Saturday, October 25, 2014

National Pit Bull Awareness Day

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Today is National Pit Bull Awareness Day. It is a great day to help educate the public about what awesome, friendly dogs pit bulls can be.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Cinna-Bone

This month, sent us some Solid Gold Cinna-Bone treats to review. They are a crunchy biscuit type treat, which I normally use more for a treat when I leave in the morning than for training.

The bag of treats. Nice big bag, with lots of cookies in it.

The instant I opened the bag, I could smell the cinnamon, and it smells amazing this time of year.

Both dogs were on full alert the second they heard the crinkle of the bag, and their noses started sniffing when the bag actually opened up. So I then proceeded to torture them with the treats before letting them enjoy.

Pallo looks like a beached seal or something.

Koira just concentrates hard.

And I just love her expression when I say "okay"

At ten dollars for a 1 pound bag of these treats, I would say they are well worth if it you feed your dog biscuits. And this time of year, the cinnamon scent and flavor gives it a nice festive feel. Imagine getting creative and making a pumpkin frosting for these! Or even crushing them up and using them as the crust for a dog-friendly pumpkin pie.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fit Friday: Flyball gear

I'm off to a flyball tournament this weekend with the dogs. I thought I would share some of the things I make sure to bring in our flyball gear bag today.

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Gear all laid out
Some of the essentials for us include crates (of course!), tug toys, vet wrap, skid boots, treats for during the day, an extra bowl, the gear bag, and the poop bags that are attached to the gear bag.The thing in the bag on the left side of the photo is Koira's Back on Track jacket, which helps keep dogs from getting stiff when they are exercising. She gets it put on before racing, taken off during the race, then back on between races to help keep her limber. The vet wrap and skid boots are also for Koira, who has delicate feet. Pallo has feet like steel.

All of it fits together into the pink bag (which was actually a prize at a previous flyball tournament).

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All packed together
Not pictured here are the crate mats (or in Koira's case, bed for in her crate), or any of the basic essentials for overnight stays, such as food. This is really just the stuff that I keep in a bag at our crating area, so that all the essentials are in one place. 

What stuff do you pack for your weekends, be they flyball, agility, hunting, hiking, or any other activity?

Also don't forget to visit our Tasty Tuesday post this week for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Paw Street Barkery.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


What a relief. Our classic fall rains have finally started. I was getting really tired of nothing but hot, clear days. Having our standard fall weather back is a big relief, even if I did discover yesterday that my shoes have holes in the bottom of the soles, soaking my feet. Pro tip: the time to buy new shoes is before they develop holes in the soles, not after.

Even with the heat on in the house, it is a bit chilly, so the cave bed is once again one of the most popular places for the dogs in the house. This morning, two feet are all I could see of Koira.

Her cute little feetsies. 

We are off to a flyball tournament up in Washington this weekend, so wish us a fun time, clean runs, and dry weather for camping!

Don't forget to enter the $25 Paw Street Barkery gift card giveaway! Check out Tuesday's post for a review of some of their products and instructions to enter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Review and Giveaway

Paw Street Barkery was awesome enough to offer to have Koira and Pallo sample some of their products and share our thoughts here on the blog. We checked out their website and decided there was no way to pass up that offer.

We were sent three different treats to review. One of the treats we chose is a specialty that requires special shipping over the summer due to the heat- in October, however, the temperature starts being cool enough for them to ship through regular channels until the summer heat comes back again the following year. So what is this special treat? A peanut butter cup, of course!

I may or may not have sampled this one before taking a photo. But no one could prove those are my teeth marks on it...
In the box, these peanut butter cups are absolutely adorable. They look just like a Reese's peanut butter cup made by a fancy candy place. Which is basically what they are, really, only these ones are made with carob instead of chocolate in order to be dog friendly. And while I know a number of people who don't care for carob, I actually like it quite a bit. And the dogs love it.

The longer you make him wait, the bigger his eyes get, and the more he drools. There was seriously a drool puddle where he was laying after we were done.
Koira just gets super stoic. Like she won't break, no matter what type of torture you use.
I did make the dogs wait long enough for a photo, but then I released them to eat their gourmet treats. This is why I loosened the wrappers before the photo, so I could release them straight to their reward after their stay.

Koira took a few licks of carob off the top before picking up the entire cup and it went down the hatch.

Pallo just went in, mouth wide, all at once. 

I think you could say that these were a big hit with the pups. Fancy and decadent, for sure. I think they would be perfect for any pup who is going to spend a long night trick-or-treating for Halloween this year, or as an awesome stocking stuffer. But the carob does melt easily, so they are best stored in a cool place until they are served.

Paw Street also sent us two more treats to review. While not so over the top fancy as the peanut butter cups, both of these treats were a big hit with the dog as well.

The two other treats sent for us to review.
The blueberry bone-anza treats smelled amazing, both to me and the dogs. They may not look like much in the package, but they really don't have to. Of course, the Chicken Bow-Wow treats were received very well too! I wouldn't be able to say which ones the dogs liked more, actually, though I loved the blueberry ones for the smell.

Because Paw Street Barkery is so awesome, they not only sent all this awesomeness to Koira and Pallo to review, but they are going to give one lucky reader of mine a $25 gift card! To enter, just use the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can't wait for some awesome treats? Use the code Treat14 at checkout to receive 20% off your purchase. Also, you can head on over to their Facebook page to enter a costume contest in which the grand prize winner gets a gift basket worth $50!

*Paw Street Barkery sent these treats to us to review. No other compensation was given, and the review here is completely honest and entirely our own.*

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Crater Lake

Last week, I went to Crater Lake for the first time. My grandmother was in town from Minnesota, so I went with her and my cousin.

We arrived at Crater Lake National Park about an hour before sunset, and began the long drive through pumice desert up to the actual lake the park is named for (Crater Lake makes up only 7% of the area of Crater Lake National Park). We got our first glimpse of the lake from one of many pullouts that are along the road. We were all hungry and tired, though, so after a brief stop, we pressed on to find the cabin we were staying in for the night and the restaurant nearby. None of the lodging at Crater Lake except for the campground allows dogs, so keep that in mind if you choose to visit. In early October, it was 28* at night, which for me, is way too cold for camping. That said, three of the hiking trails in the park are now open to dogs (dogs used to be restricted to parking lots only). Service dogs, of course, are not subject to those restrictions when accompanying a disabled handler.

After we checked into our hotel room and had some dinner, I talked my grandma and cousin in going back up to the lake so I could try some night photography. Neither of them really wanted to go, but I managed to talk them into it, and we took the seven mile drive back up the hill to the lake. And in my opinion, it was well worth it.

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Crater Lake, two hours after sunset

I did try to get a photo of Pallo in front of the lake with the stars, but since it was dark, neither the camera's autofocus nor my manual focus actually managed to focus on him very well. Still, I thought this photo was decent, especially since it was a 20 second exposure, meaning Pallo had to stand perfectly still for 20 seconds for the picture to not turn out blurry.

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Pallo posing on the wall at Crater Lake, two hours after sunset. I didn't quite get the focus right though.

The next morning, we got up and had breakfast, packed up the room, then drove back up to the lake. We were aiming to go to a ranger talk about the history of Crater Lake and how it was formed, but we missed the first one and decided to just go on our hike before the day got too hot. We ended up choosing the Sun Notch hike, since it was rated Easy (my grandma has bad knees, and my cousin is 7 months pregnant, so an easy hike was a must). Sun Notch was the only easy rated hike that had a view of the lake. It was well worth it.

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A glimpse of the lake through the trees. There were a ton of pine trees.

Sun Notch is also the best place to view the island formation known as the Phantom Ship.

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The Phantom Ship, which is actually the remnants of another volcano, stripped down to just the hard lava tubes.

After our hike, we decided to take the trolley tour around the lake. The whole drive around the rim of the caldera is long and has some really steep drop offs that I was not at all comfortable with. Since my grandma wanted to do the trolley tour, that saved me from driving on the scary roads around the lake too much. The trolley tour is led by a Forest Service Ranger, who talked about the history of Crater Lake and the surrounding park, the types of trees found there (mostly just 7 varieties of pine tree), the varieties of rock and how they ended up where they were, and even some of the legends the Klamath People have about the area, which is particularly interesting since the Klamath People actually witnessed Mt. Mazama blow up and eventually form Crater Lake. The trolley stops at a variety of the pull outs along the way so everyone can get out, take a look at the lake and surrounding countryside, and of course, take pictures.

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Wizard Island, the biggest island in Crater Lake and the one in most of the iconic Crater Lake photos

At every single stop, Pallo couldn't wait to take a look at the view.

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Pallo taking in the view during one of the trolley stops

We only stayed for one night, and headed home that afternoon. We had the most beautiful weather imaginable while we were there, with clear, bright blue skies and great visibility. We could see all the way to Mt. Shasta in the south and the three Sisters in the north. Because we had such great weather, we got to see the incredibly unique, clear blue color that Crater Lake is when the sun is shining.

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Taken on the Sun Notch hike, this view almost straight down showed the brilliant blue colors of the lake.
Overall, Crater Lake was amazing. Despite living in Oregon my entire life, with Crater Lake only a 3 hour drive away, I had never been before. You do have to pay a park use fee ($10 for seven days), camping or hotel fees, and food (which isn't exactly cheap on the top of a mountain). And most of the areas are not pet friendly, so it isn't ideal as a destination while traveling with dogs. Despite all of that, I think it is a must-see if you live in or travel through Oregon. I certainly plan to return in the future.

*A note, since I know people will be wondering- Koira stayed with my mom while we were on this trip. I have a disability and Pallo is being trained as my service dog, and performs vital tasks that allow me to function. That is why Pallo accompanied me on this trip and is wearing a service dog vest.