New Puppy? Here’s 5 tips on how to add them to your pack!

We have just recently become a 4 dog family, and this got me thinking about the best ways of integrating Jack into the pack. The status of the existing pack is very clear. First there was Lucy, and then about a year later, I adopted Oscar. About seven years later, we met Kobe. They are on the totem pole if you will, in that order. And now, one year later, enter Jack. How can I be sure we keep our perfectly happy homeostasis while welcoming this little guy to our family?

Whether it is your first dog or your fourth dog, adding a new furry friend to your family can be tricky. Following a few important steps can help make sure everyone builds a loving relationship with each other. I’ve listed below what I feel are the 5 MOST important tips to adding a new pup to your pack.

#1: GO SLOW!

I cannot emphasize this enough. The #1 rule with introducing a new pet to any setting is the 333 rule:

3 Days: Compared to the shelter, your home is a bright and shiny new world. Your dog is going to be overwhelmed with all the new sights, scents, and space. There’s likely to be a lot of excitement, a lot of energy, and a lot of unpredictability. This is their main focus for at least days 1-3.

3 Weeks: After about 3 weeks, your pup is starting to understand your routine and getting more comfortable in their new home. Their personality will start to shine through and they will really start playing with their new pack members. They should still be monitored closely during this time. Don’t let your guard down just because everyone is being friendly so far.

3 Months: Your dog knows that your home is their home now. Yay! This is a great time to sign up for a group obedience training class if you haven’t already. Training is a fantastic way to bond with your pup, and it helps them continue to be introduced to new settings, people and dogs. I signed Kobe up for basic obedience when he was 6 months old (3 months after we adopted him). When we started, he was terrified to be in the car, to meet new people, of basically everything. By the end of the 6 week course, he was so much more confident!

The timeline is different for every dog. They are individuals and should be cared for that way!

#2: Respect your other dogs.

Your other dogs may not be ready to be BFFs with the new puppy right away. It is important that you know your dogs, and that you read their signals. They are depending on you to keep them safe! For my pack, Oscar is always a go to when it comes to introducing a puppy. Puppies are HIS JAM. Kobe is very friendly with other dogs, but he is HIGH ENERGY and a very rough & tumble pup. Lucy is vision impaired, and she always wants to lick other dogs faces, so to keep her safe, she is always the last intro. For the first couple of days, I always keep the puppy (the new, unpredictable friend) on a leash when with the other dogs. This helps me keep control of his actions and allows me to quickly remove him if needed. I also only allow individual interactions for at least the first day or two. This again helps keep control of the situation, and lets me watch both dogs carefully. If anyone gives the slightest indication that they are not happy, the play time is calmly but quickly stopped. Interactions should be done in short, small spurts, with the time increasing a little each round. Be mindful of cherished toys or space. If your dog has a favorite spot on the couch, do not let the puppy come running full force to jump in that space. If your dog is having cuddle time with you, make sure the puppy is not allowed to leap into your lap and steal your attention. This will help make sure you are keeping the new friend safe while respecting your pack.

#3: Set everyone up for success.

Know what you’re getting into! If your dog doesn’t do well with in-your-face, high energy dogs, then maybe don’t adopt a working breed as they typically are bouncy energetic friends. If you have a human baby, look for dogs who are more mellow and less vocal. Don’t get a dog without really considering what this means for you and anyone else in your family. Are you prepared to keep your pets separated for awhile until they are comfortable with each other? Do you know how to recognize when your dog is unhappy? Do you know how much more money this new pet will cost on a monthly basis? For example, a large breed dog eats a lot more food than a small breed. If you adopt a dog on a whim, you may very well be setting yourself and/or your pack up for failure. Be mindful of what it means to your existing pack to bring home a new dog. Are you prepared to give the time it takes to ensure a long lasting, successful relationship for all involved? No matter how friendly your dog may be, do NOT expect them to love every dog they meet. Some dogs just do not mesh well. Research, be aware of the attributes you are looking for in a new dog, and be patient to find the right one!

#4: Provide clear boundaries for everyone.

It is important for your new pup to have boundaries. He needs to know where his space is, what he isn’t allowed to do, etc. But it is also important to reinforce any boundaries for your existing pack. They need to know what your expectations are for them now that there is someone new sharing their space. It is also important for them to know that just because there is a new baby around, they haven’t lost your love and attention. Some dogs may not need any extra attention. Take Lucy for example. She could care less when new friends are here. She is a very confident dog and never waivers in her self appointed status of Queen Bee. Oscar is a mama’s boy and he will ALWAYS check in with me when a new dog is around. He does a drive by pounce to make sure he’s still my #1 guy, and then he goes back to puppyland. Kobe also likes some 1:1 attention. As I mentioned above, it’s so important to know your dogs. Because I am aware of Oscar & Kobe’s needs, I make sure I give them some individual time with the Mama so that they don’t have to be jealous of the new baby getting attention. I also make sure the existing pack still gets time together without the puppy, to reinforce their bond and remind them that everyone is still friends!

#5: Celebrate all successes, big and small!

Remember to give yourself, your pack and the new puppy some grace. Celebrate all of the things, big and small! If playtime doesn’t go well today, try again tomorrow. If a little tiff happens, calmly separate and try again later, and give TONS of praise when it goes well. I truly believe dogs feed off of your energy. If your pack feels a vibe from you that they are being good doggos, then they will be more likely to have a successful integration with any new friends. If you are feeling anxious, nervous or jittery, your dog WILL feel this. They will think there is a reason for them to be nervous too…and this may affect how they feel about this new friend you’ve brought home. So take a deep breath, feel the calm vibes, and celebrate each success your pack has!

Bonus Tip: Foster for a local shelter or rescue!

If you are thinking of getting your dog a friend but you aren’t sure if they are ready for that, or you aren’t ready yourself for a new perma-dog…I highly recommend fostering! I fostered over 25 dogs for Last Hope Rescue, and I learned SO much about dogs. But most importantly, I learned so much about Lucy & Oscar (my only pack members at the time). Fostering helped me see what Oscar & Lucy each needed when being introduced to a new dog, how to communicate with them that a new friend is a good thing, and so much more. I never saw myself as a 4-dog person. In fact, for 7 years of having just Lucy & Oscar, I insisted that I would always only have the two. But certain circumstances allowed me to consider adding a new pack member, and this has been successful twice now, all thanks to my fostering experience! And please, please, PLEASE don’t say “oh but I’d adopt them all” or “it would be too hard to say goodbye”. Trust me, you can do it, the dogs need you, and your soul will be so glad you did!

Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions about fostering, adopting or dogs in general!

Millionaire needed. 

Recently I made the mistake of stopping by the shelter (to drop off a food donation), so the kiddo and I went back to see the kitties and pups. *Sigh* I don’t know why I do this to myself. There were so many bullys. It sucks. I just hate it. There is no other way to describe it. My heart sinks more & more, as I walk by each kennel and see another blocky head staring up at me, tail thumping, tongue sticking through the metal gate, just craving attention and love.

I have said many times before, if I could have an entire farm of Oscar’s, I would. I don’t understand why there are SO many dogs that look exactly like him. I rarely see dogs that look that similar to Lucy. But there are DOZENS of Oscar look-alikes.

who me? No one iz lookz like me, maz!
who me? No one iz lookz like me, maz!

Right now, there are at least two dogs at the Tallahassee shelter who look like Oscar…act like Oscar…LOVE like Oscar.

WHY can’t I have them all? I would love them. And squeeze them. And hold them tight. Forever and ever and ever.

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So, if you know of a millionaire looking for a wife, send him my way. Because I’m single and ready to mingle…with millionaires!

Until then though…I guess I will have to keep sharing and networking and begging for other people to go adopt these guys. Please please please share a dog in need today! It might seem silly or pointless to you. But I PROMISE you, the more “views” that dog gets, the better he/she has of getting out of that shelter and into a cozy forever home. So, go ahead & click that share button now!!!

Tallahassee Shelter’s adoptable pets: http://www.talgov.com/animals/online-kennel-dogs.aspx

Last Hope Rescue’s adoptable pets: http://lasthoperescue.org/adopt-pet/available-dogs/

 

Holy Adoptiversaries, man!

So, not only did we recently celebrate Oscar’s adoptiversary, but I also have two foster dogs that were adopted around this time as well!

Cleo, now Zailey, was adopted one year ago! She was the smallest pup I’ve ever fostered! Her and her sister pup, Carly, were rescued from a home where they were left outside in the freezing cold. Cleo craved human attention! Her favorite place to be was perched up on top of her crate, where she could be safe while watching things going on. She was adopted by a wonderful young lady, and is happy, healthy, and loved! Check out the post where she was introduced to the blogosphere: Meet Cleo!

Here is a recent picture of her!

 

Zailey

 

Another pup who was adopted one year ago today, is my sweet Petey!! If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know the many trials & tribulations that I went through with this guy. If you don’t know about all that he went through, check out some previous posts: Petey’s Problems & Bittersweet but Happy Tails!

Petey with his forever kiddo and his foster kiddo!
Petey with his forever kiddo and his foster kiddo!

Petey is one of the few dogs that I actually cried over having to let go. (That’s NOT to say that I don’t love all of them, but some are just more emotional than others!) I had Petey for a long time, and I honestly thought he would never be adopted. I came to terms with that, and thought of him as my perma-foster dog. He even has his own Christmas ornament here! I was not willing to let him go, just to be returned again, so I had decided in my mind and in my heart, that he would just stay with me for the rest of his years. Then came along a sweet little family of three. The lady, Connie, is someone who knew the rescue president (Angela) pretty well, and she inquired about Petey. Before I even listened to what she had to say, I said “NO.” Angela insisted that I meet them, and at least see how I felt. I still said no. This was nothing against the family whatsoever. I just didn’t want Petey to go through it again. I took Petey to an event that weekend, and Connie and her husband Jim were there. They met Petey, and we chatted. I found out that Connie was home very often, which was one of the biggest concerns for ol’ man Pete. We discussed Petey for a long time, and a few days later, I was bringing Petey for a trial stay. I was brutally honest with them, explaining Petey’s needs, and also telling them what I expected of a new home for Petey. Well, the rest is history…he was adopted, and is completely adored by them! And even better, they only live about a mile away, so I get to see him (and his family) pretty often! Lesson learned: Never say never…expect the unexpected…yada yada! 😉

Here are some of my favorite Petey pictures, in honor of his adoptiversary!

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Dogs6 Cell Phone pics 2012-2013 260 Cell Phone pics 2012-2013 213

Happy livin’ Zailey & Petey!!! 

xoxo

 

Meet Sammy!

Say hello to my 18th foster! This guy is Sammy.

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He has been in the rescue for a few months. His previous foster has to travel multiple times over the next several months, so we had to place Sammy in a new foster home. There was nowhere for him to go, so he joined Crazy Doglandia to become a part of my pack!

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The first 3 days were hell rough. He was very confused, stressed, and vocal. He likes to share his discontentment with the neighborhood, by whining and barking and whining and barking. Did I mention he whined and barked a lot?!

Because of his nervous energy, I took dog introductions VERY slow. For the first time ever, Oscar was not the first dog to welcome our foster. Instead, I let Mia meet Sammy first. I knew she’d be great since she is confident, social, happy and submissive. They were friends immediately. Sammy knew there were other friends for him to meet though, and he kept on whining. So the next day, I introduced Lucy. Although she can be vocal, she too is confident and social, so I knew she wouldn’t be affected by Sammy’s nervous energy. All the while, Oscar and Sammy had met several times, I just wasn’t allowing full play yet.

After a few days, Sammy settled in a bit, so then came Oscar’s turn. My word for Oscar is “easy”, when he is allowed to play but has to be gentle. So, I finally took just the two boys out, telling Oscar “easy” several times, and they started to play. As usual, Oscar made me proud and was a total rock star with Sammy!

Now that Sammy had officially made friends with everyone individually, it was time to have multiple dog play time! First I allowed Mia, Lucy, and Sammy to play together. They did fabulously! Then I let Oscar take Lucy’s place, and they too did great together. Finally, all four dogs were allowed to play at the same time…holy dog herd! They all love to run and chase each other, and have a blast together. Sammy definitely thrives around dogs, so his forever home MUST have at least one other medium-large dog for him to pal around with!

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Sammy is only about 6-7 months old, and has long lanky legs. I think he is a Belgian Malinois mix. He has the black muzzle, black-tipped fur, and has a lot of their traits: Watchful, Protective, Alert, Friendly, Hard-working, Confident, Stubborn, Active..ok, he’s not confident, but everything else pretty much describes Sammy to a T! He also has a lot of “working dog” qualities. For example, when he is chasing the dogs, he nips at their butts, which is very typical of a herding/working dog. I also think that is why he whines when there is nothing for him to do, and it takes him longer to settle down, unlike my couch potato dogs! He is a really sweet pup, and smart too. He is house and crate trained. Sammy needs LOTS of work on the leash, so that will be the top priority as far as what needs to be worked on!

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On other news, Mia has an adoption pending!!! I won’t say any more until it’s a done deal…but I’m excited to share the news, once everything is official!!

Have a great day, friends!

xoxo

Teachers.

I often hear from the parents of my previous foster pups, and it’s always amusing when they tell me stories of how their dog(s) behave…many times, having similar behaviors that my dogs have.

Many of the foster dogs I have had, have been in puppyhood, ranging from 14 weeks to a year old. These are usually the dogs that my two make an impression on the most.

Take Lola for example. Her mom always tells me that Lola is a supreme lizard hunter, a skill that Lucy is a pro at and I feel certain she taught Lola well!

The Lizard Hunters taking a moment to cuddle and discuss their next plan of attack!
The Lizard Hunters taking a moment to cuddle and discuss their next plan of attack!

Lucy is also great in teaching foster dogs to be confident. We have had many dogs come in as scared, nervous pups, but Lucy helps show them how to be confident in their doggy awesomeness! Chelsea was definitely one of those cases. She was VERY shy and timid, but around dogs, she completely came out of her shell. Tooley was another one who learned from Lucy, and followed her every move. Wherever Lucy went, Tooley was sure to follow. She, also, learned how to hunt lizards!

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I believe Lucy is saying “Guys! Lizards! Don’t you see them! Must. Hunt. Lizards. And. Squirrels.”

 

Chelsea!
Chelsea!

Oscar is good at teaching dogs his naughty tricks. For example, he loves to take the magnets off of the refrigerator…and what did I find Mia with today? Yep. A magnet. He also teaches the foster pups that there are plenty of tree roots in the yard to go around, and everyone should try to dig them up! Oscar, being the king of comfort, also teaches dogs how to C-H-I-L-L!

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He also showed them all how to wear accessories like a BOSS!

July 014July 002 July 010It’s always interesting and fun to see how my dogs rub off on a foster dog! Has your dog taught another pup friend anything?

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Mia is STILL on the search for a family! Available through Last Hope Rescue FL!!!

 

 

Lucky #17

Most of you probably know by now, but Roxy has been adopted!! I couldn’t be happier with the family she’s gone too! I’ve received a few updates from them, and everyone is in love with each other. Roxy bonded to them instantly (just like a Black Mouth Cur, adoring her humans), and her people are smitten with the pup that she is! Another life saved, my friends!

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Oscar & Lucy had about a week or so to relax and remember what life is like in a 2-dog household.

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But as usual, it wasn’t long before a puppy was at risk and the rescue was being asked to help. So, meet lucky #17, Mia!

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We saved her and her sister, Ellie, from the Chipley shelter. They arrived on Saturday, and then I took Ellie to her foster Sunday morning. Mia is a precious pup, with lots of fattening up to do! She is VERY sweet and just loves to be held! She adores the dogs..although neither of them are exactly smitten with her quite yet. They aren’t exactly sure what to do with her puppy energy! Oscar is much more tolerant of her than Lucy, but I know they’ll all be great friends in just a few days!

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Mia is adoptable through Last Hope Rescue. She will be up to date on vaccines prior to adoption, and spayed if she is old enough…but hopefully she is adopted by then! She will be a GREAT family companion!!

Stop by Tails of a Foster Mom to watch her grow, and follow her foster-to-adoption story!

Have a great week, friends!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

A Letter to my Foster Dog

Sweet Lady Symone,

It’s hard to believe you were in my life for only 4 months. Sometimes it felt like you had always been a part of our family. Yet now as I have to say goodbye, I find myself thinking it hasn’t been long enough. I wish I had known you as a puppy, when you were young and healthy. I am sure you were a spunky pesky girl, causing trouble whenever you could. I wish I met your many puppies. I bet you were the best doggie mama to those baby bullies.

You fit right in with us from day one, bossing Oscar around, but understanding that Lucy was the top dog. You expected butt scratches on demand, and the excitement you have for walks is like no other dog. Your silly sideways tongue always makes us giggle. Jayden loves to touch it when you’re sleeping, when it’s sticking out, all dry and scratchy. We are really going to miss your goofy quirks.

There are some things I won’t miss. Like your slobber. Oh, the slobber. Everywhere. And you’re hair. How do you shed so much hair?!? Your snoring rocks the house and causes earthquakes in far off lands. I won’t miss having to turn the tv up just to hear it over your snoring. The number one thing I won’t miss…G-A-S. Lady Symone, the flatulence that comes out of you is…there are just no words to describe it.

But my sweet girl, I would take all of these things, a million times over, to have more time with you.

 I wish I could find all of the humans who have failed you. To yell at them, and tell them they didn’t deserve to have you in their lives. I hope that you have felt loved and cherished over the last few months, since you came into our home. I hope you somehow have understood, every time we wrapped our arms around your big ol’ neck, just how much we have adored you.

I don’t know what Heaven is, or what it consists of. I can only hope, that when we say goodbye, that you go to Heaven’s pearly gates, and you are greeted by your best friend. I’ve always known how much you’ve missed him, and how confused you must have been after his passing. I hope that my own bulldog, Basti, is there to greet you and show you around, along with a few other fellow canine buddies we’ve lost along the way.

Our time is coming to an end, my sweet bulldog. In such a short time, you’ve wiggled that brindle butt right into our hearts, and we will miss you dearly. I hope as we spend our last night together tonight, that you will be comfortable and have a full belly…I am giving you meatloaf for dinner, after all! I promise to be by your side tomorrow, as we say goodbye, but until then…Snore, slobber, and fart ’til your heart’s content, my friend.

Love always,

Your foster, forever mama

xoxo

OldDog1

Symone Update

Hello blog-o-sphere.

I have some sad news.

Lady Symone has declined.  Again. More. Too much.

She is having cluster seizures on a regular basis. She has no spunk left. The vet has tried different medication concoctions, and nothing has worked. In fact, her seizures and behaviors have only gotten worse. It is believed that there is something much worse underlying the seizures, but due to her age and lack of funding, the insanely expensive testing can not be done.

To look at her, is to know that she is miserable. She is definitely not herself. She has many bad days, with half of a good day thrown in every now and then.

This is the part of being a pet parent that sucks. A lot. You have to determine when they’ve had enough. You have to determine when trying more meds, and how many meds, is too much. Symone is now taking 8 1/2 pills, twice a day. And she still has the symptoms. So, enough is enough…right?

I don’t have a specific date yet of when we will say goodbye, though it will be within the next few days. I wanted to bring her back home for a couple days, love on her, and spoil her, while she is still able to get relief from the pain meds. She got to eat a cheesburger, fries, and a donut today…hey, a dog on hospice can do what they want…and trust me, this bulldog will love food until…well, you know.

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Goodnight, Friends. 

xoxo

Preventing Tragedies

As we are coming to the end of the summer (haha wishful thinking for us Floridians!), I am glad I will have another year before seeing daily posts about “Don’t leave your pets in the car”! It is nonsense to me that we even have to spread this information around. I know some people don’t have common sense, but this seems like something everyone should just KNOW. I mean, think how you complain about how hot your car is after it’s been sitting for awhile; or how touching the steering wheel burns your hand; and how you blast the a/c to try to cool off. We do all of this, while we are sweating, which is our body’s way of cooling us off. So how do you think our pet feels in that said car, when they don’t have the ability to cool off by sweating? Doesn’t everyone know this? Ok, sorry, got off on a rant there….so anywho, these posts always get me thinking, how do I keep my pups safe?

There are the obvious ways, like giving them monthly heartworm prevention, taking them in for their annual vet check up. But how else do you make sure they stay safe?

These are some ways that I protect my pups:

-I crate Oscar. This is 100% for his safety. He is curious and sneaky. I KNOW he will get into things if I leave him out unsupervised. If there is food, he will find it and eat it. I would also never want him and Lucy to get in a fight over something, so crating keeps them protected. Lucy doesn’t get into anything. She doesn’t bark. She has no separation anxiety. She is as good as gold. So, she gets to be loose in the house, while Oscar is crated. This is not a punishment to Oscar. He doesn’t know any different. He has always been crated, and as you can see below, he obviously doesn’t mind it! I have heard TOO many horror stories about dogs who have grown up together, being left out loose, getting in a fight, and an owner comes home to find one of the dogs has been killed. Why would I ever, EVER risk that? I wouldn’t. So, Oscar will always be crated.

As you can see, he's perfectly comfortable in his crate!
As you can see, he’s perfectly comfortable in his crate!

-I don’t buy stuffed toys. Both Lucy & Oscar rip up stuffed toys in minutes. Lucy likes to shred them. Oscar likes to de-stuff them. The stuffing can cause lots of problems if eaten though, including surgery if it gets clogged in their system. The only time I make an exception is right after Christmas. I go to a local pet store & buy a handful of toys from clearance. I go for the absolute cheapest, since I know that they are going in the trash within a few minutes. I go home, get the dogs all excited, dump the toys, and watch them go blissfully crazy! Then, I clean everything up, and it all goes in the trash! Other than that though, I use treat puzzles, balls, kongs, and any sort of kong-made rubber toy. I really love the Planet Dog toys, because they are durable and they smell minty!

I am a Princess. I do not work for food.
I am a Princess. I do not work for food.

-I never leave towels around because Lucy is a shredder. I know Lucy’s one bad habit is that she shreds things. She only does it if she is left alone, and it’s only to towels. So, I know to never leave a towel out. One, because I don’t want my towels to die. Two, because I don’t want her to end up eating any of it.

Why you tellz people these liez about me? I iz perfect princess. You sayz so all the timez.
Why you tellz people these liez about me? I iz perfect princess. You sayz so all the timez.

-I factor in the weather conditions, and allow outside play and exercise accordingly. Do you now how quickly a dog can suffer and die from heat stroke? Within minutes! Did you know that some breeds, like boxers, bulldogs and pugs, are more prone to suffering from heat stroke? This is because of their snout, and their inability to take in enough air. I am super careful with Lady Symone when it comes to this. She loves to sunbathe on the deck, but as soon as I see her panting, I make her come back inside. It’s important to know the signs of heat stroke, and knowing how to quickly react might save your dog’s life! Here’s a great website with some helpful information: PetMD

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These are just a few of the things I do to keep my pups safe on a regular basis. What are some things you do, to keep the fur babies free from harm? Please share! I’m sure I will learn some new things, so I look forward to hearing from you!

Goodnight Friends! 

xoxo

Appreciation!

I just wanted to say a quick THANK YOU to everyone who has offered advice, support, and shared their experiences, regarding my recent post on anxiety. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, well then check it out HERE! (Click on the word “here” and it will bring you to that post.)

While we are having some struggles, there are also lots of happy times, filled with love and laughter. I am reminding Jayden every day to use his Fear Buster prayers that our church shared with us, to focus on the positive, and live day by day. He is looking forward to his counseling today, and hopefully this will help teach him some ways to cope. I can not express how much I appreciate all of the comments, messages, and texts re: this issue. You all really made me feel better, and I thank you for allowing me to vent and share! You ALL are the bomb.com! Have a happy Monday! xoxo

Oscar7Sammy4 May 2014 069 Spanky 011 photo 1 JayandOscar  basti3