Always groom before a vet visit!

I always brush or groom my dogs before taking them to the vet. I consider it part of my responsibility as a dog owner, aka “dog mom”.

Here’s why:

•Pretty, groomed, sweet smelling dogs get more love and attention. ☺️

I’ve seen it first hand. My husband thinks I’m crazy or maybe just silly but when the receptionists come out from behind the counter to knowingly get licked and slimed while petting your dog; when the vet techs smile as they greet your dog to take them back, as they laugh when they then get yanked away by a happy Gordon off on an adventure; when the vet kneels down and gives them extra ear rubs and tells them how handsome they are…it’s true. The staff are always pleasant and kind if my dogs aren’t looking their best but they go out of their way when around clean, shiny dogs. ☺️

•First impressions of a well cared for dog say without a word that you will go the extra mile for your dogs care and you want the best. And of course you do, so that’s a win!

They treat you with more respect when you come in with a visibly well loved family member, not simply a pet.

•A trimmed dog is easier for the vet to actually ‘see’ so they can catch something that might otherwise have been buried under hair.

They can’t go over every inch of your dog, they count on you for clues as to where to look. And when you’ve bathed them and hand your hands all over, you’ll feel any unusual spots or new bumps that you can make a note to ask the vet to check out.

If your dog has short hair, at least make sure their toes are trimmed, eyes and ears are cleaned and their coat is smooth and shiny with no caked on dirt.

•Your dog will feel better, even if they are under the weather. The love they feel from you while being brushed goes miles towards helping them heal.

They have pride too! Doesn’t Ian look happy to be handsome? ☺️ This boy will proudly hold his head up that much higher when he’s groomed as he walks in the vets office. He’ll soak up every bit of love and “awwww ???” he’s given.

•In an emergency, no I don’t bathe and trim my dogs before taking them in. I DO however throw a brush in my purse for while I’m waiting in the office.

The intent isn’t to be “Oh my gosh, I have to hurry and brush you before anyone sees you!” Instead the intent is that it gives you something to do with your hands and a place to focus your attention when you’re upset. You never know what you might feel while having your hands on them that will be helpful in diagnosis. It keeps you both calmer too. ?

There really isn’t any downside to doing this and so many wins. So why not?

As a side note, this just came to mind as I’m writing, it’s important so I’ll share even though it’s a little off topic of this post.

If you have to leave your dog at the vets offices Go Visit Them! Don’t ask if you can, ask instead for when would be a good time or do you need me to call first. They may say, oh he’ll be sleeping or you don’t need to come, we’ll have someone looking in on them 24/7. Don’t Listen. Trust me, your dog needs to see and feel you and know that they haven’t been deserted. Even if they aren’t fully alert, they’ll know you’re there and can feel your vibes. That will absolutely help them heal and be less stressed.

Also, the vet and staff will again see without you saying a word that you are a very concerned “parent”. The more you can say thank you to them and be appreciative for the great care they are giving your dog, the more likely they are to do the little extras, like stopping by just to talk to them or to brush them.

What going to the vet routines do you have with your dog?

Rebuilding The Runway

The path all 4 dogs take as they go tearing out the back door after a bird they’ve spotted in the yard is what I call The Runway. ?

The dirt had sunk, especially in the corner, so it was a low point in the yard collecting water and the sprinklers were too high to water it properly. Add originally laying it in the dead of summer, which is 110° around here, didn’t help. So it was looking a little sad.

With all I’ve learned this past year, and since not being able to use grass seeds due to crickets that love grass seedlings ?, I can now do a great job transplanting, patching holes and putting seams together ?.

This was my biggest repair job yet. Unplanned too. The idea struck and I knew if I didn’t do it now it wouldn’t get done this year. The seasons of life in nature trump time and agendas.

The prep work was Not Fun. And to not waste the bits of living grass I pulled up I used it to patched other various holes in the yard. Time consuming, ugh, for sure and yet I do love not having holes. ?

Actually laying the sod was the easy part. 🙂

Now if I can keep it alive and the fence not peed on (or jumped over)??‍♀️while it grows roots. ????

I want to know why human urine is good fertilizer for grass but dog urine is not? ?

All that being said, the reason I work so hard on the grass is for the Joie on my dogs ? faces when we play ball on it…

watching them roll in it….

enjoying the coolness in the shade on grass that never gets too hot to burn your feet….

being able to ground myself…..by sinking my bare feet into REAL grass that feels like coming home is an awfully nice side benefit.

then there’s playtime…

and mealtimes with no danger of eating rocks….

#selfcare at its finest ??

#homeownerlife #lovemydogs #gordonsetter #lifeofjoie

Update: I am ecstatic to share that after a couple weeks of extra daily waterings, the new grass is doing better than any sod previously laid! Except for the brown patches where the fence was peed on while we were gone for 12 days and they “forgot” where they aren’t allowed to pee. It’s now had two haircuts and can be walked on. The chairs are my genius idea to have them go around The Runway while the new grass is settling in as they take off out the back door. ? And they can pee on the chairs which are on the rocks. ??

This new patch is now Ian’s favorite spot in the yard. ?

So now you know I’m obsessed with grass. Lol. I’m sure if you’re a dog owner you too have great stories of the things you do for them and because of them. I’d love to hear some!

The Nose Knows

As is the required regular morning routine I was out playing ball with The Boys, Nicklas, Ian and Larkin, and one of the balls took a crazy bounce and ended up in the veggie bed. (the overflowing bed on the left in the photo, but of course.)

I searched for a while but the tomato plants have literally taken over, becoming so dense and tightly packed together I couldn’t find it without breaking branches.

So hoping I’d eventually come across it one day, I went in the house and got the back up ball. I luckily have a 4th extra ball as the neighbors tossed another one we’d lost many weeks ago back over the wall ??? and we finished our game.

A couple hours later Nicklas goes up to the garden fence, nose in the air obviously having caught a scent and I’m like OMG, he smells the ball! Almost disbelieving, I open the gate, only letting him in (Ian & Larkin know something is up and want in on it too LOL), and he goes right to the middle of the bed sticking his nose in amongst the tomato plants very carefully. He spots an opening by the basil plants and puts a paw in the dirt but quickly listens and takes his paw out when I tell him no.

He sniffs around a bit more and then zeros in with his nose stuffed in a plant and holds still. I check and yup, he’s found it!

I carefully reach in, moving leaves and branches to pick up the ball while Nicklas impatiently waits, thankfully not lunging into the garden bed to grab it.

He is very pleased with his find of course and proudly pranced off with Ian and Larkin hot on his heels, pestering him, hoping to steal his treasure. Lol.

Just ask Nicklas

I am choosing to soak up this moment, live in the JOIE and Celebrate!! ✨???

I absolutely have to share the fantastic news!

23 months ago our boy Nicklas almost died from heart failure, due to a taurine deficiency. We were told even IF they could save his immediate life it would be for maybe 6-12 months as damaged hearts don’t heal. ??

Day by day this boy held on and fought to survive. When he demanded to be let out of his oxygen tank/crate we knew he was going to pull through. ?☺️

We took him home, crossed our fingers, gave him loads of love, a summer of rest (under protest), heart medicine, high dosage of taurine and a bonus CoQ10 supplement ? as for 6 months we daily counted his breaths per minute, waiting for his first cardio recheck. There we learned he was responding and his heart was shockingly starting to HEAL! ???

9 months ago I started feeding him raw, 6 months ago I chose to take him off his heart medicine, and TODAY his echocardiogram shows his heart is completely NORMAL, both in size AND pumping efficiency!!

We are ecstatic!!! Plenty of happy tears. ?

Recovery is so new and rare his cardiologist can’t even believe it.

It’s been a scary ride at times and often we wondered if we were doing the right / best thing for him when it went contrary to poplar opinion and many were very much opposed and freely attacking our choices.

Loving him as I do and knowing NOBODY was in his corner more than me, gave me the strength and courage to learn, ask questions, never give up and to make decisions based on what I believed in my heart was best for him. When a life is on the line you don’t often get a second chance if you’re wrong, I wanted no regrets.

Nicklas is soooo happy now, energy is off the charts even for a puppy, much less an 8 1/2 yr old boy. This previously frustratingly picky eater we couldn’t keep weight on LOVES to eat now. He has the most amazing Joie de Vivre!

Miracles DO happen! Just ask Nicklas, he’ll happily tell you so with a bark or two or three or four.

?????

Is it Woo Woo, Magic or Something More…

This story begins simply enough a week ago with the dawning of a brand new day and fresh determination to accomplish my 3 for 30 Challenge items (Self Care, Fitness & Business) before 2pm, starting with Self Care, which for this challenge meant meditation.

To back up a bit to set the stage…after being a long time woo woo, non-meditating skeptic, while still acknowledging there are lots of things out there beyond my understanding, I’d recently started learning about healing energies and wanted to know if it was possible to use them myself. This element of my challenge was because I was curious what 30 days of consistent meditation would do for me and my dogs- our pack mindset, energy, balance, grounding, peace and awareness. Could I get good at it? Could I REALLY use energy and see an impact around me?

So that morning, after meditating with all 4 dogs around me I noticed Nicklas had gotten up and was standing there slightly trembling. On immediate alert 😳 I felt over his body, checking his chest and belly in case of bloat, see if he’s in pain anywhere, thinking back over what he ate yesterday and of course I start to worry (Nicklas doesn’t do anything NON-emergency) while telling myself to stay calm. I can tell it’s something with his stomach so I take him out into the yard to try and get him moving to see how he does.

Nicklas is starting to look distressed, maybe he’s feeding off of me? He does that. The thought pops into my head that I should meditate with him and see if I can create a healing space for him and help us both to be calm, all the while I’m debating if we need to head to the vet for an X-ray, knowing from past experience, with this boy especially, that time can be of the essence.

I sat down right where I was in the yard on the grass, Nicklas laid down right by me and I meditated with him. Not sure how long I sat there maybe 15/20 minutes or so. He was calmer but the shaking started up again and I could feel his stomach rolling. I decided, “OK baby, to the vet we go.” Going inside, I started looking around to see what I needed to take and make sure the rest of the gang was set, had water and all that.

I was hit with this idea to use some Peppermint essential oil, quickly pulled out a reference book on my library selves to see if Peppermint worked on digestive/stomach related issues (I’ve never used it that way!) and lo and behold it does. 👍🏼 I mixed 3 drops with some coconut oil and applied it to half of his belly, rubbing it all in. Rolled him over and repeated on the other side. Figured it couldn’t hurt and would maybe help him be more comfortable on the drive to the vet’s office. Interesting thing is, Nicklas doesn’t like essential oils AT ALL so that he let me put them on him was a miracle all by itself. I was halfway thinking I’d have to put him in the shower and wash it off, if it caused him to stress out more.

5 minutes later he had a TOTAL shift in behavior and perked up! 😲 I proceeded to load him into the truck and sat there staring at him….thinking 🤔….should I give him some more time….what if I’m wrong?…I know at the vet he’ll be keyed up, he’ll be taken from me and be stressed while strangers hold him down to take an X ray, not giving him time to be comfortable. I know they’ll want to do lots of preventative, maybe give him drugs, pump his stomach….and if it’s NEEDED I’m completely okay with it….and yet…is that the best thing for HIM?

I decide to take him for a walk and give him a few more minutes. He surprised me by wanting to move so we ended up JOGGING to the park! I was happy that due to my better health, lighter weight and recent exercises I could keep up with him. lol. At the park I let him drag his leash and explore on his own as I slowly strolled around looping the small park several times. Finally he started to slow down so I picked a spot to sit on the grass, he trotted over and laid down very close which is completely unusual for him when we are out. I knew he wasn’t fully ok. I continued watching him for clues. Again, I started meditating with him. Right out there in the open, cross legged Indian style, back straight, hands on my legs palms up…the classic pose, right? 😛 NEVER would’ve pictured me doing this in a million years!

The wind was gusting, it was a bit chilly, clouds were moving in like a storm was on the way but, as is common this time of year in Las Vegas, really wasn’t, with some patchy sun. An absolutely gorgeous day! I sat there being filled with gratitude that he was doing “ok” at the moment and that we were spending this time out in nature together. He loves the wind, it was cool enough for him and he was calmly resting. If this had been the dead of summer, here in the desert, it would’ve been another story. I only opened my eyes, however long later, when a neighbor came by walking her dog. I had my phone but felt no need to check the time. What did it matter? We left shortly after and made our way to a couple other smaller patches of grass heading towards home. I found a big rock to sit on as I watched Nicklas investigate, then he came back and again sat close, on my feet even. I meditated with him some more and then we just sat there soaking up the day, me gently touching him, he content to lean on me. I was grateful to not be sitting in a vets office with him stressed and me worried about him. I’m sure the construction workers that were out redoing our neighborhood streets were giving me strange 👀 while I sat there meditating. On a humorous note, I would say to Nicklas – “Ok, let’s go home” – and he’d immediately flop back down flat on the grass. This happened multiple times. 🙄 I got the message!

After FINALLY returning home he laid by me on the couch, not completely himself but resting comfortably. I put peppermint oil on his belly every 3 hours or so when it seemed like the effects were starting to wear off. And I meditated with him another time or two.

Side note – I learned that it’s Nicklas’ energy that drives the pack and he needs to be my focus with these healing meditations. I’d been waffling between him and Ian but clearly saw how they acted when Nicklas was uber calm. He never is! From the moment he wakes up till he’s sleeping he’s on high speed energy. I have my work cut out for me!

After a long tiring day and my worry that he’d have a set back during the night that would have us at the emergency vet; the light dinner I gave him didn’t sit too well….I put more peppermint oil on, rubbed his stomach till he burped and his stomach settled down again. He made it through the night and was back to himself by the following late morning. 😍 It took me another day of having eagle eyes on him to believe he was really ok.

Thank you for your patience if you’re still reading through this story.😊

I’ll end with saying that I’m not advocating to boycott the vet. On the contrary, vet’s have saved my dogs lives, Nicklas’ especially, multiple times so I will ALWAYS take them in for cases of true emergency and am extremely grateful for their skills and resources plus our own financial resources that we’ve been able to use to pay for their lifesaving care.

This time though, I felt I had new tools in my tool belt and was able to actually DO something to support my dog and provide him a space to heal himself. Maybe it was nothing serious but even simple pent up gas can be deadly for deep chested dogs. Maybe the meditation helped? Perhaps it was the essential oils? Perhaps it was my remaining calm and focused on listening to him and not scaring him more by freaking out? Or was it the stomach rubs he got? ? Who knows….

Whatever it was, Woo Woo, Magic, common sense, non of the above…to me it honestly doesn’t matter. I was able to put new knowledge to work, empowered myself, created a better experience for us both and Nicklas continues to do great. To me that is PRICELESS!

I will always feel blessed for that magical, Something More, afternoon we spent together. 💝 A gift I don’t ever want to forget.

If you’re curious about the healing meditation I mentioned then connect with my friend, Jamie Lee, who has been instrumental in starting me on this path. You can find her on Facebook here, or comment below and I’ll introduce you. She’s amazing!

Jamie and Reiki