Need a cathartic shot in the arm? Watch Derek.

I’m a big fan of movies and TV, and I have certain movies and shows in particular that help me to get out the feels that are hard to get out sometimes because I have to be the strong one, pretty much all the time (“tough girl” personality, two dogs, too much going on, not many friends to really lean hard on, and I live away from a small family).  If you’re in my position, or just want to experience something that really mirrors the emotional experience of these forums and the experiences of so many here in order to help you get those feels out, you need to watch Derek.

Derek is a show created by Ricky Gervais, and if you’re a fan, you may be a little disappointed at the concept but you need to give it a try.  If you’re not a fan, you need to give it a try.  It’s not typical Ricky Gervais.  Gervais plays a mentally challenged man who works in a nursing home.  He has friends who work there (Karl Pilkington plays the handyman) and he participates with the residents in their activities, hangs out with them, and generally just lives life.  He has a crush on the nursing home manager.  He likes frogs.  Gervais plays Derek with an amazing amount of deftness and respect for the character he’s playing, this is not a make-fun-of-the-slow-guy show in any way, shape or form.

The show is about kindness.  In the show, people come and go, they live and they die.  Life in the nursing home is not sugar coated in this show.  Their entertainment is decidedly home-made.  Money is tight.  The challenges that the nursing home manager has are all laid out before you.  There are some outright hilarious scenes, there are scenes that will make you cheer, and there are some scenes that will make you bawl your eyes out.  There is an abundance of hope and and an abundance of sadness, but the theme of kindness flows through it all.  This is the secret of the show.

Every time I come on this website, I feel like I’m watching Derek.  The parallels are apparent.  You see the same hopes and sadnesses, the same struggles with everyday life that is changed and has in many ways become limiting.  Derek himself is limited, yet he lives his life to the fullest, and this is another theme you see over and over on this website (Cora, I’m talkin’ to you, girl).  You also see kindness.  Everywhere.  And it’s glorious.

I’m too embedded in life with Dieter sometimes for me to see the big picture.  This website helps, and so does watching Derek.  I highly recommend you give it a try.  It’s on Netflix, there is only one season, and there are only 7 half-hour shows, so it’s easy to get a sample or binge watch the whole season in 3-1/2 hours if you want.

If you watch it and it helps you or you just like it, leave a comment; I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Review of Petego Rear Car Seat Protector

As I mentioned in my other post, the other dog-related purchase to go with my car was a seat cover.  I have tried several seat covers over the years (as I’m sure you all have as well), and needed some special features for my big tripawd puppy.  I wanted one that had a non-slip bottom, and one that had a better way of attaching the bottom to the corners of the seat.  This last feature was a problem with every other seat cover I’ve had.  In some cases, these problems made the seat cover entirely worthless.

Bottom line?  Highly recommended.  I’ll talk first about some of the general features and then about these two issues. First up, the seat cover is a very sturdy canvas-like material.  I was genuinely surprised at the quality of the material.  It is thick and somewhat stiff; it seems like it could take a beating, although I have not tested it with dirty, wet dogs yet.  It has the standard attachments to the back headrests, but these can also be looped over the corner of the seat and attach on the side if you don’t have rear headrests or want to hook it up that way.  I’m not sure how well that would keep the seat cover back up, but I think most cars have headrests these days in the back.  It’s pretty big; I have a Ford Flex and it covers the entire back (bench) seat.  It also has a (slightly) padded, quilted bottom.  I really liked this feature as a little extra.

Now to the good stuff.  The underside of the bottom has some sort of non-skid mesh material attached to it.  It’s similar to those non-slip things you put under rugs, but more industrial looking and much thicker.  I have leather seats in my car, and the bottom of the seat cover *does not* move.  This is the best non-slip seat cover solution I’ve found, hands down.  The other thing that was amazeballs is the way the seat cover attaches to the outside corners of the seats.  There are large neoprene (think wetsuit) “straps” (they are very wide, so not really a strap, I just can’t find the right word for them) that grip the corners of the leather seats and stay there.  Between the non-skid bottom and these straps, the bottom of this car seat isn’t going anywhere.   It also has a nice “curtain” that comes down the sides and front of the seat cover, so it ends up actually covering all the leather.  Lastly, there are two small cylindrical foam attachments to the underside of the seat cover that wedge in between the seat back and seat bottom, which helps to keep the cover nestled into the seats.  There are slits for seat belts for 3 back seat passengers (canine or hominid).

I paid $73 for this from amazon (use the Tripawds link!), and it was worth it.  I can’t see myself buying another car seat cover, to be honest, and I can’t think of any downsides, except that it’s pretty big and may not fit smaller SUVs or cars.  I have a Ford Flex and it’s just a teeny bit (like 1/2″) too deep for the seats (which are big to begin with).  It comes in the usual tan, grey and charcoal colors as well as a couple of striped combos if you’re into a little flair.   Please feel free to ask me any questions if you have them.   Below are some photos with the whole set-up, and a couple of slots with the seat protector and seat extender.  Jennifer


car4 car3 car2

See more at:

Review of Petego Car Seat Extender

Hi all,

I recently purchased a new car, as my old car was too small.  Not only was the back seat bucket-style, but its small size really became a problem when Dieter became a tripawd.  Also, I could not take both dogs and all my camping gear in the smaller car, and since camping is a priority, there you go.

As part of my new car purchase, I made two other purchases with the dogs in mind.  One was a seat cover, which I will review in another post, and the other was this inflatable seat extender platform.  There are a lot of back seat car solutions for dogs, but each of my boys are 100lbs, so it needed to be sturdy.  Hammocks were out, as were the flat boards that hang from the back of the front seats.  Just looked too unstable.  I wanted to give the boys as much square footage of flat, supportive and comfortable space, so I bought this inflatable extender and tried it out.

Bottom line?  Highly recommended.  Since it’s inflatable, it can be customized to the space in the back seat area.  I have a pretty big car (Ford Flex) and fully inflated it fits perfectly.  There are three air chambers, configured like a short pi symbol.  The two “legs” fit in the footwells of the back seat, and the top part extends all the way across the back of the car.  Inflated, this creates a huge back seat area for the dogs.  They’ve stretched out, curled up, laid side-by-side, and the platform does a great job supporting them both.   It has the standard pvc-coated plastic sides and bottom, but the top surface is a textured material.  I still thought it was too slick, so I’ve put dog blankets (from LL Bean, these are awesome, too) across the platform to create a cushion that has a little more traction for them.  This also keeps the dogs’ claws from possibly damaging the top, although it doesn’t seem like that would be a problem, the top material is thick and sturdy.

It comes with it’s own inflating pump that runs off a 12V outlet, so you can inflate / deflate on the go if you want.  It was $68 on amazon (you can use the link to buy it!), but well worth it if you ask me.  The plastic is thick, so I feel pretty good about it not ripping, and it doesn’t move once it’s in. The only downside, and this is *minor* is that the little plugs are hard to get in their holes once you’re done inflating.  You gotta move quicker than with other things (like my air mattress) and you really have to push them in.  The good side to this is that they’ll stay in and you won’t have to worry about random deflation.   If anyone has any questions about this, please feel free to ask me.  The dogs have been on a few 2+ hour trips with it now and it’s been fantastic.    Jennifer

Here are some photos:

car3 car2 car1

See more at:

The importance of rehabilitation therapy

Happy New Year, everyone!

Dieter is doing great!  He has still been getting around well, and has a lot of spunk and joy.  Next Tuesday is round #3 of chemo.  I can’t believe he’ll be halfway through that.  So happy.  He’s taking it well.  It seems to slow him down for the first week, then he slowly works his way back to the puppy he is.  I wanted to share something important that I learned today.

What I learned today:  Read, read, read, read, read.  The surgeon who amputated Dieter’s leg told me that I would not need rehabilitation therapy, that Dieter would learn on his own, over time, how to do stuff.  I did a little reading today and I learned that Dieter learning how to do stuff on his own does not mean that he will do stuff in the right way, to avoid injuries (either acute, or long term), especially since he is young and has not had a lot of hiking, swimming, etc to help him learn how his body works in a variety of physical situations.  I took my bed off it’s frame to lower it in the hopes that Dieter would be able to get up on the bed more easily and sleep with me, as he’d done before surgery.  The last three nights I’ve been working with him, with treats, to get him to see he can make it up.  He gets up on the sofa all the time and the bed is now the same height as the sofa.  All wrong.  I did some reading today and discovered that the way he does these things now can cause him injury and long-term problems as well.  He needs to learn how to do things in a way that will not hurt him, and I’m now starting to rethink how he does everything from walking, to getting into and out of the car (I basically lift him up, haha).  I realized that I need help.

I’m a student, and don’t have a lot of money, but I’m going to look into getting some help with rehabilitation therapy.  There are a couple of places in town with certified therapists and I’m hoping I can have one of them meet Dieter, and help  me come up with a plan that I can do entirely at home on my own (I can’t afford to take him to therapy sessions).

It just makes sense.  I had a shoulder impingement for *years* and finally had some PT for it a couple of years ago.  No issues since then.  Same with a bum knee I’ve had all my life – periodic PT has helped tremendously.  I now realize this applies to Dieter, too, and am taking the idea very seriously.  I think everyone should, for the long term health of their pet.

photo (12)