Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Caturday New Year's Eve

This month, we had the pleasure of reviewing Muse canned cat food from Now, I think it is pretty obvious that my cat is something of a food hound. He eats out of food toys much of the time, and always gets his food carefully measured out because he gorges himself until he is sick if left to his own devices.

That said, he is still a cat, and cats are picky in some of the strangest ways. He doesn't like a lot of treats that I give the dogs, for instance. He will eat the dog kibble, but only certain kinds. He likes his kind of cat kibble, but after a few days, he loses interest in most other kinds (with a few exceptions which end up added into his food rotation).

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Muse is a grain free wet food by Purina. We tried the Chicken recipe in a paté. With wet cat foods, I've found that the texture is as important as the flavor. Paté tends to be well received here, while chunks or shreds in gravy more often just have the gravy licked off the pieces. Though, again, this isn't always true, depending on the food.

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Theodore liked the smell of this food enough that he was pretty offended when I tried to get a picture of him with the can, and pulled it toward himself with a paw.

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He settled down to eat, and gave me dirty looks if I adjusted the can to get the label facing forward, or move him back to a better spot of light.

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Overall, I would say that this food was a hit with him. He seemed to enjoy both the flavor and the texture, and he licked up every bit (well, other than that inevitable bit around the edges on the bottom that every cat I have ever had leaves around the bottom of a bowl regardless of the food). The ingredient list (Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Ocean Whitefish, Liver, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Blueberry Pomace, Potassium Chloride, Guar Gum, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Mono and Dicalcium Phosphate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity), Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hyrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Potassium Iodide) makes me comfortable feeding this as a supplement to dry kibble, or as a stand alone meal. 

Currently, it is on sale for $22.98 for a 24 can case, which is less than a dollar per can. At 1 can per 3-3 1/2 lbs, that is more than I would want to spend as a standalone food (though the Salmon flavor is on sale for $14.22 right now). But as one meal of the day, or as a treat. I would be fine with it, and I feel that cats tend to not drink enough water when on a kibble only diet, and benefit greatly from wet food. And for cats who are more dehydrated, it is easy to mix in even more water to make a mushy soup. 

We were provided with these treats in exchange for our honest review. We were not compensated in any other way, and all opinions expressed are entirely our own. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Fit Food Friday: Wellness Soft Wellbites sent us some Wellness Soft Wellbites to try out this month. And I thought the best demo of how well the dogs liked these treats would be a few pictures of the things they will do for them.

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Ptera has been learning how to sit pretty, and we've been working on her duration. She is still having trouble holding it long enough for me to back up, focus, and snap a picture, but she sure tried hard for a Wellbite.


I had Koira pose with her Tuffy bull (his name is Bevo) without letting her play with it, because it was a Christmas present and we were snapping photos before I wrapped it. Self restraint is hard. She also had never before been asked to pose with one foot up on an object like this. She tried hard, and she ended up getting the idea after only a few tries.


Then of course, there is Ptera just making sure I get a good posed picture of her.


And Koira showing off her "wave" trick. She was happy to wave as many times as I asked as long as the treats kept coming.


A few notes from the humans about these treats. They are larger than I feed without breaking up, but are super soft and easy to break up as small as you want. I normally break them into 4-6 pieces, and sometimes even smaller for Ptera or if I am running low on treats. Even when I accidentally left the bag open over night, the treats stayed soft enough to break easily. I've ended up with plenty of other softer treats ending up rock hard after forgetting to close the bag up after grabbing a handful (I know, I know, I could just close the bag, and yet...) so I really appreciated that aspect of these. At $7.99 per bag right now they are pretty reasonable and comparable to other training treats.

We were provided with these treats in exchange for our honest review. We were not compensated in any other way, and all opinions expressed are entirely our own. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

WW: Cthulhu

Yes, that is Koira inside that hat

No, she didn't seem to mind wearing it

Saturday, December 24, 2016

One Day Until Christmas

Ptera is hoping you have all of your wrapping done

Better finish it up now, not much time left!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WW: Another Tournament, Another Title

This past weekend, I headed up to the Canadian border once again for flyball, though this time, I stayed on the US side of the border.

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Once again, Ptera ran awesome, and I couldn't possibly be more proud of her.

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Once again, Ptera came home with another 500+ points, and raked in a new title.

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She is now Paleoterrorist No Fly List FDCh-S, RATI

Photos are by Squirrel Patrol Photography, who was one of three photographers at the tournament this past weekend (I was also one of those three). I am so happy he got some awesome pictures of Ptera running.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fit Food Friday: Gather

I recently had an opportunity to try out Petcurean's new line of food, Gather.

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I tried out one of their cat products, and one of their dog products.

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The cat food that we tried was the chicken flavor, and uses organic, free range chicken. It is also completely grain free.

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Theodore got pretty excited when he heard food hit his bowl. This is his first try of the food. I can safely say that he was a fan. He is a bit of a food hound, for a cat, but can be a bit picky when it comes to kibble foods.

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The kibble pieces in this cat food are teeny tiny, and are flat. Theo actually ended up having a little bit of trouble eating the last few kibbles in his bowl each time because of the shape. The flat pieces seemed to stick to the bottom of the bowl a bit. But that didn't phase him at all.

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Even after over a week of eating Gather cat food, Theo was still a fan, and still quickly cleaned his bowl (except for the couple of pieces that got stuck to the spit on the bottom of the bowl, anyway). I think time really is the test for cats and food, because they have to eat it long enough for the novelty to wear off, at least a few meals.

I was really happy with him on this food.

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The dog food that we tried was actually the vegan flavor of Gather, called Endless Valley.

Anyone who has followed my blog for long knows that I have fed raw for years, both alone, and as a part of a rotational diet. So that part of me is somewhat opposed to a vegan dog food. However, I can see a distinct need for something like this. Years ago, while trying to figure out Koira's allergies, I put her on a number of different foods, trying to figure out what she was allergic to. This food would be a great option for that. It would eliminate all animal proteins, and give something to feed regularly while the allergy situation is figured out, slowly adding back in different ingredients.

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It has just the slightest green tinge, but otherwise, without reading the bag, I don't think anyone would know this was vegan. I tried it out with about 10 different dogs as treats, and not one dog refused it, even with a few dogs being pretty picky.

With this food being from a great company like Petcurean, I have to believe that it is the best possible option if, for some reason, your dog has to be on a vegan diet for allergies. That said, I do have an issue with humans forcing their pets to eat vegan just because of idealogical nonsense.

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Overall, I was happy with both of these foods. I likely wouldn't feed the Gather Endless Valley vegan food for long, simply because there is no reason to with my dogs. But I like knowing that it is out there, because I know how hard it can be to do elimination diets with dogs while getting them the right nutrition the entire time.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

DIY Snow Jacket

The lining and outer layer for the top portion of the jacket, cut out and ready to sew. The small triangles are for a dart at the butt of the jacket, to make it more fitted to keep the hips nice and warm.

The top of the jacket all sewed together, being tried on for fit. I have yet to meet a dog who enjoys the fitting process.

This is the top portion of the jacket before the chest plates was put together and sewed on.

Ptera trying on the final product. You can see the chest and belly portion is now attached, and closes with the grey straps and a snap buckle over her back. How to close the jacket was a debate I was having, but I decided to go for this option for easy adjustability, easy on/off, and even though it isn't the most gorgeous closure, it looks fine, and works well. 

Do your dogs have snow coats? Did you make them, or buy them? If you bought them, what brand, and are you happy with the fit? I end up making jackets, because Koira's fat head, wide shoulders, and narrow waist mean commercial gear just doesn't fit right. And Ptera has super narrow shoulders but is long and tall, so things that fit her shoulders are like belly shirts, and things that fit length-wise slide down her shoulders and tangle up her front legs.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Black and White Sunday: In a Tree

A benefit of having a tiny dog, you can use them like Christmas tree ornaments.

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The perfect tree topper

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ptera's Flyball Debut

Two weeks ago, I made a last minute trip to Canada. I didn't think I'd be able to go originally, due to work schedules and lack of money. But my work schedule made it possible, and a super generous friend let me ride up with her and stay in her camper van for the weekend, even though it meant she had to leave later in the day than she had planned. And another friend generously let Ptera take a spot on her club's team, giving her a spot to run.

Crazy little dog

Koira stayed with my mom for the weekend. The friend I rode up with has dogs that Koira doesn't like, and that don't like Koira, so it was just easier that way. And it gave me a chance to really concentrate on Ptera for her debut weekend.

She is super intense

I have to say, Ptera exceeded any and all expectations I had for her. I went up there figuring I would run her in one or two races a day, and she would maybe get her first title (20 points), or, at a stretch, her second title (100 pts). On Saturday, she ran in two races of five heats each, and she ran perfect. She didn't have a single error. One dog had an error on one heat with a dropped ball. And the team was running times in the 18-19 second range, which was crazy for my tiny dog's debut. At the end of the day, Ptera had picked up 126 points and her first two titles, Flyball Dog (FD) and Flyball Dog Excellent (FDX).

At Koira's first tournament, she earned 7 points. At Pallo's, he earned 17 points. In a single day, Ptera had exceeded all of my expectations.

Loving the game

Unfortunately, the team we were running with ended up with a number of dogs needing to be pulled on Sunday. One was sick (I think it was an IBS flare up, or something along those lines), and one started limping after the first race. Ptera was moved onto a different team to cover for the sick dog, and the team with the dog who started limping ended up having to pull the team because that was their only height dog. It was a bummer, even if it didn't impact my own dog.

Super intense and focused for a runaway over jumps back to me

I don't remember how many races Ptera ran on Sunday, but it was more than on Saturday. She ran like she was an experienced pro, getting some great passes, and with only two errors on Sunday from fumbled balls. At the end of Sunday, she had earned 376 points, bringing her up to 502 total for the weekend, and earning her third title, FDCh. I never imagined she would earn that her first weekend out.

I don't think I can even express how crazy proud of this tiny terror of a dog I am. Pallo debuted as a solid dog, but with a team who didn't achieve much. Koira debuted with the same team, and did better than most of the dogs, but had her own issues, mainly her box turn, that have held her back from really achieving the points. And my own lack of money for travel hasn't made our flyball career as lucrative as others, as we have to sit out many tournaments each year. But I am so incredibly proud of this tiny dog, and so thankful for all of the people that helped us out and made it possible, with carpooling, camping, putting Ptera in a lineup, risking having an unknown green dog from another team debut with them, and all of the people who asked how she was doing, who took videos of her, and encouraged us all weekend.

So that is my super wordy wordless Wednesday.
The video is of Ptera's real first race. The pictures, though, are from a practice back in July, when we did a team photoshoot.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Rachael Ray Nutrish Soup Bones

As a fun extra review this month, we tried out Rachael Ray Nutrish Soup Bones from Though the name is Soup Bones, these are dense chews that are entirely edible, and not bone. They are soup bone shaped, though, which is where the name comes from, I think. They are in texture closer to something like a Greenie, as a heavy, dense, but chewable treat.

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I tried these guys out with Ptera. She is a firecracker, and having something to chew on for a while helps give her something to do that doesn't involve destruction or mayhem (what was I thinking getting a JRT, again? Why didn't someone stop me?). She is a bitty little thing at only 10 lbs, so I cut each of these "soup bones" in half for her so she wasn't getting an absolutely humongous portion. They were tough, but cut in half easily enough with a serrated blade.

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First attempt at a grab. She stopped and looked at me to see if I would stop her before she actually picked it up.

Ptera actually interrupted my attempt to get pictures of the soup bones by themselves first, and I managed to snap two pictures before she picked it up and took off. I do not generally let my dogs steal things, but ultimately, I was planning on inviting her into the photoshoot anyway, so I just rolled with it when she invited herself. Obviously she was eager to get ahold of these, and she greatly enjoyed it once she settled down to eat.

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Blurry photo as she grabbed it to take off

I would say that these are a hit with Ptera. They don't last a super long time, maybe 5 minutes at most, but it is a lot more time than it takes for her to eat most treats. She isn't a power chewer, but is very food motivated (what a difference from when I brought her home this spring!). The ingredients aren't what I would want in a food to feed every day, but there is nothing that I am uncomfortable feeding on an occasional, treat only basis. Overall, I would say that we would purchase these in the future as a short lasting chew, especially at less than $5 for a bag (or less, depending on flavor).

We received this product for free in exchange for our honest review. We were not compensated in any other way, and all opinions shared here are entirely our own. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Treat and Food Roll Review

This month, we reviewed Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Rolls for These are basically a semi hard, semi dry food/treat roll. It can be fed as a food, or cut up and used as treats.

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I have used food rolls before as training treats, so was interested in trying this out for the same thing. I like that these are a balanced food, so giving a large number of treats means I can reduce the amount of food given at meals without worry about unbalanced diet (not that it is something I particularly worry about most of the time, but it is still nice to know).

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One of the biggest problems with using food rolls, in my experience, is that they can get really crumbly when you cut them up. These ones weren't bad that way, though. There were some crumbs as I sliced them up, but the pieces stayed pretty intact when put into a treat container, and when broken into smaller pieces in my hands, they didn't disintegrate like some of them can. As they were cut up and dried out, they did crumble more than when freshly cut, but still didn't fall apart.

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Of course, another essential part of it is whether the dogs liked them. And the answer is, absolutely. Both dogs really liked these treats. I generally just mixed them in with other treats and kibble to create a variety, and the dogs did approve. I also used them as the treats for Ptera's Christmas photoshoot, and they helped us get some excellent photos.

We received this product for free in exchange for our honest review. We were not compensated in any other way, and all opinions shared here are entirely our own. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wisdom Panel Results

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Looking adorable

Our Wisdom Panel results came in a couple weeks ago. It actually took exactly two weeks from the day I mailed the test to when we received our results, which was awesome.

Wisdom panel result

Ptera is a Jack Russell Terrier. Jack Russells are not AKC accepted, so the two AKC breeds of Parson Russell Terrier and Russell Terrier came up as the results. Since these breeds are both considered Jack Russells by the wider world outside of the show ring, I think this is a very reasonable result for a purebred but not AKC registered JRT.

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Half Parson, half Russel

Even though the results are exactly what I expected, I thought they were pretty fun to read over. And since I got Ptera second hand rather than from a breeder, there was always the possibility that her original owners either lied to me or were lied to themselves, or were mistaken, about her breed. She is a particularly dainty jack, after all.

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Just one of the additional tests that happen if you mark purebred for your dog

Overall, I thought reviewing the Wisdom Panel was a ton of fun. It was nice seeing a confirmation that Ptera is a JRT, and would have been nice to know if she was not and had something else mixed in. While I would never swear these results are 100% perfectly accurate, I do think it gives a very good idea of what breed or breeds a dog may have in their background, and is just plain fun to do.

While I was provided with this product in exchange for a review, I was not compensated in any other way, and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.