04 Jul 2012

“Best in Show”, an artistic celebration of man’s best friend

No Comments Events

If you love dogs and art (as I do), and live in the Boston area, here’s a cool event that you won’t want to miss!

CASTEEL: Almost

CASTEEL: Almost

The canine-loving community has joined Lanoue Fine Art to present, “Best in Show”, an artistic  celebration of man’s best friend.  The exhibition, which opens with a dog friendly reception on July 14, and runs through August 11, is a fundraiser for the MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center.

A dozen artists from across North America have been invited to exhibit over 50 paintings, sculpture, photographs and mixed media works of art, depicting our four legged friends.  A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the MSPCA-Angell.

When asked what prompted the gallery to step outside of its normal programming, gallery owner Susan Lanoue said, “My two greatest passions in life are dogs and contemporary art.  It never occurred to me to combine the two until a gorgeous painting of a dog arrived in the gallery last year.  My heart melted due to the subject matter, however the brushwork and palette were very refined and equally engaging.  My husband suggested I curate a show completely devoted to artwork about dogs, and the rest is history!”

NORGATE: Tail ChasingMaking the show a fundraiser for the MSPCA-Angell was very personal decision for the Lanoue family.  “Though we no longer live in Boston proper, whenever one of our dogs requires specialized care, there is only one place we would think to take them.  Angell has been an unmatched source of expertise and comfort to us throughout the years.  We have always wanted to do something special to express our gratitude for the kindness shown to our dogs and to us…now, hopefully we can.”

The most rewarding aspect of mounting this show so far, says Lanoue, has been the outpouring of support from all quarters.  Partners such as Panopticon Gallery have offered work by famous Weimaraner photographer, William Wegman.  Back Bay pet bakeries and boutiques including: Polka Dog Bakery, Pawsh Dog Boutique and Salon, The Fish & Bone and Audrey’s have donated dog treats for the opening day reception.  And numerous others have donated valuable gifts to be awarded by a drawing to participants in the fundraiser.

The Lanoues are looking forward to the opening day reception, when guests are invited to bring their dogs, their children and their goodwill.  Each visitor is encouraged to help select the, “Best in Show,” from among the artwork by placing blue ribbons next to their favorites.

In addition, the gallery will be collecting supplies for the MSPCA shelter throughout the month-long exhibition.  People may view the shelter’s needs on their website “supplies wish list” at the following link: http://www.mspca.org/adoption/boston/donate/boston-adoption-wishlist.html

All donors will automatically be entered into the “thank you gift prize drawings” at Lanoue Fine Art.

The show runs JULY 14 – AUGUST 11, 2012.  There will be a canine-friendly opening reception: July 14th 12-4.  RSVPs are requested but not required. Leashed dogs welcome in the gallery at all times.

LANOUE FINE ART, 125 Newbury Street, Mezzanine Level, Boston.  You can view collection online at: www.lanouefineart.com

GALLERY HOURS are Monday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

 

02 Jun 2012

FURminator FUR Dry

No Comments FURminator, Great Dog Products, Ruff Toy Recommended

Original Rating: (5/5)
Updated Rating: (3.5/5)*

Bleh!  A Rainy Saturday. I’d rather be outside in the garden… or on the boat… or walking!  But here we are stuck inside with a dismal weather forecast.  Oh, well, the house needs a good scrubbing after a week of heavy pollen dust coating EVERYTHING!  But I’m taking a few minutes from cleaning to tell you about one of our favorite new dog products, FURminator FUR Dry towel.  These are GREAT!  No more dripping dogs in the house!

The FURminator FUR Dry is a microfiber towel that your dog can wear like a robe.  It is super absorbent, and stays put on the dog, by way of velcro tabs to attach under the belly, and a velcro sinch belt to snuggle the robe so the dog is well covered top and bottom.  The only exposed areas are the head and feet.  When the dog shakes, no more water everywhere!  Both Cassie and Moxie dry much faster than with towel drying alone, and it’s a lot less work (although I still give them a towel dry afterwards just because they love their rubdowns so much).

Cassie in my winter jacket

Cassie wearing my winter jacket after getting wet and chilled at the beach

We first tried this towel for Cassie, because she gets so cold after winter beach trips.  I wanted a jacket to leave in the car for her so we can wrap her up after she goes swimming in the frigid water. Moxie dries quickly, but Cassie can stay wet for a long time, and she gets very cold.  I’ve actually had to give her my jacket before when she starts to shiver in the car, so I was looking for a wearable jacket that would wick her dry and warm her up.

The FUR Dry works so great, we got one for Moxie too.  Now these towels are used ALL the time.  They go on after the dogs get hosed off from being in the pool or at the beach, after bathing, on the boat, and after they get soaked in the rain, like today.

Such a simple idea, but very useful.  We think they are adorable too… Mike says they look like Jedi Nights.  I think they look like classic smoking jackets, very dapper!  Yes, they sort of look like a snuggy too, but MY dogs are too cool for Snuggies!

To put them on, you just position the towel over the head, and run your dog’s tail through the hole on the top section.  This holds the towel in place.  You can then adjust the velcro strip to fit under the belly.  Then pull the bottom section up and over the back and sinch up the strap for a nice snug fit.  Even with a wiggly dog like Moxie, it’s pretty easy to get them on without getting soaked yourself.   We leave them on for a few minutes and when we take them off, the moisture is all in the towel and the dogs are mostly dry.

FURminator FUR Dry

Cassie modelling her dapper “Smoking Jacket”… very Noel Coward!

If you are ordering online, the important measurement to know is the length from your dog’s neck to the base of the tail…  get a towel that is long enough for a comfortable fit here, and the rest of the towel is very adjustable.  Don’t necessarily go by the dog breeds listed on the description/label, especially if you have a mixed breed.  We had to return Moxie’s for a larger size, so base it on that length measurement.  Both dogs are wearing the Large size, even though there is 20 pounds difference between them.

One thing we learned though is to wash the towels with like colors.  We now have some accidentally blue dog towels from washing them with the FUR Dry towels.Oops!

So if you have a water baby or two, give these towels a try.  We are mighty glad we found them.

*Note: We have downgraded our durability rating for the Furminator FUR Dry Towel, because after a few months of use, the velcro straps stopped holding. Because of this, the towels tend to hang and drag on the floor, which creates a trip hazard for the dogs… we found out the hard way when Moxie almost fell down the stairs when her towel’s velcro didn’t hold tight. I have tried to contact the company (the website has no email address, so we messaged them via Facebook, but never heard back from them. How disappointing!

29 Mar 2012

Website Review: MrChewy.com

No Comments Ruff Toy Recommended

Rating: (5/5)
A few weeks ago, tmrchewy.comhe nice folks at Mr Chewy.com invited us to review their web store.  Moxie and Cassie thought that was a great idea, and wanted me to get them some chewie treats.  I thought it would be fun, because in my “real” job, I’m a web developer, and I like to visit online stores and look around at other ecommerce shops out there.

MrChewy.com sells food and treats for dogs and cats, along with cat litter and pet health items.  I found the website to be fun, easy to navigate and stocked with high quality goods that you’d find in the better pet supply boutiques.  Moxie chose the Doggie Delicacy Moose Antler Chews  while Cassie wanted a big bag of Dogswell Vitality Chicken Breast with Flaxseed & Vitamins Dog Treats.

I was really  happy to see that the product pages on Mr.Chewy.com include Customer Submitted Reviews, which make it much easier to know if a product is going to work in my situation.  I’ll be reviewing the products we got shortly, both here and on the Mr. Chewy site.

Mr Chew.com chat

I grilled the poor customer service rep and she answered my questions quickly and thoroughly.

The site also offers online chat, which I tried around 7:00 in the evening on a weekday, and a live agent responded right away. She was friendly and knowledgeable about the products, even when I grilled her about details such as protein levels and how much to feed.  If you’re not into chatting, there is a prominent 800 number to speak with a customer service rep by phone.

I was also impressed by the shipping policies on Mr.Chewy.com — Free shipping over $49, and a flat rate $4.95 rate for orders under $49.  Easy to remember, and a very fair price, especially when you consider a 30+ pound bag of dog kibble is not cheap to ship. (Another site charged $35 just for the shipping of a 30# bag!)

I compared prices on MrChewy.com and found them to be comparable to my local pet supply store (even including the shipping charge).

For example:

Product Mr. Chewy.com Local Store
Taste of the Wild High Prairie 30 lb. $46.99 $49.99
Orijen Adult Dry Dog Food 30 lb. $67.99 $69.99
Wellness Canned Cat Food 3 oz. $1.12* $1.19 each
Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken Canned Cat Food 3 oz. $1.12* $1.19 each

*Sold in cases of 24

Mr. Chewy.com also offers a 15% discount on your order if you sign up for their delivery service.  For people who don’t live near a high quality pet supply store, or even for those who would rather not lug heavy bags of kibble or cat litter, this is a great option.  You can select you own delivery schedule to meet your needs, and if your order is over $49, the shipping will be free.  The site claims 1-2 day shipping for most of the US.

So we placed our order.  Checkout was straightforward and quick.  I recieved an email receipt, followed just an hour or two later by another email confirming that my order had already shipped.  As advertised, my order arrived just two days later, delivered on a Saturday by FedEx.  Cassie and Moxie were thrilled!

So check out Mr. Chewy. com.  I was very pleased with their service and the quality of their products.  If I have any criticism of the site, they should really sell more products… how about some toys!   I can recommend a bunch of great toys if they ever are looking for suggestions!

 

 

 

 

14 Oct 2011

Busy Buddy Twist ‘n Treat by Premier

2 Comments Other, Puzzle Toys, Rubber Toys

Durability Rating: (5/5)
Looking out the window on this rainy, muddy day, it’s hard to believe just a few weeks ago we were trying to stay cool in the summer heat.  Was it just me, or did the summer speed by even faster than usual? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at this, since the first half of the summer was spent training for the Boston Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk (which by the way was an AMAZING experience!).  The event was in late July on the hottest weekend of the summer, with temperatures above 100!

Cassie and Moxie were, of course, my training partners, walking with me during the months of training in the rainy spring and early summer. I doubt I would have gotten in nearly as many training miles if not for their company, enthusiasm and spirit!

Cassie and Moxie in their gear

Once the walk was over, we turned our attention to quality sailing time… culminating in our 11 day sailing trip to Portland, Maine. Of course, the dogs came with us, and are wonderful boat dogs.

Before leaving on our trip, we visited the pet supply store to stock up on essentials, and to pick out some fun toys to keep them occupied on the boat when us humans wanted to get off the boat for a dinner on the town.

We chose the Busy Buddy Twist n’ Treat by Premier.  This is a rubber toy that holds small treats, and can be adjusted to control how fast the treats are dispensed.  The shape of the toy gives it an off-balance rocking motion when dropped or tossed.  Our hope was that the toy would keep them occupied, but calm so they wouldn’t be stressed when we left them alone inside the boat.  It was a great choice, as evidenced by the contented silence below the decks as we snuck away for dinner!

The Busy Buddy folks suggest their Premier Buddy Berries Dog Treats and Premier Buddy Oh’s Dog Treats to use with the toy.  We didn’t find either of these in stock, but it was easy to find small treats to use.  Kibble would also work well in this toy. Just play around with the size of the opening to adjust to the treats you choose. Very small treats will fall out too fast, so size up to what works for you. The label also suggests using peanut butter or cheese bits, but we thought that might get too messy on the boat.

Cassie and Moxie on Finesse

As you can see from the photo above, the toy got a lot of use during and after the trip.  It does show bite marks, but nothing major.  We notice that this toy is pretty much ignored as a toy unless we add treats to it, which makes sense.

This toy is great for keeping a dog occupied when company comes to the door, to help calm separation anxiety, or even to slow down a fast eater.  Be warned that the Busy Buddy will get slobbery!

All in all we had a great trip — that is until Hurricane Katya decided to churn up the seas and make things rather rough on our journey home.  Luckily my dogs are much braver than I am, and handled the heavy seas well.  We all got to wear our foul weather gear and life jackets for several days, and there is nothing better than cuddling with a warm dog in the v-berth after a stressful day on the water.  Good girls!

Want to give it a try with your dog?  You can purchase this toy in our online store in the Puzzle Toy section, or go directly to Amazon.com with one of the links below.  Have fun!

 
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15 Sep 2011

Hard Core Fire Hose by Kyjen

No Comments Kyjen, Pool Toys, Ruff Toy Recommended

Durability Rating: (5/5)

The Hard Core Fire Hose Tug ‘n Fetch by Kyjen is one tough toy! We’ve been using it as a pool toss all summer now, and it remains almost unscathed, despite frequent exposure to harsh chlorine, sun and dog teeth.

The bumper is made of super tough fire hose material, with additional reinforcement at the seams. The bumper itself is about 16″ long by 4″ wide and is heavy enough to toss easily to the middle of the pool. It also has an attached bungee webbing handle that provides a bit more swing to the toss, and is also great for playing tug, and for hanging up to dry. We have a magnolia tree we decorate each day with dripping pool toys to dry.

Both dogs love to fetch and retrieve this bumper from the pool, and then play a fierce sounding game of tug with it, before it gets returned for another throw.  The bungee handle is a bit stretched out after a season of use, but other than that, there are no signs of wear on the toy.  Nice!

In a previous post, I reviewed the Ripstop Training Dummy by Zanies which has been going strong for about 3 years now (wow!) but is finally showing signs of wear in the ripstop fabric and the styrofoam core. We certainly got our money’s worth from that toy and will buy it again.

The Hard Core Fire Hose toy seems to be stuffed with stuffing fluff, based on the feel when I squeeze it, so time will tell if it can make it to three years.  Even so, we are extremely pleased with the quality and durability of this toy after one season of play, and are happy to recommend it for all your water babies out there.

We used to bring bumpers to the beach, but learned the hard way that there’s no guarantee it will be retrieved once the dog has had enough.  Cassie suddenly decided she was tired, cold and DONE one afternoon, and we sadly watched a previous bumper wash out to sea and make its way toward Plum Island.  Hopefully another dog got a great new gift from the sea!  So, after that learning experience, I wouldn’t bring this to the beach for fear of it washing away with the current.  A nice free stick will do just fine!

Moxie loved this toy so much, we used it to entice her to finally jump in at the edge of the pool, instead of running to the steps.  We were mighty proud of this accomplishment, and give the Fire Hose toy credit for giving her the inspiration.  Cassie (the show-off) likes to perform swan dives from the diving board and catch the toy as she hits the water.  It’s mighty impressive.  She is available for birthday parties and barmitsvahs. :)

Note that this toy is meant to be an interactive toy, not a chew toy.  We have left this toy by the pool, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving it out as a chew toy… we’ll put this toy away for the winter {sigh} when the pool is closed up, and look forward to using it again next year.

If you’d like to purchase this toy or any other recommended toy from this site, head on over to our Amazon shop, and check out our Pool Toy selection.
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