Thursday, March 27, 2014

Our March Barkbox Review

After enjoying our first Barkbox so much, we eagerly awaited the arrival of our March Barkbox last week. We expected it to arrive on March 19th, as our February box showed up on the 19th as well. But there was no Barkbox. Each day last week, we faithfully made the journey with our mommy to the mailbox but there was no Barkbox. We were starting to get discouraged but our Mommy stepped in to help us search for it. After contacting Barkbox, she learned that our monthly surprise was on its way and for some reason had simply been delayed. We were so relieved to hear that we hadn't been forgotten!

Yesterday, we went for our daily walk with Mommy and Daddy to check the mail and, to our utter joy, our Barkbox had arrived! We could hardly contain our excitement as we made our way back upstairs! What would this month's Barkbox have in store for us!?!

As we mentioned last month, we're getting the small dog Barkbox. Mommy technically ordered it for Emma but Zoe gets to partake in the treats as well. Mommy kept pestering Daddy and he finally caved and decided to purchase a six-month subscription for Zoe too! Barkbox's 48% off special for March Madness last week sealed the deal and as of next month, we'll be getting two Barkboxes! One for big dogs and one for small dogs! Twice the fun!

On to this month's Barkbox and our thoughts on the treats, toys and more!

Barkworthies Bully Stick

Just like last month, Emma's favorite Barkbox treat was the bully stick. As soon as opened the box, she stuck her pug nose inside, snatched the stick and made a beeline for a safe spot to chew where Zoe couldn't easily steal it from her. Zoe is hopeful that her Barkbox will contain a big girl bully stick next month so she can enjoy one of her own.

Since we didn't want Zoe to feel too left out, we gave her a piece of Emma's bully stick to chew on too.

Safemade Bowl

Although we haven't actually used the flexible bowl yet, it's just what we need for when we go out on the weekends. It's bendable shape will make it much easier to carry around than a traditional plastic bowl and we love the color!

Simply Fido Monkey Toy

Emma loves her new monkey toy, which makes a crinkly sound when she bites it. We can't leave the monkey sitting out though because we're afraid that Zoe will quickly behead it, as she is known to do.  

Here's a short video of Emma playing with her monkey:

Nootie Yumzies Peanut Butter Treats

Our dogs have always loved peanut butter and soft treats so we knew these tiny morsels would be a hit before we even opened the bag. Both the girls love them and happily gobble up several for a treat. After feeding the girls these treats, we realized that they contain chicken despite being peanut butter flavored. Sneaky treats! We're not completely sure but we have a feeling that Zoe is allergic to poultry so we try to keep away from it.

N-Bone Dental Chews

Unfortunately for Zoe, these dental chews are also chicken flavor. These treats have found a home in my car as Emma goes for lots of rides with me during the day to visit kids and dogs while Zoe stays at home. Emma is enjoying these dental chews quite a bit. I've been breaking them in half to make them last longer and she doesn't seem to notice. :)

We can't wait until next month's Barkbox!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Emma's Adoption Story

Last week, I shared Zoe's Adoption Story. Now, I would like to share the tale of how I became a proud pug owner and brought the perfectly "pugalicious" Emma into my life. 

After we adopted Zoe in October 2011, we spent the next couple of months adjusting to life with a rapidly growing puppy (she went from 25 lbs to 50 lbs in less than three months). While we were happy with our beautiful mastiff, we knew our family wasn't complete. Zoe needed a friend. She needed someone to play with throughout the day and keep her company when we were away. 

For years, I dreamed about adopting a pug. I remember flipping through my dog encyclopedia book as a child and being attracted to their adorable smushed up faces. Although I couldn't adopt one during college or in the immediate years thereafter, I bought calendars and planners featuring pugs.

When my boyfriend (Micah) asked what would be my dream dog, there was no question. It was a pug! He had just fulfilled his wish of adopting a mastiff and now it was time to make my dreams come true too. Sometimes with and sometimes without my knowledge, he began to search Craigslist for a pug around December 2011. We emailed about a few pugs but sometimes they were already gone and other times the asking price was simply too high.

We left San Diego for a week at Christmas to visit our families in the Pacific Northwest and we suspended our search for the time being. Shortly after we returned, Micah searched again and found a 9-month-old female pug on Craigslist. He emailed and received a response the next day, which invited us to come meet the pug. It was January 4, 2012. 

Emma's first day home!
We were anxious to meet her the rest of the day and made plans to pick her up after Micah's basketball game around 8 p.m. We drove about 30 minutes to a neighborhood in East San Diego that we weren't very familiar with. It was pitch black and some of the neighborhoods that we drove through looked a little sketchy. I remember hoping that there really was a dog at this location and that we wouldn't get robbed. 

Thankfully, Emma lived in a nice townhouse with a young family, including a two-year-old boy. The family had adopted her as a puppy but were moving to a new house that didn't accept pets. While I could never imagine choosing to live somewhere that I couldn't bring my fur babies, it all ended up working out in my favor. 

As soon as we arrived at the house, the woman picked up Emma and placed her in my arms. For the rest of our 10-minute discussion, Emma snuggled in my arms and was as still as a statue. Then we paid them the re-homing fee, collected the few belongings that she had and drove home with our beautiful new pug.

Emma was just as happy to have found us
as we were to have found her!
Although her name was Rocca, we quickly decided that she needed a more feminine name. Within days, she was known as Emma.

The first few days were rough. Zoe wasn't incredibly welcoming to her new sister. In fact, the night we brought Emma home, we had to keep the two separated because Zoe seemed like she wanted to eat Emma. Micah and I walked into the bedroom, which is where Zoe sat in her kennel, and she wagged her tail happily at the sight of us. Then Emma came prancing in behind us and Zoe's joy quickly turned into growls.

There was definitely an adjustment period in learning to get along. We brought Emma home on a Wednesday night and the next two days we kept the dogs separate unless both Micah and I were home to supervise. 

But on Saturday, we took the dogs to the beach and miraculously, they bonded. Zoe stepped into protective sister mode and made sure that no one messed with her little sister, aside from her, of course. They frolicked on the beach together and it was the first of many trips to dog beach. From that point on, the two became best friends.

Emma and Zoe's first trip to the beach together!
Adopting a pug has brought so much joy to my life. There's an endless supply of fun and laughter, cuddles and kisses. She's definitely everything I hoped she would be and so much more. I couldn't imagine my life without my beautiful pug and best friend.

Emma and Mommy on a hike.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Zoe's Adoption Story

October 2, 2011 started like any other Sunday. My now ex-boyfriend and I spent the morning relaxing at home and browsing the Internet for our next great adventure. Little did we know, in less than 12 hours, we would be dog owners. 

It started innocently enough. We browsed the pet section on Craigslist and oohed and aahed over the cute dogs. This was not the first time that we had done so. It was fun looking at the pups and imagining some day adopting one. We were both lifelong dog lovers. 

My first and last photo with Grizzley
I grew up with Grizzley, a golden retriever/husky mix who I still consider to be one of the best dogs that ever walked the Earth. From the age of five to my senior year of high school, Grizzley was my best friend and I was heartbroken when she passed away in my arms on March 1, 2003. It took me nearly nine years to even consider adopting another dog albeit a large portion of those years I was in college or struggling to find a job just out of college and in place to financially support a dog (or even myself, at times). 

Micah's family owned several dogs throughout his childhood, including a husky, Scottish terrier and a couple Boston terriers. He was no stranger to dogs either. A family friend of his owned English mastiffs and Micah fell in love with the gentle giants. 

On that fateful Sunday, Micah searched Craigslist for "mastiff." My protests that an apartment wasn't the right place for a mastiff fell on deaf ears and he quickly discovered a post for an 11-week-old Italian mastiff. It had been posted only minutes before and Micah decided to email about this dog. I thought he was crazy. We weren't ready for a dog, were we? Let alone a dog that would grow to at least 100 lbs? But I figured what was the harm in emailing. We probably wouldn't even hear back.

To continue the madness of the day, we thought we'd visit the local animal shelters and take a look at the dogs. I warned Micah that this would be dangerous for me as I would want to rescue them all. Looking at all the animals in need nearly broke my heart. We met an  English mastiff who had been dropped off by his owner because they had a baby and decided they didn't have time for a dog anymore. He was seven years old, which is getting up there for a mastiff, and it made me both sad and angry that these people could abandon their pet after all these years. This dog had just arrived at the shelter and was still undergoing behavior tests. Besides, we wanted a puppy to start our journey with. I hope that the mastiff found a loving home to live out his life. 

About this time, we received a response from our Craigslist email. We had been the first people to respond to the ad and the owner wanted to meet us that evening. Again, we figured what could be the harm in meeting her and the pup.

A few hours later, we drove to an apartment about 20 minutes away from our home. When we knocked on the door, we were greeted with a chorus of barks. One of those barks belonged to Zoe. The other bark to the owner's chihuahua mix. 

Zoe's first night home
The owner's mother let us into the house and we found baby Zoe, who at the time was called Sophie, hiding under the dining room table barking and growling at us. It wasn't the warmest of welcomes but I suppose Zoe simply showed us her true colors as a guard dog right off the bat. We spent a few minutes talking to the mother (the daughter was too sad to see her pup go so she dropped her off with her mom) and learned a bit about Zoe's story. 

Zoe had been taken away from her mother at a young age and the girl's roommate bottle-fed her for a few weeks. The roommate ended up leaving and Zoe became the girl's responsibility. But this girl had accepted a job on a fishing boat in Oregon and feared that Zoe would grow too big to stay on the boat. So at 11 weeks of age, Zoe was looking for a new home.

The woman offered to send Zoe home with us for the night for a trial run. We were welcome to bring her back in the morning if it didn't look like things were going to work out. Ha! As if I could ever turn a dog away after I brought it into my home. From that moment on, I knew, ready or not, we were getting a dog.

Micah and I left Zoe at the house and made a quick trip to Target to get some dog supplies. We bought a too-small harness (even at 11 weeks, Zoe had outgrown the medium harness), retractable leash and car kennel (the kind that's flexible and folds). When we returned, we were able to convince Zoe to leave the safety of the table and join us on the floor. We tried to fit her into the harness but we were stumped on how it worked. We finally figured out that it simply too small for her and Zoe figured out that she didn't have the brightest new owners. 

Baby Zoe, 11 weeks
A miracle happened as we left the apartment and walked to the car. Zoe suddenly decided that she liked us! We drove home with her and excitedly introduced her to her new home. We spent some time playing with her and then decided it was time to call it a night. We had her flexible car kennel set up in the living room and, silly us, we thought that's where she was going to sleep. But seconds after we closed our bedroom door, there was a scratch on it. There sat little Zoe, who had unzipped her kennel. We decided that she could sleep with us this one night and the next day we went to Petco and bought her an extra large metal crate so she could grow with it. Although she slept in the crate at night for the first six months, we soon began to let her sleep in the bed with us. But she still loves her crate and often naps in it during the day. 

The next few weeks and months were spent potty training, socializing at dog parks and dog beach and lots of learning for both us and Zoe. 

I may have been hesitant about getting a mastiff but she's now one of my best friends and I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Zoe with Mommy at Balboa Park  and Zoe with Daddy at Del Mar Beach,
both at at 11 weeks

Monday, March 3, 2014

Our Very First Barkbox!!!

We're so excited! We received our very first Barkbox last month and we've been so busy enjoying it that we're just now getting around to writing about it almost two weeks later. That means it's only about another two weeks until we receive our second Barkbox!

Mommy ordered a six month subscription and for a little under $20 a month, we get new treats and toys delivered to us every month. How awesome is that!?! We think it's pretty cool! We love to be spoiled rotten!

For now, we're getting the small dog Barkbox, which is catered to dogs up to 20 pounds. Now, this works great for pugs but not quite as good for mastiffs. Mommy hoped that she could convince Daddy to buy the large dog subscription but no such luck yet. Mommy is thinking about getting the large dog subscription for six months after the small dog subscription ends. In the meantime, Zoe can at least share some of the treats and if the toys look sturdy enough, can give them a try too. The smaller toys and treats will be going to the car for Emma to enjoy on her daily car rides to accompany Mommy on her babysitting and dog walking jobs.

Thankfully, this month's Barkbox contained five items and three of them are appropriate for big dogs too!

Out of the five items, we have two clear winners. Here's the breakdown:

Barkworthies Bully Stick - Emma not only selected the bully stick from the box but also somehow removed the tag herself and began to nom on the bully stick. Perhaps she was afraid that her big sister would steal it.

Emma gobbled up half the bully stick that night before it got taken away to enjoy on another day. Mommy was afraid she would get a tummy ache if she ate the entire thing in one night. But it sure was delicious!

The Petsafe Sheepskin Ted - This soft toy has a sturdy squeaker that so far has withstood the jaws of a nearly 100 lb mastiff. Emma isn't big on squeaky toys but Zoe goes nuts for them. While we were sorting through the box, Zoe stuck her head in and claimed the toy as her own.

Zoe loves it, although we only let her play with it while being supervised. We have to gently remind her that the goal is not to "desqueak" the toy (or rip it open and "destuff" it) but to make the squeaking last as long as possible. We're amazed that it's still squeaking two weeks later as her strong jaws usually manage to break the squeaker within a day and sometimes minutes.

Complete Natural Nutrition Cheese Treats - These cheesy treats passed the test for both dogs and they are enjoying adding them to their mixture of treats.

Emma needed no convincing to give these all-cheese treats a try; they are definitely pug-approved!

Zoe sniffed them, rolled them around her tongue and eventually decided that they were quite delicious and came back for more. This is not unusual for her when trying something new. She can be an odd dog sometimes. :)

Loopies Chew Toy - This cigar-shaped toy is meant for chewing but it's rather small size of about five inches means that it's too small for Zoe. Mommy put it in the car for Emma but so far she hasn't been interested in chewing on it.

Superior Farms Lamb Treats - Mommy thought that we would like this treats but it turns out that we're not big fans of the biscuits. We prefer jerky treats. What can we say? We know what we like.

We can't wait to see what's in next month's box!