To Bark Box or not? Thoughts after receiving the first box

As you know, my blog is about books and animals. I adore both and actually went into teaching to bring books and animals (specifically dogs) to my students. My facility dog, Peanut, held up her part of the deal admirably in the nine years she worked with students. (Google “Miss Peanut therapy dog” to see her brief moment of fame. Note she isn’t really a therapy dog, but a facility dog, which is much fancier.)

Santa and fox toys – years old and a bit tattered and torn

So when I recently saw my three girls (Peanut, Lexi, and Chloe) playing with two toys that have definitely seen better days, and I happened across an ad for Bark Box, I decided to splurge and get them some new toys and even some treats. In the spirit of complete honesty, I will say that Peanut does not really love toys, but her two friends, Lexi and Chloe, love to take toys and vigorously shake them. I think they are pretending that the toys are a dead squirrel or rabbit or some other small animal that they’ve killed by said shaking.

The Bark Box ad promised a double box for the first month. I had to decide which subscription I wanted. To get it for just one month would be $35, but if I subscribed for a whole year it would just be $23 each month. I went with what their website described as the “most popular plan,” six months at $26 each month.

It seemed as if no sooner had I put my credit card information in on the website that I got an email saying they were preparing my box for shipment. There wasn’t a way to let them know that I have three dogs, so my pet’s name was “Peanut Lexi Chloe.” I ordered it at 6:00pm on Wednesday, and the box arrived on my doorstep Friday morning at 9:00 am.

I admit, it was fun opening up the box. It’s apparent they work hard to make the boxes as appealing as possible. This one was a takeoff of the movie “Home Alone” and its 30th anniversary. The toys were (I’m guessing, here, because it’s been 30 years since I’ve seen the movie) characters from the movie. One stuffed toy was a guy with a spider on his face, another was a red-haired guy, and there was a stuffed spider. The last toy was puzzling: A toy that was made to look like a paint can labeled “Kevin’s paint” but which was too big for my dogs to get their mouths around. The dogs immediately liked the smaller toys but were unsure about the paint can stuffed toy.

Later, Lexi did what she knows how to do. She took hold of the cloth handle on the paint can toy, gently pulled it off the end that was held with velcro, and daintily chewed off the handle on the other end. It is now a completely useless large cylindrical stuffed dog toy in the shape of a paint can. The red-haired stuffed toy has lost much of the red hair, but now it’s just a slightly bald, red-haired stuffed man toy. The treats look yummy, and my dogs eat them with relish, so that’s a plus. Even the cat tries to steal the treats – maybe a meow box is next?

Today, Saturday, I decided to see if Bark Box lives up to what they write on the packaging of the box, that if we aren’t happy with anything, we should let them know. So I used the online chat and talked to someone named Rhonda. The queue was 14 ahead of me, but it went quickly, and soon I was typing away with her. She was very responsive and said that she would put a note on my account to include studier toys. She also said they would send out a replacement toy for the paint can.

My overall feeling? I do think that it was worth it, definitely for this first box. I spent $23 and got four dog toys, four bags of treats, and two chew sticks. On similar toys range in price from $4.00 to over $12.00.  So four toys at an average of $8.00 each already brings the value of the box to more than I paid. The treats and chew sticks would probably cost at least $6.00 each, so six of those double the value of the box. Of course, it’s supposed to be a double box, so with a value of approximately $48.00, I’m way ahead. Shipping is free.

It will be interesting to see what next month’s Bark Box brings. I’ll update here.