Rachael Ray Nutrish – Zero Grain dog food giveaway

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We recently received a package from the team of Rachael Ray. I had to explain to Linus that he would have to get off of the box before I could open it… he was clearly pretty excited to get mail.

Inside, we found the new Nutrish Zero Grain dog food. Linus is a pretty talented trick dog, but he cannot yet talk and tell me what he likes and doesn’t like about any dog food. He also has a terrible nose, a weak appetite, and gets bored with food easily.

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I was delighted when I opened the box and he wanted to dive right in – even trying to open the bag himself!

Here are some of the highlights about this dog food:

  • US farm-raised turkey is the #1 ingredient
  • Zero grains, glutens or fillers (making it more allergy friendly)
  • Zero poultry by-products meals
  • Zero artificial flavors, colors or preservatives

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It’s no secret that Linus is spoiled rotten. I have no children and make a reasonable living so I can afford to make sure Linus has the best of everything. I recognize that there are a lot of people out there that love their dogs as much as I do, but can’t always afford top-of-the-line goods. It thrills me that there are options like Zero Grain now. This dog food is available in many grocery stores, as well as Walmart, and has an average retail price of $11.99 for a 6-pound bag or $24.99 for a 14-pound bag.

Also appealing to me is the fact that proceeds from every bag sold benefit Rachael’s Rescue, an organization that has helped raise more than $4.2 million toward food, medical supplies and treatments for animals in need.

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I can’t tell you whether this dog food is right for your furry loved-ones, but I can recommend that you try it. I can also make it easier for you to do that by hosting a giveaway!

If you’d like to receive a free 6-pound bag of Rachael Ray Nutrish Zero Grain dog food, just leave a comment on this blog post before 12:00pm EST on 5/23/2013. The winner will be notified on Friday, 5/24/2013. Be sure to share this opportunity with your friends as well!

Good luck!

                             Linus’ mom

Update! Winner Chosen!

Everyone that commented was entered into a drawing using RandomPicker and the winner is…

Susan Nemitz

Congratulations! I’ve sent an e-mail to your gmail account to collect more info from you. Hope your dog enjoy Zero Grain!

Education: a “12 Months of Kindness” campaign essential

Inspiration hits in unexpected places sometimes.

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Earlier this month, I spent a beautiful day at the Biltmore Estate (and the dog mom learned to keep our water separate). It’s spring in North Carolina. There are few things I enjoy more than being outside just taking in the sun, the breeze, and green grass under my paws.

It’s not unusual for people to stop me when I’m out and about. They want to know what I am (a poodle), how old (2), and “what do you call that color?” (red). There are usually lots of comments about how cute I am and how much I resemble a teddy bear. I’m not the cuddliest of dogs, but I’m always happy to welcome a friendly face with a grunt and a wiggle and if treats are involved I may even do a trick or two.

On this particular trip, a woman approached wanting to know if I shed. This is not an uncommon question either, but her reason for wanting to know caught my special interest. Her granddaughter has allergies and she had been researching “non-allergenic” dogs. You see, her son promised the 6-year-old a puppy if she could stop pulling her own hair out. I didn’t press for details, but it was clear from our brief conversation that her granddaughter was suffering; possibly from a mental illness.

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I don’t know much about it and I suspect I’m not alone in that… which brings us to this month’s challenge in my “12 Months of Kindness” campaign: Educate.

The U.S. Surgeon General reports that 10 percent of children and adolescents in the United States suffer from serious emotional and mental disorders. Some horrific tragedies of late (like that in Sandy Hook) have put a spotlight on extreme conditions, but a great many people go undiagnosed and certainly misunderstood.

It seems to me one way to create a kinder world is to make an effort to understand each other. By educating ourselves and those around us, maybe people will feel less afraid to get the help they need. Maybe someone will more easily identify that their own child needs help. Or maybe our children will be less likely to make fun of a peer that is dealing with an illness. While you are online right now, please take a few minutes to research mental illness. This doesn’t cost you a thing and I’ll make it really easy for you: start with trichotillomania… the compulsive urge to pull out one’s own hair.

IMG_0916Shed some light on mental illness by posting a little tidbit about what you learned in the comments here on my blog or on my Facebook page. People may not read this whole blog, but they may take a moment to read your comments. You could be the inspiration someone needs.

Go now and spread the kindness friends!

I drank dog water. (confessions of a dog mom)

IMG_2568I took a vacation day this week to road trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. I’d been planning on it for some time; I’ve always wanted to see the wisteria in bloom there. Of course I took Linus, but I also took my good friend Sarah (of McGraw Photography), and her beautiful dog, Sadie.

It was a beautiful, sunny day. Maybe a little too sunny as I came home with a sunburn, but I’m not complaining. I know a lot of you reading this are suffering through a long winter.

I carried a bottle of water along for me and another for the dogs. I also carry little portable bowls, so there is really no danger of mixing the two bottles up, right? Well, it was pretty warm out, like I said, and I didn’t want to waste any water in case we needed it further down the trail, so after the dogs were done drinking, I poured it back into the bottle. I keep my bottle in a separate pocket of my bag though, so there is still no problem telling them apart. I’m good at this!

We strolled down to Bass Pond and let the dogs splash in the water.

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We relaxed in the grass under the shade of a tree and just enjoyed the dogs AND the view.

The trails through the azalea garden, walled garden, and spring garden delighted us. Even if I was a little disappointed that many of the flowers I hoped to see weren’t in bloom yet, the forsythia did not disappoint! It was gloriously full of yellow blooms.

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The wisteria – the main reason for this trip – was not in bloom. Fortunately, there was a flowering cherry tree that made up for it. IMG_3375 IMG_2555

This tree was such a stunner. Get close and you hear it humming with hundreds of bees. Pictures just simply can’t do it justice, but the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background of the one below certainly help.

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What a beautiful day! I was exhausted when I got home and dumped my bags on the floor. Today, I cleaned up the mess. I took the bottle of dog water out of my bag and set it on the table… right next to the bottle I had been drinking. I put a few other things away and came back for a drink. You know what happened.

If I start barking in my sleep, you’ll know why.

Love,

Linus’ mom

Spring Cleaning – 12 Months of Kindness campaign

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Spring has arrived (even if some of you are still stuck in winter coats and mittens)! A season of renewal; green and floral. It’s also the time of year when many families will take on the dreaded task of spring cleaning… but don’t you feel so much better when it’s done!?!

In case you are a little overwhelmed with the prospect of getting started this year, I found this handy little checklist from Martha Stewart to help you get organized.

I must admit, I have ulterior motives. While you are cleaning and organizing this year, I want you to pull out all the clothes you aren’t wearing anymore and don’t forget those towels that you’ve been meaning to toss out because they have holes or are worn and discolored. This month’s challenge is to donate!

IMG_2168Donating the clothing you aren’t using makes space in your closet, but also goes to someone that may not have afforded them new. What if someone was able to wear your donation to a job interview? Wouldn’t you feel good knowing you helped someone get a job that enabled them to take care of their family? I think so!

I recently read that half of Americans aren’t willing to travel more than 10 minutes to drop clothing off for donation. Use this locator to help you find one near you!

And what will you do with the towels I asked you to set aside? Any animal shelter or rescue would be delighted to receive them! Dogs and cats don’t care if the towels have a hole or two. They don’t care if there is a little fringe at the edge or a bleach spot. Shelters can use these donations to dry a wet animal, clean up messes, or simply as a soft bed for an animal to lay on. My furry friend, McGrady, is always accepting donations like these to deliver to rural shelters in need if you can’t find one near you.

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Please share a picture of your gift or just tell your story on my Facebook page… it always inspires my readers to do great things!

Go now and spread the kindness friends!

Doggie DIY – Pillowcase Dog Bed

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Looking for an easy, inexpensive way to create a custom bed for your dog? You are in the right place!

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What you need:

  • Pillowcase
  • Bleach in a spray bottle
  • Freezer paper
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Cardboard
  • Some sort of stuffing (an actual pillow will be fine, or use a washable poly-fill)

What you’ll do:

1. Cut out the desired pattern or words in freezer paper and iron into place on the pillowcase with the shiny side down. (I ironed fairly lightly as I was afraid of burning the paper).IMG_1788

2. Insert cardboard between the two layers of the pillowcase, then spray the front side with bleach. You’ll notice the color starting to change fairly immediately. I stripped the freezer paper after just a few minutes, while the bleach was still damp.

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I did a test run on the covers the pillowcases came in. I sprayed the heart on the left lightly and removed the freezer paper while the bleach was still damp. For the hearts on the right, I sprayed the bleach heavily and waited until the fabric was completely dry before removing the freezer paper. In the photo on the right I played with letting large drops of bleach fall on the fabric. There are lots of options here and I would encourage you to play around! It would also be cool to do a reverse affect, where you cover a large portion of the pillowcase in freezer paper and bleach out the image itself.

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3. Allow the project to dry, then send it through a cycle in your washer and dryer. When it’s dry, just put a pillow in it and call it a day OR turn it inside out and stitch up 3/4 of the open side. Turn it right side back out, fill with stuffing, and sew up the opening that remains.

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There are a lot of fun things you can do with this! Maybe just a simple dog silhouette or your dog’s name would be fantastic and you could choose from many, many colors of pillowcases. This would also make a great gift for someone who just rescued a dog or even a housewarming gift.

Don’t limit this technique to a dog bed either! I think I’ll give the chevron patterned pillowcase above to the local children’s hospital. They welcome pillowcase crafts as it makes the patients feel a little more at home. I think this pattern would be great for maybe a tween-age boy.

Wouldn’t this also be a fun rainy day project for your kids? 

I’d love to see your finished projects and hear about what you’ve done with them. Please post a pic to my Facebook page… your work never fails to inspire others.

LITTERally changing the world one act of kindness at a time

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Don’t you just feel better when your house is clean? I personally can’t resist laying in a
IMG_3046freshly laundered pile of towels and I’m always happy to help clean up any food that might be dropped on the floor.

I suspect the world might just be a kinder place if it were a little bit cleaner too. So, let’s do our part for the environment this month by simply picking it up!

By now I’m sure you already know the impact litter has on the health of our planet and air quality, but it also injures thousands of animals and people every year. In researching the subject I found this article that suggests litter is also a “primary source of injury to young children and causes approximately 2,500 vehicular accidents each year”. And if that wasn’t enough, the article further suggests that here in the United States, litter costs taxpayers $2.5 billion a year!

Knowing all that should make this month’s challenge very easy. Make an effort to pick up just one piece of litter. It isn’t practical to think you can pick up every piece of trash you see, but one is doable. If you walk your dog, you carry poo bags with you already. They fit easily in your pocket or your purse and could be used to grab a nasty little something off the ground. Don’t have a dog? That’s ok. One of the plastic bags you get from any number of stores will work just as well.

Share a picture of your trashy haul or just tell your story on my Facebook page… it might cause someone to think twice before they litter.

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Go now and spread the kindness friends!

Who Let the Dogs Out

I’m a new blogger. Heck, I’m still pretty new to social media in general! I want to change the world, though, and have been truly inspired by the impact a blog can have. I kicked off my 12 Months of Kindness campaign on January 1st of this year and it’s been viewed by people in 15 countries already! It makes my heart sing to think of people all over the world doing something nice for someone.

But how does a new blogger (and one that isn’t very tech savvy, I might add) get the ball really rolling? I think I may find the answer at BlogPaws!

I watched Who Let the Dogs Out on the Hallmark channel today and Tillman the skateboarding dog  and BlogPaws have offered up a way that I might be able to attend… this blog will earn me an entry into the contest! If you haven’t seen the show, it is not only entertaining but also educational.

(1) Being an amateur trick dog, today’s show made me feel better – even the teams of experienced trick dogs get anxiety about how their dogs will perform!

There was also a segment about BlogPaws on the show today. (2) I had heard of this event before, but really enjoyed the clips showing how all the dog-bloggers and vendors get to interact with and learn from each other.

(3) If I get to attend this year, I’m certain I can learn more about the technologies people are using to get their message out. I would get to consult with a great many experienced bloggers about how they caught the attention of the public. And most importantly, I’m sure I would make some life-long personal connections with other people and dogs interested in make the world a better place somehow.

I’m going to run and start packing my bags, just in case…

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This is a Blog Hop and I’m still not really sure how these things work… I tried pasting the code below, but you can see it doesn’t really work. See why I need to go to BlogPaws!?!

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