Halloween may be over, but the holiday season is just beginning!
And while I may not be quite ready for Christmas, I am definitely looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I mean there’s always great food, family, and I can’t forget about the pie. Even Simon and Rosee love Thanksgiving because it always means some extra special treats just for them. We all get to have a feast for the holiday.
So, in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday that is soon approaching (really, it’s only about 2 weeks away!) everyone, including both dogs and humans, here at Play Hard, Bark Often is going to share what we’re grateful for leading up to the big holiday.
To kick things off I have to say that I am grateful for Simon and Rosee. This year they both let me dress them up in multiple costumes for our 13 Days of Halloween celebration.
I mean, sure, they got a lot of treats out of it…
but overall I think I got the better end of the deal.
Move over jack-o-lanterns because pup-o-lanterns are all the rage this year!
I love my dogs and what better way to show off my love for them than to carve their face (or at least as close as I could) into a pumpkin for Halloween.
My pup-o-lantern may have started off as just a regular, orange pumpkin, but it definitely had a dream of being transformed into something special. All I needed was a pumpkin, a stencil, a small carving knife, a pumpkin shaver, some tape and a whole lot of determination.
To begin, I started by cutting off the top of my pumpkin and cleaning out the middle. Honestly, this part of the process is the longest and definitely most labor intensive as well. However, making sure that your pumpkin’s inside is clean is most important because you don’t want any stringy bits obscuring all your hard work.
Next, I taped my stencil to the front surface of my pumpkin and used my knife to make a shallow dotted line along the stencil lines so that I would know where exactly to cut. You could, of course, leave the stencil on while you carve your pumpkin, but this can be difficult since pumpkin juice can make your paper stencil rip and tear. I found a pit bull stencil off of the sheknows website, who kindly put together a slideshow of 19 printable dog patterns for carving. I did end up enlarging the stencil though, because otherwise a few of the lines were a little too close together for comfort.
Then I took my carving knife and carefully cut out all the sections that were cut out (the dark grey parts of the stencil), and continued on to shave the sections indicated (the light grey sections of the stencil). While I did use a fancy-ish carving knife and shaver, any knife should work. Although, I did find that a smaller, thinner knife did help me cut the more detailed areas easier.
Finally, all I had left to do was put in a couple LED electric candles in my pup-o-lantern and wait for the sun to set.
So, whether you are ambitious enough to use a stencil to carve your own pup-o-lantern or stick to simple shapes to make a basic face or paw print (because really that’s just a cluster of ovals), any pup-o-lantern is sure to be awesome!
Is there seriously anything more awesome than pumpkin this time of the year?
I mean, during the Fall season just about pumpkin-everything is available. From pumpkin spiced coffees, teas, flavored gums and candies, pancakes, and we can’t forget the giant refrigerated case at Costco that holds nothing but pumpkin pies. Then there are the numerous ways in which we can use pumpkins, whether it is for decorations inside and outside of the house, to make homemade pumpkin pies, and of course, there’s the classic use of pumpkins to create jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.
Yet, did you know that pumpkin can also be nutritious for our dogs?
Yes, in fact it seems that pumpkin mania doesn’t just have to be for us humans, and can be a nutritious snack for our dogs. For the most part, pumpkin is considered to be of good use for dogs with upset stomachs and tummy troubles. For instance, when either Rosee or Simon experience tummy troubles we feed them some plain cooked white rice and boiled chicken (as advised by our vet), however some dogs, like my brother’s dog Trigger, don’t handle grain very well and pumpkin can be a better option. Furthermore, pumpkin can be a good source of fiber, beta-carotene as well as numerous other vitamins and minerals that can be beneficial to our pups. Just remember it’s best used in moderation as a treat!
Plain canned pumpkin is the easiest way to provide your dogs with a tasty treat, but fresh pumpkin can be good too as long as you’re up for the challenge of cutting, cleaning, and storing it. Just make sure that any pumpkin you buy (at least in the canned form) is only plain pumpkin. Do not use pumpkin pie filling or any sort of spiced pumpkin mix since these other additives can further upset your dog’s stomach or even be toxic (for instance if the pumpkin pie filling contains xylitol).
I mean really, just when I thought I couldn’t love pumpkin anymore.
For even more information on pumpkin and the benefit for your dog make sure to check out the links below.
“You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal, Those patient Hufflepuffs are true And unafraid of toil”
From the Sorting Hat’s Song, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, pg. 118.
So, which Hogwarts school house has Simon found himself sorted into?
Clearly, Simon is not a Gryffindor. This is a dog that limps when he steps on tiny pebbles and whines when he gets a bath with only lukewarm water.
He is definitely not a Ravenclaw. He just doesn’t seem to have the patience or attention span to devote to learning. During every training class we ever took him to, he would tire out within minutes of starting exercises and then just refuse to do anything. It always drove me insane!
Similarly, he is no Slytherin. That dog may try to act strong and tough, but again it only lasts for about five minutes until the real boss comes to assess the situation—of course, I’m talking about Rosee here.
So, that leaves only one wonderful possibility: Simon is a Hufflepuff.
Certainly, Simon exemplifies most of the well-known Hufflepuff character traits. He is loyal, always sticking to his people. He is just and fair-minded, always looking so incredibly sad if Rosee gets a treat and he hasn’t (though the delay in treat is simply due to the few seconds it takes to get another treat of the bag). He is also extremely friendly, never having met a face he did not want to lick.
Simon is a true Hufflepuff, and the color of his coat, a sort of yellowish-brown, has already got him close to wearing Hufflepuff’s signature colors proudly day-in and day-out!
Seriously though, Simon loves everyone. He just wants to jump up and lick faces any chance he can get. Don’t get too low to the floor, because he’ll take advantage of your closeness and cover you with kisses!
Unlike his sister Rosee, Simon is very open and fair about his wants, likes, and play habits. If he wants his chew toy or bone, he simply sits in front of the container it is kept in and barks patiently for it. I’m pretty sure the boy doesn’t have a sneaky, clever bone in his body. And if he does . . . well, he’s not very good at keeping it concealed.
Simon also doesn’t mind a little hard work, always willing to take his humans out on increasingly longer walks—especially with the weather cooling down. Oh, how he loves his three mile walks every single day!
His loyalty and love for his humans knows no bounds. No matter how taxing his day has been, he is always waiting on the couch by the door for his humans to get home from being out playing all day. (Seriously, he wants to know what they’ve been doing all day without him!)
He is the perfect complement to his Slytherin sister Rosee, balancing out her slyness and determination with never-ending happiness and goodwill.
Now, if he could only get the Ravenclaws in the house to put down their books, and take him on even more walks . . .
Let’s face it…costumes are not for every dog, or even every human.
Sometimes we just want something that’s easy to put on our pets, no hassle, quick, and is fashionably festive without being over the top. As fun and silly as dog costumes can be, they can also be expensive, difficult or tricky to put on, or an unnecessary expense for just one day of the year. Then there are those dogs that just don’t enjoy playing dress up. Believe it or not, Rosee is not a fan of wearing a costume for too long. She’ll usually tolerate it for 15 minutes, but beyond that she’ll start rolling around on the ground until she gets off any and all clothing, or she’ll incite Simon into playing that ends with him pulling off the offending garment. She really can be scarily smart sometimes.
Never fear though, I have come up with a solution: festive holiday bandannas!
For most dogs, wearing a bandana is tolerable since they’re used to wearing a collar anyways, and they can be easy to make yourself. Now, while I do know that bandanas can be purchased, I have personally found it nearly impossible to find ones that actually fit around Rosee and Simon’s necks. Plus, the best part is that I have a way to make your dog a bandana that requires no sewing!
First what you’ll need is:
fabric adhesive tape
iron (if you use fabric adhesive that requires one)
What you need to do:
Measure the neck of your dog so you know exactly how wide to cut the top of the bandana
Sketch out a basic outline for the bandana on the backside of your material using a pencil/marker
the shape is simply a triangle with flaps of material left on each end
make sure you leave at least 1/2 inch extra to your outline for the hem
repeat this step, so you’ll now have two pieces of fabric in your basic bandana shape
Line your two pieces of fabric up so that the patterned side is on the inside
Starting with the outer edge of the triangle cut your fabric adhesive to size and place it on the inside or patterned side of your fabric of the bottom piece of fabric
I used fabric adhesive that is activated by an iron and found it worked great, but there is another kind that doesn’t require an iron and while it does work it can be tricky to peel the backing off
basically, the fabric adhesive will be sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric
Lay the top layer of fabric on top of the adhesive and bottom fabric and iron
let the hem cool for at least a few seconds so it sets before moving on
Repeat the previous two step on the other side of the triangle, the flaps on each end, and the top but make sure to leave about a 2-3 inch opening at the top
Through the opening pull through the fabric (so you turn it right side out) with the pattern on the outside
Cut some adhesive to the size of the opening and fit it along the inside and carefully iron closed
Attach some velcro to each flap on the end of the bandana
I did put fabric adhesive (the non-iron kind) behind the velcro to help it stick better
Put your creation on your dog and you’re done!
Ultimately, I love having holiday-themed bandanas for Simon and Rosee and they love wearing them because they are easy to put on and can be worn anytime or anywhere. It’s a great way to show off their love for Halloween all month long!