Friday, September 30, 2011

$62.95 [Automatic Pet Feeder]

At some point during my morning routine, it is 7:30 am. At 7:30 am, depending on the day of the week, I may still be asleep. Or I may be awake in bed, playing with the animals. (We're so happy to see each other when we wake up.) I may be letting the dogs out. Or I may be in the shower. I may be kissing Kyler. I may be headed out the door.

But no matter what else is happening at that moment, at 7:30 am every day, the Petmate LeBistro Portion Control Automatic Pet Feeder deposits 1/4 cup of Wellness Healthy Weight Adult Cat Food into Lola's bowl. And at the sound of the very first few pieces of cat food dropping into the bowl, Lola is off. Jumps from wherever she is, runs full sprint, belly swaying, all the way to the automatic pet feeder. Sometimes she meows during the sprint.

How can we not make fat jokes?

Not amused.

Monday, September 26, 2011

$24.99 [Wedding Gift for Stella]

The human members of the clan traveled to Chicago, Illinois this past weekend for the wedding of my friend Le and her partner (now husband) Lindsey. Lola spent the weekend back in Brooklyn with her BFF the automatic pet feeder. Betelgeuse and Lulu spent the weekend boarded at Unleash Brooklyn, which was sad because in Chicago we stayed with Betel's first dog friend, Icarus (but not too sad because they will be reunited next week!).

On the day of the wedding, I was looking up information about the ceremony on Le and Lindsey's wedding website. This led to me to play around on their wedding registry. Even though I bought them a digital toaster off their registry months ago, I wanted to see what else was purchased because I'm curious and I have boundary issues.

As I scrolled down, there was something new on the registry that immediately caught my eye. Something I recognized from my own 2011 Halloween costume watch, but something that had not been on their registry when I bought the toaster...

The Animal Planet Raptor Dog Costume!!!

It's too much. In fact, this entire line of new Animal Planet dog costumes is too much. They are by far the best dog costumes on the market. I've been looking. (These costumes are so great that Betel and Lulu can't even wear them. Other NYC pups will definitely be wearing them, which would nix my chances of winning the costume contest.) Seriously, look at them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

$8.00 [Beer For You, Not For Your Dog]

Last weekend, Kyler and I participated in the fourth annual Brew N' Chew at The Diamond.  (For those of you who don't know, Kyler is a trained chef, an avid and award-winning homebrewer, and my life partner/partner-in-crime.)    Our homebrew and food pairing was Weizenbock (K's own recipe) and "Peanut-Butter Banana Cuties" (K's dog-approved recipe of homemade salted peanut butter and raspberry honey ice cream on a banana cookie sandwich).

We didn't win anything (but got good reviews!), but the event raised a couple thousand dollars for The Mark Project, so a good way to spend a Sunday.  Plus, I love The Diamond.  Because in addition to hosting events like the Brew 'N Chew, The Diamond is in my humble opinion the best dog-friendly bar in New York.* 

$0.02 [Betelgeuse v. Lulu]

This Internet rivalry is tearing them apart.

[Please note that Betelgeuse is the quintessential "ankle-biter".  This has been her fighting tactic since she was a tiny puppy -- it doesn't matter the size of the opponent.  This is probably a remnant of her sheep-herding ancestry, and now both Lulu and Kira fight that way, too.  Also, at 1:06, Lulu does the playbow, one of my very favorite dog stances.]

[Bonus fact about this second video:  Lulu is running back and forth through the closed screen door.]

$0.02 [Pets at Work]

I'm a junior lawyer at a big New York law firm.  That just means that I work a lot.  I spend more time in an office on the 32nd floor of a building in Midtown East than I do in my apartment in Brooklyn.  My office:

It has a lovely view of the East River, yes, but work is missing three keys to happiness:  Betelgeuse, Lulu, and Lola.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

$0.01 [Lulu Jump and Pray]

I give the people what they want, and the people want Lulu.

$0.02 [2011 Halloween Costume Watch]

The weather has cooled this weekend.  You know what that means?  Halloween is right around the corner.  Well, not really, but we have been thinking about Halloween costumes since November 1 of last year, so for us, Halloween is right around the corner.

Last year, Kyler and Betelgeuse dressed up as a chef and a lobster.  They were runners-up for the best "Group" costume in the District Dog Halloween Parade and Costume Contest in McGolrick Park here in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  See commentary on their costume ("absolutely adorable") and the winners here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

$15.00 [Bag with a Dog-Head Hole]

I have that thing that a lot of women have -- I really like bags.  I own purses, tote bags, reusable shopping bags, briefcases, suitcases, casual bags, fancy bags, backpacks, rucksacks, etc.  So what luck to have two tiny dogs who fit in bags.  The perfect reason to expand my bag arsenal.

Betelgeuse actually likes being in a bag.  She's cute and calm and never struggles to get out.  And she really likes being in a bag when she doesn't want to walk.  This happens in the summertime.  After walking a few miles on hot Brooklyn sidewalks, she will just stop and sit and look at you.  [Note: She may also stop walking when it's cold but only if the sidewalks are slushy or icy and her paws freeze.  She stops and sits like a squirrel, holding her front paws near her chest.]  When it comes to that, we're never prepared with an actual dog bag, so we just carry her or throw her in whatever bag we have on us to get her home.

It may be a backpack...

Or a reusable shopping bag...

Or a sling made out of a picnic blanket.  Or whatever.  She's basically fine in them, but since they are not made for dogs, she has trouble positioning herself so that body is in bag and head is out of bag.

To be better prepared for these every-now-and-again bouts of walk-refusal (and for those moments when you need to toss 'em in a bag for a short subway ride or to run into a store), I was in the pet products market for a lightweight, collapsible bag with a dog-head hole that I could carry in my purse or bag just in case she needed it.  So began the search that continues to this day.

I found the tote bag pictured below on Etsy.  It's a simple canvas tote bag with a dog-head hole.  Cheap, lightweight, collapsible, no ugly bone pattern, and not too girly (so that my more masculine half can carry her without feeling weird).  Plus the seller was super nice.  Perfecto!  Lu was sort of jealous of Betel's new whip.

Unfortunately (which is why I am not linking to the super nice Etsy seller), after the first washing, the stitching in several parts of the bag came undone, and now it has a bunch of holes in it.  $15.00 thrown in the animal money pit.

So I am still in the pet products market for a lightweight, collapsible bag with a dog-head hole -- handmade would be awesome, as long as it will last.  Non-handmade is OK, too, as long as it's not ugly.  It's surprisingly difficult to find a bag that fits my criteria.  I have my eye on this Wagwear Shopping Bag Carrier, but $104.00?  C'mon, really?

So I will keep looking until I find the right bag.  Until then, I can just use all the bags I already own, I guess.  But if you're a talented, crafty person reading this who can realize my vision on your sewing machine, email me and let me commission you to create the bag with a dog-head hole of my dreams.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

$0.00 [French Kittens at Work]

It's a freebie

I was having a bad day at work, and then my brother sent me this video, and my work day improved considerably.  In fact, the only way it could get better is if there were also French kittens who worked in my office, taking depositions, drafting contracts, BUYING FISH IN THE VENDING MACHINE, etc.

Via Jezebel.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

$0.02 [Portrait of the Author as a Young Babe]

Me?  Yes, I've always been this way.

(The author as a baby with cat, Secret.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

$3.44 [Puppy Tweets]

Two questions:  What was your least awesome impulse pet purchase? and How crazy are you really?

One answer: Puppy Tweets, in pink. 

In my thirty seconds of reflection before ordering Puppy Tweets on, I decided this would be an excellent purchase.  Puppy Tweets is an electronic dog tag with a sound and motion sensor that sends messages to your computer, then tweets to you.  A device that combines two things I love: dogs and the Internet.  Also, I'm a lawyer and I'm in my office in Manhattan during most waking hours, so I figured this would keep me informed throughout the day about Betelgeuse's comings and goings back in Brooklyn.  And finally, the retail price is $29.99, and it was on sale for $3.44 on Amazon at the time, so I thought I was getting a great deal.

Puppy Tweets, with all its potential, was a major fail.  For one, it turns out that Betelgeuse didn't have anything interesting to say.  The device comes preloaded with 500 tweets.  Betel wore it for one day, tweeted about sixteen times -- which you can see here -- and then I decidedly unfollowed her and removed the Puppy Tweets device and put it in a drawer.  Sorry, Puppy Tweets, but my dog does not like Keanu Reeves, and I don't want to read about her munching on her hindquarters.  Also, the website and packaging report that the device detects movement or barking and tweets accordingly, but really, the tweets came at seemingly random intervals (she tweeted that her nose was stuck in a birdfeeder when we were watching her sleep).  And finally, the device is huge on a small dog, and Betel kept hitting Lulu (who was merely our foster dog at the time) in the face with it when they were wrestling, and Betel didn't even tweet about it.

So Puppy Tweets was a flop, but please don't think for one second that I learned my lesson.  I have had Uncle Milton's Pet's Eye View Digital Camera, which hangs from your dog or cat's collar and takes photos from its point of view, on my wishlist for months.  If it goes on sale, you're going to have the pleasure of seeing a photostream of Lola's automatic pet feeder as she spends most of the day staring at it, waiting for it to dispense, or Lulu's p.o.v. of her various efforts to "bury" bones and treats in the couch cushions.  I'm sure you can't wait.

Update:  I have been informed that some of you actually like Betelgeuse's Puppy Tweets twitter feed.  If you would like me to reconnect the device so that you can follow her absurd Twitter feed written by Mattel employees, leave a comment here or send an email.  Anything for the fans.

Friday, September 9, 2011

$499.99 [FaceTime]

Buy an iPad 2 so that your pets can FaceTime with other animals and you can take screenshots to memorialize it.  My iPad was a birthday gift, but this moment is worth every penny of that $499.99.

Pictured here:  A FaceTime convo between Future Cat in Columbia, South Carolina and Betelgeuse in Brooklyn, New York.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

$0.00 [Celebrity Look-Alike Series]

Part Three of the Celebrity Look-Alike Series (Betel and the Lulu)

I wish I knew how to add audio to this post so that the Pinky and the Brain theme song could be playing as you look at this.

The other posts in the Celebrity Look-Alike series can be accessed here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

$0.00 [Eight-Second Doggie Door]

The summer's heat has faded, which means we can keep the windows and back door open.  Lulu has converted the broken screen door into her own personal doggie door.  She just started letting herself in and out.  $0.00 for the ultimate in doggie relief convenience: not only do we not need to walk her now, we don't even need to get up and open the door.

What about the other pets?  Betelgeuse is too scared of the wooden door frame to walk through the screen.  Part of her charm, I guess.  Lola, however, will use the makeshift doggie door when no one is looking.  We'll catch her peering in at us from the outside of the back window, which is always good for a laugh.

$72.99 [Transdermal Medication]

Since the rat poison debacle, Lola and Betelgeuse have been on Vitamin K1 supplements twice a day.  The supplements are beef-flavored tabs, which went down easy on days 1 and 2, but every successive day we have to get more creative to make sure they go down the hatch.

Medicating pets is a pain -- I say medicating pets, but I mostly mean pilling cats.  For any of my readers who own cats, I am sure you've been spammed the "how to pill a cat" joke in the past.*  Pilling a cat sucks, and if you are currently having to do it, this post is for you:  It's about my former cat Kitty (R.I.P., Kitty), the sweetest cat,** and a treatment alternative to pills that you want to know about.

 (I love this photo of Kitty.  It features four of my favorite things: an animal with its eyes closed, a 1970s color palette, presents, and - duh - Kitty.)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

~$3.50 [Deflated Playball]

We found this purple 10" Hedstrom inflatable playball in an alley near the East River in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  Betelgeuse took to it right away.


We could never tell if she loved it or hated it.  It was hilarious.  For the last two months, she would bounce this ball off her paws or nose and chase it around the backyard, yapping furiously.  Until last Friday. 

Our latest and greatest doggie houseguest, Bella, arrived on Friday.  And she brought along her giant pitbull jaws and 50 lbs. of muscle.  Within fifteen minutes of her arrival, the reign of the purple ball was over.

We didn't buy the first one, so I shouldn't complain about having to buy the second one.  Except that I will anyway.  These balls are available for purchase for about three or four dollars in big-box and grocery stores throughout most of America.  But Brooklyn is not most of America, and these wire racks are just not going to fit in a bodega.

Unfortunately, on the Internet, the smallest quantity I can find is a 24-pack for $45.99.  Even though the idea of Betelgeuse in the backyard with 24 of these balls is amazing, the reality is a little nutty.  So we'll have to wait for our next trip out of New York to replace the ball.  And then we'll have to try remember to put it up when Bella's teeth come over.

$6.99 [Invincibles Purple Lizard]

There are a lot of dog toys in my apartment.  And I picked most of them.  But Kyler picked this one.

And because his brain is at least one part puppy, this is by far the most popular dog toy in the apartment.  Everydog loves the 6" Kyjen Invincibles Purple Lizard Squeaker Dog Toy.  It has such a hilarious squeak, and it's claim to fame is that it keeps squeaking even when punctured.

Our current houseguest, Bella loves it.

Our prior houseguest, Cheska, loved it.

Lulu loves to secret play with it.  (The photo below has nothing to do with the lizard, but Lulu refuses to be photographed playing with a toy.)

And of course Betelgeuse loves it -- squeaking it, fetching it, chewing it, sleeping with it, whatever.

Cheska and Betelgeuse methodically chewed off most of the spikes in the lizard's crest, but true to the name "Invincibles Purple Lizard," he still squeaks just as good as ever.

$6.99 for the apartment's most popular, least destructible dog toy -- on sale for $5.94 this weekend at