Sunday, 16 October 2016

Flowers and Collars and Bows, Oh My! | The January Rose Review

Hello everyone!

Our internet is reliably working again, and I've settled into my new job, so blog posts should be far more frequent now! We're well and truly enjoying the changing of the seasons in the Murray-Prendergast household, but today I'm rewinding back to the end of August with a little share and review of one of my favourite etsy shops, The January Rose

Louise makes beautiful collars, bows, keyrings and ID tags, and my etsy basket is full to the brim of bits that I want. We got Winnie in August, and of course, I was desperate to get her some pretty accessories! I chose this beautiful Liberty floral print, and Louise handmade a bespoke collar to fit Winnie perfectly. 

It's absolutely stunning, the quality and stitching is excellent. The parcel was due to arrive on my birthday, and Louise was so generous; she included the coordinating bracelet, so Winnie and I could match! The little details are so gorgeous. I adore the "made with love" heart on the collar, and the little heart on the bracelet. I'm totally addicted now and definitely need more bows... I've got my eye on the grey herringbone one for little Archie pup. 

Please do consider checking out Louise's shop, I know for certain you'll find something that will take your fancy!

Chloé, Archie and Winnie

Monday, 3 October 2016

Cuffleberry & Co. Dog Food Hamper! | Review

Hello all!

Just a quick little review for you today. Firstly, I'd like to apologise for the huge hiatus in posts; there was a storm here a few weeks ago, and it totally wiped out a major broadband line in our area. We, infuriatingly, have been left without wifi since then and BT are being totally unhelpful. We're hoping it will be fixed this week, but in case you've been wondering where we are... now you know!

Last month, the dogs were sent a lovely hamper full of Cuffleberry & Co. food to try out, and they absolutely loved it. Here's some info from their website:

We can guess what you’re thinking… Cuffleberry? Who’s he then? What’s that all about? To be honest, we just like the name. The fact that it happens to be a nickname for a particularly loveable, characterful and very special dog we once knew is by the by.
At Cuffleberry & Co, we’re all cat and dog lovers so we recognise and understand that special bond you have with your pets. It was our dream to create the best food we could possibly make…and we’ve done it – helping to make meal times a delight and a pleasure for both of you.
We’ve done it in our rural kitchens in the heart of England with a team of nutritionists and chefs who worked with our suppliers to carefully source and select superior ingredients. We also stirred in layers of succulent flavour and texture to ensure mouth-watering recipes that taste and smell as good as they look.
Not all pet food is made by the people who actually sell it, but Cuffleberry &Co is. With 50 years’ experience across the farming, meat and pet food businesses, we’ve learned a thing or two about what cats and dogs need to thrive. We make great pet food every day. And every time we make it, we take the best possible care of it …personally.
It’s “Deliciousness” in a bowl!

You can tell as soon as you open the food that it's good quality; it doesn't have that awful cat food smell that most wet foods do. 

We were sent the venison, beef and pork options, and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Archie is super fussy and even he didn't turn his nose up, he wolfed down all the flavours and that for me makes a winner! As far as I'm aware, their food is grain and soya free, and contains only meat, fruit, vegetables and herbs. Our doggies loved it and I'm sure yours would too!

Chloé, Archie & Winnie

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Archie has a Sister! | Meet Winnie the Dachshund

Hello all!

We have an exciting post today, introducing you to Archie's new big sister: Winnie! 

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen that even before we got Archie, I was a little obsessed with dachshunds. I had always wanted one, but sadly I just couldn't afford a little daxie puppy of my own, especially after quitting my full-time job in April. Additionally, my boyfriend was wary of potential back problems that dachshunds (and other breeds!) are prone to. He also really, really wanted a non-moulting dog. Respecting his wishes, and accepting that I couldn't afford a dachshund puppy anyway, we researched other breeds and fell in love with yorkshire terriers. We brought Archie home, and the rest is history. 

Since April, I've been working from home; generating a small income from my blogs, youtube channel and etsy shop. However, when I'm stuck at home (even with Archie, my little best buddy) I get a bit antsy. It didn't take long for me to crave routine, and to realise that I needed more of a stable income. I started looking for a new part-time job, and found something that I think will suit me perfectly. (I start on Monday, eek!)

Now, I've known about this new position for a little while, and I was worried about Archie. He's really very chilled when left alone now, however I felt extremely guilty that he'd be alone for four hours every morning. Around July time, I decided to start looking for a second dog to keep him company, and I managed to convince my boyfriend that an adult dachshund would be perfect for us.

Preferably, we wanted to rescue, so we put ourselves on the waiting list for the local branch of Dachshund Rescue UK. We were told that the waiting list was over a year long, so we kept an eye out for private rehomes and even had some friends (thank you Jaime of Fachshund, you're the best) asking around for us! We came across a miniature long-haired girl, five years old, who seemed perfect. We arranged to visit (and most likely collect her) a few days later. I do like a good whinge but generally I'm quite positive, and I'd stupidly started imagining our life with her in it. I'd even renamed her in my head: Winnie. Sadly, when I texted her owner the day before to confirm times, she informed me that she'd sold the dog to another family without making me aware. I was heartbroken, and the search for the perfect dog was back on. 

I posted in a facebook group called Dachshunds Needing Homes UK, explaining our situation and that we were looking for an older, female, miniature dachshund. I received lots of support and advice, which I'm truly grateful for, but I also received a private message. A breeder contacted me, stating that she had a three-year old female with a mild heart murmur. The lady didn't feel comfortable breeding from the dog, so wanted to move her on to a pet-only home. This can seem quite cold to some people, I know I was surprised when I first heard about breeders moving their dogs on, but it's actually quite common amongst breeders and for the most part, it is done with the dog's best interests at heart. The lady told me that the little dog was a black and tan smooth-haired mini, and she sent me a few grainy pictures. I asked what her name was, and she replied; "Blodwen". Winnie. 

Well, that was it. For me it was a done deal. The lady told me she didn't want any money for Blodwen, she just wanted her to go to a good home. We arranged to visit and collect her, and the next day we headed off on the three hour journey to Wales. 

When we arrived, her owner told us that she'd "noticed just that morning" that Blodwen's breath was very bad. Nothing prepared me for quite how bad it was, it almost made me gag, and my boyfriend had to stand in the doorway as it was so awful. She also informed us that Blodwen was six, not three. A big age difference. I didn't for a second believe that Blodwen's bad breath had just come on that day, and it was obvious she had serious dental issues, but she was so lovely and friendly that I just wanted to whisk her off home immediately. The lady handed over all of the paperwork, and we took our new girl out to the car. She was terrified of the car journey and I had to cuddle her all the way home, with my head practically hanging out the window to stop myself retching from the smell. As soon as she stepped out of the car and into her new home, she became Winnie. Thankfully, she picked up on her new name very quickly as she was used to being called "Win", and we haven't had too many issues with selective hearing, which is a big thing with daxies!

Her first meeting with Archie, however, did not go well. She snapped, lunged and growled at him, which was really difficult to watch. Archie was totally confused as to why she was acting that way: the majority of the time, he was just pottering about and wasn't even trying to approach her. We had been told that Blodwen was excellent with other dogs, but unfortunately this isn't true at all. She is very reactive when we're out, and barks/growls at every dog we see. Sadly, Archie has now started barking as well, following the lead of his big sister. Additionally, we'd been told that she was pretty much house-trained... this was a lie too, as we soon found out. The biggest lie though, has been Winnie's dental issues. I took her straight to the vet the day after we got her, and the vet we saw was shocked. He told me she was 3kg overweight, had skin issues resulting from bad diet, was riddled with infection (and not just in her mouth, she had a mammary gland infection too) and the majority of her teeth were already dead and black. They told me she needed the teeth removing as soon as possible, and they warned me that it would cost a lot of money. 

I won't go into detail about the difficulties I had with the management of the vets, but I will say that they apparently pick and choose which clients are allowed to pay off their bill in installments. I was advised that I'd have to take out a credit card or loan if I couldn't afford the bill upfront (!!), despite the fact that I'd fully explained how we came to have Winnie and the situation we were in. I was in a panic about where the money would come from, but after I sent her an extremely angry message, Win's previous owner agreed to pay half. The other half was made up of some incredibly kind donations from fellow dachshund owners who were following Winnie's story, and some money I borrowed from my parents. She had the procedure on Friday 26th August, and unfortunately, she has been left without a single tooth. The vet informed me that they were the worst teeth he'd ever seen, and he had no choice but to remove every single one. I don't know how her previous owner could have left her in that state; I just don't understand it. I brought Winnie home, and cried.

Thankfully, she has bounced back, and as you can see from the photos throughout this post (taken just before Winnie had her teeth out), she and Archie are becoming fast friends. She's getting used to my parents' dogs too, and her separation anxiety is improving every day. She sleeps soundly in a crate every night, and doesn't howl every time I go upstairs. She does still bark and howl when I leave her during the day, so I am worried about returning to work on Monday, but I know she will learn and adapt as she's improved so much already. Even her house training has come on in leaps and bounds, and she's just such a calm, affectionate little dog. Archie loves her, especially now she can't bite him (bless her) but over the last few days he's started annoying her and being a little too full on. I'm sure it'll calm down over time; they're getting to know each other, and we're still finding our stride as a family of four. The next step is to have Winnie spayed, which is booked in for the 16th September. It may not go ahead, it all depends on whether the vet is comfortable to spay her at that time. She's already lost over 1.5kg, and seems so much healthier already, so I'm hopeful she can be spayed and we can move on without any more surgery for the poor girl!

The support of the dog blogging community on twitter and facebook during this time has been invaluable to me, as there were many moments during the first week that I was sure we'd made a terrible mistake. We got her on the Sunday and my boyfriend left for work in Germany at 5am on Monday, so I would have felt totally alone had it not been for my online friends. When I was crying at 2am because Winnie wouldn't stop barking, there was always someone awake to offer me a virtual shoulder. When Winnie tried to bite Archie every time he moved, there was someone to advise me on what to do. When I tried to go to the loo and Winnie howled downstairs, there was always someone to rant to. I will never forget the kindness of all these people, and I'll be forever grateful. On top of that, I will forever be indebted to anyone who ordered from my etsy shop or donated privately towards Winnie's vet bills. It took so much pressure off of me, and meant I could just focus on the dogs. People have been so incredibly generous. 

So there you have it, Miss Winnie's story. I know it was a long read, but I wanted to do her justice and answer any questions about her that people might have had (if you do still have questions, feel free to leave a comment or tweet me!) She is a wonderful dog, and I'm so glad we decided to take her on. She has lots of issues we need to work through, but we will get there. Thank you for taking the time to read the story of how we came to have her: here's to her future and a new life!

Chloé, Archie & Winnie x

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Broughton & Co Dog Collars! | Review

Hello all!

This week's blog post is all about Archie's beautiful new collar from Broughton & Co! A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I went to Paws in the Park in Havant, and we met the wonderful lady behind Broughton & Co., and her gorgeous pup Luna. She recognised Archie from instagram, and asked if we'd like to try out one of their beautiful handmade leather collars. Of course, I jumped at the chance and honestly, it's one of the most stunning collars I've ever seen.

Before we get onto the collar though, just look at how cute the packaging is! The little decorated box is gorgeous, "For Archie xxx" was stamped inside, and there was even a little bag of treats for Arch. Adorable! 

Just look how gorgeous it is! So I knowwwww Archie is a boy, but I just couldn't resist this tiffany blue and pale pink combination. One of the new releases is a petal pink/mint green combo, and I'm absolutely in love with it. I really want it for Winnie, our new miniature dachshund (find out more about her on instagram) as it's just stunning! We opted to have the collar full-stitched, but there are two other stitching options I believe. I love the contrast of the turquoise against the pink keep and stitching, and the gold hardware is to die for. I can't stress enough how beautiful this collar is; the quality and workmanship is incredible, and as it was made to measure, it fits him perfectly. His name is even stamped into it!

It's quite hard to take good collar photos on a long-haired dog, but I'll definitely post some more to instagram after Archie's first haircut next week! Even if you're not in the market for a collar, be sure to give their website a nosey: they also sell gifts for humans, knitted dog scarves, leads and personalised ID tags which are just gorgeous, I've potentially got my eye on a heart-shaped love lock for Winnie. 

Do your dogs have luxury collars? Let me know your favourite brands!

Chloé and Archie

Monday, 15 August 2016

Ruffle Snuffle Pet Toys! | Review

Good Morning everyone, and happy Monday!

Today's post is going to be a little review of a wonderful toy we were sent last week, a Ruffle Snuffle Poppet. As soon as I saw these toys on social media I knew it was something Archie would love, so when we were offered one to review, I was so excited!

A Ruffle Snuffle is a rug made from strips of fleece woven around a strong, rubber matting base, which is perfect for slowing down super quick eaters, providing enrichment for pets who are on cage rest (as they don't have to move about too much) or just for use as a fun toy! It's so easy to use: you shake it out, sprinkle on whatever dried food/treat your pet enjoys, ruffle it in to the fleece strips with your hands and then watch them snuffle around for it. They come with a cotton travel bag (although this was accidentally missing in our parcel, so we just pop it in a cotton tote bag when we go to my parents') and can be machine-washed at 30 degrees to keep them clean. 

Archie absolutely loves it, even more so than I expected him to. He plays with it even when there's no food in it! As you can imagine, it's pretty difficult to get good photos when your dog is going a bit crazy, so please appreciate this collage of blurry Ruffle Snuffle fun! 

This product isn't just aimed at dogs, either. Cat, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses... all of them feature on the Ruffle Snuffle instagram! I have five bunnies, and can't wait to let them have a go at hunting down some treats. I imagine that rats and chinchillas would love the rugs too, though obviously, you'd have to supervise them closely to make sure they don't chew on the fleece (that goes for all species!)

As well as the rugs, Ruffle Snuffle also sell a line of tug toys, treats and even grooming products. If you're interested in making a purchase, please consider using our affiliate link HERE: we receive a very small commission with every purchase. 

If you'd like to see footage of Archie playing with his Ruffle Snuffle, please take a look at this week's vlog! You can also watch our ducklings hatching, so it's a good'en.

Thank you for reading! Do you have a Ruffle Snuffle? Let us know!

Chloé & Archie

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Our Day in the Cotswolds

Hello all!

We have lots of lovely photos to share with you today. Last Friday, my boyfriend and I celebrated our three year anniversary, and we wanted to take Archie on a little day out. We posted on twitter asking for dog friendly suggestions, and Steph of Stephanie Dreams suggested the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens. I had no idea that such a wonderful wildlife park was only an hour or so away; we loved the look of it and headed off bright and early the next morning.

We had a really fab time. Dogs are allowed almost everywhere in the grounds; as far as I can remember, the only places they're not permitted are areas that have free-ranging animals, and inside any buildings. This didn't affect us at all, because when I wanted to have a wander through Wolf Woods or the Lemur Walk, my boyfriend took Archie off to get a drink or a treat whilst I was gone. Of course, if my boyfriend wanted to go into an exhibit, then I waited with Arch. We only had to do this once or twice, as the grounds really are dog friendly and we walked him happily around the whole park. 

The park is set in acres of beautiful gardens, it's a perfect place to take your dogs as there's so much space. You can let them have a run (on lead of course) without disturbing anyone, and it would be a fabulous place to take a picnic and just relax with your family.

Anyone who knows me will be aware that animal welfare is a huge deal for me. Generally, I'm skeptical of wildlife parks and zoos, and don't even get me started on places like Sea World. I'm happy to report that the animals all seemed very content at the park, they were well-fed and had lots of stimulation in large enclosures. My favourites were the penguins and the lemurs!

After we left the wildlife park, we drove onto Burford for a late lunch. We were so happy to discover that pretty much everywhere is dog friendly! We ended up at The Mermaid which was such a pretty place, it was dog friendly of course and had lots of lovely food options. They gave us a big bowl of water for Archie, and our meal was great.

After our food, we had a little wander along the high street as I'd spotted a pet shop on the drive in. It was so cute! I *think* it was called The One with the Waggily/Waggity Tail, but there was no name on the shopfront as the lady is only there until the end of the summer. She sold some of my favourite brands, and my boyfriend bought a little toy frog for Archie after he took a shine to it. If you're in the area, I really recommend stopping by!

We hoped to head to the Cotswold Lavender fields after that, but sadly we ran out of time. I don't mind too much... it just gives us an excuse to go back! 

Overall, we had a really brilliant day. I can't wait to go on more adventures with my little family!

Chloé & Archie

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Paddling Pool Puppy!


Just thought I'd pop in this evening to share some sweet photos from the past week. Here in the UK we've been in the grips of a heatwave: I really struggle in the heat and so does Archie, with all his fuzzy fur! He hates bath time and shows no interest in water on walks, but as a last resort I thought I'd order him a paddling pool. I found it for £6 on Amazon, with next day Prime delivery, so I figured if he didn't like it I wasn't really losing much money.

My poor boyfriend had to blow it up (I ordered a foot pump too, but for some reason it was sent separately), and we filled it with an inch or two of water. I really, really didn't think Archie would get in...

... but as you can see, he surprised me by totally loving it! He played in it all day, and has gone for a dip every day since. It makes me so happy to see him having fun, and it's the best way for him to cool off in this heat. I'd really recommend it!

Does your pup have a pool? Show us!

Chloé & Archie