Sunday, November 17, 2013

#FueltheLove with Zuke's Z-Filets - Enter to Win

You guys. It's Zuke's time again!

Back in the spring we had a fabulous giveaway for you with yummy Zuke's Z-Bones, and today we've got a different Zuke's giveaway--for Z-Filets!

At this point, I am pretty sure everyone who reads this blog knows how much we love all the Zuke's treats. I mean, we really do. There are always Zuke's in our house, of various types.

So, I'm not going to go on and on about the Z-Filets. Instead, I'm going to share some photos and a video of Desmond going crazy for the treats (if I can get it to work...), plus some info from Zuke himself!

OK, well, no. I mean, Zuke is a dog, so he can't really tell us about the treats. It would just sound like a lot of woofing and there would probably be slobber all over everyone by the time we finished. Let's just go with the official word from the company then, eh?
  1. Z-Filets – Healthy Grain-Free Filets for Dogs
    Ideal for customers who want jerky treats that are made in the USA, or a limited-ingredient or grain-free rewards. Grilled Chicken, Grilled Beef, and Grilled Venison re-sealable 3.25 oz and 7.5 oz pouches. 
    •  All meat comes from US or New Zealand: safe, trustworthy sources
    •  Meat is 80% of treat: ideal for dogs on limited-ingredient or grain-free diets
    •  Nutrient-rich rosemary, sage and turmeric: powerful sources of an4oxidants
    •  Large treats easily tear into smaller pieces: perfect for any breed or for use in interactive toys
Y'all, does that not sound good? Zuke's sent over all three flavors, and I honestly can't figure out which one Des likes best. He doesn't really seem to care or notice they are different. He just wants them. Whichever flavor. All of them.

Chicken, venison, and beef

One of the best things about these filets is that you can really easily break them up in to smaller pieces--pretty much as small as you want--with two fingers, while not even looking. I was able to break them up into really tiny pieces with one hand while trying to get Desmond to focus on me instead of what was going on on the countertop.

The bags show what look like grill marks on the filets, but those are actually perforations to help you break them up. I made my pieces even smaller.

Beef filet

Now, unfortunately, I did not get a pic or video of this one move Desmond did when I opened the bags and he went kind of nuts. I was trying to get him to do his "paws up" trick on our stairs. Dude was so excited that instead of doing paws up, he leapt onto the stairs--like 4 stairs up--and then ran up a couple and turned around and ran down. He doesn't even usually like to walk up the stairs. Then he looked up at me expectantly, like, "OK, I DID IT! I DID IT REAL GOOD! GIMME GIMME ZUKE'S!"

This was easily one of the funniest things I've seen him do, but his extreme wonkiness and tendency to be a klutz really doesn't make this a safe activity. Not that that stopped me from seeing if he'd do it again when I asked for paws up. He totally did. And it was even more hilarious the second time around. I know I'm a jerk, but I could not help it. I then tried getting him to do paws up on the couch arm, and he just freaking launched himself into the air and over the couch arm, onto the couch, and spun around, giving me the look again.

See that crazy dog there? Yeah, that's accurate advertising.

I wish I had a witness or a camera man or something, because this was some top-notch entertainment, man. Good stuff. I probably ruined "paws up" pretty good, but I don't even care. Excellent dog trainer example, Lauren. Way to go.

OK, here's a little more about Zuke's, the company (and a little bit about Zuke the dog!). A company I really really trust.

Where We Come From
In 1995, Patrick Meiering and his devoted dog, Zuke, took a long, glorious hike in the Colorado Mountains. Typically an energetic pup, Zuke became exhausted. So, Patrick broke off a piece of his energy bar, tossed it to him and Zuke perked right up. It was at that moment Patrick realized that pets need healthy, all-natural treats just as much as people do. From the beginning, Zuke’s has always been focused on providing healthy treats that fuel a pet’s daily adventures. The company was built on our dedication to being healthy, active, and devoted to our animal companions.

Dependable Quality: Your pet is Zuke’s top priority. Period. Making sure you can give the treats your pets love without worry is our goal. Zuke’s provides dependable, wholesome treats that help support a pet’s health and happiness.
Only The Best: A treat isn’t a treat unless it tastes good AND pet parents can feel good giving it. That’s why we removed the most common allergens – wheat, corn and soy – and made more room for the good stuff: high quality ingredients and good-for-you grains that support a healthy coat, lots of energy and a happy tummy.
Made in the USA: Zuke’s proudly manufactures all of our treats in the United States and we set the bar high for each of our suppliers, demanding the highest-quality ingredients. This ensures all of our tasty treats meet stringent US quality standards. With no recalls in our 18-year history, proof is in the pudding. Or should we say, the proof is in the treat?

Now, hang on just a second while I step in here and discuss what is or isn't easy on the stomach of my crazy dog. Desmond is very sensitive in the tummy. Nearly everything that goes in his mouth comes out of his butt in a way that no one wants hanging around with them. He's on a probiotic. We've tried various changes to his diet. I think he's just kind of this way and it is what it is. Some days are better than others, but he doesn't seem to be in severe pain or discomfort, even on his worst days.

So, that being said, after I gave him the Zuke's Z-Filets, his butt was doing some real room-clearing stuff. Granted, I gave him two whole filets and he ate some of his dinner (which we've been adding a calming supplement to that is making him stinky also) and his usual pile o'treats that goes along with his Pill Pockets (to assist in tricking him into taking his pills). So perhaps it's the combination of all that stuff together, but the only difference that day was the Zuke's. How can I not blame them for stinky butt? Then again, his excitement about them must have contributed. He's the type of dog who has to go potty and also pukes when he's excited.

[And on a total side note, can I just say that the last paragraph I typed made me think of not one but two South Park references. Maybe you know what I'm talking about...]

OK, I said I wasn't going to go on and on, but here we are anyway, huh? Sorry guys. One more photo, hopefully a video, and then, giveaway time. We're giving away the same three bags of Z-Filets that we got, to one lucky winner. Rafflecopter for entry is at the end!

Desmond giving me ten in exchange for some Z-Filets
And here is a short video of Desmond hunting down the handful of pieces of Z-Filet that I tossed across the room. Toward the end, he thinks he's gotten them all but isn't sure. You can see him look to me for help. All I did was point at the one left on the floor, and he went for it. He is normally not that slick, so I am telling you, he really likes the Z-Filets. Also, please don't judge my music choice. It was free, and I did this in a hurry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FTC disclosure: Zuke's is providing the prizes for this giveaway; I also received treats for my obviously honest review.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Happy Dog Box Review & Giveaway

Have you guys heard of Happy Dog Box? It's one of those services that provides you with a box full of awesome surprises every month, for one base price. 

I'm a big fan of these kinds of things, because I love the idea of sampling new products for my crazy but lovable dog. We tried the Bark Box for a while, actually, and it was pretty cool. But at the end of my 3-month subscription, I didn't bother renewing. In the end, we decided it was good but not the greatest thing ever. 

Then Happy Dog Box came along with this opportunity, and Desmond explained to me that it would be a matter of life and death if I didn't get a box in here right away. And boy am I glad I did.

That's a lot of good-lookin' goodies
By far, Desmond's favorite thing in the box. Kangaroo jerky. Who knew? 

I thought the products in this box were really good quality, and I love that it comes with a card telling you a little bit about each item. Getting some info on the products is great, but it also makes me feel confident that my box is the same as everyone else's, and we're not missing out on some hot treats or anything.

Other favorites from the box were--of course--the bully stick (Desmond seems to especially like these spiral types), the Dynamo Dog hip & joint treats (we're giving them to him every day, in place of his regular glucosamine supplement), and the treats dispensing toy. I put some stuff in there, and Desmond actually played with it. I mostly used treats small enough to just fall out as he batted it around. I'm not sure how this would fare with something larger that he has to work for. He's not the best employee at the company, if you know what I mean. He'll do the minimum required to avoid getting fired

I found it amusing that the poop bags & holder that were included in the box are the exact ones we already have. So I added it to a pile of donations for hurricane victims. People still need all kinds of things; I'm sure someone will appreciate it. 

Like other similar companies, Happy Dog Box is customized to the size of your dog. Desmond falls into the large category (the rep and I had a good laugh over Desmond's misleading skinny-butt looks). Here's a little description of the service their own words:
What’s in the box?
Every month you will receive a box of five or more premium products carefully selected from leading manufacturers and up-and-coming boutique brands around the country – anything from healthy treats, bones, and tough toys to hygiene products and new innovative gadgets! 
Worried about getting treats from China? I don't think that's gonna happen. Happy Dog Box says...
We source our treats from high-quality, independent treat manufacturers that are vetted for safety and quality. The treats we send are safe, healthy and delicious, GUARANTEED.
And nothing in our box caused my hesitation. In fact, some of the items in the box are featured on the site right now, so take a look here to read more about them (click on the top menu to find out what's in the box). 

Even better? Happy Dog Box is giving back to the community of dogs who aren't so lucky to have homes with families willing to supply them with never-ending awesome boxes of awesome treats and toys. 
It’s more than just a box of treats and toys. is committed to the happiness of dogs everywhere. That’s why we donate a portion of our profits to shelters in partnership with the San Francisco SPCA. It can be a hard life for these pups, so we do our best to provide healthy treats and fun toys to brighten their days. We might not be able to save every dog out there, but we want to do our part - four paws at a time. 
Want your own Happy Dog Box? Better yet, want multiple Happy Dog Boxes? I bet you do! Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of two great prizes. First Place gets a 3-Month Subscription Second Place gets a 1-Month Subscription. Good luck! 

P.S.: This giveaway is run entirely by Happy Dog Box. I have no way of accessing the info to contact winners or anything like that. If you have issues with the Rafflecopter widget, you can let me know and I'll reach out to Happy Dog Box. 

Bonus pic of Desmond lookin' all cute slash annoyed to be alive, comin' right up:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received 1 Happy Dog Box for free from Happy Dog Box as coordinated by a rep from in consideration for review publication.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Separation Anxiety Relapse

Now that we are home, we really need to get back to our usual routines, and one of the huge obstacles to that is Desmond's separation anxiety, which has returned with a vengeance. I can only imagine how the poor guy feels. 

He was ripped from his home; brought all over the place for a month while we figured out where we were going to live; then spent 10 months getting acclimated to his new, temporary home; and now we're back in our house--which looks and smells nothing like it used to. Meanwhile, during the displacement, Desmond was pretty much never alone (we did try to leave him in my parents' apartment, but he right away starting tearing things up, so we had no choice but to stop that). So now he has to readjust to a new place and the concept of being alone at the same time. 

Desmond is still on his medication, and we have reintroduced both the D.A.P. diffuser and Composure chews to the mix, as well as some lovely solo piano music, courtesy of Pandora. Ultimately, we cannot leave him in the crate. We are simply gone for too many hours when we both are working in the office. And for Desmond, the act of leaving is far worse than actually being alone; so a mid-day dog walker would do nothing but stir him up all over again (plus, we really just don't want some random person in our house). 

Put those together, and we have decided to try leaving him in the den (which used to be our master bedroom) instead of in the living room/dining room/kitchen (where he used to be left), which is just too freakin nice to risk destroying. This dog destroying the main part of the house is all that's standing between me and clinical depression.

We spend pretty much all of our time in the den, and it's where I work when I work from home. Our TV is there; it's where we chill on the couch; it's where we eat (yes, we are those people who eat in front of the TV on the couch--I'd be ashamed if I didn't know you're secretly super jealous). 

Desmond's bed and his crate are also in there. We leave the crate open, so he can do what he wants with it. He's allowed on all the furniture. Our glamorous temporary blinds are up so he can't destroy those, and we put one of those self-adhesive privacy sheets on the windows (he gets plenty of light but can't see squirrels or cats in the yard or the people and dogs in the park). There's no reason he should be unhappy in there, other than the lack of our presence. 

But apparently none of this matters to him, because he's already destroyed the door and the molding. In fact, he ripped off the door guard we had up and then went to town on the door and molding. 

Now, let me ask you this: what the French is that door guard supposed to actually do if it can be ripped up and torn off so easily? What is this protecting? Which dogs is this stopping? 

To be clear, we didn't just peace out and see what would happen. We did the usual desensitizing process. We spent a week where we each got up every day at the eventual regular time and went through as regular a morning routine as possible--both getting fully ready for work, even though I was staying in the house. 

After that, we spent a day where we both got completely ready and then left him in the den, walked out the door, and came right back in, repeating that process over and over with slightly longer intervals of staying out of the house. We got up to almost a half hour, and everything was fine. I was feeling extremely relieved and hopeful, because I've been dreading this.

I mean, he was barking, crying, howling. He was definitely upset. But he didn't trash anything.

The next day we did it again, and for whatever reason, that's when he messed up the door and apparently ran all over the room, because we found evidence of minor disturbances. He actually managed to turn a lamp on--it's a touch lamp, but still. That's almost impressive.

Obviously, I'm distraught and disheartened. Look at our brand new door and molding, after Desmond's first attempt to get out:

What I found when I first opened the door 
Partially ripped off door guard 

We need to keep this dog from getting out of the den for the safety of the house and himself. So... Joey went and got plexiglass custom cut to protect the door and the molding. And then he screwed it into the door and rigged the side with velcro to help keep Desmond from pulling it off the molding.

I wish I had pix of this, because it was pretty serious looking. Alas, I do not have great ones--and the ones I do have I can't quite share here just yet (more on that soon enough). But it's a moot point, because guess who tore off the plexiglass? That's right. Hulk dog. But he only pulled off the part over the molding. He managed to snap it off, leaving really pointy shards sticking out from the door, but generally not harming the plexiglass over the door too much. Thank goodness he didn't hurt himself.

So we sanded it all down with the Dremel and then put tape all over everything to make it as safe as possible. We are desperate, what can I say. For the molding, Joey put a spare piece of door guard up over it and taped it down and screwed that all in as well. 

Check it. Super classy, right?

We'll try leaving him again over the next few days, but I really don't know what we're going to do if things don't change for the better, because--plain and simple--I have to go back to work in the office next week. He's going to be alone for the whole day, and there's not much we can do about it. 

We are going to try the Thundershirt again, plus we ran out and bought some more vitamin B, which once helped us here. Other options include increasing his meds, but I'm not sure that would even work. He seems to be able to pull energy from the universe to accomplish these things. And drugging him up doesn't solve the real problem anyway. 

The first time around, this took about 8 months to really go away. I want to jump out a window when I think about doing this for another 8 months. If things don't get any better in another couple weeks, I will probably have to call on my mentor trainer for help. Perhaps I am missing something. In the meantime, cross your fingers.

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