The best things (parks) in life (Toronto)

This week, the BH writing department has decided to shake things up a bit and do something a little unorthodox with our blog. A list of the best dog parks in Toronto is always welcome and useful, but a list of the best dog parks in Toronto composed by dogs who frequent them is even better. I have asked the Bone House resident dogs - Sam, the ever-alert-always-up-for-a-wild-game-of-cat-and-dog, pug, and Jones, the most welcoming and auspicious co-worker I've ever had the pleasure of co-working with - to put in their two cents and help us compile a list of their favourite dog parks in the neighbourhood. The title of this blog does suggest that the list will be Toronto wide but in fact, we are focusing mainly on the Leslieville/Riverdale parks, which, let's be honest, are probably the best in Toronto anyway. Eek, too much? I don't care! WE LOVE LESLIEVILLE!

BoneHouse: Sam, may we call you that? What is your favorite outdoor activity?

Sam: (snorting...heavy breathing...eyes closing...)

BH:  Sam?

S:  Hmm? Oh, favourite outdoor activity? Probably smelling stuff. Just whatever, really. Looking as stuff, smelling stuff, you know. Being a dog, I guess.

BH: Right, being a dog, I guess. And do you have a favourite dog park in the Leslieville?

S: I tell you, it's Cherry Beach, bar none. Despite my top-heavy physique and propensity for inhaling water up my nose, I do love a good swim. There's nothing like the smell of dead fish in Lake Ontario. And the very best part is when you actually find a dead fish and your human is a little ways away and you can just roll your entire body in that dead fish and it feels like you are made of magic.

Jones: May I interject here? I have to agree with Sam, there's nothing quite like riding home in the car, with your head hanging out the window after a good romp at Cherry Beach and knowing that, at least for that car ride, you can enjoy the eau-de-poissons you have rolled in.

BH: Okay, then. I guess what we'll take from those responses is that it's lovely to take a dip in the cool water on a nice hot summer day. And that there are usually lots of dogs present and ready for a good game of chase-the-other-dog-now-chase-me. And that there is a wonderful mix of shade and sun, surf and sand, forest and trail. And that it's quite nice to catch up with other dog people who frequent the park. Jones, is it safe to assume that Cherry Beach is also your favorite dog park?

J: It is. I love swimming and getting dirty more than anything. But there are lots of other places to get dirty in Leslieville too; Gerrard and Carlaw, Jimmy Simpson, Greenwood Dog Park, Riverdale Park, even Hide-Away Park sometimes has puddles and stuff.

BH: Great! Do you have time for a quick pros and cons list?

J: I do. Gerrard and Carlaw pros - it's shady and you can always count on lots of pooches to welcome you, cons - sometimes there are a few too many pooches welcoming you and it can get a bit ruff (**tee hee). Jimmy Simpson pros - really great crowd, morning, noon and night. Also it's great feeling like an outlaw and hiding from the leash police. This brings us to cons - the leash police. Greenwood Dog Park pros - great rodeo grounds, I could really let loose chasing some squirrels there...

S: Uh, Jones, I've been there. No squirrels.

J: ...cons - pee scented gravel pit. Actually, that's sort of pro too. Riverdale Park pros - the baseball diamond!! I love running the bases with my best mates, I'm kind of super fast so..., cons - sometimes you have to share the field with humans playing really awesome ball games like cricket, baseball and stuff and they get pretty rattled when you try to join in.

BH: Nifty. Well, I do believe this has been far more informative than one would expect from interviewing dogs. Thank you both for your time. Treat?

And here Sam both dogs run through their repertoire of tricks - sitting, lying down, spinning, bowing, speaking - and scarf down a couple of biscuits like they're going out of style. Silly dogs, so distinguished and mature until the "T" word is uttered. Not to point any fingers here, but Jones was actually pretty calm during the whole reward process, it's Sam that seems like she's never been fed. Ever. 

We hope that was helpful, have a great weekend!

Fleas? Again?!

Indeed, people and pets of Leslieville, consider this your official warning that flea season is fast approaching. The mild winter we just experienced - though it was nothing short of amazing for those of us who do not care for the reaction our hair has to tuques - made it quite pleasant for those pesky buggers and many of them decided that rather than migrating south for the winter they would stay here and expand their families. Wonderful.  Like your gym teacher in the seventh grade always said, the best defence against fleas is a good defence against fleas, though he was probably talking about touch football, not fleas. Here are our 10 commandments regarding protecting your pup from these guys:

1. Thou shalt spray Fido with a natural bug repellent. Always. Every time he goes outside henceforth.

2. Thou shalt sprinkle brewers yeast onto the dogs dinner for this will create an environment in which fleas will not wish to set up camp.

3. Use not a chemical flea collar but a plain bandanna soaked in natural oils such as rosemary and eucalyptus.

4. Use also rosemary and eucalyptus leaves in hims bedding. Thy dog shall not only smell like a dream but be free of the afflictions of itch and scratch.

5. If thou doest protest the smell of eucalyptus, thou can use citronella, for not only do mosquitoes dread this scent, so does the flea.

6. Sprinkle ye regular house-hold table salt around your home - probably just outside unless thou  can deal with the feeling of salty soles (of your feet that is).

7. Wash thee your dog regularly with a natural shampoo that will repel the insect. This ye will find useful for not only the flea but also the tick, the mosquito and the black-fly. This ye will find at     The Bone House (we keep it next to the bug spray. Huzzah!).

8. Be thou especially diligent about prevention when frequenting the beach for as much as your pup loves the sand and water, more still does the flea love the sand and your dog.

Right, so we ended up with 8 rules to live by this summer. Arguably they are written in a confusing mix of old English, old testament and bizarre quirk so if you have any question please do pop into the shop and we will help you out with both prevention as well as eradication. Because sometimes, even when you have taken all the preventative measures you can google, you may find yourself and your pets living not-so-harmoniously with fleas. Remember, it's not your fault - while you are busy at work and making dinner and running a household and keeping up a semi-regular social life, the only responsibility of a flea is to land on your best buddy and breed like it's going out of style. They may be persistent but they will not win. We've got your back in this battle.

Our treat jars bring all the dogs to your yard.

No? No one gets this obscure reference to a long forgotten song by Kelis about milkshakes and boys and yards? Fair enough, it was a stretch. Moving on then, look at these super cute treat jars!!!!! Our very own, in fact. Our petite Bone House elves have been hard at work in their dog costumes, making these unbelievably adorable treat jars. They would make a welcome addition to just about any kitchen and the cookies themselves a welcome addition to just about any dog's belly. Apologies if we are tooting our horn a bit too loudly, we're just really excited about these bad boys. Hold the phone, you haven't even read the (second) best part. The cookies come in two delicious flavours - liver for those meaty guys and dolls out there and peanut butter for our furry friends who love their legumes, all natural and Canadian made. We are offering a refill program with these scrumptious morsels so you can keep that beautiful glass jar, which by this point has undoubtedly made itself a nice home on your counter top, and help the environment one refill at a time. And the very best part: your 10th refill is free, from our hearts to your dogs' rumbling tummy.

Here are some photos so you can share our zeal over these brand new beauties

Let's be honest, who isn't in love with mason jars these days? Not only are they versatile and durable but timeless and elegant. Like a good, like diamond earrings...wait, no. Like, well like a mason jar, I suppose.

The feline invasion has begun!

  Kind of... though our hearts have been open to our cat friends for some time (always), we have opened our doors as well and now carry a small yet thoughtful selection of feline goods. In addition to healthy food for indoor and outdoor cats (Acana, Orijen, Wellness and GO) we have brought in salmon cans, cat nip, litter and cat toys of the cutest variety. For those of our loyal customers who run an inter-species household we thought we would make shopping for your zoo just a little easier.

And because we believe that dog lovers can be cat lovers too, here are some more photos of dogs and cats living in harmony. To be fair, the cats and dogs are sleeping in most of the photos I found but still, these are pretty cute, right?

Just nuzzlin'. Is that even a word? It is when it comes to cats and dogs.

This is a cute kitten with a cute puppy, so...

And this is a cute cat sleeping with a cute dog.

Cute dog licking cute cat. Just cute all around.

And what is happening here? Not too sure but it's pretty silly.