When to add a new puppy?

As the nice weather finally approaches here in New England, I find myself wanting to add a puppy to the family more and more.

When is the right time? Do I want a second dog? I liked having two dogs when I’ve done it in the past, but right now, dealing with two dogs sometimes seems a bit overwhelming.

The other day I ordered flea, tick, and heart worm preventative from my vet. Granted, I ordered six months worth, but it cost me almost $200. Maybe I don’t want a second dog?

I was pouring over Facebook pictures looking at all the cute adoptable puppies in the world, and then Cali started peeing in the house. The vet wanted to do a urine test. Another $100 on testing an antibiotics, do I want a second dog?

As Cali gets older, I think about how fun it would be to train a new puppy, then I got injured. Now I’m not even volunteering currently. It’s taking everything I’ve got to keep up with what I have to do, and there isn’t room for anything extra. Maybe a second dog isn’t a good idea.

I was chatting with my daughter, and mentioned wanting a second dog. She suggested maybe this Fall would be a good time, once all the crazy summer happenings are over, but then I realized that I’m out of the house a ton in October.

Today I was talking to my Dad and he mentioned how his puppy is driving his older dog a little crazy. Maybe Cali would hate having a puppy in the house?

Cali is pretty high maintenance right now. She’s got kidney disease and has daily medication along with special food needs. It feels like she ends up at the vet almost monthly with something. She’s still recovering from the torn ligament in her hind leg and needs monitoring when she exercises, so playing with a puppy might be too much for her even if she wants to play with it. 

It feels like the universe is telling me that now isn’t the time. Will I stop looking at adoptable dogs online? Never? I think for now I stick with fostering, volunteering, and enjoy Cali’s senior years with her.

With all the time I spend volunteering, maybe the right dog will fall into my arms at the right time and I won’t have to look too hard.

How do you decide when it is the right time to add a new pet to your family? Let me know in the comments.

Volunteering Update

Puck says TGIF! He’s bit tired today, who knows why. Our son got a new kitten and he is home for the weekend with his cat and the new kitten. Strangely, my two cats are so excited to see their friend Martin, that they haven’t really paid any attention to the new kitten. It’s been a nice and uneventful introduction.

Photo: Lucas Hamilton

Here’s Martin and the yet-unnamed girl kitten. She’s tiny and sweet.

Cali is doing so much better! She’s still eating the Dr. Harvey’s food that I mentioned in a previous post. I think we have found a winner! I’ve cut her pain meds down to once a day, and I’m slowly backing off of them all together. We took her hiking last weekend and she did great! I was a little nervous about her over doing it, so I did pick her up and carry her a couple of times, but that was more me than her. We hiked about 2 miles, and she came home and slept well, but it didn’t seem to bother her leg any more than usual.

I enjoyed pulling out my old baby sling for her, and it worked great!

My foster friend Kanga the cockatoo, now hates me. I’ve volunteered at the shelter to take care of the parrots a few times since I had to bring him back, and he just ignores me. He won’t dance or interact with me at all. This week, he just went to the back of his cage and wouldn’t even take a treat when I offered it. I think it’s really me that he is upset with. Parrots are so smart. I see videos of him dancing and playing with our volunteers and staff members. Sorry I had to bring you back Kanga, you were just too loud for our house!

I have been making progress with some of the other birds at the shelter. There is one macaw left and he is huge! No denying that I’m a bit intimidated by him. He has tried to step up on to my arm a few times in past visits and I just wasn’t comfortable with it. That beak is huge!

This week I got brave and let him step up. He was great! We walked across the room and got a treat which I gave him as soon as he stepped back on to his cage. I picked him up again a little while later and we went and sat in a chair. I talked to him and scratched his head for a bit. He’s heavy! I had to rest my arm on my knee so that I could hold him up after a while. He got another treat when he stepped back on his cage. It was all very uneventful, in a good way. It’s such a cool opportunity to be able to spend quality time with these big birds!

I also made friends with an Amazon parrot. He won’t step up for me, but he is taking treats from my hand now, definite progress.

I’m really going to miss these birds when they all get adopted! Of course, I’ll be very happy when they all have permanent homes, but I have really enjoyed the experience of working with them and having a foster parrot.

New for me, I started training as a Lobby Greeter at the shelter this week. I think I’m going to love this position. I meet people as they come in to the shelter and help point them in the right direction for whatever animal they are looking for. While I was there this week, I saw two dogs, a cat, and a bunny get adopted! So rewarding to see excited people and happy animals leaving the shelter!

The dragon realized there is sunshine on the cat bed next to her cage, so I let her come out and hang there while I worked the other day, she loved it! She spent some time in the actual cat bed, then wandered over to stare at me for a bit. The cats aren’t sure they like sharing their bed, but they can share for a short time in the afternoon once in a while. Once it warms up outside, I’ll bring the dragon outside for some real sunshine. She even has a little harness and leash!

Have a great weekend. I’m hoping to get Cali out for another short hike, and also hoping the cat introductions continue to go peacefully. Comment and let me know what you are up to this weekend.

 

Foster Return & Cali Update

Sadly, I had to return the foster bird on Monday. When I was home alone, he was lovely. He was sweet and fun. We danced together, he loved his toys and his treats. He called to me in his sweet little voice when I was out of sight, “hey, hi, hey baby.”

Sadly, Monster bird showed up whenever anyone else dared to come in the house. The screaming was horrific whenever my husband or niece were around. He even flew at my niece and landed on her, scary! Having my husband feed him treats didn’t seem to help at all. He would take the treats, some times he would try to bite the hand that fed him, and he still screamed.

I miss the morning dance parties, and that sweet little voice, but the screaming was making our house a very stressful place to be!

 

Hector D. Byrd was not the least bit interested in her foster friend. They barely looked at each other in the weeks K was here.  Hector is very happy to once again rule the roost!

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Cali is doing OK. I tried to wean her off the pain meds, but it was clear that she still needs them. Another laser treatment today, hopefully it continues to help.

It has been a real challenge to find a kidney-friendly food that Cali will eat. I’ve probably gone through half a dozen of them. She eats for a couple of days, I order more of the expensive prescription food, and then she stops eating it.

Thankfully, she has been eating Dr. Harvey’s food pretty well for a couple of weeks now. I’m working with them to customize some kidney friendly food for her. They make an easy to use dry mix that just requires fresh protein, water and oil. Dr. Harvey’s even offers an amazing, free service to help customize their diets.  They have a nutritionist on staff who called me to help me work out the healthiest diet for Cali. She even had me send in a copy of Cali’s blood test results so she could see everything that was going on with her.

Cali is eating the Canine Health formula and  they are sending me a trial of their Paradigm food as well.  The plan is to very slowly add some of the Paradigm to the Canine Health formula to see if we can get my picky eater to accept it. The food is super easy to use. Cali’s recipe is 2.5 oz of protein per day. I froze a bunch of different types of protein, chicken, ground turkey, ground pork, in 2.5 oz portions so I can just grab a protein from the freezer, steam it while the dry mix sits with warm water in it, add the protein and feed half to Cali for each of her meals.

Dr. Harvey’s also makes a Kidney supplement that I’m adding to Cali’s meals on the recommendation of their dietician.

From Cali’s blood work the dietician also noticed her blood sugar was a bit high, so she suggested I stop feeding Cali carrots as treats, and adding the vegetable-heavy Paradigm food to the Canine Health formula should help as well. I thought with her kidney issues I was doing a good thing with carrots, but they are too starchy.  I even got advice on the best ways to give Cali her pills since commercial pill pockets I had been using also have a bunch of protein. Now I’m trying little bread balls to hide her pills, and baby food green beans and broccoli that don’t have protein or high starch. With a little luck all this healthy food will help, and it may even help the allergies Cali has always had!

Cali and Kanga and Hector!


Puck wanted to make sure he wasn’t forgotten when I blogged today! He’s such a thoughtful boy!

Cali is still really enjoying this cat bed! She’s had three laser treatments now and I really think they are helping. She’s starting to use her injured leg much more regularly. I’ve noticed her using it quite a bit when she is walking, but she still holds it up when she runs. She is going to have her 4th laser treatment tomorrow, and then we will go to once a week treatments for a couple of weeks to see how she does. I happened to notice on Amazon yesterday that it is possible to buy a cold laser treatment tool to use at home. I’m thinking this might be a good thing to invest in, not just for Cali, but also for me! Does anyone own a home laser tool? If so, let me know how you like it.


Hector seems to be developing a little curiosity about Kanga. I keep a dog pen around the two bird cages to keep the cats from getting too close to my feathered friends. Yesterday, Hector climbed onto the top of the pen and climbed her way over by Kanga’s cage. Neither bird has shown any signs of aggression towards each other’s but obviously I haven’t allowed them to touch. Hector just “walked” the entire length of the fence, checked out Kanga and headed back to her own side. She did that back and forth a few times, never trying to climb onto Kanga’s cage, just looking curiously.

Hector has never been a super destructive bird. Her favorite is really cardboard. She loves to chew up boxes. She chews on soft wood toys, but she nibbles, and doesn’t destroy things like Kanga. Kanga is a machine when it comes to destroying toys! Give him a wood block and I’m lucky it if entertains him for 10 minutes.

 

I have noticed some really interesting behavior in Kanga over the last couple of days. I’ve learned Kanga doesn’t really like men. He gets nervous and aggressive when my son or husband are around. Last week my son was back at his place and my husband was traveling so it was just me. Kanga was great, no screaming issues, he played and did his thing. As soon as my husband got home on Sunday, the screaming started again. I had to close him in his cage a couple of times because the screaming just wouldn’t stop. Yesterday, my husband started feeding Kanga his favorite Nutriberri treats. The screaming was better last night. I’m hoping if my husband keeps offering treats that maybe K will learn he’s OK and he isn’t going to hurt him.

I volunteered at Mary’s Dogs in Northwood, New Hampshire again this past weekend. They just got in a new batch of puppies from the South and they are all so cute! What could be a better volunteer job than snuggling and playing with puppies! I love it!

Enjoy the puppy pictures and have a pet-friendly day!

 

Volunteering and More!

Life has been busy! I’m on my own this week, so my time and my schedule. I signed up for lots of volunteering, and it has been great! I started the week volunteering as an usher at my local theater. I get to see a great show for free, and I get to hang out and chat with lots of nice people!

Of course most of my volunteering is centered on animals!

Foster bird Kanga is still at my house, but on Monday I also volunteered at the shelter to help take care of the birds that are still there. Lots of macaws! They are big and beautiful, and their beaks are more than a little scary, but I love them. I cleaned them up, topped off their food and rinsed out their water. I talked to them, played music for them, played Peek-a-boo with some, and did Knock-Knock jokes with another. He likes to bang his beak on the top of his cage when you say “Knock Knock” and then he laughs when you ask “Who’s there?”

Speaking of birds, Kanga is doing great! He’s really a sweet boy. He has new feathers growing in under his wing, and I think they are itchy because he loves to lift his wing and ask for scratches. I know you aren’t supposed to pat birds anywhere but their  heads, but he is hard to resist! I’m very careful to just give him a couple of quick rubs under his wing. For anyone new to birds, some birds get a little “lovey” when you pat their bodies, so it usually isn’t recommended.

Love to see all these new feathers!

This morning was a little bit traumatic for K. He really needed his nails trimmed, so we took a visit back to the shelter. He flew when he saw me pull out a towel this morning, but once he landed he stepped right up on my hand and let me put him right into the carrier. I filled the carrier with wood blocks for him to destroy, and Nutriberries, his favorite treat! He was a little nervous in the car, but not too bad. He was happy enough to munch on his Nutriberries as long as I kept chatting with him. He got noticeably nervous when we got the shelter and he heard all the other birds screaming, but he did great for his nail trim, and he was very calm on the way home.

After a quick couple of bites of breakfast when we got home, he was ready for a nap!

I find it fascinating that even with Kanga and Hector D. Byrd having cages right next to each other, they haven’t been interested in each other at all. They could easily hop onto each other’s cages if they wanted to, but they don’t seem to even acknowledge each other.

Last night I volunteered at another shelter to help take care of some puppies. The weather was beautiful and we played outside in the yard and even attempted going for a walk. One little puppy in particular really stole my heart. It was very hard not bringing her home to foster, but I kinda have my hands full with Kanga.

This is Hope, available for adoption from Mary’s Dogs. She’s got adorable stubby legs, and she is so sweet!

I also got to spend time with these adorable “cow” girls. Nothing like spending time with cuddly, soft, warm, puppies! These two are also available for adoption from Mary’s, and they have a whole new batch of puppies coming in on Friday!

Unfortunately, Cali doesn’t really like riding in the car anymore. I don’t know why. She used to ride everywhere with me, now she gets super nervous. She won’t get in the car anymore. I have to pick her up and put her on the seat.

Maybe with all the trips to the vet for her laser treatments she will get used to it again. She started laser on Monday and had another appointment today. It’s a little hard to tell how she is doing since she can’t tell me, but I do feel like the treatments are helping. She has been using her back leg a bit more. I plan to do 7 treatments total, their recommended starter series, and we’ll see how she does. She went twice this week and will go twice again next week, and then once a week for the remainder of the visits. Hopefully by the end of that she will be using her leg more.

The new Dr. Harvey’s food mix is still something Cali has been enjoying! Amazing considering how tough it has been to find a low protein/kidney friendly diet for her. I’m waiting for their customer service people to call me. They offer a free telephone consultation to help me create the best diet for Cali using their food mix. They actually tried to call me today, but I was at the vet and couldn’t take the call. Hopefully I can talk to them soon.

I had to cancel volunteering with the birds this afternoon so I can get some work done since I had to bring Kanga for the nail trim this morning. Saturday night I’ll be heading back to Mary’s Dogs to help out and meet all the new puppies that come in on Friday! Of course I love my own pets, but I also love getting the chance to work with other animals as much as I can.

Puck wasn’t happy about being in the car, but he and Bean had their annual check ups last week.

Both cats did great, no problems. The vet had trouble finding skin to give Bean his rabies shot, so much hair!

Who else volunteers with animals? What kind of animals do you like to work with? Leave a message in the comments and let me know.

Good night Puck! Have a nice nap!

 

Cali Update

I think I posted about Cali hurting her leg about a month ago? If not, Cali basically did the dog-equivalent of tearing her ACL. She is not a candidate for surgery because of her age, kidney issues, and heart murmur. We’ve been managing her with pain medicines, but she is still limping and not getting around very well. The vet switched her to another pain med last week and that is helping a bit. On Monday, she is going to start laser treatments. Hopefully that will help accelerate the healing process. I’ve done laser treatments myself for stubborn muscle issues and found them helpful, so hopefully they hope Cali!

We had beautiful, sunny weather today, so I couldn’t resist taking Cali for a walk. She seemed to want to go, so we took it slow and didn’t go far. We walked roughly a block, and she still seemed to want to go, so we walked just a little more and then she stopped and looked at me, so we turned around. She seemed to enjoy the slow pace and getting out to sniff! I had some yard chores to do, and she happily stayed outside with me for a while to smell everything in the yard, and to rest in the sunshine.

 

I’m also trying yet another new food for Cali,  Dr. Harvey’s food. Basically it is a dry mix that I will add protein, water, and oil to and mix up fresh to create a new meal for Cali. There is a special low-protein recipe to help her kidney issues, and I’ve also ordered a kidney supplement from them that I’ll try with her. I emailed them to ask what proteins they recommend for kidney dogs, and they told me they will help me customize a diet for her, so I’m waiting for a call from them. Cali hates all the low protein prescription foods I’ve been trying for her, and they are all expensive. Really hoping that this mix might be the answer for her. I’ve mixed up a batch from the sample bag I just got for her to try for dinner. Fingers crossed that she likes it!

Mixing it up was super easy, I just mixed one day’s worth to try it, but I could mix up to 3 days at a time and store it in the fridge. You mix the dry product from the bag with hot water and let it sit for about ten minutes. It’s kinda like making hot oatmeal, and I think there are even oats in this mix! Next I stirred that, and today I added hard boiled eggs as protein since I had them. I think lean chicken and turkey are going to be better alternatives with Cali’s kidney issues, but this was an easy way to try it. I mixed in the eggs, and added a teaspoon of oil, easy. Now it’s in the fridge and ready for Cali’s dinner!

As a quick Kanga/foster bird update, I got her a new toy. She LOVES to destroy wood! Here’s the toy before and after about 10 minutes.

Kanga wastes no time destructing wood! I just ordered a new six pack of perches since he eats through them pretty quickly. The current one is short, but wide and it has been lasting a bit longer. Overall, K is doing great. He doesn’t always want head scratches, so I’m trying to give him treats and reward him when he hangs out near me and doesn’t run into his cage to hide when I approach. Moving slowly to not overwhelm him, but making some progress.  We’ve also been having dance parties every morning. I’ve tried some different songs, but I have to say that Levitating is still his favorite!

 

Quick Foster Update

Just realizing that K is really changing since he has been here. I think he is starting to feel a bit more confident. He is less excited about me patting him, he’s stopped flying all over the place, and he is spending more time in his cage even with his door open.

He is super destructive. He is already working on the replacement perch I put on his door. He chewed through his rope perch that was in the middle of his cage, and he has destroyed several toys.

Unlike Hector who prefers to destroy cardboard, K loves to chew up wood. He could definitely get a job manufacturing toothpicks!

Considering how much he seems to be changing every day, I’m not pushing him right now. I talk to him all the time, hand feed him treats, and pat him here and there when he seems open to it. I’m also providing an endless supply of wood for him to chew up.

I’ve added a ceramic heat lamp for him at night, and he really seems to like that. He was right under it the morning when I uncovered his cage. Although he doesn’t look like a feather plucker at first glance, his back and under his wings are pretty bald. I’m hoping to see some new growth as he settles in here.

Diet is something we are working on. He doesn’t love the fresh chop I make, or really any fresh fruits or veggies. He does eat his pellets really well. I’m doing what I did with Hector when I got her, and feeding them both chop in the morning, and then refilling pellets in the afternoon. He has been checking out the chop each morning and usually throws a bunch of it out of the bowl. I actually just looked over now and I think he is eating some chop, so that’s great! He always has some pellets in his bowl, but not a fresh bowl until later in the day. I’m trying to encourage him to check out the chop, and offering snacks of fresh fruits and veggies throughout the day.

My husband has been able to hand feed him treats which is progress. I still can’t believe when my son tried to give him a treat a few days ago that he put up his little foot like he wanted to step up, then grabbed my son’s finger and tried to bite him!

The cats were very curious about the new roommate at first, but no longer seem at all interested. Cali only cares about him when he flies and thankfully that hasn’t been happening as often.

Speaking of Cali, she was still not using her hurt leg very much when I got home from vacation a few days ago. I called the vet and they suggested she might need more pain medicine. We added a new medicine in the evening on top of the med she was already taking in the mornings and it seems to be helping. She isn’t using her leg all the time, but she is doing much better getting around, and she just in general seems happier. She’ll go back for a check up in a couple of weeks.

 

Settling In

Our son and his cat were home for the weekend. I love the way he sits on the stairs!

Bean absolutely can’t resist a box!

Foster bird is settling in. He is so different than Hector! Interesting to get used to! K is a toothpick making machine! He had a short wood perch on his door that he literally destroyed down to nothing in about 10 minutes. Hector loves to destroy cardboard, this guy is a wood destroyer.

Hector has had a rope perch in her cage for years. I take it out and wash it every so often, but she doesn’t bite or chew it. Today K decided to “work” on his rope perch, and managed to completely chew through it so that it doesn’t attach to the side of the cage anymore. I got two new perches for his door today. He’s already working his way through the first one. Thankfully they are pretty thick, so it is taking him a little time.

If you look at K’s foot, you’ll see he is holding one of his wood chips. He likes to shred wood and then use the bits to scratch himself, so cute!

Thankfully we only got woken up at 5AM to a screaming parrot the first morning that we had him. Since then I’ve been covering him at night, and he doesn’t scream or even talk until I uncover him the next day.

I’d been told he doesn’t prefer men, and that is so true. He seems petrified. He doesn’t want my husband or son anywhere near him and often darts back into his cage if they come over to say Hello. I’ve got my husband feeding him his favorite Nutriberi treats, and that seems to be helping. He’s trying new foods, and enjoying all his toys!

He and Hector still don’t seem all that interested in each other. I did watch Hector climb to the end of her cage today and check out K, but there still wasn’t much interest. I picked Hector up so she could get a better view, but she was more curious about what treats I might have for her, than she was about the other bird.

K likes to dance! I turned on some music the other day and he started flapping his wings and bobbing his head. Dance Party!  So far Levitating by Dua Lipa seems to be his favorite, major head bobs!

“Hi Baby” is his favorite phrase. He has also started Meowing, and I’m pretty sure I heard him say “Pucky” over the weekend. He says “Hi” and “Hey.” He’s a super busy guy. Can’t wait  to see what games he comes up with next!

 

A New Guest!

I have a hard time saying No. It’s a fact. I really like to help out, and I definitely over commit myself at times.

Most recently I’ve been helping out a local shelter with a bunch of parrots that are on a safe hold. The parrots were just cleared to go to foster, so of course I had to volunteer. There were a couple of the birds that I had really enjoyed spending time with when I was volunteering, but of course those were everyone’s favorites and they went to foster while I was away on vacation.

I went to the shelter yesterday to see what they still needed. I kinda wanted to foster a macaw because it seems like a limited opportunity. I’d never go out and get a bird like that myself, but to have one as a foster was very tempting. As soon as I walked into the room with the macaws yesterday, I knew that was a bad idea! They are so loud!

This guy was one I hadn’t spent a ton of time with at the shelter, but I knew him, and I spent some time with him yesterday. He’s a bit shy, but very sweet. He takes treats from my hand and already lets me scratch his head. This morning, I picked him up and brought him home!

 

So far he is settling in really well. He did almost chew through his carrier on the way home, but we made it without him escaping in the car. I can’t imagine trying to explain to my husband that the parrot ate his car seat or dashboard!

Once we made it home, I put him in the shower for safety while I got his cage set up. I’ve got him near Hector, but not quite close enough to touch. They would have to work really hard to get to each other’s cages. Hector was very curious, but quickly went back to destroying a new cardboard box in her cage. K seems to have little or no interest in Hector. 

As soon as he got in his new cage, the very first thing he did was empty both of his food bowls! He yells “Hey” in a cute little voice whenever I leave the room for a minute, but so far there hasn’t been any screaming. He showed me that he can fly and followed me into another room, but thankfully he stepped right up on my hand and let me bring him back to his cage.

Just a couple of hours after being here, he seems very comfortable in and out of his cage. He’s eating, grooming, and even playing with some toys. I hope he continues to settle in easily! My plan is to give him a couple of days to settle and then start working on him with a consistent step up. Stayed tuned for more foster parrot updates soon!

A Little Quiet

Things are pretty quiet around here. I’m still expecting to see Logan when I walk in to certain rooms. I got a lovely card from my vet yesterday with the wood token in the above picture. So sweet. Today I’ll be heading to the vet to pick up Logan’s remains. Never a fun trip, but closure.

My son was home last weekend with his cat, Martin, so we got the three crazy boy cats running around and getting into things all weekend, fun!



I’m not fostering right now. I’ve got a trip coming up, and with Cali still recovering, it didn’t feel like the right time. I have been volunteering at a local animal shelter and taking care of a bunch of parrots. It has been so fun! I’ve realized that as beautiful as macaws are, they are huge birds, and I much rather play with cockatoos and of course my own African Grey. There is something really scary about the beak of a macaw!

I’m getting a chance to spend a lot of quality time with some cockatoos, and I just love them! One tiny little Goffin’s Cockatoo is a real clown. He escapes from his cage, loves to get down on the floor and run, and also does these funny swings from the top of his cage down the side and back up, like little birds circles. Another doesn’t want to be picked up, but loves head scratches. If I turn away from him to visit another bird he says “Scratches” in this sweet little baby voice until I come over and rub his head.

I’ll be taking care of my Dad’s dogs this weekend. Two Portuguese Water Dogs, one is still a puppy. Should be fun! Looking forward to getting in some weekend puppy time! I hope we have nice weather so we can get outdoors.

Heading out of town next week, so there may be a break before my next update. I’m thankful that I have an amazing friend that will take care of Cali while we travel. She’s going to be a little extra work with her leg injury.

Anyone else vacationing soon? What do you do with your pets when you travel? Leave a message and let me know!