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Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup

December 31, 2016
Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup

For your reading pleasure I’ve put together my sometimes annual Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup. Every other media outlet does a roundup so I thought, what the heck, I’ll do one too!

I’m actually surprised I wrote enough this year for a roundup. In fact, I actually wrote and published 60 posts this year, which is my third time high since I started blogging in 2007. It’s twice as much as I wrote last year.

There were basically 4 categories this year, the election, my mother, recipes, and Prince, and an outlier about Dini the cat. It’s a long post, and most didn’t bother to read it, but it’s one that harkens back to my early days of blogging, when I just told a story and enjoyed the journey.

No One Ever Said There Would Be This Much Cat Vomit

Blog Posts about the Election

I really didn’t think he’d win, and I might watch too much Walking Dead.

How to Survive the Trumpacolypse

How to Prepare for the Post Election Apocalypse

OMG Stop Unfriending Each Other!

Blog Posts about my Relationship with My Mother

My relationship with my mother is difficult at best, but it isn’t unique. I also posted a story from my book, Minnesota Nice. 

Life Isn’t Fair

I Made my Mother Cry… Again

Do You Know your ACE Score?

Recipes

I cook a lot this year, mostly because I got an Instant Pot – the most awesome thing ever!

Shrimp Alfredo in 7 Minutes

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Hot Dish Instant Pot Recipe

Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish Recipe – Seriously, if you try a new dish in 2017, make it the MN Tater Tot Hotdish, you won’t be sorry. 

Best and Worst in Books and Movies and Blogs

I saw and reviewed several movies this year, they aren’t worth sharing here except for one exceptionally horrible movie I really hoped would be awesome. It wasn’t.

Independence Day Resurgence Review

Life Changing Books

Bloggers who Blog

Prince and Jacob

2016 was a year of loss, but these two are still difficult for me to reckon with. 

Summer in Minnesota 2016: We Lost Prince and Found Jacob

On the Passing of Prince, from a Minnesotan

#NaBloPoMo Pets Reviews

Bark Potty Dog Park in a Box

November 19, 2016
Bark Potty Dog Park in a Box

Now that winter is upon us and it’s getting harder and harder for Stanley to get around, I was thrilled to be asked to review the Bark Potty Dog Park in a Box. Basically the Bark Potty is an indoor potty for dogs who need to relieve themselves indoors.

I’ll have to admit, I was a little nervous about using the Bark Potty. I was worried it would encourage going inside instead of going outside. It took nearly three years to get Stanley trained to go outside and I didn’t really want to undo that. The thing is, Stanley is older now and requires a doggie diaper at night. I wouldn’t use this in place of the diaper, because I’m not sure Stanley has any control over the accidents he has at night, but it’s a handy thing to have around when I’m not able to get back to the house to let them out.

Bark Potty Dog Park in a Box

The Bark Potty is an all natural pet potty that is easy to set up and use. It’s made with tree bark which is so much better than those other indoor potties made of fake grass, or the ones that need to be emptied. The bark absorbs the urine and the solids can be picked up with the handy bags that are included.

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The Bark Potty is pretty big, and can be made even bigger by connecting multiple boxes for big dogs or dogs who might not have proper aim.

Stanley has crappy aim, that was another thing that worried me, but so far it all seems good.

The Bark Potty is pleasant smelling in that it really doesn’t have a smell to it. The animals were all attracted to it, however.

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Each box is supposed to last 2 – 4 weeks depending on how many dogs, and how much they go inside. I’m still taking the dogs out, so the Bark Potty is more of an emergency thing so it’s lasting just fine. Since it lined there’s no leaking and I haven’t noticed any urine smell yet. So far no one has used it for #2 except for the cat, which is not something I am encouraging.

We’ve got plowable snow coming and I’m working out of the house for the next four days, I’m sure this will be a lifesaver.

Dumb Shit I Do Food Pets

I’m Just Making a Sandwich

September 8, 2016
I'm just making a sandwich

I’m just a girl, I’m just making a sandwich. Isn’t that how it goes? Ugh. Lunchtime around these parts is pretty exciting if you’re of the 4 legged variety. Whatever it is that I am having is 1000% better than what is in their bowl. I know this because when I am late for lunch they will come and remind me that – Hey! It’s time to eat!!!!

For most of the summer I’ve been eating healthy. And by eating healthy I mean I’ve stopped eating carbs, at least the bad carbs and that included bread. Eating healthy, or at least healthier, is easy in the summer. Fruits and veggies are abundant and because it’s hot a chilled salad is always rather refreshing.

Unless you’re a dog or a cat in which case – blech!

But it was cold earlier this week. Colder, and not humid, so it felt downright cold even though it was probably about 70°.  Anyway, because it felt cold I wanted something a little more comforty feeling. I didn’t want to go all out and do something like soup, because that’s messy and I’ll spill on myself, but I did want something that made me feel warm inside. Even if only emotionally.

School started for the daughter several weeks ago but for most everyone else it started this week so I actually did the back to school thing and picked up some bread, even though my daughter gets the hot lunch at school. I like to be prepared. Really, I like the idea of being prepared if I took the time to actually do it. I also like the idea of being the kind of mom that packs the school lunch each day even though she won’t eat it if I do.

I’m Just Making a Sandwich

I picked up square cheese (what we call Kraft Singles) and some Oscar Mayer bologna (I’m totally singing the song… My bologna has a first name, it’s O S C A R….) and even some bread filled with all kinds of nuts and seeds and shit (this is why the daughter will not eat the sandwiches I make for her). It’s high in protein, low in carbs and sorta tastes like spongy cardboard. Because I was at Sam’s Club when I bought it I have two loaves of it.

As I am unpacking I am wondering why I got all this bread.

This is the actual conversation in my head:

Me: Why did I get so much bread?

Me: I don’t know, it was stupid thing to do, no one eats it.

Me: I wonder if Alex needs any bread?

Me: You should probably, at least freeze one of the loaves.

Me: Good plan, that way I can wait until it’s all freezer burnt and even I won’t eat it and I can throw it away when I need to make space in the freezer.

So, because I have so much bread, and no one will eat bread with seeds and nuts and shit all over it I decided to make a sandwich out of it.

Did I mention the daughter doesn’t like bologna either? She loves square cheese, however.

Professional Beggars (except they don’t get paid for it)

So I go about making my sandwich and before I get the mayonnaise out of the fridge I can feel the steely, half shut eyed gaze of Dini on me. Dini vomits everything she eats except for Fancy Feast classic. It sucks because Dini is a bitch and this time in the kitchen was the only time when she was nice. I’d give her a small piece of the meat and she wouldn’t glare at me for a little while. It worked out nicely.

dog and cat begging for food

Within seconds I hear the click, click, click of Stanley and then the rush of air as Ruby bursts through the door and pushes Stanley over. All are now in my tiny little kitchen waiting for me to give them a taste of whatever it is I’m making. Even if it does have seeds and nuts and shit all over it.

dogs and cat begging for food

Better Things To Do

Except Zelda. Zelda doesn’t beg. I don’t know if it’s just because she hasn’t figured out begging or if she doesn’t like what I’m having. Zelda isn’t all that picky, she just likes different things. She’s all over cabbage and potato chips. She loves Ritz Crackers and those little Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, but for some reason, bologna and cheese doesn’t do it for her so she’s over by the back door staring at my shoes.

White fluffy cat staring at sandals

I make my sandwich, and I even give everyone – including Dini, but not Zelda – a small piece of bologna and hope Dini doesn’t vomit. The previous week had been a particularly bad week of vomiting so I don’t want to rock that boat, but so far this week she’s managed to keep everything but hairballs down.

animals begging for my lunch cute

Like most Americans I eat at my desk, so I carried my plate into the office, carefully stepping over Stanley who lies down in the doorways so I don’t forget about him. They were there before I was.

Except for Zelda, she was in the other room watching her stories.

white fluffy cat watching TV holding remote

The bread wasn’t bad, it was a little chewy and I had to pick a lot of the seeds and nuts and shit out of my teeth, but considering I have two loaves to eat it’s tolerable.

Yes, I gave them all some of the sandwich and Dini didn’t puke any of it up!

 

Pets Reviews

BarkBox Review

August 19, 2016
BarkBox Review

Looking for an honest BarkBox Review? Well then you’ve come to the right place. As you may or may not know, we go through a lot of dog toys in this house. We also go through an amazing amount of rawhide bones because they last longer than any other dog chew or toy. As you may remember I wrote about indestructible dog toys a couple years ago when I was trying to find the perfect dog toy for Ruby.

BarkBox dog toy

Unfortunately, there is no perfect dog toy for Ruby because she shreds them within minutes of getting them.

And still I try.

BarkBox Review

Getting back to my BarkBox review… I love BarkBox. I signed up last spring for this monthly subscription box and have not been let down. The BarkBox comes with two good sized toys. While they are not indestructible, they are well made, usually pretty durable and interesting to the dog. This one (and similar variations which have been since shredded) seem to be the most interesting to Ruby.

BarkBox dog toy

Each box is themed, which is sort of fun for the human, not so sure how the dogs feel about it. This toy, the one I call Man Bun (even though it is clearly a woman), seems to be a gymnast. You can pull the legs through the body making it a fun tug of war toy. The legs are made of a heavy duty rope so when the body gets chewed up the rope is left as a good teeth cleaning toy or fetch toy. The arms were removed within minutes of coming out of the box. I’m surprised she has not gotten the bun off yet.

This month the theme is California Droolin’ – it’s a box dedicated to all that awesomeness in the Golden State. It features toys like an avocado, palm tree, fish taco, and shark toys. Our box came with a hedge hog in a bathing suit and the fish taco. It also included several snacks (which are great for Stanley since he doesn’t really play with toys) such as freeze dried beef and bacon crackers.

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The fish taco toy was snatched from the box immediately. The poor thing lost its lips right away, followed by it’s innards. Now it’s basically a cat toy because the squeaky bits have been removed. I’m hoarding the hedge hog for a special occasion because I don’t want stuffing all over the floor.

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Both dogs love the treats that come in each BarkBox, usually two bags of treats and one larger chew style treat. We’ve gotten bully sticks, and other organs for the dogs to chew. Because Ruby chews with such enthusiasm I tend to give the harder chews to Stanley. He’ll take his time with them, Ruby just swallows them whole. This month’s box featured a dried steak. It’s hard but will soften as it is chewed, something necessary for Ruby.

So, in a conclusion, I love the BarkBox. It’s something to look forward to, the dogs love getting something in the mail (seriously, they are like little kids when it arrives), and it always has really high quality items in it. I don’t always feel sure about giving my dogs some of the treats you find in the big box pet stores, but the ones that come in the BarkBox are made in the USA, and are made of high quality ingredients. Of course, they love the flavors.

If you’d like to try a BarkBox for your furbabies, you can use this link  to get a free box when you sign up.

Or use the copy and paste the link below into your browser.

https://www.barkbox.com/r/GNEEW52IDH

Dumb Shit I Do Pets Things that piss me off

No One Ever Said there Would Be this Much Cat Vomit!!

August 15, 2016
cat vomit

Lately I’ve been thinking about all the crap I’ve cleaned up in my lifetime, and it’s a lot. And while cat vomit is not technically crap, it falls into the same category of things I’d rather not touch with my bare hands, which puts it at the same level as doo-doo.

No one ever said there would be this much cat vomit.

Dini, our 13 year old cat, was stung by a wasp this past spring. I posted this update on Facebook after it all went down:

Last Sunday Maddie and I were having lunch when Dini the cat started to hock up a furball. Dini was on the porch at the time so I just shut the door and let her get it out of her system while we finished lunch without having to hear and see the whole thing.

Except it wasn’t a furball. When I opened the door a couple of minutes later Dini was lying on the ground, all flattened on her side and breathing rapidly. She was clearly in distress and unresponsive. 

Dini was in anaphylactic shock.

We scooped her up in a towel and got her down to the Animal Emergency Hospital where they immediately gave her some epinephrine. They weren’t sure if she was in shock or had thrown a clot because both presented similarly but the epi wouldn’t make the clot worse (and a clot had a really poor outcome) so they hedged their bets and were right.

Her breathing regulated and she was given some steroids which I was sent home with in pill form. 4 days later and a shredded arm from giving pills to her and today she finally ate some real food (instead of the baby food I was using to giver her crushed up pill in.)

The doc thinks she ate a bug on accident or got stung. It happened so fast and thankfully we were home and she was near us. If she had been in the basement we wouldn’t have known what was going on. She didn’t make any noise. 

Cats don’t present with a swollen face like dogs do, they just go down. If you see your cat suddenly vomit, lose their bowels and start panting rapidly get them to the animal hospital as fast as you can.

It was scary, and I wasn’t sure we’d be bringing the cat home. Dini is pretty much an outdoor cat. She has been going outside at night since we got her, at least during the warm months. In the winter she stays inside and just skulks around the house hating on everything. Dini isn’t a cuddly cat. She hates Zelda and tolerates the dogs. She does not like to be picked up and only wants to be pet in one place, though that place changes as she sees fit. Basically I feed her and stay out of her way.

At least that’s how it was until she got stung. Ever since that time she hasn’t been able to hold down most food. I had been feeding her dry food, but she couldn’t hold that down at all. I switched to wet food, but soon found that any texture to it would make her vomit. I started buying wet food, not really paying attention to the brand. I purchased Fancy Feast because it was in a smaller can than the other cat foods, but I also knew she liked the Friskies shreds so I picked up some of that, too. At first she could only keep it down if I pureed a mixtures of the two in my Nutri Bullet.

Pureeing cat food in the Nutri Bullet isn’t really pleasant. Cleaning it is even worse. So, I started pureeing several cans at a time and storing it in a container in the fridge. The problem was unless I planned it right I’d run out of pureed food in the middle of the night, not something I wanted to do half asleep. I gave some Fancy Feast because I had half a can opened in the fridge, leftover from Zelda who will and can eat any kind of cat food. Turns out Dini could keep it down!  She can only tolerate the Fancy Feast Classic recipes, not the grilled, chunky, roasted or other variations, just the classic. I started buying Fancy Feast in bulk when it came on sale at the pet store and at Sam’s Club.

If she just ate the Fancy Feast, all of our problems would be solved. Well, most of them anyway.

If she were to work with me and just eat the Fancy Feast, I wouldn’t be writing this post. She doesn’t do that. It doesn’t matter that now Zelda has to eat canned food, she doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter to her that now I have to feed the cats like 12 times a day because you can’t leave wet food out for too long and they only eat a tiny portion of their food at a time and then the dogs eat it.

The dogs, specifically Stanley the Bassador, actually eat more cat food than they do dog food.

Sigh.

I’m in a constant state of feeding someone, putting up gates and then enduring the dance that Stanley the Bassador does when he knows there’s food leftover on the floor with his name on it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because you see, even though Dini can keep down the Fancy Feast (and I am grateful for Purina for making the one food she can keep down), she still tries to eat other things like the dog food and small rodents she kills outside.

This morning I woke up to a bloody mess of vomit in front of the back door. I only noticed it because I smeared it all over the floor when I went to let the dogs out.

I know I’m supposed to be empathetic to this cat. It has to suck that she can’t keep food down, but dammit she needs to work with me on this. I either need to get those pet food bowls that close when the wrong animal is using them or get everyone on a schedule of when they have to eat and take the food away when the time is up. No more put-everyone’s-food-out-and-let-them-sort-it-out, because Dini will crunch up the huge dog food kibbles (and then puke them up on my window ledges, on the couch, dining room chairs, in the laundry room where the light is really bad and have I mentioned if you are barefoot and you step on it you can literally glide across the floor and if planned properly do a triple lutz?). She could care less if I tell her not to, she’s going to do what she wants.

Because she’s a cat, dammit.

I’d be cool with the cat vomit, I actually said to a friend – “I’ve gotten used to the cat vomit, it’s just something I do before my morning coffee” the other day, but Stanley has been leaking a lot lately too and that’s just more than I can stand. Twice this week, I’ve had to take apart the couch and wash it because he got on it and must have sneezed or laughed too hard at something on TV (wait, that’s me). I don’t know why he leaks, he’s 13 or 91 in dog years. Either way, it’s a huge pain in the ass to clean up all of this crap. This afternoon, I noticed some dirt on the kitchen floor, it looked like the dirt that comes out of my sneakers – mud that gets caught in the tread and then dries and falls out onto the floor. There were some chewed up dog kibbles as well so I swept it up. Except it wasn’t dried and it wasn’t mud. Someone’s butt leaked poop. I don’t know who it was, and I don’t care, I’m just sick of cleaning it up.

If someone had told me there would be this much cat vomit I might have never had kids. You see my kids are the cat lovers, not me. I’m a dog person or a cat-who-thinks-she’s-a-dog-person. It’s been 10 years since my youngest kid was in diapers, and it’s also been 10 years since I had to change my mother’s diaper (thank goodness she’s in a wonderful care facility), I thought I was done with all this crap. I don’t think it ever stops. I have come to understand that life is just about cleaning up crap from those you love.

Pets

What’s Under Your Couch?

January 9, 2014
empty dog toy box, stuff you find under the couch, dog toys under the couch, where do all the dog toys go

This is Ruby’s toy box.  As you can see it’s empty. I buy her a lot of toys and she gets all of the toys that Stanley gets because he doesn’t like toys. She got some great dog toys for Christmas and even takes all the cat toys.

This dog is not wanting for toys, I promise you.

So why aren’t there any dog toys in the toy box?

Because they are all under the couch.

This is actually a smaller haul than usual. I’m pretty sure I cleaned out underneath the couch before the holidays so there was a lot less stuff than what I might find if I had waited the standard time of 6 months between cleanings.

stuff you find under the couch, dog toys under the couch, where do all the dog toys go

Yes, that is a nearly empty jar of peanut butter. I find nearly empty peanut butter jars under the couch more than I like to admit.

There is also an empty bottle of Gatorade, a tube from Christmas wrapping paper, 4 Kongs in various shapes and sizes, what’s left of a rope toy from last Christmas, a beef bone that I fill with dog food and then freeze in the warmer months, several cat toys, the snout of a squeaky toy pig and even a small container of Glow in the Dark Thinking Putty. There was also a set of ear buds but they are wrapped around the springs under the couch and I couldn’t get them free (I suspect the cat had something to do with that).

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Pets

Twin Cities Pet Rescue

November 11, 2013

If you read this blog with any regularity you know we have more animals than any home should have. Recently the rabbit passed away followed shortly by the hamster. To make up for that loss we got the kitten from hell to maintain the chaotic balance in the household. The Ruby Doo came from Save a Bull a local rescue group that has worked with Twin Cities Pet Rescue. All these animals might drive me crazy at times and the dog’s insistence of sleeping under the covers is a bit disturbing (though I solved the bigger problem by purchasing black sheets to hide the shedded fur) I love them all and wouldn’t know what to do without them (travel a lot more). If you have room in your home consider adopting one of these animals and if you don’t please consider donating.

Did you know that a full half of all dogs and cats that are given up for adoption in the US are euthanized? That number sounds pretty depressing, but there are a number of positive things families can do for homeless pets this holiday season.

This is a wonderful way to introduce a pet into your home without making it a permanent commitment, while teaching kids about charity, responsibility, and holiday giving. 

  • Foster a Dog or Cat: Animal fosters provide an invaluable service to homeless animals. Instead of sitting in a loud, frightening shelter, animals get the chance to live in a warm and loving home environment. If they are transitioning from puppy mills or abuse situations, a foster home is a necessary step towards rehabilitation.

    Often, the public is unaware that they can choose which type of dog or cat they would like to foster. Fostering can be a fun and meaningful experience for the entire family, and if it doesn’t work out, Twin Cities Pet Rescue is always willing to take the pet back and try to find it a better fit with another family.

    Twin Cities Pet Rescue provides food, supplies and veterinary care to all foster animals, so there is no expense to foster families who open their homes to animals in need. The more fosters available, the more at-risk animals can be saved.

  • Donate To a Rescue: Of course, most Americans give to charity with money, and pet rescues are in need now more than ever. Each cash donation goes to covering spay and neutering services, life-saving veterinary care, and pet food and supplies.

    You can donate directly to rescues online, or participate in fun and educational events, such as Fall Fest for Pets on November 21st, a silent auction and dinner hosted at Summit Brewery by Twin Cities Pet Rescue.
  • Volunteer Your Time and Skills: If you’d like a more hands-on approach to saving homeless animals, pet rescues are always looking for volunteers to help coordinate events, perform home visits, help with nail-clipping or bathing, and several dozen other tasks. The ways you can help are limitless—almost any skill can be applied to helping out pets in need. Get creative with your entire family, do something you love, and save lives.

The need is greater than ever. TCPR has seen a dramatic rise in the homeless pet population the past 5 years.Every pet deserves a warm home. Especially in these hard Minnesota winters.

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About Twin Cities Pet Rescue: Founded in 2009, Twin Cities Pet Rescue is a Minnesota nonprofit, foster-based rescue organization. Animals that are rescued by Twin Cities Pet Rescue are placed in foster homes until they find their permanent home. TCPR is a no-kill organization that often takes in ‘un-adoptable’ animals, like senior and special needs animals, to give them a second chance. For more information or to donate directly, visit http://www.tcpetrescue.org/

 

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Pets

The Rabbit Died

July 22, 2013
black and white bunny

No, I’m not pregnant again.

Sadly, our adorable little Henry died this morning. It was unexpected and it was horribly sad.

Still is.

Henry came into our world a couple of years ago. He was a rescue bunny who had lived on the streets for while but eventually ended up at the Humane Society where we found him. I have no idea what kind of rabbit he was but he had a paw print on his behind that looked like a clue on Blue’s Clues.

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They weren’t sure of his age but put him at 2 or 3 years of age. I have no idea how you tell the age of a rabbit because in the years we had him he didn’t look any different.

Henry was a wonderful bunny. He had the softest fur and had a habit of rubbing his chin against everyone. We have many animals in this house and of all of them he had the softest fur. Holding Henry was like a little slice of heaven.

He never came when I called him unless I had blue berries or blueberry Pop Tarts for him. He’d eat the strawberry kind but not with the same enthusiasm he had for the blueberry variety.

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Henry was a house bunny and never went out side. We kept in the office in the basement, an area we could secure from the cat and the dog. He had the run of the room because he was litter box trained and never left little surprises for me to clean.

Henry liked to chew on cords and blankets but mostly he liked to sit next to the desk and watch whoever happened to be there.

Henry died unexpectedly in his sleep. He showed no signs of illness and was his normal, hoppy self last night when we said good night to him.

We won’t be getting another rabbit, we still have a hamster, two guinea pigs, a cat and two dogs. No, there will only be one Henry, there is no way we could possibly replace him. His cage has been cleaned and is in the garage, out of sight.

We’ve cried many tears today but I know Henry is in a better place. A place where they have endless blueberry Pop Tarts and and plenty of electrical cords for chewing.

Rest in peace, dear Henry.

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Contests Pets

Indestructible Dog Toys

April 17, 2013
Lt. Dan, indestructible dog toys

We go through a lot of dog toys around here. Ruby, the lab/boxer/pitbull puppy can destroy any dog toy within minutes. I’ve searched high and low for a dog toy that lasts longer than one day. I’d also like to find one that doesn’t make a mess.

This is the cow toy with another toy inside. It’s got a tennis ball on a rope inside of it. There is also a little pocket above the udders to put treats in but that got ripped off right away. The udders, not the little pocket.

Indestructible dog toys after Ruby

After ten minutes. The udders are gone, the head is gone and the tennis ball looks like it’s gone through a shredder. Every squeaky thingy has been consumed.

Indestructible dog toys before Ruby

I thought this one might last longer because it had more squeaky things in it and she likes those. Turns out she doesn’t like them they annoy her and they must be removed.

Lt. Dan, indestructible dog toys

7 minutes later we’re calling him Lt. Dan.

I’ve bought stuffing – less dog toys and dog toys made of heavy duty nylon and still she gets them apart.

Note – when the dog toy says it has no stuffing there is still some stuffing in it and my dog can take that little bit of stuffing and spread it all over the house.

Here is the challenge: Tell me about your indestructible dog toy and I will buy it and test it out on my destructing dog. If it passes her test, you’ve got a million dollar toy.

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Pets Things that piss me off WTF?

I Won't Be Shopping At Petco Anymore

March 4, 2013
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Why I won’t be shopping at Petco

I loved Petco. I spent a ton of money there each month because we have two dogs, two guinea pigs, one rabbit, one cat and one hamster. I buy premium dog food and gobs and gobs of dog toys and chew sticks because I have a puppy that really likes to chew and we have run out of Barbies.

I loved Petco because they were conveniently located in Highland Park and the sales associates there were usually pretty helpful and always friendly. They are a tad overpriced, I can find everything I get for quite a bit less (except for the premium dog food) at Walmart. But I preferred shopping at Petco over Walmart because it isn’t Walmart.

Why won’t you be shopping at Petco anymore, Jen?

I won’t be shopping at Petco anymore because they ended up costing me $137.00 and are unwilling to do anything about it.

So here’s the story. I bank at a local bank that is currently used by University of MN students. I bank there because my son has to bank there and I can transfer money to him easily this way. I keep it run down as low as possible because I don’t use it much and I don’t really trust banks anymore.

I went to Petco in January to pick up some of that premium dog food and had left my wallet at home. I had my checkbook so I wrote a check. I never write checks anymore because no one takes them and I don’t usually carry checks but props to Petco for still taking them because it would have been a wasted trip otherwise and my dogs were getting hungry.

I made a mental note to myself to transfer funds from one account to another and continued on my way.

As you have probably guessed I forgot all about transferring funds.

Life goes on and about a week later I get a notice from the bank saying that my check had been returned and I better cover the check. I promptly transferred the funds I meant to a week earlier and figured the check would be represented and all was good.

Ten days later the check was presented for the second time and paid. Since that time I have spent over $100 on pet food and dog chews.

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Description unavailable (Photo credit: dno1967b)

End of story.

Or so I thought.

Ten days after the check was paid my bank account was pinged for $30. from Petco. Apparently they charge a service fee on checks returned. Not bounced checks but checks returned once but still paid.

Because I don’t use the account, and I had seen that the check had finally been paid on the second presentation I didn’t have more than $10 in the account so when it was pinged for the $30 fee from Petco my bank rejected it. In the process, because they are a bank and are all about making money on their free accounts, they charged me $37.

My bank sends me a notice of this overdraft but they send it through the old fashioned mail because I haven’t set up an electronic alert on my account. I get the notice about a week after the first overdraft. By the time I get the notice Petco or Telecheck  has attempted to collect this $30 fee two more times. Each time causing my bank to reject the payment and charge me $37.

When I get notice from my bank I head on over there and talk to a very nice manager who tells me that I need to talk to Petco. My banker states that she has never seen a company charge a service fee on a check that was paid. She goes on to say that if a company draws an electronic service fee they do so right away. They don’t wait ten days to pull the fee.

Which is nice. My banker understands that I had covered the check, left a few extra bucks in the account and that was it. I was ahead of the game for ten days when they tried to pull this fee that my bank rejected.

My banker suggested that I talk to Petco because she was unable to do anything about it. Policy, you know.

I called Petco, corporate Petco from their website, and got India. After yelling in the phone for half an hour the nice Indian woman told me to call the Highland Park, MN Petco. She was still unsure why I was calling, she couldn’t understand why they would charge me when the check had been paid.

Think about that. The nice outsourced, customer service rep from India understood that the check had been paid and therefore there should be no service fee.

I called the Highland Park, MN Petco and talked to Carla, the store manager who was very nice. She listened to my story, remarked at how strange it was that I was charged a service fee when the check was honored and then went on to tell me how she bounced a check to McDonald’s for $25 that turned into $500 worth of bank fees.

Carla said she would contact corporate and get back to me in the next day or two. I mentioned that I had a bit of a time constraint because my bank was threatening to close my account if I didn’t bring it into the black. I would have done so when I spoke with my banker but she was concerned they would continue to try to take the service fee and suggested I stop payment, which we did, and not deposit anything into the account until all was settled.

Carla called me back right away and told me that Petco uses Telecheck and that I must talk to them. That it is their fee that they are trying to recover.

I’m exhausted just retelling this story.

I explain to Carla that Telecheck doesn’t care about any of this and because Petco has sold my supposed debt to Telecheck they aren’t likely to help me. They, Telecheck, want their money and will most likely do whatever they can to collect it.

I ask for a number or email of someone at corporate to contact. I tell Carla that I don’t want to drag her into this mess and that I was sorry for getting her involved (because we live in MN and default to apologies). She says she understands and would do the same thing if she were in my shoes.

Carla tells me to call her back after I call Telecheck and let her know what happened. She seems to understand that they aren’t going to do anything and is trying her best to help out even though Petco corporate isn’t supporting her at all. Carla wants to help.

I call Telecheck and get a woman who, while residing in the US, hasn’t quite mastered the English language yet.

Sigh.

To make a long story short I am told by Telecheck that they can’t do anything. It is there policy – which may or may not have been posted at Petco. She then tells me that they are reporting this to the credit bureaus and how did I want to pay the $30 fee?

I called Carla back and told her what had happened. I again asked for a contact at corporate to help resolve this because while it may have been their policy, and it may or may have been posted, the debt was paid long before the fee was charged and the fee was applied without notice which caused me to be charged over $100 by my bank.

Grrr – I’m getting frustrated just trying to retell it.

Carla said I shouldn’t have bounced a check and that I needed to pay the fee. Carla didn’t care that I visited the store at least three times a week and that now Petsmart or Walmart or Chuck and Dave’s would be getting my business. Carla may have but corporate didn’t. It’s hard to tell because Carla was the go between. I don’t envy her position because she truly was stuck in the middle. I’m not thrilled with her condescending attitude at the end — especially in light of her large overdraft due to a $25 check to McDonald’s — but what do I know?

I spent more than these fees each month at Petco. I won’t even go into the whole story about the dead guinea pig. I am a Petco Rewards card holder and usually earn two rebates a month. Petco had a good customer in me until today but were not the least bit interested in working with me to make this right. I expected a little more from Petco than this.

So, I won’t be shopping at Petco anymore.

 

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Bad Dog

December 12, 2012

File this under I Should Have Known Better.

I put away all the remotes, coasters, books and anything else that was lying around at puppy eye level. I’ve learned my lesson, I thought, as I picked up my daughter’s favorite teddy bear and locked it in her room for safe keeping.

Then I left the house to go to the Y for a quick work out before coming back and doing some more editing on my book Minnesota Nice (feel free to like the Facebook page for it on the right sidebar over there ->->-> ).

Bad dog, dog who ate Christmas tree ornaments off the tree, things dogs do when you go to the Y, things dogs do when you leave the house

I really should have known better.

What’s worse is that the other dog, and the cat, didn’t do anything to stop it. I actually feel betrayed by Stanley. Ruby, the puppy, sat at the tree and just gnawed at the ornaments. Many of them were hanging in the tree half chewed.

ornament chewed in half by a dog, dogs who eat the ornaments off the Christmas trees

What’s remarkable is that she doesn’t have a scratch on her. She has no cuts or any sign that she ate roughly three boxes of glass ornaments. She even ate Toilet Paper Man.

Guess who’s on the Naughty List this year?

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