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Misfit Manor Diary….taking nothing for granted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solstice & Rosie

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

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

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

Have a blessed week!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary – Problem Solving

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

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

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

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

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

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

Misfit Manor, Bret Halverson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary – New friends…

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson, The Rescue Mama

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

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

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

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

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

Nancy

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Misfit Manor Diary – accepting reality

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings from our pack to yours,

Nancy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rescue On!

Nacny

 

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Misfit Manor Diary – It’s a Trudy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

 

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Misfit Manor Diary…sometimes this is really hard…

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

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

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

Sleeping Beauty

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hug your dogs…every single day matters.

Nancy

 

 

 
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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,

Nancy

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!

Nancy

 

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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!

Nancy

 

 

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The Misfit Manor Diary

bettyisamazin1I believe there are very few things in life that are certain…besides death¬† and change.¬† I am not one who fears death and the older get the easier it is for me to embrace change.¬† ¬†My own life has traveled so many different paths…professionally, spiritually, geographically…its been quite a ride¬† ¬†I also believe that one of the luxuries of getting older is that we can look back at all the vagaries of our lives and appreciate them and welcome new opportunities to evolve as a person.

I’ve also learned to listen much more closely to what my body and spirit are telling me… to tune out things like fear, expectations, social norms and the demands of people who really don’t have my best interest in mind.

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The day Betty was sprung from the shelter.

I recently took on a new girl here at the manor; Betty.¬† This picture is the day she was pulled from the shelter by Paws4theCause.¬† She came here to the manor as a hospice case…and I use the word hospice loosely…she is doing quite well despite the fact she has some issues ambulating.¬† I expect Betty will be here for quite awhile.¬† The moment of Betty’s arrival was like a massive tail wind to my spirit.¬† She is joy…she brings 20170625_204746out the very best in me.¬† I love every minute of caring for this special girl.

20170625_205627My days with Betty have solidified what is next for me.¬† ¬†This month I am going to officially apply for my 5013c status and become a formal rescue focused solely on special needs dogs.¬† ¬†I will have the time and resources to focus on these dogs without distraction as a 5013c.¬† Much will stay the same here at the Manor…but some things will change.¬† I already have a good support system for my life with rescue dogs.¬† I run my online shops solely for their benefit (I will roll them in to the non-profit) and I am blessed by a lot of kind-hearted people who have supported my work with dogs in many ways (including financially).¬† ¬†Once I finish the process of getting my status I will be able to give tax deduction receipts to my supporters instead of just expressing my gratitude.¬† I will get some tax advantages that will help me allocate more resources to the dogs.¬† I will also be able to apply for grants for necessities like laser therapy machines and other (crazy expensive) physical therapy tools we could use here in the house as well building a special needs nursery for them in my home.

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Betty’s first acupuncture treatment

I have zero aspirations to be a large rescue…I will continue to focus on a handful of cases at a time but they will all be special needs…and as we all know that gets really expensive.¬† For a long time I felt fear about taking on dogs that I knew were going to have big vet bills…but every single time it works out.¬† Every time there is a new bill…the money we need shows up…every. single. time.¬† I believe the universe has the backs of me and these very special dogs.

I will start changing how I communicate with people; less social media and more blogging and direct networking with donors and volunteers.¬† I don’t believe that general broadcasting of my work on social media is actually a benefit to the work I do but rather a significant distraction.

I have scattered pictures of Betty throughout this post.¬† She is lovely…she will be face of this major decision for me forever.¬† I have so much to do to make this change happen…but I am so excited I could burst!

I wish that everyone finds the time to discover the work that makes their soul sing…because when you do…nothing else matters.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom: Preparing to Nest

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My spirit animal!

There is something about this time of year that fosters an organic ability for me to relax.¬† Relaxing does not typically come naturally for me.¬† But the air is cooler in the morning, the spiders are huge, my spice garden is ready to harvest, and the days are getting noticeably shorter…change is in the air.

spider web
This amazing piece of arachnidart hangs above my main gate and below my Hemlock tree…its absolutely stunning.

This year there seems to be an urgency about getting ready for fall and winter.¬† The squirrels on my property are working at a dervish pace, there are wooly worms everywhere and trees seem to be turning pre-maturely.¬† There was a time when I dreaded fall for what comes after it.¬† I hated the shorter days and without a daily energy boost from the sun all winter I would slip in to some pretty deep winter blues.¬†download But I’m in a different season of life and now I look forward to burrowing in for the winter.¬† My work load on the property slows down considerably and I can allow myself more time for art, play, cooking and spiritual pursuits…perhaps even a vacation this year.¬† I can’t wait to have this time to slow down and re-charge.¬† The older I get the more clarity I have into the relevance of the cycles and spirals of all life; the agricultural seasons, the cycle of birth and death and the constant sprials of evolving as an older woman.¬† I find the this latest cycle to be one of the most empowering times in my life.

Each season inspires a specific basket of dominant feelings/emotions in me…in spring its hope…but in fall its gratitude.¬† I love the colors, smells, sounds of fall..they make me feel grounded and quiet.¬† I feel grateful for the income that my businesses have provided all summer.¬† And I feel grateful knowing that an extended period of rest is near on the horizon.

I had not realized how much I resemble a squirrel until I started writing this post…perhaps they are my spirit animals.¬† All summer I feel like a squirrel while I’m hard (but joyfully) at work squirreling away my nuts for the winter.¬† And with the addition of Heloise to my family it seems like I sleep in a literal “nest” every night.¬† She is terribly shy and still won’t stand for being picked up or carried around.¬† Since I can’t convince her to go up to my bedroom at night I’ve been sleeping on an air bed in my den for over two months so she can be with the whole family at night.¬† She, and the other 8 dogs, pile on the airbed with me.

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My babies piled on the air bed with me….love.

Heloise loves being in the mix; some nights she sleeps right on my belly.

I know she appreciates that we all stay close to her.¬† She tells me often that she “belongs”…that seems to be her word.¬† She is a very happy and playful girl despite her strong boundaries with touching…I am patient and I feel incredibly grateful for the trust she has already shown in me.¬† I posted a video of her playing with Snoopy at the bottom of this post.¬† She is joy.

Me and my fur family live a life where we try for the most part to keep to

Banishing Spray

ourselves…that is not always possible and there have been some uncomfortable incidents and lingering negative energy on one side of my property at Misfit Manor. I’ve been pulling out my full arsenal of prayers, blessings and tricks to put a stop to it.¬† Today I harvested a variety of sage, rosemary and lavender from my herb garden.

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Making a banishing spray from herbs from my garden.

I am steeping them in charged rain water to make a protection spray to keep clear that corner of the property of any lingering nefarious energy and also work with in the house when I don’t want to burn my herbs.¬† The smell of steeping fresh herbs is so earthy and comforting.¬† I posted a cheat sheet on my banishing spray (though if you are interested I would encourage you to really craft your own with ingredients and intention that flows from your heart and intuition).

 

 

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Snoopy’s 2nd Birthday Pawty!

The Pawty business continues to grow for me.¬† I appreciate everyone who supports my shop.¬† Vet bills on 9 dogs and 2 cats are no joke and my shop is a big source of how I fund it.¬† Petunia continues to get laser therapy several times a week for her back; as well as acupuncture treatments.¬† ¬†Millie and Petunia just had dentals…it adds up fast.

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Millie & Petunia resting after their dentals.

Every time I realize that the “pet account” is running low I take a deep breath and trust that what I need will come….and it always does.¬† Every time I hear the Etsy “register ring” sound on my phone I feel a profound sense of gratitude.

Blessings to you and yours as we enter the fall season… may you find gratitude, renewal and peace in this beautiful season.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom: Broken and unwanted…sticking with what I know.

Every dog that comes to Misfit Manor seems to arrive at just the right time…for them and for me.

About a month ago I was tagged in a post about a very shy Chihuahua with deformed legs.  Her picture haunted me for weeks.   I felt like she has been calling me.  Truth be told,  a lot of things have been haunting me lately.  I stopped ignoring her call and I picked her up last Sunday.

Meet Miss Heloise.  Heloise came from a hell pit here in Kentucky.  She and several other dogs were surrendered to Paws 4 The Cause.  I will spare the sad details of her background.  She is the second dog in a row that has come to my house who has lived her life thus far without a name.    There is a special kind of spiritual coldness to leaving something so precious unnamed.

Heloise is missing half of one back leg and appears to be missing at least part of her foot on the other back leg.   She gets around great on what leg parts she does have.    Her deformed legs are a minor handicap compared to her fear of humans though.

I have taken in fearful (bordering on feral) dogs before…none quite this fearful and shy.¬† She hardly came out of her crate the first two days.¬† ¬†She is pretty much horrified by humans.¬† She has been at the manor a week now…she is still quite unsure of me…we are taking small baby steps.¬† ¬†She will walk up to me and sit but if I move she squeaks and runs away.¬† She will let me pet her a bit but I can tell she hates it…so I don’t.

She has been living in one of my bathrooms… the dogs and I go in and visit her and offer her food… she pokes her head out from behind the bath tub.¬† She doesn’t want to come out of

Should I come out of the bathroom or not….I’m thinkin’ not!

the bathroom on her own but she also cries if the dogs and I aren’t close to the bathroom.¬† Today I set up an air mattress outside the bathroom door and we are all going to sleep there so we can be with her all night.

Heloise doesn’t bark much, rather, she makes a shrill call, like an owl or maybe a raccoon sounding noise…its almost like she is singing a little song.

All of my other dogs are treating her well…there are no bullies here.¬† Buster sits at the bathroom door with his head on his front paws…like he is just trying to show her moral support.¬† Buster seems to adopt every dog that comes here like he is their big brother.

I’ve accepted that working with Heloise is going to be a long slow process…it will take baby steps for her to learn to trust…but she is supposed to be here…of that I am certain.¬† She arrived here right when I am going through a major life change…facing life as a single woman again at almost 50 years of age.¬† I’ve been sitting in the bathroom hanging out with Heloise a lot this weekend…a weekend that has been one of the worst in my life.¬† I realized that Heloise and I have a lot of in common….we are both broken and unwanted with a lot of healing to do. I am honored that she and I will get to do it together.¬† I will have uncompromising patience for her and I know that she eventually become a happy and whole member of the pack at Misfit Manor.

I am repeatedly humbled by the creatures who find there way to me.¬† I will never be foolish enough to believe that I “rescue dogs”…they always rescue me….may I always endeavor to deserve them.

Keepin’ on the journey,
Nancy

 

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She doesn’t respond because she has never had a name…why I consult with Pet Mediums.

I am aware that people are all over the board in regards to their views on consulting psychics/mediums.¬† ¬†I have worked with several mediums over the last decade and have found it to be a great tool when working with my rescue dogs.¬† ¬†All of the dogs that come to Misfit Manor come from rotten circumstances…sometimes I know

from their rescuers what the details of their lives were.  Others I can only look at the physical and emotional condition they are in when they arrive and make assumptions.   Using a medium when I am working with an unknown past has proved beneficial not just to me but even more so for the dog.

We recently took in a small senior mixed breed dog that was in the worst condition (physically and emotionally) of any animal that has come to our home.¬† Beside the obvious issues; emaciated, anemic, flea bitten and infected skin, she was very aloof…almost seemed slightly feral…like she had absolutely no idea what to do with a human.¬† She was not at all aggressive just simply overwhelmed by her new life circumstances.¬† She did not bark, she was uncomfortable with eye contact and seemed generally uncomfortable.¬† ¬†I began to think she was totally deaf because she didn’t seem to hear me call her unless I spoke really loud.

I consulted a medium to try to find out more about her and to help her understand that her new circumstances were in fact her new life.¬† She began her session with first asking us if she was “in trouble”.¬† We assured her she was not.¬† She then made us both promise to never send her back to where she came from…that was her condition for communicating with us.¬† Petunia described living conditions that were typical of a puppy mill.¬† There is no need to dwell on the depressing things she told us about her life.¬† We wanted to work with her to help her understand her new life.¬† She told us she didn’t bark because she has never had a reason to.¬† There was no one to hear her.¬† She would like to bark if it was ok to bark.¬† ¬†She told us that she understood she had a name now, Petunia, and she liked it.¬† But the reason she does not always respond when I call her name is that she has never had a name before.¬† Someone wanting her attention was new to Petunia as was someone calling her by a name.¬† She was thrilled with her new circumstances but she was afraid they weren’t permanent and she asked for patience and time to learn to be a normal dog.¬† She was oozing with gratitude and love for us she just wasn’t sure how to show it yet.

We explained to Petunia that she never had to worry about food, safety or love again.  She was home, we love her and no one would ever harm her or neglect her again.

Within a few minutes of the session being over Petunia started barking.¬† Her bark is darling…it sounds crackly and rough…and it sound more like “woo woo” than “woof”.¬† I am guessing a barker that has never been used will take some time to sound more normal.¬† I took Petunia out in the yard after her session to potty…she began to run and jump in a very large circle around the yard…like she was having her own celebration of the permanent change in her circumstances.¬† It was the first showing of physical energy since she arrived.¬† My heart overflowed with love and gratitude for her.

I have consulted mediums to get more information about health issues and to explain medical procedures to my pets; to explain when I am taking a trip (that I will be back) and to make better decisions about which pets live here permanently or which fosters want something different for a home.

Probably one of the most profound experiences we have had was with Snoopy.¬† Post his let amputation Snoopy was in agony.¬† Even with maximum pain medication Snoopy would wake from a deep sleep and scream (like really scream).¬† ¬†He hadn’t moved or been bumped when these episodes happened and there was nothing we could do to comfort him.¬† I posted on Facebook during one of his incidents about his crying and how my husband and I felt so helpless.¬† A few minutes later, Snoopy sat up and his demeanor completely changed.¬† I looked at my Facebook, one of the mediums we use regularly had read my post and communicated with Snoopy.¬† She messaged me their conversation right away.¬† Snoopy thought the pain was permanent and that he wouldn’t be able to walk again.¬† He was very scared that this was it for him.¬† She assured him the pain would go away and he would walk soon.¬† Apparently he believed her because the screaming incidents never happened again after she spoke to him.

We have done both in-person and over the phone sessions; I find them equally good experiences.  We have also done sessions with pets that have already crossed over.

The two ladies we consult with here in Kentucky are Carrie Kenady and Lateefa Mina.  We highly recommend them both.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom…”In the shadow of the tripod there is no empty space”.

Every pet in our home has a¬†background story…none of them are pleasant…some are much worse than others. ¬† ¬†But, for the most part, our pets are “over it” in regards to things that happened to them in the past. ¬†They live happy and carefree lives. ¬†Even Turnip, who has deep emotional scars, has come so far and embraced joy. ¬†Mom though, being the flawed human that I am, doesn’t always “get over it” as quickly as they do. ¬†I have moments, when I am reminded of their painful stories and I quickly retreat to feelings of anger and heart break.

Snoopy came here with a badly broken leg…we were told he was kicked down a flight of stairs…he was just 3 months old. ¬†His leg was broken so badly there was no choice but to amputate it. ¬†Unfortunately, he died under anesthesia when the vet attempted his amputation. ¬†The vet resuscitated him but he woke up blind and of course still having a badly broken leg. ¬†This is when Bret and I started fostering him. ¬†He stayed with us in an understandably hastily applied splint that caused him a lot of discomfort for weeks. ¬†We waited for a strengthening of his health to undergo a second attempt at amputation. ¬†With his vision restored and health stabilized Snoopy made it through a second attempt to amputate his leg. ¬†Bret and I officially adopted Snoopy the day before his amputation. ¬†We wanted him going in to his surgery knowing he had a huge family pulling for him. ¬†Waiting for his surgery to end was agony and we learned a new level of compassion for our veterinary team.

Buster stayed at Snoopy’s side while he recovered.

Make no bones about it…a puppy suffers CRUELLY after an amputation. ¬† Snoopy screamed…and I mean SCREAMED with pain for weeks.¬† He was confused and he was frustrated. ¬†He would wake up from a dead sleep and start screaming…sometimes 10+ times in a night…nothing we did comforted him. ¬†Only Buster could bring him any level of comfort. ¬†Buster would run to him and lick his head when he cried. ¬†The entire scenario was horrible. ¬†But slowly…Snoopy regained his strength and his courage and definitely his joy.

Today…Snoopy (now 8 months old) is SO OVER IT..he is UNSTOPPABLE on three legs. ¬†He is the happiest and most playful puppy I have ever met…and frankly…he can be pretty naughty. ¬†Remarkably…he just loves people….all of them.¬†Humanity does not deserve him. ¬†He is pure joy.

Unlike Snoopy, Bret and I will never forget his suffering. ¬†We didn’t leave his side after his amputation…we learned a lot about what it means to be both¬†heart broken and madly angry at the same time.

When I had that moment the other day when I saw his “tripod shadow”…a poignant reminder of the cruelty he suffered…I became angry all over again…”he shouldn’t have to live as a tripod”…”he shouldn’t’ have had to suffer through an amputation”…I was wishing again I could get my hands on the S.O.B. who did this to him.

But while I am thinking all these toxic thoughts…Snoopy just turned, looked at back at me and shamed me with this smile. ¬†He’s over it and I need to get over it too.

Snoopy is fine…he can run fast, he can wrestle with his siblings, he can dig…he can snuggle fabulously…he certainly eats like a little piggy…he is a perfectly happy dog. ¬†I need to just get busy loving him and let go of his past.


The moral of the story is this…which again…I didn’t realize it until I finished this post…there is no “empty space” in life. ¬† ¬†When I was in seminary…one of the most powerful lessons I learned was from my favorite Old Testatment professor, Dr. Howard. ¬†I worked for him as his TA my last year…it was the year Bret and I lost our baby boy…I was completely crushed…probably the lowest I have ever felt in my life. ¬†He told me this very important truth when I expressed my despair to him…he said “just like it is in the physical world…so is it in the spiritual world…there is no “empty space”…you can fill your life with joy and gratitude and love or you can fill it with sadness, resentment and pain…there is no room for both…regardless of the difficulty of your circumstances …you must choose what you will fill your life with.” ¬† ¬†Not only will I remember Dr. Howard’s insightful words always…but I will forever remember Snoopy’s smile as a reminder of this wisdom…I will remember how easy it is for Snoopy to live this truth…Snoopy will remind me always that we must choose what we fill our lives with…no matter the circumstances.

I’m with Snoopy…I choose joy and gratitude and love. ¬†Snoopy and I wish that for everyone else too.

Rescue On!

Nancy

If you would like to follow my crazy life with pets more closely…friend me on Facebook¬†or follow me on Pinterest.. ¬†I also sell my art and cards at my ETSY shop.

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Snoopy’s first Pawffiti… it was auctioned for $375.00 for the animals of Scott County, KY.

This is Snoopy’s first Pawffiti. ¬†It was auctioned in February for $375.00 to raise money for animals in Scott County (Snoopy’s home town). ¬†Prints are available at my ETSY shop.

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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom…”lean on me”.

Last Friday night our sweet Sam suddenly lost the use of his back legs. ¬†He crossed over on Saturday morning. ¬†We don’t know exactly how old he was…probably at least 14. ¬†At his age and given his health history…we don’t feel surprised that his time came…but we are taken back at how bad we hurt. ¬†Returning home to a house without Sam simply…sucks. ¬†He was always waiting at the door for us…up on this back legs…smiling. ¬†Home will never be the same.

Our three gorgeous boys are re-united…their ashes sit together on the mantle.

Sam’s ashes were ready first thing Monday morning…Bret left work as soon as we got the call and hurried to¬†bring Sam home. ¬†We sat in a bit of stupor as we looked at his ashes and then solemnly went on with our day. ¬†Keeping busy is the best we can do for now.

I have sent a small amount of his ashes off to be made in to a necklace. ¬†We will bury some of his ashes with Luna and Kringles and the rest will sit on the mantle between Hercules & Sparky ‘s ashes…our 3 boys are back together again…bittersweet.

It would have been really nice to “check out” from life this week…but I don’t have the luxury of taking time out for a quick “melt down”…I have two business to run and I have 7 other dogs to take care of. ¬†It is times like these when I am especially grateful for all of our sweet pets…they not only keep me busy but also make it so I can continue to smile in the day. ¬† Life with them, in fact, demands a lot of smiling. Still the pets are integral to each step of my daily routine and each step reminds me of Sam…Bret and I have both broke in to tears a few times a day all week. ¬†Nothing is right without Sam.

My friend Jan came over Monday with a card and a gift…this lovely canvas of two dogs called “LEAN ON ME”. ¬† I brought it in the house, sat down and looked at it… in the white stripes is some light writing…it is some of the lines from the song “Lean on Me”…like “I’ll help you carry on”…all I could do was weep…how completely we “lean on them”…at least how completely “I lean on them”…especially Sam. ¬† Caring for all of our pets is a full time job. ¬†I am wrapped up in cooking for them, exercising them, vet visits, playtime, baths, nail trims…picking up the poo and vacuuming up all the hair. ¬†I lose track in all these moments of busyness at how richly they feed my soul. Especially Sam. ¬†Sam was easy and always a pleasure. ¬†In fact, he is probably the easiest dog Bret and I have had. ¬†He was agreeable, goofy, and incredibly well mannered. ¬†He was also¬†trustworthy and constant…his presence was very big in this house…because we could all count on him. ¬†I now know how much I leaned on him…because I feel it in his loss. ¬†I wonder if he knew how important he was to all of us?

Today I did several hours of yard work. Normally, Sam would be at my side while I worked outside…supervising…it was his favorite thing. ¬†In the past, if I left him in the house he would bark…a low, steady bark that would not stop until I came and got him. ¬†I heard him barking today…but I could not call him out to be at my side. ¬†He is not the first dog I have heard barking for me after they have passed. ¬†I am coming to believe it is some sort of a spiritual goodbye ritual.

There really aren’t accurate words for what I feel when I lose a dog…our language is so limiting…the best I can come with is that each one leaves a new hole in my heart…it can’t be filled by another dog…it doesn’t work that way…the hole will remain there until I see them again. ¬†Over time it gets less painful…but it never heals.

The worst thing about fresh grief is that it reopens the old holes…each loss brings back a bit of the sting of previous losses. ¬†I think we are grieving the loss of Luna and Kringles all over again. ¬†But it also reminds¬†me how richly blessed my life has been by so many of God’s sweet creatures. ¬†Grief can only exist where true love once dwelled. ¬† There has been so much love in our home.

Bret and I realized the night after Sam died that our entire marriage is framed by dogs…we wouldn’t be the same people, as individuals or as a married couple, without the dogs. ¬†When we first married a friend told us that our marriage will “rub the rough edges off of us”…and it sure has…but our life with dogs has polished those rough edges…it makes life bright and shiny.

We are simple people…every penny we have literally “goes to the dogs”…we will leave no legacy…no one will remember Bret or Nancy. ¬† We are not “religious” people but we are guided by the simple spiritual principles of figures like St. Francis and the Quakers…particularly in regards to stewardship of all creatures/creation. ¬†One of our favorite quotes is this; “I expect to pass through the world but once. ¬†Any good therefore that I can do, or any act of kindness I can show to any creature, let me do it now. ¬†Let me not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.” (Stephen Grellet). Caring for the sweet animals is our way of expressing how much we love God’s good creation and the sisterhood/brotherhood we feel with the animals.

Very often I have to remind myself that “my pets” are “not mine”. ¬†Death is the ultimate reminder that I am just a temporary steward. ¬† Death makes the concept/notion of “ownership” of a pet ¬†a fallacy. ¬†Besides, referring to them as “property” seems entirely inappropriate in the context of the true nature of the relationships we have with them. ¬†If we learn to see them differently…as part of a divine creation…as eternal…well I think the world could be a significantly better place.

This morning I ran in to my friend Jan who gave us the “Lean on Me” canvas at the grocery store. ¬†She asked me what day Sam died. ¬†I said Saturday. ¬†She told me that it was Saturday that she bought this canvas when out shopping for a prom dress for her daughter. ¬†She knew she had no place for it in her house but for some reason she knew she had to get this piece. ¬† The next day she saw my post about Sam. I am grateful for such a profound friend.

As I write this tonite, Millie is sound asleep in a small bed on my desk…she is snoring…like really loud. ¬†I love the sound of her snoring. ¬†It brings me comfort. ¬†Tomorrow I get to wake up and have another busy dog filled day…I will be exhausted by the time I sit down at the end of it but my soul will be fed. ¬†For now we will rest in our grief for Sam…rest in the mystery of life and of death… and be grateful that we live such a blessed life.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

 

 

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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom…anything to make them comfortable.

Vibration Therapy for Pets…our experience as pet parents.

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Sam on his Theraplate

I have written about our Sam in the past, particularly the success we have had treating him with stem cell therapy. ¬†Bret and I know very little about the first 4+ years of Sam’s life…in fact all we know is that he clearly didn’t have enough to eat and for some reason the majority of his joints are badly deformed (perhaps Rickets when he was a puppy but who knows for sure). ¬†He has been ours for over 10 years now and he is a wonderful companion.

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Sam and Luna snuggled on the Theraplate

Sam’s arthritis has been an issue since we adopted him. ¬† Three years ago we thought we were at the end…he could no longer walk more than a few steps. ¬†Stem Cell Therapy changed that and gave Sam renewed legs. ¬†In the last year he has started to slow down again. ¬†We heard about vibration therapy for arthritis and decided to give it try. ¬† Vibration therapy is just what it sounds like…sitting still on a metal plate that vibrates.

We tried it the first time at our veterinarians office and Sam instantly laid down and fell asleep on the plate (so did Luna). ¬†I did some reading on this form of therapy and ordered our own Theraplate. ¬† ¬†I am not an expert on canine physiology so I won’t attempt to explain the science of how vibration therapy works. ¬†I can only tell you what we have experienced and direct you to the research on the Theraplate website.

Sam was the reason we purchased the Theraplate…when Luna was alive she was on it every day as well. ¬†After the first few sessions on the plate…Sam started going to the plate on his own…he would lie down and bark for me to come turn the plate on for him. ¬†Certainly…vibration therapy is not a cure for a dog in Sam’s condition…but clearly it has provided comfort for Sam’s terrible arthritis. ¬†When I tell him…”time for therapy”…he gets up and trots over to his plate. ¬† After Luna passed away I started curling up on the Theraplate with Sam…it has become our time together to relax. Sam loves to be brushed and get belly rubs while he does therapy…these are moments I will cherish forever.

poodle_sm
The model we purchased…2 feet x 3 feet

I have bulging discs in my neck…for years they have been a nagging source of discomfort. ¬†So I thought…why not try…its helping Sam. ¬†I started on the Theraplate at least once a day. ¬†It has provided significant relief from chronic neck pain for me. ¬†It also afforded me the ability to start running again last fall. ¬†As soon as I finish a run I lay down on it for 10-15 minutes…the therapy helps keep the aching of my old lady hips and knees at bay.

gorgeous-sam1We also put Snoopy on the Theraplate while he was recovering from his amputation. ¬†Snoopy would doze off and relax almost immediately…not bad for a rambunctious puppy.

We purchased our Theraplate directly from the company. ¬†It was just under $2,000 with shipping and arrived within a week of ordering. ¬†There are other versions of the Theraplate on the market. My parents ordered a small device from Walmart.com and I know Nordic Trac makes a version too. ¬†We are pleased with the investment we made in ours…I will always have at least a few older dogs in my home…it will never be unused.

All of our pets like the Theraplate (even the cats). ¬†With the exception of Sam…who immediately got on the plate on his own with no concern…I introduce my pets to it by laying them on my belly while I am¬†laying on the Theraplate. ¬†I move them directly on to the plate after a few sessions and only for a short time until they are acclimated.

Vibration therapy started its popularity in the equine industry…to help horses heal faster from injuries. ¬† It quickly spread to small animal therapy and also for humans. ¬† Vibration therapy has many claims; increasing bone density, soothing pain, reducing inflammation, improving balance and more. ¬†For us…(us being me and the dogs) it has provided significant relief from pain and has been well worth the investment.

If you would like to read more about our experience with stem cell therapy…follow this link: ¬†Sam’s Stem Cell Therapy.

I am a full time rescue mom and artist.  My art helps support my family of pets and allows me to do something more for other animals still waiting for their forever homes.  I sell my art and cards at my ETSY shop.

Rescue On!

Nancy