Product Review | Plato's Farmers Market Dog Treats

My senior dog Cleo reminds me of my 92 year old aunt. They both enjoy their routines, and both rely on us to make sure they eat right. Before we discovered my dog had several food allergies, our top priority was managing the cost of feeding her. Cleo is a big food-motivated Husky-Shepherd. Five years ago, she raced around so much that she burned off ten pounds in a couple months living in the San Francisco Presidio.

image from

A few years later, after she was diagnosed with diabetes, her restricted diet changed yet again. As Cleo's aging process progressed she showed disinterest in certain types of treats for the first time. After much experimentation we found a dog treat that covered all of our bases.

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Puppystream digital dog park and new photo community

Dog lovers rejoice! Not only is it the most wonderful time of the year, it's the start of our holiday vacation, and around here that means lots of dog photos being shared between family and friends. We can't resist the cute!  What makes this winter even more exciting is we just discovered a virtual dog park called Puppystream. Drop the galoshes and snow shovel! is a fun new community for all the dog lovers out there who want to share photos of their dog, or see photos of other cute dogs, and we know they're out there! Did you know that there are over 12 million photos tagged #dog on Instagram? 


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"Hey thanks!" Gold Star for Grouchy Puppy from Typepad



It isn't Thanksgiving yet but I'm ready to give thanks! Typepad, where we host this blog, gave Grouchy Puppy an unexpected Featured Blog status recently. What a nice surprise, thank you Typepad editors!

If you look at the screen shot above, they wrote some awfully kind words about why they think you will love reading this blog every day. 

Before I take Cleo out for a walk in the 'hood, let me say that I'm very thankful for you. It means a lot to know that after two years, readers enjoy our message enough to keep coming back for more, and that you also share it with your friends and family. Thank you.

Editorial note: If you miss our daily posts or prefer to get just the highlights in your inbox, we now have a monthly newsletter we deliver straight to you. Sign up at the top of the page, or use the tab on our Facebook wall.

All the best,

- Sharon (and Cleo too!)

"Give Fearlessly. Influence Positively."


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Green Spring Cleaning Package Giveaway + Product Review

We love our dog very much, but even a senior dog can contribute her share of stains and odors to the house. She may not roll on stinky crab carcass as she did in her youth, but our dog still manages to carry the outdoors inside. She can track mud and sidewalk gunk after only a walk around the block! With Spring here and Earth Day this weekend (April 22), this year what better way to renew our commitment to a green lifestyle than by testing out natural cleaning products that help remove pet stain and odor around our house. 

Choose Non-Toxic Pet Cleaning Products

As our way of contributing toward a healthier and more sustainable planet we tried out a trio of Clean+Green products around the house, basically everywhere our dog went. We liked that all their products are non-toxic, hypoallergenic and fragrance free. I don't want to cover up smells but remove them. The Furniture Refresher lifted out odors from the side of the couch where Cleo likes to rub against. We haven't had a problem with our senior dog having an accident in the house yet, but I really appreciate having the Wood & Tile in my tool box for the day we need it. 

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FLOR Tiles | Product Review

Since our dog has moved into her senior years, we have been slowly modifying our home, as well as our habits. Her walks are no longer four mile hikes. Cleo gets nutritional yeast, salmon oil, and glucosamine chondroitin supplements. We are also making sure every square foot of our wood flooring is covered, and rugs are secure. No one wants a leggy Shepherd-Husky to slip when she is doing her hourly "running man" stretch. 

Last year the San Francisco-based pet bed company P.L.A.Y. generously gave us a stylish bed for our dog to try out in the front room. The bed is still Cleo's throne for watching the house. You can check out our review here.

Grouchy Puppy Cleo Loves FLOR Tile

FLOR Worth Every Square Inch.
FLOR Inc., makers of cool modular floor coverings opened their eighth store in San Francisco last month. They invited pet bloggers to attend and offered me tile squares to try out. What they didn't know was that I was already a big fan! My husband and I discovered FLOR a year or so ago, when we were looking for a solution in our kitchen.

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Soldier Dogs Book Review: Human-Animal Bond is Alive in the US Military

The Grouchy Puppy motto is "give fearlessly and influence positively" and comes from my own amazing experiences with dogs. The working dogs of my childhood were the first to teach me to believe in the human-animal bond. My adopted large blended dog from the San Francisco SPCA has continued what they started, with her devotion and influence. Dogs have shown me how they all fearlessly give of themselves and positively influence us humans -- asking for so little in return. The human-animal bond is real and it's spectacular.

Proving that the human-animal bond is alive in our military, is Maria Goodavage's new book Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes. She had me nodding my head with each story about these amazing military working dogs [MWD] and their handlers. The MWD demonstrate in a military setting: they know good people when they smell them, and they'll let you train them to do any task - if they trust you.

11_Norfolk - Lars entering submarine 2
Lars, the Jack Russell Terrier being handed down into a submarine to do his duty as a sniffer dog.   Photo credit: US Navy Photo by Petty Officer Second Class Paul D. Williams

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Wag & Go Outdoor Pack Product Review & Special Offer

Though we live in San Francisco, with it's famous foggy summer weather, our walks in the city still make us thirsty. The hills and urban landscape mean that when we take a break it will more likely be on a stoop rather than a trail head or under a shady tree.

Wag-Go-Outdoor-Pack-Product-Review With our concrete jungle in front of us, Cleo and I decided to test out a new product from, an online retailer of modern, upscale dog bedding, furniture and accessories. We don't do product reviews often but since San Francisco is a stylish city, and we love climbing our steep streets, we couldn't wait to try out the Wag & Go Outdoor Pack.

The kit includes a pack bowl and bottle, along with enhanced water for both of us! With the pace that Cleo takes on some of our hills, I loved that the bowl fastened tightly around the water bottle. And if you stop along the way for a water break, don't worry about a wet bowl. You can use the clip on the outside of the bowl to hang it off any loop (belt loop, back pack, leash) to dry in the sun while you finish your walk.

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Cube Dog Product Review

Thank you to Cube Dog for sponsoring this review. For more information about Cube Dog please visit the Facebook page or download it on iTunes.

Cube Dog is a super cute dog! As my friends know, I'm a bit of a nerd. A somewhat creative and frugal nerd. With my iPhone, I love to find all the free versions of the latest and greatest apps. You've seen around these pages and on the Grouchy Puppy Facebook pages lots of photos, where I've used the free version of the iPhone App, Instagram. Super cool and fun way to post photos, especially of dogs and dog events. 

Cube-Dog-Buddy Now I got a chance to review a really cute app for people who love their iPhones like I do, and love all things dog! Cube Dog, is a brand new, free iPhone 4 app that lets you create a customizable virtual dog from start to finish. I downloaded the app and had created my first dog in seconds. If you need to a little help, shake your phone and the app creates a dog for you. Once you’ve created your dog, you’re ready to play!

Since I love how the app includes cool features like the ability to photograph your dog on-location using your iPhone camera. I took this cute photo of 'Buddy" sitting outside in the yard. Plus, Cube Dogs can do everything from fetch a bone to play baseball!

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Milk-Bone Healthy Favorites Product Review

Healthy dog snacks. We are always on the lookout for treats that our dog can eat. Since she has dietary restrictions, we can't grab just anything off the shelf. We need to look over the label closely.

Milk-Bone Healthy Favorites Chewy Treats

We're fortunate to live in the city of St. Francis. There are many pet centric businesses and services, from canine massage to homemade dog food. However for those who don't live here or even within driving distance, we just found a national and trusted brand of dog biscuits that now includes a healthy choice for your dog.

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P.L.A.Y. Pet Beds: After Rain, Mud and Puppy Playtime

Dirty Pet BedSan Francisco has had a record number of rainy days for March. Our house seems to have broken a record for the number of muddy dog prints on the carpet. With our first sun, I hope to smell more fresh flowers than wet dog for a change.

This weekend after all the rain I washed Cleo's new (well not so new anymore) dog bed for the first time.  This was the cover's first official washing in the washing machine. There have been "unofficial washings" that include a few swipes with a sponge and Dust Buster.

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P.L.A.Y. Pet Beds: Product Review

Cleo_PLAY_Pet_Bed San Francisco is a city that makes the top of many lists for its natural beauty, amazing cuisine, and walkability. 

It is also home to many companies that are focused on saving the environment through green technology. Now, add residents with style and a deep love for their pets and voila, the perfect city for a new pet bed company, P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle And You.

P.L.A.Y. pet beds go beyond the wicked fleece of LL Bean.  We have nothing against all things wicked good but a plaid dog bed doesn't really fit our decor. 

All of P.L.A.Y.'s pet bed styles are modern and beautiful, and especially their Artist Collection designed by San Francisco's own David Collins. This line includes unique designs like the Victorian Cameo and Chandelier.

Lofty and Feel Good.

Cushion cover is 100% cotton

Fillers are made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles

100% machine washable

Durable construction

Recycled packaging materials

Ready. Set. Style. The covers are sold separately.  All the patterned covers can be easily zipped off for washing or if you decide to change the look of your room, you can switch covers.  An idea I had not thought of before was their suggestion of using one of their beds for the back of your car.  What a great idea especially for older dogs!


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Premier Dog Toy Product Review: Pogo Plush Beaver

Premier Pet Product Pogo Plush Toy Our dog Cleo, a large German Shepherd-Husky, loves squeaky toys. She loves them so much, you might say she loves them to death.

It has been a struggle finding dog toys that give this "predator" a satisfying squeak of fear (or maybe delight?), before they poop out.

We have worked to keep her current line in good shape, just in case we are stuck with them long past their end date. Check out our eco-post where we tried recycling and repairing a few toys.

Today we received a reprieve when the lovely folks at Premier Pet Products let Cleo taste test their new dog toy - a Pogo Plush Beaver.

This turned into a very exciting playtime.  Cleo didn't know what to do when she discovered this beaver toy has a free-floating squeaker! Considering her dental challenges, we are always amazed that she can tear many other dog toys apart.

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FIDO Friendly Magazine: Product Review

It was such a nice surprise when FIDO Friendly asked me to review the current winter issue of their magazine. Why? Well as a self-identified dog lover I was happy to page through this recent edition again, because besides being a magazine for dog lovers and dog guardians, the articles they publish encourage readers at every turn. In this December edition, I read stories about hope, joy, tolerance, courage and determination.

Reading about Junior, the Lab choosing a feline named Josie as his new best friend teaches us that an open heart can reach across species. There is the candid emotion behind a woman’s love for her dog and the courage that got her to leave an abusive husband. My favorite story in this issue is “Anatomy of a Grieving Dog Mom”. It is about handling grief. The message of hope Carol writes about is read loud and clear. With my first dog entering her senior years, I appreciate all that Cleo gives and stories like Carol’s remind me that a dog’s positive influence doesn’t ever have to end.

Unlike many glossy magazine covers, the pretty face on a FIDO Friendly cover is bound to be an animal activist and pet advocate. Rather than just Hollywood gossip, it is nice to read about an actress like Charlotte Ross raising money and awareness for groups like Operation Blankets of Love. Rescues and shelters are always in need of supplies.

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Freaky Dog People: Product Review

Love Ride Tee Freaky Dog People. The only thing freaky about the dog people behind this company is how big their heart is. Okay that, and maybe how talented they are, because we loved all of the designs on their t-shirts.

The mission of Freaky Dog People Inc. is to make a difference in the life of dogs by caring for them and by raising money and awareness for dog rescue groups, shelters, canine assistance programs and organizations that provide care for the dogs that don’t have a home or loving family.  

Be the Change. Raising money and awareness is how we define giving fearlessly.  We don't do a lot of product reviews but after we met these amazing people at Blog Paws West, we leapt at the opportunity.

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Book Review & Giveway - The Dog Who Healed a Family

Amazon Cover

The Dog Who Healed a Family: And Other True Animal Stories That Warm the Heart & Touch the Soul [Paperback] Jo Coudert

The very first story, about a dog named Snoopy, was 11 pages of one tissue break, after another. Seriously my heart was overflowing with the emotion of what I would do in that situation. 

I was actually glad that all of the stories didn't have me crying like a baby, especially because I like to read on the bus and the tears and sniffles are hard to disguise.

All of the adventures Jo writes about will have you smiling and shaking your head in amazement over these extraordinary animals (and reptile).  I really enjoyed this collection of true stories because we all need a reminder that our human world is intrinsically linked to the animal world. 

And if we let them, animals can be some of our best teachers.  I'm looking at Cleo, my big rescue dog right now napping on her bed, blissfully unaware of her impact on me.

If I had to choose my favorite story from the bunch it would probably be The Puppy Express.  Part of the Grouchy Puppy Mission is to give fearlessly and the people who became the Puppy Express, did just that. 

They freely gave of themselves and welcomed the opportunity to do so. [Excerpt from The Puppy Express]

"Rod Hale, whose idea the Puppy Express had been was asked why the volunteers had done it. Why had thirteen staff members of ten Humane Societies and animal shelters gone to so much trouble for one little dog

Ron told him what one volunteer had said to him on the phone.  "It would have been so easy to tell Nancy Topp that nothing could be done. Instead, you gave all of us a chance to make a loving, caring gesture. Thank you for that."

Sleepy Cleo

Now for the fun part!  Would you like to share these amazing stories with your friends and family? They are perfect for family reading night. Be inspired by these extraordinary animal-human relationships that veteran animal writer Jo Coudert uncovered. I would like to give my advance copy of this wonderful book to you!!!

Note: The paperback and Kindle version of this book doesn't come out until August 1.



  1. Leave a comment below telling me your own true animal story OR go to my fundraising page and make a donation to Gabriel's Angels.
  2. Tweet that you entered my giveaway, just copy and paste this statement (without quotes) into your Twitter client: "I entered to win a copy of The Dog That Healed a Family on .@grouchypuppy Dog Days blog #contests"
  3. Please, no comment spam.
  4. Contest open to US residents only. (Sorry, rest of the world!)

And that's it!  I will pick a winner at random on Friday July 23 at midnight PST.  Please make sure you leave a working email so that I can contact you.

Disclosure: I received this paperback for free and have not received any compensation from the author or publisher.  After reading the book I would simply like to pass my gently used copy directly on to one of you at my expense. 

My hope is that this blog will help build a community of pet lovers and advocates here at Grouchy Puppy, and raise money for various rescues and groups like Gabriel's Angels, a wonderful pet therapy program for at risk children.

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