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Misfit Manor Diary – a little bit of wonderful

Sometimes a little bit of something wonderful is all we get…and it just has be enough. We said our final goodbye to sweet Holly last Friday. Holly came to Misfit Manor just a few weeks ago. We knew she was a hospice situation but we are wired to assume the best and thought for sure we would have at least a few months with her. She was so incredibly sweet and precious and we enjoyed the time we were able to have with her.

Even though we only knew Holly for a short period of time we are just crushed over losing her. The whole household was off…Solstice stopped eating for a few days…the other Misfits were quiet. You would think that dealing with loss would get easier over time and with so much experience with it. But it definitely does not…it stings every single time. Every time I seem to go through the same cycle of emotions. The stress of having to actually make the decision to say goodbye is always the hardest. I generally have really good intuition (I call it my inner bell). I know when its the right time to say goodbye and I listen and watch the cues from my Misfits carefully….but it is painful nonetheless. This is hands down the hardest part of Manor life. Then there are the days of darkness after they are gone…accepting the reality that I won’t see Holly’s sweet face for a longtime…I have days where I just don’t seem to run out tears. Eventually the dark cloud lifts and my mindset changes to gratitude….I am glad Holly made it here for a least some time and incredibly grateful that I was allowed to care for her and love her. I also know that every minute I have with my Misfits is worth it and I will do it again.

I also feel incredibly grateful for the comfort of the routine and demands the Misfits put on my life. The dogs are fully in the present…they don’t do “later”…they certainly don’t allow me to be a slacker… and I appreciate that. The best medicine, at least for me, when I am feeling down is to be engaged in giving my best effort to them. Every thing is always a group effort here too. I really don’t get any personal time or space…no matter what I am doing…they all have to be involved. Sometimes that can be a little frustrating (I still have to work) but it also is amazing to never be alone. Manor life isn’t easy but it is a wonderful life…I would not trade it for the world.

Whip cream fixes a lot of things…

Because we all felt so droopy over the loss of Holly Bret and I busted out the whip cream can for the rest of the rest of the dogs on Sunday and had a little pawty.

Nothing makes the heart feel lighter than seeing all the Misfits running around playing…and getting whip cream all over their faces! The second they hear the first bit come out of the can…all hell breaks loose.

Dog Party Favors, Pupperccino Cups, Misfit Manor Shop

Living with life coaches…

Living with dogs is like living with a houseful of life coaches…honestly no one stays engaged in the present moment like a dog. Any life coach will tell you that life happens in the present…if you are going to be happy its only going to happen in the present moment.

It’s not lost on me the profound impact the Misfits have on my own ability to stay engaged with the present. Not only are they role models for living in the present but they get over things so quickly (ok..well except Buster…he forgets nothing).

They also teach me so much about trust. They worry about nothing. Now whether they trust me or its just a general trust in the universe…I don’t know…they just assume they will get what they need. Not a moment is spent worrying about tomorrow. I just want to be more like my dogs.

Changing seasons…

Summer is coming to an end soon. We are trying to squeak out every minute of outdoor fun that we can. Rosie’s exercise pool will have to come down this week (always a sad day) but walking at the park will be a lot more pleasant as it starts cooling down and we love seeing the changing colors…I think fall in Kentucky is one of my favorite sights. We enjoy every season here at the Manor…this year each and every moment and memory we make seems more special than usual…the stress of the COVID era makes everything feel more acute or raw. This week the man who originally restored our home and built our vacation rentals passed away from COVID. He and his wife were incredibly kind and generous to Bret and I when we moved. Life feels heavier in the era of coronavirus…like we are all walking around carrying an invisible yoke on our shoulders. Finding and relishing in the good moments has never been more important.

The Misfits and I wish blessings, love and light to everyone. Stay safe and healthy. Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest Page for tons of pet lover content and shop our Misfit Manor store for all of your pawty and gift giving needs!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Welcome to Misfit Manor Miss Holly!

When you are ready…I guess you are ready. Since Petunia passed last February I have not felt ready to bring a new dog to the Manor. Until last week when I was sent a picture of Miss Holly. I could not resist her precious face.

Miss Holly is a 6lb Pomeranian. She is 11 years young. She is a perfect fit at the manor. Holly was put up for “free” on Craig list because her person was put in the hospital and could no longer care for her (family members decided to give her away). A rescue saw the post and went and got her right away. Situations like this are so heart breaking and just too common. Someone elderly becomes ill or incapable of being on their own and to make it all the worse they are separated from their dog. My heart breaks for the dogs who have no idea why they have lost their person of course…but it breaks even harder for the person who is separated from their dog. Our dogs are our most steadfast companions in life…to be separated from them is a tragedy.

Besides having some health issues that make her uncomfortable Holly was very sad and depressed when she arrived. Her person clearly loved her and being separated was hard on Miss Holly.

We had Holly vetted quickly…she is not without issues…the most urgent being her kidney values are dangerously high. Hopefully the high kidney value is due to the infections in her mouth (really rotten teeth) and their removal and antibiotics will restore her kidney function. She goes in for her dental on the 25th and we will recheck her kidney values at that time.

She has a broken rib that is quite painful (she groans if you touch her mid section). Her xrays show very poor bone density so keeping her protected from falls is going to be important. She has some pretty serious joint issues as well. Her little knees shake when she walks. For now she is on a course of predisone and we are lasering her joints 2x/day. Once we are able to get some better xrays on the 25th and some clarity on her kidney’s we will look at more options for giving her comfort in her little joints.

Despite arriving here with so many health issues and some doggy depression Holly has fit in quite well and is taking advantage of all of the perks of Manor living.

She has become a quick fan of wagon rides at the park with her sister Rosie and likes have a big yard to trot around and sniff in…and bark at squirrels.

She has very quickly figured out how to get in the action with the rest of the pack to get her share of the treats too!

Holly’s favorite time of the day seems to be before bed snuggles and laser time. I take Rosie, Lacey and Holly in my bed (with a little bowl of cookies) and take turns snuggling and lasering all of them…its a wonderful wind down for me each night and the girls love it.

Despite everything that is going on with her health and the stress of so much change in her life…she is incredibly sweet and her little tail is starting to wag more each day. She loves to bark at Solstice!

We are thrilled to have her here with us and look forward to showing her what life as a diva at Misfit Manor is all about.

Life on the Manor continues to be full of love and joy despite the craziness going in the world….the Manor is an oasis for the animals and for Bret and I. Bret’s real estate business is keeping him crazy busy these days…he loves coming home to the peace and privacy our life here affords. I continue to run our vacation rentals but in the era of coronavirus we have very few guests.

Solstice and I keep busy in the studio designing new pawty items and making new art work. We are incredibly grateful for the support our shop has received this year. Check out our Misfit Manor Shop for new items for your pawty planning needs. We are working hard to gear up for the holidays as this year’s online holiday season is set to be incredibly busy.

We hope this post find you well and finding new and creative ways to enjoy life despite all the challenges going on in the world.

Pawsitively grateful,

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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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