Posted by: pennysplayground | September 5, 2010


Dogs love to play with things, and I have to say that when it comes to toys…Penny has more than her fair share.  In fact, she has so many that I don’t see how she keeps tabs on them all.  This is just a small sampling of some of her favorite toys.

At this point in time she probably has more than a dozen or so different things to play with, from assorted balls and plush toys, to the more practical “dental” chew ropes and treat dispensing balls.

Some people might say that having so many toys can lead to over stimulation, but she does a pretty good job of rotating through each one so that they all get an equal amount of “play time”.  She also seems to have a unique system for deciding which toy she will play with at any given time.

"'d my toys get way up there...?"


"Think I'll play with Lambie-kins today"

P O U N C E ! ! !

"I love Toys...!"

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Posted by: pennysplayground | August 14, 2010

Bath Time…!

Wherever we go people always comment on how white Penny is and ask if we give her a bath every week.  I must admit, when we decided to get a Bichon, we didn’t even think about what it meant to have a “white” dog and what it would take to keep her from becoming a “brown” dog.

Penny is actually the first pure white dog I have ever owned.  Where other dogs can go out in all types of weather, we can only take Penny out when the weather is fair lest she get all muddy.  Even when it’s dry out, the simple act of sniffing around on the ground will often result in her walking around looking like she just polished off a bag of Oreo cookies.

As a result, ever since she first came to live with us (exactly 1 year ago today), we’ve kept a strict regimen of vacuuming the carpet and wiping down the floors to help keep her nice and white.  But getting back to the original question, Penny usually gets a bath once every month either at home, or when she gets groomed.

Like most dogs, taking a bath isn’t one of her favorite pastimes, but she is slowly getting used to the idea and is smart enough to know that the more of a struggle she puts up, the longer the whole process will take.   So she usually will just endure it like a trooper.

"Don't forget to get my back..."

"A little bit lower daddy..."

"T..that's the spot..."

Luckily she is still small enough where we can wash her in our kitchen sink, but it definitely is a 2 person job.

"I think I still has soap behind my ears daddy..."

Some Bichons have sensitive skin and can develop allergies if they are not rinsed well, so we make sure to take extra care to see that we get all the soap off.  I can’t say that Penny likes the rinsing, but it does let her know that bath time is almost over.  Next she gets dried with a towel and then we will use a blow dryer and slicker to brush dry her.

"I've just washed my hair and can't do a thing with it..."

The end result after about 45 minutes is a white and fluffy Bichon.  It’s a good thing we only wash her at home every other month…it’s exhausting.  

Ta Daaaa...!

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Posted by: pennysplayground | August 8, 2010

Excuse me you have a little something…

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another.   You’re eating at a fancy restaurant, or on a special date, when it happens…the person opposite you starts looking at you strangely.

You continue to talk and you notice their eyes move and focus on the corner of your mouth.  This is usually followed by them subconsciously brushing the side of their face with their hand.  You continue on, oblivious to their intent, at which time they will tap their cheek with their index finger and say “um..” or “you have a little…something…” and then you realize that all this time you’ve been chatting away with a grain of rice or a piece of spinach stuck to the corner of your mouth or even worse on your teeth giving you that infamous “jack-o-lantern” grin.

Even though dogs don’t usually frequent fancy restaurants or go on “dates” per se, let’s just say that they aren’t immune to this embarrassing social faux pas either.

"Can I have a treat please daddy...?"

" I didn't have a carrot already..."


"I have w..what on my face...?"

"You're so funny daddy..."

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Posted by: pennysplayground | July 24, 2010

New Dress

Summer is in full swing and what better excuse for Penny to show off her brand new summer dress than to get out and and go window shopping down at “Ward Warehouse”.

"Does this make me look fat...?"

Ward Warehouse is one of our favorite shopping malls because it is a nice, casual outdoor type mall that is dog friendly and as long as you are a conscientious owner and clean up after your pet, no one complains if you walk around with your dog on a leash or in a carry bag.

"So much to little time...!"

"Hurry daddy...we're shoppin...!"

In fact, it’s our “go to” alternate exercise area that we use in case it’s a rainy day and Penny needs to get some mental and physical stimulation.  Plus, with it’s nice mix of unique specialty shops and restaurants, it’s a lot of fun for us too.

Walking around, you will often meet and greet dogs of all shapes and sizes…and sometimes have the occasional surprise encounter.


? ? ?

"Woof...Woof...!" (Translation: Hey...nice dress...!)

"Thanks...! My name is Penny...nice to meet you...!"

And there’s always time and ample areas to sit down and take a quick “treat” break and enjoy all of the sights and sounds.


Little "Miss Nosy"

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Posted by: pennysplayground | July 3, 2010

Real Genius

Another of Penny’s recently acquired toys is the “Canine Genius Mini Leo”.  Named after famous Italian inventor Leonardo Da Vinci, the Canine Genius is an interactive toy that encourages dogs to use their brain power, in addition to their chomping skills, in order to extract their favorite treats from inside the toy.   The Genius comes in multiple colors and can be inter-connected to increase the challenge for your dog.

This is a very durable product that is easily cleaned (just rinse with soap and water) and is one of the few toys that will keep Penny’s interest for long periods of time with or without any treats inside.

"Oooh...a new toy...!"

We can just put it down and she will alternate between carrying it around the house with the round end hanging out of her mouth and other times she will roll it around on the carpet with her paws.

It’s important for Penny to get both physical and mental exercise every day and the Genius is a great way for her to stimulate her chewing instincts and puzzle solving skills at the same time.

Mona Lisa Smile.

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Posted by: pennysplayground | June 23, 2010

Daily Walk

The best part of every day is when we go on our daily walks.  Penny usually starts out slow, sniffing the sidewalk, looking at all of the sights, and letting everyone know how she’s doing by leaving the occasional “pee-mail” for all of her neighborhood friends.

You never know who you’ll meet on these daily outings…today it’s our neighbor Oscar the long-haired daschund.  Although Oscar is a bit older than Penny, they always have a fun time playing together.

Of course there has to be the obligatory “sniff the spot” which is an integral part of every greeting ritual.

And even though it’s summer, it does still get really windy once in a while which can turn even the bravest Bichon into a little “daddy’s girl”, if only for a moment.

"W...what's dat sound...?"

“I think mommy’s calling us…”

Then before you know it, it’s time to head on home which Penny does at a decidedly faster pace than when we first start out.  It’s as if she just focuses all of her energy on getting back home in record time and it’s all we can do to keep up.  Sometimes watching her pull us along on the end of her leash, I think she would actually give some of those sled pulling huskies a run for their money.

"Must get home..."

Bichon or miniature polar decide.

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Posted by: pennysplayground | June 14, 2010

New Stroller

B.P. (Before Penny), whenever I’d see someone pushing a dog in a stroller two things would always come to mind…1) Wow that’s some lucky dog, and 2) Why on earth would anyone have a dog ride around in a stroller.

After about 6 months of carrying Penny around in a shoulder bag everywhere we’d go, I’ve seen the error of my ways and we’ve broken open the piggy bank and purchased a really nice doggy stroller from What I like about Amazon is that you can sometimes get free shipping which really helps save a lot of money.

After much research we finally decided on the Pet Gear “Special Edition” Pet Stroller.  What’s great about this stroller is that it’s really sturdy, very maneuverable (can be pushed with just 1 finger), opens and folds up easily, has a handy basket and cup holders, and best of all…it looks more like a regular baby stroller rather than a dog stroller which makes it easier sometimes to shop around in the local malls that aren’t so pet friendly.

Penny is usually very good when it comes to riding around in her bag when we are out and about in public, so I was hopeful that she would be the same with her new stroller.  Just to be safe, we started out slowly, letting her just look at the assembled stroller and then I put her towel and one of her favorite toys inside so it would have some familiar scents.

Next it was time for the test drive.  I put her inside, zipped the front up and with treat bottle in hand, we took a few slow laps around the living room and then further extended our tour to cover both bedrooms with the occasional pit stop for a kibble treat reward.

All Aboard...!


After a few more laps around the house, she was a real pro and was so comfortable that she didn’t want to get out of the stroller when we were all done.  I think she came to think of the stroller as her own personal “treat train” and I guess if I got to ride in a comfy stroller with someone handing me my favorite treat every once in a while, I wouldn’t want to ever get out either.

Next up, we decided to see how she would do in a “real-world” situation so we went down to our local mall to have a late afternoon Starbucks and soft pretzel fix.  Mmmmm…Yummy…!

"Hey..what's that over there...?"

Penny sat quietly in her stroller and just checked out everything that was going on.  It’s amazing how nice people are when they think you have a little baby in your stroller, opening doors and smiling at you…they are even nicer when they realize that there is actually a four legged, button nosed little fluff-ball in there instead.


This Pet Gear stroller has proven to be such a great purchase and will enable us to be able to take Penny with us out shopping at the various malls…and I won’t have to worry about getting a hernia from carrying her around for hours in her shoulder bag anymore. 

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Posted by: pennysplayground | June 3, 2010


Recently, we had the pleasure of dining at “Town”, one of the few openly pet-friendly restaurants here on Oahu.  Tucked away off Waialae avenue in Kaimuki, it is easy to overlook this unassuming little eatery, but I was pleasantly surprised at the reasonable prices and delicious selections that they had to offer.  The best part is that you can eat together with your dog at their outdoor seating area, or indoors if your dog is in an enclosed bag.

Their organic menu changes daily (although they do have a few signature dishes that you can always order) and features locally grown vegetables.  The presentation is very simple yet with a delicate elegance which enhances each of the dishes.

Dinner started with a bread and olive butter spread.  I’m a big fan of warm bread with meals, and the olive butter was a nice variation.

For starters, my wife ordered the Ma’o organic lettuce salad which looked really good, but I decided to forego the green stuff and went with the home made Mozzarella and grilled flat bread appetizer instead which was excellent.  Once you eat freshly made mozzarella you won’t be able to eat store bought ever again.

Ma'o organic lettuce, pancetta, manchego, cherry tomatoes

Mozzarella, hau'ula tomatoes, basil, grilled flat bread

Everything smelled so good, it even got Penny’s attention who was sitting quietly in her bag.  Luckily we had taught her from an early age not to beg while we are eating so she was content with nibbling on the occasional kibble treats that I fed her as our meal progressed.

For our main dishes, my wife had the hand cut pasta with eggplant, green chile, and tomato.

"Did someone say Pasta...??"

I decided on the pan roasted organic chicken with torn bread, tatsoi, grapes, and pancetta.  When I eat meat or poultry I always have to have some kind of starch whether it’s rice or potatoes, but the combination of the chicken with the tatsoi (aka spinach mustard or rosette bok choy) was so good that I didn’t need anything else.

"Just a little taste won't hurt..."

For dessert (my favorite part of any meal), we couldn’t decide between the salted chocolate tartlet and the bittersweet chocolate and apple banana panino so we got both.

Salted chocolate tartlet

If memory serves, the salted chocolate tartlet had a graham cracker / pretzel crust with melted chocolate in the middle.  It was a great blend of salty and sweet.  Of the two choices, the chocolate and apple banana panino was definitely our favorite.  It sounds like a strange combination, but actually tasted awesome…sort of like a neo s’more with banana instead of marshmellow and toasted Molokai sweet bread instead of graham crackers.

"All your paninos are belong to me..."

All in all, it was a great dining experience, great food, great ambience, made even better by the fact that we could enjoy it as a family with Penny there right along with us.

If you are ever looking for a new restaurant to try, take a trip to “Town”…you won’t be disappointed.  

3435 Waialae Ave., #103
Honolulu, HI  96816
Tel: 808-735-5900
Lunch: 8:30 – 2:30 (Sun-Sat)
Dinner: 5:30-9:30 (Sun-Thu)
5:30 – 10:00 (Fri-Sat)

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Posted by: pennysplayground | May 29, 2010

(Not) A Gurly Girl…

Penny is many things…cute, sweet, outgoing…but one thing she definitely is not is one of those “froo froo”, pink bows in the hair, gurly girl kind of dogs.

Being a fluffy little Bichon, she looks like she’d love to be pampered and walk around in rhinestone collars and cute little dresses, but No Siree, not our little Penny.  If she had her way, she’d be running around “Paw-naturel” wearing nothing but a smile.

On those rare occasions when we’ve been able to get her to wear a dress at home, to say she was not a happy camper would be putting it mildly.  So when my wife showed me the new outfit that she had bought in Japan for Penny, I was understandably doubtful.

Yes, I thought the pink and plaid outfit with matching harness was cute, but did I think that Penny would love wearing it…mmm not so much.  Throwing caution to the wind, we called Penny over and had her try it on for size.  As expected…she wasn’t as thrilled with the idea as we were.

"Dresses is for gurls...!"

My wife, not wanting to give up on Penny’s inner “gurly girl”, suggested that perhaps a change of scenery was in order, so we all headed over to the doggy park.

"Everybody's staring..."

Sad Face

At first she didn’t even want to step on the field and seemed a bit ashamed to be out in public wearing something so feminine, but as time passed she slowly forgot all about what she had on and started to play with all the other dogs.

Sometimes a treat helps break the ice...

"Hey, you're not wearin any pants...!'

"Hmm...wearin clothes isn't so bad after all"

After just one day, I don’t think that Penny will win any “Miss Feminine of the Year” awards, but perhaps she’s just that much less of a tom boy and a little bit closer to becoming a real “gurly girl”.

"Gurls are dandy...made of candy"

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Posted by: pennysplayground | May 23, 2010

The Bestest Toy In The Whole World…!

Back when I was a little kid, there weren’t any fancy electronic gizmos to keep us entertained.  No Wii, PS3, XBox…heck, the  highest “hi-tech” we had was an Atari console that the family would gather around for hours and play Pong into the wee hours of the night.

Times and technology may change, but the old saying that “the best things in life are free” still holds true…especially when it comes to keeping an active dog like Penny occupied.

We’ve spent a lot of time and money in trying to get Penny the best “interactive” toys that would help to keep her mind stimulated.  Who would’ve guessed that we actually had the ultimate “toy” right here in our own home all this time in the form of my clothes hamper.

"Hmmm...this looks interesting..."


"Maybe if I pull it with my paw..."

"Here it comes..."

"Just a little bit more..."


Ah, if only all things in life were as fun or satisfying as pulling an old T-shirt out of a clothes hamper.   

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