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

Nola Muffin Monday: On Zeus, and Having Three Dogs

Let’s face it, I’m a picky dog. I generally TOLERATE all other dogs, LIKE a pretty good amount, but I only LOVE a select few (especially when they are living at MY house). So you can imagine my surprise that after only 4 days, I was well on my way to loving a new dog that my parents brought home. And no, it’s not my foster bro Sarge, I am still in the tolerate phase with him. My new buddy’s name is Zeus.
IMG_3972Last week, Mom picked me up from Camp and I took a snooze on the car ride home, just like I usually do. But when we got home, there was a strange black dog on the deck with Dad. Of course, I had to let him know that I did not approve of him being there with my patented half growl, half bark. All I could think was, ‘They brought home ANOTHER dog?!’ Mom told me to relax, he is jut visiting for a few days, and put on my harness so we could take a walk. The black dog and Dad came with us. When we walked next to each other and I got a whiff of him, I realized he wasn’t half bad. Dad said his name was Zeus and that I had to be nice to him because he is Dad’s boss’ dog. (Haven’t I heard that one before?).

Zeus seems like a big name for a small-ish dog, with a cat like, fluffy tail, but who am I to judge? Besides the fact that he stopped to pee on EVERYTHING (ghawd, why do boys feel the need to do that?), I enjoyed our walk very much. Mom and Dad let us play in the back yard too. He didn’t seem all that impressed with my play-bows and boxer moves, but he got with the program and at least let me chase him for a bit.
IMG_4014 IMG_4010He seemed a little scared in the house, maybe it was because he had never met us all before. Sargent picked on him a little and tried to hump him too, but Mom and Dad protected poor Zeus just like they do for me. I tried to tell him to just stay clear or the big lug, which he did, when he stole my spot on the couch. But Sargent wanted to sleep next to him, so they both shared my spot.
IMG_4037Eventually he got the hang of dealing with ol’ Sarge and they napped together quite a bit.
IMG_4020 IMG_4022Now let me just tell you, I like Zeus more than the average dog that Mom and Dad bring home, but with two ‘others’ in the house it felt a bit crowded. I tried to find a spot on the couch, but decided I needed my own space and slept on my bed.three dogs IMG_4017I stayed in the living room so I could keep an eye on everyone, but man, am I glad none of them tried to snuggle with me.
nola-bed-zeusOn Saturday Mom and Dad brought me and Zeus for a long walk on one of my favorite trails. Sargent got his own walk then stayed home because he’s too old and can’t keep up with us young-ins. For the first half of the walk Zeus just peed on everything and I stayed close to Mom and Dad. Then, I decided enough was enough and it was play time. We discovered a stream and found out it was fun to run through the mud and jump from bank to bank. When we got to the part where there is a big field, I showed Zeus my track star like speed. He couldn’t keep up, so I slowed down for him a little so he would still play. We were so tired when we got home.

IMG_3980While Zeus was at our house he slept all alone on the couch in the living room at bed time. Dad is still sleeping downstairs with Sargent, so I had the bed all to myself (oh, and Mom). But, Zeus was lonely so he wanted to come up on the bed too. I was ok with it, which doesn’t happen very often, so Mom let him come up and we all snuggled before it was time to get up. Before he left to go home to his family, I even let his snuggle with me…just a little.
IMG_4034I liked Zeus a lot, but am glad we are back to only having two dogs in the house. Two is still one too many. I do hope that Zeus can come back and play again soon, but only on a temporary basis!

(Now we just have to find a place for Sargent to go…)

What Makes Anna Banana So A-peel-ing

It’s easy to get caught up writing about the things that we are working on with Anna. But, it is also important to focus on all the things that will make Anna a great addition to the right family. There are many, so here are just a few:

First, she is an amazing snuggler. When she puts her head right on your shoulder and slides her body close to you it is hard not to fall in love.
Second, she snorts, a lot. I know I compared our last foster Laynie to a pig, but I think Anna might have some piggy in her to.
Third, she sits side saddle like a lady. It is so cute how she tucks her little legs off to one side and sits politely waiting for you to give her something.
Fourth, she is a wonderful watch dog. She loves to sit at the door or look out the window taking in all the sights and sounds. She barks occasionally, but is definitely not up to ‘neighborhood watch’ level, barking at EVERYTHING like Laynie did.

And lastly, she is so easy going. Although she has some reactivity to other dogs, when she is in the house just hanging out with us she is so easy. She wants nothing more than to be where you are, sitting right next to you, chewing a bully, or snuggling with Foster Sis’ Nola.
If you think Anna is sweeter than banana cream pie, fill out an adoption application through Almost Home Rescue.

It’s Official- Foster #2

I apologize for the lack of blogging last week, but Nola, the Mr. and I were adjusting to being a two dog household again. Anna Banana is officially our second long term foster.

As you may remember from this post, she was supposed to be a two day hold. But, after meeting her we were tentative about the family who was already ‘approved’ to adopt her. They had three young children and Anna has no house manners. They came to our house for a meet and greet and we discussed what was best for Anna and what was best for the family. The Mr. and I were convinced that after they saw how excitable Anna was and how much she was in the children’s faces (only for kisses, but that can be scary to young kids), that they would recognize that is was not a good match. Well, we were wrong- they wanted her. We were shocked, and concerned. We strongly believe that Anna needs to go through some obedience and should not be around small children under 5 years old. It took a couple phone calls and emails to the rescue stating our case to get the situation resolved. In the end, we are happy they listened to our opinion, and even though we were not anticipating another foster pup at this time, we are committed to help find her perfect forever family.

So here we are, two weeks later. I would be lying if I said it’s been easy. First, I can’t stop comparing her to Laynie. I don’t know why, I love them both, but it’s so hard not to! It’s always “Laynie did that too” or “Laynie learned that more quickly.” It’s unfair to Anna, but their personalities are so similar I can’t help it!

Second, we’re having a hard time determining how she is around other dogs. She has been ok around Nola, but Nola is extremely tolerant and submissive. Anna is a wicked puller on a leash as it is, so whenever she sees another dog it just intensifies. After a couple of intense incidents, we have just been avoiding any encounters with other dogs. It seems as though if the dog ignores her, Anna is fine. But if the dog starts barking or starts to pull toward her, it gets her worked up so we have just been trying to avoid getting to that point.

Also, Nola’s not loving having another foster sister. After Laynie we said we wanted to try a male foster pup next, since Nola seems to love the boys! She is being very tolerant and patient, but since she is just coming off her long recovery from her ACL injury we have to keep the playing to a minimum.  Anna is pushy and plays rough so that is not an easy task. Everything has to be separate, walks, potty breaks, feeding, you name it. It also means that the Mr. and I haven’t been able to spend as much ‘family’ time together with the pups.We are used to taking Nola for long walks on the beach or in the woods together, but since Anna can’t be off leash or around other dogs we have to split the walks. He takes one and I take the other. Not so fun.

The Mr. was also away all last week so I had the two dogs on my own. That meant for 4 days I got up at 6 am to walk Anna before she went in crate, then I fed both of them, then went to work, came home at lunch to walk the pups (separately), went back to work, and then came home to feed and walk the pups again. Needless to say I was tired.

But, as tough as it’s been, we’ve also fallen in love. Anna is a sweet, wonderful dog. She gives Nola a run for her money in the quality and quantity of kisses. She is an excellent snuggler and she even snorts when she’s happy to see you, which is pretty much all the time. She does need some work on her manners, but she is going to bring so much joy to someone when she finds the perfect home. We are excited to help her on this journey and hope we will find her the forever home she deserves.

If you want to be Anna’s forever family, fill out an application through Almost Home Rescue.

Expect the Unexpected: Our New Foster Anna

Going into this weekend I knew there would be a foster dog at our house. After this weekend, turns out that was pretty much the only that turned out to be true.

Saturday night I met Almost Home Rescue at a rest stop in Southern Maine to pick up Anna. (Maine has some strict rules about bringing in dogs from rescue transports, so it used to be that as long as they were in New Hampshire adopters could pick up their pups right off the transport truck. New Hampshire has since changed their importation rules, so now all dogs coming up from the south require a quarantine period, or a foster hold. That’s what Munchkin was, and that’s what we were doing for Anna because she had a family waiting for her.) As Anna came off the truck she had some serious energy. I expected to see a 35 pound petite pittie, with medium energy, and what I got was a 50 pound solid girl bouncing off the walls. I could barely hold on to her as she literally did a three foot vertical jump, twisting and pulling on the leash. She was so happy to be with a person; giving me kisses like it was her job. I could tell that she was a very sweet girl and the three days in the truck was a bit much for her energy level.

During the 20 minute drive home, I was thinking how much Nola is not going to like Anna’s crazy high energy, pushy personality. We really only agreed to take another female pit because it was for two days. We could keep them separate for two days, and not worry about stressing either of them out for such a short time. We did take them for a walk together when I got home, being careful not to really let them meet, just be aware the other one exists. Then, it was downstairs to the finished basement for Anna and I. We played, trying to get out some of that energy, until she conked out asleep. I slept with her on the couch, snuggling  and snoring like a true pittie.

Almost Home Rescue was having a reunion at a local park the next day, so I took Nola and the Mr. stayed home with Anna. Well, this is where the unexpected happened. Because all the AHR volunteers would be there, I knew I could talk to the President of the group and Anna’s adoption coordinator about some health concerns I had with Anna. Her spay incision looked a little infected and she had what looked like tapeworms. In our conversation, it came to light that the people who were adopting Anna were not 100% committed and that her adoption was contingent on a meet and great. Say what?! And then as I asked more about the people, I found out they have three young kids under six and that they were still under the impression that Anna was a 30 pound medium energy dog. Apparently there was a serious miscommunication going on here and it looked like out two day hold had the potential to turn into a long term foster. It was at this point that I lost it.

Through the tears I told the rescue coordinator and president all my concerns, the first being we did not expect to have a permanent foster and were not really prepared to keep her long term because of Nola’s low tolerance for females. The second being that this 50 pound ball of muscle has no house manners and is probably not a great fit for someone with three small children. And the third, and most upsetting, was my concern for poor Anna. What if I had shown up to meet these people thinking I was giving them their dog? I would have been mortified and I’m sure Anna would have been confused. Where would she go if we couldn’t keep her? They apologized for the misunderstanding and assured me that if it doesn’t work fostering her then they could find her somewhere else to go.

I called the Mr. and cried to him about the situation. We both decided that we were in this for the long haul. We had both already fallen in love with Anna’s sweet, loving personality. We have some work to do with introducing her and Nola, but we couldn’t bear the thought of uprooting this girl again and bringing her to another foster home.

So, the potential adopters are coming to meet her tonight. I’m not sure how it is going to go, but either way she is staying with us for a few more days. The people are going to meet her and let us know what they think. It turns out they were as unprepared to take her as we were. Obviously, I want her to go somewhere where she is the right fit and if that if it’s not with them, the Mr. and I are committed to helping this love bug find someplace that is.

Nola Muffin Mon-Tuesday: The Puppy

They did it again. They brought home another dog. I don’t know why they keep insisting on doing that. First it was Laynie, then Sockeye, then Zoe. And now? A PUPPY. Ugh.
Mommy keeps calling her “Munchkin,” she seems to have a thing about nicknaming us “M” words. I think the puppy’s other name is “No! Pee outside!” Mommy says that before she picks Munchkin up and runs outside. Then Mommy comes back in and uses a funny smelling spray to clean up the mess. Looks like a lot of work, I don’t know why the puppy just doesn’t go pee outside in the first place!

I know I used to be a puppy myself, but there is no possible way I was THIS annoying. She only has two speeds, fast and sleepy. When she is in fast mode, all she wants to do is play with me. And you know how she shows it? By licking my face and trying to bite my cheeks. I try to turn away to show her I am not interested, but she just won’t give up.Then, when I do play, she runs away crying with her tail tucked. I don’t get it. And when she’s not trying to play with me, she is taking all my toys. I’m not that good at sharing, but there’s really no point in trying to take them away. I’d rather have her bite my toys than my face. Mommy says I am being a good dog and being tall-er-ant of the baby, and I agree I am much taller than she is.
She is also very whiny. I am a quiet dog, I don’t bark or whine, and I don’t know why she feels the need to always announce things. She cries when Mommy leaves the room and in the car. She cries the most at bedtime in her crate. I haven’t gotten a good night sleep in three days! I’ve been sleeping in Mommy’s spot on the human bed because she’s been sleeping on the floor with miss whiny pants. I thought humans didn’t sleep on floors, but apparently they do when puppies are around.
Mommy and Daddy keep saying that she is only here for a few days because she already has a family of her own, so I don’t have to permanently share their attention. I can’t wait until she leaves and goes to her forever home. I am a more mature dog and prefer to play with dogs my own age. Hopefully Mommy will be so tired from all the pee and no sleep that she’ll think twice before subjecting me to a puppy again!

Nola Muffin Monday: My Foster Sis’ Laynie

Hi everyone, Mommy asked me to write on her blog about Laynie. She keeps telling me that she’s only going to be here for a few more days and that she is going to her forever home. It’s been a long two months with her here, and  I’m really glad that this is not her forever home, but I think there are some things I am going to miss about Laynie.

When she first came here I was confused. Mommy had packed that big black box and left for a little while. Daddy said it was for work. When she came back she brought a big black dog. Mommy and Daddy took us for a walk together and instead of going home like Payson does when we walk with his mom Shelley, she stayed. In MY house! Can you believe it? I spent the first couple of days trying to show her that this was my house- my toys, my food, my Mommy and Daddy. But she was just so pushy and Mommy said she wasn’t leaving, so I decided it was easier to just let her stay and let try to be ok with it. Mommy and Daddy did help me when she tried to take my bone or when she bit my legs when we played. Man, does that hurt! She’s got some serious teeth! I am NOT going to miss that.

Mommy said we had to be nice to her and show her that we love her because she hasn’t had an easy life like I have. I don’t know what they are talking about, did they forget everything that has happened to me?! How can they not remember that mean dog that bit me, or when my nail broke and the vet had to make me sleepy to fix it, or when I was coughing so much I couldn’t go to daycare. I mean what is worse than not being able to go to daycare and play with my friends?! But, I guess they are right. She did have some puppies when she was only 7 dog years old. Although it might be kind of fun to have puppies around to play with. Also, they said she lived in her crate for a long time. I liked my crate but I wouldn’t want to be in there all the time. So, I tried to pretend like I didn’t care when she would always have to sleep with her leg on me, or her back to me, or even all the way on top of me. I figured it was the least I can do.

Once I got used to sharing everything and having my routine all changed, I tried to teach Laynie the ropes because I am the older one, even if it is only by one month. I taught her that she should ignore the squirrels, birds, and cats that we pass when we’re walking. She is still working on that one. I showed her that you have to go back to Mommy and Daddy when they say ‘here.’ And when they yell it with a deep voice you REALLY have to go back. She is still working on that one, too. I taught her that you get more attention when you are calm and that jumping up isn’t something the people like. I tried to show her how I get into the bathtub all by myself and that it’s not scary, but she really doesn’t like it and Daddy always has to pick her up and put her in. And, most of all, I showed her that life can be full of fun, love, and lots of kisses when you have the right people like my Mommy and Daddy.

She taught me a few things too. Like when she plays with the ball she brings it back- all the way back to Mommy and Daddy! I really don’t know why, they always get it for me when I don’t bring it back. But she seems to get a lot of ear scratches when she does that, and the game goes longer! Also, I see how much it hurts Mommy’s arms when Laynie pulls her down the street, so I try my best to stay right next to Mommy. Secretly, I want to be up in front like Laynie, but I get more chicken treats if I stay next to Mommy.

Everyone keeps using the word foster when they talk about Laynie. Mommy and Daddy are fostering Laynie, Laynie is my foster sister. I don’t really know what that means, but from what Mommy and Daddy have been saying, we helped Laynie. They seem really sad lately and they said this weekend was the last weekend we’d have with Laynie. All I know is that we got to go to the beach and play at Fuller Farm this weekend and we had fun! Although I get annoyed when she takes my spot on the couch next to Mommy, I think I am going to miss that little black dog. I am looking forward to getting all of Mommy and Daddy’s attention, and getting to play with my toys again, but I am glad that we could help Laynie find a forever home. I guess fostering means being annoyed and having to share, but also helping another dog that needs it.