Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloweenies

I’ve never been a big Halloween person. Your costume is either lame, time consuming or expensive and I’m not a fan of any of those things. I became more of a fan of Halloween when Brinkley came into my life and I could dress him for the same price as a child since they are nearly the same size.

Brinkley spent his first Halloween acting like a bronco. Video and pictures here:

The lesson I learned from Halloween 2011? Brinkley doesn’t like things on his head.

Halloween 2012 came around the corner REAL fast. My boyfriend, Brandon, mentioned that Target had dog costumes for a Wide Retriever and a Rufferee. This made perfect sense for Brinkley who is a golden and Ein who is a hound who makes too much noise. It was also cute because it would basically be a couples costume for them which I LOVE but Brandon refuses to do for us. These shirts were $7 and seemed like such a simple and inexpensive solution.

Mission Find Wide Retriever and Rufferee Costumes (Mission FWRARC) began.

Target 1: We found a medium of the Rufferee costume. Ein is still a puppy so that should work. Check. Wide Retrievers costumes out of stock.

Target 2: Large and XL Wide Retriever costumes out of stock.

(P.S. This is where a normal person would have given up.)

A pit stop was taken to get some lunch and for Ein to try on his costume. Yep. Too Small. It is now noted that Ein is not at small as we think. Will he ever be Brinkley’s size? No. Will he ever be small? No.

Target 3: Neither a Large of the Rufferee or an XL of the Wide Retriever costume were in stock.

Target 4: Neither in stock. Mission FWRARC failed. We decided to see what other dog costumes were in stock. We settled with Ein being a hot dog since he is a complete hog when it comes to food. It also fit his silly personality. For Brinkley? I had a sad “whatever, this will work” moment and grabbed a shark costume. Why? Because he likes to swim. I know, it’s a stretch.

We went home to try out the dog costumes. Ein’s worked wonderfully. Brinkley’s XL Shark Costume was too short on his body and then there was one of those “this doesn’t look nearly as good as the picture” moments.

Which reminds me of….

My Halloween enthusiasm was gone.

(Insert sad part of movie where people are alone and trying to find out life's meaning.)

A week before Halloween, I was at a Target picking up a few things and walked by an isle with all the dog costumes. Shining right in the middle of the display was an XL Wide Retriever costume. Cue angels singing.

Being a completely logical person, I immediately disregarded the fact that I had already spent $7 on a Rufferee costume that didn’t fit and $12 on a shark costume I was unimpressed with. I snatched the XL and walked merrily to check out.

I received a text from my brother that he wanted to have a Halloweenie Bash for all the dogs to show off their costumes on the 31st. This made me feel better about my waste of money. At least there would be a “legitimate” reason for Brinkley to wear his shirt.

Overall, Halloween wasn’t bad. I didn’t buy an expensive costume, or spend a lot of time on something I’d only wear once. That probably puts me in the “lame” category but at least the dogs were cool.

Note: On November 1st, Brandon came up with the best costume for Ein. Yep, he came up with the perfect costume the day after Halloween. So now you have 364 days to prepare for FRANKEN-EIN!

Pictures below of the Halloweenie bash.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dog Parks Worthy of Wagging Tails

This one is for all of you dog-lovers looking for a place to let your dogs play off leash in the North Dallas area.

All of us know how important it is to keep our pups socialized. One of the easiest ways to do so is to let your dog have some unleashed fun at a dog park. But to make it worth both of you and your canine friend’s time, I have put together a list of 5 ‘Tail-wagging-worthy’ dog parks (with Brinkley’s lick of approval, of course).

Below is the list, rated from tail wags to uncontrollable whimpers of glee. Each park has its ups and downs and an overall grade from our judge, Brinkley.

Plano Dog Park

Right in the heart of Jack Carter, lives Plano Dog Park—a 2-acre area along Bluebonnet Trail. This dog park is the only off-leash area designated by the Plano Parks and Recreation Department.

This dog park has benches and picnic tables to rest all while all the dogs play and because this is the only off-leash area for dogs to play at in Plano, there are always plenty of dogs to play with.

Don’t count on sitting in the shade at this dog park since there aren’t any trees in the small or large dog area. Also, parking is a bit complicated with few spots and one-way rows

Overall Grade: B
Brinkley can’t complain about a place to play with other dogs but overall the park lacks character, shade and enthusiasm.

Photos of Plano Dog Park from Yelp

Wagging Tail Dog Park

Opened in 2009, this Addison dog park located on Keller Springs spreads over 7 acres and is the first City of Dallas specifically designed park for dogs.

The park features a ¼ mile walking trail with a dock overlooking White Rock Creek. Both the small and large dog areas have trees, shade, and large stone decking and seating. Not to mention, the park was designed well with trees and small hills as scenery.

If it has rained recently, prepare to get a little muddy. The acres are split between patches of grass and dirt. Another downside is that the park can often be a bit quiet with few dog friends to entertain your pup.

Overall Grade: B+
Brinkley is always clearly excited to get inside the gate of this dog park but his enthusiasm wears off quickly. Don’t get upset though, Brinkley is a harsh judge and only dog parks with water areas get A’s.

Photos of Wagging Tail Dog Park from Yelp

White Rock Dog Park

Placed right in the action of White Rock, this dog park features wet and dry play areas accompanied by beautiful views.  White Rock Dog Park proudly claims to be Dallas’ first off-leash dog park.

Pups have the opportunity to retrieve right into White Rock Lake. A path splits the small and large dog play areas and brings you to a cement dock where dogs can play in the water. The park is also surrounded by plenty of dog-friendly patios to enjoy food and beers (My personal recommendation is Goodfriend Beer Garden).

White Rock Dog Park does not have much to any grass, which means it can be closed randomly after storms to let the area dry. Also, if your dog loves water but is not a strong swimmer I would not recommend letting them play in the lake. The lake has a current and is not the easiest place for them to get in and out of.

Overall Grade: A
Brinkley loved his time at White Rock Dog Park. He was initially excited about the water section of the park but realized his fear of jumping into water while there.

Photos of White Rock Dog Park from Yelp

Northbark Dog Park

Located right off of George Bush and Dallas North Tollway, Northbark has it all. This 5-acre park has trails and lawn area to play on along with a deck 35 feet above White Rock Creek with great views of a waterfall.

Northbark features a gated off swimming hole for pups in which they can retrieve and frolic. The swimming hole area even includes a cleaning station with hoses for pups that get muddy. Lawn surrounds the area along with stone benches, and the park also includes plenty of trees and shade for hot days.

Because it is located closely to two highways, it can be a bit hard to get to. Secondly, while there are trees and shade in the dry area, there is a lack of shade near the swimming hole.

Overall Grade: A+
I’m barely able to walk Brinkley on his leash from the parking lot to the field. He is literally dragging me.  With so much space, water, and shade, Northbark is fun for Brinkley and I for at least an hour.

Photos of Northbark Dog Park from Yelp

Wiggly Field Dog Park

Nestled between neighborhoods in Southern Denton lives Lake Forest Park, a 63-acre park filled with a dog park, lake and multiple trails. This beautiful park has been the home to many fun-filled Saturdays.

There is never a shortage of things to do between the dog park, pup swimming hole, lake and trails. Plenty of space with plenty of dogs to play with.

If not from around town, this dog park can be a bit of a hike.

Overall Grade: A++
While a 30-minute drive from Dallas, this park is beyond a dog park for dogs. There are trails for you and your furry friends to roam, unleashed. There is a pond for doggies to swim, a lake to fish at, along with the typical fenced dog parks. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon while tiring out your four legged companion.

Photos of Wiggly Field Dog Park from

Other images of Lake Forest Park:

No matter which you pick, it’s guaranteed that any of these parks will provide plenty of entertainment for your pup. Feel free to fill me in your experiences at any one of these while Brinkley and I discover more!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Perks of Being a Dublin Dog

I’d like to think that ever since Brinkley was born he’d prefer to be in water rather than on land. Even if Brinkley is too tired to swim he would rather just lounge in the water than be on the grass. With a dog so addicted to water, I knew he needed a collar that wouldn’t bring in all the water back inside with him.

Fabric collars are great for land dogs, but if you are the proud owner of a water dog, you need a collar that is durable, waterproof, and stink resistant. That’s where Dublin Dog comes in handy.

Dublin Dog has a line of dog collars labeled “All Style, No Stink” and that is exactly what they are. They have a wide range of colors and patterns to pick from. The best part is that they are all waterproof. A waterproof collar means that these collars resist moisture, retain dirt and will not harbor bacteria. Big bonus points, Dublin Dog.

Olive and Brown

Tahitian Sky

Persian Dawn

With these All Style, No Stink Collars you also don’t have to worry about mans best friend getting dirty. They can play in all the mud and dirt they want and all you have to do is put the collar in some water and, bingo, just like new.

Brinkley has worn multiple Dublin Dog collars in his life but the only reason was because he had outgrown them. These collars hold up so well and don’t fade, fray or age like fabric collars.

All these reasons and more make the All Style, No Stink Collars worth every penny. They range from $24-$28 dollars depending on size. Like I said, worth every penny. You will get sick of seeing your dog in the same collar before the collar gives up.

Check out the All Style, No Stink collars along with other collars, toys and merchandise at

Monday, October 1, 2012

Doggie Earaches and Ear Infections

Brinkley has been struggling with earaches and ear infections ever since he was a few months old. Over the past year, I’ve learned some effective ways to lower his pain while avoiding costly vet bills.

Before talking about solutions, I wanted to share a philosophy that helped me understand why Brinkley is so prone to ear issues.

Galen, a prominent Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher, mapped a matrix called the Four Temperaments based on the Four Elements- Air, Fire, Water and Earth. The matrix consists of four elements:  hot or cold and wet or dry. This matrix has been applied to countless things, but in this case, it was used as a way to describe dogs.

A holistic vet shared that dogs can either be hot or cold, wet or dry. Brinkley is a hot, wet dog, which means that his internal nature is typically hot and wet. Heat and wetness are easy targets for infections due to the moisture. All of this makes sense when thinking about how much build up could get in his hot, wet ears.

Because of his hot/wet nature, Brinkley’s ears need constant care. I’ve come up with a strategy to keeping his poor ears clean. While the strategy is effective, it’s not enjoyed by Brinkley. It is a good way to avoid ear infections, unpleasant vet appointments, and the bills associated with it.

Cleaning Ears:

A dogs ears should be routinely cleaned out to prevent ear infections and big amounts of build up. Depending on what you think your dogs Four Element nature is depends on how often you should clean their ears. If you think your dog has a hot or wet nature, ears should be cleaned on a monthly or weekly basis. Brinkley’s vet recommended that his ears be cleaned once a week.


When cleaning Brinkley’s ears, I use the following products.

1.     Medical Gauze- medical gauze is used to get the build up out of the ears. It’s thinner and easier to use than a towel, but doesn’t disintegrate like a tissue or paper towel.

2.     Ear Cleanser- You can buy ear cleanser from your neighborhood pet store or your vet to flush your dog’s ears out.

3.     Ear Powder- I picked some of this helpful product at PetSmart.


Have your dog lay on one of its sides. Pick up the ear cleanser and squirt a good amount in the ear canal until the ear is filled with the fluid. Massage the ear slowly while the fluid drains. Once the canal is empty, use the gauze to clean the ear of any build up. Once the ear is completely dry, use the ear powder to squeeze in the ear. The powder helps a lot if your dog typically has wet or hot ears. Once done, give your patient pup a treat and flip them over to the other side and repeat.

Warning: your dog probably wont like this. I don’t like having my ear full of cold liquid, and neither does Brinkley. In fact, he knows where his ear-cleaning products are. If I open the closet door, he will immediately try to quietly run away and hide. While not pleasant, his ears are in much better shape now that they are cleaned on a regular basis.