Review of Three Doggy Products — Bowl, Toy, Pet Stain Cleaner

Panting dog in the park? Aggressive chewer that destroys his toys in seconds? Smelly dog mess on the carpet? There’s a product for that.

I do not make any commission off the recommendations in this post, and the reviews are my honest opinion. Although, at the time of this writing, my sidebar announces that I’m an Amazon affiliate, that is not currently true. (I need to edit that.) These products were not purchased from Amazon. I bought the first two at Petco, and the third directly from the seller.

Good2Go Collapsible Silicone Dog Bowl

I have a doggy care business, offering several services such as boarding/day care or house sitting (alternately,) dog walking and pet drop-ins. I have not needed to purchase a lot of products for the business, as most owners provide me with everything I could need for their dogs. I did recently buy a few helpful products however.

When spring came, I wanted to take my boarding or day care doggies on longer walks in the parks but thought I should be able to provide water for them in the warmer weather. I purchased the collapsible bowl above.

It did work really well. One factor in my selection was the pretty blue-green color. It’s soft, lightweight and, of course, collapsible. You can carry it flat, clipped to your leash, and pop out the bowl at the time that you need it. It was certainly not as unwieldy or heavy as it would be to carry a more traditional kind of bowl. I carried it once clipped to the leash and, at another time, clipped to a drawstring backpack in which I carried a couple of bottles of water. Here, you can see one of my doggos took advantage of it during a “rest stop.”

There are similar products, so I’m not sure if this works better or worse than its competitors, but I did like the product.

Bark Super Chewer Love Heart Toy

I do keep a few toys at the house for visiting doggos. I had been keeping quite a few personal toys for a regular dog “client” that the owner had purchased, and when another dog visited, he was very interested in the novelty of the new toys I had at the home, including ones that belonged to that other dog. But I saw he was an aggressive chewer and had to hide them, so he wouldn’t destroy toys that the other dog’s owner had purchased for her dog.

Hating to disappoint him, when he came the next time, I bought this chew heart which said it was appropriate for aggressive chewers — in other words, not easily destroyed. It seemed the right size for a small dog also.

It’s an interesting toy. You can see it’s labeled as a fetch toy but is not a ball. It does bounce, and because of the facets on it, bounces in a funny, wobbly way. This doggy loved it, and the doggy in the first photo, also loved it. He liked to alternate playing fetch with this and one of his favorite balls. It also squeaks, and I’m happy to say that after a few days of play, it has quite a few visible teeth marks but is not destroyed, cracked, peeled, or otherwise, on its way to being destroyed.

I also liked the cute heart shape, of course; although I realize that the cute shape of a toy has more to do with human enjoyment than doggy enjoyment.

Furry Freshness Pet Stain Spray

So, I’ve had a few little pet accidents in the house: poo, pee, vomit, diarrhea … you name it, ugh. After a while, my brother, who owns three dogs and is on the cusp of starting a dog breeding business, recommended Furry Freshness spray to me.

Unlike with other carpet cleaners, you don’t need to scrub or blot with this cleaner. You only saturate the spot with spray and then let it evaporate. I’ve tried the product a couple of times and really like it. In a recent incident, though I didn’t witness it, I surmised that a little doggy scooted his dirty and itchy hindquarters on the area rug below, a rather special hooked rug that was purchased on a visit to New England.

I was able to use a wet rag to remove some of the dried poo from the rug. After that, I just soaked up the area with the spray and left it. This is the corner of the rug that was affected, and you can see there’s no stain. I have no “before” picture, as I was not anticipating or planning this post at the time.

Info on the product says it is not recommended for wool rugs, but I did use it on this rug which is likely wool, with no bad consequences. It looks as good as new. Still, I thought I would share the company’s recommendation. I’m really glad my brother let me know about this cleaner. You can purchase Furry Freshness cleaner here.

Weekend Coffee Share — Cute Pets, Açai Bowl, Picnic in the Park

I’ve been splurging on Dunkin Donuts iced coffee (not pictured) this weekend, but the mug above, even though it doesn’t belong to me, represents two doggy friends that I was watching over the weekend.

My weekend was a really full one. I don’t think I could have squeezed much more in if I tried. I’m joining Natalie the Traveler and friends with her Weekend Coffee Share and jumping on a couple more applicable linky wagons. (Is “linky wagon” even a phrase? If it’s not, I think I just coined it.) I’m pinging Restless Jo and her Monday Walks, because my weekend involved a beautiful walk with friends in nature and Lisa Coleman of Birds Weekly because I got some photos of a swan and peacock in the park.

I watch French bulldogs, Theo and Remy, in their home from time to time. They are lovable doggies. Theo, though he looks so peaceful in this photo (and often is), is a little more exuberant and goofy.

Theo having a snooze <3

His Frenchie housemate, Remy, is just a little lady. I was noticing just by the way she prances through the grass in the backyard that she carries herself like a lady. Where Theo will tackle me with doggy kisses, Remy will just quietly look at me as I sit on the couch to tell me, “Pardon me, I would like uppies please. Give me a boost?”

Remy <3

They are good doggies. One of their owners told me once that she loves this breed, because Frenchies are lazy and snuggly. That certainly describes these two lovies.

I’ve also been dropping in to take care of a cat named Shultz, (a female in spite of the name.) She is a Scottish fold cat, and that breed is new to me. You can notice that her ears fold forward. Her owner told me that there is a Scottish straight breed and a Scottish fold breed that are closely related. They don’t know until kittens are born if they will have the fold or not. According to petfinder.com, it was discovered that “Any cat possessing one copy of the fold gene produced about fifty percent of Fold kittens.”

Shultz, the Scottish fold cat

Saturday, I went out and explored a relatively new smoothie place, Market 509 in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. One of the employees told me that they have been there since November 2020, but I only became aware of it a few weeks ago.

The unique shop is hard to define. They serve smoothies, ice cream, juice and bubble tea, but they also sell refrigerated vegetarian foods, Japanese snack foods, teas, tea sets and mugs and Japanese kawaii merchandise.

Japanese snack foods at Market 509

Some cutesy “kawaii” merchandise …

I tried an açai bowl for the first time. Well, previously, I tried a Dole brand version from the frozen food aisle, but it wasn’t quite the same experience. Açai berries are one of those trendy superfoods that have a lot of health benefits. They have a lot of antioxidants, fatty acids similar to olive oil, anthocyanins that can help lower cholesterol, Vitamin C and phytochemicals that can fight the growth of cancer cells.

I have never seen fresh açai berries sold in the U.S. My smoothie bowl was a mixture of berries and banana with açai powder added to it. There were two choices of açai bowls, Berry Blast and Pacific Twist. With it, you could choose four toppings and a drizzle. I ordered the Berry Blast with a mixture of banana, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, apple juice and açai powder. For my toppings, I chose strawberries, bananas, coconut flakes and mochi. Mochi, for those who might not be familiar, is a sweet Japanese snack made from glutinous rice. I thought mine had the look and texture of marshmallow. I chose Nutella as my drizzle.

This was the work of art that was delivered to me.

My Berry Blast açai bowl at Market 509

And it came on a cute little tray …

Adorable!

This was my Saturday lunch. It was refreshing in the hot weather, full of nutrition and, very likely, had enough calories in it to make it a meal.

On Sunday, I fit in a lot and did a lot of driving all over creation (or, at least, parts of New Jersey.) I took care of doggy breakfast, pills and potty time back at the house where I was staying, drove about 20 minutes to take care of Miss Shultz and get her breakfast and then drove almost an hour (normally a half hour drive) to Sunday morning church. I thought I would be late, but I was actually early. 😛

My friend Adrienne planned a picnic lunch with friends at the James A McFaul Environmental Center in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Although this park is in the vicinity of church, first, I had to drive back to the doggies, give them some lunch, another potty break and bye bye kisses and then pack up my things, as the owners were due home that afternoon.

I was on a bit of a tight schedule, so I had half of my picnic lunch at the house. I thought I would be too late to picnic and might just join friends for the walk afterwards. It wasn’t too convenient to do “home-made” while house sitting, so I picked up some things at the Kings Supermarket: a tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich on ficelle bread (I would have called it a baguette,) some Stacy’s pita chips and a Mash soda made with natural pomegranate and blueberry juices.

tomato, mozzarella, basil sandwich

It turns out friends were still picnicking when I arrived. There were six of us girls altogether: Adrienne, Sabrina, Iris, Jin, Cindy and me. I ate half my sandwich there, some cantaloupe that my friend Iris brought and a frozen snack from Adrienne, a blob of vanilla ice cream encased in strawberry mochi. It was a bit of a challenge to eat as the ice cream was melted, but I managed.

The James A. McFaul Environmental Center is a lovely park that has 81 acres of land with walking trails, a pond and observation deck overlooking it, various gardens, a picnic area, a few animal enclosures and a building with educational nature exhibits. The building was closed, but we were able to enjoy the trails, observation deck, picnic area and more.

I saw this lovely peacock in an enclosure.

It’s too bad he did not fan his tail for me.

Before we even hit the trail, we saw this beautiful swan in the pond right outside the picnic pavilion.

I liked the looks of this foot bridge.

I ended up getting a few shots of my friend Cindy on the trail, because we were leading the pack.

I enjoyed these log borders on the walking path. For a bit, Cindy and I tried balancing on the logs just like we would have done as kids.

I noticed several trees with tangled jumbles of roots.

Cindy identified these interesting plants in the foreground as skunk cabbages. The area is sometimes swampy.

After we walked the loop, we took this boardwalk up to the observation deck overlooking the pond.

Lovely friends

We got some more views of our swan friend.

Sorry, Lisa. I missed the photo op to capture the swan along with ducks and geese in one photo. I guess the point of the challenge was to capture birds of different species together. Just as I was ready to do that, my phone announced that my storage was full.

Human friends are important too. We had a rest from the heat at the top of the observation deck.

So my phone storage was up to capacity at the end of our time there, and I missed the opportunity to photograph an adorable fawn on our way back. Thankfully, my buddy Sabrina did not have the same problem.

My Memorial Day Weekend Went to the Dogs, #WeeklySmiles

This weekend was a busy one for my animal care business. I took care of Luce —

Luce cuddling next to my legs on the recliner

And his friend Stevie, (a female named for Stevie Nicks) …

Stevie

for an overnight from Saturday night until midday Sunday. The dogs were good doggies, and they enjoyed some play time together. Still, at one point, Luce became intimidated by his bigger buddy, so I kept them somewhat separate. Once Stevie understood that Luce was no longer available as a playmate — he had taken refuge in my mother’s lap — she was content to settle and have cuddles with me. (I was thankful for mom who made it easier to keep both doggies content.)

My perspective of Stevie with her upper half in my lap

Immediately after these two dogs were picked up, I went to a nearby hotel to watch two small dogs, Cal and O.B., for a few hours. Their owners were visiting from out of the area. They were going to a grandson’s birthday party and wanted to keep their dogs separate from their son’s big dog.

Cal is some sort of Yorkshire terrier mix …

Cal

and O.B. is a Maltese.

O.B.

Cal is barking in the photo. He began to see me as a purveyor of treats, and he thought that if he twirled enough and barked, there would be endless treats. I did give them both quite a few.

After my time with these doggies, I came home and had Luce back for another overnight. He and I enjoyed some more cuddles.

Sometimes, I think of myself as a professional dog cuddler (although the job involves a bit more than that.) Charles Schultz is right. “Happiness is a warm puppy.”

This is for Weekly Smiles at Trent’s World (the Blog.) I hope my recent doggy adventures made you smile.

A Scenic Walk with Ollie, the Cavalier, Children’s Garden, Geese and Baby Ducklings

My friend Ollie, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, at a gazebo in his gated community

That’s a long title for this post, but it was hard to summarize my recent adventures succinctly. On Saturday, I had two walks, one with an adorable doggy and one without, and I thought I would combine them into one post. This is inspired by Restless Jo’s Monday Walk.

First, I stopped to take care of two cats for a client. Their names are Oscar and Simon.

Oscar
Simon

I told the owner that the cat names made me think of The Odd Couple. Of course, for The Odd Couple, their names should be Oscar and Felix. (Felix is definitely a cat name and even the name of a famous cartoon cat.) But then, the writer of The Odd Couple is Neil Simon, so there you go.

My dog care clients always seem surprised that I have quite a few cat care clients also, with the assumption that cats are more independent. So, for the dog people, I’ll explain. Most cats eat at least some wet food, if not primarily so. This food has to be served fresh, and any leftover food has to be scraped and scrubbed from their bowls. Litter boxes need to be cleaned. Additionally, a lot of cat owners also feel that their cats will get lonely and need some human interaction. Alas, cats also tend to have some messy issues … like puking up hairballs. Ah, yes, it is sometimes a dirty job. Mike Rowe would be proud.

The cats are located so conveniently near the park that I thought I would visit and walk there again after caring for them. This is Verona Park, which I recently blogged about, but I thought I would take photos in a completely different area. So, I took some photos in The Children’s Garden outside the playground area.

Another name for The Children’s Garden is Eden Wild.
The Children’s Garden at Verona Park

It’s a pretty little garden with some flowering chives, irises, circular stone paths and benches for sitting. In the far background, you can see the children’s playground.

Irises at The Children’s Garden
Children’s Garden at Verona Park
Viburnum?

I tried to identify this white flowering shrub and think it may be viburnum.

More irises at The Children’s Garden. I believe these are the Japanese variety.

There were also some pansies in a barrel planter …

and some polka dot plants in a painted wheelbarrow.

I’m not sure why it’s called The Children’s Garden other than its location by the playground. As far as I can tell, children aren’t involved with maintaining the garden. I had different expectations, thinking it would have more whimsy.

I can imagine a garden that references gardens in children’s literature such as the talking flowers in Alice in Wonderland, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden, Peter Rabbit and Farmer McGregor’s vegetable garden or even the nursery rhyme, “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.” Can’t you just imagine some appropriate statuary or plaques with literary quotes? Wouldn’t a little fairy garden be fun? Possibly, there could be some interactive station to teach children about plants or gardening also, as they have in some children’s museums.

I’m not criticizing the pretty garden at all, but I, evidently, have a lot of ideas. How easy it would be to execute the ideas is another question, but it’s fun to dream.

I then walked to the other side of the lake and saw a lot of geese, ducks and other birds. I got a few good shots of these. After planning this post, I saw that there’s a photo challenge for Birds Weekly — birds beginning with a G in the title. Since I do have some goose photos, I thought I’d join in.

There was this lovely sitting mallard, who didn’t seem too afraid of me.

And several lovely Canadian geese. The deposits they leave behind aren’t so lovely, but it didn’t seem to be too out of control.

And some mallards and Canadian geese together … socially distancing.

Then, I saw these mysterious water birds perched on wood in the middle of the lake. Perhaps, Mark S. of Naturalist Weekly can help me identify them? Or if anyone else has a guess, please let me know in the comments.

After this excursion in the garden and around the lake, I drove to see my friend, Ollie, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. He was happy to see me.

This is kind of an impressionistic image of him. It can be hard to
photograph a wiggly dog.

He was very happy to see me as in, “Here is my belly. Please, give it rubs.”

He greets me with loads of kisses. This may be a cute face shot … (I mean, talk about puppy dog eyes) …

but it does not show off one of his signature features (or features of the breed,) his floppy, curly-haired ears.

He and I walked past some pleasant places in his community, like this pretty gazebo …

And this lovely pond with fountain …

and some flowering shrubs.

We walked along the main road and passed by some public buildings on our way which were not so interesting to photograph, but any land in New Jersey that is allowed to go wild is very woodsy, so there were some interesting spots even sandwiched between these buildings such as here, this rock ledge overgrown with ivy …

And Cherokee rose …

As we walked around the community center building, Ollie met a couple of admirers. One passenger in a car stopped at a light had to roll down the car window and share her admiration. We also came across a man, a Cavalier owner himself, who had to stop and give Ollie some pets and attention. I’ve noticed as an introvert that walking a dog gives you an outlet to talk to strangers more than anything else.

We were really astonished as we took the sidewalk path that hugged the rear of the community center building to come across a plastic tub full of baby ducklings!

If I had any way of anticipating what was in this red plastic tub, I never would have walked a dog right up to it. It was a thorough but delightful surprise. Ollie was behaving like such a nice gentleman. He didn’t bark, poke his nose far into the bucket, try to climb in or, otherwise, disturb the ducklings. So, I thought I could pause long enough to snap a photo.

It’s a little mysterious what the ducklings were doing there. My guess is that someone at the community center is caring for these ducklings, because they have no mother. I tried looking at the community center website to see if there would be mention of them, but there wasn’t. I did see an article from 2017 where township police rescued baby ducklings from a storm drain, so I suppose it is also possible that a similar incident repeated itself. At any rate, I am happy to have had a glimpse and a photo op.

What is your favorite part of my walking adventure?

A Stroll in the Park with Luce

Haibun, Haiku, Travel Writing

Photo by Susan Joy Clark, bridge in Verona Park, Verona, NJ

I want to take you on a virtual walk with me, inspired by Restless Jo’s Monday Walk, with a little haibun (Japanese poetic prose,) haiku, park photography and a little down-to-earth information about our experience.

On Saturday, I walked with a new doggy client, Luce (pronounced Loochay,) a handsome dog, a Brittany spaniel and dachshund mix. We walked through Verona Park in Verona, New Jersey, and as it was a nice day, the park was busy with people doing everything possible to do in the park: fishing, cycling, walking dogs, playing tennis, paddleboating and using the playground and the exercise stations around the walking path.

Luce, (pronounced Loo-chay,) a Brittany spaniel and dachshund mix

Haibun

We traipse along the paved path, Luce moving ahead of me, waving his tail like a feathery fan. We pull to the water’s edge where the sun glints against the smooth surface. The blurred reflection of the trees in the water resembles an impressionistic painting. A central fountain shoots its spray, creating a relaxing soundtrack, while distant swanboats glide through the pond.

Other swans dock at the shore, awaiting passengers, their beaks face to face, creating a heart in the negative space between them.

Intense pink dianthus greet us, lifting their frill-framed faces to the sun.

The shadows of the trees create lacy patterns on the wide stone path bordering the lake while a paddleboat floats under the arch of a stone bridge.

A cluster of irises grow at the water’s edge, their yellow teardrop petals drooping gracefully.

A weeping willow’s tendril-like branches sweep the water’s surface. They hang like a fairy maiden’s hair prepared for a wash. Its branches majestically arch and curl above the reflective water.

Luce, though placid, is drawn to the sight and smell of two ducks in the water.

Haiku

A green-headed mallard

and his mate float together,

on a man-made raft.

© 2021 Susan Joy Clark


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Luce and I had some refreshment at the Snack Shack at the boathouse after our walk. I had forgotten to bring water or a dog bowl, and as I was too distracted to notice the signs forbidding dogs on the dock, I carried Luce over to the Snack Shack order window. I bought a drink for myself and a bottled water and asked if they could give me a bowl for the dog. The kind employee at the window alerted me to the "no dogs" rule but provided a bowl for me. I thought they might have a disposable one, but he gave me a melamine plastic one. We sat at a nearby lakeside bench to refresh ourselves, but I didn't break the rules again in order to return the bowl, so I hope that they were able to retrieve it from where I left it. I appreciate the kindness of that employee.