My Passions | Blog-tember Day 4

*Happy Friday!*

I was a little hesitant to commit to the fabulous Blog-tember Challenge (hosted by Bailey Jean), but with the encouragement of Stephanie I’ve decided to approach it like an a la carte challenge and participate on the days that I don’t have anything concocted.
…like today!

Friday, September 4: What are you passionate about?

Easy enough prompt, yes? I am passionate about:

  • animals
    Hands down, my deepest worldly passion runs about on four legs (sometimes less) and barks, growls, meows, grunts, and moos. Honestly, I could do a month’s worth of posts dedicate to animal rights and behaviors and welfare and cruelty… but I’ll save it. I use cruelty-free products, brake for squirrels, help lost pets find their way home, and share a bed with two cold noses (and a human one). My career goal is totally focused around animals and someday I hope to be saving lots of lives!
  • fall
    I hate wishing the days away, but I can’t wait for the leaves to turn and the temperature to drop. I love October (and my birthday!) and the fall weather and fall foods and marching band and leaves and hot drinks and scarves and boots and clouds and everything fall. It makes me incredibly happy and every year I look forward to the changing seasons!
  • my relationships
    I know that I drive my husband crazy because I’m constantly observing. I observe myself, him, our relationship, other people, past interactions… EVERYTHING. But it makes me a more conscious human. Sometimes I lay in bed and watch our dogs sleep or listen to K breathe. Sometimes I sit quietly in the living room and take in the wall color and the fireplace and the bookshelves, and I feel so grateful to share this blessed life with my husband and our friends and our family.
  • reading, writing, and scrapbooking
    I love to learn and create and savor memories (captured in pictures). These three things are my hobbies and I feel so refreshed when I can dedicate time to each activity.

passion

There are things I wish I was passionate about/hope to be passionate about, too! These include yoga, cooking, and being a mom someday. I think I’ll work on yoga first… HA!

What are you passionate about?

-Louise

Brave Love Blog

Happy Birthday, Bear!

Today is our oldest fur-baby’s birthday. She is 4 years young today and handling the milestone quite well.

Lylee

A few weeks ago I did a post for Enzo (read it here) but today will be all about Lylee.

Name || Lylee
DOB || June 17, 2011
Gotcha Date || December 7, 2012
Heritage || Husky, Boxer, Lab?
Eye Color || Brown
Fur Color || Golden blonde
Weight || +65lbs.
Nicknames || Ly, Lylee Bear, Bear, Bearface, Wy-wee, Big Bear, Wy-wee Bear, Lyler, Fluffy butt, Wywer

Adoption Story
Lylee was originally adopted from a local Ohio shelter, but not by us. She spent her first year with friends of ours (Kelsey & Andy). Unforeseen circumstances forced them to make the heartbreaking decision to re-home Lylee, but Kelsey was determined to keep her out of the shelter. After pleading with my parents (& Kyle, since we’d be married in less than a year) I told Kelsey that we would take her. On December 7, 2012 we drove an hour north to meet Kelsey and load up Lylee, her dog house, and everything else that came with her.

I remember it was storming that night but Lylee hopped right into my car, laid down, and fell asleep.

Hunting for a Dog House
We adopted Ly in December, got married in April, and I moved into the apartment with Kyle right away. Unfortunately Lylee stayed at my parents’ house. Since they’re gone most of the day, she was tied out a lot. (If you know Lylee you know that she does not like being tied out.) These days of isolation brought out a new personality in her- she became fearful of storms, aggressive toward some dogs, and very anxious.

We could see the transformation and knew something had to be done… so we bought a house. Lylee was the first one to move in.

IMG_1644

Growing the Family
After we bought our house I started casually browsing PetFinder. (I still tend to casual browse PetFinder……) Lylee was getting more dog-aggressive/anxious and needed a sibling. I finally convinced K of this and on December 7, 2013 (yes, one year after taking in Ly) we set out for a boxer-mix. Instead, we found Enzo.

IMG_2822

We knew the deciding factor would be Lylee. When we introduced them in our driveway Lylee gave him a few sniffs, pushed him around with her nose, and decided he would do as a brother.

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
Lylee is a very anxious dog. She’s also very friendly & loyal, but when she gets scared (other dogs, loud children, etc.) she reacts with fight rather than flight… Since we brought her home we’ve been working on this- she has been to obedience school, seen a dog trainer/whisperer, and taken medication. She still quivers in a bad storm and barks at foreign dogs, but she has a few dogs that she gets along with and she’s starting to relax on her own. (She’s been medication-free for over a year now, with the exception of occasional Benadryl.)

She’s a handful but she’s my favorite handful.

#ThrowbackWednesday? A puppy-pic from Ly's first owners.
#ThrowbackWednesday? A puppy-pic from Ly’s first owners.

Princess Lylee
The best part about Lylee is her personality. Some people have one-sided conversations with their pets; my dog actually talks back. She will ask for a walk (daily), she’ll demand food, she will tell you if her ball is stuck under the couch, and she will come find you and tell you when she’d like to go outside. She sits on her brother to get him to move. She tricks him into giving up his toys. She snuggled into the bed, all by herself.

She is the smartest dog I have ever come across. She knows more than a few words and her reasoning skills are incredible. She associates my tennis shoes with a walk, a chain link fence with dogs, and steam/smoke from the stove with smoke detectors (my bad).

I am so grateful that Lylee crossed our path and enter our life when she did- she’s an amazing critter. Happy Birthday, Big Bear! Love you!

Dog food + Whipped Cream!
Dog food + Whipped Cream!

(Am I the only one that gets puppy fever when looking through old photos??)

-Louise

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!

IMG_3842
“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!