Testing out the Swag, Part I

We have all emerged exhausted but pretty much in tact after our adventurous weekends. I went to Myrtle Beach, SC for the annual BlogPaws Convention while Sophie and Rufus chose to spend their weekend at dog-topia.

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One of my dinner companions, from the blog http://www.ADogWalksIntoABar.com, on the final night

My swag bag was incredible. Loads of treats and toys filled it up making me grateful that I actually paid attention to the emails instructing me to bring another bag just for all of the free stuff I’d accumulate. Although my return flight home on Spirit Air made me wonder just how free that all really was…(I am not a fan of Spirit but chose them for their cheap prices to make life easier for Colorado Pet Pantry.  I still had to pay for my bags to be shipped. Grrr. But in all fairness, I did get to sit in an exit row with extra leg room. Woo!)

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The dogs were fascinated by the suitcase full of loot. Rufus tested out the stuffed lobster. This was a wasteful act, on my part. I knew exactly what would happen when he got it and just as I’d predicted, Mr. Lobster was not long for this world once he met Rufus. Rufus does not get attached to his toys in order to carry them around and feel more secure. Instead he tears them to shreds and then wonders why everyone has left his toy party.

Sophie tested out the Whimzee Alligator, a chew-thing-a-ma-jig that looks like an alligator and is supposed to clean teeth. She chomped it and was done with it very quickly. It doesn’t seem to have much nutritional value, and unfortunately, we were all awakened at 2am by Sophie vomiting. This lasted until about 6:30am. I’m not necessarily blaming Whimzee for this but Sophie is not prone to puking so I’m a little reluctant to try it again. I immediately opened the free bottle of Nature’s Miracle and put it to use.

Yesterday Rufus tested out the PetSafe “unicorn.” I call him Mr. Piggy since he’s pink and looks more pig-like than unicorn-like. The PetSafe rep told me that was because they’d had to redesign it to make it safer for dogs: making the horn shorter and going easy on the tail and legs – things that could snap off and choke a pet. I loved these when I first saw them at the conference. They looked durable and might have been the answer to the “keep-Rufus-busy” issue I occasionally find myself in. The idea is that the the unicorn’s very large head can twist off and you can put a ring-shaped treat in the middle of the toy before reattaching the head. It’s supposed to be a challenge for the dog to eat the toy.

Rufus got the treat off and then went after the tail. I scooped up the rubber bits so he wouldn’t swallow them. I’m really bummed about this since he actually did carry Mr. Piggy around for a little bit and looked adorable while wearing his orange Orvis bandana (another swag item). To be fair, we had the toy designed for medium dogs while Rufus would fit into the large dog category, so I am willing to give one size up an honest try.

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Going after the tail, not the treat

Finally, we are testing out the ring called Red Alert from Ethical Pets.  I underestimated this completely. Looking at the ring I thought Rufus would destroy this in a few minutes. Instead, it matched his toughness. This thing seriously held up under some intense pressure. Right now it’s a little muddy since Rufus insisted on taking it outside after yesterday’s rain. Overall, this has been my favorite toy in the entire bag since it is fun for the dog and does not die an easy death. We’ll be getting more of these.

Now the big test will be to see if this toy-tester will be my date for next year’s conference. We have a year to get red-carpet fabulous.

**UPDATE: I’m donating the frisbee and kong balls to Colorado Pet Pantry to give out at food banks (where we can always use donations of such items). I felt guilty about the wanton destruction of Mr. Lobster and I knew that 1) Sophie doesn’t play with toys and is weirdly scared of frisbees and 2) in Rufus’ jaws, these things wouldn’t last five minutes

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These little ones are all rescues and were a huge hit at the conference.

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