It’s hard to believe, but Frances & I are celebrating our 1-month anniversary! That’s 30 days of partnership as blind mommy & guide dog. We’ve done a lot this month, including attending an education conference for work, several doctor’s appointments, and a few well- deserved trips to the mall. Frances is one amazing yellow Labrador! She is sweet, smart and has already taken a prominent place within my family. We all love her – my kids, “Mostly Wonderful,” and me especially. There is no way I could ever thank Frances for everything she gives me on a daily basis. That’s why when I heard about BarkBox, I knew I needed to get my girl a subscription!
How I Learned About BarkBox
Since becoming a guide dog user, I have joined a group called Mommies with Guides. Originated in Portland, Oregon, MWG, is a group of women with two things in common: they all have kids and are working with guide dogs. Even prior to being matched with Frances by Guiding Eyes for the Blind, I had reached out to this phenomenal group of ladies. Their combined experience helped me better prepare for balancing two toddlers with my sixty pound Lab. Their advice when invaluable and I have made many new blind mom friends in the process.
Once a month MWG has a scheduled conference call where we discuss our dogs, accessibility and any issues we may be having within our families. Mommies with Guides President, Tracy Boyd, had posted a video on her personal Facebook page showing her guide dog, Chiffon, getting a BarkBox. Tracy’s family seemed to have such an amazing time opening their BarkBox; I asked her about it on our monthly call. She raved about the online service and I immediately knew I had to sign up.
What Is BarkBox & What’s Inside?
BarkBox is a monthly delivery of toys, treats, and chews for your dog. Once a month, this amazing little box of surprises is delivered straight to your door. Whether you subscribe to BarkBox for yourself or buy it as a gift, you will have the option to choose between Small and Cute (0-20 pounds), Just Right (20-50 pounds) and Big and Bold (50+ pounds) during the sign-up process. Every BarkBox has a theme and the toys and treats selected will compliment it. Each monthly box contains a combination of 4-5 treats, toys, and occasional hygiene products.
And don’t worry about getting some cheap, crappy toys in your box because that’s not going to happen! No yucky grocery store rawhide here! BarkBox puts some serious thought, research, and time into creating each month’s box. They only choose high quality vendors using top ingredients in their treats! Every selection is even pre-tested on the company’s dog-owning employees!
Oh, and if you have a dog with allergies – Fear Not! Every BarkBox is wheat, corn and soy free, so if your pup has those allergies you are all set! The company also offers a special allergy-friendly BarkBox for pups who are allergic to beef, chicken and turkey. Seriously, this company has thought of everything!
How Much Does BarkBox Cost?
Okay, if you’ve read this far, it’s pretty clear – I’ve got you interested. But you’re probably wondering, “How much does it actually cost?”
Here’s how it breaks down:
1 month: $29
6 months: $24 a month (Total $144)
12 months: $20 a month (Total $240)
You have the option of paying on a monthly basis, or choosing to purchase a full 12 month plan; giving you a small discount. You can pay using Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. BarkBox also accepts payment through PayPal.
Ordering Frances Her BarkBox
I actually found a coupon on social media for “1” Free BarkBox for Frances. I headed over to the website and made my selection. I chose to Big & Bold (50+lbs) and their $24/BarkBox for 6 Months with Free Shipping (their most popular option).
The company then gives you the option to give your pooch a bit of an upgrade. For an extra $9 per month – your four-legged friend can get a premium toy – a little extra something special from BarkBox. Well, you know I’m from New York, so it’s go big or go home for me! Needless to say, Frances is getting her extra $9 bucks a month from me! LOL!
The site was easy to use, super friendly and worked well with the built-in accessibility features on my MAC as well as ZOOM TEXT. I set up my payments through PayPal to be charged monthly.
Within a few days, out first BarkBox arrived. I don’t know who was more excited – me or my daughters! I had told them Frances would be getting a surprise in the mail and it would have some really fun toys and treats inside just for her. Once the box came, my husband popped the seal and we all sat on the floor. Frances immediately ran over as soon as she smelled the cardboard. Nuala (3) and Aoife (2) helped Franny dig into the contents.
The theme for our box? Halloween of course! Inside was two bags of fall flavored treats, a rawhide stick, and three adorable toys – a witch’s cauldron, a tombstone that read “Here Lies Squirrel”, and a “Bite of the Living Dead” Zombie Squirrel! It was fricken’ hilarious! Frances grabbed that squirrel and took off, squeaking all the way into my kitchen! The kids giggled and laughed as they attempted to show Frances all her BarkBox goodies!
Is BarkBox Worth It?
Hell yeah, it’s worth it! I can easily walk into any big box pet store and drop $50 to $100 bucks on stuff for Frances. And let’s be honest, how long do some of these toys last? A few weeks? BarkBox allows me to give Frances new toys every month. I, the owner/dog mother, can then decided whether to keep or toss any grungy toys. BarkBox contains quality stuff, with good nutritional value – high end pet items that come right to your door!
No Uber. No taxi. No schlepping my two kids and grumpy husband around a pet store. No thinking involved, because everything is pre-selected! BOOM! How’s that for convenient! BarkBox also has a “BarkGood” program where they donate 10% of their profits to over 3,000 shelters and rescues in the US and Canada! So not only am I giving to Frances, but by shopping, I am helping many other needy pets all over the country and beyond!
Finally, BarkBox guarantees their items! If your dog turns doesn’t like a toy or treat they’ve received, email email@example.com and one of their representatives will help find you a replacement item to get your pup’s tail up and wagging. No charge. No fuss. No disappointments!
On a more personal note, my kids absolutely loved this experience. They adore Frances! My husband and I both try to emphasize the importance of guide dog work to our children. My two little girls know Frances works very hard to keep me safe. As my Nuala likes to say, “Frances is mommy’s eyes.” Having Frances also means we have an obligation to educate our community about the rights and role of service animals – and my girls are quickly learning much of the etiquette associated with guide dog ownership.
Frances has earned our love, our respect and she most certainly deserves an occasional reward for all she does! Why not a box of toys & treats every month?
Get Your BarkBox
With the holidays fast approaching, BarkBox would be an awesome gift for anyone who has a pooch or is a guide or service dog owner! It really is the type of gift that goes beyond your four legged companion – it’s something the entire family can enjoy (especially if you have little ones like me).
I am so grateful to Frances each and every day! She is more than my guide dog; she has become my best girlfriend. Much like my daughters, there is nothing in this world I would not do to make her happy. Giving her a BarkBox every month pales in comparison to what she does for me as she guides me through life! So, head on over to BarkBox and check out their website. I can’t wait to see what comes with November’s box! I am sure there will be plush turkeys and cranberry treats in our future!
Pictured: Inside of Franny’s BarkBox – Zombie Squirrel & Treats hidden beneath purple paper.
Editor’s Note: This is not a sponsored post for BarkBox. This is a true story of the blind mom who happened to buy her guide dog a subscription.