Category Archives: Animals

Five MORE Reasons to Sleep with your Dog

I came across this post of why sleeping with your dog is awesome a few days ago, and while I agree with these very warm and loving ideas, here are a few more that come to mind.

One of Fit's favorite pictures

One of Fit’s favorite pictures

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Happy 1st Birthday, Noke!

Our little puppy is now one year old. It’s hard to believe that she’s already a year old and how time flies by. At the same time, I feel like she’s been in our life forever.This morning I was looking at old posts about Noke from when she was a puppy like How to Survive Your First Week Having a Puppy and Puppies: Advocates for a Meditative Lifestyle. She was so darn stinkin’ cute! She still is, but now she’s grown into a sleek-looking coyote. I’ve definitely been reflective today about how far we’ve come together and how we’ve grown. I am thrilled that she is a year old!! 

happy bday noke

Raising a puppy is tough work, but I can say now that it is truly worth it. No matter what, Noke can cheer up my day, give me plenty of kisses and tell me that she loves me. She’s my constant companion and I love her to bits. It wasn’t always easy–getting her out of her nipping habit, dealing with sicknesses, and more, but in the end, like I said, it’s absolutely worth it. Dog is man’s best friend, truly. 

So today she gets to enjoy Santa Monica weather and I might even get her something from a local dog bakery just for fun. It’s her day, but more so a milestone of us being a team and getting through the terrible teens! Now it’s not like she’s going to be a perfect angel now that she’s hit a year old–far from that. However, it’s a big step into her first stages of adulthood. Thank you for being here with us for the journey of her growing up. And as always, stay hungry and fit!

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A night time walk...she is such a pleasure to walk! No pulling!

A night time walk…she is such a pleasure to walk! No pulling!

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cutie girl

cutie girl

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A trip to Estes Park!! (yes that is a fanny pack)

A trip to Estes Park!! (yes that is a fanny pack)

Great walks with the pup

Great walks with the pup

So cuuuuuuuute

So cuuuuuuuute

Noke is learning every day!

Noke is learning every day!

Cuteness

Cuteness

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Noke got to enjoy the sun as the whole family gardened

Noke got to enjoy the sun as the whole family gardened

Getting Noke used to the car more

Getting Noke used to the car more

Noke made a new friend and we spent the morning hiking!

Noke made a new friend and we spent the morning hiking!

Which resulted in her passing out (yay!)

Which resulted in her passing out (yay!)

Hi I'm cute

Hi I’m cute

Noke finally using her bed

Noke finally using her bed

Cute dogs

Cute dogs

Good runs with cute dogs

Good runs with cute dogs

Noke trying out for Sound of Music

Noke trying out for Sound of Music

and a hike!

and a hike!

Walks with Noke on the beach

Walks with Noke on the beach

How to Travel in a Car with Animals

As you know, we finally made it to Santa Monica, California! However, it was quite the journey to actually get here from Boulder, Colorado. We have two cats, a dog, and a snake! So basically we packed our car and trailer full of all of our things plus a zoo. It was much different from any road trip I’ve taken because of our animals. It was certainly stressful and worrisome, but we all made it safely. Here’s what to do with each kind of animal:

Dogs

Surprisingly, Noke did the best of all the animals. When she was younger, she would throw up in the car nearly every time she drove with us. After time and time again in the car, her nausea rears its ugly head much less. We were incredibly proud and happy with her over this trip. She kept her cool even with Nymeria howling and trying to poke her. Here are some specific tips for travelling with dogs:

  • Put your dog on a blanket or something that smells familiar to them
  • Don’t feed your dog before you drive or feed very little
  • Make sure your dog can see you while driving
  • Give your dog enough space to lie down and sleep
  • Take your dog out every time you get gas to pee and drink water
  • Make sure the car is cool

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Cats

Now here is where the nightmare begun. Sajah is the more skiddish one out of Nymeria and him. I expected him to be wild-eyed and going nuts, but he was absolutely placid. It was probably because he was stressed to death, but he simply found a place to lay and stayed there. After awhile, he got a little less scared and opened up a bit. Now let’s come to the problem child…Nymeria. Oh, Nymeria. Nymeria is very spirited. And that spirit showed during the car ride. She was not about being in the car. She wanted out. She would yowl and cry and get up like a monkey on the bars of the crate and try to escape. She eventually started acting crazy and eating litter so we contained her in a carrier. She was really the only pet who made the trip stressful. Here are some specific tips for travelling with cats:

  • Keep your cats contained in a small crate or something similar 
  • Keep a small litter tray in the corner of the crate 
  • Make sure your cats can see you and hear you while driving
  • Put in a blanket or something comfy (and familiar) for them to lay on. 
  • Give water breaks when you can
  • Make sure the car is cool

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Snakes

Well, Dovah was the quietest one on the trip (ha-ha) and we didn’t hear much of a complaint from him. However, he stressed us out somewhat because Dovah’s habitat should be around 90 to 100 degrees F. There was no way to keep his lamp on while we drove so we wrapped his cage up and hoped for the best. He came out fine and is a bit stressed out. We are hoping he will relax as he no longer has to deal with the bumps and vibrations of driving any longer. Here are some specific tips for travelling with snakes:

  • Try to keep your snake’s area as warm as possible
  • Keep the cage in a low place in the car so that it has no chance of tipping or falling over
  • Try to drive as smoothly as possible so it doesn’t get rocked around too much

Driving with animals can be stressful, but there are ways to make it as smooth a trip as possible. Use the tips above to keep your animal family happy and safe. I’m hoping we won’t be doing one of these trips again, but if we do, we know what to do! As always, stay hungry and fit!

Friday the 13th: Don’t Hate on Black Cats

In the Western world, black cats are for some reason considered to be bad omens. They are an omen of death and misfortune. They are also considered to be some serious bad luck. There’s all kind of folklore that puts down black cats And on days like Friday the 13th (today) and Halloween, superstitious behavior goes through the roof. We even get emails from the Humane Society reminding people to be aware of their black cats are on these days because people can be cruel and act on superstition. Which is absolutely beyond me, but still. I’m here to be the black cat’s champion!

Nymeria's "scary" face but really she looks like a Pokemon

Nymeria’s “scary” face but really she looks like a Pokemon

I mean, come on, have you ever seen pictures of Nymeria? She’s adorable. It’s all fun and games to avoid walking under ladders and such on Friday the 13th, but there’s no sense of being scared of or being mean to black cats. After all, in Japan (and in other places in the East), black cats are good luck. 

Nymeria as a baby

Continuing with this discrimination, at animal shelters, black cats will be severely underpriced compared to the rest of the cats there. Why? Because people are less likely to adopt a black cat. This seemed crazy to me! That kind of thought never even crossed my mind!  Nymeria was way cheaper than Misty because she was an ordinary black cat. Insane! 

Nymeria and Misty

So I’m here to put an end to that stupid superstition and petition for black cat’s rights! Alright, getting a little ahead of myself, but you know what I mean. Don’t shy away from certain cats because the color of their fur or their eyes. Everyone has different personalities and a black cat could be the one for you. In fact, Nymeria (our black cat) is our most precious of the babies. She has such a unique personality compared to most other cats. She’s cuddly, loving, needy, and mischievious. It’s really really difficult not to love her.

More baby pics

My rant is over. Enjoy your Friday the 13th and pick up a black cat! Hey, it may even give you some good luck. ūüėČ And as always…stay hungry and fit!

Our “Staycation” in Pictures

You may have noticed that we have lapsed in our posting the past week. This is because my parents came in for an Easter visit! It’s been tons of fun. We did loads of stuff and there are tons of pictures that I still need to steal from other family members. Here’s a short snippet. But no worries, we are back in the saddle here at Hungry and Fit

Spring has sprung!

Spring has sprung!

We went to Estes Park...mum is modeling...

We went to Estes Park…mum is modeling…

Mum made tons of lovely breakfasts

Mum made tons of lovely breakfasts

Noke got to enjoy the sun as the whole family gardened

Noke got to enjoy the sun as the whole family gardened

EASTER!!

EASTER!!

Noke cuddling

Noke cuddling

Rainbow!!

Rainbow!!

Some darn good food...

Some darn good food…

Good view of Boulder

Good view of Boulder

Mum made scones

Mum made scones

Mum being ridiculous

Mum being ridiculous

Eldorado

Eldorado

Poor Noke

Poor Noke

She gets revenge

She gets revenge

Good Indian food

Good Indian food

Good Korean food

Good Korean food

Fit's parents...miss them already

Fit’s parents…miss them already

How to Help Your Dog and Cat Get Along

As most of our readers know, we have two cats and now one dog (and a snake, but that is beside the point). Yes, our apartment is a zoo, but we prefer a busy life anyhow. One of the most common questions I get about our household is how the cats and dog get along. It’s a progression each and every day but it is certainly going to the¬†positive.¬†Our cats now know how to avoid Noke and how to stand their ground. And every day, the cats more and more want to play with our adorable pup. Here are some steps in introducing a friendly relationship between your canine and feline:

1. Give them room.¬†For the first few weeks we had Noke, they were completely separated. They could smell each other, but they did not interact. Noke was either with me or in her crate, and the cats were tucked comfortably in the bedroom or in the living room. Each species knew¬†something was going on, but couldn’t quite put a paw on it. This step is important so you don’t completely throw your pets into a brand new situation. Cats don’t like change. Try to make it easy on them.

2. Give cautious introductions. For us, our cats were here first and deserve to be treated as such. You must make them still feel just as important and that they have some sense of authority and presence. To create a safe and comfortable meeting environment, we left Noke in her crate and allowed the cats to explore the area. This way, the cats could choose when they wanted to approach Noke and were able to do it safely since she was crated. The dog may bark or whine, but just let the process happen.

Sajah keeping an eye on Noke

Sajah keeping an eye on Noke

3. Keep the dog on a leash.¬†After you pass those few weeks of keeping them separated and introduce them safely, it’s time to bring them into the same realm. The dog can get very excited by this and want to constantly chase the cats, so we need to take action. Put a leash on your dog so that you can prevent them from scaring or chasing the cats. This is for safety and for comfort. And it will teach your dog to be comfortable on the leash, as an added bonus.

So cuuuuuuuute

So cuuuuuuuute

4. Use lots of praise.¬†As relationships develop, you want to encourage them for the better. Negative reinforce rarely works well with pets as it tends to scare them. But positive will allow you to reap the benefits! If your dog behaves playfully and listens to you when you tell him or her to back off, give lots of praise and treats! If your cat learns to stand his or her ground or plays nicely with the dog, do the same. Trust me, praise makes a big impact. It’s logical: play nice and I get treats. If only humans worked that way.

5. Keep a wary eye and quick hands.¬†When you do finally trust your dog enough to let him or her off-leash, keep an eye out. Our dog is actually learning how to prowl and pounce like that cats (since that’s who she watches all day) so I need to be ready to step in if she gets too rowdy. She never tries to hurt the cats, but it’s better to be safe.

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6. Treat everyone equally.¬†Just because you have an adorable new puppy doesn’t mean you should ignore your uncool cats. Give them loads of attention and love every day to show that you’re still their #1 fan. This way they won’t feel jealous of the dog and then take it out on the dog. Treating everyone equal will foster positive relationships.

7. Don’t scold your cat’s grumpiness.¬†It’s one thing if the cat is instigating, but it’s another if he or she is simply standing their ground. It’s good if your cat emits a growl and a swipe at your dog’s nose. This sets boundaries and tells the dog enough is enough. It’s so much better for your¬†cat to do this rather than you. It will mean much more to the dog and learning boundaries will come faster.

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So those are a few tips on how to foster a good relationship between the canine and the feline. It’s never going to be perfect. Dogs chase cats. Especially puppies! There are times I have to grab Noke because she simply gets too excited. It’s a journey each and every day, but hopefully your pets will end up as best buddies. Try these tips out. Let us know if you have any other questions. And as always…stay hungry and fit!

Noke’s Breeds: DNA Test Results Revealed

When we first adopted Noke, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley believed she was a German Shepherd-Akita mix and would possibly grow to be 70-80 lbs. We could see it at first. She had some Japanese Spitz features including a somewhat curled tail and that unique forehead but her paws were tiny! We thought she must be a Shepherd-Shiba Inu mix but we had no idea what she really was until we did a DNA test. So we did and here are the amazing and somewhat unexpected results!

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Cute is an understatement

None of Noke’s parents or grandparents were pure-breeds. She did however have great-grandparents that were and amazingly enough the purest traces in her DNA were Collie and Great Pyrenees. Her great-grandparents also showed large amounts of Basenji, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherd. These, however, were at a lower confidence and might have been mixed already at this point. (They can only track back to great-grandparents and have a harder time determining the calculations in mixed breeds.)

zzz

zzz

Before I mention, what other breeds were recognized by the genetic history as the most likely other pieces of her mixed breed heritage I will say that Noke is almost certainly most visually and personally a Basenji-German Shepherd mix. At this point, those seem to be by far the most dominate components of her look and attitude. We get asked regularly if she is a pure-bred German Shepherd and obviously the HSBV thought she was an Akita. Akitas and Basenjis do have quite a bit in common.

chart

So, by looking into that chart I posted you will see there are a lot of spaces that are taken up by a dog tag that says mixed breed. The three mixed breed dogs that were her great-grandparents could have contained the following breeds in order of most likely to least: White Swiss Shepherd, Chinese Shar-Pei, Affenpinscher, Glen of Imaal Terrier, and Clumber Spaniel. This makes sense. Noke obviously has a lot of Shepherd in her, whether German of White Swiss. We can also see some Shar-Pei in her although the other breeds seem very unlikely.

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Some of her breeds are not very large while one is relatively huge. The DNA test estimates that she will weigh 50-77 pounds as an adult. They classify her as a Basenji, Collie, German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Great Pyrenees mix. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue. We will keep you updated on her growth and development. I hope she grows to be the full 77 pounds or more because I love big dogs! Will she continue to look like a German Shepherd and act like a Basneji or will things change? We will let you know!

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And as a note, these DNA tests are inexpensive and humane. They are very simple and give an owner important knowledge as to how to train, treat, feed and raise their dogs. It is an awesome option so let us know if you are interested in getting a test for your dog. It is never too late to know! And as always…stay¬†hungry and fit!

Our Weekend in Pictures

Friday lunch at Oskar Blues...

Friday lunch at Oskar Blues…

Friday dinner at Oskar Blues....

Friday dinner at Oskar Blues….

Chris' plate

Chris’ plate

Lots of drinks!

Lots of drinks!

Huge brownie sundae

Huge brownie sundae

Morning walk

Morning walk

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Green Smoothie Breakfast

Green Smoothie Breakfast

Our favorite local donut shop (really healthy here)

Our favorite local donut shop (really healthy here)

Video games with Nymeria of course

Video games with Nymeria of course

Sunday morning banana pancakes

Sunday morning banana pancakes

Frisbee golf! beautiful day

Frisbee golf! beautiful day

happy for warm weather

happy for warm weather

cutie girl

cutie girl

Puppies: Advocates for a Meditative Lifestyle

They might not know it, but puppies are definitely advocates for a¬†meditative¬†and¬†mindful¬†lifestyle! I’m being reminded of this more and more as we raise Noke. I never would’ve thought of it at first, but she’s slowly having an effect on me! Don’t believe me? Read on to see how puppies are such strong advocates of a mindful lifestyle:

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1. They help you to be more understanding.¬†To raise a good puppy, you need to be able to get in its head and understand¬†why it does the things it does. It isn’t ripping up your shoes because it wants to be evil. You have to step off your pedestal and kneel down to their level of understanding. They’re just a baby and they need all the love and understanding you can give.

2. Their main emotion is love.¬†Wouldn’t it be nice if humans were like this? Dogs and puppies love love love. We are their entire life. That positive energy is contagious. It opens up your mind and your life. Let it in!

3. They get you up and at ’em.¬†Instead of pressing snooze five times and then racing to get ready for work, you are up early with the puppy. I’ve enjoyed many a golden sunset since having Noke and I enjoy that peace walking around a quiet neighborhood. Although I already was a proponent of morning walks, I wouldn’t always make it. But now, I am out with the sunrise every morning, enjoying the quiet side of life.

4. They discourage technology.¬†I’m not sure of any puppy who encourages you to use your cell phone. Their cute faces and insatiable desire for attention discourages your constant use of electronics. When you were spending an hour on the computer, you are now playing ball with your pup or teaching her how to lie down. And especially during walks, I find it important to keep your phone in your pocket (even if you’re tracking the walk), and to be alert. This just allows you to disconnect and breathe.

5. They encourage you to be with nature.¬†This connects to #4. Even if you live in an urban environment, that walk can really help with a mindful lifestyle. Instead of plugged into a million things at once, you are simply walking in your environment and taking it all in. It’s a wonderful way to reflect and just¬†be with your surroundings. It’s a beautiful feeling.

6. They lead you to reflect upon yourself.¬†Do you curse yourself the moment after you’ve lost your temper with your puppy? And those sad puppy eyes don’t help either. Their eyes, drawn with a curiosity and wonder, can really help open up your reflection. Maybe you realize you didn’t have that steller patience you thought you did. Or perhaps you don’t have that strict hold on your temper. It could even lead to reflections about what you really want in life. These puppies are powerful, I’m telling you! And they don’t even try.

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Do you believe me now?! Getting a puppy is a great introduction to a mindful and meditative lifestyle if you haven’t already begun that path. Although Noke is a handful, she makes me appreciative each day. Get a puppy to stay¬†hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

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How to Keep Your Puppy Busy for Hours

Every day, we learn more and more about how to raise a puppy. We’ve had Noke (noh-kay) for a little over a¬†week now, but it’s felt like longer. She has good and bad moments, as all young things do. What I find the most useful are things that will occupy her. Say I’m cooking, working from home, or doing a home workout, it is very¬†very helpful if she’s focusing on something else…that’s not chewing our shoes. The cats love to stir her up, which is pretty stupid on them, in my opinion, so she’s on alert a lot of the time. One of the people at the Humane Society suggested this trick and I’m thrilled by it!

It’s very simple. It’s the old Kong trick with a twist. Let’s go step-by-step, it’s so easy.

1. Fill up the Kong toy. We use a large Kong toy and we fill it up with high-quality little duck kibble bites. Fill it up close to the top.

Someone's excited

Someone’s excited

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2. Fill the top with peanut butter.¬†And don’t get that hydrogenated oil crap, use decent peanut butter for your dog’s health! We used Justin’s PB which is popular here in Boulder. We put the whole packet in, to give her plenty to dive into, completely covering and blocking the kibble.

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3. Freeze.¬†Not because you’re under arrest, but because this is the magic to this trick! So yeah, without freezing it, you can keep your pup occupied, but imagine the peanut butter frozen! This prevents the pup from just scooping out the peanut butter–they really have to work at it or let it soften! I’m excited to do this as a regular thing, especially while we are gone at work. We freeze it overnight usually.

See? Simple as 1-2-3. Try it out with your puppy or dog and let us know how it goes! Sometimes it’s nice to have some time to yourself if your dog is driving you bonkers. And as always…stay hungry and fit!

BONUS PUPPY PIC

Just being cute n stuff

Just being cute n stuff