What the heck happened to Kool Dogz?

During the summer months, I enjoy to eat and drink things that are ice cold. I enjoy ice cream, iced tea, frozen daiquiris and cold salads to name a few. It seems to help keep my body temperature at a comfortable level.

Why would dogs be any different? Actually, I think they might even appreciate ice cold treats more than I do since they (or most of them) are covered in a fur coat. I have made frozen treats (I like to call them Pupcicles) for my dogs for as long as I can remember. I like to take plain yogurt and mix it with whatever my dogs like (bananas, peanut butter, ground liver, cantaloupe, watermelon, … the possibilities are endless), then I put the mixture into a mold and freeze it. On hot days I pop a Pupcicle out of the mold and give it as a treat. CJ loves them! His favorite flavors are peanut/almond-butter & banana, cantaloupe, watermelon, fig, and berry (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry or any combination). I think he has a bit of a sweet tooth.

About 15 (or more) years ago I heard about this ice treat maker called Kool Dogz, manufactured by Premier Pet Products. I thought it was a pretty “kool” product myself, but never bought one because I was making my own pupcicles anyway.

Fast Forward 5+ Years: We moved from the Mojave Desert to the Eastern Shore of Virginia in 2007. We went from super-hot and dry to hot and humid. Whether or not it was the weather or the age of my dogs after the move, they seemed to tolerate hot and dry much better than hot and humid. Pupcicles went into continuous rotation in the freezer! Then I remembered the Kool Dogz and decided to order one. Best decision ever!

The Kool Dogz ice treat maker looks like this:

The components of a Kool Dogz Ice Treat Maker

There is a bucket (the mold) that allows you to easily combine whatever you want to add to the treat.  That bone-shaped thing attached to a bar is the centerpiece of the mold.  Once you get your stuff mixed, you place the centerpiece in the bucket with the bone to the bottom of the bucket.  There is a little hole in the bucket’s lid that the other end of the centerpiece fits through to hold it in place during freezing.

The empty bucket with centerpiece

LId of bucket/mold in place with centerpiece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once frozen, you remove the lid and slide the ice block out of the bucket and place the end of the centerpiece opposite the bone into the center hole of the drip pan.  The fork screws into the bottom of the drip pan holder so that you can fix it into the earth.  Voila!  Long-lasting ice-treat for your dog!!!  You can freeze anything in this!  You can freeze food, treats and favorite toys that are small enough to fit in the bucket (Kong toys, ball toys, West Paw toys, etc.) in the mold.

Kool Dogz Ice Treat

Chompers and C.J. both loved the Kool Dogz!  However, they did not love it together.  If Chompers was working on the treat, C.J. would stay away.  Good boy, C.J.  If C.J. was at the treat, Chompers would come over to join in, but then C.J. would either move away from it (which was fine) or would lift his lip and warn Chompers not to come any closer (Jerk!).  To allow each dog equal time at the treat, I would let them out in shifts.  First Chompers (because he was older, wiser and not ever a jerk) for 5-10 minutes, then C.J. for 5-10 minutes.  This worked quite well for the first summer.

Chompers enjoying his Kool Dogz ice treat!

Chompers enjoying his ice treat while CJ lingers.

CJ during one of his Kool Dogz shifts!

The following summer I decided I should just have two of these things.  One for each dog and/or so that I could always have one in the freezer.  I first tried to order another through our direct account with Premier at the animal hospital.  They were out of stock.  So I went onto our other supplier’s website and they didn’t have them available either.  Next I went online to try to find one through Amazon, or Chewy or anywhere.  Nobody had them.  They were either listed as out of stock or unavailable.

Some time later we learned that Premier products had been taken over/bought out by another company called RadioPet.  The distributor explained at that time that, because of the change, some products were being discontinued.  Kool Dogz was one of those products.

Not long after Premier products became products of RadioPet, those products then became products of PetSafe.  When this change happened I thought I’d try to find the Kool Dogz (or anything remotely similar to it) again.  Nada.

Just this week the topic came up at work about Kool Dogz, likely because summer is approaching and we have had some lovely warm days in May.  In an effort to locate the product itself or something similar, we did a Google search of Kool Dogz.  Some of our newer peers didn’t know what it was we were seeking, so I clicked on the images tab in the Google search bar.  I didn’t have to scroll very far until I did a double take (which was really a quick scroll back on the mouse).  Something caught my eye.  When I scrolled back up, there it was.  My heart kind of melted a bit.

Chompers enjoying his Kool Dogz Ice Treat

That’s my late Chompers enjoying his Kool Dogz treat, circa 2013!  I’m not entirely sure on my timeline, but judging by his grizzle it has to be somewhere between 2012 and 2014.  His photo has been exploited on an Italian website promoting Ice Treats for dogs!  I’m totally fine with this.  I was quite … taken with emotion that he was chosen to represent this article.

But, now, I want to know WHY ON EARTH has PetSafe, or one of their competitors, NOT tried to recreate this product?!  It is so great!  I have tried to figure a way to rig something else up to duplicate it to no avail.  I have to admit that my  attempts have been lackluster since I do own a Kool Dogz (and I will be hanging on to it!).

I petition that PetSafe bring back Kool Dogz.  Who’s with me?

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One Step at a Time

Since my last post things have been uneventful, yet productive.  It took me about a week or so to finally come to accept the fact that I wouldn’t be able to run any of my spring races this year, including the Salisbury Marathon.  Knowing this, I have been able to clear my head and focus on the road to recovery.

After running the 5K at the Tim Kennard River Run and waking to a re-aggravated achilles tendon the following day, I fessed up to my Physical Therapist and vowed to not run again period until she says I can.  Not one mile, not one minute, not one step!  Since then there have been a few times at work or at home where I’d be in a hurry to do something, making an attempt to get from one location to another as speedily as possible on foot.  Whether it would be from one exam room to another or from my car to a building in the rain, I would have to stop myself from running.  I was determined to keep my “no run” promise!

My physical therapy seems to be going well.  I am making progress every day.  I am being super-diligent about getting my prescribed exercises done each day, even if it means I have to get them done at 11:00 PM.  I had an assessment early last week and it was determined that I need to continue Physical Therapy.  I am making progress, yes, but as my achilles improves and heals, more problems are coming to light.  One of them being a problem I’ve been aware of for a few years now as it was pointed out by my previous Physical Therapist…my hips!  They are weak and lax on one side and super tight on the other which is throwing my form off and, likely, is why I keep having these nagging injuries.  Having me watch myself in a mirror while I performed some prescribed work at a recent session really brought it to light.  Now, when I do my exercises at home I do them in front of a mirror and it is making a difference.

Sunday, April 15, 2018 was the 7th annual Run for the Animals.  For those of you who have been following my pathetic blog, you know that this is my “heart” run!  I have participated in the event every year!  This year was the first year that I had to walk the entire thing.  I only did the 5K, but I am happy to report that C.J. and I completed it and I still feel great!  I haven’t had any problems with my achilles at all.

Today I had another Physical Therapy session.  I was able to run for 5 minutes on the treadmill.  I hate a treadmill, but for PT purposes I will do it!  It was a super-slow pace and I was extremely mindful and cautious throughout every millisecond of movement.  I am feeling good as of writing this post.  We will have to wait to see what tomorrow morning brings.

It’s a process, that’s for certain.  This time I’m going to do it the proper way and hope that I come out stronger (and maybe even faster!) than ever before!  I’m going to take it one step at a time, patiently yet persistently.

Running will not be in my near future…

Even though I felt fine before, during and after my 5K yesterday, I woke this morning to a crunchy, swollen achilles. In addition to that, my calf has been cramping up all day, worsening with each step.

I was so hopeful that I would be fine today. If there was a slight tinge of something, that would be okay! No big deal! I would just continue to rest and do physical therapy exercises and everything will be okay. But my hopes were shattered when I took my first step out of bed this morning. As soon as I lifted my right heel I could feel the crunch of my achilles tendon. Then I noticed the “bump” was back as I was shaving my legs in the shower. “$h1+!!!! You dummy!” That’s what I screamed to myself in my head.

I took a hefty dose of ibuprofen this morning, and iced my achilles for about 10 minutes prior to teaching my SoulBody Barre Unhitched class this morning. I taught the class with complete modification so as not to perform any heel raises myself. I also cued but did not perform anything plyometric! I will continue to do this for the next several weeks. In addition, every minute I was on my feet at work today made my calf tighten up more and more.

As of early this afternoon I swore I wouldn’t run again until I got the okay from my Physical Therapist. I’m out for both the Run for the Animals (but I should be able to walk the 5K) and the Salisbury Marathon (I won’t even be able to complete the half-marathon at this juncture). I’m in a state of depression, I’m not going to lie. I am looking for all things positive from here on out! I will fess-up to my PT on Wednesday about my foolishness and own up to my failure. Things are about to get really serious here for me. So if you see me out running about in the next 2 months, stop me! I have a problem and I need help in multiple ways.

Being injured as a runner, in any way, really sucks. Running is my therapy. It’s what helps me clear my head and get my affairs in order. It’s my zen, my happy place! Without it I am … this. I don’t like this.

Tim Kennard 2018

Today was the 15th Annual Tim Kennard 10 Mile River Run & 5K Run/Walk. I registered for the 10 miler about 2 months ago, then promptly injured myself. (If you’ve read my recent blog posts, you know all about my achilles injury!)  I have not run at all in over 6 weeks, so I downgraded myself to the 5K because I knew I wouldn’t be ready for 10 miles.  Walking hasn’t been a problem for me, so I figured I could walk the entire 5K if I had to.

The weather was nice today.  It was cool, in the upper 30’s, with a light breeze.  We could have done without the breeze in these temperatures, but at least it was very light.  It was clear and sunny, so that helped ease the discomfort of the coldness (for me anyway).  I didn’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many half-naked people I saw on the course!  One guy was wearing shorts and no shirt, countless others were in shorts and tanks.  I don’t know how they do it.  I wish I could do that.  If I did, my entire body would seize up with a Raynaud’s event.  I was covered from the tip of my head to my toes, with Hot Hands insole foot warmers in place and hand warmers in the pockets of my jacket. Not my personal ideal running conditions, but I’m happy it wasn’t raining or snowing, or, worse, blowing gale-force winds.  For late March on the middle East Coast, it was decent.

I was dreading the start line, I can’t lie.  I just knew that my first attempt at “lift off” would lead to pain or discomfort and I would be further disheartened.  Did I mention how I have not run an inch in over 6 weeks?  I did a little on the bike and some on the elliptical, but that isn’t running.  My plan was to walk for 5 minutes, then attempt to run until I felt any type of discomfort, then walk/run from that point on as needed.  I don’t know who I was trying to fool because as soon as the gate was open I took off like a dog breaking loose from his leash (only much slower).

To make a short story shorter, I ran the whole darn thing!  I felt good the entire time and finished with a time of 27 minutes and some change.  Nothing close to a PR for a 5K, but way better than I would have ever even thought given my current circumstances.  And I know I’m going to pay for it.  That dull ache on the lateral side of my achilles has been there since I started my heel lift exercises prescribed by my PT.  My PT has not cleared me for running yet, but she knew I was going to walk/run this 5K.  She told me if it hurts to stop!  It never hurt beyond that dull ache.  So I continued and pushed through.  I finished with an official time of 27:31.  WHOA.  I was bookin’ it harder than I realized.

Because I already registered for the run way back when I figured I’d, at least, show up and get my shirt and take a DNS.  Then I could support and encourage all of the other runners!  Thankfully I was able to default to lesser mileage.  I knew in my brain I needed to take it easy, but I didn’t…

I haven’t run in 6+weeks and managed to pull this out of my ass today.  I’m going to pay for it in the coming days and will likely get a scolding from my PT this week.  I didn’t want to do this, it just happened!  The dangers of organized races.  It gives me hope for the marathon that I will not run in late April!  But maybe, just MAYBE I will be able to do the half?

I say as I am icing my ankle/achilles and noticing some swelling and such.

At least I got some cool stuff this year!  Awesome shirt and my first bling from Tim Kennard!

 

Run for the Animals is next.  From now til then it will be determined whether or not I might be able to do a half marathon (marathon is OUT) in Salisbury on April 28.  I’m going to go for it!

PT =

My PT is PT with my PT is turning into PT and PT.  Totally makes sense, right?  If you need help deciphering this message, here’s the key:

Personal Trial | Physical Therapy | Physical Therapist | Positivity Therapy | Patience Testing

As of Tuesday this week I have started my Physical Therapy for my achilles tendon injury.  After meeting with the Physical Therapist, there’s a very slight chance I might be able to run my marathon in late April.  One of my major downfalls is that I haven’t been keeping up with enough cardio exercises to maintain my aerobic capacity.  I was hesitant to do too much bike riding, wasn’t sure if the elliptical would be okay, and in performing HIIT exercises I have to modify most of them to not strain my ankle and achilles tendon.  My Physical Therapist told me on Tuesday that the elliptical would be fine (and is recommended) for this type of injury until I can get back to running again.

Dang.  I wish it didn’t take so long to get an appointment to see her because I could’ve been training on the elliptical all this time.  But now I know and will train as much as is safely possible from here on out.

I have had zero achilles tendon pain in over 2 weeks since I’m not running at all and I have been modifying all of my activities.  According to my PT that means I no longer have tendinitis, but am now in tendinosis.  What does that mean?  It means that the inflammation has subsided but the tendon is still damaged so I have to be extra careful from here on out so as not to rupture the tendon.  No pressure!

Apparently I can “fix” or better this and that is the focus of my therapy; to remodel the scar tissue that has formed at the tendon.  The average time to full recovery is about 3-6 months.  My marathon is in 6 weeks, so when I said there was a slight chance I might be able to run it I really meant that I probably won’t be running it.  However, the positive is that I will be able to run some by then, and should be able to run/walk a half marathon as long as I take it super slow and easy, and if I feel any pain or discomfort at all to stop.  I have been in touch with the coordinators of the run and they have the course mapped out such that I can make my decision to go all the way or half-way while I’m running!  So, no matter what, I will be running that race in April!  I will likely not be running 26.2 miles, but will hopefully be able to complete 13.1 miles at a super slow and steady run/walk.

As for the other runs I have scheduled prior to the marathon, I can still participate in both.  I will not be running the Tim Kennard 10 Mile River Run, but I will be participating in the 5K Fun Run/Walk and will walk most of it.  I will not be running the half marathon portion of the Run for the Animals this year, but I will definintely be able to run the 5K and maybe run/walk the 10K.  Thankfully I have until race day to decide which one I want to and will be able to do.

So there you have it.  I will be ultra-diligent with my PT exercises for sure, and will be utilizing the elliptical machines at the Y very regularly in the next several weeks.  Though I will not be able to perform the way I had set out at the beginning of the year, at least I 1) can still perform at all and 2) can heal and recover to come out even stronger next time around!

Never lose sight of what is truly important to you.  Choose to find the positive in everything; even if you have to search really hard for it, it is there…always.

Runners are Crazy; Injured Runners are Crazier

Have you ever had that feeling like you are out of control? A feeling like your life is just getting away from you? I feel that way lately and I know why. It’s because I am supposed to be training for a 10 miler in late March, a half marathon in mid-April and a marathon in late April. However, an achilles tendon injury has me sidelined, so all that planning and scheduling I did for February, March and April was all for naught. I’m trying to stay active and moving, modifying strength-training workouts and cardio workouts to keep my achilles happy, but I feel lost since I’m not running. Those workouts cannot replace the feeling you get after finishing a long run, or a fast 5K, or just an easy run.

I’m having a really difficult time with this. I know I am not the only person in the world to suffer an injury during training, and others have suffered much worse injuries than what I’m dealing with! My friend Jen was training for an ultramarathon last year and slipped during a training run and broke her ankle. She was sidelined for a very long time, but after her doctors gave her the okay to start again, she did. She trained safely, she trained intelligently, she listened to her body and she completed that ultra this year! I respect her and look up to her and hope that I can be as strong as she was with my puny little injury. She’s a hero in my book.

My appointment for Physical Therapy isn’t until March 13, 2018. It’s just a few days away thank goodness, but I’ve been waiting since mid-February. It’s the waiting and wondering, “am I going to be able to run any of my upcoming races?” that’s making me feel out-of-control and lost. Am I crazy? Of course…I’m a runner.

2018 5K & Firetruck Pull to benefit Area 19 Special Olympics Virginia Athletes

Come join us at the Onancock Elks Lodge #1766 in Accomac, VA for the 3rd Annual 5K & Firetruck Pull to Benefit Area 19 Special Olympics Virginia Athletes!  The event will take place, rain or shine, on Saturday April 21, 2018 at 22454 Front Street in Accomac, VA.  You can visit the event page for more information.

If you are interested in the 5K, you can download a printable registration form by clicking on the following link:  Elks 5K Registration and Waiver.  Complete the form and return it to the Lodge with your registration fee.  I will be coordinating the run, so if you have any questions about it feel free to contact me at animalwhiz@yahoo.com.

If you have any questions about the Firetruck Pull, you can contact the Lodge or message me and I will find out the information for you.

This is a really great, fun event for all ages and supports a wonderful cause.  Help us make it the best yet!