Friday, May 29, 2009

The Salty Dog

My favorite time of year is summer and my favorite place on earth is by the ocean (preferably the Outer Banks of NC), so it is only fitting that my favorite magazine is Coastal Living. Sadly, I don't live anywhere near the ocean, but the pictures and articles in Coastal Living help transport me, if only temporarily, to some of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the world.

A few days ago, I was browsing the Coastal Living website, and I came across a few great articles that highlight important tips for enjoying the summer with your favorite four-legged friends. To read the articles in full on the Coastal Living website, click here and use the search term "dog". For those of you too lazy to venture over there, I'll summarize a few of the tips for you:

(1) When traveling, try to locate dog-friendly lodging, parks, lakes and beaches.

(2) Make sure that your dog is wearing ID tags at ALL times. When traveling, be sure the ID tag includes your cell phone number so that you can be reached in case of emergency.

(3) Remember that dogs - especially those with short hair or fair skin - can sunburn (I know, I would not have thought of this either), so be sure to apply a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 to your dog's nose and ears (and any other sensitive areas) before heading out for a long day in the sun.

(4) Try to take your dog outside in the early morning or late afternoon - times when the sun is not at its peak and temperatures are more moderate.

(5) If you head out with your dog in the heat, make sure that your dog has plenty of water and has a nice, shady place to rest out of the sun. Dogs can easily overheat (remember, they don't sweat like humans do) and are susceptible to heat stroke, too.

(6) If your dog loves to swim, let them enjoy the water - but be sure to take precautions. If you're taking your dog on a boat, invest in a doggie life jacket (if you're in the market for one - check out Backcountry K9 - and be sure to use discount code 5HSJC to receive 5% off your order!). If you're near the ocean, be sure to watch out for rip currents and never force your pup into deep water.

(7) When you're around an area where people are fishing, keep an eye out for fish hooks, nets and other items that may injure your dog.

(8) When you come home from a day out in the sun and sand, rinse off your dog with fresh water to get rid of the sand and salt water, paying close attention to your dog's paws, and be sure to towel dry their ears to prevent infection.

Click here to read more!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home Alone!

What happens if you leave two chocolate labs home alone with their crate open for the day? You might come home to a scene like this...

Cooper and his cookies

In preparation for Pet Fest this weekend, the boys and I decided to bake some of their favorite treats last night. We're planning to give away free treats to everyone who stops by the Brown Dog Boutique booth on Saturday. As usual, Cooper was my taste-tester - as soon as I got out my mixer, he was by my side, and he was quick to let me know that he wanted to taste the dough to make sure the treats were edible. For a dog that doesn't usually bark, he has become very vocal in the kitchen when the mixer and cookie sheets come out. Fortunately, I think he approved each batch that came out of the oven, and we were able to check off one more thing from our "to do" list for Pet Fest!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Click to Give

If you've always wanted to volunteer with an animal rescue group, but you just can't find the time, I've got a simple and EASY option for you - click on this link to visit The Animal Rescue Site. If you haven't seen this particular site, you've probably seen one of their others - sites with buttons where you can click to donate a mammogram or click to donate free food to the hungry. The Animal Rescue Site is connected with these sites and offers a great option for animal lovers - you can click to donate free food & care to rescued animals!

Want to learn more? Here's a summary about the organization (directly from the The Animal Rescue Site):

The Animal Rescue Site focuses the power of the Internet on a specific need — providing food for some of the 27 million unwanted animals given to shelters in the U.S. every year. Over 10 million animals are put to death every year in the U.S. alone because they are abandoned and unwanted.

Each click on the purple "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button at The Animal Rescue Site provides food and care for a rescued animal living in a shelter or sanctuary. Funding for food and care is paid by site sponsors and distributed to animals in need at The Fund for Animals' renowned animal sanctuaries (including Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas and The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Southern California), pet shelters supported by the Petfinder Foundation, North Shore Animal League, and other worthy animal care facilities supported by the foundation.

100% of sponsor advertising fees goes to our charitable partners.

Pet Fest!

Get excited!

Brown Dog Boutique is proud to be participating in Pet Fest - a great day of activities for pets and pet lovers!

Pet Fest is an annual arts and crafts Pet Festival and Family Fun Day is organized by the Humane Society of Jackson County that will be held on Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at The Birdhouse in Braselton, located at 1866 Hwy. 211. To get there, take exit 126 off of I-85 and turn towards Winder - The Birdhouse will be less than 1 mile on the right. The event will include microchipping, Canine Good Citizen Testing, pet demonstrations, a Kids’ Area, food, live music with two bands, pet-related vendors, arts and crafts vendors, a celebrity dunking booth and much more! Pet Fest will also double as a spring get-together for the Jackson County Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association.

The first 300 people at Pet Fest will receive a FREE goodie bag filled with tons of great pet supplies, so be sure to arrive early! A Pet Parade will kick off at 2 p.m. Entrants in the parade will have the opportunity to participate in the Pet Contest, which includes prizes for dogs and their owners who are the best in “Owner & Dog Look-a-Like,” “Most School Spirit,” “Uga Look-A-Like,” “Best Costume,” “Best Kisser,” “Best Talker” and more. Pet photographer Pat Keene,will be on site to capture memories of you & your pet – children’s pictures welcome too! For just $35 pet owners get four 4” x 6” prints of a variety of poses, and a portion of the proceeds go to the Humane Society of Jackson County.

If you happen to be in town to attend Pet Fest, please be sure to stop by the Brown Dog Boutique booth - we'll have tons of great stationery for sale, and Brady & Cooper will be on hand giving away FREE Brady's Biscuits to all visitors! I am also proud to announce that 20% of all Brown Dog Boutique proceeds at Pet Fest will be donated directly to the Humane Society of Jackson County!

For more information about Pet Fest, please e-mail or or call 706-658-6974.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Does your dog try to inhale his food too?

I'd be willing to bet that Brady could win a pie-eating contest...or a contest eating anything, for that matter. Brady is not what you would call a picky eater. In fact, I haven't found anything yet that he won't eat. I think that this is partially a result of the fact that he doesn't give himself the opportunity to taste what he puts in his mouth. A bite of anything you give him is gone in 0.5 seconds. A bowl full of food - maybe 2 minutes. Cooper, on the other hand, likes to inspect and then enjoy his food. When you give Cooper something new to try, he puts the food down, sniffs it, does a little dance around it and occasionally throws the piece of food up in the air a few times and then proceeds to eat it slowly. Brady thinks this is a huge waste of time.

Fortunately, Brady has slowed down a bit with age, although he's still finished with his meals a few minutes before Cooper. When Brady was younger, however, we had to find a way to combat his fast eating. Eating too fast can make dogs sick or worse, can put them at risk for a potentially fatal condition known as gastric bloat. Several companies have come up with a great dog bowl design that helps to slow dogs down while eating (just Google "dog bowl for fast eaters" and you'll find several listings) - the most common design features a set of 3 plastic cones that stick up in the middle of the bowl. The cones force dogs to maneuver around the cones in order to get to their food - slowing down the eating process. While using his special bowl, Brady was still able to eat faster than Cooper, but at least it prevented him from inhaling his entire meal in two bites. We ordered our special bowl in a size Medium from Orvis, and it stood up pretty well to the test of a large Labrador. I do have to throw up one caution - the bowl is made from plastic and will show teeth marks - if you have a chewer in your household, I'd be sure to put the bowls up after mealtime.

And we're back!

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend spent with family and friends! Because I wasn't able to post yesterday, I wanted to take a minute to give thanks to all the men and women who make sacrifices daily to protect our freedom. I appreciate what you do for our country more than you'll ever know.

We spent most of our holiday weekend indoors. The weather did not cooperate for much of the weekend - we had unusually cool weather, quite a few rain showers and very little sunshine. No pool time for us. Luckily, we were able to enjoy an afternoon of hiking and swimming (well, swimming for the boys) at one of Brady & Cooper's favorite spots - Elachee Nature Center. We packed a lunch and went on a 3 mile hike Sunday afternoon, and the boys had a blast. Look out for fun pictures from the park tomorrow! In the meantime, enjoy the picture of Paco - one of Brady & Cooper's friends - Paco is quite the worldly dog - he spent his first two years living it up at the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador. Lucky dog!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A little love for the seniors...

I know I shouldn't, but almost everyday I check the websites of Atlanta Lab Rescue and the Humane Society of Jackson County to see which dogs are available for adoption. Every time I check, I seem to find one (or ten) that I would take home in a heartbeat if I could. Because I can't personally adopt another dog at the moment, I've decided to showcase some of my favorites here each week. This week's special two are senior labs that are currently available for adoption from Atlanta Lab Rescue.

The first cutie's name is Jockey. The pictures don't do Jockey justice, but they're all I have to work with right now. Jockey is a 7 year old male purebred Chocolate Labrador Retriever. I love his name & I obviously have a soft spot in my heart for Chocolate Labs. At 7 years old, Jockey is likely a much calmer version of my two monsters and would make a great addition to any family.

The second handsome male featured today is Birch. At 12 years old, Birch is a dignified senior that deserves a lot of love and attention. Please excuse his picture -- unfortunately, Birch has had a rough time lately, dealing with conjunctivitis in his eyes - but that's nothing that a little vet attention can't handle!

I think that these two handsome fellows would make any family happy & I'd love to help the two of them find loving, permanent homes. If you're interested in Jockey or Birch, please contact Atlanta Lab Rescue at (404)261-LABS or via email at Please feel free to pass this post along to anyone you know that might be able to offer a good home to these sweethearts.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ready, Set, Vote!

I know, I should have posted this on May 16th when the voting began, but as usual, I'm running a little late (a trait that I can't seem to shake). Maybe one day. Anyway, there are 49 incredibly cute entries to the PetsJubilee Photo Contest, and they need your votes! As I said in an earlier post, because this is the first contest, PetsJubilee team members are not eligible to enter - so, you won't find Brady or Cooper in the list of entries. You will, however, find many of their cute friends (like Brodie and Coco)!

[Vote for Brodie here]

So that you're "in the know" when you head over to the contest, here's the scoop...Voting will run from May 16th through noon, EST on May 31, 2009. To vote, Look at the entries, read each pet's funny traits, and pick one to vote on. To vote, leave a comment by clicking on the Comment link under the pet you would like to vote for. Then click on "Post a Comment." Type your comment. Type the "word verification"Under "Choose an Identity", click Google (Blogger), Open Id, Name/URL or Anonymous and enter your information. IF YOU CHOOSE ANONYMOUS, YOU MUST "SIGN" YOUR COMMENT WITH SOME ID NAME. You can use your Etsy, Artfire, AOL name - just something. (i.e. I think such and so is so adorable. Sincerely, Any comments made that don't adhere to these rules will be deleted.

[Vote for Coco here]

One vote per person per day. Unfortunately, PetsJubilee team members are not eligible to vote this month, so I'm asking my readers to vote instead. Seriously, there are a TON of cute entries! If you have any questions, email them to The winner of the PetsJubilee Photo Contest will be determined by the pet with the most comments at the end of the month. The prize is a FREE PetsJubilee Pet Sampler box and the winning picture will be the PetsJubilee team store's avatar for the entire month of June.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Cool!

You can now become a Brown Dog Boutique follower!

If you look on the left column of my blog & scroll down far enough, you'll see that I've finally added the follower gadget! One of the most fun things about having a blog is seeing who reads it on a daily basis. I love connecting to people throughout the world through my blog & receiving feedback, advice and funny stories. If you have something to add to one of my posts, ideas for what you'd like to see in an upcoming post or just want to drop by and say hi, please do! I LOVE to hear from my readers. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me anytime at I have a lot of exciting things in store for The Brown Dog Boutique Blog and the Brown Dog Boutique Etsy shop over the next few weeks (think new layout, new products and tons of new pictures and posts), so please be sure to check back often!

Monday, May 18, 2009



In honor of Memorial Day, I am happy to offer FREE SHIPPING on ALL items in my shop ordered before
5PM EST on Monday, May 25th, 2009.
Hurry on over to Brown Dog Boutique - you don't want to miss this!


I don't know about you, but for me Memorial Day always seems to signal the beginning of summer. Where I grew up in Virginia, the pools always opened for the season over Memorial Day weekend, and it was the last holiday before school let out for the summer. As a kid, Memorial Day meant that long summer days filled with swim practice, sharks and minnows, trips to the beach and flashlight tag were right around the corner.

Summer is my absolute favorite season of the year, and I always look forward to the hot summer days and time at the pool, lake and beach (anywhere near the water, really). I have always been a water baby - I think I took my first swim lesson at the ripe old age of 9 months - and I would much rather be in the water than on dry land. Luckily, I think Brady & Cooper share my same love for the water. The minute we get anywhere near a lake or pond, the boys jump right in. My husband and I have so much fun throwing the buoy to them and watching them chase each other through the water. Unfortunately, we haven't made a beach trip since we got the boys (I know, I can't believe it either - I'm think I'm going through withdrawal), so the boys have not yet had the pleasure of running through the surf and learning to jump waves. I'm hoping that we'll be able to fit in a trip this summer.

So, in preparation for Memorial Day weekend and the upcoming days of summer, I thought I'd spend the next post or two passing along important dog travel and safety tips to keep in mind and highlighting a few great dog products for the summer. Please stay tuned!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tune in to Dog Town

Many of you may already watch Dog Town (National Geographic's hit television show about Best Friends Animal Society that airs on Friday nights at 10 PM). If you haven't, I highly suggest that you set your DVR or Tivo to record every episode. Dog Town is a great show for anyone who is into animal rescue (or just plain loves dogs) that chronicles the rescue efforts of the amazing staff of Best Friends Animal Society.

I have to admit that I had never heard of Best Friends Animal Society until I saw my first episode of Dog Town. The first episode I watched featured an adorable mixed breed, named Tuffy, with an amazing will to live (you can read about Tuffy here).

Immediately after the show was over, I went to the Internet to find out more about the organization thinking that it was relatively new. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that Best Friends is a huge rescue organization located in Utah. On any given day there are over 1,700 rescued animals at Best Friends including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, pigs, name it! The animals at Best Friends come from shelters and rescue groups all across the country for the special care that the staff at the sanctuary provide. The goal of Best Friends is to prepare each animal for adoption, and they place hundreds of animals in forever homes each year. To me, one of the best things about Best Friends is their promise to give every animal a forever home - for those few animals that are too sick, old or traumatized to be adopted out, they are welcome to stay at the Sanctuary where they will receive special care and lots of love for the rest of their lives.

Best Friends Animal Society, started in the 1980s, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year and has grown by leaps and bounds. In particular, Best Friends' No More Homeless Pets campaign has helped bring awareness to the problem of homeless pets and has helped to dramatically decrease the numbers of pets killed in shelters each year. Dog Town, a special neighborhood at the Sanctuary, was even the home to 22 of the dogs known as the Michael Vick dogs rescued from the property of Michael Vick.

If I could find a way to work for Best Friends Animal Society I would. Believe me, I've already checked their job postings a number of times. I'm not kidding. Unfortunately, the Sanctuary is located in Kanab, Utah - a small town far, far away from our town in Georgia. Good news is they love to have visitors and volunteers, and they even have cottages on the property that you can rent for your visit. Looks like Utah just got added to our list of travel destinations!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Running with the dogs

If you're the proud owner of two or more dogs and you like to walk and run with them, you know that it can be challenging to keep multiple dogs on separate leashes headed in the same direction. After facing this challenge for over a year, we recently found a great solution that goes by the curious name of Knot-a-Coupler. The Knot-a-Coupler, made by RuffWear, is made from stretchy bungee cord material and allows you to attach one leash to two collars. For us, this little gadget was a great find - it allows our boys, who both like to lead and can't stand to get more than three feet apart, to stay side by side during our daily walk/run. Sure, if you have two strong dogs, they may still manage to pull you down the street, but at least they'll be heading in the same direction!

So, where can you find this cool product? You can purchase directly from the RuffWear website, but I would recommend heading over to my favorite outdoor dog site - Backcountry K9 - where the Knot-a-Coupler is currently on sale. And don't forget - whenever you order from Backcountry K9, enter the discount code 5HSJC to receive 5% off your order AND Backcountry K9 will donate 5% of your purchase to The Humane Society of Jackson County every time you use the discount code!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happiness Is...

I realize that this not directly dog-related, but I have to put a plug in for one of my new favorite blogs, Happiness Is...

One of my best friends from college recently started this blog as a way to reflect on the things that make her happy. I love reading her blog because it makes me realize how many things I take for granted when I get caught up in my day to day routine. In the spirit of Happiness Is... I thought I'd share a few of the little things in life that make me happy. Here's a short list of a few random things that popped into my head this morning:

Iced caramel macchiatos from Starbucks

My flip flops
Eating breakfast on the weekends sitting in the rocking chairs on my front porch

The story of how I met my husband

Summer cookouts & crab boils

Friday, May 8, 2009

Smile, it's Friday!

If you're anything like me, you're very excited right now that it's Friday and that the weekend is only a few (well, more like 7, but who's counting?) hours away. I've had a short work week this week, but I still feel like I need a break! So, in honor of Friday and the happiness it brings, I thought I'd share a cute story with you that is sure to bring a smile (and maybe a few tears...happy tears) to your face.

When reading through my favorite blogs earlier in the week, I came across this story by art4milkbones about her rescued Golden Retriever named Mulligan (you may remember that art4milkbones makes and sells adorable dog signs and leash holders on Etsy - including the Recycle Love sign that I bought a few weeks ago). If you're a dog lover like I am, please click here to read Mully's story - I promise you'll be glad you did!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona...

Do you remember that song from elementary school? The one to help you remember all 50 states in alphabetical order? That's what kept popping into my head when I sat down to write my list of all of the states (and countries) that Brown Dog Boutique items have reached. For those of you who are keeping track, here is the current list:

New York
South Carolina

I apologize for not having the updated map for you today (and for slacking on blog posts over the last week). My husband and I got back late Tuesday from a 5 day trip to Boston, and I've been playing catch up at work & home since then. I promise to have the updated map posted by the end of the weekend along with a few more product reviews, event announcements and other fun things!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

All Across the U.S.A. (and Sweden, too!)

The past two months have been great for Brown Dog Boutique! My little shop is growing every day, and I'm having so much fun creating new designs (coming soon to the shop) and filling orders for people all across the country. One order even went all the way to Sweden! It has been so much fun to see where each order comes from, and I have to smile every time I print a shipping label for a new state or country.

As a way to track where Brown Dog Boutique is going, I decided to borrow an idea from a fellow Etsy seller, 8 Paws Collars. On their blog, 8 Paws Collars tracks where their collars go by filling in a map of the United States.

I'd love to continue to fill up the map, so as an incentive for those of you located in states or countries (hopefully we'll need to increase the map to cover the globe soon) that are not yet filled in, I'll include a free set of return address labels with each set of 12 note cards purchased from my shop by the 1st purchaser from each new state. Just add the code "USA" (along with your state or country) in the Notes to Seller section of your order, and I'll be in touch with details!

Tune back in later to see an updated map!

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