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.

Miley's 5th Birthday

This weekend, Miley turned the big 5 years old.  Part of me can't believe she is five already.  Miley (also known as Mi, MileyJo and Joseph on her tomboy moments) was mine and husband's first boston terrier together, and our first pet.  It was one of those, "oh my goodness she is perfect" moments when we found her.

I think about Miley and Stanlee, and how much I love them all the time.  Isn't it crazy?!  They are dogs, and I never thought I could love a dog this way.  They have given me so much company over the past 4+ years and I can't imagine our home without them.  So, when one of them has a birthday, we celebrate!

Miley didn't just get a little pupcake for her birthday, we went all out and bought a full pup pie.  We are going to eat pie all week. (Because around here we also celebrate birth weeks, not just days).

While Miley inhaled her pie as quickly as she could, I thought about some of my favorite Miley things:

The way she has always taken her treat and runs away from people and other dogs, so they can't touch it.
Her white markings on her face, and her matching white front paws.
The way she scoops her paw and tries to move your arm over to her to pet her.
The way she is able to give me a look of, "I hate this moment" so very clearly.
Her hair color
When she gets that little spark in her and can't stop running around the house.  
The way she likes to share a pillow with you and sleep by your chest if you let her in bed with you.
How she hates having her picture taken.

There are so many things I love about this girl.  Things that are so very different from Stanlee, but that make Miley her.

Happy Birthday MileyJo!

Do you celebrate your pet's birthdays?!  Please tell me I am not the only one ;)

Bath Time

These pups.  They are always making me laugh.
Recently, the three of us were walking in our neighborhood when Miley and Stanlee both decided to stop and sniff the same fire hydrant.  One of them {ahem... Stanlee} decided he needed to hike his leg and leave his mark at the same time Miley tried to walk around the hydrant, resulting in someone peeing on someone else's face.  It was one of those moments when I couldn't stop laughing, yet I felt bad for Miley, especially because she dislikes bath time very much.  After laughing for a couple minutes, we walked back to the apartment and I filled the tub to bathe these two little guys.

What's funny is the way both of these pups feel about bath time. 
One pup, Stanlee, enjoys bath time.  He does a great job holding up his leg for me while I scrub and standing still.  Miley on the other hand is always inching toward the edge looking for a way to escape.  She hates being in the water.  She hates being told what to do and she hates having to be towel dried.  This last photo cracks me up because she is really great at giving glares, telling me exactly how annoyed she is at that moment.

Pups.  Aren't they great?!

Stanlee Gets Noticied

Recently, this pup has not only been melting my heart, he has been winning over stranger's hearts on etsy.  This past month he has been on the front page of etsy three different days, which lead us to meet some new friends in the handmade world. 

A few weeks ago, I was asked by a couple painters if they could use Stanlee as their subject for their next painting.  I was first contacted by Clair Hartmann and introduced to her amazing paintings she sells in her shop.  I was so impressed with her work and definitely agreed to let her use Stanlee as her subject.  In turn, she is also sending me a print of Stanlee for my home!  I can't wait to receive it and am blown away by how well the painting turned out of my little Stan man.

Please check out Stanlee's painting in Clair's shop and let her know how you discovered her.  She is a sweet person with great talent and I feel honored to have been asked for her to use my pup as her painting subject.  

Isn't it amazing the way an animal can touch your heart?  Even when you don't know him/her?  Stanlee is doing just that across the internet.  

I am one proud momma.

On My Heart

Last autumn, I started a second blog called Shark Pups.  I had full intentions of creating two separate blogs, shops, FB and twitter accounts; one of which would be only LBF clothing and designs with the other only dog accessories and pup stories.  

What I realized last year was that this idea was not realistic for me at the time, and that I struggled balancing the two and marketing for both.  So, the Shark Pups blog hasn't been touched since December of  last year, even though I have thought about it often.

Last year when I was still very new to blogging, I thought that it needed to be a list of all these specific things in order for it to be considered a successful blog.
Great layout and design.
5+ posts a week.
Quality content.

When I got a little overwhelmed with the two, I decided to let that one go and focus solely on Little Blue Feather{blog, shop, FB and twitter} and thought maybe it just wasn't right timing to start Shark Pups.  What I have now learned is that my second blog doesn't have to sit on the back burner, that I can create with it what I want to.

Looking at the Shark Pups blog now, I have a different perspective.  

Since the beginning of 2012, our immediate and extended family has lost a few very loved pups in their lives; dogs that have traveled with them, shared memories like their wedding, first house and helped get the owners through hard times.  

This week my in-laws lost their boxer in an emergency surgery to try and repair his intestine that was knotted together.  Unfortunately, Louis wasn't able to be saved and I have been shocked by the news all week.  To make it even harder, Louis was the son of my brother-in-laws boxer that passed away of old age a month ago.  Both of these boxers were so loved by the family and it is really hard to think they are no longer with us.

I look at Miley and Stanlee everyday and I am overwhelmed by the love that I have for them.  I was never a dog lover until I joined the Sharkey family and now I totally get it.  They give you a feeling that I never understood until recent years.  I used to have sensitive feelings toward negative comments when people teased me about my love for the dogs, or that I was a little overboard with them, but now it doesn't phase me.  Yes, I am a really proud pup momma.  They are my companions throughout the day when I am working from home and they make me smile, laugh and touch my heart every. single. day.

Because I know they won't be with me forever {and I have a really hard time with that} I want to pick back up with my Shark Pups blog.  This time, I don't care about the numbers, if I am getting traffic to my shop or if my posts are consistent.  I want this other blog of mine to be documentation of our life with them.  I want to share all of the hilarious things Miley does, the jokes we say about Stanlee, share photos of things we do together, write posts from their perspective and overall remember all the things I love so much about them.  And along the way, I want to document all of the other shark pups in our family.  I will still share pupdates on this blog, but I want a separate place to look back and remember.  

I know the next time we are in town, Miley will be searching all over the place for Lou, her first buddy and roommate when we added her to our family.  
And it will break my heart.    

So this is not only an update on Shark Pups, but to also say that if you have a blog, you can create it to be whatever you want.  Document your life, share photos, write notes to your future self or just plain share randomness about your two little pups that you are mildly obsessed with.  
It's your own little space.
Write freely.