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Quistel Shampoo (41 #oneaday)

March 8, 2010
dog, canine, shampoo

Quistel Shampoo

Rory needs regular washing. If he doesn’t get a regular dunking then he itches, he gets spots, the yeast in his ears gets worse and he smells. A whole lot. He is also a mud wallower, having come from two working, water retrieving breeds. If there is a puddle and mud to be had, he will have found it, splashed around it, and be covered head to paw in it.

I had been using tea tree shampoos to try to keep him clean and happy. This was working fine, but in some ways the shampoo was just not strong enough. I’d often end up using a whole bottle for one washing session. Then I tried Quistel and it was like magic. Not only is Rory shiny and fluffy, but he has stopped itching and his ears have been better.

Quistel is a biologically appropriate product able to ‘enhance the natural rejuvenating abilities of skin, coat and mane’. I’m not even sure what that means on a greater scale, other than new cells being formed. But Rory is shiny, clean, and happy, so does anything else matter?

Well value for money does, I suppose. But it’s ok because the bottles seem to last forever. My small tester bottle lasted me four washes, FOUR. This is unheard of in the life of Rory. I was amazed. I definitely got my £2’s worth.

The product range also includes conditioner, a conditioning spray, an oral supplement and ear cleaning fluid. I can vouch for none of these, but if the shampoo is anything to go by they will be good stuff.

It was recommended to me, again, by my favourite pet shop the Haslemere Pet Company. They really do know what they are talking about.

You can buy Quistel from the Haslemere Pet Company for £8.99 (or a sample size bottle for £2), or you can buy some nice special offer sets on the official Quistel website.

Billy No Mates Supplement (40 #oneaday)

March 4, 2010
supplement, canine nutrition

Billy No Mates Supplement

I am trying out this new supplement with Rory. It’s called Billy No Mates and hopefully will help Rory repel fleas and ticks. I am mostly worried about ticks. They really are gross and Rory attracts them like bees to honey. All I can say is his blood must taste ggoooooooddd.

Billy No Mates is a natural supplement made from ingredients including mint and neem leaves. It is recommended that you begin giving it around Easter time to ensure there is enough in your dog’s system for it to be an effective repellent.

It was recommended to me by Claire from the Haslemere Pet Co (you can find her on Twitter here), apparently neither Patch or James (her dogs) picked up a single tick all spring/summer tick season. Such musical words to my ears. Rory is now in the regime.

Minor problem with this preemptive plan; he hates the taste of it. He eats around it. I spread it more evenly. He then just leaves his food entirely. I think this is weird, particularly as he loves the Plaque Off stuff. They both have seaweed in. What is his problem?

Anyway I am continuing to force him offer him food with the Billy No Mates added. If you think that’s mean, you have clearly under estimated my hate of ticks. (I really hate them.) We will persevere and we will win the fight against them, and I will never have to pick off one of their wriggling, bulbous bodies again. *fingers crossed*

You can buy Billy No Mates from @HaslemerePetCo for approximately 13 pounds, and online here for 12 pounds.

A Scene (Blog 38 #oneaday)

March 1, 2010

<Open scene. Rory ( scruffy dog) and Me (scruffy human girl) enter stage left. Girl lies on sofa. Dog lies on floor. Five minutes elapse. Dog gets up.>

Rory: Woof.

Me: Eh?

Rory: Woof woof.

Me: What?

Rory: WOOF.

Me: I can’t understand you. You’re talking ‘dog’.

Rory: Oh yeah, sorry. Can I go out in the garden please?

Me: Yes of course you can, but remember to ask properly next time.

<Me fumbles with keys and opens door to the garden>

Rory: *cloud of doggy dust*

Me: *sigh* Teenagers. So ungrateful.

<Me (human) returns to the sofa. Barking is heard in the distance. Me responds by yelling instructions in the direction of the door. Lights dim out. End scene.>

Book Review: ‘Come Back, Como’ (33 #oneaday)

February 22, 2010

dog, adoption, rescueI have just finished reading Come Back, Como by Steven Winn. I thought that since it is a dog book and this is a dog blog that I should write a little something about it.

The book tells the story of Steven, his wife and his daughter welcoming man-hating rescue dog Como into their lives.

It follows the trials and tribulations of the settling in period with a dog and also highlights the truth. The truth is that not all dogs are easy, well adjusted canines that will fit your expectations of what a dog should be. In fact, as Como shows in the book, sometimes you just have to accept a dog for who they are, and lose any preconceptions you had.

Steven is an award winning journalist, and certainly has a flair for telling a story. You really feel like you are there from the beginning with the family, learning what Como is all about, and adjusting to suit.

Parts of the book are heartbreaking. Most dog owners will empathise and sympathise; the frustrations and despair that comes from a lack of bonding, and the one step forward, three steps back syndrome that seems to follow progress around.

I found the end of the book a little bit laggy but overall it was a good, lighthearted read. If you are looking for something to take away with you on holiday then you could give it a go.

You can read more about the book, the family and see more pictures of Como on the official website.

Come Back, Como by Steven Winn is available from Amazon for £5.

Labradoodle Photos! (32 #oneaday)

February 20, 2010

As explained here at my other blog Live. Love. Learn. Write. I now have an understanding of how to find photos I can use in my blog posts on Flickr.

I thought I would use this new ‘skill’ to show you some variations in what Labradoodles can be like! When you are thinking about a Labradoodle be aware that they can vary considerably in size and coat type. These are just some examples!

Krosby the Labradoodle

Photograph from Orygynyl Photography

Ziggy the Labradoodle

Photograph from Psych

Air Biscuit

Another photograph from Psych

labradoodle and cat

Louie and Chuy

Photograph by meknits

And then some Labradoodle photos taken by ME!

labradoodle, dog

labradoodle, dog

And finally one of my angel:

Rory

Why I Hate Walking When It’s Sunny (30 #oneaday)

February 18, 2010

sun snow

A rare empty path on a sunny winter's day

I hate walking when the sun is out. It’s not that I don’t like the feeling of sun on my skin, because I do. (Although I hate that start of summer OMG my winter flab is not covered by enough clothes feeling but I digress…). I like the ability to be able to walk in shorts and walking boots. I like not having to hose the dog off. All of the above is good.

I also really hate mud, which i’m aware for a horsey, dog owner is kind of ridiculous. Inevitably the more sun the less mud. This even applies in the middle of winter, when more sun means freezing ground and thus no mud. This is brilliant.

I’m not such a big fan of the crowds. The stupid, slow, fair weather walkers who only venture out when the sun is out, and usually with a child of some sort.

I actually have nothing against children; it’s their behaviour around my irrationally highly strung, hyperactive dog that I take offense to. They run and scream and stamp. On one memorable occasion I was watching my friend in one of her insanely long triathlon race things, Rory was on his lead (complete with halti), and a five year old girl was repeatedly hitting him on his back leg with a stick. The dog did not appreciate this much.

For some reason there is never a solo child with parents either. The sun comes out and they travel in increasingly large packs, up to ten people or more, sometimes with a dog or even a few. This confuses matters. Do I leave Rory offlead and let him play and risk child knocking over? Do I call him back and potentially get pulled over as he tries to greet their canine companions? Will putting him on the lead mean that they grab their children and dogs in panic thinking, wrongly, that I am containing some wild and dangerous beast, only just preventing attack and death? Will he even listen to me once he has the dog(s) in his sights? Noone knows!

And then we recover, and we are past the group, with varying amounts of chaos behind us. And, around the corner, there is another group. And in the distance I can see another and another. Dog thinks it’s Christmas. I think I am in hell.

If i’m really unlucky we might then meet a surprise runner, one of those slow, it’s a nice day i’ll go for a run, ones. If they come up behind me, or Rory sees them first then i’m likely to be in for a tirade of anger that he has run up to them. If I do spot them, and they are far enough away, then I can get him back with relatively little stress (and only slight embarrassment). Then we wait, for five hours, with me trying to maintain the dog in a voluntary sit, while the runner pounds the paths towards me. Usually uphill.

By the time we reach the car both me and the dog are exhausted and thirsty, because of course I didn’t think to carry any water. I can’t feel my arms from grabbing the lead. My voice is raspy and sore. If it’s winter I can’t feel my fingers or toes: if it’s summer I am so hot I think I might collapse and die. The people milling about with their prams and dogs and toddling children ensure that it takes me a fair amount of time to persuade the dog he wants to get in the car. I don’t want to yell at him in front of an audience, and he wants to look at EVERYTHING.

I’m over it. I drive home promising myself to never walk the dog on a nice day again, except I know I will. Because he is a hyper Labradoodle and needs lots of walking (approx. two hours off lead per day).

And that is why I hate walking when it is sunny. Give me a wet rainy walk any day. Or my own private parkland. I’d settle for that.

Wanted (24 #oneaday)

February 14, 2010

Wanted.

Dog hosing equipment. Must be transportable by car and liftable by weak female. Preferably carry several litres of water and be able to remove mud, sand, clay and fox poo. Dog would prefer some kind of internal heating system, owner is really not bothered.

Any offers, please leave a comment on this post.

My Three Favourite Collars (23 #oneaday)

February 9, 2010
dog collar, dogs and co

Rory sports his Dogs&Co everyday collar

I love well made dog collars. There is something about them. It’s like getting that perfect bridle for your horse. The one that is a little bit special when you put it on and shows off all your horse’s best features. Or to put it in non-horsey terms, it’s like that dress that clings in all the right places and drapes in the others. Anyway, however you choose to explain it, a well made collar is really one of my favourite things.

Rory has an extensive collar collection (but shh don’t tell anyone). I’ve been looking at them, and I have narrowed them down to my top three. Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to take his photo in the collar that I have placed in the number one spot. It will follow once I have daylight, I promise.

Coming in at number three is a lovely red Hamish MacBeth collar (pictured below). Their collars are reasonably well made, very pretty and come in various designs, including what can only be described as doggy neck facinators. Head on over to their website to see what I mean. There are also matching leads available for most collars. Unfortunately the site does not accept Maestro cards so I ordered instead through a UK online supplier, Just Dogs. Delivery was super quick and Rory even got a free treat! A word of caution, these collars may not be suitable for very strong pullers. Rory has not broken his, but then it has only really been used off lead and i’m not convinced it would not break under extreme pressure. I paid approximately 25 british pounds for the collar in the sale, and about 15 pounds for the matching lead, if memory serves me correctly. Definitely a worthwhile buy.

rory, dog collar, hamish macbeth, labradoodle

Hamish MacBeth modelled by Rory

In second is the Dogs&Co leather collar (pictured above). This is Rory’s ‘everyday’ collar, and as such it has taken a beating. Mud, rain, snow, bog, river, lake, sea and fox poo have all been taken in it’s stride. It even survived the very strong disinfectant I threw it in after a particularly sticky, disgusting, rolling-in-faeces incident. It really has lasted without any real ill effects; it hasn’t even stretched that much (amazing for a leather collar). It has a pattern pressed into the centre, a manly one I add, which adds interest. I paid approximately 17 pounds for it at Badminton Horse Trials last year.

Number one in the collar race is Holly&Lil. Rory owns two of these collars, one in lime green cowhide (as seen in the photo below) and one in blue Harris Tweed. They are impeccably handmade, and are strong; strong enough to handle even the biggest dog. I had a couple of questions and issues when ordering sale items online but they were dealt with so well and easily that I bearly felt I had problems at all. Nothing was too much trouble. They are pretty and draw attention wherever we go. The owners of the ‘Sunshine’ (pictured below) are quoted on the Holly&Lil site as saying:

holly and lil, sunshine, visla, dog

Sunshine gorgeous in her Lime & British Racing Green

“This collar has been worn every day since Christmas and has been through fields, forests and rivers. Without ascratch on it or a (pony) hair out of place. Now, that’s what I call quality…… ”

I certainly love mine. I purchased both of Rory’s Holly&Lil collars for approximately 50 pounds from the sale section of the Holly&Lil website. Both have a recommended retail price of nearer 100.

Things I Love About Rory (Blog 20 #oneaday)

February 6, 2010

labradoodle, dog, race, stick

Rory wants that particular 'stick'

Today I tweeted about how negative I am when people engage me in conversation about Labradoodles. The reason I do this is because I believe, as explained in the tweet, if the person talking to me understands the negatives of owning a Labradoodle they are more likely to make an informed choice (and thus be less likely to need to rehome a dog that is wrong for them). They are brilliant dogs, but they are not for everyone.

The popularity of the breed has sky rocketed and everyone I meet either wants a Labradoodle or knows someone who has a Labradoodle. Funnily enough I never meet people who know someone with a Labradoodle AND want one. Often they are described as ‘lovely, but hyper’ or ‘lovely, but nuts’. And still the most common comment is ‘Oh they don’t shed do they?’. Actually Rory does shed, a lot. (I once had a man drag his hand through Rory’s coat and show me he had no hairs after I told him about Rory’s shedding. Sorry whoever that was. Despite you doing that he still sheds. A lot.) If you want to know more of the negatives check out my ‘About Rory’ page.

So in the spirit of being balanced, and because I am suffering from guilt that I am doing my amazing dog wrong, here is a list of things I love about Rory:

1) He is enthusiastic, about everything. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Other dogs, people, walking, stopping, begging for food, going outside to wee, being bathed, bikes, people running (a little too enthusiastic about them in fact), chews, water, leads, toys, did I mention other dogs?

2) He is cuddly. Rory loves human company. He likes being scratched. He likes being in your lap (although he doesn’t really fit). He likes being hugged (although sometimes he pretends he doesn’t). He likes people. He wasn’t at all cuddly as a puppy though interestingly, just now.

3) He greets me after I have been upstairs for five minutes like i’ve been gone for eight years. It just makes me feel loved. That’s all.

4) When we walk, he’s with me. By that I mean he will greet other dogs, he will bark at runners *shameful face* and he will head off to chase rabbits, but he always comes back. He will always look for me. He will always end up coming tearing after me. If I try to pass him over to someone else mid-walk he is not having it. He is with me.

5) When you give him a treat or a toy he does a special bouncing dance around it. It is the most hilarious and cute thing ever. He will also take treats, drop them on the floor, and wait to see if this will make you give him more. This will continue until you run out, and then he will take them to somewhere more comfortable to eat them. I will have to try to get the dance on film, which brings me to point 6.

6) He knows when I am filming him or taking his photo. In fact, he is so tuned into the fact that I am a photo taking obsessive that he turns whenever he hears the camera click and runs at me, full tilt. It’s cute, if annoying.

7) People think he’s nuts. I like this because nuts is normal to me. Having Rory means life is never boring. I see people walking their sensible dogs, and they look at me in amusement. Today a woman walking her labrador took her headphones out to tell me my dog was nuts. She was smiling so it’s all ok.

8 ) He is independent and questions everything. ‘Sit? Why? What’s coming? What’s in it for me?’. It keeps me on my toes.

9) He never forgets anything. If he drops a ball somewhere, two months before, he will remember it’s there the next time. (I never remember).

10) The way he behaves for everyone, except me. I don’t mean he is the devil with me, because he is not. I mean that he will be the perfect dog for other people. He walks at heel off lead, cowers when they even sound like they might raise their voice  and sits, with this angelic look, when he knows he should sit. He doesn’t show me up in public, just drives me to distraction when we’re on our own. As I have said many times to people, at least I know I taught him the commands well, even if he chooses to ignore them for me.

Those are just some of the things I love about my dog. See, Labradoodles are not all bad news. Just please, do your research, and choose them for the bad, as well as the good.

Twitter for Rory? (15 #oneaday)

January 29, 2010

A couple of days ago I was struggling to think of a #oneaday topic and Claire @HaslemerePetCo pointed me to this article ‘Even your Chihuahua can tweet‘. I’m really not sure what I think.

The idea is that you attach a plastic tag to your dog’s collar, and it registers movement and sound. It has a USB receiver which can be connected to the computer. The article then says at this point you set up a Twitter account for your dog. Erhmm, because noone has already done that. *cough cough*.

Anyway, according to the sound and movement it registers it will tweet from a pre-set list. For example ‘I finally caught that tail I’ve been chasing and…OOUUUCHH!’ or ‘Somedays it feels like my paw is permanently on the snooze button!’ or even, if your pooch is being loud ‘YAHOOOOOOO! Somedays you just gotta get your bark on.’

I sort of like the concept and for the first day or so it would be amusing. In reality I predict it would become super annoying. Five, ‘somedays it feels like my paw is permanently on the snooze button’ and people would be dropping off your followers list like flies. At this point I have to ask whether this is for ‘dog accounts’ with followers or just an amusement for owners? Maybe a ‘see what your dog is doing in the day’ lower tech webcam alternative?

For me it would be a gimmick and luckily it is priced as such at only $29.99. Now that is a disposal price, which is just as well as it would last about two days. Rory would have it off in a puddle in about two hours. I wonder if it has a preset tweet for a drowing twitter dog tag. Maybe I will buy one and find out.

Puppy Tweets will be available at retailers stateside in the autumn.

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