October 1, 2014

ALIQUID Lacquer- Puppy Love (LE Adopt a Shelter Dog Month) [Swatch][Review]

Today, I'm excited to share ALIQUID Lacquer- Puppy Love with you! This is a limited edition charity polish which celebrates Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.

Here's what ALIQUID has to say:

You might know that the lovely lady on our polish labels is Trudy, our five-year-old rescue pit bull mix. Trudy is such an irreplaceable part of our lives that we can barely remember life before her! In honor of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, we decided to give back by creating a limited edition charity polish that will be available through October only! Keep reading for details and to learn why this cause is so important!

About 3.9 million dogs enter U.S. shelters every year, and 1.2 million dogs are euthanized (800,000 of them pit bulls). Adopt a Shelter Dog Month seeks to call attention to the plight of these animals and to encourage people to adopt dogs rather than going to a breeder. No matter your preferences, you're bound to find a rescue dog that fits perfectly into your home! Click here to read all about pet adoption, and click here to learn more about pit bulls!

Puppy Love retails for $11 (full size bottles only). We will donate $5 from each purchase to the ASPCA! We're aiming to collect $250, but we can only do it with your help!

We hope you're as psyched to help shelter dogs as we are! Please help us reach our $250 goal by grabbing a bottle of Puppy Love and telling all your friends too!

Awesome cause, right?!

Puppy Love is slightly green-leaning teal base filled with subtle pink (and gold I think?) glassfleck shimmer and fine-milled scattered holo particles.

Artificial light, two coats:



Formula: The medium viscosity is just about perfect, and the polish itself is slightly sheer, since the base is jelly-like. I underloaded the brush on my first nail, and experienced slight dragging, but once you get the brush loaded correctly (slightly more polish than you'd think), it goes on nicely.  It also dries down super quickly!

It builds well, and the second coat goes on wonderfully- buttery, even- and was opaque for me. Overall, you'll hear no complaints from me!

Puppy Love retails for $11 ($5 of which will be donated to the ASPCA.)

Disclosure: this polish were provided to me as press samples for honest review, and all opinions are my own.


I want to share a little about Hambone, our adoption story, and my philosophy about rescue and shelter dogs with this post. Part of the reason that I agreed to swatch this polish for Alison is that the cause hits very close to home for me. I work with dogs professionally, so I feel I have a much greater exposure to a wide range of types of dogs (in terms of everything: breeds, mixes, individuals, and circumstance/ past history) than the average person. In my line of work I also encounter a disturbingly common, untrue misconception about rescue/ shelter dogs: that they're broken, unpredictable, or irrevocably damaged in some way.

This is so far off the mark that it's extremely frustrating to me personally and professionally. When clients seek my advice when beginning to acquire a dog or second dog, I always try to steer them toward shelters or breed-specific rescues. The amount of times that advice is actually taken can be counted on one hand, and I believe the reason is what I'll call the "broken misconception." (Back to that in a bit!)

Instead, I see, over and over again, people picking up puppies from local pet stores, or purchased from ill-researched breeders or even what amounts to BYBs (back yard breeders).  In the first scenario, you're getting a de facto puppy mill dog, and in the second you're paying hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars for an animal with little to no health testing in the lineage, titling for the parents, or temperament testing. This is doubly likely the case if you're purchasing a "designer" dog like a "shi-poo" or "labradoodle." Because those mixes aren't technically breeds, their breeding is not currently overseen or regulated by an agency such as the AKC. (I'm not defending the AKC- that's another can of worms!) As a result, you never ever know exactly what you're getting in a designer mix.

Everyone has heard of hybrid vigor, and genetically that is a valid concept in dogs. The problem is that many of the popular mixes share the same genetic predispositions to diseases such as cancer and hip dysplasia; and, it is incredibly likely that breeders who are in it for the money are passing down these undesirable traits instead of the desirable ones like a "hypoallergenic" coat, improved temperament, or longer lifespan. Most purebreed genepools are already so limited and full of these inheritable problems, that crossing two purebreds with little to no knowledge of previous generations' health and temperament goes in the opposite direction of "hybrid vigor."  

Back to shelter dogs! I admit, it's true you won't know much about the health history of a rescued dog, but you will know vastly more about the temperament and general disposition than you ever could predict about any puppy (not to mention that you can adopt rescue puppies!). You can make general assessments about the temperaments of puppies and juvenile dogs, but until they mature, you don't know what you're getting! Adolescent dogs do undergo puberty, and their personalities can change. Training can make a huge difference, sure, but training works equally well on older dogs! Mature dogs have an established baseline personality, and you'll better be able to make an appropriate match for yourself and your household.

Back to the "broken misconception!" I think for most this boils down to fear about a dog's ~unknown history~. Let me tell you why that doesn't matter. Dogs are forgiving creatures. They live in the moment. Yes, their trust can be broken and they can be temporarily scarred by abuse or bad conditions, cruelty in the fighting ring, or just plain neglect. But virtually every dog can get past this! And, it's often incredibly swiftly!  This is not to say that every shelter dog is traumatized- or, god forbid I use a Cesar Milan term- "unbalanced" in some way. There are many, many, many that are just fine. The truth is that there are just too many dogs and not enough homes. For most dogs in shelters, there isn't some ominous reason why they're there. They are just plain unlucky.

About shelter dogs' supposed "unpredictability": no dog, in my experience, is unpredictable. No dog just spontaneously turns on its owner. There are always warning signs, however subtle. Human aggression in dogs is poorly understood by the public. It most commonly occurs as fear reactivity. The dog is backed into a corner, pushed too hard, and frightened. It is the human failure to read calming signals (lip licking, showing eye whites (whale eye), yawning, turning away, sneezing, stretching) that results in overt aggression or possibly a bite. (Here is a great resource on managing fear-based reactivity. Here is another one that focuses on leash reactivity/ boundary frustration. (PDF)) Dogs exhibiting these behaviors are close to reaching their threshold, and need to be given space and have the situation diffused. I've worked with dogs for 5+ years and never been bitten because it's all about reading body language. And it's not hard to learn. Every dog owner should be able to recognize the basics!

Everyone should do research on positive reinforcement training (look up clicker training!), classical conditioning, and counter-conditioning before they adopt or purchase any dog! These tools are extremely effective in building confidence in dogs- especially dogs who have lost trust in humans. You don't have to be a dog whisperer (there is no such thing).  You just have to be patient, predictable, and willing to give a dog a second chance. In most cases, a shelter dog that needs work on a particular issue is usually no more challenging than raising a puppy- or correcting issues that've cropped up in that puppy you've raised! That working partnership with a dog is what having a dog as a companion is all about! There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a dog improve, gain confidence, and open up!

This is an incredibly complex and faceted issue, and I could write pages and pages (and I feel like I already have). I don't have anything against mixes/ mutts- they're my favorite! And I don't have anything against purebred dogs as long as they are responsibly researched and reputably sourced (which is increasingly difficult to do, IMO)! I just have a problem with the dog breeding industry in general, and many peoples' disinterest in doing a little research prior to acquiring a dog! In the vast majority of cases, I believe it's unethical to shell out for a purebred dog for the average person looking for a simple companion animal. If you're looking for a working animal, that's a different story. There are so many worthy dogs ("mutts," designer mixes, and "purebreds") sitting miserably in shelters waiting for homes because people believe them to be damaged goods. In 99% percent of these cases, there is nothing wrong with these dogs that a little TLC, structure, and positive reinforcement training cannot "correct:" work you'd want to do with any dog or puppy, anyway!

I know my opinions on this topic might be considered extreme, and are probably polarizing. I hope I haven't stepped on toes, but believe me when I say I'm the biggest dog advocate!

A quick word on pit bulls: Pit bulls are one of my favorite types of dog, and are completely and utterly misunderstood- especially by people who have only experienced them through the media! My own parents think they are the most dangerous, "unpredictable" dogs, but they have never ever met a pit bull in person. Their only information comes from the media, which vastly over-reports dog bites and incidents by bully breeds. It is a hard stereotype fight.

The biggest thing that I can say regarding pits, and bully breeds in general, is that there is a massive distinction between dog aggression and human aggression. They are completely different issues, and it's even uncommon that they occur together in one dog! You are more likely to be bitten by a Cocker Spaniel or a Chihuahua these days than a pit bull, and just because a dog has an inherent tendency toward dog aggression or reactivity (although socialization can prevent this in many pit individuals), does not mean the dog is human aggressive! It is often the complete opposite. Because, historically, they needed to be able to be separated in the fighting ring, most pits have an extremely high bite inhibition towards people. In fact, the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) has an 86.8% passing rate on the American Temperament Test Society evaluation compared to 83.0% of the general dog population. That should say something!

Pit bulls are goofy dogs that want to please their person/s, are usually great with strangers, and are some of the most emotionally-attached canines you can find. Ask any pit owner! They are loving dogs currently undergoing an ill-deserved, and tragic image problem.

Anecdote time!

Initially, I fostered Hambone from a local rescue group before I adopted him. At the time, the rescue was, I'd say, 90% full of pit bulls, Amstaffs, or pit mixes- plus a hand full of chihuahuas...and Ham (who is some kind of German Shepherd x Australian Shepherd). The rescue selected Ham (then Hamilton) for me to foster based on my previous ownership of a shepherd mix.

He came to me a nervous, shut down dog. I was soon to discover that he was a super reactive dog. Specifically, he exhibited fairly serious boundary/ leash reactivity, reactivity to some men, as well as an extreme aggressive fear reaction to children. In addition to all of that, he was selectively dog reactive to larger, dark colored male dogs. Most people who would have seen him at the time would have considered him unpredictable, dog aggressive, or just plain dangerous.

He had been returned to the rescue after an incident in which irresponsible parents somehow allowed their young child to beat him with a baseball bat. In response, he'd lunged at the child and bitten his shirt; after that, the parents wisely determined he was not the dog for their household. (But no dog should have to put up with that, obviously.) So, the lunging I was seeing him do at young children (and especially children holding objects) was actually not a surprise. After fostering him for ten days, I realized that his issues were beyond what most dog owners were prepared to deal with, so I decided to take him on. (Plus I just plain fell in love.) I strongly felt that he'd be adopted out again to people who would not recognize how uncomfortable he was in certain situations, and not give him the space and guidance he needed to recover.

Long story short...er, in the first year I had him we did a lot of counter-conditioning work to deal with his reaction to children, strangers, and other dogs. We also did, and still do, clicker training to build his confidence and focus.  I socialized him with other dogs, as well as my close friends' border collie mix (female), who is his bestie today (here they are together).  It sounds like an intense amount of work, but we just took each day at a time and worked things out gradually. During the first six months I had him, he did not bark or make any sound at all. He would not play with toys. That's how shut-down he was. Now, he is the most vocal dog I've ever owned, loves tug, squeaky toys, and just having fun.

These days, children can come up to him on leash and pet him as long as they ask first. He is relaxed and at ease, and has even shown some enjoyment when this happens. Strangers may approach him, and his threshold for reacting to bigger male dogs has been greatly increased. He'll never be perfect in that arena, but that's OK. Not every dog needs to get along with every dog, and I have seen him get along with dozens of dogs now, so I know he's not truly dog aggressive.  Ham was also an older dog when I adopted him- 6 or 7- so it's not true that old dogs can't learn new tricks. :)

I want to stress that Hambone was not a normal shelter dog case, but he is, I think, an example of the fact that even a dog as terrified and outwardly unstable as he initially was is not broken. His world had been shaken up, and he was insecure and ill-adjusted, but underneath all of that was an incredibly gentle, sensitive dog that just needed structure, praise, and a lot of delicious, delicious positive reinforcement.


Pit bull info:
Mid-American Bully Breed Rescue 

Clicker Training:
Karen Pryor Clicker Training
ASPCA: Clicker Training Your Pet

WAY TLDR; Don't let an unknown history scare you away from a rescue dog! No shelter dog is broken! Pibbles are sorely misunderstood, but awesome!

PS: buy ALIQUID Lacquer- Puppy Love!!


  1. Eloquent, sincere and to the point! Other than Miss Holly (our GSH that loved carrots), we've always had mutts. Most were strays or puppies. I still get ticked when I think about the current, hopefully waning, trend of "designer" dogs and the price that people are willing to pay. They are just mutt or hybrids - the kind that people used to give away because purebred mommy got with a who-knows-what daddy.

    Some of the people I've encountered will only buy a certain breed like my aunt who has had a few Shelties all named Laddie or the mother, of an ex-boyfriend, who loved her Boston Terriers. I understand those people. The ones that buy dogs for status symbols or to keep up with Joneses are the ones that I don't understand.

    The same goes for all the cats in my lifetime - they have been strays. But, I would not hesitate to get my next feline from a shelter. I strongly advocate for shelters and wish more people would give those dogs and cats another chance for a happy and loving life.

    Off to buy some Puppy Love!

  2. This was a great post and a great read! I've always had mutts growing up and they were the best dogs. The decision to get a purebred dog (from a wonderful breeder who we researched heavily and drove 22 hours to specifically because of their wonderful reputation) was really moreso my boyfriend's when I'd just started dating him (he'd wanted a chow all of his life and had never personally owned a dog before). Totally feel crucified on the internet admitting that I have a pure bred dog sometimes, though, haha!

    I do hope that our next dog we can try to adopt or rescue a chow not that we're both a little more experienced owners- but they are more difficult to track down as shelter dogs. Due to a lot of the things you mentioned in this post (+ their tendency to be kennel aggressive but fine in homes) they often do not survive very long in shelters if a rescue doesn't pull them. :( It is definitely sad, and you're right on the mark that it's often the humans who don't pay enough attention to a dog's warning signs, they never just randomly attack someone. I think dogs are like people, too- not every dog will be super friendly and love everyone and that's okay. Hell, I hate most people, so. lol

    If someone approaches Mugen from the front and lets him sniff them first, he'll usually let them pet him. If they come at him from behind or out of nowhere (and they're a stranger) he'll usually try to run away and growl and I DON'T BLAME HIM! I mean, who would want a random ass person touching you without you knowing, I'd be freaked out, too! You really just have to put in the time to get to know and understand your dog and what he needs to be comfortable. When we started having guests over in the house we had some trouble with Mugen being a little freaked out and growling at them. Well, I realized that he was doing it when the guests would come in and immediately kind of stare him down (to them, they were just trying to acknowledge him but to him it was an aggressive gesture) and pet him.

    So, I started just telling people when they came in to just completely ignore him. When they listened to that, Mugen would go over, sniff them a bit and then immediately be bored by them and would go lay down (at which time I would stuff him full of tasty treats and then after a visit or two by the same person had them stuff him full of treats). So now, as long as my guests listen to me (that's the harder part!) there is never any growling or any issue at all! He just needs a visit or two to really warm up to them and then he's immediately excited to see them the next time they come over. Because I took the time to understand my dog and his triggers.

    I'm so sorry for what Ham had to go through, though at least he ended up with you because of it! It is one of my biggest pet peeves when parents do not supervise their children around dogs and allow them to do things like what was done to Ham. Then he gets blamed as being aggressive when I'm sure if the parents were getting attacked with a baseball bat they'd be aggressive too, ugh.

    Oh, and great swatches! :D

  3. Beautiful swatches for a beautiful cause! Thank you for sharing Ham's story :)

  4. I got caught up in all of the dog stuff and forgot to mention how MUCH I LOVE THIS COLOR. I didn't even want to take it off!

  5. Haha, I like German Shorthairs! I can certainly understand getting hooked on one breed. That's too funny- all of your Aunt's Shelties were Laddie? I too am hoping the designer dog trend will die, but it doesn't really look like it to me. A couple of those mixes like the Labradoodles are probably really close to gaining acceptance by the AKC or other official group...which at least would set up guidelines for responsible breeding to begin.

    I guess the worst part about it is that there are designer dogs already sitting there in rescues AND there are dogs who weren't bred as designer dogs but are crosses that might as well be. It's just silly.

  6. I meant to type GSD (German Shepherd) - I posted last week. And yes, all males and all Laddies but only one at a time. I think there have been 6 Laddies and they all lived happy long lives.


    Yea, I hate for anyone to feel crucified for having a purebred dog! Hey, I am a dog nerd, and I have my favorite breeds! (Pyrenees, Malinois, Aussies, Cattle Dogs). And you're RIGHT about it being a dilemma that the less common breeds do not show up as much in rescues. That is totally a thing, so it does make it harder for people who are looking for a very specific dog but also want to rescue. My friend, who will only rescue, is currently looking for an Irish Wolfhound but she is probably going to have to wait a year or two despite having experience with them (and extensive professional dog experience). COUNTRY-wide, they just don't show up in rescues often.

    It sounds like you did all the footwork with Mugen though! Not many people will drive that distance for a hand-selected breeder. :)

    AND, you made excellent points about thinking about it from the dog's perspective. It is ludicrous to think that every dog wants to be rushed up to directly or showered with affection by a stranger suddenly. How rude! I have a constant problem of small children RUNNING up to Ham (because he is spotted like a cartoon dog I think) on walks, and I have to be very firm with them, and I will even speak to the parents. It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. It boggles my mind that parents are not always teaching their children not to run up into a strange dog's face!

    Also, LOL we basically had to do the same thing with my boyfriend's Dad and Ham, as you had to do with guests and Mugen. His Dad is pretty terrified of dogs in general so he just freezes into a stiff position, which makes Ham freeze because he's like 'WTF is wrong..is something about to happen?' Once we got him to totally ignore the dog's presence it was better. And later we also progressed to just having his Dad stuff Ham full of treats all the time. Behold, the power of food. :)

    Chow Chows are notoriously difficult dogs, so I'm sure you guys will get some preferential treatment if you're ever in the position to rescue. :)

  8. GSD- EVEN BETTER! I love them, I do. Haha, so many Laddies!

  9. One or two years, that's nuts! But I totally believe it. I know of one major chow chow rescue network but that's it (and I only even found that one recently)! You're right that they are totally difficult, haha! But I also think (and I'm sure every fan of a particular breed believes this ;P) you have to really 'get' them in order to have one because they are not going to be jumping up on you giving you kisses and being super affectionate like a lot of other dogs do and that can be offputting for people. But if what you really want is a snooty cat but you don't actually really like cats....yep, you're a chow person LOL. And yeah, we really wanted to make sure we went with a breeder who was very serious about breeding chows with good temperament, etc so it was worth the drive!

    And UGH, yes! Poor Ham! It's definitely irritating and unsafe for parents to not teach their kids to be cautious around strange dogs and wait for the owner's approval, etc. I actually think that's probably one of the reasons chows are so high on the biter list because they look like a big cuddly teddy bear (and once they know you and are okay with you they're fine with you treating them as such) but they do not get down with strangers and since they also aren't that common a lot of people don't realize they are wary of strangers and just see big old teddy bear. Or spotted cartoon dog in Hammy's case :(

    Aww, yay!! Food does work wonders for sure! It's so funny how the ignoring thing works so well. Mugen always just is confused for a few seconds and then it's like *shrug* *goes to lay back down*

    My end goal dream when we retire would be to run our own chow rescue, that would be really awesome if we were able to do that at some point!

    SORRY I'M JUST TALKING ABOUT MY DOG I always think how annoying it is when parents ramble on about their children as if anyone cares but I do the same about my dog. But I care about hearing about other people's dogs, so....:D

  10. I love both your blogs because of the dogs featured. And because they are awesome blogs! But also, dogs. :D

  11. Amazing post, amazing polish!!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am not a dog owner myself but I feel very strongly about adopting pets and giving every animal a fair chance. There's no such thing as evil breeds, just shitty owners. I loved reading Ham's story too, he's lucky to have found you, Cait :)

  13. Stunning polish, and love that you shared your adoption stories. :)

  14. It is, isn't it?! And thanks for reading all that, haha!

  15. Exactly- for me it comes down to the individual dogs as opposed to lumping all dogs in one breed as "evil," but certainly the biggest factor is the approach that people take in training and socializing them. :) And thank you! I like to think so! :D