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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Nola Muffin Monday: My Brother Sargent

When Mom and Dad first brought Sarge to my house (yes, MY house), he was just as much of a pain as every other dog they brought home. I don’t understand why every new dog has to come into my territory and try to tell me that it’s theirs now. It’s not. I am in charge and that is the way it will always be. Sarge tried to show me he wanted to stay by climbing on top of me. I’d have to bark and growl at him to tell him to stop, but he’d still do it! Sometimes, I think he’s just not very smart. Mom and Dad had to help tell him to leave me alone, and THEN he finally listened. He’s such a suck up! But since then, he’s slowly been growing on me. He’s pretty old, and way more slow than the other dogs that stayed here, so he doesn’t bother me as much. He does take my toys right out of my mouth sometimes, which REALLY annoys me, but then he gets in trouble by Mom and Dad (see, he’s not always a saint!). He also is kind of clumsy and knocks things over. Oh, and the WORST thing about him is his tail! I mean, it’s always wagging and he can’t tell how close he is to me so it hits me right in the face. Can you believe it? No respect.nola and sarge curled

The other day Mom and Dad left with him early in the morning and came back home without him. At first, I was pretty happy; I never get the house to myself! But then I saw that Mom and Dad were sad and worried so I knew something was different. When Sarge came back and he had that funny contraption on his head, I understood. Sarge didn’t feel well. IMG_4997

Although I can’t say I love sharing my toys with him, I do think he has been the least annoying sibling to share my house with. And, since he’s been here they haven’t brought home any other fosters. So, I figured I should be nice to him when he’s not feeling good so that they’ll see that I like him a little. nola and sarge snuggle 1

In the spirit of the how-lidays, or whatever it is that make Mom and Dad put up all the lights and put funny smelling boxes under the inside-the-house-tree, I have been trying to make Sarge feel better by snuggling with him. I have realized that he makes a pretty good pillow, and he seems to not mind when I get close to him. I DO appreciate that he doesn’t try to snuggle with me too much; I snuggle on my terms only.Nola Sarge's tail IMG_4992

It seems as though the old guy is staying around for a while, and although I will make sure he still knows I am in charge, I guess it’s ok with me.

Sarge and the Ottoman Empire

The biggest problem most problematic quirk that we have found with Sargent is he needs to sleep with someone at all times. Not in the same room, but actually physically next to you. We originally tried setting up the crate at the end of our bed, so he could still be with us and see us while he is sleeping. This is the set up we’ve used for all of our past fosters because we allow Nola to sleep in our bed with us and want her to have her own space. But, after hours of crying and whining we felt bad and gave up.
DSC_0531Our temporary solution was to have the Mr. sleep with him downstairs in the finished basement on the couch. But, due to a lot of ‘what else can we do?’ and ‘I have to get up early, let’s just do what works’ our temporary solution turned into two weeks of all of us sleeping separately. When this past weekend rolled around and the Mr. didn’t have to work at all, we decided now was the time for a better fix for the sleeping arrangements.

Our first plan was to try a tie down. We would buy Sarge a big comfy bed, put it right next to our bed, but hook him up to a tie down so he couldn’t go anywhere. Obviously we would do some training with him during the day, putting him there for short periods of time, and give him yummy treats like bully sticks and kongs while he is on his bed. But, after we bought all the supplies at Home Depot we got cold feet. Sarge is just so old, we want to make him happy and can’t stand hearing him in distress.

So we brainstormed some more. We knew that Sarge likes to be near us, and he likes to be on furniture, so what could we do to accomplish these two things? Then it came to me: an ottoman. We should try and put a big ottoman right next to the bed. He would be up off the floor and be close enough to us that it would ALMOST be like sleeping in the actual bed. We went to ‘The Pit’ (the place where they sell all the mismatched furniture at a discount) at Bob’s Discount Furniture and picked up a big brown leather ottoman for $90. It’s a bit expensive, especially with their policy of no returns, if it doesn’t work, but we figured it would cost us at least that much for another dog bed anyway. DSC_0527I decided on one that has storage underneath for blankets and pillows. (Hey, if we have to add another piece of furniture to our tiny bedroom at least make it functional, right?)
DSC_0548We brought it home and set it up. We put his ‘baby’ (the penguin we gave to him the first night with us, that he sleeps with), a pillow and blanket on it to make it extra comfy. We asked him to jump up and gave him cookies while he was on it.
DSC_0544DSC_0539During the afternoon I folded laundry on the bed while he snoozed on his ottoman. We gave him lots of praise and lots of cookies when he was laying there and told him ‘no’ when he would try to go on the bed.
DSC_0540He seemed to be getting it, but the real test was later that night. He climbed right up when we were all ready for bed (which was at 8pm just in case it took a while for him to settle). We kept the light on and watched TV for a bit while he settled in. A couple hours later he was snoozing away and we shut off the lights. He did really well! He got up a few times, and tried to walk around to my side and get up, but we said ‘no’ and he went back to his ottoman. It’s been 4 more nights since that first night and he’s slept all the way through!
DSC_0537We’re still keeping our fingers crossed, but it seems as though Sarge has conquered the Ottoman Empire and we all get to sleep as a family again!

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…)

Introducing Sargent!

It’s cliché, but I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.

For about a week the Mr. and I were struggling to decide on a dog to foster. It was down to two, one 12 year old boxer/pit mix and one 2 year old pit mix. The dogs needed to get out of the shelter for different reasons, but both had been there too long for their own good. We, a bit selfishly, had different reasons for wanting to take each dog, including ease of transition into our house, time commitment to training, and which one would have a better chance of getting adopted if we took them in.

Before we could make a final decision, the 2 year old got adopted. After being in the shelter for 5 months, the weekend we had to decide, a decision was made for us! As I eluded to on the Facebook page Friday, the two things I checked off my rescue bucket list are walking a dog out of the shelter and fostering a senior! Meet Sargent!
IMG_3913We picked up Sargent from the NHSPCA, a shelter that has worked with BURN to foster their pitties that don’t do well in a shelter environment. Everyone their said how great of a dog he was and were sad (but happy!) to see him go. He was so wiggly and wagged his tail so much that almost every picture I took that night was blurry.

IMG_3893Sarge was brought into the shelter after 5 years with his previous owner due to housing issues. He wasn’t neutered, but since coming to the shelter he had the surgery. He has lived with other dogs, kids, and cats. His information said he is crate trained, house trained and walks well on leash. So far, we agree with most of these statements.

He and Nola have not spent a whole lot of time together yet. They have had several on leash walks together, in which they did great. Our first meet and greet in our yard didn’t go all that well. Sargent seems to be missing the part of his anatomy that got snipped at the shelter, because he was much too interested in mounting Nola. Just as any shelf-assured girl would do, Nola would not have it. So, we need to keep an eye on that situation and figure out how to curb that behavior.

He also did not appreciate our set up at bed time. In our house, Nola is the queen of the people bed and fosters are not allowed up unless we say it’s ok. The crate is set up in mine and the Mr.’s bedroom and that is where temporary guests get to sleep. In this case, I bought an orthopedic crate pad, a pillow and two snuggly blankets for Mr. Sargent. He was not happy about it and has cried, whined and barked until the Mr. gave in and slept with him on the couch. We have some work to do figuring out a sleeping situation that works for us all.
IMG_3924Overall, even after just a few days, we can tell Sargent is a great dog. He is very obedient, friendly, walks very well on a leash and is overall just a nice boy. His ears are so adorable because one stands straight up and one folds over. He has a surprising amount of energy for an elderbull, and loves to go on walks. He didn’t mind bath time at all (which was good because he STUNK after we got home from the shelter), and he loves to play with toys (balls, not so much). He has the biggest head I have ever seen on a dog his size, and he uses it to give you kisses and lay on your legs. He wants nothing more than to be with us and we’re happy we can give him that.

Know anyone who wants to add an adorable elderbull to their family? Please spread the word about Sarge: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/25845462

Houseguest

It’s been 5 days since Anna went to her forever home, and I haven’t been able to put aside all my emotions and write about dropping her off. I still have yet to write my letter to her, I just can’t find the words. So, in the mean time, over the next couple of days I‘m going to share several posts I wrote before the blog hiatus. 

Usually at the M&M&NK household we only have four legged houseguests, but in October we were thrilled when our friend from Tennessee came up for a visit. He stayed at our house because we were all going to a friend’s wedding that weekend. Well, we weren’t the only ones that were thrilled. Both dogs got some quality snuggle time with JYB.

The first night he was here, we had Anna’s obedience class. When the class was over, this is what we came home to:

It’s hard to tell who was more comfortable! Shortly after that, Anna got a turn getting some cuddles from JYB.

She snuggled right up to him, just minutes after they met. This is a true testament to Anna’s loving personality. She loves to cuddle with people more than anything in the world! It was nice for the pups to have a two legged visitor, and we were happy to see JYB too. It was a great weekend, a beautiful wedding and lots of attention for the pups.

Wordless Wednesday: Snuggle Montage

(I apologize for the quality of the photos, but sometimes an iPhone is the only way to capture the moment of cuteness before someone moves and it’s gone.)

If you are interested in adding some serious snuggle time to your life, fill out an application for Anna 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.

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?

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.