Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Canine by Design

A recent knee injury has taken me from walking my pooches to putting me in front of the television a bit more than usual and I find myself just a wee bit addicted to HGTV. (Home and Garden Television for the 2 people out there that are not yet addicted) There is a design DYI show for just about every design problem a boy or gal could have! Afraid of color? They can help put color in your home! Have no money? Heck they can design on a dime or re-purpose things from other rooms for you. Need to fit 3 kids in one bedroom? Hell - they'll instruct you how to build space saving pods that suspend from the ceiling for sleeping.
Oh yes, they tackle it all...except I have found they fall a little short in the true design dilemma us Dogmoms face. How to get your home to not look like animals have taken over. I was giggling at a makeover interior design team that "incorporated" the family dog into a living room design the other day on a program. They took some of the drape fabric they used and made a matching dog bed they trimmed with marabou feathers for a "Hollywood Glamour" living room theme they designed. The dog was a labrador. I was yelling at the tv with two obvious design flaws. First off that lab is going to shred those feathers quicker than you can say "hunting breed". Secondly the fabric did not look washable and they made the freakin dog pillow as one sewn piece, not a removable cover. Rookies. One trip out in the mud one dewy morning and that bed is toast.
The garden shows are no better. I don't need to know how to plant dainty succulents between flagstone for texture on my walkways. I need to know what besides astroturf or cement will hold up on the area where the dogs leap off the deck and tear up the grass. I need to know what perennials will hold up to a 40 pound english setter laying on them like a blanket waiting for birds all afternoon.
If they had a show on how to camouflage holes that dogs dig by making herb gardens in the craters I would set my Tivo.
My whole house is designed around the four paw creatures that inhabit it. I think this is where true creative genius comes into play. Slipcovers on couches and chairs are not so much a nod to farmhouse casual, but a necessary evil with shedding dogs. My flooring is an homage to Pergo and it's non scratching surface. Carpeting to me is like Gladware containers. Sure it can used for awhile, but essentially it will become disposable so I am not investing a ton of money or fondness to it. I don't care what your carpet sales guy tells you, any brand or type will be disintegrated by dogs eventually. Put your money into a good steam cleaner and accept you'll have to replace it sooner than later. You show me a home with more than one dog and I guarantee there is a skillfully placed throw rug somewhere covering a dog-caused flooring blemish. Show me a home with a cat with intact claws and I'll show you a piece of furniture turned towards the wall to hide evidence of shredding. I know all the secrets.
My Mother-in-law's recently redesigned living room is like one of those rooms in a 1960's spy movie that converts with a touch of a button. It looks one way but is really not that way at all underneath it all. Safeguarded from her cats and their hair and claws with various booby-trapped gates and heavy slipcovers and sheets, it takes a masters degree to enter the zone or figure out how to uncover the furniture. Sadly in her efforts to keep the cats out of this room and keep it pristine she has inadvertently barred humans from entering. Or perhaps that was the intent all along with the cats being scapegoats. At any rate the room's Ethan Allen loveliness can only be enjoyed on holidays and special occasions. The front door is clicking as the last guest leaves and my Mom-in-law is already resurrecting the fortress and covering the furniture.
I just don't have that type of zeal I suppose.
I think there should be a show to demonstrate how to convert your animal destroyed home & yard into chic design. Let's say your puppy chews all the lower rungs on your wooden kitchen chairs? Well I say break out the sandpaper and chisel and damage the rest of the chair to create a primitive style wood effect. Cat has eaten your house plant down to nothing? Re-pot it into an Asian inspired container for a minimalist zen effect. Nothing says up-cycling like re- purposing the couch your Viszla ate by making the couch cushions into fun floor pillows. I also think a show on 50 ways to hide dog carpet stains using properties of feng shui would be a must-watch. Outside? Yellow spots on the lawn could be coordinated with croquet hoops as markers that you needed to "highlight" for ease of the game. Aren't you clever?
I have to go now as I have to figure out what design aesthetic I can attribute to the front curtains Caelan chewed in her frenzy to announce the garbage man was on our cul-de-sac. I'm thinking shabby-chic.

Monday, July 27, 2009

This Week's Friend of Fiona is Ellie!

Fiona loves this week's winner Ellie because she not only does she look fabulous in her Lucky Fiona "Ted" collar but look how artistic this photo is! The dramatic leading lines and artsy shadow make this not the average photo entry... it's a piece of art! (kind of like every Lucky Fiona Collar) At any rate, if Ellie's Dogmom can break away from creating masterpieces we need her to contact us with her pick of a FREE custom collar for submitting this photo and being our weekly winner. Send your photo submissions to:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How did I not know this?

Just when I was getting all smug in my "all things dog" knowledge I find out that you can get a "Puppacino" from Starbucks for your dog! How did I survive on this planet without knowing this vital information? More importantly how can I fit all 3 setters in my car without a dog-fight ensuing as they enjoy their Puppacinos?
A special thanks to Dogmom Lisa and Friend of Fiona Mabel the Pug for letting me in on this dog-worthy treat. It is fresh whipped cream in a little cup and sure to make your pooch extra appreciative next time you go through the drive-thru. As you can see from the photos of our dear Mabel it does make a dog as happy as the average person going to Starbucks to enjoy an apple chai soy latte. I thought I was the only one who dreamed with the little Starbucks logo over my head!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We love a Rave...

Dear Lucky Fiona,
Last year you asked for a photo of our special girl. We got crazy busy and I am terrible at computer stuff so you are just now getting it. We have loved our collar, sorry it does not show better in the picture. You were so faithful and thoughtful when you sent it to us.{ It was slow in the mail and you made a second one just in case} It is really dirty and worn now but has been beautiful. I sure hope I am able to get a new one soon for her. She is such a precious dog just as I know your setters are. Hope to revisit your blog again soon. Thanks for putting lots of love in your work!!
Tracy Langgle

Monday, July 20, 2009

This Week's Friend of Fiona is Taylor!

She's a lovely little Iggie and we think she looks fabulous in her Lemon Sorbet Custom Martingale Lucky Fiona Collar. (say that five times fast!) Taylor is a recent rescue and we think she is lucky indeed to have found a forever home. We invite her new Dogmom to contact us for a free custom collar for being this week's photo contest winner!
As always, contact us at: and check out our new site:

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's My Dog-Pool Party and I'll Cry if I want to...

It's July and the sun is warm and nothing says cool and refreshing like a dip in the old back yard pool. At least that was my thinking the other day when I hosted some of the dogs I nanny over to my house for a good old fashioned summer pool party!

You see back in the day when I lived in Seattle my favorite thing to do was to walk our lab Fergus and our first Irish Setter Seamus down to the bay near our house and watch them swim. Oh I couldn't keep those dogs out of the water! Sadly here in the Chicago suburbs there are not too many options for dog paddling for my setters. Most of the man-made lakes in our area subdivisions are pretty to look at but chemically treated. Chicago does have a dog beach on Lake Michigan but it is kind of a hike from our home in the Western suburbs. So to bring a little water fun to my hounds and their guests I set up a kiddie pool in the back yard. A kiddie pool I forced my husband to purchase last weekend from the local garden center where he cryptically announced to the cashier "this is the stupidest waste of money we've spent on the dogs yet!"

So last Wednesday our doggie pals Riley the Yorkie and Charlie the Terrier came over to our house for the day. I waited at least an hour after they ate lunch (as per swimming law) before filling the pool. I ran the dogs around the yard with a ball to get them all hot and ready to hit the waves. I threw some floaty toys in the pool and I grabbed my camera and announced "It's a Pool Party! Whooo-hooo!" and waited for the fun to begin. And, umm, waited.

Dugan whined at the sliding door wanting back inside the house to be in the comfort of the central air.

Fiona sprawled out under the shade of a bench on the deck and watched for birds.

Caelan went to the other side of the yard to chase her own shadow.
Riley found a comfy place to lay on my outdoor love seat and started sleeping.
Charlie rolled on his back on the deck and sunned his tummy with a content look on his snout.

I stood in the pool barefoot and hopeful. I splashed around and again invited all to come in and join the fun the pool had to offer! Yipppeeee! Nothing. I even reminded all the dogs how damn lucky they were to have a crazy lady throwing them a doggie pool party! (I know, I know, Catholic guilt does not work on dogs, but I was desperate!)
5 dogs in the afternoon heat ignored me completely and I was again thankful for my 7 foot privacy fence because if anybody else could see this pathetic display I would surely be embarrassed.

10 minutes later I ducked back in the house (dodging Dugan who was desperate to get back into the AC) and returned to the pool with Organic Chicken Treats. 5 dogs immediately gathered with renewed interest.
I stepped back into the pool and invited some fellow swimmers to join me! Nothing. All eyes were on the chicken treats. So I tossed them in the pool. For the next 5 minutes all the dogs took turns trying their damnedest to get the treats without actually getting any part of their body wet. It was like a giant canine game of Operation where if any part of your body hit water it would buzz and you'd lose. There was stretching and whining and circling of the pool, but no getting in it. The lengths these dogs went through to avoid getting their paws wet was the entertainment of the afternoon.

I finally lifted the terriers in the water completely and they stood looking at me like I was torturing them on a strange Japanese game show and sprung out of the water.

While I can forgive our little dog guests my setters have no excuses...they were bred to swim damn it. Fiona acted like I was dipping her front paws in battery acid and upon seeing this forced entry of water Dugan hid behind my storage shed not wanting to be next. Caelan stood in the water and daintily lifted her paws alternately like the water would somehow go away if she did not have all four paws down at the same time.
So much for cool water splashing and yapping and doggie pool party fun and summer memories. Sigh. I guess you can lead a pack of dogs to water, but you can't make them swim.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

News Hound

I have a strange fascination with reading the local police blotter. Always have. In fact I sometimes even log in online to read my hometown NY newspaper's "Police Beat" just for hoots. Yes, I have not lived in NY for 15 years, but hope springs eternal that somebody I may know will show up on the Police Beat. I know, I really need to get a little less time on my hands.
So you will understand why the following police report headline caught my eye in the local-yocal Chicago suburban news rag that gets plopped on my driveway for free every Thursday:
I quickly summoned all my setters around to point out this exciting police blotter tidbit. I was hoping to perhaps scare some of them straight - Dugan looked a little uncomfortable at me announcing this headline with such glee. Fact being that in his 10 years of counter surfing and sandwich stealing he could be looking at some serious time in the clink for his past crimes.
I went on to read the story and learned that in fact no dogs were doing any jail time for sandwich thievery. Sigh.
The real story behind this headline was a 30 year old man was under felony arrest for beating his dog with a broom after the dog ate the sandwich he just made. The battery charge was not for what he did to the poor dog, but for him using the same broom to beat a woman who was attempting to stop him from hurting the dog any further. The article pointed out the woman did pull the dog out of the house and to safety before calling 911.
I have so many questions...I guess this is part of my perverse fascination with the police report. Like, why wasn't he charged with animal cruelty? What kind of idiot is this guy to harm a dog and a person trying to prevent animal abuse? What kind of dog was it? (because if it was a setter the guy should just know they are instinctually designed to sneak food away from you) Did the dumbass leave the sandwich somewhere stupid that the dog had easy access to it? What kind of sandwich was it to fuel such fury? I'm thinking it had to be a meatball or really good chicken parm, something the poor dog couldn't help himself over.
Also - who was this hero woman who risked her own personal safety to pull the dog to safety? I want to have a parade for this lady! I want to name a street after her and shower her with confetti and ticker tape.
So many questions, so many scenarios. This is why I love the police blotter.
I don't mean to make light of such a serious matter either, and I am happy that the dog had a angel watching over him to get him to safety and get that bastard arrested. Still, I think the newspaper editors could have picked a better headline... if dogs could ever get arrested for stealing sandwiches I have some nice reward money coming my way for turning in culprits.

Monday, July 13, 2009

This Week's Friends of Fiona are Tea & Toni

Oh lovely pooches...we are so happy to announce the two of you are first Official Friends of Fiona on our recently updated Blogsite! While you both are looking so darling in your Cheeky Monkey and ChocoBloom collars we think some more style should be heading your way. So tell your Dogmom to drop us a line and pick 2 Free Custom Collars for being this week's winner.
Remember our new email is:
Looking forward to seeing more pics of pooches and awarding our weekly winners here on our brand spankin' new blogsite!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Street Team Hits Fido Fest

The Lucky Fiona Street Team was out in full force this morning as we hit The Oswego Park District's Fido Fest with it's dog friendly booths and baby pools. I dare say we were the best looking group there as all sported Lucky Fiona fashions. Highlights included the initiation of 11 week old "Jett" (Gang Name: Baby Dog) into the pack. Fiona was also super-impressed that EZ-Pass' Dogmom sent her husband Brad in her place wearing a Street Team t-shirt since she could not come. That's dedication folks. We also were pleased as punch to meet Joe (Dio & Jett's Dogdad) although my husband is a bit bummed he is no longer the lone male with a bunch of hot Dogmom's walking their pooches.
We also want to give a shout out to Carolyn - we saw your giant dogs across the field and then you disappeared! Did the thought of joining our Gang scare you off? Heck, Scary Larry (he's kind of intimidating) wasn't even with us today as he went to the beach with his Dogmom! I promise we are a nice group of dog enthusiasts! Please meet us next month when we return to downtown Naperville for our stroll on August 8th at 10:30a.m.. Thanks to all and as always - it's a pleasure spending time with other dog lovers!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Trip to Butcher Shop - $1.75 in gas
Package of 3 Fresh Cut Marrow Bones - $2.32
Dogs that are so busy chewing bones they don't notice Fireworks? - PRICELESS

Happy Fourth of July to all our four pawed and human pals - xoxo -
Shannon & Fiona

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Blog-site in Progress

Don't fret if you attempt to log onto and see our site is down. We are currently getting a revamp done by for a new blog/website. It will be a one stop place to catch up on the blog, shop for collars and see photos of Friends of Fiona wearing our cool styles.
We'll announce when it is up and rolling...until then have a great holiday weekend!