I ❤️ The Dog Park


Our city has a magnificent dog park.  Miles of trails through fields and the woods.  Some of the trails are paved, some dirt, some gravel.   Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to find heart shaped rocks in the gravel, like these two little ones.  

I thought it would be cool to use my blue crystal heart as a bowl to collect other rocks in.


This one was in the paved area.


And this little piece of my own heart came running up to me with an exciting greeting.  It’s Wally!  One of Sugar’s babies, and he seemed to remember me.

He lives nearby, in the neighborhood Ryan and I walked through regularly.   There wasn’t a week that went by when Ryan didn’t mention that he hoped we’d run into Wally, who had been one of his faves.  He had actually dog sat this boy for a week for the new owners and was pretty fond of him.

We hadn’t come across this brindle cutey in our many walks, but the week Ry died, his brother took me on a “Ryan Walk” and guess who was there? Wally was out on a walk too!  I am afraid I cried too hard to be able to greet him.  But I made up for it when we ran into him at the dog park.  He got lots of snuggles from me.


In the fall, the bales are harvested in the many fields the trails go through and Molly likes to show off her jumping skills by leaping up onto them. Sugar can also leap into the air, but sees no reason to do it.


Dorothy enjoys the view from way up high, and likes to be sat up there with Molly.  Someone her height doesn’t often get to see the world from this angle.



Izzy the Brave


Thank you so much to the dozens of people who wanted to help Izzy!  I appreciate the outpouring of care towards this sweet girl, and I know that anyone of those potential homes would have been a happy place for her to grow and heal in.


When Izzy’s owner no longer wanted her, stating that she was belligerent and the puppy biting was not controllable, my good friend, Anette, and I both worked with the owner, helping her with tips and training information.

A week later, she contacted us again, saying, nope, no way, come get this dog.  Anette is the owner of Izzy’s father and Izzy had gone to her as pick of the litter.

And what a pick!  Lil Iz was a strong leader of the litter.  She was curious, smart, and outgoing.  Not to mention, as beautiful as she was silky soft and cuddly.

Anette jumped in her car and was on her way to central Nebraska to pick up that pup within minutes, she called me from the car for us to make a plan.  Legally, the puppy was hers to take in, I was hurting and so worried, I felt like I had to have her back in my arms.  Anette is a soft hearted breeder who understood that after raising this baby for 8 weeks, I loved it and also that if Izzy had problems, she might respond more to me.


I got busy making appointments for personal trainers and vets. The description of her behavior was troubling because I knew she had been good natured and learned commands when with me.  I though I’d have to work with her for weeks for obedience training.

Instead, I found a well behaved, non-nipping, sweet dog who was terrified.  She recognized me right away and came running across the yard to me.  

When I bent down to pet her, she literally screamed in fear.  It was a high, screeching yip, that did not let up.  We discovered that she was frightened of hands, doors, small enclosed areas, people, and loud noises.  But I also saw Anette’s little grandchild gently taking a stick out of Izzy’s mouth and her being happy for his attention.


While extremely skittish around my home and dogs all morning, she slowly opened up to our love.  I started calling her Izzy the Brave to give her some positive reinforcement for overcoming her issues.  She was being curious again, slowly approaching new things, looking to me to ask if it was okay, then bravely checking it out.

I knew then that what she truly needed was not just training but a lot of love.  If I were to be in charge of the process, she would bond with me, then have to go through it all again with the new family who eventually became her forever home.

I wanted to hold her close.

That was great for me, but not her.  I found a great couple who already had one of her siblings from two years ago.  They will bond with her and focus on the retraining themselves, so that she does not have to readjust to multiple families.  

While I hated having everything go so wrong for the poor girl, I was thrilled to have had her in my arms again, and to now know that she is in the arms of a family who will always treasure her.

And it meant a lot to see how many wonderful people reached out and offered to take this sad, scared baby into their own hearts.  Thank you.

Saying farewell


By this weekend, our dog population will have dwindled down to just four,  Dorothy (who is getting tons of attention after losing her brother), Molly, Sugar, and Honey.


The pups are starting to leave for their new families.


Sugar is ready to say goodbye.  She has been sleeping on the blankets that go to their new homes, and letting me rub toys and blankies all over her to get the scent nicely saturated.  But is avoiding anyone trying to nurse.  She is over it.


The bags are packed with necessities and goodies to take along.


As hard as it is to say goodbye, I do love seeing the pups meet their new people.  They seem to know that person is theirs now.


While it is hard for me to watch them go, it might be even tougher for Molly.


She cannot stand to have them out of her sight.  I see a lot of games of fetch in my future to distract the poor girl through her sadness of losing her rollicking, lil playmates.


And who will their mommy hunt tasty tidbits for!?  She brought this critter right into the house to them.  At least the mice and birds she catches have been delivered outdoors.


I will miss their endless fascination and curiosity.  Oh and the enthusiasm!  They kept things lively around here.  I loved to show them new things to watch their excitement in exploring it.

I loved taking care of them too, the bathing, and brushing, and medicating.  I was rubbing Neosporin onto one fluffy boy’s fat tummy after another while sitting out on the patio and visiting the other day and someone asked if I actually enjoyed all of that work.
Yes, I do.  It doesn’t seem like work to tend to these babies’ needs.  And they are here for such a short time, I try to savor all the moments.


Maybe it is from raising kids, then grandfairies and looking back at how fast it all flew by.

My lessons have taught me to look for smiles and love where I can find them, and treasure each one. 

Hot Dogs

It has been HOT in Kansas this week! The Sugarbabies were pretty quiet mid day, mostly napping on frozen water bottles.  They were smart enough to schedule their playtimes for morning and evening when it wasn’t so blazing hot out.
This little guy really liked the cold bottles.  He draped himself completely over the bottle and didn’t want to share.


That’s okay, we had plenty, as well as ice cubes to play with.  They couldn’t get enough of that and wouldn’t leave it alone until every ice cube was dumped out of the dish.  
Aunt Molly liked the bottles too.  Her goal was to take every single one away from the puppies and leave them in the hot sun to quickly melt.

Luckily, I drink way too many Coke Zeros and had lots of empties to fill with water and freeze.


They have a shady yard to nap in, but preferred the breezeway.  I kept the concrete floor hosed out so it would stay cool, and they seemed to like that.


We also spent some time on crate training.  It was pretty boring, because they all just thought of it as nap time.  There were a couple of little whimpers, here and there, but with a couple of words from me about going nighty night, they curled up with their snuggle puppy and went right to sleep. 



Sugarbabies’s First Bath

I cannot say enough, what great puppies these are.  So mild mannered and sweet!


There have been so many wonderful litters here in the past, but  never has one gone so smoothly.  
It could be the beautiful weather and the timing.  These guys are mostly pottying outside now, which helps a lot!


Goldendoodles are smart, loving, and learn quickly.  But some are easier than others.  I hit the jackpot with nine easy ones at once!


One little girl did have a fear issue from loud noises, but it was mild and I worked with her, so that seems to have gone away.


I am definitely blessed to have these sweethearts.


Not a single complaint was lodged about first  baths.


As a matter of fact, they were all so relaxed that one little boy was so trusting that he didn’t bother to set his feet down when I put him in the water.  He sort of bobbed around then slowly floated over.  It was pretty funny, because he didn’t even get upset when his face went under.  
That pup seemed to enjoy the bath.  Two didn’t like it much, but did not cry.  The others all just acted like it was part of their day.  I was impressed.

They were all pretty cute.  Maybe they were so mellow about it because Molly was right there with them the whole time.  They adore her.

My Steps of Crate Training


I feel like crate training should be gradual.  


When the pups are born, they live in a whelping box my husband built. Next, they move to a wading pool so they have more space.  When weaning time comes along and they get smellier, they head to the breezeway and right back into the whelping box nest.

But this time, it is upside down, so they can run in and out easier.


After a bit, a small kennel goes inside their nest. They consider it a part of their life, not something foreign, and climb in and out for naps.

As they get bigger, the potty production becomes more and more messy and frequent.  
Since I hose out the breezeway multiple times a day, the wooden box needs to go, and is replaced by a wire kennel.

Next to that are the smaller kennels, each with doors propped open and something inviting to lay on.


Coming up, I will introduce a Snuggle Puppy toy, it is a cuddly dog with a heartbeat.  Once they are used to it being their new litter mate, I’ll start shutting the doors on a few babies at a time with a Snuggle Puppy in with them.

As they are used it that, I’ll move a kennel away from their nest and shut one inside with the toy.   I sit nearby and offer treats if there is any fear.  

Because I never want my babies to be scared!  

Each dog has its own level of acceptance to the process, and some do better than others.  When you get your pup home, there will be an adjustment to new surroundings and you should try to make their crate as cozy as possible.  Treats, Snuggle Pup, soft pillow, and maybe sit next to them for a while if needed.

Do not use the crate only when you leave the house.  Many times throughout the day, happily call your pup, put it inside for a short period.  They should learn to have positive connections to the crate, it will become their safe place, their den.


Baxter and Bella is a training source that you can turn to 24 hours a day if you need more training tips.  I highly recommend their site.  



Puppy Portrait Day

If I had known how beautifully the Sugarbabies were going to pose for me, I’d have given them a bath!

So far, I have been wiping them down with washcloths, but I think it’s time to give them a good soaking. 
The weather has been really nice, I might just wash them in the wading pool outside.


First I’ll have to line up some puppy snugglers to help dry and keep them warm.


The babies always  love that part.


It has been nice to have a lightbox to take the photos in.


They are outgrowing it, this will be my last time using it.


Since they are outside now, it shouldn’t be a problem, I’ll be able to take their pics in natural light.

And with talented models like these, it’s easy to get good photos.  
They are honestly very good at posing, and not just because they are as cute as the dickens.  They pretty much sit and let me take their pictures.

What good puppies!

Sitting Pretty


My babies will all sit together at the same time now!  Getting a photo of nine, 4 week old babies sitting at once isn’t easy, but these sweet pups are getting better at it each day.

5424C437-630B-411C-B9D2-7DB02F60407BWhy does it matter to me?  Well, I don’t like to be jumped on, first of all.  And if I can get a puppy to sit down quietly and look at me, instead of being an excited little hooligan, it makes life easier for all of us.


Oh believe me, they have their hooligan moments, they are happy healthy puppies full of excitement! But I like to know that they will listen when needed. 
Funny, on our trip out east last fall to take pups to new homes, I’d let the overwhelming horde of dogs take over.  We’d open the kennel door and everyone would try to come out at once like a furry waterfall, as we vainly did our best to push them back, hook on leashes and let one out at a time. 
At our very first stop, I was frustrated and feared the rest of the trip- I was out numbered!

After a day of struggles, it occurred to me to tell them to have a seat.  

Magically, all five plopped right down on their cute, fuzzy bottoms and waited their turn for leashes.  Puppies will do whatever they want if allowed, but if you teach them what to do, they want to please you.
 I am also working on  “come, puppy, come!” They already come running to me when I walk up to them, so it is usually an easy lesson.

Teaching a dog to come to you can save its life   Always make this a priority to work on with your pup.  As these little ones get older, we will play “Ping Pong Puppy” with them, by having two or more people with treats in hand, calling the pup back and forth.  They learn to answer to multiple people, not just to me and they think that running to someone when called is a fun game with tasty rewards.


There is no way I can promise a fully trained, 8 week old pup to anyone.  But I can give those babies a great start and foundation for the future by teaching them how to listen and to be receptive to what their family reaches them.










Crate Training has Begun

I promise, these guys really do have soft pillows!

But yesterday, they preferred rocks.BED94EFE-E8E5-44AA-90C4-27BBFFE598A3
It was their first, big day out and they were so into being outdoor dogs, they embraced every aspect of it.

Including using the upside down fire pit as a den.  They also discovered it makes a good slide while playing King of the Hill.

But the day wasn’t just about playtime.  We got some work done too.  Here they are working as hard as they can to master Crate Training.

I put a kennel in their sleeping area and propped the door open for them to crawl in and out.  By the time I am ready to shut one in with the door closed, they won’t even notice.