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Meet the office dogs and enter a contest

Like a great many working people, I spend my weekdays away from my dogs. Pets are not allowed at the office where I compose corporate communications and manage social media efforts for Staples Promotional Products.

Yet, the group I work in does have a pair of canine mascots.

Plush golden retriever and plush black labrador

Luke and Charlie Machete in plush.

By coincidence these plush pups happen to be almost-life-size doppelgangers of my golden retriever Luke and black foster dog Charlie Machete.

The stuffed dogs are coming in quite handy this week as models for the items being given away in a contest I helped coordinate for the company’s corporate blog,

Unlike this blog, the site I oversee for work does giveaways all the time. This is the first contest we’ve run so far that pertains to pets. Because it’s dog-specific and includes an opportunity to help homeless dogs, I wanted to let my Wayward Dogs readers know about it.

Plush black labrador retriever models leash and pet bath care items for giveaway

Charlie Machete, the office version.

The contest works like this: People submit a photo of their dog, along with the name and website of their favorite 501c3 non-profit animal shelter or rescue group and why they think that organization should win a gaggle of gifts from Staples Promotional Products. The winner will be selected based on the case made for the non-profit and the entrant’s social media engagement related to the contest.

The prize is a personal pet package for the winner and a bigger grab bag of goodies for the dogs in the designated non-profit.

Not all of the prizes have arrived at Staples Promotional Products’ Overland Park, Kansas, headquarters yet. Among the items I wish I could take home with me are a bone-shaped, heavy absorbency pet towel and a couple sets of blingy collars and leashes from Diane Katzman Design.

Diane Katzman Design collar and leash

Image courtesy: Diane Katzman Design

Other items being given away include pet bath care items – shampoo, detangler, perfume – food bowls and some gorgeous reusable tote bags with bulldogs on them.

The prizes are all provided by vendors who make all manner of products that companies and organizations can customize with their own logos to promote their brands. Pet-themed promotional products are ideal giveaways for a variety of businesses, including retail pet boutiques, pet food companies and even shelters.

The items from the contest that will be going to the winning non-profit group include multiple useful items, such as collars, leashes and bandanas that I think would be great to put in adoption kits that go with pets when they go to their forever homes.

Now, are you ready to enter this contest?

Head to this link:

Plush golden retriever

Office Luke wishes you good luck!

Fun Fact: I’ll be receiving a goody bag of promotional items from Wayside Waifs as part of my runners’ package when I participate in my first 5K  in September.

Big thanks to everyone who is sponsoring Charlie Machete and me in the run! You are the best friends and readers ever, and you can bet I’ll be calling out all of you publicly in a future post!

Have you ever received a promotional gift from a company that your pets could use? If so, what was it and why did you get it?

A kennel to feel good about (Kennel Creek review)

In the interest of keeping the business of pet care in the family, if we lived closer, we’d send our dogs to spend our vacations at my aunt’s Waggin Tails kennel in southeast Nebraska.

Some of her clients drive upwards of two hours to bring their pets to the boarding and grooming business she operates out of her farm.

Since we discovered Kennel Creek Pet Resort in Overland Park, Kansas, I’m beginning to understand the loyalty a pet owner can feel upon finding a quality place for your fur babies to go when they can’t go with you.

I met Kennel Creek owner Christopher Sailors back at the Great KC Pet Expo. We struck up a conversation because he has the world’s most well-behaved labradoodles (says I).

Photo by Fido Fetch Photography

Photo by Fido Fetch Photography

Months later, I took Chris up on his offer to show me around his pet care business that is conveniently located on the route I take to work every day.

My first impression of Kennel Creek, which operates out of a building that used to house the headquarters for the Applebee’s restaurant chain, was that it is huge, clean and uber-professional.

Like me, Chris said he was always hesitant to board his beloved dogs. In fact, to get around the issue of having to send them somewhere else while he traveled, years ago he bought an RV to make it easier for them to go with him.

Guessing there were other particular pet parents like himself in the area, Chris pursued the development of a facility to meet his personal criteria.

The result is a place for pets that serves practical needs and offers an array of little luxuries.

Some of the things that impressed me:

  • All animals receive reverse osmosis or carbon-filtered water to help protect their urinary tract health.
  • Rather than being bagged up and tossed in a smelly dumpster, dog waste is disposed of in power flush toilets, a solution that greatly keeps the odor down at the facility.
  • Although dog owners can be taken to a window to view the actual kennels where the animals stay, no one besides staff is allowed inside the kennel or play area. Chris says this helps the dogs remain calm — no need to sound an alert due to strangers entering their area.
  • Several times a day, pet parents can tune in to Kennel Creek’s play cams to watch their dogs romping outside.

Of course, I couldn’t really appreciate the value of checking your pets into Kennel Creek without trying it for myself.

So, I made a reservation for Luke the weekend Zach and I headed to Ponca, Nebraska, for the dedication of the shooting complex named after my cousin.


Crazy dog lady disclosure: I originally made the reservation for Luke and Scooby but at the last minute sent Scooby to my mom’s house due to the combination of his suddenly finicky eating habits and need to take medication several times a day WITH food.

I did take Scooby with me to check in Luke, though, and the little guy seemed confused about why he couldn’t go with his big red buddy.

Zach and I enjoyed getting to watch Luke on the play cams, although when we peeked in, he seemed more interested in the Kennel Creek staff than his fellow visitors. (Typical golden retriever.)

When I retrieved Luke after his three-night stay, he didn’t seem that excited to see me.

Because he is a notoriously needy dog, I took this to mean Luke was comfortable at Kennel Creek. Also, the staff reported that he did not hesitate to eat his food – something he more or less refused to do when he came along for our Katy Trail bike trip.

Luke returned to Kennel Creek a few days later for a groom, which was performed satisfactorally.

And although with two dogs the overnight rates are at the top of our price range, Zach and I decided to leave both Scooby and Luke at Kennel Creek during another recent weekend excursion. Because they are housemates who get along, they stayed together in a single roomy kennel.

This was the first time I ever sent Scooby to a professional boarding facility.

And you know what? He returned to me happy, healthy and a little more interested in napping in the plastic crate he usually ignores at home.


The report card for Luke and Scooby I received upon their check out revealed that our dogs were “best friends” who stuck close to each other rather than romping with the other dogs at playtime. In fact, Luke preferred to go out with Scooby and the small dogs rather than playing with the dogs his size.

Frankly, based on their general avoidance of each other at our house, this information came as a pleasant surprise, and it gives me hope that Luke and Charlie Machete could also one day become “best friends.”

Overall, my opinion of Kennel Creek Pet Resort is favorable. The most challenging aspect of the process anytime I have taken my dogs there is the check-in.

As I would recommend to anyone boarding their pets anywhere, bring detailed instructions regarding your pet’s food and any medication needs, and be prepared to go over them verbally, too.

The only real downside to Kennel Creek is that due to being located in Overland Park, Kansas, a city with breed specific legislation, pit bull type dogs cannot be boarded at the facility.

However, I would recommend Kennel Creek to any of my Kansas City-area friends with other kinds of dogs. Head to the Kennel Creek website for more information about doggy daycare, boarding and grooming specials.

Special promotion for Wayward Dogs readers:

If you make a reservation at Kennel Creek Pet Resort, be sure to tell them Wayward Dogs sent you. Your dog will receive a free bizzy bone on his or her first stay!

Disclaimer: I received a discount for Luke’s initial stay at Kennel Creek, but we paid full price for all additional services. My review reflects my honest assessment of the services provided by this business.

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