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.