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Where All the Dogs Can Play All Day

This is something I’ve never seen Charlie Machete do at the vet’s office.


Part of the reason that I have continued taking Charlie Machete to the vet for weekly boarding is his need for routine and familiarity.

He may not enjoy parting ways with me in the lobby, but he is familiar with the environment and, at this point, most of the people. Also important: The vet clinic offers super cheap day boarding and is located just a few blocks from our house.

However, since Charlie Machete brought home kennel cough following a weeklong stay at the vet clinic last year, I am hesitant to leave him in that environment for more than 12 hours.

So, when I recently hit the road for my whirlwind weekend in Nebraska, I decided to cash in a boarding discount offered to me by a western-themed kennel in Olathe, Kansas.

I had been wanting to check out Pet Ranch since meeting a couple of the owners way back in March at the Kansas City Pet Expo. I liked their cowboy boots, country style and willingness to accommodate all breeds of dogs, including individuals who don’t have great social skills.

The Pet Ranch people are also involved with the manufacturing and marketing of the Emunity emu jerky treats, which our dogs thoroughly enjoy.

Pet Ranch is located in one of Kansas City’s most sprawling suburbs. On the 30-minute drive, Charlie Machete seemed to get excited as the scenery changed from interstate traffic and strip malls to big houses and swaths of farm field. He loves to run in wide, open spaces.

Although I did not get to take a full tour of the facility, it was clear as I pulled up that dogs there have a lot of room to roam.

In addition to several large, fenced areas for play, there is a 13-acre private dog park. For an annual fee, Pet Ranch members can access the park anytime. It features a trail and ponds for pets and people to enjoy.

I believe that park is where Charlie Machete was taken on individual walks during his stay at Pet Ranch, because I informed the staff that he was not ready for group playtime.

From the moment we walked into the Pet Ranch trading post-style lobby, Charlie Machete and I both seemed to feel good about the situation.

Thanks in part to the fact that the staff did not make me remove his collar and put on a temporary one, passing him off to a Pet Ranch handler was a seamless transition. In fact, while she cooed to him in a high-pitched voice, he kept his ears perked and never even looked back at me as they walked together into the boarding area and away from me.

Two days later, our reunion in the lobby was equally undramatic. In fact, Charlie Machete seemed completely at ease with the two girls working. He didn’t lunge excitedly toward me, and even gave them each a goodbye kiss.

Similarly: His behavior report included no bad marks.

Can you believe it?

Unfortunately, Pet Ranch is too far away to accommodate our regular boarding and daycare needs. However, I am thrilled that my foster dog was able to have a positive experience there.

Suffice it to say, we are now exploring nearby daycare options for Charlie Machete that are less like the vet’s office and more like Pet Ranch.

The best bird jerky

Emu or chicken? That was the question.


Yes, please!

No doubt about it — the two types of locally-made bird jerky we recently acquired got some dogs excited.

Jerky #1: Brian’s Best Gourmet Dog Treats

Brian’s Best Gourmet Dog Treats

Jerky #2: Emunity Omega Bars

Emunity Omega Bars

Minnie staked a claim early on in the Emu vs. Chicken Challenge, parking herself by the package of Brian’s Best Gourmet Dog Treats.

This aromatic jerky is consists of meat from free range, vegetarian-fed, antibiotic-free chickens raised on the Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch in Tampa, Kansas.


Heritage chickens are for huskies.

The package proclaims that these gummy meat strips are “Good enough for you. Good enough for your pets!”

The package also tells a story. On the back is a picture of a young man, Brian Anselmo, and a border collie. After graduating with his MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the local boy took up poultry farming, a trade he knew little about. The owners of Good Shepherd Ranch took Brian under their wing and he went on to become an advocate for humane farming, traveling around the region to teach other farmers how to improve their practices for the well-being of their livestock.

Brian passed away at the age of 28. His family started the Brian Anselmo Memorial Foundation in order to continue doing good in the world in his name. A portion of the proceeds from each package of Brian’s Best Gourmet Dog Treats goes to the Brian Anselmo Memorial Foundation, which in turn supports other education and child-focused charities.

I picked up ours package of Brian’s Best at the Sutherland‘s store in Waldo for $3.99.

That’s a couple bucks less than I would have paid for the emu jerky if I hadn’t received it compliments of The Pet Ranch at the recent Great KC Pet Expo.

Made in Kansas and available through Pet Ranch, a boarding and grooming facility in Olathe, Emunity treats consists of meat from American-sourced emus and vegetables like yams and carrots. The slightly tacky texture of the Emunity bars is similar to that of the chicken jerky, yet this jerky is less jerky-smelling.

During Scooby’s recent kibble strike, the emu jerky was a tool for me to whet his appetite and also a worked as a decent makeshift pill pocket that he gobbled right up.

But what if he had a choice between emu and chicken jerky? What would Scooby choose?

Can I really have both jerky bites?

Answer: Whichever jerky was closest to his mouth.

Although Scooby and the other dogs consumed the jerky treats with much gusto, none of them seemed to prefer one brand over the other. They simply wanted more when the taste test was over.

That’s a sign of good products, right?

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