obsessed with dogs

The Healthy Hound Cookbook review and giveaway

Recently, we joined a warehouse club because, through John’s work, they offered a discount.

Holy moly. The things you can buy… in bulk, no less!

So, we have been! Buying in bulk, that is. And we’ve been planning ingredients to cook different things for the dogs, which is where this awesome new cookbook comes in.

The Health Hound Cookbook review and giveaway

 

Paris Permenter and John Bigley (the wonderful people of DogTipper fame) have assembled more than 125 recipes that fit all kinds of eating styles and preferences in their new book, The Healthy Hound Cookbook. In the first chapter, “Why Homemade?” they make the point that cooking for your pups gives you control over ingredients and quality, allows you to emphasize seasonal vegetables and fruits, helps you to cater to special diets (Cooper…), and saves money.

While we primarily feed a store-bought kibble, we supplement with homemade goodies, and I love to make their treats so I know what’s going into them. And this book has given us a million (well, 125) new recipes to try!

Among some of our faves: Pumpkin Rice (this smells so good!), dehydrated juice pulp treats, and the lamb hash. There’s even an entire chapter dedicated to KONG stuffer recipes!

Many of the recipes do use chicken or beef, so Coop’s out on those, but there are just as many with other proteins like tuna, buffalo, lamb, salmon, and so on, so those of you with difficult eaters will find something in here, for sure. They also call out with icons recipes that are grain-free – perfect for Emmett – paleo, and raw.

Overall, we were really happy with all the recipes we tried. There’s a portion calculator in the beginning of the book to help you figure out how much to feed your pups, and I’m thinking as we head into summer and have a little bit more free time, I may try to mix in fully home-cooked meals a few nights a week for the guys. I’ve already tabbed a bunch I want to try – starting with the Terrier’s Tuna Casserole!

And now, they have generously offered a copy of The Healthy Hound Cookbook for one lucky reader! 

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We’re so grateful for the opportunity to review a copy of this fabulous cookbook, and for the change to give one away! If you haven’t, go check out DogTipper!

No BSL in Houma!

On Sunday we received a notice that Monday night’s Parish Council committee meetings would be addressing the existing dangerous and vicious dog ordinance. First thing Monday, I downloaded the agenda from the clerk, and there were two harrowing attachments: The first was an ordinance that was proposed (and defeated) here in 2011 that declared pit bulls (and mixes) inherently dangerous. The second was an ordinance from a neighboring town that included lots of restrictions for pit bull ownership, like they must be muzzled when they leave the property, additional insurance requirements, and so on.

There was quite a bit of confusion about the meeting because the director of the animal shelter spread the word that it was postponed for two weeks, until she was back from vacation. Turned out, that wasn’t the case. Luckily, John and I predicted that and attended the meeting.

We both spoke for our allotted three minutes. I talked about responsible dog ownership and how being a responsible dog owner is breed neutral. John spoke specifically about why breed bans are costly and ineffective and don’t address the root of the problem.

The councilman who put forth the discussion said that he had seen things around the Parish – not simply the fatal attack last month – that gave him cause for concern, like pit bulls being on chains 24 hours a day. He also said that he thinks apartment complexes need to regulate the dogs they allow (many already do, but there seems to be some confusion on this point, which I personally think comes from tenants not following the rules, but another discussion, another day). Finally, he said that he feels like the fines for animal abuse aren’t significant enough.

At that point it went to the rest of the council for discussion. I took tons of notes, but here’s the bottom line:

With the exception of two council members (one seemed to be a fence-sitter, the other seemed to be pro-BSL), the rest of the council agreed that they will revisit the ordinance, but they will NOT incorporate breed-specific language. There will be no BSL in Houma!

Wahoooooo!!!!!

And, even better?

One of the council members said that she wants to organize a community board to work on the parish’s animal welfare issues and to spread awareness and education. Such a phenomenal idea!! And obviously I’m going to volunteer!

I’m so glad we went – John and I were the ONLY TWO members of the public who attended. Sigh.

Our voices were heard, and they listened. Now, we’ll attend Wednesday’s full meeting to see what the councilman puts forth in terms of his proposed revisions to the fines and the tethering law.

Thanks for all the support and resource sharing. We were so fully prepared and were able to address all the potential breed-specific concerns head on! As this community board progresses, I’ll let you know how it goes! I think this could be really great!

I had planned to type up my notes and give a recap. Honestly, this post would’ve been up sooner and more concise, but Lukey decided to rip open his stitches which had nearly healed. My fault. We left him unsupervised without the cone for about 20 minutes. Anyway, spent two hours at the vet this morning. Two. Ugh. But he’s ok.

Lucas in the waiting room

Oops.

 

The Newt, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Newt’s been getting neglected around here. She’s up to a lot of shenanigans, and I’ve been working on some cat-centric projects, but I never think to post about it.

Poor, Newt.

Anyway, I’m stating publicly: If I can get my act together Newt will get a “Caturday” post from now on!

Starting with her most recent shenanigan…

You can’t misplace a dog in the house. Not my dogs, anyway. Everywhere I turn, they’re there. Even if I’m not paying attention to them, I can’t not see them. They’re big. They’re loud. They’re demanding. I know where all three of them are at every second of every day.

Not Newt.

She’s wily. She’s a creeper. She likes to hide and pop out at exactly the right moment to stop my heart.

When I put laundry away, I tend to leave the drawers open so that I don’t have to keep opening and closing them. On occasion, in the midst of the task, I get distracted – the phone rings, UPS arrives, one of the dogs goes ballistic at a squirrel out the window, whatever. And I don’t get the drawers shut.

 

drawer

 

See that pic? That’s nothing, right? Like, a couple inches of open drawer.

But at some point I realized… Newt is nowhere. None of her usual spots. Not biting Cooper. Not biting me. Nowhere.

I call and call and call. I jingle her treat jar. I call some more while jingling her treat jar.

And then…

Oh, Newt

 

“I’m Aslan, bitches.”

She somehow wormed her way in those few inches and gotten BEHIND the entire chest of drawers. As in, not behind the actual piece of furniture, but IN it, behind the drawers. As in, had I pushed it shut, she would’ve been squished.

And it’s her new thing now.

She sees the drawers open even just the tiniest bit, and she’s on it, ready to head back to Narnia. She sees a drawer not 100% shut, and her paws are down in there pushing the clothes around to make room for her to squeeze through.

This would never. ever. ever. happen with Lucas.

Lucas

“What?”

 

(BTW: I’m obviously the witch in this scenario since I pull her out of there every time.)

Win an Easter Basket for your pup from Animal Planet

Easter is right around the corner – have you taken your pup’s bunny ears pic yet?

Animal Planet has put together a special Easter basket of goodies that are sure to make your pup’s tail wag. The super cute basket will include a dog toy, a selection of Animal Planet Grooming Products from Fantasia Accessories, and Animal Planet Pet Treats.

Easter Basket

 

We had the opportunity to test a few of the products and were impressed.

First up was a huge bag of grain-free salmon soft and chewy treats. I was SO excited to be able to test a treat with Cooper. We took them on his Reactive Rover training session, and he gobbled them up. They are super strong smelling, which is great for keeping his attention during training. Plus, no allergens!

Then we got a copy of the Dogs 101 Puppy Care book. It’s an excellent overview for a first-time puppy owner. I wasn’t super excited about the breed overviews at the beginning (waaaay too broad), but the book has a ton of useful information that would be a perfect place to start for someone who’s never owned a puppy.

Finally, we tested the pin brush. I used it on Lucas because it’s designed for medium to long coats. The best part about this brush? Lucas totally thought he was getting a massage! He relaxed right into the brushing session, and it clearly didn’t cause him any discomfort, which we’ve experienced with brushes in the past.

But the best part about all this?

Thanks to the generosity of Animal Planet, YOU can win an Easter Basket filled with goodies for your dog!

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Thank you, Animal Planet, for offering this generous and fun giveaway! 

If you’re interested in buying the products for your dog, they’re available at Wag.com and – best part – a portion of the proceeds from the sales of all items benefits R.O.A.R (Reach Out. Act. Respond), Animal Planet’s national campaign that, together with leading animal organizations, leads the way in taking action and being a voice for the animals. 

The Emmett Update

I’ve thought of half-a-dozen ways to write this, but it always comes back to this: Emmett isn’t going to get better, and our hearts are broken.

Emmett off to make new friends

“I bet I’ll make new friends at the doctor’s office!”

The oncologist explained the spectrum of the disease. There’s the far end where the tumor originates from the skin, and if it’s caught early, before metastasis, surgery can often cure it. Then there’s the opposite end where tumors are all over the organs, often the spleen and liver. Emmett’s tumor was excised from the sub-dermis, so under the skin, meaning it already metastasized. It’s malignant, and it’s aggressive. But there are no visible tumors on his organs.

What that means is that he falls in between the two extremes. He’s not going to be cured, but we can try to slow the spread.

So, that’s what we’re doing. He’s starting two drugs, what she called “wimpy chemo,” as soon as possible. They’re designed to stop blood from flowing into and growing tumors. If he responds well to the drugs, it could prolong his life and give him some happy, healthy months ahead.

She gave us a window: The next three to six months are the critical period. If tumors show up, then the drugs aren’t working or the cancer has already gotten too far in his precious system. Otherwise, he could have a full year ahead of him, and – in some rare cases – maybe even two.

She told us to watch for “off” days, when he seems tired or loses his appetite, because sometimes this cancer can cause an internal bleed, which is a terrifying prospect.

The past couple weeks felt like we were struggling under water, gasping for air, trying to make forward progress but going nowhere. Work has piled up. Furry dust bunnies are floating around the house. Somehow we need to find our way back to land, to get back into the routines of our days, to let life go on. It’s hard to take my eyes off of Emmett for even a second because I just want to memorize it all… the way his ears perk up when he hears me shift in my seat, the way the sunlight makes the blonde patches of his fur glow, the way his little white toes twitch in his sleep.

But I know that we need to balance real life with making the most of his beautiful life.

So, inspired by a person I stumbled across on Instagram (check out her account), I’m going to make Emmett a Bucket List. I want to capture him doing all the things that he loves (yes, most are going to be eating-related). I have two items so far: eat a steak dinner (thanks to his fabulous aunt and uncle who sent him a box of Omaha steaks) and go swimming. I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions for his List, and once it’s finished, I’ll share it here with our progress.

This is getting long, I know, but the last thing I want to say is thank you. Truly, you have no idea how much all the kind words of support, comments, emails, FB messages, and texts have meant to us. They uplift our heavy hearts, and we are so incredibly grateful to this kind, generous community of dog lovers. Our hearts and lives are full, and we know that Emmett is going to do just fine with all of your love and prayers and happy thoughts giving him the strength he needs to fight this.

Hugs, scritches, and belly rubs – whichever they prefer – to all your precious pups from us.

When the big dogs can’t play…

… the little dogs will find a way!

We’re on our way to Em’s oncology appointment. It’s about two hours each way, plus the appointment time, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post an update this afternoon. Tomorrow for sure.

In the meantime, this past week and a half has provided us with some interesting challenges. Namely, what the heck do you do with a super rambunctious, high-energy Cooper and an even higher-energy foster Molly? Well, we’ve had to get creative.

This video, though, was taken when the big dogs were both totally out of commission a couple days after their surgeries. They were sore. Their stitches were raw, and Lucas was having trouble navigating with his very painful foot. In our house, the bedroom is downstairs, and the office is upstairs. So they didn’t have to navigate the steps, all last week I relocated to the bedroom to work. Periodically I took “the littles” out to romp, then Molly would go back in her crate or, if “the bigs” were zonked, I let her play with Coop if they stayed away from the resting big boys.

These two found a way to make it fun. :)

Molly, Cooper, and some face wrestling from Maggie Marton on Vimeo.

Going Green with the #PawNatural Challenge

*Quick note: I had this post scheduled prior to yesterday’s news. Thank you for all the kind thoughts and prayers. More to come as the week progresses.

We are big believers in going green around here, and we extend that to the herd. We choose natural cat litter for Newt and go for organic treats for her and the boys, when possible (I mean, squeeze cheese aside). This year I’m also tackling our great Dog Food Conundrum, which is to find a natural kibble that works for Emmett’s grain sensitivities and Cooper’s myriad allergies.  We’re also diligent about non-toxic cleaning products – honestly, I make most myself – and pet-safe lawn care. In Indiana, we grew a ton of veggies organically, which we shared with the monsters.

One area we haven’t explored in our going green efforts: flea and tick protection.

Emmett, Lucas, Cooper

When we lived in Indiana, ticks were a big problem. Here in Louisiana, that isn’t the case, so we could probably transition to an all-natural product… we just never thought about it. So, for this #PawNatural challenge, I’m going to start researching options, talk to our vet, and figure out if there’s a natural solution that would work for us.

Incidentally, Cooper is allergic to many of the ingredients in the most popular commercial product, so I’m hoping we can find an all-natural option that will work for him. I know in my Only Natural Pet intro post from last week, many of you want the same thing, so let’s see if we can figure it out together!

(Quick refresher if you missed the post last week: Only Natural Pet was founded on the belief that a natural lifestyle contributes to longer and healthier lives for our pets.)

Only Natural Pet

So, through this project, the emphasis is on changing one thing that can help your pets live a longer, healthier life by making one natural change. For us, it’s going to be a natural flea and tick solution.

What can you do differently for the next month in an effort to go more natural in your and your pet’s life? Share via social media with the hashtag #PawNatural!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Only Natural Pet on behalf of the BlogPaws Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Only Natural Pet, but OMD! only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Only Natural Pet is not responsible for the content of this article.

The hero of our story is sick

Even though it’s out of order, let’s start with the good news: Lucas’ pathology came back benign! Thank goodness!

Coincidentally, the pathology on Lucas came in while we were sitting in the vet’s lobby, anxiously awaiting the results of Emmett’s x-rays.

The positive news gave our heavy hearts a slight lift.

Emmett’s results are not good. He was diagnosed with an insidious, aggressive form of cancer called hemangiosarcoma, which affects the lining of his blood cells. As soon as we received the pathology results, the vet had him right back in to x-ray his heart, liver, and spleen, and to look for fluid build-ups. Because the cancer is so aggressive, often the first sign is far too late and the organs are riddled with tumors. Thankfully, in Emmett’s case, there weren’t any visible tumors, though – she cautioned – x-rays would only show large tumors. We need ultrasounds next.

We head up to an oncologist on Wednesday. They’ll do an exam, look at his test results and x-rays, and help us figure out both a prognosis and a course of action.

I’m sticking with just the facts, ma’am, because anything else and I dissolve into a puddle. Truthfully, I think I’ve cried more over this diagnosis than I did the entire 15 months I was going through cancer treatment. Emmett is my light and my love, and my heart is aching.

We spent the weekend spoiling him: naps in the sun, a bowl of popcorn, his very own turkey burger, and an afternoon at the park – without his brothers. We will continue to do so because it helps us feel like we’re doing something. John snapped this pic during our marathon of relaxing in the sun:

Emmett's sweet face

I have a couple posts already scheduled for the week, but I’ll be back to update on Emmett either Wednesday or Thursday. In the meantime, hug your pups and think happy thoughts for Emmett, pretty please!

A new option for natural pet products #PawNatural

In our daily lives, John and I strive to buy mostly natural products, from cleaning products and personal products like shampoos to the stuff we pick up in the grocery store. No, we’re not perfect (dang, I love Oreos), but we try.

Same goes for the herd. With a few exceptions (hello, squeeze cheese!) we try to stick with natural pet products, food and treats, grooming products, and we’ve even had some luck with organic cotton and hemp toys. However, one factor of living where we do now is that these products just aren’t readily available. So, I’ve been looking for websites to order some of the natural products like treats and chews that we go through quickly.

And then I found out that Only Natural Pet product line is now available on Pet360.com.

Only Natural Pet

I had the opportunity to chat with Only Natural Pet’s CEO, Marty Grosjean, to gain some insights into their brand and the products available at Pet360.com.

He made the really great point that the term “natural” is a fuzzy word that has been over-marketed to the point that its meaning is obscured. But, he said, as a company, they’ve come up with a strict definition for “natural” that is based on their own rigorous standards. For instance, the edibles are made to human quality standards using human quality ingredients. The brand’s complete line of natural pet supplies are formulated by a holistic veterinarian to be biologically appropriate for cats and dogs. 

One of the things I really appreciated from Marty was that he said they strive to be allergy-friendly in their offerings – and not just in food and treats, but grooming products, too. Keeping a dog like Cooper healthy – who for all intents and purposes enjoys a natural lifestyle of playing outside, eating healthy food, and avoiding toxins, all of which he’s allergic to – makes finding the right products for him difficult.

Cooper and allergies

“Is the pollen count high today, lady? Because it feels high. Sniff, sniff, sneeze!”

 

As I poke around their website, I think there are a lot of those allergy-friendly natural pet products that Marty mentioned that will be a good fit for Cooper, especially because you can sort by protein source.

The line includes food , treats, chews, supplements, homeopathic remedies, flea and tick solutions, litter and grooming products. To see what’s available, check out Only Natural Pet’s natural pet products.
This post is sponsored by Only Natural Pet on behalf of the BlogPaws Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Only Natural Pet, but OhMyDog! only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Only Natural Pet is not responsible for the content of this article.

Coneheads

Thank you, everyone, for all the well wishes and words of support on Monday. I know you guys have been in a similar spot and know how stressful it is. The boys are fine and resting up. Lucas seems to be far more uncomfortable than Emmett, but it makes sense because he’s putting so much pressure on that foot as he goes about his day. So, I’m doing my best to keep him still and settled.

Coneheads

“We know you want HBO, lady, but this is just inhumane.”

I’m keeping Emmett and Lucas in the cones for most of the day and definitely overnight. Funny side note: Turns out, dogs in cones scare the pants off of poor Newt! She’s got it figured out now, the poor thing.

Here’s the thing with the cones: Lucas doesn’t mind them at all. He doesn’t let the cone stop him from doing anything, and if he finds himself stuck somewhere, he yanks on the cone as hard as he can… hence, the strip of duct tape you can see under his chin in the pic above.

Emmett, on the other hand, dear sweet Emmett. When he wears the plastic cone, he’s convinced – absolutely, totally, and completely sure – that he’s frozen in place. The plastic cone goes on, and Emmett sits perfectly still, staring at the ceiling. Nothing can convince him that he is capable of movement with that thing on. With the soft-sided cone, he knows he can move, but he has this condition that I call “disembodied head syndrome.” He forgets he has a body. His whole world reduces to just his face and that cone. So he walks into doorways and walls, gets stuck on cabinet and drawer knobs, misses steps, and his tail stops wagging almost entirely – it’s not there anymore, after all! Poor Emmett!

So, that’s the status from here! I had a couple posts planned for this week – yesterday’s and one tomorrow – so I’ll be back on Friday to update. Hopefully we’ll get the biopsy results on both boys by then so I can share that news.

Thank you again for all the thoughts and wishes. It has meant SO much to us! The boys can definitely feel the love!