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

 

 

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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!

Message in a Bottle

While we were at the beach last week during our time off for the 4th, the Mr. noticed something floating in the water not too far out. He tried to get Nola to swim and get it, but she just looked at him like “You want me to go where?” Nola loves to be in the water, but she doesn’t really swim unless someone goes in with her. So, I took off my shoes and rolled up my pants to try to coax her to go retrieve the mystery object. Once I got in to about mid-thigh she swam out, grabbed it, and swam back to shore. It was a message in a bottle!
IMG_4366 IMG_4364As Nola investigated the bottle, I couldn’t help but think of what the message would say. Would it be a love note from someone searching for their long lost love? Would it be an SOS message from someone on a deserted island? Would it be from somewhere far away? My mind was filled with romantic and whimsical possibilities.
IMG_4369 IMG_4370 IMG_4368We opened the bottle once we got home, and this is what it said:

Date: June 29, 2013
This bottle was dropped off near Prout’s Neck, Maine in the United States. If you find this bottle please send me a letter stating where and when this bottle was found. This is a science project that I came up with for school to study the ocean currents so that you for your help.

It certainly wasn’t any of my romantic fantasies, but instead was just a science project. Turns out, we found the bottle only one day after it was dropped off. Prout’s Neck is the name of a peninsula in Scarborough, Maine. We were at Ferry Beach on the left side of the map (where is says beach) when we discovered the bottle. So it seems it didn’t travel too far before we found it.
place-detail-map.phpIt was still a cool thing to find, and it made our day feel a little more adventurous. When I send a response back I am going to include a photo of Nola and a note letting him know that she was the one who discovered the bottle.
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Take Me to the Beach!

The beach is Nola’s absolute favorite place to go. One of the benefits of living in Portland (Maine) is that we have easy access to numerous beaches. In the tourist off-season especially (September 15-June 15), the beach is a wonderful place to bring Nola to let her run to her heart’s content. Through trial and error, we have discovered that our favorite beach is Ferry Beach in Scarborough, which is about 15 minutes from us. Although it’s not the largest, it seems to be the most private and the one that attracts the most dog friendly dogs, and people. We waited a little bit before taking Sarge there, just to make sure we had a handle on his recall skills and how he interacts with other dogs, both on and off leash. One night after work it was pretty warm and we thought the dogs would enjoy a romp in the water, so it was off to the beach for the four of us.
IMG_4139Turns out, just like everything else we’ve done with him, Sarge loved it! He seemed a little unsure of the sand at first, but once he discovered all the new things to smell he was so happy.
IMG_4172We also discovered that in addition to him not acting like he is 13 years old, he still has some puppy energy in him. When we took out Nola’s Frisbee he gave us the biggest play bow he could muster to show us he was ready to chase. We only threw the disc a little a head of us, but the Sarge-man leaped and bounded all the way and grabbed that disc like he was young again! It was the cutest thing ever.
IMG_4161 IMG_4162He spent most of the time up by the dunes, happily trotting along as Nola got out her zoomies chasing the disc down on the hard sand by the water.
IMG_4168 IMG_4148 IMG_4170Near the end, he got the courage to come closer to the water where Nola was bounding through the waves. He started by dipping a toe in, and then went all the way to his ankles. He is so adventurous!
IMG_4177 IMG_4180 IMG_4181 IMG_4183Sarge is a wonderful dog for so many reasons. We are so happy to have him as a temporary part of our family, but would love for him to find a forever family who will take him on more adventures and who will love his easy going personality as much as we do. He has proven to us that he is up for anything, especially if it involves a car ride and a walk, and he can hold his own with a dog ten years younger than him.

As we were leaving the beach, Sarge asked me to write this message to share with you all:
IMG_4171If you want to add a beach loving dog to your family, pleas fill out an application for Sarge here.

Nola Muffin Monday: How I Spent Easter

Hey Everyone! Mom hasn’t let me blog in a long time. She says she’s been busy, and if busy means not being home very much than she has been VERY busy. But, she was home this weekend because it was Easter. I’m not really sure why we celebrate Easter, but I got to do some fun things anyway. First, and not very much fun, Mom made me pose with stupid rabbit ears on. They were heavy and I didn’t like them much, but I got lots of treats if I sat there, so I did.
DSC_0165DSC_0191 DSC_0201Then when I decided we were done, I took the ears and ran around all silly in the backyard. THAT was fun!
DSC_0199 DSC_0204 DSC_0205 DSC_0206 DSC_0211We also got to go to the beach. I wish there was still snow there, I love running in the dunes with the snow. Mom seemed to be happy it was warm and she didn’t have to put her boots on. The water was really low so I had LOTS of beach to play on.
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Really?! I have to sit and pose again?

Really?! I have to sit and pose again?

I also explored the little pools of water. I saw this little creature moving all funny so I went to check it out. Mom started yelling “Leave it!” just when I got close enough to sniff it. I don’t know what the big deal was, but she gave me a treat for being a good dog and listening to her and not touching it.
IMG_3850Then, later in the afternoon we played ‘find it’! ‘Find it’ is my FAVORITE game. Usually we play it with Teri in the big blue room or in our basement, but today we played outside. Mom filled these round things with chicken and put them in the yard for me to find. She said she stole borrowed the idea from Athena’s mom at Pitlandia. (Hi Athena! Thanks for having such a smart mom so mine can get ideas from her!)
DSC_0218 DSC_0216 DSC_0230DSC_0252At first I wasn’t sure how to get the chicken out. Then I realized if I used my paw enough it broke and out popped the yummies!
DSC_0258 DSC_0250 DSC_0242 DSC_0223 DSC_0227DSC_0266Easter must be really special because on top of all that other fun stuff, Mom and Dad  made ham and I got to have a few bites! (But only when I sat nicely on my mat.) So, to recap: I got treats, went to the beach, played ‘find it,’ ate chicken, then ate ham. Best.day.ever.

DSC_0159Hope you all enjoyed Easter as much as I did!

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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.!
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Nola Muffin Monday: My New Game

I love the beach. I can’t help it- the sand, the smells, the water, it’s just all so fun! But what’s even better is the new game I invented to play there. It’s pretty easy to learn, and the best part is you can play all by yourself. Mommy and Daddy always seem to laugh at me when I do it. I think they are just jealous they aren’t having as much fun as I am.

I’ll teach you how to play in 5 easy steps:

  1. Dig a hole in the sand.
  2. Put a ball in the hole.
  3. Dig/fling the sand out of the hole so that the ball flies out.
  4. Chase the ball and catch it.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for 15-30 minutes until tired.

If you are more of a visual learner and need to see the steps in action, here is a video of me playing my game. (Please excuse the camera work, Mommy isn’t very good on her eye-phone.)

Nola and Laynie’s Day at the Beach

One of our stops on Laynie’s “Farewell Tour” this weekend was Ferry Beach in Scarborough. We weren’t sure if Laynie had ever been to the beach since she spent most of her short life in a crate in Northern Maine. We discovered almost immediately after we got Nola that she was a beach pup, and we knew Laynie loved the water, so we wanted to see how she would like the sandy paradise.

To say she liked it would be an understatement. She loved chasing Nola through the water, chasing her ball, and playing with all the friendly pups we met along the way. She REALLY loved chasing the seagulls, and we let her since there was really no where for her to run off to.

She ran and played so much that she was covered in sand and tired as heck when we got to the car.

We’re glad we could enjoy another adventure with the little monkey and experience one more moment of pure joy (and slobber) her face.