Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter and Chewy Review

Welcome to our 22nd annual Easter biscuit hunt. Since this is also a Chewy review, I'll be honest and disclose that we held the hunt on Friday. Today we're having thunder storms with tons of rain.
We started our hunts in the living room of our townhouse in Maryland when we had three dogs. It's been fun for them and for us and we've learned a lot about how the dogs think. Over the years we've hidden lots of different goodies, (disclosure # 2, we've never hidden eggs). We've used regular dog biscuits and one of our favorites, Charlee Bear treats. They both worked well. When the pups were little we used baby carrots and last year because of the boys bad tummies, we used chunks of sweet potato. The only thing that didn't work for us was cheese balls. Apparently they have little  or no smell and the dogs couldn't see them in the grass. We had to point them out.

This year because Fudge, Sebastian and Mackey are on diets, we chose puppy sized Milk Bone biscuits. If they were lucky enough to find them, there weren't a ton of calories to upset the diets.
 We  held a preliminary hunt for Sydney and Sebastian. Syd doesn't play well with others and I wanted to avoid tensions. Sebastian moves at a slow pace and though he can find the biscuits, he usually gets beaten to them by the faster dogs. Rob and I hid the biscuits, some obvious and some well hidden.
Then we let Syd and Sebastian out. I needed to show a biscuit to Sebastian to let him know what to do, but then he went around looking for treasure by himself. Syd was a gobbling machine. She may be nuts but she isn't stupid and she knew instantly what to do. She cleaned up.
 Then we put those two inside and hid more biscuits. We made this hunt harder. Again we put a few in plain sight, then really made them work for the prizes.
 I was amazed that they knew immediately what was going on. After scarfing up the first few obvious ones, they spread out to look for hidden biscuits.
 Some worked in groups.
 Bailey likes to work alone, naturally.
Mackey jumped on the roof of the tower dog house to see if there were any up there. There were.
 Tess, who used to have to be led to each biscuit, now knows exactly what to do and even thought to check inside the tower. She was right.
Fudge isn't as fast as he used to be, but he found his share.
Finally the last biscuits were eaten. A few hours later it was dinner time and I'd planned for it. It's not unusual on special days for dogs, or peeps, to overindulge and sometimes tummy aches are the result. Because some of the pack had consumed a lot of biscuits, dinner was simple. Everyone got straight kibble with no exciting toppers, except one. On each bowl of kibble I sprinkled some Solid Gold SeaMeal.
For the past few years we've used FortiFlora as a probiotic. If someone is feeling poorly they get it every meal, otherwise we use it weekly for maintenance. This time we decided to try Seameal because I was intrigued by the ingredients. It's made with red, green and brown seaweed for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It also contains flaxseed for omega fatty acids. It promotes digestive health, good coat and skin and boosts the immune system.
 The dogs just thought it tasted great. Eight of them licked up the very last grain of SeaMeal when the kibble was gone.

Disclosure #3: Sebastian did not like the SeaMeal. He doesn't always like to try new things and I usually work them into his diet gradually. I don't know how he did it, but he managed to push all the SeaMeal to one side of his bowl and ate just the kibble. The girls were happy to lick up the SeaMeal that he left behind. I think if I disguise it better for a few days he'll get used to it.

The SeaMeal worked nicely. The Water Dogs loved the fishiness and nobody had an upset tummy that night.

If you're thinking about trying a treat hunt, all the goodies I've mentioned here, Milkbones, Charlee Bears, FortiFlora and of course SeaMeal are available from Chewy. They'll even deliver them right to your door, so you can just have fun.
Disclosure #4: Chewy sent us the jar of Solid Gold SeaMeal Supplement for dogs and cats at no cost to us in exchange for our honest review.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Henry's Happy Ending

Ready for a story with a happy ending? When we moved here 18 years ago we were happy to learn that the Dickerson Park Zoo was only two miles from our house. We became members soon after settling in and visited often. About a year later Rob and I decided to sponsor a couple animals as  our Valentine's  gifts to each other. He chose a warthog and I chose Henry the Hippo.
Let me tell you a little about Henry. He was born in the San Francisco Zoo on August 29, 1981. When he was about seven months old he came to Dickerson Park Zoo to live with an older woman, Patsy. They had five calves together. One was stillborn, three died shortly after birth and one survived. He went to another zoo when he was old enough to leave his parents.

Unfortunately, Patsy died  after a few years and Henry lived all alone in his little enclosure.
 Last year at age 34, Henry's life turned around. The Cincinnati zoo built a beautiful new hippo cove. When it was finished, they brought in a 17 year old female hippo named Bibi from the St Louis Zoo. Then they sent for Henry.
                                                             Bibi
Dickerson Park Zoo had a big going away party for Henry, then he made the trip to Cincinnati to meet his new partner. The keepers said that Henry seemed more interested in food at first, but that changed.
Soon after his arrival, the announcement came that Bibi and Henry were expecting in March of 2017. Little Baby Fiona had other ideas. She arrived on January 24 and was very tiny, for a hippo. She had to be taken from her parents and raised by human caretakers. She was too small to eat or walk or swim by herself.
 We were getting weekly reports on her condition until last week when we saw a video of her climbing a ramp to get into her pool all by herself.
Henry is a happy hippo now with a big new enclosure and a family to share his days with.
In honor of baby Fiona, I made this and am calling her Fiona.
 How's that for a happy ending?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Our Chewy Trial Results

A month ago Chewy asked if we'd like to try a month long trial of American Journey dog food. Up until that time we hadn't heard of it, but we agreed and I chose Lola and Bailey to be our official testers.
We chose the salmon and sweet potato variety and noticed a few things immediately. First it was loaded with good ingredients such as salmon (number one) and chicken and turkey meal, sweet potatoes and lots of others. There are no grains. It contains some important things such as zinc, selenium, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids and glucosamine and chondroitin.  Because Bailey and Lola are both ten years old and Bailey has some arthritis, we appreciate those additions.

The food had a pleasing appearance and a not overly fishy smell.This is appreciated more by the humans than the canines. At first I thought the small pieces were a good idea for all sized dogs, but since my girls have no table manners, they tried to grab large mouthfuls of kibble and choked. I started putting liquids or toppers  on their food to slow them down and that solved the choking problem. I then learned that the food comes in large breed and puppy sizes, so that should solve the problem in the future. Easier to buy large breed kibble than to teach table manners.
 Now that our month long taste test is over, what do we think?

My girls both loved this food! From their point of view it tasted wonderful.
 I liked this food too. The output is firm and exactly what a person who picks up after nine dogs is hoping for. Their coats are soft and shiny, except for when they roll in mud which is one of the joys of spring around here.
Their breath is not fishy from this food and they have lots of energy. They both get fish oil and glucosamine supplements daily, but the extra in the food doesn't hurt and Bailey may feel a little less achy at the end of a long day of play.
Would I buy this food? YES. This appears to be a good dog food, earning a top rating of 5 on the dog food advisor site. It's well priced and besides the salmon and sweet potato flavor, comes in lamb and sweet potato, beef and sweet potato, chicken and sweet potato as well as large breed and puppy sizes.
 You can find American Journey at Chewy.com and they deliver to your door. Give it a try.
Chewy supplied us with a month's supply of American Journey kibble at no cost in exchange for our honest opinions on the product.

Friday, March 31, 2017

I Knew I Could

Hi Everybody,
Remember last month, on my birthday, when I had a very very sore back? I went to visit Dr B and he took pictures of my insides. Then he stole some blood from my leg. All the tests came back good and the medicine Mom gave me made my back feel all better. But, Dr B said that I was fat. Yes, he really said that. I was insulted.

Mom said I had to go on a diet because the scales said I weighed 75 pounds. I think that sounds like an excellent number, but she didn't agree, so I started dieting. She gave me less dog food at each meal, but so that I wouldn't feel hungry all the time, she gave me lots and lots of green beans.
For treats when everybody else got a biscuit, I got a couple Zukes. They're little. but they're very tasty and Mom said I got them because I'm special.
Well, today was the day for my one month weigh-in. Mom wasn't too sure if I'd lost any weight, so she chose a day that Dr B wasn't in. She didn't want him to lecture her if I hadn't lost any pounds. The lady at the desk asked if she should put my new weight on my chart and Mom said " only if he's lost". 

Then the big moment came and I stepped on the scales. I sat down and waited and Mom got all happy because the scales said 70.5 pounds.
 Yup, I lost 4.5 pounds. See, I knew I could do it. Now, I only have 5 more to go. No problem!
 Your pal, Fudge