Not since a cooler full of Omaha steaks showed up on our doorstep last Christmas has Ace been so excited about a box.
He gets highly curious about any package that to the house — be it a suitcase or paper bag — but when I brought a BarkBox inside with the rest of the mail, just before Christmas, he went bonkers, and he seemed to know it was intended for him.
It was a gift from his dachshund friends, Frank and Bogey, and their owner Faren, and while I fully intended to enforce the do-not-open-until-Christmas rule … well, it didn’t work out that way.
Given how much most of us spoil our dogs, BarkBox was a pretty smart idea — intended to get us, and our dogs, hooked on receiving a monthly box of treats, toys and goodies.
Then you start receiving a monthly sampling of items you might or might not like.
Dogs being far less picky, BarkBox might be an even smarter idea.
It was started by three New Yorkers — Henrik Werdelin, Matt Meeker and Carly Strife, who were trying to come up with a way dog owners (or dog parents, to use the term they prefer) could delight their dogs on a regular basis.
“There’s a difference between a dog owner and a dog parent,” Werdelin told New York magazine. “Dog parents are people who really love their dogs. Unfortunately, there aren’t many places they can go to find new ways to delight their dog. BarkBox is full of those things.”
The items change monthly, and subscribers can choose one-month ($29), three-month ($24 per month), or six-month ($19 a month) plans. The company donates a portion of profits to animal shelters.
According to the BarkBox website, plans automatically renew, unless you cancel.
(I’ve never liked that kind of marketing — not since, as a teenager, I ended up in debt and with a bunch of albums I didn’t want thanks to a record-of-the-month club that refused to stop sending them until I informed them in writing that I had died.)
The genius of BarkBox is that — unlike humans who get an unrequested Perry Como album — dogs aren’t likely to turn their noses up at anything included in their packages.
Ace loved everything his contained — four types of treats and a floppy turkey toy made of cotton, jute and rope.
Once he got hold of a beef bladder chew from Barkworthies, there was no letting go — though I did put the rest of the treats aside for later.
It was a lovely and thoughtful gift, and hopefully a one-time one. I’d hate to think the gift giver might, through automatic renewal, be sending Ace a monthly box of treats for the rest of her life, or worse yet, that I might be held accountable for covering that expense.
If that happens, they can expect to be paid off with lightly-used Olivia Newton-John albums.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bark box, barkbox, box, christmas, dog, doggie, dogs, gifts, marketing, merchandise, merchandising, online, package, pet, pets, products, subscription, toys, treats
Calling all rich fools: Two British companies have partnered up to offer your dog a spectacular luxury dog holiday.
The cost is $73,000, which we assume covers a week’s worth of boarding along with all the other perks — surfing lessons, reiki sessions, grooming, a new wardrobe, a personal chef and much more.
These, mind you, are services the dog will receive, presumably while his or her owners are on vacation somewhere else, assuming they have any money left to take one.
Behind the ridiculous gimmick are Paw Seasons, a luxury dog hotel in Bristol, England, and VeryFirstTo.com, a company specializing in luxury experiences.
It will be made available to only one dog, said VeryFirstTo.com founder Marcel Knobil.
“It’ll definitely be an individual or couple who enjoy an extravagant lifestyle. While they go off to the Caribbean they want their pet to have an equally enjoyable, extravagant stay where they are,” Knobil said. “It’s for those who enjoy the finer things in life and have a sense of humor. They have a soft spot for their dog and want them to have the best time possible.”
Highlights of the “Spectacular Luxury Dog Holiday” include chauffeured rides by the Paw Season’s hotel driver, a private suite showing dog movies on a screen, a doghouse built to replicate the one the dog has at home, local beach and countryside walks, a running session with hurdles World Champion Dai Greene, a day with author and dog behavior expert Stan Rawlinson, and a grooming at the Pet Spa at Harrods that includes aromatherapy bath and body massage.
No one has signed up yet, but Knobil told ABC News. “We’re pretty hopeful. We know it’s extravagant, but it’s a fabulous time for the dog and benefits two very good causes.”
The companies say $10,000 from the sale of the package will be split between two charities — Cancer Research U.K. and Battersea Dogs Home.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, doggie, dogs, england, gimmicks, grooming, holiday, hotel, luxury, massage, paw seasons, personal chef, pet industry, pets, rich, spa, spectacular, surfing lessons, travel, uk, vacation, veryfirstto, wealth
Ace and I were strolling down Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey – a place where one can make a meal out of the free samples of clam chowder offered by hawkers trying to lure you into their establishments.
Rather than mooch samples all afternoon, though, and in need of more copious amounts of chowder, I started eyeing the restaurants, looking for an affordable one with outdoor seating — one that might permit Ace to sit with me and watch me while I ate.
That’s when the hostess at Cafe Fina called out. Well, she didn’t really call out — the city has cracked down on that practice. Instead she quietly and casually mentioned:
When I approached, she went on to explain that Cafe Fina had some pretty good human food, too, and how the restaurant grew many of its own vegetables and how they were organic.
But she had us at doggie menu.
It offered “Chicken a la pooch,” “Hungry pup’s half pounder,” “Hound dog heaven,” and a 14-ounce steak that went for $15.95
The hostess came out with a treat, which of course made Ace get unsituated, so that he might paw her arm in a gesture of affection, which really translated into “I’ll have that dog treat. NOW.”
With some work, I got him back down, but he was nearly trembling with excitement — if not in anticipation of the burger, at least by the noises and scents that emanated from the kitchen, which was on the other side of an open window just a few feet away.
Ace had other ideas.
He took a seat right in front of the window, watching intently as the chef ladled my clam chowder into the bread bowl, its severed lid covered with melted cheese and garlic.
Yes, we were luxuriating a bit — forgetting for the moment about our budgetary limits, and straying from our near steady diet of fast food “Value Meals.”
I saw no reason we couldn’t live it up — at least for one meal.
I think maybe we were both drooling a bit when it finally arrived.
His burger, cut into bite-sized chunks, was steaming, so I kept it on the tabletop for a minute. He waited impatiently — somehow seemingly knowing it was for him. Rather than just sit still and hope I’d toss him a piece, he was up and down, up and down, wriggling this way and that.
The check came to $17 — more than we’ve been spending on dinner, much less lunch.
How much was it worth?
Every penny of it.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, cafe fina, california, canine cuisine, clam chowder, dining, dining with dogs, dog, dog friendly, dog menu, dog's country, doggie, dogscountry, eating, fisherman's wharf, food, menu, monterey, restaurants, road trip, travel, travels with ace
“Recognizing the growing trend of canine traveling companions,” the New York hotel has debuted a “Canine Culinary” room service menu and “Fido-Friendly” package to welcome dogs to The Waldorf Towers.
“We have seen an increasing number of distinguished guests checking in with canine companions at their side,” stated Matt Zolbe, director of sales and marketing. “Recognizing that travel with pets is essential for many pet owners, we were inspired to launch a program catering to these guests’ unique needs.”
The Waldorf cited figures from the Travel Industry Association of America that show half of “adult leisure travelers” consider their pet to be part of the family, and nearly one in five take their pets with them when they travel.
Three cheers for the Waldorf — or maybe just two, because of that “distinguished guest” part. Shouldn’t every guest be distinguished? And shouldn’t every dog? And what — given the ongoing need they are boasting about filling — is with making the offer available only for a limited time? Is it a commitment or a gimmick?
The Waldorf’s doggie room service menu features: “German shepherd’s pie,” “Dachshund’s delights,” which it describes as “miniature hot dogs with Fifi’s choice of sauces,” and ”Great Dane’s danish.”
Also available: ”Mastiff’s munchies” (toasted peanut butter sandwiches) “Pekingese’s duck,” and “Pomeranian’s pasta.”
How cute is that? A little too, in my opinion.
The hotel’s “Fido-Friendly” package includes a luxury pet bed, two silver bowls, a special pet “amenity” a large bottle of water, and one complimentary dog walking during the stay. Dog Concierge services are also available to assist with travelers’ pet needs — from suggesting groomers to recommending Manhattan dog parks.
Nightly rates start at $569. Let’s repeat that: $569.
This offer is valid now through Dec. 31, 2010. For reservations or additional information,visit www.waldorfnewyork.com or call 800-925-3673.
(Photo: Provided by Waldorf-Astoria)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, canine, dog, dog friendly, doggie, doggie room service, dogs, exclusive, expensive, hotel, hotels, menu, pets, rich, room service, room service for dogs, tourism, travel, traveling with dogs, waldorf, waldorf astoria, waldorf towers
The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) is having a party Saturday — and it’s a chance to get your pet a gift and support hundreds more who need homes.
A Pet Junkie Party will take place in the Conference Room at BARCS, starting at 4 .m. tomorrow (Saturday). BARCS is located at 301 Stockholm Street in Batimore, near M&T Bank Stadium.
Pet Junkie representative Denise Smallman-Chilcoat will be selling dog and cat toys, pet-themed home decor items, jewelry, T-shirts and more, with 35 percent of sales going to BARCS.
For those unable to make it to the party, Pet Junkie will donate 35 percent of online sales to BARCS.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, bling, cats, denise smallman-chilcoat, doggie, dogs, fundraiser, gifts, jewerly, online, party, pet junkie, pet products, pets, sales, t-shirts, toys
I got around that by having a estimated birth month — April — and holding Ace’s gala birthday celebration on the day of that month that was most convenient to ME. He seemed cool with that.
The North Shore Animal League America now offers another option, aimed at all those dogs with mystery birth dates — “DOGust the 1st.”
The Animal League has officially proclaimed, or at least declared in a press release, that the first day of the eighth month (aka August 1) is DOGust the 1st, a universal birthday for shelter and rescued dogs everywhere.
To engage all dog lovers nationwide in the celebration, North Shore Animal League America is offering DOGust the 1st online greeting cards at www.AnimalLeague.org featuring an original song, “Happy Birthday, Doggie Dear,” created exclusively for DOGust the 1st by Academy and Tony Awards-nominated composer Henry Krieger and lyricist Willie Reale.
Krieger, who recently adopted his dog Freddie from the Animal League, has written the music for several Broadway shows, including Dreamgirls, and won a 2007 Grammy Award.
The Animal League, the world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization,will celebrate Dogust 1st with a family fun day at its headquarters in Port Washington, N.Y. with a Pet Health Fair, kids’ activities, adoptable animals and a special DOGust the 1st birthday cake.
To learn more about DOGust the 1st and the Animal League, visit www.AnimalLeague.org.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 1st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 1st, animal welfare, august 1, birthday, birthday card, dog, doggie, dogs, dogust, dogust first, happy birthday, long island, new york, north shore animal league, online, proclamation, rescue, shelter, universal
Wealthy dog owners in India are turning to online canine dating services to find dogs for their dogs to romp with.
And we’re using “romp” in all meanings of the word.
“A lot of dog owners want their dogs to have doggy friends with whom they can play and have their own fun time,” says Geetika Nigam, who launched the 6,500-user-strong Puppy Love community two years ago.
Just like human dating sites, dog owners can upload photos, blog, search for the perfect match and set up dates, according to a Reuters article.
Many of the dogs are pedigreed — and some owners are looking for a dog to breed their dog with — but others are simply trying to set up play dates.
“People are very happy that finally someone has taken up this cause,” says Mumbai-based Mekhala Lobo, who spotted a business opportunity in her newly launched Date Your Pet website.
“Believe me, in the dog world, finding a mate is next to impossible,” the MBA student said. And harder yet for the males. “Families generally prefer keeping male dogs so females are always in demand,” Nigam, who also owns a dog-grooming business, said.
Ishita Sukhadwala set up DogMateOnline in 2008 to help her cousin’s 6-year-old Doberman Rocky find a mate. “It was more out of necessity than anything else,” she said.
Rocky had a profile set up on the website, but he died before a potential match was found.
Pet ownership has boomed in India, thanks to its growing ranks of wealthy, middle and upper class professionals who are also driving sales of luxury goods. But for the vast majority of the country, which lives on between $1 and $2 a day, pets are not an option. Stray dogs are also often beaten, herded into trucks, poisoned and dumped into pits by government workers.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 20th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: breeding, date, date your pet, dating, dating service, dog, dog mate online, doggie, dogs, india, internet, introductions, mate, mates, mating, meeting, news, ohmidog!, online, photos, puppy love, relationships, social, websites
In case you get tired of watching your own dog — and if you ‘re like me, you never do — there’s always the Internet, where a visit to Ustream.tv will hook you up with a live cam show of these Jack Russell puppies, and much more.
You can check in with Madi, a sick Havanese (her temperature has dropped), a litter of Shiba Inus from San Francisco, some mastiff pups from Idaho, a gaggle of Chihuahuas in San Antonio and, of course, Grandma Beth’s bulldogs, who, I can report, made quick work of their dinner last night.
In addition to watching, you can also chat with fellow dog watchers.
All in all, as of last night anyway, there were 41 dog cams to choose from — many, if not most, of which seem aimed at selling pups, as opposed to just warming the cockles of your heart.
The Jack Russell show takes place just north of Syracuse, New York, and features a mom and her five pups. The father, Ollie, makes an occasional appearance.
The website offers about 75 other animal cams — everything from birds and fish to goats and squirrels.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: breeders, cams, dog, doggie, dogs, internet, live cams, pup, puppy, sales, selling, streamed, streams, tv, ustream, view, watch, website
In case you missed it on the Today show this week, here’s a look at their “Big Dog Makeovers.”
Today went to Animal Care and Control of New York City to find four candidates — all more in need of a loving home than an actual makeover.
While the makeovers aren’t that impressive, they do at least allow homeless dogs to get some air time, and find homes. (All the dogs featured in the segment up to now have been adopted.)
This week, they tackled Sonya, a flat-haired retriever mix, Phoebe, an Australian cattle dog , Marcus, a German shepherd, and Jack, a Jack Russell they decided deserved to be i the mix because of his big personality.
Next Monday, as if dogs and makeovers weren’t enough, the Today Show will be throwing a third element into the mix: the ambush.
On Monday, July 6th TODAY will be “ambushing” three lucky dogs on Rockefeller Plaza with a doggie makeover, according to the Today Show blog.
“If you are in the New York area and think that your pup needs some pizzazz, stop by the plaza and your dog may get a new ‘do. Experts will be roaming the crowd starting at 6:45 a.m., so be there early to get a good spot!”
Posted by John Woestendiek July 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ambush, animal care and control, big dogs, dog, dog makeovers, doggie, makeover, nbc, new york city, pets, rockefeller plaza, today show
Singer Patti Page has re-recorded her classic hit, “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?” in hopes that a more politically correct version — “Do You See That Doggie in the Shelter?” — will steer the public away from puppy mills dogs.
The 81-year-old Page, whose autobiography, “This is My Song,” comes out next month, originally recorded “How Much is That Doggie” in 1952.
The re-recorded tune, she says, is an effort to bring attention to the plight of shelter dogs awaiting adoption and the deplorable conditions in puppy mills that supply dogs to some pet stores.
The new lyrics were written by Page’s publicist, Sanford Brokaw, and Chris Gantry, composer of the 1968 Glen Campbell classic, “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife.”
The first live performance of the song, during its recording, was played to an audience that included three rescued Bassett hounds and a rescued Italian Greyhound.
Page says she hopes that when people now hear the old familiar “Doggie” melody, they’ll think about homeless animals and animal shelters instead of pet stores and puppy mills.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 3rd, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, do you see that doggie in the shelter, dog, doggie, dogs, how much is that doggie in the window, hsus, humane society, pattie page, puppy mills, recorded, rerecorded, rescue, shelter, song