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Posts from the ‘Dog Related Information’ Category

Preparing Victory for her Little Sister

 

Now that we are literally in the home stretch of our pregnancy, with a few weeks to go, we have been doing our best to prepare our beloved little Victory for her little sister’s arrival along with the great, positive change that will impact all of us.

If you are expecting, and want to create and foster a happy and healthy environment for your new baby, your family, and your furry family member, here are some thoughts and ideas, outlined below.

 

MAINTAIN DAILY WALKS AND OUTINGS WITH YOUR DOG

The number one thing you can do to keep your dog happy, healthy, and calm during the arrival of your new baby are maintaining daily walks.

-It is a good idea to vary the times of walks together because a baby’s schedule is unpredictable to help prevent your dog from expecting walks at certain times of the day.

-If possible, vary who walks your dog so when you are occupied someone else can step in and help with dog walks, when necessary.  (Victory is not always amenable to this!)

-Most importantly, when you are able to go for walks with the baby, be sure to include your dog on these walks in order to help make him/her feel included, too.

-Victory is accustomed to going on outings with us.  It is our sincere plan to continue this practice, after the baby arrives, so she remains included.  It will, however, take a little more creative planning on our part!

 

PREPARE YOUR DOG FOR THE BABY’S ARRIVAL

With a new baby, your dog is going to be bombarded with many new smells, sounds, and experiences.  By introducing these to your dog in a gradual way, you can help prevent an invasion on his/her senses when the baby first comes home.

-Let your dog get accustomed to the sounds a new baby will make.  This will be new for everyone to get accustomed to, including your dog.

-Let your dog sniff some of the baby’s items first.  When you are in the hospital, it is a good idea to send a blanket home with the baby’s scent on it.  This allows your dog to get used to the new smell.  In our case, we plan to do this along with bringing Victory to the hospital, post delivery, which we received special permission from the hospital, to meet her little sister to help her prepare and to ensure Victory is included as part of this special experience.

-Let your dog get accustomed to the new baby gear on his/her terms.  We have actually put Victory in the baby’s crib and buggy, pictured above.  (Victory has also sniffed out the baby’s infant car seat as well, but she is a little too big to fit into the  infant car seat in order to get a photo of her!)  We believe she knows change is upon us.  I am sure she can feel my growing belly when I pick her up and hold her along with the physical changes that have occurred in our home.  We have also tried to bring her into the baby’s nursery to get her accustomed to things.  Recently, she has gone into the nursery on her own, to check things out, which has been great!  We have decided to let Victory decide when she wants to come into the nursery.  We know, in time, that she will get curious and want to come into the nursery on her own more frequently.  This is what happened when we first brought her home after rescuing her; she was very cautious of exploring the house and eventually came to exploring and feeling comfortable in our home in her own time.

-Keep in mind that no dog is the same.  Talk to others, to gain insight, who have had experience with bringing their baby home to their dog.  Our pediatrician shared with us recently that Victory will likely soon view the baby as part of her pack and she will view the baby as something to protect, similar to a puppy of her own.  The pediatrician also said that dogs are very good about understanding family dynamics and structure.  We shall see!

 

CREATE A TRANQUIL SPACE AT HOME

By promoting a safe and calm space within the home, you will ensure not only your dog remains happy and healthy, but the whole family does as well.

-Provide a safe, warm space for your dog to curl up in away from the baby.  Victory has several spaces in the house that are exclusively hers, including her ‘hut!’

-Be calm with your dog, even under stress.  Having a new baby is a big change and stress inducing, at times.  Dogs, especially our little Victory, are highly attuned to our actions, demeanor, and voice.  If we get stressed, Victory feels the stress ten fold.  She is extremely aware of her environment.

 

CREATE A PLAN FOR YOUR DOG DURING THE BIRTH

The birth of one’s baby is unpredictable, in most cases, baring a scheduled cesarean or induction.  However, the last thing you want to do is rush off to the hospital/birthing center without a plan for your dog.

-Prior to your birth/due date, decide who will care for our dog while you are in the hospital.  It is important for this person to know how to care for your dog, as each dog is different.  Make sure you include instructions and emergency contact numbers, including the number for your vet and emergency vet.  We have a few friends lined up to help us take care of Victory during this time to ensure that we have someone to care for her during the labor and delivery time.

-There will be a lot going on during this time and it is not the time to have a stranger help you with your dog.  Make sure the person who is caring for your dog is someone the dog knows and is familiar with.  Make sure your dog is comfortable on walks and feedings with this particular care provider.

-When returning home, make sure you have focus on your dog as well.  This will be a big change and your dog needs to be and feel reassured and included.  (Our Bradley teacher informed us that our dog is very similar an older human sibling, and to be mindful about how this change will impact her [Victory], similar to an older human sibling.)

 

PLAN FOR ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH YOUR DOG

For many dogs, they came first.  Many were on the scene long before any children came along.

-While your time is now more limited with a new baby, it is vitally important to carve out alone time with your dog on a regular basis to keep the bond strong.

-Spend quality one-on-one time with your dog every day.  This is not only for their benefit, but yours too.  Time spent together will recharge you both, promoting a happy healthy family for everyone.

-Importantly, if you have special rituals with your dog, keep those in place.  For us, Victory loves ‘night-night!’  She loves to jump into bed and play with us and have her belly and head massaged by us.  It is also a soothing and a fun routine for us, too!  We plan to keep Victory’s routine the same as it is now as much as we can.  We believe, at some point, we will fall into a grove, even our little Victory will as well!

-Most of all, be present and continue to love your furry family member, like always!  Victory has been a great part of our journey into parenthood and I (we) am not sure what I would do without her!  She has been along my (our) side every step of the way, and she will continue to be there with us during this new chapter in our lives!

Pups in the Park!

On Saturday evening we took Victory with us to Pups in the Park at the Nationals!  This is our fourth year attending Pups in the Park with Victory — the time sure does fly by!  This is our last time attending as a ‘party of three,’ which is difficult to believe!  The weather cleared up in time for us to watch the game, thankfully!  Victory also looked adorable in her Nationals’ jersey!  We saw one other sheltie at this game, a sable sheltie!  Victory was brave as she sniffed some other dogs attending the game!  Victory also enjoyed some snacks during the game, which she loved!  We had a fun time together.  Victory spent yesterday resting all say as she was so tired from her outing!  Below are some iPhone photos from our visit!  We look forward to going back for more games next year!  If we are able, we might try to go to Bark in the Park at the Baltimore Orioles in September — we will have to play that by ear!

Happy Monday!

 

 

Our Baby’s Modern Nursery Reveal!

We finally finished our baby’s nursery after a few months hard work!  A few images of our baby’s nursery are shown below.  Our finished baby’s nursery is somewhat similar to our initial nursery inspiration board!  After much research, I selected most of our selections and made sure Doug liked the selections as well before ordering; and Doug helped me immensely with the baby furniture, hanging of the art, hanging of the mobile, cleaning of the rugs, and rearranging of things in the house to make room for the nursery — it was definitely a team effort!  It was quite fun pulling the items together for our baby’s nursery!  We are quite pleased with the results!  We wanted to make our baby’s nursery something that she can grow into, while incorporating art and fun elements as well to create a space that has good energy, feels welcoming, bright, modern, clean, relaxing, and peaceful.  (We wanted to get the nursery done before I get too big and uncomfortable).  Additionally, we are in the process of getting the final baby supplies we will need for when the baby arrives.  We are slowly getting there!  We do have a closet and dresser full of cute clothes, though!  (Please note, when our baby sleeps in the crib, all of the stuffed animals and pillows will be removed for safety purposes!)

We have brought our fur girl, Victory, into the nursery a few times, and she is quite skeptical at this point.  We know that she knows that something is happening with all the work we have been doing in the house and in the nursery on the weekends.  Victory is quite an attentive and aware little sheltie girl!  We will keep trying.  Our Bradley birth teacher told us to treat Victory similar to an older sibling, in this case, and to do our best to prepare her (as much as we are able since we can’t explain in words/sentences to Victory what is occurring) and continue to give Victory her own attention so that she feels secure and continue with this course of action when the baby arrives.  We have incorporated Victory’s ivory Tempur-Pedic Orvis dog bed in the nursery, so she will know that she is welcome, always.  It took her a while to get used to coming into my office each day, so we hope, similarly, that we can get her into the nursery every day, at some point, as well.  Victory has been an integral part of our journey, and we cannot imagine life without her!  She is truly a loyal and loving little being!  After the baby arrives, we imagine Victory will be right there with us during this next part of our journey and we would not want it any other way!  It will be an adjustment for us all; however, we are truly excited for this season!  The time is flying by so very quickly and we eagerly await the arrival of our baby girl!

 

 

Our final selections, with links, are shown below!

 

Links: (1) Crib (three in one convertible crib) in Washed Natural; (2) Organic, Non-Toxic Mattress and Waterproof Cover; (3) Dresser (with changing table) in Washed Natural and White; (4) Bookshelf in Washed Natural (and we collected various children’s books); (5) Glider (in Grey); (6) Side Table; (7) Fitted Sheet; (8) Crib Skirt; (9) Blanket; (10) Felt Mobile; (11) Changing Pad; (12) Changing Pad Cover; (13) Painting 1 (pink abstract); (14) Painting 2 (blue abstract); (15) Panting 3 (landscape); (16) Frames; (17) Rug; (18) Small Table Lamp; (19) Floor Lamp; (20) Clock; (21) Diaper Caddy; (22) Basket; (23) Hamper; (24) Fox Pillow; (25) Charlotte the Dog Doll; (26) Lucy the Lamb Doll; (27) Cheetah; and (28) Panda (similar).

Our sweet fur girl, Victory, is pictured below in our baby’s crib when we were first getting our baby’s nursery together!  We love her so very much!


Stardust and Ashes, by Shannon Johnstone, Photographer

Have you seen these very moving images contained in the series entitled, Stardust and Ashes, shown below, by Shannon Johnstone?  I found these images to be remarkably touching and beautiful.  According to Johnstone, “I made these cyanotypes with the ashes of euthanized homeless animals from an animal shelter’s crematorium.  These animals died with nobody to mourn their passing, except maybe a few overwhelmed shelter workers.  I hope these images serve as a memorial to these animals, who were nobody and nothing.  Turned to dust and returned to the cosmos, they become everyone and everything.  Just as we all will someday.  Using my own breath and fingers to manipulate the ashes, I work the ashes into celestial configurations while the sun exposes the cyanotype turning the negative space to a Prussian blue.  With these images I hope to mourn the passing of thousands of our forgotten companions, and remind us that we are all connected and headed for the same fate: reduced to dust and returned to the stars.”

“As I am working, I am quite aware that I am working with deceased animals who were not lucky enough to find a home,” according to Johnstone.  “It is really important to me to treat their ashes with respect and dignity.”  On hot days, she sweats onto the fabric, leaving marks.  It used to upset her, but now she lets her own body–her breath and hands–interact with the ashes to create a picture.  The final prints are eight by ten inches, and she also makes giant murals at five by seven feet.  Because they are fabric, the sun shines through them.

Stardust and Ashes is a reminder of the impermanence of life and the recklessness with which we humans treat our fellow creatures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All images are courtesy of Mary Shannon Johnstone.

Fun Mini Holiday Gift Guide for your Pampered Furry Family Member!

Happy Holiday Season!  It is already that time of year!  Since our furry family members cannot be forgotten at the Holidays, below are some fun furry family member gift ideas that we love!

 

 

1. Filson Dog Leash – We got Victory this leash for Christmas, in the natural color, to match her fur, and we really like it!  We even had her initials engraved on the leash as well!

2. Orvis Tweed Dog Coat  – We got Victory this dog coat for Christmas and we really love the color and quality of this coat for cooler weather!  (This coat also comes in a hunter green color for male furry family members).

3. Harry Barker Dog Toys – We love the Harry Barker dog toys, especially the rope toys.  They are made of good quality materials and they last for a while.  Victory loves working her way through the rope toys!

4. Zuke’s Mini Naturals — These mini natural treats are fantastic!  Victory absolutely loves them!  And, the good news, is they are tiny and not too many calories per treat!

5. Dandy Design Personalized by Breed Dog Ornament — We love these ornaments.  They are great quality, handmade, and they come in all breed types (including different fur colors) and they come in a variety of scenes!  We have one for Victory and Biscuit for our Christmas tree!

6. Helen Levi Custom Dog Bowls – We got Victory a new water bowl in pink, with her name, for her birthday, and it works really well, while keeping her water cold!

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Monday!

#FindYourFido: Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

It is the #FindYourFido Adopt a Shelter Dog Month via the ASPCA!  Anyone who has been reading this blog, for any length of time, knows that dog rescue is near and dear to our hearts.  Victory is a rescue and Biscuit was a rescue.  So, when the ASPCA asked if we could share in this campaign, we were happy to participate and help spread the word about this important topic.

How can you get involved?  The public can get involved by visiting here and by using the hashtag, #FindYourFido, to promote shelter dogs, and searching for local adoptable dogs across the country.

Outlined below are two ways that you can get involved:

1. Post a Photo: You can post a photo of your pet looking adorable and share why dog adoption is important to you, along with this social media language like this: “Visit ASPCA.org/FindYourFido to join the adoption movement and help shelter dogs around the country!  #FindYourFido @ASPCA.”

 

 

2. Fido Cutout, “Virtual Foster”: Additionally, the ASPCA can also send you a cardboard cutout of Fido and you can be a “virtual foster” by posting photos of him (with or without your pet) on social media.  Below are a few samples of the cardboard cutout and here is some social media language you can use along with your image of the Fido “virtual foster:” “This is Fido, an ambassador for shelter dogs around the country.  Visit ASPCA.org/FindYourFido to find out how you can help! #FindYourFido @ASPCA.”

 

 

 

*All images (except for the image of Victory) contained in this blog post are courtesy of the ASPCA.

Pups in the Park!

On Saturday evening we took Victory with us to Pups in the Park at the Nationals!  This is our third year going to Pups in the Park with Victory!  The weather was beautiful and we had a fun time together!  Victory was brave and sniffed and met many dogs!  However, we did not see any other shelties at this game.  Victory also enjoyed part of a Shake Shack burger, which she loved!  Below are some iPhone photos from our visit!  We look forward to going back for more games next year and we plan to get Victory a Nationals’ jersey for future games!

Happy Friday!  We’re headed to the Shenandoah Valley for a long weekend with our fur girl, Victory!  Have a great weekend!

 


Recent Dog Artists’ Work

New Book: Being Human by William Wegman, is available for pre-order, which releases on October 3, 2017 by Chronicle Books.  This book contains over 300 images from Wegman’s personal archive.

 

 

New Book: Really Good Dog Photography is available for pre-order, which releases on October 5, 2017 by Hoxton Mini Press and Penguin.  This book features the work of 30 photographers focusing on dogs and man’s relationship with dogs.

 

 

Below are paintings by Robert James Clarke, whose recent collection of works, unites together dogs and some of their owners, painted nude or semi-naked.  “I wanted to paint nudes because there is an intimacy between the dog and the female form,” Clarke says.  “There is a sense of scale of movement that makes for interesting subject matter.”  The series, entitled, Hooray for Hollywood is now showing at the McAllister Thomas Fine Art Gallery in Surrey, England during September 2017.

Clarke’s paintings have gained attention, and Clarke regularly is commissioned to paint celebrities furry family members.  Clarke tries “to capture the essence of the dog. […] Each dog has a different personality: I try to capture that in paint. […] Sometimes it all comes together like magic: other times, it’s the smallest detail like adding a dot to the eye that makes the dog spring from the canvas.”

 

 

 

 

*All the above paintings are by Robert James Clarke.

Why you should sleep with your dog

We’ve all heard that we should not do it — invite your dog to sleep in your bed.  People believe it’s dirty, and it is just not good for you.  However, what if this is not entirely true?  There are actual health benefits to letting your furry family member spend the night and it is not just you who is better for all of that time together.  It is better for your dog, too!  When we first adopted Victory from the Michigan Sheltie Rescue, Inc., Victory, our beloved fur girl, made it known she wanted in the bed and, well, ever since, she has been sleeping with us in our bed!  Our very first night with Victory she hopped into bed with us and would not budge.  And, we would not want it any other way.  We love Victory and ‘night-night’ would never be the same without her tuck in routine consisting of play time, followed by her tummy and head massages, followed by a drink of water in bed before heading to sleep, along with lots of kisses from Victory.  Every morning we wake up with Victory, who sleeps above our heads, against the headboard.  She always sleeps as long as we do!  Sometimes Victory will hop back into bed after her morning potty, while ensconced in our pillows, and sleeps until the late morning!  It is really a ‘win-win’ for everyone.

Below are some reasons why you might consider having your furry family member sleep in the bed with you!

1. Dogs provide comfort.  Whether it is her worm body or rhythmic breathing, there is just something so comforting about a dog.  They make one’s bed feel even cozier.

2. Dogs fight insomnia.  A dog’s presence promotes calm, stress relief, and a feeling of safety.

3. A dog’s presence promotes a better night’s sleep.  A study found that getting close with your dog can boost serotonin, the chemical that is essential to regulating sleep.

4. A dog’s presence provides a happier mood.  Another benefit of sleeping with your dog can lead to falling asleep happier.  A study found that the interaction with your dog can boost one’s oxytocin, an essential chemical in both feelings of affection and happiness.

5. Snuggling with your dog relieves stress and anxiety.  As therapy dogs have shown, a dog’s presence is a great stress reliever.  A dog’s positive outlook is contagious, and their attentive nature is very reassuring.

6. Dogs provide warmth.  A dog’s warm bodies and tendency to curl up as close to their humans as possible work as a little radiator in the bed.  While this can be tough in the summer, while mitigated with air conditioning, who doesn’t love a little bit of natural warmth on a chilly night?

7. Dogs help humans deal with difficult times.  One thing that dogs offer without question is unconditional love.  For someone facing a difficult time, this type of connection can feel hard to come by.  To receive it, with no questions asked, can work wonders during a particularly tough time(s).

8. Dogs help make you feel safe.  Knowing that there is another presence watching over you when you are at your most vulnerable is such a comforting feeling.

9. Dogs help to lower one’s blood pressure.  Sleeping with dogs can be a vital part of your health routine.  A study found that getting close with your furry friend corresponds with lower blood pressure.  That is a pretty good reason to let your dog under the blankets!

10. It’s good for your dog, too.  There is nothing in the world that your dog loves more than you, so allowing them to spend that extra snuggle time will make her day.  They receive comfort from you in the same way that you do from them, so this sleep arrangement is good for everyone involved!

Our bed is now Victory’s bed, and we would not have it any other way, as evidenced below!

 

 

 

*Image Credit: Off The Leash, Rupert Fawcett

Acupuncture: For Animals

The Washington Post recently ran an article concerning acupuncture for dogs and cats in China.  Many humans, including myself, have tried acupuncture for various reasons.  Now, the human companions of animals are turning to acupuncture to help soothe pains experienced by their beloved furry animals.  A few images of dogs and cats receiving acupuncture treatment is shown below.  “Traditional practitioners believe acupuncture can stimulate blood circulation to promote healing and relieve aches and pain.”  The images below were taken at the Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Neurology and Acupuncture Animal Health Center.  Perhaps more humans, in the future, will take advantage of this treatment for their furry family members.

*Photo Credit: Aly Song/Reuters