Cairn Terriers

Final-Gracie-Deck

Gracie sunning on the deck

I have been proudly owned by two cairn terriers in my lifetime, over a span of 28 years, and fully expect to have the pleasure of loving at least one more.  Having recently lost our sweet girl Gracie I am still very tender-hearted, but wanted to write and expound on the attributes of these dogs, small in stature but so very big in heart.

Webster defines the cairn terrier as-

“One of the oldest of the terrier breeds, originating in the Scottish Highlands and recognized as one of Scotland’s earliest working dogs. The breed was given the name cairn, because the breed’s function was to hunt and chase quarry between the cairns in the Scottish highlands.”

Indeed, they are known for their ability to catch rats and small rodents.  I think one of my cairns’ favorite pastimes was chasing squirrels.  Thankfully they never quite succeeded in catching one, but came awfully close on more than one occasion!  We have always had cats, but cat chasing was reserved for the “outdoor” stray cats, and not our own.  The game was certainly in the chase, because our cairns were far too gentle to ever hurt any cat.  In fact they are perfect companions for other family pets.

And as you can imagine, going after quarry in the cairns would involve digging and a willingness to go underground.  For this reason cairns excel in earth dog trials, and are listed as one of the eligible breeds to compete in these AKC events.  While my girls never competed, my first cairn Tessa could turn dirt faster than I could with my best shovel.  If I could have just taught her how to dig where I needed a garden planted…

Cairns have a rough, weather-resistant coat that comes in a variety of colors, and can include any color except white.  Many are brindles, with a variety of colors in their coat.  They are one of the few dog breeds that are said to be good for folks that have pet allergies, registering on the “low” end of the allergic scale for most people.  I can attest also to their ease in grooming.  And hey, a little dog that I can bathe in the kitchen sink is the dog for me!  They average in size from about 12-17 pounds.

By far their greatest attribute, though, is their winning personality.  They are feisty, independent, extremely intelligent, and robustly active.  They are perfect as a child’s pet, because they can handle both the roughhousing and high energy level that children naturally have.  My first cairn played with the neighborhood children for hours, chasing a ball and going down the playhouse slide with the kids.  So cute!

Both of my cairns showed an absolute fascination with fetching.  Cairns learn quickly, and once taught will fetch a ball or toy for hours, so be prepared.  They do need to be actively played with and/or walked every day due to their high energy level.  They slow down a little when older, but not much.  That said, they rest as hard as they play, and are not nervous dogs that stay constantly underfoot.

Most famous cairn ever?  No doubt the dark cairn terrier that played Toto in the 1939 movie the Wizard of Oz.  And cairns have played in many movies.  In fact here is a list of just some of the movies they have played in.  See some of these movies and their adorable pups!

So, if you are looking for a small breed dog that’s easy to keep and has the most wonderful personality, think about getting a cairn terrier.  I promise they will win you over with their scruffy charm.  And if you have any questions about these great little dogs just ask.  I will be more than happy to respond!

“Remember, it is not how much you love, but how much you are loved by others.”-Wizard of Oz, 1939

Discount Pet Meds

Final-Big-Kitty-Meds

I just received a notice in the mail from Walgreens Prescription Savings Club.  My prescription plan for Angel, or as we affectionately call her “Miss Big Kitty”, was about to expire and they wanted to know if I would like to renew it. Considering the savings are substantial, you can bet this is something I want to do!

Just as for people, you can order and pick up some pet medications (that are human equivalent compounds) through your local pharmacy, as long as your veterinarian will write you a prescription.  But here’s the part that a lot of people don’t know about.  You can also register your pet at some pharmacies for prescription discounts – just like you can for people who don’t have insurance or have inadequate prescription coverage!  And yes it can make a huge difference in the price you pay for your pet’s meds, whether they are generic or brand-name.

My discovery was simply by accident.  I was helping my daughter a year ago with some medical issues, and we registered her at the Walgreens Pharmacy in her town for their Prescription Savings Club.  In reading the brochure information about the savings club I saw that it mentioned pets, so asked the Walgreens representative a few quick questions, and they verified that my cat would be eligible for the discount.  The plan itself costs $20 per year, but the savings on the costs of Miss Big Kitty ‘s hyperthyroid meds is substantial.  My savings this past year alone have been around $59, after the plan cost, which is quite a bit!  The plan also gives you additional discounts on other Walgreen services/products.

CVS Caremark has an iSave program that saves an average of 31% off generic and 15% off brand name prescription drugs at any of over 65,000 participating pharmacies, nationwide.  Pet medications for seizures, infections, allergic reactions, heart conditions, pain relief, diabetes and thyroid conditions, and anti-depressants used to treat behavioral disorders in cats and dogs are just some examples of medication types that are covered under this plan.  Individual plans are $14.97/per month.

Walmart gives instructions to “bring in your pet’s prescription, or have your vet call it in”, but I could not find any information about offering discounts on those prescriptions.  Since Walmart has many generic medications for $4, I checked on their list to see if Miss Big Kitty’s medication – methimazole – was offered, but it was not, so I am not sure what the medication would cost with them.

Costco also has a Member Prescription Program that is open for Costco member pet meds.  You are advised on their website to contact your local Costco pharmacist for details.  The Costco Member Prescription Program is a value added benefit of a Costco membership, which starts at $55 per year.

I hope if you have pets on regular medications that you will do some research on your own to find the best cost solution.  For now, the Walgreens plan is the best choice for me.  And if you are already using a great pet med program, please let me know about it!

 

Little Owls

Screech-Owls-2

About a week ago my dog Gracie gave me a bit of a scare.  I turned on the back porch light and let her outside for one last time for the evening before going to bed.  It was about 10:00pm, and as soon as she stepped out onto our back patio and into the semi-darkness, she immediately took out after something she had seen.  She veered left and to some trees just off the patio.  We had a clay basin with water on the patio (with temps this week at 100 degrees), and I was sure something had been getting a drink when I opened the door to let her out.  I went out after her and didn’t see anything.  Afraid it might be a possum or who knows what, I got her back inside as quickly as possible.

After getting her settled in her bed for the night, I went back and turned on the patio light again, making sure all other house lights were off, and watched to see if whatever she was chasing might come back for more water…and they did.  To my great surprise, and enjoyment, a pair of tiny screech owls came to drink at the basin.  At first I thought they were doves, but the body shape was all wrong – and then one of them turned their head almost backwards to peer in the window at me!  Little golden eyes in the night, they made quick flights in and out of the trees to the water, and hopped and gave short flight on the patio chasing evening bugs.  I stood and watched them for about 15 minutes until they disappeared completely into the darkness.  I guess I always thought of owls as big birds, but these certainly were not.  Still, they are predators with talons, so Gracie had best leave them alone!

Crafts and Fairs

Austin-Expo-Booth

Well, the recent Austin Pet Expo I attended is over.  I have been reluctant to attend a big event like this, and I think I now remember why – they are a lot, and I mean a lot, of work!  It was a fun event and I handed out dozens of business cards and met lots of pets and their owners.  I think the best thing about any in-person event is getting to meet folks directly and talk about your products/business.  And you get really great feedback.  People tell you what they do – and don’t – like, and why.  I consider all input good and informative, letting it serve as a basis for possible product refinement and new creations.  One thing I saw at the event was people carrying their small breed dogs in slings, so when I find time that may very well be my next new design!  My best seller at the expo was my new pet idBandanas, which I will be writing more about soon.

One really neat thing I finally was able to use at the pet expo was my Shopify card reader.  I used it on my iPad (after first testing it at home), and it worked beautifully.  Honestly it worked so well that I think I could just sell things from anywhere, just like you see in the commercials.  Perhaps I should carry it, along with my new pet bandanas, in my purse.  Hmmm…

I also know that I don’t want to do a really large event like this again.  I think something much smaller, and even closer to home, would work much better for me.  I would be interested in attending a fair that only requires a 6′ folding table and a couple of chairs, along with a limited number of my smaller products  like bandanas, toys, blankets, and crate mats.  I don’t want to think that all my preparation work and extra things I had to purchase or create for this event will be wasted by not having another event, I just want to keep it smaller and more manageable.  I am certain that there will be at least one local fall craft fair that will suit me perfectly!

That being said, my other decision since the Expo ended is to put my crafts back on Etsy. Etsy admittedly has the greatest global marketplace, and has been the best overall venue for me.  It worked for me prior to blogging, social media, and attending any craft events, and that’s really saying something.  I do still hope that in time my new shop website will replace my Etsy shop, but for now products will be listed in both locations.  I will be spending time the next couple of weeks getting everything re-listed on Etsy, with product descriptions that match those on my new site.  Fall has always been an especially busy time for me as a crafter, and I know that September is sneaking up quickly.

The best comment I received at the Austin Pet Expo-

Your creations take pet products to a whole ‘nother level!

Glad you think so!