Monday, June 29, 2009

Dog Park Cliques

Entrance of Dog Park
While I should be thanking my lucky stars we have such a gorgeous dog park up the street from our house I find myself lamenting like a junior high student that my dogs and I just "don't fit in". Our local park district has done a dandy job of providing 36 acres of completely fenced doggie nirvana. We really have it all - over 2 acres of mowed flat areas of grass to throw a ball in or frolic with other happy dogs. Picnic tables, free doo-doo bags and sealed containers to dispose them in, water fountains and 34 acres of trails to explore, some dirt, some mowed. In addition to niceties like the Port-O-Potty for people who can't hold it the forest preserve staff even puts up little signs to alert you there is mud on some areas of the trails. When I see the sign I immediately find the muddiest dog in the double gate system leaving and ask the guardian where they had ventured, we then stay clear of that region if possible. This weekend a Spinone with a look of delight who had mud dripping from every hair was our indication to not head anywhere west of the ball playing field.

Fiona heading opposite of trail

So why do I turn into the 13 year old with braces that nobody wants to dance with at the dog park? Well - I just don't fit into any of the cliques. You see I take Caelan and Fiona to the dog park and within 5 minutes we become socially retarded from other dogs and dog guardians. First strike against us is that my dogs do not want to play with any other dogs. They are friendly with other dogs who approach them, but they have no time to mingle. While other dogs all greet each other with play bows and butt sniffs on the ball field and cavort my dogs act like they could care less. They have never even stepped paw on the lovely flat grassy areas. My dogs upon having their leashes removed take off like bats out of hell. They do not scamper over to the nicely mowed flat grassy area, they do not stride along one of the nicely carved walking trails. No, my spazzy dogs head into the overgrown brush like prison escapees looking for the fence line. Yes, 36 freakin' acres of land to RUN FREE in and my setter's first thoughts are "hmmmm, how do I escape out of here? Let me run along the fence line looking for a way out!"
Caelan taking off like a wild banshee dog

So while other dog guardians...I call them the "Popular Clique" gather at a picnic table to casually watch their dog's play on the grassy flat area I am already in panic mode that my dogs will find the one hole in the 36 acre fence line and I am off after them. The Popular Clique folks laugh and socialize, share witty dog stories and look beautiful and relaxed. They clutch cups of Starbucks in their hands and their dogs come to them when called. I hate them.
Alex in a high meadow looking for Fiona

Meanwhile my husband and I have become bounty hunters. We take off in opposite directions because of coarse Fiona and Caelan split up as soon as they take flight. We have leashes hanging around our necks in the event of capture and we use our cell phones walkie-talkie style to update one another on the dog's whereabouts "Alex, Alex, come in! I think I see Caelan's tail over that hilltop! Over and Out."
As we canvas the dog park we inevitably meet up with some of the other Cliques. There is always a "Sporty Clique" member along one of the trails. You know them. A person jogging with a Viszla along their side while wearing an Ipod. So obedient is their dog that this clique-ster can even listen to music and get some fitness in with their dog park visit. The only sound I am listening to is perhaps the faint jingle of a collar tag in the expansive meadow in front of that Fiona? Let me listen carefully again...
While calling out the dog's names in vain it seems we always stumble upon my favorite clique "The-Brainiac-Dog-Know-It-All" Oh, those who frequent dog parks know this clique member well. They know everything. They know way more than you about everything dog. They know if you just properly taught your dog hand signals for the recall command you wouldn't be in this mess right now. They almost always have a fanny pack on filled with liver treats. They look at you like you are the stupidest person in the world trying to find your dog at the off leash park. While the "Popular" and "Sporty" Cliques may or may not have their official dog park pass on them at the moment, the "Brainiac-Dog-Know-It-All" not only has their dog park pass on them - they are displaying it proudly on a lanyard around their neck. Their dogs not only listen and follow commands but they do so in 3 languages, are certified therapy dogs, canine good citizens and have so many agility and fly ball awards they are creating a new level of expert for them to compete in. The "Brainiac-Dog-Know-It-All" offers to use their own dog to find yours as of coarse their dog is also certified in search and rescue and just last week dragged some orphan kittens from a burning building.
So like the dog park dork that I am I keep trekking until I find one of the dogs. Sometimes they are so locked on a bird or bunny I can sneak up behind them and snap a leash on. Other times they need to be rescued like when Alex found Caelan in a ravine encircled by a pricker bush. The dogs are always deliriously happy, their tongues splayed out of one side of their mouth and their eyes glazed over in a euphoric bird dog trance. Alex and I rendevous at the entrance gate where it is determined we are all equally exhausted.

Fiona looking for signs of life in the brush
One may think I just need to train the dear setters a little better to avoid this, perhaps bringing them to the park more so they are not such wild banshees? Good theory but in 3 years of bringing Fiona and Caelan every time is like the first time...leash comes undone and they are OFF!
The same theory applies to me as well I suppose. Like that 13 year old who does not fit in with the other teenagers my hope springs eternal that one day I will be like those"Popular"
dog guardians. I want to sip my Starbucks while my dog calmly follows me around the off leash park. Until then I will wade in the waist high grass yelling "FIONA!" and hope that not too many other people notice me.

Fiona and Caelan acting like they have never heard their names called before

Friday, June 26, 2009

This Week's Friend of Fiona is...Addy Mae!

Look at those ears and sweet face! We just think you are so lovely Addy and we adore you even more since you are a lucky rescue gal like Fiona! We couldn't help but be smitten by your good looks and Lucky Fiona Feedsack Custom collar and henceforth have named you this week's photo contest winner! Tell your Dogmom to contact us with your free pick of any collar from our shop. Remember~New email:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cool Treats for Hot Dogs

It's been a tad bit sweltering here in Chicagoland the last few days with temps in the 90's and heat indexes in the 100's. We went from an early June where we had lots of 70 degree days and grumbling of "when is summer ever coming?" to BOOM! SUMMER IS HERE! Now start sweating.
One sure way to keep my setters cool is a little Pup-sicle action in the back yard. Kool-Dogz is a handy little product ~ just add water and things dogs like and freeze the handy mold, pop it on the metal stake included and fun ensues! Backyard Dog-sicle Time! (to get one for your lucky pooch try or Fiona, Dugan and Caelan like theirs with some Kong Toys, a marrow bone, baby carrots and today... fresh sliced peaches. (what was handy in the fridge) Great way to chill out and give your dogs something cold and fun to work on in the yard. In the very least it kept Fiona entertained and out of my plants for a few hours. Her pursuit of a bunny on the other side of the fence resulted in some uprooted Sea Oat grass and the demise of my brand new Trumpet Flower plant yesterday. I don't think the garden center takes back destroyed plants due to setter digging, although I'd gladly shop at any store that would include that in their purchase guarantee!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sleeps with Dogs

Recently I was chatting with a dear friend who was discussing her inability to sleep with a dog next to her in a bed. Now she likes dogs - she is a dog lover, let's dispel any thought otherwise. But the thought of a four pawed creature in the bed with her gives her the heebie-jeebies and keeps her awake. A few weeks ago she and her spouse were pet sitting for her sister and she actually left her husband in bed with the dog to go to the guestroom for the night.
How bizarre, no?
I can't sleep without a dog in my bed! It seems unusual not to be contorted in some unusual pretzel shape to accommodate the dog. After all their comfort is what's most important. I am very confident in the fact that all my dogs truly believe the bed is theirs and out of the kindness of their big setter hearts they allow my husband and I to snooze there on occasion.
Sleeping with dogs is nothing new to me. Oh - I've slept around with many a dog. It started early with me. Our family dog Sparky (a setter mix ironically) slept in front of and under my crib according to my parents. He couldn't get close enough to me as a sleeping infant I am told. As a youngster it was a badge of honor that of all the beds in our house of 4 kids and 2 parents our Cockapoo named Boo slept with me. No small feat on my part in the summer when I slept in the converted attic with no air conditioning and a furry four pawed heater snuggled up close to me.
When I moved out and couldn't have a dog in my first apartment I got Henri the cat and she nicely filled the role of creature to snuggle with at night. My husband quickly learned the art form of having no blankets and leg cramps with our first dog together. Fergus was especially skilled at taking up 3/4 of the bed with a patented Head-On-the-Pillow-Labrador-Sprawl that kept Alex and I perched off the very edge of the bed shivering with no covers nightly.
Through the years I have taken classes and read books and had trainers give the sermon of "No Dog in the Bed" (da-da-dum) "Dogs won't respect you as the BOSS and alpha if you sleep with them!" While this is probably true in the world of wiser dog folks than I, it is something I just can't get behind. I think it just bonds you closer to your dog. So there...I said it. Sue me.
Since I was a little girl there has been a comfort to having a dog or cat near me as I drifted to sleep. As a little girl Boo listened to my secrets and stood by me through nightmares - I'd often wake up to touch his curly coat to feel secure enough to go back to sleep. As a young singleton it was nice having something sleeping with me that would indeed love and respect me the next day. I wish I could say the same for all entrants to my bed during that phase.
Adulthood and marriage has led a trail of dogs and cats to my bed which my husband has embraced with good humor and chagrin. When Alex was enlisted in the Navy and out to sea for months on end I would have shriveled up in sadness not to have a snoring dog near and making me feel not so alone. Even now when Alex works an off shift or is out of town it is a treat to have 3 dogs lounging on my Posturpedic all night.
We currently have a revolving door schedule with dogs and cats on the bed. Dugan usually sleeps down on the living room couch all night or the guest room. Ever the watch dog, he seems to like to have view of the front of the house for us. God knows if a rabbit enters the neighbors front yard at 2:00a.m. we will need to be immediately alerted! Brody the cat enters the bed with Alex for some purr time as he reads nightly and then leaves. Caelan and Fiona also start on the bed each evening with Alex and leave when I enter. Don't think Alex doesn't snicker with pride when his little Caelan (our female Irish setter) gives me a dramatic sigh and snort when I tell her to move out of my spot when climbing into bed. Somewhere in the middle of the night Caelan sneaks back on the bed to be close to Alex. Sully the Siamese perches on my head every night until I fall asleep and then he goes off to do whatever cats do running all over the house at night. When Alex gets up very early for work Caelan deserts me like the shrew she is and Fiona comes back on the bed from her dog bed in our room for snuggles and setter snores. Then around 6:30a.m. Dugan hops up to start the slow creep to my face where the licking begins to wake me up for breakfast duties. Unlike my alarm clock, the fully automatic and self charging Dugan-Irish Setter-Awakening-System has no snooze button no matter how many times I roll over and cover my head with the duvet. I've tried tapping his head like a snooze button but he doesn't turn off damn it.
Yes, I wash my linens, yes I bathe my dogs. No, we don't have a bad tick problem here in the Midwest and yes they use flea/tick protection religiously. Not that any of it matters. My name is Shannon and I sleep with dogs.

Friday, June 19, 2009

This Week's Friend of Fiona is...Ginger!

Fiona is simply BIG TIME impressed how still and calm Ginger is being in this canoe while paddling down the St. Croix River in her Lucky Fiona Custom "Kelly" collar. Not even a thought of tipping that canoe...what a good dog Ginger is while looking stylish to boot!
We love this shot and are hoping to see more and more of Lucky Fiona dogs and cats out enjoying summer in their collars.
Ginger's DogMom needs to contact us with a pick of a free custom collar for darling Ginger for being this week's Official Friend of Fiona! Remember - NEW EMAIL address:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

DoggieRidin' In Style

Hello Fiona!
It's been too long since I've had any time to write you. I've been staying very busy with work, it's not easy going to school and having kids pet you all day! But, now it's summer, so I finally have the chance to write you, Fiona! I think this is going to be the best summer I've had yet! It's already starting out great! I've included some pictures of what my mom and I do almost everyday, biking! My mom is so cool! She bought me a doggyride so that I can go with her everywhere! We have gone to the store, the park, friends houses, and her graduate classes! I just love it! My mom is super fast, it's almost better than riding in the truck! I wonder Fiona, have you ever ridden in a doggyride? If you haven't, I want to caution your mom to take the corners slow, my mom dumped the trailer with her on the bike with me behind! We are both okay, but it was really scary when we crashed. My mom has learned a lot since then, so now we are able to ride saftely in style! If you ever come out West, let me know, and we can go for a ride, I promise my mom won't crash! I can also introduce you to all my students that I work with at school! They love dogs, especially cute ones like you and myself! I hope your summer is treating you good! I look forward to hearing back to you!
Your Friend,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cats in Collars Chowing Down!

Thanks to Kim for sending in this awesome picture to our Facebook group photo album!
From left, the girls in their Lucky Fiona collars: Lily in her Happy Spot, Mia in her Seamus, and Callie in her Boo. (They're all in their happy spot, since it's suppertime!) March 2009
Haven't joined out Facebook group yet? Just go to groups and list "Friends of Fiona" to sign in!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Attention all Moms of Furred and Non-Furred Children! Ever worry that you are not properly coordinating your dog or cat's collar with your little human? Well ElephanToes has the answer! Artist Marcy B. makes gorgeous custom baby gear with intricate embroidery and fabric details. Check out her work and make your kids the talk of the neighborhood. Lucky Fiona is happy to recycle many of our fabric scraps to Marcy's workshop and she uses them along with her creative stock of fabrics to make incredible custom onesies, burp cloths, blankies, etc. Have a Lucky Fiona Collar and would like to have a matching kid's piece done? Contact Marcy for availability!
phone: 630-340-4825
photo gallery of my work:
Elephantoes blog:
Lyla loves to Match Moxon!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lucky Fiona Street Team Braves Tri-Athletes

Alex and I with new Team Shirts & Fiona, Caelan & Dugan at Naperville Riverwalk

Taking it to the Streets Again and not feeling inadequate at all as female triathletes jog by us with well toned bodies. - Sunday 6/14
We were few in numbers due to yesterday's rain-out, but the Lucky Fiona Street Team could not be squelched by poor weather and re-schedules! Little did we know when rescheduling yesterday's rain-out that this morning in downtown Naperville was a Woman's Triathlon. But street closures and race officials yelling "Step aside with your dogs! Runner's coming through!" could not stop us from taking the Riverwalk by storm with our new Lucky Fiona Street Team Tee Shirts! Heck yeah we took over the streets - that's what our doggie street gang does best!
Thanks to Marcy B. (Dogmom to Moxie Green Paws) for bringing a camera and sending me pictures to share. Apparently I as not specific enough when I told my husband to grab the camera this morning. You see the camera was sitting directly under the battery charger plugged into the wall and in man world I did not tell him to take the battery off the charger and insert it into camera. I just said "bring the camera". So the fact the camera had no battery when I went to take pictures was my fault. Husbands. Sigh.
We look forward to great weather and our full team on our next meeting which is Saturday July 11th at 10:30a.m. at the Dandelion Fountain in Downtown Naperville. Mark your calendars!
*Lyla Our Youngest Street Team Member had her own T-Shirt made to match her dog's collar - for details on this see tomorrow's blog!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This Week's Friend of Fiona is...Lola!

Lola-La-La-La-La-Lola! We just love singing Lola's name so she was a shoo-in for this week's winning photo! She is one stylish Shiba Inu (another word we like to say repeatedly) in her Slice It Up custom Lucky Fiona collar. If her Dogmom can take a moment from fawning over the Lovely Lola we invite her to contact us with her pick of a FREE custom collar from our shop for sending in this week's winner! Note to her and all our other friends- we have a NEW email address:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to Exhaust an English Setter in 2 Easy Steps

Step #1 - Go to the Groomer
Step #2 - Bring Home from Groomer

It always amazes me the energy level of my setters. For those without setters try to imagine a really hyperactive child after you fill it up with soda and pixie sticks. I can walk Fiona multiple times a day and let her run off leash at the dog park and she'll still challenge me at the end of the day like "That's all you got lady? Well I am going to run around the yard for awhile while you sit on your lazy duff and think of more ways to tire me out."
Hence it is always a pleasure to get her groomed. Besides the obvious reasons like she smells real swell , I also love the fact she is completely sacked out after a visit to Katie at Heads to Tails. I don't know if it the hair bows that put her over edge or the sudsy oatmeal shampoo but she is zonked out every time I bring her home from the groom shop.
I think the core of the matter is my darling Fiona is really not too much of a girly girl. Being glamified at the salon is both emotionally and physically exhausting for the dog who would think nothing of using clumps of mud in her ear hair as accessories instead of bows. Unlike her Irish Setter sister Caelan, Fiona is not prim and proper. Even when I brush her at home in a vain attempt to keep her looking spiffy she immediately goes and rolls in the grass or on the carpet to get the "neat" off of her. She is repulsed by the lavender freshening spray I use and runs at first sight of the bottle as if I am attempting to poison her. If I was ever trapped on a deserted island with her I am pretty sure I could start a rescue fire simply using the objects found matted in her fur. There is always sticks, dry leaves, burrs, and other yard waste clinging to her for dear life. We won't talk about her affinity for mud or the fact she seems completely unaware when she is covered in it or the fact I do not want it on my couch.
In sharp contrast Caelan loves to be brushed. She steps daintily in the dewy grass so as not to get too wet and muss up her fur. If she gets a stick in her coat she will limp and whine until it is removed it is so disturbing to her. She will literally bark and rat out Fiona when she is digging in the mud. I don't know what she finds most offensive, the fact Fiona is trying to tunnel her way out of the yard or that she is most certainly clumping mud under her perfectly dremmeled nails.
I guess any Dogmom would have to make peace with the fact her girl dog with the elegant and feminine name of Fiona is at heart a messy tomboy who prefers mud to pink accessories. I just am happy to have found to secret to making her sleep so soundly...a day of beauty.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Life Truly IS a Bowl of Cherries!

FREE Collar Offer - Limited time only...until supplies run out!
FREE Black Cherry Dribble or Cherry Jubillee Collar with ANY Purchase.
Simply purchase any other item in our shop and list in NOTES section your choice of a Black Cherry or Cherry Jubillee Dog or Cat collar and we'll include it with your order. One FREE collar per household. Martingale and Extra Wide surcharges apply. No wholesale please. Convo or email with any questions. While supplies last!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Puppy Grows Up...Teddy is 1!

Where did time go? He was just a little puppers baby and now he is big grown up boy. Sigh. Our favorite Rhodesian Teddy turned 1 yesterday. In honor of his big birthday we are offering a deal in the Etsy shop this week.
TODAY'S DEAL! Buy 3 Get 1 Free! Any Style - Whoo-hooo! Simply Purchase any 3 Collars in your Cart and List in Notes section your choice of a 4th FREE DOG OR CAT COLLAR! Martingale and extra wide width charges still apply. No wholesale please.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

This Week's Official Friend of Fiona is... Macy!

Oh Macy...are you the cutest wrinkly-jowly baby Mastiff we have ever seen! We just want to smoosh those flews of yours and don't even mind if you slobber on us your face is so sweet! At 7 months old Macy is just a puppy but look how fashionable of a youngster she is with her Lucky Fiona Lotus collar! (not shown is the matching leash Macy has, but trust me it is fabulous too) And that regal and grand. We know you still have some growing to do dear Macy but have your Dogmom contact us with your pick of a free custom Lucky Fiona collar for sending in your photos and for being this week's official winner!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Who Says You Can't Go Home Again after Flying the Coop?

I had planned on writing a simple and sweet entry today about my new vinyl wall art I purchased on Etsy. I absolutely love my custom design from See! I have a bird in my family room. (insert ironic foreshadowing here)
Of coarse the creatures of our home had another plan for today's blog entry. It all started this morning...
I awoke at 6:45a.m. and immediately noticed that no dogs had woke me up. Not a good sign as usually the whining for breakfast starts at this time. Dugan has had an upset stomach the past 2 days and had me up a few times in the middle of the night to go outside, so I thought perhaps he was sleeping in later to catch up. I would.
But of coarse in a dog's mind the avoidance of normal routines means something else. I stepped down the stairs and the glorious smell and sight of doggie diarrhea greeted me. My living room was toxic...hence the quiet on the western front.
On auto-pilot I rolled out the steam cleaner and for the next 35 minutes detoxed the living room. The last 15 minutes of mass clean-up the dogs all decided they then wanted breakfast. Whining, pacing and head butting me as I tended to the carpet just in case I had forgotten my real purpose in the morning...feeding them. I opened the doggie door and told them to go sniff around and leave me alone so I could finish my cleaning in peace. Seeming like a good option at the moment they all went outside.
I cleaned out the steam cleaner tank and set it aside to dry. I then lined the 3 dog food bowls and 2 cat bowls and proceeded to fill them with their appropriate food. Before I could even call the dogs inside a shrill shrieking sound made me jump in my socks and the sound of a comedic multi-dog and cat chase through the doggie door into my family room followed.
Brody our 2 year old cat had Robin-Baby in her mouth. The source of the shrieking. She darted across the family room and into the kitchen with wings flapping from her mouth. She was followed by Fiona, Caelan and Dugan in hot pursuit. I screamed "Drop it" and amazingly Brody did, not out of compliance to my request but probably because I scared the bejeeses out of her with my high pitched scream. She ran upstairs in fear. The dogs circled the bird in the kitchen like it was the most exciting thing that has ever happened in our house. Fiona, God love her, pointed.
I hauled Caelan and Fiona by their collars into the laundry room and shut the door. Dugan remained at attention as I hauled him into the living room and put the baby gate up. I should mention Sully my Siamese cat sat in the family room on the ottoman interested in what was going on but unmoved. He's so zen.
Robin-Baby was zig-zagging across my family room. I opened the sliding glass door wide and he passed it about 4 times. I attempted to steer him towards the door several times like a cowboy rustling cattle but he just kept buzzing past it chirping shrilly. He then chilled under my computer desk and in the corner near the doggie door alternately. I snapped a few pictures and let heart rates slow down a bit. His and mine.

I went back in my mind to my limited experience with parrots at the vet hospital I worked at and recalled we wrapped them in towels for procedures. I grabbed an old beach towel from the muddy paw basket near the doggie door and gently wrapped Robin-baby in it. He stopped squawking and for a moment seemed to trust the one thing this morning that didn't want to eat him.
I grabbed the key to the gate and took Robin-Baby outside and into the front yard and he let out a few chirps from inside my towel. The Robin parents perched in my front elm tree started nervously twittering in response. To thank me for saving their lone offspring (not for the first time might I add) they proceeded to dive bomb my head. I ducked like a soldier getting fired upon and furled open the towel. Robin-Baby hopped out and nervously headed over to the shrub line. Not even a "thank you" mind you.
Hence the excitement of the morning was over and I could go back to my day. I got back inside and surprised Dugan who had knocked over the baby gate and was finishing the last bowl of food from the counter. Yes, the dog with digestive upset and diarrhea ate all 3 dog bowls and 2 cat bowls of food.
I'm keeping the steam cleaner out. I also hope my decorative wall art bird is the only bird I'll see in the family room for awhile.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

They All Leave the Nest Sometime...

A message from Fiona...
My Friends ~
Well, it had to happen. My Dogmom told me it would, but it doesn't make it any easier I'm afraid. I've been watching the Robin's nest for weeks now. I've created a cozy little area to lay in and keep my patrol. It didn't start out that way, but once I trampled some hostas beyond recognition and kicked all the mulch around and killed the grass it was really a nice play to lounge all day. I think it looks a lot better but my Dogmom thinks not, apparently she knows nothing about the comfort level of an English Setter.
Yesterday I ran outside after I ate my breakfast and on auto-pilot I headed over to my corner to start my patrol. I was saddened to see my little Robin-baby was gone! The rubber neck with a beak has been changing every day, dare I say getting better looking...and now gone. Flown the coop so to speak...literally.
Woe is me. What will I do all day? I was so dedicated to my post and now I've been downsized because Robin-baby learned to fly. I know in this economy I am not alone in being unemployed, but Robins nest seasonally! It could be next spring before I get another nest to patrol!
A Pointing Bird Dog with Nobody to Point At

My Robin-baby is hanging out in the front yard now. My Dogmom got a picture of him next to our fountain yesterday morning. Looks better with feathers, right?

Monday, June 1, 2009

We love a rave & pictures to go with it!

Thanks so much, Shannon. I just wanted to share some photos of Ellis looking awesome in her Feedsack collar and leash. We love it!