Wordless Wednesday – What’s My Color?

Luke is becoming quite the clotheshorse!  We wanted something a little warmer than his hoodies for these extremely cold days we’ve been having this winter.  I got him this green fleece jacket.

Luke coat 2

Luke doesn’t think green is really his color though, and he wants to know what you think.  Green, red, or blue?  Or is there another color we should try?

Wordless Wednesday

WW badgeThank you to BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday blog hop.  Please visit other blogs through the links below!

Fighting K9 Cancer Through Healthy Living

Even though the type of cancer removed from Sheba, spindle cell sarcoma,  is unlikely to metastasize, we still face the possibility that the tumor wasn’t completely removed.  This type of cancer is messy (for lack of a better word), and it can’t be known if our vet was able to get it all. There is also the possibility that it could turn up on other parts of her body, or in her lungs.  We are trying to stay optimistic, but I think it’s prudent to do what we can to fight that from happening.

I’ve read that there are certain diets that some people feed to dogs with cancer to help, and I wondered if that would be a good idea for her.  Most of these diets are for dogs with active cancer,  who also might be facing the weight loss that goes along with it.  Sheba is now completely healed from the surgery…yay!, and she feels great.  Her weight is right where it should be.  So I don’t feel like drastic changes are needed for her, but there are still some things we can do.  The only additional thing we could do for her, with traditional medicine, is to follow up her tumor removal with radiation. In light of how good she feels now, we have decided not to do that at this time.

Happy and feeling good!

Happy and feeling good!

I am interested in holistic medicine but I’m just not sure that I’m totally sold on every aspect of it.  I toyed with the idea of taking her to a holistic vet, but decided against it for now.  Instead I’ve done some research to see what we can do on our own.  What I’ve read is that carbohydrates feed cancer cells so that a low carb diet is best, with quality fat and moderate protein.  A raw diet would be optimal.  I am very interested in raw diets, but again, I’m not completely sold on it yet.  We feed a high quality grain free food, though many of the treats we get still have grains.

There are good and bad carbs though, so we are going to try to stick to the good carbs:  fruit, veggies (broccoli, carrots, peas), honey, oatmeal, and brown rice.  I am so happy that brown rice is on this list.  Recently someone mentioned rice cakes as a treat for their dogs, and I remembered that years ago we used to give them to our dogs a lot, and Kobi especially loved them.  I had picked some up again, and let me tell you, these guys went nuts for them!  Seriously, I got plain brown rice cakes, with nothing else in them.  Have you ever tried these?  They are completely tasteless and dry.  The dogs LOVE them!  I will also try to buy or make more grain free treats as well though.  I was actually motivated to dehydrate some sweet potatoes recently, and they all love those as well.

They really do get excited about these!

They really do get excited about these!

I also found two different supplements that can be beneficial in fighting cancer as well, in that they improve the immune system;  Curcumin, which is found in the spice turmeric, and Omega 3 fatty acids – from fish oil in particular.  Both of these have the added benefit of being beneficial for other conditions such as arthritis, which Sheba also has.

curcumin-singleCurcumin also benefits digestion.  The amount of curcumin in the spice turmeric may not be enough, or may not be absorbed efficiently, so I am purchasing curcumin from Mercola, where they have a product made specifically for dogs and cats.  I also found that the joint supplement that Sheba takes also has curcumin in it, so we will adjust her dosage accordingly.  I believe in all things in moderation, so we don’t want to overdo it.

I also want to note here that curcumin may not be beneficial to dogs undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, so please check with your vet before adding this to your dogs’ diet if they are undergoing cancer treatment.  If you are interested in learning more about this supplement, I will include some articles at the end of this post where you can read more.

We have already been giving the dogs salmon oil.  We used to give it daily, but then cut back and have been giving it once a week.  The plan now is to increase that again.  We have to be careful with fish oil since it is high in calories, but I like that it is also beneficial for their skin and coats.

Again, everything in moderation.  I don’t want to make a lot of drastic changes to Sheba’s diet, since she is feeling well now.  So we’ll add these two supplements, and leave everything else the same for now.

There are other things we can do to fight cancer as well; limiting vaccines and toxins in the environment, as well as consistent exercise and weight management.   I am planning a whole post on vaccinations, so I won’t get into that subject here.  Sheba is up to date on all of hers, so that is not a concern right now anyway.  I already use as many all natural cleaning products as possible, and we don’t use any chemicals on our lawns or in our gardens.  Reducing stress through exercise and play is also important.  I’m happy to say we already do all of these things for all of our dogs; we try to exercise daily and we monitor their calorie intake and weight.

I know a lot of people have done “bucket lists” for their dogs, and I wonder what Sheba would put on hers.  I’ve been thinking about whether or not to do this, and I’ll share my thoughts on that in another post.

Disclaimer:  I am not a veterinarian and the things we are trying here are our own choice to try, after doing my own research.  You should consult your own vet when making any changes to your dogs’ diet.

For further information:

 

Clicker Training – A Positive Experience “High 5″

When we last left off, I was training Luke on having his paws handled so that I could trim his nails.  We were also working on “roll over” and that wasn’t going so well.  I tried moving the “roll over” training to our bed, so that maybe he’d feel more comfortable rolling over, but that didn’t help.  I decided to set that aside for now and work on something else.  I had originally decided against training him to do anything involving paws, because he has not been comfortable with having his paws handled.  However, since we’ve been working on that and it’s going well I decided to try “high five”.

Per instructions I read online, I was to hold a treat in my fist, hold my hand up, and get him to try and get at it with his paws.  Guess what?  He nosed my hand over and over but not once did he try to get it with his paws!  So I switched it up and instead of doing just that, I told him to “give paw”, which we had learned, and when he pawed at my hand I clicked and treated.  Once he had that down, I put the treat in my other hand and gave him the palm of my hand instead, and started adding the command “high 5″.  It took him literally only minutes to figure it out, and I was able to stop using the clicker in no time.

High 5

The next time I wanted to get him to use his other paw, which was a little trickier.  We had been working on “other paw” some when doing his paw handling, and I sometimes had to tap the back of his leg to remind him, but he got that down pretty quickly too.  Occasionally he wouldn’t get it, and he would just start throwing all of his paws up so that’s when I decided that next we would train “all ten”.  We’re just starting to get that too!  He still needs some more work, but I really am excited at how quickly he’s been catching on.  It more than makes up for our lack of success at “roll over”.

Other Side

I decided to make a little video so he could show off!  He was a bit distracted in the beginning, I think because my hubby was there taking the video.  Later in the clip you’ll see another distraction for him as well.

The video is edited some, so you only see one of the times he was totally screwing up!  One thing that is so cute about him is that when he gets a little frustrated, and is not comprehending what I want, he has a “go to move”.  He’ll kiss me!  He knows what will make his Mom happy.  I’m really proud of how he did here, especially in light of the distraction he had towards the end!  Neither my hubby or I saw Sam, though I did see Luke keep looking behind me, and I did ask my hubby at one point if she was out there, because I knew she had been in the other room earlier.

A few notes:

  • I no longer need to use the clicker for this training but I am still using treats when we do a session like this.  We work on this occasionally throughout the day though, with no treats.
  • I think that Luke responds to my hand gestures as much as to what words I use for commands, if not more.  I’ve noticed this with his other training as well.
  • The nail trimming is going very slowly, so we’re going to try something else for that as well….I’ll keep you posted.

 

4978840We’re happy to be joining Positive Reinforcement Pet Training Week.  It begins on the first Monday of every month and runs all week long.  It is hosted by Cascadian Nomads, Tenacious Little Terrier, and Rubicon Days.  Please visit our hosts as well as other blogs through the links below for more positive pet training tips.

Look Who’s Playing – Black & White Sunday

Sheba play 2

Yesterday morning we checked Sheba’s incision, and the area that had been retaining a little bit of fluid had finally gone down!  We decided to let her go outside and play with her siblings.  We still had her take it easy though, just to be on the safe side.

Sheba play

Doesn’t she look happy to be out there?  On top of that, even though we’ve still been waking up to below zero temps, and we’re expecting two small snowstorms this week, the days have been getting a little warmer.  There is hope that spring may break through soon, and we’re all smiling around here this weekend!

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

I’m Officially Sticking Around

I made a decision.  Just a few months ago I was telling my husband that I was thinking about attending the BlogPaws pet blogging conference.  Being a shy introvert, going to this conference wasn’t going to be an easy decision for me.  But if I was going to continue this blog, I felt like it was something I needed to do.  At that point I wasn’t 100% sure that I was going to continue.  My hubby suggested I give it some time, and not make a decision about the conference until I was sure about the blog.

I made a mental agreement with myself that I would decide after the holidays, after the first of the year.  It was well before that when my mind was made up.  I’m not sure exactly when things clicked, and I knew this blog was something I was going to continue to do.  (**Update – I neglected to say that I WILL be going to the BlogPaws conference, and I am very nervous but also very excited about it!**)

The reasons I had doubts had to do with self-confidence.  There were times when I felt like the readership of my blog was not growing.  I don’t look at stats and numbers much; I mostly judge by how many comments a post might receive.  I spent way too much time comparing my number of comments to the number of comments on other blogs.  I would be highly disappointed when I didn’t get selected for a BlogPaws campaign.  My whole life has been spent being mostly just above average.  I was smart and performed well in school, but I was not the smartest.  I succeeded at my jobs, but I never excelled.  So I quit things.  And that’s exactly where I saw myself headed with the blog, until I realized it and stopped doing that.   This time I thought I’d work just a bit harder instead.

Cricket

Cricket

I decided to post more often, instead of 4-5 days per week, I upped it to 5-6.  I’m not sure if that was the boosting point or not, but I haven’t compared myself to other blogs for a while now (well, maybe occasionally, but I stop myself).  I’m happy where I’m at with it, and excited about where it’s going.

So when recently a Facebook support group I’m in shared a couple of posts by other bloggers who were quitting, or were just discouraged, that bothered me.  One post was by a very popular and well loved pet blogger who was quitting.  It was a heartfelt post about how she felt pet blogging had changed in the 10 years since she started blogging (you can click here if you’d like to read it).  10 years ago, I barely knew what a blog was.  Her take was that back then people blogged for the joy of writing, and that now pet blogs were more about making money and commercialization.  Since I’m fairly new to this after only 2 ½ years, this is all I know.   Many of us blog not just for the sheer joy of it, but to make some income (for me it’s just some extra income, I know I’ll never live off it).  For me it’s a dream come true to be a writer, but writing just for the sake of it doesn’t pay the bills.

The other post was by what I believe is someone called a “Mommy blogger”.  She was not quitting, but she was bemoaning the hard work that blogging is (which it is).  Her post was more of a sarcastic, tongue in cheek take on the subject.  You can read it here, but I want to warn you that there is offensive language in there if that bothers you.  Much of what she said was true.

Conrad and Sam

Conrad and Sam

I’m not here to criticize either of these posts, but the one thing that bothered me about both of them, when reading the ensuing commentary on our Facebook page, is that both were discouraging to some of my fellow bloggers (and me too).  I feel that there were too many generalizations in both posts, and I just wanted to set the record straight and make it clear that we don’t all feel that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to tell you that blogging is not hard work, that it doesn’t mean many, many hours of not just writing but photography, social media interaction, and promotion (not to mention computer frustrations).  You can get caught up in stats and SEO if you even understand it and if that’s your thing (it’s not mine).  But it only has to be what you want it to be.  If it consumes your life, which it sometimes does mine, it’s your choice to let it do so.

I want to point out that it’s not just hard work, but there are many benefits as well.  In the pet blogging world, there is a community of like-minded people, animal lovers like myself and unlike myself.  In my world, my friends and family are busy with their own lives (and I’m not saying that critically, it’s just the way it is), so it helps to have blogging and online friends as well, and they are just like family.  They support you, they commiserate with you, and they laugh with you.  Your pets become important to them and vice versa.  Plus I never would have imagined that I would have friends in other countries like Canada, Australia, and France.  I visit, read, and comment on other blogs not just to promote my own, but to support my friends.

Sheba being silly.

Sheba being silly.

It’s not just the benefit of community for me, it’s also the benefit to my pets’ lives.  Not only do my pets get lots of treats, food, toys, and supplements to try, but they get the benefit of all I have learned from other blogs about pets.  Sure, before I blogged I cared about my pets’ health and weight, and I played with them.  But there have been times I got lazy, and the dogs didn’t get all the exercise they might need.  Then next thing I know I was motivated by fellow bloggers to join the Idita-Walk, or to participate in a walk your dog week or a training challenge.  I DO so much more and I KNOW so much more now than I used to, and that’s to their benefit.

I’m not just out here grabbing random free products for my pets.  I am thoughtful and discerning about what I choose to try for our pets, and I don’t accept any reviews for products I would not buy myself, and I do not believe in.  I know a lot more about healthy pet food now than I used to.  I not only share useful information but I ask others to share with me as well when I don’t know something.

Sure, there is some competitiveness out there….it’s human nature.  But it’s a choice to buy into that competitiveness or not.  I try to take that competitive spirit to improve myself.  Some bloggers take (way) better photographs than I do….so I’ll work on my photography.  Each blogger has to find the balance that works for them.  For me it is sharing fun stories about my own pets, sharing the tough times, sharing information on things I’ve learned such as a health issue or training; and yes, sharing products that we are trying and believe in, sometimes for compensation, or sharing a good pet related book that I read.

Luke

Luke

Am I still overwhelmed at times?  Absolutely!  But honestly, I mostly enjoy that, and I work better when I’m under pressure.  So I’m officially sticking around, I hope for the long haul.  I’d love to be doing this when I retire from bookkeeping.  Above all, if you’re going to blog, be yourself, and make yourself happy.  This post has gotten way too long, and the experts will tell you that blog posts should be kept shorter.  But I wanted to say all this, so today I am pleasing myself.   I hope everyone didn’t just skim it, but that some of you actually read every word.  Just in case, I did throw some cute pet photos in along the way.  :)

This, That, and a Giveaway

In this post:

  • Update on Sheba
  • We made the news! – some good stuff we won
  • Spaghetti for Sheepdogs giveaway

Update on Sheba

Sheba finally got the rest of her stitches out this past Monday!  However, we do still have to keep her quiet for a bit longer.  We called the vet on Monday because we were still having to drain fluid.  We took her in to see him (our regular vet, who did the surgery, had been on vacation but he was thankfully back).  He removed the stitches and really thought everything looked good.  He told us to stop draining the fluid and just watch it.  A little buildup was OK, he said that would eventually re-absorb itself as it finished healing.  He decided to put her on antibiotics for one week, and if she continued to build up fluid, he would have to put a drain in.  So far, I’m happy to say (and knock wood as I say it) that she has a little bit of fluid buildup still, but it is not increasing.  As soon as that goes down, we’re hoping in just a few days, she can finally go back to playing!  She still feels great, and is being a trooper about not being able to play yet.

Still resting and healing!

Still resting and healing!

Once she is done healing, I feel like I can finally focus on what we’re going to do to try to fight the cancer from coming back.  I’m currently researching supplements and diets.

We Made the News!

The BFTB (Barking from the Bayou) Channel 7 NETWoof News, that is!  Have you seen this news report before?  You can find it every Monday on MKClinton.com.  These are only the cutest news anchors I’ve ever seen, and they even have a weather girl, Paisley the chocolate lab puppy!  Go on over every Monday and get all the important pet news and a huge dose of cuteness as well.

NetWoof news

Pierre and Bentley, news anchors

We were excited to win Rejeneril by Ultimate Pet, a cellular supplement for dogs and cats, that reduces joint pain and boosts natural energy.  With a house full of senior pets (Luke is the only exception), and one recovering from surgery, this is definitely something we can use.  Thanks to Ultimate Pet and Melissa and the whole gang at Barking from the Bayou!

That’s not the only thing we won recently, we also won this cool Collar ID tag from Ann and her crew at Pawsitively Pets.  This ID wraps around a collar and fastens with Velcro.

I thought it would be prudent to block out my phone number and address, since I know we have fans clamoring to call or visit us.  :)

I thought it would be prudent to block out my phone number and address, since I know we have fans clamoring to call or visit us. :)

What I love most about it is the fact that you can tuck other tags (such as rabies or town license tags) inside a little pocket.  If you have a dog with a white neck and chest, you might have noticed that metal tags can leave a gray stain on your dog’s neck and chest.  It’s difficult to see in this photo, and I think Cricket gets cleaned off in the snow some too, but can you see that gray wash across her chest?

Cricket

That is not the color of her fur, and that drives me crazy.  For some reason metal tags do that.   Now with Collar ID we can have those required tags on her, but they won’t be hanging on her neck.  We might have to get one of these for Luke as well.  Thank you to Ann and Collar ID!  You can learn more and get your own by clicking here.

Easy Giveaway

2015-02-26 09.06.31We received the third book in the Real Dogs Cook series of cookbooks, Spaghetti for Sheepdogs, and we have two copies to give away as well.  This edition is written by Mona Lassie Buonarroti, an Italian sheepdog who married an American Dalmatian named Bruno!  Mona and Bruno still sometimes bunk at a firehouse in New York, which led to fun recipes like “Bruno’s Firehouse Favorite:  Baked Rigatoni & Baby Meatballs”.  Each recipe has an accompanying photo, and these dishes look yummy!  Mona Lassie will also tell you a little bit more about her exciting life with her husband who is famous in his own right.

We’re making this giveaway simple, all you have to do is leave a comment saying that you would like to win!  This giveaway is open to everyone, age 18 and older, but void where prohibited by law.  It will be open for one week, ending on Thursday March 5th at midnight EST.  I will do a random draw from the names of those who enter.

Don’t want to wait for the giveaway?  You can order your own copy of this fun book on amazon.com by clicking here.

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!

#52Snapshots – “Purple”

Purple

I used Picmonkey to add some color saturation to this photo, to enhance the purple of the mountains just a bit.  This is the lovely view from our bedroom window, looking west as the sun is just rising.

A bit of trivia about the patriotic song “America the Beautiful”.  Did you know the lyrics were originally written as a poem, by Katharine Lee Bates, in 1895?  The tune was originally written as a hymn by Samuel A. Ward in 1892.  The two were put together in 1910 to make this song.

The #52Snapshots challenge does not have to be about pets, but I like to at least include something pet related, so I’m adding this photo of Luke in silhouette with the same view behind him.  I darkened this photo to make the silhouette, and again added some color saturation to enhance the purple of the mountains.

Purple 2

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.  Please visit other blogs through the links below!

Tuesday’s Tails – Meet Feline Sheba

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!

Our canine Sheba thought it would be nice to share a feline namesake looking for a home today.  Feline Sheba is described as a spunky female by the shelter she is with, Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society.  She is 3 years old and ready to be your resident mouser.  She is independent and a bit stressed out living in the shelter with other cats (she does get her own space at times), so she needs to go to a home where she’ll be the only cat.

Feline Sheba 2She has been at the shelter for almost 2 years and really needs to go to her own home.

Other details on Sheba:

feline ShebaLucy Mackenzie Humane Society has an interesting history.  It was founded in 1915 by Frank Mackenzie, a Woodstock Vermont businessman, in memory of his wife Lucy.  Lucy was a caring woman who quietly worked to help those in need.  After her death, her husband started the society to help children, horses, and other animals.   They eventually no longer saw the need to serve children, and they moved their original location in Woodstock, Vermont to 14 acres in West Windsor.   Today it is one of the oldest operating no-kill humane societies in the country.

Lucy Mac

They offer dog training classes and many different programs in humane education at their shelter.  You can visit their website here, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

*All photos courtesy of Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society and Petfinder.

Did You See That?

As I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed Saturday night, suddenly barking broke out in the bedroom.  Since the bedroom is upstairs, usually when barking starts it’s because of something the dogs heard (the cats, the wind, the snowplow going by….).

This time it was something Luke saw, something different……

TV

You can’t necessarily tell that he’s barking in these photos, but he sure was!  It wasn’t at that man you see there either, whatever it was, it was gone by the time I got in there.

TV 3

“Did you see that, Momz??”

We often see Luke watching TV, but he doesn’t frequently bark at it.  My hubby was in the bedroom so I asked him what Luke had seen on the TV that started him barking.  It was a Polar bear!  Well, at least that was something different, and definitely bark-worthy.

TV 2

“Where did it go??”

Our only other dog that watched TV was our Lab mix Maggie, so I wonder if it’s a Lab thing.  Do your dogs watch TV?  If so, what do they see that will make them bark?

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Thank you to our Monday Mischief blog hop hosts:  Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, and My Brown Newfies!

 

 

Black & White Sunday – Ready to Race

 The crew is all snuggled into their Nascar blanket, and they’re ready to watch the Great American Race, the Daytona 500 today!

Nascar

Sheba is worried about “the big one” – a multi-car wreck that often happens on superspeedways, taking a lot of good cars out of the race!

Cant Watch2

We’ll be rooting for #20 – Matt Kenseth, and #19 – Carl Edwards.  My hubby’s favorite driver, the #18 – Kyle Busch, got injured in one of those “big ones” in the lower tier Xfinity series race last night.  He’s going to be OK, but will be out of racing for a while.  :(

Are there any Nascar fans out there who will be watching today?  If so, who are you rooting for?

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