Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cooking for the boys - Sheldon & Leonard

I don’t believe I've highlighted our two little men on my blog, have I? Let me introduce you to Sheldon and Leonard (yes, fellow Big Bang Theory fans, that's where we got their names).

We met Sheldon (he was Garland then) at the Bogey Plaza Dierberg's. They were hosting a Stray Rescue adoption event and he was there looking for a forever home. Okay, well, his foster mom was looking for Garland's forever home – he was just curled up in a little ball at her feet wishing it were all over and he could go home already. We'd had to put my little man Chaser down a few years before I and still didn't think I was ready to get another dog yet, but we'd been burglarized the month before and I was rethinking my stance. Jeremy had been ready for a while – so when I saw the adoption event I called him. He was there almost immediately and fell in love with Garland – here's a pic of their first meeting, a scared puppy and a hopeful husband.
May 14, 2011 - The love story begins...
We decided to adopt him and name him Sheldon, but our first few months together were really rough. Sheldon didn't want to have anything to do with us and was just plain scared. He wouldn't leave his crate – even to eat – unless we physically pulled him out. We had to put food in his crate with him and leave the room to even get him to eat… and he wouldn't eat much even then.
And then to make matters worse – he ran away. Jeremy was taking him out for a walk and he heard a loud noise that scared him and he just took off at full speed, yanking the retractable leash out of Jeremy's hand. Jeremy couldn't keep up with him and we couldn't find him anywhere. We put up signs all over the neighborhood, called his foster mother and Stray Rescue (they organized several searches and put up signs as well). On the second day he'd been missing Jeremy and I were out looking again and I can't explain it but I just felt like I knew where he had to be. The wooded area behind our house had been searched several times, but he was such a fraidy-cat that he was never going to respond to someone calling out, so I wanted to look again. I told Jeremy that I kept thinking I could hear a dog whimpering, but we were next to a really busy road and it was windy – it was probably in my head. Jeremy and I split up started through the woods again. After a while he called to see where I was and I heard the whimper again. Then a soft bark! couldn't tell if it was near me or near Jeremy (on the phone). Jeremy and I were immediately babbling to each other a million miles a minute and getting louder in our excitement and realized we could hear each other – so he must be somewhere between us. We started walking toward each other's voices, and when I dipped down into a little ravine that was covered in brush - there he was! The leash had gotten caught in a bush and he was trapped. A few pics of his rescue and the ravine he'd been hidden in.
This is the ravine he was in - those weeds are several feet tall, and with all the brush as well he was impossible to see.
He leash was tangled in the brush and he was trapped. I still can't believe we found him!
Jeremy is untangling his leash and I'm trying to sooth him. Doesn't look soothed, does he?
We were overjoyed to have found him and took turns crying with relief/joy, but our relationship with Sheldon still didn't improve. It got worse… I felt like maybe he associated us with the trauma of being lost in the woods for two days. It broke our hearts, but after a couple of weeks we told the foster mother she would need to take him back (she'd told us she was going to keep him if we hadn't adopted him). He was just so miserable with us and we didn't know what else to do. Ironically, he loved kids - not so much adults... but LOVED kids. See?

Sheldon's foster mom agreed and asked if we'd meet her at StrayRescue first though, to meet with Randy Grim and see if he had any suggestions. When we met with Randy, he spent less than fifteen minutes with Sheldon and told us there was no reason we couldn't get through to this dog – but he was a true follower and needed an alpha dog to make him feel comfortable. He was just scared/uncomfortable without an alpha dog around – the solution was another dog. An hour or so later we left with some tips and peace of mind from Randy. For example, convince him to sleep in bed with us, bribe him with braunschweiger – no dog on earth can resist it, etc to help create a bond and asked us to give it another week. By the end of the week we were really making progress and had found another dog to adopt.
Sheldon never had any problems making friends with kids. He and Ryan were BFFs right off the bat.
"Shelton" and my niece, Chloe on her third birthday. She just couldn't get "Sheldon", so he's "Shelton" whenever we visit my sister. And again, he was great with the all the kids there for her birthday that afternoon. Just not the adults!
Jeremy had always wanted a big dog (to hunt with) and I wanted another small dog (to snuggle with). I was being really picky and wanted a specific type of dog… and then I was playing around on Craigslist, shopping for stuff I don't need with money I don't have as usual, and put in "small dog" and saw lots of breeders and then I saw him. Little Teddy.
Are you going to be my new Mommy?
I like long walks in the park, stinky socks, snuggling  and licking everything all the time always.
A young lady had a dog that she just couldn't continue to care for, he was a year old and needed more time and attention than she could give him. He was part Shih Tzu and part Yorkie – and had an underbite like an English Bulldog. SO CUTE! His owner met Sheldon and I at the park to see if they would get along and it was like Sheldon was a whole new dog – they got along like peas and carrots! Mary Beth came along with Ryan, who was a rambunctious two-year-old, so I would also see if he was good with kids. As you can see, they all got along just fine. And he became Leonard.
So here we are, a year later and we are one big happy family. We can barely remember what it was like before the boys lived with us.
But we've also learned a few things along the way, like the big lab mix that would be a perfect hunting dog... is gun shy and a total momma's boy. And the little lap dog is all about digging in the dirt and chasing animals (he even had a stand off with a COYOTE in the backyard last fall and won), and is all about Jeremy.

Leonard also seems to have a sensitive stomach. He's a puker. Yuck. I always gave Sheldon a kong full of peanut butter when I crated him up as I left for work and he loved it. But Leonard wasn't a big fan (how could you NOT love peanut butter???) – and after he threw it up a few times I needed to find something else. We went through a few options, switched to a natural chicken based dog food and things were much better. But the allergy-free-for-sensitive-stomachs dog treats are pricey – especially when you're using 4/day and they come in little bags of twenty. So I started looking for homemade options.

I found several and my first experiment was with Cleo'sPumpkin Dog Biscuits. They were quick and easy to make, super crunchy and both Sheldon and Leonard whole-heartedly approved. And they were CHEAP to make. Super cheap. So I try to have a treat jar full of them at all times for crating treats.
Sheldon thought they were pretty darned good.
And Leonard always grabbed them so quickly and ran off this is the best pic I could get!
Next up are homemade Frosty Paws! With the heat we've been enjoying this summer, the boys don't spend as much time outside as usual, but when they come in a cool treat is the way to go. I'd bought the real Frosty Paws for the boys previously and they were okay with them (Leonard liked them more than Sheldon), but they both love the homemade version. Which is great – because it's healthier for them and cheaper than the ones at the store.
Mashed banana, peanut butter, honey and yogurt.

And now I'm just going to post a bunch of pictures of my babies because I can. And becuase I think they are the cutest things around. Aren't they precious?
Our 2011 Christmas card
Family Christmas portrait Take 1
Family Christmas portrait Take 2
Family Christmas Portrait Take 3
FINALLY a keeper - 2011 Family Christmas portrait
Enough already! No more pictures! The papparazzi is SO annoying.
Weekend morning coffee on the front porch with Mom - best part of the day.
Snuggle Buddies... also they are Thunder Buddies (if you've seen Ted... you get it).
They love their matching barn coats. Shutup! They do so.
See what happens when they don't wear their coats out in the rain?
Very best friends.