Friday, June 28, 2013


Edwin Landseer | Neptune | 1824

Hoot, Hoot

Edamame Please!

Edamame is the Japanese word for "branched bean," or more familiarly, the soy bean. Packed with fiber and protein edamame makes for a quick and healthy snack. We always buy ours frozen, though come to think of it, I've never actually seen fresh edamame at the market. They're super easy to prepare: just throw a cup of the pods in the microwave, nuke for about a minute and a half, sprinkle with sea salt (or not), and you're good to go! The beans are mild in flavor and have a nice texture. I like adding them to salads just to mix things up. Added benefit: Andy and the kitties love them! Pablo has familiarized himself with the sound and smell of edamame being microwaved. He comes running as soon as he hears the beep of the microwave. That Pavlovian cat!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yes, Please!

Andy is always very cooperative when it comes to taking his heartworm preventative.
(I'm guessing the fact the medicine is "beef" flavored has something to do with it)
He gets a single dose of Heartgard, once a month.
Click here to learn more about heartworms.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Flea & Tick Prevention

Before we adopted Andy I had a fairly passive system in place to deal with fleas and ticks. Basically, in an effort to not expose my pets to unnecessary chemicals, I only applied flea medication if and when they actually had fleas. I know, this sounds misguided, but this system worked while we lived in Indiana because our pets never had fleas. It wasn't until we moved to Pennsylvania that we actually started having to deal with them, but even then, we were always able to keep the situation under control with our previous dog Maxwell. With Andy it's a whole different ball of wax. He attracts fleas like he's some sort of free-for-all, all-you-can-eat blood buffet!

Keeping the fleas in check last year was a real challenge. The minute I first spied a flea on Andy I treated him and the kitties with some Advantage we already had on hand. The treatment lasted about 3 weeks before I started seeing fleas again. We basically spent the next 3 or 4 months cycling between Advantage and Frontline, with very little result. Arg. I even resorted to buying a "natural" spray medication at some point, which only succeeded in making the pets oily and cinnamon scented (review forthcoming). In the end, I think it was the change of seasons that finally did the fleas in. 

I never realized the far reaching effects fleas could have on my pets. Both Pablo and Diego ended up getting tapeworms from the fleas. Ew. Pablo developed a severe allergy to the flea bites. He ended up licking the fur off a good portion of his lower body. At some point it looked like he wasn't wearing "pants." It was obscene. After several visits to the vet it finally took a cortisone shot to take care of the problem. Given our struggles last year I decided we would have a whole different game plan this time around. We picked up 6 applications of a flea and tick preventative called Vectra 3D when we took Andy in to the vet last week (it came with an additional 3 applications for free) and I put it on him as soon as we got home. It wasn't cheap but hopefully it'll do the job. Will let you know what I think of the product towards the end of the summer. In the meantime, keep fighting the good fight and do what you have to do to keep your pets flea and tick free!

Annual Check Up

Andy went in for his annual check up two weeks ago and passed with flying colors. The vet said he looks excellent on the outside (eyes, ears, teeth, skin, coat, etc.), sounds good on the inside (heart, lungs, and digestive track), and his heartworm and parasite tests came back negative. That's what I like to hear! The pup was vaccinated up the wazoo while we were there - rabies, DHPP (distemper and parvo combination), and Bordatella (The vet asked us to bring Andy in a week later for his Lyme vaccination because she didn't want to hit him all at once). Having owned dogs practically my entire life I went into the visit knowing it wouldn't be cheap...but man, I was still surprised when it came time to pay the bill. Alas,  I firmly believe that an annual check up is par for the course for any responsible pet owner and I'm happy (but not thrilled) to shell out the money for the service. There's a certain peace of mind that comes with knowing my pup is in tiptop shape! 

Sidenote: Andy had a complete melt down as soon as we walked into the vet's office. I'm talking full blown panic attack: restlessness, heavy panting and whining that was on the verge of screaming. Sure, I get that dogs can get nervous in new situations but this was on a whole different level. It was horrible. Nothing we did calmed him down and he kept it up the entire 15 minutes we were in the waiting area. It was embarrassing and I felt like a parent with an out of control child! Thankfully the boy settled down when we got to the exam room and was fine by the time the vet and vet techs came around. Sheesh. We really need to work on Andy's anxiety issues.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review | Cloud Star Buddy Biscuits

Cloud Star is a U.S. based company that manufactures all natural treats and grooming supplies for dogs. They also make treats for cats and have a line of "Wag More, Bark Less" branded items for sale. So far I've only really come across their Buddy Biscuits, which I've seen at both pet supply stores and big box retailers like Target. I recently purchased a box of Buddy Biscuits, Roasted Chicken flavor, for Andy. Two factors played into my decision to give this brand a try: first and foremost, the fact that the treats are made in the USA, "all natural" (no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives), and free of corn, yeast, sugar, salt, and soy. Second, I'll be honest here, I'm a sucker for nice packaging and I just really like the way Cloud Star has branded their products.

The biscuits themselves are shaped like ginger bread men - pretty darn cute! - but unfortunately they look nothing like the treat depicted on the front of the box itself as far as color is concerned. In fact, my first impression of the biscuits when I opened the box was that they looked rather pale and unappetizing. They're also devoid of any scent (which is really neither good or bad but made me wonder what sort of flavor the biscuits actually have). Well, I'm not one to judge a book by its cover so I knew the real test would be whether or not Andy liked them.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pour Moi?

Come back tomorrow for a review of Cloud Star's Original Buddy Biscuits!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rude Awakening

Pablo had a rude awakening this morning - to be precise, he woke up with his head in Andy's mouth. That's why he looks all wide-eyed and one of his ears is flat.
Not a happy camper!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's in the Hole | Part 2

What's in the hole?
Andy bets it's a delicious groundhog.
aka woodchuck - aka land beaver - aka whistle pig
Good eats!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fine Feathered Friends

May was high time for bird watching! We encountered a lot of familiar birds around the apartment and while on walks at the park - robins, morning doves, woodpeckers, mallards, geese, and heron just to name a few. We also had some first encounters - with an oriole, a fledgling sterling, and whatever bird is sitting in the birdhouse in the photo above. Andy especially enjoys watching ducks swimming on the river (photo at bottom). They would be in his mouth if he could only get to them!