Friday, September 26, 2014

The End of the Dog Blog

Missy Mae Baumann died from IMHA September 9th, 2014. She is survived by her brother Mister, her mom Brittany, her loving and attentive grandparents and her aunt Molly O’Brien. Missy or “The Missaroo” was born in an area of Washington State known as the Tri-Cities. She was found abandoned by a woman named Tracy who fostered dogs for Pet Over Population Prevention (POPP) in December of 2008 and was adopted a month later by her forever mom. Each year the two celebrated her adoption date and her birthday will forever be known as January 23rd 2008. Missy loved all things people and had no idea she was even a dog. She loved to go for walks, watch TV, protect her family and curl up to the closest person for a belly rub. She despised motorcycles, being alone and the unknown. In her early years, Missy struggled with other dogs and often tried to attack anything she saw on a leash. Once her brother Mister came into her life she had a constant companion and learned to play well with others, even going to dog parks with him. Missy managed to live a lot of live her 6 short years on this earth. She moved to three different states, walked in the river, chased and caught a chicken, learned to play football, toured two universities, learned to be a big sister, got over her fear of  other dogs, took two levels of obedience school, and about a million others adventures that were all well documented in this blog ((thank goodness)). In the course of her life she also made hundreds of friends.  Although her death was tragic, her mom was with her until the very end.  Missy never knew she was a dog, so she lived and died like the person she truly was.  She might be gone, but never, ever forgotten.

--side note… Words cannot express how much Missy means to me. I spend time next to her ashes everyday thinking about my sweet Missaroo. I am so blessed to have this blog to look back through. Thank you for all of the love and support you have shown us. A HUGE thank you to the amazing doctors and vet techs who took such amazing care of my baby during her stay at the VCA in Aurora, Illinois. If it weren't for their hard work in trying to save her I would have loss a good month with her. I loved every single moment I got to be Missy’s mom for the last 5 years, 7 months, 2 weeks and 1 day.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bye-bye Beckham

Beckham was adopted by a loving family just two weeks shy of the year mark in our home. After waiting a long time for it to happen, the adoption seemed sudden to me. One day I was on a 6th meet and greet with a family interested in adopting Beckham and the next weekend he was going home with them. I was so happy finally, somebody pulled the trigger and adopted this amazing boy, but I was also sad to see him go. In fact, I started crying the moment they walked in the door and I've continued to do so off and on ever since. Fostering is not easy.

The good news is I have no doubt he went to an amazing home. There was actually another man interested in Beckham who I believe would have also been a great pet parent to my Beckster, but in the end, I could tell the family was already in love with Beckham and that became the deciding factor. So let me tell you about them. Beckham now has a mom, dad, two canine siblings, and two human siblings. One is the same age as him so they can grow up together. Also, Dad stays home with the kids and animals so Beckham won’t ever be lonely! They also take their pets to the same vet as Missy and Mister and we LOVE our vet. They are also very kind, loving and felt bad for me as I walked them out of my apartment. I couldn't ask for anything more. I just hope I gave them the love Missaroo’s foster mom was able to give me: a dog lifetime of unconditional love, the feeling of always being needed, and a place to always belong. It is indeed why I foster because Missy and Mister were fostered.

So now the question becomes will I do it again? Not tomorrow. But one day, another animal will take Beckham’s place in our home and our hearts again. Fostering isn't easy, but it’s worth it.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

DIY Dogmom

One of my biggest goals is to no longer support companies that conduct animal testing, and by animal testing I’m talking beagles. It sounds like it would be fairly simple to switch until you realize these companies are the same ones that make most of our everyday products. I’ve had to change my shampoo, perfume, toothpaste, lotion, and lots of other essential products. I have completely made the switch in my bathroom now it’s time to tackle my cleaning products.

Buying natural products was my solution for the bathroom, but it costs me a pretty penny. Luckily, I’m a minimalist when it comes to those products so a little bit goes a long way but cleaning is another story. Between two dogs and a foster cat, I end up doing about 8 loads of laundry a week. I also clean everything all the time. Simply buying all natural, more expensive products in this area will cost me more than a pretty penny, it will cost me an arm and a leg. So I've decided to take a different approach, I’m making these products myself.

I decided to start with the easiest, laundry detergent. It’s only a few ingredients: Borax, washing soda, baking soda, and bar soap. The hardest part was grating the bar of soap which really wasn’t hard at all. I actually kind of enjoyed the process and it gave me a new project. I’ve also made my own dish washing detergent, glass cleaner, disinfectant and all-purpose cleaner. I’ve probably spent about $25 for all of the products and there’s still plenty of everything left to make a lot more in the months to come. So not only am I getting rid of harmful chemicals and ending my support of SC Johnson and others who test on animals, I’m also saving money and feeling pretty proud of my domestic self.

Have you ever made your own products? Was it a success? Did you do it for any of the reasons I’ve made the switch? We’d love to hear about any other DIY dogmom or dads out there!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Beckham’s Big Weekend

This was a HUGE weekend for Beckham. He had not one but two meet and greets with potential adopters. The first family we met with was Saturday night. Mom, Dad, and their two sons ages 15 and 11 struck me as handy, hardworking people. They recently lost their dog of old age and their current dog was so depressed she had stopped eating. They promised the boys a cat would be their next family pet as long as the cat was dog friendly, cue Beckham! I also appreciated the fact that they had their eye on Beckham for months now, but waited until the right time to meet him. Oh, and did I mention they have chickens! Outside of course, out of Beckham’s hunting way but I just thought it was neat. The family hung out with Beckham for about an hour and then we were on our way back home. After we left, they did fill out an adoption application but the next day Milwaukee Pets Alive received an email stating the family did not think Beckham was the right fit for them.

Next up was Sunday and another family interested in our handsome devil. This family was smaller by one person and consisted of Mom, Boyfriend, and 4-year-old. This time we decided Beckham was not the right fit for them. They already have a dominate, male cat in the home and we believe he would not mesh well with Sir Beckham. Even if they were to tolerate each other we want Beckham to go to a home where he will have buddies like Mister and Missy.

As I wrote at the beginning of the month, I really feel like March is Beckham’s time to finally put down roots and find his forever home. He’s such a sweetie who deserves a family who will love him unconditionally and we want to continue to save lives. It would be impossible for me to be committed to the No-Kill movement and adopt Beckham. Moving is once again in my future and it will still be a few years before I can settle into a house so taking Beckham and two dogs to and from a variety of apartments is just too difficult. Let’s hope Beckham goes home this month! Fingers crossed and of course we’ll make sure to keep you posted.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sales and Labels

It’s time for our second product review! This time, Missy and Mister tried out Nutri Source Pure Vita grain free dog food. Pure Vita promises a lot of words that don’t actually mean anything to me as a consumer. Words like “superior” nutrition for dogs or “pure and natural holistic” pet foods. What is important to me is that it is grain free and has a single source of protein. The dogs actually tried several different flavors including turkey, bison, and salmon. The dogs had never had bison before so I actually thought it would be their favorite but I was wrong; Salmon won the flavor challenge. A few times Missy actually seemed to lick her lips in anticipation of the food, which isn't something she always does. They actually seemed to like bison the least, so I’ll have to keep that in mind when checking out other flavors in the future. It seems as though Missy favors fish in general.

Although the Pure Vita was a single source of protein which is why I am assuming the vendors pushing it at the expo told me it was limited ingredient, its’ really not. There are a TON of ingredients on the label, not all of which I understood. I’d say I knew what about 75% of them were and the other 15% I didn't really have a clue. No thumbs up from me. For other dogs, lots of ingredients wouldn't be a problem but it isn't good for Missy’s stomach. It definitely did better than dog food with grains in it, but didn't give Missy the coloring or consistency of poop her normal dog food does or the other brand we tried earlier. So I’d say two paws down from Missy and Mister as well.

So will I be making the switch? Not in this case. I am sure this dog food could be a good brand for another dog but it’s not right for us. I’ll give you an example: Experts rave about Blue Buffalo dog food, how it’s top of the line and rich with nutrition. Our vet specifically told me to stay away from it because for Missy it had too many ingredients. So I’m not knocking the product completely, it just won’t be a purchase for us, ever.

Remember, I’m just a dogmom, not a paid blogger or expert of any kind. This was just our experience with Pure Vita. Does your dog have any kind of special food allergies or something like Missy’s diet? Do you know of a good product we should try out? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you!

Operation Beckham

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is Beckham is officially the longest foster cat in the program now that Toby has been adopted. I took Beckham in on May 30th and nine months later the poor guy is still making trips back and forth to adoption events every Sunday. The good news is now that Beckham is top cat Milwaukee Pets Alive will launch a new push to get him into his forever home sooner rather than later.

It’s hard to believe Beckham hasn’t been adopted yet. He’s a cool, confident kitty who loves to sunbathe, take long baths, and play with Mister and Missy. He also enjoys napping with or without a dog. He’s affectionate on his own terms and enjoys a good petting or brushing from me. It did take Beckham a while to bond with me but now I wake up on the couch with him sleeping in my lap. It’s funny to go to sleep with two dogs holding you down and wake up with a cat strategically placed on top of you too. Because he does seem to be so bonded with the dogs, I think he would definitely do best in a home with other animals. Not sure if he would do great with kids, many older ones who will give him his space but still want to play with him. Although, it’s worth noting, other than the vacuum I have yet to find anything that truly fazes him.

Needless to say Beckham is pretty much the coolest cat. It’s heartbreaking that he’s been overlooked by potential adopters for months. But I just have a feeling that March will be his month. So join us and be a part of operation Beckham. Help this well deserving cat find his forever home by telling his story and sharing his picture. He is quite handsome isn't he?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sample Size

As I wrote in my last post, I was inspired after attending last weekend’s pet expo. This will be the first in a series of posts I’ll be writing that will focus on product reviews! I will still have the adventure blog posts as well but this special series will be mixed in as well. Remember, I’m just a dogmom with two adorable pups I would move heaven and earth for, not a paid blogger or expert of any kind. So with that being said, first up Acana dog food.

Acana promises to be “biologically appropriate dog food” so when I hit up the both at the expo I had to ask “what does that mean?” The thought is dogs are naturally carnivores; they crave protein first and foremost. So Acana loads its food with protein rich meats first and foremost than adds fruits and vegetables. This is great for Missaroo because she has to be on a limited ingredient diet and has to stay away from chicken protein, including chicken fat which is a main ingredient in a lot of bargain brand foods but not in this one. ((I know this from my vet and from reading a lot of labels right after adopting Missaroo)) Missy is also grain free which was another bonus of this food. ((They also carry other brands that have grains which Mister will try exclusively at a later point in time))  Acana also boasts freshly delivered Canadian ingredients.  I can say this much, I could pronounce every ingredient and I knew exactly what about 90% of them were, the other 10% I could probably make a good guess. As far as dogmom approval, it gets a thumbs up from me, but the real product testers are the ones without thumbs.

Again, full disclosure I mix their current food with the sample because Missy especially cannot jump from food to food and it’s really not good for any dog to do that ((again, according to my vet)) I’ve never seen Missy take to a flavor of food so quickly. We tried the “Pacifica Regional Formula” which had several fish including salmon and herring. She really loved it and actually looked forward to meals which don’t always happen. In fact, the two were boarded over the weekend and Missy ate all of her food there, which again I don’t think has ever happened. She usually won’t eat that much when I’m not with her. The other test is their poop. Missy pooped without any problems, it was always a great color and good texture. Mister’s poop looked equally as healthy. He’s a harder test subject in general because he pretty much eats anything and ALWAYS looks forward to meal time. But Acana gets the Miss the Priss approval which is pretty high praise.

So will we make the switch? I think that has yet to be seen for a couple of reason: We still have several samples to go through of other food and I haven’t priced it.
So here’s how this will work. We’ll keep trying foods and letting you know why we picked them in the first place ((i.e. biologically appropriate, grain free)) and then give you a dogmom approval and a Missaroo approval along with a poop description. Then when we’re all done I’ll write about whether we’ll be making switches and include prices. If you have any questions that we don’t answer in our posts LET ME KNOW! And if this helps you in anyway LET ME KNOW! We love hearing from you guys.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Great Lakes Pet Expo 2014

I spent more than two hours wandering around the Great Lakes Pet Expo at Wisconsin State Fair Park this Saturday. It was a great way to start the morning and end my weekend.  It also helped me get inspired for the blog. I’m always looking for new things to blog about and new places to take our Miss-Adventures. I loved taking it all in, from watching the rescue dog agility course and the K9 demonstrations, to listening in on a cat behaviorist and helping to salute our veterans, the 10th year for the expo was fun and friendly. I also enjoyed walking around and checking out all of the vendors. I must admit, I usually talk the most to vendors I’m already semi-familiar with thanks to Facebook; so I stopped by Central Bark, The Barking Lot, and Residents for Off-Leash Milwaukee Parks or ROMP. But I also made quick conversation with a few new vendors like Pet Journal, Petlicious, Acana, and Nutri Source Premium Pet Foods. Really these new faces, perhaps mixed in with some of the better known to me are what will inspire a series of blogs I’ll be starting.

If you follow our adventures regularly, you know that Missy has an especially delicate stomach. After years of guessing and overmedication, we finally realized it’s her diet. So now every time I head to a conference or expo, I’m always on the hunt for someone to talk to about grain free, limited ingredient treats and food. I found three such places this time around in Petlicious, Acana, and Nutri Source Premium Pet Foods. I was lucky enough to score free samples at the latter two. So my plan is to put these foods to the Missaroo test and blog about it along the way. I also want to try some of the places mentioned above as well and blog about how things go for us. I think it will be a great way to continue to share our perspective and life adventures while giving more to our readers than just another Missaroo story.

So the dogs and I are up for the challenge of trying out these products and businesses. I hope you will get a kick out of our blogs and maybe even want us to try out a product or place for you. We’d love to hear from you!

Friday, January 31, 2014

I Don't Know How to Feed a Cat

I've never really claimed to be the world’s best dogmom, and I certainly don’t know everything there is to know about pets, but I thought I could feed a cat. I thought, but I was wrong. Beckham has been patiently awaiting his forever home for eight months now and in that time I’m guessing he’s gained about five pounds. He was only seven pounds when I brought him home from the vet. So what happened? Honestly, I have no idea.

I read the instructions on the bag of cat food. I fed him according to his weight. His bowl is empty almost all of the time. One problem is he tries to eat everything! He sneaks dog food, people food, and he’s chewed every cord in the apartment. He’s even tried to eat me! I mean he’s bite me several times. The other problem is I have no idea how to properly exercise a cat. I throw toys with the dogs and they chase, OK Mister chases. I play rope with the dogs. We walk all the time, weather permitting. So what do you do with a cat? Beckham is already on a diet food. So, really I’m asking. Any cat experts out there who read our blog? I’d love to hear how you exercise your cats. We really need to help get Beckham adopted and I think he’d have a better chance if he returned to a more slimmed down version of himself.

42 and Fabulous

Missaroo turns 42 today, or in people years the big oh-six. And that of course means, 5 years ago today I brought home my new best friend and love of my life. Every year ((and heck almost every day)) I think about all the joy, love, and adventure she’s brought to my life. This year is no different. So as I think back over the last year together I've come to realize what it is Missy has brought to my life most recently and that is that she forced me into mom mode, permanently.

Sadly, I've always tried to be Missaroo’s mom but I think this is the first year I've just really filled the role properly. I’m not sure why it clicked in 2013, maybe it’s because I’m a year older, maybe it’s because I've really felt like we've been under attack, maybe it’s because her overall care has increased, or maybe because I feel like I've been able to provide for the dogs more this year with daycare, sitters, and overall time at home. Whatever it was, it happened all of a sudden. Somewhere in between forcing teeth brushings, carrying her out of the cold, taking a million pictures, and constantly defending OUR lifestyle, I just went into mom mode and I haven’t come out. I stopped looking at her as a rescue dog in need of love and more like my kid in need of tough love. As in, “you’re going to hate this, but it’s for your own good.” I think at one point I even said to her “you’ll thank me when your teeth don’t fall out.” It doesn't get much more mom than that does it?  And I also kind of got this “hey that’s my kid you’re talking about and I will scratch your eyes out and do jail time if you keep it up” attitude. Yep, def mom mode.

So as Missaroo celebrates being 42 and fabulous I hope I can continue to be the mom she needs me to me at this moment. Happy Birthday baby girl!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Three Years and Counting...

Mister came home with the Missaroo and me three years ago today, which means we have a big birthday to celebrate. Today we celebrate Mister Man’s fourth birthday. It’s been a big year for my little guy. He’s starting to become more of my cuddle bug and less of a kitty cat. His spunky, independent spirit is still alive and well but he’s no longer a push over. The transition started slowly. He used to just spend mornings with me while sleeping alone at night. Lately, I found him smushed against me more, sleeping in my lap more, and giving Miss more of the mean Chihuahua growl when she tries to butt into Mommy and Mister time.

Mister has also found a new best friend as well documented in previous blogs. Beckham has taught Mister to share his toys, his blanket, and his mom. In Beckham, Mister has also found a sniff buddy, an outdoor buddy and a playmate more his size. ((Missaroo doesn’t mind one bit)) Mister will surely be sad when Beckham gets adopted but then he’ll learn to say goodbye to old friends and hello to new friends.

But the biggest change I’ve seen in Mister over the last year as he transitions from a 21 year old to a 28 year old has been in his overall confidence. Mister no longer eats like he doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from. He no longer hordes treats, although he does still guard his treats, and he acts like he might have just found a forever home. I’m not sure what happened to Mister in his previous life, and frankly I don’t want to know, but I’m starting to get the impression he had a home and they gave up on him. Missaroo and I will never give up on Mister. He is in his forever home; three years and counting… Happy Birthday, Peanut! Mommy loves you forever and a day.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


January is a BIG month in the Baumann household. BOTH of my babies celebrate birthdays. Mister turns the big 04 on the 19th and then Missaroo celebrates her 6th year on this planet on the 24th. In people years Mister will be 28 ((the same age I am)) while Missy will be 42. An old lady in her own right, she recently started snoring. My hope is they both have a lot of living left to do, as in Missaroo hasn't even reached the half way mark yet. I hope they both live to be about 14 years old. I’m not ready to stop being a dogmom anytime soon.

I often get asked if I would “replace” Missy when her number is up. FIRST, I HATE to even think about it. And Second, there’s no “replacing” the Missaroo. The question should be would I adopt again? The answer, is a definite yes. However, I do think I would go about it differently. I honestly feel like I am raising my dogs. I feel like a mom with fur babies instead of infants. I love celebrating their birthdays, tucking them in at night and introducing them to new things. I love every new journey we go through. Whether it’s a new illness, new medical emergency, new scenery, new animals; whatever they are discovering for the first time, I am discovering for the first time with them. I love being a mom. And when I no longer get to be their mom anymore I’m not so sure I’ll be able to pull myself together and just start all over again with the potty training, crate training, and life training again. I will need, however, to fill the void in my heart. I think the solution for me will be to adopt a senior pet.

Senior pets don’t need to discover the world; they just need a soft place to land. They need love and affection and maybe someone who knows how to care for a senior pet. Well, after seeing not one but two dogs well into their senior years I think I’d make a pretty good fit. We might just be exactly what the other one needs, when the time comes.

Until then, I just want to think about the two upcoming birthdays with the loves of my life. I can’t wait to celebrate. Each year with them gets a little more special, a little more sentimental, and a little more precious. Here’s to a thousand more birthdays in the Baumann household.

Love on a Cold Winter’s Night

Born in Wisconsin, raised in Illinois, I’m no stranger to cold and snow but this winter has been hard even on the most seasoned Eskimo. For dog owners, salt, snow and cold can quickly become a deadly combination. Here in Milwaukee, we hit an all-time low, literally, with a wind chill temperature of 30 below. My amazing two dogs are so well behaved/trained that there was no going inside… we still had to take our poop and pee outdoors.

I quickly developed a system. It started with a lot of layers for me and the dogs. I went out and bought Mister a kick-butt, rad blue puffy coat with a hood. He hates it. Missy’s winter coat still held up. I tried to take them out together but that wasn't working. I think for the first time in his life Mister didn’t pee. I’m confident if Mister were to list his three favorite activities peeing would be on that list. It’s like a bad joke: How cold is it? So cold Mister won’t pee. So we had to revise the system. I decided to take them out one at a time. I bundled up Mister, carried him to a snow pile, put him down, let him do his business, and then carried him back home. Then with Missy, a very similar system except she would walk herself to the snow pile, do her business, and then I would carrier her back home. And Missy HATES to be carried. Again, how cold is it? So cold Missy wouldn't walk. I think it took us longer to get ready to go then it did to actually go.

Trip, after trip, in the cold, over two days made me realize something. Through the tears running down my face from the cold and working on breathing into my scarf so my nostrils wouldn’t freeze while carrying a shivering dog, I laughed. I would look at these two helpless creatures and just think “no one else would I do this for.” I thought “this is true love”. The kind of love a parent has for their child. It’s deathly cold out. I have no reason to be outside. I could think of a million places I rather be at but there I was, making the rounds with a smile on my face and a laugh in my head. My mom instincts just took over and I just stuck to my “let’s go, let’s do this attitude.” It wasn’t even a choice. As much as we all hate the cold the good news is it helped me to re-discover love on a very cold winter’s night.