Three Days of Happy (Day 1) – Sheba Turns 10 & Giveaways Begin!

Happy, Happy 10th Birthday to our sweet Sheba!!  At 10 years old, Sheba is active and happy.  She is healthy except for her arthritis, but that is well under control with supplements and most days you’d never even know she has it.  Today she’ll get a special walk with Mom!   For her birthday, I wanted to share some photos of her over the years:

Sheba newborn

Sheba newborn

2 months old

2 months old

Sheba 2005

4 months old

Sheba 1 year

1 year old

4 years old

4 years old

 

6 years old

6 years old

8 years old

8 years old

Today our giveaways begin, and here’s how it works:  There are two prize packs, #1 to be given away by entering the Rafflecopter, and #2 to be given away by guessing Luke’s weight in the comments (whole pounds only, we’ll round his weight up if necessary).  If there is more than one correct guesser of Luke’s weight there will be a random draw to declare the winner.  The contests will be open for one week, ending at 11:59pm on Saturday November 1st.  Contests are open to USA residents over 18 years of age only and void where prohibited.  Non-USA residents please still join in the fun and make a guess for Luke’s weight in the comments!

Luke will be going in Monday to get weighed, so we don’t even know the official answer yet!  Here’s a little help for guessing Luke’s weight:

Do the math

Prize Pack 1Prize Pack #1 (clockwise): Get your woof on with a one of a kind, handmade WOOF dog bone pendant from For Love of a Dog Jewelry.  Hand crafted porcelain dog bone in biscuit brown dangles from an artisan lampwork bead in shades of caramel and ginger brown.  Hand wire wrapped with gold jeweler’s wire.  Total length of pendant is 2 1/2 inches (Retail value: $30).  Kong tug toy.  Bark & Lunge by Kari Neumeyer, personalized and signed by the author!  Read my review of this book by clicking here. Fruitables Skinny Minis in Pumpkin Mango flavor.  Great treats for training!  Read my review of their watermelon treats by clicking here.

 

Prize Pack 2

 

Prize Pack #2:  Kong Tug Toy.  Appleberry Bites dog treats from Three Paws Up bakery.  Fresh baked just before shipping!  Read my review of Three Paws Up by clicking herePurple Tree Frog from Pet Qwerks ToysHe squeaks!  Pastry for Poodles by Chef Fifi LeFay.  Read my review of this fun book by clicking here.

 

 

Don’t want to wait to win that beautiful pendant?  Sue at For Love of a Dog Jewelry has generously agreed to provide a discount code for our readers!  You can receive 10% off your order at checkout by providing this code:  WAGNWOOF (case sensitive).  $24 minimum purchase, free shipping to USA.  This code is good until midnight 12/31/14, so you can do some Christmas shopping!

Good luck and have fun with the Rafflecopter below!  We’ll be back tomorrow with more birthday celebrations!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October is a Special Month – Flashback Friday

 

We have two big birthdays coming up this weekend, you can see the invitation to our big bash at the end of this post.  However, it’s not just our current two that have October birthdays.  October is a special month for us because three of our late dogs also had October birthdays.  In fact, that is one of the big reasons we ended up adopting Luke.  He shares a birthday with our special dog Maggie.

Flashback Friday

This is just for fun, so the answers are at the end of the post!

Kobi was also born in October, though we never knew the exact date.  We would celebrate his birthday along with the others.  When Sheba and Moses were born (their parents belonged to friends of ours) we really hoped they’d be born on Maggie’s birthday (we had just lost her earlier that year), but they came two days before.  It was still special.  On another note, Cricket came home with us two days after Sheba and Moses were born, so that means she came home on Maggie’s birthday!

Thus, with Luke’s 1st birthday and Sheba’s 10th, we thought it would be a good year for a big bash.  I’ll also be sharing a little more about the other three over the weekend, happy memories mostly!

Answers:
Maggie – 1999
Kobi – 2000
Sheba – 2004
Moses – 2004
Luke – 2013

Birthday invite

We are joining the Flashback Friday blog hop hosted by Five Sibes and Love is Being Owned by a Husky!

Flashback Friday both

 

I Went to College!!

Luke byline

 

By Luke Keefe

 

 

Since I went to college I now get to write my first blog post!  Well, it’s Wordless Wednesday, so I’m supposed to keep it short, but that’s OK.

I just wanted to tell you all how I went to college!!  This is the ole alma mater here, White Mountain College for Pets (highly recommended if you live in the Plymouth, New Hampshire area) and the next photo is of my professor (trainer) Dave and me.  Both Mom and Dad went to school with me, so we all got some training and learned all about how clickers can help me learn better.  Dave said that I’m very smart, and that made Mom and Dad happy!

White Mt College

Luke school

I’m the first one in my fur family to go to college!  I didn’t graduate or get a certificate like when I went to Basic Obedience, but that’s because this time I had private training.  The Momz can’t wait to tell you more about it, and why we chose private lessons, but it’s too much to tell for Wordless Wednesday, so she’ll fill you in soon.

Luke and Dave
Birthday invite

WW badgeThank you to BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday blog hop!

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Dog Treats

 

Having fresh picked apples in the house finally motivated me to bake some treats for the dogs!  I looked through all my recipes for one with apple, and found this one that I had made before.  To give credit where it is due, I had found this recipe on All-natural-dog-treat.com, though I did modify it just a bit.

RecipeI prefer to use the chopped apple, and I have a food processor that makes that easy.  You can see here how there are some nice chunks of apple in there, and you can see the parsley and cinnamon as well.

Duck

Parsley and cinnamon both have benefits for dogs:

  • Parsley helps freshen breath, and is anti-inflammatory and can help soothe arthritis symptoms. It can help cleanse organs and possibly prevent diseases.  *However, do not give to dogs who are pregnant or have severe kidney problems.*
  • Cinnamon is also anti-inflammatory and can help relieve painful joints from arthritis.  It can help regulate blood sugar for dogs with diabetes, and can improve circulation and benefit the heart.  It also helps with digestion/upset tummies and is a natural food preservative.
Duck, duck, squirrel.

Duck, duck, squirrel.

I found some fun cookie cutters I had forgotten I had, but no matter what the shape the dogs loved them!

Notice the look in those eyes!

Notice the look in those eyes!

Expectant faces.

Expectant faces.

Cricket takes hers off to her special place to savor it!

Cricket takes hers off to her special place to savor it!

More please?

More please?

I plan to use some of the small bones as part of a birthday treat I’ll be baking this weekend.  We’ll be baking with pumpkin and sharing that recipe as well.  These are two things we especially love about fall….apples and pumpkins!

Birthday invite

Tasty Tues badgeWe are joining the Tasty Tuesday blog hop hosted by Sugar the Golden Retriever and Kol’s Notes.  Please visit our hosts along with the other blogs through the links below for more tasty treats.

Monday Mischief – Someone’s at the Door

 

I recently read an article (“Dangers of Prolonged Sitting” from Mercola.com) that said one of the worst things we can do for our health is spend too much time sitting.  Many of us spend hours sitting at a desk, either for our work, or at our home computers.  I do both, since I work as a bookkeeper three days per week, and work at home two days per week either doing freelance bookkeeping work, or working on this blog.

I’m not worried.  Why not?

Scritch, scritch, scritch.  Someone’s at the door.  No, this isn’t a spooky Halloween story, this is every day, every hour, every few minutes at our house.  And I imagine many of you can relate.  Someone’s at the door…..whoThese three who can’t make up their minds whether they want to be in or out!

If she's in, I want to be in.

Sheba: “If she’s in, I want to be in.” Cricket: “Let me out please.”

No, let her out so we can all play Zisc!

“OK, yes, let her out so we can all play Zisc!”

Someday I’m going to count how many times I get up out of my office chair and cross through the kitchen to go to that door.

Actually, I think I do want to come in.

“On second thought, I think I do want to come in. Or is she coming out?”

The worst of the three is Sheba.  She will be lying down in sight of the door and watch me let one or both of her siblings in or out, but won’t move; until I’ve made it all the way back into the office, and maybe even sat down.  Scritch, scritch, scritch.

Wait, how did he get in?  I definitely want in now.

“Wait, how did he get in? I definitely want in now.”

I’m finally starting to learn, and now I’ll stand by the door for an extra minute and just stare at her (asking her if she wants to go in or out doesn’t always work).  Sure enough, many times she’ll get up and come in, or go out.

I wonder why I sometimes feel exhausted at the end of a day when I don’t really think I did that much.  There are times that scritch, scritch, scritch really gets on my nerves and I have to confess that I sometimes curse under my breath (OK, maybe out loud because it is usually only me and the animals at home).

Let me in!!  Hurry!  You can see why we need a screen guard on the door.

“Let me in!! Hurry!” I think one of the first things Luke learned as a puppy was how to scratch at the door. You can see why we need a screen guard on it.

Wait, how did she get out?  Let me back out please!

“Wait, how did she get out? Let me back out please!”

Now that I’ve read that article I know the truth:  the dogs are really just looking out for my health.  Bless their little hearts!  :)

Just for fun trivia question:  Can anyone name the 1990’s spooky but short lived TV series that used the line “Someone’s at the door“?

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Thank you to our blog hop hosts:  Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, and My Brown Newfies!  Please visit them and the other participants through the links below.

Black & White Sunday – Pretty

Sheba on walk

Our pretty and happy girl out on a walk recently.

What isn’t pretty and doesn’t make the Momz happy is when we get home to find these little burr-like things stuck in Sheba’s fur.  Has anyone else seen these, and do you know what these are or what kind of bush they come off of?  Every fall she gets covered in them at some point, and we have to pick and brush them out.  Then we still find them around the house all week!

burrs 2

 Happy Black and White Sunday and enjoy your day!

nolasugar_bwbadge_pmThank you to Dachshund Nola and Sugar the Golden Retriever for hosting the Black & White Sunday blog hop.

FitDog Friday – Follow Your Nose

 

Tuesday morning I wanted to take Cricket for a jog.  We had had a busy three day weekend with lots of play time in the yard.  Monday afternoon my sister and I took Sheba and Luke for a 4 mile walk.  Cricket stayed home with Dad….she had been playing all morning, and she does most of the running/work when we’re playing fetch, so I figured we’d take the other two to get some more exercise.  However, I wanted Cricket to get an outing too.

I spent a little time on the computer while waiting for the darkness to lift, and the temperatures to rise just a bit.  I happened to read a blog post at Something Wagging This Way Comes, titled “Stop Stressing Out Your Dog“.  The idea behind Pamela’s post (you can click on the title to read it yourself) is that perhaps our dogs are stressed because we make almost all of their choices for them, causing them frustration by never giving them any control over their lives.

We headed out and walked a bit before I broke into a jog.  Only Cricket didn’t join me……she lagged behind.  She clearly didn’t want to jog.  She does this from time to time but usually gives in when I persist.  But then I thought of Pamela’s post and decided not to persist.  What would it hurt me to walk instead of jogging, if that’s what Cricket wanted?  She was probably tired after our busy weekend.  So we went at her pace.  I still got to jog a little when she sped up, but mostly she had her nose to the ground smelling the fall smells.  Believe it or not, that is unusual for our little beagle.   I have written before about how Cricket’s walking style is usually to pull forward and go, go, go, which is one of the reasons I’ve chosen her to jog with.

Kobi would be so proud of his sister actually walking like a beagle!

Kobi would be so proud of his sister actually walking like a beagle!

We had headed towards the Christmas tree farm, but when we came to the path that leads to a small pond, I let her choose to go that way.  We have deer in the area and she was probably following their trails.  We don’t often walk past the pond because I’m not sure who that property belongs to and don’t want to be intruding, even though the closest house is the other side of the pond.  Since it was the middle of the day on a weekday I figured no one would be around anyway.

Fall smells so good!

Fall smells so good!

As we approached the mown field at the top of the hill above the pond, I looked out and saw a house that sits on the opposite hill.  We can’t really see too much of that house from the road, but I know it’s for sale, and I have dreamed of buying it.  It’s far more private than our house, and away from the paved street which our house sits close to.  Plus it overlooks this lovely little pond!  The original plan for the subdivision we are part of was for there to be a pond at the bottom of our property, but that never happened.  This house, however, is way out of our price range.

House on hill

When we had our house built in 1993, we had bought the first lot that was part of this same subdivision.  Our lot was one of two on the paved main road, and the rest are off of this side street, and larger than ours.  We bought what we could afford at the time which was a smaller lot.  Our original house was very small, though we have expanded quite a bit over the years.  There were no houses down here, there wasn’t even a tree farm or a pond back then.  We used to walk down here with our first dog Shelby, making a big loop on a dirt road and trails with nothing but the woods and signs of wildlife to see.

I wonder which of these two paths is the original?

I wonder which of these two paths is the original?

I realized where Cricket had led me was part of the original path we used to take years ago.  I tried to remember exactly where it had gone, because there were two trails leading away from the field and towards the house closest to the pond.  It looks so different now that I can’t be sure.  But I enjoyed the memories that flooded back as we stood there.  Later when reflecting, I also gained a new appreciation for my own home and all we have done to it over the years to make it into the home we wanted.  We may never have that pond down below us, but we are now in the process of finishing our screen porch into a 4 season porch that we can enjoy year round.  We have our own house on a hill with beautiful views of the mountains.

Our house in 1994.  It has changed so much over the years!

Our house in 1994. It has changed so much over the years!

I have two points to make here.  One is that exercising with your dog can be good for your mind and spirit as well as your body.  The other is that we can sometimes give our dogs freedom to make a choice when it comes to their own fitness and what they want to do or where they want to go.  Cricket likes fetch more than walks or runs, so we try to do both with her with more of an emphasis on fetch.  If you let your dog sometimes follow their nose or their instincts, you may find that they lead you both someplace unexpected and enjoyable.

fitDogFriday_180x150We are joining the FitDog Friday blog hop.  Thank you to our blog hop hosts SlimDoggy, To Dog With Love and MyGBGVLife.  Please visit their sites and others through the links below to learn more about keeping your dogs fit and happy!

Barking About…..Senior Cats & Feline Arthritis

The dogs have given me permission to “bark about” an issue that many senior cats deal with.  After all, they share their home with two felines and even though they won’t admit it, they are all friends and care about each other!  Plus they agree that  “meowing about” just doesn’t sound as good as “barking about”!

I want to be clear that neither of our cats have been diagnosed with arthritis.  I did, however, read an interesting article on the subject which led me to suspect that our elderly cat Conrad might suffer from it.  I thought that other cat families may be interested in what the symptoms could be if they want to watch for it in their own cats, as well as sharing a bit about the issues we’ve been dealing with as Conrad has aged.

Conrad was an active outdoor cat in his younger years.

Conrad was an active outdoor cat in his younger years.

He loved to watch the birds, but as I remember, they were pretty safe from him.

He loved to watch the birds, but as I remember, they were pretty safe from him.

Conrad got a clean bill of health at his last yearly vet appointment.  Even though he will no longer groom himself and won’t always use the litter box, our vet felt those were all things that were part of his normal aging.  He had also lost some weight at one point, and his thyroid was checked and found to be normal.  He eats and drinks fine, and all his bodily functions are normal as well.

feline-arthritis-infographics

A few months back I read an article on VetDepot.com (if you would like to read the complete article, click here).  It listed some of the symptoms of feline arthritis (also known as degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis) as the following:

  • Cats may stop grooming themselves.
  • They may have difficulty rising, climbing, and jumping.
  • They may become grumpy, and less sociable and playful.
  • They may have accidents because of difficulty getting in and out of the litterbox.
  • They may eat less, resulting in weight loss.
  • Inactivity can cause a loss of muscle mass.
  • They may be noticeably stiff and sore, and may limp.

Conrad has most of these symptoms, except that he has become more sociable as he has aged, though he can be grumpy at times (but who wouldn’t be when a 68 pound puppy thinks you want to play with him).  He also definitely eats more, not less.  He doesn’t limp and doesn’t show signs of being stiff and sore, but he does stand and lie in some strange positions sometimes.

Now, after reading how arthritis is very under-diagnosed in cats, I wondered if our vet had missed something.  But we decided for many reasons not to pursue it further with our vet at this time.  Conrad is at least 16 years old (he came from a shelter and may be even older than that), and he hates being put in the crate and going to the vet.  I don’t want to put him through a whole lot of stress, and possibly needing x-rays or other tests.  His condition hasn’t changed in months (if it was progressing we would take him in), other than the fact that he looks scruffier because he doesn’t groom himself.

We decided instead to just try giving him a joint supplement to see if that made any difference in how he got around.  After weeks of being on that, we didn’t see any significant changes, even though we thought here and there we might have seen some improvement (I’d get excited if I actually saw him washing a paw!).  We decided to switch and try a different kind of supplement….Revitamal.  We did see one significant change….he put on some weight!  At this point we are going to keep him on some sort of senior cat supplement, and maybe we’ll hit on something that shows an even bigger improvement.

We love this sweet face!

We love this sweet face!

I feel badly that Conrad is kind of a mess from not grooming himself.  I’d like to put him in a soapy bath and clean him up good!  But again, I’m not going to put him through that kind of stress.  We try to brush him, but he often bites us when we do.  So I brush or comb him a little bit here and there, and wipe him down with a wet cloth when he’ll tolerate it.  When he is due for his next wellness check I will bring up arthritis to my vet.  But my research turns up that supplements are perhaps the best form of treatment, since cats do not tolerate NSAIDS, a common treatment for canine arthritis, as well as dogs do.

His favorite bed in front of the sliding glass in the dining room.

His favorite bed in front of the sliding glass in the dining room.

Another thing to do is to just adjust their environment to keep them comfortable.  We feed Conrad in our bathroom on the floor with the door closed so the dogs don’t bother him.  We frequently carry him downstairs to his kitty litter to reduce accidents in the house.  He has many comfy beds to lie on, and we feed him most times when he is hungry (which is quite often!).  We are just doing our best to make his senior years as comfortable and stress free as possible (Luke gets scolded when he harasses him).

The cats have to go through the hole in this door to get to their kitty litter.  Conrad may have difficulty with that, even though he can get back out and up the stairs fine.

The cats have to go through the hole in this door to get to their kitty litter. Conrad may have difficulty with that, even though he can get back out and up the stairs fine.

Obviously, I am not a vet and I am just sharing how we are dealing with Conrad’s issues.  You may choose to deal with things differently if you are in our position.  I often worry we are not doing the right thing, but we’ve made our decisions based on knowing Conrad’s personality.  Everyone with pets knows that it is a constant struggle to balance out running to the vet for every little thing, and missing something they should have gone to the vet for.  Our choices might be different if we saw these issues in Samantha, who is far younger at 12 years old, and not skittish like Conrad has always been.

Barks n Bytes 2

 

We are joining the Thursday Barks and Bytes blog hop.  Many thanks to our hosts 2 Brown Dawgs Blog and Heart Like a Dog.  Please visit them and others through the links below.

 

Monday Mischief – Destructor of Toys

 

Back in April (“The Short and Long Life of Toys“)  I shared with you that Sheba had been training Luke to destroy stuffie toys.  It got to the point where we have stopped getting stuffies, because he can put a hole in one in literally minutes.  He eats anything and everything, so we just can’t take the chance that he’ll eat a squeaker.

Now he’s even kicked it up another notch.  First, a short story I wanted to share with you about Chewy.com.  We do reviews for Chewy sometimes, but we also shop there.  This story is about a shopping experience and in no way endorsed by Chewy.com.

Kong toyI ordered this toy, the Kong tug toy seen to the left here, from Chewy.com last month. When we received our package, there was actually a 4 pack of these toys, instead of just the one I had ordered.  I had just given Luke the toy to play with and sat down and had an online chat with a representative at Chewy to let them know what had happened.  I was impressed when she told me to keep the 4 toys.  She suggested that if I couldn’t use them, then maybe I could give them to my local shelter?  I love a business with good customer service, the rep was friendly and helpful;  best of all I didn’t have to be bothered to mail the extra toys back to the company, and that made me happy.

I was impressed with Chewy’s customer service, but I was far less impressed with Luke’s ability to destroy that toy, which is made of durable rubber, in a matter of minutes.  I was in the middle of the chat when I checked on Luke, who had taken the toy outside, and found he had chewed through it!  He is turning out to be even more destructive than Sheba, which I didn’t think was possible!  Now, the toy says it is not for unsupervised play, so I can report that is very true if you have a dog like Luke.  But it’s a great toy for tug, and I was certainly happy we had an extra, since I had to throw the first one away (one end was bitten into chunks)!

Bumi

He has also bitten off the end of two West Paw Bumi toys, seen to the left here.  That toy comes in two sizes and those were the smaller ones.  So far the larger one is holding up, and they also like the Tux toy, which you can see he and Sheba playing with below.

Tux toy

Though the larger Bumi is holding up, you can see below that he has managed to get some teeth marks in it, and below that you can see what both he and Sheba do to the balls that they play with.  The toys have a one time guarantee, so we could choose to have them replaced.  They are also made of non-toxic materials which makes me feel a little less nervous when it’s possible they might have eaten a little bit.  West Paw Design is in no way sponsoring this post either….they are just one of our favorite companies.

Bumi Ball

So, we are constantly on the hunt for some different toys that will stand up to these two!  Recently some of our favorite bloggers contributed to an article on just this subject:  Durable Dog Toys – Dog Toys Recommended by Owners of Large Breed Dogs.  With Luke’s birthday coming up, I am looking for some new toys for him, and this article was a big help.  I have already chosen one of the toys in the article for his birthday, and we’ll report on how it holds up to him after that.  The good news for our readers is that we will be giving away those Kong toys as part of the big birthday giveaway we’re planning (it’s both Luke and Sheba’s birthdays!) at the end of this month.  They are great for tug in the house, but getting him and Sheba to actually play tug in the house with it isn’t always easy…..see below how as soon as I give it to him they head to the door and want to take it outside!

I love this toy!!.....

I love this toy!!…..

Toy out

….Let’s take it outside!!

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Thank you to our blog hop hosts:  Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, and My Brown Newfies!  Please visit them and the other participants through the links below.