It’s nice having a dog to welcome you home. There’s nothing quite like seeing a big ole wiggle butt heading your way.
However, Mr. Bruno has started to get possessive of me, so we are nipping that in the butt right away. “Tough love” they call it. I need to become higher up on the chain of command, and show that I do not need protection (#independentwoman). No couch snuggles, no praise unless in training mode and he makes a good choice, no furniture, he has to work for his food (sit/stay). I tell people about this, and I get he look that means “You’re doing that to a dog you just rescued?”
Sounds mean – but it WORKS!
In two days, I’ve noticed a marked difference in our walks and his behavior in the house. He looks at me, he listens when I get him to sit/stay. He follows me with his eyes, but no longer needs to be in every single room with me wherever I go.
Progress is a wonderfully powerful motivator.
As for the cats… we’ve made many strides in the week he’s been at our house. Bruno has not yet accepted that the cats are higher up on the totem pole then he is… but he will. We’ve made strides thanks to my Mr. He did what I couldn’t – he started the integration. During the periods that we’re home, Bruno wears a leash so that if we need to grab for a correction, we can.
I feel terrible for quarantining my little furballs to cat prison the basement when we’re not home. I keep telling myself, it’s for their own safety. I know it is. In all actuality It’s a mostly finished basement, with their food, litterbox, two bedrooms and lots of cat toys to play with. So I know they most likely are not looking like this.
We need to teach him to ignore them. This will work.
I don’t need them to be best buds, I just need to him to learn that cats are not for eating or chasing. Bruno is still stressing out when they are near, and will always get up to look for them when they leave the room. He doesn’t trust them. They can be jerks, but I can’t wait for the moment when I can relax with all of my animals present. It may be a year… maybe 2, but I’m determined that it will happen.
BFW rescue has been fantastic, answered all of my questions tirelessly (and there have been many). What a bunch of gems.
Stay tuned for more on Bruno’s progress. Slow and steady…
A rescue dog isn’t for everyone. It’s clear to me now how much effort goes into making it “work”. Worthwhile work, but not for everyone. I’ve been an animal rescue advocate my whole life, and this is the first time I’ve welcomed an adult dog into our little pack. Let me explain – It’s been a tough transition for me, and by all accounts Bruno is a gem. It’s not his fault. You don’t know, what you don’t know. The transition can be a tough process for all, I have to work at staying consistent and rewarding all the good behaviors. I’m jumping the gun a bit, I know… it’s only day 4.
First impressions of Bruno
He’s good with other dogs
not destructive in the house
adores people including kids
Not motivated by food (How is this possible for a Bernese?)
loves a great couch cuddle
eats and sleeps fine.
So, you ask – what’s are the issues?
It’s not the anxiety, it’s not the indoor marking, it’s not the fact that he doesn’t know his own name or has zero recall (after all he doesn’t know us enough to come back to us…). These things do not intimidate me, it’s within my comfort zone to work with him on all of these.
The kicker? He doesn’t like cats. We were told he did, and that he co-existed with cats at his foster mamas. Maybe it’s just our cats, they’re jerks after all.
I know I’m not helping the situation here, I’m an overprotective mother bear about my two indoor cats. I see a dog snapping at them and I worry about their safety instead of allowing them to handle themselves in a safe environment. I’m making it emotional and it shouldn’t be. Knowing and doing are totally different beasts entirely.
I need to adjust my mentality pronto.
So far, we’ve been keeping them separated by a baby gate when we’re home so they can see and smell each other. At some point, despite the snapping, we have to start the proximity training without the gate. I can see the “leave it” command being very popular over the next few weeks.
Bringing an adult dog home that has been in four homes over his four years, has proved to be a very different experience then bringing home a 10 week old puppy. Some things I was ready for, some I definitely wasn’t.
Unfair to Bruno to say the least to compare the two experiences, but in truth – that’s all we know. My family had rescue dogs, but all from puppies. We had Newton from a puppy. It’s a very different experience.
It’s not an immediate connection, as I don’t trust him yet, and I suppose I didn’t expect that. I feel bad admitting its not an instant mushy kind of love.
I’ve always been able to trust my dogs in the past. I see now that I had unrealistic expectations of how I thought it was going to go from the start. I now see that this will take time – slow and steady we will bond, slow and steady he will learn to co-exist (or ignore) the cats. Slow and steady we will come to love and trust each other. After all, it’s what Bruno deserves.
At the end of the day, Bruno has all the potential in the world, we just have to learn how to let him shine in his own way. I’m getting that. I have a feeling he’ll be teaching me, as much as we will him in the coming months. A reminder to myself to stop freaking out.. it’s only day 4.
I know, I know – I’ve been extremely slack on this. Well, that’s all about to change…..
National dog day, one of my favorite days – August 27th – It usually means that I get to “like” everyone’s super cute social media pictures of their dog.
This year however, it brought us the “unofficial” email announcing that we were selected as new parents to this guy.
Meet Bruno. He’s a four year old Bernese Mountain dog currently fostered the next province over from me.
He was surrendered to BFW (Bernese Friends Worldwide) because his family recognized that they no longer had time for him. Sadly, a story we hear all too often. However, I’m thankful his family recognized this, and saw his potential to have a fantastic future with another family that had the time to give.
What a ragamuffin he was in his “before” pictures. After countless grooming hours he became the beautiful Berner he was meant to be. His painful mats were finally cut away, he received a bill of good health from the vet – and finally he was up for adoption.
His adoption photo got around on facebook (YAY Social Media), and I had about 5 different people send me his bio. (I meant LOOK at that face)
The process was more intensive then I thought it would be. Being on the receiving end of this was much more emotional than I thought it to be. An emotional rollercoaster that lasted a week! It brought up so many memories and learnings from Newton. As they asked our past dog ownership history, I used the only examples I knew.
The committee questioned me on everything from training methodologies to my opinions on vaccinations, emergency situations and dog food preferences. It was evident, they want the dog not to go to the best home on paper – but the best fit for the dog in question.
As intensive as it was, the process went fairly quickly (After two interviews, a Skype house visit and references checking out), and we found out on August 27th that we were the chosen as Bruno’s new forever home.
I haven’t met Bruno’s foster parents yet, but I have to give a HUGE shout out to them. I’ve asked about a million questions already, and they have patiently answered enthusiastically. Selflessly, they’ve given Bruno a home, albeit temporary, loved him and cared for him and facilitated the process that allowed us to find him. A process that we are very grateful for. WTG Foster parents – you rock!
There’s a odd sense of guilt associated with the process of bringing another dog into your house. I was prepared for that, especially today of all days. Timing is a weird little duck. Today August 29th, It would have been Newton’s 4th birthday, we signed the papers to adopt another 4 year old Bernese Mountain Dog.
Dates are always weird for me – Certain ones stick out. Today, in another lifetime, I would be shopping for Newton’s 4th birthday present(s). Instead I’m in the store choosing all of his favorite things for another. (Thanks Newton for showing me how valuable a stuffed Kong could be!).
However, with time comes clarity. For me, that meant getting to a place where I could celebrate his life and be grateful for the time Newt-dawg was with us.
The totally over the top factor for us is that we’re giving a new home to rescue pup. It makes both me and my Mr. get a little misty eyed when we chat about it over wine. In our own way, paying back to what helped us through a very tough time. As ridiculously excited as I’m getting, I’m attuned to what lay ahead.
Stay tuned for more on our next chapter…. Starting tomorrow!
If you’ve lost a furry buddy, I’m so sorry. The first everything without them is difficult. Constant reminders of them no longer there.
For some of you who have only started to begin this difficult process, I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s never easy. My heart aches for you.
During the Holidays, it can be emotionally draining. As you pull out the stockings, the holiday décor. Everything is clouded with memories. I get that – I lived that.
For me, December 19th is also a day I struggle with. It’s an anniversary of something I wish never happened. December 19th, 2013 will mark a year since we lost our best friend Newton to Kidney Failure.
December 19th, followed so closely by the Christmas holidays could potentially be the worst week of my year. It has potential for me to crawl into my jammies with a glass or two bottle of wine and not surface again until the New Year. However, ask yourself as I have – is this the way you want to live?
Throughout the year, I can usually get past these moments by thinking about all the amazing memories and things Newton taught me. Knowing I’d do it all over again, if given a choise also helps.
Choosing the higher road is easier said than done – I realize this, it takes constant and strong control of your thoughts and emotions.
During the Christmas holidays, I’m taking the time to raise a glass with my Mr. and think about all the amazing memories with Newton. Although only with us for a short time, he left enough memories to last us our lifetime. I’m choosing a different path – I’m choosing to honor these memories with happiness.
In addition this year, I’m taking a friends advice. I’m honoring Newton’s memory over Christmas by sponsoring a rescue dog. I’m taking the money I would have normally bought him Christmas presents with and giving to one in need.
I’m working with a local rescue organization. They post a list of their adoptable dogs, and a wishlist for them. This could include everything from dog beds, to special feeding needs, treats and toys to annual veterinary bills. It really helps put things in perspective. Needs vs Wants.
This year, I chose to donate in Newton’s honor.
He’s with a wonderful Foster family currently, who I get to go and meet this beautiful little Puggle this weekend when I take over his new dog bed. Enzo also had an ear infection at the time of his rescue, so I helped cover the costs of his ear treatment. He lived with two older people who had to move into an assisted living home and sadly couldn’t bring Enzo with them. They didn’t have any family that could take him. So he is at a wonderful rescue organization in Halifax, NS right now. I have no doubt that he will find his forever family very soon. Until then, eat, sleep and be happy with your wonderful Foster family Enzo (including two other pug mixes!).
I know tons of rescues around have this type of program. If you can’t donate to a dedicated dog, donating financially or with your time can be especially rewarding – for all involved.
Some other advice this Holiday season – stay busy. When you’re not busy – Choose to life the life your furry buddy taught you to live.
On the worse days – Choose to try and be the person your dog thought you were. I think it’s a pretty darn good tribute all in itself.
We celebrated Christmas this weekend at my house, as my Mr. was home and it’s the last weekend he’s home until after Christmas.
Friends came far and wide dressed with their ugly Christmas sweaters, we did a yankee swap. Tons of fun – and wine.
The lead up to Christmas for me, is just as exciting as the day of. Getting the house ready, decorating – respecting family traditions. Love it all.
It got me thinking though – we are very fortunate, others are not. My friend and I decided to make some doggie biscuits last week and take them over to one of my favorite non-profit dog rescue groups, where I am in the process of becoming a volunteer. Cool Dog Rescue is an all breed dog rescue who saves dogs from the kill shelters in Quebec. They work with local truckers, Pilots and Paws Canada and their large network of amazing volunteers to transport dogs from mostly Quebec and Ontario to Nova Scotia (sometimes travelling up to 2300 km one way!).
When we had Newton, I used to go to my favorite doggie recipe blog when we were in the mood to make some yummy treats – 3mbakery (find out more about them here). I wanted to try some gluten free recipes as some of our doggie friends there have wheat allergies. Low and behold of course they had some of course (Look through their recipe index to find lots!)
We decided on the Dog Health Sticks, as they had pumpkin in them, a natural digestive aid. Plus, they sounded delish!
We put small amounts of the mixture in small muffin tins, but I’d like to go back and try out one of these cool pans they had in the shape of dog bones. I have the dog shaped cookie cutters, but I found this mixture was a little bit too runny to use with the cutters (perhaps my error?). The recipe was easy enough and the ingredients simple to get.
I brought them in to one of the organizers’ houses last week, and we did a test with her dog – Sparky. A Pom who is one picky eater, we weren’t sure how it was going to go. He ate it, wagged his tail and asked for more! SUCCESS!
All in all, a great recipe to try again!
On a side note I know Amazon & eBay have some great dog friendly cookie cutters and pans!
Big thanks to 3mbakery for posting their yummy recipes!
Today, I’ll also leave you with another little treat from this week: Stewart and Frank the tank also got into the holiday spirit this weekend – with perhaps a little assistance from moi. As you can see, one of them likes it more than the other…
Sorry all you dog lovers – It’s all about cats today!
While I love my two fur-kids (Stewart & Frank-the-tank) unconditionally, there can be a love/hate relationship with them that is hilariously entertaining….
As long as you participate as (wo)man-servant in you and your cat’s relationship, you’ll be fine. Cats are the master(s) of your world. Believe me, the quicker you jump on board and accept this – the easier life will be. My Mr. still fights it. While I understand that he wants to be the alpha of the household, it’s much better/easier to just give in and pick your battles. I have faith he’ll learn this one day.
Life example # 1: You all know the feeling. When your cat FINALLY chooses to jump onto your lap, curls up and cuddle and starts to purr. When suddenly *BOOM* your leg falls asleep – as uncomfortable as it is – You’re so over-the-moon happy that they chose to snuggle, that you’d rather cut your sleeping leg off than move this little purring bundle of fur? Yep, we’ve all been there – your cat owns you – and they know it.
Some of you have cats that are overly affectionate, the kind that love attention, any kind.
Not mine – They choose what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. In spite of it, I love them both very much. Cats have moments where they want to please – sporadic moments, but thoughtful moments all the same. I like to think it what makes these moments of vulnerability all the more special.
Stewart and I have learned to compromise over the last seven years. He lets me pick him up and snuggle, after I’ve had a particularly difficult day – as long as I stay to the under one minute rule.
In one of these moments of rarity, Stewart decided to bring me a present. He proudly presented a “gift” at 2:30 am the other night – on the floor, beside my bed. Much to his initial disappointment, there was an error in his ways – he couldnt get my attention with the “gift” in his mouth. So began the erratic game of “catch and release”, in between yowling for me to get up.
You guessed it, Stewart caught a mouse at 2:30 am and brought it in to show me and then continued to play catch and release for another 20 mins…
Note of advice to others if you encounter yourself in a similar position - Cats do not help when trying to re-catch a mouse. They think this hilariously entertaining game is invented for their pleasure. Take them out of the room, shut the door and ignore all the devestation they exhibit when not allowed to partake.
While I was hoping for a “mouser” between the two of them when we bought our new place in the country – I had high hopes that these “gifts” would be closer to well – not living – when presented.
So after careful consideration of what a good method of retaliation would be – I decided to add Stewart to the ranks of “Cat-Shaming”.
As much as I love you buddy, this was necessary.
Thoughtfulness appreciated, but very subjective my dear friend.
Yet another reason life is better with pets – you’ll never be bored….
Si came to my parents on and off over the last year/year and a half. Since February, my parents have been tempting him to choose them as his new caretakers with superexpensivecalifragilisticexpialidocious food and tons of head rubs. Si chose them in February, and sealed the deal after wearing the cone of shame and sticking around. A choice, I think would have been a difficult one for a stray.
I referred to Si as “Steady Si”. As nothing phased him – he was just a happy go lucky kind of cat.
Si was the puuuuurrrfect cat for my parents. He watched Nascar with my Dad for as long as Dad would like – without any arguments (unlike us). He supervised my Mom as she gardened for hours in the summer months. He was an ever steady companion, up for anything and always down for a couch snuggle. My Dad even taught him to do tricks, which he proudly showed all who would visit. It quickly became the joke between my siblings and I, that Si was the new favorite kid.
I like to think that he chose my parents, knowing it would be an amazing place to rest out his last few months.
My parents, knowing what a special cat he was – did everything they could for him as the vet said there was a chance they might have caught the disease early enough. They took him through two rounds of heavy antibiotics and IV fluid therapies. Their family vet actually offered to keep him for a few days and personally care for him, to see if she could increase his red blood cell count. It was too late, and we sadly lost Si yesterday.
It’s the worst thing about owning a pet – losing them. A feeling vetern pet owners know too well. The only thing we can do is love them while they are here – something my entire family did in spades.
Si, you chose well. You brought so much light and love into our parents home during the past few months. Rest well, my friend – in a world where I know there will be tons of belly rubs waiting for you.
It’s Autumn in Nova Scotia. It’s my secret favorite season. Summer is wonderful, we have the beach, lots of sun etc. Not to sound cliché, but there’s something about crisp falling leaves, pumpkin scents galore and comfy sweaters. We are house shopping, and I must admit I’m a sucker for a wood fireplace. In my head I see warm cozy evenings, hot chocolate and a dog wrapped around my feet. Ok, so it’s totally cliché – please don’t judge
Best daydream ever.
I have fond memories of Autumns with Newton. He loved when we piled the leaves high under the backyard Maple trees, morphing into the “Hulk” before our eyes and charging through our neat piles. He could do this for hours. So many laughs.
We found our new house, we have an accepted offer. It has giant tree in the backyard full of leaves, a fireplace in the living room and yes – a farm down the road that sells pumpkins. Amazeballs.
While I’m excited to enter the next phase, it saddens me to think of how much Newt would have loved this place. A huge hayfield full of long grass, a great backyard with much needed shade for his black fur coat he wore year round.
This is a wonderful place to make new memories with new two and four footed friends, without forgetting the old.
Oct. 12, 2013 will mark my one year anniversary of my blog – Dailyspro.
My first entry was posted October 12th, 2012 – titled “Hello World”. It’s slightlyembarrasing amazing to read back and see how far this blog has come. Not just in reference to writing style – but also in life.
Where does the time go?
One year ago, I had no idea what was about to happen. How my writing would go from whimsical writing about “Cross-fit” (pfff – that was short-lived) and new adventures – to a form of therapy for me after we lost Newton.
I had no idea how many of you would speak up, message me, email me and lift my spirits by sharing your own stories and positivity.
I had no idea how much I needed an outlet like this.
I had no idea that I would dive head-first into a new community, that accepted me with open arms.
I had no idea I would have an online family.
One of you lovely people shared with me, some great advice. It’s advice that I found very helpful, so I hope you don’t mind me sharing.
“If you’re a writer – write. If you’re a painter – paint. If you’re a dancer – dance. Don’t ever stop doing what you love. It doesn’t have to be great – not even good. If it helps you during any point in your life express yourself? Get it out!”
So, in the spirit of Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend.
I really tried to find a way to clearly communicate how much I have appreciated all the support- however what it really comes down to is:
I truly want to thank you – all of you – for being so freakin’ (p)awesome.
PS – In the spirit of Canadian Thanksgiving, jump on board and celebrate! What are you thankful for?