Friday, July 31, 2015

Tote Tails, Even For Those With No Tails

Mama loves tote bags. A lot. She has such a large collection of tote bags that she has a tote bag to hold all her tote bags. It's a little ridiculous. And yet her obsession continues, because she loves and uses those bags all the time. You can imagine her excitement, then, when she found out about the company called Tote Tails. This place makes customized tote bags, featuring your pet.

I know, right?!

You can upload a photo of your pet and have that used to make a silhouette, or you can choose from the breed library. They have dogs, cats and even horses, and are willing to make anything else you have such as rabbits or goats or chickens. Or giraffes.

But that's not all! After Tote Tails allows you to choose what animal you love best on your tote bag, you can then further customize it with wording. Anything goes! You choose the placement such as top, middle or bottom of the bag, or you can even have it staggered down the front diagonally if you choose. You can add paw prints or other fun things to personalize your bag as well. When I say it's fully customized, I mean it!

Mom made a bag just for me, of course.

It's definitely my mug. See? Drooling image, for sure. (Dogs don't spit; we drool.) My bag not only has my silhouette on it, but it says Louie, The French Dog, because it's my bag. (Mama has enough.) That's what you can see on the bag. What you can't see in the photo is the fact that the tote is well made and durable, and the printing is top quality. That tote is going to just last forever, I can tell it already. And that's a very good thing.

The day mama got the bag in the mail, she locked me up and took the bag with her on an adventure. I'm not sure of the fairness of that, but she claims I wasn't allowed to go where the bag went, and took it because she couldn't take me. I'm not sure why a zoo wouldn't allow me in, it's peopled with animals! Mama fed me some line about how the bag is a stand-in for me when I can't go along with her. She's just barking to hear herself, I think.

Polar bears TOTEally love Tote Tails!
Another super fun thing about the tote bags, besides being very useful to carry my things and loan to polar bears, is the fact that 10% of every sale is donated to local animal shelters. You can feel good about your purchase because you get an amazing bag and contributed to helping the lives of animals in need! This is a win for everyone, powered by you.

Because I know you're very anxious to get started on making your own bag, I'm going to have to tell you to hold off. Why? Because you can enter to WIN one right here! Simply leave a comment here to be entered. You can also follow Tote Tails on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries. Winner will be announced Monday, August 10th. Good luck! And feel free to play around on the Tote Tails website to have your bag all planned out so that when you're chosen as the winner, you can get that ordered ASAP.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Our Happy Things

People do all sorts of odd things, much like dogs jumping through hoops for treats. Except I don't think people get treats like we do. Poor people. And I definitely won't be sharing my treats, so don't even ask.

Two hoops, not just one, were held up for us, and mom and I are jumping through them. We have been tagged by Owned By A Husky and Dog Treat Web to post 8 of our favorite photos that make us happy. The problem with this is that mom loves to take pictures, because pictures make her happy. All the pictures. Because they hold memories. And because pictures make her happy, she takes approximately 48 times as many photos per day as there are pieces of kibble in a 50 pound bag of dog food. (True story.) (Kind of.) (Okay, so it's not that many, but you get the point.)

We've narrowed the landslide of photos down to these.

This is one of our all time favorite photos. This is my boy, and our girl Margo. These two are so very, very good together. Margo has the patience of Gabriel, dealing with Down syndrome as lovingly as she does. Even I get a little frustrated or confused by my boy at times, but Margo never does.

This photo. It always makes our hearts smile. That is what life is like here. The brindle had one day old babies in that crate, and yet volunteered herself to be a footstool for my boy. Kids and dogs, living in harmony and love. It's such a wonderful life.

Puppies. Puppies make us so very, very happy. Who wouldn't love puppy breath whispering in your ear?

Kids loving on each other. This is spontaneous happy. It's pretty amazing happy, too.

This picture is a favorite here. Our favorite family vacation, and each kid just doing their own thing. Gosh, we love those kids. And Maine. 

A dog photobombing a photo shoot. Dear old Jack. He was a fun dog. Such a wonderful photo this is, making us happy from the inside out. Kids reading books. The great outdoors. Dogs. What more could anyone ask for?

Our kids, all together, playing bocce on a beach vacation. Family time is always happy, even if dogs aren't there.

Newborn puppies make us all very, very happy. Mama can't stop smiling for days, and the kids and dogs just wait in line to stand at the crate and look in. 

A bonus of a wee, fat baby, snuggling with his mama, because puppies make us so very happy.


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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015

All The Learning Things

Things I learned while attending festivals on weekends with mom:

1. Porta potties are not made to hold a dog and his person; it takes skillz to fit the 2 of us into one. We have perfected the art of Porta Potty Use. They're also very hot and stuffy, but sometimes have great things to lick on the floor. Mom says that is disgusting and I should never, ever kiss her again.

2. Grass is cooler than pavement. Even if you have a tent for shade, if you're going to spend a few hours on pavement, a blanket to lay on is going to be your best friend.

3. A wet blanket is even friendlier.

4. A fan focused on the wet blanket you're laying on is definitely the friendliest.

5. People are nice. They love petting me. I love being petted. Most of the time. Some people are weird, even to dogs.

6. Festivals have amazing food like ice cream and cheese fries. Mom and dad share these with me because I'm a good boy, but sometimes, as we're walking to a Porta Potty Cramming Session, I can find great things like cheese fries just lying on the ground. Mom is trying to teach me a new command called LEAVE IT.

7. I have no idea what LEAVE IT means. I doubt I ever will.

8. I get to meet fun people at festivals, like monkeys and Big Foot.

9. Monkeys are fascinating, but mom and the money man didn't want us to get close enough to find out exactly how fascinating.

10. I get to see unusual things at festivals like UFOs and unicycles and llamas.

11. Llamas don't like dogs. And they hiss to alert their people (and everything else) that an intruder is nearby.

12. UFOs are indifferent to dogs. They don't hiss.

Line up: Flag, ambulance sign, flag, weird brown acorn that is actually a replica of a UFO that crash landed right in that town. (So the story goes.) That UFO is rather indifferent to dogs. That's kind of polite of it.

13. Big Foot is a pretty chill guy, too. He's kind of a loner, living in his own bubble world. I'm not sure he noticed me.

Big Foot, walking right on by. Thankfully he didn't kick me. Or step on me.

14. Fireworks and festivals go hand in hand. Fireworks are fun, because that means there are a lot of people, and a lot of people means a lot of food can potentially drop on the ground.

15. Dachshunds are barky people. They talk about everything, loudly, all the time.

16 Dachshunds are fun to chase. Mama says it's bad manners and so I decided to ignore them the rest of my life. They are now dead to me.

17. French people come in all shapes and sizes, apparently.

18. I enjoy riding horses. Who knew?

Concrete horses DO totally count as horseback riding. Mush, steed.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Have You Ever Thought About...

Sometimes you just have to give a shout out to those who do bark worthy things. PACT for Animals is one of those organizations who deserve recognition. We met PACT for Animals when we were at BlogPaws this spring, and had the opportunity to chat with them for a bit and learn about what their organization does.

We are a military family here. Dad was in the Air Force long before I ever came on the scene, and dad's brother has served over 20 years in the Air Force as well. We know firsthand that sometimes personal sacrifices must be made in order for the United States to remain a free nation. Sacrifices such as moving away from family and friends, or moving to a state (or country) that you just don't want to live in. Those are the things one would expect when they sign up for the military, and the soldiers willingly make these sacrifices anyway, because they have a very important job to do. But they have other sacrifices to make as well, like sometimes having to leave pets behind.


And yet, this happens far too often. Dogs and cats can't go to war when a soldier is deployed. When dad was sent to Alaska, mom's horse couldn't go with them. He wasn't deployed; simply stationed at an inconvenient place to take a large animal. Thankfully, mom was able to find someone to care for her horse for a few years while she was gone, and they were reunited when mom and dad moved back.

PACT for Animals does this very same thing. When those in the military are deployed, or if anyone (military or civilian) is hospitalized and has nobody to care for their pets, PACT steps in and finds families to foster them until they can be reunited with their owners again. This is one of the best organization I've heard of in a long time. This keeps pets from going to shelters or being euthanized. This allows owners to keep their beloved pets and not be forced to give them up due to circumstances that are out of their control.

PACT for Animals provides emergency foster care for pets of people in hospitals or military personnel. They are a nation, non-profit organization that personally connects life-saving foster placements through a pre-screened foster network. They do all the work, from finding a home that can take the pet, to getting the pet there and making sure they can stay, to helping with the heartwarming reunion at the end. This minimizes stress and concern on the individual needing the services.

This coming weekend, when you have some down time, watch some of the PACT for Animals You Tube reunion videos. You might want to keep a tissue handy, too.

PACT for Animals does good work. I give them a hearty 4-paws up in the Things To Bark About department. But they can't continue to do good work without the help and support of amazing people behind the scenes, too. These people donate funds or even volunteer to foster. If this is something you want to help with (because you never know when you could be hospitalized and in need of these services yourself), feel free to check out their website to see how you can help.

Now go hug your pet, because you're not faced with an emergency situation where you have to give up your most faithful friend.

boy with Down syndrome hugging a french bulldog in the fall landscape
My boy, hugging our girl, Margo. That boy loves dogs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Drool Worthy Things

We got a super fun box of goodies in the mail last week. We love getting super fun boxes of goodies in the mail, because WHO DOESN'T? This one contained things that made me just sit down and scratch behind my ears, because why would anyone send us a box with cat food in it?

And that very same day, mom came home with those baby cats.

So the kittens have been eating good, with Wellness providing them some great nutrients at the start of their life here. I have to say that this whole kitten business isn't sitting right with me. I love kittens. I do. I love to chase them. They look like so much fun to interact with that way. But mom says chasing kittens is strictly forbidden and she watches me closer than I watch the kittens.

The other day, I was drooling from the strain of Not Chasing Kittens, because I wanted to do that so badly, but wanted to make mom happy, too. Stress will make you do very ugly things sometimes. Frenchies aren't known for drool strings, but they can happen to anyone. Obviously.

Turns out, those kitties aren't the only ones who got super fun things in the large box that came in the mail. Sometimes mom likes to surprise me with things, and that's just what she was saving that big box of goodies for. Mom and I were on a weekend adventure together, and she took some of the goodies from that box for me to snack on. Sometimes when I'm away from home, I don't eat. While I'm very, very happy to be spending one-on-one time with mom, I'm also a wee bit afraid that I'll never get to go home again and see Jill and Margo, or my boys, or my house, OR ANYTHING, so I don't eat because of the stress. Mom likes to take treats that are going to tempt me into forgetting the fact that I'm not at home so that I don't starve to death or collapse from malnutrition.

It's so nice to know that she cares.

Wellness sent some canned dog food. Canned is a silly term since it wasn't a can but a plastic box, but saying a Plasticed Food was sent is even sillier. It was a wet food. Let's go with that. And it was SO delicious. Yes, I ate it. Who wouldn't? Nothing will make a dog drool like wet food will. (Besides kittens. Obviously.)

And besides the wet food, there were also treats and dry dog food in the big box of fun that arrived on our doorstep. So the kittens didn't get All The Things! They, too, have been snacking on treats, and have graduated up to hard food, so we're sharing like interests. Mom says that's a good thing; sharing. But she says that we shouldn't share food because kitty food is designed for kitties and dog food is designed for pups.

Mom has me on The Honest Kitchen food here, but I love when she mixes in some things like the Wellness kibble. It is healthy and adds something different to my food, and we all like different, don't we? Dogs don't have the luxury of buffet tables like the 2-leggers do, so we take variety anywhere we can find it. Mixing healthy and healthy is good!

So how about you? What food are you currently loving?

cream colored french bulldog

Monday, July 20, 2015

Just Keeping It Cool

Because it's July, it's going to be hot. That's a given, no matter where you live. Most climates that get heat are equipped to deal with it and have a wonderful invention called air conditioning that can seriously be a pup's best friend in summertime. Climates that are cold are equipped to deal with that, too, with things like insulation to keep the heat inside homes. We have the latter, and for good reason. We live in the cold. It does get hot here, though, a collective 3 weeks per year. Once you take your sweatshirt off after the July 4th fireworks, you can expect things to warm up.

Mental note: Mom needs to make me a 4th of July sweatshirt. One with stars and stripes on it, or in red, white and blue colors. Get on that, Mom!

So when it gets hot, and your home doesn't have AC to help you function, there are tons of things you can do to help cool off.

1. Get a cooling mat. We have a few here. They come in various sizes, and ours are specifically fitted to our crates to help keep us cool at night. Laying on them is great as it cools your chest region, where your heat originates from.

Note: We hate our cooling mats. Mom hates the fact that we hate them. While we will lay on the door mat, the gel pad at the kitchen sink or the Batman costume that the boy left lie on the floor, we will not lay on a cooling mat, no matter how hot it is or how much mom says LAY and STAY. We will inch off of it or shove it aside into a rumpled heap in our crate. 

2. Puppy pools. These, too, are genius for cooling off in. Something very shallow with water to get in and splash, or to simply lay there and cool off. Mom bought a kiddie swimming pool. She got the heavy plastic kind and not the inflatable kind, because toe nails can (and most likely will) pierce the thin plastic and you'll be left with nothing more than a puddle of water in the center of a deflated plastic waste of money.

Note: We hate pools. We won't voluntarily get into our pool no matter how hot it is outside. Mom is not happy that we will lay by the pool, panting profusely, and refuse to simply step in and cool off. Jill will stay there, as if afraid to move, if mom places her in the water. Margo is happy enough to take a drink while there before jumping right out, but I can't wait to get out as quickly as I can because I just know that mom will attempt to break out the shampoo if I stay there long enough. Large public outdoor baths aren't my thing.

3. Frozen things. A frozen banana, cut into small chunks, ice cubes, frozen homemade dog treats... anything frozen helps us cool off just like a popsicle makes you feel better, too.

Note: Mom refuses to give us frozen treats. She said we'll simply chase it around like a play toy and make a mess. She bases this on the fact that we chase ice cubes around the floor and leave a wet trail that everyone steps in. We have never actually tried eating an ice cube. They are too much fun to play with. Who eats toys? Besides Margo.

4. Cooling bandannas or vests. Mom is actually contemplating this for extreme measures in the event that one of us gets too hot on an adventure. A cooling vest is filled with gel packs that would help lower body temperature. A bandanna has gel beads that absorb water. Wet it, chill it, wear it.

5. Go find a cool spot in your favorite woods, and wade in the creek. This is always the best option.

cream french bulldog wading in a creek in pennsylvania laurel highlands state park

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Black & White Sunday

cream french bulldog in black and white photo

Just checking in to be sure that your weekend has been as fabulous as you'd hoped it would be.

THK Winner!

Thank you to all who entered to win a free box of The Honest Kitchen. Amy Orvin has been chosen as the winner, and her dogs will be gifted with a 4 lb. box of Embark from The Honest Kitchen. Congrats, Amy!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Dethroned By Fluff

We have cats here, and I love cats. I love the way they run when they see me so that I can chase them, because chasing things is very fun. Mom says chasing things isn't good manners, though, so I have to do this when she's not watching.

She always seems to be watching me. It's like she can read my mind.

One cat was lost last year, so we have one cat left here. This cat should be renamed Pesty instead of Percy, because now he wants to be my BFF. This is not right in the dog world. Dogs chase cats and cats run. Percy forgot the rules and instead either sits there, not playing the game, or worse, he rubs up against me as if he likes me. I mean, I am a likable guy, but I much prefer the game of tag than the cuddle snuggle thing he invented. My games rock. His don't so much.

So yesterday mom went away in the car without me, and came home with 2 baby cats. She won't actually let me near them, but they sure look like baby cats to me. They smell like them, too. Mom said they have to get used to the 2-leggers and us dogs before I can actually interact with them.

Mom has them in a crate in her workshop in the basement, because it's quiet down there. I get to go to the workshop, so I can look at them. Mom says it's not polite to stare, but I kind of wonder when they can come out to play. Playing with those babies would be so fun, right? I got to sniff them when the family was playing with them, and they definitely smell like cats, even if they're babies. I was very polite, too. Mom said she was proud of me.

Before mom left to pick up the kittens, she got a box in the mail from Wellness TruFood. It had CAT FOOD in it. Boxes that come in the mail should contain dog food, not cat food. Two cats come into the house and they take over that quickly? This isn't right. I'M BEING DETHRONED BY FELINES. And their food smelled super yummy, too. I know it tasted yummy because those kittens, who didn't eat anything all day, snarfed up that great smelling canned food really fast.

fluffy kittens eating being watched by french bulldog

They didn't even share. They have zero manners. So this is how I'm repaid for being polite to them when we were playing? Next time they're out playing, I'm going to be in their cage licking their bowl. Mom won't notice, right?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Honesty Is My Thing

So that whole thing where mom changed my food to The Honest Kitchen hasn't been an easy transition. I'm not going to lie. I've barked about how I didn't really love the food at first, and how I really just don't even like carrots at all.

Thankfully THAT stage is behind us. In fact, I now have decided that The Honest Kitchen is super good food, so at least mom and I agree on that point. Who can go wrong with human-grade food, though? It's next thing to getting table scraps for every meal. I'm lobbying that the next step is for us to sit at the table when we eat, just like our people do.

The largest hurdle I'm currently facing is training mom to feed me. In our home, we've always had the free-choice bowl of food out. Since nobody has indulged to the point of excess, it was never an issue. Because of this handy feeding system, mom is not in the habit of feeding dogs at regular times.

And by regular, I mean morning and evening. I'm not even talking about the same hour daily. I just want breakfast and dinner. Is that really too much to ask?

I've had to train mom to feed me. The training I do of the humans is ongoing, let me tell you. Mom keeps my food dish on top of my crate, so when I'm hungry, I go to the crate and look at the dish sitting on top of it. Since mom and I are connected on deep levels, she instinctively knows that I'm hungry when I do this.

Margo decided she'd do this, too, because she wanted my food.

red french bulldog sitting in crate begging for food to be put in her dish

So really, I'm not only training the people here, I'm training the girls, too. I'm in charge of so much here that I should probably get a raise. At least 5 biscuits a day, right? Mom is rather stingy with treats, if I'm going to be bluntly honest. Which, obviously, I am.

So that bowl gets filled twice daily now, on a regular basis, because I have successfully trained mom to feed me breakfast and dinner every single day without fail. I thought I'd have to pass out at her feet a few times to get her to take notice that I was starving, but thankfully she caught on to the bowl-stare quicker than I hoped. She's kind of smart sometimes. Smart pet parents rock.

Just when I thought I was being all Top Dog and was lording it over the fact that I got specialized food and the girls didn't, mom started feeding them The Honest Kitchen, too. She says she experimented with me because of my allergies, and wanted to see a difference in things like energy levels and what not in comparison to the rest of the pack. I know she secretly just likes me best and wanted to spoil me in front of the girls, but of course she can't admit that out loud.

So now the girls get The Honest Kitchen in their own special bowls in their own crates, both morning and evening. How handy for them that I already trained mom to feed us regularly. They have no idea how real my struggle is.

Jill, the fawn frenchie that eats everything that doesn't eat her first (hey, I AM keeping it real, remember?), scarfs her food down so quickly that she probably doesn't even taste it. She has zero appreciation for the finer things in life. Margo is a bit more ladylike in her approach to snarfing. She politely cleans her bowl every meal, and looks forward to getting the next one, too.

But because the girls are now being treated as equals to me, I had to up my game. If my dog food has to be the same as everyone else's, then I get to choose what treats are going to be up to my standards. Not just anything will do for me, you know? I'm that kind of special.

Mom says I'm just a pampered little man who will have a very rude awakening some day when the super good treats run out and she refuses to buy more. I think she just like to humble me on occasion. She mumbled something about a swollen head, but I don't even know what that means.

Don't forget that you can WIN a FREE box of The Honest Kitchen food for yourself! Just enter below, and the winner will be announced next week. If you haven't tried THK yet, you can get a FREE sample by clicking the link on the sidebar over there.

cream french bulldog eating The Honest Kitchen food wearing Darla Janes dog collar starfish

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Six Steps To Teaching "Fetch"

My boy was abandoned by his brothers this week when they went to camp, and my boy was left at home with mom and dad and Becky. He was the lone boy, and he was pretty bored with life. I tried my best to help him be entertained, because I'm a great friend that way. We played fetch a lot this week.

I taught my boy how to fetch quite a while ago. You can train your people to fetch, too! Here are the easy instructions:

1. Bring a favorite toy to your person. This helps them realize that you want to engage in play with them.

2. People naturally want to throw things, so this is the easy part. If you'll watch them, you'll know that they throw things in the trash, throw things at spiders, throw balls to each other, throw things across rooms to each other to catch... Throwing comes naturally to them, so if you get a toy they like, they'll eventually develop an overwhelming desire to throw it. If the first toy doesn't get their attention, try another. Eventually you'll find one they love, and they'll throw it.

3. Once your person throws the toy, run after it. They love this part. It really makes them happy to see you run after things they throw. It goes back to that love of throwing. They like to see others appreciate a good throw, too.

4. Stand by the toy to mark the spot for them. Remain firmly in place until they come fetch the toy. If you move, they may lose it, and the game needs to be started over from #1 again.

5. If your person doesn't understand why you're standing at the toy, you may need to pick it up and take it back to them on occasion. This will show them what they're supposed to do. And just to keep them interested longer, you might want to pick it up and return it to them every 8 throws or so to keep them from getting too tired. People only have half the legs we do, so they tire easily. 

6. Sometimes it's fun to run to the toy, mark where it is, and then run back to your person. This way you can race each other to fetch it since you both know where it is now. I find this is my favorite way to interact with my boy when we play fetch, but you'll have to decide what works best for your person. Each one is different, you know.

And above all, HAVE FUN. Remember, your people have to leave you at some point through the day to work, so make the most of the time that you have with them!

cream french bulldog face close up

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

You Caption It

cream french bulldog sneezing in lawn

You know what this should have been? A Wordless Wednesday post. Considering that it was technically posted at 39 minutes before midnight, it IS a Wordless Wednesday post.

Pretend, when you read it on Thursday, that it's still Wednesday, okay?

Except with all this wording going on, it's hardly a Wordless Wednesday post now, huh? Problem solved. I'm a stellar problem solver like that.

Back to the topic at hand. How would YOU caption this photo?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I'm So Titled, Which Is Different Than Being Entitled

Mom has been wanting to get me tested for the Canine Good Citizen certificate, because she has plans to take me to schools, nursing homes and hospitals. I like the sound of this plan, because it means I can spend more time with her instead of being left behind when she goes to these places.

It has been an uphill battle to get me tested. Mom first checked the AKC website list of approved testers in our area, and was surprised that there were 2 listed within 15 miles. (That's super close, for our rural area.) She emailed them, and they never responded. In fact, they still haven't, and it's been over a month. Kind of not cool. Back to the list to email more people, and call PetCo. Mom is now awaiting email responses from 4 people about the CGC test, and is wondering if these people should be reported to the AKC for not being available anymore. A 5th person said they could definitely do the test, and asked all sorts of questions to be sure I was ready, but after the answer of "Louie wasn't trained anywhere, I did the training myself" by mom, the emails stopped.

PetCo #1 said they did the test and it was $100. Mom questioned that, and reiterated that we only needed the test done and not the class, and the employee said yes, it was $100.

PetCo #2 said that I had to enroll in a class first even though I was already trained. Mom questioned this, saying it was a waste of time and money, and they put her on hold and tracked down a manager who said that the AKC requires that a dog have proof of taking a class before it can test for the CGC certificate.

Mom hung up, logged onto the AKC, and confirmed that they lied. My vet recommended someone, so mom called her, and she referred us to a local who was a certified tester. This was one of the people we were awaiting an email from, so now we're awaiting a return phone call as well as an email. Fun, huh?


PetCo #1's trainer called out of the blue the other day. She apologized for the delay in getting back with us. (How kind!) She said she could do the test for us and it would cost $10. There would be no classes involved, either. So that's what mom and I did today. I went to the pet store, walked with mom up and down the aisles, shopped, met other dogs and people, waited with the kind employee while mom checked out with a Steelers jersey for me (not part of the test, but mom was multi-tasking while being away from me for 3 minutes), and I got brushed, too.

At the end of the test, the kind lady had to drop some things to be sure I wasn't going to freak the heck out. She went outside the enclosure that mom and I were in, and dropped a metal food dish. I perked up my ears, because I KNOW WHAT THAT SOUND MEANS. Then she dropped a large book. I looked at mom and yawned. When she dropped the folding chair, I looked up to see what fell, but then realized it wasn't my job to pick it up. The lady was super impressed, because she'd not seen a dog be so calm in the midst of such noise.

"We have 5 kids," mom said. "There's nothing you can do that our dogs haven't been subjected to already." And mom is so right. Life in my home is the best social training ever.

So it's official, guys. I have been certified as Better Trained Than Most Kids. Including the boy that I love so very much, but is also the most stubborn little 12 year old ever. He doesn't even sit when he's told without treats involved. True story. Mom is wondering if there are obedience classes for little boys with Stubborn Issues.

cream french bulldog sitting with his boy with Down syndrome

Monday, July 6, 2015

King Louie

I'm known as King Louie around here. My name is St. Louis Caramel Creme, named for the state I originated from, and mom nicknamed me Louie because that's a mouthful to say when she's calling me in from my duty outside. I was Louie for a whole month here, until dad renamed me.

Mom and dad drove a 32-hour round trip in 2 days to bring me home, because they loved me so much. Funny thing is that they were there to get my brother, but fell in love with me instead. So that's how I came to live in Pennsylvania instead of Missouri, because mom believed in love at first sight.

I decided to reciprocate the love by attaching myself to mom. Literally. If I wasn't touching her, I wasn't happy. She was my security and I didn't want her to get away. And then mom tripped over me while trying to make dinner one night, and broke my leg. I didn't even cry, because I didn't want mom to feel bad, but I couldn't walk on it the next morning so mom rushed me to the vet and I got to have x-rays and I was loved and petted and held and snuggled and realized that I love the vet's office SO MUCH. It's one of my favorite places to go. Those x-rays showed that I needed a cast on my leg, and that was a good time had by nobody at all. Especially me.

cream french bulldog broken leg with a cast
I was the cutest little broken dog ever.

That day, the vet said that it would be a while before he could cast my leg, and since he's a family friend and also lives very near us, he said he'd bring me home. He didn't, actually, but instead asked the new vet to bring me home. She lives closer, which is odd since we live in a very rural area and nobody lives near anyone. Turns out, she lives at the end of our road. I decided that she was super nice, and she fell in love with me, too. I get to see her a lot now, and I love this.

The next week when I was at the clinic getting my cast checked out, the vet said he'd bring me home again since it would take a while for x-rays. Mom had to go away, but dad was home, so that was cool. My vet brought me in the house and gave me to dad, and we snuggled for a bit until mom came home. In the meantime, dad texted mom and said, "the king has arrived."

Mom was kind of confused by that. She had to wonder if dad was taking some of my pain meds for kicks. He wasn't. He clarified the text by saying, "King Louie. He's home."

And that's how come the family calls me King Louie, because dad and mom spoiled me out of guilt, and the vet clinic staff spoiled me out of love, and now I get pretty much anything that I want. Life is good here, even if I did have to wear a cast to gain the title of King.

**** Don't forget to enter to win a FREE box of The Honest Kitchen dog food, because YUM! *** Follow the clicks on the widget, and/or comment, and you're in! You can also get a FREE sample of THK sent to you by clicking on the THK logo on the side bar.

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Sunday, July 5, 2015

An Honest Evaluation

Mom changed my food to The Honest Kitchen last month, and we decided to talk together about the journey here. We'll feature updates on how things are going for us with the change so that you'll know what to expect if you change your best friend to a brand new food, too.

Some dogs don't do well with change, just like some people don't. Their digestive system just isn't equipped to handle different things and they get sick if they're changed too quickly. A slow transition is always smart, just in case. Nobody wants a case of Didn't Make It Outside-itis. Or worse, Soiled Mom's White Carpet-itis. Slow change. Remember that.

Mom knew that my digestive tract is pretty much galvanized because nothing seems to upset my tummy. At least food-wise. If mom leaves me for a long time, however, my nerves get the best of me and things get pretty loose, if you know what I mean. But because I can basically eat carrion and wash it down with murky lake water, she just changed me over cold turkey to The Honest Kitchen. And trust me, it's FAR healthier than carrion and lake water. Remember, THK is human-grade food. FINALLY. It's about time some amazing company recognized that we need good food, too.

While I loved the samples that mom got at BlogPaws for me, the recipe she chose when she ordered wasn't my favorite. My vet recommended a novel protein, which means a meat that isn't normally found in dog foods like turkey or duck or fish (and THK has all of those), and mom wanted a grain-free. Both of these were to help clear up allergies they suspect I have because my eyes are watery and red rimmed. A lot of dogs are allergic to the protein in their food, my vet said, and mom knows that a lot of dogs are also allergic to grains.

Embark (the grain-free turkey recipe) seemed to clear up whatever was bothering me, so that was a definite 4-paws up. This is a not-so-flattering picture of me before starting the diet for my allergies. Mom caught me sleeping. At least I wasn't drooling.

cream french bulldog sleeping close up head

And this is a picture of mom photo bombing me, after 3 weeks on Embark. Don't be distracted by her face in the background, because it's me you need to be staring at. Look deeply into my eyes... They're beautiful, aren't they? That's what allergy-free looks like; pure handsomeness.

cream french bulldog selfie with owner photo bombing in the background close up face nose wrinkles

The problem was, I didn't like the food. The other recipes I'd tried were mouth wateringly delicoius, but Embark is not my favorite. It's green for starters. Every 2-legger knows the greens aren't the most tasty foods there are, so why would they put them in dog food? Probably because there'd be less for them to eat if they made the dogs eat them. Turns out, we don't like green veggies either. Or at least I don't. And I especially don't like carrots.

I cleaned my bowl. Honest!

I know that THK makes super yummy food, because I'd had other recipes from them, so I decided to protest the fact that I was being force fed carrots in pureed green veggies. (Who even cares that there was turkey in it.) I stopped eating. Mom panicked and called the good people at The Honest Kitchen, who insist on being called during such emergencies. (Their phone number is right on the box!) They were super helpful in giving tips to get me to eat again. They even have a place on their website with helpful tips for problems like this, because some dogs just don't like change at all. Mom was very happy with the helpful and friendly customer service she got. I wasn't so much. They didn't offer to send steaks in place of the carrots and green veggies.

Mom chose the option of mixing some treats with my food. These were treats like freeze dried chicken or Jones Natural Chews taffy sticks. They're the only kind I'll eat, because I have decided that I want to have a very refined palate. It's what all the fancy dogs have. I ate the treats, and ended up having to eat the food, too, because mom is super good at mixing them in and not just sprinkling them on top. I'm still not a huge fan of the carrots in green veggies, but sometimes when the other dogs are wanting my food, I just eat it really quickly because even if it's not my favorite, it's MINE and they're not going to get it.

Mom is very happy with how the food cleared up my allergies, but she said I get to try another food now because she's not sure if I was allergic to the protein or the grain. We're going to try the whole-grain turkey next, so stay tuned for that installment of What Louie Likes To Eat.

And don't forget, I'm giving away a FREE 4lb box of Embark to one lucky winner! (Not mine. I ate that one. Yes, all of it.) If you have allergies, or just want to try a super healthy diet, this is a great food for you! Be sure to enter below for a chance to win.

If you want FREE food in the meantime, click the Honest Kitchen logo at the top of the sidebar. Simply choose what food you want, fill in your name and address (so they know where to send it) and it'll show up in your mailbox in a few days!

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Humiliation Knows No Bounds

Remember that time I went boating with the family? In dog years, it was like 6 months ago, so it's been a while.

Mom says it was just last month.

While we were boating, she put a life jacket on me that was designed for 2-legged kids, and while it would have saved my life had I been a complete clutz and fallen into the lake, it did pinch a bit behind my elbows.

Mom says to stop making fun of her clutzy ways. I'm not. I swear.

cream french bulldog wearing an infant life jacket to go boating

After we came home that day, mom had the brilliant idea to get a doggie life jacket for me so that I could become best friends with boating. I'm not sure why she thought this would be a good idea, because I'm thinking it's a bad one from start to finish.

The life jacket came in the mail, and I was justified in my bad idea thing right from the start.

cream french bulldog wears an oversized life jacket ill fitted to go boating

I'm sure you've seen this photo circulating around the interwebs, because mom doesn't seem to get that dogs suffer humiliation just like people do. I mean, is that thing to keep me afloat if I am pushed off a boat, or to blast me into space for an orbit around the moon? Honestly, it's ridiculous.

Mom agreed, so she sent it back. THANK GOODNESS. I won that battle.

And then another one came in the mail yesterday. Same color, same style, only a little smaller, but not a lot smaller. 

cream french bulldog wears a life jacket to go boating summer safety

The problem is that frenchies aren't made for off-the-rack clothing. We're specially built, so things like coats and life jackets just don't fit us well. That's why mom makes custom fitted dog coats for specially built dogs like us, but sadly nobody makes custom fitted life jackets. I am forced to look like a rocket while boating, because mom likes to make me suffer humiliation while trying to kill me. Clearly. 

I was a bit appalled to see that she kept this one and didn't shove it back into the box and return it, but then I heard her say that the local state park won't allow dogs on the boats they rent out. Perhaps things are in my favor after all, huh? I'm going to keep my paws crossed that I never have to use this thing.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Today was a fun day. Mom and I went for a hike in the state park because it wasn't raining. I had such a fun time exploring, and tried to get mom to run with me but she wouldn't. I know it's because she's afraid of losing to me. I'm that fast.

Mom says it's because she's recovering from an injury. I'm still sure it's because I'm so much faster and she knows it.

After we got back from our walk, the big brown truck came. It blared it's horn a few times to let us know it was there, so OF COURSE we had to bark at it. The big brown truck brings all sorts of fun things to our house, like boxes of dog food for me and candle supplies for mom and shoes for the teens and car parts for dad. I like when my stuff comes best, of course.

Today, the driver of the big brown truck gave me and the girls each a treat. I LOVE THAT MAN. I mean, I've not met him before, but who wouldn't love someone who gives you treats the very first time you meet? He's a nice man.

But then when I took my biscuit somewhere private to eat it (those girls may snarf theirs down and come get mine!), I realized that it was NOT a Dr. Harvey's treat. It was, in fact, a boxed dog biscuit.

Guys, come on. I have evolved past this stage. If it's not a dehydrated meat product or super yummy soft chew, I don't want it, okay? I appreciate all the good thoughts, but I've got refined tastes. A dog in my position has to be discriminating.

Mom says I'm just plain spoiled. Whatever that means.

french bulldog walking in laurel hill state park pennsylvania