Celebrating our beautiful boy's anniversary

Happy Gotcha Day, Relay

A great family trip

Our trip to Amherst, VA was amazing.

An easy way to make your own jerky

A DIY project your pups will love.

Set up an email alert for your perfect pet

Use Adopt-a-pet's search saver to let you know when your right pet needs a home.

Let's here it for the boy

I was so happy and incredibly proud.

We do it for all the smiling faces

Dog overpopulation is growing problem in the US and I'm trying to find my way to help.

How Relay became ours

Every dog has a story, and this is how our perfect pound pup came home.

An easy treat

Find directions on how to make one of Relay's favorite treats.

July 31, 2012

Quick Tip: 'Kitchen Sink' Homemade Dog Food

This is a DIY that is entirely customizable, just the way I like it. 

It is a personal pet peeve of mine to throw out food. I also like to cook, enjoy attempting more homemade projects, and am trying to feed my pup better. Putting that all together, here is the outcome.
Yummy? Well not to me, but the cool thing is that if I wanted to eat this, I could. Every so often I spend one morning making Relay a big batch of "Kitchen Sink" wet food that I split into smaller containers, freeze, and feed to him in addition to his normal diet. It really is a big pile of whatever I have extra or lying around that can be safely fed to dogs. (Here is a great list of safe foods, and foods to avoid). Today's version happened to be the following:

The remains of our latest batch of Homemade Stock Cubes, some extra cooked chicken breast, the remainder of a bag of broccoli slaw, assorted frozen veggies that suffered freezer burn (peas, carrots, kale, green beans), some specialty cheese that we didn't enjoy, parsley, a scoop of dried cranberries, a big spoonful of pumpkin, some cooked brown rice, and two scoops of all natural Nupro Dog Supplement (if in case I'm missing any nutrients.)

This is a great little trick that I use to clear out the fridge and freezer without feeling wasteful. I get the peace of mind knowing that the pups get a little food I know won't get recalled, it is insanely cheaper than store bought canned food, and I would hope a little healthier to boot. **Please note, I am NOT a dog nutritionalist, you should consult your vet before making any changes to your pets' diets.** This is just one of the many ways I feed my dog. I enjoy making Relay food and treats, and each time I make him this wet food it always comes out differently. Last version of this was really cheesy, included fish and some scrambled eggs.

How did the boys like it? I let them have a taste test before I packed it up. Relay prefers his frozen (he really likes to crunch his food), but Elmer, our current foster was gulping it down with gusto. I will add this to my win column.

This is participating in the Tasty Tuesday blog hop.

July 27, 2012

This is all it takes

I was trying to clean the front room where the dogs spend most of their time, so out they went, with a big bowl of water for about 20 minutes or so. I whistled for everyone to come in and Elmer, our foster did not.

I went into the yard. No Elmer. Just like that, I lost the dog.

During a construction job on our back porch yesterday, a board on the 6ft privacy fence came loose. That little gap was all that it took.

I immediately got into the street and started to call out and whistle, rang a neighbor's bell  to ask for help, called the  rescue to let them know little man had up to a 20 minute lead. I happen to have the best neighbors as one was headed to  his car to drive left, the other to the right. But, it was the third neighbor, trending to his garden who called out before the rescue fleet hit the streets to say he'd seen him sniffing around just three houses over.

I walked down and sure enough, little Elmer came out to greet me. I called the rescue, thanked the neighbors, and went home.

That board has since been nailed back in place.

July 23, 2012

Fostering: Sometimes you just feel like a Rock Star!

First, I wanted to start this post with an incredible video made by Emily, a volunteer at K9 Justice League (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite people.) This video sums up beautifully what rescue really means and I love that our foster, Elmer has little cameos throughout. Now back to my blog post :-)

One very cool and unintended consequence of all my fostering adventures is the huge boost to my self esteem. Seriously, I feel like a rock star. Having served in the military, I can tell you that it's that same sense of pride and accomplishment, the idea that you belong to something greater, that you are doing good.

There are times when I go to the dog park and people stop and ask if we're that fostering family. Some people recognize Relay from his Facebook page and stop us to say hello and thank us for what we are doing. When we meet up with other volunteers or hit up adoption events Relay gets a hero's welcome and we feel a great sense of camaraderie and friendship that comes so freely I am always humbled. 

This sense of community continues in the blogging world and throughout the vast array of social media. One of my posts got a shout out on the No Dog About It Blog post: Finding the Right Rescue and I immediately called up Jeff to tell him that I felt like the coolest person in the world. Every time we get a shout out on twitter, every like on FB, makes me feel like the world is cheering us on.

But you know what the greatest thing is? That validation that can only come from within. When a good dog just gives you a look that he is content, you know in your heart that where he came from may not have been great, but he is on his way to a happily ever after; and you are helping him there. When an adoptive family like Miss Ruby's send you email updates and photos and are so greatful that you helped make their family complete, I just feel so... 

Well, some of you know just how that feels. And I want to be able to share that feeling with everyone. Get involved in small or big ways; every bit counts. When you do, I promise you, you're going to feel great.

July 22, 2012

Foster Brotherly Love

July 18, 2012


Ohhhhh, we have another hound in the house! You know I have a soft spot for beagles and this little man is just perfect. Elmer is our first foster with our new rescue group K9 Justice League. (So far this group is just terrific and I just feel like a super hero just volunteering for them :-) A North Carolina shelter dog he is about a year old, around 25 pounds, sweet as pie and just too cute.

Our initial take on him is that Elmer is very loving. It took him all of about 5 minutes at the house before he was up in Jeff's lap, snuggling like a pro. Very eager to please, curious, and friendly to both people and dogs he quickly won over Relay, Jeff, and I. Elmer is submissive with people and can be handled easily. He is very playful with Relay and shares toys and soft places to rest. He is just so easy going that I have no qualms about any potential home; he would do great with children and dogs. Crate trained and potty trained, he is working on his sit. I got him with a warning that he is a chewer, but so far we have not had any issues.
And now on to (a few too many) cute pictures!

I like to call this first set, hold the treat up, hold the treat down.
Like any good hound, Elmer is very food motivated. Here he is making sure that he has cleaned up all of his breakfast.
And again, like the typical hound, here he is sniffing everything. While Elmer explored the back yard, Relay just hung out and chewed a stick.

The boys play great together. Chasing, wrestling, playing tug of war, keep away, it's just really nice to see my pup have a buddy. I love this action shot of Relay's classic move: I'm going to put your face in my mouth.
Can you tell I'm excited to have Elmer? This foster is going to be a breeze ( I say jinxing myself.) Problem is, I can see us getting too attached to this one, so, someone please, adopt him soon!

July 14, 2012

The sign of a good breeder (Goodbye, Dude!)

Well that was short lived. Doodle, Dude for short, has left the building.
While his previous owner had rescued his shelties, Dude was a purchase from a breeder.

[Allow me to make a quick comment on this. While I am firmly planted in the "Adopt, Don't Shop" camp, I will make  a case for a responsible, respected, and ethical breeder. A good breeder has a passion for the breed, will take care to produce healthy, well adjusted dogs, and maintains a relationship with all of their pups. Having spoken to the breeder being referenced here, checked out his website, and understanding more about his operation, I am certain that this is a conscientious man with a good heart. Now, I wouldn't trade my $75 pound pup for the best bred $$$ dog he produces, I will appreciate what he is trying to do and give him extra bonus points for being involved in rescue himself, training service dogs, and running an established training and boarding facility.]

Now back to Dude. Once the breeder was aware of the situation Dude's owner found himself in, he immediately asked to have the Golden Doodle returned. The breeder is in a much better position to try to find a good home for Dude and from what I understand, there is a good chance that Dude will be trained as a rescue dog. I can't imagine this counter surfing pup as a seizure detection dog, but a good dog can be trained to do anything I suppose.

So, like Pink, this is a foster that I did not get a chance to see through to adoption, but I have no doubt will find the best home.

If you were interested in trying to adopt Dude from his breeder, please contact Tidewater K9 Academy.

July 11, 2012

Counter surfing... it's an art form

When writing about Dude last, I used the phrase "counter surf" and have found that a few people were unfamiliar with that term.

count·er surf·ing
The art or sport of putting ones paws up onto a kitchen counter to have a swipe at any unmanned food; an attempt to sneak a snack.

Now with Dude, he has this down to a science. I had been warned before he came to stay with us, but I was unprepared for the creativity of this sly dog. That spatula that needed cleaning, Dude made sure to help get me started. Jeff and I had a snack in the living room, as he was getting up with the intention of bringing the plate to the kitchen, a streak of white fur pasted first licking the plate before it went. 

Anyone have a super counter surfer at home?

July 7, 2012

Introducing... Dude!

Ummmm.... how did I get a two year old Golden Doodle? Dude (short for Doodle) actually comes to us from Collie and Sheltie Rescue. Seriously.

I got an SOS call from CSRSEVA. A former adopter, volunteer, and all around great guy found himself in a very regretable position. He unfortunately is sick and was given a diagnosis and treatment option that would put him in a position to no longer work, let alone care for his four dogs. He goes to the hospital almost immediately and the great people at the rescue took in his three shelties of course, but what about that Doodle?
Who could say no to that face? Turns out I couldn't. They were in a pinch and I really can't turn away a good dog. I am not going to lie though, I was more than a little apprehensive when I got the call. I heard things around the dog park, this mix is not for the faint at heart. I was mentally preparing myself for a wild child, and what did I get?

I got a very sweet boy. He hasn't run a muck in the house (though he does let loose some in the yard), he is quiet and gentle with my little boy and I was thrilled to see that he was courteous at meal time with Relay. Dude does counter surf and requires a gentle leader to be able to walk, but he sits command and responds to his name when I call. I know that the rescue wants to ensure that Dude gets to obedience classes, but this love has great promise to becoming a wonderful dog.

July 2, 2012

People behaving badly at the dog park

After a nice long trip cross country, one not so nice accident, and shot up to Jersey to pick up Relay, we finally made it back home. After the 7 hours in a car yesterday, my pup deserved a trip to the park. Who could have guessed it would have ended up in drama?

A lady had just moved back to the neighborhood with her new dog, a male terrier mix puppy. We got into the park, and she is holding the puppy, explaining that he is very under-socialized, and we nodded understanding. Relay had a very similar story, but instead of not understanding boundaries, his problem had been he was too intimidated to play. Thankfully, my boy out grew that, as I'm sure this pup will outgrow his over eager personality and learn to give space.

So, all continued as you would think at a park, dogs sniff, they chase, they play. At one point, however, the puppy was a bit too rumbustious, and somewhere in all the mouthing, Relay got hurt and yelped. Close by, I stepped in, and separated the boys. After that point, I had my dog keep his distance, not wanting him to get bit again. This it seems did not sit well with the puppy's owner. Jeff and I let a few baiting comments slide, and she even tried to engage Jeff directly, and he didn't respond.

It wasn't until she turned around and asked, "If you aren't going to let your dog play, then why are you even here?" in a less than friendly manner, that Jeff even responded. From there it escalated between the two of them very quickly. I tagged Jeff out of the proverbial ring and spoke to her calmly, and ended the long debate as best as I could with a "we will have to agree to disagree."

Throughout the whole exchange, the two dogs in question peacefully coexisted. Dogs don't seem to hold large grudges; nips happen, some days they want to play, others they don't, maybe they argue over a toy, or a place to sit. And I'm sure when we meet again, they will play or they won't and that will be the extent of it.

Unfortunately, with humans it is never so simple. Maybe I was too naive to think that the dynamics of people would ever be a factor at the dog park, and up to this point we were fine with all the "regulars." But now it seems like we have ourselves a nemesis whether we want one or not.

*Dramatic sigh* I have no training tools for how to improve interactions at the dog park when people are concerned. Any suggestions?


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