A Letter to My Rescue Puppy on His First Birthday

Maddux, my little Florida dog, where do I begin? Let’s start with Happy Birthday. You turned one on Saturday and since I always write a letter to Toby on his birthday, I will do the same for you.

Thank you for coming into my life. You are exactly what I needed, although maybe I didn’t know it at the time. I realize it now.

Ever since I saw you in that blue carrier at the filming for Puppy Bowl XI, I knew you were special. Taking you out of that carrier, and spending the whole day with you and watching you play on the field and with the other dogs, I just fell in love. I was forming an instant bond with you.

I held you lots, was on the phone with my dad and aunt freaking out, because the timing wasn’t right, and I didn’t know what to do. And, lets not even start with how much of a headache I must have given Laurie and Brianne.

“Should I take him? … He doesn’t like me. … What if Toby doesn’t like him? … I just started a new job. … This is the worst possible timing. … My Dad is going to kill me.”

I knew I wanted a second dog, especially since I was going to be finally living in my house and working remotely, and because Toby was getting older and I thought it would be good for him.

Boy have you been good for him. Bringing you home that day, while the adjustment did have a few bumps, was likely the best thing I have ever done for Toby. You took to him immediately. He, however, did take some time to get used to no longer being the only fur in town, but it took him a little over a month to finally let you cuddle next to him in bed. And now, you two are awesome buddies.

We have done a lot in the 8 months you have been living with us. You and I flew to Florida for the Puppy Bowl, I finally switched veterinarians, we are going to several dog training classes — something I have always had an interest in, but never could find a place I felt comfortable.

You have spent a night being passed around the curling club and impressing everyone you met because of your calm spirit. Yes, your calm spirit. You have not only helped Toby, but you have helped me. You are a very chill dog. Not needy, not clingy — well a little — but overall you are perfectly fine whether you are snuggled in my arms or someone else’s.

As a result, you have helped my anxiety, too.

When you first came to live with us, you weren’t a snuggle bug, but as you’re growing up, and maybe realizing, “yup, this is my forever home,” you have come much more snuggly. You have also gotten a little more confident. I mean, you are a confident dog to begin with, but you are still a little shy, which is ok in my book.

After a day filled with fun on your birthday, you did something you never do — cuddled up on my pillow and refused to move.

Since the moment I let you sleep in bed with me and Toby, you have always went straight under the covers and snuggled at my feet. Not that night. You put yourself on the corner my pillow and stayed there. I finally gave in, shut the lights out and put my head on the pillow, too. I gave you kiss on your head, wished you a happy birthday and said, “I hope you had a good birthday. Love you.”

You, took both your paws and put them on my left shoulder, and shut your eyes.

I love you little Maddux.

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Puppy’s First Birthday Party

Maddux turned one on Saturday, and boy did we have some fun.

Sleepovers, charity walks, dog parks, balloons, homemade pupcakes and more!

The weekend started out with a Friday night sleepover at my friend’s house.

Maddux loves her dog, Jenks, so it was perfect that he got to wake up at his friend’s house on his first birthday under a pile of blankets.

And then we went to a nearby college where the Paws in the Park walk was being held to support a local animal rescue.

Maddux and Toby had a blast walking with Jenks and meeting all the vendors and others dogs. It was so much fun!

We left there and headed back to our house where Jenks and his mom would be meeting is later.

On our way back we stopped at our local pet store and dog park where Maddux got to pick out a toy and play a little.

They were pooped, but the fun was just starting. I made homemade pupcakes for the dogs and let them do a “cake smash” just like kids do on their first birthday.

Are they not the cutest?

I’m so happy with how everything turned out. I think Maddux had a really wonderful birthday!

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Being a Successful Reptile Owner #ReptileCare

This post is a sponsored post. I am being compensated to help spread the word about Reptile Ownership, but My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. petMD and PetSmart are not responsible for the content of this article.

Whether you own a pet tortoise, snake, lizard or bearded dragon, understanding proper reptile care is important.

When I had my first pet reptile — a painted turtle when I was about 8 years old — there was no internet to look up information. In fact, I don’t remember there being that much information about their health available overall.

Fast forward about 15 years to when I graduated college and got back into the reptile hobby, and the internet made a world of difference when I started caring for tortoises. I started with two Russian tortoises and quickly added another two – Bert and Ernie – who  I adopted from an animal shelter after parents complained about them being used as classroom pets.

Now, I have four adorable baby tortoises. Two cherry head red foot tortoises and two red foot tortoises. What feels like every day, I am reading something new about them or have another question about their care that I Google.



So, when I heard about petMD®’s new Reptile Center brought to you by PetSmart, I was excited there was going to be another resource for current reptile owners to learn more, and for new owners to learn what they are getting themselves into. petsmart_reptile_care

Caring for a reptile is not difficult, but it does take some planning, understanding and flexibility. For example, I have special heat lights and bedding that mine need to be happy and healthy. They also need special lights that have to be on between 8 and 10 hours a day to help them get the needed light spectrum for proper care of their shells.

The good thing is that many of these are available at PetSmart’s Reptile Purchase Center.

There are also things some people might not think about when it comes to reptiles, like respiratory issues. Did you know that in turtles, a lack of vitamin A in the diet, can also play a role in causing respiratory issues? I didn’t, until I read an article in the Reptile Center.

If you’re thinking of getting a reptile, browse the Reptile Center to learn what type of reptile best fits your lifestyle. My tortoises are a perfect match for me, and once you decide what kind of reptile you want, picking one will be easy. You will “just know” when you see them.

That’s how I felt about Daytona, who I got while covering a reptile breeders conference in Daytona Beach. There were only several left and as soon as I saw him, I knew I wanted to take him home. They have such individual personalities and tastes! Yes, tastes! There are some types of lettuces that one of my tortoises, likes but the others doesn’t. So crazy. 


And, you’ll be in good company if you decide to get a turtle or tortoise. According to the American Pet Products Association, turtles are the number one reptile pet.

Whatever type of reptile you decide on, make sure you read, read, read! The more information you have, the more successful of a reptile owner you will be.


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Cone-of-Shame Free! 

We went into the vet like this …

And, we left the vet like this …



No more cone!!!

Maddux is still not completely back to normal, but he is getting there. He’s a little skittish and seems a little nervous about things, but overall he has a two thumbs up from the vet. Stitches out, he can go tot he dog park, play with Toby, run around and go back to train training! I’m not sure who missed the training more — me or him!

He does have one more round of antibiotics to prevent infection, but that’s it. Regular food. Regular exercises and walks.

So happy!



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In the Home Stretch 

We are in the home stretch! Monday evening we have another vet appointment to check on Maddux’s stitches.

If all goes well, he will get the stitches out Monday, and be back in obedience classes by Wednesday. But, I know my luck, and I’m going to bet that won’t be the case. 

Also giving me doubt? Maddux’s lethargic nature lately. Going from active puppy who wouldn’t sit still to a long-faced furball who I am pretty sure lost a decent amount of weight from his small, wet-food meals and just lies down at every moment he can, is tough to watch. It also makes me a little bit worried. 

I just want him to be back to normal. I want my bouncy, jumping, full of life puppy back. 


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My Tortoises Are Feeding My Plant Addiction

As some of you know, Toby and Maddux have other siblings. They, too have four legs. But, instead of fur, they have shells. 

I’ve always enjoyed turtles and tortoises. Like, most of my “likes” in life, I blame my aunt for getting me hooked. Same goes for my plant obsession, which in this case is manifested by my the four little baby tortoises I have. 

Let me explain. There are a lot of plants that the tortoises can eat. So, in an effort to make sure these guys have a healthy and varied diet, I am growing — and buying up — a wide variety of the ones they like to eat. 

It doesn’t hurt that one of the cactus they like to eat, I also just happened to really like. One might say, I am, a little obsessed.


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GIVEAWAY: Anxiety Wrap Can Help Calm Your Pet

With Fourth of July just around the corner, many pet owners will be looking for something to help their four-legged friend deal with the loud noises. One option I suggest trying is the Anxiety Wrap from Company of Animals.

I am lucky. Toby, and so far Maddux, are unfazed by them, which is good, because living near a lake that has fireworks for very possible celebration, and every Thursday during the summer, could be challenging if they were impacted by them.

However, this is not the norm. Most pets are not big fans of fireworks, and can get anxious, start panting excessively, bark non-stop, and well, just overall stressed out. This is not good for them, or their owners, who are trying to calm them down, but getting frustrated themselves.

Anxiety Wrap Pack Shot

The Anxiety Wrap, activates key pressure points where canines harbor stress, including in their neck and chest area, shoulders, midsection and hind quarters. The wrap’s patented design creates a continuous, full-­body acupressure experience that helps relieve or resolve the pet’s stress and the resulting behaviors stemming from fear, anxiety, hyperactivity, insecurity and shyness.

Designed to be lightweight and breathable, the Anxiety Wrap’s custom made fabric      features a four-­way stretch that provides a snug fit that’s as  unique. It easily flexes and moves with the pet for a comforting hug-­like sensation.

One important thing to note when it comes to selecting an Anxiety Wrap for your dog is the size. Since it is hitting specific pressure points, it is important the wrap fits correctly. To help with that, here is a sizing chart.

Anxiety Wrap sizing guide

The makers of the Anxiety Wrap were nice enough to give one lucky My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much reader the opportunity to try it for themselves. Just perform one of the tasks below. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to respond to our email or another winner will be selected. Sorry, but we can only ship to addresses in the continental U.S.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Cone Of Shame 

Seven years with Toby, nothing. Seven months with Maddux, my first personal experience with the “cone of shame.”

He wasn’t acting right last night and this morning, so I ran him to vet early this morning and while he was there he started fussing with the stitches. So, to play it safe, the vet decided to put a cone on him.

This is horrible, but I couldn’t stop laughing because the look on his face was just too hilarious.

I’m glad it’s clear because at least he can still see things around him, which I really like.

But looking at him, I just feel bad. Here are a few photo, where he is just too cute!

Continue reading

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Puppy’s Stomach Surgery Aftercare

Maddux is home! Believe it, or not, I think I am more nervous now than I was when he was at the vet’s office.

He has pills to take twice a day, and has to eat 3-4 small meals of wet food a day for about 5 days. I think I bought out PetSmart today of his favorite ones, as well as Toby’s.

Not being able to jump, or really be active, is going to be the challenge. Maddux is super active usually, and it’s nothing for him to jump from the couch to the chair to the other couch, or pretty much anywhere. It is why I think he will be really good at agility.

Speaking of agility, remember those agility, rally and obedience classes I signed him up for starting this week? Well, he clearly cannot do them. We have the option of postponing the agility and rally or jumping into the class after he gets his stitches out which is in two weeks.

To ease the worry about him jumping all over and over doing it. He will be spending most of the time in his crate, which by the way is why crate training them to and making sure they feel safe in secure in their crate is so important!

However, the vet did say he could sit on the couch with me, as long as he doesn’t jump up, or down. So, we are did that for a little bit last night.

I am trying to make it as close to their version of normal as possible. So, I made sure to feed them near each other, and when i had to give Maddux his meds, I gave Toby his functional treat that also helps his legs.


In case you are curious, this is what they removed from his tummy. Poor thing! Those are some pretty big pieces and he had already previously pooped some and threw up pieces, too.

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Sleepover at the Shelter Rescue Awareness Event

I get a lot of press releases. This one, however, stood out. I mean, how cool is this?!

“On June 12, BAF [Bark Avenue Foundation] in partnership with Shelter Me, and the Downey Animal Care Center, will host Sleepover at the Shelter, a unique 24 hour event to raise awareness of shelter pets and funds for spay/neuter. Volunteers will spend 24 hours in the shelter “kennels” interacting with dogs and promoting the shelter via webcams and social media. The event will culminate with a Super Adoption event on Saturday, June 13 with reduced adoption fees and special gifts for adopters from our corporate sponsors.

This unique event is intended to use the power of social media to increase awareness of shelter pets and the need for spay/neuter. As a top animal blogger, your coverage of this event can help to achieve this goal.

 This event begins at 11:00am on Friday, June 12. Sleepover guests include Actor Lou Wegner, Survivor Contestant Rob Cesternino, Comedienne Aubrey Sweeney, and Los Angeles Weatherman Garth Kemp from ABC7 News.”

Pretty neat, right?! I wish it were closer to me so I could participate. Rescues, how fun would this be to do?


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