obsessed with dogs

Things

1. We enrolled Cooper in Reactive Dog at a training facility here. It’s the same trainer who taught the round that Lucas took. For a variety of weird reasons, most of our Reactive Dog classes in New Orleans were cancelled or rescheduled, so I didn’t feel like we got enough out of that class, so I’m excited for this one. Tonight is people only to talk about the foundations, but I’ll share our experiences as we go. I think it’s going to be interesting to re-take the class with a whole new set of intentions. With Lucas, it was all about dogs and leash reactivity. For Cooper, it’s all about surprises and “strange pictures” (like, people with an unusual gait).

Who me?

 

2. Yesterday, Molly met a wonderful woman who volunteers her time for a small dog rescue here in town. She is so kindly going to do a courtesy adoption listing for little Miss Molly, and we couldn’t be happier. I’m confident she’s going to find herself a fabulous Hoosier home! She was spayed last week and is all ready for her forever family!

Molly was spayed last week

3. There’s still time to enter the PawGanics eco-friendly, gentle dog grooming products giveaway (closes TODAY!) and the CANIDAE canned cat food giveaway.

4. This coming weekend, we are so honored and thrilled and EXCITED because Emmett was invited to be a guest of honor at PetSafe’s annual black tie gala, which benefits the Morris Animal Foundation. Here’s a little sneak peak at my handsome guy trying on his tuxedo collar, but I’ll have tons more pics and a recap of the whole special night next week!

Emmett in his tuxedo collar

5. Tomorrow I have a big unveiling and another fabulous giveaway. You seriously don’t want to miss this one! I think it’s the first product review I’ve ever done that made me cry…

See ya’ tomorrow!

 

Have they adjusted to the tiny backyard?

Playing from Maggie Marton on Vimeo.

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Don’t forget! There are a few giveaways going on. One simple click to enter!

Dogswell LiveFree dog food giveaway closes TONIGHT!

PawGanics eco-friendly, gentle dog grooming products giveaway closes in one more day.

CANIDAE canned cat food giveaway closes in two days.

 

How to Make Your Dog Dinner #BlogPawsDIY

How to Make Your Dog Dinner

Have you ever run out of your dog’s food? It happens here on occasion, often because John feeds breakfast and I feed dinner… and someone forgets to tell someone else that we’re out of dog food! Or, have you thought about spoiling your pup with a fancy homecooked meal?

Well, now’s your chance! Here is how to make your dog dinner! (Hint: It’s SUPER easy.)

First, a disclaimer: I’m not a vet or a nutritionist or anything special. I just like to make a healthy meal for the dogs every so often. This recipe and the additional suggestions aren’t designed to replace a nutritionally-complete feeding regimen – just for once-in-a-while yumminess! Check with your vet on any of this if you’re worried!

Your fridge and pantry are probably already stocked with tons of ingredients your dog will love. The recipe I’m sharing with you came to be because we were out of kibble and these were the ingredients we had on hand! As I walk you through what the boys had for dinner last night, I’ll share suggestions for substitutes.

  1. Unless you’re planning a special shopping trip to pick up ingredients, assess the contents of your fridge and pantry. Making your dog dinner is a sneaky way to finish off leftovers, too. Here’s what I had on hand for this recipe: organic eggs, brown rice, organic frozen mixed vegetables, Greek yogurt, and pumpkin puree.
    How to cook your dog dinner: assemble the ingredients
  2. Cook the rice first. (It takes ages!) Or, you can switch rice for another grain like quinoa. You could also bake a potato or sweet potato, boil pasta, or skip this step altogether if your dog doesn’t do well with grains. The goal is to pick a carb source that works for your dog. Hint: It helps to have a sous chef for this step.
    Emmett watches the rice cook
  3. Next, whip up the veggies. If I had fresh on hand, I would’ve steamed those instead, but I used what I had and cooked the veggies on the stove top in a little water. If your dog isn’t used to veggies, try one type at a time, rather than mixing them up. Also, raw veggies are harder to digest, so steam or boil them first! Then, I pop them in the fridge to cool.
    Cooking up frozen veg
  4. For our protein source, I used eggs. If you’re using eggs, scramble them up! You have a ton of protein options here and can work with your dog’s preferences and tolerances. Some good options: chicken breast, ground turkey or lamb, salmon, and so on. If you’re well prepared, I’d suggest having some of Kol’s Notes’ bone broth in your freezer to add in at this point.
    Whipping up scrambled eggs
  5. Once everything is cooked and cooled (warm is ok, but don’t burn your pup’s tongue!) mix it with any wet ingredients like the Greek yogurt and pumpkin.
    How to cook your dog dinner: Carbs, protein, fresh veggies

As I was getting everything put away in the fridge, I realized I had a bit of sweet potato leftover from some brownies we made and a packet of pre-cooked bacon bits that had come with a bag of salad, so I tossed both of those in with their dinners.

What did they think?

I think they liked it! They scarfed it down quickly, anyway!

You can embellish their meal with absolutely anything: fresh parsley (for better breath!), a scoop of peanut butter, fresh fruit or frozen berries, and so on. (Just be sure to avoid toxic foods.)

Do you ever prepare a homecooked meal for your pup? What are some of your favorite ingredients to use? If you haven’t tried it before, are you willing to give it a go now that you’ve seen how easy it is?

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by BlogPaws. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about DIY projects that enrich pets’ lives, but OMD! only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.

CANIDAE canned cat food review and giveaway

I should start this review with full disclosure: Newt is NOT a picky eater. Truly, this cat will eat anything. Plus, she insists on being fed with the dogs, so she gets breakfast and dinner with them and wolfs it down. If she finishes first, she pokes her head in their dog bowls and starts to gobble up kibble.

So, when CANIDAE reached out about Newt testing the new formulas in their Grain Free PURE and Life Stages canned cat food lines, I wasn’t worried about whether or not she’d eat it. Instead, I wanted to focus on the nutritional quality of the food… on Newt’s behalf because she is NOT a discerning kitty.

CANIDAE canned cat food review and giveaway

When I popped open the lid on the PURE can, the first thing I saw were whole entire chunks of meat. The formula is grain-free, so all you get is the meat simmered in a broth. On the salmon can, for example, here are the first five ingredients: Salmon, fish broth, vegetable broth, chicken liver, chicken fat.

One unexpected benefit to the big chunks: It forced Newt to eat slower!

We also received a can from the Life Stages line, and it arrived at exactly the same time as Petey! It’s designated for any age from kitten to senior, so we fed the little lady this can. She gobbled it right up! In fact, the little booger dove right into the can before we had time to scoop it into her dish.

Petey gobbles up her CANIDAE food

(Quick aside: Apparently I didn’t TRUMPET it enough! :) Miss Petey found a lovely, wonderful home right before we left Louisiana. She is settled in, happy, and – by all accounts – mischievous in her new home!)

I love that these are made in the US with no wheat, corn, soy, fillers, antibiotics, hormones, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

These are all-around solid cat foods, and Newt highly recommends both lines!

And, thanks to the generosity of the folks at CANIDAE, one of you lucky cats will get to try out the food that Newt tested!

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway. The widget sometimes takes a few seconds to load, or if you’re reading this via email or in a feed reader, you may have to click the link. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, CANIDAE, for giving us this opportunity!

Tell me: Is your cat a finicky feline? Or will she eat anything and everything like Newt?

PawGanics review and giveaway: Eco-friendly grooming products

Two things you probably know about us by now: We deal with a ton of allergy-related skin problems, and we strive to purchase eco-friendly products whenever possible.

Well, wouldn’t you know! PawGanics helps me achieve both of those aims!

PawGanics Logo

Before we left Houma, they kindly sent us a package of products to test. Concurrently, Cooper’s skin issues were out of control – he had a rash, bumps in his armpits, and his thighs had these yucky sores. Since we were trying to soothe the itchiness, eliminate the pollen build-up in his fur, AND heal the cuts, we ended up giving him a couple strategic baths.

PawGanics review and giveaway

The oatmeal shampoo worked really well to soothe the itchiness. I’m not generally a big fan of foaming products – I think at least in human hair care it’s more drying – but it didn’t seem to dry out his skin. We followed it up with the hydrating conditioner, which worked a bit like a lotion to moisturize the flaky bits of his skin.

But no matter how soothing a bath product is, I don’t want to give Cooper too many baths when he’s having his allergy attacks because, as we learned with Emmett’s dry skin, too many baths exacerbate the problem.

So, the best part of the PawGanics routine: the deep cleansing grooming wipes!

PawGanics grooming wipes

I LOVE these babies! They are totally natural with no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, toxins, lanolin, alcohol, or animal ingredients. Plus they’re biodegradable. Seriously, I couldn’t ask for more in a wipe!

Cooper and the PawGanics wipes

If your dog is suffering from seasonal/environmental allergies, a quick head-to-toe wipe after a trip outside makes a huge difference. You can get a lot of the stuff out of their fur that causes skin problems. For the big dogs and Molly, we were able to use these to wipe off their muddy paws. I seriously love these wipes. If I were being super picky, the only request that I’d make is for an unscented version. The mandarin orange scent is really light and doesn’t bother me at all, but Cooper is weird about scented products – they make him snuffle!

Overall, we were really happy with the products – most especially the wipes – but what I love is their eco-friendliness! The packages are recyclable, the formulas are biodegradable, and they even use wind energy. Very cool stuff, for sure! Plus, they market these pet products as baby safe, too, which makes me feel confident about their safety standards.

And now, thanks to the generosity of the folks at PawGanics, one of YOU can win a package exactly like the one above!

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway. The widget sometimes takes a few seconds to load, or if you’re reading this via email or in a feed reader, you may have to click the link. (Sorry, International folks: This time around it’s US-only, but I have a worldwide giveaway coming up very soon!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, PawGanics, for letting us test out your awesome environmentally-friendly grooming products! And thank you for offering the giveaway!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and good luck!

#tbt to my favorite Indiana moment ever

#tbt Cooper, Cady, Emmett, Lucas

Seriously. Swoon. See baby Cooper? This was when he was a brand new nugget around here, and he learned to play with his big brothers and Cady, the dog who lives next door and is Lucas’ soul mate.

Lucas and Cady had their reunion the other night. I’ll share pics and vids, but it was hilarious. They were both like, “OH, hi!” and then went about their business like they had just seen each other last week instead of last year. At first I was surprised, but then I thought about all my dearest friends… so much time can pass between visits, but we sit down and pick up right where we left off!

These two did the same!

Lucas and Cady off doing their thing!

Yesterday, while he was sleeping…

Nap time (sorta) from Maggie Marton on Vimeo.

I thought this was a good Wordless Wednesday because… I had no words!

Wordless Wednesday

Dogswell LiveFree dog food review and giveaway

As you guys know, we struggle with Cooper and his allergies. After the last two weeks in his cone, he’s finally out (thank goodness – my knees are tired of getting whacked!) and his symptoms are lessening or completely gone. Luckily, we fell really far behind on this product review because we actually tested the food weeks ago, so I can say fairly confidently that the food was unrelated to his symptoms! (Aside: I suspect I know what caused the latest outbreak. I’ll have more on that later, after we’ve been to the vet.)

So, with that, here is the latest food the herd tested: Dogswell’s LiveFree dry dog food.

image001

From the brand:

About LiveFree: LiveFree is high in animal protein to align with a dog’s natural diet and has added nutrition for holistic health such as antioxidants to support immunity, vitamins and chelated minerals for better nutrient absorption and nutrition boosted for specific life stages. LiveFree is available in dry food (chicken, lamb, salmon, turkey recipes) and canned food (chicken, lamb and salmon stew recipes) for puppy, senior and adult dogs. You can visit LiveFree’s website to learn more about the premium brand.

We chose to test the grain-free lamb formula because lamb has been a lucky protein for us and Coop’s allergies, but there’s always some concern about the additional ingredients in a brand’s formulation.

Before I get to the specifics, the bottom line: I am very happy with this food!

Every member of the herd did well – Cooper with his allergies, Emmett with his grain sensitivities, and Molly with her very picky tastebuds. Even Newt (accidentally) ate a whole bunch of it when we left Molly’s serving out on the counter. As usual, Lucas’ opinion of a food doesn’t count because he has zero sensitivities or proclivities when it comes to kibble!

Dogswell LifeFree dog food review and giveaway

One of the things I look for in a dog food is how it will affect digestive health. We end up adding in a lot of supplements, but this food contains both prebiotics and probiotics, which I really appreciate. We also add pumpkin puree to their breakfast, but the LiveFree food contains pumpkin (although it’s low on the list of ingredients, so I don’t think it’s enough to fully stop adding the pumpkin).

Also, oftentimes the primary protein in a food isn’t the only animal protein. This food isn’t any different, so read the labels carefully. We struggle to find foods that don’t contain chicken components. In this lamb formula, there is additional fish protein – salmon and whitefish. So, if your dog struggles with proteins like Coop does, you’ll have to read through these labels to make sure you’re not inadvertently feeding a trigger. In the case of the lamb plus fish, we’re fine with Cooper.

Overall, the LiveFree dog food was a huge success in our house – and we have a lot of factors to account for in any food! It worked for everyone… and now you can see if it works for you! Thanks to the generosity of Dogswell, one of YOU will win the same lamb formula we tried!

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway. The widget sometimes takes a few seconds to load, or if you’re reading this via email or in a feed reader, you may have to click the link.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, Dogswell, for the opportunity to try and giveaway this awesome LiveFree food! We really loved it!

The Moving Story: Or, how we got 4 dogs and a cat across 900 miles

Oh, hello there! It’s been a whole week, though I’m not sure how that’s even possible? Oh, wait… that’s right… I’ve been in an internet-less, sleep-deprived haze.

So, here, in a single swoop, is the last week:

It started a week ago today with a series of disasters. We had Monday timed to the minute. Drop the rental car off at 7:30, drive across town to pick up the U-Haul at 8, head back to the house and start staging our stuff for the movers to arrive at 9, load the truck, leave by 12, drive 10 hours (plus stops) to a hotel on the TN/KY border, then get up at 6 and drive the last 5 hours (plus stops)  to meet the movers in IN by 1. Phew!

But none of that happened.

We were a bit late dropping the car, so we got to U-Haul at a few minutes past 8… but they weren’t open yet. They were supposed to be, but no one was there. We waited and waited and waited. Finally, we called the 800-number who put us on hold to call the store manager. Couldn’t get in touch with that person who was, by now, nearly 40 minutes late. They moved our reservation all the way across town… Meanwhile, the movers booked to arrive at 9 had moved their arrival to 9:30. I drove John across town and dropped him at the other location. Got home to move all the dogs into the empty bedroom in anticipation of the movers’ arrival. John got stuck at the other U-Haul because the truck he needed was in the back of the lot, but by the time he got back to the house, the movers called to say they would be another 25 minutes. Which, ultimately, turned into another hour.

So, instead of loading the truck from 9 to 12, we loaded the truck from 11 to 2:30ish. Then we vacuumed up all the dog fur that materialized as stuff was being carried outside, loaded up the four dogs into my car and Newt in her carrier in the U-Haul with John and hit the road… at 3:30. With 10 hours of driving ahead of us.

On the road with Cooper, Lucas, and Molly

Three hours into the drive, Molly threw up. We pulled into a rest area, walked everyone, fed them, and then loaded the car and truck with one change – we switched Molly and Newt. Apparently, the U-Haul was not a smooth ride, and Newt was panicking in her carrier. So, we set up a bed for Molly in the truck’s cab, and I brought Newt’s carrier in with the boys. We rode that way – with stops for gas, bathroom breaks, and dog-walking breaks – through a horrific three-hour-long super intense thunderstorm that completely obliterated any hope for speed – all the way into Tennessee. The late start, plus the stops, plus the terrible storm meant we arrived at our hotel, bleary-eyed and exhausted, at 4 am. We checked into our rooms – John with Emmett, Cooper, and Newt in one, me with Lucas and Molly in the other.

I thought Lucas would freak out, but since he can. not. sleep. in cars, as soon as he saw a bed! he jumped right in and fell asleep.

Lucas zonks at the hotel

We had two hours to sleep. Of the two hours, Molly cried, paced, whined, panted, and yipped for about an hour and 53 minutes. So of the two hours, I slept for zero of them. By the time we hit the road, I was in a horrible mood! I seriously wanted to cry. But the boys were such troopers. They ate their breakfast, climbed in the back, and settled in to ride the last remaining five hours.

Even Lucas settled in

Thankfully, that morning’s drive was uneventful. We had beautiful weather and made great time. We arrived home at noon – plenty of time to get everyone settled in the backyard before the movers arrived to unload the truck. And! They were right on time.

So, we got the house unloaded… and discovered during that process that Molly fits underneath our fence. Sigh. One thing at a time, I suppose.

We spent the day ferrying boxes to and fro and unpacking essential items. That night, though, I was completely asleep just after 9 and didn’t wake up until 9 the next morning!

Since then we’ve been unpacking, walking dogs around their old park, visiting with friends and neighbors, and striving to get settled. We still have a few boxes to sort and haven’t hung any pictures or decor yet. Plus, AT&T comes tomorrow, and that will be the final piece of the moving-in puzzle!

While it was an exhausting, frustrating experience, I’m relieved to be home! My goal for this week is to catch up on the rest of my life… work, the blog, paying bills, etc. Coming up I have a few giveaways that I got behind on, plus a DIY that really helped us in the pinched couple weeks leading up to the move.

I hope you had a great week! So, so glad to be back!

Emmett’s Bucket List Top 10: Status Update

We are frantically finishing up our time here in Houma. Today is John’s last day at his lab. And, sadly/coincidentally, his car died died a couple weeks ago. We were holding out hope, but he went to the mechanic’s to clean it out this morning. Plus, the packing. Oh, the packing (you know that stage where you give up on sorting and just start throwing sh!# in boxes…).

In all the chaos, I realized: I haven’t shared a status update of Emmett’s bucket list!! So, each of the items are below, and those that I’ve already posted about are linked. We’re making GREAT progress, but – most importantly – we’ve had so much FUN! More to come for sure, but as of today here’s where we are.

Emmett's Bucket List Top 10: Status Update

Enjoying homemade ice cream on his Gotcha Day this past weekend.

Emmett’s Bucket List: Top 10

1. Eat a steak dinner. Done before we made the official list, so… we’re gonna do it again! Emmett won’t protest! ;)

2. Be a Pinups for Pitbulls male model.  DONE!

3. Get his very own Rupert (his favorite stuffie).

4. Go for a night out at a restaurant… DONE!

4.5 … followed by a froyo.

5. Swim at the beach. DONE! Best day ever!!

6. Enjoy a picnic in the park (without his brothers).

7. Wear a bowtie to a party in his honor. DONE! But I just realized I never wrote a post about it! I’ll get on it!

8. Host a fundraiser for a charity TDB.

9. Capture his spirit in a portrait. DONE! Look for the incredible details very soon!

10. Embark on an Epic Road Trip! DONE! 

Every single one of those items has been so fun to do with my best bud. We still have a few more to go before I start expanding the list! :) I’ll put together posts of the ones that are already past and be sure to track the rest going forward. 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! See ya’ from Indiana next week! BTW, I’ll be tracking our 15ish hour drive with 4 dogs + Newt on Instagram and Facebook… follow along! And, heck, make it interesting: I’ll be taking bets on who pulls his or her hair out first! ;)