Category Archives: Favorite Things

Favorite Things: Whippet Snippets

 

Ribsy of Whippet Snippets. I covet photos like this!

Ribsy of Whippet Snippets. I covet photos like this!

The premium location for whippets on the web is Whippet Snippets, a classic infotainment blog by a Canadian woman with two narrow dogs, Ribsy and Mirabel. I love this blog so much, I not only check it possibly more frequently than the New York Times, but I went back and happily burrowed my way through 5 years of archives. 

What a treat to share private whippet moments like this, on Whippet Snippets.

What a treat to share private whippet moments like this, on Whippet Snippets.

So it greatly saddened me to see this week that after 5+ years and 1,000 posts, Whippet Snippets will not continue (at least for a while!). Through her clever, generous posts, I have followed this family’s move from enticing Victoria, B.C. to, mmm, less enticing Hamilton, Ont.; through selling their first home and buying a charming new one; their mention of camping trips and love of festivals; their raising Ribsy from a puppy and adding his sister Mirabel 3 years later; their playdates and problems and quotidian joys of life with dogs, and especially whippets.

Some of my favorite moments from Whippet Snippets: 

Synchronized Whippeting: An awesome video billed as “The sisters Mirabel and Daphne enter the final round of Synchronized Whippeting in first place…can they hold onto their lead…and their frisbee?”

Ribsy and Mirabel are always fighting over their beloved frisbee. More envy from Manhattan, where our pack members will only chase something if it's got a tail or is rubbed with liver.

Ribsy and Mirabel are always fighting over their beloved frisbee. More envy from Manhattan, where our pack members will only chase something if it's got a tail or is rubbed with liver.

 

Whippet Snippets on a field trip to the farm!

Whippet Snippets on a field trip to the farm!

 

Priceless Whippet Moment: Ribsy at home in Hamilton.

Priceless Whippet Moment: Ribsy at home in Hamilton.

 

Ribsy's first Halloween: The clever crew of Whippet Air. (Ribsy's daddy is a pilot in real life.)

Ribsy's first Halloween: The clever crew of Whippet Air. (Ribsy's daddy is a pilot in real life.)

 

Ace begging mode. Oh Ribsy, other whippet owners know that despite appearances, you are well-fed, just like the rest of 'em.

Oliver Twisting: Oh Ribsy, other whippet owners know that despite appearances, you are well-fed, just like the rest of 'em.

A consolation: Whippet Snippets is on Twitter! We can continue to follow Ribsy, 140 characters at at time, by following @whippetsnippets. 

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More Cow Pajamas!

 

Sesame dons the communal dog pajamas

Snuggly Whippet: Sesame dons cow-print dog pajamas by Decotogs

If you want to see a grown, outdoorsy man melt, put a dog in cow-print pajamas.

I am the midwesterner and Bob is third-generation Manhattan, but somehow he is the one in love with our dogs’ cow pajamas.

He has little to say on the topic of dog clothes, except, “More cow pajamas!”

He is the Christopher Walken to our dogs’ Will Ferrell (watch the classic SNL skit “More Cowbell!” here).

Bob walking our whippet in cow pajamas, trying to blend into Northern Michigan

Passing for normal in Michigan: Bob walks C-Biscuit in her cow pajamas

When we got a second whippet, we decided we had to go minimalist on the dog clothing. I was deciding on the basics for a dog’s wardrobe: raincoat, fleece, winter coat.

Bob added, “And cow pajamas!”

C-Biscuit wears her pajamas very rarely, such as when we visited my dad in northern Michigan and the thermostat was set just high enough so you couldn’t see your breath. 

Yet, Bob insists they are a dog wardrobe essential. He has practically been pestering me to order cow pajamas for Sesame and Picchu. His idea for halloween? All three whippets in cow pajamas!

I wouldn’t deny him, except – horror – Decotogs, the Missouri company that makes the dog pajamas, doesn’t have the cow print anymore! All we can do is wait, and hope that there will be… more cow pajamas!

Bob admiring Sesame in the cow pajamas

Sesame: "I am a show dog, not a barnyard animal."

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Filed under Dog Coats & Gear, Favorite Things, Getting a Dog / Adding to the Family, Real House Whippets of NYC

Dog Bookshops

Since getting three whippets, I’ve discovered two wonderful bookstores for dog books, Dog Lovers Bookshop and Dogtales. (Those are in addition to using the New York Public Library, always my first stop!) They both reside online, so are accessible to everyone. 

Bob with our three whippets, C-Biscuit, Sesame and Machu Picchu

Bob with our three whippets, Machu Picchu, Sesame and C-Biscuit, in Central Park

I learned about Dogtales last year when I was searching for an out-of-print dog training book. I ordered the book, paid for it, and soon got an e-mail from Dogtales: “Thank you for your order of this book. Upon pulling it from the shelf, I noticed that there is highlighting in one section – a fact that I did not notice when listing it. I do not sell books with highlighting, so am sending it to you free of charge, refunding all charges.” Including the shipping. 

One of the books I ordered on dog handling happens to have whippets on the cover!

One of the books I ordered on dog handling happens to have whippets on the cover!

I wrote back saying thanks, but I didn’t mind some highlighting and where could I send a check? To which Mary at Dogtales replied, “Thanks for being so great about it.  There is no need to send a check.   Please just enjoy the book.” Dogtales proved that an online retailer can be just as wonderful as a local merchant, and deserves a loyal following.

This week I also ordered from Dog Lovers Bookshop in New York City and was equally impressed. I ordered two used copies of books on beginning dog showing, and asked if they had “The Culture Clash” by Jean Donaldson. After a couple e-mails back and forth about Donaldson’s books, Margot Rosenberg from Dog Lovers Bookshop called me to discuss differences between two of her books and to decide which was the one I wanted.

Our order from Dog Lovers Bookstore, hand-wrapped and including a dog folk-art card

Our order from Dog Lovers Bookshop, hand-wrapped and including a dog folk-art card

Talk about personal service! In exchange for that, I didn’t at all mind paying full-price for the new copy of “The Culture Clash,” and will surely enjoy shopping there again. Our order arrived with each book lovingly double-wrapped in recycled plain paper and pages from The New York Times, and included a dog art greeting card. How nice!

It would be heaven to be able to stop into a dog bookstore and shop in person – but finding the right dog bookshops online is the next best thing.

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Fashion Hounds: The Well-Dressed Dog

Poncho and C-Biscuit: Some dogs have coats naturally, others need to outsource

Poncho and C-Biscuit in Northern Michigan: Some dogs have coats naturally, others need to outsource

Let’s be clear: Whippets – and a few other select breeds – need clothing. Just last night, as the temperature dipped below 70 degrees and we tried to lounge outside, C-Biscuit stood at the screen door as if to cry, “Let me in! Let me in!”

But buying whippetwear, admittedly, goes beyond the need for protection from the elements. I’m no Paris Hilton, so would never use my hounds as fashion accessories (I mean, not really…), or put fashion accessories on them (definitely not). And yet, there are certain reasons I do enjoy not only dressing them, but dressing them well:

C-Biscuit and Machu Picchu, fashion hounds

C-Biscuit and Machu Picchu, fashion hounds (Sweaters handmade by Greyt Sweaters)

  • They’re busty! Yes, I have become one of those awful parents who pin their secret, lost hopes and desires on their children: At last, I can loudly complain, “It is so hard to find clothes to fit such a big chest and such a narrow waist!” 
  • James Andrew of "What is James Wearing?" with his whippets, Rupert and Nigel

    The Dogs Have No Clothes: James Andrew of "What is James Wearing?" with his whippets, Rupert and Nigel

    They can compete for best-dressed: I’ve never had much interest in fashion, and could never, ever be the best-dressed New Yorker, or even the best-dressed in my building…or even on my floor. But with the dogs, a little effort and expense goes a very long way towards being the most fashionable hounds in town!

  • No malls, No dressing rooms: For the deliciously-shaped sighthound, there is no shopping off-the-rack. Even in Manhattan, the dog boutiques do not stock pret-a-porter whippetwear. The best stuff is all online! All we need is a measuring tape and the Internet, and – fetch! – perfectly-fitting clothes come to us. 
Whippets love new clothing, really they do

Whippets love new clothing, really they do

  • No growing up, growing out, or growing fat: Whippets don’t have the fat gene, so don’t need fat jeans and skinny jeans. If it fits today, it’ll fit in 15 years. So we can invest in nicer clothing, made to last.
All dressed up and ready to go out! (Winter coat by Blue Willow Dog Coats)

All dressed up and ready to go out! (Winter coat by Blue Willow Dog Coats)

  • C-Biscuit in her Chilly Dogs raincoat

    City Slicker: C-Biscuit in her Chilly Dogs raincoat

    Matching shoes not required: I would dress better if I didn’t have to wear nice shoes too. And walk in them, I mean. With the dogs, it’s BYOF – bring your own footwear! (Well, there are the winter boots…and granted Biski has a black-and-leopard print winter coat and sporty red boots, hm…)

  • Support small business: Custom-made clothes for humans are too expensive – and I wouldn’t even know where to go to get them, or why – but bespoke dogwear actually costs the same or less than ready-made, and the money goes to small businesses in a niche of a struggling American industry. So, support the economy, dress your dogs!

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Homemade Peanut Butter “Ice Cream” for Dogs

After long walks in the midday heat, C-Biscuit used to love a treat of an ice cube. Cold, crunchy, quenching. What could be better? 

Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook

Thanks to a recipe adapted from one in The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook, our whippets are now indulging in their own kind of dog ice cream: peanut butter frozen yogurt cubes. Granted, they’re not as economical, but are easy to make, healthy, and Biski, Picchu and Sesame go nuts for them.

When I ran out the other day and offered Biski a regular ice cube, she gave it a dismissive lick before turning her head, as if to huff, “Plain water? …It’s so hard to find good help these days!”

Dog Treat Recipe: Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup Peanut Butter (can use 1/4 cup, chef’s choice)

1 tsp honey

1/4 c water (or more, chef’s choice)

  • mix all ingredients 
  • spoon into ice cube trays and freeze
  • makes about 9 frozen treats

Adapted from The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook

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Favorite Things: Ruff Wear Dog Harness

When we got C-Biscuit she would lunge, jump fences and even climb trees to go after squirrels. Whippets have long, muscular necks that are not fragile, but we still hated to see her buck and twist against her collar. So we looked for a harness. 

Web Master Dog Harness by Ruff Wear

Web Master Dog Harness by Ruff Wear

Most regular harnesses don’t fit the deep chest and tiny waist of a sighthound. Plus most are designed for dogs to be pulling forward, so when they back up they can escape. In a squirrel frenzy, anything is possible. Which is why the breeder said, “Please don’t put her in a harness. She can back up and be gone!”

We were then delighted to discover the Web Master Dog Harness ($50) made by Ruff Wear. The company says that “Houdini dogs that manage to get out of traditional harnesses will find it nearly impossible to escape the Web Master.” Which we have found to be true.

The back strap can be cinched around the whippet’s narrow waist, so they can’t back out of the harness. Additional straps go behind the front legs, around the front of the chest and between the front legs. Our girls have worn the harness on long hikes without any chafing. (C-Biscuit’s dog backpack by Ruff Wear has the Web Master Harness as its base layer.)

Picchu in her Web Master Dog Harness

Picchu in her Web Master Dog Harness - comfy, safe, secure

With a snug and secure fit, the harness also has a handle on top to lift the dogs up – that recently came in handy while climbing some steep rock faces on Slide Mountain. Its bright red color means it can double as a safety vest for off-leash hiking.

C-Biscuit has learned mostly to watch squirrels without lunging for them (although when especially tempted, she will still try to scale a tree or fence), so she doesn’t wear the harness anymore. Picchu, though, embarrasses us with her squealing and lunging, and the harness keeps her from potentially snapping her neck at the end of her leash.

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