Archive for the ‘gifts for dog lovers’ Category

Review and Giveaway:

I admit it. I’m hopelessly addicted to, my favorite online yard sale-boutique-art gallery. If you’re not familiar with Fab, it’s basically a collection of week-long sales of stuff you don’t find just any old place. It combines fine art with found art with handcrafts with shined-up finds from someone’s grandma’s attic. If you’re a Pinterest user, you don’t have to look very far to find a Fab item on someone’s pinboard.
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Announcing New Winnahs!

Congratulations to our latest two giveaway winnahs!

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Review and Giveaway: Earth Heart Wants to Share the Calm

It’s that time of year again — that time of year when even the calmest of dogs can get rattled. People start to set off fireworks in their backyards starting around Memorial Day, but reaching a crescendo around the Fourth of July. To heck with all the dogs in the neighborhood — it’s their problem if they get frightened, right? It makes you want to slap people whom you like during all the other months of the year. (Don’t even get me started on the people who bring dogs to Fourth of July fireworks shows. It’s a fair bet that many of the dogs reported missing after the Fourth fireworks had to attend the celebrations with their clueless owners.)

So.. you love your dogs, you usually like your neighbors… what can you do? You can try a Thundershirt, and you can try aromatherapy. Earth Heart makes its Canine Calm formula for situations just like these.

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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.


Review and Giveaway: Awkward Family Pet Photos Book

You have them. I have them. Everybody we know has them. Maybe they’re hidden in a shoebox someplace. Maybe a family member is just waiting to post one to Facebook and tag you in it on your next birthday — just when you thought you’d successfully lived down the hairstyle you had in 1982! (Actually, this photo was taken in 1991 or 92. That’s Duncan, my second Beardie.)

Awkward Family Photos, and its equally successful and hilarious sister website Awkward Family Pet Photos, are THE go-to websites for whenever you’re having a bad day. No matter how tough things are where you are, you can’t help but burst out laughing when you view some of the classic photos on each site! (Don’t try this at work. I’m warning you now.) Part of the laughter is schadenfreude; no matter how bad your old awkward photos might be, they have to go pretty far to match some of these beauties!

Special holiday season bonus: All of the awkward pet photos with Santa. This is Dinah, circa 2006. This one was scanned from the original Polaroid for extra vintage glory.

Based on the extreme popularity of the Awkward sites, authors Mike Bender and Doug Chernack have recently released the Awkward Family Pet Photos book. The book contains some of the finest examples of glorious awkwardness from the AFPP site — plus never-before-seen photos, essays, and graphics.

Does the cover make you laugh? Wait till you see what's inside!

Awkward Family Pet Photos contains family portraits with dogs, cats, rats, ferrets, pigs, horses, chickens, reptiles… you name it. There are birthday party photos, Christmas card photos, candid kid photos, and not a few wedding photos of varying vintages. Each one is even cackle-out-loud funnier than the last.

Of course, the one thing all these photos have in common is that they show how attached we are to our pets. They’re members of the family, so of course they should be included in the family portraits! Even if we dress them in ridiculous outfits and make them do silly things in front of the camera, they still love us. They might even love us more for all our goofiness.

This book is practically irresistible — just leave it someplace, and people will pick it up, open it, and start to laugh. Even before I had the chance to open my review copy, Greg picked it up and started cracking up at the photos inside. He never messes with the dog stuff, but he just couldn’t resist the pull of Awkward Family Pet Photos.

Just for the fun of it, I decided to test the irresistible nature of Awkward Family Pet Photos in the least funny place I know: the office. I took my review copy to work, left it on a corner of my cubicle, and waited.

The first person to pick up the book was a co-worker who is also a devoted cat lover. Her reactions to the photos ran the gamut from “Oh, that is SO wrong!” to helpless giggles to “Really? A capybara?!”. The other folks to pick up the book experienced a similar spectrum of reactions, heavy on the giggle end. Everyone found something that was just too funny for words. Invariably, they’d just point to the photo and dissolve into still more laughter.

I am absolutely taking my copy along when I visit my family this week. I guarantee you that everyone will get a Mastiff-sized charge out of it.

You can find the book in all of the usual outlets, such as Amazon (they have a Kindle edition!) and Barnes & Noble, or you can order it directly from the store on the website.

You Know You Want a Copy!

Yes, that’s right. I can’t possibly keep all this awkwardness to myself, so I’m giving away a copy of Awkward Family Pet Photos right here on the blog! You probably know the drill by now, but here are the Wicked Simple Rules for the giveaway…

Wicked Simple Rules

  1. Leave a comment on the blog. Describe the most awkward photo you’ve ever had taken with a pet. Facebook comments, while welcome, don’t count toward the prize.
  2. Like the Awkward Family Pet Photos page on Facebook. If you do this, come on back to the blog and leave another comment for an additional entry.
  3. Entries close on Friday, December 2.

Charlie (circa 1998) says, Good Luck!


Giveaways Everywhere!

Don’t look now! Not only are we giving away this book

and this gift basket of wonderful grooming products

Our test package from EO Products. You could win a basket just like this one!

…but over on the Dog Show Newbie blog, we’re giving away a pair of free passes to the Bay Colony Cluster dog shows and Canine Pet Expo in Providence, RI on December 8-11! If you want to see your favorite breed in competition, watch dog sport demos, meet and greet with the dogs at “Meet the Breeds” and at the rescue booths, or just shop for doggie stuff from the 40+ vendors, then go on over and enter!


Lots of Winnahs Today!

Thanks and congrats to everyone who participated in the THREE DOGZ LLC giveaway! Our neutral party drew four numbers completely at random, and here’s what happened:

  • Giveaway #1, the “Wild About Beardies” T-shirt, matching doggie bandana, and rhinestone necklace, goes to…(drum roll)… Tish Pollock!
  • Giveaway #2, the “Greatest American Dog” towel and magnetic clip, the window decal, and a rhinestone necklace, will soon be headed for the mailbox of… Kathy Kiley!
  • Giveaway #3, the carabiner water bottle carrier, the window decal, and a rhinestone necklace, will be winging their way to… Mary Witter!
  • …and Giveaway #4, the rhinestone necklace, is going to… Quentin Lewis!

Congrats to all of our lucky winners! If you didn’t win, don’t feel bad… you should see some of the stuff I get to give away in future posts! I’ll have dog toys, grooming products… and you’ll have to come back and visit the blog to find out what else!


Review and Giveaway: THREE DOGZ Products


Debbie Larocque has a huge passion for three things: her pack of three MinPin girls, quality, and the work she does creating unique, cool products for people who are crazy about their “furry kids.”

THREE DOGZ LLC carries apparel for dog, cat, and horse lovers in sizes from kids all the way up to adults wearing sizes 5-6XL. The Pet Parents’ Pledge/Spiritwear design line comes in 67 different print/color combinations. Some designs have bling. Some come in organic cotton. Most have matching shirts for your best friend. Practically everything can be customized with names or breeds. Best of all, THREE DOGZ even offers classy, coordinating tissue and ribbon for wrapping, or you can have your gifts packaged for you in a very classy presentation box.

Who wouldn't be delighted to receive one of these?!

Christmas Came Early For Us Testers

When the evaluation packages arrived from Michigan, we were just amazed. Not only had Debbie sent us a shirt and a towel to try plus more to give away, but she included all manner of cool stuff — including some items so new that they hadn’t made it to the website yet. (Read on. I get to give some of those away, too!)

My shirt says "Wild About Beardies," or you can choose from 83 other breeds

When I opened the “Wild About” Zebra Inspired long-sleeved shirt, I nearly cheered. Debbie had customized the shirt for me with a “Wild About Beardies” design. As a bonus, she tucked in a set of new “Wild About My Mom” bandanas — one for the girl and three for the boys! We can really look like a team wherever we go! (Sorry. I did have Greg take pictures of me modeling this fantastic shirt, but they didn’t come out well.)

Seamus is rockin' the "Wild About" Bandana

This particular shirt comes in 15 different colors for men and 18 different colors for women, with a choice of three different colors for the central paw and stars/hearts on the design. The zebra print design really pops on black! Debbie can customize this shirt to read “Wild About [dog’s name]” or “[breed] Mom/Dad,” too. Beardies have now been added to the THREE DOGZ list of breeds, so ordering a shirt that says “Wild About Beardies” is no longer a custom order. Woohoo!

Dinah rocks the bandana too!

The Clean PawZ™ embroidered towels are all black for a very good reason: you won’t have to worry about the dirt after you wipe muddy paws! All towels come beautifully embroidered with clever sayings and the THREE DOGZ trademark hearts-and-paws motif. The thirsty ringspun cotton gets even thicker and thirstier after repeated washing.

This is the design we're giving away! The website has loads of different sayings available.

What’s even better than having a towel that doesn’t show dirt? Being able to hang that towel by the door or on the fridge for easy access! Debbie included magnetic PawZ Keeper™ towel clips for the towels. (The standard PawZ Keeper clips have a hole at the back for hanging into a hook or nail.) These clips will hang on tight to the towels, even when wet. (Look on the magnetic clip page for Debbie’s video demo.)

This one is the magnetic version.

We love the shirts and towels — and you have to admit, the bandanas are really cute! Not only are they nice-looking and well made, but every article from THREE DOGZ LLC comes with excellent, personalized customer service and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Lots to Give Away!

Debbie sent a treasure trove of items to test and give away — so this time we’re having four giveaways in one! Prize #4 is suitable for dog or cat lovers, so more people can play.

Wicked Simple Rules

Here’s all you need to do to enter:

  1. Like THREE DOGZ LLC on Facebook. Enter their current contest for an extra chance to win something direct from Debbie.
  2. Visit their website.
  3. Leave a comment on this blog telling me what your favorite product on the THREE DOGZ site is, and which of the giveaways is your favorite. I can’t guarantee it’s the one you’ll win because the drawing is random, but you’ll definitely be in the running. Note: Facebook comments, while fun and appreciated, don’t count as entries.
  4. Entries close on Monday, October 24.
  5. Winners will be drawn at random by comment number. Prize number will also be drawn and assigned at random. Both drawings will be done by a very neutral party who has no personal interest in the proceedings.

Giveaway #1

This prize is for Beardie lovers only. The lucky winnah of this giveaway will receive…

Giveaway #2

Here’s a prize that any dog owner would like — not just those of us with Beardies. This lucky winnah gets…

Giveaway #3

Any dog lover would like this prize, too, since it’s not breed-specific. This lucky winnah gets…

Giveaway #4

Any dog or cat lover is welcome to join this giveaway, since the prize is “species-neutral.” The prize is…

No matter which terrific prize you win, you’ll be sure to hear people ask, “Wow — where did you get that?!” THREE DOGZ LLC will be happy to provide the answer to that question!


From Puppy Snapshots to Pup Art

If you’re like me, your vast collection of photos (doggy and otherwise) occupies a variety of spaces from tins, bags, and shoe boxes to mega-, giga-, and terabytes on your computer hard drive(s). You probably even have some absolutely stunning photos, or shots of favorite memories, that you have no idea what to do with besides store them. Heck, Mother’s and Father’s Days are coming up, and everyone needs useful ideas for gifts.

The nice folks at recently invited me to try their simple four-step process to transform a favorite photo into terrific wall art. It took longer to choose a photo than it did to use the Canvas Designer — and if you need a nice gift fast, you should definitely take Easy Canvas Prints for a drive.

Step One: Choose Your Canvas Size and Options

I decided to start with this photo, which I took when Dinah was about 9 months old. This has been one of my favorite photos of the ones I’ve taken. I probably should have picked one of her show-win photos or something more fabulous, but I just happen to love this one.

"Psst... wanna hear a secret?"

I chose the 11″x14″ gallery wrap (but you may choose the standard wrap if you want to frame the canvas).

Step 2: Upload and Size Your Photo

Easy Canvas Prints has a built-in quality checker for uploaded photos. If your uploaded photo shows an image quality of Poor or even Fair, you’ll probably be disappointed with the quality of the canvas print. If that happens, there are a few things you can do:

  • Rescan the photo at a higher resolution, or use Photoshop to improve the dpi value as much as possible. With low-res photos, you might not get them perfect, but get them to the best they can be.
  • Try a smaller size canvas. A less-than-perfect photo will probably look sharper on a smaller print. Don’t be afraid to try the custom sizes to see if they work better.
  • Easy Canvas Prints offers a photo retouching service, if you’re not a Photoshop do-it-yourselfer. These options appear later on in the process.

Step 3: Choose Your Borders

If you plan to frame your print, you don’t need to care very much what the edges of your mounted canvas will look like. If you plan to use the gallery wrap and just hang your masterpiece on the wall, you probably do. Easy Canvas Prints offers a variety of edge options, including coordinating solid colors.

Optional Step 3A: Need Color Finishing or Photo Retouching?

If you don’t, then click on through. You can transform a color photo to sepia-tone or black-and-white for a nominal charge, or request minor or major retouching to a photo for a little extra. If you have one of those gorgeous, scratchy old ancestor photos or another irreplaceable photo that needs some help to be lovely, a little cosmetic work might be worth it.

Step 4: And Finally… Check Out!

You don’t need to hear how to do this, but Easy Canvas Prints offers you one last chance to see a proof of your order or to modify the canvas. The proof includes the right edge, so you can see a snippet of the edge treatment you ordered.

All Easy Canvas Prints are printed and assembled in the USA (Texas, to be exact) and arrive by FedEx at a speed that really could take your breath away. My canvas arrived 3 days later.

The canvas print’s colors were absolutely true to the original photo, and the details were just as sharp and perfect as they were in the original photo. If you have any issues with your print, Easy Canvas Prints will absolutely make it right. If I have just one teeny issue with mine, it’s that someone must have handled the upper right corner of the canvas a little roughly because it arrived slightly stretched… but with all the collected wisdom of my occasional terms in art school, I fixed it quickly enough. Easy Canvas Prints would have done it for me or replaced it for no charge, but I wanted my canvas to be here for the blog post. (I did take a photo of the canvas, but it just doesn’t do justice to the finished product.)

I would absolutely return to for a quick gift or for a lasting memory. As a matter of fact, I’m considering making canvas prints of some of our better show photos. Now, all we need to figure out is where to display them. might be my next stop.

Here, give them a try — and brighten your own walls with your photographic treasures!

Canvas Prints
Canvas Prints

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