Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thank you Thursday - This one's for mom

I know, I know, it's supposed to be "Thankful Thursday." But while I am thankful, I also really have to say thank you. I have to say thank you to my mom for taking care of Bella while we were away at BlogPaws. When I say I don't know what we'd do without her, I'm not exaggerating.

My mom really is our only option for taking care of Bella when we are away. She's the only one who can reliably touch Bella (mostly) and, better yet, she doesn't even have to. Since Mom has a fenced-in-yard, she really only has to tolerate playing Bella's doorman, not actually get a leash on her and take her for a walk.

But Bella comes with a rather substantial list of notes, a bagful of trinkets, treats and toys and an instructional video on "The Care and Feeding of Bella". (Okay, I made that last part up. But just barely.)

To fully appreciate what I put my mom through, I thought I'd share with you what I packed for a 3-night stay and the list of instructions sent along with the crazy dog. Not everyone would be as accommodating and patient with us.

Packing list
  • Martingale collar, head halter, body harness, two leashes plus regular collar with tags
  • 2 beds
  • Bella's mat (a towel)
  • Raised feeding/water station and bowls
  • Muzzle
  • 3 stuffed Kongs
  • Bully bones
  • Canned food and cover
  • Dry kibble (Hills Prescription Diet w/d)
  • Pills - Clonidine, Fluoxetine, Soloxine
  • Drops - Metacam
  • Tummy 'treats' (Cloud Star Dynamo dog treats)
  • Chicken treats (home-made)
  • Chicken jerky bits (Blue Buffalo)
  • Pill pockets
  • Storm defender cape
  • Important paperwork (health certificates, Rx list and dosages, etc)
  • Instructions

Care and Feeding Instructions

Bella gets a little less than half a cup of dry kibble and a tablespoon or two of canned mixed with a little water 2x/day.
The pills in the pill box go in her meals. The box is marked for AM and PM. She should just eat them up but check her bowl after she has finished to make sure she did. (She knows "Finish your breakfast/dinner" if she didn't.)

The Clonidine in the pill bottle (marked with a “C”) can be given in the event of a thunderstorm or at night before bed if she seems anxious and won't settle down. Wrap it in a ‘Pill Pocket’ to get her to eat it.
The ‘liquid’ medicine is only given in the morning. Fill it to the 55 pound mark and just add it to her breakfast.

Note: This stuff is apparently very tasty to dogs (and can be lethal if they get too much of it). Please keep it somewhere out of her reach.
Chicken (home-made): Bella will expect a couple/few pieces of chicken jerky after meals. She will not let you forget to give them to her. These can be used for “Trade” if necessary. They should be kept in the fridge.

There is also a small bag of tiny pieces of chicken jerky as well. She doesn’t get these as a rule – just during training – but they are highly prized and can also be used for “Trade” if necessary.

“Tummy” treats: Bella can have one to two pieces after dinner. (1 will probably be sufficient but you can give her two if she starts having ‘bathroom issues’.)

Bully bones and frozen stuffed Kongs: She can have one of either of these at night to entertain her. The Kongs will last her longer.
Thunder cape:
We have packed Bella’s Storm Defender cape. It will help calm her down in the event of a storm but should be used with the Clonidine mentioned above. It’s best to get her in her cape and medicated a half hour before the storm if possible but that hardly ever happens. If this doesn't work, try the basement. Otherwise, pray for sun. :|

Added by Jan: Never let Bella outside during a thunderstorm even though that's what it will look like she needs. She doesn't. She's trying to escape.
Contact info:
We are staying at .... You can reach me at ... I will get an email if I miss your call and call you back as soon as I can. Jan will have the cell phone and that number is ... Bella's primary vet is ...

So, thanks Mom. We really couldn't do this without you and your patience with me and our crazy dog is appreciated in ways you can't even imagine.

PS - I had an interesting breakfast conversation with Debbie Jacobs from while at BlogPaws about why my mom may be the only one Bella will let touch her. We have an idea and just need the PhD student willing to investigate. Know any? Put us in touch.

In the meantime, if you don't have your very own Camp Nana's, Debbie's recent post on what to look for when considering boarding options for your dog is definitely worth the read.


  1. Pamela | Something WaggingMay 23, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    Honey is considerably lower maintenance than Bella but I still publish a "manual" for her dog sitter and post signs in important places around the house.

    Think I'm a little overprotective?

    Glad Bella did so well while you were gone. Hope your vet visit (and thunder) goes ok too.

  2. Your Mom is a very special woman. That list made me tear up a bit. Thank you Nana.

    I think we all worry when we go away. For all the we've addressed 99.9% of Felix's fear based issues and Koly is super low maintenance, I don't think my "manual" was any less wordy than yours. It's how we show our love.

  3. No joke - I programmed calendar reminders into the Daddy's phone so it would wail and beep when he needed to do things like take dogs for a walk, feed them or refresh water bowls. I might be over protective.

  4. Thanks for the extra effort, Donna. (I think it was Disqus, not you - they've been having issues lately.)

    I agree that the making a list is indicative of a good pet parent - it's the length of the list that impresses me. (Seriously, the worst I ever faced with Beau was "give him this pill with dinner". Although my folks did get the experience of seeing a seizure so there was that...)

  5. Bella is a very lucky dog to have a Nana like that! I wish we had someone close by who could watch the pack. The couple of times that someone came in there were lengthy instructions and the one time Callie was home, strict warnings as to her behavior.

    It's not easy to leave, especially with the "specials". They have been to boarding twice and I was extremely worried about them. They did okay but not something that I want to do very often.

  6. "everyone should have at least one person they can leave their dog with."

    Very true! With regards to our (now yearly) vacation, the person we can leave Elka with come with us! Though we've got at least one other who I think we can trust well enough. I think.

  7. To me, both the length and content of your list and letter were normal. LOL! I guess that tells you we're on the same page. :-)

  8. I do the same thing when I leave my dogs and my dad takes care of them. I don't know what I would do without my dad…parents are great!

  9. Jan K, Wag N Woof PetsMay 25, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Oh gosh, since we have four dogs we always have a pet sitter. I couldn't imagine if I had to pack things up for them to go somewhere! Not only does the pet sitter come ahead to review the routines and where things are, but yes, I usually leave at least a 2 page letter with instructions (and the occasional sign like Pamela said). I am so glad to know other people are as thorough as I am. Every time we have to try a different pet sitter, I am afraid they will think I am nuts!

  10. I don't know any PhD students, but I'm always interested in connections like that. I do hope you find one!

  11. Just like my mom...for those few days she packed us up and had instructions as if we were going to the sitter for a year! Even when we travel with her she brings so much stuff for us but I guess it is better than forgetting things.

  12. Here was my fatal flaw, I did not leave the list. I was too busy preparing other things. Normally I have the list ready and a monkey could come in and feed my dogs. When I don't have the list, apparently NO-ONE can manage to feed them properly.

    I'm so glad you have your mom to help you (I already know the theory so I won't ruin it.) Debbie Jacobs is marvelous isn't she?

  13. Here was my fatal flaw, I did not leave the list. I was too busy preparing other things. Normally I have the list ready and a monkey could come in and feed my dogs. When I don't have the list, apparently NO-ONE can manage to feed them properly.

    I'm so glad you have your mom to help you (I already know the theory so I won't ruin it.) Debbie Jacobs is marvelous isn't she?

  14. Is it bad that this seems pretty reasonable to me? I usually leave a 3 page, typed, single-spaced note when someone is watching my pups. (And I post notes too like Pamela.)

    Sounds like Bella has a pretty fantastic Nana. :)