad covered it up so we will have to start all over again once the ground unfreezes.

It's not all fun and games though.  Tibetan Mastiffs and Himalayan Sheepdogs are both very intelligent, hard working breeds.  Bumo's family guarded the fields along the Myanmar border while Miu's family guards Buddhist monasteries high up in the Himalayas.   Although they now live in town, they still take their house guarding duties seriously.  In addition, like many of you,  they are the furry therapists and cuddle babies for their Mama.

I met the girls on line and found that they don't really like the dogs in their neighborhood very much and would much prefer reaching out to doggies all over the world through the internet. They like to learn about the different lives and exchanging ideas.   It's easy for them to make friends with dogs from all different countries because in addition to dog, they speak English, German, Hindi, Tamil, a smattering of Bengali, French and Russian and their Mama is teaching them Japanese.  I told you they were smart!

They say that most of the dogs they meet are very friendly but every once in awhile they meet one that's snobby.  Like the dog from Germany that thought that just because they were from India they were flea and tick ridden and live dismally on the streets.  Unfortunately many dogs do have to live under those awful conditions but obviously Bumo and Miu don't   That would be like saying that just cuz Dixie is from the South, she's a redneck.  Well, maybe that's not such a good example since she is kind of a redneck.

They love learning about other dog's lives and sharing information.  Our friends Max and Beauregard are very well read and like to share links to interesting articles. Their friend Livvy's family is super fascinating (they said they never met a married dog before!).  Neither have I come to think of it.  Tillie Audriana talks about her life in LV and always posts inspirational quotes and Nakita Boo Boo's is from Rainbow Bridge.  I agree when they say that it is comforting to know that there is a place like Rainbow Bridge where all pets that are died go where they become whole again and live in a warm, sunny place where they can run and play and just have fun.

Like most of us who have nice homes with loving humans, they know they are lucky especially since there are lots of dogs in India who do not have loving homes. When they go for a walk, their Mama has to take a stick because the street dogs are very territorial and don't want any other dogs around.   The majority of dogs that are born on the streets have to live there their whole life because people who want dogs don't like adopting mixed breeds.  They want pure breeds.  Hate to say it but we have that problem here in the USA too.

It is sad that there are just litter after litter of unwanted dogs who are often sick and diseased and yes, full of ticks and fleas.  I didn't know this but India is one of the most rabies prone areas in the world.  Millions of dogs and people too die of rabies in India.  How very sad.

When their Mama was younger (she's still not old but has some arthritis and can't run around like she used to) she would collect stay dogs and bring them to camps where they could get rabies shots and either spay or neutered.  That was only a short term solution but it was a step in the right direction. Of course, money is also a problem.  With so many humans starving and going without good medical care, dogs don't get much help.  It makes their Mama furious but what can one human and a couple of dogs do?

We have lots of "unwanted" dogs and cats here but at least we have lots of humans who are working very hard to help as many as they can.  Me and Mom are always advocating adoption and doing what we can.  I'm adopted and so is Dixie.  Mom says she wishes we could adopt more but I'm not encouraging that idea.  Living with Dixie is challenging enough right now.

Anyway that wraps up my interview with Bumo and Miu from India.  If you have anything you would like to know about them, just let me know and I'll see what they have to say.

Also, if you would like to share your story with my friends, let me know and we can talk.

Big play bow and kisses,

Your Globe Trotting Friend,


P.S.  Blatant self-promotion.  I usually don't promote our human gift baskets but since we are talking about friends, I thought giving Mom's side of the business a plug would be okay.  Here's a link to our You've Got A Friend Gift Basket. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's A Doggy Dog's World

As a blogger and key canine in the family business, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with dogs of all breeds, from all over the world.  To a dog, they have been very supportive of me in my work and in my personal growth and have taught me many things.  Today I want to tell you about two of my friends who live half way around the world in India.
Their names are Bumo and Miu.  They are sisters, both 6 years old (Bumo proud to be the older by 2 weeks) who live with their human mama, a graphic designer and illustrator, near New Delhi.  They are Himalayan breeds so their mama gave them Tibetan names.

Miu, is a Tibetan mastiff mix whose name means “doll” and Bumo is a Himalayan Sheepdog whose name means “girl”.  I’ve seen photos of them and they are both so pretty it is easy to see how they got such pretty names.
We met on Dogbook and continued our friendship through emails.  We shared lots of information about our homes and families.  Here is what Bumo had to say about her home in New Delhi.

“We live in the National capital Region of New Delhi. New Delhi is the capital of India and is situated in the plains of Northern India.  It is a very beautiful city.  The National capital region includes the city of New Delhi and lots of satellite town and is HUUUGGGGEE.”
She goes on to say: “Although New Delhi is sadly one of the world’s most polluted cities, we live in a satellite town where there is a lot of greenery, and it is still relatively quiet and less polluted.  There are a lot of birds and insects to chase, and monkeys too!  And of course nice stretches to walk in.”

We’ve had many discussions comparing the chasing of moneys in India and squirrels in New England.  No matter where we live, we dogs have lots in common.  As Miu reminded me, much of what we discuss is how we fit into the human world. We agree that we have mixed feelings about things like holidays.  We love the food but if they involve loud noises or lots of people singing and cheering, we’ll stay home.

“New Delhi has people from all over the country and world.  Our mama is a Tamilian from the South of India.  But she has always lived up north in Delhi.  New Delhi sees a lot of celebrations because of its interesting mix of people from all over.”
She goes on to say: “The noise pollution is very high and that disturbs me a lot.  Bumo doesn’t mind it very much.  We have a gas company guest-cum-ware house next door with lots of people in it.  And they practically live outside in their yards.  Huge scary vehicles come and go at all times of the day, I am constantly barking at them till I get sore. Very annoying!”

Half way around the world and we have so much in common like big noisy trucks and people walking on OUR roads.
Food is also something we dogs all have in common.  We can’t get enough.  Bumo favors Pedigree  dentastix and real bones while Miu prefers Chewbones and dairy products, particularly paneer made with curdled milk.  Breakfast at their house sounds wonderful!  They get an omelet each and Miu gets a bowl of milk while Bumo prefers water.  While busy guarding the house while their mama is at work, Bumo has a bowl of kibble and Miu gets toast.  After all, guarding a house is hard work and a girl does need her strength.

As Bumo tells it, their days are pretty typical of many dogs I’ve met.
“We get up very early, at 5:30 am and ask mama to let us out.  We ensure that no one disturbs mama while she is getting ready, which she does by 7:30 a.m.  We know the regulars who come early in the morning like the help, the gardener, and the car cleaner and don’t bark at them.”

Then it’s a yummy breakfast and after kisses from their mama, they settle into their beds (in different rooms cuz they tend to fight like most sisters).
According to Miu, “We sleep most of the day or sit on the desk and peek out of the window and bark if necessary to keep the house safe (It is our job and an important one, wouldn’t you agree?).”

Absolutely!  That’s why we get the big bags of dog food.  Speaking of food, wait until you hear what they get for supper!
According to Miu “Dinner is chicken and rice which is simply YUMM!  The chicken is prepared on Sundays.  Fresh chicken is pressure-cooked with fennel, salt, oil and turmeric (heals tummy problems nicely says mama).  This is then refrigerated (frozen) and micro waved daily as required.  2 days a week we get chopped plain pork salami and rice (Lip smacking YUMMM).  Our food is fortified with fish oil, Omega 3 fatty acids for shiny fur and good immunity.  Bumo’s food gets a dose of some edible tooth paste since she won’t brush her teeth.  She actually snaps at mama!”

What a great mama they have, cooking them all that good stuff when she is a vegetarian!
Bumo tells how they finish up their day. “Our food is gone in no time and then it is garden time again till it gets dark.  By 8 pm we are sleepy.  We curl up with mama in her bed. She watches TV while we sleep. Did you know that Miu snores?”

(I have it on good authority that Bumo snores too).
You know… all this talk about omelets, chicken and pork salami is making me hungry.  I think I’ll grab a bit of dry dog food from a bag, MOM and continue our interview with Bumo and Miu again next time.

Your starving friend,


 P.S.  If you would like to share your story, give me a bark and we’ll talk.