Dear Roxy,

For those of you who have not lost a pet, it’s harder than you can imagine. I didn’t think it would hurt as much as it does. In the couple of days since, I’ve been mostly okay and then I’ll suddenly think about her and start crying. It really is like losing a member of your family because she was family. She was always there. And now, she’s not.

I wish I had more time to say goodbye. From the time I found out to the time when she put down was only an hour. Afterwards, I asked Roland, my brother, if she had been medicated when I got there. He said no, she was just that sick. Becasue of that, I’m glad she can rest in peace now, but it still aches.

If I could talk to her just one more time…

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Dear Roxy,

If there’s one positive thing that comes from this whole experience, I hope you are finally feeling better and free of pain. We knew you were sick, but we thought you were finally going to be getting better. You leaving was so sudden, we were all blind-sided. That’s what hurt the most, we were given hope and the next day you were gone.

Sitting in that room, while you took your last breath, was awful. I’m very grateful that you were surrounded by all of us, but that was one of the hardest, most emotional things I’ve ever had to endure. If I’m being completely honest, watching you go was a little traumatizing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that again.

I will never have another dog quite like you. You were definitely the dog version of myself. We both liked naps more than could be normal. And we both liked to snack more than we should. Maybe we were too alike and that’s why you never felt inclined to listen to me when I told you to do sit or lay down. We’re both too sassy for our own good. You were definitely more human than dog sometimes.

Many days filled with tears are ahead for all of us. It’s hard to even think about you not being at the house when I bring Stella over. I didn’t want to tell mom, but she definitely looked for you when we visited yesterday. She walked around the kitchen and living room and sniffed your bed. She’ll definitely miss you, not sure you would return the sentiment.

May you spend the rest of eternity sitting on a recliner with an abundance of snacks being fed to you at your beck and call. Take a nap for me. I’ll be seeing you again.

I love you,

Marissa

Irresponsible Pet Owners

Avery and I live in a dog friendly apartment complex. Something we absolutely love. They don’t have breed restrictions or weight restrictions which is absolutely amazing when taking into consideration the condition of the complex (it’s not rundown or super old, which is a problem we kept running into when looking for dog-friendly communities). We love were we live.

With that said, there is a growing problem. Dog poop. Knowing you live in a dog-friendly apartment complex does not give you the right to allow your dogs to poop wherever and then NOT PICK IT UP! WHAT THE HECK?! (I’m particularly passionate about this because I accidentally stepped in one of these surprises a few days ago.) If you own a dog, and live in an apartment, pick up after your animal! It’s not fair to everyone else that: one, doesn’t have a dog and two, does have dogs and are responsible enough to pick up their dog’s poop.

And the people around here have absolutely no excuse not to pick up after their puppies because our apartment is gracious enough to provide pet waste bags and designated pet waste trash cans. Yet, there are accumulating piles of poop around our apartment, in the grass and in the parking lot. I can’t take Stella out at night anymore because I’m afraid either she or I will step in a fresh pile of poo. If I find out whoever is letting their dogs go wherever they please (I’m not blaming the doggies what-so-ever because they don’t know better), they better be ready for the biggest rant of their lives.

 

4 Steps to Training Your Dog

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I AM NOT A LICENSED DOG TRAINER. ALL KNOWLEDGE IS FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

Whether you want to teach your dog basic commands like sit, down, stay, or walking on a leash or more complex tricks like shake, hi-five, or play dead (we’re still working on this one), these are my steps to training your dog.

Step 1: Give It Time
You will not teach your dog anything is a week or two weeks or three. You have to make a commitment to teaching your dog. House training is the hardest part of training a pup. It took months and lots of early mornings. It took not giving up when times were trying. If it helps, set aside time each day to work on their training, and as they learn, you’ll see you need less time.

Step 2: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Some commands will take less repetition than others. But other times, it will seem as much as you repeat a command and work with your dog, they will never understand. It gets boring and monotonous, but if you stop, they truly will never understand. Stick with it. Keep going.

Step 3: Grant Positive Reinforcement
We used a clicker with Stella, which they learn to associate the sound with positive reinforcement. You are not to use a clicker to gain your pup’s attention or as the positive reinforcement itself. Use in conjunction with treats and praise. Stella preferred Blue Buffalo’s Blue Bits training treats.Treat and praise them heavily when they do something correctly. Slowly ween them of treats when they are consistently doing what you want them to. Always praise.

Step 4: Stay Consistent
You can not teach your pup to sit and then think that he or she will retain it forever if you stop asking them to sit. Keep working with them after they have already been taught.

Stella is a very good dog. But she has her moments. She likes to play around and not listen, she still likes to jump up on people in public when she gets excited. Boxer’s are known to be stubborn. But she has learned to sit, stay, to leave it, and drop it, among her many other “tricks”. She’s house trained. We did take her to puppy training classes where they gave us tools to work with her. But it’s our hard work and dedication to her training that’s gotten her to where she is today. Don’t give up on your dog or think he/she is untrainable. They’re worth it.

A Day In The Life: Stella’s Beach Day

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While Stella is a social dog now, she hasn’t always been this way. As a younger puppy, she did not like new dogs. New humans were more than okay in her book, but every time she encountered a dog, growling and barking and other unpleasant sounds would come out of her tiny little body. Thankfully, she was still young enough that we were still able to successfully socialize her much less effort had she been older and stuck in her ways. It just took time, not giving up, and lots of butt sniffing (on her end) to get her comfortable meeting new pups. Now I would categorize her as a social butterfly.

Her days include going down to the apartment complex dog park and hoping that a friend is there for her to play and wrestle with. (I also hope for this as it will mean I do not have to entertain the little ball of energy.) Often, if no dogs are at her disposal to play with, I like to take her on walks so as to hopefully run into another dog to greet or a nice human friend that wants to pay mind to crazy, little puppy.

This weekend was a treat for little Stella. Avery and I took her down to the dog beach. She loves the dog beach. The times we have visited, there’s anywhere from 15-30 dogs roaming off-leash at this beach. She was in heaven. Places like this are great for dogs, especially in the summer. The dogs are, for the most part, well mannered. And I don’t even mind the crazy ones because mine is included in that group.

While Stella loves her toys and tennis balls at home, when she’s outside surrounded by friends, she is completely disinterested. So when other dogs were chasing down balls thrown out in the water, Stella spent her time chasing down those dogs. She splashed and ran and played her little heart out. We stayed out until us humans who weren’t frolicking in the water were sweaty and on the verge of overheating.

I love seeing my puppy playing and having the time of her life. She spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping off her exhaustion. It was a day well-spent for us both.

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I Talk To My Dog

 

I talk to my dog. I mean, there’s the usual things like commands telling her to sit, stay, shake, down, drop. I tell her good girl. And BAD DOG.

But when I say I talk to my dog, I mean I hold actual, one-way conversations with her. I ask her about her day. And I tell her about mine. I ask her what I should do about this or that. I walk her through what I’m making for dinner. I tell her what I’m thinking. I treat her as if she’s a human friend who has the capability of understanding and responding. (Sometimes, she growls at me, and I respond to her in a conversational tone and we just go back and forth that way.)

I realize that I’m not actually talking to Stella but really just talking aloud to myself. I sound like a crazy person. But I’m posting this in hopes of learning others do this, too.

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I’ve always been a dog person. I couldn’t wait for the day until I could have a dog all my own that I would be responsible for. When Avery brought up getting a dog back in October, I thought it would be one of those instances where we talked about it and decided we weren’t ready. But once I saw the picture of the boxer puppies that Avery found online, I didn’t have it in me to say it wasn’t a good idea. Even driving out to pick her up, we were still undecided. (Or at least we said we were. Looking back, I was definitely leaving with my puppy.) Thank goodness I have no willpower because then I wouldn’t have the light of my life, Stella. She was born on September 4th, 2015. When we picked her up, she was two months old and weighed only six pounds. She was the most adorable thing on the planet.

I always tell Avery that I’m obsessed with Stella. But only because I think it’s impossible to describe how much I love my dog. She frustrates me to no end sometimes. And drives me up the wall when she pulls every single one of her toys out and ends up playing with only her favorites. But she also loves to snuggle with me on the couch. She’s so friendly when we go on walks, she wants to say hi to everyone that walks by. She has an attitude (like me!) and likes to talk back. Stella has so much energy, she can be so spastic. But on the other end, she likes to take naps and climbs into my lap when she wants to be cuddled.

I could go on and on. But I‘ll just leave these pictures for you to enjoy.