Our Journey so far..

It's been over a year since we started the Green Dog blog and we thought it would be nice for our followers to get to know us a little bit better as a family and get to know us as individuals, so we will be having a three part series sharing a little bit more about each of us.


First up is the top dog and reason for the blog, Roly!


I could write these answers as if Roly were answering but I get annoyed reading posts like that so I'm just gonna answer on her behalf...

How old are you?

Roly is now two and was born at the start of July 2019 (2 days before we got married!).


Where were you born?

Roly was born just outside Preston into a litter of 8, with 6 brothers and 1 sister.

How did you find Roly?

Paddy and I had discussed waiting at least 6 months after we were married before getting a dog, but one month later Paddy started looking at puppies at work and we just kept looking to see what was available not really expecting anything. Then one evening during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival we were eating a takeaway waiting for a show to start when we seen an advert for a female puppy and decided to email to see if she was still available. We weren't committed to getting one then, until we had a reply with 2 photos of Roly! We were really fortunate in that Roly had already been reserved to someone else but their circumstances changed and they could no longer take her. We were so happy and firmly believe Roly came at the perfect time!


Why did you not rescue?

I will probably do a blog post on this in the future but it was mainly due to stumbling across this dog and falling in love with her. Before looking at puppies we did look at the rescue centres near us. At that time there weren't any dogs we could offer the right home to.

Why are you called Roly?

This is a bit of a long one sorry! Before we were even married Paddy and I discussed what we would name our dogs in the future on a walk one day. He's always loved rugby and his dream dog is an Irish Wolfhound so he wanted the name to reflect an Irish rugby player. We then went through different dog breeds and Irish rugby players discussing names that would fit with each breed. We loved the idea and vowed that when we owned dogs they would all fit in with this theme. Whilst I also always wanted to own a dalmatian and name it after one of the puppies from 101 Dalmatians, so I did some research to see if there were any names that fitted in with both the movie and Irish rugby. We had a choice of two, Penny after Scott Penny, a member of the U20s squad and Roly after Roly Meades, a coach from the 70s! There's already a Penny in our family so our poor girl got stuck with a boy's name, all so we could stick with the theme!


What is your personality like?

We think Roly is hilarious! She has all these different noises to express how she is feeling and she is definitely a little diva. She does not like going out in the rain and will only willing go out in the cold if there is snow. She loves to play, especially with her paws, and we have had to apologise to numerous small dog owners as Roly has swatted and squashed them in an attempt to get them to play. She is smart though and she has learnt to recognise which dogs to leave alone. She has also learnt who will give her treats and she is INCREDIBLY greedy! She has a friend in the park she will run to and frequently stick her nose in his coat as she knows he has the best biscuits. We love her but she does embarrass us frequently!


Were you easy to train?

In some aspects yes! Roly was toilet trained really quickly, so quickly we didn't go through one whole packet of puppy pads (and we bought 2 expecting to need to buy more, this was before we looked at going green I should add). Other aspects have been harder to train. We attending the Dogs Trust's puppy classes and they were really helpful. We do still need to remind Roly to walk nice on the lead on occasions though and jumping up is something that we need to work on.


What is your favourite thing to do?

Eat and sleep! Especially if she can snack under a duvet on the sofa.

Where is your favourite place?

Anywhere by the sea, Roly loves to dig in the sand and run through the shallow water. We haven't been able to explore many beaches yet though due to lockdown and we live in a landlocked county in central Scotland but we have enjoyed trips to the Isle of Arran and our hometown of Bangor in Northern Ireland.


What is your favourite snack?

Squirty cheese! This has been the best for training after being recommended by other dalmatian owners. Roly's recall is 10x better if she knows we have this with us on a walk.


What is your favourite toy?

This changes constantly! Before we looked at going greener we went through a lot of stuffed unicorns! Currently her favourite is a well chewed rope and hoop from Becco but balls are also a firm favourite too, although she doesn't enjoy fetch outside, only in the living room much to our dismay!


Do you have any nicknames?

Yes, we call Roly, puppino, baby girl, stinky poops, Roly Poly, Roland and Ronald (not sure why Ronald but she will answer to it).


Are Dalmatian's difficult dogs?

There are so many rumours that dalmatians are aggressive and really stupid (some of our own family initially thought this too). This could not be further from the truth, we have not met one aggressive dalmatian but they can be stubborn. They are very sensitive though and Roly has been afraid of a number of things but thankfully they are intelligent and we have been able to increase her confidence in these situations by rewarding her when she overcomes these fears. The biggest difficulty for me with a dalmatian has been understanding their diet and being able to get this right. Dalmatians have to have a low purine diet to reduce forming crystals or stones in the urinary tract. This means Roly can't eat a range of foods including liver, oily fish or yeast. Getting Roly's diet right and being confident in this took some time and I was worrying for ages that we would make Roly sick. I would definitely encourage anyone looking at rescuing or buying a particular breed of dog to do thorough research. All breeds have their issues and it's important to know these before making any decisions.



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We were lucky to start off with a puppy who hated the muck and would avoid it at all costs. Now, we have a dog who will always wait to the end of a walk and find the biggest mucky patch she can and run through it!

We try and avoid bathing Roly every week and aim to wash her once a month. Some times it is more often, other times it is less.


One of the first changes Paddy and I made when trying be greener was to switch to shampoo bars, so it made sense for us to switch to a bar for Roly too.


The average UK household typically throws away 10 shampoo and conditioner bottles a year according to Circular. That equates to 520million a year for the UK!!! That is just for human shampoo so pet bottles will be added to that total. Switching to a shampoo bar removes the need for plastic bottles and means their is no waste at the end of the life of the product. There are loads of shampoo bar options for our pooches but we LOVE Buddy Bubbles!


They reached out to us at the start of our journey and we love their ethos, energy and excellent customer service. Not only are their products eco-friendly and work really well, they care for all their customers.


As a child I always helped wash the family pets and I wish we had had Buddy Bubbles back then! They sell "sisal" bags that hold the soap and it makes the soap so much easier to use than shampoo in a bottle. The bars also last a long time and we still are using the Christmas soaps.



Dalmatians can have sensitive skin with lots of allergies (Roly is even allergic to rain but we will talk more about this another time) but Buddy Bubbles soap has never brought Roly out in a rash! We also use the conditioner bars too and Roly is always left with incredibly soft and clean fur with a subtle fresh smell. We are never left with that traditional wet dog shampoo smell!


Roly isn't the biggest fan of bath time but she does love being rubbed down and wrapped in a towel and we've recently bought her a bamboo towelling robe from a local business, Crafty Jac. We think it was well worth the money and Roly is really pleased. We love that it's sustainable bamboo too!



In between washes we do have some of the doggy deodorant from Buddy Bubbles which we had customised and comes in a glass bottle.


With so many options and more small business making dog shampoo bars there has never been an easier time to make the switch!

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Like seriously, how is it Easter weekend already!

Don't worry, Roly will not get any of this chocolate!

If you are anything like me I feel guilty eating lots of Easter treats whilst Roly sits there with nothing so we adapted this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker to make Roly some Easter themed pup cakes.


Ingredients

  • 120g plain flour of wholegrain flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 60g dog friendly peanut butter

  • 60ml vegetable oil

  • 2 shredded carrots

  • 1 egg

  • 1 extra carrot chopped into triangles

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180degrees Celsius

  • Mix the flour and the baking soda

  • Mix all remaining ingredients bar the chopped carrot

  • Add a spoonful of mixture into each muffin slot in a small small tin

  • Bake for 15minutes or until a golden brown

  • Transfer to a cooling rack and insert carrot ears

  • Leave to cool



I was a little worried at first Roly didn't like this as she pulled the ears out of the first one we gave her and licked the cupcake for around five minutes before eating. Now she scoffs them!


I know that dogs don't necessarily need anything for Easter but this recipe was incredibly simple and used ingredients we already had in the house.


We have kept the cupcakes in a tin in the fridge and would suggest keeping them no longer than 3-4 days due to the chopped carrots. This recipe did make a lot of cupcakes (we got 20) so unless sharing them with another furry friend then I would suggest halving the quantities to reduce waste. As we always say though, if you plan on sharing these with a friend please check no one in the house has a peanut allergy!


We hope anyone who tries the recipe has as much fun as Roly and I did and we wish everyone a very Hoppy Easter!

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