My Racoonz

Finn has always loved his toys, and there are lots of them. Here is a quick picture of him holding one of his new ones that has a plastic bottle inside. It really is a great noise maker and keeps him interested, especially in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping

Finn the golden retrieved with a raccoon water bottle toy

Finn’s other names

We only refer to Finnegan as “Finn” when he is in trouble or something serious is going on. More often than not, he is referred to as:


Mr. Bear


Lil Bear

Finnie Bear




Mr. Pants


Sweet Pea

Bear is now embarrassed:)

Happy 4th Birthday, Finn!

Finnegan turned 4 years old on March 18th. Although technically Finn didn’t come into our lives until July 1st, we consider this to have been the absolute best 4 years of our lives. When we first met Finn, we were unemployed college grads who had decided to complicate our recent plunge into cohabitation by getting a puppy. Getting Finn was one of the best decisions we ever made. Nothing has brought us closer together, and seeing Chris’s fatherly demeanor towards baby Finn is when I knew our family was created. 4 years later we are happily married, working at amazing jobs,  living in a city we love, pinching ourselves everyday that we are this lucky. We love our little family and nothing is better than coming home after a long day and seeing Finn’s smiling face. Finn has been the easiest, most loving dog these past 4 years. Everybody who meets him instantly falls in love with him. Although we’d like to take credit for his gentlemanly manners and sweet disposition, I cannot say enough about the Golden Retriever breed. As a first time dog owner, there is no better companion.

Now that Finn is 4, he is technically no longer a “puppy”.  He has fooled us though! He still gets extremely excited at the sight of squirrels or birds, and does his little puppy romp when we play outside. It’s so great to see that energy and happiness is still a part of him! Although his little face hairs have started to look more white than golden, he will always be my little baby and when I look at his face, I see the same pup we brought home 4 years ago.

For Finn’s Birthday I was undecided if I should make him a “Doggie Cake” like i do every year, or just give him what he really wants- Steak. I opted to go with the Steak this year, since usually the doggie cake gets a couple licks and then he’s over it. I am happy to report he was SO excited to receive his steak dinner and doggie cupcake cookie. I also got him a dog frisbee. It’s important to me to celebrate Finn’s birthday. Not only to make him feel special, but also to celebrate another year in his amazing life.

How to Support Your Local Los Angeles Animal Shelter

The following is a guest post from Doug of Wet Nose Guide is a collection of links, contact information and reviews for local dog and pet related businesses in a variety of cities. You can also follow them on twitter @WetNoseGuide.


Are you unable to adopt a dog or cat, but would still like to lend a helping hand to your local animal shelter? There are plenty of ways for you to get involved and help the cause without making a large commitment.

The easiest way to contribute to your local dog rescue is, of course, to make a donation. You can do this by making a simple monetary contribution; however, it is a lot more fun to participate in a fundraiser instead! Most shelters have several fundraisers annually, in varying forms, from fancy galas to simple bake sales and pet photo shoots with Santa. Attend one of these events for a fantastic opportunity to contribute to a shelter or rescue, while feeling awesome in return!

Up one step from a monetary donation is to donate your time. Dog rescues in LA are nothing without volunteers, thanks to generous donations of time from people like you. Volunteering can mean anything from a short-term project, in which you participate in a few adoption drives, to a long-term commitment that allows you to develop a more personal relationship with the organization. Regardless of your level of commitment, one thing is certain: your help is very necessary and very appreciated.

Ultimately, if neither of the above options suits your fancy, it’s still possible to help out a dog shelter by simply getting the word out. Spread information, through Twitter, Facebook, or word of mouth, about the serious problem of overcrowding in modern pet shelters and about dog adoption events and fundraisers in LA that people can attend to help alleviate it. It may not seem like much, but even the tiniest gestures can make a world of difference when they’re all put together.

Puppy Envy

Is it so wrong that sometimes I wish Finn were a puppy again?  This past week, my coworker brought her 3 month old Bichon/poodle mix to our offices.  He was barely 6lbs and So fluffy! I yearned for the days when I could pick up Finnegan and hold him in my arms like a baby.Now that Finn is a whopping 65-70 lbs, there is no way that I could physically do that!

I must say, being around a puppy again made me wish we could get another dog. It would be amazing to have a friend for Finn, not to mention great it would be to add another golden to our family. However, when I start to think about what having two dogs entails… twice the food, twice the pooper scooping, twice the vet bills, twice the boarding bills, etc… I just dont think it makes sense for us right now. Plus, I can’t imagine Finn being any better behaved than he already is, I would hate for a little punk puppy to come and mess up all that training ( which I’ve seen happen with our neighbors dog!).

So for now, I will just bug my coworker to bring her puppy into the office daily. Its good to get your puppy fix every now and then!

Finn in Bed- A Photo Montage
Hottest Day in LA history!

Last week we had the hottest day on record here in Los Angeles. It reached a whopping 113 degrees in parts of the city. For those of you who are not familiar with LA weather, those types of temperatures are unheard of! Anything over 90 degrees is considered abnormally hot, so everybody in the city was very concerned to see these extreme temps.

One of the nice things about living near the ocean is that we normally do not need air conditioning. On the rare days it does strech over 90 degrees  we just flip on a couple of fans or sleep with an ice pack.  However, we were obviously not prepared for the devastation 113 degrees and no A/C  would bring.

eating ice cubes to cool off

My Main concern was Finn. I actually drove home in the middle of the day from work to make sure he was doing okay. I put him in my mom’s house which does have air conditioning( thank god!), and turned it to a cool 72.  I also fed him lots of ice and dipped his paws in cold water. I have read this helps. I was still so worried that he must be burning up under his thick coat. I am so thankful this heat wave only lasted one day!

Do you have any tips/tricks when it comes to relieving your dog from the summer heat?

Do You Allow Your Dog on the Bed? Finn’s Mom Weighs the Pro’s and Con’s
How can you say no to this face?
Can you say no to this face?

A point of contention between Finn’s Mom and Dad since day 1 of bringing baby Finn into our home was- Do we allow this little stinker on the bed? I think most dog owners go through this dilemma at one point or another.

From what I’ve read from various training books, you have to make a decision one way or the other in the beginning. If you let the dog on the bed once, it means he’ll be on the bed for life.  I somewhat disagree with this theory- especially if you have doors to close the dog out you can pretty much ensure the dog will only hop on the bed if you allow it to. That being said, we decided to allow Finn to be in the bed when we invite him up.  This seems to work- unless we leave him alone in the house and forget to shut the bedroom door.

Here I will weigh some of the pro’s and con’s of letting puppy on your bed:


1. Adorable puppy snuggle time! This fosters bonding.

2. Lazy Saturday mornings in bed instead of racing up out of bed to make sure the dog is let out/fed/etc…

3.  When either one of us is traveling, we can always rely on Finn to fill the other side of the bed that would otherwise remain lonely and vacant.


1. Dirt/hair in bed. White duvet? Not happening.

2. Violent kicking. Finn has been known to run vivaciously in his sleep. If you happen to doze off next to the little guy, you might be awoken with a swift kick to the stomach.

3. Protect the sanctity of the puppy – free zone. In our house Finn is allowed everywhere. The bedroom is the one place to have be puppy-free so the adults can enjoy a nice and clean sanctuary.

What do you guys think? Do we live in the moment and enjoy our furry companion to the fullest even if it means covering our beautiful white duvet with an ugly protective blanket? Or do we keep our bedroom doors shut at all times and say good night to Finn outside of our bedroom?

Camping with Dog- Leo Carillo in Malibu

This past weekend we took Finn camping with us. There is a gorgeous campsite in malibu ( about 5 miles north of Zuma Beach) called Leo Carillo. Not only is there an amazing beach here ( see previous post about Leo Carillo Dog Beach), but there is also a campsite that is dog friendly.I really love taking Finn on adventures like this. Sure it would’ve been much easier logistically for us to leave him at home, but to see how happy he is exploring things really makes it all worthwhile. I love having a dog that we can take cool places and Leo Carillo exceeded all of our expectations.

Finn sleeping in the tent

Finn sleeping in the tent

Because Leo Carillo is such an immensely popular camping spot due to its prime location on the beach, it is suggested you make reservations up to 6 months in advance. We had been looking forward to this weekend for a long time, and we lucked out with absolutely gorgeous weather! We didn’t even need to use the sleeping bags we brought- although they were good to have to provide a cushion. We didnt do much advanced planning, but camping with a dog does require some preparation. Here are some tips for next time we go:

1. Get bigger tent. Apparently a 70 Lb golden retriever and 2 average sized adults do not fit comfortably in a 3 person tent. Especially when said Golden Retriever is a big fan of running in his sleep.

2. Bring earplugs. Finn has a habit of doing a low growl whenever he hears a strange noise or movement. Well, the campgrounds had about 150 campsites that were all full that night. There were lots of strange noises which led to growling pretty much all night.

3. Make sure flashlight has new batteries. I just grabbed the flashlights had around the house. One of them we broke within 5 minutes of using it. Long story. The others batteries died within 20 minutes of using it. There really isnt much to do in pitch black conditions, so we ate more s’mores and called it a night early.

4. Bring better food/water bowls for Finn.  Finn has a tendency to not eat in different/weird situations.  Camping was no exception. We couldn’t get him to eat his normal kibble. I wish we had bought treats or some other form of sustenance for him ( he NEVER rejects treats!).  Also, next time I will bring plenty of Fresh water and a collapsible bowl since the water spicket was too far away to be convenient.

Now that we’ve had 1 semi-successful camping trip, we cant wait to go on our next one. We’ll be much better prepared this time and with a bigger tent and earplugs,  maybe even get some sleep! I would highly recommend this campgrounds to anyone in the LA area looking to spend some time in nature with their furry friend.

Chris and Finn on the cliffs

Chris and Finn on the cliffs

Such a good little camper!

Such a good little camper!

Finn in Hiking Shoes

While in Denver we happened upon a dog store that was selling hiking shoes for dogs. Not ones to force our pet to walk in the cold unprotected we picked up a pair for Finn. Of course he’s never been the type to allow things on his head or paws without first tasting them, but over time he’s come to understand how to walk in the shoes. Here is a little video sample of him trotting around. At first he doesn’t know how to put his paws down but he gets over that quickly. The shoes are not something I’d ever deem as useful, but watching the dog romp around in these things (especially on hardwood floors) is entertainment at it’s best.