Posted by: twodogtales | August 23, 2015

Product review: Puppy Treads for slippery surfaces

The Handi-Ramp company asked me to review one of their products, Puppy Treads. They are vinyl rectangular-shaped stickers with a textured surface that you apply to indoor surfaces such as hardwood or tile steps or floors to help keep your dog, and you, from slipping.

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I totally wish they’d been about a year earlier.

Within a week after moving into our new house with oak hardwood stairs, Chatham had slipped and slid down the steps a half dozen times. The morning she refused to come downstairs, standing at the top step whining, it broke my heart.

I went out that day and bought six seasonal rubber-backed rugs adorned with smiley-faced snowmen, cut them in half, and applied them to the stairs with double-sided tape. The headless Frostys were both obnoxiously ugly and slightly disturbing. I’m not sorry I don’t have a picture to prove it. We lived with those for four months, until we paid about $1,000 we didn’t really have to spare to have a runner professionally installed.

The Puppy Treads would have been the perfect temporary solution.

I say temporary because Puppy Treads are very functional, but not particularly fashionable. Yes, they’re a clear vinyl so they don’t stick out like a sore (snow) thumb. But neither are they invisible. They’d look fine in a mudroom, foyer, or basement or garage steps. But they didn’t really blend well with the dressy living room.

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Puppy Treads are, however, effective, simple to use, and well priced. They are $7.99 each, or $69.95 for a pack of 10. Most other stair tread products are made of carpet material, and run anywhere from $60 to $120 for just four pieces.

To apply them, all you do is peel the backing paper off and smooth the tread down into place. At first they had almost an opaque appearance, and you could see foot and paw prints, but after a day or so the print impressions were gone.

I used the Puppy Treads on the landing, where the dogs come tearing down the steps and make a sharp turn to the living room. Without something there to give them traction, they slide into the wall. The Treads worked. The dogs didn’t slip, and the Treads never shifted out of place.

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Even better, when I removed the Treads, they came up easily and didn’t damage or leave a sticky residue on the wood floors at all. I’d even venture to say there was enough “stick” left that if you applied them, then decided to move them somewhere else, you probably could at least once.

They also were simple to clean. I vacuumed over them, Swiffered the dog hair off, and wiped mud up with just a wet sponge.

My one other caveat is that you can only use Puppy Treads on a flat, indoor surface, according to the instructions. Last week, I visited a friend with metal stairs from her patio to her lawn, and Chatham slipped. A version for outdoor use would be great.

If you want to try Puppy Treads, Handi-Ramp is offering a 10% discount if you use the code BLOG2015.

Two Dog Tales received the Puppy Treads product at no cost, but was not otherwise compensated for this review.

Posted by: twodogtales | August 17, 2015

Wags n’ Whiskers at Shirlington Village Aug. 22

IMG_2580_BuckwheatThe best pet-friendly outdoor dining neighborhood in the whole greater DC area is hosting an all-afternoon celebration of pets this Saturday, Aug. 22. Wags n’ Whiskers is from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Village at Shirlington in Arlington, Va.

This year more than 60 vendors will be on hand with pet products and services, rescue groups and more. There will also be $5 pet photos, live music and children’s activities such as face painting, balloon art and strolling entertainment.

Nearly all of the restaurants in the village are dog-friendly, and many even have bowls of fresh water out for your pup while you dine al fresco. You can also check out the new Shirlington Animal Hospital that went into the former dental office space, near the Dogma Bakery & Boutique on the lower level.

Here are some pics from past W&W events.

Posted by: twodogtales | August 5, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Screen on the Green

You have one more Monday to enjoy the dog-friendly Screen on the Green on the National Mall! Aug. 10 is Back to the Future.

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Posted by: twodogtales | July 29, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: marvelous dog mosaic

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Here is another cool piece of art spotted at Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory (the building is not dog-friendly, though). This is a custom mosaic by artist Roslyn Zinner of her sister’s Labrador. Zinner also does mosaic pet bowls.

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Posted by: twodogtales | July 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: dog art at Torpedo Factory

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Check out this cool paper mache dog standing guard outside artist Lisa Shumaier’s space at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. Notice how the word dog is spelled out with his “eyes”?

Posted by: twodogtales | July 18, 2015

Year-round fun at Lubber Run Park

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Arlington’s Lubber Run Park is a hidden gem just minutes from the city, that you can enjoy with your dog every month of the year. The park runs along Lubber Run Creek through the Arlington Forest neighborhood, from George Mason Drive to Route 50.

For the hot summer months, the park has picnic shelters, a playground, restroom facilities and plenty of shaded paved paths. Best of all, on most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays you can attend evening dance, music or theater performances at the outdoor Amphitheater.

Chatham, Sundae and I have gone to two concerts this year, the Pops for Pets Arlington Philharmonic concert benefit for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, and an event featuring Hawaiian music and dance. You can sit on the benches surrounding the stage, or set up a blanket on the hillside behind—all are dog-friendly with clear views of the action. It was perfect for Sundae’s short attention span; the concerts only last about an hour and half

You can also let your dog take a dip in the stream, but unlike the off-leash dog parks at Shirlington and Glen Carlyn, dogs must stay leashed. Just be careful and remember that storm water runoff feeds into all Arlington streams, there could be elevated bacteria levels and dangerous litter including broken glass and sharp metal.

Amphitheater performances are free and open to the public, and are presented by Arlington Cultural Affairs. There are parking lots at the north end at the community center and at the Amphitheater near the park’s center, plus free parking in the surrounding residential neighborhood.

Lubber Run Park is at 200 North Columbus St., Arlington, VA, 22203.

Posted by: twodogtales | July 4, 2015

Pics from Pops for Pets

The Pops for Pets benefit performance for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington by the Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra last Sunday, June 28, was a great event. No rain (for once!), talented musicians, and lots of families enjoying the comfort and convenience of the Lubber Run Amphitheater.  If you missed it, here’s some pics, and you can still enjoy pet-friendly concerts all summer, get the schedule at Arlington Arts.

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Posted by: twodogtales | June 24, 2015

Pets and pops in the park June 28

popslogo-final_print-227x300If you read the title really fast it looks like pets and POOPS in the park, doesn’t it? OK, enough potty humor, sorry. There hopefully won’t be any poops (or if there are, responsible owners will pick it up right away), but there’s be a bunch of pets and their people chillaxing to the sounds of the Arlington Philharmonic this Sunday, June 28, at the Lubber Run Amphitheater in Arlington.

This fun, outdoor dog-friendly event is a fundraiser for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Bring a blanket and a picnic and spend an hour and a half listening to the talented orchestra churn out lively classical music. Last years’ event drew a couple hundred people on a sunny, relatively sufferable weather evening.

See pictures from 2014.

Posted by: twodogtales | June 17, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Hillwood dog cemetery

Saw these cool dog statues at the Hillwood Museum in NW DC recently. Who’d have thought you could create Poodle curls out of stone? Unfortunately, even though it seems Marjorie Post was a dog lover—her pet cemetery where these statues are has numerous granite stones memorializing dear departed pets—the museum is NOT dog friendly.

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Posted by: twodogtales | June 15, 2015

A day in the life of a rescue transport

Up until a few weeks ago as a volunteer for Golden Retriever Rescue, Education and Training (GRREAT), I’d only done home visits. That’s where I go to a home where the family has applied to adopt a Golden, interview them, and observe how they interact with my dog.

But recently I volunteered to bring a rescue dog from the home giving her up to the foster home that will care for her until a permanent home is found—a “transport.”

To protect everyone’s privacy, I’m changing names and being vague on some details.

My duties involved contacting the give up family, known in rescue-speak as the “GU,” and the foster, and scheduling a mutually convenient time to move the dog, who I’ll call Ginger. Many transports involve long hauls across state lines, but this one took only about three hours total. Forty-five minutes from my home to the pickup, an hour to the foster, then forty-five back home.

The rescue was a middle-aged female Golden who was an absolute sweetheart. Nothing “problem” about her, just a string of irresponsible owners and unfortunate circumstances. She greeted me with a Hello Kitty doll in her mouth, tail wagging, a typical happy-go-lucky Golden.

Ginger’s last owner was not bad, just a sad situation. The GU had gotten her with the best intentions but it turned out a family member was severely allergic, both to the dog and the meds they tried to mitigate the reaction. She cried as she handed me the leash, and I wanted to hug her. But I settled for reassuring her she did the right thing by calling GRREAT, unlike the jerk she got Ginger from, who’d posted her on Craig’s List.

The GU handed over all the things they’d gotten for Ginger, her bed, bowls, toys, as well as medical records. I loaded them in the car, and Ginger happily climbed in the back seat. I texted the foster that we were on our way, and Ginger almost immediately fell into a deep sleep.

An hour later, we arrived at the foster home—although more than once during the trip, as I listened to her light snoring and glanced back at her angelic face, I wanted to just turn for home and keep her.

Her foster family, including a dog brother, gave her a huge welcome. They had a big yard and fully dog-friendly home, including a prime sofa perch in front of a picture window. I admit I hope they become “failed fosters,” which means they’ll fall in love and adopt her permanently.

I have an even higher level of appreciation for fosters now. It took me about 10 minutes to bond with Ginger, and my heart hurt seeing her little face peer out the storm door as I pulled away. But I know even just taking that three hours out of my weekend helped move a sweet dog closer to her forever home.

It takes all kinds of participation for a rescue operation to run successfully, so if you love dogs—and if you’re reading this blog, you do—reach out to a rescue and lend a hand. Whether you make a donation, help out at an adoption day, or spend a few hours as a dog taxi, it’s worth it.

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