Misfit Manor Diary

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

 

 

 
Confessions of an imperfect dog mom, Family Posts, Pet Parent Resources

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)!

 

Confessions of an imperfect dog mom, Pet Crafts

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

 

Confessions of an imperfect dog mom, Pet Parent Resources

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