Fluffy Cuties in Black and White, #CBWC

I may be a step ahead (not sure) but this post is for Cee Neuner’s Black and White Photo Challenge with a Pets or Stuffed Animals theme.

None of these cuties pictured are my own pets, but in my animal care business, I come across dogs and cats in a variety of breeds (and breed mixes.) They may not be my pets, but I love them as if they were. Here are just a few of my animal friends.

Fluff, a Maine coon cat
Fluff’s Maine coon brother, Chance
Shultz, a Scottish fold cat
Franco — It’s less complicated to call him a cockapoo,
but he’s actually a mix of four small breeds.
Luce, a Brittany spaniel and dachshund mix
Ollie, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel
Roxy, a soft coated wheaten terrier
Theo, a French bulldog
Maizie, a bernedoodle puppy
Maizie once more

People often ask me what my favorite breed is (of dogs especially.) With all of these lovable cuties, it is hard to choose. Of these photos, which is your favorite?

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.

Nothing To See Here!

Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash

It only took a blink for Toby to pour himself like liquid through the crack in the front door, run across the street and crash the neighbor’s backyard barbecue. I ran after him barefoot, imitating the hot coal dance as I crossed the asphalt and lolloped past my neighbors, grinning stupidly, as they enjoyed their burgers and brats. After two rotations around the house, I saw my chase was futile. Remembering some dog owner advice, I dropped prostrate into the grass. Neighbors lurched out of chairs, hovering over me. “Call 911!” Toby stopped, turned running, and I nabbed him.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021


This was written for the “unleashed” theme flash fiction challenge, using 99 words only, for the Carrot Ranch Literary Community. I did read that if your dog runs away from you like this, you should drop, and the dog, out of curiosity and concern, should come to you. A very similar scenario did happen to me with a little dog I was watching but without quite this level of drama and awkwardness. 🙂

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.