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Flurry Friday

This is Flurry.

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She’s skinny and furry and friendly and full of energy. She’s also adoptable.

If you are in the Kansas City area, you can meet her this Friday in the Crossroads art district.

She’s going to be a featured canine model at the Beer Paws Pop Up Shop, sponsored by Kennel Creek Pet Resort.

lab husky mix

“Pop Up Shop” in our case is a fancy way of saying “table on the street corner.” But it will be fun.

Flurry and friends are going to help me shill Beer Paws bottle openers and delight passersby with their wiggles.

Turquoise Beer Paws bottle opener

Join the Facebook event to be the first to know where our shop pops up.

If you’re not in Kansas City or don’t want to deal with the crazy First Friday crowds, order a Beer Paws bottle opener from the comfort of where you are right now via Storenvy.

Remember, 10% of proceeds benefit adoptable dogs like Flurry (and specifically, Tessa).

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Nice Day for a Ride

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Not everything is right in the world – particularly if you happen to live near the tornado path in Oklahoma.

But today in Kansas City, the sun is out, the breeze is sweet, and (in spite of some troubles of our own) we have plenty to be thankful for.

This little scene of two smiling dogs in a car will be repeated this morning, as I chauffeur Luke and Scooby to Kennel Creek Pet Resort.

I’m so glad they will be taken care of on a day when my plate at work is sure to be overflowing.

What are you grateful for today?

 

A Tale of Two Cincos

The best part about having a very tiny dog is how easy it is to take him everywhere.

Scooby the elderpin and I met for the first time at a party, and he has continued to be a social fellow through our six+ years together, zipping underfoot at events I hosted and making the rounds from the crook of my arm during gatherings outside of our home.

Cinco de Mayo, 2009:

miniature pinscher in a sombrero cinco de mayo

Cinco de Mayo, 2009

The occasion: a vegetarian potluck, at my then-friend Zach’s house.

Zach had not yet encountered a certain golden retriever wandering the streets of Kansas City but welcomed my miniature pinscher into his dogless home for the party.

As soon as we arrived, a tiny sombrero was produced, furnished by a neighbor especially for Scooby.

In addition to the dog, I also brought a bowl full of guacamole made from overripe avocados. It wasn’t very good, but the guests pretended not to notice. Meanwhile, I pretended not to hang on my handsome host’s every word.

And Scooby didn’t have a single accident on the floor.

Cinco de Mayo, 2013:

miniature pinscher wearing a hoodie

Cinco de Mayo 2013

The occasion: Kansas City’s Cinco de Mayo Chihuahua Parade.

This year, I found myself in good company as a person with a novelty-sized canine.

Although this local attempt to break a world record for number of dogs in costume was open to all breeds, its advertisement as a Chihuahua-centric gathering attracted a preponderance of people with very small dogs of presumably Mexican heritage.

His sombrero long since gone, Scooby (who is often mistaken for a Chihuahua) sported his official KC Pittie Pack hoodie – and for most of the day, a blanket.

It was so unseasonably chilly, that Scooby’s new friend Piper, a teacup Chihuahua of just 2.5 pounds, never even fully emerged from Kennel Creek trainer Diana’s lunchbag pet carrier.

teacup chihuahua

Is that a pup or a peanut?

Despite the cold weather and a turnout not nearly high enough to break the current record of over 1,300 costumed dogs, Scooby and I had a lovely day with friends old and new. For me, it was especially nice to just have fun after our recent slew of sad life happenings.

Instead of thinking about all that, today we walked in the parade. We visited the Good Dog 2 Go food truck for dogs. We helped hand out Kennel Creek leashes.

And we sold the first of a new official Wayward Dogs product that happens to be perfect for people who love dogs and parties!

If you haven’t already seen the teaser photo of this product on the Wayward Dogs Facebook page, you can guess what it might be from this old blog post.

More details to come very soon!

Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your dog?

Big thanks to everyone for your support over the past couple of weeks. It is good to receive kind and empathetic words when the days get dark.

Benefit of a Buzz Cut

Luke said c’est la vie to his golden locks.

golden retriever gets a buzzcut

Luke’s imitation of a goldendoodle.

In the hopes that the weather will soon get warm and stay that way, Luke recently got the shortest haircut he has ever had.

My goals with this ‘do were:

  1. To reduce summer shedding
  2. To lengthen the typical time between grooms
  3. To limit his opportunities to accumulate debris (especially the thorny kind)

But getting Luke shorn extra short also came with another benefit.

The groomer found a stray staple in one of the scars from his recent lump removals.

Apparently, the vet missed this staple on the follow-up visit. It may be why the swelling around that particular incision site never completely subsided.

All is well now, though. The vet removed the staple, and Luke is now living proof that regular grooming is good for more than aesthetics and comfort. Regular grooming can help uncover health issues before they become a problem.

Big thanks to the groomer at Kennel Creek Pet Resort for being thorough with our Luke!

Has your groomer ever discovered something strange on your pet?

10 Inspiring Faces of 2012

I blog because I’m a compulsive writer.

But I don’t put those words on the screen just so I can sit and stare at them.

Like anyone else, I put sentences together and send them out into cyberspace in the hopes that they’ll resonate with somebody else.

I write to express a point of view. I write to tell a story or share facts. I write to learn. I write to connect.

In 2012, writing on this blog, mostly about dogs, allowed me to connect with more awesome people than I can count. Here’s a look at a few of them:

New Friends

1. Katty De Lux, Pin Up from the Paris of the Plains

Pin Up from the Paris of the Plains Katty De Lux

Katty De Lux and Winston, her West Highland White Terrier.

Interacting offline with Kansas City’s blogging community introduced me to many amazing people, including Katty De Lux, a model, blogger and animal lover who adds smile, style and sass to every situation. She wowed me with her mad networking skills when we co-hosted a fundraiser for Midwest Adopt-a-Bull.

2. Chris Sailors, Owner, Kennel Creek Pet Resort

Chris Sailors

Chris Sailors with Reilly, Abby, Chalmers and Willow.

The guy with the best-behaved dogs at the Great KC Pet Expo also runs the nicest pet resort in Kansas City. In 2012, Kennel Creek Pet Resort changed my opinion about what to expect from dog daycare and boarding. I’m proud to call owner Chris Sailors a professional collaborator and friend.

3. Amy Oleson, Owner, Fido Fetch Photography

Amy Oleson

Amy Oleson

Amy Oleson was one of the first people to join KC Pittie Pack. Her beautiful pictures helped generate attention for our dog walking group. Less than a year later, she’s now pursuing her dog-umentary photography dream full-time and expecting her first baby.

4. Mike Kitchens, Founder, Midwest Adopt-a-Bull

Midwest Adopt-a-Bull Founder Mike Kitchens

Mike Kitchens and his son Deegan

The story of how pit bull dogs stole Mike Kitchens’ heart generated massive views for this blog in February. Four months later, when his brand new rescue group was just getting started, my big, black foster dog returned from a second failed adoption. Mike could see that we needed support and made space for Charlie Machete.

5. George Lombardi, Director, Missouri Department of Corrections

George Lombardi, Director of Missouri Department of Corrections

George Lombardi

The man who oversees Missouri’s prison system cares about rehabilitation – of people and animals. Under George Lombardi’s leadership, Missouri correctional facilities have implemented Missouri Puppies for Parole, the nation’s most extensive prison-based dog training and adoption program.

Renewed Connections

6. Stacy Ideus, Owner, Stacy Ideus Photography

Stacy Ideus: photographer, blogger, hottie.

Photographer Stacy Ideus

I’m certain Stacy Ideus and I first communicated through the walls of our mothers’ abdomens. Our lives have moved in very different directions since we were born a few days apart in Beatrice, Nebraska. But family, dogs, photography and blogs are bringing my oldest friend and me close again in our third decade.

7. Shawn

Shawn Timm and her dog Dulcie.

Shawn Timm and her dog Dulcie.

When we were kids, Shawn Timm and I were the little girls in our 4-H club who each had very obedient but very big and scary-looking dogs. She still has a mastiff (and a therapy-certified springer spaniel), but my black-and-tan went from a Rottweiler to a miniature pinscher. But we are both still crazy about dogs. And our dogs send Trader Joe’s treats to each other.

8. Miranda

Miranda Loehle

Miranda Loehle

 In 2011, my long lost high school friend Miranda Loehle found me and my blog and – from halfway across the country – introduced me to a fellow dog blogger in my neighborhood. In 2012, Miranda continued supporting this blog, Our Waldo Bungie and countless others. Sadly, it was also the year her beloved dog Brutus crossed the rainbow bridge. He was lucky to be loved by her.

9. Megan

Megan Jackson

My cousin Megan Jackson and me.

My cousin Megan and I didn’t play together as kids. But if we lived in the same city, we would definitely “play” together as adults. In 2012, we realized we have a lot more than family in common. She’s a marketing manager for a farmers’ market in Lincoln, Nebraska, and she can make things like yogurt, kim chi and lard from scratch. She’s kinda my hero.

10. Holly

husky mix

Unlike the other people in this category, my friend Holly and I haven’t been acquainted for lots of years. We’ve known each other for a few, but in 2012, our casual friendship was cemented when she adopted my much-loved foster dog Minnie.

Who has blogging brought closer to you?

What’s Another Way to Say Charlie Machete?

Chetty!

dogs play at Kennel Creek Pet Resort

Can you spot Chettty?

“Chetty” is how my big, black foster dog is known at Kennel Creek Pet Resort, where he has been attending daycare regularly.

Thanks to my partnership with the Kansas City-area pet boarding, grooming and training facility, I was able to enroll Charlie “Chetty” Machete in daycare at no cost.

He also recently spent a whole week in boarding at Kennel Creek for what I called his “socialization vacation.”

The results of his regular interaction with a variety of other dogs and people in a controlled environment have been pretty awesome.

Chetty comes home tired every night, and he even seems to listen to me better.

Because Kennel Creek is right on the way to the office where I work, Chetty joins me – in his Cruising Companion car harness – for my daily commute.

That’s fun – I like getting an extra goodbye kiss every morning. And Chetty never throws a fit when we part ways in the lobby.

Sometimes I tune into Kennel Creek’s play cams during the designated big dog playgroups. I didn’t think Chetty would be able to handle playing in a large group of dogs, but at Kennel Creek, he has been doing OK.

Chetty plays

He’s looking into the camera!

His favorite handler explained to me that Chetty wants to engage with the other dogs. Just like at home, he sometimes struggles with reading the signals of those who may not want to play with him, but he has made some friends.

The hope is that through continued, supervised and controlled exposure to other dogs, his socialization skills will keep getting better.

So far, so good. Can you believe it?

Kennel Creek also invited me to share Chetty’s story in the customer newsletter.

Kennel Creek Pet Resort december newsletter

To read the newsletter, click here.

Maybe someone who reads it will decide this handsome boy is the dog for them!

If you or someone you know would like to adopt Charlie “Chetty” Machete, check out his Midwest Adopt-a-Bull profile.

Review: Cruising Companion Car Harness for Dogs

This is what my backseat looks like just about every morning and afternoon these days.
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With Luke’s help, I could re-enact the photo from this product packaging exactly. However, it’s not a golden retriever looking suave in a houndstooth harness in my backseat — it’s a black Heinz 57 mutt you all know as Charlie Machete.

In the past, I used to do everything I could to avoid putting my foster dog in my Volkswagen.

The car doesn’t make Charlie Machete sick or scared. It makes him way too excited.

He wants to look out this window, and then he wants to look out that window. Then, he wants to stare at someone from the way back window. Heck, then, he wants to roll around in the front seat – never mind the gear shift. Oh, and then maybe he’ll settle for a co-pilot spot, front paws on the console, hot breath in the driver’s ear.

That’s not a fun or safe way to travel from place to place.

Fortunately, I recently remembered that I actually purchased a dog car harness several months ago. (We never tried it because he was “adopted” shortly after.)

I was at first skeptical of the Cruising Companion.

The box, which I purchased at TJ Maxx for $7.99, contained two items: a harness and a separate, short strap with one end designed to fit in a seatbelt mouth.

The harness is pretty basic. The back of the chest piece has a soft, Sherpa-like fabric, which is nice for the dog.

There is a ring to attach a leash in the middle of the dog’s shoulder blades and another ring further down the dog’s back. The seat belt strap is supposed to attach to the second ring.

Basically, putting your dog in the Cruising Companion is just like having him on a leash in the car – a really short leash. I didn’t think Charlie Machete would stand for it, but he does fine. The strap gives him just enough room to stand and look out one window, sit pretty or lay down with his head on the console next to my arm. Gone are the days of this 65-pound dog trying to wallow around on top of me as I drive down the interstate.

Short of kenneling him or an actual dog car seat, the Cruising Companion is a suitable solution for rides with Charlie Machete.

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Wondering why this dog is in the car so much lately? Come back tomorrow to learn about where he’s been going and what he’s been doing.

Disclosure: I bought the Cruising Companion harness with my own money and received no payment for this review. 

We Made Out Well at Madewell

After the bully breed-centric whirlwind of last weekend, I needed a break.

I knew I would, and that’s why I not only took yesterday off from blogging but also from work.

It was glorious. I jogged the dogs. I walked the dogs. And I spent a good deal of time talking dogs.

And all day, I wore the awesome new necklace I bought at Madewell.

Boston terrier necklace

It’s a Boston Terrier!

My mom gets the credit for spotting the totally relevant piece of jewelry (and the matching earrings!) that was randomly available during Fashion-a-Bull Fall at Madewell, the Midwest Adopt-a-Bull fundraiser Katty Delux and I hosted at the Leawood, Kansas, store last Sunday.

Although we didn’t quite hit the lofty $500 goal I set, by the end of the day, we tallied over $300 in cash and checks.

I’d say that’s not too shabby.

The money will help replenish funds spent over the past few days to help Tracy, a dog who is suffering complications from her recent leg amputation.

Although no Midwest Adopt-a-Bull dogs attended the event, a little pack of poodle mixes and Romeo, an adoptable shepherd mix, posted up outside the store with representatives from Kennel Creek Pet Resort.

poodle mixes in Chiefs t-shirts

The very obedient Chalmer, Willow and Reilly. Photo by Kemberley Elliott.

We were lucky that the weather was great. And as I expected, having the dogs at the entrance drew a lot of attention and resulted in more raffle ticket sales.

I have to credit where it’s due, though. My colleagues at Staples Promotional Products really ponied up for this cause. Between those who bought raffle tickets in advance and those who came to the actual event, my coworkers contributed over $100 to Midwest Adopt-a-Bull. As a result, I’m taking three of the prize packages we drew for to some lucky Staples friends tomorrow.

Big thanks also goes to my non-work friends, family members and businesses who showed support through their attendance, benjamins and prizes. Of course, Madewell gets mad props for hosting.

I couldn’t be more grateful to Katty for helping me coordinate the event and rounding up tons of lovely prize donation.

Umba Box, Waggiweal leash, Kennel Creek gift certificate

Goodies from Waggiwear, Umba Box, Kennel Creek Pet Resort, Simply Grooming by Gia, artist Kathleen Henn, Tumbleweeds and YourBrandPartner.com. Photo by Kemberley Elliott.

As it turns out, the pin-up and the crazy dog lady make a darn good team (even though we totally failed to get a photo of ourselves together).

My appreciation extends as well to my wonderful blog readers who have commented, shared and put up with my relentless promotion of this event over the past couple of weeks. I do hope you enjoyed the posts, but I do promise to cover some different topics and stop begging you for money – at least for a little while.

We’ll start tomorrow, with something Halloweenie.

However, it might not be as cute as this:

It's a Fairy Bull

Polly Pocket the Fairy Bull. Photo courtesy Our Waldo Bungie.

The Most Fashion-a-Bull award of the day went to Polly Pocket.

Our Waldo Bungie‘s foster dog made a special appearance. There is breed specific legislation against pit bulls in Leawood, and while we can’t know for sure what Polly is without a DNA test,  the boxer-and-maybe-pittie mix played it safe and festive by wearing a disguise her Halloween costume.

If Polly the adora-bull fairy dog looks like someone you want to add to your family, check out her Petfinder profile!

What’s your dog going to be for Halloween?

Raffle Tickets for Sale

“Wanna buy a raffle ticket?”

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That’s the question you’ll be greeted with if you interact with me in person this week.

And I have no shame. In my quest to collect lots of dollars for rescue dogs, I will be pushy. I will guilt-trip you if you hesitate.

“Come on, it’s just $5.”

Every cent collected will go directly to Midwest Adopt-a-Bull, the rescue organization that enrolled Charlie Machete. In tomorrow’s post, you’ll get to learn more about some of the other dogs in the group. For now, suffice it to say that every dollar matters. Midwest Adopt-a-Bull dogs come from shelters, the streets and abandoned houses. Two animals linked to our group have recently undergone amputations.

My goal is to raise at least $500.

Winners need not be present, but the raffle drawing will occur on Sunday, October 28, at the end of the shopping party Katty Delux and I are co-hosting at the Madewell boutique in Leawood, Kansas.

Everyone who attends that event will also be entered in a free drawing for a Madewell gift card and enjoy complimentary refreshments and an available shopping discount. The first 20 attendees will receive a free goodie bag.

Weather permitting, the event will begin with a parade of costumed doggies, including a doggy resident from Our Waldo Bungie, the awesomely obedient labradoodles from Kennel Creek and more.

You can check out some of the raffle prizes in the Fashion-a-Bull Fall at Madewell photo album on the Wayward Dogs Facebook fan page.

Here’s a list of some of the things we’re giving away:

-Custom doggy sweater from Tiennot Knit Sweaters
-Leash and collar sets from Waggiwear Dog Collars and Leashes
-Gift Certificate to The Barking Lot Grooming Salon
-Gift Certificate to Simply Grooming by Gia
-Gift certificate to Pete ‘n’ Mac pet resort
K9closet handmade collars from Simply Grooming by Gia
-Handmade Doggie Bows by Styled by a Milk Tooth
-Handmade Retro Accessories from Lucky Lucille
-Handmade Sunnglasses from Tumbleweeds Odd Shop
-Handmade pit bull magnets from Kathleen Henn
-Gift Certificate for a tree three-night stay at Kennel Creek Pet Resort

All above items will be grouped into two monster prize packages.

So, are you going to buy a raffle ticket?

Unfortunately, gambling laws made me too nervous to accept online payments for raffle tickets. So, if you are in the Kansas City area and want to buy one, let me know in the comments or email me at crystalwayward@gmail.com. We’ll figure out how to get your tickets to you!

I will have raffle tickets on hand during the Coast to Coast Bully Walk and at the shopping party on Sunday.

If you don’t live in Kansas City, but still want to contribute to the cause, feel free to make a donation directly to Midwest Adopt-a-Bull. Let me know in the comments if you do.

And don’t forget to enter the Retro Vixen giveaway. No purchase is necessary for that – just give a Like to some worthy Facebook fan pages. (That giveaway is open to all U.S. residents.)

What prize from the list most excites you?

On the grooming needs of a golden retriever

The worst part about living with a golden retriever is the hair maintenance.

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Luke doesn’t shed as much as former foster dog Minnie the husky mix. Back when she lived with us, between her and Luke, it sometimes felt like we had carpet instead of hardwood floors. To my great frustration, vacuuming every day was essential.

Little golden-red fur bunnies still accumulate. But now that we’re down to only one heavy shedder, floor maintenance can be pushed to twice or even once a week. You really know it’s time to break out the Dyson if a ball of fur gets caught in the breeze of your gait and rolls across the floor in front of you like a soft tumbleweed.

Golden retrievers really do have wool-like fur. It’s soft, fluffy, and keeps growing (albeit very slowly) unless you cut it.

In my book, this means that golden retrievers exhibit the worst of both kinds of dog hair. They shed a lot, and they need serious regular grooming. Like, with clippers and special brushes.

Zach bought a set of straight-up sheep shearers, which he has used to trim Luke a few times.

But usually, we’re all too happy to farm that task out to a professional groomer. Most recently, we have been adding a full groom to the list of what happens to Luke when he and Scooby go to Kennel Creek Pet Resort.

This is what he looked like upon a recent Kennel Creek visit:

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Sorry about the fuzzy (pun intended!) photos. A real camera is on my holiday wishlist. (The once totally decent photo quality of my smartphone has been greatly reduced ever since it underwent an “update.”)

As long as we keep Luke from sauntering too far into the woods on our evening walks, and a groom isn’t immediately followed by a rainstorm, he usually maintains a clean sense for a few weeks.

Zach prefers that Luke always keep his main and tail feathers – for a classic golden retriever look.

If it were up to me, I’d have the groomer shear Luke’s fur short and even all over his body. My aunt, who is a groomer in Nebraska, did that too him once, and he came home looking like a giant puppy.

Luke’s feet can be a real problem area. The hair down there grows and grows, too, and it all gathers to a point at the front of his paw. It makes his paw look a bit like an elf shoe. We call this effect the “Golden Slipper.”

Although we definitely aren’t good at maintaining a regular brushing schedule for Luke at home, once a week is good to shoot for on a golden. We’ve had good luck with the Furminator.

What’s your grooming routine like with your dog? Do you have any tips for grooming golden retrievers or any kind of dog?

Organic lavender neem shampoo from Baltimore Bumble Crafts is great for the bathing part of grooming your dog. Enter the giveaway!

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