Time is a funny thing. It seems like there is never enough when you want it, but there are also times where there is just too much. In some cases a lot of time makes things easier, dealing with loss for example, but in other cases the passage of too much time makes it difficult to do the thing you have been putting off. A good example of the latter is this blog.  So much time has passed since I posted regularly that I don’t even know where to start with the blog again. So, instead of trying to go back and talk about everything that has happened in the time since I last posted, I will give you a snapshot of what is going on at the MMNK household at this particular moment in time.IMG_6104
We have two dogs, but not the same two as the last time I posted. Sarge has been gone for almost three months, and it is still very difficult to talk about. I am planning to write a lot more about that later. Laynie has been a permanent member of our family for two months. She is doing really well and she is adjusting to our lifestyle. Nola seems to like tolerate her, so things are going pretty smoothly.

We have been in our new house about a year now. We love the area and the fact that we are no longer crammed in a small house with a small yard in the city. The wild turkeys that frequent our neighborhood are a bit challenging with the dogs, but our fenced-in yard is amazing! Side note: did you know turkeys CAN fly? I didn’t believe it until one scared the bejeezus out of me when it flew out of a tree during a walk in the woods.

I am starting a new job next week! I left my previous job at the end of December and have been able to be at home with the dogs for the past three months. Although the job search was stressful, I am so grateful I had the time to spend with Sarge during his last days, with Laynie during her first days, and with Nola while she adjusts to the changes with the dogs in her life. My main goal was to find a career that merged my skills in marketing with my passion for dogs, but that is a challenge in Maine because there is limited opportunity. I am very excited about my new position, but will continue to pursue my dream career and am confident it will happen eventually.

So there you have it: a lot of time has passed, but we have been trying to enjoy every minute. Some of the time was hard, some was sad, most of it has been happy, and we are glad we’ve had it. We hope during our time off from blogging you all enjoyed the time you’ve had as well. Remember:

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey MacKay

Laynie Needs Your Help

It is with regret and sadness that I have to share that Laynie is in need of a home. After 2.5 years, her adoptive home has decided they can no longer provide Laynie what she needs to be happy. To make matters worse, the rescue who took her in does not exist anymore. I will do a more in depth post about it later, but for now, here is some information about Laynie. If you are local to Maine, please share her story.

Laynie_portrait2Delaynie was our first foster. She came to us in mid-May from a bad situation. We instantly were drawn to her cute little face. She was about only 18 months old when we got her and she already had a litter of puppies. She needed to be spayed. She hadn’t been taught any manners and needed to learn how to be less enthusiastic about everything. Although it was a tough adjustment period (read about it here, here and here), we had so much fun with her and fell in love. While she was with us we found out how smart she is, how great of a snuggle bug she is, how much she loves to chew tennis balls and bully sticks, and how she might have been a fish in another life. She was adopted at the end of May of 2012, but now finds herself without a home, through no fault of her own. You can read more about Laynie by clicking here.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in fostering or adopting Laynie, please email us at mrandmrsandnolakisses@gmail.com.

Our “Winter Break”

Besides my post about Ryder (who is currently in a foster home right now, yay!), I have not blogged since Christmas. I have several excuses, but only a couple of them are legitimate. Here is the biggest one: We’re moving!

Most of my extra time has been spent getting our house ready to sell and looking for a new house. We ended up buying a new house before our house was even on the market, which added some serious stress to our lives. But once we spent a couple weekends touching up some paint and fixing a few things, we listed our house and it sold in two weeks!The Mr. and I couldn’t believe it when we got the offer in and we are officially moving in just a few more weeks.

While I am so happy about how painless the process was, I am struggling to balance the sad emotions of leaving a familiar place with the happiness of a bigger, newer house. On top of that, I have had to think about the dogs’ adjustment and making everything easy for them through the whole process. In the long run, I think the dogs will love the new house. We have a big fenced in yard, a nice neighborhood to walk in and our favorite trail system connects just minutes from our doorstep. The house is about 20 minutes south of Portland, in my hometown of Old Orchard Beach (and more importantly the home of Lisa’s Pizza and Pier Fries!).  So now we will also be about 2 minutes from the beach instead of 20!

Besides dealing with house stuff, our winter break included a lot of snowblowing, playing in the snow, shoveling snow, and oh did I mention snow? IMG_4959 IMG_4976 IMG_4974

With all the snow days and work form home days, the pups got a lot of snuggle time in.IMG_5105 IMG_5168 IMG_5094

Although I haven’t had a lot of spare time to blog, I have kept up on Facebook and Instagram, so make sure you like and follow us there! I will be sharing more about the move later, but for now, here are some of the things that happened during our three months of blog silence (in photos): IMG_5161 IMG_5152 IMG_5120 IMG_5110 IMG_5054 IMG_5040 IMG_5337 IMG_5291 IMG_5269 IMG_5278 IMG_5267 IMG_5242 IMG_5214



The Joys of a Senior Dog

“Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.”
Sidney Jeanne Seward

As we wrap up November, also known as Adopt a Senior Dog Month, I wanted to share some of our feelings about the newest and oldest member of our family, Sargent. In case you don’t know the story of how Sarge joined our family, you can read about it here, here and here.

Before Sarge, I didn’t really consider how wonderful having a senior pet could be. Nola is our fist dog, and like many other people out there, we got her as a puppy. Really, the only thoughts I had about older dogs revolved around how sad it will be when Nola gets older. Then came Sarge. Something about his white muzzle, his slight limp, and those soulful black eyes just got deep down into my heart and wouldn’t leave. And now, I can’t image life without him.
It’s hard not to judge the person who could give this wonderful boy up. Like, REALLY hard. But one thing I’ve learned working in rescue, is that you just don’t know the circumstances people have to deal with. While it is heartbreaking to think of a dog that has had one owner his while life suddenly being dropped off a shelter, the thing I try to focus on is that we got an amazing gift and a wonderful addition to our family.

Sarge is such a simple boy. He loves everyone and everything, including the beach, frisbees and food. Yes, he has his ‘issues,’ especially due to the fact he was only neutered in January at age 13. He has learned some pretty annoying behaviors in his past home, but the amount of joy he brings completely outweighs any negatives and I feel like this is probably true about all older dogs who get adopted later in life. I even wrote about the benefits of adopting a senior dog, here. In fact, I wrote SO much about why he was such an amazing dog, I convinced myself and the Mr. (and Nola, eventually) that we could not live without him.
IMG_4857Now, whenever I see a senior dog come up for adoption at a local shelter, I do my best to share and network. I love to see them find families and get to enjoy a warm bed and lots of love. I hope that people will open their minds and hearts to an older dog. Yes, they probably won’t live as long as a younger dog might, but they will give just as much love bring you just as much happiness. And, you can give them the same in return. One of my friends posted this on our Facebook wall right after we adopted Sarge. It made me cry, but it so eloquently sums up the whole experience of adopting an older dog. I can only hope that everyone will be as lucky as the Mr. and I, and get to experience the joy of adopting a senior dog.
olddogHere are a few organizations that help promote adopting a senior dog:
Silver Hearts Project
Grey Muzzle Organization

Nola’s 3rd Birthday!

Today is Nola Muffin’s 3rd Birthday! It is hard to believe it’s been 2 years and 9 months since the sweet little kissy puppy came into our lives. nola3DSC_0116Over the past 3 years she has grown from a crazy, energetic puppy, to a loving, mature, friendly, beautiful dog. The Mr. and I couldn’t love her more and we’re so excited to celebrate this day with her! Each year, I take the same shot of her, so here she is at age 1, 2 and 3:

1 year- 8.16.11

1 year- 8.16.11

2 years- 8.16.12

2 years- 8.16.12

3 years- 8.16.13

3 years- 8.16.13

Just like last month for Sarge’s Birthday, we have a whole party planned, with presents, cake and Frosty Paws. Don’t worry, there will be a whole post about that in a couple days!

Happy Birthday Nola! We love you!

(And, in case you don’t follow us on Facebook, we have Sarge’s DNA test results to share next week too!)

Vacation Recap: Top Five Best Moments

Originally I intended to write about our entire vacation. But, for the sake of time, and your boredom, I decided to pick the top five experiences to share with you. So here it goes:

5. Finding dog stuff to take photos of/with.

At Universal, the gift shop had stuffies of Hagrid’s dog.
DSCN1831Apparently in this photo, taken at Toon Town in Universal, I was supposed to pretend that Marmaduke was dragging me. Now, it just looks like I’m floating.
DSCN1829On the cruise ship, there was a statue of a bulldog.
photo-1 copyI have to be honest, I tried NOT to look for dogs when we were in port. Some of the islands (Haiti and Jamaica) are pretty poor, so I was afraid what I would see. Luckily, I didn’t see too many strays, as we tended to stay in very ‘touristy’ areas, when we weren’t on a beach.

4. Getting to hold a baby turtle.
Grand Cayman is home to the world’s largest turtle farm. They breed thousands of endangered sea turtles and release them into the wild. It was awesome to see all different species and turtles in all different life stages. We even got to hold baby turtles! They like getting their chins scratched. Apparently it calms them down.
DSCN1876 DSCN1859 DSCN1907DSCN1914DSCN1937DSCN1906DSCN1891Sparky is the oldest and biggest turtle there, weighing in at 500 pounds.
DSCN1923We saw the breeding turtles get fed. It looked like large bags of dog kibble! I can’t adequately say how cool this experience was for a turtle lover like myself!

3. Exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Mr. and I love Harry Potter, so it was only natural for us to plan a day at Universal when we decided to fly into the Orlando airport. The replica of Hogwarts was massive, and looked exactly like it does in the movie. You walk through the whole castle and at the end it’s a ride that simulates riding a broom. I really only saw half of the ride, because it shut down right in the middle! It was such a bummer because it looses a bit of the ‘magic’ when you can see the screens and the tracks that the ride is on. I was just thankful that the car I was in was right side up and I wasn’t stuck dangling upside down!
DSCN1801 DSCN1798 DSCN1795 DSCN1835While at Universal we also saw a Matchbox 20 concert and a Mardi Gras parade. It was a great way to kick off our vacation!

2. Seeing the Cozumel Humane Society booth in the cruise terminal.
It was such a surprise to walk off the ship and find an animal shelter booth set up in amongst all the touristy shops. But I was so happy we did! It was toward the end of the cruise and I was missing Nola terribly. When we turned the corner and saw the puppy, the Mr. and I stopped dead in our tracks. We went right over and gave her belly rubs and ear scratches. We spoke with the gentleman manning the booth for a while. He said that he brings a new dog to the terminal every day to get donations and spread the word. He said the stray dog population in Cozumel has been reduced significantly since the Humane Society got involved. They are a no-kill shelter and try to educate about spaying and neutering. They had all sorts of little souvenirs for dogs, so we donated and got Nola a bone. Even our mere $20 was received by the man like it was a million dollars. He told us that even just $20 could help 4 or 5 (out of the 60!) dogs already in the shelter.
DSCN1971 DSCN1970 DSCN1973 DSCN1974

We went back after we got back from the beach, but the puppy had left for the day.

DSCN1976 1. Coming home to this face.
photo-1 copy 2
The Mr. and I had an amazing time on our vacation, but by the end we really missed our Nola Muffin. She had a great time with my parents, and even though I purchased an international text plan to be able to check in, everything went fine. Nola got to go to the beach with Pepere everyday for an hour or two! She was so tired when we finally got home, that she went right onto our bed and didn’t move until the next morning. We had a great time, but it’s nice to get back into the routine of ever day living. Next time we go away on vacation it will be with Nola and somewhere in the U.S.!

Aruba, Bahamas, Come on Pretty Mama…

By all accounts this winter has sucked. Plain and simple. It has been extremely busy and stressful at work, and the winter weather decided to make life even more miserable. So, after one particularly annoying snow storm back in January, the Mr. and I decided to plan a vacation to somewhere warm, without snow, and far away from here.

What we're leaving (both Nola and the snow)

What we’re leaving (both Nola and the snow)

We enjoyed our honeymoon cruise around Europe so much that we booked another one, this time to the Caribbean. It’s going to be 9 days of sun, sand and relaxation. (We also are planning a stop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, since we’re flying into Orlando. Don’t judge, we are nerds and we embrace it!)

Where we're going!

Where we’re going!

I have been in Boston to work a tradeshow since Friday, and then we leave this Friday for the cruise. I will not have access to the internet while cruising, so as much as I love all our faithful readers, you won’t be hearing from me until I am thoroughly relaxed and have a nice brown tan.

I am a little anxious about leaving Muffin for 9 days, but she will be with her Pepere and Memere (my mom and dad), who I think she loves even  just a little more than us. Since I am a big worrier they are not dog owners, I leave them with a typed out set of “rules” for Nola that include her meal schedule, what NOT to feed her, the vet’s phone number, emergency vet directions and commands we use when we want Nola to do something. It stinks that I haven’t seen her the past 5 days and only have two nights to spend with her until I leave for another 9 days. Is it crazy that I am a little more sad about leaving her than I am happy about vacation?

Well anyway, Bon Voyage to all of you. Have a great week…..and peace out Maine winter!