What’s happening to our teenagers-an opinion on the increased suicide numbers in the US with teenage girls

When I was growing up it was instilled in me that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words would never hurt me” and I used that phrase A LOT when I was a kid. As I got older this phrase became the phrase “actions speak louder than words”, which both hold a lot of truth. Granted yes there were things people said that hurt my feelings BUT they weren’t permanent or everlasting wounds that caused physical scars.  Yes I struggled with mean harsh words from bullies as everyone does at some point in their life.  As I got older I learned that a lot of what people would say about me or to me that was mean and nasty was out of jealousy or because they were unhappy with their lives. I struggled with my appearance at times because of these mean words about how I looked, but I also had family behind me reassuring me that those words weren’t true and just because I matured different then others didn’t make me weird it was just the way God made me. But because of my tiny stature it put a target on my back for those girls that were jealous because I was smaller than them. But it made me stronger like Christina Aguilera sang oh so well 🎵’cause if it wasnt for all that you tried to do, I wouldn’t know just how capable I am to pull through so I want to say thank you cause it makes me that much stronger, makes me work a little bit harder, it makes me that much wiser, so thanks for making me a FIGHTER!”🎵 and that it did. Image result for thanks for making me a fighter
I fight for everything, for what I believe in, for all I have and everything I want in life.  Some could say that it’s the part of me that likes to prove people wrong when I’m told I can’t do that or no, I call it life molding me to fight for everything above. All the cruel words thrown my way when in school and when I was a kid made me stronger. It showed me the true colors of people who were around me and people in general. My parents and family instilled in me to let things roll off your back. Someone elses negative opinion of you doesn’t matter because you know the truth and you are better than those who tear others down. Where did those life lessons go though? When did we throw the phrase sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me out? And why? It is a childish phrase but a truthful phrase. Words yes can hurt, they can hurt like hell when directed towards you especially by people that you would trust with every ounce of your every being. But why are we teaching kids that they can destroy you and define you? Why aren’t we teaching kids that when people hurt you like that, instead of turning those hurtful words into physical hurt on yourself to remember the above phrase. To look at yourself and say”NO! I’m not a freak just because I havent developed like the other girls. No Im not a weird because I believe something you don’t. No Im not a loser because Im not “popular” or have a boyfriend or am a jock.” Why are we teaching kids its ok to dwell on the negative things people throw at them? I personally believe the problem is the website myself and you are currently on or you were just at to get to this page(Facebook). Social media has destroyed our youth. Not just with thinking they need technology in their hands at all times, but also because they get on things like fb and instagram and see their classmates posing for selfies with this make up that is absolutely flawless and they look like they just walked out of a vogue photo shoot, and then you have girls who weren’t blessed with those characteristics because God made them different or they dont want to starve themselves to look like that. They see their classmates hanging out together at parties in pictures and they are at home wondering why they werent invited. Or they go on these sites and get bullied for something they posted or a picture they posted that others feel the need to criticize. Social media is DESTORYING SOCIETY everyone feels the need to bully everyone just because their standards arent being met, your just not pretty enough, skinny enough, tall enough, cool enough, so we are going to throw rocks at you. So you have all this technology and social media in front of your kids and with that they…WE ALL have lost the art of face to face communication. These kids that keep having electronics shoved in their faces to keep them busy arent being taught the proper way to communicate or the proper way to tell someone that something is going on.  They go on social media and put on a facade to make everyone think they are ok when really these teens could be battling serious demons, but nobodies taught them how to tell someone whats going on. Suicide rates among teenage girls between the ages of 15-19 are at an all time high in the last 40 years, according to the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Suicide rates doubled among teenage girls and grew by more than 30 percent for teenage boys in this age group between ’07-’15. “The latest data comes at a time when social media and shows like Netflix 13 reasons why(which revolves around a high school student who took her own life and two weeks later her crush finds a box of cassettes recorded by her as to the 13 reasons why she committed suicide) are under fire for potentially correlating to a spike in the number of suicide related searches last spring, according to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine” -www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-08-04/suicide-rates-for-teenage-girls-hit-all-time-high-in-40-years
This is an epidemic that needs WAY more attention than it’s getting. We need to be teaching our children how to deal with bullying, to not put themselves in positions that could lead them to being raped (one of the 13 reasons this girl in this show killed herself) or if it does happen to tell someone, WE NEED TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO COMMUNICATE! NOT through their social media but face to face to either you as the parent or to someone they trust that can get them the help they need. We also need to teach our children TO STOP BULLYING! It’s never been ok. I saw a post at the beginning of this month that I believe every single parent should do with their children before school starts or even just randomly over the course of the year or summer. A mother had her child squeeze an entire tube of tooth paste out onto a plate. Once the tube was empty she told her child to put all the tooth paste back in the tube. As you can imagine this child freaked out about how is she supposed to do that its impossible. Once said child chilled out mom looked at her and said “remember this moment when you are about to say something mean about someone either to a friend or to that persons face.”
Amy explained to her daughter about the importance of kindness to a tween with only a tube of toothpaste and a plate
The moral? Once words are said you can’t take them back. I’ve been saying this for two years, not on social media but to some people in my life who decided to use words to try to destroy me. Once words are said you cant take them back. You can apologize till your blue in the face, but you cant take back what you said. Did what was said to me destroy me? No, did it damage me? Yes, but I refuse to let it control my life. I learned from it and it made me stronger because I’m not letting it control me. We need to teach those skills. To teach that yes words are like weapons they do wound sometimes, but we need to learn to not let those words define who we are, if we do let them define us it should be for the better we should come out on top of them. We need to teach them that your probably going to be called a bitch, a prude, a slut every name in the book and you know what? That’s ok, well no it’s not but its going to be ok because you know the truth, and these people will not ALWAYS be in your life everyday. You will graduate and you will move on to bigger and better things and have better people who come into your life. Those people who feel the need to tear you down need to be taken with a grain of salt and you need to learn from those people and let it define you as a stronger person that is willing to fight for what she has and what she wants. Become fighter! Become stronger! Dont become a statistic in the suicide rates, it’s a permanent solution to a problem that can be solved. Speak up. If you’ve been bullied and its dragging you down and you cant get through it on your own(which is ok there is nothing wrong with asking for help) speak up. If you were assaulted, tell someone don’t carry that burden by yourself, and dont think your broken and can never be loved because you can. Theres someone out there that will see your damage and say “its ok, that doesn’t define you, that’s not who YOU are. You are a beautiful human being that deserves to be loved and I love you”….girls hes out there, you may get a couple of duds and POS’ but somewhere out there there is someone who is going to love you no matter what has happened to you. Dont let your past control your future, dont let some caddy teenage girls or immature boys make you think you’re not worth living. God put you here for a reason, and if he isn’t the one to take you out of this world your ment to stay…he has such big plans for us all…stay awhile see what your could be😚
Image result for words do not define you Image result for words do not define you
And Parents, talk with your kids. Sit down and have a true conversation, yes you may get into some incredibly uncomfortable conversations/situations but those uncomfortable moments I myself think are worth it if it means keeping my kids above ground with me.  They need you, especially in the teenage years, that’s when they need your guidance the most.  Don’t let society get a hold of them and make them believe that they should keep quiet and deal with things on their own, that’s not how problems get resolved.  Don’t just raise them to become fighters, show them how to be fighters by fighting for them.  Image result for thanks for making me a fighter



Raising your son the way you deem fit

In a world full of “gender neutral” “feminism” pushing, “participation trophy” giving and de-masculinizing societies, one would believe that raising a respectful, proud to wear blue, tough, hard-working boy/man would be difficult.  That may be for some, but not in this house.
Many who know me really well know I’m not one to follow “the norm”, whatever the hell that is.  And actually I’ve never conformed to what society “expects”.  I’ve ALWAYS been the one to buck the system and rebel so I could be who I really was.  I’ve never followed a specific fashion trend, I’ve always done whatever I liked and what worked for me.  My husband is not any different.  So do you think raising children would be any different for us?

Growing up there were values I was taught, some yes as a girl that needed to be followed, like no we don’t put our skirts over our heads so everyone can see your underwear and you act lady like in public, not like a wild animal and idiot.  But for some reason, I have my ideas as to why, a lot of the values I was taught as a child aren’t taught much anymore.  For starters I don’t remember everyone getting participation trophies for EVERYTHING.  Maybe when we were younger when you first start out in sports but you sure didn’t get a trophy for it, it was a piece of paper or a ribbon that had your name on it and the sport you participated in if that.  Or the other thing that I don’t remember hearing a whole lot about and maybe that was because I was a kid, was “your kid is being played more than mine” crap.  Really? So lets look at this “lets give everyone a trophy!” scenario.

By coaches, schools, teams whatever just handing a spot on the team because you showed up and oh here’s a trophy too for playing is not teaching anyone ANYTHING! The only thing it is teaching these kids is you’ll have everything handed to you basically on a silver platter your entire life. Well for those of us who live in the real world, not in a fantasy land in our mama’s basement, we know the only way to get things you need and may want in life you have to actually work for it!  This concept is becoming less and less normal it seems all the time, which is incredibly sad because it’s just creating humans who feel entitled to everything when in reality you’re not entitled to crap.  I don’t care who you are or what your last name is, nothing and nobody is entitled to anything.636023431796650056-1996807318_participation-trophy-l

A part of me feels like a lot of these kids who get everything they want is out of parental guilt. Guilt for not always being there like maybe they want to.  I know not everyone can make a sacrifice like I did to be there for their kids.  I gave up my entire career in the vet field so I could be there for my kids and watch them grow up, but in return I miss the hell out of working in the vet field and I also work part-time in a job that I have to psych myself up for everyday.  But being able to watch my kids grow up and be there for them when they need me out weights the longing for the vet field ten fold.  But like I said I know not everyone or every parent can do that or even have that option.  So to make up for that void maybe they think they need to hand everything to their kids.  In all honesty what are your kids going to remember more, that really nice toy or the fun they had with you?  It may seem logical to give them everything they want when you can’t be there with them, but I promise the time you do spend with them they will remember a lot longer than that toy.  When I was growing up I didn’t see my dad that much, he worked a lot and some late nights most of my childhood and wasn’t always able to be at my sporting events or theater shows, but the ones he was at and the time we spent together when he was off of work resonate a lot more in my memory then a toy him and my mom may have bought me.  You can’t buy love, you can’t hand your kids everything and expect a genuine love.  Yea they love you because your their parents, but making memories with them instead of throwing an inanimate object at them is going to last longer and affect their well-being as adults.ef18a8e73f657b535fcb68a492551449
Yes our son gets a portion of what he wants, but he also works for it and it’s not just handed to him or he pays for it himself with the money he’s earned.  Yep you read that right, he earns it!  He does chores every single day-dishes, cleans cat boxes, feeds the animals, cleans the toilet-hey if the kid is gonna pee all over it he can take responsibility for not being able to get it in the bowl, which I know the kid can aim cause he can hit a damn pop can with a bb gun at 12 feet, so he can clean the toilet maybe he’ll learn then to actually pee in the toilet. There is absolutely NOTHING WRONG with children doing chores to EARN either money so they can buy their own stuff, which I’ve noticed they take better care of it that way, or you buy it and say this is for doing this for me the other day or for the last week.
Harvard conducted a long running study about children doing and being given chores and it came back that they are more successful as adults when they have chores as children.  Here is one of the many articles on this study: https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2015/12/08/research-indicates-sparing-chores-spoils-children-and-their-future-selves/ZLvMznpC5btmHtNRXXhNFJ/story.html
This study doesn’t surprise me in the least bit.  If you teach your kids to do the crap jobs they are more willing to do them when they are adults.  Good work ethic, hard-working work ethic, dedicated work ethic is so sought after but extremely hard to find because God for bid someone should get dirty or actually do the job requirements that are asked of them.  Everyone is more worried about what everyone thinks and “OMG I can’t do that job, that’s gross, that cuts in to my party time with my friends or my time on the beach, what would my friends think?”  who gives a shit!?  It’s money to pay the bills and get you what you want instead of relying on mommy and daddy, right?!  There’s a big difference between lack of work ethic because your spoiled, lazy and believe everyone should cater to you and your needs and wants than someone’s work ethic being crap because they are burnt out from their job or just fed up with the B.S.  One you didn’t give a damn to begin with, the other you’ve been used and abused and pushed beyond your limits at your job but at least you still show up and work.  Then there’s the moment in that child’s life when they do enter the real world and they HAVE to get a job but after their interview they get this “I’m sorry, your qualifications just don’t meet what we need or are looking for.” then what happens?  If not prepared for that answer their entire world could fall apart because for the first time in their lives they were told NO! It really is ok to say no to your kids, I promise they won’t die.  They may throw the worlds biggest fit when you tell them no as a small child, which they are a child they do that, but when they do that as an adult it’s not appeasing or acceptable.  That reflects on you as a parent and I don’t know many parents out there that like to be told or hear “you messed up and failed somewhere along the lines for your adult child to act like that.”
I was taught life had disappointment early.  “Nope, sorry you are just not good enough to be on that certain gymnastics team.” OUCH, can we say crushed?  You bet, did I cry?  Oh hell yea I bawled! I put so much work and time in to trying to get on that team and just ended up coming up short. BUT after I fell apart and beat myself up I didn’t let that deter me, that meant I needed to work that much harder until the next try outs so that I could get on that team.  Learning from our disappointments is the only way we as humans grow and learn to either do better next time and focus in on what needs to be fixed to make us better and strive for our set goals.  We need to stop worrying about hurting everyone’s feelings! No not everyone can play football, basketball, baseball, not everyone can be a cheerleader, gymnast, swimmer, runner.  Not everyone is meant to play sports, there are other things out there that kids can do and be apart of a “team” setting if they aren’t sports oriented.  Quit making such a big deal out of your kid not being played like everyone else.  If we continue with the “you showed up for try outs your on the team” what do you expect?  The players who can actually play and get the team a win are going to be played, not the players who just stand there or can’t throw/hit/kick the ball.  When you get in the real world feelings don’t matter.  Your boss isn’t gonna give a damn if he/she is hurting your feelings at the moment they are chewing your butt for screwing up, all they care about at that moment is the potential money you have lost them or the bad reputation you may have just caused .

Next, why is gender such a big damn deal?  A girl/woman can grow a baby inside HER body and give life to that human and feed that human with her own body.  She is in fact a pregnant WOMAN.  A man can not grow a baby inside of HIM and give birth to that baby or feed that baby with his own body.  He can participate in the making of that human and even if need be, raise that child on his own by giving formula and love. That’s about it there is no growing of said child within a mans body, despite the fact that many women would probably love to trade positions with a man at around 6 months or earlier and let them do the rest, it can not be done.  Sorry but without a man, for obvious reasons whether he is there participating physically or it’s from a tube, and without a woman for obvious reasons, the two separate entities need each other to reproduce……it doesn’t get anymore cut and dry then that.  So why have we tried to undo that!?

Since when has it been wrong to go to the store and go to the “boy” toy section to buy a boy toy for a boy or buy boy clothes for a boy or the same with girls?  Now you have toy companies and clothing companies saying they are going to get rid of their so-called labels of boys toys/clothes or girls toys/clothes.  When I go to the store to buy clothes for my kids I do in fact head to the girls section for my daughter and the boys section for my son, same with their toys that’s never going to change.  We are doing all of this just so we don’t “offend” anyone, yep once again everybody needs to stop being so damn offended by everything and just chill the hell out!  No body is targeting anyone and their “feelings” by having a girls section or a boys section, stop trying to carry your high school drama Bull$#&* into adulthood, cause really that’s what this is, and for some reason we are catering to it, when in all actuality 3/4 of us don’t need it or want it there’s enough drama in adulthood these issues really shouldn’t be one of them.

My next question is when did a man being “masculine” or “gentlemanly” become sexist, chauvinistic and offensive?  Men are supposed to be “strong”.  When they are in relationships they are supposed to be a good portion of the back bone.  Now I’m not saying that makes women weak by any means, no there’s still women who are strong and sometimes they are the majority of the backbone of the family which is AWESOME! There are also woman out there that I know are doing it on their own and are independent or are even carrying some guy they are with who has decided to have him a sugar momma, to those women I say KUDDOS! Your carrying a lot on your shoulders. But in at least my relationship and I’m sure many others, I can only stay strong for so long before I eventually break, even the strongest of women break at some point and need a shoulder to cry on.  I personally would rather be held in my husbands strong arms and fall apart, then fall apart by myself.  There’s NOTHING WRONG with a guy being masculine and there’s damn sure NOTHING WRONG with a man being a gentleman to women.  Holding a door open, helping you out of the car, paying for dinner, calling you “ma’am” all signs of RESPECT!  For YEARS men have been doing these things for women, it doesn’t mean they think you are weak, it means they have respect for you as a woman and a human being.

Isn’t that what everyone is “fighting/marching” about?  Respect.  Respect for women, respect for our bodies, our choices, our freedoms.  When did all those things that men used to do and some men still do today become signs of disrespect, sexism and chauvinism?  Yep I am fully aware there are sexist, chauvinistic pigs out there, but for those men I truly believe they weren’t given any home training and that’s their parents fault, plus they need to grow up and no that doesn’t excuse their behavior by any means.  But, it’s ok to be a guy and be masculine, what’s NOT ok is trying to push every guy into being feminine or feminists.  It’s not ok to push, pressure or harass men or ANYONE to be someone they aren’t or don’t want to be just so they fit into what “society expects” and so they are PC friendly.  Honestly that crap is only convenient when it’s on societies terms.  “We are going to have a pride march, BUT if your gay and Jewish you’re not welcome.”  or ” We are having a women’s march, BUT if you show the smallest support for anti-abortion/pro-life your not welcomed and you can’t march with us.”  A bit warped, hypocritical and a double standard if you ask me.

So I guess my long drawn out point is in a world that is SO messed up on moral values, work values and human values for some it could be extremely hard to raise a respectful, masculine, gentlemanly, hard-working, blue wearing,  boy/man.  But if you stick with wanting to raise your boys to support and embrace every single one of those qualities, you truly can.  It may be a bit of a battle with society and schools, but that doesn’t mean you give up.  They are YOUR children, nobody else’s.  Society didn’t carry that child for 9 months and give birth to them and neither did the schools or churches you need to do what you deem fit for your sons.  Because in this house our son has and will be taught that no you’re not going to make every team you try out for or be the best at every sport or adventure you set out on.  Yes, if you work extra hard and actually try you may get a trophy or ribbon that you deserve.  No, real men don’t HAVE to wear pink.  And yes you treat ALL women with respect.  We don’t hit them, we don’t call them bad names, if anything you should place her on a pedestal and open doors for her and pay for dinner and call her ma’am, until they give you a reason not to and even then you have no excuse to hit them, bad mouth her or treat her like an animal.  You give everyone respect no matter who they are because everyone deserves basic human respect.  So as a mother of a son I deserve the right for “society” to respect my wishes and how I want my son to contribute to society and if that means he pisses some women off along the way by calling them ma’am and placing them on a pedestal then so be it, they aren’t worth his time if that’s the case. I’m not ashamed or scared to raise my son that way or my daughter to look at a man or like a man who has those values.  I don’t care what others think or how they think I should raise my children.  Nobody is going to instill any other values in my children then what I think they need or should have.  And for all the other parents out there who are trying to raise their boys as hard working, dirty handed, tough, proud to wear blue, G.I Joe playing, women respecting boys/men I say kudos to you!  Keep it up! Don’t give up! You keep raising that boy that way, we need more of them and momma’s raising their girls to appreciate men like that kudos to you too!  We need more girls/women like that in this crazy world.  It’s ok to keep some things old school.

When to say goodbye to a pet

When is it the right time to say goodbye to a pet?
While in the vet clinic I was asked this question a lot, at least on a weekly basis.  It’s a question that anyone who has a pet asks themselves when their pet gets old and starts to show signs of deterioration.  There are two ways I’ve always answered this question, mostly because once you give an owner the “professional” answer they always ask “off the record, what would you do if it was your dog?”, which is still a really hard question to answer because the way I handle my dog or cats is I know 100% different then the way someone else may handle their pets.  I have in my life had to put, so far, one pet to sleep and that was my childhood dog.  The dog that helped me through my grandma’s death and laid in bed with me while tears just rolled on to her fur.  The dog who once again just laid in my bed and let tears roll on to her fur during my parents divorce, so I know it’s a hard decision and really is the only decision that you yourself can make. But if you are in this situation and need guidance this is what I can offer.

On a professional level – you have to ask yourself a few questions when you come to the decision of is it time for me to say goodbye or do I hold on just a bit longer.  First is there a medical condition that is causing what is happening or is it just because old age is finally taking over?
When it was time for me to say goodbye to my childhood pet she was 15 years old, that’s a decent number for a German Shepherd/Blue Heeler, but as far as I knew she didn’t have any huge health conditions.  She had a difficult time getting up the stairs because of her arthritis, she fell going up them all the time.  She slept and hid a lot, I’m not sure if the hiding had to do with her not wanting to be around my husband and my dog because she was younger and would try to get Sunny to play or if it was because she just wanted to be alone and rest.  Her appetite had started to decrease and she was constantly panting even when she was in cool places she just sat and panted, which is a clinical sign of pain.  So in my, at the time partial professional mind because I was in school, I started walking through those steps that our professors had taught us for the end of life in a pet.
This is where the owner in me comes into play but at the same time this is what your vet team is going to ask if you call 1. what’s the quality of life?  Even if it is just old age, when it takes over some of the effects of old age can be hard to deal with and hard on the pet.  You have kidneys that start to fail, so you have urinating in the house.  You have eyes that start to get cataracts or just get hazy because they are old eyes and they can’t see.  You have other bodily functions that you never thought would be an issue will pop up, loosing their bowels, and just becoming weak.  If they have a medical condition that can affect a lot of different systems and bodily functions too. 2. If it’s something like cancer that you’re looking at you have to look at it this way, do we proceed with chemo which where I worked wasn’t cheap like $1500 and up depending on the cancer and chemo meds.  So do you want to fork out thousands to try to keep your best friend alive just a little bit longer while they have to reap all the side effects of chemo or do you just put them on pain meds and possibly steroids to keep them comfortable the last days of their life? If it’s a medical condition like a heart murmur or heart failure you’re looking at how far progressed is it? If not far can we put them on heart meds and help the heart with whatever it may be experiencing which is normally trying to keep fluid out of the lungs and keep that blood flowing the way it should be.  Or is it so far progressed that even meds isn’t going to slow it down and they are going to continue to have exercise intolerance, continue to struggle breathing and just be lethargic and not want to eat because they are putting everything they have into being able to breathe?  There are endless amounts of diseases and other conditions that can pop up with a pet that is getting older or other systems that can be affected with a diagnosis of a medical condition and where to go from there.  Yes in some cases medication can help, it won’t cure it no matter how badly you want it to the medication will never cure it.  We put pets on medication to slow the progression of the condition or disease just like they do in humans.  So eventually the time will come to say goodbye.
On a personal level or “off the record” I share this – when it came time for me to say goodbye to my best friend it was one I personally fought with for weeks.  She had her good days and she had her bad, but in the last 2 weeks the bad out weighed the good 95% of the time.  The final blow and moment that made my decision final was heart wrenching.  I had just let Sunny outside, my mother in law was standing on the porch watching her while I went back in the house to tend to my son.  Suddenly my mother in law came running inside in a complete panic, ” Jen! Sunny collapsed!” I handed her my son, ran out the door jumped over the porch railing and ran to her.  She was laying on the ground in puke, she had a pile of diarrhea behind her and when I picked her up to carry her inside her side was soaked in urine.  Holy crap, what just happened!? As I carried her into the house tears streaming down my face I saw my husband working in the yard and screamed for him and he met me inside.  I set her down on a blanket and just held her praying this wasn’t it.  Within five minutes she pulled out of it and acted like nothing happened, she was fine.  That night after a lot of tears and fighting with myself on what to do I made the call.  I called my resident vet at school and told her it needed to be done sooner than later.  I couldn’t watch her suffer anymore, it was to heart wrenching and tore me apart. The falling up the stairs, the no appetite and me having to basically soak her food in either tuna juice or gravy to get her to eat it and then this episode, I couldn’t watch another one or risk another one.  When we took her in and the vet did her exam we discovered that she had a grade 4 heart murmur.  That’s the worst there is, you can feel it when you place your hand on her chest over her heart.  I felt terrible, I had no clue and that explained that weekend’s episode. I should’ve been able to find that but she never let me listen to her heart, she wouldn’t even let me get close to her with a stethoscope without growling.  She wasn’t a fan of the vet, so me trying to practice my new learned skills was never a go with her.  But there was and is no use in beating yourself up over something you didn’t know about.  So I said my goodbyes and told her many times she was such a good girl and before I knew it she was gone.  It was one of the hardest things I’ve still to this day ever done.

Now as our old faithful pit is getting older every day we keep staring down the face of medical issues along with old age and I once again am faced with what to do and what’s right for her, not me.  In the last 5 years she is seeming to get whiter and whiter in her face all the time, and her health gets worse all the time.  On top of the fact that she is allergic to just about everything under the sun, she has developed a heart murmur which I was prepared for since she was treated for heartworms, she also has a few masses in her prescapular region(shoulders) that I’ve looked at the cells under a microscope and I am about 90% positive it’s a cancer of some sort, as does my fellow vet team.  To add to all of those in October she was in the truck with my husband and she started to act weird, like a dog that has been abused all their life, and trust me this dog has been far from abused if anything she’s pampered probably more than I am.  You’d lift your hand to pet her and she would just flinch.  When my husband got home with her she had thrown up and just wasn’t coming out of it, she walked like she was drunk and was very twitchy.  We took her in and the small town vet here couldn’t figure out what was wrong, blood work was absolutely beautiful and unremarkable, UA was normal.  So none of the diagnostics told us anything, which led to “well I can refer you to the U in Minnesota for MRI and CT’s.”  That’s not happening, I don’t have over a grand to drop on my 11-year-old dog to see if she has a possible brain tumor.  So we pumped her with some injectable Benadryl to help with inflammation since she was on an NSAID and we couldn’t give her steroids.  PS, in case you didn’t know, if your pet or even yourself is on an non-steroidal anti inflammatory medication you SHOULD NOT take steroids that’s a good way to cause a stomach ulcer for starters.  So, since I had her on Rimadyl for her arthritis she was not about to get pumped up with prednisone and cause other issues.  On our way home that night from the vet I had to restrain her in the backseat the entire way home.  It was like she was hallucinating, she screamed and thrashed all over.  Once we were home she was still kind of walking like she was drunk and it took her about 12 hours to get back to her normal self.  That was the first episode, she had another about a month later.  So I called my girlfriend that’s a vet at my previous clinic and we talked in-depth about everything and the possibilities.  We’ve basically concluded, without diagnostics because all the symptoms point this direction that she more than likely has a brain tumor.  Sure it could just be siezures because they can pop up with old age, but with her history I’m leaning more towards cancer in the brain because it just makes more sense medically to me.  Can I put her through all the diagnostics to make sure that that is in deed what it is, sure if I had like I said over a thousand dollars to put towards that and then treat her with chemo.  But when it comes down to it I have to play the devils advocate, unfortunately and listen to my inner Vet tech.  She’s 11 years old, lets say we pump upwards of 5 grand into diagnostics, so extensive blood work, CT scans, MRI’s just to be told that yes in fact she does have a brain tumor or a cancer of some sort.  Then what?  Pump another couple thousand into chemo so she’s uncomfortable and has to fight nausea and all the other side effects of chemo so that she’ll possibly live another 6 months? Maybe a year or 18 months? No, I’ve seen dogs fight cancer and chemo and they don’t look happy, they struggle.  Instead, I personally would rather dope her up on her heart meds, her pain meds/anti-inflammatories and make the remainder of her life with us comfortable.  Maybe it’s different for me and others in the vet field because we’ve seen the effects of both first hand.  Whether you do meds or chemo, they both can potentially extend their life, but one way I saw they were more comfortable was with doping them up with meds that don’t have as many side effects.  If its cancer and you feel like you want to fight it with chemo that’s your choice, you have that option, for me and mine that’s not an option financially but also morally I can’t do it.  I can’t watch her fight the side effects of chemo, I’d rather her be doped up on pain meds or steriods and have to deal with those side effects and watch her have more good days off the chemo than more bad days on it.  I don’t by any means think she’s going to be leaving us now, but I am preparing myself for it to be sooner than later.  She still has a wonderful quality of life, the moment she stops acting like a total idiot when she hears the word ride, or hears the 4 wheeler fire up then I’ll know it’s time.

The owner in me tends to take over the tech in me when it comes to my own animals, it should but I still listen to that tech that gives that close to the end or end of life speech to her clients.  The “what’s the quality of life of your pet” talk.  Ultimately when it really comes down to it, no matter what I tell you professionally or even what I tell you off the record isn’t going to change anything.  In the end it’s still your call, your choice.  Nobody can make that final call for you.  Being a professional and dealing with death and euthanasia daily while in practice, and being a pet owner and having to make that decision for my own pet I can say this, in your heart if you listen to it, you’ll know.  There will be a sign, there will be something that will happen like with my childhood dog, that will make you say that’s it, I can’t do it anymore.  I can’t watch you suffer, I can’t watch you be in pain, I can’t continue to watch you struggle through out the day just to get up and do it again the next day and that’s all your life consists of.  Not only your heart will tell you, your pet will.  They won’t wage their tail like they used to when you come to them, they won’t get excited about the things that used to make them happy, if you really pay attention and this may sound crazy but listen to them they’ll let you know when they are ready to go home.  It’s never an easy decision anyway you look at it, whether it’s because old age has just taken over or because of an un-curable medical condition that is finally coming to the end of its course, it’s a hard decision and it hurts like hell.  But I can promise this, 99% of the time it’s the right choice, and they are in such a better place and not hurting anymore when that final breath is taken.

So no, I’m sorry I can’t tell you that yes your dog is so bad off that it needs to be put down. I can’t tell you that that medical condition is going to be cured and they are going to make a miracle recovery, because odds are they won’t.  The choice is yours and yours alone.  If in your heart you feel like it’s time, then listen to it, go with it, it’ll hurt but it’ll honestly hurt you more and that pet if you continue to watch them struggle and let them.  In the vet world we know it’s hard, we’ve all in that field had to say goodbye to our own pets so we know how much it hurts and we, at least at the clinics I was at, try to make the process a little less painless and many are more than willing to hold your hand, hold you, hug you and even hold and hug your pet for you if you just can’t.  I’ve cried many tears on to the fur of many animals that weren’t my own.  So when you make that extremely tough decision know your not alone and your vet team will be there for you to help you through this extremely difficult time.  Never hesitate to talk to your vet team about what they think, and to even help counsel you on what you should do.  When it comes down to it the golden rule I feel for the end of life is quality of life, is it there?

I hope this helps any who may be facing this reality now, and helps you look at that pet in all aspects of the phrase quality of life and make the decision that is right for you and most importantly what’s right for your pet.


Kid safe muffin mix

If there are any of you our there that are like I am I love muffin mix, frosting, cake batter, cookie dough and naturally I’ve passed that love on to my kids.  I make frosting for cakes and they are right under me asking for a spoon full of it.  Same with cake batter, muffin mix and cookie dough, but with a lot of those recipes once you put that egg in your heightening your chances of getting salmonella.   I’ve done it for years and never thought twice about it until I had kids.  Isn’t it amazing how those little babies can completely change your thought process on things you did yourself?  I didn’t put too much thought behind them getting sick from those things because I never did until my we discovered that my son has somewhat of a sensitive stomach.  So the way I prep certain things and let him eat has changed and I have to put more thought in to it then maybe most parent’s do.

My kids love muffins for breakfast or a quick snack.  They are really honestly pretty easy to make, if you’re not making them from scratch, and not only are the muffins themselves pretty tasty that muffin mix is awesome for a quick sweet tooth fix.  Usually what happens is either I get a sweet tooth kick and make the muffin mix or one of the kids will say they want something sweet or want muffins.  Well we all know in our house if mom has to make batter for something, she usually makes extra because almost all of us has to have a spoonful or at the very least a small bowl of it.  There are some muffin mixes out there that just call for milk, those are ideal and awesome because they are easy for one and second they are safe for the kiddos to eat that mix without having to make any adjustments to the ingredients.  But there are also still those mixes out there that require an egg or egg white.  Now I’m sure I’m not the first to come up with this idea or the first to do it, but when I buy mixes that require an egg this is how I make my muffin mix so it’s kid friendly and not only that if you do make actual muffins with them they are really dense, moist and seem fluffier.

I decided to try this way of making muffins one night when the kids said they wanted muffins for breakfast the next day.  We are in serious need of some groceries so I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.  I looked in the fridge and we were out of eggs, which this mix asked for.  So I pulled out my food substitution book I have and looked up things I may have that would cover the egg aspect of the recipe.  Sure enough I did!  The book said to substitute one egg you can use 1/4 of a cup of bananas.  I was a little worried that the muffins may end up tasting like bananas instead of blueberry but was willing to try it out.  So I dumped the box of powdered mix and dumped it in a bowl, added milk which the box said to add 1/4 cup but I put in a 1/3 of cup to add a little more liquid to the mix so it wouldn’t be so thick since I wasn’t adding an egg.  I cut up and smashed a banana up and put 1/4 a cup of the smashed banana in the mix, mixed it up and took a bite, not bad.

Yes you could taste the banana in the batter but it wasn’t an overwhelming taste.  My daughter wanted some and she took a huge bit and went on her merry way.  Then my son wanted a bite.  I was a little leary about giving him a bite because he’s not a huge banana fan, but let’s try it out.  He took a big bite, looked at me for a minute and gave a thumbs up and ran off to do his thing.  SWEET! a recipe that I can make and the kids can eat all the batter if they want and I got approval from both.

Once everyone had their bite of mix, I greased up a muffin tin and add 2 tablespoons of the batter in each individual tin.  Heated the oven to 400 degrees and placed the muffins in the oven for 15 minutes.  Pulled them out once they had finished and let them cool.  Once they had cooled I had to try one warm with butter and they are AMAZING! No banana taste, tastes just like a blueberry muffin should and like I said it was moist and very dense.  Honestly I think they taste better than when you make them with an egg.  And once again I got a thumbs up from both kiddos so that’s a deal maker right there!  Enjoy these delicious little pieces of heaven in your mouth!

20170625_131232  20170625_131906

Kid Approved and safe Muffins
1 box Jiff muffin mix(flavor of your choice)
1/3 cup of milk
1/4 banana
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a muffin tin with either butter, olive oil, extra virgin olive oil or an oil of your choice.  Put 2 tablespoons of batter in each individual tin and place in oven for 12-15 minutes, times vary for each oven.  Let cool and enjoy!  Makes about 4-5 muffins.

Using Tea Tree Oil on Animals- or not!

Good morning all!

This morning I want to talk about the use of Tea Tree oil on you pets and the fact that it’s really not a good idea.  When I was working in the vet clinic I was in for 2 years I learned one day from one of the vets that tea tree oil on your pets can be very dangerous.  We had a receptionist come in with her sister and her sisters dog.  While someone was playing with the puppy they mentioned how good he smelt.  His owner was a cosmetologist(hairstylist) and she said that the last time she gave him a bath she used Paul Mitchells shampoo that had tea tree oil in it.  Well one of the vets, we called him Dr. Zebra because he would always get the strange and odd cases so he was a doctor with many stripes because he would always find out what it was and be able to treat it sometimes in the strangest ways.  Any way Dr. Zebra jumped on his soap box about tea tree oil and how much he hates it and people need to be aware of how dangerous it can be on their pets.  None of us were following so someone told him he needed to elaborate on his rant.  He then explained that he had a dog come in on emergency one night that was seizuring and showing many neurologic signs.  He finally figured out what was causing it and it was tea tree oil. =S
Image result for tea tree oil

A lot of people will use tea tree oil in their pets for multiple reasons from attempting to treat ear mites, to using it for a skin infection because of its antibacterial and antifungal properties and anti-inflammatory properties.  A lot of products will come in various concentrations, the ones with high concentration should NEVER be used on a pet.  As little as 7 drops of 100% tea tree oil has caused severe poisoning and death in both cats and dogs.  Products that say they have 2% or less of tea tree oil in it are generally considered to be non-toxic, but for me personally I wouldn’t use it anyway because once you see the side effects that in itself will make you leary about using it on your pets.  The Clinical signs/side effects are as follows:  Minor effects are excessive drooling and vomiting.  Moderate effects are low body temperature, weakness, ataxia(walking drunk), inability to walk.  Severe and life threatening effects are tremors, coma, increased Liver enzymes, seizures, and lastly death.  Symptoms can come on 2-12 hours after exposure.  In Australia 100% tea tree oil is categorized as a level 6 toxin, the packaging of this product in Australia requires child proof containers and cautionary labeling BUT that is not required in the USA or Canada.  There was a 10 year veterinary study that showed that 89% of pet owners who used 100% tea tree oil assumed that it was safe to use on pets.  Imagine how upset those owners were when they ended up with a horrendous vet bill because there was no labeling on the product?  I’d be pretty upset.  That’d be like giving someone an OTC drug and not labeling the effects if you take too much.  HELLO!  It’s even considered toxic to humans if you use 100% so why wouldn’t you label it with AT LEAST a cautionary label?
The oil contains chemicals called Terpenes.  These are the chemicals that help the oil fight bacteria and fungus and also the toxic agent within the oil.  These chemicals are rapidly absorbed whether you put it on the skin or ingest it.  So you put it on an animal that cleans themselves often, say a cat, and you make the risk of toxicity even higher.

Treatment.  Unfortunately there is no antitoxin out there for the terpenes, so it is going to be based off of level of toxicity.  A mild case may just need to have the skin decontaminated with a bath, inducing vomiting is NOT recommended.  To be honest the only time you should ever induce vomiting is after you call your vet and get the ok because there are products out there that just shouldn’t be brought back up and if it is it can sometimes make the situation ten times worse.  So when in doubt before you induce an animal to throw up CALL YOUR VET! Anyway, if vomiting is induced with this there is a heightened risk of aspiration pneumonia, which like I said thats an entire other can of worms you don’t want to open.  The moderate and severe levels of toxicity treatment will depend on how your vet wants to take care of it.  It really will all depend on what type of clinical signs, if the pet is having seizures then they will need anti-seizure medication, they will more than likely need IV fluids and spend a few nights in the hospital.  Moderate and Severe clinical signs aren’t something you can treat at home and hope for the best, odds with pulling that card is death unfortunately.
Image result for dog hooked up to IV

Despite how wonderful it may smell and relaxed it can make a person, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use it. I understand how there are many out there that would rather use a natural remedy to treat a skin issue compared to a man made synthetic treatment, BUT is the extremely high risk of toxicity and possibly death worth it?  I myself don’t believe so, I would never use a product that has even 1% the concentration of something so powerful that could seriously put someone/thing I love at risk of possible toxicity even if it does only require skin decontamination.  I’m not one who will play with something just to see if it really will affect my pet.  That’s just reckless and I’m not that type of person, plus knowing my luck I’d end up being the person who ends up with a horrendous vet bill and a dead pet. With any product you use on your pets you should research it or ask a vet before using it.  Just because pet stores sell it or some online pet stores that claim they are “organic” and use only pet “safe” products doesn’t mean it’s true.  Be a smart and proactive pet owner and your likely hood of having misfortunate accidents will decrease.  Stay on top of what is going on and in your pet, if you wouldn’t gamble with your own well being why would you do it to your pet?

Be smart, safe and remember when in doubt CALL YOUR VET and that goes for ANYTHING!  They are there to help you with any questions you have.  They have about 8 years of schooling and interning under their belts to be vets and your techs have from 2-4 years plus interning under theirs.  You add up the years of schooling and on the job experience and I promise you they do in fact KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT AND DOING a lot more then your breeders or pets store associates do.  Trust me I’m a trained professional 😉


http://www.vetstreet.com › Our Pet Experts › Dr. Nancy Kay
http://www.petmd.com › Blogs › The Daily Vet

A new Adventure with a new Kitten

When I brought Willow (our cat) home I did it despite the fact that I really didn’t want a kitten/cat in my house, but we had a mouse issue and the traps weren’t seeming to take care of them all so she was brought in to dispose of the little beasts.  Well she has yet to ever bring one that she has caught to my feet, but I haven’t seen any mice run across the kitchen floor late at night anymore so she must be doing something.  Anyway for months I have said “no more cats” because everyone thinks they are so funny and say we need another one so Willow has a friend.  She has a friend, her name is Eva and she’s a 10 year old Pitbull and they torment each other constantly Willow doesn’t need another friend.  Apparently God had different plans for our animal children and us.  Friday night I had a friend that came over and when she was leaving it was about 9:30 at night and we hear this tiny meow….oh no, no, no, no! We don’t need another cat.  I told it to go away.  I didn’t hear anything from it on Saturday or Sunday morning so I thought “good it went to the barn North of us.”  As I was sitting at the table filling out some paper work Sunday and my husband looked out the kitchen window and I hear “there’s a kitten in our driveway.” What?!  I look out the window and low and behold there sits this greyish black tabby kitten eating the goldfish our daughter dumped out of the truck.  Craaap.  Being an animal lover AND a Vet Tech I had to go and see how tame it was.  So I threw on a coat (so if I did catch him and he was extremely wild he wouldn’t rip my arms to shreds) put some shoes on and wandered out to the driveway.  Once it saw me it bolted up the driveway to hide under my car then ran to the garage. Oh good now I get to try and fish him out from under a million different hiding places.  I finally get him in a spot that he can’t move very far.  Then the cat whisper(my husband) comes out and the kitten smells him and lets him pet him.  And so began the bond of my husband and this little turd.  Then my son and daughter got to meet him once we fed him and our daughter named him Ratchet.
Being the animal lover that I am I couldn’t throw the little dude out, he can’t be older than maybe 4 weeks.  It’s getting cold here and I have a feeling it’s going to be a pretty fierce winter so the animal lover that I’m married to and I decided that he could become the shop kitten and keep the mice out of the garages.  Since we have a new little 4 legged child this is the perfect opportunity to write about the basics for others out there that may have a kitten wander into their yard or they bring one home.

First with our little guy I noticed his belly, he looks like he has a small baseball hanging out in there and from what I can feel his tummy isn’t really hard but it is full.  So first things first, deworm!  Call a local vet and get your new little one in the system and ask for a wellness/new kitten check and they will go over the basics for a kitten.  They should go over the vaccination schedule, most clinics follow the same protocol of 6-8 weeks for the first distemper shot, then 8-10 weeks for the second one (if you had the first one at 8 weeks they will need to go in at 12 weeks for the 2nd booster then 16 weeks to be set for the year.) Then the 3rd booster should be around 12-16 weeks.  Giving a kitten, even a puppy a distemper shot at age 4 weeks is usually frowned upon and pointless because they still have antibodies in their systems from their moms milk.  By 6 weeks the colostrum that they received from mom after birth and the first few days of life will be in their system long enough to keep them protected against some viruses that they may come in contact with.  Or you can go to your vet and let them know that you have a new kitten at home that you would like to deworm and most clinics are ok and willing to give you a syringe of dewormer, which is another schedule of every 4 weeks with vaccines, they should have been dewormed at least twice by their last distemper shot sometimes 3 times depending on how bad the worms are.  Since our little dude is too young for his first round of shots I have picked up 1.5cc of a dewormer.  Since he’s so small he will only receive about 0.2cc the 1st time and then depending on how big he is in 4 weeks I will give him another dose at a higher amount.  If you pick the dewormer up from a veterinarian they should give you instructions on how much to give the first and second time if you will be doing your deworming at home.  Make sure if you have other animals that are going to be exposed to your new kitten make sure that they also get wormed while the little one is.  That little one could pump out a lot of worms and worm eggs in their poop and yes its gross but some animals will eat another animals poop.  So just to be safe deworm the entire crew.  I’m not too worried about our other two critters because Eva gets dewormed every time she takes a Heart Gard and Willow is going in to the vet soon to get boosters so we will worm her then, plus she’s not outside at all so she won’t come in contact with it.  They do also have a topical dewormer that you can use on kittens that can also help with fleas.

Image result for cat dewormer            Image result for strongid for dogs

Next I noticed how into having his ears itched he was, I rubbed them yesterday and he went belly up and wouldn’t move.  So I scruffed him, so he wouldn’t scratch me to get away, and looked in his ears all I could say was “I wish I had a microscope so I could see all the lovely little mites that have made his ear their home”…..they won’t be there long.
I’m kind of weird, well some might agree with how awesome it is to look at ear mites under a microscope, being a vet tech that was one of my favorite things to look at.  They never get old to look at they are always so fun to watch crawl around on your slide.  ANYWAY, I called the vet and had them also send me some ear mite ointment.  Not all kittens/cats will go completely limp when you scratch mite infested ears, most of them will move their back legs like they are going to scratch their ears.  The one really good way to know if it is ear mites or a yeast infection if you don’t have a microscope is look at the material that is in their ear.  I know what I’m looking for when it comes to ear mites so all I had to do was look at his behavior and the material inside his ear and I knew.  But a good way for those who don’t know what they are looking for is if you take a Q-tip and just run it on the outer part inside the ear(don’t go into the ear canal just what you can see) and look at what comes out.  If it is dark or black and looks like coffee grounds they have ear mites.  The coffee ground look is from the mites sucking on the blood in the animals ear and pooping it out.  But to get a definite answer it’s best to take them to your vet and have them check.  That’s the only way you’ll get the RIGHT meds to treat ear mites.  The reason I say right ear meds is because a lot of people will try and do home remedies that either don’t work or can make your pet sick.  Like there are people who will use tea tree oil to try and treat ear mites, tea tree oil can be very toxic to animals.  Keep your eyes open for a blog on the use of tea tree oil on animals in the near future 😉  The other thing with ears is some people can think that their cat has ear mites, but it could in fact be a yeast infection.  When I brought Willow home I thought she had mites, when I did a slide I didn’t see any mites at all.  So I stained the slide and found that she did have a yeast infection, if I would have smelled her ears I would have known that it was yeast instead of mites.  (A side note with ear mites and dogs, most dogs that have itching ears and have a dark material in their ear is a yeast infection.  It is rare that dogs get ear mites, they can still get them BUT it’s not often.  Stay tuned to learn about allergies in dogs and cats, which a sign of ear issues can be one and we will get into the allergy discussion a little further)

Pictures of ear mites and eggs under a microscope and a cats ear with ear mites.

Next is his nutrition.  He is still pretty little and needs to get some nutrients through milk.  Since our little guy is still pretty young I fed him some wet cat food and gave him some whole milk, which he drank two small bowls of yesterday, but the best milk for them is a milk replacer which you can pick up at your local vet or you can pick it up at Petco or Petsmart.  We will keep him on wet food for about another week along with milk replacer and then switch him over to kibble and water. The milk replacer is just for kittens that are newborn to 6 weeks.  You can go past 6 weeks if need be, but if you do I would put some of the milk in a bowl mixed with some kibble so they get used to the kibble.  You want to make sure with kittens to get them a kitten food, the kibble is smaller making it easier for them to chew.  If you get wet food for kittens you need to make sure it says kitten formula on the cans.  The reason you want to put kittens on a kitten food is because it is made with all the essential nutrients they need so they can grow properly and not lack in any nutrients they may need as kittens.
Image result for Kitten food    Image result for Kitten food  Image result for Milk replacer for kittens

Next is housing.  Our little dude is going to be living in our 5 stall garage, which is a mix of dirt and cement.  Since its getting cold my son and I found a small box and grabbed some old baby blankets that aren’t being used and placed them in the box for him.  We will also be adding some straw and a burlap bag of corn.  Straw is a great heat conductor, there is an actual house in Colorado that it’s foundation isn’t 2×4’s it’s straw bales and the house supposedly stays very warm.  I can vouch for straw keeping you warm from experience.  A friend of mine and I actually fell asleep on some straw bales one night in the fall when I was younger and I stayed warm all night despite the fact that it got to 40 degrees that night.  I’ve also seen a lot of farmers place straw in their dog houses and the cats will always sleep in the straw or hay in the winters.  So putting some straw in to a little cat house for outside kitties is really nice for them.  The burlap bag of corn is also a great heat conductor.  Corn is a grain that has a lot of energy in it and if not shuffled around it can in fact start on fire.  I didn’t know this until my husband had worked for the corn elevator in town and told me that the elevator didn’t move one of the bins of corn for a while and it actually started on fire by itself.  So, conclusion of corn it can put off a decent amount of energy which can make a cold winter ND night for a kitten a little bit warmer.
Image result for Straw beds   Image result for corn

Lastly – love.  Every animal that you decide to bring home or let into your home deserves love and attention.  This little guy gets A LOT  and he’s only been here for a day now.  You walk out the door and he’s right there meowing at you, walking through your legs, rubbing up on you and he follows you everywhere.  He isn’t a fan of Eva right now, but Eva is totally into him because OMG IT’S A NEW BABY! Willow isn’t a fan of Ratchet, she hissed at him when I let her sniff him.  But Willow isn’t allowed outside and he isn’t coming inside so we won’t have to worry about that, he will just have to get used to Eva. Which anyone who brings a new baby into their home needs to introduce the pets that are already there slowly.  Give everyone time to get used to each other then let them get used to the fact that they will be sharing the same spaces.  By slowly I mean when I introduced Eva to Ratchet and even Willow they were scruffed and Eva sniffed them while my husband held on to her.  Then I put the kitten down and Eva approached it slowly and they both hissed when she did that.  Obviously as Willow got older and bigger she got used to Eva and wasn’t so intimidated by her.  If you are bringing a kitten home to a house that has a dog in it and you don’t know how that dog is going to react it is best if someone holds the dog and someone holds the cat.  That way if anyone starts to get mouthy you can seperate the two safely.   He will not be shorted on love though that is for sure.  If you have a shop cat or garage cat make sure you have all antifreeze up and any other vehicle liquids or pesticides that may be lying around are up and cleaned up if spilled so that the kitty doesn’t think that it’s a tasty treat and consumes something that could make many systems within them shut down and possibly kill them.

Good luck with your new little ones and remember if you’re ever in doubt CALL your vet and ask.  That’s what they are there for to guide you in the right direction to having a happy and healthy pet!


(Pictures from Petplace.com, Wikipedia, rozziemay.org, petmeds.com, 1001blocks.com, zaptista.com, oldandinteresting.com, petmountain.com, petco.com, )


An adventure in pickling and canning

A couple of weekends ago I decided to try my hand at pickling and canning for the first time.  Considering the last time I canned anything I was young and helped my mom and grandma with it I really didn’t pay attention at the time and had no idea what to do.  So doing what I do best I jumped on the worlds greatest website, pinterest, and pulled up canning recipes and pickling recipes.  The amount of different ways you can make pickles or things you can do with cucumbers is astounding!  It’s a never ending sea of pickles, or pickles that you can make taste like apple rings.  There’s bread and butter, garlic, spicy, plain dill, then of course there’s the million different ways you can make a cucumber salad.  It was at one point a little over whelming.  I finally found a recipe I thought I’d try and a good method of sealing the jars then started my process.

First I pulled out all of my ingredients.  I laid out the 17 cucumbers I had picked the day before, some vinegar, garlic cloves, the dill I had, some table salt(canning, pickling salt or sea salt is recommended) and my jars.

Next I cut my cucumbers the way that I wanted my pickles to be, so I cut spears and chips.  I placed the cucumbers in the Jars and mixed my brine together for the pickles.  I decided I wanted to do Garlic dill pickles. The recipe called for one clove of garlic in each jar, and fill the jars up with as much dill as you can put in pretty much.  I put about 2 little bunches in each jar as I didn’t have a ton of dill.  Then added the brine.  I didn’t actually follow one recipe exact.  I have a recipe book that has recipes from the 50’s so it was that and then I added the garlic to it.  I then found a recipe on http://www.freshpreserving.com and typed in Kosher Dill pickles.  I followed there directions on Fresh Preserving to can the pickles and they will keep for up to one year.

Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe
6 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup of sea salt or canning salt
1/8 tsp of Alum(not absolutely necessary, used more to keep the cucumbers crisp)
Fresh Dill
1 bunch of garlic
-Cut cucumbers and stuff jars full.  Place one clove of garlic in each jar, stuff jar as full as you can with fresh dill.  Combine water, vinegar, salt, and alum in a mixing bowl and ladle into each jar.  Wipe mouth of jar, place lids and seal fingertip tight.

To Process the Jars
Once Jars are full of pickles and your brine place them in the boiling water canner.  Process them for 15 minutes.  Once it’s been 15 minutes turn off stove, remove lid and let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes.  Check lids for seal 24 hours after boiling.  Lids should not go up or down when center is pressed.  For best results let them sit for 4-6 weeks.

I let two jars sit for about 4-6 days, because they did not seal, then placed them in the fridge and opened them up the next day…..not bad.  They tasted like pickles but I think they needed a little more dill.  So when I say load those jars with Dill I mean load those jars.  You can taste the dill but it’s not as strong as the garlic.  They are still good and my daughter LOVES them.  She ate an entire jar in two days.  She’s kind of like her mother though and loves dill pickles, my husband even said they were pretty good and he’s the hardest to please when it comes to food so I must be close to making them perfect.  I’m learning with all of these new adventures that I’m attempting to walk on that trial and error is the best way to learn.  Next time I make pickles I will definitely make sure that I have enough dill and I may even spice a few up with some jalapeno.  Either way my family is going to be set on pickles for the next 6 months at least and I’m even going to share some with friends.

Have fun canning my friends, and remember just because you made a mistake with a recipe doesn’t make it a bad batch it just teaches you to do it differently.


Enjoying time with them and to myself

Sundays are a wonderful day at my house.  It’s the one day a week that I get to sleep in past 6 am.  It’s the day that I wake up with the cutest little chubby cheeks looking at me and smiling with her Shirley Temple curls glistening in the morning sunlight that is peeking in through the window, that is to me the worlds greatest way to wake up.  Once we can no longer sit still for cuddles we roll out of bed and head downstairs and rally the rest of the troops for breakfast.  While they eat breakfast and watch their morning cartoons, it’s time for this mom to have some peace to herself.  I will go out on the front porch and drink my coffee while just relaxing and listening to birds chirp, watch the squirrels run around the yard trying to find food and the bunnies attempting to get into my garden (which I have locked down like Fort Knox from those little brats).  Its my 10 minutes of calming, to prepare me for a day of playing referee between the kids and tackling any projects that we may have.  I like to take a few minutes to just breathe and enjoy myself, I feel like I’m a better mother because it helps me keep my cool longer throughout the day and my patience isn’t shot within the first hour of separating the two little monsters from each other.  It also gives me a chance to enjoy my coffee quietly.
I love coffee.  Anyway you make it the odds of me drinking it are high. I do have favorites that I enjoy over others and like the occasional latte but for the most part I like my coffee black.  The first time I tried black coffee I was in the second grade, so like 8, and my soccer coach would give us sips of it when we were freezing.  She would always bring her big thermos of coffee but it never crossed her mind that she should bring a thermos of hot chocolate too for her players.  So you had all these 8 year olds running around the soccer field all hyped up on coffee, haha no wonder we had so much energy to play 3 games in a tournament and not get tired.  I started drinking it a lot more when I had our son.  The whole not sleeping at night thing and attempting to function during the day wasn’t working for me.  He ended up bottle feeding because of some issues with nursing so I didn’t have to worry about drinking too much.  When I started working for the vet clinic it was like my staple.  I drank a mug in the morning and afternoon, so when I became pregnant with our daughter cutting back to 8oz a day wasn’t really an option.  After a week of trying to drink just 8oz a day I kicked the habit completely and took up drinking tea, which is another drink I enjoy.  Once she was born and I went back to work I started to drink a small cup in the morning before work.  After 6 months of nursing and not having enough milk coming in I weaned her off of nursing then I could hit the coffee drinking full boar again, YAY!   But there is nothing like a good cup of coffee in the morning on my porch.  It’s like it makes the day so much better.  Then at night when the kiddos are in bed, drinking a glass of wine on the porch watching the sun go down, so relaxing.

I’ve had to start taking up these relaxing behaviors with all the stresses that I’ve been dealing with lately.  I’ve noticed it really helps.  Yoga I’ve learned is amazing at relieving stress from the day and even helps you heal mentally, plus great for weight loss.  I feel like keeping your mind clear before you go to bed helps your mind rest giving you a chance to fall asleep faster and get a better nights sleep, which we all know how important that is.  I’ve learned over the years, at least since I had our son, that everyone needs to take time for themselves especially women.  We seem to be the glue that keeps everything together and the one who keeps everything running smoothly.  We are usually the ones staying up late straightening up the house after the kids go to bed, getting lunches ready for school the next day, doing the laundry and everything else that goes into being a mother, a wife and a home owner.  Sometimes we just need to take a few moments for us or our fuses seem to get shorter quicker if we don’t, or mine does anyway.  I get so tired and run down when I don’t take a little time for just me.  When I put all I have into the kids, my husband, the house and all the chores that goes with it I get so worn out and just want to sleep.  So with Johnny being back in school we have a bit more structured schedule and I seem to take more time for me.  At first I felt guilty leaving the kids at the table eating breakfast and going on the porch to drink my coffee, cause really I could sit at the table with them and drink it, but when they didn’t seem to care either way I figured why not take that 10 minutes to me?  I spend almost every waking minute with them on Sundays already, 10 minutes to start the day off right wouldn’t hurt.  So far it hasn’t, if anything it has helped, like I said earlier it helps me clear my mind and prepare for what the kids or even life may throw at me for the day.  I can stay calm longer and the yelling has cut back DRAMATICALLY.  So always remember to take time for you.

The other thing I love about Sundays is the quality time I get with the kids.  Our daughter loves books, mostly just to look at, but when she’s in the mood to be read to I am the last person to deny her of it.  Usually on Sundays she will find one of her Disney Princess books, carry it out on to the porch hand it to me and smile.  So her and I will sit and read her book while her brother pops in and out of the porch to catch a quick look at the pictures.  We will play outside, if the mosquitoes aren’t bad and the weather is decent.  They will help dad and I around the house with chores and every once and while when I get a fire lit under my butt we will paint, color or whatever else we can find to do with crafts.  It’s time that I cherish with them.  They grow up so fast so every opportunity that I get to make memories with them I do.  Being the mom that I strive to be I want to give those memories to my kids so when they get older they don’t look back and see bad, or wonder why I did certain things or didn’t.  Don’t forget to spend some time with that special guy in your life too.  He has to deal with all the perks to being a parent too.  Whether he is a hard working bread winner or a stay at home dad that has a thousand projects brewing at once, they work hard too at keeping this family going and needs your love and time too.  My husband and I will take about 30 minutes to an hour at least 4 nights out of the week to spend time with each other once the kids are asleep.  When grandma and grandpa are around we usually pawn the kids off on them and take a date night, which by the way doesn’t have to be the normal dinner and movie either (I’ll get into those ideas on another post.)

There’s really nothing better then spending time with your loved ones and even with yourself.  You only get one chance to make beautiful memories and be the best you that you can be.  So take time for you, for your sanity, take time with those you love, your health and mental state needs it just as much as theirs does.  LIVE FOR TODAY MY FRIENDS!

Preperation is more than half the battle

In the last 8 months I have learned a lot about the foods that I put into my body, my husband’s body and kids bodies. When we put junk into our bodies there is usually no good out come from it.  I personally feel very tired and just all around blah.  Don’t want to play with the kids just want to lay on the couch and veg out while watching one of the many shows I record or have become addicted to on Netflix.  The kids I’ve noticed are kind of the same way.  If I feed Jemma a donut for breakfast, for the rest of the day it’s like she just wants to veg on the couch with me.  That’s not a good habit.  But when she eats toast with almond butter, or some scrambled eggs she seems to want to do more and is hell bent on getting outside.  Johnny on the other hand you can feed that child anything and he’s still going 110 mph, plus I think a lot of our bodies are a little more resilient to that junk when we are young.  So now that I’ve observed what these foods will do to myself and my family I had to start to teach myself to prep for the week.  I started having to prep for a couple of days at a time instead of a weeks worth because we would end up with wasted leftovers and my fridge couldn’t hold all my prepping.  With my rollercoaster of being on top of eating healthy and eating like crap for the past three months a light finally came on that I shut off somewhere in the last few months and reminded me that preparing meals really wasn’t half of the battle, it’s a lot closer to “the battle”.

It is proven that staying healthy or attempting to lose weight revolves around 80% of what you eat.  The other 20% is exercise.  When I wouldn’t take the time either one day out of the week to prep meals or take the night before to prep the meals for the next day I eat like crap and so does the rest of the family.  I would get up in the morning and make breakfast for everyone and have it waiting for them when they got out of bed.  I’d leave for work and have a healthy start going for me.  I’d either bring a protein bar to work so I could have a snack or I’d bring Almonds and some Craisins to munch on.  Then I’d get home and have to make lunch.  I wouldn’t feel like putting effort into something like a salad topped with shrimp, or grill some chicken breast or salmon.  So I’d end up eating something that wasn’t as healthy like oven baked chicken nuggets and french fries, which would put me over on my carb intake for the day.  Or I’d throw a can of soup in the microwave, which is loaded with so much sodium I’d feel like crap after I’d get done eating it.  Dinner would be healthier again because I had time to think about what I was going to make and feel more like cooking.  So with school in full swing I have to get Johnny’s lunches ready almost every night before I go to bed anyway, he’s a very picky eater and rarely will eat hot lunch, I thought to myself why not get back into the groove of prepping our meals and not only that do some bed time yoga while I was at it.  Last night after the kids were in bed, I slipped out of the middle of them in the bed and went downstairs to tackle my new nightly mission.  I pulled out all my ingredients for what I was going to make for today and a little more for a couple other days if I had time to get around to it.

I follow the 21 day fix program when it come to portion control.  I learned so much from this program on portion control, lost 20 pounds with it and LOVE the program.  So it is my fail safe when I need help staying on top of portion control, because it’s not always about what you eat but about how much.  I could make the healthiest meal in the world, but if I over eat while I’m eating it, it defeats the purpose.  Just because your eating healthy doesn’t give you a free ride to stuff yourself till your about to explode.  That was a really hard habit to break, especially being a mom of children who have leftovers and I hate wasting food.  But the following containers are what I follow for portion control.
Green and purple – 1 cup of Veggies and Fruit. Red- 3/4 cup of proteins. Yellow – 1/2 cup of carbs.  Blue – 1/4 cup of healthy fats (ex. avocados, cheese) Orange – 3 tablespoons of seeds and dressings.

So all that you see in the picture above is a mixture of breakfast and mid-morning snack, lunch and an afternoon snack and dinner.  I didn’t picture the water but water is a BIG deal too!

Everything that is in the picture and will be used for food for today and maybe some other days this week:
* 2 chicken breasts
* 1 pound of extra small shrimp(a bag)
* 1 can of dark red kidney beans
* 1 can of black beans
* 1 can of chili beans
* 1 can of whole kernel corn
* 1 container of steel cut Quaker Oats oat meal
* 1 large container of strawberries
* 1 large container of blackberries
* 1 bundle of Asparagus
* 1 medium sized bag of shredded cheddar
* 1 bag of whole wheat tortillas
* 1 box of Skinny Girl popcorn(love these for portion control)
* 1 bag of pretzel chips
* 1 jar of almond butter
* 1 Jar of caramel almond butter
* 1 large container of Noosa yogurt-honey
* 1 bag of 3 romaine lettuce
* 1 bag of Craisins strawberry
* 1 bag of dried cranberries
* 1 bag of lightly salted almonds
* 4 peaches
* Almond Milk reduced sugar(supposed to be unsweetened but every once in a while I like to switch them up)
* 1 bottle Olive Garden Italian dressing Light
* 1 bottle of lemon Juice
* 1 bag of baby carrots
* 1 container of cherry tomatoes
* 1 dozen hard boilde eggs
* 1 container of GMC Total Lean Lean Shake Vanilla protien powder.
* 1 container of mushrooms
* 1 ziploc baggy of onions-fresh from the garden
* MANY cucumbers from my garden
* 1 jar of ND made honey – wonderful for a natural sweetner
* 1 Avocado
* 1 container of Low fat cream cheese

I started with breakfast.  I made enough oatmeal for 4 mornings.
First Morning- Oatmeal with 1/2 a tablespoon of almond butter and 1/2 a tablespoon of caramel almond butter. Drizzle honey on top and cinnamon.  Mix it together and throw it in the fridge.
Second Morning- Oatmeal with blackberries.  Mash blackberries up, mix in with oatmeal and honey and place that in the fridge.
Third Morning – Oatmeal with Strawberries and bananas.  Mash Strawberries and bananas, mix together in bowl with oatmeal and some honey, cover and set in fridge.
Fourth Morning- Oatmeal with Peaches.  Skin and cut peaches, mash them up real well mix with honey and oatmeal cover and place in fridge.  Once you go to eat any of these drop a tablespoon of protein powder or greek vanilla yogurt (or in my case honey Austrian yogurt) in with the oatmeal, after you heat, for a touch more sweetness.
Fifth Morning- 1 yellow container of Kashi Go Lean Toasted Berry Crisp with 8 oz of almond milk.
Sixth Morning- 1 slice of Wheat toast with a Tablespoon of almond butter and 1 scrambled egg.
Seventh Morning- This is usually Sunday, so we have either pancakes and eggs or oatmeal or pancakes eggs and sausage or bacon.  I would use 1 red container of eggs, 2 sausage or bacon links and 1/2 pancake. Or 1 yellow container of oatmeal with fruit or almond butter.  These are all wonderful breakfast ideas that I like to go back to often and will keep you full for up to 3-4 hours.  If you would like more recipes or breakfast ideas that are healthy head on over to Beach Body’s website and check out more wonderful breakfast choices


Next was Lunch.  I’m really big on salads.  I love them because you can do so many different things with them.  You can make strawberry salads with almonds and cheese chunks. You can top them with pulled pork and BBQ sauce (delicious!). The possibilities with lettuce salads are never ending.  If you want to be adventurous try some they feature on the Beach Body website

I stuck with one of my go to favorites.  Lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, chives, mushrooms, and 1 hard boiled egg and some shredded cheddar and slivered almonds. Then sautéed some shrimp in lemon juice, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and 2 drops of soy sauce.  Measured everything out and put it in some containers that are easy to grab and throw into a bowl and top with your favorite dressing. Resized_20160829_102056

Then for a random snack or side dish later this week I took about 2 of the 17 cucumbers I picked the other day out of the garden and 1 of the onions, sliced them up sprinkled a little bit of salt and pepper.  Then when we are ready(I pick it up from the store)  I will take some plain greek yogurt and vinegar and a tablespoon of mayo in with it all and make a refreshing cucumber salad. Resized_20160829_101908

Then for another snack or lunch idea I made some cucumber cream cheese and blackberry cream cheese wraps.  I took some chopped cucumbers and cream cheese and placed in a bowl mixed together and spread on a tortilla and put in a container and placed in the fridge with the other wrap I made, cream cheese and mashed blackberries with some honey rolled in a tortilla.

I could’ve taken the chicken and placed it in the crock pot over night and it would have been ready for tonight’s dinner, but I like my grill……a lot.  So I placed the chicken in the fridge to unthaw instead.  I took 2 large chicken breasts out so that I can split one with John tonight and grill the other one for a grilled chicken salad tomorrow or grilled chicken avocado wrap.  Then I will take cut up carrots, onions and mushrooms drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper in tin foil and grill until tender.

Lastly I put a few snacks together.  I like almonds, craisins-strawberry and dried cranberries.  Another really good snack that I like is pretzels with almond butter.  There are many different snacks that are out there.  Beach Body has some great ideas that taste great and those that I haven’t had look amazing.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard, it doesn’t have to be really expensive either.  There are so many amazing recipes out there for healthy eating and living a healthy life style.  You have this one body why not treat it with a little respect and love it deserves.  If you take care of it it will take care of you.  Stay healthy and enjoy this wonderful life that God has given us!

Finding that new family member

Todays post we will focus on puppies and dogs, both buying and adoption.

There is a lot to do when your about to make that big decision on buying or adopting a new puppy or dog.  The most important thing is research, researching your breed is probably the number one most important thing to do.  Researching breeds to some may seem pointless or unnecessary.  NO, that needs to be the biggest priority.  There are so many different breeds of dogs out there that you need to find the right breed that fits your lifestyle.  There are seven different groups of dog breeds as classified by the AKC( American Kennel Club)  and they are as follows: Sporting dogs, Hound dogs, Working dogs, Terriers, Toys, Non-sporting, and Herding dogs.
Sporting dogs– Sporting dogs are usually natural athletes are active, very alert dogs that make great companions. Sporting dogs are best known for working in and around water, woods and require regular exercise and stimulation. Sporting breeds are becoming a lot more common as the well known family dog but also participate in hunting and field trials.  The dogs that make up this group are Retrievers, Setters, Spaniels and Pointers.
Image result for retrievers      Image result for spaniels  Image result for Pointers

Hound dogs– Hound dogs were designed to be used for hunting.  Hounds either use their power of scent to track or their stamina to chase whatever it may be. The dogs that make up this group includes the Afghan hound, Foxhound, Beagle, Greyhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dachsunds and Harrier.  Not all hounds are used for hunting so it’s hard to generalize all of them as hunters.
Image result for afghan hound Image result for foxhound
Image result for rhodesian ridgeback dog Image result for greyhound dog

Working dogs – The dogs that are in the working group have historically performed various jobs over the years including guarding, rescuing, and sled pulling. Most working dogs are very smart and quick learners and make great companions.  But because of their size many of the working breeds aren’t suitable for certain living situations and they do require proper training as a pup.  The working dogs are Akita, Boxers, Bernese Mountain dog, Great Dane, Mastiff, Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky.
 Image result for bernese mountain dog   Image result for Alaskan MalamuteImage result for Siberian Husky
Terriers- Terriers are best known for being crazy and feisty dogs whose ancestors were bred to kill pests like mice and other rodents.  They range in size from the smaller Cairn Terrier to the largest terriers Airedale.  Terriers require regular exercise and most need special grooming to maintain their clean look.  Terriers are great family pets for families that are ready for a dog with lots of personality.  Some dogs that make up the terrier group are American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, wire hair fox terrier, Irish terrier, Scottish Terrier, and Miniature Schnauzer.
Image result for american staffordshire terrier  Image result for wire hair fox terrier  Image result for Scottish terrierImage result for Irish terrier
Toys- The Toy group are the dogs that are the small breeds that were bred to sit and look pretty.  These breeds are popular for people who live in small places and cities.  Many individuals and families look for smaller dogs because they are easy to control, have less shedding and lower cost of care.  These little guys usually try to act tough to make up for their small size.  Some dogs that make up the Toy group would be the Chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian, Papillion, Pug, Toy Poodle and Shih Tzu.

Image result for Chihuahua  Image result for Pomeranian  
Non-sporting Dogs- A smaller and more diverse group in terms of breeds and sizes is non-sporting dogs.  The breeds vary in size, look and personality.  Some of the dogs that make up the non-sporting group is the Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, poodle and Keeshond.


Herding- The herding group share the ability to control the movement of animals.  Herding dogs make excellent companions and respond well to training.  These are the dogs that you usually use with cattle, sheep, pigs really any livestock that need to be worked.  The breeds that make up the herding group include the Australian Cattle Dog, Collie, German Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog, Border Collie and Shetland Sheepdog.

When you are trying to decide on a breed, you need to look at the breed itself and not the category the dog falls in.  A specific breed may fall under the hunting group, but the breeds traits can’t be evaluated by that category.  Also some breeds fall into more than one group because of their size.  Like the toy poodle falls into the toy group but standard poodles fall into the non-sporting group. There are also many different breeds with in some breeds.  Like the pointer for example there is the German Short Hair pointer, English pointer, or German Wire haired pointer to name a few.   

Researching the breeds- When you are researching breeds that seem to be the best fit for you the things you need to think about are their demeanor, their activity, if you have a family how they are with children, and how big they are going to get. If you need help deciding what breed might be best for you or if the breed you are looking into is right for you animal plant.com has a wonderful questionare that you can fill out to see if any of those breeds match with what you are looking for or what breed they think may be right for you.  Head on over to http://www.animalplanet.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds.html to see if they can help you.

Behavior and Demeanor-Each dog has an individual quirk, trait and personality that make them unique.  A lot of breeds have the same quirks and traits, so when looking into the breeds noting those traits is something you should keep in mind because of those traits or quirks they may react to a situation different then another breed would.  Understanding their personalities helps you train your dog better too.  To get a better understanding of behavior and demeanor in dogs click the following link to read a little more about it: http://www.dog.com/dog-articles/dog-behavior-and-demeanor/1796/

Activity- There are a large amount of breeds that require a lot of activity, some of them don’t need to go running every day.  But if you want a dog that requires a lot of activity so that it won’t be destructive you need to also be willing to put the time into that dog, example an Australian Shepherd being pinned up in an apartment could spell disaster if that dog is not taken outside to run or taken on regular walks.  Activity can tie into behavior at times.  Most of the time when a dog is being destructive it is because they are bored or have too much energy that they need to burn off.  That is something someone needs to keep in mind when looking at your breeds.  If you buy or adopt an energetic breed you need to be willing to dedicate time to that characteristic so that bad behaviors don’t sprout from inactivity or lack of enough activity.

Size- Another aspect that needs to be put into consideration is the size the dog either currently is if you are buying or adopting a dog that is an adult or how large that dog is going to be once it is full grown.  A lot of people claim that looking at the paws will tell you how large the dog is going to get. I would have to agree with these people. More large breed dogs have very large paws as puppies and those paws can usually give you a good idea of how big the dog is going to be.  So lets say you want to get an Irish Wolfhound but live in an apartment complex, not the most ideal living situation.  That would be as close to bringing a horse into an apartment that you could get. So remember some common sense when choosing a breed for your living situation.  To help with size and how big the puppy may get click the following link to help you : http://www.puppychart.com/

Breeder- I can’t put enough emphasis on this subject.  Breeders can be your best friend or worst nightmare.  You want to find breeders that are responsible and care for their puppies.  Not just the ones who get the puppies the right vaccines when they are supposed to and deworming schedule.  You want breeders that are legitmatly caring for these puppies and paying attention to ailements they may have.  Like bulldog breeders should be taking the parents in or already have a penn hip certification done to show that the puppy isn’t predisposed to hip dysplasia.  The Bitch and Sire should both be healthy dogs that have a blood line of good health.  Breeders should have a clean environment for the Bitch to give birth to the puppies in and for them to grow.  Common sense goes along way with breeders too.  If it looks like it’s clean and a reputable breeder then they are probably decent breeders that put out good dogs.  But if it seems iffy and your gut is telling you something isn’t right and they can’t produce papers for some “unknown” reason of the bitch or sires certifications, you are more likely to end up with a dog that has a lot of health issues in the future.  Pet stores are hard some times to research as much.  You can always ask if they are allowed to give out the information for where they bought the puppies from and then research them, but if that isn’t an option look at the animals around that puppy.  Do they have gooby eyes?  Do they have crusty noses, is the kennel that they are in look clean or does it put off a this puppy is sick or going to get sick type vibe?  Try to be smart and when all else fails and you just aren’t sure ask one of the local veterinary clinics what they suggest or have heard about the breeder.  For more ideas on researching your breeders head on over to the Humane Society of the United States web page and look at How to Find a Responsible Breeder article at http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/puppy_mills/tips/finding_responsible_dog_breeder.html 
or the AKC website http://www.akc.org/press-center/facts-stats/responsible-breeders/

Please always remember a dog is a responsiblity that needs attention just like a child would.  If you don’t have the time to put into the dog please don’t invest in one only to turn around and take it to a shelter.  Dogs are very loyal animals and once you call them family they consider you theirs for life.  It is a lifetime commitment to take care of them and they return the favor if you do it right.  Don’t buy a puppy for children thinking it’s a great birthday present, Christmas present, Valentines present or Easter present because they aren’t always a great decision when they get older and aren’t that cute puppy anymore.  Children end up not wanting to take care of them or train them, then that falls back on you as the parent to take the responsibility and if you are not wanting that responsibility than having a dog is not for you at this time.  Think of the animals well being please.

Now that we have hit all major points on the consideration of adding a new family member, this one being a dog, have fun looking for that new love in your life, be smart and remember to research every question and concern you may have.  Never hesitate to call your local vet either for names of great breeders that they may work with often. Happy searching!

Resources include: dog.com , animalden.com , puppychart.com ,dogtime.com , pinterest.com , yourpurebreedpuppy.com , aytee.co.uk , dianebauman.com , pets4homes.co.uk , impish-iggies.tumblr.com , knowledgebase.lookseek.com , kbmdc.org , dogbreedinfo.com, siberescue.com, 2puppies.com , vetknowledge.com, animalsbreeds.com , allsmalldogbreeds.com , puppyparadise.com, kevinandamanda.com , keeshond.org , marketplace.akc.org ,  k9rl.com , pawsinmotionkc.com , 2 years of Veterinary Technician schooling with a degree, 3 years in a veterinary practice.