Merry Christmas

Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful day filled with family, laughter and happy memories in the making.

Kona will be celebrating her first Christmas at our house in the morning, and then in Oakville with my family. She’s already in the holiday spirit and even gave out gifts to many of her doggie friends.

I helped her put together some packages of homemade dog biscuits.

And by “I helped” I mean that she sat a foot away from me and watched intently as I made the dough, rolled it out, cut the biscuits and baked them, then packaged the cooled biscuits in some cellophane bags with ribbon. She’s an excellent kitchen assistant.

I found this dog biscuit recipe online and used the medium and small sized cookie cutters from this set. The recipe was straightforward and the dough very easy to work with.

While the effort to cut them all out was time consuming, it was well worth the effort. Kona doesn’t have the most discerning taste (see this post about things she’s eaten), but she is definitely showing a preference for these cookies over other less exciting treats. And we’ve gotten some great feedback from Pippa and Emma as well. Plus, the cost to make them was a lot less than the bags of dog biscuits we’ve been buying. So I’ll definitely be making these again!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!!

Whose Gift is it Anyways?

Last week was P’s birthday and for the first time, he gave me a wish list.  (I should clarify that he always makes a wish list for our families, but I usually have ideas of what I want to get him already.  This year I was in need of ideas)

After doing lots of research, P decided he really wanted the Ruffwear Approach Pack.  Not for him to wear of course, but for Kona.  The Approach Pack is essentially a harness with two built-in saddle bags that you can fill with all the necessary items when you go for extended hikes with your dog:  water, snacks (for the dogs or you), first aid kit, etc. 

P asked for the Approach Pack, which is intended for day hikes and is the smallest sized pack that Ruffwear offers.  He discovered Ruffwear through a recommendation from a friend of ours who used one of their larger packs for multi-day hikes in the Rockies with her golden retriever. 

I wasn’t sure about the idea, but after reading the online reviews I was sold.  Many owners report that their dogs are excited to wear the packs and are more obedient and focused on the task when they are wearing them.  Plus, a heavy pack tires them out sooner so daily walks do not need to be as long. 

There’s a variety of sizes available so finding the right fit was pretty easy.  I measured Kona and determined that at her current size she’s right at the bottom range of the Medium.  Our neighbour H helped me out and measured Emma (we expect Kona to end up a similar size to her) who was in the middle of the Medium size range.  So this one pack should last regardless of how big of a lab Kona turns out to be. 

P loves taking Kona for short hikes on the various trails near our home and can’t wait to take her on longer ones.  He put the pack on Kona a few times last week to get her used wearing it.  Of course, very light loads (a Frisbee and an empty water bottle) were added to the pack. 

Looks good on her, doesn’t it?  She’s not quite sure what to think of it right now, but we’re confident that over time she will come to love carrying the pack.  

Unfortunately, it’s a bit challenging to find the Ruffwear packs if you live in Canada as very few shops carry them and most of the online retailers are US-based and don’t ship to us.  I was able to track it down at an online dog supply store based in Langley, B.C., Gear 4 Dogs – and it was at the lower price than anywhere else (even when shipping and taxes were included).   

Marley & Me

This past weekend P and I watched the movie “Marley & Me” for the first time.  The movie is based on a book, which is a man’s account of the yellow labrador retriever that he and his wife brought home early in their marriage. 

Overall, we both really enjoyed the movie.  In fact, I would recommend it to anyone who has lived with a dog, especially a labrador retriever.  There are too many typical “puppy” or “dog” moments that you will identify with.  Every few minutes P and I would burst into laughter at a scene in the film, and our niece would look at us like we were crazy.   

In fact, there’s one scene in particular that really resonated with me.  Earlier this fall I shared a story about Kona and our neighbour’s pool.  A similar account was portrayed in the movie and all I could think was “THAT’S MY DOG!!!”. 

Entertainment aside, I do have one complaint.  I found that the movie suggested that Marley was a bad dog.  In fact, the movie tagline on IMDB states “A family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog”. Any dog owner having watched the film would disagree.  Marley is not a bad dog nor is he neurotic – he is a typical dog with no training.  We’ve only had Kona for 7 months now and I have no doubt that she would be perpetrating many of Marley’s antics were it not for the fact that she is always crated when left alone and we have been very diligent in her obedience training. 

Randomly enough, when Kona was about 4 months old we met a gentleman from our neighbourhood while we were out on a walk.  I have no idea his name, or where in our neighbourhood he lives.  But he shared with us a story about his lab (who passed away last year) and told us about the book, Marley & Me.  At the time he was in the process of reading it and told us it was a “must read”.  A few weeks later, we discovered a copy of the book in our mailbox.  Unfortunately, we’ve yet to cross paths with him again so I’ve been unable to thank him. 

I have a large stack of books that I’ve borrowed from friends, or the library, and I had yet to get to Marley & Me.  After seeing the movie, I am looking forward to reading the book, hopefully during the Christmas holidays.