Friday, March 14, 2014

Secret Shopper Review: Mad Dog Metalworks

I've decided to change up my product reviews a bit.  Products sent to me specifically for review will still be discussed with Tuesday Reviewsday posts, but I realize that companies often treat bloggers differently than normal customers.  To present a balanced view, I'm going to begin Secret Shopper Reviews.

This Sunday is Mad Dog Metalworks.

Now, I will disclose that I had heard that Mad Dog Metalworks had issues with shipping orders on time.  Several of my friends reported that they waited months between getting their shipping notifications and actually receiving their items.  One friend ordered a tag on 5/17/12 and didn't receive it until 12/17/12. That included waiting more than five months for it to "ship" - it not showing up - and Mad Dog Metalworks admitting it hadn't even been shipped and sent it "for real" on 11/29/12.

After several good blog reviews, however, I decided to try my luck and order a tag.  (Sometimes I wonder why I make stupid decisions.)

I ended up inadvertently ordering two tags - one on January 14 and one on January 26.  Etsy's "Entire Cart Checkout" really sucks sometimes. The posted turn-around time was 2-3 weeks.



I finally was notified on the last day of February that my tags had "shipped."  After waiting about a week and the tracking number not being updated, I contacted Mad Dog Metalworks to get their take on the situation.  They responded promptly, and the email seemed to indicate that the tags had already shipped.


When I asked why the tracking number hadn't been updated past "Electronic Shipping Information Received," I was sent this response:


I understand that sometimes USPS drops the ball, but usually they're pretty good.  I ship via USPS almost every day, and even the packages I send internationally (Canada, Spain, France, Germany, etc.) arrive within a week or so.  I decided to check the delivery time map to see how long I should expect a package from North Houston TX to arrive in central Iowa.  The star is me.  That dark blue area is where the package was coming from.  Medium-blue means 2 business days.


Finally, the tracking information updated.  12 days had passed between the shipping label being created and the package actually being shipped.  According to Mad Dog Metalworks, it shipped prior to 3/12.


When I expressed my disappointment on Facebook, I was informed that personal friends of Mad Dog Metalworks usually don't experience these delays.  I know it was meant to make me feel better, but it actually made me feel worse.  In my opinion, it's unprofessional for a seller to give friends' orders priority over orders from strangers.

Finally, on March 14, my tags arrived.  They're okay, quality wise. I really love the typeface she uses, and the little hammer and pit-marks on the face of the tag.  Aesthetically, they're neat. I'd like to see a harder aluminum alloy, like what Fetching Tags, Aggie's Anvil, or Diva Dog Charms use.





Final verdict:  Never again.  The tags are nice but they aren't worth waiting 48-60 days for, especially when the publicly announced turn-around time was 2-3 weeks. Mad Dog Metalworks does offer refunds if you're not happy with the tags, but it wasn't the tags I was unhappy about.  It was the delays and the deception surrounding the delays.  If the tags really would have arrived 2-3 weeks (plus 2 business days for shipping) I'd be ordering Mad Dog Metalworks tags all the time.  Alas....

I get that life happens.  I am surprisingly forgiving if my order is delayed due to a death in the family, a sick pet, vacation, car problems, zombie apocalypse, unicorn attack, whatever.  But tell me what's going on.  Don't leave me hanging.  Don't lie to me about where my purchase is - for the moment I am deceived about why the product isn't in my hands is the moment I lose all sympathy for the seller.

If the numerous shipping delays are caused by whatever post office Mad Dog Metalworks ships from, I'd expect them to change shipping methods. If a shipper is consistently not meeting expectations, sellers should switch to another carrier.


My New Foster: Eager the Bull Terrier

This is Eager!  He's about 18 months old, full of energy, and extremely sweet.  He seems to get along well with young female dogs, and probably could be somewhat cat-safe if you put a bit of work into him.


He's probably the prettiest Bull Terrier I've ever seen in rescue.  He's in great condition and doesn't seem to have any of the allergies that so many Bull Terriers seem to have.  He's calm and well behaved for baths and nail dremeling, settles well in his crate, and is potty-trained.  He doesn't seem to be dog aggressive, but plays rough so he'd probably be best as an only dog or with a playful female canine housemate.  He adores people, and will climb into your lap for hugs and kisses.  He's got ZERO barrier-reactivity in the house.  Even if a dog snarks at him through the gate, his only reaction is to wag his tail and ignore the other dog.

Over the past week, there have been a few ignorant people who have said that I couldn't handle this dog, but they're wrong.  He's actually fairly easy, as far as Bull Terriers go.  I love project dogs, but not without an end goal of seeing them happy with their new families.  The best part of fostering is being able to have a temporary project - to take a dog that's a bit rough around the edges, and smooth those edges out so they can be adopted.  In a perfect world, Eager would stay.  He is a great dog.  My husband really wants to keep him, and part of me really wanted to keep him too.  However, I don't think he'll be happy in a multiple-dog and multiple-cat home.  And I really don't ever want to "fail" as a foster.

So if you're interested in adopting a really cool dog (and live within a 5 hour radius of Barrington IL!) go to www.ildoberescue.com and submit an application!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Timelines and Musings

Timelines

I'm a planner.  I like having lists, timelines, maps, itineraries... since Tab is going back to his breeder (don't ask, I'm not elaborating on that subject) my dog plans have changed.  I'm still planning on getting my Ibizan Hound, but due to the lack of males in the house, I get to potentially bring home a boy instead of a girl.  This is actually a great change, since I prefer male Ibizans over female Ibizans. A male Ibizan I can keep intact and not have to worry about cancelling lure coursing due to seasons.  And frankly, I prefer female dobes over males.  Always have, and probably always will. So here's my tentative timeline:

2015 - Acquire Ibizan, maybe call him Firefly? (Kaylee will be 7, Poison will be 2, Talla will be 4)
2017 - Acquire Doberman, maybe call her Vera? (Kaylee will be 9, Poison will be 4, Talla will be 6)
... and we'll go from there.


Musings

I read somewhere that keeping the thermostat at 65 degrees saves energy costs, so we've been keeping the house at 65 for the past few weeks.  I've gotten used to it for the most part, but the dogs still occasionally shiver.  Thank goodness for fleece puppy pajamas.

In an effort to refill my karmic buckets, I'm getting into fostering again until it's time to bring home lil' Firefly.  About a week ago, our rescue got a Doberman from a shelter in Michigan named River.  River needs an experienced foster home, so he's going to one of our best fosters here in Iowa. Aryn got me looking at the other dogs that need fosters, and we both instantly fixated on a spunky-looking Bull Terrier named Eager.  Steve said we could foster again, so Eager will be joining the Prairiedobe crew this weekend.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday Reviewsday: Wysong Daily Dream Treats


Have I mentioned how much I love Chewy.com?  They always send me the best stuff to review!

This month (or rather last month, sorry - February was kind of rough) I got to review Wysong's Dream Treats.  These are large-ish dehydrated treat discs, and are available in three varieties (chicken, quail, and rabbit.)  I'm not entirely sure how they're made, but Wysong dehydrates without using heat so the nutrients aren't baked out of the meat. 



I was sent the rabbit variety.  Fun Stuff!

Ingredients: Rabbit, Natural Flavor, Taurine, Organic Blueberry, Organic Barley Grass, Chia Seeds, Broccoli Sprouts, Carrots, Plums, Whey, Sea Salt, Dried Kelp, Yeast Extract, Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Yeast Culture, Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Calcium Carbonate, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid [source of Vitamin C], Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus lactis Fermentation Product.

Not only do these treats contain a ton of meat, but also vitamins, minerals, prebiotics and probiotics, and enzymes.  And look Ma, no starch!  They don't have an offensive smell, and the dogs love them.  (The cats love them too, but for once I decided to not let them steal the dogs' treats!)


As you can see, the discs are a decent size.  They don't crumble in your pocket, but it's fairly easy to break off chunks to feed.  Most of you that know me know I like to carry around one big treat instead of tons of little treats. One big treat is easy to pick up if you have a wardrobe/bait bag malfunction, and easy to carry around in a pocket.  Chewy.com has these treats on sale for only $8.99, which is - in my opinion - a great price for a sizable bag of deliciousness.  The bag I received contained about 15 discs.

The only con I see is that if you feed a ton of these (i.e. like 10 discs) in a single training session, your dog may be a bit gassy.  Kaylee just about fumed us out of the house!  This doesn't seem to be an issue with smaller amounts fed though.

All in all, a nice product.  Relatively inexpensive, human grade ingredients, convenient to carry and feed.

(click the image to go directly to Wysong Dream Treats!)