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?

Advertisements

JUST SAY NO! to the Retractable Leash

Having worked in the animal care field for over 20 years now, I have learned a great much about animals and their health and well-being.  I am fairly well acquainted with most pet toys and gadgets too.  Some are great, while others make me think “what in the heck were they thinking when they developed this thing?”  Retractable leashes are one of those gadgets that make me cringe.  I truly hope they, along with chain leashes, go the way of the dinosaur.

Retractable leashes are leads with plastic handles that contain a reel system.  As a pet advances, the leash unreels and the pet is able to move farther from the handler.  If the handler wishes to stop the pet from being able to advance, the handler typically has to push a button that “locks” the leash to prevent it from unreeling.  The only way that the leash can shorten is if there is some slack between the leash handle and the pet.  The first 12 to 24 inches of most retractable leashes is a flat nylon-type material.  The rest of the length of these leashes is typically a thin cord.  In some cases the entire length is a thin cord.

I can understand only one benefit of the retractable leash.  Oh.  Wait.  I lied.

Why am I so down on these ever-so-popular gadgets?  Let me tell you!

  1.  They teach your dog to pull.  If you have a tiny little teacup chihuahua at the end of a leash, the pulling isn’t usually a big deal.  However, if you have a 75 pound lab or a 120 pound mastiff pulling at the other end of a leash, you’re going to have some pretty serious control issues there!  Teaching your dog leash manners is crucial in any case, but especially when it comes to muscular breeds or large and giant breed dogs.
  2. The locking mechanisms are not trustworthy.  As your pet pulls at the retractable leash to check out the flattened squirrel in the street while a car is approaching, are you going to trust that little plastic latch to save your dog from being struck by that oncoming vehicle?  I sure wouldn’t.  And for good reason.  I’ve seen what happens in such a case far too often.
  3. The thin rope cord is dangerous to you and your dog.  Imagine, if you would, the following scenario:  A woman is taking her 60 pound pointer for a walk in the park when a squirrel crosses the dog’s path.  The dog begins to chase the squirrel so the woman attempts to press the “lock” button, but the momentum created by the dog is able to overcome the lock!  In a panic the owner reaches and grabs for the leash.  BIG MISTAKE!  There are cases of dog owners losing fingers in cases similar to this.
  4. At the vet clinic:  All too often I see pet owners come into our office with a dog on a retractable leash and that dog begins to explore the entire waiting area!  We see both healthy and sick patients at the office.  I don’t want your healthy dog fraternizing with another waiting sick dog, or otherwise.  Also, your dog’s roaming creates a snag-line to other patrons or staff members!

These are my top 4 reasons for banning retractable leashes, but I could easily come up with 20 more reasons to ditch them.  Folks, if you have a dog, you need to properly leash train that dog.  If the dog pulls or is too “strong” for you, please talk with your veterinary staff about head halters or no-pull harnesses.

TIME: The only thing ALL of us don’t have enough of

Time needs to slow down. No, really. I’m serious. It’s going by WAY too fast.

A lot has happened since I last blogged, which is why I haven’t blogged in so long…no time! If I could just get another 8 hours added on to every day I just might have enough time in a day to get everything done that I both need AND want to. Unfortunately, that will never happen. So I’ll just have to keep on doing the best I can.

SOULBODY

In May of this year I stumbled upon another group fitness opportunity, thanks to some info provided to me by my Pound Master Pro. It is called Soul Body Body Barre. After hearing about it I immediately had to learn more. I went to their website and looked around, watched the videos and knew that I had to learn how to teach this! A mindfully intense, full-body workout that pulls from the practices of barre, yoga and pilates, and incorporates a lot of body weight training. This particular class uses a ball and a body bar in pre-choreographed routines that are suitable for any and all fitness levels.

As soon as I heard about a training opportunity that was within a reasonable distance for me, I didn’t hesitate to sign up.

About a week prior to training, the instructor emailed information about the class, along with an instructional video to teach us the structure and choreography. I immediately got to work. I printed out my notes and started the video. I made it through the warm-up with no problem! Then the first real track came on. I made it through, but had to modify my technique drastically, and honestly started to wonder if I could teach a class like this. Then the second track, and third, and so on…Wow! That was one intense workout! I had a lot of work to do.

Well, to make a long story short, I went all-in and busted my tail to complete my training because I couldn’t WAIT to bring this to my community! After taking the certification course I had to submit a video of me teaching a full-length class as my “practical exam.” I had a month to submit a video after the certifying course, but I jumped right on it and one week and one day later my video was recorded! It did take me 2 takes to get one, but I did finally get it.

I have to share this little side note with you. After I completed the “final cut” video, I packaged up my laptop and when I got home the file was GONE. No joke. I panicked and just about totally lost my cool. Are you kidding me? I had to get some volunteers to be my class “guinea pigs” two days in a row, had a nearly perfect take and it didn’t save? I was almost in tears. But I took 5 minutes. Did some breathing exercises. Then went back to my laptop. I was able to find a cached file with the full length video. IMMEDIATELY saved it to my desktop, to my external hard drive, and to drop box! Crisis averted.

So I submitted my video. Within a day I received an email that I had passed! Celebration time! I was now certified to teach the class and couldn’t wait to do so! Now, to find time to teach the class. It was, and still has been, very difficult to find times to make this class available due to my current full-time job that has irregular hours, and I was already trying to find more time to make Pound available. I was also teaching a SPIN class on days when I was available too. And there’s all the running.

sbbodybarrelogo

Now you see why I need more hours in my day? And I don’t even have (human) kids.

We have managed to fit my classes into the schedule, but they each only happen once (sometimes twice) a week. I hope to one day be able to free my schedule up to be able to offer more fitness classes at regular and at a variety of times. I’m working on it…

CHOMPERS

Our oldest dog, Chompers, had to be put to rest on July 15th of this year. He had just turned 14 a few days prior. Chompers has had orthopedic problems his entire life, starting with Osteochondritis Dissecans when he was a 6 month old puppy. He has spent his entire life on joint supplements! About 2-3 years ago he started to slow down some and was diagnosed with arthritis in one of his front legs. He’s been on pain medication and NSAIDs since then. Eventually his back legs started to show a lack of proprioception (neurologic issues). We managed him by keeping him comfortable with medications, light exercise and lots of love. In June he really started to decline and by the first of July his back end was giving out on him altogether at times.

We had to make the decision when we were home with him one day and had to witness him have an episode where his back end gave out on him. He struggled to get up and was panicking because he just couldn’t. I started to wonder how often that was happening when we weren’t home. It would be selfish and unfair of us to not allow him to have a dignified farewell. So, after much discussion, we planned his peaceful departure.

The day of, things couldn’t have been more obvious that the time was right. That morning, Chompers was not able to use his back legs at all. I spent the entire day with him, loved him, cried over him, and took in every last bit of him that I could. He was my heart dog and I was dreading this day for years!

Chris came home and, after he spent some time with Chompers, we headed to the animal hospital. Things couldn’t have gone more peacefully. It was sad, yes, but it was also a great relief knowing that he was no longer in any pain. He will always be my “heart dog!”

I cannot begin to say enough words about the company who took care of Chompers afterward.  I entrusted Agape Pet Services to have Chompers cremated with his ashes returned to me.  As I sought the perfect urn for Chompers on their website, I saw this glass crystal cube that you could have your pet’s image etched into it.  It looked really neat and I already knew which picture I wanted to have etched!  My all-time favorite picture of Chompers from back when he was 4 years old.  I had to have it.  And I found the perfect urn.  The company was great to deal with, ordering was easy and everything was absolutely perfect upon arrival.  Thanks for taking care of my boy Agape!

The etched crystal & Urn


RODAN + FIELDS

It’s now been a few months since I’ve been teaching both Pound and, recently renamed, Soul Body Barre Unhitched. All of my time is spent now working my full time job at the animal hospital, teaching group fitness classes, trying to squeeze in some miles whenever I can, keeping current on my class choreography, every day chores and the dealings of life, and occasionally I’m able to sneak in some entertainment with my love. No time to spare. I need more hours in my day!

Then a friend starts talking to me about her business as a skin care consultant with Rodan + Fields dermatologists. It sounded quite interesting, especially the part where she said she was able to free up some time from a job to do what she really enjoyed, which is teaching a Spin class to people with Parkinson’s disease (pretty cool, I know!). She asked me if I was familiar with R+F and I said of course, they’re the Doctors responsible for Proactiv. She started to tell me more about the business and asked me if I’d be interested. At first I was not. But then I thought about it some more. If I did this, I just might be able to free up some hours myself to be able to do what I really WANT to do. Even better, I could earn more money to help pay off bills, to be able to afford to visit my family in the midwest more often, and to fund my many hobbies (like running). And, what a great complement to group fitness this would be! Helping people feel their best on the inside AND outside! The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had nothing to lose to give it a try. I know R+F, and I know they’re product lines do what they claim.

RodanandFields LogoSo, yes, I am now trying to launch and grow my own business and I’m loving it!

I love my job, don’t get me wrong, but over the past several years my passions have changed. I am still very passionate about animals. But I have become more passionate about making others feel their best through group fitness and run coaching, nutrition advice and now premium skin care. My ultimate goal is to, over the next 5 years (give or take) flip-flop my job and my hobbies.

It seems to be working a little bit since I now have time to sit down and write a blog post!

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about Rodan + Fields, feel free to contact me!

So that about sums it up.  That’s what I’ve been up to, and if all goes well, you’ll be hearing more from me soon!  Until then, hug your pets and live your best life.

Summer is a time for Relaxation, but yet is always so busy…

Thankfully, not just with “work,” but also with much devoted “family time.” This is my excuse for the lack of blogging for the past couple of months. I keep thinking I’ll have more time to sit down and “think” and write, but the fact is, I have much LESS time to do so. The weather is too beautiful to be indoors so we spend the majority of our at-home time enjoying the outdoors. As it should be.

I’ve also been testing 2 products over the past few weeks that I promise to post reviews about! Both have been proving to be quite successful. The only hints I will give you are 1) one product is made by a dog product company that I already adore and will make your dog able to join you during outdoor activity more frequently, and 2) one is proving to be a savior for a dog showing thunderstorm phobia. So be on the lookout for those reviews in the next 4-6 weeks. I want to test them a bit more and I should have time to actually sit down and think at some point during that time frame.

Meanwhile, I am going to continue to enjoy this beautiful Eastern Shore of Virginia weather we’ve been having with my family.

I hope you are all having a fun-filled, relaxing and enjoyable summer.

~AnimalWhiz >^..^<

A Great Finish to a Fun Weekend in O’Nancock, VA … and it’s not over yet

It all started last weekend.  We visited our local Irish Pub, The Blarney Stone, as we usually do to say farewell to the week that has just come to an end, and to say hello to the weekend.  It’s a great place to have a drink or a few, some good food and to meet some fun and interesting folks.  If you’ve never been, you need to go.  It’s a fun and friendly atmosphere!

Saturday afternoon I did some fundraising for the Run for the Animals outside of the Book Bin in Onley, VA.  For 2 hours “work,” we did pretty well!  I sold 44 feet of duct tape, several raffle tickets, and some dog toys and other miscellaneous items.  Saturday night we met some friends at the pub for dinner and drinks.  While there we were told about the “Selfie Scavenger Hunt” that was taking place in the town in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.  Last year was the first year of the O’Nancock St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  It was a hit!  So they were doing it again this year and adding some fun new additions to the weekend’s celebration (like the scavenger hunt).  No matter what “prizes” were involved, I just thought it sounded like FUN!  There I go again, just looking for anything to do that might be fun.  Wandering around town trying to figure out which business or landmark was being described in the clue, then taking a selfie in front of said business/landmark…um, yeah!  I can make that fun!

Fundraising in front of the Book Bin

Fundraising in front of the Book Bin

Sunday came along, I ran 12.5 miles which is my longest run to date, then went to bed early.  My Run for the Animals Half Marathon is only 4 weeks away!  Monday was uneventful.  Tuesday after work I finally made it to Attitudes Fitness for a Pound class!  I really need to start getting into a groove with that since my Pound Pro Camp is next weekend!  I want to start teaching classes ASAP, so I need to get busy getting a clue as to how to construct and instruct a class.  It just so happened that Tuesday was The Blarney Stone‘s 10 year Anniversary so we had to go and give our blessing!  And have a couple of drinks and dinner.  Also it was my mom’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

So much to do, so little time!

I spent all afternoon Wednesday getting supplies and putting things together for the O’Nancock St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  I, along with some friends, were taking part to help promote AnimalWhiz’s fundraising for the Run for the Animals!  I didn’t have anything big planned.  I mean, I had all kinds of ideas!  But with such little time and not enough resources, I just planned on dressing up CJ in some celebratory green garb and made some t-shirts to promote AnimalWhiz for myself and anyone else that wanted to sport one.

Thursday after work, it was such a nice day, I thought it’d be perfect to go for a run and then wander around Onancock to get my selfies done!  So, that’s what I did.  I went home, picked up CJ and Chris, dropped Chris off at the pub while CJ and I ran 5 miles, then wandered around and took my selfies for the selfie scavenger hunt.

The first place we stopped was Kerr Place.  I tried to get a good selfie of myself, but have come to learn that I’m not very good at taking selfies.  So I took a nice photo of CJ in front of the historic landmark!  Then I attempted to get one of the two of us.  Not so good. Oh well!  I had a nice picture of CJ at Kerr Place!  Kerr Place

Our second stop was the Roseland Theater.  Again, I made a miserable attempt at a selfie, but got a great shot of CJ with the theater behind him!  Lightbulb moment.  CJ should be the star of this selfie scavenger hunt.  So the rest of the photos were CJ selfies, with a few here and there of the two of us.  It was so much fun!  People would stop by and say hi and some would ask what we were doing.  When I told them they thought it was great!  CJ was a great sport and has since been a feature at a couple of the local businesses where he selfied.  If you want to see his selfies just look for the #stpatsonancock tag on social media.  You’ll see all his photos!17 Roseland

Me and CJ at the Historic Cokesbury Church

Me and CJ at the Historic Cokesbury Church

CJ at the Chesapeake Bay Pizza Company

CJ at the Chesapeake Bay Pizza Company

CJ outside the Blarney Stone Pub

CJ outside the Blarney Stone Pub

Today, Sunday, was parade day.  I had a long run to get done, so I planned on heading out early this morning so I could get back and have plenty of time to get a few things done and to get prepped for the parade.  I ended up getting off to a late start, decided to run 10 miles instead of the 8 I had “scheduled” (it was just too nice and things were going so well!!!), and when I got home I had to stretch and foam roll for about 15 or 20 minutes.

While I was in the shower I thought of something I wanted to put on the t-shirts I made to wear in the parade, so I had to try to get that done real quick because I only had about a half hour before I had to get on my way to line up.  I was able to get one t-shirt completed.  Good enough.  Gotta go!

When we got to Onancock, there were people everywhere!  So much for getting there early to get a decent parking space and to have a drink beforehand.  My fault!  But CJ and I made it to the line-up with plenty of time to spare.  I got CJ all dolled up in his parade gear, then we took some pre-parade photos with ourselves and some of our parade “neighbors.”  The parade itself was fun, there were tons of people, and CJ got to visit with dozens of kids and other people along the way.  Some people even recognized him from all of his selfies.  He’s kind of famous now I guess!

CJ selfied in front of the practicing bagpipers before the parade

CJ selfied in front of the practicing bagpipers before the parade

His Handsomeness all decked out for some O'Fun!

His Handsomeness all decked out for some O’Fun!

Me and CJ posing with Elroy the Elk!

Me and CJ posing with Elroy the Elk!

After the parade was over, my friends and I headed to the pub, and so did everyone else!  It was PACKED!!!  The inside was packed, the outside was packed, it was the place to be! We had dinner and a few drinks, then headed home.  CJ was spent.  He’s been sleeping all afternoon.  He did run 5 of the 10 miles with me and then there was all of the parade excitement.  I can’t say I blame the poor fella!  That’s one heck of a busy day for a 9-year-old senior puppy.

One Last Selfie pair outside the Pub with Gus the Bardic Troubadour playing in the background!

One Last Selfie pair outside the Pub with Gus the Bardic Troubadour playing in the background!

Tomorrow should be a nice rest day for all of us, then it’s back to being busy come Tuesday.  I should be able to make another Pound class in the afternoon and then it’s back to the pub for some corned beef and cabbage!  Wednesday through Friday will be busy with preparing for a road trip, baking because I plan to hold a Bake Sale for the Run for the Animals the following week, and then we’re heading to Philadelphia for my Pound Camp.  More excitement awaits…and you’ll all hear about it soon.

5 weeks to my first half marathon

Only 5 weeks left until my first Half Marathon (finally)! Today I ran 12+ miles, of which my running buddy CJ was able to finish the last 5 miles with me. He is almost 9, so I only allow him to run with me for up to 10Km. More than that is just too much. And when the weather gets warmer, unfortunate for him, his distance gets much shorter. Today he joined me at mile 7 and we ran for 5 and walked the last half mile.

Not only am I preparing for my first half marathon, but two weeks from today is when I go to get my POUND certification! I’m really excited about this because I really enjoy Pound, and I am looking forward to sharing the fitness phenom with others.

I’ve been asked to teach Pound at my local fitness facility during the month of April. It’s so soon! There’s no way I’m going to be ready to teach a class by April! But I have been working on songs and routines and think I might just be able to come up with something in a month. Playlist is set, now I just need to get the routine set…in my brain…so set that my nerves won’t F*%k it all up when class time rolls around! So I agreed to do it.

Why do I do this to myself? I’ve got a half marathon I’m training for, I’ve got tons of fundraising to accomplish for the Run for the Animals between now and my half marathon, and now I have to learn a Pound routine and have it ready to go by April! And there’s a trip to visit some friends in PA smack-dab in the middle of all of this. Oh, yeah, and I have a full-time job. I do this to myself because it helps to motivate me to get stuff done! Yes, sometimes I get stressed out, but nothing so serious that a beer or three can’t take care of.

Oh, yeah, and I’m still taking classes for my AFAA certification too. But I have until November to get that finished…

We are given this one life. I am trying to make the most of it. For myself and for others. That’s what makes me go. If I don’t get all of it accomplished on my schedule, I hope that I am given enough time to accomplish whatever it is that I am here to do!