Adventures of Stewart

Hello friends,

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….

Stewart and Frankie together
Life without these two would be boring

Cattitude advice:

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.

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All is right with the world….

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.

The “Gift”

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…

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Stewart’s “conquest”

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.

Proudly stating the facts...
Proudly stating the facts…

Thoughtfulness appreciated, but very subjective my dear friend.

Yet another reason life is better with pets – you’ll never be bored….

Cheers,
Dailyspro

Steady Si

Dear friends,

It’s with sadness that I write this today. The world has lost another wonderful furry friend.

Si, my parents cat, lost his battle to Feline Anemia yesterday.

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Si’s Story

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.

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Pictured here is Si, after coercing yet another friend to give him a bellyrub.

 Dailyspro

Puppy cupcakes for all!

Too bad you’re not all closer, or I’d share!

One year Tomorrow.

Oct. 12, 2013 will mark my one year anniversary of my blog – Dailyspro.Image

My first entry was posted October 12th, 2012 – titled “Hello World”. It’s slightly embarrasing 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.

dogs thanksgiving

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.

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Cheers,

Dailyspro

PS – In the spirit of Canadian Thanksgiving, jump on board and celebrate! What are you thankful for?

Moves and Memories

Good morning friends,

I’m sorry for the DELAY! Ask all my loved ones, I’m notoriously late for everything in life. I think I even disclose this on my bio, ironically written after my first few posts went up 😉

So much has happened in the last two months that I almost am overwhelmed with where to start. We finished our basement renovations, Went on our trip to Italy, My sister got married, We sold our house, I started a new job in a new Province and now am currently house-hunting. I’m feeling a bit like this guy….
sleepy

I can’t talk about them all today (even though we all know I’m long-winded enough to do so), so I’m going to focus on one in particular that I’m still coming to terms with….

We did it.

We left the house that we raised Newton in.

I had a tremendously difficult time with this. It’s just a house, but great life moments made it our home. Memories of Newton topped my “Why I’m thankful we lived here” list I made, during my last weekend in there. Leaving, irrevocably made me confront some painful memories. The house has not changed, but we’ve had to. Each corner, nook and tiny cranny holds for me – special moments suspended in time.

Memories remind us of what we’ve lost.

Memories remind us of what we had.

These two opposing forces led me on a rollercoaster of emotions last week.

It made me deal with something I haven’t been prepared to do – start to let go. I tricked myself into believing it was something I had been doing all along. I hadn’t.

The time a person needs to take, cannot ever be measured in chronological time. Losing a loved one on any level is a deeply personal thing. You start to move on, you’ll start to make new memories. It takes time.

A friend told me she dreamt of Newton waiting for us at our next home. I know where he’ll always be – A monumental part of our past – with us wherever we go.

Yes we left the house that we raised Newton in, but we did not leave the memories. 

Inside my thoughts. Forever imprinted.The moment I saw his face before he ran two blocks through wet pavement costing me a few hundred dollars in breakfast sandwiches and coffee for the construction crew, the hundreds of hugs given and recieved, the reminders of our fur-kids playing tag. Too many to list and count.

Memories remind us of what we’ve lost.

Memories remind us of what we can have again.

Great memories give us hope, inspiration and love. They guide us.

I walked around the house and said my goodbyes on my last day. As I reflect now, I realize (as difficult as it is to admit), what I was really saying:

“Thank you Newton – for all the truly great memories. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing”.

Thanks for reading,

Dailyspro

New friend paired with an old

So upon one of my wonderful trips to the local SPCA this week to snuggle and walk some great critters, I came across this….

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 Be still my heart!

If that wasn’t bad enough, she waved to me to say “Hi!”

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Meet Ellie. She’s a two month old Border Collie mix that was brought in with her four brothers when they didn’t sell on Kijiji (sidenote: I feel the need to attack a punching bag when I hear stories like this – NEUTER your pets people).

Nonetheless, How can you turn down some bonus snuggle time with this little gem!

I can’t.

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Her cute little face and eyes got to my soul. My mission (as always), find Ellie a wonderful forever home. I took her and her brother (now adopted) out of their kennel for some fun play time. Introducing them to new places, people, sounds and smells is a GREAT thing.

I took the cutest pictures I could of her and posted to my facebook wall (as I do with most of these wonderful critters). I don’t want to jinx myself here, but low and behold my facebook peeps were as hooked as I was. One of my childhood friends has submitted paperwork, and is pending approval – we should hear back tomorrow.

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This friend has a sweet 2 yr old Duck Tolling Retriever mix, who would make a wonderful big sister. Socialized and affectionate with other dogs, this dog would make a great role model for Ellie. I’ve encouraged my friend and her family to come and meet her face to face, and she is this weekend.

I thought I’d share my (hopefully) uplifting news – Thank you Social Media for working for the better good!

Have a great day and cross your fingers that it all works out!

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.  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 🙂 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 🙂

Maybe this :

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Could turn into this?

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1

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.  We’ve agreed that fostering is a good next step for us, at some point  🙂

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 🙂

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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

Adopt-a-thon

Hello friends!

I’m going to change the pace and write something that will hopefully give you happy tears for a change – Imagine!

This weekend I had the pleasure of volunteering at an Adopt-a-thon. PetSmart and SPCA teamed up all weekend long to host PetSmart – NB’s first ever Adopt-a-thon – How exciting! We paired experienced SPCA volunteer handlers with an adoptable dog to create an interactive experience. There were also four SPCA cats up for adoption – you should see their adoption space, there’s even a play space in the back!

adoption center - cats
3 floors per cat kennel!
cat adoptions
Puuurrrrfect

PetSmart

PetSmart partners with non-profit animal shelters like the SPCA to create an interactive space for adoptable animals. Plus, they get tons more animal lovers coming through naturally. Our hope was to expose these little fur babies to a great experience and more – people who may be interested in giving them their forever home.

I believe PetSmart is only in Canada/US. Here’s a bit of background for my European/Aussie peeps! They are an all-in-one pet warehouse where they welcome you to come shop WITH your pet! Some locations may also have some of the following: Grooming, Overnight boarding, Training and Doggie Daycare. I’m usually all for supporting the little guy – i.e. small business, but I love me some PetSmart!

Back to the Adopt-a-thon!

To reduce the amount of returns completed like a Wal-Mart customer service desk, we ask a lot of questions up front. After all, we hope for a forever home, not a weekend stay.

  • Temperament testing sheets were available
  • Vaccinations were up to date
  • Volunteers were on hand to call references immediately (including 3 non family members and current/past vet contact)
  • Training: PetSmart trainers were present to speak to potential owners about helpful hints on whatever concerns they had. They also volunteered to help socialize any new adoptees to any new furry brothers/sisters.
  • Second thoughts? We were urged to tell people to think it through, take the night to think it through or bring their families in for a second visit.
  • Financials – PetSmart had these savvy sheets that outlined financial costs associated with dog ownership.
  • Spaying contracts – As all the dogs had been neutered we did not require spaying contracts to be signed.

We were ready. Doors opened, and it was time.

Meet the dogs

Chance:

I had a lovely 8 year old German Shepherd named Chance – appropriately named! His family had him for 8 years before surrendering him due to moving. A sad story, and one seen too often.

Lots of action
Chance meeting his new parents for the first time!
Chance outside
Bathroom break
Chance and Mike
It was love

Chances new parents saw him, and we took him for a walk outside together. I heard their story. They only adopt Senior’s, and call themselves the “Golden Oldies”. They’re mission is inspiring. They adopt Senior dogs and cats and give them a safe and happy place to live out their golden years. How AMAZING is that?

Chance had never lived with other animals before. They currently owned a 9 year old Bernese Mountain dog (*sigh*), a 7 year old Shepherd mix and 2 cats (14 and 16 years) on 20 beautiful acres of country space. Once we called their references, including their current vet, Chance went home with them. The lovely couple brought all 3 dogs in later the afternoon for a bath, so we got to see him again. Who doesn’t love a SPA DAY! They said Chance went into the house, sniffed everyone, grabbed a football and jumped up on the couch to have a nap.

Enjoy your new home my friend!

Mishka:

Mishka means mouse in Czech!
Mishka means mouse in Czech!

This little lovebug is 3 year old Lab/Retriever/Shepherd mix Mishka. Mishka’s been with us since November. She’s a sweetheart, with the focus and smarts of a Shepherd. What a terrific combo.

Mishka was found as a stray. Posters were put up, she was announced on the radio and a profile was made on the SPCA website and Facebook page. No responses. During testing, we found she can be slightly reactive to other dogs, but appeared fine other then that.

Mishka’s new family had been looking for a puppy. When they came in for catfood, they took home more then they had initially planned on. The connection they had was instantaneous. They’re references checked out, they had budgeted appropriately and their vet gave a glowing report! Mishka was adopted!

They also bought adult training sessions for Mishka to start working on her reactive nature, starting this week. Wins and tail wags for all.

The first family photo
A first family photo

Pepsi:

Pepsi teaching me to parle francais!
Pepsi teaching me to parle francais!

I know I’m not supposed to play favorites, but too bad – he’s it!

This dog has a better resume then I do! Pepsi is also our longest resident. He’s been with us since June 2012. He had been microchipped and spayed – proving he had been taken care of once. His family was contacted and they said they do not have the time/energy and did not want him back. He found the shelter a highly stressful environment and was put into a Foster home in December. Pepsi has come a LONG way. He’s extremely social and loves people and big dogs.

One small fault – Pepsi tries to herd anything smaller then him – it’s the Border Collie in him. What a great agility dog he would be!

Pepsi’s Resume

  • -Border Collie/Lab mix
  • – 3 year old
  • – High Energy
  • – bilingual
  • – SMART! This dog learned sit, sit/stay for 10 mins, down, paw, dance, crawl and beg in the matter of a 2 month span.
  • Check out his video here!

Pepsi did not get adopted, but is still looking for his forever home. I added him into the mix as I adored working with him and I wanted to showcase how amazing Foster Care can be. What a difference to the anxious dog I met months earlier.

These were the three dogs that I worked with during Saturday/Sunday. There were many others in attendance – Here are just a few others!

Bruno face
Bruno came to the SPCA a month ago. Badly frostbitten and with a split tail, Bruno rebounded amazingly. He met everyone with tail wags, smiles and a request for bellyrubs. A true ambassador for the Rottweiler breed.
Cupid face
Cupid a Pit mix, only 4 months old found his forever home finally on Saturday! He had been adopted twice before and returned both times. His owners found him too active – COMMON he’s a puppy!
Katie face
Katie’s going home to another sister boxer today!
Rex  -after
I thought Rex the Corgi/Terrier mix needed a little sprucing up. What a party animal.
Rex the corgi - before
That face!
Willer
Willer, an amazingly well behaved Shar-pei 7 year old mix! Willer impressed everyone, but still has yet to find his new home.

I’m proud to say that all in all, 8 new furry family members are sleeping in warm new beds as of Sunday. Meeting all these families first hand, I have no doubts that they will be amazing parents. It was an amazing experience to participate in.

I know all over Canada and the US, most PetSmart’s are partnership with a local Animal Shelter of their choice.

adoptable weekends

If you’re interested in participating – please do not hesitate to contact your local PetSmart to find out more.

Thanks for reading !

Dailyspro

*If you’re interested in any of the other dogs listed, please see monctonspca.ca for more information!

Losing a pet, It’s not just you..

Dear friends,

When your family loses a pet, your ENTIRE family loses a pet. Not just your two footed bi-ped members, but your furry four footed ones as well. The purpose of my writing today –  a friendly reminder to take care of your furry friends (as well as yourself) during this very tough time.

I’m ashamed to say that when we first lost Newton, I was so lost in my own anguish that I forgot this all important thought.

Of course, I kept up with their daily routine and was a good parent – but not a present one. I was stuck in a self-centered sad bubble of a life for a little while. Thankfully I went home to my parents at Christmas time to drink a lot of wine and cry heal. This was a change of pace for Stewart and Frankie and they got a ton of attention they so deserved.

Merriam-Webster.com describes grief as;

1. obsolete : suffering, distress
2. a cause of distress (as an unsatisfactory working condition) felt to afford reason for coplaint or resistance

Obsolete, so final and definitive. Exactly how I felt.

The point I’m getting at is that for those first few weeks, I was lost. I was grasping for reason, some semblance of normalcy. I’m not beating myself up about this, as I was learning my way. Nonetheless what I should have been was a better, and more present Momma, to the two wonderful fur kids I still had.

To help give you some understanding of our story, I’ll share a little bit about my two lovely fur-kids.

The story of Stewart and Frank “the tank”

Stewart has always been the more resilient of the two. We had him from around the 4-6 week mark of his life. He literally found us and chose us to be his.

Stewart - Day 1
Stewart – Day 1

Stewart’s always gone in the car (LOVES it in fact), he’s gone on road trips, spent time with other members of our family, goes with us on our week long summer getaways. My point – Stewart has always surprised us with his acceptance of change.

In case you don’t believe me…

stew snow
Deep snow, not an issue
Stew car
Packed in the car, ready to go!
best co-pilot
Best Co-pilot/Navigator combo
cattage stew
Obviously stressed about the first day at the cottage…

Most importantly, when we introduce new members into our family, he stays as cool as a cucumber. Here are some pictures of his first minutes with both new family members.

Stewart and Frankie day 1

day with Newton


Frankie on the other hand, does not deal well with change.

Frankie does not like dress up
Frankie does not like dress up, can’t say I blame him… haha
Do deal with stress, he usually tries to hide in the sink...
To deal with stress, he usually tries to hide in the sink…

We adopted Frankie almost 3 years ago when my fiance and I were volunteering at the SPCA. We were looking for a furry friend for Stewart, and found Frankie. He had been named “Gadget”. He was born and lived all 10 months of his life thus far in the kennel at the SPCA. We fell in love with him instantly. We found out that his hind end muscles had never developed properly, and he was left unable to jump, sprint or walk in a straight line. We chose not to be sad about this fact, it was just Frankie.

We like to think that as Frankie ran face first into the plexi-glass when he first saw us, he was giving us a sign… I mean COME ON… A cat trying to jump through fake glass to get at you?

We got approved for adoption and took him home almost immediately. Once Frank the tank was cozy, he showed us he does not like his routine disturbed. He’s actually kind of a jerk sometimes (albeit, our own lovable jerk). Wherever we went, he marked his territory by seeking out each and every corner of his new temporary home and hissing at it (obviously terrifying all the spiders lurking in the corners). Even so, I considered Frankie my little lovebug from the start, he snuggles whenever and wherever he can.

It's hard to get any work done when your boss is so snuggly....
It’s hard to get any work done when your boss is so snuggly….

We both cheered him on as his back legs developed muscles over time. As he eventually learned to jump and run stairs for the first time, we were witnessing milestones really.

However, due to his temperament and aversion to change, I believe he was affected more then Stewart by Newton’s sudden departure from our lives.

During those first 2 weeks home, anything I saw of Newton’s made me burst into tears. I took everything that was “his” and placed it in the spare bedroom and shut the door. I couldn’t look. I noticed Frankie’s change immediately. He snuck around the house, my own personal “velcro”, then would let out what I can only describe as “yowls of death”. I thought something was seriously wrong with his health.

Then I had a thought.

I brought back out one of Newton’s dog beds. Immediately he curled up and stayed there for almost two days, leaving only to eat and use the litter box.

“I’m a terrible person for not trying this sooner”, I thought to myself. I lifted him off the dog bed and “traded”. I brought out one of Newton’s old blankets, which I folded and tucked into a basket. Four weeks later, Frankie still lays in his basket, with Newton’s blanket inside. He lays beside the couch from 7:30 pm – 11 pm every night while I watch terrible reality TV. He does not come to bed with me like he used to, but I know he’s content where he is. There are no more “yowls of death”, and he acts like his happy self. Frankie still cannot run a straight line to save his life, but what really do you require that skill for?

In their happy places. Stewart gets any closer and he'll have to change his facebook status to "In a relationship"
In their happy places. Frankie in his basket. Stewart scarily close to his personal heater.

The main thing is he’s back to playing with Stewart, inquisitive about new visitors and eating normally. So, why did all this happen?

My cat was grieving.

I’m not writing to make you sad, even on such a topic. I’m sharing this with you all to hopefully learn from my mistakes. I should have been aware earlier on, and helped make the transition for all in our household, as easy as possible.

Cesar Milan writes,

“A dog that has lost a companion may show signs of emotional distress with a lack of appetite, aloof behavior, or even be demanding of attention and affection. We have to remember that when a living animal relates to another for a long period of time, they do develop relationships; they do create habits, routines, boundaries and even rules around each other. When suddenly one of the ‘partners’ is no longer there, the dynamic changes.”

I think this can also pertain to cats as well. Frankie, never great with change, must have had quite the shock.

Messybeast.com further remarks,

“Though it may seem an odd question, how are you responding to the loss? Cats are sensitive to changes in human emotions, behaviour and routine. If you are upset, your cat will respond to this and may become anxious, depressed, agitated or physically unwell.”

Of course I was a mess! Not a hot mess at that… A cat is never “just a cat” and a dog is never “just a dog”. They are important members of your family. An important part of ours abruptly went missing, we were not whole. I was anxious, depressed, easily agitated and did not go back to my normal routine of work, gym, dinner, family pet time. Things had changed, and I had too. How could I not expect my furry friends to pick up on this? We needed to find a new normal. So we are picking up the pieces.

Getting back to a "new normal"
Getting back to a “new normal”

If you’ve lost a furry friend, I’m so very sorry for your loss. There is no time limit for grief. Take all the time you require, but make sure you do not get lost in it. Do not let it define you. Whether you like it or not, you will have to find your new normal.

My advice to you, should you go through this terrible ordeal, is observe your other pets’ behavior. Sometimes I’m sure what they need is to feel some semblance of normalcy – just as you do. Just as important, is to ensure you take care of yourself in this difficult time. I’ve offered suggestions that have helped me here. I should have also added to ensure that you give your pets some extra TLC. It’ll make you both feel better, after all snuggles never hurt. Do not feel bad if you find your feelings of grief do not subside. Know there are many groups and professionals available and ready to help.

Wishing you all happy days, it will get better.

Thanks for reading,

Dailyspro