Friday, December 9, 2011

Breakin' The Cycle - Today is Beatrix's Spay Day

"Hello, Gutan Tag, Allo Bonjour, Dia Duit, Konnichi Wa, Bula Uro, Mambo, Namaste. I'm Beatrix and I am here today to talk about my incredible good fortune in life and my wish for all dogs to be as happy as I am. You see, today is my Spay Day. At first I thought it said "Spa Day" on the calendar and I was very nonchalant about it all. I mean, when you've had one seaweed wrap pedicure and lavender bath you've had them all. But then one day as I was strolling through the kitchen on my way to my meditation mat I saw that "y" after spa and realized my DogMom & DogDad were not taking me to the spa after all.
Being an intellectual I immediately started researching what exactly this "Spay" thing was all about. Thank goodness for Google and my Masters Degree because there is a lot of information out there for this puppy to absorb. I barely had time to attend my seminar on Sushi preparation techniques. As you can imagine between obedience class, level VI ballet and my language arts lessons my days are very full. 
So I reviewed the information out there pro and con in terms of spaying and realized as a strong and proud mixed breed bitch that I truly believe in a woman's right to choose. For me getting spayed is my choice and I believe the right one for me. 
You may not know from looking and talking to me, but I am the product of a growing crisis in this society. That's right...I was a bastard puppy born to a teenage bitch. My Mother Jordie was a homeless teenager pulled from a shelter by the good folks at Ohio English Setter Rescue(Shout out to my fellow setters at OESR, hollar!) My Dad, well she never likes to talk about him, but it was the classic story of young dog lust you've all heard before. She was looking good on a Friday night and in heat and he just wanted a good time. He left her knocked up and scared with nobody to help her until OESR stepped in and literally saved her life and ours. Babies having babies, sigh.
My Mom has really turned her life around after having me and my 4 sisters and brother with the help of OESR. She was adopted by a loving family after she was spayed and she is actually taking night courses to get her GED. We are all so proud.
So I am proud today to stop the cycle! I'm getting spayed! I will not take the chance of getting pregnant, because let's face it, those boy dogs can't contain themselves around a pretty lady and I've been told routinely since I was born I am the most beautiful girl in the world. It's true, I'm incredibly beautiful and it's a curse I must live with daily. Some say I am the dog equivalent of Elizabeth Taylor with my bewitching eyes, incredible figure and permanent eyeliner. I think it was professional animal photographer Stephanie Moon who photographed me at 7 weeks old who said "Her beauty is intoxicating." But enough about me. 
As you read this I will be in post-op with the good folks at Oakhurst Animal Hospital. My DogMom actually had them throw in a pedicure while I am under anesthesia so this turned into a Spa Day after all. I'm proud today to take control of my future, I have so many plans! Travel, agility, swim class, learning the art of origami. I simply could not achieve any of that with a litter of little puppies following me around. There are so many dogs awaiting homes, why chance bringing more into the world? 
My name is Beatrix Elizabeth Barry and today I am proud to say is my Spay Day. I wonder if I'll look thinner afterwards?"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Show us some Jolly!

Let's see your Howliday Dog and Cat Photos! 

Email to: or simply post on on Facebook Page.Lucky Fiona Facebook Group
We'll pick a winner next Thursday December 15th and send them out a coveted Howliday Red Plaid Custom Collar (retired fabric)to the lucky photographer. Need a collar to make your pet look festive? Shop at

Pogue says picking a winner will be tough.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Whip It. Whip It Good.

Lily likes to accessorize with
her Whiparound!

The Whiparound is BACK!
A favorite of Lucky Fiona fans brought back by client request. This heavy duty dog toy will become your pooch's new favorite thing as it makes an excellent chew and tug toy. Completely machine washable and made of very high quality anti-pill fleece. Forget about those skimpy fleece toys you see at dog events, the Whiparound is 32 inches long and 2.5 inches thick and can handle heavy play like a champ. Order one today in the Lucky Fiona Shop - we've included FREE SHIPPING on these while supplies last! 

Pogue just wants to chew the heck out if his.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday Dealios

Cyber Monday Dealio!
Today only - Monday November 28th 2011 
Get select Winter Collar Styles for 33% off, that's right just $10 each! Pricing already discounted in shop and quantities are limited so shop now. Sale ends at midnight Central Time so catch them while you can! Lucky Fiona Website

Friday, November 25, 2011

ONE DAY SALE 50% off Entire SHop

Black Dog Friday Sale 50% off your purchase of any item in the shop! (Including Collar of the Month!)
To get savings simply put code:
BLACKDOGFRIDAY in at checkout! Stock up on gifts for your pooch and others for this once a year sale!
(if you are purchasing collar gifts for others just let us know so we can gift wrap them separately with your order - heck we'll even include a howliday gift tag!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Loving us, loving our dogs...

Denny & Beatrix in deep conversation
about the power of puppy kisses and
how they can heal any woe in life.

With Thanksgiving Week upon us many people will be having family come into their homes and experience their animal companions up close and personal. There is nothing that makes a DogMom/Dad more filled with pride than when your dog or cat turns up the charm on a person staying in your home. My Father-in-Law Denny recently came into town from New York to stay with us for a few days and it just tickled me proud every time one of our dogs or cats would be so lovey-dovey they were utterly impossible to resist. Somehow we humans take credit for this, but really it's all testament to the openness and willingness to love that animals possess. For me news of a house guest is met with anxiety and worry...must have the linens ready, special meals planned, entertainment! Ahhh! But for our animal companions it's all gravy. "Hey, you're staying in my house? Cool. Let me curl up with you." It's that easy.
So as my loyal blog readers are frantic polishing silverware and checking the thread count on their guest room sheets, take a cue from our animal friends. Just relax, snuggle up to the new human in your house and know an open heart is all you need to have ready.
Lily providing my Father in Law with a much needed arm rest
during his visit to our house.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Say Cheese! Silly Photo Contest

Beatrix looking left, Pogue's eyes closed,
Lily's tongue out! Perfect!
It occurred to me today while attempting to snap a photo of our 3 setters that I need to stop immediately erasing reject shots as I take pictures. The goofy photos sometimes are more satisfying than the so called perfect shots where all the dogs are sitting like statues and looking straight at the lens.
Life sure isn't perfect, nor are my dogs, so why do I take 400 pictures attempting to get that one perfectly perfect shot? Sigh.

Send me a "bad" photo and I'll pick the best one to be posted here next week and the the winner will get a Lucky Fiona Custom Collar Gift Certificate. Show us what you got goofballs! Email your entries to

If this is not a Holiday 2011 card contender I don't know what is.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Styles and Holiday Collars!

Great time to check out the shop -  new styles released including some brand spankin' new Lucky Fiona Howliday Collars. 
*As with all seasonal fabrics, we are often unable to reorder so shop early for the best selection.

The Give Me A Prezzie
The Atomic Howliday

The Mocha Loca

The Kringle
The Howliday Red Plaid

The Apple Butter

The Squaresville
The Howliday Plaid Green
The Balsam & Spice and Everything Nice
One Hot Tomato

The Gobbeldygook

The Flaked

Monday, October 31, 2011

2012 Friends of Lucky Fiona Calendar Winners

January - Teddy
"Please let this be powdered sugar!
Please let this be powdered sugar!" 

February - Scout & Sheriff

"Not only did we get a forever home,
 we got each other too."
March - Denny Dog Trio

"OK. Here's the plan. You go left,
I go right, you straight on.
Together we can get that chipmunk!
Go Team!"
April - Ginger
"I know I left my other Lucky Fiona Collar somewhere!"

May - Maizy

"What? Meatloaf on the counter?
What? Um. I couldn't possibly know what you MEAN.
I uh, wasn't even THERE."

June - Prank
It's the new style!"
July - Molly 
"Well OBVIOUSLY this isn't a private pool like I thought.
Paparazzi are everywhere these days."

August - Humphrey
"No officer I haven't been drinking.... see I can touch my nose with my tongue even while doing The Muggins (my cute sit & beg) without losing my balance! Hiccup."

September - Bailey & Thomas

"Okay, here's the deal. You keep trying to feed yourself and I'll keep tidying up the leftovers."

October - Finny

"Bad hair day? Throw on a new collar and forget about it!"

November - Carter


December - Klepto

"Guess what I want for Christmas?"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dugan Finn

Dugan Finn 
January 1998 - October 21st 2011

"If you value something, place it above 6 feet of height or lock it behind a door. Dugan lives here."
                 - Shannon Barry

It's taken me a few days to be able to sit down and write about my Dugan. I was not only overwhelmed by my grief, but also fearful I could not find all the right words so that people could truly understand the many sides of this creature who meant so much to us. 
Dugan was the naughtiest dog I ever met. A bad ass. The most skillfully mischievous and diabolical canine ever to join our family. He was devilish. He caused mayhem, destruction and chaos. 
He was the best dog ever.
I've read other tomes in honor of so called "naughty" dogs. These were nothing compared to Dugan. Marley was a cartoon character of Disney like proportions. I never saw Jennifer Aniston's character forcing Marley to vomit up 20 some odd PowerBars that Marley not only opened the pantry door to retrieve but also removed all the wrappers before eating them. Dugan made Marley look like amateur night. Marley could never pull off Dugan's trademark mohawk.
What people don't realize is that really bad dogs are put on earth for a reason. The truly ill-behaved dogs are the ones that teach you the most, that make you a master dog person. You earn your stripes with them. Sticking with this type of dog defines you as an animal guardian. Sadly most people give up, toss them in shelters, define them as being beyond rehabilitation. They are true diamonds in the rough and if you have the strength and courage to even see a flicker of the brilliance, it's worth it. With Dugan I knew the sparkle was there, it just took, well, perseverance to find it. 
Dugan was a rescue who was found running in Indianapolis and ended up at the county pound there. The local contact for Save Our Setters was called to come and pick him up and do temp foster with him. Alex and I had been approved for adoption with SOS and were just waiting for "the" dog. The previous two Irish Setters we applied for were given to other families, one because they wanted him placed with children, the other because they wanted him to be able to hunt. We reasoned a really special setter must be coming to us. (cue foreboding music)
Dugan was described by the rescue as a young male, bench variety setter and very "spirited". I have since learned that "spirited" is polite-speak for bat-shit-crazy. I enjoy using that very same term to my own benefit ever since.  The man who fostered him said he had an idea who his breeder was and it was better he never go back and liked the idea we were out of state. I got a call on a Saturday night from the Illinois rep, "He is yours if you want him." On Sunday we were driving 5 hours to Indy to sign the adoption papers and bring him home. 
As we walked up the property of the foster home a large hedge blocked my view of the man holding Dugan on a leash. Alex being much taller than I saw him first "Oh, wow. He's a looker." When Dugan finally came in my view I saw this scrawny little spit fire of a dog, his coat was blazing red in the afternoon sunshine, he was so gorgeous I couldn't stop smiling. He jumped up and put his paws on my shoulders and I was a fool in love.
Alex and I were for lack of a better term... dumb asses. We had a 8 year old Irish Setter named Seamus at home that was calm and obedient from the moment we adopted him. We thought all Irish Setters were this way. Surely the people that told us that Irish were high energy were misinformed! We knew setters, people were wrong! They are calm and serene creatures, no problem. Pfft. 
That was the moment when God smacked us up alongside the head and gave us Dugan.
The first 10 minutes in our house he ran around lifting his leg peeing on all the curtains and furniture. Then he ran around some more. Then he ran around again, then he paced. Then he ran some more. Then paced. Then ran. Alex and I nervously chuckled and immediately scheduled his neuter which would surely end this peeing & pacing behavior, right? (again, we were dumb asses)
Then came the altercations with our other dogs. Dugan was playful and friendly one second, then locking his jaw on Seamus' head the next. We all remember fondly 10 days post adoption when Dugan ripped a hole clear through our lab Fergus' ear over a ball. Fergus shook his head repeatedly post hole punch splattering blood all over our walls. It was February 14th and forever would be known in our home as "The Valentine's Day Massacre" as we spent hours scrubbing blood stains off every surface of our downstairs like a crime scene. It took multiple trainers, an animal communicator, holistic flower essence practioner and a vet behaviorist to pinpoint Dugan's fear issues and displacement aggression. We did learn his triggers and how to avoid the behavior through the years to the point it was almost forgotten. Except for that one stain that never really came out as a visual reminder for us always.
The pacing, running, pacing however continued post neuter. Both inside from window to window and outdoors along the fence line. No amount of activity tired him. Walks and runs seemed to energize him even more. We had to install an electric fence around our wooden fence as Dugan found ways to launch himself over, including a brilliant scheme where he would push my garden cart close enough to the gate to climb it and hurl himself over. The e-fence was the first of many expensive home modifications done in Dugan's honor. What kind of idiots install an electric fence around their cedar fence? Um, us.
Other charming habits surfaced such as Dugan stealing every item not nailed down. I'm not talking the occasional sock left on the bathroom floor. I'm talking opening the pantry on his own or stealing a piece of meat frying in a scalding hot pan. Holiday baking was never the same as he would steal cookies off the sheet piping hot as I pulled them out of the oven. Meal times were open game, he would scale the table and help himself to your plate. We had to put child-proof locks on all our cupboards. Ironic as we had to originally remove them upon purchasing this house as we have no children and found them annoying. Sigh. 
Every house guest for years had to first have a short power point presentation in Dugan-readiness including never leaving anything of value in his sight. Yes, he can open a zipper on his own. Yes he knows how to unbutton things. Your suitcase is not safe, nor is your shopping bag or the pack of gum in your coat pocket. He will find it and he will destroy and/or eat it.
On the advice of the obedience trainer who made us repeat level one class TWICE we started to crate Dugan during our meal times. This was met with him howling and barking like a mad man.
I'd like to take this opportunity to formally apologize and thank all the people who ate dinner at our home from 2000-2004 who feigned polite dinner conversation as Dugan howled bloody hell one room away. I hope my awesome cooking made up for it Jill and Dave! Also sorry to my in-laws, who curiously suggested on subsequent visits here that we eat out. 
Dugan's PICA resulted in the Animal Poison Control knowing me by name when I called and also how to induce vomiting in a New York minute in the back yard with hydrogen peroxide. Thanks to Dugan they now have on record how much coffee a 75 pound dog can ingest without organ involvement. Some highlights of bizarre Dugan ingestions were a 5 pound bag of whole wheat flour, 25 foil sealed single cup coffee packets and a bottle of Vitamins including the plastic lid. To this day I do not know how he opened my bedroom closet door, scaled past the hanging clothes to the top shelf where Alex's giant Christmas stocking Toblerone was hidden. But he did, and he ate it all before I made him throw it all up midnight, in a snowstorm. Dugan had mad skills to say the least.
Upon request of Dugan's pet sitter who was sick with worry we actually barricaded the pantry door with a two by four nailed across it before we went to Disney World one year on vacation. We planned on remodeling the kitchen soon afterwards so this was a small gesture to relieve the pet sitter from an ulcer. She knew Dugan's antics well as he ate the Chapstick out of her purse every time she took care of him previously and destroyed paperwork she foolishly left on a table involving her other clients contracts and schedules. (yes we tipped her very well)
I have a vast collection of abdominal radiographs from Dugan's many eating exploits over the years. I'm trying to think of a craft project to use them all. Maybe some type of decoupage?
Doggie Day Care seemed a great solution to burn energy and create a happy behaved dog. It lasted 9 happy days. Dugan was expelled after an altercation with a Weinmariner that to this day I think was asking for it. I will say in Dugan's honor the owner of the establishment said no dog was sweeter and more patient with the young puppies than Dugan. But with a zero tolerance fighting rule we were kicked to the curb sadly. Expelled, our family shame.
Our all time favorite story of Dugan, was when we took him to see an esteemed veterinary behaviorist, the only behavioral vet licensed in the state. It cost $275 for an initial consultation and to say we were desperate was an understatement. 
Dr. C took us in a large room and reviewed all our information. He told us to remain in our folding chairs and let Dugan off his leash. As Dugan bounced off the walls Dr. C. explained to us what Dugan was doing was "negative attention seeking behavior". As an exercise he told Alex and I that we were all going to ignore Dugan no matter what he did to as to not "reinforce" his behavior. For the next 10 minutes Dugan jumped on us, jumped on desks, barked, howled, etc. Dr. C. reminded us that no matter what "ignore Dugan." As the esteemed Doctor told us all the ways we were reinforcing Dugan's bad behavior by reacting to it Dugan wandered to the far end of the room and found a large file cabinet. As I started to bristle the Doctor reminded me to "ignore" and continued telling us all the ways we failed in training this dog. The sound of claws on metal filled the air as Dugan popped open the bottom drawer of the file cabinet and then started tearing out Dr. C's patient charts and eating the paper. It was then Dr. C's eyes bulged out and he said "How in the hell?" and jumped up and pulled the files out of Dugan's mouth, thus ending the "ignore Dugan's bad behavior" portion of our consultation.
Dr. C. actually did help us by suggesting Dugan wear a Gentle Leader 24-7 for a few months with a short leash attached to it so we could control him better. He also told us to screw a large metal anchor to a wall in the laundry room and attach Dugan to it for time-outs when we ate meals or he was naughty. It seemed ridiculous, but we were the people who tried everything so imagine our delight when we had progress with this method. It actually really worked wonders and that wall anchor remains as a monument to success in our laundry room. (that and we were always too afraid to remove it in case we ever actually needed it again) 
While learning all the ways to live in somewhat peace with Dugan, little did Alex and I even realize we were becoming really good animal guardians in general. If nothing else we were really well read as we had every book known to man on dog behavior. He made us look and listen diligently, silence was never a good sign in our house. He made us super tidy as we couldn't leave a dirty bowl in the sink or a mug of tea sitting out. We also learned a really important lesson. There are some dogs that will defy everything, so don't beat yourself up for so called "failure" just accept what is will be. I walked Dugan diligently through rain, sleet, snow and a knee prosthesis for over 11 years and that dog NEVER behaved on leash. I used every harness, lead and no pull, no jump gizmo known to man and he still pulled and zig zagged on leash. I had trainers swear they could work this issue out of him and all admitted defeat with their tails between their proverbial legs. It took a decade for me to just realize that Dugan was pretty damn excited to get where we were going and could care less about leash manners. When I stopped caring we had some pretty nice albeit haphazard walks. Dugan taught me some battles are just not worth fighting. Good life lesson I think.
It was not all bad folks, Dugan was a sensitive and loving dog and had the ability to make us laugh at least once a day, which is the reason Alex always said we kept him around. I defy you not to crack a smile at an Irish Setter coming to you for help because he has the litter box lid wedged onto his body and he can't maneuver out the doggie door. 
Dugan was loving and soulful and his stubborn streak became endearing. He cuddled with the best of them and let out the happiest sound when you scratched his tummy and he rolled on his back in the classic setter pose, paws poised in the air, jowls flapping in the wind. My Dugan saved other dog's lives by being the live blood donor at the vet hospital I worked at. The dog that was often a blur of red in constant motion would stand still for an hour or two for a blood transfusion. He stayed in one place when it really counted.
Dugan loved pizza and hated joggers.He loved children and would lick their faces silly but couldn't stand German Shepherds. He was my special boy and I often would stop what I was doing to go over and lay next to him and whisper in his ear "I adore you." 
Alex and I tell Pogue every single day to thank Dugan, if Pogue's predecessor was not such a hellion we would have never had the courage to take on a sly little deaf English Setter puppy last year. So far Pogue has yet to shock us with any antics, we have kind of a "been there-done that" attitude thanks to Dugan. Like grizzled war veterans we earned these dog-savvy looks on our faces.
I kind of thought Dugan would live forever, his white muzzle did little to change his habits in his later years, he shredded rolls of toilet paper up until a few weeks back to let us know he was still practicing his personal form of setter anarchy. Dugan had bucked normal dog behavior his whole life, I thought death would just be another thing he would be stubborn over. But Friday he left us and the silence that often signaled him getting into something he shouldn't now is a deafening reminder my naughty boy is gone. Even with 3 other dogs in this house it is still too quiet. I keep passing his favorite spots and ache he is not there for me to whisper to.  
The trouble? I'd take it all over again, a hundred times over. He was worth every shout, every worry, every penny. My red headed canine terror was also my greatest teacher and for that I am thankful. My "spirited" Irish boy rests now, deservedly so. May the road rise up to meet you Dugan, because heaven knows you will insist upon it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Photo Finalist #25 - Yoshi

* Leave your caption for this photo in the comments section below. Be creative, be wacky, be sentimental...we want to hear your ideas! 12 Winners w/captions will be printed in the 2012 Friends of Lucky Fiona Wall Calendar. Contest winners announced on Monday October 31st 2011. 

Photo Finalist #24 - Teddy

* Leave your caption for this photo in the comments section below. Be creative, be wacky, be sentimental...we want to hear your ideas! 12 Winners w/captions will be printed in the 2012 Friends of Lucky Fiona Wall Calendar. Contest winners announced on Monday October 31st 2011. 

Photo Finalist #23 - Susan of OESR's Rescue Setter ~ Molly

* Leave your caption for this photo in the comments section below. Be creative, be wacky, be sentimental...we want to hear your ideas! 12 Winners w/captions will be printed in the 2012 Friends of Lucky Fiona Wall Calendar. Contest winners announced on Monday October 31st 2011. 

Photo Finalist #22 - Sonny Boy

* Leave your caption for this photo in the comments section below. Be creative, be wacky, be sentimental...we want to hear your ideas! 12 Winners w/captions will be printed in the 2012 Friends of Lucky Fiona Wall Calendar. Contest winners announced on Monday October 31st 2011. 

Photo Finalist #21 - Scout & Sheriff

* Leave your caption for this photo in the comments section below. Be creative, be wacky, be sentimental...we want to hear your ideas! 12 Winners w/captions will be printed in the 2012 Friends of Lucky Fiona Wall Calendar. Contest winners announced on Monday October 31st 2011. 

Photo Finalist #20 - Prank

* Leave your caption for this photo in the comments section below. Be creative, be wacky, be sentimental...we want to hear your ideas! 12 Winners w/captions will be printed in the 2012 Friends of Lucky Fiona Wall Calendar. Contest winners announced on Monday October 31st 2011.