Barking about books: The Dieting with My Dog Guide to Weight Loss and Maintenance

dwmd guide cover small sept 13

Click to order!

Today, I have a special treat for you. My friend Peggy Frezon, the author of Dieting with My Dog, is back with a new book. Today, this blog is the next stop on her virtual book tour. Welcome to the Fun & Furry, Fit & Healthy Blog Tour!

I had the chance to ask Peggy a few questions about her new book. While composing the questions, I was engaged in a bout of stress eating (unrelated to that activity). I guess that’s somewhat appropriate. (Seriously folks… if stress eating is ever made into an Olympic event, I will win all the medals. In both the singles and team events. Sad but true.)

Perhaps Peggy – along with her dogs Kelly and Ike – can help me put down the cookies and pick up a leash or a dog toy instead!

Anyway… to the interview! Continue reading


Children make terrible pets (and I make terrible puns)

While visiting my in-laws last weekend, I accompanied my sister-in-law on an errand to the teacher supply store. (It was my very own Journey to the Center of Educational Worth.) Have you ever been in one of these places? For my readers who teach, I’m sure it’s old hat. For me, it was like peeking behind the curtain in the Emerald City and seeing the real Wizard of Oz.

I’d never really stopped to consider where all of those bulletin board displays, charts, and classroom signs came from. (Magic? Elves?) Now I know – they come from a store that has every school supply you can imagine, as well as hundreds that you cannot. Continue reading


Dance of the push button puppy

On Saturday, a friend and I decided to check out a local antiques fair. I wound up coming home with a few items, but my favorite just so happens to have a puppy theme.

Have you ever heard of push button puppets? Essentially, they are jointed and held together by a string. When you push on the base, they dance! I used to play with them when I was a kid, and I was thrilled to find some for sale.

Push button puppets!

Meet the menagerie…

Once I saw them, I knew that they had to be mine. Check out one of them, henceforth known as Push Button Puppy, in action:

I mean, come on. Awesome. Anyone else remember these guys?

(Want to check out some real mischief? Swing by the Monday Mischief blog hop!)


Guest post: Why I love BarkBox

I’ve got a special treat for you today – a guest post from my pal Michelle, the lovely lady behind Hey Love Designs! (Fun fact: Michelle adopted her dog from the same rescue group where I found Bellaface.) She’s here to tell us about BarkBox – a monthly delivery of goodies for the pampered pooch in your life. I’m pretty sure Bella and Tavish want me to sign up.

* * *

Hi Friends!

I’m a pal of AJ’s and we’ve bonded over college memories, love of DIY, and of course, dogs! I talk about BarkBox so much that she asked me if I wanted to contribute a guest post. Of course I wanted to share the good dog love!

BarkBox is a monthly subscription of goodies – just like BirchBox – but for dogs. Each box can cost you anywhere between $19 and $29, depending on your subscription type, but the great thing about this is you get full sized goodies. They can be anything from toys, bones, and all-natural treats to hygiene products and innovative new gadgets.

photo 2

I decided to try it out for a few months. I actually don’t buy my beagle-mix Nico very many toys. He’s pretty happy with his one stuffed animal, a water bottle, and a crumbled up piece of paper. But he’s such a great dog and deserves a little spoiling. Plus, with so many dog products out there, how do you determine which ones are good? I thought BarkBox was a great option to try something new.

Here’s what I love about BarkBox:

  1. The products are hand selected quality items.
  2. Aside from a few toys that weren’t built for strong chewers, the rest have stood the test of time and my dog loves every single one. Although each month he has a new “favorite” until the next box comes.
  3. The treats are almost always grain free, organic, and have very few ingredients.
  4. You can choose the box based on the dog’s size. I recently upgraded to the 50+ lb dog box and Nico’s happy to getting treats for a “big dog.”
  5. You can get a free box just my referring ONE person! No complicated referral structures. Plus that friend gets $5 off their box.
  6. They have subscription plans so you can spend as low as $19 a month. Believe me, it’s worth it.
  7. They send really fun newsletters.
  8. They have great customer service and an awesome social media presence. Check them out on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
  9. Every once in awhile they’ll have a special sale where you can save money on some of the items featured in your BarkBox. I’ve definitely taken advantage of this on several occasions.
  10. 10% of your subscription cost goes to a local rescue. Score!

Here’s what I don’t love:

  1. Just a handful of times I’ve gotten toys that didn’t last more than a day. I talked with BarkBox on Twitter and they now have a special list you can get on for “tough chewers.”Yay!

And really that’s it! I truly stand behind BarkBox’s awesome service and am always raving about it, which is why I’m here today. Nico approves too! I get a lot of packages for business and my online shopping addiction, and he now carefully inspects every single box, hoping it’s his BarkBox.

photo 3

Want in on this fun service? I would love it if you would sign up using my referral link. You’ll save $5! Try it for a month or for six months and your dog will be so happy you tried it out. 🙂

* * *

I’m Michelle and I love my dog (obviously), design, and dancing. You can find me across the web at Hey Love Designs, Hey, Love (personal blog – there’s more Nico love here), Twitter, and Instagram.

* * *

Want to see even more Nico? Check out these great videos of Nico checking out some of his BarkBox booty! Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Michelle didn’t receive anything from BarkBox for this post. She’s just a satisfied customer who wanted to share her experience with you today!


Pup culture debate: Who is the best TV dog?

Okay, friends… it’s time for a little friendly debate. Of all the dogs that have appeared on television, who is the top dog?

Before we get started, the ground rules:

  • We’re talking fictional dogs here. A real-life hero dog or otherwise famous dog (think Uggie) who has appeared on a television news program or in a commercial doesn’t count. (Although maybe we need a sub-category of dogs in commercials. I do love Chopper, after all.)
  • Animated dogs totally count. Dogs that have appeared in holiday or other specials shown on television are also fair game.
  • Miniseries and made-for-TV movies are also in the mix. However, movies originally released in a theater and later shown on TV don’t count – that’s the subject of a future pup culture debate.

Ready? To get you started, here are a few lists of TV dogs.

I’ll even kick off the discussion with a few of my favorites:

  • Snoopy – Perhaps the most famous Beagle of all time? In any event, this World War I Flying Ace flew into my heart years ago and never left. (Anyone else obsessed with the Snoopy musical?)
  • Odie – I’m not just obsessed with Garfield. I love his canine pal too. He’s not the brightest, but he sure does have a big heart.
  • Seymour – Unlike the other dogs on this list, Seymour appeared in one memorable episode, the supremely moving and beautiful “Jurassic Bark” episode of Futurama. Have you seen this one? If not, you owe it to yourself as a dog lover and a human being with a soul. I got teary just typing those sentences. Um, quick… let’s watch a happy moment from that episode.

  • Wishbone – It’s not all animated dogs here. My mom gave me a Wishbone stuffed animal one year and it was seriously the best gift ever. I mean, it’s an adorable dog and some great books. What’s the story, Wishbone?
  • Eddie – Given my love affair with Terriers, I guess it’s no surprise that I adored Eddie from Frasier. Moose, you were the best.

I could probably go on for a while… in particular, there are quite a few animated dogs I might add to that list. However, I’ll stop with five for now.

So… who is your favorite? Share your nominees in the comments and tell us why! (If there’s enough interest, perhaps I’ll take the top mentions and put it to a vote soon.)

Let the pup culture debate begin!


Read this book: What the Dog Ate

I love it when one of my favorite bloggers publishes a book. Why, you might ask? Aside from the fact that it gives me hope that I may one day achieve my own meager publishing dreams, it also means that I get to read even more awesome stuff from the blogger in question. Sometimes, those daily snippets just aren’t enough…

Today, I’m thrilled to tell you about a book written by Jackie Bouchard, the brilliant blogger behind Pooch Smooches. The book is called What the Dog Ate, and it’s the tale of a woman named Maggie who reinvents her life after a vet visit reveals some unwelcome news. You’ll find out what the dog ate in the first chapter, so I don’t think I need to give a spoiler alert here… the dog ate a pair of underwear. However, the underwear didn’t belong to Maggie or to her husband, but to another woman.

The book made me laugh, and it made me cry. I picked it up and couldn’t put it down – in fact, I finished it in less than two days. So, needless to say, I think you should go read this book. In case you’re not convinced (although I can’t imagine you’d need more encouragement than my ringing endorsement), here are five more reasons:

  • The introduction is clever and immediately grabs your attention. (Also, I identified with Maggie right away. I’ve often wondered why my dogs would prefer to get sick on the carpet when there’s an easy-to-clean tile floor mere steps away, and I also spell certain words to keep the dogs from going crazy.)
  • Maggie is a successful, smart woman. It’s a nice change of pace from the oft-irresponsible heroine you see in romantic comedies.
  • Jackie has a knack for colorful descriptions. One of my personal favorites was when she described something as having “more gray area than the mosh pit at a Neil Diamond concert.”
  • Throughout the book, Maggie often looks to her dog for inspiration. I love that idea, and I love the fact that Jackie worked in a “dogtrine” pun.
  • Maggie is such an interesting character. We all know a Maggie. Inside of each of us is a Maggie. (When she attends an event in a Target dress, she compares the store’s bullseye to the Scarlet Letter. Who hasn’t felt that way?)

So, what are you waiting for? Go read this book!

What the Dog Ate is available for Kindle here, or you can purchase the print version here. (Jackie plans to donate 10% of the profits on print sales to Best Friends Animal Society. She really is the coolest.)

Dog-loving disclosure: Author Jackie Bouchard gave me a free Kindle version of the book to review. Otherwise, I was not compensated in any way for this post, and the opinions here are all mine.


What’s your favorite holiday special?

I know everyone loves It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (and if I drew you a Venn diagram right now, a tiny circle labeled “me” would appear within that larger circle labeled “everyone”). However, I have to admit that there’s a Halloween special that beats it for me. Any guesses? Hint: it stars a big fat Halloween cat

Revisiting this one made me wonder – what’s your favorite holiday special? I tend to think that Halloween kind of kicks off the holiday season, so feel free to talk Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other holiday that floats your boat.

Here’s a few (non-exhaustive) lists to get you started: Halloween specials, Thanksgiving specials, and Christmas specials. (Disclaimer: in my book, any list that doesn’t include the Garfield special for the holiday in question is not complete.)

I do love holiday TV (as my viewing habits during the next two months will reflect), so my list could go on and on. Feel free to discuss your favorites in the comments and perhaps I’ll share some of them during the holiday season! I’ll also tell you more about my favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas specials too as the dates get closer. Time to get into the holiday spirit!


The Secret Around-the-World Adventures of Owney, the Postal Dog

Have you ever heard the tale of Owney the Postal Dog? In the 1890s, the US Postal Service adopted a mailbag-loving mutt from Albany as its unofficial mascot and allowed him to travel wherever he chose by hopping on trains with the mail. Owney the Postal Dog journeyed across the country, collecting souvenir tags everywhere he went, and eventually even made a trip around the world.

Today, St. Louis artist David Montgomery and writer Marcelo Vital are trying to bring this cute pooch’s globetrotting adventures to life in a new graphic novel, “The Secret Around-the-World Adventures of Owney, the Postal Dog.”

The pair has set a Kickstarter goal campaign to cover production costs for the all-ages, 110-page full color book. (Check out some of the illustrations – they’re utterly charming.) They are also offering creative incentives to backers for various pledge levels – like autographed and limited edition copies of the book, personalized dog tags, original custom drawings and even having your pets appear as characters in the story alongside Owney!

Intrigued? Check out the video below, and then visit the Kickstarter page for more info.

Dog-Loving Disclaimer: The duo contacted me about sharing this project on my blog. However, I received nothing in return for sharing this campaign – I just think it’s cute and worth sharing with you guys! 


Happy Tails Spa Giveaway Event

happytailsspa180We’re participating in a fun event today… it’s the Happy Tails Spa Giveaway Event hosted by Two Little Cavaliers and sponsored by Happy Tails Spa!

It starts today (obviously) at 12:01am EST and will end at 12:01am EST on May 30. 2012. As you can see, you have plenty of time to enter!

This is a pretty big event – over 65 bloggers have come together to bring you some amazing natural spa products for your dogs. Each blog is offering one or more fantastic Problem Solving Products for the Modern Dog. All of the products offered by Happy Tails Spa are Eco-Friendly, All Natural, and Cruelty Free.

After the jump, check out my review of two of these products – the Comfy Dog Oatmeal Shampoo for Dry & Itchy Skin and Itchin’ For Relief, an All-Natural Targeted Anti-Itch Spray. (Although I received these products to review, the opinions are my own.) Then, sign up to enter to win these two products! After that, you can hop around to the other participating blogs for a chance to win other products. Pretty cool, huh?

Continue reading


An update from Coney Island

Bella has a new cone (the Comfy Cone).  She seems to prefer this one to the plastic monstrosity she was wearing on Saturday.  Her navigation has improved.  It also makes drinking easier and appears to make sleeping more comfortable.

However, the new cone has not caused her to develop an appreciation for life as the sole occupant of Coney Island in our household.  I still catch her shooting me dirty looks on a regular basis.  The fact that I keep referring to her as Coney Island and Coney McConerson probably isn’t helping matters.  (When she takes a nap in the middle of the living room these days, she’s like her own little island of annoyance.  I wouldn’t recommend it as a tourist destination.)
I asked Bella to watch the following video shared with me by Pamela from Something Wagging This Way Comes.  She was not amused (apparently they don’t enjoy cone humor on Coney Island).  However, as a not-so-proud member of the People’s Republic of Evil Cone Purchasers, I found it highly entertaining.

Thanks for sending this my way, Pamela.  I love it!

On a related note, I think Bella has been deploying her cone to score maximum sympathy points.  Last night, those points were awarded in the form of chicken.  The cone has really upped her game in the begging department.

Tomorrow, I reveal what Bella’s going as for Halloween… any guesses?  (Hint: the cone is involved.)