Tag Archives: Fall

8th Day of Christmas 2019

On the 8th day of Christmas my true dog gave to me…

8th Xmas 2019

eight paws-a-prancing,

seven melting snowmen,

six trees-a-decorated,

five tasty treats!

four reindeer antlers,

three outside cats,

two tired dogs,

and a climbing cat in a pear(less) tree!

Day 6 of 13 Days of Halloween 2019

Halloween is only one week away. Did you hear that? One week away! And so, to make sure we’re all prepared for the big day, we thought we would do some trick-or-treating prep today with Simon and Rosee.

Their skills needed to be sharp. I mean, were they really ready? How was their sniffing ability (because they sniff out the treats of course)? Were their eyes on the prizes (or treats in this case)? Were they committed enough? In it to win it?

Their costumes needed to be on point. Were they easy to move in? Did they impede their vision and sniffing ability? Durable enough to withstand their movements? Were they cute enough to get all the treats?

Day 6 (2)

These were all important points to consider, and so we decided to do a trick-or-treating test run in the backyard in order to prepare for the big day.

We laid down some tricks (obstacles), so Simon and Rosee would really have to work for their treats.

Day 6 2019

But in the end both pups proved their Halloween skills, and quickly found each and every treat hiding in the grass.

Day 6(3)

Halloween night better watch out because Simon and Rosee are ready and their mighty hungry for treats!

Day 4 of 13 Days of Halloween 2019

I’m sure it’s no secret or surprise by now that we love taking pictures of our pets. I mean, really, with adorable faces, penetrating eyes, and silly antics, how am I supposed to resist capturing the moment?

It is fun to create specific moments with our pets. I mean, just check out this picture from Easter earlier this year:

Easter Dogs 2019(1)

However, sometimes the more candid photos are the most memorable. Today I thought I would share some things that I’ve learned in the pursuit of capturing my pets’ cutest moments, especially for the Fall season.

  • Embrace the spontaneous
    • First and foremost, embrace the spontaneous, unplanned, and impromptu moments. The unexpected happens when it’s least expected. Therefore, the cutest and most picturesque moments of our pets will most likely happen at any given time. Maybe it’ll be a shot of Socks helping to decorate the front yard, Simon trying to sneak a piece of candy out of the candy bowl (which was unsuccessful, by the way)- check out last years 13 days of Halloween, or Rosee playing in a pile of leaves while visiting the park down the street during one of our daily walks. Any moment can be capture-worthy. So even if you’re trying to stage the perfect photo shoot, when it comes to photographing our pets, sometimes following their lead and direction is really the best course of action.
    • Day 4 2019
  • Use natural surroundings
    • One of the great things about the Halloween and Fall season is the beautiful natural surroundings that can provide the perfect backdrop to any photo. Of course, the other seasons can do the same, but there’s something about the Fall that I personally favor. Maybe it’s the changing colors of the leaves, the copious amounts of pumpkins (at least at our house there is), or the giant leaf piles that are just to inviting to ignore…there’s always a good background perfect for any photo. Take advantage of the season and go outside and explore…before you know it you may have the cutest photo of you and your pet.

  • Always have phone/camera at the ready
    • Naturally, coming off of the first two points, it is always important to have a camera ready, even if it’s the camera on your phone. Although, let’s face it, most cameras on phones are better than actual cameras these days anyways, and even better, they’re always convenient. I always seems to find myself reaching for my phone to capture one of the cats doing something utterly adorable, or one of the pups in a unique position.
    • 20170808_110144
  • Editing is our friend
    • Editing our photos can definitely be helpful when we’re trying to capture the pawrfect moments, but certain elements (such as lighting) aren’t quite working in our favor. The lighting can be adjusted (usually to help make things brighter), not-so-important elements can be cut or cropped out, and the main figure (in this case cat or dog) can be better aligned so they’re sure to be the center of attention. Play around with what you can do, even if it’s just a few small adjustments, an adorabull picture is sure to be achieved.

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the past 3 days of Halloween fun so far!

Day 5 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Treats are always appreciated

I think the absolute greatest part of Halloween for everyone (human and animal alike), or at least the sweetest part, is the Treats. For us humans this season of treats inspires images of various candies, pies, cupcakes, and other types of desserts. For the dogs, it inspires only one thing: pumpkin-flavored treats.

Even more exciting is a whole box of pumpkin-inspired treats for Simon and Rosee!

October Box

A few months ago we started to subscribe to the Dapper Dog monthly subscription box. Despite the availability of so many subscription box options, we ultimately decided to go with the Dapper Dog box because along with including various new treats and toys to try, they also include a very cute accessory for your dog in each box. So far, we’ve received incredibly cute (and well made) bow ties, and bandanas that are not only seasonally appropriate, but most importantly fit around both Simon and Rosee’s necks. I have to be honest, while I love getting cute accessories for the pups, I love having accessories that fit them even more. I remember about a year ago when we went to a rather large event for pets and even though there were upwards of 50 vendors and 90% of them sold bandanas we were unable to find 1 (that’s right 1) that was big enough to fit Simon’s neck. Now, we have several accessories from which to choose from.

In addition, we’ve received some really great and durable toys from our various boxes. Of course, we do pay to get the Heavy Chewers box, which includes a tougher toy rather than a plush toy, but these toys seem to be really well made. For instance, at our local pet store we typically buy Simon (he’s our toughest chewer by far) a chew toy that is supposed to be for heavy chewers and even comes with a lifetime warranty from the company if your dog rips the toy because they believe in their product’s durability that much. Unfortunately, even with these toys Simon is able to chew through them in a few rounds of play and chew. Yet, they are the best toys we’ve found…until now. The toys we’ve received from the Dapper Dog box have really been great so far. In particular, he has this one orange squeaky toy that has stood up to a lot of chewing and numerous rounds of fetch. I am incredibly impressed with the fact that this toy doesn’t even look like he’s ever chewed it!

DD Toys

Finally, the Dapper Dog box was the best choice for us because they were one of the only ones (at least that we found) that we could request to receive non-peanut butter treats. Sadly, Simon and Rosee are allergic to peanut butter and typically break out in hives if they consume any peanut butter treats. Luckily though, the Dapper Dog let us request no peanut butter treats, which is something that many other subscription boxes available do not accommodate. (P.S. Their customer service is amazing!)

Overall, I really can’t say enough great things about the Dapper Dog box. Our experience with the service has been amazing so far and the box for October was especially awesome because it was all about pumpkin. From the treats, to the toys, and even the bandana dog accessory—each items was a Treat for the Halloween season!

Now, I know a subscription box isn’t for everyone or dog, but at the very least make sure to check out their Instagram because it is adorable.

Day 1 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

It’s that time of year again!

The weather is cooling down, the leaves are starting to change colors, festive holiday decorations start to make an appearance, and pumpkin spice seems to permeate the air everywhere you go. It’s the start of the holiday season, and it all starts with Halloween.

That’s right: It’s the start of 13 Days of Halloween here at Play Hard, Bark Often!

It’s our annual countdown to Halloween, which means for the next 13 days until October 31st we’ll be posting every day to share tricks, treats, and other Halloween-related and inspired content.

We’re kicking things off this year by dressing up our favorite blocky-headed dogs into our favorite “blockhead.” We may still have quite a few days until the Great Pumpkin makes an appearance, but what better way to start off the 13 Days of Halloween than dress up as the original character himself.

All you need to pull off this punny costume yourself is an old yellow shirt (I found one at the local thrift store), some black material (it could be another old shirt, scrap material, felt, or pillowcase), and some fabric adhesive.

Day 1 of Halloween 2018

Next, simply cut out the wavy pattern from the black material. Then, adhere the black material to the bottom of the yellow shirt. Finally, put the shirt on your dog.

I really like this costume because it’s a great way to usher in the season of the Great Pumpkin, and doubles as a fun, creative way to celebrate the “blocky-headediness” that defines pit bulls.

Day 1 of Halloween 2018 (2)
My blockheads as the blockhead. #GreatPumpkin #CharlieBrown

Thanks for being here for Day 1 of 13 Days of Halloween and make sure to check back tomorrow to see what’s in store for Day 2.

In the meantime, the annual search for the Great Pumpkin is on!

Happy Thanksgiving

The big day has finally arrived! It’s a time when we can eat as much as we want and indulge in long naps afterwards. Or maybe the naps part is just for the dogs…

Still, I can’t help but think that this year I have a little extra to be thankful for and it’s all because of Artemis.

Artemis is a stray cat that wandered into our front yard about a month ago and decided that we were going to be his new family. He showed up in pretty bad shape: skinny, runny nose and watery eyes, and grease all over his tail. Then, after he stuck around for a week we decided to take him the vet and found out he was in even worse shape than we could see initially. It turns out he weighed about half the weight of a normal cat, is probably in his late teens, and has no teeth. Yes, it’s true: he has absolutely no teeth! Yet, this little, old cat is so friendly, loving and sweet. All he wants is some food and water, a bed to sleep in, and daily pets. He doesn’t seem to know or care about his past or how sad he looked when he showed up on our front porch a month ago. Artemis is just a happy cat who loves life.

Of course, I’ve always been thankful for my pets: Simon, Rosee, Orion (our inside cat), and George (our outside cat). They always make life entertaining, and offer us humans unconditional love. Still, with our new addition of Artemis I can’t help but be even more thankful for all of my pets this Thanksgiving because his love of life and trust in us in spite of the previous circumstances (which I assume were not good since he showed up looking so skinny and dirty without any teeth) is humbling. Honestly, what I do for any and all of my pets never seems to equate how much joy and love they offer us in return.

So, here’s to hoping you and your pets had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Day 12 of 13 Days of Halloween (2017)

Halloween is just about here…yikes!

It’s almost time to light up the pumpkins, hand out the candy, and dress up in costumes. With all the wonderful decorations that this time of year brings I love taking pictures of everything, and there’s no better time than to take some festive photos of Simon and Rosee. To be honest though, did I really need yet another reason to take photos of Simon and Rosee?

(Psst, the answer is no.)

So I thought I would share a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years, through much trial and error, that can be useful when trying to take your own holiday inspired photo of your dog.

  • Exercise.
    • Whether you take your dog on a walk or just play a rousing game of fetch in your own backyard, exercising your dog before you take a photo can be helpful. In order to take a photo of your dog you’re going to be asking them to sit/lay down and stay for an extended period of time. By exercising prior to the photo your dog can get all their excess energy out and be better able to focus when you give them a command. Also, I’ve found that by exercising Simon and Rosee prior to the photo, they end up panting (in order to cool down) and in the photo it ends up looking like they’re smiling.
  • Basic commands are a must.
    • Basic commands such as “sit,” “lay down,” “stay,” and “focus” (or whatever word you may use to get your dog to look at you) are important when trying to take a staged photo of your dog. It’s helpful for your dog to know a few basic commands because then it is easier to give them direction. In particular, if your dog is larger and not one that you can hold in your arms or on your lap being able to give them a command helps keep them in the right position while you take your photo.
  • Treats can be helpful.
    • Just like when you first start training with your dog treats can provide a great incentive for your dog to listen to what you’re asking them to do. Even more helpful though, is that a high value treat can also be used to gain your dog’s attention. This is especially important if you’re trying to take a photo with your dog and so no one is actually behind the camera (AKA a camera timer is used), and so your dog may not understand where to look. By placing a treat next to, or even on the camera, your dog may better be able to focus on the treat and so end up looking right at the camera for your photo.
  • Keep things simple.
    • While this may be a staged photo that you’re taking, try to make things simple. Some props are nice, but don’t make things too complicated because too many props can be distracting. If things are overly complicated, then you’re most likely bound to end up disappointed. Also, typically taking a photo outside rather than inside is easier because natural light is better and easier to work with. You won’t have the glare of the sun coming through a window or reflecting off of a nearby surface.
  • Keep calm, and don’t freak out because in the end, this is supposed to be fun.
    • It’s always great to have some idea or vision of what you want your photo to look like, but sometimes things don’t always work out the way we plan. That’s fine. Go with the flow while trying to photograph your dog. If something’s not working, then take a break and try again, or maybe even try a different set up altogether. Remember, taking a festive photo of your dog is supposed to be fun! We take photos for entertainment and to  capture memories, so make this an enjoyable one. Sometimes the best photos are the ones taken that were never even planned.

So go forth and take some pictures!

Because, really, what is life without some fun pictures with our dogs?


Day 2 of 13 Days of Halloween (2017)

My favorite part of October and Halloween time (other than the weather finally being less than 90 degrees) is the decorations!

I love putting up decorations for Halloween and the Fall season. I mean, I could put up decorations to celebrate other holidays earlier in the year, but at this time of year I guess I feel more motivated to decorate and try my hand at crafty projects.

For instance, this year I put together this Maleficent-inspired wreath that I found here on the Disney Family website (along with many other cool DIY crafts for the holiday). I did make some modifications from the original design because I didn’t want to deal with spray painting the wreath black (it’s been way too windy where I live) or waiting for the paint to dry, and I used green and purple ribbon  instead of black and purple. In the end though, I like how my wreath turned out and it really wasn’t that hard to put together.


Simon and Rosee also provided me with much emotional support through this project.

Not to be outdone though, Rosee and Simon lent their paws to put up the rest of the decorations both inside and outside of the house.

Even George got in on the decorating fun…


Now all that’s left for Rosee and Simon is to take a nap!

Halloween decorating can be exhausting.

So what decorations do you enjoy putting up for Halloween or just for the Fall time? Do you like the creepy and crawly kind or the cute kind? Or perhaps the cute, creepy?


Also make sure you check back tomorrow for more Halloween and Fall inspired posts.