We made the switch from a quilted backseat cover to a backseat hammock (Amazon: Zone Tech Back Seat Pet Hammock
), Mac seems to like it a lot better. For folks that are in the market for a seat cover, I did a quick video review over the weekend, hope this helps somebody!
A few friends shared the same video with me, thought I would spread the Shiba Rejection love too!
This past weekend marked the beginning of our hiking season. When the weather is nice and temperature is warm, my friends and I usually get together every weekend and go for a pack hike. This weekend Cooper's owner rounded people up and started the hiking season off with a nice hike at Great Falls' Billy Goat Trail B. I brought my GoPro camcorder along and had a little fun with it. Enjoy!
PS - view the video in 1080p if you can!
Earlier this month CZ and I visited Providenciales of Turks & Caicos, an island in the Caribbean. We were there for 6 days for a much needed vacation (been busy trying to expand my web design business, have you noticed the lack of updates? =b ). While researching the island I learned that there is an abundance of stray dogs and there are two major rescue efforts on the island that trap, spay/neuter, and adopt them to travelers from other countries. The two rescues are The Potcake Place and TCSPCA.
The strays at Turks & Caicos are called Potcakes because locals would feed them leftover that are stuck to the cooking pot, so the name Potcake stuck. Potcakes in general are alert, intelligent and sweet, they all excel in obedient classes due to their nature - afterall, they do have to possess street smart in order to survive on their own. There seems to be three main types of Potcakes - Brown ones, black & tan ones, and white ones. All Potcakes we have seen are pretty much carbon copies of each other with those colorations.
During the trip we made it a point to visit either The Potcake Place or TCSPCA, we ended up spending a few hours at TCSPCA on the second day of our trip. TCSPCA felt like a vet office and it is located right off of Leeward Highway, the main road of the island. As we got there we saw Susan, one of the organizers for TCSPCA giving very sound advice to a local dog owner looking for heart worm treatments for his pack of dogs. Once free, Susan and we chatted for a bit and we expressed our interest in learning more about the Potcakes and possibility of meeting some of them. To that, Susan immediately said that there is a female puppy that is ready for adoption just 5 minutes from the facility, so off we went to the foster’s to meet this female pup!
This sweet little girl is Madonna, being fostered by Donna a local dog groomer/trainer. For the next half an hour we just sat around playing with Madonna and learning a bit more about the Potcakes of Turks & Caicos. There is an effort to trap and neuter / spay the wild dog population but puppies are still coming in quickly. Organizations like TCSPCA and Potcake Place are making an effort pairing adoptable dogs with visiting tourists and raising awareness. The adoption process is surprisingly simple – once you decided to adopt, the organization will have a vet clear the puppy for flight the very next day with all the necessary paper, and then everything is good to go. After meeting Madonna, I must admit I was very tempted to bring home a little sister for Mac! But I forced the idea out of my mind because of my current life schedule. One may also argue why not help the dogs at shelter back home? Well, helping a dog regardless of location is helping a dog right? Either way, I am not quite ready to add another dog to my life so we chatted a little more on what else people could do to help.
Besides adoption, they are also constantly in need of couriers to bring the adopted dogs to different parts of the world. Turns out they needed somebody to bring another Potcake back to the DC area and the original courier was not responsive, so I offered to be the backup. Eventually everything worked out and Dingo the Potcake should be at his new NYC home right now!
On the last day of our trip we visited The Potcake Place in Sand Mills Plaza. This plaza is right by Grace Bay beach and is nested in a popular shopping center. They have adorable puppies visible right from the windows and they even allow visitors to adopt a Potcake for the afternoon to get a better sense of the dog! This seems to serve three purposes: 1) Potential adopter would get a better sense of the dog’s personality 2) The dog gets exercise and exposure to the outside world 3) Walking advertisements for the rescue effort when chatting with fellow curious tourists. Unfortunately we did not have enough time to adopt a Potcake for the afternoon, but if you are planning on visiting Turks & Caicos do consider taking them out for a stroll along the beach!
While I was on vacation, Mac once again stayed with his sister Suki's family. I was updated on Facebook and knew Mac was having a nice vacation of his own (pic on the left was by Suki's mom!). It was not until I was picking Mac up that I learned that they had to take Mac to Dr. Smith during the week because he started closing his left eye, Suki’s parents did not want to worry us while we were on vacation so they just took care of everything! Thankfully everything was OK but Mac did need to up his daily eye drop from once to twice and his eye pressure has been holding steady during his follow-up visit. Thank you to Suki’s parents once again for taking care of Mac so well, we couldn’t ask for a better home away from home for Mac!
Sumo came by and visited us last weekend in preparation of his upcoming stay with us, it has been awhile so we wanted to make sure they are still fine with each other at my house... yep, no problem and still playing like old buddies!
I never made the connection until I read the comment of one of my earliest YouTube video of Mac:
I love how Shibas express their displeasure with the current situation by sneezing. LOL!
Now that I think about it that makes perfect sense... I have the [bad] habit of letting Mac get tiny bite size piece of whatever I am eating, after which he would sit around waiting for more. When he realizes there would be no more hand-out he would snort / sneeze as he slowly walks away. Not wanting to fall into anthropomorphism and a bit too snotty to believe, I never thought much of it but now it is confirmed - Mac you snob!
PS - Lots of interesting canine body language insight in the comment section of the YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fmLdZWHhWA
It seems like every time I update the blog it's because of snow! A lot of things are happening in our life and there are many new reviews and news we want to share with everybody, I will have to find time and put them all down in writing. In the meantime, please enjoy a photo of Mac looking majestic in this morning's early Spring snow storm! A few seconds after this shot he was once again jumping and rolling in the snow like a puppy. This old man is turning 8 in two days!
Just as I was storing away my snowboarding gear for the season, the temperature took a nose dive and snow hit the area again! As always, Mac was super enthusiastic about the powder while I grumbled and retrieved the shovel...
This is the third bag of ZiwiPeak (link opens in new window) that I fed Mac, I figure it is finally time to write a review of this product.
It all started after Mac stayed with his sister Suki for a week, Suki's mom sent Mac home with a bag of ZiwiPeak letting me know that Mac really enjoyed the food. I remember talking to Suki's mom about food in the past but I ultimatel
y decided not to try ZiwiPeak due to the cost - $33 for 2.2lb bag!! Due to their generosity we finally got to see what the rave is all about.
On Mac's delicious food ranking chart, ZiwiPeak definitely ranks right up there with raw, which I suppose makes sense since it is technically air-dried raw. The only difference is that you don't have to deal with the mess and it does not have strong odor. While this brand's cost borders ridiculous, once I started trying it I realized that due to it's richness, I don't actually need to feed as much each meal and it lasts a bit longer than expected. I now also don't exclusively feed ZiwiPeak each meal, I would rotate between ZiwiPeak and regular kibbles (Ouijen) and sometimes sprinkle some ZiwiPeak over the kibbles to give them some extra flavour. Overall Mac and I are both very happy with the product and feel that while the cost is high, it does offer raw food in a convenient no-mess form without sacrificing taste and quality. If the cost per bag is something you can swallow, I would recommend getting a 2.2lb or sample pack to try and see how your friend responds to it!
PS - If you are debating between flavours, Mac seems to like Venison the most!
I visit Philadelphia once a month but this was the first time I brought Mac along with me on the trip, I figure it would be a nice change of scenery from the usual suburb scene. Another reason I wanted to bring Mac along is because CZ has tossed around an idea of keeping a dog there, so I wanted to see just how plausible it is to keep a small/medium sized dog in the heart of Philly.
When I am at Philly, I usually stay with CZ at her apartment a block or two outside of Chinatown; once you have accepted the fact that there will be seedy characters roaming around late at night and that they are not [always] out to get you, it is actually a very convenient and relatively safe location. The highlight of these trips are definitely the food, although that is not what this blog is about so I will refrain from raving about them too much!
My hat goes off to folks that keep a medium - large sized dog in the city. Pee-ing was no problem, Mac was happily marking new territory around the apartment complex; but we had to
walk 8 - 9 blocks to find a decently sized grass field for Mac to go #2 on. I cannot even begin to imagine how much of a chore this would become when life gets busy and a quick run around the block is not an option. Again, hats off to you if you are keeping a dog in the city.
Because there were not many dogs walking around the city, Mac got a lot of looks and whispers even though he did not look too graceful dodging manholes and steam grids. We walked to a nice sized park in the middle of the city and apparently that was where all the dogs go (it also happened to be the rich part of town); dogs of all size and shape were congregated there, all on leash and leashed to chairs - I felt like we were at a dog show. There were some giant dogs like Great Dane and Saint Bernard, where do people keep these beasts?
After having Mac over for a visit, CZ decided that keeping a dog with her current life style may not be the best idea... next up - cat?
Checking out the parade of dogs