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Sunday, November 29, 2009


Wicked Wanda and Mr Big presented my friend Pat with ten new PWD puppies on Black Friday.

The surprise is that Wanda is seven inches taller and weighs 25 pounds more than Mr Big, who is a very little guy. Pat didn't realize Wanda was in heat, but Big knew.

I guess he's living up to his name. All the pups are big and healthy and growing fast. Aren't they cute? They make me want puppies again.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Here Come The Holidays -Part 5: Toys

Let's admit it, we all love toys and we all look forward to receiving our favorite toys as gifts. My toys include my crafting tools and new gadgets for my computer. Toys can be anything that brings pleasure when you touch or look at or use it
Pets love toys, too. A toy can be as easy as a ball of yarn for a cat or an old tennis ball for a dog.

While we're speaking of cats, they love things that move and make them work. The fishing pole type toy above will make your cat think he's hunting and chasing big game. It's a fun way to get an older, more sedate cat interested in moving around.

Another cat toy is this ring with a ball inside. The cat can't get the ball out, but can spend hours trying.

Pet birds like toys they can preen and chew on.

These rope and straw toys provide hours of fun for birds. My two birds play with theirs all the time.

It's easy to make bird toys with string and shiny items all fastened together and it's a great deal of fun to watch them examine their new toys.

Dog toys come in several different categories. Think about the individual dog you're shopping for and also about the family's life style.

Balls are probably the most popular dog toys. Most dogs love them and they come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Some things to consider are the size of the dog, very little dogs can't pick up large balls and the age and health of the dog. Very old dogs may not be able to play with a ball anymore and a dog with arthritis or other disability may not be physically able.

The balls above are my pack's favorite, glow balls. They glow in the dark, if you enjoy playing ball at night. They come in two sizes and are pretty tough for strong chewers.

These Holee Roller balls are great tools for teaching your puppy to catch. We've had one for years and it's in perfect condition. My dogs haven't chewed it up. Once they learn to catch, they usually move on to other types of balls. You don't want to pick soft rubber or thin plastic for heavy chewers, but they're both fine for more gentle dogs.

Some dogs are lovers, not chewers, and for them soft, stuffed toys with or without squeakers can be perfect. My dogs all love stuffies, but I have four who feel it's their duty to dismember them. If you don't want to pick up cotton stuffing, consider the new ones that are unstuffed. If you can't stand the sound of squeakers, there are some made without them or with other sounds.

We gave these to friends one year. We picked up several take out boxes from McDonalds and put the burger toy inside. Dogs seem to recognize those little white boxes and they get very excited when you hand them one with a stuffie inside, all for them.

If your dog is bonkers for squeakers, try this. It has one or two squeakers in each leg. It's also a good tug toy for a multi dog family.

Some dogs love to retrieve. A hard plastic frisbee can be a hazard to the teeth as we learned the hard way. We use soft frisbees and our favorite is this one, the Flying Cow. We currently have three of them and have given them to each of our puppies who left for new homes. The company, Bamboo, guarantees all it's toys and will replace them for free, even if chewed. We've had ours replaced twice thanks to Morgan.

The Flying Cow is Samba's favorite toy and she taught her pups how to play with it when they
were about six weeks old.

Bamboo makes lots of different toys, all guaranteed. We have this one, too and it's good not only for retrieving, but for games of tug.

Here are more soft frisbees. These things can really fly and if the dog catches it mid-air, it shouldn't crack his teeth.

One of the newer toys, but a big hit with my group, is the Wubba. It flys thru the air for retrieving, it has long legs for tugging and some of them float for play at the beach.

If your dogs enjoy games of tug with you or with each other, there are lots of options. Most dogs like these rope toys, but be aware that they also enjoy pulling the strands out and leaving them all over the carpet and furniture.

If you have a multi-dog household, this is a good tug toy. It stretches and takes a lot of abuse.

A popular new category of toy is the one that makes the dog work for a reward. They come in all sorts of styles. This simple clamshell unscrews for loading with treats. Then the dog must work the treat around to the opening.

Or in my house, Bailey just ate away part of the clamshell letting all the treats drop out.

These soft puzzle toys are popular. You load the little squirrels, or chicks or whatever, into the large toy and the dog has to work to get them out.

We haven't tried these yet because Morgan and Bailey would use a shortcut, just eat the large toy and the little ones will fall out. They are cute for less aggressive chewers.

I'm fascinated by these puzzle toys and hope to get one for my pack this holiday. There are several styles where you load the treats in, then the dog has to move some part to expose the treat. I've seen several dogs demonstrate this and they really have to work at it.

These toys are rather expensive, but watch for sales.

If the family spends time at the beach, consider a floating toy that the dog can retrieve. Several companies make them specifically for water play.

A traditional bumper style is always fun and can also be used for training. They come in many materials such as the canvas above or plastic.

There are also floating frisbees and Wubbas.

Buying toys for pets can be fun and they can be found almost anywhere. Check out dollar stores and thrift shops, vet clinics and grooming shops. There are many pet supply sites online. Think about the pet you're buying for and what it's lifestyle is like. Then enjoy watching as the animal plays with his new toy.

If you need help locating any of the toys shown, email me and I'll tell you where they can be found.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Here Come The Holidays -Part 4: Gifts For Our Friends

If you have pet lovers on your shopping list, relax, we have loads of ideas for holiday gifts they'll love. Here are some of our favorites

We have sleigh bells on our doors. Originally we had them for decoration, but Bentley taught us that dogs are so smart, they can ring a bell when they want to go out. We've never had to teach our dogs to do this. They teach each other. If I'm in another room and hear the sleigh bells, it means someone needs to go outside.

Everyone needs key chains. I don't drive, but I carry my keys at all times because Samba has locked me out of the house on occasion. Even if your friend doesn't need a new key chain, these can be used as purse ornaments or the little charms can be transferred to a charm bracelet. They come in all breeds and generic for those wonderful mixed breeds.

My pack has a toy box, though it's not nearly as fancy as this one. They love their toy box and check it all the time to see if anything new has shown up. It's also nice to have a box with a lid, so if company is coming you can stick the mess inside and close it.

These stickers are very important. They let emergency workers know how many pets you have and what species they are. If a fire starts when you're not home, these stickers could save the lives of your pets. We have them posted beside each door.

Each of the gifts shown above, plus many more are available at Jeffers Pet.

Garden flags are very popular.

You can find almost any breed of dog and cats, too on beautifully colorful small flags. Several types of holders are also available.

How about some refrigerator magnets? There are lots of different styles to choose from.
The flags and magnets and lots of other ideas can be found at Dog. com.

I like to give sweatshirts and mugs to my pet loving friends and my favorite place for both is Cafe Press. They have hundreds of styles for any breed. If you can't find exactly what you want, they'll even make up your own design.

Here is a gift sure to be appreciated by human and dog alike. It's even better if you fill it in advance with yummy treats. It's from Sit-Stay.

Here's an idea I really like. You know that neighbor down the street that never picks up after their dog? How about a dog poop ornament for their tree. Include a little package of poop bags with it. Maybe they'll get the message. It's not real dog poop, it's resin, but the meaning is still there. You can find this little gem at Sit-Stay.

Probably my favorite gift for any occasion is a book. I love to give them and I love to receive them. Check the Shelfari bookshelf on the sidebar for lots of great books about dogs. You can always go to Amazon and search for dogs and you'll find thousands of titles.

If you have a PWD person on your list, it's gotten easier to find breed specific gifts this year. It's nice to have friends in high places and Bo Obama has helped PWD lovers. Yesterday I actually found a PWD calendar in the mall. Every year I've looked and they never had one before.

A Portuguese lady came up with this neat design and has a shop selling all sorts of PWD items. Note that the jacket of the dog is made up of the letters H2O. Her shop is here.

Whenever possible I like to buy from places where my money will go to help others. The various breed clubs and shelters and rescue organizations usually have some holiday items for sale. The money you spend at these places will actually go to helping the animals. One of my favorites is Calimel Cares. It's owned by a PWD owner who donates 100% of the profits to the PWD Foundation. The Foundation does research into diseases that affect Portuguese Water Dogs. The research helps all dogs and in some cases humans.

Use your imagination and surprise you animal loving friends with some unique gifts designed for them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Here Come The Holidays -Part 3: Beds

Everyone needs a place to sleep. Pets are no exception and there are as many different styles of dog beds as there are dogs.
You can find pet beds in every size, shape, color and material. There are orthopedic beds for animals with arthritis or injuries. There are cooling beds for animals that get too hot when they sleep and warming beds for elderly, or sick dogs. We had one for the puppies when they were first born to keep them warm.

There are raised beds to keep your dog off the cold floor or ground.

There are beds that act like little hiding places for pets that like to get into corners or tight places to sleep. Morgan would love a bed like this one. She likes to get into tight corners or behind furniture. It's leftover from being born and raised in a dog house.
You can find pet beds in fabrics and designs to match your decor or just to please you pet.

This one is called a snuggle ball. I bought one for Lucy. I thought she'd like curling up and nesting in it and that it would be comfortable since she had arthritis. This bed became the most popular one in the house. Samba slept on it when she was pregnant and she even used it in the whelping box the night the pups were born. Between puppies she would curl into the snuggle ball, then get out to give birth to the next puppy.

The snuggle ball was Monty's favorite, too but for another reason. Monty usually slept on the floor or on a chair. Every evening after dinner Monty would disappear for about fifteen minutes. We discovered that he was going into the bedroom and using one of the dog pillows to get intimate. Yes folks, Monty was humping a pillow. Then he discovered Lucy's snuggle ball and I saw him carrying it up the stairs to the bedroom. It was the perfect size and it became his 'close friend'. The snuggle ball finally wore out, probably from frequent washings, but it was a very popular item.

At our house we have lots of dog beds. We have them in every room and there's a variety of styles.

Dog beds are easy to make and you don't even need a pattern.

Tsar doesn't like a bed, but he loves having a blanket to arrange and nest in. You can use an old worn blanket of your own or make a fleecy one like Tsar has. There are instructions online if you need help. Just google 'no sew fleece blanket'.

Rob bought one of this type for each of the dogs. It doesn't have a zipper, which is very important in our house. A zipper presents a chewing challenge to several of our dogs. These beds are totally washable, but you do need a fairly large washer for the larger beds.

These can also be made easily. Denim, canvas or corduroy are good materials for a dog bed. They're easily cleaned and they are strong enough to withstand the scratching some dogs do before lying down. Put a couple layers of quilt batting or several layers of a thick fabric, fleece or flannel in between the front and back and stitch them up. For a small dog, try using a couple of bath towels with a little batting in between.

Sky is demonstrating how much he loves his bed. As you can see, he's outgrown it, but dogs become very attached to their bed and he squeezes his 70 pound body into this little bed every night. He does get out and stretches out on the bathroom tile for most of the night, but he always starts off in his little bed.

We have three wicker dog baskets in the house. When I first saw them I fell in love with them and had visions of my dogs sleeping sweetly in their baskets. Well they are pretty, but let me warn you about them. The ones in the living room and office are fine, but there is also one in the bedroom and Morgan likes to sleep in it. Morgan is one of those dogs who has to turn around about a hundred times before she lays down. Wicker squeaks and groans. If you are a light sleeper, like me and you have a restless dog that changes position often, don't get wicker. I hear that wicker and wake right up.

If you have a fairly small dog you can make a pillow case of fleece and then tuck in an old bed pillow that no longer works for you. When our bed pillows get flat and we replace them, we always recycle the old pillow to the dogs.

This was Lucy's little chair. Rob came home with it one night when Lucy was a puppy. We put it in the living room near the couch and she had her very own chair. We've retired it so that the dogs we have now won't destroy it.

Most of my dogs think my bed is the very best place to sleep. Each of them has tried it and there are certain times when they're allowed to sleep with us. Usually, however, that place of honor is reserved for Morgan and Samba.

I'm sure they'd all think this was the perfect dog bed. Why do I have that awful feeling that I'd wind up sleeping on the little platform while they all shared my big bed?

You can find dog beds like these and many other styles at any pet supply store and places such as Target, LL Bean and many other stores. You'll be amazed at the variety available.
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