obsessed with dogs

#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.


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! ;)

You know how the covers need to be just right before you can go to sleep?

Molly goes to bed from Maggie Marton on Vimeo.

My dog’s allergies are worse on me than they are on him

Well, probably not. I mean, for sure it’s emotionally harder on me. But he is miserable.

My dog's allergies suck

So, we’ve been struggling with this, basically, since he was six months old. We’ve been tackling symptoms one at a time, but looking back on that post, they’re all here again: rashes, itchiness, running eyes, ear infections, barfing, diarrhea. Currently, his eyelids are puffy, and he has two sores on the insides of his thighs. He woke up this morning with his left eye completely shut because of the amount of gunk built up. The skin under his chin is broken out and swollen. He has little hives under his armpits, and he can’t. stop. itching. That’s why he’s in the cone – the scratching and licking were making him (and us) insane.

Could it be a new food allergy? Maybe? We have him on a limited ingredient diet, but we did try a different brand of a protein he did fine with previously. We also bought a different brand of coconut oil.

Could it be environmental? Maybe? He had such similar symptoms before, and we’re in a totally different climate, so maybe there’s something here that irritates him more than in Indiana? I guess we’ll see if anything starts to clear up next week.

Mostly likely it’s a combination of factors (again), and all we’ve been able to do is tackle one symptom at a time.

For now, he’s on a Benadryl regimen and will be in the cone. We also gave him a bath last night with the Organic Oscar Holistic Bite & Itch Relief shampoo and the Aloe conditioner, hoping to soothe some of the itching. I have a package of skin wipes, too, that I think we’ll utilize every time he comes back in the house, hopefully to get rid of any pollen or allergens that stick to his fur. We’ve been using a combo of Cortisone and Aquaphor for his sores and his feet, but he HATES them, so now when he sees me coming, he runs and hides. Which breaks my heart.

Last night the poor guy was so sad and sulky. We let him sleep in bed with us, snuggled up with his Comfy Cone on. And, at 5:00 this morning, he barfed on us.

My plan for now is to write out his history – looking through it all, he’s seen three different vets about this – so I want to compile it all into a comprehensive story and have a meeting with our new/fourth vet in Indiana. My poor dog’s allergies are killing me. And him. We need a better plan… I mean, other than sticking him in a bubble.

Anyone else going through this? I know dogs all react differently, but have you found a solution for a food/environmental allergy combo? Would LOVE to know what’s working for you!

Dear Emmett

Dear Emmett,

Eight years ago yesterday we drove out to a shelter in northern Virginia, loaded you into the car, and brought you home. I remember it clearly – we got stuck at a light on Connecticut Avenue. You had fallen asleep in the back of the car. At the stoplight, you lifted your head, looked around, and – taking in the hustle and bustle of downtown DC with people, car, noise, everything – put your head down and went right back to sleep. Truly, Emmett, that moment hailed the Zen-like calm we now just expect from you (unless there’s food involved/nearby… then all bets are off).


Emmett's eight Gotcha Day


To say that that day eight years ago changed our lives sounds hyperbolic, right? But, Emmett, you have literally changed every single facet about our lives, from big-picture stuff to the little daily routines. Eight years ago I was working in a totally different field in a totally different industry. I hadn’t yet started the blog, which you sparked, my dear. I hadn’t yet attended BlogPaws or, heck, joined Facebook! On that day eight years ago, we were people who really liked dogs. We weren’t yet Dog People. Now, thanks to you inspiring me to start this space, and all the opportunities that have evolved from there, I get to work in an industry full of passionate, pet-loving people. You changed the course of my career, Em. And I’ve made some of the greatest friends, wonderful people who I never would’ve met without you.

And that goes for how we spend our free time, too. You made us early risers and long walkers. Without you, we’d probably still sleep in on the weekends!


Emmett loves to relax


Without you, Emmett, we never would’ve adopted Lucas and learned about fearful, reactive dogs. Without you, we never would’ve gotten involved in pit bull advocacy, and I definitely wouldn’t have ever applied for Pinups for Pitbulls! Even before that, I never would’ve volunteered for Indy Pit Crew, so without you, we never would’ve adopted Cooper. You inspired us to action and advocacy, Emmett, and that has since extended to Newt, Molly, and Petey.

You have literally altered the course of our lives, and – to be perfectly honest, Em – I think you set us on a better path. The direction our lives have taken thanks to you is a love-filled, inspired one. My gratitude for that is immeasurable.


Emmett's baby face


This Gotcha Day feels more precious to me, Emmett, because we just don’t know how much time we get with you. I suppose that’s true about everybody in the grand scheme, but I just can’t wrap my mind around or accept you being ill. Your bloodwork this week wasn’t so good – not bad bad, but not what we wanted – and it made me realize that I’ve been approaching this situation with a whole lotta denial. I’m not yet willing to change that denial to acceptance, so, instead, we’re going to keep working on your bucket list, move back home to Indiana, and make sure all your moments are good ones. You deserve nothing less.

You are my touchstone, my sidekick, my best friend. I am forever grateful for that day we found you at the shelter. “You have to meet Emmett,” the volunteer had said. Who knew that one sentence and the love-at-first-sight greeting with you moments later would lead us here, eight years later?

Yes, this story is going to end with deep heartache. But I consider myself the luckiest person with an eternal well of gratitude for being entrusted with your care all those years ago. My life is immensely better and fully changed because of you, Emmett. And, so, for your eighth Gotcha Day, you will get spoiled (of course)! You’ve already had one ice cream. You’re getting another tonight. And we have a steak with your name on it. We’ll figure out something fun to do this weekend, before we leave Houma, though I think you’re going to be SO happy to be back in Bloomington that we’ll have to have another celebration then!

You deserve as many parties as you want!

You are my best friend, my (canine) soul mate, my love.

I love you, buddy. Happy Gotcha Day, Emmett.


Happy Fourth!

Red, white, and… woof!

Happy Fourth from OMD!

Wordless Wednesday: Putting on the ritz

A little background (making this not quite wordless… oops…): John decided to teach Lucas doggy dancing. Lucas needs low-impact outlets for exercise, and he’s a smarty pants who loves to learn. It seemed like the perfect fit. They were having SO much fun! Lots of laughing and tail wagging. But, life intervened, and John ran out of time to work on the moves. Last night, we were sitting in a room full of boxes, working on some training and socialization (you’ll see…) when John decided to run through the moves that they previously had down pat. He wanted to see where they were so he can start working again in earnest, and to up the ante on the socialization (just wait… you’ll see…).

I filmed it just for fun. :)


warm up dancing from Maggie Marton on Vimeo.