Thursday, January 29, 2015

Big test tomorrow

Mom needs some good juju, positive thoughts or prayers sent her way. 
Tomorrow is her last written exam for her doctorate. 
She didn't do so well last time, and this is her last chance. 
She feels ready, but there's the anxiety from failing before on top of normal anxiety about a test. 

So we are cuddling her tonight. But please think good thoughts for a good night's sleep tonight and calm nerves tomorrow from 8:30 to 1:30. 

After successfully passing this exam, she still has an oral exam. Then it's on to the dissertation! Paws crossed, she will graduate in May 2016. 

Once this exam is over, we have to share with you the incredible gift we received. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New car seats! Updated

Back in September, we got car seats. They replace the ones mom made that were comfy but not especially safe. These are the safest ones on the market as of now. They are even crash tested!

These are Pupsavers.

The way they work in a collision is that they catch the dog like a catcher's mitt. You can't really see , but there's a strap in the middle of the seat that you attach to a harness or a collar. You use the shoulder seat belt to keep the seat in place.  

Petunia is not a big fan of her seat. However, she wasn't a fan of her other one either. She wants to be in the front seat with Tallulah. But she stays in unless she wiggles out of her harness. 

As of now, they still only make them for the right side of a car. We are hoping that they will make a modification to alter the seat belt straps so that you can use them on the left side of the car, too. 

We hope to never need them, but just in case, we are better protected. 

Now, when you click on the link for prices, you will probably choke a little. Mom sure did. Man, stuff is expensive! But if you do some serious hunting, you can find better prices. We got ours through QVC for much less. It doesn't look like they are available any longer though. 

These will work great for bigger cars than our little Ford Focus. The front seat one sticks out over the cup holder somewhat. A hard cup like a Thermos-y type works fine. The paper cups from fast food places have been a little of a problem, but nothing too terrible. 

They are not machine washable, only spot cleaning. Which means no eating in the car for us. So far, mom's been able to vacuum up crumbs and popcorn kernels easily. 

Mom keeps them in place, but they are medium difficult to install/reinstall. Probably, the more you do it, the easier it would be. 

If you have any questions for us, leave them in the comments!

A little clarification from the comments.
The Center for Pet Safety is a non-profit organization that tests pet products specifically for safety. This organization has crash tested harnesses that are sold as pet restraints for traveling. Those are some scary results as seen in our reply to Lolapug. CPS did not perform the test for the Pupsaver. In fact, on Twitter, CPS stated that they do not recommend any product that connects to a dog's harness.

The Pupsaver crash test was done by the MGA Research Corporation. This is a private company that does testing. They are a third party company that is often used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal organization.  However, CPS used the same laboratory (MGA) for testing harnesses, too. So in reply to the comment below, I (the human) am comfortable knowing that the same lab tested the harnesses and the Pupsaver. The harnesses (with the exception of Sleepypod Clickit) failed and that the Pupsaver passed.

Remember that there are two different things going on here. One is the testing of harnesses that claim to be travel restraints. For example, we had some that clicked into the seat belt snap. You can google dog seat belt harness and see what we are talking about. Those harnesses are the ones that the CPS tested. They did not test any car seats. They do not claim to test car seats.

Two, the Pupsaver is different in that the restraint is not the harness or collar. The protection of the dog is the clamshell of the Pupsaver. If you see the video, it catches the weight and keeps the dog from flying into the dash or the floorboards. The Pupsaver is kept in the car seat by the regular seat belt. So it only keeps the Pupsaver from moving forward. The strap inside the Pupsaver keeps the dog inside the clamshell of the Pupsaver only. Pupsaver has never claimed that the CPS did their testing. It states clearly on the website that the test was done by MGA.

I think the confusion comes from incorrect reporting by some blogs, news outlets and pet product companies. I've seen references to the CPS in the same story as Pupsaver, leading people to think that the CPS did the testing. As far as I can tell, Pupsaver has never claimed that. And in this highly litigious world, CPS would sue Pupsaver if they had claimed it.

Is it perfect? Probably not. It has not been tested in roll over accidents. But then again, roll over accidents make up a small percentage of the overall accidents each year. The clamshell feature will pull the top part down over the dog as the seat belt tightens which will help protect the dog from flying glass somewhat. At this point, I (the human) feel like this is the safest thing for my particular dogs. If I had dogs other than pugs, I would consider the Sleepypod Clickit for them. However, having lived with a pug with a collapsing trachea, I want to do everything I can to prevent any damage to the trachea. Even walking harnesses can damage a pug's trachea so that's why I am avoiding those. The harnesses my pugs do wear are low on the chest. And in the Pupsaver, they will not reach the length of the strap and be jerked back in an accident.

Every dog parent has to do their own homework and do what they can when it comes to pet safety. I did do my homework on this, and I am confident that I know what I bought. I bought the best possible option for my dogs. Not necessarily yours. Will it save their lives in a serious crash? Possibly not. But then again, my airbags may not save mine either if it's a bad enough crash. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So long, 2014!

This has not been our favorite year. 
We've said goodbye to too many friends. 
So we're happy to see 2014 go. 
Seriously, don't let the door hit you on the way out.
We're doing a lot of this until about 11:30. 

 Before the fireworks start, we'll get something gross to chew on for a while. 
Then Frosty Paws at midnight. 
Really? Something gross to chew on? 

So 2014, we're giving you the stink eye.

Take that, 2014. GET OUT OF HERE.

And one more just to be silly.

We wish you all good health and happiness in 2015. 
Next year's got to be better, right?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Yes, we are in matching outfits. That's just how we roll. 

Hope you are all having a wonderful time with your family and friends. Remember, it's ok to take a  break if things get to be too much. Maybe take a pug for a short walk just to get out of the house. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Still here!

We are still here. And we are doing ok. Mom has been really busy with work and studying for her exam. The plan is to take it in early January. 

So we've been doing lots of this. 

 One annual check up at the vet. All good. 

And mom's laptop was dying so she got a new one. Pretty!

We have a lot to catch up on. Posting may be sporadic still, but we are still here and doing alright. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

We're ok

It's been sad, but we're doing ok. Whether we like it or not, life goes on. 

We wanted to show you this beautiful framed photo and poem that the Idaho Pug Ranch family sent us in memory of Isabelle. 

Made mom weepy all over again. 
It has a place of honor on the mantel.

There are not enough words to say thank you to all of you. You truly have made us feel less alone.

We'll be back soon with more of our adventures. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Isabelle- March 23, 2000-September 18, 2014

I started writing this post when Isabelle was first diagnosed in July. I've been adding to it as I remembered things. I wanted to get as much written down before the grief overcame me.

Isabelle wasn't a sweet cuddly pug. She didn't like being held by me. She didn't like kisses or hugs. She tried to bite me if I touched her nose or ears. I had to restrain her to get her eye medications in. She had attitude that she really couldn't back up with only three teeth. She would get so mad when it was nail trim time that she would pass out.

I loved her more than I thought I would. Because she came into my life at a late age, I've only had five and a half years with her. She didn't connect with me like Tallulah and Petunia did. Tallulah and Petunia are my heart. I loved Isabelle, but not in the same way. And that's ok. I know she loved me the best that she could. Even if she would have preferred a man.

Here are some of my favorite memories of Isabelle.

Just a few months after coming to me, I was removing staples and carpet tacks from my stairs. Isabelle sat at the bottom and barked and cried. Then she made her way up to me slowly, basically the only time she ever tried to climb my stairs.

Isabelle and I were on a local morning TV show to promote Pugapalooza one year. I brought a small bowl of Cheerios to keep her occupied (and less barky). The TV lady wanted to feed her some and took a handful of Cheerios. Instead of giving her one at a time, she held out her palmful of snacks. Isabelle dove face first into those Cheerios! She always ate with gusto.

She hated the first stroller I got her. It was too low to the ground, and the sides were too high. She liked the second one because it got her up higher and frankly closer to any available treats. She was still fussy if she couldn't see me though. She put on quite a show every year in the parade in her stroller. People even recognized her from the parade. She was also crowned Norfolk's first Canine Crusader last year. 

Isabelle didn't like to be on the furniture which led to several, several dog beds. At any one time, there were at least three in the living room. She moved from bed to bed when she felt like it. She seemed to prefer the orthopedic ones in rectangle shape. We had other orthopedic beds in different shapes which she would use if she had to. If a rectangle was put down, she immediately moved to it.

She liked it even better if beds were double stacked.

The one couch she did like.
After years of trying different things, she finally found a warming bed thing she liked, the Body Glove Pup Warmer. Keeping her warm was a challenge. If she got too cold, she would cough, always a danger with trachea dogs. She had a huge wardrobe of sweaters and t shirts and fleeces. The pugjamas started because of Isabelle. The track suits mom got her were too long. Thus, mom started making her own.

Isabelle was not a fan of swimming. At all. Unfortunately for her, swimming was the best exercise she could get as a black, senior pug with breathing problems. She needed the exercise because of arthritis. I made her swim a few laps a few times a week then she could float around in her ladybug float with me. She didn't like to be away from me, but she didn't like to be in the pool either.

Isabelle met very few foods she didn't like. Bananas are one. She liked the flavor, but apparently not the whole fruit. She also never met a size of food she didn't think she could handle. Which led to trying to swallow things whole and choking. That taught me to cut up her food and break up the treats. Her favorite treat were Pumpkin Kisses from Pugs in the Kitchen. I ordered 3/4 of a pound for her in June. I made sure she got to eat every one.

She felt the same way about her birthday and Gotcha burgers. She has had several burgers since the cancer diagnosis. 
Here she is eating one from a few years ago.

Isabelle was also the spokespug for our neighborhood. Here she is with me, celebrating our win of an award for our work on the dog park. 

Here are some of my favorite photos of her.

Photo by Erin Kass
Snuggling with her Quincy pug. 
Enjoying her yogurt
Showing off her blog t-shirt.
The first year I had her. Look how chunky she was! Photo by Erin Kass
She learned to like car rides!
Wearing her Grippers, grudgingly. She was the master of "poor pitiful me" looks.
She never learned to like swimming, but the float was a compromise. 
From Dogs Gone Swimming. She tried to eat a giant cookie whole and choked herself that day. Photos by Feist
From the 1000 Pugs photo shoot in New Jersey. 
Possibly my all time favorite photo. She had such sass. Photos by Feist
Modeling her costume for the 2012 parade. She was a farmer.

Modeling the Safari jeep and hat for the 2013 parade.

Her official portrait as Norfolk's first Canine Crusader. Photos by Feist
We met a Twitter friend for dinner at the beach. She could barely see but kept watching the sidewalk.   
Easter 2014. She wouldn't stay in a sit for anything. Photos by Feist
I did the best I could for you, Baby Belle. I'd like to think you knew that.

Isabelle is proof that senior rescues deserve that second chance at life. She had a laundry list of medical problems. Any one of them was enough to keep a pug down. Despite all of that, she enjoyed life. I would do it all again, even knowing how it would end. Senior pugs have so much life left to live and so much love to give. I thank her previous owner for surrendering her to Mid-Atlantic Pug Rescue, that meant that I got to love her for 5 1/2 years. She was the reason I became a founding member of Pugs U Gotta Save. She is the reason I will continue to work in rescue and encourage people to adopt. Especially seniors.

I want to thank our blog friends for posting for Isabelle and embracing us with love and support. I want to thank our Twitter friends who celebrated Isabelle's life with burgers. If you're on Twitter, search #IsabelleBurgerFriday to see all the tweets. I may be physically alone, but I know I have a huge community of pet lovers out there. All wishing us love and comfort. It really, truly helps.

I hope everyone had a burger (or the treat of your choice) in her memory. We will be sad, but we know she's pain-free and bossing everyone around over the bridge.