Thursday, March 31, 2011

Schwang Manor: Pooches & Carpet Cleaning

 There is nothing that wakes me from a dead-sleep faster than the dreaded "bleh-bleh-bleh" hacking sound signaling that one of our pooches is about to throw up. And if I can navigate my sleep-ridden body through a dark house fast enough to find the sick pooch and direct them onto the hardwood floor I consider myself lucky.
But sometimes... I'm not so lucky.
Sometimes the said pooch is already lying in the middle of our rug when they themselves are woken by the "bleh-bleh-bleh" feeling. Like the other day when Miss M thought it was a great idea to eat sticks on our walk but actually ended up throwing them up in the middle of our carpet.
We've been using Nature's Miracle--which I've heard can even work on red wine--then we will go over it with our Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge . The only problem is the SteamVac is huge, and in our small space we can only store it in the deep recesses of one of our pseudo-closets. Plus it's really heavy. So by the time we're able to pry it free from all the random items stored on top of it, it has really become a huge ordeal.
So we finally decided to try the Bissell Spotbot Pet Deep Cleaner--we used one of our many Bed, Bath & Beyond 20% coupons for a discount. We like that it's small, and that all you have to do is leave it on the spot and it actually does all the pushing, scrubbing, and cleaning for you. We were happy that it works well--though it may work a little too well. See, it leaves these little circles in middle of the rug. So you can see the areas that are really, really clean, but then the  rest of the rug seems dirty in comparison.
I think this is a better option, but I was just curious what everyone else does, and if you have any good tips--luckily, we don't have many rugs.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Daily Walk: Chicago Dog's Eye View

Much like we've been working on our photography skills, Mr. B has also been improving his skills with his Pet Eye Camera .We always have to laugh seeing what the pooches see on their walk. Here is a dogs' view of the city as photographed by Mr. B:

"Chicago Street"
"Chicago River"
"Self-Portrait of Chin"
"Person in the Car"
"Feet at Festival"
"Self-Portrait of Tongue"
"Watching The Other One"
"Pick up My Poo"
Any favorites?
Raffle Announcement: We wanted to make sure all of our winners have been contacted about their raffle prizes. If not, please discuss with me using the Contact Us link on the sidebar. Karen Rayfield --we seem to be having a problem with your email addresses. Please check your email or use the Contact Us link  Thanks!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pooches: Good Habits Our Dogs Have Taught Us

 Spying on a friend's Facebook page the other day, his status noted how he had an amazing exercise walking routine that was eventually thwarted by the winter weather. I told him he needed to 'get a dog' and that obligation would keep him on track. But beyond the obvious exercise benefits, I started thinking about some of the other less obvious benefits there are to having dogs.

1) Our dogs help us keep a clean house
Most people think having dogs makes your house dirtier, but I've noticed the opposite. It is because of our dogs that we keep things put away neatly, avoid clutter, and clean up all food and dishes immediately. I learned this the hard way when I first adopted Miss M and she mistook one of my favorite pairs of heels for a nylabone. And if we ever forget to pick up any clothes from the ground, our pooches are sure to remind us. This is what happens if one of our coats falls off the hook:

2) We get more done during the day
Remember the idea of being able to sleep in on the weekends? We don't. With our pooches' time-telling superpowers we are awoken early each morning to Miss M's "melodic singing" telling us we have forgotten to feed her and she needs food immediately or she might wither away. And if that doesn't work, Mr. B knows that shoving his big, luggy head on our bed is a sure thing. The positive thing is that we do like getting our day started early to avoid crowds, and it's a great feeling to have our chores done by noon.

 3) We have become friends with our city-neighbors
I remember having neighbor friends when I grew up, but neighbor friends are a little bit different in the city. Normally, you don't have them. There are just so many multi-unit buildings on a single block that most people don't care about being neighborly and just go on their way. At least that is what I thought, before we had dogs. All of a sudden, a new world of city-neighbor friends was opened. We've met families that have lived on our street for generations, we're being excitedly greeted by the elderly man down the street that doesn't speak English, and we're meeting all the biking hipsters and other dog people. Having the dogs has given people a reason to talk to us. We've become more recognizable. And I really enjoy being a part of a community.
These are the things we've thought of. What am I leaving out?
Raffle Announcement: We wanted to make sure all of our winners have been contacted about their raffle prizes. If not, please discuss with me using the Contact Us link on the sidebar. Karen and Samantha--we seem to be having problems with your email addresses. Please check your email or use the Contact Us link  Thanks!

Monday, March 28, 2011

City Dog: Urban Dog Safari

Our former dogwalker used to tell me every day when she walked by my building with the neighbor's dog, she would look up at our window and see Miss M's little 'bald head' and eyes staring out. Our pooches are always watching out the window, but unless you know to look for them, they go unnoticed--blending in like Urban wildlife.
 Inspired by our Costa Rican animal-spotting adventures, I decided to try a little Urban dog-spotting around our neighborhood.
It seemed like little pooches easily slipped into the window space:
This pooch was camouflaged; I only spotted him because of his loud bark:
Big dogs settling in like cats:
Then Mr. B actually got to see a cat up close. I wonder what the cat would have done if it saw Mr. B?
I call this pooch Juliet. She is always up in this 'balcony' barking smack to Mr. B. The funny thing is, if we ever see her at ground level, she is actually very scared of the pooches:
Then I thought about how many covert little bald heads and beady eyes I was missing. Kind of like these familiar-looking faces:
Do your pooches watch out the window too?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pooches: On Decorum and Raffle Results!

Miss M is the first female dog I've ever owned. I never really thought that gender made much of a difference, but now I'm wondering if the problem we're having is gender related.
See, Miss M won't pee in front of E.
He has to take her on a 30 minute walk, to the point where she just can't hold it any longer, just to get her to pee. I've been working on conditioning her to pee by giving her treats, and with me she'll go right away....but she is still very demure. She has to find a tree or pole and she will only pee if she is hidden from sight.
Mr. B, on the other hand, is easy and will go ahead and pee on anything and everything.
This is very annoying for us because we don't have a yard and we have to actually walk her around until she does pee. Is this a normal gender-specific problem? Or is it just dog specific?
And now for the raffle results...
Again, thank you to everyone for all your support. Based on our discussions, we will be using the donations to help another special-needs pitbull. As Tucker says so well: "My contribution by itself it really can't do much. But that little bit, in combination with the other donations, can really make a difference." Stay tuned for more information on that special pooch!
Heather used a random number generator to select the winners. We will be contacting you via email, and shipping out your prizes shortly. Winners are:
-Dog Backpack: Dorene Honeycutt
-Pet Portrait: Ann Graf
-Camera: Sherri Jeakins
-Sirius Republic Collar: Karen Rayfield
-Sirius Republic Collar: Samantha Wood
-Standard Silly Buddy Collar: Helen Vasey
-Pecan Pie Puppies Collar: Monica Schrager
-Flea/Tick Preventative: Heather Wallace
-Saucony Backpack: Jennifer Sim
-Homemade Biscuits: Patricia Uribe
Funny enough, I realized I only know people by their screen names and/or blogs, so I'm not even sure who won what. Congrats to the winners! Thanks again everyone for your support!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

DoggyStyle: Outdoor Lounging with Pillows

After this type of winter, all of us here in Chicago are still waiting for our Spring Happy Ending.  Every store we walk into has the mannequins happily modeling capris, tank tops, and open-toe wedges while I sadly look on still huddled in my standard thick scarf and wool coat as our temperatures remain in the 40's.
Stopping by Ikea the other day had us dreaming of our typical warm-weather set-up as they have much of their summer stuff out now. (If you like anything, you need to buy it super-quickly as it often sells out before warm weather). Remembering how our pooches spent much of the summer laying like this:
I thought it would be nice to buy 'a piece of summer' and pick up a floor pillow that we could use in our outdoor set-up. I found out we don't even need official dog beds anymore as our dogs are just as comfortable curling up on 20 inch square floor pillows. The insert was only about $10(?) and the removable cover only $7. They can use it outside, but we'll bring it back in so it won't be damaged by the rain.
 Right now we're keeping it in Mr B's tepee, which has suddenly become the epitome of summer. And since it's something new, we've caught someone else spending an extraordinary amount of time in there:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Daily Walk: Artistic Walk in 10 Pictures

We have been itching to get out for some long daily walks and the weather this past weekend was another teaser of what we can expect. We also wanted to get the pooches out to show off our new collar and leashes from Sirius Republic.
Ms. M was so excited by her new swag, that she was constantly on the lookout for people to compliment her new matching collar and leash.
 While Mr. B's leash was just as stylish...he just wanted to go on our walk.
Though he did pose for the camera when asked.
We got a new DSLR camera that we are still learning how to use. Here is a test shot of Ms. M.
This one of Mr. B came out better.
Ms. M is exhausted after her afternoon photo shoot on the ledge, but she was a trooper and continued to strike a pose.
After this picture, Ms. M berated Mr. B--ala the infamous Christian Bale incident-- when his ear ruined her perfect shot.
Eventually she calmed down and posed like the diva that she is.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dog Gear: On Naked Dogs and Rubits

 The last time my sister was visiting, she complained that our pooches sound like the 'Ghosts of Christmas Past'. They are so laden with dog tags that they clank and jangle wherever they go. Sure we like to be minimalists, but it seems like our pooches are requiring more and more tags just to be in the city.
We've never wanted to change up the dogs' collars, even for special occasions, just because it is so daunting to imagine switching all these tags. Enter: The Rubit.
We didn't know these even existed until we spotted them on American Dog Shopper's blog. The Rubit is like a carabiner for dogs so you can easily clip all the tags together and take them off and switch as necessary. It costs around $8. We thought the large would be too big, but it's actually kind of small and perfect for our growing collection of tags.
This has now opened us up to the fantastic world of special occasion dog collars, not to mention, a quieter household. We started taking off their charms when we come home so the sounds are not as jarring. Though it is a bit more jarring that the dogs have suddenly become ninjas:
Since we can't hear them jangling anymore, it seems like they are always sneaking up on us.
As we've started doing this, we were also curious about wearing collars around the house.We tried this before, but I always thought our dogs looked a bit naked. Or at least like they belonged on an episode of Jersey Shore:
 Plus, I've always been nervous about removing their collars for a freak incident like our building suddenly burning down, or the pooches suddenly learning to use doorknobs and running out on the street on their own--you know, stuff normal people worry about... But I've also heard a couple of reasons to remove collars in the home. Do most people keep collars on? Or remove them at home?

P.S. Given our conversation yesterday, we will be using the donations for Shy/Khloe to help save another pitbull in her honor! Stay tuned for more information on that special pitbull, and for final raffle results.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shy/Khloe Donations and Raffle Update

 We want to thank everyone for your continued support for Shy/Khloe, her family, and everyone who loved her. As Heather puts it best on her blog: 
There must be a reason that her life was cut short and I'll hold on to the fact that she is up there in doggy heaven where she can see again and she doesn't need injections anymore. Maybe she can finally eat those tasty treats that she couldn't while here on earth. And maybe she will finally get to chase a cat... that seemed to be her life's ambition :) (Click here for Heather's complete write-up).
We weren't quite sure what to do with the donations and raffle as things have changed a bit, and we wanted to open this up for some comments and discussion.
1) We have heard several people voicing that they would like to see a donation made in Shy/Khloe's honor that could hopefully help another special-needs pitbull. 
I know there are several dogs out there with sad stories that are typically passed over as  rescues often don't have the funds to pull these dogs. In speaking with one of our pit-friendly rescue organizations, she said we could go down to our city pound, rescue a pitbull that would normally be overlooked, and use the funds to 'fix' the dog and give it another chance for a happy life. So Shy/Khloe's passing would really help give life to another dog in need.
In this case, we would go through with the raffle as scheduled.

2) We could also look into an option of returning the donations. This would allow everyone their own choice of dogs and rescues they would like to support.

3) Other?

Again, we would like to open these ideas up for discussion. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or email us through our 'Contact Us' link on our sidebar.
Thanks again everyone for your support!
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