Archives for April 2012

Go, Dog, Go! New Dog Gear

Remember those little books we had in kindergarten and first grade, when we were learning to read? They said things like, “See Spot run.”

Today, I’m saying, “Go, dog, go!”  We just added a new member to our family–meet Molly, aka Molly Cuddles. She’s on the right in the picture below, playing with Miss Paws, our resident canine-diva.

The unsinkable Molly Brown–well, our sweet Molly, anyway, on the right.

We adopted sweet Miss Molly from our local humane society over the weekend. She’d had a hard life, living in a mobile home with 5 other dogs. Finally the shelter got so full, the good folks who work there paid for her to be boarded at a local vet. Of course, there wasn’t much room there, either.

Last Saturday, they brought Molly and some other homeless pets to an event where I was speaking. We saw her and fell in love. She’s a “bassadore,” which is part Bassett hound, part black Labrador, and she’s all sweet and loving.

She’s not as tall as a regular Lab, and not as big–but she’s strong. Her coat is nice and glossy, and the vet has given her her shots and a clean bill of health.

Today I took Molly and Miss Paws on a short car ride. They did great. Miss P was seat belted in with a dog car harness I bought on Amazon. You can see the model here:  The Ruff Riders Roadie Canine Vehicle and Safety Training Harness. It’s not that she’s prone to hop around, but you never know when you might have to make a sudden stop, or when your dog sniffs out a dropped French fry between the seats and makes a dive for it, impairing your ability to brake or steer.

This adjustable harness goes around her chest and fastens behind her back. There’s a nice, long lead I can grab onto, to make sure she doesn’t take off as she enters and exits the car.

We found our Ruff Riders harness for sale on Amazon. Be sure to check out the Amazon Warehouse page for deals, or look on the right side of each product page (we saved about $10, by ordering through the warehouse).  I’m not sure, but I think these items may be distributed through Amazon’s warehouse after they’ve been returned.  At any rate, our harness appeared unused. It came without a box, but that was no problem. Miss Paws is comfortable and happy in it, and I feel better knowing she’s safe. The harness still allows her to move around, so she can look out the window and stand up or lie down.

Luckily, we’d recently found another car harness at our local Goodwill store–what a buy, for $5! We snagged it, even though we didn’t have the dog yet. It must’ve been fate! That’s the one Molly is using now, and it’s also a good, safe, snug fit.

And guess what else we got? Our dear friend Becky, from Florida, surprised me today with Doggles! Take a look at Miss P, who’s wearing them here:

The future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades.

She rocks her shades, doesn’t she? I just love them (thank you again, Becky!). They provide UV protection and shield your dog’s eyes from the wind, if you own a convertible (like Becky, who just bought a gorgeous new one) or if you ride with the windows partly down. Becky found these on eBay at My Doggie’s Closet, which has tons of cute stuff. Molly tried on the doggles and liked them, too, but wouldn’t wear them long enough to have her picture made. Silly girl.

Finally, I also want to share a picture of Becky’s dog, Emily, modeling her stylish new Thunder Shirt. In case you don’t know what those are, they’re little tops that put gentle pressure on a doggie, and you put them on your pet during storms, to help keep them calm and relieve stress and anxiety. Take a look:

Here’s Emily, a little fashionata in her sweet pink Thunder Shirt. Mickey D is admiring her.

Becky reports that the Thunder Shirt isn’t the answer to all of little Emily’s bad-weather phobias and fears, but we’re hoping it helps. Hey–a lot of us feel like hiding when it’s raining and hailing. Can’t fault a girl for being smart enough to know that strong winds and dark clouds can spell trouble. That’s Emily’s brother, Mickey D, peeking out behind her.

Molly says she’s happy to meet our readers, and we hope you’ll enjoy hearing about her in the days to come. Miss Paws is a little jealous, but so far, they’re doing fine. Just like human siblings, they don’t always get along perfectly!


Lynn and Miss Paws

Black Petunias Put A Little Black Magic In Your Garden


I know, I know. This petunia doesn't look black at all in the photo. But I promise--when you see it in person, it looks like black velvet!


You know what they say about a little black dress. Every woman needs one in her closet.  But black flowers in your garden?? Aren’t black blooms usually dead blooms?

Well, no. I recently found a basket of gorgeous, near-black petunias at our local Home Depot, and they were so velvety and unusual, I just had to bring them home. But they aren’t completely black. It’s hard to find truly black plants, and many are just very deep, dark shades of purple, purple-red, or blue.

I’m telling you that, so when you look at the pictures of my petunias, you won’t wonder what I’m talking about. That’s because my “black” petunias, when photographed in the sunlight, look purple.  But when the light is right, they’re dusky and mysterious and beautifully, velvet-black. Each bloom has a pale yellow star in its throat.

I  don’t know the variety name, or I’d share it.  It’s possible that mine are ‘Pinstripe’ petunias; click here to see for yourself.  I don’t think I have ‘Phantom,’ which is sold by other seed sellers and garden centers, because the yellow markings look too wide.  And here’s a really dark petunia called ‘Black Velvet’ that I’ve heard is hard to find, because it’s still relatively new (it was released in 2010), and in big demand. But I bet if you look around, you can find something similiar.

If a dip into the world of inky plants makes you yearn for more, check out a book called Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden, by Paul Bonine (Timber Press). The author covers black pansies, lilies, agapanthus, hollyhocks (like the ‘Black Watchman’ heirloom hollyhocks in my gardening book), and more, all of which might persuade you that black is the new green.

I’m not ready to convert my garden, with its springlike palette of pale blues, yellows, pinks, and rose-red, to all-black, but it’s fun to try something really different–and you know how we gardeners are. We always want someone to visit and ask, “Where did you get that?”

Lynn & Miss Paws