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Misfit Manor Diary…Snow Day!

Misfit Manor
Sophia’s first snow

Yesterday was our first snow day of the season. We only get a few snow days here in Kentucky each winter so it’s a big deal for us to get outside to play in it. One of the best things about snow storms in KY is that the world really does stop for a snow storm here. When we lived in the Midwest life did not stop for snow sans the very rare snow day from school. Here every thing shuts down when it snows. We don’t have the infrastructure to deal with snow removal fast enough and most folks are not used to driving in snow…it’s a dangerous combination and the best thing to do is stay put. That means we get a snow day just like when we were kids…I love it!

Misfit Manor
Our Precious Foxy

This was Sophia’s first experience with snow and she loved it…well at least for a few minutes at a time. She loved running around outside but her feet would get cold so fast I would have to take her in the house to warm up. She would scream at the door though until I let her back out with the rest of us. This went on for a good while…my poor husband was working from home…not sure he appreciated her drama (lol).

Misfit Manor
Sweet Paulie

Our newest Misfit, Sweet Paulie, had a blast playing outside too. Paulie mostly enjoys anything that involves following me around. She is truly one of the nicest dogs we have ever met. We are blessed to have her here and grateful that we have the tools and resources to keep her comfortable (she has the worst arthritis we have seen since our lab Sam so many years ago).

Mostly we are so grateful for our little corner of this world where we can enjoy our family in peace. I am fortunate to live a relatively sheltered and peaceful life. I work out of my house doing work that I love and spend the majority of my time taking care of these precious dogs. Still, everything these days feels heavier. 2022 feels like its starting out like a wet blanket on a cold night.

Misfit Manor

I think like most people…we are exhausted. We are exhausted of bad news, life constantly being canceled, difficulties in running our businesses and especially the political and cultural vitriol. It feels like we have become a society full of opinion (the lowest form of information) but completely lacking in empathy and solutions. I am not sure I have witnessed more demonizing of the “other” in our culture than we see now and its paired with a lack of empathy and a loss of ability to think critically and independently. It scares me. We are a society that has that has been prosperous, safe and secure because of our historic ability to work together, to come together and to show empathy, respect and patience in the face of both adversity and disagreement. It seems to be lost…and lost to a point of no return. It makes me incredibly sad…we are leaving such a toxic mess to future generations in so many ways.

Misfit Manor
The snow on the big old Hemlock tree in our yard.

If you haven’t watched the movie Don’t Look Up…I recommend it. At times I laughed…the writing is clever and it is my kind of humor…dry, very dry. But at the same time it was very disturbing. Humanity was too distracted to care about the meteor barreling at earth was it’s premise. We have a lot of “metaphorical meteors” barreling towards us…whether you want to focus on climate change or the break down of our culture…the movie reminded us that we (as a society) are our own worst enemy and have been tolerating corruption and incompetence in our politicians, institutions and journalists for far too long. Personal responsibility has been supplanted with entitlement. Institutions and group think have supplanted critical thinking and empathy.

I’m just a crazy dog lady and armchair philosopher…I have no grand solutions for such grand problems other than to live by the old adage that we each need to be the change we want to see in the world…no matter how small our sphere of influence is.

I leave you with this cute video of Sophia’s first moment of experiencing snow…she was precious.

Peace,

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary….Merry Christmas

Misfit Manor
Misfit Manor
Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Miss Sophia Rose

It’s almost hard to believe that it’s Christmas time and another year is almost done. Bret and I had the nicest holiday season…it has been very festive but also peaceful. We hired professionals to decorate the outside of the Manor this year…this was a treat and something I have always wanted to do. The pros did a far better job than I could have and it allowed me more time to focus on festivities and caring for the dogs. If there is one lesson we are learning as we get older it’s that it makes sense to delegate some things out…we can’t do everything ourselves all of the time.

Misfit Manor
Our yule logs
Misfit Manor

Bret and I have built our own traditions over the years and our favorite is Winter Solstice. We make yule/intention logs. We write our wishes, goals, intentions for the coming year on the logs and then wrap them in herbs, pine cones, holly and dried oranges. We make yummy snacks and have a big bonfire with our logs… sending our intentions for the year out to the universe. The dogs love this night…we roast them some beef over the fire and they get to play outside in the dark.

Is that beef done yet mom?
Santa came to Misfit Manor!

Definitely one of the highlights of the holiday was a surprise visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus to the Manor. Some friends of mine surprised the Misfits with a visit and home baked dog cookies.

Our Christmas morning was our usual tradition of making the dogs a big pancake breakfast…we give them their toys and then we watch A Christmas Story while we rest out stomachs. This year the weather is so nice we went to the park for most of the afternoon.

Our holidays are simple and private…Bret and I and spend our holidays at home with the Misfits. No gift pressue…no fancy meal pressure…our Christmas dinner tonite is burgers on the grill.

Misfit Manor
Pancake breakfast

I put a gallery of the Misfits Christmas photos below. For some reason this year they all were super cooperative for pictures (not Heloise). I think these are some of the prettiest shots I have ever taken of some of them.

We end this year glad to have some time to rest…it’s been so busy and we need this time to re-charge. We are both grateful for all the blessings we have…especially the Misfits. We are looking to forward to another year of pawsitively fun times….and just think…spring is only 85 days away…we will be back in our gardens in no time!!!

Blessings to you and yours this holiday season,

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…Sophia’s big day and her Pawty Pupcakes

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Sophia gets a little excited about Pupcakes!

Ok so we were a few days late…but it’s never too late to Pawty at Misfit Manor. Sophia turned 6 months old at the end of November. Bret and I swore when we first brought her home (8 weeks old) that we would celebrate every little milestone she had…because frankly neither of us were confident in how far she would make it…every single day mattered to us. But here we are…she is 6 months old and doing fabulous.

I wanted to have Pawty pupcakes for her 6 month birthday despite my lack of baking skills. I was determined to work out a pupcake recipe for her on my own. I had a few recipe fails that Buster and Turnip were happy to eat! The best part of all of this is that Sophia is healthy enough to eat a pupcake. The first few months after she arrived were rough and we never would have considered feeding her a treat. What a blessing to be able to spoil her with pupcakes on her birthday!

Eventually I put together a pretty fool proof recipe for pupcakes and it was a hit for the Misfits…even Madison went crazy for them!

Pupcakes, Misfit Manor
Sophia’s Pupcakes

When it comes to cooking for the dogs I stick with simple and natural. Here is the simple recipe that I used:

Misfit manor, pupcakes
Paulie went crazy for Pupcakes!

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

2 cups of wheat flour

1/2 cup of oats

4 teaspoons of baking powder

1 cup of apple sauce (unsweetened)

Misfit Manor, pupcakes
Maddie always eats like a lady!

1 cup of mashed bananas (you could substitute this for pumpkin, peanut butter, zucchini, even a lean meat or fish)

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 eggs

FROSTING: I use 1- 8 oz pack of cream cheese and 1/2 c. of peanut butter. Because I wanted the frosting to be pink I added 2 Tbsp of beet juice to the frosting to make it pink.

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to at least 350 degrees. This recipe will make 12 pupcakes. You can use cupcake papers…just remember to take them off before you serve them or the dogs will eat papers. Or you can spray the cupcake pan with spray oil.

Misfit Manor, pupcakes
Even sweet old Madison was all in on the pupcakes!

Mix together all of your main ingredients. Like with human baking…I think it helps to having everything laid out at room temperature before you start. Put your mixed pupcake ingredients in your baking cupcake pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. You can use the ole toothpick test but I typically cut the top off one cake to check the doneness.

Misfit Manor, Pupcakes, Pupperccinos
What comes after cake? Pupperccinos!

When I make frosting I always make sure my ingredients (cream cheese and peanut butter) are at room temperature before I mix them. I use my electric mixer to whisk it up so the frosting is as fluffy as possible. I add natural ingredients to color my frosting…you can use beet juice, blueberry juice, etc. I apply my frosting simply by cutting a tiny corner off of a ziploc bag and squeezing it on.

I garnished these cupcakes with the cake flavor dog bones I send out with orders from my Shop. I order these off Chewy. You could also use cupcake toppers…of which I sell a whole collection of adorable ones at my Shop!

Misfit Manor, Pupcakes
Foxy loves cake and coffee!

Life at Misfit Manor is fragile. Most of the dogs here arrive either very senior or in very fragile health (or both) so we celebrate everything. The dogs bring so much love and joy into our lives and that is worth celebrating every single day!

Pawty On!

Nancy & The Misfits

Do you like the Pawty hats and Pupperccino cups in our pictures? Check out our Misfit Manor Pawty Shop to get your own personalized pawty gear! We also have a lot of great gifting items for dog lovers.

Check out our Misfit Manor Pinterest Page for tons of dog lover content and our Misfit Manor Facebook Page for shop deals and announcements. If you want to follow our crazy and beautiful life with the Misfits sign up to get our our blog updates via email. Want to support our Misfits? They have an Amazon Wish List and Sophia has a GoFundMe for her surgery bills.

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Misfit Manor Diary….Welcome Paulie!

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Paulie hanging out in the studio in a bouncy seat watching me work.

A few weeks ago we welcomed a new Misfit. Her name is Paulie. She is a 10-12 year old Chiweenie. Paulie found herself in a rural Kentucky shelter in a pretty banged up state. We are not sure what happened to her but a fair guess is that she was side swiped by either a car or tractor. Her left side has obvious injuries…a crushed eye and she could not walk on her back left leg. Her skin was in line with what we typically see with most of our Misfits when they arrive…dried out and raw with a lot of missing hair.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Paulie when I picked her up.

Paulie’s skin is bouncing back nicely and her coat is slowing growing back in. I make my own dog shampoo and tailor what I put in to it for each dog. Paulie’s shampoo was heavy on the fresh aloe vera which helped heal up her most tender spots very quickly. I also add Probiotics and Salmon Oil to meals to help restore skin and coat health.

The best news is that her eye, despite being crushed, does not seem to bother her at all. She is deaf as well but that is not big deal around here (half of the Misfits are deaf). Her back leg, after several weeks of laser therapy, functions pretty normally now. She is unfortunately a very arthritic girl…her elbows and hips bow out pretty badly but she gets around just fine. With regular arthritis meds she seems pretty comfortable.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Making friends with Solstice

Paulie is sweet as can be and is a great addition to our family. I always marvel out how well (and quickly) new Misfits gel in to our family. Paulie is truly a perfect pet. She figured out right away where to potty. She is incredibly quiet…no barking at all really. She is really attached already and cries a bit if I walk away from her. I wonder…like I do with all of my Misfits…how did such a sweet little creature end up in such dire straits?

Paulie is the first dog since Rosie to make friends with Solstice. Solstice has zero interest in any of the other Misfits…except to slap them if they get in her personal space. Paulie hangs out where ever I am in the house…just like Rosie did…very relaxed and peaceful…Solstice seems to like the peaceful company.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Snuggling with Maddie

Paulie loves our daily trip to the park. She doesn’t walk for too long…mostly rides in the stroller…but she acts like she was made for stroller rides. Some of the Misfits need to be harnessed in when I first take them out in the stroller because it is unfamiliar…not Paulie…she is cool as a cucumber and loves having a daily adventure that doesn’t require taxing her arthritic legs.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Paulie loves stroller riding at the park.

I am not sure how I get so lucky. The dogs that end up here are always such a good fit. It is not lost on me that we are very fortunate that all the Misfits get along so well. Whenever I bring a new Misfit home the others seem to rally around them…almost like they remember being the new kid on the block and being scared and uncertain…they go out of their way to make the newbie feel safe.

The weather here has been amazing…we always feel so blessed to be able to spend so much time outside this time of year. Park time, play yard time and evening bonfires make this one of the best times of the year. Memories of Minnesota and the long cold winters never fade and make life here seem so much sweeter.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Madison with a terrible case of bed head!

I will leave you with this funny picture of Madison…she pulled her pony out while napping today… woke up with a hysterical case of bed head! She continues to do well…albeit she is one of the quirkiest and most nervous dogs I have ever met. We work hard to show her every day that she is safe and loved…I think she gets it a little more each day…some scars never heal though and she definitely carries the scars of a very rough life. I am so grateful each day that she is here with us.

Rescue on!

Nancy & The Misfits

Keep in touch with us by following our blog via email. You can follow our shop deals and new products on our Facebook Page or Pinterest Page. Visit our Misfit Manor Shop if you are planning a Pawty! Want to send the Misfits a gift…check out our Amazon Wish List! We also have a GoFundMe set up for Sophia’s surgery.

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Misfit Manor Diary…Sophia’s big adventure

Misfit Manor, Sophia Rose, Nancy Halverson
ROAD TRIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last week we had to take Sophia Rose to see a surgeon in Louisville (about an hour from the Manor). It was supposed to rain so Bret decided he wanted to drive us there….and thank goodness he did. About half way there an alert went off in the car and the tire gauge on the dash showed we were losing pressure in one of our tires rapidly…on the freeway.

My husband is not a “panicker”…unlike me…he safely got us off the highway and to a gas station air pump before the tire was a total loss…re-inflated it and got us safely to a tire center. We were however now going to be hours late for our appointment with Sophia’s surgeon.

Misfit Manor, Sophia Rose, Nancy Halverson
Sophia and I sitting in the Tire Center…she flirted with everyone

Bret was focused the whole time on getting the car fixed…I was completely annoyed and frustrated that we were going to miss her appointment…and Miss Sophia…well she had a blast all day. She flirted with the men in the tire station…she got to play outside…she looked spectacular in her pink fluffy coat and pearls…Bret took for a pupperccino…the entire day was nothing but an adventure to her. I guess deciding what kind of day it was going to be is all a manner of perspective…

Misfit Manor, Sophia Rose, PUpperccino, Nancy Halverson
Bret took Sophia for a pupperccino

We ended up making it the surgeon’s office…they squeezed us in even though we were 3 hours late. And even though the day seemed frustrating as it unfolded this is the truth of how the day turned out:

  • Sophia’s surgeon was so pleased with how her personal department has developed and our ability to keep her free of infection that we are postponing her surgery another 3 months!
  • We made it there and back safely!
  • This first tire center we drove to didn’t have a tire for us…but they quickly put our spare on for us…for free!
  • The second tire center had a tire for us and had room in their schedule to work on it right away…I’m guessing Sophia’s cuteness had something to do with that!
  • Sophia had a blast and we enjoyed having a day alone with her!
  • Sophia is healthy enough to eat a pupperccino…just a few months ago we would never have considered letting her have one!
ears….

Perspective is everything…what started out feeling like a “sh*t show” really was a great day and everyone we encountered all day was helpful. Best of all Sophia continues to grow and get healthier each day!

The surgeon gave us an estimate of $3500.00 for Sophia’s surgery. We have already raised $1200 for it. Sophia has a GoFundMe to try to raise more. The goal of Sophia’s surgery will be to create separation between her vagina and her anus…she currently does not have the back side of the vulva and no where near enough separation. As you can imagine this makes her vulnerable to infection. The surgeon is confident he can improve this situation quite a bit for her. Other than this specific situation (and not having a tail) Sophia is a completely healthy little girl.

As soon as we returned home from the day’s adventure Miss Sophia went right back to playing with Buster…I think he missed her! We are so grateful that Buster is so good with all the littles here.

Buster loves his little Sophia!

We are getting ready for Winter Solstice and Christmas at the Manor. It is definitely one of the best times of the year!

Don’t forget to keep in touch with us…you can follow our Misfit Manor Pinterest Page for tons of dog lover and pawty content….our Misfit Manor Facebook Page for shop deals and updates and sign up to follow our blog via email. All of our ornaments are on sale at our Shop for the next 10 days so don’t miss out!

Signing off with a grateful heart!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…fall blessings

Misfit Manor
Allie and I getting goofy at the bonfire

Fall is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. I love the process of getting ready to” rest and nest” for the winter at the Manor. Getting ready for fall here is definitely focused around working in our gardens. We have 58 rose bushes on the Manor and we trimmed every one of them back in the last few days. The veggie and spice gardens had to be cut down and turned over. I bring in any plants I want to overwinter. This year I am overwintering my geraniums, coleus and several tropicals…our home offices will look like jungles for the winter. I put in several hundred bulbs this fall and Bret planted a bunch of garlic. I cannot wait to see the results of all of it in spring! This year we ordered a lot of new seed varieties to start more plants inside over the winter. The goal is to not have to buy anything from a nursery next year when we bring the gardens back to life in Spring. Not because I am cheap (which I am) but there is something about learning to work together with nature that feeds our souls. Eating the fruit of all the tomato and peppers I grew from seed this year was amazing!

Misfit Manor
my favorite hedge on the Manor
Misfit Manor

Fall is always so beautiful here. Our sleepy little town is full of so many huge, beautiful old trees…the colors are amazing. We have several hedges of burning bush on the property…I never get tired of seeing them change their color.

Fall is also our favorite time to hang out in the yard at night with the dogs. Bonfires are fun for all of us. The Misfits love running around the yard at night and they know they are going to get some sort of yummy roasted snack from the fire.

Misfit Manor
Buster could lounge outside all day in this beautiful fall weather.

There is something about fall that makes it easier for me to slow down…probably the shorter day light hours. It feels easier to call it quits for the day when it gets dark so early. I used to hate the shorter days that come with winter…now I love them and look forward to resting a lot more. There were so many years when the changing of the seasons did not mean anything to me and certainly didn’t impact how I carried on with my daily life. The busy-ness of corporate life just seemed to motor me on through the daily grind…season after season…year after year…I wonder now how I did that for so long…and what sort of toll did it take on my body, mind and spirit? Manor life is different though; I think and do things differently…it’s a much slower life and it definitely bends and shapes around the cycle of the seasons. Fall and Winter are so much more about “resting and nesting” now. I look forward to hunkering down with more time to rest, read, write, create and of course snuggle with the Misfits.

Misfit Manor
Trudy is magical

My sweet Trudy could teach us all something about resting. This tiny, magical little dog does not have a care in the world despite being blind and deaf. She is so incredibly peaceful and intuitive. She lives every minute solely in the present and relaxed. I like to think that her stable and spoiled life here has something to do with it…but it is more likely her magical spirit…she is truly a blessing.

Wishing everyone a blessed start to the holiday season!

Nancy & The Misfits

Don’t forget about our Misfit Manor shop! We have great gift ideas for dog moms/dads and super fun Pawty supplies! We have started a GoFundMe for Sophia’s upcoming surgery (more on that later).

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Misfit Manor Diary…humbled

Misfit Manor

Everyone needs a roof over their head…including us. Misfit Manor is a super cool collection of buildings…that are also pretty old. Our roof on the main house was especially old…and it has been leaking in different spots over the years. We have been patching it as we go but we have known for a while that we were going to have to replace it. Honestly…who wants to spend money on a roof? It may be necessary but it isn’t fun…at least I kept telling my husband that every time he brought up that we need to replace the roof.

This past winter during an ice storm the roof started a leak in my bedroom…drip, drip, drip. My husband was right…we had to get this done.

Misfit Manor

Every time something like this comes up…a huge vet bill or a frighteningly large expense for the property I have to work really hard at remaining calm and handing it over. For some reason the universe always has Bret and my backs…everything always works out…we just have to be patient. In this case it was a letter and check from my Great Aunt Yvonne’s estate lawyer. My incredible Aunt left us enough money to re-roof the entire property…reading the letter literally took my breath for a moment. All I could do when I read it was sit in silence and stare at it. I called my husband and said “you are not going to believe this…but we just got a roof in the mail”. I have to wonder…is my Aunt Yvonne watching….does she know what an amazing thing she has done for us? Can she feel my grateful heart right now? It is incredibly humbling when someone does something so generous and unexpected…there really are not appropriate words for it…humble is the best I can do.

Bret and I plan to age out at the Manor with our Misfits. We do not like the word “retire” or the traditional view of what it has meant in American culture. We have our own view of what “retiring” means and long ago decided we needed to be intentional about striking a balance between work and play at every age. To us “ageing out” means continuing to do all the things we love until we drop and we want to do it here. We love our work and we love our dogs and our gardens…we love this ridiculous old home we call Misfit Manor and we don’t plan to leave it just because we are getting older. With our inheritance we were able to buy the Lifetime Shingles for the buildings and we had all the flat roofs (there are 4 of them) completely torn off and rebuilt. We will never have to do this again in our lifetime and it feels really good. Thank you Aunt Yvonne.

Aunt Yvonne…classy, smart and independent!

I only met my Aunt Yvonne twice in my life. Once when I was really little and I don’t remember much of the visit with her. Then again when I was in my late 30’s I went to visit her in Fall River, MA. By that time she lived in an apartment/Assisted Living building. She insisted that we have a meal in the dining room of her building. She walked us around to every table in the dining room to introduce her family to all of her friends there. Clearly getting a visit was meaningful to her and I was humbled to be called her family. I was always told that I looked a lot like her and acted like her. She was a pistol…very witty, very smart and driven and she lived life on her own terms long before women were “allowed” to live life on their own terms. She had no reason to leave anything to me in her will…but she did. The only way I can say thank you now is to say it out loud and hope she can hear it. I hope she can feel my grateful heart. I am not sure if my Aunt liked dogs but she gave my dogs a roof over their heads…literally. I don’t know if she would understand the life I live with my Misfits…but I am certain she would be thrilled that I am doing life my own way.

Signing off with a grateful and humble heart,

Nancy & The Misfits

P.S. Don’t forget to visit our Misfit Manor Shop for holiday gifting items for pet lovers! If you want to help support the Misfits they have an Amazon Wish List and a GoFundMe.

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Misfit Manor Diary…uninvited guests, Sophia and inflation…

We have a mole…a very determined mole…destroying our yard. I am always amazed when creatures like this think it is a good idea to camp out in our back yard. Seriously…does it consider the pack of dogs who want to kill it when it chooses our yard? The mole is literally making tunnels and hills all over. And the Misfits are determined to get him. Between the mole tunnels and the dogs digging more holes to get him…our entire back yard looks like swiss cheese!

Honestly, Bret and I go back and forth between laughing over the situation…our yard is trashed and looks completely ridiculous…and being frustrated…how are we going to fix this?

Maddie digs holes so deep her head fits entirely down in them. Even sweet Sophia, now weighing in at 4 lbs 15 oz. has joined in on the digging…who knew such a tiny dog could dig so fast!

Misfit Manor

Buster dug and de-grassed an entire corner in a manner of minutes. This mole is smart and fast though…he always gets away. We are going to have look in to some humane ways to encourage him to move on.

The yard drama aside, Manor life never seems to slow down. There has been a bit of construction/renovation work going on, we have a new Misfit (more on that later) and the needs of the Misfits and my businesses keep me busy around the clock.

Misfit Manor

Miss Sophia is growing like a weed…though still a tiny little thing. The best news is that her challenges with pooping have all but disappeared…she poops like a rock star now….a great relief because the vet suspected some of her issues were internal nerve/colon issues. Clearly her colon issues have resolved themselves as she has grown. We are also managing to keep her infection free despite having no separation between her anus and her vagina…this is no small feet…the medical management of keeping her infection free requires constant hygiene care. I take her urine in every couple weeks to test for white blood cells to make sure we are staying ahead of any percolating infections. Tomorrow we head to Louisville for another consultation with her surgeon. We are trying to put off surgery as long as we can (hopefully until she is full grown). The surgery will create separation between her vagina and anus. Sophia is such an incredible blessing to our lives. She has become Trudy’s wrestling and snuggling buddy. None of the other Misfits will play with Trudy (Trudy is a little crazy and she freaks the other dogs out). But Sophia loves Trudy’s brand of crazy and its a beautiful thing to see Trudy wrestle and play like a normal dog.

Like everyone else…we are certainly noticing the impact of inflation and product shortages here at the Manor. Items I purchase to run my shop have been out of stock for months…not even available for back order. I have had to be creative and flexible to figure out different ways to do things for now. I also keep really close tabs on our vet bills, pet food costs, meds & supplements, etc. And they are going up fast. We have also started seeing supply issues…particularly for certain kinds of food and piddle pads. We order a lot of our items through Chewy…this month’s piddle pad order was half what we normally get…out of stocks. When you have a bunch of senior dogs…piddle pads are not luxury…they are a necessity. Since Covid lockdowns in 2020 we have stayed stocked up on just about everything we use here so we are very grateful to be ahead of out of stocks for now. I am fortunate that I do very little driving so rising gas prices are not a big hit for us but like everyone else it is unsettling to see prices for food and every day items go up so fast.

Misfit Manor Shop, Dog Mom Ornament

Don’t forget about us this holiday season if you are shopping for dog loving friends and family. Our Misfit Manor Shop has ornaments and wall decor that make perfect gifts for dog lovers. You can also support the Misfits with a gift from their Amazon Wish List and their GoFundMe for vet bills.

Signing off on this beautiful fall evening in Kentucky,

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…life on her own terms

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

Little Miss Madison has definitely changed since she arrived here but she also definitely lives life here on her own terms. We don’t know anything about her life before coming to the Manor other than she was surrendered to an rural KY shelter because she was “just too old to take care of anymore”…honestly I don’t want to know what her life was like. We can guess…because she is not socialized to animals or humans that she was breeder and most likely spent her life alone in a cage. Some dogs bounce back from a life like that…some don’t. In Madison’s case she will probably never be normal. She is the most nervous dog I have ever met. She is afraid of everyone and everything. But Madison has definitely changed since she arrived…she eats great without getting sick (she was chronically stomach sick for the first few weeks). Our go to tool when we get a dog with major digestive issues is probiotics. They may take a bit of time to work but creating a healthy gut flora for the dogs makes everything better for them…not just their stomachs (their skin especially improves) and its been a game changer for Madison. We love watching her chow down…she knows our meal schedule and comes and finds me if I am even a few minutes late with dinner.

Madison eats like a little piggy now. And she can enjoy things like treats and chews without getting sick. She still does not drink from a water bowl. I even tried using a water bottle (like you would put in a hampster cage) to see if she would drink from that…no go. To get enough fluid in her every day I make her meals in to a soup and serve it on a plate with a deep enough edge. It’s unconventional but it works.

Definitely one of the most exciting changes has been her improved mobility and lack of pain/discomfort. Madison clearly was uncomfortable (back and hips) and she moved sooo slow…turtles move faster than she did. But in just a few months she moves at a pretty good clip and instead of having to ride in the stroller for her whole walk she trots around on her own. Park time is her favorite time! We used a typical basket of tools to get Madison feeling better…supplements, laser therapy and vibration therapy.

Hands down Madison’s favorite things to do are nap and watch me work. She has beds in my office and my studio…she is either sound asleep or staring at me. If I move…she moves. She likes to sleep in a sling on my chest while I paint…I haven’t had a dog do that since my Luna.

Misfit Manor

One of our biggest concerns for her was her nerves and anxiety…I have never met such a nervous dog. We started her on Solloquin right after she arrived. I have used this supplement a lot over the years and have had decent success with it. It has really helped Madison and unlike pharmaceuticals it does not have side effects. Like any natural remedy it takes a while to show its impact (usually 4-6 weeks).

It took weeks for Madison to lay on a dog bed here. Trust me there are dog beds literally everywhere in my house…she would only lay on the floor. It is like she didn’t realize that the beds were for her too. It’s odd how much this bothered Bret and I…thinking about this tiny little sweet thing not having basic comforts for most of her life…heartbreaking.

She still does not crave any physical touch. She will snuggle with me in bed or on my recliner and loves to get her back and belly scratched but she is not a dog that will initiate any human contact. When she snuggles with me she does this goofy thing where she rubs her head really fast on my stomach and then her whole body relaxes on me and she let’s out a sigh…it is so cute…I have no clue what it means but it is so sweet and melts me every time.

Every body has things they do in life that genuinely make them happy…not things that make you laugh…or entertain you…or even make you feel safe and secure…but moments that remind you that life is simple and full of love…it does not have to be grand, fancy or noticed by anyone to be fulfilling and amazing. For me…it is simple things like watching Madison sleep peacefully in a warm bed at my feet that genuinely make me happy. I don’t know if Madison remembers the hellish life she must have lived before…I hope she doesn’t…but she is incredibly content now to just be who she is and enjoy the life we can give her.

Every night at bedtime we have a whole routine to get everyone ready for bed…it takes a good 30 minutes for me to get everyone pottied, medicated, lasered…and finally in their designated sleeping position. Everyone has a spot…my own bed is surrounded by co-sleepers so we all can sleep together…I crawl in last. That last look at them before I fall asleep is the best moment of each day. I was put here to take care of these precious souls and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

On the journey,

Nancy & The Misfits

P.S. Don’t forget our Misfit Manor Shop if you are planning a Pawty or looking for great gifting ideas for the holidays. If you want to support the Misfits we have both a GoFundMe for Sophia’s surgery and an Amazon Wish List.

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Misfit Manor…grief is the thief of joy

Nancy Halverson, misfit manor, rescue dog,

The loss of Rosie is something that I have not been able to write about for months. We had to say our final good bye to Rosie on June 8th. The wound of losing her feels as raw today as it did that day. Every time we lose a Misfit my heart is broken but this time is different. This time I feel a level of grief I have never experienced before. My grief is intense and relentless.

She was only 4 years old…she deserved so much more time…she deserved so much more than the broken little body she was given. Her neurologist said she was a genetic tragedy…no explanation and no fix for her broken little body. Everything abut her life was so unfair.

When we first brought Rosie home the biggest challenge was getting her to eat. She did not want to eat. Bret and I both felt that it was the first time we took in a dog that simply didn’t have a desire to live anymore. We had done a session with a pet psychic with her which revealed a lot about how she felt physically but also that she didn’t believe anyone wanted her. She did not believe that Bret and I were going to keep her. We worked so hard to change her mind and win her over. Eventually we did win her over…and for 3 years I was rarely away from her and when I was it only for a few hours to run errands.

Taking care of Rosie has been one of the best experiences of my life…she was so sweet and beautiful and was up for just about anything as long as we were together. In hindsight it was so much work to care for her…she needed me 24/7…the last few weeks I was up most nights several times a night with her…but it never felt like work or a bother. I loved every minute of caring for her and I feel completely lost without her even after all of this time.

I will never forget her huge brown eyes…the noise she made when she tried to bark (so precious)…the way she would slap my cell phone out of my hand (she hated competing with the phone for my attention)…how crazy she went for a pupperccino. Despite all of her physical challenges she was happy and my constant companion…always smiling at me…always staring at me!

Her death is the thief that has stolen my joy. I don’t even know where to start trying to figure out how to heal from this anymore. I look at the rest of my Misfits and almost feel guilty for not being the same person with the same heart anymore. I go through the motions each day taking care of them but I’m doing it with a broken heart…the joy is gone for now.

I hope that Rosie found Betty and Millie on the other side. I hope somehow she can see me and that she knows how badly I miss her. I cannot wait for the day I see her and all the rest of my Misfits who have passed again.

Hug your babies…every single day matters.

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…Sophia’s first pawty!

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

If there is one thing we never pass up on opportunity to do around here it’s pawty! Sophia Rose turned 3 months old last week. There was no way we weren’t going to celebrate.

Unfortunately because of her health issues there was no cake or treats at her pawty…just a few licks from a pupperccino…but she still had fun and this little girl clearly loves being the center of attention.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

We intend to celebrate every mile stone with this little girl…no matter how small. While she looks like a perfectly healthy little girl she has some pretty serious health concerns. Things have definitely improved more and more and she grows but it is feeling inevitable that she is going to face surgery on her personal department once she is full grown.

But Bret and I reluctantly admitted that the first few weeks we had her we were both uncertain she would make it this far. Gratitude doesn’t cover it when we think about how much she has improved.

Misfit  Manor, Nancy Halverson

Sophia will see a specialist in Louisville on the 20th for the first time. All paws crossed that we will get some encouraging news. I have very mixed emotions about such a small dog going through major surgery. In the meantime, we are enjoying every minute of showing her how awesome Manor life is. She gets more rambunctious and bigger every day! This picture on the left shows how leggy she is getting…it appears she is getting more of the Chihuahua traits than the Shitzu.

Misfit manor, Nancy Halverson
Sophia & Madison

Our sweet Madison continues to settle in to Manor life…albeit very slowly. She has started letting Sophia Rose snuggle with her…definitely a nice step. She also is laying on beds regularly now…when she first arrived she only laid down on the floor…she just did not get that the beds were for her. She continues to eat really good and I have her on a natural supplement for anxiety that seems to be working. She is definitely less stressed when I pick her up.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Snoopy

Summer is definitely winding in Kentucky. While I will be sad to shut our pool down the fall season is definitely one of my favorite times of year. I enjoy putting my gardens to bed for the winter, bonfires, apple cider and taking a lot of long cool walks with the dogs. Snoopy takes advantage of every minute he can get outside…he literally never tires out!

Blessings from our pack to yours!

Nancy & The Misfits

Don’t forget to check out our Pawty Store if you are planning a party for your dog! We have hats, favors, banners…everything you need to plan a pawfect day.

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Misfit Manor Diary….welcome Madison!

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

Say hello to our newest Misfit…Madison! Madison arrived about a week ago. I know nothing about her past. What I do know is that she is very old, completely deaf, does not see well and definitely has some arthritis issues. She is gentle and sweet and very, very quiet.

Madison seems to be what I would call “a-social”. She is not anti-social per se, nor is she aggressive in anyway. She has not however been socialized to people or other animals. She just doesn’t know what to do with any of us. She does not want to be touched by any of us and while she wants to be in the general vicinity of the rest of us….not too close. She definitely has found a use for me…back scratches….she loves back scratches…other than that though…no touching.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

Madison loves to be outside and I have been taking her to the park with Foxy and Spike every morning. She is a really slow walker so she mostly rides in the stroller.

The only time her tail seems to wag is when she is outside. Madison also does not make any noise…not a peep. She has not barked once since arriving.

If I had to take a guess at what her life was before coming here I would guess that she was solely a breeder and most likely lived her life in a cage/crate with little interaction with any humans or animals.

Despite the fact that she is old I am holding out hope that she will eventually come to appreciate human touch and take advantage of the all of the perks of living here. If not, that is ok. We love her just as she is. I am so glad she landed here for whatever time she has left. Every one of these dogs that lands here is a blessing to my life and I cherish every day I get to take care of them.

Peace, love and rescue,

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…the gardens of Misfit Manor

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

If 2021 has been anything…it has been a fabulous year for gardening in Kentucky. Everything from the roses to the tomatoes have had a spectacular year here.

Not only has the weather been incredible for growing but the typical pests we see here in our gardens have been non existent this year.

Because of the Misfits I don’t leave the Manor very often. I run out for quick errands and occasionally to meet a friend for a quick lunch or dinner. The gardens are a big part of how I decompress, entertain myself and get a little variety from being a non-stop dog mom.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

Gardening is not something I had time for in the past. Only since I retired to Kentucky 7 years ago have I had the time to start appreciating playing the in the dirt. I have learned a lot and made a lot of gardening mistakes but it does get better every year as I learn more and more. I consider myself an “accidental green thumb”.

Roses have been my biggest learning curve. Not knowing any better I put in a ton of roses when I first moved here. I had no clue to how to do pest control, prune, prepare for winter, etc. But I am slowly figuring it out. My roses have become my babies and I am obsessed with taking pictures of them.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

I have also become obsessed with using accent pieces and lights in the garden. I have a new mindset when I am out thrifting and flea marketing…”everything has potential as a planter”! I have made planters this year from an old bicycle, an old peddle cart, bird cages, metal baskets and more. The types of lighting you can get for outdoor gardening now are incredible. I am using solar, battery powered, electric strands, torches…I have lights every where so the Misfits and I can enjoy the night in our gardens! There is nothing more wonderful than relaxing out in the yard with a big glass of tea while the fire flies light up the landscape!

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

I am also learning a lot of tricks/tips for making gardening more affordable. This past winter I overwintered my geraniums. I didn’t even know you could do that but here I am this year with monster geraniums. This geranium pictured on the left is a single plant that I overwintered from the previous year. I am not sure I will be able to find the space to overwinter this one again unless I cut it way back.

I also did my first growing from seed indoors this past winter and learned to propagate from cuttings and did a lot of splitting of perennials this year as well. This was my first experience with gladiolas and dahlias too…dahlias have become my favorite flower!

For the last 7 years it has been difficult to convince me to leave the Manor because of the dogs…now I don’t want to leave the gardens either! I am already looking forward to new plans for the gardens for next spring. Fall bulbs will go in soon…I have a lot of annual bulbs and tubers I need to dig up and a box of seeds I will be starting inside this year.

I saw an Audrey Hepburn quote recently; “to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”. I never would have thought much of that quote in the past but now I love it. It is not just to believe in tomorrow….it is to look forward tomorrow and see it’s possibilities. The best part of each day is my early morning walk around my gardens with a cup of coffee to see what surprises and beautiful things nature has in store for the day.

I am fortunate that I get to live a life where I can be consumed with the things that make my soul sing; dogs and gardening. I wouldn’t trade either of these for all of the money in the world.

From our pack to yours…wishing you end of summer blessings.

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…a teeny tiny blessing…welcome Sophia Rose

misfit manor, nancy halverson

About a month a go I received a phone call about an 8 week old puppy (Chihuahua and Shitzu mix) that had some health issues and needed a place to go. Puppies are not the typical addition to the Manor family but it is something that we have talked about ever since Petunia passed away last February. Though we had passed on several other inquiries on puppies when I received the call about this little girl my inner bell knew right away that she was meant to be here.

Misfit manor, nancy Halverson

A few days later Bret and I went to pick her up. Bret laughed when he saw her; “that’s not a dog… it’s a hampster”! She was so small…barely over 1 lb. We named her Sophia Rose in honor of our beloved Rosie.

Sophia Rose has some serious health issues. Some of her very important parts are not developed properly. The least of her issues is that she does not have a tail…just a nub. The more serious is that her vagina and anus are too close together and both are not fully developed. Her vagina is misplaced. She does not have a full vulva so when she poops bacteria and debris go right in to her vagina.

Misfit Manor, Sophia Rose

When we first brought her home she was having chronic diarrhea and the task of keeping her clean and infection free seemed overwhelming. Once we got her on a course of antibiotics though the situation improved a lot. Unfortunately, as her stool normalized in firmness, we quickly realized that she doesn’t have strong enough sphincter muscles to get her poops out alone. Honestly, there is nothing worse than a constipated puppy. She cries from the pain of trying to poop. The first week or so of figuring this out was heart breaking.

I have touched more poo in the last month than any normal person ever should in trying to help this poor girl take care of business. Over the last month we have found a system to keep things working as best as we can for her. She is on a stool softener (a lot of it), she eats liquified food and I use warm water and warm towels to help her get her first poo out in the morning. For the most part, with the exception of her first poo in the morning, things are going much more smoothly now. Our vet suspects there are issues with her colon not functioning properly that cause her stool to harden over night…making that first little piece of poo so very difficult for her.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

Other than the issues I described she is a happy, rambunctious and very loving puppy. She will see a specialist on the 20th of this month in Louisville. Our vets do not believe she will have a quality life unless she has reconstructive surgery on her vulva and anus. I am still hopeful that as she grows the entire situation will improve a lot and perhaps surgery won’t be necessary. We will do whatever the experts recommend though. Regardless, she will require extra care and hygiene management her whole life. She is worth every moment of care though. She has brought so much joy to this house already.