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.

Swimming and Hiking and Sunbathing…Oh My!

Last week I was on vacation from work, but had no real plans other than to spend some quality time with the pups. The Mr. was traveling for work, so it was just Nola, Sarge and I for three days. I wanted to use this time to do some things with Nola just the two of us. I have been very conscious of her behavior and feelings (yes, I think my dog has feelings, call me an anthropomorphizer if you must) since Sarge has been in the house, and I wanted to make sure she got some special time with just me.

After Sarge’s morning walk and breakfast Nola and I headed out for our adventures. The first day we went to a friend’s camp on Little Sebago Lake, about 20 minutes from our house. Since it was during the work week and early(ish) in the morning, we had the place to ourselves. It was the perfect spot, a private home with a big yard leading down to a sandy area with a dock to the lake. Nola does the best in this kind of environment, she doesn’t like going in the water when she can’t walk in gradually. And, she LOVES to run around with her toy after she retrieved it out of the water. That day was no different, she ran around, swam after her Kong Wubba, and just went all around crazy having fun.
IMG_4537 IMG_4538 IMG_4535We ended up going back a couple days later and since we had been there already, Nola was more familiar with the territory and she was less interested in sniffing around and more into swimming after her Wubba. I used this to my advantage and tried to get her to actually jump off the dock. I have tried the past two summers to entice her to jump in after a toy, but she just has no interest. Most of the time she’ll run to the end of the dock, see the toy, and then turn around and run into the water after it.
IMG_4524 IMG_4531 IMG_4533Or, she’ll just stand there and stare at the toy.

You want me to do what?

You want me to do what?

This time, I was able to get her to jump in  from the end by throwing the toy and then jumping in myself. The water was only about chest deep, so I could just plop in and coax her to come too. Of course, using this method I was unable to get any actual photos of her jumping, but she did it, and I was so proud! I think if we had a place like this to go consistently she would eventually feel more comfortable jumping in without me.

Nola and I also went on a hike at Bradbury Mountain. It’s called a mountain, but really it’s just a large hill. I chose a trail that was about 2 miles long to go up to the summit. It was warm, but not humid, and the tress provided a lot of shade, so Nola wasn’t too hot. It was such a nice walk and we made it to the top pretty easily. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy exploring new places and just hanging out with my dog.
IMG_4489 nola_bradbury1nola_hikingShe is such a good leash walker, she never pulled me even coming down. I had a long line just in case she wanted to go a bit further in front, but she stayed right by my side. We chose a shorter trail on the way down because it was getting closer to mid day and the sun was hot!
IMG_4503We practiced some recall, and also ‘up’ by getting onto a bench that was on the side of the trail. She was very attentive, but at this point was getting annoyed with all the posing for the camera I was making her do.
nola_bradbury2IMG_4510And of course, I spent some time with the Sarge man too. He is less interested in the active adventures and just likes to hang out. So, we sunbathed and napped on the deck.
IMG_4550 IMG_4543Although this vacation was more of a stay-cation, I really enjoyed the quality time I got to spend with the pups. I was a little embarrassed when people at work asked what I did while I was off and I said “hung out with the dogs” and they replied “that’s it?”. But really, they are ‘it’ for me. They spend so much of their time alone, waiting for the Mr. and I to come home from work or wherever we happen to be, that I wanted to spend every moment I could with them for the week. They are my life and my loves and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sargent is Adopted!

In case you missed yesterday’s post or don’t follow M&M&NK on Facebook, Sargent was officially adopted by the Mr. and I this weekend on his 14th Birthday.DSC_0047Pretty much since we got him in April EVERYONE asked, “Are you going to keep him?” I’m pretty used to this, especially since I started the blog. I try to write about everything that happens with our fosters, but it’s mostly slanted toward the positive aspects. People never really see the struggles and the behavior issues that we deal with. With Laynie, I knew she would get adopted, so answering the question of keeping her was easy, no. With Anna, she had SO many issues I wasn’t sure she was going to be adopted any time soon, but I knew that she was NOT a good fit for us long term. Thankfully her perfect family found her. And then there was Sarge. IMG_3900

The questions began the instant we pulled him from the shelter, I think mostly due to his age. And, I couldn’t say that he would definitely get adopted. He was by far the most well behaved and easiest foster we’ve had, but his age was a tough thing for people to get over. We had an applicant almost immediately after we got him, but her financial situation changed right after she applied and just didn’t think adopting him would be the responsible thing to do.

As time went on, and there was no interest in him, the Mr. and I started seriously discussing the possibility of Sarge being a ‘long term foster.’ Then, a few things came up that made us think this was the right time. First, when I reached out to BURN about the possibility of adding Sarge to our family, my contact told me she was getting ready to send out a marketing blast about the available dogs so I should try to let her know sooner rather than later. Then, when I went back into all his paperwork from the NHSPCA and found that his birthday was July 20, it made me think we should make that day one big celebration and make his adoption official then. DSC_0374I’ve known for a couple weeks now that this was the plan. Some of you probably were clued in when I stopped posting about why he should be adopted. I also stopped putting his adoption information at the bottom of my posts. I wanted to wait to announce it after it was official, but it was really hard to keep a secret!

Now I’ve crossed off three items from my rescue bucket list with one dog! He’s a very special guy and we’re happy that he is a member of our family. I worry a little about Nola because he’s not the ‘ideal’ second dog for her. We always said that we wouldn’t add another dog that she wasn’t in love with. But, she’s not in love with him the way she was with Zeus, or with her BFF Payson. He’s big, pushy, and more dominant than she is and sometimes she just wants to be away from him. He means well, and tries to snuggle with her, but she doesn’t want anything to do with him. I hope that with some management on our end, and lots of special Nola time, she will be ok with him long term. IMG_3937Having two permanent dogs also means the end of fostering for a while. I have loved each dog we’ve fostered, but I am happy to take some time off. The only time the Mr. and I seriously fight is when we have a foster in the house. It’s stressful and a lot of work, and extremely rewarding all in one. I don’t regret anything, and the fact that now Laynie’s mom is fostering (she has TWO fosters, plus Laynie and her sister Daisy!), it feels a bit like a ‘pay it forward’ situation. I still plan to be involved with BURN, and possibly do some foster holds and transports. I can’t imagine my life not being involved with dog rescue in some way. IMG_4204So, there you have it, the full explanation of Sarge’s adoption. We love him tons and are so happy to give him a place to live out his golden years. We hope we still have a good amount of time with him, but should that not be the case, we are happy that he will know nothing but love in his final days.
DSC_0574

A Day of Celebration

Saturday we celebrated Sarge’s 14th Birthday. Because we have no children, dogs in our house get full blown birthday parties. Sarge was no exception. Nola has had two so far, so I’ve learned some ways to make the day special for the four legged birthday boy.DSC_0045First, we started off the day with a walk on the beach. It’s been so hot and humid here lately that the dogs haven’t had much time outdoors. Sarge seemed to enjoy the release of energy running in the sand and wading in the water. When we got home, the dogs had breakfast and then enjoyed some of the Mr.’s breakfast ham.DSC_0971 DSC_0972It was still really hot on Saturday, so Sarge and Nola napped most of the afternoon. I officially gave him his cupcake stuffie (I gave it to him for a few minutes when we did our pre-birthday photoshoot) and he chomped on it and then fell asleep.DSC_0029 DSC_0048Dinnertime marked the real celebration. I decorated the table and laid out Sarge’s presents. DSC_0988 DSC_0994(You’ll notice two of each present. That’s because with two dogs in the house, I felt like I couldn’t get Sarge something and not get Nola something too, except collars…Nola has a million of those and Sarge only has one so it was time for another!)

He got a three foot bully stick (bullies are his fave!)…DSC_0057the aforementioned cupcake stuffie….DSC_0044and a new collar!DSC_0016 DSC_0022The bully stick was by far his favorite thing. Instead of starting at one end, he decided to start chewing right in the middle. It was so cute seeing him try to walk through the door with it! He eventually gnawed all the way through and then had two! DSC_0060 DSC_0080He, and Nola, also got Frosty Paws and the Mr. and I enjoyed some cake.DSC_0068 DSC_0064Sarge was too busy chewing his bully and didn’t want to come outside to blow out the candles, so we brought the cake to him.DSC_0071(Notice the photo-bomb by Nola in the pic above.)

DSC_0076All in all it was a great day. The Mr. and I just wanted to make double, triple sure that Sarge knew this was a special day and that we love him very much. And so, the best way to accomplish that was with the one present that I didn’t lay out on the table:sargecontractSarge’s adoption contract! July 20 will now be his Gotcha Day and his Birthday! We are all very happy to add Sarge as the 4th member of the family. It was a great day of celebration for everyone!DSC_0063Well, except Nola, who didn’t seem impressed by any of it (except the parts that involved food) and spent most of the time like this:DSC_0028More on the adoption tomorrow!

Happy 14th Birthday Sarge!

The shelter told us 12. His adoption profile said 13. But, the paperwork from his previous owner had vet records with the birth-date of 7/20/1999. That means tomorrow the big boy turns the big 1-4.

Yeah, it's my birthday!

Yeah, it’s my birthday!

I’ve got a few of his favorite things to give him as presents and we’re of course going to have cake and Frosty Paws! Check back on Monday for photos of his celebration and to check out his loot!

Ma! Can't I just open my presents now?!

Ma! Can’t I just open my presents now?!

Old Dogs Can Be Disc Dogs Too!

One thing we discovered very quickly about Sarge is that he certainly does not have the energy level you would think a 14 year old dog should have. We started by only taking him for short walks around the block but when he was easily keeping up with Nola we decided to try walking them together. On weekends Nola usually gets at least an hour of off leash running time, either at the beach, the Eastern Trail, the disc golf course, or Fuller Farm. We weren’t sure Sarge could take that much, but we tried anyway figuring he would at least trot along with us while Nola ran her heart out.
IMG_4131What we discovered when we went to the disc golf course was that Sarge likes to chase discs too! He does this adorable run where he throws up both front paws and sorta hops. It’s like he gets a burst of puppy energy!
IMG_4124 IMG_4129He does not have a soft mouth like Nola, so we made sure to use a disc we didn’t care if he chomped on.
IMG_4125Although he can’t run with the speed or chase the disc the distance that Nola can, he had so much fun and looked so happy to be out playing. This guy is seriously amazing. I have looked over his paperwork multiple times since we picked him up from the shelter to make sure he was actually 14. Judging only on his disc chasing, I would say he wasn’t a day over age 6!
IMG_4135

The ABCs of Sarge

I have declared this the Week of Sarge in celebration of his 14th Birthday on Saturday. Getting to age 14 is a pretty big accomplishment for a dog his size. Every post this week will be about the big boy, so you can all get to know him a little better. To start, here is an alphabet full of things that make Sarge the big love he is.

Age is just a number with this guy. He is young at heart and has the energy of a dog half his age!
Big ol’ head means there’s more of him to love.
Car rides are his fave!
Drooly…I think more water gets on the floor than in his mouth.
Ears are one of his cutest features. One up, one down, they are adorable.
DSC_0906Farty McFarty Pants is a fitting nickname. Although he doesn’t act like an old man, he sure farts like one!
Good boy. He is so obedient, it makes me believe he must had had a decent life before us.
Hump-y. He doesn’t understand that other dogs don’t like to be sniffed like that. Maybe it’s due to the fact that he got neutered at age 13.
Impossible not to smile when you see just how cute he is in person.
Joker. Not only is he silly, but the Mr. thinks he looks like the Joker because of his smile,  white face and black eye-liner. I think he looks more like a member of Kiss. 🙂
IMG_4052King of the couch. The chaise has officially become his spot.
Lap dog. Sarge loves to be near his people.
Male. It’s an obvious thing about him, but he is the first boy dog we’ve ever had in the house. And boy, does he pee on everything.
Not picky. This guy will eat anything.
Out going. I have never met a dog that was more friendly around strangers.
Poop eater. Yeah, it’s gross.
Quiet. I have never heard him bark. The most noise he makes is when he snores.
Really easy-going. He’ll go anywhere and is great in new situations, in crowds, and with loud noises.
Sleepy boy. His other favorite thing to do is nap, especially on our bed.
IMG_4084Tail wagging, always.
Un-aware of his body mass. He is a bull in a china shop for sure.
Very healthy. For age 14, he has no major health concerns.
Wonderful, no other explanation necessary on this one.
X-cellent leash walker. He is a joy to take out for walks because he just happily trots next to you.
Youthful. Did I mention he is in great shape for his age? He keeps right up with Nola on our walks!
I could list a Zillion more reasons to love and adopt this guy!
IMG_3924

Look What the Cat Dragged In!

It’s been a long time since my last post. There’s really no one reason, just a million little ones. I recently heard somewhere (and by somewhere, I mean on one of those addicting “Real Housewives” shows on Bravo), “The longer you are away from something, the easier it gets to live without it.” I don’t want to live without the blog, because I love it, it’s just so easy to find other things to do with my free time. This also means that I have been very bad at my blog reading. I apologize for any of you who think I have been snubbing you. It’s not that at all! I miss reading all ‘my’ blogs as much as I do writing this one! But, alas, I am back and have a TON of things to write about (and a TON to catch up on from all of you!).

I’ll try to get you up to speed quickly and then get back on track with regular postings.

Things with Sarge are going well. The “Ottoman Empire” has fallen, and he is officially sleeping in our bed. After his five day streak when we first introduced the ottoman, he started to try to climb on the bed and we spent all night trying to prevent him from climbing up. We could have been more strict, I guess, but honestly, for me the more dogs in the bed the better. Nola protested at first, and would jump down every time Sarge came near her on the bed, but now she settles on one side of me and stay as long as he is not touching her. Recently, she has even allowed his paw to ever so slightly touch her leg.
snuggleWe haven’t received any applications or even inquiries about Sarge. It’s so frustrating because I know the only reason that he is being overlooked is his age. He is such an easy and wonderful dog, I wish I could get people to look past the number on his profile. He did great at the book signing with Ken Foster, and although we didn’t get any applications for him, BURN contacted me and said someone made a donation to the rescue in his name after meeting him.
sarge curled upNola is taking an advanced Noseworks class, which introduces her to searching for a specific odor. I am excited to give her some alone time doing something she loves! The class also allows me to work with her on some mat training. It is my goal this summer to teach her that when her purple (of course!) mat is out, it means she needs to lay down and chill on it. At class she is usually too interested in the other dogs taking their turns and will not sit or lay down. Now, she is doing much better and now settles in quickly when it is not her turn. I hope to be able to translate this to other places where I need her to just ‘chill.’
nola odor classSo that’s pretty much it. The Mr. and I have been doing lots of traveling, not together unfortunately, so there hasn’t been a whole lot going on other than the normal schedule of working, dog walking and everyday life. It’s also been unusually hot and humid for June in Maine, so we’ve had to spend a lot of time inside in the air conditioning.
couch insideI have a few days off coming up because of the 4th of July holiday, so I promise to be better at posting. Hope you all have a wonderful Independence Day!