Monday, July 30, 2012

Take a Hike

The boo and I are venturing to Peru in a little over a week and have been taking one off trips to Wissahickon Valley's Forbidden Drive for some hikes to break in our boots.  We've decided to trek Machu Picchu in 5 days and 4 nights and got some sweet deals on Merrel hiking boots at the Philadelphia Outlets.  After work we packed up Harry in the car and took him with us.  It is one of his favorite things to do. 

It seems that wildnerness kills dog fatigue.  Non-stop sniffing, wandering, and trotting occured over the 4 miles we walked together.  It wasn't until we plopped Harry back in the car that he passed out and we had to nudge him and eventually pick him up to get him in the house. 

Wissahickon is a 7 mile trail that you can access from multiple points.  There is a free parking lot near the Valley Green Inn restaurant where you can hike to the only red covered bridge in any major city. 

There's also access to the water and pet lovers take their dogs for some water retrieving that's pretty entertaining to watch.  One day, Harry, one day.  There's also trails that go up from Forbidden Drive that you could even ride a HORSE up.  The few times we've been I haven't seen any horses, but there are lots of friendly runners, hikers, mountain bikers, and believe it or not, mountain unicyclists. 

We're looking forward to our trip and to more hiking adventures with Harry.  We've got some mountain friends who are knowledgable about parks in the area, and we're taking them up on their tips.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bonjour 'Arry!

It's one of those completely random traditions that my neighborhood does every July...celebrating Bastille Day.  We break out our red, white, and blue shortly after Independence Day only to celebrate the French storming the Bastille, which to quote Wikipedia is "seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution".  For us Fairmounters, it's an excuse to walk in the street and drink beers while talking in a French accent. 

Outdoor celebrations invite pups so we brought Harry down the street to Eastern State Penitentary and watched the show.  This year was enhanced with a musical revue featuring a baguette that sang about how bread is awesome and Ben Franklin came out to sing about how he invented lightning.  During the festivities, Harry learned how to French kiss - as demonstrated by his interaction with his new girlfriend below. 

Harry also met a French toy Yorkie...or maybe she was just French for the day.  Unfortunately, they didn't get to French kiss. 

The celebrations came to an end when Marie Antoinette threw 3,000 butterscotch krimpets over the penitentary walls shouting "Let them eat cake!".  Harry caught one, but I ate it. Tastycakes are on the no-no list for dogs, right?  We had a great time and made a bunch of new friends that we've already run into walking around the neighborhood.  Au revoir 'Arry! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Harry Cuts Loose

One of the great events Philadelphia puts on is the summer movie series.  Harry accompanied us to Schuylkill Banks Movie Night to see Footloose (the 1984 version) for a friend's birthday.  
First off, free outdoor movie = awesome birthday party.  Friends laid out sheets, towels, blankets and unpacked picnics of cookies, brownies, cupcakes and other birthday baked goods.  
Harry keeps himself busy while waiting for showtime
The movie starts when the sun around 8:30pm but it's tough to call.  We carried Harry over the crowds to our blanket spot and commenced Kevin Bacon-ing.  Harry was pretty psyched when the movie came on.
Harry pays attention during opening credits
And at the end, Harry was so tired from Dancin in the Sheets that by the time Willard learned to dance, he had passed out.   The movie was one of things we had done in the past but made better with a dog.  Check out Uwishunu for more outdoor movies.  It makes a great doggy date!  The best part of the night was after prom the movie audience got up and danced to the credits...only in Philly?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Custom Hand Painted Pet Bowl

I really wanted to get Harry one of those custom doggy bowls that I've seen on Etsy.  You can have your own bowl made for you, literally from scratch via the potter's wheel and their name carved in the front (like here).  There are also hand-painted bowls that use the same potter's method and the artist can paint your furry friend's name and maybe some designs to go along with it (like here).  However, after browsing for hours upon hours, I thought...I could do this myself.  And I did.

Dog Bowl (I got mine here), Acrylic Enamel Paint, Paint Brush, Palette (not necessary I just have one), Dry-Erase Marker, Water Cup (for rinsing brushes)

Not Pictured:  Q-Tips, Nail Polish Remover, Paper Towels

I started with a clean doggy bowl and used the internet for my inspiration.  I like to pretend Harry is a distinguished gentleman most of the time and I thought an argyle print would be pretty sophisticated.  I stared at this one on my computer while I attempted to free hand on the bowl with my dry erase marker and I used this free font for Harry's name. 

Using the dry erase marker allowed me to make mistakes and erase them with my thumb or paper towel.  I was able to see how my finished product might look and get my spacing right before I went to town with paint.  When I started to paint I erased my letter or my argyle diamond and recreated what I wanted in paint. 

The Q-tips and nail polish remover came in handy when I messed up.  My paint brush wasn't the slickest, and it drew extra lines with every stroke, so I had to constantly touch up my bowl.  I let the bowl dry over night before I did the overlapping argyle print the next day. 

The final step would be to bake your doggy bowl according to the paint instructions or let it dry for an extended period of time also according to the paint instructions.  You can continue to wash your bowl even though it's painted.

My finished product makes me happy!  I hope Harry eats out of a bowl this little for life.  If not at least I have the majority of leftover supplies to make another one.  The most challenging part of the project was Harry thinking I was feeding him.  He watched me throughout the process and barked at me several times for not giving him what he thought was his dinner.  At least I hope it was that and not that he hates argyle. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Guess I'll Go Get Worms

It's a time that most dogs dread...getting poked and prodded by a stranger on a cold table in a strange room that smells like OTHER dogs.  However, Harry's first trip to the vet couldn't have gone smoother.
Harry rides to the vet while Mom snaps some glamour shots
We took Harry to Center City Veterinary Hospital to see Dr. Cohen after reading 30 five star reviews on yelp.  Who would've thought that a vet got that much attention?  They lived up to the hype and Harry was happy to meet all his new doctor friends.  He spent a while playing with toys and eating cookies with Suzanne.  Suzanne showed us how to clip Harry's nails, a process accompanied by non-stop cookie feeding, and gave us a packet of all the good stuff you need to know about being a dog mom.  She even took a picture of Harry and it appears on all of our invoices from them.  Too cute.

New toys in Dr. Cohen's office
Dr. Cohen checked out Harry's teeth and got us a vaccination for Leptospirosis, which apparently is prevalent in Philadelphia given that it hides in rat pee...ew!  He answered all of our questions and he made Harry feel like he was just visiting a friend. 

You're gonna stick that where?
The bad news...after Dr. Cohen checked out Harry's "specimen" (yea we had to bring in a bag of poo) we got a call that Harry has some intestinal worms!  He's got a bunch of them apparently and I picked up some de-wormers the next day that he'll be taking all the way into September.  We're kicking ourselves for not getting on Pet Plan sooner, but we're happy it's nothing serious. 

We'll be taking Harry back to follow up on his vaccine and his de-worming.  I'm sure he'll be very excited to see Dr. Cohen again!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Doggy Dining: Alla Spina

Philadelphia is a city that respects dog lovers and features a variety of restaurants that cater to fur-babies.  Harry came with us to begin our series of reviews on dog-friendly dining.  A balmy afternoon turned into a cooler evening and we walked over to Alla Spina for a light dinner.  It was our first "family dinner".  

Harry started with ice cold water served in a spotless silver bowl while the boo and I tasted some of Alla Spina's imported Italian beers.  Then while we began on our appetizer of pig tails, Harry went straight into his main course of doggy bone treats.  Harry thoroughly enjoyed the attention from the waitstaff and the departing guests while we thoroughly enjoyed our schisola and North Philly cheesesteak.  

Brunch here is a must, and we intend to bring Harry back.  This was a great place to start our Doggy Dining as the foot traffic isn't so busy, therefore we weren't constantly preventing Harry from greeting all his new friends.  The sidewalk is nice and roomy so you have some space to let a little bit of the leash go.  I'd advise bringing a toy with you for dinner unless you want a begging pooch.  Since Harry cleaned out his kong pretty early on into our meal, we treated him with some of the pig fat that dripped off the tails appetizer by dabbing our fingers in it and wiping it on the kong.  Yea thank God there weren't a lot of al fresco diners that night! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Little Black Vest

After staring at needlepoint for hours upon end, I saw some similarities between its properties and Harry's harness.  Harry wears a little black mesh harness like this one.  The tiny black holes in the mesh are reminscent of the little holes found in my embroidery fabric.  Since I didn't have the option for embroidery when I bought it, I thought I'd take a shot at it myself.
 The hardest part about the project was finding a moment in time when I could spend a couple of hours that Harry wouldn't need to go outside - we only have one harness!  So around 10pm, I picked a color that matched his preppy collar and found a free font I liked here.
I used my regular needlepoint needle and used 3 strands from my embroidery thread so that it would stand out against the mesh.  It was difficult to go straight across since the mesh wasn't perfectly square, but when Harry wears his harness you can't tell that the letters aren't 100% flawless.

I love the results.  Now when Harry meets all his new neighbors he'll wonder how everyone knows his name!  Should we have named him Norm?