Chewy.com Product Review: Halo Liv-a-Littles Freeze-Dried Chicken Treats

HIGH VALUE treat alert! Thanks to the blogger program at chewy.com, my boys are going crazy for these freeze-dried chicken "Liv-a-Littles" treats by Halo. Shockingly (considering Ellen is wonderful!) this was my first go at a Halo product.

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Like most freeze-dried treats, these are 100% chicken packed with protein and flavor that my dogs go crazy for. And, unlike others, Liv-a-Littles have a marinade made from sodium phosphate, salt and carrageenan. Luckily for Finn, they are still grain-free! Halo suggests you can either use these in treat form or sprinkle in small amounts over your pet's food. That's great news for picky eaters and our feline friends, too!

When the massive chewy.com box arrived in the mail I thought they had most certainly shipped the wrong product. Lo and behold, the 2.2oz canister of goodness was protected by lots of crumpled paper. That still did not keep the treats from breaking down or crumbling somewhat in the process - which is actually a disclaimer on the label - but my pups only get small bits of treat so, no biggie.

Cooper and Finn delighted in their first taste and, if they had it their way, would have gobbled up every last bit in one sitting. I find these treats incredibly effective for training Finn because they really steal his attention. At the same time, I can keep Cooper focused without disrupting our session since he gets equally fixated. Happy pups = happy pup mom!

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Disclaimer: I received free product from Chewy.com in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed in the blog are my own and were not influenced by any outsider. I did not receive monetary compensation or additional benefits for talking about the product or the company.

Chewy.com Product Review: Blue Bones Natural Dental Chews

Dental health for dogs, as for people, starts with a healthy, balanced diet and regular care. Dogs can't brush their own teeth but you can help them out with that (using dog toothpastes ONLY!) and provide them with safe, natural bones to chew which can help reduce tartar buildup. Another fun way to cut through dog breath is with edible dental chews. Not all chews are created equal, so "chews" the one that suits your pup (ha, see what I did there?).  

February was Pet Dental Health Month so naturally I had Cooper test out these Blue Bones Natural Dental Chews as part of our commitment to the chewy.com blogger product reviews. We received a generous package of "Regular" sized bones which are intended for dogs 25-50lbs. Since the Mini and Small would have been better options for Cooper, he got *1/2 Regular. *Next time, he will get a whole one (no more than once a week) because it was challenging for him to leverage just one side of the bone.

Ingredients: Whole Ground Potato, Whole Ground Rice, Water, Vegetable Glycerine, Gelatin, Peas, Carrots (source of Vitamin A), Beet Juice, Sunflower Oil (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Oat Bran, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Chicken Flavor, Blueberries, Dried Parsley, Alfalfa Meal (a source of Chlorophyll), Calcium Carbonate, preserved with Citric Acid, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (a source of Vitamin C), Zinc Propionate, Vitamin E Supplement, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Taurine

Cooper had no trouble digesting the bone, it did not leave him with any worse breath, but I don't know that it necessarily improved his breath or the condition of his teeth. Potatoes are the first ingredient and I have read that carbs such as potatoes break down easily into sugars which could actually contribute to a decline in dental health. That being said, I am satisfied with the quality of the ingredients in these dental chews, especially as compared to others on the market. They are also Made in the USA! And Finn did not partake since these bones contain rice and are not a grain-free option for my little guy. Not to worry, I started brushing his teeth a few weeks ago :) (see the  Daily Dog Blog Facebook Page  for a darling video)!

Take care of and LOVE your dogs <3

 

Disclaimer: I received free product from Chewy.com in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed in the blog are my own and were not influenced by any outsider. I did not receive monetary compensation or additional benefits for talking about the product or the company.

Accidents Happen!

New dog peed on the oriental rug? Pooped in the laundry pile in the kids' room? Guess it's time to find him a new home. Wait a second... is your 3-year old son having potty training relapses? Did your daughter wet the bed until she was 6? You must have shipped them right off to the orphanage then, right?

I am using an overly sarcastic undertone just to drive home how LUDICROUS it is that dogs are returned to breeders, dumped at shelters, or just flat out neglected because of habits that are sometimes out of their control. As the pet parent, your reaction is always within your control. I am not an expert in this, or any other dog behavior topics; I am hoping to prevent just ONE dog from becoming homeless over a bad habit..

As I wrote in my Nature's Miracle post last week, I have been dealing with a myriad of stains and messes. This struggle with housebreaking is all too real with Finn so believe me when I say I can relate. I understand and I sympathize. I have not seen or experienced it on all levels but I feel your burden and your frustration. Just breathe. Take inventory of what is important to you and try a new method to address the challenge. Most importantly, talk with or visit your dog's vet to rule out any medical issues that could be causing incontinence. Once you get the "all clear", try some of these tips: 

  • Correct and redirect with an "outside" command (and take pup outside); DON'T scold
  • Use a bell by the door or develop another method to signal he needs to potty
  • Watch for signs that your pup is about to go (sniffing, circling)
  • Skip the pee pads, they can be confusing to some dogs, especially if your goal is to eliminate all "eliminations" in the house
  • Stick to a schedule - if your pup has to go after every meal, make that a routine time to take him out
  • Feed at consistent times or intervals and remove food bowls after a few minutes and especially when you leave to reduce accidents
  • Record and watch the activities of a normal day; you might learn when and why the mess occurs
  • Praise and reward potty outside and reinforce with a phrase ("good potty outside", for example)
  • Stay calm. Be patient. Breathe. Laugh. And clean ;)

UPDATE! Finn had a HUGE breakthrough this week! On 1/28/15 he whimper-barked while I sat at my desk, opening mail. I found it odd since we had come in from our evening walk no more than 10 minutes earlier but I was certain he was trying to tell me he had to go outside. Mind you, we had snowbanks over my waist and the wind chill was 15 degrees so our first walk was brief. I also knew there was no way that he was asking to go outside for fun. So, any way, the moral of the story is that I listened to his cue, signaled "outside" and, sure enough, he went #1 AND #2! TMI? I don't care -- it was a proud dog mom moment for sure!

Be positive and don't forget to leverage the experts - vets and (positive reinforcement) trainers, as needed! And set realistic expectations. Young pups and elder dogs simply should not be expected to "hold it" for more than a couple of hours, max. Sending good vibes!

Chewy.com Product Review: Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover

A new year, a new review opportunity! Many people make resolutions to live a healthier life, to declutter and do a thorough cleaning so how appropriate for us to review Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover.

Here are a few benefits as described on the site:

  • Suitable for carpet, floors, or any hard surface
  • Neutralizes organic odors and removes stains 
  • Quick drying
  • No rinsing necessary
  • Tip: It also works as a stain treatment for laundry (think pet bedding, blankets, etc.)!


    I think that even the most well-trained of dogs are bound to have tummy troubles. As for my household, spot cleaning has progressed from a constant task to a daily chore to being as needed each week. Finn's accidents still run the gamut :-/ while Cooper gets sick only after the occasional over-indulgence. For these reasons, I have found it is always best to be prepared with a carpet cleaner and something that is safe for hard surfaces. In both products, I look for stain-removal properties as well as an odor eliminator/neutralizer. You don't want to see or smell the stain after cleanup but, perhaps most importantly, you don't want your pup to find the same spot again.. and again..

     

    Earlier this month, I tried Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover on an hours-old pee spot (rug), a newly discovered dried pee spot (hardwood), an old stain from an upset tummy (yuck) that I could never get to disappear, and (lucky me) a fresh poop that was so thoughtfully placed on the edge of my living room area rug. Here are the results:
    • The pee was a straightforward job. While I do believe that Nature's neutralized the odor and left the rug stain-free, it left the hardwood floor a bit tacky even after it dried overnight. (4 stars)
    • The throw-up was a very stingy stain that I had tried to remove several times already. And, alas, after 2 go-rounds with Miracle Stain & Odor remover, the stain remains. Perhaps it is a little lighter. Perhaps I should have taken a before and after ;)
    • The poop was definitely a challenge.. It took 2 days of applying solution, soaking up the stain, allowing to dry and using a srub brush to dissolve the residue. It's still about 15% visible but a vast improvement from the onset.

    Other chewy.com shoppers rated this product an average of 5 stars; I would have to disagree and say 3.5 stars. 

     

    Disclaimer: I received free product from Chewy.com in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed in the blog are my own and were not influenced by any outsider. I did not receive monetary compensation or additional benefits for talking about the product or the company.

    Chewy.com Product Review: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Biscuits

    Our final product review for November comes courtesy of Chewy.com's Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats. Cooper and Finn sampled the Salmon Biscuits Grain-Free Dog Treats to be exact.

    These light, baked, Fig Newton-sized biscuits are perfectly crunchy without the density that could chip a tooth. Two paws up right off that bat! With crunchy comes crumbly so I would caution against trying to halve or otherwise split them. They have a pretty limited ingredient list, too:

    Salmon, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Calcium Ascorbate (source of Vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Salt, Calcium Carbonate.

     

    I promise that Finn has been enjoying these biscuits just as much, if not more than Cooper! Someone is just a bit more excitable when it comes to new treats :) Our dog walker has been supplying both pups with a biscuit after their mid-day stroll and has reported that they gobble them up! And thanks again, Chewy.com, for allowing us to be part of your blogger program!

     

    Just a note: I have heard from a few sources that Blue Buffalo has had several recalls which, understandably, might give you pause. There were no recalls on these treats at the time of this review. As with anything you feed your dog, I urge you to do your research and check for recalls often. You can even sign up for DogFoodAdvisor.com's recall alert emails so that you are among the first to know of potentially dangerous food and treats. Since recalls are often voluntary, your vet is always a good resource for serious questions and concerns.

    Disclaimer: I received free product from Chewy.com in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed in the blog are my own and were not influenced by any outsider. I did not receive monetary compensation or additional benefits for talking about the product or the company.

    Zuke's Product Review: Zuke's Genuine Jerky Treats

    Earlier this month, Cooper and Finn had the fine privelege of taste-testing the latest in Zuke's line of dog treats: Genuine Jerky! Most of you know by now that my little Finn has a grain allergy so I'm constantly on the hunt for treats that satisfy both of the boys without upsetting any tummies.

    Okay, let's get down to it! We received one bag each of the 3 beef varieties - Original, Teriyaki, Barbecue. Our walks are very reward-based so I typically prep a small bag of treats to take along. The pieces of jerky were a bit too big for steady treating so I tore them into smaller pieces, a relatively easy task. They had the typical slick jerky texture, too, but did not leave my hands greasy or smelly. Speaking of smelly... the boys did wind up with some interesting gas throughout the day ;-P In the end, I would say they enjoyed all 3 of the flavor varieties equally! Have a look at the ingredients lists:

  • ORIGINAL RECIPE: Beef, Brown Sugar, Salt, Garlic Powder, Natural Flavors, Apple Cider Vinegar, Paprika, Celery Powder, Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative) 
  • TERIYAKI: Beef, Brown Sugar, Salt, Natural Flavors, Apple Cider Vinegar, Celery Powder, Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative)
  • BARBECUE: Beef, Brown Sugar, Salt, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Natural Flavors, Apple Cider Vinegar, Paprika, Celery Powder, Mixed Tocopherols
  • One con against the jerky would be for dogs with small or few teeth because, well, it's jerky and it can be tough for some to chew. Side note: Zuke's makes other fantastic chewy treats for the little ones!

    Somebody smells the jerky!Finn, sniffing out the Barbecue flavored Genuine Jerky. Cooper must have seen a squirrel, ha."Hi mom! Got any Zuke's for me?"

    "More jerky, please!"

     












     

     

     


    Disclaimer: I received free product from Zuke's in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed in the blog are my own and were not influenced by any outsider. I did not receive monetary compensation or additional benefits for talking about the product or the company.

    Chewy.com Product Review: Grandma Lucy's Organic Pumpkin Oven Baked Dog Treats

      

    It's probably clear why I chose Grandma Lucy's Organic Pumpkin Oven Baked Treats for this Chewy.com review... PUMPKIN! If you live in New England like we do, you just might be pumpkined out. But for the pups, pumpkin doesn't have to be a seasonal treat. With lots of fiber, vitamins and beta carotene, a little cooked pumpkin and pumpkin puree will help firm up loose stool and even ease constipation in dogs.

    So how did Cooper and Finn like these adorable Teddy Graham-shaped, cinnamon sprinkled cookies? Finn, sadly, was deprived of these delectable treats because I recently discovered he has a grain intolerance. (Don't worry, I snuck him a crumb just to see his little bum wiggle!) There isn't much that Cooper doesn't care for so what makes selecting treats so exciting for me is when I get to choose organic, all-natural, human-grade and US-made ingredients. As you can see from the list that Chewy.com provided below, Grandma Lucy gets our approval :)

  • Suitable for all life stages
  • 100% USDA Organic, USA originated ingredients
  • Oven baked
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • No by-products, artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors
  • Certified kosher
  • Made in the USA!
  • Also, since most of the treats are on the savory end of the spectrum, it's fun to see how quickly the nose twitches when ingredients like cinnamon are presented to and consumed by the canine palette. It really seems like a little dessert; dangerous for those of us who tend to over-indulge (hehe).

    Thanks again, Chewy.com, for allowing us to be part of your blogger program!

    Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Chewy.com Blogger Program. The opinions expressed in the blog are my own and were not influenced by any outsider. I did not receive monetary compensation or additional benefits for talking about the product or the company.

    Chewy.com Product Review: Primal Freeze-Dried Liver Munchies

    Our latest product to review from Chewy.com arrived earlier this month! From the list of available products, I chose Primal Freeze-Dried Liver Munchies. Cooper has never turned down liver. Finn, on the other hand, has been pretty picky with treats but he has certainly come around to the "smelly" ones.

    Instead of giving you a full list of the ONE ingredient (Turkey Liver), let me highlight the Key Benefits as described by the company:

  • Turkey raised in the United States without antibiotics or added hormones
  • Single-source protein
  • Healthy treats for dogs and cats
  • High-protein snack
  • No preservatives
  • Grain and gluten free
  • No added salt or sugar
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    So how did Cooper and Finn like them? Cooper was hoping my finger was an extension of the treat because he simply couldn't get enough. Finn has the tiniest mouth and prefers soft treats since they are easier to chew; by starting with the treat on the floor, he was able to sniff and chomp away. These treats are breakable but since they were freeze-dried, they do tend to crumble. People with big dogs wouldn't have this problem :) Best part of all? They are only $4.99 per 2oz bag at Chewy.com and available at most pet retailers!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Chewy.com Blogger Program. The opinions expressed in the blog are my own and were not influenced by any outsider. I did not receive monetary compensation or additional benefits for talking about the product or the company.

    Block Island Day Trip

    When one is blessed with a long weekend such as Labor Day, what does one do? Plan a day trip, of course!

    Cooper, Finn and I went to Block Island with my mom on Saturday. She and my dad visited it for the first time last year and brought Cooper a souvenier dog collar with tie so, naturally, I just had to go there myself and check out the inventory. I'll take you through my internal evaluation of how I decided that this trip would be enjoyable for us, 2- and 4-leggeds alike!

    Are they allowed on the ferry? Is there an extra charge?

    Yes, dogs are allowed at no charge! Depending on the port and boat you choose, the dogs might only be allowed on the outer decks and are always required to be leashed or in a carrier.

    Can I take them in the shops and restaurants with me?

    Most shops were very welcoming and some just tolerated the dogs being in there but we were not asked to leave any of the several establishments we entered. We ate outside at 2 different restaurants, including The Oar which was awesome!

    Are we traveling during their normal meal time(s)?

    We scheduled the 12:30 ferry from Newport so the boys had their breakfast. I brought them a few treats and plenty of water for the day and got them home for a slightly later-than-usual dinner so no need to pack a full meal.

    Will the elements be too much for the pups to handle?

    The weather outlook was fabulous for our trip - no storms or rain on the radar. I did consider the potential that their paws would get quite hot walking around town so we took breaks often, chose grass over pavement when possible, and stayed hydrated.

    Are they allowed on the beach?

    Ha, well... We learned the dogs are not allowed at Ballards but when we asked about the other beaches, we mostly heard that they were generally tolerated when kept on-leash. There were a few "No Dogs Allowed" that seemed to be overlooked as long as the dogs were well-behaved and no beachgoer lodged a complaint.

    Finn's Firsts

    Today is Finn's 1-month ADOPTaversary! To celebrate, I thought I would share with you some of his memorable moments from the past 31 days.

    Finn flies on a plane! He made the trip from National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado back home to Massachusetts with me. He was such a good traveler that the flight attendant didn't even realize there was a dog under my seat until we landed and I smothered him with kisses.

    Finn walks on a leash! Since the first day home, Finn has been a very cooperative walking buddy with his snazzy yellow harness and leash. I think having Cooper with us helps since he knows our neighborhood like the back of his paw. A little tangle here and there does release a little spastic reaction so we try our best to keep a steady pace.

    Finn knows his name! Many times, families will change the name of their newly adopted dog because they either had another name in mind all along or they just don't think the current name fits with the dog's personality or appearance. Because shelter and rescue dogs typically only have their name for a short while, changing the name right away isn't too confusing. I decided to keep Finn's name because I thought it was just perfect but the truth is, I don't think he knew his name until a good 10 days and when he first responded, my heart swelled :) For the story about the origin of his name, click here.

    Finn sleeps on my bed! After 2 nights of Finn whining and me feeling guilty that Cooper was free to roam while Finn was confined to his crate at night, I decided I would rather have Finn sleep on the bed. Instead of transitioning to the big bed right away, I borrowed a newborn co-sleeper from my sister. It allowed me to have Finn at eye-level but also kept him safe since the bed is too high for him to jump off of. Now that I can trust that he won't attempt to leap off the bed, he's cuddling right up with Cooper and me, zzzzz...

    Finn learns the "look" command! Because Finn is still very shy around people, he tends to keep his head low. I taught him the "look" command so that he would look up at me and get a treat every time he complied. He is very trusting of me and I'm hoping this will translate with friends and family soon, too. Then onto [kind] strangers.

    Finn plays with Cooper! My Cooper is very much a people-loving dog while Finn loves canines companionship so I stopped everything to watch their first wrestling match a few weeks ago. This might actually be more of a milestone for Cooper, but it also speaks to how important it is to know your dog when considering adding another to the crew. I'm one proud momma!

    Finn pooped on the mulch and grass! This one might sound strange because, for your normal family dog, this is just par for the course. Puppy mill dogs, however, have a rough start in life and are typically restricted to small cages either suspended above the ground or attached to a small slab of concrete. As you can imagine, Finn became accustomed to "going" on hard/flat surfaces so 9 times out of 10 he goes on the sidewalk. The first time he went in the mulch, I was ecstatic!

    Finn plays with toys! So many people have helped me welcome Finn to freedom so naturally he received lots of new toys! I'm guessing that because they didn't have Cooper's scent on them or because he knew they were bought especially for him, he played with a little stuffed Lamb Chop(TM) and a fleece rope just like a real puppy! Cooper has since engaged him in a few tug-of-war battles with some of his favorite stuffies :)

    Finn enjoys a bully stick! Initially, Finn did not show interest in treats or snacks, like the homemade frozen yogurt I make for Coop so you can imagine my surprise when he started chomping a bully stick (with his teeny tiny mouth). He will now take a treat from my hand, as long as I offer it to him by pinching it between my fingers (as opposed to an open palm), but he is still unsure of the "healthy" stuff like carrots, apples, blueberries, etc.

    Finn goes up stairs! With a lot of encouragement, Finn finally conquered the stairs! On occasion, he will hesitate to start the climb; once his little legs get going, he hops right on up. This is helpful since I'm on the second floor of a 2-family.

    Finn goes down a few stairs at a time! The descent, on the other hand, is still a bit of a challenge for Finn. So it is with my assistance that Finn tackles 2-4 stairs every time we head out. I have no doubt that this will be his next major feat!

    Finn swims! Okay, it wasn't intentional, but Finn swam in Nana & Pepere's pool! He was chasing Cooper and zigged when he should have zagged and... SPLASH! I went in after him but only because he swam away from the stairs. Go little Finn Finn, go!

    Finn sits! No, it's not on command (yet) and it is very rare and for a very short period of time BUT he CAN sit! Finn has luxating patellas, commonly known as "floating kneecaps" where his rear knees sort of become disjointed from time to time. This condition can cause discomfort in some dogs but the vet says that it's relatively common and Finn's getting along just fine.

    Finn licked my hand! Finn has been very loving and cuddly with me since day 1, so I was surprised that he hadn't tried to "kiss me". The other morning he did lick my hand, repeatedly, and it seemed to be out of love and excitement. What a doll <3

    Every day, Finn represents puppy mill dogs and helps me advocate and spread awareness. He joins Cooper and me on our adventures - from Poop Patrol to Yappy Hour to your family-friendly parade - Finn has been taking it all in and he just brings so much laughter and love to our family!

    Meet Finn!

    Over the past 7 days, I have had the pleasure of watching my newest furkid, Finn, explore and enjoy his freedom here in MA. Finn is so playful with other dogs and he and my Cooper are getting along great. He’s been my little shadow, following me from room to room. That translates to leash walking, too, where he has really excelled. And don’t even get me started on his cuteness. We can’t walk 50 feet without the “awwws” and pointing at my little crew. I’m so grateful to National Mill Dog Rescue for saving this boy and allowing me to give him the life he deserves. Four and a half years in a puppy mill is a lifetime for some dogs, but Finn was a lucky one. I can’t wait to see what our future holds <3
     

    2nd Annual Animal WelFair at EMC a HUGE Success!

    This year’s Animal WelFair event was held on June 20th in the courtyard of EMC’s Corporate Headquarters in Hopkinton, and we couldn't have asked for a better day! Once again, we welcomed organizations representing all aspects of animal welfare - from rescues, humane societies, doggie daycare and training to disaster recovery, veterinarians and pet insurance. Each group gave employees a chance to learn more about their mission, their fundraising needs and their opportunities for volunteering. Many were also giving away FREE STUFF! Dog treats, “doody” bags and collar tags were among the SWAG offerings. Pawfect Life Rescue also held a raffle where the randomly chosen winner received a gift bag full of great dog toys and goodies!

    With representation from over 20 groups plus 3 of EMC’s own Employee Circles (DERG, VeTS and C.A.R.E.), we met our goal of growing this year’s event from our inaugural “Pet Fair” last June. Employees were even kind enough to donate goods to select organizations, filling nearly all 4 gigantic boxes we set up in the building for a few weeks leading up to the event! Until next year… THANK YOU! And remember: ADOPT, Don’t Shop!

    Volunteer Spotlight: National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado

    From April 27 - April 30 of this year, I was lucky enough to travel the 2,000+ miles to Colorado Springs to embark on my very first - and far from last - volunteer experience at National Mill Dog Rescue.

    Preparing for the trip was 90% mental…

    I followed the steps to become a volunteer and signed up on VolunteerMatters/NMDR.com. I reviewed the Volunteer Handbook, signed the waiver, and watched “I Breathe” featured at the bottom of this blog.

    I initially worried that it would be too difficult for me to be surrounded by so many homeless dogs, especially knowing what their pitiful lives were like prior to rescue. They were either purchased at auction or born in the puppy mills (aka commercial breeders, some of which are USDA “approved”) where they were subjected to neglect and forced to spend every minute of every day in small wire cages in their own filth all while being bred on-demand for years. Their health was of no concern to the breeders since they were merely puppy-makers for profit. What most people still don’t understand is that they could be supporting this disgraceful practice by buying pets online or from pet stores which is why we preach ADOPT, don’t shop!

    After I packed my suitcase with tissues and an uplifting book, I pushed my selfish fears aside and focused on what NMDR does on a daily basis to provide these dogs with the best chance of a new, happy life. I had to remember what this trip was all about – showing the dogs love and compassion in the safe and well-maintained environment that is NMDR’s Lilly’s Haven.

    Once I landed in Colorado…

    I met up with Laurie, the remarkable woman who inspired me to become part of this organization and join her on this, her third journey. Laurie is a long-time friend of my dad’s and she too lives in MA. She is also a great advocate for the pit bull breed and supports the organization born out of Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring, Handsome Dan’s Rescue based in Rhode Island. THANK YOU, Laurie!

     

    Day 1: Pet Expo

    We were fortunate to experience a bit of Colorado on our drive from Denver to Colorado Springs but truthfully we just couldn’t wait to see the pups. Sunday at the kennel was going to be quiet since several volunteers were busy representing NMDR at a local Pet Expo so we were urged to check that out instead. There were tons of people and their dogs amidst countless rescue organizations, humane societies, and pet specialty stores and vendors. NMDR had adoptable dogs on-hand for meet & greets, branded clothing for sale, and a slew of literature further explaining their mission; it was great to experience it all in a cheerful and rather busy setting.

     

    Day 2: Offload, Clean, Feed & Socialize

    In advance of the trip, we got wind of the impending rescue mission in the Midwest which was set to bring nearly 60 dogs to the NMDR facility to begin their rehabilitation and road to be re-homed. It was with great anticipation that we cleaned, fed, laundered, and socialized the pups until mid-afternoon when the rescue vehicles arrived. I was living in the moment, surrounded by the energized crowd of volunteers and coordinators, when I realized that all of their suffering had truly ended. These dogs were going to feel love – and the ground! – for the first time in their lives. One by one the volunteers filtered up to the van to be given a crate with one or more matted, scared, smelly dogs. Regardless of their former circumstances, not a single dog displayed aggression. It was simply miraculous.

    Read the full press release about “Harley to the Rescue”.

     

    Day 3: Clean, Feed, Intake & Socialize

    By Tuesday morning I already felt so connected to my new fur-friends… all 80+ of them :)! We joined the early morning cleaning crew; mopped all the overnight accidents, scooped the poop, wiped down the Kuranda bed, switched out the blankets and folded laundry. Next came time to refresh the water and fill the food bowls. Some pups need canned food while others have special diets like grain-free and, of course, the young ones eat puppy food. Full tummies = minimal barking + another round of cleanup.

    The newbies from Monday’s rescue were starting to get settled in their new temporary homes, but how would they ever find their forever families? What we did next is what NMDR refers to as “intake”. Prior to transport, each pup was named, weighed, microchipped and evaluated for major health concerns. This made the intake coordinator’s job much easier and smoother. As volunteers, it was our job to take each dog one-by-one through the intake process: verify the name on their collar matched the paperwork, provide any personality traits observed during the time spent in their kennel (shy, friendly, cuddly, scared, outgoing, anxious), and have their pictures taken for the adoption page and as the starting point for their before and after transformations.

    Read more about my 5 intake dogs on their adoption profiles:

    Chloe – Maltese   Festus – Yorkiepoo   Cassidy – Standard Schnauzer

    Rory – Havanese - ADOPTED!   Lucy – Toy Poodle - ADOPTED!

     

    Day 4: Clean, Feed, Socialize & Goodbyes

    Wednesday was not going to be another 9-hour day for us since the car rental return and my flight back East were dictating our schedules. Laurie and sped through cleaning and feeding so we could spend the last few hours cuddling and loving on our buddies. I thoroughly debated cradling a few of the little ones in my brand new National Mill Dog Rescue zip up hoodie for the plane ride! I thought, “how would anyone know?” I loved them so much already. This was by far the most difficult day. A few of my toughest goodbyes were to: Joey, Balto, Ojoe & Lucy, Nino, Glory, Soda, Poppi, Betsy, Walter, Killian, Rooster & Ellie, Brutus, Festus, Cashel, Powder, Dixie, Kiwi, Lulu, Cinnamon & Eggnog, Ferrari, Snickers, Clarence, Happy, George & Ringo, Elmo, Indiana Jones, Rocky, Ruby, Cher and Shelly. Okay, maybe it was more than a few but that wasn’t all of them. So many deserving dogs need homes and I really hope this journal of sorts inspires you all to ADOPT, VOLUNTEER, ADVOCATE, and DONATE!

     

    To learn more about National Mill Dog Rescue and the dogs they save,

    >Review NMDR’s Mission Statement:

    As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Peyton, CO, NMDR’s mission is “to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home discarded breeding dogs and to educate the general public about the cruel realities of the commercial dog breeding industry.

     

    >Watch "I Breathe: Lily's Legacy"

     

    >And continue on to the NMDR website for even more valuable information.

     

    Together we WILL make a difference!

    Chewy.com Product Review: Fromm Oven-Baked Treats

             

    This month I had the pleasure of reviewing a product for Chewy.com. I chose Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Grain-Free Chicken with Carrots & Peas Recipe Dog Treats. Since it's a mouthful (hehe, pun intended), I'll just refer to them as the Fromm Treats in this blog.

    What I like the most about the Fromm Treats is that I can actually read all of the ingredients! They are fresh, human-grade ingredients. I'm quite certain I know someone who would indulge with his/her pup ;)

    Fresh Chicken, Pea Flour, Potato Flour, Tapioca, Whole Peas, Chicken Fat, Tomato Pomace, Fresh Cranberries, Fresh Sweet Potatoes, Fresh Carrots, Fresh Apples, Fresh Split Peas, Fresh Green Beans, Fresh Green Bell Peppers, Fresh Celery, Fresh Beets, Fresh Parsley, Fresh Lettuce, Fresh Watercress, Fresh Spinach

    As I do with all new treats, I got Cooper really excited with my chain of commands -- sit, lay, stand, sit, paw, other paw, kiss, high five, dance -- and rewarded him with the Fromm Treat. This lets me get a read on whether or not he enjoys the treat since he would a) gobble it up or b) mouth it but then drop and sniff before eating. I don't think it was the flavor that threw him off (they smell pretty good as far as oven-baked dog treats go) but they are quite crunchy. For some dogs, I imagine this would be a good thing! For my Coop, however, this wasn't his favorite quality.He continued to enjoy a few before I pulled the old "leave it" which you can see below, center!

    Overall, Cooper and I were both very pleased with the quality, tastes, and origin (USA) of the Fromm Treats.

    Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Chewy.com Blogger Program. The opinions expressed in the blog are my own and were not influenced by any outsider. I did not receive monetary compensation or additional benefits for talking about the product or the company.

    Cooper Speaks: 7) Weiss Walkie

    7) Weiss Walkie

    "Created by Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and VP of Research and Development for the ASPCA, Dr. Emily Weiss, the Weiss Walkie™ is the perfect solution for dog guardians and animal shelters looking for a simple, dog-friendly way to take their furry companions on a walk – with absolutely no pulling. The Walkie™ is designed to quickly, comfortably, and humanely eliminate pulling with no training needed for you or your dog.

    The Weiss Walkie™ wraps around your dog’s barrel and attaches to his or her buckle collar. When the dog pulls, the Walkie™ applies slight pressure, calming and relaxing the dog and naturally decreasing forward movement."



    Cooper Speaks:

    I proudly paraded around the Expo on day 2 sporting a small, Sky Blue Walkie, thanks to Dr. Emily! I think it helped me get even more attention and treats! Mom said she wished the Walkie’s rope-like material was a tad bit gentler on her hands and didn’t twist up as much but, overall, we think it is a great alternative to a harness and a better option than restrictive collars.

    Cooper Speaks: 6) Heininger Flameless Flare

    6) Heininger 1020 CommuteMate Flameless Flare

    "The Flamelesss Safety Flare is a Battery-operated flare that provides a brightly illuminated, flashing RED signal that will be seen up to 1,000 feet away. Keep this handy device in your car in case of emergencies. It is re-usable for up to 500 hours on 2 AAA batteries and can magnetically stick to the sides of vehicles for better attraction."

    Cooper Speaks: Although I'm no longer jet black like I was as a young pup, Mom still gets worried that cars won't spot me at nighttime. She carries a flashlight on our walks, especially in the colder, darker months when the sun goes down before she's home from work, but the great thing about the flare is that it flashes and draws even more attention to little ol' me. 2 paws up!

    Cooper Speaks: 5) BrollyLeash

     

    5) BrollyLeash

    The BrollyLeash is the newest product from BrollyTime whose claim to fame is the Brolly rain umbrella. The leash boasts "safer dog walks with greater control" and features a comfortable and secure grip, strong metal swivel, and a high-quality (non-retractable) nylon leash.

     

     

     

    Cooper Speaks:

    Sadly this leash did not impress. It is not retractable (which is actually a good thing since those scare me), but the leash is too long for a little guy like me and I kept getting tripped up by it. Mom wasn’t a huge fan of the hand grip, either. Maybe next time, BrollyLeash.

    Cooper Speaks: 4) Bow + Arrow Pet

    4) Bow + Arrow Pet

    Bow and Arrow™ pet collars and accessories are fashion forward without losing the functional qualities every pet owner expects and every pet deserves. Whether you are curling up with your dog to read a good book or taking him for a run on the beach, Bow and Arrow™ products bring you intelligent design and common sense functionality to meet every lifestyle. Bow and Arrow collars and leashes showcase the most relevant materials and constructions ensuring premium performance. You can expect fabulous fabrics, prints and metallics, fun and trendy bows and bow ties, and tech-savvy safety features.

     

    Cooper Speaks:  

    Spring has sprung and I’m so ready in this dashing yet playful striped collar and bright orange bow tie combo. Since bow ties are part of my signature look, Mom simply had to find the perfect fit. Needless to say, I sense many a gifts from this line.

    Cooper Speaks: 3) Ron & Raven Pet

    3) Ron & Raven

    "…the Ron and Raven™ line of product focuses on the outdoor dog and his owner. The collection highlights solutions for hunters, fishermen, campers and everyday dog owners who are active outdoors. Product features include high visibility elements for safety, paracord details, rubber grips, cushion comfort and multiple specialty products."

     

    Cooper Speaks:

    I feel like a real, classy outdoorsdog in this red on black lumberjack print bow tie. I tried to convince Mom that I needed more from their outdoor collection like a light-up collar but she said I would have to wait for a special occasion. I guess I’m not that spoiled.

    Cooper Speaks: 2) Wildcatch Salmon Bites

    2) Wildcatch Salmon Bites

    "Wildcatch for Pets™ harvests only sustainable wild salmon in cooperation with Native, Alaskan, and Pacific Northwest fishers. We offer the finest natural salmon and seafood products free of antibiotics and synthetic colorings. Thank you for supporting wild, sustainably caught salmon products! You can purchase our products here or ask for them at you[r] local store! From our table to yours, we hope you enjoy our products!"

     

    Cooper Speaks:

    Hey, I’m not a cat! Don’t get me wrong, they are very tasty and healthy, but they still left my breath with a bit of a fishy odor, yuck. Luckily, Mom brushes my teeth so it really isn’t a deal-breaker. Plus Mom wanted me to tell you that they are human-grade and sustainable from the great state of Alaska. Um, shouldn’t all my food be human-grade?