Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet Our New Foster: Jack Frost

 If you've been following our Facebook page, you've probably seen some glimpses of our tiny little foster pup. With some extra obligations this year, we weren't sure if we could take on another foster pup this soon, but we were so taken with little Jack Frost's story, we knew we could at least take him while we were on break.
When Miss M's rescue group, New Leash on Life Chicago, stopped by Chicago's Animal Care and Control to rescue one more pup for the holidays, they stopped dead in their tracks when they saw Jack Frost. His cage card showed he had been given up by his "owners" a mere day before, looking like this:
  His neglect was so severe, that his fur had matted fusing his ears to the back of his head and his legs to his sides. With this type of matting, every movement, or attempt to walk, is severely painful literally tearing at his flesh. On top of that, his toenails were curled under themselves, and he was missing several teeth causing his little tongue to hang out the side of his mouth. His entire underside was molding and soaked in urine, and he had feces stuck throughout his fur. 
This type of condition doesn't just happen in a matter of weeks, or even months, but it seemed like he had been living like this for his entire life. Long-term volunteers (who have seen a lot!) literally started crying when they saw him. 
Though New Leash wasn't expecting to take an extra pup, and they didn't have a foster home lined up, they knew there was no way this little guy, who had never led a regular life, could be left behind.
Jack Frost received a medical groom removing approximately 4 pounds of fur; this was nearly half of his body weight! 
They said the removal was almost like an archeological dig discovering unbelievable things stuck throughout his fur and leaving his skin very sensitive and cold. He is taking antibiotics for his teeth, and they will be running further tests to see if his condition has impacted him internally.
 Despite all he's been through, Jack Frost is just loving life! Each morning he wakes with a roll almost as if to remind himself what it means to have sensation on his body. Now that he has been freed from his mattes he absolutely loves going on walks and works to keep up with our pups' longer strides. He absolutely loves being around people and he was quite the showstopper coming to E's family's holiday celebration complete in Santa suit. He is just a laid-back little guy who loves hanging out with his people...and Miss M.
Please, please share his story. We're hoping to find him a home before we go back from break.
You can see more photos of his rescue (and his sister Chestnut) here. 
Tax-deductable donations to help with his recovery can be made here (plus an incredible donor is matching donations made today!)
And you can  complete an adoption application here. 

Check our Facebook page to see even more photos of Jack Frost hanging with our pups.
Isn't it funny to think this was our foster last year? (Size HUGE!)
Our second smallest foster.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pooches: Pittie Posse Secret Santa Reveal

While we originally started our blog to show our families that we weren't crazy for adopting pit bull-type dogs, we love how it has helped us meet an amazing community of like-minded dog owners. We were extra excited when our friend at Our Waldo Bungie coordinated a Pittie Posse Secret Santa gift exchange among some fellow bloggers (2nd annual!).
The exchange includes 10 pitbull-based blogs, including: Pittieful Love, Love and a Six-Foot Leash, That Touch of Pit, Two Grad Students and a Pittie, Kate with a Camera, Our Waldo Bungie, Peace, Love, Fostering, A Heartbeat at my Feet, Two Kitties One Pittie, and us!
The pups were extra excited when this Pittie Posse Package arrived in the mail. Of course, Miss M needed to investigate:
We were so excited to see our Secret Santa was none other than Heartbeat at my Feet out in Nashville. They are the cutest family sharing adventures in volunteering and fostering. Their current foster Cooper is one smiley pup who is unbelievably currently still available (hint, hint).
We were floored to find this handpainted gift of our pups. The photos don't even do it justice:
They commissioned this ornament from a woman, Lori Wegenka, who paints them in her craft room in her spare time, and rents space at this local shop in Tennessee. It is based on a photo from our blog, here. 
How cool is that?
As if that wasn't enough, they also included a slew of pitbull stickers and treats for the pups. The best part is the proceeds from the treats benefit Animal Rescue Corp's latest rescue: Operation Broken Chain. You can read more about this amazing effort here.
We were so excited to receive such an amazing gift. Thank you so much, Heartbeat at my Feet!

Meanwhile...we sent out a package to one of Miss M's crushes, way out in Baltimore.
Check out handsome Chocko from Pittieful Love to see what we sent them (this is a hint!) and follow the Pittie Posse chain.
We are so excited for the upcoming holiday and break, and while we may slow down our regular posts, we will keep regular updates on our Facebook Page. Besides posting things we don't get to on our blog-- like this never before seen photo of Mr. B laying on Miss M!--we have an exciting and unanticipated reveal we will be able to share on our Facebook page in a few days.
We hope everyone has a great holiday!

Last year's Pittie Posse reveal (Check out how proud Mr. B is with his gift!)
Three pitties balancing treats
The pooches balance a total of 20 treats on all of their arms!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pooches: The Goofy vs Pluto Effect

Everyone always jokes about the inequity of Goofy and Pluto.
They are both dogs. But definitely not equal.
Goofy wears clothes! Talks! Walks on two legs!
While poor just a dog. With a collar and not even a warm coat for the winter.
Little did we realize that we had our very own Pluto and Goofy:
In our house, Mr. B is the dog, and Miss M considers herself to be something more than a dog.
She thinks she is our equal. And that she owns her very own dog: Mr. B.
 Miss M has complicated thoughts and plots against us.
Like Goofy, Miss M is her own stylist and has a strong opinion about what she wears.
Like Pluto, Mr B is completely clueless and wears whatever is placed on him.
And he doesn't even realize he has it on.
Miss M is very confident and voices her distaste, while Mr. B is very polite and always cheers us on with smooches and a wagging tail.
Do you think your pup is more of a Goofy or a Pluto?

Miss M's very own pet!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Daily Walk: Family Holiday Walk

While this week can't go quickly enough (I can't say how well-needed this break is!) this unseasonably warm weather has completely thrown us off.
Can this truly be mid-December in Chicago where our pups are only wearing raincoats?
What always gets us through the long-dull winters is seeing how beautiful the city is, coming alive with red ribbons, bows, lights, and pop-up forests of trees along our daily walks.

What we can expect.
Big furry hats and puffy coats
Deja vu

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pooches: Do You Let Your Pets Pick?

Miss M and Mr. B enjoy baths together
We always joke about Mr. B  being Miss M's pet dog.
Though's really true.
Since Miss M is quite the diva, we didn't want to deal with more dog drama when we added a second dog. Plus, we have a smaller space where separation can be more difficult.
So we let her choose.
Much like the Bachelorette, Miss M met many dogs. Some tried many ways to impress her. Some tried many ways to impress us. For the most part she wasn't interested. The dog she was probably most interested in was an overweight beagle named Butters.
When we met Mr. B she thought he would suffice.
Looking back, we never put this type of consideration into our family pets. We just brought pets home and expected them to deal. We even thought it was funny when our cats became big and puffy because they were scared of the new dog. And they all seemed to get along.
Maybe it was because we had an actual house with a backyard where our pets could have their own space and they really didn't need to interact much. Or maybe because we had so much space I really didn't interact with our pets as much so I never noticed if they didn't get along.
I'm always did you integrate your pets? Did you let them choose? Or did you just make them deal? How are some ways you handle pets not getting along?

How we integrated a second dog
How Miss M controls her pet dog
Becoming twins

Monday, December 17, 2012

SociaBulls: Different But the Same

Since we started our Chicago SociaBulls group we have had approximately 17 walking locations! This past weekend we added one more to the mix.
Our locations have varied from downtown lakefronts to historical urban parks. From neighborhoods to city trails. From campuses to sculpture gardens. Here are some things they all have in common:

Random Geese
 Goose poo has become one of the biggest distractions the pups need to deal with. The worst was in this location. Besides being a temptation for our pups to try to eat (Miss M!) and roll in (white Derby!) the geese themselves are sometimes a distraction. Check out these ducks who actually tried to join in the group. Even Mr. B was a little upset about these outsiders--don't they look extra exotic?

Curious Police Officers
We've had about 7 times that I can distinctly remember when police officers actually drove up to the group (one even drove down a hill!) to see what was going on. Though I'm always unsure what they want, the police officers are all very friendly and very impressed to see all the dogs walking together. One officer said he couldn't believe there were so many pitbulls, and even little ones, all walking so nicely together. One officer wanted to know why they were all 'dressed up'. And they all have left saying it's a great thing to see so many responsible owners.

Friendly Neighbors
Wherever we go people are always very welcoming. Sometimes it's people on a park bench watching the pups like they're part of a parade. Sometimes it's people with their own pups walking by with a nod and a smile. And sometimes it's people coming up to the group to ask about what we're doing.
Is Chicago just an underrated very friendly city?

Why the pups in these photos look so attentive
Secret walking locations
Check out these ducks!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Life According to Miss M and Mr. B

Miss M and Mr. B live by their own rules.
Life is too short for walking, must run everywhere
Everyone is complimenting me, even when they are only talking on their phone
Food must be enjoyed by all
Encourage service staff (A and E) to do better with derogatory sneezes and snorts
A face within kissing distance must be kissed
A best friend makes the most comfortable pillows
Every day should be an adventure
What have you learned from your pups?

Their favorite adventure.
And again.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

DoggyStyle: Choosing Dog Beds

Lately, we've been getting a lot of questions asking how to choose dog beds. While we are definitely not experts, we did become a bit creative once I realized the dog beds I find cute and would like to display are typically very expensive. 
Since then we've accumulated a lot of beds.  Here are some alternatives we've found that have worked for us:

Home Decor as Bed
I started realizing by chance that some of our decor made natural dog beds. I liked having these Ikea Rens Sheepskin Rugs around the place to keep things warm, and the pooches (and even visitors!) would naturally flock to them. Have we also mentioned how much we love floor pillows?

Making Plain Interesting
For awhile we had these plain black dog beds. I thought it would be more fun and blend in more if we added a decorative pillow. We picked up inexpensive pillows and covers and turned our plain black dog beds into twin beds! You can see more of our twin dog beds here. 

Making Pattern Inexpensive
When I first started looking I found a lot of dog bed patterns I really liked, but then the beds themselves were really expensive. We found Molly Mutt dog duvets to be a good alternative where you can get a nice looking bed, but it's less expensive because you add your own 'filler'. We bought a $20 bed from the petstore that we put on the inside lined with a garbage bag in case of any accidents. It's easier to clean because you only clean the cover. I also love this idea of customizing a bed for anyone who can sew well.

So tell us, what types of beds are working for you? And has anyone found the elusive indestructible bed?

My first big decision as a new dog owner
Beds as a training tool (plus training the pups not to eat the rug!)
The pooches' current fave

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Daily Walk: No Such Thing as Bad Weather, Only Bad Clothes

Every time we don't want to go outside, we remember the saying: There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. So despite Miss M's grumpy face, we all suit up and head out for our Daily Walk.
Years ago we picked up 'His & Her' rainjackets from Ruffwear; we especially like the hoods. We like how the jackets protect their underbellies so we really only need to wipe off their feet when they come home.
It's also not so bad for us if we're wearing the appropriate rainboots and trenches. Though as someone pointed out...I accidentally match Miss M.
People have been asking about where to get good dog raincoats, but unfortunately, Ruffwear discontinued the Sunshower line.
Does anyone have any recommendations for dog raincoats?

Puddle Jumpers!
How we prepare for cold weather walks.
Accidentally decorating like your dog.
All your good suggestions for things to do inside when your pup won't go outside

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

City Dogs: How to Exercise your Dog When you Can't go Outside

We know how important walks and exercise are for our dogs, though when it gets like this, even they don't want to be outside. This last rainy weekend reminded us of some things we do to keep our pups from going stir-crazy indoors. Though maybe I'm the one who's going stir crazy?

This was always my favorite thing to do with Miss M when we were bachelorettes together. I put her in a sit stay, pick a hiding spot, and yell "Come"! When she finds me she gets a really good treat. The funny thing is our dogs are really bad at finding us, and it's funny to hide behind doors and watch how they can't figure it out. Predictably, Miss M will always immediately go look in the place I was hiding the last time. Maybe she's not so clever?

Dog Puzzles
We had always been curious about dog puzzles, so someone gave us this Nina Ottosson Dog Miracle Interactive Toy. Our puzzle has tiers and you can hide pieces of food under each bit. You can make it harder by interlocking the pieces, or requiring the pups to lift up a piece to get to the food. Mr. B doesn't quite understand and he thinks the idea is to grab each piece and bring it back to his tepee. I think you can probably get the same type of mental stimulation from a food dispensing device.

Mental Games (While Watching the Game!)
We wrote before about how practicing sit-stays on benches and elevated boxes helps them work on willpower and it can be mentally exhausting. At least some of us can 'exercise' while watching afternoon football.

We know our dogs are a bit older and don't have the endless amounts of energy that some other pups have.
We are curious to hear what other people do when you can't go outside. 

PS. One of our friends who loves going outside on walks will be recovering from a double ACL surgery. If you have any ideas about keeping an energetic dog calm and exercised while recovering, let them know here.

Miss M's Scavenger Hunt
How to Fully Exercise your Dog with Shorter Walks
Our Favorite Winter Ritual

Monday, December 10, 2012

SociaBulls: On Weather Walk Cancelations

While we do a lot of behind-the-scenes planning, and we have whole teams working on walk coordination, one thing we can never plan for is the weather. 
Since we even have people driving in from the far suburbs, we need to give at least 1 1/2 hour notice if walks are still on or canceled.
We have developed a 'Weather Watcher' team which is responsible for keeping an eye on the weather throughout the weekend. Knowing how weather can vary throughout the neighborhoods, we try to pick people who live close to the walking location, or at least rotate the responsibility among the members. They keep an eye on the radar, discuss, and see if there should be a cancelation.
With the radar on our side, we can usually be spot on. Sometimes even calculating the end of a walk in time to avoid a downpour.
Though sometimes it can be a tough call, as Torre's mom always says: "The dogs still need to be walked". We don't have backyards, and we have to take our dogs out anyway, so isn't it more fun in to do it in a group?
Plus, we love seeing all the pups in their weather gear. 
In over a year of walking, and moving to 2 walks per week, we have still had less than 10 cancelations. We even walked through a Chicago winter!
How do your pups handle walking in tough weather?

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