Gilbert Jo’s Story

Animal Advocacy, Uncategorized

If you know anything about me, you know that I absolutely love my dog. While I was in college I went through a phase when I couldn’t think about anything other than wanting a dog. I had grown up with dogs all my life and this was my first time not having one, yes I had a dog at home in North Carolina but I was 12 hours away. All I knew at that point was that I wanted a dog with a smushed face, I later learned the correct term is brachycephalic. I initially looked into pugs and english bulldogs both of which had extensive health issues (which is part of the territory in terms of brachycephallic breeds) and neither were very active. While watching Animal Planet one morning I saw a boston terrier and I fell in love. From that point forward  I saw them everywhere! I saw them on television shows, in movies, and around town. I located a breeder in town but they were far too expensive for my college student budget. A local pet store had boston terrier puppies as well but they were just as expensive. The Animal shelter down the street from my apartment (Southern Pines Animal Shelter) occasionally had pure bred dogs so I frequently checked the website and went down there just to see what they available.

One night after I had started to give up looking, my boyfriend at the time showed me the website and they two boston terriers available. One of which had an enlarged blue eye, which we assumed she was blind in that eye. He immediately scrolled past her picture to the other dog who looked adorable, alert, and spunky and said “she’s the one”. The next day we got up early and went down the street to the animal shelter, but another couple had already adopted our dream dog. The kennel tech offered to show us the other dog and we went just to look. But once we got to her run she began to wiggle her whole body and bark happily, I got down on my knees to get a better look at her and I knew immediately it was love at first site.

Her name was Gilbert when we adopted her, and we added Jo because we already intended on naming her Jojo. So the next day we brought home Gilbert-Jo Baggett Evans, she later became Gilbert-Jo Robinson after I got married. Gilbert went through moving out of Ex’s apartment and into my own place, she moved 12 hours away with me, she waited for me to finish basic training and AIT, she was there when I brought home her brothers Gulliver and Micah (only a few weeks apart), she was waiting at home when I returned home as Mrs.Robinson, She was in the car when we drove 26 hours to El Paso, She came back to me when she got lost only days after being there, and she was with me when we returned to North Carolina, and she was waiting for me in a hurricane when we brought home our newest addition Josiah.

There hasn’t been anything that Gilbert and I haven’t been through together. Saying I l love Gilbert is a massive understatement. She’s eaten chargers, my favorite stuffed animal, she’s pooped on the floor, and shes run out of the front door. But there’s nothing that could make me love her and her little quirks anymore.

We adopted Gilbert knowing that she was permanently blind in one eye and that didn’t make me love her any less or feel any differently about her. I just knew that I had to make a commitment to getting that eye removed one day. That day didn’t come for  a long time but it still came too soon. We had began putting money to the side to have it removed shortly after tax season, when her annual appointment was due anyway. but a week before her appointment I woke up to find half of her eye sunken and she was in extreme pain. I called her vet, whom I happen to work with and they saw her and did the procedure the same day. I cried buckets of tears when I brought her in, and it was so hard to leave her even though I knew she would be fine. I couldn’t even go to work that day knowing that my baby was in pain. I had to be there to pick her up and make sure she was ok.

When I picked her up from her procedure she wanted to be back to her normal self. She got up and wiggled her little body because she was so happy to see me, and then she plopped back down because she was still a little drowsy from the anesthesia. Seeing her then was like seeing her for the first time, all over again. Nothing could make me happier at that time than knowing she was ok.

Although shes missing one of her many quirks, she still herself and I still love her. I also love knowing that shes not in any pain and shes comfortable, so much so that shes laying next to me snoring as I write this.

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In light of Father’s Day

Animal Advocacy

So as a precursor to a special family announcement tomorrow (to celebrate Father’s Day) I want to share Micah’s birth story.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted a natural birth… By natural I mean vaginal with no drugs. I did a lot of prep work by exercising, reading/researching, and taking a class on base. All proved to be beneficial in the long run but I didn’t learn the pain relief techniques that I really needed to go through with this successfully.

Anyways… Let’s start with Late night December 11th. I went to bed with intermittent contractions, they were sporadic and not painful at all. So I assumed they were Braxton hicks something I had experience many times before. So I did all the things I learned in my birthing class to determine if they were real. So I went to the bathroom, took a warm shower, ate a small snack, and had a drink. I was still having them pretty sporadically. Because they weren’t consistent I just went to bed. 

I woke up the next morning around 5am with a dull lower back pain, so I had my mom help me into the bathtub to soak. The pain continued even with the jet stream hitting my back. So I stayed in until the water got cold and my mom helped me back out. She agreed to take me to the hospital but first she wanted to stop and get me breakfast then stopped at her school to drop off lesson plans for the substitute teacher. We made it to the hospital by 9am and went straight to labor and delivery. This is where the pain finally subsided. Nonetheless They checked my cervix to see if I was dialated at all, only about 1.75cm. So the doctor offered to do a membrane sweep, which was extremely uncomfortable but I would do it again because I think it was helpful. I was scheduled for an appointment an hour later but they cancelled it and scheduled an induction for December 17th(my birthday) just in case I didn’t go into actual labor the next few days. So I was sent home.

The next day My actual due date, my mom took me to breakfast at ihop then to the mall to walk around. We walked into the food court and I lost my mucus plug. It was disgusting and I cleaned myself up as best as I could. I told my mom and she said she wanted to make a return and we would go home so I could rest. So after walking around in the next store while my mom made her return my water broke… Even more gross and uncomfortable. So my mom took me straight to the hospital instead, where I still wasn’t having contractions but they admitted me anyways.

From the beginning they fought me about my request. I didn’t want to be attached to an iv but they said it was hospital policy. After getting to my room they started encouraging pitocin because I wasn’t having steady contractions and they didn’t want me there for days. So I agreed, even though that wasn’t really my problem. Then the nurse asked About my birth plan and breastfeeding plan, which she wrote down on a white board so everyone entering the room would know about my wishes. Then I was attached to a fetal monitor, which made me more miserable. I called my best friend and my dad who came to the hospital immediately. As soon as they got there the contractions kicked in, they were sharp and long… I felt the need to be mobile but anytime I wanted to move they had to unhook EVERYTHING! The midwife got tired of me disrupting the fetal monitor so they put in an external fetal monitor. Which made me even more miserable 😒 I was climbing the walls, I was wailing, crying, going back and forth to the bathroom. Not to mention starving because it had now been almost 8 hours since I had breakfast. This went on to almost 8pm by this time the pitocin was making crazy and I was demanding the nurses stop giving it to me. The midwife asked if I wanted an iv pain reliever so I could rest, I obliged and immediately went into a foggy sleep. I woke up an hour later to never ending contractions, I tried to get up to go to the bathroom but the midwife wanted to check me first. She discovered I was 9cm dialated! She called for the nurse and started prepping for me to push while telling me to wait it out. Which I couldn’t do because I was already feeling the urge to push. My instincts told me to get on all fours and I pushed once, his head and shoulders emerged. I pushed again and he emerged completely. He was placed on my stomach for skin to skin contact, they said his umbilical chord was too short so they cut it before it stopped pulsing cleaned him up and swaddled him and handed him back to me. 

I looked at him and immediately thought he looked nothing like me! I was so overwhelmed with emotion that o cried about it. But he was beautiful, 21 inches long and 7lbs. I no longer felt short changed by what didn’t go according to my plan. 

Reinforced Fence

Animal Advocacy

So I said I would share my method for reinforcing my side gate, which is a wrought iron gate typical in El Paso neighborhoods. It was relatively easy for desert heat, pregnant carpenter 😉, and my toddler handyman. Not to mention we didn’t have the correct tools! We went into this equipped with a hand me down roll of poultry wire (Which we’re more than grateful for!), some wire, and wire cutters. I simply measured up the poultry wire to the fence and cut it down the side. My handyman and I then used the roll of wire (I pre cut a few pieces before we got started)to secure the poultry wire to the gate.  I secured both sides and the bottom.  It wasn’t as secure as I would like but it’s  secure enough to keep my small dogs in the yard. With this done we can obtain our first foster!

So it’s official!

Animal Advocacy, Uncategorized

We’ve been approved to be fosters!  We’ll get our first brachycephalic Foster after the we reinforce our side gates. Which is an easy project for my next off day, and another post do you guys. 

So I got up a little early to tidy up and make sure everyone was dressed. Conveniently 🙄 my husband went to the laundromat. I also did a little poop pick up in the backyard so they could check out our outdoor space as well. The two young ladies doing the home check were amazingly friendly, and our dogs and Micah proved to be very charming. Micah gave them the grand tour and even gave them my business card! They looked at all the things I though they would check like yard space, the gates, Access to outside space(such as the doors leading out), and our dogs temperaments. They had a few questions for me: 

How do our dogs get along with other dogs?

Is yard time supervised? 

Are we willing to reinforce the side gates?

Are we willing to foster other breeds other than pugs? 

Where do our dogs go when we go out during the day, or at night?

How do we feel about crate training? 

Are our dogs spayed/neuter? 

And how do we feel about taking in strays that are not yet spayed/neutered?

I’m sure there were other questions but these were the most important ones. So after they checked our house, we sat down and went over the contract which was pretty much self explanatory and very similar to what’s outlined in the application. After agreeing to all the terms and conditions, I was able to sign.

Then cue husband, who tried to dodge a social bullet to his introverted being. He introduced himself then shuffled to our bedroom. 

They left their information, Micah handed out more DogVacay promo material and we said our goodbyes.  Our next step to obtaining our Foster is the fencing project, which anticipate doing on Wednesday. 

So look forward to my diy project, and acclimation tips! 

Pug Fostering 🐶

Animal Advocacy

We have a thing for dogs at my house. More specifically the smoosh face variety, the proper term being bachycephalic. We currently own two Boston Terriers: Gilbert a six year old special needs rescue, and Gulliver a three year old. 

Since I’ve decided to homeschool our two year old and finish my degree online, I’ll have more time at home. As well as more time to spend with our dogs! We’ve been talking about getting another dog but I haven’t been completely sold on the idea. I was mulling this thought over a few nights ago when I came a cross a pug rescue in our city, they’re looking fosters! So I talked to my husband about it, after he gave the ok I filled out an application. They review each application and run a background check. Friday morning I received a call from the rescue (it probably took about four days to hear back) they were ecstatic to hear from me and wanted to set up a home visit. So I checked my work schedule and arranged to have them visit on Monday. This gives me enough time to clean (yikes!) and I know everyone can be home during that time. So I wanted to share my preparation process for the home visit, it largely consist of puppy proofing (similar to baby proofing) 

I did my normal cleaning routine:

Cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedrooms. Picking up after our toddler and Bostons. Sweeping, mopping, swiffering(this is key for pet owners), washing dishes, and dusting. 

Then the puppy proofing. Dogs are like small children, they explore the world by putting things in their mouths. So even after cleaning my floors, I checked every nook and cranny for anything that could be lying around. Then I made sure all cords and electrical outletswere out of site or covered. Then I was sure to move any low hanging fruit(easily accessible treats) to higher places or the pantry. I also made sure our baby gates were properly secure, not only do the my keep our toddler safe but they secure our dogs in specific areas. I then replaced our dogs blankets with fresh and clean blankets. 

Although our house is squeaky clean and secure, I made sure to check our doggy door and outside gates. These are places pet owners should always double check, in the event that one of your dogs is an escape artist like Gilbert! I also made sure the yard was poop free and hosed the patio. This a precaution I take after every dogvacay guest as well because we occasionally have some that mark or haven’t been trained not to potty on the patio. This cuts down on the spread of germs. When I clean the patio I use a cap full of bleach and a scoop of detergent or dawn. 

After all of this I felt pretty confident about the state of my house. There was still one more thing to take care of though. I got out our family binder and pulled both Gilbert and Gulliver’s shot record, just to have them readily available in the event that they asked for them! 

Now I feel completely prepared! Hopefully we can all keep the house clean until noon on Monday. Which is no easy feat for any of us.  

I hope this post can eventually help someone else get approved to foster! It’s an amazing thing and I can’t imagine any greater gift for these guys other than adopting! So hopefully I’ll be writing next week to talk about introducing your pet to house guest and acclimating your Foster pet!

Pet sitting chronicles 

Animal Advocacy

I’ve decided to blog a little about my side hustle as a pet sitter. It’s something I do part time in order to save for my Birthing Business which is my big goal after graduating from UTEP with my health promotion degree. 

I work through a host site called dogvacay. There are other sites you can use like Rover, which is great too but I certainly prefer dogvacay. Dogvacay had a simpler layout and it was easier for me to manage. I enjoy dog sitting and it allows me to generally stay pretty close to home with exception of daily walks. I offer dog walking, doggy daycare, home boarding and drop ins. Although I love it, it certainly comes with its own set of downfalls. Most aren’t associated with the company though.

Often times pet parents don’t understand exactly what they are paying for or why you have certain requirements. I’ve had lots of customers haggle my prices or low ball me because they believe they are unreasonable. With dogvacay you are also insuring your pets for the weekend, you don’t have the same luxury with family and friends. I am also bringing your pet into my home and treating them like family. Working through  dogvacay or rover in addition to working as a vet assistant puts me in a different category than joe blow that offered to watch your pet $20. 

Pet parents also underestimate the importance of meeting my requirements such as vaccination records and a meet and greet. Vaccination records ensure the safety and health of all parties involved especially my own family. Any reputable pet facility will ask for your pet to be up to date on shots as well. And in the event of an incident, such as a bite. Animal control wants to know that your pet is up to date on rabies at the very least. Bordetella and DAPP are also important for pets kept in close quarters as not to pass on highly contagious diseases. 

A meet and greet is mandatory for me because oftentimes pet parents aren’t completely honest about their pets and their level of socialization or other habits that could be deal breakers. And sometimes pets just aren’t compatible, they’re much like people with conflicting personalities. Any aggression is a deal breaker for me because that puts my pets and child in danger. 

I also require a crate, no your pet won’t be crated all day but they will be at bed time. This simply ensures everyone is in their own space at night, this keeps accidents down! 

I hope with this information other pet sitters can protect themselves as well as their host. And pet parents are more understanding of what goes into pet sitting. I also added a link for my dogvacay page, check it out!

Rover and the Robinsons