Nola Muffin Monday: I’m 3!

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since Mom let me write my own posts, mostly because I don’t have thumbs so she has to do all the typing. She also told me to apologize because she was a ‘slacker’ last week and didn’t post a single thing! I didn’t mind though, it meant that she was spending more time with me!DSC_0103

Anyway, last weekend I turned 3 and Mom and Dad had a party for me! I’m going to tell you all about it. Besides all the hats Mom made me wear, it was a good day!  DSC_0102 DSC_0097 DSC_0090 DSC_0070Mom didn’t go to work so she could spend all day with me! We went swimming in the morning at the lake. Mom brought my life jacket this time and I loved it. It makes me feel so much more confident and I just swim around exploring instead of always just swimming out and going right back in. I even swam out to the float and climbed up on it and sat in the sun with mom for a bit. When I was ready to swim some more, I jumped rihgt off and I didn’t go under! I love my life jacket.
IMG_4572Then, later in the day Memere, Pepere and my Uncle Derek and Aunt Liz came over for a barbeque. I love when my family eats dinner outside, they always give me yummy parts of what they’re eating. Mom always says it’s a bad habit, but her and Dad still give me some when I stare at them long enough.
DSC_0136 DSC_0135I also got a ton of presents, like a new collar and a hide-a-bird toy. These toys are my favorite, I also have a rabbit in a hat and a hide-a-squirrel I got for my 2nd birthday!

DSC_0134My favorite present was my bone. It took me an hour to eat, but it was yummy!
DSC_0141Oh, and the cookie, that was yummy too.
DSC_0149 DSC_0148Birthdays are so much fun! Toys, bones, cake and all my favorite people….can’t wait for next year!

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.

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.

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: They tried to make me go to rehab…

And I said…yes! yes! yes!

Over the past several weeks I’ve been going rehab for my ACL injury. I don’t really know how it is supposed to help, but what I do know is the lady there has delicious home made chicken jerky. It’s a pretty sweet deal- I go there and lay down while the chicken jerky lady rubs my legs and mommy feeds me jerky. I just have to let the lady use her beepy laser thing on my leg. It doesn’t hurt, and it really doesn’t bother me one bit. I just like the jerky!

Mommy, quit taking pictures and feed me jerky!

And as if it couldn’t get any better, I get to swim after! There is a nice warm salt water pool in the backyard. Mommy or the chicken lady come in and throw my toy and I swim after it. There is even a ramp to get out so I don’t have to climb out!
If this is what rehab is, I can see why so many famous people go there! I never want to leave.

A Friend in Need

Today I am posting on behalf of one of my friends Shelley, and one of Nola’s friends, her dog, Payson. Shelley and Payson have been walking buddies for Nola and I since last winter. Nola loves him. Even though he is a bit of a DINOS, he tolerates Nola and her puppy energy as she jumps all over him all the time. He is about twice Nola’s size, but plays so gentle with her. She absolutely loves him.

It’s been a while since we have been able to walk with this gentle giant. A few months ago he had TPLO surgery to fix a ruptured ACL. It was 8 weeks of tranquilizers, pain killers, and no exercise whatsoever. It was tough on both Payson and Shelley. Finally, in the middle of July he was able to take short walks again. Things were finally looking up. Until last week when he started limping on the other leg. Turns out he needs ANOTHER TPLO surgery. Poor guy.

So, I ask all you dog loving people out in the blog world, if you can, please help Shelley and Payson. Shelley is desperate to do the best thing for Payson, but financially it is a struggle. If it was just the surgery, it might be different, but Payson has had chronic medical problems all of his short three years of life. Sometimes they are at the vet once a week treating everything from skin issues, to digestive issues, and now the ACL issues. She created a website and a way to donate help pay for his surgery. Here is a little bit about him in Shelley’s words:

“Our 3-year-old Lab/Boxer Payson means the world to us. We are looking forward to the day when Payson can finally run in an open field, swim in open water, and play with all of his dog friends without suffering in pain. This is an extremely expensive procedure that will be a challenge for us to pay in full in just the next two weeks. As dog lovers, we would be forever grateful for any contribution that you can make to help us get Payson on the road to recovery.”

We (as the dog loving, fostering, rescue community) spend a lot of time volunteering, raising money, and spreading the word about the dogs in rescues and shelters, but sometimes family dogs need the support of kind strangers too. Please consider helping by spreading the word or donating. Shelley, Payson, Nola and I would be extremely grateful.

Here is the link to Payson’s site to donate or share hos story:

P.S. These beautiful photos were taken by Liz Donnelly, the same photographer who did Nola’s glamour shots!

Our Favorite Things

Nola is a spoiled pup. Because I love to shop and I don’t have children, Nola gets new things all the time. From toys to collars to accessories, I buy it all. So, I feel like I am a bit of an expert when it comes to making recommendations about different products. Here are a few that made the cut:

The Buddy System: Last summer I started running with Nola. We started with short distances, just a half mile, then worked our way up. But, a regular leash wasn’t cutting it. It was too hard to hold on to the leash while concentrating on running. I found the Buddy System at my favorite local pet store, Planet Dog, and we love it. It took some getting used to for Nola. I had to train her to stay next to me and not to run too fast and pull me. Now she is a pro and every time I get the belt out she knows we’re going for a run!

Dublin Dog Collar: Nola loves water, mud, sand and pretty much anything that can make her dirty or wet. For that reason, I wash Nola’s collars once a week because they get so wet and stinky or are just plain dirty. I bought her this waterproof no-stink collar a couple of weeks ago and I love it. Through several trips to the beach, swims in the lake and walks in the rain it’s held up. We’ve even gotten comments about how pretty it is! No mess. No wet. No problem!

Muffinhead Jacket: It gets pretty cold in Maine in the winter. Nola has very short fur and her belly basically is bare. But, she loves the snow! So we needed to get her a warm jacket that wouldn’t bug her too much (to my dismay, she is not a pup that like to wear clothes as accessories).  A friend from high school started this company out in the other Portland- Portland, OR. I contacted her last winter and asked if she would make my Muffin one of her Muffinhead jackets. They are all custom made, from recycled materials. I think Nola’s was made from a sleeping bag. It is water proof on the outside and it’s lined with comfy warm fleece on the inside.  Nola loves it! And, we love that they use a pit bull in their logo!

Doctors Foster and Smith bed: Recently I wrote about Nola’s new bed. She loves the comfort of it, I love the durability. Laynie had a few accidents on the bed, along with some vomiting after her spay and there were plenty of muddy paws prints all over it, but washing the cover is a cinch.

Best Bully Sticks (6in Odor Free):  Nola loves to chew. We read that rawhide wasn’t good for puppies and Caesar Milan recommend bully sticks in his puppy book. So we tried them. But they stunk, bad. We discovered the odor free variety and now Nola, and our noses are both happy. Best Bully Sticks is great, with fast shipping and the best pricing we have found anywhere.

Rubit Dog Tag Clip:  I am a collar junkie. I buy Nola collars for every season, holiday, and just for fun. Changing her tags when just on a regular O ring was getting frustrating. So I purchased the Rubit Dog Tag clip. It has been a life saver. Now, every time I switch her collar (which is a lot, especially since recently I purchased the Dublin Dog Collar, see above, for when she swims) I just unclip the tags and move them to the next collar. We’ve had the same clip for almost a year and through running, swimming, mudding, daycare, etc. it has stayed intact with no lost tags!

Other things we love:
Zuke’s mini naturals: Great training tool. Nola loves peanut butter or chicken.
Kong (obviously): Who doesn’t like these things?
Chuck it: Because I throw like a girl.
Chew Gourmet Dog Bones: A new found love.

Things we want to try:
Molly Mutt covers: Several of my dog blog friends have them and they are beautiful!
Sirius Republic Collar: I got one for Laynie and loved it, but I’m waiting for a purple floral-y one to be available for Nola!

Does anyone else have products you love or suggestions for things we should try?

Nola Muffin Monday: Mommy’s going to My-Am-I

Hi everyone, Mommy asked me to write this post because she got out the big rolly box and said she has to get ready for a work trip to My-Am-I. I don’t really know where that is, but she keeps complaining it’s going to be hot. She said that she won’t be able to blog much while she’s away, but she keeps telling me she has a lot to write about, including my favorite new game, my sleepover with my friend Sockeye, and how she defended my foster sister Laynie when a lady said pit bulls were bad dogs. That sounds like a lot of work! I am tired just thinking about it!

That was me sleeping in the car after my day at the lake yesterday. I am still sleepy today, but look at how much fun I had!

Me and my cousin Rocky on the boat.

Me and Pepere. I love him so much!

While Mommy’s away, I will get to spend an extra day at daycare, have a sleepover at Pepere’s house (who I love because he plays with me all the time!) and some extra quality time with Daddy. Doesn’t sound like a bad week to me! Too bad Mommy is going to miss out on all the fun!