Category Archives: Gone to the Dogs

BlogPaws in Photos

I had an amazing time at BlogPaws this year. The pet community is truly a unique and wonderful group.  While this isn’t a “pet blog” per say, I spend a lot of time loving on my boys here and my experience working at Embrace Pet Insurance has led me to learn LOTS about the pet community.

BlogPaws focuses on pet blogging and is a place for education, connection and fun.  I went to some amazing seminars on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook that will be incredibly useful for work. I also made some new friends on this trip. Check out my photos. I think you’ll be able to tell what a great time I had!!

Trick dog, Paige, stole my heart (and my beer!)

Flat Henry wasn’t the only cardboard pet I played with…

What an honor to meet trick dog, Jasmine! She won Best Video at the awards ceremony Saturday night!

My new friend from Texas- Kari of Hound Girl!

That’s it- next year Henry is COMING WITH ME! (Seriously, I already booked the trip and Henry’s coming!!)


Dog Texting = Funny

This is totally my new favorite blog.  Check out Text from Dog.

Foster Dog #16: Baby Ruth

The magical… IF. IF I had taken that cab… If I hadn’t gone to that bar… IF I could have made that light…

Today that IF is “if we hadn’t adopted Kramer.”  If we hadn’t adopted Kramer, this would probably be a different post… that is how awesome this puppy is.  Ruth is the sweetest, cutest, most lovable little puppy you ever did see (and yes, I am including Henry in that statement which should tell you just how serious I am about this).  She’s about 5 month old, well-behaved and mostly housetrained. Those things I know.  What I don’t know is what kind of dog she is. I’ve heard Jack Russell Terrier, Corgi, Beagle, Basset Hound, and more.  What do you think?

I’ll admit that things didn’t start out as you might hope.  Chris picked her up and she peed in the back of his car on the way home.  Luckily, she’s got the kinda face that helps her get out of most anything.  The fact that she didn’t have an accident in the house the first 24 hours, knew how to sit and cuddles like a pro brought her stock back up real quick.

The best part?  She plays with Kramer.  We thought maybe Kramer didn’t like to play in the house because on the rare occasions where Henry tried to play with him he was having none of it. Ruth brings out the puppy in Kramer.  She crawls over him, walks under him and bites his face when she wants to play.  Sometimes Kramer is not thrilled but generally he pulls out the puppy behavior and give it right back to her.  Suddenly, they’re running laps, rolling all over the floor and wrestling.  It’s honestly the cutest thing. 

Another awesome thing about Ruth? Everybody loves her.  It’s like this dog can do no wrong. Even the people who don’t pay my dogs any mind at work want to cuddle with Ruth.  She made friends with every dog in the office on Tuesday and cajoled treats from anyone she could (which was okay with me because she’s significantly underweight).

Ruth has a ways to go when it comes to growing up but she’s learning quick.  Within a few attempts, she’s added “lay down” and “stay” to her repertoire of “sit.” She’s still got a lot to learn but she’s a smart little girl and repetition is all it takes.  She’ll be spayed soon and could use a loving home (other dogs appreciated but not required). Someone please adopt this dog… before I do. Seriously though- everyone keeps joking about adding Ruth to our pack permanently and, as much as I wish I could, I can’t.  So I want her to find the absolute best home. Think you have it? Visit the Secondhand Mutts site and fill out an application, but but if you do, do it quick. This dog is bound to be popular and you don’t want her to be your magical IF!

Overshadowed again…

As usual, Chris and I were completely overshadowed at the holiday family gatherings by Henry and Kramer. I guess it’s good practice for babies, right?

Kramer was extra lovey and Henry just sat waiting for treats most of the day.

We hope you had a happy Easter!

Freshpet Ready to Bake Testing

You may remember the post for my first product testing and giveaway of Freshpet dog food and treats. I was thrilled to be asked and I think Henry was even happier than I was.  Well, a few weeks ago I got an email from the folks at Freshpet asking me if I’d like to try their new Ready to Bake cookies. Um, YES PLEASE!

As I’ve come to expect, the refrigerator ready Freshpet supplies came to me both quickly and in style.  Check out the adorable insulated lunch box the cookies came in!  Taking a look at the cookies for the first time, I had to ask myself “Why do the dogs need fresh baked treats?  They’ll eat anything (and I mean ANYTHING).”  Then I thought about it.  I had ready to bake cookies AND brownies in the freezer.  There is just something about fresh baked goods that is SO good.  Maybe the dogs felt the same way.

Freshpet on left, cookies for me on the right!

So, to get started, I decided that I deserved a treat too and I pulled out some ready to bake chocolate chip cookies and popped them in the oven so I would have something delicious to snack on while I baked for the dogs.  Once those were done, I pulled out the Ready to Bake Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Freshpet cookies.  I have to say that they smelled pretty good even raw.  Since I had already made human cookies, the oven was already pre-heated and all I had to do was put the cookies on the baking pan and flatten them.  After that they were in the oven for 10 minutes and I was snacking on chocolate chip cookies watching television.

10 minutes later, DING, cookies are done, smelling peanut buttery good and cooling on the stove.  20 minutes later, it was taste test time.  I’ve admitted before that my dogs are NOT picky about their treats but these went down so fast I didn’t even have time to get good pictures.  I had to take pictures holding the cookie while the dogs sat because otherwise, you missed the whole thing completely!  I’m gonna assume that means they liked them…

Two weeks later, while dog sitting for our friends pups, Sophia and Ralphie, I tested the Ready to Bake Oatmeal and Cranberry cookies.  Maybe Ralphie and Sophia would have more discerning palates?! I had similar feelings about the oatmeal and cranberry as I had about the Freshpet Sweet Potato treats, “‘Really?  Those flavors for dogs?”  I should just stop questioning the people at Freshpet because they obviously know more about this stuff than I do.  I took this video of our taste test.  I think the results speak for themselves.

So you may be asking yourself why the dogs really need fresh baked treats.  My answer would be “Why not?”  Freshpet cookies are better for them than the average treat because they are 100% all natural, contain no preservatives and are made of simple ingredients.  After smelling the Oatmeal & Cranberry and reading the ingredients, I tried one myself.  It tasted similar to cookies I would eat but less sweet because they’re probably better for me than the cookies I normally eat. Freshpet Ready to Bake cookies simple to make (no ingredient mixing or recipe following required), good for your pet and more personal (and probably less expensive) than a doggie bakery.  Sounds like a winner to me!

Disclaimer: I was asked by the Freshpet marketing team to review their new Ready to Bake cookies. I was not paid for this and, as always, all opinions are my own.



You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

3 years ago, I brought this smiling pup home with no idea what I was getting into.  I had never had a pet, let alone a puppy.  I was clueless and I needed all the help I could get to make it through the first few weeks.  That help came in the form of the staff at The Mutt Hutt (god bless them for not wanting kill me after days of constant emailing), Victoria Stillwell of It’s Me or the Dog, and a book entitled Puppy Preschool.  After a while the 7 month old, 25 pound, ball of energy who came to be known as Henry J. Puppypants stopped ruling my life and started fitting into it.  We stopped have house training accidents and (with a lot of patience and practice) started having a dog who listened and followed commands. It was a slow process, there were bumps and chewed flip-flops along the way, but we got through it.

In the time since, I’ve fostered 14 other dog (helping find homes for 4 along the way), joined the board of Secondhand Mutts and started working at Embrace Pet Insurance– all things I wouldn’t have thought possible before bringing Henry home.  Now, I’ve reached another milestone.  I wrote and designed a puppy book.  Yup, that’s right.  The girl who knew nothing 3 years ago is now giving other’s advice on how to raise a puppy.

This was a project for work- one that I find thoroughly daunting when it was given to me.  How could I write a puppy book?  After a short moment of dread, I knew the answer was simple.  I started with research.  Rereading Puppy Preschool, picking up other puppy books (especially ones written by vets or other companies similar to Embrace), and scouring the internet for the best information I could find. Then I wrote an outline- picking out the topics I found most important when raising MY puppy.  Then I started writing… and writing… and writing.  We wanted the book to be approachable- a good reference but not overwhelming.  Something vets could provide clients in their puppy kits.  When I saw done I had over 30 typed pages of content.  Who knew there was so much to say and that I could say it?!  Then the book went to my manager for edits and we cut it down to 24 pages with pictures.  Finally, I started to design.  I am in no way a graphic designer but I enjoy content layout, understand inDesign, and like to think that I have a good eye for what is aesthetically pleasing.

Between the writing and design, this is most definitely the biggest project I have ever done and it’s likely to have the farthest reach.  We’ll be sending this book to vets across the country.  New pet parents in need of guidance when their puppy is chewing up flip flops and pooping in the house, just like mine did, will turn to this book and my writing for wisdom.  HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!?! Last week, the finally printed product came in to the office. I left like a proud mama- the book was my baby…

I’ve come a long way from that girl emailing the staff at The Mutt Hutt and watching endless hours of It’s Me or the Dog. I am in NO WAY an expert and would never claim to be.  However, I can’t help but smile when I see my name on the inside cover of this book.  To date, it’s one of my biggest accomplishments.  Hopefully, one of many to come!

Back in Action

Sorry for disappearing on you there, reader. After a busy weekend, I finally couldn’t hold back the cold anymore, the shifting weather patterns brought on sinus problems and then I just started feeling bad for myself.  Honestly, I thought about blogging when I was feeling down but I don’t want this blog to be about me feeling sorry for myself.  This is a fun place!  So let’s do a quick recap of what you missed this weekend…

When I left off, I was popping Wal-born (Airborne’s cheaper 1/2 cousin) like it was going out of style in hopes of getting rid of the looming cold so I could enjoy my busy weekend.  Amazingly, I spent 5 days with a sore throat that never progressed into a full on cold.  So, Saturday morning in a snow storm, I headed to Tremont for the Secondhand Mutts barkfeast.  The event was a success and it was great seeing people come in out of the cold to support such a wonderful cause.  The heartworm positive dogs that the event benefits stopped by and I got this picture of Blueberry, the sweetest little Doberman you ever did see…

After that I went directly to Trinity Cathedral to help set up for the Near West Theatre benefit.  It was a very strange feeling being there but not as a member of the staff.  I put coat check tags on hangers, a job I would normally pass off to a volunteer, because, well, I was the volunteer!  Soon I found my groove and was happy to help wherever I was needed.  By 3:30, I was in need of a shower and a rush job getting ready for the event.  When I got home I spent every spare moment prepping and primping and then Chris and I headed to the newly opened Spice Kitchen + Bar (the location of the benefit after-party) to catch the limo bus back toTrinity.  The event was a blast and I was in the perfect position to help when they needed me and relax with a glass of wine when they didn’t.  Lots of my favorite people were there- my parents, NWT friends, blog friends (including my giveaway winner, Jen from WhyCLE?), even old friends like Cool Cleveland reporter & former coworker, Julie Cajigas.  I stole a couple of Julie’s pictures and grabbed some of my own for this little collage of the night…

  Clockwise from top right:w/Jen from WhyCLE? and her fiance Matthew, Amanda from Clue into Cleveland and her husband Scott, & Chris;  w/my parents; w/NWT friend Joe Kenderes; w/Christine Neidhardt and NWT Exec Director Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek, w/Chris, NWT performer Theresa Pedone & her dog, Dexter; with my old staff – Carole, Sue & Lindsay

I had WAY too much fun at this event.  No, really, I had too much fun.  The kinda fun that keeps you in bed until 5pm on Sunday and almost makes you miss your concert.  But fear not, I made it out of bed in just enough time to shower, eat and get dressed to head down to the House of Blues.

I’m one of those people who really needs to love a band to see them in concert.  For that reason, I often avoid showing up for the opening acts.  Sunday it was a combination of that and feeling like there was no way I would be able to stand through 2 opening acts and Jack’s Mannequin after the day I had.  It was a good choice and we had perfect timing- arriving as the crew was setting up for the main event.  The concert was awesome and I can’t thank Chris enough for the tickets!  I only took one picture and it’s not very good, but here it is:

After Sunday, things went downhill.  All the fun gave the cold germs the perfect opportunity to take over and I have spent the week using up our supply of tissues and trying to figure out where the symptoms of my cold end and my allergies begin.  Yesterday, in a moment of weakness, I felt really miserable for myself.  I let all those little problems overwhelm me and I almost wrote a big long post about it.  Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t, because those little doubts and fears aren’t who I am.  So, that was my week away.  I promise I’m back to my regularly scheduling blogging  (whether you like it or not!).

Germs, Germs Go Away

Do you think you can ration with germs?  Probably not, but I’m gonna try.

Dear Germs-

I can feel you invading my body.  This sore throat sure is hanging on and I blame my sister.  She was sick this weekend and I am sure that you jumped from her to me.  This is a really bad time, germs.  You see, I have a very busy weekend.  One I have been looking forward to for quite a while now.

First there is Scramble’s 3rd Annual Memorial Pancake Barkfeast to benefit Secondhand Mutts on Saturday.  I’m working the event and I really don’t think that people want germs in their pancakes (personally, I prefer chocolate chips in mine!).  The event benefits the dogs in the Secondhand Mutts program that are heartworm positive.  They are expecting over 400 people this year and I just gotta be there.  Do you really want to stop me from helping the poor heartworm positive puppies?  I think not.

After that I’ve gotta jump right over to help with set-up for Near West Theatre’s Benefit but then I ACTUALLY GET TO ATTEND THIS YEAR (instead of working the event).  I’ve been waiting 5 years to enjoy this event as a guest. Don’t take this away from me, germs!  I even got to giveaway tickets and I’d really like to hang out with Jen from Why Cle? and make sure she has an amazing time!

Finally, on Sunday, I get to cash in on my Christmas present.  I had to wait a whole month but the day is almost here- Jack’s Mannequin at House of Blues!!!  Don’t ruin Christmas for me, germs.  I would hate to miss this concert and Chris would hate to see his present go to waste.  You know Jacks’ Mannequin is my favorite and I haven’t seen them live in A LONG TIME.  The new album is really growing on me!


So, as you can see, germs- this is just not the best time.  If you don’t mind, I’ll keep taking the Wal-born ($2 cheaper than Airborne and the wild berry flavor is actually quite tasty) and we’ll part ways as friends.  I’m sure you can understand, right?  It’s not you, it’s my weekend.

All the best,


Merry Christmas from Henry

Chris got this drumming Santa in his white elephant exchange at work.  Henry decided to get in on Santa’s act.  Here’s what happened:

We hope you have a fabulous Christmas eve and a very merry Christmas.

Foster Fail: Mr. Bo Jangles/Cosmo Kramer

Most people would probably say that this was bound to happen.  We foster a lot of dogs.  We were bound to find one we just couldn’t give up.  However, I must say that I didn’t expect to get that feeling so fast.  Even with Henry, who we fostered-to-adopt- when Becca called after 2 weeks letting us know that there was another family that was interested in him- I hesitated.  Granted, he was still an 8-month old puppy peeing and pooping all over my house and was only starting to master basic commands but with the adorable 3 year old Henry J. Puppypants curled up next to me as  I write this I can’t begin to think about life without him.

One week ago we traded foster dogs.  After almost 2 months, I was starting to wonder if our home was the best place for Baba Ganoush.  He’s working on becoming more comfortable with people coming into his space and we just don’t have enough visitors to give him the exposure training he needs.  Days earlier we had learned that Mr. Bo Jangles, a 4 year old Rottweiler was in need of a new foster home.  We met Bo at a Secondhand Mutts fundraising event in November and Chris, Tracy and I instantly fell in love.  Bo’s mild temperament, gentle nature and soulful eyes could make any heart melt.  Frankly, after almost 3 months in the program, we couldn’t understand why he didn’t have a home.  Here he is at the Muttsquerade in October…

So, last  Wednesday, we brought him to our home.  He was the perfect guest.  No jumping, no accidents, no barking.  We were in doggie heaven. That’s when Chris started laying it on real thick about how he always wanted a big dog and how this dog could be HIS dog (though it was often unspoken, Chris now openly admits that Henry is really more often my dog than his).

On Thursday I worked from home and Bo was an angel, sleeping at my feet most of the day.  That was when I started considering keeping him as well.  How could it be that after only 18 hours, I was considering adopting one of our foster dogs?  I had made it through 13 other fosters without breaking!  Was I losing my touch?  Was this dog REALLY THAT AWESOME?!?!

By Friday we were talking about what we would rename him as Bo played at my office with Kayden, a coworker’s pitt mix.  We went through a few names.  First trying to stick with B-O names… Bowie, Bowser, Bosley…. but Chris and I couldn’t agree on any of them.  It wasn’t until we went back to a name that Chris has been claiming for “his dog” all along that we hit something we could agree upon… Cosmo Kramer.  Chris LOVES Seinfeld and can quote large portions of almost every episode.  For some reason, he has always wanted to name a dog Kramer.  And now he finally had the chance. By this time, I was convinced- we were adopting this dog.  I called Secondhand Mutts and told Becca that this was our dog.

So here we are, one week later, with a 70-pound Rottweiler to call our own.  We’ve come a long way… and so has Kramer.  When two Secondhand Mutts volunteers went to the Ashtabula APL to pick up 3 new dogs that were being admitted into the program, Kramer wasn’t on their list.  However, the volunteers were Rottie lovers and saw Kramer in a small yard where dogs are allowed to run around before they are put down. They just couldn’t leave him.  Can you image that?  Our sweet, mellow boy with eyes that could melt your heart was on the verge of being put to sleep!?

Obviously, we’ve still got a lot to learn about Kramer but I can honestly say that I don’t regret the decision to adopt him for one minute.  We’ll be taking a fostering break for a while as we get to know him better but based on his love of other dogs and easygoing temperament, we may be fostering again sooner than you think.  But MARK MY WORDS- we are not adopting any more dogs.  2 is the limit.  Kramer and Henry… that’s it… for as long as they want to call this place home.