This Day

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Last Saturday began as a normal day.  As I fed my two dogs and one cat, my oldest dog, Sierra, was behaving normally.  She’s been having a really hard time walking due to arthritis and old age, but she has been holding her own even though she’s been getting worse and worse over the past year or so.  However, by nine in the morning she’d lost control of her bowels, and was just lying on the floor looking upset and confused.  I called the vet and told them what was going on.  That afternoon we took her in, determined that there was nothing more to be done, and we had to let her go.  I can’t tell you how horrible this has been.  While I know that it was the best thing for her, it’s been the worst thing for us.  We have been devastated by this.  Every time I go through this, I both can’t believe that it’s happening, and vow to have no more pets.  My heart is ripped apart, and I feel as though I just won’t be able to get through it.  I’ve been crying almost non-stop for days, even waking up crying.

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This is the story of Sierra.  Our son wanted a dog of his own for his fifteenth birthday.  I took him to numerous shelters, however all of the dogs there needed to be the only dog in the family due to previous issues. Since we had another dog and two cats at that time, none of the dogs were a good fit.  I went on Pet Portal and found a no-kill shelter about two hours away.  They had pictures and histories of all the pets available on their web-site and we found the prettiest mixed-breed dog.  Her name was Sierra, and she was available.  So, we took a trip there with our other dog (to make sure that they would get along), and met her.  She was skittish and shy, but very loving and got along with our dog Shadow.  She had had a hard time of it, since she’d been an abandoned dog, and then had been adopted and brought back twice due to her nervous and skittish behavior.  However, we just knew that she was the dog for us.  And the rest is history.  At first, she would “squat and pee” when people approached her due to her fears of being abused.  But with time and love she calmed down enough to realize that she was safe.  Although for years she was afraid every time she got in the car that she was going to go back to the shelter,  she eventually came to believe that we were never going to dump her.   She was sweet, and funny.  Her favorite thing to do was to hop around on her back legs when she was excited and also when she wanted to see what it was that you were carrying.  We called her a Kangaroo due to this, and also due to her coloring.  Going for a walk and getting treats were two of her favorite things.  She also had a blue ball that squeaked, that we called her “baby ball” since she would walk around with it in her mouth, put it on our laps and we were expected to tell her how beautiful her “baby ball” was.  She’d then grab it and jump up on the couch to cuddle with it.  She was such a loving and sweet girl.

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In our family our pets are our family.  They are our children, they are loved and they are a huge part of our lives.  There is a hole in my life the size of our sweet and loving girl.  Sierra, you have been loved and will be forever missed.

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Is Pet Food Good for Your Pet?

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I recently began to make some of my own dog food.  Over the years, my dogs  routinely seem to have the same problems over and over again.  One of my dogs is now 16 years old, and has got hip problems.  Since she is some kind of mix (most curiously probably a Beagle/Greyhound mix), this is mostly due to old-age.  However, all my dogs have had non-cancerous growths on them, suspected (by the Veterinarian) to be caused by the dog food they eat.  A Vet who has since been fired for not advising pet-owners to pay for expensive unnecessary shots told me that a few years ago.  While I did change the dry dog food my dogs eat, I’m afraid that the damage has been done.

Do you know what is in most dog food?  First, there are the “rendered” products.  This includes the remains of animals slaughtered for human consumption – the entire left-overs, including rotting remains that have been left out in the hot sun for days.  Also, road-kill and euthanized dogs and cats collected from animal shelters, including the flea collars, and cancerous animals who were euthanized due to various diseases.  Spoiled human-grade meats are part of this rendering process, also.

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Pesticides enter this food-stream from slaughtered livestock, along with the various medications that were given to them to increase their growth and milk production.   These include large quantities of steroids and antibiotics.  Fish filled with mercury and other heavy metals found in the ocean are also included.

I’ve been feeding my dogs a mix of dry and wet vegan dog food for a while now.  However, the cost of vegan canned food was too much for my budget, so I’ve begun making them their wet food.  They also get some left-over meat from my husband who is still a meat-eater.  I’ve noticed that they are more chipper since they’ve been on this diet, and they certainly love their food.

My dog food includes the following:  sweet potatoes, red and gold potatoes, cut-up carrots, peppers, rice, lentils, squash, peas and green beans.  I peel the sweet potatoes and red/gold potatoes then cook them with the carrots until they are soft.  While they are boiling, I cook up the lentils and peel and cut the squash and cut the peppers.  After the mix of potatoes is soft, I’ll drain them and then mash them up a little.  Then, I’ll add frozen peas and/or green beans to the pot.  Usually I’ve got a good amount of left-over cooked rice and I add that along with the lentils to the pot.  I wait for the peas and beans to get warmed up and then just mix it all together.  I usually add some A-1 sauce to the mix for some flavoring.  Once it’s cooled a little, I put it in glass jars.  This will last about a week.  So, for an hour or so once a week of chopping and cooking, my dogs get food that they really love.  Just a note of caution, if you decide to try this, make sure that your ingredients are pet-safe.  A quick search will let you know if any ingredient is good or bad for dogs.

https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-industry-exposed/shocking-truth-about-dog-food/

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ss/slideshow-foods-your-dog-should-never-eat

 

Pets

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I’ve had an upsetting few days.  We have three pets that have all been rescued in one way or another.  We have a mixed breed female dog named Sierra that came into our lives about 11 years ago, when she was about one year old.  She’s the sweetest dog, however in the beginning she was so nervous.  She’d previously been brought home by three other families and then returned due to her nervousness.  For the first couple of years whenever we put her in the car, you could tell that she was convinced that we were bringing her back to the shelter.  Of course, in my family, once an animal is brought home, they’re one of the family.  We’d never return them.

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Since Sierra is getting old, and she’s a rather large dog, (she looks like a Beagle with extremely long legs and body), she’s been having various ailments.  One winter a few years ago, she broke her leg, and the Vet luckily saved her leg, and she recovered.  However, now that she’s gotten older, she’s got arthritis in both her back legs.  We’ve got her on pills for that, and pills to deal with the nausea that accompanies the arthritis pills. I also give her herbal remedies for her joints, so everything has been in a holding pattern as far as that’s concerned.

But, last week she couldn’t walk.  I thought that she’d had a stroke or something and we put her in the car and drove to the Vet at top speed.  Luckily, she just had Vestibular disease.  That’s basically vertigo in dogs.  Within hours after a shot and pills, she was fine.  We kept giving her the pills until they ran out, and she’s been okay since.  But then, two days later, she came down with a UTI.  I have to tell you, you’ve never lived until you’ve spent some time chasing after a dog that can barely walk, trying to collect her pee when she doesn’t want you anywhere near her.  It was a challenging proposition, but I persevered.  She’s doing much better now, but these last few aliments have taken their toll on her.  She still is very interested in her food, but she’s starting to “wind down”.  My heart is breaking.  Every time one of my fur babies starts to travel this path, I think I’m going to fall apart.  I can’t see how I’m going to make it through once again.  I know that I gave her love and a good life, but that’s little consolation.  They make our lives so wonderful, and they are our loves.

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Beating the Heat?

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What exactly is beating the heat?  There really is nothing you can do about the weather; and if that’s not scary, I don’t know what is.  We’ve had fourteen consecutive months of heat breaking weather, and now many parts of the U.S. are suffering.  I guess it’s our turn now.  We’re also in a drought, so I hope that we get rain soon.

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So, what have I been doing to deal with this weather?  Not a whole lot, I can tell you that.  I was off the computer for two-and-a-half-days; and even with that I didn’t get much done.  We don’t have air-conditioning, so I’ve been running almost all my fans, almost all day.  Even our basement is feeling the heat.  In fact, I skipped my exercising for four days this week.

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On a happy note, I’ve been puppy-sitting this week, so I did venture out for a walk each day.  It’s always important to keep all children, regardless of species well exercised.  After our walks, we all made sure to get hydrated, and lay in front of the fan.  We may have napped in front of the fan a few times, but hey! – it’s hot outside!

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I’ve had many gallons of water this week; and made a bunch of different “cold” food, including pasta salad, stuffed tomatoes and quick stir-fries – anything to avoid turning on the oven!

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Tomatoes stuffed with chickpea salad. Yum!

Another happy occurrence these past two weeks, is that I’ve gotten a lot of reading done; but other than that, not much.  I seem to have hit a little bit of a wall with my Camp NaNo, and no, I will not be “winning” this year.  Is it possible that your brain stops functioning in the heat and humidity?  If you’re living in the parts of the world where the weather is crazy hot, let me know what you do to “beat the heat”.

 

Adventures in Puppy-Sitting

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For the past week, I’ve been puppy-sitting my son and his girlfriend’s puppy.  He’s a three-month old Golden Retriever, who is the sweetest little puppy ever.  I’ve never had a puppy before, as all my dogs were rescue dogs, so this has been an adventure.

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Just look at this little face.

Our Border Collie was almost a year old when we got him, and his energy was off the charts.  He seldom slept and was ready to go for a long walk or play frisbee anytime, anywhere.  While Riley has a good deal of energy, he sleeps quite a bit after playing for a reasonable amount of time. Which is the only time I actually got anything done, as I had to play with him when he was awake.

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This looks like fun!

We’ve had a lot of fun this week.  I took him for some short walks, and he would run across the fields at top speed with his ears flying straight out behind him.  He especially looks like a lion cub when he’s running at top speed with his little tongue hanging out of his mouth.  Like all babies, puppies are incredibly cute and sweet, so I of course, have fallen in love!

Luckily we had sunny weather the whole time, so it was fairly easy to take him outside and throw the ball for him.  Then, he’d come in, throw himself down and take a nap.  Ah, the all-important quiet time.

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Riley has gone home for a few days, but he’ll be back for the weekend.  No more puppy-sitting, as his Mommy with be here too.  It was fun while it lasted and he’s a sweet boy, but it was hard to get anything done…the adorableness was too much to ignore!  So, I had an adventure right alongside him.  Such fun, and dogs are love with fur!

 

 

 

Singing to my Dogs

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Just not everyone wants to hear it!

 

I have to confess.  I sing to my dogs whenever I’m at home alone with them.  I will sing nonsense lyrics in various styles.  My favorite is opera, which I tend to sing quite loudly.  When the weather is nice and the windows are open, I try to sing in a less exuberant manner.  So, you may ask if my dogs like to be sung to.  Well, I don’t really think that they like opera.  They often look at me as if I were insane, (that’s actually a good question).

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I also sing while I take them for a walk.  This can, of course, lead to a few embarrassing moments.  Usually when I walk them during the week, no one is out and about.  After all, I do live in a rural area.  However, this nonsensical singing did, in fact, lead to one embarrassing moment recently.  I was happily walking and singing while trying to rhyme my lyrics – leading naturally to some silly lines – when I suddenly realized that I was not alone.  I was walking near some solar-energy guys who were putting up panels at the house I was walking by.  Once I realized that I was not alone, I stopped singing, and said hello to them.  They then clapped and whistled, telling me that my song had made their day.  I was a total diva and curtsied, doffing my invisible hat.  I then continued on my merry way, but didn’t sing again until I was sure I was alone.

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Of course, the one thing that I haven’t confessed to is that I have a terrible voice.  I have an extremely flat voice.  Seriously.  I think the only reason that I’m not tone-deaf is due to my playing the flute for many many years.   My mom and sister have really good voices, my dad is tone-deaf (that doesn’t stop him from singing) so I’m sure that’s where my charming voice comes from.  I also sang to my kids when they were young, and if I didn’t remember the actual lyrics, I simply made them up.  This lead to some strange consequences when my daughter was positive that the real lyrics to “Hush Little Baby” were the wrong ones (informing her teacher that she was wrong), and the ones that I made up were the right ones.  She was very upset with me when I told her that I had indeed made the lyrics up.  Hey, I can’t help it if I get “creative” with lyrics!

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To make matters even worse, I’m one of those people who sit in the car at red lights singing along to the radio while playing air guitar.  I try to reign myself in when I’ve got passenger’s, but seriously, we only have one life to live, and singing while playing air guitar is one of life’s little pleasures!

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So, my question to you is, am I the only one who walks around making up songs?  Does anyone else sing to their dogs or cats?  Let me know in the comments below.

These are a few of my Favorite Things

I don’t usually talk about where I find my happiness. I wonder why that is? Maybe I’m too focused on doing and accomplishing here. But I did want to talk about what makes me happy.

Can we go yet?

Can we go yet?

Walking thrills me. Really, it’s true. I walk every day during the week, but four days out the week I take my Border Collie for a walk at 4:50 am. We practically run, since if we don’t he would spend the whole time sniffing and peeing. Lovely, right? We run across all kinds of animals on these walks. A few weeks ago, I spotted something – not completely sure if it was an opossum or a skunk, running across a field right toward us. In the pre-dawn half-light, all I could see was the white back. You should have seen us run! I’m sure we looked completely comical as I ran down the street pulling my dog behind me. But we often see the turkeys moseying along across a field or crossing the road. I can’t wait to see their babies, so cute. There is a little mini-farm down the road from me, so we can hear the roosters from a long way away. There are also lambs and ducks there along with the hens. But the most exciting things are the horses. Horses are so curious they come over to see us most mornings, just wanting to say hi. Every once in a while I’ll get a glimpse of some deer in the fields. That’s a real bonus to getting up so early. flowers1

Nature is another thing that I need just like I need to drink about a gallon of water every day. Going for a walk helps, but watching the sunrise or sunset is one of my necessities for happiness. I also love to watch the greening of the trees, and the flowering of my plants. Great stuff!

My nature lawn filled with violets and dandelions.

My natural lawn filled with violets and dandelions.

My pets have always added so much happiness to my life. My Border Collie has the biggest personality I’ve ever seen in a dog. He is hysterical, whether running around the house at top speed while snorting and pretending to be a warthog, or cleaning himself like a cat, life is never boring with him around. Our other dog, a mixed breed is a real lady…until dinner-time, then you had better watch out or you’ll be stampeded to death. She goes with me on shorter walks since she broke a leg a few years ago, and it’s gotten a little arthritic as she’s aged. We also have a cat (my granddaughter) who is of course the Queen of the World. She’s got the loudest purr and only wants to be with my daughter. She’s the most loving cat I’ve ever seen.

Just sunbathing for now.

Just sunbathing for now.

Yes, it's true.  I AM Queen of the World!

Yes, it’s true. I AM Queen of the World!

My family has always brought me the most happiness in my life. I love to eat dinner every night with them. Right now my husband is working out-of-state, so it’s just the three of us. But we’ve had the best conversations lately and are really getting along (not an easy task when there are three adults living here). My two kids have grown-up to be interesting people. I love to listen to them. I learn the most interesting things.

So, there you have it, my list of some of the things that make me happy. What’s on your list?