Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Knowing When It's Time to Get A New Puppy After the Loss of A Pet

In 2003, we brought home a white little ball of fur that we named Daisy. She was an American Eskimo and fit into our family of three perfectly. I can remember her running through our yard and she was so tiny that the blades of grass nearly made it impossible to see her. 
In December of 2017 I took her to the vet because she had been coughing and it wasn't clearing up. I thought she just had an upper respiratory infection and was just expecting to come home with antibiotics to clear it up. I packed her into the car, went to my son's school and picked him up and then drove to the vets for our appointment. We took her out of the car and walked her the eight feet to the door when she collapsed at my feet. The receptionist yelled, "We have a dog down out here!" I went to my knees and tried to get her to respond but she wasn't responding. The vet ran outside, picked her up from the sidewalk and rushed her to the back. My kids and I were standing in the lobby in shock! I called my husband at work and told him to come to the vets right away because it didn't seem good. After about ten minutes the vet came out and said that Daisy was starting to come around but she suspected that her heart was giving out. She ordered x-rays and blood work to see what was going on. It wasn't good. Daisy was in heart failure at the age of 13. I wasn't ready to say goodbye just yet. I told the vet to do whatever it took to make her better. So she began an IV drug to remove the fluid from Daisy's heart. 
We were at the vets office for about an hour and a half. She finally recovered enough to go home but we had to give her medicine to remove the fluid around her heart and also a blood pressure medicine. The doctor said that Daisy would need to be on the medication for the rest of her life. That was fine with me as long as we had our Daisy. We went home and began Daisy's long road to recovery. The next day I called the vet because Daisy had the runs and I wanted to know if that was a normal effect of the medication. The vet called me back to discuss Daisy's blood work. She told me it wasn't good. Daisy not only was in heart failure but she also was in kidney failure. The medication to help her heart would potentially harm her kidney's. It was a double edge sword. It wasn't until day four that I realized that things were not good. She wasn't eating, she was shivering and just looked like she was ready to give up.  We talked it over as a family and decided the best thing to do was to let Daisy go in peace. It was the hardest decision I've had to make in my entire life. 

How do you say goodbye to a friend, a companion and something you consider as a part of the family? We all cried, pet her and told her we loved her and thank you for being such a good girl. I leaned down and told her I was sorry. Sorry because I couldn't save her and sorry because I felt guilty for deciding to end her life. I couldn't watch her suffer and I know it was the right decision but the guilt was horrible. How do you look at your children and tell them their friend has to leave us? Yes, my kids are 16 and 12 but it was their first long-term pet to pass away. I'll never forget her and miss her to this day. We buried her on our 10 acre property so we can see her and talk to her in the Summer time. She will always be in our hearts. Plus the vet gave us a memorial paw print of hers along with locks of her fur. It was a sweet gesture. 
At the end of March, my husband came to me and told me he was ready for a new puppy. How do you know when you are ready? I know I wasn't ready yet. I'm still grieving for my little fur baby. You can't just replace a companion you had for 13 years. Grief has different stages and everyone moves through those stages differently. While my husband worked through it, I was and still am moving through the stages. I was open to looking at puppies and even consider purchasing a puppy but it had to be the right puppy. I had to get over thinking that I was replacing Daisy because no dog could ever replace her. I had to think of getting the new puppy as adding to our family and Daisy being her angel sister. I don't have to forget Daisy and it is okay to make new memories with our new puppy. It's okay to enjoy the puppy and have fun. That is what Daisy would want for us. 
I began my search and found a German Shepherd puppy that was about an hour out from my home. I drove out with the kids to see and was told she was the last one left. I knew she was supposed to be with us when I looked at her face and held her. She began licking me and wagging her tail. We decided to purchase her and bring her home that day. We've had Lilly for 2 weeks now and I couldn't imagine our lives without her in it. In a way, she is helping me through my grief. She is helping me enjoy having the playfulness and spunk in our house again. Our 12 1/2 year old Australian Shepherd isn't too fond of her yet but she is slowly coming around. After all, dogs grieve too. 
My point is, you will know when it is time to add to your family. Talk it over with the entire family to  see where each member is in their grief and then respect that stage. Don't get a new puppy right away though. It's not fair to the new puppy and it's not fair to yourself or to your family. You have to give yourself and your family time to grieve. 
Have you ever lost a pet? How did you handle the grief and when did you know it was time to add to your family? How do you remember your lost pet?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Good Chew Toy for German Shepherds

Photo Taken by: MelissaH 2019

Lilly loves her ChuckIt balls. She has three different sizes and of course all three end up under the couch. Whenever she is waiting for her boys come home from school she has to have her ball so she can crunch on it. She patiently waits, staring out the window with her ball. When she spots them, her tail starts wagging uncontrollably and the chomping gets louder and louder. That poor ball of hers has been through a lot but she LOVES it.

Don't get me wrong, she's had other types of balls (tennis and squeaky) but there is something about her ChuckIt ball that she just loves. Not only does she love them but I love them too. They are the only ball that has stood up to her massive teeth and non-stop chewing. I'd rather her chew her ball than our shoes and walls (both of which she has done). Even though she is going to be two in February , she is still a puppy in my mind and puppies love to chew. Just the other day she got a hold of my son's stuffed Pikachu, tore its tail off and pulled the stuffing out. He wasn't too happy.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be getting her some more balls for Christmas. Not only can she play with them at home but we can take a few up north with us. She loves to chase the ball. One of my husband's friends took her ball and threw it in the woods in the pitch black. I didn't think she would be able to find it but she sniffed out her favorite ball and brought it back, no problem.

What toys does your dog like? Share in the comments below.

(I have not been contacted by ChuckIt for a review. This is a personal post relating to the purchase for our GSD)

Friday, November 8, 2019

Easy Chicken and Potatoes Foil Recipe

Photo Taken by: MelissaH 2019

As a busy parent, I am always looking for easy recipes that are healthy as well. I thought I would share this recipe from today's dinner:
  • Skinless/Boneless Chicken Breast 
  • Cut two Red Potatoes (about the size of halo oranges) into small wedges
  • Cut one slice of yellow onion
  • Season the chicken, onion and potatoes (to taste) with salt, pepper, Weber Salt Free Chicken Seasoning, Chili Powder, two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil; 
  • Wrap the chicken, potatoes and onion in tin foil (make sure all edges are closed) and baked at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.

Perfectly tender potatoes and juicy chicken and easy clean-up. If you wanted to try other veggies in your meal, that is perfectly fine too. The beauty of this meal is that since it is wrapped individually, you can customize each family members meal. Perfect for the picky eaters in your household.

If you decide to try this meal, let me know what you think in the comments below.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Stuffed Bell Peppers Using Leftovers

Photo Taken by: MelissaH 2019

What do you do with leftovers? Yesterday I made some Spicy Lettuce Wraps for dinner and had some cooked ground sirloin left. I didn't want to just throw it away so I put it into a food container and stored it in the fridge. I wasn't really sure what I was going to use it for though.

I had a green bell pepper in my fridge, the leftover ground sirloin, and the sauce I made for the Spicy Lettuce Wraps. In my cupboard, I had some Neilly's Foods Jerk Rice & Black Beans Mix and canned corn (which I drained). I put a 1/2 cup of the Rice & Black Bean mix, which was WAY too much, put 3/4 cup water and 1/4 tsp olive oil into a microwave dish and cooked the mixture for 12 minutes on medium heat. While the mixture was cooking, I prepped the bell pepper.

After the rice was done, I added the ground sirloin, and corn to the rice mixture. I added the combined mixture to the bell pepper and baked on 400 degrees for 25 minutes (time may be different depending on your oven). I took the bell pepper out of the oven and added 2 tablespoons of the sauce on top.

I was a quick way to utilize leftovers from the night before. It was also quick to prep and cook. Perfect for all you busy folks that want a healthy meal. If you decide to try this (along with the other meals I have posted), let me know how it turns out in the comments below.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Spicy Lettuce Wraps - Instagram Recipe Find

Photo Taken by: MelissaH 2019

Looking for recipes that the family...the whole family will like is so time consuming but well worth it when you do find something. Thank you once again to Instagram for the WIN! I found a recipe for Spicy Lettuce Wraps but the recipe calls for chicken, which I did not have. Abandon ship? NO, I substituted ground sirloin for the chicken and it turned out very well.

Above is after assembling everything. I decided to just keep everything on one plate rather than split for the family. They each grabbed their own. I didn't resort to using store bought dressing either, even though you very well could. I made the dressing listed in the recipe. I'm glad I did! So delicious.

Next time I'll try with the chicken. Either way, this was a big hit in our home.If you want to try the recipe, click on the name of the dish above and it will take you to the Instagram post I found with the recipe attached.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Happy Eating!!

Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad - Instagram Recipe Find

Photo Taken by: MelissaH 2019
I'll admit that I fell off the healthy eating and exercising wagon. Life gets in the way...blah blah blah. I could give a million excuses as to why I fell off from doing so well. The truth is, I got lazy. No one to blame but myself. I'm trying to get back on the wagon to continue my weight loss journey. Which leads me to this post.

I was searching for healthy recipes I could try. I found a post for Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad that looked promising. I made my grocery list and gave it to my husband because, well...I hate going shopping. The one thing I forgot to mention to him was to make sure to get red and yellow bell peppers. He came back with green bell peppers, oh well at least he came back with peppers.

I made my marinade the night before and put the chicken into a shallow dish with some of the marinade/dressing and put it into the fridge. Next, I prepped all the veggies and placed those into the fridge so it would be easier to make after the kids got home from school. Now the waiting begins.

My youngest comes home from school around 3pm. As soon as his body hit the front porch, to the fridge I went to start making the dinner. Everything was done and ready to eat by 3:45pm ish. While mine isn't as pretty as the recipe I found, it was SO DELISH! My son is usually a picky eater but even he said the chicken was a hit and he ate all the salad, minus the avocado.

Normally I send him to school with a pre-made lunchable style veggie pack. After the success of this meal, I think I'll start making our own lunches. I know the other ones are convenient  but if we make our own then we know exactly what our kiddo is eating, plus it gets him involved with his meal prep.

You better believe I will be looking for more recipes to try. Let me just say, Karina over at Café Delites, bravo for sharing such amazing dishes girl. I did not do your dish justice. If you want to try the dish over at Café Delites, click on the name of the dish and you will be taken to the recipe. Good luck and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Lilly the German Shepherd

Photo Taken by: Melissa H 2019

Back in April of 2018 I wrote about the passing of our American Eskimo. It was in that same post I introduced Lilly to you. Lilly has been an absolute joy to watch and teach. She is a little nutty at times but that's what we love about her. She loves to play, learn, explore and cuddle (when she wants). She is our first large breed dog, our first German Shepherd and we love her. So, I decided to share more about Lilly and her crazy pants ways. You can also follow her on Instagram at lilly_the_german_shepherd.

Photo Taken by: Melissa H 2019
Lilly absolutely loves the freedom of her vacation home. No leashes or fences stopping her, 10 acres of pure happiness for her. We were not sure if she would stay by us or take off in the woods and not come back so before we even brought her up, we had her microchipped. It gives us a sense of comfort knowing we have a way of finding her if she ever gets lost. So far, she has stayed by our sides, except when we are playing hide-n-seek with her. She LOVES playing games and can find us using that wonderful nose of hers.

Photo taken by: Melissa H 2019
She has a confidence about her that is amazing to see. She doesn't shy away from anything. She has found snakes, toads, birds, deer, turkey, and chipmunks. She doesn't kill anything, just sniffs it and wonders what the heck it is. Those ears of hers take in the sounds at night: owls, coyote, birds, and bats (yes you can hear the little squeak of the bats flying). She has to be made to go in for a drink and cool down, otherwise she would stay outside all day if we let her. 

Photo taken by: Melissa H 2019
Sticks, or logs in this instance, are her thing. At home, I have no idea where she gets them but up north, she has an entire forest to find these wonderful sticks of hers. She brings them up the trail to us and expects us to throw them or play with her. How can you throw her a stick that big? She gets so obsessive of these sticks that sometimes we have to put them up in a tree for her to stop. Even then she tries jumping into the tree to get her stick back. How dare us take what she found? I have to admit, when we first brought her home, I wasn't ready to love another dog. It took me several months to get attached to her. Now, I can't see our lives without this crazy German Shepherd that MAKES you get up and play with her. Go check out her Instagram for more of her adventures. I'll try to update on this blog from time to time about her adventures as well. Off to go play with Lilly now!
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