For the Love of Dogs

Yesterday I got to talk with a sorority sister about her new dog and dogs in general. Dogs (particularly mine) are my favorite thing to discuss. Since I enjoy the topic and I’m a self-proclaimed expert, I figured why not dedicate a post to my favorite domesticated creature.

[ Note: I am not an expert. I am not a doctor or a breeder. I have had dogs all my life and draw my “facts” from the experiences I’ve had with them. ]

 Ly

Dog food companies are out to make a buck and you’re better off doing your research, talking to your vet, and monitoring your dog. Our dogs don’t have a scientifically formula-ed, organic, all natural diet. We feed our dogs a grocery-store dog chow and the vet is 100% ok with it. Lylee has a sensitive tummy and Enzo is a picky eater, but they both love their food.

If you’re trying to cut costs or looking for a healthy alternative, skip the dog treat aisle and instead go for some baby carrots, bananas, green beans, and broccoli. All these things are great for dogs and most have little to no calories. Plus, a $15 bag of Beggin’ Strips doesn’t even last as long as a $2 bag of miniature carrots. Broccoli is known to reduce the risk of certain cancers in dogs by 60%. Sign me up!

Speaking of risk reduction, did you know that with every heat cycle your dog goes through her risk of cancer increases? Get your pets spayed/neutered! If you’re worried about money there are a ton of organizations and shelters/humane societies that will help with costs. Please, please, please protect your dog!

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“I’m neutered and still cute as a button!”

It sounds a little heartless, but if you have a puppy crate-training is your best friend. Both of our fur-kids sleep with us, but they started with crate training. There are plenty of how-tos and tips on the internet so I won’t go into that, but when your dogs thinks of his crate as his bedroom it will help you with feeding, house-breaking, and even bed time. Never ever ever use the crate for punishment- it should be associate with good things (treats, personal space, comfort, etc.). Our dogs aren’t allowed in the other one’s “bedroom.”

All dogs are different so it’s really important to be able to read your dog. I have been bit multiple times because I couldn’t take a hint. (I was very young and unsupervised.) Like people, dogs get irritated and fussy, so it’s important to understand their body language.

In my opinion, mutts are the best! Obviously this isn’t a fact since all dogs are great, but I like to think that mutts take the best qualities from their ancestor’s breeds and combined them to form the perfect dog. It has been proven that mixed breeds tend to have less medical issues.

Letting your dog choose you is really important. I have had 6 main dogs in my life. Three of those dogs were strays or spontaneous decisions, but the other three were dogs that we actively sought out and contemplated adopting. With each of those dogs we knew it was imperative to “click” with the dog. (You wouldn’t invite someone to live in your house if you didn’t get along with them, would you?)

My parents adopted our first family dog (Bruno) from the pound and decided on him when he was the only puppy to ignore the food bowl and come trotting over to Mom for snuggles. We also knew Enzo was the one when he wouldn’t stop climbing all over Kyle. I love the feeling of “finding the one.”

"Thanks for loving me, Mom. Even though I ate the entire garden last year."
“Thanks for loving me, Mom. Even though I ate the entire garden last year.”

I’ll wrap it up for now, but look for dog related posts in the future. I hope some of these stories/experiences/tips were a little helpful! Did I miss anything?

Do you have a dog? What’s his/her/their name(s)? Have you picked up any pet parenting tips along the way?

-Louise

** I’m a big advocate of rescuing dogs and not going through breeders and ESPECIALLY not buying from a pet store or puppy mill. You can also find purebreds in shelters/pounds/rescues- as always, DO YOUR RESEARCH!

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Jamaica

I consider myself a polar bear-type person, but Ohio has officially beat me down and I am dreaming of warmer weather. More specifically, I keep having flashbacks to Jamaica, where K and I went on vacation last September.

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I need to be here again. Right now.

We were originally going to go on a cruise, but when our travel buddies found out they were expecting (a child) K and I decided we’d switch it up and find an all-inclusive resort. Thank to Travelocity Vacation Packages, I booked a 4 day trip to the Jewel Paradise Cove. Did I mention that K and I traveled to this resort- airfare, food, & alcohol included- for less than $1,500 TOTAL? Deal of a lifetime.

Jewel

Seriously, though. Shut up and take my money.

K and I didn’t really sleep the night before we left because he is a last minute packer (which means I have to pack his things at the last minute) and he needed to tie up all his business-loose-ends. We left for the airport super early so that we’d be able to get to Jamaica with as much time as possible to have fun.

So. Tired. (but still smiling!)
So. Tired. (But still smiling!)

I won’t go day-by-day, but we had some dinner that first night and then passed out for +14 HOURS. Hey, it’s called vacation for a reason, right?

We spent our days lounging on the beach and relaxing in the beautiful room. Our sleeping quarters were centrally located so we had the beach on one side, a yummy pizza/Italian food place on the other, and pools all over the place. There were 3 pools, free water activities, and +5 places to eat on site. And so. much. alcohol. Do you know how weird it is to get a meal or a drink and not have to pay?! It’s weird… (We did tip often, though.)

One evening we went to the fancy hibachi restaurant on-site. YUM!
One evening we went to the fancy hibachi restaurant on-site. YUM!

K likes to lay around and watch TV or sleep on vacation, but I am the person who hates wasting one minute of potential adventuring. (We had a little tiff about this while on the island, but I’ll get to that…) Because of my pushy nature, I got what I wanted and we signed up for two excursions. The first was included in our package: Climbing up Dunn’s River Falls!

James Bond scenes were filmed here!
James Bond scenes were filmed here!

Our second excursion was out-of-pocket and included zip-lining, a sky lift ride, and “bobsledding.” Honestly, zip-lining was the best part. It was AWESOME!

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I'm the little human flying through the jungle...
I’m the little human flying through the jungle…

 

The sky (ski) lift ride to Mystic Mountain
The sky (ski) lift ride to Mystic Mountain

It was a very, very good trip. Despite him not being much of a traveler, I love going places with K.

Oh yeah… our little fight…
Well, I was mostly mad because it was Day 3 and K just wanted to hang out in the room a bit and watch TV. I wanted to go play giant chess (which I don’t know how to play) or swing in a hammock or anything. Quite honestly, I wasn’t being fair since we’d already climbed a waterfall and zip-lined. Well, I got mad and shut myself in the bathroom and fell asleep on the (heated) floor. When I finally woke up an hour later, I discovered that the floor had burnt my thigh like a sunburn.

I am very, very careful to wear sunscreen and protect my skin (cancer runs in the family) so the only burn I came back  from Jamaica with was one I’d gotten from the floor. Yep. That’s usually how it goes for me, hahaha.

Another fun thing about traveling with K is that we make up nicknames and back-stories for almost everyone we meet. This is especially fun at a resort or on a cruise because you keep seeing them over and over!

Have you ever been to Jamaica? What are some of your favorite/crazy/wacky vacation stories? Have you ever burnt yourself on a heated floor?

-Louise

I Love Sundays

This Sunday was such a perfect day. I love Sundays because of their lazy nature. I usually start the day with church & a family breakfast, but this weekend my husband took the day off and we played hooky from all responsibility. It was fantastic.

Sundays

Our dogs let us sleep in later than usual so I didn’t even roll out of bed until 9:45! I let K sleep in a little later while I let the pups out to potty, fed them breakfast, and surface-cleaned the first floor. I was scrolling through blogs and snacking on a blueberry muffin & some tea when K came downstairs.

We decided we needed a humidifier in our house (it’s like an electricity factory up in here) so I convinced K to drive up north with me to a larger city so we could browse Target (and get Starbucks). He agreed to go (WHICH NEVER HAPPENS) so we got dressed and left for “the big city” around 11:30.

Shopping with K is like shopping with a 7 year old.
“Will you buy me this?”
“Can I just get one more thing?”
“I don’t wanna stand in line.”
“No! Don’t leave me with the cart!”
He’s so ornery. Despite his immaturity, I love shopping with him. We found the humidifiers and picked one out. They had some nice, mature models, but we liked the frog one, so we went with that. Maybe we both turn into 7 year olds….

Frog
Freddy the Frog

So we came to Target for one inexpensive thing and ended up spending $150. How does that always happen??! We did find some neat artwork for the bathroom and the dining room, so I’m not upset about it. Also, we grabbed some snacks for the NASCAR race (which we missed the start of because I lost track of time).

Another plus to the afternoon? I got my last star at Starbucks and I am now a GOLD CARD MEMBER! Yessssss!

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My excitement level is embarrassingly high.

We headed home and turned on the Daytona 500 to find we’d only missed 7 laps! Woo! As I mentioned recently (25 Facts About Me), I am a huge NASCAR fan. It’s the only sport my hubby & I watch regularly. The race was sooo good (except the final lap- stupid caution)!

Race Day SNACKS!
Race Day SNACKS!

The race ended just in time for K to head to his church meeting. I put the cuddly pups away and drove to my grandparent’s house for Sunday Supper. (It’s a weekly thing.) When dinner was finished I scrolled through Facebook and saw friends of ours lost their dog. My mom and I decided we’d drive out to their property and make a few passes calling for the pup. We didn’t have any luck, but we’re all still holding out she finds her way home.**

K and I arrived home at the same time so he went downstairs to his office to do some work because I flipped on the Oscars. (I’ll catch up with Downton Abbey tonight!) I love, love, love that Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel won so many awards! He’s one of my favorite directors!!

I was tweeting about the Oscars and about Downton Abbey. PetSmart favorite-d AND replied to my #PetParents tweet and DA re-posted my tweet! That’s never happened! I was/am pretty excited!!

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We ended the day by going to bed at the same time and drifting off to the end of the award show. It was a simple day, but it was a happy day!

What’s your favorite day of the week? Do you like lazy days or do you prefer the busier ones?

 -Louise

**The lost dog has been found & is now safe and warm at home!

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

25 Facts About Me

I talk about my experience and my feelings on here, but there aren’t many concrete facts about me floating around. In an effort to help readers get to know me and enjoy my blog more, here are 25 random facts about me.

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1. Fall is my favorite season and it just doesn’t last long enough in Ohio

2. NASCAR is my second favorite season- it’s my favorite sport and there’s nothing like experiencing it live

3. If I owned a fox as a pet I would die happy… but at the same time I am 100% against domesticating wild animals… so I will never own a fox

4. My love for elephants stems from two things: my experiences in India and my mom’s love of elephants

5. I have been cruelty-free since high school- all my toiletries and household products are animal friendly

6. Someday I’d like to raise my own chickens, pigs, and cows

7. I have been to +20 concerts, including Warped Tour, & I’ve seen over 50 singers/bands live… This summer we’re seeing Foo Fighters!

8. I had to text my husband to count all the people we’ve seen live…

9. I met K when I was 15 and he was 19; we started dating 2 years later

10. I don’t like yogurt

11. I love all “horrible” food: french fries, chips, ramen noodles, imitation crab meat

12. My dog is named after a Ferrari

13. I took the first second job I could get out of college- some days I enjoy it and some days I feel lost

14. I really want to write a novel. I have 70 pages written and typed

15. I doubt my writing/story telling abilities daily

16. I dream of opening an indoor dog park/dog shelter

17. Motorcycles, open-top water slides, and steep cliffs freak me out because I visualize accidents happening

18. I’m obsessed with Henry XIII and the Tudor dynasty

19. I hate lotion and my skin usually resembles an alligator

20. When I’m faced with a big decision or issue I go to my brother for advice

21. I have a 14 year old, black cat that lives at my parents’ house- her name is Rascal

22. I rescued an owl one summer.. I named him Seymour

23. This is the age I wanted to freeze time and stay at forever (23)

24. I want to travel to every continent- two or three times over

25. I’m more confident and happy with myself and my life than I’ve ever been

There ya have it! Any questions? Do any of these resonate with you?

-Louise

I’m Not Good at Skiing

This weekend I’ve concluded that I’m not good at skiing.

My brother invited me to go night skiing with him & his girlfriend (Christina) & their friends. K was in Texas and I was free so I said yes. (I hate turning down fun activities.) After work on Friday I drove halfway across the state to meet my brother at Mad River Mountain. (Yep, that’s really the name. No, I did not see a river, but it was dark.)

Trying to stay warm. Ohio is really cold.
Trying to stay warm. Ohio is really cold.

We geared up and hit a bunny slop, just to get our footing. Next, my brother, Christina and I moved up to the next level of difficulty (which wasn’t supposed to be difficult at all).

My brother had to help Christina and I with our boots. We're children... Ha.
My brother had to help Christina and me with our boots. We’re children… Ha.

I have a problem with skiing because I need to be in control, but I’m not good at slowing down. My right hip cramps up every. single. time. and I can’t lift my right ski and turn it. Twice I had to stop halfway down the hill and put pressure on my hip to get it to relax. I think I’d be a good skier if it weren’t for my stupid leg.

Me, Fred, Christina
Me, Fred, Christina

I hate admitting that I’m bad at something- but I’m bad at skiing. I had a great time on Friday, though, and I’m so glad my brother invited me! My cramping hip tired me out faster, but I still enjoyed a few runs!

*Bonus Embarrassing Story*
Our first ride up the ski lift was a disaster. I was concerned for Christina (I don’t know why) and anxious.  Anyway, we got to the top of the hill and Fred & Christina slid off with no issues, but I didn’t move. I stayed on the lift and got stuck and the whole lift had to stop and the guy had to guide the lift to a deck and I had to take off my skis and step down. I WAS SO EMBARRASSED! I kept apologizing to the people on the lift who were now facing me. Fred pointed out that I’m lucky they let me off at the top and I didn’t have to ride down, passing ALL the people on the lift.

When I finally made it off the lift Fred and Christina and everyone on top of the hill (let’s say 30 people) were laughing pretty hard. Oy vey.

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Are you a snow sports enthusiast? Have any traumatizing stories similar to my new hall-of-fame-r?

-Louise

Love is in the Air

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day so today I’m spreading the love around!

5 Reasons I Love My Mom…
1. If I need her help she drops everything.
2. I got my love and respect for animals from her.
3. She brings home as much bacon as my dad (& by “bacon” I mean income).
4. She taught me to work first so you can play later.
5. She still loves me despite my horrible teen years.

When I was in college my mom took me to Harry Potter World and we went to the MIDNIGHT PREMIER OF THE FINAL HP MOVIE IN HP WORLD. Obviously we dressed up- she was Trelawney.
When I was in college my mom took me to Harry Potter World and we went to the MIDNIGHT PREMIER OF THE FINAL HP MOVIE IN HP WORLD. Obviously we dressed up- she was Prof. Trelawney.

5 Reasons I Love My Dad…
1. He always sides with me against Mom.
2. We have very similar moods and mood swings.
3. He’s always been so supportive of K and the business (which is housed in one of my Dad’s garages).
4. He enjoys disagreeing with me and I’m actually pretty sure he’s proud of me for forming opinions that don’t always mirror his.
5. He taught me that being honest and being nice will get you very far in life.

Last summer Dad lost his wedding ring in the ocean so Mom bought him a new one for his 50th b-day.
Last summer Dad lost his wedding ring in the ocean so Mom bought him a new one for his 50th b-day.

5 Reasons I Love My Brother…
1. He never, ever, ever judges me. We don’t always agree, but he’s always honest with me and supportive.
2. His relationship with K is better than I could’ve hope for. I love that my husband and brother get along.
3. He’s always been my best friend and all family vacations have been a blast with him. He invited me skiing tonight with his friends! He’s so inclusive 🙂
4. He loves our dogs.
5. He makes special trips for my parties and special events, and I like to think he tells me all his news first.

FRED

5 Reasons I Love My Husband…
1. He makes me laugh harder than anyone else in my life.
2. He doesn’t spoil me but he treats me every once in a while.
3. He doesn’t have a “friend personality” and a “home personality”- he’s just always Kyle.
4. He loves our dogs with every fiber of his being.
5. His hardwork and dedication to success mirror mine.

Halloween 2011
Halloween 2011

5 Reasons I Love Our Dogs…
1. Enzo and I have such a bond from training and traveling together.
2. Lylee would protect our house against anything and everything (except the smoke detector).
3. I love when Enzo snuggles up to my side in the morning, as if to say, “5 more minutes, Mom.”
4. I’m so proud of Lylee and I love her for the strides she’s made in overcoming her anxiety.
5. Both our fur babies live and love to please us. They will be so perfect when we have kids in the house for them to play with and protect.

(Enzo was just a squirt in this picture!)
(Enzo was just a squirt in this picture!)

I’m filled with so much love today! 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Louise

When the Cat’s Away…

…the wife will play! Every once in a while K goes on a business trip. I think this is total b.s. because he hates traveling and I love it, but our jobs demand the opposite from us. Grrr. Anyway, he’s been on the road lately (but he’s home now, all you thieves and robbers), and I’ve noticed that my habits change when he’s gone. I kind of revert back to a college student… which is a pathetic version of myself. Haha.

#pathetic
#pathetic

Things I do when K is away:

– I watch horrible, fake, cheesy reality TV. The Bachelor, Amish Mafia, Dance Moms… seriously, my taste in entertainment goes down the toilet when my hubby isn’t around to police me.

– I sleep with a kitchen knife under my pillow. If I can find a normal pocket knife I’ll use that, but usually I’ve got the pink kitchen knife (with the matching blade guard) under my pillow. Here’s the warning: If I believe I’m in danger (or, more importantly, my dogs are in danger), I will shoot/stab/bite you.

– I eat like a starving college kid. Usually I treat myself to some ramen noddles or hamburger helper or McDonalds. I know, I know: I’m awesome at being an independent adult.

– I call my parents a lot. I am introvert through and through, but I can only handle so much alone time. I live in the same town as my ‘rents so if I get super desperate for human interaction I can go eat dinner/hang out with them.

– I spoil the dogs. They miss their dad when he’s away so we usually take an extra walk or hit up a park when Dad’s gone. They also get an abundance of carrots, peanut butter, popcorn, and hamburger meat… Hehe.

– I abandon all good intentions. Last time K left town I was going to paint the spare bedroom (because we finally agreed on a color), organize his desk/filing cabinets, cook some casseroles to freeze, and thoroughly clean my office. Guess what things got done… Nothing. But I did bank 6 episodes of Dance Moms.

– I revert back to my 8 year-old paranoid self. I jump from the “safe zone” into bed. I refuse to go to the basement without some type of light. (And I HATE going into the unfinished utility room or attic. Last year I convinced myself that someone lived in the attic.) And if the dogs start barking? I go into red door alert mode. The paranoia is real, man.

– I go shopping. I do this when K is home, too, but I usually treat myself to a trip to the “bigger cities” around us and spend some unnecessary dough at Starbucks and Target.

– Daily chores get done. I stink at completing big tasks, but I do actually vacuum, wash dishes, and start/finish laundry. I even make the bed each morning. I hate doing this while he’s home because… I don’t know. I’m just more productive when it’s me and the dogs.

 

We will be spending Valentine’s Day apart and I told him that I was going to take myself to see 50 Shades of Grey. This is a total joke because I didn’t read the book and I have no interest in spending +$10 on a porno, but I’m curious. If only it was on Netflix… Maybe it will be by K’s next business trip.

What do you do when you’re spending time on your own? We all have bad/lazy habits!

-Louise