Saturday, July 22, 2017

20 Things To Remember If You Have Fur-Kids

There is a slew of articles written for those who are thinking about getting a dog or already have one...or two, three.  One of my favorite (of many) reads is "20 Essential Facts Dog Lovers Must Always Remember." I wish everyone who has a fur-kid would read this. Really read it. Take it to heart. Absorb every word and reality.

I have my own take on these facts...

1. Don't ignore me for too long. I work at home. Between the time I wake up at 8 a.m. and crawl under the blankets the following day at 5 a.m., I am busy with work, Bodacious Biscuit Love, housework, the kids, food prep, DIY Dog Mom Projects, creating new, homemade dog treat recipes, etc. It's easy to get caught up in my zone. However, that "zone" includes our kids. Whether it's checking on them to make sure they're covered up in their favorite blankets or getting on the floor to enjoy playtime, their needs and wants are never ignored. They come first. Most times, that means staying up late, adjusting my schedule or getting behind...but, so be it.

2. Take me to new places to meet friendly people and animals. Our kids each have unique challenges, triggers, and needs. Whenever possible, we bring our kids on car rides, to events or any destination that's safe and well within their realm of comfort. Our time away from home revolves around our kids. We don't take vacations. Leaving our kids behind for extended periods of time is not an option or something we'd ever consider.

3. Don't throw me away when new family members arrive. Lisa and I have no plans on having human kids. However, if we did, we'd make it work. Whatever it took.

4. Don't get mad at me when I jump up. I welcome this. There is no greater feeling than our kids running and jumping up on us when we arrive home from a quick errand or a few hours away from home. They bark, wag their tails, run, jump and occasionally slide on the linoleum floor. How could I possibly get mad at this? They're excited to see us! They miss us. Often times, I get on the floor with them. And...on a side note, I welcome this when I walk into someone's house as well.

5. Teach me new things. Always. Coco has been a part of our family for almost 5 years and we continue to teach him new things. Sophie just celebrated her 3 year Gotcha Day. She's still coming out of her shell. Lobo joined our family 2 1/2 years ago. Willa is the newest member who joined our family back in March. They surprise us every single day with new stuff. Just recently, after hating eggs for almost 4 years, Coco begged Lisa when she had a plate of scrambled eggs. Sophie plays now. Lobo's curiosity still makes us giggle. We let our kids learn and observe new traits.  

6. Don't get frustrated and give up on me. Each of our kids was rescued from horrific environments. We are aware of their histories but, there is always more. Always. Never doubt that. And, never forget their stories continue to unravel as time goes on. Weeks. Months. Years. Some unfavorable habits or personality traits are reversible. Some are not. We've adjusted our life, home and everything between to accommodate this.

7. Don't take your stress out on me. Life gets rather stressful at times. I've had days when I've sat at my desk and cried because of exhaustion, deadlines and no time to make dinner. Then, a stress headache hits. Right about the same time, our kids start barking because one of the human kids next door starts throwing a ball against our house. At the peak of my frustration, I get on the floor, face soaked from tears, and lay there face down in my arms. At that very moment, the kids have come to my rescue, licking my face and initiate play. Total. Therapy. Within several minutes, all is right with the world again.

8. Give me comfort when I'm scared. Our kids sense things hours and days in advance whether it be storms or earthquakes. They may become restless, clingy or poop on the kitchen floor. I've learned to observe with a close eye and they've let me know when a storm is coming or the earth is going to do a lil' shimmy shake. When a thunderstorm approaches, each kid has their own way of dealing with fear. I stop what I'm doing and tend to that. They also display fear when going to the vet or to a new place. Patience. Always.

9.  No matter how busy you are, try to spend a little bit of quality time with me every day. Lisa and I are all our kids have. We are their world. Spending quality time with them throughout the day and evening is a priority no matter what is going on. Calls and texts will go unanswered. Work gets put on hold. Life can wait.

10. Don't keep me outside when it's too hot or too cold. We have a fenced in yard however, our kids are never left outside unattended. EVER. If it's cold, we bundle 'em up. If it's hot, we stay off the pavement and in shady areas. The weather determines the length of time we're outside. All of our kids hate the cold so during the cold weather months, we're not outside too long. During the warm weather months, we spend a lot of time outdoors.

11. Don't forget the little things that keep me healthy and happy. Nail trims. Baths. Grooms. Brushing teeth. Keeping their ears cleaned. Brushing. Flea, tick, and heartworm preventative. Etc. It's a lot of work and costs money, however, it keeps our kids happy and prevents further health issues.

12. Trust me. Our kids have never bitten us or anyone else. We know what their triggers are and situations that may be overstimulating. If you listen, they speak to you. They'll let you know if they're scared, too excited, overwhelmed, etc. Trust them on that.

13. Don't be angry with me for too long. No fur-baby is perfect. If you've adopted a pup, there is what's known as the decompression period. Every rescue dog comes with a story and accompanying behaviors and habits. In addition, you may have to contend with separation anxiety, house training, and other less desirable traits and habits. They may pee on the carpet, scratch the furniture, get in the trash, or chew up your favorite shoes. It's not always pleasant. You may even get angry. But, don't let it linger. There is always a reason why the furry kids do what they do.

14. Talk to me. Pups and humans don't speak the same language, however, they do understand your tone, body language, and a few select words. We talk to our kids non-stop (except when they're sleeping). People who don't know us probably think we're crazy. Often times, when one of our kids has been restless or slightly irritating, I know they're trying to get our attention. They may need extra cuddles or snacks that day. We listen. Observe. Stop what we're doing. One on one time on the sofa with a biscuit usually does the trick.

15. Always treat me with kindness. We wouldn't think of treating our kids any other way. Love. Kindness. Patience. Understanding.

16. Please don't hit me. I have no respect or tolerance for those who hit their fur-kids. In fact, just the thought of someone hitting their fur-kid sends shivers up my spine. And, if anyone hit or mistreated our kids, someone would need to hold me back.

17. Let me know whenever I've done something right. This is a common practice in our household and it goes beyond "good girl" or "good boy." We thank our kids for the snuggles, kisses, playtime, laughs and everything between. And, there are lots of biscuits distributed.

18. Pay attention to me if I'm not being myself. Being in-tuned to our kid's behavior and demeanor is another priority of ours. They let us know if something is wrong, they're not feeling up to par, if they need alone time, or if bad weather is heading our way.

19. Take care of me when I get old, just as much as you cared for me when I was a puppy. Our kids will eventually be seniors and when that time comes, we'll love 'em just the same.

20. Come with me on difficult journeys. Regardless of how many times I've read this article, this one gets me teary eyed. We've been there...holding a kid as they've taken their last breath. It's one of the most difficult and heartbreaking things in the world. However, we will always be there when that time comes.

Our life is crazy, busy and there is very seldom a dull moment. There is at least one kid at my feet at all times...even in the bathroom or on the sofa when I'm trying to get work done. Regardless of what each day brings, I wouldn't change it for anything. Life isn't perfect. We aren't perfect. I love and adore our lil' family and our Wabi Sabi life.

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