Mondays with Missy – Changes

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Monday, July 20, 2015

I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my nearly twelve years. When my mom and dad adopted me eleven years ago in Tennessee, I had only been in the shelter for three days, but I knew I didn’t like it there. I was glad to go to a new home that day all those years ago–that was such a good change! After that, I moved a few times, and that wasn’t a big deal because my family was always there. I don’t mind living in a new place as long as I have familiar faces around me!

Over the years, I’ve had two sisters and a brother. Sometimes it took me a while to get used to them when they first came into my life, but I did love all of them. My sister Jessica died when she was very old and sick while we still lived in Tennessee. That was hard for everyone, especially my mom and dad. Still, I had my other sister and brother. I loved bossing them around and making sure they fell in line! As long as they were around, I knew everything was just fine.

Last year came the biggest change I’ve ever experienced–my whole family moved from Tennessee to Chicago, Illinois! I got a little freaked out on the long car ride up here, but once we were settled, I grew to love my new city. I still do. It’s different from anything I’ve ever experienced, and while some of the noises (like trains) are still scary, I enjoy my life here. Shortly after we moved here, my little sister Ruby died from a heart condition that we never knew she had. I was really sad to lose her because I had helped raise her from the time she was a puppy. Ruby was really my baby, even though I let my mom think she was hers. 😉 Still, I had my brother Cosmo and my mom and dad. I knew I could get through it.

Last month, Cosmo began to feel bad. He would throw up every once in a while, and he just wasn’t acting like himself. He died on June 21, and I became the only dog in my family for the first time since July 2007! What a crazy change that has been over the last month. I miss Cosmo a lot, even though he really got on my nerves. I may have barked at him every day when I was jealous over him getting attention or when I thought he had taken some of my food, but he was my buddy. I miss having him around. Shortly after he died, my mom and dad went out of town for a couple days. This made me really upset even though I had a dogsitter staying in my house 24/7 and taking care of me. (Who knows? They could have been leaving me forever!) I guess it was all too much because my stomach was messed up for about a week. The vet said I had acid reflux from stress, so I’ve been on antacids for a few days for that.

I feel a lot better now, and I guess I shouldn’t worry about my mom and dad leaving me after they’ve kept me around for eleven years. In fact, I’m getting more attention than ever now. My parents hardly ever leave me alone, which can sometimes be annoying–I enjoy my alone time–but I know they mean well! They let me boss them around all time time now too, so that makes up for them being annoying sometimes. They took me to PetSmart and bought me all sorts of new stuff and have been giving me so many treats–my favorite ones have been from a dog treat food truck here in Chicago! People may say I’m spoiled, but I say every dog should live like this. 🙂

The most recent changes in my life have been difficult for me, but I still have my mom and dad. I know they love me and will take care of me forever. Plus, I’m tough. I know how to adapt–I’ve done it my whole life. If there is anything I know how to do, it is to push through. When life gets hard, I just bark in its face.IMAG0669

Until next time,

Missy “Misdemeanor” Baud

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Cosmo Baud: The Dog, the Friend, the Legend

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For the second time in less than a year, the Baud Squad has had to say goodbye to a key member. Cosmo Kramer Baud (yes, named after Kramer on Seinfeld) left this world at about 8:10pm on June 21, 2015. Another huge hunk of my heart has been ripped out, and once again, our family won’t ever be quite the same.

For the past week, Cosmo had been acting uncomfortable, drinking more, urinating more, and not eating food like usual. On Sunday, he didn’t want to go on his evening walk, so we knew something was very wrong at that point. Off he went to the emergency vet, where we found out that Cosmo had a cancerous mass in his stomach that had caused a rupture and thus, internal bleeding. With surgery, his prognosis was three months to live (if he survived said surgery). This came as such a shock to both Sam and I. Cosmo has always been our healthiest dog. He’s never been overweight, he’s hardly ever been injured, and he always got the “healthy and strong” diagnosis from the veterinarian every year. In fact, he went to the vet less than nine months ago and received a clean bill of health. This really came out of nowhere, and it was and still is a huge smack in the face. After weighing all of our options, we knew that we didn’t want to put Cosmo through a dangerous and painful surgery just for him to only be with us for a few more months. We had to let him go, and it was so, so hard.

Ever since I first laid eyes on Cosmo in the Maury County Animal Control facility in Tennessee on a late February day in 2008, I knew he had to be a part of my family. We brought him home, and he fit right in with our crew. Over the years, he has proven to be loyal, kind, understanding, patient, goofy, curious, and full of love–so much more love than pretty much any other dog I have ever met. He went from being a stray to being a beloved family member. He was the perfect example of what it means to be a shelter dog success story. He died too soon, and I’ll always have a part of me missing because of that. However, he died after living the life of a spoiled house dog who was loved unconditionally, not life in a cage or worse.

The life of a pet parent is full of heartache, but more so, it is full of love and smiles. Dogs will always leave us too soon, no matter how long they live. I’m heartbroken, but I would do it all over again. Every day with Cosmo was that much better just because he was there. And no matter how much Missy may claim he got on her nerves, she’s going to miss her big little brother so much.

Rest easy, and I’ll see you again, my little Cosmo boy, 2005(?)-2015.

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The Dog Days of Winter: A Follow Up

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Well, today is officially the last day of winter, everybody! (According to the calendar, at least…) You know what that means–the Baud Squad has officially survived our first winter in the Windy City! Back in November, I wrote about how we had prepared our pups for the upcoming winter months. Today I’m going to tell you how that worked out for us.

We took several measures to make sure Cosmo and Missy would be as comfortable as possible this winter. We bought dog jackets to keep the pups warm in the subzero temperatures. We bought a balm called Musher’s Secret to keep the pads of their paws protected from salt and ice. We tried to ensure that they would have as easy of a time in the cold as possible, but nothing could actually prepare us for the first day it hit negative temperatures with ice and snow everywhere. The dogs were confused to say the least, and they definitely didn’t like standing on the ice (and the road salt people used to melt said ice) for extended periods of time. No matter how many layers of Musher’s Secret I put on their feet, my pups just wouldn’t stay outside for more than five minutes at a time on the coldest days. I could tell they weren’t happy about that, so I caved and bought them booties. My dogs HATE people touching their feet, so I knew this would be a problem.

Enter Pawz booties.

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These little rubber boots were a lifesaver this winter for us. They look just like balloons, and they slip right over your dog’s foot, creating a barrier between their pads and the ice, yet allowing the dog to still feel the ground (thus no prolonged walking-horse-style steps or attempts to remove the booties). It took some effort to get these on our dogs (especially Cosmo, who freaks out at the drop of a hat), but they were SO WORTH IT! Our dogs were able to stay outside for much longer periods of time, and they really didn’t mind the booties once they were on–they just didn’t enjoy the process of putting them on their feet!

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Cosmo says, “I guess I can tolerate this.”

Pawz come in several sizes, from tiny to extra large, so you can find any size that works for your dogs on their helpful size chart. Luckily, both of our dogs fell within the “medium” range, so we bought one $14 package for both of them (there are 12 boots in a package).

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Missy says, “I guess they’re not so bad.”

Both of our pups were so much happier and excited to go outside once we started using the booties, so I am eternally grateful for them! They don’t slip off easily, and they look completely adorable. The only downside to the boots is that they can tear, but we had enough replacements in the package to make it through all the weeks of extreme cold!

As for the other equipment we purchased for the winter–the jackets came in handy on several days. If it was below 10 degrees, Cosmo and Missy had their jackets on, whether they wanted to or not! And while the Musher’s Secret wasn’t quite enough to protect their feet, it actually was very helpful for keeping their pads moisturized when they got dry. I even used it on Missy’s nose this winter too. (She loved shoving her head in the snow, and the snow that stuck to her nose would make it dry. Musher’s Secret helped with that problem!)

Both Missy and Cosmo had fun this winter, even if they didn’t always enjoy the temperature outside! Being prepared went a long way toward making the winter enjoyable for everybody, but I think I can speak for our entire crew when I say that we’re glad spring is here!

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The Baud dogs are ready for warmer days ahead in the Windy City!

Kickin’ It with Cosmo

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hi everybody! My name is Cosmo, and I live in Chicago, Illinois with my mom, my dad, and my big sister Missy. (Missy is actually smaller than me, but she’s older, so that means she’s in charge. She reminds me every morning right after I tell her how much I love her.) I’m 9 years old (at least that’s what I let everyone think–no one really knows how old I truly am, and I’ll never tell), and I’ve lived with my family for seven years.

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My mom says I’m cute. I guess she’s right.

Until recently, we lived in Tennessee. Let me tell you, Chicago is so much more interesting than anywhere I lived before! There are so many things to see, smell, and pee on! There are so many other dogs walking around ALL THE TIME! I try to talk to all of them, but it seems that most of them just want to bark in my face. That’s okay though. My sister can handle them… There’s this thing here called a “beach” that has this kind of dirt that’s really soft and squishy, and I really love to run on it when it’s warm outside! I don’t really care for the big water that my parents call Lake Michigan, though. It’s really scary.

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Question: Do I look majestic, silly, or both?

Something else that’s really different about my new city is this thing called “snow.” It’s this white stuff that falls from the sky and makes the ground really cold. A couple days ago, it snowed so much that it piled up taller than Missy! Missy really likes to run around in this stuff, but I really don’t like it that much. I like taking walks though, so I’ll tolerate this white stuff while it lasts.

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I think I’m going to have to tolerate it for a long time…

Really, the main thing that bothers me about snow is how cold it is on my feet! I guess my mom noticed how I would stop walking and refuse to move when my paws got too cold, so she got these things she calls “booties” for my sister and me. I don’t like them or the “jacket” she makes me wear sometimes at all! I love my mom and dad, but I don’t like it when they touch my feet. My feet are mine, and only I should touch them! When they put the booties on me for the first time to go outside, I thought they were trying to torture me. When I walked around with the booties though, I noticed that my feet didn’t hurt anymore! I still don’t know if I can trust these things, but I guess I’ll wear them if I have to. That doesn’t mean I’ll be happy about it–I’ll still fight my parents every time they try to put them on me!

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Seriously, this snow/bootie thing is freaking me out a little.

We got even more snow today, so now it is getting up to my height! I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I really don’t know what to think of it. That’s okay though. As long as I have my family with me, it’ll be okay. Unless it won’t…I’m really nervous about it.

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Missy and I will get through this together (I hope)!

Love and wet kisses,

Cosmo

Mondays with Missy

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Let me introduce myself. My name is Missy, and I am 11 years old. Some may think that makes me “elderly,”but you know what? I can run circles around any 4-year-old pup you throw my way. There’s a reason why my nickname is “The Missinator.”

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I am the Queen of Wrigleyville.

I have lived most of my life in Tennessee, but about four months ago, I moved with my family to Chicago, Illinois. At first, the sounds of the city were a little scary to me, but now I love to walk around my neighborhood, marking my territory and attempting to look bigger and tougher than every other dog I see. (They need to know who’s the boss, you know.)

I especially want my younger brother Cosmo to know that I am in charge, even though he’s bigger than me. Cosmo is really annoying most of the time, but I love him. (Just don’t ever tell him I told you that–I have to maintain my alpha female image in his eyes.)

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Cosmo knows who is the boss in this relationship.

This has been an interesting week in Chicago. Yesterday, something called a “snowstorm” happened, and now there are about twenty inches of this cold, white, fluffy stuff all over the ground. Apparently this “snowstorm” was one of the biggest my new city has ever seen. This is just great for me, a dog who is only about twenty inches tall herself.

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I have never in my life seen “snow” so deep. I have definitely never had to leap over snow to walk around before!

I don’t let this “snow” stuff stop me though. I actually find it to be really fun, and I love to run through it (even the parts that are taller than me!) and make crazy-looking, Missy-sized paths throughout it. I don’t know how long this stuff will stay on the ground, but I just hope it doesn’t make it so cold that I have to start putting on my “jacket” that my mom got me again. I really hate that thing…

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Being small can be hard, but that is why I have a big personality.

Cosmo doesn’t really enjoy the snow as much as I do, but I’ll let him tell you about that himself later this week. In the meantime, I’m going to figure out how I can make these things called “snowballs” my dad keeps talking about. Apparently they’re good for throwing at other people, and I am always looking for more ways to show others that I am stronger and more powerful than them. If only I had thumbs like my parents!

Love and tail-wags,

Missy

The Dog Days of Winter

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When Sam and I made the decision to move to Chicago, we knew we had a lot of planning to do. (Luckily, planning is my specialty.) We set out plans for apartment hunting, for the moving process (culling items, truck rental, route planning, etc.), for what we would be doing months after the move. At the center of all of this was our dogs. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every aspect of our lives revolves around them, so we took them into consideration for every. single. plan. We chose a more rural route with plenty of stops on the way up for them to have potty breaks, we chose an apartment on the second floor instead of third so they wouldn’t have to go up so many steps (they are seniors, after all), we chose a neighborhood that is pretty much the most pet-friendly area of Chicago. Our days revolve around their walks. Missy and Cosmo are central to our lives, and we want them to be as happy and comfortable as possible.

Enter winter in Chicago–our dogs have spent their entire lives in Middle Tennessee, so we knew from the get-go that we would have to prepare them properly for the cold that was about to head their way. We’re no strangers to dog cold weather gear–our dog Ruby, a Maltese, had hair (not fur, so no undercoat), so we always had a little sweater for her to wear in the winter because she would get colder much sooner than our other two dogs with relatively thick fur–but now that the dogs are in for temperatures that dip into the negatives, they are in need of more protection from the cold than their Southern-raised fur is accustomed to providing.

Before we moved, we did some research into the most important aspects of keeping pets comfortable in the cold, and we found that foot protection is key. Not only does ice accumulate on the ground (on which no one wants to walk barefoot), but salt used to melt ice and snow will get into the grooves of a dog’s paws and cause cuts and irritation. Now, Missy and Cosmo are very finicky about their feet (Missy especially), so we knew they would be absolutely miserable (and we would be covered in scratches) if we tried to put booties on them to protect their paws. So we looked into alternatives and found something commonly used by owners of dogsled teams called Musher’s Secret.

 

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I thank the universe for the creation of this product. It is a wax (smells and looks like Carmex) that you put on your dog’s paws before going outside, and it provides a protective layer between their skin and the ice/snow/salt/whatever. Amazingly, the dogs will sit relatively still while we apply this wax and will walk normally with it on. I LOVE IT.

Moving up from the foot, they obviously need their bodies to be kept warm. I did hours of research into the correct type of coat to buy for Cosmo and Missy. I wanted something that would cover their stomachs and something that had sleeves that would partially cover their legs. I finally found a “3-in-1 Eskimo Jacket” from East Side Collection that met my idea of a dog parka perfectly. It comes with a detachable hood, a fleece liner, and an outer coat. I ordered a gray coat with a red liner for Cosmo and a brown coat with a pink liner for Missy.

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We made sure to measure their chests and backs before ordering to make sure we had the correct size, and I am very glad we did that because we had to order a large for Missy (who weighs 24 pounds)  and an extra large for Cosmo (who weighs 38 pounds). These coats are NOT meant for very large dogs, so it is really important to measure before buying! After the coats arrived, we tested them out on a particularly chilly night, and I must say that my pups look adorable in them. They also seem to actually keep Cosmonaut and the Missinator warm, so once they get used to wearing them more regularly, my little gal and little guy will appreciate having them in the depths of winter! (One side note: Cosmo’s fleece liner was slightly too long–a problem because he would pee on it accidentally–so I hemmed it, and now it works perfectly!) 

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Here they are in all of their adorableness. 🙂

 

Besides purchasing the right equipment for them, Sam and I also make a point to get the dogs out several times a day, in all of the varying temperatures as of late, so I am hoping that being outside regularly now will help them when the weather takes a turn for freezing and stays there. We shall see about that, and I’ll be sure to post updates! I’ve enjoyed getting Missy and Cosmo ready for their first winter in Chicago, and I hope they enjoy it (for the most part). 🙂

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When taking breaks from roaming the cold Chicago streets [with Mom and Dad], Cosmo and Missy will stay warm this winter by cuddling!