Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Top Podcasts to Listen to While Walking the Dog

Back in June, I mentioned that during our long walks trying to complete #300kmJune I would listen to a podcast, and a couple people said they would love to know what podcasts I listen to. I will start this post with saying that none of these podcasts are pet related. I am yet to find a decent pet related podcast that I like. I listened to a dog trainer one and was immediately repulsed in the first five minutes when he stated that prong and electrocuting collars are the best way to train dogs, and when he started chewing loudly into the microphone. I have never delved back into that area of podcasting.

I listen to podcasts a lot. I don't really like to do activities in silence, and due to me going regularly to the gym where I listen to music, I prefer to listen to something else for the rest of the day. I love podcasts for the fact that while doing boring adult activities like grocery shopping, cleaning the house or just general activities you can also be learning and gaining new knowledge. Most of my podcasts I listen to are knowledge based, with a few fun ones thrown in for when I need a mood boost. I don't take headphones every time I walk Diego, but for walks that I plan to be a lot longer I generally bring them along just in case.

Mixergy - Startup Stories
This podcast is a very business, entrepreneurial based podcast, but one I absolutely love to get me inspired to focus more energy into DaisyPets. Andrew interviews a range of people who are proven entrepreneurs and can offer some insight or tips into how to do better business. I have found a lot of them are tech based, and that they often discuss different software to help smooth basic processes. This is obviously not a podcast I recommend to everyone, but if you are goal-orientated, and business minded, this one will be right up your alley!

Joe Rogan Podcast
Joe Rogan is by far my favourite podcast host of all time. I have been listening to his podcasts for several years now and find them educational and entertaining at the same time. Of the 9 podcasts I have enjoyed enough to put in a favourites category, five are Joe Rogans. Although he does and says some controversial things, he has an open mind and can have a conversation with anyone about any topic. He doesn't shut people down if he doesn't believe what they are saying, instead he finds out more information about why they are saying that so he can better grasp another's opinion. This makes for amazing conversations where you as the listener get to really take in and learn a range of things. He has such a broad spectrum of guests on from UFC fighters and hunters to scientists and filmmakers. I feel like this is a podcast that can cater to a lot of different people. Some of my favourites are: #919 - Neil deGrasse Tyson; #663 - Dominic Monaghan; #759 - Cameron Hanes.

Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom
Wow! I found this only recently and have been absolutely hooked. The podcast is all about innocent people that have been wrongly convicted, served jail time and have since been released. Jason interviews these people and hears their stories on how they ended up being wrongly convicted, how they dealt with living in prison, how they managed to prove their innocence and what happens after all of this. It is such an intriguing and fascinating topic and seems a lot more common than I ever realised. Because of the dark and deep conversations that are had in this podcast I do find I have to be in the right headspace to enjoy it. I find if I am already feeling stressed, upset, or tired it makes me feel a lot worse, so I only listen to this on nice days when out walking Diego. I really suggest listening to episode 4 of the first season, and episode 8 of the second season.

Other People's Lives
If you are into looking into other people's lives, this podcast is perfect. This is definitely the wackiest podcast I listen to, and it is definitely for those times when I don't want to take in too much information. The hosts interview people with unusual fetishes, thought processes or life experiences and share them with us. This is definitely an R18 podcast and does get very strange and possibly controversial. My favourite was the episode 'The Earth is Flat' as my opinion varies so differently to what they thought. Unfortunately, this podcast is currently shut down as they are looking at making it into a series so you can only listen to the episodes that are currently out, for now.

Urban Farm Podcast
This podcast I go through phases of absolutely loving, and then not listening to any for weeks. This podcast as the title suggests, is all about farming in an urban setting. There are interviews with a range of people with all one common passion of growing your own vegetables or livestock. I find this one super informative, especially with it coming up to Spring when I will be planting my own large vegetable garden for the first time without my mothers help. It is American based so some of the stuff they talk about does not apply to us here in New Zealand, but there is still tonnes of useful information thrown throughout each episode. He also interviews people on how to utilise what you have grown in everyday life from eating it, to healing from it.

RuPaul: What's the Tee?
This is one of my fun podcasts to listen to as it is not overly informative. RuPaul and Michelle Visage hang out, talk nonsense and then interview someone else about their lives. I fell in love with RuPaul from Drag Race (showing my young age since he has been around forever) and just love how quirky and confident he is. This really comes across in this podcast and I am often seen just laughing into thin air as him and Michelle crack joke after joke. This is such a light, entertaining podcast that I find makes the time pass so much quicker, and you don't have to concentrate too hard on it.

I do listen to a bunch more podcasts but wanted to give you a couple of my favourites from a range of genres. I think podcasts are a great way for people to express themselves and put information across. I believe this platform of information sharing is only going to grow within the next few years, and I for one love it.
Are you currently listening to podcasts? If so, what podcasts do you listen to? I am always on the hunt for new good ones!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Black Hawk Review & Giveaway

Daisy passed away from liver disease and so from first getting Diego I was very aware of what I was feeding him. When I owned Daisy, I was unfortunately in a time of my life where I could not afford the top quality dog food, and just generally went for the cheapest type available at the supermarket. This isn't the best food, and a lot of the time has less real meat in it than fillers. I think this was a huge factor in her getting liver disease, and I may be wrong, but I would prefer to edge on the side of caution with Diego so I don't have to go through that again.

Diego has been having Orijen dog food since the first day I got him. I transitioned him from whatever he was eating before onto the Puppy formula of Orijen within the first week or two of owning him. I had read a lot about Orijen, what they put into their dog food and their business model appealed to me. When he got off the puppy formula we went between Orijen Adult and Fish versions. I believe in changing the protein source every few months for dogs, and Orijen made it easy to do that as a bag lasted the perfect time to just change which one we purchased each time. However, recently they changed their bag sizes, making them smaller for the same outrageous price. This put me off as it meant the bag lasted two weeks less, but was still ripping a giant hole in my wallet with each purchase.

So with me being annoyed at that, it was perfect timing for Black Hawk to approach us with a PR package for their New Zealand launch. It was the most amazing package, with sample packets of multiple versions of their dog food, as well as a recipe and all the ingredients for us humans to make a meal of our own! I gave the non-grain-free versions to my mother to try with Chico, and gave the grain-free options to Diego to sample. He gobbled them up quickly, and without the hesitation he had been giving his previous food within recent months. He even went scouting around for more, which is no unheard of from him, but hadn't been done for a long time with his Orijen food.

I am going to be honest right now and say that we were lucky enough to be sent a full sized product after the initial PR package (as well as a full sized product for you to go in to win at the end of this post). This has not effected my opinion however because I also bought a 15kg bag the same week we got sent the product from the company. I had gone onto PetPost to purchase Diego's Orijen food again and saw that Black Hawk had already been released online. I had a look into it and found that you could get any version of the food for the same price, which was cheaper than Orijen by a fair chunk. I purchased this, and then two days later Black Hawk had sent us a 7kg bag! It's fair to say we are now rolling in dog food.

For Diego, I chose the Salmon Grain-Free version as I love to get fish oils into him where I can and found that this would be an easy way to do it now that we had run out of actual fish oil. But as I said above, I love to change the protein source every few months, so love that Black Hawk has four protein types in the grain-free range; Salmon, Kangaroo, Lamb and Chicken. I am definitely keen to try Kangaroo as that is something Diego has never tried! They also have a range of puppy food, traditional adult dog foods and a working dog option. Black Hawk contains all real meat, fresh fruit and vegetables and has no fillers or nasties. They also share my belief that every ingredient that goes into a pet's diet should matter. I love this! After my troubles with Daisy, it is great to find a semi-local (Australian) company that is 100% real and ensures that your dog will be getting everything they need and nothing that they don't.

The kibble itself is tiny, probably the smallest size of kibble I have ever seen. Diego isn't a big dog, but does love to hoover food up, so I have to make sure that this food is always fed in his Go-Slo bowl, or another toy to slow down his eating. The kibble does mean that for little dogs you don't have to worry about them choking or having trouble chewing it. However, for bigger dogs this could potentially be a problem. Chico did have some of this food when he was visiting and had no troubles with it when eating from Diego's bowl, or off the ground but he is a slow, precise eater in general. I don't think this should put you off the food, as the actual ingredients are amazing, but should be something to be aware of. There is a large dog formula which I guess would have bigger kibble if you are concerned.

The food is made up of high quality ingredients, with it roughly being half and half of high quality protein and vegetables, fruits and oils. It also has added Emu Oil, which is great for joints, skin and coat. I am all about 100% honesty, and I can honestly tell you I could tell a difference in Diego's coat after using this product. He has two different fur types, most of his fur is slick and soft, but around the top of his back/neck/ruff is kind of wirey. My mum calls this his 'pig fur' so that gives you a fair idea of how course that fur is. Within a week of being on Black Hawk Salmon all his fur become a lot glossier to look at, and was super soft to touch. The fur along the sides of his body were the softest they have ever been, and even his pig fur was comparable to soft fur. I changed nothing other than his food so can only speculate that it must have been the food that made the difference.

Diego is also obsessed with this food. I have his food stored in a large plastic container and whenever I go anywhere near the vicinity of that tub, Diego comes zooming over thinking he may get some food. After eating he always goes looking for more, and sometimes will just sit near the food container and look at me hoping that I will treat him with some more. I first thought that I must not be feeding him enough and he was hungry, however I referred to the feeding chart on the side of the bag and realised if anything I was over feeding him. With such quality ingredients you don't have to feed nearly as much as you would if you got a cheaper brand of food. Also, during the day while I am at work I give him boredom buster toys to play with. Recently he has been getting his Kong Wobbler filled with his breakfast, and then another toy filled with peanut butter, treats, carrots or another high reward filling. He chooses to eat his breakfast of Black Hawk food out of the Kong Wobbler before even looking at the more high reward toy.

So as I said above, Black Hawk was amazing and has hooked us up with a 7kg bag of food to giveaway to one lucky reader of mine. I wanted to make this super easy for anyone to enter so all you have to do is Subscribe to our mailing list by putting your email address below. Easy as that! Once you have done that you are in the running to win this amazing prize. You do have to live in New Zealand to receive this prize, but can still sign up to our mailing list if you are from overseas. This will run til 11.59pm on August 13th, and will announce the winners on all social media platforms on August 14th.

If you wanted to find out more about Black Hawk, check them out at www.blackhawkpetcare.com/nz. You will also be able to purchase Black Hawk at vet clinics, pet stores or online at www.petpost.co.nz

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Dog Friendly: Nourish Cafe

I am a sucker for a good brunch spot. I love being able to connect with someone over good coffee, and a great atmosphere. Actually, I love just being with a good coffee and great atmosphere, the other person is a bonus but not a must. However, a must for me is being allowed to bring Diego along. Most of the time I only visit cafes in the weekend so therefore generally will have Diego with me, and I don't want to be enjoying the cafe vibes while he is stuck in the car. 

In June, while we were in Tauranga I searched up 'dog friendly cafes Tauranga' and from there searched through the range of options. The top of the list, and most highly recommended was Nourish so that's where we headed. I am not from Tauranga so don't know the exact location, but would say it is out of town between Tauranga and Omokoroa. I could be completely wrong on that one. When we went there were heaps of road works around the area so I was not expecting much. Upon arrival though, we were greeted with a beautiful building with flourishing plant life. The photos don't even do this place justice, it was absolutely beautiful. 

There is ample outdoor seating, and at mid-morning had a great amount of sun or shade depending on what you are into. When we went there were already two other dogs there so it is obviously a popular place for other dog owners. The seating itself ranged from outdoor couches and lounges to your traditional wooden bench with seats. They also cater for the pups by having heaps of water bowls, and a place to easily fill them up outside. 

The menu catered for many dietary options and had both your traditional brunch options as well as some more fancy and exotic. Tammin went for a standard bacon and eggs with an OJ for her meal and said it was fantastic. I chose one of the more exciting options (which I cannot for the life of me remember the name of) which consisted of egg, halloumi, beetroot, avocado, pesto all on a bed of spinach leaves. This was one of the best breakfasts I have ever eaten, and left me satisfied but not overly full like sometimes happens when going out for brunch. They were also open to change so this could easily be made dairy free by removing the halloumi. 

I found the staff to be super friendly, and didn't mind a quick chat at the register about their day, and what our plans were for the rest of the day. They were helpful when we asked questions in regards to the menu and where to get water for the dogs. 
Not only was this place an awesome cafe, they also had lots of items for sale within their store. This range includes locally sourced produce and crafts, as well as homewares and cookware. It is the beautiful stuff that you can easily gift to someone, or keep for yourself if you feel like a treat. I didn't spend too long browsing the store as the pooches were waiting outside, but saw some awesome products that I would have loved to pick up. 

All in all this is a beautiful spot for a bite to eat, or just a coffee while you relax and take in the atmosphere. I usually find that places this nice usually are un-inclusive of your hounds, so it was a welcome change for them to be so open towards both Diego and Ollie. I would definitely recommend this to anyone in the area, or just passing through and can guarantee you that next time we are up those ways we will be definitely be getting another meal here.

Find more about Nourish Cafe by visiting their website: http://www.cafenourish.co.nz/ 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

German Shepherd Puppies!

I can't think of any better way of ending the weekend than a blog post filled with puppy photos! I was lucky enough to visit my friend who is fostering a litter of seven German Shepherd puppies. Not only are they adorable, they are some of our future Police dogs so I am excited to say I saw them when they were still little, and relatively harmless. I will be making a visit to them again this week to see how they have grown and get some more photos before they head off to start their futures. If you want to see more puppy cuteness make sure to write a comment below or on our Social Media channels so I know you all want to see it!


Friday, 14 July 2017

Diego's Birthday Bark Bag

In June, Diego turned three and his gift this year was the awesome Bark Bag Birthday Edition! Yes, this post is long overdue but I was beyond busy with #300kmJune stuff, and then getting back into the swing of normal life in July. You would have seen Diego posed oh so nicely with his Bark Bag on our Social Media channels, but now I will give you more of a chance to see what we got and our final thoughts on the Birthday bag.

First off, let's just say that the packaging of this is amazing. It came in some boring external packaging where all the postage stamps and addresses could be placed, but inside is where it really came to life. The box was originally wrapped in gift wrap (which you will see opened in an upcoming video) and then inside that layer was the signature look of the Bark Bag. Such a sleek design of the white box, with a black ribbon and card. I am a sucker for good packaging, and find that it makes any product 10 times better, so this packaging really sucked me in. The contents of the box are then wrapped in a black tissue paper, with a Bark Bag sticker and all the wonderful treats are inside.

We got the birthday box which is $45 and that includes shipping within New Zealand. This is the same price as if you purchased a singular Bark Bag but comes with a few extra goodies. If you sign up to a monthly subscription you can get each Bark Bag for $39. To make the Birthday Box more festive it came with a party hat, happy birthday banner and a cup full of a range of different little treats.

Firstly, we got a plastic tyre toy attached to a rope made by MasterPet. When ordering the Bark Bag I did say that we needed more durable toys for Diego as he is known to destroy his toys and this was obviously an attempt at meeting that need. Unfortunately, this would last less than five minutes at the hands of Diego if we were playing together. It would last even less time if I let him have free reign on it so I have put this one aside to give away to someone with a less destructive dog.

For the treats we got some ZiwiPeak 'Good Boy Treats' which we have tried before when we got them a few years ago in a Bow Wow Box. Diego likes these little treats and I find them perfect for trick training at home. They are a decent size if you have a bigger dog, or are super easy to break into smaller pieces if need be. I also find that they don't leave much of a residue or smell on your hands after working with them which is always a bonus if you are using them outside of the home. 

We also got a pack of 'Waffles' from Superior Farms which we have also tried before from a Bow Wow Box. Diego does love these, and I also fed some to Chico while he was staying at our house and I haven't seen him that excited for a 'dry' treat ever. They are obviously not a good training treat, but also don't take long to eat so won't keep a dog entertained for long. I find it hard to use these types of treats because my two uses for treats are training or entertaining and I don't generally like to fill Diego up with too many products in one day. I will try and find a way to stuff these into a Kong hehe.

Next up we got a pack of Lamb Lung which is a Bark Bag branded product. These are just pieces of lamb lung which I know Diego loves. These are easy to stuff into his Kong, or other boredom breaker toys and they make these toys last a lot longer. I have been bringing a couple of these on walks as well as a high reward treat for when practicing recall and good manners. 

Another Bark Bag branded product are these Beef Paddywachs which is dried Beef Neck Tendon. These for some reason don't seem to spark Diego's interest. I gave him one as a quick boredom breaker while I was cleaning the house and he ignored it for a while before slowly chewing it. He didn't show much enthusiasm which is quite unlike him. However, Chico found one and was hurriedly chomping it down. He made light work of this treat, and looked for more once he was done. This is obviously a preference thing, but seems like a great treat if your dog does fancy it!

 Lastly for treats we received this bully stick which is one of Diego's firm favourites. This was a decent sized stick for Diego and it took him a fairly long time to get through it which I liked. In the party cup we got an assortment of little treats ranging from liver, to lung and some chicken jerky. This was perfect to put into Diego's training treat jar as all these were fairly small treats which we used to train the trick 'pray'.

As I love to do with subscription boxes, I done a very rough tally of the costs of each individual product to see if there is value in the box. This is a bit more difficult because of the Bark Bag branded items, but I took a rough shot at the prices of those based on similar products I have seen and found on the market. I am going to take a guess at the box's total being roughly worth $57 and that is not including the birthday banner, hat or cup full of treats. It also doesn't include postage or the amazing packaging that this comes in. I definitely think you are getting your moneys worth.

All in all, I absolutely love this product and the brand in general. The amazing owner of Bark Bag donated a box for our #300kmJune giveaways and we were meant to meet up in Auckland during June. I am disappointed that didn't happen but you can just see what a well thought out brand this one is. She has thought about everything, right down to the little details like writing Diego's name on a birthday card, and trying to personalise each box to the dog receiving it. I am very interested in getting some more boxes in the future and seeing how good they are at getting a range of different products and brands for us to try out.

Have you tried Bark Bag yet? How did your dog like it? Leave us a comment below

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Final Thoughts for #300kmJune

Hey! What a month that was! I had an amazing time but gosh am I glad that it is over. I never really worked out what walking ten kilometres a day would mean. To be honest, I didn't even work out what ten kilometres was! I just doubled last years kilometre target, and starting telling people/making it happen. That is my attitude to a lot of things in life, jump head first into things without truly thinking through what it means.

This past month was a whirlwind and I am so happy that I completed all 300 kilometres that I set out to do. Not only did I have a blast, got fitter, and learnt a lot of things, we managed to raise $280 for HUHA. I have to admit, my goal of $2,500 was obviously a large stretch, and I only managed to fundraise just over 10% of that goal. BUT I believe every cent counts, and I am so thankful to all the wonderful people that donated to this cause. I think in the scheme of things $280 is the minimum we have raised over this month as people will see the lengths I have gone to this month to raise awareness for HUHA and will think more about how they can volunteer. Also, it means I have something to beat next year when we go bigger and better.

I did film me drawing the winners for the giveaways but my internet really has taken a disliking to me recently and will not upload it. In the sake of a quick turn around I announced the winners on our Facebook Page but if you missed that.
Prize Pack #1: WonderWoof + Pack of Daisy's Doggy Deli Treats: Alyssa O'Brien
Prize Pack #2: Cotton Tails Store Poop Bag Buddy + Pack of Daisy's Doggy Deli Treats: Tessa Drew
Prize Pack #3: Bark Bag (kindly donated by Bark Bag  ): Kaitlyn Maye Manu
Prize Pack #4: Wolves of Wellington $20 gift voucher + Pack of Daisy's Doggy Deli Treats: April Stevenson
I want to thank everyone for supporting us during the past month. It meant a lot to me that so many of you were willing to comment on our posts with offers of support and companionship. I honestly don't think I would have completed the full 300 kilometres without all your backing. I did notice the ones that were always there, and from the bottom of my heart want to thank you for that.

Our first walk after June reminded me of why I like walking without counting my kilometres and why I believe we shouldn't aim for a certain distance each day. In June, I found myself forcing a walk that neither Diego nor I really needed or wanted, and it wasn't the fun activity that walking should be. I found that I was doing walks that allowed for more kilometres on my Fitbit, but didn't necessarily mean more walking or as enjoyable for Diego (Not off-leash/road walking). I also was walking fast to make sure I got as many kilometres under my belt before it got dark and therefore cold, which gave Diego less chance to check out the smells and enjoy himself. I am not saying that any of these things are completely horrible, as we both did enjoy ourselves, but the first walk of July was a nice, slow amble where we played fetch in the park and Diego got enough time to check out and smell everything the park had to offer.

I am generally a gym junkie and have gotten used to the dull aching of sore muscles after a hard workout, so I didn't find the walking to be too tiresome. I did have aching legs for the whole month though. The big thing that made this challenge hard was time. Each walk took at least two hours, usually more and that was on top of an already busy schedule of work, social life, house life, keeping up with DaisyPets and trying to find some down time. I am constantly asked by my older sister why I would chose June as my month to complete this as Winter is starting to kick up a notch during this month. My answer? To make it more interesting. Anyone can walk 300 kilometres when it is wonderfully sunny, warm weather. It's much harder to walk when its freezing outside and gets dark at 4pm.

I am super thankful that this June has been one of the driest and non-windiest (mind blank on what the word for that would be hehe) June's in many years. I could count on one hand how many walks I had to do in the rain, and even then, the rain wasn't the worst it could have been. Also, no wind!!! Which for Wellington is a blessing. I had planned to walk in the rain a lot more, so I was so happy that I didn't have to deal with that as much as I thought.

Fitbit did send me a watch to track my steps/kilometres for the month, and that was what I got my screen-grabs off to provide proof of our walking. I am amazed at how well this watch worked (apart from a few little hiccups) and super pleased that I got to trial it out. I will make a full post on the Fitbit as I do think it is an awesome asset to have as a dog owner.
We also go sent a WonderWoof for Diego to wear and track his activity. Unfortunately, during June their app went down for maintenance and didn't come back up any time during our walks. This meant I not only couldn't track what Diego was doing, I didn't get to fully trial this product. This was part of a giveaway so I hope that the app is back up and running by the time the winner tries to use it, and can report good feedback to us!
I also want to thank Wolves of Wellington for donating a bandana to the lead-up giveaway, Bark Bag for donating a Bark Bag to one of the giveaway winners, Cotton Tails Store for throwing some extra goodies into our package (including a bandana which will be in a later giveaway) and Pet Life NZ for putting our activities into their Winter Issue. It means a lot to have the support of such amazing New Zealand companies and I look forward to working with them again in the future.
Last thanks to my amazing mother, Petra who listened to me whine for many hours, but was always there supporting Diego and I; Jenn, my best friend for supporting and sharing my stuff even while completing gruelling training camp; and my other best friend Demi for supporting me but also going on some crazy walks with me and not complaining once.

After all is said and done, I am so proud of what I have achieved and had the best time challenging Diego and I. I hope to make it a bigger event next year, with other people joining in and making their own totals. I hope you can join us for that <3