Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Taking A Short Break

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all are having a great week. Since I'm into the last couple of weeks of school, I'll be taking a short break from blogging. I haven't been posting as much because of school demands and other things.

I hope to have something up by the weekend but just wanted to write since I haven't been posting as frequently. Have a fabulous day.

Elena :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some Just Don't Get It

This morning, I learned that there's an Android developer called Kage Games, who thinks that creating a dog fighting game is "fun". This game already has between 50,000 to 100,000 downloads. I am utterly disgusted by the thought. The page for this app touts that "A GAME THAT WILL NEVER BE IN THE iPHONE APP STORE!!!" Somehow, I think that the iPhone store got that right.

Kage games thinks it's pure entertainment for a gamer to play a game where you can fight dogs. It has all the bloody graphics and sound effects to go with it.

Some detractors think it's just a game. The makers of this say that "Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie, or video game about it ". Maybe so, but they're not forced to watch real life dog fights day in and day out.

America is a country that is predisposed to violence. The propensity for violence has increased in this country alone. For every person who knows that "it's just a game" there's another who engages in related violence. That goes the same for all of the video game app creators who make apps to kill people. An example of that would be Call of Duty.

We have one of the highest rates of violence in the world. *Over 100,000 people die in the US from gun violence alone each year.
*From the Brady Campaign On Violence

Each year, thousands of people engage in dog fighting mainly because of greed. Dogs, become the true victims. The fact that this app is glorifying this cruel sport is horrendous. Dog fighting is a horror that many dogs go through each day. We don't need a game to illustrate how "cool" the sport is.

What You Can Do

If you have a Google account or Android phone you can report any app you find appropriate here. Dog fighting is not entertainment. It only appeals to those without no compassion for a dog's well being.

Let's Discuss?

What are your thoughts on this?

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Friday, April 22, 2011

16 Great Automobiles For Dog Owners

Photo: Sirena Designs

SUVs and Trucks

Nowadays, dogs are traveling in the car with their owners more than ever. Dogs love a good car ride. Some of the ideal qualities in a car for dog owners is:
  • Ease for a dog getting in and out
  • Roominess
  • Durability of car seat fabrics
  • Reasonable gas mileage
These 16 automobiles are fantastic choices for dog owners. These best are practical and beautiful for active lifestyles.

  1. Honda Element
    This car first came out in 2006 and has been very popular since. It has moderate gas mileage (20/25mpg) and has a spacious back (74.6 cubic feet) for dogs to ride.  It is one of the few car companies to offer an optional special dog accessory package which includes:
    Photo Credit: Honda

    • Dog Kennel
    • Stowable Dog Ramp
    • Spill-resistant water bowl
    • Dog Friendly Element-pattern seat covers
    • All-season "Dog-Bone" floor mats
    • and other cool accessories that can be bought separately or all together
    The Honda Element starts at $20,425 USD.
  2. Photo Credit: Ford
  3. Ford F150
    Don't like cars? This pickup is ideal for dog fans. While
    pickup trucks get fewer miles than your typical automobile (about 14 miles per gallon), the roominess of the interior and the ease of buckling your dog in is worth it for those who love a good truck. Ford is known for their high safety ratings providing more than adequate front and side airbags. One tip is never to have your dog ride in the back. In many states it's against the law and very dangerous for your dog. The price for the Ford F150 starts around $23,000 USD for the entry-level vehicle. *Note: Ford F150 trucks from 2004 - 2006 have recently been recalled.
  4. Photo Credit: Ford
  5. Ford Escape Hybrid
    Considered one of the most earth-friendly vehicles this is one of the most popular SUVs in the US. Getting 34/31 miles per gallon this gas sipper offers a bounty of aftermarket dog accessories. It has 66.4 cubic feet. The Escape Hybrid moderately priced as well starting at $27,762 USD.
  6. Photo Credit: Range Rover
  7. Range Rover Sport HSE
    The Range Rover Sport is a solid high-end sport utility vehicle. Smaller than the typical Range Rover, it has all the ruggedness and durability of its predecessor. It has 74.2 cubic feet of cargo room and has plenty of space for carriers too. The Range Rover Sport starts at $60,495 and gets about 13/18 miles to the gallon.
  8. Photo Credit: Subaru
  9. Subaru Outback
    The Subaru Outback is a tried and true standby for dog lovers. This vehicle is spacious having 71.3 cubic feet. They have standard all-wheel drive as well. The interior seats are made of durable material that is resistant to dog scratches and pokes. Starting at $23,495 USD, this is a decent gas-sipper for a SUV. The 2.5i gets 19/27 mpg for manual transmission and 22/29 mpg for automatic transmission.
  10. Photo Credit: BMW
  11. BMW X5
    This luxurious SUV is known for its roomy back seats. BMW offers cool accessories to keep your dog safe and secure. It's also one of the few vehicles with an 8-speed automatic transmission. They will be releasing their 2012 version soon and in winter will have a new active-hybrid SUV which is more earth-friendly. The BMW X-5 starts at $47,200USD. It gets reasonable mileage for its class getting 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. It also has 61.8 feet of cargo space.
  12. Crossovers

    Crossover vehicles popularity is booming. Offering the functionality of an SUV yet also the fuel efficiency and handling of a car, these vehicles are finding more drivers each year.
    Photo Credit: Chevy
  13. Chevy Equinox
    The Equinox is a cool crossover. Cargo room is spacious (68 cubic feet). It gets decent miles per gallon (22/32) and is moderately priced. The Equinox starts at $23,360 USD.
  14. Photo: Courtesy of Subaru
  15. Subaru Forester
    Subaru, a very dog-friendly company is known for their easily accessible vehicles. Made for an active lifestyle the Forester. It has a huge cargo area (68.3 cubic feet) and low floor which makes it easy for dogs to get in and out. The Forester starts at $20,495 USD and gets 21/27 miles to the gallon.
  16. Photo Credit: Toyota
  17. Toyota Venza
    Since 2008, the Venza has been the active alternative to the Toyota Camry Solara. Known for a voluminous interior, which contains 70 cubic feet of cargo space, although it's not as sporty as its counterparts, it handles well. It also has a small selection of dog-friendly accessories as an optional purchase. It's moderately prices starting at $26,625 USD and gets sensible gas mileage of 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
  18. Photo Credit: Volvo
  19. Volvo XC60
    Known as "the car that stops itself" Volvos are notorious for their high safety standards. Less costly than a BMW, the Volvo XC60 start at $32,400 USD. It has 67.4 cubic feet of cargo space. They offer cool pet accessories such as pet barriers and cargo mats. It also has respectable mileage for a sport vehicle (18mph/25mph).
  20. Cars

    Cars have come back into favor after SUVs have been under fire for their excessive gas consumption. While crossovers are trendier, there's nothing like when you're trying to find parking and can squeeze in with a smaller-sized car.
    Photo Credit:
  21. Kia Soul
    The Kia Soul is a fairly new automobile for the compact market. It's practical and economical starting at $13,300 USD. The new 2012 will be rolling out shortly. Ideal for those owners with small to medium dogs, this vehicle has a low entry and adequate interior space (53.4 feet of cubic space). It was one of the top picks in 2010 by the IIHS for excellent safety. Gas mileage is stellar (26/31mpg).
  22. Photo Credit: Mazda
  23. Mazda 3 5-Door
    The Mazda 3 5-Door was named the best small car of the year by Motorweek and Known for its sharp handling and high quality interior, this is a great car for those who own smaller dogs. I own this car and have had good luck with it myself. Even a dog as small as Gigi, does not have trouble maneuvering her way through it. The cargo area has 42.8 cubic feet. It starts at $20,045 USD and gets 21 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway.
  24. Photo Credit: Mini
  25. Mini Clubman
    The Mini Clubman is not as well known as the original Mini. It does have more space for cargo though (32.8 cubic feet). The price starts at $21,800 USD. It has excellent fuel economy (28 city/35 hwy mpg). However, space may be tight for some drivers and passengers.
  26. Photo Credit: Nissan
  27. Nissan Cube
    The Nissan Cube is a car that looks like no other. It has been highly commended for its safety and design. Having a modern edge with a wraparound window and low entry, this automobile is fantastic for dog owners. It's an economical car starting at $14,740 USD. It's thrifty with gas consumption getting 27mpg in city driving and 31mph on the highway. It also has 58.1 cubic feet of cargo space.
  28. Photo Credit: Edmund'
  29. Scion TC
    The Scion TC is the one coupe on the list. Want a sporty car for you and your dog? This is the way to go. There is a wide entry point for dogs to jump in and out of the car and up to 35.8 feet of cargo space. It gets efficient mileage too, getting 23 mph in the city and 30 mph on the highway.
  30. Photo Credit: Volkswagen
  31. Volkswagen Golf TDI 4-door
    The Volkwagen Golf TDI is a fab hatchback to pack up and go. It's roomy with seats that can take a beating from your dogs and still look phenomenal. With a turbo diesel engine, this car gets 33 mpg in the city and 43 on the road. Lastly, being a hatchback, it's plentiful in cargo space (46.0 cubic feet). Since it is diesel, the Golf TDI will cost more than the entry-level version starting at $23,885 USD.

In Conclusion

Since buying a new car is a huge purchase for most people, it's essential to do your homework, especially if your dogs are a huge factor in your decision. Just as every dog and their owner are different, so are the many cars out there that are specifically made for this group.

Let's Discuss!

What kind of car do you use for you and your pooch? Did you ever get a lemon?
Which one would you buy again?

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Why Men And Dogs Appeal To Women

There's nothing like when you are walking in the park and come across a man hanging out with his dog. As a single woman who loves dogs, the sight of this is very sexy. Even if a guy is typically a jerk, seeing him with a dog seems to erase that fact. While you can't make a guy become less of a jerk, seeing him with a dog seems to bring out his human side.

Here are reasons why guys who own dogs appeal to women so much:

  • It's an icebreaker! If you see an attractive guy walking by himself, it's harder to strike up a conversation, but when you see him with a dog, you can approach them more easily. In general, most dogs are people-friendly and owners who bring their dogs to a public place are likely to be more outgoing. On rare occasions you may run into a guy who is more aloof or his dog is protective, but all in all, it's a great way to meet someone without being under a lot of pressure.
  • The owner is more relaxed when he's with his dog. When a man is with his dog, his attention is focused on the dog, more often than the surrounding atmosphere. They are instantly smiling and laughing when around their dogs. That instantly erases any tension.

    Look at our nation's president. Never was there as much excitement as there was when he added Bo to his household. Granted, he isn't single but one can see the difference in a photo when you see him with Bo.
  • It shows they're responsible. Owning a dog is a huge commitment. To be a good pet owner, you need to put their needs first because they are dependent on you. Many men can be very selfish but when you see a guy with a dog, that quality seems to vanish.
  • They are more organized. Every dog has a daily routine. Dogs are simple, they don't ask for much except to be feed, exercised and loved. Every successful dog/owner relationship is used to a routine. A dog is an ongoing commitment and needs structure. Most men have this down to a science.
  • It shows they have compassion. Any man who takes care of a dog (or cat) has empathy. It may not translate perfectly to their understanding of women but that ability for empathy helps when life can get difficult.

Pitfalls To Watch

There are some men who will take advantage of this fact. They know that dogs are a "chick magnet" but only want the rewards but never do any of the work. They will borrow a friend's dog and pretend that the dog is theirs.

However, every tried and true method for success will have people who will exploit the situation. It's a small sacrifice to make if you meet someone who is just as much of a dog lover as you are.

Let's Discuss!

Have you ever met someone special because he owned a dog? Did he approach you because of your dog?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Launch Of A Business

I attended the Chicagoland Family Pet Expo about a month ago. One of the exhibitors there was Barkables. That day, I found out that Barkables was launching their business. I've never seen a business launch before and was intrigued about this organic dog treat company and how they came to be.

At The Beginning

Deborah Meade is the owner of Barkables and is based by Iowa City, Iowa. She formulated the idea of Barkables started when she was laid up with a broken leg. She thought about an online business since it had low overhead. This company is socially-conscious too. They donate a percentage of the proceeds to animal rescue.

Her accountant knew a struggling baker in the western suburbs of Illinois and thought they would be a good match. Surely enough, Annie and Deborah joined forces and Barkables was created.

Meet Deborah Meade

I talked to Deborah over the phone to learn more about this cool business. Here is our interview:

Me: How does distributing Barkables work?
Deborah: I will travel to Illinois once a week to pick up the fresh treats and bring them to Iowa for shipping and distribution.

Me: How are Barkables different from other treats?
Deborah: First of all, they're organic. I think that dog treats should be simple. Dogs don't need all of the bells and whistles that the other commercial treats offer. All they want is something that tastes good.

All of our treats are baked in an oven for the best nutritional value. Many of the modern organic treats are dehydrated. We make our treats edible for both humans and dogs.

Me: What appealed to you about organic dog treats?
Deborah: Most people are eating organic foods and many of them will want their dogs to eat as healthy as possible. All of our dog treats have no additives or preservatives. For example, it takes 6 pounds of sweet potatoes to make a 1 pound bag of sweet potato treats. Because there are no preservatives, they come out really crispy and light.

Me: What did you do before you started your company?
Deborah: For 22 years, I was in medical sales. Afterward, I was a stay-at-home mom before I started this business. I've also taught part-time at the local community college.

Me: Can you explain how you created your logo?
Deborah: My fiance and I have a classic 75 red convertible since he's into restoring cars and I used four of my dogs for the logo.

Me: What type of dogs do you own?
Deborah: Since I've been in pet rescue for over 20 years, we have 6 dogs. There's Max who's a 12-year-old Cavichon (King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and Bichon Frise) . Danny, our yellow labrador is 8. We have an 8-year old schnauzer named Corky Puddles. Lacy is a 4-year-old Cavichon. We have an Irish Setter named Lily Rose and finally there's Kofi Kitty our 2-year-old Havanese dog.

Me: Now that you've been in business for awhile, what is your biggest challenge?
Deborah: Getting our name and website known in Iowa City and online. We do distribute to select dog boutiques and have a special distributor for our online business.

Me: Since you're an online business, do you plan to be active in social media?
Deborah: Oh yes! We already have a Facebook page and will be on Twitter soon.

Me: Do you have any plans for new treats?
Deborah: We have wheat-free treats available for dogs who are allergic. I'm also looking to develop a gluten-free line.

Thank you Deborah for taking the time to speak with me. I wish you the best of luck with your new business.

Special For Too Kool Doggies Readers

From now till April 30, all Too Kool Doggies readers will receive 10% off at Barkables website. Just use the coupon code Bark10.

Let's Discuss!

Do you give your dog organic food and treats? What difference have you noticed?

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Chloe Tests The iPad 2

It's no secret that Apple has released it's new iPad recently. You may have read the reviews, or seen all the demos. However, nothing really brings it home like seeing things through the eyes of a dog. Enjoy the weekend folks!

Let's Discuss!

Share your thoughts about Chloe the iPad tester!

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White Knuckles

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Get To Know NEeMA

Yesterday, NEeMA was holding a concert in my town. Known for her new video, Elsa's Lullaby, I was lucky to meet this amazing singer. She is a singer on the rise with her new album, Watching You Think receiving critics' accolades. She was able to take some time out before her concert to accommodate me for this meeting.

In person, NEeMA is a warm, gracious, soft-spoken individual. Yet, she speaks with wisdom, candor and insight. Here is our interview:

Q: How did you start out as a singer?
A: I've always loved to sing since I was little. I first publicly sang at a wedding and Indonesia in the late 90's. About 6 years ago, I decided to go into music professionally.

Q: Which musicians inspire you?
A: Joni Mitchell, Ani DeFranco, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Hildegard and Fleetwood Mac. I've been hooked on The Ghost Of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen and have been listening to it alot.

Q: What are your favorite types of music?
A: In addition to the artists above, I enjoy classical, and blues too.

Q: What do you like most about music?
A: Part of it is my performing and sharing the music with my fans. The other part I love is songwriting.

Q: What keeps your creative spark going?
A: Traveling to places out of the ordinary. Being by the ocean. Having time to myself for reflection. Breaking out of the usual day-to-day routine.

Q: If you weren't in music then what career would you choose?
A: I have liked to do so many things so it's hard to know. As time goes on, you find that you've chose certain things. I really enjoyed the time when I lived in Northern Canada.

Q: What is most unique about your home town of Montreal?
A: That the French and Englisare living side by side. It is so cultural and artistic. Mount Royal is also very special as it's positioned in the middle of the city.

Q: Can you tell me about when you first met Elsa? What special quality set her apart from other dogs?
A: I first met Elsa in Yellow Knife. It's a kennel, dog pound and veterinarian all rolled into one. She was only a few months old I saw a beautiful lab/husky mix that I couldn't resist. What made Elsa stand out were her eyes and the way she looked at me made me melt.
Photo: The Musebox
Q: Is Elsa your first dog?
A: Aside from having fish as a child, I never had a dog until Elsa entered my life.

Q: Are you able to bring Elsa to work with you?
A: When I toured across Canada for three months, Elsa was with me the entire time and loved it. Now that she's older (almost 12) it's harder for her to travel so I keep her at home for the long distance tours.

Q: How did you come up with Elsa's Lullaby?
A: It was based on a poem I wrote on my video blog.
Q: Does Elsa require a special diet or is she's the type of dog who will eat anything?
A: Elsa has always been a good eater, never finicky. I like to give her Nature's Recipe with a little bit of soft food on top. Now that's she's getting older, she seems to love more of the junk food out there.

Q: What is your favorite dog breed?
A: I like all dogs but the breed I'm really partial to is huskies. Huskies remind me of the wolf. I love their independence. That's what's special about Elsa. She has the independence of a Siberian husky and the gentleness of a lab.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about being a dog owner?
A: That your dog is your best friend. The love and compassion a dog gives you is priceless. Even on days when I'm too tired to walk her, Elsa is always forgiving.

Q: What is the most powerful life lesson Elsa has taught you?
A: I met her during a solitary time in my life. She taught me how to love again.

Q:Do you have any words of wisdom to offer aspiring musicians?
A: Perseverance, courage are important. Also, don't be afraid to follow your heart.
Q: What message can I pass along to your fans?
A: Thank you for your support. It means everything to me. I hope you love the video.

Thanks to NEeMA and to Nathalie Levy for making this interview possible.

Learn More About NEeMA

Facebook Page
Video Blog
Elsa's Lullaby

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Elsa's Lullaby

Elsa's Lullaby is a new video by the music artist NEeMA. A singer from Canada, of Eygyptian and Lebanese origin, she is an up and coming musician who took Elsa in as a stray off the streets. This lullaby shows the quiet and endearing moments between owner and dog and is a great song to listen to when you're feeling wistful.

Elsa's Lullaby is a new video by the music artist NEeMA. She is an up and coming musician who took Elsa in as a stray off the streets of Canada. This lullaby shows the quiet and endearing moments between owner and dog and is a great song to listen to when you're feeling wistful.

You’re watching Elsa’s Lullaby. See the Web's top videos on AOL Video

If you would like to learn more about NeEma, please visit her

href="">website or Facebook page.

Let's Discuss!

Are you familiar with NEema's music? How do you like this video?


White Knuckles

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dog Days At The BallPark

With the baseball season now starting up, there's a way for dog lovers to combine their two favorite pasttimes — baseball and dogs. Many of the professional ballparks across the country have special days where you can bring your dogs to enjoy the game. It's best to call the team's ballpark in advance because there are special rules that are required for your dog to be there.

Here is a list of the ballparks that will be having special dog days for the 2011 baseball season:

TeamVisiting TeamEventDay & DateTime
Atlanta BravesCardinalsBark In The Park #1Sunday, 5/1/111:35pm
Atlanta BravesDodgersBark In The Park #2Sunday, 9/4/111:35pm
Chicago White SoxRangersDog Day (Sold Out)Tuesday, 5/17/117:10pm
Cincinnati RedsBrewersBark In The Park #1
Sold Out!
Sunday, 4/3/111:10pm
Cincinnati RedsCubsBark In The Park #2Wednesday, 9/14/11
Cleveland IndiansMarinersPuppypaloozaTuesday, 8/23/117:05pm
Florida MarlinsBrewersBark In The Park #1Friday, 6/3/117:10pm
Florida MarlinsGiantsBark In The Park #2Friday, 8/12/117:10pm
Houston AstrosPadresDog DaySunday, 4/17/111:05pm
Kansas City RoyalsWhite SoxBark At The KSunday, 9/18/111:10pm
Los Angeles DodgersMarlinsBark In The ParkSaturday, 5/28/117:10pm
Oakland AthleticsAngelsDog Day At The ParkFriday, 7/15/117:05pm
Pittsburgh PiratesGiantsPup NightTuesday, 4/26/117:05pm
Pittsburgh PiratesBravesPup NightTuesday, 5/24/117:05pm
Pittsburgh PiratesOriolesPup NightTuesday, 6/21/117:05pm
Pittsburgh PiratesAstrosPup NightTuesday, 7/5/117:05pm
Pittsburgh PiratesCardinalsPup NightTuesday, 8/16/117:05pm
Pittsburgh PiratesCardinalsPup NightTuesday, 9/13/117:05pm
St. Louis CardinalsBlue JaysPurina Pooches in the BallparkSaturday, 6/25/116:15pm
San Diego PadresGiantsDog Days Of SummerSaturday, 7/17/115:35pm
Texas RangersRoyalsBark In The ParkSunday, 5/29/112:05pm
Washington NationalsMarlinsPups In The Park #1Saturday, 5/14/111:05pm
Washington NationalsRockiesPups In The Park #2Saturday, 7/9/117:05pm
Washington NationalsBravesPups In The Park #3Saturday, 9/24/111:05pm

Let's Discuss!

Do you plan on taking your dog to a baseball event this summer?


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