Hooch’s Frist New Year’s Eve

Hooch celebrated his first New Years Eve!  Since we did not have Hooch in our family until after July 4, we were unsure of how he would handle fireworks.  Well, he takes after his big sister Cello – and doesn’t like them ONE bit!  We were very glad we were home to be with our two fur-kids, so we could make them feel safe during all the “booms!”

Pawty Animal, Hooch, on his first New Years Eve:

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Cello helped ring in the New Year too:

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Happy New Year’s Eve 2014, Everyone!

Hooch Wins Keystone DockDogs “Dog You Want to Dognap!”

Hooch spent the 2014 season too young to participate in DockDogs competitions.  However, as he tagged along to all the events, and cheered his big sis on, he won over the hearts of many!

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Everyone wanted a turn to hold Hooch at events!


Being a cheerleader is tiresome work:


Hooch even volunteered his time as a donation dog for the GSP Rescue of NJ while intently watching his big sis dive off the dock:DSC06537

People would get a kick out of how intensely Hooch studied the moves of Limoncello while she was on the dock:


In October, one month shy of being old enough to participate in an official DockDogs event, we introduced Hooch to the dock diving pool by letting him go down the ramp.


At the 2014 End-of-Season Keystone DockDogs Banquet, Hooch received a trophy for being the dog everyone wanted to dognap!

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Hooch’s First Hike: Historic Batsto Village, Hammonton, NJ

We took Cello and Hooch to historic Batsto Village for a hike!


Although this is both Cello and Hooch’s first visit to Batsto Village, this historic site holds a very special place in our hearts.  If you’ve been following this blog, you know the story of how we discovered the German Shorthaired Pointer, and why we knew we would eventually forever have GSPs as family members.  If you don’t know the story, click HERE .  Six months after we bought our dream home, Brian and I went to the Country Living Fair, an event held annually on the third Sunday in October at Batsto Village, in hopes to find some historic items related to our area to decorate our home.  While walking through the Village, we saw (for the very first time) a couple with a German Shorthaired Pointer.  We approached the couple to pet the dog, and to ask some questions about the breed, since at the time we knew nothing about GSPs, other than what we had researched online.  When Brian asked what the man thought of the breed, the man’s exact words were, “These dogs are the biggest pain in the A_ _.”

I often think of this, with three things that come to mind:

1) I can only feel sorry for that man who didn’t understand just how wonderful GSPs are

2) I pray that the man was joking, and that the beautiful dog we saw that day is leading a family-life full of love and care

3) I thank God we didn’t let the man’s opinionated statement divert us from our desire to have GSPs in our family.

At this exact spot, approximately 5 years ago, we saw and petted a German Shorthaired Pointer for the very first time!  Today, Brian and Cello stood in that same spot:


Batsto Village dates back to 1776, and is located in Southern New Jersey in the Wharton State Forrest, New Jersey’s largest state forest, located in the heart of the Pinelands (home of New Jersey’s cultural icon, The Jersey Devil!)   Archeologists have found evidence of Prehistoric life in the Batsto area as well…the history dates back several thousand years!

Batsto Iron Works was built along the Batsto River in 1766. Batsto had all the natural resources necessary for making iron:  bog ore from the banks of the streams and rivers, wood for fuel, and water for power. The Batsto Iron Works produced household items such as cooking pots and kettles. During the Revolutionary War, Batsto also manufactured supplies for the Continental Army. By the mid 1800’s, iron production was down, and Batsto re-invented itself as a glass-making community, specializing in window glass.

Today Batsto Village is a New Jersey Historic site, and is also listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.

The Batsto area also has numerous hiking trails, some of which connect with the 50-mile long Batona Trail (whose name derives from the words BAck TO NAture).


We decided on the orange-blazed Tom’s Pond Trail.

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To get to this trail, park in the Visitor Center parking lot.  Walk past the Visitor Center, toward the Village and turn right to go past the Mansion, a 32-room home that served as the former residence of generations of ironmasters.  Fourteen rooms, (including the parlors, dining room, library and bedrooms), are open to view for people visiting Batsto.


Just beyond the Mansion are many original structures still standing in the Village, including a General Store, Post Office, Gristmill, Sawmill, Blacksmith, Glassworks, Ice House, and the Batsto Church.  Other cool things not to pass by are the remains of an ore boat, extracted from the bottom of Batsto Lake, an ore pile, iron furnace, and Farm.

The Gristmill below was powered by Batsto Lake and processed the wheat, corn, other grains sold in the Village’s General Store:


The picture below is the Piggery.  This structure was used to slaughter hogs to provide food for the Village. The tall stone and brick tower on the left provided water from a large tank, which flowed into a large processing tub where the animal parts were further processed. The cast iron tub is thought to have been manufactured by the iron workers in the village.


Other Farm structures to check out before continuing on the hike are:

Wood House: where wood for the Mansion’s cook stoves was stored here

Carriage House: used to house various horse drawn vehicles

Horse Stable: ten stalls, where riding horses and carriage horses were kept

Threshing Barn: contained a threshing machine which separated the grain from the straw and chaff

Range Barn: where the cattle were kept

Mule Barn: constructed of Jersey ironstone, it served as a team stable, hay storeroom, and an 8-stall mule barn

Continue across Batsto Lake on a plank bridge, where you will also see (and hear!) the dam.  Just across the dam is the Sawmill, which was powered by  Batsto Lake.  The mill cut lumber and shingles that were transported by train all over the east coast, providing additional profit for Batsto.


Just over the bridge is a great place to sit and take in the views of Batsto Lake.  Batsto Lake and River were the major reasons for the location of the Village and its Iron Furnace. The river provided bog ore, and the lake was produced by the dam which allowed boats to move the bog ore from the river to the Iron Furnace.

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The lake also provided water power for both the Sawmill and the Gristmill.


The sandy trail then leads through  a row of homes once inhabited by the employees of Batsto.


The state of New Jersey purchased the Batsto area in the mid 1950’s. At this time, there were still a few people living in the Village houses, and they were told that they were allowed to remain living there for as long as they wanted.  It wasn’t until 1989 that the last house was vacated!


People emplyed at Batsto lived in cottages consisting of 2- 3 rooms downstairs, and 2-3 rooms upstairs.  Each house had an attic, fireplace, and an outhouse.


Several homes are open for visitors to walk through.


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Once past the cottage-style homes, a path leading to the orange-blazed Tom’s Pond Trail and the yellow-blazed Mullica River Trail is set diagonally off to the right.


You can pick up the yellow-blazed Mullica River Trail along the way, but we decided to stick with just the orange-blazed Tom’s Pond Trail.

Although there were many Pine and Oak trees, we also went through a White Cedar bog, located along the Mullica River. Here is a picture of Hooch and Jenny just before we went through the bog:

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There were several foot bridges we crossed along the way.


Hooch did a great job keeping up!unnamed (6)

The orange-blazed trail is very well marked.  The path follows along the Sleeper Branch of the Mullica River, then loops around for your return trip to the starting point. unnamed (5)

Not bad for Hooch’s first hike!

In addition to the historic buildings and hiking paths, Batsto hosts many events and tours.  Camping and Canoeing are also popular at this historic site.  Other amenities include a park office, restrooms, telephone, water, and picnic area.

Play Date with Pepper (AKA Bella)

Remember “Bella,” the adorable 16 week old GSP puppy we fostered?


Click HERE to read the original post about this adorable puppy!

Well, Pepper (Bella’s new name) is doing GREAT and is as happy as can be in her new home with her 4-legged sister, Mocha, a Vizsla/Weimaraner mix, and her two human sisters who give her lots of exercise!

 We were lucky enough to get invited over for a play date, and boy, did we have a BLAST!!

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All 4 dogs had an absolute blast running in Pepper and Mocha’s huge yard!


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Here they are in action!

We very much enjoyed seeing how happy Pepper is with her forever family!  We plan to get all the dogs together for play dates often in the future!

Hooch’s First Dog Park Visit: John Connolly Memorial Park, Voorhees, NJ


Hooch had never been to a dog park yet, so we took Cello and Hooch to John Connolly Memorial Park, in Voorhees, NJ.


Hooch was having a blast chasing Cello and the Chuck-It ball – UNTIL a huge male Great Dane puppy decided Hooch looked like a cool dude to play with.  The Great Dane wanted nothing but to run with and chase Hooch – but the size of this immense pup scared poor Hooch to death!  He ran away barking like mad, and ended up running to his mommy for safety!  The poor Great Dane had no idea why Hooch did not want to play with him!  Hooch was pretty spooked at that point, so we left the dog park.


Hopefully visit #2 will go a bit smoother for the Hoochie Coochie Man!


Hooch and Cello in action:

Of course Cello wanted nothing but to chase her ball, so nothing or no one phased our ball-crazy gal!

Merry Christmas… Hooch’s First!

Hooch celebrated his first-ever Christmas!

He was a good sport as we dressed him up with Christmas props!





Cello wasn’t left out of the Christmas madness:


“Christmas, Christmas time is near

Time for toys, and time for cheer

We’ve been good, but we can’t last

Hurry Christmas, Hurry Fast…

…We can hardly stand the wait

Please Christmas don’t be late!”

~Alvin and the Chipmunks

Christmas morning proved that Santa Paws had Cello and Hooch on his “Nice List!”

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This year we ordered German Shorthaired Pointer stockings from Pawsome Donations – each purchase helps out dogs in need, as 25% of all profits will go to rescue organizations, including the GSP Rescue of NJ.  Check out the Pawsome Donations Facebook page HERE.1555341_793178327415036_8015198393828786679_n

Merry Christmas, cabin style, from Cello and Hooch!



Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Hershey, Grantville, PA

Cello and Hooch stayed at the Harrisburg/Hershey Holiday Inn in Grantville, PA for their dock diving practice at Mountain Trail Training Center.


The hotel upgraded us to a bi-level suite at no charge!!

This suite had a king bed, three entrance/exit doors (one of which opened out immediately to the outside, which was great for letting the dogs out!) two floors, 1.5 baths, a wet bar, and two sitting areas!

Bottom floor:

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Cello and Hooch liked that they could keep an eye on their Pop when he went outside to smoke.  unnamed (14)

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Spiral staircase leading up to the second floor:unnamed (15)

2nd floor:unnamed (16)

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Cello and Hooch took turns sitting on the ottoman:unnamed (18)

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The hotel was clean, and the staff could not have been nicer!

Keystone DockDogs Practice at Mountain Trail Training Center, Grantville, PA

Cello and Hooch attended dock diving practice at Mountain Trail Training Center in Grantville, PA.



Cello getting some big air during practice:DSC01956

Hooch in action:

Featured As “Instagram of the Day” on New German Shorthaired Pointer Blog!

Cello and  Hooch have been chosen to be featured on a new blog started by the parent of an adorable GSP named Soda.

This blog is dedicated to German Shorthaired Pointers!  Click HERE to check it this new blog!

Click HERE to see Cello and Hooch’s feature!

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Also check out Soda’s Instagram account by clicking HERE !

Hooch Graduated From “Terrible Teens” Class!

Hooch graduated from his “Terrible Teens” class at WonderDogs!  This class revolved around basic obedience, with a primary focus on how to apply these exercises to produce a well-mannered pup. Discussions on dogs’ behaviors, and solutions to common puppy problems at this stage of the dogs’ lives took place at the beginning of each class.

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What’s next for Hoochie?? …Hooch will be enrolling in “Finishing School” at Wonderdogs to continue his obedience training! This next-level class will work on fine-tuning Hooch’s understanding of basic obedience exercises, and help increase his focus during distractions.  “Finishing School” is also a preparatory course for passing the AKC’s Canine Good Citizenship certification test.

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Congratulations, Hooch!  We are very proud of you!

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Both Cello and Hooch graduated from WonderDogs Puppy Head Start Class.  Check out their Graduation pictures:

CLICK HERE for Cello’s Puppy Head Start Graduation

CLICK HERE for Hooch’s Puppy Head Start Graduation

Cello’s Feature on Barking From the Bayou!

Cello was featured again on M.K. Clinton’s Barking From the Bayou! (Thank you Bentley and Pierre!!)


To read the entire post, CLICK HERE!

If you haven’t already, check out The Returns book series! Both books (“Showstoppers”, as well as “The Returns”)  have just been selected finalists in the AUTHORSdb (data bank) 2014 Book Cover Contest ! Please CLICK HERE to vote for both books!

Wingate by Wyndham, Mechanicsburg, PA

We stayed the night at the Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Mechanicsburg, PA for Hooch’s first-ever dock diving practice.


This hotel is conveniently located, and is dog friendly.  Dogs stay with an added nightly fee.  We requested a first floor room located near an exit, since Hooch is still not “100%” at potty training.  We were given a room with a perfect location – right near side-exit door, which had a nice grassy area, doggy waste bags, and a trashcan.  We were also able to park right at this door, which was very convenient.


The hotel room was clean, smelled nicely, and had extremely friendly staff, who called our room after our arrival to check to make sure we were satisfied.

Hooch enjoyed resting on the couch before his big practice debut.


And Cello enjoyed watching out the window!DSC01831

Overall, we were pleased with our stay here, and would choose to stay here again if we came to another Keystone DockDogs practice in this area.

Hooch’s First Dock Diving Practice With Keystone DockDogs, Canine Spa, Dillsburg, PA

Yesterday we took Cello and Hooch up to Canine Spa in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania for Hooch’s first-ever dock diving practice with Keystone DockDogs members.


We were not sure if he would jump in or not – we were pleasantly surprised!

First, we just tried the “Place and Send Method” from the edge of the dock to see if he would jump in for his toy.  Read more about the Place and Send technique HERE.

Once we knew Hooch would jump in, I tried the “Chase Method” next.  Read more about the Chase technique HERE.

We were so proud of Hooch, and Jenny was so happy she didn’t fall in !

The First Time Hooch Saw Snow / The First Snowfall of 2014

Luckily, we have not had a significant snow fall as of yet.  However, we did have a day where the snow “stuck” just a little.


Hooch was not too sure what to do with it!  He kept lifting up his paws!


I can’t wait to see Hooch’s reaction if/when we have a BIG snowfall this winter!

Cello likes the snow, but had no reaction to the little bit that had fallen.


And of course, snow did not get in the way of playing soccer!


Last winter was one cold snowy day after another… I wonder what this winter has in store for us!?

Fly Eagles, Fly!

Once the Eagles picked up Michael Vick, we boycotted the team all together.  Being life-long fans of the Philadelphia Eagles, we were not at all happy to say the least.  Jerseys were donated, and no Eagles games were watched.  Now that Michael Vick is gone, we have lifted the Eagles “ban” from our house, and have enjoyed cheering for our team once again.  Hooch got his first Eagles Jersey, and enjoys hanging out with his daddy watching the games!


Discussing the game:


Here Comes Santa Claus: Hooch’s first Santa Photos, Moorestown Mall, Moorestown, NJ

We tried very hard to get Santa Photos that would benefit a local shelter.  We have always done this with Cello in the past.  However, this year, we just couldn’t find any that would work with our schedule.  I began to search online – and found that the Moorestown Mall in Moorestown, NJ, allows dogs in the mall for Santa photos on Monday nights!

When we got to the entrance of the mall, there was a red carpet leading all the way to Santa in his chair! Boy was it crowded!


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Cello and Hooch waited in line on the red carpet waiting to see Santa and made friends along the way!

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This Santa was GREAT! He was patient, and extremely good with the all of the dogs! He even stayed past 9pm (closing time) in order for all dogs to be seen!

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

Cream Ridge Winery, Cream Ridge, NJ


After our wonderful experience at The Green Leaf Pet Resort and Hotel, we decided to enjoy a glass of wine at Cream Ridge Winery, which was only 10 minutes down the road.


Dogs are allowed inside the tasting room!


Cello and Hooch did well on their “Place” mats, and we enjoyed a tasty glass of Sauvignon Blanc !

The wine was great, and the staff couldn’t have been more friendly to both us – and the dogs.

Each person working stopped what they were doing to come over to say hello to Cello and Hooch!

Margarita visited here on July 24, 2016

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The Green Leaf Pet Resort and Hotel, Millstone Township, NJ

In searching for an indoor swimming facility for Cello and Hooch to use during the cold months, I found The Green Leaf Pet Resort and Hotel through a Google Search.  It is about a 40 minute drive from our house.  We decided to give it a try in hopes that we can bring Cello and Hooch here throughout the winter to keep up on their swimming, and to practice for dock diving.  We are very glad we took the drive – we have never seen anything like this place…

The Green Leaf Pet Resort is AMAZING!


The entry way was so inviting, and very festive!


When I walked inside to the front desk, I was thinking how much it looked like an upscale hotel!

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They even have a boutique for your pooch:

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The Green Leaf does grooming, boarding, training, swim lessons, fitness training, specialized training, and day care!

Check out their boarding rooms – – can I stay here please?! Haha!

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The pool room is just awesome.  The pool area can be rented by the 1/2 hour or the hour.  It costs $35 per half-hour, and they have package rates available.  When you rent the pool area, you and your dog(s) are the only ones in the room – no others are allowed in, unless they are a part of your group.


There is a ramp into/out of the pool so dogs can easily enter and exit without having to jump in or climb out.DSC01729


The facility provides pool toys, towels, life vests, and water-resistant leashes for use during your dog’s swim.


Hooch was a little hesitant at first, and just stood at the ramp, and watched Cello for a while!


Don’t mess with THIS guard!


Cello had an absolute blast!unnamed (5)

Hooch started diving in and having a ball also!DSC01773

Here they are in action!

The facility is spotless, the staff is friendly, and the amenities are endless here for your pup!

Grain Free Mock-Choc Peanut Butter Treats

Your pup will enjoy these grain-free peanut butter- carob “mock-choc” treats!  These treats are made with buckwheat flour, which is surprisingly grain free! Of course dogs can not have chocolate, since it’s on the list of poisonous food to dogs, but your pup can enjoy the natural sweetness of the carob in this homemade dog cookie recipe. I chose Santa, Snowman, and Christmas tree cookie cutters since we are just days away from Christmas, but you can choose any cookie cutter you like for this recipe!

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  • 2 3/4 cups organic buckwheat flour
  • 4 tsp carob powder
  • 1 cup of organic, unsweetened/no salt added peanut butter
    • (NOTE: Be sure the peanut butter you use doesn’t contain xylitol !!)
  • 1 cup of organic low fat or fat free milk (you can substitute almond milk or goats milk if your pup cannot have milk)
  • 1/4 cup carob chips



  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour and carob powder.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, warm the peanut butter for approximately 30 seconds.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the warmed peanut butter and milk (or water) together with a fork until thoroughly combined.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the peanut butter mixture.
  6. Stir until combined – add water if necessary to get dough to a consistency you are comfortable working with
  7. Fold in the carob chips.
  8. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  9. Using cookie cutters of your choice, cut our shapes in the dough.
  10. Bake for 15-18 minutes on a parchment paper-lined cookie tray. Cool completely on a wire rack. Or, for crunchier treats, leave in the oven, once turned off, to cool and harden for 2 hours.


These treats will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for longer duration.

Cello Was Featured in The Dog Show Journal!

Cello was chosen to have her picture featured in the December issue of The Dog Show Journal! The Dog Show Journal is an online publication.

 Cello is on page 53 (right hand side) for an ad and story on the Inaugural NADD / AKC Diving Dog Championship, hosted by AKC and Eukanuba on December 13 and 14 in Orlando, FL. Unfortunately we will not be in FL for this event!


Click HERE to view the entire December issue!


Sisters, Berlin, MD

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During our Thanksgiving camping stay at Island Resort Campground, we visited the town of Berlin, MD.  While leaving The Maryland Wine Bar, and heading back to our car, we stumbled across Sisters.  We did not find Sisters listed on DogFriendly.com or BringFido.com (two of our biggest resources for dog friendly places), but we decided it couldn’t hurt to ask.  Brian went inside while I held Cello and Hooch outside.  He came out giving me the “thumbs-up,” so in we went!

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This was THE coolest place!  It was a gift shop, and a wine bar all in one!  They had comfy couches where we enjoyed a glass of wine.

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We very much enjoyed our time at Sisters!

The Maryland Wine Bar, Berlin, MD

While visiting the town of Berlin during our Thanksgiving camping stay at Island Resort Campground, we visited The Maryland Wine Bar in Berlin, MD.

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This cozy place allows dogs to come inside!

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The wine was tasty, staff was so friendly, and the atmosphere so festive and cozy – – we could have spend the whole day here!

America’s Coolest Small Town: Berlin, MD

Named America’s Coolest Small Town in 2014, the town of Berlin, MD surely lived up to it’s name.

This town has many, many cool features, one being that the movie Runaway Bride was filmed here!

Berlin is also home to the historic 1895 Atlantic Hotel:

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This town has unique shops, antique stores, wonderful architectural, and some great eateries and wine bars.


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Cello and Hooch enjoyed walking among the shoppers her in town.  Be sure to visit Berlin, America’s Coolest Small Town!

Costa Ventosa Winery and Vineyard, Whaleyville, MD

During our Thanksgiving camping stay at Island Resort Campground, we visited Costa Ventosa Winery and Vineyard.

Why? You guessed it – they are dog friendly, and the pups are allowed inside the tasting room!

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Cello is a regular wino and was not shy about heading to the bar with her Pop!unnamed (27)

We very much enjoyed the wine here!

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Hooch was so well-behaved at his first winery tasting room visit!
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Burley Oak Brewery, Berlin, MD

During our Thanksgiving Day camping stay at Island Resort Campground, we visited Burley Oak Brewery in Berlin, MD.

Dogs are allowed inside this brewery!

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This was Hooch’s first visit to a Brewery, and he was very well behaved!

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We very much enjoyed our beer and the atmosphere here!  Brian tried the Rude Boy, and I tried the Sorry Chicky!

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The staff was friendly, and the beer was good…and best of all, the brewery is dog friendly!  A must-visit if you are ever in this area!

Fractured Prune Donut Shoppe, Ocean City, MD

During our Thanksgiving camping stay at Island Resort Campground, we decided to visit some breweries and wineries.  But first, we stopped at Fractured Prune Donut Shoppe in Ocean City, Maryland.


 If you have never had one of these donuts, you are definitely missing out!  Dogs are not allowed inside this donut shop, but you can go in, and order your donut, and eat outside with your pup.  They have THE most delicious donuts and so many flavors to choose from!


I chose the Morning Buzz and Brian chose the French Toast… YUM!!! DSC01599

Island Resort Campground, Newark, MD


This Thanksgiving, we camped at Island Resort Campground in Newark, Maryland.


We didn’t deep fry a turkey like we did last year, but we had just as good of a time, if not better!

Our campsite #82


View from our campsite:



view the campground map HERE

Cello and Hooch were VERY interested in all the ducks and geese on the lake!

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We had an awesome sunset each night as well!

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This campground was super-clean, and the campground staff couldn’t have been nicer!



6 Months … and Team “Homemade Hooch” In the Making

Today Hooch turned 6-months old, which means he is officially old enough to compete in a DockDogs event!  We are hopeful that he will want to jump in the 2015 season!

Currently, Hooch continues to visit new places,  travel to new states, and camp, (he’s been spent more weekends camping or staying in a hotel room, than he has spent at his house since we brought him home at 7 weeks of age!) Hooch is enrolled in WonderDogs obedience class to learn his basic commands and manners.  He continues to be a good-hearted gentle soul, and especially loves squeaky tennis balls, and Frisbees.



Hooch was not a big fan of the water as a young pup, but gradually has ventured into the water in his own way, and in his own time!  Here are some photos and videos of Team Homemade Hooch in the making:

As a wee little pup, Hooch thought being a DockDog meant just hanging out on our dock!



We tried coaxing Hooch into Cello’s baby pool…but he was NOT interested.

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Then one day, his love of tennis balls tempted him enough to go in the baby pool.

Hooch watched Cello dive off of our dock into the lake every day – but he would not venture in.

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One day, he fell in to our lake by accident – and we found out Hooch was not the most graceful of swimmers.

Hooch also started to go into the baby pool on his own for some summertime fun in the water!

One day, Hooch decided it was “his time” to dive into the lake like his big sis… and in he went after his ball!

While we were at Cello’s Dock Diving event in Berlin, MD, we let Hooch check out the DockDogs dock (just at the exit ramp since he was not of age to attempt to jump off the dock), and test out the pool water.


Hooch went in with no hesitation from the exit ramp:


He was very proud of himself for retrieving the bumper!



We hope Hooch will not be fearful of the dock, and love the sport as much as his Dock Diving Diva sister, Cello.

The 2015 Dock Diving season should be an interesting one!

Stay tuned to see if Hooch jumps!

Go Team Homemade Hooch!!!!

Dock Diving…What’s that?!

See Cello, our Dock Diving Diva, in action by clicking HERE!

See Hooch, our Dock Diving Dude, in action by clicking HERE!

See Lager, our Deployed Dock Diving Dawg, in action by clicking HERE!

See Whiskey, from Dumped to Dock Dock Diver, in action by clicking HERE!

Read Below to learn more about this exciting sport and the DockDogs organization!

 Dock Diving is a fast growing and very popular sport in the United States and Canada which has been featured on ESPN and The Outdoor Channel.  Dock Diving is open to dogs of all sizes and breeds.  The only requirement is dogs must be 6 months old.  There are several organizations that host dock diving events, such as DockDogs, Ultimate Air Dogs, North American Diving Dogs, and Splash Dogs.  Each organizations has their own rules and versions of the competitive disciplines, so be sure to read the organization’s website for specifics. Our dogs participate in DockDogs events.

DockDogs is comprised of several different types of competition.  Your dog can participate in one or all of these disciplines with some minimal training:

1.  Big Air (BA) …the Long Jump!


This is the event that most often comes to mind when people think DockDogs. Best described as a long jump for dogs, it is the most popular of the three disciplines, and dogs are judged based on how far they jump. A floatable toy or object is thrown into the water and the dogs may use the entire 40 feet of dock to run and jump in the pool. You may NOT push or throw your dog into the pool. Handlers and dogs are given 60 seconds on the dock.  Distance is measured from the end of the dock to where the base of the dog’s tail enters the water.


Divisions/Titles  Jump Distance Range
Novice 0’1″ – 9’11”
Junior 10’0″ – 14’11”
Senior 15’0″ – 19’11”
Master 20’0″ – 22’11”
Elite 23’0″ – 24’11”
Super Elite 25′ and above

2) Extreme Vertical (EV) …The High Jump!

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Extreme Vertical is the high jump of DockDogs competition.  First introduced as a training tool for Big Air to teach dogs to jump upward for their toys in order to gain greater distance, it became a competitive discipline in 2005.  An “EV Rig” is used to suspend a floatable bumper in the air.  The bumper is extended 8′ out from the edge of the dock and beginning height for competition is 4’6″.  Dogs may enter the competition at any height after this, but in order to advance to the next round, they must get the bumper to release from the “EV Rig” in their 2 attempts.  The bumper is raised in 2″ increments until there is only one dog remaining.  During this event, you have 60 seconds for the jump to be executed and the handler may place the dog anywhere in front of the 20ft. line on the dock.

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Divisions/Titles  Jump Height Range
Cadet  Up to 5’11”
Top Gun 6’0″ to 6’11”
High Flyer 7’0″ and above

3) Speed Retrieve (SR) …The Sprint!

Speed Retrieve involves running, jumping and swimming.  A bumper is hung at the end of the pool or 38′ from the dock in lake/pond events.  The handler places the dog at the 20ft. mark on the dock.  Once set, the handler notifies that they are ready.  When given the signal (“Go” command), the handler releases the dog, who runs, jumps from the dock, and swims and grabs the bumper.  Retrieving the bumper is not a requirement, but the bumper must be cleanly released from the extender.    Time is recorded from the signal to when the bumper is completely released from the hanging apparatus.

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Divisions/Title Speed Retrieve Range
Sonic 5.99 seconds or less
Turbo  6.00 seconds – 7.99 seconds
Express  8.00 seconds or greater

5) Dueling Dogs …The Drag Race!

This new discipline, Dueling Dogs, was unveiled at the 2014 World Championships, and was showcased at the first 2015 Regional Event!

4) Iron Dog

An Iron Dog is one who competes in all disciplines above.  Points are awarded based on scores achieved.  You must enter at least one wave in all three disciplines to qualify, and must register as an Iron Dog.

IRON DOG – Divisions

Spartan:     >3000 pts

Titan:           2800.001- 2999.999 pts

Warrior:     <2800 pts


Interested in getting started in dock diving?  Here’s how! (information taken from athleticdogs.com)

Training and Equipment

Have doubts that your pup won’t jump?  Check out this video of Hooch – he went from being afraid of the water, to jumping over 24 feet in a matter of just a couple of months!

One of the great features of the dock dog sport is that it requires minimal training and equipment to compete successfully. Still, there are a few skills every dog and handler team need to master:

  • Basic Obedience:  All athletic dogs must be experts in basic obedience. That is, they must follow your commands and signals (sit, stay, stand, heel, etc.) without fail and not be distracted by other people, dogs, or activity around them.
  • Conditioning: Both dog and handler must be in top physical condition to compete in most dog sports.
  • Fetch: Successful dock diving must be very driven for their chase object (toy). Any dog that is naturally attracted to fetching (and isn’t afraid of water) is an ideal candidate for dock dog competitions. Most dogs do have some natural retrieve drive that can be built upon with time and practice.
  • Straight Run: The run down the dock is the first factor in achieving great jumps. Optimal speed is good, but even slower dogs can alter their jump angle to increase distance (higher launch equals longer distance. The dog must be well-trained to run a straight line down the dock path before launch.
  • Jump: Dock Diving jump using the same skills as any long jumper – speed and a strong launch. Ideally, your dock dog will learn to contact the very end of the dock on launch, such that his or her toes actually wrap around the end of the dock to push off. The angle of the jump is another factor to be mastered.
  • Water Work: The dog must be completely comfortable jumping into and returning from the water. The younger a dog starts with water work, the better, though some dogs are naturally attracted to water sources regardless of age and training. Learning to focus on the chase object (rather than the water) and returning quickly to the handler are critical in successful dock dog competitions.
  • Handler’s Throw: Believe it or not, the way the handler throws the chase object is critical. You must practice accurate tosses to the best distance for your dog, and the dog must be trained for ultimate drive to the chase object.
  • Read more great training tips offered by Sport Mutt by clicking HERE!

Equipment needs include:

  • Water: Dock Diving competitions use all types of water bodies, including pools, for competition. The pool must be at least 4 feet deep and the world record jump distance is currently  29 feet 3 inches. The pool is 40 feet long
  • Dock: Competition docks are usually 40 feet long by 8 feet wide and are set 24 inches above the surface of the water. The dock is usually covered with turf-like carpet for traction and safety.
  • Chase Object: The dog’s favorite toy, the handler throws the chase object into the water and the dog jumps to retrieve it.


There are two basic techniques to dock diving, the place & send and the chase methods. The best choice for your athletic dog depends on your dog’s temperament, speed, and responsiveness to obedience commands.

Place & Send

The simplest dock diving technique to master is the place and send. Here, the dog walks with the handler to the end of the dock and is held back while the handler tosses the toy. The dog is then returned to the start point and released or sent to retrieve the toy. Dogs that use the place and send method are generally just not trained to wait or stay on the dock themselves. It is most effective for dogs with a lot of speed that compensate for a lack of height on the launch. This method inherently encourages flat jumps, thus good speed is necessary to get the distance to compete.


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Chase Method

Dogs well-trained in basic obedience do better in dock diving competitions using the chase method. Here, the dog is placed in a stay or wait position at the starting point on the dock. The handler proceeds to the end of the dock, then releases the dog. The chase object is thrown at just the right moment to keep the toy in front of the dog’s nose all the way into the water. Thus, the dog is chasing the object! The advantage of this method is that the handler can control and optimize the launch angle to increase distance – it avoids the flat jump that is likely with the place and send method. Of course, mastering the chase method requires more time and training, and it helps if the dog is highly toy driven.



Dock Diving Lingo

  • Chase Method: The more advanced dock diving jumping technique that starts with the dog in wait or stay position at the starting point and the handler timing the throw to encourage the dog to chase the toy through the air. Results in more height off the launch, thus longer jump distance.
  • Dock: The platform from which the dock diving jump, usually 40 feet long by 8 feet wide, and placed about 24 inches above the water surface.
  • Extreme Vertical: DockDogs competitions in which dogs compete for vertical height  jumps.
  • Flat: A dog that jumps straight out at the end of the dock is said to be flat.
  • Place & Send: The basic dock diving jumping technique in which the handler throws the chase object first, then sets the dog to release and retrieve. This method tends to produce flat jumps, thus limiting the dog’s jump distance.
  • Pool: Many dock diving events use a pool as the water source. The water must be 4 feet deep, and the length must easily accommodate the longest jumpers. Currently, the world record distance is just over 29’3″.
  • Pop: A dog that jumps up at the end of the dock is said to have a good pop.
  • Speed Retrieve: DockDogs competitions, this sport features the dogs’ running, jumping and swimming skills.

Ready for Your First Event?

We have found that DockDogs handlers and staff are some of the nicest and most helpful people you will ever meet. Both fellow competitors and DockDogs staff are always happy to answer questions.  Everyone at the events are there to have fun with their dogs, and although there is a certain level of competition involved,  you will find that fellow competitors will be cheering just as loudly for you and your dog as they do for their own team.  Here are some tips that will help ensure your experience is both safe and fun for you and your dog:

What to Bring:

  • Leash or slip-lead (not longer than 4 feet, and not retractable)
  • Flat collar (no choke chains allowed
  • Treats, and Water and water bowl for your dog
  • Object to throw  (Cannot be edible, must float, and cannot be living  or any thing that was once alive)
  • Poop bags – it’s imperative you pick up after your dog
  • Crate
  • Towel to dry your dog
  • Canopy for shade
  • Chair
  • Water and snacks for you
  • Change of clothes (in case you get wet), and extra clothing for unexpected weather changes

Registering for an Event:

Each organization has an events page, and different requirements for registration.  You can register for a DockDogs event on the DockDogs website, which you can access by clicing HERE.  Then, just follow the prompts to register for the “waves.”  You can also register for a DockDogs event on-site at the event, but if you are not there early enough, often the waves fill up quickly, and on-site registration closes.  For on-site registration, you can only register for a wave held on that particular day – you may not register the day before. You can register for as many waves as you would like, and you do not need to be there every day.  However, you would want to come back on the last day of the event to see if you dog made the finals.

Arriving at the Event:

Sometimes the event provides a special parking area, or designated equipment drop off area.  There will also be a designated crating area for competitors and their dogs. Once you have your canopy and crate set up, and your dog is settled,  you should check in at the DockDogs admin tent.  Here you will check in, sign a liability waiver, and get your handler wrist band, which allows you to be easily identified as an official competitor. The DockDogs staff at the admin tent can also answer any questions you might have.  Depending on the schedule, there is usually open dock practice available. If you would like to practice with your dog, simply get in line at the steps behind the dock. Most of the time, each team is allowed two jumps, depending on how many people need to practice.

The Competition:

About 15  minutes before your wave begins, a DockDogs staff member will call for a handlers’ meeting. Leave your dog crated for this.  This meeting is mandatory for all handlers to attend, and if you are not present at this meeting, you will be scratched from the wave.  During the meeting, you find out in which group you are jumping and what the jumping order is.  Listen carefully so you know when you and your dog will be expected to be lined up behind the dock.   When it’s getting close to your turn, take your leashed dog and your dog’s throw toy to the back of the dock. There will be a wrangler there to let you know where you are in line, and when to go up on the dock for your jump. Once you know your place in line, be sure to allow for ample space between the team ahead of you, and the team behind you.   When you are next in line, be sure not to approach the steps to the dock until the previous handler’s dog is out of the water, and clearly leashed and under control.  You will then have one jump.  Once your dog’s jump in complete, and  you have them leashed, you then return to your spot in line for  a second jump. The longer of the two jumps is your official score.  Each wave of the event will have ribbons or medals for all competitors, no matter where your dog placed in the wave. Even if your dog didn’t jump, you will receive a participant ribbon.  After the wave is completed, be sure to stop by the admin tent after your wave to pick up your ribbon or medal.


Speed Retrieve and Extreme Vertical are “All in one Finals,” which means they take the top 3 in each division after all competitors have gone.

There are two formats for Big Air Finals: National format (used at national events) and Divisional format which is used by some of the clubs (club events may also use the National format).

  • Big Air Finals: Divisional Format:
    • After all the waves are completed, the top six dogs from each of the Divisional Format Divisions move on to the finals.
      • Novice Finals
      • Junior Finals
      • Senior Finals
      • Master Finals
      • Elite Finals
      • Super Elite Finals


  • Big Air Finals: National Format
    • After all the waves are completed, the top six dogs from each of the National Format Divisions move on to the finals.
      • Amateur Division: up to 12′ 11″
      • Contender Division:  13′ – 17’11”
      • Semi-Pro Division:  18′ – 21’11”
      • Pro Division: 22′ and over


If you find that you still have questions, please feel free to contact us by leaving a comment on this post, or by contacting us on one of our social media accounts:

We hope to see you on the dock!


Information on this post is meant as a summary for explanatory purposes only.  Please research the organizations and their rules, and please speak to your veterinarian about your dog’s health before doing any sport with your dog.  The information on this post was compiled from:

Cello’s Feature on Barking From the Bayou!

M.K. Clinton publishes a daily blog, called Barking From the Bayou, with some great stories, awesome giveaways, product reviews, cool blog hops (which I still need to figure out how to join!), valuable information, and of course, adorable Bentley photos!  She is also the author of The Returns Book Series, and has earned many awards and honors!

She has been a great supporter of Cello on both Cello’s Corner and Instagram, and I cannot thank her enough!  Somehow, even as busy as she is, she always finds time to compliment Cello’s Instagram photos, and comment on the posts on Cello’s Corner.

Check out the the feature Cello had:

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It was such an honor to be featured on this blog.  We are very appreciative for the inclusion of Cello’s Instagram link as well!

Click HERE to see M.K. Cinton’s Barking From the Bayou’s  BFTB Channel 7 News post in its entirety.

We really appreciate the feature on the blog, and also want to thank M.K. Clinton for her continued support, and “shout-outs!”

St. Michael’s Crab and Steak House, St. Michaels, MD

Cello has been St. Michael’s Crab and Steak House a couple of other times prior to this visit (October 2012, and November 2103)!!  However, this was Hooch’s first time there.

This bar is SUPER dog friendly, the bartenders are awesome, and they make THE best Bloody Mary!

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Cello at the bar in October 2012 for the first time, hanging out with the guys (Brian and Uncle Johnny):

Crab house 3

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The bartender took Cello with her behind the bar with her!Crab house 4

Cello at the bar in 2013:


Cello got her very own “drink” at the bar … the bartender brought her a celebratory water after she won first place in the Masters Division Dock Dogs competition at the Easton Waterfowl Festival in 2013!



   LOVE this bartender!



Hooch’s first visit to St. Michaels Crab House, November 2014:



And Cello bellying-up to the bar like a regular:

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Flying Fred’s Gifts For Pets, St. Michaels, MD

While visiting the town of St. Michaels for Cello’s Easton Waterfowl Dock Diving event, we visited Flying Fred’s!


Flying Fred’s is named after the owner’s Jack Russel Terrier, Fred, who began to accompany them to work at Five Gables Inn and Spa. The owners decided to open Flying Fred’s to display their love of animals through this pet boutique so that other animal lovers like themselves could enjoy the unique gifts and accessories.

The boutique is named after their Jack Russel Terrier, Fred, and his amazing jumping ability!


This was Hooch’s first shopping experience:

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Cello and Hooch were both very excited about the toys and treats being purchased!
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Cello was making sure the toys were handed over to HER:

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We were very excited about the GSP ornament we found here!

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In addition to a variety of pet treats, toys, accessories, gifts, and supplies, Flying Fred’s also hosts various events such as “Yappy Hour” on the 1st Friday of each month, the Jack Russell races, pooch porch parties, and more. Dogs are allowed inside, but must be under their owner’s control, leashed, and cleaned up after all times.

If you are every visiting St. Michaels with your pooch, a stop at Flying Fred’s is a must!

Right outside the store, in the sidewalk cement, we saw this (our initials!):

Flying Freds 1(But not before Cello PEED on it!) hahaha!

Easton Waterfowl Festival, Easton, MD


For the second year in a row, Cello competed in the Easton Waterfowl Festival Dock Diving Contest, hosted by Delmarva Dock Dogs.


Unfortunately, I cannot access the event results due to construction on the DockDogs website.  However, I can report, for the second year in a row, Cello won first place in the finals at this event!  THIS time, she won first place in the Elite Division, which is one whole division higher than the first place Masters Division spot she earned last year!

Cello in action:

Cello in Slo-Mo:

Cello also competed in the Extreme Vertical competition at this event, earning 3rd place in the Cadet Division!




Cello in action doing Extreme Vertical:

One of Cello and Hooch’s pals, Sky, was celebrating her 3rd birthday at this event, and had provided party hats and birthday cake for the pups!

Here are PAWty animals, Cello and Hooch sporting their party hats!


Birthday Girl, Sky:


Birthday cake for all!


It was a chilly weekend, but we had a ton of fun, and were very proud of Cello’s performance!



This was Cello’s last dock diving event of 2014.

This year Cello earned both a Club and National Masters Title in Big Air, as well as a Club Elite title in Big Air.  She also earned a new personal best jump in Big Air of 23′ 7″  (her first dock diving jump ever in September 2013 was 12’8″)!!  Cello tried Extreme Vertical for the first time, and placed 2nd and 3rd in finals for the Cadet division.  Her personal best EV jump right now is 5’6″.

We are very proud of all her accomplishments this year, and very much look forward to the 2015 Season!

Nourse Farm, Easton, Maryland

Cello participated in Easton’s Waterfowl Festival Dock Diving contest, and we usually camp for this event.  However,  fellow members of the Chesapeake DockDogs club had invited us to stay with them in a home they rented at Nourse Farm.


We accepted, and are SO glad we did!  This place was amazing, and getting to spend time with dock diving friends before and after the event was priceless!

Driveway to the house:DSC00493

View from front door down the long driveway:DSC00480

The home:


 This home, set on 70 acres, has one half-mile of waterfront property, gorgeous kitchen, 7 bedrooms, 5 full bathrooms, 5 living rooms, a fireplace, and 2 dining rooms!!


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One of the 5 living rooms:

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Another living room:Easton 15

One of the 2 dining rooms:Easton 16

One of the 7 bedrooms:

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AND…this house had a heated, indoor pool!!  The dogs had a BLAST!

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Hooch and Cello had the time of their lives!

Here is Hooch jumping in for the first time (and then swimming VERY awkwardly!!) Cello is the one with the bright green collar.

Once Hooch got in, he did NOT want to get out!

All the dogs had a great time!

Hooch was pooped each night, and snored like an old man!

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The home also had a 120 foot dock and a gorgeous water view:


There was a fisherman’s cabin too!


Inside of fisherman’s cabin:DSC00490

This is the view of the home from the water-side:


Hooch was fearful of the staircases, so we had to carry him up and down!

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Staying in this awesome home with good friends made this trip complete.  We had SUCH a great time!

Washington DC / Capitol KOA, Millersville, MD

DSC00298We decided to take a break from dock diving, and visit Annapolis since we had never been there.  We decided to stay at the Washington  DC/Capitol KOA.

This campground was well taken care of, the bath house was super-clean, AND they had a great doggie play area with agility equipment!




The campground staff could not have been nicer – and every employee that rode by on a golf cart stopped to say hello to the dogs, and give them a treat!  The friendliness towards dogs here is unbelievable!  The drive to Annapolis was about 15-20 minutes.

We stayed on site 11:


We would definitely stay here again!


Historic London Town and Gardens, Edgewater, MD

While visiting Annapolis, we took at ride to Historic London Town and Gardens.


This 23-acre museum and park boasts incredible archaeology, and horticulture of the “lost town” of London. You can walk the Historic Area, which includes the William Brown House (circa 1760).  This house is a National Historic Landmark!


There are also several reconstructed colonial buildings.





We chose not to wander the eight-acre Woodland Garden, and the seasonal Ornamental Gardens that overlook the South River.  However, there are many different plants and flowers throughout the entire year.  Click HERE to see what’s in bloom year-round.

Rams Head Tavern, Annapolis, MD


While visiting the town of Annapolis, we decided to follow a friend’s recommendation and stopped at the Rams Head Tavern for a bite to eat and some cocktails.  Rams Head has a pretty extensive history dating back to 1703.


This tavern is very dog friendly, and even has a doggie menu!



Shepherd’s Pie



  • 1 lb ground beef or  ground lamb (We used ground beef)
  • 1/2 cup organic carrots, diced into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup organic green peas (we used frozen)
  • 1 organic apple, skin peeled, and diced into small cubes

For the topping:

  • 1 medium organic sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon organic fat free or Greek yogurt


  1. Heat up pan.  Once pan is hot, add meat and fry for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in carrots and green peas, and stir for one minute.
  3. Turn off the heat and add in chopped apples. Stir well.
  4. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish, and bake in the oven at 300°F for 20 minutes.


  1. Steam or microwave sweet potato until soft, then mash with a fork. Add in one tablespoon of yogurt, and mix well.
  2. Add the topping, and bake at 300°F for another 10 minutes.

Happy Halloween! (Hooch’s First Halloween)

Happy Halloween!  Hooch’s first Halloween began with a visit from the Great Pumpkin!


Cello and Hooch enjoyed their Halloween toys!DSC08393

Hooch is loving that new toys arrive on his kitchen bed on all holidays 🙂


Jenny’s nephew James was dressing up as the Lion from the Wizard of Oz, so we stuck with the theme.  The Lion, Dorothy and the Tin Man were off we were to see the Wizard!

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Cello as Dorothy:DSC08403

“There’s no place like home”DSC08420


Hooch as the Tin Man:DSC08475

Has anyone see my oil can?DSC08476

James as the Cowardly Lion:


Cello wound up having some “wardrobe malfunctions,” so we had to fall back on Wonder Woman and Superman for the rest of trick-or-treating:




Happy Halloween!DSC08554

We hope everyone had as much fun as we did on Halloween!

Chesapeake DockDogs Halloween Fun Jump, Jenny’s First Attempt at Dock Diving, and Meeting Ruger at Detour Winery, Keymar, MD

Now THIS was a fun dock diving event!

Cello participated in Chesapeake DockDogs’ Halloween Fun Jump, held at Detour Winery in Keymar, MD.

Our friend, Kim, made Cello her dock diving suit!  Check out Kim’s Super Fly Suits by clicking HERE!


This event did not count toward any rankings or titles – it was just for pure fun!


Cello in action:

Anyone was allowed to jump a dog… so Jenny jumped Cello for the very first time!


Jenny and Cello in action:

Brian and Cello beat Jenny and Cello by only 2 inches!!  Cello jumped 22′ 9″ for Jenny!  And both teams made the finals!  How fun!


Our friend, John (Kim’s husband) jumped Cello too!


There was a costume party too!  Superman and Wonder Woman were there 😉

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and BEST of all… Hooch was reunited with his REAL brother and litter-mate, Ruger!  Ruger’s parents brought him to this event so that the brother could be together again!

Meet Ruger!


Hooch and Ruger “meet” for first time after being separated at 7 weeks of age (Hooch is in blue)


Brotherly love!


 Ruger’s parents hope to get him into dock diving – the 2015 season is going to be fun with the 2 brothers getting to spend time with each other and compete at events together!