Green Roof Round-Up

A few issues ago, Sunset magazine had an article on how to plant a vertical garden to create a lush, tropical look. It reminded me of how much I like the look of green roofs done nicely.  I love the aspect of pointillism in the ones planted with succulents, but I like how they also look like an aerial view of some amazing garden.  (Sunset also has an article on a vertical garden with succulents.)

I don’t think cats or dogs should just be left outside, but even pets who spend most of their time indoors may need some shelter from the heat or rain when they are outside. A house with a green roof would work great and look nifty too.

Want to build your own?  I have two posts on DIY Green Roof dog houses.  Be sure you get a safe version of pressure treated lumber, or use naturally rot-resistant wood like cedar or cypress, or plastic lumber.

The first project is for a veranda with open sides and a raised floor.  Love it!

The second project is for a pretty simple, but cute house.


If you’re not handy, you can buy a green roof dog house from Sustainable Pet. They’re pretty expensive, but I think prices have come down some since I first wrote about them.  They have some fun design ideas.

So what’s so cool about green roofs? has a TON of information on the benefits of green roofs. Briefly, green roofs:

  • provide thermal and sound insulation
  • reduce rain run-off
  • are aesthetically appealing
  • reduce energy use
  • absorb CO2
  • reduce heat islands

Of course, a green roof dog house alone won’t save the planet, but:

  • it can get you thinking about green roofs
  • you can use it as a small scale test for a larger roof—which plants work in your area, try different planting mediums, etc.
  • your dog will have a cooler or drier place to hang out
  • you can show people what a green roof is & looks like
  • create more gardening space at your home

Friday Fun: Gracie The Dog Greets Returning Soldier

Gracie is so happy to see her “dad’ returning from Afghanistan she just can’t contain it.  So cute!  Gracie’s people are donating proceeds from the ads running to the shelter in Alexandria, Va from where they adopted her.  Read the information about the video—they sound like neat people.

It looks like Gracie’s dad is headed back to Afghanistan tomorrow.  We hope he returns home safely and soon!

Training Tip: “Go See Jane”

One of the first things we taught Saffron when we got her was “Go see Sarah” & “Go see ‘Mr. Fire'”.

(‘Mr. Fire’ probably needs some explanation.  I asked my husband how he would like to be referred to in my blog.  I had already vetoed ‘The Husband’ & ‘The S.O.’  He shot down ‘Mr. PetProject’ and ‘Mr. P.I.C.’ (Mr. Partner In Crime).  I then suggested ‘Mr. McBurny’ and he piped up with “Call me ‘Flame’!”  Really?  “Yes, call me ‘Flame’ or maybe ‘Mr. Flame’.”  ‘Mr. Flame’ sounds like you’re flamey in a gay way, and though there’s nothing wrong with being flamey in a gay way it might confuse readers who know I’m a female married to a male.  [At this point I’m tempted to look at why, semantically speaking, adding ‘Mr.’ to ‘Flame’ makes it sound flamey in a gay way, but then I’ll really have digressed from what is supposed to be a post about a dog training tip.]  ‘Flame’ was his choice because lately he has really gotten into making biofuel stoves. In the evening, we’ll be hanging out on the couch and he’ll say, “I’m going to go burn stuff.”  To which I reply, “Okay, let the dog come if she wants.”  So he’ll be out there in the dark with a head lamp testing new stove designs.  Sometimes I get a call that I should come check out the awesome flame. So I tried to write this post using ‘Flame’, but I just couldn’t do it.  Because of the nature of this post, I had to keep writing Flame-this & Flame-that.  So I asked if he really wanted to be known in perpetuity as ‘Flame’, to which he conceded perhaps he did not.  Thankfully we settled on ‘Mr. Fire’, which is somehow a little more dignified, though I have no idea why.)

So, if you’re still with me, back to the training tip!  Here’s why you might want to teach your dog “Go See Jane”:

  • it’s a good way to start teaching “Come”
  • it’s a good way to start teaching “Find It”
  • it’s a great for exercising your dog
  • it’s super handy for redirecting a bothersome pup

How to do “Go See Jane!”:

  1. you need at least 2 people & some good treats
  2. person ‘A’ (me Sarah) stays in one room with the dog while person ‘B’  (Mr. Fire) goes to another room within hearing distance of Sarah
  3. Sarah says, “Go see Mr. Fire!” and Mr. Fire immediately calls the dog to come & gives a treat when the dog comes
  4. then Mr. Fire says, “Go see Sarah!” and Sarah immediately calls the dog to come & gives a treat when the dog comes
  5. repeat, and reinforce by doing it every few days at random times
  6. the dog learns “Go See Jane” and gets reinforcement for “Come!”, of course you need to work on “Come!” by itself to have a good recall.

“Go Find Jane!” variation once your dog knows “Go See Jane!”:

  1. you still need 2 people & some treats
  2. Sarah stays in one room with the dog, while Mr. Fire goes & hides somewhere in the house, but not too hard a spot to start out with.  The dog needs to succeed in order to learn what “Find it!” means.
  3. don’t let the dog leave the room until you say, “Go find Mr. Fire!
  4. Mr. Fire stays very quiet in this version.
  5. if the dog doesn’t find Mr. Fire quickly, Mr. Fire makes a little noise to give the dog a hint.  Give treats when the dog comes.
  6. then Mr. Fire says, “Go find Sarah!”.  From then on each person find a new place to hide.
  7. repeat, and reinforce by doing it every few days at random times

We use both of these commands at the dog park to make sure Saffron gets some good exercise in.  She LOVES running from one of us to the other, especially if we hide.  I use it to redirect Saffron when she’s bugging me while I’m working.  And we find it very useful when we have guests—we just tell our guest to send Saffron to one of us if she’s bothering them.  Very handy!

Friday Fun: Kittens In Autotune–Yo!

Love this!  Pretty clever lyrics and well done.  “I love my lions like the days is long.”  Yo.

(Note: Kittehs are flipped in this vid., but I think it’s clearly a game they play & I’ve known cats that like to be tossed.  Our cat Crow probably wouldn’t like it, but he does like being petted way more roughly than any cat I’ve had before.  He’s happiest if you just tip him over, rub him vigorously up & down his side, scratch his belly like a dog, and give him some good, strong pats on his side.)