Formerly Feral Friday with Finn

Hi, everyone - it's me, Finn. And I just have one thing to say.  Black cats rule! 

Take that, Olivia!

TGIF, everybody! 


Why I love taking my dogs to work

There are multiple reasons, actually, not the least of which is that they REALLY enjoy coming.  They love riding in the car to and from the office (and sometimes stopping off at a little neighborhood park on the way home for a quick pre-dinner romp), and having the opportunity to socialize with a great many different people.  For Tucker, this is something he has always enjoyed.  He is Mr. Social Butterfly.  The King of the Welcome Wagon.  Phoebe, on the other hand, used to be far more reserved.  For those in her trusted circle, she was (is) a total love bug, but she did not often extend those same charms to random strangers.  Coming to the office three to five days a week has really brought her out of her shell. 

I also love the calming influence they have over not just me, but my colleagues as well.  They seem to know when someone needs cheering up and can use a dog to pet or play with.  Phoebe, as has been well-documented, can always be counted on for comic relief.  

Also, having them here gets me up out of my chair and outside at least three or four times in a day.  Since, daylight savings time notwithstanding, I often leave the office after it's dark outside, if it weren't for them, I might never see the sun during the week!

My "work/therapy" dogs relaxing in the shade during one of our pilgrimages to see the sun.(This table is such a relaxing place to sit and look at the water, and since no one ever uses it (preferring the similar tables to the rear of the building that have a view of the many sailboats docked at the marina), it has become "my" spot, and I therefore don't feel guilty when Tucker & Phoebe want to jump up on it to get a better view of their surroundings.)


Olivia's Opinions - #5,432 (Otherwise entitled: Why cats don't go to art shows)

Hi, everyone - it's me, Olivia! Yesterday, the question was posed as to why I did not attend the art show that Tucker posted about.  There are actually several reasons for this, not the least of which is that I dislike large crowds, loud people, and human fingers sticky with kettle corn touching my impeccably groomed calico furs.

The most compelling reason, though, is very simple.  When YOU ARE the art, you don't need to go to an "art show."  

Do you take my meaning?  

After all, as a wise man (and very famous artist) by the name of Leonardo da Vinci, once said: 

"The smallest feline is a masterpiece." 

Mr. da Vinci, I quite agree.




Just call me Paw-Casso

Hi, everyone - it's me, Tucker! And yesterday was the 23rd Annual Hyde Park Village Art Festival!  Hyde Park is just a short walk from our house, so we usually put in an appearance, and do a little hobnobbing with the artsy set. There are always interesting things to look at, new dogs to meet, good things to smell (and sometimes people will actually drop food on the ground for you to taste - but you have to be quick about it, lest your human tell you to "leave it!" and you miss out on the opportunity!)

This year was particularly nice, as we had had a bit of rain overnight to cool things down, but the day dawned bright and sunny, with almost no humidity.  (Humidity tends to frizz my hairs, which is never a good thing when you are in hobnob mode.)  We made the rounds, looked at all the art on display (I must say - some of the vendors were using the term "art" very loosely), had lunch out on the patio at one of our favorite restaurants (Wine Exchange - as their food is delicious AND they are very accomodating to the canine set.), and stopped by Downtown Dogs before venturing home for a nap.  

As is usually the case on days where there is an event taking place in Hyde Park, Wine Exchange was doing a brisk business, so although we are regular patrons, we still had to wait a few minutes for a table. Phoebe passed the time people (and canine) watching.  
It was a bit warm yesterday - but all the shopkeepers put out chilled water for the canine attendees, and at Wine Exchange, Phoebe, Cosmo, and I were served our very own bowls of mineral water with ice cubes.  

This guy was keeping his human company and taking a nap at the same time. Multi-tasking is always impressive.  

A glimpse through the window at Downtown Dogs

Some of the "art" was questionable, but on the whole it was quite an enjoyable way to kill a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon.  

Hope everyone else had a great weekend, too! 

Oh, and P.S. ... if you haven't already entered our Orijen giveaway, sponsored by MrChewy.com - you can do so HERE!  And good luck! 


Remember Me?

Hi, everyone - it's me, Tanner!  You might not even REMEMBER me - because it's been a REALLY long time since I've blogged!  

I could pretend that the reason you haven't seen me around very much lately is because the other kids are crowding me out and taking my blog turns, but the truth is that I've been busy.  Because, as you may (or may not) know, I have a very important job that often keeps me from blogging as much as I might like. 

I am - a WATCH CAT!  This is a self-appointed duty that I took on when I was just a wee kitten, and I have continued it to this day.  I have numerous windows from which I keep watch, and recently I have been quite busy at this, as, for the first time in a long while, we have neighbors to our left. They have a big grey dog that Mom calls a Weimaraner, and a cat that likes to hang out on their back porch. The dog doesn't bother me, but I don't like the cat very much.  I am ok with it if he just stays where he is, but he'd better not try to come in OUR yard.  So far he has not tried to scale the fence and encroach upon OUR property, but if he does, you can be sure that I will be ready for him.  

Meanwhile, I spend a lot of my time these days in the mudroom window - ON WATCH!

Mom is nice enough to serve my meals there, and sometimes I even take a break to let her take my picture.  

So I guess that's about it - I am a cat on a mission, with  not much time for blogging these days, but I do send my best to all our friends in the Blogosphere ... and most especially the lady cats.  

P.S. Tucker wanted me to remind everyone that if you haven't entered our Orijen giveaway, sponsored by MrChewy.com - you can do so HERE. A random winner will be drawn March 31st and announced here on the blog.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Faces of Phoebe

Mirror mirror on the wall  who's the cutest Flying Monkey of them all?


Happy Thursday, everyone!  MP here, to, hopefully, bring a smile to your day with a few photos of one of the funniest dogs I've ever known or lived with - my own Phoebe!  I often refer to Phoebe, both on this blog and elsewhere, as my little monkey-faced court jester.  She came into my life shortly after I said goodbye to my beautiful Dakotah after sixteen wonderful years together.  Needless to say, I have rarely been sadder, or more in need of a source of levity than I was then. Phoebe was just the medicine I needed, and scarcely a day has passed since then (she's now been with me a little over four years) that she hasn't made me laugh at least once.  Part of this is to do with her incredibly expressive face. I swear some of her expressions are almost human at times, and often all it takes to crack me up is just to look over at her and see her funny little face staring back at me.

And so, I give you ... the faces of Phoebe. 

This face means: I REALLY want that piece of string cheese you're holding! 

While this would be her "I am officially ignoring you."expression.

And this would be her "I know I am not supposed to be up here on Aunt M.'s chair like this, but I am SO comfy, and don't you think the fabric makes a nice backdrop for my furs?"face.

This face, though - is one she pulls often - and the sentiment behind it is generally one of disapproval, outright disdain, or extreme skepticism.  In this case, however, it means "My nap is a lot more important than you taking my picture for the fifty-thousandth time, so why don't you make like an egg and  beat it!"

Happy "Faces of Phoebe" day to all of you!  And remember - if you haven't already entered our Orijen giveaway, compliments of MrChewy.com - you can do so HERE!  And may the odds be ever in your favor! 


Word for the Day Wednesday

Hi, everyone. It's me, Olivia. And my word for the day is UNHAPPY.  

Allow me to illustrate ...

This is me. This is me UNHAPPY.

Why am I UNHAPPY, you ask? 

Well, if you must know, it's because all I was trying to do was to relax on the dining room chair which is my one of my favorite under the radar places to snoopervise from, when my privacy was rudely interrupted and my top secret cover blown by my stupid little brother!  

So - I am UNHAPPY! Spitty, isn't there something that YOU can do to help?  A royal decree of some kind you can issue? A Diva such as myself can only take so much aggravation, and I am at the end of my rope!



P.S.  If you haven't already entered our Orijen giveaway provided by MrChewy.com - you can do so HERE!


Two Scruffy Dogs and a Bridge ...

Once upon a time there were two Scruffy Dogs, who went to the park to play on a warm spring day.  

After running hither and yon, and chasing one another from one end of the park to the other, they were tired and thirsty and wanted to go home!

But first they had to cross the Bridge ...

The smaller of the two scruffy dogs was somewhat reluctant to pass over the Bridge, despite having crossed it without a care in the world just a scant half hour before.  

"I don't know, Tucker," said the littler of the Two Scruffy Dogs,  whose name was Phoebe.  "Who's to say that this Bridge doesn't have a monster living underneath it. Or even a troll!  A big, fierce, hungry one who will jump out and gobble us up if we attempt to cross."

Tucker was the larger, as well as the older and wiser, of the Two Scruffy Dogs.  He said, reassuringly, "Fear not, young Phoebe.  I have traversed this Bridge many times. In all that time, I have never come to harm, and neither will you.  And listen ... I believe I hear the voice of our slave girl summoning us to dinner."

And with this - the Two Scruffy Dogs scampered across the Bridge and went home.

Snip snap snout - this tale's told out.

P.S.  If you haven't already entered our Orijen giveaway, courtesy of MrChewy.com  - please do so HERE!


Finn on Friday

Hi, everyone - it's me, Finn!  

It's a beautiful spring morning here in Central Florida, and if my mom didn't have to go to that JOB place, Olivia, Tanner, and I could go outside on the cat porch to stalk lizards and take long, luxuriant sun baths. 

Like this ...  

But since she DOES have to go to the evil JOB place, I guess I will wrestle with Tanner for awhile, and then go tease Olivia for another while.  I might spy on the goings-on in the backyard from the big window in the mudroom.  Then, I'll probably just hang out on top of the cat tree in the living room and take a nap or something.  

Like this ... 

When I want some sunshine, I'll open the blinds a little. And then if I get too hot, I'll close them again. Because I'm smart like that.  And you'd be amazed at how dexterous my little black paws are. I'm telling you ... if I had thumbs, I could rule the world.  In fact, thumbs or no thumbs, I just might do it anyway.  You watch! 

Happy Friday, everyone! 

Oh, and P.S.

If you haven't already commented to win a free bag of Orijen, in the giveaway we're having sponsored by MrChewy.com - you can do so HERE!  A winner will be randomly drawn on March 31st! 


Brotherly Love ...

As a kid, I wanted a brother more than anything.  Possibly because I had a younger sister. We're tighter than tight now, and have been since our teens, but in our younger years, although we would bond during such things as family vacations, on a day to day basis we typically bickered and sniped at one another far more often than we got along.  I thought a big brother (who would of course always take MY side in any dispute) would be just perfect.  Alas, that was the one thing my amazing parents really couldn't give me, but I still thought even a younger brother would be great value. Unfortunately, I never got one, although I had some male cousins who stood in rather nicely in a pinch.

Then, ten years ago, long past my mother's child-bearing years, in fact, I finally got my brother! 

The fact that he was small, white, and furry, and a Bichon Frise rather than a human, didn't seem to matter much ...

Have you commented to win a free bag of Orijen, courtesy of MrChewy.com?  If not, you can do so HERE!


Wordless Wednesday with Phoebe

Flying Monkey?  Or Flying Nun?

Either way - Phoebe wishes you a Happy (almost) Wordless Wednesday!

And would also like to remind you that if you haven't commented to enter our Orijen giveaway, you can do so  HERE!


The Perfect Dog

Ah, the (stereotypical) perfect dog. Equal parts Lassie, Benji, and Rin Tin Tin, the perfect dog is unswervingly loyal, flawlessly obedient (unless when practicing learned disobedience, as guide dogs for the blind often must - as the "forward" command for example, must obviously be disobeyed if, by obeying it, the dog would lead its handler into harm's way), and keenly intelligent, with a spot on sense of comic timing. He also never barks except on cue or has accidents of any description inside the house. He doesn't shed and would never need to be taken to the vet at 3 am.  In short, the perfect dog is, in many respects, like one of the other cherished urban myths - the perfect man.  (Or to be fair, the perfect woman.)But that's a whole other blog entry. In fact, that's a whole other blog, one that I, personally, have no interest in authoring.

Anyway .... 

If, when you get the urge to bring a dog into your life, you go about things the right way, do your research, educate yourself about the different breeds and their salient characteristics as it relates to temperament, exercise requirements, known health issues, etc., you will almost certainly get a lot closer to YOUR "perfect dog" than if you simply chose a dog on the basis of cuteness, for example. Many, if not most, of the best dog/handler matches come about because the human in the equation has done a great deal of research before getting the dog, whether that dog is a rescue from a shelter or a pup of outstanding lineage from a reputable breeder.

I strongly believe that anyone who is even thinking about getting a dog should first think long and hard about whether they can commit to giving that dog, both dogs in general and that specific dog breed or individual dog, what it needs to be happy, well-adjusted, and live successfully in one's household.  In fact, Tena at Success Just Clicks wrote a great post about that very subject just the other day!  In the final analysis, though, there is, just as in any successful relationship, a certain amount of chemistry involved.  

I would never EVER advise anyone to make a rash decision when choosing a dog that they are going to live with for the next ten or fifteen years. Nonetheless, I am here to tell you that sometimes the dog you never thought you'd want can turn out to be your perfect dog. I know, because I've experienced it. And who would ever have guessed that a self-professed "big dog person" would fall so hard and so fast for a scruffy little dog that was about as far from my "ideal dog" as he could possibly be? Certainly I never would have predicted it. 

And yet ...

Tucker is, undeniably, unquestionably, and irrefutably MY perfect dog. I'm not saying he'd be the perfect dog for everyone, and he certainly has his moments where his halo slips a bit and he can test my patience, but they are very few and far between, and we have lived in almost seamless harmony for over eight years.  Which is why, recently, I decided that MY perfect dog needed the perfect dog tag.

I ordered it from Fetching Tags, and I have to say, I really love it. Not just because the front of the tag can be customized with any saying you choose (or you can select one of Fetching Tags' own sayings, such as Love Sponge, Lucky Mutt, Squirrel Patrol, or Treat Whore), but because it's a really good quality product that, as far as I can tell, will last a really long time.  (The back of the tag can be customized with the dog's name and up to two phone numbers.) 

Of course, since Tucker was getting one, Phoebe had to get one, too. Hers says ...

She wasn't impressed.  

Want to give YOUR perfect dog the opportunity to try one of the best commercial foods on the market today? Enter our Orijen giveaway sponsored by MrChewy.com HERE


Where did the weekend go?

Hi, everyone ... it's me, Tucker!  (Phoebe is here, too!) 

And I don't know about you ... but I can't figure out where the weekend went?  This one seemed to go even faster than usual ... and Mom said it is because we had to "spring forward" this weekend.  I'm not sure why we had to do that, but Mom said it's good because then we have an extra hour of daylight and that means more time at the end of the day to go to the dog park and do other fun stuff.  So I guess that's ok.

But I'm still REALLY tired today, and so is Phoebe.  So we're going to let Mom work ... while we take a nice, restorative snooze!

Happy Monday, everyone! 


My Inner Judgey Judgerson (And A Giveaway!)

Hi, everyone ... MP here! Yes, we're alive and well ... and rather abashed at having neglected both our own blog and those of our friends so thoroughly over the last couple of weeks.  But enough of that ... it's confessional time!

Are you ready?  Ok, here goes ... 

I'm a snob.  Yes, you heard me right.  But, in my defense, let me qualify this.  I'm not impressed by expensive cars or pricey real estate.  I'm not wowed by labels.  I judge people by who they are and what they stand for, not for what they have, or can buy.  And yet ... I'm still a snob.  A dog/cat food snob, that is.  

I don't know quite how it happened ... but one thing I do know is that it was a process, an evolution.  I didn't just wake up one day and decide I was going to be obsessed with dog/cat food, though I'm far from the only such "foodie" I know.  (We nut jobs tend to travel in packs, so be warned!) 

  One contributing factor was that my first-ever-dog-as-an-adult, (a Malamute mix named Dakotah) had persistent GI issues on kibble, and twenty years ago, there were far fewer kibbles to choose from than there are now.  That led me, through the auspices of my former vet (now unfortunately retired), to some people who were feeding a raw diet to their group of huskies.  They mentored me, and I started feeding Dakotah this way.  By the time Tucker came along nine years ago, frozen raw diets were becoming available.  I was intrigued, and for reasons I really can't pinpoint even now, found myself reluctant to put Tucker on a 100% raw diet, so after eleven years of hardly ever looking at a bag or can of dog food, I suddenly found myself spending a great deal of time researching various brands, and seeking opinions from other dog owners on mailing lists and message boards devoted to dog food/nutrition . A year later, Olivia came into my life, the first cat I had lived with in many a year, and my research compulsion went into overdrive.  There again, it never even really occurred to me to feed Olivia a raw diet - she received grain-free canned food, which, according to all the reading and research I did online was what she should be eating.  I knew about ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT, etc. so I knew enough to label read and make sure the brands of food I chose were free of these scary preservatives, as well as unnamed byproducts, potentially allergenic ingredients such as corn, wheat, soy, etc. and I thought as long as I steered clear of those things, all would be well.  

I was wrong.

Because then the mass pet food recalls of 2007 occurred ... and a lot of dogs and cats suffered and died needlessly as a result, including two cats belonging to a former co-worker of mine, who were eating a very well-known, much-advertised, and respected brand of commercial food.  None of the foods I was feeding at that time were affected, at least not the specific flavor or variety, but one of the brands I was using was on the recall list.  To say it scared me would be the understatement of the last several centuries.  My mini-obsession bloomed and became a full-blown compulsion.  I read dog and cat food labels non-stop, researched brands and parent companies, and learned, to my horror, what co-packers were, and why they can be super scary.  I started trying to convert the cats (Tanner by this point had joined the family) to a raw diet.  It didn't go well.  I kept trying.  Finally ... eventually ... I succeeded.  By this time, Dakotah had passed away, Phoebe had joined the family, and I also switched Tucker & Phoebe from partial raw to full prey model raw.  I breathed a little easier.

But wait ...

I said I was a food snob.  Not a raw food snob.  Research, reading, study, and my own experiences, have absolutely convinced me that a raw diet is the best thing I can do for my dogs and cats.  However, I fully accept that not everyone feels this way, and that just because this method of feeding makes sense to me doesn't mean it resonates with everyone, and I respect this. Also, for various reasons, raw feeding is not always practical for every person's individual situation.

So then what?  

The good news is that there are better, safer, higher-quality, more species-appropriate commercial food choices available for our dogs and cats than ever before.  Which is why I sometimes cringe when I'm in the grocery store, pet supply store, or, gasp, the vet's office, and see some of the food choices people (with, I feel sure, all the best of intentions) are making for their pets. 

Sometimes, let's be honest, especially these days, these decisions are either in part or in whole motivated by finances, and this is completely understandable. I sincerely make NO judgments when this is the case.  What kills me is when I see people spending a great deal of money on foods that contain species inappropriate ingredients, harmful preservatives, unnamed byproducts, etc. when I know that they could be getting a far better quality food for the same money, a little bit more, or even a little bit less!  

THIS, I will confess to you, my friends, in hopes that you don't wind up judging ME too harshly, awakens what I refer to as my Inner Judgey Judgerson.  It makes me want to walk up to perfect strangers and tell them why what they are feeding is wrong and how they could do better.  For obvious reasons, not the least of which is fear of being thought a complete lunatic, (or a judgmental snob, take your pick), I don't do this.  But there's another, even more compelling, reason than my fear of coming across to perfect strangers as either a freak or some kind of pet food elitist, and this is that I have to operate on the assumption that the person studiously reading labels in the pet food aisle of the grocery store, or tossing that big bag of nationally advertised brand of dog food in their cart at the pet supply store is buying that food for one of two reasons:  because they honestly believe that they're doing the best for their dog (or cat) or because the food that they're buying is what they can afford to feed and still meet all their other financial obligations. 

So I stay quiet.  I try not to judge.  But sometimes I just can't help it.  Especially when I see someone loading a bag of food containing potentially carcinogenic preservatives, known allergens, and unnamed byproducts into the back of a $60,000 SUV.  (For the record, yes, this has actually happened to me ... more than once, in fact.) 

So there it is.  You know my dirty little secret.  I hope you don't think any less of me now that you know.  Either way, I feel better.  I guess it's true - confession IS good for the soul! 

AND NOW ... the good part!  Awhile back, I had written a review for an online pet supply store - MrChewy.com and just recently I was asked to do a second review, this time not for Mr. Chewy himself, but for one of the products carried on the site, specifically Orijen kibble.

For those who are unaware, Orijen is one of the best, if not the best, in this writer's humble opinion anyway, kibbles on the market today, and thanks to Mr. Chewy, one of you (or actually your dogs) will get to try a bag of Orijen absolutely free!  You can choose any of the formulas, including Adult, Regional Red, or 6 Fish.

All you have to do is:

Leave a comment below (winner will be randomly drawn, and then announced here, on March 31st).  If you're the winner, email me your name and address, and Mr. Chewy will ship the food directly to you, and then all you need to do after that is email me your opinions about/experience with the food trial within six weeks of receiving it. 

Sound good?  

Tanner says:  All this talk about food and I STILL don't see my dinner!