Let's face it. Everyone loves presents. You can say that the holidays are all about togetherness and family, which they are, but that doesn't mean that people still don't like receiving gifts. In our last post, we covered mine and Arie's drool worthy wishlist for the holidays. The reason we presented it though, is that this year we will not be able to get anything on it. At all. We're moving to a more Arie friendly locale, and as many people know, moving gets expensive. Instead, these are the items my White German Shepherd and I will be enjoying this year, off our low cost/free Christmas gifts for pet lovers list:
Wish List Item #1 The Sappy Trio of Love, Patience, and Time.
We decided to get our heart-warming items out of the way all at once. Sappy though they may be, they are also the best things that you can give your pet, or pet lovers that you know and love. When it comes to giving them to your own four legged family, patience and time are the things that new pet lovers most often don't account for. Hundreds of thousands of animals end up in shelters every year because people underestimate how much time and patience pets need. By taking the time to properly train your pet and to play with them and enrich their lives, and by being patient through their mistakes, you ensure that the love you feel for that cute little ball of fur continues and grows on even when their old and ornery. You can help other pet lovers by giving them patience and time as well--help your friend by walking their dog twice a week, or taking their cat on weekends that they're away. Help them and encourage them through training.
Wish List Item #2 Home made cookies! er...treats.
We've all seen the numerous recalls on pet food and treats and many of us deal with pet allergies every day. While most of us still have companies that we trust, (Arie and I are Nutro enthusiasts), it's fun and rewarding to bake treats in the kitchen you trust the most--You're own! Before you hop on the baking train, be sure you know what you're making is good for your pet, and you may even want to talk to your vet. After you do your homework, get baking! We make peanut butter treats and liver bites (smelly, but beloved) for Arie and Shady, and they love'em!
Wish List Item #3 Belly scratches.
I mean really, have you ever met a dog that didn't go NUTS for a belly scratch? Briseis, our cat, loves them too!
Wish List Item #4 A spa night at home.
Animal people are animal people. Hated by few, understood by many, and fiercely devoted to our own kind, animal people hold a special place in their hearts, souls, and wallets for our four legged friends. We're often guilty of over committing, and that can stretch us too thin, bringing unnecessary stress and fatigue. At least once a month, I let Arie go play with Randy or have a quiet night in the other room while I take a long hot bath, do my nails, and have some me time. There's nothing like a steaming tub and a chilled whiskey (wine is for sissy's...or at least migraines) to give you some R&R.
Wish List Item #5 Further your education.
An educated pet parent is a good pet parent. Give the gift of a pet CPR class, which are usually very affordable, or even just spend some free time with a trainer you know. Use your time and maybe a few bucks to educate yourself and your friends more on animals, what they need, and how to have your best relationship with them possible.
What are the free or affordable gifts that you give to your pets, yourself, and other pet lovers? Share your ideas so we can add them to the list!
Right before Thanksgiving we discussed the idea of two gift lists for you and your pet, or, in particular, for Arie and me. We're starting out with super-amazing-oh-my-goodness-I-wish-I-could wish list. These are the items that we would love to have in our home for our pets, to make our lives a tiny bit easier or just to give the dog and the cats some amusement. Thanks to moving and the holidays, we're on a very tight budget, so each of these will have to wait:
Wish List Item #1 A Roomba iRobot Vacuum
For a long time I thought Roomba's were a joke. There was no way a little robotic vacuum could do a really good job on your carpet--That was until I saw my friend Jorden's in action. That baby scooted around her apartment perfectly, and the most attractive feature was how it handled her dog's hair. Arie, as a typical White German Shepherd with a double coat, sheds little white strands of fur all day along, leaving a light dusting like a first snow on our carpet within a day or two. Daily vacuuming can be an arduous task--a little robotic help would be appreciated!
Wish List Item #2 The Automatic Litter Box
Arie's two siblings are two black cats, Jasper and Briseis. While I love them, they do produce a lot of...well, you know. As dogs sometimes do, Arie and Shady have a bad habit of trying to get into the litter box as well, so between regular scooping and playing defense with the dogs, the litter box can be a major point of hassle on our home. Automatic scooping would help move the temptation away from the dogs and make daily maintenance a little easier.
Wish List Item #3 Biters by Meirav Barzilay
I have to admit...I stole this idea from Lauren and Claire...again...but these toys are epic-ly awesome. Yes, I said epic-ly awesome like an intoxicated frat boy, or Bill & Ted, but they're just that cool. These designer toys (oh so chic) tear apart for dogs who like to rip and tear their toys, revealing treats and more. At $4.95 a pop, they're also cheaper than the stuffing-less toys that Arie has now.
Wish List Item #4 The Coco Dog Bed from Oscar and Lulu
I have a confession...I'm kind of a design whore...and I use that word in the nicest way possible. After writing for interior design firms, architects, and more, I have spent way too much time looking at the latest in modern interior design to ever go back to just throwing furniture together. Now, I work to hone the design and aesthetic of my home. One trend I'm absolutely in love with is the grey trend. Grey has efficiently and effectively surpassed brown as the go-to neutral, and I love these. These dog beds from Oscar and Lulu are trendy, chic, well made, and have the perfect color palette for our new apartment (more on the move in a later post).
Wish List Item #5 Greenies for Joints
While they may not seem splurge gift list worthy, Greenies can be pretty pricey, especially when the size appropriate for your 95 lb. jaws of steel German Shepherd is higher than the teeny weeny ones that work for most dogs. As a breed prone to hip and joint issues, the Greenies for Joints are perfect for Arie, and still help keep her teeth and breath clean and minty-fresh.
What items top your dream pet list? Share your Wish list in a comment.
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:
I love my dog. I do. I really really do. I have a blog about her for goodness sake. I do not, however, love the messes she makes sometimes. I don't. I really really don't.
Arie doesn't have many accidents of the potty variety anymore...we out grew those a long time ago. What she does have, however, is a giant tail that can clear a coffee table in less than three seconds. That, combined with a height that allows her to reach up on counters to find even more liquids and stain worthy items, and we have a problem.
We also now have a solution.
Let me introduce you to my new bestest friend ever: The Bissell Pro-Heat Upright Deep Cleaner. Plus, for the first time, let me introduce you to my home, and why I love the amazing nature of the Bissell Pro-Heat Upright Deep Cleaner.
It's football season. And fall. Unfortunately, in my house, the former seems to dominate the latter, as my significant other spends ample time glued to the TV, screaming like a Neanderthal. Fall is my favorite season, and the special time of year where I catch the entertainment bug and start planning parties and dinners and what not and want to have people over, bake cookies, and have my place smell like pumpkin everything.
Needless to say, on Sunday, game day was here, and we were ready to have friends come and watch his team, The Atlanta Falcons, go after the Philadelphia Eagles (What more appropriate forum than a dog blog to discuss Mike Vick and epic failure? Go Falcons!) The place was looking a little Martha Stuart-esque (enter mums, fall decor items, and a pumpkin) when I took a look at the carpets. No bueno. Little spots from cat litter (If you use the clay and have carpet, you know of what I speak) and human stains (we're clumsy humans and spill things) could be seen in various areas of the house. Our newest purchase, the Bissell, was about to come to the test.
This power machine was easy to assemble and easy to use. I'm very sensitive to bringing chemicals in la casa--We usually use only 100% natural cleaners--but for the carpet, I made an exception (and just went over each area with plain water afterwards to help clean out the cleaner). After putting the vac together and adding in the cleaner and hot water (SO easy) I went through our entire place and scrubbed that carpet like crazy, and even took the time to do the bathroom rugs and the kitchen mat. The dogs were in their crates (to protect their paws from chemicals) and the cats took a wonderful fall vacation in the garage (with toys, food, water, and litter of course). We ran to the store to grab food, and let the carpet dry.
We came back home to clean carpet that was dry, fresh smelling, stainless, and soft. We couldn't have asked for better results. We bought the carpet cleaner for around $130 at Target (It was on a big sale). That, together with the Pet Stain & Odor Advanced Formula Cleaner for the machine for $20 left us at a total of about $150 plus tax. The last time we got our carpet cleaned professionally it was $99 for three rooms and a hall, which would leave us one small room leftover. In just two cleanings, the new carpet cleaning machine will have paid for itself, and will continue to do so afterwards.
So, in my first pet product review, I give you a strong recommendation for the Bissell Proheat Upright Deep Cleaner. Feel free to ask questions in the comment section on my experience with it.
I am...admittedly, a shelter magazine hoarder. Well, I don't have magazines piled up in every nook and cranny of my apartment, but I do like to look over a juicy issue of Elle Decor, or to visit Lonny or Design Milk in the wee minutes left from my lunch break at work. Design is something I love, and something I like to bring into my home.
My bedroom currently features a modern aesthetic, with typography wall art, and a black, white, and shades of yellowish-orange color motif. Everything seems to flow with an ease and elegance...until you get to the ugly beige and metal mass that is Arie's crate. I loathe the look of that crate. The crate is important for Arie, because it's her own personal space: The cats don't go in there. Shady, our other dog, can't either. It's her own little hideaway and nighttime retreat, her safe place for sleeping, resting, and for calming herself when she gets overwhelmed. It is also a major eyesore...along with Shady's crate, the litter boxes, and the cat post/tree.
Still, never fear pet owners: Recently, designers have been keeping us in mind, and are making the cutest (EVER!) modern pet accessories, beds, and more, that won't interrupt your space's design. See my curated lust items below.
Who could resist an egg like nook for their favorite pooch or feline, in a fun shade of pink, mint, or beige, and with adorable polka dot cushions? This little nugget of cute, a pEi pod, will set you back $130 for the small size, but like jeans for the same price, it probably won't cramp your style.
Kitty Pod. This is one of my loves. This little "couchette" is a wonder for me, as it's made from a scratching post like material and is designed to comfort your kitty and let your feline love their very own piece of furniture, helping to keep their claws from loving up the side of your couch. These pieces look like a chic, recycled material furniture piece, but are ultimate examples of function. Find this for $122, or check out their site for other options. (P.S. the opening music on their website is pretty sweet, too.)
This next little wonder is adorable for the fish lovers in this world. If your apartment or HOA won't allow you to have mammals, you can go with the ever popular beta, a great low maintenance pet. Still, the bowl could give your stylish new fish...and your apartment...the blues. Instead, consider giving your fish a modern abode that any architect would admire: The fish condo. The best part is, this bowl is highly affordable, at $29.95 via Heliotrope.
What stylish finds do you have to share with us? Share your adorable pet accessory ideas in a comment.