Marlee received her March BarkBox a couple weeks ago and has had time to play with her toys and try out the treats, so here is our March BarkBox Review.
The March BarkBox theme was The Academy of Fine Arfs. I felt that this theme was pretty creative. Since I personally love art, I got a real kick out of it. I also feel like this was a unique theme and it?s something that I wouldn?t have been able to come up with. You definitely have to give the creative geniuses at BarkBox some credit. Every month they are able to come up with new ideas and roll as far as they can with them.
The information card in the March BarkBox was the standard cardstock unlike last months brochure. On the front side of the card it has this months theme as well as some information. It states ?Welcome to The Academy of Fine Arfs, where talented pups master the arts of panting and sculpture. At the Academy, dogs find the artwork that squeaks to them, fuel their creativity with tasty treats, and rip their toys into masterpieces.? If those aren?t some creative and punny phrases, I don?t know what is.
The front of the card also shows three of the possible toys that your pup can receive in this BarkBox. The three featured toys are, Vincent Van Squirrel, Primary Collars Palette, and Paint Tube Tug. In the bottom left corner there is also a cute doodle of a dog painting a landscape, while another dog takes a pee break on the side of the easel.
The backside of the card is for you, the human to exercise your art skills. The top of the card says ?Make Your Masterpiece! Show off your art skills ? and your dog!? In the middle of the card there are two boxes that are framed like pieces of art. One has a cartoon dog painting but the box is blank which is meant for you to draw a picture of your. In the box on the right side there is a cartoon of a dog but this side is meant for you to punch out the middle so that you can then hold the card up and frame your dog. Once you have it held up and your dog in the middle, you can compare your drawing of your dog with the real life dog. Don?t forget to take a picture and post it with the #FineArfs.
The background of the card has not been forgotten. On the front side the card is framed as if it were a picture in a picture frame. It is also important to note that the title has been made to look like the architecture of an art gallery. The background of the backside of the card also has details. BarkBox has created a playful, colourful pattern that adds to the cute idea of The Academy of Fine Arfs. This pattern also matches the wrapping paper that came inside the March BarkBox. For example the outer wrapping has the same blue background that is on the front of the card and has the same colourful pattern that is on the backside of the card. This truly ties everything together, even though they are minor details.
The outer wrapping also has a few cute dog cartoons that are in black and white to contrast the colourful pattern. On the inside of the wrapping there are a bunch of dog cartoons in black and white. The design has been made to look like an art gallery wall, with framed pictures of various dogs carrying out different activities. Like I previously said, these are all in black and white, which allows you, the human to colour in the cartoons. This is a great way that BarkBox has made your dog?s monthly box not only fun for your dog but for you, the human, too.
The rating that we are giving the idea behind the March BarkBox is a 8/10. While the name is funny, I feel like they could have come up with a better word than ?arfs? because I don?t feel like dogs ?arf? very much. However the actual idea behind the theme is very creative and everything that went along with it was so unique.
The way that the idea was carried out was truly impressive, which is why we give it a rating of 9/10. I am always amazed at the many little details that BarkBox puts into the themes every month. The card and wrapping that I described above is a good indication of the thought and creativity put into the theme and how it was carried out. You will see this more as we continue to talk about the toys and treats in the March BarkBox.
For the March BarkBox the two toys that Marlee received were the Paint Tube Tug and La Artista Squirrelista Furry Frida the Squirrel. The Paint Tube Tug is one of the toys that was advertised on the information card included in the BarkBox. However, there are a number of different toys that your pup could receive, some including, Primary Collars Palette, Vincent Van Squirrel, Bob Toss the Squirrel or The Arfist?s Tool Set. All of these toys are really cute, high quality and match with this month?s theme.
Paint Tube Tug
As I mentioned, the first toy that Marlee received in her March BarkBox was the Paint Tube Tug. This toy is super cute and fits perfectly with the theme of The Academy of Fine Arfs. It?s meant to look like a tube of blue acrylic paint and there is no mistaking that?s what is it. It has a classic squeaker inside, which Marlee loves. If you have read some of our past monthly BarkBox Reviews, you know that Marlee loves squeaker toys. We also love squeaker toys. While they can sometimes be annoying, they also are great for individual playtime. They keep Marlee engaged and active when we aren?t able to play with her.
The Paint Tube Tug also includes a stomach safe t-shirt rope. The rope looks like there is blue paint coming out of the tube, which is creative and fun. This rope is also the part of the toy that is the tug. Marlee loves when we hold the rope and she gets to tug the main part of the ?paint tube.? That way she can also squeak the toy as we play tug of war. Since the rope is made out of t-shirt, it is stretchy which is fun for your four legged friend while playing, and it also is safe if they happen to eat some of it. While it is not ideal for your dog to be eating their toys, play happens which often means toys get destroyed. That?s why if your pup eats some of this rope, fear not, it will pass through their system.
The main body of the toy is also filled with fluff along with the squeaker. Marlee absolutely loves breaking through toys and ripping out all of the fluff. She has yet been able to do that to any of the BarkBox toys except for two that she received last November. So as you can see, she has had very many months to work on destroying those toys. Every toy we have received, including the ones from the March BarkBox have been extremely high quality.
A couple other note worthy aspects of the Paint Tube Tug are, the foil detail that mimics the metal at the top of the tube. While my pup may not care about this detail, it?s great for humans to see, and it adds to the illusion that is it a real paint tube. Also, the print on the tube, which is made to look like a logo, is a cartoon of a dog painting a picture on an easel. This is a fun detail that again your dog may not enjoy, but you as the human do. It also ties the toy in with the details from the information card, carrying out the theme of The Academy of Fine Arfs.
Our rating for the Paint Tube Tug is a 8/10. I feel like I have mentioned enough above how much detail has been put into this toy, for the dog and the human. It goes well with this month?s theme, it is high quality and is great for individual or two person/dog playtime. It?s also always great it get a tug toy because they get so much use out of them. However, Marlee hasn?t played with the toy that much, which means it hasn?t kept her attention as well as other toys. But this could change overtime, as she often goes through phases with most toys and then has a couple favourites.
La Artista Squirrelista – Furry Frida the Squirrel
The second toy that Marlee received in her March BarkBox was La Artista Squirrelista ? Furry Frida the Squirrel. On the BarkBox website you will find this toy under the name La Artista Squirrelista, however the tag that the toy came with says it is called Furry Frida the Squirrel. Regardless of it?s name, the toy is essentially a squirrel that is an artist. For any art enthusiasts, think Frida Kahlo mixed with your neighbourhood squirrel.
The detail in this toy is just incredible. The main part is a squirrel but the people at Bark have truly outdone themselves and have added so much to it. There is a combination of embroidery and added on pieces. The face the ears, and the toe nails/claws are all embroidered on the toy, as well as a small section on the front apart of her dress.
Speaking of her dress. Furry Frida the Squirrel?s dress is achieved by the addition of some cute sleeves that have been attached, as well as a crazy crinkle skirt. The skirt has been attached at her waist so that her legs poke out of the bottom just as a real person?s would. It has a crazy crinkle inside of it all the way around, which is Marlee?s absolute favourite. The skirt also has a pattern on the outside, which is a nod to Frida Kahlo?s The Two Frida?s painting. One of the Frida?s in the painting wears a dress with a similar pattern.
Another nod to Frida Kahlo, are the flower details in the Squirrel?s hair. If you look at pictures of Frida Kahlo in many she has flowers in her hair at the top of her head. This is a cute touch to the toy, which screams Frida Kahlo. Besides the hints towards Frida Kahlo with the flower details and dress, the most noticeable trait that Bark has given La Artista Squirrelista, has to be the infamous Frida Kahlo unibrow. Frida Kahlo had a very pronounced unibrow and totally owned it, in fact she made it very obvious in many of her self portraits.
Other details on this toy include, a paintbrush in the squirrel?s hand. This paintbrush is made from three different materials which adds to its real life-ness. It also adds another spot that your pup can play with or grab onto while playing tug. The last distinct detail of this toy is, the long sheddable tail. Furry Frida?s tail is super hairy and invites your furry friend to attach and bite it. The best part about it is, it?s meant to be shedded. They are able to get tufts of hair out of it without ripping the entire tail off the toy. However, if they do rip it off, there is plenty of fluff inside for them to rip out as well.
We rate La Artista Squirrelista ? Furry Frida the Squirrel an 9/10. This toy has so much detail and fits with the theme so well. Most dogs love squirrels which, makes the toy so fitting for a dog. They get to attach a squirrel all they want with little to no consequences. Not to mention, this is one that they can catch! All of the subtle and maybe not so subtle hints towards Frida Kahlo are just great! It truly honours her as an artist and carries out the theme of The Academy of Fine Arfs. The main reason that this toy isn?t getting a perfect score, is that it is pretty big and a little heavy. Bark has done a fairly good job at packing a lot into one toy, but it is on the big side and is hard for a small dog like Marlee to pick it up.
It?s also important to note that all of the BarkBox toys every month have a tag on them with information about the toy. This toys tag gave a little Artist Biography which stated, ?Furry Frida is a pioneer of folk art, known for burying acorns of truth inside her creative self-portraits.? Which is again another nod to Frida Kahlo. Also, the tag gives you a number to text, so that you can talk to Frida the Artist!
Treats and Chew
In every BarkBox there are two bags of treats and a chew. For the March BarkBox the treats that Marlee received were Masterpiece Morsels and Soft and Chewy ? The Great Wave. As I always mention, BarkBox only has treats that are wheat, corn and soy free. We also have it noted on Marlee?s subscription that she is allergic to chicken so we only receive treats and chews without chicken. Since Marlee is allergic to wheat and chicken the treats in her monthly BarkBox?s are always great for her. Marlee is also extremely picky so I love that every month we get new treats for her to try out, and I?m not breaking the bank purchasing tons of treats at the pet store.
Masterpiece Morsels (Lamb and Fruit Dog Treats)
The first bag of treats in Marlee?s March BarkBox was Masterpiece Morsels ? Lamb and Fruit Dog Treats. When just looking at the packaging of these treats, my first impression is that they are cute. These treats are from Bark, which means that they were able to make the packaging match the theme. The front of the bag has a lamb and dog at a table with fruit, vegetables, a teapot and a dog food bowl. The back of the bag has a cartoon of a dog painting a picture of a fire hydrant, while another dog pees on the easel.
The Masterpiece Morsels, packaging is cute and fits the March BarkBox theme very well. The treats are also good for your dog. They are made without wheat, corn or soy and are jam packed with fruits and vegetables. When you smell the treats they smell like fruits and vegetables. The description on the back is informative, stating that these treats contain lamb, apples, bananas and carrots. They also contain flax seeds, which is good for sensitive tummies.
Apart from the treats smelling like fruits and vegetables. The treats are also shaped like them. The different shapes are, apples, strawberries, bananas and carrots. Your dog may not know that their treats are shaped like real fruits and vegetables, it is a nice added touch for the human rewarding them.
Moving on to Masterpiece Morsels taste. Of course I don?t try to treats, so all I can go off of is if Marlee likes the taste of the treat. Again, she is an extremely picky dog and often will literally turn her nose up at something she doesn?t want. She will not eat something she doesn?t like, just for the sake of eating it. She also usually likes food in their purest form. For example, pure duck tenders or salmon jerky. She often won?t eat anything that is dough and baked, with the exception of some of the muffins that I bake her. So for these reasons, I didn?t think that she was going to eat these treats.
At first she wouldn?t eat these treats at all. She would smell them and I would leave them for her out in a few pieces. The treats are a little big and she has a hard time breaking them up, therefore I usually split them into three pieces. But after the first week or so of noticing that the treats had migrated to one of her beds in the house and she still hadn?t eaten it. I of course threw it out. It wasn?t until recently, and I say that as very recently, such as a couple hours ago. I tried again to give her one of these treats and after a few minutes she ate it!
It?s possible that this could be a one-time thing and she will turn her nose up at it next time but I will keep trying. These treats are good for her and it?s always nice having some variety. However, we passed on some of these treats to Marlee?s cousin Lola. According to my sister-in-law her Westie, Lola absolutely loved these treats. She isn?t as picky as Marlee and is a better judge of how most dogs will feel about these treats.
The rating we are giving the Masterpiece Morsels is a 8/10 for packaging and 6/10 for taste. Originally this rating was going to be significantly lower. But since Marlee decided that today she wanted to eat one and lick up the surface they had been on. I had to rate it higher. Also since I know Marlee is a picky dog and is very selective about what she eats, I felt it was best to get the opinion of another dog. So Lola loving these treats helped with the majority response. Also, the treats are good for you and the packaging matches the March BarkBox theme. I couldn?t give it full points though since Marlee ignored the treat for a week and if you have a picky dog, you will want a true rating based on a picky eater.
Soft and Chewy The Great Wave (Fish Recipe with Cheese and Turmeric)
The second treat that Marlee received in her March BarkBox was the Soft and Chewy The Great Wave Treats. The flavour of these treats is the fish recipe, which has cheese and turmeric. The name and packaging says it all. The Great Wave for those who aren?t knowledgeable in the art world is a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai. The picture printed on the packaging of these treats looks very similar to the artwork by Hokusai. The name is the same name as the artwork therefore a nod to the artist.
The packaging is great and matches The Academy of Fine Arfs theme so well it couldn?t be more perfect. Now add in the fact that the treats are made of whitefish, also fits very well with the theme. I love that the packaging shows a wave, The Great Wave, and the treats are fish flavoured. I just feel like this was very clever and done very well.
Unfortunately, Marlee once again wasn?t a fan of the taste. She has been weird about cheese lately and while in the past she has loved it. This is mainly my fault because I often hide any medicine I have to give her in small cubes of cheese. So now she doesn?t trust anything cheesy. I was hopeful that she would like these though because the last time we had a heart shaped treat was the Peanut Butter and Apple treats from the January BarkBox, which Marlee liked.
Silly me, thinking that the same shape meant she would eat a different flavoured treat. So no luck with Marlee, but I passed on these treats to Marlee?s aunties, Lexi and Chevy and they love them! Lexi is a Golden retriever that loves anything food, and some things that are not meant to be food. Chevy is a grumpy Jack Russell Terrier that knows what?s food and what is not. While these two are food motivated, I felt that their opinion on the treats was closer to what most dogs would like.
If you have a picky dog like Marlee, these treats may not be for you. However, if you?re getting them in your monthly BarkBox and your dog enjoys the other items, that worth it enough in my opinion. Plus, anything that your dog doesn?t like you can always pass on to furry friend or family member. You can also always contact BarkBox and let them know if your furry friend isn?t happy with something in their BarkBox. That way they can tailor it to their likes for future BarkBoxes!
The rating we are giving the Soft and Chewy The Great Wave is a 10/10 for the packaging and 4/10 for the taste. The packaging was so thought out, matched perfectly to the theme and the treat flavour was also clever. However the taste of the treats just didn?t cut it. If I were judging taste purely on my mother in laws dogs it would be a 10/10 because they devoured these treats. But we must take into consideration that Marlee wouldn?t even try to eat these treats. So for that reason we can?t give full points.
Lamb Weasand Chew (Superior Farms Pet Provisions)
The chew that Marlee received in her March BarkBox was a Lamb Weasand Chew. Which is really lamb esophagus. I know it sounds gross but it is just the same as any other chew, just dried up animal. For this very reason I had high hopes that Marlee would love this chew. She usually loves chews like this and chews them until they are all gone. However that wasn?t the case.
She has been chewing on this chew off and on since she got it but it?s almost completely intact still. She mainly carries it around from place to place as she does with some of her toys. However, she doesn?t have much interest in it beyond it just existing. This was a let down; since Marlee has loved some of the other chews she has gotten in the past. However, I have noticed that she is not a huge fan of lamb. It was surprising that she ate the Masterpiece Morsels treats since they have lamb in them. In the past she has been given treats and food with lamb in them and she hasn?t touched it.
Due to these reasons, we are only rating the Lamb Weasand Chew a 3/10. Chews often don?t really have a theme to them because they are usually just pure animal product. The exception to this, is the February BarkBox which was a Koha Bacon chew. Which went along with the Paradise Unleashed theme. However since this is just a lamb product it doesn?t really have a theme. Taking that out of the equation and judging just on taste, we have to give it a 3. Like I said Marlee didn?t completely disregard it, but she also doesn?t love it.
Was This Month Worth It?
If you have been keeping track, so far that is a total of 65/90 points. We still have to give our overall impression of the entire March BarkBox as a whole. Taking everything into account we have to give the March BarkBox The Academy of Fine Arfs a 7/10. The theme was very creative and clever. I feel like it was carried out, throughout all of the products very well. The toys were so detailed and are good quality. Marlee likes them and continues to play with them off and on. The treats and chew are where we have lost some points. Marlee didn?t really like them, but other dogs in our family loved them. Time will only tell if Marlee will like the treats and chew, but I don?t see that being likely. All of the little details truly made this BarkBox.
Our final score for the March BarkBox The Academy of Fine Arfs is 72/100. Which means that this month is a pass! We loved the theme and loved all the details that were definitely thought out. Marlee also really liked both of her toys in this BarkBox. Even if she wasn?t a fan of the treats and chew, our other furry family members loved them.
If you?re interested in signing up for a BarkBox subscription make sure you check out their website to do so. Also, if you see any products that you like or you think your doggie will like, you can purchase those off their website as well.
Let us know your thoughts on the March BarkBox The Academy of Fine Arfs! Do you think that this month was a pass or fail? Check out our previous BarkBoxes that we have reviewed.
Wet Kisses and Tail Wags,
Karlee and Marlee