If you follow Life with Arie on Twitter (@masdemoore) or on Facebook, chances are you saw our exciting announcement that we would be telling you about our giveaway on the blog...yesterday. We're finally able to tell you about the giveaway today!
Yesterday's delay was the result of a very awkward turn of events. After heading to her crate for some nightly shut eye, Arie decided she wanted to get my attention by scratching at her crate door. Somehow, she managed to get two of her paw pads through one slot in the door of her crate and was stuck. After a few minutes of both of us screaming, I got her paw loose and she was fine--besides having peed herself from fear, poor thing.
Needless to say, we all have awkward situations that arise in our life, like your dog somehow managing to get her paw stuck in a door. Sometimes, these awkward situations are captured by a camera--and in still other situations, we've actually posed for them.
Enter the awkward family photo. My parents' hallway is lined with fine examples of these, from a photo of my sister, mother, and I wearing matching dresses and huge 80's bows to family photos where one member of the family isn't ready, either starring daggers at someone else or still fixing their hair. The hilarious and well known book, Awkward Family Photos, became an over-night Internet sensation for compiling these awkward moments. Now, the authors are back with a sequel: Awkward Family Pet Photos.
I've had the privilege of reading this book, and I must say, it now stays in my cubicle at work for occasional relief from the mundane and as an escape into the hilarious misfortune of other people's awkward memories. Pet lovers and owners will have a special love for this book as they can relate and understand the situations these pets and the people who love get into in front of a camera.
Want to read this great book for yourself? I'll be giving it away to one lucky reader. Here's how to win:
When I first started learning about the White German Shepherd Dog breed, a friend of mine who had two told me that they're funny dogs to have because very superstitious people shy away from them. When asked why, she told me "White dogs are how hellhounds are described in legends, so people associate them with hell and death."
It's good knowing that your dog is associated with the warm and fuzzies, right?
With Halloween tomorrow (do we have photos in costumes? Why yes, we do), this idea and superstition came back to mind. I've scoured the internet looking for such a tale, but have yet to find that specific one. Still, I have found a lot of superstitions surrounding dogs in general. Here are a few for you to enjoy:
Yes, you read that correctly. Dogs and Zombies. Feel free to abort reading this blog now, but I promise you your imagination will be plaguing you with questions all day long, so it would be much easier to just read this.
Halloween, or "Howloween" for those of you who enjoy altering spelling to fit our subject matter, has been on my brain lately. I love this holiday, but particularly the fun, non scary parts of it, like candy and Hocus Pocus. My boyfriend, however, is a HUGE fan of scary movies. We eventually found a series we can both enjoy, Resident Evil, one that I can, for some reason, watch without nightmares. These movie have spawned numerous conversations about a possibly zombie apocalypse, between Randy and I and my coworkers and I at work. My question now is, what happens to our canine companions when the world devolves into a bunch of flesh eating brain dead beings?
Several theories have been given to us by movies:
What do you think would happen to dogs in a Zombie apocalypse? Diana Sherman contemplates this and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of dogs, seeing eye dogs in particular, in such an event. What do you think would happen?
Weigh in with your ideas on dogs and zombies, and stay tuned for more Halloween centered posts this week. They'll be just the thing to get in the spirit for Halloween.
On Life with Arie, I'm going to start featuring guest bloggers to talk about their pets. I am proud to feature one of my friends from college, Sarah Gray, as my first guest blogger in her post entitled "Trying Green Eggs and Ham".
Enter my husband, Steve, and his near obsession with the Komondor breed. After I introduced him to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, things were never quite the same in my house. Steve began to research Komondorok (the correct plural form) almost compulsively. Though I had seen the white, dreadlock-sporting monsters many times on the TV, I’d never been particularly interested in the breed. Steve, however, was quick to broaden my understanding of the giant dogs beyond the quippy description given on the televised dog shows.
This Hungarian dog was bred to guard sheep. Great hon, are we going to be starting a flock in our ½ acre suburban backyard? The hair mats naturally, and the mats are then ripped into cords by the owner. That doesn’t sound time consuming at all. The males weigh anywhere from 115 to 135 pounds. Are we getting a bigger house? They are wary of strangers but faithful to and gentle with even the smallest members of their families. We’re never having company again, are we?
Despite my skepticism, we started attending local dog shows and talking to breeders. By some colossal coincidence, there was actually a Komondor breeder nearby, something that was about as likely as being struck by lightning, twice. We even made a pilgrimage to a breeder’s home to meet several of her dogs in their home environment. She warned that they needed to time to accept visitors, so they may not be overly friendly. Of course, every one we met was an absolute charmer. By the time we left, even I was feeling less ambivalent toward those mountains of white with their friendly, twitching noses. Higgins, in particular, felt that as ambassador for the breed, he must lie across my feet and go to sleep. I’m not made of stone, people.
Fast-forward to today and meet Sam (registered name: Ibis Green Eggs and Ham), our Komondor puppy. Do not be fooled by the term “puppy,” however. Sam is an 80+ pound, nine-month-old with energy (and love) to spare. He’s big, and he’s clumsy, and he drags in every bit of dirt and debris he can from outside. He drinks his water with all the grace of a pig at trough and then proceeds to put his wet, hairy mug directly into your lap. We love him.
Training Sam has been challenging to say the least. We attended puppy kindergarten with him and have worked with him daily on obedience. Komondorok are bred to guard sheep without the constant presence of humans, so they are independent thinkers (read: stubborn and hard to train.) His behavior remains a work in progress, though we are blessed with a naturally affectionate and mostly submissive dog. Of course, he has his moments, as he did the other night when he sat on my best friend’s head.
He has his shining moments, though. In July, he participated in his very first dog show. While we do not plan to show him ourselves, because of our arrangement with the breeder, she has the option to show him if she chooses. Because a minimum number of a specific breed must be entered into a dog show for the wins to “count,” Sam was entered into the Greenville Dog Show as a sort of “filler” dog. He behaved beautifully and acted as if he knew what he was doing. He even won two ribbons – don’t get too excited, they don’t count toward any points or anything – and overall, it was a fun experience.
Now that his moment of celebrity has passed, he’s back to lounging about and destroying things in turn. Our remaining cat, Abby (we lost Hobbes to cancer and congestive heart failure) hates Sam with a flaming heat, and he thinks she is a striped, furry playtoy. We have a daughter, Lucy Addison, who at 20 months old has become completely oblivious to the size and power of our oversized dog. When he trespasses into her space, she merely waves a hand and says, “Oh, Puppy.”
As for me, I’m still not sure you could call me a dog person. Sometimes Sam’s affection is just a little too available for my taste. Nevertheless, I can’t resist his black, wet nose or his man-sized, huggable head. Taking him out in public remains a feat, as we are constantly stopped and asked to explain the monster on the end of the leash. I really don’t mind the questions, and I answer them patiently, for the most part. Just don’t ask if we have a saddle for him. We’ve heard that joke already. A lot.
Leave your comments here for me or Sarah, and visit Sarah's blog, "Wife, Student, Crazy Person," for more of her fabulous writing.
Remember this post? It has been almost a month since I started my series on pet food. With all of the blog changes, from getting our own URL to working on a new blog design (Don't worry, we're not done yet!) I bet you thought I'd forgotten about talking to you about pet food. I'm still here, and I'm still ready to tell you more about your food selection.
So far, we've talked about what to think about when selecting your food. After you've narrowed down your selection to your food choice, it's time to start your dog on their new food.
Do not pour that bag of dog food goodness into your pet's bowl just yet. Your puppy's sensitive tummy needs a few TLC precautions as you switch their diet.There are a few steps to the process:
To complete my series on choosing your dog food, look for my final post in this three part plan to read about why I chose Nutro Natural Choice as my dog food, and how it's working out. What is your dog eating?
We have quite the pet family. So far, you've met Arie, my White German Shepherd, and Shady, our lab mix. We also have two cats and a tank filled with fish, but you'll have to meet them later. The point of this post isn't how many animals we have, but how devastating it would be if we ever lost one of them.
When I was little, I grew up next door to my grandparent's land, and in a rural area with lots of wildlife, it's not a rare occurrence for a pet to wander off and not return. I was heartbroken when my cat disappeared, and positively devastated when one met a nasty end thanks to another animal. The wildlife wasn't the only threat to my pet's safe return; people also posed a danger. My family would give the dog a bath, and then let him/her run outside without their collar on while they dried. I was always terrified that someone would find them in that brief time, think they were homeless, and take them in or take them to a shelter.
With the amazing progress of modern technology, we now have an amazing invention that helps relieve that worry: The microchip. Microchips are now readily affordable and available, so you can get one easily for your pet at a shelter or your vet. While they may not seem so important if you have a collar and tag for your dog, remember: Tags and collars can break off, get snagged, or wear so that your information isn't clear. Microchips go beyond that to ensure that your pet is always marked with the address for their home, and have helped some animals find it home in extreme cases, like when one dog made the amazing 750 MILE trip home after being separated from his owner, all because someone checked his microchip.
Still, there are some things you need to have in place in addition to getting your pet a microchip to ensure they'll make it home:
Arie is a big girl, though we would never use that terrible three letter "f" word when talking about her; she's really just big-boned, or, actually, a big breed (she's also larger than the traditional White German Shepherd). Weighing in at 95 pounds, you can imagine how much my Shetland pony sized companion can eat. Being a protective pet parent, I really watch what goes into Arie's stomach. There are many things to consider when selecting your pet's kibble, and it's essential to make a selection that gives your pet everything that they did, and nothing that they shouldn't have. Here are a few things to consider while choosing your kibble:
Oh no. No, she didn't. She wouldn't. Really?!?
Almost all canine parents have that moment where they get a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach as they discover, for the first time, a destroyed object that their dog has chewed into oblivion.
I was blessed with my beast--Arie was set on her Kong and toys when she was a little bit, and was not a chew happy pup. However, on two or three very very rare occasions in the past year and half, I have caught her chewing on objects other than her toys. It's never one of the usual suspects, like a shoe. It's always something odd, like this vase. Yes, a vase:
(One a side note, if your puppy is chew-tastic, there is help available). After my vase met it's demise, I was reminded of this nifty tale of a pup's teeth gone awry. It's a great example of how pet parents are dealing with their pet's little mishaps, and how various companies are waking up to the amazing marketing fact that: A) Billions of people have pets and B) Millions of them will spend money on things for their pets and with companies that appreciate their pets.
Summary: Dan had a roommate. Dan's roommate had a beloved Aussie Shepherd, Strummer. Strummer had a thing for Dan's footwear, and loved stealing the soles out of his shoes. It was never a problem, until he brand new Aldo shoes put up a fight when Strummer tried to remove the soles--So she turned one shoe into a chew toy. Dan wrote Aldo, explaining the situation, and asked if he could purchase or have one shoe. The Staff at Aldo, being friends to those of the pet-lovers persuasion, did one better: They mailed Dan a new pair.
To read the full article, and Dan's letter, check it out on The Consumerist.
Do you have any great customer service stories that involve your dog? Do you consciously shop with pet friendly companies? Tell me about your experiences and thoughts in a comment.
Many of us have heard of small dog syndrome, or the equivalent to the Napoleon complex in canines. Yet, for those of us with pets weighing in at over 60 pounds, there is a whole other reality: Large/Giant Dog Syndrome (GDS).
While many small dogs try to compensate for their size by "acting tough." or posturing, some large dogs forget how big they are. This manifests itself in several ways:
The Lap Dog Effect
In my first post, I discussed how Arie, in all of her near triple digits glory, was trying to get into my lap during a particularly nasty storm. While I love this big girl and want to make her feel safe, having a dog her size in your lap is not just a little uncomfortable--It's also an organ crushing, breath suppressing experience that you can't endure for long. Big dogs can be a little challenging with other tasks as well. For instance, while training a puppy, you may have to deal with a little leash pulling. While training a large breed dog, that little tug on the leash can send you flying.
To make things more interesting, my lap is not the only place Arie tries to go that she is too big for. I lovingly call this interesting trait Arie's Houdini Syndrome, as Houdini was always putting himself into places that he ought not to be and had to fight to get out of them. Arie regularly attempts to fit behind the sofa (where there isn't enough space), under the bed (where there is b a r e l y enough space), and elsewhere, often times resulting in knocking over an object or several objects. This has earned her a particularly strong reputation for being clumsy, when the history behind her breed discusses how she is a generally graceful animal.
The Older Sibling Complex
In the final display of GDS in my GSD, I am reminded of my childhood. My sister is six years my senior, so, as you can imagine, I was the bane of her existence growing up, always one life stage behind, and a constant annoyance in her eyes. When we would get into one of our often tiffs, Kristen would occasionally end up hitting me or throwing something in my direction. Afterwards, I would always hear my mom telling her "Kristen, you don't realize how strong you are. You can't hit/throw stuff at/etc your sister; you could hurt her, and it's not nice..." My big girl is a lot like my sister was in childhood, in that she doesn't always realize her own strength. When playing with our other dog, or investigating our cats (she's still not sure about these creatures, and smells them often, or just watches them inquisitively) she can sometimes go outside of the safety bounds, when, just like my mom, I swoop in and dissolve the situation.
How do you deal with GDS in your pet's life? If you have a large breed dog, do you see these signs of GDS in them? Share your stories with me in a comment.
Pedigree is one of the most well-known companies in the animal world--Their name can be seen in every grocery store, most pet supply stores, and plenty of other retailers. Not only does Pedigree function to bring pet parents the various items they need to raise their pet, but they also work to help animals in need. Together with Betty White (Who could have picked a more popular face? I love some Betty White!), they have the Pedigree Foundation, which works to provide aid to shelters and homeless pets everywhere.
In other news, Blog Paws, an annual gathering of pet bloggers everywhere (I was unable to attend, sad face) was held this past weekend. Thousands of bloggers focus on the subject of our furry friends, and Pedigree has realized the power behind that. That's why, for the second year, they're doing something amazing, and donating a 20 lb. bag of food to a shelter for every blog post that mentions the Pedigree Foundation.
So Bloggers, if Arie can show off her smarts as a White German Shepherd and sit, stay, fetch, roll over, etc. on command, you can use your natural talents and skills to burn up the keyboard for a good cause. With your pet sleeping beside/under your chair or perched over your shoulder, write a blog post and include the Pedigree Foundation. For those of you who don't have a pet blog, don't worry--They'll take entries from your voice too!
To see the original post where it all started (at least for me), be sure to Two Little Cavaliers. ***AFTER YOU WRITE YOUR POST be sure to go to the Two Little Cavaliers blog and add your name to the list. This is one of the ways Pedigree will tally the donations.
Once you write your post, put a link to it in a comment for me! I'd love to read your take on it.