Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Latest photo shoot!

Although we don't get to be in 1000 pugs (boo!), we do have regularly scheduled professional photo shoots. We did Valentine's Day pictures this time. Stay tuned for the official one, but here we are going to Carealot in our fab little dresses!

Driving is soooo tedious.

Petunia is ready for her close up!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why we eat homemade, or mom has no life

Before we go any further, we have to say a few things. 

Making your own dog food is not easy and not for most. And it may not be the best thing for you.

If you don't get homemade food, it doesn't mean your parents love you less. Our previous post did not mean to imply that at all. We'd be willing to bet that if money and time weren't a problem, everyone would get homemade food. But in many, many homes, it just isn't feasible. Especially in households where there's more than 2 dogs. Homemade food is not inexpensive, and it is seriously time consuming. 

In total, it probably takes 12 hours to make our food. Mom breaks it up over a weekend usually, making stuff in the crockpot when she can. We get an average of one cup of food a day, plus our vitamins and supplements and yogurt with blueberries at bedtime. We also get half an apple and treats.

Your parents probably do things outside the house. Mom doesn't. She doesn't go out to the movies or out to eat. She doesn't go shopping. She might go to a party twice a year, and then only because she goes to visit the dogs. She doesn't date. No human children to tote to soccer practice or ballet lessons. No husband with football parties or poker games. 

She studies, she does chores (sometimes) and she takes care of us. For the normal person, her solitary lifestyle would send folks to the nuthouse. She does go to classes twice a week and work Monday through Friday so she does interact with other humans. 
Seriously, the house only gets cleaned if someone is coming over. Sometimes, she has to hire someone to mow the lawn before she gets a ticket for the grass being too high.

Why go through all of this? 

Starting at about 6 months old, Tallulah and Petunia both started experiencing problems with food. Severe, horrible itching, upset stomaches, hives. 
Tallulah's crate pad after an upset tummy

Ick. Poor baby had to sit in her own mess while mom was at work.
We went through about 16 ounces of Benadryl a week and that only took the edge off. It was horrible. The physical problems we had made us super cranky and angry. It was around this time that we started fighting like hockey players, too. We were at the vet at least once a month for hot spots or digestive problems.
Petunia's cheek. She did this damage in less than 8 hours. 
When Petunia broke out in hives that made her look like she had golf balls under her skin, mom knew she had to do something. 

This was also the same time that all the pet food recalls were happening. Many pets were getting sick or dying because of greed and a mind boggling lack of oversight. There has been a lot of education and changes and many people are making better, informed choices about their pet food now. And there are so many better choices and options now. 

So mom started doing research on making our food. She consulted a nutritionist, bought and read more than 20 books and prepared a giant spreadsheet with analysis of our diet using NRC and USDA guidelines. After a lot of trial and error, she found the best formula for us. Fortunately, it works for Isabelle, too. Now, when Quincy was alive, he got a different food because he had different nutritional needs. 

Between the food and treatment for hormone imbalance (whole 'nother story!), we are healthy and happy. It took about 2 years, but we got there. We are at a great weight, our skin and coat looks great, our vitamin levels are good. We aren't itching and scratching and having upset tummies. We haven't had a hotspot in 2 years. We are happier and fight so much less than we did before.

You might envy the homemade dog food, but don't envy the process that got us here. It's been awful, expensive, and took so much time. It works for us, but it doesn't work for every pug or every pug's family. If you are eating a food that works for you, feel blessed!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Food, glorious food!

We are some seriously lucky pugs. We get homemade food, made from human grade ingredients! Mom spends hours making it, although she really doesn't like to cook! Or clean up.

 The ingredients vary to make sure we have a good variety of stuff but for the most part, the ingredients are vegetables, sweet potatoes, whole grain and meat. 

We get all sorts of vegetables from broccoli and cauliflower to green beans and peas to turnips and greens. You name it, we've probably eaten it. Mom likes to get vegetables that are in season from our farm market so we get the freshest food possible. Right now, we are getting lots of root vegetables. 

For whole grains, we've eaten brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet and barley to name a few. There's a big debate in the dog food world about dogs and grains. We are of the opinion that pugs are about as close to wolves as modern humans are to Neanderthals. While we support other people's choice of feeding closer to a wolf diet, it isn't for us. So we do think SOME whole grains are a beneficial part of our diet but they are a smaller part of the food overall.

As far as meats go, we've had beef, fish and pork successfully. Since Petunia is allergic to poultry, we don't get turkey or chicken any longer. Future meats will include lamb and bison, but bison is expensive! $7.99 a pound at our farm market. 

All the food is cooked. 
Veggies are steamed, then run through the food processor. Steaming helps retain the nutrients (as opposed to boiling) and turning them to mush helps us digest them.

Meat is cooked to remove some of the fat (if it has it). The grains are overcooked to make them as digestible as possible. The sweet potatoes are peeled, steamed and mashed. Although peels are good for nutrients, they don't digest in our tummies that well. And mom's food processor can't handle the volume of peels. 

Then it's all mixed together. Looks gross, right? 
After it's mixed (two batches using the big turkey roaster as a mixing bowl), it gets put into one cup containers. A typical batch of food yields 40 cups of food or almost 2 weeks worth of food for three pugs. 

Most of this will go into the freezer, to be pulled out as needed. 

Next up, why mom does all of this for her spoiled rotten pugs.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Strange behavior

This is how Tallulah spent a lot of the car trip. 

She's sleeping, sitting up, facing the back of the car. 

Crazy pug.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The final trip post!

Our last stop on our Midwest Blogger/Twitter tour was Cincinnati, Ohio, to see our Twitter pal, @cuckoonuts.

She has two pugs, Zippy and Maggie and a huge backyard with a creek! Mom was too nervous to let us explore much, but look at this view!

We didn't get any pictures of the pugs unfortunately. Mom's sickness was really kicking in at this point. But CuckooNuts got a few shots of us!

Our family portrait

All five of us in one shot! That's Tallulah, Zippy, Maggie, Isabelle and Petunia

Maggie is enjoying the little bear we brought her.

And look at these gorgeous cards she made! 

They are just too pretty to ever use!

And to cap it all off, Isabelle and Tallulah both pooped on the floor. 
Can't take us anywhere. 

It was a long trip and we were pooped when we got home. 

A huge thanks to everyone who opened their homes and fed us. If you are ever in our neck of the woods, please know you have an open invitation to poop on our floors. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Part 6, Indy!

Holy cow, Indy is full of pugs! And we didn't even get to meet them all. 

The Pug Posse graciously invited us to their house for morning snacks.  
There were 18 of us all in one house! It was awesome. No real fussing, no drama. And Isabelle didn't poop in the house! Or if she did, we didn't see it. 

Honestly, mom couldn't remember who was who after she took the pictures. 

We know that this is Laura holding Tucker. Laura is Salinger's mom! They just added a new family member right after we left. Congratulations!

And this is Princess Mia! She is spunky.

That's Ellie in the background and maybe Ernie? Yoda and Brutus had to stay home to keep their dad company.

That's Jess (the human) and maybe Pugsley. Not sure about the pug on the couch. Laura is holding Gus Gus, we think.


Some of the posse in the world famous, Pugs in the Kitchen kitchen! This is Nirvana! Where all the yummy treats come from.

Look at all these goodies from Pugs in the Kitchen! We thoroughly approved of all the treats and the stuffies! If you are in need of delicious, healthy treats made in the USA, order tons!

Laura and Salinger gave us these adorable toys and the pug ornament.

Mom wants to apologize to Vikki, Laura, Jess, Cindy and Julie. She isn't usually such a dud. She started getting sick that morning and wasn't feeling herself. She knows that if she weren't sick and got to spend time with you again, she'd be much more entertaining. Not as entertaining as Laura though.
 Mom doesn't shop at that store or anything. She is a real fuddy duddy when it comes down to it. 

Even though her haze, she really had a good time in Indy. We wish we lived so much closer to you guys. You'd be such a blast to hang out with.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Illinois pugs, trip part 5

After a wonderful visit, it was time to go home. We took the northern route on the way home so we could meet more friends. Our first stop was the dog park in Springfield, IL. They had a little dog section and it was all ours.

Ellen and Gordon were so nice, making a delicious chicken lasagna and salad. 
Again, mom didn't share. :(
But Gordon sure did! We got lots of veggies from him. 
Pug stamp of approval!

Here is Peyton. He is such a sweetheart. 

This is cutie pie Liberty! Isn't she adorable!

Here's Webster. He loves his daddy!

Darling Zoe. Her dress is so cute! We wanted to steal her wardrobe.

And look at all the goodies they gave us! Treats, toys, rawhides and even some adorable pug things for mom. 

And again, Isabelle pooped in the house. On the carpet. Mom wasn't close enough to try for a catch this time. This, despite immediately going outside once we got there and visiting a dog park an hour earlier. This is becoming a habit!

We've known Ellen from Pugs.com for a few years. We were so excited when she started blogging and even more excited when we got to meet her in person! 
Ellen and Gordon were so nice to invite us into their home and feed us. We hope that we can repay all the hospitality that was shown to us.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Christmas, trip part 4

Christmas was exhausting. Here Sheba is sleeping by her food bowl, just in case anyone gets close to it.

Eating those cookies was tough work.

Chihuahuas make good snuggle buddies.

 There'a couch under there somewhere.

Isabelle had to be right in the middle of it all, even though she was falling asleep sitting up.

Only the birds were awake. 

This is Mimi. 
Mimi is actually a boy, but Indian Ringneck parrotlets don't develop the black ring around the neck (for boys) until about 2 years old. Mimi was named after the heroine in the opera La Boheme. He likes to listen to opera and anything by Beaker of the Muppets.

This is Poe. He's about the same size as Mimi, but green. He's a Quaker parrot. He has learned to talk since coming to live with our aunt. He can say hello, step up and come here. He also laughs like a human! And he barks like the dogs. 

Oh, we nearly forget the best part of the whole trip. Isabelle takes Glyco Flex III, a super yummy smelling glucosamine-chondroitin supplement. Or at least she did until Tallulah ripped the bag open and ate about 100.

 On Christmas morning. 

Before all the guests came over. 

Tallulah spent the morning vomiting. She got the carpet and rug a few times, the linoleum once or twice. After that, mom figured out when she was going to blow and hustled her out on the deck. 

We still aren't quite sure how one little pug stomach could hold roughly 2 pounds of supplement in the first place. Those urban legends of pugs eating until they actually explode might be true. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Christmas in Nebraska, trip part 3

We were very blessed to have mostly good weather on our trip. The last time we were in Nebraska, it was -24 with the wind chill. Too freaking cold for pugs. This time, it was warm enough that only Isabelle needed her coat outside. 
We had a wonderful time with our aunt Mandy and uncle John and all our cousins. 

We are waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. 

Look what Santa brought us!

The big one is for our cousin Noah. He's a great Dane. The Christmas tree was supposed to be a little softer for cousin Sheba. She's a 4 pound Pomeranian.



Noodle really enjoying his cookie

Sheba working on her cookie. 
For once, the demon eyes function on the camera wasn't a fluke. Sheba can be a real demon when it comes to food. She is a pug in a Pom body. 
Noah ate his like a pug. No pictures for him!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Payton's Place, trip part 2

Payton and her parents were wonderful! They got us presents and everything! They made mom an excellent dinner and saved her from fast food. That chicken was delicious, or so we've heard. She didn't share. 

We were mostly on our best behavior. Their house was so nice and pretty with a beautiful color coordinated Christmas tree. Naturally, mom didn't get many pictures. Fortunately, Payton's mom shared some of hers with us.

Payton and her dad were very generous, sharing her yummy treats with us.

Payton posing with the yummy beef liver treats we brought her. 

Petunia's butt and Payton jimmying for treats.

Isabelle just couldn't settle down though. She kept walking laps through the kitchen, dining room, living room and entry way. Well, apparently the potty break at the hotel wasn't enough for her because she squatted right in front of every and pooped in the living room! 

Mom didn't even think and stuck her hand under Isabelle's butt to catch the poop before it hit the light colored floor! Ewwwww! 

Fortunately, Payton's parents were very understanding and quick with the paper towels. Leave it to one of us to completely embarrass ourselves and mom! Although the poop catching is pretty embarrassing on its own.

Look at all these toys Payton got us! The peanut butter treats were gone in a flash. They were delicious!

After dinner, we got another treat. We met Gampy!
He is seriously skilled at butt scritching. There was a steady line of pugs waiting to be scritched. If you ever get a chance to meet Gampy, do it! 

Thank you so much to Payton for inviting us to come visit with her and for sharing her family with us. We loved meeting you all and hope to see you again soon. Maybe a trip to the East Coast?