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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday's Multiples - Families with multiple dogs are all so different. Let's see what Kelly has to say!



Thank you, Kelly, for sharing with us today.

1) Would you start by telingl us how many dogs you have, their names and ages?

Kelly: We have 4 dogs: Cinnamon 16 yrs, Riley 5 yrs, Squirt 2 yrs, and Sammy 1 yr.

2) Could you tell us about their individual personalities? We know you are pack leader, but do they have a hierarchy among themselves? 

Kelly: Honestly they are all very different dogs. Maybe a little too different from each other. Cinnamon has always been extremely sweet, mellow, and cuddly. She is a foodie and likes Italian, Mexican, and especially peanut butter, but never ever jelly. She hates veggies, but loves meats and sweets! She and I have an extremely special bond and I reflect on her life a lot lately and she's nearing the end of it. I'm rambling, though...

Riley came to me from SC without me ever even meeting him, but I had to have him! He is also quite sweet and mellow. He wouldn't look me in the eye when he first got here, but has slowly come around to it. I think it's a trust, non challenge thing. He is my rabbit chaser and no matter how much I yell, "Riley, noooo!" he just has the drive and can't stop til the bunny is out of the yard. Or... there was that time he brought one in to the house. Eeeee! Oh, he is also my napping buddy. Each time I nap on the weekends, he's the one who comes with me. He has to or else he will paw on the door the entire time.

Squirt. Aaaaaah SQUIRT. He is my problem child. He has some pretty heavy duty behavioral problems. He is afraid of everything, especially people. We can't have anyone over else he will bark incessantly. He barks outside at the neighbors if they get too close to the fence. He has really made our lives kind of difficult, but we are choosing to keep him as we wouldn't want him to bounce around (we are already his 2nd home) or worse. We started with a behaviorist, but that is a long story. On the flip side, he is hysterical! He rarely sits still and his giant radar ears are always "on". Even when he sleeps they are tuning in to Mars, one will tune in to a noise towards the north, the other a noise to the south. He is ball centric, HAS to sleep squished up next to my husband EVERY night, and is extremely smart. His Mafia name is Tommy Two Tones. Forgot to mention Riley's mafia name is Frankie Two Teeth and Sammy is Sammy the Bull.
Which brings me to Sammy, my foster fail. Was only supposed to have him for a week. Squirt wanted to kill him for the first 5 or so days, but I knew they'd be buddies and now they are. Sammy is petite. He is all legs and I think he learned from brother Squirt that chasing a ball is fun! He doesn't like to get his feet wet and will go to great extremes to avoid getting his feet wet outside. He is shy around people and he loves the next door neighbor's dog. They will run the fence, but not territorially. They truly have fun. he tries so very hard to get big brother Riley to play, but Riley will have none of it. He loves to play with Squirt!! They wrestle quite a bit.

Heirarchy: yes, it's complicated, though. Squirt is the loudest, bossiest, most irritating somewhat aggressive dog in the house. he bosses Riley, Riley bosses Sammy, and Sammy (the smallest) bosses Squirt (the meanest!)! No idea how that happened. Everyone seems to leave Cinnamon alone though Sammy can give her a little growl here and there.

3) What is your key to keeping the peace among several dogs? 

Kelly: For the most part we don't have to "keep the peace". Every now and again Squirt will seem to try to intimidate Riley and we just try to step in as best we know how. "No Squirt" etc. We give Riley extra assuring cuddles if he does get intimidated. I don't see Riley really caring about it, he pretty much ignores it and doesn't back down.

4) How do you manage dinnertime with your pack?

Kelly: Oh, there is some peace to keep here. We learned the hard way that once again the smallest in the house, Sammy, has some food aggression. He is just fed in a different spot in the house while the other 3 eat. Cinnamon is the slowest so I am usually sitting with her guarding her food from Squirt and Riley. They are vultures when they finish. But like I said, Cinnamon is the sweetest dog ever and if they both started chowing out her bowl with her she wouldn't mind. I just don't let them.

5) Any advice you can give to someone thinking of adding additional dogs to their family?

Kelly: Hmmm... I'm not sure I'm the best person to give advice. I don't follow Cesar or Victoria. I don't read up on behavior like I probably should. I will say going from 1 dog to 2 is pretty different, but after that it's all the same! haha! Just a bunch of dogs milling around. I'm sure there is all sorts of good advice out there about introducing a new dog to your pack before you even bring home the new dog, but I don't do that. I just get 'em! They are all from different states: CA, SC, MO, and OK so no, they never met! We just try to give them all what they want. There are times when I am throwing a ball for Squirt, a different ball for Sammy, I'm rubbing Riley's belly, and petting Cinnamon as she patrols around for food. It can get a little overwhelming trying to spread the love, but it's worth it!

You seem to have such a relaxed approach! Great interview. Thanks, Kelly.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday's Makers



Monday Maker’s is a new weekly feature highlighting the creative among us who also sell their items on line or privately. Today’s guest is Melinda.

1) Thank you for doing this interview, Melinda! Let’s start out with you telling us about your craft.

I don't have one specific craft.  I usually see something I like and wonder to myself if I can make it.  Sometimes I can do it and other times I make a horrible mess of it.  I make wreaths, wooden leash holders, wooden signs, and am currently trying to make bows for furbabies to wear. 

2) Is crafting something you’ve always been interested in or maybe once was a hobby?

I've always liked doing crafty things.  It takes my mind off things and relaxes me. 

3) Do you have a schedule you follow for your creativity or are you more relaxed, maybe waiting for inspiration?

I don't have a schedule for crafting. I get into it for a while and then take a break...I think it comes when I see something that "inspires" me. 

4) Where do you find your inspiration? 

I find inspiration everywhere.  But I'm pulled more towards things that I would like in my own home or around me. 

5) What are your favorite colors to use? 

Of course my favorite color is purple but I love all colors, I like to mix and match colors just to see if they will go together. 

6) Do you have any advice for someone considering entering the craft market place?

The only advice I can give someone for crafting is to go for it.  Most people think they can't...it's too hard, when in reality it's usually not as hard as it might look.  Just go for it---you might find a creative side you never knew you had.  

Thank you so much, Melinda! If someone is interested in Melinda’s work, you can see more of it and contact her here: BeeMee's Designs

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday's Multiples

Starting today, we are going to have a new feature, 'Thursday's Multiples' featuring families having two or more dogs. Our guest today is Fran and her three dogs, (from left) Brody, Logan and Sugar.




1) Fran, let's start by you telling our readers your dogs names and ages.

Fran: Sugar, our adopted American Eskimo, just turned 8 years old on May 12th. Brody, our German Shepherd, turned 4 years old on March 8th. Logan, our other German Shepherd turned 1 year old on April 7th.


2) I know Logan is your newest addition. Tell us about his first day at his new home.

Fran: Logan's first day home was very easy. Logan was just going to turn 7 weeks old, and usually you're not allowed to bring them home until at least 8 weeks. We had a situation with Brody who was showing major depression over the lose of our Tucker. The breeder understood it, and told us, since we are seasoned German Shepherd owners we can bring him home earlier. Logan was used to other big dogs, and he also met Brody two weeks prior when we brought Brody and Sugar to the breeder's home for them to meet Logan. On the way home he was crying. It was his first time in a car, so I was singing a song, much to my husband's dismay! Soon as we got him home, I went and took Brody and Sugar out into the back yard. My husband met us with Logan. They ran to him and smelled him, and Logan was all excited, he wanted to play. And PLAY he did..right away with Brody. Then we all came in, showed him the water dish, and his spot to lay down, and he went to sleep. Soon as he woke up, out we went again, and he chased Brody all over. Dinner time, usually breeders have ONE big dish for all the puppies to eat from, so he had to learn that he was not to go into Brody's dish or Sugar's, that he had his own. Soon as he finished eating, he carried around his bowl, and then started to empty the three water dishes to play in the water! He followed Brody all over, Brody had not one moments rest. It's important to give the older dogs a rest from a puppy, and I did try, bringing Logan out in the porch. Brody cried. He didn't mind Logan's attention one bit and he wanted to be near him constantly. Sugar was happy since she was a bit bigger than Logan but soon she found him to be a thorn in her side and she didnt want to deal with his puppy antics. She would jump up on the couch, and he would find her right away! It was a very exciting and happy day for all of us, and as much as I was totally exhausted, our bond formed right away.

3) While you and your husband are the leaders of the pack, sometimes there is a hierarchy among multiple dogs in a family. Is there one among your three?

Fran: Yes, there is, and it's much easier for us humans to pick how it will be. It relieves the stress of the dogs having to figure it out. I have read they want US to do it for them. We had to have Sugar all the time to be at the bottom of the hierarchy since in her past she had issues. Even though she is small, wants to be dominant and shows it. That was the reason she was given up by her prior owners. 

4) How do you manage dinner time?

Fran: Everyone eats in the kitchen at the same time. No one touches the other's feeding dish. The boys eat on feeding stands. Sugar will go later when they are finished to see if they left anything on the floor. She has the habit of doing that. She can be full, and will still do it.They eat twice a day, in the morning and at night. I don't have to tell them, but they all go in a sit position. I put Brody's bowl down first in the feeding stand, then Logan's, then Sugar's. Then I give them the signal they can eat. Our signal is two slaps to the side of our leg, and "okay". Brody is a very slow eater, and usually finishes last.

 5) Tell us about grooming. Your three are definitely ones that require grooming. About how much time a week do you spend at that?

Everyday they get their teeth brushed. Sugar is not too keen on it, the boys love it. I brush them everyday, it's part of our ritual. We go outside in the morning, I have my tools already in the back porch, and I brush them. It's a good thing to do, you need to see if there are any bumps or anything we should be aware of. Brody gets his ears cleaned often as his ears tends to build up a lot of wax, usually three times a week for him. Logan once a week is enough. Sugar the same.
Trimming of nails.. that is my husband's job, they sit for him, and he does the clipping. It's very important to keep their nails nice and trim.

Right now both of my boys are shedding a lot, so I brush them more than once a day, several times in fact a day. If we are outside, I grab the comb and brush. It's good for their coat.Sugar doesnt shed as much, but she needs baths. The boys don't, they get two baths a year and that's it.

So honestly I can't give a time figure, I enjoy doing it, so it's not a chore for me. I feel brushing and combing is all part of the bonding we have with our dogs.
I start them very young. On day one when we brought home Logan I brushed him, I needed for him to get used to it. Also touching their paws helps so when it comes to trimming of nails there is never a issue.

6) Do you have any advice to give families who may be considering adding another dog or two to their family?

Fran: Yes, I feel one of the main things is to try to consider the dog you already have. Is he/she a couch potato or very active? I feel it's a good idea to try and match the same or almost the same activity level. Also to make sure you have the finances. Also most important is "TIME", having more than one dog is not for everyone. If a person doesn't have the time to play and interact and take care of one dog, getting another dog so that dog can have a playmate just isn't right. Yes dogs do play with each other and interact, Brody was a major babysitter for me with Logan. I didn't have to do the usual looking to see what the puppy was doing, he was with Brody! He kept him busy and active, therefore Logan was never into things, getting into trouble or chewing on things. I also make sure I give one on one time, just like we do with "human kids". Since I have three it's easy, two stay inside with each other, and I take one out to do some special playing with him or her, then I reverse it. Although my boys always want to be together, I do play with them separate. My three are very bonded with each other. Even though Sugar does not want to play with the boys, she wants to know were they are and what they are doing. They are all part of a pack.




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kindness...it goes both ways

Astrid the therapy dog is keeping up her circuit of three visits to a variety of rehabilitation, living and alzheimer's centers each month. Her purpose is to show care and kindness. While every staff we have encountered has shown gratitude to us, and care to the residents, there is one special care giver that Astrid has bonded with.









Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Star Gazing

When it was still warmer out, Astrid and I got in the habit of going outside after dark. She relaxed on her cot, I would sip a latte on the patio. We soon realized that there was a whole lot of beautiful over head! We watched the moon in all it's phases. We started noticing stars that seemed brighter than others...some, amazingly spectacular! It has turned into a little hobby for both of us. I'm enjoying learning something new, Astrid is enjoying these extra unexpected trips out side and the conversation about what we are seeing out there. Sure, she doesn't know what I'm talking about but with her name thrown in every now and again, she knows that it includes her and is about her and that is all good. Here is Astrid modeling her new official 'star gazing' bandana!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Snowman Couture

Astrid got to build her second snowman ever a couple of weeks ago. Southern North Carolina is not known for it's snow so when it happens we take advantage of it. Mr Snowman got to stand proudly just outside our back door wearing hand loom knit (by Astrid's mom) scarf and hat. When it only snows enough twice in seven years to make a snowman, nothing is too good.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mistfit or a Match For Life?

Are shelters full of misfits? Of course they are! There are high energy dogs taken home by mellow, homebodies. There are dogs that would like nothing more than to lie at your feet all day but end up in a house full of children that want to dress them up. There are dogs that love to 'work'. By that, we mean is they love to learn, learn, learn new things! They may find themselves in a home that wanted a dog that was just content to be there. And there is nothing wrong with any of these dogs in and of themselves! But the harsh truth is that they are labeled. Labled "odd ducks", "square pegs", "odd balls" and many other defamatory words included the worst, 'returns'. This....all because the word that could really describe the situation was 'misfit'. A situation that didn't work. It didn't work, it wasn't right and it all could have been avoided from the beginning with a little bit of help. First, one needs to make the right fit between dog and potential family. Once assured that the match is right,  the rest is called 'rehoming skills' and there are lots and lots of books written about it. Tons of info on the 'net, too!

So, when adopting a dog, make a list of what you want from your new family member. Want a dining companion? So did we! And here she sits. Astrid Nicole, social butterfly and you can tell, she is a little 'older'. And so are we.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Late Bloomer

I didn't know what to title this post. Thoughts like 'never give up' and 'shame on me' came to mind. I had brought my dahlias in about a week ago. For lack of nurturing over last winter, I had gotten a measly three blooms from one pot and nothing from the other. Looking pretty dreadful, I put them on the bottom shelf of my potting stand until I could get around to emptying the pots and throwing away the contents. No water, no sun, no nothing. 

Today, after letting Astrid outside, I stopped at the potting stand on the way in the porch and mindlessly picked up the pots. My intention was to assess how big a bag I should get when removing the dirt and bulbs. This pictures shows what I found. I know it isn't a pretty picture, but how or why I missed the struggle of the one pot to bloom, I just don't know. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but these bulbs are going to get a third chance next year after over wintering the right way. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Astrid's Big Weekend

What a fun weekend we had! First, Astrid had a 10:30am pedicure appointment. She is even happy while she waits.

















Next, it was off to Pet Essentials for some cookies. She doesn't mind waiting in line to pay for them. It gives her a chance to schmooze the other customers.
















She picked out two cookies and was ready to go. She needed cookies to snack on while Mom and Dad had lunch.

















Next, it was off to our new fave restaurant for some lunch.


















And finally time to go home. Thank you, Showmar's, for being so pet friendly and having yummy food too!
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