Metro Wines Blogs

Metro Wines Asheville, NC

shopdog 2018

Animal Legal Defense Fund Benefit

Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Jumping up and down. Steve Wells is coming!! Oh yeah. Steve is the Executive Director of The Animal Legal Defense Fund! Take THAT. "Abuse an animal. Go to jail." The ALDF is the organization who is primarily responsible for aiding dog fighting to the RICO Act (racketeering, like mob stuff) in Virginia. And that is just one of their many accomplishments. And we love Steve. Way cool. Come meet him at our shop on December 4th and support the work of The Animal Legal Defense Fund! Details to follow. Oh boy! Oh boy! We can tell you right now, right now, that guests will be tasting  3 Legged Red from Dunham Cellars in Washington. Oh boy! Oh boy! Out of breath, Your Shop Dogs.


Stephen Wells is the executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. For six years (until 2006), Steve founded and served as the director of ALDF’s successful Animal Law Program, which provides support and resources to ALDF’s law professional and law student members and pro bono opportunities for attorneys and firms to assist ALDF with its mission.

Prior to joining ALDF in 1999, Steve served as the executive director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance in Anchorage where he became known for his work to protect Alaska’s wildlife, particularly wolves and bears, and its unique wild places. He has committed himself to animal and environmental protection and over the years, in addition to his full-time work, he has continued to volunteer his time for local organizations and projects.

Steve has managed several successful businesses. In his native Chicago, right out of high school he started his own business called “Precise Instrument Repair Co.,” a repair and calibration business for industrial measuring equipment, which he later sold. In Alaska, Steve worked to clean up the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and was so horrified by what he saw he decided his life path included working for positive change for the environment and wildlife. He was awed by the wilderness and natural beauty of Alaska. His first year there, he lived in a cabin through the winter without running water or electricity. He even missed an interview one day by being trapped by grizzly bear cubs and their mom. He began going to school and volunteering for the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, a nonprofit wilderness protection agency, and was eventually hired there.

After eight months traveling in Africa, Steve returned for a full time position with the Alaska Wildlife Alliance. He threw himself into that with his natural entrepreneurial spirit and leadership abilities. He knows how to run a business and has a background in all aspects of business management, including the nuts and bolts of accounting and eventually became executive director. As executive director, he grew that organization by more than doubling its staff and activism. Steve was a primary leader in the successful ballot initiative banning “same-day airborne wolf hunting” (which allowed the use of airplanes to kill wolves). From this trial-by-fire lesson, Steve learned how to be the lone voice speaking for wildlife at community and state meetings amidst intense opposition. He also ran a successful construction business in Alaska with major contracts.

He left Alaska to start an animal sanctuary in California, but instead went to work for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Meanwhile, he opened a vegan restaurant called “Sparks” in Guerneville, California which included a highly successful retailing market of packaged goods sold across the Bay Area.

At the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Steve saw an opportunity to expand into law schools and involving attorneys directly–providing additional resources and pro bono connections. He helped stop wild animal trainers in Los Angeles from abusing primates in a landmark lawsuit. He helped to set up a sanctuary for hundreds of animals in the infamous North Carolina Woodley hoarding case. Steve has also raised significant funds to create the ALDF Fellowship program and helps ALDF fund an expanding vision for the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School.

When Steve started, ALDF had no litigation staff–so he created an in-house litigation program which, with the help of his new litigation director, Carter Dillard, allowed ALDF to quadruple its caseload. Steve expanded the Animal Law Program and helped to exponentially expand the student chapters (SALDF) of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. When he started SALDF had 6 chapters. That number is now at 184. There were 12 animal law classes offered in the United States and Canada–and now there are more than 140. Steve’s leadership also led him to create an ALDF pro bono program–and ALDF now has 1.2 million in donated legal services. When Steve began, ALDF’s revenue was at 3.7 million. In 2011, it was at 5.7 million, despite the economic hardships facing the US economy. As the leader at ALDF, Steve has been interviewed by CNN, The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and ESPN.

Steve has created a highly efficient, passionate, and talented team at ALDF. As he says, it is his job to create an environment where egos are out the door and everyone works together for one end–to end the exploitation and suffering of animals. And that is just what he has done. He lives in the western woodlands of Sonoma County, California with his rascally cat Johnny Rotten and two dogs, Eve and Jam.


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STAND UP COMEDY on Friday Night @Metro Wines, 7pm. Mo Alexander is the headliner. Awesome. This is serious and really funny business!

Your Shop Dogs are working on the funny. But some of the stuff we think is funny is not playing well in the house. For example, pulling a plastic bag out of a tote bag and ripping it up leaving pieces all over the house. Funny? We thought so. Apparently, NOT. Pulling down a loaf of bread from the kitchen counter and eating it until your belly almost pops. Now that is funny, right? WRONG. Chewing nice black and white trendy coasters and then hiding them under your bed. So NOT funny. But MO here, he IS, no matter how you define "IS," funny.

Come on over. $10 for a glass of wine or bottle of BEER, baby, and the show.

Mo Alexander is one of the most complete comics working in clubs and private events around today. Since 1995, his comedic skills have given way to bigger opportunities on television, such as appearances on ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Comedy Central’s Laugh Riot, the BET staple Comic View and has even made an appearance in Poison’s Bret Michael’s film, Letters from Death Row.
Mo Alexander is the product of Memphis, Tennessee, growing up mere yards from the World Famous Stax Records. Whether it was being raised by his grandmother, Memphis or his Catholic high school upbringing, Mo’s outlook on life is helping him to save the world in his jaded manner.
Growing up on comedy classics, like WC Fields, The Marx Bros., Bob Hope films, George Carlin and old Saturday Night Live were early influences. Mo’s realization of being a stand up comedian comes more from watching things like A&E’s Evening at the Improv, where he thought, “I’m better than these folks, I can do this!” and soon after, he got to a local open mic in Memphis starting with the likes of Kerry White, T.R. Degraw, Dennis Phillipe, and Tony Tone
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Italian Wine and Wolfdogs



This is River. He is an Ambassadog for the Full Moon Wolfdog Farm and Sanctuary. If you think it is difficult to find homes for long legged retired races like us, word is the wolfdog has it even tougher. There is talk that River might come to the shop for the "Italian Wine and Woldog Benefit" on October 9th at 6pm. AWESOME. 

You should come on over. Taste Great wines from Valle dell'Acate. Help the wolfdog. They really really really need you. Really.

Full Moon Bio on River: River came to Full Moon Farm via Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in 2009.  They had been trying to place him, but were having no luck finding a good home for a mid-content wolfdog puppy.  He had learned some basic skills, and had been well socialized.  As he is so handsome and outgoing, it was decided to see if he would work as an "ambassadog." It is a role in which he has excelled.  River enjoys going out and meeting people, and is a fantastic representative for wolfdogs.  When he's at "home," he shares his pen with Guenevere.

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Food in the Shop!


Major Shop dog ALERT. Word is that there will be a food truck inside the shop tonight. What's up with that? One way or the other, it sounds like food to us. We are hoping, puleeeeeeease make it CiCi's empanadas. Puleeeeeeeeease. Maybe someone will take mercy on our so very sad eyes and give us just a bite of that flaky crust. hmmmmmmmm

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Shop Dog Soup Recipe

Anything with a sweet potato. Did I say sweet potato? Yeah, anything with a sweet potato. Maybe a little sage. Parsley. And this bad boy:


I can most definitely recommend the Coconut Sweet Potato Bisque, page 66!, in the Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook. The authors, Elizabeth Sims with Chef Brian Sonoskus suggest a Gewürztraminer. We have great bottles at the shop. The staff can pick one for you depending on what herbs and spices and what else is in your pot. 

Your Shop Dog, Bandit

PS: I have a potato to pick with Gary! He called me "The Big Solid" last week. And that would not bother me except it stuck! OK. True, I am a moose of a greyhound. But it's all heart. 

Hey Gary, Cate here. I am going to jump in on this. Just to say that what some call The Big Solid, others, like me Cate, call "beefcake." I have my issues with Bandit, but he is a one good looking hunka hunka burnin' love.

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Flashing Cash!



All kinds of people come to our shop.  We are hosting a private party for OnTrack on Monday Night. This is Hammish. You know him from his blatant and pitiful attempt to bribe The Grove Park Sunset Mountain Neighborhood Association to snag a spot on the house tour. BTW, it didn't work. While Hammish is not a financial genius, he is all we have going for us. Flashing cash is bad enough but between your lips! Ugh. Anyway, if you have issues with money, OnTrack can help. Your shop dogs, Cate and Bandit.


This is what they do:

Welcome to OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling (OnTrack WNC),

Western North Carolina's trusted non-profit source for financial education and counseling for over 30 years. We help people achieve their money and housing goals through financial education, counseling, and support so that they can overcome crises, afford their basic needs, improve their money-management skills, and make financial choices rooted in their values.

OnTrack helped these people:



This is OnTrack

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Grove Park House Tour!

YIKES! Our house is on the Grove Park Sunset Mountain House Tour. We are under orders to clean up big time. That means cookie crumbs, muddy paw prints, the plastic bag Bandit tore up because he is a baby! I hope people like our portraits. Our neighbor who was the Art Director for the Washington Post did us proud in pastel. Nice. Taking a walk before the second shift! Back to work. Your Shop Dog, Cate.


Rebuttal: I find myself in the awkward position of having to take issue with Cate's comments again. Cate forgot to mention the vintage coasters she has been hiding in her bed and chewing on when no one is looking. Puleeeease. Who's the baby! But I do agree with her about the cleaning. 

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Celebrate Labor Day


Celebrate Labor Day! This is what it looks like when we, Shop Dogs, are working. Well, what it used to look like because we are retired racers. Bandit and me are retired. I have been retired for over 5 years, Bandit has been off track for a little over a year. (I don't think that is why he is such a baby, he just IS!) Anyway, this is how we ride from one track to another track. This is called a "hauler" and, as you can see, this thing is not fetching a spread in the New York Times Travel Section. No windows. No sleeper compartments. No diner car. No road snacks. And no phone. Verboten on the phone!


So, we are grateful to be retired from racing and well into our second career as Your Shop Dogs! BTW, I won more races than Bandit. So there!

Your Shop Dog (Just please don't call me Shop Girl), Cate, Racing name: "The Flying Catesby" See you at the shop.



Cate is not telling you everything. 2 more races. Big Deal. Besides, I am more lovable. Try to get a kiss out of Cate! Your (Heart) Shop Dog, Bandit.

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The Pink Box


Customers are finding us! Our shop carries the Sophia Coppola Blanc de Blancs in a can with a straw! There are four little cans in the box each with its own straw.  I, me Cate, LOVE the pink box. And this is not a "girly thing," Bandit. Don't go there.

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Grove Park House Tour


This is our friend, Franque (pronounced "Frank -KAY") whatever. Anyway, this is Franque last year at the Grove Park Neighborhood House Tour trying to break in on the tour. Of course, he failed. Rather than trying to look the part, Franque just went for it straight on. We are working on a plan now to get in those doors! But even if we don't you can. Buy tickets on line at or stop in our shop to pay cold, hard cash. Your Shop Dogs


Seriously? Really? This is Bill. We met him on vacation last year. THIS is his idea of how to break in on the tour. Look like a tourist. Really? This is exactly why we cannot gain admittance to Ivy League Schools not to mention the door know principle. Really Bill?




OK. That's what I talkin' about. This is Hammish. He knows how to drive a deal.



But in the end, thoughtfulness and kindness (read kissin' up) won the day. Preston came up with the idea of giving Suzanne, the Grove Park Neighborhood House Tour Master Planner! a gift. I think he might just get inside! In any case, kudos Preston. 


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Gone Italian


Tonight is the Strada Event at the shop. First, there is a very real chance of scraps. Can you imagine, scraps from Strada? YOWZER We feel the earth move just thinking about it!  Pasta!! Anyway, we thought we would pay homage to the Italian greyhound on this day. A small, but stately beast. 

What wiki says:

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest[2] of the sighthounds, typically weighing about 8 to 18 lb (3.6 to 8.2 kg) and standing about 13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 cm) tall at the withers.[3] Though they are in the "toy" group based on their weight, they are larger than other dogs in the category due to their slender bodies, so owners must be careful when sizing clothing or accommodations.

The Italian Greyhound's chest is deep, with a tucked up abdomen, long slender legs and a long neck that tapers down to a small head. The face is long and pointed, like a full sized greyhound. Overall, they look like "miniature" Greyhounds, though many Italian Greyhound owners dispute the use of the term "miniature Greyhound", in reference to the breed itself. By definition of the American Kennel Club[4] - they are true genetic greyhounds, with a bloodline extending back over 2000 years. Their current small stature is a function of selective breeding. Their gait is distinctive and should be high stepping and free, rather like that of a horse. They are able to run at top speed with a double suspension gallop,[5] and can achieve a top speed of up to 25 miles per hour (40 km/h).

The color of the coat is a subject of much discussion. For The Kennel Club (UK), the American Kennel Club, and the Australian National Kennel Councilparti coloredItalian Greyhounds are accepted, while the Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard for international shows allows white only on the chest and feet.[6]

The modern Italian Greyhound's appearance is a result of breeders throughout Europe, particularly AustrianGermanItalianFrench and British breeders, making great contributions to the forming of this breed. The Italian Greyhound should resemble a small Greyhound, or rather a Sloughi, though they are in appearance more elegant and graceful.


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Papas Rellenas

Sheila is coming up today from Saluda to do some shop doggin' with us. We LOVE that. Sheila has a nose for good food. She loves SMASH BOX and will probably love Vinnie's too! But, while we have not tasted her recipe, we are told that Sheila makes the best Papas Rellenas ever. For lack of a better explanation, Papas Rellenas is a Cuban meat mix stuffed and rolled fried potato ball ! Sheila is Cuban. Maybe this time. The home version here:

Cuban Papas Rellenas recipe - How to Make Stuffed Potatoes


Cuban papas rellenas

photograph courtesy Annie Luong

Papas rellenas are perfect Cuban comfort food, especially for people with easy access to them at Florida restaurants and cafes.


Mashed potatoes are formed into balls, filled with seasoned beef, and fried until golden.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour

  • Cook Time: 20 minutes

  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes



2 lbs large potatoes (peeled and cut into quarters)
1 lb picadillo (seasoned ground beef - recipe below)
Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup dry bread crumbs
4 eggs
1 tsp salt



Add salt to a pot of cold water, and boil the potatoes until they are soft. Drain the potatoes, and then mash them, then set aside to allow them to cool.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites in two bowls. Mix the egg yolks into the mashed potato mixture, whisk the egg whites for a minute. 

Take a 1/4 of a cup of the mashed potatoes, and form it into a ball. Make a dent in the ball, to give it more of a bowl shape. Fill the indentation with a tablespoon of picadillo, and then reseal it. 

Reshape the potato as a ball again. Dip the ball in the egg whites, then roll the ball around in bread crumbs until it is coated. For a better coating, or for a crunchier texture, you may dip the ball into the egg whites again and coat it with another layer of bread crumbs. Refrigerate the potato balls for at least four hours before frying.

To fry, pour enough oil into a skillet or frying pan to cover half of the balls, the oil should be at least 350°. Place several balls into the frying pan and cook on each side until golden brown, usually 2-3 minutes, taking care not to overcook. Drain the stuffed potatoes on paper towels, do not stack them.

The other cooking method is to deep fry the papas rellenas at 375° until golden brown, they cook best deep-fried when they are frozen.

To Make the Picadillo

1 lb ground meat
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small can tomato sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine
Pimiento stuffed olives
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown the ground meat, onions and garlic. If meat is not too lean, pour out whatever fat you render.

turn heat down to medium low. Add the tomato sauce and wine. While it simmers, chop up the pimiento stuffed olives and add to meat mixture, it is ok to add a little bit of the brine if you wish. Adjust the seasonings per taste. 

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Oh Three Legged Red, Wherefore Art Thou?

b2ap3_thumbnail_three_legged_red_new.jpg       b2ap3_thumbnail_three_legged_red_new.jpg

We wait. We wonder. Why no delivery? Why? Word is that our shop is the only shop in Asheville where you can buy Three Legged Red. My people want their Three Legged Red!! We also like the fact that a portion of the proceeds goes to the Susan G Komen Foundation. But hey, not going to be any proceeds if we cannot get our stash! we wait. We wonder. why?

Anyway, the winemaker, Eric Dunham, who named this, I am told, Bordeaux like blend after his dog, his THREE LEGGED DOG, said this of his Columbia Valley well respected red blend: Each year, Dunham Cellars blends a portion of its wines into this red table wine. Using fruit from all of our estate vineyards and using the same barrels in which our finest Cabernet, Merlots and Syrahs are aged, we are able to maintain the consistent high quality of our top wine, as well as create a great everyday wine that is price-friendly. 


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Getting Real

About time we got real. Cate here. Film maker Irene Magafan will be bringing her regional emmy award winning film, narrated by Ashley Judd, on bonobos to the shop this Friday. I know Irene from Washington DC but she might not know Bandit. Anyway, in the bonobo society, the females have a lot more authority. I like that. This will be a great evening. We show the film and Irene will be there to answer questions about the bonobos, the film making process, how the film is being received, and what we can learn from bonobos. I bet the boy bonobos don't push the girl bonobos to go first through the door! Bandit, I am talking to you here.

Since the bonobos are from Africa, word is that the shop will be pouring wines from South Africa. Nice.

This is a bonobo with a baby bonobo:


And you can read all about bonobos on Irene's website here.

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Snap it, baby!


Bastille Day was awesome. But the pictures leave a little something to be desired. Anthony from Rely Local does a great job. Look at that shot of us on this page. We look maaaaarvelous. But the in house stuff by staff, well..... That said, and since Anthony is always busy with important clients, we are suggesting that Metro Wines hire another professional photographer for big events in the future. This is "Martine," a friend from Chicago. She is trying to break into the "biz." We hope you will support us in this effort. Your Shop Dogs.

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You Can't Touch This!


So Bastille Day is coming to our shop on, well, Bastille Day, next Sunday, July 14th from 3 to 6pm. Gina says they celebrate big time in New Orleans. This is, of course, no surprise since New Orleans is still threatening to secede from the union and beg France to take them back. But the city may have gone too far this time. Check out what New Orleans is planning for Bastille Day. From

Is your chien chic? Then he must be French, quiAnd therefore, my cherie, you must consider entering your Chanel-worthy canine in the French Dog Parade at the Crescent City Farmer's Market Uptown on Bastille Day (Tuesday).The L'Alliance Francaise de La Nouvelle-Orleans sponsors its first French poodles versus French bulldogs contest, with prizes going to, well, the most French.Prepare for such categories as: Chic-est French dog, Le Plus Fou French dog, Depardieu Look-A-Like, Best French Talker or Balker, and Best French Kisser.Judges are Olivier Brochenin (Consul General of France), Alexandra Stafford (president of L'Alliance Francaise de La Nouvelle-Orleans) and musician Ronnie Kole.

Depardieu look alike? Puleeeeeease. You can't touch this:

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And this, the dogs of Louis XV: b2ap3_thumbnail_Greyhounds-5.jpg    and a very French Ladyb2ap3_thumbnail_A-18.jpg

 Can't touch this.

Join us for Bastille Day. Tres civilized!!!!!!

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Bears in the Woods!


Not good. The story in The Asheville Citizen times today is just a little bit frightening. Bears. Ms. Patton saw bears last night. Ms. Patton is, we can't believe we are saying this, our neighbor. We, Shop dogs, share a back yard with her! YIKES!  Tips for what to do to prevent seeing "our" bear or any other one and tips for what to DO if you do see "our" bear on any other one in the story.

Asheville Citizen Times



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General Washington and General Lafayette

4th of July. Shop Dogs here. All this French wine in the shop and the upcoming Bastille Day event at Metro Wines on July 14th makes us think about how General Lafayette helped General Washington Storm the British!  We also, as you might have suspected, turned our attention to the dogs invovled in this relationship. All told below:

George Washington bred hunting dogs, and his papers at the Library of Congress note that he wanted to breed “a superior dog, one that had speed, sense and brains.” In the mid-1780’s, aware of Washington’s intense interest, Marquis de Lafayette Washington’s French friend and ally during the Revolutionary War, sent him seven massive hounds. Young John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams who was then minister to England, escorted the hounds overseas from France to America. Future president John Quincy invoked the ire of General Washington by abandoning the hounds once the ship docked in the New York harbor. Washington worried over his missing hounds, and although they were eventually found and shipped overland to Mount Vernon, Washington’s home in Virginia, it is not known if he ever truly forgave young Mr. Adams.

The French hounds were reportedly so fierce Washington assigned a servant to monitor their meals because they tore each other apart fighting over their food. He crossed these French beasts with his own black and tan hounds to create a new breed—the American Foxhound.  

In addition to Sweet Lips, Tipsy, Tipler, Cloe, Searcher, and Drunkard, the hounds portrayed in Steven Kellogg’s delightful illustration in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, Washington had more than twenty additional canine companions. They included:  Mopsey, Pilot, Tartar, Jupiter, Trueman, Truelove, Juno, Duchess, Ragman, Countess, Lady, Rover, Vulcan, Singer, Must, Tiyal, Forrester, Captain, and the frisky Madam Moose, of whom Washington noted in his diary, “A new coach dog [arrived] for the benefit of Madame Moose; her amorous fits should therefore be attended to.”

One of Washington’s hounds, Vulcan, black and so big a young boy could ride him like a pony, had powerful jaws and an insatiable appetite. It seems he had a taste for Virginia hams. A story is told of Vulcan sneaking into the Washington’s Mount Vernon kitchen, snatching a succulent ham, and running “straight to the kennels with it locked in his great jaws.” Mistress Martha was miffed, but the event delighted Master George. 

It is commonly held belief that the Marquis de Lafayette also gifted George Washington with a French basset hound, bringing the basset for the first time to America, but no historical evidence is available to support that claim.



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We would do anything for Yucca Fries!


Look at the neighbor dog! Unsuccessful. Too high. Too obvious. Too hungry!  You have to look like you don't care. This guy had no strategy.

We try on Friday Night from 5 to 7pm when SMASH BOX brings the Yucca Fries and the Chimichurri Sauce.  Failure is NOT an option!

Wines by the glass inside the shop and Sade in Concert on the BIG digital TV. This is a good distraction.  We plot.  We plan. 

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4th of July Safety Tips


Puppies and kittens need special attention on the 4th of July. Hi, Shop Dogs here with 4th of July safety tips from the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The shop is promoting organic Yellow Blue Wines in an environmentally sound box, big bottle (2 liter size!) Indaba red and white, and Glory Days with the iconic American photos on the label for your outdoor and party events. But the main message is safety. Safe driving. Safety around the pool. Safety for animals. Here is a comprehensive list for animals on the big day:

ASPCA Safety Tips


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