Tag Archives: benny

The Love They Teach Us…


I had an idea to reveal Shamrock‘s breed this Sophie & Shamrock Saturday. Instead, I’d like to remember our dear Benny Bear. After all, he is the reason we chose Shamrock. We lost Benny just six months ago, but I think of him often. When we were on vacation in St. Augustine, I read this in a tap room:


Then, this past week, I read this post on the love that our dogs teach us. If you have a pet/fur child, you’ll know what I mean.

Nothing is better than coming home from vacation and being greeted by excited pooches who missed you so when you walk through the door.

Hoping to find The One with which to share this love? Best Friends Animal Society is offering $14 pet adoptions all Valentine’s Weekend long!

To the love that they all teach us and the unconditional love they give us…


R.I.P. Benny Bear



Benny Bear



The Bear

Benjamin McBears


You’ve had seventeen great years. It’s more than we ever expected. Rob gave you a great life when he rescued you in ’97. But you gave us so much more…

When I first met you, you had already traveled the country! You lived in Michigan, Pensacola and Seattle, following Rob to each destination before settling in Minnesota. You often traveled on your daddy’s lap.

I like to think that you and I took to each other immediately. But truthfully, you were a people dog and would wag your tail when anyone came to the door. Your permanent puppy dog eyes melted everyone’s hearts.


Even then, you didn’t play with toys much. You “hid” bones in the hallway or inside Rob’s shoes. But you did have one “Bear” of your own {aka Busy Bee} that if we squeaked it, you thought we were hurting it! So you’d take “The Bear” between your paws and give it so many kisses. We washed that Bear so many times. Later, you’d tear the stuffing out each time Rob stuffed it back in.

You gave us hugs and kisses whenever we asked and you pawed us if you wanted more pets. You’d lie “in the trenches” on the bed. Not long after meeting you, you inspired me to rescue my own dog.

And while you and Sophie were never best buds, you’d never know it from these photos:

When we all moved in together to become one family, the two of you eventually came to depend on each other. I truly believe she helped keep you young. But you taught her so much, too…

Like how to beg from Grandma!


Your true love was the lake. On our yearly trip to Michigan, you could smell the water a mile away before we even arrived. You’d pace in the car and we’d open a window and say, “Ohhhhh… Where are we?!”


I truly believe you were happiest at the lake. In the morning, you’d wake up and race out to the dock and onto the pontoon as if to say, “Can we go now?! Can we go now?!” Sometimes you even sat in the driver’s seat. You were READY.


You just couldn’t wait to go fishing!

He also loves fishing...

And while we always said that you loved to fish, we know you probably just loved to bark at and chase that bobber. You’ve even fallen in a couple of times because of it!

When we were on shore, Rob would take the hook off the line and let you chase the bobber while swimming. You could spend hours just wading back and forth in the water.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was you who taught Sophie to love the lake, too! I don’t think she would have been a water dog if you hadn’t shown her the way.


You loved to sit under tables and sleep partway under the bed. You even liked being under the tree at Christmastime.


When I’d wake up in the morning, sometimes I’d see just your two back paws sticking out from under the bed. I liked to call you the “Wicked Bear of the West.” You didn’t mind. 😉 You didn’t even mind when I sang to you, “He’s a good Bear, he loves his Mama,” completely off key.

And, oh boy, did you love THE WHITE BOX. When white boxes came in the door, you didn’t even want to go outside to relieve yourself. You knew that a white box meant a chance at Daddy’s leftovers. And don’t even think about leaving leftover pizza on the counter. You’d lay on the floor in the kitchen and guard it all night.

Your sniffer was in top-top shape right up until the very end.

But you hated getting your photo taken. Getting a shot of you without you looking away was difficult. But once you and Sophie started receiving your Barkbox and I started photographing food for the blog, you photo bombed me all the time!

After taking a bite of my 90-second breakfast sandwich, Benny Bear appeared.

After taking a bite of my 90-second breakfast sandwich, Benny Bear appeared.

You even snuck some treats from a Dog Lover’s Box. I didn’t have the heart to stop you when you were trying so hard with those mittens of yours!

Dr. Seuss Benny

Gotta love those Dr. Seuss-like paws!

And, most recently, we found and rescued Sharmrock because he reminded us of you. There is a lot of resemblance there. Just look:

Benny, your memory will live on, but you will be missed. You were such a great part of our lives and there’s an emptiness there that is hard to swallow. I’m oh so glad that Rob rescued you on that fateful day that was meant to be your last. Rest in Peace, dear Benny. I’ll love you always and you’ll be forever in my heart.


Your Momma.

Puppy Cake!


The morning that I baked scones that my Foodie Penpal sent me, I decided to bake for our pooches, too! It was about time to make the Red Velvet Puppy Cake that our pooches received in their Holiday Barkbox. I had intended to make them for Sophie’s birthday earlier in January, but that day came and went. She is now an eight-year-old pooch! I can hardly believe it. Some days, she still acts like a little puppy. She still loves to play!

Puppy Cake batter

I just added egg, oil and water to the mix to make the batter.

out of the oven.

Immediately after removing them from the oven, I popped them out to let them cool.

What makes them red? Beet powder!

Once cool, I just added water to the "frosting" mix to turn them into frosted cupcakes!

Once cool, I just added water to the “frosting” mix to turn them into frosted cupcakes!

All natural, human grade ingredients!

I love this short list of human grade ingredients.

The cupcakes are wheat-free, making them easily digestible for dogs. And yes, because they are made of human grade ingredients, I just had to take a bite to taste one. Of course, they weren’t sweet like a true cupcake. And there was a very strong beet flavor. So, nothing I’d really enjoy, but they weren’t meant for me… So it was time to see what the dogs thought.

After I served Rob and I our scones, I put one cupcake on a plate for Sophie and one for Benny, knowing that as soon as I put them on the floor, they would devour them. Just as I suspected, Benny put his mouth around it and put the whole thing in his mouth! It was gone in seconds. Sophie, on the other hand, daintily licked all of the frosting off before biting into her cake! It was very difficult to get photos of all this in action, but I tried:


I think by the fact that they finished their cupcakes in seconds and that they accepted pieces of the cupcakes as treats throughout the week with no problem, I would have to say that Puppy Cake was a winner. You can find out more about Puppy Cake products on their website.

Do you cook for your pets?

If so, what are your favorite recipes?

I still want to make these Peanut Butter Dog Cookies made my volunteer for the Wags and Whiskers 5k!


Back Pain, Running and Doctors…


I haven’t run since Dec 27th.

Yes, that’s right. Despite my declaration to run 13 races in 2013, I have not been running at all.

I have back pain. Pain that I think/thought was another run {excuse the pun} with sciatica, has taken it’s toll. It started right before Christmas, but I tried to just take it easy and remembered what I did last time to heal. I tried to sit the least amount possible. {That’s tough to do when you  have a desk job.} I’ve been sleeping on my side with a pillow between my legs. I tried to keep moving, but all the while being conscious and careful about how I moved.

I even ran. It seemed like running made my back feel better!

Then it slowly got worse. I think trying to pick up Benny in the middle of the night over Christmas, so that he wouldn’t wake everyone up, exacerbated it. {Benny can’t hear very well, so he won’t come when you call him.}

I considered seeing a doctor. But my doctor left my clinic late last year. And we got new insurance. How does one start to look for a new doctor? {I had been thinking about it anyway. I never really clicked with the one I had.} I tried to do an online look up on our insurance website. Can they make those anymore confusing?

Then, last week, when it was icy, I almost fell in a parking lot. Of course, as I slipped, correcting my balance in order not to fall aggravated my back even more. Ugh. I decided it was time to go to Urgent Care. I finally just called the insurance company to make sure that my usual clinic was in-network.

Doc gave me some meds – a muscle relaxer and some pain killers – to be taken only at bedtime. I was to take Aleve or Advil during the day. I had been taking Tylenol, but he said that this was too wussy for this job. I tried to collect as much information as I could from him; but by the time I walked out of there, I realized that I was just really confused.

Was this sciatica again?

Was he just treating the pain?

Why were no follow up visits recommended to see if I my back improving?

How long was this going to take?

But here’s the worst part.

I asked about running. Yeah, I hadn’t been doing it anyway; but I wanted to know what I could or couldn’t do and what I should expect. His response:

“No. No. No. No running or any exercise of any kind until you no longer feel pain. You’ll want to do some core exercises and core work. But not now. No stretching until the pain goes away. You could do a little walking. But you have to be very honest with yourself if you feel any pain at all.”


I never, ever, ever thought I would say this, but I JUST WANT TO RUN!

In fact, it’s strange not moving. But it also hurts to do the simplest things, too… Like putting on my socks in the morning or bending down to get a file at work.

So. Incredibly. Frustrating!

My husband is frustrated, too, I’m sure. But he’s been trying to be very patient and understanding with me. I’m trying hard to ask for help and he is trying hard not to be annoyed with me for asking him to do the littlest of things. I guess if we are going to grow old together, we might as well get used to taking care of each other from time to time.

That’s even more of a reason to try to keep ourselves as healthy as possible!

While I’ve been maintaining instead of losing weight for the last few months, I now fear that I’ll gain due to this lack of inactivity. Because I really can’t do anything but lie down, I’ve started to binge. I forgot what this felt like. I’m learning that frustration leads to binging for me. And right now, I have more time to eat. But due to my lack of activity, I need less calories. It’s a challenge.

And these pills… They don’t feel like they are doing anything. I remember the first time I had this incredible sciatica pain, it took months to go away. They gave me Vicodin. I didn’t feel like it did anything. I told the doctor this when he started writing my prescriptions this time around.. He said we’d give Percoset a try.

I don’t feel like it’s doing a thing either. But maybe the problem is in my expectations. Maybe I should just be glad/lucky that I’m sleeping mostly through the night. Maybe I shouldn’t expect that there should be little to no pain upon waking.

At least we know that I won’t be addicted to narcotics. I really don’t understand what it is people when they get woozy on these drugs. I don’t feel that at all. Because of this experience, I don’t see what the big deal is. Of course, I will still follow doctors orders by not taking them before driving or at work.

Despite all of this, I need to learn to be positive through the pain. I know that I need to picture myself well again. I need to take this in stride or my mental state is going to be just as miserable as my physical state.

So here’s to looking to the positive side of this experience:

  • I am grateful for my body and that I have the ability to run. I always said that before. When people asked, “What made you decide to start running?” I replied, “Because I can!” Not everyone can. But I had the legs and the ability to do so. So I took full advantage of it.
  • I have permission to be lazy. I can lie on the couch with a blanket, a heating pad and catch up on bad TV. And not feel guilty. Because that is what I’m supposed to do – nothing.
  • If I get bored of watching TV and movies, I can read – one of the things I love doing and made a point to start doing again.
  • I will appreciate it even more when I start running again. It’s just going to be challenging to start out slow and build my way back up.
  • I am determined this time to get on the ball with core work. I don’t want to go through this again.

And I’m going to do the Challenge Obesity 5k, even if I have to walk the whole damn thing. So now you have no excuse! Please join me and Team Season It Already!

Once my meds have run out, if nothing has changed, I am determined to find someone who can help me. In the meantime, can you help me out by answering a couple of questions?

What is the best way to find a new primary care doctor?

What is the best way to begin core work?

I have yoga and pilates DVDs and loved taking classes in the past. But what are your favorite resources that you use?

Feel free to add anything else positive to the mix. I’m open to any and all positive vibes coming my way!

BarkBox – November 2012


This month’s BarkBox arrived the day before Thanksgiving, but we didn’t get a chance to sit down and open it until the following day. This means that Benny and Sophie didn’t miss out while Daddy got to open birthday presents all day long!

As usual, Benny was anxious and curious:

And I think it was the best box the pooches have received so far!

November BarkBox Contents

The contents of each BarkBox so far have always included treats, a toy and something for dental hygiene. So let’s review some of this month’s items:

Barkworthies 6″ Dog Chew

This chew claims to be “100% natural”, high in protein, low in fat and to keep teeth and gums healthy. It is made of 100% beef pizzle {whatever that is}. Sophie tried to rip it out of my hand the moment I took it out of the box. I didn’t want to give it to her, however, due to recently having two teeth extracted and her follow-up appointment being the next day. So it remains to be chewed. Still, this chew must have been a last minute addition to the box, as it was not listed on the BarkBox insert anywhere!

Bionic Bone

This plastic bone, made of food grade materials, claims to be virtually indestructible. The design is meant to fit your pooch’s mouth and its ridges are supposed to provide a “chewy” feeling. It is recommended to stuff it with treats and freeze it overnight for “hours of fun”. Ours is currently filled with peanut butter and has been stuffed in the freezer. We’ll try to test it out on both Benny and Sophie. If they both like it, we’ll have to buy another. Both dogs currently have KONGs, but I am not sure if those are freezable.

Fruitables Healthy Dog Treats – Pumpkin & Blueberry Flavor

The pumpkin craze that has swept the blogosphere this time of year did not pass up the doggie world! I opened the bag and these actually smelled really good – lots of blueberry aromas, none of those dog biscuit smells. The dogs loved them. At only 9 calories per crunchy treat, they’d be perfect for training.

Acadia Antlers Moose Rac Chew Toy  Rope Antler Chew – Made from Naturally Shed Maine Moose Antlers and 100% Cotton Rope

Okay, our dogs really aren’t into rope toys; so I had fully intended to give this one away. However, I let Sophie sniff it and she went CRAZY. She tugged, chewed, scratched at and rolled on this thing for at least an hour straight.

Sophie went ballistic over this. I guess we won’t be giving it away!

On the tag:

“Our MOOSE RAC* (rope antler chew) is made from Maine Moose Antler and 100% cotton rope with no fillers or synthetics. Soft roping acts as a floss for teeth, great for chewing, tugging and throwing. Chewing is great jaw exercise, and our Moose Antler will hep scrape tartar off your dogs teeth!!”

Mr. Barksmith’s Smoothies for Dogs – Pumpkin Patch Flavor

What a “cool” concept! I thought this might feel really good on Sophie’s teeth. I popped it in the freezer so that it would be ready by feeding time. The recommendation was to “pop the cool treat into your dog’s favorite bowl.” At dinnertime, I took the Smoothie out of the freezer, filled Benny and Sophie’s food bowls, divided the cup in half and popped it on top of their regular food.

At first, I think Sophie wasn’t sure what to think. She licked the cool treat on top of her food and then looked at me. Meanwhile, Benny took his portion out of the bowl and put it on the floor and licked it up. By the time they were finished, I checked both bowls: They both were completely empty.

Ingredients: Pumpkin Puree, Banana Puree, Apple Puree, Water, Omega 3 Chia

Also in the BarkBox were coupons/vouchers for:

  • Rover.com – $10 off dog-sitting from local insured dog-sitters
  • Chewy.com – $10 online gift card for pet food and treats
  • DogTV – $10 gift card – uh what?

I had never heard of DogTV before, but here is what the card insert read:

I wonder if we’ll receive December’s shipment in time to wrap it up for Christmas. No matter what, we’re definitely finding products we would have never encountered nor tried on our dogs before if it weren’t for BarkBox!

This would make the perfect gift for any dog or petparent in your life. To join, you just choose your dog size, the plan (month-to-month, three months or six months) and enter your billing and shipping information. It’s that simple.

Click here to get $5 off your subscription to give it a try.

Have you ever heard of DogTV?

What do you think of something like this?


Fluffy Fur Children Friday!


Yes, I made that up.

If you don’t like it, you can just talk to the paw…

But they always put me in a good mood, so I thought I’d share some photos of our precious fur children with you.

Benny Bear – this guy has 16 years under his belt… and still has puppy dog eyes… and still hates the camera. 😉

Sophie Jean – the ultimate poser. If she were a human child, she’d be a girlie girl wearing lots of pink and jelly shoes… something I never did. 

Have a fantastic weekend!