the dog story i don't tell people

Doesn't every dog owner have a story they only tell to their closest friends? I have a friend whose dog ate a pair of pantyhose, and then she had to pull the whole darn long mess out of his arse. I have a client whose dog goes bonkers over crayons; so much so that they put them in drawers, but he still gets to them, so now they have to lock them up. I call him "circus poo." You know what I mean, right?

I have such a story. I've touched on it before.

Now that we've known each other for a while (haven't we?), I consider you a closest friend, and I will tell this tale.

When our dog, N.A.S.H.A., was a wee little puppy, she was not a terrier mix, she was a terror mix. She was literally an ankle-biter who drew blood, and she was a yapper. I'm proud to report that she has grown into the universe's most awesome being, the beginning...

We were living in a fully-furnished rented apartment while we waited for our home to be built. She didn't chew the furniture, thankfully. She was easy to potty-train. Never messed on the floor even once. Yet there was this unmistakable smell of poo in our apartment. 

I accused my husband of letting too many fly. I accused my step son of being generally stinky and perhaps not properly wiping "down there." I accused the apartment complex of an improperly-routed ventilation system (like from the sewer to my apartment). This went on for weeks. Months. Our apartment STUNK. We pondered and searched and contemplated and discussed every single day. We considered moving, but it would just be "a little bit longer" on our house. It didn't make sense to move. We searched in every nook and cranny for the phantom poo. 

We were doing some house cleaning one day. I was scrubbing the kitchen and Big was vacuuming. I hear from the master bedroom. "What the BLEEP? Where did that come from? Oh my BLEEP. Bleeping Bleepity BLEEEEEEEEEEP the bleep and BLEEP. No WAY! BLEEEEEEP! Kristen, get in here! BLEEEEEEP! This is so bleeped up. I can't bleeping believe this. That DOG! THAT DOOOOOOOG! This is INSANE! I FIGURED IT OUT! I BLEEPING FIGURED IT OUT!"

I dried my hands and followed the bleeping and inquired further.

"I was vacuuming and bonked the vacuum on the edge of the bed frame, then suddenly a pile of dried up poo appeared on the floor. Kristen. There is a tiny hole in the bottom of the box spring. The BLEEPING DOG chewed a hole in the fabric and has been climbing up inside the box spring to take a BLEEP. Do you know how many BLEEPING piles of BLEEP are INSIDE OUR BOX SPRING?!?" he asked.

N.A.S.H.A. was climbing inside the box spring through a tiny hole toward the foot of the bed. That's where she was depositing the majority of her deposits. She only weighed about a pound and-a-half, so her weight was adequately supported by that thin fabric. 

I can't bleeping tell you what my response was. Because it's okay for me to bleeping tell you how much my bleeping husband swears, but I don't want you to think I'm bleeping like that. 

The dog was not physically or emotionally harmed. Let's just say that. 

So what happened in the end? 

We cut the entire bottom fabric out of the box spring. She became potty trained, for real. 

And we all lived happily ever after. 

And you have to pinky swear you won't tell a single soul. That is some embarrassing bleep. 

rocky resting

I regularly care for a pretty cool pooch named Rocky. He's fabulous. An oldster in so many ways (he's seventeen), but then he gets this fun spunk every so often in the form of a burst of youthful exuberance. He's sweet on the inside, but a grumpy old man on the outside. 

One of Rocky's favorite pastimes is a good, solid nap. I captured one of his famous siestas the last time he stayed with us. It's pretty good for a laugh, so I thought I'd share.

He's pretty lovable, isn't he?

if bear can do it, any pet can: gaining back your friend with #HillsPet

Although summer is approaching and we may be thinking about how we are going to get swimsuit-ready in a hurry, it's not about appearances for overweight cats and overweight dogs. It can be a matter of life and death. So as we're contemplating how to minimize our winter layers, let's discuss cat weight loss and dog weight loss, as well. 

Even just a couple of extra pounds on a cat or small dog can cause serious health concerns. And if the pet packs on even more than that, the problems compound tremendously. It can be difficult to deprive our pets of the food and treats. For some, meal time and treat time are the highlights of their day. I can remember how my father used to call our dogs after the human dinner: "leeeeeeeft-OVERS!" He'd actually make them a plate of whatever food we hadn't consumed. I cringe when I think about it, now. I'm certain that the joy he felt when he saw those wagging tails was even greater than that of the furry diners. He was making them happy, which made him happy. He didn't think about the cost to their health. 

I know. We love them no matter what. Absolutely! But shouldn't we love them into health?

I wish Hills® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution had been around then. I'm not certain it would have curbed my father's habits, but I'm sure it would have helped manage our pets' weight. Though our pets were quite active and only slightly pudgy, some animals get caught in a cycle of inactivity and overeating that becomes more serious. Their lifestyle suffers as they continue to eat the amount and types of food and treats they are accustomed to, gain weight, have difficulty moving, and then become increasingly sedentary. They just don't feel good, and it's no fun to run and play when you're feeling weighed down. This can affect the interactions we have with our pets, and it can effect their longevity. Our pets deserve an active life filled with love and fun. No one wants to lose a friend at all, much less prematurely.

I was touched to tears when I heard about Bear, a dog who got stuck in this cycle. When things really seemed hopeless and his family was running out of options, their vet recommended Hills® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution. And (SPOILER ALERT) it saved his life. Check out Bear's Story:

One of the main reasons this diet was so successful for Bear is that he wasn't deprived. He got to eat a healthy portion of food and even received treats. So how does it work? Hill's® explains "while eating Metabolic  Advanced Weight Solution, an overweight animal's metabolism changes to act more like that of a lean animal." And that efficient energy metabolism profile is maintained even after the "excess" weight is lost. Hill's® adds that this program "provides clinically proven nutrition that naturally activates metabolism to burn calories and regulate appetite." Truly amazing. I'm so happy for Bear and his family.

And he's not the only one! Check out Gracie!


If she's not bikini-ready, I don't know who is!

Like any successful diet, it's not about deprivation. It's about health. And we all could use a treat now and then.

A diet with treats? Sign me up! Oh,'s not for me...sign your pet up!

Hills® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution has been formulated for both cats and dogs. Please check out the following links for additional information.

is your pet overweight? let's get real with #HillsPet #giveaway #sponsored

10 Simple Ways to Help Your Overweight Dog


This post is sponsored by Hill's. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill's® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Food, but well minded only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc., is not responsible for the content of this article. 

#mommybloggerproblems #blameitonthedog

My kids say the darndest things.

Yes. I'm one of those moms that thinks everyone will definitely without a doubt certainly be interested in what Porter (7) and Campbell (5) have to say about any topic. I don't often tell the tales here on the blog (I tell them elsewhere), but last night, as I was reading my children a bedtime story, my phone was "all atwitter" (I had the phone on vibrate, and I wasn't looking at it...don't judge). There was a pause in the action, and then we heard another "buzz." 

Me: Sheesh! Sorry, guys. I need to get this phone out of here. 

Cam: He he hee he he heeee heeeee HEH Heh Heeee. It wasn't your phone, mommy. It was a TOOT! 

Po: hashtag "booty"

Cam: hashtag "itwasthedog"

Po: hashtag "yeahright"

Cam: hashtag "stinky"

Po: hashtag "seriously"

Me: hashtag "gotobed" 



help the aspca raise awareness about dog fighting and enter our #NDFAD #giveaway

I think boxing and cage fighting are ridiculous "sports." People have tried to explain to me the strategy involved and how physically fit these people have to be. I can appreciate their fitness, but, beyond that, I'm stumped. Why would people intentionally beat the shit out of each other for "sport?"

At least in boxing and cage fighting, the participants are willing and able to make the choice to fight or not to fight. 

This is not true of dog fighting. Participants are raised as products in miserable conditions and are made to fight whether they like it or not. Kill or be killed. They don't have a choice.


The ASPCA has officially designated April 8th as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day to raise awareness about dog fighting brutality. They are hosting a Google+ Hangout with national experts to discuss the underground world of dog fighting. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn about the blood sport that is far more prevalent in America than most realize. During the Google+ Hangout, there will be live social media Q&As across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in which users will be able to submit questions about dog fighting with the hashtag #NDFAD, and a panel of ASPCA experts–moderated by ABC News anchor Dan Harris–will be answering them–live. 

In addition, will feature a wealth of interactive information and an advocacy center on that includes:

• The premiere of a never-before seen short documentary, including undercover footage of dog fights, ASPCA rescue activity at dog fighting raids, and expert insight

• An interactive quiz that debunks common misconceptions about dog fighting and the dogs and people involved in this "sport"

• A "virtual museum" photo gallery of dog fighting and training paraphernalia, including dog treadmills, fighting pits, and narcotics used to increase aggression before a fight

• Profiles of dog fighting victims rescued by the ASPCA

The ASPCA states that "the goal of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day is to elevate the perception of dog fighting from an isolated criminal act to a deep and persistent stain on our national character."

Please join me at the Google+ Hangout on the 8th from 7-8 p.m. EST.

The ASPCA has generously offered Well Minded readers the opportunity to win a National Dog Fighting Awareness Day gift pack. Please enter, spread the word and support this important cause!


grand opening! lost our home pet foundation's new facility

It's been a long time coming, and it's been a lot of work. 

Lost Our Home Pet Foundation has a new home with lots more space to help more animals in need, and they are inviting us to share in the celebration. On April 5, the Foundation will host a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at their new facility. With over 8,000 square feet, this space is surely something to celebrate. This family-friendly event will be full of fun:

• free giveaways by event sponsor Valley Honda Dealerships

• ribbon cutting to officially "open" the new shelter (1:30 p.m.)

• tasty treats from The Roasted Shallot food truck

• facility tours

• KNIX will play the hits and offer on-site promos

• face painting

• cat tree trunk show for great deals on cat trees

• discounted pet supplies on sale to benefit Lost Our Home

• $50 off dog adoption fees and FREE decorative dog houses with each dog adoption (while supplies last)

• $20 off cat adoption fees and FREE full size bag of food and coupons from PetSmart.

Come join Lost Our Home in the celebration! Here are the details:

Saturday, April 5, 2014 • noon to 4:00 p.m. • 2323 S. Hardy Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282

Lost Our Home is doing great things. The animals pictured here are a fraction of those who found forever homes in March.

Lost Our Home is doing great things. The animals pictured here are a fraction of those who found forever homes in March.

treating my animal allergies through exposure

I have a confession to make.

It's not something I advertise or want my clients to know. In fact, I go to great length to hide this fact from new clients, especially:

I am a professional pet sitter and pet blogger who is allergic to animals.


Yes, you heard me correctly. 

This fact that I have not revealed publicly came to mind recently because I had a consult with a lovely, yet exuberant, English Bulldog who I was pretty darn allergic to. She basically wanted to make out, and, of course, I wanted to, too! I did pet her lots, which I intend to do during each and every visit, but I had to do my best to hide my "disease" to her human parents. During our discussion of the ins-and-outs of this pooch's routine, I fought back the sneezes. As soon as I sneeze once, it's all over. Best to keep it under wraps, if possible. I let my eyes water a bit, instead. I feel like if my allergy is apparent during a consult (when it is likely at its worst), my new clients might feel I'm less than capable or feel insulted that I think their animal is "dirty," neither of which is the case. 

When I left the consult, the insides of my arms were welted up from the cuddles and my cheek was red from kisses. Sigh.

Does this stop me? No way! I am madly in love with this dog already. She'll get kisses and pets from me no matter what. It's part of the job. And, besides, I love it.

The good news? The more I pet and kiss her, the better things will be. My method of treating this allergy is to build up a natural tolerance. I do not take medication. I am lucky because my allergy to animals does not affect my breathing. Those who have trouble breathing around animals should not use this method. 

treating my animal allergies through exposure This is my inside forearm a couple of hours after my consult.

treating my animal allergies through exposure

This is my inside forearm a couple of hours after my consult.

My allergy is primarily a contact allergy, accompanied by sneezing. That means that my skin welts up and itches in areas where I've had contact with the animal's fur or saliva. You can tell when I've been "making out" with an animal because I come home with a fat lip and itchy arms. The worst is when I accidentally rub my eyes after petting an animal. Itchy, puffy eyes result, and the symptoms take hours to subside.

Instead of popping pills or taking injections, I treat my allergy by increasing my contact with these animals and building up a tolerance. I know...sounds crazy. It's a bit uncomfortable at first, but, in the long run, it's effective! I am not at all allergic to my own pets or those I see on a regular basis. I have lots of contact with them, and my immune system has built up a tolerance.

I am most allergic to dogs, cats, small caged animals, horses, and goats. I am also highly allergic to hay, so any animal who eats hay is a double-whammy (horses, guinea pigs, etc.). Brand-new clients definitely have a break-in period for me. I just love on them as much as possible, and after a few visits, things get better. My body fights off the allergen. I also notice that certain dog breeds cause a more severe allergic reaction in me than others. Contrary to popular belief, it's not about fur length. It's about dander and saliva. Frequent grooming helps, but only a little.

The toughest breeds for me are labs and retrievers because their skin typically carries a lot of dander, even when groomed well. Bulldogs and pugs, and other flat-faced breeds are also tough because they typically rub and project saliva on to those around them. Do I love these breeds any less? ABSOLUTELY NOT! In fact, they are some of my favorites!

Thankfully, I am not allergic to fish, reptiles, or birds. 

So, yes, I'm a pet sitter and pet blogger who is allergic to pets, and I treat my symptoms naturally, if unconventionally. Please don't hold it against me.