Oct 182012

I  enjoy reading and finding motivation images/thoughts/stories, etc.   They are inspirational, can make a person happier or uplift one’s mood.  I missed posting my “Thursday Motivation” posts, and because they always make me feel better – even when I’m not feeling blue – I decided to start the posts back up!

For the re-start of my Thursday Motivation, I have chosen an image I came across a last week:

I’m a simple person, who enjoys the little things.

Simple things make me smile = )


Gone swimming

 Posted by
Oct 152012

A few weeks ago, we took Sasha and Argus swimming.  They both love the water, but their experience has been in lakes, creeks, and the ocean.  With Sasha now being a tripawd, and Argus’ arthritis, they cannot handle the distance to get to our outdoor swimming spots.  So, after posting questions on City Data and Craigslists, about suggestions for where we could take our buddies, Carlos and I decided to try an indoor pool at a place in Durham, NC.

Both Argus and Sasha had a great time, and unfortunately I forgot my video camera.  On top of that, Carlos’ camera was not cooperating, so the only pictures we have of their first indoor swimming experience were taken with our smartphone.

Argus with his life vest

Tri-legged swimmer – wearing a harness, not a life vest = )

The concept of a swimming pool totally eludes Argus

Pooped pups – Swimming uses a lot of energy

They had a great time, but we need to find another place for Argus.   Several people responded to my posting about swimming spots, so we have a few places to check out.  We’ll keep you updated where else the ‘kiddos’ go swimming.

Do you have a special swimming spot for your 4-legged friends?  A doggy spa, maybe?!


 Posted by
Sep 152012

Katie with mom Linda and Amanda

Katie was a sweet dog.  She was all heart and full of love, but somehow, found herself alone, without a family, and a temporary resident of a high kill shelter in Georgia.  Linda told us that when Katie’s time at the shelter was up, the people there couldn’t bring themselves to euthanize the poor girl – her exceptionally sweet demeanor had won her a stay of execution.  Soon after her brush with death, a wonderful organization in Warrington, PA, Nick of Time Rescue, pulled Katie out of the Georgia shelter, and brought her to PA.  That is where she and Linda met, and began their beautiful seven year relationship.

Linda and her daughter, Amanda, went to Nick of Time to find their dream dog.  They had already chosen a puppy when one of the staff at Nick of Time asked if they might consider another choice.  The dog that the rescue worker brought Linda and Amanda to see was a black, two year old collie black lab mix.  The rescue worker thought that this dog might be a better fit for the family, especially since Linda’s eighty year old aunt would be moving into the house.  The staff member also informed Linda of a sad truth about certain dogs waiting to go to their forever homes – she explained that black dogs are often overlooked and usually the last to be adopted.

There was an immediate, special connection between Linda and Katie.  She decided to take Katie home, right then and there, and as Linda says, “[Katie] has been one of the biggest blessings of our lives”.  If it is possible, I am sure Katie felt the same way.  It took a while for Katie to shed some abusive baggage that she had been carrying from her life before Linda.   Signs indicated that Katie was kicked in her former life, as she was terrified of people’s feet.  It also took her years to bark.  She was probably beaten for barking too.

This past July, Linda noticed that Katie was exhibiting signs of pain in one of her legs.  Katie still had a zest for life, but climbing stairs or jumping into the family car was clearly uncomfortable for her.  Linda took Katie to her local vet on July 17, 2012 and Linda listened as her vet delivered the devastating news that Katie had Osteosarcoma.

After long and careful consideration, the decision was made not to amputate Katie’s leg.  Instead, Linda enrolled Katie in a pain management study going on at UPenn.  Making decisions about what to do for our beloved pets when their life is in the balance, is one of the most difficult things that many of us will ever have to do.  Rather than put Katie through the trauma and negative side effects of chemotherapy, and the unknown side effects of a an experimental vaccine, Linda opted to do what she could to minimize Katie’s discomfort, and maximize her enjoyment of life for the rest of her time.

Katie continued to struggle with pain during the month of August, but Linda told us, “She is back to being a chow hound & inhaling her food”.  She also continued to enjoy being outdoors.  She took her time to delight in the scents carried on the breeze, and frequently enjoyed a roll in the grass with her tail wagging a mile a minute.

When she wasn’t outside, Katie always loved to snuggle with Linda and Amanda, and curl up with Pumpkin. Katie seemed to be experiencing the most discomfort at night time, so Linda spent the nights downstairs, sleeping on a couch, so that she and Katie could be together without Katie needing to climb the stairs to Linda’s bedroom.

Unfortunately, the cancer in Katie’s arm continued to progress, and her bone continued to deteriorate.  One day, Katie fell and was in terrible pain.  Linda and Amanda picked her up and rushed her to The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.  The tumor had made Katie’s bone so fragile that it may have broken under her own weight while she was walking.  Linda had to make a decision, and she knew there was only one choice to make.   Saying goodbye to Katie was the hardest thing she ever had to do.  It was also the only fair thing to do for Katie.

Katie was nine and a half years old when she died. The first two years of her life were rough, but she spent the next seven and a half years in a world of abundant love.  All Katie ever wanted was to be petted.  In Linda’s words, “Katie had years of love, spoiling, and happiness, and she gave us the same, 100% of the time, in return.”  Linda says that now with the nights turning chilly, she misses the warmth of her sweet girl: “She’d snuggle and keep me warm at night.  It’s just not the same without my big lovable, Oaf.”

Katie’s life may have been cut short by cancer, but she received a life’s worth of love with Linda, Amanda and Pumpkin, and she gave at least that much back.  Pets like Katie are a true gift.  They are a supplement to our lives that offer us incalculable benefits.  They are a treasure.

Rest in Peace, dear Katie.

Molly’s Story

 Posted by
Sep 142012

Back in July, we wrote about Molly.  She is the 2nd dog that received the listeria vaccine in the Mason Bone Cancer Study.  We have been meaning to post this for a while now, but our lives have been hectic, and Carlos and I neglected the blog a bit.

Molly’s mom shared how they came to have Molly.  In Jennifer’s words, here is  Molly’s Story:

Molly with Ginger

We adopted Molly in December of 2002. She was 14 weeks old and was located at a rescue facility in upstate NY. We drove to Syracuse to pick her up. Our friends still tease us and say “you drove to Syracuse to get a mutt”. Molly is so gentle and our cats over the years always loved her company. I’ll always remember that in 2007 during a walk on the canal path, Molly saved my life from a potential attack by a man armed with a gun.

In March of 2012, we noticed that Molly was limping. Mark took a closer look and noticed a lump on her front left leg. Our gut feeling told us that it was most likely aggressive cancer.  She was given the diagnosis of osteosarcoma and surgery was scheduled for amputation on March 15th. She had a quick recovery and was able to climb stairs 10 days later. Dr. Baez, Oncologist of CARES in Langhorne told us about the vaccine study and put us in touch with Dr. Mason.

Molly is a beautiful girl – even if she is a mutt!  She is strong, as she has proven with her quick recovery from her amputation, and we wish her well in her fight against cancer.  We know, first hand, the kind and compassionate care that she is receiving at UPenn with Dr. Mason and the rest of the dedicated team there.

We wish Molly and her mom and dad, the best, and we hope you know that you are all in our thoughts.

New Start

 Posted by
Sep 122012

“Recession is when a neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours.” by Ronald Regan

I am finally out of the my recession =)

After one year and six months since I lost my job, I have found a new position.  When I lost my job a year and a half ago, I did not think/believe, that it would take me this long to find new employment.  The job market is tough right now, so I am happy my search is over.

While it was a bit stressful at times, my ‘free’ time did give me time to think about the things I really like and enjoy doing.  And just before I found the new position, I was resolved to making a dog walking business work, along with Carlos.  Given I have found a great opportunity, Carlos will now be the main person seeking clients.

During my free time, I (we) realized what makes us happy.  Here is a list of some of those things.

  1. Spending time with my family (husband and dogs).  Although, we didn’t need ‘free’ time to figure this one out!
  2. Being involved in dog rescue efforts and help raise awareness for dog cancer, and other animal related topics.
  3. Having our own business, especially a gym/fitness studio.
  4. Investing in Real Estate (owning rental properties; we have experience with this).
  5. Owning a ranch, a farm, or a vacation place in the mountains.
  6. Owning an RV to travel places easily with our dogs.

Now that we know just how much these things make us happy, we both want to pursue the possibility of one or more of these dreams.  So after a little while of being employed (hopefully Carlos also finds employment or finds clients for the dog walking business we were trying to start), aside from saving for our future, we need to decide which of our dreams we want to pursue first.  Buy a rental property?  Buy land or a place in the mountains that we can use for ourselves, and also rent out to others when we aren’t there.  Start a fitness studio/gym?  Maybe find a place around Boone, NC and start something there.  We don’t know, but we need to do something aside from having a regular job.  Life is too short to not try to do the things one loves.

Back to my new job.

I started my new job on Tuesday, September 4, 2012.  It is just 4 miles from my house!  How great is that?!  I believe this new position is a good opportunity, and it’ll be more challenging than my previous job.  The downside so far is how much I miss seeing and being with my 4-legged buddies and Carlos.  My first day was busier than I expected, and at the end of the day, I was very overwhelmed.  I think it mainly had to do with the fact that I was gone for a long time, and I didn’t have my family at arm’s reach.  Maybe my employer will allow me to bring a pet to work???  If this is something that they do not currently allow, perhaps I can work on having them give it a try.  Time to start looking for articles and research papers written about the benefits of bringing pets to the workplace!  I’ve read, from several different sources, that people are happier and more productive when they are able to have their pet alongside them on the job.  This is definitely something to think about.

Also this week is the start of a new workout and diet regimen.  Carlos and I used to workout together, and we always enjoyed sharing that experience.  I enjoy it because he is very encouraging and supportive, and he enjoys it simply because he likes us being together (as do I) =) Now that I am working, we need to figure out a new schedule.  I’ll try to post updates on this topic and our progress, regularly.

Other good news is that Sasha is doing wonderfully!  She had her last vaccine in the Mason Bone Cancer Study on August 21, 2012.  This week she has a 3-week post final vaccine check-up, which will be done at NC State Veterinary School by Dr. Hauck.  After this check-up, Sasha will have bimonthly check-ups.  Some of these check-ups will be done locally at NC State Veterinary School, and for some, we plan on going to UPenn.

In the next week or so, I want to make a list (I love lists) about things that we want/need, such as laptops, new router, etc., things/projects that we want to do to the house, and places we want to visit.  I’ll make a list and note everything by priority.  Some of the things we wanted to do for the past couple of years, we might decide to not do them.  For example: converting the carport into a garage.  While it would be great and could potentially add value to our house, we need to figure out how much value it would add, and if we’d rather invest that money elsewhere, like putting it towards an RV or a vacation home.

I mentioned to Carlos that I think it would be great if once a month we make sure we go to nearby places, kind of like a mini weekend/vacation.  Because we would be traveling with our dogs, we have to go places where we could do things with them, and of course, where they are allowed.  I’m looking forward to creating a list of places we want to visit =) Since May, we have been planning on going to Duck, NC for a few days.  Kate, over at Kate with a Camera, wrote a post about their summer trip to Duck, NC, so that will come in handy to us.

That sums up all our recent news.  Now I have to work on getting used to a new routine!

Anyone have new routines in their life?  Anything planned for this fall?

Jul 262012

A while ago, on this post, I showed pictures of Shelby and Tommy going swimming.  Well I finally have the video uploaded and ready to view!

These two had a ton of fun, and Carlos and I enjoyed seeing them happy and having a good time.  It never ceases to amaze me, just how happy dogs can make us; one look at their happy face, and we have a smile on our face.

Anyhow, enjoy watching the “youngings,” have fun!


~ Liliana

A Two Week Plan

 Posted by
Jul 172012

A month has passed since Carlos and I were going to the gym on a regular basis.  We both felt drained and weak while training.  It got to the point that neither of us looked forward to going to the gym.  Not only were we struggling with our workouts, but we weren’t eating as clean as we normally do.  Carlos and I discussed how we were feeling, and we both agreed we probably needed a little break from the gym.  A break is sometimes a good idea to regroup and gain energy; however, a break from the gym does not necessarily mean that we should have also taken a break from clean eating.  We were away from the gym for two weeks, and off our regular diet for just as long.  When we finally made it back to the gym, it didn’t last for long.  We had to leave Raleigh for a clinical trial that our dog, Sasha, was enrolled in at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, more on that hereRead Sasha’s experience in the Mason Bone Cancer Studyhere.

My hope was to attend a gym in the Philly area and do the best we could to eat healthily.  However, it was a little harder than I would have hoped.  One, to use a gym we would have to pay $10 per person, and $20 a day was not something we felt we should spend given our current job situation.  The nutrition front was not easy, because we stayed with Carlos’ parents, and their eating habits are not even close to ours.  We could have chosen to eat out, but again, we did not want to spend more money than we needed to, and we could not really buy food and keep it refrigerated because my in-laws fridge was already overly full.  So, we tried to eat as mindfully as we could given the circumstances.  On Thursday, our last full day in PA, we went to the area where we used to live in PA.  We went looking for a farm store where we once bought some ice cream.  Even though we only had it once, we can honestly say it is the best ice cream we ever had!  We found the farm store, and of course, we treated ourselves to some of this deliciousness.  We also went to Bravo Pizza and shared a pepperoni roll and a small pepperoni and sausage stromboli.  Bravo’s used to be one of our favorite places to get take out when we lived in PA.  The owner knew us and he would always give us pepperoni knots as a treat for our dogs.  We didn’t used to eat this stuff much, nor did our dogs, trust me = )

Anyway.  I don’t feel good about failing to eat better or not having worked out at all.  So, I’m embarking on a 2-week training and nutrition plan.

As of Sunday, we started training and cleaned up our diet.  From Sunday 7/15/12 thru Sunday 7/29/12, we’ll be on a strict gym-going-clean-eating-plan.  Our training will consist more of circuit training to keep our heart rate up.  We will also use the rowing machine at the gym on our pull-days.  We want to incorporate some sprinting, and we’ll be walking the dogs at least once a day.  By sticking with this plan, we should see positive results, such as having more energy, and maybe losing a few pounds.  I know Carlos will; guys lose weight so much easier/quicker than women = )  I am happy that I have not gained back the 6 lbs. I lost prior to us taking the break!

The week of July 30th we are driving to Philadelphia for Sasha’s 2nd treatment in the Mason Bone Cancer Study.  This second trip, during the days we are in Philly, we hope to be able to be active.  Additionally, I already have a 3-day YMCA pass (for each of us) for a location near Carlos’ parents so that we can train while there.

I’ll share an update on this plan during the weekend.  In the mean time:


Update on Tommy

 Posted by
Jul 142012

Several weeks ago, I mentioned that we found a lump on Tommy’s lip, and we were taking him to the vet.  On June 4th, Dr. N. examined him, and even though his thoughts were that the lump was likely nothing to worry about, he suggested we be on the safe side and remove the lump, and get it biopsied.

We scheduled the appointment to remove the lump for that Wednesday, June 6th.  Prior to anesthetizing Tommy, a blood panel was ran, and his liver enzymes were very high.  Dr. N. opted to wait and ran other tests.  Again, the tests showed his liver enzymes were very high.  At this point, other tests were being ran and we would wait on having the lump removed until we learned more as to why his liver enzymes were high; Tommy was healthy other than for the lump.

When Carlos and I went to pick Tommy up, Carlos asked if a smear could be put on a slide for analysis.  The lump was oozing and bleeding a little, and Dr. N. managed to get some of that onto a couple of slides.  It was worth a shot.

In a week’s time, our vet called and informed us the lump was a benign histiocytoma.  What a relief!  I had read about how cancers in the mouth can be very aggressive, and after Sasha being diagnosed with osteosarcoma, I was very worried about Tommy.

Not only was the lump noting to worry about, but it has completely vanished!

Stay tuned for an update on Sasha, a video of Shelby and Tommy swimming, and an update on a 2-week training and nutrition plan!

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