Spring 2010 Newsletter

In this newsletter:


This is our 1st newsletter for 2010 – our lucky 13th year! Thank you for your business and referrals that have been key to our longevity. Our kennel of friends would not continue to grow without you.

We never tire of carving the wooden dogs that have been the mainstay of our business for longer than the 13 years we’ve been at Dog Bark Park. Nor do we weary of meeting visitors and guests to the big dog that has brought us a bit of world-wide fame – Dog Bark Park Inn Bed & Breakfast.

About the Big Dog & Pricing

Apple Sauce MuffinsSweet Willy welcomes his first 2010 overnight guests in early April. Hard to believe this is the big dog’s 8th season!

Reservations are coming in at a good pace. Happily, more people stay every year. So far this year our bookings include several international visitors, some interesting small groups, and families from across the country.

Unlike the price of gas or cost for a bag of dog food, our rates will not change for the 4th year running. Be assured our amenities remain the same; our fresh and home-prepared breakfast & snack selections are as plentiful as ever. Only things we have cut are the dog’s toe nails & our hair!

Gift ShopSpring Activities

 With Spring arriving early this year, we’re busily sprucing things up both indoors and out. A new patio floor for the giftshop entry is underway. We’ve re-painted and re-arranged the giftshop/office, adding some new products as well, like the cutest artisan-crafted glycerin bath soaps decoratively embedded with dog portraits! In the big beagle, Sweet Willy has received a thorough grooming with some new touches added as well.

Video Tour

Please join us for a 3-minute visit complements of the Purina Company. Last November, a videographer on assignment for Purina visited with us on the snowest day of winter. To view the video click here. Nearly 48,000 people have viewed it already, making it one of Purina’s most successful video clips.

Great Idaho Getaway

Ever wondered what Idaho looks like? Or what there is to do in Idaho? Here’s an entertaining 30-minute mini-movie of a family’s vacation through Idaho. And guess who’s included? – the big beagle, of course! To see the movie go to www.greatidahogetaway.org

A 30-member film entourage and the family descended on Dog Bark Park in two motor homes for part of a day last June. The weather was perfect Idaho gorgeous and the cameras rolled while the adventurous family looked about & visited. This day was another example of the job benefits Dennis & I are grateful to enjoy – meeting new people and Coffee Pot at Sunsetthe new experiences that result.

New Outdoor Art

Last October’s newsletter included pictures of the giant Corning Ware-like coffee pot that we built in early 2009. Late last summer Dennis finished his second giant pop art installation for the year – oversized Alphabet Blocks!

They, like the coffeepot, are modeled after objects of yesteryear, in this case painted wooden alphabet blocks with raised letters and borders. These are a bit Close-up Concrete Blocksdifficult to stack or re-arrange since they’re made of concrete and each letter is 4-ft square!

Construction-wise, the blocks were a more challenging endeavor than building the giant coffeepot. Fashioning the wood forms needed for pouring the concrete so that the letters and borders protruded beyond the flat background surfaces of the concrete blocks was not quick or easy work. Additionally, it was no small feat to wrestle & secure the heavy bulky forms into position without having them tip over as the optical illusion suggests.

Oversize Alphabet Blocks

We’re not sure what big outdoor sculpture might be next. So far, we’re focused on preparing for the new concrete patio entryway – an on the ground rather routine project! No doubt, once that’s done we’ll be scratching the ground for another “fun” art project.

Customer Photos

These snapshots are from Dog Bark Park visitors and customers.We invite you to e-mail your favorite digital memories of a visit to Dog Bark Park or of your dog with its wooden companion. Be sure to include a little background info as well & we’ll post your pictures in a future newsletter.

  English residents - the Beagle Trio Maddie the Beagle Twins
Dylan dogs living in the United Kingdom Maddie's human parents - the Topps

Creating a Dog – the Process in Pictures

This series of photos illustrates the transformation of Idaho pine into a wooden dog. Apollo, a custom order was made to approximate the real dog by the same name.

We attempted to highlight the unique features of the furry Apollo that will best make our carved rendition recognizable.

We emphasized Apollo’s black eye patch, his alert ears and the overall mottled appearance of his coat.

Rounding Apollos Back

The dog begins to emerge

The dog begins to emerge

Rounding Apollos back

Working on Apollos back

Working on Apollos back

Giving Apollo a hip

Giving Apollo a hip

Apollo gets his first coat of paint.

The completed Apollo

Connect to Dog Bark Park through Social Networking!

Luck o’the Irish & our Lucky Break 15 years ago

Interesting stories by Entrepreneur on-line magazine of the lucky breaks of ten companies that led them to new heights.  Dog Bark Park’s story was included.  See the article here:  http://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/205572.html

Interesting stories and nice to remember our past.

Apple Gourd Birdhouse

Sometimes Dennis & I are asked if we ever get tired of creating our chainsaw-carved dogs.  And our answer is always ” no, we enjoy making them.”  That doesn’t mean carving is our only artistic activity.

Among other things, we enjoy photography, writing, designing & building outlandish (at least in some people’s views, not ours though!) outdoor sculptures, some of which have been showcased in previous blog posts.

Here’s Apple Gourd Bird House we made a few weeks ago.

Gourd Bird House

Until two summers ago we didn’t know there was a gourd variety called Apple Gourd.  We purchased one of these striking deep green apple-shaped gourds at a local farmer’s market.  After letting the gourd dry and sit neglected for more than a year we cleaned it up, drilled a hole to empty the innards, and painted it apple red.  Voila, a pretty decorative birdhouse, complete with green stem and bird on the perch! 

We’ve found a seed source for the gourds and plan to grow our own apple gourds this summer.  Hopefully we’ll have a successful crop for more creative exploration using the dried results.  Stay tuned….

Meanwhile, this one gourd birdhouse is available for purchase.  $38, includes shipping in continental US.  The gourd is about 7 inches in diameter and apx 8 inches high.  We will sign it and send with it a few apple gourd seeds for planting.

3 more Dog Breeds discussed

A wooden Shih Tzu carved by Chainsaw

Continuing our series that offers tidbits about different dog breeds we feature 3 more in this post. 

But first, a note about our sources of information.  Much of what we know about dogs is from years of observing & reading about them.  Sources have been The AKC Gazette, Dog Fancy Magazine, Bark Magazine, Dog World Magazine and what we offer refer to as the dog bible,  The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World by Wilcox & Walkowicz.

The Shih Tzu

This dog’s roots are from Tibetan Lhasa dogs.  The Shih Tzu’s refinement however, occured in Chian where the smaller “lion dog” was preferred by the nobles who enjoyed them as loving palace companions.  There the Shih Tzu was bred for a life of leisure.

A wooden Shih Tzu

It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that Shih Tzus came to be known outside of China, probably first appearing in England where the breed won its 1st dog show championship in 1947.  The breed was not recognized in North American show rings until the 1960’s.

Since then the Shit Tzu, which weighs from 9-16 pounds and stands between 8 & 11 inches tall, has become a popular people-pleasing companion just about everywhere.  One description of this breed includes the following attributes of the Shih Tzu, ” lion head, bear torso, camel hoof, feather-duster tail, palm leaf ears, rice teeth, pearly petal tongue & movement like a goldfish.”Note: We do not yet have the Shih Tzu listed on our website as being a breed available for order as a chainsaw created sculpture.  Please send us an e-mail if more information is desired.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador comes in three coat colors; yellow, chocolate and black.   All three colors can be born in one litter of puppies.

Throughout the world most ships had dogs on board.  As far back as the 17th century it is known waterdogs were used by fisherman & hunters in Canada where the Labrador Retriever has its roots.  The dogs were sold into England from some of the Canadian ships during the early 1800’s.  Later in the century, a heavy dog tax in Canada reduced the number of dogs in that country, and, with corresponding strict English quarantine laws, importation of Canada’s waterdogs to England was virtually eliminated.  Modern development of the breed therefore took place in England with dogs whose lineage was from those early Canadian retrievers.

A versatile water, land, campanion, or service dog, the labrador has enjoyed great popularity.  With its keen desire to please, its intelligence, docile nature & short coat the Labrador Retriever is a sturdy, low-maintenance family dog or hunting companion.

Saint Bernards in wood

Saint Bernard

Most everyone is aware of this dog’s long heritage as a mountain rescue dog of the Swiss Alps.  The name comes from the name of a 10th century monastery, Hospice du Grand St. Bernard,  located in the Alps on a high mountain pass near the Italian border. This monastery is one of the highest and oldest human settlements in Europe and its mission as originally led by a monk name Bernard was to help the poor & needy pilgrims who traveled through the pass on their way to Rome.

The monks enlisted the aid of their Saint Bernard dogs to assist and rescue travelers trapped in the snow.  With their superior noses, weather-resistant coats, sure-footedness & strength these dogs could go where the monks could not. 

These early Saint Bernards were much smaller than those we know today.  By the 1800’s the monks had an extensive breeding program and gradually the dog’s size increased.  Today’s Saint Bernard can reach 200 pounds or more.

Chainsaw carved Saint Bernards

Saint Bernards may look like gentle giants, which they can be with rigorous attention to selection for gentle temperament and early training.  Like some of its cousins, the Saint Bernard has a wet mouth, which means it drools. Owners need to be aware that slobber is part of life when a Saint is around!

Labrador Retriever in Wood, yellow variety

10 Foods Poisonous to Dogs

Many of us like to share  human foods with our canine family members and the debate circulates about the pitfalls and pleasure of doing so.  Certain foods are toxic to dogs and should not be feed to them at all.  Here’s a list of the Top 10 offenders.

Raisins

Grapes & Raisins can be toxic to dogs

Grapes

Chocolate

Cocoa

Avocado

Avocadoes

Macadamia nuts

macadamia Nuts

Xylitol (artificial sweetener found in sugarless gum & candies)

Potato skins or any green part

Garlic

Green tomatoes, or green tomato stems

We had heard for years about not feeding chocolate & onions to dogs.  And a few years ago learned about grapes when over the course of a winter they made our ambassador dog, a Golden Retriever quite ill.  Once we stopped giving them as treats our dog got better but we never knew if permanent damage was done to his kidneys or liver.  He died younger than expected, making us wonder if the grapes had been a contributing factor.