Monday, September 25, 2017

Woofstocking with Gracie and All-Sato Rescue

This weekend, Gracie and I took a road trip to a nearby town for a celebration of all things dogs.

The Woofstock Dog Festival is a benefit for the Buddy Dog Humane Society and features pet-centric vendors, K-9 demos, food, music, raffles, and plenty of nose-to-butt-nose interaction for our four-legged friends. 

There was also a reunion area for families to gather with their pups and seek out siblings who were re-homed with other families. 

While we were at Woofstock, we had the opportunity to meet with Gracie's rescue organization, All-Sato Rescue. This is an organization that is dedicated to the rescuing and re-homing abandoned and otherwise homeless dogs in Puerto Rico. The word Sato is slang in Puerto Rico for mutt. In addition to their rescue work, they strive to address the root causes of overpopulation, neglect, and abuse through education and advocacy and through low-cost spaying and neutering clinics.

It was wonderful to meet and thank volunteers from the partner organizations of All-Sato Rescue

We even picked up some Sato tee-shirt swag while we were there.

And we sent messages of love and gratitude to the rescue heroes on the ground in Puerto Rico. 

As you can imagine, rescue efforts in Puerto Rico are challenging with the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. According to the organization's web page
We finally heard from ASR President, Edilia Vazquez, that she and the many dogs and cats that she is caring for are all right. We are slowly hearing from the many other rescuers that work with us and so far, every one of them is safe as well. But, things on the ground are very bad. Most of the island is without power and communications. The infrastructure is badly damaged, the airport is closed, and there are so many trees down that getting anywhere is challenging. The weeks ahead are going to be very difficult and we are not sure when we will be able to resume normal operations. Many of you have very kindly asked what we need most. Much as we need basic supplies--dog food, kennels, medications--delivery is impossible. Gift cards to local chain stores, like PetSmart and Petco would be much appreciated, as would monetary donations to cover what will surely be extremely high vet bills as we attend to the many animals that were injured during this ordeal. Your outpouring of support has meant so much to us. We couldn't keep going without you--you are giving us the strength to continue.
Our family is so deeply grateful for Gracie and the rescue work that All-Sato Rescue continues to do in Puerto Rico. We are blessed to be able to donate to this selfless organization and the shelter where we adopted Gracie. 

If you are interested in helping All-Sato Rescue in their efforts to rescue and re-home dogs like Gracie, this link will help you do that. 

Or, if you are looking for other organizations for causes near and dear to you, there are many on the ground ready to help in all of the recently affected disaster areas of Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and other places in the Caribbean. 

Woofstock'17 was a huge success. Gracie came home tired and happy. We both did, and for me, a heart a little fuller with love and gratitude for those who work to help those so vulnerable in our world. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

For the Pups: 5 Durable Toys for Heavy Chewer Dogs

From the time our Gracie girl was a puppy, we searched high and low for toys that she wouldn't destroy in minutes. 

The plastic rings were good, but she destroyed the fabric middle ring by pulling on the threads until she unraveled it entirely. 

We tried subscription services with a heavy chewer option like Bark Box and we tried Rescue Box, which, at the time, had no such designation. While the treats were fun, the toys just couldn't survive. Our chewer went to town, persevering to the point of total destruction and near consumption. We had to take every toy away. She tore the felt off tennis balls. Rope toys? Forget it; she frayed them all and pulled the threads out of the braids. 

She didn't play with the toy; she tried to eat it. 

It became clear why we couldn't have nice things. 

In the beginning, even the leash was a casualty to our Gracie's teeth.

There would be no sweet stuffies for our girl; hard rubber would become our dog's best friend. 

As you can imagine, we have tested and tried many toys for Gracie, but the ones that survived are what you'll find here in this guide. These are toys that you will find in our home and in our yard. They are toys that work for our family, and if you have a heavy chewer as well, they may be a good fit for you as well. 

KONG Jumbler Ball Toy: This is her favorite outside toy. It comes in different sizes, but we get Gracie the extra large variety. The handle on top makes it easy to throw, and once she learned how to grab it and carry it by its handle, it made fetch much more fun. Bonus: it floats.

Despite its unique look (my naughty friends giggle when they see it), KONG Safestix is another fun fetch toy. In addition to fetch and tug, she also will chew on it like a bone if she's tired of running for it. This is also a floater. 

The JW Crackle Dog Toy is fun because it makes noise. It's not a squeaker, but a crackler. It must have the same type of plastic that water bottles have because that's exactly what it sounds like when she crunches it between her teeth. Some soft toys have water bottles inside them that make the same crackling effect; she can't have those. This toy is Gracie proof. 

Kong Tug Toy: We discovered this toy at Gracie's BFF's home. She wasn't keen on sharing it with the other dog, but she's always eager to share a side with us. 


Chew Toys: In terms of chew toys, Gracie also always has a few like this one. The other chew toys with plastic edges and edible centers don't work for us because she tries to consume them all entirely. We don't give her natural bones based on the recommendation of our vet. 

Gracie and her bff, Sasha

We all want what's best for our pups. As with people, our dogs have unique needs and personalities, and as we grow as a pack, we make decisions based on what we think is best for meeting those unique needs and personality quirks. 

Gracie might not have the cutest toys at the dog park, but she's a happy girl with a playful soul who adds a lot of love and joy to our little family pack. 

Do you have a heavy chewer? Any toys that you would recommend?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Three Things September...Playing Along

Sometimes tag games can be fun. As a reader, I enjoy reading about the people behind my favorite blogs, so I thought it would be fun to share some of the same information with you. 
I won't tag anyone in particular for a response, but if you're up for it, share your responses or at least one in the comments. Thanks!

Three things that are always in my car
A charging cable, extra napkins, a reusable shopping bag. 

Three things I always have on hand in the pantry or fridge...
Nuts, Dove ice cream bites, canned beans

Three shows I will always watch if they're on TV…
ER, Chopped, The Big Bang Theory

Three travel experiences I want to have...
Driving the Pacific Coast Highway, walking one of the routes of the Camino de Santiago, the Great American Road Trip with my husband.

Three things I won't eat...
String beans, organ meats, steak

Three things I always will spend money on...
Food experiences, travel in any form, stuff for our dog Gracie

Three things that are always in my purse...
My glasses, gum, a small notebook

Three things I love about my hometown...
Walking in the Public Garden and the Boston Common, cappuccinos and cannolis in the North End, the Boston theatre scene. 

What say you? What are your three things? Thanks for the post inspiration, Steph

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ahora 23: Life in Bullet Points

  • Blogging affords you the opportunity to say what's on your mind, but it also presents the quandary of whether what you're saying matters. One of my favorite bloggers is Steph, from Life According to Steph. She says what's on her mind, and it matters. I am continually humbled by her bravery in speaking out against injustice and inspired by seeing her and her beloved MFD walk the walk. While she may not consider what she does to be heroic, she's a hero to me...both of them are. She's inspired me to take action in my own way and it's never know who you're inspiring. 

  • I'm chomping at the bit to begin working again. I LOVE my job. It's been a long summer. Our meetings begin in another two weeks and then my semester begins the week of October 9th. I. Can't. Wait. 
  • I was supposed to be exploring northern New Mexico with friends this month, but a series of unfortunate events has plagued me since the beginning of August, culminating with a bout of bronchitis and costochondritis. Sadly, between spasmodic coughing fits and significantly higher altitude than where I live, everyone agreed that it was best to postpone my trip west. 
  • Despite the various ailments that followed me around all summer, our vacation in Spain and Portugal was fabulous! It was wonderful spending time with family and friends in Spain. Porto was a lot of fun, but packed with tourists, so many more than the last time we visited five years ago. We hosted a friend from the States and it was fun playing tour guide in our other home. 
  • Now that I'm more than halfway through my 40s, it seems like a good time to consider a 50 before 50 list. Lists can be motivating, and forcing me outside of my comfort zone is a win-win. 
  • I'm super excited that next month, we're going to a Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias concert. Most people react with some degree of surprise when I mention that, but it's true. This is pure fun. We have seats in the upper balcony, so I'll be channeling my inner Miami vibe dancing the night away. Then, a couple of weeks later, we're going to see Ray LaMontagne on his Passing Through tour. 
  • Everyone has their thing, but I cannot stop looking at airfare; there are some great deals out there. When you're location independent but your equally travel-loving partner is not, the struggle is real. 
  • Weird fact: I have an odd interest in the stories of the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels. I have watched movies about it, like Scarface and Blow. I have watched various documentaries about Pablo Escobar. I watch every season of Narcos and have finished the first season of El Chapo. And now, there are two new movies coming out, one with Tom Cruise called American Made and another with Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz called Loving Pablo, both which I can't wait to see. 

    By the way, The Two Escobars about a soccer star who shared his surname with
    the infamous drug lord is a fascinating tale if you ever run across it on your streaming channels.  

    What's going on in your world these days? Who is inspiring you? What are you loving? What's on your X before X list? Let me know in the comments. I love hearing what you're up to. Cheers!