For the fur babies

I think all of us with animals can admit that sometimes we treat our furry companions a bit too much like actual children. Truth is, though, in this stage of my life – where I have no children – my 2 dogs ARE my children. They are mischief makers, and get reprimanded accordingly. They require attention and bonding time every day and are there to greet us happily at the door when we get home. Don’t human children do the same? Just sayin.

brooklyn at vet

Recently, my younger pup (she’ll be 5 this year) started limping and would start hopping to lift one foot off the ground and make this gut-wrenching howl whenever she suddenly put too much weight on this back paw. We didn’t realize what the problem was for a few days because some days she would just lay around looking sad. Other days she would romp and play with the older pup without a problem. But these days would alternate. So, I took her to the vet to find out the problem.

Turns out she has mild arthritis and her knee cap is popping in and out of place and causing her a great deal of pain when she puts weight on it when this happens. The vet recommended she be given Glucosamine/Chondroitin and Fish Oil pills every day to help with her joints, etc. Just like people. Maybe they really ARE just furry kids.

I ordered 2 huge bottles off Amazon (love that Prime membership!) and we starting adding those pills into the regimen. The older pup will eat ANYTHING you give her, including rocks. (She has thrown up a fairly sizable rock before..) She has no problem with the added pills. The little one has always been a bit fickle and picky about her food anyway.. will NOT eat these pills. I even dipped them in yogurt and froze them to encourage her to eat them. She licked the yogurt off and left the pills. That little rat.

So, this weekend – I won. I added peanut butter to the mix and made a batch of both pills so we don’t have to do this ordeal every morning.

A month's worth of dog vitamins.

What kinds of [seemingly] silly things do you do for your fur babies?

Our Valentines.

Whew life has been a whirlwind lately!

I just went and made myself a nice little batching schedule with reminders of when it’s time to switch tasks and color coded everything and dang it, I’ve got another week of this kind of schedule and all of that’s out the window. Not that I was doing all that hot with keeping up with the blog this week anyway. I’ve been reading TONS of other blogs and how they keep up with a busy life and multiple jobs and it seems that there is a trend.. we’re all the type to dabble in many things and not be happy with a regular 9-5 job. I covet those hours and I’m jealous of others who can lay out their schedule and clock out physically and mentally at 5 but that’s really not me, never has been and probably never will be. On this chilly, but sunny & beautiful Friday I’ve had several epiphanies. I’ve decided that I have to pursue a creative/personal career choice. A stable/predictable job is not going to do it for me. That might be easier, but less fulfilling. So while I’ve been afraid to fully put myself in a place where I can pursue something that will fill my SOUL with joy because of the instability, I think over the last year – two years, I’ve finally learned what it takes to make life work with what you’ve got and how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. And I’m excited to take the next steps. Long term goal: be financially free and able to pursue a business that allows me to be creative, challenges me to do more and be more. Short term goal: pay off credit cards.

So, all that rambling aside- a week from now I’ll be gearing up for 65 hour weeks for the next short while. If I can keep up for a month or two or three (maybe) I can pay off all credit cards and maybe my car (almost a year early) EEK!!! It’s not going to be easy, I’ll probably hate my life every morning but ya do what you have to do to get where you want to be. So I will more than likely be only posting twice a week and not expecting myself to keep up with a 4-5 post schedule while trying to work those 2 jobs and work my Mary Kay business. Just FYI.

Tangent and upcoming future aside – VALENTINE’S DAY.

This year I wasn’t upset that Josh and I didn’t spend it together. I wasn’t upset that we both worked. I know that I get more excited about holidays and festivities than he does so I did my thing and I put some creative energy into his gift and woke up to a super cute little display of his gift for me. It’s more about showing the love every day anyway, isn’t it?

It started on February 13th.

IMG_20130213_154403 FxCam_1360850753660I saw this heart banner idea and thought it was the cutest thing ever. I might just leave it up another week because it makes me happy when I walk into my living room. They’re also very cute on a smaller scale, on the fridge, on a mirror, etc.

I was very in the DIY mood this Valentine’s Day after seeing how cute my heart banner turned out. I browsed Pinterest and my bloglovin feed (tons of great Valentine’s ideas this whole week) and I came across a card similar to the one I made with candles and a cute little saying about fire. I adapted it a smidge and chose to use stamps instead of hand writing it on the card stock.

IMG_20130214_121503

I had the card stock, the raffia, the stamps and ink. All I had to do for this was buy some candles. I didn’t really like the idea of a super plain front to the card so I found a cute little heart border and printed it out and then wrote my love note on the back. Maybe I’m too proud of this, but I couldn’t get over how cute it turned out. Besides I always stand in the card aisle for an hour reading every card it seems like til I can find the right one. This was way better.

Everybody in our house got some Valentine’s Day love.

IMG_20130214_113930

Top left: My Valentine’s Day gift. He got me a tulip plant. I’m waaay more excited about it then regular flowers because these won’t die in a week and I’ve been wanting plants to put on the porch (this one’s staying inside I think) and around the house. Plus a pedicure gift certificate & chocolate covered pretzels, WIN. 🙂

Top right: His gift and some heart-shaped sweets

Bottom right: My heart banner over the fire place

Bottom left: Sweet treats for my 2 little four-legged Valentines

I went to an antique shop last weekend and found the cutest little heart-shaped ice cube trays for 75 cents. I’d been looking for shaped ice cube trays recently because I wanted to try making some treats for my pups to freeze. I made my own concoction earlier this week and let them freeze a few days. They LOVED them.

FxCam_1360526185750

Berry Heart Pops

Easy, make at home all natural treats for the four-legged family member(s) in your home.

Easy, make at home all natural treats for the four-legged family member(s) in your home.

Ingredients

FxCam_1360526774203

Peanut Butter (melt it a little in the microwave first, it’s much easier to stir and mix in with other ingredients)

FxCam_1360526357632

Greek yogurt

FxCam_1360526219405Bananas

FxCam_1360526313199Honey

I mashed the bananas up and stirred everything until all ingredients were mixed well. I then spooned the mixture into the ice cube trays. They were looking a little plain so I added a blueberry on top of each ones. Blueberries are a favorite, healthy treat for my puppies.

FxCam_1360527126673

I did have to use a small knife to kind of pop them out of the ice cube trays. I really expected the pups to have to take their time and eat them a little slower than they do most things but one of them gulped hers down, the other took about 20 seconds to eat hers. I was wrong on the timing part, but they LOVED them. I didn’t really measure any of the ingredients, just added until I had a good consistency. I mix peanut butter and greek yogurt to eat with fruit all the time, so I tried to make a similar consistency as when I do that. There’s no right or wrong really, you could eat one of these yourself – it’s not “dog food” but all healthy and natural ingredients.

That was the love in our house this Valentine’s, hope you had a lovely day too!

Darling Little Things: DIY Dog Treats

With 2 fur babies of my own at home and a natural inclination to lean towards DIY things, I’ve found my newest [slight obsession] hobby! I’m sure it’s pretty common knowledge, but did you know how EASY it is to make your own dog treats??! And, bonus: way healthier! I tried a couple different options that I wanted to share.

Make at home dog treats

dog treat ingredients collageThese were my items of choice for my first batch of dog treats. You’ll need whole wheat flour and baby food. The original recipe I used called for TWO four oz. containers of baby food and 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix together to form a stiff dough and then roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness, and cut out with cookie cutters as desired. In keeping with the season, I chose to buy a few holiday themed cookie cutters and later, on the second batch used smaller cookie cutters.. because they came out a little too large for my 2 pups who are about 25 pounds and 40 pounds. Also, make note when choosing baby food selections to choose flavors that are dog friendly. (See arrows.) Anything with onions or onion powder is NOT dog friendly, so avoid any flavors with onion. Carrots and sweet potato are pretty big favorites in our house, so I went with those.

Roll out your dough and cut out your favorite shapes

Roll out your dough and cut out your favorite shapes

After you’ve rolled out your dough and cut out some shapes, add some wax paper to a cookie sheet and pop those babies into the oven at about 325. Bake 20-25 minutes.

First batch: sweet potato and chicken and carrot flavored

First batch: sweet potato and chicken and carrot flavored

Unfortunately, I did not store this first batch properly, or the carrot flavored ones just don’t have a very long shelf life.. still trying to determine which factor, or if both did me in with these. I let them cool [although maybe not enough] and placed them into mason jars and put the caps on. About 4 days later, every single one of those dog cookies had mold growing on them. Since making a second batch not using baby food, I think it may be the baby food that causes the dog cookie to be so moist that it cannot harden all the way. In this case, maybe adding a bit more flour to the dough would help, or letting them sit out overnight would aid in storage. I let them sit out all of last night and while my second batch is harder than the original, they’re still a little springy. I’ll leave a couple out for the next day or two and the rest will be kept in the freezer and taken out as needed, because they can be stored for up to two months in the freezer.

Third batch: Completely different. I perused different websites for new ideas. After reading a few, I noticed that there are a few ingredients that are interchangeable: flour (different kinds, usually wheat), rolled oats, egg, milk, water. For the third batch I used 1 1/2 cup wheat flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup peanut butter (warmed in the microwave to help with mixing), 1 tbsp vanilla extract, and drizzled honey throughout. I did half to add some water to get the dough to hold together. I baked these for a minute or two longer (about 24 minutes) and these came out much harder to begin with, and as they sat out hardened even more and are rather crunchy for my dogs to munch on. That said, I don’t think they’ll grow mold like the baby food ones, but I might still freeze them to be safe.

2012-12-11 10.34.19

 

Making these DOES make a mess. 🙂 It’s completely worth it though to make 100 treats using $4 worth of cookie cutters, a $3 bag of wheat flour and $3 worth of baby food. The rest of the ingredients, I had on hand. I made extras to freeze and store for later, but these might be great little gifts for the dog lovers in your life. Besides being totally inexpensive, you can control what ingredients your pups are eating and be a bit healthier all around.

Check out my Pinterest board for some of the other homemade dog treat recipes that I found.

Tablet Blog signature

 

 

Save the Shelter Babies!

I haven’t gone into too many details about how I feel about dogs yet.. but both of my fur babies are both rescues and I highly advocate rescuing animals vs. purchasing from pet shops. Both of my girls happen to be very similar in breed & amazingly get along like long lost sisters.

This past weekend I felt a tug on my heart when one of our local shelters put out a plea for the community to step up  & help. The shelter was over 100 animals in surplus and out of room for many of them. This particular shelter is, in fact, a “kill” shelter and euthanizes animals in extreme situations. To avoid euthanizing animals just to free up space, several local news stations broadcasted stories and the city’s mayor also put out a plea to the city to help. Even though we are about at capacity in our home for our 2 pups, and against my love’s wishes.. I went to the shelter to find a baby to take in, to foster.

Fostering differs from adopting in the main sense that the experience is temporary. I know we don’t have room for a third pup, and the power struggle that would probably ensue amongst the 3. When we walked through the section of pups with colds who were on meds (and really needed a home environment to be calm and get well in), we talked past one particular fur baby who ran to the other side of her cage and curled up in a ball in an attempt to hide. Poor thing, there was nothing in her cage to hide under or behind.

I asked for details on this particular pup, and turns out she was picked up on the streets. She didn’t have a name that she responded to and was scared to death of every thing and everyone. I brought her home in attempts to get her well and socialize her a bit so that hopefully in 2 weeks, when it’s time to take her back, she can get scooped up and settled in a loving home.

Please take a look and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about her. I’m hoping I can find someone to adopt her before I have to take her back to the shelter.