Gone camping













I took the summer off from blogging and we went camping.  And we played.  And we watched too much tv.  And we relaxed.  And it was nice.

But, it is time to get back to school, routines and blogging.  I’m going to do a handful of blog posts to catch up on what I missed blogging about this summer… like when I took Remy to the groomers and I freaked out about how much they butchered his hair.  It was just awful.

Here are some pictures from Remy’s 1st camping trip and Emma’s 3rd camping trip.

We spent a week on Lake Michigan.  It was glorious because we were pretty much the only people there.  Every day we sat on the beach, with the kids and the dogs, enjoying having it all to ourselves.  Yeah, dogs  aren’t allowed on the beach but we were diligent about cleaning up after them and they were not disturbing anyone.  They loved running as fast as they could up and down the beach, chasing toys and digging in the sand.

Emma is quite the water dog.  She dives right in, swimming out to get her ball and loving it.  Remy was a little afraid of the water but a few times he ran in after Emma.  By the end of the summer he was much less afraid of the big lake. 

Emma slept in her crate in Nick’s tent.  Remy slept with the little boys.  The dogs were pretty obnoxious when people, other dogs, or squirrels would pass our campsite.  Remy has a big, intimidating bark but he really is sweet as pie.   We found if we brought Emma’s crate outside she would run for it and hang out in there for hours.   In her crate she didn’t care who or what walked by our campsite.  At first I felt badly for her but it obviously helped her feel secure.  She likes her crate and I sometimes need to remember she had a hard life before we got her.  She’s only been with us for a year and we need to help her  continue to adjust and help her feel secure.

She and Remy are doing great, they are best friends and I’ll be posting more updates soon. 


Advertising Fail


Emma & Remy have had a fun summer.  I’ve taken oodles of pictures and have much to share.  Summer vacation is almost over so you can expect much more frequent posting around here.

Today Emma and Remy spent the afternoon at the beach, enjoying beautiful Lake Michigan, fetching Gabriel’s crocs (they float and are a good substitute for a water toy when the water toys are accidently left at home) and getting riled up over bird shadows. 

On the way to the beach we passed the most interesting veterinary practice I have ever seen. This Animal Hospital gets props for creativity but loses big points for poor taste.

Really, a big shot?  Does this just say, We love pets to you? The big shot mailbox is a huge advertising fail in my book. 

Emma & Remy are enjoying camping this week and after the day at the lake we are heading back to our campground for dinner.  Remy wants to get out for a stroll to visit his new friend, a wheaton terrier named Milo.   Pictures coming soon.

The love of a dog

Emma and Remy are very close and it is evident they have much affection for each other.  They seem to have a great understanding of each other. 

I know one of them must be the “alpha” but it is hard to see on a day-to-day basis.  I really don’t see one a leading the other.  They live peacefully together, showing much respect for each other.

Remy is food obsessed.  He is the most food motivated dog I’ve ever seen.  Emma is not a food motivated dog.  She likes treats but she gets much more excited to play.  She did get a little snippy about her marrow bone when we bought those but that was a very special treat and I think she knew Remy would have taken it she would have never seen it again.

We feed the dogs side by side.  We fill the bowls, they sit, we give them their bowls, they eat.  Same routine alk the time, no drama, and Remy is always eager for his bowl to be set down so he can inhale it as fast as he can. 

This morning the dogs were waiting and I asked Christian to feed them.  He assumed Nick had already fed Emma, not uncommon, and he just fed Remy and walked away.  Remy sat there looking at the one bowl of food -Emma never advanced, she was actually behind him.  He smelled it and backed away.  He repeated the smelling and backing up but he didn’t take a single bite.

I watched and realized Remy wasn’t sure if that food was his or not and in spite of his hunger, he waited for Emma to get a bowl of food too.  Not once did Emma go near that bowl or show any sign she wanted it.  He just loves her and wanted to make sure she had breakfast too.  As soon a food was set down for Emma too he was happy to dig in.

I love my dogs and their sweet relationship.

Remembering Buddy


Gabriel is sad today.  He is remembering our cat, Buddy, who left our family about a year ago.

Gabey is such a tender little boy, with such a soft spot for animals.  It always makes him sad when he thinks about our pets that are gone.

He came in from playing to color a picture in rememberance of his favorite cat.  He had a good cry, we had a good snuggle and drawing a picture seemed to help him.

The hardest part of being a pet owner is saying goodbye.

My head is spinning.

Or at least it feels like it.  Everything is busy in our lives and I haven’t had time to catch up here.  I have so many posts I need to get up and I’m really hopeful for lots of time to write this weekend.  We homeschool and we started using new curriculum and school eats up a lot of our day.  We have had sick kids.  We have been working on house stuff – out with the old, in with the new and getting all of our ducks in a row for a bathroom remodel in just over 2 weeks.  I’ve also been busy helping a friend pack up her house and Spring has arrived and we’re just extra busy.

We got new leather furniture recently and Clover had to be declawed.  I had really mixed feelings about doing that but he was tearing up our sofa and I couldn’t chance it with the new furniture.  A blog post is coming.

Remy’s hair is changing and I’ve been at my wits end trying to manage him.  He’s currently sporting some pretty significant bald spots as I’ve tried to battle horrible knots that spring up daily.  I so resist shaving him but I can’t keep up.  A blog post is coming.

Remy is a clod.  He is still clumsy and he is big and he jumps on people and I’m really having a hard time training him to relax.  We’re making some progress but it is slow.   A blog post is coming.

He is getting so big and so strong.  And it is finally nice enough to go for walks.  He is terrible on a leash.  We’ll be busy leash training this spring.  A blog post is coming.

We found a great new toy that so far Emma and Remy have failed to harm.  A blog post is coming.

We purchased a ridiculous amount of smoked bones.  They made Remy quite sick to his stomach.  A blog post is coming.

We want Emma and Remy to be Air Dogs.  A blog post is coming.

Remy is extremely food motivated.  As in, food might be the only thing he ever thinks about.  A blog post is coming.

I’ll be back, blogging asap.

This last picture is so funny to me.  Remy was visiting my mom and my sister snapped this picture with her cell phone.  Remy looks so ferocious but he and Lucy, my mom’s dog, love to play with each other. They chew on each other and make a lot of noise but they are buddies.




Wet Dog


Emma and Remy love to play outside in the snow.  They chase each other in circles around the yard and they roll in the snow and chew on each other.  I love to watch them play but when they come in Remy is usually covered in clumps of snow and Emma is barely damp.

Her fur has enough oil in it to repel the water but Remy’s coat doesn’t have any oil in it.  The snow quickly melts on his fur and he becomes a wet mop.  He plays outside several times a day and several times a day this is what we deal with.

And when he comes in he wants to greet EVERYONE!

I am so ready for winter to be over but I am dreading the onset of Spring.  Remy will be a wet, muddy mess and I cringe at the thought of it.

After a few days of this he needs to be groomed and the whole process takes me 2-3 hours!

I guess this is why so many goldendoodle owners trim their coat short.  I am completely unwilling to cut his long hair so I will work tirelessly until summer to keep him clean and dry and as cute as can be.

Best Friends

I watch Emma and Remy play together every day and it makes me so happy.  I knew a puppy would be good for Emma and after a few bumps in the road I know I was right.  Without our having gotten Remy I would never have known how to help Emma or that she even needed help.  It just thrills me to see them play the way they do.  Often Remy will be sleeping and Emma will nudge him with her nose in an effort to motivate him to play.  She loves him so much. But, even more than watching them run and play, my heart fills watching them snuggle.  Emma likes to curl up next to her fluffy buddy and rest her head on him.  She sleeps happy by his side and all of the expenses and frustrations are worth it.

Try to overlook the mess – I’m in the middle of a big project.  I’m anxious to finish and have use of our living room again.

Traveling Safely with Dogs


*** updated with pictures I forgot to add earlier.

I am one of those moms.  One of those car seat crazy moms.  I have 4 children ages 6, 8, 9 and 14.  The 3 youngest all ride in high back booster seats.  It is now the law in Michigan but I insisted on it long before it was a law.  My 9 year old is about 60 lbs and the high back booster seats are recommended up to 80 lbs.  My kids know no different – car seats have been a part of their life since the day they were born and they have a better view in them. Keeping 4 kids in car seats – we did at one time – is quite a job.  And an expense!  We have purchased more car seats than I can count.

When my husband was in a car accident with all the boys we went right out and replaced all the car seats.

Safety First!

So, when we got Emma and she started going for car rides I knew we would have to find a safe way to travel with her.  I purchased her a seat belt but she hated it.  And it gave her too much slack so she continuously got herself into painful positions.  When we got Remy I mentioned to a friend I was going to have to purchase one of those car barriers to keep the dogs in the back of my car.  I drive a very large SUV and there is plenty of room for both of them back there. I had one years ago but during a car change I had gotten rid of it.  I happen to be back in an SUV now so I wanted to buy another one.  She happened to have one in her garage she wasn’t using anymore and gave it to me.  What a great gift from a generous friend.

I am adamant that dogs need to be restrained to be safe while traveling.  If your unrestrained children would fly through the window in an accident, it stands to reason your pets would too!  And, pets don’t have the sense to get themselves to safety so if a pet were to end up out the window and miraculously unharmed from a collision, it’s very likely they would run into the street and be hurt by oncoming traffic.

I’m a safety girl and I want my kids and my pets safe.  Plus, when my pups are at home I feel safer driving home from Costco with all those groceries safely behind metal bars.  I often think about what kind of damage flying cans would do in an accident.

You can purchase car barriers from many places. The one I have is sold by Foster and Smith here for $99.

Emma and Remy will spend a lot of time together back there this summer.  They have lots of room to hang out, snuggle and play when they aren’t busy looking out the windows.  Remy is especially fond of jumping around back there and one time he even squeezed through that open area above the tire.  Nick really needs to fix that side because he put the panel on upside down.  That side doesn’t fit so great because my spare tire is in the way.

And yes, I know I said my 3 little guys ride in high-back booster seats but for some reason one of them wasn’t in my car when we went for our ride.  I will be investigating where that extra seat is before we go out again.  Oh, and we were parked here so that’s why seat belts are half off – funny how these photos aren’t the picture of safe travel I envisioned posting.

A barrier I see more often but don’t care for as much is also sold by Foster and Smith here.  It is significantly less pricey at $49-$69.  This barrier certainly serves the purpose of keeping the pets safe but I like the double duty provided by the other barrier with the greater coverage.  In my mind it keeps more things restrained – like grocery items and other cargo.

I have not done any research as to prices for these items elsewhere but I’m sure there are other retailers and I would certainly price match before buying.  Personally, I would put a want ad on my local Craigslist before buying something like this new but that’s just me and I’m frugal like that.

We do a lot of traveling in the summer.  I appreciate any travel tips you have to share.

I’m on the hunt for a good travel system for feeding our dogs.  Recommendations?