Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Donald's Party!

I think Donald had a great birthday yesterday.  We wrestled and played in the big bed and spent quite a bit of time outside, some of his most favorite things.  And then there was cake...

Although I'm pretty sure he thought Daisy was trying to make a move on his birthday cake in the photo above.  Don't worry, she got a piece of the cake too.  I used a recipe for Peanut Butter, Banana, Carrot, and Carob Chip Cake I saw on Urban Hounds recently.  The recipe is grain free and calls for coconut flour which seemed to just soak up any moisture so the cake batter was more like cookie dough and the baked cake was something like a brownie.  Strange, but it didn't phase the pugs...or Gammy, who just had to try some herself.  :-)

I guess I have to admit that it does look tasty.  Donald sure seemed to enjoy it.

Gammy and Gampy bought Donald a birthday present.  So after about an hour of both pugs begging for more cake, we tried using the gift as a distraction.

He loves his new toy and is looking forward to chewing on all the squeakers.  Thanks G&G!  Needless to say with a full belly and an evening of play time, Donald was a sack of potatoes as we carried him to bed.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Happy 6th Birthday, Donald!

A year ago today, Donald's new life began when he was rescued by PugHearts.  Seems fitting that we use this day to celebrate his birthday since we don't know exactly when that is.  I will be baking him a cake and Gammy and Gampy will be coming over to dote on the birthday boy.

He is our spunky little man, full of personality.  We look forward to seeing what surprises he gives us this year.  ;-)  Happy Birthday, Donald!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Spa Fridays!

Donald is on a medicated shampoo to keep his skin healthy that requires bathing once a week.  Since Tim and I don't have much of a life, we chose Fridays since we are always home.  ;-)  Spa days aren't fun for Donald so the whole concept of TGIF is kinda lost on him.

Donald begs you to help him!

Mostly Daisy smirks watching Big D, but on the first Fridays of every month, it's her turn in the tub too.  She's not a fan either.

Daisy wonders why we torture her.

So today think of them all wet and soapy...rub a dub dub, two pugs in a tub!  It's supposed to be a nice sunny day (maybe spring is finally here?) so I think we'll go on a walk so the day won't be all bad.  ;-)  Have a great weekend everyone.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

One year later...

It was a year ago today that we had to say goodbye (for now) to my little girl, my sweet Payton.  A year ago today my heart broke, never to heal fully.

A friend told me that the first year is always the hardest.  I understand why.  For me, it has been the back and forth of emotions, smiling and crying at once.  Part of me wants to fast forward to a time when the sadness isn't so intense and the other part of me wants to go back and relive all the time I shared with her.  This makes it so hard to live in the present.  

Over the last few months, I've felt like I've been losing her all over again. I've been desperate to watch videos and look at photographs to remember her and what it was like to have her here with me.  But right now I still get sad reminiscing because it reminds me of how much I lost.  I know she would not want me to mourn her forever, so I try to be strong and happy.  But I also try to allow myself moments of weakness and sadness.

It still amazes me how much I truly love Payton.  She was my child.  I don't like to compare myself to parents who have lost children but that's what I feel like.  A friend recently wrote that "if love could have saved Payton, she would have lived forever".  This is true not only because of our love for her, but she gave so much in return.  On Payton's blog last year, I described how in her last moments she used all the strength left in her little body to smile and wag her tail at us when the oxygen chamber was opened.  

She was so very sick and yet all she cared about was us.  I get so tense and emotional just thinking about it, and I will never understand why such a perfect soul had to endure so much and leave this earth so soon.  Payton's illness and struggles were a constant reminder that the end would come at some point, and yet I was still not ready. I don't think anyone ever is. I know she is free from the sickness and pain and her body is restored but I am selfish and want her here with me.
I long for the day when we can be together again, when I can hold her and kiss her.  But until that day, I will continue on as best I can to live in a way that makes her proud.  I'm still shocked at how many emails I get, about 2-3 a month, from those whose pugs are experiencing seizures or have been diagnosed with PDE. It was always difficult, but with Payton gone, it's even harder. However, I persevere in her honor, proud to carry her story and help others from our experiences. She will always be such an inspiration.  

I have come to realize that I will always carry this profound loss with me, that I will always miss Payton, but as time goes by, it does become easier to live with the pain.  I am still a work in progress, but I sleep better, smile more often, have a lot less anxiety, and can see a light in the distance.  Donald and Daisy can't replace Payton nor eliminate the pain, but they have brought joy back into our lives. And as long as I try to live as Payton did, keeping my senses open to experience the special moments that life has in store for me, I know I will be happy.  A friend suggested that Payton pops in on her special friends.  This made me laugh thinking about her nosing around (probably trying to steal kibble), so the next time something around the house reminds me of her, I'm going to imagine her visiting me too.

As a symbol of her life, I'm going to make the Pink Flowers for Payton campaign an annual tradition each spring.  In addition to a full vegetable garden and herbs, I will be planting these beauties on Sunday.

I'll leave you with two videos looking back at memories from Payton's remarkable life. 


PS.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend, enjoying family and friends.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pugnacious Keepsakes!

Late spring of last year, I took the plunge into sorting through Payton's stuff.  It was tough, maybe I started too soon.  I became overwhelmed and had to stop and so I still have much to do.  There are so many great photos, memorable things, and thoughtful keepsakes that deserve a prominent display in our home.  I'd like to share some of these treasures with you.  

But not all of these treasures are tangible objects. There was the Remembering Payton Tour.  In 6 or 7 months, we went to Austin, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Herndon, St. Louis, Vancouver, Seattle, Molalla, San Francisco, New York City, and Toronto.  There are still wonderful pugs and people in other parts of the country that we didn't get to see, but I can't thank each person and each pug we did meet for all the hospitality and kindness.  Traveling, especially often, can be very stressful, but it helped me at a time when I desperately needed to enjoy something.  I will never forget the experiences, the lunches, the special talks in the car, walks in the forest, the personalized welcome and photos, the pink roses, the distance that some traveled to say hi.  So many memories.  All photos from the Tour are on Face Book.

Another intangible item that helped me was joining Face Book and the Pug Sluts group.  I can't tell them enough how much being able to scroll through those posts at anytime saved me.  I needed a distraction from the pain I was feeling and this group delivered.  It helped me to let time pass and not dwell on sadness all day and night.

Through Face Book, it was fate that I met a woman who had lost two pugs to PDE.  I had been thinking about a tattoo and it turns out she is a very talented artist.

It's a simple piece on my right wrist where I can see it all the time.  It has so much meaning for me and even more special to have had it done by someone who has similar scars.

After Payton passed, I was blown away by all of the love sent our way.  Seriously, all of the thoughts, prayers, blog tribute posts, blog comments, texts, emails, cards, donations in Payton's honor, and other gifts were so touching.  Here's a collage of just a few of them.

A friend helped edit and fix a few photos so I could order the pendants/necklaces in the upper right corner.  I've never been one to wear much jewelry but I do put these on quite often.

Of course, we also have Payton's ashes.  They are in a nice wooden box and the lid is a frame for a photo.  I need to put one in there.  I haven't had the courage to look inside yet, but I know that day will come eventually.

Once I have everything properly framed and displayed I promise to send pictures.  I have lots of shadow boxes to fill up with some of Payton's favorite things and wonderful keepsakes.  I tried to thank everyone last year, but if I missed anyone, please accept my apologies.  And thank you each know who you are.  I am lucky that Payton led me to so many great friends.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Remembering Pugnacious P! (part 4)

Probably one of the most enduring photo and the most popular posts were "Deep Thoughts by Payton", so this month wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention a few of my favorites in the series.

The first link goes back to Payton's love of (and all pugs' obsession with) food in a comparison to Hobbits.  I know it's silly, but Payton was with us when we did a marathon of all 3 Lord of the Rings movies, and I thought (had hoped) that she would be around for a crazy weekend of watching all Hobbit AND LoTR movies.  She was always happy to veg out with us.

The second "Deep Thoughts" post that I adore has a video of Tim and Payton.  She looked forward to him coming home from work every day.  It was so cute to see the way she looked at him.

The last two posts that I wanted to share again aren't "Deep Thoughts", but they do contain important lessons that Payton wanted to share with her pug friends.

Looking back at Pugnacious P over that last few weeks has been nice.  Tears and smiles.  I miss that girl.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Birthday angel Payton!

My sweet angel, I hope you are having a good morning in heaven today.  I'm sure all of your friends are celebrating and singing and dancing on this special day.  I am too.  We will be having a feast tonight for dinner, prime rib, in your honor.  I wish you could be here to have some with us.  Maybe you will get to chow down on some juicy meat in heaven.  Enjoy your day, I'm sure there will be quite a party.  You deserve all things that your heart wants, today and every day.  I am thinking about you now and always.  I miss you.  Happy Birthday, Payton!
Love you,

I am really struggling not being able to hold and kiss my girl today.  Although in the back of my mind, I knew her little body was getting tired, I expected Payton to be with us for her 10th birthday.  We knew there was never a guarantee that we'd have another day, another week, another month, another year, but when she kept beating all the odds...4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9...why not 10?  I just don't like that she's gone.  I never will, but I try to imagine how much fun she will be having today in such a wondrous place, and I know she feels my love.  I will be savoring the tasty dinner tonight and know that she will be smiling.  I hope each of you can spoil yourself today with a special treat in Payton's honor - something that really makes your eyes bug out of your head and makes you loose all self control - like Payton did at her party last year.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Remembering Pugnacious P! (part 3)

Besides being blessed enough to give Payton the best care possible, I am so thankful that we really took advantage of opportunities to have fun with her.  Some of my favorite memories we shared together were during trips to Chicago.

In the photo(s) above, Payton is posing in front of the Water Tower just off Michigan Ave all bundled in her Pug Snuggly coat, matching Chilly Beanie, and MY matching scarf.  I couldn't decide on which effect I liked best so I included them all!

One of our first happy memories in Chicago, and probably a favorite of my husband's, is when we took her to a dog park for the first time.

I think one of our best vacations in Chicago was a blast, and my parents got to join us too making it even more special.  In fact, it was so eventful that there are two posts.

Something else that is very special to me is baking Christmas cookies with my mom.  It was so much fun to share this experience with Payton, and as you can imagine, she enjoyed it too!

It was such a pleasure to share my life with one of the most beautiful spirits I've ever met.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Remembering Pugnacious P! (part 2)

When I think about Payton, inevitably I remember how crazy she was about food.

Many of you may recognize this photo as Payton's Blogger profile pic.  It was taken on a sunny day in St. Louis when Tim and I took our girl to The Boathouse in Forest Park for lunch by the water and then a romp in the fields by the Museum of Art.  It would have been the perfect day for an ice cream cone.  Like the time we made a special treat for Payton.

She was always a happy pug eating out with us...or eating in with us too...she wasn't picky.  Here's a post showing P's normal spot during meal times, regardless of our location. 

I can't recall too many times that she wasn't in the kitchen with me when I was messing around.  She was the best sous chef I could ask for.  And of course during clean up after eating, so would always do her part to make sure no crumbs were left behind in the dining room.

Payton was never to proud to beg.  She would paw at us and bark trying to convince us to share.  I know that she would have thought about sticking out her tongue at us when we didn't give her a nibble, just like in this post.

I think you will all agree with me that this video, and Payton's "focused" eyes, show just how much she loved food.

There's no doubt she had it good, but I do wish we had given in to her a bit more.  She deserved it.  :-)


Monday, March 4, 2013

Remembering Pugnacious P! (part 1)

It was hard to narrow down some of my favorite posts from Payton's blog.  

So many cute pictures and great memories.  In fact, have I ever told you about the photo above that is the Pugnacious P header?  It is probably my favorite picture of Payton.  It was taken in the fall or early winter about 3-4 months after she got sick at approximately age 3 1/2.  You can't tell, but she still didn't have any hair on the back of her neck from the spinal tap and MRI, but had her thick, full coat of fur everywhere else.  She hadn't really begun to turn grey in the muzzle.  What I love so much about it though is the look on her face.  You can see what a fighter she is, like she is telling the world to watch out!  Oh, my pretty girl.

The posts I chose today all focus on the photos.  I love her stunning face, like in this post where she was really working it for the camera.

And I love to see how she aged so gracefully.  Here are two similar posts where the pictures were taken years apart.

Lastly, this post really shows off her beautiful life.   

I am so enamored with the photos taken in her last year with us.  Every time I day dream and picture her in my mind, she is older.  You could see the toughness and sass in her eyes.  You could see that she had been through so much in her life and she wouldn't give any of it up.  There was just something about how her jowls hung a little bit more and the grey hair - so striking.  No doubt she was a real looker, simply gorgeous.


Friday, March 1, 2013

March is for Payton!

As the month of March begins, I will be taking time to write about my special angel.

There are a couple important milestones that I just can't overlook, and I need to reminisce a bit with all of you.  So each Monday, I'll share a few of my favorite Pugnacious P posts.  I had hoped to count down Payton's most viewed entries, but all the ones at the top of the Blogger stats page are about her battle with PDE.  Although that makes me proud beyond words, I really want to focus on celebrating her beauty, her sass, her spunk, her spirit, and her incredible life...that she lived the hell out of.


Thursday, February 28, 2013


Dad, tell me again WHY Donald has to be here?

Mom, Daisy is getting up in my space.  Please tell her to move it!


Friday, February 22, 2013

BRR, it's cold outside!

Yesterday we got hit with a good 4 to 6 inches of sleet, snow, and ice.  Daisy is always a diva about the grass, but even Donald was not happy.  This is how they decided to cope and stay warm.



I really can't say that I blame them one bit.  Is it spring yet???

Have a great weekend everyone!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

A new twist on cinnamon toast and to-die-for spiked coffee!

Before I get into the tasty treats, I wanted to tell everyone about a new feature that I added to the blog...Reactions.  You'll see the Reaction choices at the end of the post before the comment section.  My good friend, Winston Wilbur, showed me how to add them.  Face Book has spoiled me and caters to my lazy side by allowing me to hit "Like" on a post instead of commenting, so I thought it'd be nice to add something similar here.  The only thing is that I'm not sure Blogger records who made each selection.  Anyway, hope you like it!  :-)

Sometimes I get bored with the gift exchange we always do at Christmas with Tim's family.  So every other year or so, I like to get the ladies of the family something indulgent.  One year it was the super soft Luxury Plush blankets from Restoration Hardware (Payton loved them and stole both of mine), but this year I was feeling crafty and made flavored/spiced sugars, infused vodkas (vanilla and various citrus varieties), and homemade orange and grapefruit truffles.  So I had to make some goodies for myself too!  I decided on vanilla sugar and orange cinnamon sugar.  It gives a subtle brightness to regular cinnamon toast that I really like.

Along with cinnamon toast, this winter I've been craving one of my favorite decadent dessert coffees, Dulce de Leche Coffee.  Kahlua, caramel, chocolate, whipped can this be anything but delicious!?!  I like to use Scharffen Berger semi-sweet chocolate for this.  And to make this beverage even better, I love to drink it out of my new favorite over-sized mug, featuring none other than Gretta Rose the pug.

If you don't know about Gretta and her sister and brothers at Pugs and Kisses, you are really missing out.  Totally adorable!!  Seriously, the cuteness factor is through the roof!  They are super generous too, always donating to pug rescues across the country.  You must stop by and see them either on their blog or Face Book and check out all the fabulous items for sale on Zazzle.

Hope you are eating and drinking well! 


Friday, February 1, 2013

Playing with Daddy!

I think these two videos really show off Donald and Daisy's unique personalities and noises and how much they both really like to play!

I hope they have inspired you to play a bit more and have some fun this weekend!


Monday, January 21, 2013

All about Daisy!

As you probably assumed from photos, Daisy is a petite sweetheart!

She is only about 12 pounds, is estimated to be 6 years old, and has a smooth silver/stone fawn coat that is slightly "smutty" (more black hairs and a blurred face mask).  She can be shy and is extremely submissive.  Her tail is down more than I'd like or am used to with a pug, which is a shame since it has such an adorable loop.  It perks up when anyone comes home/visits, when the harness and leash come out, when it's meal time, and when playing.  Daisy is agile like a cat with mad jumping and climbing skills.  Here she is on the back of the couch.

It must be her long and lean frame.

Maybe that's why she has a bit of a waddle to her walk...oh, I mean sashay.  ;-)  And she frequently army crawls.

I think she does this to scratch her belly.  Daisy suffers from allergies, but luckily they are controlled easily with frequent ear cleanings, a bit of pumpkin in her food, and a Benadryl as needed.

I haven't been able to envision a fun persona for Daisy yet.  I think it's been hard because she is very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  That dainty face of hers reminds us of a tiny mouse, yet her voice is deep like a gorilla!  When I hear her, specifically when she snores, growls, and sighs/moans in disdain, it always makes me think about the Disney Tarzan movie where Jane sounds it out...GOR-IL-LA!  Yeah, I'm weird like that.  Anyway...  When she barks and yips during playtime, when someone is at the door, or when she is at her most vocal (in the morning yelling at us to get out of bed and feed her), Daisy sounds very raspy like singer Kim Carnes (Bette Davis Eyes)!

I promise I will get more video that better shows off her vocal talents.  So believe it or not, underneath that calm exterior lies a crazy beast!  This reserved girl turns into a very aggressive player - almost psychotic.

Growls and barks, loves attacking toys, playing tug, and biting humans.  If you blow gently on her face she will lick and bite your lips and nose!  She often is in the mood to butt run and have someone chase her.

Daisy insists on sleeping under the covers at night, and so unlike the lady that she is, her underarms get clammy and stinky - almost as if she sweats.

Better not let her know I said that.  It could mean trouble for me.  ;-)  Yes, don't let her fool you, Daisy can be quite the demanding diva...or maybe [hu] man-eater is more appropriate.

She knows how to work her cuteness to have everyone in the room fawning all over her and doing whatever she wants.  She HATES nail trims.  HATES them.  A lot.  It's a miracle that I can get them done.  It reminds me of a game of Twister.  Despite loving walks and picking up scent mail, she HATES the grass - dry or otherwise.

She walks on it like a kid playing that the floor is lava.  I must admit it's hilarious.  And although she squats to pee, Daisy lifts her back right leg at the same time.  She is a silly girl!  Daisy is obsessed with meal times and will beg when Tim and I eat, but (probably because of trust issues) is very finicky when taking treats and, to our dismay, is NOT food motivated (for training purposes). 

Like Donald, poor Daisy has to put up with a list of alternate names and be expected to respond to:
  • Daisy Mae
  • Miss Daisy
  • Daisy-kins
  • Dollop of Daisy
  • Captain Insano
  • Daiz (pronounced like "days")
  • Daisy with her tail up

In addition to those nicknames I should probably add Tiffy.  Daisy reminds me so much of Tiffy that I find myself calling her by the wrong name too often.  I joke to myself that they are sisters from different misters.  It *could* be possible as they are both Texas girls.

Daisy was found on the streets with mange and bad dry eyes.  Luckily for her and us, the selfless folks at PugHearts rescue in Houston saved her.  We think she is a puppy mill or back yard breeder survivor and seems to have had little to no socialization with other dogs and/or a very aggressive, terrifying breeding experience.  We also think it is possible that she was neglected by a lady or that it was a woman running the "kennel" where she was kept.

Most likely as a result of her past, Daisy is uninterested in other dogs and gets nervous when Donald tries to play with her, or even when he is making lots of his noises/growling while playing with Tim or I or a toy.  It breaks our hearts to see her run away from Donald and for him to look at us wondering why.  He will sometimes bark at her in frustration.  Donald isn't the only one ignored.  She doesn't care to pay much attention to me.  It's obvious that she prefers men to women, almost like she thinks they are better protectors and can trust them.  She tends to sulk when Tim is away and stays in her bed for the most part during the day despite my attempts to play or cuddle.

Please leave me alone.
I'm waiting for dad to get home,
and I can't be bothered with anything until then.

But when Tim is home, she lights up.  To say that she is attached to him is a big understatement!  And of course, he just adores her.  

Daisy is daddy's girl.  She will follow him everywhere.  Tim tested her by wandering around the house, even circling the kitchen island and coffee table.  Daisy was there with him every step.  When Tim is home she doesn't mind laying next to Donald or playing with one of us while Donald is occupied.

I don't want to mislead anyone, Daisy is a very happy pug and she loves being doted on!  And we have made some progress on her insecurities.  In the last few weeks, even days, she has been keeping her tail up more often, she has occasionally growled at Donald's advances when she is on her daddy's lap, I (yes ME) got her to wag her tail the other day just by talking to her, and she has been showing interest in cuddling on the couch and playing with me when Tim isn't around.  Daisy was only in foster care for a couple of months before we adopted her so I think she is still warming up to the idea of living a normal life.  We think Daisy will continue to come out of her shell, and I can't wait to share her growth with all of you!