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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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!

 

 

 

My Gratitude

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I wanted to take this opportunity to write a post about the things that I’m grateful for.
My body. Really and truly, even though I’ve got some health issues, I am really grateful for my body. My eyes can see the wonders of the world; my legs and feet can take me to the places that I want to go; and my arms and hands can hug and hold the people and animals that I hold dear.

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My family and animals. First of all, I don’t know how I would survive without my children and pets. My children are the first thing I think about when I wake up, and the last thing I think of when I go to sleep. They are the best things about my life.

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My home life. We have no drama; no screaming and yelling; no fighting and upset. Okay, sometimes there is a little, but nothing that lasts. People living together don’t always get along; however, when we have spats they last maybe half-an-hour. That’s it. Like I said, no drama.

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Nature. I am lucky enough that even though I live in a pretty populated state, I live in “the quiet corner”. I can see the stars at night. Often it’s so quiet where I live that you can hear yourself breathe. I can see woods from all sides of my house. There are deer and turkeys aplenty. We have a horse farm up the street. The beauty of nature is right outside my door.

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These are just a few of the things that I’m grateful for. I’ll keep listing them on and off on this blog when I need to remind myself of how unbelievably lucky I am. What are you grateful for?

Feeling Over-whelmed and Unorganized

I started taking some classes recently, and I’ve been having a hard time dealing with them. I can’t seem to find a regular time to do my classes, or to plan on when to listen to them. It’s been so long since I took any classes, that all I feel is relief that these are on-line and I can finish up whenever I want. This could perhaps be my problem, since I don’t have a deadline; but I’m so unorganized and confused as to what time of day is the best to study. It seems that as soon as I decide that this or that time is the best, something comes up and interferes with my plans.

Last week it was my pets. My daughter’s cat was very sick and had to go to the vet twice. We spent countless hours worrying about her, trying to get her to eat, and generally feeling exhausted with stress, that my on-line school suffered (so did hers). It’s a terrible thing when a beloved pet is ill. She seems to be on the mend now, but is still a source of constant worry.

This week I seem to be fighting the need to fall-clean the house; and my husband may be coming home for a few days. He’s been working out of state all summer, and nearing the end of the job; however, there will be a week’s lag in time for some much needed materials to come in, and he will be coming home for those few days. This of course will send the household into a frenzy, since he’ll be using some of his vacation days to get some things done around the house. Things that I’ll be expected to drop everything for, and help with.

So, now that I’ve listed all my excuses, I’m going to try and actually listen to a lesson!  I’ll just have to do what I can do, when I can do it.

The Price of Pets

     Pets are great. They add so much to our lives. I actually prefer my pets to a lot of people I know. They’re happy if you just pay a little attention to them, they love you unconditionally and keep on loving you, even if there are times that you don’t have a lot of time to spend with them (because you’ve got a newborn in the house). They’re just wonderful, and make life a lot more bearable.

     The bad thing is that they don’t live as long as we do. In my lifetime, I’ve had a total of eight dogs and six cats. When I was little, our dachshund died just before Christmas one year. He had been my best friend, and I was so upset for a long time. I still miss him. My parents bought me a Scottish terrier for my birthday when I turned 12. We only had him for about six months when my Dad took him to the Humane Society without my knowledge. I was so angry that I didn’t speak to my parents for five or six months after that. Once I got older I got a cat named Bandit. He would get in bed between my husband and me and actually managed to shove my husband out of bed. He was quite rude to our kids, but he could sometimes be loving to them, also – after all, his was a cat.  We had him for a long time, but eventually he did get sick and I had to have him put to sleep. At the same time we had dogs and other cats that all ended up in doggy or kitty heaven.

     After our wonderful, loving Black Lab had to be put to sleep, I said that I’d had enough and couldn’t keep doing this over and over. My husband came home with an abused Border Collie a few days after my little speech. Of course he lives here now with us, and has added so much to our lives.

     But, on Saturday, I once again had to bring a cat to the Vet for his final trip. Our seventeen year old cat, Pink Panther was having medical issues that really had no resolution other than death. So, we put him to sleep. I’m not over it, and probably never will be. I still dream about all my dogs, Rhett, Mac, Leggo, Striker, Socrates, and Shadow. Most of them were rescue dogs, and we’ve never gone to a breeder for a dog. We’ve given abused dogs a happy new home where they are loved. I dream about all my cats, Bandit, Riff, Raff, Riffraff, and Pink Panther. All of them were abandoned cats that someone just dumped in the road. They’ve all added so much to our lives, and I can’t imagine what our lives would have been like without all that they’ve given us.  Pets are wonderful, fantastic and great. But, when they leave us, the hole they leave is unbearable.