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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:)

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!

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.

Getting Groomed in Littleton

It’s been a while since we had Finnegan groomed. We bathe him ourselves, brush his teeth, and brush him with a deshedding tool but last week as we picked him up from his Doggie Nightclub adventures we really he may be smelly beyond our repair. Add to that the long winter coat Finn managed to grow and it was time we take him for the real thing.

Littleton area dog grooming at A Paw Spa

Littleton area dog grooming at A Paw Spa

Luckily for us only a week or two ago we passed a local shop A Paw Spa. When possible I prefer using smaller businesses especially for things involving Finn. An on site proprietor invested in the well being of the company just tends to beat out the assembly line style of services from the major pet stores. I called up A Paw Spa and got him scheduled. Prices were reasonable, about $55 for a full shampoo, trim, nail clip, ear cleaning and Bandana.

The bandana is a nice touch to really show of the new cut

The bandana is a nice touch to really show of the new cut

When we picked him up we realized his nickname, Finn pants, didn’t fit any longer. He’s “Shorts” now. The nickname pays homage to his white fur backside, a distinct color against the rest of his coat. Of course the fur looks even better now, his tail doesn’t look so unkept, the paws are neatly manicured, and he smells a bit more like lemony than puppy.

If you’ve been to A Paw Spa let us know what you thought in the comments

Doggie Boarding!

One of the most important tasks we have had in our move to Denver has been finding a great Doggie Daycare and boarding facility for Finnegan. Between work and vacations, both Chris and I travel quite a bit.

In Los Angeles, we always took finn to Cage Free Canine.  We quickly fell in love with this place.  Not only was it a rescue foundation ( I have a soft spot in my heart for that!),  but there was not a kennel in sight. All of the dogs played outside all day long, and then retired to a large open indoor room to snuggle with each other for the night.  Our favorite part about it was that there was always a staff member with the dogs 24/7.  Someone even slept in the room with them at night. This provided a huge amount of comfort to Chris and I as we were traveling knowing that there was always someone around Finnegan in case something went wrong in the middle of night.

Since our move to Denver in November, we have taken Finn to many of the popular daycares in the Denver metro area trying to find the “right” one. They all offered pretty much the same thing. Some of them had awesome pools , some of them had web-cams, but none of them had the around the clock supervison that we became accustomed to in Los Angeles.  This always bothered us in the back of our minds. What if there was a fire?  At all  of the places we took Finn, the facilities manager would close ( and leave) around 7pm and then reopen again at 8am leaving the dogs alone unsupervised for the entire evening/night. This was extremely disappointing to us. We figured this would have to be something we’d just have to get over, until……

Doggie Lounge and Nightclub recently opened up in Englewood ( where 285 and santa fe intersect). This doggie lounge is a breath of fresh air among the other Doggie daycare places in Denver. The owner, Kyllee Dionisi is extremely interested in the well being of your dog. She is a certified dog trainer, a member of the American Boarding Kennel Association (ABKA), and a volunteer with the Humane Society and animal behaviorist.  Kyllee decided to leave her job of managing one of Denver’s biggest day-cares to start up her own daycare with her Husband. You can tell that they have put a ton of work into making this place all about the dogs! The best part about this place is the fact that there will always be somebody with the dogs at night! Hooray!

Just adding that simple thing adds loads of comfort to traveling parents who are leaving their “babies”  for several nights. Chris and I were so happy to find a place with a cute ambiance, excellent managers, and extremely reasonable prices! In fact, the prices at Doggie Lounge and Nightclub are substantially less than what we were paying at some of Denver’s most well-known places!

There are TONS of great amenities that Doggie Lounge and Nightclub has to offer.  In addition to the extremely nice owners, the lounge also offers rubber floors to protect your pups paws ( and just seems more hygienic all around) , a wonderful boutique with some extremely unique gifts for your pet, a large outdoor area, and not a kennel in sight. The entire place has a cool and hip vibe to it. It’s the type of place I wouldn’t mind hanging out at for the afternoon. Which brings me to the next best thing about this place….
The lounge was hosting a wine tasting event for Doggie owners on Saturday afternoon when we came to pick up Finn for his trial day at camp. It was a great way to mingle with other dog owners, while sipping on some excellent wine! Word on the street is that there will be lots of other events like this in the future. They are in the process of opening up an “owner’s  lounge” upstairs where dog owners can come mingle and maybe get in a few games of poker while watching their pups play below ( from a large window overlooking the outdoor play area).

We cannot WAIT to have Finn spend a week here while we are on vacation next week. Thank you Kyllee for opening up the boarding facilities of our dreams!


Kyllee takes "first day" photo's of all her campers! Awwww!

finn makes friends!

finn makes friends!

Finn being social at camp!

Finn being social at camp!