Day 13 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Happy Howl-oween!

We finally made it! It’s Day 13 of our 13 Days of Halloween celebration.

We’ve had some treats, performed some tricks, shared costume as well as non-costume costume ideas, introduced new pack members (even if they both “meow”), celebrated Rosee’s 6th birthday, and remembered a beloved pet in honor of Dia de los Muertos.

All that’s left to do is to wish everyone and their pets a very Happy Howl-oween!

Happy Howloween
From everyone here at Play Hard, Bark Often–Happy Howl-oween

I think everyone needs a nap after this…

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Day 12 of 13 Days of Halloween

Double, double toil and trouble

Why must you irk me so?

I give and I give,

and I give and I give,

but somehow you just want more!

Be it cookies, or food,

or leg room, or toys;

you just do whatever your stubborn heart desires.

I’ll stay right here,

in my corner of the couch,

ready for whatever transpires.

Whether it’s muddy paws, or incessant barking;

stealing new pillows, or tearing up boxes,

I’ll always love you Rosee.

And if he’s lucky,

I know you’ll consider letting Simon in on the fun;

but only maybe, just maybe.

 

On this, the eve of her sixth birthday, I solemnly swear to always give up my seat on the couch for you little girl. May you stay happy and smiley, and bullheaded and stubborn for the years to come. Happy birthday Rosee!

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Day 11 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

“Costumes are for the suckers”—Simon, Play Hard, Bark Often

I know that costumes aren’t for every dog. Some dogs don’t enjoy being dressed up, wearing silly things, or at least having something on for an extended period of time. Simon and Rosee tolerate us dressing them up because they know they’ll get a lot of treats during the process—;).

As a result, I came up with something that (I think) any dog could wear (or at least tolerate): A Cape. This is a quick and easy solution to help make your dog look festive and ready for Halloween.

Final Cape

All you need is some festive fabric, elastic, fabric adhesive (and an iron if you use iron on adhesive like I did), scissors, and a needle and thread.

Cape Essentials

  1. Measure a piece of the elastic fabric that is just a bit shorter than the length of your dog’s neck. I measured the elastic against one of the pup’s chain collars. You want to measure the elastic a bit shorter, so when you fit it around your dog’s lower neck it will stretch to fit and stay in place better.
  2. Cut a piece of fabric that is a bit longer than your elastic piece. This way the fabric will scrunch a bit when you thread the elastic through.Cape Construction
  3. Take the fabric adhesive and lay it on the backside of the fabric about 2-3 inches below the top. You want to make a smallish opening at the top that will be big enough to thread the elastic fabric through. Then fold the top of the fabric over and iron in place. I did end up using a pencil as a guide while I ironed in order to ensure my opening remained the right size.
  4. Once the fabric adhesive is set, thread the elastic fabric through your opening.
  5. Using the needle and thread, sew the two end pieces of the elastic fabric together. I ended up leaving about 3-4 inches of the end of either side of the elastic free of fabric and sewed all of it together. It may not look the prettiest, but despite what my mother says, no one’s going to see it.Cape Opening
  6. Fit the cape around your dog’s neck and you’re done!

The best part of this cape, besides the ease of making it, is its versatility. Of course, it could be worn by itself simply as a cape. However, it could also be accessorized with a festive hat if your dog is willing, or a black mask. This way your dog, like Simon, could pretend to be a superhero—the way he really feels inside, if he’s being honest.

Cape Accessorized

Costumes may not be for every dog, but that doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate Halloween either!

Day 10 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

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Pumpkin Nights 2018, Auburn, CA.

“Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,

Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.” 

From the Sorting Hat’s Song, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, pg. 118.

Last year at this time it was Rosee getting sorted into the House of Slytherin in the world of Harry Potter. This year?

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It’s Shadow!

Shadow: the mischievous, cunning, stop-at-nothing-to-get-his-way, tabby cat. He climbs on top of everything throughout the house. He searches out any kind of food unwittingly left out on any countertop. He even does his best interpretation of a pathetic life-form with his beg trick.

Shadow Tricks

He makes messes; he tries to intimidate the other cats; he stops at nothing to feed the monster in his belly!

And yet his greatest trick? Stealing his humans’ hearts!

Happy soon-to-be Halloween!

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Pumpkin Nights 2018, Auburn, CA.

 

Day 9 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Trick-or-Treat, Give me something good to eat!

Halloween is practically upon us and in order to prepare for the big day I thought we would do a little Trick-or-Treating… for the dogs, of course.

I decorated the backyard with some spooky Halloween decorations. I set up a small cemetery (complete with a giant spider web), a pumpkin patch, and a patio of undead dogs and cats. Then, I took some treats and left them around the backyard, so the pups would have to “find” the treats by sniffing them out.

Trick or Treat 1

In no time at all Simon and Rosee were off trying to locate their treats.

Trick or Treat 2

They had to fend off some undead animals, navigate the headstones, and sniff under the pumpkins, but it was all worth it for that treat.

Trick or Treat 3

Trick-or-Treating definitely went to the dogs this year!

Day 8 of 13 Days of Halloween

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Thomas Campbell

Halloween is not the only holiday to celebrate this October.

Dia de los Muertos is also set to begin on October 31st, and it’s a holiday that holds special meaning. Even if you don’t really celebrate or observe this time period, I like to think that this holiday can at least serve as a reminder to remember our loved ones that have passed on.

This year I’d like to dedicate this post, in honor of Dia de los Muertos, to Artemis.

Artemis 2

Artmeis is a very special cat who we lost earlier this year. We may have only had a short time with him, since we adopted him last year around this time, but he was a special cat that made quite an impact on all of us—yes, even Simon and Rosee.

Artemis started to come around last Fall when we first began to leave a bowl of cat food and a bowl of water on our porch for George (our other cat, and you can read about him here). He looked terrible when he first showed up. He was practically skin and bones with scraggly, matted fur, watery eyes, and a runny nose. We thought all he needed was some food, water, and TLC. It wasn’t long before we took him inside, because it was just too cold for him to be outside without barely any body fat, and he became an official part of our family.

Artemis 4

He proved enthusiastically helpful when it came to making our annual batch of tamales for the holidays.

Artemis 3
The best tamale maker.

He loved sitting on the couch with us, and cuddling with George.

Artemis 1
Master cuddler here.

However, we quickly figured out that food wasn’t necessarily Artmeis’s main problem, or even his only one. After a trip to the vet, we found that he was pretty old, probably late teens, had no teeth at all, and despite his love of food, he just wasn’t able to absorb anything he ate, rather his food just ran right through his system. He was able to gain a bit of weight, but he always seemed to fluctuate and no matter what we tried, he only improved marginally.

We knew Artemis’s days were numbered, but we were determined to make his last days his best. He got extra special treats, extra cuddles, and even some cream here and there—our vet said it was okay and told us since he was old he should get anything he wanted.

While, Artemis may be gone, he is definitely not forgotten. He is remembered in all of our hearts. His perseverance and zest for life reminds us all to enjoy the moment, never give up, and to always be kind.

Day 7 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

The jack-o-lanterns are going to the dogs (and cats)!

I absolutely love carving pumpkins for Halloween. It’s always a lot of work, takes too much time, and is incredibly messy, but the finished jack-o-lantern(s) prove themselves worth the effort every year. I especially enjoy showcasing my love of dogs and pit bulls in my pumpkin carvings.

This year was no different and when it came time to carve some pumpkins I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Except this year I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of using real pumpkins to carve and turn into jack-o-lanterns to show off my love of all things dogs, pit bulls, and yes, even cats, I decided to use craft/synthetic pumpkins. That’s right I’m using pumpkins that can’t go bad, decompose, and most importantly, won’t attract bugs. As much as I love carving pumpkins each year, I’m always so disappointed how quickly my freshly carved jack-o-lanterns go bad and become infested with bugs—literally it’s in a day’s time—and how short of a time I can actually display my pumpkins on my front porch. So, rather than using fresh pumpkins to carve that only lasts a couple days, I used synthetic pumpkins that can last as long as I want. In fact, I can even save the pumpkins and use them again next year!

To carve some completely adora-bull, and long lasting jack-o-lanterns this is what you’ll need:

Pumpkin Supplies

  • Synthetic/craft pumpkin(s)
  • carving tools such as a small knife, and shaving tool
  • stencil(s)
  • tape
  • scissors

Ultimately, I chose three different pumpkins in which I could carve. I chose two small sized pumpkins (one orange, and one black), and a larger orange pumpkin. Then, I found three stencil designs to carve into each pumpkin. I did recycle the pit bull stencil I used last year and found it was perfect for my smaller orange pumpkin, went with a paw print stencil for my larger orange pumpkin, and thought a cat sitting on a moon design was just right for the small black pumpkin. Also, I chose the synthetic pumpkins that have open backs because this made the backside of the pumpkin flat. Therefore, carving was much easier since the pumpkin could lay flat on its back and not move around like a traditionally round pumpkin would.

Pumpkin Stencils

First, take the stencil and tape it to the front of the pumpkin. Using a small knife, carefully poke holes along the stencil outline. Remove the stencil, but keep it for reference as you carve.

Pumpkin Carvings

 

Next, begin to cut along the outline of holes that has been previously poked into the pumpkin.

Then, shave any parts of the pumpkin that are meant to be shaved for more definition and dimension.

Finally, clean up the mess of shavings, put a LED candle light in your pumpkin and light up the jack-o-lantern.

Jack-o-Lanterns

We’re officially surpassing the halfway point in our 13 Days of Halloween journey…keep checking back until October 31st for all things Halloween!