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!!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
My rant is over. Enjoy your Friday the 13th and pick up a black cat! Hey, it may even give you some good luck. 😉 And as always…stay hungry and fit!
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!
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.)
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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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
What a week it has been! If you didn’t know, we got a puppy last Friday. I feel like we’ve already had her for months. Our little Noke (noh-kay), a 3 month German Shepherd/Akita girl. We have officially survived the first week of having a puppy (where’s the wine)! I am personally exhausted by 9pm every night. It’s a lot of work. When Chris isn’t at home, I feel like a single mother with her (kind of joking…kind of). She’s a lot of work! But at the end of the day, it’s worth it.
A few behaviors have developed with her, more nipping, more decisive walking, and better potty habits. She has been super friendly and playful with other dogs and other people which makes me feel happy. She pretty much understands the command, “Go potty.” We are slowly starting to introduce her to the cats and vice versa, and it’s going okay. It’s been a wild journey so far, and here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Be patient. Be patient, be patient, be patient. Do not lose your temper. She’s only a baby, after all. This is the biggest lesson for me and the toughest. Puppies will nip and they will nip hard because that’s what they do with their litter mates. It hurts us and we think that’s what they’re trying to do but they’re not. They just want to play. Or when they refuse to budge on walks. Take a deep breath. Remember, she’s just a baby and it’s your job to nurture her into how she should be behaving.
2. Learn the potty word fast. You don’t want to be standing outside with your fingers slowly turning to frostbite. Find a potty word (pee, papers, potty, etc.) and use it when he or she is on grass. When they do their business, give them lots of treats and say good potty. Trust me on this one!
3. Understand their mind. This connects back to #1–try to understand what they’re thinking. Although you may not be scared of the dark, your little pup could be terrified! Add strong wind and cars and she will be freaking out. Don’t yell at her if she’s jolting all over the place. Calmly take her where you know she is comfortable. After all, she is just a baby.
4. Use treats…lots of them. At this point in their life, you don’t need to be worrying about your little one getting fat. Especially not when you’re giving them plenty of play and exercise. I always have at least 5-10 treats in my pocket when we go for walks. Whenever she goes potty, she gets lots of praise and lots of treats. If she’s behaving nicely like chewing her bone or calmly relaxing, she gets treats. Sitting…treats. You get the picture.
5. Encourage more than you discourage. At their infantile stage (under 16 weeks), they aren’t going to understand “No” or strong discouragement. Instead, use lots of encouragement, like the previous point. Give tons of praise when she or he does things correctly. Don’t get upset if they mess up, simply redirect them to something else. If you raise your puppy in a positive environment, it will be a happy positive dog.
6. Take them out often. My rule is every two hours, when we can. Puppies can’t completely control their bladder muscles so when it’s coming, it’s coming. What goes in must come out. If she goes in your home, don’t scream at her. It’s your fault for not taking her out sooner. Take them out often as a precaution to fight against potty accidents.
7. Don’t yell. This again connects to point one and it’s tough. But don’t yell. It doesn’t help the situation. You yelling translates to barking for your little one. This will escalate the situation into the puppy becoming more excited or simply scared of you. You don’t want that. Stay calm. Redirect.
8. See #1. BE PATIENT. If you take one thing away from this post, make it this one. Just be patient, remain calm, take a break and just breathe. It’s really tough taking care of a baby dog, they need constant attention and TLC. And you’re their sole provider for that. Try to put all that love in your heart for each and every interaction.
So if you’re preparing for a new puppy, you can do it! It takes lots of work, but if you can put the effort in, it will be worth it. My heart melts multiple times a day over our little Spirit Princess. I know that she will turn into a wonderful dog if we keep consistent positive training. BUT YAY WE SURVIVED!! Get a puppy to stay hungry and fit!
Nymeria was featured in the last kitty spotlight, so I thought I’d do a general one for Misty too. Our kittens couldn’t be more different. Misty is the elder (4 months, making her a month older) and certainly acts it, except when it’s food time. She came to us feral, under-socialized, and she’s come so far. Sure she’s still a princess brat selfish food-craving mess, but she’s found a home here. And that’s most important.
Okay so when we first got her, she was terrified. She wouldn’t go near Nymeria, Chris, or I. She would hide wherever she could at all times. She didn’t trust us, she would constantly hiss, she didn’t know how to play, how to cuddle…she had a lot to learn. One day, we thought she escaped and we freaked out, tearing the apartment apart, looking for her, looking outside, and so forth. And eventually we decided to look under the dishwasher. And guess what we found.
However, with a lot of coaxing, time, patience, and living 24/7 with Nymeria, she improved drastically. It took a lot of work and patience, but now she’s one of the family. Nymeria, the constant huntress, taught her how to play, hunt, and pounce. Which Misty now does on a regular basis. She hunts and pounces on the toys, and Nymeria and Misty usually play all the time. I say usually because they haven’t for the past week.
Nymeria, the fierce cuddler, taught Misty how to cuddle. Whenever we come home from work, from being out, wherever, we find them sleepily waking up side by side on the top of the cat tree. Always cuddling. They never like to sleep too far apart from each other. Sometimes, we’ll find them sleeping together under the desk which is a tiny space.
Before, she used to run away from us, now she can’t get close enough. She loves cuddling with us on the couch. In fact, she slept with us all last night, sleeping on my tummy or next to my hip, keeping each other warm. She’s an excellent cuddler, and doesn’t do the kneading thing Nymeria is so famous for (which can hurt if she has long nails). If she finds Nymeria on us, you can be sure she will be on us too.
She has a serious obsession with food. Like yeah, I get it, I had a dog, they love food. Animals love food. But no, she has like a chemical imbalance or something, because she goes bananas. Nymeria doesn’t. She will give the occasional cry for some food, but Misty, when she hears the closet door open (where the food is) or the food bowls, she goes crazy. She will run up and jump up on the closet, mewing constantly as if she’s going to die in the next 3 minutes if you don’t hurry up and give her food. As if she’s never been fed in her life. She eats within 15 seconds (no exaggeration) while Nymeria is the opposite and takes a few years (slight exaggeration). She sometimes eats so fast she throws up and then eats it again (gross, I know). And then she will go on the prowl, learning tactics from Nymeria, to use on her very own sister–to steal her food! Until we scold her and put her in the bathtub.
Misty also has some funny and cute sleeping positions. Like the on-my-back-paw-over-face (you can see these below) or the sink nap. Before, when they were limited to only the bathroom when we were away from the house, Misty would decide on her sleeping spot–the sink. Wet? Sometimes. Comfy? I guess…? Anyhow, when she’s not sleeping with Nymeria, you can be sure to find her in some of those positions.
Misty can also be a very naughty girl (like stealing Nymeria’s food). We constantly find her jumping onto the counter where we eat and prepare food. Several times, we’ve come in and found her sleeping atop the fridge, which is yes, adorable, but still not allowed. Sometimes we find her in the kitchen sink, scrounging for food due to her serious addiction. We either spray her with a water bottle, grab her scruff and say “No!”, or put her in the bathtub, depending on the severity of the crime.
Well regardless of everything, she’s really grown into the family, cut out 90% of the hissing and is a great cuddler. Sure, we wish she’d play a little more, but everything comes with time. I can hear her mewing now because apparently it’s food time. There were just too many pictures, I wish I could show you all of them.