Tag Archives: Swag

When the boys want to get SIRIUSLY dirty…

Sirius Republic strikes again!

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We’ve been big fans of Sirius Republic and their adorable collars ever since they hit it outta the park making Kaylee’s awesome collar, embroidered with “Adopt Me” for free. Oscar, Molly Tamale and Cooper have each sported S.R. collars over the past several years – each of them ridiculously adorable.  Though we’ve explored other collar options along the way, we recently circled back to Sirius Republic.

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I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t you guys JUST get new adorable collars for the boys to celebrate Cooper’s adoption?”  Well yes, yes we did. I have a small confession to make – I actually got these collars before we adopted Cooper. I couldn’t help myself! As soon as I saw a certain eligible bachelor showing his off newest accessory around the blogosphere, I knew I had to have one for Oscar.  And if I Oscar was going to get new swag, how could I leave out the Coops?  Just couldn’t  do it…that’s not how I roll.

As much as I just LOVE the adorableness and variety of the fabric collars we’ve always used, they have their drawbacks. While they’re durable, they don’t last forever.  And while they can be cleaned, it’s not the easiest thing to do and they really just don’t look the same afterwords. And as much as the boys love the water and the dirt, I knew they needed an option for getting messy.

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These Waterdog Collars from Sirius Republic rock my friggin’ socks off. They’re true work horse dog collars – waterproof, stink proof, antimicrobial and durable up to 1,000 pounds of break strength! That’s darn strong. Boy I wish we had these on our canoeing adventure – not to mention during the Mud Bowl!

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Not only are they great for days like this, when your backyard renovations have come to a halt due to the rainiest summer you can remember, thus creating a makeshift “swimming pool” every time it rains until you’re able to secure professional landscapers…

…but the collars also incredibly attractive!

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Look how vibrant the color is! I don’t see these bad boys fading like some of our fabric collars have before.

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I just love the shiny hardware of the buckle and leash loop. There’s also the option to add this slick looking name tag, so you don’t have to switch tags when your pooch wants to go swimming. The tag also adds extra grommets, which means extra bling.

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This tag belongs to an adoptable Wonderdog over at Our Waldo Bungie. Check him out, he’s looking for his Furever Home!

Now, no matter how much fun the boys have getting as dirty-messy-stinky-smelly as they possibly can…

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…their collars can clean up with a quick easy rinse.  There is so much to love about these collars, including one thing I have yet to mention: they seem to have magical powers of inducing snuggles and sleepiness.

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You can order your own Waterdog Collar from Sirius Republic in Red (like Oscar’s), Blue (like Cooper’s), Brown, or Orange. Oh, and just so ya know, we were not compensated in any way for our review.

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Kibble me this…

There’s a great locally owned pet shop in Nashville called Wags & Whiskers.  They opened in 2004 as a retailer of holistic and premium dog food, natural treats and durable toys.  Not only that, but they also have a self-serve dog wash area in the back which Oscar has been none-to-pleased to utilize every now and again. 

..and since it’s right on the way home from the dog park, this feature has been very useful in certain situations:

(As if I need an excuse to share that picture of Oscar again.  Anywho….)

I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation on dog food ingredients at Wags and Whiskers’ newly opened second location .  We were bribed with offered wine and cheese and promised a free take home sample, so how could I pass that up?  I consider myself pretty ingredient savvy when it comes to kibble – I know to look for the protein as the main ingredient, and that corn is nothing but filler and should be avoided at all costs.  We feed Oscar a nice good expensive “premium” dog food, because while an obvious beneifit is that it’s good for him, I also know that less filler = smaller portions, which means that even though my bag of premium dog food is more expensive than the one next to it on the shelf, once you take into account portion size I’m actually spending less.  So I expected to sit in the back and nod along knowingly, collect my free sample and hit the road.

Well I should know by now that when it comes to dogs, I can always learn something new.  And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t share my new-found knowledge?  Of course, I am by no means an expert on pet nutrition, so please do your own research or consult your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet.  And with that, here we go….

Where does it come from?

Just as important as the ingredients in your dog food is the source of those ingredients.  There’s a 1-800 number on every bag of dog food.  After this presentation, the first thing I did was call up the number on our bag of kibble and ask them where they got their protein. According to the presenter, there is no reason a dog food company wouldn’t be happy to give you this information.  Is your salmon farm raised (ie, pumped full of hormones & steroids) or wild caught?  Is your chicken from the same farm every time, or do you get it from whoever can give you the lowest price (ahem, lowest quality)?

Good Protein vs. Not-so-good Protein

The first five ingredients listed on a bag of dog food make up 85% of the bag, by weight.  What this means is that this is what you’re paying for, so you want “the good stuff” to be up there in the top five.  The good stuff is, of course, your protein (chicken, beef, turkey, salmon, duck, etc).  All of that I knew already.

What I didn’t know was that chicken as an ingredient actually has quite a bit of moisture, something like 75%.  Remember how those first five ingredients are “by weight”?  That means when chicken is the first ingredient, a lot of that weight is moisture.  That’s OK, because that’s also what’s going to give the kibble its flavor, and what makes Cooper salivate in anticipation when he has to wait for his dinner…(watch for drool-age starting around the 0:50 mark)

Meal vs. By-product.  I figured “by-product” was bad, and I was right – “by-product” is exactly what it sounds like, it’s everything that’s left over from the animal after the meat is processed (think beak, claws, hooves, and other yucky things that only Andrew Zimmern would eat).  A kibble that has any sort of “by-product” listed as a top five ingredient should be avoided.

However “meal” is actually really good.   Chicken meal, for example, is made by grinding up good clean chicken meat (beak & feather-free) and removing most of the moisture so you’re left with a significantly higher protein content than just chicken.  So, if your first two ingredients are “chicken” and “chicken meal,” you’re in good shape!

Get Specifics.  Going back to knowing where your kibble comes from, make sure the ingredients are specific when talking about the protein – you want it to say “chicken” instead of “poultry,” or “salmon” instead of “fish.”

Variety is the Spice of Life. I love sushi, but I would get super sick of it if I had to eat it for every meal, every single day.  I’ve never asked a dog, but I imagine they’d get sick of the same kibble day after day.  So it’s not only OK, but it’s actually really good for your dogs if you alternate the protein source in their food.  Dogs aren’t meant to get everything they need from just one food – for example, chicken has different vitamins and minerals than salmon.  As long as you stay within the same brand of food, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to switch from salmon to chicken to lamb to duck and back again.   

Eat Your Vegetables!

If veggies are good for you and me, it stands to reason they’re good for dogs too.  I knew that already.  I knew that seeing ingredients like carrots and sweet potatoes in the list of ingredients on kibble is a good thing.  I also already knew that as an ingredient, “corn” is used as a filler and is not-so-good to have in dog food. What I didn’t know is that dogs cannot digest corn – at all.  It doesn’t matter if it’s called corn, whole ground corn, yellow corn, white corn or purple corn – it’s bad.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

I also learned a whole list of other ingredients that dogs can’t digest, that fall under the “carbs & grains” category.  These include white rice, rice bran, brewers yeast, wheat flour and rice flour.  Apparently though, not all carbs and grains are bad.  For example, oatmeal is one of the best grains you can include in a dog food.  It’s higher in protein and fiber than other grains,  and lower in calories.  Oatmeal is a good source of iron, fatty acids and antioxidants, and vets like it because it’s not likely to cause food allergies.  Other grains/carbs that are A-OK to include in your kibble ingredients are brown rice, millet, barley and quinoa. 

So there you have it, a few new tidbits I added to my arsenal of information when selecting dog food.  Of course, every dog is different and again, I’m no expert, so please make sure you check with your vet before you change-up your pooch’s feeding regimen.   There’s a wealth of information out there on this topic – type “dog food ingredients” into the Google-machine and see what happens.  The important take-away here is that not all kibble is created equal – make sure to do your research.  After all, these two can’t read labels, so they’re counting on us to do it for them.

Cooper is still looking for his furever home!  If Coop is the dog for you, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.

…and don’t forget to VOTE for COOPER!

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Shop ’till You Drop

As we announced last week, Cooper is running for President through Agape Animal Rescue’s first ever Democracy for Dogs campaign

He’s laid out his platform, tapped his foster brother as his campaign manager, and when I wasn’t looking he borrowed my credit card because all of a sudden he has a new outfit, fit for the campaign trail!

What the what?  Cooper, is your bow tie not presidential enough for you?  Cooper mumbled something about “campaign contributions” and “tax deductible” before he scampered off to play strategize with Oscar, so I took a look at my credit card statement to see what was going on.  I found two strange charges – one to The Cozy Critter, and another to Dog Tag Art.  Time to investigate these shops so I can see where Cooper is spending my hard-earned cash! 

The Cozy Critter is your one-stop-shop for all things doggie swag.  They have collars in different styles (martingale, buckle, etc), leashes in various lengths including couplers and training handles, harnesses (even for cats!), treat bags, scarves and more.  All of them can all be ordered in any one of their hundreds of fabric choices, which are all organized by category so you can easily find what you’re looking for.  Their “patriotic” category explains why Cooper found his new collar design so quickly.

I was actually pretty surprised that Cooper discovered Dog Tag Art before I did.  Once I found the site I got lost in the seemingly unending designs of pet ID tags. You can browse through hundreds of designs, or you can upload a photo and create your own.  Here’s the best part – all their tags are just $11.99! 

I was pleasantly surprised at the tag’s quality.  At such a bargain price, I expected it to be a little wimpy, but their tags are actually made of recycled steel coated with a polymer that makes them smooth like porcelain. The price of your tag includes four lines of text on the back, which Dog Tag Art guarantee for life – if the text ever becomes unreadable, they’ll replace your tag at no charge.

Well, if Cooper was going to insist on doing some online shopping without my approval, at least he has good taste!  And to top it off, he learned the meaning of the phrase “shop ’till you drop.” Being this stylish is exhausting!

Don’t forget to Vote for Cooper!  A $5 donation will get you one vote, or you can vote with $20 and get this super sweet T-shirt to show your support of your favorite candidate (ahem, which is COOPER, by the way):

 

Along with his presidential campaign, Cooper is also campaigning for a Furever Home of his very own!  If you’d like to add this presidential pup to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.

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Collar Mania

Cooper and Molly Tamale aren’t the only residents of Foster House who recently started sporting some new spring fashions.

A few weeks ago, Oscar got a brand new collar from Collar Mania, partly to celebrate his Gotcha Day, and partly because we just love spoiling our pooches.  Even though we’re huge fans of Sirius Republic, I discovered Collar Mania via Facebook and decided to give them a shot.  Wouldn’t you know, without realizing it I ended up selecting a pattern for Oscar that Sirius actually caries too??  (Forehead slap moment.)

When we placed the order, we also already knew that Molly Tamale would be coming back to us, so we ordered her a spare while we were at it. 

 I know I’ve got a lot of fellow Sirius fans out there, so I thought I’d do a little compare/contrast, from my experience with both of them.  Both companies hand make their collars with bright fun patterns, lined in a sturdy nylon.  Both offer a variety of collar styles – martingale, buckle, slip, etc, with nice heavy hardware. CM does something else that’s pretty cool, check out this nifty little feature:

It’s an additional ring sewn into the bottom of the collar for your tags.  I like it because this ring is a smaller gauge than the D ring that we clip the leash to, so depending on what method you use to clip tags to collars, it can make it a little easier. 

While CM has more patterns to choose from than SR (literally hundreds), I found their website to be a bit overwhelming – it’s tough to navigate through the dozens of pages of fabric patterns and styles.   I like how SR shows a picture of the collar on their website, so you can see how the fabric will look once it’s made up into a collar on your dog.  CM simply shows you a swatch of the fabric, so sometimes it’s difficult to get a sense of the scale of the print. 

Both offer custom embroidery, but only SR offers “Adopt Me” embroidery to any collar purchase at no additional charge.  It’s also tough to beat the shipping from SR – a flat $5, no matter the order.   However, if you “like” Collar Mania’s Facebook page, they often offer sales and promotions, and hold weekly giveaway contests.  CM also has a Clearance Corner, and “ready to wear” collars that they sell at discounted rates.  And if you’re a crazy collar collector,  every order you place with CM automatically earns you rewards points – for every $25 you spend, you get $1 towards a future order. 

Cooper in Sirius Republic, Molly Tamale & Oscar in Collar Mania

Beyond collars, CM offers custom nylon leashes – like their collars, you can choose the color, leash length, width and hardware.  SR also has leashes in their online shop that coordinate with their collar patterns, as well as dog themed magnets, note cards, and home decor.  They also have some beautiful and unique options for tags, not to mention those to-die-for collar accessories – bow-ties for the guys, and flowers for the gals.

So there you have it, my two cents worth comparing Sirius Republic and Collar Mania.  My experience with both companies has been terrific, they both offer wonderful customer service and beautiful quality products.  Where does everyone else like to shop for their pooches?  Do you have a favorite store, online or in your home town, where you’re a repeat offender shopper?

Remember, Cooper and Molly Tamale are both still searching for their furever homes!  To fill out an application, please visit Agape Animal Rescue.

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Good Golly, Miss Molly!

On Monday we doted on Cooper’s awesome new Spring look, courtesy of Sirius Republic.  With his old collar headed for retirement, and as Cooper is our longest foster to date, we decide that a new season warranted a new wardrobe to help get him noticed when we’re out and about. 

But wait, we’re a three-dog house now, remember??  What kind of Foster Family would we be if we left our other tenant, Molly Tamale, out of the fun?  Since her first stay with us was so short, we never had time to spoil her with a Sirius creation of her very own.  So this time, we wanted to make sure we got something extra special for her…

Once again, we scoured the many awesome patterns that Sirius Republic has to offer, and once again I think we hit the nail right on the head.  We chose Purple Floral for Molly Tamale because it’s bright and cheerful…girly without being prissy, feminine but not overly princess-y. 

And how about that pop of hot pink?  As usual, Sirius embroiders “Adopt Me” for zero additional dollars on any collar for a rescue dog, and once again, they threw in a gorgeous surprise accessory!

Work it, Tamale!  I don’t see how this beautiful set could not get her noticed by her Furever Family if we meet them while we’re out and about.

…and maybe people on the street will stop thinking she’s a boy.  (I don’t know why that bothers me, but it does!)  While the collar will certainly be everyday attire, we’ll have to save the flower for special outtings – her brothers seem to think it’s a chew toy. 

Are you the Furever Family that Molly Tamale has been searching for?  If you think so, please fill out an applicaiton with Agape Animal Rescue.

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Cooper’s New Spring Look

Cooper has been stalking the mailman on a daily basis ever since I told him that we would finally be retiring his old chewed up collar.  Finally the day came, and a very special delivery from Sirius Republic was on our doorstep:

Ta Da!  Cooper’s brand new duds, a lovely hand-stitched Sirius Republic martingale collar, as always with “Adopt Me” embroidered at no additional cost.  We thought the bright blue Island Pup design captures Coop’s fun personality, and is also appropriate for this early summer we’ve been experiencing here in Nashville.  I just love how the orange stitching really pops, and reminds me of growing up watching basketball in Cleveland in the 80’s.  Have I mentioned how awesome Sirius is, and how much they love dog rescue?  Because they also threw in this little number, as a total surprise!

A matching bow tie, just the accessory to get an eligible pup noticed while out on the town.  At first, Cooper was very excited about his new swag, and decided to celebrate with some belly rubs…

Then, he decided to get a little silly by showing me his very best grumpy old man impression:

…but he just couldn’t hide that classic Cooper smile for long!

 What’s that, Coop?  Make sure I get your good side? 

So what do you think of Cooper’s new threads?  Do they suit him well?  Once again, a big thank you to Sirius Republic – they have so many fun styles and patterns to choose from, there’s something for every pup’s personality. (BTW, I don’t get any perks or freebies for singing their praises, I really just love their stuff!)  I happen to think Cooper looks exceptionally dashing in his new outfit.  But I’m sorry, buddy, no mud zoomies in this one!

But wait just a gosh darn minute there, you didn’t really think we’d leave Molly Tamale out, did you?!?  

If you think you’re the Furever home that Cooper or Molly Tamale has been searching for, please contact Agape Animal Rescue.

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Battered and Frayed

Cooper’s once-beautiful Sirius Republic collar is in desperate need of retirement.

It’s riddled with holes, and even my attempts at glueing the fabric down only left the torn spots looking brown and gross.

And despite numerous spins in the washing machine, dish washer, and even vigorous hand scrubbing with dish soap, it hasn’t been the same ever since the Mud Bowl.  Just for fun, I slid the buckle back to remind  myself what color the Bubbles design is supposed to look like…

…but it just made me sad.  How did it get this way?  Well it might have something to do with a certain previous guest of Foster House

As well made as it was, the collar never had a prayer against Roxie’s vicious puppy chompers.  Well Cooper is certainly not going to catch any potential adopter’s eye in this old dingy thing.  What to do, what to do?  Cooper needs some new duds, of course!  Check back on Monday to see what the awesome folks over at Sirius whipped up for us this time.

If you’re interested in providing Cooper with a Furever Home, please fill out an application with Agape Animal Rescue.

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