Showing posts with label pet supplies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pet supplies. Show all posts

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Quality of Life Reviewed

How Finn and I View Quality of Life
I have been thinking a lot lately about quality of life—in particular, how you help others live it a few moments at a time.  When you are training a therapy dog for this work, it's natural to reflect on what makes a life more joyous and pleasurable.

I care about both sides of the equation—what brings light into the lives of those whom we visit and what switches it on for the light-bearers.  I am deeply committed to keeping Finn's light shining brightly in ways that take into consideration his overall health, happiness, and well-being.

These days, I find myself spending differently.  It may seem to those who see Finn being carted around in a new dog stroller or trailer that he is being coddled.  In fact, strangers who cross our path often remark that my dog is spoiled.

Finn Teaches Me To Pay Attention To Everything
Isn't that a funny word—spoiled—especially when applied to an animal who previously had almost nothing and who experienced so few, if any, of a dog's normal pleasures?  Those who know Finn, and the way we are forging a life together where his disabilities do not define or limit him, would never use the word spoiled to describe him.  After all, this is a dog who willingly engages in a ministry of caring that requires so much of him.

The things I provide for Finn are not what they seem.  Outwardly, they are mobility devices: things that allow for transport from Point A to Point B.  Far beyond that, his stroller, K9 Cart (wheelchair), and bicycle trailer are really transformers.

When we seek to lift up the voiceless, whether it be a stroke victim, or a rescue animal, perhaps the best we can do is pay deep attention to the nuances, to the glimmers of how they show us what brings them even temporary pleasure.  Mary Oliver, in her typical eloquence, expressed that attention is the beginning of devotion.

As for Finn, he demonstrates to me on a daily basis that his quality of life is wrapped up in mine.  Wherever I am, that is where he wants to be.  I feel the same way.  I hate to be separated from Finn for even an hour of the day.  Without the devices that minimize his physical limitations, and that maximize his strengths, we would have to be apart far more than either of us desires.

Living Large Along the Rio Grande
Our togetherness—our connectedness—is greatly enhanced by the things that allow our energies to be focused on living fully.  As we rode together along the Rio Grande yesterday, Finn and I were totally immersed in living undivided (ala Parker Palmer).  We were being for ourselves what we intend to be for others.

When I first purchased Finn's bicycle trailer, I promised to share more after we had had the opportunity to take it for a spin.  Here is the link to that initial post: 2-in-1 Dog Trailer.  I realize this is not a typical follow-up review.  I'm not trying to convince anyone to buy anything.

As I started writing today's post, and let my heart lead the way, what moved me were the intangibles.  In essence, this trailer represents more than the sum of its parts (or any features I might choose to extol).  It is freedom, it is exhilaration, it is movement in the direction of our dreams.

How we choose to spend our time and money is deeply personal.  Perhaps the most important thing is how we use what we have to offer up a simple, pure devotion.  We don't have to buy anything to do that, but sometimes there is great pleasure to be known in acquiring that which has the capacity to transform the moments that make another's life worth living.

Quality of life is different for each of us.  We can't define what that is for someone else, but we can divine what that is through our deep presence and the cultivation of a listening heart and spirit.  For Finn and I, immersing ourselves in nature is the way we cultivate a spirit of healing.  The beauty is that that spirit can spill over from one life to another.

It is always about beginning and becoming.  As we roll together along new pathways, this therapy dog team is discovering what it means to live and love wholeheartedly.  And, for us, that is true quality of life.








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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ruff Relief Organic Pet Paw, Nose, and Skin Balm - Review


My adventure dog, Finn, is finding winter conditions to be hard on his sensitive paws.  When I rescued him, the pads on Finn's feet were as silky smooth as baby skin.  That is because Finn had never been outdoors.  Recently, during a walk at the park, Finn stopped moving and started whimpering a bit.  After quickly checking his feet, I realized he was communicating discomfort related to an ice ball that had formed between the toes on a front foot.  Not long after that incident, Finn let me know that he could not tolerate any small amount of the chemical de-icer that was present on city sidewalks and roads.  What to do?

As I considered possible solutions, such as dog booties and paw wax, or hibernating until June, I came across a highly rated organic paw balm called Ruff Relief.  The key factor that sold me on this particular pet product had a lot to do with the fact that it is rated at a human grade food level (the first time I have seen that).  Given that dogs frequently lick their feet, it was really important to me that anything Finn put in his mouth was natural, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic (along with made in the USA).  The fact that Ruff Relief has earned a USDA certification sealed the deal for me.

You may be wondering about the ingredients.  That was the first thing I wanted to know.  Here they are:
  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Organic Beeswax
  • Organic Carnauba Wax
  • Jojoba Wax
  • Non-GMO Vitamin E
These natural ingredients are safe to use on paws, noses, and other skin hot spots.  Though I think of winter as the toughest time to keep my animals' skin protected, summer presents its own challenges (think burning hot pavement and concrete).  Ruff Relief provides year-round protection from ice, snow, and heated surfaces.  If your pet ever suffers from cracking, chapped, or dry skin, you may wish to give Ruff Relief a try.  There's really no risk given that the company provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  You have 30 days to test drive this product.  If you aren't happy with the results, simply request a full refund.

Since I have just started using this balm on Finn's paws, I'll have to keep you posted about our longer term results.  I am fully expecting good outcomes given all of the positive online reviews.  Stay tuned for updates.

Before closing, I thought I would share some fun facts I discovered while searching for information about dog feet.

Fritos Feet
What is that corn chip smell??  Why do dogs have feet that smell like Fritos, Cheetos, or popcorn?  Actually, that is totally normal.  The smell comes from natural bacteria that grow on canine paws (mixed with a dog's unique paw sweat gland odor).

Did You Know?
Some dog breeds, think Greyhounds, Dobermans, and Akitas, have "cat feet" (smaller feet with high arches).  These features, along with the lightness of their feet, enhance their endurance.

Pop Quiz
Does your dog have webbed feet?  If so, you should ace this quiz.  In the comment section, please name a breed of dog with webbing between the toes/pads.

Finally, have you had to treat your pet's feet at certain times of year?  If so, what worked well for your four-legged friend?








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Monday, January 21, 2019

Kong Cloud Collar Reviewed

The dreaded two words for any dog or cat parent. The Cone. It is tough to be a conehead if you are the pet and sometimes even tougher to be the furball parent of a cat or dog recovering from surgery or an injury who returns home attached with the dreaded cone.

You are not happy. The pet is not happy. But you both will be sharing custody of the new nemesis in your life. The Cone.

Pets acclimating to wearing a cone run into everything and everyone! Imagine walking around with a plastic cone around your head and it is not difficult to imagine the problems it presents with eating, sleeping, playing, napping, squirrel chasing, stairs and the list never ends.

Kong's Cloud Collar


The Kong's Cloud Collar is an inflatable cone akin to an inner tube covered with washable soft fabric designed for comfort while not obstructing the peripheral vision of the pet. One of the main problems with a plastic cone excluding the discomfort is the lack of vision, difficulty navigating and eating from a bowl.

The Cloud Collar is designed to battle the inherent problems of the plastic cone. I purchased the Cloud Collar after my pets' last surgery and found the cone to be quite an improvement over the traditional plastic cone.


Positives Of The Cloud Collar


Easy to quickly put on and easy to take off
Soft
Adjustable collar
Washable
Pet adapted easily

Considerations


The velcro on the cone serves its' purpose to make the size of the cloud collar easily adjustable, however velcro is sticky! The velcro does attract the dog hair depending on whether the dog has fur or hair. My dog happens to be have curly hair which is a velcro attractor.

This is a consideration addressed in the customer comments so I was aware of the velcro consideration and prepared! The work around indeed worked like a charm: simply use one half of an old sock and cover the area on the collar where the velcro attaches.

The other main consideration is the type and location of the injury or wound the cone is trying to protect. A plastic cone generally stops the pet from reaching the area to be protected; the cloud collar provides the pet more mobility and therefore may be able to reach the area. My pet is very nimble and agile (code name gumby) and could reach the surgical area if he was so inclined.

Less Injury For Pet Parents


I still remember not so fondly when my dog in his energetic style of greeting ran full force into my shin with the cone. It was not pretty and surprising how much damage a plastic cone can inflict. The fluffball was no less worse for wear, but my shin was added to the recovery list.

I used a combination of the Cloud Collar and traditional plastic cone for the recovery. My dog definitely preferred the cloud collar and while under supervision I used the cloud collar. It was a nice break for the dog from the plastic cone and as the surgical area improved I used the cloud collar more.

Ten days or more is a long oh so very long time to keep a pet restricted plus wearing a plastic cone. I knew the wheels were starting to fall off when the we were gifted with a ten inch snowfall during the recovery period. Plastic cones are also excellent to scoop snow and throw snow and play with... snow! After being cooped up with snow and pet recovery cabin fever as a craft project we bedazzled the cone; confirmation the wheels had fallen off the snowed in recovery house.

Recommendation


Every pet is different regarding the tolerance of the plastic cone and cloud collar during the recovery phase. It can be a battle to keep any cone on! I recommend the Kong Cloud Collar as a means to aid the recovery while increasing the comfort of the pet and the pet parent.





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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Best Choice Products 2 in 1 Dog Trailer - Review

Finn's New Adventure Mobile
Let's go!  These are the magic words that make my dog's heart sing.  Finn is always thrilled when we head out for an adventure, but his disability requires thoughtful solutions that enable him to enjoy rigorous outdoor activities.  This is why I bought Finn the Best Choice Products 2 in 1 Dog Stroller/Trailer this week. Now he can go on extended hikes and bike rides without hurting or overly stressing his body.

When I adopted Finn a few months ago, the first thing I acquired for him was a standard dog stroller.  That stroller has been an important mobility aid given Finn's limited use of his rear legs, but it has significant issues.  The stroller is tippy and its small wheels can only handle paved surfaces.  Given the rugged terrain where we live and play, it quickly became apparent that we needed a different style of dog stroller.

As I initiated a search for Finn's next adventure mobile, my wish list included the following features: lower center of gravity (closer to the ground); bigger wheels; dual use features (bike trailer option in addition to stroller function); and affordability (many dog trailers cost several hundred dollars).

After considering several products, I found one that offered more than I was seeking.  The price was right (two to three hundred dollars less than other models offering fewer features) and the shipping was fast and free.  Everything arrived carefully packed.

Here's what I received in the box (clockwise from bottom center): tool kit; instructions; front swivel wheel and fork; safety flag; handlebars with brake; rear wheels; and trailer body.



In addition to getting the larger wheels (19-inch) on my wish list, I was especially happy to receive the bonus of a suspension system that will provide shock absorption.  I want Finn to have as smooth a ride as possible.  This is one of the more important features for a dog that cannot balance on all four legs.






I was ready to purchase another trailer model until I read complaints about the front wheel being stationary.  Because the wheel did not swivel, turning was tedious.  I now realize what a mistake it would have been to go with a stroller that was hard to maneuver around curves and corners.  The front wheel on this model can swivel 360 degrees and is 9.5 inches high.











Another complaint about some of the other dog strollers that I initially considered was that they lacked any storage options.  This model has two pockets, one on each side of the trailer body, that are just perfect for storing a cell phone, keys, or a wallet.













Though the trailer can be compacted for travel, I find it is easiest to just leave it fully assembled and use the bed of my truck for moving it around.  Even though I have a short bed on my Sport Trac, it is large enough to haul this trailer.  Anyone with a van, SUV, or truck will have plenty of room to easily transport this dog trailer.  The external dimensions are: 30" wide x 46" long x 38" high.  At 37 pounds, I can easily lift and load this stroller/trailer by myself.


Let's move on to what Finn likes about his new ride.  When I asked him, he wanted to make sure I mentioned his awesome sunroof.  That's pretty much his favorite feature.  I've been keeping the roof open while we're cruising so Finn can keep an eye on my driving.  The sunroof does have a screen and rain guard.  Given that the weather can change every five minutes in Colorado, I'm sure that hatch cover will be put to use.




Finn also likes the roomy interior of his carriage.  There is plenty of space to lie down comfortably.  The internal dimensions are: 23" wide x 28" long x 22" high.  He also enjoys all of the screened in picture windows.  This is one fabulous room with a view.








Most of all, Finn and I love the anticipation of all the places we will now be able to go.  We highly recommend the Best Choice Products 2 in 1 Dog Trailer.  It's not just for disabled dogs.  Most dogs could benefit from this mobility aid during some season in their lives.  Young pups and senior dogs often tire easily on long walks.  Also, many dogs have periods of time when they are recovering from something that limits their capacity to get around (a surgical procedure, injury, etc.).  It is so hard for a dog to be grounded.  Anything that keeps a dog's spirits up and is good for his overall well-being is so worth the investment.

Stay tuned for updates as we test the bicycle trailer option and take our first road trip.
















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Friday, March 2, 2018

Ortho Sleeper Comfort Couch for Dogs Reviewed

Recommended dog bed for large breed dogs.  This ortho sleeper dog couch bed is durable, comfortable, and the cover is washable.
The Ortho Sleeper Comfort Couch with a Removable Cushion made by the Carolina Pet Company is one of the best investments we have made for our dogs.   

As our Golden Retriever has aged, it has gotten harder for her to get up after a nap.  We have hardwood floors in the kitchen and den, which are the areas of our home that we stay in most of the time.  Hardwood floors are easier to clean, but they are not easy on old bones.  When our pretty girl turned 11, her daddy was determined to find her a soft place to lay down, so he went in search of the very best orthopedic bed for dogs.   

To avoid any appearance of favoritism, he purchased a dog bed for our Labrador Retriever too even though he was only 6 at the time.  As it turns out, Merlin, the lab,  loves the doggie couch beds the most.

We originally put the two beds side by side on the den floor, but Merlin, the lab, wanted one in the bedroom too.  They aren't as necessary in our bedroom because that floor is carpeted, but Merlin wanted one in there.  Since he is clearly strong enough to drag his own bed into the bedroom, we decided to leave one bed in the den and one in the bedroom. 
We have never allowed our dogs to sleep in our bed and I believe Merlin feels it is only fair that he should also have a bed in the bedroom too. This unexpected arrangement has actually worked out quite well for us and our pups.  

Our Goldie doesn't like sleeping on the carpet in our bedroom.  She prefers the cold tile in front of the unlit fireplace.  Therefore, she has not been keen to sleep in one of the doggie beds at night, but she will nap in them during the day.   They seem perfectly welling to share the beds, one at a time of course.  Therefore, having the beds in separate rooms is actually ideal.

Now, every night, Merlin lays down on his doggie sleeper couch, curls up into a ball, and goes sound asleep at the foot of our bed, while our Daisy girl seeks out the cooler tile floor that seems to allow her to sleep better throughout the night.  

Recommended dog bed for large breed dogs.  This ortho sleeper dog couch bed is durable, comfortable, and the cover is washable.



The Ortho Sleeper Comfort Couch for Dogs


When the dog beds arrived, I thought they were a strange design because they are a cushioned couch with sides, a back and a removable pillow.  If I had been selecting the dog bed, I would have picked one that is designed more like the removable pillow only.  However, I would have been wrong.  It seems like both of our pups like the back and arms on the dog bed.  They frequently will lay in the bed with their head resting on the arm section of the "couch".  Their little eyes are the only thing moving as they watch the comings and goings in the den.

Recommended dog bed for large breed dogs.  This ortho sleeper dog couch bed is durable, comfortable, and the cover is washable.


 CPC Ortho Sleeper Large Comfort Couch with Removable Cushion, ChocolateCheck PriceI have truly been amazed at the durability of these dog beds.  Even after 2 years of use, by two large dogs, they have held their shape and have no rips, tears or even bare spots in the fabric.  The covers are machine washable. .

The only negative that I have found about the Ortho Sleeper Comfort Couch for dogs, is that it is hard to stuff the cushion sections into the zippered covers.  But, it is well worth the effort when I see my pups resting peacefully in their beds.

While writing this article, I discovered that there are some knock-offs of the Carolina Pet Company bed that are less expensive.  I cannot begin to assess the quality of any other brand, even if it looks the same.  I certainly would not recommend buying one just because it looks similar.  The quality of the fabric or the cushions may well be inferior, thus making it less expensive to make the beds.  Like anything else, I would not expect inferior products to be comparable in durability or comfort. 

One of the hardest decisions was what size to buy.  We purchased the 37 x 56 size for our dogs.  As you can see in the photos, that is clearly big enough for large dogs.  Merlin is a 98lb Labrador Retriever and Daisy is a 97lb Golden Retriever mix. It is available in one size smaller (32 x 47) and in one size larger (48 x 69).





The Contributors on Review This Definitely Love Our Pups!

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