Stanlee's 5th Birthday

pink plaid dog bow tie

This weekend we celebrated Stanlee's 5th birthday.  I can't believe the little guy is five.  Kids, they just grow up so quickly...

Every year on Stanlee's birthday, I think about how cute he must have been as a puppy.  We adopted him when he was a little over a year old, and we never got to experience the puppy stage with him.  I'm sure some of my favorite Stanlee traits were even cuter on his 3 month old self!  There is something unique about this little guy.  Something that really has a hold of mine and husband's heart. 

My computer holds hundreds (honestly, probably 1,000+) pictures of Stanlee.  I love looking through the photos of Stanlee after a product shoot and finding the pictures with the most expressive faces.  I thought it would be fun to add some captions to his pictures.  Because I think it's a common thing for pet owners to make up dialog and voices for their four legged family members ;) ;)

If you are new here and just getting to know Stanlee, these are the things that make us love him so very much:

  • His mismatched ears
  • His expressive face
  • The way he loves to curl up and snuggle under covers
  • The way his skin has black spots all over it, but his hair is white on top of the spots
  • When Stanlee gets so excited he hops around in circles
  • The fact that he is such a morning dog and is so excited to see us when we wake up
  • His loyalty

I love you, Stanlee.

Giving In

Instagram username:  LittleBlueFeathers

In case you didn't know this about me yet, I am 100% completely in love with our pups.  Yes, we are one of those families.  Sometimes I stop and laugh at how normal our interactions with Stanlee and MileyJo have become.

The other night my husband saw Miley and I getting ready for bed and asked if Stanlee was going to join us.  I said I don't know, he can stay out on the couch with you.  My husband quickly replied with, Ok, well I will go ask him what he wants to do.  100% serious, as if to walk back into the living room expecting Stanlee to have a conversation on his decision!  Like I said, one of those families...

Something I struggle with is sleep.  I'm not sure why, but I have always been a light sleeper.  I don't want to be touched, I like space to turn over and I need to have multiple layers to keep me warm.  With that being said, I have been adamant on not having the dogs sleep in bed with us even though we have a big bed.  
Until recently...

The past few months I have been a softie toward these boston terrier's bug eyes staring at our bed waiting for the magic words inviting them up.  I have given in numerous times, and every night turns into the same thing.   Two pups (weighing a combined total of 40 pounds) taking up 2/3 of the bed and leaving this pup momma exhausted the next day.
Why do I keep giving in?!

Stanlee loves to crawl under the covers and every time I worry myself sick that he is going to suffocate under the layers and layers of blankets I have to keep me warm.  MileyJo throws around her body trying to get comfortable every 10 minutes.  I have been kicked in the face, woke up with a butt resting on my pillow and panicked at a lifeless Stanlee that I thought we lost in the middle night.  

But then, some mornings, I get a sweet pup resting her head on my shoulder.  A stanlee face that says I am so so tired and I just can't seem to open my eyes yet.  It's funny how in those first few moments when I wake up in the morning and I see their sleepy selves, that I somehow justify the 9 hours of horrible restless "sleep" they gave me. 

I'm trying to get back to the strong Michelle that said no for four years.  
Time to toughen up...

Pupdate: Anxiety

I mentioned a while ago about Stanlee's allergies and posted this photo of him the day he had his allergy testing.  It sparked a lot of interest about the jacket he is wearing and our experience with it, so I thought I would talk about that here.

Stanlee is wearing his thunder shirt in this photo.  The thunder shirt is for pups with anxiety as a way to feel more secure.  Stanlee has always had anxiety since we adopted him.  At first, it was separation anxiety.  He followed me around right at my feet the first few months we had him, while at the same time he wouldn't let me pick him up because he was scared and stiff.  Stanlee and I worked a lot on building a relationship and now it's amazing to see how far we have come.  Not only has he completely opened up to us and shows so much love toward our family, but he has also taught me to never give up on a dog that needed special attention.  

Stanlee's anxiety today is more elevated when changes occur.  When we moved, he had a little bit of a hard time with all the boxes, the moving and then adjusting to a new place.  If we have people over, I try to have his thunder shirt on to help with pacing and hiding under tables.  Or, if I notice him feeling extra sensitive for whatever reason, I put his shirt on.  Stanlee loves his thunder shirt and I definitely notice a difference when he is wearing it.  I think it keeps him warm too which he always loves.  (This pup will curl up under any blanket or bury himself in pillows given the chance!)

I'm not sure if Stanlee will ever grow out of his anxiety.  Sometimes I look at him and think it is a part of his personality.  Stan is very different than our other boston terrier, Miley, who is care free and miss independent.  Each year he gets better and better and I feel proud of how far he has come.  If your pup is like Stanlee and has an anxious personality type, I recommend trying the Thunder Shirt.  You can probably find it at most large pet store chains or online here.  

Dress Up

Today we played dress up around the house and it was a such a fun time!  Stanlee is wearing a witch hat that one of my husband's workers gave to him and Miley is wearing a shark fin.  We have a hard time passing up anything shark related with our last name being Sharkey ;)

I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween!  


Above is a happy picture of the pups hanging out the window of my car.  Happy, healthy pups they are in this photo.
Today, this wasn't the case.

You might remember my post talking about Stanlee (the white boston that does all of my modeling) and his anxiety and allergies issues.  Miley and Stanlee are both boston terriers and both have a history of skin allergies.  For some reason, we happen to own probably the two most sensitive BTs and recently the allergies have been defeating me.

After finding out Stanlee had a severe allergy to a specific mold, we began his immunotherapy injections yesterday to help tame his allergies.  He spent the day at the vet while they monitored his reaction to his first injection, and all went well.  Now it is back every 4-5 days for the next month and a half, and then they will slow down to only once a month.

This morning, our other boston, Miley, broke out in hives all over her face and eyelids.  The poor girl just wanted to play with her rope when we came in from our morning walk and after we ate breakfast.  I had a nice little Tuesday planned...quilting lesson with my husband's grandma, orders to fill and inventory to finish and take to new stores tomorrow.  Well, this put a little set back on my day.  Actually, I wish we could wake up and do this day all over again...

I'm honestly not even sure what happened.  Maybe a reaction to a bug bite from one of the plants she was sniffing?  Maybe she touched a plant or grass that had just been chemically treated at our apartment?  The vet wasn't sure, but something this morning happened, and suddenly we found ourselves in the vet office again having to leave her there all day to monitor her eyes and her swelling.

Let's see, that would be two pups, two vet visits and five shots later...and it's only Tuesday.

Today I let the allergies get the best of me, and I feel very defeated.  

We have adjusted everything possible recommended by five different vets to help our pups live an allergy free life.  Special food, regular doses of Benadryl, fragrance free detergents, air tight food containers, fish oil, not leaving them outside....yep, we've tried a lot of different things.

As frustrating as it is, and as defeated as I feel, I can't help but look at their little faces and feel bad for them and realize that it isn't their fault.  They are great pups and I love them no matter what the issue, cost or adjustments have to be.

I'm thankful tomorrow is a new day.

Best Seat In The House

MileyJo is such an outdoor dog.  She loves looking out windows, sitting on porches, running around outside and sunbathing on the concrete.  This is the only downside to apartment living.  I wish she had a big back yard to run wild in and explore.  Someday I hope we can have a home with a back deck and an acre of green grass and trees to run around.  But for now, a little table pushed up against an open window is the best seat in the house.  

Pupdate: Allergy Testing

Stanlee is my pup that does all the modeling for my shop.  He is super sweet, loyal, and knows how to model a bow-tie very well.  What you probably don't know about Stanlee is that he actually suffers from two things: anxiety and allergies.  

Ever since we adopted Stanlee, we knew he had some type of skin problem.  Stanlee gets pretty stinky, even after just having a bath, his skin is usually pink and itchy, he breaks out in hives and is sensitive to just about anything.  After having the little guy for 3 years, we decided it was time to get an allergy test to see exactly what it is he's allergic to.  We tried e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. and nothing seemed to get his allergies under control, and our vet visits to something less frequent than every 6-8 weeks.  So, we did an allergy test a couple weeks ago and we now FINALLY know what it is he is allergic to.
A specific type of mold.

That's all. 
I honestly thought the vet was going to say he was allergic to grass, pollen, wool and even his own dander!

However, when an allergy test comes back, if the dog's level is over 150, they are considered allergic to that item (and they test for everything).  Stanlee came back with a level of 1300+ for this specific mold! Yes you read that correctly, over 1300!  Talk about severely allergic to this mold.  Our next step is to give him injections every 4-5 days over the next 6 weeks and then he will go to just once a month, hopefully.

Because we have lived in four different apartments in four different cities across Ohio, the vet didn't seem to think it was a problem with our current living conditions since Stanlee has a very long history of skin allergies, and our apartment complex is brand new.  Mold can grow anywhere, but the vet explained this mold is common in old homes, basements and very humid walls.  We aren't sure exactly how this severe allergy came about.  The vet said it could be the product of his last home environment before we adopted him, and his body reacting to being removed from that environment.   

Either way, we now know what Stanlee's allergy is, and how to treat it which makes this momma very happy.  And, seeing him in his little bandaged paw made me want to cuddle him even more than usual. How pitiful does that little paw and face look.