Nola Muffin Monday: Toy Story

I already wrote about how much we love toys in our house. But to make you understand just how much, I am going to share a somewhat embarrassing fact about us. Jim and I name Nola’s toys.

This is Peter (Rabbit):

Peter is Nola's baby, the reason why he is in the best shape of the bunch.


Seymore the turtle was a Christmas gift from Memere and Pepere (my parents).

James (as in James Bond):

Jim named him not after himself, but the secret agent because of the tuxedo he is wearing.


The yellow lab reminded of us the movie we can no longer watch since we got Nola because it makes us sad.

Harry Elephante (El-e-fant-ay):

Wish we could take credit for the name, but we got it from Marcel the Monkey on Friends.

Al E. Gator:

Al has seen better days. He was one of the first toys Laynie got a hold of.


Can you guess how Chewy got his name? This was Nola's very first toys and one of the ways we found out she was a tough chewer. He used to have ears and a tail in his younger days.

And Piggy:

This is actually Piggy, Jr. The first Piggy got both ears chewed off and lost an arm.

And these are just a few of Nola’s many toys that live in the basket in our living room. I know they aren’t super original names, but it keeps us entertained. Are we the only crazy ones people that name our dog’s toys?!

Toys ‘R Us

We love toys in our house. Stuffies, babies, educational toys, tuggers, balls, you name it we have it. We even have a special toy box for all of the dog toys. Nola has a ‘baby’ (it’s acutally a rabbit) she sleeps with that she doesn’t chew and we made sure that Laynie had one when she came to our house too (hers is a leopard but wasn’t so lucky and all the sqeakies got chewed out). Since Delaynie arrived in our house just about six weeks ago we haven’t really allowed many toys to be played with, other than the babies at bed time. Nola has a bit of a jealousy issue when it comes to Laynie playing with her toys. Or, she will grab a toy and tease Laynie with it by running away. We didn’t want to create any issues between the two dogs so we just avoided the issue all together.

We have always used the educational toys with Nola for mental stimulation when it’s too cold, rainy, or she is otherwise injured and can’t go outside and run. She is so smart that the tug-a-jug was no match for her. She figured out that if she picks the whole thing up in her mouth and drops it the bottom will break and all the treats come out on their own. She has even mastered the toy with the cups that hide the treats in them.The twist and treat she discovered works best when she rolls it down the stairs.

We weren’t sure how Delaynie would do with these mental toys, but since the plague kennel cough outbreak hit our house we needed something to keep her energy at bay. We started with the twist and treat. At first she didn’t really get the concept. She left the treats on the floor and brought it over to her bed to chew on the plastic.

In the end she just chewed a piece off the plastic and left all the treats. Nola would have thought this was an abomination. What dog leaves treats and doesn’t eat them?

We also tried the tug-a-jug. (This time I bought the bigger size which will hopefully withstand Nola’s smarts). She did well waiting until I told her ok.

But then, like with the twist and treat, she left the treats and just wanted to chew the plastic.

I think she liked this one better because she eventually figured out that if she stuck her tongue in the top of the bottle she could get the treats out. But really, she just wanted to chew it.

As far as toys go, with Delaynie it seems that if she can’t chew it, it’s not worth playing with, even if treats are involved!

If you’re interested in adopting Delaynie please fill out an application with BURN. If you would like more information about her, email me at:

Adoptability Factor 3: Snuggle Bug

As you already know, Laynie is smart as a whip and cute as a button. So what other idiom can I use to describe her? Well, she is a serious snuggle bug. She takes every opportunity she can to snuggle with Nola, and when she is not bugging loving on foster sis’ she is right next to me. Her favorite spot after our evening walk is wedged in between me and the back of the couch, most of the time smushing her face in the pillow.

Her other favorite snuggling position is on her back.

She even lays like that when she’s not snuggling.

As you can see, Laynie would be the perfect member of any family that would like a smart, cute, snuggly dog. How can anyone resist that happy face?

If you’re interested in adopting Delaynie please fill out an application with BURN. If you would like more information about her, email me at:

Nola Muffin Monday: The Accident

It was December 23, 2010. Nola was about 5 months old. I had the day off from work and thought it would be a nice treat to take little muffin to the dog park. Being new dog owners and all, we had been going to this dog park we thought was great. It was all fenced in. It was in the woods. There were places to walk where there weren’t a lot of people around. But, since we were told it’s good to socialize your puppy I brought Nola up to the part where the dogs play together off leash. As I was talking to another owner I noticed a dog on a leash was brought into the area. I saw him and it raised a bit of a red flag in my brain so I scanned the park for Nola. Like the curious puppy she was, Nola followed the pack she was playing with as they went over to the leashed dog to check him out. And that’s when it happened. The most blood curdling scream I have ever heard. That sound is still cemented into my memory. She was so scared that she had run quite a distance away. I ran over to my little baby to find blood all over her face. The dog had bit her and punctured a hole in her nose. As she breathed blood came out like water out the spout of a whale.

Needless to say I freaked out. My maternal/emergency/there’s-a-crap-load-of-blood instinct kicked in and I knew I needed to get her to the vet. Thankfully a Good Samaritan offered to drive us, because I had to put pressure on her nose to stop the bleeding and I really couldn’t drive one handed. In between sobs I gave him directions to the vet. It was the longest 15-20 minutes ever. I don’t know what had more blood on it, me, Nola or the guy’s front seat. I never did get his name, but I am thankful for that Good Samaritan that day. Dr. Mike, our vet, had to go in an repair the bone with wire mesh and stitch her all back up. He said he would stay open late for us (by the time we arrived it was 4pm on the day before Christmas Eve) to make sure she recovered. By this point Jim had come to the vets office to get me. He took me home and I just cried and cried. My poor baby. We only had her one month, how could I have let this happen?

In the end, she was fine. It was a long recovery; we had to keep her indoors because the cold air made it tough for her to breathe through her nose.

She had to wear the cone of shame for what seemed like a month. We had to watch to make sure she didn’t scratch at her stitches. She was still seeping in her crate at the time and every time I heard her move I woke up to make sure she was ok.

She still has a bump there where her bones grew back together, and a bit of a scar, but Jim says that gives her character.

We were so thankful for Dr. Mike and the Good Samaritan for helping out our little Muffin that day.

On a side note- many people asked what happened to the dog that bit her and its owner.  Of course, to continue the stereotype, it was a pit bull-like dog that attacked her. However, Jim and I being the educated people we are did not blame the dog. It shouldn’t have ever been taken to a dog park if it had aggression issues. Especially on leash in an off leash area. We did not press charges or report it. The owner found me as I was getting into Good Samaritan’s truck and gave me her card. I made Jim call her when we got home from the vet and she apologized and paid for the whole vet bill.

On another side note- we did go back to that dog park after Nola recovered and was a bit older. However, we encountered too many incidents of bad owners- bringing screaming kids, letting their dogs charge us, dogs pining down Nola, and us having to rip other dogs off Nola- that we decided it was not the place for us. It seems timely that one of my favorite blogs, A Heartbeat at My Feet, just posted their views on the Do’s and Don’ts of dog parks. I wish I had had this when Nola was a puppy (or had given it to the lady who’s dog bit her). We have learned a lot about dog interactions, behavior and what to look out for since our dog park visit that day. Southern Maine has a wealth of places that dogs can go off leash and we decided that for us, dog parks are not a place we want to risk bringing Nola. We have found, especially in the city of Portland, that dog parks attract too many owners that are just looking for a quick way to exercise their dog. They are not educated on what to look for, nor are their dogs well-behaved. For us, it’s just not worth the stress.

Aqua Dog!

This weekend we discovered that Delaynie is a water dog. We saw the signs here and there- running through mud puddles, walking in the stream on our favorite hiking trail, putting her toes in the ocean during foster sis’s modeling photo shoot at the beach. But this weekend we got full proof that Delaynie, in fact, loves the wet stuff.

While we were doing yard work we filled up Nola’s kiddie pool for the pups. Nola daintily puts her paws in and drinks from the pool. We’ve tried getting her to lay in it to cool off, but she has shown no interest. After a moment of hesitation, Delaynie went right in and laid down.

To test her affinity for l’eau (pardon my French) even further, we took her to my aunt’s (well second cousin actually- my mom’s first cousin- but I digress) property right on the Saco River. They offered to let us bring Nola there to swim last summer because after May 1 in Maine dogs are not allowed on the beach between 9 am and 5 pm. We love their property because it’s private, we don’t have to worry about Nola, in her swimming and stick chasing excitement, running over children playing with toys on the beach. And, there is the perfect balance between water frontage and a big field to play ball in.

Well, it turns out Laynie loved it just as much as Nola does.

Both pups ran in and out of the water chasing rocks and sticks. Laynie didn’t actually swim like our little fish Nola does, but she went as far as she could keeping the paws on the ground.

Laynie also found a rock that she was determined to dig out of the mud.

To quote one of our Jim’s stupid favorite movies, Zoolander: “Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” A wet and happy Delaynie couldn’t be more beautiful.

If you’re interested in adopting Delaynie please fill out an application with BURN. If you would like more information about her, email me at:

One Word Wednesday- Swimming Pool

I tried Wordless Wednesday, but it didn’t work. Apparently I’m too long winded. Going to try one (ok two, but it doesn’t sound as catchy) word: Swimming Pool!

More tomorrow on the weekend activities that involved a lot of water!

If you’re interested in adopting Delaynie please fill out an application with BURN. If you would like more information about her, email me at:

Sneeze-y and Cough-y

Spring has reeked havoc on the pups in our household. Delaynie has been sneezing up a storm lately. Every time she gets excited she is plagued with the sneezies. Because she is a Brachycephalic breed (basically she has a short nose) she snorts a lot and has a hard time breathing in hotter weather. But, I wasn’t sure if sneezing that much was something I should worry about. (To me, when it comes to the dogs, almost everything is something to worry about). So, I called the vet and he said we could give her some Claritin to see if that would help clear it up.

Nola, on the other hand, came home from daycare yesterday with a dry, hacking, horrible sounding cough. Of course the first thing I did was bring her to the vet (you can sense a pattern forming here). She has kennel cough. Yes, the same highly contagious kennel cough that we have vaccinated her against each of her two years of life. That means for seven days she will be on antibiotics and pain meds and can not go to daycare or get any exercise. And, of course, there is a really good chance Delaynie will begin to show symptoms of KC soon.

Ugh. It feels like we just got to the point after Laynie’s no more babies surgery where neither pup was confined to just a leash. Now we’re back there again. Two medium-high energy dogs who can’t play with each other because one sneezes and one coughs, with the added P.I.A. (Pain in the A**, if you’re not hip to the lingo) of one that can’t run at all (her absolute favorite thing to do?!) means there will be none of this in our house for the next seven days:

If you’re interested in adopting Delaynie please fill out an application with BURN. If you would like more information about her, email me at:

Tennis Ball Problem? Laynie’s the Solution

Do you have an abundance of tennis balls laying around your house? Delaynie can take care of that for you. She is a master at destroying those pesky green, blue, orange, and pink felt balls.

She’s so skilled in the destruction that she leaves the pieces behind and doesn’t eat them.

Even extra-large tennis balls are no match for this chewer.

So, if you have some excess tennis balls, Delaynie is happy to take them off your hands. And, she does it with a smile on her face.
If you’re interested in adopting Delaynie please fill out an application with BURN. If you would like more information about her, email me at: