P.A.W.S Benefit Walk 2013

Yesterday we participated in the 13th Annual P.A.W.S. Walk. P.A.W.S (Providing Animals with Shelter) is a local shelter where their mission is to provide lost or surrendered animals with temporary shelter until adoptive families can be found. The walk was a trick or treat walk through the downtown area with stops at participating businesses along the way. Since it was a Halloween theme walk, customs were encouraged. 

(Taking a break from the walk to pose with the sign.)

After registering, receiving our trick-or-treat bags, making some minor adjustments to my costume, we were on our way. Our first stop was to my great pal Laura Penning Photography, where she snapped a couple of pictures of me and my mom and we were off again. Next we hit up the McDonald’s table grabbed our free smoothies (well, I didn’t get one the humans did) and we hit the pavement. 

(Outside of the Art Center on our walk through downtown.)

It was a wonderful day for a stroll through the downtown area. With the wind at our backs (and bottoms) and cars slowing down to check me out, I was loving it. We walked about 2.5 miles, while making 10 stops for some trick or treat fun. I’m sad to say that it is hard to go to the bathroom in a kilt. It may look easy but it is really hard.  

(Me posing in my costume.)

When we arrived at the beginning the humans dashed over to get their complimentary hot dog while I took a couple pictures with some fans. We then grabbed a bench to rest our feet and paws and waited for the costume contest to begin. 

(I really didn’t want to put my head through this hole, but who can resist a Beggin’ Strip.) 

Finally, the time has come to the costume contest. There were a lot of wonderful costumes and ideas. The competition was toughWe saw dogs dressed up as football player, pumpkins, fairies, whoopy cushions, Mario and his friends, of course the traditional witch and much more. We all lined up, once our name was called we walked in front of the all the participants. There were two different categories, one was for the best dog costume and the other was for the best dog and human duel costume. I am happy to announce that I won first place in my Scottish Kilt! What an amazing prize I received, however, I knew that P.A.W.S. could use the gift card to Petco more then I could so I decided to donate it to the great organization. 

(My first place prize: a bed and four toys!)

After everything today, I got home and find my “Move Your Mutt” inspirational band in the mail. It is a great reminder for my mom to get up and move her mutt! ūüôā

It’s important to continue to support local shelters and rescue organizations. Please consider volunteering, donating, or simply spreading the word to others of their missions. 

– Spencer

Photo Session

What a beautiful day for a photo session. Thank you so much to Laura Penning Photography for a great day. You know you have a great photographer when she takes off her shoes and socks and joined Spencer in the creek to capture the perfect shot. Can’t wait to see the finished results! 

(Here Spencer is working the camera!)

(For being such a good boy all day, he got his very own ice cream cone.)
(“Thank you, Laura!”-Spencer)

Review & Discount: Calming Collar

Overall Spencer is a well-behaved, charming and easy dog. However, that does not mean he does not have his ‘quirks.’ He also has some anxiety and separation issues. I’ve tried many products to help manage those issues. I came across the Calming Collar in a magazine and reached out to see if Spencer would benefit from it.

(Image retrieved from the Calming Collar website)

The Calming Collar is a customized cloth collar filled with a blend of natural herbs. The combination of these herbs help your dog with different issues. It is easy to use. All you need to do is clip it around your dog’s neck (as you would a collar), adjust the straps and let the aromatherapy do its work. 

The Calming Collar offers three different collars to target three different target issues: Calm Me Down, Good to go, and Too Cool. In this review I will be focusing on the Calm Me Down Collar. 

According to their website this collar helps with:
  • Separation anxiety
  • Fear of thunderstorms and other bad weather
  • Fireworks or other loud noises
  • Hyper-activity
  • Stress and stressful situations such as going to the groomers
  • Excessive barking
  • So much more!

Other facts about the collar:

  • If the collar is worn 24/7, the herbs will last 3 to 4 months. If only used a few hours a day or less, it could last up to a year. 
  • It comes with a sealed bag you can store your collar when it is not in use.
  • Surface clean only with damp cloth.
  • You can choose from over 40 different fabrics.
Test & Review

(Spencer chillin with his Calming Collar, it’s under his fluff.)

Spencer seems to get the most anxious when we go out to the farm. My parents’ two puppies like to jump on and get in Spencer’s face. They also have a hard time sharing. We have noticed that Spencer paces from room to room while panting and has a hard time listening to commands. He loves going to the farm but it normally takes about 2 or 3 days there for him to get situated and feel comfortable. 

(Spencer enjoying the car ride with his Calming Collar)

I put the Calming Collar on him as we were leaving to go to the farm (which about a 30 minute ride and he loves to go for car rides). Once it was on he left it alone and it still fits even with his other collar on. Once we arrived, he chased the cats like normal, did his business and we went in to the house. My parents’ 3 dogs greeted up with open paws and Carlie was crying cause she missed him so much.

Throughout the entire evening we all noticed that Spencer did not pace from room to room. He was not nervously panting and he was able to follow comments the first time. The other dogs would smell the collar but left it alone. He opened up quickly, was less guarded and started playing with the puppies right away. My mom was working on a project and was using the staple gun (normally Spencer would hide from loud sounds). Not that night, he didn’t mind it one bit and continued to play. I took it off when it was time to go to bed. 

The next morning, I put the Calming Collar on right away and, just like the day before, he was calmer and less stress then he normally is.  He rested on and off throughout the day. 

I can’t believe how well and quickly this worked! I would highly recommend the Calming Collar to others in the same situation.

Spencer gives this product 4 PAWS up! 

(Spencer resting after along morning of playing with his Calming Collar on.)
  • The adjustable buckles are nice since Spencer’s hair grows and it can be adjusted accordingly. 
  • A variety of different fabric chooses to chose from to fit you and your dog’s personalities.
  • All natural herbs, no oils or chemicals. 
  • Wonderful communication with the company!

  • At first this collar’s aroma is strong, if you are sensitive to smells that maybe an initial concern. 
  • It comes with a informational sheet, I wish they would include how long the collar last and if it is okay for them to sleep with it. (This information is on their website.)
If you are interested in purchasing Calm Me Down, Good to go, or Too Cool, use the coupon code “Spencer” and get 10% off your order.
You can find Calming Collar at their Website or on Facebook!

Disclaimer: I was provided one Calming Collar free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was given. 

In Honor of Belle, “The Great American Farm Dog”

Written by my mom in honor of Belle. 

In 1996, my father entered a contest through a farming magazine called “The Great American Farm Dog Contest.” Actually, I should note that my mother ‘encouraged’ him to enter the contest about why he felt he could use a service dog.

Perhaps it would be best to give a little¬†back story¬†to why my father would enter such a contest. In June 1986, my father was involved in a motorcycle/car accident on his way home from work. A car failed to stop at a stop sign and ran directly into my father, who then flew off his motorcycle and into a nearby ditch. The accident left him a paraplegic. Never one to be told he couldn’t do something or be held back from something he loved to do, he continued to farm once he got out of the hospital for the last time in February 1987. Through creating and adding various, and at first quite crude, lifts onto many of the farm machinery and equipment, he was back in the field within a year. Of course there were things he relied on other people to help him with but, for the most part, he adapted to his situation.

Fast-forward to 1996 and the contest, my mother thought he had a chance to win. Of the hundreds of applicants, my father won. The grand prize was a three-week trip to Independence, Pennsylvania to have a service dog trained and assigned by Independence Dog, Inc. If you are wondering how a dog would assist a person with a wheelchair, I found the following description:

Wheelchair Dogs are trained to assist a person with strong upper body function who uses a wheelchair. They are taught to pull their partners up ramps and to support their partners as they transfer from a wheelchair to another chair, car, or bed. They can even help their partner get back into the wheelchair after a fall. Since dogs are not color-blind, they can identify objects, such as books or clothes, by color. These dogs are also trained to open heavy doors, pop wheelchairs over high curbs, and carry packages or books in their specially constructed backpacks.

My family went to Pennsylvania and were set up in a house where the dog training facility was located. The dog assigned to my father was Belle – a golden retriever. Our family had always had dogs but we never had a golden retrievers. Belle was the typical golden retriever with a quite and calm demeanor and soft, fluffy fur that one could use as a pillow (and blanket!) on those cold nights. Most of the time we were there, the trainers would work with Belle and my father. Soon they became quite the pair as Belle identified her new master. We would go on day trips together so Belle and my father could adapt to different environments together. The three weeks went very quickly and soon we were on our way back to Minnesota. On the plane ride home, Belle said on the floor of the plane next to my father’s seat.

Once we were home, Belle enjoyed the openness of the farm and took an avid interest in the pigs. Luckily, she ignored the farm cats and soon they ignored her as well. My father and Belle were quite a pair as she sat next to him in his Kawasaki Mule and even in the combine and enclosed tractors.

One time, my father was feed in the pigs and as he was pushing up the small hill to the house, he slid on ice and tipped over. At the time my sister and I were in the house, suddenly we heard Belle barking – she never barked. We looked out the window to see her in the front yard looking at us and barking. She would then run towards the barn and back to the house, barking the entire time. We knew that something was wrong. After getting on boots and coats we headed to the barn with Belle leading the way. If she had not informed us that he had fell, who knows how long my father would have been out there on the snow and ice.

In February 2005, Belle passed away of cancer. As she got older, my father ‘retired’ her from her service dog duties but never as his faithful companion. It is always difficult to say “Goodbye” to our furry family members, but saying it to Belle was heartbreaking. She epitomized the saying “man’s best friend.” Since my family had Belle, they have since had/have mostly Golden Retrievers (with the recent exception of Louie). And all have been rescues. Belle still has a special place in the house as seen in the photographs. Her ashes, collar and Service Dog harness along with photographs of her and my father are positioned throughout my parents’ house.

Belle was¬†“The Great American Farm Dog” and we still miss her dearly.


Chef Spencer

Buying pet costumes can be expensive and you can only use them once, maybe twice a year. Have you ever thought about buying children dress-up clothes, costumes, or outfits and use them for the your pet?

(Spencer is very upset that the pizza slices are not real…)

In 2011, Spencer went as a Pizza Chef! It was only logical since he’s known for stealing a slice here and there when your back is turned.

I went on Etsy.com, a online “marketplace” with over hundreds of thousand seller. I came a cross this one seller, Key2Life, who makes customized aprons and chiefs hats for children. After a brief conversation letting her know what I was looking for, Spencer’s hat and apron were on their way! Once I put them on him I know we had a winning look. 

Rounding the look off we made a t-shirt (mens M) that stated “For pickup or delivery call 1-800-SPENCER,” and we reused his boys size 8 jeans from the year before. We also added in a felt pizza. When everything is combined, Spencer becomes our Chief Taste Tester! 

After Halloween, kids can play dress-up with the hat, apron, and pizza. And parts of the costume (such as the jeans) can be saved for another Halloween costume.