Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No dog to walk? Get one of these!

OK, it sounds like something from Dave Barry's Gift Guide, but here are dog balloons that actually walk! I found these on a U.K. site, which says that the balloons "have been balanced perfectly so that when filled with helium they float just above the ground with their little feet dangling to the floor. When you gently walk with them, pulling the lead, their little legs and feet appear to walk giving a super fun, realistic K9 look."
So, keep an eye open for balloon walkers in Howard County. (I wonder if they attract inflatable ticks . . . ?)
P.S. Found them on a U.S. site, My Care Free Pet, for $9.99 . . . with a sale on Corgis for some reason!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Group Walk: May 4 - No. 9 Trolley Trail

Columbia Dogs-on-the-Go has scheduled a dog walk on the No. 9 Trolley Trail for Sunday, May 4.

"This is another one of those great, easy, historic, scenic walks that every walker in the area should know about. The No. 9 Trolley Trail follows an old trolley line that was built in the 1890s to transport folks from Catonsville to Ellicott City."

Check the Columbia Dogs-on-the-Go page for more details and sign-up info.

Lost Dog - Severn

One of our Dogs-on-the-Go members, Tianna, spotted a lost dog in Severn yesterday and posted a notice on the message board. This blog is too new to have a wide reach, but I thought I would post it. It broke my heart to imagine the dog's confusion and the owner's pain. Hope there's a happy ending.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ticks - Ugh!

We had a nice little walk yesterday at the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area. However, the ticks were out in full force. We came home and took our dogs straight to the tub--mainly because they were muddy--but then started finding tick after tick--mostly on their chests. It seemed like the ticks had just selected their targets and were getting ready to drill, when we grabbed them, smushed them in a tissue, tossed them in the toilet, and flushed. Bon voyage!

I found (so far) that the best device for removing them is this little thing called "Ticked Off." Some vets sell them and they're available online. I have about 4-5 in various locations. I think there are some other variations on this model, but this one works very well. I find tweezers very difficult and they basically just mutilate the tick. This gadget pulls out the head and isn't yucky to use.

Meanwhile, we're continuing to keep up with our Frontline treatments. But I have a feeling this year might be a little worse than usual.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Coming soon: Camp Bow Wow

Columbia will soon have a new doggy day care center called "Camp Bow Wow." The owners just announced that they have signed a lease and will begin preparation at their location: 7165 Oakland Mills Rd in Columbia.

The facility will offer "indoor, climate controlled play areas as well as large outdoor play areas complete with security fencing, puppy pools and doggie playground equipment." They will offer doggy day camp as well as overnight boarding, and live Web cams.
I met the owner at Columbia's Dog Day Afternoon and he was anticipating opening in August. We'll be looking for updates!

Friday, April 25, 2008

HOWARD June issue to feature pets

HOWARD magazine will publish a "Pets Issue", available June 12, 2008.

Cover story: "It's a Dog's Life: Canine companions like General Chesty get by (quite well) with a little help from their friends."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Group Walk: April 27 - South Wind Trail

Columbia Dogs-on-the-Go has scheduled a walk on the South Wind Trail on Sunday, April 27 at 10:30 a.m.

"This walk in the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area is for everyone--especially nature lovers. It has a wealth of habitats and is home to many species of birds, butterflies, frogs and mammals. It is an easy 2 miles, unpaved, mostly shaded, and very scenic. You'll enjoy the views and sounds of the river and the chorus of bird songs. Your dog will love connecting with his Inner Wolf."

Middle Patuxent Environmental Area

For more details, directions, and sign-up info, check out the "Wag on the Wild Side" walk on the Columbia Dogs-on-the-Go Meetup site.

Dog Hike: April 26 - Gambrills State Park

The K9 Trailblazers, a dog hiking club in the Baltimore/DC area, is leading a hike at Gambrills State Park in Frederick, MD on Saturday, April 26.

The hike is a single loop of about 5 miles with several scenic overlooks along the way. The trails are rocky and very steep in places so good sturdy hiking boots with ankle support are required. Check the group's website for more details and sign-up info.

Also scheduled is a May 10 hike at Great Falls Park, VA.

We've done several hikes with this group and always enjoy them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Group Walk: April 24 - Lake Elkhorn

Columbia Dogs-on-the-Go has scheduled a dog walk at Lake Elkhorn on Thursday April 24. The group meets at 5:45 p.m.

Helen, an assistant organizer for the group, has been scheduling these Thursday walks--a great way to unwind after work!

Pooches share a drink during the April 17 Lake Elkhorn walk.
For more details, directions, and sign-up info, check out the Lake Elkhorn After Work Walk page on the Dogs-on-the-Go site.
Comments and photos from the April 17 Lake Elkhorn walk are on the Columbia Dogs-on-the-Go site.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Forest Diner

Richard and I--and Riley and Cody--scouted out 2 walks today. In between the walks, we had lunch at the Forest Diner on Rt. 40. This is not to be confused with the Double-T Diner which was built right next door to this diner. I don't know what the reasoning was behind this, but I decided to pledge my loyalty to the Forest Diner. For one, they were there first. And two, the main reason--they have some outdoor seating and were dog-friendly.

Now, mind you, this is not a glamorous place where you go to celebrate your anniversary or sample nouvelle cuisine. There are about 4 outdoor plastic tables under a canopy on a side deck. (You may need to let the staff know you're there so you can get served.) But we liked it. It was quiet and relaxing for lunch. You have a view of the Forest Motel and ice cream shop (more on that later), the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center (with a PetCo), and Rt. 40 traffic, but that was all OK.

Richard had a "Forest Beer," which was a dark beer--one of several selections on tap. We don't really know its origins, but he thought it was very good, along with his pea soup. I had iced tea, a BLT and coleslaw--which were all good. The Forest Diner serves breakfast all day, and there were lots of standard diner selections on the menu, like liver and onions, burgers, and salads. The wait staff was friendly. The dogs enjoyed the shade of the covered area.

A peek inside was quite surprising. The front area was straight out of the 50s--but not in a "contrived" way like the newer diners aim for. This felt real and looked kinda fun. This place's history actually dates back to the 40s.

After lunch, we walked across the parking lot over to the Forest Motel's "Soft Serve" walk-up ice cream shop. I think the motel and diner were once owned by the same entities, but are now separately owned. There is a wheelchair accessible ramp up to the walk-up window.

We shared a hot fudge sundae and were able to enjoy it in a semi-shaded area with about 6 picnic tables. Although there is a sign on the ice cream shop saying that they do not provide seating, patrons take their ice cream over to the picnic area which belongs to the motel. The motel seems to be OK with this, based on a phone call I made to enquire before writing something up. Overall, this was a very pleasant dog-friendly area to get a bite to eat!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dogs Eating Grass

It seems the highlight of my dogs' lives these days is the chance to eat grass. As soon as I open the door, they charge out like bulls from a pen and start grazing.

What is it with dogs and grass? I searched the Internet and you get the usual stuff about "settling their stomachs." But basically, they just LIKE it!

I find that my guys tend to vomit only if they gulp it down like it's the last grass on earth. But if they graze slowly and mindfully (ha!), they're usually OK.

Probably the only thing to worry about is fertilizers and pesticides on the grass. Otherwise, I guess it's no big deal.

Million Dog Mosaic

My friend Jo in Australia sent me this link for Pedigree's Million Dog Mosaic. For every dog photo that's uploaded to the mosaic, Pedigree will make a $1 donation to The PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive.

Riley and Cody can be found by clicking on "Browse the Mosaic" and then entering the codes: riley170 and cody121.

It can take a few days for them to work a photo into the mosaic.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Poor Riley

The only walk Riley wanted to do today was OUT of the vet's office. Poor little guy has chronic ear infections because he has "excessively hairy ears," as the vet says. This traps wax and dirt and water and gunk and builds up causing big problems. He woke up the other day shaking his head constantly. The vet managed to get all the mess out and saved the big pile to show me. Wow!

Well, Riley's fine now and is on antibiotics, prednisone, and ear drops. I swear I'll stay on top of this.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Savage Mill "Paws-n-Pastries" - April 13

This was such a great little walk. We did this on Sunday (April 13) as one of the Meetup walks. The weather was a little chilly, but thankfully no rain and certainly no "ice pellets", which was in the forecast for Sunday.

We had about 19 people and about as many dogs--some people had 2-3 dogs, and some dogs had 2-3 people. It's always great to see the mix of little guys and big ones and how well they get along and trot along the trail.

Crossing the historic Bollman Truss Bridge at Savage Mill.

The Savage Historic Mill Trail is very short (about 1.5 miles round trip), but what it may lack in length, it makes up in ease and beauty. You can even take a short side trail down to the river and any dog so-inclined can jump in. And some did. Then you can wind up the walk with a visit to Savage Mill and Bonaparte's bakery. There is a nice enclosed courtyard to relax with a dog and enjoy coffee, lunch and all manner of sweet treats.

Inuki and Scooby sharing secrets

We'll definitely do this one again!

Follow up comments and photos from the walk are on the Columbia Dog Meetup site.

Dog Parks & Beaches

Here are some links to off-leash dog parks.
Howard County:
Anne Arundel County:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

The Columbia Association held its annual "Dog Day Afternoon" at Lake Elkhorn on Saturday. They lucked out with great weather and a good turnout of people and pooches.

We were there only a short time and didn't see all the results for the different contests (costumes, raffles, etc.), but it was great to see some of the new (and old) vendors catering to dogs. For one, it looks like we'll soon have several options for boarding and day care. The Coventry School has been around for several years, and Dogtopia opened in Clarksville last year. Also coming is Camp Bow Wow, offering day camp and overnight camp, and due to open in August. It will be located on Oakland Mills Road near Coventry. Club Pooche, on Red Branch Road, will have a grand opening on May 10.

I provided some cards for the Columbia Dog Meetup, so I'm hoping to see some more members sign up.