And We’re Raw! (Again)

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 | Dogs, Indigo, Ozzy

Before I get started, I would like credit. Yes, I’m posting again today. That makes it two days in a row! I guess the good thing about taking 7 months off from posting is that I’ve got a lot of saved material that I can use.

I believe the last time I was posting with any amount of regularity, we were trying to find a good food that worked for both dogs. Well, Ozzy in particular, seeing that Indy can eat almost anything. Ozzy’s excessive flatulence only got worse after he got fixed (November), and we’ve struggled with it a bit since then.

We moved them over to Taste of the Wild High Prairie formula. It worked well for a while. Ozzy was still gassy, but his poops were (mostly) solid, and his coat looked great. And Indy looked wonderful, for a change. Then all the Diamond-produced food recalls started. At first, Taste of the Wild wasn’t included, but then, of course, it was. Our bags were not affected, but I was determined to move off of a Diamond-produced food. I considered Fromm (again), Acana, and a few other brands. I got smaller bags. But the whole time, I was mentioning to Dan that I really thought raw would be the way to go. After a few weeks of mushy poops and gassy Ozzy, he finally agreed.

The initial plan was to ease into the raw feeding. We intended to split the feedings (one raw, one kibble) for a few weeks, and then move them onto full-time raw. At that point, I started traveling again, so Indy and Ozzy went raw almost cold turkey after 4 days of partial.

The intent was to start them on chicken backs, then add other chicken parts in. Well, I couldn’t get chicken backs, so they started on skin-free, bone in chicken breasts. I cut them into slightly smaller pieces of Ozzy but left them as-is for Indy. It took a couple of days for Ozzy to get used to it, and then we stopped cutting his food. We tried leg quarters too, but they didn’t seem to sit too well with Ozzy right off the bat, so I was able to procure some backs. At each meal, they get a chicken back, yogurt, and a few tablespoons of Olewo (carrot formula).

They are now two and a half weeks in, and I’m glad to report they are doing very well. Ozzy’s gas is almost completely gone, and his poops are much better. The amount of poop in the yard has drastically reduced as well – go figure. And let’s not forget that Ozzy’s water consumption is way down due to the water content of his food.

And even better, they’re both happy.

Stay tuned!

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And we’re back!

Monday, June 18th, 2012 | Random Stuff

Sort of. I hope.

So, truth be told, I took a little break and it went longer than I intended. I ran out of things to say, then I had things to say, but I got out of the habit and, well, you know…

So I’m going to work on posting regularly again. There’s been a lot going on. I have pictures. And cookies.

Let’s hope I didn’t lose all 6 readers.

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It’s time for the 2012 Rescue Fundraiser Calendar!

Monday, November 14th, 2011 | GSMD Rescue Fundraiser

If you are one of the people that haven’t bought one of these fantastic calendars yet, you should!

They make fantastic holiday presents, birthday presents, and even better – a present just because!

You can buy them on my CafePress store – here. A full $5 from each calendar will be donated to the GSMD Rescue Foundation after the totals are tabulated in January.

We’ve already sold more than 30 copies – make sure to get your copy today!

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Storm Phobia options – a guest post!

Thursday, October 6th, 2011 | Guest Post, Storm Phobia, Through a Dog's Ear, Thundershirt

I am lucky enough to have a few guest posts waiting in the wings. Today, you’re going to get a post from Kim Matthews, a dog-owned person in Alabama, about her experience with storm phobias and anxiety. Kim is currently owned by two dogs, and volunteers with rescues such as ESRA.

Earlier this year I started noticing my mixed breed dog Bogey had started to exhibit some anxiety during thunderstorms.

I’d had an extremely thunder phobic dog previously and did everything wrong to try and help her. I had made a commitment that if another dog ever had the same problem I would approach it differently than I had with poor Charlotte.

Bogey’s behavior was not nearly as extreme as Charlotte’s was but he was obviously becoming anxious during the intense storms we have on the Gulf coast. He would start to pace, and whine and bark…..a lot. After the first few episodes I decided to try a couple of things I had heard and read about for dogs with thunder phobia or storm anxiety.

First up was a CD I had read about in the Whole Dog Journal®. It is called Through a Dog’s Ear. I was able to download one of the CD’s from iTunes for $9.99. It is basically a compilation of classical music that is played at a slower tempo and it is almost hypnotic.

I started out by putting the CD on when my dogs and I went to bed. It became part of our bedtime ritual – potty, “night-night cookies” and then we’d head to bed. I would put the CD on after I turned out the lights. It worked like a charm – for me!

I tried it during a fairly mild storm with Bogey in his crate and the CD playing. He went right to sleep and slept through the storm. I was sold!

I then decided to try something else my friends in Golden Retriever rescue had been raving about for several years – the Thundershirt®.

I have to say that on this product I was a little more skeptical. The premise on how it relieved anxiety in dogs (the manufacturer claims it works much like swaddling a baby) was something I’d had absolutely no experience with. It seemed like pretty much every baby I’ve ever seen had been screaming!

However, I saw where they offered a money-back guarantee and started reading and looking at some of the testimonials on their website and on their Facebook page. With their guarantee, I decided I had nothing to lose but the shipping costs.

When the Thundershirt® arrived I opened the package, pulled it out and just laid it over Bogey’s back and fed him liver. He didn’t seem to mind that at all.

Over the course of the next couple of days I would put it on him for a few minutes longer and reward him with something tasty.

The next time I actually put it on him, fastened the velcro and fed him his supper. I did that for several days and he didn’t seem to pay any attention to the fact that he was now wearing spandex.

I didn’t have to wait long to try it during an actual storm. As soon as I heard thunder – I quickly turned on the CD and got the Thundershirt® out. As soon as I put it on him I started quietly praising him and feeding him chicken. He was so focused on the chicken I don’t think he even heard the thunder.

I can tell a noticeable difference in Bogey’s anxiety when he is wearing the Thundershirt®. During the last storm I went and got it out of the closet, he came and sat in front of me for me to put it on him (such a good boy!), got on his bed and went sound asleep. I have had a chance to use it several times during the past few weeks and have seen it have the same effect on him.

Overall, I would rate it a 7 out of 10 and have since recommended it to a number of my dog friends who have used it with some success as well.

I would caution anyone who decides to use these products to manage this behavioral problem to be very careful about the association with the shirt or the CD with the actual storm. I strongly suggest you start using these tools when the weather is good because I think there is a good chance a dog could start to make the association with the music or the shirt with the actual storm.

I would also suggest that anyone with a dog that suffers (and they truly do suffer) from thunder phobia or storm anxiety at least give one or both of these methods a try before using medication.

I am also very aware of my own anxiety level and behavior during a storm. I’m sure that Bogey (and poor Charlotte before him) could sense me becoming tense myself because I knew I was in for a sleepless night or a frustrating afternoon when I heard that first crack of lightening or roll of thunder. I have to remind myself not to get anxious that I now have the tools to deal with the problem.

There are a number of CD’s available from Through a Dog’s Ear. You can find out more on their website.

The Thundershirt® is also available on the web.

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A first

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 | Dogs, Ozzy

The gorgeous weather here over the past few days has meant lots of walks for the dogs. On Saturday, we experienced a first.

Not only did we have to stop every 15 feet for the “what type of dog is that” questions, but we had three separate instances of stalking. Well, sort of stalking. Cars pulled over and parked, people jumped out and called after us. They’d yell something along the lines of “OMG, is that a Swissy??”! And then we’d proceed to answer questions for 15 minutes.

This is a good thing. I’m glad to see that people are more interested in Swissies. And they seem to be coming prepared with the right questions. And yes, they seem to be doing their research. I just need to remember to bring my business cards with me so it’s easier to keep track of them.

And it’s a good thing that this always happens with Ozzy.

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Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 | Litter Mates and Swissy Friends

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There’s nothing better…

Sunday, September 18th, 2011 | Indigo, Ozzy

You may have guessed, or not, that I was traveling last week. It was not fun at all. It was work. The only good thing about the week was getting home on Friday night.

I will admit that I was worried the dogs had forgotten me. Or maybe they just didn’t miss me that much at all. But I was greeted at the door (I almost sneaked in because my ride was a hybrid and super quiet) by a very happy Indy and Ozzy. OK, so it was mainly Indy that was overjoyed to see me. Ozzy was happy in his normal chilled out sort of way. But the joy Indy displayed melted the ice from my heart.

(Hanging out with sales reps will make your heart ice over. It’s the only way to survive.)


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And the winner is…

Thursday, September 8th, 2011 | Litter Mates and Swissy Friends

Congrats to Sara and her Swissy, Thea, for winning our anniversary contest! There were a number of people who got the same number of answers (hmm, all of them) correct, so we drew randomly from those people.

Thea (and Sara) will receive the K9 Cube plus Indy’s favorite today (the magic mushroom) and Ozzy’s favorite toy (Indy? Wait, no. It’s a squeaky…) for Thea to enjoy.

Congrats! We expect playtime pictures.

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Do you want to win?

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 | Uncategorized

Don’t forget, people! You have until tomorrow morning at 10am central time to play our anniversary contest. Info here!


Sunday, September 4th, 2011 | Dogs, Indigo, Ozzy

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. Since Saturday was a bit too hot for either dog to take a decent hike, (and since walking was about all I could do since I hadn’t had any delicious carbs in 6 days) my walking companion was my camera. And you.

We have a few different routes we’ll take. I try not to take the dogs on the same route each time we go for a walk. I think it’s important for them to experience different smells, sounds and people. The one you are joining me for is one of the prettier walks that takes us through the woods and the downtown area of Downers Grove. It’s a good walk for Ozzy when it’s 60 to 80 degrees with no humidity. If it’s cooler, we’ll add at least a mile to it to make it the same as Indy’s standard walk.

Let’s get going.

Here’s a look down our street as we near our first park. The brick road makes it prettier than our block.

There tend to be lots of shady spots for Swissies at this time of year. It’s a good thing.

One of my favorite things about this walk.

It’s called Prince Pond.

Downers Grove has lots of parks and areas like this. This is probably the best one in the village, in my opinion.

OK, time to move on.

It was actually a lot of fun to walk around this way. I noticed so many things that I don’t normally when I’m walking the dogs. This was one of them.

This is an area outside an assisted living center. We’ve stopped here before because some of the residents like to pet Ozzy. (Indy, notsomuch.)

Even the bank area is pretty.

We have a train that runs from the western Chicago suburbs (that’s us!) into the the city. Of course, there are freight trains too. We got lucky and didn’t get stuck on this walk.

Townhomes – city living in the suburbs. About a block from the train.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m in the south. Not sure why.

I know where most of these are on our routes. This one happens to be a great family with a golden retriever. The fence is in the front yard too, but the dog never charges us when we walk by. And it doesn’t go all the way up to the sidewalk.

Ahh, another favorite part of this walk. This is the one area in my town that I’d love to move to. If I could afford it. And if I could take my neighborhood with me.

And yes, it’s the woods. Not just an area with a few extra trees.

Look – a creek! Or is that pronounced “crick”?

Never underestimate shade.

These people have the most gorgeous front yard. They love gardening. I do not.

A trail to the forest preserve. Too long for Ozzy at this time of year.

One of the exit routes from the woods (pedestrian only for this one) leads us to my mom’s church.

One of the best things is to walk by on a Sunday when there’s a service. If the weather is right and the windows are open, you can hear the congregation singing hymns. It’s one of the most peaceful and pleasant things. Otherwise, if we time it just right, we may go in and visit grandma. She is out of town now, but we ran into some of her friends and their kids outside today and they had fun with a very well behaved Ozzy.

I find it cool that people with students at Downers Grove North High School in athletics will frequently display these in their front yards.

It’s sad that the village actually has to post this.

The new band shelter.

There’s been a band shelter here as long as I can remember. This one was built over the last year to replace one that was about 30 years old. On Tuesday nights in the summer (weather permitting), they hold free concerts.



More interesting stuff for you. Downers Grove is one of the few cities in the US that has a cemetary on the main street.

We walk by, but never through with dogs. I don’t think it’s respectful. You know Ozzy would pee on every one of those graves.

The wine store. Ozzy got drunk here (kidding!), as a puppy.

A cool store.

One of my favorite places.

And every dog in Downers Grove’s favorite store.

The Barkery was having an adoption event for the West Suburban Humane Society on Saturday. So we spent a few minutes there. Polly, a Border Collie/Sneaky Neighbor Dog puppy was there and available. She was quite calm.

Inside, there was a gorgeous puppy (Beth, one of the Barkery’s owners is fostering). I am bad and cannot remember the pup’s name.

This is Shiloh. We actually met him last year at a dog park when he was a wee little puppy.

There were a few kittens available for adoption as well. Too bad I’m allergic.

Moving on…

I love that Downers Grove still has a book store.

And we have a gorgeous movie theater. Second run.

Everyone’s favorite vet. We love that they are walking distance – just about 4 blocks away.

Check out the wildlife!

And Dobby, the adorable dog around the corner.

Which means we’re home! Are you tired?

Thanks for reading!

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