Snood Dude

One of the first purchases I made for Sarge when he joined the M&M&NK household permanently was a jacket and a Sirius Republic snood. As an older gentleman, I knew he would need some extra protection from the cold Maine weather. And, it was good timing because we had just gotten a little snowstorm! Nola loves her snood (well maybe not, but I certainly do!) and she’s even a model on the website! Not to be outdone by his supermodel younger sister, Sarge was just as handsome as can be modelling his new accessory. We chose the football pattern for him, because even wearing clothes picked out by his mommy, he has to represent the Mr.’s passion for the manly sport.

Check out this cuteness:

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Thanks again to Sirius Republic for keeping the handsomest elderbull warm this winter!

A Few of Our Favorite Things- Part 2

As the holiday shopping season approaches, I wanted to share some dog related products that we love here at the M&M&NK household. Maybe some of them would make great Christmas presents for the dogs/dog lovers/dog owners in your lives!

headlamoL.L. Bean Headlamp
I don’t know about where you live, but here in Maine in the winter it is dark. Most of the time we walk the dogs before work in the dark, and again after work in the dark. Carrying a flashlight with two dogs who always go opposite directions is nearly impossible. I invested in one of these babies last winter and it made all the difference. Yes, it looks really dumb, like I should be working a coal mine or something, but in this case, it is function over fashion.

L.L. Bean Therapeutic Dog Couchllbeanbed
When Sarge came into our lives we knew he was going to need a bed that gave him more support than the ones we currently had for Nola (all 3 of them). We already had an L.L. Bean bed that we got when Nola was a puppy and we loved the quality of it. It’s no secret that we also like to support Maine based businesses, so we decided to invest in a Therapeutic Couch bed for Sarge. Yes, it’s a bit on the expensive side, but with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, we knew that if something ever happens to the bed we can return it for a brand new one. This particular model is great because it is extra thick with memory foam, is lined with fleece for warmth and softness, and has the bolsters that both the pups love to curl up next to.

vittlesVittles Vault
With two medium-large dogs, we go through a lot of dog food. I usually buy at least one 26 pound bag a month. But, our house doesn’t have a lot of storage space to keep large bags and I couldn’t find a clip that kept the bag closed well enough to keep it fresh. This container fits nicely in our kitchen pantry closet, it’s lid closes tight, and it keeps the pups’ food nice and fresh.

Orbee-Tough MazeePDOG_Mazees_med
If you’re looking for a fun interactive toy that you can’t find in a ‘regular’ pet store, this maze ball is a-maze-balls. Created by another Maine based company (and one we frequent regularly), Planet Dog, the Orbee-Tough Mazee is fun and interactive for the pups. You put a couple of cookies in and as your pups rolls it around the cookies move down the maze, closer and closer to the opening. Nola loves hers and I love that it keeps her busy!

harness2_Comfort Flex Harness
We have used every anti-pull harness available on the market for our fosters. But for Nola, and now Sarge, who both don’t pull regularly, we wanted a harness that was comfortable for them. I really don’t like walking dogs on flat collars alone, for many reasons, including safety and comfort for the dogs. Seeing dogs hacking and gasping for air while their collars are cutting into their necks makes me cringe. These harnesses are padded, IMG_4148have reflective tape for visibility and are great fits for our dogs with deep chests.

I like the sizing too, with the half sizes- Nola is a M/L because she’s sorta in between (she has a deep chest, but not too wide), where Sarge is a true L (with his deep WIDE stature). They come and a bunch of different colors and are pretty reasonably priced. Again, it is not a good anti-pulling tool, but for hiking, walking dogs with good leash manners, or for older dogs with neck/back issues, this harness is great.

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Sirius Republic Snoods
If you haven’t discovered these yet you must be living under a rock. These soft fleece neck warmers from Sirius Republic are fashionable and keep the pups warm in this cold Maine weather. It’s been especially cold lately, and the added coverage of the fleece for their head/neck has helped make walks in sub-freezing temperatures more bearable. Sarge and Nola both have one, and I am sure I will get them additional colors to match their ever growing cold weather wardrobe.

IMG_4929Decals from Bully Paws
Besides being locally made, the other trait I look for in dog related products is uniqueness. I came across these decals on Etsy.com  and HAD to have them. I bought two for my laptop and one for my car. While the two in the picture at right aren’t custom of Nola and Sarge, adoptdecal2there are so many breed options that I found the two that most resemble them, which are pretty close, minus Sarge’s straight up ear. I also purchased an “Adopt” car decal. They were reasonable priced, hand cut, and there are tons of different font/breed options as well as decals for cars, electronics, and iphones. These are so cute I want to buy more!

 

Are there any dog related products that are on your Christmas shopping list?

The Joys of a Senior Dog

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

Throw Back Thursday: How It All Started

In honor of Throw Back Thursday (and because I didn’t get a chance to finish my post about Sarge!) I wanted to share one of my very first posts, before most of you even knew M&M&NK existed. I hope it helps you understand our beginnings with Nola and why we started the blog (plus, there are cute puppy pictures of Muffin). Enjoy!

This is the face that started it all. We had been talking about getting a puppy for months. Then we found Nola, who at the time was called Camilla, and our journey began.

It was the day before Halloween. She was being transferred from a shelter in Alabama (like so many others), so we met the transport truck at a park and ride in New Hampshire. Of course we were the first in line, because as you’ll come to find out, I am a little bit of a worrier and like to be prepared. As she was handed to me off the truck the barrage of kisses began, and they haven’t stopped since.

Nola was our first dog ever. My family had a dog when I was little, but sadly she was hit by a car before I was old enough to really remember her. I have always been an animal lover, but my brother was allergic, so we could never have pets in the house. Jim’s family never had pets. We really had no idea how to train and take care of a puppy, but as stated above, I am a worry wart like to be prepared so I did all sorts of research before Nola came.

There was a point a couple weeks in when we thought we were over our heads with her. We were DINKS (dual income no kids) so having our schedules revolve around something other than ourselves was a tough adjustment. But, we figured it all out. We took training classes, learned all the places to go on and off leash, made mistakes, called the vet hundreds of times, and asked for advice from everyone we knew with dogs. Through it all I took tons of pictures and told all my colleagues at work every little cute, aggravating, silly and naughty things that Nola did.

This blog is a way for me to chronicle the trials and tribulations of Nola and everything we will go through in the future without having to bore my co-workers anymore. (To be fair, I work with pretty much all women, and the majority of them have kids. Telling my stories about Nola is really the only way I can relate to all their boring interesting stories about their children.) We have learned so much from her, not only about how to train puppies, but about how much we both love dogs and how much an animal can change your perspective on love. I consider blogs picture books for adults, so I promise to keep posts relatively short and focus on the photos I’ve taken of our adorable pup. I am excited to have a place to remember Nola’s puppy days (she is 18 months old now) and to write about all the new and exciting experiences we will have with her. I hope you all enjoy and fall in love with Nola as much as we did!

Sarge’s Photo Shoot: The Old Man and the Sea

“Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.”

― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

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“No one should be alone in their old age, he thought.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Thanks to the amazing Liz Donnelly from Portland Photo Company for the beautiful photos of our old man Sarge!

Vote for Sargent! Gray Muzzle Club

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month! It pleases me that there is a whole month to celebrate a fact that I already know for sure: Senior Dogs Rule. To celebrate our favorite Senior, Sargent, I have a whole bunch of posts planned to highlight just how awesome and rewarding it is to adopt an elderbull…or eldertriever, elderweiler, elderoxer, elderhuahua …some how those others just don’t work as well. No matter what breed, adopting a senior is amazing. PERIOD.

But today’s post is simply about doing something nice for Sargent. He LOVES bully sticks. I place an order with BestBullySticks.com at least once a month. So when I saw they were having a photo contest, just for senior dogs, I couldn’t resist entering Sarge to try and win him more of his favorite treat.

graymuzzleI entered him in the ‘Whitest Muzzle/Face’ category. Would you mind casting your vote for him? He would be the happiest boy ever if he got a prize pack!

You can vote for him here. dog_sarge11(I know it’s hard to vote just for him, all the pups are ah-door-a-bull!)

The contest ends Friday, 11/15 at 5 pm EST. You can vote once a day until then. Sarge would appreciate any votes you could give him!

Thank you and yay for seniors!

Trick? Or Treat?

It’s not a trick, we actually have a post! It’s been eerily quiet around M&M&NK lately. So quiet in fact, it’s spooky. Did the mere presence of an actual post scare you? I bet you didn’t expect it! While I haven’t been blogging much lately, I have been spending lots of QT with my two adorable pups. But, I couldn’t bare to let a holiday go by without a themed photo shoot. The Mr. doesn’t like when I put costumes on the dogs, so I went for a more subtle Fall theme. Enjoy!

Happy Halloween from Nola & Sarge!

DSC_0257 DSC_0264 DSC_0273 DSC_0279 DSC_0282 DSC_0302 DSC_0311Oh, and the pups got LOTS of treats while taking these photos!

A Letter to Sarge in His New Home

I got the idea of writing a letter to my fosters once they were adopted after reading several other blogs. I thought it would be a good thing to try, and turns out I was right. I’ve written one for Laynie and one for Anna and it has been a great way for me to get closure. It usually takes me several weeks to process our time together and put it into words, but I really enjoy ‘telling them’ how much I love them and wishing them luck in their forever homes. Even though Sarge was adopted by us, I felt like I needed to continue the tradition and officially put his foster days behind us.

Dear Sargent,

Your stay with us began with a large amount of doubt. I have a very hard time making decisions, and bringing you into the house as a foster was no different. I didn’t even know you needed a home until I found you while trying to learn more about a different dog we were going to foster. But, I fell in love with your big white face and floppy/straight ears right away, and so did Daddy. Your age got me, big boy. How could I let a 12 year old dog stay in a shelter? But, the other dog needed our help too. Well, it was meant to be because as we were making our final decision, the other dog was adopted. Your fate was sealed, and you became our third foster.

I’m sure you were confused. After living with a family for at least 6 of your 12+ years, you were in a shelter and then going home with strangers. What brought you to the shelter in the first place? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that your misfortune was one of the best things that ever happened to us. You were the first dog that we got to pull directly out of the shelter and give you a well deserved freedom ride. You were so wiggly I couldn’t even get a good photo of you that first night. Your tail never stopped wagging.
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Our adjustment period was a little rough, and after only 2 days we were nervous you wouldn’t even be ok with us as a foster. You just wouldn’t stop dominating/humping Nola. I don’t blame you, you were probably allowed to do that in your other home since you were still ‘intact’, and being neutered this late in the game is tough. But, no matter what we did to stop you, you didn’t seem to understand that Nola didn’t like it. You also hated your crate, you wouldn’t sleep in it and you cried when we left you in it. We weren’t sure how we were going to leave you and Nola at home together without a crate, and we weren’t sure how we were going to make bed time work for the four of us. But we knew you were worth it, so we tried to find a solution.
DSC_0537Turns out you just needed time. It took you several weeks to adjust, but when your hormones calmed down, and once we bought your ottoman, your wonderful personality really started to show. We discovered that you loved to walk with us, love to play, cuddle, ride in the car…actually we found out that you love doing just about anything as long as you’re with us. As the weeks passed, we started to think seriously about what we would do if no one wanted to adopt you. We had one person ask about you right away, but that was about it. It was sad for me to think about how the number of years you’ve lived overshadowed your wonderful personality. Why were people scared of losing you before they even met you?
DSC_0574And then we realized that we knew from the day we picked you up that you would spend the rest of your days with us. We ‘tried’ to find you a forever home, but really your forever was right here. You just fit, mister. You’re so easy going and can keep up with Nola without annoying her too much. She has been more of herself around you than she has with any of our other fosters, and as much as we loved them, we needed to find a pup that would mesh with her. You were it Buddy, we found our second forever dog.
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You were our ‘first’ for so many things: our first male dog, the first dog we rescued directly from a shelter, our first elderbull, the first foster that didn’t need any training (other than to stop humping) and the most important first, our first foster failure. We know you will bring tons of joy to our lives as you live out your golden years. We can only hope that we can do the same for you. We promise to give you everything you need, want, and deserve, and all we ask of you is to be you. YOU are the pup we fell in love with in that shelter photo, and you are who we will love for as long as we possibly can. Welcome to the family Bubba Boy, you are home.
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Sarge’s DNA Revealed!

When we sprung Sarge from the shelter, we were told that he is a pit bull/boxer mix. Of course, knowing that pit bull is not a an actual breed, unless it is referencing the American Pit Bull Terrier, we were not convinced. Nola is part boxer and that is pretty obvious just by looking at her, but with Sarge I wasn’t so sure. He does have a massive block head, so that could come from several different breeds that make up the ‘pit bull’ label so many shelters use. But, what about the one ear straight up one ear down, the black skin underneath the fawn colored fur, his short but stocky body, the long, thick tail?

So *drum roll, please* according to his Wisdom Panel, Sarge is an:
American Staffordshire Terrier, Bulldog, German Shepard, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Mix.

sarge_breeds2One of his parents was an American Staffordshire Terrier/Bulldog mix and the other was more of a mutt, but with German Shepard and Staffordshire Bull Terrier genes detected. Just as I thought, he is definitely not a boxer. I do think the bulldog is spot on. The size and shape of his head is definitely similar, minus the brachycephalic nose. The German Shepard could be where his pointed ears came from!
DSC_0966So, it seems as though the Mr. and I now have a bona fide pit bull as part of our family. I was a bit disappointed when Nola’s test came out with no trace of pit bull breeds, so I am happy that Sarge definitely is. He is a great example of a friendly, easy going, snuggley, handsome, rescued dog that is also a pit bull. Now when people ask me what he is I can proudly tell them that he is a pit bull and a great dog! Because above all else, he is a dog, and we love him regardless of what his genes are. And now, I can proudly display this sticker that I’ve had for months!
pitbullfamily2Anyone surprised by the results? Have you had your dog DNA tested?

*As a side note, I do understand the controversy surrounding the accuracy of dog DNA tests. In no way do I think they are 100% accurate, but for someone who was just plain curious, these tests are fun and interesting and do not hurt the dog in any way.