Our losses and gains (Dog Edition)
I actually do enjoy writing things. I am much better at putting my thoughts out in this format vs. speaking. However it's obviously not something I think to do often. I still thought it would be fun to update our life and evolution of our dog family since my last blog shows it's been 4 years!
Since my last post the world has changed so much. We lost Ziti in February 2019. She went in for a routine spay surgery and the anesthesia stopped her heart. It is a day and a phone call I'll never forget. We were heartbroken. Weirdly enough I had already casually begun the search for our next puppy and teased that Ziti needed this puppy playmate named Polly. Our vet then offered to pay for our new puppy. So we set off to get that little puppy anyway. It was a nail biter as we were on a list to pick puppies. It was meant to be! Polly became ours and was renamed Tiramisu (tee·ruh·mee·soo), Misu for short.
After another month plus we went to pick up Misu from the same place we got Ziti from. It was bittersweet. Misu was a little bit shy at first but soon took to us all and even laid across Lynx's lap on the ride to our next stopping point. (Ziti had been a cry baby when we picked her up and I felt like a horrible person.) We spend the weekend with family and then brought her back to our mature adult dogs back home.
Introducing Misu to the home was so easy. I swear Rico (aka Taco) just thought that she was a tiny Ziti and he loved her from the start. (If you haven't read about Rico before he was very dog reactive too.) Morzy was basically like "ugh, I gotta raise another puppy for you fools, fine..." Mo actually always liked puppies but she was starting to slow down a lot.
By June 2019 Morzy was starting to show major signs of incontinence. We tried some meds to help and managed to keep her favorite resting spots covered. Even though Lynx was mostly out of diapers by now but Morzy had to start wearing them. She started losing weight and refusing food, a huge red flag for our usually voracious girl. She went to doggie hospital for 2 overnight stays where they pumped her with fluids and meds but ultimately she was suffering from Kidney failure and her body was not responding to medicine.
Morzy became the big focus for a while, we tried different supplements. We tried the kidney food (which she hated). We desperately fed her hotdogs and food scraps for weeks at the end. We held on a bit too long. She was our first dog we didn't know what to look for but she had been telling us for a while that she was done living. The last 2 weeks of her life I just thought she was cold so I put sweaters and blankets on her. I didn't realize all the shaking was likely from pain. She hid in the kitchen so we put a bed in there for her. She didn't want to be with her family. When we finally figured out she was done living it was so late. She trembled on her last day as I held her on my lap in the car telling her we were gonna help her. As soon as the vet gave her the first set of meds to rest we believe she let go before the actual heart stopping meds were given. This old lady was holding on to life for us not for herself. She was the best dog and continues in many ways to be our best dog ever.
Rick had lost his baby girl. Rico had always been a mommy's boy. Misu was essentially Lynx's dog. I had been preparing for the loss of Morzy. I was looking at different breeders for a while but nothing felt right. Because of the loss of Ziti and Misu showing signs of anxiety we decided against using the same breeder. On my birthday, February 18th, 2020 I found a breeder that seemed to fit. It was very serendipitous. She was very open with me on her available puppies and said while they may not work she'd have another littler in a couple months that would be what we were looking for. I could handle that. However just a few days later a claimed puppy popped up saying the original picker had backed out on this particular boy puppy named Resolution (named in theme as his litter was born on 1/1/20/20). In her description of him she mentioned that he was probably the nicest puppy she'd ever raised.
Ultimately it was up to Rick. I still had my boy and while weren't really wanting another boy this sure was tempting. He talked to the breeder and asked all the important additional questions he had. There was mention he may have a coloboma in his pupil but it shouldn't affect his quality of life. (We ultimately were able to determine he just has a dark brown spot on his iris there, no coloboma!) I asked myself if we didn't get this puppy if I would regret it and the answer was a profound YES! So we made a deposit and plans to pick him up in lower Wisconsin the first week of March 2020.
We still needed to pick out a name. We have a food theme going with our dogs but we also like to be original and not name a dog something we've already heard. Rick found the name Goji Berry and it fit perfectly. (Goji Berries are red and our new little pup was a red merle). At pick up he was so calm and snugly. There were a few hiccups between the puppies at first but we handled them well and they quickly became the best of friends. The only problem that existed was that Goji imprinted on the wrong person (or so we thought at the time) and he too was a mommy's boy.
And then a couple of weeks later the world fell. Goji got to have exactly 2 puppy classes before we were all in government shut down. We spent the next few months at home. We did a lot of walking training and of course I got to spend extra time with my main man Taco (aka Rico). But in the middle of the shut down Rico started having nose bleeds. Initially we thought he had just given himself a nose injury because he loved to rub his face in the snow. The vet gave us meds to essentially treat it as an infected sore. But they came back.
He'd have one or 2 nosebleeds then we'd get a break for several weeks. Then he was having them weekly. Then multiple times a week. The only way to check would be to put him under anesthesia (which isn't generally advisable for 14.5 year old dogs) and scope his nose and or lungs if necessary. If they found anything we'd then have to take him to a specialist for surgery with uncertain results. We knew it didn't look good. On top of all of this we had to move suddenly and unexpectedly.
We had been moved in with the grandparents for about 2 weeks. The vet gave us some meds to help control the bleeding. He took them for a few days and had a great romp at camp. Then the meds stopped working. Rico had a nosebleed that lasted for 45 minutes or more. The vet said we could try doubling the meds. I looked at my boy and the joy had left his face. He was miserable. I had promised after Morzy's passing that I would never want Rico (or any dog) to suffer that long again. So I had to trust him that he was ready to go. I'd never seen him so happy to go to the vet before. The memory is burned into my head but I watched my sweet baby boy that I raised from a flea ridden farm dog slowly rest his head peacefully.
When I went home Goji was beyond prepared to take over the duty as Mommy's #1 boy and he has been ever since. His job as Rico's was is to watch mommy wherever she goes and make sure she feels loved. He's actually a bit too good at it sometimes. We tell Lynx Misu is her dog but Misu would live with anyone that feeds her. In fact she likes to spend most of her time with grandma! Rick is still without a daddy's girl but he's been currently talking about getting a Maltese he can groom in fun and colorful ways.
It's been almost 2 years...
Go ahead and read my post below. I posted it almost 2 years ago as we were preparing to parent our daughter. Let me just tell you, I don't regret writing it and I still remember how I felt...but having a human baby child on top of 2 fur-babies has been quite an adventure. Oh yeah and then we got a puppy, LOL!
I have 10 times the empathy for the people who parent these duo & multiple specicies families. It's not a simple concept! You've got to keep everyone as happy, safe and generally as content as possible.
SUPERVISION is KEY!!! But guess what? It's not always possible. You think you're supervising by having 2 parents on each side of the baby at about a 5 foot radius, then a dog plays with a ball a bit too close to the baby and when he goes to pounce on the ball (as he has for all of his life), he scratches said baby across the lip scarring her for life. (Yep, it's been almost a year, that scratch is still there) whoopsie.
Dogs need to go potty, but baby wants to follow and there are stairs she doesn't need to be waddling by. Dogs want to get into a simple quarrel but baby is nearby. Baby wants to stick her hand in the dog food bowl, baby wants to dump the water dish, lay on the dog, pull their fur, smack them, etc. and it never stops!
Now let me give Lynx some credit at almost 21 months old. She's learning. It's always been important to us that even though she wants to be "rude" to the dogs that we give her guidance to treat them better. She probably knows better boundaries with dogs in general than most kids twice her age. But the first 15 months were generally rough and we had to keep adjusting life to suit the needs of all of our kids.
Then we got a puppy named Ziti in May. She's great, but she's a puppy. Let's just say she's amazing, and she's a stinker, and it has been way easier to raise her than this little human girl.
So the easiest route for us all now? MANAGEMENT! Don't be afraid of this technique. It means using multiple tools like baby gates, kennels and closed doors to make sure everyone is happy in the space they are provided.
I will stop babbling now, but if you ever meet me in person you'll understand that I probably could have kept going on for an entire book...Maybe someday?
All kiddos whether furry and four-legged or walking, crawling or scooting on 2-4 limbs at a time are not simple and putting them together is what can make things a bit complicated. BUT they are ALL WORTH IT!
From dog mom to human mom
We're expecting our 3rd child. The first 2 have fur covered bodies and walk on 4 legs. I didn't give birth to them, but I'm thankful for their mother's who did. I've been their mommy since they were babies. We've been doing this parent thing for years! For example, we've:
I know it won't be easy, and I'm not expecting to be a perfect parent. All I'm just saying is I've got experience as a parent and I look forward to sharing my journey as a parent to both with you all soon!
Yellow Dog Project
Check out our newest video interview about the Yellow Dog Project by WJMN Channel 3 News:
We were so thankful to be invited to speak on a topic that is so important to us!
From CPDT-KA to CPDT-KSA
An email has been in my spam folder since last Wednesday, and coming back to work today I went to clean it out. It stated:
"Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have successfully passed the examination to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge & Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA)® given in October 2015."
Thank you to everyone for your support and your volunteered time. I still have more certifications I'd like to achieve but this makes me so HAPPY!...
What all this means: I got my CPDT-KA in October 2014 which meant I was tested on my knowledge of dog training, this year I was tested on my skills and passed! This is the highest certification a Dog Trainer can achieve. Next on the list, although it will surely take a few years: Certified Behavior Consultant Canine, (CBCC-KA) smile emoticon
November 25th, 2015
Let our dogs tell you a little bit about the holidays and we'll elaborate on human terms:
"We dogs love to eat, but there are many people foods that are not nutritious for us, are bad for us and others that are just plain dangerous for us. Check before you give us any leftovers. We are social creatures. However many of us get overwhelmed by crowds of strangers, adults and kids alike. We may prefer staying in a quiet room over interacting with the visitors. If we are acting up and putting our mouths on things, (i.e. lights, decorations, people) make sure we're not bored. Extra walks, new toys, and even some fun training will definitely keep our minds busy!" -Taco & Mo
What the dogs are trying to say is that there are many traditional foods that we share with our dogs, that we should either eliminate from their diet or cut back on especially during the holidays. See this list of household hazards we share in each of our Basic Classes:
After we think about their physical safety, we also need to keep our dogs mentally healthy and content. There are many dogs who are social butterflies and want to be involved in everything the family does. Yet there are equally other dogs who want to be with their family but not their family's guests. If you're not sure if your dog is enjoying himself or not, here's a helpful video on dog body language from our friends at theFamilyDog.com (We saw them present at the APDT 2015 Conference, they are wonderful!)
Finally, if your dog is getting into things whether they are 10 years old or 10 weeks old, they may be bored. No doubt you've been busy getting gifts, cleaning up the house for visitors, cooking, and continuing with your day to day routine, which may have left little time for your furry baby. They love us unconditionally so don't feel too bad, just take some extra time to give them some exercise, buy them a chew or puzzle toy, or teach them a new trick. If your dog doesn't already understand how to "Drop/Give" items, now's a great time to teach them!
All in all, remember your dogs at this time of year. They'll thank you for it! As all dog parents know we must continue to attempt to be the people they already think we are.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Upper Michigan's Source Article
TV 6 Interview on Pack Walks
Vicky and the morning crew at TV6 invited us back again to talk more about our Pack Walks. The clip was from June 5th but I just found it on youtube ;-) We love going to the station everyone is so friendly!
Pack Walks starting again
Short article which was also a quick news interview. No video so I missed watching myself speak. All I can do is trust those that have seen it!
Thank you to reporter Katlin Connin for inviting me to speak about the basics of service dog training. Read the full article here: http://abc10up.com/dogs-more-than-just-pets/
and watch the video below.