2012 Year in Review

2012 was a big year for us. It was the year we started this blog, and the year we started fostering, and thus the year we became pit bull advocates. Before this year, the Mr. and I didn’t know much about the pit bull stereotypes and negativity around the ‘breed’ (heck, I didn’t even know pit bull wasn’t a breed!). After I started following a few blogs, I quickly learned how much of a problem it was and it made me want to take action. Since Nola is such an easygoing dog, we decided that we would help become advocates by fostering pit bulls in need. Although fostering was tough at times, on both the Mr. and I and Nola, we found it to be extremely rewarding, especially since both of our fosters have been placed in great homes.

Laynie_daisy_fourthLaynie is getting along great with her sister Dasiy. She loves that her mom works a school schedule and is home with her during the summer, on holiday and especially recently, on snow days. Laynie’s mom even started fostering pit bulls herself! Here is Laynie with her sister Daisy and her foster sis’ Calada (who is still up for adoption). How cute are they?laynie caladaAnd Anna, sweet Banana. We recently got an email from her Dads saying that she is doing really well and that they love her very much. They have realized some of her ‘issues’ but are willing to keep working on them with her. Doesn’t she look so happy in her forever home?

anna_update1 anna_update2 anna_update3 anna_update4All in all, 2012 brought a lot of happiness and joy to our lives. We will continue fostering in 2013, but for now, we are enjoying some quality time with Nola Muffin. We hope you all had a happy and healthy 2012 and hope 2013 brings you more of the same!
DSC_0004P.S. In case you’re interested, here are some stats about the blog from 2012.

In 2012, there were 106 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 666 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2 GB. That’s about 2 pictures per day.

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

People from 47 countries visited the blog in 2012.

The post that got the most views was: Guest Post: Third Time’s a Charm: Angus

Click here to see the complete report.

It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

Anna is a carbon copy of our very first foster Laynie (other than the fact that she’s brown and white and Laynie is black). I just can’t get over it. From the minute I picked her up and she was bouncing off the walls, all I could think about were the similarities. First, she is built just like Laynie- short and stout. She loves to give kisses. She has absolutely no leash manners and basically pulls me around the block, but she is much better when walking without Nola. She snorts and wags her tail a mile a minute when she is happy to see you. She was pregnant, and has the nipples to prove it. She is a snuggle bug and just wants to be near you. She has no house manners at all. She gets in Nola’s face an annoys the crap out of her. She’s much more calm when she is the only dog in the house. She loves bully sticks. She loves sleeping on our bed. Best of all, she is so sweet and our love for her is just a big as our love for Laynie.

P.S. Doesn’t she look just like the Dude from Love and a Six Foot Leash?

Laynie, in the Plush

Right after the final stop on Laynie’s farewell tour at the end of May, the Mr. and I were missing her so much that we decided we wanted a memento to remember her by. Not that we don’t have enough memories, but we wanted something physical. I remembered seeing these cute Sock Dogs way back when Handsome Dan’s Rescue was doing a fundraising auction, and we both really liked them. We decided that we wanted our very own Laynie. After months of anticipation she finally arrived!
There she was, tooth and all! Stacey was amazing to work with, adding all sorts of details that I asked for, like her tooth and pink tag! And, the package even included a card and a little description of Laynie.

Here are more views of our custom Laynie Sock Dog.

I know everyone remembers their previous dogs, whether foster or forever, in different ways. It may seem a bit childish to have a stuffed animal as our memento, but we love her and it has definitely helped quell the feelings of missing Laynie Monkey and replaced them with all the happiness she brought to our lives.

Pitties on Parade!

Guess who we got to see Saturday? Laynie! I was SO excited to see her in person. I have been seeing lots of update posts from her family on Facebook, but it has been two months since we brought her to her forever home and I really miss her. The occasion was the Old Hallowell Day Parade. BURN is based near Hallowell (for all you non-Mainers, it’s about an hour from Portland, near Augusta, the state capital), so they invited us to walk with them.

Photo courtesy of P, Laynie’s forever mom

Nola, the Mr. and I were the first ones to arrive in the meeting place. We found a shady spot and waited. I could hardly contain my excitement. I could not wait to see Monkey! It was worth the wait, when she arrived she looked great! She was so happy and she even had her pre-baby body back! Nola was not as excited as I was, she gave Laynie a bit of a “no way in hell you’re coming home with us again” warning growl when Laynie got too excited and in her face. Once they both settled down a bit, and I reassured Nola that Laynie had a new family and would not be coming with us, they were fine.

Look at that svelte body!

Monkey looking all pretty in her BURN bandana.

Exploring together, just like the old days.

As if seeing Laynie Monkey wasn’t enough, we also got to meet one of her puppies, Hazzard, who is still up for adoption. He is 7 months old now and such a sweetie! He’s got Laynie’s petite body, but is much taller and has a MASSIVE head and paws. I think he’s going to be a big guy. He also reminds me of Nola Muffin. He has her coloring and her eyes. It was hard to tell them apart in some of these pictures!

Look at that handsome mug!

Nola, Laynie and Hazzard. If it weren’t for her yellow harness it would have been tough to tell Nola and Hazzard apart!

Hazzard is such a sweet boy.

I always wonder if mom dogs recognize their puppies after they are separated. It was hard to tell with Laynie. She didn’t seem overly exited to see him, but she didn’t completely ignore him either. All I know is that I was as giddy as a school girl to see both of them!

Me loving on Hazzard and Laynie.

The parade itself was not that great. It was just too hot for the pups. We were 24th in the line, and we kept stopping. A 1/2 mile parade took an over an hour to walk.

Hazzard lead the way.

Nola and Laynie brought up the rear of the group.

The pups were panting pretty heavily and we were doing our best to keep them cool with water and wet bandanas. Nola and the Mr. turned around half way through because we were nervous about doing too much walking for her leg if we went to the end of the parade and then had to walk all the way back to the car. I continued with Laynie and her mom and sister. She was a trooper, but she needed shade and more water by the end.

I miss that face!

On the car ride home it was a mix of emotions. The most overwhelming feeling was that of happiness and love. Laynie looked great and seemed wicked happy. She has come so far from when she came into our lives that night in March. It is amazing what love, patience, and attention can do for a dog. I was also happy that she seemed to remembered me. At one point I was sitting in the shade and she came right over and laid next to me. It was sweet. I was hoping she would, because I know I will never forget her. I was also a little sad. I miss her, a lot. I miss her snuggles and her grunts and her toothy grin. I miss her tail wagging a mile a minute all the time. And most of all I miss that monkey face. But, I know that she is loved and happy and that’s all that matters. I made plans with her mom to meet up again for a hike when Nola’s leg is better. I am so glad we got to see her and I already can’t wait to see her again!

Our First Award!

We are so proud to share that after four months of blogging, we have won our fist award! Thank you so much to For the Love of My Dog for nominating M&M&NK for the Liebster Award.

Apparently “Liebster” is German for “dearest” or “loved,” and the award is meant to recognize up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers. The award comes with a few stipulations:

  1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
  2.  Reveal your five picks {with less than 200 readers} and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
  4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite up-and-coming bloggers and keep it going!

So, thank you again to For the Love of My Dog. I really enjoy reading about Scarlet, Harley, Chelsea and Bethany! Your pack is adorable and quite entertaining!

It was a bit challenging figuring out if the blogs I follow have under 200 readers (I went by whatever number I could find on the blog- facebook, email, or twitter followers- so I apologize if you actually have 200 or more readers!), but here are five that I totally “lieb:”

Oh Melvin

Mazzie Takes Manhattan

The Rufus Way

Married with Dawgs

Life in 2-Player Mode

It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication to keep up with the blog, but all the effort finally paid off! I have enjoyed writing about the ups and downs of our first foster experience with Laynie and how much we love our Nola Muffin. I can’t wait to write about our next foster, and continue to share my dog love with the blog world. Congrats to all the nominees and thank you, thank you, For the Love of My Dog!

So Far, So Good! Laynie Update

I’ve had a tough time keeping up with the blog this week. I have so many ideas for posts, but not enough hours in the day to spend writing them. It’s hard to work all day and then spend more time sitting in front of a computer when I get home. And, now that the weather is FINALLY nice (in Maine that doesn’t happen for very long) I want to take advantage and spend every free second outside with Nola and the Mr.

In all the craziness this week, I did receive an update from Laynie’s Forever Mom, that I wanted to share. It made me so happy that she took the time to update me with an email and even some photos! I hadn’t heard anything in a while, but I didn’t want to intrude on their bonding time asking for updates. It sounds like everything is going really well, which makes the Mr. and extremely happy. We miss the little monkey, but it’s easier knowing she is happy and her Mom P, sister A and fur sister Daisy are happy with her!

This is what P said:

I figured it was about time I send you a little update. Laynie is like a baby to me and all moms like to talk about their babies, so don’t feel as though you are bugging me if you want to check in on her. Laynie is still doing well. She and Daisy do really well eating together, I have not see any food aggression or stealing issues.

Laynie and her Fur Sis Daisy

Laynie takes turns sleeping with me and A. I think it depends on who has spent more time with her that day, is who she chooses to sleep with. The weather has been really crappy so we have had short quick walks and not a lot of outside time, so I am hoping this weekend to take her out on one of the trails and really do some running around and get some good exercise in.

Laynie has learned to shake paws and we are going to work on rolling over next. She is doing really good with her recall and twice now she has been out in the front of the yard with me (off leash) and stays right on the porch like she is told. I have been working on introducing her to the cat. She is getting better, but we still have a ways to go. She actually was comfortable enough the other night that she laid on the couch with me, while the cat slept in the chair in the living room. I had a leash on her just in case, but I really didn’t need it because she ended up forgetting about him and falling asleep.
 
We are still working on not pulling while walking. I have tried a couple different collars and harnesses and I find the gentle lead that goes over her muzzle seems to work the best.  She was walking really good when she first came, but is now is back to pulling. I am not sure if it was the meds and her not feeling well, or if she just needed time to get used to us, but she is definitely a puller now. She is pretty easily redirected though if she sees other dogs or birds or whatever.  We go by one house that has 3 Alaskan Malamutes and they always charge the fence (chain link) barking away, but Laynie does awesome there, she just keeps walking. It’s the little min pin down the street and the birds that attract her attention most.

I have thought about signing Laynie up for obedience classes and am actually waiting on some contact information. A friend of mine brought her pit bull to a trainer in the Oxford Hills area. I guess she sort of individualizes the training to whatever you need. I am just waiting to be done work to schedule something. They also have a doggie play group over that way that I would like to get her involved with as well, so she can have some dogs her size and age that she can really play with.
 
I brought Laynie up to my parents to introduce her to them. They recently had to put their dog down, so they had a shopping bag full of toys ready for Laynie with a ton of treats. I think my dad really likes her 🙂  He got right down on the floor with her, it was sweet.
 
Laynie has also had the opportunity to spend some time around some kids. The first time, I was actually a little nervous because she kept barking at my friend’s little boy (he is 6), but once I had him give her a treat and we went outside so he could throw the ball for her, she was fine. Then she also spent time around my niece, who just turned 5, and they did excellent together right from the start. E kept trying to take Laynie’s ball and Laynie would just sit and look at her with a confused look like, “why aren’t you throwing my ball for me?”.  Eventually Laynie would go up to E all soft and gentle and barely put her teeth on the ball and try to steal it back. So, all in all I was glad that she did well around kids. I am not around little ones a whole lot, but just being out and about with her, it is a relief to know she is ok around kids.
 
So, that is Laynie in a nut shell. I hope all is going well with you and Jim and Nola.  I hope you had a good trip. I saw your blog about taking pics of all the animals. Sounds like something I would do. Like I said I will send you another update after she sees the vet.

Take care,
P

P.S. I am attaching some pics “the dog days of summer” and enjoying Frosty Paws ice cream.

I Love Mud

There is a singer named Rick Charette that came to my elementary school when I was a kid. I listened to him so much growing up, that I still have some of his songs memorized. Some of my favorites include “There’s an Alligator in the Elevator” and “Where Do My Sneakers Go At Night?” Well, he also has this song called “I Love Mud” and every time the dogs run and play in mud, I can’t help but remember the lyrics and think that’s what they are saying in their heads.

“Mud, mud, I love mud!”

“I’m absolutely, positively wild about mud.”

“I can’t go around it. I’ve got to go through it.”

“Beautiful, fabulous, super duper mud.”

Dear Foster Mom

My friend Kiersten sent me this the week before we brought Laynie to her forever home. At the time, I couldn’t read it, it made me too sad. Now, after writing my letter to Laynie, I think this is what she would write to me.

Dear Foster Mom
Author Unknown

There I sat, alone and afraid,
You got a call and came right to my aid.
You bundled me up with blankets and love.
And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug.

I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold.
That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.
You taught me what love it, you helped me to mend.
You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.

And just when I thought you’d done all you could do,
There came along not one new lesson, but two.

First you said, “Sweetheart, you’re ready to go.
I’ve done all I can, and you’ve learned all I know.”
Then you bundled me up with a blanket and a kiss.
Along came a new family, they even have kids!

They took me to their home, forever to stay.
At first I thought you sent me away.
Then that second lesson became perfectly clear.
No matter how far, you will always be near.

And so, Foster Mom, you know I’ve moved on.
I have a new home, with toys and a lawn.
But I’ll never forget what I leaned that first day.
You never really give your fosters away.

You gave me these thoughts to remember you by.
We many never meet again, and now I know why.
You’ll remember I lived with you for a time.
I may not be yours, but you’ll always be mine.

Love you Laynie. So glad you are doing well in your forever home!