Monday, November 30, 2015

Introducing the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test Kit - It Screens for MDR1 Mutations, breed ancestry and more #DoggieDNA #ad

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

I have oftentimes wondered what mix of breeds our rescue dogs are.  It wasn't until our beloved Manny was diagnosed with severe skin and food allergies that veterinarians brought up the option of canine DNA test.  

Prior to this I had never heard or thought about testing a dog's DNA.  Again, this is one of those times I found myself saying, "What will they think of next?"  But, at that time, about 10 years ago, this testing was too pricey, so we opted not to do it.  While the test could have told us the dog breeds Manny was made up of, it wouldn't take away all the medical issues he suffered from...or so we thought.  

Fast forward years later when we were again presented with the option of canine DNA testing when our Abby suffered her first epileptic seizure.  

Again, the veterinarian talked about canine DNA testing, this time putting emphasis on the many benefits of the test, including find out if our dog carried the MDR1-mutation, as this pose severe adverse reactions to some common drugs.  Have you heard about MDR1-mutation in dogs?  I hadn't until the vet talked to me more about in relation to the canine DNA testing.  

So, what is the MDR1-mutation and why should you be aware of it and test your mixed breed for this mutation?...


"MDR1 or Multi-Drug Resistance 1 is a genetic mutation found in some herding and sighthound breeds, as well as many mixed-breed dogs. The MDR1 gene is responsible for production of a protein called P-glycoprotein. The P-glycoprotein molecule is a drug transport pump that plays an important role in limiting drug absorption and distribution (particularly to the brain) and enhancing the excretion/elimination of many drugs used in dogs."

The vet said that it is important for dog owners, both those with rescue and pure-bred (those with the high-propensity breeds) dogs to test their mixed-breed dogs for this mutation, and to share results with their veterinarian so they can provide the dog with for the best possible care. Has your mixed-breed dog been tested yet?  Find out more information on breeds and drugs affected by the MDR1 mutation by visiting

When I was sat down the second time when our Abby got sick, the veterinarian shared the following benefits about doing a canine DNA test...


o  As mentioned, the canine DNA test can determine if your mixed breed carried the  MDR1 mutation, thus testing for drug sensitivity.
o   The ability to develop a training program that works with their natural instincts (breeds) and a better understanding their behavior characteristics.
o   She brought our previous rescue dog Manny up and talked about how a DNA test could help them develop a nutrition plan for breed-specific needs that could help with certain food allergies, thus preventing or alleviating skin irritations like we had to deal with for several years with Manny. Nutritional plans could also be developed to help mixed breed dog owners to  achieve/maintain healthy weight with their pets.
o   For those with a new pup, the canine DNA test is perfect in shedding light on what the adult size of your dog might be.  Have you ever fallen in love with a puppy at a store or shelter and wondered how big they would actually get?  You may have been told one thing only to find as the months go by that your mixed breed continued to get bigger and bigger.  A simple DNA test could have helped assist you with knowing the adult size of your dog.

o   Most importantly and talked about most was that the canine DNA test could help dog owners understand the breeds within your dog, in order to look out for any breed-specific health concerns or common issues. This is how we found out about Abby's breed makeup -- Papilon and Chihuahua mix, that was able to help answer our questions on why she was suffering from seizures, as it was common in her mixed breed families. 
With millions of mixed-breed dog owners in the U.S., having access to reliable breed ancestry information can be critical for the nutrition, training and overall health care of their furry family member. Understanding the breeds that make up their dog enables much more targeted care and in some cases provides lifesaving information.  


Do you want to take the next time in finding out about your mixed breed dog's ancestry?  The easiest and most convenient way is to have a Wisdom Panel 3.0 test done on them.

Here is more about the Wisdom Panel 3.0 test, so that you can decide if it is right for your pet...

"Mars Veterinary, the industry leader in canine genetic testing, is launching their next evolution of the canine DNA test—Wisdom Panel® 3.0— and is not only expanding the breed screening coverage, but the medical applications as well with the new MDR1 Genetic Mutation screening. "

More about Wisdom Panel® 3.0:
o   Covers 250+ breeds, types and varieties including all those recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and can be run for mixed-breed, designer, or purebred dogs.
o   Provides ancestry information back to the great-grandparent level, MDR1 Genetic Mutation screening results, and a predicted weight profile.
o   Can be done at home and consists of two swabs that the owner rubs between the gum and the cheek for 15 seconds to collect skin cells for DNA extraction. 
o   Results take approximately 2-3 weeks from the time the test reaches the lab.
o   Can be run for mixed-breed, purebred and designer dogs. The owner chooses at the time of kit activation.

Learn more about the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Now
Wisdom Panel® 3.0 Canine DNA Test Kit includes:
o   Instructions
o   DNA cheek swabs – all for use on one dog
o   Drying insert for swabs
o   Pre-paid  return shipping box 
Visit for more information and to purchase a kit.

What I like best about the Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA test is that it can be done in the comfort of your home.  The previous canine DNA test we done on Abby had to be done at the vet and consisted of blood work and a cheek swab. I don't know about your dogs, but all of our rescue dogs have never been fond of the vet's office.  They sensed when we were going and would shake all the way there in the car, at the vet's office, until we came back home.  I, for one, love the convenience of this at-home canine DNA test and that it is easy to do, with a simple cheek swap.  Visit to learn more about the Wisdom Panel 3.0 test, including how to purchase a kit for your dog(s).
Do you live in or around the Scottsdale, AZ area?  If so, you will want to add Dec. 5th to your calendar and make a point to stop by the Wisdom Panel.3.0 booth at the Holiday Pet Festival with your furry friend for a pet swabbing on-site.  You can also get more information about Wisdom Panel® 3.0 and be educated on the benefits of Canine DNA testing while at the event.  More information about the event can be found at Note:  Consumers can get their dog swabbed onsite at event for a discounted price of $39.99. For those wanting to take home a kit, they can be purchased for the discounted price of $49.99 (MSRP $84.99).
So, as we go into the holidays, why not consider picking up a Wisdom Panel 3.0 test to do on your mixed breed?  This simple test will provide so much useful information about your mixed breed's ancestry for both you and your vet, that will help in planning proper nutritional, behavioral and fitness plans specific to your dog...just to name a few benefits.  I can't wait to see what our recent rescue dog, Milly's ancestry is...can you guess her mixed breeds?

Follow Wisdom Panel on their social media pages for more updates on events and product discounts: 

Wisdom Panel on Facebook:
Wisdom Panel on Twitter: @WisdomPanel
Wisdom Panel on Instagram: @WisdomPanel 
Wisdom Panel on Pinterest: @WisdomPanel

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel 3.0.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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The Holidays are All About Traditions, New and Old - Share Yours and #Win a Hickory Farms Food Gift #HickoryTradition #Giveaway

Disclaimer: Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms. 

Hickory Farms - Inspiring Traditions since 1951.

Orchard's Bounty Gift Basket

Now that the holidays are in full swing, how are you handling everything?  Did you make it out to the stores after Thanksgiving, or even do some online shopping, to start checking people off your holiday shopping list?  Or, did you stay home and enjoy the company of family and friends who may have come to visit for Thanksgiving?  I ended up doing a little shopping in stores after the Black Friday mad AM rush as well as online...that was after we had finished trimming the tree, one of many holiday traditions I have continued from my childhood and now do with my family.

Do you have holiday traditions that you used to do as a child and have continued now that you have a family of your own?  Or, have you started new ones that hold special meaning when the holidays roll around?  I have some from my childhood and new ones I started once I got married and then again when we welcomed our girls.  As far as childhood traditions, my Christmas season kicks off in mid-October when I create and order personalized greeting cards to be mailed out.  Before the girls I would choose a holiday scene to personalize with my married name.  But, now, we can't go a Christmas without sending out photo cards of the girls, so that those who we don't see as often as we would like, can see how fast the girls are growing up and share in some of the special memories we have captured in print over the course of the year.  Come Halloween night, after the trick or treating and candy giving is done, I get all my holiday cards signed and ready to be shipped out.  Usually I wait until the week of Thanksgiving to drop them in the mail, as I don't want to stress out everyone about the upcoming holiday season.  

Once the greeting cards are done, I move on to the next important thing...starting my holiday shopping list.  My mom has always been about staying organized and instilled this in me early on.  I have lists for everything.  And, when it comes to holiday shopping, I can't do it without a list, which usually includes price comparisons, coupons attached, etc.  I love finding the perfect gift for everyone on my shopping list, but it is also nice to be able to save money, too! Don't you agree? :-)  Once I have my list of gift ideas done, I am ready to start thinking about the Christmas tree.  It wasn't until the girls arrived that putting up the tree was a big deal.  Before I could put the tree up and by piece meal put the ornaments on and have it ready for Christmas.  But, now, my youngest who was born in November like me, asks for the tree to be put up as part of my annual birthday gift request.  While it is a lot of work to drag everything out in one weekend and put together, the end product is amazing...being able to sit in front of the tree all adorned with ornaments we have purchased and have been given over the years, and watching the twinkling lights.  

This for me is the start of the to listening to non-stop Christmas music or binge watching holiday movies. :-)

Another holiday tradition from my childhood that I have continued with my girls is counting down to Christmas with chocolate advent calendars.  How about you?  Nothing says Christmas than a piece of milk chocolate for the 25 days leading up to Christmas. :-)  My girls love this and look forward to it every year.  They are now old enough where they can choose their old advent calendars, which makes it that much more fun.

There are so many other wonderful holiday traditions from my childhood that I have continued, but I also wanted to make sure I mentioned some of the new ones we have since started since I married and started a family of my own.  When my husband and I bought our first home together, we started a tradition where each year we would buy a handful of holiday ornaments to add to the set my mom had started for me back when I was child.  Each and every ornament that I hang on my tree has a special meaning and makes enjoying the tree each year that much more enjoyable, as I find myself telling the girls stories about the meaning behind each ornament.  Once we welcomed our girls, we began ornament collections for them, just like my mom did for me.  I picked up Baby's first (second, third and so on) ornaments and a few others each year based on the girls likes.  And, once the girls move away and have a home of their own, I will pass their ornament collections down to them to share with their family.

Elf on the Shelf has become a new family tradition for us, as it wasn't around when I was growing up.  Do you have an elf that comes to visit around the holidays?  My girls go crazy from Christopher makes his first appearance after Thanksgiving, and every day leading up to Christmas, as they run around the house looking to see where their magic elf is hiding.  Besides the chocolate advent calendars, I started a holiday book advent countdown last year that the girls loved.  

For the twelve days prior to Christmas, the girls would unwrap a new holiday book to enjoy at bedtime.  These books are ones that we will pull from the shelves year after year to enjoy around the holidays. The girls love being read to, and have already asked when the book advent will be starting. :-)

When my parents became grandparents with the arrival of my girls, they started a new tradition where they surprised the girls with a Christmas Eve box filled with a new pair of pajamas, a holiday book, hot chocolate, and a craft ornament to do, as well as a few other tridents.  The girls loved this, as did I. If only my parents did this with my brothers and I when we were younger. :-)  

I could go on and on about different holiday traditions from my childhood and new ones I started with my family, but I would love to give you an opportunity to share some of your own with me.  Maybe you will give me an idea of new traditions to incorporate into my family's holiday.  Read on to learn how sharing your family's holiday traditions could win you a Hickory Farms gift set.

And, speaking of Hickory Farms, are you familiar with this, America's most famous holiday food gift brand?  I remember growing up my mom would send food gifts from Hickory Farms to family who lived far away and wouldn't be joining us for the holidays.  And, in return, we would receive a handful of packages from Hickory Farms in the mail from family doing the same. :-)  Hickory Farms offers perfect gift ideas for the holidays and year round.  

From Sausage and cheese gift sets, to fruits and nuts, baked goods and chocolate to even wine and cheese combos, Hickory Farms has the most amazing selection of gifts to meet everyone's budget. They offer gifts for under $20 up to ones $90+.  Whenever the holidays roll around, I head on over to the Hickory Farms website to place my orders for family and friends.  I pick up a few gift sets to bring to my parents who host Christmas dinner, as hostess gifts.  Not only do my parents expect these gift sets year after year, but so do family and friends who come for dinner.  The baked good sets I bring make the dessert table that much more inviting and who can resists reaching for dried fruit and nuts while they wait for the turkey dinner to be done. :-)

"Many Americans have a distinct memory of Hickory Farms at their holiday gatherings; Hickory Farms is very proud to be a part of those nostalgic moments and continues to focus on and celebrate its long heritage of tradition and authentic holiday memories."

Instead of stressing out on what to get those hard to shop for people on my holiday list, I find myself putting down "Hickory Farms" next to their names when I start putting together my holiday shopping list in November.  I know that whatever gift I order will be well received by the gift recipient, as the quality of these gift sets are what make loyal holiday shoppers seeking the perfect gifts for family and friends for over 60 years coming back to order year after year, and passing the tradition of shopping Hickory Farms from parent to child, just like my mom did with my brothers and I. :-)

Hickory Farms Summer Sausage and Cheese Gift Box

"According to a national survey, nearly half of American adults agree that the holiday shopping season officially starts when they see Hickory Farms arrive at their local mall."

Want a few ideas from Hickory Farms that would make the perfect gift this holiday season?  Check out these mouthwatering gifts...

White & Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Tea Time Collection Gift Box
Shh, I ended up picking up this set to bring to my Mom's house for Christmas dinner, so that she can offer an assortment of tea and accompaniments at dessert. :-)

Hickory Farms Summer Sausage and Cheese Gift Box

Cheddar Flight natural cheddar cheese from Hickory Farms.

Hickory Farms helps people appreciate shared moments that are worth embracing and passing down through generations of families, but also creating new traditions and sharing them with loved ones. So, as you prepare for the upcoming holidays, why not consider shopping Hickory Farms for many of your gift giving needs? 

I was recently sent their Chocolate Decadence Trio to share with my family.  And, it arrived just in time for me to put it out on the Thanksgiving dessert table.  

And, just like I thought, this was favorite among family and friends, who kept going back for another cookie or gourmet brownie. :-)

Hickory Farms Grand Gift Snack Tower 

I have already placed my order and took advantage of the specials Hickory Farms offers, which saved me money and gave me a reason to order a few sweet sets for my family.  And, thanks to my recent order I was able to cross off about 50% of my holiday shopping list. I am feeling less stressed knowing that family and friends will be receiving their food gifts directly from Hickory Farms, to enjoy for the holidays.  I get to save on wrapping and lugging all the gifts to my parents' house, too! So, it is a win-win for all! :-)

The Crown Comice Pear Gift Box from Hickory Farms.

So, what are you waiting for?  If you haven't shopped Hickory Farms before, or it has been awhile since you have, why not check them out this year?  You will be glad you did.  Hickory Farms’ food gifts are available at Holiday Market locations nationwide, on and at leading retailers.  


I am always excited when a vendor offers to give one lucky reader the same product I was sent to review. And, thanks to the kind folks at Hickory Farms, I am happy to say that one lucky Inspired by Savannah reader will win the Chocolate Decadence Trio (Valued at $35.00), just like I reviewed and shared photos of above, to enjoy with your family this holiday season. Yippee!!! :-)  Insert happy dance here.

To enter this FLASH (ends in 3 days on 12/2) GIVEAWAY, please complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Disclaimer: Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms. 
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Sunday, November 29, 2015

#Wina A Timeless American Classic...The Kit-Cat Clock #Giveaway


Cat with Box

A few years ago I shared with you a wonderful Father's Day gift, which I surprised my Dad with and that he still enjoys...the Kit-Cat Clock.  If you want to read my post from a few years back, you can see it here:  Recently, I was contacted by the folks at Kit-Cat Clocks to see about hosting a holiday giveaway of one of their clocks.  I jumped at the opportunity as I know how much my Dad loves his Kit-Cat clock and how great these clocks are for gift giving.  

All Kit-Cat Clocks
Kit-Cat with his iconic rolling eyes & wagging tail has been keeping time since 1932. All Kit-Cat clocks are true to the original design & still Made in the USA. Kitty-Cat clocks are ¾ the size

Whenever we go to visit with my parents my girls are quick to run into the living room and say hello to the Kit-Cat clock, which they have named Ginger.  They get a kick out of the rolling eyes and wagging tail and think it is the neatest thing.  And, I have to say that I have to agree.  You can't help but smile when you look at these classic clocks of yesteryear.

With the holidays fast approaching, why not surprise that special someone or even that hard to shop for person on your holiday shopping list with a Kit-Cat clock. The hard part will be deciding on which color to get them. :-)  Clocks start at only $39.99.  To learn more about these unique and fun clocks visit the official Kit-Cat Clock website -

Don't forget to follow Kit-Cat Clock on their social media pages...


Hunter Green

I am so excited to be able to offer one lucky Inspired by Savannah reader the chance to win ones of these fun clocks to display in their home, or to give as a gift this upcoming holiday season.  Up for grabs is a Hunter Green Limited Edition Kit-Cat Clock,15.5″ high, which is valued at $59.99.

To enter, please complete the entries on the Rafflecopter for below.  Good luck!
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Share a Magical Holiday Movie Night with Your Family with "Angels Sing: A Christmas Movie," Starring Harry Connick Jr. #AngelsSing

Disclosure:  I was sent a screener copy and promotional items in exchange an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Angels Sing

This past weekend could have been dubbed the "C" weekend.  After enjoying the company of family and friends (15 in total) around the dining room table for Thanksgiving dinner, it was nice to house quiet again and enjoy time with my parents, who had stayed for the long holiday weekend.  Why would I dub this the "C" weekend?  Well it was filled with Cookies, Cuddling, Christmas Carols, Christmas Movies and Harry Connick Jr.  Well, the last one doesn't start with "C," but it includes it. :-)

My girls had been looking for Thanksgiving weekend since we turned the calendar to November, as they knew it would mean they would have my parents staying with us the entire week of Thanksgiving.  And, just like years past, this meant holiday cookie baking, making a gingerbread house at the Publick House after Breakfast with Santa, singing Christmas carols and binge watching some of our family's favorite Christmas movies, while cuddling up on the couch.  And, this week did not disappoint.  

Not only did the house smell amazing from all the Italian cookies my mom whipped up with the girls, but it was nice to share a new holiday film, which was an instant hit, with everyone.  Have you seen or heard about "Angels Sing: A Christmas Movie," which stars Harry Connick Jr., Kris Kristofferson, Fionnula Flanagon,  Connie Britto and even Willie Nelson.  If not, here is the movie trailer to give you an idea of what you are in store for when you pick up a copy of this movie to add to your family's growing holiday DVD collection, or rent it today...

Going with my "C" themed weekend, this movie was perfect is capturing the true meaning of the holidays and the importance of celebrating and making memories with family and friends.  This was truly a charming story, which if you are prone to crying at heartfelt movies, pulled at your heartstrings.  Both my mother and I found ourselves reaching for the tissue box to wipe our eyes throughout the movie.

The movie itself, which is filled with an amazing cast, does an amazing job at capturing the essence of the Christmas spirit.  It shows us that life is precious and not to take things for granted.  I, for one, don't take life for granted, after battling cancer back in 2008, after getting a diagnosis on Christmas Eve in 2007.  Now 8 years in remission, Christmas no longer is a sad reminder of what I went through, but a celebration of life and love I have for my family as we gather to celebrate the holidays.

Each year when Christmas rolls around, people find themselves trying to make amends or reconnect with loved ones they have lost touch with throughout the year.  It is something about the joy and magic of the holidays and brings families together, even those who have gone through personal and difficult tragedies.  This movie touches on this and shows how we can all move past the difficult times and celebrate the season and what is important most -- cherishing time with family and friends and not dwell on the past or what could have been.

Christmas has always been a favorite holiday of mine, not because of the gifts, but because of how it brings families together and creates memories that last a lifetime.  I was so glad to be able to share this wonderful family-friendly movie with my family this past weekend and know it will be one we watched again and again when the holidays roll around.  This movie will also get you excited about piling the family in the car to check out the holiday lights.  Just like in years past, after we finished watching this movie, we went to a few neighborhoods and homes in the area that go crazy with Christmas lights.  And, just like in years past, Savannah is always quick to ask if we can add more lights to our house, in hopes that the neighbors will join in and light up the street with beautiful Christmas lights. :-)

If you and your family love to gather and enjoy each others company as you watch wholesome family movies (or like me you are a Harry Connick Jr. fan and have to watch all his movies), then you will definitely want to pick up "Angels Sing: A Christmas Movie," available now on DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.  Why not host your own family movie night to share this great holiday movie with those you love dear.  Here are so tips to help plan your upcoming #AngelsSing movie night...

Disclosure:  I was sent a screener copy and promotional items in exchange an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Don't Forget Your Pets This Holiday Season -- Shop Walmart's Cyber Monday Sales and Save on Treats to Put Under the Tree #IDeserveATreat #ad

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post with Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.


Have you been racking up all the savings the past couple of days with the Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals? Did you think to pick up something for that special furry friend in your life? Oftentimes with the craziness of the holidays we forget to pick up treats, toys and even clothes for our pets. But, with all the unconditional love they give you all year round, don't you think they, too, deserve a few gifts under the tree this holiday season?

Over the years I have shared countless posts about our rescue dogs, including how two of dogs, Abby, shown below and who is no longer with us, and Lily, who will be celebrating her 13th birthday this year, helped get me through my cancer treatment in 2008. I rescued Abby at the start of my treatment in February and then got Lily as a companion for Abby and to celebrate my cancer treatment being over in December of that same year. By year's end, we had three rescue dogs -- Manny, who my husband and I adopted back in 2000, as our first pet together and then Abby and Lily.



Lily (black dog)

Even as a child, I have always had pets and have been a dog lover. And, when I went off to school and was living on my own, I couldn't wait to start rescuing dogs and giving them forever homes. This past July after healing and taking time after Abby's passing a couple years ago, we rescued a new dog, Milly, who was going to be put down as no one wanted her and the few families who adopted her, sent her right back.

Can you believe this little girl, who is around 3 years old was found wandering the streets of NY with an electric cord around her neck? She was only a few pounds -- should be 9-10 lbs, and was skittish around everyone. I knew when I saw her at the foster family home that she would make a great addition to our family, give company to Lily and be treated the way an animal should be treated -- humanely. While we continue to struggle to get Milly to trust and feel comfortable after the first few years of her life being abused, I am hoping that this Christmas will show her just how happy we are to have her as part of our family.

I made a point this past Friday and Saturday when shopping at our local Walmart to stop by the pet aisle. I zeroed in on the Purina dog treats as they have been a favorite of Milly's and Lily always loves to be surprised with a Purina Beggin Strips after coming in from going potty. It was nice to see the aisle filled with other dog owners shopping for treats for their pets. I even overhead a few talking about their pets as if they were children...just like I do. :-)

By the time I reached out the check out counter I had gotten all the items I came for, including an assortment of Purina dog treats for Lily and Milly, to wrap and leave under the tree for them.  

Come Christmas day they will wake to find the following Purina treats under the tree...note the savings! :-)

Purina Busy Bones (7 oz)

Purina Alpo Variety Snaps Little Bites (32oz)

Purina Beggin Strips (25oz)

Purina Beneful Healthy Smile Dental Dog Snacks (24ct)

While I still have a few more gifts I want to pick up for the dogs -- a sweater or two for Milly and an oversized futon bed for the two to share, I am happy to have picked up their Purina treats, as Walmart was having amazing specials of these for Black Friday, as well as this upcoming Cyber Monday. If your dog is a fan of Purina treats like my two rescue dogs are, you will definitely want to make a point to shop your local Walmart or online and pick up a sampling of their treats to surprise your furry friend with this holiday season.  

To learn more about the Purina Black Friday/Cyber Monday specials visit the Purina Pet Park on

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post with Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.

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