in partnership
The adventures of a dog and her owner upon receiving their first BarkBox! (Image: Julie Gallagher)

An honest BarkBox review from a pup and her owner

I recently adopted the sweetest pup in the whole world, Noelle, an 8-year-old Boxer mix from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. (P.S. Want to adopt a fur-ever friend of your own? Check out some adoptable pups...and single guys... here.)

It was as if Instagram KNEW I was now an obsessed dog-mom, because I started to see ads for the BarkBox all over my feed. From the posts I saw, it seemed like the dog version of Fab Fit Fun. Who doesn't love a fun surprise each month shipped right to your house, especially for your furry friend?!

To get right to the chase, I am a walking example of how well Instagram's algorithm works on consumers and I am a sucker for my dog. So, of course I caved and ordered Noelle her first BarkBox.

How it works: When you go to BarkBox's website, you first select what size your dog is: "small & cute," "just right," or "big & bold." Noelle weighs about 50 pounds, so she fell on the line between " just right" and "big & bold." I decided to go with the "just right" version. All of the boxes are the same price, though. Next, you decide the type of subscription you want. I went with six months for $25 each. Ordering one box costs $29. Then, you input your shipping/billing information and boom -- I had my first box delivered within a week. I'll automatically be billed and sent one for the next five months.

The contents: The box came with two toys, two bags of treats and a set of two chew bars. After browsing their website a little bit, I discovered that each month has a different theme, from "Throwback Thursday" to "Sniffin' Safari." Our box was prom themed ("Squeakhearts Under the Stars," to be exact). It had a little banner and a cardboard bow-tie and corsage for you to have a photo shoot with your dog. Sorry, Noelle, but mommy had to do it for the story! One of the treats and both toys were prom-themed as well.

Now, let's dive into the ratings of the box contents shall we?

Radiant Rhonda

What: A stuffed squirrel that squeaked and her dress rustled.

Noelle's ranking: 5/5 Noelle kept trying to pull Rhonda out of the box while I was taking pictures for this story. Needless to say, she was excited.

My ranking: 2.5/5 Noelle ripped the squeaking part out of Rhonda within a day, so I feel like her fun was short-lived. Rhonda was also a little creepy-looking.

Kinda Spiky Punch

What: A plush punch bowl, but had a surprise rubber toy inside, for double the fun!

Noelle's ranking: 5/5 She wouldn't stop squeaking it, so I'll take that as an "I love this thing!!!"

My ranking: 5/5 I loved that this toy had a bunch of moving parts. She was able to rip apart the plush and squeak it all. day. long. I like that the toy had a second life after that, with a "kinda spiky" rubber ball inside.

Guest judge Samson's ranking: 5/5 Samson is Noelle's doggy roommate (and her prom date) and he was the one who found the rubber toy inside. Now they both play with it!

Crunchy Pork + Apple Premium Chew Bars

What: Package of two treats that looked like homemade granola bars.

Noelle's ranking: 4/5 She took the bar immediately from me, which is huge because she isn't always too sure about treats. She gobbled it up pretty quickly, and then hit me with the puppy eyes for more.

My ranking: 3/5 Noelle really likes to chew, so I wish it was a little tougher so that she could have spent more time on it. I think this made me realize I could probably size up and get her the "big & bold" box.

Magic in the Moo-light

What: Jerky strips in a prom-themed bag.

Noelle's ranking: 5/5 Again, Noelle can be picky about food, but she took these treats right away.

My ranking: 5/5 I was so happy that she loved these treats, and I have been using them to help house train her.

Scallywags Whitefish Jerky Strips

What: Non-themed bag of treats.

Noelle's ranking: 3/5 She seemed unsure of these treats at first and sniffed it in my hand before taking it. She eventually ate it though.

My ranking: 4/5 After the other bag of treats are finished, I'll use these. There are treats that Noelle won't even touch, so eating them feels like a win for the Scallywags!

Overall rating: I loved the BarkBox! It was so fun opening it and seeing the theme. Noelle really loved everything that came in the box and it was cute watching her play with new stuff. The price felt "just right" for me, too, because $25 for two treat bags, two toys and two chew bars seems like about what I would spend at the pet store without having to leave my house. Okay ... I'd probably spend way more at the pet store because I would buy way more than that!