Archive for the ‘equipment’ Category

Review and Giveaway: Buzz Guard Spray from Earth Heart

Here in Maine, the mosquito is often referred to as the State Bird. We don’t have the low-flying-aircraft-style skeeters that they have in NJ, but we do have an abundance of the nasty, quick, tiny ones that reallllly make their presence known when they swoop in and bite you. We’ve had a Mosquito Magnet for years, and some years it’s the only reason we can use our backyard in summer. For times when we’re away from the house, we’ve become connoisseurs of bug repellents for both humans and canines.

We’ve been fairly lucky bug-wise this season, thanks to the weird weather. The very dry weather in early spring helped eliminate some of the places where the nasty little buggers breed, and the heavy rains that followed probably washed away what was left. (Mosquito larvae can still stubbornly survive through drought conditions, even if you haven’t had a lot of rain locally — so there’s probably always a reason to worry about the spread of West Nile virus.) Now that we’re experiencing more normal weather in late July, though, the little bastards are coming back.
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Review and Giveaway: Earth Heart Travel Calm Natural Remedy Mist

Seamus loves dog sports, but the journey is not his reward.

Famous Seamus has never been a very good car traveler. He absolutely loves doing dog sports and has been a terrific competition buddy, but he just hates riding in the car. He paces around the crate. He whines. He barks at pedestrians and bicycles. He chews on the bars of the crate, even when more tempting things to chew are right in there with him. When a motorcycle passes by, he comes completely unglued. I’ve tried music, singing, talking to him, toys and treats to distract him, issuing training commands to sit and lie down, and even DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) spray. Only that last one has had much of an effect; when I use it, he only barks at motorcycles with chain drives and Harleys. He no longer barks at BMW motorcycles or other bikes with shaft drives. I suppose we’ll take progress wherever we can get it.


We were invited to try a bottle of Earth Heart Travel Calm natural remedy mist, to see if aromatherapy would help with Seamus’s travel issues. Like all of Earth Heart Inc.’s products, Travel Calm is made in the USA from pure essential oils and packaged in BPA-free spray bottles. When I opened the package, I nearly drifted away from the wonderful scent! Travel Calm contains essential oils of bergamot, tangerine, ginger, geranium, marjoram, and ylang ylang. Aromatherapy works well on me, so why not give it a try for Seamus?

I used the Travel Calm mist by spraying it lightly over the faux-fleece bed in my car’s travel crate, but there are multiple ways to use Earth Heart products. You can spray some on cotton balls to use as a sachet of sorts, spray your fingertips and then massage the dog’s ears and abdomen, or spray it on a blanket or the interior of the car. The formula is safe even for use on 8-week-old puppies.

Seamus didn’t turn into a car-riding angel overnight from using the spray, but I can honestly say that his level of anxiety has been ratcheted down by a noticeable degree. He will actually sit in the car during car rides, and he doesn’t drool quite as much. He’s 9; he’ll never be perfectly at home in the car, but any chance we can get to help him feel a little better is a win for everybody. I know I enjoyed traveling with the scent of Travel Calm in the car!

Earth Heart’s other formulas include Canine Calm, which helps dogs through stressful situations such as thunderstorms, grooming, and vet visits, Buzz Guard insect repellent, and Guard Well mist, which helps dogs cope with itching, swelling, or minor illnesses brought on by chemical or environmental irritants, viruses, dry air, or long-term use of medications.

In addition to the products themselves, the newly-redesigned Earth Heart website contains resources on aromatherapy and health, FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and information about Earth Heart’s Nonprofit Partner Program.

Earth Heart products can be found in brick-and-mortar and online stores across the USA and Canada, or you can order from the Earth Heart website.

Current Specials

Earth Heart is offering the following promotion for followers and fans of Shaggy Dog Stories:

To help you and your dog better survive Summer Travel, Earth Heart is offering a special deal for followers of Shaggy Dog Stories.

Assemble your ‘Shaggy Dog Travel Kit’ by selecting 3 or more products from the Earth Heart website. Enter the code ShaggyTravel at checkout to receive your $11.98 discount (that’s one FREE product with your online order of 3 or more products).

Offer good between now and Memorial Day. (Be sure to order by May 15th to guarantee delivery in time for the holiday weekend.)

Want To Win Some?

In addition to a multi-bottle discount that anybody can use, Earth Heart Inc. is letting us give away a bottle of Travel Calm mist! We know there are a lot of friends out there planning vacations and trips to dog shows with new puppies this year (plus some adults like Seamus who just aren’t fans of the car). How about winning a bottle to make the journey easier for your little buddy? All you have to do is follow our Wicked Simple Rules…

Wicked Simple Rules

  1. Go visit the Earth Heart website. You’re welcome to use the special discount code to order while you’re there.
  2. Visit the Earth Heart page on Facebook and give them a Like.
  3. Come on back to this blog and leave a comment. Let us know which Earth Heart formula is your favorite. Just make sure to leave it on the blog. We really enjoy Facebook comments, but they won’t help you enter the giveaway.
  4. We’d never turn down a Like on our Facebook page, either.

As always, we pick the lucky winnah by comment number using a random number picking script, then contact that same lucky winnah by email. If you’re a Facebook friend, you might also get a Facebook message. However you hear about your good fortune, you need to respond within a week, or the “You snooze, you lose” rule will be invoked. Just sayin’.

The website promotion continues until Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day), but contest entries close on Friday, May 18.

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We Have a Bunch of Winnahs!

Nature's Logic dog food
Congratulations to Lenny Glickman from NJ for being the lucky winnah of the Nature’s Logic dog food giveaway! Lenny chose the chicken dry formula for his prize. Woohoo!

Now… who said there are no second chances in life? The last couple of giveaways have turned into second-chance wins for a few lucky commenters…

Amanda Sanchez is the second-chance winnah of the StowAway2 cargo carrier gift certificate! Amanda said she’d like to go to Florida with all her gear packed in style, and now she can!

Another major woohoo goes out to Peggy Frezon and Kelly, second-chance winnahs of byNature dog biscuits. Our other byNature winnah has not yet responded to emails or Facebook messages, so there might yet be a second chance drawing there, too!

As always, winnahs are drawn by a random number selecting program. Some blogs will just publish your name if you win and rely on you to come back and check up on your entry after closing. I try to notify winnahs by email. Failing that, I’ll resort to a FB message. If you live near me, I’ll even bring the prize to your door next time I visit. Don’t make me beg! If there’s no response after a week, then I reserve the right to invoke the “you snooze, you lose” clause.

So… if you entered a Shaggy Dog Stories giveaway recently, check your inbox, and do it before someone else gets your prize!

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Road Trippin’ with Rover — Guest Post and Giveaway

Welcome to our guest blogger, Lee Hammerschmidt of StowAway Cargo Carriers! I wish that my Subaru had a hitch, so I could enjoy the added cargo space of a StowAway. Read on if you’d like to expand your vehicle’s carry capacity!

Mary Lou and her dogs with StowAway MAX Hitch Cargo Carrier

Plenty of room for all those ribbons!

Let’s see, you’ve got all the comforts of home… carriers, bedding, toys, bowl, food, treats, grooming and beauty supplies… oh yeah, and don’t forget your own gear, too. Yikes! Where are we going to put all this stuff? Where’s everybody supposed to sit? Why do fools fall in love?

If you’re a veteran of the dog show circuit (or travel with your dog on road trips and/or vacation) you’ve probably asked yourself these questions dozens of times (well, maybe not the last one). Conditions can become pretty cramped inside the vehicle once everything is packed and loaded. Not very comfy, especially if you’re driving any distance with everyone belted or harnessed in, or riding in a carrier (required options for ALL passengers, two or four-legged).

While taking frequent rest and leg-stretchin’ breaks (every three hours or so is recommended — again, for all travellers) will help get the kinks out and reduce your chances of deep-vein thrombosis, the only real solution to crowded conditions is to un-crowd them. Many competitors who frequently travel to dog performance events have discovered the the convenience and versatility of a StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier.

With up to 16 cubic feet of storage space and 200 pounds of carry capacity (that’s a lot of kibble!), a StowAway will will hold enough gear to seriously ease those cramped conditions. Sliding quickly and securely into your vehicle’s receiver hitch, a StowAway offers easy ground level access to your gear, making it a snap to fetch a Frisbee or ball thrower at a rest stop (say so long to that inconvenient, fuel-inefficient rooftop carrier). Its swing-away frame allows quick access to the rear of your vehicle. With a secure locking mechanism, your gear will remain safe while you stop at rest areas, diners and other roadside attractions, and the weather-tight seal keeps everything dry as a, well, bone!

Mary Lou Hanlon, a long time dog trainer and agility competitor from New Jersey, swears by her StowAway.

Mary Lou and Shazam on agility course photo

Mary Lou and Shazam tearin' it up!

“Since having the StowAway, packing for my dog agility events as well as unloading at the show site has become so much easier than in the past when I had a traditional roof top carrier, Mary Lou said. “The StowAway fits a tremendous amount of gear and luggage. Its swing-away design makes it so easy to swing away from the cargo area of my Denali and load up my dogs.”

So wherever your own Travels with Charlie take you… Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Fresno, Florida, Detroit or New York, make the journey a safe, comfortable and enjoyable one for all (and all for one!). Strap in for safety, take frequent breaks and solve your storage issues with a StowAway Cargo Carrier. Hey, take it from Mary Lou…

“I am happy to award the StowAway “Best in Show!”

Sounds Good to You?

How about you? Could you use a little more space in your vehicle? Have you watched my road-trip buddy Val and me trying to get things into and out of my roof-top cargo carrier, and have you laughed yourself breathless at the sheer Keystone Kops absurdity of it all? How about winning a discount coupon good for $100 off a StowAway purchase of $500 or more? All you have to do is follow these Wicked Simple Rules…

Wicked Simple Rules

  1. Leave a comment on this blog telling us where you’d like to drive to if you had a StowAway, and if the price of gas were no object. Facebook comments, while always enjoyed, don’t count.
  2. Like StowAway Cargo Carriers on Facebook.
  3. Hey, Shaggy Dog Stories could always use a little extra Facebook love, if you haven’t offered up some already.

Dog show season is coming up soon in our latitude! Entries for this contest close on Friday, March 23.

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Review: VueZone Personal Video Network

Doogie, not looking at the camera as always

Some years ago, I had an old Beardie named Doogie (his name was actually MacDougal, but he was definitely a Doogie). He came to me as a rehome at the age of 7, a big, handsome, sweet-natured lug with a heart of gold and the mind of a lifer at Alcatraz. You’d never know it to look at the old goofus, but that dog could open doors and cabinets, break into almost any trashcan, and pick an escape route through any sized opening.

Of course, he used to save his best escapades for when I went off to work. No matter how well I secured the doors, Doog would still occasionally find ways to slip out and have himself some adventures while I worked to pay for his fancy designer kibble and his obedience classes. I would come home to answering-machine messages from my animal-loving neighbor, who would find Doogie catching and eating frogs out of my pond. She’d march him back to my garage and close him in… whereupon he’d set his attentions to the trash bags awaiting a trip to the dump. I’d come home to find my garage floor strewn with trash, and one damp, happy and self-satisfied Doogie sitting right in the middle of it all.

The one time I truly wish I’d trained a webcam on Doogie was the day when I left a frying pan in the sink, filled with hot soapy water to soak off whatever I’d managed to get stuck to it. A completely soaking-wet Doogie, adorned with soap suds, greeted me at the door that night. It wasn’t hard to imagine what had happened: the old criminal had managed to pick up the pan in the sink and lift it, and then had upended the thing all over himself. That might just have been the surprise of a lifetime for him. All I could do was laugh… and laugh… and mop the kitchen floor.

If I’d had a VueZone Personal Video Network back then, maybe I could have captured Doogie’s exploits on video, uploaded them to YouTube, and retired early with the huge piles of money I might have made from having a viral video. Or not.

Sure, I owned a webcam at the time — but not a compact, battery-powered, mountable one that works on wifi, as the VueZone systems do. I didn’t have a smartphone then, so I wouldn’t have had the chance to have video clips from home that I could view through the VueZone smartphone app.

A while back, I was invited to join in on a webinar that discussed the VueZone system and its many uses. None of us attendees really got to see the system up close and personal, but we did have quite a lively Q&A session with the presenters. We all had a chance to see how amazingly versatile (and reasonably-priced) this system can be.

All you need to get started: a camera, a wall mount, and a gateway.

It’s easy to start small and expand. The wireless motion detection camera runs for 5-6 months on camera batteries. Hang one up on the included wall mount, connect the gateway to your existing wifi network, and you’re off and running. Depending on the service plan you buy (or go with the free one), you can add up to 3 gateways and 15 cameras, get video alerts emailed to your computer, use the related app to view videos on your smartphone or tablet, pan and zoom the cameras (digitally, rather than by physically moving them), capture video frames as photos, and even store the videos for later YouTube stardom.

Although you can use the VueZone network as a security camera system or to watch the pets or kids, you can easily set up these compact wireless cameras just about anywhere, indoors or out. You can set up VueZone cameras in the barn, in your business, by the whelping box, in your yard, in your vacation camp… or even use them for bird or wildlife watching. You can log in to the system while you’re traveling to check that everything is OK at home… or whether your old dog has just doused himself with soapsuds and is there waiting for his chance at stardom on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

If you’re intrigued, go on over to the VueZone website and take a look. The company is offering a giveaway of hardware and services worth $500, and the entries close on 2/12/12.

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