Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Growing Family

One of my promised, catch-up posts was to be about our family additions - 2 kitties and 2 puppies.  My iPhone is filled with photos that I've taken of all 4 of them, in addition to those sent to me by Jonathan and my Mother-in-law either when I'm at work, or we're out of down and my in-laws "babysit".

Bare with me on this [large excessive] photo story:

This spring as we planned and packed for our move back to WNY, we knew we would be quickly gaining a family member.  My sister-in-law and her boyfriend own 2 beautiful dogs that they had breed and we would be getting one of the puppies this summer when they came down from Vermont to visit!

Here is my sister-in-law Jessica holding a very tiny baby Osa...this was taken long before we had picked the name Osa, but we knew that we wanted one of the two female pups.

Here she is again, growing quickly, but we'd yet to meet her at this point.

Jessica and her boyfriend, Jake, drove down to WNY from Brattleboro, VT the end of July with our baby Osa, Shanti (the little boy pup they kept) and Kali (who didn't make it to his home in California until October)

The two pictures above are from her first weekend with us

Osa summer consisted of playing, napping, long walks, biscuits and waiting patiently for belly rubs

On August 15th we took Osa to the vet for her 3rd distemper and rabies shots.  We had a 8:30 a.m. appointment so once we she done, we dropped her off at home and headed into town to meet my Dad at Home Depot to buy more things (who remembers what exactly anymore) for the remodel.  When we got back from Home Depot, Jonathan and my Dad worked to unload his truck, and I started hanging some laundry outdoors.  While I saw all the other "kids" playing in our fenced in back yard, it took a few minutes for me to find Osa.  She was laying under the deck in the mud (not unusual) and had no interest in coming out to see me.  Well, when the kitties had gone for distemper shots, they would be a little out of it and sleep for the next few days so I didn't think to much of it, and went back upstairs.  Before my Dad left he went out back to see the "kids" and got some bones out for the puppies.  At this point Osa did get up but he noticed she wasn't using one of her hind legs.  I came outside, and he mentioned it to me so I picked up the bone, and brought it down to her so she would stop trying to walk up the stairs onto the deck where my Dad was sitting.  I thought maybe she had a pricker in her paw so I went to touch her leg to see and she FLIPPED.OUT.  I sat down in the grass with her trying to calm her down, but she was crying and howling and not giving in to any comfort I could provide.  There was no visible evidence of what was causing her pain, but we called the vet we had just seen that morning and thankfully caught them before they left for the day (this was around 1:15 and they close at 1 on Thursdays).  We raced back to the vet with Osa in Jon's lap while I drove.  Upon examination, they determined she had broken her left hind leg.  The vet we go to doesn't have x-ray equipment, but they suggested who we should call to get an x-ray.  Sadly, they couldn't get us in until 4 p.m. that day so we left and headed home, unsure of what to do with her except to try and keep her still and as comfortable as possible until we could go get her x-ray.  When we were about 2 minutes from the house, we decided to call another vet hospital in the area, explained our situation to them and they told us to come right in so we drove straight past the house and continued on our way to get her looked at.

2 days later, our baby girl came home looking like this.  She was so excited to see us the afternoon we picked her up she peed on the floor in excitement (something she has never done before or after this day!)  We now had to keep an 11 month old puppy away from her brother and not allow her to be too active - yes, this is exactly as difficult as you could imagine it to be!  We also had to go back every 10 days to have the cast changed because she was growing so.darn.FAST at this stage

If you can focus past the big ears, and hot pink cheeseburger in her mouth, you can see a little bit of cast #2 on her back hind leg.

Thankfully after cast #2, and about 4 weeks with a cast on she had been growing so quickly that she also healed very quickly and was finally cast free!  We still had to limit her activity and keep her separated for another 2-3 weeks, but we were making huge strides towards a speedy recovery!

So, "what happened?" you ask?  We're not 100% sure.  Since we have the fenced in back yard, we don't supervise them 24/7 during the summer months.  We do know that the 3 steps from the back deck to the grass were (yes, were) open on the back.  We also know that this was (and still IS) the clumsy-ist puppy in, I don't know, all the land, and we had seen her sort of face-plant, slide down these stairs before when she was in too big of a hurry (to get no where).  We believe she caught her back leg in the opening of the stairs while having one of these moments getting down the stairs - which also explains why I found her where I did when we first came home from Home Depot.  Again, I'd like to stress that the stairs were open backed until this happened.  Jonathan has now put backs on the stairs so that no body gets hurts like this again in the future!

Osa continued to grow at an alarming rate (at 6 months she weighed in around 65 lbs!!), though she has slowed a little....we think.  Maybe not.  We haven't weighed her in awhile, and I swear her ears have grown!! LOL

This picture was taken Sunday morning.  Sorry for my nail, but of the 4 shots I took of her with her paws crossed, of course, her face looks the best in this one!  We were all laughing because Osa is almost always laying on her back, spread eagle, zero modesty, waiting for belly rubs!  For a split second she thought she was a lady!

Maisy & Nyx
I have always loved cats.  Always.  It wasn't until I was about 4 that I found out that I was allergic to my Grandma's dog (technically my Dad's dog that lived at my Grandma's house because of my Mom's allergies).  Right before I started Kindergarten, I convinced my parents to let me take home a free barn kitten.  Shortly after that the dog at my Grandma's had to be put down due to old age, and she took in a stray kitten that had been hanging around her house.  Very quickly after that, we found out how much worse my cat allergies are compared to the reaction I would have to dogs.  I had 2 different cats growing up (Fluffy, the free barn cat when I was 5 lived until I was 19, and Brady who was adopted when I moved home after college and sadly had his life cut short at age 3 as he was far too curious of a kitty).  Both had to life outside due to my allergies.  They had comfy and warm homes in our garage and never went without food or love from my whole family.  They just couldn't life in doors.  My love for cats has continued as an adult and Jonathan and I had discussed prior to our move the possibility of getting outdoor kitties some day.  When he was in first grade he found a Momma cat and kittens who hung around the house.  The one baby, Kitty lived until we have been dating for about 5 years, and only lived in the house with my in-laws at the very end of her life.

Fast forward to us being home about 2 1/2 weeks when we heard that the chipmunks that were everywhere on the trail and around the house (things that happen when you no longer have a cat living on your property!) had also gotten into the house at least twice (that we knew of) in the spring!  That Monday morning, Jonathan and I went to a local rescue to see about adopting kitties - we were not interested in having our new electrical work chewed by chipmunks!!!

We went to look, and came home wit these little beauties:
The white one with the grey eye patch and tail we named Maisy and that little black fluff-ball behind her in Nyx (or Nyxie as we call her)  They were SO TINY when they came home!!!  Maisy was only 7 weeks old, and Nyxie 9 weeks.  Half the time Maisy didn't vocalize a mew when she'd open her mouth, and it took almost 2 months before both of them could purr when you'd pet them.  Jonathan could carry them inside at night together in one hand.  We'd call them the "ittah bittah kittah committah"

We bought them itty bitty harness and leads the day they came home, and they were trained to be used to these from day one.  They were so tiny at this point, that we wouldn't let them off the porch and into the grass without someone sitting them with supervising (hawks are pretty common in our area and we didn't want one of them to get scooped up)  We even had an old dog training pen that we brought into the family room for them to sleep in at night for fear of a racoon sneaking up on them in the middle of the night and attacking our itty bitty kitties while they slept.

This video depicts how they spent their waking hours this summer:
I would never NOT get more than one kitten at a time from this point forward.  We could have never entertained a kitten the way these 2 entertained each other.  It makes me feel bad for my childhood cats who never had this type of companionship throughout their lives.

They spent most of their summer days lounging, and napping...

and waiting impatiently for food or treats!

They too grew fast, and soon were big enough to sleep outside, and have unsupervised time in the yard.

If you can't tell, Maisy in an absolutely CHARACTER.  She's a total spaz and truly not the smartest of cats.  The 2nd picture here was taken the first day we have them cat nip - Maisy was more interested in laying in the hammock of their cat tower cleaning herself and doing "high kicks" every time I went to take a picture.  The picture that I caught couldn't have been planned if I'd spent a month working on it!  I've never seen her lay like this since, but her built in "modesty panel" is something she could teach her BIG little sister Osa!

Nyxie looks like an Ewok.  I wish I had a good picture of this to share with you!  She is the fluffiest and softest of all the kitties I've ever known and looks at you with these HUGE eyes that make you saw "awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwe Nyxie!"

And how do they spend their time these days?

Here's where we found them on Christmas morning.  Forever causing trouble and when you call them out on it, they stand there looking at you with eyes that say "what?"

You almost have to play "spot the kitty" when you walk into the family room, but this is a standard location for each of them:  Maisy on the desk chair and Nyxie "pooled" on a dog bed.  And why not?  90% of the time they're more interested in eating dog food and biscuits than their own!

Last, but certainly not least, came Copper.  I grew up with beagles at my house.  Three in total, one of whom my Dad still has.  Jonathan has known for as long as we've been officially planning our move back to WNY that I wanted a beagle, basically the day we got home!  My Dad looked into getting sibling puppies this spring (with the intention of keeping one for himself as his little girl Emma is almost 11), but none of the local breeders either had beagles or were trusted.  Since we already had Osa planned to come home, and got our kitties so quickly, I'd not thought of the possibility of any more animals coming to live with us.  In my back of my mind I just thought that maybe I'd look into it a bit this coming spring and see if there were any options.

Along comes July 8th:  we've been home just over a month.  The kitties have been home with us for 2 weeks, and Osa will be here in 2 more weeks.  It's 8:30 at night when Jonathan and I see a picture of a beagle mix named Colby Creek posted to the Facebook page for the shelter where we adopted the kitties.  He's almost 5 months old and available immediately for adoption again and A-DOR-A-BLE!  With Jon's permission, I quickly send a message to the shelter saying that we had just adopted the kitties, and were very interested in meeting Colby Creek, when could we come?!?  I received a response that we could come the following evening around 6 p.m. to meet him.  At this point, EVERYONE thinks were NUTS for taking on ANOTHER pet.  In addition to 2 kitties and a puppy on it's way, please keep in mind we were both unemployed at this point - even I thought we were nuts!  But at the same time, we didn't want to pass up the opportunity to at least meet with someone who, maybe, was meant to be a part of our growing family!

So Tuesday night we go to meet Colby Creek.  Jonathan tells me before we walk in that no matter what, we're going to let them know at the end of the visit that we need to think about it.  We walk into the foster house, take one look at him and it was LOVE at first sight!  I think it was a 2-way street too cause I bent down to pet him and he immediately licked my face....of course I'm smiling and talking to him so he licked my teeth but I didn't even care!  We talked with the foster mom for a while about his back story (left in a field near Corning, NY), his behavior (loving, great with their young children, chewed very little), and why he was up for adoption again (the man who was to adopt him had been approached to care for a special needs beagle and could not take them both on at the same time.  The shelter where Colby Creek was told him that if he could take care of the special needs beagle, he should and they would have no trouble finding a new home for Colby Creek)  They then let us taking Colby Creek for a short walk around their neighborhood.  We had no more than got outside and Jonathan expressed to me how "we had to have him" and how much he was in love with him (yeaaaah!!  cause I 110% felt the same way!)

This was taking down by the lake during that first walk the day we met him.  Is he not the sweetest??!?!  I just LOVE him!!

The shelter was made aware that night before we left that we were most definitely interested in adopting him.  On Thursday he was neutered and on Sunday, July 14th he came HOME for good (on his 5 month birthday - that's right, his birthday is Valentine's Day!)!!  Between Tuesday and Sunday I thought long and hard about his name as well.  He had been named Colby Creek cause that was the name of the creek near where he had been found.  I didn't mind Colby, I just wasn't sure I wanted to call that name for approximately the next decade.  While looking online, using the same pet naming websites I'd used 2 weeks earlier with the kitties, I came across Copper and added it to a short list.  I first liked the name due to the coloring on his head.  It took me about a day to make the connection with Disney's "Fox and the Hound".  At that point I knew it was the perfect name for him!

He loved his new home from day one (pictured above that first afternoon in our back yard)

One week later Osa arrived, and our "zoo" was complete!  This video was pretty much their first interaction other than the initial meet & sniff out front.  As you can see, Osa was still smaller than Copper at this point.

Copper had what I can only imagine was an amazing summer:

and getting in trouble (this is one of those pictures Jonathan sent to me while I was not home!)

Both dogs also quickly learned when we were mad/they were in trouble.  This sand box is under a fort in the backyard that Jonathan used as a child.  We tried to teach them to only dig here vs. the entire yard (not completely successful).  And while they did still dig here till the sand was flying EVERYWHERE; for some reason unknown to us, they would go sit here after they knew they were in trouble!  It became the "trouble box"!

It's taken some time to control the kisses that this little boy likes to dole out too.  The shot above was from Dec 26th and my face looks like that because he's tongue had probably just been in my ear.  Over the summer I was impatiently waiting for him to be interested in sitting in my lap with me if I was reading outdoors.  He was still far to hyper of a pup and was always squirmy and giving out ALL THE KISSES.

Within the last month, we have mastered giving a kiss on the tip of my nose if I bend down and put my nose to his (seriously, it's the cutest thing ever!  He won't always do it for Jonathan either, which makes me feel like it's our special thing)

I also try and have him sit in my lap with me for a little bit each night and he continues to relax there more and more
Only once though has he laid himself down and fallen asleep <3

The downside to me encouraging this behavior?  From the moment I get home from work at night, he's all but ready to crawl up my butt:

And when I don't let him?
He pouts.

A couple of weeks ago I was concerned that he was sick due to his behavior of just laying there in the evenings.  Jonathan informed me that all day long he's running around and playing, and as soon as I get home he sits on his favorite little rug and LOOKS at me until I pick him up.  Biggest.Baby.EVER

He also chews like no other dog!  He can't have soft beds (which is why the kitties now use them) and all soft toys get destroyed.  He (or someone else - OSA) makes a small hole and Copper thinks it's a game to get all the fluff out and "make it rain".  He chews rawhide bones designed for dogs 4x his size for hours on end and never tires of it.  I'm constantly amazed that his gums don't bleed.  But he does not have stinky puppy breath (unlike his sister who gets bored with chewing bones after 5 minutes)

If you take the bone away from him, which is necessary or he doesn't eat his meals, he naps
in very adorable, snuggly positions

and some of the oddest positions - honestly, he slept like this for about 10 minutes a few weeks ago!

He is just the BEST and I'm so happy he lives with us.  He's the sweetest dog I've ever been around.

All four of our babies get along so well.  As I mentioned with never getting a single kitty at a time again, same goes for all of them!  Because they came home around the same time, and are all around the same age (born Feb (Copper) April (kitties) and May (Osa)) no one is a threat to the other, no one tries to eat someone (Osa) and no one tries to claw out eyes or the noses of curious puppies (kitties...)

Osa shows no signs that she's aware that she's bigger than Copper, and Copper is definitely an Alpha dog who thinks he rules the roost!   With zero awareness or care that he's now smaller than her I might add.  Seriously, Osa thinks play time is putting Copper's entire muzzle in her mouth!  Thankfully neither bite hard with each other and just play.  It only gets "aggressive" when someone takes the bone the other one wanted.  And they always only  want the bone (or toy) that the other one has!

There is lots of playing, hanging out and snuggling happening at our house!

Jonathan wanted in on the snuggles one night - does anyone else find Osa's head/ear position while being "squished" as funny as I do?
*disclaimer* no puppies were hurt in the taking of these photographs!  Jonathan's weight in on the floor between them

We even dressed up the puppies for Christmas dinner!
Copper did NOT like it - but those hound dog eyes are the best!

Thank you to those of you who stuck with this crazy long photo tour, and story!  

And for those of you who didn't read this far, don't worry.  There will be plenty of photos shared in the future!


  1. Awww - I love all of your 'babies'. So cute. :)

  2. Fun pictures! Glad Osa is all healed now. ;-)

  3. WOW! Your dog, Osa, is so beautiful! I had no idea from the baby pictures that she was a German Shepherd. So pretty! My dog broke his leg as a puppy too, and he healed up just fine. It's just so sad to see them in those casts. Your kitties are so pretty too! Love that white one with the gray around one eye. Too cute! You must stop! You're making me want a kitty and I CAN'T!

    1. they're like potato chips - you can't stop at just one!

      every time I see a picture of a new beagle up for adoption I send pictures to Jonathan saying "I know we can't, but I want him/her!!"

  4. Super super cute! Your beagles faces / positions remind me of my Kai! love it! also, I think I need another dog! lol

    1. isn't he just the funniest? I don't know what I'm going to do when we have kids - my phone is constantly almost out of storage space with puppy pictures!!