The Sad End To Our Foster Journey, Adopt, Don't Shop

Our fostering journey came to an end last weekend when we lost all of our precious babies to a virus called canine distemper. It has been one of the most heartbreaking experiences I have ever been through.

Dobi was our first to go. She was such a little dork, loved her so much! She started struggling two weeks ago and then began to cry aloud continuously. We took her to the vet, tried to determine a cause and thought that perhaps she was having some digestion issues. So, we started an every two hour feeding and pedialyte regimen. I "slept" with her right by my side in a laundry basket. She had everything she needed, my fuzzy most favorite-est blanket, a (very bright, might I add) heat lamp to keep her warm and cozy and my constant attention (every two hours anyway). I was determined to bring her back to life.
3 am came around and when I put her on the ground she began to prance around my bedroom. A huge sigh of relief came from my body and I was convinced we were past the worst. She spent the next day with my mom while I went to work and seemed to be making progress. Til later that night when we began our 2 hour feedings again. This time 3 am brought discouraging signs. She became consolable. She cried and just ran in circles. 
This never stopped until her poor little life ended later that night.We went to the vet again, she received an antibiotic shot and pain medication just in case something was bothering her, but there was little to no relief.

I have never been present when something or someone has died and I have to admit it did something to me. 

We had the next week ahead of us with 6 little puppies still needing our love and care so we had to move forward as difficult as it was. And believe me, it was tremendously difficult.

But we were in for far worse....

Saturday morning came and Coco started behaving strangely. She began showing the same symptoms as Dobi. She ran in circles and seemed to have fits of craziness. It finally hit us.....seizures. Coco was having seizures. 

We immediately went to the vet and were prepared for their diagnosis and treatment suggestions. That was when we had to say goodbye to Coco and when we first heard the word "distemper". The plan was to send off Coco's body to get tested to determine how to move forward if that was indeed what she had and what the other puppies could possibly have.

There wasn't enough time for that.......

Brutus was my baby, my little man. We had always had some kind of connection. I was already planning about how to keep him, looking at my finances, taking into account my life and my plans and how I was going to care for this bundle of fur. He was just a snuggler at heart. He would follow me around the house, find my house-shoes wherever I was standing...and make himself at home.

I called him Brutus because from the very beginning he was the biggest and would push everyone else out of the way merely because of his size. Later, his name definitely didn't fit his personality. It broke what was left of my heart when we began to lose him Sunday morning, just 24 hours after losing Coco and one week after losing Dobi.

The hardest decision ever is to know when to say goodbye. To know that you have reached a point where you can do no more. I wasn't ready, but came just the same.

Charlie, Zoe, Oreo and Skunkers

The final four. The only ones left.

The vet did not come in until noon so we waited to speak with her about how to move forward. We took her advice and left them with her at the vet to receive continuous care and to be able to put them down quickly if they began to slip away.

I was confident we would get Charlie and Oreo back. Zoe had always been small and feeble. She struggled from the very beginning with "puppy strangles" and never really grew past it. Bless his heart, Skunkers was sick, I knew he was in pain, on some level I wanted them to take him because I knew he was hurting. But Oreo was a fighter. She grew and ate and grew and ate and was ready to take on Molly right before we lost her.
She was a fighter, literally and figuratively. I thought for sure we wouldn't lose her. She and Charlie were just more spunky and had more life. But we got the call on Wednesday. 
None. None of them made it. 0 out of 7.

Literally worse than I could have ever imagined. These little boogers had left tiny paw prints all over our hearts.
 Were they a pain? Yes. I never want to pick up 5 piles of poo before my morning coffee ever again.
Were they messy? Does doing 10 loads of blankets a day answer your question?
Did they cause problems? Hello? I had 10 dogs in my house!

Were they worth it? 
Absolutely. I have never fostered and in true Anderson style, we took it all on at once. Do we take one small dog for 1 week? NO! We take 7 puppies and a mom for 9 weeks! But if those little stinkers only had 5-6 weeks of life to live, I'm so glad they spent it with us. 

I realized how important fostering. It is hard to tell from a picture of a dog in a cage, but once you know them, you realize how unique each one is, they all have a story but more importantly they all need a future. 

Maci (aka, mom) is doing fine. She is thriving right now as she is finally getting over being a mom and preparing to just be a dog. She and Molly are bestest of friends and she gets spayed on Friday so she can go to her forever home with my Aunt and Uncle on 5 acres in the country. Even if everything else was literally the crappiest thing ever!! We take comfort in that through all of this Maci will have a great life and will never be in the shelter again.

Meanwhile we still miss these little stinkers......

All Natural, Grain-Free Peanut Butter Dog Treats

We are finally able to offer grain-free peanut butter dog treats! Peanut butter is by far the most popular flavor of dog treat and I completely understand why! I love Peanut butter!

In fact, the other day I spent all day making these treats and by the end of the day I was so sick of smelling peanut butter that I couldn't eat, so I made myself a peanut butter coffee cake so I could partake in the peanut butter as well :)

Grain-free dog treats is becoming the way to go and I am so glad that people are able to figure out what might be bothering their dog. So many "common" allergies can be attributed to consuming too much wheat. I know from my own experience, Molly has ear infections depending on how much and what kind of wheat she eats. 

Now, I believe there is a VAST difference in the kinds of wheats. For example, we make our dogs whole wheat treats because we use fresh wheat berries that we actually grind into warm, rich, whole wheat flour ourselves. This is in no way the same quality as that found in a bag of dog food that says "flour" on it that is causing allergies and all kinds of issues. 

Either way, I am glad I can now offer some treats that are grain-free and dogs that are and aren't allergic to wheat can have some!

When I meet people and they ask about Treat Dreams, once I get past the "what a random thing to do" look, they ask "what's in them?" As if they think I go out early in the morning and peel the road kill from the roads, bring it back to my kitchen and cook up some treats for the day......

They smell so incredible, I had to taste one the other day. And....they aren't bad at all! Super bland but other than that, I would have no problem eating them if I had to. 
We use organic garbanzo flour that we order from our local natural produce store and mix it with natural peanut butter for the base of the mixture. Then we add the goodies, cinnamon, dry milk, water, olive oil and a banana. 
That's it. Super pure. Super simple, super all natural.

and you will find the grain-free peanut butter section.

It also includes my first decorated grain-free peanut butter treat = the "stache". For the "hipster" in every dog! I'm a little in love with that one right now.

I love being able to see something that is missing and provide for that need. I love seeing the change occurring in my shop and with what people are looking for. Here's to many more changes!!!

4 Weeks Old- Adopt, Don't Shop, Our Foster Puppy Journey

Well, we have made it 3 weeks which means the babies are 4 weeks old. 

We went to the vet for our 1 month check up and everyone is in good health! We had a scare with Zoe   right when they turned 2 weeks old. She had an abscess on her neck that is called "puppy strangles" apparently and she had to have it lanced which was scary for us, but she pulled through like a champ and is doing great!

The babies have started drinking formula and eating ground up dry dog food with a little bit of puppy canned food mixed in. Maci (mom) is getting a little tired of feeding them now that they have teeth!! :)

This is what happens when we crawl under the furniture, we find dust bunnies.

It's tough being 4 weeks old!

We officially have names for all of the puppies! 
We know these names will probably change when they go to their forever homes, but given their physical characteristics or personalities or just for the heck of it, we have given them the following names...
Coco, Dobie, Oreo, Skunkers, Charlie, Zoe and Brutus.

This is Brutus. He has always been the biggest and used his weight to push his way around therefore he was named Brutus from the very beginning. I love him!!

I just love this......My mom got on the floor and was attacked..

This is Dobie....she is the smallest but definitely super feisty!

We are still learning because every day comes a new phase of life for these pups. So right when we get used to them nursing, it's time to feed them formula, then it's time to switch to canned food, then dry dog food. Then they only pee every few hours, and now it's every 5 seconds! Then they fit in their kennel, but then in a few days, they are moved to a kiddie swimming pool, and now its about time to switch to something even bigger! We are hungry more often now, and with mom feeding us less and less that means the humans are now in charge of that as well!

They are irresistibly precious which helps cover up a multitude of other messes and such that occur at a rapidly growing rate and as much as I am ready for them to grow up and learn how to use the bathroom outside, I know that we will only have them for a few more weeks so I am trying to treasure the morning kisses, wonderfully horrible puppy breath and late night snuggles.