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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.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

The other Misfits have welcomed Sophia Rose warmly. She is incredibly rambunctious and they are incredibly tolerant…especially Buster. She brings a renewed energy to the house and has lifted all of our spirits.

Each time we bring a new Misfit home I am reminded how blessed I am to be able to live this life. Sophia Rose deserves the best and I am so blessed to be in a position to take care of her. When I took her in to the vet for first appointment the vet chuckled when he walked in the room and saw her…chuckling at me not her…I am not sure he quite gets me and my passion for working with dogs with challenges…”where do you find these dogs” he said…I responded…”I don’t…they find me.”

Wishing you peace and happiness from Misfit Manor,

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…Our Sweet New Ride!

Misfit Manor, Jeeping, Jeep Life, Jeep Dog
Spike loves jeeping!

So there have been a few really nice things about turning 50 this year. The first is that I have cemented my position in the “I’m too old to get worked up about anything club”. One of the blessings of getting older is I just don’t get worked up about other people’s opinions and expectations anymore. I am content to just do me…and let the universe work everything else out. The second great thing about turning 50 is that my husband bought me and the Misfits this sweet new Jeep!

Misfit Manor, jeep life, jeep dog, Nancy Halverson, dog mom life

I have been wanting a vehicle that I could take the dogs out in (that is more fun than my boring Honda) for a long time. The Jeep was a pawfect fit for us.

We had a sun rider top installed so it has a super easy flip down that I can handle by myself. I set up the inside with big comfy and safe car seats for the Misfits and added extra harnesses that attach to the Jeep seats themselves so each dog is harnessed in to both the car set and to the actual Jeep seat.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson, dog mom life, jeeping, jeep life, jeep dog

The dogs and I are having so much fun going for sunny weather rides. We stop for Dairy Queen plain cheeseburgers and pupperccinos at Starbucks. We cruise to the park for play time. We run errands that we really don’t need to run just so we can cruise in the Jeep. I have never had this much fun with a car and the dogs are having a blast.

I ordered doggles for all of them. I will admit that it is hard to get some of them to keep them on. They look so darn cute and I don’t worry so much about them sticking their heads out the window to enjoy the wind when they wear their doggles.

I was made to live the life I have here with the Misfits. It is not always easy…but it is worth every ounce of effort, time and resource I put in to it. This has been one of the best summers we have ever had. The jeep is definitely part of it and this is the first time in my life that I have had a car that wasn’t practical or sensible but rather just for fun for me and the Misfits! I feel so spoiled.

Here is a photo gallery of some of the Jeep memories that we made this summer. I hope you are enjoying your summer too. Don’t forget about us if you are planning a party for your dog! Visit our Misfit Manor Shop for all of your pawty planning needs!

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Misfit Manor Diary…Dog Pool Summer Fun!

dog pool at Misfit Manor

Summer time is definitely our favorite time of year and the dog pool is our favorite part of Kentucky summers. There is so much to do here and being outside with the Misfits is the top of our list every day!

dog pool  at Misfit Manor

Early in the season Bret put up a sturdier pool than we had last year and it’s been a great blessing this hot summer. The pool is small but it’s a nice respite for us after we have been out working in the gardens in the sun.

We found some great infant pool floaties that work great for the dogs. They love floating around with us in the afternoons. No matter how busy my day is I try to take at least 30 minutes in the afternoon to pour a big glass of tea, turn on some music and relax in the pool with my girls.

Dog Pool at Misfit Manor

A couple years ago we purchased a dog bone shaped pool for the dogs and had a deck built around it. Unfortunately it was really hard to keep clean without a pump and filter so we didn’t get to use it as often as we wanted. It was way to heavy to lift for emptying and cleaning!

This year we created a pump system that runs through a fire hydrant.

Dog Pool at Misfit Manor

It was actually really easy to set up (says the person who stood there and watched her husband do it).

I ordered a really small pool pump from Intex and used some extra pool tubing and clamps we had from a previous pool. Bret ran the tubing under the deck and up the fire hydrant. We had to drill the fire hydrant (and fasten it down to the deck). We also had to drill a hole in the actual dog pool to run the water intake…a little scary to drill the hole in the pool but we managed to get the size exactly right for the intake valve.

dog pool at Misfit Manor

So far it has been really easy to keep it clean without using chlorine. I have a small portable pool vacuum that I use to keep the bottom clean and I change the pool filter every week.

The dogs love it and it provides a summer long solution for them to cool off after walks and play.

So many memories have been made in the yard this year with the Misfits. We are so blessed to live this life with such special pets. Don’t forget to check out our Misfit Manor Shop if you are planning a summer pawty!

Pawty On!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…things that never get old!

There are some things we experience in life that while they may completely capture us for a while and are wonderful they are passing and don’t hold our attention for terribly long. And there are some things in this life that never get old…they never stop being full of wonder. For me, spring is one of those things that will never get old. It will always awaken a sense of awe and appreciation.

Spring in Kentucky is nothing short of magical; not just in its beauty but in its screaming reminder that all life is a cycle. Life renews in different forms and out of the darkest part of the year comes the most amazing beauty. Here it is not just the beauty of the landscape…but the sight of the foals in the all the pastures on our gorgeous rolling country side that take your breath away. I can’t stop smiling when I drive around and see the foals and their mommas.

I am fortunate that I have the ability to spend so much time outside (walking dogs) and the freedom in my schedule to do a lot of gardening on the manor. This year we have done major expansions of the gardens and getting them installed and planted has consumed every seemingly spare moment of my time. Spring in Kentucky this year has been unusually cold…and despite worrying ceaselessly about my plants…the cold seems to be beneficial for spring blooms as this has been one of the most beautiful springs since I moved here…everything…from flowering trees and the tulips to the roses has been spectacular this year.

Every year spring feels like a hopeful time…this year though I think we all of needed an extra dash of hope. We deserved the beauty of this spring. The stress of COVID lockdowns lasting for so long has made life seem heavier and slower….mother nature definitely delivered us the antidote we all needed as we emerge from lockdown life.

The Misfits have enjoyed spring…they especially enjoy how much time we are all spending outside while I prepare and plant gardens…not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate how blessed I am to live a life where I can be at home with them and still manage to work and take care of us all…

Their favorite things to do while I work…nap, play and sunbathe…and nothing makes me happier than to see them rest peacefully…

So many exciting things have been happening on the manor this year; our new additions of Spike and Foxy, we have a sweet new ride (more on that later) and a lot of renovations and garden expansions. I am gratefully exhausted each and every day for everything I have with them here.

I hope you are enjoying spring and literally taking the time to smell the roses this year…we all need it.

Rescue On!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…Merry Solstice!

Bret making his intention log

Tonight is the Winter Solstice…definitely one of my favorite holidays of the year! Each year Bret and I celebrate the Winter Solstice by making “intention logs” and burning them in a bonfire on the night of the Solstice. We make snacks, hot toddies and treats for the dogs and we all bundle up and sit outside around the fire. We start out making our “intention logs” during the day…some call them yule logs…we write all over the logs our respective wishes/goals for the coming year and then wrap them in spices/herbs from my garden.

Finished intention/yule logs

This year…things are different…we need to shed the last year like we have never felt before…it will be so nice to symbolically burn away 2020. I personally have a totally different feeling about “intentions” for 2021 though. I have been thinking long and hard the last few weeks about what my goals/wishes are for the coming year…I’ve felt a bit lost all year. I am generally a very driven person…my goals are usually centered around building my businesses. I love working and building things and yes…with no shame I will say I love making money…it has always been fun to me to run businesses. Honestly…this year has been such a drain that it doesn’t seem important or fun right now. It took me awhile to figure out that it is perfectly ok to throw in the towel on some things for now. So this year my intentions are very different from my norm. My intentions for 2021 aren’t my usual driven goals at all but instead they are “playing, cooking, gardening, dog momming and pawtying, returning to music (piano and cello), crafting, painting and relaxing”….I just don’t care about working anymore…nor being stressed out about things I can’t control. I wish the coming year to bring only peace and happiness…everything else needs to be noise. I’ve spent my whole life working at a feverish pace…its time to let it go and relax. I literally cannot wait for our bonfire tonite…burning away 2020 and embarking on a much different and better 2021. Merry Solstice.

Update on Miss Millie….

Misfit Manor
Miss Millie is helping me write this post.

The last few weeks have been very difficult for Millie. We knew something was not right with Millie for weeks. I took her to the vet weeks ago with only…”something isn’t right…she is slow on her walks…she is sleeping too much…she is not bossing me around.” Our vet thought it was related to degenerative disc disease and the pain associated with it. Despite aggressive treatment for several weeks Millie’s back issue was deteriorating and she was quickly losing the use of her back legs. Unfortunately in the midst of all of this we also found out that Millie had a really bad case of glaucoma in her right eye (an eye that has been a problem since we adopted her 4 years ago). It was a situation that escalated very rapidly and was incredibly painful for her.

Last Monday we were faced with the decision to either have her eye removed or say goodbye. In spite of the fact that I have to make decisions like this over and over for our Misfits…I still agonize over it every time. My inner bell told me Millie was not ready to go yet. Her eye was successfully removed last Monday. Despite her age and co-morbidities…Millie sailed through her surgery. The first few days after her surgery were very rough for her…sleepless nights, lots of meds and constant snuggling. But she has bounced back like a little champ. On Saturday, to the surprise of all of us, Millie started walking again…her back legs appear to be coming back with her zest for life…at first she was very wobbly but each day she is getting stronger. She is bossing me around non-stop again…this makes me so happy. We feel so incredibly blessed…both Bret and I feared the worst for several weeks…but here we are. Millie is an incredibly special dog to us…she is an amazing pet and friend…there are no words for how happy we are that she is on the mend and has her spirit back.

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Everything will be ok.

The morning I took Millie to the vet to discuss removing her eye…my husband…as usual said I support whatever you think Millie needs before I left with her. Shortly after I arrived at the vet clinic…he texted me this picture…a rainbow had formed over Misfit Manor…his message was “everything is going to be ok”… and it was.

The best part of Solstice is Solstice…

Miss Solstice

It is hard to believe that it is one year ago today that Solstice became a permanent Misfit. After weeks of living in our yard last year…and Bret and I doing the due diligence on figuring out where she came from…we officially adopted Miss Solstice. She is such an amazing blessing…beautiful, naughty, playful and super snuggly. She is asleep on my desk right now as I right this…I am overwhelmed with gratitude that she found her way to us. Winter Solstice will always have special meaning to our family because of her.

Adios to 2020…

Like most people…we can’t wait for 2020 to end. It has been horrible. So much has been lost…so many people have suffered…my business was decimated…I have generally lost my faith in people and retreated to a whole new level of introversion. But it is nearly over…2021 I believe will be very different in many ways for all of us. For me…the Solstice marks the new year…I am glad it is here…The Misfits and I wish you a blessed Solstice and look forward to happier times.

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary … welcome Spike!

Welcome Spike to Misfit Manor…

Spike loves to go to the park with his sisters!

A few weeks ago a new Misfit joined our family. Spike is a 10 year old pomeranian beauty. We were looking to add another little girl at the Manor after the loss of sweet Holly… but when Spike became available we couldn’t pass him up.

While we think his name is adorable…it certainly doesn’t fit his personality. Spike is so sweet and mellow. He fit in here at the Manor right away…getting along with everyone else and quickly learning our routines. Spike was apparently picked up as a stray so we know nothing about his past. Other than an eye infection and looking a little scruffy he is a very healthy, vibrant boy.

Spike in the Shelter

He has quickly learned the daily exercise routine here and loves going for walks with his sisters. For a senior he has a lot of energy and runs all over on our daily park walks. We are so excited to have him join our family and grateful that he found his way to us just in time for the holiday season.

Holiday Fun at Misfit Manor

The holiday fun has started at Misfit Manor…with no help from Solstice. Working on the tree was no small feet with her participation this year. Solstice is the spunkiest (naughtiest) cat we have ever had here…the house is her playground and climbing, knocking things down and batting things around are her favorite things to do. Despite her shannanigans the tree is up and looks beautiful…I can’t wait to fill up the base of the tree with their presents in a few weeks. The stockings are hung…though they have all been knocked down several times already this season. Christmas morning is one of my favorite days of the year to celebrate the Misfits…pancake breakfast and lots of presents!

Caring for Millie as she ages…

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

If you have followed me for a while you now my sweet little Millie is my sidekick…where I go she goes. For such a tiny dog and for her age Millie has always had a ton of energy and enthusiasm. Every day Millie walks a mile at a near by park with several of her siblings. A few weeks ago we noticed that she started slowing down considerably and was just generally not acting like her self. She had a quick check at the vet and we put her on an anti-inflammatory for suspected back pain. Yesterday she started to lose feeling in her back legs. Today’s xrays show severe disk arthritis and compression in her back which is likely causing numbness in her back legs. We have started her on a steroid for a spell and will be lasing her back several times a day. It is possible she will lose the use of her back legs at some point but we are going to assume the best for right now. We have our own veterinary laser at Misfit Manor that we have written about in the past if you are interested in looking in to one for your own dogs read our post on the laser. For now Millie seems content to bundle up in the stroller with Rosie on our walks. Hopefully we will be able to ease some of her discomfort.

What has happened to kindness…is it lost?

I think everyone feels it. There is a thickness in the air these days…it’s a social/emotional thickness and its very heavy. People seem to have such a short fuse…patience, manners and decency have been tossed out for fear, greed and self preservation at all costs. The lack of socialization and the community connection fed by it is deteriorating rapidly…the hidden cost of the handling of the pandemic. Humans aren’t made to be disconnected like this but when interactions with others are unpleasant…we retreat even more. Our own story is not different from most families right now…Bret and I are keeping to ourselves…it feels safer that way… not just from a COVID perspective but from a need to protect our energy. I don’t believe this is sustainable for us or our society for much longer though.

There are very few ideas that I believe are absolutes…unshakeable truths. But there definitely is one belief that I personally hold as an absolute…and that is that I don’t believe in the concept of “empty space”. There is no empty space in the universe…physically or spiritually. We can fill the space within our souls with good thoughts or bad thoughts…not both. One will always overtake the other…whichever one we focus on. If we focus on filling our soul space with kindness…gratitude…patience…compassion…there is no room for feelings like anger and fear or at the very last they can’t take hold of us for long. I know…it is a wonderful platitude…but not always an easy truth to execute in daily life…especially these days. I have to remind myself that I can choose at every moment how I will will my soul space. I can’t control much of what is going on around me…but I can always control my perspective and what I choose to fill my soul with. I have to start each day with a cup of coffee and my little gratitude journal….sometimes I have to go back to my journal a few times a day…but it remains my most powerful tool for filling my soul space with good thoughts that uplift me and help keep the darkness and negativity away.

Don’t forget about us this holiday season

Don’t forget to visit our shops this holiday season. We have a lot of great ideas for the dog lover in your life! We have both our own Misfit Manor Shop and a store on Etsy.

Blessings to you from all of us this holiday season.

Nancy & The Misfits