Thursday, October 30, 2014


I originally wrote this entry back in May of 2012. These are still some of my favorite photos of the dogs and I bring the skull collars our every October. Today Norman is wearing his on a therapy visit!

I got Kaya & Norman an awesome new pair of Halloween skull collars from Etsy. I was going to wait to buy them but feared the fabric would sell-out. Of course we had to go out for a modeling session once they arrived!

These collars are going to be Fall favorites for sure. They are super well-made and the seller even custom made the style I wanted(no buckle adjustable slide on). Kaya & Norman are now featured as model dogs for the collar on the Etsy listing page! Here's the link:

There are a bunch of other collars I want to order right now too. I wish they were all water and dirt-proof but oh well!

Hot puppies!'s not a prison in the background, it's Costco!

Happy Halloween!

Do your dogs have Halloween collars or do they wear costumes?

Related Posts:
Our Pit Bull Awareness Day!
Happy Halloween!!
The Walking Dog

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


A couple months ago Kaya and Norman both developed a cough. Kaya had it worse. She would often gag, like she was trying to choke something up but nothing ever came out. I automatically assumed they had Kennel Cough. I took them to the vet and after being tested for Kennel Cough, Heartworm, Lyme Disease and a bunch of other things, they all came back negative. The vet was so happy to give them a clean bill of health, that she didn't really provide any other conclusions or solutions for the coughing issue, chalking it up to allergies. Luckily, while researching home remedies for Kennel Cough, I came across the suggestion of Raw Manuka Honey.

Manuka Honey is from New Zealand and has the highest rate of antibacterial properties and pollen purity of any honey. Raw honey is also rich in vitamins, minerals, natural enzymes, antioxidants and is excellent for allergies and overall health. I read that its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity is great for soothing throats.

It all sounded a little hookey but I decided to give it a try. After giving them a spoonful on every meal for a couple weeks, their coughs had cleared up!

I realized the coughing must be from all the dust they inhale. I'm not sure why it hasn't bothered them in the past but it is the most logical cause.

We go hiking almost every day and they kick up a lot of dirt through running and playing. On top of that, the Bay Area is a dry climate and we've had very little rainfall all year.

And after about a month of giving them the honey, I tried stopping it and their coughs came back a bit. Proof that the honey is really doing the trick!

As an added bonus, the dogs love the taste...who wouldn't?

Their meals are starting to look like a kibble sundae with the honey poured over a spoonful of coconut oil.

I wondered if the Manuka Honey is really necessary over regular honey but I guess I don't care to try. Only the best for my spoiled pups:) This stuff is pricey but the bigger jar lasts a few weeks.

Have you ever found any awesome home remedies that really work?

Related Posts:
We Are What We Eat: Part 2 
The Greatest Ever Catdog Toy (Video)
Norman's Thundershirt Win!

Monday, October 20, 2014


We were recently nominated by Yoda the Pit Bill (could there be a more appropriately named dog based on looks alone?) for The Versatile Blogger Award! If you have not been to her blog, check it out!  She is one adorable pittie who knows how to have fun.

The Versatile Blogger Award Rules:
  1. Accept the nomination: Thank the person from whom you received the nomination and provide a link to their blog
  2. List 7 things about myself
  3. Nominate 15 blogs for The Versatile Blogger Award
Seven things about myself (plus 2 more because I have editing issues):
  1. I moved to California from the East coast when I was 7, I am now 32
  2. I have lived overseas twice for a total of 7 years, The Philippines for 1 year when I was 12 & London for 6 years when I was 23
  3. I cant imagine moving away from California again, I am a total wuss when it comes to extreme weather!
  4. I live off of coffee. My go-to drink at coffee shops...Americano (sometimes iced)
  5. If I want a more desert type drink I get a soy dirty chai (chai latte with an espresso shot)
  6. I love my VW Jetta but the dogs much prefer my mom's Jeep. I may have to make the change one of these days...
  7. My dogs have slept in my bed since the first night I brought them home. I feel weird (and sad) sleeping without dogs when I travel without them.
  8. I don't have cable but I watch a lot of Netflix and Apple TV. Sometimes Kaya watches the TV but Norman never does.
  9. Can you keep a secret? I always let the dogs on the couches at my parents' house (when they are out town) even though they are not allowed (of course when they are clean and dry only). They are made of dark durable tapestry, showing no signs of dog use once vacuumed. Yet the dogs somehow know to stay off when my parents are there too:) Like they are in on the secret and willing to keep it for their own good. Clever pups!

My fifteen Versatile Blogger Award Nominees:
  1. Peace-a-bull Assembly
  2. Adventures of a Dog Mom
  3. Erie-sista-bulls
  4. My Mini Pet Pig
  5. Lola the Pitty
  6. 2 Punk Dogs
  7. acd6pack
  8. Pocket Pittie in the City
  9. Two Pitties in the City
  10. Dog is God in Reverse
  11. Our Waldo Bungie
  12. Peaceful Dog
  13. So Fly
  14. Del's Adventures
  15. Doggeral
Thanks again for the award!

Related Posts:
Blog Awards Wahoo!!
I Would Like to Thank...
We Are Inspired Too!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Norman is not a whiny dog. Once in a blue moon he lets out a sort of grunty whimper when he really needs to go out. Even in the car when we pull up to their favorite spots, Kaya and Norman are both silent and relaxed. Though Norman seems to have figured out where we are when I park at the hospital for our therapy visits. He whines quite a bit and much higher pitched than his usual grunty style. I think this means he's really excited for the visits! Though in typical Norman fashion, he is super calm once I leash him up and walk him a couple blocks to the hospital.

I don't have any photos of the actual day so I'm going to post some old ones that are somewhat relative:)

One thing that I did not expect when starting therapy with Norman was how much we would reach people who are not even patients. The nurses, doctors and other assistants really look forward to the therapy dog visits too. Not only do they like seeing the effect it has on the patients but they also enjoy petting the dogs, asking all about them and hearing stories of what they are like outside of therapy dog work.

A therapy dog's work is never done!

There are many other staff members who love saying hi or petting the dogs too, like janitors, receptionists, paramedics and anyone we see in the elevator or lobby. The parking attendants even know their names and call out to us when we walk up! On this visit we were able to entertain the children of a woman who works at the hospital. They were clearly bored to be at mom's work and were so excited to meet a couple dogs they could hang out with for a minute.

So far, at least one person at every visit tells me that Norman has helped change their mind about Pit Bulls. This time one of the adult patients said, "I'm gonna tell everyone that I don't think Pit Bulls are scary anymore." Yes! Even though they are proud Golden Retriever owners, my fellow volunteers have also told me that they love having a Pit Bull in the program and enjoy seeing Norman be able to change people's perceptions.

Do your dogs know when they've arrived somewhere exciting? Do they let you know?

Related Posts:
Norman: The Perfect Advocate 
Norman's 3rd Therapy Visit: Fellow Therapy Dogs
Norman's 2nd Therapy Visit: Just Don't Ask Us to Do Tricks
Norman's 1st Therapy Visit! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


When I first met Kaya, I just knew she was adorable, outgoing and sweet. I had no idea what a smartypants she was or what an incredible athlete she would become. I had no idea how much she would teach me and how much she would make me laugh. I had no idea how warm she would keep me at night and I had no idea of how many adventures we would go on together.

Kaya and I got off to a rough start...sort of. It just took me a long time to figure out how to get us on the same page so that I was not frustrated and she was not bored. For nearly a year there was a lot of leash pulling, whining, yowling, yelping, jumping and dog park humiliation. I wanted to take her to cafes for leisurely lunches and let her run free on hiking trails but know she'd stay close. I wanted her to show visitors her calm, cuddly side, not a Tasmanian devil impression. I wanted to let her run at the beach and not fear she would ruin everyone's picnic. I wanted her to be patient and loving to every dog she met, not to bug the living snot out of all of them.

But with all the treats and praise, all the discipline, structure, clicking and training tools I tried, none of it was coming true. There was only one other logical thing to try. So I got her a brother!

And everything started falling into place. Looking back, it felt like an overnight change. Without her puppy charm to get by on, many dogs and people were finding themselves overwhelmed or annoyed by all that was Kaya. With Norman she finally had herself a constant partner in life. The type of partner who laughs at all her jokes, who revels in any attention he gets from her, who always pretends to want what she has but doesn't really care, who follows her dutifully from place to place and curls up next to her when it's time to sleep.

Here's a video I took of them at the beach just a couple days after bringing Norman home. A week earlier, I was at the same beach with Kaya and spent the entire time chasing after her, tell her what not to do and where not to go. They still play the same way!

I know now that we still had a long way to go after Norman arrived but he certainly sent us in the right direction. Kaya and I have now found our sweet spot. And she can do all of those things I longed for her to do way back when. But it's not that she became this perfect dog that I imagined she would be. It's that I know her well enough to make it work and she knows exactly what I expect from her.

I won't take her to a cafe if I think she's going to be too bored or hyper. She knows to find a bone to chew on if she's too excited about company. And if they want her on the couch with them, I give her a calm down command so that she knows it's time to put her tongue away and relax.

Using fetch as a reward, I set up obedience drills that she couldn't wait to do over and over. She still makes a beeline for things that may get her in trouble but she turns on a dime when I call her name. She often puts herself in a heel without me asking so that she can get that sweet rush when she hears the word, "free!"

How lucky I am to have this special girl in my life. Still a free-spirit but now one that always wants to be by my side, whether she's running laps around me on a 2 hour hike, keeping me safe when I take the trash cans to the curb or burrowing her way under the covers at night, she's always there.

Related Posts:
Kaya's Adoption Story
A Year with Kaya
Two Years with Kaya
Norman's Adoption Story