Pet Fooled: Interview with Kohl Harrington

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting Kohl Harrington, the director and writer of the documentary Pet Fooled. The meeting was unplanned and the venue wasn’t right for me to ask a bunch of questions even though I wanted to. Luckily, Kohl was happy to do an interview for the blog at a later time.

The following is our exclusive Q&A with Kohl Harrington. 

****************

Continue reading

Whatever Wednesday: Pet Fooled

wp-1493505623773

Have you watched Pet Fooled yet? All pet owners need to watch it.

A few weeks ago, Pet Fooled was recommended to me by a friend. It’s an investigative documentary about the commercial pet food industry. I was intrigued. Xena’s been showing food sensitivities to her food for the past 3 months all of sudden so I’ve been doing some research online about different pet food. I rented it from Amazon and watched it with curiosity.

Our pets are part of our family and we want to give them the best of the world. Do you know exactly what is in the food you give to your pets? Until this documentary film, there has been no other film to study the pet food industry. Remember Food, Inc from 2008? That documentary started a passionate movement that has had a positive impact on consumer education and buying choices, animal welfare, national health advocacy, food industry and farming. Ultimately, having a positive impact on the food we eat today. There is still a lot to be improved so the movement is ongoing. Now it’s time to take a closer look at the commercial pet food industry.

Fast forward to 3 weeks, I had a pleasure meeting Kohl Harrington, the director of Pet Fooled in person! He was super nice in person and I wanted to learn more about the stories of making this documentary. Lucky for us, Kohl agreed to do a Q&A for our readers! Yeah~! Meanwhile, go watch the film and let me know what you think. 🙂 It’s available on Netflix and Amazon.

Xoxo

Dog Gear Review: Hurtta Sun & Bug Blocker

Xena’s biggest enemy is the heat. We love the sunny Southern California weather but that heat can get brutal on Xena. Her black fur absorbs that heat and retains it for a very long time. Even in the low 60s, without shade Xena gets too hot and she looks for shades. So it’s my responsibility to make sure she doesn’t get overheated when we hike.

A couple months ago we received a sample of Sun & Bug Blocker from Hurtta North America for trail testing. They wanted to see how it does on a black dog. Our long-time followers already know that we can’t live without Ruffwear Swamp Cooler. I am always interested in trying out cooling gear for Xena. We were happy to put it to the test right away.

PSX_20170427_072102

Product Specs

  • Size:  12S – 24M (click here to see how to measure correctly)
  • Color:  Beige
  • Retail price:  $55
  • Full suit (no zippers or straps)

Design – 4.5/5

Here is the material information directly from the Hurtta website:

Archroma Sanitized®

  • Permethrin-based durable and safe protection for dogs.

  • Keeps mosquitoes, ticks and horseflies from landing; reduces stings and bites

  • Accepted by Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class I-IV.

  • The finishing retains efficiency even after a hundred washes.

  • Dermatologically tested.

  • Treated with Archroma Rayosan® which provides UPF 40+

Now, my observations:

  • Easy to pack compactly (a carrying pouch included) and store in my pack without any additional weight
  • Extremely light, soft, breathable and smooth. Once Xena had it on, she had more energy and was noticeably feeling more comfortable in the sun.
  • There are 3 drawstrings for adjustable fitting:  one on the back, second one at the base of the neck and the last one on the hoody.
  • Easier to dress than undress
  • Comfortable to wear

Function – 4.5/5

Archroma Sanitized® material is very light and breathable. I love the loose hoody design. It covers her entire head! She didn’t mind at all when I pulled it all the way up to protect her from the sun. I think she liked getting the sun blocked. She was not even fazed a little bit. She happily kept on hiking.

It was easier to dress than undress. It fits snug in the chest so it was a bit of effort to pull her first front leg out. It’s not hard but it’s not easy. She didn’t run away from me when I tried to put it on her again after the first time so I know she didn’t hate it. This probably isn’t an issue for a pup with a narrow chest.

We tested the suit in Warner Springs, CA during a weekend trip. Surprisingly there were many mosquitoes. Huge mosquitoes! I assumed probably many ticks were there too considering the amount of tall grasses along the trails. She didn’t get one bite nor I noticed any of them landing on her. Insect/bug test passed by us.

She had no problem going potty in this. That’s always a good thing. 😉

20170427_160221_950151022

Quality – 5/5

It’s made with high quality material and the stitching is flawlessly as I would expect from Hurtta products. I wash it in a front load washing machine in a gentle cycle and air-dry it. The suit comes out of the washer like new and it’s easy to care for. 

Fashion and Fit – 4/5

To get the right size, you need to measure the neck, chest and the back length. Xena’s wearing the size 18M and it fits perfectly. We didn’t need it but if you need to adjust the fitting, there are 3 drawstrings:  one on the back, second one at the base of the neck and the last one on the hoody.

Xena seemed to be comfortable in the suit too. I didn’t notice any chafing and her movement wasn’t restricted in anyway

Now, let’s talk about the fashion. I have a few nicknames for it. Mummy suit, space suit, bee keeper suit, to name a few. I think all doggie full suits are funny when it’s on. I find it entertaining. Haha. But this isn’t about looking fashionable but protecting your pup from the sun and the nasty annoying bugs and insects so it has to cover most part of the body.

wp-1493334282705.

Overall – 4.5/5

Hurtta Sun & Bug Blocker is a high quality performance full suit that is light and airy to keep the dog cool yet protected from the sun’s harmful rays and annoying (and could be dangerous) bugs such as mosquitoes, ticks and horseflies. It is suitable for all fur-types but I think it looks better on the dogs with shorter fur. It’s great for dogs who get overheated easily due to their dark fur or dogs without hair who needs extra protection. Skin cancer is very common in dogs. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, it’s something to think about as well…

20170427_072612_2081262789

Xoxo

We are now on Twitter! Follow us and show us your love!

Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada

Valley of Fire State Park is 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas off Interstate 15.

Unlike the day before, I took my time in the morning. I even ordered a room service. I wasn’t going to be having a real meal until dinner so I savored it.

wp-1492105987206.

The bacon stare

Valley of Fire Hwy was peaceful. Make sure you have plenty of gas before getting on this highway though. As soon as we entered in to the park, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed even with my high expectation. I drove to the visitor center to use the restroom and to finalize the plan for the day.

When I walked out of the restroom, there was a crowd gathered east of the visitor center. A herd of bighorn sheep was slowly migrating! They were beautiful. I got Xena out of the car, put the leash on and grabbed the camera as fast as I could and walked over to that side. Of course, Xena wanted to stop and sniff and pee after being in the car for an hour. By the time we made to that side, the herd had moved on and they were too far for me to get a good photo for you guys.

One man got unnecessarily close to the animals. I understand he wants a great photo but what if someone did that to you and your family? The herd blended in so well with the background. They are in the center of the photo. Hopefully, you can see them.

wp-1492571304568.

I decided to check out the trails on Mouse’s Tank Rd first then see. But first, we explored the interesting rock formations surrounding the visitor center and took some fun pictures.

From the visitor center, I took Mouse’s Tank Rd then began our adventure.

I did not expect the trails to be that much different from each other since they are on the same side of the park. I figured we would check out a couple of them then move on to another part of the park. Well, we spent all day on this one road and we had a blast!! All these hikes are easy to follow and short in distance (less than 2 miles).

First Hike:  Petroglyph Canyon Trail (a.k.a. Mouse’s Tank Trail)

  • Out and back
  • Terrain:  Sandy
  • Big picnic area with additional parking across from the trailhead
  • Difficulty:  Easy (kid-friendly)

We shared the trail with a senior hiking tour group. I guessed they were in their 70s and older. So awesome! They had a guide who explained the history of the place and pointed out petroglyphs along the trail.

Valley of Fire State Park contains ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back to 2,500 years. It really is a geologic wonderland! If you love geology and natural history like me, you would love Valley of Fire!

 

Next Hike:  Rainbow Vista & Fire Canyon Lookout

  • Out and back
  • Terrain:  Sandy/rocky
  • Difficulty:  Moderate
  • Rainbow Vista:  A panoramic view of multi-colored sandstone.

Although it’s a short hike and mostly flat, I rated this hike moderate just because of the last bit of steep climbing to the Rainbow Vista. Like the name, Rainbow Vista was very colorful. According to the sign, we were looking at 150 million years of time since the dinosaurs walked on earth. This untouched colorful wilderness was an amazing view to take in.

wp-1492556072979.

wp-1492574714338.

Fire Canyon Lookout trail requires a bit of scrambling and rock climbing but it’s very doable. We climbed up to one of the rocks with a great view point and had a lunch break.

valley_of_fire-15

20170220_121630

Click here for video

 

Next Hike:  Fire Wave

  • Out and back
  • Terrain:  Dirt/sandy/rock
  • Difficulty:  Easy (kid-friendly)

Fire Wave is a must see when you visit. When you google “Valley of Fire images”, most of the pictures you see are from here. There is no steep incline or decline to mention. Just watch your steps as the rocks can be slippery with loose sand. Take your time and enjoy the stunning view.

Click here for video

 

Final Hike:  White Dome

  • Loop
  • Terrain:  Sandy/dirt/rocky
  • Difficulty:  Moderate
  • There is a small picnic area with benches near the parking lot.

This is the last stop on Mouse Tank Road and I think it was my favorite. The sandy trail began at the end of the cul de sac with a short ascent. The ascent of the hill was rewarded by an extensive view of what was ahead. Many people, who were not comfortable with hiking, enjoyed the views from here and turned around. We hiked down to the canyon.

wp-1492574169887.

Looking back up

wp-1492559593275.

wp-1492574635486.

wp-1492574559079.

Click here for video

 

Valley of Fire was what I expected and more!!! Not only bright red Aztec sandstone nestled in gray and tan limestone mountains is eye catching but it’s from the Jurassic period. How cool is that! I was sad that I only had one day to explore. These photos don’t do it justice so head over to our Facebook Page for more videos!

Good to Know:

  • Hike date:  2.20.17
  • Daily-use fee:  $10/vehicle for non-Nevada residents
  • There are two campgrounds and all campsites are first come, first served with fee
  • Pets are not allowed in the visitor center

Never Stop Exploring

wp-1492576138886.

Vegas, Baby!

I love road trips! One of the reasons is because I am not limited to a suitcase to pack. 😉 I can take anything I want as long as I can fit it in to my car. Here is the packing list for my recent 3 night/4 day trip:

road_trip_2

  • Front:  Cooler packed with seltzer water, protein shakes, coconut water and fruits
  • Back:  Xena’s space. She was temporarily moved for this photo; hence that disapproving face
  • Cargo:  A fold-able chair, Alcott explorer blanket, Xena’s sleeping bag, bottles of water, first aid kits, our suitcases and of course our hiking gear

There are 281 miles (452.23 km) between my house and Las Vegas, Nevada. Originally, I planned to make a stop at Mojave Desert on the way to stretch our legs and hike a sand dune but I ended up scrapping the plan at the last minute due to a rain storm. The storm brought a strong wind with it and it even created a 20-feet sinkhole in the L.A. area on Friday night so I was nervous about the road condition next day. It was the worst we had in like 10 years or something that crazy. Seriously, now?!!

Luckily, the rain stopped and the wind was gone too next morning. After our usual morning routine, I finished packing my car and off we went. It was cloudy but the road condition was great. After 130 miles, I stopped at Barstow for a break. It’s a great place to stop with a dog. There is a plenty of place to walk and stretch our legs and a bunch of fast food joints and regular restaurants too. I pulled in to the El Pollo Loco parking lot where I saw a huge lot next to it. It’s for trailers and big trucks but there was only one truck in the lot and it was far away from us. I grabbed a tennis ball and we walked over to the open space and played fetch until Xena wanted a break. There were tables outside of El Pollo Loco but it was too cold for me so we ate our lunch in the car.

It started to drizzle when we were near the Mojave Desert. As we got closer to the Nevada state line, it rained steadily. We must have caught up with the storm. I drove extra carefully leaving plenty of space between my car and the car in front of me. The soothing sound of raindrops against the car and my extra cautious driving put Xena to asleep. She never sleeps in the car. Ever! This was a record. I was happy to see Xena finally relaxing in the car after all these years.

We arrived at The Westin at 5 pm. Perfect timing, check in and rest a bit before dinner. Initially it appeared to be no line at the registration desks. Then, once my eyes settled in to the new environment, I noticed a crazy long line formed away from the registration desk to my left. That can’t be right. There were at least 30 people in the line! Yep, that was the line. Are you kidding me?! We got in the line and waited for our turn. It was about 5:30 when we got up to the desk. The room wasn’t ready and the wait was about an hour. Ugh. They would text me when the room was available. All of sudden, I felt tired from driving. I need a drink.

I walked over to the restaurant to order a drink so I can have it on one of the benches on the casino floor while waiting. Dogs are not allowed in the restaurants, fitness area, bars and casino at the hotel which is a usual dog-friendly hotel policy. I ordered a glass of wine. Then the waitress pulled me aside and whispered to me to go to the casino and order a drink from the cocktail waitress instead. If you are not familiar with casinos, you don’t pay for drinks on the casino floor, you just need to give the cocktail waitress a tip. I said, oh, but I have her pointing to Xena. She insisted in a quiet voice, it’s ok honey, I will call a cocktail waitress for you. So I walked over to the casino which wasn’t crowded and settled down in front of a machine. A few minutes later, the waitress came over and called a gentleman over who seemed to be the floorperson and explained to him that I was waiting for my room. I could pick up a hint of unspoken message to him “look after them” from her tone. She was motherly and kind. As she promised, a cocktail waitress showed up soon after to take my drink order. The floorperson checked in on us a few times and even hung out with us and chatted for a while. I found out that he is a huge dog lover.

las_vegas_1

Xena drew in dog lovers. Many people stopped by to talk to me and pet Xena. Xena did great even with occasional happy outbursts from the bar and lots of attention from passing by strangers. She even got pictures taken by a couple who said Xena looks like their puppy at home. My shy girl enjoyed hanging out and meeting people. Once an empty area, we drew in dog-loving gamers and all the machines nearby us were occupied while we were there.

las_vegas_2

Can I borrow some money?

The wait was actually a little longer than an hour but the kindness we received from the hotel staff made it all better and was very much appreciated. This totally could have been a boring tiring frustrating hour of wait but instead, we had a great time.

I wasn’t really hungry so I finished the leftover from lunch. After dinner, with happy full belly, Xena picked the bed with her toys. Shortly after, she drifted off to a puppy dream land. 🙂

las_vegas_3

I wasn’t ready to go to bed yet as I needed to prepare for the next day. Our first day of adventures. It may not be the usual Las Vegas scene you are used to but this is how We do Las Vegas. Stay tuned. 😉

Good to Know:

  • There is a $35 pet cleaning fee per stay at The Westin Las Vegas

 

Xoxo~