Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pooches: Urban "Backyards"

Some people feel sorry for our dogs because we don't have a real backyard.
But, we think it's even better because they have the entire city for a backyard. We are forced to go on multiple walks where we get to spend more time with our pooches exploring neighborhoods, meeting people, and through these adventures they become more tolerant to the sounds and chaos of the city. Which they enjoy.
Though being a true country dog, poor Mr. B just loves to be outside, and he only has a wooden deck to lay on.
So we decided to play 'Daddy Warbucks' and create an outdoor scene for our Mr. B. Though since this is reality, we just have this little tree, which is kind of confusing for him:
Though we did add these flower boxes and a couple more trees:
Giving him his own "urban backyard".

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dog Paparazzi

Sometimes when you see photos, you don't know what is going on behind the scenes. A remembers a picture of Britney Spears at the beach and when they zoomed out, there were all these paparazzis only a couple of feet away from her. We showed the pictures of Mr. B and Ms. M at the parade, and here are some behind-the-scenes pictures from our day at the Chicago Annual Pride Parade. While the parade was going on, people had to stop and take photos of the pooches, even parade marchers were stopping in the parade to get pictures of the pooches.
At several points, it felt like the pooches had their own paparazzis, but unlike Britney Spears, they soaked up the attention.
Ms. M knew that all of this attention would eventually lead to petting
and more petting.

At times, the pooches felt like Mickey and Donald at Disneyland with people posing with them.
Little did people know that Mr. B was taking pictures of them and the parade. We set up camp where we usually watch the parade, but before we knew it, there were throngs of people all around us. However, Ms. M was able to find a nice spot to take a little nap during the lull of screaming people, booming bass and dancing cowboys.

Mr. B found a companion to sit with during the parade and he saw his fill of legs and feet. This year, we brought dinner for the pooches and a camelback of water, so the pooches can have a picnic at the parade.
It is funny how we can see some of the action from a first person and third person point-of-view.
Mr. B was so excited to see our friend Kelsey from New Leash on Life.
Ms. M was so happy to have Kelsey join us at the parade.

Ms. M acted like a professional model posing with Alexis from The Anti-Cruelty Society. While A was taking this photo, hoards of people surrounded them to take photos of them as well. Ms. M was so happy to have her own personal photo shoot with Alexis.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

City Dog: How to Dress Your Dog for Parades

Watching the Oscars, I've always been amazed how the actresses seamlessly mange to get their dresses to stay in place. And when they do the big backstage reveal, we realize there was actually a lot of rehearsal and double-sided tape involved. So much like people have questioned how our pooches' costumes managed to stay in place, we're going to share the secrets of how the pooches pull off wearing costumes.
 I never thought I would dress up my 70 lb pitbulls, but somehow knowing that people are more likely to approach our dogs in costume, and have the opportunity to see the true nature of pit bulls, we have jumped on this bandwagon. Though we did have to work up to the costume part as parades can already be scary places with strange noises, crowds, and random drunk people, as we detailed in the post: How to Prepare Your Dog to Attend a Parade.

Preparing Your Dog to Wear a Costume:
Since we've had our pooches awhile, we had forgotten the steps we had taken to originally get our pooches to accept costumes. And we actually just had a great off-line conversation with a reader who just took her adorable pitbull, Michael, in costume to their local Pride Parade.
 She was very mindful of the perspective from this article in the New Yorker as she took the steps to make Michael comfortable in his costume.
 I was careful to introduce it over the course of the day. I put the bandana on first, which excited him because he knew we were going outside, then we left our apartment and went to a friend's place, where he got to socialize with his "friends" and people he already knew. After an hour or so, I let him sniff the dress (he immediately tried to mouth the fur trim), but I will not deny that he put up a bit of a struggle as I zipped the dress up. So, I rewarded him for tolerating me and letting me put the dress on him. Then we were off to face the crowds!
We also introduce the pooches to the costumes and have a mini-dress rehearsal at home to make sure they will be comfortable in their costumes before we head out.

Getting Your Costume to Stay in Place:
This is where the tricky part comes in. To make sure the pooches' hats and headbands stay in place, we sew an elastic strap that goes behind their ears and under their chins. We make sure that the elastic won't be too tight, and it keeps everything in place when we walk. Here is Miss M checking out the 'costume station' and deciding what she wants to wear:
We actually get Miss M's headbands and costumes in the little girl's department at Target. She has no problem wearing tutus, grass skirts, and angel wings. I think given all the positive reinforcement she receives through the extra attention, she actually forgets she is in costume:
Mr. B's head is big enough to wear real people's hats, and he borrows bow-ties from E. His turtle costume was from Target's Halloween dog section and it was designed to fit just like a dog coat and hat.
There is a lot that goes into wearing the costumes because we do want to make sure our pooches are comfortable and happy. What other experiences have people had with dogs and costumes?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicagoing: Chicago's Annual Gay Pride Parade

The thing all of us, especially Miss M, look forward to all summer is attending Chicago's Annual Gay Pride Parade.  It's so important for us to support ideas of equality and gay rights, and it's incredible to see the entire community banding together. It becomes a mile-long party in the streets complete with people celebrating on rooftops, rainbow flags bedecking all the local businesses, thumping music, feathers, and outrageous costumes. And of course a wide range of local celebrities: from our new Mayor Rahm Emanuel (in white pants!) and Bozo the clown:
This was another opportunity for the pooches to get out in costume. Last year Mr. B came as a cowboy, but due to popular demand on our Facebook page,he came in a jaunty straw fedora and bowtie. This guy was impressed that Mr. B had such great taste in hats:
Miss M has been taken with the princess craze sweeping all the young girls, and she came as a pretty fairy princess:
We wrote before about how we prepare to take our pooches to a parade which can be loud, crowded and filled with unpredictable people. We choose a spot towards the end of the parade route which isn't too crowded and the pooches had a good time getting out and getting petted.
It's amazing how costumes can make pit bulls that much more approachable as everyone was rushing up to meet them and take photos. After posing with so many people, towards the end of the day Mr B's hat was smooshed. But, this did allow him to have a mid-event costume change ala Lady Gaga:
And even Miss M was exhausted and felt satisfied she had met her petting quota for the day:
P.S. We met some of you who knew Miss M and Mr. B through the blog. It was so great meeting you, and thanks for saying hi! Mr. B is still blushing from the compliments.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog Series: Kansas City, Missouri

I've really been looking forward to this insider post on Kansas City because I actually spent my Senior Year of college interning in Kansas City, and I somehow managed to miss these gigantic 17-foot tall shuttlecocks. I love seeing Turk and Rufus's insider's view of Kansas City complete with a picnic, experiencing art with your pooch, and gourmet snowcones served from a retro seafoam green trailer--now I really want a pineapple- serrano pepper snowcone.

We live in the Waldo area of Kansas City, Missouri.
While we love our neighborhood, we really enjoy exploring other areas of our beautiful city – especially when we can bring our dogs Turk (a pit bull mix) and Rufus (a Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix) with us.
A wonderful place to walk our dogs is the Sculpture Garden at the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Located just east of the Country Club Plaza, this 22-acre park is where city-dwellers come to soak up the sun, play games, and have picnics. The gardens surrounding the museum are filled with beautiful sculptures from 20th & 21st century artists, most notably the two shuttlecock statues by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen.
While we really enjoy the ability to view the art with our dogs, Turk and Rufus prefer to find a nice patch of grass to lie down and catch bugs.
After wandering the grounds at the Nelson, we like to get a yummy snack, such as Fresher Than Fresh snow cones. 
The gourmet, all-natural snow cones come in a variety of flavors – all of which are delicious!
The westside location where the Fresher Than Fresh trailer resides every Sunday is situated next to a cute little park – perfect for enjoying snow cones on a hot summer day.
While they are always up for an adventure, after a long day of exploring Turk and Rufus are just ready to go home.
I love seeing insiders views and I wish I had known this back when I lived near Kansas City. You can read more about Turk and Rufus's adventures as they make their bungalow a home on their blog here.We do love hearing everyone's tips on traveling with dogs, and you can click here to see how to share your tips. And you can check at past posts including insider's tips on Traveling with 4 Large Dogs, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

When Dog Rescue Really is Like the Dating Scene: Bella Gets Adopted

We always joke how dog rescue is similar to the dating scene.
Browsing Petfinder photos is like online dating. Going to a large adoption event with several dogs can be like speed dating. But sometimes just getting out there will get you noticed and lead to your perfect match. And this is what happened with our Bella:
Just like dating, we tried to get Bella out and about as much as possible so she could meet potential suitors. And much like some people get all 'dolled up' to get noticed, Miss M loaned Bella one of her special occasion collars, from Pecan Pie Puppies, so she could get some extra attention. And it worked.
 One of Miss M's 'human boyfriends' that we often see on walks was completely struck by Bella when he first met her. And after we came by a couple of times, he knew he had met his match. We knew how much Bella loves men because she was always trying to wrap herself around E's legs:
So we were excited that she was going to have a male owner. But she really struck the jackpot because now she gets to live with 3 guys. When she went to their house she didn't even look back, and they've already been going on tons of walks and to neighborhood street festivals.
The crazy thing is, she started out like this and was set to be euthanized; she didn't even have a chance. But thanks to Heather and the support of the online community and Project Rescue sweet Bella really does get to live happily ever after!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Daily Walk in 10 Pictures 6.22.11

The city was pretty empty because most people went out of town to celebrate Father's Day. However, there were small pockets where people were waiting in front of restaurants to grab a table with their parents.
They completed new graffiti walls around our neighborhood and both A and Mr. B wanted to document this one wall.
Since most people were out of town and there wasn't really a festival we wanted to visit, the walks this weekend were pretty uneventful. Though Mr. B took this great photo of him and Ms. M sharing a bowl of water.
He also took this picture of an impromptu fruit stand where we bought a papaya and pineapple.
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