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.

August 30, 2012

When someone doesn't like your dog

All my blogger friends will hopefully forgive me being more or less absent, but I have a good excuse: my mama came to visit!

Mama lives so far away that she only stops by once a year or so. Last time she visited we did not have Relay and I was more than a little nervous about the introduction. I mentioned before that I was raised without dogs,  but more to the point, my mother was raised to view dogs as scavengers, pest ridden, and troublesome. Her first impression of my dog was him asleep in the back seat hammock.
As we were driving home, I received a panicked phone call from a neighbor who found herself in a pinch and needed someone to watch her little poodle. Izzy is one of Relay's best friends, so normally it wouldn't have been much trouble, but instead my nervousness doubled. Little as she was, Izzy was a wild child and brought out the spunk in my otherwise calm and easy going mutt. 

I tried to show off Rely's good manners, his calm nature, his gentle and loving spirit. We did his tricks and especially juxtaposed to his rebellious friend, he was very well trained and behaved. Izzy barked, jumped, had accidents in the house, she stole treats, became territorial with toys just because, had separation anxiety, and was in non stop "go" mode. Unfortunately, none of this worked in my pup's favor. Mama simply didn't like my dog. I really was shocked to hear that she didn't think he was good looking, because though I'm partial, I really think my baby is handsome. Although he is only 38 pounds, he was "way too big" in her opinion.
It stung. But what hurt more was that after a few days, Mama started to warm up to Izzy. By the end of the visit her preference was so pronounced even Relay noticed. I allowed myself a full evening to be upset about it, and then I let it go. Of course she would like Izzy, they are both two little petite mischief makers, loud with non stop energy. And Izzy would not hear of anyone not loving her. She makes friends like a bulldozer, you really can't stop her.

Looking at these pups, I would choose my mutt again and again. I don't need outside validation to tell me he's wonderful, he proves it to me every day. Maybe he will win Mama over but if not, oh well. I still love him.

August 27, 2012

Oh, oh my... Facebook leaves me speechless sometimes

There is no better way to waste time than surfing Facebook. Managing my own profile and Relay's page, I get to see some funny posts. When I read my friend's status update, I was left without words.

So, here for your entertainment is another dog owner's misadventure.

Luna, A Dog's LifeThis blog post is participating in the Monday Mischief blog hop! Feel free to join the fun and read about all the other mischief makers out there. 

August 22, 2012

Real men snuggle rescues

I'm am the proud wife of an active duty service member who loves a snuggling foster dog. Here's some of the best shots of Jeff and our last foster, Alfie

The inspiration for this post was actually a tweet from our friends at Essentials Enterprise. Just a reminder that I have a pretty great thing going here.

This post is participating in a blog hop. Go forth and enjoy all the great photos today on Wordless Wednesday, a great hop hosted by Blog Paws. 

August 19, 2012

A taste of things to come

With Louie well on his way to recovery, Jeff thought it would be nice to work on a gift for his family...Any guesses? No? Here's a hint.

This post is participating in a blog hop. Be sure to check out the other pretty posts on Black and White Sunday. Hosted by You did What with your Weiner? and My Life in Dog Years.

August 16, 2012

Lessons learned from Elmer and K9JL

With everything else going on, I neglected to mention that Elmer has been adopted! Now known as Alpha (or Alfie for short) we could not be more thrilled about his happily ever after.

Trying to sneak food, looking like a meerkat
From the beginning, Elmer Alfie was a perfect fit in our home. We don't play favorites with our fosters (or at least I don't, Jeff) but I will go on record as saying that this was the easiest fostering that we have done thus far. Not that the scamp didn't get into mischief, but he was simply too cute for his own good, so we could never get upset with him.

We were touched at how he bonded with Relay. The two were inseparable. Alfie was so effervescent and sweet-natured, we all felt great having him around. Just a happy go lucky dog; every day consisted of a great adventure or a great nap. It isn't a wonder we fell in love as fast as we did.

Now, how did our new rescue K9 Justice League rate? Well this time around I vetted the rescue. I looked up reviews, met them at a few adoption events, and most importantly conducted a phone interview with my list of questions to make sure this wouldn't end up in heartache like BTTR. Not only did they put up with all my scrutiny, they encouraged it. K9JL wants all the volunteers, adopters, and shelters they work with to feel like family.

And it really is a family. I have yet to encounter such a sense of community as I have found with the K9JL. Every person that I have met in person and online is just so encouraging, supportive, and welcoming I felt like a rock star. (And if you haven't yet seen the video by Emily, swing by that post and watch. Makes me tear up every time :-)

The group is well run, has a loyal fan base, promotes the heck out of their dogs, and takes care of their volunteers, even when things don't go quite right. 5 stars all around, and I will be adding it to my list of keepers alongside Collie & Sheltie Rescue.

What I'm most greatful for is getting a chance to meet Alfie's new family. I kept it together all the way through the meet until the end when I turned into a complete spaz. Geof and Jon live a touch too far for my taste, but other than that they are perfect and I have to say Alfie looks perfect with them. Don't you love happy endings?

August 14, 2012

Quick Tip: Yours and Mine Chicken Salad

We had some fun with the 'Kitchen Sink' dog food, but I wanted to make a meal that would please everyone in the house. So, I tried my hand at a chicken salad. As neither Jeff nor Relay jumps at the chance to eat veggies, I wanted to hide as many as I could in their meal. 
Once again I used what vegitables I had in my fridge at the time: carrots, kale, and green beans. We had a roast chicken that I deboned and shredded and the dressing was a mix of mayonnaise, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a bit of parsley (sorry to say I was out of yogurt). I did some research online first to ensure everything was pet safe, and surprisingly, this combo is actually very healthy for everyone.
Now Jeff will tell you that I can sometimes be a nut about presentation. For the people, I made a sandwich, piling the chicken salad on some spinach, sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper, and some red pepper aoli with a side of avocado and marinated mozzarella. For the poochies, it became a kibble topper with some extra shredded cheese.

Now what about that taste test? Jeff did not appreciate being tricked into eating 'grass' but he was cynically satisfied. And the pups? I actually didn't get to my camera fast enough to catch a good picture of them eating. So, I will call it a win.

We are participating in Kol's Notes' Tasty Tuseday Blog Hop. Be sure to stop on by to check out more dog friendly bites and visit some terrific blogs.

August 8, 2012

Loving thoughts for a gentle giant

Louie goes into surgery today. Our hearts are with him.

This post is participating in a blog hop hosted by Blog Paws. Visit Wordless Wednesday to join and check out other great photos today to bring a smile to your face. We can all use an extra smile now and again.

August 7, 2012

My first pet emergecy

It had just rained. Relay was in the yard with his big buddy, Louie a beautiful and effervescent nine month old Great Dane that was well on his way to becoming the biggest dog I have ever seen. Louie's mom had to run out of town for three days and asked us to watch him. We had let the boys in the yard to use the bathroom in between the showers and called them in from the back porch. Louie was coming bounding up the stairs to the landing when he saw Relay run past in the other direction and turning around, he decided to give chase.

What came next was a cry that made my heart stop. The deck was wet, and Louie was going too fast. Jeff ran to him and held him up off his injured leg while I ran inside. I called Louie's mom and left a message, grabbed some shoes, a large quilt, my phone, wallet, and keys and ran back. Jeff calmly gave orders to prep the car and we carried Louie across the yard and onto the quilt in the back of the car. We road to the emergency vet, me in the back holding that poor boy, soothing as best I could.

In the hours that passed I learned about the bones in a dog's leg, about different types of fractures, x-rays and pain medicines. Getting a hold of Louie's dad I parroted back information. The ER didn't even have a splint big enough for Louie, so he came out to us in a large bandage. While Jeff checked out and was clarifying medications I just laid down in the middle of the floor holding Louie in my arms. Throughout everything, Louie was just so brave.

From the ER we drove to Louie's dad's house. We carried him in, lay him down on a futon and tried to come up with words. I had none.

We drove home. Our neighbor had watched Relay for us, and she invited me into her home. Sat me down on her couch, gave me some tea. I'm not sure what we talked about, but she gave me a sleeping pill. I woke up this morning to Relay at my feet. I don't know if it is for his benefit or mine, but he is not leaving my side. And for the first time through all this, as I sit here writing these words, I'm finally allowing myself to cry.

August 4, 2012

A good rescue will let you take vacation

One of my favorite advantages of fostering is that generally you can have all the perks of owning a dog with half the responsibility. The rescue covers the vet bills while we "rent" Relay a playmate. But what happens when you need a break? Well there's a whole foster family network that can cover. We got a call from K9 Justice League to say that Murphy's foster parents were headed on their honeymoon, so... Introducing Murphy!
Just before Murph was dropped off, I had read a post by Blueberry's mom on Spotty, Spotty, Polkadotty musing if she should start fostering again. I commented that acting as a temporary foster or foster sitter as it turns out here can be a great way to test the waters to see if you and your household are ready to foster a dog. The time commitment is limited, and if you find it doesn't work a good rescue will find a better suited foster home. 

Murphy is an absolute sweetheart!

But oh my goodness we sent him back.

Yeah, not my proudest moment, here, but let me explain. Most rescue dogs are not perfect family pets right away (not even Relay), but thankfully most dogs have just a few rough edges that need to be worked out and become great companions in no time. I've dealt with poor potty training, poor leash manners, no crate training, dogs that get territorial, dogs that steal food from other dogs, dogs that steal food from you, some separation anxiety, and even a little barking. Murphy has all those issues and then some (big baby is afraid of doorways and storms), but thankfully he was cute and so sweet we thought we should be okay. 

Thing is his seperation anixiety is much worse than I have ever encountered. The pups sleep in the front room at night, and if you aren't fully potty trained you are crated at our home. This did not sit well with Murphy and he barked non stop. Unfortunately, we do not live in a single family home; so while I signed up as a foster to work through those sort of problems, the very kind lady who lives below us did not.

Reading back on my comments to Blueberry's mom about trails and errors with fostering I smile a little and wonder if I was just tempting fate... maybe I needed to live through something first before I was entitled to give advice on the subject. 

August 2, 2012

Peas in a Pod

My pup must have a thing for beagles. Just like with Holly, Relay bonded with Elmer immediately. The two of them play together, sleep together, eat together. They chase, they tug, they pounce, they growl. Those two hounds are just so cute together, I'm getting nervous.

I have heard a little rumor that Elmer has a family interested in him. Of course I am not surprised, he is a treasure; and I will be so happy to see him with his forever family. But I am a little worried that these boys bonded a little too well.  

After Holly left, Relay went into a funk. He wasn't interested in most anything for days and he sulked so much that we took a short vacation to bring his mind off things. Maybe the vacation also helped Jeff and I as we loved Holly just as much. 

And we love Elmer. Jeff loves how Elmer cuddles with him every chance he gets, Relays loves having a best friend, and I love just seeing that playful sweetness that brings out the kid in both my boys. 

While we wait for Elmer's happily ever after, we'll continue to make a few more memories of our own.  


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