A Geek and Her Dogs (Giveaway!)

I have two dogs. Mason is the older and smarter of this oddball pair. And, though he is ill-suited to leadership, he has become the default pack leader because Hoover, while easy on the eyes and agreeable, is a bit too “uncomplicated” to be a leader of dogs. He is just smart enough to do whatever Mason tells him.

If these two were characters in a Hollywood film, it wouldn’t be Lassie, The Call of the Wild, or even Lady and the Tramp. It would be the TV show Monk if that show were on the Canine Network. Mason would play Monk and Hoover would play his frustrated but enamored assistant. Like Monk, Mason is what the English would call an odd duck. He’s too smart to get along easily with other dogs and plagued by a host of obsessive compulsive tendencies.

For example, he is an obsessive cat groomer. He lays the cat (ours is willing, disturbingly willing) down and starts at the tail, cleaning the fur with his teeth till he gets to the head. Then he turns the cat over and cleans the belly. It’s an intimate act. And one that the cat enjoys so much that an offended mailman once rang my doorbell to tell me – as he stood frozen in horrified fascination – that I needed to make them “do that” in private.

Okay, I’m a geek and those are my dogs. So we thought we should share some of the products and services we like — or intend to try. I asked Mason and Hoover to help me put together this geeky guide for dog lovers. It will help you survive the holidays, find something nice for the dog owners on your Christmas list, and — best of all! — it includes an awesome giveaway of that first item on my list.

Tagg Pet Tracker

Hoover has a thing for rabbits. So sometimes – at night when the rabbits are frolicking — he forgets the world is dangerous and that he doesn’t do well in it without Mason. He sees a rabbit. And he runs. But once he is alone in the dark and the rabbit has escaped – they usually do — he panics. Unfortunately his response to panic is to lie down and refuse to speak or move until one of his people comes for him. If he is deep in the woods, this requires a full-on dog hunt. But the TAGG Pet Tracker is a GPS unit that clips to his collar. If he’s wearing it, I can log on from any computer, Android device, or iPhone to locate him. Then I just go get him. It is also an activity tracker. So I can check up on the dogs when I’m at work and they are home. Are they sleeping all day? Running around the yard and staying fit? It helps me decide if I need to take a long walk after work. And if Hoover makes a rabbit run when no one is home, I get a text telling me he has left the perimeter.


I have two of these units to give away! So tell me a little about your dog in the comments. I’ll pick a winner before Christmas so a lucky two of you can put one of these under the tree for your pup.

Here is a video to help you understand how it works:

Good Food

There is very little that either Mason or Hoover like more than a good meal. Kibble? Meh. They like it about as much as my daughter likes a Vegan hot dog. I’m the sort of indulgent parent that likes to feed my pets well. So I was intrigued to try this re hydrated food from The Honest Kitchen. It’s just real, human-grade food with the water removed. You soak it to put the water back in and serve. It smelled good to me. And my dogs prefer it to kibble. I knew they would, of course. They only eat kibble if they are very hungry and I’m not offering anything better. At least this isn’t my teenagers’ leftover Halloween candy.

An Ugly Christmas Sweater

Mason is the kind of dog who would wear a jacket well. And it gets cold here in the winter. I have talked for years about getting him a security guard jacket – like the ones FBI agents always wear in TV shows – because he leads my security team. But I think I will make him wear an ugly Christmas sweater this year.  I picked out a few cute ones – along with many other awesome Holiday items – and organized it all in my Springpad notebook Nesting Wish List. Check it out. (And check back here for another giveaway related to that this week. Do you get my newsletter?)

Daily Pet Deal

Mason is obsessed with the dog section at Fab.com. Every day there is some new temptation. Fleece boots? Hoover would be so sexy in those. And I know these toys would instantly start a fight. Why do they always package dog toys in threes? Don’t they know I have to be fair?

Get a Sitter

One thing about having two dogs? Without an indigent relative who is always willing to house sit (I have one of those) going away would be expensive…or impossible. Traveling with my dogs is impossible in most cases. In fact, according to the APPA’s 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, 75% of dog owners don’t take their pet with them when they travel. And a survey from TripAdvisor shows that over 6 million dog owners don’t travel because of their pet and 21% of those who do travel with their pet admit to having smuggled their pet into a hotel room.

That’s why the folks behind DogVacay got in the game. This site is like FlipKey for dog sitters. You log on and locate someone nearby who is willing to take care of your pet – in their home – while you are away. (If you love dogs, this might also be a fun way to make a little extra money.) The folks at DogVacay.com have already vetted the pet sitters who are listed. So you have only to determine if your dog would get along in that home and if you are willing to pay that price. Your dog stays with a family, not in a kennel. And you probably save money.

Here’s a video that explains how it works:

Automatic Santa

Barkbox.com is like a wine club for dogs. I know I’m thrilled when my box of wine shows up every few months, I’m sure Mason and Hoover would love to get a surprise box of treats, leashes, gadgets, or toys every month, too. And I wouldn’t have to go to the pet store with my daughter, which often leads to new pets. At BarkBox.com you sign up for a monthly surprise box – choosing how much you want to spend on this sort of indulgence – and the box turns up automatically until you cancel. Mason is lobbying for this. But I’m still thinking about it.

Don’t forget to tell me about your dogs in the comments to throw your name in for the Tagg giveaway!


6 thoughts on “A Geek and Her Dogs (Giveaway!)

  1. This was rather interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through it.It has inspired me to do a better job of my own blog, as I tend to find it quite difficult to come up with any good ideas to post to be fair but it has certainly broadened my horizons. I was curious what plugins you may use to help your SEO and if you can share any tips on that subject I would be very grateful? I would appreciate any advice on how to get a wordpress blog to rank as well as yours. Keep up the good work.Kind regards.

  2. Meet Rex, aka The Beast, aka the friendliest dog in the world. Add that to the fact we haven’t had time to finish our fence and what you get is the neighborhood dog. He loves to visit the neighbors. The fence will be done this summer and we are fortunate to live on a road with 1-5 cars a day. And the all know and look for Rex. We call him the Beast because he lumbers around the house with enough zest for four dogs. We would love to know how much activity he gets so we can make sure he gets enough to calm down just a bit. We lost our 10-year-old Sheppard last year and Rex has been a delight. Different, though and we do need help to get on Rex’s wavelength and find which neighbor he is visiting today. We do run him three times a week and try to keep him within eyesight. But the neighbors love him as much as he loves them. They even have their own dogs, but want him. He’s a mutt, but everyone seems to find a breed the “connect” with in him. Yes, they actually tell me that. All the time – even the McDonald’s crew. They give him free cheeseburgers! Help us make sure Rex comes home and gets his time to shine.

  3. Wow. This request is right up my alley! I love talking about my dogs…shhhh they don’t know they are dogs. Jenny my soon to be three year old bully is such a beauty. She is a true lady. Raised by her humans from the age of two weeks, she has enjoyed a life of priviledge that most dogs only dream about. She has shared the bed of my husband and I since the day we brought her home. Named after Jenny of “Forest Gump” fame because we are like peas & carrots, I love her more that I do most people 🙂 Jenny is not much on socializing. Last year she even attended doggie school to help her with her fear of strangers and her mistaken assumption she is above the house rules. She is very smart and is easily trained to do what we ask but…..she is also very bull headed. On occasion she will bolt past us when it’s outside time in effort to catch the squirrel that lives outside our diningroom window and taunts her on a daily basis. Her zeal for the chase means we must then spend hours tracking her down. Poor thing she would never survive a night in the wild, and I fear my overprotection of her throughout her life has not given her the opportunity to develop her tracking skills to find her way back home. When we moved here to our home on the bank of the Chipola river last year we decided to give Jenny a brother. River is our newest family member. He is a now ten months old a beautiful white bully. He is ALL boy! We were pleased to see that Jenny grew quite fond of him from the start, however she will put him in his place at the drop of a hat! He is a cuddler, whereas Jenny will only be hugged and cuddled at her whim! We have always allowed him to go into the outdoors unleashed because he always stays close. However we just recently introduced him to a outdoor lead after he decided to follow the UPS man two miles down the road! While Jenny has maintained the donimate spot as top dog of the house. River is quickly catching up to her in size .While it’s not polite to tell a ladies weight Jenny weighs in at 60lbs and River tops the scale at 45lbs and growing still !!! While Jenny perfers her food handed to her one piece at a time. River will inhale anything that is in his bowl in two seconds flat! Our hope is to someday fence in our two acres of land, but that will be down the road. I could go on and on but feel I should spare you. I love my kids, 13 year old Makayla, 10 year old Carleigh and 8 year old Mitchell ….But I adore my furbabies! Just one look at my FB and you will see dog pics out number people pics! So thank you for allowing me to talk about my favorite subject. Give our best to Mason and Hoover! Happy holidays, Donna, Jenny & River ♥

  4. Poppy, a cattle dog/shepherd mix, has the brains of the bunch… but was introduced to the sharp end of a cat at 8 weeks old, so continues to be terrified even though she outweighs the feline 600%. Jake, her litter mate, “has a great personality”. Smarts? Not so much… and equally terrified of cats, which is awesome. Looking forlorn and confused, they’ll remain outside in the pouring rain–indefinitely–until their kitty decides to step away from the dog door.

  5. Jesse (came with his name) is an Australian Cattle Dog, and he came to us as a stray knowing all kinds of mad tricks and with so much love! We thank our lucky stars for him everyday. (The cats- not so much…)

  6. My two dogs Bogie and Roxie are as different as yours are! They have learned to optimize their strengths. The little guy Bogie knows how to open the lid to the trash can but is too little to reach the opening. Roxie has not figured out how to open it yet but is tall enough to reach her head in the can after it’s opened. They know they are a team and both share in the bounty.

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