I know that it’s taken quite a bit longer to produce this update on the Tropiclean bathing system. Originally, I intended to do a week-by-week review for four weeks and share my thoughts on how things were going. However, after the second week of using the Tropiclean shampoo and treatment system I was convinced that I did something wrong.
In my initial review I was cautiously optimistic about the Tropiclean system. After the first time using it to bathe Simon and Rosee it really seemed to help their hotspots on their stomachs, they smelled great, and felt super soft. I did notice a bit of extra shedding, but I wasn’t really concerned…at first.
The second week of using the shampoo and treatment did not go well at all. We (meaning me and Monica) used both products the exact same way, yet afterwards the pups didn’t look nearly as nice. In fact, their coats looked very dingy and dull and they felt kind of grimy. They were gross. The whole ordeal was terrible. So, naturally I assumed that we didn’t do something correctly. I was assured that we messed up some way, shape, or form in the bathing process. Maybe we didn’t let the shampoo and treatment set for long enough? Perhaps instead of waiting for five minutes we only waited for three? Did we not rinse them thoroughly? Seriously, I must have done something wrong!
Unfortunately, as the week went on Simon and Rosee just looked worse and worse. They were shedding like crazy. You couldn’t even touch them without your hand coming away with a handful of dog hair. Moreover, their skin was extremely flaky. I thought they were going through a purging phase, mainly due to the salicylic acid in both the shampoo and the treatment. (I know I’m comparing dog’s skin to human’s skin in this instance, but I’m grasping at straws for an explanation.) By the end of the week I was ready to bathe the pups again to see if I could stop the madness!
Sadly, baths for week 3 passed and week 4 came and went and there was no improvement in Rosee and Simon’s skin. In fact, their shedding problem and flaky skin just seemed to get worse. Pretty much immediately after they were done with their baths and completely dried they were covered in flakes and anytime they even moved it was just hair everywhere. I mean, they were just washed, but I didn’t even want to touch them because their skin was so gross.
It didn’t seem to matter how well we rinsed them to ensure all the soap was gone or how long we left the shampoo and treatment on them to ensure penetration, nothing made a difference. We gave their backs an extra scrub with the grooming mitt and spent a whole extra minute rinsing them, but it was mostly all for nothing. I’m pretty disappointed because I wanted the Tropiclean bathing system to work so much! I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.
Now, before I give my final opinions, I do have to be honest about another issue that popped up while using these products. Of course, I can’t say specifically that the Tropiclean products caused this particular issue. At the same time, this issue didn’t start until we started using these products. So what is the issue you ask? The issue (I know, seriously, how many times can I write that word?) is that Simon has started to react badly anytime we go to put either of the products on him. He sort of gives off a warning growl and curls his lips a little, which is sooo not how Simon acts. Luckily, in these moments he can be easily distracted with treats, but I don’t like that he has this reaction in the first place. It is almost as though he’s telling us that he doesn’t like the way the products feel on his skin. Again, I can’t prove that the Tropiclean products are 100% to blame for this bad reaction of Simon’s, yet it didn’t start until we began using this bathing system. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…
In my honest opinion I wish I had never used the Tropiclean shampoo and treatment system on Rosee and Simon. Before using these two products the pups had never had problems with shedding or flakes, yet after using them their skin has been nothing but flakes and major shedding issues. Plus, both pups are still pretty itchy and are constantly scratching and licking their sides and necks (two major itchy spots for them). Then, there is Simon’s obvious dislike of the products and I just can’t justify buying this again. I actually don’t even want to continue using it, but I also hate the idea of wasting a something that was paid for. The only pro of using the Tropiclean system has been that it did get rid of their red hotspots on their stomachs. However, it seems that we traded one problem for at least four more!
I guess to be Tropiclean means to be anything but clean.
My mom recently bought this shampoo and treatment while she was dog-sitting for my brother. She purchased the two products at a local pet store, but I have found that it is easily available at Petco. My dog-nephew (or is it nephew-dog?) Trigger has pretty dry skin, and my brother recommended this shampoo because it works well for him.
Now, I have to be honest, I was not excited or even somewhat interested in trying a new soap for the pups. They have such sensitive skin, and just about everything gives them hives. In fact, we even asked our veterinarian what would be the best shampoo to use because their skin is so sensitive and he recommended trying baby shampoo, which is supposed to be super gentle. Unfortunately, baby shampoo made Rosee and Simon instantly break out in bumps!
However, lately they’ve both had hotspots on their stomachs that just won’t quite go away. We started using coconut oil and it has helped, but their spots never quite go away completely. So, I gave in and decided to try the Tropiclean shampoo and treatment.
Week 1: First Impressions
When my mom first showed me what she bought I was kind of wary. The locally made bar of soap that we’ve been using lately on Simon and Rosee has been working pretty well, and I didn’t really see any reason to change. Sure, the hotspots on their stomachs haven’t gone away completely, but otherwise they were fine. They didn’t shed or have any flakes, their coats were very shiny, and they didn’t start to smell until it was time to bathe them again. Still, I thought it might be interesting to try this new shampoo and treatment because it claimed to be medicated, and I thought “Wow, if this works it will be much cheaper than buying the medicated shampoo from the vet!”
According to the bottles the shampoo and treatment are supposed to help with itching, hotspots, flakes, dryness, eczema, and shedding. Both are oatmeal-based while containing salicylic acid to help exfoliate the skin, nourishing vitamins as well as fatty acids to moisturize. Honestly, after looking at the ingredient list on the bottles I started to become a bit excited because all of the ingredients sounded amazing. I was sure it was going to be the best bathing system we’ve ever tried. Then, I looked at the directions.
Like most shampoo and conditioner (even though Tropiclean calls this step a “treatment”) I figured that we would have to shampoo the pups first then apply the treatment second. What I didn’t realize though, is that after you shampoo your dog and rinse it out you have to completely dry your dog before applying the treatment, which too needs to be rinsed out. At this point, I almost didn’t even want to try the Tropiclean system because I’d have to dry each dog twice. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is so difficult to dry Rosee and Simon! They barely have any hair, yet they soak up water like a sponge. Plus Rosee really does not like the hair dryer, which makes air drying (after towel drying them first) the main method of drying for the pups. However, I couldn’t imagine letting them air dry for half an hour and then putting them back in the tub to apply the treatment, let it sit, rinse it off, and then let them dry for another thirty minutes. So, we comprised and towel dried the dogs as best we could before applying the treatment and continuing.
Both the shampoo and treatment are heavily scented. To me it smells like a mix of green apples and mango (very tropical, like the name indicates). I don’t think it’s bad, but it is definitely very, very strong. Another thing I noticed right away was the filminess of the shampoo. After I applied some to each dog I would rinse it off my hands and I found that my hands felt dry and like there was a film left on my fingers. I wasn’t crazy about the feeling and certainly didn’t like to think what the shampoo was doing to Simon and Rosee’s skin if my hands felt terrible. Yet, I was hoping that the treatment would help. In general, the treatment did make their fur feel very soft. Unfortunately, Monica was completely grossed out by the feeling of it. It looks just like lotion, but she said it felt weird trying to apply the gloopiness to their wet coats. Still, after applying the treatment, letting it sit, and then thoroughly washing it out I am happy to have noticed that the pups’ hotspots looked a lot better already. They smelled good, their coats felt pretty soft, and their spots almost looked normal. Overall, I was optimistic about this bathing system.
Simon isn’t crazy about bath time.
Shampoo goes on clear.
The shampoo lathers pretty well.
The treatment looks like lotion.
By the end of the week, I have to say I was pretty surprised by this shampoo and treatment. It worked fairly well. I noticed that Rosee and Simon didn’t itch as much as usual, they still smelled pretty nice (not like dog), and their spots looked great. On the flipside, I did find that they shed more than usual, had flakes, and there was some reside left on their skin from the treatment step despite thorough rinsing. Yet, their spots looked so great I’m willing to overlook the downsides for now and continue to use this shampoo and treatment. Hopefully, their skin will only continue to improve.
*Check back next week for an update on the Tropiclean shampoo and treatment bathing system!
Now, the point of this website is pretty much what it sounds like. You turn your pet into a cartoon.
I know, it can sound kind of silly. I mean, why would you want to design a cartoon that looks like your pet, but once you visit the site and try your hand at creating a cartoon you’ll definitely be hooked. Really, I only went to go look around the site and before I knew it I had spent almost half an hour creating a cartoon! It can get addictive quickly, so make sure you have time to spare.
Here’s a quick rundown of the website:
Users can choose from three categories of pets: 1) Dogs, 2) Cats, and 3) Small & Furry. There are other pet options, however they aren’t available quite yet. According to the website, these options haven’t been transferred over from the old website. Nevertheless, within the three aforementioned categories there are numerous options to choose from. If you choose the Dog category, then you choose what breed your dog is and go from there. If you choose the Cat category, then you go straight to creating the cartoon by trying different design categories, and if you choose Small & Furry, then you choose what kind of critter you have and continue on your journey. The designing process can take some time, and not just because it’s so much fun. Rather it can take time because there’s so many options to choose from. Even once your pet is created, there are numerous accessories from which you can choose. Want to add a bandanna or maybe crown? Guess what? You can.
That’s not where things end though. Once your cartoon is done, there is the option of personalizing tons of potential products with your design. Just about anything you can think of to put the cartoon on, they will have in their shop. Personally, I pretty much decided that I wanted one of everything–just saying.
Unfortunately, I do have to mention one potential drawback to the Dog category. If your dog is considered to be an All-American, which is the AKC’s fancy way of saying mixed breed or mutt, it might be difficult/kind of impossible to cartoonize him/her.
You see, when I first went to try my hand at creating a dog cartoon I was trying to create one for Simon. I picked out a breed, tried to find the closest match to his markings, and by the time I was done and showed off my masterpiece everyone thought it was such a cute rendition of Rosee.
As much as I tried to make a Simon cartoon, it just wasn’t meant to be. He didn’t really fit any of the pre-set breeds available to choose from. Originally, I had chosen the American Pit Bull Terrier breed to start with, but the ears weren’t quite right, the nose wasn’t long enough, and Simon is a wee bit taller. Yet, no other breed even came close to looking like Simon. At one point I thought that perhaps the Dalmatian could work for Simon (and I actually do think he has some Dalmatian in him as he has a lot of spots on his front legs and chest), but the available markings didn’t work for him. Sigh.
So, if you have an All-American dog you may not be able to cartoonize him/her. Still, I think the site is fun to try, even if you make up your cartoon from your own imagination.
If I haven’t already lost you to the Cartoonize My Pet site already, then seriously, visit this site. It’s a lot of fun to design and create your own personalized pet cartoon. Plus, how can someone not enjoy seeing a cartoon version of their pet?
P.S. Don’t forget to share your cartoonized pets! We would love to see your creations.
The other morning I found myself explaining to my mother the “simple” bath routine that Theresa and I follow every Friday morning for the dogs (as long as the sun comes out at least). It goes like this: 1) wet dog down, 2) lather coat and underside with coconut oil and let soak for about a minute, 3) rinse off oil, 4) shampoo dog and scrub, 5) rinse off, 6) scrub again to get loose hair, 7) rinse final time, 8) ring out and dry. And because they both remain damp, Simon and Rosee get put out in the backyard to play and dry off completely, because honestly, no one really enjoys the smell of wet dog lingering around. So ends the bath routine of Simon and Rosee. (See also An Itch, A Scratch, and Shampoo for the old version of bath time.)
Why such a drawn out routine complete with numbers and steps that go beyond lather, rinse, dry? Well, it’s kind of a gross story.
You see, Simon and Rosee get what I have always called hot spots. On their bellies and pretty much all along their entire undersides both pups end up with bright red dry spots that tend to pop up quite frequently when they have been indulging in the California sun a little too much. After our morning walks or running around outside for about forty minutes both dogs will start sporting these red spots, and so ensues the licking. In order to soothe the red dryness Simon and Rosee will lick non-stop as a way of trying to negate the lack of moisture. However, all this licking does is exacerbate the problem and leave them even drier and more angry-red looking underneath.
This past summer the red splotches got so bad that something had to be done. Rosee got cranky at being told to stop licking that she would hide in order to lick. Simon confronted all attempts to stop him with angry growls of frustration, and at one point he just completely refused to go to bed in his kennel at night because the residual warmth in it made his spots so uncomfortable. The poor boy and girl really were pathetic sights to behold, so Theresa and I set out to finding something, anything that could soothe the pups for good. The answer, thankfully, came quite swiftly and inexpensive.
One night after doing some research Theresa suggested coconut oil. Apparently, coconut oil is safe to give to dogs and to put on them topically. Now, I’ve been reading about the virtues and graces of coconut oil for some time, though I have to admit my reading has been for more personal care. I know that coconut oil is great to cook with, can be used on hair’s perpetually dry ends, and softens dry skin. However, I never thought that those same virtues could be put to use for the canines in my life. But boy (girl), has it made a difference on those named Simon and Rosee!
Initially, both dogs’ undersides were just rubbed down with coconut oil multiple times a day so that the oil’s moisturizing properties could get to work quickly, reversing the worst of the red splotches. Soon, Theresa started slowing giving the pups tastes of the oil, working her way up to about a tablespoon each. It really wasn’t an issue though since both went crazy over the stuff. (They go so far as to recognize the jar alone, and it’s enough to get them salivating.) Simon and Rosee gladly accept their spoonful every morning, licking the ground for any ghost drippings. Finally, came the addition of coconut oil to their weekly baths. And let me tell you, not only does the oil keep their undersides moisturized, it makes their coats so incredibly soft and shiny. Both dogs have been prone to some flakes, which is why they are also bathed with an all-natural soap bar, but the addition of the coconut oil only makes the soap work even better so that there are no flakes, no redness, and no end of the week smell. Coconut oil truly has been a great addition to our lives.
Now, I don’t think there’s many rules as to what brand of coconut oil is best. All I know is that organic and unrefined is what you need. Something about being organic and unrefined having the greatest benefits to the uses my household has put them towards. In fact, the brand that Theresa and I have agreed on is the store brand from Target. Aptly named Simply Balanced, the oil is specifically designated as organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil. It’s relatively inexpensive at about $7 for 14 fluid ounces, always in stock, and seems to be of good quality. It smells like coconuts, melts easily, soaks in completely, and leaves everything it touches feeling nice and soft. In fact, Simon loves the smell of it so much he tries to lick it off of himself and won’t leave me alone until I’ve washed it off my fingers after putting it on him.
It’s been about a month that the pups have been getting doused and ingesting the oil and their coats have never looked better. They feel soft, smell good, and it definitely helps keep angry red splotches at bay. The first jar of coconut oil we bought lasted about three weeks, quite a while considering it was used up on two good-sized babies that lapped it up like it was going out of style. So far coconut oil has become a great, natural, inexpensive, go-to remedy in our household and it’s worth looking into if you are trying to help your lovable canine’s coat look and feel better, both for his/her comfort and yours.
Now, I know that this day is meant to celebrate the American Labor Movement and typically my family gets together to have a barbecue, but today we decided to do something a little different. Being that the temperature has been somewhat cooler this past week, my mom thought it would be nice to take a day trip with the dogs. We don’t always get the chance to take Rosee and Simon to new and exciting places. We go to the beach at least once every couple months, various parks nearby, we’ve taken them to the Sacramento River because Simon likes to swim, and ot too long ago we also used to take the pups to a nearby nature preserve. However, after the last time when we came home to find a handful of ticks on Simon we made the decision not to go back, just in case. So, we do take them places, but it always seem to be one of the same places few places we usually go. Today though, we all decided to load up the pups and go somewhere somewhat new: Folsom Lake in Folsom, CA.
I say that it is somewhat new because earlier last year we did visit the unearthed city down in the Folsom Marina. Due to the current drought in California, the water levels of the lake are so low that an old mining town was uncovered.
Not much of the town is left, except for a few rusted tools and boundary lines, but it’s still pretty neat to see. According to the park rangers, the ruins can be found by going to Brown’s Ravine (I can never remember the name myself), although after googling it I think it’s also called Mormon Island. Frankly, I get really confused and can never find a straight answer off of the state park website. Still, it was an interesting trip and the pups enjoyed sniffing around everything. We all had a good time. This year we thought we’d go back Folsom Lake, which wasn’t necessarily new, but our adventure ended up taking us some place a little different.
Folsom Lake, or Folsom Lake State Recreation Area as it is officially named, is a pretty big state park. It has numerous entrances, campgrounds, and trails among other amenities available to visitors. As I said, our original idea was to go to the Marina to see the ruins. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite remember how to get there, and wound up ending up at a different entrance to the park called Beals Point. While going to Beals Point wasn’t planned, upon entering we decided to get out and explore because it turned out to be such a nice place. There was a big grass area, a bunch of picnic tables, and a giant lake bed to walk down. (I feel the need to mention that there were also numerous bathrooms, which were pretty nice as well.)
We started our trek by walking down towards what little lake there was. The existing lake bed may not have much of a lake, but it provides a nice place to walk through and explore. The scenery was beautiful and if you walk down far enough you will eventually encounter the lake. The walk was kind of long and all in the sun, though since the weather wasn’t too hot no one minded. Plus, after walking down all that way the pay off was worth it.
The first thing Simon did once we got to the actual water was down.He took a momentary breather before diving in fully, and it wasn’t long before Rosee decided to join him.
The only problem was that I was not prepared. Not prepared at all actually and before I knew what was happening Rosee dragged me right into the water. My shoes mostly got ruined in the process, but seeing the grins on both pups’ faces was worth it.
Simon, of course, spent most of his time swimming around. Much to our surprise Rosee also swam around for a while, which was only surprising because she usually avoids going in so far so that her feet can’t touch the ground. Yet, today she was swimming like a champ.
Rosee and Simon had way too much fun, and got way too wet. Luckily, the walk back up to the top where the (empty) lake bed meets the grass area was long enough to dry them off.
We walked around a bit more, though after so much swimming both pups were pretty tired. Overall, we all had a fun day where adventures where aplenty and exploration of absolutely everything was required. It seems our wrong turn actually turned out pretty exciting, or should I say rightly awesome!
Finally, we had to call it a day (before it got too hot) and returned home with two very tired pups.
I can’t complain though, because, sometimes, tired pups are the sweetest kind of pups.
I hope everyone else had a wonderful and relaxing extended weekend!
When Simon was a little guy my family bought him a dog house. It was a really, really nice house. Made out of wood, raised off of the ground, two little windows you could prop open, and a nice large opening that he could grow into. The thing literally looked like a mini house. Did he love it? Sure, he loved to tear it apart. By the time Rosee moved in she loved to tear it apart too. The two made quite a formidable pair in the beginning. Soon enough the house was nothing but torn shingles and chewed up edges. It was basically a hazard for humans and dogs to be around (splinters galore!), so it had to go. Losing this (beautiful) house was hard. Honestly, it wasn’t too much about the money. We had bought the house online when it was on sale and we had an extra coupon code, so it was cheaper, but it still cost a good amount of money. Also, Simon didn’t really use the house. Sure, he loved to hide away with his toys in it when he got tired of us humans (and later Rosee) trying to take said toys away from him, but he never really cared to sit in his house otherwise. No, what made throwing the remnants of dog house away was that it was a nice-looking house. However, what’s done is done.
Life goes on.
And igloos became in vogue.
Yes, it’s true. Sitting in my backyard are two, large igloos. Or more aptly named “Dogloos.” They each take up quite a few feet of space individually and act as the perfect things to run into. Seriously. I don’t think either igloo has ever been used properly as a dog house by either Simon or Rosee. Sure, Simon will run inside one every once in a while in order to hide his toy from a plundering Rosee, but for the most part the igloos serve as lovely patio decorations.
Now, the two igloos are slightly different from each other. The first one (i.e. the one we picked up first) is a light beige color and is curved rather like a snail shell. It is made by Petmate and is actually called “Indigo.” It has the main cabin part and then like a little hallway that sticks out and acts as an entrance too. It’s rather short, being only about 2 feet tall, is about 2 feet long, and about 3 feet wide. The house is by no means small, but Simon (who is about an inch taller than Rosee) still has to crouch down in order to get inside. The actual house part (the igloo) is slightly taller than the little entranceway/hallway, so Simon fits, he just has to do it gently. The house is made out of sturdy plastic and has withstood the past two years, and still looks good.
The second igloo my family got is an actual “Dogloo.” By now it is a slight dusty white color, and actually looks like a stereotypical igloo, it even has the indentations on the outside as if made out of tons of blocks of ice. It is about 3 feet tall, 3 feet long, and 3.5 feet wide. It is rather large and definitely takes up more space than the other dog house. However, it is not that heavy, so it is easy to move around the backyard patio. Again, this particular house has survived the past two years with being knocked into, chewed on, and so much more and it is still standing strong.
In fact both of these dog houses have turned out to be good additions to my family’s backyard. Both houses are made out of heavy-duty plastic. So, they are quite easy to clean. All it takes is a good hosing down and all of the dust and mud (from Simon) is washed away. Also, and probably most importantly, neither house retains any of the midday sweltering heat. California certainly gets hot, especially during the summer, and even though my backyard has a big canopy covering the main patio area it still stays quite warm. However, both dog houses stay cool and comfortable despite the humidity and sometimes suffocating heat. I would say that these particular types of houses have certainly been welcome flourishes to a dog-friendly backyard.
So, sturdy and long-lasting dog houses: check. Houses that Simon and Rosee will use: uncheck. Fact, Simon and Rosee still don’t really use their dog houses. Sure, Simon will run into on or the other when he has a squeaky toy to try and hide from Rosee, but Rosee refuses to put all four feet into either house. She’ll lean her little body as far in as she can, but still keep her two back legs firmly planted just outside the opening. Even when I try to nudge her inside, she abandons her task of taking the squeaky toy from Simon and runs away from me. It’s not that she’s scared of the houses or that she doesn’t like to go into things (she is crate-trained after all), she’s just adamant about not wanting to put her back feet into the houses. Oh well.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I bother keeping two large dog houses in the backyard if the only use they tend to get is as the occasional hiding spot. Truth is dog houses are good things. I’d like to believe that when I put them outside and am not looking they are putting the houses to good use. I’d like to think that when they’re older and want to spend some quality time with nature they will find the houses more appealing. And really, the houses don’t take up that much room even in my small-ish backyard and they are easy to move, so it makes them easier to deal with. Also, the two houses combined cost $25. Yes, that’s right. $25!
You see, the Petmate Indigo dog house previously belonged to a family friend. When said friend heard we had a dog (Simon) she offered to give us the house because her dog simply didn’t use it (sound familiar?) and she figured she’d get rid of it anyway. Dog house for free, yes please! The Dogloo house however, is the one that cost the aforementioned $25. My stepdad ended up driving by a family’s garage sale one weekend and happened upon this dog house for sale. By that time we had Rosee and figured two houses were better than one. Also, $25!
Anyone who has looked into purchasing a dog house from a pet store knows that these babies start at $80, and that’s a lot of money to be spending on something a dog might use some of the time. Prior to acquiring our dog houses my family had shopped around at the various pet stores to find the best deal, but it was hard to commit to $80, and at some stores it was closer to $120 because we needed the bigger house. It was especially difficult to commit to spending so much money because my family already had spent a good chunk of change on that first really nice dog house. (It had windows!) However, it seems in this case some unconventional “shopping” methods are what made the difference, and what a good one it was.
While I am happy to sing the praises and durability of both the Dogloo and Petmate Indigo dog houses (they really are great houses), they are more wallet-friendly ways to acquire such wonderful dog accessories. Talk to friends, scour garage sales, look online for used ones and I’m confident with a little leg work you will be able to find your best barker a nice outside abode. In fact, just this last week while out on a Sunday morning walk my group passed a yard sale and what did we find? A Dogloo.
It’s no secret that finding a place to live if you rent or lease can be a difficult task if you are a dog owner. If you have a big dog though, forget about it. Now, I, myself, have never experienced this unfair treatment (thankfully). However, I do know that many apartments do not allow dogs. Sometimes there are weight restrictions, such as animals over 25 lbs. are prohibited, but other times there are breed restrictions (read: restrictions against Pit Bulls or other similar types). It’s unfair, and one of the biggest reasons many dogs end up being turned over to shelters. In fact, my own cousin and his family was recently looking into moving from an apartment to a rental house, and found that most of the houses they were looking at didn’t allow them to bring their three dogs. Even though their dogs were quite small (think Pomeranians) and fairly well-behaved, the property managers refused. Fortunately, in their case, their dogs were able to find homes with other family members, but I know that that is not always the outcome.
I’ve known about this organization for a while, and perhaps you’ve taken notice of these lovely stickers adorning car bumpers while driving around in your own city.
Only recently me and Monica decided to take the plunge and send away for the stickers. The basic idea is not just to get a nifty bumper sticker for your car (though they are pretty pawsome, right?), it’s to fight, or as the campaign’s website says, “Lick Discrimination.” By putting one of these stickers on your car you’re showing your support to end housing and insurance discrimination of Pit Bull owners and their dogs. All it costs you is $2 and you can pick from your choice of four different designs. I must mention that while we originally picked the black design, when we opened our envelope we found we got two stickers for the price of one! Each $2 collected is considered a donation and goes towards fighting discrimination.
Once you receive the sticker, the next step is to take a picture of it on your car, with your dog, or whatever you choose to photograph, and then you share it either on Instagram or Facebook. Unfortunately, me and Monica are somewhat social media-challenged and have not gotten as far as posting our own pictures of our newly stickered car. We’ll eventually do it though!
What I also like about this campaign is that it doesn’t just offer bumper stickers. On their website they offer Tips for Owners on how to find housing, a list of housing and insurance resources that are said to be non-discriminatory, and numerous pictures of Pit Bulls and their families (both human and animal alike). Besides the store where t-shirts and buttons are sold along with the stickers, there is a list of the various shelters/rescue groups that have partnered with them as well. Furthermore, there is a blog, but it kind of leaves something to be desired. There are very few entries, although I do really like the one on pet resumes. Still, I would like more information on current issues, statistics perhaps, or maybe even more specific information on exactly what they are doing. Lastly, I do want to mention their “I Am” Campaign, in which people are encouraged take a picture with their “I am a good neighbor” sign or their “I am a good tenant” sign, and then post to either Instagram or Facebook. The idea is to “create a conversation”, and what I especially like about this campaign is that it is more universal than the bumper sticker campaign. Any dog owner can take up these signs to fight against housing and insurance discrimination. Like I shared earlier, even people with smaller dogs can have a difficult time finding housing.
So, if you want to show your love of Pit Bulls, are interested in supporting the fight against housing and insurance discrimination, or perhaps just like to look at cute/silly dog pictures, then check out their site at MyPitBullisFamily.com.
Recently, I made sort of a whim of a purchase. I was walking around Petco and saw the Outward Hound Zip and Zoom Outdoor Agility Kit, and immediately thought it was pretty cool. I mean, the agility course comes with three obstacles and in a handy carrying case.
Really, how could I pass it up? I must admit though that I almost did pass up buying it due to the price. It was $50, which (to me at least) seems awfully expensive for something that comes in such a small bag and was not very heavy. Yet, I wanted it. I wanted it because it’s not something I’ve ever seen before. Of course, I have looked into dog agility courses previously, but besides books that cover building one’s own course or simply assume that the course pieces are easy accessible, I haven’t found an actual kit with pieces. Unfortunately, I am neither crafty nor handy enough with tools and such to build my own course obstacle pieces. DIY-er I am not. Still, I’ve wanted to try doing agility with Simon and Rosee for a while. Along with being a good form of physical exercise, agility training can also be mentally challenging for dogs, which is very good for dogs like Simon. I do know that actual training classes for agility are out there, but there’s really no class available close to us and these classes typically require your dog to listen to you well off leash. Regrettably, Simon does not listen so well off leash because he finds everything and everyone else he encounters more interesting, which is why he is only allowed off leash when we go to a dog park. Rosee is pretty similar, and, well, she is very lazy. If left to her own devices she’ll mostly choose to lay down and take a nap. She doesn’t like to exert herself if she doesn’t have to, and I can imagine she would decide to lay down instead of listen to me. Also, training classes can be expensive, and I wanted something that we could all do at home on our own time. As a result, I broke down my initial misgivings and decided to buy the Outward Hound Agility Kit to try.
The kit comes with three obstacles: a tunnel, weave poles, and a high jump.
It seemed like a pretty good deal at first, and very good for a beginner like me who doesn’t know too much about agility. I know the basics from watching the annual dog agility competitions, but, really, that’s not a whole lot. Luckily, this kit comes with a handy-dandy instruction manual along with a tunnel, eight poles (six for weaving and two for the jump), and several curved pieces that create a circle in which your dog is supposed to jump through. There are also metal spokes included to hold the tunnel down, stakes to attach to the poles to stick them in the ground, and clips that attach the circle-hoop jump to the poles that hold it up.
It’s all fairly easy to set up, and can easily be taken down and packed away when you’re down. I like the fact that it comes in a case because it makes storage easy and all the pieces can stay together so as to avoid losing any of them.
Now, I have to brutally honest here. While I may have initially liked the idea of this product, the actual product is kind of a letdown. The tunnel is awfully short, maybe three feet long.
The poles are made of very thin plastic and tend to fall down when a gust of wind hits them, let alone a 75 lb. dog. In fact, after setting up the weave poles Rosee decided she wanted in on the action and stole one. The plastic was so thin that just by her carrying the pole around in her mouth left it dented. She didn’t bite down, but rather simply held the plastic piece in her mouth, and when she dropped it it had two pretty serious dents—pretty disappoint.
Lastly, the circle-hoop is barely big enough for either Simon or Rosee to jump through, and some creative problem-solving was needed to create a jump that was actually usable. I actually had to take one of the weave poles and attached curved pieces to each of the ends to make a high jump that could accommodate Rosee and Simon.
Plus one of the tails from the tunnel that is used along with a metal spoke to attach the tunnel to the ground ripped way too easily. Seriously, all that happened was Rosee went through the tunnel and when she came out she hit the end and the tail ripped.
Despite all of these issues with the agility course I do have to say that Simon and Rosee along with us humans have had an awful lot of fun with it so far.
The course is not very big, but for the size of my backyard that’s okay. It fits on our small patch of grass, and is long enough to be good exercise. However, it’s not too long and overly complicated so as to have either Simon or Rosee become bored and run away to do something else– which Simon totally does by the way. Overall, I would recommend this product, but only if you happened to find it on sale or maybe you have a coupon. Frankly, I don’t think that it’s worth $50, especially considering the quality of the course pieces and the fact that it’s not really made for large dogs. There should be a recommendation on the tag that says for small to medium sized dogs (just my opinion, of course). Nevertheless, it is easy to use, to store, and has been fun to use so far.
I thought I would be a generous companion this week and dictate a blog post in lieu of my human. She offered to do it for me, but really what does a human know of the sport of fly chasing? I’ve only been perfecting my methods for the last three summers. (Your sarcasm is noted Simon—Theresa) Though, I did require some help from my aforementioned human to actually type this post because, alas, my paws are not dexterous enough for the laptop’s keyboard. Nevertheless, my human graciously agreed to type my story out for all of you to see. She also tried valiantly to capture my demonstrations of each step, but I fear my movements occurred somewhat too quickly for her camera to capture easily. She did do her best however. Not everyone can be as multi-talented as me.
Now on to the main event…
First spot the fly
In order to properly fly chase the first thing that must be done is to spot a suitable fly. It’s preferable to choose a fly that is not moving around too much. If a fly is moving around a lot, then it can be more difficult to catch. You will need the right mix of focus and control to find just the right fly to attempt to catch. But do not fret, for it can take a while to spot an appropriate target.
Next move in closely (yet carefully) until your nose almost touches the fly
Once you’ve got a target in your sights you then come upon a most sensitive step: getting close enough to pounce. It can be difficult to approach, especially if the target is shifty. Yet, if you’re not close enough to the fly, then it can be difficult to ultimately catch it. That’s why a careful and patient approach is required. My owners may not think I’m very patient, and while most of the time I’d have to agree with them, I make an exception for fly chasing. Luckily flies aren’t the most intelligent creatures around (and surely everyone knows dogs are the smartest), which makes them an easy target. Still, it’s best to approach with some finesse to ensure that your target remains cooperative or at the very least unaware.
Then stay perfectly still until just the right moment
It is of the utmost importance to wait for just the right moment to pounce on your unsuspecting target. After you’ve gotten close enough it’s imperative to wait for the right time to make your move. Patience is key here! My people may not think that I’m capable of patience, but given the right motivation I can be quite good at waiting for the exact instant to act. The truth is I just happen to be cleverer than my people and have them trained well to suit my needs. (I, meaning Theresa, would 1) like to object to this statement, and 2) state that “I knew it!”) It is quite important that your target not know what you are planning to do. Instead the fly should remain in blissful ignorance until you make your move. Otherwise, you chance them fleeing before you’re ready. The phrase “still as a statue” comes to mind at a time like this, and also “keep your eye on the ball” (or fly in this case).
Last pounce on the unsuspecting prey
Last, but certainly not least, pounce on the fly! Hopefully, if you have been able to get close enough, your pounce will result in immediate capture. However, if you’re still working on your technique it can take a few tries in order to be successful. Flies are tricky targets and due to their size and ability to move quickly it can be difficult to capture them. Ultimately, their evasive maneuvers only make their eventual capture by me that much sweeter.
Now go forth on your on fly chasing journey. It may take some time and practice to master my steps, but actually capturing the fly is only part of the fun anyway.