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Posts from the ‘Dog Related Information’ Category

ASPCA: Dog Fighting, A Fighting Chance

Today is National Dog Fighting Awareness Day.  The ASPCA recently contacted me and asked me to share this information with you, kindly asking you to take a stand against the barbaric practice by taking legislative action in support of the HEART Act while also posting on social media to help spread the word.  As way of background, the HEART Act is important legislation that would help victims of dog fighting by decreasing their length of stay in temporary shelters and allowing them to be rehabilitated and re-homed faster.

As a result, the ASPCA would love your help in raising awareness by doing a blog piece or sharing one of the following, listed immediately below, on social media anytime during April 2019:

  • Today, I’m helping the @ASPCA fight for victims of dog fighting and put an end to this barbaric practice. Visit ASPCA.org/AFightingChance to give dogfighting rescues a #FightingChance
  • In honor of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, sign the HEART Act, which helps victims of dogfighting find loving homes quicker: ASPCA.org/AFightingChance @ASPCA #FightingChance

Thank you so much for your help with this important cause helping these dogs have a fighting chance!

 

 

The above image is courtesy of the ASPCA.

Cone of Shame

 

Winnie Au’s Cone of Shame Kickstarter project raises awareness and funds for rescue dogs with urgent medical needs.  The funds pledged through the campaign enables the printing of twelve images as a pull-out notecard set.  Each set includes twelve 5×7 inch notecards, printed on a beautiful extra thick uncoated stock, with a wraparound cover and embossed logo (designed by Four&Sons).  Please check out the Kickstarter page and video (including behind-the-scene footage) to bring this project to life.

All proceeds will be donated to Animal Haven, a no kill shelter based in New York City.  Their Recovery Road Fund helps pups with extreme medical conditions get the necessary treatment.

You are welcome to donate, if this cause and project sparks something within you.

Happy Friday!

Family: Integrating Your Furry Family Member

So Victory’s life (as well as ours) got turned upside down when Baby Alex entered our lives.  We knew everything would change, but we really did not know what that change would feel like until Alex got here.  We are now starting to get the hang of things, even though Alex is constantly changing.  Doug and I always were aware and wanted to be sure that Victory was not left out, as she is a family member, and she was here before Alex.  So, we have done our very best to keep Victory involved and included, like she always has been for the five years she has been with us since rescuing her prior to Alex.  We wanted to be sure Victory felt like her place was still her place, if that makes sense.  What has worked for Victory during this life transition is always keeping Victory included and involved in our daily living; not making too many changes with her routine; making time for just Victory without Alex; and loving her as always.

I think Victory knows she is included, even though things have changed for everyone.  Victory now crosses the bridge in our neighborhood when we go on walks with Alex; prior, Victory refused and we carried her over the bridge each day, for our walks, for the past five years, so we think Victory wants to be included and not left out whatsoever!  (In the past, we hired trainers that came to the house, and nothing worked to get Victory to go over the bridge using her own legs except for Alex!)  Victory still always loves to be in the photos, which is great, and we always give her the choice to stay for photos!  She has adapted well, and she is very tolerant of Alex, thankfully!  As shown in the image below, Alex is getting to know her sister well, even picking up her front paw!  Normally, Victory would not allow another person outside of Doug and I to do that, so we consider this progress, as Victory knows how she likes things and she can be very particular at times!  (For example, each time it snows, Doug has to dig out a potty pad for Victory so she will go potty; otherwise, we will walk around for what seems like forever, as she does not want her body to hit the snow during potty — who can blame her, right!)

Victory has even learned the word “sister” and she knows that Alex is her sister and she will go running to her when we tell her to go see her sister!  Alex lights up, smiles, and chuckles each time she sees Victory whether that be when she spots Victory from her high chair or when Victory enters her nursery, etc.!  As a daily ritual, Alex loves to give and Victory loves taking little treats from Alex whether that be from the palm of her hand or from her tummy!  We really are looking forward to the spring and summer for some outings and adventures together, as the weather here has not been conducive for taking the two of them out together this winter; and spring, fortunately, is only about a month away, thank goodness!  So, we feel really fortunate and we are delighted that our cherubs love each other, Victory appears to be integrated with everyone in our family, and it will be fun to witness their relationship continue to develop!  Who knows, at some point, when Alex is in a toddler bed, Victory might even want to sleep with her some day!

 

 

 

Christmas Time: Visiting Santa

This past weekend we took Baby Alex and  Victory to visit Santa, an annual tradition!  The girls were both very good!  Of course, Santa and his helpers remembered our beloved little fur girl, as this is Victory’s fifth time visiting Santa!  Santa also welcomed Baby Alex with open arms, too, celebrating her very first visit to see Santa!  This is the only Santa in our area that welcomes both of our girls!  You can see Victory’s previous trips to visit Santa hereherehere, and here.  Victory wore her Holiday velvet ruff and Baby Alex wore a burgundy dress to coordinate for their visit with Santa!  All proceeds from visiting Santa are donated to a local dog rescue, a very good cause near and dear to our hearts as Biscuit and Victory are rescues.  If you are interested, be sure to check with and visit your local pet stores to see if there is a Santa in your area that specializes in furry family members!

A few images from Baby Alex’s and Victory’s first visit together with Santa are shown below along with images of Victory from the previous four years’ visits with Santa!  The time really does fly by too quickly!  We are so grateful for our fur girl, Victory!

Additionally, each year, I have a photo ornament made with Victory and Santa for our Christmas tree!  This year, I made an ornament of our Baby Alex and Victory together visiting Santa; and one of Victory visiting Santa!

Other images include our decorated little live Christmas tree from Maine that we order online each year, along with a few images of Baby Alex and Victory in their matching red outfits by our Christmas tree, including our personalized Christmas stockings!

We have so much to be grateful for this year!  We are looking forward to celebrating our first Christmas together with both of our girls!

We hope that you are enjoying the Holiday season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Gift: Fur Mammas and Human Mammas

We fortuitously and recently came across Le Papier Studio, where we designed a necklace with custom engraved stencil charms of our Baby Alex and beloved Victory!  The stencil of Baby Alex is based on an image from when she was three months old; and the stencil of Victory is based on an image from earlier this past spring while we were on our babymoon!  I took an iphone image of our Baby Alex, in profile, which was no small feat, and I found an image of Victory, in profile, facing the same direction, shown immediately below.  I then placed my order with the images and provided a facing forward image of Baby Alex for reference.  A few weeks later, I received a mock-up along with the actual size of the charms engraved with the girls’ nicknames, “Alex” and “Tory,” shown below; and then I recently received the finished product in the mail, also shown below!  The whole process took about a month.  I love my necklace so much with our ‘girls’ and it is a really neat keepsake that I will cherish forever!  This makes a wonderful gift for any fur mamma and/or human mamma!

 

Images:

 

 

Mock-Up:

 

Finished Product:

#FindYourFido: Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

It is the #FindYourFido Adopt a Shelter Dog Month via the ASPCA!  Approximately 3.3 million dogs enter the U.S. shelters each year.  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.  Please consider adopting a dog who needs a forever home.  I can attest that you will not only change the life of a dog forever, but your life will also, simultaneously, be forever changed in an extremely positive way that you cannot even imagine!  Biscuit and Victory have changed our lives for the better forever!  We cannot imagine life any other way!  A few images of the transformation of our precious Biscuit and Victory are shown below!

 

 

 

 

The extraordinary transformation of our rescue dogs, Biscuit and Victory, are shown immediately below!

 

Biscuit and Victory are integral family members!

 

Victory is recently now a “big sister” and she is my “co-mamma!”  She has grown so much and loves taking care of her baby Alex!  You can watch a very short video of Victory taking care of her sister, baby Alex, here!

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.