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Archive for the ‘Blog-Adventures In Pet Sitting’ Category

I remember a bedtime story called The Princess and The Pea.  The characters in the story were testing a stranger to see if she was really a princess.  The premise was this:  a princess is so delicate that she would feel a pea placed under her mattress and sure enough, the princess tossed and turned all night, unable to get comfy.    Well, we have a true four-legged princess living our home.  She’s old, bony, crotchety and always cold (and no, it’s not me; I said four-legged).  My chihuahua Scooty is forever looking for the softest and warmest places to sleep and now that she has a touch of arthritis in her hips it’s more challenging than ever. 

 So I went online to look at orthopedic dog beds.  Imagine my surprise when I saw the prices…I thought I had accidentally left off the “dog” part of my Google search!  Holy cow, $200+ shipping for a teeny Chihuahua-sized pet bed?  After a lot of searching I finally found a reasonably priced, nice-looking orthopedic pet bed with a memory foam core, perfect for our two old broads.  I put it in front of our 1970’s wall heater and you can often find them both dozing there.  When I told a friend who also has a dog how much I paid she couldn’t believe it.  I told her that as soon as her sweet pit-mix got old, started sleeping more and not getting around as well, she too, would shell out the money to make sure he was comfortable as possible.  She doesn’t believe me so I’m putting it in writing.  That way I can refer back to this several years from now as proof that that I’m always right.

Now, I truly believe that our pets usually choose us, not vice versa.  And I think getting someone a pet without their knowledge is NEVER a great idea.  Of course there are exceptions to every rule…if the person receiving the animal has specifically requested it, and the person giving it has done the neccessary research then the end result is usually pure joy.   A friend of the family recently got his fiancee a French bulldog puppy for Christmas and as you can see from the picture, she’s head over heels in love with him. 
There’s no denying that a puppy or kitten (or baby chick or bunny) with a bow around its neck is about the most adorable thing there is.  Problem is, not everyone takes into account how much work goes into sharing your home with baby animals.  Also, all babies grow up, and most people don’t even know how to care for a fully grown duck or rabbitt even if they wanted to, which most don’t.  Baby animals are living beings.  They require lots of time, patience and sometimes resources.  Make sure you know what species and what breed of that species works realistically with your life.  Great Danes and Golden Retreivers aren’t for small apartments, and Terriers aren’t for people who travel or work long hours.  Do your research people…make informed choices so you and your pets can have the best possible life together.  Life is good…pets make it better  : )
My two dogs are old.  Not just kind of old, really old.  My older Chihuahua is about to turn 17 and the younger one will be 15 at the end of this month.  They both look old; where their markings were tan, they are now white and their fur isn’t shiny like it was.  But if you saw either of them from a short distance at the dog park or on a walk, you would never ever guess their ages.  They both are very social and love to run, especially at the park.  But it’s important no matter how disgustingly healthy your old animals are that you understand their limitations and talk about changes you see in them with your vet.  Personally, I am a huge believer in good clean living for all beings…healthy food, organic when possible, moderate exercise and homeopathic remedies when they make sense.  My vet sent me this article on Seniors that I thought I would share :
Generally speaking, pets are considered to be entering their senior years at about 7. This is when we begin to see the onset of diseases associated with the decline of certain body functions. However, it’s important to remember that aging itself is not a specific disease. Rather, it’s a complex biological process influenced by your pet’s genetics, environmental factors, nutrition, and lifestyle.Even though older pets can’t talk, they will tell you when they’re not feeling well. How? By exhibiting signs of disease, such as:

Changes in weight (especially weight loss)
Decreased appetite or lack of appetite
Persistent cough
Fecal exams help us identify whether your dog or cat is harboring parasites that could affect your pet—and even your other family members.
Difficulty breathing or breathing heavily or rapidly at rest
Seizure, convulsion, or fit
Pain and stiffness

The silver lining? Due to advances in veterinary care, now more than ever before we can help senior pets live longer, happier, pain-free lives. The choices available for older pets—from enhanced diets to superior diagnostic techniques to safer anesthesia and more—allow us to provide our senior patients with the high-quality care you expect.

Learn how regular veterinary care, proper nutrition,
and exercise can stave off disease and help your pet live longer.

It’s a new year…a fresh start!  I don’t  do new year’s resolutions but I love the fresh feeling of a brand spankin new year.  Every new year’s day I write myself a letter re-capping the old year and write down things I’d like to work on over the course of the new one.  2011 was outstanding for me and for my family even in this economy and I can only hope for more of the same.  The Chinese New Year is coming up Jan 23rd and it’s the year of the Dragon.  My husband happens to be a Dragon, it symbolizes power, strength and prosperity, a very accurate description  ; )

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Abbey Giving Thanks

So my second favorite holiday off all time is upon us…

Thanksgiving!  No presents to deal with, friends and family are the presents.  I do a decent job of eating well pretty consistently throughout the year but on this day all bets are off.  I still try and make most of the meal real, unprocessed food but the snacks before and dessert after, anything goes.  I also try to remember every single day how lucky I am to have all I do but there’s nothing wrong with an entire day slated for remembering  just that.

I’m off to prep my healthy twist on green bean casserole and my sweet potato brown sugar whip…

80's Time Machine

Abbey says, “Please Take ONE”

Scooty's Not Afraid Of Spiders

I L O V E  Halloween.  L-O-V-E.  So far I have won the office pumpkin carving contest (unanimous judge’s decision), dressed as 80’s Madonna, worn group costume of “Spa Girls” and then kicked it up a notch when I was able to talk my husband and a girlfriend to go to a Halloween party as ZOMBIE Spa Girls. 

There’s a minor hitch in tomorow night’s program of dressing up and passing out candy because our San Diego Chargers take the field for Monday Night Football.  I’m thinking adding eye black to our usual Charger gear will take care of it.  This will be our first opportunity to pass out candy since we moved to Camarillo and I’m very much looking forward to it. 

I L-O-V-E  Halloween.  Always have.  Play dress-up, get candy, no presents required….genius.  This huge hairy spider is the first Halloween decoration I have gotten since we moved back to California.  I love it.  Scooty doesn’t love it but she’s a fabulously tolerant little dog and how great is it that her eyes came out glowing?  BTW, we named the spider “Stephen”, as in “King”.  Last night we carved our practice pumpkins…pictures to follow.  Also, just saw a sign in the window of our favorite breakfast place on the Boulevard advertising a Dia De Los Muertos celebration Nov. 6, 2011.  VERY excited for that, I love me a sugar skull.

I have tried and tried, and I swear, tried again to not talk about knitting on this site.  It’s been really difficult.  I love knitting.  I love yarn, I love knitting needles, I spend hours on the internet looking at patterns.  I know it sounds a little abnormal and I’m totally okay with that.  Today I was trying to decide to come up with a subject to blog about when I suddenly remembered my own personal blogging motto…”It’s my blog and I’ll write what I want.”

So today I’m gonna write (just a very little bit) about knitting.  I have wanted to learn to knit since I was 21 years old.   Not sure where the idea came from, but once I got it in my head I just could not get it out again.  I asked everyone I knew but the answer was always, “my mom knits” or “my grandma knits” but they could never teach me.  One day I went to a local yarn store and asked if they taught lessons.  the woman replied that they did not but that the co-owner of the store was such a passionate knitter that she would probably teach me for free.  I gave her my contact information but never did hear anything.  A few months later I walked by that same store and saw a sign in the window advertising knitting lessons $50.00.  I did not, at that time, have fifty dollars for knitting lessons and I felt a little bit used.

Four years later a very good friend’s mom moved in with her and her husband.  Turns out not only was she an incredibly sweet and wonderful woman but she knew how to knit!  I never even asked her to teach me, she offered the second she heard I was interested.  That was it. . .I WAS HOOKED (no pun intended).  I haven’t stopped knitting and thinking about knitting since the day I learned to cast a stitch onto a needle.  My first project was a scarf, then a sock, then I started knitting things without patterns.  Right now I’m about two-thirds of the way through a cozy sweater coat with a hood.  This blog is dedicated to Rosalie, who shared with me her knowledge and wisdom.  Thank you Rosalie, I’m forever grateful!



The Girls


When I was a little girl I thought that every family took in as many strays as their household could fit.  I had no idea that other families didn’t take in animals who were in danger of being euthanized at the local animal shelter.  I assumed that helping animals overcome socialization, temperment and aggression issues so that they could be adopted by their forever family was a normal family undertaking.  Of course, I realized fairly early on that my household was not normal when it came to animals.  It was just one more thing that made me different.  The difference was that this was one difference I completely embraced and felt bad for those who didn’t understand it. 

Our very close friend and neighbor has a pit bull mix named Bubba who is just a big, gorgeous, sweetie pie.  Bubba is a shining example of what outstanding family dogs pit bulls make.  He is almost obnoxiously well-trained and well-behaved.  He is one hundred percent aware of who’s in charge and knows that person is his dog mom.  Sheri (dog mom) is a “pittie” advocate, of course, but she has always told us that Bubba has aggression issues toward other dogs, and this has kept our dogs apart for the years we have known her.  

I have known since I met Bubba (and fell in love) that our dogs would do just fine together.  Almost every dog (including my Girls) have an overly excited or even aggressive reaction to another dog eventually or had another dog react that way to them.  It’s how we react to it that can absolutely change the way our animal behaves from that moment forward.  It’s very easy to think to ourselves “I probably shouldn’t have him/her around other dogs.”  No one wants to take the chance their dog will hurt another.  If we emotionally-driven humans hang onto that experience we will pass that onto our dogs.  My older chihuahua was chased and held down by her neck by a whippet at the dog park when she was only 8 months old.  I did not EVER want to take her to any dog park ever again….it was a terrifying experience for us both.  I knew that if I didn’t take her back she would never be the socialized dog that I wanted her to be.  So I took her back.  At 7:00 in the morning.  We were the only ones there.  She wouldn’t leave my side for about 10 minutes.  Then the scents and the atmosphere got the best of her and she began to wander away.  We’ve been going to dog parks ever since.  Today, both of my chihuahuas are like Golden Retreivers when it comes to new people, pets, situations.  They are interested but aren’t ever upset, aggressive or scared.

Sheri decided this week that we should try introducing our dogs.  She was, understandably, a bit apprehensive.  Overall, I’m so very proud of her….she was calm assertive to the max.  We let Bubba get good and tired with some fetch at the park, then we walked all the dogs together and it was so natural and easy that all three dogs deserve some kind of award.  Something on level with the Nobel Peace Price would be appropriate.  We even went one step further and had Bubba come into our home/The Girls’ territory after the walk.  No problem.  Pit Bulls have a reputation for tearing other dogs for bits.  Chihuahuas are actually used in dog fighting to teach the animials to kill.  As soon as I can figure out the dang plug-in that is needed to download a video onto my website I’ll post one of my Chihuahuas talking a stroll with their Pit Bull, Bubba.

New friends.  So wonderful.

This entry has pretty much nothing to do with petsitting.  But as I’m very fond of saying, “It’s my blog and I’ll write what I darn well please.”

I’ve been temp-ing at an office and the hardest thing about it is leaving my dogs every morning and not seeing them for hours.  A VERY close second is the drive.  Now, it’s not a long drive at all, but any time on the freeway first thing in the morning is no fun at all.  So not fun, in fact, that I started noticing I was extra grumpy upon arriving at the office.  Also, my coffee intake quadrupled, and I’m not a fan of coffee.  One morning I went to get in my car and saw that  I had forgotten to put the convertible top up the night before.  Since I didn’t have a single minute to spare (as usual),  if I was going t0 make it to work on time, I grabbed a cap I always keep in the glove box, and off I went.

It was kinda cold and a little gloomy out, definitely not top-down weather.  Those were my thoughts as I pulled away from the curb.  Next thing I know, I’m about to miss my exit.  I swung into a parking spot and hopped out, almost giddy.  I was not grumpy that morning or any morning since.  If you have a commute you dread, I highly recommend getting yourself a convertible and baby, Put That Top Down!!!!!