Tough Love

Hello friends,


One week in. Progress


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.

Leash on = quick corrections


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.

First proud moment I had between these two. It lasted all of 10 secs, but it happened.


BFW rescue has been fantastic, answered all of my questions tirelessly (and there have been many). What a bunch of gems.

Enjoying the meadow behind our house. 20 ft lead makes this possible


Stay tuned for more on Bruno’s progress. Slow and steady…




A little something extra…

This past weekend, I took Richard with me to my parents house for some extra spoiling. Mom gave him a new “Baby” that accurately describes his personality…..


Needless to say we are ALL enjoying our time with him 🙂

A wonderful visit from an old friend

Hello friends,

You’ve all been patiently waiting to hear who my newest boarder is. So without further ado, meet Richard (aka – Great News: Part 2) !


Richard is Newton’s brother, former play buddy and identical personality twin. Newton was boarded at his house when we traveled. When his owner asked me to board him for a week or two, I tried to hold back tears. I couldn’t.

They were tears of happiness.

Couch snuggles were followed by vacuuming furry tumbleweeds….

If I’m being honest – our house feels like a home again  with a Bernese visitor in it. I love all of my boarders, but this one is obviously a bit  more emotional for me.

“There’s something about being greeted at the door by a giant black and white panda bear, full of fur and drool, that warms my heart.”

I see Richard, and am reminded of Newton – This time in a positive light. Great memories pour in as I enjoy my time with him. I am reminded of why I fell in love with Newton in the first place, and also the breed. Those big goofy eyes, giant paws and furry faces exude love.  What better therapy is there then that?

Newton with his Berner family. See Richard and Newton together on the far left!

You should my other two little fur kids faces!. It was like Christmas morning when Richard breezed through the house. Frankie and Stewart were greeted with “cat baths” from him, which Stewart begrudgingly accepted and Frankie loved (and now receives a few times a day). Now Frank “the Tank” has turned into Richard’s shadow, which I find amazingly adorable.


I honestly wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but happy we were open to the opportunity. I’ve found comfort and joy in being around other dogs (fostering, boarding and training can be healthy and healing – when you’re ready!). It makes me aware that a new addition would not take the place of Newton in our hearts, as we have room for more. I wasn’t convinced of that a week ago.

I continue to miss Newton every single day, which I don’t expect to change. Grief, after all, does not have an expiration date.

My advice if you’re feeling down? Find a cool pup that enjoys a snuggle or two.

A huge thanks to Richards parents for entrusting us for the next little while with this wonderful fur kid, stay tuned for more pics and posts to come 🙂


Puppy Therapy 2.0

Dear Friends,

I did it, I crossed another hurdle. See, I’ve been avoiding places that remind me exclusively of Newton. You know the places I mean – the places I went only because of him.

As some of you have been following, my grieving process has been a roller coaster of emotions. I hope I’ll stay on this positive high for a while this time.

To give you a bit of back story, we bought Newton from amazing co-breeders. One of them lived close to us in Moncton, the other 2 hrs away in Saint John. The last time I had been to visit her partner in Saint John, it was so she could meet and interview us for our new puppy (almost 3 years ago). I was close by for work, went out on a limb, called her up to let her know I was in the neighborhood. She invited me and  I went.

The only comparison I can make is it was like “pulling off the band aid”. I was so nervous driving there, so different from how I felt the first time driving up the driveway with my fiance. Unsure, with different nerves, and a different perspective.

All that changed when I walked in and was instantly greeted with tailwags and face licks – by four beautiful Bernese.

Obviously I had treats in my hand :)
Obviously I had treats in my hand 🙂

I had met most of these dogs before. What I love about dogs, and particularly Bernese in general, is their sensitivity to human emotions. The dogs did not leave my side. I think they sensed how much I loved and appreciated them all, most likely recognizing that I needed them near. What I had thought was going to be a 15 min visit just to pop in, chat about fall litters and give updates, turned into a 3 + hour visit. We sat there, two crazy dog ladies, discussing our love for the breed, how each one was doing and how we both were doing.

I sat there completely covered in long black Berner hair, with two attempting to sit on my lap. I know had a ridiculous crazy smile plastered all over my face. This was the happiest I’ve been in a while.

Funny facts about these lovebugs – they all have zero sense of how large they actually are. I’m convinced they all think they’re Chihuahua size.

Not so much....
Not so much….

Halfway into our visit, she asked me to wash my hands and took me into the back room, I wasn’t sure what to expect. She said she had something that would instantly make me feel better. She was right.

One of her most lovable Bernese, Ivana, had just had puppies 5 days before. Refer to my post “Puppy Love” if you need a reminder of my love of puppies. BERNER PUPPIES?? Even better.

Ivana and her pups
Ivana and her 3 beautiful  pups

I remembered Ivana from my visit almost 3 years before. This is her second litter, and she makes such a wonderful mother. She did not mind me snuggling with one of her young pups in the least.

me and puppy
Photo cred – W. Bennett

My heart melted. I thought constantly of Newton, but could I be sad while looking down at this little furry peanut? This new 1 lb puppy could not hear, could not see, couldn’t use the washroom by itself or even regulate it’s body temperature yet.

puppy hand

During the next hour I learned how amazing a mother’s natural instinct is. Ivana (mom) taught me how to burp one of her pups after feeding. The breeder showed me how Ivana regulates their body temperature, stimulates them to use the washroom and cares for each and every one of them. She talked about the next steps, what she’s looking for in a family for each one of them, and the vet visits that were coming up way too fast.

puppy face
Guinea pig nose 🙂

I then learned that this little girl I was holding was most likely going to a wonderful family in my hometown of Nova Scotia. How amazing is that!! I might see her again.

As I came home and reflected on this day, I realized I had been scared to go visit them. Now I realize how much joy they brought me. Newton would have loved these visits. I promised in my letter that I would visit his friends often and send his affection their way. I realize that through living up to this promise, it’s helped me take yet another step. I thought seeing other Bernese would sadden me, remind me of what I didn’t have anymore.

I realize now, that was silly of me. Of course these visits don’t make me sad. Newton loved them all. How could I be sad about that?

I needed this visit to help gain perspective. I’m so happy that I “pulled off the band-aid” and did it. What I thought was going to be just a step, turned into a wonderful visit with old friends – both human and canine. It reminded me of the simple things in life, and what my fiance wrote about shortly after we lost Newton,

“What I realized is this. Pets, Animals, Dogs, Newton… are generally simple beings. They eat, sleep, play… and love. You. In world that is totally messed up; the desire to acquire; be promoted; to be successful; our pets make life so very simple. Its easy to love them, to humanize them. In grand scheme of things, they dont care how much money you make or what your title is. They just want to be around you, and you want to be around them.”

– kudos to my fiance

Great words to live by. As I go through my own process of grieving, I’m thankfully reminded by Newton’s memories & other furry friends to stop and enjoy simple pleasures. Quit complicating the issues at hand, enjoy great things, stop dwelling on the bad. I’m thankful I’ve included many dogs in my life so they can remind me of this. In this case, it was taking the time to enjoy snuggling puppies and furry mommas alike. Appreciating a helpless newborn, the simplicity of what life can be like. Eat, Drink, Sleep, Play and Love, what amazing things we can learn from our canine friends. I celebrate that Newton helped form me into the dog crazy that I am, encouraging me to pick up the phone and make the call, which led to this wonderful visit.

Thanks for reading,


Third Annual Pet Blogger Challenge – Q & A

Good morning friends!

A day late, but a huge thanks to Amy Burkhert over at for hosting this years third Annual Pet Blogger Challenge. Since I am very new to this, I relish the idea of connecting to like minded dog and pet lovers alike!


I’ve been an animal lover all my life, and my family always had a dog.  My fiance and I rescued two cats (Stewart and Frankie) along our way. and have been patiently waiting until we had the space and means to get our own dog, and then we finally did! We had Newton with us for 2.5 yrs until we lost him from Chronic Kidney failure in Dec. 2012. He was the love of our life for that too short span of time.

I believe if you are an animal lover, and have the means to do it, you should always own animals. Sometimes it does take time until you’re ready again, but we will one day.

I am taking it one day at a time, but the blogging world has opened me up to speak about it and to heal. It has helped me tremendously, and I have all of you to thank!

So without further ado, please find my answers below!

1. When did you begin your blog?

October 2012

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?

As a newbie to the blogging world, I started with a mish-mash of things going on in my life. However, during the past few weeks I’ve been more tuned into a different community. A community I’ve always been excited about, but for some reason didn’t revolve my blog completely around it – until lately. Yes, I’m talking about you, fellow pet owners!

3. Is your current purpose the same?

We lost our furry best friend to a terrible disease called Nephropathy on Dec. 19, 2012. Nephropathy is a chronic condition that affects the kidneys’ ability to process protein. It is the specialists’ opinion(s) that Newton was most likely born with this. We said a very sad and sudden farewell to Newton after only finding out a week before that he had this condition.

When he was unresponsive to treatment and confirmed he was without pain, we took him home and cooked him the foodie masterpieces he deserved and had dreamed about. I’ll never forget his face as he ate 4 cheeseburgers in one sitting and for dessert – gravy and mashed sweet potatoes. He was a happy boy, who loved all and left a giant hole in our hearts and many others. I was so lost in the 48 hrs after we said goodbye, that I couldn’t talk about it, so I turned to writing. The support from the pet and dog lover community poured in on my darkest days, and stemmed from one of my first posts – “Dear Friend, I will see you again“.

If not, what’s different?

 I feel compelled to write about things that have helped me (baby steps) with my grief, such as dog walking for the SPCA. If someone finds solace or help from what I write about – that would be great. If not, it still helps me to write about it and connect with my favorite people – dog people!

If so, how do you feel you’ve met your goals?

To be honest, I’m not certain what my writing goals were for 2012.  To answer the best I can – I’m happy that my blog has connected me to the secret society of dog crazies (like myself) out there.

4. How often do you post?

1-2 x a week

5. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?

I’m more of a “blog when I feel like it” type person, but I want to get better at this.

If you publish on a schedule, why? How strict are you about your publishing deadlines? What do you do for inspiration when it feels like you’ve covered every topic?

If you don’t publish on a schedule, why? How do you think your decision affects your audience? How do you know when a topic is “post-worthy?”

I don’t always publish on a schedule, but I would like to work on this. Right now, it’s as I feel like it for a reason. With time, I think ironing out a nice schedule would be great.

I never know when a topic is “post-worthy”. I know that writing helps heal me at the moment, so I just write 🙂 I often go back and change certain things after… Boo to me for not catching my errors sooner!

6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your  tips for staying on top of it all.

I would say I spend about 2-3 hrs blogging and so much more visiting others’ blogs. A procrastinator’s dream!

7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?

For me I genuinely enjoy reading through the comments people leave. This process has helped me develop a sounding board and a GIANT supportive network when I needed it most. If I talked to most people about what I write about on my blog, I’m terrified that I would get the comment most of us dread, “He was just a dog”.

I would most likely feel need to avoid that person, and it wouldn’t end well for anyone 🙂

Mostly this blog has allowed me to remember Newton as he deserves. It has allowed me to reflect on all of the positivity he represented! This is what I consider my greatest success.

Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions?

8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

I think I have a tendency to ramble, so making it more concise. Also thoroughly finding out what these magical things called Widgets really are & how to use them 🙂

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?

I want to get more organized.

I’m not ready to bring another furry friend into our lives yet, but it would be great to think that it’s something 2013 could bring. It would be a wonderful cycle to write about, and something that makes me smile when I think about it.

I also feel the need to share yet another photo – so here’s one of my faves! I had just planted a new garden, left to go to work – leaving my capable fiance at the helm. This is what I came back home to!

I didn’t need those flowers anyway……

Newton –  the reason I now blog 🙂

How can you stay mad at that face??
How can you stay mad at that face??