Archive for the ‘services’ Category

Review and Giveaway: Orijen Adult Dry Dog Food from Mr. Chewy

Our buddies over at Mr. Chewy are proud to announce that they now carry Orijen dog and cat food from Champion Petfoods of Canada. They can get this fresh, grain-free food to you anywhere in the Lower 48 within a day or two via UPS or FedEx, for not a heckuva lot more than what you’d pay for it at your local pet supply store. Add in the free shipping for purchases over $49, and it hardly seems worth getting in the car and driving across town any more, does it?

Orijen produces grain-free, low-carbohydrate pet foods from regional sources, including wild-caught fish, free-range chicken, and regional fruits and vegetables. The ingredients are sustainably raised and harvested, and delivered absolutely fresh (never frozen) right to Champion’s door in Morinville, Alberta, Canada.

Orijen foods are “biologically appropriate;” that is, they are formulated to more closely match what a dog would eat in the wild. Although your dog would probably be happy to polish off your bowl of morning oatmeal, if he hunted for his own food in the wild, he would eat a variety of meats, along with assorted fruits, vegetables, and eggs.

75% of the Gang of Four. Seamus ran out of the shot at the last second.

For our test, we selected the Orijen adult dry dog food, with its 80-20-0 formula (80% meat, 20% fruits and vegetables, 0% grain), as our test formula. We could have chosen one of the other options, such as 6 Fish or Regional Red with bison and wild boar, but our most recent bag of kibble was chicken-based. I figured that having at least the same basic main meat source might make the trial a little easier on doggie digestion. As always, Mr. Chewy had our test bag sitting on our doorstep the very next day.

As luck would have it, Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless neglected to buy more of our regular dog food, so we ended up making a more drastic introduction to the Orijen food than we’d originally intended. Thanks to the rotation diet and our lucky stars, we managed to feed the entirely new food with almost no digestive interruption.

Charlie, the old dog, had been turning his nose up at all kibble, declaring it boring and beneath his notice. He would only eat it if canned or raw food were mixed into it so thoroughly that he couldn’t pick out the pieces. He practically dove headfirst into the Orijen food, and we didn’t see him again until he emerged from his dish, licking his chops and looking for more.

Badger, the Methane Factory, could dine upon a diet of angel feathers and sunshine, and still manufacture gas so evil it would peel the paint off my neighbors’ ceilings. Amazingly, he didn’t produce very much in the green cloud department after trying the Orijen.

Seamus and Dinah, the younger two, will eat pretty much anything and thrive on it. They absolutely loved the Orijen. They love everything else, too, but they really regarded the Orijen as a treat. I don’t usually get them to work for kibble during training, but I’m willing to bet they’d at least notice if I tried training them using Orijen kibble.

The verdict: Sixteen Paws Up. I would absolutely consider adding Orijen food to our rotation diet, especially since life in the same room as Badger certainly improved while he was eating it. We can find it at our local store in case we run out on a Sunday afternoon, plus our friend Mr. Chewy will always be happy to bring it right to us.

Want to Try Some?

Mr. Chewy sent us not one, but two 5.5-pound bags of the Orijen Adult Dog formula — so we have one to give away! If you’d like to try Orijen with your pack, then please follow our Wicked Simple Rules…

Wicked Simple Rules

  1. Visit Mr Chewy’s website and take a look at the other Orijen formulas.
  2. Leave a post on this blog and tell us which formula you think your dogs would like best. (Sorry, my only giveaway bag is Adult Dog formula, but you may say you like any of the other formulas listed.) Remember, only comments on the blog are considered valid entries! I do read and enjoy the ones on Facebook, but they just don’t count.
  3. If you haven’t already done so, Like Mr. Chewy on Facebook.
  4. While you’re there, give a Like to Orijen, too.
  5. And… because we just love the attention, show Shaggy Dog Stories some FB love if you haven’t been there already.
  6. One more thing: Since I have to ship the dog food from here, it can only travel to the continental USA. I’m afraid that it would never get back across the Canadian border — or any other border, for that matter. Sorry, folks — but I do have a dog toy giveaway coming up soon, and the dog toy can travel anywhere.

Entries close on Monday, February 27.


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.


Review: Mr. Chewy Pet Foods and Supplies

When was the last time you actually heard someone say, “Gee, my life is so much less hectic nowadays”? When was the last time you said something similar yourself? Are you already halfway to yelling, “Mommy, make it stop!” at the sight of all the Christmas decorations going up in the stores?

Even the retired people I know admit to being busier than they were when they were holding down a regular 40-hour work week. With all this busy-busy-busy going on around you, wouldn’t it be nice to just take one errand off your list?

Enter Mr. Chewy, a new online retailer of pet food and supplies based in Florida. You might have seen online ads on Infodog, Yahoo, and other places around the web, featuring the slogan “Delivering Pet Happiness.” We were invited to try the service for ourselves.

Mr. Chewy currently stocks more than 70 brands of dog and cat food, treats, flea and tick remedies, pee pads, cat litter, and so on. The brands range from the standard grocery-store fare to some of the best boutique dog food suppliers, including Halo, Weruva, Native, and Tiki Dog. I checked; they carry my brand (Nature’s Variety) in the dry, canned, and freeze-dried formulas. The prices aren’t entirely out of line with what I pay at the local supply shop, and some are cheaper. I picked my test items and clicked Checkout.

Here’s what arrived in my “test package” the very next day!

Mr. Chewy carries all the brands we use, including some hard-to-find formulas. We have never been able to find the Instinct freeze-dried food, but they carry it.

Mr. Chewy ships via Fed Ex or UPS, and can get your order to you within 1-2 days anywhere in the continental US. (Unfortunately, they can’t do international orders or orders outside the lower 48 at the moment.) Shipping is free if you spend over $49 — and I don’t know about you, but rarely do my purchases add up to anything below that nowadays.

The entire process of searching, ordering, and purchasing was as speedy and seamless as any I can remember. Of course they can’t carry every single thing, but of the items they do stock, you’ll get yours almost as soon as you check out!

The only possible thing I could ding these nice folks for is their well-meaning, but entirely wrong-headed, support of the Humane Society of the United States. I do encourage the kind folks at Mr. Chewy to read up on this obscenely over-wealthy and largely self-serving animal rights group and find a more worthy charity to support — one that actually does something to help the at-risk animals that Mr. Chewy wants to help. Supporting the local shelters in West Palm and Tampa would make for a nice start, and the shelters have actual animals in need of homes, fosters, and love. I know I would certainly order from Mr. Chewy again once they dropped support of that organization.

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