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Misfit Manor Diary – Searching for beauty…

Misfit Manor Diary

Like it is for most people, the lock down is unnerving for our family. The only reason I have left the property since this all started has been to walk the dogs. But even walking the dogs is strange…I wave to the neighbors…but none of us get close enough to chat. It has been going on for almost a month now…it still doesn’t feel real…its like one big bad dream.

Every day that the sun shines the girls and I go “hunting for beauty” on our walks…and there is plenty of it in Spring time in Kentucky. Spring flowers and the flowering trees are every where. I never get tired of the magic that dirt and sun make all around us.

There are only a few things that seem to bring any feeling of normalcy to our days right now…nature, the daily routine that dogs demand and keeping busy around the house in my shops.

I have a new appreciation for how much the Misfits force my days to be normal. Even though there is little work…there is no where to go…seems like there is no reason to get out my jammies some days…the Misfits are up every single morning at 6 a.m without fail. They are ready to go. They want some breakfast. They want to play and go for walks…they want their yard time. Rosie needs daily swim therapy. Most of my girls need daily laser therapy. Half of the crew needs daily meds. Every thing we do for them has become the benchmark for the passing hours and days.

For some people this quarantine just means staying at home and not going crazy from boredom. For others, like us, it has been that but also watching our businesses dissolve in front of us with little to nothing we can do to save them. It is an unwelcome reminder of just how fragile any sense of “security” we might have is. The American Dream now feels more like the American Nightmare. If anyone would have told me the business I worked my butt off building the last 6 years was going to vaporize in a matter of days….I never would have believed them. I was not expecting to have to pivot and re-invent at this age..but here I am doing just that.

The last month I honestly think I have been in some sort of shock…so stunned I haven’t been able to really process everything that has happened. I have been angry in a way I have never been before. I have broke down and cried more times than I ever have in my life. It feels like a deep wave of grief…and rot in my stomach. The last few days it seems like the fog is lifting, reality is setting in and my energy is returning. Now I just have to figure out what is next. My vacation rental business is going to close, that is without question. Until the last few days I have not even been able to think about what could possibly come next…how do I salvage anything out of this. But now the ideas are percolating. And thank goodness for the Misfits who lift our spirits and make us feel needed and important and remind me daily that there is still so much to be joyful about.

So many of my friends are like us, self employed/business owners, watching big parts of our lives burn down. Those same people also seem to be the most generous and thoughtful. My shops and art commissions have experienced a really nice uptick the last few weeks..most of it coming from people who are also being pinched by this mess. The irony of who shows up to help others…not lost on me.

For now, I am working my a** off painting and adding new pawty items to my stores. It does seem that people are passing the boredom of quarantine by having pawties with their dogs…how awesome is that! When the news broke earlier in winter about how this virus was affecting the people in China I ordered a ton of supplies to build my inventory in case some of my suppliers shut down for awhile or there were long shipping delays…didn’t ever imagine what we are experiencing now of course…but thank goodness I have what I need to keep my shops running for now. Little blessings every where.

I hope you are healthy and finding as much joy as possible during this strange time.

Nancy & The Misfits

Follow our Pinterest Page for all sorts of pet lover ideas and pawty planning! Check out our shops if you need any fun gifting items for dog moms or pawty supplies!

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Misfit Manor Diary – Surviving the coronapocalypse

So the coronapocalypse has effected us as much as anyone…both my husband and I are essentially unemployed. But at the same time it has hardly effected us at all. Because our lives are centered around the Misfits and their needs…in most ways very little has changed.

We are trying really hard to put the things that worry us in the back of our minds…because we cannot control them anyway. Instead we are focusing solely on the sweet little creatures around us who have no idea that the world is on fire around them.

The only things the Misfits have noticed…daddy is home more…they are getting more and longer walks…because we have no guests on the property they can hang in the yard and bark their heads off as much as they want. For them…its all good right now. I wish I could be so relaxed all the time….I’m quite jealous actually.

Lacey is sleeping through the apocalypse…nothing is phasing her at all. Buster is playing ball through the apocalypse…and Snoopy is raising hell like always!

Bret and I are finding time to do things we never do….like sleep in past 6 a.m. It took a few weeks for the panic of watching our businesses disintegrate to come to the realization that we are about to get a very long staycation. Bret and I have not taken a vacation since we moved here almost 6 years ago…we have barely taken a day off. Now the craziness in the world is forcing us to and we are trying to make the very best of it.

We are getting projects done at home…and around the vacation rentals. We are getting caught up on years of missed sleep. We are playing more than we ever have before. We dug out our tennis rackets to play tennis at the top of our driveway…no net of course but I rarely can get a ball over the net anyway.

We had a bonfire a few nights ago. We were trying to do something that would help us symbolically and physically let our fears go. We tossed them in fire and said goodbye to them.

Honestly…we have no idea what will happen with either of our businesses when this is over…we assume the road back will be slow and gradual and we are going to have to do some serious economizing…but that is ok. We are not fancy people and as long as we have our Misfits….we have enough.

Rosie and Solstice keep each other busy….Solstice is slightly crazy and Rosie is completely entertained by silently watching her crazy behavior. Simple friends.

We are grateful we are healthy. We both suspect we had this virus earlier this winter and just had no idea what the corona virus was at the time. We are saddened by so much loss of life and also the hardship this shut down is causing so many families. The largest employer in our town has already started permanent lay offs…20% of the 10K employees at the largest plant have been let go….and that is just the beginning. It is going to be a long and challenging road back. We are old enough that unfortunately we have lived through several previous crisis…we know we will come out ok on the other side…things may be different…but they will be ok.

I hope that everyone reading this is healthy at home and finding ways to make the best of a very difficult situation.

Hug your fur babies…they feel all of our stress…they heal our stress and they bring so much joy!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary-practicing gratitude when we need it most.

That’s right…I cooked a full blown Thanksgiving dinner tonite…and I am not a fan of the traditional celebration of Thanksgiving. Late last week my husband went to the store to get something for me to make for dinner…burgers is what he wanted. He called me from the store…”honey there is no meat…can you believe it…no meat…the only thing they have is turkey”…I said well bring home a turkey then.

The corona virus epidemic is an unprecedented experience for most people….let’s face it…it doesn’t even feel real. We don’t know how to process it…we are facing a ridiculous level of uncertainty…something that none of us like.

While so much of this situation is completely out of our hands…and that is frustrating…we can still choose how we respond to it.

Believe me…I’m not diminishing the hardship of this situation. Lives are being lost. Jobs are being lost. My husband and I are both self employed. Our businesses have been decimated in a matter of days and we won’t be getting any unemployment or aid as self employed folks. We will have to figure it out on our own. Stress has been high. Bret has run home several times from the office in the last 2 weeks because I wasn’t sure if I was having a panic attack or a heart attack as I dealt with literally the cancellation of the entire season for our vacation rentals.

We have to get used to a new paradigm….we have to change our expectations and think of new ideas to make it all work going forward. But frankly…its not the first time…and we will figure it out.

Lucky for us…there are a lot of distractions to keep us busy here at the Manor. First and foremost we need to focus on the needs of all these little creatures. I ordered a huge order from to make sure we were stocked up on dog and cat food of our Misfits (I’m sure the UPS guy was cursing me hauling those boxes to our porch). Solstice worked hard to make it a much bigger chore than necessary to get everything unpacked and put away.

Trudy, our blind and deaf dachshund keeps us on our toes every minute…she could absolutely care less what is going on in the world around her. She wants attention from us…no matter what we have going on.
The rest of our crew is just running around playing and causing mischief like nothing is wrong in the world at all….I don’t think they know it…but they are an amazing stabilizing force for us.

I am getting busy painting…I picked up some new commission work that I am super excited about…one for a lady I have been friends with since the 2nd grade! I can’t wait to paint her cats. I am also keeping busy making masks from my hoards of fabric for folks who are forced to do public facing jobs right now but have no protection from being exposed to the virus. I am not charging for my masks…if you need one let me know. Miss Solstice is making my mask making task much harder than it needs to be…she is fascinated with the sewing machine.

So we took a break and made a full blown thanksgiving meal today. We wanted to make a huge symbolic effort to be grateful for all the blessings we still have. We put on some of our favorite music; Randy Travis, Willie Nelson, The Judds…and we danced around our kitchen with Rosie sandwiched between us. For at least a little while we made things feel normal again.

We aren’t numb to everything that is going on…but today we choose to be grateful for what we have…and what we have is enough. We always have the space to choose to respond to shitty situations with an attitude that will serve us well rather than drag us down. That doesn’t mean we don’t have little melt downs here and there…but it does mean we pick ourselves up, put our heads down and get busy with the business of living our best life…regardless.

I hope everyone who reads this is hanging in there. I hope you can find things to be grateful for right now, spread some joy and find even the smallest ways to be part of the solution to this terrible pandemic.

Hang in there…hug your fur babies…they take all their cues from us!

Nancy & The Misfits

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The last thing we need is a young cat in the house…or do we?

If you follow me you know that a few months back my husband and I took in a cat that moved in to our back yard. We researched her origins and found out that her family lived right down the road and had moved away and left her behind. We took her in to home on the Winter Solstice and thus named her Solstice.

Bret and I have other cats in the house…Jasmine and Catzilla…they are seniors and really just about the easiest pets in the house right now. When we realized Solstice was homeless we both thought the same thing…been there…done that…the last thing we need is a young cat in the house. We have so much on our plates. But we did it anyway.

Well…Miss Solstice has been here for awhile now…let me tell you. She is exactly what we needed in this house. Yes…she is super rambunctious….she wrecks a lot of stuff frankly…working on my computer is infinitely more challenging because she absolutely has to be involved. She is a Pinterest fanatic! But she also is a complete joy.

Misfit Manor

Solstice is a ham. She is talkative…so happy to us all the time. Let me tell you something…my husband and I are both self employed…we are stressed as Fuck right now because of the global pandemic…but Miss Solstice has us laughing every day! She is like having a warm fuzzy on demand anytime we need it.

Solstice lives to taunt the dogs! Spring is not the greatest time for getting the dogs out for exercise…its wet and not super warm yet….the yard is a mud pie….the dogs are bored and looking to burn of energy! Solstice keeps them busy in the house…her favorite thing is making them think they might catch her. I’ll admit…the noise level is nutty sometimes but its fun…its a blessing to see them all running and playing and having fun…to them…it is life as usual…nothing is wrong in the world.

Believe me…Bret and I need her right now really bad. She is such an amazing little gift!

Before we realized the world is coming to halt for this virus…Bret and I were buying her new toys left and right…she is very active and likes a lot of stimulation. Check out my Facebook for a video of her with an electronic butterfly! For now…she is going to only get homemade toys…I don’t think she cares. But we never get bored of watching her play.

Solstice has been a major blessing to Rosie as well…Rosie is obssessed with her. Which is nice as Rosie has major separation anxiety from me…so Solstice can keep her busy long enough for me to get things done around the house.

I am one of those woowoo types that believes the universe will take care me. What we put out into the world comes back to us…I keep my head down and always try to do the next right thing. Lo and behold…the universe brought me Solstice…Honestly…I don’t know what we would do without her right now.

These are incredibly difficult times…but little blessings keep falling into our laps during this crisis and Miss Solstice is definitely one of them. This is such a strange and difficult time. Bret and I have to keep focused on the things that matter most no matter how stressed out we get. For us…the care of our Misfits is always top priority!

I hope you are managing through this difficult time well. I believe firmly this will pass…our communities will emerge stronger from this crisis. It is a good time to focus on things/people/creatures that matter to us most.

Take care and be safe!

Nancy & The Misfits

P.S. The first picure in this post is Miss Solstice’s first Pawffiti. It is for sale for $79.99 (free shipping). It is a 16×20 acrylic painting.

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Putting my heart on the line. It is always worth it.

On February 17th (my birthday) I had to say my final goodbye to dear Petunia. I never get used to losing my pets. You would think I would be stronger about it but this simply never gets easier. Sometimes, as is the case with Petunia, it just completely rips me apart for awhile.

Petunia was integral to daily routines here because she needed so much; regular meds, daily laser therapy, daily swim therapy, regular trips to the acupuncture doctor, special meals, etc. Not to mention I was the only creature on the planet that she liked. It always made me feel incredibly honored that such a tiny, vulnerable little dog, who really had no reason to trust any human, decided that it was ok to trust me. I am so lucky.

Petunia only lived at Misfit Manor for 3.5 years. She literally showed up here at our front door looking for a warm bed and a meal. When she worked with one of our psychics Petunia told her that a spirit dog (whom she described as our Sam) had led her here.

Petunia was a hot mess when she arrived. She had very little hair left on her body (her little butt was bare). She was skinny as hell. She was full of cancer and she had a completely screwed up back. Not to mention that she had no idea how to live with a family. She slept for days when she arrived. I woke her up several times a day to feed her and she would just pass back out from the exhaustion of living such a rough life for so long.

In the years that she was here there were several times when we thought we were losing her…she always pulled through. She really was a tough little thing. But this was her final fight and while I should have been prepared… I just was not prepared to lose her.

I have been taking in pets that I know are not going to be with me long for years. It is my passion and I would not trade this life for anything. Every time I lose one of them I become even more confident in my tiny little spot in this world. I can say firmly that I only know a few truths about life and myself with any certainty;

1) Every broken down creature that shows up here I love immediately and completely. I don’t see what is broken about them. I believe with all my heart that they are perfect.

2) I’m not stupid. I know they are going to break my heart and I accept it at level that is not even conscious to me when I meet them.

3) My heart break is absolutely worth it every time. No regrets. Every tear is worth the 3.5 years I had with Petunia.

4) I will keep doing this no matter how many times my heart gets broken. I am convinced that every break eventually just makes my heart swell to become a little bit bigger.

It doesn’t mean its easy. The last two weeks have been hard. I can’t look at a picture or video of Petunia with out starting to cry. I miss her perfect face so so much. But I also feel a tremendous amount of gratitude that she did find her way here. That she had at least some time to live a good life and that we were given the gift of her companionship for over 3 years. I am an incredibly grateful version of sad…if that makes sense.

The universe has a way of delivering what is needed. I believe the energy we put out in the world comes back to us in many forms and we are responsible for it. So I have every confidence that things are just the way they are supposed to be in our lives. The energy Bret and I put out in to the world, for some reason, comes back to us… in tiny, furry little packages. How freakin’ amazing is that?!

One of the things about Misfit Manor that is not lost on us is the energy here at our home…. how fortunate we are that all of our Misfits get a long. Actually its more than just “getting along”…they like and support each other. When a new Misfit arrives or one of them is sick or injured I am always touched by the way the rest of them rally around the newbie. It is really an amazing thing to witness and such a validation of our family life.

The older I get the more narrow my life gets…especially when I lose one of my precious Misfits. I find myself getting more grounded in only those things that deeply matter to me. I suppose that part of that is age too. Time feels so much more finite than it used to.

I am amused at what I really don’t care about anymore…most of the things that a younger version of me used to think were important are just silly now. Around here our idea of a good time on Friday night is to sit in the back yard and watch Snoopy and Maddie wrestle. To watch our little blind and deaf Trudy navigate the yard so perfectly it is like she has a witch eye….seriously…she is so amazing we never get bored of watching her.

We are resting in our grief these last few days. The sting of losing one of our Misfits always seems to elevate how much we love the others and is a reminder that we simply have to live in the moment and enjoy every little bit of happiness they bring to our lives.

I know that someday, in some form, I will see Petunia and all the other Misfits I have lost again. It’s strange…living my life with so many loved ones who have preceded me in death has certainly changed my perspective on my own death. I have so many little angels waiting for me on the other side….it is an incredibly comforting thought.

Blessings to you and yours…hug your babies tight because every moment matters.

Nancy & The Misfits

Don’t forget to check out our Misfit Manor Shop (it is how I keep all this going)! And follow us on Pinterest for tons of dog mom content!

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Dog Dental Products We Can’t Live Without!

Dog Dental Acre

Our dogs dental care is one of the most important contributions we can make as pet parents to our dog’s overall health. It can also be a really big challenge as dog’s are not always on board with getting their teeth brushed. I have a mix of super cooperative dogs and also a few that absolutely won’t let me near their little choppers at all. My preference is always to do dental care at home but the reality is that some dogs have to dog to vet for a dental every year.

Over the years I have tried just about every pet dental product on the market for home dental care; here are a few of my favorites.

Dog Dental Toothbrushes

Ok, don’t laugh. My favorite toothbrush to use on my dogs is the Oral B Spin Brush. Getting a dog used to an electric tooth brush takes a little time but it is totally worth it. Electric tooth brushes do a far better job of cleaning teeth and are so much easier on the gums. Training dogs to tolerate the spin brush takes only a few simple steps. Introduce them to being brushed with the tooth brush off…no biggie…if they accept a regular tooth brush they probably won’t be bothered by a spin brush that is off. Brush their teeth with the brush off for several sessions but also turn the brush on and off over and over right next to them and reward them every time the brush goes on (I use teeny tiny training treats for rewards). Use your cheery voice to make the sound of the toothbrush very exciting. Keep moving the brush closer to their mouth turning it on and off. Eventually put it in their mouth for a second or so. Slowly work up to actually touching it to their teeth. If you stick with it they will accept it eventually. Some of my dogs have no problem with the spin brush except for the very front smaller teeth which are more sensitive so I turn the brush off for those teeth. Training my dogs to get brushed with a spin brush has paid big dividends in keeping their teeth healthy and we don’t have bleeding gums like you often get with a regular brush.

Many of the dogs that arrive here at the Manor have had a lifetime of little to no dental care and suffer from what I call “trench mouth”. A lot of rotten, smelly and very sore teeth. When they are healthy enough they get a professional dental treatment. But to get them started with home dental care I use disposable dental sponges. I buy these in bulk off of Amazon. The sponges are a really great way to brush without hurting already sensitive gums. I also them on my teeny tiny breed dogs whose mouths are so small that that it almost impossible to get a tooth brush in.

Dog Dental Toothpaste

I am huge fan of Virbac products. I have been using their dog toothpaste for over 20 years. It comes in a variety of flavors but we always order the poultry flavor. My dogs love it. Virbac products are NOT cheap. I order mine in 6 packs from American Diabetes Wholesale as this is the best price I have found for all of Virbac products. There are less expensive options for dog toothpaste on the market; perhaps even check with your vet as they may offer some. Please don’t use human toothpaste on your dogs though. Dogs don’t spit…they have to swallow the toothpaste you use on them so it needs to be safe for dogs to ingest.

I have written in the past about Virbac dental chews. I am really strict about what my dogs are allowed for snacks and chews. These are the only chews I allow my dogs and I have used them for over 20 years. I purchase these at American Diabetes Wholesale as well. Again, they are not cheap but they do really help with dental health and I have never had a choking or digestion issue with them. Their chews come in sizes; XL to very small.

Dog Dental Tatar Control

Even with regular brushing my dogs still get some tartar on their teeth. I use both a hand held scaler and an electric scaler to remove tartar. If its a tartar spot that is small and easy to scrape off I use a small hand held scaler. On tougher spots I use an electric scaler (you can get fairly inexpensive scalers these days on Amazon). The electric scaler takes a while. I don’t press the scaler on their teeth rather I just run it along the tough tartar several times…usually over several sessions. Eventually the tartar will break loose. If I’m working on removing tartar I do very small amounts of work at a time. This is not a fun event for any dog so I keep sessions really short and always reward them for working with me.

When I get a new dog that doesn’t have “trench mouth” requiring a professional dental but definitely needs some tartar removal I also use an Oral Care gel. There are a lot of gels and sprays on the market for helping to remove tartar. I would ask your vet before using any of them to make sure the ingredients are safe. I would also caution you that most of them (including the one I use) have alcohol in them so this is not something you want to use a lot and you really should read the dosing instructions carefully. The gels can help loosen up some tough tartar spots but they are definitely not something I would use as part of a daily dog dental routine (no matter what the packaging says).

One last product that I absolutely love to use (on both me and the dogs) is BR Rinse. Its an all natural rinse that keeps breath fresh and teeth white. For the dogs I pour a small amount of the rinse over the toothpaste on their toothbrush. It helps keep their choppers sparkly and their breath fresh.


I have two dogs at the Manor that cannot be anesthetized so they cannot ever have a professional dental treatment; Snoopy is one of them. So dog dental care really is no joke around here and we brush teeth every day. The only way to completely avoid ever needing a professional dental is daily brushing…that is straight from the vet. My Mountain Cur, Buster, is almost 10 years old and he has never had to have a dental because we brush daily. I am not being judgey…believe me…I have several senior small breed females that have to get professional dentals every single year…they will absolutely not have any part of daily tooth brushing. But with most dogs it really can be done if you really work at it and make it fun for them.

Thanks for reading our post! I wish you happy at home dog dental care! Sign up for our blog if you would like future posts. We blog about life at Misfit Manor about once per week. Our happy pack of Misfits love sharing their adventures and stories.

We are super excited about the new line of Dog Mom Planner Accessories we have added to our shop! Dog mom life is a busy life but being organized can still be fun and look pretty! Our planner accessories make great dog mom gifts too!

Pawty On!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary….laser therapy for dogs

Misfit Manor Laser therapy for dogs
Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Miss Allie

The magic of laser therapy for dogs. A few weeks ago our sweet little Allie broke out in screams of pain while we were handing out breakfast plates to all the Misfits. Her body became stiff and as she has a really bad heart condition we feared the worst and raced her to our vet. It turned out that her heart was fine; but she experiencing horrible disc pain in her back. Our vets gave her a steroid shot and sent us home with some meds and instructions to laser her at least 2x per day.

Luckily, we have our own veterinary laser at home. We have a unique household in that the majority of the pets here are either very senior or handicap. Our vets introduced us to laser therapy years ago with our dog Sam and we became instant fans. Laser treatments provide immediate relief for dogs that have arthritis as well as speed up healing for injuries such as surgical wounds or hot spots. Laser treatments at the veterinarians office are quick and easy albeit a little spendy when you have a lot of pets who need therapy.

As our Misfit head count of arthritic dogs grew it became unrealistic from both a time and expense standpoint for us to rely solely on trips to the vet for laser therapy. We started researching purchasing our own laser to treat the Misfits at home.

laser therapy for dogs

I invested a lot of time and energy into figuring out which laser made the most sense and fit in our budget. We settled on the Multiradiance My Pet Laser. We have had this laser for almost two years now and love it. It is definitely the best investment we have made in our pet’s health.

Rosie gets daily laser treatments.

We have five girls in the household now that get daily laser treatments multiple times per day. I call them the laserettes! Four of them have arthritic back and/or hip issues. Rosie has a genetic disorder that prevents her muscle development and storage of fat on her body. Rosie gets her legs lasered as well as her chest and jaw. The benefits of having my own laser at home are immense. While the initial investment in the equipment was bit of a financial pinch the time and money we save has paid us back very quickly. Having our own equipment at home also allows me to laser the girls as often as necessary. Petunia’s back issues can cause temporary weakness in her back legs and she will actually lose control and drag her back legs. Regular lasering has kept the leg weakness largely at bay and when she has a bad day I can laser her several times in one day and get her back up and running.

The process of purchasing the laser was fairly easy. I contacted the company directly. It shipped quickly and I was given training sessions over the phone and advice on how to treat the range of issues that my dogs have. The laser is small, light weight, durable and obviously super portable.

laser therapy for dogs

The added benefit is that we use the laser on ourselves too! Neither of us our young anymore and it is really nice to have a tool at home to ease arthritic pain in our own joints!

If you are thinking of purchasing your own laser I recommend doing a lot of research. There are so many different technologies on the market now and in a wide price range as well. This laser was the best fit for us. (I am in no way endorsing or being paid to endorse this laser…just sharing my experience to help other dog moms). Just to be clear; laser therapy is a treatment for arthritis…it is not a cure. It is something that we do for our dogs every single day. The laser is also not the only tool in our tool kit for fighting arthritis pain. We also utilize vibration therapy (theraplate), swim therapy and a variety of supplements.

To finish Miss Allie’s story…we were able to get her disc issues back on track within a week and she is running around being sassy and bossy again!

Dog Crown, Dog Birthday Hat, Dog Wedding Attire, Misfit Manor Shop

Life isn’t just lasers and vet visits here though. We have a lot of fun too! Maddie and I are having a blast designing a new line of dog crowns for our shop! Between getting our own online shop up and running (we are hoping to not have to use Etsy at some point) and designing new products we have been working like dervishes around here!

We have a newly revamped Misfit Manor Pawty Page on Pinterest…check it out when you have time for some really fun Pawty and dog lover content! And our Instagram page is steadily growing!

Thanks for taking a few minutes from your day to read our post! If you have time… check out our sweet little Misfit Manor Shop!

Blessings from our pack to yours!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary….taking nothing for granted

Misfit Manor

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 ūüôā

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 – Trudy’s Halo

Trudy arrived here in one of the more difficult circumstances…at least in terms of adjusting to her new life at Misfit Manor. Being both blind and deaf she had so much to get used too…large yard and house…and lots of dogs.

In the house Trudy adjusted really quickly! She memorized the lay out of the house really fast…impressive! She runs around this house like she owns it…and she does not run in to anything (unless I stupidly leave something out of place).

Outside of the house though is a different story…its a big scary world for a pint sized blind and deaf dog. I am perfectly fine if Trudy is happy living her life going no where but Misfit Manor….she can have a full life here. But I also felt like I owed it to her to see if she has a flair for adventure.

I saw on ad on Facebook for a “halo” for blind dogs and thought we have to give this a try. I have been working with Trudy for several days getting her acclimated to her new halo.

I only worked with her when we were outside of the house. I want her to know that putting on her halo means its time for an adventure.

The halo comes in 3 pieces; the harness, the padded wings and the actual halo.

I took time to let her adjust to wearing each piece in small steps.

Step 1 was the harness…would seem easy but I am not sure Trudy has ever had a harness on because she had a bit of fit initially. I put it on and took it off her several times in a row…treating her profusely every time it went on. I did this several times a day for several days…she now could care less if she has a harness on.

Step 2 was the wings (that the halo itself actually attaches too). That was pretty smooth…she really didn’t mind the addition of the wings. They are super light so I am not sure she really noticed them much. I only introduced either piece when we were outside of the house.

Step 3 was the actual halo. I attached the halo to the wings before I put the wings on her. The halo is so light that I highly doubt she knew it was there until it actually functioned for her. I had to bend her halo to make it longer to be a good fit for the longer snout of a dachshund…it came more rounded for a flatter faced dog.

It did not take long for Trudy to figure out that there was a halo there to protect her…initially she barked a lot every time the halo hit something in front of her…but as she ran around the yard…a yard that is full of large toys…other dogs….rock walls and more… she quickly figured out she now had something keeping her from doing a face plant into objects. As I worked with Trudy with her halo I only did it for really short periods of time at first. Trudy very quickly figured out that she can now run safely…she is “hell in a halo” in the yard now.

Trudy’s first walk with her Halo!

Once Trudy was comfortable in the backyard with her halo I started taking her out of the yard. It did not dawn on me until the first try at a walk that Trudy has probably never been walked on leash. She had no clue what to do. I gave her as much slack as I could and let her rip. Typically when Trudy is in unfamiliar territory she is pretty cautious and moves really you can see in her video she was trotting around like she owned it.

I am super happy with the halo product. It will give sweet Trudy the opportunity to have adventure outside of her familiar territory without fear of getting hurt.

Trudy is such a blessing. I am the luckiest dog mom alive!

Blessings from our pack to yours!


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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,


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!



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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!





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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.




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Misfit Manor Diary – the dog that won’t eat.

Misfit Manor, The Rescue Mama, Feeding a difficult dog
Rosie eating in her booster seat!

Each dog that comes to Misfit Manor teaches me something new.¬† Rosie’s role is to teach me all about how to feed a dog that has difficulty eating.

Misfit Manor
This one day’s worth of homemade dog food. I make a fresh batch every day.

Rosie has been with me for almost two months and she has a complex set of issues surrounding eating so I have had to learn fast. Rosie often gags and chokes when she eats.  I figured out pretty quickly that she needs to eat sitting up (she also has no ability to bark).  She has some sort of partial paralysis/neuromuscular issue with her mouth and throat.   

Rosie also has difficulty masticating her food (chewing).¬† I feed her very small bites of food…one at a time.¬† I don’t give her anything that would be really difficult to chew.¬† I also push her food back on her tongue slightly so she can chew it with her back teeth.

Rosie is absolutely gorgeous!

She also gets very tired during eating.¬† Sometimes she is just a few bites into her meal and she is exhausted….her jaw muscles just seem to stop cooperating.¬† She will try to eat but the food just falls out the side of her mouth.¬†¬†

Sometimes Rosie just seems to get bored with eating and refuses to pay attention to me or the food.  She will actually bury her head in her booster seat to intentionally ignore me and her dinner.

She is also INSANELY PICKY.¬† A dish she seemingly loved for breakfast…a few hours later she spits right back at me.

I love a challenge…especially when it comes in the form of such a sweet and beautiful dog.¬† I have pulled everything I have out of my dog mom bag of tricks.¬† Here are some of the ways I am handling getting enough calories in Rosie every day…

  1. I feed her sitting up in a high chair and I hand feed her small bites of food one at a time.¬† It’s time consuming…but it works.¬† The gagging on food rarely happens and I can be certain just exactly what she is eating (rather than assuming she ate it but one of the other dogs actually ate it).
  2.  I feed her 4-5 several small meals per day.  Because she seems to fatigue so fast from eating the small meals seem to work better.  My goal is to get at least a cup of food in her each day (not including treats).
  3. I add vitamins.  Twice a day I crush a multi-vitamin into a spoonful of peanut butter. (I use PetMD multi-vitamins).  Most days she is really enthusiastic about the peanut butter.  When she is not cooperating I gently open her mouth and put the peanut butter on the roof of her mouth with my finger.
  4. I added Lixotinic (an iron and B12 supplement) to raise her energy and appetite.  While it took a few days so see an impact from the Lixotinic it has had a very noticeable impact on her appetite.
  5. I break the dog mom rules.¬† I am fairly militant about what my dogs eat.¬† I cook their food from scratch…organic, fresh and homemade.¬† With Rosie I have had to let that go sometimes.¬† Rosie gets sick of food fairly quickly.¬† There have been some days when I have cooked her three different meals before I could find something she would eat.¬† If the only thing I can get her to eat is Macaroni & Cheese (true story)…then for that day I will concede and let her eat that.
  6. I warm her food up.  For some reason Rosie likes her food slightly warm.  
  7. I trick her!¬† Rosie is always interested in what I am eating when I sit down at the kitchen table.¬† On days when she is refusing to eat her meals.¬† I let it go for awhile.¬† I later pull her food out…warm it up and then sit down at my kitchen table and pretend I am eating it.¬† She comes over to see what I have and I pretend I am giving her table scraps.¬† What she refused to eat 1 hour ago…she is now gobbling down. I will also start giving some of her food to my other dogs if she is being difficult.¬† That usually perks her interest in her food.
Sleeping Beauty

I couldn’t adore Rosie more than I do.¬† I am learning a lot about working with a difficult eater.¬† Rosie is very young (about 1 year old) so I am determined to work at finding the best solutions as this will be a lifelong struggle for her.¬† If you have any dog mom magic tricks for getting difficult dogs to eat…please share!

Rescue On,


Check out my Pinterest Page for loads of fun dog ideas (crafts, recipes, pawties, etc)!


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Misfit Manor Diary – getting ready for cyber week!

This is one part of my studio…the aftermath of making almost 2,000 ornaments.

While for most people the build up to the holidays is about decorations, party planning, shopping, baking…and all sorts of other fun things…for me it’s about getting ready for cyber week and the flood of sales that come the weeks leading up to Christmas.

I have four vacation rentals properties that wrap around my house…that business keeps a roof over my head.¬† But my online shops are how I support all of my Misfits.¬† Last year my holiday season sales raised enough to cover nearly a years worth of vet bills (which is no small thing when you have senior and/or special needs cases).

I am so blessed to be able to work from home.  It is rare that I ever have to leave my dogs

Buster resting at the foot my easel while I paint.

for more than a few hours.¬† When I do head in to my home studio…all the babies come with me.¬† ¬†I can take breaks during the day to get all the dog walking/play breaks done. I can always run out for vet appointments if I need to…it is really the best of both worlds.¬† I couldn’t have scripted a better situation for all of us and I wake up every day excited to do my work and grateful for all the opportunities we have been able to take advantage of.¬† ¬†I work hard; running multiple businesses, managing a very large property and caring for my rescues is like working 3 full-time jobs; I rarely rest.¬† I also love it and couldn’t imagine my life any other way…

This is one of four stacks of boxes I have ready to go…I still have hundreds to put together.

Learning to sell (well) online has taken years of hard work.  I have had to learn product photography, online marketing, sourcing, branding, trademarking  and more.  I use professional business coaches that coach specifically online sellers; I never could have figured all of this out on my own.   I have a fabulous group of cyber colleagues that I can

this is why I don’t leave the house…the wait at the door for me to come back…

lean on for advice and moral support.¬† Working alone from home can be…well lonely…(even when you have pets!).

I have two shops; Etsy and Amazon.¬† The last two years my businesses have really transformed; in part due to starting a shop on Amazon…which has been a game changer for me.¬† I never dreamed I would do the kind of volume I have done the last two years (especially for art).¬† It has also connected me with¬†a lot of really cool customers for my art.¬† My anti-dog fighting art now hangs in several police stations around the country.¬† I have also had several really neat features of my products done by bloggers and also HGTV (for my Pawty supplies).

My girls napping in the studio with me.

I don’t even mind that my holiday season gets over taken by the busyness of my shops.¬† There are a lot of fun things that I have to pass on this time of year because my shops often require 12+ hour days.¬† But I still plan breaks to go see lights and to several of the outdoor holiday festivals in the area.¬† I also find a lot of joy in wrapping up my holiday sales.¬† Most of my sales this time of year are personalized pet ornaments or ornaments for dog moms.¬† I enjoy making and sending little packages of joy to dogs and their moms.

If your looking for a gift ornament for a pet or pet lover in your life; check out my shops!¬† You can use coupon code “PAWSOME” for 10% off your order.

Here is a gallery of some of my holiday ornaments they are all available for $14.99 (free shipping) at my shops:

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Rescue On!



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Misfit Manor Diary..and then there was Rosie…

There is no such thing as a dull moment at Misfit Manor.¬† While so many of my days seem filled with routine…routine is pretty crucial to juggling a large family of dogs…nothing about life here is ever dull.¬†

Several weeks ago I took in a new Misfit. Her name is Rosie.  She has some issues that are yet medically unidentified.  Perhaps they will never be identified.

She cannot bark.¬† She struggles with swallowing her food.¬† When she first arrived she was walking very little.¬† The vets believe she has some sort of neuro-muscular disorder…but no hard diagnosis as of yet.¬† ¬† We recently had a muscle biopsy done…no results yet.¬† Initially I had to carry her everywhere in the house…she had no strength to get up and walk (despite being on steroids).

.., if I left the room without her she would pant and whine and I would go running back for her. She was making little to no effort to get and up walk on her own.

Feeding Rosie is a daily battle.¬† I quickly figured out that she needs to eat sitting up or she¬†gags and chokes on her food.¬† I feed her in a little doggie booster seat I have…one small bit of food at a time. She also gets bored with eating…or perhaps just tired…and we have have to take a lot of breaks.¬† ¬†She is also incredibly fussy.¬† There are days where I¬†¬†have to cook her 3 different breakfasts just to find something she wants to eat.¬† I will not give up finding the best solutions for her.

But things are also changing a lot in the last few weeks.  She has morphed from rarely getting up and walking on her own at all to walking on her own most of the day.  She still has moments where her legs just give out and she plops on her belly.  But she gets right back up and tries again.  She has gained quite a bit of weight as well.  The last two days I have taken her on very short walks.

She loves wagon riding!¬† Initially she would just lay down in the wagon the whole time.¬† Now she is stronger and she sits up or stands while she is in the stroller.¬† I’m guessing she has covered more ground in the last few weeks than she has in her whole life.

Rosie has blended perfectly in to our broader family of Misfits.¬† Her initial introductions went very smoothly and she continues to play nicely with her housemates.¬† I am always grateful (and frankly fairly amazed) at how well all my Misfits do together…there is an energy level in this house that I do not understand…but am eternally grateful for.¬† ¬†All of my Misfits come from difficult backgrounds…yet once they are here they are very gracious about welcoming new family and helping each other grow.

Rosie has been a lovely addition….Betty adores her (and so does Buster).¬† Betty continues to amaze me…she remains so strong and determined yet she is the gentlest creature I have ever met.¬† ¬†She shadows Rosie…wherever Rosie goes Betty follows.

Betty continues to do fabulously.¬† We have pulled out all the stops for her…acupuncture, laser treatment, plasma injections…it is working…she loves going to the park…she would wander in a field all day if I let her.¬† She struggles sometimes with getting up…but that is what mommy is for.¬† ¬†Once I lift her up…she is off!

The Manor is a busy place…I run two businesses to keep my fur family going and thank the gods both of my business are thriving.¬† We are currently working hard to save money to buy our own laser machine…old dogs with sore joints is the norm here and it would be so much more economical to have our own laser machine…hopefully soon!

While there are days it seems like a live in a very narrow tunnel…I don’t leave the Manor unless I absolutely have too…I’m not oblivious to the world either….I watched the elections…the coverage of the fires in CA…my heart aches for our broken world…there are always rays of hope though…I find solace in doing my part right here…taking care of my band of Misfits that had no where else to go…I wish for everyone that you may find your hearts calling…because when you do…nothing can jar you from your path.

The holiday selling season is a critical time for my online stores.  If you need a gift item for a dog mom/dog dad in your life please browse my Etsy shop.  I have a lot of really cute affordable items for dog lovers.

Rescue on!