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Tag: holiday

A $73,000 doggie vacation

holiday

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.

(Photo: Veryfirstto.com)

Warmed by the holiday joy of regifting

 

Christmas, as we all know, isn’t about receiving. It’s about regifting.

At least it is for me this year.

Having spent the last seven months on the road with Ace, and being temporarily shacked up in a trailer park in the desert, I decided that all the gifts I give my family members in Arizona will be items that I have tested and gently broken in.

Because “used” is such a harsh word.

I don’t feel guilty about this at all — for several reasons. For one, my father announced he and his wife are not giving, and don’t want to receive, presents this year. They live on a fixed income. I live on a broken one. So it works out just fine. 

Then, too, as you regular readers know, part of Travels with Ace is seeing how cheaply we can pull off our time on the road — an attempt to spend no more money than we were while living in a rented house in Baltimore. We’ve managed, mostly, to do that, and I don’t want to allow the crass commercial side of Christmas to set back all we have achieved in that regard.

As far as the receiving side, facing the long journey back east in my already overstuffed car, any new items for me, at least those that aren’t cash, or are bigger than a breadbox, would be problematic — except for maybe a nice warm sweater, or perhaps some gloves.

In my view, though gifts aren’t what Christmas is all about, a totally giftless Christmas would be wrong. So I don’t intend to comply fully with my father’s no-gifts edict. Instead, I will put my own spin on it.

He and his wife, and my brother and his partner, who all live in the Phoenix area, will be receiving items from me that — while they have made my weeks in Petite Acres, a trailer park in Cave Creek, more comfortable – were purchased with them, at least partially, in mind.

True, they are items that I can’t or don’t want to haul back to Baltimore; and, yes, they are items that, for a brief period, served my purposes. But far more important than that is the spirit of giving in which I will bestow them, once I’m done with them.

To wit:

One red chiminea.

(Not to be confused with a chimichanga, this is a big clay pot with a smokestack — available at most local Western-Mexican-Indian gift shops in the area — in which you can build an outdoor fire.  I am not merely “using” the chiminea to keep myself from being cold at night, and add a warm glow to my dirt yard. I am lovingly breaking it in — seasoning it and tempering it, if you will — before I deliver it to my brother on Christmas day. Though Ace has been tempted to pee on it, because it resembles a fire hydrant, I am pretty sure he hasn’t.)

Two big coffee mugs — one red, one blue.

(What better symbolizes the warmth of the season than a brightly-colored coffee mug, filled with the steaming hot beverage of your choice? The fact that only one coffee mug came with my trailer, and was usually dirty, was not the main reason I bought these for my father and his wife. Rather, it was a well-thought out gift purchase, based on their desire not to have things that take up much space, and a mental note I made during a visit to their house that, while they had coffee mugs, they had no sizeable, gayly colored ones.)

One Indian blanket.

(Even more gayly colored and festive, this gift purchase, I reasoned, would help keep my father and his wife warm at night, and would be ideal for snuggling under while watching a little TV, and they do have a little TV. That Ace and I tested it out — that it may have a few dog hairs on it and smell like cigarette smoke by the time I give it to them — are but small concerns when one looks at the bigger picture and true meaning of Christmas.)

Two bags of Cave Creek Coffee holiday blend.

(The Cave Creek Coffee Company was having a buy-one-get-one-half-price sale on their holiday blend. So I bought two and got two for half price. I would like to make it clear that the ones I’m giving as gifts to my father and brother are those for which I paid fully, while I’m hanging on to the half-price ones — allowing me to test it, making sure the blend is both savory and festive.)

So, you see, while they may have briefly fulfilled my modest needs, these gifts, I’m sure you understand, are not really “used,” or even “pre-owned” — for I don’t look at my relationship with them as that of owner-and-item.

Rather, my time with them has been fleeting – just enough to allow me to share in their joy before passing that joy on to others, at once “paying it forward” and  ensuring that said items are indeed quality merchandise that will go on to bring my family members countless years of happiness.

So when I sit outside as the sun sets, under a festive Indian blanket, drinking Cave Creek holiday blend from a brightly colored coffee mug and keeping my feet toasty in the warm glow of a chiminea, I am thinking not of myself, but of how much pleasure my purchases will, eventually, bring my family members.

Yes, I’m quite a guy.

BARCS waives adoption fees for rest of 2010

For the rest of 2010, adoption fees are being waived at BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter) for all dogs and cats over six months old.

Included for free with any adoption during the holiday special are spaying and neutering, rabies vaccination, DHLPP vaccination, bordatella, de-wormer, flea preventative, a general examination, a food sample, a month of free veterinary care insurance, and Felv testing for cats and kittens.

Normal adoption procedures apply, and Baltimore City residents will need to purchase a $10 pet license. Puppies and kittens under six months old are available for adoption at $65, through December 31, 2010.

People who would like to give the gift of an animal to some one else can purchase a BARCS gift certificate for $65.

To adopt an animal from BARCS. stop by the shelter (behind M&T Bank Stadium)  Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., call 410-396-4695 or visit BARCS  online.

BARCS is hosting a Holiday Open House at the shelter this Saturday, December11, and Sunday, December 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring cookies and punch and, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., photos of your pet with Santa. Photos are $10 each for a digital print and the proceeds will benefit the animals at BARCS.

Christmas countdown: Happy holidays to all

Today we begin our Christmas countdown — an eclectic mix of videos that will serve as our way of wishing you the happiest of holidays.

Of course, we’ll still be bringing you dog news as well this week — along with some possible posts related to my Christmas guests, all of whom are canines. In addition to my dog Ace, I’ll be hosting three other dogs this week whose owners are off to visit family.

There’s Lucas — an old yellow Lab who huffs, puffs and dawdles almost as much as me on his walks in the park. There’s Darcy, a young Boston terror, I mean terrier, who is a perpetually bouncing bundle of energy. And there’s Cheyenne, a sweet 11-year-old yellow Lab who, though bred to be a guide dog, didn’t make the cut, then at age 5 began going blind herself.

The more the merrier, I figured.

But back to our holiday greetings. We’ll be bringing you one a day all week, starting with this vintage R.O. Blechman animation that CBS aired in 1966 as a Christmas message to viewers.

These are a few of BARCS favorite things

What does BARCS want for Christmas? If you’re willing to sing along, karaoke style, we’ll tell you in song.

Ready? Start the video.

 

Treats (but not rawhides) and leashes of nylon

Dog food in sealed bags, but just Science Diet.

Stainless steel dog bowls and towels and sheets.

There are a few of the things that BARCS needs…

 

Hoses and trash cans and dust pans and bleach

Brooms, gloves and gauze pads and laminating sheets

Digital cameras to take doggie pics

Clippers and clipboards and duct tape  and ink …

 

Bottles for nursing and hay for the dog runs

No-slip dog collars in large and medium

Toys that are durable — Kongs and the like.

Plus a few things that they need for felines …

 

Toys (no catnip)

Fleece-lined cat beds

Non-clumping litter

Spray bottles, scrub pads and paper towels

And lint rollers, wiiiiiiiiiiiiiith refills

Donors are encouraged to check out the complete wish list and drop items by BARCS, 301 Stockholm St., where there are stockings waiting to be filled. BARCS also invites you to check out the adoptable dogs while you are there.

Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), located across form Ravens Stadium, cares for more than 11,000 homeless animals annually. The shelter is open Mondays through Fridays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shelter will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 24 and closed on December 25.

You can also help out BARCS by getting your pet’s picture taken with Santa today at Riverside Park in South Baltimore. All proceeds from the event, which runs from 10 to noon, go to BARCS Franky Fund for sick and injured animals.

(Thanks to Mark, an aspiring musician in England known on Youtube as The Music Mark, for providing our music.)

Five contestants win holiday feasts

Less than three hours after posting our contest, we’ve already got all five winners.

The winners will be getting  a “Fido Friendly Holiday Feast” from K-9 Kraving, makers of the only USDA-certified, natural, vitamin enriched raw diet dog food.

The Fido Friendly Holiday Feast is a treat bag stuffed with the festive flavors of the holiday season –  an 8 oz. bag of turkey and cranberry canine cookies, a sweet potato canine cookie, a duck and pumpkin canine cookie, and a K-9 Kraving flying disc thrown in so you and your dog can work off your meal.

Thanks to all that entered, and to K-9 Kraving for providing the prizes. Feel free to continue to play, but be advised all the prizes have been awarded.

Here are the correct answers.

1. Catahoula leopard dog

2. Any of these

3. Any of these

4. Newt Gingrich

5. Cody

6. Baltimore and Albany

7. Norah Jones

8. Preservatives, sugar, dyes, cereal grains, fillers or chemicals

9. Owen Wilson

10. ohmidog!

Win your dog some healthful holiday snacks

K-9 Kraving Promo(UPDATE: All five winners have been named.)

Given that our friends at K-9 Kraving have offered to serve up the prizes, we’ve put together another ohmidog! contest, designed to test your doggie news knowledge and sneakily take you to places on our website you might not have been before.

The first five readers who answer all ten questions correctly, in the form of comments attached to this entry, will win a K-9 Kraving “Fido Friendly Holiday Feast” from the makers of the only USDA-certified, natural, vitamin enriched raw diet dog food.

The Fido Friendly Holiday Feast is designed to allow dogs to enjoy the festive flavors of the holiday season without worrying about the unsavory after-effects of eating human table scraps, and it includes an 8 oz. bag of turkey and cranberry canine cookies, a sweet potato canine cookie, a duck and pumpkin canine cookie, a K-9 Kraving flying disc and brochure.

For a couple of the answers, I’ve provided links to help you get started. For the rest, you’ll have to navigate on your own. Hint: Use our search bar. Note: on some browsers, due to a quirk, you have to scroll waaaaay down the page to get the search results. We’re working on it.

Here’s the quiz:

1. What is the state dog of Louisiana?

2. Name one book that is mentioned on our “Good Dog Reads” page. (Clue: Check the tabs at the top of our rightside rail.)

3. Name one movie available in our Amazon “Dogs in the Movies” collection. (Clue: Check lower down on the rightside rail.)

4. Who is Newt’s Nook named after?

5. What is the name of the chocolate Labrador who was so rudely ousted from his gas station job in Florida recently?

6. What two cities still have giant statues of Nipper — the RCA Victor mascot — sitting atop buildings?

7. What female singer sings the praises of dogs as companions (over men) in a song called “Man of the Hour” on her recently released album?

8. Name three of the six things that K-9 Kraving Raw Diet Dog Food does not contain. (Hint: Find their advertisement on our left side rail, click on it, and read the second paragraph of their home page).

9. Who will be the voice of “Marmaduke” in the upcoming 20th Century Fox movie based on the comic strip?

10. If two trains leave the station at exactly the same time, one headed east, one headed west, both traveling at 90 miles per hour, and you were on one of them, and it had Internet, what dog website would you be most likely to read? (Hint: It starts with an “o“)

(Be sure and include your email address along with your answers. If you’re one of the five winners — the first five who submit comments correctly answering all 10 questions — we’ll contact you for shipping information. Prizes and shipping courtesy of K9 Kraving. Contest open only to residents of the (sorry Alaska and Hawaii) continental U.S. Offer void where prohibited, whatever that means. Employees of ohmidog! and their families and K-9 Kraving, and their families, are not eligible.)