Confessions of a doggie mama

There’s something to be said about being a doggie mama.

It’s an identity.

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Disclaimer

I can’t tell you how many times someone has remembered me because of my dog. I know they have no hope of ever remembering my name.. but my dog? Always! My feelings weren’t hurt. I’d prefer him too – look at that FACE!

I adored being “Newton’s mom”. The name itself implied an ownership and and truly personal relationship – meaning I was his, and he was mine. How much better does it get then that?

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Me with my beloved fur-kid Newton. Who left us much too early.

The same is said in reverse. I know most of dogs around our neighborhood by sight, I’d probably know most of their names and MIGHT even know which house they belong to. However, to tell you the names of their humans could be a downright impossible task if I was ever asked. I’d cheat and look for the last name on their mailbox and then add a Mr or Mrs in front of it – cheating?? Never πŸ™‚

I have a few friends that do not understand this reference to “Doggie mama”, “Fur-child”, “Grand-puppies” and “fur-babies”. They don’t believe in the wonderful world of doggie daycare, socialization or playdates for creatures with four legs. They automatically raise their hackles and call me out on it. I don’t fight them on it – but really why can’t I be considered a doggie mama? I don’t fully understand this nerve that I’ve hit – maybe because I don’t have kids? I do have friends who have kids and adore their dogs – and even have said in the past – “I have 5 kids, whether they have two or four legs is irrelevant”. Love this gal.

So in trying to get to the root of the issue as it’s hard for me to see the other side – Is it because I’m putting my dog on the same level as their child by putting them in the same category as “child”? I’m not trying to say that raising a dog is exactly like raising a child. There are MANY differences, I get it.Β  There are also similarities too. Gone are the days where a dog is JUST a dog. Taking into consideration what being a mother means, why can’t we call ourselves “mamas” or “papas”?Β  It is indeed a giant job, a huge undertaking that I know all of you understand. When you decide to bring a dog into your life, It’s a vast spectrum encompassing love, patience and understanding. Why can’t you be considered a mama if it’s in reference to rearing a dog?

To me a mother is the woman who raises you, who is there for you to comfort you when you are sick or hurt, the woman who laughs with you, who cries with you, who loves you, even when you aren’t exactly lovable and forget all the hours, days and weeks of training. I’d do all of these things for my dog, again and again. In the end, as a dog mama or papa we ultimately have to make the toughest final decision of all, and place their needs leaps and bounds beyond our own.

I love this from timeformom-Me.com:

“There are many definitions of the word mother, and many are applicable. Only those with “closed eyes” can’t see that there are many meanings to “mother.” A person who gives birth is a mother. A person who raises a child is mother. A person who loves and cares for a child is a mother…etc. Mother Theresa was a “mother” to thousands of poor children. It is not an all-or-nothing word….it is a spectrum.”

As most of you know, I love being around dogs, but there’s just something about being a doggie mama that really feels right. Nothing quite prepares you for the first burst of pride when your dog is FINALLY behaving out in public and someone compliments you on your dog. Or you see your dog land a trick you’ve been training for OR you see your dog do something that’s amazingly sweet and unscripted – like this:

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Photo credit: Norma Jean Worden-Rogers
Newton winning over the crowd during a wedding we attended.

It’s something I feel only a parent can feel – whether it has two or four legs is, as a friend said, is irrelevant.

Parental pride and love, people, is a thing of beauty.

Enjoy being a doggie mama (or papa), as it goes by all too fast. I can’t wait to become a doggie mama again – I might just get it embroidered on a sweater πŸ™‚

Cheers,

Dailyspro

It all starts with the walk…

Hello friends,

My newest boarder, Kobe, has inspired my post today!

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Working on the old sit stay!

Working with other people’s dogs and SPCA dogs has given me an entirely different perspective on training!

I go back to basics with every single one of them. It all starts with the walk. I think if you train a dog to walk on HEEL, no less in the great big world of distractions (Squirrels, other beautiful pups and ohhh the smells!), you’re in a fantastic space with your furry friend.

My new friend Kobe did not walk on heel, he walked out in front of me when he first came to stay with us – pulling, tugging – smelling EVERYTHING. We’ve been working on this, and I am amazed at his progress! We went for a walk in a public park and he stayed on heel with me almost the entire way. I’m so proud of his accomplishments. Whether his mom keeps this up or not, I think it’s wonderful to show owners (and potential owners) what their dogs are capable of!

Kobe also had an aversion to the car. What I’ve found out is that it’s not an aversion so much as laziness on his part AND wonderful training of his humans. Smart move Kobe.

He would get his front feet in and then turn around to his human (or me) and say – “ok lift me in”. I laughed the first time I saw it. This is what my Newton would do as well. He had me trained down pat too!

With a new outlook, I thought – “let’s see what he can do”. I repositioned the lead to pulling up just slightly, pointed and said “up”. He jumped in the back seat without issues – and was awarded with affection and LOTS of praise! Then he did it again, and again, and again…

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Good boy Kobe!

I must confess my training with the SPCA has helped me tremendously. However, I’d also like to bring up somewhat of a controversial topic in training – Cesar Milan. Some of you love him, some of you hate him. Regardless of how you may feel about his training techniques – I’ve used some of them (below) with my new friend Kobe with AMAZING results.

– Maintaining a calm and assertive energy – this is the hard one.

– No rewarding unless the dog is in a calm and submissive state

– Practicing expectations and boundaries consistently every day.

More importantly, his theory that it all starts with the walk.

A walk can be a beautiful experience, marred too many times by frustration at dogs’ pulling, lunging and non stop tugging. We do a lot of our training after exerting Kobe’s energy on our hour long walk. He’s a nervous dog, so this has worked well for him. However, the walk is training too, and it starts by ensuring he’s calm when we put the leash on him (The first time – this took almost 20 mins), then we walk out the door first, followed by Kobe.

All basics, that I sometimes forget how important they are – it starts at the beginning. A few simple reminders for Kobe to walk beside, not in front and we’re off!

I found this video by Nigel Reed also helpful – It teaches step by step how to teach a dog to walk on heel. I’ve used the “Start, stop and change direction” technique many times – it works people!

I found after practicing some of Cesar’s techniques on the walk, Kobe gave me more respect with his other training. He’s extremely smart, thus should only be reminded once of his boundaries. Kobe had some bad habits, which is fine if his owner doesn’t mind them. In my house, it’s not ok. There are rules that all our furry friends and visitors must abide by.

Further evidence that I’ve seen of Cesar’s training techniques working is from my sister.

My sister has had aggression issues between her two Great Pyrenees. They get nervous when someone visits the house, which leads to aggression between them. Cesar’s tip for people entering the house – no touch, no talk, no eye contact to the dogs has been one that has worked remarkable for her, and for her dogs.Β  They do not get as excitable, which doesn’t escalate to an aggressive state of mind.

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Sit stay = treats? Why didn’t I know this sooner?

I love learning from our canine friends! Training them teaches me patience and consistency, which is always a great reminder to take with us wherever we walk next in life.

Further, teaching the canine basics has given me a purpose with dogs again. It’s been a long road in the last 3 months, and this gives me something to look forward to. Hanging with dogs for me is soothing for the soul. I’ve been bringing family members and friends on my dog walking excursions to the SPCA. Every time – they leave with smiles and excited conversations of a great day spent. If your stressed with life, go play with some puppies or even better – calm yourself down (never approach a dog with anger) and see if you’re able to take a rescue dog for a walk!

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This training is tiring work!

Thanks for reading,

Dailyspro

ps – My friend Miss Harper Lee reminded me that dogs are generally happy go lucky and want to please. I agree!! I think this is the perfect example of how humans usually need the training! I just checked out my Milanisms -I noted all things I need to do πŸ™‚ After all, dogs already know how to walk – we just have to learn how to walk them.

Spring has sprung… in my basement

Dear friends,

I’ve been neglecting my writing this past week! My apologies.

We’ve had a rough month to say the least – maybe 2013 isn’t my year?

So mother nature has commanded Spring to open the floodgates of thawing Canadian ground, heavy rains and general muddiness.

It has caused THIS to happen in my basement….

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Yep – that’s an additional 2 inches of water in my basement folks!

Oh did I mention my fiance is gone for the next two weeks?

I’m an “independent woman” and can handle this… right? Right!

Needless to say, after making sure the water had been drained, I escaped for some much needed cuddle time with the puppies!

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puppy cuteness overload!
How can you stay stressed when you go to visit THIS?
How can you stay stressed when you go to visit THIS?

So, my basement floor is being ripped out, the drywall is going to be replaced and a NEW floor is going in! WAHOO – retail therapy πŸ™‚

Maybe this :

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Could turn into this?

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Ohhhh, or this?

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Or this?

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Or my personal fave, this:

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As long as we’re having a bit of fun and wishful thinking – which do you prefer?

Newton would have loved the last choice – he LOOOOOVED being groomed. It’s been 3 months today that we’ve lost him, and I still miss him every single day. Today, thoughts will be had, words will be spoken, and he will be wonderfully and still tearfully remembered.

Even though this is a difficult day, I’m choosing not to write about how sad this is. As sad as I am, it helps to concentrate at our task at hand. We’ve decided to look at the positive in this disaster clean up. Starting fresh is my motto for this year, so I suppose it’s fitting that this decided to “spring” up on us now (haha – pardon the pun).

Some other great news. I have a new boarder with me for two weeks. His name is Kobe, he’s a Golden Retriever/Lab mix. He’s still being socialized to the cats, he finds them a bit terrifying. So they are kept separate except for the few instances I’m around for corrections. Stay tuned for a post all about Kobe!

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Frankie running the show yet again…

I personally think he has Rottie in him as well, but his mom refuses to believe it…. So sad when I see such a wonderful and powerful breed have such a bad rap with people.

Nonetheless, he’s a great snuggle buddy. I can’t wait to try out training techniques to see what he responds to!

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Snuggle buddy for nap time

I know I’ve been a bit all over the place with this post, I promise to put a bit more effort into the next one! Anyway, stay tuned for the next post – which I promise will not be weeks away!

Thanks for reading,

Dailyspro

Animal House – it’s official

Hello friends,

Apologies on being lax this week with the posts..

It’s because I was busy with my first boarder – this sweet pea!!

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Meet Merit!

Yep – I said boarder. I’m in the animal biz somewhat “officially” now as a one-dog -at-a-time kennel/boarding facility. I made the waiver and dog info forms, had a lawyer review and we’re here! We have the space, a fenced yard and the time – so why not?

Merit’s an 8 year old Golden Retriever with a heart full of gold (sorry for the age disclosure dear Merit – its just a number anyway!).

We started by having a trial day two weeks ago to see if she got along with my two rescue cats.

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Frankie ensuring the hierarchy of the house stays the same….

Since we’ve opened our home to accepting boarders, I had an overwhelming response. My March and April are almost completely booked up. I do only take one dog at a time as I still work my 9-5. I want to ensure my full attention is on our new friend.

We have a kennel/crate area set up in one room and require a trial day ahead of time to ensure the dog to get along with cats.

As most of you know, we’re not open yet to owning as we’re still healing. This, like dog walking at the Shelter, is a great option with staying connected to furry friends. My Mr. and I agree, it’s amazingly nice to have a pup around again.Β  We’ve agreed that fostering is a good next step for us, at some pointΒ  πŸ™‚

We’ve taken time this week to reflect on how our Newton would have loved her. Her gentle and loving nature reminded me a lot of him.

Merit’s also won over my Mr. He’s been home off work from Thursday until Monday, and spending most of his time with her. Here’s the evidence he’s found love with another woman πŸ™‚

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We’ve had a ton of fun this past week. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, spent more time outside (as naturally Merit prefers two walks a day, with a longer off-leash hike on the weekends) and tons of puppy snuggles. Proving our theory that “fur-therapy” really is the very best kind.

Cheers to the next adventure.

Dailyspro