Thursday, April 30, 2009

For the chewer in your life...

Our boys, like many dogs, LOVE to chew things. Unfortunately, cute stuffed toys live a short life in our house. The boys figured out a system early on that enables them to rip open toys and disembowel them in approximately 2.7 seconds. Ok, they're not really that quick, but you get the picture. If we leave them at home with a stuffed toy in their crate, we come home to a crate that looks like the scene of a massive pillow fight - stuffing everywhere.

We still get them stuffed toys from time to time because they love them so much - they'll happily carry around the shell of the toy even after the stuffing has been completely removed. I realize, however, that buying stuffed toys is not the best investment and that these types of toys don't really help out with the chewing tendencies of our two labs. Luckily, we have found several great toys that stand up to the boys' powerful teeth and have long outlasted a variety of other toys that we've tried.

So, who makes these great toys, you ask? A company called Petstages has a wide variety of toys in their Orka line that are ideal for a dog that loves to chew. We've purchased the Orka Bone in both sizes (the small one when the boys were puppies and they have the larger bone now). We also have one of their chew toys called the Barbell Chew, another great find. The toys in the Orka line are made from a durable, non-toxic rubber and feature a variety of textures that allows your dog to exercise his or her jaw muscles while also helping improve dental health. You can read more about the Orka line of toys as well as Petstages' other products on their website.

And where do you find these great toys, you ask? We found our first Orka bone at Target, but you can also purchase them at PetSmart and many other pet shops across the country.

Has anyone else tried a toy from Petstages or found another durable toy for chewers? If so, feel free to share!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You've got to be kidding...

I've heard of dog clothes before, but jean shorts? Seriously?!

Bloggin' Friends

Thanks to Ellie over at Vintage Victuals for recognizing my blog with a Blog Award!

Here are the rules: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbon of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

For the Blog Award, I choose (in no particular order) . . .

(1) Happiness Is...

(2) Madison House Designs

(3) Emily Ley Paper

(4) 8 Paws Collars

(5) PetsJubilee

(6) Sweet Petula

(7) Views from the Farmstead

(8) Vintage Victuals

I love all of these blogs. If you haven't visited them yet, please check them out!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Talented Tuesday Feature

Many thanks to Kiva over at Views from the Farmstead for featuring Brown Dog Boutique in her Talented Tuesday series.

At least once a week, Kiva interviews an Etsy artist and features items from each artist's shop. When you get a moment, please head over to Views from the Farmstead to check out our interview & full-length feature!

Heave Hose

Ok, for those of you wondering where to find the bright orange throw toy that Brady had in his mouth in my last post, here's the scoop...

If you're in the market for a durable toy that's easy to throw, easy for your dog to see and will float, the Heave Hose Fire Hose Bumper (made from recycled fire hose material) from Katie's Bumpers is the toy for you. We found ours at a dog boutique in Asheville, NC last summer, but if you haven't seen this toy in your local shop, you can order one online at the Katie's Bumper's website. This toy is a great for retrievers, especially those that love the water.
Keep in mind, however, if you have tough chewers like we do, that you should probably take the Heave Hose away from your pup once playtime is over. At around $20 for the big dog version, you probably don't want to be replacing it often (or collecting pieces of fire hose from around your house).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Water Dogs

Somehow I think we skipped spring this year. This past week in Georgia we've had temperatures in the mid to upper 80's, and from watching the news, it looks like many other places across the country have too. Luckily, I love summer, so I'm pretty happy to bid those cold days goodbye and welcome in the warm weather. I think the boys are too. They LOVE to go swimming. We're fortunate to have a number of nice lakes nearby to take the boys for a swim. These photos are from last summer when we took them out to Fort Yargo State Park. The buoy that we toss out into the lake for them was a great find - a floating throw toy made from the same material that fire hoses are made from - more on this toy to come in a later post. For now, enjoy the pictures!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Shark Cage

The boys have been crate-trained from day one. The first night that we brought them home, we set up their crate and left it open for them to explore. Before we knew it, they both crawled in the crate and fell fast asleep. They even slept the entire first night without waking up & crying.

Since that first day, we've gone through four different crates, each one increasing dramatically in size. Both my husband and I work away from home during the day, so unfortunately the boys have to spend a large portion of the day in a crate. I couldn't imagine separating them into two different crates and because of this, I was determined to find the largest crate possible so that they'd have plenty of room to move around throughout the day. This is how we ended up with what we call the shark cage that measures 54"L x 35"W x 45"H. Seriously, I think the crate is big enough to fit four adults sitting down.

The boys really do love their crate (as do many of our friends' kids...they pretend it's a playhouse or jail, both of which seem to keep them occupied for hours). We've found that even when we've left the boys out of their crate for the day, we often come home to find them napping in it anyway. I'd love to let the boys have free reign of the house while we're gone, but unfortunately they're not quite ready for that yet. Cooper (the smuggler) always manages to find something to hoard in his crate or on his bed, no matter how many doors we close and items we think we put out of his reach before we leave home. This habit of his makes it difficult to decide what to do when friends or family watch the boys for us when we're out of town. We can take the crate, but it doesn't have the same fold-down feature that many crates do - you have to totally disassemble this sucker every time you want to move it. It's definitely do-able, but it's like putting a jigsaw puzzle back together every time. Just curious - has anyone found a travel crate in a comparable size? If so, I might be tempted to give you a finder's fee (or, more than likely, one of my dog treat kits or a set of note cards) for passing the information along...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Say Cheese!

Recently Brown Dog Boutique joined an awesome Etsy team called PetsJubilee. For those of you who have never checked out the PetsJubilee shop or blog, you should definitely take a look. If you're a pet lover, you'll want to take advantage of what PetsJubilee has to offer. The PetsJubilee team is made up of tons of great Etsy sellers featuring products for pets and pet lovers. Each month team members contribute samples to PetsJubilee sampler boxes that are sold in the team's Etsy shop. The boxes are inexpensive, and they're a great way to test out a variety of sellers' products before you invest in a bigger purchase. The April sampler boxes are sold out, but there will be more beginning May 1!

In the meantime, Petsjubilee is having a Pet Photo Contest! You may submit pet photos now through noon EST on May 15 to Voting will take place between May 16 - 31. The winner will receive a free Petsjubilee sampler box, among other things. For more details, please click here.

PetsJubliee team members are not eligible to compete in the first pet photo contest, so you won't see photos of the boys in the contest this time around. If you decide to enter your cutie, leave the link in the comments section to this post & I'll head on over to vote!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recycle Love

For those of you out there who are involved in a rescue group, have adopted a rescue dog before or just love dogs, I have the perfect gift for you. One of my favorite Etsy sellers (I seem to have a lot of favorites, don't I?), art4milkbones, sells super cute handpainted leash holders, signs and other gifts. One of their featured items for today, Earth Day, is the "Recycle Love" Dog Rescue wood sign. I just bought one to give to my local humane society, the Humane Society of Jackson County. I thought it would be cute to hang in the office or use on adoption days. If you're interested, go visit art4milkbones & order today - in honor of Earth Day, all "green" items in the shop ship for FREE!

Scampering Scotties

I have to say, the Etsy community is amazing. Sarah, over at Scampering Scotties, was one of my first customers. Sarah makes great dog collars, and I custom designed a set of note cards and return address labels for her shop featuring a cute black Scottie. Yesterday, Sarah was nice enough to feature Brown Dog Boutique on her blog. When you have a minute, click here to check out the nice things she had to say about my stationery. Thanks, Sarah!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What do you think?

So you've probably noticed...I changed the layout of the blog. It's not completely different, but it's a little more spacious and not as cramped. I'm still deciding which layout I prefer. Any thoughts?

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's hard to believe...

that one year ago today we were down in Amelia Island for our wedding. I honestly can't think of a more perfect day. We had beautiful weather, so many close family and friends who had traveled hundreds and thousands of miles to be with us and, most importantly, each other. This past year has flown by. I only hope the next fifty don't go by so quickly!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Brotherly Love

What can I say? Our boys are inseparable. Enjoy the photos!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Meet Brady. Wow, where do I start? Brady is truly like no other dog I have ever met. He is a huge sweetheart. He loves to give hugs & kisses, and he even thinks he is a lap dog - all 95 lbs of him. As you can see in the picture above, Brady thinks anything you lay on the ground (including a dish towel) can be made into a bed. By looking at the picture above and the one right below, you would think that Brady sleeps like most dogs, curled up in a cute ball, but you would be wrong.

If Brady isn't sleeping with one of his's quite possible that you will find him sprawled out on his back, hind legs flopped open (we think he must be double-jointed), with one leg stretched up in the air and his mouth hanging open.

As you can see, Brady is definitely not a modest dog, but he provides endless hours of entertainment. He has slept like this ever since he was a little puppy, but no matter how often I look over to find him asleep on his back like this, I can't help but break out into a fit of laughter. I mean, seriously?

Ok, stop laughing (if you can)...

Brady really is one-of-a-kind. He not only gives "high fives", he's even learned how to give "high tens" and he has mastered the art of rolling over. He has an insatiable appetite, and if Cooper leaves his food unattended for too long, you can bet that Brady will devour it. Brady will eat ANYTHING. Sometimes we test him out just for fun (all dog-friendly items, of course), and I don't think that we've found anything that he won't eat - probably because he doesn't slow down long enough to taste what we're giving him.

We call Brady our quarterback. He's very handsome (and the girls love him) and athletic. He can run & swim faster than you can imagine, and we're pretty sure he could win the jumping contest off the dock on the ESPN Dock Dog Challenge. When it comes to retrieving or obeying commands, however, he's not the brightest kid in the class. We know he's smart, but he kind of does his own thing, at his own pace. 

We love you, Brady boy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This introduction is way overdue, and I thought it was about time that I introduced you all to our two boys. Meet Cooper (sometimes known as Cooperman, Coop Dog or Little Buddy). Cooper is the smaller of the two, and by smaller, I mean 90 lbs instead of 95 lbs. It's funny to see the "nature vs. nurture" theory in action. We have had our two chocolate labs since they were 7 weeks old. They come from the same litter and haven't spent a day apart since birth. We feed them the same food, they get the same amount of exercise and the same amount of love; however, somewhere along the way, Brady outgrew Cooper. Cooper is our barrel-chested little boy with a ridge down his nose. He's had the ridge ever since he was a puppy - it's one of the few ways that we could tell the boys apart when they were puppies.
Cooper is my constant companion. Even back when we first went to visit their litter, Cooper was the one that always wanted to be by my side. When I let the boys outside, he's always the first one back in the house when I call them. He's the vocal one of the two, quick to let us know when he'd like a little more attention or when he needs (or rather, wants) to go outside. Cooper is a true retriever. He LOVES to play fetch, especially with his football, and he'll bring you anything you can find. He also hoards things on his bed (shoes, clothes, dish towels, you name it), although luckily he doesn't usually chew them. Brady, on the other hand, is another story.
Cooper is like his mom & dad, he loves to sleep. He's usually the first one up to bed at night and is never the first one up in the mornings.

Cooper loves to ride in the car. We don't allow him to ride in the front seat, but whenever we let the boys ride along when we run errands, we inevitably return to find one of them sitting in the passenger (or even driver's) seat instead of in the back where they ride.

Cooper also loves to get dirty. He loves to swim, but hates to get bathed. As soon as he gets a bath, he does his best to find something smelly to roll in outside and usually returns with something disgusting rubbed around his neck near his collar. We've had to bathe him twice many times.
Most of all, Cooper LOVES it when I bake treats. He's by my side the moment I get out my mixer and the treat ingredients. He begs for a taste of the batter while I'm rolling out the treats, and he sits next to the oven starring longingly while they bake. Cooper is often a picky eater (whereas Brady will eat ANYTHING) and has recently become my quality control manager. He very much enjoys this new role.

Cooper is a sweet and loving lab, and it's hard to imagine life without him!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pecan Pie Puppies Praise!

Two in a row! This is a great week so far (with lots of good press for Brown Dog Boutique) despite the torrential downpours we've been having that just make me want to stay in bed and relax all day. When I opened my email this morning, I had a surprise waiting for me...a full-length feature on one of my favorite blogs, Pecan Pie Puppies. I absolutely love the beautiful collars made by Pecan Pie Puppies (especially this one) and was thrilled to find out that Ryan, over at Pecan Pie Puppies, loves my stationery, too! I made her a set of Design Your Own Dog Silhouette Note Cards that turned out really cute (if I do say so myself :) If you have a few minutes, stroll on over to the Pecan Pie Puppies blog to read all about Brown Dog Boutique! Thanks, Ryan!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Etsy Pet Finds!

I know, I know. I've been slacking the past few weeks with my favorite things posts. When I started this blog, I intended to do a favorite things feature every Sunday to show you my favorite dog-inspired Etsy finds, but have been tied up the past two weeks & I am way behind. But never fear! I have an amazing collection of Etsy pet items to share with you (although I can't take credit for the choices). I just found out that Jennifer, over at simply designed & etsy finds, featured my recipe & treat kit for Cooper's Fire Hydrant Cookies on her Etsy Pets feature today! A smaller version of Jennifer's selection is shown on the left of this post. To see the full version & a list of the Etsy sellers featured, please visit Jennifer's blog here. Thank you, Jennifer!

Oh, and by the way, the Bake Sale was a huge success this weekend...more on that to come later!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Brown Dog Bakes!

This Saturday, April 11 from 11 am to 2 pm, Brown Dog Boutique will be participating in Jefferson, Georgia's version of Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale! hosted by Vintage Victuals at the Jefferson Clubhouse during the City of Jefferson Easter Egg Hunt. Proceeds from the Great American Bake Sale will go directly to grants for organizations that feed hungry children in after-school and summer programs, when they may not be able to get three meals a day. For this bake sale, Vintage Victuals has teamed up with the Jackson County Boys and Girls Club to ensure that the money raised from this event will go to our neighbors in need. For more information, click here. I have been busy baking and will have plenty of Brady's Biscuits on hand at the bake sale, so if you are in the area, please be sure to stop by!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Meet Maya

I'd like to introduce you to Maya (Brady & Cooper's new girlfriend).  Maya is one of the cutest Golden Retriever puppies I have ever met, and she has an awesome personality to go along with her good looks.  Even though she only weighs a fraction of what Brady & Cooper weigh, Maya isn't the least bit afraid of them.  The boys love to wrestle and growl and bite each other, and Maya wanted to jump right into the fray.  I don't think she realizes that she's a sweet little girl, she is perfectly happy hanging out with the boys.  

Oh, and one more thing...Maya is definitely not camera shy!

How could anyone resist this smile?!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eight paws up!

Wow! What a compliment! Theresa (who you may remember as Connie & Caesar's mom from my earlier post) over at Madison House Designs, wrote a raving review (with lots of great photos) about our treat kit for Brady's Hand-Dipped Biscuits. Thank you, Theresa!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Boys' First Camping Trip

We made it! After two days of backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, we are all a little sore, but very happy to have our first outdoor adventure completed and looking forward to planning our next trip.

As many of you might remember, over the past month or so we have been preparing our first backpacking/camping trip with our chocolate labs, Brady & Cooper. We purchased each of the boys a pack from Backcountry K-9 so that they could carry their own food & water on our trip, and during the weeks leading up to our trip, we helped the boys get adjusted to carrying their packs by using the packs on walks in our neighborhood and on short hikes. At first we had the boys wear only the harnesses so that they could get used to the feeling of them and to make sure that we had the fit right. We then added water and later food to the packs to get them acclimated to the feel of the extra weight. By our departure time on Friday afternoon, the boys were ready to go!

[Cooper on the left, Brady on the right]

My husband and his friends backpack frequently on the Appalachian Trail, so he was in charge of selecting the route for our first trip. To make sure that we didn't overextend the boys on their first trip, he chose a route that was about a 9 mile hike roundtrip (approximately 4.5 miles each day). We drove up to the trailhead after work on Friday afternoon and set up our homes for the night at a campsite right across the street from the trailhead. The campsite was right next to a creek, and the boys LOVED exploring everything. The sights, the smells, an endless supply of sticks and leaves to roll in...camping is a dog's dream! And despite the cold weather, we couldn't keep our water dogs out of the creek...

[Cooper wallowing in the creek next to our campsite]

The boys did better the first night than I did. I despise the cold weather, and it ended up being a pretty chilly night. We had a great fire going, but even with that and wearing four layers of shirts/jackets and two layers of pants, I was still freezing. It must have just been me, because my husband and his friend, Chris, didn't seem to mind the temperature, but I was not a happy camper. Needless to say, I didn't get the best night of sleep and was pretty grumpy when I woke up. Fortunately, when I finally came out of my tent, the guys had a great fire going, and I was greeted with hot chocolate and a warm breakfast sandwich, courtesy of my amazing husband who is an incredible cook. My grumpiness began to fade away, and we were all ready for a great day of hiking.

The weather on Saturday could not have been better. We had a clear blue sky and warm weather. Since we only had 2-3 hours of hiking planned for the day, we took our time and let the boys lead the way. At first, they seemed to be on a sprint to the finish, but we finally got them to slow down and pace themselves.

[Brady in the lead, Cooper following]

We took frequent water breaks and found a great overlook about halfway through our first day of hiking where we stopped for lunch.

[Brady enjoying a water break]

We finished our first day of hiking around 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon, and Chris found an amazing secluded site with clearing and a fire pit right next to a natural spring.

Our second night of camping was much better than the first. We didn't have the howling winds from the night before (although we did have a few bugs that were pretty obnoxious) and the temperature didn't drop nearly as much as it did the first night. We made a roaring fire, cooked an awesome meal of chicken & four cheese ravioli with diced tomatoes and garlic bread and relaxed before it was time to turn in. The boys were racked out before the sun set, and we all had a great night's sleep.

We woke up early Sunday morning, finished our hike back to the trailhead and sadly returned to the real world ready to start another week. We had a great time, and we're all looking forward to our next adventure!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

And the winner of my first giveaway is...

#11 Simple Girl! Congratulations! Please email me at to claim your set of 10 design your own dog silhouette note cards.

Happy weekend everyone! We're off to the North Georgia mountains for our camping weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather and be sure to look for lots of photos of the boys and the gorgeous scenery when we return!

Last Day to Enter!

Just a reminder that my first blog giveaway ends today! To enter, please leave a comment by 5pm EST today. I will be selecting a winner randomly from the comments left on my giveaway post, and the lucky winner will be announced here tomorrow morning. Good luck!

Connie & Caesar

I love it when friends share photos of their puppies! These cuties are Connie (on the right) and Caesar (on the left) from Ohio. Their nice mom over at Madison House Designs ordered a treat kit for Brady's Hand-Dipped Biscuits and sent us this adorable photo. Thanks, Theresa!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My First Blog Award!

What a great surprise on a rainy morning! One of my favorite cooks, my good friend over at Vintage Victuals, tagged me for the Kreativ Blogger Award! She posts tons of great recipes (and lots of fabulous photos) including ones that are perfect for an everyday meal or to serve at your next dinner party. Thanks Vintage Victuals!

For those who are new to this award (like me), here are the rules...each recipient of the Kreativ Blogger Award must list 7 things that he or she loves and then pass the award along to 7 of his or her favorite bloggers.

So here we go...

7 things that I love:

(1) Running on the beach (especially right before sunset when the breeze starts to drift in off the ocean)

(2) Drinking wine with my mom & sister and laughing until tears roll down our faces

(3) Cooking dinner with my husband, sitting in front of a fire and talking for hours about everything (or nothing at all)

(4) Walks around my neighborhood with my husband and "the boys"

(5) When I get a surprise phone call from my dad (because he is not a big phone guy)

(6) Peanut Butter

(7) The Outer Banks - my favorite place in the world. Period.

Now for my favorite blogs (in no particular order). I considered writing about why I love reading these blogs, but I want you to go check them out for yourself!

(1) Pecan Pie Puppies

(2) Drawn to the Sea

(3) Polka Dot Pup

(4) Dreaming Giggles Design

(5) Scampering Scotties

(6) Art 4 Milkbones

(7) Aroo Studio

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