Sunday, March 17, 2013

No Rain for the Dog Jog!

On Saturday, mom and I did the Richmond SPCA Dog Jog.  Every year my therapy dog group the Caring Canines has a team.  Last year's Dog Jog was a crazy, wet mess, and I refused to do the tricks I was supposed to do as part of the flash mob.  This year looked like it would be a repeat of last year, with a rainy morning and a very bleak forecast.  But about an hour before the Dog Jog started, the rain stopped and the sun came out.

Ready to start

Nearing the finish line

What a fun Dog Jog!

After the Dog Jog, mom, dad and I went for a pack hike at North Anna Battlefield Park because it turned out to be such a beautiful afternoon.  We had never been there before.  The woods were pretty and the trail was nice, although short.  We hiked the whole thing and it was only a little over two miles.  But mom and dad thought the Civil War earthworks were very interesting.  I thought the earthworks looked like they would be fun to play on, but momma said that wasn't allowed.

Great day for a hike!

This morning, we went on another hike with some of my new doggie friends.  It was a little bit rainy, but not too rainy for us, so we had a wonderful time.  I spend the rest of the day today curled up in the nice cozy bed my buddy Hero gave me when he moved to Scotland.  I think I like the bed so much because it smells like Hero.  We miss Hero and his family a lot.

I haven't been blogging as much lately because I'm learning to use my new computer, but I hope to be blogging more soon. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

30/30 Challenge Wrap-Up + My Budding Basketball Career

During the month of January, Mom and I participated in the 30/30 Challenge created by my Adventureweiner friends at  The goal of the challenge was to walk 30 minutes per day for 30 days.  We had planned to do weekly updates on our progress, which we did the first couple of weeks, but we decided that actually doing the walking was more important than providing the updates.

Well, we must confess, we did not walk 30 days consecutively.  Mom got sick and the weather was super nasty, and while she normally doesn't mind nasty weather, she thought it best not to walk when it was 25 degrees outside and she had a serious cough.  So she missed five days of walking in January.  (Luckily I have a dog-walker who comes mid-day and an awesome friend named Tim who takes me out for a hike every Wednesday, so I only missed my second walk of the day those days.)

But even though mom missed a lot of days, at the end of January, she looked at her total monthly mileage and time in MapMyFitness, and she averaged well over 30 minutes per day.  Her total mileage for January was 96.94 miles and total time for January was a little over 30 hours!  So we're calling our participation in the 30/30 Challenge a success even though we didn't walk every day out of the 30.

Mom's goal for February was to beat January's mileage -- with fewer days in the month.  And she did!  Her total mileage for February was 97.32 miles!  Her goal for March is to break 100 miles.

Meanwhile, I've learned that it's important to do lots of different kinds of exercise, so in addition to walking every day, I'm learning to play basketball!  Mom and Dad have made a couple videos of me playing basketball.  You can watch the latest one by clicking on the link below.

Watch me play Basketball

I haven't been blogging as much lately, but you can always follow me on Twitter (@garth2007) and Instagram (garthriley), and/or friend me on Facebook (Garth Riley).  I've been posting more on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook because it doesn't take as much time as writing a blog post.  I'm also on Pinterest as Garth Riley, but we're still trying to figure Pinterest out.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Poochie Bells and To-Go Pet Towel Product Review

Poochie Bells and To-Go Pet Towel Product Review

by Rebecca Randolph, guest blogger (and Garth’s mom)

About a month ago, we were contacted by PoochiePets and asked if we would like to try out and review a couple of their products, PoochieBells and the To-Go Pet Towel.  Both products sounded like great ideas (and we love to get free stuff), so we eagerly agreed.


PoochieBells is a set of bells attached to decorative ribbon (or webbing or leather), designed to hang from a door-knob or hook for your dog to ring to let you know he wants to go out.  They are described as “dog potty training doorbells”, but they are also a useful communication tool for dogs who are already potty trained but need a way to let their humans know that they need to go out.  Garth is amazingly patient and usually just lies by the back door, but sometimes it may take a while for us to notice him.  With the bells, he can get our attention immediately so he doesn’t have to wait.

PoochieBells appear to be very well made, with much attention to detail.  The bells themselves are lead free and custom-crafted in the U.S.A., and the PoochieBells set is assembled in the U.S.A.  The PoochieBells set contains four bells at two different heights, attached to the ribbon with rings and snaps, so there’s no stitching to come undone.  Each bell is about an inch in diameter and is inscribed with a paw print.  The bells are strong and look like they will hold up well.

PoochieBells come in a variety of different colors and patterns of grosgrain ribbon, extra thick webbing and premium leather to match your home decor, celebrate the seasons, support your hometown, or support animal rescue.   The set we received is Colonial Blue from the Classic Solid Color Selection.  I really like the fact that this product is not only functional and appears to be durable, but also looks nice.  I like the little bone at the top that says “PoochieBells” and I love the paw prints on the bells.

PoochieBells hanging from the doorknob

The two sets of bells are at two different heights (11 inches above the floor and 21 inches above the floor if hung from a 3 foot high doorknob) so they work for any size dogs.  Dogs can use either their snouts or paws to ring the bells.  I taught Garth to use his snout so he wouldn’t scratch the door while trying to ring the bells.

Garth ringing the PoochieBells with his snout

Sometimes he gets a little carried away

Yet another ringing technique

Training instructions come with the PoochieBells, and their website contains additional training information.  Training takes a little time and effort, and some dogs may pick it up faster than others.  Be patient and consistent, and your dog will get it.  I suspect it may be easier to teach a puppy how to use PoochieBells than an older dog who already has established habits, however older dogs can certainly be taught to use them.

To-Go Pet Towel

The To-Go Pet Towel is a reusable, disposable, 100% biodegradable pet drying sheet.  Once used, you can wring it out and hang it up to dry, then reuse it later.  They come in a small pouch so they’re not bulky like towels, so they’re easy to carry in a purse or backpack.  They are also easy to stash back into the plastic pouch when they’re wet.  We usually carry a bunch of old towels with us when we travel with Garth, but To-Go Pet Towels will be very handy when we’re trying to pack lightly.

Garth loves water and mud, and I don't always have a towel available.  I think I’ll keep a couple of To-Go Pet Towels in each car to have available for mud emergencies.

Garth likes mud

Other Products

In addition to PoochieBells and To-Go Pet Towels, PoochiePets makes collars, leashes, tote bags, cell phone bags, pewter dog-themed hooks, and very cute bone-shaped magnetic memo boards.  They also have a line of products called Saving Spot with an adoption/rescue theme.  With each Saving Spot product sold, PoochiePets will donate a new dog collar to a participating non-profit organization whose mission is to find homes for dogs.  The designated rescue organization for February/March 2013 is one of our favorite organizations, Legacy Boxer Rescue.

We look for a few things in particular when we support a product or company.  We like to support small businesses, and PoochieBells LLC is a small Connecticut-based company (they get extra points for being from Dad’s home state).  We prefer products that are made in the U.S.A.  We also like to support businesses that give back to the community, especially if they support rescue organizations.  And of course we want a well-made and helpful product.  PoochieBells offers a solution to one of the challenges of pet parenting - potty training - and gives us another way to bridge the human/dog communication gap.  There are a lot of things to like about PoochieBells.  

Check out their products by following the link below, and you can get FREE SHIPPING.  If you order through the link below, the free shipping coupon code should be applied automatically.  You can also manually enter the coupon code “GARTH”.

(Use the link here)

The opinions expressed in this review are my own.  PoochiePets sent us a PoochieBells set and a To-Go Pet Towel free of charge.  Other than the free products (valued at approximately $21 excluding tax and shipping), I was not compensated for this post.  Should someone purchase a PoochiePets product through the link above, as part of the PoochiePets Affiliates program I will receive a small percentage which I can use towards my next purchase.