Category Archives: Uncategorized

3rd Day of Christmas 2018

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true dog gave to me…

3rd Day of Christmas 2018

three christmas trees,

two striped gray cats,

and an amazing new cat tree!

Thankful Thoughts 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

To everyone big and small, human and furry, we’re wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful Thoughts 2018
Happy Thanksgiving

I am especially thankful for all of my pets this year because they’ve taught me that being perfectly imperfect is really rather perfect.

 

Day 13 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Happy Howl-oween!

We finally made it! It’s Day 13 of our 13 Days of Halloween celebration.

We’ve had some treats, performed some tricks, shared costume as well as non-costume costume ideas, introduced new pack members (even if they both “meow”), celebrated Rosee’s 6th birthday, and remembered a beloved pet in honor of Dia de los Muertos.

All that’s left to do is to wish everyone and their pets a very Happy Howl-oween!

Happy Howloween
From everyone here at Play Hard, Bark Often–Happy Howl-oween

I think everyone needs a nap after this…

Day 11 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

“Costumes are for the suckers”—Simon, Play Hard, Bark Often

I know that costumes aren’t for every dog. Some dogs don’t enjoy being dressed up, wearing silly things, or at least having something on for an extended period of time. Simon and Rosee tolerate us dressing them up because they know they’ll get a lot of treats during the process—;).

As a result, I came up with something that (I think) any dog could wear (or at least tolerate): A Cape. This is a quick and easy solution to help make your dog look festive and ready for Halloween.

Final Cape

All you need is some festive fabric, elastic, fabric adhesive (and an iron if you use iron on adhesive like I did), scissors, and a needle and thread.

Cape Essentials

  1. Measure a piece of the elastic fabric that is just a bit shorter than the length of your dog’s neck. I measured the elastic against one of the pup’s chain collars. You want to measure the elastic a bit shorter, so when you fit it around your dog’s lower neck it will stretch to fit and stay in place better.
  2. Cut a piece of fabric that is a bit longer than your elastic piece. This way the fabric will scrunch a bit when you thread the elastic through.Cape Construction
  3. Take the fabric adhesive and lay it on the backside of the fabric about 2-3 inches below the top. You want to make a smallish opening at the top that will be big enough to thread the elastic fabric through. Then fold the top of the fabric over and iron in place. I did end up using a pencil as a guide while I ironed in order to ensure my opening remained the right size.
  4. Once the fabric adhesive is set, thread the elastic fabric through your opening.
  5. Using the needle and thread, sew the two end pieces of the elastic fabric together. I ended up leaving about 3-4 inches of the end of either side of the elastic free of fabric and sewed all of it together. It may not look the prettiest, but despite what my mother says, no one’s going to see it.Cape Opening
  6. Fit the cape around your dog’s neck and you’re done!

The best part of this cape, besides the ease of making it, is its versatility. Of course, it could be worn by itself simply as a cape. However, it could also be accessorized with a festive hat if your dog is willing, or a black mask. This way your dog, like Simon, could pretend to be a superhero—the way he really feels inside, if he’s being honest.

Cape Accessorized

Costumes may not be for every dog, but that doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate Halloween either!

Day 9 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Trick-or-Treat, Give me something good to eat!

Halloween is practically upon us and in order to prepare for the big day I thought we would do a little Trick-or-Treating… for the dogs, of course.

I decorated the backyard with some spooky Halloween decorations. I set up a small cemetery (complete with a giant spider web), a pumpkin patch, and a patio of undead dogs and cats. Then, I took some treats and left them around the backyard, so the pups would have to “find” the treats by sniffing them out.

Trick or Treat 1

In no time at all Simon and Rosee were off trying to locate their treats.

Trick or Treat 2

They had to fend off some undead animals, navigate the headstones, and sniff under the pumpkins, but it was all worth it for that treat.

Trick or Treat 3

Trick-or-Treating definitely went to the dogs this year!

Day 8 of 13 Days of Halloween

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Thomas Campbell

Halloween is not the only holiday to celebrate this October.

Dia de los Muertos is also set to begin on October 31st, and it’s a holiday that holds special meaning. Even if you don’t really celebrate or observe this time period, I like to think that this holiday can at least serve as a reminder to remember our loved ones that have passed on.

This year I’d like to dedicate this post, in honor of Dia de los Muertos, to Artemis.

Artemis 2

Artmeis is a very special cat who we lost earlier this year. We may have only had a short time with him, since we adopted him last year around this time, but he was a special cat that made quite an impact on all of us—yes, even Simon and Rosee.

Artemis started to come around last Fall when we first began to leave a bowl of cat food and a bowl of water on our porch for George (our other cat, and you can read about him here). He looked terrible when he first showed up. He was practically skin and bones with scraggly, matted fur, watery eyes, and a runny nose. We thought all he needed was some food, water, and TLC. It wasn’t long before we took him inside, because it was just too cold for him to be outside without barely any body fat, and he became an official part of our family.

Artemis 4

He proved enthusiastically helpful when it came to making our annual batch of tamales for the holidays.

Artemis 3
The best tamale maker.

He loved sitting on the couch with us, and cuddling with George.

Artemis 1
Master cuddler here.

However, we quickly figured out that food wasn’t necessarily Artmeis’s main problem, or even his only one. After a trip to the vet, we found that he was pretty old, probably late teens, had no teeth at all, and despite his love of food, he just wasn’t able to absorb anything he ate, rather his food just ran right through his system. He was able to gain a bit of weight, but he always seemed to fluctuate and no matter what we tried, he only improved marginally.

We knew Artemis’s days were numbered, but we were determined to make his last days his best. He got extra special treats, extra cuddles, and even some cream here and there—our vet said it was okay and told us since he was old he should get anything he wanted.

While, Artemis may be gone, he is definitely not forgotten. He is remembered in all of our hearts. His perseverance and zest for life reminds us all to enjoy the moment, never give up, and to always be kind.

Day 7 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

The jack-o-lanterns are going to the dogs (and cats)!

I absolutely love carving pumpkins for Halloween. It’s always a lot of work, takes too much time, and is incredibly messy, but the finished jack-o-lantern(s) prove themselves worth the effort every year. I especially enjoy showcasing my love of dogs and pit bulls in my pumpkin carvings.

This year was no different and when it came time to carve some pumpkins I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Except this year I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of using real pumpkins to carve and turn into jack-o-lanterns to show off my love of all things dogs, pit bulls, and yes, even cats, I decided to use craft/synthetic pumpkins. That’s right I’m using pumpkins that can’t go bad, decompose, and most importantly, won’t attract bugs. As much as I love carving pumpkins each year, I’m always so disappointed how quickly my freshly carved jack-o-lanterns go bad and become infested with bugs—literally it’s in a day’s time—and how short of a time I can actually display my pumpkins on my front porch. So, rather than using fresh pumpkins to carve that only lasts a couple days, I used synthetic pumpkins that can last as long as I want. In fact, I can even save the pumpkins and use them again next year!

To carve some completely adora-bull, and long lasting jack-o-lanterns this is what you’ll need:

Pumpkin Supplies

  • Synthetic/craft pumpkin(s)
  • carving tools such as a small knife, and shaving tool
  • stencil(s)
  • tape
  • scissors

Ultimately, I chose three different pumpkins in which I could carve. I chose two small sized pumpkins (one orange, and one black), and a larger orange pumpkin. Then, I found three stencil designs to carve into each pumpkin. I did recycle the pit bull stencil I used last year and found it was perfect for my smaller orange pumpkin, went with a paw print stencil for my larger orange pumpkin, and thought a cat sitting on a moon design was just right for the small black pumpkin. Also, I chose the synthetic pumpkins that have open backs because this made the backside of the pumpkin flat. Therefore, carving was much easier since the pumpkin could lay flat on its back and not move around like a traditionally round pumpkin would.

Pumpkin Stencils

First, take the stencil and tape it to the front of the pumpkin. Using a small knife, carefully poke holes along the stencil outline. Remove the stencil, but keep it for reference as you carve.

Pumpkin Carvings

 

Next, begin to cut along the outline of holes that has been previously poked into the pumpkin.

Then, shave any parts of the pumpkin that are meant to be shaved for more definition and dimension.

Finally, clean up the mess of shavings, put a LED candle light in your pumpkin and light up the jack-o-lantern.

Jack-o-Lanterns

We’re officially surpassing the halfway point in our 13 Days of Halloween journey…keep checking back until October 31st for all things Halloween!

Day 6 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

What are treats without tricks?

Tricks and treats just go together when it comes to Halloween.

In particular, treats are even sweeter when they’re earned after performing a trick.

Tricks aren’t always easy to teach your dogs, but simple ones like “shake” or “high-five” are fairly quick, and easy to teach your dogs. Plus, many general commands such as “sit,” “lay down,” and “stay” are also considered good tricks that dogs perform each and every day—ones that come in handy when trying to take pictures, let me tell you.

Here I’m going to provide easy steps to teach your dog the simple tricks of: shake, high-five, and beg.

Dog Tricks

What you’ll need: treats (lots of little treats, and preferably something that is of high value), and patience (probably even more patience than treats, to be honest).

Shake

To teach your dog how to “shake” simply put them in a “sit” position and offer your hand. When they give you their paw then give them a treat. If you’re a fan of using a clicker, you can click when their paw makes contact with your hand and then immediately give them a treat. After you are able to accomplish this a few times, then you can start saying the command “shake” when offering your hand. This way your dog can start to associate the action with the word.

High-five

To teach your dog to “high-five” the procedure is pretty similar to “shake” except this time instead of offering your hand, simply hold your palm upright. You may need to tap on the center of your palm so your dog better understands to target your palm, but after learning “shake” it is typically fairly easy to then move on to “high-five.”

Beg

To teach your dog to “beg” can take a bit more time and patience. Also, it is best if your dog is able to balance on their back legs—Rosee is great at this, but Simon not so much. To start, have your dog in a “sit,” but make sure that it is a full sit meaning that their back end is leaning to the side since it is easier for them to sit back and balance in an upright position. Then, hold one of your arms parallel to the floor and ask your dog to place their two front paws over your arm. Treat (and click) when they do what your ask. Practice this a few times until your dog can easy sit and balance their front paws over your arm. Finally, you can begin to take your arm away while still asking your dog to sit and balance on their back end while holding their front paws up.

Now, while dog tricks are definitely a treat, I can’t end this post without mentioning the biggest Trickster of the pack.

I present to you…Shadow!

Shadow Tricks

Shadow is one of our cats who we rescued about four months ago. He’s a former neighborhood cat that, once again, adopted us as his family. He is curious, mischievous, and absolutely fearless. Despite his small stature he is unafraid of Simon and Rosee, and will do anything for food (he’s kind of like a dog in that sense). His best tricks so far include: “beg,” and stealing food off of the kitchen counters.

That’s all of the tricks I have to offer for this Halloween 2018 and make sure to let us know in the comments any tricks your dogs (or cats) are known for!