Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Allergies, vaccines...

We went to the doctor last Friday for Nola's annual check up. I've put this off since July trying to decide what to do about her vaccines. North Carolina law requires canines to have a rabies vaccine every three years, ok not a big deal. She wasn't due for that though... she was due for her recommended vaccine combo: distemper, hepatitis, lepto, parvo, and parainfluenza. I really did not want to do this... our vet has been telling us for almost a year now that the doctors are planning to meet and discuss a three-year vaccine schedule that would mean instead of annual vaccines, she would get them once every three years, same as the rabies schedule.

I thought about requesting a titer but that would mean labwork (blood draw) and all fees associated. Ultimately, I chose to give her the vaccine. Next year, we'll re-evaluate and decide what to do. According to research, we are over vaccinating. I do NOT want to give her vaccines if she has immunity. However if she does not have immunity then by all means, let's fix it.

While we had the doctor in our room we asked about her feet. Nola licks her feet almost obsessively and it's difficult to determine if it's a complusion or if they are truly bothering her. Dr. E did a cytology and said that there was a little bit of yeast - great. We're not sure if the yeast has been there from previous licking and that is causing itchiness or if she is truly allergic to something that is persistent and yeast has accumulated that way... she's on ketoconazole for a month and hopefully that will clear it up.

If she continues to have trouble, we'll start to look at common allergens and try to identify the problem. I am really hoping it doesn't come to that... especially food allergies. We LOVE Honest Kitchen and I think she and I would both be devastated if we had to find another food. She's eating Wellness Chicken for breakfast and either Force (chicken) or Embark (turkey) for dinner. We alternate the two, both are grain free. I ordered a box of Verve (beef) not even thinking that it had alfalfa... she refuses it. Sister will get that box. Such is life.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lucky Fi... Nola!

Wondering why her neck is naked? Well, a few weeks ago, we won a custom collar and leash from Lucky Fiona ... but we asked if we could change it up. We chose a Choco Bloom martingale because it happens to look GREAT on Nola's coat and it matches perfectly with her Ruffwear leash.

Shannon was SO sweet and even made it extra wide because she knows how much we adore this print. Bells was THRILLED to get her package in the mail!

THANK YOU SHANNON AND FIONA... and all!! We LOVE our new collar!

Be sure to stop by Lucky Fiona's site!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Food: Settled!

We have a winner! I called Honest Kitchen last week to ask for some samples since you have to pay $1 for them online then pay MORE to have them shipped to you. It was three times the cost of product to have it shipped! Bleh. The rep I spoke with was SUPER nice and very helpful.
Today, our samples arrived. I was SO excited! Nola was too! We'd previously tried Preference and Thrive but she didn't like either of them so I was hesitant to spend any money whatsoever until I knew we had something she'd eat.
It's expensive but I think it will be worth it. My plan is to mix Honest Kitchen with Wellness so it's a little less each month, I think it should work. I also don't think the company gave me my 10% off for my first order so I might call and ask if I can have that next time and if they agree then I'll buy the combo pack, 4lbs each of Embark and Force -- to give her a little variety. :)
I'm finally satisfied with her food and no longer feel like she's eating crap. I hate that pet food isn't regulated. I hope that one day it will be... I also hope that there is more education on dog food. Why people still continue to feed certain foods is beyond me. Even a tiny amount of research yields awful things about ingredients. Sigh.
For the record, I'd love to cook for Nola because then I'd know for sure that she's getting the best, but I don't even cook for ME so I'm not even going to kid myself into trying to cook...
Happy snacking! And thanks again for all the comments and emails!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Food Debate

Nola has been eating Nutro Ultra for quite a while now... however recently, Consumer Reports published an article citing that the company was under investigation by the FDA. Two days later, another report was released saying that there was no investigation. Regardless of this, I have heard many negative things about Nutro and am not terribly excited about using their products.

My first choice food, The Honest Kitchen, is difficult to get since no where around here carries it, however, I'm still going to try it. In the meantime, we've tried Natural Balance and Wellness. The Natrual Balance (sweet potato and fish) is okay, but in the four days Nola has eaten it, I've noticed a difference in her stool and I don't think this is the best option for her. We just got Wellness today -- I like that they seem pretty open about their product and the sites where they make and package it.

What do you feed and why? I'm open to suggestions -- thanks!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Had to share this

My plan is to post pictures and stories from Nola's life here. (Silly? Perhaps. But she's my "child" and that's what moms do...) I'm quite behind since I didn't think to even start this blog until only recently and she'll be 2 next month (next month?! already?!), but I couldn't help but share this post with you.

"My friend Jennifer is one of those people that you can't help but adore. She's smart, she's beautiful, she's silly to the point of absurdity and she's fiercely loyal to her family and core group of friends. She can tell you the top notes in any perfume by taking a brief whiff and she can recite quotes from Will Ferrell movies with deft accuracy and coordinating facial ticks. She leads a stylish life in Manhattan with a great career and her gorgeous husband Dave who has a British accent that makes girls like me swoon. Yet, something was missing in this charmed life.

Then came Ted. Yes, life changed last August when Teddy the Rhodesian Ridgeback came onto the scene and I realized my dear friend was hopelessly in love with four freckled puppy paws. A visit to her apartment on the Upper West side last week confirmed what I was long suspecting...she is an official Dogmom. She's in deep. She's one of us now.Her classically decorated apartment with wood floors, wide original moldings and leather furniture is now strewn with dog toys with names such as "Camo Beau-Beau" and "Hedgey the Hedgehog" Dogmoms world round give the most ridiculous names to toys and act like the dog themselves named them such. It's one of the first symptoms of Dogmomminess.

Teddy is Jen's first dog, she waited years for the right time in her life to have a dog and researched the breed and all things dog with the zeal of a woman on a mission. I don't think Jen ever studied so arduously for anything in life. I say this with much confidence as we once took a 7:30a.m. Science class together in college and we would be at the bar at 3:30 a.m. wondering how to get sleep and our homework done in the upcoming 4 hours. (sleep often prevailed - but to be honest she did get a full letter grade above me in that course so who am I to question her study methods?)So when Teddy came into Jen and Dave's life she was ready. But I guess I wasn't ready for what a Dogmom she has become.

It sounds patronizing, but I'm really proud of her. She's no rookie, she's the real deal. Lord knows I had no idea what I was doing with my first dog a Labrador named Fergus. I mean for God sakes I fed him Puppy Chow from the Grocery store! (I know, I know...I was young and stupid though)Jen has all the signs of a Dogmom in love. She murmurs sweet nothings into Teddy's ears and when she calls him silly nicknames he looks at her like she is speaking their own secret language. She gets up at dawn in the dead of winter to give Teddy a dog park romp before she goes to work. She knows how many whiskers he has...no small task as their are over a 150 of them. Ted eats holistic food and has a closet full of gourmet treats and Jen knows all their ingredients. Is she protective like any Dogmom worth her beans is?

Well, Jen was ready to take a swing at the lady she met in her dog park Rhodesian group who said Teddy's head was too small for a Ridgeback. Us real Dogmoms know hell hath no fury like a Dogmom who's four pawed child has been talked negatively about. Don't go there.Sure Teddy has a personal dog walker three times a day, has been to a top notch day care facility, has embroidered dog coats and a bed that cost more than my first car. But these things aren't where the love is held. What really showed me the love his Dogmom has for him was a simple exchange I witnessed last Tuesday night. Jen and I sat on the couch at the end of the day with Ted curled up between us and Jen enthusiastically showed me the "B" marking on his tummy, where the crowns were on his ridge and where his hair zippers on his legs. She pointed all this out without looking away from him with a smile on her face and in her heart. You can't fake this stuff. She's a Dogmom."

ht: Shannon

I thought this was too sweet, too funny, and oh so true! Dog lovers and dog "moms," this is, if nothing else, just so you know, you're not the only one!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Where the ridge would be...

She doesn't have a ridge but she does have a darker stripe down her back... see below:

Friday, January 23, 2009


Did I mention that Nola is part Rhodesian Ridgeback? I love that about her! I only recently learned this and feel ridiculous that I hadn't put two and two together before.... anywho.... while she doesn't have the true ridge (not all purebred Rhodies even have it, did you know that?! those pups obviously wouldn't show, but that's nothing I'm really concerned with to be honest...) she does have a much darker stripe down her back. A photo of that will be my homework assignment for the weekend.
Being part Rhodie also explains her little white paw as this is a trademark trait of the breed.

Here are some fun Rhodie links in case you just LOVE Nola and want a dog like her. Because everyone should. She's great. ;)

Did I mention that the Rhodesian is from Zimbabwe (used to be Rhodesia)? It was fate. Read more about why I love Africa here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nola's Family

The girls @ 4.5 weeks old

Bear, the only boy

Mattie, she looked similar to Nola but darker.

(I *almost* went back to get her too!)
Patch, Tara stepped on her when she was tiny and it caused a bald spot on her hip.

Nola's dad, Majra
(half rottie, half shepherd)

Tara (Nola's mom)
(half Rhodesian Ridgeback, half ?)

Tara had eight puppies but only five lived. Four girls, Nola, Hattie, Mattie, and Patch, and one boy, Bear. Nola was identical to her mom and Bear was identical to his dad.

Both Tara and Majra had been adopted from the shelter several years ago. Their person moved and left them in the backyard chained to a tree. He had someone "checking" on them but they were often without food, water, or shelter. Neighbors brought Tara and Majra to their yard. They were both very thin - so thin that they didn't even realize Tara was pregnant. Two days later she had the puppies. They didn't think the puppies would survive since Tara was so emaciated, but luckily most of them did. They were moved to the inside shed that had heat so mom would be comfortable.

Both Tara and Majra were extremely shy probably due to a combination of neglect and former treatment. From all of the research I've done it appears that fear can actually be hereditary so it could be this too... I often wondered if being with Tara had influenced Nola's behavior but after consulting with vets and animal behaviorists and doing my own research, there's a good chance it was inherited.

I'd love to see what Nola's sisters look like... her brother, Bear, lives with the family that rescued the parents. He is smaller than Majra but looks just like him.

Tara and Majra were adopted by a family that lives on a farm in the country.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Flashback...Baby Nola!

Nola Belle
born March 10, 2007

This is the first picture I saw of Nola. She was two-weeks old and had just opened her eyes. I'd been searching for a puppy for months. I had very specific criteria: medium sized, short coat, female, must see parents, not pure-bred. I saw puppies listed on Petfinder and decided to check them out. It was so funny that Nola was lighter in color because while I secretly thought it would be fun to have a "brown" dog, I really did want a black dog since they are often overlooked and are commonly the most euthanized. That fact makes me so sad. All of the puppies were light except for one male, who looked identical to his father. (I'll post more pics of them all.) Nola was listed as "Lena: female." At that point, I knew her name would be Sumi after a little boy I'd met in Tanzania named Suma. Needless to say, the name did not fit her at all.
It took me about a week to decide on her name. It actually originated from "Enola" which I hated both for the name itself and because it made me think of war bombs, but Enola is "alone" spelled backwards. Since the reason I was getting a dog was mainly because my sister had moved out and I was terribly lonely (and I'd wanted another dog since my beloved Brownie the chocolate lab died years earlier), the name seemed perfect. Fast forward about a year and I learned that "NOLA" was an abbreviation of New Orleans, LA. I hate that people think she was named after that, but it's okay. To be honest, I didn't even love the name Nola but it fit her completely. She was so sweet and quiet and perfect in every day (goo goo mush kissy wah wah, I know...). So, where was I... I went to visit the puppies and it was an instant decision. Nola was the lightest in color of all the puppies and I knew she'd look just like her mom when she was bigger. It was important that I know what she'd be like since I have a somewhat small condo with two cats. Tara, the mama dog, was so pretty. Nola was identical to her down to her two white toes on her back paw. Later, I would find out, Nola was a lot like her mom in many ways.

I was so in love with this puppy that I visited almost every week until it was time for her to come home for good. I also started buying all of my puppy necessities and reading all my puppy books. I was a nesting dog mom. (Ok, really lonely... don't laugh at me!) The following picture was taken when Nola was 4 weeks old. Because Nola's parents were rescue cases and the rescuers were ready for the puppies to find homes, they offered to let me take Nola when she was 4-weeks old. I declined for many reasons.

The day before she was officially 6-weeks old, I brought Nola home! I was SO excited! I dashed home from work and drove about 20 minutes. She was SO sweet! J and S (the ones who rescued the parents) told me I was in for it because she had me totally whipped because she seemed so cuddly and laid back when I visited but they said she was always the first to explore, eat puppy food, etc... I didn't care, I loved her to pieces already! I remember driving home thinking how weird it was that I had a dog! I drove straight home, tossed her in the sink, scrubbed her down, and raced to Aunt Emily's house to show her off! Emily wanted to steal her but she settled on taking lots of pictures!

...to be continued...

(Next: Nola's Family)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Since there's probably no one reading this blog (please, correct me if I'm wrong...), I'm re-posting this from yesterday.

I'm just as eager as you to see what ends up with this little doggy blog...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Content Coming Soon!