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What I Buy for My Dogs at Cabela’s

That dog don’t hunt.

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The same could be said about all of the Wayward Dogs, even though two of them are, presumably, retrievers.

Under the care of other people, golden boy Luke and the very black lab-like Charlie Machete might have been OK hunting dogs. Both have a powerful drive to chase birds and bunnies, and they’re not unwilling to give up something they have in their mouths if you ask. (The elderpin, on the other hand, has a mouth like a steel trap – with some missing teeth.)

But, alas, of the Wayward Dogs are gun shy and, I’m sure, too old to be trained for hunting, even if we wanted them to.

These facts, however, do not stop me from eagerly prowling the pet section at Cabela’s – a sporting goods chain that began in my home state of Nebraska.

Actually, I’m kind of obsessed with checking out what the hunters and adventurers who shop there buy for their dogs. Products for hunters and hunting dogs are designed to be durable and weather-resistant.

While much of the pet selection at Cabela’s doesn’t interest me at all – the in-ground fencing systems and electric training collars, for example – some things positively intrigue me.

Highly-reflective, light-up collars, GPS trackers and doggy backpacks – these are the items I drool over in the regular pet aisle and then dig for in the the clearance section, an entire room at the back of the store known as the Bargain Cave.

So far, I haven’t been able to snag a deal on any of the hot items mentioned above, but I have found some steals.

This heavy duty dog bed cover cost $10.77.

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Charlie Machete’s new neoprene vest was only $11. (Regular price: $44.99)

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Why the vest? Charlie Machete doesn’t have a very thick coat.

The neoprene vest, which can actually be trimmed for a custom fit for your dog, can help keep his core warm on cold winter walks (worked well last night) and prevent his underside from turning into mud city when conditions are soggy.

And, no, the camo pattern doesn’t bother me. It’s actually fun to walk through the woods while he’s wearing it. And it looks good with his new Cinnamon pattern waggiwear collar.

Where do you find surprise bargains for your dogs?

Reminders: Check out the deals in my Valentine’s gift guide and enter to win some waggiwear gear of your own!

Note: Cabela’s had nothing to do with this post. I just shop there sometimes and wanted to share the news of my successful bargain hunting.
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Dogtiques

All the women in my family love garage sales.

vintage print of victorian woman and dog

Vintage print of Victorian woman with dog.

When I was growing up, my grandma operated an antique shop. That meant she had to hit the sales every summer weekend to keep her inventory fresh.

My mother and I often joined her.

By midday on a Saturday, we’d have a car full of new-old furniture, pretty dishes, vintage clothes and accessories. And a lot of knickknacks and other small trinkets.

As you can imagine, even as a kid my eyes were naturally drawn to anything doggy.

vintage brass tie clip with dog and pheasant

Vintage brass tie clip with dog and pheasant.

My grandmother taught me to judge items based on their overall condition, the material from which they were constructed (solid wood, ceramic and stone beat out plastic any day) and where they were made.

Sometimes I ignored all that advice and bought things I just thought were cute.

My grandma still sells antiques, from a booth at fairs and festivals around the Midwest. My mother is a curiosity dealer now, too, with her own permanent booth at an antique market in the Kansas City area.

My dad’s sweetheart is also in the business. She has a popular craft and antique shop called Rosie’s in my hometown of Beatrice, Nebraska.

Although I don’t have a lot of time to personally shop thrift stores, estate sales, auctions and garage sales, I love to pick through Rosie’s treasures and examine my mom’s latest finds.

Framed Portrait dog food poster

Have you ever heard of Portrait-brand dog food?

I’ve instructed all the antique mavens I know to be on the lookout for dogtiques – canine-related relics and conversation pieces – that I can share with you.

Maybe they’ll find something you’ll want to buy!

Do like antiques? Do you have any dogtiques?

If you’d like to learn more about any of the dogtiques shown on this page, let me know!

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?

Why I Stopped Using Commercial Hair Products

We’ve been weaning ourselves away from commercial household and personal products for a while now.

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Being natural in Portland last year.

Having discovered Nutressant, the Kansas City company that makes all manner of organic, non-toxic Substances One Needs for Everyday Life, we never get toothpaste, lotion, deodorant or bar soap at the store anymore.

Nutressant even inspired us to make our own laundry detergent. (DIY dish detergent is next on the list!)

Although I am gradually working toward a totally hippie-fied, all-natural existence, a few transitions have been harder to make.

Like hair. (And a whole host of dog products.)

Several months ago, Zach and I watched a movie called Chemerical. The documentary looks closely at the levels of yucky chemicals an average family is exposed to every day via common household and personal products. The family in the movie is challenged to give up all that stuff and instead use only natural and homemade alternatives for a year.

The college age daughter in the house is all for the experiment. Until it comes to her hair and make-up products. She totally freaks out when forced to get rid of all her storebought stuff and begins secretly hoarding a small stash of it. As I was watching, I remember scoffing at the girl.

“Get with the program,” I thought.

Yeah. Get with the program.

The truth is that the process of switching from commercial shampoos to the natural kind isn’t easy.

Nutressant even warned me when I tried their shampoo – because it’s not petroleum-based, it’s not powerful enough to cut through the residue left on your hair by commercial shampoos, which tend to be petroleum-based.

Only oil breaks down oil. (That’s the secret behind Dawn dish detergent’s magic ability to clean oil-slicked seabirds.)

However, at the time, I wasn’t quite ready to give up all of the other, more expensive, hair gunk I had acquired over time from my stylist.

assortment of hair products

So, I cheated.

I used the expensive hair products and a mixture of Nutressant and commercial shampoo but was never able to cut the cord completely on the chemical-laden stuff. Fail.

However, when I was recently presented with an opportunity to review another kind of handmade, organic shampoo – one that is also safe to use on the dogs – I decided to try a little harder.

It wasn’t easy, but I chucked all those pricey hair products. It’s a new day.

Come back tomorrow to learn about my – and Scooby’s – experience using a Baltimore Bumble Crafts shampoo bar! (And in my case, a vinegar-based hair rinse, too!)

Baltimore Bumble Crafts Lavender Neem Shampoo Bar

Shampoo bar. Image courtesy Baltimore Bumble Crafts.

In the meantime, if you’re thinking about making the change from regular to natural shampoo, check out this guide from A Green Routine.

Have you ever used natural shampoo?

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