Monday, February 27, 2017

Need Dog Advice; Dog Quirks; Food Stuff

I can't wait until Rain's Garden has posts about Rain's GARDEN...that tease of warm weather really got to me! Yesterday we actually had a thunderstorm. This is unusual for a February in the snowy mountains of the Laurentians. My boyfriend caught this with his phone camera from our bedroom. We lost power for a little while off and on. Today of course, it's back down to -14C (7F-ish).

So here is where I'm seeking any and all advice and suggestions. This is Marlene, one of our rescues. She has lots of issues and one of them is a fear of loud noises. Many dogs have this, but I personally have never seen it THIS bad. She pants very heavily, shakes and jerks, paces the house, ears down, whines, hides, has to constantly pee and poop but won't go outside...and then she has the runs for about 24 hours after. In the photo, she's wrapped up. I did so much research to try and help her. I made this full-body wrap that mimics the "thunder shirt". It's supposed to apply pressure to certain areas on the dog to comfort them. And these are the four products we've tried over the last year as well. If we know a t-storm is on the way, we put the wrap on her early in the day and give her chamomile tea with her meals. Rescue Remedy worked so well when I had my pugs, but not with Marlene.

Save me Mommy!
Poor girl. She hides between my table and my dresser, shaking furiously the whole time. Advice says to ignore them so that they can get used to it...but it's so hard to do that when I see her suffering so much. Has anyone had any luck with anything??? Our other dogs have their quirks...

Jack chews on his ears and he holds one in his mouth like a security blanket...problem is he gets sores on the ears because he really does CHEW them...again with him, I've tried everything. He has plenty of bones and balls and chew toys, lots of exercise and love...I made a "snood" for him (it's like a head wrap but he kept shaking it off). I even tried bitter apple and rubbed it on his ears and he LOVED the taste ha ha...It's hard to break an old habit, we got him when he was 9 years old. Every time I catch him, I tell him "drop your ears" and he does, then goes to hide and chews them this point it's just maintenance to make sure the sores don't get too bad.

And Charlie thinks she's a cat and jumps up everywhere. She's very sneaky and we often just find her on top of things. She's a growing little gal, and she gained 15 pounds in the last year. We're afraid her weight might not hold wherever she's up, I'm afraid she might hurt her legs when she jumps down. Again, every time we catch her, we teach her it's a "NO". We put stuff up to stop her but she barrels right through the barriers. Anyway, I'll take advice for all three if anyone wants to offer it!

Onto my next favourite subject - FOOD!!! I make my own yogurt because it's SO MUCH cheaper than buying it. One batch lasts just under a week and costs less than $2.00. We go through a lot of this, because we both love our morning fruit shakes; and because Marlene is such a nervous dog that she often has trouble with her bowels. We give her probiotic supplements mixed in with the yogurt. It helps to keep her "regular"! My yogurt tastes more like sour cream because I don't add any sweetener, but adding maple syrup makes it so yummy. It's super easy to make to:

Homemade Yogurt

1. Heat a liter (4 cups) of milk to 200F over medium low heat, whisking often so it doesn't burn.
2. When it reaches 200F, take the pot off the heat and put it in a sink of cold water.
3. Whisk often and check the temperature often, you want it to reach 110F.
4. When it reaches 110F, scoop out a bit and mix it with 1/4 cup of yogurt and pour it back into the pot, whisking it all together. (I always have to remind myself to keep a 1/4 cup for the next batch!)
5. Pour into Mason jars and seal.
6. Incubate: there are many methods, the one I like the best is wrapping up the Mason jars in tea towels and placing them on my heating pad on medium for 8 hours. 

It turns out really well! Though I've tried adding vanilla one time to the process and the yogurt never set, so I just don't wake the sleeping yogurt bear anymore and always stick to plain-flavoured!

I'd forgotten...this is a photo of my birthday dinner in 2016...FONDUE lol...that was the first time I'd tried the Italian fondue. My boyfriend made a pot of that and a pot of Swiss cheese fondue (I don't have the recipe for the Swiss though). Susan asked me for the recipe for the Italian fondue, it couldn't be easier:

Italian Fondue


1 can whole tomatoes (we use my canned tomatoes, but we used to use the Aylmers 28 oz can)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 block Mozzarella, shredded (the block is 450g which I think is 15 oz)


In a pot, heat up the tomatoes (with juice), pepper and garlic. Using a hand blender, mash it up to your favourite consistency.

Add the cheese and let it all melt and blend. We never transfer it to the fondue pot because it's just easier clean up in the pot we made it in. But it's always just the two of us, so we don't have to get too fancy! The first time, we put the fondue warmers underneath, but we eat it so fast that we don't need to anymore ha ha.

I LOVE being creative in the kitchen. My boyfriend came downstairs from his office at about 2pm yesterday and said he was starving. Our fridge is getting day is next week! But I did have eggs and all the fixins' for Deviled Eggs! The filling is just some mayo, fig vinegar, fresh chives, Dijon and S&P...oh and the egg yolks. I usually wing it so I don't have an exact recipe. He made himself some toast and I heated up the leftover fondue for me. 

For dinner, I used the last of the fresh lettuce and made a Chicken Cesar Salad with roasted chicken, bacon, Parmesan petals and croutons...mmmm! Can't wait to make this with my homegrown lettuce!! I had some pizza dough in the freezer that I defrosted so I made a Mozzarella/garlic bianca pizza topped with basil. I have a week's worth of food left for meals, and missing most of the fresh I have to start getting creative!


  1. We have an older dog that hates noise and storms too. He has a thundershirt and it's been working for years for him. Poor thing. As always, your food looks amazing.

  2. Thanks Kristina :)...hmmm...maybe I should be looking into the thundershirt. I feel almost like nothing will help her at this point, but I'm always willing to try something new if I can afford it. I just checked the website and for Marlene it would be $40 US plus shipping...they offer a full money back guarantee within 45 days if it doesn't's a consideration. She will need help once the spring starts and the thunder and fireworks start too. Plus I live in cottage country and people by the lake just love those firecrackers yeesh, I can't stand them!

  3. You do have the characters, don't you? I don't believe in just ignoring them when they are in such distress. I am with Kristina - I had a foster at one time that would just about fall apart at any loud noise and the thundershirt was the only thing that helped. Sounds like you are doing everything right - and going above and beyond what most would do. The ear chewing sounds like a nervous habit and would be hard to stop if he's been doing it for 9 years. I suppose a trainer might help, but they are expensive. Maybe you can get some free training help through a rescue? I mean, they OWE you! LOL! I'm with you on the firecrackers. In our area it's gunshots. My poor Bernie would hit the ground and belly-crawl when she heard a gunshot (which was almost every other day).
    P.S. Thanks for the recipe. And your food looks amazing!

  4. Thanks Susan, maybe next weekend, make a date with yourself Saturday night for some fondue and wine, then a good night's sleep :) We actually got free basic training through the shelter, we took advantage of it for Charlie, but we never went back after that course for Jack and Marlene because it's really far away. For Jack's ears, I think he would need some kind of behavioural training which as you said, isn't very affordable. But I'm looking things up. If he only stuck the ear in his mouth I wouldn't mind, but he bites for Marlene, I'm glad to hear two good opinions of the thundershirt now! I found it on Amazon for $40 CAD with free shipping, so I might go for that next Amazon order since they have such a lax return policy, I can't lose really. I think Marlene would have the same reaction if she heard gunshots too. I even thought about making some kind of ear phones for her or something!

  5. I'm not much help regarding the "problems" with your dogs, but bless you over and over for taking in these rescue pups and giving them a loving home. It takes a special person to do that.

    Your food pictures always look sooooo good! Keep 'em coming. Recipes, too!

  6. Rain, you were reading my mind! I wonder if there is such a thing as 'white noise' for dogs... And I'm with Mama Pea - bless your heart for bringing these sweeties into your home and heart. They are always the ones left behind. You are an angel.

  7. Thank you Mama Pea :) I WISH we could take more!!! Actually my boyfriend and I went by the shelter before Christmas. We had the dogs with us in the car and we were in the area (it's near our vet). We went in and nearly left with another husky and another Jack-dog (we think he's a Cocker-Hound-Pointer mix). We had to stop ourselves and remind each other that we just can't afford it! Plus, our town only allows 2 dogs per house. They aren't too strict on the rules so we get away with 3. But I think once we're settled in to our property down the line, there will be more dogs in the picture!

  8. Thanks Susan :) I didn't mention we did try a variation of white noise for Marlene too. In my boyfriend's office, he has a big fan so we close the curtains, sit on the futon in there and put the fan on high with some music playing...but she is bent on listening for the noise now. She'll stop once in a while and just look out the window, almost waiting for it. I feel so bad for her. I think I'm going to try that Thundershirt. If for some reason it doesn't work, Amazon will take it back. Then I'll look into ear muffs or something!!! You know, some people warned us about getting shelter dogs because they'll come with problems. Our three are WONDERFUL. They never had accidents inside, love our attention and get along so well. Jack has possession aggression issues, but over the year and a half, with a lot of PATIENCE and love and positive reinforcement, we've taught him to be less aggressive and less growly. They are our hearts :)

  9. I don’t have a dog, and I am not an animal person, but your dog is so cute. Also, the food looks absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing!


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