Saturday, December 20, 2014

Non-Profit Spotlight: Fences For Fido

A while back, I wrote a blog post about a non-profit organization called Dogs On Deployment. I have been thinking about this organization lately and it gave me the idea to spotlight organizations that are doing exceptional work. Today, I would like to draw attention to Fences For Fido. This 501(c)(3) non-profit is base in Portland, OR and their mission is to create safer improved conditions for chained dogs by providing shelter, a fenced yard instead of a chain, veterinary care, and spay/ neutering services when necessary.

This organization was first started in May of 2009 and since then, they have unchained over 800 dogs!! They do not have any paid staff and rely completely on donations of money, material and labor. Fences For Fido also does not pass judgement on their clients. There are a lot of reasons dogs end up on chains. FFF simply wants to remedy the situation, strengthen the bond between humans and dogs and educate. They even visit families after the initial fence and shelter are built in order to make sure dogs remain unchained, safe and healthy. If for some reason, the dog/ human relationship is not working out, Fences For Fido provides foster care for the dogs until a home is found.

If you would like more information about this organization, please visit their webpage. They also have a wishlist up on Amazon if you would like to donate supplies that are much needed!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas for Dogs

Great News! Our Candy Store is finally open! Pictures of some of our goodies are up on Bark City's Facebook Page. We were a little late on our projected opening of December 1th, but it's ready just in time for Christmas! With that being said, I would also like to remind you that our annual Secret Santa is up and running. If you would like your dog to participate, please sign them up TODAY (deadline is the 15th!).  

How it works:
We will post who each dog has (name and breed). All gifts must be brought into the daycare by the 23rd. This will allow owners time to come pick up presents for their pup before Christmas. If any of the dogs are boarding, we will have them open their gifts Christmas morning and post pictures on Facebook. Any dogs that are not boarding, we would love the owners to post pictures of their dogs gifts on Facebook! It's always fun to see what everyone received!

The last few things I will post down below are a couple of stocking stuffer ideas that I got off of Etsy. As usual, I will link the shop name to the etsy store for convenience. 

This ruff and tumble dog toy is made by Squishy Face Studio. It's the perfect gift for that friend who always has dislocated shoulders from playing tug-o-war with their dog. 

Meet Macro the Monster by Creature Creations 4. This guy is made from super durable upholstery fabric and double stitched. The inside has a squeaker, rattle and polyfill. Plus, the monster's face is priceless.

This dog toy is made from 100% recycled Maine lobster rope. It has a tennis ball secured in the middle and a long handle for an easier time of playing fetch. It is handmade by Mainely Fish Print.

And lets not forget local West Paw! Especially this guy: 

They call him the "Boogey Man". But let's face it, he looks kind of like this childhood Christmas memory:

 And my last picture is from this great, little doggy daycare I have heard so much about. Rumor has it, they just opened a candy store.....

Just look at those reindeer eyes poking out of the box! p.s... a little back stage fact: Bark City Owner, Elizabeth Stensland's husband made all of the fantastic shelves for this store... oh, he also built the whole building... no biggie... he is just great at what he does!

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Scoop on Poop

 I know, I know, this is not exactly a glamorous post. Nobody likes to talk about poop, unless you are my 5-yr-old and 10-yr-old human kids. But recently, I got into a discussion with a friend on why it is important for doggy daycares to clean up dog poop and pee immediately after it happens. Contrary to popular belief, dog poop is not a natural fertilizer. Quite the opposite, it is the #3 cause of water pollution. The EPA has deemed that dog poop can be as toxic to the environment as chemical and oil spills. Our waste water treatment systems are not designed to filter dog waste and 1 gram of dog feces is estimated to have 23 million fecal bacteria. This include:

  • Campylobacteriosis (symptoms: fever, vomiting and swollen lymphnodes.)
  • Salmonellosis (symptoms: fever, shock, lethargy, dehydration and more.)
  • Toxocarisis...aka.. roundworms (symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea and worms in feces.)
  • Coccidia (symptoms: bloody diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration.)
  • Cysticerosis (symptoms: anemia and anorexia.)
  • E-coli, Giardia and Parvo (symptoms: diarrhea and vomiting.)
These bacteria can contaminate our beaches, lakes, streams and drinking water by seeping into the soil. It is recommended that dog owners clean their own yards every 1-7 days in order to keep bacteria at bay. Our natural ecosystem can handle about 2 dogs per square mile. A daycare has WAY more dogs than that and cross contamination can occur very easily. Dogs can step in it, roll in it.... EAT it.  In fact, if fecal matter is not properly taken care of it can linger in the soil for years. Then humans can contract it through gardening, walking barefoot in the yard, playing sports, ect... This kicks off a harmful cycle that can affect your human family and pets.

Let's face it, no one likes to pick up dog poop. It's gross. And in the winter, it is easy to just let your dog outside to do business while you stay warm inside. But, then it snows..and freezes... and snows again... and you can't find your dog poop. Then, in the spring you have a big toxic wasteland. That's REALLY gross. My advice, if you are trying to choose a daycare for your four-legged family member, check the cleanliness of their yard and ask about their dog waste policy. If you notice piles of dog poop everywhere or pee all over the floor, they probably or more interested in making money than your dog's well being. Or, they are in over their heads and have too many dogs per staff ratio.

Let's all do our part to keep ourselves, pets and environment healthy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving For Dogs

I know it's a little late for ordering Thanksgiving products for you dog. But, I was searching Etsy today  and I thought I would post these. After you see these cute products, it may entice you to look at other products that these shops have to offer. After all, it is the Howliday Season and it is always better to support the small businesses.

The first shop I will show you is from Bozeman, MT. Yep that's right, it's local and a small business! You can click on the link underneath each picture to bring you to the Etsy shop.

This squirrel collar is by The Sewing Dog. They have lots of other fashionable collars and leashes. 

I like how this little dress even has a place to hook a leash. It is by Ruffle Runway.
This Pup is quite dashing in his necktie by Preppy Pup Couture.

Candy Corn- You either love it or hate it. Regardless, this hat by Stylin Dogs Boutique is awesome.

Last but not least, a little pumpkin pie by Treat Dreams. But, make sure they eat their dinner first....

Monday, November 3, 2014

Canine Candy Store!

 Bark City has been planning and plotting some super secret ways to make our facility an exciting experience for both you and your dog. We will be announcing different additions throughout the next year (We like to keep our customers on edge and guessing with anticipation!) Our first announcement happened this Howl-ween:

Yep, that's right. We will be opening a candy store for your canine family members. We figured there is enough candy around for humans, but our little pups get left in the dust. We want to change the phrase, "Like a kid in a candy store." to "Like a puppy in a candy store." (I am coining that phrase as of now...) If you happened to stop by our facility during Howl-ween for the costume contest, you probably saw a glimpse of what some of the treats will look like:

Aren't they great?! Aside from the candy, we had some great costumed pooches come in for our contest. You can see all of the costumes on our Facebook page. Here are the top three winners:

3rd Place goes to:

Kolea and Abe the Monsters. They will win a $50 credit to Bark City's Candy Store. 

2nd Place:

Zoey the Dancing Taco. She will win a year subscription of BarkBox.

And the 1st Place Winner is (drum roll........):

Winston as Marilyn Monroe!!! He will win a 20 full day daycare package! 

Last but not least, I am going to leave you with some sneak peeks at some of the super secret happenings:

This is our new prospective Manager getting some butts in line. I am going to keep you guessing on why I have 40 dog butts lined up on my counter. 

She takes her modeling career very seriously. These are some totes. We got the idea off of Wear The Canvas. I put my embroidery skills to the test...seriously.

This is the back of the tote, because we have to advertise somewhere....

We like to start training our future employees early. Besides cloth dog ears can always make good "Vogue" mittens.

Friday, October 24, 2014

5 Pumpkins That Look Like Dogs:

Lately, my son and I have been watching Halloween Wars on television. It's incredibly inspirational when you want to bring out your creative awesomeness on a pumpkin. If you need some Canine ideas, I have scoured the internet for you. Here are the best I found... so far:




Masterpiece Pumpkins

Haha, just kidding, this last one is a cat! But, I thought is was awesome. It's on Mouse Breath.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Special Howlween

Our annual Howlween party is coming up soon. This year it is going to be ESPECIALLY special because we have an exciting announcement to make! We have had some top secret plans going on behind your backs, but it's time to let the cat (or rather dog) out of the bag. 

Let's get those costumes looking super awesome!!

You can find this cute SteamPunk costume at All You Need Is Pug on Etsy.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sun-Dried Tomatoes= Pizza Dog Treats

It's that time of year when ALL the tomatoes come in at once. I've made spaghetti sauce, I've canned, I've made salsa, I've done pretty much anything and everything you might be able to do to a tomato and I still have more. So, I decided to try to "sun-dry" them in the oven. Usually, my experiments in the kitchen turn into absolute disasters, but these actually turned out! And, it's a relatively painless procedure that involves a lot of wait time.

Preheat the oven to 200-degrees, cut up your tomatoes and de-seed them by gently pressing the seeds out of the pockets with your thumb. Then, sprinkle with salt, add a bit of cut up fresh basil and bake...for about 8-hours. The result....

Sun-dried tomatoes that don't have that weird funky taste like some store bought! It's been about three-weeks since I made mine. I put them in a jar and they are still looking good!

After I made my sun-dried tomatoes, I started to reminisce about my childhood. My parents owned a Pizza Parlor that my sisters and I worked at throughout our teenage years. We had most of our biggest, epic fights in the back of that restaurant. My parents eventually had to schedule us on different shifts for fear of scaring the customers away. What can I say, that's the price you have to pay when you are raising three headstrong girls that all want to be leaders!

One of those memories was about raising Golden Retriever puppies. We had a huge litter of them and it happened to be around Fourth of July. The small town we grew up in had a parade every year, so we decided to advertise our Pizza Parlor AND our puppies by marching down the street with a wagon full of little PUPperoni's pizza's. It was the cutest thing ever!

In memory of those little PUPperoni's, I made pizza dog treats this week. I got the recipe off of Cottage Market. They turned out pretty good. The only change I made was using cheddar cheese, because that's what I had in the fridge.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Howl-ween is coming!

September is almost over, which means our annual Howl-ween Party will be coming before you can blink! In order to get the creative gears moving for the costume contest, I thought I would share some costumes I found on Etsy:

You could do something as simple as cute butterfly wings:

Or something extravagant:

You could be a dynamic duo:


The classic ladybug:

It has the website on the photo, so I'm not going to worry about linking.

Who doesn't love a tiny, cute dog in a monster hat?

I am hoping to see some SUPER-DOOPER creative costumes this year!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Staff Training

Owners are often relieved when their dog(s) pass the temperament screening test and are allowed to participate at a doggy daycare. But, the question that most owners do not ask the daycare is whether or not their staff is trained to handle a large group play structure. At Bark City, our staff is trained through "The Dog Gurus" program. Today, I would like to share with you a bit of their promotional material!

This is the staff training program that we make all of our staff study. You could say they are enrolled at Bark City University...

These are the two founders of "The Dog Gurus" and their credentials:

Robin Bennett is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer who founded one of the largest dog training companies in Virginia. Her first book, All About Dog Daycare is the number one reference on opening a dog daycare.

 Susan Briggs owned a large pet care center in Houston, TX for 12 years and was an early pioneer of dog daycare services. She began teaching other pet professionals to speak dog and understand dog play at her Academy in 2005.

 Both Susan and Robin are authors, consultants and experts on dogs! They have been “reading dogs,” teaching families how to train dogs, and working in the pet care industry helping others keep dogs safe for over 20 years. Co-authors of Off-Leash Dog Play… A Complete Guide to Safety and Fun, and an extensive staff training program called, Knowing Dogs.

Remember when choosing a doggy daycare, always ask if the staff is trained. For more information on choosing a doggy daycare, visit this past post!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Knitted Dog Hats on Etsy

Just because these are cute and Howl-ween will be here before you can blink:

Bunny Hat by AllYouNeedIsPugShop.

Rocking the Rainbow Unicorn with bitchknits (I wonder if they intended this doggy pun?). 

A dinosaur by GreyBabyCrochet.

Minnie Mouse with a matching tutu by PugsNGiggles.

...and of course, a Minion! by Pugpossessed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Maple Bacon Ice Cream

Yes... I actually did it. I made maple bacon ice cream... and I actually liked it. At first I was up in the air on whether or not I liked it, but I found myself coming back for one more bite. Then one more. And one more. It's not something I would have on a daily basis as my standard "go-to" dessert. But, it is something I can share with my four-legged friends and feel ok about.

I am all about making food for my animals, but I am also realistic. I have to make food for myself. Let's face it, it's better to hit two birds with one stone. When I saw this dairy-free maple bacon ice cream recipe on Apron Strings, I had to give it a try.

Two of the ingredients in this recipe are considered "super foods": Coconut and maple syrup.

  • Coconut oil has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. That is a lot of "anti". Because of this, it can protect your canine against illness and help speed the healing process. You can read more about it here. (and all the other amazing health benefits.)
  •  Maple syrup is rich in Manganese, zinc and natural antioxidants. It also has a lower Glycemic Index than regular sugar which means it will be absorbed into your body at a slower rate. You're less likely to get that sugar high. But let's face it, sugar is sugar and it's not entirely good for dogs. They should only have it occasionally. Artificial sweeteners are poisonous to dogs, so skip that all together. I would suggest only giving your dog an ice cube sized portion of this ice cream every once in awhile. 
** Notes: The recipe does call for a bit of sugar. I omitted the sugar and just used the maple syrup. The ice cream tasted very sweet and I am wondering if it might be better with a bit less maple syrup? This recipe also has eggs in it. I did see an egg free recipe as well that I want to try (compare and contrast on texture and flavor).

This is the first time I have tried to make a coconut milk based ice cream. I plan on experimenting with some other flavors in the near future... probably not with bacon (I'm kind of over it...I'm sure my dog would like more bacon added... to everything.). Roasted peach? Or an Apple Cobbler flavor?