It’s been a while since we had time to post any updates/reviews but with the recent news articles making their rounds I wanted to clarify a few things.
First, Mom’s name was spelled wrong, so if you look up Sabrina Ridley, you wont find her. No biggie though because she prefers people just contact me directly on my Facebook page.
Second, it says Stormtrooper Ranch collects money for charities, they do not. We simply make appearances for charities/non-profits. Information on Stormtrooper Ranch can be found here: http://stormtrooperranch-theoneandonly.com/. If you are looking to have Stormtrooper Ranch to come out to your event go ahead and contact them through the information on their website. I can’t always make every event and I won’t be doing events once it gets hot out (unless I am invited to an air conditioned building). If there aren’t any members near you, you can try the 501st, they are much larger and do the same things for non-profits.
Now some other notes, the article make it sound like Mom fiberglassed my head, there was a lot more to the process, but the fiberglass cast (like they use to set broken bones) was used to make a thin base to put the clay on. More information on the helmet build can be found here: Stormtrooper Helmet Build – Doggie Style!
For those of your that say this is cruel I will have you know that this helmet was specially made for me and if I didn’t want to wear it, I wouldn’t (ask anyone that has tried to trim my toenails, it’s a circus event). I certainly wouldn’t be wearing it to charity events and events held my the humane societies. If I do want it off, I just tell Mom and she takes it off (making the human Stormtroopers jealous). If I need to take a break, I get to, Mom event has a whole travel kit with blankets, treats, and water. I can sit down, lay down and go potty in my costume if I need to and can quit at anytime. Then what do I get out of this? Besides all the attention, people talking to me, petting me, I would say I loved the moment two little girls came up to me at an event then gave me big hugs, well it was more than hugs, for a minute I thought I was going to have to take one home since she wasn’t letting go. Then Mom loves that people stick around and talk, so they are more likely to help the charity we are helping.
I think I need to write up a tutorial on the suit and my next helmet build, but until then here are some more pictures for your enjoyment.
Sorry I haven’t updated this page in a while, it’s because we have been working on our Halloween costume and it is finally done! Although we are still working on Big Brother Trey’s costume.
This was Mom’s first build of this type. The body is EVA foam so I can move around and helmet is fiberglass, Mom’s first ever sculpt and cast. I’ll try to come back and post more detail and of the trial and errors on this costume later.
The Ruffwear Singletrak is my 3rd backpack and by far the most expensive. I got this backpack mid-March and since then have put well over 100 miles on it so I think I would consider it broke in and ready to review. I normally like to keep reviews short and to the point, but I think pack deserves a lot more of my time so you can get a good idea of what it offers if you are considering getting one. Since I am going into detail I broke the review into different sections so feel free to skip to your particular interest.
Why I chose the Ruffwear and specifically the Singletrak-
To be honest I arrived at my decision to buy Ruffwear by the amount of good reviews I found online for their different packs (maybe you’re here for the same reason), and I like the idea how their harness looked (comfortable). Prior to getting this Ruffwear I had an Outward Hound backpack, which wasn’t too bad, it just had the potential to rub (here is my review). So after reading (well Mom reading to me) a lot of the reviews I have to say I couldn’t really find a review that covered my needs. A lot of the good reviews are done by people that go on all day hikes or camp trips. My hikes range from 1-1.5 hours (5-6 miles) with some of them being trail runs. The reason I really want a pack is to carry my water for the warm days and just to carry weight in general (Mom says I am best when I am tired.. WHATEVER!). Since most of my time on the trail is spent running, jumping, climbing and pouncing on things while off-lease, we really wanted a pack that would hold the water tight against my body and not have it fly up then slam into my side when I jump. For this reason we immediately eliminated the Approach Pack from my list. The Approach doesn’t have a “compression system” to push the water against my body. So since I wanted to stick with Ruffwear I was left with two options, the higher priced Palisades or the lower priced Singletrak. The Palisades does offer that compression system, however the bags are huge and really designed for an all day or overnight trip which is a bit excessive for my needs and I wasn’t sure how well that compression system would work to keep the water from bouncing. Now the Singletrak on the other hand doesn’t have a compression system but it does have small pockets the water bags fit into that is part of the harness, so them means if the bags are full or half empty they would not flop around although they might slosh a bit if you leave a lot of air in the bag. After evaluating my needs we decided the Singletrak would be the best option for a bouncy, trail running, and hiking dog like me, it would give me the option to carry my water and have just enough room for a leash, poo bags and a smartphone.
Where I got the Singletrak-
Second let’s talk about where I purchased the Singletrak (so feel free talk skip this section if you don’t care where I got it). Knowing from previous experience how important fit is I wanted to at least go to a local store to try on Ruffwear. This way I can get my size and not guess and play the return game. So after Mom searched Ruffwear’s website and the internet in general we found a few local retailers which included Sportsman’s Warehouse, Redding Sports LTD and a little shop called Hermit’s Hut. After comparing prices Hermit’s Hut had the backpack on sale so I decided I would visit their shop. Being the person my Mom is, she of course called ahead of time to check with the store to see if they were okay with me coming in and they were (FYI Sportsman’s and ReddingLTD are both pet friendly) so off we went to Hermit’s Hut.
When we arrived at Hermit’s Hut there was a distinct odor of cat urine, now Mom and Dad aren’t the oversensitive type when it comes to smell (I do have 2 cat siblings) but it was pretty strong so I think we must have arrived after a tom-cat left his mark. Other than that, I would describe the store as a small store in a low rent district (but we didn’t feel nervous to be there) with a a lot of outdoor gear. When we arrived their pet section was right by the door, however it was a small selection of pet items. The Singletrak they had in stock was a size medium so it didn’t fit but it still gave us the idea of what it would look like in my size. They did however have a Ruffwear Palisades in stock and in my size (Large/X-Large) that I was able to try on and see. To be honest at this point we still weren’t sure if we wanted the Singletrak or Palisades. After a good test fit, we talked to man in charge about ordering the pack and he said once we decided, we could order it online and leave a note to pickup in store or he could just ship it to us. So after a couple days of thinking over the packs we decided on the Singletrak, placed our order online and decided to have it shipped (it was free shipping). Since it wasn’t in stock it did take 2 days before we got a confirmation it was shipped but it arrived the next day as expected. Overall I would have to say the transaction was smooth, my only complaint is about the store odor, but for the price I would still recommend them and I do hope the odor is gone by now.
Features of the Singletrak-
The Singletrak is a very simple, sleek pack that I believe is a great design for dogs that go out on runs or hikes that are no more than a few hours. Basically it’s for those of us that don’t need to carry food, just water or weight. The Singletrak uses the same type of design as their Web Master Harness (I don’t have one), but basically there is a Y yoke in front that is padded were all parts of the Y meet for the chest piece, a padded strap that goes under the chest and another padded strap that goes behind the chest. The chest strap does not disconnect from the the harness on both sides so has to be slid over your head and you will have to pick up your right leg over part of the yoke so the strap that connects the yoke to the chest strap can fit into place. Overall these straps and buckles are very sturdy and padded. All this padding really shows they thought about those of us with thin fur coats.
The top part of the pack has a large nylon loop that you can clip things to (I assume a leash too, but not sure if I would trust it to hold back a large dog) and a handle. Now mom’s first thought about that handle was that it would be useless on a large dog since she couldn’t use it to assist me going over large objects like intended, but she quickly found a use for it after a few miles. The handle turns out is a great alternative for a short term leash. What I mean is, if you are on an off-leash run like I normally do, occasionally you come across other dogs or people and Mom insists on holding me. So instead of pulling out the leash each time, Mom just grabs the handle and walks me past the distraction then lets go. This really beats having a leash tied to the pack for easy access.
The underside of the harness that rests again my body really shows the quality of this harness that once again that they kept us thin coated dogs in mind. It is nicely padded to protect me from anything put into the pockets that could poke me and cushion me if I have something that wants to bounce in the pack. With this padding I haven’t seen any sign of rubbing and overall it really makes it comfortable. The only down side is, I could see this as a place that could get stinky since it would adsorb, so as mom says, not rolling on dead animals or their poo.
Underside of pack
As far as the compartments, each side has two pockets that are separated by mesh, I mention that just in case you want to carry electronics. If your water pouch spring a leak or you don’t screw the top of the water pouch tight there is no barrier so I would Ziplock electronics to be safe. The main pocket is where the water pouches are stored and there is a smaller pocket that lays on top of these, each with their own zipper access. The main pocket is designed for just the water pouch however you can fit a bit more on there, Mom puts the water bottle and my leash in one side and on the other side is the other water bottle and a couple rocks to balance out the weight. The small pocket is not very deep but mom can just fit her Droid 4 smart phone in (so I can see the crazy miles I put on using the GPS feature) but of course had room lengthwise to shove in some poo bags and other small bits if needed. Bottom line is this pack is meant to carry water and maybe poo bags and treats, don’t expect to be hauling your meals or extra water bottles (besides the pouches).
The water pouches are made of a nice thick plastic with a top that you see on a lot of sports bottles. If you currently haul bottles you will love these pouches, they nicely conform to your body making them much easier to haul around with less sloshing. My understanding (I might be wrong) is the earlier versions of the Singletrak came with pouches that were more like the Camelbak hydration packs where they had a tube the would come out for easy pouring which I think the Palisades still does. I would have loved to have that option, just to pull out a tube so Mom didn’t have to remove the whole pouch for water. I guess from what I read people complained about them leaking, but if I can find Camelbak packs in the right size I may trade these out for that convenience or buy an adapter. Of course I might have to modify the pack a bit, but it really would be a lot faster to pull a tube out than the whole pouch.
I guess before I describe the fit of this pack I should describe myself. I am 70lbs of very lean, mean, red-headed barking machine. I have very little body fat and lot of lean muscle, so from a distance I look skinny, but up close you notice you don’t see any ribs just muscle. Overall this pack fits good, is has just enough adjustment on the rear strap to get around my tiny waist, but if I were any smaller we would have to trim down the padding. To be honest I would rather have to trim padding than not have enough. I think when it comes to the straps that go under my chest and stomach have a lot of adjustment however if I were a big-wide breed dog I might we worried about the yoke adjustment because it doesn’t appear there is a lot but I can’t be sure. So if you are a wide-chested dog it would be a real good idea to try this on in-store to make sure it fits.
The problem I was having with the pack was it wanted to slip sideways. I *think*The Ruffwear Singletrak is my 3rd backpack and by far the most expensive. I got this backpack mid-March and since then have put well over 100 miles on it so I think I would consider it broke in and ready to review. I normally like to keep reviews short and to the point, but I think pack deserves a lot more of my time so you can get a good idea of what it offers if you are considering getting one. Since I am going into detail I broke the review into different sections so feel free to skip to your particular interest.
To Sum it up..
Great for carrying water without it bouncing
Very adjustable so very good odds you should get a good fit
Lots of padding to prevent almost all rubbing
Very study and you know it is great quality the moment you handle it
Price (but I don’t think its overpriced for the quality)
No much room for anything but your water
There might be fitting issues if you are really big chested or even really skinny.
Approx $90, however check around for sales!
Yes, for those of you who are really active but need to carry some water or just needs to carry weight.
Didn’t I give you enough detail?!
Suggestions for Manufacturer:
1. Hook up with Camelbak to improve your water system. What would be great is if you could hook the bags together through a tube system (across the yoke?). It could help to equalize the water levels so you don’t have to worry about trying to take the same amount of water out of each side to balance your load. Overall just having the tube system would be nice so you don’t have to remove the whole water pouch.
2. How about adding another buckles to both sides of the harness for the straps that go under my chest and waist. If you were using cheap ones I wouldn’t recommend it, but you are using quality ones so this would make it more convenient when taking the harness on or off and make it so we don’t have to lift a paw to get into the harness. Not that lifting a paw is hard and I do it out of habit now, but if I hurt my left leg it would be nice not to have to bare by weight on it to take the harness off. I guess I am lucky my running injuries have happened on my right side. Plus it would make it easy to get on/off the harness if you are in tight quarters like the back seat of the car.
3. Add some padding to the bottom strap of the yoke, when I will still test fitting I had it slide sideways it did rub a little in my armpit (I got sensitive skin because of my thin coat).
I saved the best for last, at least my favorite Kong toy. Drum roll…tatatatatatatatatat.. It’s the Kong classic. Why having such a boring toy as my favorite? Because Mom fills them with love.. okay, not love dog treats and PEANUT BUTTER!! These Kong Classics can be used a general chew toys or something to play fetch with but their best use is as a treat filled goodie ball to bribe us pups. Mom stuffs the ball with either treats or just plain dog food but then she plugs the hole with peanut butter and puts them in the freezer overnight. Then when Dad leaves for work in the morning Trey and I each get a Kong ball and head into our crates to eat our sweet treat.
Multi-Sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL)
Lots of room for treats and peanut butter
Really hard chewers can destroy if left unsupervised (our vet posted an article on it)
YES, but only if you parents are going to fill it with lots of love aka treats and peanut butter!
Mom got me a Kong Traxx (tire) since I have an obsession with another tire toy I had but to be honest this one does nothing for me. I have two other non-Kong tires, one is smaller and the other is a much larger tire and they both get much more play time. I like to hold the smaller tire in my mouth and squeeze it (collapse it) while the bigger is used for general chewing, tug-of-war and just play carry around and give to Mom toy (I am on my 2nd of those).
Overall I would have to say this toy is just too small for chewing because if it did interest me, just feeling it, I would have killed it. However if you are just the type that likes to mouth toys they you would probably like it.
Flexible rubber for pups that like the mouth toys
To small for the 30-65lb chewer it is recommended for
Not for the chewer, I think this would be great for a large puppy for the dogs that like to carry and/or mouth toys.
Here is another Kong ball I have, the KONG Squeezz Ball Dog Toy. This is another fun ball I keep around the house. I normally play with this one when I am looking for a squeaking ball. I’ve had this thing for a couple years now and it is still in good condition and the squeaker still works. I can’t rave but definitely can not complain about the toy, after all it is still in good condition. I wouldn’t rave about it only because I have a large selection of balls and this one tends to get left in the toy box most days since I like the slightly bigger, heavier Kong ball I talked about earlier in this series.
Bigger than a tennis ball so it doesn’t fit in the thrower, although that is okay because I use this as an indoor toy.
Wubba Wubba Wubba.. I just love the name! To save you some time, if you are a chewer just say NO. Yes they look like loads of fun, but unless you have someone responsible (looking at you humans) to tell you no, then your won’t be able to resist the urge to kill these. If you are looking to have fun with your human then these are a fun supervised toy (like a frisbee). As you can see from the picture below I have Wubbas. The toy on the right (not Trey’s paw) is designed for water use. Mom bought this toy for me in hopes if would get me to swim, but fat chance on that, if my feet can touch the bottom I don’t go any deeper. The toy is a light weight neoprene type material is good for water toys but bad for chewers, give me 10 second alone with this toy and I will kill it. The toy on the left is a regular Wubba which is just two balls covered in a tough nylon. The nylon decent for rough play, but those strings on the bottom wont last a chewer, if you look close you can see the damage I have already done. However this can be a fun toy to play fetch with, when you throw the Wubba it has a lot of surface area to grab and catch it without a lot of additional weight. It is also a fun toy to grab and shake, assuming you hold it by the big end otherwise OUCH!.
Easy to hold
Easy to throw
Several options for water, general play and cuddling
A Kong chew toy that is also a dental stick? This has got to be the perfect chew toy, right? Well I don’t have any pictures of this because it long ago disappeared but you can find a picture on Kong’s website under Dental Stick. As you may (or may not) know by now I am a chewer so Mom figured a chew toy that is supposed to be good for the teeth so it would be a good thing for me, but she was wrong.
Well not to say that is product isn’t good, it is just not good for me. I have to admit, I loved the toy it has a wonderful texture that made me want to really chew on it. I would stand with in in my mouth and just squeeze it in my mouth and work it around. However it didn’t take me long to realize if I held it in between my paws and grabbed the end I could chew off the ridges. It was really a shame, I should have just packed this away and hid it in my crate so I could enjoy it out of view. With the ridges quickly ending up as red bits on the floor the toy quickly disappeared into that toy boy in the sky (same place the dryer puts your missing socks).
I have to admit this toy has been in our toy box since before I was born. Mom bought this toy for Trey years ago but before I came along, Trey preferred to love on soft plush toys so it got very little play. Going back through my puppy pictures I found a few with this toy. I think Mom hid this away when I got bigger because she was afraid it wouldn’t last with my reputation for toys (with good reason bawhahah). However since we barked about doing a Kong series Mom decided to pull it out of the toy box and let me have it.
After a bit of play here are my thoughts, although it looks like a tennis ball it is a bit more durable with thicker walls than a standard tennis ball. It has the nice fuzzy soft feel of a tennis ball and it is nice to hold. Being long you can hold it in the middle and still have enough out the side of your mouth to waive it in front of your brother/sister but still play keep away. Surprisingly the squeaker does seem to be holding out (normally first to go on my toys) but I think it is because I haven’t narrowed down the location of the air hole so I haven’t stuck my tooth in there yet to pop in/out the squeaker.
Like a tennis ball but tougher
Here is my 2nd favorite Kong toy, the Kong ball. This ball comes in 2 sizes a small and a medium-large. The small is 2.5 inches and the M/L is 3 inches and I of course have the M/L. I love this ball, it is a solid rubber toy and has a bit of bounce and seems indestructible to me. In our house, tennis balls normally last 1 play session (fetch) before they are splitting, but this ball is solid, it has no give at all. The size is also perfect for my mouth at 3 inches I can hold it fine but I can’t grip it in my back teeth or as Mom calls it, The destruction zone (where most toys go to die) so I can’t kill it. After several months of carrying this thing around, inside and out there are not even teeth marks on it. I don’t think I really have a complaint on this one, except it doesn’t bounce as well and doesn’t get thrown as far because it is heavier than a tennis ball. Although Mom does complain if I have this in the house and drop it on her foot.
Lasts a bazillion times longer than a tennis ball (for me)
Still has bounce (nothing compared to tennis ball)
Bigger than a tennis ball, so for a mouth my size it doesn’t allow me to chew on it
Price, its about $15, but if you play fetch a lot it should save you in the long run if you go through a lot of tennis balls.
Bigger than a tennis ball (also a pro) so it doesn’t fit in the tennis ball thrower.
The second Kong product I thought I would bark about this series is the Kong Classic Flyer aka Kong Frisbee. Trey and I have a collection of cheap Frisbees that we got free from dog events. Those freebies are stored away for a rainy destruction day since those last 1 throw with us. When Trey and I pay frisbee it’s more than a game, it’s a competition. It’s all about who can get it first, followed by a game of tug-of-war normally broken up by Mom or Dad. This competition immediately leaves plastic freebie with holes from our teeth and after a couple throws they are toast. Since we enjoy the game so much Mom put out a little extra money to try this Kong flier. After a few plays I have to give it an okay review.
First the flyer is made of the typical Kong red rubber, making it heavier than the typical frisbee so it doesn’t fly as well, but it does fly. Also with our game of tug of war we have ripped a hole in it so it has been reduced to backup frisbee. On the other hand if we didn’t play tug-of-war I would give it better marks since I do love when I get hold of it I can shake it and slap myself in the face (I don’t know why, but I love toys that do that). Personally I have 2 other frisbee options I like a little better, my Chuck It Flying Squirrel has much better hang time in the air and is just as durable, then the Dura Doggie Disc which has better distance is a lot more durable.
More durable than standard plastic frisbee
Floppy enough to shake and slap yourself (if you like that)
Great toy if you don’t play tug-of-war but are still rough on them
Looks like it will stand a bit of chewing
A softer rubber than wont hurt your mouth if you chew while carrying it.
Pricer than normal frisbees (approx $12)
Doesn’t fly as nice as my Chuck It Flying Squirrel or Dura Doggie Disc
Wont hold out with two dogs fighting over it.
Not Really. I wouldn’t just say “no” because it is a decent product, but I like my other options better. I would recomment the Chuck It Flying Squirrel for dogs learning to catch frisbees, it has a better hang time. Then for those who want flying distance and/or durability I like the Dura Doggie Disc. Honestly I think Kong should consider buying out the Dura Doggie Disc before they get a good hold on that market. Dye it red stamp their name on it and I would believe it was theirs, great design and durability are things I think of with Kong. I did look online and saw that Kong has an “Extreme” version that is black, we might have to take a look at it next time we are in Petsmart or Petco.
1 Mr Barksmith’s Carrot Cake Smoothie
Retail Price: $4 ($24 for a 6 pack at Bjs)
1 Barkworthies Junior Bully Stick
Retail Price:$3.15 from Barkworthies
For a total retail price of: 32.02 NOT including shipping
Just an FYI on the BarkBox Price
As of 3/20/14, and this includes shipping to Continental US
$29 for 1 month
$72 for 3 months ($24 per month)
$114 for 6 months ($19 per month)
$199 for 1 year ($16.58 per month)
Get $5 off if you use this link (my referral)
YES! Unless you are entering frisbee competitions this is a great flying disc, it has good hang time and decent distance for being a heavy duty toy. Of course just like all frisbees it is not a toy you can leave a chewer alone with but it will live through a game of dobie tug-o-war.
Ever get that need to destuff the your toys? Have a hard time resisting the urge to spill white fluffy guts all over the floor? If that is the case I have a the toys for you, they will fulfill that urge over and over again while driving your humans nuts!
The toys are the Plush Puppies Hide-a-Squirrel or Puzzle Plushes made by Kyjen. These are soft toys inside of toys that make for a fun filled time if you like to play surgeon on your plushies. I have 3 of these toys, 1 Hide-a-Squirrel and 2 different Egg Babies that make for a fun time. If you look in the pictures below you will see that they are toys that are already have destuffed bodies (or lightly stuffed in the squirrel tree) that you put little toys into. Once they are stuffed just hand them over to your surgeon and watch them find that opening within seconds. I know when I find the opening I start pulling eggs and tossing them everywhere until the toys are empty it give me such a high! Once the toys are out I like to run around with at least one in my mouth as a prize. Since I just “destuffed” the big toy I do tend to let the small toys live longer than I normally would. Mom tends to think the pure joy I get from this toy is disturbing but if I am happy then so is she.
I do have to say you have to keep on your humans about being ready to reload these toys. After just a few tries I figured out where the opening are and how to destuff them quickly, in fact Mom tends to give me all 3 at once to buy more time. Even with 3 toys it takes me less than 5 minutes to complete my task then start my victory lap, followed by the need to destuff the heads of the Egg Babies. That’s right there is something there I can still get my white fluff from! Of course that is the cue for mom to start reloading the toys for another round. Since I am so good at these puzzles I don’t get to play with them as often because Mom and Dad have keep restuffing and after so many rounds they get tired of it.
Satisfies the need to destuff toys
Requires a lot of human interaction (if you are a toy guarder forget it)
Not Durable, same material as a normal stuffed toy
Some toys still have stuffed parts
$10 and Up from Amazon.com and I have seen them in store at Petco
Yes, but only if you are a serial plush killer AND your humans are willing to constantly refill these for you. Also I would not recommend the platypus or any others that have a stuffed head, that is just asking to be destuffed.
Suggestions to Manufacturer:
These toys could be made to last longer if they did a few things. First, the hole the small toys come out should be smaller, making us really have to work to get them out. I realize if it is to hard then a lot of pups will turn to normal surgeon procedures to open them up more. I imagine they could fix this by making the toys a shape were they will come part way out easily but to come fully out you really have to pull or get it just right, like a pyramid shape, or a sphere with protruding “arms” that the small arms come out easy but to pull it fully out you have to put your paws on the toy and PULL. Second no stuffed heads, the platypus has stuffing in its head, luckily the hedgehog does not. last I would like to see the small toys make of a more durable material like the canvas or firehose. As long as the big toy is fluffy I would still feel the need to destuff it, but a canvas egg would be harder to get out and would last longer on my victory laps.
Mom should have known better on this toy. A couple weeks back Mom got new tires on the Penny Limo so while we were waiting we took a walk over to Happy Tails Barkery in Redding to look for toys. After walking around we finally decided on this leather toy. Dad was there and thought this would be a nice tough toy that should withstand some chewing, after all it is leather. We, sorry Dad you were very wrong, this toy was treated like what it really is.. rawhide that is just not processed like rawhide rolls.
This is what was left after I played for it for less than a hour. The red outline is part of the body that is now somewhere in the yard in a steaming land mine. I don’t think much more needs to be said.
Double Stitched Leather
Gone in no time
Squeaker was hard to squeak (although once I pulled it out, it squeaked easy)
Nope, not for the serious chewer, maybe if you were a puppy or the type of dog that takes a week to get through a rawhide roll. Honestly a rawhide roll is cheaper, tastes better and lasts longer.