Confessions of an imperfect dog mom, Pet Parent Resources

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.

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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

 

Family Posts

Merry Christmas from the Halverson Pack!

When you really do have the perfect Christmas…

kingles goodI don’t know about you but I usually have mixed emotions about the holiday season.   The zealous commercialization of Christmas seems to have stolen its real meaning…the expectations of others seems to add too much stress.  It has been a long time since I have enjoyed the holiday season but this year instead of feeling emotionally zapped by it I was fully energized by it. The commercialization is obnoxious….still, there are some fun but silly activities that captured our amusement….like pictures with Santa. This year Bret and I really had the chance to focus on what means the most to us…each other and the current cadre of critters running around our house.  Our gift to each other this year…vet bills (they are so high right now with three seniors)…our gift to our critters has been and will always be our time and focus.

One of our holiday adventures this year was pictures wreally good bothith Santa at the Scott County Humane Society.  We took Lacey and Kringles…both made a lot of people smile with their cute little outfits and cooperative natures.  Kringles picks up chicks everywhere he goes.  After pictures we took them for puppy lattes at Starbucks.  Lacey knows what it means when we pull up to a Starbucks drive through and bounces around with excitement…if she wasn’t in a car seat I am sure she would leap right into the Starbucks window.

lacey lattepuppy latte kringlesChristmas Eve was bittersweet this year….sweet because the weather was fabulous most of the day and I spent most of the day walking dogs at the park.  For a Minnesotan…a 60 degree Christmas Eve is a wonderful treat! selfie 2With six dogs in the house right now I spend a good portion of each day excercising them…the biggest gift we can give our dogs is keeping them mentally, physically and socially stimulated…while that is not easy with six I do enjoy every minute of it.  walk in the parkI am lucky to have several parks within a few minutes of my house.  Sparky and Kringles are good walking companions…Sparky still loves his walks but moves very slow now.  Kringles has an enlarged heart and can no longer go on walks…he enjoys tooling along in his wagon…he is so content to ride along and enjoy the view.  The bitter part of Christmas Eve…the night before Christmas Eve I made a late night run to Walmart…to pick up some treats for a friend who just broke her leg.  It was getting cold and it was pouring rain…this picture was all I could think about….10868035_10153893293772588_6867434912571990884_nthis picture was taken by a local rescue group in the county I live in (it is one of several pictures of dogs living chained that day).  In the cold and pouring rain this dog had nothing but a plastic tote to keep it warm and dry….assuming its chain wasn’t tangled that night keeping it from the tote.  There was also a puppy at the site who was sharing the tote with this dog.  This is such a common picture of dogs in Kentucky.  When I look at this I do not wonder “how could anyone do this to a dog”…I know how…they are spiritually sick.  What I wonder is “how can an entire community look the other way?”   The problem in Kentucky is not simply the spiritually sick individuals who chain up and neglect their dogs…its the lack of will by the community to stand up say “NOT IN MY BACKYARD…WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS”.  Kindness to animals is simple and easy…and is one of many important benchmarks by which a  community’s conscience and spiritual health can be evaluated.

Also on my mind was this dog…Lola.  Lola was rescued in the nick of time…she was tied to a chain and left to starve.  Her brother was found dead at the scene…he slowly starved to death. lola This incident was also in Kentucky…just north of here.  Lola’s abuser has been arrested…which is great…but the maximum sentence for what he has done is 90 days.  This is a travesty of justice…yet there is no outrage.  Lola is healing (she had wounds all over her skin) and has gained considerable weight since she was found…but it appears her suffering is in vain…as despite the coverage of this incident in the press here…there are no laws to adequately deter this type of crime in the future.

The state of the dogs in Kentucky is such a frustrating situation…in most communities in Kentucky the laws are such that there is absolutely nothing you can do to help these dogs…if there are laws they are rarely enforced.  As I thought about that poor dog living in the tote that night I did the only thing I was able to do for it…pray. Pray for comfort and rescue for this dog and pray for grace to enter the heart of this dogs human….pray for this community to have a change of heart.  You can analyze societal problems like this any way you want I suppose…but I see this as a spiritual epidemic…perhaps it is time to start a prayer chain focused on the dogs of Kentucky because frankly I am not sure anything else will work.

Every time I see dogs in distress I want to run home and snuggle my own pets…lucky for me our two foster dogs are the world’s best snugglers.  If I asnuggling momm sitting down anywhere in our home….they are vying for my lap.  I really couldn’t be more blessed…I have learned so much from both of these dogs.  Our Christmas carried on…depsite my pre-occupation with all the dogs living in distress.
We stuffed the tree with presents Christmas morning….the dogs watched with great anticipation.20141225_080329 20141225_080128  Buster and Lacey attacked the present pile with great enthusiasm.  Kringles just wanted to snuggle.  Turnip just wanted his stuffed lambs.  Sparky just relaxed and watched the festivities in his usual dignified manner.  It was a delightful morning.  I leave you with a few of our family pictures from Christmas morning….a morning that I felt very blessed to have a husband who doesn’t just tolerate all the critters I bring home…he loves them…and blessed to play a small role in the lives of all these sweet creatures.  I believe the entire reason we are born on this planet is to grow spiritually…for each of us there will be different paths and roles that rub the rough edges off of us and aids in our spiritual maturity…for me…my path is pet rescue.  What we do in this world follows us into the next…

Merry Christmas and Rescue On! Nancy20141225_140711

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Pet Crafts

Pet Crafts: Pet Themed Christmas Wreath

Paw Print Christmas Wreath for Pet Lovers!

wreath white floor

When we “deck the walls” at our house pretty much everything has a pet theme to it.  This wreath was super easy to make and fairly inexpensive as well.  Most of the embellishments on the wreath were made from supplies I had in my craft stash.  You could use just about anything for this, pet toys, chews, ribbons with paw prints, etc.

finished wreath

20141101_193633I started with a plain wreath I purchased on sale at Hobby Lobby.  I cut the red beads off of it but left the pine cones.  I also purchased a plain burlap bow at Hobby Lobby (on sale).  You could easily make your wreath bow out of any pet themed ribbon but I have been going with a lot of burlap crafts this year.   I used a paw print stamp, Archival Ink and black craft paint to decorate the bow.  After it was dry I tied it on to the wreath.

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The red wooden bone ornaments were plain wood dog bones that I purchased at JoAnne’s last year after Christmas on sale.  I painted them red with craft paint and tied large jingle bells to them.  20141101_203736I looked at the JoAnne’s website and I don’t yet see them on sale this year.  However, you could use a dog bone cookie cutter and trace them on to felt.  There are also really cute glass dog bone ornaments at Hobby Lobby that would work well too.

The paw print hearts I made from burlap and felt from my stash.  I used a heart heart shaped stencil to cut them out.  I used a stamp, Archival ink and black craft paint to put the paw print on the front of the heart.  I filled them with a little stuffing and glued them shut with Beacons (felt on the back).   I added a bow made from paw print ribbon.  I attached them to the wreath with thread.

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I finished the wreath off by gluing several small red and white raw hide dog bones around the wreath. I found these at Walmart for a few dollars (I do not feed these to my dogs).

I hope you are having fun getting ready for the holidays this year!  We moved this summer to a new house in Kentucky (from Minnesota) and while it is a super cool house (built in 1875) it is a bit of a project so we are decorating for the holidays around our remodeling projects.

We are excited this year for the holidays in our new home…and thrilled that our pets are going to have a warmer winter to enjoy than what we used to have in Minnesota.  We are grateful that our Sam is doing so well (he is our dog that had the stem cell procedure) and we are also grateful for the two foster dogs living in our home.  We can’t wait to have a great holiday season with them.  One of our foster dogs, Turnip (Jack Russell mix) lived a life of hell chained to a post for four years; sick, skinny and cold.  This will be his first winter inside a warm home and we are THRILLED that he is spending it here.  Our other foster dog, Buster (lab mix), was dumped by his family recently and is working hard to try to fit in here…we are thrilled to have him in our home.  I firmly believe that some of life’s greatest blessings come wrapped in fur….Buster and Turnip are great blessings.

handsome turnip

awesome close up

If you love all things pet and pet rescue sign up for my blog!  I blog weekly with pet crafts, dog training stories, rescue news and more.  I post daily on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

Pet Crafts

Pet Craft: Pet Themed Banners

Pet Craft: Pet Themed Banners

love banner

I recently moved in to a new home in KY.  Our new house has seven fireplaces, two of which are in my art studio.  I decided that I needed some cute pet themed banners to hang over my fireplaces.  I made all three of these with supplies I had laying around my studio.  Here is how I made them:

woof banner upclosegot rescue 2

Supplies: burlap (any color will work), Stiff felt (any color you like), craft paint, mod podge, stencil brushes or sponges, hot glue/gun, ribbon, Archival Stamp pad, paw print stamps, twine

I made my white WOOF banner first. woof banner

The first step is make a pattern shape for your banner.  I make my patterns on my computer (in powerpoint), cut them out and pin them to my banner fabric and cut each one.  Here is a pdf file of the template for this banner : WOOF Banner.  Particularly when you are cutting burlap you are going to want to pin your pattern securely to the burlap. 20140914_160333 Line the top edge of the pattern up with a strand of the burlap when you pin.  Once you cut your burlap piece, iron it and be gentle with it as you work so it will not fray (we will address stopping the fray shortly).

To create my letter stencils I printed out WOOF in the size and font I wanted in Microsoft Word and carefully cut out my letters. 20140914_185532

When I put the stencils down I tape them in place, and use a flat brush or sponge to dab the paint on (I use a minimal amount of paint and dab lightly).  Let the stencil sit for a few minutes to dry.  After I pull the stencil off I touch up the letter with a pointed brush to make it a darker and cleaner paint job.  If you use too much paint or press to hard with the initial stenciling you risk bleeding under the stencil.  I used a large paw print stamp to make my end banners. I stamped the paw prints with archival ink and then went back over the stamped image with paint.

20140916_183805When my banners were dry I flipped them upside down on my craft mat (important to use a craft mat underneath).  I ran my twine across the back and covered the crevice behind the twine with hot glue, folded the burlap over the twine and held it down until the glue was cooled.

20140916_143813 Measure the space between each flag as you glue it to the twine for an even look to your finished project.  Once your glue is cool, trim your folded edges so they look neat and tidy.20140916_184556

To address the fraying of the burlap and make this a lasting project I used Mod Podge.20140916_184819  For this project I used Matte but you could use Gloss if you want.  I set my banner on my craft mat (important to reduce the mess).  20140916_185336  I used a very generous amount of mod podge applied with sponge to each banner and then I hung it to dry over night.  It is only necessary to apply the mod podge to one side with burlap.  The flags of the banner may curl a bit after the mod podge dries.   To reflatten the banners I set them on my ironing board, put a piece of card stock over them (important) and gave them a quick iron.

To finish off this banner I added some paw print bows; I tied them first and then hot glued them on.

love banner 2  My second banner was my love banner.  Here is the template I used to make the pattern: LOVE Banner Template.20140916_160115  The banners are made from stiff felt that I purchased at JoAnne’s, it comes in a variety of tie die color themes.  I just love this pink and orange…so girly!  I did the same process with letter stenciling on these banners.20140917_142134  I used a smaller paw print stamp but followed the same process as the WOOF banner; stamp with archival ink and then paint over it with craft paint.  I added some pink gem stones to the banner and some orange bows to finish it off.

got rescue 2  My last banner is my Got Rescue Banner.  Here are the templates I used to cut the banners: Got Rescue Banner.  The back piece of the banner is made from stiff black felt and the front from brown burlap.20140917_151730  I cut both my banner shapes and then hot glued my burlap to the felt right away (I did each one as I cut) to keep my burlap from fraying.  Before I glued each piece of burlap down I ran an iron over it to make it nice and flat.  I used a paw print stamp and archival stamp pad to make my paw prints (again going over them with paint) 20140917_152327.  To make my “Got Rescue” letters I used some wood letters that I purchased at Walmart and painted them with red glossy craft paint.  20140917_151456.  To make the question mark I flipped an “S” backward and cut part of it off.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful.  For more tutorials check out my Craft Page and/or sign up to follow my blog.  Here is a picture of what my sweet labs were doing while I was working on this tutorial:

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If you are an animal lover consider following my blog for pet news, Pet Rescue Art and free tutorials for fun projects for you and your pet.  I post 1-3 times per week on my blog and daily on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.

 

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 


Pet Parent Resources

Confessions of an imperfect dog mom: FLEAS

Confessions of an imperfect dog mom:  MY DOG HAS FLEAS

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My husband and I work really hard to take the best possible care of our house full of dogs and cats.  This is a picture of our Pomeranian, Kringles, he is as sweet as he is cute.  A few weeks ago I picked up this sweet little guy to start brushing him out for a bath and realized, to my horror, he was full of fleas.  In all the years I have had pets I have never had problems with fleas.  Now we have learned the hard way what a menace fleas can be and wanted to share what we experienced so hopefully you don’t have to.

We are from Minnesota, fleas, while they are an issue in Minnesota are no where near as prolific as they are here in our new home in KY.  In Minnesota, traditional monthly flea and tick treatment did the trick – never once saw a flea in the house or on our pets.  Living a bit farther south fleas are much more of a menace and the season lasts much longer than one would think.  Here is what I have learned in the last few weeks.  20140906_113130

  •  September is the worst month for fleas here and it was the month of  September when they struck Kringles.
  • Some flea and tick treatments work well for some pets and not well for others.  We have always used Frontline with success for our pets and even here it was working for our other three dogs.  For some reason, it was not effective (or effective enough) for Kringles.  We had to switch to using an oral flea treatment for Kringles. (I stick to purchasing flea and tick treatment products from my vet, I know they are more a bit more spendy but I am not thrilled about using chemicals on my pets as it is so I stick to products that have been vetted out by a vet I trust.)
  • Our dog that spends the least amount of time outdoors was the one who got the fleas.  Fleas can hitch a ride in to the house on any pets (or on you) so it pays to be on higher alert during the times of year that fleas are most active.
  • If you see one flea in your home you probably have hundreds, maybe thousands of fleas in your home.   Once I found the fleas on Kringles I went in to Commando Dog Mom mode.  I have a seven pet household; a flea infestation in our home would be a disaster.    I put flea traps in the areas of highest risk for infestation (like our bedroom) to assess how bad the flea problem was.  You can get flea traps at Walmart.  The flea traps helped me assess where in the house I had flea activity if any.  I am leaving the flea traps out (and I will for many weeks to ensure I am immediately aware if any new eggs are not hatching).
  • I gave all of my pets flea baths whether I could find any fleas on them or not.  I also went over them with flea combs.  Fleas are so small (and so disgusting) I wanted to error on the side of caution and get those suckers off my babies.
  • I treated our cats with flea treatments (something I never historically did for our indoor cats) but once fleas are in the house the cats could become a meal for the fleas as well.  It is important to remember that flea and tick treatments for dogs CANNOT be used on cats.
  • I cut the hair on both Kringles and my Lhasa Lacey Mae pretty short so I could assess for fleas more easily.
  • I treated the carpet in the house (once a week for three weeks) with Virbac KnockOut Spray.  I purchased the Virbac spray from my vet.  I put a link  where you can find it online. virbac We did not spray our yard because we have so much wildlife in our area (it is one thing to keep our pets off the yard until the spray dries but it is impossible to protect the wildlife so we chose not to spray the yard).  I washed all of our hard flooring in hot water and then went over them again with a steamer to kill off any possible flea activity or eggs.
  • I have been washing our bedding, all the dog beds and any towels, blankets or rugs that the pets have access to every week in HOT water.  Unfortunately, for every flea you see there are potentially thousands of eggs that could hatch later so preventing an infestation is something that has to go on for weeks.  I have also been running the vacuum across hard floors, furniture and carpet as often as I can.

laundry basketWe were fortunate that we caught the fleas on Kringles pretty quick and we had a helpful vet who gave us a lot of advice and prevented an infestation in our home.  I was horrified when I found the fleas on our sweet little Kringles and I felt like a big fat failure for letting it happen.  Its not just that fleas are disgusting (and they are really disgusting) but its the discomfort for our dog and the risk of disease for all of us that they pose.  The more I  read and the more people I talked to about flea problems the more I realized how common this problem is for pet owners…guess I was not alone.

Here are some links I found helpful for learning about dealing with fleas:

ASPCA on fleas

WebMD on fleas

CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Council)

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture (flea control article)

We seemed to have nipped this problem so far but next year we will be extra vigilant so we hopefully don’t face this again.  I hope you never have to deal with fleas but if you do I hope this post was helpful. Check out my Parent Resources page for other articles I have written on pet care issues.   If you are a dog lover (or a cat lover) consider following my blog for pet news, Pet Rescue Art, free tutorials and more.  I post 1-3 times per week on my blog and daily on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.

Rescue On!

Nancy

Pet Rescue, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Rescue Art: Pawprints and hearts is what it’s all about!

Pet Rescue Art:  Pawprints and hearts is what it’s all about!

They say that if we reflect on whatever it is that dominates our time tells it will tell us what we love the most.  For myself and my husband our first love is our house full of rescued pets.  When I sit down to paint it is very rare that it ever occurs to me to paint something that isn’t about pet rescue.  I will never get rich painting pet rescue art but it is what comes from my heart and for me it is a way I can help animals that I cannot adopt myself.

20140905_174126 In 2013 I made up my own definition of the word rescue and it has been creeping in to my art ever since.  This is an acrylic painting that I recently finished.  I wanted to make a colorful but simple way to highlight what rescue is all about; an action that brings great things to rescuer and rescuee.  This acrylic on canvas is 20X16 and it is highly textured.  The texture in the hearts is different than the texture of the paw print.   I have been having a lot of fun with modeling paste lately; texture adds such nice richness to paintings and the changes in surface allow for really cool dry brush effects to add richness to colors.

side view When I paint on canvas I stick with a canvas that has at least a 1.5 inch mounting board.  I like the space it affords me to wrap my paintings around the canvas.  I might just be a simple girl but another favorite aspect of painting on mounted canvas is that my paintings do not need framing…the cost of framing is absurd these days!

This painting is for sale at my Shop.  What do you think of this one?

 

Here are some other creations that have been born out of my rescue definition…I guess I am a bit stuck on this concept!

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These are dog tag necklaces that I sell at my shop and have used for auction items at pet rescue events to raise money for homeless animals.  They are always a hit at rescue events.

These ornaments were a ton of fun to make.   I made them out of paper mache hearts that I covered with illustrations from Golden Books.  I have a free tutorial on how I made these ornaments on my Craft Page.  There is one set for sale at my Shop.

Front imprint close up cat dog large imprint dog back imprint cat back close up

This is one of my handmade cards for celebrating pet adoption.

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If you are a rescue advocate consider following my blog for rescue news, rescue inspired art and all sorts of pet gift and craft ideas…I love creating new things for the pets and pet lovers and sharing those ideas with others!   My Craft Page is full of free tutorials and my ETSY shop is full of reasonably priced gifts for the pet lover.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Posts

Confessions of an imperfect pet mom: Stem Cell Procedures for dogs with arthritis…

Stem Cell Procedures for dogs with arthritis…

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Our Sweet Sam!

This is a picture of one of our dogs, Sam.  Sam is somewhere between 10 and 12 years old; he is a rescue so we really aren’t sure of his age.  Sam has terrible arthritis.  He has been to many vets and each has said the same thing…Sam has the worst elbows they have ever seen.  Sam’s has never walked like a normal dog; his elbows are so bowed that he walks with his legs locked straight (and even goes up and down steps like that).  Sam’s health problems though have never inhibited him for doing a lot of walking or from being an incredibly happy dog.  However, in the last few months the pain Sam was experiencing in his front legs was enough that he could only walk for about  5-10 feet at a time before he needed to lay down.  Since we have recently moved we took Sam to a new vet here in Kentucky.  Our new vet suggested we try stem cell injections in Sam’s joints.  We felt we had to do something to try to ease his pain or we had to start thinking about letting him go.  Because Sam is a very healthy dog (and crazy happy) other than his horrible arthritis pain we wanted to look at any option we had to find some comfort for him.  We started doing some research on stem cell procedures until we were comfortable that we understood exactly what the vet was suggesting.  We decided to go ahead with the procedure several weeks ago.  We had the injections done in both Sam’s hips and elbows.

I write about this because I know how hard it is to make these kind of decisions for our pets and the first thing I do when considering something aggressive for my dogs is read what other pet owners have had to say about the procedure in question.

The procedure required Sam to be anesthetized so the stem cells could be harvested from his belly.  Our Sam is so skinny (he’s always been skinny) that the vet had to make a larger incision in his belly than he would have liked to.  They did get enough stem cells and we were lucky the stem cell counts were very high.  We ended up with extra stem cells and had them banked so that if the injections were successful we had the option to do it again in the future without having his abdomen cut open again.

After the stem cells are harvested they are processed (takes about four hours) and then Sam was given a lower level of anesthesia to have the stem cells injected into his joints.  Sam came through the two procedures (both done in one day) fine.  It was really nice that this was a one day procedure (we had him back home by 4:00 the same day).  (Bret and I are a bit pathetic; we can hardly stand for any of our pets to be gone for even a day).  Sam was very sore for a few days after the surgery.  I will admit it was really hard to see him so sore when we already knew he had so much pain in his joints.  Like any pet parent we were questioning our judgment and feeling like crap for putting him in any additional discomfort.  We gave him anti-inflamitories, pain meds, antibiotics and did a lot of icing of his joints.  The extreme soreness lasted about three days and all we could do was give him meds and ice packs and spoil him (which he completely took advantage of :)).

Its been a about three weeks now and Sam is showing signs of improving each day.  Sam now walks all the around the block (a long block) twice a day without having to lay down and rest.  He still walks with a bit of limp as his right elbow (as you can see in the picture) is really rough.  Sam even trots for a good part of his walks and he is trotting around the house.  He still shows the typical signs of arthritis when he first gets up from laying down, I don’t expect that will ever go away, but once he gets moving he is significantly better.  We know this isn’t a cure but only a way to manage his pain so he can continue living in comfort.  We don’t know how long the improvements we are seeing will last.  We also know that given the severity of Sam’s arthritis he will continue to need meds and other therapies (ice, laser treatments, etc.) for the rest of his life…but that is ok with us.

We are anxious to see how things go the next few weeks as stem cells take some time to work so there is room for more improvement yet.  But it certainly appears we are going to have some more time with our sweet Sam in which he can enjoy life in comfort and continue to do his favorite thing…go for walks and pee on stuff.   So far, we are happy with our results and Sam, of course, is the happiest of all us!

I am certainly not trying to recommend a stem cell procedure to anyone, just sharing our experience with it so far. Making these kinds of choices are so tough and is really specific to each dog’s situation but I know I look to others to hear about their experiences first hand…so here is ours.  I will post another update on Sam in a month or so.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

Pet Parent Resources, Pet Rescue, Rescue Mama Art

Prevent Cruelty to Animals

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month!

real men 002Please don’t turn a blind eye to something that doesn’t look right!  If an animal looks neglected, abused or you see something suspicious…REPORT IT!

Here is a link to the ASPCA’s resource page on reporting animal cruelty:  REPORT CRUELTY

The ASPCA has great information on how to recognize cruelty, abuse and neglect.  They also have detailed information on the laws and reporting agencies by state.

We must be the voice for animals!

Rescue On,

Nancy

 

Pet Crafts, Pet Rescue

Rescue Hearts for the pet lover

Rescue Hearts for the dog and cat lover…vintage photos and rescue themed.

Front imprint close up catI found some simple paper mache’ hearts at a craft store…they were destined for a date with my craft table and some vintage pictures.  I had a blast making these heart ornaments…what do you think of them?

For a free tutorial on how I made these click here: Hearts Tutorial.  These finished hearts are going up on my ETSY shop.

Enjoy and Rescue On!

Nancy

 

cat back close up

dog large imprint dog back imprint

 

Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Pet Crafts

Gift tags for the pet lover

Hand made gift tags for the pet lover!

good imprint

I love making packages pretty and personal, don’t you?

What do you think of these gift tags?

I made a set for myself and put three sets up for sale on my shop.  I am charging $6.99 for four – does that seem like a fair price?

Rescue On,

Nancy

Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap

Sparky says…Peace?

peace imprintHandmade Card…Sparky says Peace!

Another new design in my “Sparky says” line…what do you think?

This is the perfect card when you need to call a truce with someone you have had a disagreement with and want to make peace.

The inside of the card says ” Peace?”

peace imprintpeace green imprint

Pet Parent Resources

Prevent Pet Poisoning

March is Poison Prevention Awareness Monthmr yukc

Pet poisonings are far more common than we think and usually come from household items that we tend to believe would be harmless to our pets (things like sugarless gum).  I am attaching an article I wrote last year about how my husband and I poison proof our home, garage and yard.  We also talk about what the experts recommend you do (or not do) if your pet is poisoned; we had our own poison incident many years ago, it turned out fine but we went in to panic mode and missed some key actions we should have taken.

Article: Prevent Pet Poisoning

Rescue On,

Nancy

Pet Crafts

Pet Craft – Bookmarks

bookmark imprint

Pet Craft – Bookmarks!

Here is a tutorial for some really easy to make bookmarks for the pet lover.  These make a great last minute gift idea or stocking stuffer.

I used a variety of pet fabric to embellish them because I am a bit of cute pet fabric hoarder but you could use anything you have laying around in your craft room to make them cute, even cute photos from pet magazines (just put a little mod podge on them.).

Anyway; here you go – Bookmark Tutorial

20140222_165125 20140222_165047 20140222_165007

Pet Parent Resources

The reality of pet theft

kringles in car seatPet Theft

Who wants to think about pet theft?  I sure don’t and frankly in the past I never thought much about it…that is until one day we got an alert via our local newspaper…a home, not too far from ours had been robbed.  What was the only thing the robbers took?  The family dog.  This news story really started me thinking more about this topic more and given that February 14th is National Pet Theft Awareness Day I thought I should do my part to spread some awareness.  Pet theft is real and it can happen to any of us.

According to PetFinder at least 5 million pets are reported missing each year.  Of that 5 million it is believed that 2 million are stolen and only 10% of those of stolen are recovered.  According to the AKC the top five breeds that are stolen are Yorkies, Chihuahaus, Pomeranians, Labs and Frenchies.    The AKC also reports that the number of pet thefts has been increasing every year since 2008.  Ok, here is the rough part and the big reason why we all need to think about protecting our pets from thieves…the pernicious reasons why these creepy people steal our pets.  This is a tough list to stomach but here are the leading reasons pets are stolen;

  • to be sold to laboratories for experiments
  • to be held until the thief can collect a reward from you
  • to be used as bait dogs to train fighters
  • to be used as breeders
  • to be used as meat to feed exotics (i.e. snakes, etc)
  • to be used as meat for human consumption
  • to be used as fur
  • to be sold in pet stores
  • to be used in satanic rituals (black dogs and cats especially)
  • to be used in sadistic acts

source:Pet Finder

dealing dogsIf your interested in more information on this nefarious underworld of stealing and using pets there is an HBO Documentary that focuses on the topic.  It is available on Amazon for $19.95.

I know for most of us it is almost to much to process.  How can anyone even think of a sweet pet being used in such ways but the reality is that it does happen and it can happen to any of us in an instant.

So what can we do as pet parents to protect our pets?

The absolute Golden Rule for protecting your pet from theft is simply to never leave your pet unattended.  Pets are routinely stolen from yards (especially dogs that are tied in the front yard unattended), when unattended in cars or tied up outside a shop where the owner is just running in for a minute or two.  I have a six foot fenced back yard and I still won’t leave my pets out unattended.

Other really important things you can do are;

  • Microchip your pet – I can’t emphasize this enough.  Your odds of recovering your pet are so much higher if your pet is micro-chipped.  There are many, many stories of lost micro-chipped pets being returned to their families even years after they had originally went missing. The Microchip is also undeniable proof that the pet is your if there is a dispute.  If you want to learn more about micro-chipping talk to your vet or check out Home Again or AVID.
  • Spay/neuter your pet. It’s obvious, your pet is less likely to be taken for breeding purposes if it can’t breed.  A pet that is spayed/neutered is also less likely to wander.
  • Have plenty of pictures of your pet handy and know any special identifying physical marks on your pet (moles, missing teeth, the color of the wick on their claws, etc.). The burden will be on you to prove that a cat or dog is yours if someone has stolen it and is claiming it as their own.
  • Be part of a community effort to help recover lost or stolen pets.  You can sign up on Home Again to get an email alert anytime a pet is missing in your area.
  • Don’t turn a blind eye when something doesn’t look right.  If you think a pet theft is in process call the police immediately.

What if the unthinkable happens and our pet is stolen?  Well, thankfully there is a lot we can do but it is important to act fast.

  • Call the police and your local animal control to report your pet missing (and any shelter/rescue groups in the area).  Check with your local animal control/pound daily.
  • Call the local vet clinics and animal hospitals in your area and let them know your pet is missing (give them a picture if you can).
  • Start with your neighborhood and move out from there canvasing with fliers to let people know your pet is missing.
  • Contact your local news outlets and ask them if they do alerts for missing pets (many of them will).
  • Get information out about your lost pet via social media – good people will spread the word fast to help find a pet (watch out for scam artists who will claim to have your pet and want a reward).
  • Watch for any local ads that are advertising the sale of a pet that matches the description of yours.

There are web resources you can use.  You can get a pet amber alert at www.petamberalert.com.  They do charge for their service but it is worth contacting their pet detectives to find out about the service (1-877-875-7387).  You can also post information about your lost or stolen pet on the following sites Pet Finder, Missing Pet and Findfido.   There is also a facebook page; StopPetTheft that you can post to.

I realize this is a dark subject that none of us likes to think about but pet theft is real and it can happen to any of us.  The more aware and prepared we are the less the likely we ever face such a terrible situation.  I hope you found this helpful.

Rescue On!

Nancy

Pet Parent Resources

Cold weather ideas for dog play!

Well, here we go with another multi-day cold snap in Minnesota – thought it made sense to re-post my cold weather play ideas…stay warm!

Keeping dogs busy in cold weather

I am a stay at home dog mom so fun and exercise are a big part of our day.  We love our walks at the park but living in Minnesota means there are times (in winter and summer) when it just isn’t safe to take the dogs outside for any extended period of time.  Because a cold snap in Minnesota can last for many days (ok, it can be weeks) I have to get creative to keep the dogs busy inside.    Given we have already had an incredibly cold start to the winter it seemed like a good idea to share some of our ideas!  I don’t know about your dogs but mine will only get as excited about an activity as I am …the more fun I seem to be having the more they want to participate in activities with me.

#1)  We play HIDE and SEEK

This is hands down the most fun and the best exercise.   Hide and Seek is also a great way to be practicing basic commands (stay and come).  Because we have a four dog household right now it really takes both of us (me and husband) to play this game.  One of us hides and the other seeks with the dogs.    The hider always has really small size rewards for everyone when they finish a game.   The one who seeks with the dogs keeps them in a “sit, stay” until the hider yells “come”.   We can play just four or five rounds of hide and seek and the dogs will be pooped out.  We even have one cat who always joins in when we play this.  We use the whole house when we play and get them really excited – it is so fun to see their excitement when they find daddy!  The dogs all crash for a nap after this game.  We usually play for about 20 minutes at a time.

#2) We make dinner a game

When we have long days cooped in the house I make meal time an activity for the dogs.  I use food puzzles ( pictured below) to make their dinner a physical and mental excercise.  My favorite food game is the Buster Cube because it gets them moving around so much.  I have used these with all of my dogs with success.  Some of my dogs figure out food puzzles right away (the labs) others I have to patiently help them along until they figure it out on their own.  When I give my dogs food games – I SUPERVISE.  I make a cup of coffee and sit in the room to make sure no one’s food puzzle gets stuck anywhere and to manage any misunderstandings about who is supposed to playing with what game.

december 16 2013 001december 16 2013 002december 16 2013 003december 16 2013 005Dec 30 006Dec 30 004Dec 30 001

#3) Indoor Agility

I have agility equipment for my dogs.  It is just for fun as none of them are/were competitive agility dogs.  The equipment I have is inexpensive, light weight and easy to use.  I bring it in the house for the winter (and in the summer heat) and we play; jumping through hoops, running through the tunnel, etc.  This does require a big room and/or furniture moving but it is worth it to see them having fun.  My dogs don’t interact with the equipment unless I do.  I get excited and use their basic commands to achieve little things with the equipment.  I try to keep the equipment in a room that is carpeted (or put down area rugs while we play) to avoid any slipping incidents on hard surface floors.

december 16 2013 049december 16 2013 053december 16 2013 050

#4) Train them to do activities that give them exercise

My favorite game to get the dogs moving is called “In the basket”.   I came up with this years ago when I got really tired of picking toys up after my dogs.  I have a lab whose idea of fun is to just pull every toy out of the toy box and scatter it around the house for me to clean up later.  Since my dogs have a lot of toys picking up after them gets old quick.  To combat this I trained them to pick up their own scattered toys and place them “in the basket” (I use a laundry basket).  They get a reward for putting them in the “basket”.   This can go on for quite some time, I just keep re-tossing the toys out of the basket.  I train my dogs with a clicker (my labs and my pom when he could still hear).  To train activities like this I will use the clicker to capture a behavior that I want them to repeat, even if I have to manipulate it, in this case putting a basket right under their noses when they have a toy and marking the exact moment they drop the toy in the basket with my clicker.  My Lhasa has no patience for training with a clicker (or otherwise).  She figures out activities like this (eventually) by watching the other dogs.

#5) Long lasting snacks

My dogs get a snack every afternoon.  When we are cooped up I prepare packed full frozen Kongs for snack time.  I pack them with items like peanut butter, applesauce, bananas, mashed sweet potatoes, meatballs, cooked oatmeal, etc. and stick them in the freezer in the morning – Kongsicles can keep the dogs busy for an hour.

#6) DIY Grooming

I do all my own dog grooming.  With a seven pet household I would be broke if I had to pay a groomer.  Grooming takes energy for the dogs.  For my small dogs – they go what we call the “wet crazies” when they get out of the bath – sprinting around the house all crazy like – we of course egg them on and have a good time with them – but they are pooped after a bath.  My pets are used to grooming enough that they don’t fuss too badly but it still takes time and energy for them.  When its cold out grooming takes particularly long because they need to be dried with a pet drier.  It is a nice way for them to get a lot of attention from me and they usually lay down and nap for a few hours after it’s all over.  I learned grooming techniques from books and videos and by asking lots of questions at the vet.  Grooming my own dogs takes a lot of patience and work on my part but it is very rewarding and I love the one on one time with each dog.  I pasted pictures of the three books I used to learn about grooming, they were all still available on Amazon but are certainly not new releases.  Their are also a lot of free resources available online to learn about grooming.   I have a lot of links to sites and videos for grooming on my Pet Grooming Pinterest Board.

516OwO1OIVL__SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_51Yt2GLjRiL__SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_51HnTXlZ2fL__SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

#7) Trick training or something they like

I have some dogs that love trick training and some that have absolutely no interest (my Lhasa).  For those that like it, we have a blast learning silly tricks.  I use a clicker to train behaviors – there are endless books available on different tricks you can teach your dogs.  For my Lhasa, I play tug tug with her as she seems to see trick training as beneath her.

#8)  Fetch/Keep Away

I have some dogs that love fetch and some that have no interest.  In the house it can be a risk to household damage so we usually play keep away instead.  My husband and I will toss the ball back and forth to each other, the dogs may get the balls but we don’t let it go uncontrolled around the house.

#9) Practice the stuff that matters

I am the type of person that likes to see my dogs just being dogs.  It’s not important to me that they are perfectly groomed, are sport champs or know fancy tricks, etc.  But there are a few things that are really important to me; 1) that they have  solid recall (“come” command)  and 2) that they know better than to walk out a door with out me.  We practice these two skills a lot and I use the days we are stuck inside to take advantage of this.  My dogs tend to follow me around the house all day.  When I leave the room, not all the time of course but sometimes, I leave them in a “stay” until I reach another part of the house and give them the “come” command.   It gives us a chance to practice the command that can save their lives and for them to do a little running around the house.  The other thing we practice is doorbell etiquette.  I have no problem with my dogs getting all excited when the door bell rings, in fact  I like it.  However, once the door is opened they need to be able to hold a “sit stay” no matter what.  This keeps them from jumping on guests and more importantly from bolting out the door.  I have adopted two rescues that were runners so this has been a particularly important skill for us to master.  Control at the doorbell doesn’t happen by magic but only with a lot of practice (particularly when you have four dogs).  I have a remote control door bell that I use for practice so I can ring the doorbell from anywhere in the house.  We practice going to the door and having manners (staying in a sit) when the door is open.  They get a lot of praise and a small treat for good behavior at the door.  They seem to have fun and appreciate the attention and excitement.

#10)  Massages

My dogs line up for their massages.  It is a good way to get them calmed down at night and it is also a good way for me to be aware of any changes; lumps and bumps or sores, that may be occurring on their body.  They all have their favorite spots for a rub down.

#11) FIELD TRIP

My dogs love field trips.  They know either they are going to the park or they are going to get a special treat.  When I take my dogs on field trips I usually only take one of them – it’s their turn for one on one time with me.  I do not leave my dogs in the car under any circumstances when I take them with me.  Besides the weather risks of being too hot or too cold in a car, my dogs simply do not like to be left alone in the car so I don’t do it.  So when I say I take them on a field trip it means that I am taking them somewhere that either doesn’t involve us getting out of the car – say a bank deposit (drive thru) which always means they get a treat from the teller or it means I am taking them somewhere they can go – like a friends house, park, vet clinic (a supply run) or pet stores.  When the weather is inclement I make a point of taking special trips that are more for their sake then mine.  A walk around the pet store is a whirl of scent stimulation for a dog- it doesn’t have to cost much (I always buy something – usually just a few treats from the treat bar or a few cans of kitty food for the shelter collection basket).

A lot of our activities in the house will include using tiny size treats for the dogs to reward them for a job well done (not always – sometimes praise is good enough) but given the increased amount of food rewards we cut down the size of their dinners a bit to compensate.  Particularly with our senior dogs we try to be diligent about keeping them at a healthy weight.  I hope some of these ideas are helpful for you!

On the journey,

Nancy H., The Rescue Mama

tips for bad weather

Pet Parent Resources

Keeping dogs busy in bad weather…

Keeping dogs busy in cold weather

I am a stay at home dog mom so fun and exercise are a big part of our day.  We love our walks at the park but living in Minnesota means there are times (in winter and summer) when it just isn’t safe to take the dogs outside for any extended period of time.  Because a cold snap in Minnesota can last for many days (ok, it can be weeks) I have to get creative to keep the dogs busy inside.    Given we have already had an incredibly cold start to the winter it seemed like a good idea to share some of our ideas!  I don’t know about your dogs but mine will only get as excited about an activity as I am …the more fun I seem to be having the more they want to participate in activities with me.

#1)  We play HIDE and SEEK

This is hands down the most fun and the best exercise.   Hide and Seek is also a great way to be practicing basic commands (stay and come).  Because we have a four dog household right now it really takes both of us (me and husband) to play this game.  One of us hides and the other seeks with the dogs.    The hider always has really small size rewards for everyone when they finish a game.   The one who seeks with the dogs keeps them in a “sit, stay” until the hider yells “come”.   We can play just four or five rounds of hide and seek and the dogs will be pooped out.  We even have one cat who always joins in when we play this.  We use the whole house when we play and get them really excited – it is so fun to see their excitement when they find daddy!  The dogs all crash for a nap after this game.  We usually play for about 20 minutes at a time.

#2) We make dinner a game

When we have long days cooped in the house I make meal time an activity for the dogs.  I use food puzzles ( pictured below) to make their dinner a physical and mental excercise.  My favorite food game is the Buster Cube because it gets them moving around so much.  I have used these with all of my dogs with success.  Some of my dogs figure out food puzzles right away (the labs) others I have to patiently help them along until they figure it out on their own.  When I give my dogs food games – I SUPERVISE.  I make a cup of coffee and sit in the room to make sure no one’s food puzzle gets stuck anywhere and to manage any misunderstandings about who is supposed to playing with what game.

december 16 2013 001december 16 2013 002december 16 2013 003december 16 2013 005Dec 30 006Dec 30 004Dec 30 001

#3) Indoor Agility

I have agility equipment for my dogs.  It is just for fun as none of them are/were competitive agility dogs.  The equipment I have is inexpensive, light weight and easy to use.  I bring it in the house for the winter (and in the summer heat) and we play; jumping through hoops, running through the tunnel, etc.  This does require a big room and/or furniture moving but it is worth it to see them having fun.  My dogs don’t interact with the equipment unless I do.  I get excited and use their basic commands to achieve little things with the equipment.  I try to keep the equipment in a room that is carpeted (or put down area rugs while we play) to avoid any slipping incidents on hard surface floors.

december 16 2013 049december 16 2013 053december 16 2013 050

#4) Train them to do activities that give them exercise

My favorite game to get the dogs moving is called “In the basket”.   I came up with this years ago when I got really tired of picking toys up after my dogs.  I have a lab whose idea of fun is to just pull every toy out of the toy box and scatter it around the house for me to clean up later.  Since my dogs have a lot of toys picking up after them gets old quick.  To combat this I trained them to pick up their own scattered toys and place them “in the basket” (I use a laundry basket).  They get a reward for putting them in the “basket”.   This can go on for quite some time, I just keep re-tossing the toys out of the basket.  I train my dogs with a clicker (my labs and my pom when he could still hear).  To train activities like this I will use the clicker to capture a behavior that I want them to repeat, even if I have to manipulate it, in this case putting a basket right under their noses when they have a toy and marking the exact moment they drop the toy in the basket with my clicker.  My Lhasa has no patience for training with a clicker (or otherwise).  She figures out activities like this (eventually) by watching the other dogs.

#5) Long lasting snacks

My dogs get a snack every afternoon.  When we are cooped up I prepare packed full frozen Kongs for snack time.  I pack them with items like peanut butter, applesauce, bananas, mashed sweet potatoes, meatballs, cooked oatmeal, etc. and stick them in the freezer in the morning – Kongsicles can keep the dogs busy for an hour.

#6) DIY Grooming

I do all my own dog grooming.  With a seven pet household I would be broke if I had to pay a groomer.  Grooming takes energy for the dogs.  For my small dogs – they go what we call the “wet crazies” when they get out of the bath – sprinting around the house all crazy like – we of course egg them on and have a good time with them – but they are pooped after a bath.  My pets are used to grooming enough that they don’t fuss too badly but it still takes time and energy for them.  When its cold out grooming takes particularly long because they need to be dried with a pet drier.  It is a nice way for them to get a lot of attention from me and they usually lay down and nap for a few hours after it’s all over.  I learned grooming techniques from books and videos and by asking lots of questions at the vet.  Grooming my own dogs takes a lot of patience and work on my part but it is very rewarding and I love the one on one time with each dog.  I pasted pictures of the three books I used to learn about grooming, they were all still available on Amazon but are certainly not new releases.  Their are also a lot of free resources available online to learn about grooming.   I have a lot of links to sites and videos for grooming on my Pet Grooming Pinterest Board.

516OwO1OIVL__SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_51Yt2GLjRiL__SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_51HnTXlZ2fL__SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

#7) Trick training or something they like

I have some dogs that love trick training and some that have absolutely no interest (my Lhasa).  For those that like it, we have a blast learning silly tricks.  I use a clicker to train behaviors – there are endless books available on different tricks you can teach your dogs.  For my Lhasa, I play tug tug with her as she seems to see trick training as beneath her.

#8)  Fetch/Keep Away

I have some dogs that love fetch and some that have no interest.  In the house it can be a risk to household damage so we usually play keep away instead.  My husband and I will toss the ball back and forth to each other, the dogs may get the balls but we don’t let it go uncontrolled around the house.

#9) Practice the stuff that matters

I am the type of person that likes to see my dogs just being dogs.  It’s not important to me that they are perfectly groomed, are sport champs or know fancy tricks, etc.  But there are a few things that are really important to me; 1) that they have  solid recall (“come” command)  and 2) that they know better than to walk out a door with out me.  We practice these two skills a lot and I use the days we are stuck inside to take advantage of this.  My dogs tend to follow me around the house all day.  When I leave the room, not all the time of course but sometimes, I leave them in a “stay” until I reach another part of the house and give them the “come” command.   It gives us a chance to practice the command that can save their lives and for them to do a little running around the house.  The other thing we practice is doorbell etiquette.  I have no problem with my dogs getting all excited when the door bell rings, in fact  I like it.  However, once the door is opened they need to be able to hold a “sit stay” no matter what.  This keeps them from jumping on guests and more importantly from bolting out the door.  I have adopted two rescues that were runners so this has been a particularly important skill for us to master.  Control at the doorbell doesn’t happen by magic but only with a lot of practice (particularly when you have four dogs).  I have a remote control door bell that I use for practice so I can ring the doorbell from anywhere in the house.  We practice going to the door and having manners (staying in a sit) when the door is open.  They get a lot of praise and a small treat for good behavior at the door.  They seem to have fun and appreciate the attention and excitement.

#10)  Massages

My dogs line up for their massages.  It is a good way to get them calmed down at night and it is also a good way for me to be aware of any changes; lumps and bumps or sores, that may be occurring on their body.  They all have their favorite spots for a rub down.

#11) FIELD TRIP

My dogs love field trips.  They know either they are going to the park or they are going to get a special treat.  When I take my dogs on field trips I usually only take one of them – it’s their turn for one on one time with me.  I do not leave my dogs in the car under any circumstances when I take them with me.  Besides the weather risks of being too hot or too cold in a car, my dogs simply do not like to be left alone in the car so I don’t do it.  So when I say I take them on a field trip it means that I am taking them somewhere that either doesn’t involve us getting out of the car – say a bank deposit (drive thru) which always means they get a treat from the teller or it means I am taking them somewhere they can go – like a friends house, park, vet clinic (a supply run) or pet stores.  When the weather is inclement I make a point of taking special trips that are more for their sake then mine.  A walk around the pet store is a whirl of scent stimulation for a dog- it doesn’t have to cost much (I always buy something – usually just a few treats from the treat bar or a few cans of kitty food for the shelter collection basket).

A lot of our activities in the house will include using tiny size treats for the dogs to reward them for a job well done (not always – sometimes praise is good enough) but given the increased amount of food rewards we cut down the size of their dinners a bit to compensate.  Particularly with our senior dogs we try to be diligent about keeping them at a healthy weight.  I hope some of these ideas are helpful for you!

On the journey,

Nancy H., The Rescue Mama

tips for bad weather