Posted in Mental Health Monday

Mental Health Monday: You Gotta Love Yourself

It’s really easy to get down on yourself sometimes. Especially if you become complacent in your life and let certain things get out of control. Then those thoughts of “I should have known better,” “Why did I do this to myself,” and “What is wrong with me that I didn’t stop this sooner?” start to swirl around your head. The hopelessness of the situation presses down on your heart and makes you say and do stupid things like lash out at the people who care about you and are trying to help you. In these moments, it’s the easiest to let depression and self-destruction be the primary forces in your life.

It’s extremely important when these thoughts are bombarding you to reach out to those people who make you feel good. Who’s that person that always makes you laugh? Who’s that person who always makes you feel like you can do anything? Who’s that person who doesn’t need to know a single detail about your situation, but will hug you and love on you and make you feel like everything will eventually be okay? Find them and bring them into your bubble. It might be uncomfortable, it might be scary, but it’s really important. It will feel so effortless to just sit in that darkness and wait for it to dissipate, but it’s essential for you to try to build a ladder and climb out of it.

This week has been rough for me for no reason other than life happens. I wasn’t on top of some of my responsibilities and it’s all piling up in an overwhelming heap. But I am extremely lucky to have a few people in my life who will always help me out of the darkness. They are always there with a funny story, kind words, or a virtual hug, no matter where we are. I am so blessed and lucky, and these are the moments that I realize just how true that is.

Posted in Doggy Reviews, From Kibble to Raw, Uncategorized

Goat’s Milk and Why I Love It

I love pro- and prebiotics. I eat Greek yogurt religiously and take supplements for myself, and I force feed my boyfriend his own as well. So naturally, I’m going to be feeding my animals pro- and prebiotics as well. The easiest way for me to administer The Biotics for me is through goat’s milk.

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT!

I am extremely fortunate that my animals enjoy eating things that are good for them (also not good for them like cheetos [Willow] and pretzels [Maui]). I don’t have to struggle to hide pills in various types of wizardry to get Willow to take her meds, and I don’t have to force feed either of them their supplements. That doesn’t stop me from wanting to make them more palatable. Willow’s pills are always wrapped up in some Greenie’s Pill Pockets and Maui has special treats for when I do something particularly unpleasant like nail trimming or looking at his teeth. I have recently started giving the kids a digestive supplement by The Honest Kitchen called Perfect Form that they aren’t super crazy for the taste of. Maui picks at his food if it’s just sprinkled on top of it and Willow just kind of halfheartedly laps at it.

Goat’s milk is my FAVORITE way to hide them in it. Its got a decent fat content, which hides any flavors they may not like and also helps keep their joints healthy. It’s chock full of probiotics and prebiotics that help balance out their guts. I’ve noticed a difference in their poops color and consistency (namely smaller, darker and a bit dryer) but the best of all is that I’ve noticed a HUGE decrease in the amount of gas they have, both burps and farts.

I’ve used a couple of different types of goat’s milk: 1. Answer’s Raw Goat’s Milk 2. Primal Raw Goat’s Milk 3. The Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom Instant Goat’s Milk .They each have their own pros and cons, and hopefully I can outline them a little bit here.

I didn’t notice a huge difference between the Answer’s and the Primal. They are both sold frozen due to their short shelf life and have to be defrosted before serving. I usually put it in my refrigerator either a full day or two days before I wind up needing it. If I need a shorter defrost period, I’ll leave it on my counter for an hour or so and use whatever defrosts in that time. They both usually have a little bit of sediment in them (which is totally fine! It just separates during the freezing process) so they have to be shaken up a bit. The downside to them is that the smallest size they come in is a pint and I just don’t go through it fast enough. I usually wind up having to throw a bunch of it away before ever getting close to the bottom.

My favorite is the Pro Bloom. I make it as I need it, it’s shelf stable, and it’s VERY inexpensive for the amount that it makes. I give Maui about an ounce a day (he’s a 4 month old, 3ish pound kitten) and I give Willow about 4 ounces a day (5 year old, 45ish pound doggo). I find that too much more than that gives them soft poos. Naturally though, this is going to vary based on your own particular animal. It took me quite a while to figure out exactly how much Willow could take each day and I’m still working on adjusting Maui’s levels to be perfect for him too.

So what do you think about goat’s milk? Something you may want to include in your pet’s diet? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Posted in From Kibble to Raw

Transitions: I’m Going to Feed Raw

I have been feeding Willow kibble for three years. She came to me eating Science Diet (aka utter sh*t) and have since transitioned her to single-protein Acana (a LOT better, nutritionally), on which she has done well. I have dabbled a little bit in canned wet food, but honestly, Willow isn’t crazy for it. I think there are ingredients in it, or maybe it’s the gravy, that just doesn’t sit well with her. Wet food always, a l w a y s gives her unnecessary amounts of extremely odorous gas, the cans containing a higher nutritional value are usually obscenely expensive (the Koha I mentioned in this post sells for $2.79 per can from the pet store I go to) and as a 45 pound dog, one standard can is only about 1/6 of her daily value of nutrition. You can do the math, it’s not realistic for me to feed her wet all the time.

But lately, I haven’t been satisfied with her food anymore. It’s not necessarily the Acana, which in the game of dry food is a very high contender. Maybe it’s partially that I can never find a wet food that I feel drives Willow bananas. Don’t get me wrong, she really liked the Koha. But that’s also really liking a category of food that has never really made her lose her mind (this girl has gone utter bananas over a piece of bacon that I dropped on the floor and a bag of cheetos she found when I was showering). Maybe it’s also partially just how expensive Acana is (I pay between $70 and $75 per 25lb bag for her dry food) in addition to her normal supplements and treats (goat’s milk as a probiotic, dental treats and marrow bones for her teeth, and then her normal treats for training).

Maybe it was adopting Maui and learning more about feline nutrition and realizing that while I was doing what I thought was right and best by feeding kibble to both of my babies, perhaps I wasn’t. But what is life but learning from one’s mistakes?

Or maybe, it’s just me learning more about the difference between kibble, freeze dried, dehydrated, frozen raw, and just plain raw food. I’ve been going through a bit of a boot camp with regards to different types of food, different requirements for canine and feline nutrition and how kibble just doesn’t meet those requirements.

So, I have decided to change how and what I feed. Which is unfortunate after purchasing a bunch of new foods for Maui. BUT I DIGRESS.

I will be talking about the different steps I’m going to take to transition from kibble to, ultimately, some form of raw feeding. I will be making some stops at freeze dried, testing some dehydrated food, and sampling different types of raw that are on the market, breaking down the prices and their ease of use.

If there’s anything specifically you would like me to try out or if you think there’s something that I definitely should try, please let me know!

Disclaimer 1: Before telling me that it’s unhealthy to be switching between different foods all the time, it’s important for everyone (animals and humans) to have a varied diet to get all the nutrients that they might not be exposed to if they were only eating the same thing every single day. Also bear in mind, this is not going to be something that I’m doing every single day. They will be staying on a single type of food for, potentially, months. So this series is going to be a slow burn.

Disclaimer 2: While I would absolutely LOVE your opinions, bear in mind that I will also be doing research on any brand/company/food that is recommended to me extensively before even considering feeding it to Maui or Willow. I am not going to irresponsibly feed my animals any random food that someone online tells me to feed (no offense).

Posted in Maui's Caturday, Willow Wednesday

Willow Wednesday: What Did You Bring Into My House?!

As I briefly mentioned in my Mental Health Monday post, we got a new kitten! We have adopted a two-month-old orange shorthair named Maui. IMG_0490

He’s very sweet, very playful, and very curious. He likes to cuddle, attack my legs only, and wears a bell around his neck so we can find him. He likes to chase fingers, feet under blankets, feather balls, and pipe cleaners. He shows more interest in the boxes and strings we have lying around than the actual toys we have purchased for him. He has already learned how to turn the computer on and off and thinks the window sill is the absolute best place to hang out with a possible exception being underneath the dressers so he can grab us as we walk past.

Willow hates him. These are some of her thoughts.

“He’s got weird smells, he’s got weird sounds, he jingles when he walks past because Mom and Dad put a crazy weird bell on him. There’s all this random new stuff around the house that I don’t understand. Why would you ruin a perfectly good ball with feathers?! He drinks my water, he goes into my crate when I’m not there, and is just a menace! Mom should return him straight away!”

We are going on day 4 post adoption, and he’s settling in very well. He’s getting used to the crate and rotate situation that we are living in quickly (I think due to his time spent in the shelter on his own). He’s generally unbothered by Willow’s barking, and he’s enjoying his new food. He is learning his name and that the carrier is not the worst place to be, though the car noises sometimes startle him.

We are very excited about our new fur baby, and are still getting used to how things are going to be now, and as always I will continue to update you all here too!

Posted in Mental Health Monday

Mental Health Monday: Stress, It is a Killer

I’m an average person. I work full time, I have a lovely boyfriend, an apartment, a sweet (to me) dog, and we have recently added a kitten to our family. I love my life, I love all the heartbeats (people AND animals) in it, and I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate and lucky with this beautiful life I live.

I’m an average person, and sometimes I absolutely hate my life.

I hate when the stress of adding a new family member triggers my anxiety. What if Willow and Maui are accidentally let into the same room at the same time? Was I crazy to think something like this would work? What if I’m not a good enough pet parent to make sure that both of my fur children are safe and cared for, and their needs are all met? Is Willow getting enough face time with Vinh and I? Is Maui? Is adding a kitten to the mix just going to make Willow regress from all the progress we are making?

I hate when I feel guilty living the “crate and rotate” system. How do I fully enjoy watching Maui run around and play when I can hear Willow barking and crying in the background? How can I snuggle and love on my dog when the cat is mewling from the bathroom to be let out? Who do I let out and roam when I’m doing chores around the house? I can logically rationalize it to myself, but how do I rationalize it to my animals? Or my boyfriend, who is so in love with the kitten and afraid of the dog?

I hate when a peaceful moment with one of them triggers the other. I live for the moments when they are both relaxed and at peace. To be honest, Maui really doesn’t care a whole lot if Willow is barking at him. Every day he ventures closer and closer to her crate, regardless of how ferociously she’s screaming. And every day, Willow barks a little bit less at him. Unfortunately, my heart breaks the same amount every time.

At some moments, I really hate my life. And it’s in those moments that I get the opportunity to remember the good things in it.

Willow’s probably never going to be able to be left alone with Maui and leave me feeling comfortable with it. That’s a fact of life both Vinh and I have resigned ourselves to and feel okay about. But it has always been important for her to have time for herself, to relax or sleep or chew on a special treat she gets. Her medications have been working well for her, and every day we are able to do a little bit more that used to be outside of her comfort zone. Both Maui and Vinh give us lots of chances to practice our obedience and impulse control, and this gives my girl more and more confidence that things aren’t going to get her at any moment.

Maui is a source of laughter in our sometimes too stressful home. Last night, he was walking across the window sill and slipped, falling into Willow’s water bowl. He proceeded to track water all around the room until I caught him and toweled him off. He chases our feet first thing in the morning, and rubs his face on my glasses while I’m wearing them. He’s brave, and curious, and playful, and sweet. He cuddles up with me and places his paws on my face to show me that he thinks I’m pretty okay. He climbs on top of Vinh’s laptop and turns it off to remind him that he needs to play with Maui too.

It’s hard not to fall into a pit when it seems like a bunch of things are clashing together and none of it is mixing together, no matter how hard you try. But there are always, always opportunities to find the light during those moments of darkness. No matter how hopeless or frustrating life seems, there are good points in every sadness.