Thursday, July 21, 2011

$103.95 [OllyDog Hugger]

OllyDog Hugger (in hunter green)

One of the many (many) carriers in our arsenal.  We purchased this carrier - designed by Ollydog Inc., a small company in Berkeley, California - for our cross-country roadtrip with Betelgeuse to bypass the "no dogs on trails" rule of many of our country's amazing national parks.  It comes in orange (pictured below) and green (which is the one we purchased from our local pet boutique).

This thing is great, and I have not found another carrier like it on the market.  Throwing a dog in a tote bag or sling for a subway ride or part of a hike is one thing, but hiking for miles with an 11 lbs. dog on your back is quite another.  That's where the support and comfort offered by the chest straps and wide shoulder straps on this carrier really stand out.  The hard bottom also seemed to be more stable and comfortable for Betelgeuse than some of our other bags that hug her body and can make her hot.  Bonus:  the dimensions are 15" x 7" x 17", which also make it carry-on friendly on most major airlines.

Only two complaints:  (1) for all the reasons that make this a great carrier when you must carry your dog (e.g., on a no-dogs-allowed hiking trail or in the airport), it is not the most convenient carrier to bring with you just in case you might want to carry your dog - it's just too big and bulky to carry while the pup walks on the ground; a collapsible tote bag is going to win that battle every time - and (2) I had some trouble making the straps tight enough for my smaller frame.  This second complaint was not one shared by my better half, who carried Betelgeuse in our OllyDog Hugger for most of our hot desert trek to the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.

She was a great park citizen to ride in this backpack all day.  To make it up to her, we also took her to Dead Horse Point State Park, which is a dog-friendly state park right down the road, where she could run up and down the trails and drink out of craters to her heart's content.

The OllyDog Hugger is $103.95 on sale at the linked online retailer, and even to the author of a blog called (over)budget pet, this is no small sum.  On a cost-per-use basis, we're not getting a great deal with this carrier, which we rarely use because the pups prefer to hit the trails with their paws, but when we did need it, it was a stand out.  It's extremely high quality for a pet product (which unfortunately are often made like crap), and I like supporting small businesses making quality products like OllyDog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

$140.00 [Anti-Fur Campaign]

Summer cuts for the pups at a local doggy spa, coming in at $140.00 total -- $60.00 for each cut, plus $10.00 gratuity for each cut.  The somewhat high (but mostly reasonable because this is New York) price tag gets you, from the doggy spa's website, "nail clipping, ear cleaning, anal gland expression, a rejuvenating bath with all natural shampoos and conditioner, and hair cut to your specifications." 

I am pleased overall with the haircuts because, duh, these are the cutest dogs ever -- they are much cooler and super cuddly sans fur, and plus I really hate trimming nails.  But while Betelgeuse's hair was definitely cut to our specifications, I cannot really say the same for Lulu.  We requested a lion cut, and she ended up looking sort of like a monkey.  A really really cute monkey, but still, a monkey is not a lion and I wish they had left more of her mane on her chest and neck.  But enough words.  It's time for pictures.

The full photo set is available here

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

$3.99 [SPOT Skinneeez for cats]

SPOT Skinneeez for cats, Exotic Series, Ostrich

Impulse buy from the drugstore for my overweight tabby, Lola, who loves to play. It is filled with catnip and reminds me of an almost-dead mouse, which is exactly how Lola likes her mice.

Also, the toy (pictured above on the right) is a miniature replica of one of Betelgeuse's favorite toys (pictured below): SPOT Mini Skinneeez stuffing-free dog toy, Exotic Series, 12.5" Ostrich. And I have a deep love for anything out-of-scale, whether miniature or disproportionately large.

The new cat toy is a big hit, with both Lola (who was batting it around under the kitchen table) and Betelgeuse (who I caught carrying it out to the backyard just now). $3.99 for loads of animal clan fun!

I highly recommend any and all of the Skinneeez dog toys, by the way. They squeak, which is a prerequisite for any plush dog toy I buy, but the best part (and the primary selling point) is that they are stuffing free. This is perfect for dogs who, like Betel, methodically destroy plush toys and eat the stuffing. (After she dismembered her triceratops and ingested its insides, she had an all-stuffing bowel movement on the sidewalk. It resembled a cloud more than a poop.) The Skinneeez toys really can't be destroyed. They're nice and floppy -- good for shaking or tug o' war -- and they come in a range of sizes to suit all dogs' jaws, from mini to large, and in lots of different "animals." My favorites are the fox, the hen, and the jungle cats!

$20.99 [Tidy Cat]

Purina Tidy Cats Scoop for Multiple Cats clumpable litter (in Instant Action or 24/7 Performance or certain of the Premium Scoop Varieties), 27 lbs. recyclable plastic pail

Lola is very particular about her bathroom habits.  For awhile I wasn't sure she pooped or peed at all because she was so secretive about it that I never saw her do it.  She prefers a large, uncovered, open (but preferably not top-entry) litter box.  And it's got to be impeccably clean and filled with an ample amount of Purina Tidy Cats Scoop for Multiple Cats clumpable litter.

I did not know how committed Lola was to this litter, or how particular she really was about her bathroom habits, until the clan and I moved to our second floor Brooklyn apartment.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

$0.02 []

All of my dreams have come true today. has officially launched.  Free 1-2 day shipping on orders $49.00 or more.  A large variety of products, and most importantly, Lola's favorite cat litter at a competitive price and delivered right to my door for free.  Living in Brooklyn, I've paid a lot more and dragged it a lot further.

It's too bad that I have to work today and cannot spend all day browsing this website and buying presents for the animals.  Presents quite unlike this aardvark, which Lola hates.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

$10.00 [The Great Outdoors]

Parking at Stokes State Forest on July 4, 2011 for a day of mostly dog-friendly hiking along the Kittatinny Mountain ridge.

I say "mostly dog-friendly" because the bugs were in no short supply, but I'm not sure these two really cared:

Betelgeuse is an excellent hiker, no matter what the terrain.  She is reminiscent of a little mountain goat, often climbing up and down rocks along the side of the trail just for the sake of climbing. 

Lulu holds her own, but she tires easily and is quite clumsy, so we throw her in Betelgeuse's old puppy sling every now and then (Outward Hound Pet Sling, $15.00) when she starts slowing down or when the terrain gets difficult.

$10.00 for a full day of fun and two dogs tired enough to sleep through the next twenty-four hours (including Independence Day fireworks).  Worth the money and the bugs.