Golden Alfie’s summertime views

My third newsletter has lots of fun and serious articles. You do not want to miss it. REALLY. Just click here. I only briefly talk about my hubby’s summertime obsessions, one being his garden. We are the only folks for miles around with such a garden, a huge organic garden that is unbelievable.

Check out the new raised beds and Inspector Alfie. I’ve also included some fun photos of Alfie at the pond. He really loves stalking the frogs, but we have to watch him as he has been known to catch a couple.

Be sure to click on the photos for supersized views!

Alfie outside our fenced garden (wood with deer fence attached to top)

Alf hanging out at the sugar snap peas, early in the season

One of the 3 raised beds showing early romaine & lettuce growth

Lots more growth from the early planting

Alfie at the pond

Alfie just checking it all out at the pond area


ALFIE – Our *Golden* 11th Birthday Boy – Updated

A Baby Alfie

I’m so happy that Alfie is celebrating his 11th birthday today (you can see him from my first day with him on here: I never made it this far, getting to 11, that is. Okay, not me, but my Alfie boy. He celebrated 11 years of happiness (I hope) today. Cancer took my other babies so I am holding out hope that Alfie will make it a bit longer.

But, I am definitely not greedy. There is plenty to be thankful for as there are a bazillion fabulous scenes that will hopefully play over and over in my head for some time to come.

I had never before done the party thing or even gotten a cake for my boy. But, I figured this was truly a momentous occasion. So, he had his first take of cake today. Now, I will never be left alone again when sneaking a piece for myself.

He has gotten so many special surprises. Just check out the organic Carrot Peanut Butter Bubba Rose Birthday Cake and the Mimi-Green Swiss Velvet Custom Name-Embroidered Collar.

The infamous window response to my calling out, "WHO'S THERE?"

Alfie has stolen my heart .... so I knew I needed to add a heart to his wonderful new collar.

Spoiled, you say?  Nah . . . . . . . . .

P.S.: Funny hubby Gary just asked why half the cake was still in the refrigerator. Surely, his birthday boy Alfie should have been given the entire cake to wolf down in 5 seconds flat. Major fail, of course.

P.P.S.: A fun clip of Alfie’s very first freestyle lesson with Carolyn Scott

Golden Alfie just loves watching the fish and frogs in the pond. His tail never stops wagging. Ever. And, the song, Sunny Skies, by James Taylor ( ) is just perfect.

A boy and his GIANT toys

Is our going on 11-year-old Golden boy a cutie or what? Hard to believe it’s the same boy as the one in the cute puppy face photo featured on the right.

I never tire of giving him presents, which typically last forever as he is not the aggressive tear apart and shred type of dog. Alfie would rather carry his plush woobies to calm himself when some scary sound is making him apprehensive. And, he loves using them as pillows as well, which is pretty darn smart. These toys, which as you can see, dwarf him, are not organic. But, that is okay. For older dogs who are trained to be gentle with their belongings, toys like are safe. And, these seem to last forever. The duck toy is one easily thrown in the wash and I’ve had it for over 10 years.

But, the toy on top, a GIANT ladybug is new. It is made by the same company that makes the duck, and is simply marvelous as well. Check them out here.


The company also makes cotton quilted beds, that can be thrown in the washer and dryer just like a quilt, and last forever just like the toys. They are simply great to use in crates or on wood floors so that your dog has a more comfy place to settle. The Bamboo design fabric, one of many choices, is our personal favorite. I’m sure you can figure out why.

Missing my sweet Golden Darcy

Friendship Darcy Makena AX AXJ CGC—or Darcy Girl as I often called her—is no longer by my side. She lost her battle to fibrosarcoma on February 12, 2006, and honestly, I haven’t been the same since.

This is the adorable image that fills the screens of two 21-inch flat screen computer monitors that sit on my desk. It is a photo that I took of an 8-week-old sweet but spunky, mind-of-her-own, haughty, loved by all, beauty of a girl. It is the most appealing Golden Retriever photo I have ever seen, bar none. And, it will probably always be that way.

I try to remember this image instead of the look of the cancer that took her life and literally ate away at her beautiful face and well-being from the inside out. And, I know I need to be thankful for the time I was able to share, with a soul so sweet, that it shined from the inside out.

I just entered this photo in Luke’s 2 Dogs, 2,000 Miles 2010 Cancer “Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down” Calendar Contest. The contest honors and recognizes dogs who have been touched by cancer. Luke is actually walking from Austin to Boston with his two Pyrenees Mountain dogs, Hudson and Murphy, to bring attention to canine cancer.

You can support this organization and honor my Darcy with your vote at the same time. Just click here.

She couldn’t resist him.

Golden Retriever Alfie & Feral Rescue Kitty Cindy

I recently gave Alfie a much needed bath and decided to try a new shampoo-conditioner combination. Many years ago I attended a professional grooming workshop with one of the top handlers in the country. I was definitely out of my comfort zone and learned that weekend that every piece of equipment I owned and method I was using was wrong wrong wrong. So, I listened and went out and bought sheers that cost $200 plus a pair and lots more. I actually have an electric table in my basement that is cherished given my having difficulties with both my overall strength and pain in my hands doing repetitive movements. And, I had all the recommended grooming shampoos, sprays, conditioners, you name it. But, none of them are organic or truly sensitive in their formulas. So, I decided to try some products from a new eco-friendly line, and brought on Aroma Paws, a product line launched in 2008.

I have been delighted with the products and it wasn’t until a recent bathing that I got the best, most un-biased recommendation, of just how truly wonderful they were.

I am not too-much into fragrances so I have found combining the hypo-allergenic shampoo with one of the fragrances gives me just a touch of scent. So far, the honeysuckle jasmine dry skin formula is my favorite, and Kitty Cindy loves it as well. Let me tell you how I know.

Cindy (small 6-pounder) is not too enamored with Alfie (60-pounder), and essentially only tolerates his presence, demonstrably jealous of the attention he receives. But, when Gary and I decide to watch a movie in our big screen tv room where there is a 2-seat small couch, she must be there along with Alfie who squeezes between us.

Last week, I had just finished a 3-hour grooming session with the boy using my Aroma Paws 2-shampoo combo. Alfie bound upstairs and I slowly and painfully trudged up as well. After using this shampoo, I have noticed that the texture of Alfie’s fur is just like silk. It is just so soft and luxurious that Gary and I cannot keep our hands off of him after a bath. Alfie always has a great sheen, but I owe that to the 6000 units of pure Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Oil that he gets daily. But, it is the shampoo that gives him the most delicious soft scent and the glorious feel.

Well, we decided to watch a movie after this long grooming session and therefore the pileup commenced on our small viewing sofa. I think this was the first time that Cindy was so close to Alfie after a bathing. Well, all of a sudden she began sniffing him. She pushed her nose back and forth from his paws up his legs to his chest. And, then she took her head and burrowed it into his fur. I almost could not see it any longer as it was almost covered entirely by Alfie’s fur. You could honestly tell that she was mesmerized by him. She could not seem to get enough and continued this behavior for a while. Poor Alfie did not know what to make of it since she is perpetually slapping him silly over one perceived injustice after another. So, he froze and just let her proceed. I only wish I had tried to get it on film, but it never would have captured the sensory experience that you needed to capture via smell and touch.

Honestly, I would love to hear from other folks after using this shampoo. I don’t typically get too excited about products like this but anyone who would have experienced this Kitty-Golden session would be similarly convinced.

I carry several of the products in the line at the site, 100% of our profits, of course, going towards the grants that we provide for cancer treatment. The two products that I combined and used on Alfie are from those shown below:

Aroma Paws Luxury Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo & Conditioner in One
This hypoallergenic & fragrance free formula is a blend of Organic Honey, Colloidal Oatmeal & Pro Vitamin B5. It was designed for dogs with sensitive skin and allergies to the dyes and chemicals found in many pet grooming lines. This chemical-free shampoo is pH Balanced, Eco-Friendly, and Bio-Degradable. It contains NO dyes, NO parabens, NO alcohol, NO salt & NO phosphates.

Instead, the shampoo contains:
Aloe Leaf Extract to relieve itching of sensitive or irritated skin; soothe bug bites.
Chamomile Flower to restore the pH balance to your dog’s skin & coat.
Sweet Almond Oil to soften the skin.
Organic Honey which is an antioxidant and natural antimicrobial.
Green Tea Leaf Extract which is a natural antioxidant.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Earth Derived Cleansers (from Coconut, Palm & Corn), Glycerin, Panthenol, Colloidal Oatmeal, Pure Honey, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Extracts of: Apple Fruit, Lime Flower, Beet Root, Aloe Leaf, Chamomile Flower, Cucumber, Pine Tree Root, & Dandelion, Cellulose Gum, Palm Stearic Acid, Citric Acid, Blend of Botanical & Essential Oils

Aroma Paws Fragrance Shampoo & Conditioner in One

Aroma Paws Shampoo & Conditioner is blended with Green Tea Leaf Extract for a shiny coat, Aloe Leaf Extract to soothe skin, and Sweet Almond & Coconut Oils to relieve dryness and detangle. Their all natural, CHEMICAL FREE cleansing agents will safely, gently and naturally cleanse your dog’s skin and coat.

These chemical-free shampoos are pH Balanced, Eco-Friendly, and Bio-Degradable. They contain  NO dyes, NO parabens, NO alcohol, NO salt & NO phosphates.

The ingredients for these fragrance shampoos are: Purified Water, Earth Derived Cleansers (from Coconut, Palm & Corn), Glycerin, Panthenol, Colloidal Oatmeal, Pure Honey, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Extracts of: Apple Fruit, Lime Flower, Beet Root, Aloe Leaf, Chamomile Flower, Cucumber, Pine Tree Root, & Dandelion, Cellulose Gum, Palm Stearic Acid, Citric Acid, Blend of Botanical & Essential Oils

These shampoo formulas all have the same base ingredients, only differing in the blend of botanical and essential oils that give each its own special properties.

LAVENDER CHAMOMILE Anti-itch & Hot Spot Relief Formula: contains French Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, and Eucalyptus. French Lavender Oil is a relaxant and skin soother. Roman Chamomile helps restore the pH balance to your dog’s skin and coat. Ylang Ylang Oil softens the skin. And, Eucalyptus Oil naturally refreshes and cleans the skin.

HONEYSUCKLE JASMINE Dry Skin & Dandruff Relief Formula: contains Honeysuckle, Indian Jasmine, and Sweet Violet.  Honeysuckle Soil is a natural emollient. Indian Jasmine Oil is a mood elevator and antiseptic. And, Sweet Violet Oil helps to reduce insomnia and stress.

COCONUT PAPAYA Sensitive Skin Formula: contains Coconut, Vanilla Bean, Hawaiian Papaya, Seagrass, and Seaweed Extract. Coconut Oil is a natural moisturizer. Papaya Extract conditions the skin and coat. Vanilla Bean Oil is a soothing, stress reliever. Seagrass Extract purifies the skin and increases circulation. Seaweed Extract is an anti-inflammatory.