Saturday, August 31, 2013


 Back in July, I won a trip to BarkWorld with my post Top 10 Reasons I Want to go to BarkWorld. I was able to take both of my assistants, and we were all very excited to go. We loaded up the Garth-Mobile and drove all the way to Atlanta, Georgia.

Waiting for my driver to take me to BarkWorld

Checking in at the registration desk

BarkWorld, Day 1

The first night I got all dressed up for the party
 But soon decided to relax and get naked

Sugar of Golden Woofs snuggled up to dad's leg for a nap

And I got awesome bellyrubs from Emmy (Emmy the Pet Sitter) 

I even met a guide dog in training, Mr. Bean,
who is from my own hometown

BarkWorld Day 2

I posed for photos with my buddies,
Gizmo (Terrier Torrent),
Sugar, and Oz (Oz the Terrier)
(mom says I look like a bratty teenager in this photo)

I was very good posing with my pal Gizmo

I showed off my amazing impulse control for some
super yummy Be Pawsitive treats at the BePawsitive booth

"See, I can even do it with both paws"

I finally smiled for a photo with Sugar

Sugar was always smiling
I got Victoria Stilwell (Positively) to autograph my book

and I shamelessly solicited bellyrubs

BarkWorld, Day 3

We got a photo with our #PetChat buddies

Rocco (To Dog With Love) was cuter than ever

I looked fabulous in my Pruven bandana

 I posed in front of the Pruven booth

 I posed with two giant stuffies from Petco

 I woofed for some Zuke's treats that Sugar's momma had

I drooled for some Zuke's treats

 I held a very important meeting with Sugar, 
Linus (Little Dog Linus), and Fabulous McGrady 
(PeoplePets says we're among the Cutest Pets on Twitter)

Pepper (Pepper's Paws) was ridiculously cute
(speaking of cute) 

I finally got a photo of Me and Carma (Carma Poodale)

mom got a better #PetChat photo without her in it
And I endured Yoda ears for enough time to take one photo

Of course there was much more to BarkWorld than fun & posing for photos.  We learned SO much that we plan to share with you in upcoming posts.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


On Sunday we had a different kind of adventure - we went on a SUP (stand up paddleboard) ecotour at Pocohontas State Park led by our friends at Black Dog Paddle.

On the lookout for beavers

I had been on a paddleboard twice before, during our vacation last October, so mom knew I wouldn't have any difficulty staying on the board.  (See my mom's guest blog post Dog Paddle - Learning to SUP With Your Dog and my post Fearless Friday to read about our first time SUPing together.)  I did really well - I didn't even come close to falling off or tipping the board over - and we had a wonderful time paddling around Swift Creek Reservoir with our friends.  It was overcast and drizzly, but we didn't mind - we love being outdoors and mom LOVES paddleboarding.  We saw a bald eagle, a muskrat, a number of great blue herons, and a couple of beavers!  (And, no, I didn't try to chase any of the creatures we saw.)

Using mom's foot as a pillow
(As you can see, I'm strangely relaxed about
being on a tippy floating thing with a
notoriously clumsy person.)

Modeling my Ruffwear PFD
(PFD stands for puppy floatation device)

If you're interested in trying stand up paddleboarding with your dog, we recommend the book How to SUP With Your Pup, available through Amazon.  (Also check out the How to SUP With Your Pup Facebook page.)  Our friends at Paws and Pedals also recently wrote a helpful post about paddleboarding with a dog, SUP Dog - Paddleboarding With Dog

Photo courtesy of Ripley's momma

Before you try SUPing with your dog, it's best to first become comfortable on a paddleboard without your dog.  If you're anywhere near Richmond, Virginia, mom and dad highly recommend taking a class with Black Dog Paddle.  Brian and Camille are awesome instructors, and - most importantly - they're dog people.  They even named their business after their black lab Emmy.   If you don't live near Richmond, you can search this List of Certified Instructors for an instructor near you.

Dad wasn't comfortable on a paddleboard at the
beginning of this summer, but he rocks it now!

I just hope she doesn't expect me to help paddle

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'm in LIFE + DOG Magazine!!!

I'm in LIFE+DOG !
(see page 22, Pet Photo Challenge,
July/August edition)

Mom bought all the copies she could find!
(Just kidding. The nice people at
LIFE+DOG sent us four copies.)

In case you don't get LIFE+DOG, this is the photo that was in the Pet Photo Challenge.  The Pet Photo Challenge is a weekly photo contest sponsored by LIFE+DOG and  Fans submit photos and participants try to guess where the photos were taken.  Can you guess?  (Hint: it's our favorite place in the world.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Review: Pukka’s Promise by Ted Kerasote

Book Review:  Pukka’s Promise by Ted Kerasote
by Rebecca Randolph, guest blogger (and Garth’s mom)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the publisher of Pukka’s Promise, provided me with a free copy of this book, however the opinions expressed in this review are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review.

Pukka’s Promise has been a very difficult book for me to review.  I read it back in February and have been mulling it over for months.  It left me questioning much of what I thought was true about how best to care for my dog.  It’s definitely not the kind of light summer reading you take to the beach.  It’s the kind of book you need to read and think about - but if you have dogs in your life, you definitely need to read it.  

Ted Kerasote is my idol.  He lives a life I would love to live (minus the elk-hunting and gutting) and provides his dogs with a life I would love to be able to provide my dogs.  His book Merle’s Door inspired me to give my dog Garth a better and more enriched life than I had provided my previous dog Jake.  I’ve read Merle’s Door three times, and I think it’s one of the greatest books ever written about a dog.  So when I began Pukka’s Promise, I was expecting another Merle’s Door.  But Pukka’s Promise is something else entirely.

In Pukka’s Promise, Ted Kerasote attempts to answer the question “how can our dogs live longer?”  This is one of those questions that I would have thought unanswerable, but it’s not.  I was shocked to learn that commonly-advocated practices may be detrimental to our dogs’ health and may actually be affecting their longevity.  Too-frequent vaccinations, spaying and neutering (especially at a very young age), feeding poor quality dog-food, and exposure to environmental toxins may all be factors in shortening our dogs’ lives.  Fortunately we have control over many of these factors.  Such factors include:


How could something I’m doing for my dog’s health such as yearly vaccinations be harmful?  Vaccinations save lives, right?  Well, they do, but Kerasote’s research suggests that we may be over-vaccinating dogs, vaccinating every year when it might not be necessary, vaccinating for the same diseases everywhere - even in climates where those diseases don’t exist.     

Spaying and Neutering

Have we been pursuing the goal of preventing unwanted litters at the risk of our dogs’ health?  Are intact dogs healthier because they retain their body’s ability to produce beneficial hormones?    Do the health benefits of retaining beneficial hormones outweigh the health benefits of spaying and neutering?  Are there birth control alternatives for dogs that are healthier than spaying and neutering?  Absolutely we need to prevent unwanted litters, but why aren’t less invasive, less expensive, and less time-consuming procedures (vasectomies, hysterectomies, and tubal ligations) used?  Such procedures would allow dogs to retain their testicles and ovaries so these organs would continue to produce hormones beneficial to a dog’s health.

I’ve always been an advocate of spay/neuter programs, and am extremely resistant to any suggestion that spay/neuter should not be zealously promoted.  But what if it negatively affects the health of our dogs?  What if there are better options for preventing unwanted pregnancy in dogs?  

Dog Food

Kerasote also discusses the way we feed our dogs.  He provides the history of kibble production and describes his tours of rendering plants.  He discusses feeding a raw diet and other options and ends up choosing for Pukka a combination of wild game, commercially prepared raw food, and vegetables.  After reading Pukka’s Promise, I’ve been looking at dog food ingredients much more closely and experimenting with alternatives to kibble (much to Garth’s delight).  I’ve been reading more and more about different dog diets - from raw, to dehydrated, to freeze-dried, to home-cooked meals - and have realized that dogs, like humans, can benefit by eating whole foods instead of processed kibble.    

In addition to dealing with these heavy topics, Kerasote writes about his search for Pukka, Pukka’s puppyhood, and teaching Pukka about the world and the things he needs to know as a dog in Kelly, Wyoming.  I enjoyed these sections of the book immensely.  Kerasote is extremely observant and sensitive to Pukka’s feelings.  When Pukka gets a new crate and bedding that belonged to another dog, and for the first time cries in the crate, Kerasote realizes that there’s something about that crate that Pukka doesn’t like.  After Kerasote thoroughly scrubs the crate and cleans the bedding, Pukka is very comfortable there. 

At times it seemed like I was reading two different books -- one a story of Pukka’s early years, the other a book about the factors affecting dogs’ longevity.  I’m not saying this format didn’t work, it just didn’t work as well as it did in Merle’s Door, which included wonderful stories of Merle’s life as well as interesting sections on dog history and behavior.

Like Kerasote’s other books, Pukka’s Promise is extremely well-written and easy to read.  It’s extensively researched, with 49 pages of notes at the end.  If I want to research more on any of the topics discussed in the book, the notes will be very helpful. 

I highly recommend Pukka’s Promise - but be aware that you (like me) may be resistant to some of Kerasote’s findings and conclusions.  I think it would be a rare person who didn’t learn something (or quite a bit) from this book about helping dogs to live healthier and longer lives.  

You can purchase Pukka's Promise from a number of different retailers.  See Ted Kerasote's website for links to retailers who carry it.  You may also enjoy the Pukka's Promise Facebook page for posts about Pukka and Ted's adventures.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


The winner of the YEAR'S SUPPLY OF POOP BAGS from Doggy Walk Bags is . . . 


Lorie A.!

Congratulations Lorie!

We know you'll enjoy the Dogbag Duffel and Dogbag poop bags.  (Seriously, mom thinks Dogbag poop bags are awesome because they're so easy to open.) (I think she gets a little too excited about poop bags that are easy to open.)

A HUGE THANK YOU to Doggie Walk Bags for sponsoring such an awesome giveaway!  

3x5 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

If you somehow missed our review, check out Win a Year's Supply of Doggie Walk Bags Poop Bags!  (It's obviously too late to enter, but may still enjoy the review.)

Check back for more awesome giveaways coming up!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Win A YEAR'S SUPPLY of Poop Bags from Doggie Walk Bags!!!

In honor of Scoop That Poop Day, we're hosting an awesome giveaway of A WHOLE YEAR'S SUPPLY of poop bags from Doggie Walk Bags. One lucky winner will receive a blue Dogbag Duffle AND Five 6-roll packages of Rainbow Tie Handle Bags (each pack of 6 rolls contains 72 bags and the duffel includes another 12 bags so there will be a total of 372 bags) - valued at over $75. 

Winner will receive a blue Dogbag Duffle

Plus FIVE packages of rainbow-colored Dogbags

We love Doggie Walk Bags because anything that makes it easier to pick up poop means that more poop will be picked up.  

I let momma do the product review, since picking up poop is her department. . . .

Doggie Walk Bags Product Review

By Rebecca Randolph, guest blogger and dog mom

Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this post and review, however the Doggie Walk Bag Company is providing the products for the giveaway. 

We received a Dogbag Duffle (like the one pictured above) in the Pawalla Box we received for review.  I thought the duffle was cute, but what really impressed me were the bags.  I have difficulty with my hands sometimes due to carpal tunnel syndrome and often find it very difficult to open poop bags. Often I will ask my husband to open bags for me, or I will open bags before walking so I'm not standing on the trail for 5 minutes struggling to open a bag. I'm passionate about picking up poop, so I'm always looking for better and easier poop bags.  (Want to know why I care so much about picking up poop?  Read my guest blog post on DoggyWOOF Dog Poop and Drinking Water.)

Doggie Walk Bag Dogbags are fantastic.  The tie handle bags on a roll are large, made of a thicker, more heavy-duty plastic than most bags, and very easy to open, even for me. The duffle is a convenient (and cute) way to carry them clipped to a leash, but I would use these bags with or without the duffle.  

Doggie Walk Bags offers bags with handles and without handles, on a roll or in capsules, a bag, or a box.  Bags and duffles are available in a number of different colors and scents.  

I give Doggie Walk Bags Dogbags our highest rating of four paws up for quality and user-friendliness.  I appreciate anything that makes my life easier, and poop bags that are easy to open definitely fall into this category.

Not only do they produce a great product, the Doggie Walk Bag Company is the type of company we like to support.  It's a family-owned and operated business that gives back to the community in many ways.  They participate in and donate products for special events, and they work with their local high school's vocational program to provide job opportunities to developmentally disabled students.  If you'd like to know more about the company, see The Doggie Walks Bag Story.

And now for the giveaway.  

To enter, use Rafflecopter below.  Deadline for entry is midnight (EST) on August 16.  Winners will be announced on Saturday, August 17.  Good luck! 

Many thanks to Doggy Walk Bags for sponsoring this giveaway! 

And don't forget to check out my co-hosts of Scoop That Poop Day, Sugar of Golden Woofs and Gizmo of Terrier Torrent, and all the other blogs in the Scoop That Poop blog hop for lots of great information and other fun giveaways.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Scoop That Poop Blog Hop

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Win a 6-Month Subscription to Pup Culture Magazine!!!

Would you like to win a six-month subscription to Pup Culture Magazine beginning with their first fully-interactive issue in September?

I've got five of them to give away!  

Pup Culture Magazine celebrates Canine Culture and the human-dog relationship, featuring articles on topics ranging from entertainment, to business and style, to natural health remedies, new dog products, fashion, rescue stories and everything else in between.  Their mission is to inspire healthy pets and well-informed owners.  (Cool, huh?)

Beginning with their September issue, Pup Culture Magazine will be fully interactive - with slide shows, videos, audio clips, etc. built right into the pages.  Their goal is for readers to become immersed into the content.  (If you prefer print, there will be a print on demand feature.)

The free 6-month subscription codes will work as soon as the first interactive issue is released in September.  Meanwhile, you can enjoy perusing the back issues on the Pup Culture Magazine website.

When Pup Culture becomes interactive,
will I be able to taste the noms?

Don't forget, tomorrow is Scoop That Poop Day and I'll be giving away A YEAR'S SUPPLY of Doggie Walk Bag poop bags!

Disclosure: Pup Culture Magazine provided me with free six-month subscription cards for the giveaway, but I was not compensated in any way for this post.  (I am, however, hopelessly in love with the Editor-in-Chief's daughter, Andrea.)

Me and Andrea at the Wigglebutt Wedding
Photo by Michelle Macirella, Luminaria Photography
To Enter, just follow the directions in the Rafflecopter thing below.  Winners must contact me to provide me with their name and address within a week of the date winners are announced.

a Rafflecopter giveaway