OUR BEST FRIENDS

The Sergei Foundation

shelterpet_logo

The Animal Rescue Site

B-more Dog

aldflogo

Pinups for Pitbulls

philadoptables

TFPF_Logo

Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue

Our Pack, Inc.

Maine Coonhound Rescue

Saving Shelter Pets, Inc.

mabb

LD Logo Color

Tag: sleep

Beagle B&B is a sight to see

beagle3

During our year traveling across America in search of all things dog, Ace and I missed this place — a B&B in Idaho that resembles a giant beagle.

The Dog Bark Park Inn is located in the city of Cottonwood, population less than 1,000.

beagle2It serves as home base for husband and wife artists Dennis J. Sullivan and Frances Conklin, who opened the B&B in 2003.

Sullivan, a chain saw artist who specializes in dog designs, built the dog shaped unit, named Sweet Willy, and his smaller sidekick, Toby.

You can’t sleep inside Toby, but Sweet Willy contains two bedrooms and a bathroom, and rents for about $100 a night. (Pets are welcome for an extra $15 fee.)

The two-acre property also includes a sculpture garden featuring other works of art, including a 12-foot fire hydrant with a portable toilet inside, the Huffington Post reports.

It reminds me a bit of Dog Mountain, the park-like Vermont complex featuring the art of its creator, artist Stephen Huneck.

At the Dog Bark Park Inn, guests check in at the owners’ studio and gift shop, located nearby.

dennisandfrancesDennis is a self-taught chainsaw artist who has been carving for over 30 years. Frances joined him twenty years ago and also carves, according to the studio’s website.

They say their “big break” came in 1995 when their carvings were featured on QVC. With the fame came more hard work.

“We did nothing but carve wooden dogs for 18 months (our children barely remember seeing us during those days!), made what seemed like a bundle of money, invested it all in developing and building Dog Bark Park.”

bernese_mountain_dog_jpgTogether, they carve more than 60 different breeds and poses of dogs, and will take custom orders on request, carving dogs based on photos provided by owners.

In 2003 they received the Take Pride in Idaho Cultural Tourism Award for a large carved art exhibit depicting the story of Seaman, the dog who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their exploratory journey to the Pacific two hundred years ago.

(Photos: Dog Bark Park Inn)

Is this the dog-human bed of the future?

dogandhumanbed

Surveys have shown that as many as half of us sleep with our dogs, so isn’t it time the makers of bedroom furniture started to catch up with the dog-loving times?

And, if they did, would this be the bed of the future?

This sort of bed makes pretty good sense to me, and I think Ace would like it, too.

But for you to understand that, I have to explain the tenuous in-bed relationship my dog and I have.

As soon as I turn in, Ace rushes to the bed, waits a second or two for me to say “OK!” and jumps in — jumps in as if he is thrilled beyond belief to have the distinct honor of sleeping at my side.

He settles down, after the mandatory circling, a few feet away, and with his head at the end of the bed my feet are on.

He waits a few seconds for me to get snuggled under the blanket, pat his butt and say goodnight.

The idyllic picture ends there.

From that moment, any movement by me — and especially by my feet — leads him to lift his head, turn and give me an annoyed look. After the third annoyed look, he harrumphs, gets out of the bed and heads to the floor, the futon in the den, or the sofa in the living room.

My recent purchase of a new mattress helped some. I could shift without him being bounced around. But still, any even minor movement of my feet — whether they are under the blanket or not — sets him off.

So, no, we don’t exactly snuggle all night long, even in winter. According to one survey, while 52 percent of pet owners sleep with their pets, only 23 percent snuggle next to them all night long. (We imagine the numbers are similar for spouses.)

For those of you who might also fall into the non-snuggling category, or who have dogs that fall into this category — i.e. those who appreciate the closeness without the contact or movement — this wooden bed by DoggieDilemma might be worth looking at.

This oak and pine king bed frame ($1,700) leaves a 23-inch wide space for a dog bed insert — be it blankets or a doggie mattress. A queen-size version ($1,500) is also available.

Of course, to our human eyes, this bed is not all that different from putting a doggie bed at the foot or side of your bed — especially if your box spring and mattress are, as in my case, on the floor.

But I think most smart dogs know the difference. They want to be not only on the same level, but in, or on, the same piece of furniture as you.

Furniture makers aren’t quite as smart. They’ve only begun to catch on. One can now find bedside tables that double as crates, or stairs that allow your small or elderly dog to climb into bed with you.

But with few exceptions, they haven’t quite realized: It’s not my bed, it’s our bed.

(Photo: Etsy.com)

Elephant won’t let sleeping dog lie

Despite a loudly crowing rooster, a pesky human and a playful baby elephant, this dog manages to keep napping.

A Canadian couple filmed the scene in February of this year while visiting Lampang in Northern Thailand.

Once they stopped filming, they said, the elephant stopped teasing the dog and went to sleep himself, resting his head against the fence.

No word on the YouTube post on who the pesky human tickling the poor dog with a blade of grass was, but we assume he or she gave up, too.

Going, going, Oregon

Sick days and surreal days behind us, we’ve exited Oregon — but not before enjoying a few quiet and contemplative hours on its southernmost beach.

After hanging out with David Love and his pit bull, Kitty — during which time my dog waited in the car — I owed Ace some fun, so I stopped at a smokehouse outside Brookings to pick up something to eat, then looked for a scenic place to eat it.

Chrissey State Park fit the bill.

I toted my lunch — smoked salmon, a hunk of cheddar cheese and a bowl of clam chowder — to the beach and found a weathered and washed up tree trunk that was big enough to seat us both.

Smoked salmon is my new favorite thing. It may even be better than cigarettes.

I nibbled and sipped my soup, tossing hunks of cheese and pieces of salmon, including all the skin, to Ace. The ocean roared. A cool westerly wind made my food wrappers, and Ace’s ears, flutter. The sandy beach sprawled before us, empty except for pieces of wood washed grey. The sun, finally, was out.

Between the lulling surf, the warming sun and the full belly, I decided a few horizontal minutes might be nice — and the log was big enough to oblige. I stretched out atop it. Ace sat at the other end. And I fell asleep, just for 15 minutes or so. When I woke up, Ace was still sitting at the end of the log, staring out at the ocean.

Sometimes, I can’t tell whether Ace likes a place or not. If there are loud noises, big crowds, strange sights, he gets a little jumpy. But this one seemed to suit him just fine.

He seemed, almost, to be thinking — about what I have no idea, maybe when are we going to get home, how much longer do I have to spend in this car, what has become of my life. As we near the six-month mark on our road trip, I’m thinking more and more that, exciting as all these new sights and scents have been, he wants some familar surroundings, a routine.

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if he’s enjoying himself as we cross America — does he give a whit, for instance, about the kind of scenic beauty that Oregon’s coast showed us? Does he care so much about where he is, or only who he is with, and when that person might come through with some dinner?

I don’t know. But there, on that beach, at that moment, he seemed perfectly content.

I was too, and could have easily fallen back asleep on my log bed. Instead we got up and walked a ways and played chase and danced at the edge of the surf, eluding the incoming waves. He darted around and took in mouthfuls of sand, as he does when he’s at the beach.

Then it was back to the car, and just a hop to the California state line.

We stopped in the first town, Crescent City, and spent the night in a room with the most badly stained carpet I’ve ever seen. Ace sniffs out every new room, but he spent even more time on this one — going from spot to spot for a good 15 minutes.

Then he jumped up on the bed with me.

Smart dog.

What’s in a boat name? Enough for a story

Ace and I have been three days aboard the good ship …

She seems a sturdy vessel, sleek and leak free, and with four different sleeping nooks to choose from. Ace and I have tried them all and decided we both prefer the big one in the front (Bow? Wow!). So we share it, getting gently rocked to sleep as we listen to a lullaby of sloshing water, flapping mast lines and assorted mystery creaks.

It was our first time sleeping on a boat, and while we don’t know much about boats, Ace and I both know lots about sleep — and take great pride in our increasing ability to do it anywhere, even aboard a sailboat, bobbing dockside at …

Nick’s — the bar, the restaurant, the marina — is located on the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River in South Baltimore, and it’s where my friend Arnie called home for seven years.

When Arnie, who has since moved into an apartment, volunteered his 30-foot sailboat (it’s for sale by the way) we — always on the lookout for free lodgings as we continue our cross-country travels — jumped at the opportunity. I had only a few qualms. Even though most of the boat adventures in my life have resulted in seasickness or other forms of disaster, I figured what could happen, after all, when one was tied up safely to a pier?

Even after seeing this boat (left), at the next pier down, a victim of last winter’s blizzard, I wasn’t really fearful, merely slightly …

But not so much that I would require …

Getting Ace off and on the boat was difficult at first, but, after two days, he has become a pro. He still has issues climbing up the ladder-like stairs from the cabin to the deck (though down is no problem), and whimpers until I grab his collar to give him support. But he’s agile enough to negotiate most of the boats slants and angles and seems to love laying on the deck. On our first night, we hauled in what we needed from the car, got settled in and heated up a can of ravioli, which we ate straight from the pot, while sitting on the boat’s deck … 

to watch the …

Two days in, I’m loving life as a temporary liveaboard. Mainly because it’s so …

I guess most marinas are informal, but Nick’s is especially so, and it’s home to an interesting cast of characters who, for various reasons — divorce, financial straits, or just a love of being on the water, full-time — call it home.

The love of boats, like the love of dogs, is a complex and multi-faceted thing and, perhaps, with both, psychological factors come into play. Dogs can fill our need to love and be loved, unconditionally. Boats, especially when they serve as one’s home, provide a snug and secure environment — almost womb-like, though I don’t really remember that experience. We name them both — dogs and boats — pamper them both, become obsessed with both, show off and love to tell stories about both. Whether your a boat person or a dog person, or both, your love for them can only be described as …

Maybe we just need, on top of work and spouse and children, something to be commited to, to find meaning in, to go overboard about, preferably something we can give a name.

I think that’s pretty common — not an …

We like, no matter how busy we are, to fill our live’s up. Boats and dogs both work.

While I have no desire to hit the high seas, Ace and I have found our temporary boat highly liveable, with just one …

The bathroom is temporarily out of order. So, when nature calls, it means climbing off the boat, walking down the pier, scooting over to the bathhouse, finding the key, unlocking the door and coming back. It’s a minor inconvenience — a price well worth paying for the sunsets alone

On night two, I had some friends over, and we watched another dazzling sunset. The night was cool, the beer was cold, and, for appetizers, I broke out the Cheeze-Its (the white cheddar kind). We munched and drank and talked well into the night.

As the sun dropped behind the Hanover Street Bridge, then shone through its arches, turning the sky purple, orange and grey, I could only reach one conclusion:

(“Dog’s Country: Travels with Ace” is a regular feature of ohmidog!, and is in the process of becoming its own website, focusing on dogs and travel. Feel free to keep up with our progress — on the trip, and on the website at travelswithace.com)

Scenes from a Motel 6 bedspread

Here’s who I’m sleeping with:

A fisherman.

A snow skier.

A bear and a dog (not counting Ace).

Some eagles, a pink flamingo and a cactus.

They are all there on the Motel 6 bedspread — every Motel 6 bedspread (except at those Motel 6’s that have been remodeled, in a motif somewhere between Santa Fe chic and Homeless Shelter stark.)

Because I have stayed at so many — it being the only chain consistently cheap and dog friendly — the Motel 6 bedspread is now emblazoned, if not on my body, at least on my brain.

I am very, very weary of the Motel 6 bedspread, and I think, it being stuck in my mind like a bad song, it is influencing my dreams: The fisherman meets the snow skier and tells him this bedspread isn’t big enough for the both of them. The fisherman’s dog sits patiently as they argue. Eagles soar overhead. A pink flamingo wanders out from behind a cactus and, in John Waters’ voice, asks for directions. A bear comes out of his den and, in Tom Bodell’s voice, invites them all inside. They decline and pile into the pick up truck (also on the bedspread). The bear says, “We’ll leave the lights on for you.” But they are gone by then.

It is a dizzying sight. There is much going on atop the Motel 6 bedspread — perhaps a little too much. It’s about four shades of blue, with purple, pink, green, tan, red, yellow and orange. It is polyester; I’d guess 130 percent polyester. Luggage, your dog, and yourself all might slide off it if not careful. If there were a stain on it, you would never know; it would disappear amid all the colors and activity.

Weary, as I said, of that bedspread, and fearing I was falling into a routine — when this trip is all about avoiding that — I pulled into Hampton Roads, Virginia, which, like the Motel 6 bedspread, is a far too busy conglomeration, a confusing patchwork of individual towns.

I was determined to find something other than a Motel 6, maybe a cheap and independent motel. I must have stopped at five of them — being told at each that my dog wasn’t welcome. They had low weekly rates, likely hourly rates as well, but, empty and down at the heels as they appeared, each had a strict ban on dogs.

Frustrated, and getting a bit prickly, I got on the Internet and searched for dog friendly lodgings, but nearly all of them — except Motel 6 and La Quinta — charged pet fees, often in amounts that were more than the human fee, some as much as $125 for a single night.

I believe I went down every one of the roads in Hampton Roads — getting caught in traffic in many of them.

At one motel in Portsmouth, a desk clerk behind bulletproof plastic told us to go to Chesapeake. The prices were so high there we went to Norfolk. Guess where we ended up?

At a Motel 6 — where, because it was the weekend and because it’s beach season, the prices were jacked up to $59 a night.

We had planned to spend the weekend in the area, and perhaps hit the beach, but between a scheduling conflict, the prices and the dog-unfriendly vibe, we decided to move on.

We did see a nice big empty mansion on our way north — one that once belonged to a guy named Michael Vick — but that’s a story for tomorrow.

(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America)

Calming dog biscuits? I’ll take two

DSC07590

 
There’s an unusual energy in my house these days.

Her name is Darcy.

That bouncing bundle of Boston terrier, who has graced both my home and the pages of ohmidog! before, is back with me for another week as her parents get hitched in Hawaii. That’s fine with Ace, who enjoys periodically frolicking with her, followed by long periods of rest. Ace rests, anyway. Darcy rarely does. 

zendogLabelSo it seemed the perfect time to test — with her owner’s permission, of course — the new “Zendog Calming Biscuits” that were sent to me by Cranimals, makers of organic cranberry dog treats and supplements.

There were a limited number of the ring-shaped treats in the sample package, and I debated whether it would be best to give them to Darcy, or myself. Going the latter route had the potential advantages of (A.) Me being so calm that Darcy would pick up my calm vibe and be calm herself, and (B) Me being so calm that I really wouldn’t care if she was bouncing off the walls.

Seeing as Darcy — who possesses both an overactive mind and an overactive bladder — doesn’t seem to absorb any of Ace’s calmness,  and seeing as I just rent the walls she’d be bouncing off, I opted to try the biscuits on her.

First, we tried one in the morning. Darcy scarfed it down, then continued running around the house like a maniac, before settling down and gnawing on a long-since-spent marrow bone like there was no tomorrow. After about 30 minutes, she hopped into my chair, positioned herself behind me and fell asleep.

Was it the treat, or just her natural cycle? There’s really no way of knowing.

The next day we tried one in the afternoon, and it failed to slow her down at all. We tried one in the evening, but that’s when she usually quiets down anyway — apparently accustomed to an early bedtime. This morning I gave her another. She played all out with Ace for about an hour, which was enough to send Ace upstairs for a nap. Darcy kept going, like a pinball, for another hour — moving blankets around the house, gnawing the marrow bone, and looking for Miley the cat, who generally stays upstairs to avoid her.DSC08051

Finally she laid down at my feet, farted a few times (not necessarily from the Zen biscuit, it’s just what she does), looked around, got up, sniffed around, licked the kitchen floor, ran some more, acted like she needed to pee, went outside, didn’t, came back in, went outside again, peed, came back in and eventually dozed off. Again, there’s no way of knowing if the biscuit played a role in that, or if she just played enough to get tired.

I was probably overcautious with the biscuits, not giving her more than one a day, but I didn’t want her to OD and get stuck in a permanent state of Zen. (Cranimals say there is no danger of that.)

The biscuits are formulated with organic pumpkin extract, a natural source of tryptophan. Tryptophan — the same thing that makes us humans doze off after a big turkey dinner — helps induce calm by promoting the synthesis of sseratonin and melatonin, which Cranimals describes as the Zen hormones of the body.

Cranimals says the biscuits calm nerves and stomachs and are made with all natural, healthy, human-grade ingredients. Sources tell us that the inventor of the treats, Dr. Wilma Pretorius, the managing director of Cranimals, enjoys them with cream cheese.

As for my experiment, it’s inconclusive. Darcy was a dervish for a good two hours after her most recent Zendog Calming Biscuit. Then again, praise Buddha, she is sleeping now. As for the last biscuit in my sample, I’m thinking I’ll save it for myself.