Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Organizing Dog Gear: Clothes and Toys

One of the things we've found hardest to organize is all their clothes.  We originally had it all stuffed into a tub, but it was so hard to find anything.  So we've done some rearranging and came up with a much better solution.  We moved all the pooches' bandanas into an old end-table in the basement (a remnant of my college days), where we had some of the pooches gear stuffed.

We also organized the dogs' collars, accessories (like our Little Bow Pup bows), and snoods in the other drawer.

In order to make room for these things, we got a basket for the pooches' Edison's toys -- we don't have many as Tess doesn't really play with toys and Edi destroys most of them, but it's a nice way to corral them. I'd love to dress up the basket like this sometime soon.

By removing the bandanas, we had more room in our bin - that now houses costumes, tutus, and sweatshirts.  We'd love to get the pooches some space in our basement storage/laundry area to store everything all together.

We also keep the pooches rain jackets in the hall closet during the spring and summer, while we store their winter jackets in the hall storage closet, and vice versa in the winter and fall.

We'd love to get this all looking better and more cohesive, maybe upgrading the end-table and toy chest to something like this with some internal baskets for organizing everything, or even just giving the end-table a paint job and new handles.

How do you control all your pooches' "stuff?"  What is your best tip to keep dog gear organized?

In case you missed it: how we organize the pooches' cabinet.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Organizing Dog Gear: Dog Cabinet and Leashes

When I moved into my house, I could barely cook and had virtually no kitchen equipment.  Having tons of extra space, and since Tess eats in the kitchen, it was natural that her stuff end up in a cabinet.  Several years later, I have come a long way in cooking, and am sure that extra real estate in the kitchen would be nice, but we love having a designated space for the dogs' "stuff."

Their cabinet contains: a bin of dog food, their seat belts and Edi's vest (and our giant box of poop bags).

Also in there is a basket that holds various bags of treats, and old coffee containers repurposed to hold bulk treats we get from Mud Puppies.  Who spots The Bean in our cabinet?!

On the top shelf, there are smaller bins to corral their grooming items (brushes, ear wipes, conditioning spritz, sunscreen, waterless shampoo, and diaper liners),

medication and hygienic items,

and the catch-all "miscellaneous," which currently holds a diaper for Tess, poop bags and bag holders, a ball, and empty plastic baggies for treats.

The pooches' real estate in the kitchen has also spread to the counter by the door where we've put a covered coffee can to hold poop bags and other loose items, as well as a jar of treats for quick access (plus, they look so cute!)

We also have hooks to hold leashes, blinking lights for night walks, and our keys.

We love repurposing old containers to keep things neater and more organized, although our favorite addition was the 3M hooks to hold their seatbelts!

How do you organize your dog gear?  Do your pooches have a special spot in the house?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Showing Thanks: Edison

Dear Trumbull County Dog Kennel Volunteers,

I don't know if you remember Manny  or not, but he is now Edison.  We weren't sure what we were getting into when we brought a 9-month-old, bullheaded pup home in October 2011, but a year and a half later, we don't know what we'd do without him.

He has quite the following on our blog  and has come SUCH a long way.  He has completed 3 obedience classes as well as an agility class (which he did SO well in!), and we are working hard to be ready to take the CGC exam by the end of the year.

He is still working on a lot, but he has taught us so much more!

Thank you so much for taking a chance when you took this guy in, and even more for taking a chance on us and letting us bring him home!

Love, Hannah, Sam, and Tesla

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Showing Thanks: Tesla

Dear Humane Society of NWPA Volunteers,

I don't know if you remember Pearl or not, but she is now Tesla.  I had no idea what it was to have the love of a dog, but in January of 2010 I found out in a quick way.  Now, three and a half years later, she's become my whole world.

We have done so much in our three years together.  She's become the star of a blog, completed several obedience classes, earned her CGC, and has even been certified as a therapy dog.  Beyond that, she has grown so much in confidence from the nervous dog she once was - not to mention gaining 20+ pounds!

She has helped me discover Erie's dog community, helped me make new friends, and created a pitbull advocate.  She is truly a breed ambassador!

Thank you so much for taking a chance on a little, brindle pitbull, and even more for allowing me to bring her into my life!

Love, Hannah (and her now family - Sam and Edison)

Monday, July 22, 2013

PEDs: Group Dynamics

We had three new pooches join the walk this week.  And while we have had new dogs join us, this week there was a noticeable change in the energy of the group.

Sure, there was a new "yellow" dog that joined that we expected to have issues our other reactive dog, but it seemed that the energy change affected all the pooches.

I expect that a few walks together will ease this tension.  But what I found so interesting is that you could feel the change in the energy of the group.  Not a bad change in energy, but definitely different.

Do you feel energy changes in your pooch?

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Whole New World

Next week will mark our 100th post on this blog.  Ten thousand views later, we're digging this little community we've stumbled upon.

I can't even remember how I stumbled upon my first pitbull blog - The Happy Pitbull Blog - probably while I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out what to do with Edi.  After reading through all their posts (and realizing that by the time I found it, it was no longer active), I needed more.  I loved the insight, humor, and love that was put out for all to share.

Some Google searching quickly found Two Pitties in the City, which opened up the flood gates to all my other favorite blogs (which has quickly grew to a staggering number!).

What I didn't expect was this community that I've found full of like-minded people (and a few dogs).  We share tricks and tips.  We celebrate in successes and support in failure (unless of course it's a foster failure, then we definitely celebrate!).

We have made virtual and real-life friends.  We have found the courage to try new things -- most notably, starting a dog-walking group.  Ironically, this virtual community that I have grown to be so fond of has opened up a very real group in my very real community.

I cannot thank everyone enough for the love and support we have received the past 100 posts.  Here's to many more to come!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

VIP Products Toy Tester: Mega-Tug Oval

Last month, we received another VIP Toy Tester product - their mega-tug toy.  Made for interactive play or play between multiple dogs, this toy scores a 10 on their Tuff Scale.

Edison's opinion? He loved it.  He's been following us around everywhere, begging us to play with him.  We've even caught his sleeping with it.

He loves that it not only is a tug toy (his 2nd favorite thing), but it also has squeakers (his 1st favorite thing!) - 3 of them to be exact.

From the human perspective this toy is super durable.  It has shown virtually no signs of wear in over a month.  If you remember Stan and Paisley, who both met their demise once Tess got in on the action, it's the first toy yet to stand up to both pooches!

We were worried that because this toy isn't a "stuffy," Edison wouldn't like it as much.  Because it is so durable, he hasn't gotten it taken away from him, which I think makes him like it even more!

What's the most durable stuffy you've found?

Monday, July 15, 2013

PEDs: Seeing Progress

While talking to one of our members she mentioned how great it is to see the progress of the other dogs.

So often we get caught up in the baby steps we make with our pooches, we are unable to see the leaps that are made, too.  At group events like PEDs, others can see the huge accomplishments you've made.

And it is encouraging to see other dogs make progress, too.  It puts into perspective the improvements that we can make with a little time and energy.

How do you take note of progress in your pooch?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Readiness Week: Disaster Kits

In order to wrap up Readiness Week, we needed to create a disaster kit. recommends creating a disaster kit for at least 72 hours, so after Googling what to put in a kit we came up with the following list:

  • Small Bag Dog Food
  • Food Scoop
  • Food Bowls
  • 2 Rolls Poop Bags
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • 2 Leashes
  • 2 Collars
  • Temporary ID Tags (key tags)
  • 2 Emergency Blankets
  • 2 Fleece Blankets
  • 2 KONG Toys (missing)
  • 1 Jar Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tug Toy
  • 5 Diapers (Tesla)
  • 6 Tablets Prion (Tesla)
  • Heartworm Medication (1 dose each)
  • Flea/Tick Medication (1 dose each)
  • First Aid Kit
  • 1 Small Flashlight
  • Extra Flashlight Batteries
  • 2 Bandanas
  • 3 Gallons of Water
  • Document Bag (instructions, photos with humans, emergency contacts, lost posters, vaccination and microchip info, inventory list with expiration dates) in Ziplock baggy

We placed an inventory list not only inside in the kit, but also taped to the outside for quick reference.  This will live in our basement, so each quarter when I change my furnace filter, I will check the kit to make sure nothing has expired.

I feel so much better knowing that we are better prepared in case of a disaster or other emergency -- now I just hope I never have to use this stuff!!

In case you missed it: our information binders, and our first aid kits!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Readiness Week: Canine First Aid Kits

The second part of our readiness plan was getting together First Aid Kits.  I must apologize here as the kits are not completely ready as I had hoped, but they are a good start!

We wanted to create 3 kits: one for the house, one for the car, and one for our disaster kit (coming tomorrow!).  I searched through many, many sites (too many to remember or I would post here) to come up with what we needed.

For our Home Kit I've included:

  • Canine First Aid Book
  • Self-Adhesive Wrap (like Vetwrap)
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Petroleum Jelly (for use with a thermometer)
  • Cotton Balls/Cotton Swabs/Cotton Rounds
  • Guaze Pads
  • Guaze Rolls
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Medical Tape
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (to induce vomiting) - see note at bottom
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers
Next to the storage location of the kit is a packet of papers that includes:

  • Emergency Contact Info (including our vet, Emergency Center, Poison Control)
  • Basic Instructions for Care
  • Rabies Certificates
  • Info Chart (including license number, microchip number, due dates of all vaccines, type of monthly preventative, and Tesla's insurance info)
  • Lost Posters
We also plan to add:
  • Scissors
  • Tongue Depressors (variety of uses, including splint)
  • Muzzle
  • Thermometer
  • Clean Washcloth
  • Instant Ice Pack
  • Toothbrush
  • Small Flashlight with Extra Batteries
  • Slip Lead
  • Fake Credit Card (for use as scraper)
  • Small Container of Cornstarch (to stop bleeding)
  • Benadryl & Baby Aspirin - see note at bottom
We then created a Car kit, including:
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Cotton Balls/Cotton Swabs/Cotton Rounds
  • Guaze Pads
  • Guaze Rolls
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Medical Tape
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Temporary ID tags (known as key tags)
  • Emergency Contact Info
  • Tweezers*
  • Scissors*
  • Tongue Depressors*
  • Triangular bandage (for use as muzzle)*
  • Instant Ice Pack*
  • Slip Lead*
  • Scraper Card*
  • Cornstarch*

Lastly, we created a kit for our disaster kit, including
  • Canine First Aid Book
  • Self-Adhesive Wrap (like Vetwrap)
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Petroleum Jelly (for use with a thermometer)
  • Cotton Balls/Cotton Swabs/Cotton Rounds
  • Guaze Pads
  • Guaze Rolls
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Medical Tape
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Hydrogen Peroxide - see note at bottom
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Tweezers*
  • Slip Lead
  • Scissors*
  • Tongue Depressors*
  • Thermometer*
  • Instant Ice Pack*
  • Toothbrush*
  • Slip Lead*
  • Scraper Card*
  • Emergency Contact Information
  • Small Container of Cornstarch*
  • Benadryl & Baby Aspirin* - see note at bottom
A few important things to note:
The use of the peroxide, benedryl, and aspirin is not and will not be distributed without veterinary oversight.  At our vet appointment this week, we will be speaking with our vet about using these in case of an emergency.  If given the okay, we will place instructions and dosage information for use inside each kit.

Each kit will have a list of items with a shelf-life listed on outside of container.  I plan to check these every couple of months to ensure all materials are still good.

Lastly, ALL the kits need a little decoration in the way of a symbolic red cross to designate a first aid kit, along with a paw print to designate it is for the pooches!

Check back Friday for the last step in our Readiness Plan!
And in case you missed it, check out the first step in the plan.

*To be added

Monday, July 8, 2013

Readiness Week: Dog Binders

As we mentioned last week, we keep all of the pooches information in one handy spot: their binders.  Each has a dedicated for "all things Tesla" and one for "all things Edison."

Within each binder are dividers for several sections:

  • Licenses/Certifications - rabies certification and lifetime City license number
  • Adoption Papers - all relative adoption documentation
  • Health Records - all relevant documents from vet office
  • Training Documents - Certificates of completion for training classes, as well as any relevant handouts
  • Avid Microchip - Microchip papers and number

Tesla also has:

  • Therapy Dog Documents - all the paperwork we filled out to be certified, certificate, handbook, etc.
  • Dog Sitter Documents - service agreements, instructions for care, notes from dog walker
  • Miscellaneous - other things I want to keep for reference

Oh, and don't forget the drawings from kids through her therapy dog work (they are just too cute not to keep!)

As Tess's binder has had some time to grow, some of the sections are in need of relocation to their own binders, especially the Dog Sitter Documents, as they pertain to both pooches.

The other thing that lives in the pups' binders is the pre-made LOST posters, just in case.  Since they are already made up, there is no wasting time finding a "good" photo if they should get lost.

We have the digital file to insert the lost date and location, or we can just write it in and copy without losing precious time.  We used the instructions here to make the posters and would use the other tips there as well.

This is just one step in our "Readiness Kit" - tune in on Wednesday for our First Aid Kits!