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Misfit Manor Diary….taking nothing for granted

I make a deliberate effort to go through life assuming things are going to work out. I have to. I am constantly juggling so many things that if I get too worried about any one thing it becomes too hard to manage all of my day to day responsibilities. I simply don’t have time to be mired in worry. The last two weeks though were a test for me in terms of staying focused. In the last two weeks we had one Misfit, Petunia, need to have a suspicious growth removed from her skin and Solstice, our new cat, went in for her spay.

Sweet little Petunia has already had one bout with cancer. She had mammary cancer when she arrived here. All of her mammary tumors were removed and while the vet recommended chemo for her when we tried the chemo her liver values spiked so high we had to stop it.

A few weeks ago when I was giving her a bath I found a round black growth on her chest; close to where mammary glands would have been.

When we took her in for the removal procedure, despite all the scary narratives I could play out in my head if I let them, I kept the attitude that this was going to work out. We received the pathology a week later and while the results were not something that is considered strictly benign (a sarcoma) this type of sarcoma when on the skin is apparently not something to worry about. They achieved clean margins on the tissue and for now we will keep an eye out for any additional growths.

Petunia is a tiny and fragile girl; there have been several times that we thought we were losing her as her little body has really suffered from a life time of neglect. We don’t know how old Petunia is but she was probably at least 10 when she arrived here a few years back. She has had her share of challenges…particularly with her fragile back. We manage her back issues on the theraplate, daily lasering, acupuncture and a natural supplement called Duralactin that has worked really well and does not agitate her stomach like NSAIDs do. Duralactin has become our go to option for any of our dogs that have chronic pain issues.

Petunia is a super sensitive dog; I know right away if she is not feeling well or having any pain. Luckily we have a lot of tools to deal with and nip any issues in the bud right away.

Last week we had to take Solstice in for her spay. While I always know in the back of my mind that every procedure has risks; a spay feels so routine that I didn’t give it a second thought. Solstice was really lethargic when she came home from the spay. And she didn’t improve for 3 more days. She wasn’t eating and wasn’t moving around very much. On Saturday we rushed her up to vet for an ultrasound to make sure that fluid had not started pooling in her abdomen. Thank goodness the ultrasound was clear but she was definitely more painful than a cat typically is after a spay. She also clearly was not bouncing back from the affects of the anesthesia. Our vet gave her a pain shot, a B12 shot and fluids. A few days later she bounced back. I’ve never had a pet struggle like this after a simple spay. Today she is back to eating like a little piggy and being very rambunctious.

Life with a house full of pets, most of whom are either senior and/or handicap, is very fragile. I have to constantly remind myself to live in the present day, take nothing for granted and to rest in the happiness of every moment that they are healthy.

Solstice & Rosie

Rosie is obsessed with Solstice….she wants to be wherever this sweet cat is. While Solstice was under the weather Rosie kept her company. The two of them spent an entire afternoon on this bench in my office watching the rain. Just two pals sitting in solidarity for the one who wasn’t feeling well. Moments like these just make me gush with love for them. There are definitely challenges to running a multi pet household…but there are also a lot of magical moments like this.

January has started off just as crazy busy as December left us! Our shops are busy and the rentals are booking up. This year I am turning the home page of this blog into my own online Shop and will no longer be focusing on selling on Etsy. While we enjoy working with Etsy it is the right time to take the step to being our own e-commerce destination!

Please check out our progress with the Shop! We are also launching several new Pawty collections so stay tuned from some really cute products for celebrating your life with dogs!

Have a blessed week!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary – Problem Solving

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

Sometimes I think the biggest responsibility I have as a dog mom is problem solving. Most of the dogs that land at Misfit Manor are here because they have an issue, health or behavioral. My job is to figure out how to improve their quality of life any way I can.

Our Lacey Mae has been with us for 13 years. We adopted her because her first family surrendered her to a kill shelter for biting…and we all know how that story usually ends.

I don’t sugar coat our life with Lacey…she punched major holes (in our faces) in the first two days we brought her home…and many times since. We aren’t idiots; we saw potential in her regardless of her challenges. When we first met her we brought our other dogs for a greeting with her too; at the time we had a huge Rottweiler and two large labs. She immediately bonded to them and honored the signals they gave her in regards to her bitchy behavior. Based on her interactions with them I knew she had potential…she just needed some boundaries.

We both worked really hard to earn her trust. Eventually we learned her boundaries (she has major personal space issues) and she learned our boundaries too. Bret and I consider her the love of our lives.

As Lacey ages some health challenges have brought back some of her “not so pleasant” behaviors. Honestly, the last year hasn’t been easy.

Misfit Manor, Bret Halverson

Solving health/behavioral issues in dogs isn’t always easy…in fact I don’t think it ever is. Veterinary medicine…like all medicine… is imperfect. Lacey clearly was having a spike in allergies…she looked completely miserable. We tried a several different allergy therapies and finally settled on a non-steroidal shot that has really helped.

I also took her to my homeopathic vet in Louisville, Dr. Boswell. Dr. Boswell took one look at her and immediately saw issues with her back. She worked on her back (acupuncture and some chiropractic adjustments) and it had a significant impact in only a few days. I have been lasering her back ever since. She is a different dog without back pain. Something I didn’t realize was going on until an expert spotted it.

Allergies and back pain had also significantly impacted her appetite. I became that crazy dog mom making multiple different meals trying to entice her to eat. Nothing was working. We were both worried constantly about her. I tried every type of food I could find or make, I used Aloe Vera Juice, nausea meds,…no impact. I finally started giving her probiotics (something that has worked wonders with Rosie’s eating). And sure enough; it worked. Lacey is back to creaming her dinner plate. She is excited for meal time again. We are so relieved.

Figuring out why she had a return of some pretty nasty behaviors was all related to her health and wellness…and it took months to solve. Trial and error…multiple trips to the vet/s. But eventually we found ways to relieve her allergies and pain levels in her back. Subsequently; her behavior has normalized and she is being nice to us and the other dogs again.

I am not the type of woman to give up; on anything really.

So I certainly won’t give up on one of my dogs but I will say this was a really challenging run. When you are juggling a multi-pet household having one of them behaving aggressively is a huge, scary and immediate challenge.

It is not lost on Bret and I that we are blessed to have a house full of pets at Misfit Manor that for the most part really like each other. Actually; its more than that…they support each other. We know this is a delicate balance that we have to guard.

Lacey is back to being our angel. She isn’t the first nor will she be the last dog we have to problem solve with but we are blessed with great vets and resources for making it all work.

Do you know our story? Take a minute to read about Misfit Manor.

Custom Dog Birthday Hat, Dog Party Hat, Personalized Dog Birthday Hat, Dog Party Favors, Paw Print Party Favors, Misfit Manor Shop

We are not a 5013c. We are just two people with a heart for dogs that need a little extra help and we fund their care ourselves. We don’t take donations but I do sell my Pawty Supplies and my art to pay the costs to vet and care for our dogs. We also have an Amazon Wish List.

Thank you for reading a little bit of our life story!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary – New friends…

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson, The Rescue Mama

For some reason turning over the new year of 2020 feels more refreshing and exciting than the usual start to the new year. Perhaps its because I will turning over a new decade in age during the 20’s…perhaps its just fun to be living in the 20’s again…the 1920’s were an interesting time…full of dramatic change…especially for women! Regardless of where it comes from…I’m embracing the excitement of it all and looking forward to a lot of new opportunities this year!

This week I finished my first painting of Betty. It really has not been that long since she passed…but it feels like forever. I wasn’t ready to paint her until recently but I am so glad my heart changed about it…I love the finished painting and it felt like I was bringing her back to life. I won’t be selling this painting…it will hang at my local veterinarians office for a spell and then I will be bring it home to hang in my office.

I am always amazed out how things at Misfit Manor just fall together…Rosie was so attached to Betty…their bond was so precious and Rosie was depressed for months when Betty passed. Rosie did not bond with any of the other Misfits…she just bonded tighter with me…until Solstice. Rosie is obsessed with Solstice! Its nice for me because it takes a little pressure of my time…Rosie tantrums if she is not with me pretty much every minute of the day…but now with Solstice Rosie has something new to love and focus on. Thank goodness Solstice is gracious and actually does not seem to mind Rosie’s need to be close and stare at her.

Life at the Manor is always busy…the needs of the dogs are relentless…vet visits, daily therapy, cooking food, meds, exercise…and running businesses to keep it all going. The vacation rentals give me a bit of a break in the winter but they are booking up fast for the 2020 equestrian season. My regulars are already making their reservations and we are looking forward to another busy year with our wonderful guests. My art and shops keeps building too…we had a great holiday selling season and I am almost completely booked out for painting commissions for 2020 (I only take 12 a year).

I am in a women’s business mentoring group; each year we set our “word” for the new year. My word this year is “FOCUS”…I always have so much on my plate and have a knack of getting distracted with things that really aren’t in the immediate or best interest of myself and my Misfits…( something I have to be more careful about the older I get…I just don’t have the same level of energy that I did 20 years ago). So I created a filter and hung it on my wall…a way to run every demand put on my time in perspective…if its no on my FOCUS list…it has to be a “no”…we’ll see how well I do with this 🙂

The Misfits and I wish you all a Happy New Year…may 2020 be full of joy, love and blessings (and lots of dogs too)!!!!

On the journey,

Nancy & the Misfits

Are you planning a pawty for your special friend? Check out our Misfit Manor Shop for fun items to make your pups day pawfect! Our shop is one of the key ways I support the Misfits!

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Misfit Manor Diary – Solstice Blessings

Meet Solstice! Life here is never dull. We thought we were going to have a quiet weekend to catch up on rest…but this little cat had other plans.

Solstice started hanging out in our yard a few weeks ago. At first we thought she was just passing through…a neighbor cat coming to stalk our squirrels. We realized she was sleeping under the dog’s pool deck at night and never leaving. I posted about her locally and it turned out the people she belonged to moved away and left her behind.

We started feeding her and quickly realized how friendly she was. Yesterday on Winter Solstice (hence her name) I took her to the vet to see what we were dealing with. She is young (maybe 2), unspayed, no chip but otherwise healthy. She tested negative for FIV/FLV so I had her dewormed, vaccinnated and deflead and home she came.

The first picture is her hamming it up at the vet. She actually seemed to really have a good time at the vet! She is a very pleasant and happy girl.

She is very unsure of the other Misfits in the house at this point but she loves the cat towers, toys and warm beds so far.

She literally falls in to a food coma after she eats. Perhaps its been so long since she had good meals that her little body just crashes from the energy it uses to digest.

Winter solstice is one of my favorite holidays as it marks the shortest day of the year…which means I have longer days to look forward to now! Bret and I have a tradition of making “intention logs”. We write our intentions/wishes on a log and then wrap them in herbs I grow in my garden and then toss them on a bon fire the night of the winter solstice. Its a very cozy way to relax after a busy holiday selling season and a way to begin thinking about the new year and all the exciting things it will bring.

This year solstice was made even more special with the arrival of a new cat on the manor. She is a perfect solstice blessing.

Life at the Manor continues to go smoothly…insanely busy…but smooth. We have so many things planned for 2020 that my head spins just thinking about. No matter what distractions life brings every day that all of my Misfits are happy and healthy is a good day. As we get in to the peak of holiday season I want to wish you all a blessed season and a bright and beautiful start to 2020!

Rescue On!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…Betty’s back

When Betty first arrived here my friend and pet psychic Carrie Kenady came over and did a session with me and Betty. The first thing Betty said to me was “where have you been….I’ve been waiting for you my whole life”. All I could say was “right here…waiting for you beautiful girl.” Betty is a perfect girl…she is a pleasure to live with every day. This poor girl has the worst spondylosis in her back that her vets have ever seen…it is getting harder and harder to manage. We recently tried adding Gabapentin to try to help with her discomfort…that unfortunately was a no go for Betty.

This week I packed her up and we drove to Louisville for a visit with Dr. Betty (Boswell). Dr. Betty did some acupuncture magic and some special laser and some ultra sound.

Betty was so relaxed during her treatment she was snoring (well snoring and gassing). I love my Betty so much…pulling out all the stops I can think of to give her the best quality of life. If I could buy her a new back I would sell everything I have to get her one.

Life here is always busy…one of my Misfits always needs something…or is getting in to something…or we are running to appointments…or just dealing with the demands of running two businesses to support them all. But each day is a joyful one. I would not trade this life for anything. Hopefully next week I will posting pictures of roses…my rose bushes are on fire this year…covered with buds just waiting to open!

It was in the mid-80’s today…summer is here in Kentucky! That means pool pawties and doggie ice cream and all sorts of summer fun! I can’t wait to spoil them all rotten!

Please don’t forget about our shop if you are planning a Pawty!

Rescue On!

Nancy and her Misfits!

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Misfit Manor Diary – accepting reality

Last year when I adopted Rosie I did not know the reasons she had so many struggles. Rosie does not walk well, she had major struggles with eating, she can’t bark and she generally has a very weak constitution both emotionally and physically.

What I did know instantly was that she was an absolute sweetheart and I was meant to be her mom.



We started working on finding answers and solutions for Rosie right away. The biggest challenge was her difficulty with eating and frankly her plain lack of willingness to eat. I am happy to say that that situation has done a complete 360!

Rosie eats like a champ now. The biggest impact to improve her eating has been laser treatments on her jaw and throat. I purchased my own medical laser for the dogs last December (more on that later) and do treatments daily for her.

The laser treatments dramatically improved her ability to masticate food and swallow. It also made her willing to try new and different food which has helped me get some additional weight on her. We also take Rosie for acupuncture treatments. Her acupuncturist puts emphasis on her stomach points. I also started adding probiotics to her food. All of this combined has changed things dramatically for her. We are so happy with this progress!

We did these things while continuing to pursue medical answers to Rosie’s lack of muscle development. Our last hope was the neurologist. Unfortunately, the neurologist concluded that Rosie’s issues are genetic…the result of very bad breeding.

The neurologist recommended no further testing. She recommended never putting her under anesthesia unless it was life or death. She gave me the hard news that Rosie’s lack of muscle development is genetic and there is nothing medically that can be done for her.

Don’t get me wrong; Rosie has made a ton of progress since she arrived. Beside eating great she does walk more and her flexibility and strength have improved. But Rosie will never have a “normal” life. It is odd that over the last weeks of digesting the disappointing news from the neurologist that Rosie has made the most progress since I adopted her. Both Rosie and I seem to have had an attitude change about her health…acceptance and gratitude seem to be having a pretty profound impact.

Rosie’s neurologist advised we keep up what we had been doing; acupuncture, stretching exercises and laser and suggested trying a drug for neuropathic pain (which does already seem to improve her mobility a bit).

Its been several weeks since we visited the neurologist. At first I was so incredibly disappointed with the outcome. But as usual; the dogs are smarter and better adjusted than I. Rosie is fine. She is living a happy and full life; she spends not one minute worrying about “what could or should be”…she just “is” a happy girl.

Spring has sprung here and we are focused on living for each moment we have together. My girls (Petunia and Rosie), neither who can go for walks, are great wagon riding partners. They both are such grateful creatures…I love spoiling them.

I do my best to focus solely on life here and shut out the noise of the world outside of Misfit Manor. I am blessed that my work is right here at my home. But mostly I am blessed by all these sweet creatures who make every day a joyful one.

Blessings from our pack to yours,

Nancy

P.S. Please keep our Pawty store in mind if you are planning a special day for your pups!

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Misfit Manor Diary – Products I can’t live without!

With so many dogs in my house and four vacation rental properties I feel like I spend half of my life cleaning.  Believe it or not even with so many dogs my house is really clean…and I have a few secrets!

As much as I love pets…I can’t stand for my house to smell like pet.  I also allow pets in one of my vacation rentals and there is no way I can let that apartment ever smell like pet.  I have tried pretty much every cleaning product on the market and I have a few that I absolutely can’t live with out.

The first (and definitely my favorite product) is Angry Orange.  Angry Orange is the best cleaning deodorizing product I have found and trust me I have tried almost everything.  I add it to my bucket of mop water.  I keep a spray bottle of water and Angry Orange for dusting.  I sprinkle it on my steam mop.  I also use it to clean and deodorize the outdoor pet yard.  If I find I spot where someone has had an accident I clean it up with clorox first and then let Angry Orange sit on the spot for about 30 minutes and then wipe it up.

Besides the effectiveness of this product being really good it is non-toxic to pets and it is safe for tile and wood floors (which is all I have in my house).

The second product I cannot live with out is Zep Wall Cleaner Foam.   Let’s face it…dogs shake slobber, water, food, boogies and other unmentionables off of themselves and on

to the walls.  Wiping your walls with most products ruins the paint job on the wall.  I use this wall cleaner in the house and in my vacation rentals and I LOVE IT.  It doesn’t take the paint off and it cleans most marks off the wall.  My vacation rentals constantly get scuffs on the walls from people dragging in suitcases, dog crates, etc….this product makes the walls look clean again.  For the record I use really high quality paint from Sherwin Williams.  I don’t know how this would work with a lower quality paint so if you have cheap paint on your walls I would spot test it first.  In general I like all of ZEP’s products.  I use their shower cleaner in my rentals (it is fabulous) and their glass cleaner works far better than say a product like Windex.

The third product I can’t live without is my steam mop.  Because I don’t want harsh chemicals on my floors that are dangerous to my dogs I don’t use any product on the floors but Angry Orange.  But Angry Orange really isn’t, at least for me, sanitizing enough.  I vacuum and steam mop my floors every morning.   Let’s face it…dogs scooch their buts across the floor, they drool, they drag lord knows what in on their feet…the floors just have to be sanitary.  I use a Shark Steamer.   Its the only steamer I’ve tried so I don’t have any opinion on how it works relative to others.  It does last quite a long time though and it does the job.  I have a weeks worth of pads for it and toss them in the washer with hot water to get them clean.  I do sprinkle Angry Orange on the pads when I use them.

The last tool I use is my diffuser.  I buy the Innogear diffusers.   I usually don’t need it in the house but sometimes in my rentals someone will have cooked something that smells horrid or they have a dog in there that smells like it hasn’t bathed in a year.  I run my diffusers in the apartments while I’m cleaning with a mix of orange oil and lavender oil.  I’ll run them for a day if necessary.  Along with a good cleaning the diffuser will eliminate most odors pretty quickly.  A tip on using diffusers…they need to be cleaned.  About every 10 times or so that I use them I empty them and put a little vinegar in the chamber for a few hours to clean the residue off from the oils.

For all the dog moms out there fighting the good fight on keeping your house clean I hope you find this helpful!

Don’t forget our Pawty Shop of you are planning a special day for you pups!

Rescue On!

Nacny

 

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Misfit Manor Diary – It’s a Trudy!

The best things in life are unplanned.  A few weeks ago I went to meet a rescue friend for lunch.  I picked him up at his shop.  He always has dogs at his shop who are in need of homes.  It is so much fun to see all the sweet pups he is saving.  This time though as we were chatting and catching up a tiny nose peeked out from under his desk.  I asked him who was under the desk.  Knowing what would happen he insisted that I didn’t want to know who was under the desk.  I insisted he bring the dog out to me.  He picked her up and put her in my arms…and it was over…she came home with me.  Say hello to Trudy Halverson!

Trudy is a deaf and blind dachshund (we believe about 4 years old).  She is what is called a “double merle” (the result of two merle dogs bred to each other).  Double merle dogs are almost always born blind and as in Trudy’s case are typically deaf as well.   Not only is she herself a double merle but it is clear from her physical state that she was being bred herself.   There really aren’t harsh enough words for my disdain for irresponsible breeding.  She is the second dog I have taken in this year that is severely handicapped because of creepy sub-human “greeders”.

Trudy holds no resentments though…she is as happy and loving as any dog can be.  I fell in love with her the moment I met her.  As I was driving home my mind started running through the reality of what I just did.  Uh oh…I’ve never trained a dog that was deaf and blind…can I do this?

As it turns out…Trudy is wicked smart.  We have to do some things differently…I use touch instead of my voice to train her to do new behaviors and that works just fine.   She is truly remarkable.  She learned her way around the house in a few days.  She learned to identify the different dogs in a few days.  She learned where she is supposed to go potty in just a few days.  She curls up in bed with me and the rest of the dogs each night….right in the middle of all us.  It is like she knows she is home now.  Honestly…we are very taken back at how adaptable she is…she is truly a little miracle.

Trudy will always require a different level of protection than most of my other dogs.  She gets very scared when a new human she doesn’t know the smell of gets near her.  She warms up eventually but she will not tolerate being ambushed by people she doesn’t know.   She will never be appropriate for kids or badly behaved adults…but I don’t allow either of those in my house so its all good.  She will need a vet who is incredibly patient as she gets scared in new surroundings as well.

Spring has definitely sprung in Kentucky.  The weather has been amazing for walking and wagon riding.  I can’t wait to give Trudy a Misfit Manor summer!  We have so much fun here when the weather is nice with pool pawties and homemade ice cream.  I don’t know how Trudy will do with wagon riding at the park…I am hoping she likes it.  I have given her short rides in the yard just to get her acclimated and that is going well so far.

Every time I think that life can’t get any sweeter here…it does.  Trudy is such a blessing and I am the luckiest dog mom alive!

If you are planning a Pawty please keep our Misfit Manor shop in mind!  We have so many fun items to make your pups day special!

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

 

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Misfit Manor Diary…sometimes this is really hard…

I love every minute of taking care of my misfits but that does not mean it is always easy.  I knew when Rosie arrived here that I was going to be dealing with some new challenges…not just on a day to day basis to keep her healthy and happy but also in terms of being faced with difficult decisions.

Rosie came here because her family could no longer care for her complicated health problems.  She has serious neuropathy issues that make the simplest things hard; barking, walking, eating, swallowing.  Over the 5 months that she has been here she and I have worked hard at getting her strength up.  Eating is, at least for now, almost a normal activity (a far cry from where we were).  She masticates her food and swallows like a champ!  Walking is getting better but its inconsistent.  Barking is rare.   She is happy as hell though!

I have taken her to several veterinarians since she arrived.  All types of tests have been done…none have provided answers.  Most recently we went to a neurologist; this

Sleeping Beauty

was our last hope for a definitive diagnosis on what is wrong with Rosie.  We have learned that almost nothing is definitive when a dog has signs of neuropathy.  The conclusion though after this last round of tests (results came in today) is that Rosie’s issues are most likely genetic…which means there is really nothing available to treat her in traditional medicine.

I was given the option to do further (invasive) testing and/or to try some drug therapies typically used for immune disorders without doing further testing… the odds the treatments will help her (very low) do not outweigh the burden they will put on her.  Rosie has a very weak constitution…both physically and emotionally.  There are limits to what she can handle.  The neurologist was not optimistic.

So I find myself in that unpleasant place in dog parenting…when I have to make difficult choices on my dogs behalf.  We won’t be pursuing any further testing for Rosie nor will we do any aggressive treatment for an autoimmune disease she most likely does not have.  We will continue doing what we have been doing.

Rosie has responded well to acupuncture, physical therapy and laser treatment and we will continue that.  She is going to the guru of Chinese medicine in Louisville every week, she is eating great and we spoil her completely rotten.  Dogs with serious neuropathy issues don’t typically have very long life spans…we are hopeful that she will defy the odds.

Several months ago Rosie did a session with a psychic.  Rosie was very clear that she needed everyone around her to be positive.  She just wants to be happy.  She doesn’t want to be treated like a handicap dog…she wants to shake it off and move forward.  So that is what we will do.

She is such a darling dog…she tugs my heart every day and I am so blessed that she is part of my little family of Misfits.

Hug your dogs…every single day matters.

Nancy