My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

Use the tabs above for quick navigation. I have imbedded links for as much as possible so that you can find the resources easily from this blog. The links in the side bar are for websites that have been helpful to me. I hope that you find them useful for you and your canine "family member"

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Moments" . . . and other bits of advice

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away"
Posting this month has gone a bit slower with my schedule getting fuller as the holidays approach. For those of you who have become regulars here I'll do the best I can over the next couple months.

I captured a fun moment this morning and had to share it. For those of you in a "multiple species" household you'll appreciate this moment even more. For a bit of background you have to understand that we have had our cat for 9 1/2 years now. So, she had been an only child for 8 1/2 years before the puppies came along. We were worried how getting "a" dog would affect her as we were only intending to get one when we first started planning. Then we came home with two and although we set some very clear boundaries with the puppies I know we rocked her world!! Her favorite time of day was after 9pm when the puppies were crated and she was once again "queen" of the house. On her part she has thrown countless soft punches at Shelby's nose as she has had no patience for his often over excited over exuberant interest in her. As he has gotten older and showed more reserve we have allowed him to learn on his own what she is capable of. To her credit she has been a very generous teacher. Never has a claw been thrown and not a single scratch has scarred Shelby's often much deserving nose. To my surprise several months ago I realized that "Bella's" favorite spots in the house had begun to include the dogs beds, especially Nutmeg's crate. The sun often leaves a perfect 2 hour sun spot in the middle of the crate that any cat would purr over. So this morning when I discovered her in Shelby's crate I began to realize that not only does she like the dogs beds but she is quite comfortable with sharing the house with the dogs. To his credit when Shelby came down the hall with me he completely left her alone. He looked at his bed which he was headed to while I finished getting ready, turned and plopped down on the hard wood floor outside. Needless to say I was very proud of him Although in theory Bella was "trapped" she never flinched as Shelby came down the hall and stood just outside the crate for a few moments. All in all our family is settling in quite nice and that is always a good thing.

On a Product review side note . . . "Orvis - Tuff Chew beds and bed covers"
Those of you with dogs that chew can appreciate the struggle we went through as the puppies went through their "teething phase". I think it's one of the stages where you often forget how bad it was once it's over unless your couch or favorite pair of shoes fall victim. Luckily nothing that drastic happened in our house. The worst Nutmeg did was chew a comforter corner. It was a Laura Ashley comforter that I had since college and being twin size it had not had a resting place for 10 years now. It was time for it to go anyway. However, what was a struggle, was keeping a bed intact in their crate. When the toys and chew bones didn't keep them from chewing through the fake "lambs wool" crate pad we switched to the "Tuff Chew" beds from Orvis. Ok, not so tuff!!! We went through 4 covers before I gave up. I tried a couple nights with no bed but the whimpering and cries coming from Shelby's crate found a soft spot in my heart after 3 nights. I had to do something!
My solution:
I finally went to the local fabric store and found some sturdy cotton upholstery grade cloth and made my own. I think the material I got was a remnant from a Martha Stewert Home decor line of fabrics. The directions for care were not shown but with 100% cotton I figured I'd pre-wash it and cross my fingers. The scrap piece was 75% off original and I think I only payed $7 for more than enough for both crates. Here's the trick - I had my husband cut a plywood board so that it would sit in the bottom of the crate. I then sewed a pillow case that would fit around the board as well as the cushion on top of the board. The board held the edges of the bed down so they could not be gotten to for chewing. Two staples from a staple gun secured the flap on the underside yet keeps it easy to remove for washing. Throw up accidents and other messes can easily be addressed with little hassle. The poly filled cushions can easily be washed and is the only good thing to come from the Orvis beds. However, the cushions as well could easily have been hand made with a few simple supplies from the fabric store. Once the bed was back in place we were finally done with chewed beds. Granted it does help if your husband has a table saw and plywood laying around and you have a sewing machine, but those details are minor. Most hardware stores will cut down plywood for a small additional fee. Some sewing shops have employees that will do sewing jobs on the side. Considering how simple it is to sew a pillow case I'd find it hard to believe that it would be more expensive that replacing 5 more beds in the long run. As you can see from the picture above the "blue" covers are doing fabulous and have done just fine since that dogs were 7 months old. They now get an extra bed on top because I'm a softy and they have gotten past chewing their beds at night. Thank-goodness!!!

(p.s. For those of you getting feeds from by blog, I don't know why this was back in drafts - I just found it today.)


Opy - the Original GruffPuppy said...

Hey Nutmeg and Shelby,

Welcome to www.dogswithblogs.com.au - glad to have you both aboard, and I am sure that you will make lots of friends here :-)


Boo said...

hey "sunshine", thanks for dropping by my diary.

my hooman were saying they intend to get me a companion when they move to a house (currently, we are staying in a condo). not sure what it is but dad did mention about a lab... ??!! okay, i think lab is too big for my companion since i'm a little shih tzu mixed!

maybe a cat, like bella, will be okay with me too! who knows, i might be able to live with a cat!

wet wet licks