Wordless Wednesday – #52Snapshots – “Foolish”

The theme for week 14 of the #52Snapshots of Life photo challenge is “Foolish”.

Foolish

Who’s more foolish here – the cat wrapped around two dog toys, or the dogs photobombing?

52 Snapshots

 

Thank you to The Lazy Pit Bull for hosting the #52Snapshots of Life photo challenge.  Are you joining in the fun?  Photos can be shared via blog or social media, just use the hashtags #52Snapshots and #PBSG.

 

 

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Thank you to BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday blog hop!

Making Each Day Count

I’ve always mostly been a “live for today” or “one day at a time” person.  I’m not always big into birthday or anniversary celebrations, or certain holidays like Valentine’s Day.  I feel like every day should be a celebration of love and life.  I tell my hubby I love him every day and from time to time we give each other gifts for no reason other than that.  Sometimes we’ll celebrate birthdays and our anniversary, but not always.  I find some of these made up days like “Spoil Your Pet Day”  or “Love Your Pet Day” to be kind of silly (though I see nothing wrong if other people want to celebrate them).  My pets are loved and spoiled every day, and we celebrate their lives every day, not just on their birthdays.  It’s fun to do special things on those days sometimes, but mostly I don’t feel the need.  They get toys, treats, love, and fun every day.

Bucket 1Along the same lines, Sheba’s recent cancer scare had me thinking about bucket lists.  I wondered if I should  make a list of things that Sheba might like to do.  Right now, she is doing great and I certainly don’t feel any urgency in that department.  It’s easier to put out of my mind that her cancer could come back in the form of another tumor, or show up elsewhere, now that she has healed from her surgery and her fur is slowly growing back.  We can’t get complacent though, we have to keep a close eye on that area for any signs that the cancer was not all removed.

You can see her fur is growing back, though slowly!

You can see her fur is growing back, though slowly!

However, shouldn’t we be living life to the fullest, and doing new and fun things every day anyway?  Especially since both Cricket and Sheba are over 10 years old now, of course we should.  It’s easy though to get caught up in every day obligations, like jobs, taking care of homes, and family commitments, and to forget to take some time to just relax and have some fun with the pets.  That’s why I think some of these special days and things like bucket lists are a good idea.  Even though we may not celebrate especially on those days, or follow a bucket list to the letter, they serve as great reminders not to get too caught up in the drudgery of every day life, but take time to “smell the roses”.

In that spirit, I decided I would write Sheba a bucket list, just as a guideline and a place to go when I need a reminder of something fun we wanted to do.  One of the first things I thought of was taking her to the ocean.  None of our dogs have ever been there but I’ve seen other dogs there and doesn’t it look like fun for them?  Our seacoast is about 2 1/2 hours away and that’s where I ran into trouble with that idea (along with the fact that our beaches aren’t especially dog friendly).  Neither Sheba or Cricket like to ride in the car. Sheba is a bit better than Cricket….she lies quietly in the back just looking miserable while Cricket fidgets around and shakes like a leaf.

I know this is our fault.  When they were younger, we took them more places, but as we’ve gotten older and for a while having four dogs, we stopped doing that so much.  My hubby and I are homebodies, and we’ve never traveled far with the pets.  We’re not even travelers ourselves, we might take a vacation every few years or so, but each time we do they get shorter and shorter.  The times we went away on fun trips to Daytona and Texas, we enjoyed them immensely, but I was also very homesick towards the end of each trip.  We used to camp years ago, but it wasn’t long before we had parked our camper at one campground and made that into our second home.  That was before Sheba and Cricket though.

Anyplace I can swim would be awesome!

Anyplace I can swim would be awesome!

I’m going way out of my comfort zone going to the BlogPaws conference in May.  I know I won’t regret it for a minute, but it’s difficult, and that makes me wonder if it would be good or bad for Sheba to take her out of her comfort zone by taking her for a long ride in the car.  So I tabled the ocean for now and decided it might be better to try to take her to someplace closer like perhaps a cabin on a lake where she could do lots of swimming.  So that is first on our list, and here’s the other things I came up with and a little about each.  Many things on this list will be for Cricket and Luke as well, but they are not very social dogs so some might not be possible for them.

Sheba’s Bucket List:

  • Stay overnight at a lake cabin with lots of swimming.
  • Go for a ride to get ice cream (yes, we are the worst pet parents in the world because we have never done this).
  • Go apple picking in the fall (we did this with Kobi when he got older and he loved it, and I have the best memories of that trip).
  • Get a special drawing done of her.
  • Lots of walks and even some easier hikes (with her arthritis we avoid steep hikes). Lots of swimming too!
  • New toys to de-stuff (I just wish I could find a stuffed toy that did not have a squeaker in it, because I worry about her or Luke swallowing one of those).
You have no idea how much fun this is.

You have no idea how much fun this is.

  • Dress up for Halloween.  I didn’t think she would like to do this, but she took to wearing that sweater so well I think she might be OK with it.
  • Get a massage.  I’d like to learn how to give a massage to the dogs myself, and I’m not sure if anyone in our area does this but I’m going to find out.
  • She wants a real swimming pool that she can swim in!  Yes, the Momz has been wanting a pool for herself and them too, but whenever I bring the subject up to the Dadz I get a very negative response.  But last night I brought it up and he didn’t shoot me down immediately!   We recently cleared an area of our yard where we could possibly put one, but honestly, I’m not sure we can afford one.  We’ll see.
This pool is fun for cooling off, but you can't swim in it!

This pool is fun for cooling off, but you can’t swim in it!

The bottom line here is that we need to live each day to the fullest.  As much as we hate to think it, each day could be our last.  We lost our Lab mix Maggie to a tragic accident when she was only 5 years old, so we know only too well that you just never know.  Sheba is a happy dog, she loves her home, and she’d probably be just as happy to just keep living her life exactly as it is…..playing ball, playing with her siblings, and taking nice walks one-on-one with Mom.  We are lucky to have a very large play yard for the dogs, and we all love it.  We’ll keep doing all of those things of course, and try to throw in a few of these different fun things too.

I'm happy just playing with my brother!

I’m happy just playing with my brother!

Do you have a bucket list for your older or terminally ill pet, or do you just strive to live each day as it comes and make the most of it?

Black & White Sunday – Surveying

Cricket surveying her yard from the window seat in our upstairs bedroom.

BW Cricket

Congratulations to the winners of our Rejenease Joint Care for Dogs giveaway!  Everyone has been contacted and will be receiving their product soon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Update: I almost forgot!  If you were not one of the lucky winners, but still want to try this wonderful product,  I have also been given a discount code you can use to purchase your own.  Just click this link to order from amazon.com, and enter the discount code WAG1WOOF at checkout for 25% off your first order!  If you would like more information about this product, you can visit their website by clicking here.

Also, we were featured on Molly the Wally’s blog today as her Share It Sunday feature! We want to thank Molly for featuring us, and also thank our friend Jenna from Love is Being Owned by a Husky, for nominating us to be featured!

nolasugar_bwbadge_pm   Thank you to our Black and White Sunday blog hop hosts Sugar the Golden Retriever and Dachshund Nola.  Please visit other blogs through the links below

#52Snapshots – “Spring”

This week’s theme for the #52Snapshots of Life photo challenge is “Spring”.

Spring

As you can see in the background, our ground is still mostly snow covered, though we are starting to get some warmer temperatures and to see some puddles and bare ground.  But there’s nothing pretty about early spring really, and I had to go to the florist and buy these daffodils!  I needed some cheering up and these did the trick.  I also bought this cute little bunny to add some more color to the display.

Spring 2

And just to prove we really do have some bare ground…..

Spring 3

We’re getting there…..Happy Spring!  

52 Snapshots
Thank you to The Lazy Pit Bull for hosting the #52Snapshots of Life photo challenge.  Are you joining in the fun?  Photos can be shared via blog or social media, just use the hashtags #52Snapshots and #PBSG. Visit other participants through the links below.

Questioning Pet Vaccinations (Part 1 – Why I Questioned)

I’ve been planning a post about vaccines and pets for over two years now, ever since Cricket had her latest reaction to a DHPP shot.  It was one of many mild, not life threatening but concerning, reactions to different vaccines over the years.  Since there is a lot to cover on this subject, I decided to break it down into a series over the next few weeks.  For this first part I want to give you background on Cricket’s reactions, and other reasons questions arose for me concerning vaccinations.

First of all, I want to make one thing clear:  I am not against vaccinating your pets.  I will be sharing our experiences, as well as information I have learned through research and from our own veterinarian.  My intent is only to share information that might be important for pet families to know. You should always consult your own trusted vet when it comes to the care and safety of your own pets’ health.

From the time we had our first dog, we had them vaccinated at our vet’s recommendation yearly.  The only vaccination that we did as a 3 year was the rabies, per the requirements by our state.   We had done the same with our cats in more recent years.  Many years ago, I took in my childhood cat from my parents.  The only time Concha had been to a vet in all her years (she was probably around 12 when I took her), had been when she was spayed after having several litters of kittens.  Concha was a stray that we kids had talked my Dad into letting us keep, and my parents really weren’t financially able to take her to the vet yearly.  At the time I took her I really didn’t see the need to take her to the vet either (bear in mind this was about 25 years ago).

Concha

Concha

In the early 1990’s there was a big rabies scare in our area, and rabies clinics popped up everywhere.  We felt we would be neglectful to not take our cats and have them vaccinated.  Our other cats visited the vet more regularly, but we felt Concha should have that vaccine and took her to a clinic.  By then she was 18 years old but very healthy.  If memory serves me correctly, it was about 3 weeks later that she went into kidney failure and we had to have her put down.  I’ve always questioned our decision to get her that vaccine.  Was it just a coincidence?  Most likely, but I still have my doubts and have never forgotten that.

However, we still kept our pets vaccinated over the subsequent years.  Once the cats became indoor cats, we did find out they needed fewer vaccines, which is an added benefit and savings to having indoor cats.

There was never an issue with these vaccines for either cats or dogs until our beagle Cricket came along.  When Cricket got her first round of shots as a puppy, I don’t remember any issues.  The next year when she got what included rabies, Lyme, and DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus), initially she was fine.  But within 24 hours afterwards she was lying on the bed refusing to move, and yelped when I tried to touch her.  We immediately called the vet but were reassured this sometimes happens, and to keep an eye on her.  She was better within a couple of days.  When it came time for her next round of shots the following year, of course we had a discussion about this.  Our vet felt there was a good chance that she reacted to the “L”, Leptospirosis, in the DHLPP, because that is the one that most commonly gets reactions.  So that was removed, making that vaccine into a three year instead of yearly (when they add the “L” it has to be given yearly, otherwise it can be a 3 year vaccine).

This face trusts us to keep her safe and that's all I want to do.

This face trusts us to keep her safe and that’s all I want to do.

I don’t remember exactly how it went after that, but I do remember there was another time she was lame again, and after that we started splitting up the vaccines.  Honestly, I’m not sure we ever hit on exactly which one was bothering her, but we thought it was either the rabies or Lyme (initially she had those at the same time and I think that was when she was lame again).  We did not think that the DHPP was responsible, so when she had that two years ago we were surprised at what happened.  This time she was scratching herself non-stop just a few hours after that vaccine.  Of course I was on the phone with our vet again immediately, and we gave her Benadryl and were instructed to watch for swelling or breathing difficulties.  It took two doses of that to finally get her to stop scratching and fall asleep.  That was when my research began.  Last year the only shot she was due for was Lyme, and we skipped that.  This year she was due for her rabies (which is required by our state every 3 years), and there was no way she was getting that shot without a big discussion about it with our vet.  My feeling is that she possibly reacts to something else in the vaccines.  The allergic reaction especially scared me, even though it wasn’t extreme, I know that in people sometimes the next reaction can be worse and life threatening.

Once I had done my initial research two years ago, I knew when we took our golden retrievers Sheba and Moses for their yearly exams, that we wanted to switch them to a three year vaccine schedule as well.  Those two plus Kobi had been getting yearly vaccines with no issues, but I had learned that might not be necessary.  They were to be given a DHPP that year, without the L (which could be given separately if needed, but is not highly recommended in our area).  Moses had lost some weight at that point, but he had been a bit overweight so our vet was not concerned.  He had the shots he was due for – DHPP and Lyme.  Three weeks later Moses was diagnosed with cancer, and went for surgery to hopefully remove it.  The cancer was too far spread, and there was nothing to be done.  We chose not to have him revived.  Do I think that the vaccines caused the cancer?  No, not at all, I think he already had the cancer; but I do suspect that having those vaccines might have accelerated it.

Sweet Moses

Sweet Moses

I feel like I’m probably leaving you with more questions than answers, but I felt it was important to illustrate why I’ve had so many questions.  There’s a lot of media these days about human vaccinations, and I don’t want you to think that I’m just buying into some of that hype and applying it to my pets.  I hope you’ll come back to read more of what I have found out in my quest for information, and where we are going from here.

Have any of your pets ever had reactions to vaccines?

Barks n Bytes

Today we are joining the Thursday Barks & Bytes blog hop.  Thank you to our hosts 2 Brown Dawgs blog, and Heart Like a Dog.  Please visit other blogs through the links below!

 

Lean Mean Fighting Machine

In spite of the post title, and some of the pictures below,  our Luke is really a lover, not a fighter.  I wanted to share some pictures of him showing off his lean physique.  When my hubby took Luke in for his recent yearly vet appointment, I was shocked and even freaked out a little when he told me what Luke weighed.

Fight 1

Let me back up just a bit.  For those of you who have been reading for a while, you might remember our contest to guess Luke’s weight at one year old.  My hubby wanted Luke to be a big dog, so we fed him well and kept him growing; on his first birthday he weighed 73.1 pounds.

If memory serves me correctly, when we took him into the vet for his knee issue, he had dropped to about 70 lbs.  When diagnosed with luxating patella, our vet suggested that he should lose a couple more pounds.  Dogs with this condition should really be kept on the lean side.  Initially I was frustrated….how were we going to get him to lose weight when he was on exercise restrictions?  He did not seem overweight to us, we had thought he was just finally “filling out”.  Even the vet confirmed he was not really overweight, but weighing less would be better for his knees.  We reduced his food and after weeks of rest he was back to running and playing again.  My goal was for him to lose about 2-3 pounds, and weigh about the same as Sheba at 67 or so.

Luke at 8 months old on the left, and now at now almost 17 months.

Luke at 8 months old on the left, and now at almost 17 months.

When hubby came home from the vet last week, he told me that Luke weighed 62 pounds! Apparently, we outdid ourselves at the weight loss.  I panicked a bit, because I thought that was too much to lose!  Every time we’ve seen that big of a weight loss in any of our pets, it’s been because of illness.  But hubby reassured me that the vet thought Luke looked great, and was not concerned.

Lean mean fighting machine?

Lean mean fighting machine?

I have to agree.  Yes, he is lean, but I also think he looks great.  I also thought of the fact that Sheba weighs 67 and is healthy, and she is actually larger than Luke.  He has a healthy appetite and is very treat motivated when training.  I’ll let you judge from the photos.  I feel that he has the proper indentation and tuck up.  We can easily feel, but not see, his ribs.  Another thing that is good for his knees is for his leg muscles (quadriceps) to be strong….I tried to show how strong they look with these photos.  I think he has a runner’s physique, and isn’t that a good thing?

The tuck up.

The tuck up.

The waist indentation.

The waist indentation.

The well defined leg muscles.

The well defined leg muscles.

The strong hind quarters.

The strong hind quarters.

What do you think?  Does Luke look too thin, or does he just look like a lean and healthy guy?  If you’re not already familiar with it, I’m including the body condition chart often used to judge this.

dog body condition chart

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Thank you to BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday blog hop.  Sorry I had so many words again…it seems to be becoming a habit lately!  :)

Tuesday’s Tails: Meet Bonnie

Tues tailsWelcome to the Tuesday’s Tails Blog hop, hosted by Dogs N Pawz and Talking Dogs“This blog hop features shelter animals.  Find a cat, dog, rabbit or other animal at a local shelter or rescue and feature them on this blog hop!  Come join the fun and help a furry friend find a forever home.  And while you’re at it, don’t forget to visit the other blogs and share their animals that need forever homes on your social media sites.  Please spread the word!

Today I am sharing a beautiful cat named Bonnie who is at my local shelter.  I love tiger cats, and that white stripe down her nose is adorable, isn’t it?  She reminds me a little of our late cat Miss Bones.

Bonnie

According to the shelter, Bonnie is a “delicate girl” who is inexperienced with people but has the “potential to bloom in a very patient, loving, quiet home.”  She loves other cats and the shelter would love for her to go to a home where there is another feline friend.  Bonnie is almost 3 years old, medium size, and she is spayed and up to date on her vaccinations.

Bonnie is at the Upper Valley Humane Society, which was founded in 1959.  I remember the days when they were located in Plainfield, New Hampshire; they are now located in Enfield, NH (since 1990) and this is where we adopted our very first dog, Shelby, and our cat Conrad.  Their mission is to “compassionately connect people and pets“, which they strive to do by using positive reinforcement training with the dogs in their care, and through many different community programs including Humane Education for children.  That program includes group tours and classroom education.

You can visit and share Bonnie’s Petfinder page by clicking here.

Photo courtesy of Petfinder and Upper Valley Humane Society.

Monday Mischief – The Gate

This post contains mischief on many different levels, and it was all started by our cat Conrad.  It’s really just a result of living in a multi-pet household, with different species, and the added complication of old age.

Level 1:  Cat won’t use the litterbox.

It’s been a while now that Conrad has refused to use his litter box most of the time.  We had him checked by our vet, and tried every trick in the book to get him to.  We cut him a break now because he is at least 17 years old this spring.  It’s on the lower level of the house and not easy for him to get to.  We take him down there several times a day and sometimes he’ll use it, sometimes he won’t.  Honestly, I don’t think he has a lot of control over it these days.  So we live with it.  We have wood and tile floors and we can clean it up.  The big problem is that if he poops in the house, this is an exciting event for the dogs….and they all go running for it.  It became the biggest problem in the middle of the night.  Who wants to get woken up by dogs running downstairs, and then try to get up and race them down there (and hardly ever win)?  No fun!

Our house was originally set up as a Chalet style with an open loft upstairs.  When we decided to remodel and move our bedroom up there to enjoy the view from, there was really no way to make a door to that room, so the staircase is open, with no way to block the dogs up there easily.  We didn’t want to move the kitty litter to the main floor, and I don’t think Conrad would always use it even if we could find a place away from the dogs. The other option was to corral Conrad somewhere at night.  For years, Conrad was a skittish cat who spent a lot of time hiding away, so we just didn’t like the idea of now having to hide him away somewhere.

But when Cricket started having some stomach issues lately, we felt that the late night “poop runs” were not helping!  We had been propping up a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs, anchored by a chair, but Cricket had figured out a way around or through it.  So we had to come up with a new solution.  With the staircase the way it is, getting a gate up there wasn’t easy but we finally figured out a way to do it.

Um, what is this???

Um, what is this???

Level 2:  Luke won’t go through the gate.

Luke wouldn’t go through the gate.  I don’t know why….we’ve used these gates many times since he was a puppy, in different locations, and it was never an issue.  We used it most recently when he was recovering from having his knees checked.  I guess because it was in a new location, our fearful boy was going to have a problem with it.  So the first few nights, my hubby had to keep taking the gate down to get Luke up to bed, and then put it back up again.  Not ideal.

So during the days I started working with him using treats and trying to get him to come through.  The best I could get was him stretching his neck through, but he just wouldn’t come up.  We simply weren’t making any progress.   By the way, he would go down through fine, but he would not go up!  I honestly think it’s because he wasn’t thinking about it when going down, he’s usually at a run when he’s headed down!

This is very scary!!

This is very scary!!

Sheba was a bit timid about it at first too, but not for long.

Hey, is that a tissue?

Level 3:  New lure, and a thief.

OK, who uses a tissue as a lure to get their dog to do something?  Desperate people, that’s who!  Luke loves tissues, so I just figured it was worth a try.  It actually worked one time, but after that he was on to me, and he wasn’t doing it twice.  And then this happened as well:

Tissue thief!! Where did she come from?

I didn’t see that coming.  Sheba is not a tissue lover like Luke.  Though come to think of it, years ago she was the reason we had to start putting our bathroom trash can up on a shelf.  She was a trash picker.

Level 4:  Do NOT try this at home.

Tired people don’t always think clearly.  More than once, we happened to get behind Luke when heading up to bed, and found that just a gentle push up through the gate would get him to go through.  My hubby elevated that to actually half picking him up and just kind of putting him through.  Does it seem wise to force a fearful dog to do something he doesn’t want to?  No, it does not.  But force is a strong word…if Luke had actually struggled at all, we would have immediately stopped.   He let us do it, and guess what?  It worked.  Luke is now going through the gate with no problems.  All we can figure is that just giving him that push fairly quickly didn’t give him time to think about being scared.  When he is afraid of something, if he can’t see it, he is often fine (my hubby learned that at Luke’s recent vet visit…another story for another time).

I got this!!  No biggie.

I got this!! No biggie.

We’re just grateful that we finally found a solution to the Conrad problem.  Cricket’s stomach seems to be feeling better, and we’re proud of Luke for overcoming one of his fears.  The first few times he went through that gate on his own, we gave him lots of praise and I think that helped him along too.

monday-mischief-button-150x150-pxWe are joining the Monday Mischief blog hop.  Thank you to our hosts:  Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, and My Brown Newfies.  Please visit other blogs through the links below for more mischief fun!

#52Snapshots “Green”

This week’s theme for the #52Snapshots of Life photo challenge is “green”.  Since it is supposed to be spring, I was really hoping to be able to get a shot of something green poking up through the ground, or a fresh bud on an early tree getting ready to open.  However, our ground is still white, very white.  There is one area of my memorial garden that is bare (only because it’s under a tree), but I can’t get to it because the gate to the garden is still snowed in and frozen shut.  I doubt anything is trying to grow yet anyway, it’s darn cold out there lately!  OK, I’m done whining about the weather….but it is really discouraging here!  #whereisspring

Instead we have Luke posing in our Earth Rated bandana.  Earth Rated is a “green” company, so we get double meaning here!   We use their poop bags all the time.  I also used Picmonkey to darken the edges and colored it green.  It is St. Patrick’s week, after all.

Green

He also wanted to show you an alternate pose, and a blooper.

Green alternate

When I was getting everything together for the photo shoot, he decided to steal the bandana off the kitchen counter and run off with it!  It must be he sensed I was thinking about wrapping it around his head in a girly fashion.  :)   He won….I didn’t!  Well, I might have tried…..but no one will ever know.

Green blooper

52 Snapshots

Thank you to The Lazy Pit Bull for hosting the #52Snapshots of Life photo challenge.  Are you joining in the fun?  Photos can be shared via blog or social media, just use the hashtags #52Snapshots and #PBSG. Visit other participants through the links below.