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Misfit Manor Diary – Tuning out to tune in

I am guessing most of us can agree that 2020 is the year “that can’t end fast enough”. I certainly never thought I would see and experience some of the things that have happened this year. Every one is affected in some way, for me its been a huge financial impact as my main source of income went to zero almost over night when COVID broke (and won’t recover until next spring…well hopefully it will). I have had to find new ways to take care of my family…fast….and really re-think how I was doing a lot of things to even make room in my already stretched days to get everything done. It is not ideal…but as usual…the universe has a way of working things out when I trust it.

I have had no choice but to find ways to laser focus on only what matters right at each moment….what I need to do to get my family through each day, each week, each month is all that matters. I have “tuned out” everything that isn’t fundamental to making things work here so that I could “tune in” to what I need to do to get it done.

The funny thing about “tuning out”….life is so much more pleasant this way!!! As an introvert and a homebody some of the limitations Covid puts on life have little impact on my day to day. I am perfectly happy to not go anywhere unless I absolutely have to. Like most of us, I felt incredibly emotionally and spiritual drained by the stress and drama of the current state of affairs. I made a conscious choice to tune out everything that was draining me… for months now…I shut down TV and any form of news and have limited my use of social media other than my own FB page and some business pages. I unfollowed any person, group or page that was zapping my emotional and spiritual energy. My phone, that I used to carry every minute of the day, now lives mostly on my desk by itself. If I have learned anything in the last few months…almost nothing is immediate. It can wait.

It took something as extreme as losing my business to realize the benefits of being “tuned in” . My days are more productive, my stress level is so much lower and life feels much lighter. The second I reconnect…to the world’s drama…everything seems instantly heavier. I have to wonder do we really need so much connectedness? Do we need it all? Is social media and a 24 hour news cycle actually connectedness or is it a lie? Perhaps the entire notion of it is false and it does more harm than good. Is there a balance? I suppose the answers are different for each individual.

When I do log in to FB now or my husband gives me the occasional run down on the news I see and hear things with a different lens…a much more sensitive lens. The ugliness seems so much more obvious. There is a lack of compassion, a level of anger in our culture and an acceptance of hateful behavior as normal that is spreading far faster than the coronavirus. Taking a step away, especially from so much FB time, makes all media but especially social media feel like such an ugly place to hang out. Even people that are usually kind, thinking people are lashing out in hate and anger at anyone who disagrees with them… causing drama to defend positions and ideologies that are flimsy at best analysis…more than likely completely lies that society is being programmed us to believe. Logging in to social media feels like agreeing to go to a party where everyone is red faced, angry and has zero manners…just doesn’t sound like fun anymore.

I am coming to believe that the notion that we need social media to stay connected with each other and informed, even in the era of COVID, is a lie…an ugly lie that is hurting our society even more than coronavirus. Is social media really connecting us or is it killing the very thing that makes communities work? If have learned one thing for certain this year…I personally do not not “need” anything on social media…I also don’t need to watch any news on television…my life functions fine without it. When I need to know something the universe makes sure I know it. All the changes this year have definitely “slowed life down” here..but it’s not a bad thing…watching my vacation rental business crumble is definitely not fun don’t get me wrong…but the change of pace and limited consumption of any media is a pleasant change and I am glad that it has happened. I am not sure I will ever go back to wanting to be “connected” to the drama outside. I am not sure I even want to try to restart my vacation rental business next year; perhaps its time for a bigger change.

Daily life at Misfit Manor goes on no matter the chaos going on elsewhere…the needs of the dogs are always number one priority and keep me busy around the clock. Rosie, while happy and sweet as ever, slowly but continually gets weaker over time. She is always at my side no matter what I am doing and I am grateful for every day that I have with her. Millie is now completely blind and deaf. She manages just fine but always wants to be close. The rest of the Misfits keep me on track…if dogs and cats love anything…its routine…every day is ground hog day here and I love every minute of it.

Holly’s remains came home this week. She is an urn on the mantle with Sam, Sparky and Hercules. We will bury some her ashes in the garden at some point this fall… perhaps on All Souls Day. I miss her terribly and am grateful that I had the chance to know her even though it was just for a short time.

Getting ready for the holiday selling season is also keeping me super busy lately. I am expecting a really crazy selling season as folks don’t want to go shopping in crowds this year and fewer will be traveling with gifts but rather order them online. If you are planning to do online shopping for the holidays this year…do it early!!!! USPS and UPS are already slow…it will get much worse as we approach the election and the holidays. If you need to shop for dog lovers please check out our shops! We have our own Misfit Manor Shop and an Etsy shop.

Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest Page for all things pet! We collect ideas for pet recipes, pet parties, pet furniture and more…fun!

Be safe…embrace kindness…love a dog!

Nancy & The Misfits

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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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Dog Dental Products We Can’t Live Without!

Dog Dental Acre

Our dogs dental care is one of the most important contributions we can make as pet parents to our dog’s overall health. It can also be a really big challenge as dog’s are not always on board with getting their teeth brushed. I have a mix of super cooperative dogs and also a few that absolutely won’t let me near their little choppers at all. My preference is always to do dental care at home but the reality is that some dogs have to dog to vet for a dental every year.

Over the years I have tried just about every pet dental product on the market for home dental care; here are a few of my favorites.

Dog Dental Toothbrushes

Ok, don’t laugh. My favorite toothbrush to use on my dogs is the Oral B Spin Brush. Getting a dog used to an electric tooth brush takes a little time but it is totally worth it. Electric tooth brushes do a far better job of cleaning teeth and are so much easier on the gums. Training dogs to tolerate the spin brush takes only a few simple steps. Introduce them to being brushed with the tooth brush off…no biggie…if they accept a regular tooth brush they probably won’t be bothered by a spin brush that is off. Brush their teeth with the brush off for several sessions but also turn the brush on and off over and over right next to them and reward them every time the brush goes on (I use teeny tiny training treats for rewards). Use your cheery voice to make the sound of the toothbrush very exciting. Keep moving the brush closer to their mouth turning it on and off. Eventually put it in their mouth for a second or so. Slowly work up to actually touching it to their teeth. If you stick with it they will accept it eventually. Some of my dogs have no problem with the spin brush except for the very front smaller teeth which are more sensitive so I turn the brush off for those teeth. Training my dogs to get brushed with a spin brush has paid big dividends in keeping their teeth healthy and we don’t have bleeding gums like you often get with a regular brush.

Many of the dogs that arrive here at the Manor have had a lifetime of little to no dental care and suffer from what I call “trench mouth”. A lot of rotten, smelly and very sore teeth. When they are healthy enough they get a professional dental treatment. But to get them started with home dental care I use disposable dental sponges. I buy these in bulk off of Amazon. The sponges are a really great way to brush without hurting already sensitive gums. I also them on my teeny tiny breed dogs whose mouths are so small that that it almost impossible to get a tooth brush in.

Dog Dental Toothpaste

I am huge fan of Virbac products. I have been using their dog toothpaste for over 20 years. It comes in a variety of flavors but we always order the poultry flavor. My dogs love it. Virbac products are NOT cheap. I order mine in 6 packs from American Diabetes Wholesale as this is the best price I have found for all of Virbac products. There are less expensive options for dog toothpaste on the market; perhaps even check with your vet as they may offer some. Please don’t use human toothpaste on your dogs though. Dogs don’t spit…they have to swallow the toothpaste you use on them so it needs to be safe for dogs to ingest.

I have written in the past about Virbac dental chews. I am really strict about what my dogs are allowed for snacks and chews. These are the only chews I allow my dogs and I have used them for over 20 years. I purchase these at American Diabetes Wholesale as well. Again, they are not cheap but they do really help with dental health and I have never had a choking or digestion issue with them. Their chews come in sizes; XL to very small.

Dog Dental Tatar Control

Even with regular brushing my dogs still get some tartar on their teeth. I use both a hand held scaler and an electric scaler to remove tartar. If its a tartar spot that is small and easy to scrape off I use a small hand held scaler. On tougher spots I use an electric scaler (you can get fairly inexpensive scalers these days on Amazon). The electric scaler takes a while. I don’t press the scaler on their teeth rather I just run it along the tough tartar several times…usually over several sessions. Eventually the tartar will break loose. If I’m working on removing tartar I do very small amounts of work at a time. This is not a fun event for any dog so I keep sessions really short and always reward them for working with me.

When I get a new dog that doesn’t have “trench mouth” requiring a professional dental but definitely needs some tartar removal I also use an Oral Care gel. There are a lot of gels and sprays on the market for helping to remove tartar. I would ask your vet before using any of them to make sure the ingredients are safe. I would also caution you that most of them (including the one I use) have alcohol in them so this is not something you want to use a lot and you really should read the dosing instructions carefully. The gels can help loosen up some tough tartar spots but they are definitely not something I would use as part of a daily dog dental routine (no matter what the packaging says).

One last product that I absolutely love to use (on both me and the dogs) is BR Rinse. Its an all natural rinse that keeps breath fresh and teeth white. For the dogs I pour a small amount of the rinse over the toothpaste on their toothbrush. It helps keep their choppers sparkly and their breath fresh.

Snoopy

I have two dogs at the Manor that cannot be anesthetized so they cannot ever have a professional dental treatment; Snoopy is one of them. So dog dental care really is no joke around here and we brush teeth every day. The only way to completely avoid ever needing a professional dental is daily brushing…that is straight from the vet. My Mountain Cur, Buster, is almost 10 years old and he has never had to have a dental because we brush daily. I am not being judgey…believe me…I have several senior small breed females that have to get professional dentals every single year…they will absolutely not have any part of daily tooth brushing. But with most dogs it really can be done if you really work at it and make it fun for them.

Thanks for reading our post! I wish you happy at home dog dental care! Sign up for our blog if you would like future posts. We blog about life at Misfit Manor about once per week. Our happy pack of Misfits love sharing their adventures and stories.

We are super excited about the new line of Dog Mom Planner Accessories we have added to our shop! Dog mom life is a busy life but being organized can still be fun and look pretty! Our planner accessories make great dog mom gifts too!

Pawty On!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary….taking nothing for granted

Misfit Manor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solstice & Rosie

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

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

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

Have a blessed week!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary – Problem Solving

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson
Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson

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

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

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

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

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

Misfit Manor, Bret Halverson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary – New friends…

Misfit Manor, Nancy Halverson, The Rescue Mama

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

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

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

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

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

The Misfits and I wish you all a Happy New Year…may 2020 be full of joy, love and blessings (and lots of dogs too)!!!!

On the journey,

Nancy & the Misfits

Are you planning a pawty for your special friend? Check out our Misfit Manor Shop for fun items to make your pups day pawfect! Our shop is one of the key ways I support the Misfits!

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Misfit Manor Diary – Solstice Blessings

Meet Solstice! Life here is never dull. We thought we were going to have a quiet weekend to catch up on rest…but this little cat had other plans.

Solstice started hanging out in our yard a few weeks ago. At first we thought she was just passing through…a neighbor cat coming to stalk our squirrels. We realized she was sleeping under the dog’s pool deck at night and never leaving. I posted about her locally and it turned out the people she belonged to moved away and left her behind.

We started feeding her and quickly realized how friendly she was. Yesterday on Winter Solstice (hence her name) I took her to the vet to see what we were dealing with. She is young (maybe 2), unspayed, no chip but otherwise healthy. She tested negative for FIV/FLV so I had her dewormed, vaccinnated and deflead and home she came.

The first picture is her hamming it up at the vet. She actually seemed to really have a good time at the vet! She is a very pleasant and happy girl.

She is very unsure of the other Misfits in the house at this point but she loves the cat towers, toys and warm beds so far.

She literally falls in to a food coma after she eats. Perhaps its been so long since she had good meals that her little body just crashes from the energy it uses to digest.

Winter solstice is one of my favorite holidays as it marks the shortest day of the year…which means I have longer days to look forward to now! Bret and I have a tradition of making “intention logs”. We write our intentions/wishes on a log and then wrap them in herbs I grow in my garden and then toss them on a bon fire the night of the winter solstice. Its a very cozy way to relax after a busy holiday selling season and a way to begin thinking about the new year and all the exciting things it will bring.

This year solstice was made even more special with the arrival of a new cat on the manor. She is a perfect solstice blessing.

Life at the Manor continues to go smoothly…insanely busy…but smooth. We have so many things planned for 2020 that my head spins just thinking about. No matter what distractions life brings every day that all of my Misfits are happy and healthy is a good day. As we get in to the peak of holiday season I want to wish you all a blessed season and a bright and beautiful start to 2020!

Rescue On!

Nancy & The Misfits

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Misfit Manor Diary…Betty’s back

When Betty first arrived here my friend and pet psychic¬†Carrie Kenady came over and did a session with me and Betty. The first thing Betty said to me was “where have you been….I’ve been waiting for you my whole life”. All I could say was “right here…waiting for you beautiful girl.” Betty is a perfect girl…she is a pleasure to live with every day. This poor girl has the worst spondylosis in her back that her vets have ever seen…it is getting harder and harder to manage. We recently tried adding Gabapentin to try to help with her discomfort…that unfortunately was a no go for Betty.

This week I packed her up and we drove to Louisville for a visit with Dr. Betty (Boswell). Dr. Betty did some acupuncture magic and some special laser and some ultra sound.

Betty was so relaxed during her treatment she was snoring (well snoring and gassing). I love my Betty so much…pulling out all the stops I can think of to give her the best quality of life. If I could buy her a new back I would sell everything I have to get her one.

Life here is always busy…one of my Misfits always needs something…or is getting in to something…or we are running to appointments…or just dealing with the demands of running two businesses to support them all. But each day is a joyful one. I would not trade this life for anything. Hopefully next week I will posting pictures of roses…my rose bushes are on fire this year…covered with buds just waiting to open!

It was in the mid-80’s today…summer is here in Kentucky! That means pool pawties and doggie ice cream and all sorts of summer fun! I can’t wait to spoil them all rotten!

Please don’t forget about our shop if you are planning a Pawty!

Rescue On!

Nancy and her Misfits!

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Misfit Manor Diary – Trudy’s Halo

Trudy arrived here in one of the more difficult circumstances…at least in terms of adjusting to her new life at Misfit Manor. Being both blind and deaf she had so much to get used too…large yard and house…and lots of dogs.

In the house Trudy adjusted really quickly! She memorized the lay out of the house really fast…impressive! She runs around this house like she owns it…and she does not run in to anything (unless I stupidly leave something out of place).

Outside of the house though is a different story…its a big scary world for a pint sized blind and deaf dog. I am perfectly fine if Trudy is happy living her life going no where but Misfit Manor….she can have a full life here. But I also felt like I owed it to her to see if she has a flair for adventure.

I saw on ad on Facebook for a “halo” for blind dogs and thought we have to give this a try. I have been working with Trudy for several days getting her acclimated to her new halo.

I only worked with her when we were outside of the house. I want her to know that putting on her halo means its time for an adventure.

The halo comes in 3 pieces; the harness, the padded wings and the actual halo.

I took time to let her adjust to wearing each piece in small steps.

Step 1 was the harness…would seem easy but I am not sure Trudy has ever had a harness on because she had a bit of fit initially. I put it on and took it off her several times in a row…treating her profusely every time it went on. I did this several times a day for several days…she now could care less if she has a harness on.

Step 2 was the wings (that the halo itself actually attaches too). That was pretty smooth…she really didn’t mind the addition of the wings. They are super light so I am not sure she really noticed them much. I only introduced either piece when we were outside of the house.

Step 3 was the actual halo. I attached the halo to the wings before I put the wings on her. The halo is so light that I highly doubt she knew it was there until it actually functioned for her. I had to bend her halo to make it longer to be a good fit for the longer snout of a dachshund…it came more rounded for a flatter faced dog.

It did not take long for Trudy to figure out that there was a halo there to protect her…initially she barked a lot every time the halo hit something in front of her…but as she ran around the yard…a yard that is full of large toys…other dogs….rock walls and more… she quickly figured out she now had something keeping her from doing a face plant into objects. As I worked with Trudy with her halo I only did it for really short periods of time at first. Trudy very quickly figured out that she can now run safely…she is “hell in a halo” in the yard now.

Trudy’s first walk with her Halo!

Once Trudy was comfortable in the backyard with her halo I started taking her out of the yard. It did not dawn on me until the first try at a walk that Trudy has probably never been walked on leash. She had no clue what to do. I gave her as much slack as I could and let her rip. Typically when Trudy is in unfamiliar territory she is pretty cautious and moves really slow..as you can see in her video she was trotting around like she owned it.

I am super happy with the halo product. It will give sweet Trudy the opportunity to have adventure outside of her familiar territory without fear of getting hurt.

Trudy is such a blessing. I am the luckiest dog mom alive!

Blessings from our pack to yours!

Nancy

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Misfit Manor Diary – accepting reality

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings from our pack to yours,

Nancy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rescue On!

Nacny

 

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Misfit Manor Diary…sometimes this is really hard…

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

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

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

Sleeping Beauty

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hug your dogs…every single day matters.

Nancy

 

 

 
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Misfit Manor Diary – the dog that won’t eat.

Misfit Manor, The Rescue Mama, Feeding a difficult dog
Rosie eating in her booster seat!

Each dog that comes to Misfit Manor teaches me something new.¬† Rosie’s role is to teach me all about how to feed a dog that has difficulty eating.

Misfit Manor
This one day’s worth of homemade dog food. I make a fresh batch every day.

Rosie has been with me for almost two months and she has a complex set of issues surrounding eating so I have had to learn fast. Rosie often gags and chokes when she eats.  I figured out pretty quickly that she needs to eat sitting up (she also has no ability to bark).  She has some sort of partial paralysis/neuromuscular issue with her mouth and throat.   

Rosie also has difficulty masticating her food (chewing).¬† I feed her very small bites of food…one at a time.¬† I don’t give her anything that would be really difficult to chew.¬† I also push her food back on her tongue slightly so she can chew it with her back teeth.

Rosie is absolutely gorgeous!

She also gets very tired during eating.¬† Sometimes she is just a few bites into her meal and she is exhausted….her jaw muscles just seem to stop cooperating.¬† She will try to eat but the food just falls out the side of her mouth.¬†¬†

Sometimes Rosie just seems to get bored with eating and refuses to pay attention to me or the food.  She will actually bury her head in her booster seat to intentionally ignore me and her dinner.

She is also INSANELY PICKY.¬† A dish she seemingly loved for breakfast…a few hours later she spits right back at me.

I love a challenge…especially when it comes in the form of such a sweet and beautiful dog.¬† I have pulled everything I have out of my dog mom bag of tricks.¬† Here are some of the ways I am handling getting enough calories in Rosie every day…

  1. I feed her sitting up in a high chair and I hand feed her small bites of food one at a time.¬† It’s time consuming…but it works.¬† The gagging on food rarely happens and I can be certain just exactly what she is eating (rather than assuming she ate it but one of the other dogs actually ate it).
  2.  I feed her 4-5 several small meals per day.  Because she seems to fatigue so fast from eating the small meals seem to work better.  My goal is to get at least a cup of food in her each day (not including treats).
  3. I add vitamins.  Twice a day I crush a multi-vitamin into a spoonful of peanut butter. (I use PetMD multi-vitamins).  Most days she is really enthusiastic about the peanut butter.  When she is not cooperating I gently open her mouth and put the peanut butter on the roof of her mouth with my finger.
  4. I added Lixotinic (an iron and B12 supplement) to raise her energy and appetite.  While it took a few days so see an impact from the Lixotinic it has had a very noticeable impact on her appetite.
  5. I break the dog mom rules.¬† I am fairly militant about what my dogs eat.¬† I cook their food from scratch…organic, fresh and homemade.¬† With Rosie I have had to let that go sometimes.¬† Rosie gets sick of food fairly quickly.¬† There have been some days when I have cooked her three different meals before I could find something she would eat.¬† If the only thing I can get her to eat is Macaroni & Cheese (true story)…then for that day I will concede and let her eat that.
  6. I warm her food up.  For some reason Rosie likes her food slightly warm.  
  7. I trick her!¬† Rosie is always interested in what I am eating when I sit down at the kitchen table.¬† On days when she is refusing to eat her meals.¬† I let it go for awhile.¬† I later pull her food out…warm it up and then sit down at my kitchen table and pretend I am eating it.¬† She comes over to see what I have and I pretend I am giving her table scraps.¬† What she refused to eat 1 hour ago…she is now gobbling down. I will also start giving some of her food to my other dogs if she is being difficult.¬† That usually perks her interest in her food.
Sleeping Beauty

I couldn’t adore Rosie more than I do.¬† I am learning a lot about working with a difficult eater.¬† Rosie is very young (about 1 year old) so I am determined to work at finding the best solutions as this will be a lifelong struggle for her.¬† If you have any dog mom magic tricks for getting difficult dogs to eat…please share!

Rescue On,

Nancy

Check out my Pinterest Page for loads of fun dog ideas (crafts, recipes, pawties, etc)!

 

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Misfit Manor Diary..and then there was Rosie…

There is no such thing as a dull moment at Misfit Manor.¬† While so many of my days seem filled with routine…routine is pretty crucial to juggling a large family of dogs…nothing about life here is ever dull.¬†

Several weeks ago I took in a new Misfit. Her name is Rosie.  She has some issues that are yet medically unidentified.  Perhaps they will never be identified.

She cannot bark.¬† She struggles with swallowing her food.¬† When she first arrived she was walking very little.¬† The vets believe she has some sort of neuro-muscular disorder…but no hard diagnosis as of yet.¬† ¬† We recently had a muscle biopsy done…no results yet.¬† Initially I had to carry her everywhere in the house…she had no strength to get up and walk (despite being on steroids).

.., if I left the room without her she would pant and whine and I would go running back for her. She was making little to no effort to get and up walk on her own.

Feeding Rosie is a daily battle.¬† I quickly figured out that she needs to eat sitting up or she¬†gags and chokes on her food.¬† I feed her in a little doggie booster seat I have…one small bit of food at a time. She also gets bored with eating…or perhaps just tired…and we have have to take a lot of breaks.¬† ¬†She is also incredibly fussy.¬† There are days where I¬†¬†have to cook her 3 different breakfasts just to find something she wants to eat.¬† I will not give up finding the best solutions for her.

But things are also changing a lot in the last few weeks.  She has morphed from rarely getting up and walking on her own at all to walking on her own most of the day.  She still has moments where her legs just give out and she plops on her belly.  But she gets right back up and tries again.  She has gained quite a bit of weight as well.  The last two days I have taken her on very short walks.

She loves wagon riding!¬† Initially she would just lay down in the wagon the whole time.¬† Now she is stronger and she sits up or stands while she is in the stroller.¬† I’m guessing she has covered more ground in the last few weeks than she has in her whole life.

Rosie has blended perfectly in to our broader family of Misfits.¬† Her initial introductions went very smoothly and she continues to play nicely with her housemates.¬† I am always grateful (and frankly fairly amazed) at how well all my Misfits do together…there is an energy level in this house that I do not understand…but am eternally grateful for.¬† ¬†All of my Misfits come from difficult backgrounds…yet once they are here they are very gracious about welcoming new family and helping each other grow.

Rosie has been a lovely addition….Betty adores her (and so does Buster).¬† Betty continues to amaze me…she remains so strong and determined yet she is the gentlest creature I have ever met.¬† ¬†She shadows Rosie…wherever Rosie goes Betty follows.

Betty continues to do fabulously.¬† We have pulled out all the stops for her…acupuncture, laser treatment, plasma injections…it is working…she loves going to the park…she would wander in a field all day if I let her.¬† She struggles sometimes with getting up…but that is what mommy is for.¬† ¬†Once I lift her up…she is off!

The Manor is a busy place…I run two businesses to keep my fur family going and thank the gods both of my business are thriving.¬† We are currently working hard to save money to buy our own laser machine…old dogs with sore joints is the norm here and it would be so much more economical to have our own laser machine…hopefully soon!

While there are days it seems like a live in a very narrow tunnel…I don’t leave the Manor unless I absolutely have too…I’m not oblivious to the world either….I watched the elections…the coverage of the fires in CA…my heart aches for our broken world…there are always rays of hope though…I find solace in doing my part right here…taking care of my band of Misfits that had no where else to go…I wish for everyone that you may find your hearts calling…because when you do…nothing can jar you from your path.

The holiday selling season is a critical time for my online stores.  If you need a gift item for a dog mom/dog dad in your life please browse my Etsy shop.  I have a lot of really cute affordable items for dog lovers.

Rescue on!

Nancy

 

 

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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom: Preparing to Nest

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My spirit animal!

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

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

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

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

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

lazy3
My babies piled on the air bed with me….love.

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

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

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

Banishing Spray

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

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Making a banishing spray from herbs from my garden.

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

 

 

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Snoopy’s 2nd Birthday Pawty!

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

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Millie & Petunia resting after their dentals.

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

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

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keepin’ on the journey,
Nancy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

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

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

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

Buster stayed at Snoopy’s side while he recovered.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Rescue On!

Nancy

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

The Rescue Mama, Nancy Halverson, dog rescue art, pet rescue art, political art
Snoopy’s first Pawffiti… it was auctioned for $375.00 for the animals of Scott County, KY.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rescue On!

Nancy