Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy 5th Gotcha Day Monday!

Saturday was Monday's official Gotcha Day!! It's been 5 years since Monday moved in and I couldn't imagine life without her. I tried to make the day special but forces conspired against me:(.  First, we went out to Ada Hayden in the morning to go for a quick walk but there was some kind of huge event going on so we didn't stop. Instead we took a quick stroll through our neighborhood - not as exciting but still nice :). The weather was not in our favor either so we mostly ended up cuddling on the couch, at least that is one of our favorite activities!!

Monday and her pouty face :) LOL.
I did stop and pick up some tasty treats in celebration of her big day. We love Brown Dog Bakery :). All the dogs were excited for the good eats...

We had to get enough to share :). Four canolis for all the family dogs,
6 frosted bones for all the dogs in the house (our 4 and 2 clients' dogs), and Monday
also got the special Birthday cookie AND the frosted dog cookie :).
Feed us!! :)
I love Rookie's pouty face in this one...and I caught Vito being silly :). 
'Quit playing around and give me my cookie Dad!' 

Oh Monday we love your silly face and intense personality. Everything my crazy lady does, she does with gusto and a dramatic flare :). Our house would definitely not be the same without her silly antics. I'm so glad we've spent these last 5 years together and I look forward to many more years filled with love and feistiness :).


Every once in awhile a dog enters your life and changes everything. Thank you Monday for being that dog and changing my life. You add bright neon color to an otherwise earth-tone existence. :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy 2nd Anniversary!!

Happy anniversary to the brave man who married me and all my crazy dogs :). We'll never be bored with the adventures in our life as long as we have eachother! Nothing in this world could ever be as wonderful as the love you've given me. You are my yesterday, my today, my tomorrow, and my forever.

I have faith in our possibilities Nicholas. :)

We're going to have to do a new group photo! :)
Photo by: Kesling Photography

True love stories have no endings. ~Richard Bach

Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: Kong Jumbler

The Kong Jumbler.
The Kong Jumbler is an interesting looking toy and very multi-functional :). It squeaks, it has a tennis ball (although it's inside it and not accessible), and it has two handles for easier gripping/tugging/carrying. We got the L/XL size and it was perfect for our gang of hooligans :).

First up was Rookie, that boy loves a good toy. I was interested to see what he would do with it though. His first love is tugging - would he grab a handle and want to tug? However, he didn't want anything to do with it. I couldn't understand it at first because he LOVES toys. But apparently Stacks loves this toy to the point of obsession and his tantrum on the other side of the babygate made Rookie put on the brakes. 

Stacks and the Jumbler
Stacks was enthralled with this wonderful toy :).
So I let Stacks have the toy :). He was ecstatic to say the least, lol. His favorite part was the size and the squeaker. The Jumbler is the perfect size for him to roll around the room with his egghead :), and the squeaker kept enticing him to 'bite and kill.' It was quite hilarious to watch him!

This toy is meant to be interactive - to be played with by a dog AND it's owner. Stacks was having none of that. He was pretty sure this was his personal toy and if he let me get too close I would take it away. I kept trying to tell him the toy had two handles for a reason - one for me and one for him. But I guess he didn't believe me :). Luckily, this toy is quite durable because he was chewing for a kill bite!

This toy is meant for supervised use and, regardless what Stacks thinks, it's not meant to be a true chew toy like other KONG toys. I will have to get this back out for Stacks and work on the interactive part :). He just loved it so much he didn't want to share! Once Stacks is back in his own home, I will have to reintroduce the toy to Rookie to get his opinion :).

I really liked this toy and it looks like it will be in our play rotation for awhile!

Rookie feels like he got screwed :).

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are my own. KONG provided the product free to review. I received no compensation or additional benefits for mentioning the products in this post.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Unexpected Acknowledgment

Bourbon got the following certificate in the mail last week
(it acknowledges the lure coursing title he received last year):

I wasn't expecting this at all! So it was a VERY nice surprise for our old man :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Top 5 Reasons to Train Your Dog

Adopting a puppy or an adult dog is a long term commitment and it's our job to set them up for success when facing the world. We don't want to see any dog banished to the back yard or relinquished to the shelter because it hasn't been trained properly. Here is a run-down of just some of the advantages of training:

  1. Strengthens your bond. The process of bonding with your dog begins as soon as you bring them home. This initial bond is a tentative one - you don't know each other yet. To strengthen this bond, you spend time together learning what makes each other tick. Training your dog is something you do together, as a team. And as do this, you build respect and trust, and the relationship you have deepens.
  2. Communication will be come clearer. Training helps you develop a way to communicate with each other. It helps your dog understand and want to do what you would like them to do. It also helps you gain the skills to understand what your dog is saying to you.
  3. Decreases and/or eliminates behavior issues. Jumping on visitors, barking, digging, potty training, chewing, and other behavior issues can all be dealt with by training. Training really does build better behavior and a trained dog can join in all the fun in anything your family does together. Starting training early also creates less work, in regards to behavior issues, for you in the long run ;).
  4. Builds confidence in shy and fearful dogs. Basic training is a great way to build your dog's confidence. Teaching your dog a few simple behaviors such as sit, down, and stay can lay a strong foundation for your dog to look to you for direction when they are uncertain. It provides skills they know and gives them something they know they can successful at.
  5. Fun for everyone and provides enrichment. Turning training sessions into games makes it more fun for everyone involved and keeps things lighthearted. When you laugh with your dog, you're going to have fun. The more fun you have, the more you will train, and the more you train, the better you both will be at it. Training should continue through the life of your dog. Just as you continue to learn, so should your dog to keep their mind active. Not only that, but a bored dog is more apt to get into trouble.

Every dog - and their families - benefit tremendously from dog training. And training can come in any number of ways depending on your situation and what resources are available to you. Through positive reinforcement, you can create mutual respect between you and your pet and teach them the tools they will need to be successful in any situation.

The joys and benefits of training are numerous and far outweigh the time spent doing it :). What were your main reasons for training your dog?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jamaica, Mon!

Sorry I have been so quiet lately! We just spent a week in Jamaica for a friend's was glorious :). We stayed in Negril and as we meandered about town, I couldn't help but notice all the 'stray' dogs. They made my heart hurt :(.

Two dogs roaming in Negril.
These dogs didn't really seem like traditional strays - they seemed to be pretty well fed and seemed to stay in certain areas. But I was curious, so I asked our taxi driver (who had driven us around on a few different occasions) how the Jamaican culture viewed pet dogs. He said that purebred dogs, like German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans (those were the breeds he actually listed), were kept in houses and treated more like what we would experience in the US, but that the mongrel dogs you see on the street aren't treated quiet so well. They are generally fed okay as they get scraps and eat what they can catch but they rarely get veterinary care when injured or sick and are allowed to breed indiscriminately (just creating more overpopulation of stray dogs).

The whole time I was there I only two dogs on a leash - the rest were free to roam.

A dog rests in the shade with kids outside a gas station. I'm not sure if this was a stray dog or their dog.
Animal suffering is a worldwide problem, especially in third world countries, and is mostly related to human poverty - insufficient resources to care for animals, along with ignorance and indifference. Poverty plays a huge role in the plight of stray dogs in Jamaica. If you aren't getting enough to survive, it's hard to give enough to a mere animal. Thousands of street dogs are slowly eaten alive by mange, maggots, screw worms, and internal parasites. Some of these common diseases and parasites that are easily preventable are frequently transmitted to humans, especially children. Obviously, overpopulation of stray dogs is a public health hazard on multiple levels.

Dog bites also pose a potential risk, especially in the bigger cities with greater populations and in the mountains with low food resources (which encourage the formation of packs in order to survive). Dog packs can do severe damage to people and livestock :(.

Then there is always the welfare of the stray dogs themselves. They are at great risk of injury - vehicular injury, abuse by people, and injury by other dogs as they compete for food and mating. There are currently two main organizations in Jamaica set up to deal with the stray dog population - Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Kingston and Animal House Jamaica in St. Ann (just outside of Ocho Rios). I wish I would have had time to visit either one of these organizations, if we ever make it back I am totally putting this on my to-do list and also bringing donations :).

A stray dog walking the beach. Photo: Animal House Jamaica, check them out on Facebook.
Our perception of animals determines how we treat them and whether they suffer under our care (or lack thereof). We need to encourage international efforts that focus on improving the human condition to also animal concerns because Healthcare means People Care + Animal Care + Earth Care. Everything is connected.

Have you visited a country with an overpopulation of stray dogs? How did it make you feel?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rookie's More Than Fun Run

Since Bourbon is a lure coursing nut, I decided that see if Rookie would also like to participate. There were fun runs scheduled at the end of the CAT test last weekend so I went ahead and brought Rookie along to see how it would go :). I actually figured that he would be interested, but once he realized how far away from mom he was, he would come off the lure and run back to me. Boy was I wrong!

On the road! They were both very excited :)

Rookie was the BEST behaved dog all day while he waited his turn. He hung out in his crate and only cried when he heard Bourbon get all jazzed up for each of his runs. I couldn't believe how good of a boy he was with all the excitement. Apparently, he never ceases to amaze me :).

Waiting patiently for the fun runs to start....
And then it was his turn. He didn't know what was going on but he was glad to get out of his crate and stretch his legs :). Once he saw the lure move, he got REAL excited and even started screaming. He turned into a Bourbon Junior, we were so proud :). Needless to say he rocked and had a great time. He is going to have to work on his coordination - he somersaulted at every corner and totally came off the course with grass stains, LOL.

<all coursing photos courtesy of Sizzle Dog Photography>

You'll notice he has the most interesting faces when he runs - his lips are SO big they flap quite oddly in the wind :).

Do you think your dog would enjoy lure coursing?