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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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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom…born to ride…

Motorcycle Dogs…

biker dog, motorcycle dog, dogs on motorcycles
Born to Ride

What makes you smile…my dogs make me smile.  Every dog has that one thing that just makes them crazy with happiness…a game of fetch…a special treat or toy…for our Lacey…its Harley Davidson motorcycles.  She is our little biker dog…when she hears the bike fire up she tries to crawl up my legs to get in to her harness…

Taking Lacey for motorcycle rides was born out of Bret and I trying to figure out activities for her that would satisfy her crazy side…Lacey is a fun dog but she is a mischief maker and has little to no fear of heights (she will leap off of anything), no fear of other animals (of any kind)…pretty much no fear of anything that most dogs would shy away from…she likes a challenge and adventure.

When we met Lacey she had been surrendered because she was a “chronic biter”.  She definitely sharpened her choppers on us a few times.  In fact, the day I met her she leaped at my face and bit me in the nose…hard.  Most people would pass on such a dog…but Lacey was out of options…she had no where to go.  The day she put a few holes in my nose she also met my other dogs; which back then was my two labs and my Rottweiler.  Despite being a fraction of their size she instantly took to them and was running with the pack like she belonged with them her whole life.  She was also taking their cues…when they backed her down…she heeded them…I saw hope for her in that.  We have never looked back from the day we met her…Lacey came home with us and very quickly figured out new patterns of behavior (that didn’t include biting people).  Lacey is not the type of dog that will cooperate with typical training methods…she wants nothing to do with.  When I try using my clicker, treats and typical methods…she literally turns her back to me.  She is above my style of training.  So I had to use the approach of “capturing” behavior.   The first few months that Lacey lived with us she would only get rewards…food, pets, snuggles when she was calm…when she acted up I instantly removed from what pleased her (just removing my interaction and presence from her worked magic).  To teach her to sit, down, stay, etc…I had to “capture” those behaviors and reward them as she naturally performed them…she caught on fairly quickly without have to “subject” herself to being trained.   While capturing is a slower road to train a dog it is certainly effective.

Today, Lacey is the love of our life…she is the dog we take with us every where …the dog (well one of the dogs) that sleeps in the middle and definitely the apple of her daddy’s eye.

The bike is tuned up…the weather is warming up and Lacey is saddled up…she was truly Born to Ride!  We are looking forward to a summer of riding fun…discovering new things in Kentucky with our little biker dog!

I am working on new sketches of Lacey in her tough girl gear…she has a lot to say and its time to put it to canvas…she is going to be my newest Pawffiti artist.

Have a great week!

Rescue On!

Nancy