Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Polar Vortex Dog Fishing

That's How Much 
Being forced to spend all day indoors with nothing but time on my hands is my idea of heaven. It is Coco, my high-energy, 7 month old puppy's idea of unadulterated torture. She had nightmares last night and awoke shaken and whimpering. Who knew dog's had nightmares? 

Not that Coco doesn't have a reason to have nightmares. She's been through hell and back. Which is why she sports a blue Kong collar and a t shirt in the photos. The Kong collar is a compassionate alternative to the collar of shame and keeps Coco from licking her wounds. She has been in one nearly half of her life thus far and still has a few weeks to go. 

Given the extra time and my inability to withstand endless games of tug 'o war or hide and seek, and given that I did not want to venture out to the store in forty below wind chill factors, necessity became the mother of invention. I found inspiration to work on the following diversions. In the spirit of the Maker's Movement I offer evidence and cite my sources. 

The Doggy Rattler 
This first creation is for smartypants dogs. I believe Coco Pup to be the Madam Curie of the canine world but right now she just rolls this jar of fun around and barks at it from frustration. All things in time. I bet Neil deGrasse Tyson had a few temper tantrums in his infancy too. The Doggy Rattler consists of a toilet paper roll inside an old peanut butter jar that I cut a hole in. I put duck tape over the hole to protect her from any sharp edges and in case she decides to bite through the plastic, which let's face it, will inevitably happen. The toilet paper roll makes treat distribution extra challenging. 

The Pooch Pole
Coco and the Rubber Chicken 

Next comes the impetus for the title of this blog, The Pooch Pole. Take a length of clothesline, run it through a section of PVC pipe, tie a rubber chicken to the end and viola, you can fish for Fido. I've spent a pleasant hour or two casting off from my sofa and Coco Loco got her wiggles out. 

Because the Doggy Rattler proved a bit too much for Coco Butt, I adapted one of her all time favorite toys, a tennis ball, into a treat ball. Simply cut along the seam, squeeze it, and put the treats inside. She has been able to get a couple of treats out but still hasn't put two and two together. Every goody is astonishing. She'll flip that ball and roll it for a good half hour before it gets lost under the couch. 

My last bit of experimenting has nothing to do with Minerva Poopsalot (Another of Coco's pseudonyms), but has everything to do with the Polar Vortex visiting Detroit. Our heater is close to 20 years old and on its last legs. Due to some hefty Vet bills, a new one is no where in the near future. It was recommended to keep the thermostat set lower, especially when it is extremely cold out, so as not to overburden it. I am an unabashed wuss bag when it comes to cold. I learned of the flower pot convection heater from a Facebook Posting and realized I only need to go to the garage to put it together. I did. It works! It is more noticeable in smaller rooms, but there is a difference even in our open living area. 

Light four tea lights and place them into a bread pan. Put a smaller terracotta pot on top. Place an empty tea light tin over the hole. Put a larger terracotta pot over the smaller one. You're done. 

Terracotta heater 

Here's my kindergarten understanding of how it works. 

Terracotta Heat Convection

Soapbox Alert: None of this would have happened if it weren't for snow days. Three glorious days in a row on the tail end of winter break. Making, creating, experimenting, and exploring possibilities require time. The time to be bored and the time to decide what to do with our time... as Gandalf would say. 

FlowerPot Heater

DIY Dog Toys

If you really want to get fancy with the Terracotta Heater, you can try Household Hackers method

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