Tag Archives: Petsmart

The Curse of the Iphone

Hand written on a piece of notebook paper is my blog entry I knew I would run sometime this week.  This was written on Sunday, October 6th.

I have a pit in my stomach.  I know I’m missing something. Someone could be trying to reach me. There could be an emergency. I feel like I’m going to throw up!

For less than an hour, sitting in this car, I am without my cell phone.  It is home and I am sitting in this parking lot of PetSmart waiting for my foster dog to come home from an in-town adoption event. No one is here and I don’t know if the van is later coming back from the city or I am late in meeting it.  I want my phone!

Normally I would be on the phone checking but here I am living “old school.”  I grew up like this. I spent most of my 20s without anyone having 24/7 access to me.  Andy and I might have bought our first cell phone in the early 90s but that was strictly for emergencies like when the car ran out of gas while I was driving on the Major Deegan Highway in the Bronx (note: not my fault – the gas gauge said half a tank!).  I didn’t use the monster-sized cell phone to entertain myself — just to call Triple A.

Now we can’t seem to live without the glow of the Iphone or Android or whatever “smart” phone you have. Sure wish I had even the old giant-sized Motorola with the giant antenna right now. I have been here for 45 minutes without seeing anyone from the rescue.  I hope I have to drive back and pick Kibbles up from somewhere.

My heart broke a little thinking that Kibbles was adopted and I wouldn’t see him again.  Luckily for me, it was just a snafu between the rescue not being able to reach me and when they didn’t see me in the parking lot they took him to another volunteer’s house.  I happily picked him up later that night.  He’s my right hand man and this week he met a new best friend Yogi.  Yogi is a new client for me.  Enjoy this video of Kibbles and Yogi!

The Ecosystem of the Dog Park

Kibbles the foster pup

Kibbles the foster pup

Kibbles, my foster dog, did not get adopted today.  He was very patient waiting for someone special to come and fall in love with him.  How can you not love that face?  He’s an incredibly sweet puppy with lots of energy.  I did not work the adoptions today so when I came to get him, he was very excited to see me.  So I told him we could get a toy (our adoptions are at PetSmart).  We walked down the toy aisle and he immediately went for a fuzzy fox that had the recycled water bottle in the body so it made a crunchy noise.  He proudly walked it up to the cash register where it was scanned and paid for and then he promptly lost interest in it once we had the receipt! Of course I didn’t even think to get the phone out to take a picture of him carrying the toy or holding it for the cashier to scan.

Knowing he was a pent up ball of energy from his day of adoptions, I took him to the dog park.  This pup loves all dogs – big or small!  He immediately introduced himself to all the dogs in the dog park.  For some reason all the dogs were on the small dog side.  Sometimes, I think we need to take a lesson from the dogs — have a sniff, run around and make no judgements of each other.  But boy, at the dog park, you meet all kinds!

Like the guy who thought it was OK to bring an eight-week old puppy to a dog park…”I haven’t heard of any issues with this dog park BUT you know a puppy that young you really shouldn’t expose to dogs you don’t know in a place like a dog park because you don’t know what the other dogs could be carrying that could really harm your puppy.”

Or the lady who has a five-month old poodle she just bought from Petland…”Such a cute pup but you know there’s a great application called Petfinder that you can look for rescues if you have a particular breed you are looking for!”

Then there is the lady who knows all the dogs’ names and tells the other dog owners that her dog is “just playing” when he makes the other dogs yelp.

Kibbles didn’t care where anybody came from or if anyone should be there or not.  He greeted and played with every single dog in the park. No judgements Just pure doggy fun!

If you are interested in adopting Kibbles, please go to our website, www.mostlymutts.org

Whacky Wednesday Product Review — Bake-a-Bone — Except It’s Tuesday

Bake-a-Bone "As Seen on TV"

Bake-a-Bone “As Seen on TV”

Sometimes I am like a dog with a bone.  Literally.  I can’t help myself when it comes to “As Seen on TV” products so when I saw a special through Coupaw I had to have it!  I mean, who doesn’t need a dog biscuit maker?  The Bake-a-Bone unIt is very light weight and pretty easy to use.  You just plug it in and when the red light goes out and the green light comes on, you are ready to bake dog biscuits.  Plus it is shaped like a bone so you won’t confuse it with your panini maker or waffle maker!

The Bake-a-Bone brand also has come out with biscuit mixes that you just add water to.  That is what I used today for the maiden voyage of Bake-A-Bone, the Triple Peanut Butter variety.  In addition to PB, you have Cheesy, Bacon, Bare Bone, Snickerpoodle, Banana, Breathmint, and Thanksgiving.  All of these varieties can be purchased online at the Bake-a-Bone website but I was able to purchase my mix at PetSmart.  There was, however, only the Triple PB variety.Mmmm Triple Peanut Butter

Dump the mix in a bowl, add a cup and a half of water and mix thoroughly. I’m not a baker but I always hear bakers take about not over-mixing because you don’t want your dough to be tough so as soon as there was no loose flour on the bottom of the bowl, I declared the biscuits mixed!

The inside of the Bake-a-Bone is like a waffle iron but instead of a waffle pattern, you have four bone vessels.  I will admit that I have a couple of pretty ugly looking dog bones because I didn’t make sure the batter reached all the rounded edges of the bone and a few times I overstuffed the bone causing pieces to squish out over the bone shape but once cooked, those snapped right off.

Just like a waffle iron!

Just like a waffle iron!

The batter smelled very peanut buttery so if you or any of your two legged kids have peanut allergies, don’t buy this variety!  I looked at the ingredients and there was nothing listed that a human wouldn’t eat so I went ahead and tried some of the excess.  It didn’t taste as peanut buttery as it smelled but sort of tasted like a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat toast.  The package said that it made 24 dog biscuits and it did, but because I had used some extra batter in the beginning before I had the quantity right, the last two were barely full cookies.  Those are the ones I gave to Sophie!

After I finished baking the last batch (each batch cooks for eight to ten minutes) I unplugged the machine and let it cool for about five minutes.  Then I spritzed the surface with water and put a damp paper towel between the plates.  After a few minutes, I just wiped down the inside with the paper towel and it was ready to be put away.

IMG_1060All four girls gave it a paws up, five out five tail wags!  I give it a thumbs up because I can pronounce all the ingredients, the mix is very convenient and the machine was very easy to clean up.  Next I will have to try my own recipe for ginger pumpkin dog biscuits to see how they cook up in the Bake-A-Bone.

Yummy PB Dog Biscuit

Yummy PB Dog Biscuit

Que bella faccia Sophia!

Who can't see their soul in those eyes?

Who can’t see their soul in those eyes?

On Saturdays you can usually find me at our local PetSmart taking pictures of the dogs available for adoptions through the rescue group I volunteer with, Mostly Mutts (www.mostlymutts.org).  One of the volunteers had just been to the Cobb County Animal Shelter and picked up several dogs including this small brindle beauty they named Sophia.  At the time, I had Rocky as my foster but I knew he was getting adopted that day.  Since I was about to go out of town I didn’t want to foster until I got back the following week.  My husband tolerates the fostering — he loves on the dogs once they are at my house — but I am the doer of all things doggy!

Since I have four girl dogs in my pack already, I usually sign up for the boy fosters but as I was on my way to pick up this little boy boxer mix pup, I got a text message that he was adopted.  When I got to the adoption event I asked who I should bring home for my foster and every volunteer said, “Oh take Sophia – she is so sweet!”  I remembered Sophia from last week’s intake and she was such an unusual looking dog.  She’s about 29 lbs and we think some sort of Greyhound mix or maybe whippet mix.  She’s had a bought of doggie bronchitis and a runny nose but we have her on some super antibiotics that are making her feel better every day.

I’ve had her almost a week now and she’s not had an accident in the house.  She hasn’t made a single noise — even with my pack of crazy barking hounds reaping havoc around her.  She is totally non-reactive to their nonsense.  I want to call her Bella because she is so beautiful plus since I have a Sophie, it is very difficult to work on her knowing her name if I’m calling to Sophie and not Sophia!

Yesterday we did a fashion shoot while she was lounging on the bed surrounded by toys (which she hasn’t played with).  Here are a few samples from her fashion book!

What do you do with these things?

What do you do with these things?

Do I wear them on my head?

Do I wear them on my head?

I like the fuzzy sweater!

I like the fuzzy sweater!

Now this is more like it!

Now this is more like it!

I'm ready for my close up!

I’m ready for my close up!

Wednesday Test Drive – Premier Easy Walk and Bergan EZ Steps Stretch Couplers

This week, I have some new clients — Hemi and Precious Spoodle. Their owners hoped I could work on some basic obedience with Hemi and to get him to not pull so hard on the leash. Hemi is actually their “grand dog” but their son, Hemi’s dad, is out of town this summer on an internship. Hemi’s about 11 months old of unknown breed. Precious Spoodle is about seven years old and has always walked on a flexi lead. Both owners have said that they don’t go for walks because the dogs stop and smell everything!

The first day I walked Hemi and Precious, I used their own leashes and I thought my shoulder was going to pop out of the joint! Hemi is a strong dog and quite a puller. He wears a regular web collar attached to a six foot lead. Precious wore a web collar attached to a 12 foot flexi which she often utilized to its full length. Once that flexi is fully extended, it is quite difficult to get her to keep moving!

The next day, I decided to test drive a new no pull harness I got at PetSmart. It is pink and a size medium. I told Hemi, named after a really big engine in a truck, that no one would see him in pink and he shouldn’t worry about it being an affront to his manhood. He has nothing to worry about, he doesn’t even lift a leg while peeing!

premier Easy Walk

XS, S, M, L and XL — prices vary

The harness was very easy to figure out and there are two clips for easy on and off although I kept the clip on the shoulder clipped and had the dog step into the arm holes. Then I fastened the strap around his under chest. Before attempting to put this on Hemi, I let him sniff it and gave him a treat. I also lengthened all the straps as I wasn’t sure this would fit him. He’s not yet fully developed but he is on the larger side. This particular harness was a size medium. It fit him but left no room for growth. If I were buying this for him, I would go with a size large.

Next was the leash situation. For my personal dogs, I use a Bergan EZ Steps stretch couplers I purchased from keepdoggiessafe.com. I purchased as a three-lead. I removed one of the leads and set it up for Hemi and Precious. What I love about this lead is the handle. It reminds me of a waterski rope handle but much more comfortable. The grip is a soft, rubber handle that really helps when the dogs are pulling. It gives you something smooshy to hold on to and keep your leverage.

Also, the couplers themselves are made with a reinforced core to prevent leash snapping — something I’ve been a victim of with flexis far too many times! The EZ stretch coupler also easily converts to a single lead or multiple leads. I have three leads on mine when I walk my dogs. The leads are long enough to let each dog do their own thing but the unique way they attach to the handle prevents tangling.

stretch-two-dog-couplerI was very pleased with both of these products and how the dogs reacted to them. We were able to go for a nice, long walk without too much stopping. Hemi did not pull wearing the Premier harness and even though Hemi is bigger than Precious, the EZ Steps stretch coupler let them do their own sniffing. Overall, I think it was a better experience for both the dogs.

For Premier Easy Walk, we give it 4 out 5 paws! My only criticism of the harness was that one of the clip buckles was hard to undo. For the Bergan EZ Steps Stretch Couplers, we give it 4 out 5 paws! Nearly perfect with exception of not having the option of putting your wrist through an additional loop. If you don’t have a good grip capacity with your hand, it may be hard to use this leash.


I Want It Now Daddy!

Sometimes I feel like Veruca Salt from the movie Willie Wonka when I get around our rescue animals at Mostly Mutts (www.mostlymutts.org) when she sees the Oompa Loompas and she wants one.  I see our dogs and puppies we have rescued at Mostly Mutts and I want them now!  So instead of becoming a horrible pet hoarder, I became a foster parent.  I thought about this long and hard.  When my husband Andy and I first lived together we rescued a lovely chocolate lab girl named Duchess and we renamed Murphy.  Murphy loved other dogs and she especially loved kittens and cats.  We fostered many kittens for Murphy and were able to get them adopted.  This was when we lived in New Jersey.

Our next foray into fostering came after we had moved to Georgia.  We worked for a large technology company and they had just built a building in a very undeveloped area just northwest of Atlanta.  It seemed that this was a common dumping ground for dogs when people just didn’t want them anymore.  There were a number of dogs who hung around the building, digging in the garbage looking for foood.  Of course I would bring food and water, along with some other colleagues, and try to catch these poor babies who had forgotten that humans can be kind and caring.  One day I sat on the hot tar road for a good 20-30 minutes trying to coax this black dog to me.  I had water and it was hot.  I had food and she was hungry.  Finally she came to me and collapsed in my lap.  She was a medium build but so skinny I could pick her up with one hand.

We took her to the animal shelter but within a day I got a phone call from them that she would be put down because she tested positive for heart worm.  Of course I could not let that happen so I went to the shelter and collected her with the intention of curing her heart worms and finding her a loving home.  She was like a little stuffed animal.  So darn cute!  But Beatrice was not an overly friendly dog.  We had several inquiries about her but all the families had small children.  I could just see this dog who had been fending for herself for so long resist taking a cookie out of a toddlers hand when the first night we had her she stole chicken right off a dinner plate!

After having Beatrice (who the neighborhood kids called Beastrice and ran screaming if she ever got loose from our yard!) for about six months, I woke up on our Anniversary day and Andy had put a big red bow on Beatrice’s neck.  She was the best anniversary present ever!

Riley, Beatrice and Murphy "behind the line" waiting to be released for dinner

The Wrecking Crew: Riley, Beatrice and Murphy “behind the line” waiting to be released for dinner

So now we are kind of 50/50 on the fostering scale.  We didn’t attempt to foster for quite some time as Beatrice was a bit of a problem child — not people friendly, not dog friendly — really she only liked us and her space on the couch.

Fast forward about eight years and my Wrecking Crew had all gone to Rainbow Bridge within six months of each other.  Beatrice was first with a large, inoperable cancerous tumor on the back of her tongue.  Murphy second after a long bout with diabetes.  She was 14 1/2 when we put her down.  Last my big boy Riley, who we got for Murphy when we moved to Georgia.  He had mega-esophagus that was causing him to have chronic pneumonia as the food and water would get stuck in his esophagus causing the infection.  Riley passed on a Saturday with me holding his his paw.  He could not breath on his own.

After we lost Beatrice I was trolling the animal shelter.  Three was a good number of dogs to have.  I could still walk three.  There was room on the bed.  One day I found a little black puppy that looked like Beatrice.  I took her home that day and named her Bailey.  The chocos, Murphy and Riley were still around when Bailey came home.  Riley was so good with the puppy.  He would lie on his back and let her jump all over him.  So suddenly when Bailey was by herself, and we were down to just one dog, we jumped into the foster arena again.  This time with Mostly Mutts.

Her name was Viola and Andy found her the day that Riley passed.  He took a picture of her on his phone.  He had the duty to go to PetSmart after we put Riley down because we still had Bailey at home and she needed supplies.  He didn’t mention her to me when he came home.  We were heart-broken about Riley.  Then through other strange circumstances we found ourselves with a young yellow lab the same age as Bailey.  Andy then told me about Viola and we took Bailey and Phoebe to see her at the Kennesaw PetSmart.  We agreed to foster her and came home with her that day.  We never brought her back for adoptions and the next week we paid the adoption fee and she was ours.

Now, I’m really not doing well in the fostering area!  I’ve got a 75% failure rate…meaning that we keep!  But three is my comfort number.  I like a three-dog household.

A few years passed and I dodged bringing home any more fosters until my work friend tells me about this little Jackahuahua that her son and his wife had that they don’t want now that they have a baby. I was sure that they would come to their senses and understand that they could have a baby and a dog at the same time so I offered to “hold” the little dog until they could figure things out.  Well for me and my husband it was love at first sight and after a week, Andy said, “We’re not giving her back, are we?”  This moves my failed fostering rate up to about 80% failure!

Roc coming home from meeting potential adopters

Roc coming home from meeting potential adopters

So when I recently talked to Andy about fostering again he was an adamant NO!  And I can’t blame him based on my record but I was determined to make this one a success!  So little Roc (I call him Rocky) came home to Litt’s Puppy Palace of Love.  He has been a joy.  I post many pictures of him on Facebook looking for someone to adopt him.  He hates adoption day at PetSmart.  He’s a chihuahua and doesn’t really like people sticking their face into his crate or sticking their fingers in through the grates.  He likes to be introduced to people.  Since he is so small, our Mostly Mutts volunteers like to hold him.  He tolerates it and goes into what we affectionately call his “dead squirrel” mode with his little legs held out stiffly in front of him.

But today is Adoption Day for Roc and my foster failure rate goes down a little!  His new family asked, “Don’t you want to keep him?”  Well, yes, of course I do!  But if I can see him into a new home, then I can help another dog find a new home. If I just kept this little boy, then Adrienne (my friend) would not find her Rocky!

Don’t get me wrong, foster failure is not a bad thing!  It means that a dog or a cat has found a furever home. I just want to be able to help more animals find that so I’m a reformed failed foster!  So, I get to indulge my Veruca Salt a little bit when I bring home a new foster.  It feels good to want something now because you can help people find their best friends later.

Rainbow Bridge…Coping with Losing Your Best Friend

rainbowbridgeRainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

— Author Unknown

Two of my good friends lost their beloved dogs this week.  I know they are sad and grief-stricken. The grief you feel losing a pet is real and it is painful.  My dogs mean the world to me and I probably spend more time with them than any single human including my husband.  When the time comes to consider their quality of life versus my need to have them on this earth with me, I hope that I will make the right choice.

I’ve faced this decision many times in my life and each time it is a painful experience.  I am a believer in the advancement of veterinarian technology and our policy in our house is to do whatever we can to save the dog.  My dog, Beatrice, who went under anesthesia to have a biopsy done and never woke up, haunts me.  I can only imagine her scared and amongst strangers when her life ended.  With my other animals, I’ve always been there with them, holding them and comforting them as they pass through to Rainbow Bridge.

My eldest dog, Viola, is starting to experience some health issues related to age.  Here eyes are clouded with what looks like the beginning of cataracts.  Her back legs are beginning to give out on her and she falls down.  She recently started waking up in the middle of the night and barking because she doesn’t seem to realize where she is.  We don’t know how old she really is because she was a rescue.  We guess her age to be about 11 or 12.  None of these symptoms, for me, are enough to look at putting her down.  My factors are first, how much pain is the animal in?  Second, what are the chances of recovery?  Last, what is the degree of recovery and the quality of their life?

We adopted Viola almost eight years ago.  My husband, Andy, found Viola at a rescue group showing their dogs at a PetSmart.  The problem was that he found her just about an hour after we had to put down our beloved Riley.  Andy literally left the emergency clinic where they couldn’t save Riley – he had a chronic disorder called “mega esophagus” and couldn’t get enough air into his lungs because the stretching of his esophagus caused him to have chronic pneumonia and lung infections from food and water getting stuck and causing infections.

Riley was in an oxygen tent and he was holding on just long enough to get his family there.  Both Andy and I had been out on Saturday morning.  When Andy got home, Riley had collapsed and did not appear to be breathing.  Andy put him in the car and drove to the emergency vet.  All the while calling me.  I was in a class and had turned my phone ringer off.  When we went on break, I looked at my phone and saw 14 calls from Andy.

I rushed over to the emergency vet as fast as I could.  They had managed to get him breathing again but he was suffering terribly.  When he looked me in the eyes, I felt him tell me to release him.  I could only manage to get one hand under the oxygen tent and I held his front paw and was able to scratch his chest a little.  It didn’t take very much and he was gone.

Although we adopted Viola a week later, she wasn’t a replacement for Riley.  Each dog is a one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable.  Andy didn’t show me the picture he took of her until I came home on Tuesday and told him about another dog we had to rescue, Phoebe.  That Saturday, just one week after Riley’s passing, we welcomed both girls into our house.

For each family, it is different.  Some people vow never to get another animal when they go through the grief of losing a beloved pet.  Some families think adopting a younger furbaby while their senior is still around gives the older animal some extra energy.  I believe the elder dog teaches the younger dog the lay of the land and what’s expected of them.

Grief is a personal issue and every person will deal with this catastrophic loss differently.  I love looking through old pictures of the dogs I had in my past and remembering their stories.  Those stories help me work through the grief and heartbreak.  You never really lose a pet because you keep their memory close to your heart.  And I do believe that one day when i’m about to cross Rainbow Ridge, all my friends will surround me and welcome me!