Different is Beautiful!

My husband, Matt, knows that I have a huge heart when it comes to
animals.  What he did not know was that we were both about to fall in love
with adopting special needs dogs.

I discovered Penny on petfinder.com.  She is a gorgeous Chiweenie that
was born with a severe overbite and a deformed front paw causing her to be a
tripawd.  We were very nervous on the day of Penny’s home visit. 
Questions swirled in our minds.  Would we be able to care for a
three-legged dog?  Would she need any special accommodations?  But,
as soon as Penny hopped into the room, she stole my heart.

After meeting the rest of the pack, Penny did a grand leap right onto our
couch.  We were stunned and embarrassed for having such silly preconceived
notions about Penny’s “special needs.”  A few weeks later, she
managed to scale our three foot pet gate…twice!  Penny is also starring
in her first children’s book, Priceless Penny, that chronicles her
amazing adoption journey from a solo stray in California to a pampered pooch in
Illinois  (http://ift.tt/1jZlKT1).

 Penny strikes a pose.

Two years later, I came across the Dachshund Rescue North America website
and was completely smitten by Hope.  She is a double dapple miniature
Dachshund that was the product of backyard breeding.  Hope was born
without eyes and is completely deaf.  Her former “owner”
surrendered her to DRNA with a choke chain around her neck.

Matt was extremely hesitant about adopting Hope.  “How in the
world can she function if she can’t see or hear?” he asked.  We were
about to find out.

When Hope arrived, we watched in amazement as she followed her nose to get
her bearings.  She then navigated her way over to Matt and stood on his
shoe.  We discovered that this is her
special signal that she wants to be picked up and given kisses.

I will admit the first week was very rough.  Watching Hope run into the
walls and furniture was simply heartbreaking.  Yet, she never made a
sound.  She simply took a step back and tried again.

One week was all it took and Hope was running down the hall, racing to beat
her fur siblings to the water bowl in the kitchen.  She can now climb stairs, open the bedroom
closet doors with her nose and jump onto the furniture!  Hope has even
garnered almost 2,000 followers on Instagram (@havinghopealways) and has been
called an inspiration by all who meet her.  Even after all that she has
been through; she loves to meet new people and cover them in kisses.

 Hope loves to snuggle!

Matt and I love to attend pet events and often have Penny and Hope in
tow.  We wish to show the world that
special needs dogs are truly amazing creatures that deserve to be adopted,
loved and treasured.  To quote Penny’s
moto:  Different is beautiful! 

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WiggleLess Dog Back Brace Review

Ever since adopting our mini double dapple Dachshund, Hope, I have been learning as much as I possibly can about the breed.  I always knew that doxie owners had to be very careful about overfeeding their fur babies so as not to injure their tiny backs.  What I did not know about is IVDD.

According to http://www.petmd.com, “Intervertebral disc disease is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst into the spinal cord space.  These discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage and even paralysis.”  Dogs that suffer from IVDD basically have two options:  surgery or become wheelchair bound.

As you know, I love differently-abled animals and have always adored “wheelchair dogs.”  The way that they zoom around is truly inspiring.  Yet, many pooches that have IVDD are euthanized because their families cannot afford the costly carts, which start at about $500.00.

The surgery to correct IVDD isn’t any less costly. Not to mention the copious amount of down time that the dog will have to have post-op.  The kicker?  The surgery, while temporarily effective, may not last.

Armed with this frightening knowledge, I do everything within my power to make sure that Hope’s precious little back is cared for correctly.  I carefully monitor her food intake.  I hold her in the proper positioning and greatly discourage my husband from doing “the baby” pose (holding Hope in his arms on her back).  But I still wonder, is it enough?

That is when I discovered the WiggleLess back brace.  The brace offers firm support, back stability and stress relief for your dog.  Not only will this brace help dogs with IVDD, but it can be worn as a preventative measure.

The aspect that I most love about the brace is how customizable it is.  Using the handy sizing guide featured on the WiggleLess website (www.wiggleless.com), I was able to order the perfect size for Hope.  I did not have to make any adjustments.

Each brace also comes with a step-by-step pictorial of how to place the brace on your dog.  I love that the pictures are of a real dog and not a crazy cartoon.  I found fitting Hope with the brace to be amazingly easy.

Unlike regular harnesses, the WiggleLess back brace features built-in boning for firm support.  The goal is to keep the spine properly aligned.  No squishy foam here!

After securing the brace, Hope seemed a bit confused.  She was very hesitant to walk and took only small steps.  I would like to point out that Hope was born without eyes and is completely deaf, which would explain a great deal of her confusion.

Hope wearing her WiggleLess back brace.
Hope soon began to prance around the room.  I noticed an immediate difference.  Her bottom tends to sway when she walks.  The sway was completely eliminated!  She also appeared to have a better sense of balance.  Hope walked in more of a straight line as opposed to her typical pull to the left or right.
She was a bit surprised when she attempted to curl up on her pet pillow.  Hope loves to do a variation on “shrimping,” which the brace does not allow for.  Again, the goal is to keep the back/spine straight.  I believe that she will become more comfortable in a lying position the more that she wears the brace.
Overall, I would highly recommend the WiggleLess Dog Back Brace to all pet parents.  Especially if you own a Dachshund.  Their user friendly website is filled with useful information, including a link to everything IVDD.
IVDD is scary, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.  Be proactive about your dog’s back health.  Order your WiggleLess back brace today!

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WiggleLess Dog Back Brace Review

Ever since adopting our mini double dapple Dachshund, Hope, I have been learning as much as I possibly can about the breed.  I always knew that doxie owners had to be very careful about overfeeding their fur babies so as not to injure their tiny backs.  What I did not know about is IVDD.

According to http://www.petmd.com, “Intervertebral disc disease is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst into the spinal cord space.  These discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage and even paralysis.”  Dogs that suffer from IVDD basically have two options:  surgery or become wheelchair bound.

As you know, I love differently-abled animals and have always adored “wheelchair dogs.”  The way that they zoom around is truly inspiring.  Yet, many pooches that have IVDD are euthanized because their families cannot afford the costly carts, which start at about $500.00.

The surgery to correct IVDD isn’t any less costly. Not to mention the copious amount of down time that the dog will have to have post-op.  The kicker?  The surgery, while temporarily effective, may not last.

Armed with this frightening knowledge, I do everything within my power to make sure that Hope’s precious little back is cared for correctly.  I carefully monitor her food intake.  I hold her in the proper positioning and greatly discourage my husband from doing “the baby” pose (holding Hope in his arms on her back).  But I still wonder, is it enough?

That is when I discovered the WiggleLess back brace.  The brace offers firm support, back stability and stress relief for your dog.  Not only will this brace help dogs with IVDD, but it can be worn as a preventative measure.

The aspect that I most love about the brace is how customizable it is.  Using the handy sizing guide featured on the WiggleLess website (www.wiggleless.com), I was able to order the perfect size for Hope.  I did not have to make any adjustments.

Each brace also comes with a step-by-step pictorial of how to place the brace on your dog.  I love that the pictures are of a real dog and not a crazy cartoon.  I found fitting Hope with the brace to be amazingly easy.

Unlike regular harnesses, the WiggleLess back brace features built-in boning for firm support.  The goal is to keep the spine properly aligned.  No squishy foam here!

After securing the brace, Hope seemed a bit confused.  She was very hesitant to walk and took only small steps.  I would like to point out that Hope was born without eyes and is completely deaf, which would explain a great deal of her confusion.

Hope wearing her WiggleLess back brace.

Hope soon began to prance around the room.  I noticed an immediate difference.  Her bottom tends to sway when she walks.  The sway was completely eliminated!  She also appeared to have a better sense of balance.  Hope walked in more of a straight line as opposed to her typical pull to the left or right.

She was a bit surprised when she attempted to curl up on her pet pillow.  Hope loves to do a variation on “shrimping,” which the brace does not allow for.  Again, the goal is to keep the back/spine straight.  I believe that she will become more comfortable in a lying position the more that she wears the brace.

Overall, I would highly recommend the WiggleLess Dog Back Brace to all pet parents.  Especially if you own a Dachshund.  Their user friendly website is filled with useful information, including a link to everything IVDD.

IVDD is scary, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.  Be proactive about your dog’s back health.  Order your WiggleLess back brace today!

Happy Howlidays!

The howlidays are officially upon us!  What better way to celebrate than by snuggling up to watch a family friendly movie starring our favorite furry friends?  Below is a list of my personal favorites.

Grumpy Cat stars in her very first movie!  In Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, Grumpy Cat lives in a mall pet shop where she is continually passed over by would-be adopters.  That is until she meets a special 12 year old girl named Chrystal.  After falling head over paws for Grumpy, Chrystal discovers that she can hear Grumpy talk!  Has Grumpy Cat finally found the human that can make her see the true meaning of Christmas?

Zach, a handsome firefighter, saves a stray cat when returning from a call out.  He has no idea how to care for the cute kitty and decides to take her to the vet.  While there, he meets Marilee, a veterinary student.  Both feel an instant connection between them, but sadly, Zach already has a girlfriend.  Will the fur begin to fly or can the rescued cat save the day in time for Christmas?

Glenn Barrows (played by the super handsome Dean Cain) is a widower who is trying his best to raise his children, Elliot and Phoebe, solo.  With Christmas coming, Glenn is hoping to recapture the magic that the family once shared during this time of the year.  Enter Belle, an adorably gorgeous puppy that instantly bonds with Elliot and Phoebe.  Will Glenn’s dog-hating, gold-digging girlfriend ruin this beautiful relationship for good?

Elisa Donovan stars as Laura, a self-absorbed workaholic who has recently lost her dog.  Feeling stuck in her life, she visits a Life Coach who is really one of Santa’s elves!  The elf tells Laura to make 12 wishes for a positive change in her life.  But will Laura’s wishes have irreversible consequences?  Will she be able to get her normal life and dog back before Christmas?  You’ll have to watch to find out!

  Jennie Garth stars a Susan, a widowed unemployed LA museum curator who is trying to care for her three sons.  Her dog, Rusty, ends up falling in love with Cheri, a pampered poodle that belongs to Jake, the owner of a local winery.  These fur-crossed lovers soon help their humans to fall in love too.  With a Christmas Day wedding planned, will these two families be able to put their differences aside in time to walk down the aisle?

Zeus, a former K-9 police dog, has recently been adopted by the Bannister family.  They are hoping that Zeus will be the guard dog that they have been looking for.  But Zeus continues to make mistakes.  When two burglars threaten to break into the Bannister’s home on Christmas Eve, will Zeus be able to prove himself once and for all?  Starring the voice of Mario Lopez as Zeus and Dean Cain as one of the burglars, this movie is a must see!

I hope that these movies put you and your fur babies into the spirit of the season!  Don’t forget the pupcorn!

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

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Happy Howlidays!

The howlidays are officially upon us!  What better way to celebrate than by snuggling up to watch a family friendly movie starring our favorite furry friends?  Below is a list of my personal favorites.

 

Grumpy Cat stars in her very first movie!  In Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, Grumpy Cat lives in a mall pet shop where she is continually passed over by would-be adopters.  That is until she meets a special 12 year old girl named Chrystal.  After falling head over paws for Grumpy, Chrystal discovers that she can hear Grumpy talk!  Has Grumpy Cat finally found the human that can make her see the true meaning of Christmas?

Zach, a handsome firefighter, saves a stray cat when returning from a call out.  He has no idea how to care for the cute kitty and decides to take her to the vet.  While there, he meets Marilee, a veterinary student.  Both feel an instant connection between them, but sadly, Zach already has a girlfriend.  Will the fur begin to fly or can the rescued cat save the day in time for Christmas?

Glenn Barrows (played by the super handsome Dean Cain) is a widower who is trying his best to raise his children, Elliot and Phoebe, solo.  With Christmas coming, Glenn is hoping to recapture the magic that the family once shared during this time of the year.  Enter Belle, an adorably gorgeous puppy that instantly bonds with Elliot and Phoebe.  Will Glenn’s dog-hating, gold-digging girlfriend ruin this beautiful relationship for good?

Elisa Donovan stars as Laura, a self-absorbed workaholic who has recently lost her dog.  Feeling stuck in her life, she visits a Life Coach who is really one of Santa’s elves!  The elf tells Laura to make 12 wishes for a positive change in her life.  But will Laura’s wishes have irreversible consequences?  Will she be able to get her normal life and dog back before Christmas?  You’ll have to watch to find out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Jennie Garth stars a Susan, a widowed unemployed LA museum curator who is trying to care for her three sons.  Her dog, Rusty, ends up falling in love with Cheri, a pampered poodle that belongs to Jake, the owner of a local winery.  These fur-crossed lovers soon help their humans to fall in love too.  With a Christmas Day wedding planned, will these two families be able to put their differences aside in time to walk down the aisle?

Zeus, a former K-9 police dog, has recently been adopted by the Bannister family.  They are hoping that Zeus will be the guard dog that they have been looking for.  But Zeus continues to make mistakes.  When two burglars threaten to break into the Bannister’s home on Christmas Eve, will Zeus be able to prove himself once and for all?  Starring the voice of Mario Lopez as Zeus and Dean Cain as one of the burglars, this movie is a must see!

I hope that these movies put you and your fur babies into the spirit of the season!  Don’t forget the pupcorn!

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

Pet Expo 2015

Dogs were lined up as far as the eye could see. Kittens snuggled in their crates waiting to be adopted.  The smell of freshly baked pizza wafted through the air.  Welcome to the St. Louis Pet Expo!

This free event is held annually at the St. Charles, MO convention center.  My husband and I look forward to going every year.  We view it as Christmas for pet parents.

As soon as you walk through the doors, you are given a goodie bag containing coupons and pet themed magazines.  We also use this bag to haul our stash of newly acquired business cards and brochures.  I made a beeline to one of my favorite tables:  Preston Speaks!  This adorable dog with a blog is as sweet as he can be.  I first met him at the 2014 expo and love reconnecting with him (and his humans).

Amid the rescue organizations, I was excited to see St. Louis Aviary Rescue.  I think this is the first time that we have seen a bird rescue group.  They had so many beautiful birds!  My favorite was a pair of cockatiels.  They reminded me of an old married couple.  The grey cockatiel would snuggle up to the yellow one.  Then the yellow one would promptly bite the grey one’s feathers!

An animal conservation group was also on hand.  They were showcasing a baby beaver.  He was so small but his feet were HUGE!  We learned that baby beavers need to be touched and groomed by their mothers until they are two weeks old.  If they do not receive this physical contact, they will become depressed, stop eating and eventually die.

I hope that you enjoy the following photos from the expo!

  These adorable kitties were enjoying some quality snuggle time.
Hanging out with my favorite Westie, Preston and his sister, Daisy!
 
This is a baby beaver.  Check out his back feet!
This is a real, live puppy!  She was completely zonked out.  We thought she was a stuffed toy!

I love my new Preston Speaks t-shirt!
This is my husband’s favorite shirt.  Fur babies rock!

 
Our Dachshund is perfectly described by this t-shirt.
We cannot wait to see what the 2016 Expo will bring!

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Pet Expo 2015

Dogs were lined up as far as the eye could see. Kittens snuggled in their crates waiting to be adopted.  The smell of freshly baked pizza wafted through the air.  Welcome to the St. Louis Pet Expo!

This free event is held annually at the St. Charles, MO convention center.  My husband and I look forward to going every year.  We view it as Christmas for pet parents.

As soon as you walk through the doors, you are given a goodie bag containing coupons and pet themed magazines.  We also use this bag to haul our stash of newly acquired business cards and brochures.  I made a beeline to one of my favorite tables:  Preston Speaks!  This adorable dog with a blog is as sweet as he can be.  I first met him at the 2014 expo and love reconnecting with him (and his humans).

Amid the rescue organizations, I was excited to see St. Louis Aviary Rescue.  I think this is the first time that we have seen a bird rescue group.  They had so many beautiful birds!  My favorite was a pair of cockatiels.  They reminded me of an old married couple.  The grey cockatiel would snuggle up to the yellow one.  Then the yellow one would promptly bite the grey one’s feathers!

An animal conservation group was also on hand.  They were showcasing a baby beaver.  He was so small but his feet were HUGE!  We learned that baby beavers need to be touched and groomed by their mothers until they are two weeks old.  If they do not receive this physical contact, they will become depressed, stop eating and eventually die.

I hope that you enjoy the following photos from the expo!

  These adorable kitties were enjoying some quality snuggle time.

Hanging out with my favorite Westie, Preston and his sister, Daisy!

This is a baby beaver.  Check out his back feet!

This is a real, live puppy!  She was completely zonked out.  We thought she was a stuffed toy!

I love my new Preston Speaks t-shirt!

This is my husband’s favorite shirt.  Fur babies rock!

Our Dachshund is perfectly described by this t-shirt.

We cannot wait to see what the 2016 Expo will bring!

Pet Lovers Rejoice!

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss is a delightful story that depicts two children faced with a very difficult decision: choosing a family pet.  Just as each child believes he/she has found the perfect pet, a different breed of animal emerges, tempting them to change their minds.

The children then begin to think about what type of pet their parents would like.  While this appears to help with the elimination process, the siblings still cannot agree on which pet to pick.  Time is running out!  Will they ever find their perfect pet?

Dr. Seuss has once again masterfully written a story with an adult concept in mind: making decisions.  I believe that all readers will easily relate to this story.  The reader is introduced to a cast of unusual and colorful characters that are sure to enchant and delight.

I especially loved the ending of this book.  No spoilers here!  I also thoroughly enjoyed reading the special section at the end of the book that discusses Dr. Seuss’ longtime love of animals.  The vintage pictures of Seuss with his various dogs is truly a treasure to behold.

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Mabel is Marvelous!

Meet Mabel.  This Frenchie’s antics rival that of Paris Hilton.  Well…almost.

Being the pampered pooch that she is, Mabel tends to break many of the rules that her humans make.  She is constantly immersing herself in the fun-filled world that clearly revolves around her.  Mistakes can easily be fixed, right?

One day, Mabel discovers the true meaning of the word “naughty.”  Could her greatest act of rebellion cost her the love of her family?  You will have to read Naughty Mabel by Nathan Lane and Devlin Elliott to find out, darlings!

I absolutely love everything about this book!  I find it refreshing that the story is told from Mabel’s point of view.  Lane and Elliott did an amazing job of giving Mabel a very distinctive voice and personality.  As I read the book aloud to my own furry pack, I could hear Mabel’s spoiled, upper-crust accent emerge.

I also found the style of writing to be very humorous and entertaining.  This is definitely not your typically children’s picture book.  There are parts of the story that will certainly make older children and adults chuckle.

Many of Mabel’s antics are totally relatable to pet and human parents alike.  I think this makes the story even more enjoyable to read.  Dan Krall’s illustrations are wonderfully whimsical.  I fell in love with Mabel by page one.  Her numerous facial expressions are simply adorable.  I also noticed similarities between some of the human characters and celebrities (such as a Martha Stuart look-alike).  Genius!

Naughty Mabel is sure to become the next children’s classic.  This book will enchant and delight dog lovers of all ages.  I cannot wait to read it again!

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