Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I am full of win!

I pulled off straight A's in school this semester. You know you are a geek when you get a 99, 99, and 97 in college and get a little mad at yourself for the 97.

I've got my sights set on a set of magna cum laude graduation tassels. Go me!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Maximus' Urn

It's still not with me yet- the maker had some issues with the glaze so she is going to make another. I should have it home by what would have been his 9th birthday next month. Having Shelby around does help take my mind off of him, but I still burst into tears at random times. Yesterday, while cleaning out the front hall closet I decided it was time to let go of his last cone of shame. I cut out a small aquare of the baby blue plastic to hold onto and burst into tears. Thankfully I have an awesomely emphathetic little boy who rubbed my back, gave me hugs, and told me it would be ok. And I know it will be one day...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Scensty fundraiser for TABR

Hi all, I am fostering a dog for the Texas American Bulldog Rescue (Shelby). They are a small rescue with limited funds and have had a few major unexpected surgeries that have left them with considerable vet bills. They are currently participating in fundraising with Scentsy.

They are great for pet owners, parents and anyone else that loves great smells. This is perfect for Christmas shopping and 20% goes to the rescue. Go to lauraslovelysmells.scentsy.us and find our open party (on the left hand side of the screen) and click on the buy link next and shop away. Please consider this for your Christmas and holiday shopping.

Most importantly please forward and share this with your friends, family, and co-workers.

Thank You and Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 6, 2010

3 for the road

This weekend Becks and I took part in a transport to save 3 female boxers from a high kill shelter in Louisiana. Their final destination is cold and snowy Minnesota! It was a nice day, albeit windy across the great plains of Oklahoma, but uneventful. Well, except for everyone clamoring to sit on Beckett's lap!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Today the tree comes down from the attic along with all of our stockings. Except he won't be here and now I have a stocking with his name embroidered on it. It would simply be wrong to hang it. So, now I am off to search for new stockings because I just can't deal. I might not break down in tears every day, but I miss Maximus every single day. Almost 2 months later, it still doesn't feel real and it still isn't fair.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pics galore and a plea for help.

I have spent the past 2 Sundays at the local no kill animal shelter torturing the animals with my camera. I have taken over 2,000 photos for their use on their website, Petango, and special Animal Angel Tree. I have knees that look as if I have been working the corner if you know what I mean. My back is sore, my eyes are windburn, and I'm exhausted. But it is all so very worth it. Here are just a few sample pics of the babies waiting for their forever homes.

Now that you have seen the pics of some of the lucky adoptables at the no kill shelter I volunteer for, I respectfully ask for donations for Miss Shelby's struggling rescue group. With no shelter, no vets on staff, and no large private donors they are hurting for funds after a few medical emergencies and large unexpected vet bills. If you could all possibly spare even just $1 today to their ChipIn it would be immensely appreciated. Until we raise some funds and adopt out a few dogs we are on an in take freeze which means adoptable dogs such as Shelby will be euthanized in your local city shelter for lack of space in rescue. Sorry to be such a downer, but that's the sad reality of rescue. So few bullies ever make it out alive...

Here is the Texas American Bulldog Rescue ChipIn. I did donate as well- $25. I promise I talk the talk and walk the walk!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mean foster mommy

Dear Target,

Thank you for the cheap entertainment. The $1 bin headbands fit perfectly on the pups for fun photo ops.



Dear Target,

We hate you.

Not a fan of yours,
Bellona and Shelby

Monday, November 15, 2010

What is this red staining?

Hi there blogger friends. Despite having 2 mostly white dogs, I have never dealt with red staining on their fur. Seeing how Shelby was in a kennel for some time, she has red stained white paws and the white on her head is stained as well. We have not yet braved a bath but will later this week- any ideas on getting this staining out safely? I have been feeding her a high qaulity diet that is helping immensely, supplementing with fish oil, and applying a Resicort lotion to help clear the minor staph infection she had on her head. She's definately looking better, I would just love to speed up the process if I can... I'm impatient like that!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Becks and Shelby

By the time we are done with her, Shelby is going to be the perfect addition to a family with small kids. At this point, she wants love, love, and more love. I am turning her raised paw for attention into a high five so it doesn't morph into pawing at you incessantly. I think once she gets comfy enough, she might even be a lap snuggler! I know she's too big for most to consider a lap dog, but compared to mine it works.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Need tips for a timid dog / dog intros

Ok, so I've been all pictures and no talk. Today I am all talk, no pictures. Miss Shelby is settling in as best as a scared dog possibly can. That's where I need YOUR help.

I don't know if Shelby has lived inside a home, but she is potty trained. On night #1 there were no treats interesting enough to get her to venture outside with. She held it all night long. The next morning, I physically had to drag her every few feet, praise and love her, repeat, until we moved past our big bad pool to get to the yard (which was out of sight due to the layout of our yard). Once she saw the grass, she was thrilled and got down to business. Once done, she darted past the big bad pool, shaking, tail tucked, to the back door waiting to get back to the safety of our master bedroom. Last night and this morning it was easier to get her to the yard, but probably because the hard food switch and treats gave her the big D. Amazing that she held it like she did all day and most of the evening.

She likes to lay under my desk or in the safety of the ex pen we set up when we realized that asking her to climb up stairs to a plastic airline crate just wasn't a good choice for her right now. She will explore parts of the house with me, but shakes and tail tucks quite a bit. She and Bellona have met through the ex pen and have shared the same room while awake and sleeping while safely seperated by the ex pen. I have been praising and rewarding them both for good behavior. Bellona however likes to talk a lot and her talking is very growly. I try to redirect her and or have her move when she does that because I can't tell if it is further stressing Shelby out.

Last night, the babysitter who comes over so that I can study 2x a week opened the baby gate I had up keeping Shelby in the room with me and Bellona in the rest of the house. I didn't hear her do this (on the phone with the rescue) and turned around to see Bellona investiagating the contents of the ex pen. Shelby was under my chair and didn't move an inch and made no sounds which is a good thing- I think. I ushered Bellona out just to be cautious. I like dog intros slow and steady. Which gets me to thinking, if I can't get Shelby out of the bedroom, let alone the house, how can I intro them on neutral turf like I typically would after a long walk together? Add to that Shelby is HW+ and I don't want to over extert her or stress her out.

I'd love any tips you have for easing a soft and timid dog into a home. I am being patient with her but would love any insight on bringing her out of her shell and integrating her into our home so we can make her a wonderful family pet for someone. I am so used to pushy, dominant, stubborn dogs that I feel a bit lost with this sweet soul. I really appreciate the help my blogger friends.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Meet Shelby, our foster

Details to follow later. That sore you see if from her rubbing her kennel while stressed. Ouch!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shelby- our potential foster

Meet Shelby. She is an American Bully like Max and is currently in rescue but housed in a boarding facility for lack of an available foster home. This is where we come in. I will be taking Bellona to meet Shelby tomorrow. If all goes well, I will pick her up on Monday to begin fostering her. I don't anticipate problems, but never having properly socialized my dogs with a large variety, I need to make sure Bellona will be accepting of another dog and that Shelby won't care that Bellona is queen bee. Beckett and I will then pick her up on Monday to make sure a little person doesn't scare the beejesus out of her. Thankfully, with as crabby as Bellona can be, Becks is dog savvy enough to know that Shelby will require special and supervised only handling.

Shelby is understandably experiencing the stress of long term boarding. It's really not an ideal situation for her and as result she is sad, scared, and lonely. We hope to shower her with TLC and help her re-adjust to life in a family situation which will make her more adoptable. Lucky for her I love to take photographs so I can pimp her out properly; it's a fact that great photographs get dogs adopted.

Please shower us (and Shelby) with lots of good luck vibes!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

4 weeks today

To celebrate Maximus' life and not our loss, today I signed up to foster for Texas American Bulldog Rescue. I'm sure we will do some sort of a homevisit/reference check and all that jazz, but I know soon enough we will help save a life.

Dear Maximus, send us a nice dog who reminds us a little of you in all the right ways.

Love always,
Your mommy

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Want to foster / Scared to foster

Princess was my lone foster dog and one I did all on my own. Her integration into my pack was slow and steady- many weeks of baby gates, and even then Princess escaped the gates to make her own hellos. I get nervous introducing strange dogs and thus my dogs have had select friends to play with. Bellona played well with Princess post her adoption after a long walk on neutral turf. I didn't let Maximus play with Princess for a long time because it was so stressful on me; Maximus was so enthusiastic that he often missed another dog's warning that he was simply too much for them and I was worried he would start a fight on accident. Bellona and Maximus do/did great with Sidney who is a regular guest in our home though playing for my old gal is really pretty minimal these days. She gets the odd zoomies, but mainly prefers to lounge and observe.

But my house seems lonely without the force of nature Max was and I know I could help save a life. We always said if we were ever a 1 dog house, we would foster. But now I'm scared. How do I take on an unfamiliar dog with a crabby resident dog who is all alpha, a 3 1/2 year old, working FT, and school. Am I insane? How could I successfully find a foster that would work well in our home? Could it be a puppy? A pregnant or nursing mom? A male? Not to mention that Beckett has told daddy he misses Max and wants another dog (sniffle). Could Becks be ok with taking care of a dog only to let it go? Ack. I feel so lost. I keep hoping Max will send the right dog to us, but at this point, I'm not sure I'd recognize it.

I'd love any thoughts you all might have on the topic- pros and cons welcome.

ps- that's Carlos the Wonderdog, a friend's foster through Broken Hearts Mended Souls Rescue

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sneak peak of Bellona and Becks

Just one of the many awesome shots of Bellona and Beckett. If only the hubby and I were as photogenic!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In the spirit of Halloween

Last year's Maximus pumpkin. It was so hard to carve, but now in hindsight, all too perfect.

ps- Becks was a scuba diver.

pps- you can get your cool dog stencils here

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The case for pet insurance

Maximus was one in a million and as a result, we spent close to that on his care. I know not everyone could have afforded him this care, but with pet insurance (and care credit), you can eliminate some of the pressure of decisions made based on cost. For some couples, pet insurance keeps the marriage happy as one usually has a higher limit than the other for care. My husband was not a fan of the large vet bills, but he knew when he married me that when it came to care of those I love money is no object provided quality of life is there. If you ever have a few dollars to spare, In Memory of Magic is an organization that is always in need to donations to help provide care for companion animals when their caretakers are financially challenged. This link for a now defunct group has many similar links to help cover costs of medical care for animals and owners in need.

This is not a complete list, but rather the really big ticket items we spent on Maximus in his 8+ years. This does not include the multitude of regular visits, follow ups, or trips for assistance in inducing vomitting to prevent foreign body obstructions. I would happily spend all of this and more for any dog in our care.

* TPLO #1 - $3,500 (at board certified surgeon)

* TPLO #2 - $3,500 (at board certified surgeon)

* Foreign Body Surgery #1 - $3,500 (at emergency vet)

Foreign Body Surgery #2 - $3,500 (at emergency vet)

Foreign Body Surgery #3 - $1,300 (at regular vet and less invasive than prior)

MRI, euthanasia, and private cremation- $3,200 (at neurologist)

* items we did not have insurance for at the time

Total- $18,500

With our Pets Best Insurance, 80% approx. of his recent medical bills were covered. I am thankful to them for not excluding my senior nor dropping us after his repeated foreign body surgeries. If you have ever considered pet insurance, be sure to look around and look for what is included and what is not in each policy. I can personally vouch for Pets Best and am so happy I never once had to consider if we could afford to treat Maximus, because Maximus was priceless. Unfortunately, his nine lives ran out and no amount of money could have changed this outcome.

All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again...

Just need a place to put it out there

Maximus has been gone for 13 days. 13 days worth of thoughts and questions need to come out.

I have tried my best not to Google but when I did, I think my theory has some weight. Given Maximus' serious uptake of ingesting non-food items in this past calendar year I have to wonder/think his brain lesions had something to do with this. There is research out there supporting this. And a part of me wonders that if we had thought of this sooner, could we have had a few more great days with him? When I pressed for answers for his increasing pica, it always came back to me needing more preventions because some dogs were just like this. I felt like a crappy pet owner this past year with our multiple foreign body surgeries and trips to the e-vet. I was *this* close to ordering him a scary muzzle to wear at home. The tape measure I bought to take the measurements of his head sits unopened on my kitchen counter. I don't know what to do with it now. So it sits there reminding me that I miss my dog.

More than missing him, I feel robbed. While Max was technically classified as a senior, he didn't act it and he didn't show any signs of slowing down. I always thought Bellona would be the first to break my heart. I had no time to prepare for my dog to die and the hole it would leave in my heart. I didn't get the opportunity to take him home and spoil him rotten one last time. It's not fair and it hurts. Especially when earlier this week I forgot and went to wake Max for one last potty break before bed before remembering he's gone...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Banana Popsicles

Tillie, we hope dog heaven is full of banana popsicles. Maximus never had one, so please introduce them to him. You can check out his class Sock Eating 101 though something tells me your tastes are more refined.

Today one more angel gains her wings

Please visit Tille on her blog here and send your condolences.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Holiday Bellona

Bellona sporting the bow she wore to our holiday photos this year and working it for a cookie.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Here come the holidays

On Sunday, we are taking our annual photos for our holiday cards. It is really sinking in that Maximus is no longer with us. It sucks. We go all out for our holiday cards thanks to my friends who are pro photographers and donate all of their sitting fees for holiday cards to a local women's shelter. Not to mention it's our once a year chance to have a family photo taken. Being a hobby photographer, I'm never in photos of our home life. Sadly, I think there are maybe only a handful of pics of me with my Max as a result.

I've been thinking of some way to still mention Max without being too weepy for the general public. I think I've come up with a brilliant solution. I am going to use one of my photographs of him and make custom stamps with his cute goofy mug. You can do this here.

Another great way to spread the message of animal rescue is by purchasing Zazzle's holiday stamps in conjunction with the HSUS here. I love the Patrick McDonnell "Mutts" comic strip ones the best.

Last year we incoporated the importance of rescue on the back of our cards stating under the family pic with the beasts that 7-8 million animals are put to sleep every year for lack of a place to call home. Maximus and Bellona encourage you to adopt, don't shop, for your fur-ever best friend. When I have a captive audience, why not share my passion?

So, does anyone else go all out in including their pets in their holiday cards?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In happier times

It's been 1 week today. I am trying my best not to wallow in my sadness for fear it could swallow me whole. I am trying hard to remember the happy times, the times when Max was simply being Max instead of the box of ashes I picked up on Saturday.

Maximus loved the sun tan ledge in the pool. He could not swim, in fact he sunk like a stone, but he jumped into this shallow water even when we didn't want him to. He loved to kick up the water, bite at it, and chase any reflections the sunlight made on the bottom of the pool. He developed a habit of trying to dig to China which I encouraged because it helped file down his front nails. I know he looks fierce in the top photo, but I was having fun with my camera and action shots while Beckett and daddy shot a water gun across the pool to an excited Maximus. I'm so thankful it's fall and we won't be using the pool anymore this year. It just wouldn't be right to be in it and not have Max there to play with.