Every so often, a product comes along that works so well it makes me want to shout, “Eureka!” from the rooftops. Because I do a fair amount of information entry for my work, I feel like I’ve been waiting for something like the Scanmarker all my working life. With this handy device, I can scan printed text from a book, magazine or document into any computer application within seconds simply by scrolling over sentences the way I would mark them with a yellow highlighter.
I was able to scan library book, borrowed documents, and anything else I didn’t want to mark. Imagine being able to scan information right into your lap top from catalogs at a dog show, entering the sometimes impossible names of foreign born dogs from a pedigree, or inputing show information if you’re a club secretary….
At present, the Scanmarker can only be used on a PC, but a Macintosh application is expected to be available by the end of the month. In addition to scanning text, the software also enables you to hear your computer “say” aloud the words you’re scanning, as well as translate from over 50 different languages while you scan. The pen sells for $79.95 and was delivered within a week of my ordering it. I freaking love this thing!
In contrast, while I bought the Scanmarker for myself, I was recently sent a product to test that I never knew I needed: Orapup Dog Breath Brush.
What Orapup wants you to believe: Orapup’s “dog breath brush” reaches “deep into the uneven crevices of a dog’s tongue with soft, pointed bristles that were fashioned after a surgeon’s scrub brush (picture “McDreamy” scrubbing away next to Meredith in Grey’s Anatomy). The brush’s four inline scrapers coated with chicken flavored “Lickies” collect and remove bacteria and residue generated from the brushing which help cure a dog’s bad breath. The brush is designed “with a dog’s natural licking tendencies in mind……Dogster.com.” The starter kit comes with the brush and a 2 oz. bottle of “Lickies,” an anti-plaque enzyme which, when applied to the brush, encourages the dog to lick away bad breath. When the dog is done licking, the Orapup is easily rinsed with water until it’s used again.
What I believe: A healthy dog doesn’t have bad breath. Offering a chicken-flavored anti-plaque enzyme may be a “feel good” thing to do to fight oral bacteria, but in reality, the dog probably needs its teeth brushed, if not professionally cleaned. A complete examination of the dog’s mouth is probably in order as well, and should be a routine part of dog ownership. Had I not been in the habit of rummaging around my dogs’ mouths, I would have missed a slab fracture on one of them, and a tumor under the gum line on another. There’s no substitute for brushing your dog’s teeth, or for periodic ultrasonic/subsonic scaling and polishing by a qualified veterinarian. Because most of us in the dog fancy are vigilant about our dogs’ teeth, this product probably isn’t for us – but I cringe at the thought of any dog suffering with a toothache (or worse, since dental problems can lead to cardiac issues) because of poor hygiene. Orapup may be a starting point for the average pet owner whose dog has halitosis, but in my view, the end point should be at the vet’s office.
For anyone considering Orapup for their pet, something else of which to be mindful is the ingredients in “Lickies.” After water, the next major ingredient is brown rice syrup which is 45% maltose, 3% glucose and 52% maltotriose. It has a glycemic index higher than table sugar since it’s composed of glucose, maltose and maltotriose, and owners of diabetic dogs will want to consult their veterinarian before using Lickies on their dog. I was struck by the smell of saltiness in Lickies’ chicken flavored liquid, but sodium benzoate, a preservative, and potassium sorbate, the potassium salt of sorbic acid, are the last two ingredients listed. I’m not a chemist, but I’d still be reluctant to offer this to a dog with kidney or heart issues.
And there you have it. A huge thumbs up to Scanmarker, but for Orapup, a wilted thumb.