Fostering a Dog With Lymphoma

Hi everyone!
Working two jobs and going to school makes it very difficult to keep up with my writing and I am sorry! School is out for break now and I have something I want to share with you all…

My husband and I recently took in a foster dog named Blue who was extremely ill and not able to be cared for. My friend and I worked together to get him into a better situation and I could not have done it without her. The plan was to keep him for a bit, see if we could get him healthy, and find a great new home for him. I was determined to stay strong and I knew my husband wouldn’t budge if I begged to keep him anyway. Here is Blue… isn’t he cute?

Canine Lymphoma

Well my vet suggested an ultrasound appointment, so off to the specialist I went. We talked about his symptoms, and I mentioned that he has improved 200% in the two days that I’ve had him and that I was giving him prednisone. She goes uh oh that is the answer and proceeds to feel him over, discovering that his lymph nodes and spleen were swollen… my stomach dropped. She took a sample from the lymph node and went to look at it under the microscope, she came back very quickly and told me Blue had lymphoma, which is of course cancer of the lymph nodes and incurable in dogs. With treatment, she told me that the life expectancy for Blue would be 9 months to a year, without treatment it would be 4 to 6 WEEKS. “When dogs respond to a steroid like prednisone so quickly”, she said, “it usually means that something bad is going on”. My heart felt like it was in my throat and I had a hard time concentrating on what she was telling me. All I could think about was having to euthanize this poor dog. Then she told me I couldn’t give him away, that it wouldn’t be fair to him or whomever I would give him to, and she told me if I kept him she would help me with the treatment. Everyone at the clinic fell in love with this special boy. She gave Blue the first IV injection that day and told me to go home and talk it over with my Husband.

My mind was pretty much made up at that moment, Pongo and Blue loved each other, so I told Aaron everything. Him being the big softy he is and loving animals just as much as I do, agreed with me that we need to give this dog the best 9 months to a year hes ever had. So now I have two big dogs in the tiniest apartment ever, but seeing his face everyday on our walks or our trips to the park, or just how excited they BOTH get when I come home has made it worth it so far. Pongo and Blue are inseparable, and although it is a sad situation, it makes me feel good to do something for another living being.

Best friends

Blue is on the Wisconsin-Madison Protocol for chemo treatment which is 25 weeks long. Basically he gets an IV injection every two weeks or so, then I have to give him oral pills at home. He has to go in for longer treatments every 4 weeks. With this protocol, I give Blue prednisone everyday at home. We have just completed his second IV injection last weekend and his second round of oral pills at home this weekend and he has not had any adverse side effects so far, which is fantastic. I went home and researched chemotherapy treatment in dogs on the computer that first day and found out that dogs do not react to chemo in the same way humans do, they hardly suffer from side effects. Dogs may experience nausea or vomiting, and some breeds may lose some hair or their whiskers. But throughout treatment dogs should be acting normally. I will keep you updated on his progression, and answer as many questions as I can as I get more experienced with the process.

Chemotherapy in dogs

Thanks for reading!
Ashley, Pongo, AND Blue!

Dogs

(This post is solely based off of my own experience and is in no way intended to be medical advice. For medical questions consult your Veterinarian.)

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Early Days with my Best Friend!

Hi Everyone! Today is International Friendship Day so what a perfect time to tell you all about one of my best friends, Pongo.

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Pongo came into our lives in 2013 right after Aaron and I got married. We got him from a friend whose dogs had puppies, and while he didn't have a sad background story like a lot of other pups do, once I looked into those big brown puppy eyes I knew I had to have him. So we drove back to our little apartment in Orlando Florida while he slept in my arms, and just like that I was in love.

Potty training was pretty easy, he caught on pretty quickly, but getting him not to bite us was HARD. My arms were all scratched up and bruised from him  and nothing seemed to help. We tried extra walks, chew toys, bitter apple spray, at the advice of our trainer we tried spraying him with water or holding his mouth shut ( back then I was completely clueless and desperate, I should have found another trainer). It seemed like he hated us and I wanted to give up a million times, I had thoughts of giving him to someone else and that killed me. I made a promise to this little boy to love, teach, and protect him always, so I was determined to not give up.

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The years past by and we figured he would grow out of this stage eventually, I started using POSITIVE training techniques and you know what? He has blossomed into this sweet, funny, sensitive dog that I have always wanted. I look back on our past together with some sadness, because I feel like I didn't get to enjoy his puppy years as I would have wanted, but I have him still and boy do we have fun together. He is such a cuddle bug, he has a weirdo sock obsession that keeps us laughing, when I am upset he comforts me, he is my perfectly imperfect best friend, and I wouldn't change a thing about him now.

Happy International Friendship Day!

Ashley and Pongo

I want to share my training experiences with you all, so I am offering my training guide to my subscribers as a thank you for following Our Life!

*Disclaimer- I am not a professional dog trainer, I am offering my experience which is not meant to be a replacement for professional dog training classes only a basic guide. For extreme cases other than basic training, consult your veterinarian or local professional dog trainer.  This is in no way medical advice.

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5 Dog-Friendly Places You and Your Dog Will Love!

Hey everyone! Hope you are all having a fantastic week!

This week’s blog post is a list of dog-friendly places you and your dog will love to visit together. If you have a friendly and social pup like mine, sometimes you want to treat them to something extra in addition to their daily walk. Here is a list of five fun places to try! *Just a reminder that all posts may contain affiliate links and ads that don’t cost you a thing 😀 *

1.) Shopping at a Dog-Friendly Store. Why not have Spot help you pick out some light fixtures or patio furniture? Maybe even a new book? Lowes, Home Depot, and Barnes and Noble tend to be dog friendly! According to Huffington Post, here is a list of 19 dog-friendly stores. Before you go make sure to call that specific store and confirm their dog policy. **Never ever… EVER leave Rex in a hot car, even if you are only going to go inside for a “minute”**.

2.) Outdoor Flea Markets. Scoring a one of a kind item you can’t get anywhere else while you two socialize with other people? That sounds like a great afternoon. You can find a list of events online or in your local paper. I am a member of Dog-Friendly events in Tampa Bay on Facebook. I get an event notification every once in a while about a dog friendly event coming up. It is great for finding something different to do together!

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Enjoying a downtown stroll!

3.) Sunday Brunch at a Dog-Friendly Restaurant. Our World of Beer in Orlando FL had a dog-friendly patio and a KILLER Sunday Brunch. Research dog-friendly restaurants in your area. Patches will enjoy sitting by your side taking in the smells while you enjoy mimosas with your girls 😉

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Pongo enjoying some brunch!

PetSmart

4.) Dog-Friendly Beaches. Here in Florida we have a great selection of beaches, most are on-leash only which can still be a great time for Daisy. But over on the Gulf side of Florida there is Fort Desoto Dog Beach. This is an off-leash dog beach AND a huge dog park. Pongo loves going here! In Orlando there is also Lake Baldwin Park where I took my all time favorite picture of Pongo.  There are warning signs on the lake to beware of gators, so use your discretion there. Pack a cooler, your sunscreen, fresh water for all, and of course heed beach and tide warnings. Salt water can upset Ginger’s tummy too so make sure to offer her fresh water at all times, but most important… HAVE FUN!!!

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Mom, throw the ball already!

5.) If your precious Bella realizes she’s a natural swimmer during your trip to the dog-beach why not enroll her in a Dock Diving program? There are programs like DockDogs all over the country. If you join, the weekend practices and competitions will keep you two busy and is sure to be a great time !

 

Where are some dog-friendly places you like to take your dog to? I’d love for you to post some more ideas in the comments! Pongo is so high-energy we are always looking for new ideas to entertain him!! Click below to share us on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook if you don’t mind 🙂Have a great week!

 

Ashley and Pongo

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How To Entertain Your Dog Indoors- For Those Hot or Rainy Days!

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*This post may contain Affiliate links, which doesn’t cost you a thing, but helps to keep the site running!*

Hey everyone!

Summer is here and it is just too hot for our pups to play outside for too long, so us dog parents have to get creative right? Here in Florida we also have the double whammy of a summer storm every afternoon so I like to play some games with Pongo when we are cooped up in the house.

 

This one is super fun and it can last a long time depending on how crafty you want to be and how good your pup’s sniffer is! I hold Pongo in one part of the house for just a few minutes while I take bite sized treats and hide them all over the house. I try to keep track of where I’ve put them and about how many so I know he has gotten them all, then I set him loose and watch him use his tracking skills to find those goodies! I am always impressed with how well he does.

 

Pongo is extremely food motivated, and I love giving him puzzle toys to play with. But you can make your own! All you need to do this is a muffin pan from the dollar store, a pack of cheap tennis balls, and your dog’s favorite bite sized treats! Putting a few treats in select holes of the muffin pan, then putting a tennis ball in each hole will provide you and your pet endless entertainment and fun!

When I want to tire him out a bit, I take his favorite ball and toss it up the stairs a few times, I am always there to supervise to make sure he doesn’t fall or get too tired. But he loves it and it works in a pinch! (This probably isn’t a great idea for our older pups with arthritis or bad knees)

Lastly, why not bake your pupper some homemade dog treats? Baking together and letting your pup lick the spoon is the perfect rainy day activity! Consult your Veterinarian before giving your pup anything new first. I like this Peanut Butter and Banana dog treat recipe from Munchkins and the Military.

What are some ways you keep your pups entertained? I’d love to read about them in the comments!

Ashley and Pongo ❤️🐶

How To Keep Your Dog Busy and Cool This Summer with 5 Kong Recipes!

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Hey Everyone!

If you are like me you are always looking for new ways to keep your fur babies happy and most importantly, BUSY. The Kong toy is the best thing I have ever bought for my dog Pongo. If you have never heard of this magical toy you can visit their website here. Kongs can also be purchased at any Petsmart, Petco, or Pet’s Supermarket. I have come up with 5 Kong stuffing recipes to keep Rover occupied for hours!**Before giving Fido any new foods, consult your Veterinarian first, and be careful, peanut butter containing Xylitol is poisonous to our pooches so always make sure to read the ingredients.  Here is a list of people food dangerous to pets. Keep Fifi in your sight while she is enjoying her tasty treat, and remember everything in moderation for us and our pets ! **

1.) Veggie Delight- Chop 1 carrot into smaller pieces and place into the Kong. I usually dice 1/4 of a boiled skinless sweet potato and place that in as well after it has cooled. I plug the small hole of the Kong ,usually with a Popsicle stick or anything you can find, to keep the liquid inside, then fill with NO sodium low fat chicken stock. Place the Kong into the freezer overnight.2.) Peanut Butter Dream- This one is simple but Pongo loves it. Just add 1/2 of a banana diced into bite-sized pieces and 1 scoop of peanut butter (Raw, unsalted peanut butter is best with no xylitol) and your pup will be in heaven. You could freeze this one for a few hours to make it last longer! Peanut butter can be fattening, so don’t let your pooch indulge too much! 😉3.) Blueberry Yogurt- Plain, unsweetened, Greek yogurt and a small handful of blueberries mixed and frozen into the Kong will be the Summer treat your dog will do tricks for!4.) Celery and Bell Pepper Snack- Mix a handful of diced celery and diced bell peppers (without the seeds) place into the Kong, plug that bottom hole up again and fill Kong with water. Place Kong in freezer overnight! For those pups that love to eat their veggies!

5.) Sweet and Savory- 3 strawberries, diced into small pieces with 1/2 diced cucumber, again frozen in water inside the Kong overnight, will be the crunchy snack your pup will enjoy!

kong

Let us know which recipe was your pup’s favorite! Stay cool!

Ashley & Pongo

Dog Monitor App Review

OK so for all my  pet parents out there I have found the perfect app for you especially if you worry about your pets all day while you are out or if you just plain miss them! It is called Dog Monitor by the company TappyTaps and it lets you see what your pet is up to all day by using your own devices. Their long term plans are to utilize Windows and Chrome devices as well as Apple Watch and Android Wear so stay tuned :). Forget shelling out over $100 for one of these puppies because this app only costs $4.99 in the App Store.

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So when you first download the app to both devices it is super easy to link them, the app walks you through it and involves typing in a pass code shown on one device into the other.. no big deal. The app asks you to differentiate which device is going to be the “Dog Station” ,meaning which device is going to stay home with your furry friend, and which device is going to be the “Person Station”, or which device is going to travel with you. These can be changed each time the app is opened though so no fear of commitment there ;).  As you can see from the picture above there is also an activity log showing you when monitoring your dog started, when he was resting or noisy, and how long they were monitored for.. so fancy.

The Dog Monitor works whether or not you’re on WiFi or using your phone’s data, but the live camera monitoring only works when both devices are on WiFi. Don’t fret though, if you’re out and about and not on WiFi you can hit the camera button and get a snapshot of what your pet is doing at that moment. When not monitoring your dog on the camera you get a cartoon picture of a dog, which one depends on whether your pet is resting or being noisy.img_0085img_0080img_0081

When Pongo was younger and I was a helicopter dog mom I used an app called ICam, which I loved and was similar to this. But Dog Monitor has a feature that ICam didn’t and that is I can hit the microphone button and talk to Pongo! This is my favorite feature on this app but I’m not too sure Pongo agrees :D. img_0084

TappyTaps has other apps one being a baby monitor version, you can check them out here. This app is pretty solid the only real “problem”I had was it makes a super loud alarm sound when one end is disconnected, but that is not a deal breaker for me and I highly recommend this app to my readers!

Check it out and let me know how you liked the Dog Monitor in the comments.. I’d also love suggestions on new pet friendly apps to try!

Ashley & Pongo

How I Got My Dog To Enjoy Bath Time

 

Hi Everyone!! Like I said before I am NO expert on dog training. But we have had our little problem child for over three years now and have miraculously gotten him to listen to us on some things ha. One of those being bath time! When he was a ten pound puppy holding him in the tub wasn’t so hard but when they grow too big for you to lift them easily, and you need them to get in the bath tub (or the car or anywhere really) it helps when they get in there themselves. Pongo was afraid of the bath tub at first but loved attacking the hose at the dog park. So instead of waiting until we got home to bathe him I brought a towel and his shampoo there. I’d squirt the hose on the table to entice him to jump up for the water instead of dragging him onto the table like many others did. Then I started slowly wetting him and praising him while I did it with pats on the head and a few good boys :). And after awhile when I started walking for the exit he jumped on the washing station without prompting. He knew our routine and all the park goers commented on how well behaved he was ( if they only knew the truth) and how easy it was to bathe him.

Then came the ringworm incident… *shudder* which meant medicated baths once a day everyday for two weeks in the evil bath tub.  Not only did we have to get him IN the tub but after applying the shampoo we had to KEEP him in the tub for 10 minutes while it soaked into his skin.. I thought who came up with this idea but my husband and I set out to try anyways. Like at the park I thought about what would motivate him to even come into the bathroom. He loves the hose like I said but just turning the faucet on was not enough to draw him in. Pongo is also heavily motivated by treats and food so I held his favorite treat near the bathtub and he actually jumped in! To keep him in my husband fed him treats while I bathed him (so spoiled). But it worked and now all we have to do at bath time is turn the faucet on and call him name then he comes running ( and most importantly stays in the bath tub until we are finished).

So if you are reading this and having trouble bathing your dog think about what he or she loves and will always want. Could be food like Pongo, or maybe their favorite toy. Use that item to slowly introduce them to the bath and hopefully it works out for you. Not all dogs are the same, and I can’t say this enough but patience and going slow are key here you don’t want to force them into a situation where they are scared. Hopefully I’ve given you a different approach to try that you haven’t thought of before and I hope it works out for you and your furry friend!

Let me know what you think in the comments and any other tricks you may use to get your dog into that evil bathtub!

Ashley & Pongo

 

Training Fails

Pongo is our “first dog” we’ve gotten on our own and 3 years later we still have no idea what we are doing.  He has a schedule, he gets one or two walks everyday plus dog park time once a week. But he refuses to let himself fall asleep because he will most definitely miss something. That results in “zoomies” around the house almost every night. I affectionately call him “Satan”.

He will steal anything and everything he sees and we never know what he is going to go for. Except if there is a sock nearby. He will always choose the sock.

He jumps. He whines.  He never listens. He doesn’t obnoxiously beg at the dinner table, but if anyone drop something it is fair game and he always wins. He sounds like a ferocious beast when playing tug. Every game is tug so forget about getting his toys off him either. Except for the Kong because he needs peanut butter.. Obviously. He’d be good with eating bugs though, and lizards if I’m not watching, oh and the dead things so gross. He will also chase the kitties all day long if I let him.

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But when he finally relaxes he is the cutest thing ever.He is also super cuddly in the morning (or whenever he wakes up, since we managed to get him to sleep in). He knows lots of tricks too like bang and rollover and the names of all his toys which he’ll bring to you when you ask for them. He also knows that we love him and that he makes us happy. So I guess we did something right.

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Can anyone relate? Lets talk about our perfectly imperfect pets in the comments. 🙂

Ashley and Pongo

More About Me

Hey Everyone!

** This is an older post from my other hosting site, but I hope you’ll enjoy it!**

This entry is a bit more personal for me, but I hope you enjoy it , relate to it, and of course that it helps. 🙂

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My Weight has been a constant struggle throughout my life.  I was diagnosed with Hypoglycemia as a child which meant I had low blood sugar and had to monitor my blood sugar levels constantly throughout the day. When I had an episode it could mean passing out, seizures, or a trip to the hospital. 12 years of my life was spent pricking my finger and checking my blood every few hours, not being able to eat sweets like the other kids, going to the doctor every few months to get my blood tested, and all the medications I had to take. And after all of that, I just grew out of it. I no longer had to do any of things, and I only had to get my blood tested once every six months.

 

It was great! I may have indulged a bit in the sweets after that, mainly sodas, because I didn’t have the taste for cookies or candy after not being able to have it all those years. During one of my doctor visits though they discovered a problem with my thyroid gland, mine actually didn’t work at all.  Your thyroid is a gland in your neck that basically controls your metabolism, and symptoms of an under active thyroid (or hypothyroidism) is weight gain, hair loss, tiredness, cold intolerance, and a slow heart rate. I spent the next 15 years of my life testing and re-testing my thyroid levels through more blood work, getting my medication adjusted, and riding this roller coaster of weight gain and exhaustion.  Which brings me to the present.

 

I am on the highest dose of thyroid hormone replacement that a doctor will prescribe and I feel great. After quickly gaining 30 pounds in the last two years I finally have hope.  I am very active at my job and since purchasing my Fitbit Flex I’ve found that I walk an average 5 miles a day just at work. After work I usually take Pongo for a walk or for a trip to the park. Aaron and I have started rock climbing and I love it! I’ve also started eating better and cutting back on the alcohol, I’m trying to make small changes so that my good habits stick. The Fitbit Flex holds me accountable and I find myself walking an extra block or two just to get my steps in, you can also input the food you eat throughout the day, and any extra exercises you do other than walking/running. Fitbit sends a weekly progress update email, and in one week I’ve walked 28 miles! The Fitbit also monitors your sleep patterns by detecting how much you move during sleep. And if you hate that pesky loud alarm clock, the Fitbit Flex will wake you with a vibrating alarm.  I am no where near my goal at this point I am just getting started but I look forward to continuing my journey with you all and seeing what I am capable of now that I am feeling better.

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What are some of your favorite ways to stay active? I’d love the suggestions!

 

Thank you for reading, until next time!

 

Ashley

We’re Back!

Hi All!
So as you probably read on the homepage this is the new home of Ashley Mauro Blog. One day my gmail stopped working and my hosting site was expired so I couldn’t reconfigure it, I forgot my password to my hosting site but couldn’t recover it because my email wasn’t working! So instead of paying for another year and going through all the hassle to recover my bluehost account I’m using the free wordpress version for now. A lot has happened lately and I can’t wait to share our new adventures with you guys! The first huge change is that I left my job at Disney and Aaron and I have decided to move to Tampa. For the time being I went back to waiting tables at Chilis and commuting from Orlando until we find a place sometime in July. But so far I am happy with the schedule flexibility and the increase in our income. I have some of my old blog posts on a backup but I did lose a few, so I will post the ones that I have and I am happy to be back!

 

Ashley