My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Doodads for Dog Days :-)

We've been celebrating the dog days of summer with some fun purchases for our canine kids, Tess and Josie, that go along nicely with two of their favorite activities (besides eating) that we've been enjoying a lot this spring and summer... walks and car rides. Especially walks, as they need practice walking (in a civilized fashion) on leashes in town.

Our hikes at home are off-leash, of course, but our in-town adventures require them. Even when BW is able to accompany us, one of us has to walk two of the dogs at a time, and usually I'm in town by myself, trying to walk all three. Though it usually settles down into a semblance of order after awhile, it typically begins with chaotic anarchy and I invariably wind up in the middle of a tangled knot of dogs and leashes, since no one wants to go in the same direction (ever!) or go around the same side of an obstacle.

Gracefully walking three dogs with one hand.
In high heels, no less. Guh-huh.
Not only is this obviously not me,
it is, without a doubt, a cartoon.

I've seen photos of those professional city dog-walkers, calmly and competently walking a multitude of dogs of all shapes and sizes at once. I still don't know what their trick is, but we finally got a nifty one of our own, a CrazyCoupl'r paired with a Timberwolf Alpine Urban Lead, purchased at Farfel's Farm in Boulder last month. This combo allows us to comfortably and simultaneously walk Tess and Josie (our biggest and strongest dogs, who are also graced with the least leash etiquette), with swivels that let them switch positions without getting tangled, and stout but springy materials that make it easier on our arm and shoulder.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, BW, Josie and Tess demonstrate the new leash in use at Whitney Commons...

See? A nice, orderly stroll. Very impressive, kids!

Then we took Molly's advice and ordered Tess and Josie 3-in-1 mesh vest harnesses. They have more pulling leverage with these, but are quickly learning to walk more politely, and at least they're not gagging themselves when they forget their manners and try to beat each other to the next pee-perfumed lampost. (The one who sniffs it first wins valuable prizes!!! Apparently).

These photos were taken in Kendrick Park, shortly before the Candy Apple Red convertible cruised by. But the girls weren't impressed with that, not when there were far more fascinating squirrels cavorting at the base of a yonder tree...

As you can see, Willow is always such a good girl that her leash is a mere law-abiding formality. She can watch a romping squirrel without feeling compelled to be naughty. Tess, on the other hand... And then there's clever, conniving Josie, who tries to lull us into complacency by appearing nonchalant about it all. But neither you nor we ~ nor especially the squirrels ~ should believe it for a minute!

(By the way, lest you fret that Willow was left out of the goodie-fest, we also got a fantastic FURminator deshedding tool this spring, and while our other two goobers like being brushed with it well enough, Willow LOVES it. Makes her all wiggly and she loves to tell everyone about it afterwards in her cute little trilling, gargly voice. She's a talker, is our Willow!) :-)

I've saved the best purchase for last...

All three girls get excited about going for car rides, but none so much as Tess, who nearly turns herself inside out with excitement when she hears car keys jingle. While Josie and Willow are content to just stick their muzzles out the window and sniff the scents speeding by in the slipstream, Tess has to stand with her front feet on the armrest, her head out above the roof of the Jeep, and her face full into the wind. She'd stick her entire upper body out the window if we let her, and doesn't care if it's -10ยบ outside. (Never mind that I might, she paws at the door till I roll down her window!) In her zestful zeal she always makes me think of Leo DiCaprio on the bow of the Titanic. You remember... this scene! :-)

We were concerned about Tess getting hit in the face or eye by a bug or some projectile, and about the wind drying out her eyes. When we saw this wonderful video of a dog named Spirit wearing Doggles, we knew that's exactly what Tess needed, and that she would look ever so cool wearing them!

She got used to them quite quickly, and I must say, she sure turns heads when we cruise through town! We get lots of double-takes, usually followed by outbursts of laughter. Little kids stop and point and squeal, "Mommy! Look at that dog!" And people have rolled down their windows as they pass us or pulled up beside us at traffic lights and called out, "We love your dog!" and "Your dog is cool!" (We do too and we know she is, even without the Doggles!) :-) Tess has even been getting extra treats at the bank drive-thru window and the feed store. She's got a good thing going!

But none of those accolades and percs can beat the pure thrill of summer cruising with your hair slicked back and those Wayfarers on, baby...

Vox populi is
right on... Tess is cool! :-)

I had to drop a few things off to Robyn at work one day last month, and Robyn came out to the car to see Tess in her Doggles. I had my camera with me so Robyn took this photo, which I just adore...

The Girls of Summer, ready to drag Main and cruise for sticks.
(But first ~ the car wash!)

May your dog days of summer be safe, cool and fun!


  1. An excellent read with great pics. Thank you so much for starting my day with a smile...the dogs that live with you are beautiful and the doogles are each are head-turners indeed!

  2. Oh my goodness, Laurie, is this ever such a fun post!!

    Mike and I LOL'd quite loudly at the video of Tess. She's really out there! The Doggles look fantastic on her and I'm jealous that you had a reason to buy a pair. Rowan never sticks her head out of the window unless if we're completely stopped and Emma rarely does, so I have no reason to get them.

    I'm glad you got the vest harnesses! Our girls are very naughty walkers and they do allow them to pull us that much more (I swear both of our left arms, which are our leash holding arms, are longer than our right arms), but I really do like that they're gentler on them. I'm very impressed that the girls stay with you on your hikes despite not being on leashes. That would not be the case with us, or at least I don't think it would. We've never tested it out since Emma has such a high prey drive and Rowan just doesn't listen sometimes.

    The FURminator does look like such a nice brush and I can just picture Willow smiling away while you brush her. Such cuteness!

    I love that Don Henley song. Such a good one. Have fun driving the main drag & cruising for sticks!! lol I love it. :)

  3. Doggles!! LOL. Tess looks great in them! She's got the Jackie 'O' thing going on. The video is hilarious. And I love the pic of you Tess too; you should frame that one.

    I've seen the dog walkers with all the dogs! I'm always amazed by that, if it were me we'd all be tied up in knots.

    Great that you got the town walking sorted with the new lead. All the girls looks gorgeous and happy.

    Have a nice Sunday!

  4. veganelder ~ Thank you so much, I'm glad it made you smile! Aren't the Doggles great? LOL Whomever invented them was clever, practical and had a sense of humor, I'd wager. :-) I think the girls are beautiful too, and thank you for agreeing. :-) (And I appreciate your including me in that compliment to Tess! And for not dissing my filthy Jeep. LOL)

    Molly ~ I'm so tickled you think so, because I thought of you the whole time I was putting it together and couldn't wait for you to see it! :-)

    Isn't that vid a hoot? I love her backward glance at the end! I just wish my camera hadn't been having such trouble keeping the moving car in focus. I'd love to get Doggles for Willow and Josie, but like your girls, they don't do anything to require it. All they'd need is nose warmers in winter. :-) In fact, Willow usually prefers to sit just behind and between the two front seats, staring straight ahead through the windshield. I can especially imagine Emma doing that. And I can sure picture both E & R wearing Doggles, too!

    I'm sure you saw the no-pull harness on the Gear4Dogs site - we thought about getting that one for Tess (she's the powerhouse puller), but thought we'd see how the regular mesh harness worked first. She's really being pretty good- when one or both of them start pulling, we say, "No" and make them stop right away before they build up that sled-dog momentum! That seems to be working well. We're getting out of practice now, since it's been too hot to go to town (or to take them with me when I have to). I can picture your left arms being stretched out like Gumby! Both your dogs look mighty strong.

    The girls are really quite good on our hikes, though Tess loves to range ahead (she's our Adventure Dog!, LOL!) and Josie is the one who often develops a sudden and mysterious hearing disorder. ;-) But most of the time they're really good, and they never chase wild critters, though they do sometimes try to dig the vole holes!

    The Furminator is fantastic, I can't believe all the dead undercoat it gets off of them! It's been terrific for the hot weather, and to cut down their shedding in the house.

    That Don H. song has always been one of my absolute favorites! It brings back high school memories of hanging out at the beach every day. Man, that was the life!

    We'll keep having fun cruising Main, and if we find any really good sticks we'll send some to Emma and Rowan! LOL!

  5. Rose ~ ROTFL!! "The Jackie-O thing!" That hadn't occurred to me, but you are so right! Now I need to get her a scarf to wear on her head, too! Too funny! :-D

    I love that video too, it makes me giggle every time. And I'm glad you like our "mother & daughter" photo (Tess has the cooler shades!), and I'd frame it if my Jeep weren't so filthy! That's what you get when you cross living on a dirt road with a muddy spring.

    Those dog walkers are something else! I'm always especially amazed when they're walking not only several dogs at once, but dogs that range in size from chihuahuas to Great Danes! How do they DO that? And this woman takes the Grand Prize! Like you, I'd just be in the middle of a huge, tangled wad of leashes and dogs, going nowhere.

    The girls have been very happy indeed, and they thank you very much for the compliment! Enjoy a lovely Sunday afternoon!

  6. Oh these dogs are delightful -- as well as beautiful. I always love hearing owners talk about their dogs. It tells me how much they are part of the family. Have you ever visited Bedlam Farms blog? Dogs are special to him too. His link is

    Loved all the stories of your very much loved dogs -- barbara

  7. ah so cute!! we saw a dog in doggles on the back of a moped. it was so cute! im glad you got some great pics of it:)


  8. Oh yes, the scarf is the next step...Tess wears accessories especially well...remembering her in a Santa hat. :)

    Oh, I wouldn't worry about the car looks just about like that on a regular basis and I don't have a dirt road/muddy creek as an excuse. I went to the car wash recently and there was a line up...I noticed that my car was the only one that actually looked like it needed an excavation...err, I mean a wash. Or, you could photoshop the dust out. lol..

    That woman does win the grand prize with a cat!!

  9. I love, love, love hearing that furbabies rule another roost. And the doggles were magic. I grew up with a German Shepherd who LOVED sticking her head (and half her body) out the window. They would have been perfect. Wonderful post. Thank you. Lots.

  10. Barbara ~ Thank you! Your lovely compliment made three tails wag vigorously, and Tess, Josie and Willow all send you kisses. :-) Our furbabies really are delightful ~ they have great senses of humor, are such good girls, and give us so much love... the fact they all had very tough beginnings in life is a testament to the resilience and forgiving nature of these beautiful beings. We're very blessed to have them as members of our family! We've never thought of nor referred to ourselves as their "owners," but rather as their guardians or "dog mom" and "dog dad." :-) (This was actually the subject of an excellent post recently by my friend Eva that you might enjoy reading. And after that, you can explore Eva's beautiful corner of the world through her wonderful photos - the lucky kid lives in Switzerland!)

    I've seen Bedlam Farms on your blog, and checked it out once quite a while ago. I'll have to revisit it. I also enjoy reading about people's loving and compassionate relationship with dogs, and with any and all non-human animals in their lives, wild and domestic. I dream of the day when people stop perceiving and treating any of their fellow beings as objects, commodities or property. It will be a gentler, more peaceful world in so many ways!

    I'm glad you enjoyed my "dog tails" (lol), there are lots more where that came from! (In the future as well as in my archives!) :-) You'd really enjoy Molly's blog too - her precious canine kids Rowan and Emma are constant sources of entertainment and amusement!

    DD ~ Dang, girl, where you been?! I've missed you! Great to see you here again. :-)

    A dog in Doggles on a Moped - that had to be a sight to behold! LOL I've since linked to it in the post, but it's worth sharing again - this is the adorable, moving, heartwarming video where we first learned of Doggles, in this case being worn by a wonderful dog named Spirit who sports them while riding in a motorcycle sidecar. :-) The music with it is just too perfect, too.

    Rose ~ You're spot on, Tess is our accessory girl! All you have to do is hold out her collar and she'll stick her head through it (Josie is the opposite, bobbing and weaving like a heavyweight champion to dodge it!), and she loves wearing hats and bandanas. She'd look quite stunning in a Jackie O ensemble of Doggles and scarf! :-)

    "Photoshop the dust out" - LOL! If I had PhotoShop, I'd try doing just that! I just can't bring myself to waste precious well water (or enough car wash quarters to buy a weeks' worth of groceries!) on cleaning it, knowing it will just be dirty again within days. The roads go from muddy to dusty out here overnight!

    Wasn't that photo something else? I love how the dogs are protective of Charlie, that one of them is his best friend, and think it's a hoot that he plays dog games like fetch! I guess he must figure, "When in Rome..." :-)

    Barbara in the UK!!! ~ In case you stop by and see this, check out the photo and article we're talking about and show it to your Charlie! I can only imagine his scornful response! LOL

  11. Elephant's Child ~ (May I call you Ellie C?) :-) Furbabies ruling the roost ~ how could it be any other way? We know for whom we work. LOL The Doggles are just great, and they would have been perfect indeed for the German Shepherd who shared your life once, she sounded just like Tess when it comes to car rides! Bet they'd have bought convertibles if they'd had bigger allowances. :-)

    I'm so delighted that you enjoyed this post so much! Thank you, and you are most welcome! Lots! :-)

  12. What a fun post. AdventureJo would like to make a special shout out to AdventureDog - what a fun song - thanks for adding that!

    The doggles were so great and the video was so much fun. It was fun to see not only the doggles but also how much Tess is leaning out of the car!!!

    It was nice to see the photo of you and Tess - especially since we don't see you that often!

    Your car made me think of Jim. I hope our well has lots of water because that poor man will not be able to handle living on a dirt road!!

    And finally, I must make a comment about that cartoon guy at the very top of your post. That's exactly what I looked like walking Rusty yesterday. He's pretty good on his evening walk because he considers that walking time, but every other time is really more about exploring than walking and although we only went about 1/2 mile, he probably got in 1.5 miles in zigs and zags and forwards and backwards!

  13. What lucky pups to have such great parents who allow them to act like kids once in a while ;-)....too cool!

  14. LOL! Such wonderful images (love that last one) - I so wish they cats would wear goggles like that for some pics. (How did the tests at the vets go by the way?). What good dogs they are to walk on that super-duper lead (and also not chase the squirrels of which I have a fondness). When we first moved here I took the cats out on a lead to let them get acquainted with their new garden etc, they were all fine with it except Charlie of course, who went into a screaming hissy-fit and tried to attack me, then ran off down someone's drive with the lead trailing behind him. I just had to go home and wait for him to get over himself! And I haven't forgotten that yellow flower, my friend Sue is bullying her son into identifying it!

  15. Well talk of the devil... I just read your aside to me about that article! Charlie is disgusted and says for one thing the cat should be holding the leads of all the dogs, and for another, he'd have to beat up that small dog just for the heck of it. (He used to live with a black labrador who used to like to wash him - he still has post traumatic stress and flashbacks at the memory).

  16. AdventureJo ~ Tess the AdventureDog sends you a shout out in return, and says that you should get the singer to record you an AdventureJo version! She says all they'd have to do is re-record it with "Jo" in place of "Dog." (She assumes everyone enjoys the same activities she does. But hey, I dunno - maybe you like jumping and leaping over things high and low, chasing everything that goes past and riding in the cars that are fast. LOL) I'm really glad you clicked on that link in my comment to Molly, because I agree that song's a hoot! BW and I sing that bit (it's the only part of the song we've ever heard) whenever Tess is emBARKing on one of her many adventures. :-) I thought about adding it to the post itself, but decided the poor post was already suffering from a severe case of linkmania.

    I had such a hard time not sending you that video or one of the photos last month, but I resisted the temptation, thinking it would be more fun for you to see them in a blog post. I had a hard time shooting that video because I was laughing too hard. I had poor BW turn around and drive by for a second take! (It was filmed on the Bradford Brinton road - what would we do without that place?) I like that it not only illustrates how far out (and up) the window she likes to stick her bad self, but if you look through the windshield you can you see her tail wagging, and you can also catch a glimpse of little Willow, sitting in her navigator spot behind and between the two front seats. :-)

    I know, I'm usually behind the camera instead of in front of it, and I like it that way! :-) But I'm glad I had Robyn take that photo. I just wish I had some flamboyant sunglasses on myself. My prescription ones are a fun purple, but next to Tess' Jackie O. goggles they look so boring! 8-)

    Normally I would respond to someone's comment like yours about Jim with, "He'll get used to it and it will cease to matter." But then I remembered - we're talking about Jim. ;-) He needs this cool carwash stuff we got once that only requires a gallon of water to wash an entire car. I'll see if we have any left and send you the name of it if you want. (We've had it so long I don't even know if they still make it, but they should!)

    I laughed at your description of walking Rusty! I can easily picture it looking just like the guy in my animation! Rusty and Lori are lucky to have you as their backup dog-walker and sometime dog-sitter!

    Spud ~ LOL - Thanks, but I think you have that at least partly backwards, since the girls are usually OUR excuse to act like kids sometimes! :-)

  17. Barbara (UK) ~ LOL! Now don't you dare tell Charlie I said this, but he's the one I can most easily picture wearing cat goggles! :-)

    Thank you for asking about Josie's latest test results! For the first time ever, they were totally normal! Good pH level, no sign whatsoever of infection or inflammation, no crystals, nice and dilute. Everything you'd want from a pee sample, apparently. :-) She's staying on her high-dollar prescription dog food, which seems to be making all the difference, and will be tested again after another month.

    I love your story of Charlie's violent response to being taken out to the new garden on a lead (no surprise there!), and to his scathing review of the article/photo of the cat being walked with the dogs (no surprise there, either! I knew he'd be scandalized. LOL) And I can't help but snicker at the image of a black lab trying to wash Charlie. Oh, the indignity of it! (Was Charlie a kitten at the time, or was this lab masochistic enough to try that on grown-up Charles?!)

    Thanks for being relentless in the pursuit of the yellow flower's identity! I had no idea it would be so challenging as to require a mother to bully her son. I take it he's a gardner too, or is this akin to Charlie wanting to beat up the little dog just for the heck of it? LOL I await the verdict of your English gardeners with bated breath!

  18. Thanks for your fun reply to my comments. I know I'm backed up and am dying to move forward but you spend so much time with your replies that I want to enjoy them too and I'm really glad I this on this one!!! I'd love the name of the "one gallon to wash the car" stuff if you still have it but you better send that in an e:mail so I can find it later!

    I think your glasses are every bit at lovely as Tess's! I went back to look at the video and her tail is wagging!! I didn't see BW though so I'm glad you explained that!

    I do enjoy the fast cars but if they did re-write the song for me, I have to change the leaping to quilting - it should work rhyming wise don't you think?!

  19. AdventureJo ~ (sewing and quilting over fabrics galore...) LOL

    The car wash product that only uses 1 gallon of water is Protect-All Quick & Easy Wash, and it really does work great!

    I'm glad to hear that you enjoy my comment replies enough to postpone reading my new posts! :-) But I'll email you that product info too, so you won't keep having to come back to this post. :-) I thought I'd share it here as well, though, in case anyone else should ever want to know what it is!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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